- Semantic conditioning of syntactic rules: evidentiality and auxiliation in English and Dutch
- Folia Linguistica
- Volume | Issue number
- 43 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
Ever since the category of evidentiality has been identified in the verbal grammar of certain languages, it has been assumed that evidentiality plays no role in the grammars of those languages that have not incorporated it into their verb morphology or at least their verb clusters. The present paper attempts to show that even if evidentiality is not visible in the verbal grammar of English and Dutch, it appears to be a motivating factor, both historically and synchronically, in the process whereby evidential predicates are made to play a subordinate syntactic role with regard to their embedded subject clause. This process, known as AUXILIATION (Kuteva, Auxiliation: an enquiry into the nature of grammaticalization, Oxford University Press, 2001), appears to manifest itself in a variety of, often successive, grammatical processes or rules, such as Subject-to-Subject Raising (the subject of the embedded clause becomes the subject of the main verb, as in John is likely to be late), V-ING (as in The man stopped breathing), Incorporation-by-Lowering (the evidential main verb is lowered on to the V-constituent of the embedded subject clause, as in John may have left), or Incorporation-by-Raising (also known as Predicate Raising), not or hardly attested in English but dominant in Dutch. A list is provided of those English (and Dutch) predicates that induce one of the above-mentioned auxiliation rules and it is checked how many of those have an evidential meaning. This is set off against evidential predicates that do not induce an auxiliation rule. It results that, for English and Dutch, lexical evidentiality is a powerful determinant for the induction of syntactic auxiliation.
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