Typology of Periphrastic 'Do'-constructions

Jäger, Andreas (2005). Typology of Periphrastic 'Do'-constructions PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

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Author Jäger, Andreas
Thesis Title Typology of Periphrastic 'Do'-constructions
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2005
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Rob Pensalfini
Total pages 354
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Subjects L
380299 Linguistics not elsewhere classified
751001 Languages and literature
Formatted abstract

This dissertation provides a typological account of the cross-linguistic functions that can be associated with periphrastic 'do'-constructions minimally consisting of a lexical verb and a ·schematic action- auxiliary element equivalent to English do. The investigation is based on a sample of 200 genetically and typologically diverse languages. 

While in some languages the occurrence of a periphrastic ‘do' -auxiliary in the clause is obligatory under certain morphosyntactic conditions, it is optional in others. The analysis of periphrastic 'do' -constructions in the sample shows that the variation of functions associated with obligatory 'do'-periphrasis as a consequence of grammatical properties is limited and can be described in terms of four types, A considerable number of languages that employ 'do' -periphrasis optionally allows similar form-function relations, which suggests that these four types represent likely domains for grammaticalisation.  Functions of optional 'do’-periphrasis nevertheless also include the establishment of discourse coherence and morphosyntactic economy, more specifically avoidance of morphological complexity, for instance during language acquisition.  

The sample also contains languages in which a 'do’--auxiliary directly encodes grammatical categories typically associated with verb morphology such as tense, mood and aspect. In these languages the ·do' -auxiliary is not triggered by morphosyntactic features of the clause it occurs in. Furthermore 'do' -periphrasis can be attested as a cross-linguistically common strategy for the purpose of symmetric verb coordination. 

Keyword Typology (Linguistics)
Grammar, Comparative and general -- Verb

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 18:41:50 EST