Constructional complexification | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 67, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0039-8691
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1214



This articles investigates the rise of double modal constructions in Dutch. Double modal constructions combine two modal auxiliaries with one lexical verb (e.g. ‘shall have to go’). Little is known on why and how such complex verb constructions came into being. This article presents historical data for the earliest double modal constructions in Middle Dutch (13th century) drawing on both previous corpus studies and on new empirical observations. The historical data is then analyzed from a diachronic construction grammar perspective. The main theoretical point of this article is that the emergence of double modal constructions is a case of ‘constructional complexification’, i.e. the process in which constructions become increasingly larger in size.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): auxiliary; complexity; construction grammar; grammaticalization; modality
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