2004
Volume 70, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0039-8691
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1214

Abstract

Abstract

This paper presents a diachronic investigation into the semantic and grammatical evolution of the Dutch negative polarity modal auxiliary (‘need’). The study is corpus-based, working with representative samples of occurrences of the verb and of its predecessor, the (originally) full verb (‘need’), from different stages of Dutch, from Old Dutch until today. It shows how, after the initiation of a tendency to auxiliarize in in Early New Dutch (which largely ends again after that period), the short form splits off from the latter in that same time period and takes the lead as the auxiliary variant from then onwards. It also reveals, however, that in the course of New Dutch starts to develop new autonomous uses, in a way comparable to what has happened in the other central modal auxiliaries in Dutch (a case of collective degrammaticalization). Moreover, it shows how, from its emergence onwards, this modal auxiliary develops a wide range of modal and related meanings in a very short time, no doubt due to a strive for (semantic) analogy with the other (and much older) central modals.

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2021-12-08
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