Article published in:Historical Linguistics 2007: Selected papers from the 18th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Montreal, 6–11 August 2007
Edited by Monique Dufresne, Fernande Dupuis and Etleva Vocaj
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 308] 2009
► pp. 49–60
On the disappearance of genitive types in Middle English
Objective genitives with nouns of love and fear and the nature of syntactic change
This paper looks at the disappearance of the ‘objective’ genitive with nouns of emotion in which the Stimulus of Emotion is a prenominal genitive, e.g. godes lufu ‘God’s love’ in the meaning of someone’s love towards God. A systematic corpus-based investigation involving three nouns of emotion indicates that this construction was obsolescent by the end of the Middle English period. I suggest that the favouring of of phrases over genitives reduced the evidence available to language learners necessary to construct grammars incorporating a marked assignment of semantic to grammatical roles.
Published online: 30 November 2009