Chapter published in:Reorganising Grammatical Variation: Diachronic studies in the retention, redistribution and refunctionalisation of linguistic variants
Edited by Antje Dammel, Matthias Eitelmann and Mirjam Schmuck
[Studies in Language Companion Series 203] 2018
► pp. 269–296
Active and passive tough-infinitives
A case of long-term grammatical variation
This paper probes into the determinants of the long-term grammatical variation of active and passive tough-infinitives, as well as into the factors that ultimately led to the decline of passive tough-infinitives. It is argued that, throughout their coexistence, the active and the passive tough-infinitive are functionally equivalent and that the demise of the passive tough-infinitive is a concomitant of the extensive and rapid spread of the passive infinitive governed by be expressing deontic modality. It is further argued that, due to the surface similarity of the passive infinitive governed by be and the passive tough-infinitive, deontic modality percolates into the passive tough-infinitive, which expresses dispositional modality. Thus, the obsolescence of the passive tough-infinitive is driven by a clash in modality.
Keywords: competition, functional equivalence, morphosyntactic marking, voice transparency
Published online: 24 October 2018
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