uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
On functions of support verb constructions with do in Early Irish and English
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English, Celtic Section.
(English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Support verb constructions is one of the terms used to denote complex predicates, which  contain a verb of general semantic content, like have, take, make give or do, and an object typically derived from a verb, as in He gives a talk every Monday evening.


Different functions have been described for these structures in English, including change of sentence structure and stress patterns, as well as creation of an obligatory object for transitive verb, have been attributed to them[1]. Their origin and development is still disputed and the possibility of influence of Celtic languages has been mooted repeatedly[2], lately e.g. by Klemola (2002)[3] and McWhorter (2006)[4].

Even though similar constructions also exist in the Irish language, no previous investigations have been carried out in this area.

The present paper proposes to address the research question when the use of do plus non-finite verbal forms developed in the Irish language, and how its usage compares to the documented evolution of the category in the history of English. The corpus based investigation of early Irish texts illustrates that, even though a number of similarities exist between the structures in these two languages, there are significant differences in their use in Irish and English.

[1] E.g. Brinton, L. 1996: ‘Attitudes towards increasing segmentalization: Complex and phrasal verbs in English’, Journal of English Linguistics 24,186-205.

[2] Early on by Ellegård, A. 1953. The Auxiliary Do. The Establishment and Regulation of its Use in English. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiskell.

[3] ‘Periphrastic do: Dialectal distribution and origins’. In Filppula, Klemola & Pitkänen (eds.), The Celtic Roots of English, Joensuu: University of Joensuu Press, 199–210.

[4] ‘Something else has happened to English: evaluating the Celtic hypothesis’. Paper

given at the DELS conference 2006.

National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-98542OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-98542DiVA: diva2:174902
Available from: 2009-02-25 Created: 2009-02-25 Last updated: 2010-12-17Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

By organisation
Celtic Section
Specific Languages

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 206 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link