The rise and fall of the passive auxiliary weorðan (WERDEN) in the history of English is investigated. We provide a new structural analysis of why and in what languages the passive diathesis can / cannot use the copula BE as auxiliary. We will do so in a comparative perspective within Germanic and Romance. We provide 1. language internal structural variation in BE and WERDEN as passive auxiliaries in relation with Verb-Second, 2. cross-linguistic i.e. comparative data of this variation 3. diachronic data on Old English weorðan that ties the need of a separate passive auxiliary to the Verb second constraint. It turns out that Old English displays a temporary rise and fall of strict-V2 around 1000, as well as a rise and fall of weorðan, which developments can be related because they comply to Kroch's Constant Rate Hypothesis (CRH). Finally, we sketch the first contours of a grammatical model that umbrellas tense/aspect, V2, and the passive diathesis, which predicts this correlation. By modifying Giorgi's projection of the Reichenbachian event indexes S,E, and R onto the syntax, we show that the (in)equality of these indexes is not ruled by structural templates stored in the lexicon, but are dynamically ruled by the syntax.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the Workshop on V2-Languages|
|Subtitle of host publication||A Festschrift for Ans van Kemenade|
|Editors||Bettelou Los, Pieter de Haan|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2015|
- passive auxiliary
- verb second
- Old English
- Reichenbach events
Postma, G. J. (Accepted/In press). The rise and fall of the passive auxiliary weorðan and strict Verb-Second in the history of English. In B. Los, & P. de Haan (Eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on V2-Languages: A Festschrift for Ans van Kemenade Benjamins.