The diachrony of subjective <i>amenazar</i> ‘threaten’

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In the functional-linguistic literature, <i>amenazar</i> and other &#8216;threaten&#8217; verbs have been accounted for in terms of grammaticalization and subjectification of the lexical construction/reading of <i>amenazar</i> &#43; infinitive into a subjective construction/reading of <i>amenazar</i> &#43; infinitive. On the basis of diachronic corpus data we show that this view does not hold: the syntactic schema of subjective <i>amenazar</i> &#43; infinitive starts from a construction of the Latin verb <i>minari</i> &#8216;threaten&#8217; with a deverbal noun. The origin of the subjective construction with<i> amenazar</i> and the pace of the extension of the new construction depend heavily on the contact with humanist, Latin-based discourse traditions. The proposed analysis suggests the need of revisiting earlier accounts of &#8216;threaten&#8217; verbs that were based on conceptual and pragmatic criteria only.


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