<i>To dare to or not to</i>

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This article revisits the alleged unidirectionality of grammaticalization, focusing on the marginal modal <i>dare</i>, which previous research has discussed as a potential counterexample. Being in its origin a member of the inhomogeneous group of modal auxiliaries, <i>dare</i> has since Early Modern English times developed certain full verb characteristics that would assign it a place near the lexical end of the grammaticalization scale. This study provides detailed corpus data, yielding a complex picture that defies an easy localization of <i>dare</i> on the lexical &#8211; grammatical scale: different verb forms of <i>dare</i> have to be distinguished, which appear to occupy different stages of evolution or even tend to drift into opposite directions. The results furthermore point to cross-cutting influences on the marking of dependent infinitives (rhythm, grammatical complexity).


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