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On the idiomatization of &#8220;<i>give</i> + O + <i>to</i>&#8221; constructions

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Abstract

This paper discusses the idiomatization process of the &#8220;<i>give</i> + O + <i>to</i>&#8221; construction (e.g. <i>give rise to</i> and <i>give way to</i>). Investigation of this construction from Middle English to Present-Day English based on various corpora shows that, in the process of change of &#8220;<i>give</i> + indirect object + direct object&#8221; to &#8220;<i>give</i> + O + <i>to</i>&#8221;, the latter construction has strengthened its idiomatic nature leading to the development of many idioms based on this construction in Present-Day English. The function of eventive objects without suffixes (e.g. <i>credit</i> and <i>rise</i>) as direct objects is essential in this process of idiomatization. Of various factors contributing to the idiom formation of the &#8220;<i>give</i> + O + <i>to</i>&#8221; construction, weakening of nouniness of the direct object, construction and frequency, and French influence play the most important roles.

References

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