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[On the disappearance of genitive types in Middle English, Part II. Morphology, syntax and semantics]

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Abstract

This paper looks at the disappearance of the &#8216;objective&#8217; genitive with nouns of emotion in which the Stimulus of Emotion is a prenominal genitive, e.g. <i>godes lufu</i> &#8216;God&#8217;s love&#8217; in the meaning of someone&#8217;s love towards God. A systematic corpus-based investigation involving three nouns of emotion indicates that this construction was obsolescent by the end of the Middle English period. I suggest that the favouring of <i>of</i> phrases over genitives reduced the evidence available to language learners necessary to construct grammars incorporating a marked assignment of semantic to grammatical roles.

References

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