Volume 54, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0035-3906
  • E-ISSN: 1600-0811
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This paper offers a diachronic analysis of a pair of subject complement constructions (: litt. ‘to answer “present”/“absent”) originating from quotative expressions. It shows how they lexicalized into fixed expressions denoting a routinized “delocutive” (Benveniste) procedure and how they finally got reanalyzed into a subject complement construction with an internalized projective and proactive meaning (“to act as expected”). The latter appears to be the result of the pragmatic strengthening of conversational implicatures related to the speech act. Further, it is argued that the remarkably similar evolution of is due to analogization. Finally, the discussion of potential further host class expansion leads to a provisional answer to the question of whether or not these developments could be the symptoms of the constructionalization of a new copular verb.


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