Changes in Psych-verbs: A reanalysis of little v


  • Elly van Gelderen Arizona State University


The present paper examines psych-verbs in the history of English. As is well-known, object experiencers are reanalyzed as subject experiencers in many of the modern European languages. I discuss one such change in detail, namely the change in the verb fear from meaning ‘to frighten, cause to fear’ to meaning ‘to fear’. The reason for the change may be the loss of the morphologically overt causative and a change in the set of light verbs. Object experiencers are constantly lost but I show there is also a continual renewal through external borrowing and internal change from physical to mental impact. A last change I discuss is the one where Subject Experiencers are reanalyzed as Agents in a V(oice)P.


psych-verb, experiencer, agent, causative, reanalysis, little v

Author Biography

Elly van Gelderen, Arizona State University




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