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  1. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Hello, I do not know how to find any information regarding the unique English phenomenon using of the verb do in questions and negations.
    Do you know anything about the origin of that phenomenon? Shakespeare knew it (dost thou make..., etc) so it might be very old...
    do you have any idea if it exists in other less common languages (Irish, Welsh, origin?)
    And do you know when are why questions & negations used earlier, by Shakespeare disappeared, I mean: thou seest it not...
    Thanks
     
  2. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Simplification of word order. It quite naturally developed out of the emphatic construct do+verb, like I do like this cake, which is not unique to English (c.f., e.g., dialectal German Ich tu' das nicht wollen = I don't want this). Using this construct for negations and questions is a way to avoid sentence structures that were increasingly regarded as cumbersome, in the case of questions the subject-verb inversion which became unnatural when English developed into a relatively strict SVO language and in the case of negations it avoids the opening of large verbal brackets which are still typical for German but not for English any more: e.g. he gave him the sheet of paper he asked for and which he used to write a note to his mother not vs. he didn't give him the sheet of paper he asked for and which he used to write a note to his mother.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  3. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    interesting
     
  4. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    This previous thread discussed the same questions:
    auxiliary verb 'do'


    And I wouldn't consider Shakespeare to be "very old" in the history of English…
     

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