The Grammar of Fear: Morphosyntactic Metaphor in Fear Constructions
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This analysis explores the reflection of semantic features of emotion verbs that are metaphorized on the morphosyntactic level in constructions that express these emotions. This dissertation shows how the avoidance or distancing response to fear is mirrored in the morphosyntax of fear constructions (FCs) in certain Indo-European languages through the use of non-canonical grammatical markers. This analysis looks at both simple FCs consisting of a single clause and complex FCs, which feature a subordinate clause that acts as a complement to the fear verb in the main clause. In simple FCs in some highly-inflected Indo-European languages, the complement of the fear verb (which represents the fear source) is case-marked not accusative but genitive (Baltic and Slavic languages, Sanskrit, Anglo-Saxon) or ablative (Armenian, Sanskrit, Old Persian). These two directional case inflections are generally used to represent the notion of movement away from. In simple FCs in these languages, the movement away is the subject/Experiencer’s recoiling or desire to distance him-/herself from the fear Source. In this way the grammar of simple FCs of these languages mirrors, or metaphorizes, the reflexive avoidance behavior of the fear response. In the subordinate clause of complex FCs in certain Indo-European languages (such as Ancient Greek, Latin, Old English, Baltic and Slavic languages, French, and Catalan), irrealis mood marking on the verb together with a negative particle that does not affect syntactic negation of the verb syntactically mark the potentiality of the feared event or state represented by the subordinate clause (which has not yet occurred and may not occur) and its undesirability for the subject/Experiencer of the fear verb in the main clause. In this way the negative particle + irrealis mood fear clause metaphorizes on the morphosyntactic level the primary semantic features of the emotion of fear: anticipation of a potential undesired event that the Experiencer seeks to negate. The analysis of complex FCs is followed by a case study proposing the evolution of these constructions in Latin from negative purpose clauses. This dissertation includes previously published material.