The role of do

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  • 1. The Role of Do-Support in English Presented to: Sir Saleemi 1/26/2012 Prepared by: Hina JavaidUniversity of management and technology
  • 2. Introduction: i. She takes meal at night. ii. *She not take meal at night. iii. She does not take meal at night.The contrastive grammatical analysis of the sentence containing negative element (ii) sentenceof the affirmative sentence (i) clearly indicates that it is purely ungrammatical. There is astriking syntactic perception of some missing part. This analysis evidently indicates theexistence of a tense-lowering aspect in English grammar which means that all sentenceswithout overt Auxiliary must involve movement. The sentences which do not involve an overtauxiliary need support in negative and interrogative sentences with ‘not’ and this ‘not’obligatorily triggers DO-SUPPORT. i. Do-support is used in the sentences that do not comprise on a modal auxiliary or a form of have or be because be itself does the shifting. Such sentences need a mechanism which is called `do-support for negated sentences and for inverted yes-no questions without auxiliaries or in the sentences where emphasis is required. ii. This auxiliary contains no meaning itself but makes the sentence meaningful. iii. This do-support or dummy do is exceptional in the sense that it is required in negative or interrogative sentences that do not have an auxiliary. iv. Dummy do or do-support ‘do’ may be inflected for person, number and tense and may carry the negative clitic n’t. v. This dummy do plays the function of tense-bearer in the sentences without auxiliaries. vi. When this dummy do is applied to a verb in the past tense, the do will carry past-marker I.e. passed, did pass. Here its role is that of stand-in auxiliary that never affects the meaning rather acts as an operator that enables to add emphasis or to make negative or interrogative sentences merely. 1
  • 3. Why is “do-support” called “dummy do”Dummy do is a certain form of the auxiliary do whose main function is to support the tensemorpheme when it cannot appear on the main verb. In questions and negatives the auxiliary‘do’ carries meaning in itself, so it is sometimes called a dummy auxiliary. The terminology ‘do-support’ is used syntactically whereas we use the term ‘dummy do’ in the semantic notion. Thisdifferentiation gives a crystal clear notion of the function of the ‘do’ as meaningless in its naturebut giving and supporting the meaningful ‘idea’ of action in the sentence.The emergence and rise of do support/dummy do In early modern English, the use of ‘do’ was variable but increased over time. Ellegard designed the relative frequency of do forms in affirmative and negative declaratives, affirmative and negative questions, and negative imperatives, based on a sample of more than 10,000 tokens. After the middle of the 16th century, the frequency of do in (non-emphatic) affirmative declaratives declined. Beginning of 1700, the use of do in negative declaratives, affirmative and negative questions rose continuously. 18th century, do became obligatory.Do-support in Present-day English It is essential in questions (except for subject wh questions) and negative declaratives, but forbidden for be and auxiliary verbs. It is proscribed in (non-emphatic) affirmative declaratives. 2
  • 4. Process/reason/rationale of the do-supportI would like to illustrate the reason behind adopting do-support or dummy do with thisexample: Do you know that Ali deceived his friend again? Does she like him still? Did he propose her this time?Here we can see that each question starts with inflected form of do instead of a modal orperfective or progressive auxiliary. Each sentence does not have any auxiliary element evenafter the subject. To analyze the reason, I would like to state here the declarative sentencesfrom which these are derived. You know that Ali deceived his friend again. She likes him still. He proposed her this time.It is noticeable from these two illustrations that tense affix has hopped onto the main verb asthere was no other auxiliary element on which it might have to hop onto. To illustrate it moredeeply, I would like to mention here D-structure of these sentences. You –es know that Ali deceive-ed his friend again She –es like him still. He –ed propose her this time.Here I have considered the terminal string only to avoid ambiguousness. Now I will derive yes-no questions from this D-structure by applying subject-auxiliary inversion process. According tothis rule, the specific auxiliary element is to be moved left to the subject and here we have onlytense affix as the auxiliary element so I will move it to the subject initial position. Thisintermediate structure will look like this: -es do you know that Ali deceive-ed his friend again. -es do she like him still. -ed do he propose her this time.Here all the sentences have got one tense affix and this tense affix will go through the processof affix hopping in order to get a subject to cling to. But affix hopping cannot be applied to thesubject initial position because it would prevent the subject auxiliary inversion in that case andwe will just get simple declarative as a response. In simple way, the constraint is that affixhopping cannot be applied across a following subject NP otherwise affixes will go ‘stranded’. As 3
  • 5. by definition, affixes are bound forms and they can occur only as a part of lexical verb oranother word. To solve this problem, a transformational rule, DO-SUPPORT, or dummy DO isinserted immediately after the tense affix to support the affix which acts as a host for the affixto hop to and prevent it from being stranded. -es do you know that Ali –ed deceive his friend again? -es do she like him still? -ed do he propose her this time?In such a way, dummy do or do-support has a constrained function that is of a LAST RESORT oras a RESCUER of the sentence from being stranded. Do you know that Ali deceived his friend again? Does she like him still? Did he propose her this time?Constraint:It is to be noted here that if the tense affix is already followed by an auxiliary or verbal element,and still if affix hopping is applied forcefully, application of Do-support would result inungrammaticality. Ali would talk to his friend again. *Ali did will talk to his friend again. She is talking to him. She do be talking to him.But application of dummy do is grammatical if we insert do between tense and main verb. You do know that Ali deceived his friend again? She does like him still? He did propose to her this time?So, by analyzing the whole process it can be said that affix hopping can be applied to sentenceswithout auxiliaries by inserting dummy do.Rule: Do support is obligatory and affix hopping too whereas SAI is optional. The order is SAI > Do-support > Affix-hopping But in yes-no questions Affix-hopping > SAI , SAI > Affixhopping 4
  • 6. Properties of dummy do/ do-supportNICE properties: The do-support properties entail for an acronym NICE for negation,inversion, code and emphatic.N: negationIn forming negative sentences, English affixes the negator/ negative adverb ‘not’ after theauxiliary do if there is no other auxiliary. i.e. 1. She doesnt like to play. 2. Ali does not ride a bicycle every day.I: inversionIn structuring interrogative sentences, English puts a form of do in front of the subject if there isno other auxiliary in the sentence i.e. 1. Affirmative: Ali rides a bicycle every day. 2. Ali does ride a bicycle every day. 3. Does Ali ride a bicycle every day?In cases of subject-auxiliary inversion when there is no other auxiliary, first DO is insertedbefore the main verb and then this verb is inverted with the subject. This inversion process iscalled subject-auxiliary inversion. The rule for inverted dummy do is that it is moved from itsreal place i.e. before the main verb and then adjoined before the subject to the leftmostperiphery of the sentence.Same pattern is followed in structuring Wh-questions which contain an interrogative word suchas who, what, when, where, why, how, just like in yes-no questions, and use similar do-support. 1. Why did Ali ride a bicycle every day? 2. How did Ali ride a bicycle every day? 3. When did Ali ride a bicycle every day? 5
  • 7. C: codeThe phenomenon of code is in contexts where auxiliaries get stranded. This type of code or tagquestions are formed with a copy of the first auxiliary and a pronoun version of the sentencessubject at the end of the sentence. 1. Sara loved Ali. Didn’t she? 2. Does Ali ride a bicycle every day? He does. 3. Ali rides a bicycle every day and so does Saleem.Here the string ‘He does and so does’ occurs without its main verb and this property of it,coming without main verb, is called the code.E: emphaticDo –insertion (do, does, and did) also occurs in positive declarative sentences to mark specialemphasis in which the verb otherwise contains only one word: "I do like this shirt!", "He doeslike this shirt", "I did like that shirt". 1. Ali DOES ride a bicycle every day! 2. Ali DOES write him a letter. 3. They DO support Pakistani team.Nature of dummy do and auxiliariesResemblance between dummy and modals:Dummy do like modals auxiliaries Are always finite Are followed by a verb in the base formDo also perform the role of modal auxiliaries for sentences referring to the completed actions i.e.simple/affirmative sentences but "Do" is not used in affirmative statements because unlike inperfect or continuous, in the simple sentences, the action actually does happen. Do is used in 6
  • 8. interrogative and negative sentences where there is no real action, but rather only the "idea" ofthe action.Statement: He does write a letter. (There is an action)Question: Does he write a letter? (No action)Negation: He does not write a letter. (No action)Difference between dummy and modalsDummy Do resembles non-modal auxiliaries in that it can take a third-person ending (does). 1. He does not pass the exam. 2. He has passed the exam.Difference between dummy do and aspectual auxiliaryThe dummy do is different from the aspectual auxiliary (have, be) in the sense that ‘have’ and‘be’ requires and necessitates the presence of –en and –ing morphemes whereas dummy do isexceptional as it cannot be used in the presence of any other auxiliary. 1. He did not pass the exam. 2. He had not passed the exam 3. *he did not have passed the exam.The affirmative form of this sentence he passed the exam has the base-form of verb and thenegative version will block the inflection with the base-form of the verb (pass) because theinsertion of dummy do (did) cannot support the inflected verb-form “passed’ as we can see inthe example (ii) where aspectual perfective ‘had’ supports the inflection on verb ‘passed’. Thirdexample conforms to the above given statement that it cannot be used in the presence ofanother auxiliary and it is totally ungrammatical. 7
  • 9. Function:Since main verbs cannot move, it cannot pick up the tense feature, and do-supportis required if there is no auxiliary verb to perform the role. So, the meaningless ‘do’ solelyfunction as TENSE-BEARER in interrogative, negative and emphatic sentences.As a ‘lone auxiliary’Dummy do cannot be preceded or followed by any other auxiliary verb that’s why it is called‘lone auxiliary’. Being a tense-bearer, it cannot support other auxiliaries to function along withit in a single sentence that is why this ‘lone auxiliary’ functions exclusively.As ‘hybrid’ 1. Being a main verbSometimes, unlike auxiliary do, it can occur on its own. Here, it has the importance of the ‘mainverb’ in the sentence and is positioned in “I”.As in “He did his breakfast this morning.” 2. Being an auxiliary verbHere, do take the position of dummy do.“He did not do his breakfast this morning.”It resembles modal auxiliary in two respects and aspectual auxiliaries in one that is why itsnature is hybrid. 8
  • 10. Movements of dummy do:Being hybrid in nature, dummy do, when present, is positioned in ‘I’ like modal auxiliaries andlike non-modals it can take third person ending. Dummy do moves after subject-auxiliaryinversion, twice. a. To acquire Tense b. For subject-verb agreementThe position of dummy do in an interrogative sentence after subject-auxiliary inversion is thtthe inserted auxiliary verb ‘do’ is adjoined to sentence at the leftmost periphery.Constraints on do-support/dummy do There is no non-finite version of dummy do. It cannot be used in the presence of another auxiliary. It does not indicate any real action It is purely meaningless semantically. 9