David Stifter wrote:
> "Irrelevant 'do'" is a bit of a misnomer. It is more appropriately
> "periphrastic "do"" or "do-periphrasis".
I'm sure McWhorter knows that. In this book he adopts a popular
tone. His argumentation is cogent and does not suffer from his
conversational style; if anything, it becomes clearer.
> I have been wondering whether this is really a good case of Celtic
> influence. While such constructions do indeed occur in Welsh,
> earlier than
> in English, they are only optional (as I understand it), whereas in
> English they have become compulsory.
I can't do justice to his arguments here. He details the entrenched
opposing arguments under these rubrics, then dismantles them:
Assumption Number One: The Celts All Just Died
Assumption Number Two: Shitte Happens [i.e. random evolutionary
Assumption Number Three: Writing Is How People Talked [late
appearance of Celtic features in written English]
One Last Assumption: Where Are the Celtic Words?
This book is $15.30 from Amazon.
> BTW, there is a much more detailed treatment of (possible) Celtic
> influence on English in:
> M. Filppula, J. Klemola, H. Paulasto, English and Celtic in Contact,
> Routledge 2008
For a mere $110.56 (and that's with the Amazon discount). :-)