Investigation of the Impersonal Syntactic Uses of Old English Verbs

Ruth Möhlig-Falke

in The Early English Impersonal Construction

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199777723
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933310 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in the History of English

Investigation of the Impersonal Syntactic Uses of Old English Verbs

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This chapter presents a detailed analysis of the various impersonal patterns found with Old English (OE) verbs to bring out the functional properties of the OE impersonal construction. The investigation of the frequencies of impersonal compared with alternative syntactic uses shows that both in terms of type and token frequencies the verbs of emotion show the highest proportions of impersonal use; verbs of physical sensation, cognition, existential experience, and appropriateness ranking in the middle; and verbs of nonavailability, benefaction, and motion being rather marginally found in impersonal uses. There is, however, a considerable amount of lexical variation within the conceptual domains, so that these observations point only to tendencies.

Keywords: impersonal patterns; impersonal construction; emotion; physical sensation; cognition; existential experience; appropriateness; nonavailability; benefaction; motion

Chapter.  16266 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Linguistics

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