The Diachronic Perspective

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

The Diachronic Perspective

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The morphosyntactic analysis of the verbs that were capable of impersonal use in Old English (OE) was undertaken with the aim of determining the role that the impersonal construction had in the OE grammatical system, its function, and use. This chapter places the findings for OE into the context of the further diachronic development of impersonal verbs and the impersonal construction in Middle English (ME) and Early Modern English (EModE). Since a corpus study of ME and EModE is outside the scope of the present investigation, all statements made here either rely on the evidence provided by the Middle English Dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary online resources or on secondary literature. The material is preselected for the purpose of pointing out tendencies in the diachronic development of individual verbs and their range of syntactic uses, such as the loss of impersonal uses and the development of syntactic alternatives.

Keywords: Old English verbs; impersonal verbs; impersonal construction; Middle English; Early Modern English

Chapter.  10218 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Linguistics

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