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Constructions and Environments
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Constructions and Environments: Copular, Passive, and Related Constructions in Old and Middle English

Peter Petré


This monograph presents the first comprehensive diachronic account of copular and passive verb constructions in Old and Middle English. Loss of the high-frequency verb weorðan ‘become’ is explained as a result of changing word order in narrative during Middle English. The merger of is ‘is’ and bið ‘shall be, is generally’ into a single suppletive verb is related to the development of a general analytic future shall benally, the co-occurrence of multiple changes led to become and wax crossing a threshold of similarity with existing copulas, from which they analogically adopted full productivity ... More

Keywords: Copula, passive construction, construction grammar, historical linguistics, English linguistics, evolutionary linguistics, competition, auxiliary, syntax

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199373390
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199373390.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Peter Petré, author
KU Leuven