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By Junichi Toyota (auth.)

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Extra info for Diachronic Change in the English Passive

Sample text

The most decisive criterion is the orientation and the presence of the outer cause. If the subject is the actor and there is no extra outer cause apart from the subject, the instance is straightforwardly adjectival. Notice by contrast that (17) from PDE contains a by-phrase, but one that does not indicate outer cause. (15) Thyse These Wordes words ben are conteyned contained in in the the xxiiij. 24 chapytre chapter of of Luke. ’ (HC ME4 cmmalory) (17) Both ureters were surrounded by the fibrous tissue forming the anterior wall of the abdominal haematomata, the pelves of the kidneys being slightly dilated.

Such stativity does not exclude the possibility of dynamic constructions in OE. So even in OE we can find instances of what we term verbal passive. The aspectual reading is derived from the mixture of syntactic or semantic behaviour, and it is not simple to give a hard and fast rule for the distinction. However, there are some grammatical signs which help us to distinguish one aspect from another. 1) and inflection on the past participle (cf. 4). In spite of some ambiguous cases, we can decide in most cases whether an example is stative or dynamic.

This rarity also implies that intermediate constructions such as (48) and (49) are rare too, although sporadic cases can be found as late as Old High German. ’ Be-passive: Overview and Aspectual Change 37 Similarly in English, there are some instances of this intermediate stage found in the earlier English language. ’ (lit. to us is not saved) (Ælfric, Hom. (Thorpe) i, 56, 18) NEG (52) dryhten . . ’ (lit. ‘when is judged to him’) (Junius Ps. 36, 33) These examples may appear to be syntactically passive;13 accordingly one should not wonder why some scholars in earlier research interpreted them as passive in meaning.

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