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By J. Toyota

During this quantity on the historical improvement of the passive voice in English, the most argument bargains not just with the passive consistent with se, but in addition with its similar buildings, which may play important elements in making a choice on either sensible and structural motivations for growing the passive.

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Extra resources for Diachronic Change in the English Passive (Palgrave Studies in Language History and Language Change)

Sample text

One may find the transition from OE to ME rather striking: more than 20 per cent difference can be observed. Such sudden change may make the result appear to be unreliable, but the gradual shift in change can be found once the finer distinctions in OE and ME are used. 2. Once our data are divided according to this finer distinction, we can observe some gradual change. Notice the paucity of data in OE1. e. codocu1 (210 words) and conorthu (40 words). Thus, the number of examples from this period is not statistically so significant in the analysis.

In this example, the main concerns are durativity and egressive aspect. Thus, tests ii and iii in the Appendix can be most useful. For example, the act of burying is not ongoing, and we can insert the verb finish: He finished being buried. This will prove egressive aspect. As for durativity, unacceptable insertion of durative adverbials, as in ∗ He was buried for three hours, rules it out. The adverb still, as in He was still buried, is acceptable out of context, but (23) is concerned with the act of burial, not the resulting state of burial, and the use of still is not appropriate to this case.

Lit. and to them was none of children’) (Luke 1,7) (47) Old English Him wœs bam samod . . ’ (Beo 2196–7) According to Davis (1986: 84), a construction as in (46) above was relatively uncommon even in Gothic, which also explains its oddity in OE. 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.

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