- Mittelenglisch (1) (remove)
- Perfects, resultatives and auxiliaries in early English (2007)
- In this paper, we will argue for a novel analysis of the auxiliary alternation in Early English, its development and subsequent loss which has broader consequences for the way that auxiliary selection is looked at cross-linguistically. We will present evidence that the choice of auxiliaries accompanying past participles in Early English differed in several significant respects from that in the familiar modern European languages. Specifically, while the construction with have became a full-fledged perfect by some time in the ME period, that with be was actually a stative resultative, which it remained until it was lost. We will show that this accounts for some otherwise surprising restrictions on the distribution of BE in Early English and allows a better understanding of the spread of HAVE through late ME and EModE. Perhaps more importantly, the Early English facts also provide insight into the genesis of the kind of auxiliary selection found in German, Dutch and Italian. Our analysis of them furthermore suggests a promising strategy for explaining cross-linguistic variation in auxiliary selection in terms of variation in the syntactico-semantic structure of the perfect. In this introductory section, we will first provide some background on the historical situation we will be discussing, then we will lay out the main claims for which we will be arguing in the paper.