The Distribution of the Perfect Auxiliaries be/have in Middle English Texts

Katarzyna Alicja Zdziera
2018 Anglica. An International Journal of English Studies  
Like many Germanic languages, English has developed specific periphrastic constructions to express perfective meaning. Before being fully grammaticalized in the 16th century, they were used occasionally in Old and Middle English as complex verb phrases with either habban 'to have' or beon/wesan 'to be' acting as auxiliary verbs. By the Modern English period, forms created with be disappeared from the language and were almost completely replaced by forms with have, a process which did not occur,
more » ... for instance, in German. As the data on this development are quite scarce, a relatively simple model is assumed with a steady diachronic progress towards the system established in Modern English, a model which disregards synchronic variation. This paper attempts to investigate the distribution of the perfective constructions with be and have, especially in the 15th century texts and to identify the main factors accounting for diff erences in their usage. Instead of taking into account only the diachronic aspect of the development described, the present study focuses mainly on investigating the synchronic variation in the auxiliaries used with the two most frequent verbs of motion, namely come and go in the perfective meaning.
doi:10.7311/0860-5734.27.2.02 fatcat:crdyek2tg5avda3m4pzopf3d54