43031 (The history of English), страница 15

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OE beon was used as a link-verb with a predicative expressed by Part. II to denote a state resulting from a previous action, while the construction with OE weorþan 'become' indicated the transition into the state expressed by the participle. Werthen was still fairly common in Early ME (in Ormulum), but not nearly as common as the verb ben: soon werthen was replaced by numerous new link-verbs which had developed from notional verbs (ME becomen, geten, semen, NE become, get, seem); no instances of werthen are found in Chaucer. The participle, which served as predicative to these verbs, in OE agreed with the subject in number and gender, although the concord with participles was less strict than with adjectives. The last instances of this agreement are found in Early ME: fewe beoþ icorene (13th c.) 'few were chosen'.

In ME ben plus Past Part, developed into an analytical form. Now it could express not only a state but also an action. The formal pattern of the Pass. Voice extended to many parts of the verb paradigm: it is found in the Future tense, in the Pert. forms, in the Subj. Mood and in the non-finite forms of the verb, e.g. Chaucer has: the conseil that was accorded by youre neighebores ('The advice that was given by your neighbours') But certes, wikkidnesse shal be warisshed by goodnesse. ('But, certainly, wickedness shall be cured by goodness.') With many a tempest hadde his berde been shake. ('His beard had been shaken with many tempests.') Traces of Mediopassive in this verb are found even in Late ME: This mayden, which that Mayus highte. (Chaucer) ('This maid who was called Mayus.') The new Pass. forms had a regular means of indicating the doer of the action or the instrument with the help of which it was performed. Out of a variety of prepositions employed in OE from, mid, wiþ, bi two were selected and generalised: by and with. Thus in ME the Pass. forms were regularly contrasted to the active forms throughout the paradigm, both formally and semantically. Therefore we can say that the verb had acquired a new grammatical category the category of Voice.

In Early NE the Pass. Voice continued to grow and to extend its application. Late ME saw the appearance of new types of passive constructions. In addition to passive constructions with the subject corresponding to the direct object of the respective active construction, i.e. built from transitive verbs, there arose passive constructions whose subject corresponded to other types of objects: indirect and prepositional. Pass. forms began to be built from intransitive verbs associated with different kinds of objects, e.g. indirect objects: The angel ys tolde the wordes. (Higden) ('The angel is told the words.') He shulde soone delyvered be gold in sakkis gret plenty. (Chaucer) ('He should be given (delivered) plenty of gold in sacks.') prepositional objects: I wylle that my moder be sente for. (Malory) ('I wish that my mother were sent for.') He himself was oftener laughed at than his iestes were. (Caxton) 'tis so concluded on; We'll be waited on (Sh).

It should be added that from an early date the Pass. Voice was common in impersonal sentences with it introducing direct or indirect speech: Hit was accorded, granted and swore, bytwene þe King of Fraunce and þe King of Engelond þat he shulde haue agen at his landes (Brut, 13th c.)('It was agreed, granted and sworn between the King of France and the King of England that he should have again all his lands.') The wide use of various pass. constructions in the 18th and 19th c. testifies to the high productivity of the Pass. Voice. At the same time the Pass. Voice continued to spread to new parts of the verb paradigm: the Gerund and the Continuous forms.

Perfect Forms

Like other analytical forms of the verb, the Perf. forms have developed from OE verb phrases. The main source of the Perf. form was the OE "possessive" construction, consisting of the verb habban (NE have), a direct object and Part. II of a transitive verb, which served as an attribute to the object, e.g.: Hæfde se goda cempan gecorene (Beowulf) ('had that brave (man) warriors chosen'.) The meaning of the construction was: a person (the subject) possessed a thing (object), which was characterised by a certain state resulting from a previous action (the participle). The participle, like other attributes, agreed with the noun-object in Number, Gender and Case. Originally the verb habban was used only with participles of transitive verbs; then it came to be used with verbs taking genitival, datival and prepositional objects and even with intransitive verbs, which shows that it was developing into a kind of auxiliary, e.g.: for sefenn winnterr haffde he ben in Egypte (Ormulum) ('For seven winters he had been in Egypt')

The other source of the Perf. forms was the OE phrase consisting of the link-verb bēon and Part. II of intransitive verbs: nu is se dæg cumen (Beowulf) ('Now the day has ("is") come') hwænne mine dagas agane beoþ (Ælfric)... ('When my days are gone (when I die)'.) In these phrases the participle usually agreed with the subject.

Towards ME the two verb phrases turned into analytical forms and made up a single set of forms termed "perfect". The Participles had lost their forms of agreement with the noun (the subject in the construction with ben, the object in the construction with haven); the places of the object and the participle in the construction with haven changed: the Participle usually stood close to the verb have and was followed by the object which referred now to the analytical form as a whole – instead of being governed by have. Cf. the OE possessive construction quoted above with ME examples:

The holy blisful martyr for to seke, That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke. (Chaucer) ('To seek the holy blissful martyr who has helped them when they were ill.')

In the Perfect form the auxiliary have had lost the meaning of possession and was used with all kinds of verbs, without restriction. Have was becoming a universal auxiliary, whereas the use of be grew more restricted. Shakespeare employs be mainly with verbs of movement, but even with these verbs be alternates with have:

He is not yet arriv'd ... On a modern pace I have since arrived but hither.

One of the instances of perfect with both auxiliaries is found in S. Pepy's Diary (late 17th c.): and My Lord Chesterfield had killed another gentlemen and was fled.

By the age of the Literary Renaissance the perfect forms had spread to all the parts of the verb system, so that ultimately the category of time correlation became the most universal of verbal categories. An isolated instance of Perfect Continuous is found in Chaucer: We han ben waityng al this fortnight. ('We have been waiting all this fortnight.') Instances of Perfect Passive are more frequent:

O fy! for shame! they that han been brent Alias! can thei nat flee the fyres hete?

('For shame, they who have been burnt, alas, can they not escape the fire's heat?')

Perfect forms in the Pass. Voice, Pert. forms of the Subj. Mood, Future Perf. forms are common in Shakespeare: if she had been blessed....

Continuous Forms

The development of Aspect is linked up with the growth of the Continuous forms. In the OE verb system there was no category of Aspect; verbal prefixes especially ge-, which could express an aspective meaning of perfectivity were primarily word-building prefixes. The growth of Continuous forms was slow and uneven.

Verb phrases consisting of beon (NE be) plus Part. I are not infrequently found in OE prose. They denoted a quality, or a lasting state, characterising the person or thing indicated by the subject of the sentence, e.g. seo... is irnende þurh middewearde Babylonia burg "that (river) runs through the middle of Babylon"; ealle þa woruld on hiora agen gewill onwendende wæron neah C wintra "they all were destroying the world (or: were destroyers of the world) at their own will for nearly 100 years".

In Early ME ben plus Part. I fell into disuse; it occurs occasionally in some dialectal areas: in Kent and in the North, but not in the Midlands. In Late ME it extended to other dialects and its frequency grew again, e.g.

Syngynge he was or floytynge al the day. (Chaucer) ('He was singing or playing the flute all day long.') The flod is into the greet see rennende. (Gower) ('The river runs into the great sea.')

At that stage the construction did not differ from the simple verb form in meaning and was used as its synonym, mainly for emphasis and vividness of description. Cf.:

We holden on to the Cristen feyth and are byleving in Jhesu Cryste. (Caxton)

('We hold to the Christian faith and believe (lit. "are believing") in Jesus Christ.')

In the 15th and 16th c. be plus Part. I was often confused with a synonymous phrase – be plus the preposition on (or its reduced form a) plus a verbal noun. By that time the Pres. Part. and the verbal noun had lost their formal differences: the Part. I was built with the help of -ing and the verbal noun had the word-building suffix -ing, which had ousted the equivalent OE suffix -ung.

She wyst not... whether she was a-wakyng or a-slepe. (Caxton) ('She did not know whether she was awake (was on waking) or asleep.') A Knyght ... had been on huntynge. (Malory) ('A knight had been hunting (lit. "on hunting").'

The prepositional phrase indicated a process, taking place at a certain period of time. It is believed that the meaning of process or an action of limited duration – which the Cont. forms acquired in Early NE – may have come from the prepositional phrase. Yet even in the 17th c. the semantic difference between the Cont. and non-Cont. forms is not always apparent, e.g.: The Earl of Wesmoreland, seven thousand strong, is marching hitherwards. (Sh)

What, my dear lady Disdain! Are you yet living? (Sh). Here the Cont. makes the statement more emotional, forceful.)

The non-Cont., simple form can indicate an action in progress which takes place before the eyes of the speaker (nowadays this use is typical of the Cont. form):

Enter Hamlet reading... Po1onius. What do you read, my lord?

It was not until the 18th c. that the Cont. forms acquired a specific meaning of their own; to use modern definitions, that of incomplete concrete process of limited duration. Only at that stage the Cont. and non-Cont. made up a new grammatical category – Aspect. The meaning of non-Cont. – Indef. – forms became more restricted, though the contrast was never as sharp as in the other categories: in some contexts the forms have remained synonymous and are even interchangeable to this day.

By that time the formal pattern of the Cont. as an analytical form was firmly established. The Cont. forms were used in all genres and dialects and could be built both from non-terminative verbs, as in OE, and from terminative verbs. They had extended to many parts of the verb system, being combined with other forms. Thus the Future Cont. is attested in the Northern texts since the end of the 13th c.; the first unambiguous instances of the Pert. Cont. are recorded in Late ME.

For many hundred years the Cont. forms were not used in the Pass. Voice. In Late ME the Active Voice of the Cont. form was sometimes used with a passive meaning:

My mighte and my mayne es all marrande. (York plays) ('My might and my power are all being destroyed.') (lit. "is destroying").

The Active form of the Cont. aspect was employed in the passive meaning until the 19th c. The earliest written evidence of the Pass. Cont. is found in a private letter of the 18th c.: ... a fellow whose uppermost upper grinder is being torn out by the roots...

The new Pass. form aroused the protest of many scholars. Samuel Johnson, the great lexicographer, called it a "vicious" expression and recommended the active form as a better way of expressing the passive meaning. He thought that phrases like the book is now printing; the brass is forging had developed from the book is a-printing; the brass is a-forging; which meant 'is in the process of forging', and therefore possessed the meaning of the Pass. Even in the late 19th c. it was claimed that the house is being built was a clumsy construction which should be replaced by the house is building. But in spite of all these protests the Pass. Voice of the Cont. aspect continued to be used and eventually was recognised as correct.

The growth of the Cont. forms in the last two centuries is evidenced not only by its spread in the verb paradigm – the development of the Pass. forms in the Cont. Aspect – but also by its growing frequency and the loosening of lexical constraints. In the 19th and 20th c. the Cont. forms occur with verbs of diverse lexical meaning.

The uneven development of the Cont. forms, their temporary regress and recent progress, as well as multiple dialectal and lexical restrictions gave rise to numerous hypotheses about their origin and growth.

Some scholars attribute the appearance of the Cont. forms in English to foreign influence: Latin, French or Celtic. These theories, however, are not confirmed by facts.

Numerous instances of OE beon + Part. I were found in original OE texts, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicals. But the construction is rare in translations from Latin, for instance in Wyklif's translation of the Bible.

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