April 24, 2004

Forðgewiten fulfremed and mare þonne fulfremed

On Tuesday I attended an interesting lecture by Professor Matti Kilpiö from the University of Helsinki entitled “Diachronic Changes in the Inflection vs. Non-Inflection of the Past Participle in Old English Perfect and Pluperfect Constructions Formed with Habban”. Professor Kilpiö is writing the entry for habban for the Dictionary of Old English. His findings are perhaps still somewhat preliminary, but he showed some very interesting patterns. While the non-inflection of the past participle in perfect and pluperfect constructions is by far more common than the inflection of said participles, they are in variation during the Old English period (as the inflection becomes gradually less common over the period). He even had examples of sentences with both inflected and non-inflected participles. There were definitely some interesting distribution patterns (including word order patterns), and Professor Kilpiö supplied some very useful handouts.

Posted by Mark at April 24, 2004 11:45 PM