2006
DOI: 10.1075/la.97.12mcf
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Auxiliary selection and counterfactuality in the history of English and Germanic

Abstract: The retreat of BE as perfect auxiliary in the history of English is examined. Corpus data are presented showing that the initial advance of HAVE was most closely connected to a restriction against BE in past counterfactuals. Other factors which have been reported to favor the spread of HAVE are either dependent on the counterfactual effect, or significantly weaker in comparison. It is argued that the effect can be traced to the semantics of the BE perfect, which denoted resultativity rather than anteriority pr… Show more

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Cited by 14 publications
(6 citation statements)
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“…This is so that an especially high or low frequency of verbs like work or say in a particular context will not skew the auxiliary frequencies.8 Not surprisingly, the differences between counterfactual and noncounterfactual periphrases here are highly statistically significant. For ME, 2 ‫ס‬ 256.0, p Յ .0001; for EModE, 2 ‫ס‬ 202.6, p Յ .0001.9 The similarly exceptionless appearance of have in periphrases below a modal auxiliary verb in ME reduces to the counterfactual effect, as we discuss inMcFadden and Alexiadou 2006. During this period, all such attested examples, like (i) and (ii), turn out to be past counterfactuals.…”
mentioning
confidence: 75%
“…This is so that an especially high or low frequency of verbs like work or say in a particular context will not skew the auxiliary frequencies.8 Not surprisingly, the differences between counterfactual and noncounterfactual periphrases here are highly statistically significant. For ME, 2 ‫ס‬ 256.0, p Յ .0001; for EModE, 2 ‫ס‬ 202.6, p Յ .0001.9 The similarly exceptionless appearance of have in periphrases below a modal auxiliary verb in ME reduces to the counterfactual effect, as we discuss inMcFadden and Alexiadou 2006. During this period, all such attested examples, like (i) and (ii), turn out to be past counterfactuals.…”
mentioning
confidence: 75%
“…We interpret the occurrence of HAVE in this context as indicating that the presence of ϕ-features on v Aux is determined by the mood features of T (or, as mentioned above, by the presence of an intervening Mood head). 11 It is worth noting in this context that HAVE appears to have been favoured in irrealis contexts in systems of argument-structure driven auxiliary selection; this is observed by Ledgeway (2003Ledgeway ( , 2009 for Old Neapolitan and by McFadden and Alexiadou (2006) for Middle English 11 EA has two other tenses that are worth mentioning here. The future perfect, which only has an epistemic modal meaning, is restricted to the 3 rd person: esse l'averrà fatte ('she must have done it'), jisse l'averrà fitte ('they must have done it').…”
Section: Auxiliary Selection and Split Ergativitymentioning
confidence: 87%
“…In their series of investigations on the history of the alternation of HAVE and BE in the Germanic languages, McFadden & Alexiadou (2006a;2006b;2006c;2010) argue that the difference between the two auxiliaries with regard to their occurrence in counterfactual contexts (the 'irrealis effect') is an indicator that BE has not yet been grammaticalised to an anterior auxiliary. Crucially, they push this idea one step further: if be and have in Middle and Early Modern English are not free variants, it appears implausible to analyse the historical process by which be disappeared as involving the replacement of be by have.…”
Section: Replacement or Stability?mentioning
confidence: 98%