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From Simple Verbs to Periphrastic Expressions

Matsumoto, Meiko

From Simple Verbs to Periphrastic Expressions

The Historical Development of Composite Predicates, Phrasal Verbs, and Related Constructions in English

Series: Linguistic Insights - Volume 81

Year of Publication: 2008

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2008. 231 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03911-675-1 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.350 kg, 0.772 lbs

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Book synopsis

English offers verbal expressions in two basic forms: simple verbs such as walk and look, and periphrastic expressions such as have/take a walk and have/take a look. Which do we use, why, and how do particular usages arise or disappear? This volume explores the historical development of two important periphrastic verbal constructions, composite predicates and phrasal verbs, as well as related expressions, from the viewpoint of English historical linguistics. The approach is descriptive and interpretive, encompassing rich and varied data from Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, Late Modern English, and Present Day English, from sources such as the Chadwyck-Healey electronic corpus databases. The history of English is characterized by the development from synthetic to analytic. The role of this tendency in the development of verbal expressions is of particular interest.


Contents: Composite predicates – Phrasal verbs – The historical development of have/take a look – The verbs ‘have’ and ‘take’ in composite predicates and phrasal verbs – Composite predicates with body nouns – The origin of used to – The verbs meaning ‘happen’ – The verbs have and be.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Meiko Matsumoto is a professor in the department of Language Sciences at Okayama University. Her linguistic research has appeared in various periodicals including English Studies, and Studia Neophilologica, and in the volume Collocational and Idiomatic Aspects of Composite Predicates in the History of English.


Linguistic Insights. Studies in Language and Communication. Vol. 81
Edited by Maurizio Gotti