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Aspectual Prefixes in Early English

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Vlatko Broz

This book primarily examines verbal prefixes expressing aspectuality in the Old and Middle English periods, but it also takes a look at the post-verbal particles in the subsequent periods of English. Verbal prefixes are also known as preverbs such as ge- in the Old English verb gegladian «cheer up» or ā- in the Old English verb āstreccan «stretch out». Prefixed verbs in Old English are said to be the functional equivalents and predecessors of phrasal verbs in Modern English. One of the aims of the research presented in this book was to consider how no longer productive Old English verbal prefixes such as ge-, ā- and for- were used in the past to express verbal aspect. In this study two avenues of research converge, one covering aspect, the other covering verbal prefixes and particles.
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Chapter 3: Previous Studies of Prefixed Verbs and Phrasal Verbs

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Chapter 3

Previous Studies of Prefixed Verbs and Phrasal Verbs

This study is in many ways a follow-up to the works of De la Cruz (1972a, 1975), Hiltunen (1983), Brinton (1988), Petré (2005) and Elenbaas (2007). They have identified many areas and gaps where further research is needed. Their findings have been outlined in this chapter.

3.1 De la Cruz (1972, 1975)

Juan M. De la Cruz wrote a doctoral dissertation entitled Origins and Development of the Phrasal Verb to the End of the Middle English Period in 1969, which has not been published and was unfortunately unavailable to me. However, presumably his most important findings were published in a series of articles in 1972 and 1975. Scholars such as Hiltunen and Brinton, who worked on this topic a decade later, actually follow up on his work as the most important work in the field, which is evidenced by the highest number of citations in all subsequent research.

In 1972 De la Cruz published the article entitled “The Origins of the Germanic Phrasal Verb” in which he discusses how the original Indo-European Phrasal Verb coalesced into a “preverbial consolidation”. In other words, particles lost their autonomy and became prefixed to the verbal stem, thus leaving a phrasal system and entering a derivative system. Germanic is specific as a new kind of phrasal system surfaced. He starts with an analysis of Gothic where a decay of preverbs and...

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