Chapter 6: An Analysis of the Preverb ge-
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An Analysis of the Preverb ge-
This chapter will investigate what kind of meanings are expressed by the verbal prefix ge-. Unlike Chapters 5 and 7, this chapter includes a section on previous studies (in particular re-visiting Lindemann 1970) which discusses a number of previous attempts to explain the meaning and function of this preverb. Chapters 5 and 7 do not include such a section because there are no previous corpus-based studies of the preverbs a- and for-. The present analysis of the prefix ge- takes the categories of meaning proposed by previous researchers and examines them in the present corpus.
This analysis will show that the meanings of ge- can be aspectual (i.e. grammatical), but also entirely bleached (showing no difference between the prefixed and the simplex pair), as well as lexicalized. For this reason, this chapter also includes a section on lexicalized cases, which does not exist for the prefix a-, as hardly any such cases were identified in the Old English period.
The meaning and function of the preverb ge- is one of the most puzzling questions in the study of Old English grammar. This preverb is the most frequent morpheme in Old English. It is four times more frequent than the preverb a-. Therefore, it is little wonder that it has generated significant interest amongst scholars and students, borne out by the fact that even by 1965, according to...
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