What Really Happened to `Impersonal` and `Reflexive` Constructions


What Really Happened to ‘Impersonal’ and ‘Reflexive’ Constructions in Medieval English

In Ogura (1986) and (1989) I made investigations on ‘impersonal’ (i.e. with a verb in the third person singular that takes the dative of person) and ‘reflexive’ (i.e. with a coreferential pronoun) constructions from about the ninth to the thirteenth century. It is obvious that these constructions continue throughout the medieval period, but the same criteria cannot be adopted after the thirteenth century owing to the morphological levelling. In this paper I exemplify the Middle English situation of these constructions and try to explain how they survived being partly reinforced by Old Norse and Old

French verbs and partly remodeled by the native feature of Old English syntax.


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