The rise of the perfect forms

OE didn’t possessed any full analytical forms→ certain free synthetic combinations began to approach analytical forms in their str-re. most of engl. Analytical forms of verbs came into use in the ME period – future, perfect.

& some as continious and dues forms emerged in NE period. The development of analytical forms is not peculiar only for English(can be observed in all the Ger. Languages where all analyt. Forms came into existence as a result of a very gradual development).In all analyt. Forms the 1st element was originally of high frequency & of broad semantic (auxiliary) – to be, to have.

Like other analytical forms of the V. the PERFECT forms have developed from OE verb phrases.

1)The main source of the Perf. form was the OE "possessive" construc­tion, consisting of

the verb habban (NE have)+ a direct object + Part. II of· a transitive verb, which served as an attribute to the object,

e.g.: Ic habe Þone fisce gefangenne(I have this fish cought)

The participle, like other atributes, agreed with the noun-object in Number, Gender and Case.

Originally the verb habban was used only with participles of transi­tive verbs; then it came to be used with verbs taking genitival, datival and prepositional objects and even with intransitive verbs, which shows that it was developing into a kind of auxiliary, e.g.: for sefenn winnterr haffde he ben in Egypte (Ormulum) ('For seven winters he had been in Egypt')

2)The other source of the Perf. forms was the OE phrase consisting of

the link-verb bean + Part. II of intransitive verbs

Towards ME the two verb phrases turned into analytical forms and made up a single set of forms termed "perfect". The Participles had lost their forms of agreement with the noun (the subject - in the construction with ben, the object - in the construction with haven); the places of the object and the participle in the construction with haven changed: the Participle usually stood close to the verb have and was followed by the object which referred now to the analytical form as a whole - instead of being governed by have.

In the Perfect form the auxiliary have~ had lost the meaning of pos­session and was used with all kinds of verbs, without restriction. Have was becoming a universal auxiliary, whereas the use of be grew more restricted.

To be was chiefly used with verbs of motion, but to avoid harmony with passive forms, forms to have became used more frequently: My hair is cut by smth.→I have my hair cut

Traces of the historical Pres. Perf. With to be can be found in modern English: my hopes are gone

He is gone – Он ушел.


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