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Folia Linguistica

Acta Societatis Linguisticae Europaeae

Editor-in-Chief: Fischer, Olga / Norde, Muriel

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Folia Linguistica Historica
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Volume 34, Issue 1


Early progressive passives

Linda van Bergen
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  • Linguistics and English Language School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences University of Edinburgh Dugald Stewart Building 3 Charles Street Edinburgh EH8 9AD United Kingdom
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Published Online: 2013-10-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/flih.2013.007


The article presents a study of early progressive passives in English. It is based on a collection of data from large databases, and extends the data set of pre-1820 examples of the progressive passive very significantly. There is some indication in the data that the progressive passive may initially have been regional, as has been suggested in earlier work on early progressive passives, although if so, it was probably slightly further north than thought, but the data also indicate that the construction took root in London at quite an early stage. Contrary to previous claims, the evidence which we have at the moment does not appear to provide any particular reason for thinking that early use was mostly found in informal contexts such as private letters and was generally avoided in print. In addition, the new data cast doubt on the idea that the Southey-Coleridge circle played a major role in spreading the construction.

Keywords: Early Modern English; syntax; progressive; passive

About the article

Published Online: 2013-10-16

Published in Print: 2013-10-01

Citation Information: Folia Linguistica Historica, Volume 34, Issue 1, Pages 173–208, ISSN (Online) 1614-7316, ISSN (Print) 0168-647X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/flih.2013.007.

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