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Academic Paper

Title: The Development of the English Progressive
Author: K Aaron Smith
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Illinois State University
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Morphology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Invoking findings from studies on the grammaticization of tense/aspect meanings, I argue that semantic reconstruction of the Present Day English progressive from an often cited Old English construction (beon + PAP) is semantically very unlikely. Instead I argue for a reconstruction of the progressive from a locative construction source of the type, be on hunting. However, as I also show, there is a kind of formal relationship between the present-day English progressive and the OE construction that was encouraged by the prescriptions and proscriptions of the Early Modern English grammarians. Thus, by paying attention to both semantic and formal aspects of the development of the progressive, I provide a clearer picture of its historical reconstruction.


This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 19, Issue 3.

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