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Caused-motion verbs in the Middle English intransitive motion construction

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Abstract

Based on an analysis of more than 300 Middle English verbs attested in the intransitive motion construction, this chapter shows that among them, different from Present-Day English, there is a surprisingly high proportion of verbs that are primarily verbs of caused motion, such as throuen ‘throw’. I argue here that the sporadic intransitive motion use of these verbs may be explained by a number of formally and semantically similar patterns in which both intransitive and caused-motion verbs occur. These include be + past participle and the combination with a reflexive pronoun. These patterns form a closely-knit family of constructions tending to blur the distinction between the two types of verbs.

References

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