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*<i>haitan</i> in Gothic and Old English

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Abstract

By collecting data from various corpora, I examine and compare the use of the Gothic <i>haitan</i> and Old English <i>h&#257;tan</i> reflexes of <i>&#42;haitan</i>, a transitive verb that develops into a copula-like verb in the other Germanic languages. Between the two languages, this verb can occur in five constructions: calling, transitive naming, infinitival commanding, subclause commanding, and copular naming. Both Gothic and Early Old English share the use of this verb in calling constructions whereas the subclause commanding construction is an Old English innovation and the copular naming construction does not appear until Late Old English. Regardless of the language or period, however, when <i>&#42;haitan </i>occurs in transitive naming constructions, it strongly favours passive voice, which may explain its later use in copular naming constructions. Moreover, an examination of the competitors of Gothic &#42;<i>haitan</i> show that it has strong competition from various verbs in each of its functions, though the competition in the transitive naming construction is weakest.

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