Markers of Futurity in Old High German and Old English

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This paper is a comparative corpus-based study of constructions that had the potential of marking future events in Old High German (OHG) and Old English (OE), i.e. modal constructions and those with <i>be/become</i>-verbs. Given the fact that both languages stem from a common source and probably had similar source lexemes for future grams, they nevertheless took diverging paths to develop a future tense, with <i>werden</i> in German and <i>will/shall</i> in English. The paper aims at comparing the earliest attestable stages of the two languages, i.e. Old High German and Old English to find out whether there are language internal differences with regard to the patterns of use of the possible source items. The database for our studies consists of OHG and OE text material dating from 790 to 1155, which we consider to be maximally comparable with respect to chronology, text type and content.


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