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Re: Invented (getting less lunatic by the second)

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Sunday, November 15, 1998, 19:08
On Sun, 15 Nov 1998, Nik Taylor wrote:

> Sally Caves wrote: > > Question for anybody else reading: > > Are there any natlangs that don't make distinctions between ongoing and > > finished acts in the passive? "It is cooked, it is being cooked." > > IINM, archaic English was that way. Shakespeare couldn't say "it is > being cooked", only "it is cooked".
I would feel safer making this claim about Old or Middle English than about Shakespeare. Concordance anyone??? Actually, I was looking for examples outside of English, but it would be helpful to know when this distinction entered the language. Would Shakespeare have said instead "it is cooking"? I suspect, Nik, that you're right, but I would need a Shakespearean to prove you wrong with one example. I've been unable to find any in my quick perusal of my very Big Book on Shakespeare. Maybe John Cowan can, who seems to remember every linguistic fact and literary item he's been exposed to <G>. I suspect that the passive progressive came in in the eighteenth century, but even though I teach HEL, I'm having difficulty here at home finding the first use of this construction. Baugh and Pyles are hopeless (my textbooks at hand); they have very insufficient indices for grammar. Pyles' index of terms doesn't even include "participle," "progressive," "passive," or even "aspect." He does include "broad transcription" and "calque." Faugh! But this still doesn't solve my problem. If I make the distinction in T., would I be making a "relex" of English? I find fault with the wealth of prepositions in T. expressing shades of meaning that I've thought of in *English.* Like any real language, they should be fewer and pack far more overlapping meanings. Sally ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Sally Caves Li fetil'aiba, dam hoja-le uen. volwin ly, vul inua aiba bronib. This leaf, the wind takes her. She's old, and born this year. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++