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Re: USAGE: a+participle [was Re: Chat: Linux etc.]

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 24, 2002, 19:09
At 12:15 PM -0500 9/24/02, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
>Quoting Tim May <butsuri@...>: > >> Roberto Suarez Soto writes: >> > >> > Times are a'changing, they say :-) BTW (and to save the >> > offtopic), that "a+<verb in gerund>" thing that I've seen many times in >> > english is something that I don't understand :-m Where does it come >> > from? > >IIRC, it comes from "on" + participle. In some dialects, this >grammaticalized as a marker of imperfectivity, and the nasal >was lost, and the vowel reduced to schwa. (Don't know when >the nasal was lost; was it the same time that the nasals were >lost in "tooth" and "kid"?)
No; 'tooth' is [to:T] already in OE, and 'kid' is probably from ON [kiD] (OE had 'cild' [tSIld]). The nasal deletion that gave us 'a-' from 'on' is the same which deleted other word-final nasals during the sound shifts immediately preceding Middle English. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "No theory can exclude everything that is wrong, poor, or even detestable, or include everything that is right, good, or beautiful." - Arnold Schoenberg