On the Verbal Complements of Aspectual Verbs

In: Journal of Greek Linguistics
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This article presents independent morpho-syntactic evidence from Ancient Greek and Old English supporting the existence of two alternative Aspect functional heads (following Fukuda 2007 on Modern Japanese and Modern English). The focus of the study is on the similarities between Ancient Greek and Old (and Modern) English aspectual verbs and on the consequences of these similarities for the analysis of aspectuals. Ancient Greek and Old English aspectual verbs fall into two groups: (a) aspectual verbs that could select both infinitive/to-infinitive and participial/ bare infinitive complements (aspectual in H-Asp), and (b) aspectual verbs that selected only a participial/bare infinitive complement (aspectual in L-Asp). No aspectual verb takes only infinitive/to-infinitive. Furthermore, “long middles/passives” is an option only with aspectual verbs in L-Asp, while the regular embedded middle/passive is the only option with an aspectual verb in H-Asp. The similar properties of the Greek and English aspectual verbs, however, historically manifest di󰀇ferent developments: English not only retained Old English possibilities (to- vs. bare infinitives), but later extended them from Middle English into the 18th century, while in Greek the development of the infinitive and the participle a󰀇fected the options of verbal complements of aspectual verbs.

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