Multi-verbal expressions of ‘giving’ in Old English and Old Irish

Multi-verbal expressions of ‘giving’ in Old English and Old Irish

By Patricia Ronan and Gerold Schneider

Paper given at Corpus Linguistics Conference, Liverpool, UK, 20 July 2009 – 23 July 2009

Abstract: In both Modern English and Modern Irish, multi-verb expressions can be found to express verbal concepts that could also be expressed by simple verbs, e.g. to give an answer or to make a suggestion. Similar collocations are already observable in both early English and early Irish. They are assumed not to have been grammaticalised at the early stages, but examples of various inflected verbs are found to be complemented by nominalizations.

The present paper investigates examples containing the expression of giving with Old English sellan and Old Irish do-beir. We compare the noun complements used in the two languages under investigation and the frequencies of the examples based on data collected from the Toronto Corpus of Old English and from a corpus collected from 120,000 words of Old Irish text.

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