Edited by Claudia Claridge and Birte Bös
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 346] 2019
► pp. 111–128
The Old English (OE) pre-modals willan and *sculan are generally considered less grammaticalized than their Modern English counterparts will and shall; nevertheless they most often function as auxiliary verbs (cf. Wischer, 2006: 173). Their present tense forms have already been studied in considerable detail, often in the context of their development into future tense markers, while their morphologically past tense forms have received comparatively little attention. In this paper I examine the past forms of willan and *sculan in the poetry texts from the Dictionary of Old English Corpus and categorize them according to their syntactic contexts and the lexical or grammatical meanings they express. Thus, the aim of this paper is to shed light on their past and non-past time-reference, their main verb use versus auxiliary use and the type of modality or other function they can express in periphrastic constructions, and hence their degree of grammaticalization in Old English.