Edited by Gabriele Diewald, Leena Kahlas-Tarkka and Ilse Wischer
[Studies in Language Companion Series 138] 2013
► pp. 169–194
Hearsay and lexical evidentials in Old Germanic languages, with focus on Old English
This article offers a paradigmatic survey of auditory evidential constructions in Old English: direct-perception constructions – accusativus cum infinitivo (ACI) introduced by the auditory (ge)hieran ‘to hear’ ((ge)hieran+ACI) – and hearsay-evidence constructions, consisting of the verb (ge)hieran with the infinitive of a verb of utterance ((ge)hieran+Inf), followed by a compliment clause, a prepositional clause, or a parenthetical. Comparative data from other Old Germanic languages suggests a common origin of both constructions. It is further hypothesised that these two do not go back to the same Proto-Germanic construction: (ge)hieran+ACI is more likely to have arisen from the reanalysis of the verbal noun in I heard his speech into an ACI with a verb of ‘speaking’ I heard him speak, while (ge)hieran+Inf could have developed from I heard the story into I heard (the) say with the verb of ‘saying’.
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