Chapter published in:Explorations in English Historical Syntax
Edited by Hubert Cuyckens, Hendrik De Smet, Liesbet Heyvaert and Charlotte Maekelberghe
[Studies in Language Companion Series 198] 2018
► pp. 259–282
A study of Old English dugan
Its potential for auxiliation
This study examines how the Old English preterite-present verb dugan ‘to avail’ developed into a modal auxiliary of ability (‘can’) in Middle English. Two factors in the Old English period play a role in this auxiliation process: (i) the influence of the modal precursor magan (meaning ‘to be strong’ as a lexical verb and ‘can’ as a modal) (> Modern English may) and (ii) the textual characteristics of medical texts. Dugan shares with magan a number of morphological and semantic properties. Furthermore, in medical texts, Old English dugan is attested as a lexical verb with the to-infinitive; magan as well is attested as a lexical verb and as a modal followed by the bare infinitive. It is argued that dugan starts combining with the bare infinitive because of the analogy with magan after the medical manuscripts were passed on to the Middle English period.
Keywords: preterite-present verb, modal auxiliary, auxiliation, infinitive, medical texts
Published online: 13 August 2018
= Cameron, Angus, Amos, Ashley C., Healey, Antonette di Paolo et al. (eds) 2007 The Dictionary of Old English: A to G Online. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. http://www.doe.utoronto.ca/
= Healey, Antonette diPaolo, Wilkin, John P. & Xiang, Xin (eds) 2009 The Dictionary of Old English Web Corpus. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. http://www.doe.utoronto.ca/
= Kurath, Hans, Kuhn, Sherman M., Reidy, John & Lewis, Robert E. (eds.) 1952–2001 Middle English Dictionary. Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/med/
Behaghel, Otto & Taeger, Burkhard
Clubb, Merrel D.
D’Ardenne, Simonne R. T. O.
Dobbie, Elliott van K.
Erdmann, Oskar & Wolff, Ludwig
Fulk, Robert D., Bjork, Robert E. & Niles, John D.
Cuyckens, Hubert, Davidse, Kristin & Vandelanotte, Lieven
Gneuss, Helmut & Lapidge, Michael
Harris, Alice C. & Campbell, Lyle
Hogg, Richard M. & Fulk, Robert D.
Ker, Neil R.
Ker, William P.
Lightfoot, David W.
Nagle, Stephen J. & Sanders, Sara L.
Quirk, Randolph, Greenbaum, Sidney, Leech, Geoffrey & Svartvik, Jan
Traugott, Elizabeth C.
Visser, Fredericus Theodorus
Warner, Anthony R.