Brian Lowrey University of Picardie Jules Verne “The Old English causative verb hatan and its demise.”


This paper examines the causative use in prose texts of the Old English verb hatan. A number of questions are asked here: to what extent can hatan be considered an ‘implicative’ verb, implying that the action described by its complement was necessarily performed? In what kind of syntactic and semantic environments does hatan appear? And what is its relationship to the other causative verbs in Old English? The distributional properties of hatan are compared to those of other, semantically similar verbs.

The paper also investigates the circumstances in which hatan disappears. It shows that the loss of hatan occurs in stages, the first of which is the disappearance of the implicative, causative uses, in the face of lexical competition from let.

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