Article published in:In Search of Universal Grammar: From Old Norse to Zoque
Edited by Terje Lohndal
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 202] 2013
► pp. 175–194
The developmental logic of the analytic past in German and Polish
An issue of universalism or areal contact?
Other than Russian, but to all appearances like Czech, Polish is developing a new auxiliary from mieć “have, possess” that it can use for the hitherto unknown analytic past. We aim to observe what the status of this innovation in Polish is: whether or not it is to be tracked back to a contact phenomenon induced by neighboring German; whether its distributions are accompanied, or even triggered, by erosion of lexical aspectual and morphological oppositions; whether or not it follows the same grammaticalizing path as medieval German; whether it cuts the same portions in the lexical inventory of verbs on the criterion [±motion] yielding sein/byt’≠ haben/mieć-pasts. One may duly conclude that the appearance of the new Polish periphrastic past is not due to contact influence from German. Its grammaticalizing steps are in part consonant with those of the early development in German. We shall draw consequences from specific differences in the Polish and German developments, and we shall try to sketch the unifying component.
Published online: 17 January 2013