Evie Coussť

I am currently working on the project The emergence of periphrastic verb constructions in Dutch. A construction grammar approach to language change funded by the Swedish Research Council.

Emergence of verb constructions

A major topic in the historical study of grammar is the emergence of periphrastic verb constructions in the Germanic and Romance languages. It is well-known that in earlier stages of these languages (for instance in Gothic or Latin) grammatical functions such as tense, aspect or voice were expressed synthetically by means of inflection on the finite verb. These synthetic verb forms have later been replaced by innovative periphrastic verb constructions that consist of a finite auxiliary verb coding for tense, aspect or voice on the one hand and the infinite form of the main verb on the other.

Planned case studies

I will study the development of three periphrastic verb constructions in Dutch:

   hebben 'have' + past participle construction
   zijn 'be' + past participle construction
   worden 'become' + past participle construction

The three periphrastic verb constructions under investigation have in common that they contain a past participle and that they express perfect tense (constructions with hebben or zijn) and/or passive voice (constructions with zijn or worden).

The development of the hebben-perfect has been rather well investigated in the literature, be it only for the larger Germanic and Romance languages (e.g. English, German, French) within the grammaticalization framework. Therefore, studying the emergence of cognate perfect and passive constructions in Dutch will complement and elaborate these state-of-the-art findings.

Some representative publications