He forbead þæt hi ne weopon: A negative element in the þæt-clause introduced by a verb of prohibition


correlative expressions
early Middle English
Old English
verbs of negative import

How to Cite

Ogura, M. (2020). He forbead þæt hi ne weopon: A negative element in the þæt-clause introduced by a verb of prohibition. SELIM. Journal of the Spanish Society for Medieval English Language and Literature., 25(1), 21-36. https://doi.org/10.17811/selim.25.2020.21-36


In ICEHL 20 at the University of Edinburgh, I made a report of my research on this theme. The present paper gives additional facts on the construction of a verb of negation followed by a þæt-clause with a negative element. What I try to exemplify is not a historical change from expletive negative to affirmative clause, but the facts that (i) the expletive negative was one of the correlative constructions based on Old English syntax and (ii) the affirmative clause was already found in early Old English together with the negative clause, even though the negative clause was frequent in late Old English to early Middle English and then decreased after late Middle English. The verb with negative import with a negated þæt-clause is, therefore, not an illogical expression but a stylistic device of combining the negation of the governing verb with the content of the governed, negated þæt-clause.



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