Hiberno-English medial-object perfects reconsidered

A case of contact-induced grammaticalisation

$37.10 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Buy Article:


Perfects of the type I have my dinner eaten are a well-known feature of Irish English dialects. They can be linked to a functionally similar construction in Irish, of the type tá mo dhinneár ite agam (literally “is my dinner eaten at-me”), but also to earlier constructions in Standard English. The issue has sometimes been treated as a competition between two seemingly mutually exclusive explanations, a “substrate” and a “retentionist” hypothesis.

This dichotomy can be overcome on the basis of a model of “contact-induced grammaticalisation” (Heine/Kuteva 2005): an existing source structure in the receiving language (English) expands along normal paths, but under a triggering effect of a contact language (Irish), ultimately leading to an apparent duplication of a foreign model.

Empirical data comes from historical 18th/19th century corpus material. It provides evidence about the chronology and sociolinguistic setting in which the relevant changes took place. It supports a scenario where both Irish-English bilingualism and exposure to the English source constructions played crucial roles.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/sl.33.3.02pie

Publication date: July 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • International Journal sponsored by the Foundation "Foundations of Language"
Related content



Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more