Predicting the progressive passive: parametric change within a lexicalist framework

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The English progressive passive (e.g. is being carried) is first attested in the second half of the eighteenth century. The paper offers a new interpretation of this development as integrated into a series of changes which affected BE (and HAVE) at this period. It arose not as a combination of progressive and passive constructions but (with the other changes) was a consequence of the reduction of inflection in auxiliaries which followed the loss of THOU in informal speech. This is interpreted as a parametric change, for which there is an overt triggering difference in the primary linguistic data, and the account is formalized within HPSG.*

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-557
Number of pages25
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1995

Cite this