a-dancing and a-singing

Hartmut Haberland hartmut at ruc.dk
Sat Jun 6 11:56:23 UTC 2009

Muriel Norde wrote:
> Brian MacWhinney schreef:
>> Can this be found in other Germanic languages, I wonder?

German has, of course /er ist am Essen, er ist am Zeitunglesen/ and even 
/er ist das Haus am Saubermachen/ (but the latter is substandard - which 
is, of course proof that it is a living part of the language, otherwise 
there would be no need to declare it substandard)

North Frisian (Fering) has examples of the second type (with Noun 
Incorporation), and I understand that the third type (with Object NP) is 
common in Dutch: /Ze zit aan haar proefschrift te werken/.

See Karen H. Ebert 2000, Progressive markers in Germanic languages, in 
Ă–sten Dahl ed., Tense and aspect in the languages of Europe. Berlin and 
New York: Walter de Gruyter, 605-653 (with a long list of different 
constructions in many Germanic languages).

I think that Irish has something similar, too.


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