The Present and Past Participles in the Medieval English Translations of St. John’s Gospel from Latin
Keywords:participles, usage, frequency, alternatives, translation, Latin, Old English, Middle English
The present participle and past participle, together with the infinitive, have a long history in English; this is quite contrary to finite verb forms, which mostly developed during the Middle English period. Participles were already in use in the earliest stages of the language and performed functions similar to those of the present active participle and perfect passive participle in Latin. Therefore, one may assume that Latin participles are rendered into Old English and Middle English mostly by means of their English equivalents. It appears, however, that this was not the case. The data provided in our research lead us to the conclusion that the implementation of participles in English was rather difficult and slow, at least when it comes to the Gospel translations. This paper shows what was used instead – for example, various types of clauses; it also shows the reasons for this (such as ambiguity hidden sometimes in participles).
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