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“is” + past participle
Posted: 22 July 2010 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The topic arose in a different forum of the construction of using “is” rather than “has” before a past participle.  For example, from the Easter liturgy “Christ is risen.” The question is whether this is an archaic survival synonymous with using “has”, or if the original intent was to convey a different sense, in this case that Christ’s risen state is an ongoing condition.  I think I recall being taught that it is the former:  merely an archaic construction conveying no distinction, but I can’t think where I could confirm or refute this.  Can any of y’all help?

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Posted: 22 July 2010 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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See earlier discussion here. “English used to use be as the auxiliary verb in perfect constructions with intransitive verbs of movement."--jheem

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Posted: 22 July 2010 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Being Orthodox I have always assumed it is a direct translation of the Greek Χριστος ανεστη.  But I don’t know enough Greek to know if ανεστη literally means “is risen” or not.

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Posted: 22 July 2010 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Even if Greek distinguished “is risen” from “has risen”, that would explain only that specific phrase, not the general archaic use of to be as an auxiliary.

OED2:

be ...
IV. With participles and infinitives, serving as an auxiliary and forming periphrastic tenses.
14. With pa. pple.:  a. in trans. vbs., forming the passive voice. (For present pple. passive, see 15c.)...[e.g. “And I shall be cleansed."]
b. in intr. vbs., forming perfect tenses, in which use it is now largely displaced by have after the pattern of transitive verbs: be being retained only with come, go, rise, set, fall, arrive, depart, grow, and the like, when we express the condition or state now attained, rather than the action of reaching it, as ‘the sun is set,’ ‘our guests are gone,’ ‘Babylon is fallen,’ ‘the children are all grown up.’

[ Edited: 22 July 2010 01:57 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 22 July 2010 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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If I remember correctly, German maintains this same distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs in the perfect tenses.  This would suggest to me that this is a Germanic standard.  Is it the case in modern Dutch?  Does anyone know enough about northern Germanic languages to know if it is true in them, also?

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Posted: 22 July 2010 06:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Pretty sure Dutch is the same as German but dang it if I can remember particularly. It seems as if there was a correct way to say it and then there was how people actually said it. No, that’s “Ik ben vergeten” (incorrect) instead of “Ik heb vergeten.”

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Posted: 22 July 2010 07:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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See my comments about Afrikaans in the old thread.

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Posted: 22 July 2010 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Is “risen” a past participle in this example, or a gerundive? With “risen” in an adjectival function, describing a state, “is” is perfectly natural, and “is risen” (is in the state of being risen) has a somewhat different meaning than “has risen” (has performed the act of rising).

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Posted: 24 July 2010 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Iron Pyrite - 22 July 2010 06:41 PM

Pretty sure Dutch is the same as German but dang it if I can remember particularly. It seems as if there was a correct way to say it and then there was how people actually said it. No, that’s “Ik ben vergeten” (incorrect) instead of “Ik heb vergeten.”

The ‘vergeten’ thing is indeed an exception but there are more too.

Dutch, like most Germanic languages, is indeed pretty similar even to modern Romance languages in this respect, verbs of motion requiring use of ‘to be’ rather than ‘to have’ in front of past participles as compound past tense auxiliaries. I daresay something similar will be found to be true in the northern Germanic tongues but that is conjecture based on a general pattern as I don’t have a clue about those languages.

So kinda leads you to wonder how far back in IE languages that trait goes? Does Urdu do it as well?

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Posted: 24 July 2010 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’d go for the ‘state of being’ explanation, particularly given the usual liturgical context: “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.” I know it’s used in this form in Church of England liturgy and I think some other churches too. (Disclaimer: as a Church of Scotland member, although I like liturgical worship, I’m a bit out of practice and can’t instantly say where the phrase is used.)

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Posted: 24 July 2010 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dr Fortran - 24 July 2010 12:49 PM

I’d go for the ‘state of being’ explanation, particularly given the usual liturgical context: “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.” I know it’s used in this form in Church of England liturgy and I think some other churches too. (Disclaimer: as a Church of Scotland member, although I like liturgical worship, I’m a bit out of practice and can’t instantly say where the phrase is used.)

It’s called the “memorial acclamation” and appears in the middle of the Eucharistic liturgy usually prefaced by the leader saying, “Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith”.

I also agree that this signifies a state of [current] being and not a past action.

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Posted: 24 July 2010 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Just to provide an additional restatement of what Dr. T has been saying, Barbara Strang in her History of English (p. 149) writes:

As to form, the perfect of intransitive verbs is still, in [the period 1570-1770], quite often formed with be, but never to the exclusion of have; verbs particularly associated with the be-perfect are (be-)come, arrive, get, go.

In other words, it’s wrong linguistically to say it “signifies a state of [current] being and not a past action,” whatever the theology might be.

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Posted: 24 July 2010 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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You’re right, lh.  The AV, at least, uses various tenses of “be” in all cases even if it refers to past action.

Genesis 19:23
The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

.
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Posted: 24 July 2010 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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As I think I mentioned in the other thread, it reminds me of that set of French verbs that take etre rather than avoir (Devenir, Revenir, Venir,
Aller, Rester, Naître, Mourir, Entrer, Sortir, Rentrer, Tomber, Monter, Descendre, Retourner, Arriver, Partir ).

To become, to come back, to come, to go, to stay, to be born, to die, to go in, to go out, to go back in, to fall, to climb, to descend, to return, to arrive, to leave. Most of them are connected to motion or a significant change of state (rester being the exception.)

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Posted: 24 July 2010 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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We can make constructions like “is risen” or “is come” fit the norms of modern-day English by reparsing “risen” and “come” as predicate adjectives, but as LH and I have tried to emphasize, that is not the origin.  As I remarked in this old thread, “that’s one way of looking at it, but not the historically correct way.”

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Posted: 25 July 2010 03:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Dr. Techie - 24 July 2010 07:04 PM

We can make constructions like “is risen” or “is come” fit the norms of modern-day English by reparsing “risen” and “come” as predicate adjectives, but as LH and I have tried to emphasize, that is not the origin.  As I remarked in this old thread, “that’s one way of looking at it, but not the historically correct way.”

Also know as re-analysis.

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