Re: possessives

Subject: Re: possessives
From: "Michael A. Lewis" <lewism -at- BRANDLE -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 10:54:39 +1100

Mark L. Levinson wrote:
> Just as "there's" is a condensed form of "there
> is", so "John's" represents a form something like "John his".
> ** Sounds logical, but the researchers tell us it ain't so.
> The possessive "s" developed separately from the pronoun
> "his." There was a fad a couple of centuries ago for
> expanding stuff like "John's" into "John his," but it
> was bogus archaism, like the signs you see today saying "ye
> olde comick booke shoppe" or whatever...

I'm not referring to a couple of centuries ago; I'm referring to Middle
English. Look at any reputable edition of Chaucer (not a translation).
This is one of my own research fields -- I don't know which other
researchers Mark is referring to, but if they've got bogged down into
"bogus archaisms" of a couple of centuries ago, they've missed the
Michael Lewis
Brandle Pty Limited
PO Box 1249, Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012
Tel: 9310-2224 Fax: 9310-5056, or

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