Keith Gaughan wrote: > > I keep forgetting to change my list settings so that Thunderbird doesn't > screw up the reply address. Replying to the list now. > > I think this was discussed back in the depths of the list's history. I > think it's a coincidence that they have the same form, but I'm pretty > sure the origin of -'s is from constructions like: > > the king his army > > and the like. It is, after all, a clitic. I think it generalised under > some influence from the germanic genitive, but it's not actually the > genitive. It's a long established folk etymology, which was given some grounding in the 17th century by hypercorrect writers(Ben Johnson, I think, for instance). Hawever, in fact, it comes from the Old English '-es', on Strong Masculine Verbs. It's attested throughout the Middle English period, up to the present day.