Print

Print


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.