On 23/06/2013 19:52, Roger Mills wrote:
> From: Eric Christopherson <[log in to unmask]>
> True; good point. But I wonder if anyone could fill me in
> on how the copula, at least in English and Romance, ever
> developed a passive participle in the first place, if the
> copula can't be made passive (as a finite verb)?
> ----------------------------------------------------
> RM mainly by analogy I suspect. In fact, I'm not sure you
> can call been, Sp. sido, estado etc. "passive"
> participles;

You can't - or rather you shouldn't, because they aren't.

> they are simply _past_ participles.

Or more strictly _perfect_ participles, as they denote
perfect aspect.  If the verb is intransitive such
participles are always _active_.

Some people do distinguish between perfect and passive
participles in that with a very few verbs some people do
make a distinction; e.g.
"to prove"
I haven't proved it   (perfect part.)
It hasn't been proven  (passive part.)

"to show"
He has never showed a taste for oysters   (perfect part.)
This result has never been shown before   (passive part.)

(Oh dear - will this trigger YAEDT?)
> And of course Span. and Ital. took Lat. sta:re 'to stand'
> to fill in certain usages of 'to be',

Yep - as did French also. e.g. été <-- statum(m)

> in addition to Sp. ser and Ital. essere (also analogical
> formations, not based on Lat. esse (I don't know what VL
> might have had for 'to be'.)

They are based on 'esse', which in VL was extended by
gaining a normal Latin infinitive ending, i.e. *essere. 
Span. 'ser' is derived from it; in Italy the form had stayed 
the same for some 2000 years   :)

> Nor do I know the origin of French etre.

ętre <-- estre <-- *essre <-- *essere

> And Ital. essere has no past part., they use the PP of
> stare > stato
> Note that Sp and Ital. (and IIRC Port.) use estar/stare
> to form the progressive-- Sp está comiendo, It. sta
> mangiando 'he is eating', but use forms of ser/essere to
>  form passives-- Sp. ha sido comido, It. e stato mangiato
>  'it has been eaten'


"language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
for individual beings and events."
[Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]