Subjects of verbal nouns in Early Modern Welsh

Evidence from Perl mewn Adfyd (1595)


  • Raphael Sackmann University of Marburg



Welsh, non-finite clauses, sixteenth century, historical corpus


In the Welsh language, constructions with nonfinite verb forms, traditionally called ‘verbal nouns’, are found frequently at all periods. Subjects of these forms can be marked in various ways. The frequency and distribution of certain subject markers differs drastically between Middle and Modern Welsh. Subject marking in Early Modern texts is highly variable, but has so far been little researched. This article presents a first micro-study analysing the distribution of different subject markers in nonfinite clauses in one text, Perl mewn Adfyd (1595), a religious treatise translated from English. Somewhat surprisingly, the data from this text already largely correspond to the Modern Welsh system, especially with regard to nonfinite adverbial and complement clauses. Taking into account examples from other texts, and including auxiliary constructions, formally less expected structures are tentatively related to semantic factors.