10. The Words, Sounds, and Inflections of Early Modern English

1. Give an overview of the system of verbal inflections in EMnE. Why was the -th ending in 3 sg. pres. retained longer in verbs such as “hath” and “doth”?

- there is a difference between weak and strong verbs in Early Modern English in that sense that weak verbs of Middle English remained relatively unchanged, but the classes of strong verbs underwent several changes.

- 7 classes of the strong verbs broke down, many strong verbs by analogy became weak verbs, the distinction between singular and plural past in the strong verb was eliminated (originally there was a different ablaut vowel for the singular and for the plural  this principle can be seen in PDE: in be  a difference between was and were).

- Verner´s Law alternations were removed, certain strong past participles were retained only as adjectives (for example the word molten as opposed to today´s melted or shaven as opposed to shaved.) As a result of these transitions between strong and weak verbs there were many variant forms in the sixteenth and seventeenth century texts because this process was rather gradual, so both forms of for example crope and crept and shook and shaked were used.

- the inflectional endings of verbs are developments of the endings found in Middle English with dialect variants eliminated. In the present tense, the –e of the first person singular was lost before the end of the ME period. The second-person singular ending became –est or ´st.

- Third-person singular endings are –es deriving from the ME Northern dialect form and –eth from MED Midlands and Southern dialects. -eth ending was more common in the early part of the period, but by the beginning of the seventeenth century, -es had become the norm. –eth ending is often preserved in poetry and more formal prose and the –th remained especially in the verbs hath and doth.

- zero ending of the plural is common from early in the modern period, although –eth is also found occasionally, also –es and –en (this form is by this time regarded as a literary archaism). What is quite interesting is the existence of the –ing ending for the present participle and other alternative endings: and and ind died out. What also died out was the past participial prefix ge-, i- or y-, and also the –en ending had disappeared.

-The forms hath and doth retained longer especially because of frequency of their usage.

2. Discuss the development of the pronouns you and thou (both from the formal and the pragmatic point of view).

The second- person singular and plural forms began to be used to make social rather than number distinctions.

-in social usage, for instance in French and German, the plural forms are used as markers of politeness (honorifics).

- The comparable use in English first appeared in the 13th century and was established by the 14th century. The plural forms were used in addressing superiors in age, rank, and social class. Among the upper class, the plural forms were also used among equals who were not intimates.

- the singular forms were used in addressing inferiors: by a king to a subject, a master to a servant etc.

-the lower classes generally relied on the singular.

-the second – person pronoun forms can have social or interpersonal effects: indicating deference, respect and politeness, but in cases where the singular form would be appropriate, the plural can be distancing, threatening, or reprimanding.

-the singular forms have two emotional uses: in intimate situations expressing tenderness, affection, or intimacy, or in situations of anger expressing disrespect or contempt. If used where inappropriate, they may be either patronizing or presumptuous. This distinction worked in Shakespeare, however the actual use of thou and you in Early Modern English was somewhat variable, the system was loose and unstable, and in many instances you and thou appear to be in free variation.

-You gradually became the neutral form of address, perhaps because its use among the upper class was emulated by all classes or because the lower-class thou became stigmatized. By 1700, the second- person singular forms were no longer common except in some regional dialects and in conservative formal writing (Biblical texts).

3. What are the most important differences between ME and EMnE borrowings?

- the pattern of borrowing established in the Middle English period continued during the Early Modern period

- BUT the majority of loan words are from Latin rather than French between 1500 and 1650

4. Summarize the contemporary attitudes to borrowings (and the structure of the English lexicon in general) in this period.

- Latin and French, the Greek words were borrowed through Latin as well

- a greater variety of source languages —both Indo-European (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Iranian, Celtic, Scandinavian languages, German, Dutchm, Russian) and non-Indo-European languages (Turkish, Malay, Arabic, Japanese, Hebrew, North American Indigenous Languages, Chinese)

- many Latinate affixes became productive in Early Modern English, speakers tended to analyze the structure of Latinate words into constituent parts and then extend an affix to new lexical roots (-ation: verification, association; -ize extracted from complex loan words and added newly to Latinate roots: apologizem criticize), but these suffixes also added to English roots: womanize

- some people thought that the native language is sufficient, that the monosyllabic words of Germanic (which they called ‘Saxon’) could express more truly and unambiguously the writer’s meaning, Edmund Spenser coined new English words and revived archaic words

- some thought it fine to pick up borrowings

- eventually, innovation, not convention, prevailed so that an immense number of Latin words were borrowed

5. What was the Great Vowel Shift and when did it occur? (Use terms such as push/pull chain, raising, etc. to describe the changes). What are the two important results of GVS that the chapter mentions?

- the vowel shift that affected all the long vowels inherited from Middle English, comparable to the First Sound Shift

- it began perhaps early in the 15th century in southern England, it continued through the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries

- it occurred in all phonological environments (it was unconditioned)

- all long or lengthened (stressed) vowels were raised in articulation or, if already high vowels, were diphthongized

- the mechanism of change may either have been a drag chain or a push chain: drag chain: the first sounds to change were the high vowels, [i:] >ai and [u:]>au, which were diphthongized, gaps were left, then filled by lower vowels moving up

- a different change has been proposed: [e] and [o] were the first sounds to change, and as they were raised in articulation, they set in motion simultaneously a drag and a push chain, pushing the high vowels out of their positions and pulling the lower vowels up.

- the changes are not recorded in the orthography

-these changes varied across space and time and did not always reach completion two important results of the Great Vowel Shift:

1) it eliminated the distinction between long and short vowels that had characterized both the Old and Middle English phonological systems, the long vowels replaced either by diphthongs or tense vowels, which contrasted with the lax short vowels > the vowel system based on distinctions of quantity (e.g. OE god ‘deity’ versus god ‘good’) changed to one based on distinctions of quality

- Modern English does have long and short vowels this distinction is merely an allophonic difference, completely predictable by the voicing qualities or number of consonants following the vowel

2) it confused English spelling. In Old and Middle English, the spellings of stressed vowels in English correspond to their pronunciations. The arrival of the printing press in England in the late fifteenth century standardized spelling and fixed orthography to late Middle English conventions. When the long vowels shifted in the subsequent centuries, the spelling system did not change to record the new pronunciations. The spelling currently used for stressed vowels, then, is the spelling appropriate for the unshifted vowels

6. Summarize the most important changes in the consonantal system during EMnE.

-two significant changes in the consonant inventory:

1) the addition of two phonemes, [ŋ] and [ž]

2) the loss of another (which had the two allophonic variants [x] and [ç]= voiceless velar and palatal fricatives), all that remains today is the unpronounced gh spelling (from ME ʒ) in straight

- consonant clusters simplified, liquids lost in certain contexts: [r] before [s] in bass (< barse), ass (< arse) -[1] was lost after [ɔ] and [ɑ] and before laterals in combination with velars or nasals

- [w] glide was lost in [wr] sequences write

- stop consonants were also lost know, dumb, handsome, castle, often - simplification occurred in the cluster [ŋg], in stressed syllables, at the end of words, it was simplified to [ŋ] by the loss of [g]; in the middle of words, the [g] was retaines, [n] and [ŋ] are no longer allophonic but have become separate phonemes

-palatalization (occurred already in the Old English period), more widespread in Modern English, alveolar stops and fricatives became alveolopalatal affricates and fricatives in combination with a following palatal glide: [t + j > č] Christian [d + j > j̊] individual [s + j > š] tissue [z + j > ž] leisure

7. Summarize the most important changes in the system of short vowels and consonants in EMnE.

- the short vowels of Middle English have remained stable

- short [ɑ] moved forward to the low central position [a] and then by the late 16th century to the low front position [æ]

- later change short [æ] shifted in the late 18th century in England to [ɑ]

- short [ɛ], short [ɪ] and short [ɔ] did not change - short [ʊ] split into two phonemes, [ʊ] and [ə]

- before [r] (at the end of a word or preceding another consonant), the short stressed sounds [ɪ], [ʊ], and [ɛ] tended to be centralized to [ə]=> [ɪr] > [ər] bird

8. What was the motivation for respelling some of the words during this time?

- the disparity between sound and spelling brought on by the Great Vowel Shift caused a lively debate in the mid-16th century

- the spelling reformers suggested radical revisions of English spelling in an attempt to make it phonetic, including the abandonment of the Latin alphabet in favor of a completely new alphabet or the addition of symbols and diacritics to the Latin alphabet.

- spelling in printed texts became fixed by about the mid-17th century

- Renaissance interest in the Latin and Greek origins of words in English did lead to respellings of borrowed words to make them correspond more closely to their etymology.

9. Describe the forms and uses of the genitive case in this period.

- when the analogical plural and genitive -s endings became dominant, a few remnants of other endings survived.

- in Early Modern English texts there are examples of genitive forms without -s or of the plural form -en in words such as housen, shoon

- endingless genitives derive from the weak declension:

1) the r-stem declension naming familial relations (e.g. father land)

2) the genitive plural expressing measure (e.g. five foot [tall])

3) the noun in the genitive ends in [s] (e.g. poore Clarence death)

4) the head noun begins with [s] (e.g. for posteritie sake), or both (e.g. for peace sake)

three new developments in the marking of the genitive in Early Modern English:

1) his-genitive- an uninflected noun (naming a person or personified thing) followed by a third-person genitive pronoun: e.g. the count his gallies, Lucilla hir company

- it has not survived in Modern English, it has left a lasting mark—the apostrophe now properly found in all noun possessives.

2) group genitive- a nominal group, N + PP (the man in the back’s question) or N followed by a relative clause (this man I know ’s wife), or a pronoun group with other (each other’s friend)

- the genitive inflection is attached to the last element of the group rather than to the head noun

- colloquial Modern English, not formal 3) double genitive- both an inflected genitive and a periphrastic genitive (a friend of my sister’s; a picture o f John's)

- in Modern English, the first noun is generally indefinite and the second is animate; the construction has a partitive sense (‘one friend from among all of my sister’s friends’)

10. Discuss the development of the determiner system in EMnE.

- the use of the definite and indefinite articles resembles that of Modern English

the indefinite article in EModE

- the first mention of a referent

- sometimes the indefinite article is omitted where we would require it(what dreadfull noise)

- or it has the meaning ‘one’

the definite article

- something already mentioned or known

- it might also be omitted, but it also appears in some contexts where we do not include it: before titles {the Lord Northumberland), diseases (the gout), and learning (the metaphysics)

- article usage continues to be a matter of convention in Modern English as well, with the definite article omitted in cases such as in bed, in summer, at dinner, or by car

- it also varies from dialect to dialect

11. What possessive forms were in use in EMnE and how did they differ from PDE possessives?

At the beginning of the EModE period, the first-person genitive forms my and mine as well as the second-person genitive forms thy and thine were distinguished as in Middle English: the first of each pair would be used before nouns beginning in a consonant and the second before nouns beginning in a vowel or h (my faythe x mine honour).

-In Shakespeare’s time, however, they were used rather indiscriminately, as in mine own or my own and thine eyes or thy eye.

-By 1700 a new principle distinguished the forms: the first kind functioned as an adjectival genitive preceding the noun, and the second as a pronominal genitive following a preposition or verb such as b.

-The difference can be seen in Modern English my book compared to the book of mine, the book is mine. The –s forms hers, ours, yours, and theirs also came to function as possessive pronouns; his and its, meanwhile, exhibit no distinction between the adjectival and pronominal forms.

12. Describe the structure of relative clauses in EMnE. What are the differences between EMnE and PDE in the usage of zero relatives (and why)?

The usual OE relative is þ e, the usual ME one is that, in Middle English: who, what and that begin to be used as indefinite relatives (forms which today contain –ever). An example of an EModE indefinite relative is: Who steals my purse steals trash. In late Middle English a significant expansion in relative forms began and progressed in the Early Modern period: the interrogative pronouns started being used as regular relative pronouns, not just indefinite ones, probably because that had too many functions and because of the influence of French

– the phenomenon began with which, whose, and whom, but only spread to who later in the 16th century.

In Early Modern English:

• which is used frequently with animate nouns (today it is restricted to inanimate nouns)

• who sometimes occurs with inanimate nouns (today it is restricted to animate nouns)

• that can occur in non-restrictive clauses  My Foolish Rituals that her Father likes (today that is limited to restrictive relative clauses)

• uses the which, that which and as as relative pronouns: in the which better part / haue saued my life

• compound relative forms such as who(m), what, which, whose and that or so can also occur - these his new Honors, Which that he will giue them

• relative pronouns may be omitted: Try all the friends 0 thou hast in Ephesus and My Father had a daughter 0 lou’d a man 

the difference between EMnE and PDE: Modern English would permit the relative pronouns to be deleted in the first example, but not in the second, because Modern grammatical rules require the subject of the verb to be present and here the relative pronouns is the subject of the verb lou’d.

13.Explain the terms:

• honorifics - plural forms used as markers of politeness - the second-person singular and plural forms began to be used to make social rather than number distinctions • enclictic – a weakly stressed form which cannot stand alone and is attached to the preceding word, as in the case of –n´t or ´ĺl; an intermediate form between a full word and an inflection; with the development of the group genitive between Middle English and Early Modern English the status of the genitive inflection changed and it became an eclictic

• phonotactic constraint – certain sounds combinations became restricted in respect to their position in a syllable  for example <gn> and <mb> can never begin or end syllable, though they may be divided across the syllable boundary as in magnet and humble

• inkhorn terms – a derisive sixteenth- century term for learned borrowings, considered overly pedantic and unnecessary – e.g. demit (=send away), learned terms deliberately introduced by writers, the word is derived from the traditional horn contained for ink