7. The Grammar of Old English

1. Speculate on why was the be auxiliary in intransitive perfective forms completely replaced by have.

- Modern English ‘I have gone’, (a perfect periphrase) x Old English: a finite form of have (or agan ‘to own’) + a past participle when the participle was a transitive verb (a verb taking a direct object), ‘the saint had healed him ’

- Anglo-Saxons used a finite form of be (or ‘to become’) when the participle was an intransitive verb (a verb not taking a direct object), such as a verb of motion or change of state, ‘the holy father was gone in’ (i.e. ‘had gone’)

- the participle was sometimes inflected as an adjective, to agree with the object and with the subject, however, more often it is uninflected.

- the perfect with be is identical in form to the passive, except that the passive is always formed with transitive verbs

- be has gradually been replaced by have in the perfect; remnant be-perfects such as He is arrived now seem to describe the state of things rather than an action

2. The chapter mentions cases in which grammatical gender concord could be violated. Do we find violations of concord (with respect to grammatical categories other than gender) in PDE?

- when there is a conflict between natural gender and grammatical gender, we occasionally find that agreement between nouns and their pronouns is violated in Old English. - when such violations occur, we can conclude that the OE system of grammatical gender is beginning to be replaced by a system of natural gender - multiple negation is common in Old English, it was abolished in the eighteenth century because it was felt to violate rules of logic, but speakers of earlier English seem to have employed it for emphasis.

3. Explain the difference between natural and grammatical gender.

natural gender - in Modern English, linguistic gender is connected with the biological sex of the entity, thus personal pronouns (he, she, it) indicate the real-world sex of the object referred to; in a more limited way, compounds (e.g. boyfriend, girlfriend) and derivational affixes (e.g. heroine, actress, widower) do so

grammatical gender- French le jour ‘the day’ (masculine gender) and German das Weib ‘the woman’ (neuter gender), can be seen that grammatical gender has nothing to do with the real-world sex of the object; instead, it functions as a means of classifying nouns. The word gender in this sense is derived from Lat. genus, meaning ‘kind’. Old English expresses three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter.

4. Which dual forms are still used in PDE?

- Old English has complete sets of dual forms for the first and second persons meaning ‘we two’ and ‘you two’. Dual forms were lost in late Old English.

-Old English has a form indicating a single addressee and could thus distinguish between ‘one of you’ and ‘many of you’.

- The second-person singular forms (pu, pin, and pe) fell out of general use in Early Modern English, but they are still retained in certain religious contexts as thou, thine, and thee in Modern English.

PDE- both vs. all, either vs. any, neither vs. none

5. Describe the system of OE weak and strong adjectives.

- adjectives Old English adjectives are also inflected to show the gender, number, and case of the noun that they modify

-two different sets of adjective endings: the strong declension (inherited from Proto-Indo-European) and the weak declension (a Germanic innovation).

The weak declension- used when the noun is accompanied by any other modifier, such as a demonstrative (e.g. that large book), a numeral (e.g. two large books), or a possessive adjective (e.g. my large book). It is also used when the adjective is in the comparative or superlative degree (e.g. larger book, largest book) or appears in direct address (e.g. John, dear son, you . . .)

The strong declension- used when the noun is not otherwise modified or when the adjective follows the verb to be (e.g. That book is large).

- the weak declension communicates definite reference (e.g. those large books refers to specific or particular large books), whereas the strong declension communicates indefinite reference (e.g. large books refers to any large books).

- this complicated system has been completely lost over time; none of the adjectival endings, either from the weak or the strong declension, live on in Modern English.

6. Describe OE system of demonstrative pronouns, indicating connections with modern-day demonstrative forms and articles.

Demonstratives:- demonstratives and adjectives agree with the nouns they modify in number, gender, and case two sets of demonstratives: - one pointing to a referent close to the speaker (this/these) - one to a referent further away (that/those)

- a deictic function, which is a way of saying that their meaning depends on the speech situation and encodes the speaker’s perspective. (Some other forms with deictic meaning are here/ there, then/now, and I/you.)

- function as either adjectives modifying a noun (this book is mine) or as pronouns standing in place of a noun (this is my book).

- in Modern English, demonstratives indicate the number of the noun they modify (this book versus these books) x in Old English, they also indicate the gender and case of the noun they modify - many inflected forms, Modern English has retained the nominative neuter singular of each demonstrative (pcet > that, pis > this). With certain analogical additions it has also retained the nominative and accusative plural of the first demonstrative (pa > those) and the nominative masculine singular of the second demonstrative (pes > these).

Articles: - definite article the grew out of the nominative singular masculine of the first demonstrative, se (later pe). This happened in Middle English, along with the emergence of the indefinite article, a/an, which developed from the numeral an, meaning ‘one’.

-in Old English, however, no article is required. - We cannot be certain exactly when the demonstrative and numeral began to serve as articles, but it is probably best to translate the first OE demonstrative as ‘that’ rather than ‘the’, and an as ‘a certain one’, not ‘a/an’.

7. Explain the term suppletive paradigm.

- Old English has some adjectival paradigms in which the different inflected forms not only show different endings but are formed from different roots. This is called a suppletive, or mixed, paradigm (the ModE suppletive paradigms good/better/best and much/more/ most = direct descendants of the Old English forms) The suppletive paradigm of the verb be present 1st p. am/em, past was/wes

8. Explain the origin of expressions such as “two-hour flight” (× *two-hours flight) or “twenty-mile walk” (× *twenty-miles walk).

- the genitive of measure expresses some sort of measurement or extent, as in ModE expressions such as six foot tall or two month long, where what appears to be a singular {foot, month) is actually an old genitive plural with loss of the final -a.

9. Describe the differences between OE weak and strong verbs. How do they relate to PDE regular and irregular verbs?

Weak verbs- the majority of verbs in Old English, but not common verbs

- an innovation of the Germanic languages, forming their preterit with a dental suffix (-ed) that became the productive pattern for new verbs added to the language.

- derived in Germanic from other parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, or strong verbs) by the addition of a derivational suffix

- divided into 3 classes Strong verbs- many of the most common Old English verbs are strong

- form their tenses by the IE process of ablaut, or vowel gradation

- in Germanic, the ablaut grades of PIE (e-grade, o-grade. and zero grade) become regularized in the strong verbs in a number of basic patterns which underlie the seven classes of strong verbs

- Even in those that have remained strong, the distinction between singular and plural past has been lost (except for the past tense of the verb to be).

10. How was the passive expressed in OE?

- tense and mood are expressed by inflection in the OE verb, passive is expressed by periphrastic form (separate words or phrases rather than by word endings)

- the verbal distinction of voice indicates whether the subject of the sentence is acting (active) or is acted upon (passive)

- the inflectional forms of Old English are all active in meaning; the passive is expressed by a verbal phrase.

- The passive periphrase of Old English is very similar to that of Modern English: finite form of be + a past participle + a prepositional phrase naming the agent.

- unlike Modern English, Old English could also use a finite form of weorfian ‘to become’, and the prepositions marking the agent are ‘from ’ or ‘through’ rather than by

- as in Modern English, the agent phrase is optional. ‘there were healed by the holy woman many sick men“

- passive could also be conveyed by indefinite pronoun “one” and an active verb: ‘one can still see their track’ = ‘their track can still be seen'

11. What are impersonal constructions? Try to discuss their loss from a typological point of view.

- Old English has a number of impersonal verbs, with no personal nominative subject

- the personal subject (usually an experiencer) is expressed in the accusative, genitive, or dative case him (dat.)

-‘it thirsted to him ’ (ModE ‘he was thirsty’); me (acc.) ‘there was a longing to m e’ (ModE ‘I longed’); me (dat.) ‘it pleases me to read’ (ModE ‘I like to read’)

- when translating these impersonal constructions into Modern English, either an it subject must be supplied or the construction must given a personal subject

12. Discuss negation in OE.

- Negative declarative main clauses have one of the following orders: 1. negative + {auxiliary, verb} + subject + (object) . . .

2. subject + negative + {auxiliary, verb} + (object) . . .

- in Old English, the negative particle ne is inserted before the verb or auxiliary X in Modern English the negative particle follows rather than precedes the auxiliary, and negative sentences require an auxiliary verb (John does not like movies x *John not likes movies or *John likes not movies)

- the negative particle may be contracted (Modern English- suffixing not to the preceding auxiliary > wouldn’t x Old English, ne is prefixed to the verb or auxiliary > e.g. ne + waes ‘was’ > naes; ne + habban ‘have’ > nabban; ne + willan ‘w ill’ > nyllan - ne can also be attached to adverbs, pronouns, and adjectives in a similar fashion: ne + an ‘one’ > nan ‘none’; ne + cefre ‘ever’ > ncefre ‘never’ - when ne is joined to the verb or auxiliary, the contraction tends to move to the front of the sentence, resulting in an inverted word order

- multiple negation is common in Old English: ‘not-was then not-any delay’, it was proscribed in the eighteenth century because it was felt to violate rules of logic, but speakers of earlier English seem to have employed it for emphasis.

13. Discuss inversion in OE and compare it with cases of inverted word order in PDE.

a) In negation - when ne is joined to the verb or auxiliary, the contraction tends to move to the front of the sentence, resulting in an inverted word order

- multiple negation is common in Old English: ‘not-was then not-any delay’, it was proscribed in the eighteenth century because it was felt to violate rules of logic, but speakers of earlier English seem to have employed it for emphasis.

b)Initial Adverb of Time/Place - Main clauses have the following order: adverb + {verb, auxiliary} + subject + (object) ‘then grant I it to Athelfleth my daughter’; ‘here in this year Cnut came with his army’

- sentences invert the subject and verb after an adverb of time

- PDE: Never have I imagined that ...

c)Interrogative Sentences - interrogative pronoun + {auxiliary, verb} + subject + (object) ‘What gives he to you?’; ‘Which craft know you?’

- the third instance of inverted word order in Old English.

- there are two major types of questions in English: yes/no questions (e.g. Did you see a movie?) and content questions (e.g. What movie did you see?), in Modern English, both types require that an auxiliary verb precede the subject x in Old English, either an auxiliary or a verb precedes the subject but the auxiliary is not obligatory, as we just saw in looking at negation.