Lecture 7. Old Englih Phonetics. 

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Lecture 7. Old Englih Phonetics.

Word stress. Origin of Old English vowels. Changes of Unstressed Vowels in Early Old English.


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Линский С. С. Сборник упражнений по истории английского языка. Л., 1963.

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Смирницкий А. И. Хрестоматия по истории английского языка. М., 1938, 1939, 1953.

Швейцер А. Д. Литературный английский язык в США и Англии. М., 1971.

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Campbell A. Old English Grammar. Oxford, 1959.

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Schlauch M. The English Language in Modern Times (since 1400). Warszawa, 1964.

Serjeantson M. History of Foreign Words in English. London, 1935.

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Word Stress

The system of word accentuation inherited from PG underwent no changes in EarlyOE.
In OE a syllable was made prominent by an increase in the force of articulation; in other words, a dynamic or a force stress was employed. In disyllabic and polysyllabic words the accent fell on the root-morpheme or on the first syllable. Word stress was fixed; it remained on the same syllable in different grammatical forms of the word and, as a rule, did not shift in word-building either. For illustration re-read the passage given in paying special attention to word accentuation; cf. the forms of the Dat. case of the nouns hlāforde [‘xla:vorde], cyninze [‘kyniŋge] used in the text and the Nom. case of the same nouns: hlaford [‘xla:vordl, cyninz [‘kyniŋg]. Polysyllabic words, especially compounds, may have had two stresses, chief and secondary, the chief stress being fixed on the first root-morpheme, e.g. the compound noun Norðmqnna from the same extract, received the chief stress upon its first component and the secondary stress on the second component; the grammatical ending -a (Gen. p1) was unaccented. In words with prefixes the position of the stress varied: verb prefixes were unaccented, while in nouns and adjectives the stress was commonly thrown on to the prefix. Cf.:
ā-’risan, mis-’faran — v (NE arise, ‘go astray’)
tō-weard, ‘or-eald — adj (NE toward, ‘very old’);
‘mis-dæd, ‘uд-zenz — n (NE misdeed, ‘escape’).
If the words were derived from the same root, word stress, together with other means, served to distinguish the noun from the verb, cf.:

‘and-swaru n and-’swarian v (NE answer, answer)
n — on-’zinnan v (NE beginning, begin)
n [or-’weorþan v (‘destruction,’ ‘perish’).

Independent Changes. Development of Monophthongs.

The PG short [a] and the long Ia:], which had arisen in West and North Germanic, underwent similar alterations in Early OE: they were fronted and, in the process of fronting, they split into several sounds.
Splitting of [al and [a:] in Early Old English

Change i1lustrated Examples
PG OE Other 0G languages OE NE
æ a o,ā a æ: a: o: Gt þata o Icel dagr Gt mann(a) o Icel land Gt magan GE dagos OHG dảr OHG slảfen OHG mảno O Icel mảnað r Þæt dæz mon land mazan dazas þær slæpan mōna mōnaþ that day man land may days there sleep moon month

Development of Diphthongs

The PG diphthongs(or sequences of monophthongs)— [ei, ai, iu, eu, au] — underwent regular independent changes in Early OE; they took place in all phonetic conditions irrespective of environment.

Old English Reflexes of Proto-Germanic Diphtliongs (or Bi-Phonemic Sequences)

Change illustrated Exam les
Other 00 languages OE NE
a + i a: e + ii: a + u ea:e +u eo: i + u io: GE stains Gt ains Gt meins’ Gt reisan 0 Ice! austr GE auso GE augo (cf. G Auge) Gt þiudans GE kiusan Gt diups stān ān mīn rīsan ēast ēare ēaze þeoden cēosan dēop, dīop stone one mine, my rise east ear eye ‘king’ choose deep
1The vowel in Gt is [i:], though the spelling resembles the PG [ei]. 2In OE the diphthongs [eo:] and [io:] occur as dialectal variants.

Assimilative Vowel Changes: Breaking and Diphthongisation

Thetendency to assimilative vowel change, characteristic of later PG and of the OG languages, accounts for many modifications of vowels in Early OE. Under the influence of succeeding and preceding consonants some Early OE monophthongs developed into diphthongs.
Breaking and Diplithongisation

Conditions Change illu strated Examples
— Early OE OE Other OG languages WS and OE dialects NE
b r e a k i n g before 1+1 or l+other consonants   æ ea Gt alls Merc all North ald eall eald all old
h h+other consonants æ: æ e ea: ea eo OHG nảh Gt ahtau OHG fehtan nēah eahta feohtan near eight fight
r+ other consonants e æ eo ea OHG skild OHG scai Gt skadus scield, scyld sceal sceadu shield shall shade
Diph thoni sation , “ after k’ e a ie ea — loan- words cerasus (L) castra (L) cieres, cyrs ceaster cherries chester (‘camp’)
j ie ea ea: ie OHG jảr Gt giban zēar ziefan Year give

Palatal Mutation
The OE tendency to positional vowel change is most apparent in the process termed “mutation”. Mutation is the change of one vowel to another through the influence of a vowel in the succeeding syllable.

Palatal Mutation

Change illustrated   Examples  
Vowels prior to palatal rtiutation Mutated vowels Gtor OE (without palatal mutation) OE(palatal mutation) NE
a a: o e: e Gt mats OE sala, Gt saljan Gt sandjan OE lār, Gt lais- jan OE ān OE dohtor mete sellan sendan læran æniz dehter meat sale, sell send ‘teaching’, ‘teach’ one, any daughter (Nom. and Dat. sg)
0: u e: y OE bōc OE dōm Gt gadōmjan OE full Gt fulljan bēc dēman fyllan book, books doom deem full fill
U: ea eo ea: eo: y: le je OE mūs OE eald OE feor OE zelēafa Gt galaubjan OE þēod mys ieldra fierra zeliefan elþīediz adj mouse, mice old, elder far, farther belief, believe ‘tribe’, ‘of a tribe’

Consonant Changes in Pre-Written Periods.

On the whole, consonants were historically more stable than vowels, though certain changes took place in all historical perioCs. it may seem that being a typical OG language OE ought to contain all the consonants that arose in PG under Grimm’s and Verner’s Law. Yet it appears that very few noise consonants in OE correspond to the same sounds in PG; for in the intervening period most consonants underwent diverse changes: qualitative and quantitative, independent and positional.
Some of the consonant changes dated in pre-written periods are referred to as “West Germanic” (WG) as they are shared by all the languages of the WG subgroup; WG changes may have taken place at the transitional stage from PG to Early OE prior to the Germanic settlement of Britain. Other changes are specifically English; they took place in Early OE.

Change illustrated Examples
bIZ le Late OE PG Other OG languages OE NE
  ð d v b γ g 0lel rauðr Gt wasida [ð] Gt broar Gt guma rēad werede brōþor dumbe zuma red wore, past of wear brother dumb ‘man’
.E E ’ • > V f v 0 y ‘ z s Ct sibun [v] Gt hlaifs (Cf. R xлe6) Gt wulfos Ct wulfs Gt siuþan [θ] Gt sau [θ] Ct dagos Gt baurgs Gt kiusan [s] Gt kaus fs] seolon [v] hlāfas [v] hlāf [f] wulfas [v] wulf [f] sēþan [ð] sēað [θ] dazas buruh, burh cēosan [z] cēas [s] seven loaves loaf wolves wolf seethe seethed days borough choose chose
E s - z r Gt maiza [z] Ct huzd māra hord More hoard

Lecture № 8


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