The OE personal pronouns and its futher development in ME and NE.

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The OE personal pronouns and its futher development in ME and NE.

OE personal pronouns had 3 persons, 3 numbers (sing, pl, dual) and 3 genders. Eg: ic – sing, wit – dual, wē – plural. Dual number – Germanic feature (wit – мы оба, git – вы оба).

Gender was in the 3rd person sing. Eg: hē – hēo – hit (m – f – n).

Cases: m f n

N ic þэīī hē hēo hit

G min þin his hire his

D mē þe him hire him

Acc me þe hine hie hit

1st pers. sg→2nd→3rd pers. sg.

Many forms have survived in ME. Eg: “and I’ll love thee”.

In OE – a tendency toward harmony which increased in ME.

The fem. pronoun of the 3rd pers. And mascul. pron. of the 3rd per. could become identical. The language developed new ways:

1. The pl. “hie” is replaced by Sc (от скандинав.)“they” (13th);

2. The object case represented by Sc “them” (OE hem);

3. The fem “hēo” → shē (ME) → she (NE) (as hēo was homonymous to hē; hit. The language discriminated this form, “he” – survived.

4. dual number pron. have disappeared;

5. possessive pron have appeared from Germ.

6. the new pron. “there” appeared (Sc);

7. In NE:

· the pron of the 2nd pers. sg went out of use in the 17th cent → “you” for sg and pl, the 2nd pl “you” replaced “gē” OE.

· Late ME “she” is believed to have developed from the OE demonstrative pron of the femin. gender – “sēo”

· the other forms of OE “hēo” were preserved “hire/her” used in ME as the Obj. case and as a possessive pron. is a form of OE “hēo”. “Hers” was derived from “hire/here”.

The OE verb, its gram. categories and morphological types.

The OE verb had numerous persons, number cases, but fewer gram. categ. than Mod. verbs have.

The verb-predicate agreed with the subj. in 2 gram. cat.:

1. number: sg/pl.;

2. person was shown in the Pres. Tense of the Ind. Mood sg. Eg: hē binderþ (he binds) – 3rd pers sg.


1. Indicative – finde → Infin.- findan (sg)

2. Imperative – find

3. Subjective – finde

Tense: Present, Past.

Morphological types:

1. Strong verbs (purely of OE origin) form their Past tense by changing their root vowel. R. – беру – брал. Strong verbs represent an unproductive type.

4 forms: writan (Infin), wrāt (Past sg), writon (Past pl), written (Past Participle).

2. Weak verbs form their tense with a help of –d/-t (dental suffix) → productive type; Germanic origin.

3 forms: maxean (Infin), maxode (Past sg), maxod (Participle II). Eg: maxodon – Past pl.

3. Preterent - Present (12th cent). Their present forms were once past tense forms. Eg: dugan (avail), cunnan (can), magan (may).

4. Anomalous (irregular). The forms are derived from different roots. Eg: bēon: ist (1st pers. sg), wæron (Past pl), wæst (Past sg.). Also: dōn (do), gān (go), willan (will).



15. Major vowel changes in NE. Great Vowel Shift. Vocalization of [r].

The short vowels were more stable.

1. ME [α] – NE [æ] man – mæn

after w (a) → o wæs > wαs > [woz]

2. ME short “u” lost its labial character and became [۸] except in some dialects. Eg: ME ‘comen’ [kumen] > NE come [k۸m].

3. lengthening before –ss, -ft, -nt, -st;

4. shortening before sing. dental and velar cons. [e:], [u:] before ∂, θ.

the Great Vowel Shift (O. Gerpersen 14th cent.)

Short Vowels:

i>i>I sitten – sit [sit]

y>i>i byllan>bill [bil]

æ>a>æ æppel>apple [æpl]

u>u>۸ under>under [۸ndə]

e>e>e bedd>bed [bed]

o>o>o god>god [god]

a>a>æ cat>cat [kæt]

Long vowels:

ī>ī>āī tīme>time [taim]

yˉ>ī>āī myˉs-mice [mais]

e>e>i: metan-meet [mi:t]

æ>æ>i: sæ>sea [si:]

ū>ū>au hūs>house [haus]

ā>ā>ou rād>road [roud]

a>a>ei nama>name [neim]

[r] was vocalized to the neutral vowel [ә] when final or before another consonant in the 17th cent. Eg: far [faә], bird As a result a number of new vowels appeared in E: a: (far), o: (fork), ε: (girl). Also such new diphthongs appeared iә, uә, εә (here, care, sure); thriphthongs [auә, ouә] (our, lower) + lengthening: arm, four

Intrusive [r] – that’s not found in the word but it’s pronounced.



Changes in the noun system in ME and NE.

In ME the muscul gender became the main. the gender lost its inflections. The OE Nom, Acc, Dat cases fell together into Common case.

The Gen used to denote possession → becomes possessive case.

In ME the pl usually take –es which is the continuation of OE –as.

Process of simplification:

· changing in the structure of the word;

· fluctuation of gender. Also the principle of analogy – ability of the language to adapt a less common form to a more widely used one. Eg: черное кофе.

· Adj – an unchangeable part of speech (except for the degrees of comparison).


Strong verbs in OE and their development.

The OE verb had numerous persons and number cases, but fewer gram. categ. than NE verb had.

Str. verbs form their Past tense by changing their root vowel, had 4 principle forms:

· Infinitive – wrētan;

· Past sg – wrāt;

· Past pl – writan;

· Participle II – writēn.

They can be found in Rus → IE origin. Eg: беру – брал, несу – нес.

Often denoted the most important actions and states. In NE they are mainly irregular verbs.

Had 7 classes:

1. 1-6 classes use vowel gradation;

2. 7 class include reduplication verbs, build their Past tense repeating the root vowel.

3. The principle forms have the same endings:

Inf. - -an;

Past sg - ---;

Past pl - -on;

Part. II - -en.

4. some verbs with the root ending in –s; -p; -f employed an interchange of consonants [s → z → r], [θ → ð → d], [f → v];

5. The classes differed in the number of verbs and in their role and weight in the language.

6. Classes 4 and 5 deffered in the stems of Part. II. Classes 2, 3 and 4 – had identical vowels in the stems of Part. II.;

7. Classes 1 and 2 - contained in the root [I, u]. Classes 3, 4 and 5 – contained the gradation.

8. In ME many str. verbs changed into weak – they began to use dental suffix instead of the root verb change.

9. The root vowel in the Past sg and pl fell together. In the 15th cent – one stem is used. In NE – 3 forms of str verbs are used. Eg: writ – wrote – written.

10. The OE endings –an

-en →-en (NE)



The sources of NE plural forms of the noun.

OE singular and plural.

They were well distinguished formally in all the declensions, very few homonymous forms.

The pers. pronoun of the 1st and 2nd pers – 3 numbers: sg, pl and dual. Eg: ic (sg) – wit (dual) – wē (pl).

ME the noun preserved the formal distinctions of 2 numbers. Late ME –es.

The –es under went several phonetic changes:

· the voicing of fricatives;

· the loss of unstressed vowels in final syllables.


1. after a voiced consonant/vowel: stones OE > stoυəz > stæυnz

2. after a voiceless cons.: bookes [bo:kəs] > bu:ks > bυks.

3. after affricative [s, z, ∫], [t∫], [dg]: di∫əs > di∫iz;

The ME –en- last its productivity in NE: oxen, brethren, children.

Some nouns with homonymous form of number: sheep, deer, swine.

The gram. of former root –st has survived only as exceptions: man – men, tooth – teeth.

Forms like “data”, “antennae” have come from other languages.

The OE demonstrative pronouns. The rise of the articles in English.

Demonstrative pronouns:

1. 2 of them:

a. prototype of “that” (sē (m), þæt (n), sēo(f));

b. prototype of “this” (þes(m), þēos(n), þis(f));

2. sē simple, sg, m, Nom;

þis – emphatic, sg, m, Nom (именно этот)ж

3. were used as noun determiners and through agreement with the noun, indicated its number, case and gender. They can help to distinguish between gender: Eg: þæm lande – n; þæ‾re heorde –f.

4. Dem. pron. became unchangeable. In OE there were 5 cases: Nom, Dat, Gen, Acc, Instr.

5. Its declension disappeared in ME. Traces of its Instr. case are found: Eg: the more the better followed by the comparative degree.

The ind. article developed from numeral ‘ān’ and often preserves traces of its meaning: Eg: a steaching time saves night.

In ME the OE demonst. pron. lost most of their inflected forms. Dem pron sē, sēo, þæt led to the formation of the def article.

In OE texts these pron were used as noun determiners with a weakened meaning (as Mod def art).

I-mutation and its traces in Modern English.

I-mutation influenced short and lond vowels. It took place in all Germanic languages except Gothic. It’s a case of regressive assimilation with the vowel ‘I’ or semivowel ‘j’. It took place in the 6th cent.

Condition of i-mutation – presence of j [й]:

Eg: ky‾ning → OE cyning

fy‾llian → OE fy‾llan

fōti → foēt (foot – feet)

Traces in Mod words:

1 – irregular plural of nouns: mouse – mice;goose - geese

foot – feet;

2 – irregular verbs & adj.: told –tell, old – elder

3 – word formation: long –length, blood – bleed

I-mutation – both syntactic and paradigmatic change (structure of the word changes, produces a new phoneme).


α → e badi OE – bedid (bled)


α: → æ: dails OE - dælan (deal)

o → e motjan OE – metan (meet)

u → y fuljan OE - fyllan (feel)

u: → y: mūs → my‾s

ea, eo→ ie ealdira ieldra (elder)

New vowels appeared: ŷ & iē


Loans in OE

Not numerous, 600 words from Celtic & Latin. Then Teutons came to live in E and the l-ges mixed. But very few survived. Proper names. (London – dan (a hill)).

3 ways of Latin influence:

- 1st c. A.D: the words belonged to spheres: trade, religion, everyday’s life, agricultural products (win -wine), plum, pepper,

- 7th c. A.D with the introd. Of Christianity. (hymn, angel). A l-ge of science and church (school, master, altar)

- Translation loans (калькирование). We observe this process when a compound word from the source l-ge is exactly translated into another l-ge (Evangelum lat. – good message; wunden – stefna (ship))

Many compounds contain the root [ju:θ] - война: [ju:θ]- beorn (man of war, warrior)

Borrowings after the Roman Invasion:

- Place names: castra – лагерь – Lancaster, port – Devonport

- Military affairs: wall, street



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