Periods in the History of the English.Grimm’s Law.Verner’s Law.



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Periods in the History of the English.Grimm’s Law.Verner’s Law.



Periods in the History of the English.Grimm’s Law.Verner’s Law.

The historical events that took place on the British Isles have influenced the linguistic situation in the country greatly. The table below shows the interconnection between the history and the language situation:

Dates Events Population Languages
Old English Period
7th c. B.C. Celtic Invasion Celts Celtic Dialects
7th c. B.C. – 410 A.D. Roman Invasion Celts, Romans Celtic Dialects, Latin
mid.5th c. – late 6th c. Anglo-Saxon Invasion Celts, Anglo-Saxons Celtic Dialects, Old English Dialects!
Introduction of Christianity Celts, Anglo-Saxons Celtic Dialects, Old English Dialects, Latin
after 8th c. Scandinavian Invasion Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians (Danes) Celtic Dialects, Old English Dialects, Latin, Scandinavian Dialects
Middle English Period
Norman Conquest Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians, Normans Celtic Dialects, Middle English Dialects, Latin, French
late 14th c. English – official language of the country the English Middle English Dialects, London Dialect(standard)
New English Period
Introduction of Printing (William Caxton) The English English(New English)
16th – 17th c. Expansion of the British Empire The English English – national languagespreading overseas
Modern English Period
20th c. English – a global language

 

Thus, the main periods in the language evolution are (rough dates are given):

1. Old English Period– prewritten (450-700)

– written (700-1100)

During this period 1 million people spoke Old English Dialects (see short survey of this period in § 74-77, p. 50-51 in “История английского языка” by Т.А. Расторгуева (copies)).

2. Middle English Period – 1100-1500

During this period 4 million people spoke Middle English Dialects (see short survey of this period in § 78-81, p. 51-52 in “История английского языка” by Т.А. Расторгуева (copies)).

3. New English Period– 1500-1800

(see short survey of this period in § 82-85, p. 52-53 in “История английского языка” by Т.А. Расторгуева (copies)).

4. Modern English Period - ? (1945)-present time

Nowadays 300 million people speak English as a mother tongue (see short survey of this period in § 86-87, p. 53-54 in “История английского языка” by Т.А. Расторгуева (copies)).

Middle English Period in the History of the English Language

Historical Background

1042-1066 – King Edward the Confessor:

· brought up in France;

· had lots of Norman advisors and favourites;

· spoke French and wanted his court to speak it;

· rumour had it that he appointed William, Duke of Normandy, his successor.

However, after the death of Edward in 1066 the government of the country was in the hands of the Anglo-Saxon feudal lords and they proposed their own king – Earl Harold Godwinson of Wessex.

1066 – Harold Godwinson became king of England. William was not satisfied with this fact. He gathered a big army, there happened the Battle of Hastings, William won it, became king and was called since then William the Conqueror.

After the Norman Conquest of the British Isles the Normans occupied important positions in church, government and army. William strengthened feudal system and royal power (vassals were not allowed to have big armies so they could not oppose the king; with the Oath of Salisbury each vassal promised direct loyalty to king and military help in return for land; Domesday Book provided William with information about all people and lands he possessed, he proclaimed himself the owner of all the lands in the country). This led to the centralizationof the country:

· Wales – was the first to join England in the 13th – 16th c.;

· Scotland – remained independent until Queen Elizabeth the 1st of England died and as far as she was childless the throne passed to James the 4th of Scotland who became James the 1st of England and unified Scotland and England. Finally, in 1707 Great Britain appeared as a country consisting of England, Wales and Scotland;

· Ireland – the attempts to conquer Ireland were made in the 12th c. but they did not prove to be successful. In 1921, after a long fight, the UK managed to keep only a small part of Ireland – Northern Ireland.

Linguistic Situation

After the Norman Conquest:

· Frenchbecame the official language of administration (it was used in the king’s court, in the law courts, in the church (as well as Latin), in the army, by the nobles in the south of England). It was also used as a language of writing and teaching as well as Latin.

· Englishwas the language of common people in the Midlands and in the north of England. It still remained the language of the majority who were the representatives of the lower classes of society and never learned French, so the Norman barons had to learn English to be able to communicate with locals.

· Celtic Dialects were still used by the Celtic population in the remote areas of the country.

Actually, during the presence of the Normans the country experienced the period of bilingualism (French and English were both used in the country and started to intermix, i.e. a lot of the French words crept into the Middle English Dialects and it came to resemble present-day English a lot).

The Norman and the English drew together in the course of time and intermixed. French lost its popularity due to the fact that it was not the language of the majority and could not be used to communicate with local people. English regained its leading position with time and became accepted as the official language. The proofs are:

· The Parliamentary Proclamation of 1258 – Henry the 3rd addressed the councilors in Parliament in French, Latin and English.

· In the 14th – 15th c. legal documents (wills, municipal acts, petitions, etc.) started to be issued in English.

· 1364 – Parliament was opened with an address in English.

· 1399 – Henry the 4th accepted the throne and made a speech in English.

· Translations of the documents written in French into English.

 

Thus in the 14th c. English becomes the language of literature and administration.

Middle English Dialects

OE Dialects Kentish West Saxon Mercian Northumbrian
  ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯
ME Dialects Kentish Dialect South-Western Dialects Midland Dialects Northern Dialects
Examples - East Saxon Dialect London Dialect Gloucester Dialect West Midland Dialect East Midland Dialect Yorkshire Dialect Lancashire Dialect
           

The most important dialect in the Middle English period was the LONDON DIALECT.

London Dialect

In the 12th -13th c.the London Dialect became the literary language and the standard,both in written and spoken form. The reasons why this happened:

· The capital of the country was transferred from Winchester, Wesses, to London a few years before the Norman Conquests.

· The East Saxon Dialect, that was the basis of the London Dialect got, became the most prominent in the Middle English period.

· Most writers and authors of the Middle English period used the London Dialect in their works.

Features of the London Dialect:

· The basis of the London Dialect was the East Saxon Dialect

· The East Saxon Dialect mixed with the East Midland Dialect and formed the London Dialect.

· Thus the London Dialect became more Anglican than Saxon in character à The London Dialect is an Anglican dialect.

New English Period in the History of the English Language

In the 15th – 16th c. the feudal system started to decay and bourgeois relationships and capitalism started to develop. England became a centralised state.

Introduction of Printing

The first printer of English books was William Caxton (1422-1491). He was born in Kent. In 1441 he moved to Flanders (a region in Belgium) and later, in 1473, he opened up his own printing press in Bruges.

1475– the first English book was printed in Bruges by William Caxton. It was a translation of the story of Troy.

A few years later William Caxton brought his printing press to England and set it up in Winchester. Here he published the work of the famous authors of that time – Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, John Lydgate – and translated books from French.

Contribution of Printing:

· The works of the authors of that time were edited and brought into conformity with the London Dialect and as far as all the book were written in this dialect, it spread quickly and became the true standard of the English language;

· As far as printing allowed to multiply books in great number, they were sold and thus the literacy of the population grew;

· Before the introduction of printing different scribes could spell the same words differently; with the introduction of printing the spelling became fixed and it hasn’t changed since that time though the pronunciation has changed greatly (this fact explains the difficulties of the English spelling).

Age of Shakespeare

See lectures in the English Literature on Shakespeare and his works.

The sources of information about the language:

· private letters (as far as books became available, more people became literate and started to write letters, wills, diaries, etc.);

· books for pupils and didactic works (e.g. “An Orthographie” by John Hart; “Grammatica Lingæ Anglicanæ” by John Wallis, etc.);

· lists of difficult words and dictionaries (e.g. “English-English Dictionary” (dialectal words explained with the help of the bookish English) by Henry Cockeram, etc.).

OE Vowels

Unstressed vowelswere weakened and dropped.

Stressed vowelsunderwent some changes:

o splitting – 1 phoneme split into several allophones which later become separate phonemes

· e.g. à a

· a à ã

· æ

o merging– separate phonemes become allophones of one phoneme and then disappear and are not distinguished any more as separate phonemes

e.g. a à

ã à a

æ à

Rise of Diphthongs

In PG there were no diphthongs. There was just a sequence of two separate vowels. Diphthongs appeared in OE: some (usually long diphthongs) – as a result of merging of two vowels:

 

Sounds Diphth. Gothic OE
a + u à ea: auso eare (ear)
e + u à eo: þeudans þēoden (king)
(i + u)à (io:) (dialectal variant) diups dīop (deep)

others (usually short diphthongs) – as a result of the influence of the succeeding and preceding consonants (breaking of [æ, e]):

 

Monoph. Diphth. Influence Gothic OE
æ à ea before l alls eall (all)
æ à ea before h ahtau eahta (eight)
e à eo before r herza heorte (heart)
æ à ea after sk’/k’ skadus sceadu (shade)
æ: à ea: after j jâr ζēar (year)

Palatal Mutation/i-Umlaut

Mutation –a change of one vowel to another one under the influence of a vowel in the following syllable.

Palatal mutation(or i-Umlaut) happened in the 6th -7th c.and was shared by all Old Germanic Languages, except Gothic (that’s why later it will be used for comparison).

Palatal mutationfronting and raising of vowels under the influence of [i] and [j] in the following syllable (to approach the articulation of these two sounds). As a result of palatal mutation:

· [i] and [j] disappeared in the following syllable sometimes leading to the doubling of a consonant in this syllable;

· new vowels appeared in OE ([ie, y]) as a result of merging and splitting:

before palatal mutation after palatal mutation Gothic OE
a à o à æ à e badi bedd (bed)
a: à æ: dails dælan (deal)
ŏ/ō à ĕ/ē mōtjan mētan (meet)
ŭ/ū à ŷ/ỹ(labialised) (new!) fulljan fyllan (fill)
ĕă/ēā à ĕŏ/ēō à ĭě/īē (new!) eald (early OE) ieldra (late OE)

Traces of i-Umlaut in Modern English:

1. irregular Plural of nouns (man – men; tooth – teeth);

2. irregular verbs and adjectives (told ←tell; sold ←sell; old – elder);

3. word-formation with sound interchange (long – length; blood – bleed).

OE Vowel System(symmetrical, i.e each short vowel had its long variant)

 

  Monophthongs + Diphthongs
Short ĭ ĕ ă ǽ ŏ ŭ ŷ ĕŏ ĕă ĭě
Long ī ē ā æ ō ū ēō ēā īē

The length of vowels was phonologically relevant (i.e. served to distinguish words):

e.g. (OE) is (is) – īs (ice); col (coal) –cōl (cool); god (god) – gōd (good), etc.

OE Consonants

OE consonants underwent the following changes:

1. Hardening (the process when a soft consonant becomes harder)– usually initially and after nasals ([m, n])

[ð] à [d] rauðr (Icelandic) rēad (OE) (red)
[v] à [b] - -
[γ] à [g] guma (Gothic) ζuma (OE) (man)

 

2. Voicing(the process when a voiceless consonant becomes voiced in certain positions) – intervocally and between a vowel and a voiced consonant or sonorant

[f, q, h, s] à [v, ð, g, z] e.g. wulfos (Gothic) – wulf[v]as (OE) (wolves)

3. Rhotacism(a process when [z] turns into [r])

e.g. maiza (Gothic) – ra (OE) (more)

4. Gemination(a process of doubling a consonant) – after a short vowel, usually happened as a result of palatal mutation (e.g. fullan (OE) (fill), settan (OE) (set), etc.).

5. Palatalisation of Consonants(a process when hard vowels become soft) – before a front vowel and sometimes also after a front vowel

[g, γ, k, h] à [g’, γ’, k’, h’]e.g. c[k’]ild (OE) (child); ecζ[gg’] (OE) (edge), etc.

6. Loss of Consonants:

· sonorants before fricatives (e.g. fimf (Gothic) – fīf (OE) (five));

· fricatives between vowels and some plosives (e.g. sæζde (early OE) – sæde (late OE) (said));

· loss of [j] – as a result of palatal mutation (see examples above);

· loss of [w] (e.g. case-forms of nouns: sæ (Nominative) – sæwe (Dative) (OE) (sea).

OE Consonant System

See table 9 on p. 90 in “История английского языка” by Т.А. Расторгуева (copies).

Old English Morphology

Old English was a synthetic language, i.e. there were a lot of inflections.

Parts of Speech

In OE 9 parts of speech had already been distinguished:

 

changeable 1. Noun Nominal Categories: Number, Case, Gender, Degrees of Comparison, Determination
2. Adjective
3. Pronoun
4. Numeral
5. Verb Verbal Categories: Tense, Mood, Person, Number, Voice, Aspect, Order, Posteriority
unchangeable 6. Adverb(only Degrees of Comparison) -
7. Prepositions -
8. Conjunctions -
9. Interjections -

Below all notional parts of speech will be discussed, their categories described and the meanings of these categories stated as related to the Old English Period

Noun

Number –Singular (Sg) and Plural (Pl).

Gender –Masculine (M), Feminine (F), Neuter (N).

Case –Nominative (Nom) (agent), Genitive (Gen) (attribute), Dative (Dat) (instrument, indirect/prepositional object), Accusative (Acc) (recipient, direct/prepositionless object).

System of Declensions

Prior to reading this point, see PG word-structure, Lecture 4.

In OE there were 25 declensions of nouns. All nouns were grouped into declensions according to:

· stem-suffix;

· Gender.

We will mention only the most numerous declensions/stems here:

 

Strong Vocalic Stems Weak Consonantal Stems
Stem-suffix Gender Stem-suffix Gender
a-stem M, N n-stem M, N, F
o-stem F r, s, nd-stems M, N, F
i-stem M, N, F root-stem M, F
u-stem M, F    

These stems will be discussed more precisely in Lecture 15.

Adjectives

Number –Singular (Sg) and Plural (Pl).

Gender –Masculine (M), Feminine (F), Neuter (N).

Case –Nominative (Nom), Genitive (Gen), Dative (Dat), Accusative (Acc) + Instrumental(Instr).

Instrumental Case was used to express instrumental meaning but only in the adjective while the noun stood in Dative Case:

by/with + Adjective (Instr) + Noun (Dat)

Degrees of Comparison –positive, comparative, superlative.

Determination (Definiteness/Indefiniteness) –today this category has to do with the Article but in OE there were no articles and definiteness/indefiniteness was expressed with the help of inflections of the Adjective, i.e. the inflections of the Adjective helped to determine whether a noun was definite or indefinite.

In OE there existed the weak and strong declensions of the Adjective. They will be discussed more precisely in Lecture 16.

Pronoun

Classification:

1. Personal (Noun-Pronouns (had some categories of the Noun and resembled the Noun in syntactic function)).

They had the following categories:

· Person –1st, 2nd, 3rd;

· Number – Singular (Sg), Plural (Pl) + Dual(1st, 2nd pers. (we both, you both) when only two persons were meant);

· Gender – Masculine (M), Feminine (F), Neuter (N) – only in 3rd person!;

· Case –Nominative (Nom), Genitive (Gen), Dative (Dat), Accusative (Acc).

2. Demonstrative(Adjective-Pronouns (had some categories of the Adjective and resembled the Adjective in syntactic function)).

They had the following categories:

· Number – Singular (Sg) and Plural (Pl);

· Gender – Masculine (M), Feminine (F), Neuter (N);

· Case –Nominative (Nom), Genitive (Gen), Dative (Dat), Accusative (Acc) +

Instrumental(Instr).

3. Interrogative –unchangeable.

4. Indefinite –unchangeable.

Personal and Demonstrative Pronouns will be discussed more precisely in Lecture 17.

Numeral

Classification:

1. Cardinal –ān (one), twēζen (two), þrēō (three) – had the categories of Gender and Case. All the other cardinal numerals were unchangeable.

2. Ordinal –were unchangeable.

Verbs

Classification:

Finite

They had the following categories:

· Tense –Present and Past (NB no Future! – future actions were expressed by the Present Tense forms);

· Mood –Indicative, Imperative, Superlative;

· Person –1st, 2nd, 3rd;

· Number – Singular (Sg) and Plural (Pl);

· Conjugation – strong and weak.

2. Non-finite:

v Infinitiveresembled the Noun and had the category of:

· Case –Nominative (Nom) and Dative (Dat)

e.g. Nom beran (uninflected)Dat to berenne (inflected, indicated direction or purpose);

v Participles 1, 2resembledthe Verb, the Noun and the Adjective and had the following categories:

· Tense –Present (Participle 1) and Past (Participle 2);

· Number – Singular (Sg) and Plural (Pl);

· Gender – Masculine (M), Feminine (F), Neuter (N);

· Case –Nominative (Nom), Genitive (Gen), Dative (Dat), Accusative (Acc);

· Voice –Active (Part. 1, 2) and Passive (Part 2).

Finite and Non-finite Verbs will be discussed more precisely in Lecture 18.

Preterite-Present Verbs

There were 12 of these verbs and most of them later turned into Modal Verbs. They will be discussed more precisely in Lecture 18.

Anomalous Verbs

They were irregular verbs that combined the features of the weak and strong verbs. There were 4 of them – willan (will), bēon (to be), ζān (to go), dōn (to do). They will be discussed more precisely in Lecture 18.

Functions of Cases


Nominative:

· Subject of the sentence;

· Predicative;

· Direct Address.

Genitive:

· possessive meaning;

· partitive meaning;

· objective meaning;

· subjective meaning;

· qualitative meaning;

· adverbial meaning.

Dative:

· Indirect Object;

· Instrumental meaning;

· Passive Subject of the sentence (Me lycige).

Accusative:

· Direct Object;

· adverbial meaning denoting long periods of time (þone winter – той зимой).


Word Order

In OEthe word order was free as far as there were a lot of inflections that showed the relations between the words in a sentence.

Most common word-order patterns were:

1. S + P + O(in non-dependent clauses);

2. S + O + P(when the Object was a pronoun, e.g. OE Ic þe secζe – literally “to you say”);

(in dependent clauses, e.g. OE þis wæs ζefohten siþþan hē of Ēāst Enþlum cōm – literally “This battle was held when he from eastern England came” – such word order was called “frame” –after a connective went the Subject, it was followed by all the other parts of the sentence and the last place was occupied by the Predicate which thus created a frame together with the Subject);

3. P + S + O(in questions, e.g. OE Hwat sceal ic sinζan – “What shall I sing?”);

(in sentences starting with adverbial modifier, e.g. OE Nū synt ζeþrēāde þeζnas mīne – literally“Now were threatened my servants”).

In MEand NE, due to the loss of the Cases and, as a result, loss of the inflections the distinction between the Subject and the Object of a sentence was lost. Thus the word order became fixed and direct (S + P + O – The Subject almost always took the first place and was followed by the Object).

Such word order led to the appearance of the formal Subject (formal it, there, e.g. It was winter; There is a book.) that took the place of the Subject if a sentence did not have one and thus preserved the direct word order.

Inversion was used only in questions and for emphasis.

Negation

In OEthe common word for negation was ne (IE origin). It was simply placed before a word that was to be negated:

e.g. OE Ne can ic (“I don’t know”, or literally “Not know I”).

As a result of this position before a word the particle ne often fused with:

· a verb (e.g. OE nis ← ne is; næs ← ne wæs; næfde ← ne hæfde (had), etc);

· a numeral (e.g. OE nān ← ne an (none));

· a pronoun (e.g. OE nic ← ne ic (not me));

· an adverb (e.g. OE nēfre ← ne āfre (never)).

Multiple negation was perfectly normal:

e.g. OE Nis nān wisdom ne nānrēad naht onean God. – “There is no knowledge concerning God.”

Often the particle ne was strengthened by the particle naht.

In MEparticle ne fell out of use and was replaced completely by the particle naht that later developed into not, stood manly after a verb (V + not) and negated it:

e.g. I fell to earth I knew not where.

In NE, during the Normalisation Period, no-double-negation rule appeared that prohibited more than one negative word in a sentence.

The Development of the Noun

Old English

As it has been mentioned in Lecture 14, the Noun had the following categories in OE:

er –Singular (Sg) and Plural (Pl).

Case –Nominative (Nom), Genitive (Gen), Dative (Dat), Accusative (Acc).

Gender –Masculine (M), Feminine (F), Neuter (N):

· Originally (in PG) it was a semantic division (he/she/it – associated with the lexical meaning of a noun), but in OE this principle did not work any more (e.g. wīf (wife) = Neuter);

· In OE the nouns started to grouped into genders according to the suffix:

- -þu (F) – e.g. lenζþu (length);

- -ere (M) – e.g. fiscere (fisher).

System of Declensions

Though the stem-suffixes merged with the root, declensions were still existent in OE and were based on the former IE stem-suffixes:

a-stem –the most numerous declension (M, N):

 

Case Masculine Neuter
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nom, Acc fisc fiscas dēor dēor!
Gen fisces fisca dēores dēora
Dat fisce fiscum dēore dēorum

Traces of a-stem in Modern English:

· -es (M, Sg, Gen) à ‘s (student’s book) – Possessive Case;

· -as (M, Pl, Nom) à -(e)s (watches, books) – plural ending for the majority of nouns;

· -(N, Pl, Nom) à zero ending(deer, sheep) – homogeneous Sg and Pl.

n-stem(M, N, F):

 

Case Masculine
Singular Plural
Nom nama naman
Gen naman namena
Dat naman namum
Acc naman naman

Traces of n-stem in Modern English:

· -an (M, Pl, Nom) à -en (oxen, children, brethren) – irregular plural ending.

root-stem –never had stem-suffix, words consisted of just a root(M, F):

Case Masculine
Singular Plural
Nom, Acc fōt fēt
Gen fotes fōta
Dat fēt fōtum

Traces of n-stem in Modern English:

· root-sound interchange (M, Pl, Nom) à root-sound interchange (men, geese, mice) – irregular Plural.

Middle English

Most changes occurred to the Noun in ME.

System of Declensions

In ME the declensions disappeared due to the reduction of endings. As far as the Case endings were reduced to one or two, there remained no distinction between the Case forms of different declensions and there was no necessity any more to distinguish these declensions.

Gender

The Gender in OE was not supported semantically. It was only a classifying feature for the declensions and as far as the declensions disappeared there was no necessity to preserve the Gender. It disappeared by the 11th – 12th c.

Number

The quantity of the Number endings was also reduced as far as the declensions disappeared. The markers of the Plural became more uniform (-s, -en, root-sound interchange). The preference of the consonantal endings can be explained by the fact that the vowels were more apt to change and reduction then the consonants that in general proved to be more stable.

Case

The Case system was contracted in ME due to the reduction of endings. As far as the Case endings were reduced to one or two, there remained no distinction between the Case forms and there was no necessity any more to distinguish 4 Cases:

 

OE Cases ME Cases Peculiarities
Nominative à Dative à Accusative à   Common à (Subject) (former Nom) à (direct Object) (former Acc) à (prepositional/indirect Object) (former Dat)
Genitive à Genitive (Possessive) The usage of the Genitive became more limited. In Singular it was marked by -‘s. In the 17th – 18th c.the apostrophe (‘) started to be used in Pl, Gen as far as the plural Genitive ending was lost but some distinction between the Common and the Genitive case in Plural should be preserved.

Causes for Decay of Case System:

1.Influence of the Scandinavian Dialects that were grammatically simpler in comparison with OE Dialects and this influence led to the minimization of grammar.

2.Phonetic reduction of final unstressed syllables (inflections).

Consequences of Case System Decay:

1.The number of prepositions started to grow to help to replace the former Case forms.

2.As far as there was no distinctions between the Cases, the distinction between the Subject and the Object of a sentence was lost à fixed word order appeared (The Subject almost always took the first place and was followed by the Object).

The Development of the Verb

On-Finite Forms

Participle 1

The formation of the Participle 1 was as follows:

 

OE ME NE
berende bering bearing

In OEParticiple 1 was considered Present Participle, had only the form of the Active Voice, possessed the categories of Number, Gender, Case. It was used predicatively and attributively (agreed with the noun in Number, Gender, Case).

In MEit lost its nominal and adjectival features together with the categories of Number, Gender, Case and became unchangeable.

Participle 2

As it has been mentioned in the table above, in OE Participle 2 was formed:

· in strong verbs – with the help of the suffix –en(+ sometimes root-vowel interchange) + often marked by prefix ζe-:

e.g. OE bindan (Infinitive) – ζebunden(Participle 2) (to bind)

In MEprefix ζe-was weakened toprefixi-/y-(e.g. ME y-runne (run, Part.2 from “to run”) and in NEit disappeared at all.

· in weak verbs – with the help of the suffix -t/-d:

e.g. OE cēpan (Infinitive) – cēped (Participle 2) (to keep)

Participle 2, unlike Participle 1, had two meanings of the category of Voice:

 

OE NE
Active Voice Passive Voice
ζegān ζeboren gone, born
somebody was gone, i.e. he did it himself = he was the subject/active doer of the action somebody was born, i.e. somebody gave birth to him = he was the object/passive recipient of the action No Voice distinctions observed

 

Thus in OEParticiple 2 was considered Past Participle, had the forms of the Active and Passive Voice, possessed the categories of Number, Gender, Case. It was used predicatively and attributively (agreed with the noun in Number, Gender, Case).

In MEit lost the category of Voice and the categories of Number, Gender, Case and became unchangeable.

Infinitive

In OEthe Infinitive resembled the Noun and had the category of Case (only two Cases – Nominative (Nom) and Dative (Dat)):

e.g. OE Nom writan (uninflected)Dat to wrītanne (inflected, indicated direction or purpose).

In ME the Infinitive lost the Dative Case (the inflected form) and only one form was left:

e.g. ME (to) writen.

Particletoremained in NEas a formal sign of the infinitive with no meaning of direction or purpose:

e.g. NE (to) write.

Though sometimes the traces of these meanings are still visible:

e.g. He came to feed the horses (purpose).

Gerund

The Gerund appeared only in the 12th c. Actually it presented a mixture of the OE Verbal Noun (with suffix -unζ/-inζ) and Participle 1 and its characteristics were:

· It took direct object (verbal feature) (e.g. buying a book);

· It could be preceded by an article or a possessive pronoun (noun feature) (e.g. the cleaning of my room, your coming late).

Preterite-Present Verbs

OE

The preterite-present verbs had the following characteristics:

· Their Present-Tense forms resembledPast-Tense forms (Germ. “Präteritum” = past tense, that’s why they were called so);

· Some of these verbs did not have a full paradigm and were called “defective”;

· These verbs expressed attitude and were followed by the Infinitive without “to” (NB! Most of these verbs are present-day modal verbs);

· Out of 12preterite-present verbs only 6survived in ModE:

āζ (ought), cunnan (can), dear (dare), sculan (shall), maζan (may), mōt (must).

E.g.:

Numb. Pers. Present Past
(formed like Past Tense of strong verbs) (formed like Past Tense of weak verbs)
cunnan sculan cunnan sculan
Sg 1st cann sceal cuðe sceolde
2nd canst scealt cuðest sceoldest
3rd cann sceal cuðe sceolde
Pl - cunnon sculon cuðon sceoldon

ME

The following changes happened to the preterite-present verbs:

· They lost their Verbals (non-finite forms) (e.g. OE cunnen – Part 2 of cunnan);

· They lost the Number and Mood distinctions (e.g. OE cann (Indicative) – cunne (Subjunctive); OE cann (Sg) – cunnon (Pl)).

NE

The paradigm of the preterite-present verbs (that had already become modal verbs) was reduced to one or two forms (e.g. must (just one form), can, could (just two forms), etc.).

Anomalous Verbs

They were irregular verbs that combined the features of the weak and strong verbs. There were 4 of them – willan (will), bēon (to be), ζān (to go), dōn (to do).

Willan:

· had the meaning of volition;

· resembled the preterite-present verbs in meaning (attitude) and in function (was followed by the Infinitive without “to”);

· eventually became a modal verb and also together with sculan developed into an auxiliary for the formation of the Future-Tense forms.

 

Dōn

This verb combined the features of the weak and strong verbs:

 

Infinitive Past Participle 2
strong verb feature (root-sound interchange) + weak verb feature (dental suffix -d) strong verb feature (suffix -nand prefix ζe-)
dōn dyde ζedōn

 

ζan

This verb was suppletive and also combined the features of the weak and strong verbs:

 

Period Infinitive Past Participle 2
OE ζān ēode (suppletivism + weak verb feature (dental suffix -d)) ζeζān (strong verb feature (suffix -nand prefix ζe-)
ME goon wente (suppletivism (from OE wendan) + weak verb feature (dental suffix -t) goon (strong verb feature (suffix -n))

Bēon

This verb was highly suppletive and in OE employed two separate words/roots(Infinitives):

Present OE ME NE
Numb. Pers. wesan bēon been been
Sg 1st eom bēo am am
2nd eart bist art are
3rd is biþ is is
Pl - sint bēoþ are/arn are
Past wesan been be
Sg 1st s was was
2nd wǽre wēre were
3rd wæs was was
Pl - wǽron wēren were

Analytical Forms

In OEthere were no analytical forms. They appeared later:

· ME – Future Tense, Perfect, Passive and Subjunctive forms;

· NE – Continuous and Do-forms;

and had the following characteristics:

· They consisted of 2 elements:

- a verb of broad semantics and high frequency (an auxiliary);

- a non-finite form (Infinitive, Participle 1, 2).

 


Future-Tense Forms

In OEthere was no Future Tense. Future actions were expressed by Present-Tense forms and modal phrases with sculan (shall), willan (will), maζan (may), cunnan (can), etc.

Formation

sculan/willan + Infinitive

Willan had more strong modal meaning (volition) that was later weakened and almost lost.

2. 13th – 14th c.– these forms were very common and sculan (shall) and willan (will) were completely interchangeable.

3. 17th c. – John Wallis introduced the ruleshall – 1st person, will – 2nd and 3rd person”.

4.In ModE there is a tendency to use will + 1st, 2nd and 3rd person without any distinction (earlier will + 1st person had the modal meaning of volition).

Perfect Forms

Formation

habban/bēon + Participle 2

↓ ↓

with transitive with intransitive (this distinction is still left in German)

verbs verbs

2.In MEand NEonly the auxiliary habban was left while bēon ceased to be used in the Perfect forms not to confuse them with the Passive forms (though some of these forms are still left, e.g. He is gone).

Passive Forms

Formation

bēon/werthen + Participle 2

2.Werthen died out in late ME.

3.Passive constructions were often marked with prepositions “by/with” (to show the doer of the action or the instrument of the action).

Subjunctive-Mood Forms

1.These forms were not always analytical in OE but were widely used in:

· independent clauses – to express wish, command, hypothetical condition, concession, purpose (e.g. Sīēn hira ēāζan āþistrode.Be their eyes darkened!);

· dependent clauses – temporal clauses (related to future) (e.g. Bring me þæt ic ēte. – Bring me that, I would eat), etc.;

· impersonal sentences (e.g. Methinks – I think (мне думается), me lycige – I like (мне нравится)) – went out of use in NE.

2.In MEand NEanalytical forms of the Subjunctive Mood appeared.

Formation:

biden (bid)/leten (let)/neden (need)/sholde (should)/wolde (would) + Infinitive

These were the modal phrases that were used to express problematic or imaginary actions. The forms with sholde/wolde outnumbered all other forms, soon they weakened their modal meaning and became auxiliaries: should – 1st person, would – 2nd, 3rd person.

3. Meaning of the Subjunctive forms:

· in the Past – present or future imaginary or unreal actions (e.g. He thought he would cope with the task);

· in the Present – future probable or problematic actions (e.g. She thinks he would still come).

4. Peculiarities:

· should/would + Infinitive à simultaneous actions (e.g. If I was young I would be the happiest person in the world);

· should/would + Perfect Infinitive à past or preceding actions (e.g. If I had known all this I would have left that house immediately).

Continuous Forms

Sometimes they were found in OE:

Formation

bēon + Participle 1

2.In OEit denoted a “quality” or a “lasting state” and was characterising a person or a thing indicated by the Subject of the sentence. The continuance was not limited in time (as it is in the ModE Continuous forms) and resembled more present-day Indefinite Tense forms, e.g.:

Sēō eorðe is berende missenlīcra fuζela – This land bears many birds.

3.In MEContinuous forms fell into disuse.

4.In NE these forms reappeared together with a synonymous form:

be + Participle 1 = be + on/in + Gerund (indicated a process of limited duration)

e.g.:

He was on huntinge – He was hunting (literally, He was on hunting).

5. 18th c.– Continuous forms became well-established.

6. 19th c. –Continuous forms in the Passivewere accepted as a norm (e.g. The house is being built – previously such forms were considered clumsy and non-grammatical).

Do-Forms

1.In NE“do-periphrasis” was used in the Past and Present of the Indicative Mood.

2. 16th c. –“Do” was used in negative, affirmative and interrogative sentences and was freely interchangeable with the simple forms (without “do”), e.g.:

Heard you all this? = Did you hear all this?

I know not why he cries. = I don’t know why he cries.

He knew it. = He did know it (without any meaning of emphasis).

3. 17th c.– “do” was left only in negative and interrogative sentences to keep the word-order S + P + O (e.g. I (S) pity (P) him (O). Do you (S) pity (P) him (O)?). In affirmative sentences “do” acquired an emphatic meaning (e.g. Did you really see him? – I didsee him, I swear!).

Periods in the History of the English.Grimm’s Law.Verner’s Law.

The historical events that took place on the British Isles have influenced the linguistic situation in the country greatly. The table below shows the interconnection between the history and the language situation:

Dates Events Population Languages
Old English Period
7th c. B.C. Celtic Invasion Celts Celtic Dialects
7th c. B.C. – 410 A.D. Roman Invasion Celts, Romans Celtic Dialects, Latin
mid.5th c. – late 6th c. Anglo-Saxon Invasion Celts, Anglo-Saxons Celtic Dialects, Old English Dialects!
Introduction of Christianity Celts, Anglo-Saxons Celtic Dialects, Old English Dialects, Latin
after 8th c. Scandinavian Invasion Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians (Danes) Celtic Dialects, Old English Dialects, Latin, Scandinavian Dialects
Middle English Period
Norman Conquest Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians, Normans Celtic Dialects, Middle English Dialects, Latin, French
late 14th c. English – official language of the country the English Middle English Dialects, London Dialect(standard)
New English Period
Introduction of Printing (William Caxton) The English English(New English)
16th – 17th c. Expansion of the British Empire The English English – national languagespreading overseas
Modern English Period
20th c. English – a global language

 

Thus, the main periods in the language evolution are (rough dates are given):

1. Old English Period– prewritten (450-700)

– written (700-1100)

During this period 1 million people spoke Old English Dialects (see short survey of this period in § 74-77, p. 50-51 in “История английского языка” by Т.А. Расторгуева (copies)).

2. Middle English Period – 1100-1500

During this period 4 million people spoke Middle English Dialects (see short survey of this period in § 78-81, p. 51-52 in “История английского языка” by Т.А. Расторгуева (copies)).

3. New English Period– 1500-1800

(see short survey of this period in § 82-85, p. 52-53 in “История английского языка” by Т.А. Расторгуева (copies)).

4. Modern English Period - ? (1945)-present time

Nowadays 300 million people speak English as a mother tongue (see short survey of this period in § 86-87, p. 53-54 in “История английского языка” by Т.А. Расторгуева (copies)).



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