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Indo European

similar consonents/starting point

grammar heavily dependent on inflections (role of word dictates its ending)
o plurality, tense, depends on which word subject and which are object
Modern english has few inflections (but most noun plurals are in this way: hands vs hand as well
as verb tesne walked vs walk and third person singular of present tense: I write, he writes)
vocabulary free to change but sounds, forms, and syntatic patterns happen in evolutionary way
that preserves integrity of system

significant changes in verbs and adjectives
o verbs only two different forms of tesne (present and past (preterite) other tesnes has to
be indicated by use of another verb along with verb. The two tenses can convey more
than one sense (ex. walk, walked, have walked, will walk, will have walked)
Germanic verbs fall into two groups, according to way past tense forms made
most past tense ofrmed by adding suffix (d or t)--sometimes formation less clear but essentially
same (said, bought)
another group of verbs made by chaning main vowel from past tesnse (sing--> sang, take--> took)
aka weak verbs vs. strong
adjectives occcur in two forms, despending on grammar of sentence
o adjective attached to noun made definite, adjective appear in one of the forms, often
followed by 'this' or 'my' (weak adjectives)
o in other situation, other form of adjective used(strong forms/indefinite)
now lost in English but used in German
features above developed as or after Proto-Germanic became separated
set of differences between pronunciation in Germanic and Indo-European can be seen by what
made Proto-Germanic distinct
o set of differences=Germanic Consonant Shift, First Consonant Shift, Grimm's Law
o Indo-European had p, t, k Germanic had f, p (th), x (ch)
o Instead of IE b, d, g Germanic p, t, k
o Instead of IE bh, dh, gh Germanic b, d, g
o Also, stress more on first syllable in words instead of variation so end word syllable
prominence lower
Division of Germanic
North: Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
o Left runes on metal, wooden, bone
o Alphabet called futhark after values of first six characters
Runes changed in number, shape, sound over time
o Often cite Icelandic texts to represent early North Germanic languages (Old Norse)
Set 13
century Icelandic forms versus fourth century
o Differnces:
In verbs, mediopassive forms arose in which a suffix in first person (-mk) or
second/third person (-sk) added to verb form
Suffixes originally forms of personal pronouns
Mik (me) sik (yourself)
Typically expressed reflexive or passive sense
Also developed definite article suffixed to noun unless adjective attached to
East: Gothic
o Moved east and south first 3 or 4 centures AD
o Goths known mainly from Bible translations
o West of Black sea
o Language preserve features of Proto-Germanic
Has inflectional forms to indicate passive voice (in other Germanic languages,
passive inflections no longer recognized and passive indicated by use of auxiliary
Also has reduplication: addition at beginning of word of syllable consisting of
initial consonant of word and vowel accompanied by change of main owel as
paste tense forms of other strong verbs
West: German, Dutch, Frisian, English
o Old High German and Old English 8
century plus
o Old Saxon 9
o Old Frisian: similar to Old English, 13
o Old High German second consonant shift
Affects wider range of consonants in some dialects thatn others
Retained distinct form for each of three persons in plural of present and past
tenses when other languages have one form
We, you, they carried all different for old high German
o Old Saxon
Original n or m is lost between vowel an f, p, s (same for Old English and Old
o Old Frisian, English, and Saxon only have one form for accusative case and dative case
Please help mesend me a letter
Old English
Relies on inflections on words to denote their function in sentence
Nouns, pronouns, adj it distinguishes between different cases, genders, and numbers\
1. Cases: nominative, acusative, genitive, dative, instrumental
Verbs: distinguishes between different tenses (present and past), moods (indicative, subjunctive,
imperative), numbers, persons
Development of Old English by:
1. Invasion of Britain by Germanic people (Anglo-Saxons) linked to dialectical diversity
Link between dialect and geographical area can be more established In various
version of English poem Caedmons Hymn
Story behind composition: spontaneous utterance of illiterate cow-herd
who receives the gift of poetry
Dilaect is Northumbrian
Can compare this with later West Saxon version of same poem in Old
English translation of Bedes Eclesiastical History
o The Northumbrian forms of Moore Manuscript version replaced
by West Saxon equivalents
Distinctive dialectal charactersistics of two verbs in differences of
spelling are linked to geographical affiliations
Cademons Hymn is earliest documented oral poem in Old English and
its metrial and alliteratives features characterize those of Old English
poem more generally
o Poetic format indicated graphically by lineation or punctuation
o Clearly composed in poetic lines, each line up to 4 stresses
o Diction of Old English poetry characterized by varation or
epetition of sentence elements shown by variety of words for
God in this hymn
o Shows illustration of distinctiveness of two Old English dialects
and exemplifies features of Old English verse
o Authentic in creation (subject of poem) and poetic expression of
event by illiterate cow-herd
2. Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England made Roman alphabet for Old English
St. Augustine arrived in Britain and converted people
Recorded in Bedes Ecclesiastical History
Nature of vernacular becomes testimony to what is the innate Christianity of
inhabitants of Engalnd
Effects of arrival of Christianity in Briatin is development of Old English script
based on Roman alphabet
Before, only script was runic alphabet developed from earlier Germanic
o Fourth character in sequenced changed so referred to as
o Mainly carved in stone but also on manuscripts and coins
Old English Alphabet:
Sounds that had no letters in Roman alphabet drawn from sources, like
letter p thorn to represent th
Absence of j and v
Rarity of q, x, z
3. Reign of Kind Alred the Great in West Saxon created culture in which Old English
because a language of prestige and status
Wanted to educate as many of his subjects and make England centre of
intellectual achievement
Set scheme: important Latin works to be translated into English
Called scholars from Merica and Continent
Nominative: express subject of sentence
Accusative: express the direct object of the sentence
Genitive: express possessive relationship
Dative: used to express indirect object
Old English
Inflectional system of verb forms allowed flexibility
In OE subordinate clauses, common for verb to be placed at end of
West Saxon became most common dilatect when writing
4. Benedictine Reform of second half of tenth centry led to establishment of Old English
literary language
Second half of 10
century, English monasteries overhaul renewal of interest
in production of texts in vernacular
Effort to make standard literary language (preferred usage instead of common)
Literary language developed from West Saxon dialect
Sparked interest vernacular which is why majority of OE poetry survives from
manuscripts copied in second half of 10
Largest late West Saxon with some non-West Saxon elements
Shows the ange of shared orthographical and phonological practices
5. Norman Conquest (1066) precipiatated developments in language which would steer it
towards Middle English
Spoken language changing as invaders language infiltrated OE usage later
reflected in development of Middle English
Written language remained close to pre-Conquest late West Saxon
o Because most texts during this time were copies of earlier
English works so little new composition in English during this
time period
o Even those who wrote new compositions, conformed to familiar
and old written conventions from Old English
Changes in language;
Faling together or unstressed vowels relfection in inflection and more
unusual inflections
Nominative masculine singular prooune and feminine singular now
close to modern English equivalents
Falling together of accusative and dative forms in personal pronouns
o Characteristics of Middle English
Peterborough Chronicle:
Interst because if offers 12
centry copy of earlier annals and offers
example of new composition in English at this time