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English language (history)

Jan 11, 2016



Skripta za povijest engl. jezika

  • Germanic languages have four common characteristics:

    1. Great consonant shift ( Grimms Law) 2. Adjectival declension

    3. Stress system

    4. Verb system

    Great consonant shift: p --- f t --- th k --- h

    e.g. Sanscrit p pitar pad

    Latin pater pes,pedis

    OE f father foot

    Sanscrit t trayas

    Latin tres tenis (CR.) tanak (CR.) trn

    OE th three thin thorn

    Sanscrit k cata cunas

    Latin centum caput canis

    OE h hundred head hund


    b --- p d --- t g --- k

    e.g. CR. dubok slab

    OE deep sleep

    Latin duo domare

    OE two tame

    Latin genu ego

    OE knee Ic


  • b --- b p --- p g --- g

    e.g. Sanscrit bu bhar OE be bear

    Sanscrit da dvar OE do door

    Sanscrit gans gostis OE goose guest (Latin hostis)

    Adjectival declension - weak and strong

    e.g. se goda man (weak)

    (an ) god man (strong)

    Stress system

    family, familiar, familiarity (stress shifts)

    love, lovely, loveliness, loveless (stress stays on the same syllable)

    Verb system

    lufian - luvode ( to love) weak (today regular verbs)

    singan sang - sungon - gesungen strong ( today irregular)



    OE Consonants

    All consonants were pronounced, no silent consonants (e. g. writan,

    gnawan, cnawan)

    Letter c pronounced as /k/ or //.

  • /k/ in the vicinity of back vowels e.g. coin, boc, corn

    // in the vicinity of front vowels e.g. cild, cirice, cealk

    Letter g was pronounced as /g/ or /y/

    /g/ back vowels of consonants e.g. guma (man); grindan ( grind), gold

    /y/ in the vicinity of front vowels e.g. gievan (give), gear (year), halig

    (holy), daeges (days)

    (So give is not an Anglo-Saxon word, it came from Scandinavian)

    Consonant group /sc/ pronounced as // e.g. sceap ( sheep), scort (short), scafian (shave)

    Letter f was pronounced as /f/ or /v/

    e.g. wif (wife), fot (foot),

    wifes /vives/ Intervocalically as /v/

    Letter s was pronounces as /s/ or /z/.

    e.g. ceas /s/

    ceosan /z/ Intevocalicaly as /z/

    OE Vowels

    Long a: ham ( home) Short a man

    ae: daed (deed) ae glaed

    e: fet (feet) e well

    i: wif (wife) i sittan

    o: god (good) o God

    u: hus (house) u ful

    y: mys (mice) y synn

  • I-mutation

    Change of back vowels into front vowels under the influence of i/j

    1. Plural of nouns gos + /iz/ ges

    fot + /iz/ fet

    boc + /iz/ bec

    2. Abstract nouns lang + /ithu/ length

    strang + /ithu/ strength

    full + /ithu/ fylth (foul - filth)

    3. Verbs from nouns fod + /jan/ fedan ( feed)

    blod + /jan/ bedan (bleed)

    from adjectives full + /jan/ fyllan ( fill)

    4. Comparatives and

    superlatives old + /ira/ eldra

    old + /ista/ eldsta

    Angla + /isc/ English Wales + /isc/ Welsh


    NOUNS OE gender was grammatical and natural

    e.g. wifman (woman) was masculine in OE because it is a compound

    and the last part is man (masculine). So grammatical gender masculine

    but natural gender feminine.


    a. Masculine declension of words ending in a consonant

    N hund hundas

    G hundes hunda

    D hunde hundum

    A hund hundas

  • b. N-declension (masculine)

    N oxa oxan

    G oxan oxena

    D oxan oxum

    A oxan oxan

    c. Neuter declension ending in a consonant

    N sceap sceap

    G sceapes sceapa

    D sceape sceapum

    Also:: deer, swine, horse, gear (years today but two-year-old child)

    e.g. His hors were gode (His horses were good)

    d. Declension with I-mutation (masculine and feminine)

    N gos ges

    G gese gosa

    D ges gosum

    A gos ges


    Personal pronouns

    N Ic we u (thou) ge

    G min ure in (thine) eower

    D me us e (thee) eow

    A me us e (thee) eow

    N he heo hit hie (they)

    G his hiere(heore) his hiera

    D him hiere him him

    A hine hie hit hie

    Interrogative pronouns

    N hwa (who) hwaet (what)

    G hwaes hwaes

    D hwaem hwaem

    A hwone hwaet

  • Reflexive pronouns

    Accusative of personal pronouns used for reflexive

    E.g. He hit hine (he hit himself)

    seolf (self) was used only for emphasis


    Three ways of forming adverbs

    1. hlud (loud) + e hlude freondlic + e freondlice (friendly)

    2. glaed + lice glaedlice (gladly)

    3. adding -es ones (once), elles (else), nightes (nigths)

    daeges (days)


    inf. p.t. pl. p.part.

    strong: drifan - draf - drifon - gedrifen ( to drive)

    ceosan - ceas - curon - gecoren ( to choose)

    singan - sang - sungon - gesungen

    weak: (d/t) hieran - hierde -hierdon -gehierd (to hear)

    settan -sette - setton -gesett ( to set)

    lufian -lufode -lufodon - gelufed ( to love)

    Present tense

    strong verbs: sg. I drif-e pl. drifath

    thu drif-st

    he drif-th

    weak verbs: sg. I lufi-e pl. lufiath

    thu luf -ast

    he luf-ath

  • Past tense

    strong verbs sg. draf weak verbs lufode

    drife lufodest

    draf lufode

    pl. drifon pl. lufodon

    In ME plural forms were not used any more.


    Words borrowed (loanwords) from Indo European

    day, sun, night, moon, wind, thunder, earth, fire water, cow, goose,

    mouse, wolf

    erian (to plough); mawan ( to maw)

    Latin influence

    three periods 1. infuence on the continent

    2. during Christianisation

    3. after Christanisation

    1. Words accepted on the continent

    e.g. street (strata via); wall (vallum) mile (mille passus), pound

    (pondus), biship (episcopus); church ( gr. kiriakon); cheese (caseus), wine

    ( vinum)

    Names of the days of the week are related to Gods:

    Saturday - Saeturnesdaeg ( day of Saturn)

    Sunday - (day of the sun)

    Monday - (day of the Moon)

    Tuesday - Tiu (god of war)

  • Wednesday - (Woden, Roman god Mercury)

    Thursday - Thor ( or Jupiter)

    Friday - Frei or Frigi (equivalent to Venera)

    2. Words accepted before Christianization

    A small group of words like: castra - OE caester like Winchester,

    Lancaster. Word lake ( from Latin lacus)

    3. After Christianization

    Language connected to church: alms, abbot, angel, candle, church,

    deacon, devil, martyr, minister, monk, mass, nun, priest, psalm, pope, etc.

    Transformations: monasterium - munasterium - mynster - minster. Or

    moneta - muneta - mynet -minst


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