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Author Topic: Forming the inflected infinitve.  (Read 4025 times)


  • Ealdormann
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  • Posts: 620
Forming the inflected infinitve.
« on: April 16, 2013, 10:21:05 AM »
I am quite confused about forming the inflected infinitive so I thought I would give some hypotheses for you to correct or propose alternative hypotheses. They are:-
1. The inflected infinitive is “tō” followed by an inflected part of the verb.
2. If the normal infinitive ends in “-on” the inflected part of the verb can end in “-onne”.
So we have “tō bēonne”.
3. If the normal infinitive ends in “-an” the inflected part of the verb can end in “-enne” or “-an”. For verbs ending in “-ian” the “i” is lost in the inflected infinitive.
So we have “tō flīemenne” and “tō flīeman” but we also have “tō āscan”.
4. If the verb’s stem changes in the present indicative then that change can also appear in the inflected infinitive.
So we have “tō farenne” but also “tō færan” .
5. Other versions appear, particularly the ending “-anne”, but I do not know when.
So we have “tō ofsliehan” but also “tō ofslēanne” and “tō ofslēane”


  • gesith
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  • Posts: 52
Re: Forming the inflected infinitve.
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 07:24:16 PM »
Don't know if you've encountered this resource, but I found it quite helpful for inflections, and paradigms in general


I think the "-anne/-enne" variation is related to particular dialects/times/personal preference; but only because I've not yet noticed any systematic variation in it from reading OE, and none of the modern books on OE I've read have articulated a rule! Some of the other variations you've noted may have a similar explanation, although I can't immediately recall having seen "to" before a verb without the verb taking one of these endings, or "-nne", in the case of the contracted forms with infinitives ending "-on", although it does ring a bell. I'd be interested in a specific example. The inflected infinite has specific uses, so maybe in the exceptions, the "to + verb" combination is being used with a different meaning?

Something else I always keep in mind when, say, there are just one or two recorded exceptions to an "established" rule, is the assumption that when OE was written down, no-one ever made any grammatical mistakes (we know scribes did, occasionally) and that later copies were always verbatim copies of flawless originals (we know they aren't).


  • Ealdormann
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  • Posts: 620
Re: Forming the inflected infinitve.
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 11:50:36 AM »
I have not come across the inflected infinitive very often so I basically tried finding out more on the internet. Then I thought I would post ideas that were suggested, hoping that others would help me sort out what was right or wrong. From what you say Deoran and from further investigation it looks as though the only endings are “-enne” and “-anne”. The exception being the contracted verbs with “-onne”. Deoran you said that looked familiar . Can I refer you to the site you posted and also Stephen Polligton’s book “First Steps in Old English”. My other hypotheses all look very unlikely. I had thought that I had seen a couple of examples of the “-an” endings but on checking I failed to locate them.