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Author Topic: Endings  (Read 7657 times)

David

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Endings
« on: April 16, 2011, 08:30:40 PM »

I am working through Stephen Pollington’s First Steps in Old English and have just got to chapter 6. This says there is a group of masculine nouns whose plurals are not formed with –as. I was surprised to see stede given as an example. Stede appeared in the Gesiðas correspondence as a normal strong masculine noun, so I assumed that the plural was stedas, although it did not appear in the plural. I checked on an online translator which gave the plural stedeas.

This was followed by some verbs such as settan, fremman and nerian with he seteþ, he fremeþ and we neriaþ. I think I have seen he settaþ, he sett, he fremmaþ and we nereaþ.

I assume that all of these are correct West Saxon so are they from different time periods or what ?


leofwin

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Re: Endings
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2011, 11:38:48 AM »
Hi David
re 'stede' - I think it's a strong masculine noun, so 'stedas' in the plural

'settan' and 'fremman' are class 1a weak verbs: they lose the double consonant in the second and third person singular ðu setest, he seteð

'nerian' is a class 1b weak verb - ic nerie, ðu nerest, he nereð. we neriað

David

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Re: Endings
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2011, 03:20:27 PM »
Leofwin,

I happily accept that the alternative versions of the verbs could just be errors.

Stede is a different case.
You appear to be saying that the plural is stedas and no alternative is worthy of mention.
Stephen seems to be saying that the plural is stede and no alternative is worthy of mention.
Maybe the two of you could get together and pool your edvidence to come up with a more comprehensive scenario.

David.

Horsa

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Re: Endings
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2011, 04:14:00 PM »
There are some errors on the translator.

I normally go to Bosworth and Toller for my grammar information though that doesn't seem to help in the case of 'stede'.

Checking Sweet's Anglo-Saxon primer it says: "severl nouns have no.acc.pl. in -e instead of  -as. These are mostly names of peoples: Dene 'Danes', Engle 'English, Mierce 'mercians... but there are a few common nouns occurring only in plural: ielde 'men', lēode people. Wine sometimes has plural in -e, as well as -as: so also, less often stede, cwide."

So, it looks like it's both.

As you are probably aware, Old English was not a single unified language. Standard West Saxon is the language that is taught in beginner texts, but it is to a certain extent an artificial language, especially with all those helpful macrons and dotted gs and cs.

I'm pretty sure that -ean and -eaþ are common variants of -ian -iaþ.

Likewise the other forms may just be acceptable variants rather than errors.

David

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Re: Endings
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2011, 09:51:11 PM »
Horsa, thanks for the enlightening information.

I was feeling greedy when I suggested someone offer a more comprehensive scenario.
I was hoping that someone would say something like. "The Old English period started with more small declensions. As time went on people slipped into using the more common endings until nouns like stede joined a major declension. Other such examples are... "
Well I can always dream.

Did some strong verbs evolve into weak ones ?
Did faran weaken to become feran ?

David.

Horsa

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Re: Endings
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 05:52:36 AM »
Horsa, thanks for the enlightening information.

I was feeling greedy when I suggested someone offer a more comprehensive scenario.
I was hoping that someone would say something like. "The Old English period started with more small declensions. As time went on people slipped into using the more common endings until nouns like stede joined a major declension.

Well that is pretty much what happened. Pretty much all nouns are strong masculine declensions now apart from a few like children, oxen, feet, sheep, geese and mice.

It would take someone way more learned in the arts of Old English to pinpoint times and texts where certain word classes collapsed together. I know in Old Icelandic the date of Snorri Sturluson's death marks a point in the development of the language where the strong masculine nominative ending -r as in hestr and maðr got a vowel hestur and maður.

I also know that at some point in the late Old English period sprǽcan became spécan and the feminine dative/genetive of the possessive adjective went from mínre to míre

It would be nice if someone on here could point out when and where certain changes took place, but the best thing to do is get good at Standard West Saxon then tackle texts and see the crazy alternative forms and spellings. Reading post conquest English it took me ages to realise that erendrake was ǽrendracu and not some kind of dragon.

Did some strong verbs evolve into weak ones ?
Did faran weaken to become feran ?


Don't know about faran vs. feran, but check out climb and help.

Deorca

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Re: Endings
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2011, 10:29:48 AM »
Well that is pretty much what happened. Pretty much all nouns are strong masculine declensions now apart from a few like children, oxen, feet, sheep, geese and mice.
My better half was talking a while ago about elks, only she used the N.American word 'moose'. And then pluralised it to 'meese'   ;D The crazy thing was, although it sounded funny, it felt perfectly natural.

I also know that at some point in the late Old English period sprǽcan became spécan and the feminine dative/genetive of the possessive adjective went from mínre to míre
Later - both spécan and míre were used by the author of the Fonthill letter (the illustrious Ordlaf) in the early 10thC, but you're right that the forms are regarded as late WS.

Jim

leofwin

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Re: Endings
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2011, 03:17:11 PM »
um, I can think of at least two verbs that were weak and has become strong -
dig - digged   is now dig - dug
In American English dive - dived has become dive - dove

and how about the tangled forest of lie - lay,    lay - laid, and the now almost univeral he lays on the bed, he laid on the bed.

It's a jungle out there, and nothing stays the same for very long!

Iohannes

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Re: Endings
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2011, 04:21:39 PM »
Quote
Later - both spécan and míre were used by the author of the Fonthill letter (the illustrious Ordlaf) in the early 10thC, but you're right that the forms are regarded as late WS.

Hi Jim,

Can you give me a link to a text of the Fonthill letter on the web, please? I looked up Google for ages, but I couldn't find anything except a link to an anthology, which could be neither printed nor downloaded, on Google Books.

Horsa

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Re: Endings
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2011, 03:54:01 PM »
You'd think this stuff would be easier to get hold of on the internet. It's great that the entire poetic corpus is available, but being greedy, I want all the prose too. I'm wondering if the prose texts themselves are copyrighted due to the work done by interpreting the manuscripts, or if there are just too few Old English fans to get this stuff up on the internet.

David

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Re: Endings
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2011, 12:45:41 PM »

Earlier I asked whether strong verbs evolved into weak ones. In particular, did faran weaken to become fēran. No-one answered that.
Well today I was reading A Guide to Old English by Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson. In appendix B they said that weak class 1 verbs are derived from nouns, adjectives and strong verbs. They give fēran as deriving from fōr, the preterite of faran, using the i-mutation.
They did not say how they knew it came from the verb rather than the noun fōr.

Georius - JB

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Re: Endings
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2011, 12:21:51 AM »


They did not say how they knew it came from the verb rather than the noun fōr.


The derivation of féran must have taken place in the Proto-Germanic period - we can assume this due to the presence of cognates in other Old Germanic languages, whereas its phonetic properties alone date it to the West Germanic period, at least (namely mutation and the subsequent *-j- drop  - *-j- was the suffix used to form Weak Type 1 verbs).

The noun fór seems to be an OE product, as no other cognates are to be spotted (though, I've only had the chance to do a brief search) and as such it is probably a deverbative formation, since we can clearly posit a chronology for féran.

I hope this helps.

Edited for some errors.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 10:15:32 AM by Georius - JB »