Welcome to the discussion forum of Ða Engliscan Gesiðas for all matters relating to the history, language and culture of Anglo-Saxon England. I hope it will provide a useful source of information, stimulate research, and be of real help. Ða Engliscan Gesiðas (The English Companions) maintains a strictly neutral line on all modern and current political and religious matters and it does not follow any particular interpretation of history. Transgression of this Rule will not be tolerated. Any posts which are perceived as breaking this Rule will be deleted with immediate effect without explanation.

Author Topic: What is the ?  (Read 8476 times)

David

  • Ealdormann
  • *****
  • Posts: 607
What is the ?
« on: August 15, 2011, 05:08:43 PM »
I have just got to page 12 of Withiwinde, to Learn Old English with Leofwin.
I was surprised to find that the masculine singular for the was sē (that is with a long e).
I went straight to my dictionary, J. R. Clark Hall, and that agreed.
I thought it was se with a short e, probably the neutral e.
I checked in my Wordcraft, Stephen Pollington, which gave the short e.

Teach Yourself Old English by Mark Atherton, the Fellowships correspondence course and First Steps in Old English by Stephen Pollington all appear to use se, with the short neutral e.
Can anyone enlighten me ?



leofwin

  • Guest
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2011, 07:46:29 PM »
should be a short e, no macron.  my bad!

I don't think Atherton uses macrons anywhere in 'Teach Yourself'.

David

  • Ealdormann
  • *****
  • Posts: 607
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2011, 10:46:50 PM »
Thank you Leofwin, but that still leaves J. R. Clark Hall using the macron.

I concluded that Mark Atherton and Stephen Pollington both used the short neutral e after listening to their C.D.s

leofwin

  • Guest
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2011, 10:49:45 AM »
'se' DOES have a macron when it's being a relative pronoun, and that's how CH first defines the word. He seems to add 'se' meaning the definitie article as a bit of an afterthought, and presumably forgot that it loses the macron.

Linden

  • Hlaford
  • ****
  • Posts: 391
  • Essex scirgerefa
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2011, 10:57:02 AM »
According to Campbell's 'Old English Grammar', 'se' along with 'e.g. þu, þe, me,we,ge, he, nu, geo/iu, swæ, to and bi' can be "accented and lengthened" or "unaccented and unlengthened" but they are "usually printed in this book [i.e. 'Old English Grammar'] in unaccented form".

Hope this helps because it looks as if everyone is right!!!!

P.S. Reference in Campbell, if anyone wants to look it up is §125. Also, as is pointed out in §26, the vowel can erroneously be marked as long rather than short in manuscripts where it is unstressed - so even the native speakers of the time appear to have been a bit unsure as to when to use the stressed/unstressed and therefore long/short versions of vowels.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 11:02:28 AM by Linden »
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

peter horn

  • Hlaford
  • ****
  • Posts: 365
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2011, 09:23:42 PM »
Perhaps the native speakers of the time didn't have a received pronunciation.
Ic ∂ær ær wæs
Ic ∂æt ær dyde

leofwin

  • Guest
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2011, 11:17:51 AM »
Thanks for that Linden - it's always good to have someone else cover one's mistakes! It makes me wonder who began the tradition of using macrons -  presumably one of the eminent Victorian Anglo-saxonists - and how they justified some of their judgements.

I think it's time for a new book on the history of Old English studies.....

Horsa

  • Guest
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2011, 03:00:38 PM »
the vowel can erroneously be marked as long rather than short in manuscripts where it is unstressed - so even the native speakers of the time appear to have been a bit unsure as to when to use the stressed/unstressed and therefore long/short versions of vowels.

What? They marked long vowels in manuscripts? Erroneously or otherwise, this is the first I've heard of this.

I, for one, really like macrons. I know that manuscripts didn't have them but if you're going to reproduce OE text in a modern font for readability, expanding abbreviations, substituting notas, yoghs and wynns, then you might as well throw in some notation on our best guess on how the language sounded, especially seeing as vowel length was not only a structural component of poetry but also distinguished words otherwise spelt the same.

The thing that I'm still wrestling with after 19 years of study is short diphthongs.

Linden

  • Hlaford
  • ****
  • Posts: 391
  • Essex scirgerefa
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2011, 09:40:51 PM »
.....................What? They marked long vowels in manuscripts? Erroneously or otherwise, this is the first I've heard of this.
........................................The thing that I'm still wrestling with after 19 years of study is short diphthongs.

Hi Phil
I was referring to Campbell's description of the sometimes confused/confusing use of either double vowels or 'acute accents' to mark what appear generally to be stressed (and therefore long??) vowels and the occasional apparent such marking on what could only be an unstressed, short vowel.  Para §26 refers if you have a copy of 'Old English Grammar'.  Have I interpreted this incorrectly?

Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

David

  • Ealdormann
  • *****
  • Posts: 607
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2011, 11:05:22 AM »

I agree with Horsa about macrons being useful and, if anything, would like to see more accents.

They could differentiate between the two short "e"s and the consonants that have more than one sound.

Horsa

  • Guest
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2011, 08:41:31 PM »

Hi Phil
I was referring to Campbell's description of the sometimes confused/confusing use of either double vowels or 'acute accents'...  Have I interpreted this incorrectly?


Sorry Linden, you must be confusing me with an Old English expert. I should read this Campbell fellow. I've always been interested in how they worked out what vowels were long and what were short. You'd think that 'hate' would have descended from a word with a long a and 'hot' would have descended from a word with a short a, but macrons tell a different story, and I'm really glad they're there. Occasionally I've come across texts that have been printed preserving the original orthography and I've seen double vowels, and I've wondered if some scribes had attempted to show vowel length this way.

David, older teaching texts not only have macrons but they also have dotted consonants - ċ = palatized c or ch, and ġ = palatized g or y. I learnt OE from Sweet and quickly internalized the rules for the cs and the gs, and learnt off by heart which words had long vowels and diphthongs and which had short. I would say that I know the rules for about 65% to 75% of my vocabulary. I feel so clever and smug now when I read a digitized manuscript image and pronounce the short and long vowels. I would hate to have learnt OE from texts that didn't have macrons.

Georius - JB

  • Guest
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2011, 11:09:09 PM »

... You'd think that 'hate' would have descended from a word with a long a and 'hot' would have descended from a word with a short a...

Considering Middle English material is actually of paramount importance here, especially since many Modern English phonological reflexes are difficult to pin-point in terms of their origin (the pronounciation may have entered the standard from one dialect and the spelling from another). Hate is actually a regular development of the OE hete if you take into account the Middle English short vowel lengthening, which explains the Modern English diphthong in hate. Hot, however, is more problematic; we cannot really say whether the modern monophthong is as such due to a sporadic development, or whether, more likely, the vowel was shortened by some "relatively" regular process. It requires etymological research.

Sorry for this slight digression  :)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 09:30:28 AM by Georius - JB »

Jayson

  • Hlaford
  • ****
  • Posts: 302
  • Knowledge is of no use unless it is passed on...
Re: What is the ?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2011, 04:28:52 PM »
Perhaps the native speakers of the time didn't have a received pronunciation.  (Peter Horn)

----I'm sure you're right, Peter, since the A-S period was over 600 years long and the pronunciation must have varied according to area and century just as ours has over the past 600 years.

On this subject, I wonder if 'c' was always pronounced as a 'ch' before i and e since, for instance, their word for 'acre' was apparently 'aCHer' and our is pronounced 'aKer'.   And there seem to be various words like this.   What does everyone think?

BTW, going back to 'the', I must admit that when I found that there were 32 ways of saying it I gulped and am now hesitating about going further with learning the language!
Wessex Woman