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Strong declension Weak declension

N,G,D,A gōd gōde


Strong declension Weak declension

N,G,D,A gōde gōde

In northern dialects destruction of declension reached its logical end already in the Middle English period: there was lost the only flexion e, the adjective became unchangeable: gōd in all cases, numbers and genders.

-distinction between strong/weak got lost;

-comparative OE -raME -re, then -er (by metathesis), superlative OE -ost, -est →ME -est;

grēt gretter grettest

glad gladder gladdest

Some adjectives retained umlaut in the comparative and superlative degrees: old elder eldest, long lenger longest, strong strenger strengest, but together with them there started to appear forms without alternation (strong stronger strongest). In some cases the old form stood apart from the new formation with a change of meaning (older/elder, oldest/eldest).

Some adjectives formed degrees of comparison from a different root:

Gōd - bettre best

Evil werse werst

Muchel mōre mōst

Litel lasse - lēst

- beginnings of analytical comparison (French influence): swetter/more swete, more swetter, moste clennest; more and moste are used as intensifiers. Morphological forms with more, most are used irrespectively of syllables number: more kind, difficulter.


- retained categories of tense, mood, number, person, strong, weak types

- addition of a new type of verb, two-part or separable verbal expression, use of adverbial particles instead of prefixes used in Old English (e.g. put in, blow out, pick up, take over)

- increased use of weak verbs. Due to general tendency unification of different types and simplification of paradigm many strong verbs joined the weak type during ME period. By the New English period 80 verbs joined the weak type. Thus, the verbs of the 7th class (there still remained 7 classes) slēpen, wēpen, rēden already in OE formed weak forms: slēpte, wēpte, rēdde, while folden, helpen in Late ME.

- as for strong verbs, there happened some important changes too: under the influence of weakening vowels up to e letter, flexions of the infinitive and past plural changed too:

OE wrītan wrāt wrīton wrīten

ME wrīten wrōt writen writen

- use of passive constructions (with 'be' as auxiliary)

- use of modal auxiliaries instead of subjunctive (may, might, be going to, be about to)

- tō started to be used with infinitives as their indicator. However some verbs like beginnen, longen, wishen when next to other verbs were also used without tō: But atte laste speken she began. (But at last speak she began.) Infinitives without tō were also used with verbs of motion: Thow shalt com speken with thi ladi.


Personal Pronouns

- use of 2nd person plural (ye) to address one person as polite form (French influence), eventual loss of singular forms in the18th century

- loss of ch in the first-person singular - ich/I (pronounced as the 'i' in "kid"); me was used for the object case; min(e) and mi - before words beginning with vowel and consonant respectively

- emergence of absolute pronominal forms (ours, hers, yours, theirs)

- second person singular: þu, thou, etc.

- appearance of reflexive pronouns: myself (= myselven and the same form for the other pronouns), thyself, himself, herself, ourself, yourself, themselves

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1038

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