The OE noun had two grammatical or morphological categories :number and case. In addition, nouns distinguished three genders, but this distinction was not a grammatical category.The category of number consisted of two members, singular and plural.The noun had four cases: Nominative, Genitive, Dative and Accusative. The ,most remarkable feature of OE nouns was their elaborate system of declensions, which was a sort of morphological classification. The total number of declensions, including both the major and minor types, exceeded twenty-five. The OE system of declensions was based on a number of distinctions: the stem-suffix, the gender of nouns, the phonetic structure of the word, phonetic changes in the final syllables.
The morphological classification of OE nouns rested upon the most ancient (IE) grouping of nouns according to the stem-suffixes.
The morphological classification OE nouns rested upon the most ancient grouping of nouns according to the stem-suffixes. Some groups jf nouns had no stem-forming suffix or had a zero-suffix; they are usually termed root-stems and are grouped together with consonantal stems, as their roots ended in consonants, e.g. OE man, boc (NE man, book).These substantives seem to represent the oldest type, stemmingfrom the period when there were no stem-forming suffixes and the root was used as a stem without addition of any special stem-forming element.
This type of stem is represented in various Indo-European languages. Thus in Latin we find substantives of the 3rd declension rex 'king', gen. sing, reg-is, etc. In Gothic we find a clear example of a root stem in the substantive baurgs 'borough', whose declension is only complicated by the adoption of the -im ending in the dative plural on the analogy of i-stems (baurgim).
In OE there are a number of substantives of all three genders which wholly or partly belong to the root-stem declension.
The fact that the case endings were joined on immediately to the root in words of this type led to a change in the root vowel. Consequences of this change make themselves felt in several English substantives down to the present time.
The masculine substantives hselep 'hero' (cp. German Held) and monap 'month' are close to this type in so far as they often have in the nominative and accusative plural forms without endings: haslep, tnonap.
Feminine root stems with a short syllable in the nominative singular has the ending -u; those with a long root syllable have no ending at all in this case.
The substantive wifman, wimman 'woman' is declined in the same way as mann. Other examples of root stems are: feminine ac 'oak', sat 'goat'.
The OE root stems correspond to Latin 3rd declension substantives, as pes, pedis 'foot'; pax, pads 'peace'.
OE was a synthetic or inflected type of lang.; it showed the relations between words and expressed other gram. Meanings mainly with the help of simple gram. Forms. In building garm.forms OE employed gram.endings, sound interchanges in the root, gram prefixes and suppletive formation.
Gram.endings were certainly the principal form-building means used:they were found in all the parts of speech that could change their form. Sound interchanges were employed on a more limited scale and were often combined with other form-building means, especially endings.
The use of prefixes in gram.forms was rare & was confined to verbs.
The parts of speech: nouns, adject., pronouns, numerals, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections. Inflected parts of speech possessed certain gram. Categories, which are usually subdivided into nominal categories(found in nominal parts of speech) & verbal categories(found chiefly in the finite verbs). There were 5 nominal gram.categories : number, case, gender, degrees of comparison & the category of definiteness\indefiniteness.
35. OE personal pronouns.
OE personal pronouns had 3 persons, 3 numbers(sing, dual, plural) in the 1st and 2nd persons; 3 genders(masculine, feminine, neutral) in the 3rd person. The pronouns of the 1st and 2nd had suppletive forms; the pronouns of the 3rd person had many affinities with the demonstrative pronouns.
In OE personal pronouns began to lose some of their case distinctions: the forms of the Dat. Case were frequently used instead of the Acc.: in fact the fusion of these 2 cases in the plural was completed in the West Saxon dialect already in Early OE: Acc. ēowic & ūsic were replaced by Dat. ēow & ūs. In the singular, usage was variable but variant forms revealed the same tendency to generalize the form of the Dat. for both cases.
The Gen. Case of personal pronouns had 2 main applications: like other oblique cases of noun-pronouns it could be an object, but far more frequently it was used as an attribute or a noun determiner.: e.g. sunu mīn, NE my son; his fæder(his father). The grammatical characteristics of the forms of the Gen.case, that were employed as possessive pronouns, were not homogeneous. The forms of the 1st and 2nd persons: mīn, ūre and others were declined like adjectives to show agreement with the nouns they modified, while the forms of the 3rd person behaved like nouns: they remained uninflected and didnt agree with the nouns they modified.