Lecture 10/03

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Eng 121
10/03
Middle English
Topics for today:
Differences between Old English and Middle
English
Why is modern English spelling so
confusing?
Grammar: Old English to Middle
English
What does it mean to say that a language
is “inflected”?
Flexible Word Order
‘The woman saw the man.’
a. Seo cwen gesah Þone guman
=
b. Þone guman gesah seo cwen
‘The man saw the woman.’
Se guma gesah Þa cwen.
=
Þa cwen gesah se guma
the (nom) woman
1. Seo
saw
the (acc.)
man
cwen gesah Þone guman
the (nom) man
saw
the (acc.) woman
2. Se guma gesah Þa
cwen.
He gave me a book for my daughter’s birthday
NOMINATIVE: Subject
– He
ACCUSATIVE: Direct object of a transitive verb
– a book
GENITIVE: Indicates possession
– my daughter’s
DATIVE: indirect object of verbs; objects of prepositions
– me; birthday
Inflections
stán (stone)
Singular
Nominative
se stán
Accusative
þone stán
Genitive
þæs stánes
Dative
þæm stáne
Plural
þá stánas
þá stánasstánas
þára stána
þæm stánum
Question, Does Modern English have any
evidence of inflections?
Is there a mistake in these sentences?
The man go to the store.
Me like to go to see they.
The man goes to the store.
I like to go to see them.
Example of Middle English:
Speculum Vitae (Mirror of Life) possibly by William
of Nassyngton
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In English tonge I schall you telle,
yif ye with me so longe wil dwelle.
No Latyn wil I speke no [nor] waste,
But Englisch, that men vse mast [most],
That can ech man vnderstonde,
That is born in Ingelande.
For that langage is most chewyd [shown],
Os wel among lered [learned] as lewyd [unlearned].
Latyn, as I trowe [believe] , can nane [know none]
But tho [except those], that haueth it in scol tane.
And somme can frenssche and no Latyn,
That vsed hav cowrt and dwellen therein.
And somme can of Latyn a party [part] ,
That can of Frensche but febly.
And somme vnderstonde wel Englysch,
That can nother Laty nor Frankys.
Bothe lered and lewed, olde and yonge,
Alle vnderstonden english tonge
What does it say?
How does it compare to Modern Day
English?
Word order
In English tonge I schall you telle,
How would you say this in modern day
English?
In English tonge I schall you telle,
V
Sub
Obj
Prep Phrase
I shall tell you in English
but…
– Alle vnderstonden english tonge
– Alle vnderstonden english tonge
Sub
Verb
Object
Everyone understands English
Do you see and inflectional endings?
Remember some of the reasons why they
were lost?
Internal:
word stress þæm stáne
lack of regularity
External
– Language contact between Old English and
Old Norse
– Influence of the Danish Kings
Spelling differences
Example in of some different spellings of
“might” in Middle English
Might: mayht; micht; michthe; mihte; mist;
mithe; mouthe; myht; myhte; maht; mahte;
mihhte
Spelling exercise
1. Look at texts A and B below in which certain sounds have been left
out. Which words do you recognize and which text is easier to
read? What implications does this have for possible spelling
reforms?
Text A Schrdr Sgnls H My B Rdy t Gv p Pwr n Grmn
Chncllr Grhrd Schrdr sgnld n Mndy h my b rdy t gv p pwr tw wks ftr
Grmny's mst inconclusive pst-wr lctn, syng h wld ccpt whtvr hs prty
dcds.
Text B öe ia e a e ea o ie U oe i ea
eo ea oee iae o oa he a e ea o ie u oe o ees ae ea o icocuie o-a
eeo, ai e ou ae aee i a eie.
Schröder Signals He May Be Ready to Give
Up Power in Germany
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder signaled
on Monday he may be ready to give up
power two weeks after Germany's most
inconclusive post-war election, saying he
would accept whatever his party decides.
Commonly misspelled words
(examples)
acceptable; accidentally
believe
changeable; conscience
discipline; definitely
embarrassment; experience
foreign;
gauge
height; humorous
acceptable; accidentally
believe
changeable; conscience
discipline; definitely
embarrassment; experience
foreign;
gauge
height; humorous
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