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The Vocalisation of R.

In early NE r was vocalized when it stood after vowels, either finally or followed by another consonant. Losing its consonantal characteristics r turned into the neutral e , which was added to the preceding vowel as a glide thus forming a diphthong.

e.g. ME there [ere]- NE there

Sometimes the only trace left by the loss of r was the compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel

e.g. ME arm[arm] NE arm

If r stood in the final unstressed syllable after e it resulted in the survival of the ending

e.g. NE rider

If the neutral e produced by the vocalization of r was preceded by a diphthong, it was added to the diphthong to form a sequence of sounds named triphthong

e.g. NE shower

 

Changes in the form-building means in ME and ENE. The means of form-building changed greatly in ME as the proportion of synthetic forms fell (inflections, sound-interchange, suppletion) and new analytical forms developed. The main change in the synthetic means of form-building were: 1) the reduction (to the neutral []) and leveling of most OE endings (plural- en>es)and the loss of most of them, especially the vowel endings in ENE; 2) greater restrictions in the use of sound-interchange, although some new instances appeared in the irregular verbs; 3) the loss of the OE prefix ge>ME y>loss. Suppletive form-building was confined to a few words. Sound-interchanges were not very productive (occurred in verbs, adjectives , nouns). Inflections (gram. suffixes and endings) were used in all the inflected parts of speech. In ME Analytical forms appeared in the system of verbs and adjectives: mostly in ME and later. They developed from free syntactic groups (phrases, constructions). The first component of which gradually lost its lexical meaning and turned into a grammatical marker. The second component retained its lexical meaning and acquired a grammatical function. Analytical form-building was not equally productive in all parts of speech. It transformed the morphology of the verb but has not affected the noun. Some nominal categories were lost:gender and case in adjectives, gender in nouns; the cases of nouns and pro-nouns, numbers in personal pronouns were reduced. In Late ME the distinction in number and the distinction of weak and strong forms of adjectives were lost (more, most). The number of verbal grammatical categories increased, as the number of forms within the categories. The verb acquired the categories of Voice (Passive), Time correlation (Phase; perfect, non-perfect) and Aspect. Within the category of tense there developed a new form- the Future tense. In the category of mood there arose new forms of the Subjunctive. The infinitive and the participle, having lost many nominal features developed verbal features: they acquired new analytical forms and new categories. The main changes at the syntactical level were: the rise of new syntactic patterns of the word-phrase and the sentence, the growth of predicative constructions, the development of the complex sentences and the diverse means of connecting clauses. The most important innovation in the adjective system in ME period was the growth of analytical forms of the degree of comparison- more, most were used with all kinds of adjectives, but preferred with mono- and disyllabic words.    
Changes in the nominal grammatical categories in ME and ENE. Themorphology of the noun, adjective, pronoun was considerably simplified. Already in the 15th century they acquired their modern characteristics. In OE the nominal categories were- gender, case, number. 1) in EME gender in nouns and adjectives ceased to be distinguished. It was reflected only in pronouns. In EME nouns were grouped into classes of type of declension according to gender instead of stems. The weakened and leveled endings of adjectives and adjective pronouns ceased to indicate gender; 2) 2 numbers were preserved and were distinguished in nouns and pronouns through all historical periods. But in adjectives this category was lost by the end of ME. The dual number disappeared in EME. In late ME the ending es was the prevalent marker of nouns in the plural. ; 3) case-the number of cases were reduced to 3 cases in EME (common, dative, genitive) and then to 2 (common<resultd from the fusion of 3 OE cases; genitive) in late ME in nouns and pronouns. But their development in nouns and pronouns was different. The former case relations were expressed by prepositions or by the position of word in the sentence. The adjectives lost all the traces in case distinctions in ME. The role of weak and strong declension changed. The category of definiteness and indefiniteness was shown in OE by the 2-fold declension of adjectives. In ME it was expressed in the adjectives by the ending e. Strong decl.sg. good; pl.-goode. Weak sg.- goode; pl.- goode. When e was reduced and lost this category ceased to be distinguished with adjectives. In ENE the Nom case of pronouns began to merge with the Objective case. The OE gen. Case of personal pronouns split from the other forms and turned into a new class of pronouns-possessive. The OE oblique case-forms of personal pronouns and the ME possessive pronouns gave rise to one more type of pronouns-reflexive. They developed from combinations of some forms of personal pronouns with the adjective self. In the coarse of ME there arose a difference between the demonstrative pronouns and the definite article: as a demonstrative pronoun that preserved number distinctions, as a definite article it was uninflected.     The noun in ME and early NE   The OE noun had the gr. cat. of Number and Case. The Southern dialects simplified and rearranged the noun declensions on the basis of stem and gender distinctions. In Early ME they employed only four markers - -es, -en, -e, and the root-vowel interchange plus the bare stem ( the zero- inflection) - but distinguished several paradigms. Masc and Neuter nouns had two declensions, weak and strong, with certain differences between the genders. Masc nouns took the ending -es in the Nom., Acc pl, while Neuter nouns had variant forms: e.g. Masc fishes Neut land/lande/landes Most Fem nouns belonged to the weak declensions and were declined like weak Masc and Neuter nouns. The root-stem declention had mutated vowels in some forms and that vowel interchange was becoming a marker of number rather than case. In the Midlands and Northern dialects the system of declension was much simplier. There was only one major type of declension and a few traces of other types. The majority of nouns took the endings of Oemasc a-stems: -(e)s in the gen sg, -(e)s in the pl irrespective of case. Most nouns distinguished two forms: the basic form with the zero ending and the form in (e)s . The OE Gender disappeared together with other distinctive features of the noun declensions The gr category of Case was preserved but underwent profound changes in Early ME. The number of cases in the noun paradigm was reduced from four to two in Late ME. In the 14th century the ending es of the Gen sg had become almost universal. In the pl the Gen case had no special marker- it was not distinguished from the common case. Several nouns with a weak plural form in en or a vowel interchange (oxen, men) added the marker of the Gen case to these forms. Number is the most stable of all the nominal categories. The number preserved the formal distinction of two numbers. es was the prevalent marker of nouns in the plural.   The adjective In the course of the ME period the adjective underwent greater simplifying changes. It lost all its gr categories with the exception of the degrees of comparison. In OE the adjective was declined to show the gender, case and number of the noun it modified, it had a five-case paradigm and two types of declension, weak and strong. The first category that disappeared was gender in the 11th century. The most important innovation in the adjective system in the ME period was the growth of analytical forms of the degrees of comparison. The new system of comparison emerged in ME, but the ground for it had already been prepared by the use of OE adverbs ma, bet, betst, swipor - more, better , to a greater degree with adjectives and participles.     The pronoun In ME and Early NE the pronouns were subjected to extensive grammatical changes. The cat of number was brought into conformity with the corresponding categories of nouns and verbs: the forms of the dual number of the 1st and 2nd person went into disuse in Early ME. The cat of case underwent profound alterations. The forms of the Dat and the Acc cases began to merge in OE. The results of this simplification: two cases fell together (Dat and Acc), into what may be called the Objective cases, but its distinction from the Nom case was preserved. In Late ME the paradigm of personal pronouns consisted of two cases: Nom and Objective. In Early NE the Nom case began to merge with the Obj.case . Yet the tendency to reduce the case system of personal pronouns was not fully realized. Only two personal pronouns you and it lost all case distinctions in NE. The loss of case distinctions by these two pronouns did not break the paradigm of personal pronouns, since the other pronouns preserved the distinctions of two cases Nom and Obj.( I-me,she her, ) ,therefore the non-distinctive forms you and it are merely instances of homonymy in the two-case system. The OE Gen case of personal pronouns split from the other forms and turned into a new class of pronouns Possesive. In Early NE there arose a new possessive pronoun its derived from it, its was built on analogy of the Gen case of nouns, of the form his or the new variant of other possessive pronouns: oures,yours. The EO oblique case-forms of personal pronouns and the ME possessive pronouns gave rise to one more type of pronouns reflexive. Reflexive pronouns developed from the combination of some forms of personal pronouns with the adj self. (myself) Demonstrative pronouns were adjective-pronouns. In Early ME and OE the demonstrative pronoune se, seo, paet and pes, peos, pis lost most of their inflected forms and out of 17 forms retained only two .The ME descendants of these forms are that and this.    
Grammatical changes in the verb in ME and ENE . In OE the verb had the following categories: person, number, tense, mood. In ME there appeared new categories and new forms within the existing categories (aspect, voice; Future tense in the category of tense). As a result of these changes the endings were reduced -an, -en. The new forms were used without endings. The past tense plural-OE bundon>ME bounden>ENE bound. The present tense plural- OE bindaþ>ME binden>NE bind. Infinitive- bindan>binden>bind. Many forms became homonymous. The ending st, used until the 17th century was lost when the pronoun þu>thou (2nd p sg). In ME there appeared a new from- the ending s in the Pr. Tense. 3d p.sg. it came from the Northern dialect. (bindeth>bindes). In the language of Shakespeare the 2 forms were employed. Only in the 18th century s became the universal marker of the Pr. Tense. 3d p.sg. on the whole the conjugation of the verb was employed due to: -phonetic development (reduction, complete reduction); -the process of analogy; - the intermixture of dialects.  
Simplifying changes in the verb conjugation in ME. Many markers of the grammatical forms of the verb were reduced, leveled or lost. ME forms of the verb are represented by numerous variants, which reflect dialectal differences. The EME dialects supplied a store of parallel variant forms. Number distinctions became regular. In the 13-14th centuries the ending -en turned into the main marker of the pl. forms of the verb (variants- eth, es in the Pr. Indicative, in dialects). It was used in both tenses of the Indicative and Subjunctive moods. In most classes of strong verbs (except 6 ,7) there was an additional distinctive feature between the sg and the pl forms in the Past tense of the Ind.mood: the 2 past tense stems had different root vowels. The ending en was dropped in the 15th cent. The past tense stems of the strong verbs merged into 1 from. All number distinctions were lost (except 2nd, 3d). The sg forms were marked by the ending eth/es and were formally opposed to the forms of the pl. The verb to be retained number distinctions in both tenses of the Ind mood. The differences in the forms of person were maintained in ME. The OE endings of the 3d p sg (-þ, eþ, iaþ) merged into a single ending (e)th. The ending (e)st of the 2nd p sg became obsolete together with the pronoun thou. The replacement of thou by you eliminated the distinction of person in the verb paradigm (exception- 3d p Pr tense). In OE only the 1stp sg of the Present tense and the 1st and 3d p sg of the past were homonymous. In ME the homonymy of the mood forms grew. The indicative and the subjunctive moods could no longer b distinguished in the pl. En became the dominant flection of the Ind pl i the Present and Past. In the Past tense of strong verbs the difference between the moods in the sg could be shown by means of a root-vowel interchange. When in the 15th century the 2 past tense stems of the strong verbs merged, all the forms of the moods in the Past tense fell together (exception- to be- were, was).  
Evolution of weak verbs in ME and ENE. Weak verbs were historically younger but turned out to be far more productive as they had a simple and regular way of building forms, which was easily applied in ME to former strong verbs new formations, and to a great number of borrowed words. Especially productive was class 2. In ME there existed only 2 classes of weak verbs with slight differences between them. In ME the 3d class consisted only of few verbs (have, OE habban, libban, secgan). The 3d class ceased to exist altogether. The OE verbs of class 3 either joined the other classes other classes of weak verbs (libban)or became irregular (secgan, habban). ME verbs of Class 1 took the ending de in the Past without an intermediate vowel before the dental suffix and the ending- ed in the PII.they had descended from OE verbs of class 1 with a long-root syllable. The verbs of Class 2 (-ode, od) had weakened their endings to -ede, -ed in ME. Since a few verbs of OE Class 1 had -ede, -ed, they are included in Class 2. Late ME weak verbs are the immediate source of modern regular verbs. When the neutral vowel was reduced and lost, the differences between the 2 classes were lost too. The differences between 2d and 3d principal forms were eliminated. The vowel in the suffix is preserved today only after t, d (wanted). Ode- the most productive ending. ode>ed>t/d/id. Class 1. OE deman (Past tense- demde; PII-demed) >ME deemen (Past tense- deemde; PII-deemed). Class 2. OE- locian(Past tense- locode; PII-locod)> ME loken (Past tense- loked(e); PII-loked). The development of the inflection (e)de in ENE shows the origins of the modern variants of the forms of the Past tense and PII in regular verbs. Many former strong verbs began to build weak forms alongside strong ones.
ME non-standard verbs weak by origin. These verbs go back to OE regular and irregular verbs of Class 1. Several groups developed from the weak verbs of Class 1. Nowadays they employ various form-building devices: the dental suffix, vowel and consonant interchanges. (1) verbs like sellan (sell) and tacan (teach)had an interchange in the root caused by palatal mutation in the Present tense stem and its absence in the other stems. In ME and NE the verbs preserved the root-vowel interchange, but some vowels were altered due to quantitative and qualitative changes. OE felan-felde-feled. ME feelen-feel-3d form disappeared. The 2nd was used instead. OE tellan-tealde-teald. ME tellen-tolde-told. ea in ME due to monophthongisation became a (before ld)>a: (was narrowed in EME)>o: (GVShift)> o. (2) the verbs like set, cut, put with the root ending in a dental consonant, added the dental suffix without [e]. They appeared due to the process of assimilation and reduction in ME (OE sette>ME set(ten)-set(te)-set(te)). When the inflections were reduced and dropped, the 3 stems of the verbs -Present, Past and PII fell together. The final t of the root had absorbed the dental suffix. (3) they became irregular in EME as a result of quantitative vowel changes. In verbs like cepan, metan the long vowel in the root was shortened before 2 consonants in the Past and PII. OE cepan-cepte-cept>ME kepan-kepte-kept The long vowel in the present tense stem was preserved and was altered during the GVSh (i:>e).    
Strong verbs and their devolution. The system of the strong verbs had undergone alternations in connection with the general tendency, which led to the falling of inflections. Within one and the same class different forms were generalized and it led to the disintegration of classes. Due to the reduction of unstressed vowels the forms of the PII and Past tense pl. became identical. They had the same ending as in Infinitive- an, on, en (reduced to)>ME en. OE writan-wrat-writton (past pl.)-written (PII). In Classes 6-7, where the infinitive and the Participle had the same gradation vowel, these forms fell together. In ME and ENE the root-vowels in the principal forms of all classes of strong verbs underwent the regular changes of stressed vowel. Lengthening of vowels before some consonant sequences split the verbs of class 3 into 2 subgroups: verbs like findan had now long root-vowel in all the forms. In the verbs like drinken the root-vowel remained short. Thus ME writen and finden (Class 1 and 3)had the same vowel in the infinitive but different vowels in the Past and PII. Classes began to intermixture. In concerned mostly Classes 1-3, 4-5. Classes 1-3.in Class 3 the verb acquired the same long vowel as had always existed in Class 1. The 3d and 4th principal forms coincided. The final n was lost in the infinitive and the Past tense pl, but was sometimes preserved in PII. Classes 4-5. The difference between the classes was already very slight in OE. (class 4 OE beran-bær-bæron-boren. Class 5 OE sprecan-spræcan-spræcon- spræcen). Class 4 :>a> >o:. Class 5 :>a> :>o:. PII acquired long root vowel o: due to the lengthening of syllables. O: appeared by analogy with the class 4. PII of Classes 2 and 4, 6 acquired long-root-vowels [o:] and [a:] due to the lenghtening in open syllables, while in the Participle in Class 1-the vowel remained short. The strong verbs were influenced by analogy. They lost practically all consonant interchanges in ME and ENE. Class 5 began to built the PII like verbs od Class 4. The most important change in the system of strong verbs was the reduction in the number of stems from 4 to 3, by removing the distinctions between the 2 past tense stems. In OE these stems had the same gradation vowels only in Classes 6, 7. In OE there exist 2 forms of the Past tense- sg, pl. in ME the 4 principal forms were reduced o 3. In western dialects the form of the Past tense sg joined the past tense pl. In the Northern dialect the form of the Past tense pl. changed by analogy with the Past tense sg (Class 1 OE ridan>ME riden-rod-riden-riden). Past pl became the same as the Past sg. (NE ride-rod-riden). The tendency to reduce the number of stems continued in ENE. At this stage it affected the distinction between the new Past tense stem and PII. Another important event in the history of strong verbs was their transition into weak. In ME and ENE many strong verbs began to form their Past and PII with the help of the dental suffix. After the Norman conquest more than 100 native verbs came out of use, they were replaced by loan words. In OE less than 100 native verbs. The disappearance of strong verbs continued in ME. A few 30 verbs became obsolete in ME. A few strong verbs became weak- burn, climb, flee, blow, help, step, walk. 128 verbs acquired weak meaning. Only 68 strong verbs are in use in Modern E. To this number must be added 13 verbs, conjugated in both ways. Very few weak verbs joined strong- wear, dig, slick (; ) and 3 borrowings: take, thrive (, ), strive ().

 




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