Comparing characteristics of old and middle english


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Comparing characteristics of old and middle english

  1. 1. Comparing Characteristics of Old and Middle EnglishCharacteristic Old English Middle English • Nouns could be of three genders: masculine, feminine or neuter. These • Middle English lost the case suffixes at the ends of nouns. were assigned arbitrarily. • The generalized plural marker became -s, but it still competed with -n.Nouns • Numbers could be either singular or plural. • There were four cases: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive. • There were seven groups of declensions for nouns. • Old English had distinctive forms for all genders, persons, and cases • The dual number disappeared in the pronouns • Old English had a set of forms for two people or two things—the dual • The dative and accusative became the object forms of the pronouns. number • “She” started being used for the feminine singular subject pronounPronouns o ic (I) • “You” (plural form) was used in the singular as a status marker for the o wit (we two) formal. o wē (we plural) • The infinitive of verbs ended in -an. • The third person singular and plural was marked with -(e)th; but the • In the present tense, all verbs had markers for number and person. singular also competed with -(e)sVerbs • The weak past tense added –de. • The strong past tense usually involved a vowel change. • Old English also had many more strong verbs than modern English. • Adjectives could be weak or strong. • Adjectives lost agreement with the noun, but the weak ending -e still • If preceded by a determiner, the weak ending was added to the adjective. remained.Adjectives • If no determiner preceded the adjective, then the strong endings were used. • Adjectives agreed in gender, case and number with the nouns they described. • Adverbs were formed by adding -e to the adjective, or -lic. • The adverb ending -lič became -ly;Adverbs • The syntax of Old English was much more flexible than modern English • Syntax was stricter and more prepositions were used.Syntax because of the declensions of the nouns. • New compound tenses were used, • The use of the verbs will and shall for the future tense were first used too • Pronunciation was characterized by a predictable stress pattern on the first • Pronunciation changes: syllable. o Loss of initial h in a cluster (hleapan - to leap; hnutu - hut)Pronunciation • The length of the vowels was phonemic as there were 7 long and 7 short o [w] lost between consonant and back vowel (w is silent in two, sword, vowels. answer) o [v] lost in middle of words (heofod - head; hæfde - had) • Characters Used in Old English Writing • The writing system changed dramatically in Middle English: o æ (a ligature of "a" and "e) o þ and ð were replaced by th o œ (a ligature of "o" and "e.") o c before i or e became chWriting system o þ (now written "th) o sc became sh o ß (for the "ss" or "sz" sound) o an internal h was added after g o hw became wh o cw became qu