Differences between old english and modern english

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  • 1.  Old English = Anglo-Saxon = OE › 500-1100 AD Modern English = MnE
  • 2.  Modern English retains almost all Anglo-Saxon consonant sounds, however a number of differences in orthography or pronunciation exist: Ð/ð and Þ/þ (eth and thorn) both sounded as [ð], [θ] Ƿ/ƿ (wynn) came from runes to make a [w] sound C was only pronounced [k], [t∫] (before e or i) or [dʒ] (in ‘cg’) [r] was rolled in OE J, k, q, v, z added to regular use in Modern English spelling the [x], [ç] and [ɣ] sounds are not found in Standard English anymore
  • 3.  Anglo-Saxon vowels sounded very different to Modern English Æ/æ (ash) Each vowel had a short and lengthened version. Lengthened is literally just held for a longer time a sounds as MnE father. æ sounds as MnE cat. e sounds as MnE fate. i sounds as MnE feet. o sounds as MnE boat. u sounds as MnE tool. y like the ü in German über or Füße, or like the u in French tu or dur. ie like the i of MnE sit.
  • 4.  6 different diphthongs in Old English › Ea = æ + a › Eo = e + o › Ie = i + e + Lengthened versions of each
  • 5.  Verbs generally all had an -an ending in the infinitive form  In Anglo-Saxon, strong verbs have vowels in the stem of the word changed  A number of strong verbs remain in Modern English. Eg: sing → sang → sung  7 classes of strong verbs, sorted by stem vowel, conjugated into three tenses, as well as the infinitive formInfinitive Past Singular Past Plural Past Participlewrítan (to write) wrát writon writensnípan (to cut) snáþ snidon sniden
  • 6.  Weak verbs had 3 classes and 2 forms plus the infinitive  Weak vowels add -d or -t suffixes for tense change.  ‘-d’ in Modern English can now be a marker of a regular verbInfinitive Past Tense Past Participledéman (to judge) démde démedhíeran (to hear) híerde híered
  • 7.  In Modern English our verbs agree with subject in number › I like, she likes, they like As well as infinitive, there are four forms verbs can be inflected to make Infinitive Present Present Past Past Participle Participle To like Like Liking Liked Liked
  • 8.  Anglo-Saxon used many more inflected forms of nouns, pronouns and adjectives with suffixes showing number, gender and case (nominative, accusative, etc.) Barely occurs in Modern English except for the plural ‘s’ and the different forms of pronouns
  • 9.  Single Masc. Neut. Fem. N* blæc (black) blæc blacu G blaces blaces blæcre D blacum blacum blæcre A blæcne blæc blace I blace blace - Plural N blace blacu blaca G blacra blacra blacra D blacum blacum blacum A blace blacu blaca
  • 10. Function Singular Plural 1st PersonSubject I WeObject Me UsPossessor My/mine Our(s) 2nd PersonSubject/Object You YouPossessor Your(s) Your(s) 3rd PersonSubject He, she, it TheyObject Him, her, it ThemPossessor His, her(s), its Their(s)
  • 11.  Basic syntax of Anglo-Saxon is maintained in modern English Most preserved texts are prose Negative sentences started with negative participle ‘ne’ Most simple sentence would be subject- verb-object Question would invert to verb-subject- object Eg: You are stupid. → Are you stupid?
  • 12.  * N= Nominative, G=Genitive, D=Dative, A=Accusative, I=Instrume ntal › Nominative ~ Subjective › Genitive ~ Possessive Case › Dative ~ Object of prepositional phrases › Accusative ~ Objective Case
  • 13.  http://www.omniglot.com/writing/oldenglish.htm http://www.atsweb.neu.edu/hlittlefield/CourseDocs/HistE ng/HistLect6-OE-Phon.pdf http://mockingbird.creighton.edu/english/fajardo/teachin g/eng520/oldeng.htm http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/resources/IOE/pronunci ation.html http://www.jebbo.co.uk/learn-oe/contents.htm http://babaev.tripod.com/archive/grammar43.html H. Sweet, Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon primer, 9th edn, Oxford University Press, London, 1974, p. 2