Verbs• Inﬁnitive: -n “to goon”, -en “to slepen”• Past participle: -n “y han eaten”, “I han slepen”• Subjunctive: “if he be”, “if I were”• Past form: strong (sang) versus weak verbs (walked); NB: “holp” from help and others
Verbs: Present tense• Northern dialects: y goes• Southern dialects: y goeth
PronounsOld English Early Middle English Late Middle English ic ich I þu þou thouhe, heo, hit he he, heo, ha hit he, she, hit we we we ge ye, you ye, you hi hi, heo, ha they
Pronouns 2Old English Early Middle English Late Middle English me me me þe þe thee hine, him him him hire hir(e) hir(e) hit, him hit hit us us us eow you you hi, him hem them
Pronouns 3Old English Early Middle English Late Middle English min min(e) my, mine þin þin(e) thy, thine his his his hire hir(e) hir(e) his his his ure ure, oure oure eower your(e) your(e) hira hire hire
On pronouns• he can be feminine in some dialects (Not Chaucer’s)• -o is generally northern or western• thou is singular and casual; you is polite• he, she, they pronouns are often very similar, especially “hem” (obj.) and “her” (poss. and fem. obj.)
Pronunciation• Shorter vowels• a as in “father”• e in eCe, “here”, like “hey”• e in eCC, “herkneth”, like “bet”• Final e in unstressed syllables: “gode”
Pronunciation• i/y is always ee, as in “machines”; “wyf”• o often long, “holy”, “holden”, “hot”• o/u also like “boot” in modern “ou” words: yong, lovede, comen, cuppe, ful; sometimes spelled “ou” in Chaucer• au/aw: similar to modern English “cause”, “law”
Pronunciation• ay, ai, ey, ei: modern long i: “say”, “sail”, “wey”• oi, oy: long modern English “boy”, “coy”
Orthography• uu for w• y for i; y before i in some dialects• Thorn and yogh: þ ; Ȝ• þus he Ȝought yit gode to heren a songe.
Orthography vs. Dialect• Spelling differences are not necessarily dialect differences• Colour vs. color• Dialects (Gr. dialegesthai--“converse with”)• Differences in sound: grammar, accent, speech pattern, semantics
Vocabulary• Middle English dictionary: http:// quod.lib.umich.edu/m/med/• Lost Old English words: swyve, bote• Lost Old Norse words• Changed meaning: wyrd, thing• Lost French words/forms: “chaungement”
Negatives• Sometimes double, or multiple• “ne”, “noght”, “no”
Questions• Sometimes subjunctive “Be he gode?”• Lack “do” verb: “Ate thou lunch?”• Auxilliary: Has forms question: “Hast eaten thou lunch”• NB: Different word order
Dialects• Continuation from OE• Develops differently in different places• No standardized spelling• Great variation
What is “it”?• It is: • ytt • hit • t • hyt • tt • yt • h tt • þit • hytt • yt • it
Isoglosses• Northern• Southern• Midlands • East • West• Kent• London
London English• Regional dialect in the early 14th century• Difﬁcult to deﬁne• Urban mix of people from different areas• Mixture of different dialects• Basis of Chancery standard• Dictated by Henry V (1413-1422)• Still a dialect, but inﬂuential
Verb conjugations Present participle Personal pronouns ik (I) 3rd. person verbs Ends in –ande scho (she)N end in -s (scho (goande) goes, she goes) ho (he) þai (they) 3rd. person verbs Ends in –ing ich (I)S end in -th (heo (going) goeth, she goes) heo, ho, he (she)
Sounds 3rd Person Pl. Pronouns Begins with th- sound likeN a for wham for words etc.) for gone, o in many whom, (gan in modern English (þai, they; þem, them; þair, their)S o like o inwhom forEnglish etc.) Begins withhere, their) for gone, modern whom, (gone hem, them; h- (heo, they;
Scribal vs. Authorial• 1200: N Author writes Text• 1240: S Scribe A makes Copy 1• 1310: WM Scribe B makes Copy 2• 1415: K Scribe C makes Copy 3
Further Sources• http://www.csun.edu/~sk36711/WWW/ engl443/MEintro.pdf• http://www.csun.edu/~sk36711/WWW/ Common%20Files/megrammar.pdf• http://webpages.marshall.edu/~will2/ chaucer.html• http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/
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