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Re: Ander-Saxon and New Old English

From:Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Monday, August 6, 2001, 15:01
> Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2001 10:04:31 -0400 > From: Sally Caves <scaves@...> > > What about late Latin borrowings? Would they > be expelled from the AME? Instead of > "dormitory" we'd have "sleepstowe"? etc.
Well, that would depend on whether you see the propensity for Latin borrowings as a trait brought in by the Normans. Of course, without the Conquest the AS/OE literary tradition might not have been broken, and that might have made people more likely to seek out old words or create new from native stock, like in Iceland, instead of importing wholesale.
> "Gale" for "sing"? gale, gole, galen?
Both are of good Germanic roots; if sing is an import, it's from Old Norse. (You could have both --- in Danish cocks gale and people sing).
> "Thorf" for "need"? I thorf, he tharf, we thorf? > I thorfed yesterday? Or: he tharfs? > (would the preterite present verbs lose their > distinctive third person singular present > formation?)
Actually, in OE times the preterito-present verbs had a singular/ plural distinction, which developed into: I wot, thou wost, he wot, we/you/they wit, preterite I wist. (That one almost made it into MoE, in fact). Compare the preterite of to be: I was, thou wert, he was, we/you/they were. (In OE, the 2nd singular of the preterite of strong verbs still had the vowel of the plural, and no -(s)t, but analogy had already leveled the present of the preterito-present verbs, and it got to the strong preterite a bit later. Otherwise we'd have thou wit and thou were). So I'd say: I tharf, thou tharft, he tharf, we/you/they thorf, preterite I thorft. What happened *here*, of course, is that the preterito-present class was reinterpreted as modal verbs, and patterned after those members of the class where the ablaut had been levelled. If several non-modal preterito-present verbs survive in AME, that could serve to keep the paradigm alive too, so we'd have something like: I shall, we sholl, I can, we cun. Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <thorinn@...> (Humour NOT marked)