|From:||Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 23:11|
On 16/04/08 07:50:57, David McCann wrote:
> On Mon, 2008-04-14, Tristan McLeay wrote:
> > No, the Old English genitive was -es/-es/-e/-a (M/N/F/pl),
> > same (wrt -s) as modern German (based on Wikipedia). But
> > the Nominative/ Accusative plural ending was -as only in
> > the masculine; in the neuter and feminine it was -u/- and
> > -a/-e respectively. It is clear that in English all nouns
> > basically became masculine. Someone with a better
> > knowledge of the timing of everything and Middle English
> > might also be able to provide some evidence that
> > possessive -s had already generalised to all numbers and
> > all genders before it had cliticised.
> According to Fisiak's Short Grammer of Middle English, -es/-is was
> dominant by 1400: dore > dores. A few unmarked forms remained (e.g.
> fader), and in the South -en was sometimes found (e.g. gomen < OE
> These changes are obviously long before cliticisation.
> I don't think it was a case of nouns becoming masculine, but of
> neuter, with the rise of semantic gender assignment (which had
> in Old English).
Well, the reason I said they became masculine is because the -s in the
plural is only present in the masculine gender; as you've quoted me
saying above, Nom./Acc. pl was -as in the masculine, -u/- in the neuter
and -a/-e in the feminine.
The process of using semantic gender assignment for pronouns was a
separate process from the process of abandoning different declensions;
in OE times people would use pronouns in the modern way, while
retaining the distinction between genders in declension.