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The history of Old English and its development. - Реферат

Masculine

Neutral

Feminine

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

Nominative

-

-as

-

-u (-)

-

-a

Genitive

-es

-a

-es

-a

-e

-a

Dative

-e

-um

-e

-um

-e

-um

Accustive

-

-as

-

-u (-)

-e

-a

Weak declension

u-stems

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

Nominative

-

-an

-

-a

Genitive

-an

-ena

-a

-a

Dative

-an

-um

-a

-um

Accustive

-an

-an

-

-a

The Old English Adjective.

In all historical Indo-European languages adjectives possess practically the same morphological features as the nouns, the the sequence of these two parts of speech is an ordinary thing in Indo-European. However, the Nostratic theory (the one which unites Altaic, Uralic, Semitic, Dravidian and Indo-European language families into one Nostratic super-family, once speaking a common Proto-Nostratic language) represented by Illych-Svitych and many other famous linguists, states that adjectives in this Proto-Nostratic tongue were morphologically closer to the verbs than to the nouns.

This theory is quite interesting, because even in Proto-Indo-European, a language which was spoken much later than Proto-Nostratic, there are some proofs of the former predicative function of the adjectives. In other families of the super-family this function is even more clear. In Altaic languages, and also in Korean and Japanese, which are originally Altaic, the adjective plays the part of the predicate, and in Korean, for example, the majority of adjectives are predicative. It means that though they always denote the quality of the noun, they act the same way as verbs which denote action. Adjective "red" is actually translated from Japanese as "to be red", and the sentence Bara-wa utsukusii will mean "the rose is beautiful", while bara is "a rose", -wa is the nominative marker, and utsukusii is "to be beautiful". So no verb here, and the adjective is a predicate. This structure is typical for many Altaic languages, and probably was normal for Proto-Nostratic as well.

The Proto-Indo-European language gives us some stems which are hard to denote whether they used to mean an adjective or a verb. Some later branches reflect such stems as verbs, but other made them adjectives. So it was the Proto-Indo-European epoch where adjectives as the part of speech began to transform from a verbal one to a nominal one. And all Indo-European branches already show the close similarity of the structure of adjectives and nouns in the language. So does the Old English language, where adjective is one of the nominal parts of speech.

As well as the noun, the adjective can be declined in case, gender and number. Moreover, the instrumental case which was discussed before was preserved in adjectives much stronger than in nouns. Adjectives must follow sequence with nouns which they define - thet is why the same adjective can be masculine, neuter and feminine and therefore be declined in two different types: one for masculine and neuter, the other for feminine nouns. The declension is more or less simple, it looks much like the nominal system of declension, though there are several important differences. Interesting to know that one-syllable adjectives ("monosyllabic") have different declension than two-syllable ones ("disyllabic"). See for yourselves:

Strong Declensiona, -stems Monosyllabic Sg. Masc. Neut. Fem.N blc (black) blc blacuG blaces blaces blcreD blacum blacum blcreA blcne blc blaceI blace blace - Pl.N blace blacu blacaG blacra blacra blacraD blacum blacum blacumA blace blacu blaca

Here "I" means that very instrumental case, answering the question (by what? with whom? with the help of what?).

Disyllabic Masc. Neut. Fem. Sg.N adig (happy) adig adiguG adiges adiges adigreD adigum adigum adigreA adigne adig adige I adige adige Pl.N adige adigu adigaG adigra adigra adigraD adigum adigum adigumA adige adigu adigu

So not many new endings: for accusative singular we have -ne, and for genitive plural -ra, which cannot be met in the declension of nouns. The difference between monosyllabic and disyllabic is the accusative plural feminine ending -a / -u. That's all.

ja, j-stems (swte - sweet) Sg. Pl. Masc. Neut. Fem. Masc. Neut. Fem.N swte swte swtu swte swtu swtaG swtes swtes swtre swtra swtra swtraD swtum swtum swtre swtum swtum swtumA swtne swte swte swte swtu swtaI swte swte -

wa, w-stems Sg. Masc. Neut. Fem.N nearu (narrow) nearu nearuG nearwes nearwes nearoreD nearwum nearwum nearoreA nearone nearu nearweI nearwe nearwe Pl.N nearwe nearu nearwaG nearora nearora nearoraD nearwum nearwum nearwumA nearwe nearu nearwa

Actually, some can just omit all those examples - the adjectival declension is the same as a whole for all stems, as concerns the strong type. In general, the endings look the following way, with very few varieties (note that "-" means the null ending):

As for weak adjectives, they also exist in the language. The thing is that one need not learn by heart which adjective is which type - strong or weak, as you should do with the nouns. If you have a weak noun as a subject, its attributive adjective will be weak as well. So - a strong adjective for a strong noun, a weak adjective for a weak noun, the rule is as simple as that.

Thus if you say "a black tree" that will be blc trow (strong), and "a black eye" will sound blace age. Here is the weak declension example (blaca - black):

Sg. Pl. Masc. Neut. Fem.N blaca blace blace blacanG blacan blacan blacan blcraD blacan blacan blacan blacumA blacan blace blacan blacan

Weak declension has a single plural for all genders, which is pleasant for those who don't want to remeber too many forms. In general, the weak declension is much easier.

The last thing to be said about the adjectives is the degrees of comparison. Again, the traditional Indo-European structure is preserved here: three degrees (absolutive, comparative, superlative) - though some languages also had the so-called "equalitative" grade; the special suffices for forming comparatives and absolutives; suppletive stems for several certain adjectives.

The suffices we are used to see in Modern English, those -er and -est in weak, weaker, the weakest, are the direct descendants of the Old English ones. At that time they sounded as -ra and -est. See the examples:

earm (poor) - earmra - earmostblc (black) - blcra - blacost

Many adjectives changed the root vowel - another example of the Germanic ablaut:

eald (old) - ieldra - ieldeststrong - strengra - strengestlong - lengra - lengestgeong (young) - gingra - gingest

The most widespread and widely used adjectives always had their degrees formed from another stem, which is called "suppletive" in linguistics. Many of them are still seen in today's English:

gd (good) - betera - betst (or slra - slest)yfel (bad) - wiersa - wierestmicel (much) - mra - mstltel (little) - l'ssa - l'stfear (far) - fierra - fierrest, fyrrestnah (near) - narra - nehst, nhst'r (early) - 'rra - 'restfore (before) - furra - fyrest (first)

Now you see what the word "first" means - just the superlative degree from the adjective "before, forward". The same is with nehst from nah (near) which is now "next".

Old English affixation for adjectives:

1. -ede (group "adjective stem + substantive stem") - micelhafdede (large-headed) 2. -ihte (from substantives with mutation) - irnihte (thorny) 3. -ig (from substantives with mutation) - hlig (holy), mistig (misty) 4. -en, -in (with mutation) - gylden (golden), wyllen (wllen) 5. -isc (nationality) - Englisc, Welisc, mennisc (human) 6. -sum (from stems of verbs, adjectives, substantives) - sibbsum (peaceful), hersum (obedient) 7. -feald (from stems of numerals, adjectives) - refeald (threefold) 8. -full (from abstract substantive stems) - sorgfull (sorrowful) 9. -ls (from verbal and nominal stems) - slpls (sleepless) 10. -lc (from substantive and adjective stems) - eorlc (earthly) 11. -weard (from adjective, substantive, adverb stems) - inneweard (internal), hmweard (homeward)

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