SEMANTIC CHANGE
meaning: combination of the semantic components of a concept
= distinctive features of a referent which the speakers consider contrastive and
relevant
“girl”
not adult
female
human
blond
mob
(un)married
lovely
playful
long-haired
strong-willed
mob
pig-headed
mob
positive
negative
connotation = subjective/cultural association
Semantic change = the change of meaning:
- metaphorical/metonymical use > secondary meaning > primary meaning?
girl
not adult
bird
female
human
blond
mob
(un)married
mob
playful
lovely long-haired
playful ?
lovely ?
Semantic components are added/dropped/ turned prominent/trivial
appliance
electrical
made by Hoover
by vacuum suction
cleaner
hoover
Examples of semantic changes:
metaphorical: gay (cheerful), alarm (to the arms), big (strong) bitter (biting),
spinster (spinning woman), tall (hadsome), travel (labour)
metonymical: prison (capturing), marathon, road (ride), sky (cloud)
budget (bougette ‘leather bag’), cash (caisse, cassa ‘box), courage (heart)
farm (firma – rent)
expansion: hooligan < Houlihan (Irish surname), Yankee, awful (inspiring
awe), friend (lover)…
narrowing: meat (food), accident, advice, kill (strike), knight, loaf,
maid, husband (house bound), penthouse (appendage)
cattle, chattel (capital ‘wealth), science
deterioration: negro (black), conceit (thought), imbecile (weak)
jeopardy (jeu parti), poison (potion), silly (happy)
amelioration: nice (ignorant), amuse (deceive), humour (moisture),
pretty (crafty, sly)
complex: toilet < toile > toilette > grooming,dressing up > lavatory
IDIOMS AND PHRASES:
time out, big league, out of someone’s league…
front runner, head start, also-ran, give s.o. a run for their money,
neck to neck…
give it the best shot, bark up the wrong tree, hot shot, big shot, long
shot…
hat-trick,
rain check, curve ball, ballpark (figure), strike three/out, grand slam,
step up to the plate
kick-off,
throw in the towel, real McCoy, hit below the belt
blue-chip, under the table,
call the shots
learn the ropes
bootleg, highjack, kidnap
freelance, (wear) heart on one’s sleeve, round table,
Pyrrhic victory (“one more such victory and we are lost”)
peeping Tom
red tape
on/off the wagon
rain cats and dogs
kick the bucket, spitting image
POLYSEMY – WHICH MEANING IS THE RIGHT ONE?
PRAGMATIC INFERENCE
RELYANCE ON PRAGMATIC INFERENCE – PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES
THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH PHONEMIC SYSTEM
SOUND CHANGE
phonetic innovation
easing the transition between segments
maintaining (increasing) contrastiveness
phonetic variation
free: economic, begin, poor…
positional: sport - put, works - plays, bank - band…
phonetic change → phonemic split, phonemic merger
phonemic split: sing – sin , zip – sip, very – ferry
phonemic merger: beet – beat, male – mail, tower - tyre
Types of sound (phonetic) changes:
dependent, independent
dependent changes:
a) assimilation = one or more articulatory feature(s) linger(s) or is
anticipated
impossible, irregular, illegal…. < in + possible/regular/legal
b) dissimilation = one or more articulatory feature(s) become(s)
different
Late Latin an(i)ma > French ȃme (assimilation) : Spanish alma
c) intrusion
prothesis:
OE ān > ME ǭn > wǭn > wọ̄n NE wūn, wun > [wʌn] one
epenthesis:
OE ganra > NE gander
law and order, vanilla ice cream…
anapthesis:
ice cream > aisukuremu
d) weakening and loss = articulation with lower energy input
•lenition of consonants (sonorisation)
In ME, voiceless fricatives became voiced in final position:
of : off, with, is, was, has, Greenwich, churches…
Also: intervocalic alveolar flapping in AE, approximation of l in Cockney:
Paul, milk…
•centralization of vowels in unaccented syllables
In ME, unaccented vowels were levelled to [ə] → syncretism of cases
•elision (apheresis, syncope, apocope)
‘im, knight, gnaw, write;
vegetable;
sing, comb, hand in hand
Independent phonetic changes
Grimm’s Law (the First or Proto-Germanic Consonant Shift)
IE voiceless plosives → Germ voiceless fricatives
pet : five, prijatelj : friend, tri : three, tanek : thin …
IE voiced non-aspirated plosives → Germ. voiceless plosives
blato : pool, slab : sleep, dva : two, drevo : tree…
IE voiced aspirated plosives → Germ. voiced fricatives → voiced plosives
brat : brother, biti : be, duri : door ….
OE PHONEMIC SYSTEM
short monophthongs:
long monophthongs;
short diphthongs:
long diphthongs:
consonants:
p. t, k
b, d, ʒ
f, þ, s, h
n, m, l, r
w, x
i, y, u, e, o, æ, a
ī, ȳ, ū, ē, ō, ǣ, ā
eo, ea, ie
ēo, ēa, īe
9th century: lengthening of short vowels before certain clusters:
OE [short vowel] > [long] / _ [sonorant + homorganic voiced C]{#, V}
OE [short vowel] > [long] / _ {nd, ld, rd, mb, ƞg} {#, V}
OE cild > cīld > ME chīld > NE [ʧaɪld] child
OE cildru > cildru > ME childre, childer, childeren > NE [ʧɪldrən] children
Positional variation of OE consonants:
fricatives voiced in completetly voiced environment
/f/ = [f], [v]
/þ/ = [θ, ð]
/s/ = [s, z]
OE wulf, pl. wulfas
OE wulfas > ME wulves > [wʊlvz] wolves
OE y > ME i <i, y> (most dialects)
> ME e <e> Southeastern dialects
> ME y <u> West Midland
FROM OE TO ME
short vowels:
i
bury [berɪ] – southeastern pronunciation,
Midland spelling
y
u
e
u
i
o
o
e
æ
a
ɒ
a
/
long vowels
ī
ū
ȳ
ī
ū
ẹ̄
ē
ō
ǣ
ā
diphthongs:
OE eo > ME e
OE ea > ME a
OE ie > ME i, e
OE ēo > ME ẹ̄
OE ēa > ME ę̄
OE īe > ME ī
ọ̄
ę̄
ǭ
ā
Middle English vocalic system – more stable, more symmetrical
The change of the length of vowels:
a) Long vowels > short before two consonants or long consonants:
OE cēpan, pret. cēpte
ME ḳepen
kepte
NE [ki:p]
[kept]
Also: meet – met, bleed – bled, read – read (OE mētte, blēdde, rǣdde)
Long vowels became short also in unaccented position:
OE ān > ME ǭn > NE [wʌn] one
OE ̊ān > ME an, a > NE [ən, ə] a, an
Long vowels became short in long words:
Cf.: south : southern, wild : wilderness, holy, holiday…
b) Short vowels became long in open penultimate syllables:
OE sceadu, sceadwe
ME shade > shāde > NE [ʃeɪd] shade
ME shadwe > shadow > NE [ʃædəʊ ] shadow
Also: cap (Latin cappa) : cape (< Late Latin capa)
Adding the <e> letter at the end of the word became the graphic
inciator of the length of the vowel in the preceding syllable
VOWELS IN UNACCENTED SYLLABLES
LEVELLED TO [ə], which was subsequently lost in final position
and grammatical endings
grammatical endings lost their contrastiveness >
the colapse of case system?
OE
cyng
cynges
cynge
cyng
ME
cyngas
cynga
cyngum
cyngas
king
kinges
kinge
king
kinges
*kinge
*kingem
kinges
ME CONSONANTS: LENITION (VOICING) OF FRICATIVES
after unaccented vowels
[f, θ, s] > [v, ð, z] / oV _
churches [z], spinach [ʤ], with [ð] ,
off [‘ɒf] : of [əv]
In ME the spelling (based on French orthography) still
reflects the pronunciation
phoneme
written as
pronounced
i
ī
<i, y>
<i> + word-final <e>
[i]
[i:]
bit
bit, time
e
ẹ̄
ę̄
<e>
<ee>
<ea>
[e]
[e:]
[ɛ:]
set
feet
a
ā
<a>
<a> + word-final <e>
[a]
[a:]
cat
name
o
ọ̄
ǭ
<o>
<oo>
<oa>
[o]
[o:]
[ɔ:]
pot
fool
boat
u
ū
<u>
<ou>
[u]
[u:]
cup
mouth
stream
ME long vowels
ī
ū
ɪi
ʊu about 1450
ou about 1600
ei
ai
ME ī > ɪi
ME ū > ʊu
> ei
> ou
au
>
>
[aɪ]
[aʊ]
about 1700
rīsan > [raɪz] rise
hūs > [haʊs] house
ẹ̄
ọ̄
ę̄
ME ẹ̄ > [i:]
ME ọ̄ > [u:]
fẹ̄t > [fi:t] feet
fọ̄l > [fu:l] fool
ME ē̜ > ẹ̄
ME ǭ > ọ̄
> NE [i:]
> NE ou > [əʊ]
ǭ
strę̄m > [stri:m] stream
bǭt > [bəʊt] boat
ā
ME ā
> ǣ > ẹ̄
> NE eɪ]
nāme > [neɪm]
The Great Vowel Shift (1500 – 1700)
1400
ī
ū
1500
ɪi
ʊu
ẹ̄
ọ̄
1700
ei
ou
[aɪ]
[aʊ]
rīsan > [raɪz] rise
hūs > [haʊs] house
[i:]
[u:]
fẹ̄t > [fi:t] feet
fọ̄l > [fu:l] fool
ẹ̄
ọ̄
[i:]
[ou]
strę̄m > [stri:m] stream
bǭt > [bəʊt] boat
ẹ̄
[eɪ]
ī
ū
ē̜
ǭ
ā
1600
ǣ
nāme > [neɪm]
The complexity and interdependence of linguistic change
grammaticalisation of phonetic variation
GRAMMATICAL CHANGES
grammar – a system of morpho-syntactic tools which the speakers of a
language use to convey mandatory information (grammatical categories)
two aspects of grammatical change:
- the number (list) grammatical categories changes:
the emergence of feminine gender in Indo-European languages,
the loss of dual in most Indo-European languages,
the general loss of grammatical categories in pidgin languages,
the emergence of grammatical categories in creole languages
- the encodement of grammatical categories changes
grammaticalization – full content words become function words
and function words can subsequently turn into bound morphemes
grammatical categories associated with the noun:
OLD ENGLISH
number: singular, plural, (dual)
case:
nominative, genitive, dative,
accusative
gender: grammatical
MODERN ENGLISH
singular, plural
common case,
possessive case, (objective case)
natural
grammatical categories associated with the verb:
OLD ENGLISH
person: 1st, 2nd, 3rd
tense: present, preterite
mood: indicative, imperative, subjunctive
aspect: voice: active, passive
MODERN ENGLISH
1st, 2nd, 3rd
present, present perfect, past,
past perfect, future, future perfect
indicative, imperative, (subjunctive)
progressive, non-progressive
active, passive
OLD ENGLISH – INFLECTIONAL LANGUAGE:
Grammatical categories
namena, wulfas
number
case
(gender)
inflections
OLD ENGLISH – INFLECTIONAL LANGUAGE:
Grammatical categories
inflections
mannes nama, wulfum gegiefen
number
case
(gender)
person
number
tense
mood
MODERN ENGLISH – MORE ANALYTICAL
(a) man’s name, the name of a man
(b) given to wolves
(c) … that they should do …
… þæt hīe dyden
OLD ENGLISH – concordial language
Grammatical categories
encoded redundantly
agreement, concord, redundancy = adjustment of forms within
phrases and/or between the subject and the predicator
Geongum mannum gedafenaþ þæt hīe leornien sumne wīsdōm.
MODERN ENGLISH – agreement kept only in the 3rd person sg of the
present indicative
It behoves young people that they acquire some knowledge.
GENDER
In OE gender grammatical, discernible mostly through
adjectives/determiners and pronominal reference
se gōda mann (hē)
sēo gōde sunne (hēo)
þæt gōde wīf (hit)
The grammatical gender was lost in Middle English.
pronominal reference
the good man (he)
natural gender
the good sun (it)
the good wife (she)
Gender encodement in NE:
man
girl
bull
woman
boy
cow
prince
tiger
princess
tigress
tom cat
billy goat
cock sparrow
he wolf
tabby cat
nanny goat
hen sparrow
she wolf
ox
NUMBER
OLD ENGLISH
nouns:
sg
pl
stān
nama
mann
hūs
sunu
gesceaft
stānas
naman
men
hūs
suna
gesceafta
sg
pl
sg
pl
sg
pl
N.
G.
D.
A.
stān
stānes
stāne
stān
stānas
stāna
stānum
stānas
nama
naman
naman
naman
naman
namena
namum
naman
mann
mannes
menn
mann
menn
manna
mannum
menn
N.
G.
D.
A.
hūs
hūses
hūse
hūs
hūs
hūsa
hūsum
hūs
gesceaft
gesceafte
gesceafte
gesceafte
gesceafta
gesceafta
gesceaftum
gesceafta
DECLENSIONS = patterns/assortment of case/number endings
5 major, several minor: vocalic or strong, consonantal or weak,
root declensions
MIDDLE ENGLISH
two “declensions” expanded: the a-declension and
the weak declension (in the south)
OE stānas > ME stǭnes
OE naman > ME nāmen
OE hūs > ME hūs, hūses, hūsen
OE bēc > ME beech, bookes, booken
Eventually the {es} morpheme prevailed. All other endings are
relics of the old declensions and considered irregular:
- the –en plurals: oxen, children, bretren, kine
- the mutalion plurals: feet, mice, lice, men, geese…
- the zero plurals: sheep, deer, fish…
-the voicing of final fricatives: wolf-wolves
NUMBER CONCORD (AGREEMENT)
within the NP:
OE modifiers and determiners displayed number agreement with the
headword of the nominal phrase
ān gōd mann, fīf gōd-e menn
mīn bōc, mīn-e bēc
The most common plural ending of adjectival words was –e in OE, which
weakened to [ə] and disappeared in ME.
The number agreement survived only in demonstratives:
this – these, that - those
Number agreement between the subject and the verb:
OE wē/ʒē/ hī wrītaþ >
NE we/you/they write (present indicative)
OE
NE
writon >
wrote (preterite indicative)
THE ENCODEMENT OF NUMBER IN PERSONAL PRONOUNS
1st person:
singular: ic > NE I
plural:
wē > NE we
2nd person:
singular: þū > NE (thou) you
plural:
ʒē > NE (ye) you
3rd person
singular masc.
singular fem.
singular neut.
plural:
OE hē > NE he
OE hēo > > NE she
OE hit > NE it
OE hīe > NE they
CASE
definition:
formal encodement of semantic roles
SEMANTIC ROLES determined by the VALENCY of verbs
impersonal verbs – 0 argument (It rains)
intransitive - 1 argument (He runs)
monotransitive verbs – 2 arguments (He loves her))
ditransitive verbs – 3 arguments (He gave her a flower)
semantic roles
grammatical (syntactic) function
agent, doer
subject
instrument
subject
recepient
benefactor
indirect object
patient
direct object
….
Panini identified six semantic roles and six cases in SANSKRIT:
agent
patient
means
recipient
source
locus
ASSIGNING SEMANTIC ROLES: word order, prepositions,
morphemes = CASE ENDINGS
The assignment of cases (alignment of semantic roles) differs across
languages:
nominative-accusative languages (Indo-European)
ergative-absolutive languages (Basque, Caucasian, Native American
languages...)
trigger languages….
OE = inflexional language > case endings merged with plural endings
OE:
nominative
genitive
dative
accusative
sg
pl
sg
pl
sg
pl
N.
G.
D.
A.
stān
stānes
stāne
stān
stānas
stāna
stānum
stānas
nama
naman
naman
naman
naman
namena
namum
naman
mann
mannes
menn
mann
menn
manna
mannum
menn
N.
G.
D.
A.
hūs
hūses
hūse
hūs
hūs
hūsa
hūsum
hūs
gesceaft
gesceafte
gesceafte
gesceafte
gesceafta
gesceafta
gesceaftum
gesceafta
In ME case endings replaced with prepostional phrases,
fixed word order:
OE ….hit licode Herode and eallum þe him mid sæton…
ME … and (it) pleside to Eroude and also to men
restynge…
In nouns, the only inflected case left present-day English is
the Saxon Genitive (“possessive case”)
-es (Genitive singular, a-declension)
OE –es > ME – [əz] > NE [z] Mary’s
> NE [s] Mat’s
> NE [ız] Bruce’s
From late OE – spreading to all masculine, all neuter, all feminine and plural
nouns
Apostrophe: since 1650 in singular, since 1780 in plural
1st singular
2nd singular
3rd singular
ic
mīn
mē
mē
þū
þīn
þē
þē
hē
his
him
hine
1st plural
2nd plural
3rd plural
wē
ūre
ūs
ūs
ʒē
ēower
ēow
ēow
hīe
hīera
him, hem
hīe
hēo
hiere
hiere
hēo
hit
his
him
hit
OE genitive forms preserved as possessive pronouns
OE dative forms preserved as objective case forms
OE accusative form preserved as objective case in 3rd p. neuter
THE USE OF SAXON GENITIVE MORE EXTENSIVE IN OE
OE Hwæs bidde ic? …. Iohannes heofod þæs fulluhteres…
In NE – mostly restricted to possessive function
REFERENCE: SPECIFIC vs. NON-SPECIFIC
In OE specific/non-specific reference of the NP was encoded through
a)the use of two different declensions of adjectives
(sum) gōd mann… (se) gōda mann ….
b) the use of ān, sum (non-specific)
.. ān mann wæs eardiende on Israhēla þēode… ‘a man lived in Israel’
... nim sume tigelan… ‘take a tablet’
OE ān > ME ǭn, wǭn, wōn > NE wūn, wun > [‘wʌn] one
OE °ān > ME an, a(n) > NE [ən], [ə] an, a
c) the use of demonstratives
masc. sg.
fem. sg.
neut. sg.
pl.
N. se
G. þes
D. þǣm
A. þone
sēo
þǣre
þǣre
þā
þæt
þes
þǣm
þæt
þā
þāra
þǣm
þā
Ælc þāra þe þās mīn word ʒehīerþ and þā wyrcþ biþ gelīc
þǣm wīsan were þe his hūs ofer stān ʒetimbrode.
ME the > NE [ðə], [ði:] the
From ME period on, the use of the article spread.
THE ENCODEMENT OF VERBAL CATEGORIES
THE PERSON
a deictic reference to the participant in an event: the speaker, the
addressee, none of these two….
personal pronouns
personal endings – agreement of the verbal form with the subject
The only personal ending in NE –(e)s in the 3rd person singular of the
present indicative
OE present tense (indicative) :
wrīt-e
wrīt-est
wrīt-eþ
wrīt-aþ
OE –(e)þ, -t (in contracted forms) remains in ME as (e)th, but gradually
it is replaced with –es from the north
OE –es > ME [ə]s, [ə][z] > NE [s], [z], [ɪz]
Where are the other personal endings?
1st person: -e was lost in ME (regular change)
2nd person singular: the ending dropped when thou gave way to ye/you
plural: -aþ replaced with –en in ME, which was subsequently lost (regular
change
subjunctive: God save the Queen!
The subjunctive mood had only two endings in OE –e for the
singular and –en for the plural. Both were lost in ME (regular sound
change)
THE HISTORY OF TENSE
ENCODEMENT
TENSE = THE SYSTEM OF ENCODING MANDATORY TEMPORAL
INFORMATION
OLD ENGLISH: two formal tenses: preterite and present (non-preterite)
NON-PRETERITE
PRETERITE
NOW
PRESENT TENSE: BASE FORM (+ PERSONAL ENDINGS)
PRETERITE TENSE: the marking depended on the type of the verb
4 types of verbs:
1.
2.
3.
4.
STRONG VERBS
WEAK VERBS
PRETERITE PRESENT VERBS
ANOMALOUS VERBS
STRONG VERBS
Indo-European vowel gradation
gradation (Ablaut) = alteration of vowels in the stems of related
words or different grammatical forms of the same word
The preterite forms of Germanic verbs from Indo-European perfect forms
IE present stem: accented, the vowel *e
IE perfect stem: unaccented, the vowel reduced (dynamic accent) or
changed in the direction of *o (pitch accent)
SEVEN CLASSES OF STRONG VERBS
class
Infinitive
1/3 pret.sg
Plural
preterite
Past
participle
I
wrītan
wrāt
writon
-writen
write
II
cēosan
cēas
curon
-curen
choose
III
drincan
dranc
druncon
-druncen
drink
IV
beran
bær
bǣron
-boren
bear
V
sprecan
spræc
sprǣcon
-sprecen
speak
VI
scacan
scōc
scōcon
-scacen
shake
VII
feallan
fēoll
fēollon
-feallen
fall
WEAK VERBS
Germanic innovation: “the dental preterite”
only one stem (present stem)
the preterite tense marked with the dental sufifix
OE -ede, -ode > ME [ə]d[ə] > NE [d], [t], [ɪd]
played, worked, embedded
The origin of the dental suffix the same as the one of the verb ‘do’
FROM OE TO NE
• Many strong verbs became “regular”
helpen – healp - geholpen > helped – helped - helped
• Vowel patterns no longer consistent with the OE classes
sprecen – spræc – gesprecen > speak – spoke - spoken
standen – stōd – gestanden > stand – stood – stood
swingan – swang – geswunged > swing – swung – swung
• Many weak verbs became irregular due to different sound changes
OE cēpan cēpte gecēpt
ME kēpen kepte ykept
NE [ki:p] [kept] [kept]
• new, periphrastic tenses emerged and spread in ME
PERIPHRASTIC TENSES
COMMON IN OE, BUT THEIR USE NOT CONSISTENT WITH
THEIR MODERN ENGLISH FUNCTIONS
a) ‘be'+ present participle
þā wæs se cyning openlīce andettende þæt hē wolde fæstlīce þǣm
deofolgiendum wiþsācan
the idols’
‘then the king publicly acknowledged that he would resolutely renounce
Around 1200 the participle in –ende was replaced with the –ing form,
possibly under the influence of the construction
be on + (do)ing (French influence?)
Since 18th century in the function of progressive tenses, the use has been
increasing since the 16th century
b) ‘have’ + past participle
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martyr for to seke
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
20
25
Bifil that in that sesoun, on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To Caunterbury with ful devout courage,
At nyght were come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk...
OE, ME: habban with transitive, bēon/wesan with intransitive verbs
the meaning of the construction not necessarily perfective
ASPECT
the internal temporal structure of the action
perfective : imperfective dichotomy
perfective > punctual (?), bounded,
not marked for temporal structure
imperfective > non-punctual, continuous, progressive, habitual,
with internal temporal structure ….
lexical (encodement of) aspect:
I love music
telicity (no endpoint : endpoint)
I sat quietly
Aktionsart
I realized the truth
I came home when the phone rang.
I was coming home when the phone rang.
I came home when the phone was ringing.
grammatical aspect – formal encodement of aspect
c) will/shall + infinitive
After the year 1200 shal ‘to be oblidged to’ and will ‘to want’ lost
some of their modal meanings and started to be used for future
time reference.
18th century: will reported as expressing simple futurity in the
2nd and 3rd person, volition in the 1st person; shall reported as
expressing simple futurity in 1st person, obligation in 2nd and
3rd.
FORMAL MARKING OF FUTURE TIME REFERENCE:
• will, shall, ‘ll + INF
• be going + to INF, be + to INF, be + gonna + INF
(imminence?)
• be about + to INF (immediate future)
Northern Enland: mun + INF (mun < Norse ‘obligation’)
MOOD and MODALITY
modality: the speaker’s evaluation of the proposition
realis : irrealis
irrealis: deontic, epistemic, (dynamic)
obligation, wish, option, possibility, ability….
adjectives, advers, verbs = lexical expression of modality
mood: grammatical expression of modality (morphological or syntactic)
realis mood:
indicative (factual statement)
energetic (some Arabic dialects)
generic (general truths)….
irrealis mood:
imperative (commands)
optative (wishes, hopes)
conditional (conditions)
jussive (mandative for 3rd p.)
subjunctive/conjunctive
OE: indicative, imperative, subjunctive (verbal, morphological)
moods:
imperative singular: base form (SV) or base + e/a (WV)
imperative plural: same as present indicative plural
Lufa þīn nēahstan! Nim sume tiʒele!
Bycʒaþ ēow ele!
subjunctive singular:
present stem + e
perfect stem + e
subjuntive plural:
present stem + en
perfect stem + en
The use of subjunctive in OE:
• in independent sentences to express wish or command:
Gōd sīe þē milde!
Ne hē ealu ne drince oþþe wīn!
• in dependent clauses after verbs of desire, command, purpose,
potentiality, hypothetical comparison, concession…
Geongum mannum gedafenaþ þæt hīe leornien sumne
wīsdōm.
Ic wilnode þæt þū! hām wǣre
In ME both subjunctive endings were lost. The only distinctive preterite
subjunctive form left is were.
ME > from morphology to syntax: verbal mood > modal auxiliaries
The use of modal auxiliaries spread in ME and NE.
Modal Verbs
OE: full lexical/content verbs (mostly preterite-present), nominal
completmentation:
cann (inf. cunnan ‘know’) > NE can [‘kæn]
cūþe (preterite of cann) > NE could (remodelled after would, should)
And þas þing hie doþ, forþam þe hi ne cuδon mine fæder, ne me.
may < OE mæʒ (inf. magon ‘to be able to) > NE may [meɪ]
might < OE meahte, mihte (preterite of mæʒ) > NE might [maɪt]
Nether thou shalt not swere bi thin heed, for thou maist not make oon heere
white, ne blacke-
must < OE mōste (preterite of mōt, mōton ‘to be allowed to’)
The old meaning preserved in mustn’t
Ne mot ic don þæt ic wylle?
shall < OE sceal (inf. sculan ‘to be obliged to’) > NE shall [‘ʃæl]
should < OE scōlde (preterite of sceal) >NE should [ʃʊd]
and he nam hine þa and cwæþ: “Agif þæt þu me scealt.
will < OE wille (inf. willan ‘to want)
would < OE wōlde (preterite of wille) > ME wōlde > NE [wʊd]
ought to < OE āhte (preterite of āh/āg, inf. āgan ‘to possess and to owe’)
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