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1.7^.-.^^ V 


Harvard College 

By Exchange 



€:fairenbon {pv^ae ^itUe 






Oxford University Press Warehouse 

Amen Corner, E.C. 

Qtew Sorft 



4- /.» Cfaren^on ^ree^ Settee 







Formerly President of the Philological Society 
Editor of 'The Oldest English Texts,' Alfred^ s'Cura Pastoralis' and'Orosius' 

Author of 'An Anglo-Saxon Reader' 

*A First' and 'A Second Middle-English Primer' 

'A Primer of Spoken English, *A History oj English Sounds' 

'A New English Grammar' 

'A Primer of Phonetics y 'Shelley's Nature- Poetty,' etc. 



I 892 



JAN 14 1893 

^BD coi^;^ 


?^./ Ci« A-v 






FoR some years the want has been felt of a short historical 
English grammar up to date, especially as regards phonology, 
dialectology and chronology, the last implying careful dis- 
crimination between what is really in living use and what is 
obsolete. The present work is an attempt to supply this 
want. It is an abridgment of the historical portions of my 
New English Grammar, It does not include syntax, for the 
good reason that a grammar which attempted to deal — even 
if only superficially — with such a vast and difficult subject as 
historical English syntax could not possibly be designated as 
a * short ' grammar. But within the limits of phonology and 
accidence, including composition and derivation, it will, I 
hope, be found to contain all that is really essential to the 

Some teachers will be disappointed at not finding here any 
exposition of that time-honoured generalization * Grimm's 
Law,' and the still more popular * Verner's Law.' I have for 
the present excluded them, because they do not belong to. 
historical English grammar, but to comparative Arian philo- 
logy ; because, if studied adequately, they are too difficult for 
beginners; and because, without a detailed knowledge of 



Sanskrit, &c., they are of little use for etymological purposes. 
But although most of those who have kept pace with the 
recent developments of Comparative Philology admit all this, 
some of them still plead for the retention of Grimm's Law on 
the ground of its being so interesting, and having such a 
stimulating effect on pupils. The answer to this is, By all 
means teach it then, but teach it as an extra, not as a part of 
English grammar, any more than you would include French, 
Latin, and Greek etymology in English grammar \ although, 
of course, English grammar undoubtedly leads up to all these 
subjects, and is more or less directly connected with them, 
in the same way as it is connected with the political, social, 
and literary history of England. 

The study of this grammar requires no preparation except 
a knowledge of the ordinary grammatical terms. It does 
not even postulate any practical knowledge of Old English, 
although I should advise every teacher of historical English 
grammar .to let his pupils go through a preparatory course 
in Old English with the help of such a book as my Anglo- 
Saxon Primer, 

Additional grammatical details and illustrations that may 
be required will easily be found in The New English 
Grammar and my History of English Sounds, in which latter 
will be found a concise statement not only of Grimm's and 
Verner's laws but also of all the other sound-laws by which 
English is connected with the older Arian languages. 


South Park, Reigate, 
7 Sept., 1892. 





Periods § I. J^t^t Languages § 2. 

Old English . ^^^H 3 

Characteristics 1^^ Latin Influence § 13. Celtic Influence 
§ 14. Scandinavian Influence § 15. French Influence § 17. 

Middle English 6 

Dialects § 21. French and English $ 24. Rise of the 
London Dialect § 26. Scandinavian Influence § 28. French 
Influence § 29. Latin Influence $ 31. 

Modem English 11 

Influence of other Languages § 36. Periods § 40. 



Analysis 14 

Breath and Voice § 44. Nasal Sounds § 45. Consonants 
§ 46. Vowels § 47. Vowel-like Consonants § 48. 

Synthesis 15 

Quantity § 50. Stress § 51. Intonation § 53. Glides § 54. 
Syllables § 56. Diphthongs § 57. 

b 2 

• •• 



Vowels 17 

Rounding § 59. Tongue-retraction § 60. Tongue-height 
§ 63. Vowels in Detail § 63. 

Consonants ai 

Form § 81. Place § 86. Rounding, Fronting § 92. The 
Aspirate § 94. R in English § 97. 



Orthography 26 

Pronunciation 27 

Stress 29 

Quantity 31 

Vowels 31 

Mutation § 131. Consonant-influence § 134. 

Consonants 35 

Gradation 36 


Orthography . v 37 

Stress 41 

Quantity 42 

Vowels 43 

Consonants 47 


Orthography 53 

Vowels 58 

Consonants 63 


Stress 67 

Quantity 70 





OldEngliah 7^ 

Gender § 266. Cases $ 269. 

Early Middle Engliah 7^ 

Late Middle English So 

Modem English Si 

Irregular Plurals § 315. Foreign Plurals § 320. 


Inflections S7 

Old English § 32S. Middle English § 334. Modern English 

Comparison 90 

Old English § 339. Middle English § 340. Modem English 
§ 341. Irregular § 344. 


Personal 97 

Old English § 359. Middle English § 362. Modem English 

Possessive 107 

Self 109 

Demonstrative 112 

one, a; none, no 115 

Interrogative and Belative 117 

Definite 119 

Indefinite 119 

Quantitative • • . .121 




Cardinal 123 

Ordinal 126 


Old English 128 

Inflections § 473. Strong § 486. Weak § 498. Preterite- 
Present § 507. 

Middle English 140 

Early § 510. Late § 535. 

Modem English 149 

Present English § 579. 

Irregular Verbs in Modem English 159 

Consonantal Verbs 160 

With vowel- change : pret. vowel e § 586 ; 00 § 589 ; 
o § 590 ; oil § 591' With t instead of d § 592. Witht in- 
stead of d and vowel-change : pret. vowel e § 597 ; o § 602. 
With t instead of -ded § 604. With consonant-loss § 607. 
With consonant-loss and vowel-change : pret. vowel 8b 
§ 608 ; o § 609. 

Invariable Verbs 168 

aa § 616 ; ai § 617 ; « § 618 ; e § 621 ; 09 § 625 ; i § 627 ; 
«> § 633 ; u § 634. 

Vocalic Verbs 170 

pret. vowel au § 635 ; « § 637 ; 8b § 646 ; e § 651 ; ei 
§ 655 ; i § 658 ; ij § 661 ; o § 662 ; ou § 667 ; o § 681 ; u 
§ 6S9; uw § 692. 

Mixed Verbs 183 

Isolated Forms 184 

quoth § 713 ; hight § 714 ; iclept § 715 ; wont § 716. 

Anomalous Verbs ... .... 185 

can § 718; dare § 719; may § 720; must § 721; ought 
§ 722 ; shall § 723 ; will § 724 ; wot § 725 ; need 726 ; be 
§ 727; have 730; do § 731. 




Adverb-endings 191 

Adverbs from Nouns and Adjectives 194 

Pronominal Adverbs 197 

Correlative Particles 199 

Pronominal Conjunctions 200 

Negation and Affirmation . .201 

Comparison of Adverbs .202 


Old English § 764. Middle and Modem English § 770. 



Old English 208 

Modem English 210 

Meaning of Compounds 212 

Native Elements. 
Prefixes 214 

a- § 803 ; seg- § 805 ; be- 806 ; for- § 807 ; ge- § 808 ; mis- 
§ 809 ; of- § 810 ; on- § 811 ; to- § 812 ; un- § 813. 

Suffixes 220 

Noun-forming, {a) Concrete; -end § 822 ; -ere § 823; -estre 
§ 824; -ing § 825 ; -ling § 826; -en § 827. {b) Abstract: 
-nis § 828; -u § 829; -u]?, -]) § 830; -ung, -ing § 831 
— -dom § 832 ; -had § 833 ; -rseden § 834 ; -scipe 


Adjective-forming', -ede § 836 ; -en § 837 ; -ig § 838 ; -isc 

§ 839 ; -sum $ 840 — -feald § 841 ; -full § 842 ; -leas 

§ 843 ; -lie § 844 ; -weard § 845. 

Verbforming -na § 846 -sian § 847 Isecan § 848. 


Foreign Slexnents. 

ab- § 853; ad- § 854; amb- § 855; amphi- § 856; an- 
§ 857 ; ana- § 858 ; ante- § 859 ; anti- § 860 ; apo- § 861 ; 
bi- § 862 ; cata- § 863 ; circum- § 864 ; cis- § 865 ; com- 
§ 866 ; contra-, counter- § 867 ; de- § 868 ; demi- § 869 ; di- 
§ 870; dia- § 871; dis- § 872; en- § 873; endo- § 874; 
epi- § 875; ex- S§ 876, 877; exo- § 878; extra- § 879; 
hyper- § 880; hypo- § 881 ; in- §§ 882, 883 ; inter-, enter- 
§ 884 ; intro- § 885 ; meta- § 886 ; ne- § 887 ; non- § 888 ; 
ob- § 889 ; para- § 890 ; per- § 891 ; post- § 892 ; pre- 
§ 893 ; preter- § 894; pro- §§ 895, 896 ; pros- § 897 ; re- 
§ 898 ; retro- § 899 ; se- § 900 ; semi- § 901 : sine- § 902 ; 
sub- § 903 ; subter- § 904 ; super- § 905 ; supra- § 906 ; 
sus- § 907 ; syn- § 908 ; trans- § 909 ; ultra- § 910. 


Noun-forming, {a) Personal: -ee § 912; -ar, -e(e'r, -ier 
§ 913 ; -or § 914 ; -ard, -art § 916; -ess § 917 ; -ist § 918 ; 
-ite § 919 ; -trix § 920. {p) Diminutive : -ule, -cule 
§ 921 ; -et, -let § 922. {c) Abstract \ -y, -ey § 923; -ice, 
-ess, -ise § 927 ; -cy. -sy § 928 ; -ad, -id § 929 ; -ade § 931 ; 
-age § 932 ; -ment § 933 ; -ion § 935 ; -ana § 936 ; -nee 
§ 937 ; -ncy § 938 ; -o(u)r 939 ; -ory § 940 ; -ry § 941 ; -ure 
§ 942 ; -ism § 943 ; -icism § 944 ; -ate § 945 ; -itude § 946 ; 

-ty § 947 

-ary § 973 ; -ior § 974 : -ese § 975 ; -ose, -ous § 976 ; -esque 
§978; -t(e)§979; -ive § 983. 

Verb-forming : -fy § 984 ; -ish § 985 ; -ize § 986. 






1. The name * English language ' in its widest sense com- 
prehends the language of the English people from their 
first settlement in Britain to the present time. For the sake 
of convenience we distinguish three main stages in the his- 
tory of the language, namely Old English (OE), Middle 
English (ME), and Modem English (MnE). OE may 
be defined as the period oi full endings {mona, sunne, sunu, 
s/dnas), ME as !he period of levelled endings {mone, sunne^ 
sune, s^nes), MnE as the period of losl endings {moan, sun, 
sotiy stones =: stounz). We further distinguish periods of tran- 
sition betweeii these main stages, each of which latter is 
further divided into an early and a late period. The dates 
of these periods are, roughly, as follows : — 

Early Old English (E. of Alfred) 
Late Old English (E. of JEMnc) 
Transition Old English (E. of Layamon) 
Early Middle English (E. of the Ancren Riwle) 
Late Middle English (E. of Chaucer) . 
Transition Middle English (Caxton E.) 
Early Modem English (Tudor E. ; E. of Shakespere) 
Late Modem English 


I 100-1200 
I 200-1 300 
I 300-1 400 
I 400-1 500 
I 500-1650 






1. The name * English language ' in its widest sense com- 
prehends the language of the English people from their 
first settlement in Britain to the present time. For the sake 
of convenience we distinguish three main stages in the his^ 
tory of the language, namely Old English (OE), Middle 
English (ME), and Modem English (MnE). OE may 
be defined as the period oi full endings {mona, sunne, sunu, 
s/dnas), ME as !he period of levelled endings (mone^ sunfie, 
sune, s^nes)f MnE as the period of losl endings {moan, sun, 
Sony stones =: stounz). We further distinguish periods of tran- 
sition betweeil these main stages, each of which latter is 
further divided into an early and a late period. The dates 
of these periods are, roughly, as follows : — 

Early Old English (E. of Alfred) 
Late Old English (E. of iElfric) 
Transition Old English (E. of Layamon) 
Early Middle English (E. of the Ancren Riwle) 
Late Middle English (E. of Chaucer) . 
Transition Middle English (Caxton E.) 
Early Modem English (Tudor E. ; E. of Shakespere) 
Late Modem English 

I 100-1200 
I 200-1 300 
I 300-1 400 
I 400-1 500 
I 500-1650 



to which may be added Present English, by which we 
understand the English of the present time as spoken, 
written, and understood by educated people, that is, roughly 
speakmg, 19th-century English. 

Cognate Languages. 

2. English belongs to the Arian family of languages, 
descended from a hypothetical Parent Arian language, the 
chief of which are given in the following table, different 
periods of their development being separated by dashes : — 

(A) East- Arian, or Asiatic : 

{a) Sanskrit, the sacred language of India — Pali — Bengali 
and the other Gaurian languages of India. 

(3) Iranian languages: Zend or Old Bactrian. Old 
Persian, which is the language of the Cuneiform inscriptions 
— Modem Persian. 

(r) Armenian, which is really half-way between East- and 

(B) West-Arian or European : 

(//) Greek — Romaic or Modem Greek. 

(i) Latin — the Bomance languages: Italian, Proven9al, 
French (Old French, Modem French), Spanish, Portuguese, 

(/■) Celtic languages. Gaulish. The Goidelic group : 
Irish, Manx, Gaelic. The Cymric group: Welsh, Comish, 
Breton (introduced from Britain). 

{g) Slavonic languages. Old Bulgarian — Russian, 
Polish, Bohemian, Servian, Bulgarian. 

(h) Baltic languages. Lithuanian, Lettish. 

{i) Gtormanic languages. 

8. The Germanic group, to which English belongs, con- 
sists of the following languages : — 

§ 8,] HISTOR y OF ENGUSH. 3 . 

(A) Esst-Gtormanio : 
(fl) Gothic. 

(3) Soandinavian languages. West-Scandinavian group: 
Norwegian, Icelandic. East-Scandinavian group: Danish, 

(B) West-Gtormanio : 

(^) Low German languages. Old Saxon — Dutch, Flemish. 
Anglo-Frisian group : English, Frisian. 
(^) High German, or German. 

4. English is then a member of the Anglo-Frisian group 
of the Low German languages. 

Old English. 

5. In the fifth century — or perhaps earlier— Britain was 
partially conquered by a variety of Germanic tribes from the 
other side of the German Ocean, the chief of which were 

(a) SaxoHs, from the country between the Elbe and the 

(^) Angles, from the district still called Angeln in the , 
South' of Schleswig. 

(f) Jutes, from the North of Schleswig. 

6. The first setdement is said to have been that of the 
Jutes, who took Kent and the Isle of Wight. 

7. The Saxons occupied the country south of the Thames ; 
except Cornwall, where the Britons still kept their nationality. 
Some of the Saxons settled in Sussex ; some • north of the 
Thames in Middlesex and Essex ; the remaining portion of 
the tribe being called * West-Saxons,' whence their state is 
called 'Wessex.' 

8. The rest of England was occupied by the Angles. 
Sufifolk and Norfolk were included under the name of 

B 2 


' East-Anglia/ Another tribe of Anglians occupied what 
are now the Midland Counties, between the Thames and the 
Humber. These were called Mercians, and their country 
is called ' Mercia/ The country north of the Humber was 
occupied by a variety of Anglian tribes included under the 
name of Northumbrians. Ancient Northumbria extended 
up to the Firth of Forth, and thus included the greater part 
of what is now the Lowlands of Scotland. 

0. All these tribes spoke the same language with slight 
differences of dialect. These differences increased by degrees, 
so that already in the 8th century we can distinguish four 
main dialects : Northumbrian and Mercian, which together 
constitute the Anglian group; and West-Saxon and 
Kentish, which together constitute the Southern group. 

10. All these tribes agreed in calling their common lan- 
guage English, that is, ' Anglish,' because the Angles were 
for a long time the dominant tribe. The supremacy after- 
wards passed to the West-Saxons, and their capital, Winchester, 
became the capital of England ; and West-Saxon became the 
official and, to a great extent, the literary language all over 
England. The West-Saxons still continued to call their 
language English, the name ' Anglo-Saxon ' being used only 
as a collective name for the people, not the language. 

U. In this book OE words are always given — ^unless the 
contrary is stated — in their Early West-Saxon forms ; that is, 
in the dialect of King Alfred. 

Characteristics of Old English. 

12. The characteristics of OE are those of the other Low 
German languages. It was, as compared with MnE, a highly 
inflected language, being in this respect intermediate between 


Latin and Modem German. In its syntax it closely resembled 
Modem German. It also resembled Modern German in 
having an milimited power of forming new words by deriva- 
tion and composition, as when it made Scribes and Pharisees 
into ' bookers and separation-saints ' (OE boceras and sundor- 

Latin Influence. 

13. Nevertheless it adopted many Latin words, some of 
which it brought with it from the Continent, such as sirctt 

* high road,' * street,' mil * mile,' casere * emperor ' from Latin 
(wa) sirdtay milia {^passuum)^ Caesar \ while others were 
leamt from the Romanized Britons, such as ceaskr 'city,' 
laden 'language' from castra^ {Jingva) Lafina, These are 
all popular words. There is another layer of leamed words 
which came in after the introduction of Christianity in 597. 
Such words are deofol * devil,' mynster * monastery,' fers 

* verse,' from diabolusy monasteriuniy versus. 

Celtic Influence. 

14. Very few Celtic words came into OE, because the 
Britons themselves were to a great extent Romanized, espe- 
cially the inhabitants of the cities, who were mainly the 
descendants of the Roman legionary soldiers, dry * druid,' 

* sorcerer ' is an example of a Celtic word in OE. 

Scandinavian Influence. 

15. Towards the end of the 8th century Scandinavian 
pirates — chiefly from Norway, but also from Denmark, all 
being indiscriminately called ' Danes ' by the Anglo-Saxons — 
began to harass the coasts of England. By the end of the 
next century they had conquered and settled East-Anglia (in 


870), Mercia (in 874), and Northumbria (in 876); although 
in the next century they were forced to acknowledge the 
supremacy of the West-Saxon kings. In 10 16 the whole of 
England was conquered by the Danes, and England was 
ruled by Danish kings till 1042, when the Anglo-Saxon royal 
line was restored in the person of Edward the Confessor. 

16. It is not till the close of the OE period that Scandi- 
navian words appear. Even Late Northumbrian (of about 
970) is entirely free from Scandinavian influence. 

French Influence. 

17. With the accession of Edward the Confessor in 1042 
Norman influence begins ; and in 1066 the battle of Hastings 
made the Norman duke William king of England, although 
the actual conquest was not completed till 107 1. 

18. The Normans were Scandinavian by race, but their 
language was a dialect of Old French. 

10. The influence of Norman French on OE was of 
course even slighter than that of Scandinavian, so that it 
does not become a factor of importance till the ME period. 
Nevertheless several French words passed into literary OE 
even before the Conquest, such as castel 'castle,* capun 
* fowl.' 

Middle English. 

20. In its Middle period English went through much the 
same changes as the other Germanic languages, though at a 
quicker rate. Many of the sounds were changed, most of 
the old inflections were lost, their place being supplied by 
form-words — ^prepositions, auxiliary verbs, etc. — and many 
words became obsolete. 


Dialects of Middle English. 

21. The Norman Conquest, by depriving the old West- 
Saxon of its literary and political supremacy, gave free play 
to the development of the dialects. Although the ME dialects 
are continuations of the OE ones, it is convenient to call 
most of them by different names. The main divisions are 
Northern, corresponding to the Old Northumbrian, Mid- 
land, corresponding to the Old Mercian, Southern, corre- 
sponding to the old West-Saxon, and Kentish. We include 
the first two under the term 'North-Thames English,' the 
last two under * South-Thames English.' 

22. Of these dialects the Midland was the predominating 
one. Its commanding position in the heart of England 
enabled it to exercise a direct influence on all the other 
dialects, while Southern and Northern were completely cut 
off from one another. Hence even the earliest Southern of 
about 1 200 shows considerable influence of the Midland — or 
Old Mercian — dialect. 

23. It is to be observed that the changes which distinguish 
one period of English from another went on much faster in 
the North of England than in the South. In fact, the Old 
Northumbrian dialect of the loth century had already entered 
on its transition period— characterized by a general confusion 
in the use of inflections, and was thus almost on a level with 
the Early Southern Middle English of about 1 200. Again, 
the Northern dialect in its Early Middle period had got rid 
of nearly all the inflections that are not preserved in MnE, 
being thus several centuries ahead of the South-Thames 
dialects. The Midland dialects were more conservative than 
the Northern, though less so than the South-Thames dialects. 
It will be seen, then, that the criteria of full, levelled, and 


lost endings by which we distinguish the periods of English 
(1) apply only to the South-Thames dialects. 

Struggle between French and English. 

24. For a long time the two languages, French and 
English, kept almost entirely apart. The English of 1200 
is almost as free from French words as the English of 1050 ; 
and it was not till after 1300 that French words began to be 
adopted wholesale into English. 

26. Meanwhile English was steadily gaining the upper 
hand. In 1258 we find it ofiicially employed in the Procla- 
mation of Henry III. In the next century French gradually 
fell into disuse even among the aristocracy. In 1362 English 
was introduced in the courts of law instead of French. 
About the same time English took the place of French as 
the vehicle of instruction in schools. 

Rise of the London Dialect. 

26. In the ME period the dialects had diverged so much 
that speakers of the extreme Northern and extreme Southern 
dialects were no longer able to understand one another, and 
the need of a common dialect became pressing. Such a 
common dialect can be formed only in a centre of intercourse 
where speakers from all parts of the country meet constandy. 
Such a centre was London, which now was not only the 
capital of England, but also a place of great and growing 
commercial importance. 

27. The London dialect, as we find it in its earliest 
document, the Proclamation of Henry III, shows such a 
mixture of Midland and Southern forms as we might expect 
from its position on the border-line between these two 


dialects. The Midland dialect was intermediate between the 
two extremes, Northern and Southern, not only geographi- 
cally but also linguistically; so that speakers of Midland 
could understand both Northern and Southern much better 
than Northerners and Southerners could understand one 
another. Hence the Midland element in the London dialect 
made the latter peculiarly fitted to serve as a means of 
general communication. Hence also the Midland element 
in the London dialect became stronger and stronger in the 
course of the ME period, till at last even Northern forms 
passed into it through the medium of the Midland dialect, 
while Southern influence became weaker and weaker. 

Scandinavian Influence. 

28. Although the Norwegians and Danes spoke different 
dialects, the diflerence between these dialects was very slight. 
The Scandinavian words imported into English seem to be 
mostly Danish. Although the Scandinavian dialects were 
not intelligible to the Anglo-Saxons, yet the cognate languages 
English and Scandinavian were so similar in structure and 
had so many words in common, that the languages blended 
together with the same facility as the races that spoke them. 
English got the upper hand, but Scandinavian nevertheless 
left its mark on every English dialect, especially the East- 
Midland and Northern dialects, where the population was 
half Scandinavian. Ill, fro in * to and fro,' hound in * bound 
for a place,' are examples of Scandinavian words in English 
(Icelandic ill-r * h^A, frd * from,' huinn * ready '). 

French Influence. 

29. The Norman French introduced into England was 
not a uniform dialect, but was itself split up into local 


varieties or sub-dialects, which in the Norman spoken in 
England — the * Anglo-Norman' or* Anglo-French' language 
— were mixed together indiscriminately. The loss of Nor- 
mandy in 1204 put an end to the influence of Continental 
Norman ; and henceforth Anglo-French was influenced only 
by the literary French of Paris, this Parisian French having 
the -same predominance among the French dialects as London 
EngUsh had among the English dialects. At the time when 
the influence of Anglo-French on English begins to be 
important — that is, in the late ME period — it was, therefore, 
a mixture of Old French of different periods and different 
dialects, modified by changes of its own, and also by the 
influence of English itself, especially in its pronunciation. 

30. French influence on English is most marked in the 
vocabulary. Soon after the Conquest English ceased for 
several centuries to be the language of the higher purposes 
of life, and sank almost to a mere peasant's dialect. So 
when English came again into general use, it had lost a 
great part of its higher vocabulary, for which it had to use 
French words, such as «r, duke'y captain, army, battle \ 
sermon, preach. Even when the English word was kept, the 
same idea was often expressed by a French word, whence 
numerous synonyms such as work and labour, weak and 


Latin Influence. 

31. In Old French itself we must distinguish between 
popular and learned words. The popular words in Old 
French, such as sire Mord,' from Latin senior 'older,' are 
simply Latin words which have undergone those changes 
which take place in every language whose development is 
natural and unimpeded. But as Latin was kept up as an 


independent language throughout the Middle Ages, Latin 
words were imported into Old French as well as the other 
Romance languages, being used first in books, then in 
ordinary speech. These learned words were kept as much 
as possible unchanged, being pronounced as they were 
written. It often happened that a Latin word which had 
assumed a popular form in French, was re-imported direct 
from Latin, so that chronological doublets were formed, such 
as caitif * wretched ' and capttf, both from Latin capfivus, 
whence the English caitiff and captive, 

82. These learned French words were introduced into 
ME in great numbers. Hence when Latin words came to 
be imported directly into English, they were put into a French 
shape on the analogy of those Latin words which had really 
been brought in through French, Thus when a word in 
'tio, such as nomindtio, was taken direct from Latin, it was 
made into -tion (MnE nomination) on the analogy of the 
older importations, such as nation (ME ndcioun). 

Modem English. 

33. In the Middle period literary English was still dis- 
tinctly an inflectional language. In the Modem period it 
became mainly uninflectional, with only scanty remains of 
the older inflections. 

34. The Modern period is that of the complete ascen- 
dency of the London dialect, which henceforth is the only 
one used in writing throughout England. Henceforth the 
other dialects of England continued to exist only as illiterate 
forms of speech confined within narrow areas. 

36. The spread of Modern London English — or * Stan- 
dard English/ as we may now call it — was greatly aided by 


the introduction of printing in 1476. The publication of 
Tindal's translation of the New Testament in 1525 paved 
the way for the Authorized Version of 161 1, which made 
Early Modern London English what it has ever since been — 
the sacred or liturgical language of the whole English-speaking 

Influence of other Languages. 

86. In the Early Modern period, the Renascence — ^the 
revival of the study of the classical authors of Greece and 
Rome — led to the adoption of an immense number of Greek 
as well as Latin words, the Greek words being generally 
Latinized, just as the Latin words imported into Middle 
English were Frenchified. 

37. As the first prose writings were mostly either trans- 
lations from Latin, or else the work of scholars to whom 
Latin was in some respects a more natural means of ex- 
pression than English, it was inevitable that Early MnE 
prose was greatly influenced by Latin, not only in vocabu- 
lary, but also in graiomatical structure and idioms. In a 
few generations many Latin — and some Greek — ^words and 
expressions which were at first purely learned and technical 
passed into the language of everyday life; while, on the 
other hand, many others became obsolete. 

38. As the relations of England with other countries 
became more extended, many words were imported into 
English from almost every European language, especially 
Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, and from 
many other languages besides, such as Arabic, Persian, and 
Turkish, and the native languages of America. 

80. Standard English has always been influenced by the 
diff^erent English dialects. The literary revival of Broad 

§ 40.] mSTOR Y OF ENGLISH. 1 3 

Scotch — which is really Modern Northumbrian — at the end 
of the last century by Scott and Burns has introduced many 
Scotch words into literary English. 


40. The main general difference between Early and Late 
MnE is that the former is the period of experiment and com- 
parative licence both in the importation and in the formation 
of new words, idioms, and grammatical constructions. The 
Late MnE period is, on the other hand, one of selection and 
organization. The most marked differences in detail are the 
great sound-changes undergone by the spoken language — 
changes which have been completely disguised by the fixity 
of the orthography. 



41. Phonetics is the science of speech-sounds. 

42. As the ordinary spelling does not always show the 
real pronunciation, it is necessary to use a phonetic spelling, 
which, to prevent confusion, we enclose in ( ). 


43. The foundation of speech-sounds is breath expelled 
from the lungs, and variously modified by the vocal organs — 
throat, nose, mouth, lips. 

Throat-sounds: Breath and Voice. 

44. The first modification the breath undergoes is in the 
throat. If the vocal chords, which are stretched across the 
inside of the throat, are kept apart so that the air can pass 
through with but little hindrance, we have breath, as in 
ordinary breathing or sighing, and in the consonant (h), as 
in high. If the chords are brought together so as to vibrate, 
we have voice, as in murmuring or in the word err. 

Nasal Sounds. 

45. If the passage into the nose is left open, we have 
a nasal £(ound, such as (m) in am. In the formation of all 

$ 50.] PHONETICS. 1 5 

sounds that are not nasal, such as the (b) in amber ^ the 
nose-passage is closed. 


46. If the mouth-passage is narrowed so as to cause 
audible friction — that is, a hissing or buzzing sound— or if it 
is completely stopped, a consonant is produced. 


47. If the mouth-passage is left so open as not to cause 
audible friction, and voiced breath is sent through it, we have 
a vowel. Every alteration in the shape of the mouth 
produces a different vowel. 

VowEL-LiKE Consonants. 

48. Some consonants have hardly any friction when 
voiced, and are called vowel-like consonants. Such con- 
sonants are (1), as in little (litl), and (m). 


49. We have now to consider the synthesis of sounds, 
that is, the diflferent ways in which they are joined together 
in speech. 


50. By quantity, sounds are distinguished as long, half- 
long or medium, and short, 'long' being often used to 
include half-long as well. In phonetic notation long and 
half-long yowels are doubled, short vowels being written 
angle, as in (mdamd) murmur. The length of consonants is 
only occasionally marked by doubling. 

l6 PHONOLOGY. [§ 51. 


51. There are three main degrees of stress or loudness : 
strong, half-strong or medium, and weak. Thus in con- 
tradict the last syllable is strong, the first half-strong, the next 
weak. We mark strong stress by (•), half-strong by (:), these 
marks being put before the sound on which the stressed syl- 
lable begins, weak or unstressed syllables being left unmarked : 
(:kontr9'dikt). Weak stress is marked when necessary by 
prefixing (-), as in (-it reinz) * it rains.' 

52. Sounds which occur only in unstressed syllables, such 
as the short (9) in (mddmd) murmur^ are called weak. 


53. Intonation or tone is either level, rising, or falling, 
marked respectively (", ', *). The level tone is not much used 
in speech. The rising tone is heard in questions, such as 
what\ the falling in answers such as no^. 


54. Glides are sounds produced during the transition from 
one sound to another. Thus in (kii) key we have the glide 
from the (k)-position to the (ii)-position, which does not, 
however, require to be written, as it is implied by the posi- 
tion of (k) and (ii). 

55. Consonants are often joined together without any 

glide, not only in such combinations as (nd) in hand^ where 

the (d) is formed by continuing the (n), the nose-passage 

being closed at the same time, but also in such words as the 

English CLct (aekt). 


56. A syllable is a vowel, either alone or in combination 
with consonants, uttered with a single impulse of stress. 

§ 5^.1 PHONETICS. 17 

Every fresh impulse of stress makes a new syllable, the be- 
ginning of the syllable corresponding with the beginning of 
the stress. Thus (9*taek) attack has two syllables, the first 
syllable consisting of the vowel (9) uttered with weak stress, 
the second of (taek) uttered with a new impulse of stress 
beginning on the (t). Vowel-like consonants often form syl- 
lables in the same way as vowels, as in ^a//^=(baet-l). 


67. If two vowels are uttered with one impulse of stress, 
so as to form a single syllable, the combination is called a 
diphthong, such as (oi) in oil. Most diphthongs have the 
stress on the first element. A simple long vowel, such as (as), 
is called a monophthong. 

We now have to consider sounds more in detail. 


68. As every alteration in the shape of the mouth pro- 
duces a different vowel, the number of vowels is infinite. 
Hence what we call the vowels, (a), (i) etc., are really groups 
of an indefinite number of vowels differing very slightly from 
one another* 


69. The shape of the mouth-passage by which vowels 
are formed depends partly on the position of the tongue, 
partly on that of the lips. If the lip-opening is narrowed 
while the tongue is in a certain position, the resulting vowel 
is said to be rounded. Thus (y) in French lune is the round 
vowel corresponding to the unrounded (ii), which is nearly 
the sound in English he^ both vowels having the same tongue- 


1 8 PHONOLOGY, [§ 60. 


60. The tongue-positions depend partly on the degree 
of retraotion of the tongue, partly on its height or distance 
from the palate. 

61. If the root of the tongue is drawn back, we have a 
back vowel, such as the (aa) in father. If the fore part of 
the tongue is advanced, we have a front vowel, such as (ii). 
If the tongue is left in its neutral position, intermediate 
between back and front, we have a mixed vowel, such 
as (99). 


62. If the tongue is raised as close to the palate as is 
possible without making the vowel into a consonant, a 
high vowel is formed. Thus (i) is a high-front vowel, (u), 
as in full^ a high-back-round vowel. There are two other 
degrees of height, mid and low. For convenience we may 
include mid and low vowels under the common name 
' un-high ' vowels, distinguishing them as close and open, 
according to the degree of openness of the mouth-passage. 
We denote open vowels, when necessary, by italics. French 
i in iti is the mid-front-close vowel, or, more briefly, the front- 
close vowel, for when a vowel is not expressly called high, 
we assume it to be un-high. English (e) in men is the corre* 
sponding mid- front-open vowel. Very open vowels are called 
broad, (ae) in man is a broad front vowel. The distinction 
of close and open applies also to the high vowels. Thus 
French (i) vafini is the close high front vowel, English (i) in 
finny is the open high front vowel. 

1 70.] PHONETICS. 19 

The Vowels in Detail. 
The following are the most important vowels. 

(A) Unrounded vowels, 

68. (a) ^ clear back': (a'haa) aha ! 
64. (b) ' dull back ' : (sBn) sauy sun. 
66. (d) * mixed ' or * neutral ' vowel : (m99m9) murmur. 

66. (i) ' high front.' Close (i) in French jf«/, the short E. 
iy as m finny y being always open. Long dose (ii) is the older 
E. sound in such words as see^ sea, receive, machine, and this 
sound is still preserved in Scotland and the North of England. 
In the South of England it is diphthongized into (1) followed 
by very close (i), which is nearly the sound of the consonant 
(j) inyou, so we write (sij), etc. 

67. (e) ' front.' French / is close front. The E. vowel 
in men is open front {e). Before (©) — ^with which it forms a 
diphthong — ^it is still opener, as in (ko) /are, /air. The long 
close front (ee) is still preserved in Scotch in such words as 
name, day, where Standard E. has the diphthong («). 

68. (ae) * broad front ' : (maen) man. 

(B) Round vowels. 

69. (u) 'high back round.' Close in French sou, the E 
short {«) in/ull, good being always open. The older close 
(uu) in such words as moon, move, you (juu) is still kept in 
Scotland and the North of England, but in the South of 
England it becomes (ttw) with a distinct (w). Weak open 
(u), as in value, is the high mixed round vowel, which, when 
necessary, we write (ti) — (vaeljti). 

70. (o) * back round.' Close in French beau (bo). Close 
(00) in Scotch no, know, where Standard E. has the diphthong 

c 2 

20 PHONOLOGY. \\ ^t. 

(^u). The (o) in the diphthong (d?i), as in hoy^ is the same 
open sound. Weak (o), as in October^ is the open mixed 
vowel, which^ when necessary, we write (6) — (Oktouba). ; 

71. (o) ' broad back round.' This is the sound of the E. 
short vowels in noi^ what. The long broad vowel is heard in 

_ * 

such words as naughty fall. For convenience we write the 
short vowel (o), the long (o) in Standard E. — not (not). 

72. (y) 'high front round '= rounded (i). French une, 
German Uher, 

73. (oe) ' front-round.' Close in French peu, whose vowel 
is a rounded French /. Open in French peur. 

Nasal Vowels, 

74. If a vQwel is formed with the nose-passage open, it is 
said to be nasal, which we mark by («). Thus we have 
nasal (a, ae) in French sang^ sans (saw), vin (vse«). 


75. We call (ei, ou; ij, uw) half diphthongs, because 
they are not very distinct, their two elements diflfering only in 

76. Full diphthongs, on the other hand, such as (ai, au, 
oi) are made up of vowels as distinct as possible from one 

77. There is another class of mnrmiir diphthongs 
ending in (9), as in hear^ here i^i^^ fare, fair (f<f9), poor (p«9), 
pure (pj«9), more (moa). There are also murmur triphthongs, 
as in jftre (fais), loyal (loidl). 

78. ^he following table will show the relations of the 




chief vowels more clearly. Those marked * do not <5ccur 
in English: — 

high back 


high mixed 

high front 



a ; B 



e ; ge 

high back round 

high mixed round 



high front round 

bcuk round 

mixed round 



front round 

79. The relations of the English vowels may be shown 


Short : . • . 

/ Half diphthongs : 
< Full diphthongs : • 
( Murmur diphthongs : 

B 9 

e, ae 


aa 99 


• • 




ai, au 







80. Consonants admit of a two-fold division («) by form, 
(3) by place. 


By form there are five classes : — 

81. (a) Open, in which the passage is narrowed without 
stoppage, such as (s). 

82. (p) Side, formed by stopping the middle of the pas- 
sage and leaving it open at the sides, as in (1). 

88. (f) Stopped, formed by complete closure. The 

2% PHONOLOGY. [§ 84. 

voiceless stops (k, t, p) are in English followed by a breath 
glide or slight puff of breath, thus cat almost ={kh3eth). 

84. {d) Kasal consonants are formed with complete 
closure of the mouth-passage, the nose-passage being left 
open, as in (m). 

85. (^) Trills are the result of vibration of the flexible 
parts of the mouth. Thus in the trilled Scotch (r) the point 
of the tongue vibrates against the gums, the E. (r) in red 
being an open consonant without any trill. 


By place there are also five classes : — 

86. (a) Back, formed by the root of the tongue, such as 
(k, I)) in king (kii)). The back open consonant (x) is the 
sound of ch in the Scotch and German loch. The corre- 
sponding voice consonant (5) is heard in German sage, 

87. (^) Front, formed by the middle of the tongue, such 
as the front open voice consonant (j) in you^ which is really 
a consonantal (i). The corresponding breath consonant (^) 
is heard in German ich and Scotch hue^ Hugh (quu), which 
in Southern E. is pronounced (hjuw). 

88. {c) Point, formed by the tip of the tongue. In the 
point-gum consonants, such as E. (t, d, n, 1) the point of 
the tongue is brought against the gums just behind the 
teeth; in the point-teeth consonants, such as the point- 
teeth-open (]?) in ihifiy it is brought against the teeth. The 
voice consonant corresponding to (]>) is (S) in then. 

89. (d) Blade, formed by the blade of the tongue — that 
part of it which is immediately behind the point, (s, z) are 
blade consonants. In the blade-point consonants, such as 
the blade-point open (J) in she^ the blade position is modified 

§.94-3 PHONETICS. 23 

by raising the point of the tongue. The corresponding voice 
consonant (5) is heard in measure (mes?). 

90. The point and blade consonants are included under 
the name of forward consonants. 

81. {e) Lip, formed by the lips, such as (p, m). The 
lip-open consonant (^) is the sound produced in blowing 
out a candle ; the corresponding voice consonant occurs in 
German in such words as quelle (k)3^b) ; (f, v) are lip-teeth 
consonants, (w^), as in wl^^ and (w) are lip-back con- 
sonants, formed by narrowing the lip-opening and raising 
the back of the tongue at the same time, (w) being a con- 
sonantal (u). In Southern E. (w^) is often pronounced (w). 

Compound Consonants: Rounding, Fronting. 

92. (w^, w) are really compound consonants, formed in 
two places at once. If instead of back-modifying the lip- 
open consonant, as in (w^), we lip-modify or round the 
back-open consonant (x), we get the back-round consonant 
(xw) in German auch. Other consonants may be rounded 
in the same way, which we express by adding (m;) ; thus 
{rwtdi) is red pronounced with a rounded (r). 

98. When a consonant is modified by raising the front 
of the tongue, it is said to be front-modified or fronted, 
which we express by adding {j). Thus the lip-open front- 
modified consonant is the sound in French hutt (/^it) ; it is 
almost a consonantal (y). 

The Aspirate. 

94. The aspirate (h) is partly an open throat consonant, 
partly a breath vowel-glide. Thus (h) in hook is mainly 
formed by unvoicing the beginning of the (u), almost as if 
we were to write the word (wAuk). 



[§ PS- 

OS. The following is a table of the chief consonants. 
Those marked * do not occur in £. 






























: — 































96. We generally write (rh), etc., instead of (r^) for the 
sake of convenience. 

R IN English. 

97. (r) in E. occurs only before a vowel following it without 
any pause, as in Jure he is (hidr ij iz) ; before a consonant or 
a pause it is dropped, leaving only the preceding (d), as in 
here she ts, he is here (hia Jij iz, hij z his). This (a) is ab- 
sorbed by a preceding (99, aa), as in err^ erringyfar, far 
away (99, ddrii), faa, faar owei). After (3) the (d) is kept 
finally, but dropped before the (r), as in pour^ pouring (pD9, 
p3rii)), being also dropped before a consonant in the sanie 
word, as in poured (pod). 



98. Sound-changes fall under two main classes — ^internal 
and external. 

99. Internal changes are either organic or acoustic. 
Organic changes are due to the natural tendencies of the 
organs of speech, as in the change of 0£ stan into Mn£ stone 
through the natural tendency to pronounce a back vowel 
without Opening the mouth fully, and so to round it. 

100. Acoiistio changes are the result of the impressions 
which bounds make on the ear, as when one sound is sub-* 
stituted for another because of their likeness to the ear: thus 
children often make through (]?ruw) into (fruw), and point (r) 
is changed into back (3) in French and other languages. 
These are imitative changes. 

101. External changes are those which are independent 
of organic and acoustic tendencies. Thus the change of 
spake into spoke in MnE is not the result of any tendency to 
change a into in MnE, but of the influence of the preterite 
participle spoken (566). 

102. Internal changes are further distinguished as isolative 
and combinative. Isolative changes, such as that of OE a 
into MnE J, affect a sound without regard to its surround- 
ings, while in combinative changes one sound is modified 
by another one close to it, as in the change of ME (au) in saw 
into MnE (sod) through (sou) or (s(?u). Here we have two 
distinct combinative changes : first the rounding of the (a) 
by the influence of the following (u), and then the lowering 
of the high (u) till it is merged into the (d). We see that the 
influence of one sound on another is either backwards, as 

26 PHONOLOGY. \% 103. 

in the change of (au) into (3u), or forwards, as in the 
change of (ou) into (od). 

103. All combinative changes are, besides, either conver- 
gent or divergent. Convergent changes, as of (au) into 
(du) are organic, being due to the tendency to save trouble 
by making the passage from one sound to another as short 
and easy as possible. 

104. Complete convergence or assimilation in diph- 
thongs makes them into monophthongs, as when (ou) be- 
comes (33), and in this case is called smoothing. 

105. Divergent changes are often partly acoustic, being 
due to the striving for distinctness, as when the half diph- 
thong (ou) in no is made into full (au) in Cockney £. But 
cleaving, by which a long vowel is made into a diphthong, 
is an isolative organic change; it consists generally in 
forming the first half of the vowel with greater openness — 
either of the mouth- or the lip-passage — ^than the second. 
We see the beginning of cleaving in the E. change of (ii, uu) 
into (ij, uw), which by divergence could easily become (ei, 
ou) or (di, 5u) and then (ai, au). 



lOe. The Anglo-Saxons brought with them to England 
their national Runic alphabet, which was founded on one of 
the Old Greek alphabets or possibly the Latui. On their 
conversion to Christianity they adopted the Latin alphabet 
in its British form, to which they afterwards added the two 
Runic letters ]?=/A and p=zt;. In the British-Latin alphabet 

i no J OLD ENGUSH. 27 

-^-and conseiquently in the OE alphabet as well — several of the 
letters had peculiar forms, g for instance being written s* 
, 107. Each letter of the Latin alphabet was used to denote 
the OE sound nearest to that which the letter had in the 
pronunciation of British Latin, which was more archaic than 
that of the Continental Latin. 

108. Spelling in OE was purely phonetic : the OE scribes 
wrote as they spoke, as far as the defects of their alphabet 
would allow them to do so. 

108. In this book we supplement the defective distinctions 
of the OE orthography by adding diacritics, which gives the 
following new letters — /, ^, <?, g, 5, etc., (") denoting vowel- 


110. The vowels had the same sounds as in our phonetic 
notation, the unmodified vowels being all close except a. 
fl!=(a), as in /aran * go,' * travel ' ; long in s^n * stone.' e= 
close (e), as in e^an * eat ' ; long in me ' me.' There was also 
an open e, which we write /, as in m^/e * food.' i= close (i), 
as in 7vt/an *know'; long in win *wine.' ^= close (o), as 
in God ' God ' ; long in god ' good.' There was also an 
open broad o, which we write ^, as in Ipt^ 'long.' «= 
close (u), as in sunu ' son ' ; long in Aus ' house.' ^= close 
(y) as in synn ' sin ' ; long in/yr * fire.' «=(ae), as in/ceder 
* father ' ; long in hdlan * heal.' ce had the sound of close 
(oe), as in hlcetsian * bless ' ; long in fcti ' feet.' The diph- 
thongs ea, ea, eo, eo={'2dB,, 'aesea, 'eo, 'eeo): heard 'hard,' 
dead 'dead'; eor/>e 'earth,' deop 'deep.' In te the two 
elements were originally pronounced separately, but in 
ordinary West-Saxon the diphthong was smoothed into open 
(i ), as in z'eldra ' older,' ' elder ' ; long in hieran ' hear.' 

Z8 PHONOLOGY. [§111* 

111. The following consonants require notice* ^=(k), as^ 
in cine * bold/ ^=(c), resembling in sound our rA=(tJ), aS' 
in ciride * church.' g when not initial was pronounced {5), 
as in dagas * days/ durg * city/ ^i^a * saint/ except in the 
combination ng, which was pronounced (r)g), as in lang 

* long/ singan * sing.' ^ in the combination ng was a front 
stop, this combination having the soimd (fiq), as in spigan 

* singe/ where the OE g has a sound very similar to that of 
the MnE g in singe, dg had the sound (qq), as in bryig 
' bridge/ where, again, the OE sound closely resembles the 
(d5) of bridge ; the c in this digraph is intended to indicate 
the front sound, the less frequent {g;^ being generally 
written gg^ as mfrogga * frog/ Initial g also had the sound 
(q), but seems also to have been pronounced (j): geard 
'yard/ 'court/ genumen 'taken.' Non-initial g had the 
sound (j), except in the combinations ngy dg; dceg (day), 
s^gep * says,' h^rgian * ravage/ 

112. Ar=(ks), but in many words it was originally pro- 
nounced (xs), as in weaxan * grow.' 

113. /i SfJ> had the voice sounds (v, z, tS) between vowels 
and between r, / and vowels, as in dri/an * drive/ freosan 

* freeze,' eorjfe ' earth/ 

114. Initial h had the same sound as in E. hw, as in hztni 
' white/=(wA). So also hi, hr, hn represented the voiceless 
sounds of (1, r, n) respectively, as in hBd ' loud,' kring ' ring,* 
hnutu^wxi! In kw etc. the ^ and the w were originally 
pronounced separately. Non-initial h — 'strong h* — ^had 
the sound of (x) in Scotch loch, as in J>urh ' through ' ; in 
some words it had the sound of (g) in German ich, especially 
after a front vowel, as in gesihp ' sight/ 

115. r was always trilled, as in Scotch, c, g, w were 
pronounced clearly before consonants in such words- as 

I 120.] OLD ENGUSH. 29 

<ndwan ' know/ gnagan * gnaw/ wrifan * write/ wfer * luke- 

116. Double consonants were pronounced double, or long, 
as in mann * man '—distinct from gcman * I remember,' where 
the n was quite short —sunne * sun ' (the nn as in pen-knife) 
distinct from sunu ' son.' 


117. In OE the general principle of word-stress is to put 
the strong stress on the first syllable of a word, as in 'fiscas 
* fishes,' 'fisiere * fisher,' 'tnisddd * misdeed.' 

118. In compounds the modifying word came first, and 
took the chief stress, as in horshwcel * walrus,' literally * horse- 
whale,' ry kiwis * rightly wise,' * righteous,' cwicseol/or * quick- 
^ver,' literally * living silver/ 

But there are some exceptions to this rule of putting the 
stress on the first element of compounds : — 

119. Group-compounds of preposition + noun, such as the 
adverbs of dune * down,' literally * oflf-the-hill,' as in hi iode 
ofdune * he went down,' on'bcec * back,' literally * on-the-back,' 
io'dcEg * today,' were of course originally independent word- 
, groups. 

120. Adverbs of full and distinct meaning took strong 
-stress when followed by another word with which they form a 
group, as in 'wide ge:slene 'widely seen/ 'seen far and wide ' 
[compare the compound wJ^^^ ' widely known ']. So also 
when a verb follows, as in 'inn :gdn *go in,' 'bt :standan 
^ stand by,' 'help.' But if the verb precedes, it takes the 
principal stress: he 'eode :inn 'he went m^ he *sidd him bi 
* he helped him.' When these particles precede their verbs, 
they are felt to form compounds with them through the 

30 PHONOLOGY. [| lai, 

group having the same stress as compounds in general, so 
that we may write these groups as single words — ipngan^ 
bisiandan. But as these particles are, as we see, liable to 
be separated from their verbs in other constructions, we call 
them separable particles. 

121. But if these particles are compounded with nouns or 
adjectives instead of verbs, they cannot be shifted, as in 
'inngang ' going in,' * entrance,' dispell * by-tale,' * parable,* 
whose elements can no more be separated than those of 
ryhtwis^ etc. 

122. In 0£ there is also a class of inseparable particles, 
such as /or- 'm/orgie/an * forgive,* which has no connection 
with the preposition for * for,' never occurring as an inde- 
pendent word. These inseparable particles ought strictly 
speaking to be regarded as derivative elements, like the ufir- in 
*uncup ' unknown,' but as many of them lost their indepen^- 
dence only at a comparatively recent period in OE, it is 
allowable to legdid/brgiYan, etc., as compounds. The in*- 
separable prefix de- in bes^tian ' beset ' is, indeed, the same 
word as the preposition be * by,' although they have diverged 
in meaning. 

128. While abstract nouns compounded with inseparable 
particles throw the stress on to the particle in the usual way, 
as in 'forwyrd * destruction,' parallel to mngang, the corre- 
sponding verbs take the stress on the verb itself, as in far'- 
'weorpan * i^eiish/ /brgiefan. This shifting of stress is often 
accompanied by phonetic weakening of the particle ; thus to 
the strong form of the prefix in *btgang * going round,' * cul- 
tivation,' * worship,' corresponds the weak be- in be'gdn * go 
round,' * cultivate,^ etc., bes^itan. 

§ ii7.] OLD ENGLISH. 31 


124. Long vowels in weak syllables wece shortened in 0£, 
as in began (128). 

126. On the other hand, short final strong vowels were 
lengthened, as in hwd * who/ pu * thou '= Germanic hwa^fiu. 
Hence the short vowel of the unstressed article se in -se matm 

* the man ' is lengthened when the word is used in the sense 
of * he/ as in 'se -pe * he who.' 

126. In Anglian, short vowels were lengthened before 
vowel-like consonants followed by another consonant — 
•group-lengthening' — as in aid *old/ Igng Mong/ blind 
'blind/ dumb * dumb '= Early West-Saxon eald^ Igng^ lang, 
blinds dumb. These lengthenings appear also in Late West- 


127. a (9), SB, ea. These vowels all correspond to 
Germanic a, still preserved in Modern German; thus OE 
manrty feeder, ^ar^= German mann, vater, hart, Germanic 
a in the Oldest E. was kept only before nasals, as in mann, 
hand, lang. Everywhere else it was fronted to cb, as in 
wees * was,' cecer * field,' feeder. Before * group r and /,' that 
is, before r and / followed by a consonant, and before strong 
h the voice-glide (9) was developed, as in E. (hiarii)), which 
afterwards by phonetic divergence developed into full (a), as 
in heard, earm * arm '; eall, eald * old ' ; geseah * saw,' eahta 

* eight/ weaxan (112). Before a back vowel in the next 
syllable ce became the back vowel a, as in dagos ' days,' 
dagum * to days ' dat., compared with dceg * day,' gen. dceges. 
These are the West-Saxon forms. In Anglian a before 
nasals became g — as also often in Early West-Saxon — and ce 

32 PHONOLOGY^ [| la^. 

before group / became a, so that the Anglian forms are mgnn^ 
hgnd (126), Igr^ ; heard^ eic, ; a//, did (126). 

128. iy Gy eo. In Germanic, e before group-nasals became 
i\ whence OE hindan *bind/ stngan 'sing' compared with 
helpan * help/ In OE itself e also became / before single 
nasals, as in niman * take ' compared with stelan * steal' The 
vowel in such words as witan * know ' is Germanic and Arian 
/'. In OE e before group r became eo much in the same way 
as (B became ea (127), as in sieorra * $,\Sir* eorfie. e, t became 
tOy to before a back — especially a back round— vowel in the 
next syllable, as in heofon ' heaven,' cliopian * call,' the forms 
hefoTiy clipian also occurring. 

129. Uy o. In Germanic, o became u before group-nasals, 
and in OE itself o became u before single nasals, whence OE 
gebunden * bound ' compared with geholpen * helped,* gmumen 
* taken ' compared with gestolen * stolen.' In such a word as 
sunu * son,' the « s are Germanic and Arian. 

180. The Germanic vowel ^ is preserved in West-Saxon, 
as iny^r Manger,' ^/en 'evening,' being narrowed to ^ in 
Anglian and Kentish— ^r, e/en. 


181. Mutation is the influence exercised by a vowel on the 
vowel of a preceding syllable, by which the first vowel is 
modified in the direction of the second one. Thus in OE 


gecoren * chosen '=01d High German gikoran^ compared with 
OE curun later cur on * they chose,' u has been lowered to o 
by the influence of the a. This is therefore an a-mutation 
of u, 

182. But the most important mutations in OE are the 
front mutations, caused by Germanic i and y, which after 

§ 133.] OLD ENGLISH, 33 

they had caused the mutation were generally lost or modified 

188. The following are the mutations in their Early West- 
Saxon forms : — 

e . . . i. heran * carry/ hirep (Oldest E. hiriy) 'carries'; 
cwepan * say/ cwide (Oldest E. cwidi) ' saying/ * speech/ 

a(ee) . . . f . far an 'go/ *travel/yjrw« 'convey'; mann 
* man/ mptn (Germanic manni) ' men/ 

a . . . ». hdl ' whole/ * sound/ hctlan * heal ' ; an* one/ 
cmig ' any/ This * mutation a ' remains in the non- West- 
Saxon dialects, which change Germanic & into e. For con- 
venience we will in future distinguish the West-Saxon 
Germanic ce by writing it d^ as in dfen contrasted with 
hcelan. Mutated Germanic a remains unchanged in West- 
Saxon, as in Idtce 'physician ' (Oldest E. IdUt)^ ddd ' deed ' 
(Germanic dadt), and becomes e in the other dialects i ledty 

ea, eo . , . ie. eald * old/ ieldra ' older/ niehi (Germanic 
nahti) 'night'; heord 'herd/ hierde 'shepherd/ In Late 
West-Saxon this ie becomes ^ or i\ yldra, niht^ hyrde. In 
Anglian the one ie appears as /, the other as /: //e/rj, fldra^ 
n^hi'y kirde (Oldest Anglian hirdi), 

ea, eo . . . ie. geleafa ' belief/ geUefan ' believe/ eaca 
' increase ' (noun), eac ' also/ teian ' to increase ' ; geseon ' see,' 
gestene * visible/ ie in Late West-Saxon becomes^, i : gely/any 
lean, gesyne. In the other dialects it becomes ei gelefan^ ecan^ 

u . . . y. full ^i\3^^ gefylhn * to fill,' cyning ' king/ y in 
Late Kentish becomes e by lowering and unrounding, as in 

u . . . y. dtp * known,' cfpan ' proclaim,' mus * mouse/ 
mys * mice.' y becomes e in Late Kentish, as in mis, 


34 PHONOLOGY. [|I34- 

o ... OB. dohior * daughter/ dat. dahter. cs was unroundecj 
into e in Late OE, the change beginning already in Early 
West-Saxon : dehter. As Germanic o became u before i in 
the same way as e became i (133), y is the most usual OE 
mutation of o, as in gold ' gold,' gulden (older guidin) * golden,' 
ybx ' ionj fyxen ' vixen.' 

6 . . . CB. /oda * food '/^dan ' feed,'/5/ * foot' /eel ' feet.' 
ce afterwards became <?, the change beginning in Early West- 
Saxon ly^tf.czw,/?/. 

Consonant Influence. 

184. In West-Saxon the front glide between ^,^ and a 
following vowel often developed into a full e forming a diph- 
thong with the vowel. 

186. cap-, gCB- passed into ^ea-, gea-, as in sdeal * shall/ 
geaf^gSLve* [compare f«;^ ^ said'] -non- West-Saxon sdcsi, 
gcBf. This ea was mutated into te in West-Saxon in such 
words as the noun ctele * chill ' compared with calan ' be cold/ 
gtesl * stranger' [compare German ^a^/]=non- West-Saxon 
/f//?, g^sl. 

136. c»-, fefe- became tea-^ygia-^ as \nsdeap ■ Ait^^,^ gea/on 
* they gave ' [compare cwdkdm * they said ']=non- West-Saxon 
$dep^ gifon. 

187. ce-, ge- became die-^ gie-, as in scield ' shield/ giefan 
'give' [compare rz«;^^a«]=non- West-Saxon sdeld^ s^eld, 

138. Through similar changes g followed by a diphthong 
in West-Saxon often corresponds to Germanic /, which in 
OE seems to have been made into the stop consonant (q), as 
in gear * year ' Anglian ger, geoc * yoke/ geong * young/ com- 
pared with German yi^^r {^iGtrm^mcj^r^jochyjung, 

139. In Anglian, the back consonants c, h, g smooth a 

§ 146.] OLD ENGLISH. 35 

preceding diphthong, ea became cb, as in gesceh, wcexan^. 
non-Anglian (West-Saxon and Kentish) geseah^ weaxan, eo 
became ^, as m fehtan 'fight/ w^rr *work' (noun) = West- 
Saxon feohtan^ weorc, ea^ eo became e, as in ec, ege * eye/ 
hek 'high/ flegan *to fly '= West- Saxon eac^ eage, heah, 

140. w often changes a following eo into or «, especially 
in Late OE, as in sweostor ' sister/ later swusior, sweord^ 
sword, swurd * sword/ 


141. In OE h between vowels or between vowel-like con- 
sonants and vowels was dropped, often with lengthening of 
the preceding vowel, as in fur h 'furrow/ dat. plur.y«r«/w, 
Wealh ' foreigner/ ' Welshman/ plur. Wealas, Wealas, Wielisc 
' Welsh.' When two vowels came together in this way, they 
were often made into a diphthong, as in geseon ' see ' from 
*geseohan [compare geseah * saw ']. 

142. Open g, g became h before a breath consonant, as in 
byhf ' bending ' [dugan ' bend ']. 

143. Final open g was also unvoiced in Late West-Saxon, 
as in /ro^ * trough,' gendh ' enough/ ^«r^= earlier trog, genog, 

144. r is often transposed, as in iernan * run ' — the original 
form being preserved in gerinnan ' run together,' * coagulate ' 
— es|>ecially in Late Northumbrian, as in pirda * third '= 
West-Saxon /r/irf!c/<2 [compare /r^a 'three']. 

145. s is often transposed in the same way, as in Late 
West-Saxon dxian ' ask,' cirps * curly '= earlier ascian, crisp, 

146. r in some words does not correspond to Germanic r 
but to a Germanic modification of jr, as in W(jtron * were/ 

D 2 

36 PHONOLOGY. [§ 147. 

compared with was *w2iS,' gecoren 'chosen,' eyre 'choice* 
compared with ieosan ' choose.' So also g and d often re- 
present Germanic modifications of h and Jf respectively, as 
in cwddon^ cwide compared with cwefian, slcBgen 'struck,' 
slaga * slayer ' compared with sUan [from *sleahan\ * strike,' 
' kill/ These changes are the result of weak stress of the 
syllable containing j, p^ h in Early Germanic. Hence we 
call the resulting r 'weak r' to distinguish it from r= Ger- 
manic r, and so with the other consonants. 

147. p in the combinations, tp^ dp, sp becomes /, to which 
a preceding d is assimilated, giving the combinations //, x /, as 
in Early West-Saxon hiit-=^bitep ' bites ' and hidep ' waits,' 
ciest ' chooses ' from deosan. 

148. Double consonants in OE often represent a Germanic 
single consonant +y, as in s§Uan 'give,' sc^pan 'injure,' 
saltan * set '= Gothic saljaUy skapjan, satjan, the single con- 
sonant appearing in such forms as j/Z?A ^^iP^P^ s^t^P *he 
gives,' etc., which point to older *salip, etc. Germanic kj^ 
gjifj appear in OE respectively as id, dg and bb, as in turcica 
*one exiled,' l§dgan 'lay,' h§bban 'raise' compared with 
wracu ' state of exile,' Ic^ ' he lay,' ha/en ' raised.' Germanic 
rj, on the other hand, appears as ri in OE, as in dorian 
' injure ' [cp. daru ' injury ']. 

149. In OE itself, c, /, p are often doubled before r and /, 
as in biier, bitter ' bitter ' [cp. bitan ' bite '], appel ' apple ' [cp. 
apulder 'apple-tree'], nddre, ndddre 'serpent,' /od{d)or 
' food ' ; and in the later forms midcle plur. of mtdel ' great,* 
deoppra adj., deoppor adv. ' deeper.' 


150. By gradation we understand certain traditional con- 
nections between the vowels — most clearly shown in the 

§ 152.] MIDDLE ENGLISH. 37 

conjugation of the * strong ' yerbs — which enable us to 
classify them under the following gradation-series : — 

a ... 6. faran * proceed/ fir ' proceeded ' ; fir * journey/ 
£e/cera, gefira ' companion.' 

e (i, eo) ... a (8B, ea) . . . u (o). windan ' wind/ wand 
'he \J0\xxi^! wundon 'they wound'; wptdan 'turn.' her an 

* carry/ ter, gehoren ' carried/ hyr-pen * burden/ heorgan 
'protect,' bearg, hurgon^ g^horgen\ beorg 'mountain/ burg 

* fortress/ * city/ borg ' pledge/ ' security/ borgian * borrow.' 

a (ee, ea) ... A. bar ' he carried/ bdron * they carried ' ; 
hdr * bier.' sprcec ' he spoke/ sprdcon ' they spoke ' ; sprdc 
' speech.' 

i ... a ... i. wrttan ' write/ wr^?/ * he wrote/ writon ' they 
wrote ' ; gewrit ' writing ' (noun), heti/an ' remain ' ; Id/ 

* residue/ ' remains/ whence by mutation l^fin ' leave.' 

eo (u) . . . ea . . . u (o). ceosan ' choose/ ^eas * he chose/ 
curon 'they chose/ gecoren 'chosen'; eyre 'choice.' for- 
leosan ' lose ' ; leas * devoid of/ d-liesan * release ' ; losz'an ' be 
lost/ ' perish.' bugan ' bend/ ' bow/ 3^((Z^, ^ft^d?«, gebogen ; 
^/<^ ' ring ' ; boga ' bow ' (noun), byhf * bending.' 


151. In the ME period the OE was superseded by the 
Old French orthography — Norman at first, but afterwards 

162. Old French orthography was founded on the tra- 
ditional pronunciation of Latin ; but by the time French was 

38 PHONOLOGY. [| 153. 

first written down — probably;in the 9th century — ^the tradition 
of the Old Latin pronunciation had been partially lost. 

163. In the pth-cenlury pronunciation of Latin, ^ had 
lost its old value, having been imrounded into (i), and so 
had come to be a mere orthographic variant of 1. So when 
Latin u was fronted to (yy) in, French, as in lune (lyyna) 
from Latin luna^ the u was kept as the symbol of the new 
sound (y). And when the French orthography was intro- 
duced into England, the sound of OE y was represented by 
Uy which we write U to distinguish it from ME «=0E «. 
Hence in early Southern ME sunne * sun ' and sUnne ' sin '= 
OE synn were written alike. In Old French there was a 
diphthong ui^ (yi), which in Anglo-French was smoothed 
into {^y\ and so was used — together with simple u — to ex- 
press (yy) not only in French words, such as fruit, frUt 
'fruit,' but also in E. words, such z.^ fuir^fUr ' fire,* huilden 
* build '=0Ej5'''j byldan, hyldan, 

164. J/, being thus superfluous, was ahnost completely 
disused for a time in Early ME, but in Late ME — as in 
Late Old French — it was written in many cases instead of i\ 
because i was written without any dot, and so was liable to be 
mistaken for a part of another letter, especially «, m, u. 
Hence it became usual to write y in such words as bynden, 
wyues ==OE dmdan, wifes. It also became usual to write _>/ at 
the end of words, as in manyy day=-Yj^x\y ME mani, dau 

166. In Early Norman French in many words had a 
sound between close (o) and (u), and as u represented the 
sound (y) as well as (u) in ME as in French, it was found 
convenient to use for the sound (u) — ^in which case we 
write it a — especially in combination with such letters as «, 
w, u (=») where u would cause graphic confusion, as in 
comen 'come,' l^ue 'love'=OE cuman, lufu\ also before 

§ 159.1 MIDDLE ENGUSH. 39 

single consonants followed by a vowel^ as in hbte * but/ cifrage 
'courage/ because the earlier M£ spellings 3av/^, curage 
seemed to suggest ijy), 

166. In Late Parisian the older diphthong (ou) was 
smoothed into (uu), as in dauz (duuts) 'sweet/ and so oii 
was introduced into Late ME as the symbol of (uu), as in 
^(Wf= earlier kus=zOE hus 'house/ the actual sound re- 
maining unchanged. 

157. In Late Latin e was written instead of ae^ oe^ which 
fell into disuse, the classical caelum^ poena, for instance, being 
written celum, pena\ and so in Old French e .was used to 
express open as well as close (e), and this usage passed into 
ME. We write the long ME open sound / to distinguish d^d 
' dead ' from did * deed/ the latter having the close sound. 
So also we express the long open by p, as in s/^ * stone ' 
distinguished from mone * moon,' the two sounds not being 
generally distinguished — any more than the two e s — in ME 
orthography. The Old French diphthong te was smoothed 
into close (ee) in Anglo-French, and so came to express the 
latter sound in such words as nuschief^ mischief,' lief*^ dear/ 

158. In Parisian French, Latin ^=(k) before front vowels, 
as in ciel, passed through (ts) into (s). In some cases it 
developed into (tj), which combination was expressed by ch, 
as in chien, Latin ^=(g) became * soft ' (ds) before front 
vowels, as in gesie 'exploit* from Latin gesta, Latin y=(j) 
also developed into (ds), as in ja-=\jd,\xs\jam. Latin qv, gv 
=(kw, gw) soon dropped their (w) in Old French, so that 
quy gu came to be regarded as symbols of * hard ' (k, g) re- 
spectively, especially before front vowels, as in qui, langue 
from Latin qvt, lingva, the former being also expressed by 

159. Hence in ME the old c was written k before front 

40 PHONOLOGY. [§ 160, 

vowels, as in kit^^ as also when doubled, as mjnkke 'thick,' 
cw being expressed by the Early Old French qu, as in quene 
' queen '=0E cwen. c was kept before back vowels and 
generally before consonants, as in cumen, cbmen^ clfne * clean/ 
The ME development of OE d having nearly the sound 
of French ch^ this digraph was used to express it, as in 
chirche^OE ciride. f={s) was used only in French words, 
such 2i^/dce, 

160. In ME the difference in form between the OE 5 
. (106) and the French g was utilized phonetically. The 

letter g was. assigned to (g), as in god 'good/ and the soft 
French gy as in geste ' exploit/ and also to the ME develop- 
ment of OE stopped g, which had nearly the sound of (d5), 
as in setigen * singe,' brigge * bridge '=0E Sitigan, hrycg, 
Hard^ was also expressed by the French ^«, as it still is in 
tongue^=^ OE iunge, y=(d5) was written only in French 
words, such as juggen ' judge/ 5, on the other hand, was 
restricted to the open sotlnds, both back and front, as in 
da^es, ying^OE dagas, geong^ the fatter sound being after- 
wards expressed by^^^, as in MnE : yong^ young. 

161. After much fluctuation OE strong h was written gh^ 
as in right, doghier. 

162. Latin z still kept its sound (dz) in Early Old French 
— ^where it was also used to express (ts), as in douz * sweet' — 
and did not become simple (z) till a later period. Hence it is 
not till the end of the ME period that they began to write z 
instead of j=(z) in E. words, as in wezele ' weazel,' generally 
written wesele, 

163. The Latin sound (w), which was expressed indiffer- 
ently by the angular v or the round u, became (v) in Old 
French, the old symbol being kept, so u, v became the 
symbol of voiced OEy in ME, as in Iuve=sOE lufu. The 

{ 1 66 J MIDDLE ENGUSH. 4 1 

sound (w) was introduced again into Old French from Old 
German in such words as warde, from Old Low German 
war da (=0E weard 'custody'), developing into (gw), later 
(g) in Parisian — guarde. In those Old French dialects which 
kept German (w) it was expressed by two angular u% joined 
together, whence we still call the ligature * double «/ In 
ME w soon superseded the OE p (106). As «; in OE snow 
' snow ' was practically an (u), in ME w came into general 
use in diphthongs, as in snow, how=OE hu, the ew=(uu) in 
the latter being only a written diphthong. 

164. The other Runic letter fi was used throughout the 
ME period, but the digraph ih soon came into use to express 
the voice as well as the breath sound of fi, as in hr^pen, 
brethen (br^^San) * breathe,' brjp, breth {^xee\>) * breath/ In 
Old French fh was written only in learned words, proper 
names, etc., and had the sound (t), which it often kept in ME 
as well ; we still pronounce such words as Thomas with a (t), 
as in ME. Old French ^A=(f) was also used only in learned 
words and names, / being often substituted for it ; it was 
used in ME in such learned words as phisik * physic,' also 
written ^Ji*i^. 


165. In ME the noun- and adjective-prefixes a/-, mtS', un- 
throw the stress forward, as in al'mthti, mis'ded, urvcup * un- 
known '=0E 'celmihtig^ 'tnisddd^ 'uncuf?, 

166. In Old French the stress generally fell on the same 
syllable as in Latin, as in ;{a*/»r^= Latin nd'iuram. Through 
the dropping of final Latin syllables many French words 
thus came to have the stress on the last syllable, as in o'nour 
^zho'tiorem, pvte'=.pietdtem. When first introduced into ME 
French words kept their original stress : nd'tUre, o'nur, pvte ; 

42 PHONOLOGY. [§ 167* 

but such words afterwards threw the stress back on to the 
first syllable by the analogy of the native E. words, such as 
'fader y 'hodi^ becoming 'nature, etc. 

167. In longer French words, where it would have been 
inconvenient to throw the stress back to the first syllable, it 
was drawn back from the end to the middle of the word, as 
in sdvereyneie, coivdicioun {kd?n*disiuun) and the other words 
in -2<?««= Latin -idnem. 

168. Many words of French origin compounded with 
particles, such as a-vow (a'vuu), de'/ense, dis-pe (disv^za), keep 
their original stress by the analogy of native words such as 
a'risen, be'cumen. 


169. The first quantity-change that took place in ME 
was the lengthening of 0£ short consonants after a short 
strong vowel, so that OE in ' in ' and inn * dwelling ' wete 
levelled under the latter form ; and as it was no longer neces- 
sary to mark the distinction, the OE double consonants were 
written single, as in al, man^^O'K eaii, mann. But double 
consonants before vowels were kept in ME in pronunciation 
as well as spelling, so that, for instance, sunne *sun'=OE 
^nne was kept distinct from sune * son '=0E sunu, these two 
words never rhyming on one another in verse. 

170. The OE group-lengthenings were kept up in ME, as 
in pld, Ipngj blind, dumb, doumb =^016, Anglian did, tgng, btmd^ 
dUmb, Otherwise OE long vowels were generally shortened 
before two consonants, as in askien, wisdom [compare ME 
wis 'wise'], kepte *kept' pret.=OE dscian, wisdom, cepte. 
But length was often preserved before st, as in l^st 'least,* 
presi * priest ' = OE last^ preosi. 

§ 174-1 MIDDLE ENGUSH. 43 

In the transition from ME to Mn£ the long vowels before 
ng and mb were shortened, whence Mn£ long^ young (JBi))> 
dumb compared with old (ould), blind (blaind). Hence also 
OE -anc^ -gnc appears as -ank in MnE, while OE -ang^ -gng 
appears as -ong, as in lank = OE hlanc compared with long = 
OE long, 

171. In Late ME short vowels before a single consonant 
followed by another vowel were lengthened, as in name, m^le 
* meat/ hrgken * broken '= Early ME name, meity tbrokenz=zOE 
namay m^le, gebrocen. We call these lengthened vowels ' new- 
longs ' as opposed to the * old-longs ' in such words as win 
*wine'=OE win. But the high vowels t\ ii^ u were never 
lengthened, as in writen 'written/ diide * did,' j««^=OE 
gewrilen, dyde, sunu. 

172. Vowels were not lengthened in final strong syllables, 
as in sfnal, swan,j/q/'^g2Lve,' God=OE smcel, swan^geaf, God, 
because the final consonants had already been lengthened 

178. Short vowels are often preserved in Late as well as 
Early ME before a single consonant followed by the full 
vowel /, as in mani^pmi, bodi, or weak ^+a vowel-like conso- 
nant (r, 1, n, m), as in hamery/eter, coper] sadel, hovel] seven, 
troden^ all of which still have short vowels in Present English. 
This is called back-shortening. Originally long vowels are 
sometimes back-shortened in ME, as in laper from OE leapor^ 
But there are several exceptions to the general principle of 
back-shortening, as in Late ME dker, crddel, slglen^OE cecer, 
cradoly gestoUn, 


174. In ME the OE weak vowels are generally levelled 
under e, especially when final: ME name, beren, sune=:OE 
nama, beran, sunu. There was a tendency to drop weak e 

44 PHONOLOGY. \\ 175. 

altogether after another weak syllable, as in ladiy • lady* from 
OE hlafdige, 

176. Many words which in OE end in a consonant, take 
final e in ME, which they get from the OE inflected forms ; 
thus ME quene * queen ' comes not from the OE nom. sing. 
cwen^ but from the ace. sing, cwene, plur. nom. cwena^ etc. 
Other examples are sinne * sin,' dale 'valley,' hede 'prayer' 
= 0E ^nn, dcel, gebed, plurals synna, dalu, gehedu. Such 
forms as narwe * narrow,' yelwe * yellow '=0E nearu, geolu^ 
plurals nearwey geolwe arose in the same way. 

176. a. In the strong vowels the most marked and earliest 
change is the smoothing of the OE diphthongs, shown in 
Late ME hard, sterre *star,' br^d 'bread,' dip 'deep's=OE 
heard, steorra, bread, deop, 

177. In Early ME ea became (ae), which was generally 
written e, which we write /, as in hgrd, W£s=0^ heard, woes. 
This broad (se) was then still further broadened to (a), giving 
Late ME hard, was, OE a was kept throughout in such 
words as man,/aren^=OE mann,/aran. ME a in such words 
as al, half, comes from Anglian all, half, not from West- 
Saxon eall, healf, 

178. i, 11. In North-Thames E. / corresponds not only 
to OE /, as in smip^OE smip^ but also to OE^, as in sttme, 
dide. But (y) was still preserved in the Southern dialect, as 
in sUnne, diide, being represented by e in Middle, as well as 
Old Kentish, as in senne. The London dialect generally has 
/=OEj/, but some words have the Southern, and the few the 
Kentish forms: stnne, bilst, kernel:=zOE synn, byslg ' occupied,' 
cyrnel, ' kernel.' In some words (y) was broadened to (u), 
especially after lip-consonants, as in worien ' worry,' mlfche 
*much*=OE wyrgan, my del, micel. 

179. e. OE close (e) became open (e) in Early ME, so 

$ 1 83.] MIDDLE ENGLISH. 45 

that 0£ e and / were levelled under the latter sound, which 
we write simply e in ME, as in ?ielpen, deny rest, me/e^OE 
helpan, eian ; rgst, m§ie. 0£ eo also became open e in Late 
ME, as in erj^e, hevene. All these ^s are liable to be lengthened 
in Late ME (171), as in ften, mpe. 

180. TL OE u was kept imchanged in ME, as in sum, 
18L o. OE close o became open in Early ME, as m/olk, 
nose, hodien ' proclaim '=OEyo/r, nosu, dodtan,being liable to 
lengthening in Late ME, as in npse, bgdien, 

182. The OE long vowels /, e, a, «, o were generally pre- 
served unchanged in ME, /, a being also the representatives 
of OE eo, ea respectively (176) : win, kene * bold,' dep, s§ ^sez,' 
hfved ' head,' hus, hous, god * good '=0E win, cine, diop, sa^ 
heafod, hUs, god. So also W£.finden,feld * field,' hund *dog,' 
word * word '= Anglian /7«^a«, feld, hund, word (126). / 
is sometimes the result of raising Anglian e before open g and 
front h, as in ie 'eye,' hih ' high '= Old Anglian ege, heh, 
West-Saxon eage, heah, the open^=(j) being absorbed. So 
also open g was absorbed in ME by a preceding u or H, as 
XXL fUel *bird,' huen later howen *bend'=OEyw^(?/, hugan. 
It is to be observed that ME e represents not only the com- 
mon OE / in cene, but also the Anglian ^= West-Saxon d 
and ie, as in even * evening,* dede * deed,' her en * hear,' isene 
* seen '= West-Saxon dfen, dtjtd, Jueran, gesiene. But /=^ is 
frequent before and after r, as in dr^den * dread,' //r ' there,' 
wp^en ' were '= West-Saxon owdrddan,pdr, wdron. 

188. In South-Thames E. ^ and d when shortened pass 
through (B into a, while in Northern not only Anglian i=id 
but also a shorten to e, Midland generally showing the same 
tendency. Hence such words as OE hlafdige ' lady,' ladde 
*led,' ndddre 'serpent,' ondrddde 'feared' appear in Southern 

46 PHONOLOGY. [$ 184. 

as lavedi, Iddi, ladde, naddre, dradde^ in Northern as lefdi^ 
ledi, ledde, neddre^ dredde. But Southern has e in some words, 
such z.% flesh^^OE fl^sd, 

184. OE a remained unchanged in the Northern dialect, 
as in gd 'go/ j/(5«=0E gdrij stdn. In South-Thames E., 
and to a great extent in Midland, it was rounded into broad 
gi gg, stgn. So also in Igng^^OE long. This change took 
place before the introduction of such French words as dame, 
cbrdge, which therefore kept their a in South-Thames E. as 
well as Northern. 

185. OE J? became t in North-Thames E., as also in the 
London dialect, but was preserved in the Southern dialect, 
as \TifUr * fire/ Mpen 'make known *=OEj^r, (ypaity which 
also preserved Late West-Saxon ^= older te, as in Mren 
'hear,' brUsen ' bruise '= Early West-Saxon hleran, hrtesan. 
Kentish kept its e, as in mes ' mice.* U was brought into 
London E. in French words containing «, ut^ as in dUCy c^re, 

fruiiyfrUt ; when final or before a vowel it became «/, as is 
^own by feuch spellings as veriew^ crewel=-vtriu^ cruel, 

186. Most of the ME diphthongs are the result of the 
weakening of OE w and open g and g after vowels, w and 
open ^becoming u, as in dpi, dew, drauen=.OE deaw, dragan, 
open^ becoming 1', as in wet * way '=0E weg. The glide 
between a back vowel and a following h developed into 
diphthongic u, which was sometimes written, sometimes not, 
Q.S in drogk/e, hroughte * brought '=0E 3r<?^/p. The follow- 
ing are the ME diphthongs : — 

ai=OE cBg, as in dai, saide 'said '=0E dcBg, scBgde. 

ei=OE eg^ ^g, as in wei, leide 'laid'=OE weg, iigde. 

ei=OE eg, as in het * hay '=0E heg, ^r«= Anglian grig, 
West-Saxon grdg. But OE eg generally becomes t in ME 


fi=OE ^, as in kfie * key '=r^. 

oi occurs only in French words, such zsjoie, vots. 

au=0£ ag, as in drauen. Iii such words as laughter from 
Scandinavian hlahtr it is the result of glide-development. In 
words of French origin au corresponds sometimes to Old 
French au^ as in cause, sometimes to Old French nasal a 
before a nasal consonant, as in chaumbre, servaunt=^0\d 
French chamhre (tjaawmbrs), etc., the spellings chambre, etc. 
without u occurring also in ME, where the pronunciation 
varied between pure (aa«) and (au), which was an E. imita- 
tion of the former. 

eu=OE eWi eow, as in newe 'new'=01d Anglian neowe, 
West-Saxon ntwe. French U had this sound in certain cases 

§u=OE aw, eaWy as in d^. 

ou=OE ow, ogy as in tow, bowe=^OE tow, boga, 

ou=OE dw, as in siou * place,' blowen ' bloom '=0E 
sidw, blawan. In Early ME this diphthong also results from 
the development of a glide before h, as in inouh — also written 
inoh — ' enough,' from OE genoh, earlier genog (143) ; this bu 
becoi^ies uu in late ME : ynough (i*nuux). 

9U=0E aw, 4§^, as in blgwen ' blow ' (wind), pwen * own ' 
=OE blawan, dgen. 


187. In Old French h was silent in most words of Latin 
origin — ^being often dropped in writing as well as pronun- 
ciation — ^but was always pronounced in certain words — 
mostly of German origin — which, of course, kept their h 
when imported into ME both in spelling and pronunciation, 
the silent French h being sometimes written, sometimes not, 

48 PHONOLOGY. [$ t88. 

but never pronounced. ME had silent French h m such 
words as onur, honour^ haur^ horrible, 

188. OE hr-, hi-, hn- became voiced in ME, as in ring, 
lad, ndie ; kvo- was kept, being written wh, as in what. 

180. The hisses were voiced initially in all native words 
in South-Thames E., as shown by such spellings as volk, 
zingen, but not in French words, such as /^te * feast,' sai^ 
' safe,' because this change had been carried out before the 
introduction of French words. Southern v was introduced 
into the London dialect in a few words, such as vixen^^OE 
fyxen, feminine oifox, val=iOK/cei * vessel.' 

100. OE d and stopped g developed into the compound 
consonants (eg, qj) — that is, nearly into their MnE sounds 
(tj, d5) — as in child, sengen, OE dd, eg being written cch, 
gg ={ccq, qqj), as in wrecehe, seggen *say'=OE wr§iia, 

101. Open OE g was rounded into (5^), which passed 
into (w) and then (u) (186). 3z;=0E^was kept after a con- 
sonant, as in folwen ^ follow 'z:^OE/blgian, 

102. Strong h was rounded into {xw) in the same way^ 
as shown by its influence on preceding vowels (186). As 
final h in ME often corresponded to medial w in such pairs 
as inoh sing., inowe plur.=Late OE gendh, getwge, OE final 
h was changed by this analogy into w when an e was added 
— as was frequently the case (175) : thus ME/urwe * furrow/ 
holwe ' hollow '=OE/urh, holh. When final e was dropped at 
the end of the ME period, a resulting final w was changed 
to u : /blu, holu. 

108. Open g was generally weakened to ;' after consonants 
as well as in diphthongs: diirien *bury,' deli * belly '=OE 
dyrgan, hfg. 

104. Final OE front h was voiced in ME when a vowel 


( 200.] MWDLE ENGLISH. 49 

was added; thus hth *high' has pi. ^5^, lue (182), from 
which a new uninfected form hi was formed. 

196. In OE the Anglian dialects seem to have changed 
medial d, g \.o c,g before a back vowel, as in Anglian secanz=i 
West-Saxon sedan. Hence in ME we often find North- 
Thames k, as in seke, corresponding to South-Thames ch, as 
in siche^ MnE having the Northern form in seek, the Southern 
in beseech^ So also MnE cold, gall point to Anglian cdld, 
galle, chalk to Southern dealc. 

106. Scandinavian words keep their (k) and (g), as in 
ketel * kettle,' ^^r^ ' girth.' The Northern forms mikel * great,' 
give, etc., = Southern mUchel,yiven, may also be due to Scan- 
dinavian influence. 

197. In some cases the fluctuation between the two 
classes of consonants is due to change of vowel in inflection. 
Thus the Standard ME gate * gate ' points to the OE pi. 
gatu, the Northern yaie to the sing. (Anglian) gcet. So also 
beginnen-=.OE heginnan owes its g to the pret. and past 
partic. hegann, hegunnen, 

198. ng kept its (g) not only in such words as finger, 
English^ but also in sing, singer, etc. 

199. sd passed through (sj) into (J), written sch, ssh, sh, as 
in shorty shrud, fish^^OE siort, sdriid,fisd. Scandinavian sk 
was kept before all vowels, as in skin, jif= Icelandic sky 
' cloud.' 

200. The combinations Ir, nr are made into Idr, ndr in 
ME by making the second half of the / and n into a stopped 
consonant, so as to facilitate the transition to the r, as in 
alder (the tree), punder from OE aler genitive aire, punor 
genitive punres. So also ml became mhl in himbel * thimble ' 
from OE pym(e)le ' thumbstall,' literally * little thumb,' from 
/nima * thumb.' 


50 PHONOLOGY. [§ aoi* 

201. Several of the consonants were liable to be dropped 
in weak syllables. Thus to the strong ich * I '=0E id there 
corresponded a weak f, which in Late ME almost supplanted 
the strong ich. Weak final n was frequently dropped, as in 
gdme^ btnde infin., ibUnde past partic.=0£ gammy bindan, 
gebunden. So also the dropping of / in muche^=^QiEs mideU 
/rA=OE aU *each/ of the w and / in jm'^=OE sweU^ 
seems to have begun in weak (unstressed) forms of these 

§ 201.] 



English Vowels. 




















h el pen 





















































E 2 



[§ aoi. 

Modern English Vowels. 






o 5 


se, a 



* 1 


3e, a 






























xxy aa 












• • 


• • 


• • 

• • • 





ee, ii| 





















ai, ee 
ei, ee 

sei, ej I 
u > 





oi, ui 

oi, Ai 

oi, di 




au, JJ 






yy,u), iu 

^u, iu ' 




grow \ 
know I 


ou, oo 



5 203.] MODERN ENGLISH. 53 


202. The sound-changes in MnE are so great that their 
history requires a threefold division of the period into 

First MnE .... 1 500-1600 

Second MnE .... 1 600-1 700 

Third MnE . . . . 1700- 

These divisions are necessarily somewhat arbitrary. In 

reality, First MnE extended some way into the following 



203. In First MnE weak e was generally dropped — always 
when final — as in (naam, fal, stc?(?nz)=ME ndme^ /alle(n\ 
stgnes. At the same time double consonants between vowels 
were shortened, as in (Jilir), fubr, sitir))=ME shillings fuller^ 
sittinge. But as the doubling served to show that the pre- 
ceding vowel was short, the ME spellings were retained, and 
the doubling was extended to words which in ME had a 
single consonant, as in penny ^ herrings copper = ME peni^ 
heringy coper. Final e being now silent was often omitted in 
writing, so that such words as ME belle were written hell 
with a final double consonant, which led to a frequent 
doubling of final ME consonants to show shortness of the 
preceding vowel, as in all, small, glass = ME al, smal, glas. 
But this doubling was not carried out uniformly. So as the 
dropping of final e in such words as hate (haat), hope (h(?^p)= 
ME hdtt'en, hgpien would have led to confusion with such 
words as hat, hop, final e was kept in them, and came at last 
to be regarded as a mark of the length of the preceding 
vowel; and accordingly was added to many words which 

54 PHON&LOGY. [§ 204. 

had no final e in ME, as in ivine, stone^ foe = ME win^ stgn^ 
fg. e was always kept after v whether the preceding vowel 
was 4bng or short, because v was generally written «, and 
such a word as loue—ME love would have been mistaken for 
low if the e had been dropped. 

204. The writing of j/ for / was carried to great lengths 
in Early MnE. y or ie was always written finally as in many, 
manuj citUy but otherwise the two letters were written almost 
at random. 

205. The close and open ME vowel-pairs e, J and 5, g 
diverged more and more in sound in Early MnE, so that it 
became necessary to distinguish them in writing. In ME ee, 
00 were used to express the close and open sounds indis- 
criminately, but in Early MnE they were gradually restricted 
to the close sounds, as in see, moon=ME se, mone, OE seo{n), 
mona, the open sounds being expressed by the addition of 
the open vowel a, as in sea, boat = ME s§, bgi, OE sa, bat. 
The latter sound was, however, more frequently expressed 
by single with length-^ after the following consonant, as in 
stone. Single ^+ length-^, on the other hand, expressed the 
close sound, especially in less familiar words, such as com- 
plete, extreme, ee being rarely written in such words* 

206. In Early MnE / and /, u and v were still written 
almost indiflferently both as vowels and consonants, so that, 
for instance, us, vine, join, could be written vs, uim, ioyne ; 
but an arbitrary distinction began to be made, by which 
descending t and angular u were used only as consonants, as 
at present. This reform came from Italy through France. 

207. In First MnE the orthography was still quite un- 
isettled, but after a time it was found more convenient to keep 
one spelling for each word, even when there were differences 
of pronunciation ; and as the number of books and readers 

$ 210.1 MODERN ENGLISH. 55 

increased, the fixed orthography adopted by printers became 
more and more general, till in the Third MnE period it 
settled down into its present shape, except in a few isolated 
words such as cloathes, iyger, which in the beginning of the 
present century were made into clothes, tiger* 

208. But as the sounds of the language went on changing 
with even greater rapidity than before, the difl&culty of master- 
ing the traditional spelling has increased year by year; so 
that although a knowledge of the standard orthography is 
the main test of education and refinement, few even of the 
upper classes have a perfect mastery of it. 

200. We express this divergence between spelling and 
pronunciation by calling the present English spelling iin- 
phonetic. The orthography of Old English was, on the 
contrary, a phonetic one — in intention, at least, and as far 
as the defects of the Roman alphabet on which it was based 
would allow. Even in the Early MnE period the spelling 
was still in intention mainly phonetic : people tried to make 
their spelling represent their actual pronunciation, whereas 
now we learn the spelling of each word mechanically, by 
eye, without paying much regard to its pronunciation. 

210. The first beginnings of intentionally unphonetic 
spellings appear at the end of the Old French period, when 
etymological spellings were introduced, by which, for 
instance, French dete, dette was made into dehie by the influ- 
ence of its Latin original debitum, and parfet^ par fit (Modern 
French par/att) was made into parfaict by the influence of 
Latin per/ectum. So also Old French autour (Modern French 
auteur) came to be written auctour by the influence of its 
Latin original auctorem. This Latinizing often led to etymo- 
logically incorrect spellings. Thus the Latin rhetor ' orator ' 
(from Greek rhetor) was written rethor, because th was a 

56 PHONOLOGY. t§3ifl 

more familiar combination of letters than rh. By the influ- 
ence of reihor^ autour was made into auihoufy so as to give the 
word a more learned appearance. All these innovations 
made their way into English, where some of them were 
further developed. Thus the two spellings of autour were 
blended into the form audhour by the side of auciour, authour, 
and ME par fit was latinized into per fit ^ perfect. None of 
these spellings had, at first, any influence on the pronuncia- 
tion either of French or English. Modern French has^ 
indeed, discarded these * silent ' letters in most of the abov^ 
words. This writing of silent consonants in French was 
JDrobably first suggested by s having been dropped in pro- 
nunciation before another consonant in Old French itself in 
?uch words as isle 'island* from Latiri insula, which in late 
old French was pronounced (iih) = Early Old French (izb)^ 
the vowel being lengthened, so that by degrees s was often 
inserted without regard to etymology as a sign of length, as 
in paste * pale ' = earlier pale from Latin pallidum. When the 
French isle was introduced into English, the silent s was 
introduced in the native word Hand, which was written 
island, the two words having really nothing in common ex- 
cept their meaning. Other native English words w^ere mis- 
spelt in this way. Thus antem from OE antefn (from Greek 
antiphona through some Low Latin form) was written anthem^ 
to give it a more learned appearance. 

211. In course of time these false spellings began to 
influence the pronunciation. Thus although in Early MnE 
perfect was still pronounced (perfet), by degrees the pedantic 
pronunciation (perfekt) came into general use. So also with 
many other latinized words* 

212. In Latin th occurs only in words of Greek origin, 
and in the popular language it was made into (t), so that 

4 213.] MODERN ENGLISH. 37 

both in OE and MnE th in Latin, and consequently in 
foreign, words generally -was pronounced (t), being often 
written so. Even in Early MnE this, pronunciation was still 
Very frequent, not only in such words as author , but also 
where the ih was etymological, especially in proper names, 
Such as Thomas. Even in Second MnE we still find such 
pronunciations as apothecary (potikari), Catherine (kaetam). 
We still keep (t) in Thomas^ and even write it in the shortened 
forms Tom^ Kate ; but in most of the other words — including 
author^ anthem^ etc. — the influence of the spelling has intro- 
duced the (J))-sound. 

213. We are now able to answer the question, Why is 
English spelling unphonetic ? The main reason is that it 
has not followed the changes of pronunciation. The present 
English spelling represents not the sounds of Present English 
but those of Early MnE or rather Late MnE. Such a 
spelling as knight is not in itself unphonetic ; on the con- 
trary, it is a phonetic representation — though an imperfect 
one — of the sound-group (kni^t), which in ME was the pro- 
nunciation of one of the words which we now pronounce 
(nait), the other one having been pronounced (ni9t) in ME, 
and written accordingly night. Such a spelling as island is, on 
the other hand, unphonetic from every point of view, because 
it inserts a letter which is not pronounced now, and never 
was pronounced. Such a spelling as author was also origin- 
ally unphonetic, though it has now become phonetic — but 
only by corrupting the pronunciation and obscuring the 
etymology of the word. 

58 PHONOLOGY. \\ 314. 


214. The most convenient way of dealing with the MnE 
vowels is to take each Late ME vowel separately, and trace 
its history down to the present time. 

215. a was gradually advanced to the broad (se), so 
that such words as man, sat had exactly their present pro- 
nunciation in Second MnE. But in First MnE the old 
(a)-sound was still kept by many speakers. Before / not 
followed by a vowel a kept its back sound and the glide 
between it and the / developed into an (u), so that such 
words as fall, calm became (faul, kaulm), being sometimes 
writtenyaa// etc. (a) was also kept after (w, wh), as in was^ 
what, where it was rounded in Second MnE, whence the 
present (woz, whot), although there was no rounding when 
a back consonant followed, as in wax, wag. In Second 
MnE (ae) was lengthened before (s, J>) and in some other 
cases, as in glass, path (glaeaes, paeaej)). At the end of the 
Third MnE period this (aese) was broadened into (aa), which 
is the present sound — (glaas, paaj)). 

216. i, e have generally remained unchanged. But in 
First MnE er final or before a consonant became (ar) as in 
star, hart, heart =^ME sterre, hert, herie. Not in the weak^^r. 

217. u was preserved in First MnE, as in full, come 
(kum). In Second MnE it was unrounded to (a), which 
was afterwards lowered to its present sound (b) — (fel, kBm). 
But before this lowering took place the (a) was generally 
rounded back again to (u) between a lip-consona*nt and (1), 
as in full, wool-=- ME wUle, and in other words after lip- 
consonants, as in wood'=M^ wMe,put. 

218. 1i generally appears as i in MnE, into which it had 
already been imrounded in the London dialect of ME. Thus 

$ 233.] , MODERN ENGLISH. 59 

MnE h^&fill^ sin^OEge/yllan^ synn. But (y) was preserved 
in First MnE in some words still written wiih the French u, 
such as busy, ^ry=OE bystg^ byrgan, 

219. o kept its ME sound (p) in First MnE, as in t&p, 
ox, and was broadened to its present sound in Second MnE, 
being lengthened before the same consonants which lengthen 
(ae), as yn froth, cross, off. In Early MnE a glide-(u) developed 
between (o) and / not followed by a vowel, as in bowl (b^ul) 
=OE bolla — where it was expressed in writing— ^/^ (fsnilk) 
where it was not written any more than in the parallel fall 


220. & underwent the same changes as a, being gradually 

narrowed till it passed from (aeae) into (ee), as in name, lake, 
this last change being completed before the Second MnE 
lengthening of (ae) in path, etc. In Third MnE (ee) was 
further narrowed into close (ee), which in the present century 
was cleft into (ei, e\\ 

221. i was diphthongized in First MnE by lowering and 
retracting the tongue in the first half of the vowel (105) till it 
became (ai), as in wine, vice, with a very high close (9), which 
was broadened in the next two periods, till the diphthong 
became almost (ai), as at present. 

222. e, f . Late ME e probably had a very close sound 
between (ee) and (ii), and when in First MnE the old 1 had 
become (ai), the old e developed into full (ii), as in see, field=- 
ME J/(«), feld, ME / keeping its open sound {ee), as in sea, 
there, this (ee) being narrowed to (ee) in Second MnE, which 
by the middle of the Third MnE period was further narrowed 
to (ii), ME e and / being thus levelled, as in (sii)= j^^, sea. 
But the change into (ii) was arrested by a preceding r in 
break, great (breik, greit), which were, however, also pro- 
nounced (briik, griit) in the last century. In First MnE / 

6o ^ PHONOLOGY. [§ 223V 

was often shortened to (e), especially before stops, as in 
bread, heavy » 

223. u was diphthongized in the same way as ?, becoming 
(6u) with very close (6), as in house, crown, the first element 
being gradually unrounded and broadened into its present 
sound — between (9) and (ae). 

224. 6, 9. When u had become (6u), ME — which was 
probably a very close sound between (00) and (uu) — was 
moved up into the place of the old u, as in ioo, moon (tuu, 
muun). g kept its open sound {00) at first, as in go, stone, and 
was narrowed to close (00) in Second MnE, which in the 
present century was cleft into (ou, o\\). The oldier sound 
has been preserved in broad (brod) through the influence of 
the (r). (uu) = ME was shortened in some words in 
First MnE, as in flood (flud), mother, gum^=OR flod, moder^ 
gdma, whence the present forms (flBd) etc. There was 
another shortening of (uu) in Second MnE, especially before 
stops, as in good (gud), book, bosom. These words did not 
change their (u) into ("b), because this change was already 

225. ai, ei. In MnE the ME diphthongs et, p shortened 
their first elements, and sq were levelled under eu As ai 
became (aei) in First MnE by the regular change of (a) into 
(ae) — which in this case was hastened by the fronting influx 
ence of the (i) — at and et became very similar in sound, so 
that there was a tendency to level ei under ai, as in way^ 
hay, c/ay=ME wei, hei, r///'=OE cl^. The weak they, their 
kept ei, as also several other words, especially before gh, as 
in neighbour, eight. In Second MnE these diphthongs were 
smoothed into {ee), so that tail and tale, etc. had the same 
sound, and went through the same changes. 

226. oi was sometimes kept in First MnE, but in somQ 

§ 228.] MODERN ENGLISH. 6t 

pronunciations the (i) raised the preceding (o) to (u), such 
words as boil having the two pronunciations (boil) and (buil). 
In Second MnE this (u) underwent its regular change into 
(a, b) ; and the resulting (Bi) was so similar in sound to the 
(9i) of wine^ etc., that it was levelled under it, and boil etc. 
was pronounced (bail) and (boil)» the former being the more 
usual pronunciation. In the next period (boil) etc. again got 
the upper hand by the help of the spelling, and the noun 
bile^-OEs byle * ulcer ' was mistakenly made into bot'L 

227. au was kept in First MnE, but soon passed into 
open {:>S) — the long of our vowel in not — as in saw, /all (215), 
which in the Third period was narrowed to its present sound. 
In some words au lost its (u), as in laugh, which in Second 
MnE passed throug)i (laef) into (laesef), whence the present 
(laaf), hal/—2l'&o written haul/— halve. a«= French a before 
nasals (i86) generally went through the same changes, as 
in aunty comma{^nd, la(u)mp. 

228, au, u; fu. At the end of the ME period the 
cleaving of final U into eu (185) had been extended to non- 
final U as well, so that this sound was completely levelled 
under eUy which in First MnE became (iiu, iu) by the regular 
change of e into (ii), as in duke^/ruit, new, true — also written 
treiue=:ME dUc, /rUt, netpe, trewe, ME pi remained in 
First MnE, but with the usual shortening of the first element, 
as m/ew (feu)=MEyJz«;^, and became (iu) in Second MnE, 
all the three ME sounds U, iu, fu being thus levelled under 
(iu). In the Third period (iu) shifted the stress on to the 
second element, becoming (i*uu, juu). The (j) was afterwards 
dropped after (r, J, 5) and often after (1), as in true, chuse — 
now written choose— juice, lute. In Cockney and New-Eng- 
land American it is dropped after all the other consonants as 
well, as in new^ duty, being kept only initially, as in union^ 

62 PHONOLOGY. [§ 229, 

220. 6u, 9U both became (poxi) or (<m) in First MnE, as in 
grow, knoWy soul = ME growen, kngweriy sguk^ which, in the 
Second period was smoothed into (00) and then narrowed 
into (00), as in ^^ (224), so that know and no etc. had the 
same vowel. 

Weak Vowels. 

230. In First MnE long weak vowels were generally 
shortened, as in honour (onur), image (imadg, imaeds), nation 
(naasjun, naeaesjun) = ME <?««r, image, ndciUn. Weak diph- 
thongs were kept, as in nature (naatiur)=ME nature, certain. 
Short vowels were generally kept, as in moral, person, sorrow 
(soru), but e before r was obscured to (9), as in better, and 
occasionally other vowels as well in such words as scholar, 
honour, nature. But there was also an artificial pronunciation 
which tried to follow the spelling, pronouncing not only 
(skolar) etc. but also (naasjon, kondisjon) etc., although the 
in nation was only another way of spelling (u) as in son = 
OE sunu. ou, ow^=ME. (u, uu) was also often pronounced 
(o) or even (ou) in honour, emperour, sorrow, etc. 

231. In Second MnE the natural pronunciation got the 
upper hand again. Weak (u) passed by regular change 
into (b), as in (neej^n) nation, and such pronunciations as 
(pikt9r)=//(r/«r^, which are now vulgarisms, were in general 
use. As (b) was very similar in sound to (9), there was a 
tendency to make (9) the general weak vowel, although the 
older clear weak vowels were still kept in many cases, as in. 
(naejBnael, naejonael) national, now pronounced (naej9n9l). 
In Second MnE weak initial vowels were often dropped, 
especially in long words, as in apprentice (prentis), estate 
{sXeei), opinion (pinjan). We still keep the short form of 

$ 234.1 MODERN ENGLISH. 63 

the first word in the expression ^prentice hand, but the 
vowel has generally been restored by the influence of the 


232. During the transition from ME to MnE the hisses^, 
s,/, became voiced in weak syllables, especially in inflectional 
-es, as in the gen. sing, marines and the plur. stgnesy whence 
MnE (maenz, stounz), the breath sounds being preserved in 
strong monosyllables such as ges^ /^j=MnE (gijs, pens) 
contrasting with /^/>j=MnE (peniz). The same change 
was carried out in weak monosyllables, so that numerous 
doublets Were formed. Thus the emphatic adverb ^=MnE 
off preserved its (f), while the preposition of was weakened 
to (ov). There were similar doublets of wip^ is^ his, etc. 
Initial p was voiced in the weak forms of some very 
frequent — mostly pronominal words — such as pe, pi, pin, 
pat, pouh-=.^v\S. (Si, Sij, Sain, Saet, Sou), the strong forms 
being now lost. 

233. The voicing of weak (tj) into (ds) in knowledges. 
ME kngwl^che is quite parallel to the voicing of weak (s) in 
stones. We have the same weakening in the Present English 
pronunciation of such words as ostrich (ostrids) and the 
ending -wich in Greenwich, Norwich, 

234. Towards the end of the First MnE period (s) 
preceded by a weak vowel and followed by a strong vowel 
became (z), whence the Present English distinction between 
exert (ig'zaat) and exercise ('eksasaiz), the (s) being pre- 
served unchanged in the latter word because it is followed 
hy a weak vowel. Other examples are exhibit compared 
with exhibition, example, anxiety (seg'zaiiti) compared with 

64 PHONOLOGY. [§ 235V 

anxious (segjas), where the change of (s) into (J) is a later 
one (241), dessert^ disease, dissolve, transact. 

Exceptions to this rule are the result of analogy. Thus to 
absent (ab'sent) owes its (s) to influence of the adjective absent 
(•aebsant), research to the influence of search. 

236. Initial (h), which was preserved through First and 
Second MnE, began to be dropped at the end of the last 
century, but has now been restored in Standard E. by the 
combined influence of the spelling and of the speakers of 
Scotch and Irish E., where it has always been preserved. It 
is also preserved in American E., while it has been almost 
completely lost in the dialects of England, including Cock- 
ney E. — as also in vulgar Australian. 

236. But (h) is always dropped in weak syllables when 
not at the beginning of the sentence, as in (-hij sed -ij W9z 
redi) he said he was ready, whence the distinction between 
the emphatic ('him) and the unemphatic (-im). 

The dropping of h in weak syllables is very old. Even in 
OE we find such spellings as eora, Eadelm^heora * their,' ^a^/- 
helm (a man's name). 

237. As we have seen, strong h appears in ME in the 
form of (g) and (^w\ In First MnE the former was 
weakened to a mere breath-glide, and then dropped, the 
preceding vowel being lengthened, so that ME night (nigt) 
passed through (niht) into (niit), whence by the regular- 
change (nait). But the older (niht) was still kept up by 
some speakers, and the co-existence of (nait) and (niht) 
gave rise to the blending (naiht) or (nai^t), which, although 
artificial, seems to have been not uncommon in speech. 
The gh in high, nigh, weigh, etc. = ME high, hi was 
generally silent. The back-^/^ was kept in such words as 
laugh, thought, enough (lauxz^;, J5(?uxze^, J5(?xze;t, inuxze;), and 

$ 340-] MODERN ENGUSH. 65 

in many words the lip element was exaggerated in Second 
MnE till it became (f) — (laef, laeaef, )joft, poot, inBf ) — which 
in drqf/ by the side of drat^ht — both from ME draght — has 
been adopted in the spelling. 

238. r was kept unchanged in First MnE, being after- 
wards gradually weakened till it lost its trill everjnvhere. 
Towards the end of the Third period it began to be 
dropped everywhere except before a vowel, as in the present 
Standard E. 

239. Already in First MnE (r) had developed a glide 
before it in such words z,^ fire ^ flower (fsisr, fl6uar)=ME 

fir, flur, and had broadened a preceding e into (a), as in 
star (216). In Second MnE it began to modify preceding 
vowels in the direction of (9), so that er, ir, ur came to be 
levelled under (or) or (Br), as in her (hBr) fir, bird, fur, turn. 
In Third MnE it modified preceding (ee)=5, at, et to {ee), as 
in care {keei), fair, their contrasting with name (neem), fail, 
veil; and towards the end of this period it broadened a pre- 
ceding (fle) into (a), as in star, hard. ME /r, or appear in 
Third MnE sometimes as (iir, uur), as in fear, moor, being 
sometimes broadened into (eei, or), as in there, hear, floor. 
In the present century (r) has been dropped ever3rwhere 
except before a vowel, r final or before a consonant being 
represented only by a preceding glide-(9), as in (faia) = 
Early MnE (f3i9r)=ME fir. This (9)=r has broadened 
preceding (ij, uw) into (i, u), as in here (his), poor, cure 
(kjud) contrasting with he (hij), pool (puwl). The glide-(9) 
before (r) was finally absorbed by a preceding mixed or 
broad vowel, (Br) in her etc. passing through (b9) mto (99), 
(a9, 09) into (aa, o), as in star, floor. 

240. L Already in First MnE (1) began to be dropped 
between (u) and a following consonant, as in half (haulf^ 


66 PHONOLOGY. [§ 341. 

hanf), folk (foulk, fouk) ; also in should (Juuld, Juld, Jud), 
would, could, where the (1) was at first dropped only when 
these words were weak. 

241. 8, z. In Second and Third Mn£ the combinations 
(sj, zj) became (f, 5), as in nation (n^^jBn)= Early Mn£ 
(nse3esjun)=ME ndcioun (naasi-umi), sure (siur, sjuur, Juur), 
usual (iuziuael, juu5uael), such words as nature, verdure 
passing through (naeaetjur, neeipx, verdjur, verdjar) into the 
present (neitja, vaadsa). 

242. w in First MnE was kept before (r), which it 
rounded, and was then dropped itself, as in write (rz«;9it), 
the (r) being afterwards unrounded. 

243. In Second MnE w was dropped in weak syllables, 
especially in -ward, -wards, as in Edward (edard), backwards 
(baekardz). We still drop the w in towards (todz), but it has 
been restored in the other words through the influence of the 
spelling, except in vulgar speech. The weak ending -tmch 
drops the w in all familiar place-names, such as Greenwich 

244. k was kept initially before (n) in First MnE., as in 
know [compare acknowledge'], the (n) being unvoiced, and the 
(k) afterwards dropped, so that in Second MnE (kn^u, kn^^u) 
became (n^oo), this (n^) being afterwards levelled under the 
more frequent (n) in no, etc. 

246. g was dropped before (n) in Second MnE as in 

246. In First MnE medial (gg) was shortened to (g) in 
such words as singer (sii)9r), singing =.ME (sigger), etc. 
by the analogy of final (g) in sing ; but (gg) was kept in the 
comparison of adjectives, as in longer, longest, 

247. t, d. In Second MnE (t) preceded by the hisses 
(s, f) and followed by the vowel-like consonants (1, n, m) 


was regularly dropped, as in Ms^Ie (}>isl), fasten (fgeaesn), 
chestnut, Christmas^ often. 

248. In First MnE (d) preceded by a vowel and followed 
by (r) was opened into (8) in many words, such as father, 
together, hither =OK feeder. Late ME fader, fader (173), 
OE to'gcBdre, hider. Conversely (8) often became (d) in 
First MnE in combination with (r) and (1), as in murther, 
murder, rudder, fiddle-^OE morpor, rdpor,fipele, 

249. b. In First MnE final (b) was dropped after (m), as 
in lamb. Hence b was added in writing to words which in 
ME had only m, as in limb, numb=- ME lim, tnumen ' taken/ 
^ seized '=0E genumen. 




250. The characteristic features of Present English stress 
are some of them of OE origin, while others developed them- 
selves in ME and in the diflferent periods of MnE, some 
being apparently of very recent origin. 

261. In Present English, as in OE, the most general 
principle of stress is that subordinate words — especially form- 
words — have weak stress. Thus in he is a man of the world, 
the subordinate words he, ts, a, of the all have weak stress. 
Hence the weakened stress in a :piece of bread, and the 
distinction between -some bread and *some 'people, 

262. The OE principle of putting the stress on the first 
syllable of a word generally resulted in the principal stress 
being on the root-syllable of inflected or derived words. 

F 2 

68 PHONOLOGY, [§ 253. 

This principle is still maintained in MnE in native words, as 
in fearful, fearfully, fearless^ fearlessness^ fisher^ fishery ^ 
fisherman (fijsmsn). 

263. We have seen that already in ME many long words 
of French origin with the stress on the last syllable threw 
it back on to the first syllable by the analogy of the native 
stress (167). In MnE this tendency has become stronger 
and stronger, so that the first-syllable stress in such words as 
honour, pity, emperor, justify, which in Late ME was only 
occasional, has now become fixed. Even in the present 
century many of these words have thrown back their stress 
to the first syllable, such as balcony, crystalline, recondite, 
which in the last century were stressed on their second 

264. Native words which had weak stress on the first 
syllable in OE and ME, such as arise, become, forgive, to-day , 
still keep this stress in MnE, as also those French words 
which preserved a similar stress in ME through their resem- 
blance to the above native words, such as avow, defend. 

255. Many other foreign words have also preserved their 
advanced stress. There are many foreign derivative endings 
— chiefly Greek and Latin, often modified in their passage 
through French — which regularly take the stress, such as 
-esque, -tion, -sion etc., -bility, -graphy, as in picturesque^ grot- 
esque, imagination, position, possibility, photography, in all of 
which the stress is taken away from the root-syllable, on 
which it falls in the shorter forms imagine, possible, photo- 
graph etc. Many words which were imported from French 
and other foreign languages in the MnE period keep their 
advanced stress even when the analogy of other words points 
to throwing it back on the first syllable, such as machiru, 
caprice — ^which show their French origin by the pronuncia- 


tion of I as (ij) — champagne, canoe, gazelle. Words which were 
imported straight from Latin generally keep the Latin stress, 
as in pa'pyrus, even when the final syllable is dropped, as in 
create, severe. Words of Greek origin follow the Latin 
accentuation as well as the Latin spelling, so that the 
original Greek stress is preserved in English only when it 
happens to be preserved in Latin also, as in genesis, museum 
= Greek genesis, mouseion. 

266. But foreign words even of recent introduction are 
always liable to have then* stress thrown back on to the first 
syllable, or, at any rate, towards the beginning of the word, 
as soon as they become popular, which in Latin words is 
generally shown by their shortening or dropping their endings, 
as in •<i«^/'A?r= Latin auditor, 'discipline=:'L2^m di'scip'lina, 
phi' losophy-==\j^ixxiphilor Sophia from Gxttk, philosophid. 

267. When a foreign word is used in different senses, it 
often happens that in its more familiar meaning it throws 
the stress back, keeping the original stress in the less familiar 
meaning. Thus we keep the original Latin stress in the 
adjective august and the name Augustus =1^2X1x1 augustus, 
but throw it back in the month-name * August, So also the 
adjective mi'nute keeps its Latin stress, which is thrown back 
in the more familiar noun 'minute, 

268. In many cases where the same foreign word is used 
both as a noun and a verb in English, it keeps its end-stress 
when used as a verb by the analogy of the native verbs which 
have the same stress, while the corresponding noun- or 
adjective-form takes the stress on the first syllable, so that the 
distinction between such words as the noun 'accent and the 
verb to accent is really ultimately due to the analogy of the 
OE pairs iforwyrd, forweorpan etc., which analogy was 
greatly aided by the fact that many verbs of French and 



ft 259- 

Latin origin also threw forward their stress; thus the con- 
trast between the foreign verbs trvduce, iwvade etc. and the 
native nouns 'income^ 'tnsighi etc. led to the distinction 
between the noun 'insult and the verb iwstdt from Latin 
msultdre. The following are additional examples of such 
pairs : — 






to ab'sent 
to ab'stract 
to affix 
to ob'ject 
to prersent 






to cotn'Pound 
to ex" tract 
to frequent 
to pro'duce 
to rerbel 

In some cases, however, the noun- and adjective-forms keep 
the verb-stress, as in ad'vice {to ad'vise\ cement, 

259. The normal stress of a word is always liable to be 
changed by considerations of emphasis, even a weak word or 
syllable being capable of taking strong stress if emphasized, 
as in that is 'the thing to do^ especially in cases of contrast, as 
in to give and 'forgive^ not 'subjective but 'objective^ against the 
normal %\xt%% forgive, subjective^ objective. 


260. In MnE there is a general tendency to shorten long 
vowels. As we have seen (222, 224), long vowels are often 
shortened before certain consonants in native words, as in 
blood (blBd)=OE and ME blbd, 

261. There is also a tendency to shorten long vowels — or 
keep strong short vowels from being lengthened — when 
followed by a single consonant and a weak vowel, in words 
of French origin, whether popular or learned, as in cavern, 
cavity compared with cave ; gratify, gratitude compared with 
grateful', perish, method, benefit, relative, astonish, philosophy. 


astronomy, pleasure (plesa) compared with please, courage 
(kBrids), flourish. 

262. But when the consonant is followed by two weak 
vowels, the preceding strong vowel is often lengthened, as in 
atheist, radiant, patient, tedious, especially in the derivative 
endings '-/ibw, ^sion^ etc., preceded by a strong vowel, as in 
nation, admiration, adhesion, notion, corrosion, although / is 
not lengthened under these circumstances, as in hideous, 
petition. Short vowels are also preserved when the two short 
vowels are preceded by certain consonants, such as n and sh, 
as in companion, fashion, 

263. There is also a variety of other exceptions, especially 
before certain endings, such as -al, -ive, -y, -n and -r preceded 
by weak vowels, as in /atal, decisive, navy compared with 
navigate, bacon, paper, labour, those in -« and -r being probably 
the result of the influence of native words, such as the preterite 
participles taken, shaken^ etc., and the numerous derivatives in 
-^r, such as maker, 

264. But some of these words with long vowels shorten 
them when another syllable is added, as in national compared 
with nation, tyrannous compared with fyrant, 

265. In words which have been imported direct from 
Latin and Greek, the vowels are generally long under the 
circumstances described above, as in basis, ether, regent, crisis^ 

focus, strophe. But there are several exceptions, such as simile 
(simili), chemist, the quantity varying in some words, such as 
pathos (pei}?os, psejjos). 



Old English. 


266. There are three genders of nouns in OE — masoa- 
line, feminine, and neuter. The genders of nouns are most 
clearly shown by the accompanying definite article *the' — 
masculine se, feminine seOy and neuter J>cbL The gender is 
partly natural, partly grammatical. It is to be noted that 
by natural gender names of children and young animals 
are neuter : Jfcet did * child/ pcBt deal/ * calf.' In the same 
way diminutives are neuter : peel nuBgd-en ' maiden/ * girl/ 
Names of things and abstractions are often neuter, but as 
often masculine or feminine : Jfcsl heafod ' head ' ; se h§re 
* army ' ; seo wynn * joy.' Names of living beings sometimes 
have a grammatical gender which contradicts the natural 
gender ; thus }KBt wif ' woman/ ' wife ' is neuter. 

267. Compound nouns follow the gender of the last 
element. Hence se wifmann ' woman ' is masculine, because 
se mann ' human being ' is masculine. 

Strong and Weak. 

268. All nouns belong to one of two classes — strong and 
weak. Weak nouns are those which inflect mainly with -», 
such as se steorra 'star/ plural nominative steorran. All 

§ 273.] 



others are strong, such as se start ' stone/ plural nominative 


269. OE nouns have four cases, nominative, accusa- 
tive, dative, genitive, which are not always clearly dis- 


The following are the regular noun-declensions : — 

Strong Masculine. 





270. Nom, 

^ Stan 


§nde * end ' 












Strong Neuter. 





271. Nom. 



scip *ship' 












272. Some neuters have a plural ending -r«, such as cild, 
plural ctldruy Hldrum^ dildra. The neuter plural ending -u 
is dropped after a long syllable, that is, one containing a 
long vowel, as in hus 'houses,' or containing a vowel 
followed by more than one consonant, as m/olc * nations.' 

Strong Feminine. 

273. Sing. Plur. 



Nom. rar«* care' cara 

synn * sin ' 


Ace. care cara 



Dat. care carum 



Gen. care carena 



^ Wherever the accusative is not given separately, it is the same as 
the nominative. 



[§ ^74. 

274. The -u of the nom. sing, is, like the -u of the neuter 
plur, nom., kept only after a short syllable. 


Weak Masculine. 




nama 'name' 











Weak Neuter. 






Nom. eage * eye ' iagan 

Ace cage iagan 

Dat. iagan iagum 

Gen. iagan iagena 


Hride * church ' dirican 
Hrican tiriian 

cirican ciriium 

diridan ciricena 

276. There are besides a number of irregular strong 
nouns. The most important of these are the mutation- 
nouns, such as the masculine mann * man/ fot * foot/ top 
'tooth,' plur. m^nn^ fet {/oet)j iep^ the feminine gos 
* goose,' mus ' mouse/ plur. gis, mys. 

Masculine Mutation-nouns. 

277. Sing. 




Nom. mann 




Dat. m§nn 




Gen. mannes 




Feminine Mutation-Nouns. 
Sing. Plur. 

278. Nom. mUs mys 
Dat. mjs musum 
Gen. muse musa 

279. The relationship-words in -^r, -or^ such 2,% fader 
* father,' modor ' mother,' hropor ' brother ' are partly regular, 
partly indeclinable, the dat. sing, generally having mutation : — 


Sing. Plur. 



l^ovci.fceder faderas 


bropoTy brdpru 

Dat. fader faderum 



Gen. fadeTyfaderes fcedera 



280. Some nouns are indeclinable, such as the abstract 
fem. nouns in -«, such as leldu * old age/ str^u ' strength.' 
The fem. mehf 'night' is indeclinable in the sing, and in 
the nom. plur., the masc. monap 'month' being also inde- 
clinable in the nom. plur. ; we still preserve these unchanged 
plurals in the comipounds /brfntg/i/^OE /eowerfiene nieht 
' fourteen nights ' and fwelvemonth. 

The inflection of nouns is attended by various modifications 
which fall under the general head of OE sound-changes : — 

281. Nouns ending in weak -^/, -(?/, -^«, -^r, etc. often 
drop their vowel before an inflection beginning with a 
vowel, thus se fugol * bird,' pat wdpen ' weapon ' have plurals 
ingias, /uglas, wdtpnu, 

282. For the change of cb into a in such nouns as se dceg 
'd2Ly,' gen. sing, doges, plur. nom. dagas, pest dal 'dale,' 

* valley,' gen. sing. dceUs, plur. nom. dalu, see § 127. 

283. For the dropping of h in such nouns as se Wealh 
' Welshman,' plur. Wealas, see § 141. 

284. In Late OE final h and medial g alternate in such 
words as se troh (earlier OE trog), plur. trogas, seo burh, gen. 
sing, burge (143). 

286. Final -u in the nom. sing, of some nouns, such as 
pcBt meolu 'meal,' seo sieadu 'shadow,' 'shade,' seo sinu 

* sinew ' is a weakening of original w, which reappears before 
an inflection beginning with a vowel, as in the gen. sing. 
meolwesy sdeadwe, sinwe. This -u is dropped after a long 
syllable, as in seo mdd ' meadow,' plur. m&dwa, 

280. The dropping of h before vowels (141) leads to 
contraction, as in pcet/eoh ' money,' gen. smg,/eos» 

7'6 ACCIDENCE. [5 287. 

Early Middle English. 

287. In Early Southern the old gender-distinctions in 
nouns were still partially kept up. By degrees, however, the 
inflections of the adjectives and the definite article were 
dropped ; and when the Earliest Southern pe, peo, p§t were 
levelled — as they soon were — under the uninflected pe, so that 
peo silnne^OK seo synn zxAp^t hus became/^ silnne^pe huSy 
the old genders were gradually forgotten, simply because 
there was nothing to mark them. 

288. The first great change in the old system of inflec- 
tions was the levelling of weak vowels under -e (174). By 
this change the distinctions of gender in the OE weak forms 
mona, sunne, eage were levelled in the Early Southern forms 
mdne, sunne, He as far as the endings were concerned. The 
distinctions of case were almost entirely effaced by this 
change in such words as OE caru, ace, dat., and gen. sg. 
carCy nom. plur. cara. So also the inflections in OE stone 
(dat. sing.), stdna (gen. plur.), scipu (nom. plur.) were levelled 
under the same final -e, 

289. The only endings which could withstand this level- 
ling were the gen. sing, -es^ the nom. plur. -as, which both 
became -es in ME, as in stgnes'=(yK s fanes, stdnas, the weak 
-<2«, which became -en, the gen. plur. -ena, which became -^ne. 
The dat. plur. -urn became -em\ but as this was the only 
case ending in m, the consonant was levelled under the more 
frequent n, so that ME -en represented OE -um as well as -an^ 
as in iveren=.OE ge/eran, ge/erum. 

290. The general result of these changes was not only to 
obscure the distinctions of the cases, but also in some classes 
of nouns to obscure the distinction between singular and 
plural. The confusion was most marked in the feminine 

S 293.] nouns: EAULY MIDDLE ENGLISH. 77 

nouns, where the changes we have been considering gave the 
following as the endings corresponding to those of the OE 
nouns caru^ synn, sunne respectively : — > 

Sing. Nom. 
















Plur. Nom. 












291. It is evident that the forms marked * in the above 
table are in the minority, while at the same time most of them 
obscure the distinction between singular and plural. They were 
accordingly got rid of by the analogical extension of those 
forms which were in the majority and more distinctive. The 
-e of care and sunne was extended to the OE nom. synn, which 
became ME sUnne, The plural -en of sunnen^O'E sunnan 
was extended to all feminine nouns — ME caren, sUnnen^^OE 
cara, synna. As -en was now the distinctive mark of the 
plural, it was given up in the singular of sunne, whose oblique 
cases took the same form as the nominative, as in the other 
two classes. The final result was that all feminine nouns 
were uniformly declined as follows : — 















292. As might be expected, the gen. plur. -ene was often 
levelled under the other plural cases, becoming -en. 

293. Weak masculines and neuters were declined in the 
same way — sing, name, ei'e, plur. namen, eien. The only 

78 ACCIDENCE. [§ 394. 

distinction between masculine and neuter weak nouns — 
namely in the ace. sing. (OE naman, eage) was thus lost. 

294. -^=the OE neuter plur. ending -u was made into 
'cn for the sake of distinctness, as in deqflen^ chtldrm^^OE, 
deoflu, cildru, sing, deovel, child. In many of these words 
-tf=OE -« was extended to the singular, as in dale 'valley,' 
bede * prayer,' =0E dcel, gehed^ plur. dalu^ gebedu. These OE 
plurals became dalen, beden in ME. 

296. The remaining masculine and neuter nouns kept 
their original strong forms. The dat. sing in -e was kept at 
first, but often dropped, because such forms as tveiey wdrde=> 
OE wege^ worde suggested a weak singular, and so the dat. 
sing, was levelled under the nom. in such words — wei^ ward 
— in accordance with the general ME tendency. The dat. 
plur. -^=0E 'um was disused for a similar reason — because 
it suggested a weak plural. The gen. plur. -^=0E -a 
was sometimes kept, but the more distinct weak ending 
-ene was often used instead — kingene^ as in aire kingene king 
* king of all kings,' wordene instead of kingey worde — both of 
these forms being gradually supplanted by the nominative. 
In the neuter plur. the OE undeclined forms were still kept — 
kus, word — ^but the strong masc. ending was often extended 
to the neuters, so as to distinguish the two numbers — hiiseSy 

The following are then the regular Early Southern ME 
noun-inflections, those which are liable to be dropped being 
in( ):- 

Strong Masculine and Neuter. 

296. Sing. 

Nom. stgn word 
Dat. stgn{e) wdrd{e) 
Gen. stgnes wdrdes 

stgnes wordy wdrdes 

stgnes wordy wdrdes 

stlne{ne)y stgnes wdrde{ne)y wdrder 


297. The neuter child has plur. children, corresponding to 
OE dildru. 

Strong and Weak Feminine. 

298. Sing. Plur. 

Nom. siinne^ chirche 
Dat. siinney chirche 
Gen. sunney chirche 

sUnneftf chirchen 
siinneny chirchen 
siinnen(e), chirchen(e) 


Weak Masculine and Neuter. 



Nom. ivire 




Dat ivere 




Gen. ivere 




800. The relationship-words vader, moder, silster gener- 
ally remained unchanged in the sing., having the regular 
plurals vaderes^ modren, sUstren. hroper of course lost the 
OE mutation in the dat. sing., which became hroper. But 
this mutation was transferred to the plur. on the analogy of 
fety men, etc., so that hrdpre=.OY^ bropru became brepre, and 
then, by the usual change of plural -e into -en, hrepren. 

301. Final e was dropped after a weak vowel, as in l^fdi 
' lady * — OE hlcefdige. The plural ending -j* without a vowel 
occurs only in long French words, as in parlurs ' parlours,' 
vestimenz 'vestments,' where 2;=(ts). 

In Old French such a word as vestiment is inflected thus — 
Sing. Nom. vesHmenz Plur. Nom. vestiment 

Ace vestiment Ace. vestimenz 

As the distinction between nom. and ace. had been lost in 
ME., the French -s was naturally identified with the English 
plur. inflection -es, 

802. In Early Midland and Northern the distinctions of 
grammatical gender were entirely lost during the transition 
from OE, the distinction between strong and weak fortns 

8o ACCIDENCE, [§ 303. 

being also done away with, except in a few isolated forms. 
The natural consequence was that the -es of the genitive 
was extended to weak nouns and to all feminine noims, the 
plur. -es being then extended in the same way, first to 
strong neuters, then to weak nouns and feminine nouns 
generally. The final result was that the only regular inflec- 
tions left were gen. sing, -es, plur. nom. and gen. -es^ the 
distinction between nom. and gen. plur. being kept up only 
in irregular plurals such as men^ gen. mennes. 

Late Middle-English. 

303. Standard ME follows the Early Midland dialect in 
its noun-inflections : it has only one case, the genitive ; the 
original nominative, accusative, and dative being now merged 
in one * common case ' : — 

Sing. Common word, stnne man 

Gen. wordesy sinnes mannes 

Plur. Common wordeSy sinnes men 

Gen. wordeSy sinnes mennes 

304. The e of -es — the gen. as well as the plur. ending — 
is often dropped in English as well as French words after 
a weak syllable, as va fader s (2l%ofddres\ ladys (also Idtfyes)^ 
and after a strong vowel, in order to avoid hiatus, as in /gs 
' foes.' Also in pens = earlier peniesy oli which pens was 
originally the weak form, the word having lost its stress in 
such combinations as twg penies, 

306. The whole ending -es is often dropped in French 
words and proper names ending in a hiss-consonant, as in 
the gen. sing. TroiluSy Vj^nus, and the plurals cos 'cases,' 
vers (also verses). 

This is the result of French influence, for in Old French such 


a word as versy whose s is part of the body of the word, was 
necessarily indeclinable : — 

Sing. Nom. vers Plur. Nom. vers 

Ace. vers Ace, vers 

806. Originally feminine nouns sometimes keep their 
earlier j-less gen. sing., as in pe chirche dgre^ ht's lady grace. 
We still preserve this form in Lady-day compared with 
Lords day. 

807. Many originally neuter nouns with unchanged 
plurals still keep these, such as folk, der, hors, shep, swtn, 
pound. It must be observed that most of these plurals have a 
collective meaning ; thus the ^^xsx.folk is oftener used in the 
sense of * people in general * than in that of * nations,' and in 
Mn£ swine is used exclusively in the collective-plural sense, 
not being used in the singular at all. fot when used as a 
measure was made invariable in the plural on the analogy of 
the old neuter pound, and the invariable m'gh/ m fourte-nighi 
(280), etc. 

808. In its general meaning y*J/ keeps its mutation-plural 
fit. So also man, wdm{m)an (OE wlfmann), iop^ etc. have 

plurals men, wdm(m)en (OE wifm^nn), tep, etc. 

809. The weak plural-ending -en is preserved not only 
in oxe plur. oxen, but also in other words which have now 
lost it in the spoken language, such as asche, aschen, hgse^ 
u 'eye,' ien, fg *foe,'yJ«, tg *toe,' tgn, scho 'shoe,' schon. 
In other words this ending is a ME extension, as in hrepren, 
children, dohtren, sustren. cow has plur. kyn=^0'E cH, plur. 
cy, the northern dialect keeping the older form kt. 

Modem English. 

810. By the beginning of the MnE period the s of 
inflectional -es had been voiced (282), (s) being kept 


Bz A CCIDENCE. [§ 3 1 1. 

only in monosyllables such as geese^ pence. In Early 
Mn£ the e was kept after a hiss-consonant for the sake of 
distinctness, as in horses (horsez), and was dropped every- 
where else, the (z) being necessarily unvoiced after voice- 
less consonant, as in beasts (b^^sts) from heastes (b^^stez), 
while it was of course preserved after vowels and voiced 
consonants, as in days^ heads (h^^dz). 

311. The ME dropping of -es after hiss-consonants is 
still kept up in a few phrases such z&/or old acquaintance 
sake J for Jesus* sake; but in the spoken language the -^s is 
generally kept, as in St, James s Square, where it is also 
written. Such genitives as ^neas\ Socrates wife occur 
only in the literary language; in the spoken language the 
full -es is added, or else the construction of JEneas etc. is 

One result of the contraction of inflectional -es in MnE is that 
radical s has been sometimes mistaken for the plural inflection, 
so that an original singular has been made into a plural, as in 
the case of cUms, eaves, riches, summons', these 'apparent 
plurals' correspond to the OE singulars celmesse, ^ese (plur. 
^fesan) and the Old French singulars richesse^ semonse. 

Most of these apparent plurals are not used in the singular ; 
but summons is used in the sing, without any change — a 
summons. There are some plurals which form a curtailed sin- 
gular by throwing off" the radical final s. Thus the collective 
plural /^<3:j^= the OE weak ^Xwxdl piosan has developed a sin- 
gular pea, whence a new orthographic plural peas has been 

Inflectional plurals often come to be used as singulars by 
change of meaning, such as news, sixpence. They may then 
form new plurals, such as sixpences, 

. 312. The ME (and OE) alternation of breath and voice 
consonants in the inflection of such native words as wif, 



gen. sing, wives^ plur. wives, has been kept up only partially 
in MnE. It has been entirely abandoned in the gen. sing., 
which is now formed afresh from the common case — wifi^s. 
We still keep the voice consonant in such plurals as wiveSy 
paths (paaSz), but such a plural as the earlier MnE turves 
has been made into tur/s. 

We still keep the gen. sing, calves in the compounds calves- 
head, calves-foot expressing articles of food ; otherwise calf\i2,s 
the regular gen. sing, calf's^ 

The following are the main types of noun-inflection in 
Present English :— 

313. Sing, Common hos dog kaet waif guws maen 

Gen, hosiz dogz kaets waifs guwsiz msenz 

Plur, Common hosiz dogz kaets waivz gijs men 

Gen, hDsiz dogz kaets waivz gijsiz menz 

Like horse are inflected words ending in the hisses (s, z ; 
J, 5), such as piece, box, size, adze, fish, church (tj99tj), age 

Like dog are inflected nouns ending in a vowel or any 
voiced consonant except (z, 5), such as day, lady, neighbour 
(neiba), mile, dove, son, lord. 

Dice (for gaming) and pence, the plurals of die and penny 
have (s) because they were shortened to monosyllables already 
in ME, dies (for coining) and pennies being new-formations 
from the singulars on the analogy of the regular plurals days, 
ladies, etc. 

Like cat are inflected nouns ending in any breath con- 
sonant except (s, J), such as earth, cliff, clerk, bishop, 

314. All the nouns inflected like wife — * voice-breath 
nouns ' — show a long syllable before the inflection m Late 
ME, as in staves^\,'^\.t ME staves (Early ME staves), wolves 

G 2 

84 ACCIDENCE. [§ 315, 

= ME wulves. Hence nouns with original short t never 
make this ch2LngQ— piths (pijjs), cliffs. The only voice- 
breath noun ending in (s) is house, plural houses (hauziz). 
The chief voice-breath nouns in ()>) are bath (baa}>), baths 
(baaSz)=I^^te ME bajfy bdpes (ba}>, baaSes), path^ oath^ 
mouth, clothes was originally the plural of cloth, which now 
forms a regular plural of its own — clQths. The great 
majority of nouns in (J?) keep the breath-sound in the plural ; 
such nouns are moth, death, hearth, health, birth. Some» 
such as iQth, truth, youth, have both pronunciations^ that with 
voice consonants in the plural being, of course, the older 
one. Nouns in -f show the change more frequently: 
after long Late ME vowels, as in life, knife, wife, thief, leaf, 
loaf] after /, as in half, calf, elf, self, shelf, wolf, Npuns in 
-rf, such as dwarf, scarf, turf, wf^rf made this change 
in Early MnE — dwarves, etc. — but they now generally keep 
they in the plural — dwarfs, etc. Nouns in -(?^also keep the 
f as in hoofs, roofs. So also belief But the French noun 
^^^ still keeps its plural beeves, which, however, is now iso- 
lated from its singular, through the latter having lost its 
origin?il meaning 'ox.' staves was originally the plural of 
j/^(Late ME staf staves), but having diverged from it in 
meaning, it has now developed a new singular stave, while 
staff itself has developed a new plural staffs, as in army 

Irregular Plurals. 

316. The following mutation-plurals are still in 
common use: man, men; woman, women (wumon, wimin), 
this plur. being Southern in spelling, though Midland in 
pronunciation ; foot, feet] goose, geese ; tooth, teeth ; louse, lice ; 
mouse, mice. 


316. The only n-plurals in common use are ^at, oxen ; 
child, children, brother now has the regular plural brothers, 
the old plural brethren being used only in a metaphorical 
sense, cow also has a regular plural cows^ the -older kine 
occurring only in the higher literary language. 

817. sheep and deer keep their iinohanged plurals. 

318. These are the only absolutely invariable words. In 
all other invariable words the unchanged plural implies either 
measure or collectiveness. As in Late ME, so also in MnE 
many nouns of measure have an unchanged plural only when 
preceded by a numeral, as in two dozen knives compared with 
dozens of knives ; and many of them keep it only in groups or 
compounds such as ten-pound note compared with ten pounds, 
the earlier MnE ten pound being now obsolete or vulgar. It 
is only when a noun of measure is used also as an ordinary 
descriptive noun that it occasionally keeps its unchanged 
plural under all circumstances, as in how many stone does he 

819. While the use of the unchanged plural of measure 
has been gradually restricted in MnE, the unchanged collec- 
tive plural has been extended, svoine has now lost its sin- 
gular, the sing, and separative plur. being expressed hy pig, 
pigs. But in most cases the collective and separative plurals 
are used side by side, as in to catch fish compared with the 
story of the three fishes. 

Foreign Plurals. 

820. Many foreign words — especially Latin and Greek — • 
keep their original plurals, but some of them have also 
regular English plurals; some have the two plurals in 
different meanings. Some are used only in the plural. Some 
are unchanged in the plural. 

86 ACCIDENCE. t§3ar. 

321. The most important Latin endings are : — 
-a . • . -ddx /ormula^/ormulcB. 

-UB . . . 'i I fungus, fungi. 

-tun . . . -a : destderaium^ desiderata. 

-is . . . -es : analysis j analyses. 

-es . • . • -es : species. 

-ix, -yz, -ex . . . -ices: appendix, appendices] calyx, 
calyces ; vortex, vortices. 

There are other isolated Latin plurals: genus, genera', 
stamen, stamina. 

322. -on ... -a is a Greek plur. : phenomenon, phenomena. 

323. We have Italian plurals in bandit, banditti ; dilettante, 
dilettanti] virtuoso, virtuosi. 

324. The Hebrew plurals cherubim, seraphim are collec- 
tive, and are occasionally used as singulars in Early Mn£ — 
a cherubim. 

326. The French plural ending x in beaux, flambeaux, 
has the same sound as the regular -x. 

326. The plural of Mr. is expressed by the different 
word Messrs., in full Messieurs. Mr. is a weak form of 
ME meister from old French meistre, the corresponding 
strong form being master. Messieurs is the French mes 
Sieurs 'my Lords/ the sing, of which is Monsieur. The 
plural of the feminme J/j<ftf/w= French ma Dame *my Lady' 
is Mesdames =French mes Dames * my Ladies/ which, however, 
is not much used in English. 

327. The tendency of the language now is to get rid of 
foreign plurals as much as possible, except where the foreign 
plur. marks a difference of meaning. Many words which 
have foreign plurals, form their plurals also regularly, some- 
times with a distinction of meaning, as in appendixes and 

§ 332.T ADJECTIVES. if 


Old English. 

328. In OE the adjectives have the three genders of 
nouns, and the same inflections, though with partially different 
forms, together with the distinction of strong and weak. 
Adjectives (as also pronouns) also show traces of an instni- 
xnental case, which is, however, generally expressed by the 

829. Adjectives agree with their nouns in gender, number, 
and case : hie comon mid langum siipum, na manigum * they 
came with long ships, not many.' 

830. The weak form is used after the definite article and 
other defining words, as in se goda cyning * the good king/ se 
hdlga ' the holy (man),' whence the weak masc. noun MIga 
* saint,' J^ds hdlgan cymngas * these holy kings,' compared with 
sum god cyntng * a certain" good king,' halge mpin ' holy men.' 

831. The following are the strong inflections of god^ the 
forms which differ from those of the nouns being marked * : — 




Sing. Nom. 




















Plur. Nom. 









332. The weak forms are identical with those of the weak 

88 ACCIDENCE. [§ 333* 

nouns, except in the gen. plur., which, however, sometimes 
appears as -ena with the same ending as in the nouns, instead 
of taking the ending of the strong adjectives : — 




Sing. Nom. 
















Plur. Nom. 






838. The -« of the strong fem. nom. sing, and the strong^ 
neut. nom. plur. is kept under the same circumstances as in the 
noun-inflections; thus sum * some' has sumu in the above cases^ 
as opposed to the long-syllable god. Adjectives in -^/, -en, 
etc. drop the e as in noun-inflection ; thus hdl^, midel, agm 

* own,' have plurals hdlge, midle^ ague. Where final -u is a 
weakening of -z^, the w is restored before an inflection begin- 
ning with a vowel, as in nearu * narrow,' salu * sallow,' geolu 

* yellow,' plurals nearwe, sahue, geolwe. In late OE final 
'h alternates with medial g in such forms as genoh ' enough ' 
[earlier ^enog'], plur. genoge. The dropping of weak h 
between vowels leads to contraction; thus heah 'high,' 
Mercian hehy has plural hea (from heahe). 

Middle English. 

334. The levelling of noun-inflections in ME and the loss 
of gender distinctions naturally led to the disregard of concord. 
Hence the case-endings in the singular of strong adjectives 
began to fall off" at the beginning of the ME period. The 
distinction between singular and plural and between strong 

§338-] ADJECTIVES. 89 

and weak inflection was preserved in the adjectives as well 
as in the nouns, god represented the strong singular, gode 
the strong plural and the weak singular. As the weak form 
of the adjective was generally followed by a noun, it was 
superfluous to mark the distinction of number in the adjec- 
tive, and consequently the weak singular ending -e was used 
also in the plural. The result was that in Late ME the 
adjective had only two inflections : — 

Strong Sing, god Weak Sing, gods 

Plur. gdde Plur. gode 

336. The weak form is used much as in OE : J?e yhige 
sihine * the young sun,' Jfis tike mdnk * this same monk.' 

336. In the Northern dialect all adjectives became in- 
declinable already in the Early period through loss of final 
weak -e. 

337. The old cases were partially preserved in the Earliest 
ME. The gen. plur. ending -r^=OE -ra, as in aire kingene 
h'ng=^OE eallra cyninga cyning^ lingered longest, because 
of its distinctiveness. In Late ME alder y from earlier aire 
through aldre^ became a sort of prefix to superlatives, as in 
alderbest ' best of all ' ; in Early MnE Shakespere still has 
alderliefest ' dearest of all/ 

Modern English. 

338. In MnE the loss of final -e made the adjectives in- 
declinable as far as case and number are concerned. Adjec- 
tives thus became formally indistinguishable from adverbs, 
except by their syntactical relations, the only change of form 
that was left to them — namely comparison — being shared by 
adverbs. But Early MnE still preserved a trace of the ME 

90 ACCIDENCE. i% 339. 

inflections in the distinction between enough sing., enow plur. 
=ME inoh^ tndwe. 



339. In OE the comparative is formed by adding -ra^ and 
is declined like a weak adjective, as in Uof-ra ' dearer ' masc, 
leofre fem. and neut., the corresponding adverbs ending in -or : 
leofor^ hear dor. The superlative is formed by adding -w/, and 
may be either strong or weak: leo/osi * d&2LXt^i* se leo/osia mann. 
The uninflected form of the superlative is used also as an ad- 
verb : leqfosiy heardosL Some adjectives form their comparison 
:with mutation, the superlative ending in -«/, as in lang ' long,' 
livgre, longest y neah * near,' superlative nlehst, hiext (Anglian 
nehj nest, next). In some comparisons the comparative and 
superlative are formed from a word distinct from that which 
constitutes the positive : god [adverb wet]^ h§tera [adverb 3//], 
h^ist. The positive of some comparatives and superlatives is 
represented only by an adverb ; thus to arra * former ' (in time) 
cerest ' first * corresponds the adverb &r * formerly.' Many 
of these form the superlative with -;w, which is an older form 
than -j/. The original form of this superlative is seen in 
for-ma 'first,' the positive of which is represented by the 
adverb yi?r^ * before.* But in most cases the mesining of this 
old superlative ending was forgotten, and the ending -si was 
added — generally with mutation — ^giving the double superla- 
tive 'tnest. Thus from /brma the new superlative ^r»i^j/ 
* most foremost,' * first ' was formed. Other examples are 
innemest, norpmest from inne * inside,' norp ' north,' 



340. In Early ME the endings are -r^, -ere [adverbial 
-^r], -est : Uof^ leofre [adverbial leover\ liovesi. In Late ME 
the final -^ of -ere was dropped, so that the distinction 
between adjective and adverb was levelled. 

Modern English. 

341. In MnE the endings are the same as in Late ME — 
-er, -est. We have also a periphrastic comparison, which 
consists in prefixing the adverbs more, most, as in beautiful, 
more beautiful, most beautiful by the side of hard, harder, 
hardest. Periphrastic comparison appears already in Early 
ME. At first the two methods of comparison were used 
indiscriminately ; but by degrees the periphrastic comparison 
has come in MnE to be applied chiefly to longer and more 
unfamiliar adjectives, the inflectional comparison being 
restricted more and more to the shorter adjectives. 

342. In Early ME such comparisons as more sad, most 
sad, beautifuller, beautifullest were frequent ; and they are still 
used in poetry and the higher prose. 

343. Double comparison was frequent in Early MnE, 
as in more braver, most unkindest. This now survives only 
as a vulgarism. 

Irregular Comparison. 

344. In ME and MnE the old mutation in such com- 
parisons as OE lang {Igng, Igng), l^ngre, longest was gradually 
got rid of by the introduction of the vowel of the positive, 
whence the MnE longer, longest. Mutation is preserved only 
in a few irregular and isolated forms. Other irregularities 
are the result of ME sound-changes — late, latter — of various 

92 ACCIDENCE. ft 34^ 

confusions and mixtures of originally distinct words and 
forms— ^r, further— ^2Xi^ of the retention of diflferent-word 
comparatives and superlatives — good, better, 

345. The double superlative ending -mest was naturally 
associated with mmt ' most,' and already in Late OE we find 
such forms 2iS ytmast by the side o( Jtemest from ute * out- 
side * ; in ME we find the endings -mest and -mpst side by 
side, the latter ultimately getting the upper hand. In the 
few cases of mutation the vowel of the positive was gradually 
extended to the other two degrees ; already in OE we find 
utemest instead of ytemest. So also OE fyrnust was made 
into formest in ME by the influence of forma and fore, 
whence the MnE foremost. In OE the positives of ceftemest 
' last ' and nipemest 'lowest' were represented by the adverbs 
after * after ' and niper, neopor ' downwards,' * down,' these 
being themselves old comparatives. In ME the full forms 
of the positives after, neper were introduced into the super- 
latives, whence the MnE aftermost, nethermost, a new super- 
lative undermost being formed on the analogy of nethermost. 
A superlative ending -ermost having thus established itself, 
other superlatives of place were formed directly from com- 
paratives by adding -most, as in lowermost, uppermost in 
imitation of nethermost and undermost, uttermost by the side 
of utmost, innermost. So also from further was formed 
a superlative furthermost, from which again was formed a 
double comparative /«r/^r;w^r^, perhaps partly by the in- 
fluence of evermore. The OE midmest was made into 
middlemost, and on the analogy of this form superlatives 
such as highmost were formed direct from adjectives, highmost 
being perhaps regarded as a transposition of most high. To 
the OE superlatives norpmest, supmest correspond as positives 
the adverbs norp, sup, which were also used as nouns. Hence 


in MnE we have superlatives in -most fohned directly from 
nouns, such as topmost^ endmosL 

The following are the irregular comparisons of MnE : — 

OE eald (o/rf), teldra {jldra\ ieldest (jldesf). The com- 
parisons elder, eldest are used to express differences of age 
from a more abstract point of view than older, oldest, as in 
elder brother compared with he is older than he looks. 

««• ^"'^ isr i} 

OE IcBt 'slow' [adv. late < slowly/ 'late'], Icetra [adv. 
lator\ latost. latter =MK later with back-shortening, last 
is a shortening of ME latest, not by phonetic change, but 
apparently by the analogy of best, least, etc. When latter and 
last developed special meanings, the new comparisons later, 
latest were formed directly from late. 

848 0ut [ ^l^^^ utmost, uttermost ) 

' ( outer outmost, outermost \ 

OE ute adv. ' outside,' y terra [adv. utor\ ytmest, ytemest. 
Even in OE the vowel of the positive is extended to the 
other degrees: iiterra, Utemest, whence by back-shortening 
the MnE utter, etc., outer, etc., being new-formations from out. 

«*«• /- i;^£ ^Jtt%\ 

OE /eorr adv. and occasionally adj. * far,' fierra [adv. 
fierr\ fierrest, /eorr became by regular change ME /er, 
JVInE far. To the OE adverby^r^ ' before,' * in front ' cor- 
responds the comparative y«r;^ra [adv.^/^^r], superL^r^j*/, 
^rst, forma,^ fyrmest. The comparative adverb fierr was 

94 ACCIDENCE. [| 350. 

soon confused with the positive y^orr in ME through the 
tendency to give up mutation in comparison, and the more 
distincty//r;^e?r took its place, fierr 2Si'di furpor having nearly 
the same meaning. When ME ^rj/=OE^rj/ became tiie 
ordinal numeral corresponding to gn * one ' — taking the place 
of OE forma * first ' — a new superlative furpest was formed 
from furper^OE furbor. Lastly, the vowel of the positive 
was extended to the other degrees, ^\ing farther^ farthest. 
The old superlative forma being no longer recognizable as 
such, was regarded as a positive, whence a new comparative 
former was made in imitation of latter. 

350. nigh j^^'' ^^^^ 

^ ( nearer neare 

nearest ) 

OE neah {neh) adverb (rarely adjective), nearra [adv. near\ 
mehsty niext [next). The MnE positive adjective and adverb 
near is the old comparative adverb, made into a positive on 
the analogy of here, there as well 2l% far. It is compared 
regularly nearer, nearest, the old superlative next being 
isolated from it. The old positive is represented by the 
adjective and adverb nigh. 

351. good (well) better best 

OE god [adv. wer\, b§tera [adv. 3//], b^tst. The dropping 
of the / in best is not phonetic, but is the result of the 
influence of mdst, etc. 

352. bad worse worst 

NE yfel, wiersa [adv. wiers\, superl. wierrest, wierst, 
Anglian wyrsa, etc. In ME /// from Scandinavian illr^ 
came into use concurrently with Uvel, ivel, evel, our present 
evil being the Kentish form. In ME a new adjective with 
the same meaning — badde — was developed by change of 

f 355.] PRONOUNS. 95 

meaning and shortening from the OE noun haddel 'effe- 
minate person/ In Mn£ had has gained the upper hand, 
though worse and worst are still comparisons of evil and /// 
as well as of had. In the Southern ME wurse, wursi, u 
was developed out of i5^=Late West-Saxon or Anglian y by 
the influence of the w. In Early MnE a new double com- 
parative worser was formed. Both worser and the double 
superlative worsesi occur in Vulgar MnE. 

858. little jg^^j least 

OE lytel, Idssa [adv. las\ Ickst, The new formation lesser 
is, of course, a double comparative like worser (362). 

354. much more most 

OE midely mdra [adv. md\ mast. In Late West-Saxon 
miiel became myiel by the influence of the /«, whence 
Southern ME miichel, muche(l). In OE md, originally an 
adverb, is used as a neuter noun governing the genitive in 
the sense of ' more in number,' as in md pdra wiiena ' more 
of the councillors.' In ME mp= OE md came to be used as 
an adjective, and in Early ME moe was regarded as the com- 
parative of many =zOE manig, moe has now been levelled 
under more'=-01L mdra neut. mdre^ so that more^ most are 
the comparisons both of much and of many. In ME — and 
already in Late OE — the d of mdra^ md was extended to the 
superlative, which became mdst^ mgst, MnE most. 


355. In OE the inflections of the personal pronouns of 
the first and second persons — td * I,' Jfu * thou ' — are alto- 
gether peculiar and anomalous. The personal pronouns of 

96 ACCIDENCE. [§ 35(r, 

the third person — he ' he/ hit * it/ ^^(7 'she ' — have inflections 
similar to those of the adjectives : compare ace. sing, maisc. 
hine^ dat. sing. masc. him with godne, godum. So also the 
interrogative pronoun kwd, kwcei *who/ 'what/ and the 
demonstrative pronouns se * that/ ' the ' and Jfes * this ' have 
inflections similar to those of strong adjectives. The main 
peculiarities of the pronoun inflections as distinguished from 
those of the adjectives are {a) that they are sometimes made 
up of different words, thus id ace. miy si ace. Jfone, and {b) 
that tiie neuter sometimes has a special ending -/, as in hit 
* it ' compared with he^ hwcet, J^cet^ which in OE is the neuter 
of si. Some of the pronouns have an instrumental case. 

356. The remaining OE pronouns have the inflections of 
ordinary strong adjectives, whether they are used as adjec- 
tives or nouns. Thus the adjective-pronoun sum in sum 
mann ' a certain man ' and the noun-pronoun sum * a certain 
one' both have plural sume, as in sume m^nn cw^dofiy sume 
nvcbdon *some (people) said'; and there was a singular 
neuter noun-pronoun eall^ as in s^le eall pcBt pa hce/st 'sell 
all that thou hast,' as well as a plural ealle, as in ealle tuun- 
drodon ' all wondered.' So also hw^ld * which,' sw§lc * such/ 
oper * other,' anig * any,*^ nan * none/ * no/ had the plurals 
hw^ke, sw^lcey qpre, cenige^ ndne, which were used both as 
adjectives and nouns. OE pronouns only occasionally take 
weak inflection, as in id self a *I myself ' compared with ic 
self ace. me sel/ne, 

857. In ME the old plurals in -e were kept, as in alle 
men * all men,' alle pat livep * all that live.' But in MnE the 
-e was dropped in accordance with the general rule, so that 
these pronouns became invariable in the plural, as in some 
think differently y beloved by all^ of such is the kingdom of 

f 360.] 



868. The regularly inflected pronouns had a gen. sing. 
masc. and neut. in -es in OE. The OE noun-genitive d}>res 
' another man's ' survives in the MnE ofher^s, another's. So 
also either* s^^OK cegpres from ^}>er-=-ceghwcBper, The 
MnE genitive one^s is a new-formation. It is probably the 
old genitive other* s — together with the desire of distinctness — 
which led to the formation of a new plural others instead 
of the invariable other^ which was still preserved at the be- 
ginning of the Early MnE period, as in when other are glad^ 
then is he sad. The plural ones of the prop- word one^ as in 
the young ones, is, of course, a still later formation. 

Personal Fronouns. 


869. The following are the inflections of the personal 
pronouns — including, for convenience, the interrogative hwd 
— later forms being in ( ) : — 

Sing. Nom. id 

Ace. med (me) 
Dat. me 
Gen. mm 

Plur. Nom. we 

Ace. iisic (us) 
Dat. us 
Gen. ure 


pec (Pe) 

iowid {eow) 






hie {hy) 

Sing. Nom. hwcL 
Ace. hwone 

hie (hy, heo) 
hie (hy, heo) 
him (heom) 
hira, heora 



hwam (hwdni) 



360. The change of the plur. him into heom is the result 
of the influence of the gen. plur. heora together with the 


98 ACCIDENCE, [§ 361. 

desire to distinguish between singular and plural. The late 
nom. plur. heo is the result of levelling under heom and heora, 

361. Many of the above inflections had weak forms, in 
which long vowels were shortened, such as weak /«, heo=^ 
strong /«, heo, 


362. In ME the genitive of the personal pronouns was 
gradually restricted to the function of a possessive pronoun, 
though it still retained something of its independence in such 
phrases as oure aller h§le 'the salvation of us air = OE tire 
eallra h^lu, 

363. In ME the distinction between accusative and dative 
was done away with, these two cases being levelled under 
one which we call the ' objective ' case, this objective case 
being really the old dative used also as an accusative. This 
extension of the dative began already in OE, me^ pe^ us, icw 
being the regular accusatives even in Early West-Saxon. 
The explanation is that as the personal pronouns generally 
refer to living beings, we naturally think of * I,' ' you,' etc. 
not as mere passive objects of striking, calling, sending, etc., 
but as being to some extent actively interested in these pro- 
cesses ; and hence we are inclined to use the interest-case 
or dative to express the personal complement even of purely 
transitive verbs. Hence even in OE they began to say he 
slog me ' he struck me ' instead of he slog mei in the same 
sense as he slog pone stdn * he struck the stone,' but from a 
different point of view. In ME the change was carried out 
consistently, him supplanting hine and so on. But with the 
specifically neuter pronouns the process was reversed : it 
and what being mainly thought of as passive complements 
of verbs, not only kept their old accusatives — ^which was 


made still more easy by these accusatives having the same 
form as the nominatives — ^but used them to express the 
much rarer relation of interest, and so the old accusative // 
h9,s come to represent the dative as well as the accusative 
in MnE, while the old dative him serves as accusative as 
well as dative. 

364. In ME — as also in OE — all the third person pro- 
nouns had weak forms without h- : unemphatic or weak im 
by the side of emphatic or strong hiniy although in writing 
only the emphatic form was used, just as in MnE we write 
/ saw htrrij whether the him is emphatic (him) or weak (im). 
But even in the earliest Midland we find // written every- 
where by the side of he, etc., showing that this originally 
weak form had supplanted the strong one. The reason is 
that it was so rarely necessary to emphasize the impersonal 
pronoun that the strong hit was forgotten and disused. But 
hit was preserved in South-Thames English up to the end 
of the Late ME period. 

865. OE id split up into the two forms ich (North-Thames 
ic) and i. The latter — which was, of course, originally the 
weak form — gradually supplanted the fuller form, which 
became extinct in Standard ME, although it still survives in 
the dialects of the West of England. 

366. So also the weak us (with short vowel) gradually 
supplanted the strong Us, ous. 

367. In ME weak eo often became a through intermediate 
ea. Already in Early Old-Anglian we find weak heara by 
the side of the older strong heora. In Early ME heara 
passed into hare, and in the same way Late OE heom * them ' 
became ham. The weak OE heo * she,' which in Late OE 
also expressed * they,' passed through the same change, be- 
coming ha. This weak ha was then extended to the masc. 

H 2 

100 ACCIDENCE. [| 368. 

sing. So in Early Southern we find the strong and weak 
pairs with a in the latter : he {ha) ' he/ heo (ha) * she,' * they/ 
heom {ham) 'them/ heore {hare) * their.' ha was liable to 
drop its h by still further weakening, whence the Early MnE 
fl=^^ in quotKa^ quotha^ *a must needs, 

368. Strong heo ' she ' passed through ifuo into (hjoo, j^oo), 
which last is the Early Midland form, written i^ho parallel to 
wha * who'=(w^aa). But the feminine demonstrative sio 
' that one/ ' she ' gradually took the place of heo, at first in 
the Midland dialect, and then in the Standard ME. seo 
passed through seo (sjoo) into shd in some dialects with the 
change of (sj) into (J). This shd, being a weak form, 
existed side by side with the strong seo, and in some Midland 
dialects the two were blended together into a new form sheo, 
which became she by the regular change of eo into e. Strong 
heo was soon discarded, because this vowel-change levelled 
it under the masculine he, 

369. eow in its weak form passed through (joow) into 
(juuw), written yiw, which then became ^oa;={juu), the (w) 
first changing the into a, and then being itself absorbed by 
the «. Early Southern has ou with dropping of the e, just 
as in hore-=.heore, 

370. The Late OE tendency to confuse heo * she * and hie 
' they ' under the common form heo led to a more extended 
use of the demonstrative plural pa * they.' In the ME 
period this usage was especially developed in North-Thames 
English. But as pa also had the strong demonstrative mean- 
ing * those ones,' * those,' and as Scandinavian influence was 
strong in North-Thames English, pa in the sense of * they ' 
was made into pet by the influence of Scandinavian peir 
' they,' where the -r is only the inflection of the nom. masc. 
plur. The influence of the Scandinavian dat. and gen. plur. 


peim * to them,'/«ra ' their' also changed the old/^/«, para 
into petm^ pei're, peir in North-Thames E. In Late ME pei 
found its way into the Standard dialect, which, however, still 
generally kept the Southern dative hem and the possessive 
here from the earlier Southern emphatic heom^ heore. 

371. The following are, then, the chief forms of the 
personal pronouns in Early ME, the North-Thames forms 
being in ( ) : — 

Sing. Nom. tch^ i (tc, t) 


whg (wha)y wh§t (what) 

Obj. me 



Plur. Nom. we 


Obj. iiSy us 

ou (inw, la) 

Sing. Nom. he, ha 

hit (it) 

heo, ha (}Jid, sho) 

Obj. hine^ him 

hit {it) 


Plur. Nom. 

heo, ha (pei) 


heomy ham (peim) 

372. The later forms of Standard ME are- 

Sing. Nom. f, ich 


who what 

Obj. me 


whom what 

Plur. Nom. we 


Obj. us 


Sing. Nom. he 

hit, it 


Obj. him 

hit, it 

hire, hir, her 

Plur. Nom. 



hem, peim 

373. In Late ME the Early ME wham took the vowel of 
the nom. who, in which Early ME g was made into close o 
by the influence of the w, 

374. In ME the plural ye, yaw was used in respectful 
and ceremonious address instead of the singular/e?z£;, /^by 
imitation of Old French. 

loa ACCIDENCE, [§375* 

Modern English. 

875. In Early MnE the use of the ceremonious plural ^^, 
you was so much extended that it became the usual polite 
form of address, the singular thou being used mainly to ex- 
press familiarity and contempt, which latter use brought 
about its complete disuse in the spoken language of the pre- 
sent century, which therefore makes no distinction of number 
in the personal pronoun of the second person. But we still 
preserve the old thou in the poetical and liturgical language. 

376. In Early MnE the objective form you came to be 
used as a nominative, and in Present English ^^« has com- 
pletely supplanted ye in the spoken language. The change 
is partly the result of a general confusion between nomin- 
ative and objective in MnE, partly of the influence of the 
singular pronoun thou. In Early MnE the ME //, ye 
became ("Sii, jii), which were shortened into (Si, ji) when 
weak. So also ME pow^ yow became Early MnE (85u, 
jou) by the regular change of (uu) into (6u), the short 
(u) of the ME weak forms being necessarily preserved 
unchanged in the Early MnE (tSu, ju). In Early MnE 
thou and ye were liable to lose their vowels before another 
word beginning with a vowel or ^ + vowel, so that thou art, 
ye are were shortened into tKart^ yare, just as the earth was 
shortened into th' earth. This gave the following Early MnE 
forms of the second person pronoun : — 

Nom. (^ou, ^u, ^) (jii, ji, j) 

Obj. (¥ii, =6i) (jou, ju) 

377. It will be observed that each of these pronouns has 
two groups of endings w^hich have exactly opposite functions, 
(-ou), etc. being the nominative ending in the singular thou, 


but the objective ending in the plural yoUy while (-ii) is the 
objective ending in the singular, the nominative ending in the 
plural. The natural result of this was that the associations 
between form and grammatical function became unsettled, 
and when ye, you came to be frequently used in a singular 
meaning, thou (t5ou) and you (jou) were associated together, 
till at last you came to be regarded as a nominative. This 
confusion was increased by the shortened forms yare, etc., 
in which it was impossible to know whether the y* was a 
contraction of ^^ or ol you, 

378. The phonetic similarity between ihee and ye led to 
the frequent use oiye as an objective, especially in the weak 
form (ji), which was used indifferently as an objective or a 
nominative, being often further weakened by dropping the 
consonant, as in kark'ee, harkee, lookee, thankee. Such forms 
as I tell ye (ji) were still frequent a few generations ago, and 
(i) may still be heard in how do you do ? (hau d i duw), but 
such forms as (luki, ]?aer)ki) survive only as vulgarisms. 

379. As (8ou) and (8u), (jou) and (ju) diverged con- 
siderably in sound, one member of each pair was got rid of 
in the course of the Early MnE period, namely the weak 
(8u) and the strong (jou), whose place was taken by (juu), — 
a lengthening of the weak (ju). As this (uu) did not develop 
till after the change of ME (uu) into (6u) had been com- 
pleted, it was, of course, preserved from that change. 

380. We have seen that the ending -^(^) in the second 
person pronouns is the mark both of the nominative (ye) 
and the objective {thee). The same cross-association runs 
through some of the other pronouns : — 

Nom. : he, she, we, ye 
Obj. : me^ thee 

I04 ACCIDENCE. [§ 381. 

The fact that in four cases out of six -ee is the nom. ending 
explains how^^ was able to maintain itself as a nom. in spite 
of the support given ioyou by the sing, tkou, 

381. Confusions between nominative and objective may 
occur in any language through misimderstanding gram- 
matical categories. Thus in the Bible we find whom do 
nun say that I am ?, where what ought to be the nominative 
is put in the objective through attraction — through being 
regarded as the object of the verb say ; and although OE is 
strict in its distinction between nom. and accusative, yet 
the OE version shows the same attraction: hwcme s§dgap 
m^nnpat sy mannes sunu ? But as long as a language marks 
the distinctions of case with clearness, such confusions are 
confined to isolated constructions. In MnE, however, the 
distinction between nominative and objective was marked 
only in a few words, and even there was marked in a way 
which inevitably led to confusion ; and even apart from this 
cross-association there was no uniformity : thus in the pairs 
/, me ; he, him ; we, us the objective cases have no formal 
characteristic in common. Hence in MnE the linguistic 
sense for the distinction between nominative and objective 
has been almost as much weakened as that for the distinc- 
tion between indicative and subjunctive. 

382. In Early MnE the usage was more unsettled than 
it is now, the nominative being as freely substituted for the 
objective as vice-versa, as in such constructions as *tweenyou 
and L you and I were so frequently joined together as 
nominatives— ^(?« and I will go together, etc. — that the three 
words formed a sort of group-compound, whose last element 
became invariable. 

383. The tendency of Later MnE is to merge the dis- 
tinction of nominative and objective in that of conjoint and 


absolute, that is, to keep the old nominative forms only 
when in immediate connection with a verb — / am ; said he — 
so that, as the pronouns in the nominative generally precede 
the verb, /, he, etc., are felt almost to be inseparable verb- 
forming prefixes, as in / call, compared with to call. When 
a pronoun follows a verb, it generally stands in the objective 
relation ; hence, on the analogy of he saw me, tell me, etc., 
the literary it is I is made into it is me in the spoken lan- 
guage, so that me is felt to be the absolute form of the 
conjoint /, being also used as the answer to the question 
who is there?, etc. In the vulgar language this is carried 
out consistently, the slightest separation from the verb being 
enough to elicit the objective form, as in me and John came 
home yesterday =-i\iQ polite John and I came home yesterday, 
them that is her e-=. they that , . In Standard spoken English 
the absolute use of the objective forms is most marked in 
the case of me, which is put on a level with the old nomin- 
atives he, etc. : it is me, it is he, it is she. But the usage 
varies, and in more careless speech such constructions as // 
is him, it is us are frequent. 

384. The tendency to use the nominative forms before 
the verb has had the contrary effect on the pronoun who. 
Already in Early MnE whom do you mean ? was made into 
who do you mean ? on the analogy of / mean . . , you 
mean . . , etc. In Present spoken English whom may be 
said to be extinct, except in the rare construction with a 
preposition immediately before it, as in of whom are you 
speaking ?z=.\ht more purely colloquial who are you speak- 
ing of? 

385. The pronouns thou, thee 2Xid, ye are now confined 
to the liturgical and the higher literary language. In the 
singular the distinction between nom. thou and obj. thee is 

Io6 ACCIDENCE, [§ 386. 

Strictly maintained. In the Bible ye is the nom. and you is 
the corresponding obj., but in the present language of poetry 
there is a tendency to use;*^ in the obj. as well as the nom., 
in order to avoid the prosaic ^(?« : ye see, I see ye, 

386. In Early MnE them — which seems to be a weak 
form of ME J?eim — finally got the upper hand of ME hem^ 
which has survived only as a weak form, being written *em 
from the fnistaken idea that it was a shortening of them. We 
still use (am) as a weak form of them by the side of (Sam), 
but only in very familiar speech. 

387. The MnE it, her are also equivalent to ME weak 

388. The ME weak ha occurs occasionally in Early MnE 
in the form of 'a, a, but only in very familiar^ careless 

389. The following are the present forms of the personal 
pronouns : — 


, Nom. 


thou, you 





thee, you 






ye, you 



ye, you 














them i^em) 

390. The shortening (-s)=«j occurs only in lefs. In 
Early MnE it was more general. 


Possessive Pronouns. 

Old English. 

391. The OE possessive pronouns are the genitives of 
the corresponding personal pronouns : min ' my,' ure * our/ 
fiin ' thy/ eower ' your/ h's ' his, its/ Az're ' her,' ht'raj heora 
* their.' The possessives of the third person — his, hire, 
hira — together with hwas 'whose,' are indeclinable, those 
of the first and second person — mln^ pin, Ure, eoiver — being 
declined like strong adjectives : mid his freondum * with his 
friends,' mid minum freondum. 

Middle English. 

392. In ME his was made declinable on the analogy of 
min, etc., that is, it took a plural ending -e, as in alle 
hise men compared with OE ealle his m§nn. This being the 
only inflection of the possessives in ME, those ending in -e 
necessarily remained or became indeclinable. The Early 
ME dwer, 5«r=0E eower took final -e in Late ME by the 
analogy of ure, becoming youre. 

393. mm and filn dropped their final n before a consonant 
in Early ME — ml fader — keeping it before a vowel or ^ + 
vowel : min arm, pin herte. In Late ME the n was often 
dropped before a vowel as well. The n was, of course, 
always kept when the possessives were used absolutely, or 
when they followed their noun : hit is min, hroper min I 

394. In Late ME the possessives ending in -e generally 
take the genitive ending -s when used absolutely: to min 
hous or to youres\ al pis gold is oures =^OE to minum htise 

lo8 ACCIDENCE. [§ 395» 

oppe to eowrum ; call pis gold is tire. This -j is an extension 
of the s of his : his gold, pat gold is his. 

395. In the weak forms long vowels were sometimes 
shortened — min, mi — and final e was dropped : hir, our, etc. 

396. In North-Thames English pei brought with it the 
possessive /<?/r^= Icelandic peira, which gradually made its 
way into the London dialect, where it also appears in the 
weak form pere parallel to pern =peim, 

397. The following are the possessive pronouns in Standard 
ME, weak forms being in ( ) : — 

Conjoint ; min ml (mitty mi) ; pin, pi {pin, pi) ; his (Jus) ; 
hire, hir (her) ; oure, our ; youre, your ; here, her, peire, peir 
{ per e, per). 

Absolute : mln ; pin ; his ; hires, Mrs, heres, hers ; oures, 
ours ; y oures, yours \ heres, hers. 

All those beginning with h were, of course, liable to lose it in 
their weak forms. 

398. The Early ME possessive whas became whos in 
Late ME through the influence of who. 

Modern English. 

399. In Early MnE his was still the possessive of it as 
well as he : it (the serpent) shall bruise thy head, and thou 
shall bruise his heel (Bible). But already in the Midland 
dialect of ME the want of a special possessive for it was 
supplied by using the uninflected it as a possessive instead of 
his ; and this usage appears also in Early MnE : the hedge- 
sparrow fed the cuckoo so long that it's had its head bitten off 
by it young (Shakespere). Towards the end of the Early 
MnE period the present genitive its came into general use — 

$ 403.] PRONOUNS: SELF. IO9 

a form which does not occur at all in the Bible, and very 
rarely in Shakespere. 

400. The ME distinction between conjoint mtne^ thine and 
my, thy was still kept up in Early MnE, but the shorter forms 
were frequently used before vowels : mine eyes, my eyes. In 
the ^higher literary language the distinction is still kept up : 
mine eyes, mine host. But many modem poets drop the n 
before sounded (h), as in my heart^=^zx\y MnE mine heart, 
keeping it only before vowels and silent h 4- vowel, as in mine 

401. The following are the present forms of the possessive 
pronouns : — 

Conjoint : my, mine ; thy, thine ; his ; its ; her\ our', your \ 
their', whose. 

Absolute: mine-, thine-, his', its', hers', ours; yours ] 
theirs; whose. 



402. In OE the emphatic self is added to nouns and 
personal pronouns, being generally inflected like a strong 
adjective in agreement with its head-word: God self hit 
geworhte 'God himself made it,' swd-swd Me cwdtdon him 
selfum *as they said to themselves,' he /orgeat his selfes *he 
forgot himself.' In the nominative- the weak-inflected self a 
is used in the same way : God self a, ic self a, 

403. In OE the personal pronouns are used also as 
reflexive pronouns, as they still are in such phrases as he 
looked about him compared with he must take care of himself 
OE self does not make a pronoun reflexive, but simply 

no A CCIDENCE, [§ 404. 

emphasizes one that is already so, as in ixysdion him 
selfum the shorter wysiton him being enough to express the 
meaning * wished for themselves/ Hence such a phrase as 
he ofsticode hine might mean either * he stabbed him ' (some- 
one else), or * he stabbed himself.' By degrees hi ofsticode 
hine selfne^ which at first meant both * he stabbed that very 
man ' and * he stabbed himself,' was restricted to the latter 
meaning, the simple hine^ him^ etc., being restricted more 
and more to the non-reflexive meaning, so that already in 
Early ME we find j^^used very much as in MnE. 

404. In OE a personal pronoun in the dative is often 
added reflexively to a pronoun in the nominative, but without 
materially affecting its meaning, as in he ondred him pone 
mann ' he was afraid of the man,' literally * feared for himself/ 
hie gewiton him * they departed.' This pleonastic dative is 
often added to self self a in this way : he hip him selfgehwcBper, 
sunu and feeder * he (the phoenix) is himself to-himself both 
(pronoun), son and father,' ic me self gewdt *I myself de- 
parted,' he him self a sdeaf reaf of Vice * he to-himself himself 
pushed the robe from the body'=*he took off his robe.' 

Middle English. 

406. In ME the meaning and function of the datives mi 
and pe in the combinations ich me self pu pi self etc., were 
soon forgotten, so that these constructions became unmean- 
ing, which led to the change of mi and pi into the posses- 
sives mi^ pt, self being regarded as a noun, as shown in such 
constructions as mi self havep * myself has ' compared with 
pt self haves i * thyself hast.' On the analogy of miselfpnself 
the plurals Hreself yireself were formed. The dative was 
preserved in himself * himself, itself,' plur. himself (Late ME 

§ 409-] PRONOUNS: SELF. Ill 

2.\so pemself), kzrese//' ' herseW could of course be regarded 
either as dative or possessive. The forms -selve, -selven also 
occur : miselve, miselven, himselve^ himselven, selven is prob- 
ably the OE dat. sing, or plur. selfum, selve being either a 
shortening of selven or else = OE weak sel/a. 

Modern English. 

406. In Early MnE self came to be regarded more and 
more as a noun, which led to such constructions as the 
Shakesperian thy fair self Tarquins self, A new plural 
selves was now formed on the analogy of shelf shelves, etc. : 
myself ourselves y to your gross selves (Shakespere). 

407. But the older dative was still preserved in himself^ 
themselves, itself must also be regarded as containing the 
objective (= dative) case of tt rather than as a contraction of 
tfs self In Present English we have the forms his self their 
selves in vulgar speech ; and even in the Standard dialect these 
forms are necessary when own is added : his own self 

408. The following are the forms of the spoken lan- 
guage :— 

Sing, myself; yourself \ himself itself herself. 
Plur. ourselves ; yourselves ; themselves. 

To these may be added the indefinite oneself. 

409. It will be observed that yourself^ yourselves make a 
distinction between sing, and plur. which is lost in the simple 

you, the sing, thyself being, of course, preserved only in the 
higher literary language. So also a form our self occurs 
occasionally in older writers in the sense of ' myself ' ; but in 
the present literary language an author speaks of himself as 
ourselves, if he uses the plural. 

112 A CCIDENCE. [§ 410. 

410. In the literary language self is used as an inde- 
pendent noun : till Glory's self is twilight (Byron) ; thmy all 
forgetful of self she wandered into the village, 

411. In the spoken language the emphatic and reflexive 
meanings of myself etc., are distinguished by the stress, these 
forms having strong stress when emphatic, weak when re- 
flexive, as in I did it my sel/" compsred with he roused himself 

Demonstrative . 

Old English. 

412. The OE demonstrative se 'that, this, the, he,' etc., 
and/^j * this, this one' are inflected as follows : — 

Masc. Neut. Fem. Masc. Neut. Fern. 
Sing. Nom. se (se) poet seo pis (pes) Pis pios 
Ace. pone pcet p& pisne Pis pds 

Dat. pcem^pdm pare pissum pisse(re) 

Gen. pees pare pisses Pisse(re) 

Instr. py pare pys pisse(re) 

Plur. Nom. p& p&s 

Dat. pam^pdm pissum 

Gen. para,pSra pissa, pissera 

The forms se, pes are used only as noun-pronouns in the 
sense of * this one,' * he.' 

Middle English. 

413. In ME the s of the OE se, se, seo was made into p 
by the influence of the more numerous forms beginning with 
p, and of J?es, pis, pios. 


414. The resulting /^, pat^ peo was at first used, as in OE, 
both as a demonstrative and as a definite article. But by 
degrees the neuter sing, pat and the plur. pa were restricted 
to the demonstrative meaning. In Early Southern /•// hus 
•=• OE pcEt hus is still used in the sense of * the house ' as well 
as of * that house ' ; but in Late ME pat is restricted to the 
more emphatic meaning, as in MnE. This restriction was 
still more marked in the plur. ; already in the Earliest ME/^ 
men,pg hus were used only in the demonstrative meanings 
' those men/ * those houses.' 

416. pg was now regarded as the plur. of /a/, and was 
completely disassociated from the definite article. Hence it 
became necessary to eliminate the old /a-forms — ace. sing, 
fem. and nom. plur. — from the inflection of the definite 
article. This was done by extending the nom. sing. fem. 
first to the ace. sing. fem. — peo sUnne = OE pa synne as well 
as seo synn — and then to the plur. nom.: peo sunnen=.QiK 
hd synna. 

416. The old pas — the ace. sing. fem. and nom. plur. of 
pes — was now associated with the old pa, till at last ME pp 
and pps were completely confused, pps being regarded as pp 
with the plural -s added, so that pp men, pps men both came 
to mean * those men.' 

417. The form pps was now eliminated from the inflection 
of pes in the same way as pp was eliminated from the in- 
flection of pe, the fem. sing. nom. peos being extended 
first to the ace. fem. sing, and then to the nom. plur. : peos 
sUnne^^OK peos synn and pas synne, peos sunnen=OE pas 

418. The following are the full inflections of the Early 
Southern demonstratives corresponding to OE se a.nd pes: 

114 ACCIDENCE. ft 419. 

Masc. Neut. Fern. Masc. Neut Fem. 

Sing. Nom. pe p^t peo pes pis peos 

Ace. pene p^t peo pesne pis peos 

Dat. pen pen per pisse pisse pisse 

Gen. pes pes per pisses pisses pisse 

Plur. Nom. peo peos 

Dat. pen pissen 

Gen. per pisse 

419. But already in Early Southern there was a tendency 
to make the definite article indeclinable — pe. The main 
causes of this were (^d) the want of stress of the article, which 
made its endings indistinct, (3) the general loss of the sense 
of gender- and case-distinctions, and (c) the confusion which 
arose from using/// both as an article and a demonstrative. 

420. The new demonstrative pat was in like manner 
extended to the masc. and fem. sing, and then to the oblique 
cases of the sing., so that pat htiSy pat man were sharply dis- 
tinguished from pe man^ pe hits, 

421. The neuter pis was extended in the same way : pis 
man, pis hus, pis cii=.OK pes mann^pis htis^peos cti, 

422. At first the indeclinable pat was not always restricted 
to its demonstrative meaning, but was used also as an article 
in all three genders. This usage survived in Late ME in a 
few combinations : pat gn * the one,' pat oper ' the other,' pat 
ilke * the same '=0E se ilea, pcEt ilce, etc. The final / of the 
pat was often regarded as the beginning of the next word, 
and the a was weakened to e so as to make the curtailed pat 
into the definite article pe, the first two of the above combina- 
tions being written pe tgn^ pe toper. The tot her has been 
preserved to the present day in vulgar English. In Early 
MnE the tother and the other were blended into f other , which 
was still used in the literary language of the last century. 

§ 4a8,] PRONOUNS: ONE, A ; NONE, NO. II5 

423. In the plural, where there was no distinction of 
gender, pg, pgs and J>€os became indeclinable even sooner 
than the singulars ^a/,j3/f. 

424. The plural /^ar 'these' was discarded in Late ME, 
and a new plural was formed direct from J?is by adding the 
regular adjective plural ending ^, giving //>«?, which also 
appears in the weak form pese, like hese^hise. pese may, 
however, be the result of the influence of the older peos^ peos, 
which in Late ME would become pes^ pes. 

Modern English. 

425. Standard MnE finally settled down to the demon- 
strative forms — 

Sing. that this 

Plur. thaie these 

426. In Early MnE the article the is often shortened to 
ih' before vowels and ^ + vowels, as in ih* enemy, ih*hilt, and 
even before other consonants, as in tKworld, where the w 
was probably dropped. 

one, a ; none, no. 

427. In OE the numeral an *one,' which was inflected 
like a strong adjective (but with ace. sing. masc. dnne\ was 
occasionally used also in an indefinite sense, which some- 
times approached very near to that of the indefinite article : 
an mann=.^z. certain man,' * a man ' ; although in most cases 
the indefinite article was not expressed at all : on celcre byrig 
bip cyning * in each city there is a king.' 

428. From an was formed the negative nan * none ' = ^ne 
an * not one,' which was used both as a noun — ndnne ne 

I 2 

Il6 ACCIDENCE. [§439. 

gehdlp *he heals no one' — and, more frequently, as an 
adjective : nan mann ' no man/ nan ping * no thing/ * no- 

429. In ME dn developed into a regular indefinite article. 
When used in this way it lost its stress and shortened its 
vowel, becoming an. As this shortening took place before 
the change of a into ^, the article an was isolated from the 
numeral gn * one/ 

430. In ME gn^ ngn, an dropped their final n in the 
same way as mln and pin before a consonant, keeping it 
before a vowel or ^ + vowel : g man ' one man/ gn arm^ she 
dop ngn harm id ng man, a man, an gld man, gn and ngn kept 
their n of course when used absolutely. 

431. In MnE the strong words gn and ngn levelled these 
distinction^, but in different ways. In the case of one the 
shortened form was given up, one being used before vowels 
as well as consonants : one man, one arm. It is to be noted 
that in Early MnE one kept the sound (poxi). 

432. none went the opposite way, the fuller form being 
preserved only absolutely — I have none — the shorter no being 
used as the conjoint form before vowels and consonants 
alike : no man, no other, 

433. The article an has kept the ME variation : a man, an 
enemy. In Early MnE the full form was also kept before 
h : an house. We now say a house, a history^ etc. But we 
generally use an before h in weak syllables, where it is then 
dropped in pronunciation, as in an historical event. As one 
itself is now pronounced (w^n), it takes a before it : such a 
one. So also «=(juw, ju9) now takes a before it, as in a 
unit, like a youth. But an unit, an useless waste of life are 
still found in the literary language, being traditions of the 
earlier pronunciation of u as (-iu). 


In ME the distinction in meaning between gn and an was 
not always strictly carried out at first, the strong gn being some* 
times used as an indefinite article, and an being sometimes used 
in the sense of *one.* This latter usage has survived to the 
present day in a few phrases, such as a day or iwo^ they are 
both of an age. 

Interrogative and Relative. 

434. The interrogative pronouns in OE are hwa, hwcBf, 
whose inflections have been already given {S59), hw^lc, hwiU, 
Late West-Saxon hwyU 'which' (implying 'more than one'), 
and hwcBper * which of two/ hw§k is a shortening of ^htvaltc, 
kiviU of *hwiltc (with the a assimilated to the following 2), 
where hwa- is the original short form of hwd (125), and 
-lie is a shortening of lic^ the original meaning of the com- 
pound being * who-like ' or * what-like/ hwcsper was origin- 
ally formed from *hwa with the same comparative derivative 
ending as in furpor (350), hw^lc is used both as a noun 
and an adjective, generally in a more definite sense than 
hwd, hwcBt^ though it must sometimes be translated by who 
or what, especially when an adjective, hw§k being the only 
adjective form of hwd and hwcei, as in hw^Ue mede hcebbe ge ? 
' what reward have ye ? ' 

435. In ME hw§ld dropped the /, probably at first only 
when unstressed: Early Southern hwUch from Late West- 
Saxon hwylcy Late ME which being a Midland form. 

436. In OE hwd and hwcBt were used only as nouns, but 
in ME what was used as an indeclinable adjective of all three 
genders : what ping , what man. This early use of what as an 
adjective was helped by its resemblance to pat. The OE 
use of ^«;<^/ with a noun in the gen. plur., as in hwcEt manna ? 
* what kind of men,' * what men,' also paved the way for the 

1 1 8 A CCIDENCE. [§ 437. 

later use of the word as an adjective, just as /w5+gen. plur. 
developed into an adjective (364). When the language was 
able to distinguish between what thing and which things the 
latter pronoun was gradually restricted to its more definite 

437. hwcBper, Anglian hwgper from ^hwapir^ was used 
both as a pronoun =* which of two,' and as an adverb and a. 
conjunction =^ whether/ It now survives only as an adverb, 
which having taken the place of the pronoun. The pronoun 
whether still survived in Early MnE, as in whether of them 
twain did the will of his father ? corresponding to the OE 
hwcBper para twegra dyde pees feeder willan ?• 

438. There were no simple relative pronouns in OE, 
there being only an indeclinable relative particle pe^ which 
was generally joined to the noun-pronoun se : se mann se- 
pe . . *the man who . . ^^ pa mgnnpam-pe . . *the men ta 
whom . / se by itself was also used as a relative : se mann 
se . . i he pcet heacen geseah pcet him geiewed wearp 'he saw 
the beacon that was shown to him/ In ME that became 
an indeclinable relative as in MnE : he that will . . 

439. Although the OE interrogative pronouns were not 
used relatively, they were freely used conjunctively, a usage 
which naturally grew out of their interrogative meaning, 
hwcet wilt pa? * what do you wish?' for instance, suggesting 
such constructions as he dscode pone cyning hwceper he wolde 
* he asked the king which of the two he wished/ he hordap 
and nat hwdm ' he hoards and knows not for whom/ In ME 
whg soon came to be used as a relative, as also in MnE : the 
man who , , ^ the woman who . . , what being still restricted 
to the conjunctive use. 



440. Besides se and pes there was in OE a third demon- 
strative pronoun ^^^«, which however became obsolete already 
in Early West-Saxon. It was preserved in North-Thames 
English, being still in common use in the north of England 
and Scotland in the form oi yon. In MnE^^ has been 
confused with the adverb yond^ yonder— yond cloudy yonder 
hill — of which it was supposed to be a shortened form, and 
was consequently written yon , yond is now completely 
obsolete, ^nd. yonder is more frequent thdXi yon in the literary 
language, both being obsolete in the spoken language. 

441. The OE demonstrative of quality sw^lc^ swiU, 
Late West-Saxon swylc=z*swaltc, *swilic 'so-like,' "^siva 
being the older form of swd ' so,' dropped its / in ME in the 
same way as hw^l^ did, Southern swUch becoming swuch by 
the influence of the w, which was then absorbed by the «, 
giving such. The tradition of the Midland form swich is still 
preserved in the vulgar sich. 


442. The particle a ' always ' was in OE prefixed to pro- 
nouns and adverbs — especially interrogative ones — to give 
them an indefinite sense, as in dhwdr ' anywhere,' dhwcBper 
* either of two.* Interrogative pronouns and adverbs were 
also used in an indefinite sense without any prefix, as in gif 
hwd pas hoc dwritan wile *if anyone wants to make a copy of 
this book.* The indefinite meaning grows naturally out of 
the interrogative, such a question as ' who ? ' being necessarily 
indefinite, for if we knew who the person was, we should not 
ask the question. The indefinite meaning was made more 
prominent by putting the interrogative word between swd . . 

1 20 A CCIDENCE. [§ 443. 

swd * as . . as ' : swd-hwd-swd ' whoever/ swd-kwcBi-swd 
'whatever/ swd-hw^lc-swd 'whichever.* In ME the first 
swd was dropped in these groups : whg-sg, whxit-sg. In Late 
OE cefre ' ever/ ' always ' is sometimes added like the older 
a — though more loosely — to express indefiniteness, as in eall 
pcBt &fre h§tst wees ' whatever was best ' ; and in ME this 
usage was much extended, whence the MnE whosoever, 
whatsoever, and, with dropping of the now superfluous so, 
whoever, whatever, whichever, etc. 

443. In OE the noun wiht * creature/ ' thing/ came to be 
regarded almost as a pronoun, and when the indefinite a- was 
prefixed to it, the origin of the resulting noun-pronoun 
dwihi was forgotten, and it was contracted to duht, dht, aht. 
The prefix a- also appears in the form of 5-, whence the 
parallel forms dwihf, ohL Hence ME has both auht, aht, and 
ouht, aht. In OE negative forms were obtained by prefixing 
n- : ndwiht, nduht, naht, nbwiht, noht, whence ME nauht, nahi^ 
and nouht, noht. The fluctuation between au and ou in these 
words still continued in MnE, even when the two spellings had 
come to represent the same sound (d). We now write only 
au in aught, making an arbitrary distinction between naught 
and nought. In OE nauht, etc. were used as adverbs =* not 
at all,' * by no means,' and in ME they became less and less 
emphatic, especially in the weak forms, which dropped the h, 
becoming nat, not, which at last became equivalent to the 
older ne ' not.' 

444. some=OE is still used as a plural noun-pronoun, 
the singular being represented by the compounds someone, 
somebody, something. In ME the two indefinite pronouns 
sum and what were combined in sumwhat to express the 
same meaning as something; somewhat is now used only 
as an adverb. 


445. any = the OE noun and adjective ctni^^ formed 
from an 'one' by the derivative ending -ig, which causes 
mutation of the preceding vowel. In late ME fni was 
back-shortened (173) to eni, which was often made into ani 
by the influence of an. Early MnE has both my and any ; 
and MnE keeps the former in speech, the latter in writing. 
The OE negative ncenig was supplanted by ngn in ME. any 
is now used only as an adjective, the corresponding noun 
being represented by the compound anyone, anybody, anything. 
In Early MnE any was still used as a noun : who is here so 
vile? . , . if any, speak t (Shakespere). 

446. other = the OE strong noun and adjective qf>er; 
J?cBs qpres nama ' the other man's name,' J^d opre mpin ' the 
other men.' For the later inflections of other see § 358. 

447. The reciprocal noun-pronouns one another, each other 
are now inseparable compounds, but their elements were 
originally separate words with independent inflections; they 
love each other meant originally * they love, each-one (nom.) 
the-other (ace.).' In OE we find such constructions as 
cBghwcpper operne qftrcBdlice Htdrce/de * each the-other repeat- 
edly drove out ' (said of the five sons of a king) ; and even 
in Early MnE we still find reminiscences of the original 
construction : with greedy force each other doth assail 


For much, more, most; a little, less, least, see §§ 353, 354, 
For enough see § 338. 

448. both=ME hgpe from OE *bd'pd 'both those,' 'both 
the,' bd being the fem. and neut. form corresponding to the 
masc. begen ' both,' just as the fem. and neut. twd ' two ' cor- 
respond to the masc. twegen. 

122 A CCIDENCE. [§ 449. 

449. each=OE did from *agtliCy literally 'ever each/ 
where the ge- has the same collective meaning as in gefera 
'companion/ etc. ^U in ME became §lchy and — with the 
same dropping of the / as in which — ^ch, the Northern form 
being tlk, which was thus confounded with ilk *same'=OE 
ilea, each is still a noun as well as an adjective, though there 
is also a compound noun-form each one, 

450. every is a ME compound of ^re (442) and dU^ 
the earliest ME form being §vr§lchy then ^vrich^ which in 
Late ME was shortened to fveri, every is now used only as 
an adjective, the noun being represented by the compounds 
everyone^ everybody, everything, 

451. either = 0E cegper^ dghixxEper from ^dgihwcBper^ 
OE ^gper has the meaning of Latin uterque 'each of two,' 
' both of two,' the meaning ' one of two,' Latin alteruter, 
being expressed by dhwceper without the collective ge-, which 
often shortened to duper, dper, . The difference of meaning is 
seen in such sentences as on ^gpere healfe eas ' on both sides 
of the river ' and gif he duper pissa forldtt * if he gives up 
either of these two things.' In ME the pronoun guper=:.OE 
duper was gradually disused, and §iper=. OE ^per was used 
to express both meanings. In MnE either is now generally 
restricted to the alternative meaning alteruter. 

In ME both §iper and guper continued to be used as con- 
junctions, weak guper being contracted to gper, gr, or, gper . . 
or * either . . or * — in which the first member kept its fuller form 
because it kept the strong stress — was in Late ME made into 
itfer , . or, as in MnE. 

452. In OE there was a negative form corresponding to 
duper \ ndhwcBper, nduper, ndper, nohwceper, noper. In ME 
it was preserved as a conjunction, the weak form being 
shortened to nor. The strong form nguper was, on the other 


hand, made into a new-formation nliper on the analogy of 
fipevy being used both as a pronoun and as the first member 
of the correlative conjunction-group n^iper * . . nor^ as 
in MnE. 

453. In MnE either and neither are used both as adjec- 
tives and as nouns. 

454. There are a few quantitative pronouns remaining, 
whose etymology aiKi history deserve notice : — 

several has the same form in M£ and old French; it 
comes from the Late Latin separaliSy corresponding to Old 
Latin separdbilis * separable/ 

tQvr=iOY./ea,/eawe plur. 

many=OE manigy Late West-Saxon manig by the ana- 
logy of anig, ME maniy meni with back-shortening. Early 
MnE (mani, meni). 


455. The cardinal numerals 1-12 are expressed by the 
following isolated words : — 

one. OE an. 

two. OE masc. twegen^ neut. and fem. Pwd, Already in 
the Earliest ME twd was extended to the masc. : t%iod men=- 
OE twegen m^nn. But tweien^ tweie=^OE tw^en was pre- 
served, and, indeed, survives in the present literary English 
in the form of twain, but was used indiscriminately in all 
three genders. In Late ME twg=OE tzvd became two by 
the same influence of the w as in who (373). In Early 
MnE the (w) of (twuu) was soon absorbed, giving (tuu). 

three. OE prie, neut. and fem. preo. In ME the latter 
form was extended to the masc, becoming ^r* in Late ME. 

124 ACCIDENCE. [§ 456, 

four. OE feower^ which in ME became fower, foufy 
the e being absorbed by the two lip consonants between 
which it stood. 

five. OE fif, absolute fife, fif like the other isolated 
numerals above three, though uninflected when joined to a 
noun, is generally inflected when used absolutely : flf mptn^ 
heora wdron fife * there were five of them/ In ME both 
forms were kept, the conjoint fif and the absolute flve^ the 
latter being by degrees extended to the conjoint use, whence 
the MnE/z;^. 

six. OE sieXy six, Anglian sex, 

seven. OE seofon, 

eight. OE eahta, Anglian cBhta, whence ME eighU, 

nine. OE nigon, ME nigen, nin, absolute mne, 

ten. OE {ten, Anglian ten, ME ten with shortening. 

eleven. OE ^ndleofan, ME enkven, elleven, absolute 

twelve. OE tw^lf absolute tiv^lfe. ME twelf twelve, 

450. The teen-numerals 13-19 are compounds of the 
units with -tiene, Anglian -tine : — 

thirteen. OE J?ritiene, pritfiene, priofiene, ME prittene. 
The MnE form shows the same consonant-transposition as 
in third (460). 

fourteen. OE/eowerttene, 

fifteen OE fftiene. In ME fif tine the / was shortened 
before the consonant-group. 

sixteen. OE sixtiene, 

seventeen. OE seofontiene. 

eighteen. OE eahiaftene, Anglian cehtatine, ME eightetene^ 
contracted eightine, 

nineteen. OE nigonfiene, ME nigentene, nintene, 

467. The ty-numerals 20-90 are formed in OE by com- 

§ 46b.] NUMERALS: CARDINAL. 125 

bining the units with -Hg^ which was originally a noun meaning 

* a lot of ten,' * half a score/ so that twenty originally meant 

* two tens/ The numerals 70-90 also prefix hund- : — 

twenty. OE tiventig from ^twegen-tig^ twenttg, 
thirty. OY. prittg, J>rittig, ME. /n///, Late East- Midland 
ptrtt, with the same transposition as in third. 
forty. OE/eowerttg, 
fifty. O'E/i/ttg. MEfi/tu 
sixty. OE sixtig, 

seventy. OE hundseofontig, ME seovenitg^ seventi, 
eighty. OE hundeahtatig, Anglian hundcBhiatig, 
ninety. OE hundnigontig, 

458. In OE the ty-numerals are sometimes declined as 
adjectives, as in after pritigra daga fcece * after the space of 
thirty days.' When undeclined they are used in their original 
function of nouns governing the genitive : sixtig mila brad 

* sixty miles broad.' 

459. The high numerals hundred and thousand are in 
OE neuter nouns, hund^ hundred and piisend^ governing the 
genitive : twa hund wintra * two hundred winters (years)/ 
pUsend manna * a thousand men.' 

400. In OE there was no numeral higher than thousand. 
million, ME milliouny is the French form of Late Latin 
mitiidy ace. millidmm formed from Latin mille 'thousand.' 
billion^ trillion, etc. are much later formations, in which the 
Latin prefixes bi- and tri- (as in biennial^ triennial) were 
substituted for the initial syllable of million, so that billion 
was regarded as a sort of contraction of *bimillion, milliard 
is a Modern French formation from Latin mille, or rather 
from million, by substituting the augmentative ending -ard 
for -on, so that the word means *big million/ million itself 
originally meaning * group of thousands.' 

126 A CCIDENCE. [| 461. 

461. Numeral-groups are either cumulative, as in 
iwenty-five-=. 20 + 5, or multiple, as in two hundred=^ 2 x 100. 
In such cumulative groups as twenty-five the units always 
came first in QYi—fif and twentig manna — and we still siay 
five-and-iwenty as well as iwenty-five, but only with the lower 
ty-numerals ; thus we hardly ever say he is five and fifty. 

462. In speaking we generally count by hundreds up to 
1900, especially in dates. Thus 1066, 1891 are called ten 
hundred and sixty-six, eighteen hundred and ninety-one, or, 
more briefly ten sixty-six, eighteen ninety-one, 

463. The high numerals are not used alone, but require 
a or one before them, the latter when emphatic, as in ^»^ 
hundred, not two hundred, a in a hundred, a thousand, etc. 
may be the indefinite article, but is more probably the weak 
one, as in a day or two (433. i). 

464. In MnE all the numerals are treated as adjectives 
followed by nouns in the plural, a-hundred, etc. being a kind 
of group-adjective: ten men, twenty men, a hundred men, 
two thousand men, 

465. But all the numerals can also be used as nouns with 
plurals in -s. They necessarily become nouns when their 
head-word is suppressed, as in units, tens, and hundreds, to go 
on all /ours, there were ten of us) but even when the head- 
word is expressed, the numeral may be made into a noun 
whenever it has any independence of meaning, as in thousands 
of people. 


466. Most of the ordinal numerals are derivatives of the 
cardinal ones, but the first two ordinals are expressed by 
distinct words : — 

S 468.] NUMERALS: ORDINAL. 1 27 

first is the OE fyrest, which originally meant * foremost ' 
(349) ; but this meaning was sometimes so much weakened 
that fyrest became practically equivalent to forma^ which is 
the regular OE ordinal corresponding to an, 

second was introduced in ME, being the French form of 
Latin secundus. The OE word was oper^ which was discarded 
because of the ambiguity resulting from it having also the 
meaning 'other/ 

tliird=OE>^r/<:/<t/ci, Late Northumbrian //></«, WS^pirde, 

The other OE ordinals below 20 are formed from the 
cardinals by adding -pa^ the p becoming / after s or y, and 
final n of the cardinals being dropped : — 

foiirth = OK/eowerpa^ feorpa^ ME fourpe, 10,"^, fourteen, 

fifth=OE flfta, ME fifte,. Early MnE fift. In later 
MnE the th was restored by the influence of the other 
ordinals, as also in Early MnE sixt, 

sixth=OE sixta, 

seventh=OE seofopa is a Late ME new-formation direct 
from the cardinal. So also ninth, tenth, eleventh, 

eighth =0E eahtopa, Anglian cshtopa, where the is the 
older form of the a in the cardinal eahta, cehta, 

ninth =0E nigopa, 

tenth =0E ieopa with the unmutated vowel of the cardinal 

eleventh = OE ^ndleofta, 

twelfth=OE twelfta, 

467. The OE teen-ordinals end in -teopa, which in ME 
was made in -tenpe, a new-formation from the cardinal 
ending -tine, as va fiftenpe-^-OY. fifteopa, 

468. The OE ty-ordinals end in -tigopa, -tiogopa, which 
in ME became -teope, and then -iipe by the influence of the 

128 A CCIDENCE. [§ 469. 

cardinals : OE iwent^opay Late ME twentipe. In Early 
MnE e was introduced by the analogy of the verb-inflection 
-eth^ but these ordinals were still pronounced (twentijj, JjirtiJ)), 
etc., although the spelling has now altered the pronunciation 
into (twenti-i)?), etc. 

469. In Early MnE the ordinal ending -th was extended 
to the high numerals, which before had no ordinal forms : 
hundredth^ which was pronounced (hundrej>), thousandth^ 

470. The OE ordinals were inflected as weak adjectives. 

471. In ordinal groups only the last member of the group 
takes the ordinal form, the others being left in the shorten 
cardinal form: iwenty-iifth ox five-and-twentielhy hundred and 
second. This usage prevailed already in OE, as in on pom 
tdod-and-twentigopan dcege^ where twa is kept in the neuter, 
although d(sg is masculine, because it forms a sort of group 
compound with the ordinal. 

472. The ordinals are used as nouns in MnE in the 
combination of two ordinals to express fractional numbers, as 
in two thirds of an inch. 



473. There are two main conjugations of verbs in OE^ 
strong and weak, distinguished mainly by the formation of 
their preterites and preterite participles. If we compare these 
parts of the verb with its infinitive, we find that strong verbs, 
such as hindan ' to bind/ form their preterite by vowel-change 

§ 47^ J VERBS: OLD ENGLISH. 129 

— band *he bound' — and add -en in the preterite participle 
with or without vowel-change, ge-- being often prefixed, in 
weak as well as strong verbs — gehunden * bound '; while weak 
verbs, such as hleran * hear,' form their preterite and preterite 
participle with the help o( d or /: hurde^ gehiered, 

474. The following are the chief verb-endings of the 
active voice, including the preterite participle passive. 
Where two endings are given, the second is that of the 
weak verbs. Observe that all three persons have the same 
ending in the plural, and that the imperative exists only in the 
second person. 



Present Singular i 












Preterite Singular i 


-e, 'de 


-^, 'dest 

-e, -de 



-e, -de 


-on, 'don 

-en, 'den 

Imperative Singular 

-> -, (-^, -^) 

Infinitive -an 



Gerund -enne 

Participle Present -ende 

Preterite -^«, -ed 

475. Verbs whose root ends in a vowel generally con- 
tract ; thus seon * to see,' gdn * to go,' conjugate ic seo, id gd, 
we seopy we gap compared with ic hinde, we hindap. 

476. For the plural ending -ap, both indie, and imper., 
-e is substituted when the pronoun comes immediately after 
the verb : ge hindap, but binde ge. So also gd ge ! compared 
with ge gap. These forms were originally subjunctives, 
binde ge being a shortening of binden ge. So also in gd we 
' let us go.' This change was often extended by analogy to 

130 ACCIDENCE, [§ 477. 

the ending -on, as in moie we ' may we/ sohte ge * ye sought ' 
compared with we moton, ge sohton. 

4ni> The passive voice, and many forms of the active voice 
as well, are expressed by the combination of auxiliary verbs 
with the pret. partic. and, more rarely, the pres. partic. The 
chief auxiliary verbs are wesan ' be,' weorpan ' become,' and 
hahhan * have,' as in he wcbs ge/unden, he wearp gefunden * he 
was found,* hi is gecumen * he has come,' hi hce/p gefunden 
' he has found/ 

478. But besides the pret. partic, there is a trace of the 
old Germanic passive in the form hdtie from hdian^ which is 
both pres. ' is named, called,' and pret. * was called.' 

479. The infinitive was originally an indeclinable abstract 
noun formed from the corresponding verb, so that bindan 
originally meant * binding,' * act of binding.' The gerund is 
a similarly formed noun in the dative case governed by the 
preposition /J, which always precedes it, as in hi is to 
cumenne *he is to come '= Latin ventiirus est. It often 
takes the a of the infin. — to cumanne. 

480. The pret. partic, as already stated, generally takes 
ge- before it ; but not if the verb already has ge- or a similar 
inseparable prefix, as in forgiefen ' forgiven,' aimed * re- 
deemed.' In West-Saxon hieran generally takes ge- through- 
out : gehteran, gehiered, 

481. Both participles are declined like adjectives: wi 
sindon gecumene, lie hcefp hine gefundenne '' he has found him,' 
literally * he possesses him found.' But in the later language 
the pret. partic. in combination with auxiliary habban became 
indeclinable through the original meaning having been 
forgotten : he hce/J? hine gefunden, 

482. In the older language the second person sing, ends 
in 'S\ pU lufas *thou lovest,' pU lufades. But already 

§ 487.] VERBS: OLD ENGLISH, 131 

in Early West-Saxon the regular forms are lufast^ lu/a- 

483. In Late Northumbrian inflectional J> became s : he 
bindes, we bindas, 

484. In Late OE the subj. plur. ending -en was made 
into -on by the influence of the indie, as in gyf hy wdron 
* if they were/ compared with Early West-Saxon gif hie 

485. In Late OE the -st of the 2nd pers. sing. pret. 
indie, of weak verbs is extended to the subj. : gy/ pu 
lufodest * if you loved '= Early West-Saxon gifpu lufode. 

Strong Verbs. 

486. In the strong verbs the plur. of the pret. indie, 
often has a vowel different from that of the sing. : ic hand, 
we bundon. The 2nd sing. pret. indie, and the whole pret. 
subj. always have the vowel of the pret. plur. indie. : J?u 
bunde, gif ic bunde^ gif we bunden. The following are the 
Early West-Saxon inflections of the strong verb bindan : — 



Pres. Sing, i 




bindesty bintst 









Pret. Sing, i 












Imper. Sing. 






Gerund td bindenne 

Partic. Pres. bindende 
Pret. gebunden. 

487. Some strong verbs are inflected like weak verbs every- 

K 2 

13^ ACCIDENCE. [§ 488. 

where except in the preterite forms. Thus sw^rian ' swear,' 
pret. swofy is inflected \\kt/^rian (504) : pres. indie, sw^r^e, 
sw§rest^ 5W§reJ?, sw^riap ; subj. pres. sw^rige, sw^igen ; 
imper. sw^re^ sw^riap ; pres. partic. sw^rigende. Many 
strong verbs with double consonants, such as biddan ' pray/ 
* ask ' pret. hcedy are inflected like s^ttan (503) : pres. indie. 
hidde^ bitst {bidesi), hitt (pidep\ hiddap ; subj. pres. btdde, 
bidden ; imper. bide^ biddap ; pres. partic. biddende. 

All of these verbs, both strong and weak, had a j before 
their endings in Germanic (148)— *ja/a^Vi«, *farjan^ *bidjan^ 
*saijan ; and hence all of them mutate their root-vowels. The 
strong verb wepan *weep' is also a 'j- verb,' as shown by its 
mutation, the Anglian form being mcepariy and is declined like 
the weak verb hferan, which however has the same endings as 
a strong verb in the infinitive and present tenses, and so there 
is nothing to distinguish the inflections of wepan from those of 
the ordinary j-less strong verbs : pres. luepef wepst {wepest)^ 
wepp {wepep), mepap ; imper. wePy etc. 

488. The Germanic forms of the endings -j/, -p were -ts, 
'ip, which are still preserved in the oldest English : bindisy 
bindip. In West- Saxon these endings mutated a preceding 
vowel and then dropped their own vowels, as in pu lycsty hit 
grewp from lUcan * close,' ' lock,' growan ' grow.' The re- 
sulting consonant-combinations were modified in various 
ways (147) : tp, dpy ddp were made into //, /, as in Idtt * lets,' 
but * waits,' bitt ' asks,' st^nt * stands ' from l(^tan * let,' bidan^ 
biddan^ standan ; and sp became sty as in ciest * chooses ' from 
deosan. Similar changes took place in the 2nd pers. sing. : 
pii bitst ' you ask,' pu ciest. In Anglian the full endings 

-es {-esi)y -ep were restored, the unmutated vowels being at 
the same time restored: litepy bidep, bidep, biddep, stgndep ; 
biddeSy ceoses. 

§ 492-] 



489. The vowel-changes in the strong verbs are gener- 
ally due to gradation (150), which is often accompanied by 
consonant-change, as in weorpan, geworden (146). But in 
some verbs the vowel of the pret. is the result of contraction 
of Germanic and Arian reduplication; thus heold 'held' 
(infin. healdati) is a contraction of *hehold^ *hehald. Traces 
of this reduplication are preserved in a few OE preterites, 
such as he-ht, later hei (infin. hdtan 'call/ * command ')= 
Germanic *hehatf (Gothic hathat't), 

490. The following are the classes under which the 
, strong verbs fall according to their vowel-changes, each 

class being named after a characteristic verb. A few exam- 
ples only are given of each class. The special Anglian 
forms are given in ( ). The forms are given in the order 
infin., pret. sing., pret. plur., pret, panic. 

I. Reduplicative or fall-class. 

491. The pret. sing, and plur. has eo or /, the pret. 
partic. keeping the vowel of the infin. : — 

feallan {fallati) 'fall' feoll feollon 

hecUdan (haldan) * hold ' heold 
cnawan ' know * cneow 

growan * grow * greow 

beatan * beat * beot 

hdtan 'command' he{Ji)t 

l&tan 'let' let 







fecdlen {^fallen) 

heal den (hdlden) 






. II. Shake-class. 

492. These verbs have in the infin. a, ea^ or, in j-verbs 
the mutations /, ie^ in the pret. sing, and plur. 0, in the pret. 
partic. a, (B\ — 

faran 'go' for firon faren 




scacan * shake ' 

side sddcon 


h^bban (148) 'raise' 

hdf ho/on 

hafen, ha/en 

III. Bind-class. 

493. In the infin. /', ie^ e, eo followed by two consonants 
one at least of which is nearly always a vowellike con- 
sonant — r, l^n^in\ in the pret. sing, a, £Z?, ea ; in the pret. 
plur. u ; in the pret. panic. «, <?. 

bindan ' bind ' band^ bgnd bundon bunden 

gieldan (geldan) * pay * geald (gdld) guidon golden 

healp {hdlp) hulpon holpen 

bcBTst burston borsten 

wear}) wurdon warden 

feaht (fceht) fuhton fohten 

helpan ' help ' 
berstan (144) 'burst* 
weorpan 'become' 
feohtan (fehtan) ' fight * 

IV. Bear-class. 

494. In the infin. e, ie, t followed by a single consonant 
which is generally vowellike ; in brecan the vowellike conso- 
nant precedes the vowel ; in the pret. sing, a, cR^ea'^ in the 
pret. plur. ^, ea^ 3, a; in the pret. partic. 0, u : — 

beran ' carry * beer b&ron boren 

brecan ' break ' brcec br&con brocen 

scieran [sCeran) ' cut ' sdear (sccer) scearon (sciron) storen 

niman ' take ' nam^ ngm nomon^ namon numen 

V. Give-class. 

495. In the infin. ^, j>, and, in the j-verbs ?, followed by 
a single, non-vowellike consonant, this class differing from 
the last only in the pret. partic, which keeps the vowel of the 
infin., the mutated i of the j-verbs returning to e : — 

sprecan ' speak ' sprcec sprdcon sprecen 

giefan (gefan) ' give ' geafigaf) geafon (gefon) gtefen {gefen) 

sittan ' sit ' scet s&ton seten 

lUgan * lie ' Iceg lagon^ l&gon legen 

§499-] VERBS: OLD ENGLISH. 1 35 

VI. Shine-class. 

406. In the infin. f; pret. sing. d\ pret. plur. and pret. 
panic. : : — 

drtfan ' drive ' draf drifon drifen 
scinan * shine * sccin sHtwn sHnen 
writan * write ' wr&t writon writen 

VII. Choose-class. 

407. In the infin. eo^ u; pret. sing, ea; pret. plur. u; 
pret partic. o : — 

beodan ' command ' bead budon boden 

ceosan ' choose ' ceas curon coren 

freosan * freeze ' freas friiron froren 

biigan * bend * ^^(^g^ beak bugon bogen 

Wi^AK Verbs. 

408. The weak verbs fall under two main groups, ac- 
cording as the vowel of the infin. is mutated or not. The 
mutation-group comprises two classes, the hear-class {hleran) 
and the wean- class (w§nian)^ the unmutated verbs consti- 
tuting the third or love-class {lufian). 

I. Hear-class. 

The following 

; are the Early West- 

Saxon for 



Pres. Sing, i 












Pret. Sing, i 












136 ACCIDENCE. [§ 500* 

Imper. Sing. hier Infin. hieran 

Plur. hterap Gerund to hterenne 

Partia Pres. hterende 

Pret. htered 

500. This class adds -de in the pret. and -ed in the pret. 
panic, where the e is liable to be dropped when an inflec- 
tional vowel is added, as in the nom. plur. gehterde. Verbs 
ending in /, d, c drop the e in the uninflected form also, 
as in aspid ' sent ' (infin. dspidan), where ^ is a shortening of 
dd. After the breath-consonants /, c the inflectional d is 
unvoiced, and c becomes h : metan ' find,' ' meet ' gemeit, 
icBcan 'show' getdht. But the full forms ds^nded, gemeted 
also occur, especially in Anglian. Similar changes take 
place in the pret. -tde, 'p(p)de become -//<?, -//?, as in gemeite 
' found,' dypte ' dipped ' (infin. dyfipan). The inflectional d 
is also unvoiced after ss and the other breath-consonants, as 
in missan ' miss ' mts/e, compared with r^sde ' rushed ' from 
r^san, where the j=(z). In dypie the / is, of course, a 
shortening Tof/^ There are similar shortenings in spidan^ 
s§ndeyfyllan^fylde, etc. 

501. lb. Seek-class. In this subdivision of the hear- 
class the vowel of the infin. is unmutated in the pret. and 
pret. partic, the inflections being the same as in the other 
verbs of the hear-class : — 

saltan * give * sealde (salde) geseald {ges&ld) 

secan (scecan) ' seek ' sohte^ sohte gesoht, gesoht 

502. Those with n followed by c or g—ppidan * think,' 
hringan ' bring ' — drop the nasal and lengthen the preceding 
vowel and modify it in other ways : p^nian, pohte, gepohi 
=: Germanic ^pankjan^ ^panhta^ an before h having been 
regularly changed to nasal 5, which in OE as regularly 

§ 504.] VERBS: OLD ENGLISH. 1 37 

became 0, Long vowels were shortened in OE before ht, so 
that pohte^ etc. became pohte, Seek-verbs in '§dd carry the 
mutated vowel / into the pret. and pret. partic. in Late West- 
Saxon : str^ddan, ' stretch/ streahte^ streaht (sircBhiey sircBhf) 
later str^hte^ str§hL 

503. It will be observed that all verbs of the hear-class 
have long syllables in the infin. — either a long vowel, as in 
hteratiy or a vowel followed by two consonants, as in s^ndattf 

fyllan. In the latter verb the // is Germanic [cp. the adjec- 
tive _/«//], and is therefore kept through all the inflections of 
the verb, except where / is written for // before a consonant 
in contracted forms : pres. indie, fylle^ fyllest i^fylst\ fyllep 
{/yl/>)y fyllap ; imper. sing, fyll, etc. But most of the 
verbs of this class with double consonants in the infin., such 
as s§ttan ' set,' are inflected like strong j-verbs such as hiddan 
(487), the double* consonant being also shortened in the 
pret. and pret. partic. : pres. indie. j///(?, s^tst (s§tes\ s^tt {s^iep), 
s§ttap ; subj. s^tte{n) ; imper. j//<?, s§ttajf ; pres. part. s§ttende ; 
pret. s§tte=*s^tede, pret. ^^xiic, ges^tedy ges^it. Some of these 
verbs belong to the seek-division, such as slogan * say ' : 
pres. indie. s^dgCy s§gst {siges\ s^gp (j/^<?», sicgqp] imper. 
^ii^i ^i^§<^P \ pres. partic. s^cgende ; pret. scBgde, pret. partic. 
gescpgd. So also s§Uan has pres. indie, s^lle, s^lp {s§lep)y s^llafi, 
imper. j//^, s^llap, &c. 

II. Wean-class. 

504. All of these verbs have infin. -ian and a short root- 
syllable with a mutated vowel. They form their pret. in -ede^ 
and their pret. partic. in -edy which is never contracted. The 
following are the Early West-Saxon forms of w^nian ' accus- 
tom ' : — 






Pres. Sing, i 












Fret. Sing, i 












Imper. Sing. 






Gerund to w§mgenne 

Partic Pres. wenigende 

Pret. gewpted 

So alsoy^r/'<a!« * carry ' \^faran 

' go '] styrtan ' stir.' 

III. Love-class. 

505. In Germanic these verbs had iiifinitives -a«, -a«, of 
which 'lan is a later development and therefore does not 
cause mutation like the -ian of the wean-class, which is of 
Germanic origin. The following are the Early West-Saxon 
forms : — 

Pres. Sing. 

Pret. Sing. 

Imper. Siuj 

Partic Pres. lufigende 
Pret. gelu/od. 

So also ascian ' ask/ macian ' make,' and many others. 



Pres. Sing, i 












Pret. Sing, i 












Imper. Sing. 






Gerund td lufigenne 

[$ 509- VERBS: OLD ENGLISH, T39 

Irregular Weak Verbs, 

506. Some weak verbs, such as lihhan Mive/ show a 
mixture of the inflections of the hear- and the love-class : 
pres. indie, libhe, leofast, leo/ap, lihhap ; subj. lihhe(n) ; imper. 
leofa^ lihhap \ pres. partic. lihhende] pret. li/de, pret. partic. 

Preterite-present Verbs. 

507. These verbs have for their presents old strong pre- 
terites ; thus the preterite-present verb wdt * I know * was 
originally a strong preterite of the shine-class. The present 
of these verbs differs however from the strong preterites in the 
2nd sing, indie, which ends in / or si, a /before the inflectional 
/ also becoming s : ic sceal * I shall,' /^ scealt ; id cann ' I know,' 
pu canst ; id wdt ' I know,' pii wast, 

508. From these presents new weak preterites are formed 
with various irregular changes : sdeolde, ctipe, wiste, 

500. Many of these verbs are defective, the infin., imper., 
and participles being often wanting. The subj. is often 
substituted for the imper. sing. The following are the inflec- 
tions of witan ' know * : — 



Pres. Sing. I 












Pret. Sing, i 












I40 ACCIDENCE, [§ 510. 

Indie. Subj. 

Imper. Sing, wife Infin. luitan 

Plur. witap Gerund to witenne 

Partic. Pres. witende 
Pret wtten. 

Early Middle English. 

510. The ME levelling of weak vowels under e had a 
comparatively slight effect on the verb inflections, especially 
in Early Southern, where the OE verb-inflections were pre- 
served very faithfully. But the inevitable chf nge of -a, -ast, 
-apy -ode into -f, -est, -ep, -ede, as in luve, Invest^ luvep, luvede 
= 0E lu/a^ lufast, lufap, lufode, necessarily led to a complete 
levelling of the old wean- and love-classes of weak verbs, the 
ME love-class including all the OE ian-verbs whether accom- 
panied by mutation or not. 

511. The Southern tendency to drop final n first affected 
the infin. and pret. partic. : Early Southern hinden^ htnde ; 
tbundetiy thunde, 

512. The tendency to shorten double consonants in weak 
syllables made the OE gerund to hindenne into ME to 

513. The tendency to drop final weak e after another 
weak syllable (174) led to the shortening of to btndene into 
to binden, which made it liable to be confused wnth the infin. 
So also luvte^OE lufige, lufian was often shortened to luvu 

In the South-Thames dialects this -i afterwards came to be 
regarded as the special mark of the infin., being sometimes 
extended to strong verbs as well as weak verbs with OE infin. 


514. In Early Southern the pres. partic. ending is -inde, 
as in bindinde, herinde^ which probably owes its / to the influ- 
ence of the verbal nouns in -inge^ -ing=.0^ -ing, -ung, such 
a's lerninge=^OK leornung, 

515. Early Southern keeps the prefix 2'-=0E^<?-: ibunden, 
ihered=i OE gebunden^ gehered, 

516. The most important change in the strong verbs is 
that many of them became weak. Already in OE such verbs 
as slckpan * sleep/ ondrddan * fear/ had the weak preterites 
sldpie, ondrddde by the side of the strong slip, ondred ] in 
Late West- Saxon h^bban 'raise' has the weak pret. h^fde 
by the side of strong hdf, and so on. In ME this is carried 
much further. Thus even in the earliest ME we find the 
OE strong preterites let ' let/ weop * wept ' represented not 
only by ///, weop, but also by the weak lel/e, wepte, although 
such forms as wep still survive in Standard Late ME. Many 
other weak and strong forms existed side by side for a 
long time ; and although in MnE the weak forms have nearly 
always prevailed, this was not always the case in ME, where, 
for instance, such a weak pret. as hefde ' raised ' was in the 
Late ME period discarded in favour of the new-formed strong 
pret. Aq/l the old ^^ being also preserved. 

517. The inflections of the strong verbs that remained 
were modified by various levelling influences. The muta- 
tion in the contracted forms of the OE presents was got rid 
of by bringing in the unmutated vowel of the infin., etc., as in 
berjf ' carries,' Irel * treads,' slon/ * stands,' infin. beren, treden, 
stgnden=-YjaLx\y West- Saxon bierp {btrejf), tritt, stpit, 

518. The gradation of consonants in the OE ceosan, 
jgecoren, etc. was got rid of by carrying the j through : cheosen, 

chesen, chp, ichosen, 

519. In this last verb we can also observe the extension 



[| 5*0. 

of ch = OE c to the original c of the pret. partic, so as to 
make initial ch uniform throughout the whole verb. , We can 
observe the opposite levelling oich under c in such verb-forms 
as kervetij kar/=^OK ceorfan, dearf^ which have taken their 
back-consonant from the OE pret plur. cur/an and pret 
partic. cor/en, 

620. But in some verbs the old consonant-gradations 
were preserved, as in/orlesen * \os,q,' /orl^s./orloren, 

521. Some of the ME changes had the contrary effect of 
creating new distinctions. Thus OE a, dt was regularly 
shortened before consonant-groups, and the resulting cb was 
afterwards broadened to a (177), as in the OE pret t^hie 
'showed,' which in ME passed through icehte into tahte, 
whence MnE taught. In many preterites and pret. parti- 
ciples these changes gave rise only to divergence of quantity, 
as in meten, mette^ tmei=>OK gemetartf etc., and in Northern 
ledde = Southern ladde from l^den * lead ' = OE l^dan, 

522. The following are the inflections of the strong verb 
bindetiy and of the weak verbs heren ' hear ' and luvten, as 
representatives of the two classes of weak verbs in Early 
Southern : — 

Pres. Indie. Sing, i btnde 



2 bfndest, bintst 



3 btndepy bint 



Plur. btndep 



Pres. Subj. Sing. btnde 



Plur. btnden 



Pret Indie. Sing. I bgnd 



2 bunde 



3 bgnd 



Plur. bunden 





Pret Subj. Sing, i bunde 



2 bunde 



3 biinde 



Plur. biinden 



Imper. Sing, bind 



Plur. bfndep 



Infin. btnden 



Gerund bindene 



Partic. Pres. btndinde 



Pret. ibunden 



523. In the forms binde gi^ bunde ge, -e is substituted for 
-(?> (476). 

624. It will be observed that the distinction between the 
two classes of weak verbs is very slight, the t of the love-class 
being often dropped — i luve, we luvep, &c. — while the imper. 
sing, here has taken the e of luvie^ luve. 


625. In Early Midland many levellings which are only 
just beginning in Early Southern are fully carried out. 
The love-class lost their t entirely, and as the hear-class 
generally had the full Anglian endings -esl^ -ep^ there is only 
one set of inflections for the two classes : heren, lu/en=^ 
Southern heren, luvien. On the other hand, the contracted 
forms of the hear-class are extended to the love-class, as in 
btrp ' befits,' ' becomes ' pret. birde = OE gebyrep, gebyrede, 
infin. gebyrian (wean-class). 

626. The characteristic feature of the Midland verb is its 
extension of the plur. ending -en of the subj. pres. and of the 
pret. indie, and subj. — gif pei lufen, pel comen ' came,' gifpei 
comen, pet brohten — to the present indie, plur. : we lufen, pel 
f«/w^«= Southern we luviep, heo cumep. But the older -(e)p 

144 ACCIDENCE. [1537. 

is kept in the imper. plur. : cumep /, hep I * be ye '= Southern 
cumepy heop, 

527. In Early Midland the gerund was completely levelled 
under the infin. : to binden^ to hiren. 

528. In Midland the pres. partic. keeps the old ending : 
bmdende, herende, lu/ende. The n of the infin. and strong 
pret. partic. is never dropped as in Southern. The pret. 
partic. loses its prefix ge-, 

529. The distinction between single and double conso- 
nant forms in the old j-verbs, such as h^hhan, h§fepy hoft 
ha/en and libban, leofapy Ufde^ which was still kept up in Early 
Southern — hebben, hevep; libberiy levep, livep — began to break 
down in Early Midland through the extension of the single 
consonant forms ; thus in Early Midland we find pres. plur. 
indie. ///?«= Early Southern libbep^ although the older infin. 
libhen is still kept in Early Midland ; but hefen is used not 
only as a pres. plur., but also as an infin. 


530. In the Northern dialect inflectional p had been 
changed to j, and final n had begun to drop off already in the 
OE period : Old Northumbrian btndeSy bindas, ^2)2^= Mercian 
bindepy bindapy bindan. In the Early Middle period weak 
final e was dropped, so that the infin. binde=^0\d Northum- 
brian binda became monosyllabic bind, under which the 
gerund to bind W3,s levelled. The subj. binde=^0\d North, 
sing, and plur. binde was reduced to the same monosyllable. 
Hence also the pret. plur. herden was reduced to the same 
form as the sing. — herd. The effect of these changes on a 
strong pret. such as that of bind was to leave only two forms 
— band ist and 3rd pers. sing, indie, and bund 2nd pers. 



sing, and plur. and subj. generally — and the vowel-change 
was soon got rid of by extension of the vowel of the ist and 
3rd person sing, indie. : i band, pu hand, we hand, 

631. In Late Old Northumbrian the old ending of the 
2nd person pres. -es^ -as, etc. was preserved by the influence 
of the new 3rd person -es, -as = -efi, -ajf. Hence in Early 
Northern -es became the common ending of the 2nd and 3rd 
persons indiq. pres. sing. In the pres. indie, plur -«= older 
--as, -ias was dropped when the verb was immediately pre- 
ceded or followed by its pronoun : we pat hindeSy men hindes; 
we hind, pai hind. The * absolute ' form was afterwards ex- 
tended to the I St pers. sing, as well; l pat hindes. 

532. The n of the strong pret. partic. was not lost in Old 
Northumbrian because of the inflected forms gehundene, etc., 
by whose influence the n was restored in the uninflected 
form ; hence it was always kept in the ME Northern dialect 
as well. 

633. The Northerly form of the pres. partic. is -and: 
bindandf ^/ra«(/= Midland and OE hindende, herende, Southern 
bindinde, herinde. This a is the result of Scandinavian influ- 
ence : Icel. bindandi, heyrandi, 

634. The following are then the most distinctive verb- 
inflections of the three dialects in their Early Middle 
periods : — * 

In^ic. Pres. Sing^. i binde 

2 bindest, bintst 

3 bfndepy bint 
Plur. bindep 

Imper. Sing, bind 
Plur. bindep 
Pres. Partic. bindinde 

















146 ACCIDENCE. [§ 535. 

Late Middle English. 

535. The most important change in Standard ME and 
in Late South-Thames English generally is the further assimi- 
lation of the pres. partic. to the verbal nouns in -tfige by 
which the earlier bindinde became blndinge, a change of which 
we see traces already in Early Southern, as in ^ riden sing' 
inge * they rode singing ' — OE hie rtdon stngende. But as the 
verbal nouns also occur without final -^, the distinction be- 
tween lerninge partic. and lerning noun was not entirely lost. 

636. Early ME d was changed to / in the weak pret. and 
pret. partic. of verbs in rd^ Id^ nd: girte^ girf^ infin. girden\' 
hilte^ hilt infin. hilden\ wente^ went infin. wenden => Early 
Southern giirde, gilrd; hiilde^ bUld\ wende^ wend. This 
change served to distinguish such forms 2&hisende pres. subj. 
and he sente pret., which in Early ME were both expressed by 
the first form. But it is also carried out in some words with 
/, //, n, nn : /elen * feel ' /elte ; divellen, dwelte ; mjnen^ mente ; 
brennen *burn,' brente] and after J=(z) and v, where it un- 
voices these consonants: losien=0^ iosian, loste] IfvenzsiOE 
Icefan^ lefte^ lafte, 

537. In Standard ME we see the same levelling and 
simplifying tendencies at work as in Early Midland and 
Northern. The old vowel-change in silbh preterites as Ifgnd 
is still kept up, but the short form bgnd is often extended 
throughout the pret. : /» bgndy we bgnd as well as fiH boundi, 
we bounde{n), 

538. In some verbs of the bear- and give-class the e of 
the plural is sometimes extended to the sing, as in 3«r, set by 
the side of bar, sat=:^ QE beer, scet plur. bdron, sdtan, Anglian 
beron, seton. 

539. Influence of the strong plur. pret. on the sing, is 

f 544J 



also seen in such sing, preterites as slow, saw='E2j:\y Southern 
sloh plur. slowen, Late OE sloA, slogon, OE seah^ sdwon, 

640. In Late ME the pret. partic. begins to influence the 
pret. plur. As a general rule the old pret. plurals were 
preserved in Late ME only when they had the same vowel 
as the pret. partic, as in pet bounden, pet dronken, pet wonnen 
(class 3), riden, writen (class 6) ; otherwise the plur. pret. took 
the vowel of the pret. partic. r/f? holpen^foghten, chgsen, 

541. The sing, of the imper. began to be extended to the 
plur. : bind ' bind ye * by the side of bindep. 

542. In the love-class of weak verbs the i was dropped 
entirely, and the pret. ending -ede was often shortened to -ed 
in accordance with the general principle of dropping weak e 
after a weak syllable : he Ibvep, hi loved. 

543. Some of the above changes may be the result of 
Midland influence, of which we have an undoubted example 
in the substitution of -en (-^) for -ep in the plur. indie, pres. 
-ep was, of course, kept in the plur. imper., although here also 
the Midland ending seems to occur in its shortened form -e j 

544. The following are the Standard ME inflections of 
the three verbs whose Early ME inflections have been given 
already : — 

Pres. Indie. Sing, i btnde 



2 btndest 




3 btnde/>, bint 



Plur. binde{n) 



Pres. Subj. Sing, binde 



Plur. btnde{n) 



Pret Indie. Sing, i b^nd 



2 bounde, bpnd 



3 bgnd 



Plur. bounde{n\ bgnd 


liSvede{n\ Vhed 

L 2 




[$ 545- 

. Subj. Sing. I 







lifvede{st\ Uved 


, bounde 






I9vede{n)f ISvtd 

Imper. Sing. 





bifideif)f bifid 









biftden{e)y binde 

heren{e\ hire 

ISveni/)^ llfve 

Partic. Pres. 








The following examples will show the regular development 
of the differei\t classes of strong verbs : — 

I. Fall-class. 



fell fellen 



held helden 



grew grewen 



knew knewen 
II. Shake-class. 




shok shaken 




wok woken 


. laughen 

laugh, low lowen 



droughf drow drowen 


Observe that the preterites of this class have split up into 
two groups, one with J, the other with (uu) [XSQ]. 

III. Bind-c 


547. binden 




























§ 553.] 







IV. Bear-class. 



stal stelefty stal 



hdr, ber bireUy b&r 
V. Give-class. 



gat giten, gat 



saty set setefiy Sat 
VL Shine-class. 



rgd riden 



wrgt writen 
VII. Choose-class. 



criP crgpen 



ch§s chgsen 


Modem English. 

552. The main innovation in the MnE verb-inflections 
was the introduction of the Northern -j in the 3rd pers. sing, 
pres. indie. — he calls — which was introduced into Standard 
English through the medium of the Midland dialect. It did 
not entirely supplant the older -th — he calleth — which still 
survives in the higher literary language. 

553.- The MnE verb is further characterized by the 
development of a gerund. When the pres. partic. ending 
'inge lost its final vowel, the last vestige of a formal distinc* 
tion between such a pres. partic. as lerning and the verb-noun 
lerning disappeared. In OE the number of verb^nouns in 
-ungy -ing was limited, especially in the earlier stages of the 
language. In ME their number increased, and when the 
pres. partic. in -inge was fully established, and became in-i 
distinguishable in form from the ing^nouns, these could be 

150 ACCIDENCE. [§554. 

formed at pleasure from any verb ; or, in other words, every 
pres. partia could be used as a verb-noun. At first — ^in 
Early MnE as well as ME— these words were used entirely 
as nouns — taking the article the before them and the prepo- 
sition Rafter them, etc. — as in he thanked him for the saving 
of his life^ where saving is used exactly like the abstract noun 
preservation ; but by degrees they were treated like infinitives, 
the article being dropped and the following noun joined on 
to them as to the corresponding finite verb ; so that the above 
sentence was shortened to he thanked him for saving his life. 
In such constructions, which began in Early MnE, saving etc. 
are true noun-verbals or gerunds. 

554. In MnE the dropping of weak final ^, together with 
the ME tendency to drop final weak «, had a great eflfect in 
simplifying the verb-inflections. The monosyllabic hind be- 
came the representative of the following ME forms : pres. 
indie. I St pers. sing, t hinde, plur. we dtnde(n)f etc,, pres. subj. 
iJnde, binde(n). The levelling of the distinction between the 
pret. and pret. partic. which had begun in ME was completed 
in the MnE forms herd {heard), loved representmg ME herde^ 
lSved{e) and (i)herd^ {i)l^ed. Such weak verbs as set and cast 
became invariable in the pret, and pret. partic: infin. «/, 
pret. set, pret. partic. j'^/=ME sette{n), sette, {i)set. Moreover 
in such verbs the distinction between strong and weak con- 
jugation is eff'aced : compare set pret. set with let pret. lets: 
OE saltan, s^tte ; Idtan, let, 

555. The weak vowel of the endings -est, -eth^ -es, -ed 
was dropped in Early MnE in the spoken language, except 
that full -est, -es was always kept after the hiss-consonants 
(s, z ; J, 5), being subject to exactly the same rules as the 
noun-inflectional -es (310), as in missest, misses, risest, rises, 
wishes, singes. Full -ed was preserved after the point-stops 


/, dj as in haied^ wanted^ wedded^ wounded = ME hdiede, etc. 
Otherwise all these endings were shortened in speech without 
regard to the ME forms — in loves (luvz), lovest, loveih (luvj?), 
as well as heares, hears, hearest, heareth. In this way the 
distinction between the two classes of weak verbs was 
finally done away with as far as the endings were con- 
cerned, the distinction being only partially recognizable in 
the sound-changes in such verbs as hear, heard (hiir, hard) ; 
feel, felt \ teach, taught, 

556. But in the higher language the full endings -est, 
-eth, -ed were freely used after all consonants indiflferently, 
especially in poetry, for the sake of the metre, -es was not 
used in this way because the less familiar ^eth could always be 
substituted for it. Some very common verbs were, however, 
used only in the short forms, such as dost, doth, mayst, wouldst, 
especially the contracted hast, hath, had='M.'E havest, hast 
etc. -est was generally shortened in weak preterites, as in 
lovedst, cn'edst. -est and -eth are obsolete in Present English 
except in the higher language, in which they naturally keep 
their full forms, except in dost, hath etc. The higher lan- 
guage also keeps full -ed in many forms where the spoken 
language contracts, as in beloved (bi'lBvid) compared with 
loved (iBvd), blessed are the peacemakers. 

557. The vowel of the full endings is now weak (i), as in 
(raizist, raiziz, raizi]?, heitid), and in Early MnE as well as 
Late ME it was often written t, y instead of e, as in Early 
MnE thou spekyst, he dwellith, putty th, passt'd, armyd, 

558. In writing, the silent e of -es was generally omitted 
in Early MnE, as in sits, binds ; but not after v, as in loves, 
nor, of course, where required to show the pronunciation of 
a preceding letter, as in shines, 

559. The consonant of shortened -es was assimilated as 

I5« ACCIDENCE. [§ 56Q. 

regards breath and voice to the preceding consonant in the 
same way as in the noun-inflections : lets^ leads (k^), loves 
(luvz). The same assimilations took place with shortened 
'ed\ loved (luvd), breathed (br^^Sd), thanked (J>ar)kt), blessed 
-ed being thus used to express (t), this spelling was often 
extended to such preterites as burnt^ smelt, which were written 
burned, smelted, although they come from ME brente^ smelte. 
But the phonetic spellings thanJCt^ thankt {thank'd\ dropt, 
crost (crossed), accurst also came into partial use, and some 
of them have become fixed, such as past in half past one 
compared with /^ time has passed quickly. 

The above are organic changes. We have now to consider 
the internal changes in the verb-inflections, beginning with 
those of a levelling character. 

560. The change of strong to weak verbs which we 
observe in ME went on in the transition from ME to MnE, 
and, in some cases, in MnE itself. Thus the Early MnE 
preterite clomb and the pret. partic. molten have now become 
climbed, melted. But some of the weak forms that arose in 
Early MnE have now been discarded, such as the Shakesperian 
pret. participles comed, becomed. 

561. On the other hand, several weak verbs have been 
made strong by the analogy of strong verbs, such as stick, 
stuck (OE stician, sticode) by the analogy of sting, stung; wear, 
wore, worn (OE w^rian, w^rede) by the analogy of swear, swore, 
sworn. So also several weak verbs in -ow have taken pret 
participles in -own by the analogy of know, knozvn, etc, 
keeping the original weak pret. : show, pret. showed, pret 
partic. shown (OE sceawian, sceawode), 

562. The levelling of the short quantity of the vowels in 
the sing, of strong preterites under the long quantity of the 

§ 565.] VERBS: MODERN ENGLISH. 1 53 

pret. partic. and infin. seen in Late ME bar = Early ME ^/r, 
bar is carried much further in MnE, as in brake, spake = Late 
ME braky spak^ pret. partic. brgken, infin. brjfken etc. When 
a certain number of preterites in a had been thus lengthened, 
others were lengthened without regard to the length of the 
other parts of the verb, such as came, bade =ME cam, bad, 
infin. cSmen, bidden, although the latter had a long vowel in 
the pret. partic. b^den, 

663. There is also a regular process of voice-levelling in 
the MnE strong verb, by which final (s, f) in the pret. sing, 
becomes voiced as in the infin. and pret. partic, as in rose, 
chose, gave, drove =ME rgs, ch^s, gaf, drgf, infin. risen, driven 
etc., pret. partic. driven etc. 

664. The distinction between pret. sing, and plur. was 
levelled, as we have seen, in the MnE weak verbs by phonetic 
changes. In the strong verbs it was levelled by external, 
analogical changes. Already in ME strong verbs the vowel 
of the sing, was often carried into the pluf., especially when 
the plur. had a vowel different from that of the pret. partic, 
as in pei stal instead oipei stelen (pret. partic. sfglen). Hence 
such Early MnE preterites as bare, brake, gave, sat correspond 
to ME singulars. 

665. In many cases, however, MnE strong preterites have 
the vowel of the ME pret. plur. We have seen that in Late 
ME there was an intimate connection between the vowel of 
the pret. plur. and of the pret. partic. in strong verbs, so that 
at last the pret. plur., when it differed from the pret. sing., 
almost always had the vowel of the pret. partic Hence in 
MnE the vowel of the pret. plur. when thus supported by 
the pret. partic. was often able to supplant the original 
singular-vowel. This was carried out consistently in those 
verbs of the bind-class which had ME (uu) in the pret. plur. 

154 ACCIDENCE. [§ 566. 

and pret. partic: hound^found—W^ hgnd,/§ndy plur. baunden 
etc. The same change took place in other verbs of the 
bind-class, and in some of the shine- and choose-class, many 
verbs having two preterites in Early MnE, one representing 
the ME pret. sing., the other with the vowel of the phir. : 
began, begun ; sang^ sung ; stang, stung ; fat^hiyfoughi^s^VUS^ 
bigan, sgng, si^^, f aught — bit] rode^ rid\ wrote , wnt =sME 
bpti rpdj wrgt. The present forms of these preterites are 
began, sang, stung^ fo^ht, bit, rode^ wrote, the tendency 
evidently being to favour the original sing, forms. 

666. But there has been in MnE a further assimilation of 
the pret. to the pret. partic, which has a£fected nearly all 
verbs of the bear-class with ME ^ in the pret partic. : already 
in Early MnE we find the preterites bore, broke, spoke by the 
side of bare, brake, spake=:ME bar, brak, spak, ME stal being 
represented by stole only in Early MnE. In Present English 
bare etc. survive only in the higher language. 

567* When a direct association had thus been established 
between the pret. and pret. partic. the two parts of the 
verb began to be confused — a confusion which was helped 
by the pret. partic. in I have seen etc. having nearly the same 
meaning as the pret. / saw etc. — so that the pret. began 
to be substituted for the pret. partic. in some verbs, especially 
when the older form of the pret. partic. was liable to be for- 
gotten through not being in very frequent use — as in the case 
of ME shinen from shinen — or ambiguous^as in the case of 
ME st^nden, which was both pret. partic. and infin. — or 
anomalous and irregular in any way, as in sjten -compared 
with the infin. sitten. Hence in MnE the original preterites 
shone, stood, sat have supplanted the older pret. participles. 
In Early MnE this was carried still further than in Standard 
Present English, as in took, shook, arosezxtaken, shaken^ arisen. 

fi 570.] VERBS: MODERN ENGLISH. 155 

668. In the above examples the pret. participles shone 
etc. lost their final n through the substitution of a form with 
a diflferent vowel. Such pret. participles as bounds begun'=. 
ME bounden, bigiinnen may be considered either as the result 
of extension of the MnE pret. forms bound etc», or of 
dropping the e of the curtailed ME forms {^bounde^ etc. 

It sometimes happens that the pret. partic. ending -en is 
dropped in a verb, but preserved in an adjective formed from 
the pret. partic. before it had lost the -en^ as in the adjectives 
drunken, bounden, (in bounden dufy) compared with the pr^t. 
participles drunk^ bound, 

569. In Early MaE the ending -est was extended to the 
pret, indie, of strong verbs; ihou boundest, thou spakest^^'E 
bounde, b^nd, spak. The rare Early MnE dropping of -st in 
weak as well as strong preterites, as in thou saw, thou maked, 
thou had is probably the result of Northern influence. But in 
Present English, poets often instinctively drop this harsh and 
heavy inflection, especially when the verb is separated from 
its pronoun : where thou once formed thy paradise (Byron). 
Verbs whose pret. is the same as the pres. — especially those 
in 'St — frequently drop the inflectional st, or else add it with 
an intervening -ed for the sake of distinctness : thou castedst 
or thou cast, 

670. The following is the Early MnE conjugation of the 
Strong verb see and the weak verb call\ — 

Indie. Pres. Sing, i see call 

2 seest cal!{e)st 

3 seethy sees call(e)thy calls 
Plur. see call 

Subj. Pres. see call 

Pret, Indie. Sing, i saw call(e)d 

Z saw{e)st calledst 

3 saw ccUl{e)d 

Plur. saw ccUl(e)d 

15^ ^< 


Pret. Subj. 






Pres. Partic. and Gerund 


Pret. Partic 






Besides the above inflections there are others which occur 
only as isolated archaisms. The contracted -t^^eth has left 
a trace in the form list * wishes/ * likes,* as in let him do it when 
he list= OE lyst (lystep) from the weak verb fystan. All three 
ME indie, plurals are found in the Early MnE literary language, 
the most frequent of which — the Midland ^en — survives in the 
Shakesperian they waxen in their mirth* The Southern -etk 
and the Northern -es are much less frequent. The infin. or 
gerund in -en survives in Shakespere : to killen. 

571. The following examples will show the regular de- 
velopment of the different classes of strong verbs in literary 
MnE. It will be observed that the best-preserved classes 
are the 3rd and the 6th, the others being so reduced in the 
number of their verbs, and there being so much divergence 
of form, that they retain hardly a trace of their OE 
characteristics : — 

I. Fall-class. 

572. fall 


II. Shake-class. 


heldy beholden 

573. shake 



The Late ME preterites in (-uu)=OE -oh^ such as droWy 
sloWy were in Early MnE levelled under the more numerous 
^ze;- verbs of the fall-class : draw^ drew ; slay^ slew. 

5 579-] 



674. sing 

575. bear 

576, giv^ 


III. Blnd-class. 








IV. Bear-class. 








bare, bore born{e) 

stole stolen 

V. Give-class. 

gave given 

wov^ wov^n 

sat sat 

577. drive 






VI. Shine-class, 






The occasional Early MnE preterites drave, strave, etc, 
are probably Northern forms. 

VII. Choose-class. 

578. freeze f^oze frozen 

choose chose chosen 

Present English. 

579. In the present Spoken English the earlier substitution 
oi you see y you saw for thou seest^ thou sawest^ and oi he sees 

158 ACCIDENCE^ [§ 580. 

for he seeih has been completely carried out, so that the 
older 'St and -th survive only in proverbs and in phrases 
taken from the higher literary language, where the older 
forms still survive* 

Having traced the English verb down to its most reduced 
MnE form, it will now be more instructive to regard it from 
a purely descriptive, unhistorical point of view* 

580. If we examine the Present English verb from this 
point of view, the first thing that strikes us is that the tra- 
ditional distinction between strong and weak verbs can no 
longer be maintained : without going back to ME we cannot 
tell whether such preterites as sat, lit, led, held, infinitives «/, 
light, leady hold, are strong or weak. 

581. We are therefore compelled to make a new division 
into consonantal and vocalic. Consonantal verbs are 
those which form their preterites and pret. participles by 
adding d or /, such as called, looked, heard, burnt, infinitives 
call, look, hear, burn. Vocalic verbs are those which form 
their preterites or pret. participles by vowel-change without 
the addition of any consonant, except that the pret. partic. of 
some of these verbs adds -en : sing, sang, sung ; bind, bound, 
bound] run, ran, run — drive, drove, driven) speak, spoke, 
spoken ; see, saiv, seen. Under the vocalic verbs we must also 
include the invariable verbs: let, let, let] cast, cast, cast. 
Mixed verbs show a mixture of consonantal and vocalic 
inflection: crow, crew, crowed] show, showed, shown, 

582. The great majority of verbs belong to the regular 
consonantal conjugation, their pret. and pret. partic. ending 
being — 

a, (-id) after (t) and (d) : delighted, nodded, 

b, (-d) after the other voice sounds : played, raised, saved^ 
turned, dragged. 

f 585.] VERBS: IRREGULAR. 159 

c, (-t) after the other breath consonants : hissed^ pushed^ 

683. Compared with these verbs those of the vocalic class 
must be regarded as irregular, although many of them fall 
under more or less uniform classes. There are also irregular 
consonantal verbs, such as burn, burnt, compared with the 
regular turn, turned. There is also a small class of specially 
irregular or anomaloiis verbs, such as be, was, been, some of 
which — mostly comprising the old preterite-present verbs — 
are defective, such as (/) can, could^ which has no infin. 
or participles. The irregular verbs therefore comprise all 
the vocalic and anomalous verbs together with some of the 
consonantal, all regular verbs being consonantal. All newly 
formed verbs are conjugated consonantally, the consonantal 
inflections being the only living or productive ones* 

584. The following are the inflections of the consonantal 
verb call and the vocalic verb see in Spoken English :— 

Pres. Indie. Sing, i call 


2 call 


3 calls 


Plur. call 


Pres. Subj. call 


Pret. (Indie, and Subj.) called 


Imper. call 


Infin. call 


Pres. Partic. and Gerund calling 


Pret. Partic. called 


Irregular Verbs in Modem English. 

585. In the following sections the vowel-changes are 
arranged in the alphabetic order of the vowels of the pre- 
terites in their phonetic spelling, to which the alphabetic 
prder of the vowels of the infinitive is subordinated, thus 

l6o ACCIDENCE. [§ 586. 

(ei . . . e) as in say^ said, and then (ij . . e), as in flee, fled^ 
precede (ia . . 99), and this is followed by (uw . , o), etc. 
Forms that occur only in the higher literary language are 
marked *. Obsolete forms are marked f. 

Consonantal Verbs. 

"With Vowel-cliange» 

Verbs which take the regular consonantal inflection (d, t)y 
but with vowel-change : — 

Vowel-change (ei . , e). 

586. say, said (sei, sed). OE weak I b s^c^an, scegde, sagdi 
In ME the 4f-forms of this verb were preserved in South-* 


Thames English ; but in the North-Thames dialects the g- 
forms s^gestj s^gej?, imper. s§ge were extended to the original 
r^^-forms : " l sei'e^ infin. setn, seien, pres. partic. seiende. These 
became the Standard ME forms also. The OE pret. sceigck 
became saide in ME. In MnE satde became (s^^d), which 
was shortened to (sed) ; and the same shortening took place 
in says. All the other OE 4f-verbs show a similar extension 
of the ^-forms in ME, so that the OE infinitives hcgan^ liii^n^ 
hycgan appear in MnE as lie (M{} Hen), lay (ME leieii), buy 
(ME hier^^ which correspond phonetically to the OE impera- 
tives lige, l^ge, byge. 

Vowel-change (ij . . e). 

587. flee, fled (flij, fled). OE strong VII flion (Oldest 
English fleohari), fleah, plur. flugon, pret. partic.^t?^^. There 
was another OE verb of the same class, some of whose forms 
were identical with forms o{ fleon, namely fleogan * fly/ fleag 
(JleaK), pret. plur. flugon, pret. partic. flogen. As the two 

§ 589.] VERBS: IRREGULAR. 161 

verbs were similar in meaning also, they were frequently con- 
founded in Late West- Saxon, the distinctive forms oifleogan 
being used in the sense of * flee ' as well as in that of ' fly/ 
and fleon being used in the sense of * fly.' This confusion 
has lasted to the present day, in as far as many modern 
writers use fly consistently in the sense of ' run away/ In 
ME the confusion between the two verbs was often avoided 
by using the weak vexh fleden^=^OE fledan {flcedan) * flow/ * be 
at high tide ' (said of the sea) from OE flod • flood ' in the 
sense of * flee,' its ^xttfledde coming gradually to be regarded 
as the pret. of the old ^Xxong fleon, flen, -This development 
was probably helped by the Scandinavian weak verb flyja 
*flee,' ^rtX,flypt\ 

588. creep, crept (krijp, krept). OE strong VJI creopan, 
creapj cropen. In ME cripen developed a weak pret. crepte by 
the side of the strong crep, leap, lept; sleep, slept; 
sweep, swept; weep, wept have developed in a similar 
way from the OE strong verbs hleapan, hleop I ; slckpan, 
slip I; swdpan, sweop I; wepan, weop I. OE swdpan be- 
came by regular change swgpen in ME; the form sweep is 
the result of confusion with other verbs of similar meaning. 

Vowel-change (is . . ee). 

589. hear, heard (hi^r, ho9d). OE weak I hieran, 
hierde, Anglian heran, herde^ whence ME heren, herde with 
the usual shortening. In Early MnE the (e) of the pret. was 
regularly broadened to (a) before the (r), giving (hilar, hard). 
The spelling heard shows the not unfrequent lengthening of 
ME e before (r)-combinations, which, of course, preserved it 
from the change into (a); (h^^rd) was then shortened to 
(herd), whence the Present English (h99d). 


1 6a ACCIDENCE. [§ 590. 

Vowel-change (uw . . o). 

590. shoe, shod (Juw, Jod). OE sdoian^ sdade^ gesdod. 
ME shotn, pret. partic. tshod. The MnE shortening is 
parallel to that in rod compared with rood^ both=OE rod, 
shod is now used chiefly as an adjective, shoe being conjugated 
regularly shoed. 

Vowel-change (e . . oti). 

591. sell, sold (sel, sould). OE weak I b s^Uan, sealdty 
Anglian sdlde 'give.' ME sellen, sglde, isgld. In OE the 
meaning 'sell' was only occasionally implied in the more 
general one of * give,* as in s§llan wip weorpe * give for a 
value (price) '=* sell.' So also tell, told from OE weak I b 

With t instead of d. 

592. btini, burnt. In OE the intransitive 'bum' was 
expressed by the strong verb III hiernan^ Late West-Saxon 
byrnan, Anglian beornan, pret, bgrn^ barn, pret. plur. bumon, 
pret. partic. geburnen ; the transitive by the weak bcBrnan^ 
bcBrnde, In these two verbs the r had been transposed, the 
Germanic forms being *brtnnan, ^brannjan, with which com- 
pare the Scandinavian strong brinna^ pret. branny pret. partic. 
brunninn, and the weak brpina, br§ndu In ME the origin- 
ally transitive and intransitive forms came to be used indis- 
criminately in both senses, the weak forms gradually getting 
the upper hand. In Standard ME the Northern — originally 
Scandinavian — form brennen, brente was used both transitively 
and intransitively, the strong Northern form — also originally 
Scandinavian — brinnen occurring less frequently, generally in 
its original intransitive sense. The other dialects show a 

§ 598-] VERBS: IRREGULAR. 1 63 

great variety of forms : Early Southern heornen, bfrrun, 
bernen, Early Midland bfrnen, bernen^ brennen, Early Northern 
brin (transitive as well as intrans.), bren. The infin. burnen 
seems to occur first in Late Midland ; the u is probably the 
result of the influence of the lip-consonant b on the following 
eo of Anglian beornan. The pret. brent survived for some 
time in Early MnE. 

693. dwell, dwelt. ME dwelleriy dwelte from Scandina- 
vian dv^lja ' remain.' 

594. learn, learnt. OE leomian^ leornode ; ME lern(t)en, 
lernde, later lernie. The adjective learned preserves the fuller 
form of the pret. partic. So also pen, pent) smell, smelt \ 
spell, spelt) spill, spilt from the OE weak verbs p^nnan, 
sm§llan ' strike/ spellian ' relate/ spillan * destroy.' 

595. spoil, spoilt. ME spoilen, despoilen from Old French 
spolier, despoiller [from Latin spolidre * strip/ ' plunder '] was 
associated with spilkn from OE spillan, so that when spillen 
took the special sense * waste liquids/ * spill/ spoilen took the 
old meaning of spillen, namely * destroy/ and formed a pret. 
spoilte on the analogy oispilte, spoil in the sense of ' plunder ' 
is regular. 

596. feel, felt from OE filan {fxlan), felde, kneel, 
knelt from ME knelen, knelde, knelte of Scandinavian origin. 

With t instead of d and Vowel-change. 

Vowel-change (ij . . e). 

597. (be)reave, *bereft, bereaved. OE {be)reafian, 
rea/ode, ME birpen, birfvde, birefte, birafte, the last being 
the Standard ME form. 

598. cleave, cleft 'divide/ 'adhere.' OE strong VII 
cleofan^ deaf, clofen * divide ' ; ME eleven, clgf, eleven, OE 
weak III cleofian, clifian * adhere * ; ME clfvien^ clpede. 

M 2 

1 64 ACCIDENCE. [$ 599, 

There was also a strong verb VI in OE clifan * adhere,' ME 
cliven pret. partic. cliven 'adhere,' * climb.* In ME cl§f^ 
Northern claf^ originally pret. of cliven, was used also as pret. 
of eleven^ whose pret. partic. clgven had in Late ME the same 
vowel as clgf, A new weak pret. clefie was then formed from 
eleven. In the Earliest MnE cleeve 'divide' kept (ii)=ME 
close iy but was soon confused with cleave (kl^^) ' adhere '= 
Early ME clevien. Late ME clfvien, so that it was written 
with ea. The MnE pret. clove may be regarded either as 
the descendant of the OE pret. cldf or as the ME pret. 
cl^f (from OE cleaf^ levelled under the pret. partic. clgven. 
The other MnE pret. clave is of course the Northern form of 
OE eld/. The following are the forms of the two verbs in 

cleave ' divide * ; clove, iclave, cleft ; cloven, cUfly ^cleaved, 

cleave ' adhere ' ; '^clave, cleaved ; cleaved, 

599. deal, dealt (dijl, delt). OE ddlan, dcelde, leave, 
left ; mean, meant from OE Ictfan, Icefde ; manan, 

600. dream, dreamt, dreamed (drijm, dremt, drijmd). 
OE drieman^ Anglian dreman * modulate ' [dream * melody,' 
* joy ']. The ME dr^men, dremde, drem{p)te got the meaning 
' dream ' from the Scandinavian droyma * dream.' In Early 
MnE the verb was levelled under the noun dream, the ME 
pret. being however kept in spelling — dremt — as well as 
pronunciation by the side of the new pret. dreamed. The 
spelling dreamt is, of course, a blending of dremt and 

601. lean, leant, leaned (lijn, lent, lijnd). OE hieonian 
(hlim'art), hleonode\ ME Ipiien (linien), Ipiede, The pret 
leant comes from another OE verb meaning * to lean/ namely 
hl(£nan, hlcknde ; ME Ipten, lende, lente. 

§ 6o6.] VERBS: IRREGULAR. 1 65 

Vowel-change (ai . . o). 

602. buy, bought. OE hydgan^ hohte, ME higgen, hien 
(686), pret. hohte^ bouhte. 

Vowel-change (uw . . o). 

603. lose, lost. OE strong VII forUosan, forleas^ 
for lor en * destroy,' * lose,' weak III losian ' go to waste,* * get 

lost.' ME lesen, forlesen * lose,' //j, /orlp, loren, forloren. 
The dropping of they^r- is due to the influence of losien-= 
OE losian^ whose transitive use, as in he losede al his folc * he 
lost all his people (army) ' is due to the influence ol forlesen. 
Hence the pret. partic. Hosed, later lost, came to be used as 
the pret. partic. of lesen, when the old pret. participles loren, 
forloren had come to be isolated from their verbs in meaning, 
so that MnE *lorn in love-lorn, ^Xz., for lorn ^ are now used 
only as adjectives. In Early MnE Use took (uu) from the 
adjective loose and verb loosen \MElos,ldsnen from Scandinavian 
Ipuss 'free,' Moose,' Ipusna *get loose'], being at first written 
loose, then lose, to distinguish it from the adjective loose. 

With t instead of -ded. 

604. gird, girt, girded. OE gyrdan, gyrde. So also 
build, built, tbuilded; gild, gilt, gilded; bend, bent, 
tbended; rend, rent; send, sent; tshend, tshent; 
spend, spent, *wend, went from the OE weak hyldan, 
gyldan, b^ndan, randan, s^ndan, sc^ndan *put to shame,' 
sp^ndan, wpidan * turn.' 

605. blend, tblent, blended. OE strong I hlandan 
' mix.^ Weak OE hl§ndan has only the meaning * blind.' 

606. lend, lent. OE Icman, l^nde, ME Iptden, lenden 
is a new-formation from the OE preterite-forms ; from lenden 

t66 accidence. [§ 607. 

a new pret. lende^ knie was formed on the analogy of sendm^ 
sente^ etc. 

With Consonaiit-loss. 

607. make, made. OE macian, macode, ME makien, 
makede^ wiaked, Late ME mdkien^ contracted mddey (t)mdd. 

With Consonant-loss and Vowel-chang^. 

Vowel-change (ou . . ee). 

608. clothe, clad, clothed. OE cldpian^ cldpode \clajf 
'cloth']. Scandinavian kldpa^ kl^pdt\ whence ME cl^peny 
cladde Northern cledde^ as well as clgp{i)en, clgpede. 

Vowel-change (ae . . o). 

609. catch; caught. ME cacchen, cattghte from Old 
French cachier [Low Latin captidre = Latin captdrCy a 
frequentative of caper e ' seize ']. cachier is probably a North- 
East French (Picard) form ; the Parisian form being chacur 
(Modern French chasser), whence the MnE chace, chase. ME 
cacchen having the same meaning and the same termination 
as lacchen, laughte from OE laican^ gel^hte * seize/ 'catch' 
[compare MnE laich\ naturally formed its preterite in the 
same way. 

610. distract; tdistraught, distracted. OE str^Uan 
* stretch,' pret. streahie, str^hte^ appears in ME in the form of 
strecchen, straughte, streighte, the pret. partic. streighi being 
still kept in MnE as an adjective — straight literally ' stretched 
out.' In Late ME the Latin distrdctus was imported as an adj. 
distract (French distrait), which was made into distraught by 
the influence of straught. When distract was made into a 
verb in Early MnE, distraught was naturally regarded as its 
participle. Through further confusion straught itself was 

§6i3.] VERBS: IRREGULAR. \6^ 

used in the sense of * distracted/ and a new partic. ibestraught 
was formed on the analogy of beseL 

Vowel-change (99 . . o). 

eU. work; *wrought, worked (w99k, rot). OE 
wyrcan, Anglian wire an ^ the corresponding noun being 
weorcy Late West- Saxon wore, Anglian were, which in ME 
influenced the verb. The ME forms are : Southern wUrehen^ 
worchen with the usual change of wU- to wu-^ Midland werken. 
Northern wirk. The OE pret. worhie underwent the usual 
r-transposition in ME, becoming wrohte, MnE wrought^ 
which in ordinary speech survives only as an adjective, as in 
wrought iron, 

Vowel-ehange (i . . o). 

612. bring; brought (brii), brot). OE bringan, brohle, 

613. think ; thought. In OE there were two weak I a 
verbs of allied form and meaning : p^ncan, pohte * think ' ; 
fynean, puhie * seem,' which was impersonal, me pyncp * it 
seems to me ' having much the same meaning as ii p^nee. 
In ME pptcan became regularly penehen in South-Thames 
English, /f//^(?« in North-Thames English ; dJidpyndan became 
Jninehen, pine hen in South-Thames English, pinken in North- 
Thames English. The pret. puhte was soon disused, po(u)hte 
taking its place : he pohte * he thought,' him pohte * it seemed 
to him.' In Standard ME the two verbs were still kept 
apart in the infin. and present tenses, which had the Midland 
fonns penken, i penke ; pinken, me pinkep, etc. ; but in the 
compound bipinken * consider '=0E bep^ncan, the latter had 
already begun to encroach. In Northern pink completely 
supplanted penk, as in MnE. Hence MnE think is histor- 
ically =OE/^«^a«, and its pret. thought-=OE pohte, the pret. 
of the losip^ncan. 

168 ACCIDENCE. r§ 614. 

Vowel' change (ij . . o). 

614. seek; sought; beseech; besought. 0£ seian 
{scecan)y sohte, ME South-Thames sicken^ hisechen, North- 
Thames seken^ hiseken. The MnE seek and beseech are there* 
fore from different dialects of ME. Shakespere has the 
Midland form not only in seek^ but also in heseek, 

615. reach; fraught, reached. OE rddan^ rdhte, 
ME rfchen, ra{u)ghie, Northern reghie. So also teach, 
taught from OE weak t&can * show.' 

Invariable Verbs. 


616. cast. ME casten from Scandinavian weak kasia^ 
kastapi. In Early MnE there is also a regular pret. casied. 


617. *dight * adorn* as in storied window richly dighi 
(Milton). OE dihtan * arrange/ 'appoint' from the Latin 

618. cut. ME kutien, 

610. shut. OE scyttan Mock,' 'bolt' {gesdot 'shot,' 
'dart'; sceotan strong VII 'shoot']. ME schUtten, schuttm. 

620. thrust. ME prUsten, prusten from Scandinavian 


621. let. OE strong I Idtan, let, Idten, ME leten, pret 
strong let, and weak lette from *lette. In MnE the short vowel 
of this weak pret. was extended to the infin., etc. The 
obsolete verb let ' hinder,' still preserved in the phrase Ut or 

§ 629.] VERBS: IRREGULAR. 169 

hindrance, is the OE weak ///Az«, ////?, connected with IcBt 
* slow/ late adv. * late/ 

622. set. OE s^itan, s^tie, connected with the strong 
verb V sittan, pret. scbL 

623. 8hed. OE strong I sdddan, sieadan, seed * separate/ 
a meaning still preserved in the noun watershed, ME 
sch^den formed a weak pret. schadde, schedde, and developed 
the new meaning 'separate into drops/ 'shed.' In MnE 
the short vowel of the pret. was extended to the pres., etc., 
as in let, 

624. shred. OE sireadian, sdreadode. ME schr^den, 
schredde, the short vowel being afterwards extended to the 
pres., etc. So also spread (spred) from weak OE sprcedan, 


625. burst. OE strong III berstan, bcsrst^ burston, 
gehorsten. The u of burst is the result of the influence of 
the lip-consonant b on the eo of ME beorsten, as in burn 
(592), the u being afterwards extended to the pret. partic. 
bursten, which survived in Early MnE* 

626. hurt. ME hUrten, hurten, 


627. hit. ME hitten from Scandinavian hitta ' find.' 

628. knit. OE cnyttan 'tie' \cnotta 'knot']. The 
invariable pret.-form is now preserved only as an adjective 
in well-km'tj etc. Otherwise the pret.-form is regular — 

629. quit. ME quiten pret. quitte from Old French 
quiter from Latin qvietus. In MnE the shortened vowel of 
the pret. was extended to the rest of the verb. The deriva- 
tive requite keeps its original length, having a pret. partic. 

170 ACCIDENCE. [$630. 

requit in Early MnE. acquit is invariable in Early MnE. 
All these verbs are now regular. 

630. rid. ME redden, rudden^ ridden * rescue,' ' separate 
fighters' is apparently a blending of OE hr^ddan 'rescue' 
and Scandinavian ryfy'a pret. rudda * clear away.' 

631. slit. OE strong VI slUan, slat, sliten. ME has 
both strong sliien^ pret. partic. sliten, and a weak verb slitten, 
which may have existed in OE. 

632. split. ME splatten, of which Early MnE splette is 
probably a Northern form, splet seems to have been made 
into split by the influence of slit, 


633. cost. ME costen from Old French coster (Modem 
French coilter) from Latin constdre, 


634. put. ^I'Eputten. 

Vocalic Verbs. 

Vowel-change (ai . . au). 

635. bind ; bound. OE strong III hindan, band, bundm. 
The older pret. partic. is still preserved in bounden duty. So 
also grind, ground; wind, wound from OE strong III 
grindan, ivindan, 

636. find; found. OE strong 111 findan, /and — ^more 
generally ^itzkfunde—funden, ME ^xti./gnd,/bunde. 

Vowel-change (ai . . b). 

637. strike ; struck. OE strong VI strican, strdc, stricen 

' move about,' * touch lightly.' ME striken, strpk (Northern 


sirdk), striken. Early MnE strike^ pret. stroke^ strake^ struck^ 
pret partic. stricken^ sirucketty struck. 

Vowel-change (ae . . b). 

638. hang; hung, hangecL 0£ strong I hon (from 
earlier *hdhan), heng, hangen, the g being a weakening of 
the h of the in fin., where = Germanic an (502), so that 
^^= Germanic *hanhan. There was also a weak intransitive 
hangian, hangode^ hon itself being used transitively. In Early 
ME the consonantal variation in the strong verb was soon 
levelled : sometimes the infinitive form was extended to the 
pret. partic. which was made into {a)hon ; but afterwards the 
ng-forms got the upper hand, being supported by the weak 
verb hangien, and a new strong infin. hangen was formed, 
pret. hengy pret. partic. hangen. In some dialects the pret. 
was shortened to heng with short close (e), which being an 
unfamiliar sound in ME was made into i. This new pret. 
hingy which is frequent in some Midland dialects, was made 
into an infin. in Northern by the analogy of the bind-class, 
with pret. hang^ which afterwards made its way into the 
Standard dialect in the form of hgng parallel to sgng ' sang.' 
A pret. partic. hung was further developed on the analogy of 
singy sang, sung, and hung was then extended to the pret. 
sing, in the same way as clung, etc. (565), the older infin. 
hang being preserved in the Standard dialect. In MnE the 
strong form hung is both transitive and intransitive, hanged 
being used only transitively, contrary to the OE usage. 

Vowel-change (i . . b). 

639. dig; dug, tdigged. ME diggen, diggede, equiva- 
lent to OE dician [die ' ditch '], of which it seems to be a 

17a ACCIDENCE. [§ 640*. 

modification by some analogical influence. The vocalic 
pret. dug developed itself towards the end of the Early MnE 
period ; it is not found in the Bible. 

640. cling; clung. OE strong III clingan^ clang, 
clungen * wither.' ME clingen^ clgng, clungen 'shrivel/ 
' adhere/ ' hang/ So also slink, slunk ; spin, t span, 
spun ; sting, stung ; swing, swung ; win, won ; wring, 
wrung from OE strong III slincan^ spinnan, stingan^ 
swingan^ gewinnan^ wringan, 

641. fling; flung. ME strong III flingen from weak 
Scandinavian flitigja [compare ME wing from Scandinavian 
v§f^r\ flingen was, of course, made strong on the analogy 
of sting and the other strong verbs in -ing, 

642. sling ; slung. ME strong III slingen from 
Scandinavian slongva^ which passed through slengen into 
slingen, and then became strong in the same way as fling. 
The pret. slang occurs in the Bible. 

643. stick ; stuck, tsticked ' pierce,' * adhere.' OE 
stician {siiocian\ siicode * pierce,' ' adhere.' ME strong V 
steken, siak, steken and stoken [like spoken = OE specen\ 
* pierce,' * imprison,' which may represent an OE strong 
verb, s/uck may owe its u to the influence of slung, 

644. string; stning, stringed. This verb is a MnE 
formation from the ME noun siring from Scandinavian 
strpigr^ with the usual change of Scandinavian -^ng into 
'ir^. We keep the older consonantal inflexion in stringed 

Vowel-change (b . . fiB . . b). 

645. run; ran; run. OE strong III irnan, iernan 
(eornan). Late West-Saxon ^r«aw, pret. grn, arn^ pret. partic. 
urnen, with the same transposition of the r as in burn^ the older 

§ 648.] VERBS: IRREGULAR (VOCALlC). 173 

forms being preserved in gerinnan ' coagulate/ literally * run 
together/ gerann^ gerunnen. The ME verb was influenced 
by the two Scandinavian verbs, the strong rinna, rann^ 
runninn and the weak r^nna^ rpidi, the Standard ME forms 
being indeed entirely Scandinavian: rennen^ ran^ t'runnen. 
The Early Southern forms of the infin. are irnen^ eornen, 
urnen probably =«r«^« from Late West-Saxon ^rwa;^. The 
infin. run appears in Northern by the side of the Scandi- 
navian rin. The « c f the infin. seems to have been origin- 
ally a Southern development out of iirneriy perhaps by the 
influence of burn, . 

Vowel-change (i . . ee). 

646. sit; sfiBt. OE strong V j-verb si'itan, scpt, seien, 
ME sitten, sat^ seten and also siten with the vowel of the 
infin. From the ME partic. siten is derived the obsolete 
MnE pret. and pret. partic. sit, which made the verb invari- 
able. The obsolete MnE pret. sate is due to the analogy of 
came, spake, etc., the short sat being kept up at the same time 
by the short vowel of the infin. sit, 

647. spit ; spat. There were in OE two weak verbs of 
the same meaning spittan, spitte and spmtan, sp^tte, both of 
which were kept in ME, where the pret. spitte became regu- 
larly spatte. The MnE spit, spat is, therefore, a mixture of 
two distinct verbs. 

Vowel-change (i . . CB . . «). 

648. begin ; began ; begun. OE strong beginnan. So 
also drink, drank, driLnk(en) ; shrink, shrank, shrunk ; 
sing, sang, sung ; sink, sank, sunk(en) ; spring, sprang, 
sprung; stink, stank, stunk; swim, swam, swum 

174 ACCIDENCE. [$ 649. 

from OE strong III drincan^ sdrincan^ singan^ sincan, 
springan, siincan, swimman, 

649. ring; rang; rung. OE (>5)n>jjfj«, which is ap- 
parently weak. 

Vowel-change (i . . ae . . i-n). 

650. (for)bid ; -bad ; -bidden. OE strong V j-verb 
biddan, bced, beden * pray/ * ask ' ; strong VII beodan^ beady 
boden * offer/ * command.' The corresponding ME forms 
are bidden^ bad, b^den and — by the analogy of the infin. — 
bidden ; beden^ b^d, bgden. But already in Early ME the two 
verbs began to be confused, bidden in the special sense of 

* ask to one's house/ * invite ' soon got confused with bedm^ 
which developed the meaning ' offer an invitation/ the con- 
fusion being aided by the weak verb bpd{t')en=^01£. bodian 

* announce ' — itself connected with beodan. Hence even in 
Early ME we find iboden used in the sense of * invited/ It was 
still more natural to soften down the command expressed by 
beden by the substitution of the milder bidden. The pret 
bad soon supplanted b^d by taking to itself the meaning 

* commanded/ except in the emphatic forbeden^ which in 
Standard ME only rarely has the pret. forbad instead of 
forbad. The following are the Standard ME forms — 

bidden, beden ; bad ; b^den, bgden. 
forbeden ; forbad {forbad) ; forbgden. 

In the transition to MnE the bid'^orvas were gradually extended 
till they entirely supplanted the others. The relation between 
the two forms bad and bade is the same as that between sat 
and sate (562). In Early MnE the pret. partic. was often 
shortened to bid, which was used also as a pret., so that the 
verb became invariable. 


Vowel-change (ij . . e). 

651. bleed; bled. OE weak hUdan {bloedan)^ hledde, 
[blod * blood *]. So also breed, bred ; feed, fed ; lead, 
led ; meet, met ; read, read (rijd, red) ; speed, sped 
from the OE weak bredan^fedan^ Ictdan^ meian, rddan^ spedan. 

Vowel-change (ij . . e . . ij-n). 

652. eat ; ate ; eaten. OE strong V, with exceptional 
(Germanic) lengthening in the pret. sing., etan, ctt^ pret. plur. 
dtony pret. partic. eten. ME pen^ //, at, pen, the pret. at 
being of course due to the influence of the other verbs of the 
same class. 

Vowel-change (ou . . e). 

653. hold; held. OE strong I healdan, hdldan\ heold\ 
gehealden, gehalden ME hglden) held, held, hild] ihglden. We 
still preserve the fuller form of the pret. partic. in beholden. 

Vowel-change (d . . e . . D-n). 

654. fall ; fell ; fallen. OE strong I feallan, fallan ; 
feoll ; feallen, fallen, ME /alien ; fel, fel, fil ; fallen. 

Vowel-change (ai . . ei . . ei-n). 

655. lie; lay; lain. OE strong V j-verb liigan^ Icpg, 
gelegen, imper. sing, lige, etc. The ME development of this 
verb is analogous to that of the other cg-verbs (586). In 
Early Southern the infin. Uggen was preserved by the side of 
the imper. tie\ but in the North-Thames dialects it was 
levelled under the g-forms, becoming lin, lien. The Standard 
ME forms are Ren, lai, pret. partic. leien, lein. 

176 ACCIDENCE. [$ 656. 

Vowel-change (is . . ei . . b). 

656. come ; came ; come. OE strong IV, with anom- 
alous weak vowel in the pres. and infin. and exceptional 
extension of the vowel of the pret. plur. to the pret. sing. : 
cuman ; cwom^ com ; c{^)omon ; cumen. The pret. com was 
preserved in Standard ME, but was partially supplanted by 
the new formation cam on the analogy of the strong verb IV 
nimen ' take/ namy nomen, cam underwent the usual length- 
ening into came in MnE. 

Vowel-change (i . . ei . . i-n). 

657. give; gave; given. OE giefan {ge/an); geaf 

Vowel-change (ai . . i). 

658. light; lit, Hghted. OE weak lihtan, lihte 'illu- 
minate ' and * make light/ ' alleviate ' \leohi adj. * light of 
colour ' and ' light of weight ']. There was a third OE weak 
verb lihtan^ alihtan * alight from a horse/ The MnE verb 
light in light on must be referred to this last. The conson- 
antal preterite-form lit does not, of course, appear till ligM 
had become (bit), that is, in the MnE period, when it arose 
from imitation of hite^ bit, etc. The verb alight still keeps 
the older consonantal inflexion, which is also used in the 
other verbs. 

Vowel-change (ai . . i . . i-n). 

659. bite; bit; bitten. OE strong VI httan. The 
shortened pret. partic. is still kept in the phrase the biter bit. 

660. chide; chid; chidden. OE weak dtdan, ddde. 
ME chiden, chidde. In Early MnE the verb was made strong 


— chide, chode, chidden — on the analogy of ride, rode, ridden. 
The pret. partic. was then shortened to chid, and extended to 
the pret. The verb is nearly obsolete in the present spoken 
English, hide, hid, hidden is a strong verb of similar recent 
formation, except that it does not seem to have developed 
any pret. analogous to Early MnE chode : OE hydan, hydde, 
ME hlden, hidde. 

Vowel-change (ij . . ij . . ij-n). 

661. beat; beat; beaten. 0£ strong I beaian, heot, 

Vowel-change (ai . . o). 

662. shine ; shone. OE strong VI scinan, sddn, scinen. 

Vowel-change (e . . o . . o-n). 

663. (for)get; forgot; forgotten, got. In OE the 

strong V verb gietan, gyian {getan) ; geat (gee/) ; gie/en, gyien 
(geten) occurs only in the compounds begietan ' get,* ongietan 
* understand,' forgietan * forget ' and a few others. In ME 
begiten, begeten was shortened to gilen, geten through the in- 
fluence of the Scandinavian geia, gat, getinn * get,' or rather 
the Scandinavian word was substituted for it. 

664. tread; trod; trodden. OE strong V tredan, 
treed, treden, ME tr^den, trad, tr^den and — by the analogy 
of broken, etc. — trgden, troden. 

VoweUchange (ij . . o . . o-n). 

665. seethe; tsod, seethed; sodden, tsod, seethed. 

OE strong VII seopan, seap, soden. 

Vowel-change (uw . . o). 

666. shoot; shot. OE strong VII sceotan^ sdeat, scoten, 


178 ACCIDENCE. [$667. 

Standard ME scheten^ schjt, schoten. There is also an infin. 
schuten in ME, whose u probably =^ from OE eo^ as in choose 
(680), which afterwards became (uu) and was written 00 in 
Early MnE. 

Vowel-change (ai . . ou). 

667. climb; tclomb, climbed. OE strong III dim' 
man, clamm, clummen and also climhan, clamh^ clumlen, 
although the latter is found only in late texts. ME climmen, 
clam, clommen and ctimhen, clgmb {clamb), cWmben, 

Vowel-change (ai . . 011 . . i-n). 

668. (a)bide; fbode, tbid, bided; tbiden, tbid, 
bided. OE strong VI btdan ' wait,' dbidan * endure.' ME 
(a)bzden, bgd, biden, there being also a weak pret. abidde. 

669. drive; drove, tdrave; driven. OE strong VI 
dri/an. So also ride, rode, ridden; rise, rose, risen; 
shrive, t shrove, shrived, shriven; smite, smote, 
smitten; stride, strode, t stridden, strode; write, 
wrote, written from OE strong VI rtdan, drtsan, sMfan, 
smitan * smear,* siridan, wnian, 

670. strive ; strove ; striven. ME strong VI striven, 
strgf, striven, which is the Old French estriver [from Old 
Low- German strip * strife '] made into a strong verb on the 
analogy of driven, 

671. thrive ; throve ; thriven. ME priven from the 
Scandinavian strong reflexive verb prifcLsk. 

Vowel-change (ei . . ou). 

672. wake ; woke, waked. OE strong II wacatty woe, 

wacen, generally compounded with on- : onwacan, awacan, 
{on)wacan and the weak d(wcEcnian), wacian 'keep awake '^ 


are intransitive. The corresponding transitive verb is 
w^ddan^ weahte, w^hte, ME has (a)iJoaken, wdk^ waken and 
wakterij wakede; wakenen^ wak{e)nede. The (ou) instead of 
(uw) in the MnE ivoke is probably due to the influence of the 
numerous preterites of the shine-class — rose, etc. 

673. stave ; stove, staved. This verb was first formed 
in MnE from the noun stave ' piece of a cask/ itself a late 
formation from staves, plur. of staff. Its vocalic inflexion is 
of course the result of analogy. 

Vowel-change (ei . . ou . . ou-n). 

674. break; broke, t brake; broken, t broke. OE 
strong IV brecan, brcec, brocen. 

Vowel-change (ij . . ou . . ou-n). 

675. freeze; froze; frozen, tfrore OE strong VII 
freosan,freas, froren, 

676. heave; hove, heaved; thoven, hove, heaved. 

OE strong j-verb II h^bban, hdf^ hafen, ME hebben, hfven ; 
hof, haf\ hgven, hfven, the last form being due to the in- 
fluence of the infin., while haf, hgven are due to the influence 
of vcfven, waf^ wgven (670). There was also a weak ME 
pret. hefde, hevede. The MnE hove probably points to a 
ME pret. >^^with the vowel of the pret. partic. 

677. speak; spoke, t spake; spoken, t spoke. OE 
strong V sprecany sprcBc, sprecen. In Late OE this verb 
began to drop its r — especially in the Kentish dialect. 
In ME the r disappeared entirely, and the pret. panic, 
took on the analogy of broken, etc. : spfken^ spak, spoken, 

678. steal; stole; stolen. OE strong IV sielan, sIcbI, 

N 2 

l8o ACCIDENCE. [§ 679. 

670. weave; wove, weaved; woven, weaved. OE 

strong V wefan^ waf^ wefm, ME wfuen^ waf, wfven, w^en. 

Vowel-change (uw . . ou . . ou-n). 

680. choose ; chose ; chosen. OE strong VII diosan, 
ceaSy coren, ME cheseuy chp^ chosen. There was also a West- 
Midland in fin. chUsen with the regular West-Midland change 
of OE eo into U, In Early MnE (tjiuz) became (tjuuz), 
which was written phonetically choose, although the older 
spelling chuse survived till the end of the last century, chese 
also occurs in Early MnE. 

Vowel-change (ai . . o). 

681. fight; fought. OE strong III feohian {/ehtan)) 
feaht {/a: hi) ; /ohle?t, ME fighlen, /aughl, foughlen. In the 

pret. Early MnE fluctuates between au and ou, 

Voivel-change (e9 . . o . . o-n). 

682. bear; bore, tbare; born(e). OE strong IV 
her an, bar, bar en, MnE makes a distinction between born in 
the sense of French ne and ^d?rw^=* carried' which did not 
exist in OE or ME. 

683. swear; swore, tsware ; sworn. OE strong j- 
verb II sw^riafi, swor, swaren, sworen, the of the last form 
being due to the influence of the preceding w, ME swerien^ 
swaren ; swor, swdr ; swgren, swdr is, of course, due to the 
analogy of bjreyi, bar, 

684. tear ; tore, ttare ; torn. OE strong IV teran, 

685. wear; wore, tware; worn. OE weak w§rian, 
w^rede *wear clothes.' The vocalic forms were first developed 
in Early MnE by the analogy of bear. 


Vowel-change (ei . . o). 

686. freight; * fraught, freighted. The Late ME 
weak verb /ratighten [imported from Dutch ?] was made into 

freight in Early MnE by the influence of the synonymous 
fret^ 2LTid fraught itself came to be regarded as the pret. of 
this new verb freight by a vague association with work^ 
wrought, etc. But fraught was still used as a pres. in Early 
MnE : the good ship . . . and the fraughting souls within her 

Vowel-change (is . . o . . o-n). 

687. shear; t shore, t share, sheared; shorn, 
t sheared. OE strong IV scieran {seer an)) scear (sccer);- 

Vowel-change (ij . o . . ij-n). 

688. see; saw; seen. OE strong V seon\ seah (sceh); 
sdwon (segon) ; sewen (segen). In Late Northumbrian the 
adjective ^^j<f«^= West- Saxon gesiene 'visible' was used as the 
pret. partic. Early ME seon, sen] seih (Southern), sah, 
sauh pret. plur. sgwen, seien ; pret. partic. seien, sein. In Late 
ME the pret. sing, forms dropped the h by the influence of 
the pret. plur. and pret. partic, giving sei, sai and saw, the 
last being the usual North-Thames form, especially in 
Northumbrian, which also kept the Old-Northumbrian pret. 
partic. in the form of sen. The Standard ME inflections 
are se(n) ; seigh, sai; (i)sein. In MnE the Northern pret. 
saw and pret. partic. seen were introduced into the Standard 

Vowel-change (ae . . . u). 

689. stand; stood. OE strong II with n inserted in 
the pres. etc. : standan, stody standen. 

iSz ACCIDENCE. [§ 690. 

Vowel-change (ei . . . u . . . ei-n). 

600. forsake; forsook; forsaken. 0£ strong II 
forsacan ^ renounce/ ' deny/ So also shake, shook, shaken 

from OE strong II sdacan, 

601. take ; took ; taken, *ta'en. M£ strong II idken, 
ioky taken from Scandinavian taka, tok, t^kinn. In Northern 
this verb was contracted like make^ and the pret. partic. ta'en 
passed into Standard MnE. 

Vowel-change (ai . . . uw . . . ou-n). 

692. fly; flew; flown. OE strong VII fle(^an {flegcm^ 
Jligan) ; fleag, fleah {fleh) ; flugon ; flogen, ME flen^ flien ; 
fleigh^fley — with the same dropping of final h as in j«=OE 

ges<Eh—fly; pret. ^\\ii,flowen^flgwen (influence of pret. partic); 

pret. '^2iX\\c, flgwen. The Early MnE pret.^^zc; (fliu) probably 

arose in the same way as drew, etc. (573). 

Vowel-change (ei . . . uw . . . ei-n). 

603. slay; slew; slain. OE strong II slean (from 

sleahan)\ slog, sldh\ slagen, slcpgen, sl§gen, ME Southern 

slpi, Midland sign. Northern sla ; sloh. Late ME sloughy slow 

=i(sluu) ; pret. partic. slawen, sleten, slain. In MnE, the ai of 

the pret. partic. was extended to the infin., and the ow of the 

pret. underwent the usual analogical change into ew. The 

archaic forms slee = slea, pret. slue still lingered in Early 


Vowel-change (ou . . . uw . . . ou-n). 

604. blow; blew; blown, blowed. OE strong I 

bldwan * blow ' (of wind), bleow, bldwen and blowan * bloom,' 
bleo7v, bldwen, ME blgwen, blew, blgwen and bldwen^ blew, 

§ 701.] VERBS: MIXED. 1 83 

695. crow; crew, crowed; t crown, crowed. OE 
strong I crdwan, creoWy crawen, grow, grew, grown; 
know, knew, known from OE strong I grdwan, cnawan. 

Vowel-change (d . . . uw . . . D-n). 

698. draw; drew; drawn. OE strong II dragan\ 
drogy droh] dragen. 

Mixed Verbs. 

697. There are several verbs which have a strong pret. 
partic. in -en with a regular consonantal pret. Some of 
these are old strong verbs which have become partially 
consonantal; but others are weak verbs which have taken 
the partic. ending -en by the influence of old strong verbs 
which they happen to resemble. In the following list the 
latter class are marked J. 

698. go; went; gone. OE strong I gdny gangan\ 
geongy eode (weak) ; gegdny ^egangen, ME ggi^y g(inge{n) ; 
ybdey wente\ gg{n)y gangen. In ME the longer form gang 
was gradually restricted to the Northern dialect. The cur- 
tailed Southern pret. partic. ^^ is still preserved in the adverb 
ago-^OY, dgdn ' passed ' (of time). 

699. grave, graved; graven, graved. OE strong II 
grafany grofy grafen, 

700. hew; hewed; hewn, hewed. OY. %\xoxi%\ heawan, 
heoWy heawen, 

701. tiade, load; tiaded, loaded; laden, tiaded, 
tloaden, loaded. OE strong II hladan, hlody hlcBden, hladen. 
The MnE change of lade into load is through the influence 
of the noun load, ME Igde = OE lad (fem.) ' leading,' * way,' 
connected with ladan Mead,' which had also the meaning 

1 84 ACCIDENCE. [§ 702. 

' carry/ so that in ME Igde came to mean ' load,' and was 
at last confused with the verb laden, 

702. melt; melted; molten, melted. OE strong 111 
vieltan. molten is now used only as an adjective. 

703. mow ; mowed ; mown, mowed. OE strong 1 
mdwany meow, niawen, 

704. rive ; rived ; riven, rived. ME strong VI riven^ 
rg^ riven from the Scandinavian rlfa, 

705. Jsaw ; sawed ; sawn, sawed. ME weak saw{i)en. 
MnE sawn by the analogy of drawn. 

706. shape ; shaped ; shapen, shaped. OE strong 

II j-verb scieppan, sdyppan (sd^ppati) ; sdop ; sdapen, sdcEpm. 
In ME this verb was influenced by the Scandinavian verb 
skapa, skop, 

707. shave ; shaved ; shaven, shaved. OE strong II 
scafan, scof, sdafen. 

708. tsliow; showed; shown, showed. OE weak 
sceawian, sceawode ' survey,' *look at.' ME sckfw(i)en, 
schgwien^ Northern schaw. Early MnE skew and show, 
shown by the analogy of known , etc. 

709. sow; sowed; sown, sowed. OE strong I sdwan, 
seow, sdwen. 

710. $strew ; strewed ; strewn, strewed. OE weak 
strpjuian, streowian. ME strewen, sirgwen, strawen. strewn 
by the analogy of hewn, 

711. swell; swelled; swollen, swelled. OE strong 

III swellan. 

Isolated Forms. 

712. Some obsolete verbs occur only in isolated forms, 
namely quoth, hight, idept, wont. 

713. quoth. OE strong V cwepan^ cwcep^ civddon, 

5 717.] VERBS: ANOMALOUS. 1 85 

gecweden * say/ In ME the strong consonant of the infin. 
was kept throughout : cwepen^ cwap, icwepen ; so also 
bicwepen 'bequeath/ which in MnE is consonantal — be- 
queathed. In Late ME the simple cwepen was gradually dis- 
used except in the pret. sing. As cwap was often unstressed 
in such combinations as cwap 'he, it developed a weak form 
cwod, quod through the regular rounding of unstressed a into 
after a lip-consonant, as in OE Ojz«;^/^= earlier Oswald, 
The explanation of the d is that cwap he etc. were made into 
(kwa))*ee) which became (kwaS'ee, kwoS'ee) ; and when 
(kwotS) was detached and received strong stress — as it natu- 
rally would — the final (S), being an unfamiliar sound in strong 
syllables, was changed into (d). The form quoth is a blend- 
ing of strong quath and weak quod. 

714. hight *is named, called,* «was called,' ME htghte 
is a blending of the OE passive form hatte (478) and heht^ 
the active pret. of the same verb hdtan. 

715. iclept=ME icljpedy OE gecleopod 'called' the pret. 
partic. of the weak verb cleopian, clipian, 

716. wont 'accustomed ' = 0E gewunod, pret. partic. of 
the weak verb gewuntan [gewuna ' custom,' * habit/] 

Anomalous Verbs. 

717. Most of the MnE verbs that we class as anomalous 
are old preterite-present verbs. Two of these preterite- 
present verbs — dare and owe = OE dearr, ag — have been 
made regular in certain meanings. The original inflections of 
these verbs have been much curtailed in MnE, most of them 
having only the inflections of the finite present and preterite. 
The only one which has an infin. is dare, which seems to 
have taken it from the regularly inflected verb dare. Two of 

186 ACCIDENCE. [| 7i8. 

the old preterite-present verbs — must and ought — occur now 
only in the OE preterite forms, which have taken the place 
of the OE present mot and ag^ so that these verbs are incap- 
able of marking the distinction between pres. and pret. 

718. can, canst; could, couldst. OE catm^ canst, 
plur. cunnon ; pret. cuj?e ; infin. cuttnan * know.' ME can^ 
camty plur. cbnneny can; cou/>e, coude; infin. cdnnen. coude 
probably owes its d to the influence of wolde and scholde 
(723, 724). In Early MnE coud{e) it was made into could on 
the analogy of should and would=.OE sdolde^ wolde, 

719. dare, darest, (he) dare, tdares ; durst; infin. 
dare. OE dearr, dearst^ durron] dorste; ME dar, ddr {9,s 
in the pret. dar), darst; dorste, durste with the u of OE 
durron ; infin. durren, ddren, of which the former represents 
the probable OE infin. durran, the latter being a new-forma- 
tion from ddr. In MnE dare in the transitive sense of 

* challenge ' has become quite regular : he dared him to do it. 
The intransitive pres. partic. daring is used only as an adjec- 

720. may, mayst; might, mightst. OE mce^, pu 
meaht (rncEht)^ miht^ plur. magon ; pret. meahte {mcehte) mihU 

* be able.' [Compare ma>gen, meahty miht ' power/ * force.'] 
The ME forms seem to have been influenced by another OE 
preterite-present verb of similar meaning, namely deag, deah 

* avail ' plur. dugon ; pret. dohte ; infin. dugan. The ME 
forms are : mai, mikt^ and, very late, mayst, plur. mawen^ 
muwen, moun ; pret. mahte^ mihte^ mohte. 

721. tmote (muut); must. OE mot, most, motan; 
mosie * may.' ME mot, most^ mdten ; moste. The pres. sur- 
vived only as an archaism in Early MnE : as fair as fair 
mote he (Spenser). Already in ME the pret. was used in the 
sense of the pres., and in Early MnE this usage became 

§ 724.] VERBS: ANOMALOUS. 187 

fixed. It began with the use of the pret. subj. — which was 
practically indistinguishable from the pret. indie. — to express 
mild command, so that pou most€=. ' you would be able/ *you 
might' was understood to mean *you will have to/ *you 
must.' The vowel of mosie passed through (uu) into (u) in 
Early MnE, the shortening having probably begun in the 
weak form. 

722. (owe) ; ought. OE ag, dh.Jfu dht, aht^ plur. agon ; 
pret. dhte, ahte ; infin. agan * possess.' The adjective agen 
* own ' is an old pret. partic. of this verb. From dgen is 
formed the weak verb agman, ' appropriate/ * possess/ In 
Early ME ak/e developed regularly into a{u)A/e, but after- 
wards p was introduced from the infin. etc., giving g(u)hte. 
In ME gwen in the sense of ' possess * soon took regular 
weak inflection — t gwe^ we gwep^ etc. — still keeping the older 
guhte as its pret. The meaning 'possess' gradually de- 
veloped into that of * have a debt,' ' owe,' which, again, de- 
veloped the abstract meaning ' ought,' especially in the pret., 
which by degrees took the function of a pres. in the same 
way as must (721). 

723. shall, shalt ; should, shouldst. OE sceal {sdcet)^ 
sdealt (sdcBlt\ sculon\ sdolde^ Northumbrian scalde by the 
analogy of walde {^2^=wolde, ME schal, schalt, schulen^ 
schullen (by the analogy of willeii) ; scholde^ schulde (by the 
influence of schulen), 

724. will, wilt; would, wouldst; imper. wilL This 
verb was in OE originally a strong subjunctive preterite, with 
which pres. indie, forms were afterwards mixed : wtky wille^ 
wilt, willap ; wolde, walde (originally weak ?) ; infin. willan. 
In OE this verb has, together with several other verbs in very 
frequent use, special negative forms, the result of contraction 
with a preceding ne * not ' : td nyle, pu nylt^ he nyky wenyllap ; 

l88 ACCIDENCE. [§ 725. 

nolde, etc. One of these negative forms is still preserved in 
the phrase willy nilly^ Early MnE will he^ nill he=^OE wile 
he, nyle he. The ME forms are : wile, wble, will, wolf, willep, 
willen, wollen ; wolde, walde, wolde, whose (u) is the result of 
the influence of the pres. forms wole, etc., which were prob- 
ably at first weak forms, in which the w rounded the follow- 
ing vowel and gradually assimilated it to itself. 

725. twot ; twist. OE wdt, wdst, wilon ; wiste ; wilan ; 
wiiende. The adjective gewiss * certain ' is an old pret. partic. 
of this verb. ME ivpi, wgst, witen \ infin. witen ; pres. partic. 
wilinge. In Early MnE wol was sometimes made the base 
of a regular verb : he wotteth, wols, pret. wotted, pres. partic. 
wotting. The old pres. partic. still survives in the adverb 
unwittingly, and the infin. in the adverb phrase to wit'=. 

The ME adjective iwis—OY. gewiss has in MnE been often 
wrongly divided / wis, as if it were the pronoun / with a verb 
equivalent to wot, a view which has been further supported in 
recent times by the chance resemblance of the Modem German 
equivalent of wot, namely weiss, plur. wissen, 

728. need. This verb agrees with the preterite-present 
verbs in having no j-inflection. The loss of the s — ^which 
seems to have begun in the transition from ME to MnE — is 
apparently partly the result of similarity of meaning to that 
of the preterite-present verbs; but the absence of the in- 
flectional s is partly due to the verb need 'require' being 
formed directly from the noun need through the am- 
biguity of such sentences as Early MnE what need all this 
waste ? 

We now come to the anomalous auxiliary verbs be^ have, 

§ 729.] VERBS: ANOMALOUS, 189 

727. The verb be in OE is made up of three distinct roots ; 
that seen in (a) is, are, {d) was, and (r) de : — 

Indie. Subj. 

Pres. Sing, i eom (eam)j' beo ste, syj bio 

2 eart (earp)j bist sie, sy j beo 

3 is; bij? sie, syj beo 
Plur. sindy sindon (earori); beof? sten, syn; beon 

Pret. Sing, i wees w&re 

2 w^re wdre 

3 wcBs wdre 
Plur. w<^ron wdren 

Imper. Sing, wesj beo Infin. wesanj beon 

Plur. wesap; beop Gerund to wesenne; to 

Partic. Pres. wesende 

728. The ea in eart and the Anglian earn, ear on is a 
weakening of eo (368), preserved in the West-Saxon eom 
and the occasional eort, eorun. In Late Northumbrian this 
ea undergoes the usual further weakening into a\ am, arp, 

729. The Standard ME forms are: am, art, is, be{n); 
subj. be, be{n); pret. was, w^r{e), was, W£re{n); pret. subj., 
wer{e), W£re(n); imper. be, bep; infin. be{n); participles 
beinge, be{n). The ME pret. partic. is, of course, an 
analogical new-formation. The North-Thames plur. ar{n) 
is still rare in Standard ME, but is firmly established in Early 
MnE, which inflects: am, art, is, are\ subj. be; pret. was, 
wast, wert, plur. were ; subj. pret. were, wert, were ; infin. be ; 
partic. being, been. The use of be in the pres. indie, is still 
kept up in Early MnE : / be, thou beest, they be, etc. ; the 
form he bes is, however, very rare. There is in MnE a 
tendency to get rid of the distinctively subjunctive inflections 

190 ACCIDENCE. [§ 73o» 

of this verb not only by using thou heest as if it were a 
subjunctive — if thou heest = if thou be — but also by substi- 
tuting if I was for if I were, etc. was =^ were was frequent 
in the last century not only as a subjunctive, but also in the 
\ii6\c,you was. In the present Spoken English the distinc- 
tion bet^^een was and were is strictly maintained, the 
substitution of was for were being a vulgarism. The subj. 
pres. is, on the other hand, extinct in the spoken language, 
except in a few phrases. 

730. have. The OE inflections resemble those of 
libban (506) : hcebbe^ hafast, hcefst^ hafap, hafp, plur. habhap ; 
subj. hcBbbe^ hcBbben; pret. hcefde; imper. hafa, habbaj?; 
infin. habban ; partic. hcebbende^ gehcefd. In ME the old hb 
was gradually supplanted by the z;=OEyof the other forms> 
the V itself being often dropped by contraction. The 
Standard ME forms are: hdve^ weak hav, hast^ hap^ plur. 
hdve(n), han, han\ pret. hadde\ pret. partic. had. In ME 
the weak short-vowel forms gradually supplanted the long- 
vowel ones ; but we keep the long-vowel forms in the 
derivative behave, pret. behaved=^W^ behctven. The MnE 
literary forms are : have, hast, hath, has plur. have ; subj. 
pres. have', pret. indie, had, hadst; pret. subj. had] imper. 
and infin. have) partic. having, had. Early MnE still kept 
the shortened infin. ha, a=ME han: she might a hem 

731. do. OE do, dest (dotsi), dip {dap\ plur. ddp\ 
pret. weak dyde\ imper. do, dop', infin. ddn; partic. daride^ 
gedon. The mutation in dest, dip is common to all the 
dialects. In Standard ME the of the other parts of the 
verb supplanted the older i\ do, dost, dop, plur. ddn\ dide\ 
imper. do, dop) partic. doinge dd{n),' In MnE (uu)= 
ME 0. 



732. All the OE particles are either primary or 
secondary. The secondary particles are formed from 
other (declinable) parts of speech; thus ham in he eode 
ham *he went home' is formed from the masc. noun ham 
*home/ 'homestead.' Primary particles, such as he *by/ 
swd * so ' are not formed from other parts of speech. 
There is no strict division between the three classes of 
particles, most of the prepositions being used also as adverbs, 
some adverbs being used also as conjunctions. Thus ctr is a 
preposition in dr doge ' before day(break),' an adverb in he 
eft was papa swd he dr wcbs * he was pope again as he was 
before,* and a conjunction in dr JxBt flod com * before the 
flood came.' 

733. Some of the particles are simple, some derivative, 
such as uf-an ' above,' some compound (group-compounds), 
such as he-neopan * beneath,' which is compounded with the 
preposition he. The above are primary adverbs. Secondary 
particles also admit of the same divisions, such as hdm^ soplice 
' truly,' ealne-weg * always,' literally * all (the) way,' 


734. In OE, adverbs are regularly formed from adjectives 
by adding -^, a preceding cb being generally changed to a : 
deope * deeply,' hearde^^Xxon^yl * severely,' nearwe 'narrowly,' 
late 'slowly,' 'with delay' from deop^ heard 'hard,' 'strong,' 
* severe,' nearu, Icet * slow.' Adjectives with a mutated vowel 
often have an unmutated vowel in the adverb, as in so/te 
' gently,' * luxuriously,' swdte ' sweetly ' corresponding to the 
adjectives sefte (scefte\ swe/e {swcete). The numerous adjec-> 

19a ACCIDENCE. ft 735. 

tives in -lid form their adverbs in -Ude^ the original length 
of the vowel being kept, as in fgeslide 'terribly/ gesdltgUde 
* blessedly/ ' happily ' from igeslid^ gesdliglid \jgesa ' terror/ 
sdl * favourable time/ Muck']. But gesdhgh'd occurs also 
in the shorter form gesdltg ; and hence in this and similar 
cases the adverb could be regarded as formed directly from 
the shorter z,d}eci\ve—gesce/ig-lide from gesdlig. In this way 
'ttce came to be regarded as an independent abverb-ending 
equivalent to -^, which, through being more distinct, it 
gradually supplanted in many words. Hence -tide was some- 
times added directly, without there being any adjective in -lid, 

735. In ME the two endings -e and -Uche were both 
kept, the latter appearing as -Me in Early Midland, as in 
deplike compared with Early Southern deopliche, 

736. When final -e was dropped in North -Thames 
English the distinction between the adj. hard and the adverb 
hard{€), etc. was lost. By degrees also the adverb-ending 
-like was levelled under the adjective-ending -/r*= Southern 
'lich^ and -// then became a regular adverb-ending. In Late 
ME it was introduced into the Standard dialect, where it 
supplanted the Early Southern -Uche, as in diply^ hardly^ 
openly. But -ly was also retained as an adjective-ending, 
as it still is in such a word as goodly =^0^, godliiy ME godlich, 
godlu Some of the MnE adverbs which have the same form 
as adverbs, as in pull hard, speak loud^ talk like a foreigner 
compared with a hard pull^ etc. are, of course, the descend- 
ants of the OE adverbs in -^, such as hearde, hlude, geUce ; 
but others are new^-formations on the analogy of these 
traditional ones, especially those in ^=0E -igy as in preify 
welly mighty fine, for the OE adjectives in -ig formed their 
adverbs in -iglice (mihtigltce) to avoid the ambiguity of -^^, 
which might be mistaken for the plur. etc. inflection. 


737. In Old French the uninfiected forms of adjectives 
— originally the neut. sing. — were used as adverbs, which 
were introduced into ME, whence such MnE adverbs as in 

just ready ^ shut close [Old French clos from Latin clausuin\^ 
quiet [Latin qvtetum\ very=ME verrai 'true/ * truly/ Old 
French verai [Modern French vraf^ from Latin verax^ 

738. In Present English, adverbs in -ly are formed freely 

from all kinds of adjectives, as in deeply, foolishly^ willingly, 
affectedly. The addition of -ly is attended by various changes 
of spelling, as in merrily, gaily, fully ^ nobly from merry ^ 
gay, full, noble. Adverbs in -ly are not often formed from 
adjectives that already end in -ly, these adjectives generally 
forming their adverbs by periphrases, such as in a lively 
manner y in a friendly way. Some MnE adverbs in -ly are 
formed direct from nouns, such as namely ; but such adverbs 
as daily, yearly, quarterly in he is paid quarterly are old 
adjectives used as adverbs. 

A less frequent adverb-ending in OE was -unga, "inga, by 
which adverbs were formed from adjectives : eallunga * entirely,' 
ierringa 'angrily,* from eall^ ierre. There was also in OE a 
class of adverbs formed from nouns — mostly names of parts 
of the body — by adding -ling and prefixing the preposition 
on, such as on heeding 'backwards.' By blending these two 
endings a new ending -lunga^ -linga was formed, as in grund- 
lunga ' from the foundations,' * completely.' In ME the ending 
'linge is frequent, the adverbial -es (742) being often added, 
as in h§dlinge(s) 'headlong,* npselinge(s) 'on the nose,' 'at 
full length,* sfdelinge{s) * sideways.' In MnE this ending has 
been confused with the adjective long. Kence in Early MnE 
we find sideling, sidelong 'sideways,' flatting and flatlong, 
as in the blow felt flcUlong, that is, 'was given with the flat of 
the sword instead of the point.' In Present English headlong 
is still an adverb, sidelong being an adjective — a sidelong 


194 ACCIDENCE. [§ 739. 

glance. The older sidelinge was regarded as a pres. partic, 
and from it was formed a verb to sidle {up to). So also the 
ME adverb grdvelinge * grovellingly ' was made into the verb 

739. In ME and MnE some new adverb-endings arose 
out of OE adverbial phrases. Thus the OE on opre zvisan 
*in another way' [wise weak fem. 'manner,' 'way'] was 
shortened and hardened into the group o/frezmse, operwise] 
and in MnE -wise was used to form new adverbs, such as 
likewise, nowise. The noun way was used in like manner to 
form adverb-groups such as midway, noway, whence noways 
with the usual addition of -s, -wise, and -ways were often 
confused, as in lengthwise=^ lengthways, endwise, coastwise. 
The nouns time and while=OE weak masc. tima and strong 
fem. hwil ' time,' have also come to be used as adverb-endings 
in such words as meantime, someHme(s), qfttimes, oftentimes, 
meanwhile, somewhile, otherwhile(i), the last two being now 

Adverbs formed direct from Nouns and Adjectives. 

740. Many OE adverbs are formed direct from nouns or 
adjectives, either inflected or uninflected. The following 
are uninflected, being formed from nouns in the ace. sing. 
and adjectives in the neut. sing. : ham, norp, sup, east, ztfest; 
eall ' entirely,' neah * nearly,' genog * sufficiently.' 

The most important inflectional endings are -urn and 
-es: — 

741. -um: hwilum 'sometimes,' stundum *at intervals' 
\stund strong fem. * period ']. ^mdlum from the neut. noun 
mdl ' mark,' * point of time ' is a frequent adverb-ending, as 
in styttemdelum * piecemeal,' floccmdlum ' in troops.' From 

§ 743.] PARTICLES: ADVERBS. 1 95 

adjectives are formed midlum * greatly/ lytlum and lytlum * by 
little and little/ ' by degrees/ The isolated ME whiUm is 
still preserved in the higher language, ^indium in ME passed 
through -melen into -mile^ as in dropmeU^ picemiU^ where stytte 
was replaced by its French equivalent. 

742. -es in OE was extended to fern, nouns as an adverb- 
ending : dcBges and nihies * by day and by night/ sumeres and 
wintra \wintra masc. gen. like sund\^ nudes *of necessity' 
\nied fem.]; ealles 'entirely/ §lUs * otherwise' from a lost 
adjective. The adverb-ending -weardes interchanges with the 
uninflected -weard^ as in hdmweard{es) * homewards.* In 
ME and MnE this ending was dropped in some words, as in 
Late ME day and night', but it was more often .extended, 
especially to adverbs which in OE ended in a vowel or «, in 
order to make them more distinct, as in always =^Y.2Lv\y MnE 
alwat, OE ealneweg^ }nes *once' = OE ^e, the mutated ^ 
being supplanted by ^=the OE a in 5«, twies 'twice/ pries 
' thrice '=0E iwiwa, priwa, OE heonone 'hence' (747) 
became he{o)nne in Early MnE, and by the addition of 
-X, hennes, OE panon ' thence/ hwanon ' whence ' becoming 
Late ME pennes, whennes by the influence of hennes. So also 
OE sippan (749) 'since' passed through sippen, sin into 
sipens, sins. This extension of -s went on in MnE also, as 
in sometimes =zQ2j)itx MnE sometime^ which is still preserved 
in the higher language. 

Some adverbs in 'es took final / in Early MnE or Late ME, 
as in amidst, betwixt^ whilst ^ amongst— ^Y. amiddes — a blend- 
ing of OE onmiddan and tdmidde5-^betwixt(t)^ whiles^ amgng, 

743. The following are examples of OE group-adverbs : 
ealneweg, ealneg 'always,' georsfandceg 'yesterday,' on weg 
' away,' on bcec ' backwards/ ' back,' of dime ' down,' literally 

o 2 

196 ACCIDENCE. [| 744. 

* off the hill/ todcrg * today,' where to governs an exceptional 
form of the dative. All the above show isolation either of 
form or meaning, and therefore approximate to compounds. 
Such collocations, on the other hand, as on life 'alive' 
literally 'in life,' on sldpe 'in sleep, asleep,' on eornost 'in 
earnest ' show no isolation either of meaning or form. ~ But 
in ME there was a tendency to shorten weak of and onto a 
whenever they were closely associated with the following 
word. Hence the ME forms adune, adun 'down' adv., 
awai, abak, alive^ aslepe, the a having been dropped in the 
MnE adverbs doiun, back. The same weakening took place 
in ME and Early MnE combinations, as in aclocky now 
written clocks of (f he) clocks and also in freer combinations, 
as in go a fishing = OE gan on fisdnop^ twice a day = OE 
twiwa on dcege. 

In MnE this a was taken for the indef. article, so that in 
jackanafies=jack'0/'apes it was made into an before a voweL 

Some French group-adverbs formed with the preposition a 
were introduced in ME, where they were of course put on a 
level with the similar native combinations: apart^ apds^VivS* 

744. In ME the OE preposition he became hi (770), but 
the old he was kept in compounds such as heforen = OE he- 

foran^ and also in some traditional collocations such as OE 
be sidan * by the side,' ME beside^ which was now completely 
isolated from hi J?e(re) sJde^ just as aRve was isolated from in 
al his lif etc. But the new preposition hi was sometunes 
introduced into these groups, being however shortened to hi\ 
bifore, biside. On the analogy of the older compoimds the 
new-formation hi cause ' by the cause ' was made into hicause, 

745. In ME and MnE the place of a lost or obscured 

§ 748.] PARTICLES: ADVERBS. 1 97 

ending was sometimes supplied by a preposition, giving rise 
to new group-adverbs, such 2C& of a truih^^OE sbpes^ of right 
= OE ryhies^ hi pecemelez=. OE stydiemdlum^ by Utile and liitle= 
OE lytlum and ^tlum. 

Sometimes a preposition was added even when the ending 
was clear, as in at unawares. 

Pronominal Adverbs. 

746. Among the OE primary adverbs there is a sym- 
metrical group of adverbs of place, connected with the 
pronouns he, pcBt, hwcet^ their ending^ expressing respectively 
rest, motion to, and motion from : — 

Rest Motion in Motion from 

her * here ' hider * hither ' heonon * hence ' 

p&r * there * pider * thither ' panon * thence ' 

hwSer * where ' hwider * whither ' hwanon * whence ' 

The ME th in hither etc. is due to the influence of the r 

747. The ending -^r, -an^ -on of the other primary 
adverbs has no very definite meaning : of-er * over,' ex- 
pressing both motion and rest, und-er^ ceft-er ; inn-an * within,' 
uf-an * above ' [connected with ofer'], hindan * behind,' foran 
' in front.' The ending -an was, however, extended to the 
noun-derived adverbs norp etc., where it kept its definite 
meaning : norpan ' from the north,' supan ' from the south.' 
-on, -an often takes final -e : heonone, titan{e) * outside.' The 
adverbs ponne * then,' * than,' hwonne * when ' are also pro- 

748. Many OE adverbs are formed directly from pro- 
nouns. The neuter pest is used as a conjunction exactly as 

198 ACCIDENCE. [| 749. 

in MnE : he scpgde p(Bt\ hS scegde pat he wdtre gearu, literally 
' he said that : (namely) he was ready/ So also the pronoun 
hwcBper is used in the same way as whether. The indeclin- 
able pe is used as a relative pronoun, both alone and in 
combination with si (438), and is used also as a particle in 
a variety of meanings — 'when,' 'because' etc. It is also 
added to particles to make them into conjunctions, or mark 
them more distinctly as such, as inpeah-pe ' although' conjunc- 
tioTijpeah * though' being an adverb, /<^/fe * that ' con], ^=pcBt Pe 
(147). Inflected pronouns are also used as particles, pji, 
the instrumental of pcBt, is used in the sense of * therefore/ 

* because,* and to express measure and proportion, as in py 
md ' the more,' correlative^ . . .^=MnE the .. .them the 
more the merrier. The change of py into the is the result of 
loss of stress and confusion with the indeclinable/^, ktxy^ the 
instrumental of hwcet^ is used in the sense of its MnE de- 
scendant why, 

749. There are many group-particles in OE consisting of 
a preposition governing a pronoun in the dat. or instr. The 
combination with the preposition alone generally forms an 
adverb— y^r pam^ for pon, for py ' therefore ' — the corre- 
sponding conjunctions being formed by the addition of pe 
—for pmm pe, for pon pe, for py pe ' because,' ar pctm pe 

* before,' cBffer pctm pe * after ' — or pcBt : to pctm pcet^ to Pon 
pcBt * in order that,' 

sippan, seoppan * since ' contains an obsolete preposition *5lp 

* since' — sippan—sip-pon with shortening of the i, 

750. There are similar group-particles formed by com- 
binations of pronouns with nouns and adverbs formed from 
adjectives, such as pa hwile pe * while,' literally *the time 
when' \pd hwile ace. fem. sing.], nd py Ices 'nevertheless,' 

f 753.] PARTICLES: ADVERBS. 1 99 

* notwithstanding/ literally * not by-that less/ py lets pe * lest,' 
literally * by-that less that/ 

751. The ^oxr^didvtTh^/or-plj/or'pan./or'hwi continued 
in use throughout the ME period, but became obsolete in 
MnE. The groups in -pe were modified in various ways. 
In the Early MnE the ambiguous pe was generally made into 
pat^ as in for-pi-pat, pe-while-pat, or dropped entirely, as in 
peih,pauh conj.=: OE peahpe, /a?/ often took the place of 
the inflected pronoun, as m for -pat ^ {r-pat^ after-pat^ and 
the new-formations iil-pat, before-paL But even in the Earliest 
ME the pronouns were dropped, so that the bare preposi- 
tions y^r, fr, before etc. were used as conjunctions, as in 
MnE, this shortening being helped by the fact that even in 
OE the prepositions ar ' before ' and bu/an ' without ' were 
used also as conjunctions, the latter in the sense of * except,' 

* unless/ pe-kudile-pe was shortened to pe-kuoile and then to 
hamle^ whence the later whiles^ whilst^ the older the while^ 
while still surviving in the higher language. OE py las pe 
dropped the py in Early MnE, and sp was made into st 
(147), giving Idste^ shortened leste, lest, 

CorrelatiYe Particles. 

752. OE correlative particles are: ^ . . . (748); swa 
. . . swd^ as in swd hwii swd snow * as white as snow * \ pa . , . 
pa J ponne . . ,ponne ' then . . . when' as in pa he com^pa eode 
id * when he came, I went,* the second (demonstrative) pd^ 
ponne being omitted in MnE. Indefinite adverbs are formed 
like indefinite pronouns (442) with correlative swd — swd 
hwdkr swd ' wherever.' 

753. In ME the first two groups were preserved in the 
form oi /?e , , , pe and alswg . . . ase^ as . , . as, alswg being a 
strong, as{e) a weak form of the OE group eall-swd * entirely 

20O ACCIDBNC£. [§ 754. 

so/ In the other correlative groups one of the members was 
generally omitted in ME, as in the ME and MnE equivalents 
of the OE }>a , , , pa, ponne . . . pomu^ where the relative 
whm was substituted for penne = OE potnUy the second 
member being omitted. 

So also swd hwdtr swd appears as whfr sg in ME. 

Fronominal Conjtinctioiis. 

754. In OE the neuter pronouns duper, nauper, a^er 
(442, 461) are often used adverbially in connection with 
the correlative conjunction-pairs ^e . . , ge * both . . . and,' 
oppe . . . oppe * either . . . or,' ne , . . ne * neither . . . nor,' 
standing in a kind of opposition to them : hU cupon i^tr, 
ge god ge yfel * they knew each-of-the-two,' both good and 
evil ' ; se geswpiced hip duper, oppe on mode oppe on Bchaman 
*he who is afflicted either-way, either in mind or in body'; 
hie ne cupon ndn-ping y/eles, ndper ne on sprdde ne on weorct 
' they knew nothing of evil, no-way, neither in speech nor in 

755. In Early ME the first correlative conjunction was 
dropped in such combinations, so that the adverbial pronoun 
was brought into direct correlation with the second conjunc- 
tion, OE ndper ne . , . ne being made into ngper . » . ne, neiper 
. , , ne (452) etc. : ngper on speche ne on werke. The original 
pronoun afterwards supplanted the second conjunction as 
well, where, being unstressed, it was liable to shortening, 
whence the pairs gper {eiper) . , . or, ngper {neiper) . . . nor'. 
fveri man schal have gper god gper Uvel — eiper god or itvel. 
The weak or, nor were only rarely introduced into the first 
clause as well ; but in the higher language we still use or , , . 
or instead of either , . . or. The new conjunctions soon came 
to be used without any correlative, as in the Early MnE he 


mihU riden gper ggn. The correlative both . . . and arose in 
the same way as et/ker , , : or etc., the beginning of it being 
seen in such an OE construction as hie bu geseojfy pat he hie 
gen§rede, and him eac forgeaf ede li/y * they see both (neut. sing.) 
that he has saved them, and has also given them eternal life/ 

Negation and Affirmation. 

756. The negative particle in OE is ne, which drops its 
vowel in some combinations before a vowel, oxhoxw followed 
by a vowel, these consonants being also dropped, nwi- being 
made into ny- ; thus eom * am/ hcB/p * has,' hcB/de * had,' wdt 
* knows,' Tviste 'knew,' wile *will,' wolde 'would' have the 
negative forms neom * am not,' nce/J?, na/de, ndt^ nysie^ nyle^ 
nolde. Some pronouns and adverbs have similar negative 
forms, such as nan ' none,' ndhwaper^ nduper 'neither,' ndwihi, 
nahiy nawiht^ noht * nothing,' nd ' not ' from dn, dhwcBper^ dwihi 
(dwihi\ d ' ever.' In sentences the ne is prefixed to the verb, 
being contracted with it if possible, and to all the other words 
in the sentence that admit of contracted negative forms : nan 
ne dorsie ndn ping dscian * no-one durst ask anything.' If the 
sentence does not contain any such contracted negatives in 
addition to the negatived verb, the stronger nd or nahi is 
added to support the ne before the verb : pcei hus nd ne feoll 
' the house did not fall.' 

757. In ME the usage is often the same as in OE : 
he nfver nadde ngping. But the weak form of ndwiht, 
namely naty not (443) from being a mere strengthening of 
the ne<i began to supplant it, as in to me sche wdl nat do pat 
grdccy although ne is often kept, as in Dlp ne wol nat hdn 
mi lif, 

758. In MnE ne disappeared entirely. At the same time 
the influence of Latin grammar led to the adoption of the 

aoa ACCIDENCE. [| 759. 

logical principle that * two negatives contradict each other and 
make an afl&rmative/ which is noW stricdy carried out in the 
Standard language, spoken as well as written, though the old 
pleonastic negatives are still kept up in vulgar speech, as in 
I don't know nothing about i'/=the educated I do not knew 
anything about it or / know nothing about it, 

759. Although OE naht was preferred to nd as the auxi- 
liary negative in ME, the latter held its ground in certain 
collocations, especially before comparative adjectives and 
adverbs, and is still kept in such phrases as he is no better ; no 
more of this \ And no is always used as the absolute nega- 
tion — in answer to questions etc. — together with nay^ which 
is the Scandinavian nei * no,' literally * not-ever.' nay is now 
obsolete in speech. 

760. The OE particles of affirmation are ^ea^ Anglian 
gee, ge, ME J//, MnE^^^, which is now obsolete ; and >«= 
OE gise^ Anglian gese, ME and Early MviEyiSyyes, ^e is 
an old group-compound of gea and the subjunctive ste * be 
it ' ; it was therefore originally an emphatic affirmadve. 

Comparison of Adverbs. 

761. The comparison of adverbs has already been treated 
of under Adjecdves (339). In OE the regular forms of 
adverb-comparison were -^, -or, -ost and -Rde^ -licor^ -liocor, 
'licost, 'liocost: deope^ deopUde ; deopor^ Late OE deoppor (149), 
deoplicor ; deopost^ deoplicost. There was also a smaller class 
with mutation in the higher degrees, the endings being -^, -, 
-estf as in lange * for a long time,' l§ng, Ipi^est, Most of the 
adverbs which admit of comparison are formed from adjec- 
tives ; but primary adverbs also admit of direct comparison, 
with and without mutation : oft ' often,' of tor ^ of tost ; ar 
* before,' ^ror, ctrest. 


762. In MnE the comparison -^r, -est is, as a general 
rale, applied only to those adverbs which have no special 
adverbial ending in the positive, especially those which have 
the same form as the corresponding adjectives, such as 
hard — as m pull harder^ pull hardest — loud^ quick^fast, long. 
The comparison of primary adverbs, as in o/ten=OK ofl, 
o/temr, qftenesi, has in some cases been carried further 
than in OE, as in soon^ sooner^ soonest, seldomer^ the OE 
sona, seldon not admitting of comparison. Adverbs in -ly 
are compared periphrastically : fully ^ more fully , most fully. 
But in the spoken language these adverbs often form 
their comparisons by inflection from the corresponding 
adjective: easy^ easier — as in easier said than done — 
easiest] cheaply, cheaper^ cheapest — as in where it can be 
done cheapest. 

763. The following adverbs are compared irregularly in 

well; better; best. CEwel; b^t; b^tst, which dropped its 
/ in ME best on the analogy of m^st, etc. 

badly {evilly , ill) ; worse, worst. OE y^e ; wiers (wyrs) ; 
wierrest, wierst {jvyrrest, wyrst). 

much, more^ most. OE midle ; md(re) ; mast. 

little, less, least, OE ^tle, ^t ; Ices ; last, 
far ; farther, further ; farthest, furthest. OKfeorr ; fierr ; 

There are besides various isolated forms which have been 
treated of under the comparison of adjectives. From the 
comparative adverb rather -=.0^. hrapor 'quicker,' 'sooner' 
a positive adjective rathe was formed in MnE — the rathe 
primrose (Milton) — which is now obsolete. 

From some of the isolated comparatives and superlatives, 
whose meaning has been forgotten and which have come to 

204 ACCIDENCE. [§ 764. 

be regarded as positives, adverbs have been formed by adding 
'ly : formerly^ latterly ^ lastly. 


764. Of the OE prepositions some are simple, some 
compound. Most of the latter are made up of prepositions 
— especially he — and place-adverbs ending in -a«, -^«, he- 
becoming h- before a vowel, such contracted forms as hufan 
' above '=*^<?-«/^«, being made into new compounds, such 
as onbufan ' above.' The following are the most important 
of these compound prepositions : — 

be * by ' : heforan ' before,' hegeondan ' beyond,* behindan 
'behind,' hinnan 'within,' heneopan 'beneath,' bufan * above, 
butan ' outside.' 

on : oninnan * within/ on-hutan ' around.' 

to : tqforan ' before.' 

under : underneopan * beneath.' 

wi]> * towards ' : wipinnan ' within,' wiputan * without.* 

ymb * around ' : ymb-utan * around.' 

765. Other compound prepositions are formed of prepo- 
sitions + nouns or adjectives in the four cases governed by 
OE prepositions — the ace, dat., instr., gen. : ongemang 
' among/ literally * into the crowd * ; ongean^ Anglian ong^gn^ 
ongen, ' against,' and togeanes, Anglian tdg§gnes^ togenes 
' towards,* * against ' contain an obsolete noun of uncertain 
meaning; tomiddes 'amidst' is formed from the adj. midd 
'middle'; betweonum^ betwix are formed from an obsolete 
adjective connected with twiwa ' twice.' 

766. Those OE prepositions which govern both ace. and 

$ 7^9.] PREPOSITIONS. 205 

dat., generally take the ace. to express motion, the dat. (or 
instr.) to express rest : he code on pcet hus * he went into 
the house ' ; he wunode on pam huse ' he remained in the 

767. .As we see in the last examples the preposition on 
does duty for tn, which became extinct in Later OE. 

768. The OE prepositions are closely allied to the 
adverbs. Most of them can be used as adverbs without any 
change of form. Thus on is an adverb in he dyde on his 
hyrnan ' he put on his corslet/ the MnE don and do^ being 
contractions of OE dd{n) on, do of. So also in he him ionvcep 
* he said to him ' compared with hecwcBp to him. Some pre- 
positions however, such asyZ?r, are not used as adverbs, while 
others undergo change of form. Thus the adverbs corre- 
sponding to be and in {on) are dl and inn : he stod dz, he s/od 
him M, he eode inn compared with he stod be him ' he stood by 
him,' he eode in {on) pcBt hUs. The preposition be is, of course, 
the weak form due to want of stress, bi being the original 
strong form. 

769. In such combinations as Jxkron^ pdrto, which in OE 
are regularly used to express on it, to it, etc. on and to 
must, of course, be regarded as adverbs, therein, herein are, 
indeed, often expressed by pdrinne, herinne with the pure 
adverb inne=-innan. 

It is to be observed that the prepositions were origin- 
ally all adverbs, which could modify either verbs {he stood 
by) or nouns. Adverbs were originally added to inflected 
nouns to express more definitely the meanings already indi- 
cated by the inflection. Thus 'motion to' was originally 
expressed by the ace. alone, as we see in the Latin domum 
venit * he came home ' and also in the adverb home itself, and 
the prepositions on, in, through, etc. were put before the ace. 

2o6 ACCIDENCE. [§ 776. 

of motion to define it more exactly. So also in on pctm huse 
the idea of * rest in a place ' was primarily expressed by the 
dative, which here represents the Arian locative. 

Middle and Modern English. 

770. In ME the adverb bi was extended to the function 
of a preposition — a change which had already begun in OE 
— so that be was preserved only in compounds and traditional 
groups such as be/oren, beside. By the change of -a», -m 
into -e the OE adverby2?ra» and the preposition yi?r^ * before ' 
were levelled under the latter, and by the analogy of the 
adverbs inney ute'=-innan^ utatiy the preposition mid 'with' 
when used as an adverb was made into mide^ as in pfrmide^z 
OE pdrmtd. So alsoy^r, which had no corresponding 
adverb-form in OE, developed a ME adverby^r^, as mJ>fr/orey 
whjrfore. The confusion that thus arose between OE for 
2cad./ore was avoided by an extended use of the compound 
be/or e(n), 

771. In ME tnnan ^ inside ' came into general use as a 
preposition so as to avoid the ambiguity of OE (Wi=* on,' ' in.' 
Being generally unstressed, it was shortened first to ine and 
then to /*«, the original distinction being thus restored. 

772. In ME /rp from Scandinavian /ra andy^(?»i=OE 
/ram were used both as adverbs and prepositions. We now 

use/ro only as an adverb in the phrase /o and fro, 

773. In ME the preposition mid ' with ' got confused with 
wip * against ' — a confusion which would easily arise in such 
phrases as fight with (OE feohtan wip), deal withy where the 
relation between the parlies might be considered either from 
its original point of view as ' towards,' * against,* or from that 
of ' participation,' ' having in common.' By degrees the more 


marked meaning of OE wijf was expressed by against, and 
ME wtp took the meanings of mid, which then became 

For the differentiation of OE of, wtp into MnE of, off, (wi¥, 
wij>), see § 232. 

774. In ME the rare construction of prepositions with 
the genitive was soon given up — except of course in iso- 
lated groups such as iomiddes — and when the distinction 
between the other oblique cases and the nom. was lost in the 
nouns, and nothing was left but the distinction of nom. and 
objective in some of the personal pronouns, the only trace 
left of case-government by prepositions was that they were 
sometimes followed by a personal pronoun in the objective 

775. In OE the adverbial ending -weard is sometimes 
used detached in connection with the preposition t5 in such 
constructions as wijf hire (dat.) wedrd * towards her.' In 
ME this is often carried further, as in to wMe ward, to Troie 
wardes^^ toward J?e wMe, towardes Troie, frg B or deux ward 
compared with framward TeukesbUri, where framward is a 
new formation on the analogy of toward. In Early MnE the 
Bible still has to God ward, 

776. In ME the a of amiddes was restored to its full form 
on, for which in was afterwards substituted. The body of 
the word was then regarded as an independent noun, so that 
at last inmidst developed into in the midst (of), 


777. Interjections are primary and secondary. Primary 
interjections are mostly imitations of sounds that accom- 
pany emotions : ah, 0, oh, pah, pooh, hush. From them 

ao8 ACCIDENCE. [| 778. 

other parts of speech may be formed ; thus hush is used as a 
verb — to hush. Such interjections as what I dear me! zre 
secondary. There are also mixed interjections, made up 
of primary interjections combined with other parts of speech, 
such as alas from Old French hakts, alas [Modem French 
h/las]f made up of the interjection a and las = Latin lassum 
* weary.' 

778. The OE Id! eald / *oh!' seem to be primary. 
wd ! * woe ! ' is the same word as the noun wdwdj w& 
'misfortune.' wdld! wdldwd! 'alas I' are therefore mixed 

779. Interjections may stand in various grammatical 
relations to other words. Hence in OE, wd sometimes 
governs a dat., as in wd pcRm m§nn ! * woe to the man ! * 
wdld governs a gen. in such phrases as wdld }>ctre termjft I 
' alas for the misery/ on the analogy of the gen. after verbs 
of repenting, &c. As we see from the above examples, 
interjections are frequently connected with prepositions in 


780. The normal way of forming compounds in OE is 
by joining together two words — which may be themselves 
compound or derivative words — the former word being unin- 
fleeted, the latter, if declinable, keeping its power of inflec- 
tion, and, if a noun, determining the gender of the whole 
compound. Thus the neuter noun gold and the masculine 
noun smij} can be combined to form the compound mascu- 
line noun goldsmip ' goldsmith.' So also dtfen-fid * evening 
time ' is feminine because its last element is a feminine noun. 

S 783.] COMPOSITION. ao9 

These compounds of noun + noun are the most frequent. 
There are also compoimds of adjective + noun, such as 
halig-dcBg 'church festival' literally * holy-day/ cwic-seol/ar 
' mercury ' ; of noun + adjective, such as win-scBd * sati- 
ated with wine/ and of adjective + adjective, such as wid- 
cup * widely known/ 

781. In the above examples the part of speech of the 
whole compound is determined by that of the last element. 
But there is a class of adjective + noun compounds having the 
function of adjectives, such as glcBd-mbd 'having a glad 
mood/ hUp-heort * blithe of heart/ * cheerful,' formed from the 
adjectives glced^ hUpe and the nouns mod^ heorte. As we see 
from the last example, the noun is sometimes shortened in 
such compounds. We call these compounds conversion- 
compounds, because they involve the conversion of a noun 
into an adjective. They are very old formations, such con- 
version-compounds as the Greek dus-menes * having an evil 
mind,' having apparently been formed in Parent Arian. 

The OE ending 'lie is really the obscured second element of 
old conversion-compounds (844). 

782. The form-isolation of compounds in OE consists in 
the indeclinability of the first element. It is only by this 
criterion that we can distinguish such compounds as godddd 
' benefit ' from the word-group god ddd * good action,' as in 
the dative plural goddddum compared with godum dddum, 

783. Normal OE compounds take the stress on the first 
element ; but as word-groups beginning with the genitive of 
a noun or an inflected adjective do the same, stress is in OE 
no criterion of composition as opposed to mere grouping. 
Hence there is in OE no formal distinction between such a 
word-group as 'cymnges sunu * king's son/ in which the mean- 


aiO ACCIDENCE. [§ 784. 

ing of the whole follows from that of its elements, and one 
in which there is isolation of meaning, such as the plant- 
name 'geaces'sure ' sorrel,' literally 'cuckoo's-sour.* But as 
most of the latter class developed into true compounds in 
MnE through keeping their uneven stress (786), it is con- 
venient to regard them as * genitive-compoimds ' in OE as 
well. The following are examples of such OE genitive 
compounds, many of which, it will be observed, have been 
obscured in MnE : — 

Tiwes'dceg ' Tuesday,' literally * day of the war-god' (TYic;), 
the name being a translation of the Latin dies Mdrtis (French 
Mardi), J^ngla-land * England,' literally * land of the An- 
glians' l^ngle plur. 'Anglians,' 'English']. These com- 
binations are especially frequent as place-names, such as 
Seoles-ieg * Selsey,' literally ' seal's island,' Oxena-ford * Ox- 
ford,' literally ' ford of oxen.' 

784. Verbs are very rarely compounded directly with 
nouns or adjectives in OE. But the frequent combinations 
of verbs with prefixes, such as mis-don *act amiss,' *do 
wrong,' led to combinations with certain adjectives in similar 
adverbial meanings, such as full in fullfyllan * fully fill,' 
^ bi\f([y full-wyrcan * fully work,' 'complete,' and e/en 'even,' 
' equal,' which in composition expresses the idea of com- 
munity or association, as in efervprowian ' sympathize,' liter- 
ally * suffer in common with.' The want of stress in the 
first elements of these compounds shows that they are felt 
as mere prefixes. 

Modern English. 

785. In MnE some compounds are formed by adding 
to the first element the Latin and Greek connecting-vowel 0^ 
but only when the first element is in a Latin or latinized 

§ 787.] COMPOSITION, rill 

form, as in Anglosaxon, Ar^lo-Indian^ Franco-Germany a 
concavo-convex lens. 

The connecting vowel is very frequent in Greek compounds, 
such as hippO'ddmos * horse-taming,' philo-sophia * philosophy,' 
literally * loving wisdom.' In such forms as hippo-, philo- is 
preserved one of the most frequent forms of uninflected nouns 
and adjectives in a primitive stage of Parent Arian. When in- 
flections were fully developed, these old uninflected forms sur- 
vived only as the first elements of compounds. 

The ng in the MnE nightingale may be due to the influence 
of evening. In MnE handiwork the i is the OE prefix ge-, 
preserved in enough = OY. genog, the OE form of the compound 
being hand-geweorc. The i- was preserved in MnE probably 
through association with the adjective handy, handicraft— Qi^ 
handcrceft probably owes its / to the influence of handiwork 
and handy, 

786. One of the formal tests of composition in MnE as 
well as in OE is the inseparability and indeclinability of the 
first element. But owing to the scantiness of the inflections 
in MnE and its more rigid word-order, these tests are not so 
decisive in it as in OE, especially when an adjective is the 
first element. The only certain test by which we can dis- 
tinguish between compounds and mere word-groups in MnE 
is stress, the former throwing the stress on to one of the 
elements, while in the latter the stress is equal. This is how 
we distinguish between the compound 'blackbird and the 
group 'black 'bird, 

787. One result of this further development of stress- 
distinctions in MnE is that we are able to recognize a 
special class of MnE genitive-compounds, distinguished from 
mere genitive-groups in the same way as compounds beginning 
with an adjective are distinguished from the corresponding 
word-groups, namely by having uneven instead of even 

p 2 

21 a ACCIDENCE. [§ 788. 

Stress, as in the compound crow's-foot (a plant) compared 
with the group a crovdsfooL 

788. Hence also the OE compounds gold/cety goddM 
have in MnE been separated into the groups 'gold 'vessel, 
good deed, such OE compounds as goldsmip, cwicseolfor being 
preserved as compounds in the form oi goldsmith, quicksilver 
by their uneven stress ; while the OE groups domes dceg, hlcec 
h^rige have been made into the compounds doomsday, black- 

789. Some compounds of MnE formation have a noun, 
in the plural as their first element, but only when this noun 
in the plural has developed a meaning of its own different 
from that of the singular, so that it is isolated from its 
singular, the connection between them being sometimes 
forgotten. Such compounds are cloihesbrush, clothes-bcLsket, 
etc., newsboy y newspaper, 

790. As regards the use of the different parts of speech 
in composition, the most noticeable difference between OE 
and MnE is the greater freedom with which in MnE verbs 
enter into composition with nouns and adjectives, the result 
of the combination being sometimes a noun, as in break-waier, 
clasp-knife, sometimes a verb, as in browbeat, whitewash, 
according as the last element is a noun or a verb. But such 
compounds are still comparatively rare, the main combina- 
tion of verbs being with particles, as in OE. 

Meaning of Compounds. 

791. The general rule of English — as also of Parent 
Arian — composition is to put the adjunct-word before the 
head-word, on the same principle of putting the modifier 
before the modified word as we follow in the group adjective 

$ 794-] COMPOSITION, 21 3 

+ noun. Hence the order in the compound hlackhird is the 
same as in the group black bird. 

In such groups as man-of-war^ bread-and-buitery on the con- 
trary, the modifying element follows, instead of preceding, and 
accordingly the stress is thrown on to the second element. 

792. In many cases the logical relation between the 
elements of a compound may be defined with certainty and 
accuracy. Thus it is perfectly clear that in goldfish the first 
element defines the second one by stating something that the 
second element resembles, the compound being equivalent 
to * gold-resembling fish,* or more definitely * gold- coloured 
fish/ So also it is evident that sight in sightseer stands in 
the same relation to seer as it does to the verb see in he saw 
the sights, and that the elements of churchgoer stand to one 
another in the same relation as church and go do in he goes 
to church, 

793. But in many cases these logical relations are less 
definite. Thus a water-plant might mean a plant growing 
in the water, or a plant growing near the water, or, on the 
analogy of water-melon, we might suppose it to mean a plant 
containing a great deal of moisture, and perhaps growing 
in a comparatively dry place. The logical relations between 
the elements of causal and phenomenon-compounds are 
often difficult to define accurately, even when the meaning of 
the compound itself is definite, as in sundial, which might be 
explained either as a * dial for showing the position of the 
sun,' or as a * dial worked — as it were — by the sun instead 
of by clockwork, etc' 

794. It must, indeed, be borne in mind that this very 
vagueness is the chief reason why composition is resorted 
to : it is only by leaving open the logical relations between 
the elements of compounds that we are able to form them 

214 ACCIDENCE. [§ 795. 

as we want them without stopping to analyze exactly the 
logical or grammatical relations between the words we join 
together, as we might have to do if we connected them 
together by more definite means, such as prepositions or 

795. An important general distinction between compounds 
as regards their meaning is the closeness of the logical 
connection between them. We may from this point of view 
distinguish between coordination- and subordination- 
compoTinds. Thus in a causal compound the relation 
between the two elements is an intimate one, like that 
between the clauses of a causal complex sentence. There 
are hardly any pure coordination-compounds in English, such 
a combination as deaf-mute =.^ z. person who is deaf and 
dumb ' being an even-stress group-compound and not a pure 

Native Elements. 


796. Some of the OE prefixes are strong (strong-stressed), 
some weak (weak-stressed). Noun- and adjective-prefixes — 
that is, prefixes added to nouns and adjectives respectively — 
are generally strong, as in 'mis-dctd 'misdeed,* 'un-cup 
' unknown ' ; while verb-prefixes are generally weak, as in 
forgiefan 'forgive.' When the same prefix is used both 
with nouns (and adjectives) and with verbs, it generally takes 
a shortened and weakened form in the latter combination, 
which is the natural result of its weak stress. The follow- 

5 8oi.] NATIVE PREFIXES, 215 

ing are examples of such pairs of originally identical 
prefixes : — 

'and'giet * intelligence ' orvf^ietan ' understand ' 

'CBf'punca * grudge ' ofpyndan * to grudge ' 

'or-panc * device * drp^ncan * devise ' 

'bi-gang * circuit * be'gan * practise ' 

797. When a verb is formed direct from a noun or 
adjective, the strong form of the prefix is preserved un- 
changed, as in 'andswarian (andsw^rian) * to answer * from 
the noun -and-swaru * answer/ 

798. Conversely, in a noun formed from a verb the verb- 
prefix is preserved unchanged, as in d'Resednes * redemption,' 
literally * loosenedness,' from d'ltesan ' release,' ' redeem/ 

It sometimes happens that a noun which originally had a 
strong prefix takes the corresponding weak one by the influence 
of a verb of similar meaning. Thus bigang is often made into 
be'gang by the influence of began. 

799. In some cases older distinctions between the strong and 
weak forms of prefixes have been levelled. Thus the weak 

for- in fordon * destroy,' forweorpan ' perish * appears in 
the earhest OE as fer-, for- being then used only as 
the corresponding strong form in such nouns as '/orwyrd 
* destruction,' from which it was gradually extended to verb- 
forms. So also id- in to'brecan * break to pieces ' is repre- 
sented by ie- in earUer OE. 

800. In the case of these two prefixes the weak stress was 
kept in the originally weak forms in spite of the adoption of 
the strong forms. But in some cases the prefix not only 
kept its strong form when transferred to a verb, but also its 
strong stress ; thus the prefix mis- has strong stress in *mtsddn 
as well as in misddd. 

801. The prefix ge-, on the other hand, always has weak 

2 1 6 A CCIDENCE. [§ 8o3. 

stress, not only before verbs, as in gcseon ' to see,' but also 
in nouns, such as gesthj? * sight,' where it has supplanted an 
older strong form. 

802. Prefixes to pronouns and particles are sometimes 
weak, sometimes strong. 

The following are the most important of the OE prefixes, 
the strong being marked (*). 

803. a- (strong form or-). The original meaning of this 
prefix was * out/ ' from,' * forth,' which may still be traced in 
such verbs as drJsan * arise,' while in many cases it is 
practically unmeaning — or, at most, emphatic — as in dberan 
'carry,' 'endure.' 

804. 'a- is a shorter form of awa 'always/ It is a 
strong prefix which is used only with pronouns and particles 
to give them an indefinite meaning, as in 'dkvocBper ' either of 
two,' dhwdr 'anywhere,' from hwceper 'which of the two?' 
and hwdr ' where ? ' 

805. 'Sg- was originally 5 'always' followed by the prefix 
ge- in its older form gi- (808), whose i mutated the preceding 
a into ce^ and was then dropped, giving dg-. The a in this 
prefix served merely to emphasize and generalize the collec- 
tive meaning of the ge-^ so that dg- is equivalent to ' all ' or 
* every,' as in 'ctghwcBper ' each of two,' ckgkvodkr ' everywhere/ 

806. be- has hi- for its strong form. It was originally 
the same word as the preposition be ' by,' whose strong form 
is the adverb hi 'by/ he- and hi- preserve the meaning 
' around,' kept also in Greek ampht'-y which represents 
the fuller Arian form of which hi is a shortening. This 
primitive meaning is seen in higang^ hegdn^ in which * going 
round' developed into the meanings 'worship/ 'cullivate.' 
The most general function of he- is to specialize the meaning 

$8ii.y NATIVE PREFIXES. 217 

of transitive verbs, as in behon * hang with/ hes^tian ' beset/ 
and to make an intransitive verb transitive, as in hewepan 

* bewail/ bej?ptdan * consider ' from wepan * weep/ ppidan 

* think/ In some cases it is privative, as in bentman * deprive' 
\niman * take '], beheafdian ' behead/ 

807. for- is quite distinct from the preposition y^r ; it 
expresses destruction, loss, etc., as in for don * destroy,' yiv- 
weorpan ' perish ' from don * do/ weorpan * become/ origin- 
ally 'turn' [compare Latin vertere\^ being sometimes only 
intensitive, as mforbcBrnan * burn up.' 

808. ge-, which is prefixed equally to verbs, nouns, 
adjectives, pronouns, and particles, has primarily a collective 
meaning, as in gefera * companion,' originally * fellow travel- 
ler,' from for * journey ' \^faran^ * go,* * travel '], gebrdpru 
' brothers ' [brojfor, * brother '], gehwd ' each one ' from hwd 
' who ? ' It is often only intensitive, and often practically 
unmeaning, as in gemynd ' memory,' * mind.' As a prefix 
to the preterite participle of verbs, as in gebunden ' bound/ 
it is really a grammatical inflection, 

809. 'mis- is a prefix both to verbs and nouns, as in 
mislician ' displease,' misdckd * misdeed.' 

810. of- is cognate with the preposition and adverb of 
' off, of/ The strong form ^ has been supplanted by the 
weak form in such words as 'of spring ' progeny.' In this 
word the original meaning of the prefix has been preserved, 
but ill most cases it is only intensitive, as in ofslean * kill * 
\slean * strike '], or unmeaning, as in the preterite participle 
ofpyrsted * thirsty.' 

811. on-, strong and^^ as in and-wyrde 'answer,' literally 
' against-wording,' where it still preserves its original meaning 
of * against,' being cognate with the Greek anii * against.' In 
some words it expresses 'separation,' 'change,' as in on- 

rj r 8 A CCIDENCE. [§ 8i 2 . 

hindan 'unbind/ <?«/5^a« 'unlock/ ' open/ <?«tl;/«^<2« * over- 
turn/ 'change to the worse/ In many words it is un- 
meaning, as in ondrdtdan ' dread/ 

<?7/-derivatives such as the above must be carefully distin- 
guished from compounds with the preposition or adverb 
on * on/ such as 'on-winnan ' make war on/ ' assail/ ongian 

* against/ 

812. to- : as in tohrecan ' break to pieces/ toddlan * dis- 
tribute' \ddl 'portion/ 'share']. This prefix always keeps 
its original meaning of ' separation/ 'destruction/ and is thus 
easily distinguished from compounds with the preposition to 
'to/ such as 'tocyme 'arrival' \cyme 'coming'], td'gcsdre 

* together.' 

813. 'um- *un-' is a prefix to nouns, adjectives, and 
secondary adverbs, and is generally piwely negative, though 
sometimes intensitive in the sense of * bad ' : unddd ' wicked 
deed,' ' crime,' uncuj? 'unknown,' unsofte 'ungently,' 'severely/ 

814. In ME ge- was weakened to /-, as in ivere^ tbunde{n). 
It soon began to be dropped in the North-Thames dialects, 
as in lie ' like ' = South-Thames ilich, OE geRc. In Standard 
ME it seems to have been preserved in poetry for the sake of 
the metre after it had become extinct in the spoken language. 
But it has been kept to the present day in efwt^h^^ME tndh, 
OE genogj handiwork (785. 2)^ ywis=^OE gewiss 'certain/ 
and in the preterite participles ^r/^/=OE^^f/?<?^ew/ 'called/ 
yclad. Also through confusion with every in everywhere from 
OE *d/re gehwdr. 

alike must be referred to the OE onlzc^ which had the same 
meaning as gelfc, 

815. In ME the prepositions 0/ and on were liable to be 

$ 8i8.] NATIVE PREFIXES, 219 

weakened into a (743). The same change took place with 
the prefixes of- and <?«-, and as OE a- was shortened to a-, 
all three prefixes were often levelled under one form. This 
levelling was helped by the fact that already in OE there was 
a certain confusion between these endings through the vague- 
ness of their meanings in many words. Thus we find in OE 
dbtdatiy onhtdan * await/ onwacan and dwacan * awake/ ondrd- 
dan * fear/ o/drddd pret. partic. ' afraid/ of- was preserved 
in ofspring through its strong stress. So also and- in 
andswarCj answare. Towards the end of the ME period 
the prefix a- was dropped in many words, partly through 
its vagueness of meaning, partly through its indistinctness of 
sound. It is now preserved only in a few words, such as 
arise f awake, awaken =OE drJsanj dwacan, dwacm'an, acknow- 
ledge =M'E akngul^chen, to which corresponds OE oncndwan^ 
ashamed=QiK o/sceamody abtde=^OF. onbidan 'wait,' and the 
obsolete athtrsi= OE ofpyrsted, 

816. But those verbs in on- which expressed a definite 
reversal of the meaning of the verbs they were formed from, 
such as onbindan, saved their prefixes from being weakened 
into the ambiguous a- by identifying it with the almost 
synonymous noun- and adjective-prefix un-, whence the 
MnE unbind, unlock, and many new-formations, such as 
unhook, unchain. 

817. to- was preserved in ME, as in tobreken, torenden, 
but has become obsolete in MnE, though the Bible still has 
all tobrake his skull, where all is adverbial. 

818. /or- is still preserved in MnE, as m forbid, forswear, 
forlorn— QY. forlor en, preterite participle oiforleosan *lose'; 

but many of the ME derivatives have become obsolete, and 
for- is no longer a living prefix. 

In f or ego=iQiEf organ * go without,' * forego ' the prefix has 

220 ACCIDENCE. [jSip, 

been confused with the separable prefix or adverb /ore=^ 
OE/ore ' before/ 

819. The mainly noun- and adjective-prefixes mis- and 
un- are still living prefixes, being freely used to form new 
derivatives, such as misadventure ^ misrepresent^ unrest, un- 

820. The only old verb-prefix that can be regarded as 
still living is 3^-, with which an immense number of new 
verbs have been formed in MnE as well as ME. Many of 
these have been formed directly from nouns — French as well 
as English — such as befriend, benighted, besiege. The noun 
byword still keeps the strong form, being formed on the 
analogy of ME btspel=^OE bispell * parable ' ; but such nouns 
as bystreet, bystander, may be regarded rather as compounds 
with the adverb bi. Some nouns have taken he- from the 
corresponding verbs, such as belief -=.0^^ geleafa, the cor- 
responding verb being believe'=-OY. getiefan, Late OE beUefan, 


821. Of the OE endings some, which contained i ox j 
in Germanic, cause mutation of the preceding vowel, as in 
gylden * golden.' When the same ending sometimes mutates, 
sometimes not, the mutated forms are generally the original 
ones, the unmutated forms being the result of later influence 
of the unmutated word from which the derivative was formed 
Thus beren * belonging to a bear '= earlier biren owes its ^ 
to the influence of the noun bera * bear/ 

§824.] NATIVE SUFFIXES, %%\ 


{ci) Concrete, 

822. -end *-er' is the noun-form of the present par- 
ticiple ending -ende^ and forms nouns denoting agents from 
verbs, such as hcklend * healer,' * Saviour,' sdeoiend ' shooter/ 

* warrior.' It became extinct in ME, its place being supplied 
by the ending -^re. But it still survives disguised m/rtend=> 
OE freond literally ' lover,' and fiend = OE fiond * enemy,' 
literally 'hater.* 

823. -ere, -dbre, masc. *-er' forms agent-denoting nouns 
from verbs : fiscere * fisher,' leornere ' learner,' from fiscian 

* fish,' leornian * learn,' fiscian itself being formed from the 
lioun fisc, bocere ' scribe ' seems to be formed directly from 
hoc on the model of the Latin librdrius. In ME the d in the 
form 'dre was shortened, and underwent the regular change 
into fl, so that in Early ME we find such forms 2j&fischare by 
the side of fischere. In Late ME there was a good deal of 
confusion between these endings and the French and Latin 
endings -er, -ier, -eer^ -our, -or, which often had the same 
meanings as the native ending (915). This confusion was 
increased in Early MnE by the levelling of -er, -ar, -or, etc. 
under (ar) [230]. Hence such forms as //<2r=0E leogere, 
sailor compared with a fast sailer [OE seglan ' sail ']. 

824. -estre fem. * -ess ' : bcecestre * female baker ' [bcBcere 

* baker '], tcBppestre * female tapster.' In ME this ending, being 
unstrest, soon lost its final e, and the resulting -ster came to be 
regarded as an emphatic form of -^r, and consequently was 
applied to men as well as women, so that the Early ME 
feminines baksiere, tappistere developed into the Late ME 

2ri2 ACCIDENCE. § 835.] 

masculines haxter^ tapster. Many of these trade-names in 
-ster survive only as proper names, such as Baxter^ Brewster, 
Webster, In MnE this ending is also used to express * one 
who does a thing habitually/ generally with an implication 
of contempt, as in punster ^ trickster. The only noun in -ster 
which is still distinctly feminine is spinster, which has, how- 
ever, lost its meaning of * female spinner,' being now used 
only in that of ' unmarried woman/ 

825. -ing masc. : earming 'poor wretch' [earm 'poor'] 
lytling * little one ' \lytel ' little ']. This ending is specially 
used to form patronymics, such as cepeling * son of a noble/ 

* prince' from cej^ele 'noble/ 'aristocratic/ cyning 'king/ 
literally ' son of a king,' the underived cyne being preserved 
only in compounds such as cynehelm * crown,' literally * king- 
helm/ These patronymics are formed freely from personal 
names : Scielding, J&pelwulfing, Elising * son of EUsha/ 
Many of them are preserved as proper names, such as 
Manning, Harding, especially in place-names, such as 
Billingsgate, Islington, Reading, so called from the clans of 
the Billingas * sons of Bill ' etc. 

This ending is also found in names of animals, as in hearing 

* herring,' and in names of things, especially coins, such as sHh 
ling, pining, feorping {feorpung,feorpling) * farthing/ literally 
'fourth part (of 2i pining) * from feorpa 'fourth.* 

826. -ling masc. in OE generally expresses afifection, 
familiarity, or contempt: deorling 'favourite,' from deare 
' dear,' ' precious,' ME derling, MnE darling, hyrUng 

* hireling,' underling. There are many others in MnE, most 
of which are new-formations, such as starveling, worldUng, 
changeling. This suffix is frequent in names of animals, 
generally expressing youth or smallness, as in youngling 
' young animal,' also used in the sense of ' young human 

§830.] NATIVE SUFFIXES. 223 

being/ nestling, gosling. Some of these may be of OE 

827. -en fem. with mutation : gyden ' goddess/ fyxen 
*' vixen ' from god, fox, 

(V) Abstract, 

828. -niB(s), -nes(s) fem. is the regular ending for form- 
ing abstract nouns from adjectives : godnis * goodness/ 
geUcnis ' likeness/ beorhtnis * brightness.' This ending is 
still in living use in MnE, being added to foreign as well as 
native adjectives, as in closeness, graciousness. 

Words in -ness only rarely take concrete meanings, as in i 
witness, wilderness, 

829. -u fem. with mutation forms abstract nouns from 
adjectives : l§ngu * length/ br^du ' breadth/ h^tu ' heat/ ieldu 

* old age/ archaic MnE eld, wr^f>{p)u ' anger/ ME wrappe, 
MnE wrath, from the adjectives lang, brad, hat, eald, wrap, 

830. -u]>, -]> fem. with and without mutation: treowp 
' fidelity/ >f^ * theft/ MKpe/pe,pe/te, from treowe ' faithful/ 
peo/^\h\d,' sl&wp * sloth/ which in ME became slgupe by the 
influence of the adjective from which it was formed, namely 
OE slaw, ME slgw * indolent.' Togeogup * youth ' corresponds 
the adjective ^^<?w^ * young.' In ME the ending 'pe=-OE 
-p was substituted for the equivalent -^=0E -u, as being 
more distinct, whence the MnE length, breadth=^M'E lengpe, 
OE l^ngu, etc. Similarly OE diepe from deop * deep ' has 
become depth. So also ME wele, MnE weal=OE wela 

* prosperity/ * wealth,' has developed a secondary form wealth 
on the analogy of health from OE h^lu. In ME and MnE 
some new derivatives in -th have been formed, not only from 
adjectives, as in warmth, dearth, but also directly from verbs, 

224 ACCIDENCE. [§ 831. 

as in growthy stealthy the latter on the analogy of ME pifpt 
' theft/ 

831. -ung, -ing, fern, forms abstract nouns from verbs : 
bletsung * blessing/ leornung^ leorning * learning,' rddtng 

* reading/ from the verbs hletsian^ leorHian^ rddan. In OE this 
ending is restricted in its use, and is very rarely used to form 
derivatives from strong verbs because these are generally 
provided with other derivatives, such as cyme ' coming/ gang 

* going ' corresponding to the strong verbs cumatiy gan. In 
ME the use of -inge^ -ing was so much extended that at last 
abstract nouns could be formed with it from any verb, till it 
finally developed into a purely grammatical form — the gerund 
(553). In MnE many words in -ing have assumed con- 
crete meanings, such as betng=^ * creature.' In most cases these 
concrete words in -ing express either the result of the action 
expressed by the verb, as in building * what is built/ * edifice/ 
dripping, leavings y or the instrument of the action of the verb, 
as in clothing y coverings footing ' ground to put the foot on.' 
In some words -ing has a collective meaning, as in paling, 
shipping. Some of these words, such as shipping, seem to 
be formed directly from nouns. 

The following endings were originally independent words 
in OE itself: — 

832. -dom masc. is from the noun dom 'judgment,' 

* authority,' and expresses first * rank,' and then condition 
generally : cynedom * royal authority,' * kingdom,' king having 
been substituted for the less familiar cyne (825) in ME, 
martyrdom^ cristendom, wisdom. In MnE there are a few 
new-formations, such as dukedom. Christendom and heathendom 
have now become concrete. In OE li^tM Iddeddm * medicine ' 
from Idee * leech/ * physician ' had a concrete meaning. 

$ 834.] NATIVE SUFFIXES. 225 

833. -had masc. from the noun had * rank,' * condition/ 
* character/ ' nature ': hiscophdd ' rank of bishop/ 'episcopacy/ 
preosihdd * priesthood/ iildhdd^ mcpgphad * virginity/ the more 
familiar mcpgden being substituted for mcBgp 'virgin/ 'maid' 
in the ME matdenhdd. widwan-hdd 'widowhood' is really a 
group-compound of had and the genitive of the weak noun 
widwe. In ME this ending became -hod with close 5 instead of 
g, whence the MnE -hood. The frequent ME form -h^de, -hjd 
is the result of the influence of another ending of similar 
meaning, namely -rjde from OE -raden (834), the form -hode 
being another result of these blendings. In OE -had is used 
only with nouns, but its ME and MnE representatives form 
derivatives from adjectives also, such as hardihood, likelihood^ 

falsehood. Many of the derivatives from nouns have taken 
concrete — mostly collective — meanings, as in priesthood and 
the new-formations brotherhood, neighbourhood. The ME 
form -hjde is now almost extinct, surviving only in maiden- 
head and Godhead, 

834. -raeden fem., gen. -r^denne, ixora the noun r^den 
' regulation,* ' agreement * [connected with germdan ' put in 
order/ ' arrange ' and the MnE ready\ : geferraden ' fellow- 
ship,' ' agreement,' freondrceden ' relationship,' ' friendship.* 
In OE this ending was applied only to nouns. ME keeps 
many of the OE derivatives, frendr^de, sibr^de ' relation- 
ship '=0E sibbr^den, and on the analogy of these forms 
the new derivative hater^de, hatr§de ' hatred ' [ME hate is a 
blending of the OE noun h§te ' violence/ ' hostility ' and the 
corresponding verb hatiari]. The analogy of sibrjde, etc. 
also led to the ME change of OE cynren ' line of descendants,' 
'family* \-ren-=.ryne, ' course/ connected with iernan 'run'] 
— into kinrjde, whence, by the usual insertion of d (200), 
the MnE kindred, 


226 ACCIDENCE. [§ 83:. 

836. -sdipe masc. '-ship/ from a lost noun connected with 
the verb sHeppan * shape/ 'create': hlafordsHpe * lordship/ 
' 2^}^kiO'n\.yl freondscipe^ weorpsctpe 'honour' \weorfinovai and 
adjective * worth/ ' worthy ']. This ending is frequently used 
in MnE to form new derivatives, especially fix)m personal 
words, as in ownerships consulships relationship. In OE it is 
used to form derivatives almost exclusively from nouns, but 
in MnE we have such derivatives as hardships courtship from 
the adjective hard and the verb to court. 


836. -ede forms compound adjectives from names of 
parts of the body preceded by a modifying word : suriagede 
' blear-eyed/ literally * sour-eyed,' priheqfdede ' three-headed/ 
In MnE this ending has been necessarily shortened to -*</, 
and so has become indistinguishable from the preterite parti- 
ciple inflection. 

837. -en with mutation generally denotes material, being 
also used in the more general sense of ' belonging to ' : adeu 
* of oak ' [dc ' oak '], gylden ' golden/ wyllen * woollen ' \wuUe 
*woor], hapen 'heathen' \hcBf> 'heath']. In herm from 
bera ' bear,' as in her en fell ' a bear's skin,' earlier bireiiy 
the t has been brought in from the noun; so also in 
leaden 'leaden' \lead 'lead']. In MnE these adjectives 
restore the unmutated vowel everywhere, as in golden^ 
woollen^ on the analogy of which new derivatives had been 
formed, such as wooden, hempen. The similarity of meaning 
between material nouns and adjectives has in some cases 
led to the conversion of adjectives in -en into nouns, as in 
linen— OY. linen ' flaxen' from Un ' flax/ and the tree names 
aspen— OE cBspe, linden-=.OY. lind fem. 


Some adjectives in -en with mutation were orig^naUy pre- 
terite participles of strong verbs : druncen * intoxicated/ agen 
^ ovfxii fcEgen *glad/ whence MnE /am, from drincarty agan 

* possess/ gefion * rejoice.' 

838. -ig * -y ' corresponds sometimes to Germanic -^ig, -ig, 
sometimes to Germanic -ag, etc., causing mutation in the 
former case, but not in the latter : halig * holy ' \hdl * entire/ 
'sound'], modtg 'proud,' zstg Mcy'; /i£/ig 'heavy' [con- 
nected with h§bhan, preterite participle hafen, * lift *], hysig 
'busy,' dysig 'foolish/ whence MnE dizzy. In MnE this 
ending has been widely extended, and in many words it has 
taken the place of the material -en, as m fiery —(3^ fyr en 
\/yr ' fire '], clayey, gluey, where the Early MnE spelling -ey 
is preserved, as it regularly is after vowels. 

"ig is also a noun-ending, as in bodig * body,' ffi£- ' ivy/ hunig 

* honey.* 

839. -isc ' -ish ' with mutation — which is sometimes got 
rid of by the influence of the underived word — is most fre- 
quently used to form names of nations, but also in derivatives 
from common nouns : Pnglisd, Frpicisd ' French ' \Francland 
' land of the Franks,' ' France '], Scyttisc ' Scotch ' [Scoiiland, 
' Ireland,' afterwards ' Scodand '], W§lisd * Welsh ' ; dierlisde 
mpin 'serfs' \ceorl ' serf '], y^/mr 'popular,' 'vulgar/ In 
ME some of the names of nations were contracted by omis- 
sion of the vowel of the ending, whence the MnE French, 
Scotch by the side of the fuller Scottish, in both of which the 
unmutated vowel has been restored by the influence of Scot, 
Scotland. In the other words formed from nouns -ish 
generally expresses contempt, as in mannish, womanish 
compared with manly, womanly, childish compared with 
childlike, brutish, -ish added to an adjective expresses simple 

Q 2 

228 ACCIDENCE. t§ 840. 

diminution, as in oldish, longish, especially with names of 
colours, such as reddish, yellowish, 

840. -sum *-some* forms adjectives from nouns, ad- 
jectives, and verbs ; wynsum * pleasant ' \wynn * joy '] ; 
langsum ' tedious ' ; hiersum * obedient ' \hieran ' hear,' 
' obey ']. There are many ME and MnE new formations : 
handsome, troublesome \ wholesome, wearisome. 

The following endings were independent words in Ger-* 
manic : — 

841. -feald * -fold ' [compare the verb fealdan * fold '] 
forms adjectives from adjective-words, especially numerals; 
manig feald * manifold,' ' various,' seofonfeald^ hundfeald^ 
* hundredfold.' 

842. -full ' -ful,' from the adjective full * full,* forms 
adjectives from abstract nouns: carfull 'careful,' sorgfuU 
' sorrowful,' synnfull • sinful.' There are numerous new- 
formations in ME and MnE — some from concrete nouns: 
artful, powerful, masterful, 

843. -leas *-less' from the adjective lias 'deprived of,' 
' without ' [compare forleosan * lose '] forms adjectives from 
nouns and verbs : geleafleas ' unbelieving,' sldpleas ' sleep- 
less ' ; r^cceleas ' careless,' from r§ccan * recL' In ME 
this ending appears both as -l§s and as -les with the vowel 
shortened, which may be due to the influence of ksse ' less/ 
It is frequently used in new-formations, such os fearless, 

844. -lie '-ly': eorplic 'earthly,' freondlid * friendly,' 
gearlid ' annual.' These derivatives were originally con- 
version-compounds with Uc 'body,' the weak vowel being 
afterwards shortened, so that wiflid ' feminine,' for instance, 
meant originally 'having the body or form of a woman' 

§ 848.] NATIVE SUFFIXES. 22g 

(781). Derivatives in -//<f from adjectives and adverbs are less 
frequent: Id^Ii^ 'hateful/ u/>lt^, upplid 'sublime/ This 
ending is freely used in new-formations in ME and MnE, as 
in princely^ quarterly, sickly. 

845. -weard, '-ward,' from an obsolete adjective con- 
nected with weorpanz=.\jQ,\\xi verier e (807), forms adjectives 
from nouns, adjectives, and adverbs: hdmweard, tnneweard 
from ham ' home,' inne ' within,* 


846. -na is a Scandinavian suffix forming weak intransi- 
tive verbs, mosdy inchoative and from adjectives, as in Ice- 
landic hvitna ' become white,' harpna * become hard/ Many 
of these verbs were imported in ME, such as harpna, which 
became hardnen by the influence of the ME adjective hard. 
There have been many new-formations in ME and MnE, 
some from adjectives, such as gladden, redden, some from 
nouns, such as lengthen. 

The native verbs awaken, fasten are not formed direct from 
wake axid/ast, but the OE weak verbs awcecnian, fcBstnian were 
formed from the nouns w(Bcen * watching,* fcesten ' fastness,' 
'fort,* which are, of course, derivatives of wacan 'wake* and 
fast ' fast,* ' firm.' 

847. -sian with mutation : clansian ' cleanse,' bloedstan, 
hletsian ' bless,' from hlod ' blood,' with shortening of the ce^ 
the original meaning being ' to sprinkle (the altar) with 
blood/ In Scandinavian this ending appears as ^a, as in 
hreinsa ' purify ' [hreinn ' pure '], whence our rinse. 

848. -iBBcan from the noun-ending -ddc, preserved in 
MnE only in wedlock^^OE w§ddldc [w^dd ' pledge,' ' con- 
tract '] : genealcRcan ' approach' from neah ' near,' geryhtladan 

230 ACCIDENCE. [§ 849. 

* correct/ In ME a new verb cn§ul§chen was formed with 
this ending from OE cnawan * know,' whence in Late ME a 
noun cngul^che was formed which, by the change of weak ch 
into (d5) gave MnE knowledge. 

Foreign elements. 

849. The foreign derivative elements in English are 
mainly of French, Latin, and Greek origin. Many which 
were at first introduced into English in their popular French 
forms were afterwards latinized, at first in spelling only, but 
afterwards, in many cases, in pronunciation also. In some 
cases they were wholly or partially latinized in French itself, 
though sometimes — in Late Old French — in spelling only. 
In some cases false etymological spellings of derivative 
elements of Latin origin were introduced either in French 
or English, some of which have corrupted the pronuncia- 

850. Although foreign derivatives are often so disguised 
as no longer to be recognizable as derivatives, yet many 
foreign derivative elements have remained as distinct as the 
native ones. Many of them are freely used to form new 
derivatives from words of native as well as foreign origin. 
Some of them are even detached and used as independent 
words, such as extra. 


851. In Latin many of the prefixes are liable to various 
changes according to the nature of the initial consonants of 
the word they modify, the full form of a prefix ending in 
consonants being generally preserved before a vowel, while 
before consonants the final consonants of the prefix are 

§ 854.] FOREIGN PREFIXES. 231 

Hable to assimilation and loss ; and these variations have 
generally been preserved when the words containing them 
were imported into French and English. 

862. The foreign prefixes will now be treated of in their 
alphabetical order. Specially French prefixes are marked *, 
Greek prefixes are marked t, Latin prefixes being left 

863. ab-, abs-, a-, 'from, away': ab-errattoUy ab-rupt; 
abs-tinent'y a-vert. The above are formed from verb-roots. 
abnormiSy which in English was made into abnormal on the 
analogy of the Latin adj. normalise is an example of an ab- 
derivative from a noun — Latin norma ' pattern.' All the 
above words were taken directly from Latin or from learned 
French. In popular French ab- became av-^ but the Latin 
form was generally restored, as in abus from abusum, whence 
MnE abuse, 

864. ad-, a-, also in the assimilated forms ag-, a/- etc., 
according to the consonant that follows, * to.' la Old French 
this prefix was shortened to a-, as in aventure 'adventure' 
from Latin res adventura * a thing about to happen.' The 
double consonants in such Latin words as aggravdre, as- 
senidre^adgravdre, adsentdre were shortened both in pro- 
nunciation and writing in Old French — agrever^ asenter — 
double s being, however, often kept (assenter) to show that 
the s was pronounced (s) and not (z). But in Late Old 
French the d was often introduced again by the influence 
of the Latin orthography, whence the spellings adventure , 
etc. Hence many of these words appear in ME in a variety 
of forms, one, of early introduction, pure Old French, the 
other or others more or less latinized, while in some cases 
the latinized form does not appear till after the ME period. 
Thus in ME we have aventure and a contracted form aunter^ 

2-^2 ACCIDENCE. [§ 855* 

in Early MnE adventer^ which in the Present English has 
been further latinized into adventure. The double con- 
sonants were restored in the same way, sometimes in ME, 
but generally not till later; thus we have ME agriven, 
asenien (also assenien)-=.y[.ri^ aggrieve^ assent Sometimes 
the prefix a- was made into ad- from a mistaken etymology, 
as in advance J advantage =M1£. avancenj avaniage, Old French 
avancer being a verb formed from the particle avant = Latin 

855. amb-, -am, an-, * around': amb-tiion; per-amr 
hulate ; an-cipital ' two-headed,' * doubtful/ 

856. tamphi- * around ' : ampht'-biouSy amphi-theatre. 

857. tan- before vowels and h + vowel, a- before other 
consonants, ' un-' : an-archy [compare mon-archy^ anr 
hydrous ' without water ' ; a-iheist, 

858. tana- *up,' * again,' * apart,' 'according to,' 're- 
versal,' etc.: ana-themaj originally * thing put up or dedi- 
cated,' ana-haptisty ' re-baptist,' ana-logy * according to pro- 
portion,' ana-gram ' transposition of letters,' ana-chronism, 

859. ante-, anti- 'before': anie-cedent\ anii-cipate. 
Freely used in new-formations, such as anteroom^ antedate, 

860. tanti- 'against' : Anti-christ, anti-pathy^ anti-podes. 
Freely used in new-formations, such as anti-radical^ anti" 

861. tapo-, before vowels ap-, before h aph-, the h itself 
being dropped : ' from,' ' away,' ' forth,' etc. : apo-cope literally 
' cutting 3.wa.yy apostasy ; aph-orism, 

862. bi- ' half,' ' twice ' : hi-ennial [compare annud[\, 
bisect, bi'cycle is a newly formed hybrid from Greek kdkloz 
' circle.' 

863. tcata-, cat-, cath-, 'down,' 'through/ etc.: fo/a- 
ract^ catastrophe^ catalogue ; cat-echize ; catholic^ 

§ 867.] FOREIGN PREFIXES. 233 

864. circiun-, circu- * round': circum-navigaie^ circum- 
stance^ circumspect^ circumvent \ circu-itous, 

865. cis- * on this side of : Cisalpine, 

866. com-, con-, co- ' with,' * together,' being another 
form of the preposition cum * with ' ; often merely intensitive. 
In Old French the vowel of this prefix was made into d 
through the influence of cum, which was often lengthened in 
ME words taken from French, whence the MnE (b, au) in 
comfort, council, counsel etc., the (o) in such words as conduit, 
earlier MnE (k^ndit) being due to the spelling. In Old 
French---as also occasionally in Latin itself — the final con- 
sonant of this prefix was often dropped before consonants, 
whence the MnE covent-=i convent in Covent Garden [Latin 
conventio], covenant. The following are further examples of 
this prefix : commit, comprehend, comfort [Old French com- 
forter, conforter^ ; convince, conclude, concern, conduct ; coin-' 
cide, cohere; col-league, connect, corrupt. This prefix is used 
in new-formations, such as com-mingle, compatriot, especially 
in the form of co- : co-exist, co-tenant. The predominance 
of the latter ending has led to the change of contemporary 
into cotemporary, but the former is now preferred, as being 
nearer the Latin form. 

867. contra-, contro-, *cotinter- 'against/ originally 
used only to form verbs^ The Old-French form is cuntre-^ 
contre- with the made into 8 on the analogy of Old French 
com-, con-, out of which English counter- has developed in 
the same way as in counsel etc. But in Old French contre- 
was often made into contre- by the influence of the Latin 
spelling. The Latin forms are less frequent than the French : 
contradict, contravene; controversy, controvert. The form 
counter- is used not only in French words, such as counter- 
feit, counterpart, counterpoise, but also in new-formations, such 

i234 ACCIDENCE. L|868« 

as counUr-aitr action, counterbalance , counter^revohdion, cmmter 
is also used as an independent adverb, as in to run counter 
to, being partly the Old French adverb and preposition 
cbntre, partly the detached prefix. 

868. de- is partly the Latin (and French) di 'from/ 
* away/ also expressing ' difference/ * negation/ ' completion,' 
being often only intensitive, which is both a preposition and 
a prefix ; partly French des-, di- from Latin </w- * asunder/ 
'apart/ which often develops the same negative meaning. 
</<?-= Latin de-x degrade, devious y literally 'out of the path,' 
dethrone, fl?l?= Latin dis- (also di-, and assimilated dif^\ 
defeat [Latin *dis/acere, disfactum\, depart, detach, 

869. *denii- ' half from Latin dimidium : demigod^ demi' 
semibreve, demy (di'mai) is used as an independent 

870. tdi- 'twice': digraph, di-phthong, diplomn. The 
double ss in dissyllable was introduced in French through 
confusion with the Latin prefix dis-. 

87L tdia-, di- 'through': diadem, diameter \ diocese^ 

872. dis-, di-, assimilated dif- 'asunder/ 'apart/ 'pri- 
vation,' 'negation.' The Old French form des- [Modem 
French des-, di-'\ is still preserved in descant 'tune vith 
modulations.' In the other derivatives taken from Old 
French the Latin dis- has been restored, as in ^&rarxn=01d 
French desarmer, disdain [compare Modern French d^ 
daigner], dishonest, disease. The following are of direct Latin 
origin: discreet, dissolve, distant) different, difficult. The 
form di' is rare in words of French introduction, such as 
diminish, and not very frequent in words of Latin form, such 
as divide, dilate, divert, dis- is freely used in new-formations, 
such as disconnect, disburden, disheartened. In ^jA'^^=M£ 

§ 879.] FOREIGN PREFIXES. 335 

mistiken it has been substituted for a similar-sounding native 
prefix ; so also perhaps in disbelieve^ distrust, 
*en-, *em- * in ' : see in-, im-. 

873. t©n-, ©m-, assimilated el-, * in ' : encyclopedia^ 
energy ; emblem, emphasis ; ellipse. 

874. t©nclo- * within ' : endogamous * marrying within 
the tribe,' endogenous ' growing from within.' 

*enter- * between ' ; see inter-. 

876. tepi-, ep-, eph- ' upon ' : epigram, epidemic ; 

876. ex-, e-, assimilated ef- * out of.' The Old French 
form is w-. Modern French /-. es- has been preserved in 
English only in a few obscured words, such as essay, escape. 
Wherever the meaning of the prefix has been kept clear it 
has been restored to its Latin form in English: exchange 
from Old French eschangier, extend, extinguish. The other 
Latin forms are seen in elegant, evade \ effect. As Ji;=(ks), an 
initial s is often dropped after ex-, as in ex-pect [compare 
re'Spect\, exude, extirpate [from Latin suddre * sweat,' stirps 
' stem ']. eX' is frequently used in new-formations to express 
' one out of office ' etc., as in ex-president, ex-secretary ; so 
also in the adjective ex-official, 

877. t©x-, eo- *out of: exodus] ecstasy, 

878. t©xo- * outside ' : exogamous * marrying outside the 
tribe,' exoteric * suitable for outer world, for people in 

879. extra- * beyond' is used in Latin chiefly with ad- 
jectives: extraordinary, extravagant] so also in the new- 
formations extra-official, extra-parochial, extra by itself is 
used in English as an adjective and adverb, being either the 
Latin adverb and preposition extra * beyond,' or else the 
detached prefix. Hence such combinations as extra work. 

11^6 ACCIDENCE. B 88o, 

extra careful^ extra-superfine are not derivatives, but word- 
groups or compounds. 

880. tliypor- *over/ 'beyond': hyperbole^ hyperborean^ 

881. thypo-, hyp-, hyph- 'under': hypodermic 'be- 
longing to the parts under the skin/ hypothesis ; hyphen. 

882. in-, im-, in-, 1-, assimilated il- etc. 'un-' — with 
which it is cognate as well as with Greek «»- — is joined to 
adjectives and occasionally to nouns. The following are 
examples of words which had this prefix in Latin itself: 
insane y insipid, injury) impious , ignorant] itliberal, tmmoriaL 
In English this prefix is applied only to foreign words of 
some length, as in inequality, injustice compared with 
unequal, unjust. If new words are formed from foreign 
words by means of English endings, un- is prefixed, as in 
ungrateful, undecided, compared with ingratitude, tndectstve. 
But un- is also prefixed to some words with exceptionally 
familiar Latin endings such as -able, as in unecUahle, uncon' 
querahle compared with intolerable^ invincible. 

883. in-, im-, il-, etc. 'in,' 'into' is maii^y a verb- 
former. The French form of this prefix is en-, em-, pre- 
served in English in such words as endure, engage, envoy y 
embellish, employ^ But in many words of French introduc- 
tion the Latin form has been restored, as in indite, ME 
enditen, inquire, imprint. As the spelling makes no differ- 
ence in the present pronunciation — en-, em--=(An, -im) — 
it fluctuates in some words between the Latin and French 
forms, the latter being now preferred in such cases of doubt, 
as in encage, enjoin, entitle, embark, formerly written also 
incage etc., although impeach now follows the Latin spelling. 
The following are examples of purely Latin words with this 
prefix: inaugurate, invade; impel] illuminate^ immerse^ if' 

£ 889.] FOREIGN PREFIXES. 2^7 

ruption ' breaking in/ There are many new-formations with 
the French form of the prefix : enlarge ; embody^ enliven. In 
impoverish and improve the Latin form of the prefix has taken 
the place of the less distinct a- from Latin ad-^ the former 
word being the Old French apovrir [Latin *appauperire\ 
while the latter is a variation of approve^^aprove. In a 
few words, such as inborn, income the prefix is of English 

884. inter-, *eiiter- 'between.' The French form is 
preserved only in enterprise, entertain, the Latin form having 
been substituted in all other words of French introduction : 
intercede, interpret, interval. In intellect, intelligent and their 
derivatives the Latin assimilation before / is kept, which is 
disregarded in other words, such as interlude. This prefix 
is frequently used in new-rformations, such as international, 

885. intro- 'within,' *into': introduce, introspection, 

886. tnieta-, met-, meth- ' with,' * after,' * change ' : 
metaphysics 'the study that comes after physics,' metamor- 
phosis; method, 

887. ne- * not ' : nefarious, ne-uter, neutral, 

888. aon- 'not.' The adverb non 'not' is not used as 
a derivative in Latin, occurring only as the first element of 
a few groupTCompounds such as ndn-nHlli 'some,' literally 
' not-none.' In Modern French and English it is used as a 
prefix in such words as nonsense, nonentity, as it already was 
in Late Latin in non-entitds^ It is freely used in new- 
formations, such as non-conductor, non-intervention, 

889. ob-, .o(b)s-, 0-, assimilated occ- etc., 'towards,* 
'against': obstacle, obviate; os-tensible\ omit; occur, offend, 
opposite. In some cases the full ob- has taken the place of an 
assimilated forpi, as in pb/t^scate. 

^38 ACCIDENCE. [§ 890. 

*par- see per-. 

890. tpara-, par-> parh- 'beside/ * against': paradox^ 
paragraph ; parenthesis^ parody \ parhelion, 

891. per- * through/ occurring also as a preposition. 
The assimilated pel- is preserved in English only in pellucid. 
The French form both of the prefix and of the preposition is 
par, preserved in English only in pardon [Late Latin per- 
dondre] and parhoiL In other words the Latin form has been 
restored, as in perfidy, permit, pervade, W^parfit from Latin 
perfedus through French par/ait was latinized in ME first 
inio perfit, then mio perfect, 

*por-, see pro-. 

892. post- 'after' : posthumous, postpone, postscript. 

893. pre- Latin prae- * before/ French pre*: precept, pre- 
cede, prefer, prescribe, present, pretend. It is freely used in 
new-formations in the sense of * before in time/ as in precon- 
ceive, pre-engage, presuppose, 

894. preter- 1^2X111 praeter- * beyond': preter-ite, preter- 
mit, preternatural, 

896. pro-, prod- ' before,' ' forth/ ' away firom/ * depriva- 
tion,' as in profane literally * away from the temple,' pro- 
hihit ' acting as substitute,' as in proconsul, * relation/ as in 
proportion, pro * before/ 'for' etc. is also an independent 
preposition. There was in Latin an allied prefix /<?r-, as in 
por tender e 'portend.' The popular Old French form oipro- 
and the preposition pro was pur, p8r [modem French pour"], 
which was probably a blending of pro and per. This fonn 
is preserved in such words as purchase [Latin *procapiiSre]f 
pursue; portrait] poursuivant, pursuivant 'state messenger 
or attendant.' The following are examples of the Latin 
form : pro-duce, progress, provide ; prod-igy, prodigal. 

886. tpro- ' before ' : problem, programme, prologue. 

§ 905-] FOREIGN PREFIXES. 239 

897. tpros- * towards ' : pros-elyte literally * coming 
towards/ prosody, 

*pTir-, see pro-. 

898. re-, red-, * back,* * repetition,' as in repeat^ * oppo- 
sition,' as in resist, having often only an intensitive force, as 
in rejoice. In French re- often became r- before a vowel, 
but the full form was restored in English, as in reenter from 
French rentrer. The fuller form red- is preserved in redeem, 
redolent, redintegrate, re- is freely used in new-formations, 
such as reconsider, reintroduce, recover an umbrella distinct 
from the traditional recover, 

899. retro- * backwards ' : retrograde, retrospection. 

900. se-, sed- ' apart,' * away ' : secede, select, separate ; 

901. semi- 'half: semicircle, semicolon. Also in new- 
formations, such as semi-detached. 

902. sine- * without ' : sinecure. 

903. sub-, assimilated sue- etc. * under,' whence a great 
variety of secondary meanings — * near,' * behind,' * following,' 

* inferiority,' * diminution,' * approaching,' *help,' ' completion,' 
the primary meaning also developing into that of ' stealth,' 

* secrecy' : subscribe, suburb, subsequent, subordinate, subdivide, 
subvention^ suborn; succumb, support, suffice, supply, succour, 
surreptitious, sub- is freely used in new-formations, such 
as subcutaneous, subway, especially to express subordination 
etc., as in sub-committee, sub-editor, sublet, and diminution, as 
in the adjectives sub-transparent, sub-tropical. 

904. subter- * under ' : subterfuge, 

905. super- 'above,' 'beyond' became sur- in Old 
French, which is frequently preserved in English, as in 
surmount, surpass, surface by the side of its Latin original 
superficies. It expresses ' beyond in time ' in survive^ super- 

240 ACCIDENCE.. [§ 906. 

annuated. Its most frequent metaphorical meanings are 

* addition/ * excess/ * superiority/ as in surname [which is an 
Anglicised form of French surnoni] ; surfeit^ supernatural, 
superfluous', surpass, supereminent. The Latin form of the 
prefix is freely used in new-formations, generally to express 

* excess': super-sensual 'beyond the reach of the senses/ 

906. supra- ' above/ ' beyond ' : supramundane, 
*STir-, see super-. 

907. BUS- has the same meaning as sub-, being a con-f 
traction of subius: susceptible, suspend, sustain [Latin sus-, 
tinere through French]. Shortened to su- in su-speci, sus- 

908. tsyn-, sy-, assimilated syl- etc. * with/ ' together ' ; 
synagogue, syntax ; system ; syl-labk, symmetry. 

909. trans-, tra- * across/ * through,' * beyond.' The Old 
French form is tres-, preserved in English only in trespass, 
compared with the Latin form of the prefix in transgress, 
transs' is shortened to trans- as in transcend. Various 
shades of the primary meaning are seen in such words as 
transient, transitory, transpire, tra-duce, trans- often ex- 
presses ' change,' both of place as in transplant, transpose^ and 
of quality as in transform, translate, travesty. It is used in 
new-formations, as in Transatlantic, tranship. 

*tres-, see trans-* 

910. ultra- * beyond/ both of place and of quantity and 
superiority ; ultramontane ' beyond the mountains/ that is, 

* belonging to the Italian party in the Church of Rome/ 
ultramarine ' a colour brought from beyond the sea,' ultra- 
mundane. Freely used in new-formations to express excess : 
ultra- radical, ultra-clerical, whence the detached ultra has 
pome to be used as an independent adjective in the ^nsQ 

§ 913.] FOREIGN SUFFIXES. 241 

of 'extreme/ as in ultra measures, whence the derivatives 
uliraisty uliraism. 


911. The foreign suffixes will now be treated of under 
the general heads of ' noun-forming ' etc., and the sub- 
divisions ' personal,' * abstract/ the suffixes under each 
section being arranged so that those which consist entirelj 
of vowels come first, and are followed by those that contain 
consonants in the alphabetic order of those consonants. 



912. *-ee is the strong form of French -/ from Latin 
-aius, and denotes the person who takes a passive share in 
an action or agreement, the corresponding active agent being 
denoted by -or, -er. Thus lessee is the person to whom a 
house is let on lease, as opposed to the lessor; so also 
grantee, legatee, mortgagee. Some of these derivatives have 
no special active word corresponding to them, such as 
patentee, referee, trustee. In these words the passive meaning 
is less prominent, and patentee, for instance, may be taken to 
mean either ' one to whom a patent is granted,' or ' one who 
takes out a patent ' ; and in some cases -ee is a purely active 
suffix as in absentee, devotee, refugee. 

The weak form of this suffix is -^, -^, as in attorney =0\d 
French atornd 924). 

-iff, see -ive under ' Adjective-forming/ 
-an, -ean, -ian, -ine, -nt, see under * Adjective-form- 

913. -ar, -er, -eer, -ier from Latin -drius, -drts^ Low Latin 


24^ ACCIDENCE. [| 914. 

-erius, whence the Old French -/>r, which in ME became -ir. 
In ME -er was shortened to -er when weak, whence such 
MnE derivatives as officer, prisoner ^ stranger. In ME it 
was often levelled under the English suffix -ere, as in scolere, 
iemplere. Many words took the ending -ar through the 
influence of the original Latin forms, some already in ME, 
such as vicar, others later, such as scholar, Templar, The 
MnE -eer, -ier comes from the strong form of the French 
suffix, both forms being freely used in new-formations, 
especially -eer: cavalier, cuirassier, muleteer, pamphUieer, 

914. -or from Latin -or, *-oTir from Latin -or em, through 
Old French -or. In Latin this ending is preceded by 
derivative /, which under certain conditions becomes s\ 
imperdior, professor. In Old French the / was weakened 
and then dropped, leaving a hiatus, as in empere^, sauvedr 
(Latin salvdtdrem). The / was of course kept in learned 
words of later importation into French, and was reintro- 
duced into popular words when they were latinized, whence 
the MnE forms autour, author (210), creditor, orator. In 
Early MnE the spelling -our was still preserved, but we now 
write the Latin -or even in words that have not been other- 
wise latinized, such as emperor, tailor, conqueror = earlier 
emperour etc., though we still write saviour. 

915. -or has in many words taken the place of French -^ 
(as also in some English words, § 823) : bachelor pEarly 
MnE hacheler\ chancellor, warrior =-OE hacheUr^ Modem 
French hachelier etc. This is partly the result of -or and 
-er having the same sound (sr) even in Early MnE (280). 
In some words the opposite change has taken place, as in 
miner, robder^ME mtnour, rohhour, 

-ary, see under * Adjective-forming/ 


916. -ard, -art. Although introduced into English from 
French, this sufl5x is of Germanic origin. In the Germanic 
languages -hard * hard ' in the sense of * strong/ * brave/ was 
a frequent termination of proper names of men, many of 
which wfere introduced into Old French, whence they passed 
into English, such as Richard^ Reynard ; Renard was origin- 
ally a man's name — Old High German Reginhart — which 
was given to the fox in the story of * Renard the fox,' which 
was introduced into France in the twelfth century from 
Flanders. In Flemish the name of the fox is Reinaert, 
which in French became Renart\ and the story became so 
popular in France that renard is now the only French word 
for fox, the Old French goupil *fox' surviving only as a 
proper name. The name-suffix -ard^ -art was soon used in 
Old French and the other Romance languages to form per- 
sonal nouns, which were at first nicknames, and had a 
depreciatory sense. Thus from the Romance forms of 
Latin cauda * tail ' was formed Italian codardOy Old French 
cdari ' coward.' Other examples are bastardy wizard^ which 
were imported from French, and English formations such as 
braggart^ drunkard^ sluggard. This suffix is used to express 
nationality in Spaniard^ Savoyard^ probably at first with an 
idea of ridicule. It was also used to form names of animals, 
as in buzzard, mallard ' wild drake ' [formed in French from 
the adjective male\ ; rarely to form names of things, as in 
petard, poniard [Old French poing * fist *]. 

-ese, see under * Adjective-forming.' 

917. *-ess, French -esse from Latin -issa denotes female 
persons and — more rarely — female animals : goddess, priestess, 
countess, shepherdess, patroness lioness, tigress. Exceptional 
formations in point of meaning are Jewess, negress ; mayoress 
= * wife of mayor/ Final weak and silent vowels are Omitted 

R 2 

244 ACCIDENCE. [| 918. 

before this suffix, as in princess^ negress^ votaress iromfrincey 
negro, votary. Nouns in -^r, -or often throw out the vowd 
when -ess is added, as in tigress^ actress from tigeTy actor. 
Nouns in -erer^ -eror, and some in -urer drop the second 
of these two weak syllables before -ess^ as in sorceress, con- 
qtieress from sorcerer, conqueror. Similarly in governess from 
governor. Some words show further changes: abbess, an- 
choress from abbot, anchorite \ duchess {duke), marchioness 
{marquis), mistress {master), 

918. t-iflt, Latin -ista from Greek -istes, generally ex- 
presses 'trade,' 'pursuit,' or adherence to a party, dogma 
etc. : artist, florist, chemist, communist, royalist, deist. It is 
used in a more general sense in such derivatives as bigamist, 
copyist, provincialist. In tobacconist from tobacco an n is 
inserted on the analogy of botanist, mechanist etc., in egotist, 
by the side of egoist a / on that of dramatist, both insertions 
being prompted by the desire to avoid hiatus. 

The parallel t-ast in phantast, enthusiast. 

919. t-ite, Latin -tta from Greek 4tes, is used to form 
names of nations, sects etc: Canaanite, Israelite, Carmelite] 


920. -trix is the Latin fem. of -tor : executrix, testatrix 
from executor, testator. 


921. -ule, -cule: capsule, globule \ animalcule — ^also in^ 
the fuller Latin form animalculum — corpuscule. The latter 
ending was shortened to -de in French in most words where 
the diminutive meaning was not prominent, whence the 
English article, miracle, spectacle etc. But several of them 
retain the diminutive meaning, especially where i precedes : 
cuticle * outer thin skin,' particle. 


922. -et, -let. -et forms diminutive nouns and adjectives : 
circlet, islet, cygnet \ dulcet, russet. On the analogy of circlet 
from circle etc., where the / came to be regarded as part of 
the suffix, a new diminutive -let has developed itself, which is 
freely used in new-formations, such as leaflet, streamlet, 
iroutlet. In many words these suffixes have lost their 
diminutive meaning. 


923. *-y, -ey. -y represents Early MnE, ME and Old 
French -ie from Latin -ia, and is chiefly used to form abstract 
nouns, as m fury, modesty, perfidy, and in more popular 
French words, such as company, courtesy, fancy. Some 
of these words have more special and concrete meanings, 
such as comedy, family, navy, 

-y = Latin -ia is frequent in names of countries, as in 
Italy, Germany, Normandy, although in most cases the full 
Latin ending has been restored, as in Asia, India, Austria, 
-y also corresponds to the Latin neuter ending -ium, as in 
monastery, remedy, study^ forming concrete as well as abstract 

924. -y is also the MnE representative of weak ME -e, 
which when strong becomes -ee in MnE (912). y=.W£. 
-e from French -/= Latin -dtus (945), is sometimes ab- 
stract, but generally concrete in a collective sense or in 
names of districts : treaty ; clergy \ county, duchy, 

925. It often answers to Old French -/<? from Latin 
(generally Late Latin) -dta with the same meaning as -dtus : 
destiny, entry, army, jury, country. 

926. The spelling -ey is a mere variety of y, as in Turkey 
(ME Turkie\ attorney (French 'i\journ^ (French -e'e). 

246 ACCIDSyCE. [§ 927. 

-y and -fy represent a variety of other French vowels in isolated 


927. -ice, *-es8, *-iBe from Latin -zV/o, -iiteSy Late Latin 
-icm, which in Latin were used chiefly to form abstract 
nouns from adjectives : avaricCy malice^ notice. The popular 
Old French form was -esse^ kept in ME words such as 
largesse * largess ' [large * liberal '], richesse * riches ' (SIL i\ 
These suffixes were also used in Old French to form deriva- 
tives from nouns, whence the MnE cowardice^ merchandise^ 
which has a concrete meaning. There are some English 
new-formations in -ice^ -ise : practice^ praciisey treatise, 

928. -oy, -sy. These suffixes were first developed from 
the Latin combinations -/-2V7, -^-ia in such words as constancy^ 

fallacy from Latin constantia (Late Latin constancies, /alldciay 
themselves formed from the derivative adjectives constans 
(cdnstantem), fallax (fallacem). In MnE they are still asso> 
ciated with derivative / and c, often taking the place of other 
endings of Latin origin, especially -/ibw, as in conspiracy [com- 
pare conspirator^ degeneracy [degenerate'], obstimicy^=\Alasi 
conspirdtid etc. They have the same abstract meaning in 
many other new-formations, such as intricacy, intimacy ^ lunacy 
from intricate^ intimate, lunatic, where the second suffix -ilr is 
disregarded. In these words the c is still felt to be a modifi- 
cation of the derivative /, but in the still more recent forma- 
tions idiotcy [also idiocy\ bankruptcy the / is kept before it, 
so that the -cy has developed into an independent, primary 
suffix. A special use of these suffixes is to denote rank and 
office : curacy^ magistracy, ensigncy ; minstrelsy. Some of the 
above have also a collective sense, legacy has a concrete 

929. t-ad, -id were used to form titles of epic poems, as 
in Iliad * the tale of Ilium or Troy,' Aeneid * the adventures 

§ 933.] FOREIGN SUFFIXES, 247 

of Aeneas/ whence many new-formations in modern times, 
such as Lusiad, Columbiad, the suffix -ad being often used to 
form titles of satirical poems, such as The Dunciad * epic of 

930. The Greek -ad occurs also in other functions, being 
used especially to form abstract nouns from numbers, as in 
monad, triads myriad^ and decade with the French form of the 

931. *-ade is a French adaptation of Italian -ada from 
Latin -dia, of which -^e is the regular French form, as in 
arm/e, whence the English army [compare the Spanish 
armada\ -ade generally forms collective nouns from other 
nouns : balustrade, barricade, colonnade ; sometimes from 
verbs, as in cavalcade [Italian cavalcare ' ride *]. It also forms 
abstract nouns from nouns and verbs : blockade, promenade, 

932. *-age from Latin -attcum forms nouns from various 
parts of speech with a great variety of meanings, the most 
marked of which are {a) coUectiveness, as in baggage, 
bandage, plumage*, {b) profit or charge in relation to the 
root- word, as in mileage ' payment or allowance for travelling 
per mile,' also collectively ' aggregate of miles,' postage ; (r) 
action or state (rank, quality): coinage, tillage, voyage: 
bondage, courage, peerage. 

-al, see under * Adjective-forming.' 

933. -ment, Latin -mentum, forms nouns from verbs. It 
forms abstract nouns expressing action, state, or result, as 
in argument, emolument, which in Latin means both * labour,' 
and * gain.' So also in many new-formations : agreement, 
employment, treatment, which are formed from French verbs, 
and bereavement, fulfilment, which are formed from English 
verbs. In concrete words -ment expresses sometimes the 

248 ACCIDENCE. [| 934. 

means of an action, as in instrument^ ornament^ sometimes its 
result, as vsx fragment^ segment, 

934. From -ment is formed the adjective-suffix -mental 
(958), as in experimental, instrumental, whence again is 
formed the abstract noun-suffix -mentality (947), as in 

-in, -ine, see * Adjective-forming.' 

935. -ion (-sion, -tion) from Latin -id {-ionem), which 
forms abstract nouns from verbs : opinion, rebellion ; com- 
pulsion, passion] education, action. Some have developed 
concrete meanings, such as nation, legion. The popular Old 
French form of this suffix was -^«, the / being absorbed into 
the preceding sound in various ways, whence MnE reason 
[compare the more learned ration\ treason. In less familiar 
words the Latin /was restored, whence the ME iorm.^ opiniun^ 
condicioun etc. 

936. -ana is used in new-formations from names of per- 
sons to signify literary gossip about them, as in Johnsoniana 
' sayings of, or anecdotes about Dr. Johnson,' Walpoliana) also 
publications bearing on them and their literary works, as in 
Shakesperiana. This suffix is the Latin neut. plur. of adjec- 
tives in -anus (963), as used in such phrases as dicta Vergi' 
liana * sayings of Virgil ' ( Vergilius). The detached ana has 
come to be used as a noun to signify * collection of anecdotes 
of celebrities ' etc. 

937. -ance, -ence from Latin -antia {-anaa), -mtia 
{-encia), which form abstract nouns from the present participle 
endings -dns, -ens, ace. -antem, -entem (970), as in arrogance, 
ignorance ; experience, penitence. The above words preserve 
their Latin roots, but most of the derivatives in -once are of 
French formation : entrance, grievance, 

938. These endings often take on the suffix -y (028), 

§ 942.] FOREIGN SUFFIXES. - 249 

giving -ancy, -ency, as in brilliancy, consistency by the side 
of brilliancCj consistence. In the case of excellence, excellency 
there is a difference of meaning. Some occur only in the 
longer form, such as infancy, agency, 

939. -or, *-oiir from Latin -or, -orem forms abstract 
nouns, chiefly from verbs. In MnE the French spelling -our 
is preferred to the Latin -or, especially in more popular 
words, the usage being the contrary of that which prevails 
with the personal ending -or (914); but in America the 
shorter -or is consistently extended to the abstract d?r-deri- 
vatives as well, as in ^^;«d?r= British English honour, parallel 
with author. The following are examples of this suffix : 
colour ^ honour; liquor, splendor. There are some new- 
formations : demeanour, behaviour, 

940. The lengthened ending -ory= Latin -orius, -oria, 
forms adjectives and abstract nouns — in which /, {s) precede 
the ending — such as obligatory, compulsory ; history, victory, 

941. *-ry, Old French -rie, arose from the addition of 
the abstract suffix -ie (923) to the French ending -(fjer 
(913), as in chevalerie, chivalerie ' body of knights,* * chivalry' 
from chevalier * rider,' * knight' [Late Latin caballdrius\. In 
English also it was associated with the personal suffix -er 
through such derivatives as fisher-y. In MnE this suffix is 
mainly used in derivatives from nouns, and occasionally from 
adjectives, expressing (ci) actions or qualities, as in bigotry, 
drudgery, pleasantry ; (3) condition, as in outlawry, slavery ; 
(r) occupation, trade, art etc., as in casuistry, chemistry, 
heraldry; {d) the place of actions, occupations etc., as in 
nunnery, nursery ; (e) the result or product of action etc., 
as in poetry, tapestry; (y) collectivity, as in peasantry, 


942. -ure from Latin -iira^ which is generally preceded 

350 ACCIDENCE. [| 943. 

by derivative /, (s\ In popular Old French forms the / dis- 
appeared, in the same way as in -ie (912); thus Latin 
armdtura becomes in Old French armeure, which in Mn£ 
has become armour by the influence of the suffix -our. The 
/ is of course preserved in learned words, such as naiure. 
The chief function of this suffix is to form abstract nouns, 
generally from verb-roots : figure ; departure ; composure. 
It also forms concrete nouns, such as furntturey picture. In 
some words it has taken the place of -/r, -<?r, as in pleasure^ 
treasure =^ Old French leisir, pleisir, tresor. 
-ese, see under ' Adjective-forming/ 

943. t-ism, Latin -ismus, from Greek -ismds is freely 
used to form abstract nouns expressing action, habit — 
especially habits of language or pronunciation — as attachment 
to some creed, party etc.: Anglicism^ archaism; despotism^ 
patriotism ; Calvinism^ conservatism, egotism by the side of 
egoism owes its / to egotist (918). 

944. In Greek this suffix is added to adjectives in -ikSs 
forming the compound suffix -ikismds, Latin -icismus^ whence 
English -icism, as in Atticism, fanaticism, Scotticism, uoitti" 
cism. In the last two -icism must be regarded as a simple 
derivative, there being no corresponding adjective in -tc. 

945. -ate from Latin -dtus, gen. -a/»f expresses office, 
function, as in consulate, episcopate and the new-formations 
professorate, being sometimes used to express the holder of 
the office, as in magistrate, and also in a collective sense, as 
in syndicate, electorate 'body of electors' (also 'dignity of 
Elector '). 

946. -itude from Latin -itiidd forms abstract nouns from 
adjectives : fortitude, sollicitude. In multitude it has developed 
a concrete meaning. 

947. *-ty Latin -tds, -tdtem, Old French -te, ME -ti" forms 

§ 949-] FOREIGN SUFFIXES. ^51 

abstract nouns from adjectives: liberty; variety; antiquity , 
vanity, -ity is often added in this way to adjective-suffixes, so 
that, for instance, -city corresponds to -cious, as in capacity 
{capacious\ -idity to -id^ as in timidity^ -ality to -a/, as in 
reality^ -ility to -// and -ile^ as in civility^ fertility^ -arity to 
-ar, as in regularity^ the most regular and frequent corre- 
spondence being that between -hie (948) and -bility, as in 
nobility, durability. The above are all of direct Latin 
origin. Others have passed through French changes, such 
as certainty, plenty, pity, property. In some words this suffix 
has a concrete meaning, as in city, university. 


948. *-ble from Latin -bilis, as in nobilis * noble/ tolerdbilis 
' tolerable,' terribilis * terrible/ In English -ble is generally 
preceded by a or i — these being the vowels that most frequently 
precede it in Latin — only exceptionally by other vowels, as in 
soluble. In Latin it has no very definite meaning, and is used 
both in an active and passive sense ; but in English the 
passive meaning prevails, -ble being associated with the 
adjective able from Latin habilis, navigable, for instance, being 
regarded as equivalent to * able to be navigated.' So also in 
admirable, legible, soluble. In some however the suffix has an 
active meaning, as in durable, favorable; forcible, sensible. 
There are many new formations in -able, such as unbearable; 
reliable formed from rely on, 

949. There is another suffix -ble of French origin, from 
Latin -plex {-plicem) *-fold,' which we have in the English 
word double, treble, the p of the Latin form being restored 
in triple and in formations from the higher numbers, such 
as quadruple, and in multiple. 

252, ACCIDENCE. [§ 950. 

950. -bund, * -bond : moribund^ rubicund; vagabond^ 
which is also a noun. 

951. -ic, French -ic^ -tque from Latin -icus and Greek 
-ikSs^ forms adjectives, generally from nouns, many of these 
derivations being also used as nouns, some exclusively so. 
Thus we have the Latin domestic^ public, the Greek catholic, 
tonic. This suffix also forms part of the Latin compound 
suffix -atic, as in aquatic, lunatic. There is also a Greek 
ending -tic preceded by different vowels, in which the / is 
part of the body of the word : emphat-ic, despotic, 

952. -ic is also used to form names of races and lan- 
guages, as in Celtic {Keltic), Germanic, and new-formations 
such as Finnic, Hanseatic, formed from Hansa, Hanse-towns 
on the analogy of Asiatic from Asia, 

953. Of the nouns in -ic some denote persons, such as 
catholic, rustic and the collective public, all of which are also 
adjectives, and lunatic, which is now used chiefly as a noun ; 
while others denote things, such as tonic, others language, 
such as Celtic, Gaelic, which however is generally expressed 
by 'ish (985). There are also many which denote arts 
and sciences, such as arithmetic, logic, music, especially in 
the plur. : mathematics, optics. In Greek logic was called 
he logike t/khne * the reason science,' where the adjective 
logikds is in the fem., agreeing with tikhm\ afterwards 
logike by itself was used as a fem. noun, which was adopted 
into Latin, either unchanged — logici — or with the Latin 
fem. ending — logica; and from Latin this and the other 
words of the same kind passed through French into Eng- 
lish. In Greek these adjectives were also used as nouns 
in the neut. plur., as in th mathematikd, literally * the mathe- 
matical (things).' The MnE use of the plur. mathematics 
is an imitation of this usage, aided by the English habit of 


making adjectives into nouns by adding the plur. -j, as in 
greens^ news, 

954. Derivations in -ic often take on the adjective suffix 
-«/, the new -ical and the shorter -ic being often used 
ahnost indifferently, as in gmeric{at), myihic{at)^ poeiic(al), 
while in other cases the addition of -al is accompanied by 
a marked divergence of meaning, as in politic{al), comic(al). 
When a word in ic{s) is used exclusively as a noun, the 
corresponding adjective always takes -al for the sake of dis- 
tinction, as in music{ai)y mathematicaL 

955. t-iac forms adjectives — which are sometimes also 
used as nouns — from nouns, the ending -al being often 
added, as in the case of -ic (954) : maniac, defnomac(al), 

956. -id forms adjectives from adjectives, verbs, and 
nouns : acid, fluid, intrepid, morbid, splendid. Some of these, 
such as acid and fluid, are also used as nouns. 

957. t-oid. Greek ^eides from ddos * form ' makes nouns 
into adjectives, such as anthropoeidis 'having the form of 
a man.' In Latin Greek ei is written t, and as the ending 
was generally preceded by 0, -oid has come to be regarded 
as an independent suffix in such words as anthropoid * resem- 
bling man,' rhomboid] on the analogy of which there are 
numerous new-formations, such as alkaloid, aneroid, most of 
which are nouns. 

958. -al. Latin -dlis is a very frequent adjective-ending, 
as in equal, natural, royal, which is the French form corre- 
sponding to the learned regal, both from Latin regdlis^ So 
also -ial : essential, pestilential, 

959. -al is often added to the adjective-suffix -ic (951), 
the resulting -ical being often regarded as an independent 
suffix, whence such new-formations as whimsical. 

254 ACCIDENCE. [§ 966. 

960. -a/ also forms nouns with a great variety of 
meanings, such as individual^ general \ animal \ mineral^ 
journal^ capital^ all of which were originally adjectives, many 
of them being still used as such. 

961. -al is especially used in Mn£ to form abstract nouns, 
mostly from verbs, such as arrival^ funeral, trial. Some of 
these — such as funeral — had the same ending in ME, while 
others had the ending -aille, which is the old French form of 
the Latin adjective neut. plur. -^lia from -alis. Thus victuals 
appears in ME in the form of vitaille, which is also the Old 
French form, from Latin victudlia, which afterwards in- 
fluenced the spelling of the word. 

962. -il, -ile, Latin -His, -tliSy the former being mainly 
from verb-roots, the latter from nouns. From -His : fertile, 
fragile. From -ilis', civil, hostile. In gentle we have an 
English shortening of French gentil, which was re-introduced 
into MnE in the form oi genteel, gentile being a third doublet 
which represents the original Latin form genttlis * belonging 
to a gens or family.' The shortening is French in humble, 
subtle, also written in the more learned form subtile. 

963. -an, -ane from Latin -anus forms adjectives de- 
noting persons, such as human, republican, veteran, many of 
which are also used as nouns. Others, such as publican and 
the French artisan, are used only as nouns. This suffix 
is used especially to form adjectives and nouns denoting 
religious sects etc., such as Anglican, Mahometan^ and nations, 
as in Roman, American \ it has a similar function in 

964. The popular French form of this suffix was -am^ 
which is preserved in a few English words, such as captain^ 

965. -ane, as in humane^ mundane was in Early MnE a 

( 9 70-3 FOREIGN SUFPIXES. 255 

mere orthographic variant of -a«, human and humane being 
written at random without any distinction of meaning. 

966. -ean, French -em, which has the same meaning 
as ^anie), is a lengthened form of Latin ^aeus^ -eus, the 
lengthening -aednus occurring in Latin itself in some words. 
By the influence of the English pronunciation of Latin the 
ending is in most words pronounced ('isn), but the older 
pronunciation, in which the suffix is short and weak, is still 
kept up in such words as Mediterranean, herculean. Strong 
-ean in Pythagorean \ Chaldean, European, 

967. -ia]i=: Latin -tdnus also has the same meaning as 
-an^ being especially frequent in adjectives and nouns ex- 
pressing occupation, rank etc. : historian, musician, tragedian ; 
patrician, plebeian ; Christian, preshyterian ; barbarian, 

968. -ine, -in from Latin -inus, -tnus forms numerous 
adjectives, some of which are also used as nouns : Alpine, 
crystalline, elephantine ; divine, feminine ; Philistine ; clandes- 
tine — Latin, The pronunciation ('ijn) in marine, machine 
is an imitation of modern French. 

969. There are many original nouns in Latin 'in{e), such 
as libertine, medicine) dolphin, resin. There is a large 
number of chemical words in -ine, -in, such as casein(e), 
iodine. When such words become familiar they are generally 
written -ine and pronounced with the French (-ijn), as in 
gelatine, glycerine. So also in numerous newly formed trade- 
words, such as brillantine, butterine, 

970. -ant, -ent from the Latin pres. partic. endings -dns 
(-antem), -ens (entem), form adjectives and nouns from verbs. 
Adjectives : arrogant, ignorant ; eminent, innocent. Nouns : 
dependant [adjective dependent^, inhabitant, student', torrent', 
instant, accident. Many words in -ant are French formations : 

256 ACCIDENCE. [§ 971. 

brilliant^ Early MnE, Old French hrillant; pleasant; merchant^ 

971. -lent, from Latin -lentus and -lens {-lentem); opulent] 
pestilenty violent. 

From these must be distinguished adjectives formed from 
present participles (969), such as benevol-ent, insol-ent, 

-pie, see -ble. 

972. -ar from Latin -drtsi familiar , regular , similar. 
The popular Old French form of this suffix was -^, and 
some of the above words were introduced in ME English 
with it, such as singuler, but the ending was latinized in 

973. -ary from Latin -drius forms adjectives and personal 
nouns : extraordinary^ necessary ; dignitary^ incendiary, 

974. -ior. In Latin -ior {-iorem) is the comparative 
ending of adjectives, which are also used as nouns : ittferior^ 
superior, junior^ senior, 

975. -ese from Latin -ensis, -esis forms adjectives and 
nouns from names of countries : Chinese^ Maltese, Portu- 

976. -ose, *-otis from Latin -dnsus, -osus, which was used 
to form adjectives from nouns : bellicose, verbose ; fabulous, 

furious, glorious. So also in the new-formations mischievous, 

977. In MnE many Latin words were imported into the 
written language in the nom. masc. sing, inflection, because 
that was the one that came first in the dictionaries and 
grammars, -us — which is the most frequent form of this case 
in Latin — being written -ous on the analogy of -«;«= Latin 
'osus ; thus in MnE we have barbarous from Latin barbarus 
(fem. sing. nom. barbara etc.), the popular Old French barbar 


being also the ME form ; so also in credulous, obvious. The 
less frequent nom. sing. masc. ending -is is made into -ious, 
as in illustrious, scurrilous, 

978. *-esque from Italian -esco, Latin -iscus, forms 
adjectives and nouns : arabesque, picturesque, statuesque. The 
noun burlesque is also used as a verb. 

979. -t, -te, -ate, -ite, -ute. -/ often represents the 
ending of the Latin pret. passive partic, preceded sometimes 
by a consonant, but generally by the vowel a, and occasion- 
ally by other vowels. Thus the following English adjectives 
come from Latin passive participles in -/; content [generally 
made into contented\ abrupt ; accurate, private ; complete ; 
definite ; absolute. Others come from Latin passive parti- 
ciples with the Latin change of / into s in certain combina- 
tions : dense, diverse. Some of these — such as content — existed 
as popular words in Old French, the others being afterwards 
— in English as well as French — formed directly from the 
Latin passive participles on the analogy of the popular forms. 
In Latin, adjective-participles in -dtu^ were sometimes formed 
directly from nouns, as in the Latin words corresponding to 
caudate * tailed,' insensate ; and in MnE many more adjectives 
of this kind have been formed directly from Latin nouns, 
even where there are no such formations in Latin itself; thus 
we have lunulate * shaped like a little moon,' ' crescent- 
shaped' [Latin lunula * little moon'], angusHfoliate *with 
narrow leaves.' -ate was also substituted for the French 
ending of the passive partic, as in affectionate. 

980. Many of these adjectives naturally developed into 
nouns. In Latin itself we have personal (masc.) nouns such 
as legdtus * one deputed,' * legate ' ; and in Late Latin curdtus, 
which in Classical Latin is used only as an adjective * careful/ 
has developed the meaning * curate.' In Latin we have also 


258 ACCIDENCE. [5 981. 

neuter nouns in -um formed from these participle-adjectives, 
such as manddium 'what is commanded/ 'mandate/ and 
Late Latin manuscr'iptum ' hand-written/ * manuscript/ Many 
others have been formed in modern times, some of which are 
used only as nouns, some also as adjectives : deiegaie, 
favourite; extract, duplicate. Some of these nouns are 
formed from the Latin pret. partic. of deponent verbs, which 
have an active meaning, such as adept * one who has attamed 
proficiency,' from the deponent verb adiphcor ' obtain.* 

981. The chemical noun-suffix -ate arose from the Latin 
technical terms of the older chemists, who called the result of 
the action of vinegar (Latin acetum) on lead (Latin plumbum) 
plumbum acetdtum ' vinegared lead/ or simply acetdtum, which 
was regarded as a noun, whence we now say acetate of had, 
nitrate of soda, shortened into nitrate. To express a less 
degree of chemical action the ending -ite has been arbitrarily 
formed from -ate — nitrite of soda. 

982. In accordance with the general tendencies of English, 
many of these adjectives were made into verbs ; thus, as the 
adjectives dry and clear (OE dryge. Old French cler) had 
become indistinguishable from the verbs to dry, to clear (OE 
ddrygan, Old French clairier) so that the verbs seemed to be 
formed directly from the adjectives, so also such adjective- 
participles as content, corrupt, separate came to be used as 
verbs. At first the ending 't(e) did duty for the passive 
partic. of these new verbs, as in he was contract to Lady Lucy 
(Shakespere), they have degenerate, but they soon began to 
take the English inflection -ed, so that a distinction was made 
between the land was desolate (adj.) and the land tvas deso- 
lated (earlier desolate) by war. By degrees some of the new 
participles came themselves to be used as adjectives, such 
as contented, situated = the older content, situate^ The 


ending -ate having now the function of a verb, it became 
usual to adopt Latin verbs into English in the form of their 
passive participles, especially when these were formed in 
-atus ; hence such verbs as asseverate, venerate were formed 
direct from the Latin verbs asseverdre etc. without the inter- 
vention of an adjective-partic. in -ate, although, of course, it 
is not always certain in individual cases whether there was 
such an intervening form or not. This verb-forming -ate was 
extended to verbs imported from French, as in isolate [French 
tsoler from Latin tnsuldre, whence the more learned form 
insulate\, felicitate. Lastly -ate has been used to form verbs 
from Latin words where there was no corresponding Latin 
verb in -are, as in incapacitate, formed from Latin capdcitds, 
incapdx, substantiate, -ate is also used to form verbs from 
words of non-Latin origin, such as assassinate, 

983. -ive from Latin -Jvtis forms adjectives and nouns : 
active, furtive, primitive ; captive, native; alternative, motive. 
The popular Old French form of this suffix was -if, preserved 
in MnE caitiff — of which captive is the learned doublet — 
plaintiff. In some of these the ending was afterwards 
Latinized as in plaintive from plaintif 


984. *-fy, French -fier from Latin -ficdre, a weakening of 
facere * do,' * make,' forms causative verbs from nouns and 

adjectives (pronouns) : deify, modify; fortify, purify, 

985. *-ish. Many French verbs in -ir conjugate partly 
with -iss before the inflections, which is taken from the Latin 
ending -scd [-esco, -isco etc.) of inchoative verbs. In Old 
French this i'j'= Latin sc had nearly the sound (J), and in ME 
it was extended to the infin. and all the other parts of the 
verbs that had it, as mfinisshen * fimsh,' ffdriss^n ' flourish '= 

s 2 

26o ACCIDENCE. [§ 986. 

Old French /emr [Modern French yf«/r], Ji(frt'r, ist pers. 
plur. pres. indie. yem'ssonsj jlMssons from Latin/?«Fr^, ^nis- 
cere, florere, florescere. So also in abolish, nourish, punish. 
From such as these it was extended in ME to many French 
verbs which never had any iss-forms, as in astonish from Old 
French estoner, distinguish^ publish. It was also used in 
purely English verb-formations, such 2iS /amish from /amine. 

The original Latin inchoative -scere occurs only in words 
taken directly from Latin or which were Latinized in French : 
acquiesce, effervesce, effloresce{nt), 

-ate, see under * Adjective-forming/ 
986. t-ize, -ise, French iser, Latin -isdre, issdre from 
Greek -izein, is used to form verbs from nouns and adjectives. 
It occurs in Greek formations, such as agonize, crystallize, 
theorize ; forms derivatives from Latin words, such as civilize, 
patronize, realize ; from French words, as in authorize ; and 
is freely employed in new-formations, such as galvanize, 
hypnotize. The spelling -ize in imitation of the Greek form 
of the suffix has now supplanted the older -ise. 



(The references are to the paragraphs.) 

A art. 427. 
a pron. 367. 
B, — have 730. 
B. = on 743. 
a- 803. 
ab- 853. 
ad- 854. 
-ad 929. 
-ade 931. 
®g- 805. 
against 765. 
-age 932. 
-ain 964. 
-al 958. 
alder- 337. 
alive 743. 
all 356. 
alms 311. 
always 742, 743. 
amb- 855. 
amidst 742. 
among 765. 
amongst 742 
amphi- 856. 
an 427. 
an- 857. 
•an(e) 963. 
ana- 858. 
-ana 935. 
and- 811. 
another 446. 
ante- 859. 
anti- 859, 860. 
any 445. 
apo- 861. 

-ar 913, 972. 
-ard 916. 
-art 916. 
-ary 973. 

as 753- 
asleep 743. 

-ast 918. 

-ate 945, 979. 

aught 443. 

away 743. 

Bad 352. 
be 727. 
be- 806. 

be-side, etc. 744. 
bear 682. 
beat 661. 
begin 648. 
bend 604. 
bereave 597. 
beseech 614. 
best, better 351. 
betwixt 742. 
bi- 862. 
bid 650. 
bide 668. 
bind 635. 
bite 659. 
-ble 948. 
bleed 651. 
blend 605. 
blow 694. 
•bond 950. 
both 448, 755. 

break 674. 
breed 651. 
bring 612. 
build 604. 
-bund 950. 
burn 592. 
burst 625. 
but 751, 764. 
buy 602. 
by 744. 

Can 718. 

cast 616. 

cata- 863. 

catch 609. 

chide 660. 

choose 680. 

circum- 864. 

cis- 865. 

clad 608. 

cleave 598. 

climb 667. 

cling 640. 

CO- 866. 

com- 866. 

come 656. 

con- 866. 

contra-, contro- 867. 

cost 633. 

counter- 867. 

creep 588. 

crow 695. 

-cule 921. 

cut 618. 

-cy 928. 



Dare 719. 
de- 868. 
deal 599. 
demi- 869. 
di- 870. 
dia- 871. 
dice 313. 
dig 639. 
dight 617. 
dis- 872. 
distraught 610. 
do 731. 
-dom 832. 
down 743. 
draw 696. 
dream 600. 
drink 648. 
drive 669. 
dweU 593. 

Each 449. ' 

each other 447. 

-ean 966. 

eat 652. 

eaves 311. 

-ed adj. 836. 

-ee 912. 

-eer 913. 

either 451, 755. 

elder, eldest 346. 

'em 386. 

em- 883. 

en- 883. 

-en 827, 837, 846. 

endo- 874. 

enough, enow 338, 

enter- 884. 

epi- 875. 

-er 823, 913. 

-(e)s adv. 742. 

-ese 975. 

-esque 978. 

-ess 917, 927. 

-et 922. 

-ever 442. 

every 450. 

everjrwhere 814. 
ex- 876, 877. 
exo- 878. 
extra- 879 
-ey 923. 

Fall 654. 

far, -ther, -thest349. 

feed 651. 

feel 596. 

few 454. 

fight 681. 

find 636. 

first 349. 

flee 587. 

fling 641. 

fly 692. 

-fold 841. 

for 749. 

for- 807. 

forbid 650. 

fore 770, 818. 
I forget 663. 
I former 349. 
I forsake 690. 
I fraught 686. 
I freeze 675. 
I fro 772. 

ful- 784. 

-ful 842. 

further, farthest 

-fy 984. 

Ge- 808. 

gerund 478, 553. 
get 663. 
gild 604. 
gird 604. 
give 657. 
go 698. 
grave (n) 699. 
grind 635. 
grow 695. 

Hang 638 
have 730. 

*ie 359- 

-head 833. 
hear 58^. 
heave ^6. 
hence 743. 
her poss. 391. 
hew 700. 
hide 660. 
hight 714. 
hit 627. 
hither 746. 
hold 653. 
-hood 833. 
hurt 626. 
hyper- 880. 
hypo- 881. 

-iac 359. 
-ian 967. 
-ical 954. 
-ice 937. 
-icism 944. 
idept 715. 
-id 929, 956. 
-ier 913. 

-iff 983- 
-il(e) 963. 

im- 883, 883. 

in 771. 

in- 882, 883. 

•in(e) 968. 

-ing 835, 831. 

inter- 8S4. 

intro- 885. 

-ion 935. 

-ior 974. 

-ise 927, 986. 

-ish 839, 985. 

-ism 943. 

-ist 918. 

it 359- 

-ite 919, 979. 
its 399. 
-itude 946. 
-ive 983. 
iwis 735. 
-ize 986. 



j -verbs 487. 
jackanapes 743. 

Kneel 595. 
knit 628. 
know 695. 

Lade 701. 
last 347. 
latter 347. 
lead 651. 
lean 601. 
leap 588. 
learn 594. 
least 353. 
leave 599. 
lend 606. 
-lent 971. 
less(er) 353. 
-less 843. 
lest 621, 750. 
-let 922. 
lie 6q:^. 
;a)light 658. 
-ling 826. 
-long 738. 
lose 603. 
-ly 734, 844. 

Make 607. 
many 454. 
may 720. 
-meal 741. 
mean 599. 
melt 702. 
-ment 933. 
-mental 934. 
meta- 886. 
midst 776. 
mine 391. 
mis- 809. 
moe 354. 
more 354. 
most 354. 
-most 345. 
mote 721. 
mow 703. 

much 354. 
must 721. 
my 391. 

Naught 443. 
nay 759. 
-nee 937. 
-ncy 938. 
-nd 822. 
ne- 887. 
near 350. 
need 726. 
neither 452, 755. 
-ness 828. 
next 350. 
no 427, 759. 
non- 888. 
none 427. 
nor 452. 
not 443, 756. 
nought 443. 
-nt 970. 

Ob- 889. 
o'clock 743, 
of- 810. 
-om 741. 
on- 811. 
once 742. 
one 427, 455. 
one another 447. 
or 451. 
-or 914, 938. 
-ory 940. 
-ose 976. 
other 446. 
ought 722. 
our 391. 
-our 914, 938. 
-ous 976. 
owe 722. 

Par- 891. 
para- 890. 
pea(se) 311. 
pence 313. 

N 891. 

pre- 893. 
preter- 894." 
pro- 895, 896. 
pros- 897. 
pur- 895. 
put 634. 

Quit 629. 
quoth 713. 

Bather 763. 
raught 615. 
re- 898. 
read 651. 
-red 834. 
rend 604. 
retro- 899. 
riches 311. 
rid 630. 
ride 669. 
ring 649. 
rise 669. 
rive 704. 
run 648. 
-ry 941. 

Say 586. 
8aw(n) 705. 
se- 900. 
see 688. 
seek 614. 
seethe 665. 
self 402. 
sell 591. 
semi- 901. 
set 622. 
several 454. 
shall 723. 
shape 706. 
shave 707. 
she 368. 
shear 687. 
shed 623. 



sheud 604. 
shine 662. 
-ship 835. 
shod 590. 
shoot 666. 
show 708. 
shred 624. 
shrink 648. 
shrive 669. 
shut 619. 
since 742, 749. 
sine- 902. 
sing 648. 
sink 648. 
sit 646. 
slay 693. 
sleep 588. 
sling 642. 
slink 640. 
slit 631. 
smite 669. 
some 444. 
-some 840. 
sow 709. 
speak 677. 
speed 651. 
spend 604. 
spin 640. 
spit 647. 
split 632. 
spoil 595. 
spring 648. 
stand 689. 
stave vb. 673. 
steal 678. 
-ster 824. 
stick 643. 
sting 640. 
stink 648. 
strew 710. 
stride 669. 
strike 637. 
string 644. 
strive 670. 
sub- 903. 
subter- 904. 
such 441. 

summons 331. 
super- 905. 
supra- 906. 
sur- 905. 
sus- 907. 
swear 683. 
sweep 588. 
swell 711. 
swim 648. 
swing 640. 
-sy 928. 
syn- 908. 

Take 691 . 
-te 979. 
tear 684. 
tell 591. 
-th 830. 
that 414, 748. 
the 412,419, 748. 
their 396. 
thence 742, 746. 
these 424. 
they 370. 
thine 391. 
think 613. 
thither 746. 
those 416. 
thou 359. 
thrice 742. 
thrive 671. 
thrust 620. 
thy 391. 
-time(s) 739. 
to- 8l2. 

to-day 743. 
tra(ns)- 909. 
tread 664. 
tres- 909. 
-trix 920. 
twice 742. 
-ty 947. 

-ule 921. 
ultra- 910. 
un- 813, 816. 
-ure 942. 

-ute 979. 

utmost, uttermost 


"Wake 672. 
-ward 775, 845. 
-wards 742. 
-ways 739. 
we 359. 
wear 685. 
weave 679. 
weep 588. 
wend 604. 
went 698. 
what 359, 434. 
what-ever, etc. 442. 
whence 742, 746. 
whether 434, 748. 
which 434. 
while 750. 
-while 739. 
whilst 742. 
whither 746.. 

^^^ 359» 434- 
whose 398. 

why 748. 

will 724. 

willy nilly 724. 

win 640. 

wind 635. 

-wise 739. 

with 773. 

wont 716. 

work vb. 611. 

worse, worst 353. 

wot 725. 

wring 640. 

write 669. 

-y 838, 933. 

ye 359- 
yea 760. 

yes 760. 

yon, yo]id(er) 440. 

you 376. 

your 391. 




sheud 604. 
shine 662. 
-ship 835. 
shod 590. 
shoot 666. 
show 708. 
shred 624. 
shrink 648. 
shrive 669. 
shut 619. 
sinoe 742, 749. 
sine- 902. 
sing 648. 
sink 648. 
sit 646. 
slay 693. 
sleep 588. 
sling 642. 
slink 640. 
slit 631. 
smite 669. 
some 444. 
-some 840. 
sow 709. 
speak 677. 
speed 651. 
spend 604. 
spin 640. 
spit 647. 
split 632. 
spoil 595. 
spring 648. 
stand 689. 
stave vb. 673. 
steal 678. 
-ster 824. 
stick 643. 
sting 640. 
stink 648. 
strew 710. 
stride 669. 
strike 637. 
string 644. 
strive 670. 
sub- 903. 
subter- 904. 
such 441. 

summons 331. 
super- 905. 
supra- 906. 
sur- 905. 
8US- 907. 
swear 683. 
sweep 588. 
swell 711. 
swim 648. 
swing 640. 
-sy 928. 
syn- 908. 

Take 691. 
-te 979. 
tear 684. 
tell 591. 
-th 830. 
that 414, 748. 
the 412,419, 748. 
their 396. 
thence 742, 746. 
these 424. 
they 370. 
thine 391. 
think 613. 
thither 746. 
those 416. 
thou 359. 
thrice 742. 
thrive 671. 
thrust 620. 
thy 391. 
-time(s) 739. 
to- 8l2. 
to-day 743. 
tra(ns)- 909. 
tread 664. 
tres- 909. 
'trix 920. 
twice 742 • 
-ty 947. 

-ule 921. 
ultra- 910. 
un- 813, 816. 
-ure 942. 

-ute 979. 

utmost, uttermost 


"Wake 672. 
-ward 775, 845. 
-wards 742. 
-ways 739. 
we 359. 
wear 685. 
weave 679. 
weep 588. 
wend 604. 
went 698. 
what 359, 434. 
what-ever, etc. 442. 
whence 742, 746. 
whether 434, 748. 
which 434. 
while 750. 
-while 739. 
whilst 743. 
whither 746.. 
who 359, 434- 
whose 398. 
why 748. 
will 724. 
willy nilly 724. 
win 640. 
wind 635. 
-wise 739. 
with 773. 
wont 716. 
work vb. 611. 
worse, worst 352. 
wot 725. 
wring 640. 
write 669. 

-y 838, 923. 

ye 359- 
yea 760. 

yes 760. 

yon, yo]id(er) 440. 

you 376. 

your 391. 


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