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This little book is the outcome of lectures which 
have been delivered for some years past to our 
students of Middle English. In preparing the 
manuscript for publication and in reading proof I 
have got much help of every sort from Assistant 
Professor C. S. Northup and Dr. B. S. Monroe. 
As a whole, then, the book may be said to represent 
Cornell aim and method. 

The book presupposes : (1). Students who have 
some knowledge of Old English, although this 
knowledge need not be extensive nor profound. 
Cook's First Book in Old English, or Bright' s 
Anglo-Saxon Reader (the general features of the 
grammar, with the reading of a few of the simpler 
prose texts), will be quite enough. (2). A 
thoroughly trained teacher, one conversant with 
Old and Middle English prose and verse, and 
equally conversant with grammatical and phonologi- 
cal investigation. 

Further, this book is not a history of the lan- 
guage, not even in the barest outline, but merely an 




attempt to show how the Englishman or American 
of to-day has come by his pronunciation. Only 
where there was need of explaining apparent incon- 
sistencies of pronunciation have I touched upon 
grammatical forms. And in handling the extremely 
difficult problem of Palatalization, 19, 20, I 
have felt constrained to go even beyond the limits 
of Old English grammar and introduce theories 
which belong in strictness to comparative grammar. 
Here the teacher's guidance is indispensable. On 
my part I have given, I trust, theory enough and 
data enough for fairly logical deduction. 

For the most profitable use of this book I would 
recommend two other works. The one is Skeat's 
Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English 
Language (ed. of 1901), an inexpensive and most 
convenient book for ready reference. It is not 
wholly free from errors, the author does not always 
exhibit the courage of his best knowledge. Never- 
theless the book is a model of concise scholarship. 
The other work is O. F. Emerson's Middle English 
Reader, which offers the best collection of texts, 
the fullest annotation, and the fullest glossary. Of 
Professor Emerson's Grammatical Introduction my 
praise must be slightly qualified. With the purely 
grammatical part (declension, conjugation, &c. ) I 


have no fault to find ; but the author's treatment 
of the phonology is open to two criticisms. In the first 
place he tries to explain many phenomena which 
the beginner can afford to ignore ; in treating such 
an amorphous speech as Middle English, certainly 
amorphous until the coming of Chaucer, one should 
concentrate one's energies upon the most general 
phenomena and leave the rest to time. In the 
second place, Professor Emerson starts with Middle 
English sounds and harks back to Old English. 
This, it seems to me, is both awkward and unnatural. 
Surely no student in 1906 will begin his study of 
the language with Middle English, a procedure 
barely pardonable in the autodidacts of 1806. 

Towards Kluge and other German scholars my 
attitude has been in places decidedly conservative, 
not to say rebellious. Although my obligations to 
Kluge' s Geschichte der englischen Sprache are self- 
confessed on almost every page of this book, I must 
protest against his use of certain terms involving 
serious misconceptions. I mean the terms Ruckkehr 
and Ruckumlaut. They invite one to believe that 
k once palatalized to ch "goes back" to k, that u 
once umlauted to y "goes back" to u. Nothing 
of the sort ever happened or ever could have 
happened ! Next, in nearly all phonological dis- 


cussions there is too much Ormulum ; the work of 
Brother Orm is viewed as if it were the norm 
of twelfth-century speech. This is to overlook the 
patent fact that it represented only one small dis- 
trict. Lastly, I am more than puzzled by the air 
of confidence with which the German school blocks 
out mediaeval England in squares like a checker- 
board and assigns each bit of writing, from Laya- 
mon's Brut to the "Alliterative Poems," to its. 
particular little square. I must confess to being 
deplorably deficient in this sense of the fourth 

A word or two upon some peculiar signs and 
abbreviations used in these pages. 

* denotes an assumed form. Either a form which 
may well have existed in the historical language, 
but which has accidentally not been preserved ; 
e. g., *drop, *dropp, 12. Or a purely conjectural 
form which philological theory postulates for pre- 
historic times in explanation of historical forms ; 
e. g., *layion, *layip, &c., p. 73. 

[] denotes phonetic spelling, the vowels having 
the so- called Continental value. 

i is both phonetic and grammatical ; it represents 
a genuine semi- vowel which may function either as 
a pure vowel i or as a pure consonant y. 


6 represents the peculiar English diphthongal 
sound in law, saw, call, taught. 

9 is used, somewhat loosely, to indicate any indis- 
tinct vowel sound outside of the regular scale : 
o-e-i-o-w, o-^u. In a strictly phonetic treatise I 
should have used more than one character ; for the 
present book the 9 seemed enough. 

6 represents a k in the first stage of palatalization ; 
the complete palatalization of k is represented by 
ch or [[]. The corresponding voiced palatal, the 
j of joke, the g of giant, is here represented by 
[dIJ] ; the usual sign might be confounded with an 
O. E. d*. 

G. T. (General Teutonic) is a safer abbreviation 
than Germ. (Germanic), which might be mistaken 
for German, the language of Germany proper. 
General Teutonic is that purely hypothetical form 
of speech which lies back of English, German, 
Scandinavian, Gothic. 

Sievers refers to An Old English Grammar, by 
Eduard Sievers. Translated and Edited by Albert 
8. Cook. Third edition. 

J. M. HART. 


November 20th, 1906. 





1. INTRODUCTION. English; Danish; French, . . 1 
2. NOMENCLATURE. Old, Middle, Modern ; 
Northern, Midland, 
Southern ; Standard, . . 3 



3. BEFORE CONSONANT GROUPS: -Id, -nd, -mb, . . 6 



6. LATER SHORTENING, .... __^i^. . . 18 




9. THE VOWEL e, 25 

10. THE VOWEL a, 28 





12. O. E. o (close) , 31 

13. O. E. i, i; u, u, 33 


14. DiPHTHONGING OF 1, U, 34 

15. DlPHTHOBTGING BEFORE ff ; h ; W, . . . . 37 





18. hi-, hr-, hw-; en-, gn-; -s; ch-j, &c., 49 








1. Introduction. The history of the growth 
of modern English pronunciation is complicated. 
Certain features are puzzling ; some are obscure and 
even in the best light of our present knowledge 
appear arbitrary. The chief features, however, admit 
of systematic explanation and can be mastered by all 
who will take the pains. 

By way of comparison, it may be said that the 
development of modern English pronunciation is 
more difficult to account for than the pronunciation 
of any other modern Teutonic speech, e. g. , German, 
Dutch, Danish, Swedish. This difficulty may be 
explained in part as the result of foreign influences. 

For a century and a half before the Norman inva- 
sion, say from 880 to 1030, England was raided and 
in many places even occupied by Scandinavian in- 
vaders, usually called Danes, though probably the 
Norwegians were more numerous than the Danes 
proper. The distinction is of no value in this place, 
for in the ninth and tenth centuries the difference 



between Danish and Norwegian speech must have 
been almost imperceptible. At any rate, for a cen- 
tury and a half certain parts of England, chiefly 
along the east coast between the Wash and the Tyne 
and running back at least half way to the west coast, 
were officially designated the Danelagh, or land of 
the Dane Law. 

"With the conquest of the whole of England by 
William of Normandy and his immediate successors, 
English speech was again subjected to a foreign in- 
fluence, namely, French. This French influence was 
of much longer duration, was more extensive, inas- 
much as it affected the whole island, and also more 
intensive. French influence affected not merely Eng- 
lish speech but English ways of living and thinking. 

Still, after making ample allowance for Danish 
and French influences, many if not most of the 
changes in English speech since 950 can be regarded 
only as the result of innate causes. Evidently the 
language had certain tendencies of its own in certain 
directions, quite irrespective of Danes and Normans. 

On the other hand, it is interesting to note that 
one feature of modern English pronunciation, the 
diphthonging of [I] to [at], of [u] to [aw], is par- 
alleled in Mod. High German. We pronounce in 
English, just as in German, mine and house, mein 


and halts. This diphthongization, however, though 
parallel in the two languages, was wholly indepen- 
dent. In Germany it began in the twelfth century 
and was completed in the fifteenth. In England it 
began in the fifteenth century but was chiefly an 
affair of the sixteenth. In Scandinavian speech 
there has been no diphthongization ; the old pronun- 
ciation mm and hus still survives. 

2. Nomenclature. In its chronology the .an- 
guage is divided into three periods : Old (O. E. ), 
Middle (M. E.), and Modern (Mn. E.), or as 
some prefer New (N. E.). 

By O. E. is meant the language from the earliest 
recorded monuments (fragments and glosses, some of 
the seventh century) down to the year 1100 or per- 
haps somewhat later, say 1120. 

By M. E. is meant the language between 1100 (or 
1120) and 1500 (approximately). 

By Mn. E., the language since 1500. 

In its topographical distribution the language is 
described as Southern, Midland, and Northern. 

The Southern division comprises those forms spoken 
south of the Thames and in a few counties to the 
north and west of the Thames, namely, Gloucester- 
shire and parts of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. 


Midland English comprises those forms spoken 
between the Thames and a line drawn somewhat 
irregularly between the Wash and the Humber and 
running N. "W. to the west coast above Liverpool. 

Northern English comprises those forms spoken in 
the Lowlands of Scotland, and in Northumberland, 
Cumberland, Westmoreland, Yorkshire, Durham, 
and the northern parts of Lincoln, Nottingham, and 

These two classifications, the chronological and 
the topographical, overlap each other in every stage 
of the language ; that is to say, O. E. had its North- 
ern form (called Old Northumbrian), its Midland 
(called Mercian), and its Southern (called West- 
Saxon, of which Kentish was a variety). M. E. had 
its Northern, Midland, and Southern forms. And 
Mn. E. also exhibits the same general varieties. 

Concerning Mn. E. , however, there is this addi- 
tional phenomenon to be noted, namely, the existence 
of the so-called standard or literary speech, which is 
used in varying degrees of purity by the cultivated 
classes throughout Great Britain and forms the basis 
of American speech. 

This standard or literary English was in its origin 
Midland, One variety of Midland speech was trans- 
ferred in the fourteenth century to the court and to 


the administrative, legal, cultivated, and fashionable 
circles of London. Here it was further developed 
and permanently established in the fifteenth century. 
From London as a centre this standard and conven- 
tional speech has spread as above indicated. It is 
not, however, the speech of the lower and uneducated 
classes of the city of London ; their speech, called 
Cockney English, is a variety of the Southern dialect. 


These are of three general kinds : 1. Vowel- 
lengthening. 2. Vowel-shortening. 3. Change in 
the quality of the sound. 


3. Before Consonant Groups. An originally 
short vowel in a stressed syllable (stem syllable) was 
lengthened before certain consonant groups. This 
lengthening took place in late O. E. 

1. A short vowel was lengthened before -Id. 

Exceptions: u and its umlauted sound y (some- 
times written i in O. E. and u, ui in M. E. ) were not 
lengthened. Thus, O. E. byldan, M. E. bulden, 
Mn. E. build, is still short. 

Caution. The -Id must be a genuine old group ; 
for instance, feld, feld (Mn. E. field, 9). The 
vowel was not lengthened when the I and the d 
were originally in separate syllables in O. E. and 
subsequently brought together through syncope of an 
intermediate vowel. 


Thus, contrast O. E. cald, cdld (genuine old 
group), M. E. CQld, Mn. E. cold ( 10) with late 
O. E. called, calld, pret. of W. S. ceallian, from 
Danish kalla (16. 1). 

Further caution. It is all-important to determine 
which dialect form of the vowel was lengthened. 
Inasmuch as most of our O. E. texts are written in 
the Southern (West-Saxon) dialect, the student must 
reconstruct many words in their Midland-Mercian 
form. This means that the peculiar West-Saxon 
' broken ' and umlauted vowels must be reconstructed 
according to the Mercian type. 

Illustrations of vowel- lengthening. These are given 
both for vowels that do not need reconstructing and 
for vowels that do. 

Without reconstruction. 

feld (e in all O. E. dial. ) feld, 9. 

did (i in all O. E. dial.) did, 14, 19. 

gold, 12. 

With reconstruction. 

eald, W. S. ; aid, Merc. ; aid, 10. 
wieldan, W. S. ; weldan, Merc. ; weldan, 9. 
(Mn. E. weld, ' to beat metal together, ' is 
borrowed from Swedish). 


2. i, u, and y (i-umlaut of w) are lengthened 
before -nd. Examples : 

O. E. bindan blndan ; M. E. binden ; Mn. E. 
bind, 14. hund hund ; M. E. hund ; Mn. E. 
hound, 14. gecynd gecynd ; M. E. i-cunde ; 
Mn. E. kind, 14. 

In M. E. the O. E. u is usually written ou but has 
the value of [u]. 

3. i and a are lengthened before -mb. Examples : 
climban cllmban ; M. E. cllmbe ; Mn. E. climb, 

14, 18. 1. c. cam6 cam6 ; M. E. cgrafc ; Mn. E. 
comb, 10, 18. 1. c. 

In Mn. E. limb, which has a short i, the final b is 
not found in O. E. ; it is an accretion in late M. E. ; 
consequently there was no -m b to lengthen the i. 

Exceptions to Vowel- Lengthening. 

The principle of vowel-lengthening did not apply 
in forms where the root was increased by a suffix, or 
in forms where the consonant group was immediately 
followed by r or I. Thus : 

O. E. tyndre is Mn. E. tinder (short t). 
O. E. elder (Mercian) is Mn. E. elder (short e). 
O. E. cildru (pi. of did), Scotch childer, stand- 
ard children. 


Contrast under, wonder, hinder, with ivund 
(wound}, be-hlnd. 

The suffixes -en of the past participle and -an of 
the infinitive, however, did not prevent lengthening. 

O. E. bindan blndan ; M. E. bmden ; Mn. E. 
bind [ai]. 

O. E. bunden bunden ; M. E. bounden ; Mn. E. 
bound [au]. 

For the infinitive in -icm (2nd class weak) see 

The lengthenings mentioned in 1. 2. 3 took place 
in O. E. They were fully established by 1000 A. D. 
Inasmuch as many O. E. texts are later than 1000, 
the student of O. E. should accustom himself to 
pronounce blndan, bunden, f eld, gecynde, did, etc., 
except in very old texts such as the Pastoral Care, 
Orosius, the Parker Chronicle. Certainly the length- 
enings should be introduced in reading the texts 
of Aelfric. 

The lengthenings are general ; they became per- 
manent in all M. E. and, with certain qualitative 
changes to be discussed hereafter have passed into 
standard Mn. E. 

There were in O. E. and M. E. other lengthenings 


which did not become generalized and consequently 
did not pass into standard Mn. E. Thus, from the 
spelling in the Ormulum we know that Orm pro- 
nounced : 

hard (O. E. hord). 

cerd (O. E. ard, eard, see 3). 

swerd (0. E. sweord*). 

forth (O. E. /or). 

erfte (O. E. eort5e). 

Orm's bcern denotes lengthening of O. E. barn, beam ; 
his barrn must be the Danish barn, borrowed. 

Orm's peculiar spelling enables us to determine 
usually the vowel quantity in the words used by him. 
For words not used by him, we have no such clue. 
Further, it is by no means clear that other writers in 
other dialects had the same lengthenings. This ques- 
tion is for the special student of M. E. ; the student 
who desires to know merely the history of standard 
Mn. E. need concern himself merely with the general 
lengthenings discussed in 1. 2. 3 of this section. It 
is quite certain that the other lengthenings did not 
exist in Chaucer's language. Only one or two traces 
have survived in standard Mn. E. Thus, O. E. bard, 
beard ; Mn. E. beard [I~] , 9. 

Occasionally a dialect form in Mn. E. illustrates 


the difference between dialect and standard in his- 
torical evolution. Thus, O. E. wald ' forest ' was 
wald in Mercian ; in Southern (Kentish) it was 
weald. The form wald wald has given rise to wold, 
see 10, a word still used in poetry. Whereas the 


form weald became weld, see 9 ; this word sur- 
vives in the ' "Weald ' [wild] of Kent. 

4. Lengthening in Open Stressed Sylla- 
bles. A short O.E. a, e, o in an open stressed 
syllable was lengthened. 1 This lengthening took 
place much later than the one discussed in 3. It 
began in the 13th century and consequently is 
characteristic of the M.E. period. For example : 


mete 'food' 





Even such O.E. monosyllables as he, me have 
been lengthened to he, me, now spoken [/u, ml] , 9. 

Orm's spelling (the Ormulum is of about the year 
1200) indicates that he still pronounced the vowels 
short. Thus he writes ( v for short, ' for long) : 

1 An open syllable is one which ends in a vowel. Where a 
single consonant occurs between two vowels, it goes with the 
second vowel. Thus nia-cian } me-te. 


t&kenn ' to take ' ; h%te ' hatred ' ; but 
tdkenn, O.E. tacen 'token' 

Unfortunately Orm, though persistent in his use 
of the double consonant to mark vowel-shortness, 
is anything but persistent in his use of the signs 
w and ' ; he uses them only occasionally. 

For other texts the student' s chief reliance is upon 
the rimes. Whenever in poetry we discover that the 
rime-couplet is composed of syllables one of which 
had in O. E. a long vowel and the other a short, we 
are safe in inferring that the poem was composed 
after lengthening had taken place, i. e., after 1250. 
Thus, Qre (O.E. are 'mercy') rimes with -lore 
(O. E. -lore ' lost ') ; see 10. 

In general the question of open-syllable lengthen- 
ing in M. E. presents more difficulties than the O. E. 
lengthening before consonant groups. One striking 
difficulty is to account for the subsequent change 
which took place in the quality of the lengthened 
vowel. See 11. 

Not infrequently we find in M. E. a lengthening 
due to the dropping of a single consonant followed 
by vowel crasis ; and occasionally such a lengthening 
survives in Mn. E. Thus, O. E. maced, M. E. 
malced, maad, Mn. E. made ; O. E. taken, Mn. E. 
la' en, pp. 


Lengthening in open syllables, as a process of the 
late thirteenth century, necessarily affected Danish 
loan-words ; for these were all introduced before 
1200. Thus : Danish taka ; O. E. tacan ; M. E. 
taken ; Mn. E. take. 

Some exceptions are difficult to explain. Thus, 
O. E. hZofon is still short in Mn. E. Perhaps this is 
due to the heavy suffix -on. The O. E. deofol is 
d&vil (short e) in Mn. E. Orm writes heojfness, 
heffness (short e) but deofless, defless (long e"). See 
7. M. E. roten, Mn. E. rotten (from Scand. 
rotinri) has remained short ; whereas, O. E. brocen, 
M. E. and Mn. E. broken, has been lengthened. 


Under this heading are treated two processes sim- 
ilar in method and result but distinct in time. The 
second process is in the main probably a century or 
two later than the first. 

5. Early Shortening. This took place in the 
eleventh and twelfth centuries, i. e., in the border 
period between O. E. and M. E. Since the Danish 
loan-words were introduced mainly in the tenth and 
eleventh centuries, they have been affected like the 
native words. 


The process is best understood when the words 
affected are arranged in the following groups. 

a. Compound words. A long vowel is usually 
shortened when in the composition two consonants 
are brought together. For example : 

O. E. wisdom Mn. E. wisdom. 

Danish husbonde Mn. E. husband. 

O. E. gosling Mn. E. gosling. 

O. E. crlstendom Mn. E. [&mnefom.] 

O. E. clcenllc Mn. E. cleanly. 

O. E. Eddmund Mn. E. Edmund. 

O. E. hldfmcesse Mn. E. Lammas. 

O. E. Stratford Mn. E. Stratford. 

The Ormulum is not always in accord with 
standard speech. Thus, although Orm writes wiss- 
dom (short i), laffdi^, 'lady' (short a, O. E. hlcef- 
dtje), he retains long a in larspell. 

b. Words ending in a suffix or other termination 
prominent enough to bear a secondary stress in O. E. 

It is necessary to bear in mind that such suffixes 
and terminations not only shortened an originally 
long vowel but kept an originally short vowel short 
before the lengthening consonant groups mentioned 
in 3. The remarks in 3, Exceptions, are pecu- 
liarly applicable here. Thus the suffixes -an (infini- 


tive), -en (past participle), did not prevent the 
lengthening of a short vowel before a consonant 
group ; still less did they shorten a long vowel. 
But the heavy infinitive ending -ian (O. E. ) of the 
second weak class did shorten a long vowel, as in 

O. E. hdlgian Mn. E. to hallow, 

contrasted with 

O. E. halig Mn. E. holy. 

As examples of suffixes and other terminations 
shortening a long vowel or keeping a short vowel 
short, may be noted : 

O. E. cerende Mn. E. errand. 

O. E. cild(e)ru Mn. E. childer, children. 

(contrast O. E. did did, Mn. E. child). 

Perhaps we should be safe in holding that all O. E. 
words of three syllables, of which the first syllable 
contained a long vowel, have shortened that vowel ; 
as in O. E. fireotene, Mn. E. thirteen, metathesis for 

c. Before certain consonant combinations. 

1. Before ht, whether the hi was an original 
group and formed an integral part of the root or 
stem, or was formed from the juxtaposition of a 
stem ending in a guttural followed by an inflectional 
syllable beginning with a dental. Thus : 


O. E. leoht late O. E. and early M. E. Uht. 
O.E. sohte " " " sohte. 

O. E. brohte " " " brtfite. 

O. E. tcehte, tahte, " " " tiehte, tahte. 

See 15 B. 

2. Before -ft. For example : 
O. E. sofa M. E. s6jie. 
and before ss from t5s and is from ds. Examples : 

O. E. btiss M. E. btiss. 
O. E. milts M. E. m/lltse. 


O. E. bllZe Mn. E. blithe [ai] ; 
O. E. milde Mn. E. mild [ai] . 

Also before other O. E. ss. Thus : 

O. E. Icessa M. E. ttsse. 
and before -$8. Thus : 

O. E. stfftan, late O. E. seofiSan M. E. sffiS&n. 
O. E. cy%% M. E. ktth. 

O. E. rwaSSw M. E. ivrath. 

3. In the preterite and pret. part, of weak verbs, 
whenever syncope has taken place. Thus : 


O. E. cepan, cepte, M. E. k&pte (keppte, Orm. ) 
(note Scottish Jceepit, unsyncopated. ) 
O. E. heran, herde, M. E. herde. 
O. E. clcedde (Dan. kleifta), M. E. cl&dde. 

(compare claftian, claSede, Mn. E. clothed, 

The old reduplicating verbs : slcepan, ondrcedan, 
wepan, swapan have, by the side of strong preterite 
forms, also weak preterites ; these latter have been 
shortened. Thus : 

sUpte, -drcedd, w&pte, swZpte. 

The operation or non-operation of syncope will 
account for such parallel forms in M. E. as dealt 
(short), dealed (long). 

Syncope will also account for the present tense 
drat (Chaucer), for O. E. drcsdeH*. 

4. There are other shortenings, less uniform and 
consequently less easy to classify ; they seem to belong 
to this period ; at any rate, to the thirteenth century. 

a. Before st : 

O. E. breost Mn. E. breast, 

(but O. E. preost Mn. E. priest). 
O. E. fistor Mn. E. foster. 
O. E. dust Mn. E. dust. 
O. E. fyst Mn. E. fist. 


On the other hand, in many French words and 
even in English words, a short a before st has been 
lengthened into [g], like the change discussed in 
11. For example, paste, taste, waste, haste 'hurry,' 
pronounced & in Chaucer's day, are now pronounced 
[/>|s<], &c. 

b. Before se (sA) : 

O. E. wyscan Mn. E. wish. 

O. E. ficesc Mn. E. flesh (flash in Orm. ) 

6. Later Shortening. Some shortenings are 
to be set down as late M. E., possibly early Mn. E. 
Some took place after the changes in vowel quality 
mentioned in 9, 10, 12 ; others took place before. 

If there are any general principles governing this 
later shortening, they have not yet been discovered. 
For the present these changes seem arbitrary and 
inconsistent. For example : 

O. E. Mn. E. 

death death [] . 

hce$ heath [I] . 

dead dead [] . 

lead (metal) lead \e\. 

Icedan ' to conduct ' lead [I] . 

deaf deaf [either 2 or t] . 



O. E. 

Mn. E. 


head []. 


leaf [TJ. 


flood [si]. 


good [ft] . 


food [u] . 


other [a] . 


book [&] . 


bosom [&, or u] 


health [8]. 


enough [9] . 

ruh (ruhh Orm. ) 

rough [a]. 


stiff []. 

flf, M. E. five 

five [ai] . 


duck [9] . 


sick [i]. 


month [si] . 


ten []. 

In late M. E., especially in certain texts of the 
fourteenth century, there is a marked tendency to 
shorten the vowel and gemmate the consonant in 
comparative and superlative forms. For example, in 
Piers Plowman, derrest (deor), herre (heah), gretter 
(great), sonnest (sona). O. E. linen, M. E. linnen, 
linen, has become Mn. E. linen. 


The change of [u] to [9] in such words as flood, 
rough, duck, &c., is very late (eighteenth century). 
See 15 B. 

7. Certain Terminations. Certain suffixes 
present many difficulties and require special treat- 

a. -tig, Mn. E. -ty. This was originally an inde- 
pendent word used to form compounds. In Gothic 
tigus was used and declined as an ordinary noun, 
meaning a 'decade,' a unit of ten. In English it 
shortened a long stem vowel in accordance with 5 a. 

O. E. twentig Mn. E. twenty. 

Krltig thirty. 

This numeral suffix is mentioned here merely to dis- 
tinguish it more precisely from the following. 

b. -ig, Mn. E. -y. This syllable, even in O. E., 
stood for at least two different formations. 

1. In the O. E. popig 'poppy,' Ifig 'ivy,' bodig 
' body,' hunig ' honey, ' it is a noun-suffix which has 
not yet been explained. The word Ifig ' ivy ' is to 
be put in a class by itself ; the usual etymology treats 
it as lf-heg, the -heg being explained as the old form 
of the Mn. E. ' hay. ' The etymology is anything 
but satisfactory. 


The other three words are equally puzzling. Popig 
is supposed to be borrowed from the Latin papdver; 
yet why papdver or evenpdpaver should become popig 
no one seems to know. In hunig the suffix -ig appears 
to come from an earlier -ang, -eng ; the stem hun- is 
still unexplained. The word bodig has not yet been 
explained in either of its syllables. 

2. -ig as an adjective suffix is very frequent. It 
stands for a G. T. -ag, which is found in Gothic. 
Thus O. E. hdlig is Gothic hailag-s. 

Usually the -ig adjective does not shorten the stem 
vowel. Thus O. E. hdlig, Mn. E. holy. There is, 
however, one exception at least ; O. E. cenig is Mn. E. 
any []. Orm's anig is ambiguous. Perhaps the 
shortening of cenig is due to the influence of many. 

c. Some other suffixes need more investigation 
than they have yet received. 

1. The -en of the pret. part and the -ian of the 
weak infinitive have been already mentioned, 5 b. 
There is, however, another -en used as an adjective 
termination, for example in O. E. hcefien. This -en 
does not shorten the stem. 

2. The suffixes -el, -ol, -et seem to have the capacity 
of shortening a long vowel or keeping a short vowel 
short, contrary to the principle discussed in 4. 
For example : 


O. E. deofol Mn. E. devil (still long 

in Orm). 
O. E. hof Mn. E. hovel. 

bremel *6romtf) bramble. 

rynel runnel. 

bueet bucket. 

cemet emmet, ant. 

3. For the effect of suffixes of comparison, see 6, 
end. The M. E. and Mn. E. pronunciation of such 
words as brcegen, flcegel, &c. , can be explained only in 
connection with the general diphthongization before 
the consonants g, h, w. See 15. 


It is impossible to discuss in this place all or even 
most of the changes which have taken place in the 
quality of the vowels. We must content ourselves 
with looking at a few of the most significant. 

8. Levelling. 1. The distinction between ce 
and a in O. E. ceased to be maintained. In M. E. 
we find in general only a, for instance O. E. woes, 
M. E. was ; though occasionally we find ce, and in a 
few instances the ce survives as e in M. E., for 


instance creft, foet in Kentish. Thus O. E. dwges 
(gen. sing. ) and dagos (nom. ace. pi. ) are in M. E. 
dages for both ; yet in dialect forms the old value of 
dagos survived in the now archaic daws ; compare 
also dawn, O. E. dagenian, 15. The ordinary 
plural days has evidently been modelled upon the 
singular day. 

This levelling of a, ce to a usually takes place 
even where the ce is a shortening of O. E. OB ; though 
not infrequently the ce is found as e in M. E. and 
Mn. E. For example : 

O. E. clcensian M. E. clcensien, clansian ; 

Mn. E. cleanse. 
O. E. fadde M. E. ledde, ladde ; 

Mn. E. led. 

2. O. E. eo for G. T. a also appears as a in M. E. 
Here we must bear in mind the dialectic differences 
in O. E. 

In W. S. a was regularly ea before I -J- cons, and 
r -j- cons. 

In Northumbrian a remained a in both situations. 

In Mercian a remained a before l-\- cons, but 
became eo before r -\- cons. Consequently we find : 

W. S. feallan North, fallan Merc, fallan 
W. S. wearm North, warm Merc, wearm. 


Since standard Mn. E. is derived from Mercian, we 
should expect to find Mercian wearm appearing as 
wcerm, werm in M. E. In reality we find warm in 
M. E. The explanation seems to be this. The 
vowel sign ea in O. E. did not represent a sound 
e -\- a, but a sound ce -J- a or perhaps CK> ; the stress 
being on the ce. This ce became a like the ce in 1. 

3. O. E. eo for e before h and before r -f- cons, is 
levelled to e in M. E. For example : 

O. E. feohtan M. E. fehten. 

4. O. E. ea and ce (except when shortened to a, 
see 1) become |. For example : 

O. E. beam M. E. bgm. 
tear tgre. 

~eac |&(e). 

sprmce spgche. 

deed d$de. 

street strgte. 

(Compare Eadmund, Edmund; Stratford, 5 a). 

5. O. E. eo became e in M. E. For example : 

O. E. frebsan M. E. fresen 
leaf lef 

debp dep 


steopfader, Mn. E. step- 

} vowel written e in 
were carefully distin- 
period and even well 
>ne is the open or un- 
ich meme ; in modern 
n I . The other is the 
snch bonte. Modern 
it with the sign $ ; 
sounds is not only 
.. illustrates an important point 
.~iy of the language. Although M. E. did 
... , mark the distinction in writing, it kept the sounds 
apart. Thus Chaucer seldom makes the sounds rime. 
When, on the border line between M. E. and Mn. E. , 
printing was introduced into England, the early 
printers established the practice (though not a very 
consistent one) of using ea for the open sound and 
ee or ie for the close sound. Hence we get the 
spellings teach, O. E. t&cean ; deep, O. E. deop ; 
field, O. E. feld, see 3. 1. 

O. E. e in a few words, such as the adverb her, was 
an original close e. 


Since standard Mn. E. is derive* 
should expect to find Mercian 
wcerm, werm in M. E. In re? 
M. E. The explanation set 
vowel sign ea in O. E. did 
e -f- > but a sound ce -f- a or 
being on the ce. This ce beca 

3. O. E. eo for e before h 
levelled to e in M. E. For 

O. E. feohtan M. " 

4. O. E. ed and ce (e: 

see 1) become g. For 

O. E. beam M. E. bgm. 
tear tgre. 

eac p(e). 

sprcece spgche. 

dcsd dgde. 

street strgte. 

(Compare Eadmund, Edmund; Stratford, 5 a). 

5. O. E. eo became e in M. E. For example : 

O. E. frebsan M. E. fresen 
leof lef 

debp dep 


(Note the shortening in steopfceder, Mn. E. step- 
father, 5a). 

9. The Vowel e. The vowel written e in 
M. E. had two sounds, which were carefully distin- 
guished throughout the M. E. period and even well 
into the Mn. E. time. The one is the open or un- 
rounded vowel, like the French meme ; in modern 
grammatical books it is written f . The other is the 
close or rounded e, like the French bonte. Modern 
grammarians usually designate it with the sign ; 
the subscript dot, however, is not necessary. 

The distinction between the two sounds is not only 
important in itself but illustrates an important point 
in the history of the language. Although M. E. did 
not mark the distinction in writing, it kept the sounds 
apart. Thus Chaucer seldom makes the sounds rime. 
When, on the border line between M. E. and Mn. E. , 
printing was introduced into England, the early 
printers established the practice (though not a very 
consistent one) of using ea for the open sound and 
ee or ie for the close sound. Hence we get the 
spellings teach, O. E. tcecean ; deep, O. E. deop ; 
field, O. E. feld f see 3. 1. 

O. E. e in a few words, such as the adverb her, was 
an original close e. 


O. E. e, the i-umlaut of 6, was close. 

O. E. e produced by lengthening before -Id was 

O. E. ce was open in M. E. 

O. E. 8 lengthened in open syllable, see 4, was 
open | in M. E. 

Old Mercian e, the i-umlaut of ea (the W. S. form 
was ie), was close e in M. E. 


0. E. metan M. E. meten Mn. E. meet (verb). 

mite m%te meat. 

sttlan st$le deal. 

her an (W. S. hieran) hear. 

M. E. heren. 

In the matter of chronology, M. E. e went over to 
the [I] sound in late M. E. ; the change was com- 
plete by the end of the fifteenth century, as in the 
words deep, feel, and in the pronouns me, he, &c. ; 
see 4. Whereas the M. E. f still remained open 
and did not become e, [I] until near the end of the 
seventeenth century. Shakespeare, in 1 Hen. IV, 
ii, 4, 264, lets Falstaff say : "If reasons were as 
plentiful as blackberries, I would give no man a 
reason upon compulsion." Falstaff pronounces 


reason with an evident pun on raisin. The O. 
French reson, borrowed in early M. E. , was already 
somewhat rounded but not wholly ; since Shake- 
speare's day it has been fully rounded into e [I]. 
But the Fr. raisin is still pronounced r&sin. In the 
days of Shakespeare the two words were still enough 
alike to justify Falstaffs pun. 

The open f survived, for the most part, in Dry- 
den's day. In fact, something like it is found even 
in Pope, in foreign words borrowed with the | sound. 
Thus Pope, Rape of the Lock, m, 296, rimes tea 
with obey. Obey, Fr. obeir, is still pronounced obei, 
but t g has become [ti] . 

Recognition of the fact that g remained open in the 
seventeenth century will explain the most striking 
peculiarity of the English pronunciation in Ireland. 
The English language was firmly implanted in 
Ireland by the great colonizing efforts of Queen 
Elizabeth and Oliver Cromwell. Now the Eliza- 
bethan and Cromwellian colonists still pronounced 
tgch, spgch, clgn, and this was the pronunciation 
which the Irish learned from them. Since that time 
all Englishmen have changed to [tlch, splch, cliri], 
and the educated Irish have partially learned to 
make the change ; but the uneducated Irish still 
cling to the older f . 


10. The Vowel a. An O. E. a, whether 
originally long or the result of the lengthening of a 
before Id (see 3. 1), became g in M. E. The 
change took place in the first half of the thirteenth 
century ; consequently it affected Danish and Latin 
words borrowed in O. E. 

O. E. aid, did Mn. E. old. 
stdn stone, 

papa pope, 

frd (Danish) fro (adverb). 

Orm wrote before the change ; consequently we 
find in the Ormulum : an, stdn, got (one, stone, 
goaf). But in the poem entitled On God Ureison 
(thirteenth century) we find such rimes as : one, 
trone (0. E. an, Fr. trone) verses 21-22 ; ore, 
uerlore(n) (O. E. are, forloreri) verses 73-74. See 

In some MSS. the vowel is written oa. Sometimes 
we find two forms of the same word, the one original 
O. E., the other Danish. Thus : 

1 Our Mn. standard pronunciation of the numeral [wan] 
was originally dialectic and is found in the dialectic pronun- 
ciation of such words as oath, oak, oats; see Wright, Engl. 
Dial. Grammar, 123. The earlier Q sound, however, sur- 
vives partially rounded in only, atone. 


O. E. Icen, M. E. Igne ; Dan. Ian, M. E. l$ne, 
Mn. E. loan. In some instances the O. E. itself has 
two different vowels. For example : 

O. E. ddl, Mn. E. dole ; O. E. dcel, Mn. E. deal. 
O. E. -had, Mn. E. -hood; O.E. -hed, Mn. E. -head. 
(Compare knighthood and godhead. ) 

The M. E. vowel developed from the O. E. a was 
an open g. In the word O. E. brad, M. E. brqd, 
Mn. E. broad, the sound has remained wide open to 
the present day. In most words, however, it has 
been rounded as we now hear it in road, boat. Thus 
g (O. E. a) and g (O. E. o in open syllable, 4) 
are now equivalent in sound, as in the rime pope, 
hope. 1 

When preceded by w the Q became fully rounded, 
in most words, after Chaucer's time, and like the 
original close o passed over into the [u] sound, as in 
two, who, [tu, hu] ooze, O. E. ivase. But in so 
(O. E. swd), woe (O. E. wa), the o sound remains. 

11. Open-syllable Lengthening of O. E. a. 
In 4 it was said that O. E. a in an open syllable 

1 The peculiar New England pronunciation of such words 
as coat, boat, may be a modified survival of the old open 
sound, but shortened. 


was lengthened in M. E. This lengthened vowel 
must have had a peculiar quality of sound, neither 
the a nor the e nor the o. It has always been writ- 
ten and printed a ; yet it must have had an e value. 
This e, however, can not have resembled the e 
in stelan, which has become [I] in Mn. E., whereas 
O. E. faran, M. E. fare is pronounced [/if] in 
Mn. E. The [g] sound is common in the sixteenth 
century ; whether earlier, we do not know. At any 
rate it must have differed from the e in tgche ; for 
the latter has become [I] . 

The lengthening of a to [g] is later than the change 
of O. E. a to o. This is evidenced by the treatment 
of French words borrowed at various times in the 
M. E. period. In French words having the French 
accent on the syllable containing the a, the a was 
lengthened. Thus age, sage, grace became age, sage, 
grace, Mn. E. [jj] . Some of these words must have 
been introduced quite late, certainly after the O. E. a 
had become M. E. [g] . In fact it is evident that the 
conversion of a, a to [|] did not take place before the 
fifteenth century. In Chaucer's language such words 
as face, grace, age have the [a], not the [f] sound. 

It is very important to note the part played by the 
French accent. Why do we pronounce face [g] but 
chapel ? The word face had the accent on the a in 


French and also from the start in M. E. But chapel 
was borrowed with the accent chapel and continued 
for some time to be pronounced chapel in English. 
By the time the accent became chapel the principle 
or impulse of lengthening had ceased to operate. 
This will account for the short a in cabin, cattle, 

12. O. E. o (close). O. E. o remained 5 until 
the fifteenth century, when it was still farther rounded 
into an u sound. This it-sound (00) never was a 
perfectly pure u ; for it has not been diphthonged 
into au. See 14. 

The tendency to change o into oo has affected even 
French words ; for instance, faux pas, sometimes 
pronounced foopah. 


O. E. dom 

Mn. E. doom. 







mona moon. 

It must be borne in mind, however, that in many 
O. E. words the o was shortened in early M. E. 
Where this shortening took place before ht there 


was a peculiar diphthonging of the oht. See 5 c, 

There are other shortenings less easy to account 
for. Thus : 

O. E. 6Ser, broftor, modor, all now with the [si] 
sound. See 6. 

In certain words the oo has been shortened in 
Mn. E. to the u sound. For example, foot (versus 
food), book, good. In bosom the vowel is either 
short or long. 

In glove, blood, flood, and some others, the vowel 
has become [&] ; see 6. This [9] is found also in 
some words which had an O. E. u, or an O. E. u, 
in open syllable in M. E. For example : 

O. E. abufan Mn. E. above, 

dufe dove, 

lufu love. 

O. E. o when lengthened in open syllable became 
Q. Examples : 

O. E. Krotu M. E. Srgfe Mn. E. throat, 
hopian hypien hope, 

dropa drgpe. 

Chaucer, Tr. and Or., I, 941, rimes drgpe with hype. 
The modern drop can not be this word but must come 
from O. E. *drop, or *dropp. 


Thus O. E. o lengthened and O. E. a have come 
together in vowel-quality. This is indicated by the 
Mn. E. spelling : throat (O. E. ftrotu); road (O. E. 

Did O. E. o before Id become o or g ? The usual 
opinion is that it became g. Yet there are objections 
to this view. The only word in question is gold 
(gold in Mn. E. ). This pronunciation may be ex- 
plained, however, by assuming that gold, an isolated 
form, has been influenced by the very numerous 
words in -old from O. E. -aid, such as cold, bold, 
told, sold. Further, the word as a proper name is 
written Gould, Goold. This oo sound presupposes 
M. E. o. Finally, the pronunciation goold survived 
in the speech of old-fashioned persons in the early 
part of the nineteenth century. 

13. O. E. t, /; u, u. These vowels remained 
unchanged throughout the M. E. period. The 
lengthening of i and u, y before nd is O. E. See 

The vowels i, u, y are not lengthened in open 

All through the M. E. period -and even in Mn. E. 
there is a curious interchange of i and e. Thus we 
find Mn. E. hinge, singe, springe, for M. E. henge, 


senge, sprenge, see 20, D. 2 ; also Mn. E. wing for 
M. E. weng. But in drench, wrench, and other 
words, the M. E. e remains. In the Ayenbite (four- 
teenth century) the Mn. E. word sin is written zenne 
(initial z for s is Southern dialect). 


Under this heading are treated several groups of 
phenomena differing widely in their chronology and 
in their phonetic value. 

14. Diphthonging of *, u. Every I, whether 
long in O. E., or lengthened according to 3. 2, 
or borrowed in M. E. from a foreign language, has 
become [ai] in Mn. E. 

O. E. y (i- umlaut of w) has also become [at]. 

This diphthonging process began in the fifteenth 
century, and continued through the sixteenth. 

The change affected also the peculiar I developed 
in late M. E. before h or g. See 15. 

The modern pronunciation of the diphthong is 
[ai] . But this is only the latest stage ; it must have 
been preceded by such earlier stages as [ei] and 
perhaps [oi]. 



O. E. mm Mn. E. mine, 
findan, findan find, 

fyr fire, 

bryd bride. 

Note also the very late diphthonging of either, 

neither. These were in O. E. cegfter, *ncegfter; in 


M. E. Cither, neither. See 15, ^ I n the eigh- 
teenth century the pronunciation vacillated between 
[g] and p]. The pronunciation [ai] crept in late 
in the eighteenth century. 

In like manner O. E. u has become [aw] ; the 
intermediate stage was [era] . 


O. E. hus Mn. E. house. 

mu$ mouth, 

bunden, bunden bound. 

This change of u to [aw] is not parallel at every 
point with the change of I to [ai]. It has not 
affected foreign words, for example, Judas, sure or 
even the English words youth, uncouth. In youth, 
and in Judas, sure, and other words under French 
influence, the vowel did not have the pure [u] 
sound but was rather an [t'w]. The distinction is 


illustrated by the O. E. sur, which had a pure u and 
which is now pronounced sour [aw] ; with it com- 
pare the Fr. stir, which is the Mn. E. sure [ Jiwr] . 
Note also the Mn. E. duke, tube, pronounced cor- 
rectly with [iu] , not with [u] . 

The very late M. E. oo from O. E. 5 did not have 
the pure u sound either ; for it has not been changed 
to [aw]. See 12. 

The diphthonging of u to [aw] took place after 
the fifteenth century. In fact, there is evidence that 
the earlier u sound survived in the speech of old- 
fashioned persons as late as the end of the seven- 
teenth century. Thus, in Farquhar's Love and a 
Bottle (1698), Act 2, Scene 2, Rigadoon says : 

' ' Zoons is only used by the disbanded officers and 
bullies ; but zauns is the beaux' pronunciation." 

In this connection it is worthy of note that the ordi- 
nary pronunciation of wound 'injury,' is [u] ; we 
pronounce [ait] only in poetry ; similarly wind, ' air, 
breeze,' has \ai\ only in poetry ; in prose the pro- 
nunciation is wind. 

In sound 'noise,' from French son, we have the 
[aw] ; also in the verb sound ' to test the depth, ' 
French sonder. In these words, however, the [aw] 
may be due to the analogy of sound l healthy, ' O. E. 


sund, sund, and sound ' arm of the sea, ' O. E. sund, 

15. Diphthonging before g ; h ; w. 

A. Before g. 

1. O. E. ce, M. E. a, before g produced [afj. 
This, [at] probably survives in the London Cockney 
pronunciation of day, daisy, may, &c. In Chaucer, 
however, and in modern standard English since 
Chaucer, the \ai\ has been levelled to \ei\ ; Chaucer 
and all modern poets rime way (O. E. weg*) and 
day (O. E. dceg~). 


O. E. brcegen Mn. E. brain, 

fagen fain, 

flcegel flail, 

wcegen wain. 

(Mn. E. wagon is from the Dutch. ) 

2. O. E. e before g produced [ei] . 

Example : weg, Mn. E. way. 

3. O. E. ce before g produced |i, which survived 
quite late in Mn. E. , but in the eighteenth century 
went over to [I] in such words as O. E. ce^er. 
Dr. Johnson pronounced either \i\; but in his day 


the pronunciation had already become [t] and was 
even becoming [a{] . See 14. 

N. B. O. E. eceg is Mn. E. key 
grceg gray 

4. O. E. e (whether original or the Mercian 
i-umlaut of ea) and ea before g produced ei, which 
at the end of the M. E. and beginning of the Mn. E. 
period went over to \i\ and was still later diph- 
thonged to [at] . 


O. E. cage M. E. ege (a) Mn. E. eye. 

tegan (W. S. tiegan) M. E. tegen tie. 

degan M. E. degen die. 

deagian M. E. deyen dye. 

It is worthy of note that the Scottish pronunciation of 
eye ' oculus ' and die ' mori ' is still [i, dl~\ . 

5. O. E. eo ; I, I ; y, y before g produced early 
M. E. ei, late M. E. [I] , which has been diphthonged 
to [at] in Mn. E. 


O. E. lebgan ' mentiri ' Mn. E. lie. 

dreogan ' to endure ' (Scotch) dree, 

flebgan fly. 

nigon nine, 

ligeft lieth. 


dryge dry. 

tigofta tithe. 

6. O. E. a before g produced the peculiar ou, aw 
sound () ; see 20 B. For example : 

O. E. lagu (Danish) Mn. E. law. 

dragan draw, 

sagu (a saying) saw. 

O. E. a before g produced gw, o. 

O. E. agan Mn. E. owe (verb). 

O. E. o before g produced QW, o. 

boga Mn. E. bow 'arcus.' 

O. E. ug, ttg produced M. E. uw, Mn. E. [au] . 
O. E. bugan Mn. E. (to) bow. 

fugol Mn. E. fowl. 

It is to be noted, however, that where in O. E. the g 
was final, it became h. Consequently words ending 
in g belong in subsection E. 

B. Before h. 

1. O. E. eh, eoh ; Mercian eh, ceh (W. S. eah), 
became M. E. eig h eih, Mn. E. [I] . For example : 
O. E. feoh Mn. E. fee. 

O. E. seh (Mercian) Chaucer seigh. 

Mn. E. dialect see (for saw~). See No. 5. 


2. O. E. eoh has become even [at] in Mn. E. 
O. E. SeoA M. E. />e&, frh Mn. E. thigh. 

3. O. E. ceh before t of the weak preterite and 
preterite participle was shortened to ahte, elite : see 
5. c. 1 ; 8. These became M. E. eighte, aughte. 
In Chaucer the eighte forms are still found. In 
Mn. E. we have only aught forms. 


O. E. rcshte (pret. of rojcetm) M. E. rehte, 
rahte ; Chaucer reighte, raughte ; 

Mn. E. raught [&] . 

O. E. tcehte Mn. E. taught. 

M. E. caeche (French cacher') Mn. E. caught. 

The modern distraught is a corruption of the French 
distrait, after the analogy of straught, old pret. of 

4. O. E. eah became M. E. eigh, later [I], still 
later diphthonged to [at] . For example : 

O. E. heah; in Chaucer heigh\ei\ ; Mn. E. 
high. Chaucer also pronounces [i] , to rime 
with Emilie. 

5. O. E. ah (Mercian for W. S. eah~) became 
augh [&] . For example : 

O. E. sah (preterite) M. E. saugh Mn. E. saw. 


See No. 1, remarks on eh. Chaucer has both saugh 
and seigh. 

O. E. dhte was shortened to ahte and also became 

O. E. ahte, ahte Mn. E. ought. 

6. O. E. ah became M. E. Qugh Mn. E. owe. 
O. E. dah Mn. E. dough. 

7. O. E. o/ii, shortened to oht ( 5, c. 1), became 
ou [&] ; O. E. sohte, sohte, Mn. E. sought. 

8. O. E. oA. ; uh, uh ; iiht, uht. Theoretically all 
these sounds must have been ugh or ugh in M. E. 
But in point of fact they have been so strangely 
developed in Mn. E. as to resist every attempt at 
classification. Thus : 

O. E. genog, genoh Mn. E. enough [9]. 
toh tough [9]. 

ruh rough [9]. 

]nruh, \>urh through [u]. 

ploh plough [era]. 

bog, boh bough [au]. 

In such words as genog, toh, ruh we may assume 
that the h sound went over to the / sound, and before 
this / the vowel was shortened like the e in deaf; 
see 6. The change of [u] to [a] is not peculiar 
to this class of words ; it is a very late process 


(eighteenth century), occurring in but, us, punch, 
flood, &c. See 6. 

C. Before w. 

1. O. E. aw before a vowel became the peculiar 
Mn. E. ou, aw [] . 

O. E. clawu Mn. E. claw. 

2. O. E. aw before vowel became M. E. QU. 
O. E. ow before vowel became M. E. ou. 
In Mn. E. both sounds are o. 

O. E. cnawan Mn. E. know, 

growan grow. 

3. O. E. eow, law, cew became M. E. g, ew [iu] . 
O. E. eowu M. E. gwe Mn. E. ewe. 

sceawian M. E. shgwen 

Icewed Mn. E. leivd. 

4. O. E. eow, lw, lw became M. E. eu, ew [iii\ . 
O. E. cneow Mn. E. knew. 

In Mn. E. the words in both No. 3 and No. 4 are 
pronounced with an [iu] sound, or even with an 
[iu]. There is no Mn. E. verb shew with [_iu]. 
The verb show, even if written shew, is pronounced 
sho. This o must go back to an O. E. sc(e)awian, 
in which the O. E. stress [ea] has been shifted to 
the Danish ed [ia] . See No. 2. 


D. Two other phenomena, very curious, are best 
treated in this connection. 

1. Not infrequently we get in M. E. an ei diph- 
thong in the preterite and pret. part, of verbs the 
stem of which ends in a ch sound. Thus O. E. 
cwencan, pret. cwencte, has in M. E. a pret. 
queynte ; O. E. blencan has a M. E. pret. bleynte. 
Thus far no explanation of the phenomenon has 
been found. If we assume, for example, that blen- 
can is from *blankion, the preterite should be either 
*blanlde, *blanhte (syncope of the i, t) OT*blenchte 
(c palatal according to 19). See Sievers, 407. 
In other words, if j, i is syncopated, the stem vowel 
should not be umlauted to e, ei; if i, i remains, the 
c should be fully palatalized. 

2. In some words the O. E. consonant / between 
vowels, pronounced v in O. E., has gone over to a 
w sound and produced diphthonging. 

O. E. hafoc Mn. E. hawk, 

ceafol jowl. 

In this last word the initial ch has become j ; see 
18. 4). 

The diphthonging before g, h, and to is a difficult 
problem in the history of English vowels. Many of 
the features appear arbitrary. 

Of Chaucer's pronunciation in particular it may 


be said that the h and gh are not yet silent letters. 
The h closely resembled the German ch ; the gh 
probably resembled the German g in sagen, as that 
word is spoken in Midland Germany. 

16. Diphthonging before I and r. 

1. The vowel a before I final, or before II, I plus 
consonant (except the Id discussed in 3), was diph- 
thonged subsequent to the fourteenth century into an 
ou, aw [] sound. Some of the changes took place 
in the sixteenth century. Chaucer still has the 
original pure a sound. For example : 

alle Mn. E. all (). 
falle fall, 

talke talk, 

balled ' thin -haired ' bald. 

With the last word compare 

O. E. bald, bald M. E. b$ld Mn. E. bold. 

In such words as talk, chalk, &c., the I has become 
silent In calf the I is silent but the a is not diph- 

A similar diphthonging has taken place in the 
American pronunciation of certain words, for ex- 
ample, swamp, wasp. 

2. The vowel o before I plus consonant (except 


O. E. Id ; see 3 and 12) became after Chau- 
cer's time o. 

folk Mn. E. folk, 

bolt bolt. 

Before k the I has become silent, like the I in chalk. 
3. The vowel changes before r can scarcely be 
reduced to a system. At this point the pronunciation 
usual in America differs from that in England. The 
difference shows itself in two directions. 

a. In England the r when final or before a con- 
sonant is not spoken as a consonant but is reduced to 
a mere 'glide', with the value of 9. For ex- 
ample, water pronounced [wQt 9] . 

b. In England the e often, if not usually, becomes 
a. For example, the word clerk may be pronounced 


O. E. beorcan (of a dog) M. E. berke 

Mn. E. bark, ba&k. 

(The pronunciation has coincided with that of 
M. E. barke of a tree, and of bark ' vessel,' from 
the French barque. ) 

O. E. steorra M. E. sterre star, 

feor fer t ferre far. 

clerk [cbrk, cloak.] 


birce birche [torch, bdch.~\ 

brid brid, bird \b&rd, bdd.~\ 

cursian curse [cars, cas.] 

The vowel o before r final or r plus consonant has 
become [&]. 

O. E. for Mn. E. for 

fort) forth 

With these compare the following : 

M. E. moral Mn. E. moral 
O. E. sorg M. E. sorwe Mn. E. sorrow 
sdrig M. E. syry Mn. E. sorry 


IN 3-16. 

1. The earliest change was that in 3, namely, 
the lengthening before certain consonants. This 
took place before 1000 and is wholly O. E. 

2. Next in time was the earlier shortening dis- 
cussed in 5. Most of these shortenings took place 
in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, in the border 
period between O. E. and M. E. At any rate, the 
shortening of O. E. a, ce to a was earlier than the 
change of a to q, or of ce to g. This accounts for 
O. E. hdlig, M. E. hijlig, versus O. E. hdlgian, 
M. E. h&lwe, Mn. E. hallow. See 8. 1. 


3. Next was the change of a to Q. See 10. 
This took place in the first half of the thirteenth 

4. Next was the lengthening of a, e, o in open 
syllables. See 4. The change was not earlier than 
the second half of the thirteenth century. Certainly 
the a could not have been lengthened before a became 
Q ; since in that case we should have had an Mn. E. 
verb */ore, instead of the peculiar fare [/fr] which 
is discussed in 11 and which must be the lengthen- 
ing of some peculiar a or ce. 

5. Still later in the main, at least are the diph- 
thongings discussed in 15. It is impossible to 
determine accurately the sequence in which these 
various diphthongings took place. Some of them are 
very early ; notably the diphthonging of e and ce, 
a before g. This is very early M. E. and even late 
O. E. In general the diphthonging tendency was at 
work all through the M. E. period. 

6. The change of e (close) to []. This took place 
in the fifteenth century. See 9. 

7. The change of o (close) to oo [u] ; also in the 
fifteenth century. See 12. 

8. The diphthonging of I, y to [at]. In the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. See 14. 

9. The diphthonging of u to [aw] . In the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries. See 14. 



10. The change of g (open) to [t] . In the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries. See 9. 

11. The changes before I and r. See 16. These 
can not be dated with accuracy ; certainly they were 
later than Chaucer. Probably they were not simul- 
taneous but scattered through the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries. Some were of the seventeenth. 


9TH-10TH C. 

11TH-12TH C. 

13TH C. 

1st half 2dhalf. 

14TH C. 

Lengthening : 
a, e, i -f- Id, 
i, u, y + nd, 
i, a + mb, 

Shortening : 
in compounds, 
before suffixes, 
before cons, 



a, e, o 
in open 

Plays ; 
no marked 

5 - 


15TH C. 

16TH C. 

17TH C. 

18TH C. 

e to 1, 9, 

i, y 

M to [au] 


o to , 12, 



of the 

a to g in open 







15 B 8, 



In general the consonant system of O. E. remained 
through M. E. and into Mn. E. That is to say, a 
consonant has usually in Mn. E. the sound which it 
had in 0. E. 

There are, however, two groups of changes. In 
the first group is placed the loss or on the other hand 
the intrusion of a consonant. With this phenomenon 
we may consider, for the sake of convenience, the 
phenomenon of voicing a consonant originally un- 
voiced, and some other changes. 

The second group comprises the changes involved 
in the palatalization of c [Jt] into ch [[] and g into 



1. a. The initial hi-, hr-, hn- of O. E. became in 
M. E. 1-, r-, n-. This dropping of the h began about 
1000 and was complete by the middle of the four- 
tenth century. Thus we get : 



O. E. hldf Mn. E. loaf, 

hleapan leap, 

hrof roof, 

hrcefn raven, 

hnecca neck, 

hnutu nut. 

O. E. hw- is written wh- in M. E. and in Mn. E., 
but the sound is still hw-, at least in America ; in 
England the usual pronunciation is w-. Thus the 
Englishman usually confounds 

whales and Wales, 
while wile, 

which witch. 

O. E. hwd, now written who, is pronounced [hu] . 
See 10. 

O. E. hdl is now written whole (the writing dates 
from the sixteenth century) but the w is not sounded. 

In the extreme Northern (Scottish) dialect hw- is 
written qu-, quh- ; the pronunciation is [x^], the x 
having the value of the German ch in auch. 

b. O. E. en-, gn-. Both c and g are silent in 
Mn. E. en-, however, was still pronounced di- 
late in the seventeenth century ; gn- retained the 
gr-sound during the sixteenth century, but lost it 
early in the seventeenth. 


c. In final -mb the b is silent ; e. g., climb, comb. 

2. -s. Final s, in such words as is, his, as, was, 
was still s in Chaucer's speech, although it had the 
sound of [z] in the Southern dialect. The sound of 
[z] became general in the fifteenth century, although 
in the sixteenth the -s sound survived when followed 
by a word beginning with s or sh. 

In goose, mouse, us, hence, thence, the s sound 

The -s in the plural of nouns and in the 3d sing. 
of verbs remains s when preceded by an unvoiced 
consonant, but has acquired the [z] sound when pre- 
ceded by a vowel, by a consonant not spoken although 
written, or by a voiced consonant. Compare : 

days with lips 

bows hats 

bougJis backs 

sighs sights 

In French words intervocalic s has the sound of z. 
For example, poison, cousin, reason. But where the 
word is written -ce-, the s sound remains ; as in face, 
grace. (For the g sound, see 11.) 

In many word-couplets the difference between s 
and \z\ marks the distinction between noun and 
verb. Thus : 


Noun. Verb. 

excuse excuse. 

use use (but use 'to be in 

habit of,' with s). 

grease grease ; [s] is also heard. 

house house. 

glass glaze. 

grass graze. 

3. In certain circumstances the [s] sound has 
become J. The phenomenon is chiefly noticeable in 
Lathi-French words ending in -tion, -tient. As long 
as these words were spoken with the French accent 
on the -on, -ent, the t was pronounced s, as in Chau- 
cer. For example : 

patient pron. pa-si-ent. 
salvation salva-si-oun. 

When, however, at the end of or soon after the 
Chaucerian period, the accent was wholly removed 
from the termination, the [s\ went over to [J] : 

pg\9nt salvffin (f, see 11). 

Note further the change of the s-sound to [ J ] in 
cherish, perish, nourish, &c. Chaucer still rimes 
cherice, [s] , with vice. Also note the change of the 
2-sound to [z h\ in leisure, pleasure, treasure, dzure, 
&c., originally accented plezure, azure, &c. 


In question, combustion, &c., the st has become 


4. The ch sound [<J], whether developed from k 
in English words according to the palatalizing process 
discussed in 19 or borrowed from the French, has 
frequently gone over to thejf sound [df]. Thus : 

M. E. cndwleche Mn. E. knowledge 

pertriche (Fr.) partridge. 

cabbache (Fr. dial.) cabbage. 

Cartridge, from Fr. cartouche, is found only in Mn. E. 
Sausage, from Fr. saucisse, is hard to explain. 

It is to be noted that in these words the ch, j 
sound is in a syllable which has ceased to be stressed. 
There are some words, however, in which the ch of 
a stressed syllable has become [dj]. Thus : 

O. E. on cer M. E. on cher, char Mn. E. ajar. 

On cer means 'on the turn.' It is to be noted that 
we pronounce char woman, a woman hired not regu- 
larly but for some special turn of work. 

O. E. ceaft M. E. chavel, chaul Mn. E. jowl. 

The etymology of jaw, chaw is obscure. 

5. Intrusion of a consonant. Some of these 
changes are M. E. ; others are Mn. E. 


a. A p is inserted between m and t. For example : 
O. E. cemtig M. E. empti Mn. E. empty. 

In this word the p is both sounded and written. In 
many Mn. E. words the p is sounded but not written, 
as in dream' t. It is interesting to note that the form 
drempte occurs six times in the M. E. poem of Genesis 
and Exodus (thirteenth century) ; also the form 
dempt, p. p. of demen 'to judge' occurs once. The p 
survives in the name Dempster, but not in the com- 
mon noun deemster. In like manner the Fr. som- 
metier has developed into Mn. E. sumpter. 

In M. E. a p was inserted between m and n, as in 
Chaucer's Sompnour (Fr. somenour), dampned (Fr. 
damne), solempne (solenne), nempnen (O. E. nem- 
Twm). These forms have not been retained in Mn. E. 

b. A b sound has been developed between m and 
r, as in Mn. E. slumber, O. E. slumerian (Germ. 
schlummerri). In Mn. E. thumb, O. E. ftuma 
(Germ, daumeri), the b has become silent inMn. E. ; 
but is still spoken in thimble, O. E. ftymel. 

c. A d sound has been developed between n and 
r, as in Mn. E. thunder, O. E. ftunor (Germ. Don- 
Tier). In kindred, O. E. cynrceden, M. E. cunrede, 
the intrusive d is Mn. E. 

d. An r has been developed in certain Fr. words, 


for example : philosopher (Fr. philosophe), lavender 
(plant-name); and an I in principle (Fr. principe). 

O. E. has, late M. E. hqrs, is Mn. E. hoarse 
(compare Germ. heis-er~). Also O. E. brydguma, 
M. E. brldgume, is Mn. E. bridegroom. 

In Mn. E. we find the following intrusive con- 
sonants : 

e. A t after s in such forms as 

M. E. againes Mn. E. against. 

in middes amidst, midst. 

whiles whilst. 

betwix betwixt. 

O. E. hces behest. 

In the vulgar onst, oneet the same tendency has not 
been recognized in the standard speech. 
O. E. anefen is Mn. E. anent. 

f. A d after n. 

M. E. boun (Icel. btiinri) Mn. E. bound 

(ready to go ; see busk, 19 A). 
Ignen (O. E. Icenan) lend, 

rounen (O. E. runiari) round 

(to whisper). 
hlne (O. E. hina*) ? hind 

sounen (Fr. suner) sound. 


But in swoon, swoun (M. E. swoyneri) and drown 
(M. E. drunen, droune') the d has not been accepted 
in standard speech. 
Also a d between n and /. 

M. E. spinel Mn. E. spindle. 

(O. E. dwlnari) ? Mn. E. dwindle. 


This is undoubtedly the most puzzling feature in 
the development of English speech. The study will 
become somewhat easier : 

1. If we distinguish carefully between Ic and g. 
Both consonants have been palatalized, but in differ- 
ent ways. 

2. If we recognize the fact that palatalization was 
essentially and originally a process of the Southern 
dialect, that it extended to and affected the Midland 
dialect but not universally, and that it never affected 
the extreme Northern dialect. Inasmuch as standard 
Mn. E. is a development of Midland, the k and g 
are palatalized to the extent to which they were 
palatalized in Midland. According as the Mid- 
land dialect of M. E. was under the influence of the 
Southern, we get palatalized forms ; according as it 
leaned to the Northern dialect, we get k and g 


Palatalization of Jc. 

O. E. k was a genuine stop and not a spirant. It 
acquired a strong palatalizing tendency, however, 
very early ; in fact the language was beginning to 
speak Jc even before it had left its home on the Conti- 
nent, that is, before it was introduced into England. 

A, sk. Initial sk- was turned into [s^] in early 
O. E., and into the sh [ J] sound in late O. E. For 
example : 

O. E. scip Mn. E. ship. 

sc(e)arait shame. 

sc(e)al shall. 

sc(e)arp sharp, 

scene sheen. 

sc(e)ort short, 

scyttan shut, 

scrincan shrink, 

scrud shroud. 

This conversion of initial sc~ to sh- is so regular that 
when we find a Mn. E. word spoken with initial sk 
we assume that it is a loan-word. Thus : sky, skin, 
skirt, skulk, scum are borrowed from Danish. The 
origin of skull is unknown, it is not found in O. E. 
Scotch, Scottish are probably a survival of the Keltic 


or Kelto-Latin sk- initial ; skipper is Dutch ; skirmish 
isthe French (e^scarmouche, scorn is the Fr. (e~)scarn ; 
school is the Latin schtila with the medieval long 
vowel (sclidla). 

It is interesting to compare doublets. Thus : 

ship (O. E. scip~) vs. skipper (Dutch). 
shirt (0. E. scyrte) skirt (Dan. skyrta'). 

Final -sk presents some difficulties. Usually it has 
become -sh. Thus : 

O. E. disc (Latin discus) M. E. dish, 
fisc fish, 

flcesc flesh, 

fersc fresh. 

But when -sk- was followed by a syllable containing 
a guttural vowel, the syllabication was -s-k, unpa- 
latalized. For example : 

O. E. askian Mn. E. ask. 

(Here the -ian is guttural, see B. ) 

In some words the s and k were metathesized before 
the palatalization became fixed ; in such words we 
get x, ks. Thus : 

( asce ashe(s\ 

O. E. < 

(. acse oxen (dialect). 

miscan, *micsan mix. 


0. E. wascan ' lavare ' should have yielded M. E. 
*wasken, Mn. E. *wax. In fact we do find an O. E. 
waxan ; but in M. E. and Mn. E. we find only sh 

Bask and busk are Scandinavian words. Bask is 
Icelandic baftask (bcffia #ik~) 'to bathe one's self.' 
Buslc is Icelandic buask (bua die) 'to prepare one's 
self, be ready.' Compare bound, Icelandic buinn 
( 18. 5. /). Husk is still unexplained ; probably 
it is Low German hus(i}ke(n), 

B. Palatalization before -i, -i. Here should be 
borne carefully in mind : 

1. That the i, i, if it appears at all in O. E., 
appears as an -e ; only in the oldest texts do we find 
an occasional -i. See Sievers, 44. 

2. That -i merely palatalizes the c (&); whereas 
j both palatalizes and geminates. The -i, however, 
becomes -i after a long stem (that is, a stem contain- 
ing an original long vowel or a short vowel before 
two consonants ; see Sievers, 45. 8). For example, 
*banki became benc 'bench' ; ftakyzn (short stem) 
became fteccan (with gemination) ' to thatch ' ; but 
*taikion, *takion (long stem) became tcecan 'to 
teach. ' 

The difference between i and i will explain the 
numerous -c- and -cc- verbs of the first weak class. 


Examples of Palatalizing before i, $. 

O. E. cycen (Latin coquina) Mn. E. kitchen, 

cidan chide, 

cinn chin, 

bece (*bokion, long stem) beech, 

drencan (*drankion, long stem) drench, 

streccan (*strakion, short stem) stretch. 

Caution. The student must be on his guard against 
a misapprehension. There are in O. E. many infini- 
tives (the 2d class weak) ending in -ian. This -ian, 
however, is not a palatal i but is merely the reduced 
form of an older and fuller -oian, a guttural, which 
does not palatalize the k. For example : 

0. E. locian M. E. lokien Mn. E. look. 

ftoncian fianlcien thank, 

lician liken like, 

liccian licken lick. 

Most of the Mn. E. verb-forms in -k or -ck come 
from these O. E. -ian verbs. 

C. Before other palatal vowels. 

1. Before G. T. e, O. E. e or eo (broken). 

O. E. ceorl Mn. E. churl. 

2. Before G. T. eu, O. E. eo. 

O. E. ceosan M. E. chesen. 


Also the t-umlaut of this diphthong, O. E. w, I, y. 
O. E. els (select) M. E. chilse Mn. E. choice. 

The Mn. E. was formerly pronounced [at], the 
normal diphthonging of [i] ; the present cfiQis may 
be due to the noun choice, Fr. choix. There 
are similar double vernacular sounds in join, boil, 
&c. [ai and yi] . 

3. Before G. T. au, O. E. ea. 

O. E. cedp M. E. cheap, chep Mn. E. cheap. 
Also the z-umlaut of the diphthong, O. E. w, I, y, g. 
O.E. cypan, cepan M.E. chgpen Mn.E. cheapen. 

4. Before G. T. a, appearing in O. E. as ea, or i- 
Umlauted to e, ie, y. 

At this point, however, the standard speech presents 
many inconsistencies. These may be explained by 
assuming that the Midland speech, while in the main 
under the influence of the Southern tendency to 
palatalize, nevertheless in the districts towards the 

North borrowed Northern forms. 

O. E. tetil M. E. chetel (obsolete) and 

perhaps proper name Chettle. 
(kettle is probably a Northern form bor- 
rowed from Danish. ) 


O. E. cealc Mn. E. chalk, 

cearu, earn care, 

cearig chary, 

ceaf chaff, 

ceaf or chafer, 

ciele, cele chill, 

cealf, calf calf. 

Especially interesting is the treatment of the O. E. 
ceaster (Lat. castra). In the South and Midland 
the pronunciation is Chester ; in the North and 
in Scotland it is caster. Compare Dorchester with 
Lancaster. The curious pronunciation -cester (-sester*) 
seems to be a Norman blunder, giving to the c a 
French value. 

D. After certain vowels. 

1. After O. E. a?. 

This phenomenon is greatly in need of further 
investigation. The Mn. E. back is O. E. bcec, M. E. 
bac, bach, and b<xch. The pronunciation batch is 
found in such names as Cumberbatch. 

2. -ic in monosyllables has become -ich [-i[] . 

O. E. pic Mn. E. pitch, 

die ditch. 

(Mn. E. dike is probably a Dutch word. ) 

The O. E. pronoun ic became ich [t[] in Southern 


English ; this form is frequently used in the rustic 
speech of comic characters in the Elizabethan plays, 
especially in the formula : ich ill, ich ' II, for ' I 
will.' In normal M. E. and standard Mn. E. the 
pronoun is regularly I [a{] . 

The terminations -lie, -lice (adj. and adv. ) appear as 
-lich, -lichein some M. E. texts, but in most as -li ; 
Chaucer has both lich and like. Mn. E. has 
regularly -ly ; although there are numerous -like 
compounds formed by analogy in the modern lan- 
guage. For example, homely and homelike. 

The -lie has undergone great change in the follow- 
ing words : 

O. E. *hmilik, hwilc Mn. E. which. 
*swalik, swilc such. 

*a-%e-lic, celc each. 


Intervocalic k preceded by i is sometimes palatal- 
ized, sometimes not. The palatalization usually de- 
pends upon the following vowel being a palatal. 

O. E. sicol sickle, 

cwicu quick, 

cwice quitch-grass. 

An O. E. cc is palatal if the gemination is due to 
an i [&j] ; if the gemination is the result of some 
other consonantal change, the cc is kk. Thus : 


O. E. weccan (^wakion) M. E. wecchen (to arouse 
some one ; compare Germ, weekend. 

Whereas in the following : 

O. E. hnecca Mn. E. neck, 

sticca stick, 

pluccian pluck. 

the cc [= kk] is probably from Ten : at all events it 
is not from lei. 

Non- Palatalization of k. 

The k is not palatalized in the following cases : 

E. When it is in combination with another conso- 
nant, as, cl, en, cr, cw. 

O. E. clcene Mn. E. clean, 

clif cliff, 

cniht knight, 

cribb crib, 

curie quick, quitch. 


F. Before guttural vowels and their umlauts. 
1. 5, u. 

O. E. col cool, 

cocc cock, 

cu cow. 

cuman come. 


2. e (oe), the t-umlaut of o. 

O. E. *koni cene keen. 

*kopian cepan keep. 

Note the difference between this last and the palatal 
|, (i-umlaut of ea), as in *keapion, cepen, M. E. 
chepe ; see C. 3. 

3. ^ (later writing i~), the i-umlaut of it. 

O. E. %ecynd Mn. E. kind, 

cyftfi kith, 

cyn kin. 

Lat. coquina 0. E. cycen kitchen; see B. 

4. e, the i-umlaut of a, o before nasal. 
Lat. cantium O. E. cenf Mn. E. Kent. 

5. a, (G. T. ai) and its t-umlaut. 

O. E. *kaiyi cceg Mn. E. key. 

Note the difference between this and the palatal 
before the open | or e in 0. 3, 4. For example : 
Lat. cdseum, O. E. *c<Bsi *ceasi ciese, M. E. cese, 
Mn. E. cheese ; see Sievers, 75. 2. 

6. a which does not become ce in O. E. For 
example : 

O. E. cald, cald, 3. 1. Mn. E. cold, 
callian (Danish kalla) call. 


G. The oldest writing in England, the Runic, 
used different signs for palatal and non-palatal k. 
Thus h = k non-palatal ; $ = k palatal. Unfortu- 
nately the old Runic inscriptions are so few that they 
yield only a very scanty vocabulary. 

Some of the older manuscripts used occasionally k 
before e, i, y to mark the non-palatal. Much more 
frequently an e or i was inserted between a palatal c 
and an a, o, u. For example: Sewc(e)cm, sec(e)cm, 
drencium (d. pi. ofdrenc). 

This tendency to distinguish the c became stronger 
and stronger in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, 
by writing c ( k non -palatal) only before a, o, u ; 
Ic before e, i, y ; and cli to mark the palatal. After 
1200 (e. g. in the Ormulum) the use of ch for the 
palatal became practically universal. 

H. The k did not immediately become the ch [t J] 
sound. At first it was pronounced [ky] ; then [ty] ; 
last of all [tj] . For O. E. the pronunciation proba- 
bly never got beyond the 2d stage [ty] ; but in the 
Ormulum and in M. E. generally the sound is that 
oftheMn. E. ch [fj]. 

The tendency to pronounce ty as p|] is inherent 
in English and manifests itself in what are called 
modern vulgarisms. For instance, Tuesday pro- 
nounced Chiusday. In such words as feature the 


[if] is common in American English ; the N. E. D. , 
however, gives the pronunciation ty. Parallel with 
the tendency to turn ty into [if] is the tendency to 
turn dy into [dj], as in the stage vulgarism juke 
for duke. 

The change of s to [J] and z to zh, discussed in 
18. 3, may also be treated as a case of palataliza- 
tion. In all the words there mentioned the French 
vowel i after the consonant became y in consequence 
of the fixing of the strong English accent on the 
preceding syllable. 


I. The O. E. paradigm, especially of the verb, pre- 
sented many striking contrasts now obliterated by 
levelling. For example : 

ceosan[ty] ceos[ty] etmw[k] coren[k]. 

In infinitive and pret. sing, we have the palatalized 
[ky, ty~\, but in the pret. pi. and participle we have 
the original k. Further, the s has become r in pret. 
pi. and pret. part. M. E. h.d an infinitive chesen, 
which goes back to ceosan. The Mn. E. infin. choose 
seems to go back to ceosan accented ceosan ; this 
accenting of the diphthong [eo] is Danish rather 


than English. The Mn. E. verb has introduced 
throughout the [[] ; also the s for r. 

Just the opposite has happened in the verb : 

ceorfan cearf curfon corfen 

M. E. and Mn. E. have only the k sound. Besides, 
the verb has become weak in Mn. E. carve, carved ; 
carf and corven, however, are found in Chaucer. 
Whereas O. E. ceowan ceaw cuwon cowen has intro- 
duced the [<J] throughout and is conjugated weak. 
In general, wherever in Mn. E. we find palatal 
forms where we might expect guttural, and vice versa, 
we may assume either a levelling in the paradigm, or 
a Midland mixture of Southern and extreme Northern 
forms, as in be-seech seek, or a borrowing, as in kit 
(Low German), Hit (Scandinavian). 

Palatalization of g. 


A. With two exceptions, for which see D, there 
was not in O. E. a voiced stop g corresponding to the 
unvoiced stop k. The O. E. 5 seldom had the value 
of the g in Mn. E. good, gate, gum. The single 5 
designated a voiced spirant, that is, a sound like the 
Mn. German cli but voiced. And, like the German 
eh, it had two qualities, a guttural and a palatal. 


The 5 was guttural when in combination with another 
consonant, as in ^Iced, %rafan, ^na^an ; or before a 
guttural vowel, d, o, u, y (t-umlaut of u), e 
(i-umlaut of o), as in gdi, %os, jwma, -&es. It was 
palatal before a palatal vowel, as I, e, y (=torte). 
It was also palatal when it stood at the end of a 
word immediately after a palatal vowel, as in O. E. 
he& ' hay, ' bodi^ ' body ' ; see 7. Intervocalic 3 
following a palatal and preceding a guttural vowel 
was guttural in the early stage of the language, as 
in bea^um, d. pi. of hta^ ; the syllabication being 
apparently bea-^um. In later O. E., however, the 
5 in such circumstances became palatal. 

The Greek y has been used by some philologists 
to mark the guttural spirant ; the 3 being retained 
for the palatal. 

Concerning the pronunciation of 3 palatal and 
guttural, it may be said that : 

1. The palatal 5 was not unlike the Mn. E. y in 
such words as yea, only thickened and buzzed ; 
it must have resembled the g in the Berlin pronun- 
ciation of geben, gabe, Gott. 

2. The guttural y must have been an extremely 
rasping sound spoken deep in the throat, with the 
vocal chords very tense. The modern Anglo-Ameri- 
can throat is wholly unable to make the sound ; it 


may still be heard, however, in certain North Ger- 
man dialects and in Keltic speech. 

The two sounds are found side by side in the same 
paradigm. For example : 

&eotan ^eat yuton yoten ' to pour, giessen. ' 

(Compare the paradigm of ceosan, 19. I.) 
Where the palatal j has remained in M. E. it is 
written with a y. 

O. E. gear, %er Mn. E. year. 
Zernan, pieman yearn. 

&ellan, -giellan yell. 

%eldan, $ieldan yield. 

IfiZ ivy. 

For exceptions see F. 

B. The y never became a stop (like the modern 
g in good} in the O. E. period ; the change took 
place in early M. E. The first text to mark unmis- 
takably the difference between the guttural spirant 
and the guttural stop is the Ormulum (1200). Orm 
used the sign tj for the stop, %h for the guttural 
spirant [y] , and 5 for the palatal spirant. 

In the course of the twelfth century y became the 
stop [</] when in combination with other consonants 

V W V %< 

or at the beginning of a word before a, 5, u, y 


(i-umlaut of u), e (t-umlaut of o). For example : 
glad, %od God, jos goose, %es geese. 

At the end of a word, especially after r, the gut- 
tural spirant tended to become the unvoiced guttural 
spirant h (= German ch in ach, buch~). This 
tendency manifests itself in such O. E. forms as 
bo^h, slo^h, kna^k, burh^. 

The intervocalic y became in M. E. a w sound. 
This w sound exerted a peculiar diphthonging effect 
on the preceding vowel; see 15. A. For exam- 
ple: boya, 'bow'; c?cej, 'day', but dayas, 'daws;' 
dayenian, ' dawn. ' The conversion of y to w became 
so normal that the original signs for the sounds were 
sometimes confused in writing. For example, in the 
fourteenth-century poem called Patience, verse 67, 
soghe is written for the imperative of sow ' dissemi- 
nate,' O. E. sdwan. 

C. In 19. B, it was said that k was palatalized 


to k, c and eventually to ch [f] before j and i. In 
treating y we must discriminate between i and i. 
The i alone has the property of fully palatalizing 
and geminating the y to cj. The i merely turned the 
guttural spirant into a palatal spirant (partial pala- 
talization). For example, compare : 


O. E. *bruyia, bryc% Mn. E. bridge. 
*waywn, toecj wedge. 

with *ruyis, ry&e rye (grain). 

*luyis, ly&e lie 'falsehood.' 

This general distinction between i and i is not 
difficult to apprehend ; but it is very difficult to 
apply, for the reason that in order to know whether 
the 5 was followed by an i or a i we must reconstruct 
the O. E. paradigm according to the most general 
principles of G. T. philology. Such reconstruction 
is occasionally needed in the declension of nouns and 
adjectives, but not often ; the chief field for recon- 
struction is the verb. 

The determining principles of G. T. philology in 
this matter are : 

1. After a long stem (see 19. B. 2) the i 
becomes i under all circumstances; see Sievers, 
45. 8. For example, *beayion, bie&an, be%an, 'to 

2. After a short stem the i : 

a. Remains before a termination beginning with 
a guttural vowel (d, o, w). 

b. Becomes i before a termination beginning with 
a consonant (usually rf). 

c. Disappears before, or rather is absorbed in, a 
termination beginning with the palatal vowel i. 


These several features are best illustrated by the 
reconstructed paradigm of a verb of the first weak 
class, lee&ean ( to lay. ' 

Infin. *layion lec%(e^a,n (full pal.) 

Ind. pres. s. */ayjo, *layiu lec&e (full pal. ) 

*layiis, *layis le%is (part, pal.) 

*aywt5, *layifi legift (part. pal. ) 

pi. *layion$, *layia$ feej(e)at> (full pal. ) 

Ind. pret. *layida, *layida le^i~)de (part, pal.) 

Compare also, for the noun-formation : 

O. E. *Jiayis, he%e, Mn. E. hay, 

O. E. *hayia, hedge, Mn. E. hedge. 

The O.E. paradigm of /ec;$(e)<m, like the paradigm 
of ceosan and ceorfan in 19. I, contained dual con- 
sonants : the eg, an incipient j [d\~\ sound, and the 
half -palatalized 5, which in later English became a 
[?/] sound. This dualism, like that in 19. I, has 
been removed by levelling. The forms with 5 en- 
croached upon and supplanted the cj [dj] forms. 
The levelling began in the Midland dialect of Early 
M. E. and has passed into standard Mn. E. It 
should be noted, however, that the Southern dialect 
of M. E. retained the dualism of cj, 5 quite late. 
Thus the Kentish dialect continued to say : infin. 


leggen [df], ich legge, he letif) ; we legge ; pret. he 
le%de, leide. The paradigm of see&ean 'to say' offers 
the same variety. Note the many ligg- forms [eZJ] 
(O.E. lic(e)an 'to lie') in Chaucer ; alsoseggen we 
' we say,' Tr. and Cr., iv, 194. The Mn. E. spell- 
ing to lay, I lay ; to say, I say ; laid, said is due to 
the tendency to prefer the writing ai, ay to ei, ey. 

D. In A it was said that there were two excep- 
tions to the rule that O. E. had no genuine stop g 

1). The first exception consists of a small group 
of words, mostly nouns, usually written with 55 but 
sometimes with 05 or jc, in which the pronunciation 
was that of the Mn. E. g in good. These words are 
do&a 'dog,' fro&a 'frog,' clu&e 'bell, clock,' su^a, 
a bird-name, (hey-sugge in Chaucer is a sparrow), 
eamme&a 'earwig,' flo-g&ettan 'to fluctuate ' and one 
or two more ; see Sievers, 216. 2. In these 
words the gemination is due not to a following i, but 
to a following n. See the remarks on kk, 19, D. 2. 

2). In the O. E. combination ng the g was a 
genuine stop ; see Sievers, 215. The O. E. 
pronunciation was probably [rj#] as in finger, not the 
Mn. E. simple [rj] , as in singer. Thus the O. E. infini- 
tives were pronounced siq-gan, mrj-jraw, &c., and 
the stop g, unlike the spirant y, 5, was fully palatal- 


ized by i no less than by i. For example, the deriva- 
tive verbs, first weak class, *sat)-glon, ^crat)-gion gave 
rise to M. E. senge, crenge [<7=df] . For the Mn. E. 
i in place of e in singe, cringe, see 13. 

E. In A it was said that the O. E. 5 before a 
palatal vowel (e, i) was half palatalized and became 
in Mn. E. a y, as in %er, year. 

There is a group of exceptions, namely, a few very 
common words which have in Mn. E. g instead of y. 
They are: get (O. E. jefcm), give (O. E. ge/an), gift 
(O.E. -gift}, again (O. E. on^e^n), guest (O. E. %est ; 
the spelling with ue is in imitation of French). 

The usual explanation is to say that the g is due 
to Danish influence, the original G. T. 5, whether 
guttural or palatal, becoming stop-^ in all Scandina- 
vian speech. To this view it may be objected that 
the words in question are among the commonest in 
our language, and there seems to be no very cogent 
reason why Englishmen in the M. E. period should 
have changed the pronunciation of such every-day 
words. Further, the spelling in the Ormulum fails 
to bear out the Danish theory. The Ormulum being 
that early M. E. document which shows the most 
extensive Danish influence, so extensive in fact as 
to call for special investigation, we should expect to 
find these words written regularly with a g (Orm's 


3 1 ). Yet this is precisely what we do not find. Orm 
uses much more frequently in these words 5 than g ; 
sometimes he vacillates between the two signs. In 
one word only do we find g (g) exclusively. This is 
the word gesst. As examples of vacillation we may 
note giferr, giferr (O. E. %ifre 'greedy), geggii and 
onn-%cen. Further we find regularly %ifenn, %ife 
('gift'), %etenn. We find even "goten, p. p. of^eotan 
' to pour, ' although this should have been goten ; 
see A. 2. 

Especially significant are the two words %ate and 
gate in the Ormulum. The former is the O. E. 
&eatu 'gate, opening,' and is a genuine English semi- 
palatal ; the other is an equally genuine Danish 
word and borrowed with an unmistakable Danish 
meaning, Icelandic gata, our Mn. E. gait. Both 
words have now g. 

The evidence, then, goes to show that Orm, whose 
language is so highly colored with Danicisms, does 
not systematically turn initial English 5 into Danish g. 

F. Concerning the stages of development in the 
cj, (full palatalization of jj as treated in C), it is safe 
to say that it was parallel with the change of Tc ; 
see 19. H. That is, cj represents first a [gy] 
sound, then a [dy\ sound, and last a j [df] . In the 
O. E. period the sound did not get beyond the [dy] 


stage. The [c?J] is early M. E. ; in the Ormulum 
the pronunciation is already [dj] . This is shown by 
Onn's use of the peculiar letter g in such words as 
legmen (O. E. lec&an), biggen (O. E. byc^an 'buy') 
and in the French or Latin-French words gyw 
(engin, 'device, machine'), Egippte, ma<gy (French 
mage, Latin magi"). This letter g, if not actually 
invented by Orm, was clearly used by him to mark 
the [d[] sound, whether of French or of English 


[The references are to pages ; g, 7, 5, g , o, are entered as 
one letter ; CB is entered as a + e ; J>, $, as t + A. ] 

above, abufan 32 
accent, see stress 
ach (German) 71 
ocse 58 
(Kff&er 35, 37 
^lf ric 9 
cemtig 54 


oerende 15 

again 75 

againes, against 55 

dgan 39 

age 30 

ah, ahte 41 

ajar 53 

aid 7, 28 

all, alle 44 

American 29, 44, 45, 50, 67 

amidst 55 

a?i 28 

-an (infin. ) 9 

anefen, anent 55 

anig 21 

ant 22 

any 21 

are 12, 28 
as 51 

osce, ashes 58 
ask, askian 58 
atone 28 
oxen 58 
Ayenbite 34 
azure 52 

bac, bach, back 62 

backs 51 

bcec, beech 62 

bald, 'bold' 44 

bald, balled ( ' thin haired ' ) 


*banki 59 
bard ' beard ' 10 
bark (of tree), bark (ship), 

bark (of dog) 45 
bask 59 
batch 62 
boSask 59 
*beayion 72 
beagiim 69 
beam 24 
beard 10 
bece, beech <)0 



INDEX. [References are to pages. 

be%an 72 
behest 55 

benc, bench 59 

beorcan, berke 45 

Berlin 69 

beseech 68 

betwix, betwixt 55 

blegan 72 

biqven 77 

blndan 8, 9 

birce, birch 46 

bird 46 

*blankion 43 

blencan, blenchte, bleynte 43 

bliss, UiKe 16 

blood 32 

boat 29 note 

boc 19 

bodis, body 20, 21, 69 

bog 41 

boya 39, 71 

bo^h, boh 71, 41 

boil 61 

*bokwn 60 

bold 44 

bolt 45 

bonte 25 

book 19, 32 

bosm, bosom 19, 32 

bough, boughs 41 , 51 

bdun 55 

bound (p. p. of 'bind') 9, 35 

bound ( ' ready to go ' ) 55, 59 

bow (to incline) 39 

bow, bows ( ' arms ' ) 39, 51 

brad 29 

braegen, brain 22, 37 

bramble 22 

breast 17 

bremel 22 

brebst 17 

brid 46 

bride 35 

bridegroom 55 

bridge 72 

bridgume 55 

broad 29 

brocen 13 

brohle 16 
broken 13 
broKor 32 
*bruyia, brycg 72 
bryd 3~5 
brydguma 55 
buasfc 59 
biicet, bucket 22 
buch (German) 71 
bu^an 39 
build 6 
buinn 55, 59 
biilden 6 
bunden 9, 35 
fturAg 71 
busk 59 
but 42 
byc%an 77 
byldan 6 

cabbache, cabbage 53 
cabin 31 

References are to pages.] INDEX. 


cacche, cacher 40 
cos 38, 65 

cald 7, 65 

calf 44, 62 

called, callian 65 

cdmb 8 

Cantium 65 

care 62 

cartouche, cartridge 53 

earn 62 

carve 68 

caseum 65 

-caster, castra 62 

cattle 31 

caught 40 


ceaft, ceafol 43, 53 

ceafor 62 

cealc 62 


ceallian 7 

ceap 61 


cearig, cearu 62 

ceos 67 

*ceasi 65 

ceaster 62 

ceaw 68 

cele 62 

cene 65 

ceorfan 68 
ccor/ 60 
ceosan 60, 67 
ceowan 68 

cepaw 61, 65 

cepan (keep), cepte 17, 65 

cese 65 

-cester 62 

l-etU 61 

chafer 62 

chaff 62 

chalk 44, 62 

chapel 30-31 

char woman 53 

chary 62 

Chaucer 10, 17, 18, 25, 29, 
30, 32, 37, 39, 40, 41, 43- 
44, 48, 51, 52, 54, 63, 68, 

chaul, chavel 53 

chaw 53 

cheap, cheapen 61 

cheese 65 

chep 61 

chepe, chepen 61, 65 

cherice, cherish 52 

chesen 60, 67 

Chester 62 

eheiel, Chettle 61 

chew 68 

chide 60 

child 7, 15 

childer, children 8, 15 

chill 62 

chin 60 

choice, choix 61 

choose 67 

Christendom 14 

Chronicle, Parker 9 

Church Plays 48 


INDEX. [References are to pages. 

churl 60 

cool 31, 64 

chiise 61 

coquina 60, 65 

cldan 60 

coren 67 

ciele 62 

corf en 68 

ciese 65 

cousin 51 

clld, cildru 7, 8, 9, 15 

cow 64 

cinn 60 

cowen 68 

els 61 

*crangion 75 

cl&dde 17 

crasis 12 

cZceree 64 

cre/ 23 

cl&nMc 14 

crenge 75 

clamsian, clansian 23 


cZdiSian 17 

*cnn-jran 74 

claw, cZaww 42 

crlstendom 14 

clean, den 27, 64 

Cromwell 27 

cleanly 14 


cleanse 23 

cuman 64 

clerk 45 

Cumberbatch 62 

clif, clifl 64 

ciinrede 54 

cllmban 8, 51 

curfon 68 

clothed 17 

curon 67 

C(1i^^6 /~T 

cursian, curse 46 

- yf O 

cuwan. 68 

cnawleche 53 

cweruxm, cwencte 43 

cneow 42 

cwice, CWICM 63, 64 

cmfa 64 

cycen 60, 65 

coat 29 note 

cyn 65 

cocc, cock 64 

cynrceden 54 

Cockney 5, 37 

*cypan 61 

col 31, 64 

cy^S 16, 65 

cold 7, 65 
comb 8, 51 
combustion 53 
come 64 

compound words 14 
consonant groups 6 

deed 24 

ctej, da^es 23, 37, 71 

dagos 23, 71 
dagenian 23, 71 

References are to pages.] INDEX. 


darjes 23 
daisy 37 

damne, dampned 54 

Danelagh 2 

Danish (includes Icelandic, 
Norwegian, Scandinavian) 
1, 2, 7, 10, 13, 14, 17, 28, 
29, 39, 42, 55, 56-57, 59, 
61, 67, 68, 75-76 

daumen (Germ.) 54 

dawn 23 

daws 23 

day, days 37, 51 

dead, dead 18 

dedf, deaf 18, 41 

deagian 38 

deal 29 

dealed, dealt 17 

deaft, death 18 


deemster 54 

deep 25, 26 

degan 38 

deman 54 

Dempster 54 

dempt 54 

deofol 13, 22 

deap 24, 25 

deor, derrest 19 

devil 13, 22 

deyen 38 

die 62 

die ( ( mori')38 

dike 62 

disc, dish 58 

distraught 40 

ditch 62 

dossa 74 

dole 29 


dormer (German) 54 

doom 31 

Dorchester 62 

dough 41 

dove 32 

drcedd, drcedeft 17 

dragan 39 

*drankion 60 

drat 17 

draw 39 

dream' t 54 

dree 38 

drempte 54 

drencan, drench 34, 60 

dreneium 66 

drebgan 38 

drop, *dropp 32 

dropa, drope 32 

droune, drown 56 

drunen 56 

dry 39 

Dryden 27 

dryge 39 

duce, duck 19 

dufe 32 

duke 36, 67 

dust, dust 17 

Dutch 1, 37, 58, 62 

dye 38 


INDEX. [References are to pages. 


Farquhar 36 


faux pas 31 

Eddmund 14, 24 

feallan 23 

edge 38 

feature 66-67 

edd 7 

fee 39 

eard 10 

feel 26 

earoicgo 74 

fehten 24 

Edmund 14, 24 

feld 6, 7, 9, 25 



Egippte 77 

feohtan 24 

either 35, 37, 38 

feor 45 

ejie 24 

/er, /erre 45 


fersc 58 

elder 8 

field' 6, 7, 25 

Elizabeth, Queen 27 

/|f 19 

emmet 22 

Jindan 35 

empti, empty 54 

finger 74 

-en (p. p.) 9, 21 

fire 35 

-en (adj. ) 21 

ytsc, fish 58 

English, divisions of 3 

fist 17 

enough 19, 41 

five 19 

eorSe 10 

/cejci 25, 37 

eowu 42 

flcesc, flash 18, 58 

errand 15 

flail 37 


flebgan 38 

escarmouche, escarn 58 

flesh 18, 58 


flod 19, 32 

eu>e, ewe 42 

flo^ettan 74 

excuse 52 

flood 19, 32 

eye 38 

fly 38 

fod 19, 32 

face 30, 51 

folk 45 

ftegen, fain 37 

food 19, 32 

faUcm, fall 23, 44 

foot 32 

far 45 

for 46 

faran, fare (vb.) 30, 47 

Jorloren 28 

References are to pages,] INDEX. 


fofS 10, 46 

German 1, 2, 44, 50, 54, 55, 

fostor, foster 17 

59, 64, 68, 70, 71 

fowl 39 

gernan 70 


ges 69, 71 

French 2, 18, 27, 30, 31, 35, 

ges< 75 

36, 40, 45, 51, 52-55, 58, 

gefem 75, 76 

61, 62, 75 

gieZdan 70 

freosan, fresen 24 

gidlan 70 

fresh 58 

giernara 70 

fro 28 

gt/e, gifenra 76 

/roggo 74 

gS/re 76 

-ftl 6 

S^ ^^ 

fugol 39 

give 75 


gted, glad 69, 71 

fyst 17 

glass, glaze 52 

glove 32 

y, & 3> & 9 69, 70, 76, 77 

gnagan 69 

gabe (German) 69 

goat 28 

gait, gata 76 

god, God 71 

got 28, 69 

god 19 

gate 68, 76 

godhead 29 

gear 70, 75 

gold 7, 33 


good 19, 32, 68 


goold, Goold 33 

geben (German) 69 

goose, gos 31, 51, 69, 70, 71 

geciynd 8, 9, 65 

gosling 14 

geese 71 

yoten 70, 76 

g/an 75 

Gothic 20, 21 

jeggn 76 

Gott (German) 69 

geWara 70 

Gould 33 

ge&m 70 

Gower 48 

Genesis-Exodus 54 

grace 30, 51 

genog 19, 41 

gra/an 69 

geoton 70 

grass, graze 52 

ger 70, 75 

grease 52 


INDEX. [References are to pages. 

great, gretter 19 

growan 42 

G. T. 72 (and Preface) 

guest 75 

gum 68 

guma 69 

yutm 70 

-had 29 
MVSu 19 
hces 55 

hafoc 43 

*hayis 73 
hailags 21 

hdl%ian 15, 46 
Mil's 15, 21, 46 
hallow, AaJwe 46 
has 55 
haste 18 
hats 51 
hawk 43 

hay ('hedge') 73 
Al(pron.) 11, 26 
head 19 
-head 29 
heafod 19 
hedh 19, 40 
health 19 
hear 26 
heath 18 
heaven 13 

hec%e 73 

-hed 29 

hedge 73 

Ae 5 ('hay')69 

he&C hedge') 73 


heiser (Germ.) 55 

hence 51 

henge 33 

heqfon 13 

her (adv.) 25 

Aeran, herde 17, 26 

herre 19 

hey-sugge 74 

faeran 26 

high 40 

hina, hlne, hind ('servant') 


hinder 9 
hinge 33 
his (pron. ) 51 

hlaf, hlafmcesse, hlcefdi$e 14, 50 
hleapan 50 
hndgh 71 
hnecca 50, 64 
hnutu 50 
hoarse 55 

Aoii s , holy 15, 21, 46 
homely, homelike 63 
honey, 20, 21 
-hood 29 

hopian, hope 11, 29, 32 
hord 10 
hors 55 
hound 8 

References are to pages.] INDEX. 


house 35, 52 

keep, keepit 17, 65 

hovel 22 

Keltic 57-58, 70 

hrcefn 50 

Kent 65 

hrof 50 

Kentish 4, 11, 23, 73 

-ht 15, 31-32 


hund 8 

kettle 61 

Auru'g 20, 21 

key 38, 65 

hus 35- 

kilt 68 

hiisbonde, husband 14 

kin 65 

husk 59 

kind 8, 65 

hwa 50 

kindred 54 

MS 01 


kitchen 60, 65 

I (pron. ) 63 

kith 16, 65 

-tan (infin.) 9, 15, 60 

kleffia 17 

ic, tcft(pron.) 62-63 

knew 42 

Icelandic (see Danish) 

knight 64 


knighthood 29 

i-dinde 8 

know 42 

ife 20, 70 

knowledge 53 

-tg 20, 21 

*koni 65 

in mtddes 55 

*kopian 65 

Irish 27 

is 51 


ivy 20, 70 

lady 14 

Icedan, Icedde 18, 23 

jaw 53 

Ken, Zoinan 29, 55 

Johnson, Saml. 37 

Kessa 16 

join 61 


jowl 43, 53 

lqffdi% 14 

Judas 35 

*layida t layis, &c., 73 

*kaiyi 65 

laid 74 

kalla 7, 65 

Lammas 14 

*keapion 65 

Ian 29 

keen 65 

Lancaster 62 


INDEX. [References are to pages. 

IdrspeH 14 

lavender 55 

law 39 

ky 74 

lead (vb.) 18 

lead, lead (metal) 18 

leaf, leaf 19 

leap 50 

lec%an, kcge, &c., 73, 77 

led, kddc 23 

leggen, Zeggen 74, 77 
legis, le^tiS 73 

leisure 52 


lend 55 

l$ne, tgnen 29, 55 

Kof 24 

leogan 38 

koht 16 

Zesse 16 

lewd 42 

-li, -Re 63 

liccian 60 

lic^ean 74 

fictan 60 

lichen, lick 60 

lie (vb. mentiri) 38 

lie (noun 'falsehood') 72 

Ks<?S, lieth 38 

ligg- 74 

Kfa 16 

fiA, -like 60, 63 

limb 8 

Knew, linen 19 

lips 51 

Literary English 4-5 

loaf 50 

loan 29 

facian, look 60 

London 5, 37 

tore ('lost') 12, (see also for- 

loren, verlore) 
love, lufu 32 
*luyis 72 

mood, maced, modem 11, 12 
made 12 
mage, mayy 77 
maken, maked 11, 12 

marry 31 

may 37 

M. E. 3, 4 

me (pron. ) 11, 26 

meat 11, 26 

meet (vb. ) 26 

meme 25 

Mercian 4, 7, 8, 11, 23, 26, 

38, 39, 40 
metan 26 
mite 11, 26 
micsan 58 

Middle English 3, 4 
Midland English 3, 4, 56, 62, 

68, 73 
midst 55 

References are to pages.] INDEX. 


iriilde, milts 16 

min, mine 35 

miscan, mix 58 

Mn. E. 3, 4 

mona, nwnafS, month, moon 

19, 31 
moral 46 
modor 32 
mouse 51 
mu~S, mouth 35 

*nceg$er 35 

neck 50, 64 

ng 74 

neither 35 

ncmnan, nempnen 54 

New English 3 

nigon, nine 38 

Northern English 3, 4, 50, 

56, 62, 68 

Northumbrian 4, 23 
Norwegian, see Danish 
nourish 52 
nut 50 

oak, oath, oats 28 note 

obey 27 

O. E. 3, 4 

old 7, 28 

Old English 3 

on cer 53 

On God Ureison 28 

oncet 55 

ondr&dan 17 

one 28 

ongegn 75, 76 

only 28 

onn%cen, 76 

onst 55 

ooze 29 

Open Stress-Syllable 11, 29- 


ore ('mercy') 12, 28 
Ormulum 10, 11-12, 13, 14, 

18, 19, 21, 22, 28, 66, 70, 

Orosius 9 
-ot 21 

offer, other 19, 32 
ough, ought 41 
owe 39, 41 

papa 28 
papaver 21 
Parker Chronicle 9 
partridge 53 
paste 18 
Pastoral Care 9 
Patience 71 
patient 52 
perish 52 
pertriche 53 
philosopher 55 
pic 62 

Piers Plowman 19 
pitch 62 
pleasure 52 
ploh, plough 41 
pluccian, pluck 64 
poison 51 
Pope 27 
pope 28, 29 


INDEX. [References are to pages. 

papi-S, poppy 20, 21 

said 47 

prebst, priest 17 

salvation 52 

principle 55 

*saj^-yion 75 

punch 41 

sang 46 

saucisse, sausage 53 

qu-, quh- (Scotch) 50 

saugh 40 

question 53 

saw ('saying') 39 

queynte 43 

saw (pret.) 40 

quick, quitch- 63, 64 

sdwcm 71 

say 74 

rod 33 

c 18, 52, 57 

rcecean, rcehte, rahte 40 

Scandinavian, see Danish 

raisin 26, 27 

seaman 42 

raughte 40 


raven 50 

sceamu 57 

reason 26, 27, 51 

scearp 57 

rehte, reighte 40 

sceaviian 42 

reson 27 

scene 57 

road 29, 33 

sceort 57 

roof 50 

schlummern (German) 54 

roten, rotten 13 

$chola, school 58 

rough 19, 41 

scip 57 

rounen, round (vb. 'whisper' ) 

scorn 58 


Scotch 8, 17, 38, 50, 57, 62 

ruh, ruhh 19, 41 

scrincan 57 

runian 55 

scrud 57 

runnel 22 

scyttan 57 

*ruyis 72 

secgean 74 

Kunic 66 

see (pret. 'saw') 39 

ry%e, rye 72 

seek 68 

rynd 22 

seggen 74 

seh, seigh ('saw') 39 

sage 30 

senge 34, 75 

sac/en (German) 44 

sebc 19 

sagu 39 

seoVSan 16 

sah (pret. ' saw ' ) 40 

-sester 62 

References are to pages.] INDEX. 


sh 18, 52, 57 

Shakespeare 26, 27 

shall 57 

shame 57 

sharp 57 

sheen 57 

sh$wen, shew 42 

ship 57, 58 

short 57 

show 42 

shrink 57 

shroud 57 

shut 57 

sick 19 

sicol, sickle 63 

Sievers 43, 59, 65, 72, 74 

sighs 51 

sights 51 

sin 34 

sin-gan 74 

singe 33, 75 

singer 74 

skin 57 

skipper 58 

skirmish 58 

skirt 57, 58 

skull 57 

sky 57 

skyrta 58 

slcepan, slepte 17 

slo^h 71 

slumerian, slumber 54 

so 29 

s5/fe 16 

soghe, 71 

sdhtc 16, 41 

solempne, solennc 54 

somenour, sompnourZA 

sommetier 54 

son (Fr. 'noise') 36 

sona, sonnest 19 

w, sorwe, sorrow 46 

|S0ry, sorry 46 

Bought 41 

sound (adj. 'healthy'; n. 

'arm of sea' ; n. and vb. 

'noise' ; vb. 'to test depth' ) 

36-37, 55 
sounen 55 
sour 36 
Southern English 3, 34, 51, 

56, 62, 63, 68, 73 
sow (vb. ) 71 
speche 24, 27 
spr&ie 24 
sprenge 34 
standard English 4-5, 8, 10, 

28, 37, 55, 56, 63, 73 
star 45 

stdan, steal 11, 26, 30 
steopfceder, stepfather 25 
steorra, sterre 45 
sticca, stick 64 
sfif, stiff 19 
stone 28 
street 24 

Stratford, Stratford 14, 24 
straught 40 
streccan, stretch 40, 60 

INDEX. [References are to pages. 

stress, accent 6, 11, 29-31, 

terminations 20 

42, 52-53, 67 

Teutonic 1 (and Preface) 

strgte 24 

ftakion 59 

such 63 

ftankien, thank 60 

suffixes 14-15 

thatch 59 

swgso, 74 

"Seccan 59 

sumpter 54 

A*s 40 

sund 36 

thence 51 

suner (Fr. vb. ) 55 

ftcncan 66 

sur, ' sour ' 36 

6&A 40 

t&r, 'sure' 35, 36 


swd 29 

/IA, thigh 40 

swamp 44 

thimble 54 

awdpan 17 

thirteen 15 

Swedish 1, 7 

thirty 20 

sweord, swerd 10 

London 60 

swepte 17 

fireotene 15 

sw/c 63 

"Snfo'j; 20 

swognen, swoon 56 

Sroto, throat 32, 33 

syncope 16-17, 43 

fruh, through 41 

tacan (vb. 'take') 13 
tdcen (n. ' token ' ) 12 
tcBcan, tcehte, tdhte, taught 16, 

25, 30, 40, 59 
taken, ta'en 12 
*tdkion 59 
talk 44 
taste 18 
taught 40 
tea 27 

teach 25, 27, 30, 59 
tear 24 

Surna, thumb 54 
ftunor, thunder 54 
/>urh 41 
Kymel 54 
fiejan, tie 38 
-iig 20 
tigofta 39 

tinder 8 
tithe 39 

fegan 38 
{eon, ten 19 

token 12 
<6, tooth 31 
tough 41 
treasure 52 
trone (Fr.) 28 

References are to pages.] INDEX. 


tube 36 

weld(yb.) 7 

Tuesday 66 

weldan 7 

twentis, twenty 20 

weng 34 

two 29 

wepan, wepte 17 


West Saxon 4, 7, 23, 26, 38, 

tyndre 8 


whales 50 

uncouth 35 

which 50, 63 

under 9 

while 50 

us (pron.) 41, 51 

whiles, whilst 55 

use 52 

who 29, 50 

whole 50 

verlore 28 

wieldan, wield 7 

wile 50 

tea 29 

wind (n. 'air') 36 

wjcejen 37 

wing 34 

wees 22, 51 

wisdom 14 

*wayion 72 

wish 18 

wagon, wain 37 

witch 50 

wold 11 

woe 29 

Wales 50 

wold 11 

warm 23, 24 

wonder 9 

was 22, 51 

wound (n. 'hurt') 36 

wascan 59 

vn-ctitfSu, wrath 16 

wdse 29 

wrench 34 

wash 59 
*wasken 59 

wyscan 18 

wasp 44 

-y 20, 21 

waste 18 

yea 69 

water 45 

year 70 

waxan (vb. ' wash ' ) 59 

yearn 70 

way 37 

yell 70 

Weald 11 

yield 70 

wearm23, 24 

youth 35 

weecan, wecchen, wecken (Ger- 

man) 64 

zauns 36 

wecg, wedge 72 

zenne 34 

u)5 37 

zoons 36 

Alden's Specimens of English Verse 

By RAYMOND M. ALDEN, Assistant Professor in Leland 
Stanford University, xiv + 459 pp. i6mo. (English 
Readings. ) $1.25. 

This book is well adapted to the needs of the be- 
ginner because it treats of the rhetorical effectiveness 
of given forms for given purposes and because it 
furnishes, in convenient arrangement, an unusual 
quantity of material. This material consists of illus- 
trative passages, arranged for each point in chrono- 
logical order, and, in addition, a large number of 
brief comments by various critics. 

Dr. Henry Van Dyke, Professor in Princeton University: It 
seems to. me an excellent book, much needed and thoroughly well 
made. I venture to predict for it large usefulness. 

J. M. Hart, Professor in Cornell University: It is an excellent 
bit of work and ought to supersede all other text-books in the subject. 

C. B. Bradley, Professor in the University of California : The 
author, it seems to me, has admirably succeeded in what he attempted 
to do to bring together within small compass the essential facts of 
English verse, suitable and sufficient exemplification of these facts, 
and an unprejudiced statement of critical theories and opinions con- 
cerning those facts. 

Katherine Lee Bates, Wellesley College .-It is" the best presenta- 
tion, for students, of the subject yet known to me. 

W. S. CtUTell, Professor in Washington and Lee University : 
It seems to me to be the sanest and most practical book on the subject. 

Lewis: The Principles of English Verse 

By CHARLTON M. LEWIS, Professor in Yale University. 
143 pp. i2mo. $1.25 net. 

A discussion of the chief types of English verse 
and the general principles underlying verse-structure. 
The book is designed for students and general read- 
ers who enjoy poetry, but think they might enjoy it 
more if they found it less bewildering. English 
metres are very complicated in detail, but their 
fundamental principles are simple, and a knowledge 
of the fundamental principles is sufficient for sym- 
pathetic appreciation. The book avoids the usual 
text-book style, and will be found stimulating and 
useful to students for collateral reading. It contains, 
along with much that has been said before, some 
new ideas both on theory and on method. 


Publishers, New York City 


A 000054188 8