Middle English Morfology

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rocknrolla
Words 1963
Pages 8
Middle English Morphology • loss of inflections • loss of grammatical gender • two noun cases: possessive and non-possessive • all adjective inflections lost, loss of weak/strong distinction • verbs: personal endings reduced, mood distinctions blurred • dual/plural distinction lost • change from synthetic to analytic language; reasons: interaction of different inflectional systems in English, French, and Scandinavian; reduction of unstressed final vowels; relative rigidity of word order; increasing use of prepositions and particles • changes more visible in North of England where reduction of inflections began Nouns
-es for genitive singular and all plurals noun class distinctions disappeared, generalized to the strong masculine declension of OE weak declension endings (-n) survived into early ME then merged with strong declension(some survivals: children, brethren, oxen; some ME words had plurals with -n: eye, ear, shoe, foe, hand
Unmarked genitives: a few s-less genitives: e.g. formerly feminine nouns (his lady grace), kinship terms (thi brother wif, hir doghter name); nouns ending in sibilant sounds took no s in the genitive (for peace sake)
Unmarked plurals: some OE strong neuter nouns had no ending in the nominative and accusative plural, continued in ME (year, thing, winter, word); unmarked plurals for animal names (derived from OE unmarked neuter plurals); measure words without -s in the plural (mile, pound, fathom, pair, score), derived perhaps from s-less plurals of year and winter or from use of genitive plural -a after numerals; mutated plurals survived in ME Adjectives greatest inflectional losses; totally uninflected by end of ME period; loss of case, gender, and number distinctions distinction strong/weak preserved only in monosyllabic adjectives ending in consonant: singular blind (strong)/blinde…...

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