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The Evolution of the Syntax Structure of the English Language Lecture 13
1. Aim To examine the development of the English language sentences and phrases throughout the history of the English language
2. Old English Syntax Old English – a synthetic language Determined by: Nature of OE morphology; Relations b/n oral and spoken English. Levels of the syntactic structure: phrase; sentence.
3. 1. Old English Phrase Noun patterns (pron. , adj. , num. , other n. – noun modifiers agreed with noun in gender, case and number): On þǣm ōþrum þrim daʒum – Dat. , Pl. , Masc. Ohthere sǣde his hlāforde, Ælfrde cyninʒe – Dat. , sing. Hwāles bān, dēora feil – Gen. But: Tamra dēora … syx hund, twentiʒ scēapa – Gen. , pl. (noun modified by numeral)
3. 2. Old English Phrase Adjective patterns (adv. , n. , pron. , inf. ): Hū lāþ ēow selfum was tō eʒlæstenne ēowre bas – How loath it was for you to keep your oaths Him was manna þearl – He was in need of men Hiora hȳd bið swiðe ʒōd tō scip-rāpum – Their bide is very good for ship ropes
3. 3. Old English Phrase Verb pattern (n. , pron. , adv. , inf. , part. ): Brinʒ þā þinʒ – bring those things Hē … sealde hit hys māder – He … gave it to his mother Hē ðrǣ bād westanwindes – There he waited for the western wind
4. 1. Old English Sentence Simple sentence: Presence of principal and secondary parts: Sōðlice sum mann hæfde tēʒwen suna – Truly a certain man had two sons Hwǣðre þū meaht sinʒan – Nevertheless you can sing Hē was swȳðe spediʒ mann – He was a very rich man
4. 2. Old English Sentence Simple sentence: Possibility to miss out some parts of the sentence: þū com hē on morʒenne tō þæm tūn-ʒerefan sē þē his ealdorman wæs; sæʒde him, hwylce ʒife hē onfēnʒ – Then in the morning he came to the town-sheriff the one who was his alderman; (he) said to him what gift he had received.
4. 3. Old English Sentence Simple sentence: Multiple negation (ne + nāht, nōht): Ne con īc nōht sinʒan … īc nāht sinʒan ne cūðe – I cannot sing Nān – no one, nothing
4. 4. Old English Sentence Compound and complex sentences: Coordinate clauses (joined by and): And þā onʒeat sē cyninʒ þæt ond hē, on þa duru ēode, and þā unbēanlice hine werede, oþ hē on þone æþeling lōcude, and þā ūt rǣsde on hine, and hine miclum ʒeundode; and hīe alle on þone cyninʒ wæron feohtende , oþ þæt hīe hine ofslægenne hæfdon – and then the king saw that, and he went to the door, and then bravely defended himself, until he saw that noble, and then out rushed on him, and wounded him severely, and they were all fighting against that king until they had him slain.
4. 5. Old English Sentence Compound and complex sentences: Connectives: þā – then, þē – that, oð ðæt – until, þæm þe – before, etc.
5. 1. Old English Word Order Free word order determined by logical and stylistical factors: þā Finnas, him pūhte, and þā Beormas spæcon neah ān ʒeþēode – the Finns, it seemed to him, and the Permians spoke almost the same language. Fela spella him sædon þā Beormas ǣʒþer ʒe of hiera āʒnum lande ʒe of þǣm landum þe ymb hīe ūtan wǣron – Many stories told him The Permians either about their own land or about the lands that were around them.
5. 2. Old English Word Order Could depend on the communicative purpose of the sentence: question vs. statement: Hwanon feriʒeaþ ʒē fǣtte scyldas? – From where bring you ornamented shields? on the type of clause: Ohthere sǣde his hlāforde, Ælfrde cyninʒe þæt hē earla Norðmonna norþmest būde – Osthere said (to) his lord Alfred king that he (of) all Northmen to the North lived. on the presence and place of some secondary parts: Hēr cuōm sē here tō Rēadinum – In this year came that army to Reading
6. Middle and Early New English Syntax Decline of the inflectional system; More strict word order; More extensive use of prepositions; Growth of the literary forms of the language.
7. 1. Middle and Early New English Phrase Noun patterns (agreement disappeared, except for agreement in number in some instances): This holy mayden … that requeste – sing. These wodes eek recoveren grene – pl. Though earlier adj. was placed after the n. , in Late ME its place was fixed. Gen. c. → ‘s Gen. : Fadres sone, every shires ende Preposition of: The sergeaunts of the toun of Rome, men of armes
7. 2. Middle and Early New English Phrase Adjective patterns: Modified by adverbs: He was a verray parfit gentil knyght. (Chaucer) Choice of prepositions: Fair, good + of, in, to at, by Free combination with the infinitive: Redy for to ryde, I am free to wedde
7. 3. Middle and Early New English Phrase Verb patterns: Followed by nouns in Com. C. or pronouns in Obj. c. : That hem hath holpen whan that they were ill. At nyght were come into that hostelrye… Finite and non-finite forms of verbs → analytical forms: Was going, having done, being found Verbs + adverbs → phraseological units: Have business, have mind upon your health (Shakespeare), maken melody (Chaucer)
8. 1. Middle and Early New English Sentence Simple Sentence: Relationships b/n parts of sentence shown by their position, environment, prepositions, and by a more rigid syntactic structure. Obligatory use of subject: Of his falshede it dulleth me to ryme. (Chaucer) Use of verb-substitute do, auxiliary and modal verbs: Helpeth me now, as I dyde yow whileer. (Chaucer) Is Guilliams with the packet gone? He is, my lord, an hour ago. (Shakespeare)
8. 2. Middle and Early New English Sentence Predicate: new link verbs: The rose looks fair. (Shakespeare) nominal predicate: Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse… (Chaucer) verbs of aspective meaning: He stired the coles til relente gan the wex (Chaucer) – He stirred the coals till the wax began to melt.
8. 3. Middle and Early New English Sentence Use of several negative particle still continued throughout the ME period: Ne bryng nat every man into thyn hous. (Chaucer) Ne berd hadde he, ne nevere sholde have. (Chaucer) Multiple negation was banned in the 18 th C. (age of Correctness).
8. 4. Middle and Early New English Sentence Compound and complex sentences: Many new conjunctions: Both … and (Sc. +nat. ) Because (nat. +Lat. ) Who, what, which, where, whose, why, how (+that) (adv. , pron. )
8. 5. Middle and Early New English Sentence Adv. clause of result: An so ferforth she gan oure lay declare // That she the constable, er that it was eve // Converted, and on Chris t made him believe. (Chaucer) Adv. clause of manner: And for to kepe his lordes his degre - // As it is ryght and skylfyl that they be // Enhaunsed and honoured. (Chaucer) Adv. clause of cause: Than seye they ther-in swich diffcultee // By way of resoun, for to speke al playn, // By cause that ther was swich diversitee // Bitwene her bothe lawes … (Chaucer)
8. 6. Middle and Early New English Sentence From 15 th to 18 th c. number of coordinating connectives doubled: 1. conjunctions widened their meanings; 2. new connectives arose from various sources: in consequence, in fact, to conclude, neither … nor, etc.
9. 1. Middle and Early New English Word Order Fixed and direct: subject + predicate + object Stabilisation of word order took long time: from Early ME until 16 th-17 th c. Loss of inflectional endings ↔ syntactic changes In Late ME word order may appear relatively free, but several facts testify its growing stability: The mann(e) liketh: in ME as S+P, though in OE as O+P
9. 2. Middle and Early New English Word Order Fixed word order in statements, while inverted in questions and emphasising: Now comes the sweetest morsel in the night… These numbers will I tear and write in prose. (Shakespeare) Direct word order in sentences beginning with adv. modifier: Then the two bears will not bite one another when they meet.
Thank you for attention!
Submission date – December 3 developed in Late ME What predicative constructions 1. 2. 3. and Early NE? Make a table showing sources of all predicative constructions and their examples. In short (in a table) explain theories on the causes of grammatical changes in the English language. What developments in English syntax can be illustrated by the following: “Madam, my interpreter, what says she? Whereupon do you look? ” “Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck. And yet methinks I have astronomy. ” “How likes you this play, my lord? ” (Shakespeare)