Old English Syntax
МІНІСТРЕРСТВО ОСВІТИ І НАУКИ
НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ ТЕХНІЧНИЙ УНІВЕРСИТЕТ УКРАЇНИ
«КИЇВСЬКИЙ ПОЛІТЕХНІЧНИЙ ІНСТИТУТ»
Кафедра англійської мови
з курсу «Історія англійської мови»
« Old English Syntax »
ст. гр. ЛА-61, ФЛ
Table of content
1.1. Ways of expressing syntactical relations………………………………………………………..4
1.1.3. Joining……………………………………………………………………………………… 4
1.2. Three component phrases……………………………………………………………………….5
1.2.1. Verb + Substantive Dat. + Substantive (Pronoun) Acc……………………………………….5
1.2.2. Verb + Preposition + Substantive (Pronoun)……………………………………………… 5
2.1.The simple sentence…………………………………………………………………… 5
2.1.1. Main parts…………………………………………………………………………………5
2.1.2. Secondary parts………………………………………………………………………… 6
2.1.3. Onememberandelliptical sentences………………………………………………… 7
2.1.4. Sentences introduced by hit and pær…………………………………………………………8
2.1.5. Uses of infinitive and participle…………………………………………………………… 8
2.1.6.. Infinitive phrases…………………………………………………………………………….8
2.1.7. Substantive + Participle or Adjective……………………………………………………… 9
2.1.8 Negation…………………………………………………………………………………… 9
2.2. The composite sentence……………………………………………………………………….9
2.2.1. The compound sentence……………………………………………………………………9
2.2.2. The copmlex sentence…………………………………………………………………… 10
2.2.3. Mixed sentences………………………………………………………………………… 14
3. Word order…………………………………………………………………………………… 15
3.1. Subject-Verb……………………………………………………………………………… 15
3.2. Verb – Subject………………………………………………………………………………16
3.3. Subject…Verb……………………………………………………………………………… 17
Old English was a synthetic language (the lexical and grammatical notions of the word were contained in one unit). It was highly inflected with many various affixes.The principal grammatical means were suffixation, vowel interchange and supplition.Historical syntax has been studied to a much smaller extent than either phonetics, lexicology or morphology. Though the main trends in the development of syntactic structure appear to be clear, many more detailed investigations have yet to be made to complete the picture.
In treating syntax we shall distinguish between two levels – that of phrase and that of the sentence.
1. THE PHRASE
In OE texts we find a variety of word phrases (word groups or patterns). OE noun patterns, adjective patterns and verb patterns had certain specific features which are important to note in view of their later changes.
A noun pattern consisted of a noun as the head word and pronouns, adjectives (including verbal adjectives, or participles), numerals and other nouns as determiners and attributes. Most noun modifiers agreed with the noun in gender, number and case, e.g.:
On p æ m ō prum prim da ʒ um ... 'in those other three days' — Dat. pl. Masc.
Ohthere s æ de his hl ā forde, AElfr ē de cyni ʒ ne 'Ohthere said to his lord, king Alfred' — the noun in apposition is in the Dat. sg. like the head noun.
Nouns which served as attributes to other nouns usually had the form of the Gen. case: 'hw ā les b ā n, d ē ora fell 'whale's bone, deer's fell'. Some 'numerals governed the nouns they modified so that formally the relations were reversed: tamra dēora ... syx hund 'six hundred tame deer'; twyentiʒ scēapa 'twenty sheep' (dēora, scēapa — Gen. pl).
An adjective pattern could include adverbs, nouns or pronouns in one of the oblique cases with or without prepositions, and infinitives, e. g.:
hiora h ȳ d bi ð swi ð e ʒ od t ō scip-r ā pum 'their hide is very good for ship ropes'.
Verb patterns included a great variety of dependant components : nouns and pronouns in oblique
cases with or without prepositions, adverbs, infinitives and participles, e.g.:
bring p ā pin ʒ 'bring those things' (Acc.)
H ē ... sealde hit hys m ā der 'he ... gave it to his mother' (Acc., Dat.)
he ðæ r b ā d westanwindes 'there he waited for the western wind’ (Gen.)
Isaac cw æð t ō his suna 'Isaac said to his son' (preposition plus Dat.);
bi p æ re ē a si ʒ lan 'sail past that river' (preposition plus Dat. in an adverbial meaning).
Hu mihtest pu hit sw ā hr æ dlice findan? 'how couldyou find it so lickly' (adverb)
Infinitives and participles were often used in verb phrases with verbs of incomplete predication (some of these phrases were later transformed into analytical forms): mihtest findan 'might find' in the last example, h ē wolde fandian 'he wanted to find out', hie on ʒ unnon m ā repian 'they began to rage more'.
1.1. Ways of expressing syntactical relations
These may be classed under three headings: agreement, government, joining.
This is mainly used in attributive groups, to denote the syntactical relation between an adjective (or pronoun) and the substantive (its head word). E.g.: micle meras fersce 'large fresh-water lakes', mislicum ond mani ʒ fealdum bis ʒ um 'different and manifold occupations' (dative plural), sealtne s æ 'salt sea' (accusative); also between pronoun and substantive: ōð re hwalas 'other whales', ðæ re bec 'that book' (dative).
This is a type of syntactical connection on phrase level characterized by a substantive or pronoun standing in a certain case (accusative, genitive, or dative) dependent on the head word requiring this particular case. Some verbs require the dependent substantive to be in the accusative case (these are the so-called transitive verbs), as in: leo ð wyrcan 'compose songs', andsware onf ō n 'receive an answer', ʒ esomnian pa men 'assemble the men'.
Other verbs require a dependent substantive to be in the genitive (this is usually the case when the verb denotes an idea of attaining, or reaching, or touching an object), as in: n ē osian luses 'approach the house', bidan windes 'wait for the wind', hlyste minra worda 'listen to my words'.
Lastly, a verb may require a substantive to be in the dative, as in: hyre s æ de 'said to her'.
Government by adjectives is much more limited in scope. An adjective usually requires a dependent substantive to be in the genitive, as in: morpres scyldi ʒ 'guilty of murder'; wr æ tta full 'full of treasures', syfan elna lan ʒ 'seven ells long'.
Only rarely does an adjective require its dependent substantive to be in the dative. This is the case, for example, in the phrase ʒōde hāliʒ'holy to God'.
An adverb referring to a verb or an adjective is connected
with it without any formal means, by what is usually called joining
ʒ retan fr ē ondlice 'greet in a friendly way', miclel æ ssa 'much
1.2. Three-component Phrases
Two-component phrases may be enlarged by addition of a third component. The variety of such patterns is greater than that of elementary two-component phrases. We need not give here a complete list of all possible patterns. We will only cite some of the most widely used ones. Among these are the patterns: "verb + substantive dat. + substantive ace.", and "verb + preposition + substantive".
Verb + Substantive Dat. + Substantive (Pronoun) Acc .
Here we find such phrases as: sealde hit his meder 'gave_it (to) his mother', sin ʒ m ē hw æ thwu ʒ u 'sing me something', p æ m wordum moni ʒ word ʒ epeodde 'to those words many words added'.
Verb + Preposition + Substantive (Pronoun)
Here we find a number of different prepositions involved, e. g. sec ʒ an to him 'say to him', feohtan wip pone here 'fight with the (enemy's) army', cw æ p to him 'said to him', sec ʒ an ymb Asia lond ʒ em æ re 'speak about the land of Asia'.
Of course, still larger (four-component, five-component, etc.) phrases are also used, but we need not go into details about them here.
2. THE SENTENCE
2.1. The Simple Sentence
A sentence, as is well known, is a unit of a different kind from a phrase. It is a unit of communication, that is, it has its own intonation, and is used by speakers or writers to communicate their thoughts. A sentence may consist of one word only, or of a phrase, or of a group of phrases, etc.: it all depends on the thought to be expressed.
In speaking about parts of the sentence, we will use a more or less traditional system in this respect, speaking of two main parts: the subject and the predicate, and several secondary ones: the object, the attribute, the apposition, the adverbial modifier, direct address, and parenthesis.
2.1.1. Main Parts
There are various ways of expressing the subject in OE. The most usual of these is naturally a substantive, as in the following sentences: Ohthere s æ de his hlaforde 'Ohthere said to his lord', se here w æ s ham hweorfende 'the army was returning home'.
Often enough, the subject is a pronoun, as in the sentences he pas andsware onfen ʒ 'he received this answer'; hu hit ʒ ewur ð an mihte 'how it could happen', ponne tod æ lap hi his feoh 'then they divide his property'.
The predicate in OE may be either verbal or nominal. Again, the verbal predicate may be either simple or compound.
The simple verbal predicate is one expressed by the form of one verb, either simple, or, in some cases, analytical. As to the latter variety, it should be noted, that we cannot always clearly distinguish between a compound predicate and a simple verbal one, with an analytical verb form. Examples of a simple verbal predicate are of course very numerous, e.g.: pa cw æ p he 'then he said', pa Finnas and pa Beormas spr æ con neah an ʒ epeode 'the Finns and the Berms spoke nearly the same language', he for pider 'he sailed there'. A compound verbal predicate can be seen in the following sentences: Ne con ic noht sin ʒ an.—Hw æð re pu canst sin ʒ an.— Hw æ t sceat ic sin ʒ an? (Bede, translated by King Alfred.) "I cannot sing anything. — But thou canst sing. — What shall I sing?'
A nominal predicate seems to be always compound in OE. We can see it, for example, in the following sentences: he w æ s swype spedi ʒ man 'he was a very rich man', eart pu se Beowulf, sepe wip Brecon wunne? 'art thou the Beowulf who competed with Breca?'
2.1.2. Secondary Parts
Objects can be expressed by substantives or pronouns in the accusative, dative, or genitive case.
Most usually an object (with so-called transitive verbs) is expressed by a substantive or pronoun in the accusative case, as in: he pa pas andsware onfen ʒ 'he then received this answer', hi hine forb æ rnap 'they burn him', s æ ʒ don sum hali ʒ spelt 'told a holy story'. There may be two objects in one sentence, one direct, the other indirect, and the difference is seen in the case forms; the direct object is in the accusative, and the indirect in the dative, as in: fela spella him s æ ʒ don pa Beormas 'the Permians told him many stories', sin ʒ me hw æ thwu ʒ u 'sing me something'. The indirect object in the dative can also express the instrument of the action (this is the meaning of the dative inherited from the original instrumental case), as in Alfred cyni ʒ hatep ʒ retan W æ rferp æ rcebiscop his wordum 'king Alfred greets archbishop Warferth with his words'.
Very often the object is expressed by the phrase "preposition + substantive or pronoun", as in: nu h æ bbe we scortlice ʒ essed ymb Asia lond ʒ emsere 'now we have briefly spoken about the land of Asia'. The lexical meaning of the preposition is of course essential for the expression of the actual extralinguistic relation between theobject and the action or other object mentioned in the sentence.
An attribute may be expressed either by an adjective or by a pronoun, or numeral, of by a substantive in the genitive case, or by a phrase "preposition + substantive". Examples of all these varieties are numerous enough. E. g.: he w æ s swy ð e spedi ʒ man 'he was a very rich man', pa clypode he Esau, his yldran sunu 'then he called Esau, his elder son', brin ʒ me twa, pa betstan tyccenu 'bring me two, the best kids', p æ r sceal æ lces ʒ epeodes man beon forb æ rned 'a man of every tribe shall be burnt'.
Appositions of various sizes, referring either to a substantive or to a pronoun, are found in many OE texts. E. g.: Martianus casere 'the emperor Martian', Ohthere s æ de his hlaforde , AElfrede cynin ʒ e 'Ohthere said to his lord, king Alfred', w æ s he, se man, in woruldhade ʒ eseted 'he, the man, was a layman', her com AElfred, se unsce ðð i ʒ a æ pelins, AEpelr æ des sunu cin ʒ es, hider inn 'at this time Alfred, the innocent nobleman, son of king Ethelred, arrived here'.
The Adverbial Modifier
An adverbial modifier may be expressed either by an adverb or by a phrase "preposition + substantive". The first variety may be seen in such sentences as: pa eode he ham 'then he went home', pin bropor com facenlice 'your brother came heatingly'. The adverbialmodifier may be one of manner, or time or place, etc., depending on the lexical meaning of the adverb.
The second variety "preposition + substantive" is found in the following sentences: hwelce wiotan iu w æron ʒiond An ʒelcynn 'what wise men there formerly were in England', pis ærend ʒe-writ A ʒustinus ofer sealtne æe su ðan brohte 'this message Augustine broughtacross the salt sea from the south', ponne wiðnorpan Donua æwi elme and be eastan Rine sindon Easfrancas 'then to the north of the Danube river and to the east of the Rhine are the East Franks'.
The Direct Address
Direct address may be represented either by a single word or a phrase: Cedmon, sin ʒ me hw æ thwu ʒ u 'Csedmon, sing me something'; ia, leof, ic hit eom 'yes, my dear, it is I'; sunu min, hlyste uunre lare 'my son, listen to my teaching', aris, f æ der min 'rise, my father'.
Parentheses are not exactly frequent in OE texts, and when ever they do occur, they are usually
represented either by adverbs or by phrases of the pattern "preposition + substantive". Here are a few examples: hw æ ðre pu meant sin ʒ an 'however, thou canst sing'; n æ fde he peah ma ponne twenti ʒ hry ðera 'he had, however, no more than twenty cattle', cf. also n æ fde se here, ʒ odes ponces, An ʒ elcyn ealles for swe ʒ ebrocod 'the (Danish) army had not, thank God, devastated England completely'.
2.1.3. One Member and Elliptical Sentences
Impersonal sentences may be one-member ones, e.g. hu lomp eow in lade? 'how did you fare on your way?'; him on fyrste ʒ elomp æ dre mid aldum, p æ t hit wearp eal- ʒ earo 'it soon happened in the
right time among men, that is (the building) was quite ready'.
The subject of elliptical sentences is to be supplied from the context, e.g. syððan æ rest wear ðfeasceaft funden, he paes frofre ʒ ebad 'since (he) was first found helpless, he lived to see consolation in this'; aledon pa leofne peoden on beartn scipes '(they)laid then their beloved leader on the ship's bosom'. In the former sentence it is clear that the subject of the subordinate clause is the same as that of the main clause. In the latter sentence it becomes clear from the preceding text that the king's attendants are meant.
2.1.4. Sentences introduced by hit and p æ r
In OE texts there are sentences introduced by the subject hit and by the adverbial modifier p æ r, which to some extent lose their own meaning. E.g. ne-w æ s hit len ʒ se pa ʒ en, p æ t se ec ʒ hete a ðum-sweorum æ fter w æ l-ni ðe w æ ccan scolde 'it had not yet gone so far that a feud should arise between son-in-law and father-in-law because of mortal enmity'. These are the beginnings of sentences with a "formal subject" it and with the phrase there is.
2.1.5. Uses of Infinitive and Participle
The OE infinitive is used in different syntactical functions. It may be the subject of a sentence, e.g. all pas pin ʒ p æ re peode ʒ edafenap cup habban 'all these things it behoves the people to know'. The infinitive often combines with verbs meaning 'begin', 'be able', 'wish', etc. E.g. Hi ʒ eldc ongan sine ʒ eseldan in sele pam hean f æ sre fric ʒ ean 'Hiʒ elac duly began to interrogate his attendants in the high hall'; him bebeor ʒ an ne con 'defend him I cannot'. With verbs of motion the infinitive often expresses the purpose of the action, e.g. he si ʒ e-hre ði ʒ secean com m æ rne peoden 'he, glorified by victories, came to greet the famous king'.
The t ō -infinitive is also used to express purpose: hie comon p æ t land to sceawianne 'they came to have a look at the land'.
This form is also used in other functions, e. g. lon ʒ is to sec ʒ anne 'it is too long to tell', ʒ odd æ dum, pa hy æ r forho ʒ dun to donne 'good deeds, which they had failed to perform', ne bip p æ r epe pin spor to findanne 'it will not be easy there to find your trace'.
Sometimes, more especially in poetic style, an infinitive with a verb of motion denotes rather the way the action is performed, e.g. 3ewat pa neosian hean huses 'he went approaching the high house', pa com of more under mist-hleopum ʒ rendel ʒ on ʒ an 'then came from the marsh under mist rocks Grendel (going)'.
The infinitive is also used to express commands in indirect speech: him budon drincan ʒ ebitrodne win-drenc 'they told him to drink bitter wine'.
When an infinitive follows a phrase "verb + substantive or pronoun in the accusative" the substantive and the infinitive form a construction which is usually called"accusative and infinitive". In OE this is still used rather seldom.It is mainly found with verbs of perception: seon 'see', hieran 'hear', ʒ efri ʒ nan 'learn', and also with verbs expressing order or permission, such as hatan 'order', l æ tan 'let', etc. E.g. ʒ eseah he in recede rinca mani ʒ e, swefan sibbe- ʒ edriht 'he saw in the hall many warriors, a friendly troop sleeping'; fyr-leoht ʒ eseah, bldcne leoman beorhte sciman 'he saw a fire-light, a glittering flach chine brightly'; ne-hyrde ic cymlicor ceol ʒ e ʒ yrwan 'I didnot.hear a more handsome ship constructed'; ic p æ t londbu end, leode mine, sele-r æ dende sec ʒ ean hyrde, p æ t hie ʒ esawon swylce twe ʒ en micle mearcstapas moras healdan, ellor- ʒ æ stas 'I heard the inhabitants of the earth, my people, guarding the hall, say that they saw two such great spirits live in the moors, alien sprites'; pa ic wide ʒ efr æ ʒ n weorc ʒ ebannan 'I heard that the work was widely proclaimed then'; pone here he let mid p æ mscipum ponan wendan 'he told the army to move thence in ships'; let hie syppan faran ham 'he let them afterwards sail home'.
Substantive + Participle or Adjective
Such constructions also form a predicative group, e.g. ʒ edep him swa ʒ ewealdene worolde d æ las 'he will make parts of the world so subdued to him', ʒ esyh ð sorh-ceari ʒ on his suna bare winsele westne wind- ʒ ereste, reote berofene 'he sees, saddened, in his son's house the wine-hall empty, the wind's resting place, bereft of glad noise'.
Occasionallyan absolute participle construction is found in OE, both substantiveand participlebeing in the dative case, e.g. forl æ tenre p æ re ceastre, he com 'the camp having been left, he came' (= leaving the camp, he came); he ʒ eseah swapendum windum pone le ʒ ahefenne 'he saw the flame rising, with winds blowing'.
Negative words are freely used in OE, their number in a sentence not being limited. E.g. ne m æ ʒ nan pin ʒ his willan wi ðstandan 'nothing can withstand his will'; nan man ne bude benor ðan him 'no man lived north of him'; nan ne dorste nan pin ʒ ascian 'nobody dared ask anything'. Occasionally the negative pronoun naht, noht (its original meaning being 'nothing', from nā+ wiht) is used: ne con ic noht sin ʒ a n 'I cannot sing (anything)'. Eventually the negative particle ne was dropped, and the negative meaning came to be expressed by noht alone.
2.2. The Composite Sentence
2.2.1. The Compound Sentence
Both asyndetic and syndetic compound sentences are found in OE texts.
The asyndetic type may be illustrated by the following example
from Beowulf: fand pa p æ r-inne æ petin ʒ a ʒ edriht swefan sefter sym-
ble; sor ʒ e ne cupon, wonsceaft wera '(he) found in there a troop
of warriors sleeping after the feast; they did not know any trouble, misery of men'.
In a syndetic compound sentence clauses may be connected by one of the conjunctions: and 'and', oppe 'or', ac 'but': w æ s he, se mon, In weoruldhade ʒ eseted op pa tide, pe he w æ s ʒ elefedre yldo, ond he n æ fre n æ ni ʒ leop ʒ eleornade 'he, that man, was a layman until he reached an elderly age, and he had never learnt any song'; ic me mid Hruntin ʒ e dom ʒ ewyrce, oppe mec deap nimep 'I will acquire glory with Hrunting (a sword), or death shall take me'; pa JBeormas h æ fdon swipe wel ʒ ebun hira land; ac hie ne dorston p æ ron cuman 'the Permians had had their land very well cultivated; but they (the travellers) did not dare to disembark there': Her AEpelwulf cynin ʒ ʒ efeaht æ t Carrum wip. XXXV. sciphl æ st and pd Deniscan ahton w æ lstowe ʒ ewald 'here (= in this year) king AEthelwuef fought at Charmouth with 35 shiploads, and the Danes kept the battlefield in their power'; pa was ðonne Leo papa on Rome, and he hine to cynin ʒ e ʒ ehal ʒ ode 'then was Leo pope in Rome, and he invested him as king'; n æ fde se here,'Codes ponces, On ʒ elcyn for sw ðie ʒ ebrocod; ac hie w æ ron micle swipor ʒ ebrocode on p æ m prim ʒ earum mid ceapes cwilde and monna 'the (enemy) army had not, thank God, utterly destroyed England; but they were much more afflicted by deaths of cattle and human beings'.
2.2.2. The Complex Sentence
In treating complex sentences, we shall give our main attention to separate types of subordinate clauses, and then briefly indicate possibilities of several subordinate clauses of different types and degrees occurring within the same complex sentence.
As to the separate types of subordinate clauses, we will classify them as parallel to parts of a simple sentence.
These are not often found in OE texts. We can quote an example from King Alfred's preface to his translation of Pope Gregory I's Pastoral Care: me com swi ðe oft on ʒ emynd, hwylce wiotan iu w æ ron ʒ iond An ʒ elcynn 'it often came to my mind what scholars there formerly were in England’. Another example is from the same text: uncu ð, hu lon ʒ e ðæ r sw æ ʒ el æ rede biscepas sien '(it is) unknown, how long there will be such learned bishops'.
Predicative clauses do not seem to occur in OE texts.
These are mainly found in indirect speech, that is, in connection with verbs meaning 'say', 'announce', 'ask', 'think', and the like. They may be introduced by the conjunction p æ t or ʒ if , by an interrogative pronoun or adverb, or, occasionally, be joined on asyndetically.Here are some examples of each variety: Ohthere s æ de his hlaforde, AElfrede cynin ʒ e, p æ t he ealra Norpmonna norpmest bude. He s æ de p æ t he bude, on p æ m lande norpweardum wip pa Wests æ 'Ohthere told his lord, king Alfred, that he lived northernmost of all Northmen. He said that he lived in the land northward along the Atlantic Ocean'; axode ʒ if him w æ re niht ʒ et æ se 'asked if the night had been quiet for him (i.e. if he had spent a quiet night)'; men ne cunnon sec ʒ an to so ðe, sele-r æ dende, h æ le ð under heofonum; hwa p æ m hl æ ste onfen ʒ men cannot say for sooth, counsellors in hall,heroes under heaven, who received the load'.
These are introduced either by the relative pronoun pe or by the pronoun se, which from a demonstrative acquired a relative meaning, or by the compound pronoun sepe . Here are examples of each variety: swi ðe feawa w æ ron behionan Humbre, ðe hiora ð enin ʒ a cu ðen understondan on en ʒ lisc 'very few were on this side of the Humber who could understand their service in English'; ð a w æ s on pa tid AE ð elbyrht cynin ʒ haten on Centrice and mihti ʒ , se h æ fde rice oð ʒ em æ ro Humbro streames 'there was at this time a king called Athelbyrht in Kent and a mighty one, who had his kingdom as far as the river Humber'; he ʒ ewunade ʒ erisen-lice leo ð wyrcan pa de to æ festnisse ond to arf æ stnisse belumpon 'he was wont to compose proper songs which belonged to religion and to piety'.
These cover a wide variety of meanings, such as place, time, cause, purpose, concession, comparison, etc. Accordingly the number of conjunctions introducing such clauses is considerable. Here we find p æ r 'where', pa 'when', ponne 'when', opp æ t 'until', for 'because', peahpe 'though', and others.
Clauses of Place
Such clauses are rather rare. They are usually introduced by the adverb p æ r, e.g. Hwearf pa hr æ dlice, p æ r Hrop ʒ ar s æ t 'he turned quickly to where Hrothgar sat’.
These are introduced by various conjunctions: pa, ponne, panne 'when', sippan 'since', æ r, æ rp æ mpe 'before', penden 'while', opp æ t 'until'.
E. g.: pa he pa pas andsware onfen ʒ , pa, on ʒ an he sona sin ʒ an 'when he had received this answer, he soon began to sing'; ponne he ʒ eseah pa hearpan him neal æ can, ponne asras he for sceome fram p æ m symble 'when he saw the harp approach him, he rose for shame from the feast'; heold, penden lifde, ʒ atnol ond ʒ up-reow, ʒ l æ de Scyldin ʒ as 'ruled, while he lived, old and battle-famous, the Scildings so that they were glad'; n æ fre him deap scepep on pam willwon ʒ e penden woruld stondep 'never will death harm in the wonder garden while the world stands'; p æ r se ead ʒ a mot .. . wunian in won ʒ e, opp æ t wintra bip pusend urnen 'there the blessed one can ... live in the garden, until a thousand years have elapsed'; ʒ ewat pa neosian sippan niht becom, hean huses 'started then, when night fell, to approach the high house'.
Clauses of Cause
Clauses of cause are introduced by the conjunctions forp æ m (pe), for, e. g. pa cirdon hieup-ip on pa ea, for-p æ m hie ne dorston forp bi p æ re ea si ʒ l an for unfripe; for-p æ m p æ t land w æ s eall ʒ ebun on opre healfe p æ re eas 'then they turned into the river, because they didnot dare to sail on past the river, for unrest, as the land was all inhabited on the other side of the river'; w æ s. seo hwil micel, twelf wintra fid torn ʒ epolode wine Scyldin ʒ a, weanna ʒ ehwylcne, sidra sor ʒ a, for ðam sy ððan wear ðylda bearnum undyrne cu ð, ʒ yddum ʒ eomore, p æ tte ʒ rendel wan hwlle wip Hrop ʒ ar 'the time was long, twelve years didthe Scildings' friend suffer rage, every woe, great sorrows, because later it became known to children of men, sadly in songs, that Grendel had long made war on Hrothgar'.
Clauses of Purpose
These are introduced by the conjunction p æ t and contain a verb in the subjunctive mood. E. g. swa sceal ʒ eon ʒ ʒ uma gode ʒ ewyrcean, fromum feoh- ʒ iftum on f æ der æ rne, p æ t hine on ylde eft ʒ ewunien wil- ʒ esi ðas, ponne wi ʒ cume, leode ʒ el æ stetn, 'thus shall a young warrior well achieve, by generous gifts in his father's house, that willing companions should be with him in his old age, when a war comes, people should follow him'.
If the clause of purpose expresses an action to be avoided it is introduced by the conjunctional locution py l æ s (pe), e. g. forpon ic leof werud l æ ran wille æ -fremmende, p æ t ʒ e eower hus ʒ ef æ sti ʒ en py l æ s hit ferbl æ dum windas toweorpan 'therefore I want to teach my dear people, law-abiding, that you should fortify your house, lest winds should destroy it by sudden gusts'.
Clauses of Result
These clausesareintroduced by the conjunction p æ t, which may be preceded by the adverb swa 'so' in the main clause.
E.g.: swa cl
ne hlo w
s opfeallenu on An
feawa w æ ron behionan Humbre, ðe hiora ðenin ʒ a cu ðen understondan
on en ʒ lisc. oppe furdum an æ rend ʒ ewrit of l æ dene on en ʒ lisc
awendan 'so cleanlywas it (learning) decayed in England, that very
few were on thisside of theHumber — those who could understand
theirservice in English or even translate one message from Latin
IntoEnglish';eode ellen-rof, p æ t he for eaxlum ʒ estod Deni ʒ a fre ʒ an
'stepped the glorious one, so that he stood near the Danes' lord'.
This latter clause can also be interpreted as a temporal clause:
'. . . until he stood'.
Theseare introduced by a conjunction ʒ if ‘if’ or sometimes n æ fn e ‘unless’: he me habban wille dreore fahne, ʒ if mec deað nime 'he will have me bloody if death takes me'; nis p æ t seld- ʒ uma w æ pnum ʒ eweor ðad, n æ fne his wille leo ʒ e, æ nlie ansyn 'this is not a lower man, worthy of weapons, unless his face lies; his unique countenance'.
Clauses of Concession
These are introduced by the conjunction peah (pe), e. g. pone si ð f æ t him snotere ceorlas lyt-hwon lo ʒ on , peah he him leof w æ re 'this voyage clever men somewhat blamed on him, though he was liked by them'.
Clauses of Manner and Comparison
These are introduced by the conjunctions swa and ponne: wearde heoldon in pam f æ stenne, swa pam folce æ r ʒ eomormodum ludip behead 'they kept watch in the fortress, as Judith had ordered the people, before sad'; nal æ s hi hine I æ ssan lacum teodan, peod ʒ estreonum, ponne pa dydon, pe hine set frumsceafte for ð onsendon æ nne ofer y ðe umbor-wesende 'they did not adorn him with lesser treasures, with folk-gifts, than those did who_at his birth sent him forth alone over the sea, being a baby'; n æ fre ic maran ʒ eseah eorla ofer eor ðan, ponne is eower sum cec ʒ on searwum 'never did I see a greater of earls on the earth, than is one of you, warrior in arms'.
We also find in OE texts some clauses of a generalizing character, introduced by generalizing pronouns or adverbs. Thus, the object clause in the following example has a generalizing character: …swa p æ tte, swa hw æ t swa he of ʒ odeundum stafum purh boceras ʒ eleornode, p æ t he æ fter medmiclum f æ ce ...in en ʒ lisc ʒ ereord wel ʒ eworht forp brohte ' ... so that he, whatever he had learnt from divine books through books, in a_ short time ... in English well told pronounced'; hy ʒ edop p æ t æ ʒ per bip oferfroren, sam hit sy sumor sam winter 'they do it (so) that both are frozen, whether it be summer or winter'.
These are sometimes found in OE texts, e. g. pa w æ s him eallum ʒ ese ʒ en , swa-swa hit w æ s, p æ t him were from drihtne sylfum heofonlic ʒ iofu for ʒ ifen 'then it became clear to all of them, as it was, that a heavenly gift had been granted him from God himself.
Of course different types of clauses can combine with one
another in various ways, and the number of such variations is prob-
ably unlimited. Here we give a few examples illustrating these possi -
bilities: for ðy me ðync ð betre, ʒ if iow sw æ ðync ð, ðæ t we eac sum æ bec, ða ðe niedbe ðearfosta sien eallum monnum to wiotonne, ðæ t we ða on ðæ t ʒ e ðeode wenden, ðe we ealle ʒ ecnawan m æ en (ond ʒ edon sw æ we swi ðe ea ðe ma ʒ on mid ʒ odes fultume, ʒ if we ða stilnesse habba ð), ðæ tte eal sio ʒ io ʒ ud , ðe nu is on An ʒ elcynne, friora monna, ðdra ðe ða speda h æ bben, ðæ t hie ðæ m befeolan m æ ʒ en, sien to liornun ʒ e o ðf æ ste, ða hwile ðe hie to nanre o ðerre note ne m æ s ʒ en, o ððone first, ðe hie wel cunnen en ʒ lisc ʒ ewrit ar æ dan 'therefore it seems better to me (if it seems so to you) that we should also translate some books, which it is most necessary for all men to know, that we should translate them into the language that we all can know (and do so we very easily can with God's help, if we have peace), that all the youth that is now in England, of free men, who have property, that they may apply to it, that they may be firmin learning, while they are not eligibleto any other useful work, until the time when they can easily read an English writing'.
2.2.3. Mixed Sentences
A sentence may contain both co-ordination and subordination, and this again in different combinations.
We will only consider here one example of a sentence of this mixed type: ond ic bebiode on ʒ odes naman, ðæ t nan mon ðone æ stel from ðæ re bec ne do ne ða hoc from ðæ m mynstre: uncu ð, hu lon ʒ e ðæ r ðw æ ʒ el æ rede biscepas sien, swa æ nu ( ʒ ode ðonc!) wel hw æ r siendon, for ðy ic wolde, ðæ tte hie ealne ʒ æ t ðæ re stowe w æ re, biiton se biscep hie mid him habban wille o ððe hio hw æ r to l æ ne sle o ððe hwa o ðre bl write 'and I order in God's name that nobody should take the bookmark away from the book nor the book fromthemonastery: it is unknown, how longthere willbe such learnedbishopsas now (thank God!) there are everywhere because I wantthem(thebooks) to be always on the spot, unless the bishop wants it to be with him or it may be somewhere lent, or somebody may make a copy of it'.
In the sphere of syntax there is a great difference between various documents of the OE period. Thus, while the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle hashardlyany complex sentences, limitingitselfto simple andcompound ones, in other texts, such as, for example, kingAlfred's preface to his translationofCura Pastoralis , we find an elaborate system of complex sentences, with different types of subordinate
clauses and many subordinating conjunctions to introduce them. Thus, it would be completely mistaken to argue due to the almost complete absence of subordinate clauses in theChronicle , that there were no complex sentences in OE. This absence is due not to the non-existence of subordination in OE but to a certain stylistic tradition preserved by the chroniclers. From this point of view it is most instructive to compare passages from the Chronicle with those from king Alfred's preface.In theChronicle we read:Anno 851. Her Ceorl aldormon ʒ efeaht wip h æ fiene men mid Defenascire æ t Wic ʒ anbeor ʒ e
ond p æ r micel w æ l ʒ eslo ʒ on ond si ʒ e namon . On py ilcan ʒ eare AEpelstan cynin ʒ ond Ealchere dux micelne here ofslo ʒ on æ t Sondwic on Kent, ond IX scipu ʒ efen ʒ un ond pa opre ʒ efliemdon, ond h æ pne men æ rest ofer winter s æ ton 'In this year Ceorl the alderman fought with the heathen men in Devonshire at Wembury, and they killedmany enemies and obtained victory. And in the same year King Ethelstan and alderman Ealchere killed many enemies at Sandwich in Kent, and captured nine ships, and put the other ones to flight, and heathen men for the first time spent the winter there'. At about the same time kingAlfred wrote in his Preface to his translation of Gregory I's Pastoral Care: AElfred cynin ʒ hate ðʒ r etan W æ rfer ðbiscep his wordum luflice ond freondlice ond ðe cy ðan hate, ðæ t me com swi ðe oft on ʒ emynd, hwylce wiotan iu w æ ron ʒ iond An ʒ elcynn æ ʒ ðer ʒ e ʒ odcundra hada ʒ e woruldcundra, and hu ʒ es æ li ʒ lica tida ða w æ ron ʒ iond An ʒ elcynn, ond hu ða cynin ʒ as, ðe ðone onwald h æ fdon ðæ s folces, ʒ ode ond his æ rendwrecum hiersumedon, and hie æ ʒ ðer ʒ e hiora sibbe ʒ e hiora siodo ʒ e hiora onweald innanbordes ʒ ehiol don and eac ut hiora e ðel rymdon, ond hu him ða speow æ ʒ ðer ʒ e mid wi ʒ e ʒ e mid wisdome; ond eac ða ʒ odcundan hadas, hu ʒ iorne hie w æ ron æ ʒ ðer ʒ e ymb lare ʒ e ymb liornun ʒ a ʒ e ymb ealle ða ðiowotdomas, ðe hie ʒ ode scoldon, ond hu man utanbordes wisdom ond lare hieder on load sohte, ond hu we hie nu scoldon ute be ʒ ietan, ʒ if we hie habban sceoldon 'Alfred king sends his greetings to Warferth the bishop with his words in a friendly and loving way and I tell you that it very often came on my mind what scholars there were formerly in England, both of the religious and the lay orders, and what blessed times were then in England, and how the kings, who had power over the people, served God and his apostles, and they kept both their peace and their morals and their power inside the country, and enlarged their possessions, and how they succeeded then both in war and in culture, and also the religious orders, how eager they were both about teaching and about learning and about all the duties which they owed to God, and how people from abroad sought culture and learning here in this country, and how we now have to get them from outside if we are to have them'. This sentence contains a number of subordinate clauses of different degrees both subject, object, attributive and conditional ones.
Between this syntax and that of the Chronicle , as illustrated by the above example, there is of course a very great difference, which can only be interpreted as due to the stylistic peculiaritiesof the two texts, and this in its turn, depends on the subject matter and on the purpose of the texts.
In some sources, especially older ones, we can find information that Old English word-order is "free" compared to that of Modern English, and we may conclude that writers of Old English could mix up their words in any order at all. But though word-order was freer then than now, there are just a few common word-orders in Old English clauses. The main Old English word-orders are these:
This, of course, is how most Modern English sentences are arranged.
This word-order still occurs in Modern English sentences like "There are plenty of fish in the sea," and often in questions, such as "Are you sleeping?"
Subject . . . Verb.
The finite verb is delayed until the end of the clause.
This is the standard word-order of the Modern English clause, and it is very common in Old English. It is typical of independent clauses, though it also occurs frequently in subordinate clauses:
Ēac swylċe ðā n ȳ tenu of eallum cynne and eallum fugolcynne cōmon tō Noe, intō ðām arce, swā swā God bebēad ‘Also the beasts of each species and (of) each species of bird came to Noah, into the ark, as God commanded ’
The direct object, when it is a noun or noun phrase, will generally follow the verb:
God bletsode ðā Noe and his suna and cwæð him tō: "Weaxað and bēoð ġemenifylde and āfyllað ðā eorðan."
God then blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: "Increase and be multiplied and fill the earth."
Old English has a tendency to place pronoun objects - direct and indirect - early in the clause. A pronoun object will usually come between the subject and the verb:
And iċ hine ġesēo and bēo ġemyndiġ ðæs ēċean weddes ðe ġeset is betwux Gode and eallum libbendum flǣsce.
And I will see it and be mindful of the eternal covenant that is established between God and all living flesh.
If the clause has both a direct and an indirect object, and one of them is a pronoun, the pronoun will come first:
Hēr ġē magon ġehȳran þæt hē ġyfð ūs anweald , ġif wē on hine ġelȳfað, Godes bearn tō bēonne.
Here you may hear that he gives us the power , if we believe in him, to be God's children.
If the indirect object had been a noun and the direct object a pronoun, the direct object would have come first.
Though you will most frequently find a noun object after the verb and a pronoun before, there is no hard-and-fast rule for the placement of objects. Sometimes a pronoun object stands after the verb, and sometimes the object will come before the subject:
and iċ fordō hī mid ðǣre eorðan samod.
I will destroy them together with the earth.
Ðone cyning hī brōhton cucene tō Iosue.
They brought the king alive to Joshua.
Adverbial elements, including prepositional phrases and adverb clauses occur in various places in the sentence, e. g. God bletsode ðā Noe ‘God then blessed Noah’
This word-order is common in independent clauses introduced by the adverbs þā 'then', þonne 'then', þ ǣ r 'there', þanon 'thence', þider 'thither', the negative adverb ne , and the conjunctions and/ond and ac 'but'.
Since Old English narrative often advances in a series of þā -clauses, we will find the Verb-Subject word-order quite frequent in narrative:
Ðā cwæð Drihten tō Caine: "Hwǣr is Abel ðīn brōðor?"
Ðā andswarode hē and cwæð: "Iċ nāt; seġst ðū, sceolde iċ mīnne brōðor healdan?"
Ðā cwæð Drihten tō Caine: "Hwæt dydest ðū? Þīnes brōðor blōd clypað tō mē of eorðan."
Then the Lord said to Cain: "Where is Abel, your brother?"
Then he answered and said: "I don't know: do you say I must look after my brother?"
Then the Lord said to Cain: "What have you done? Your brother's blood cries to me from the earth."
This word-order also occurs in independent clauses not introduced by an adverb or adverbial element:
Wǣron hī ēac swȳþe druncene, for ðām þǣr wæs brōht wīn sūðan.
[They were also very drunk, for wine had been brought from the south.]
When the clause contains a direct object, it will usually follow the subject, but it may also come first in the clause.
The Verb-Subject word-order is also characteristic of questions, whether or not introduced by an interrogative word:
Him cwæð Nicodemus tō: "Hū mæġ se ealda mann eft bēon ācenned? Mæġ hē , lā, inn faran tō his mōdor innoðe eft, and swā bēon ġeedcenned?"
Nicodemus said to him, "How can the old man be born again? May he , indeed, go into his mother's womb again, and thus be reborn?"
In Modern English this word-order is used mostly in questions, but in Old English it is also used in declarative sentences.
Eart þū se Bēowulf, se þe wið Brecan wunne [ Beowulf , l. 506.]
The Verb-Subject word-order has suggested to most editors that the line is a question, to be translated "Are you the Beowulf who contended with Breca?" But it has been plausibly suggested that it is instead a statement, to be translated "You're that Beowulf, the one who contended with Breca!"
Commands also generally have the Verb-Subject word-order unless the subject is omitted, as happens more often than not when the command is positive:
Ne wyrċ ðū ðē āgrafene godas.
[Do not make graven gods for yourself.]
Ārwurða fæder and mōdor.
[Honor (your) father and mother.]
3.3. Subject . . . Verb
The Subject . . . Verb word-order is commonly found in subordinate clauses and clauses introduced by and/ond or ac 'but', though it does sometimes occur in independent clauses. The subject comes at the beginning of the clause and the finite verb is delayed until the end (though it may be followed by an adverbial element such as a prepositional phrase).
Gode ofðūhte ðā ðæt hē mann ġeworhte ofer eorðan.
Then it was a matter of regret to God that he had made man upon the earth.
In the noun clause (ðæt . . . eorðan), the direct object of ġeworhte comes between the subject and the verb. Indirect objects complements, adverbial elements and various combinations of these are to be found in the same position:
Se Iouis wæs swā swīðe gāl þæt hē on hys swustor ġewīfode .
This Jove was so very lustful that he married his sister.
and þā bēċ ne magon bēon āwǣġede, þe þā ealdan h ǣ ðenan be him āwriton þuss.
and the books that the old heathens wrote thus about them may not be nullified.
Nū secgað þā Deniscan þæt se Iouis wǣre, þe hī Þōr hātað , Mercuries sunu.
Now the Danes say that this Jove, whom they call Thor, was Mercury's son.
Indirect object and object:
and Adam him eallum naman ġesceōp
and Adam made names for them all.
The syntactical structure of OE was determined by two major conditions: the nature of OE morphology and the relations between the spoken and the written forms of the language.
OE was largely a synthetic language; it possessed a system of grammatical forms which could indicate the connection between words; consequently, the functional load of syntactic ways of word connection was relatively small. It was primarily a spoken language, therefore the written forms of the language resembled oral speech – unless the texts were literal translations from Latin or poems with stereotyped constructions. There was no fixed word order, the order of the words in sentence being relatively free. Consequently, the syntax of the sentence was relatively simple; coordination of clauses prevailed over subordination; complicated syntactical constructions were rare.
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