History of english language

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had a stem of its own in strong verbs it was marked by a certain grade of the root-vowel interchange and by the suffix en; with the weak verbs it ended in d/t. P2 was commonly marked by the suffix Ze. Participles were employed predicatively and attributively like adjectives and shared their grammatical categories: they were declined as weak and strong and agreed with nouns in number, gender and case. ME Part 1 perf, non-perf, pass and active.


26. The rise of the Gerund in English


The Late ME period witnessed the growth of a new verbal known in modern grammars as the Gerund. The Gerund can be traced to three sources: the OE verbal noun in unZ and inZ, thePresent Participle and the Infinitive. In ME the Present Participle and the verbal noun became identical: they both ended in ing. This led to the confusion of some of their features: verbal nouns began to take direct objects, like participles and Infinitives. This verbal feature a direct object as well as the frequent absence of article before the ing form functioning as a noun transformed the verbal noun into a Gerund in the modern understanding of the term. The dissappearence of the inflected infinitive contributed to the change, as some of its functions were taken over by the Gerund. The earliest instances of a verbal noun resembling a Gerund date from 12th c. Chaucer uses the ing form in substantival functions in object. In Early NE the ing form in the function of a noun is commonly used with an adverbial modifier and with a direct object in case of transitive verbs. The nominal features, retained from the verbal noun, were its syntactic functions and the ability to be modified by a possessive pronoun or a noun in the G.case. In the course of time the sphere of the usage of the Gerund grew: it replaced the Infinitive and the Participle in many adverbial functions; its great advantage was that it could be used with various prepositions.


27. Causes of changes in the morphological system in ME and NE


The main direction of development for the nominal parts of speech in all the periods of history can be defined as morphological simplification. Simplifying changes began in prehistoric, PG times. They continued at a slow rate during the OE period and were intensified in Early ME. The period between c. 1000 and 1300 has been called an age of Great changes, for it witnessed one of the greatest events in the History of English grammar: the decline and transformation of the nominal morphological system. Some nominal categories were lost Gender and Case in adjectives, Gender in nouns; the number of forms distinguished in the surviving categorie was reduced cases in nouns and noun-pronouns, numbers in personal pronouns. Morphological division into types of Declension practically disappeared. In Late ME the adjective lost the last vestigates of the old paradigm: the distinction of number and the distinction of weak and strong forms.


28. Agreement in the History of English


In Old E we find a variety of word phrases. 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. Nouns which served as attributes to other nouns usually had the form of the Gen. case: hwales ban (whales bone). Some numerals governed the nouns they modified so that formally the relations were reversed. An adjective pattern could include adverbs, nouns or pronouns in one of the oblique cases with or without prepositions. Verb patterns included a great variety of dependant components: nouns and pronouns in oblique cases with or without prepositions, adverbs, infinitives and participles. Infinitives and participles were often used in verb phrases with verbs of incomplete predication. By Late ME agreement in noun patterns had practically disappeared, except for some instances of agreement in number. Formal markers of number had been preserved in nouns, demonstrative pronouns and some survivals of the strong declension of adjectives. The last traces of agreement in adjectives were lost in the 15th c. when the inflection e was dropped; only the demonstrative pronouns, the indefinite article and nouns in apposition indicated the number of the head word, like in Mod E. When the adjective had lost its forms of agreement, its relationship with the noun were shown by its position.