Questions and assignments

1.Explain why OE can be called a "synthetic" or "inflected" lan­guage. What form-building means were used in OE?

2. Speak on the differences between the categories of case, number and gender in nouns, pronouns and adjectives.

3. Why are noun declensions in OE referred to as "stems"? Point out relics of the stem-suffixes in the forms of nouns.

4. Explain the difference between the grouping of nouns into declen­sions and the two declensions of adjectives.

5. Which phonetic changes account for the alternation of consonants in the following nouns: mūp - mūpa (Nom. sg, Gen. pl N. -a); hūs - hūsunt (Nom. sg, Dat. pl N. -a); wif - wife (Nom., Dat. sg N. -a); (NE mouth, house, wife). Were these consonant interchanges confined to cer­tain declensions? Decline ʒlōf (F. -ō)and ʒōs (F. -root-stem) according to the models to confirm your answer (NE glove, goose).

6. Account for the vowel interchange in hwæl - hwalas (Nom. sg and pl, M. -a); pæp - papum (Nom. sg, Dat. pl, M. -a)(NE whale, path).

7. Determine the type of noun declension and supply the missing forms:

  Sg Pl Sg Pl
Nom. word word earm earmas
Gen. wordes ? earmes ?
Dat. ? ? ? ?
Acc. ? ? ? ?
Nom. bōc bēc cuppe ?
Gen. bēc, bōce ? ? ?
Dat. ? ? ? ?
Acc. ? ? cuppan ?
(NE word, arm, book, cup)      

8. Point out instances of variation in the noun paradigms. From which stems were the new variants adopted?

9. Which forms of the nouns originated due to palatal mutation? Describe their history in Early OE.

10. Prove that suppletion is an ancient way of form-building that can be traced to PIE.

11. Which forms of adjectives, weak or strong, should be used in the following contexts? Fill in the blanks with appropriate endings:

and pā pone hālʒ - mann ātuʒon ūt of his hūse 'and they drove that holy man out of his house...'; Ic eom ʒōd - hierde 'I am a good shepherd'.

12. Account for the interchange of vowels in the forms of the degrees of comparison:

smæl smælra smalost 'slender'
hēah hierra hiehst NE high
brād brādra brādost NE broad
  brǣdra brǣdest  

13. In what respects was the OE verb system "simpler" than the Mod E system?

14. Would it be correct to say that the strong verbs formed their principal parts by means of root-vowel interchanges and the weak verbs employed suffixation as the only form-building means? Make these de­finitions more precise.

15. Build the principal forms of the verbs for lēosan (str. 2), weorpan (str. 3) and drifan (str. 1) and explain the interchange of vowels and consonants (NE lose, 'throw', drive).

16. Determine the class of the following strong verbs and supply the missing principal forms:

Pres. Tense stem. Past sg. Past pl. Part. II NE
stelan ? ? ? steal
? scān ? ? shine
? ? ǣton ? eat
? ? ? sunʒen sing
ceorfan ? ? ? carve
? wearð wurdon worden 'become'
? sanc ? ? sink
? ? ? ʒliden glide
? wōc ? ? wake
? ? ? bacen bake

17. Find instances of "breaking" in the principal forms of strong and weak verbs.

18. How was gemination of consonants and the loss of reflected in the forms of weak verbs?

19. What traces of palatal mutation can be found in the weak verbs?

20.Prove that the non-finite forms in OE had more nominal fea­tures than they have today.

21. Define the form and class of the verbs and nouns in the follow­ing phrases and reconstruct their initial forms: Nom. sg of nouns and the Infinitive of the verbs:

... wiciað Finnas ... fōr hē...pā Beormas sprǣcon... Ōhthere mētte ...he bad... his ēaʒan pӯstrodon... hē clypode... wē willað secʒan...


Chapter X
OLD ENGLISH VOCABULARY (§ 227-278)