of OE prose vocabulary
vocabulary from IE & Germanic
it’s different from PDE vocabulary
loanwords (3% vs ca. 70%)
of OE poetic vocabulary
of OE vocabulary I
an example of a distinctively Gmc word
pasted in from the OED the etymology field for a distinctively
Germanic word, sea.
did I choose this word?
str. masc. and fem. corresponds to OFris. sê masc., OS. sêo, sêu,
dat. sêwa masc. (MLG. sê, MDu. see masc. and fem., Du. zee
fem.), OHG. sêo, sê, dat. sêwe masc., sea, lake, pond
(MHG. sê masc. and fem., sea, lake, mod.G. see masc., lake, see
fem., sea), ON. s-r,
sjá-r, sjó-r masc. (Sw. sjö, Da. sø), Goth. saiw-s
masc., sea, also marsh:OTeut.
word has no certain affinities, and it is doubtful whether the w
represents a pre-Teut. w or (by Verner's Law) a pre-Teut qu
Characteristics of OE vocabulary II (cont.)
borrowings found in both OE and OHG
contacts; some Gmc tribes in Roman army
units of measurement: inch, mile,
terms: priest, bishop
all Christian borrowings from OE period
are these good exx?
from the Christian period
very few from Celtic
place names, e.g. London, Kent, Thames, Avon
topographical terms (avon “river”)
Latin words w/ Irish forms: staer,
of Celtic Christianity
people know whether Latin loans were early or late?
You can sometimes tell how long a word from Latin has been
around: a long time, if it shows sound changes that happened in early OE
/sk/ to /š/: dish, fish, bishop
palatalization of /k/ to /č/: church, kitchen (form of Latin coquina)
mutation of /u/ to /y/: uncia to ynce, monasterium to
mynster, coquina -> kukina -> cycene
Characteristics of OE
OE tended to use its
own resources for expressing new concepts
Extended meanings of
(etymology disputed – read OED): “in the original pre-Christian sense ... a
superhuman person (regarded as masculine) who is worshipped as having power
over nature and the fortunes of mankind)
abode of warriors who died in battle”
Gmc; verb helan “to cover, conceal”:
noun must have meant “the abode of the dead” extended to mean “the abode of the
dead who didn’t embrace Jesus and repent of their sins”
misdeed, crime” against human law; extended to mean “crime against the laws of
the Christian church”
“ruler, lord, prince” -> the supreme ruler
- leorning-cniht for discipulus “disciple”
- frum-sceaft “first making” for creatio
Compounding showing loan-translations/calques
- heah-faeder for Latin patri-arch
- god-spell for Latin ev-angelium
- well-willend-ness for Latin bene-volent-ia
- do any of these words survive?
- what have we replaced them with?
pro-videntia = fore-sceaw... (1)
Salvat-or = Hael-end
human-itas = menn-isc-ness
trinitas = þry-ness
do any of
these words survive?
what have we
replaced them with?
make a person into a monk”
comment on the
look for these trends in story of the origin of
traditionally the first vernacular poem on religious
“adaptation of a form and poetic language traditionally
for heroic subjects to the subjects of Christianity”
specifically, creation: about beginnings!
found in the (Latin) History of the English Church
and People by Bede (AD 673-735)
presents “the origin of religious poetry in OE in a
miraculous light, as the product of an angelic visitation” to a cowherd
old Caedmon had always avoided singing to a harp at
but when he avoids it this time an angel commands him
to sing of beginnings
Caedmon quite explicitly dissociated from the secular
and therefore unsullied by it
poetry a convenient form for the mass dissemination of
a faith that had so far been mostly aristocratic
it’s got a really complicated textual history
there’s a Latin shorter version in the Latin MSS of
different dialects: Northumbrian, West Saxon
look at MS: relative status of prose and verse?
Loanwords – hard to find
what would you look for?
words beginning with /p/ (not all of which are
a common and meaningless prefix
gelyfd-re, geleornode, geseah, gedemed
on-: on-slepte, on-feng,
on the un/familiarity of these?
noun suffix -ness: here-nesse
suffix -lice: ge-limp-lice
suffix –hād (though it was a free morpheme in OE): weoruld-hāde
on the un/familiarity of these?
noun suffix -end: Scypp-end
weoruldhade, gebeorscip, nea-lec-an, frumsceaft
How is OE vocabulary different from PDE vocabulary?
words have been replaced by loanwords: PDE has more
words have survived but with semantic change
you illustrate this?
at words that are unfamiliar
you translate them with a native word? a French/Latin word?
at words whose forms you recognize
their meanings changed?
Profile of Caedmon’s hymn
change from OE to PDE
man, harp, sing, rest, house,
learned, night etc.
he, was, and, never, and other grammar words
change of distribution (e.g. register)
now archaic for time
with native word time
now archaic for “decided”
with Latinate decided?
with native got up?
“a certain” (or is this meaning?)
with Latinate a certain
we draw any conclusions about replacements?
that you can often choose native or Latinate words
words have gone completely
with poem (Greek through French)
with French or Latin creation
with French occasion
with French feast
with French received
with dream: OE? ON?
words have been replaced, though the elements remain
with Latinate secular
with Latinate banquet, here, but you might think of how else
you’d translate it: company, crowd
forms of words
borrowed into English more than once
fers “verse” has a complicated history
do we know verse is a loanword?
resulting from competition within a semantic field
bliss, tide have a different distribution now
loanword, but bliss is still around
sona “immediately” -> “in a while”
or analyzability of morphemes,
vocabulary of OE
what can we attribute many of them?
we can often choose to use native or borrowed word for different effect
he received / heard / got the answer