ENG367Y-OE-PDE transliteration and commentary (15%)

This assignment is designed to help you:

YOU MUST WORK ALONE ON THIS ASSIGNMENT. It is an academic offence "to represent as one's own any idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic ... work." (Faculty of Arts and Science Calendar).

1.Study one of the following passages from A.G. Rigg's The English Language: a Historical Reader:

2. Following the model in the handout you got in class, "transliterate" the OE text: Some ways of identifying the PDE reflex of an OE word:
  1. Use the principles of correspondence. E.g., the OE adverb |g|eo|rn|e "eagerly" = "y|e|rn|e" -- in the OED!
  2. Work with grammatical information: a little later in the course, you'll be able to tell that gescóp is the 3 sg. past tense of a class 6 strong verb, whose infinitive is sc|a|p|an. Use the principles of correspondence to generate sh|a|p|e!
  3. Exploit information in dictionaries (definitions, glosses, spellings). For example, if you look up the word fear in the OED, the spelling "1 fær" will confirm that the spelling fær was current through the eleventh century (i.e. in the OE period, according to OED conventions) and that you have successfully invoked the principles of correspondence. If you look up yerne in the OED, it will confirm that 3eorne was an attested spelling in the OE period. If you want to confirm that yerne is related to the PDE verb yearn, read the OED's etymology. Yerne will cross-reference you to the verb yearn (which lists spellings attested in the OE period: "1- geornan").
3. In an essay of around 2000 words, write a systematic account of the differences between OE and PDE that your transliteration of the short passage happens to illustrate. I am not interested in your ability to regurgitate Millward without applying it!
Your essay should be divided into the following sections:
  1. spellings (try to distinguish between orthographic changes that reflect changes in pronunciation from those that don't),
  2. syntax (word order),
  3. paradigms (inflexions, morphology), and
  4. vocabulary (word-formation, semantic change, later replacements).
Each of these sections should be given approximately equal weight.
Organize each section carefully. Your points should be in a coherent order (e.g., within "paradigms, discuss nouns, then adjectives, etc.). Your concrete examples of each point should be grouped together: e.g., "case distinctions in some parts of the personal pronoun system have been levelled: [examples]." Your examples should be followed with the verse number in parentheses.
You'll have to be selective with the vocabulary. Try to strike a balance between generalizations ("several OE words no longer exist; we express what they denote with borrowings from French: [exx]") and subtle and sophisticated interpretation of a few specific words.

You will need to use dictionaries and grammars and overviews of Old English. Many of these are on short-term loan on the third floor of the Robarts Library. See the secondary reading list for some titles.