Old English Grammar

Old English Grammar

Old English Grammar

Old English Grammar

Excerpt

'Old English' is the name applied in the present work to the vernacular Germanic language of Great Britain as it is recorded in manuscripts and inscriptions dating from before about 1100. When it is necessary to quote forms more primitive than those recorded in these sources, but which may be inferred to have been spoken between the beginning of the settlement of Britain by Germanic peoples (c. 450) and the first records of their language (c. 700), these will be described as Primitive Old English (abbreviated Prim. OE), and will be marked with an asterisk ().

§2. Old English is one of the Germanic branch of the IndoEuropean family of languages. The Germanic languages are conventionally grouped as follows:

A. East Germanic. This group consists of West Gothic, known from fragments of a fourth-century version of the Bible, and a few other languages which are only very imperfectly known from names.

B. North Germanic. This is to be subdivided into East Norse (mainly Danish and Swedish), and West Norse (mainly Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese). North Germanic forms are usually quoted for philological comparison in the spelling system of Classical Old Icelandic (c. 1250).

C. West Germanic. The languages of this group have certain similarities in their history, which enable us to describe each as . . .

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