linguistic of English: morphosyntax

Old English is significantly different from Modern English. Based on the three texts below, describe four ways in which Old English morphosyntax differs from Modern Standard English. Be specific, and use examples from the texts below to illustrate (you made need to do a little outside research on this one; however, your four examples must be drawn from, and make specific reference to, the texts below).


  1. Wiϸ wif             gemædlan        geberge      on           neahtnestig                  rædices            moran

against       woman       madness           eat               on           nightfasting                 radish’s            root


           ϸy        dæge        ne           mæg          ϸe           se           gemædla              sceϸϸan

the       day           not          may           you         the           madness               bother


“Against a woman’s mad behaviour: eat some radishes before breakfast [lit. during nightfasting] and that day the madness cannot bother you”


  1. Georne is      to       wyrnanne          bearneacnum    wife  

earnestly           is      to       warn                  pregnant woman


          ϸæt          hio      [….]       ne           swines          flæsc         ete       ne        naht fættes

that         she      [….]        not         swine’s        flesh         eat       nor       nothing fat


          ne        druncen                 gedrince        ne         on          weg     ne                          fere

nor      drunkeness            drink             nor        on          road    not                         travel


“A pregnant woman is to be earnestly advised that she eat no pork or anything fatty, [that she] not drink to intoxication or travel by road”


  1. Gif men    sio          heafodpanne  beo     gehlenced      alege     ϸone      man upweard

if         one     the          cranium          be       folded           lay         the         man upwards


          drif      ii      stacan      æt    ϸam    eaxlum       lege          ϸonne  bred ϸweores   ofer

drive    2      stakes      at     the      shoulders    lay      the         board     across over


          ϸa      fet    sleah    ϸonne    ϸriwa     on    mid          slegebytle  hio        gæϸ       on          riht  sona

the    feet  strike     that       thrice     on    with      sledge beetle he      goes on          right      soon


“If someone’s head is fractured, lay the man supine, drive two stakes at the shoulders, then lay a board across his feet, then strike on it with a sledge hammer; he will come right at once.”



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