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lar neuter of adjectives ending in -e and the dative plural were different from the corresponding form of the strong adjective. In earliest Middle English (with loss of final n) the strong and weak form of the adjective became identical also in the nominative singular masculine and femine of adjectives ending in -e and in the dative singular masculine and neuter, accusative singular feminine, and nominative and accusative plural of all adjectives. The distinction between the strong and weak form of the adjective was still made in earliest Middle English in most forms of adjectives ending in a consonant and in some forms of adjectives ending in -e. I am unable to find in the inflectional pattern of earliest Middle English the basis for any analogical processes that could have preserved the distinction more completely. We may therefore infer that loss of final n was neither retarded nor accelerated by analogical processes in the weak adjective and that loss of n in this grammatical category was the result of sound change alone.32

The dative singular masculine and neuter and the dative plural of the strong adjective had much more distinctiveness of function in Old English than the weak adjective forms. Both were distinctive of case and the dative singular masculine and neuter form was at least negatively distinctive of gender, tho neither form was distinctive of number. As the result of change of final m to n, the levelling of unstressed vowels, and the loss of final n the Old English ending -um was reduced to -e in earliest Middle English. The n-less form of the dative plural thus became identical with the nominative and accusative plural form. The n-less form of the dative singular, however, was still distinctive of gender and case to a considerable (tho somewhat reduced) extent, especially in adjectives ending in a consonant. Distinctiveness of function would have been completely preserved if loss of n had been arrested by analogical processes, but the inflectional pattern of the strong adjective in earliest Middle English seems to have furnished no basis for such analogical developments. I infer therefore that loss of final n in the dative singular masculine and neuter and dative plural of the strong adjective was the result of sound-change alone.

The problem of loss of final n in verbs lies outside the scope of the pres

32 An examination of the tabulation given above will show that loss of n was relatively more frequent in the singular of weak nouns than in the weak adjective. This fact would seem to confirm the hypothesis that loss of n was accelerated in the singular of weak nouns, but was left to the determination of phonetic tendencies in the weak adjective. The fact, however, needs the confirmation of more statistical data before we are justified in regarding it as significant.

ent paper, but cannot be entirely ignored, for the fact that final n was so much more stable in verb forms than in noun and adjective forms thruout the eleventh and twelfth centuries is obviously relevant to the conclusions apparently indicated by the data presented here in regard to loss of n in adjectives and nouns. These conclusions are: (1) that loss of final n in late Old English and earliest Middle English was initially a combinative sound-change that resulted in double forms, with and without n, distributed according to the phonetic environment of the n; (2) that this primary distribution was then modified by analogical processes that accelerated loss of n in the singular of weak nouns and retarded loss of n in the plural of nouns; (3) that loss of n in the adjective was neither retarded nor accelerated but was the result of sound-change alone. If these conclusions are correct it would seem to follow that loss of final n in verb forms was either retarded by analogical processes or else that the phonetic conditions under which loss of n occurred were conditions to which verb forms were less frequently subject than noun and adjective forms. The analogical potentialities of the verbal pattern seem less than those of the inflectional pattern of nouns but they are not wholly lacking.33 As to whether verb forms were less frequently subject than noun and adjective forms to the phonetic conditions under which loss of n occurred we can form no opinion until those phonetic conditions have been ascertained. I would suggest as a mere possibility that if final n should have been lost before consonants (or before certain consonants) and preserved in hiatus and before a pause the verb forms might be found to occur with such frequency before a pause as to materially retard the loss of n. But if we could account for the stability of final n in verb forms thruout the eleventh and twelfth centuries we should then have to answer the further question why the n-forms did not remain equally stable thruout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It is clear that the highly important problem of loss of n in verbs must be solved by other methods and other materials than those used in the present paper.

33 The chief analogical potentialities of the verbal pattern tending to retard loss of n seem to be the inflected forms of the infinitive and past participle. The monosyllabic verbs (e.g. OE dōn, bēon, sẽon, gān), which tho few in number were very frequent in use, were also a conservative factor. So also was the fact that in all types of weak inflection the plural form was different from the corresponding singular form, and that in all finite verb forms final n had the same function, the indication of plurality.


The data upon which Table II is based are as follows:34

1. Elfred, Soliloquies, ed. Hargrove, pp. 1-40; Cotton Vitellius A 15; XI or early XII.

peawa 11.8; hwilce 17.19; eaga 17.21; sunne 20.19; þince 10.15; forlete 13.5; lufia 19.10; begyte 23.7; ofercumme 34.18; næbbe 36.9; habbe 36.9

2. Elfric, Homily on Judith, ed. Assmann, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen prosa, III, 102-116;Corpus Christi College Cambridge 303; XII.

sopa 15; lyfigenda 346; nolde 81

3. Elfric, Lives of Saints, ed. Skeat, E.E.T.S., I, 10ff., lines 1-428, II, 168ff., lines 1-473; Cotton Julius E 7; XI.

hlæfdige I, 28.47; fyrmeste II, 208.304; þenode II, 206.263

4. Elfric, On the Old and New Testament; Judges, ed. Crawford, E.E.T.S., pp. 15-51, 64-75, 401-417; Laud 509; XI.

sida 172; heretoga 394; witega 666; deriendlica 813; ungewæpnode 1127; lichama 1132; fægera 1144; sceamlica 1248; wiðerwinna Judges, VIII: 28 5. Chronicle, MS D, ed. Thorpe, pp. 248-350; Cotton Tiberius B 4; XI and XII (several hands).

gewuna p. 256; wilda p. 264; gerefa p. 266; wæstrena p. 270; Hamptunisca p. 292; utlaga p. 314; maga p. 328; papa p. 328; onfange p. 274

6. Chronicle, MS F, ed. Thorpe, pp. 249-329; Cotton Domitian A 8; XI or XII. mæsse p. 267; gehadode p. 267; yldesta p. 275; feawa p. 301; Suðsexa p. husbunda p. 313; utlaga p. 319


7. Bede, Ecclesiastical History, ed. Schipper, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen prosa, IV, 1-11, 18-50; Cambridge University Library Kk 3, 18; XI.

utagangende 414; arlease 469; agife 127; afyrhte 1082; bregde 1085; gefremede 1087

8. Boethius, ed. Sedgefield; continuous parts of text from MS B, pp. 7-11, 14, 21, 26f., 33f., 46f., 48ff., 51f., 57f., 64, 67f., 69, 71, 73f., 79ff., 89, 94ff., 101, 105, 115f., 124, 125f., 135f., 141, 146f.; Bodley 180; XII (early).

willa 11.19; sunne 141.19; micle 146.9

9. Byrhtferth's Handboc, ed. Kluge, Anglia VIII, 298-301, 312-314; 322-324, 335-337; Ashmole 328; XI.

æðela 301.3; lengtentima 312.22; getyddusta 313.3; gewuna 313.34; wynsume 313.37; fulfremede 322.24; getydde 335.3; iudeisce 335.47

10. Defensor's Liber Scintillarum, ed. Rhodes, E.E.T.S., pp. 1-43, 213–222; Royal 7 C. iv; XI.

tima p. 9; leofesta p. 13.

The approximate date of the MS or the century to which it is assigned is given after the MS notation. The date given is usually that assigned by the editor or editors, but I owe to the courtesy of Mr. George Watson of Oxford my information as to the date of MSS 9 and 11 and to the kindness of J. P. Gilson, Esq., of the British Museum my information as to the date of MS 18. In the exhibit of forms showing loss of n the verbs are placed at the end of each group. The references are usually to page and line or to line alone. Accents and marks of quantity are not reproduced.

11. De Nativitate Sanctae Mariae, ed. Assmann, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen prosa, III, 117–337; Hatton 114, formerly Junius 22; XI.

sceape 94; þeowa 201

12. Exameron, ed. Crawford, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen prosa, X; Corpus Christi College Cambridge 302; XI.35

eorde 136; ungelærede 152, feorða 200; susle 499

13. Gospel of Nicodemus, ed. Hulme, P.M.L.A.A., XIII, 473-515; Cotton Vitellius A 15; XI.

eorpa 473.6; hebreisca 473.20; wytega 481.13; goda 483.5; leofe 487.17; onhangena 487.28; nama 487.32; lychama 493.21; gebygede 495.20; widerwinna 501.15; sylfa 513.16; cuce 475.4; andswarode 475.26; 477.5; 477.13; speca 481.25; wolde 483.7; nyste 485.26; bydda 489.6; gefagenogde (sic) 491.8; eode 495.19

14. Harrowing of Hell, ed. Hulme, Modern Philology, I, 610-614; Corpus Christi College Cambridge 41; XI.

halga p. 610; ordfruma p. 610; stranga p. 611; cyme p. 611

15. Heptateuch, ed. Crawford, E.E.T.S., Exodus, pp. 212-285; Cotton Claudius B 4; XI.

nama II:10; læsse XVIII:22; leohtra XVIII:26; nama XX:7 (twice); oxa XXI:36

16. Homily on John XIII:1-30, ed. Assmann, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen prosa, III, 151-163; Bodley 340; XI (?).

pweorre 50; lichamlice 59

17. Læceboc, ed. Leonhardi, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen prosa, VI, 84-87; Harleian 55; XI.

aswollena 85.2; untruma 85.7

18. Malchus, ed. Assmann, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen prosa, III, 199–207; Cotton Otho C 1; XI.

nacode 304; lichama 304; efenpeowa 382

19. Rectitudines Singularum Personarum, ed. Liebermann, Gesetze der Angelsachsen, I, 444-453; Corpus Christi College Cambridge 383; XII.

lande p. 446; Candelmæsse p. 446; lande p. 447; landa p. 448

20. Rule of Chrodegang, ed. Napier, E.E.T.S., pp. 1-63; Corpus Christi College Cambridge 191; XI.

lade 8.21; anwearda 29.3; twy 33.13; næbbe 6.20; belimpe 19.20 21. Rule of St. Benedict, ed. Schröer, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen prosa, II, 9-23, 32-36, 45–64; Corpus Christi College Cambridge 178; XI. willa 22.2; slapule 47.17

22. Sign Language (Indicia Monasterialia), ed. Kluge, Internationale Zeitschrift für allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, II, 118-129; Cotton Tiberius A 3, f. 97; XI. swypra 123.25; samlocone 128.4

23. St. Guthlac, ed. Gonser, Anglistische Forschungen, XXVII; Cotton Vespasian D 21; XI.

ece 106.34; unmættra 120.64; lichama 146.7; Hædde 154, heading; abodysse 158, heading

35 Crawford prints the text of Hatton 115 and gives all the variants of the other MSS, including CCCC 302.

24. Wulfstan's Homilies, ed. Napier, homilies 36, 44, 51-53, pp. 172-175, 215226, 274-277; Cotton Tiberius A 3; XI.

feawe 221.33; godcunde 275.16; godcunde 276.9; abera 223.11

[The observation that the different numbers of one and the same case are regularly distinct in form seems to me of interest. With few exceptions it will hold for Sanskrit—but jās, viçvapās (s. pl.) also before voiced consonants senā(s) (pl.) senā (s.) and Vedic çucī (d. pl.), çuci, puru, karma, karmā (s. pl.)-for Greek, for Latin-but moles, sedes, dies, res-and for Lithuanian to judge from Leskien, Lit. Lesebuch 153. Apparently it was a well marked tendency in IE inflection, though I cannot recall a statement to that effect, and do not find it where it might be expected: Brugmann, Grundr.2 2. 2. 114, overstresses the exceptions, while Hirt, Idg. Gram. 3.38, makes no allusion to the matter. The serviceableness of such distinctions is obvious; and also that, because of the accompanying verb, they are least so in the nominative-the case which furnishes all of the above exceptions.

Jespersen, Lang. 429-31, cites from languages of 'barbarous races' a number of instances in which a people is able to name this or that species of tree, or parrot, but is without a word for 'tree', or 'parrot'. Indo-European may fairly be added to the list: our linguistic ancestors could (and must) say 'accusativesingular', 'instrumental-plural', etc. etc., but for 'singular' and 'plural' they had no formal expression in the inflection of the noun.-G. M. B.]

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