The rise of the PASSIVE forms

In OE the finite verb had no category of Voice outside the Prticiples.

The analytical passive forms developed from OE verb phrases con­sisting of OE bean (NE be) and weorthan ('become') + Part. 2 of tran­sitive verbs.

The major features that differ free syntetic combinations from analytic forms:

1)the Prtic is syntetically connected with the subject being the predicate. Partic. 2 could be inflected especially when in contact position.

2)P. 2 was often found if non-contact position was separated from final words by other words(non-agreement)

3)weorÞan occurred in the Past Tense only as well as wesan

the agent of the action was never mentioned in the sentences. The further development of these 3 syntetic combinations in the analytical can be summorised as follows:

-as a result of phonetic reduction bēon→bēn→be

-in the 18th cent. weorÞan fell out of usage which made to be the only auxiliary for passive

-the Partic. 2 forms lost the inflection –e. the contact position with the auxiliary preceeding was becoming more and more common →in the 15th cent. Only adverbs of indefinite time & manner occurred in the intermediate positions. The present condition of Passive form was reached ex: I was never asked this question before.

-In the 15th cent. Passive Forms could already be used throughout the verb pararadigm.

We can consider that analytic PASSIVE was fully established in English.

-In the early ME the phrase denoting the agent could be introduced by several prepositions:

Mid, of, by, with, from

Only by(living being) & with(instrument)remained in the course of time.

The construction like a boy was given a job; the data was sent for appeared in ME they became possible after the loss of case inflections when both indirect & prepositional objects in initial position came to be understood as the subject of the sentence

23. The OE vocabulary & its etymological characteristics

The full extent of the OE vocabulary is not known to present-day scholars. There is no doubt that many words have not been recorded in the extant texts at all. The evidence of the records has been supple­mented from other sources: from the study of the words of closely related OG languages and from later, more extensive ME texts.

Modern estimates, of the total vocabulary of OE range from about thirty thousand words to almost one hundred thousand (A. I. Smir­nitsky, M. Pei), - the latter figure being probably too high and unreal­istic.

The OE vocabulary was almost purely Germanic; except for a small number of borrowings, it consisted of native words inherited from Proto Germanic or formed from native roots and affixes.

Native OE words can be subdivided into a number of etymol­ogical layers coming from different historical periods. The three main layers in the native OE words are:

1) Common IE words. Words belonging to the common IE layer constitute the oldest part of the OE vocabulary. They go back to the days of the IE parent-language before its extension over the wide territories of Europe and Asia and before the appearance of the Germanic group. They were inherited by PG and passed into the Germanic languages of various subgroups, including English. Among these words we find names of some natural phenomena, plants and animals, agricultural terms, names of parts of the human body, terms of kinship, etc.; verbs belonging to this layer denote the basic activities of man; adjectives indicate the most essential qualities; this layer includes personal and demonstrative pronouns and most nu­merals. In addition to roots, this portion of the OE (and Germanic) her­itage includes word-building and form-building elements. OE examples of this layer are: eolh, mere, mona, treow, sawqn, nægl, beard, brooor, modor, sunu, don, bean, niwe, long, Je, min, peet, twa, etc. (NE elk, 'sea', moon, tree, sow, nail, beard, brother, mother, son, do, be, new, long, I, my, that, two).

2) common Germanic words

The common Germanic layer includes words which are shared by most Germanic languages, but do not occur outside the group. Being specifically Germanic, these words constitute an important distinctive mark of the Germanic languages at the lexical level. This layer is cer­tainly smaller than the layer of common IE words. Common Germanic words originated in the common period of Ger­manic history

3) specifically OE words

The third etymological layer of native words can be defined as specifically OE, that is words which do not occur in other Germanic or non-Germanic languages. These words are few,' if we include here only the words whose roots have not been found outside English. Ex: woman, manloaf, sherrif. Borrowed words constituted only a small portion of the OE vocabulary - all in all about 600 words. OE borrowings come from two sources: Celtic and Latin.

There are very few Celtic loan-words in the OE vocabulary, for there must have been little intermixture between the Germanic settlers and the Celtic in Britain. Abun­dant borrowing from Celtic is to be found only in place-names. The OE kingdoms Kent, Deira and Bernicia derive their names from the names of Celtic tribes. Outside of place-names Celtic' borrowings in OE were very few: no more than a dozen. Examples of common nouns are: OE binn (NE bin 'crib'), cradol (NE cradle), bratt 'cloak', dun (NE dun 'dark coloured '), dun 'hill', cross (NE cross)

Latin words entered the English language at different stages of OE history. Chronologically they can be divided into several layers.


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