Major morphological changes from old to middle english – Essay Example

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

From the time of Chaucer the two obtained in the last time more or less regularly having the same –ing ending and started to indistinguishable formally though still different functionally ( ). Syntactically, the gerund and the infinitive functioned as nouns while the participles acted as adjectives. Basing on inflections, verbs in the Middle English have a three category structure. They are strong, weak and highly irregular. The basic difference between them in the manner in which they form their past participle and past tense, strong verbs built by means of alternation of the root vowel and the marker of weak verbs in a dental suffix.

This is usually –t, -ed or –d that are attached to the root of the word after which the ending that is inflectional marks the number or the person added. The shift of verbs from a category to another got accompanied by the enhancement of the number of irregularities within the system of the strong verb, which in turn ensured that it accelerated the process. The disintegration of the system called ablaut, which attempts to fit most verbs that are strong into a weak paradigm entirely changed the perception to irregularity from the ablaut feature that is systematic.

Consequently, during the 14th century any chance of productivity of a category that is strong that is lost and the distinction should rather be put between productive and unproductive or regular and irregular verbs with some groups added from other categorical sets like some modals (Krygier 1997). a)    Irregular verbs – that form the past by means of ablaut or by adding of a dental suffix or by the transformation of a stem-vowel and, in other cases, of a stem-consonant, for example.

kepen to kept, cachen to kaught. The latter originate from a distinctive sub-group of Old English weak verbs. This group was a source for the modern irregular verbs. b)    Regular verbs - forming the past participle and past tense by the productive rule of the accumulation of a dental suffix. They are ancestors to regular verbs in Modern English. c)    MAD verbs - the remains of Old English anomalous and preterite-present verbs and anomalous described in more detail in the previous section of this chapter.

Changes in the constitutent changes and order in pronouns One of the major structural changes in English from old English is the disappearance of the order of OV. The current order was VO, where new lies in scare quotes since it is already common in old English. In the main clauses for instance, with subjects in the initial places; it is significant to remember that one reason is the exception that the object remains to be a pronoun, secondly, displays the OV order where instead of the subject, the negator comes in the position that was initial.


Kroch, A. S., Randall, B., Santorini, B., Taylor, A., & University of Pennsylvania. (2010). Penn-Helsinki Philadelphia, PA: Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania.

Krygier, M. (1997). From regularity to anomaly: Inflectional i-umlaut in Middle English. Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang.

Gelderen, E. . (2006). A history of the English language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Treharne, E. M. (2004). Old and Middle English c.890-c.1400: An anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us