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Озвончение и оглушение


Фонема Перед и после переднеязычными гласными В других позициях Примеры
k k’   k cinn can chin can
g g’     g sengan (от *sangjan) зān singe   go
gg gg’   ecз edge
γ j   γ dæз daзas day days
x x’   x, h neaht hors night horse


Фонема В межвокальной позиции В других позициях Примеры
f v   f wulfas wulf wolves wolf
θ ð   θ sēoþan sēað seethe seethed
s z   s cēosan cēas choose chose


1. Основные тенденции развития древнеанглийских согласных

a) Палатализация (Palatalisation) – ≈ VI в.

с [k’, k’k’] > [ts] : OE cīld > cīld [ts]

cз [g’g’] > [dз] : OE brycз > brycз [brydз]

sc [sk’] > [s] : OE scip > scip [sip]

Результат: появление свистящих-шипящих и аффрикат [ts, dз, s].

b) Нейтрализация смычности:

pt > ft : зesceapt > зesceaft

tt > st : witte > wiste

1. Система гласных протогерманского и древнеанглийского периодов.

Германские гласные Древнеанглийские гласные


i e a o u i e (œ) æ a (å) o u y

i: e: a: o: u: ī ē (œ) ǽ ā ō ū ŷ


ei eu ai au (ie) ea eo (io) ei

(iu) (ou) (īe) ēa ēo (īo)

Дифтонгизация (Diphthongisation) – ассимилятивное изменение (≈ VI в.):

Преломление (Breaking, Fructure) – дифтонгизация переднеязычных гласных перед велярными согласными:

e > eо ll / l + согл.: Gt alls – WS eal – NE all;

æ > ea + h / h + согл.: OHG nāh – WS nēah – NE near;

ǽ > ēa r + согл: OE*ærm > earm – NE arm.

Палатализация (Palatalization) – дифтонгизация переднеязычных гласных после заднеязычных палатальных согласных:

sk’ e > ie : OHG skild – WS scield (NE shield);

k’ + æ > ea: OHG scal – WS sceal (NE shall);

jǽ > ēa: OHG jār - WS ςēar (NE year).


Basic grammatical features of Germanic languages. The Substantive. It consists of three elements:the root,a stam-building suffix, a case inflection. The meaning of root:it is the lexical meaning of the substantive, the meaning of case inflection: expresses the relation between the thing denotes by the substantive and other things,actions. The meaning of the stem-building suffix is much more difficult to define.This three part system is changed into a two-part structure in the earliest documents of Germanic languages. The stem building suffix,having lost its meaning,coalesces with the case inflection in such a way that it can no longer be identified.Types of stem:

1.vocalic stem –a,-o,-i,-u – strong declension

2.n-stem – weak declension

3. s-,r-stems

4.root stems

The adjective. Declension of adjectives in Old Germanic languages is complicated in a way which finds no parallel in other IE languages.

1.every adj. is declined both according to the strong declension and to the weak declension

2. strong declension doesn’t coincide with strong declension of substantives.

The verb. The main mass of verbs are strong verbs,which derive their past tense and second participle by means of gradation and weak verbs, which derive these forms by means of a suffix –d,-t.

The old Germanic languages have a system of two tenses,present and past. Three aspects: the continuous, the momentaneous, the resultative. The continuous aspect presents the action developing in time, the momentary aspect presents the action as heading toward completion, the resultative aspect – action as completed and having brought about a new state of things.

Every strong verb is characterized by 4 basic forms: the infinitive, the past singular, the past plural, the second participle.All strong verbs fall into seven classes according to the type of gradation.

Weak verbs derive their past tense and second participle by a dental suffix.Origin of - d:

a.from a verb meaning “do”

b. from Latin participles.

Germanic alphabets. Germanic tribes used three alphabets for their writing,which succeded each other in time. The earliest was the Runic, each separate letter being called a Rune.Writing at a time meant cutting letters into wood or engraving them on a stone,bone,metal. It is supposed that the Runic alphabet was created in the 2nd century A.D. and was used by different Germanic tribes.Next comes Ulfila’s Gothic alphabet. The alphabet of his translation of the Bible, a peculiar alphabet based on the Greek one with some admixture of Latin and Runic letters. The latest to be used is the Latin alphabet, which wasn’t adequate to represent all sounds of Germanic languages,thus some letters were borrowed from Runic.


Тема 3.Origins of the English language. It originated from Anglo-Frisian dialects, which made part of the West Germanic, language group. The Germanic tribes which conquered Britain in the 5th century belonged to three tribes the Angles, the Saxons,the Jutes.The earliest mention of the British Isles is in the 4th century when the Greek explorer Pytheas landed in Kent. At this time it was inhabited by Celtic tribes (Britons and Gaels),who spoke various Celtic languages that can be divided into two groups:

Gallic(modern France)

The Gaello Breton British, represented by Welsh in Wales,

Cornish in Cornwall (extinct in the 18th century)

Breton in Brittany

Gaelic Irish


Manx on the isle of Man, between Scotland and Ireland

The RomanConquest. In 55 B.C.the Romans under Julius Caesar first landed in Britain, their first appearance had no further consequences. In the year 54 Caesar landed in Britain for the second time. Permanent conquest of Britain began in 43 A.D.,under the Emperor Cladius.The Romans subdued the Britons and colonizes the country, establishing a great number of military camps, which eventually developed into English cities. They occupied the territory including the modern cities of Edinburg and Glasgow. In this period Britain became a Roman province. Such colonization had a profound effect on the country- paved roads, powerful walls of military camps – completely transformed the aspect of a country. The Latin language superseded the Celtic dialects in townships. In the 4th century when Christianity was introduced in the Roman Empire , it also spread among the Britons. The Romans rules Britain for almost 4 hundred years up to the early 5th century. In 410 Roman legions were recalled from Britain to defend Italy from advancing Goths,so the Britons had to rely on their own forces in the coming struggle with Germanic tribes.

The Anglo-Saxon Conquest. It was about mid-5th century that Britain was conquered by Germanic tribes. The Britons fought against the conquerors for about the century and a half – till about the year 600. It is to this epoch that the legendary figure of the British king Arthur belongs. The Angles occupied most of the territory north of the Thames up to the Firth of North;the Saxons, the territory south of the Thames and some stretches north of it;the Jutes settled in Kent and in the Isle of Wight.Since the settlement of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain the ties of their language with the continent were broken, and in its further development it went its own ways. It is at this time the 5th century that the history of English begins. Its original territory was England, the Scottish Highlands were inhabited by Picts and Scots.The Scots language, belonging to the Celtic group, has survived up to our own days. Ireland also remained Celtic, the first attempts at conquering it were made in the 12th century.

Periods in the history of English. The English scholar Henry Sweet (1845-1912) author of a number of works on the English language and on its history, proposed the following division of the history of English according to the state of unstressed ending:

1st period,Old English - the period of full endings (begins about 700 A.D.)

2nd - Middle English – the period of leveled endings( from 1100-1500)

3rd - Modern English – the period of lost endings , early MnE 1500-1660, late MnE from1660 till our own times.

The main source for study of the history of the English language is represented by written documents. Study of pronunciation of some period may sometimes be helped by illiterate spellings which are found in private letters, diaries.

In many cases even recourse to the earliest documents of the English language is not efficient to explain some phenomena of the language.If we had not at our disposal material provided by other Germanic languages, we should have to be content with hypothetical statements.In elucidating some questions we shall also have to use some data of Latin and French, as English, in the concrete circumstances of its history, came into contact with these languages.

Besides comparison with related languages, another method came into contact into use in the last few decades – that of internal reconstruction. This means drawing drawing conclusions about the prehistoric state of a given language itself, namely by comparing some of its forms with others.

In our study we will first state (synchronically) the system of Old English, then we will discus the changes occurring between centuries (diachronically), then state the system of the Middle English, then proceed further towards Modern English.


Тeма 4. Formation of Germanic States in Britain. The Germanic tribes which conquered Britain formed seven separate kingdoms,which during 4centuries struggled with one another for supremacy:Kent, Sussex, Essex, Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria, which consisted of two regions, Bernicia and Deira. In 828 the struggle came to an end with the decisive victory of Wessex. Ecgberht, king of Wessex, subdued Mercia and Northumbria. Since then kings of Wessex became kings of England and the capital of Wessex Winchester became the capital of England.

Down to an end of the 6th century Anglo-Saxon Britain was almost entirely isolated from Europe,and particularly from Rome. In 597 Pope Gregory I sent s mission to England in order to spread Christianity among the Germanic conquerors and to include England into the sphere of his political influence. Christianity also penetrated into England from Ireland, which hadn’t been invaded by Germanic tribes. In the 7th century Christianity spread all over England. The Latin language was at the time an international language of the church and of church science in Western Europe. As a result of new ties with Rome the Latin language was introduced in England as the language of the church.

This development had an important consequence for the English language:it adopted a considerable number of Latin words which were directly or indirectly connected with religious and church notions.

Writing in Old English. In OE two alphabets were used: the Runic and the Latin. A few Runic documents have came down to us. The Ruthwell Cross – a religious poem engraved on a tall stone cross near the village.The Runic Casket – made of whalebone,now in the British Museum in London.

After the Anglo-Saxons came into contact with Roman culture the Runic alphabet was superseded by the Latin. The oldest English documents available belong to the end of the 7th century.

Since the earliest times there were three main dialects in OE:
Northumbrian – spoken by Angles living north:the Runic texts of the Ruthwell Cross and Frank Casket,translations of the Gospel, Caedmon’s Hyms and Bede’s Dying song

Mercian- Angles between the Humber and the Thames:translation of the Psalter

West-Saxon,language of the Saxon south to the Thames: The West-Saxon dialect is represented by the works of king Alfred (849-900),original translations of Latin Texts,by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,works of the abbot Aelfric and sermons of Wulfstan.

Kentish,language of the Jutes:translation Psalms

The rise of Wessex as a political power in the 9th century has its consequences for the West-Saxon dialect:in the course of that century it became dominating literary language of the epoch.The superiority of the West-Saxon dialect both in quantity and importance of the documents using it confirms its dominating position as literary language of the period.

The epic poems of OE period: Beowulf,Genesis, Exodus,Judith, and poems by the monk Gynewulf: Elene, Andreas,Juliana and others.


Part of Beowulf, a poem written in Old English.



Writings in OE (from the 7th to the 11th) are very numberous and belong to different kind of literature.There is a great variety of prose texts, part of them translations from the Latin, poems of different sizes and genres. Among those prose works we should first mention the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - a year-for-year account of the event in the English history, starting at 787. The Chronicle is characterized by a very simple syntax, with very little subordination,mainly consisting if brief statements of event which occurred in this or that particular year.

Then there are a number of texts associated with the name of king Alfred. King Alfred’s Orosius is a long text,containing geographical information, telling the Voyages of Othere and Wulfstan,two Scandinavian travelers who arrived England and told Alfred of their experience.Another translation made by Alfred himself or on his order Bede’s Ecclesiasistical History of the English People. Bede(672-735)gave in his work a detailed account or the early history of England well into the 8th century. Last not least, we mention among Alfred’s translations that of Pastoral Care by Pope Gregory I.

Beowulf is the oldest extant epic poem in any Germanic language. Its author is unknown. The subject of the epic has nothing to do with English people. The scene is laid in various parts of Scandinavia.

Most other epics in OE written by two great writers Caedmon(Genesis,Exodus-poetical versions of two books of the Bible,written in highly literary and solemn style)and Cynewulf(a number of poems on religious subjects, such as Andrew,which tells of the voyages of the apostle Andrew).


Phonetic Structure.

All OE vowels can be either short or long.

Древнеанглийские гласные


i e (œ) æ a (å) o u y

ī ē (œ) ǽ ā ō ū ŷ


(ie) ea eo (io) ei

(īe) ēa ēo (īo)


a) Палатализация (Palatalisation) – ≈ VI в.

с [k’, k’k’] > [ts] : OE cīld > cīld [ts]

cз [g’g’] > [dз] : OE brycз > brycз [brydз]

sc [sk’] > [s] : OE scip > scip [sip]

Результат: появление свистящих-шипящих и аффрикат [ts, dз, s].

b) Нейтрализация смычности:

pt > ft : зesceapt > зesceaft

tt > st : witte > wiste


The OE consonant system consists of the following sounds:


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