Old English Verb

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  • Topic: Verb, Inflection, Participle
  • Pages : 3 (681 words )
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  • Published : May 25, 2013
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General characteristics of the OE verb. Major and minor groups of verbs. All the forms of the verb were synthetical, as analytical forms were only beginning to appear. Non-finite forms had little in common with the finite forms but shared many features with the nominal parts of speech. Predicate agreed with the subject in 2 grammatical categories: number and person. Categories:

Number – sg, pl
Person – 1st, 2nd, 3rd
Tense – present (present/future actions) and past (various events of the past). Future events could also be expressed with the help of modal verbs (OE cunnan (can) or sculan (shall)) Mood – indicative, imperative, subjunctive (meant unreality or supposition, common in clauses of time, result, clauses presenting reported speech) *ASPECT and VOICE – these categories are debatable.

Until recently it was believed that in OE (like in other OG languages) the category of aspect was expressed by the regular constrast of verbs with or without the prefix Ʒe-; verbs with the prefix had a perfective meaning while the same verbs without the prefix indicated a non-completed action (OE līcian – Ʒelīcian (нравится – понравится). In some recent explorations it has shown that the prefix Ʒe is not a marker of aspect – it’s just an element of word building (beran – Ʒeberan ‘carry -‘bear a child’ – changes in the lexical meaning). The passive meaning was frequently indicated by Participle II of transitive verbs used as predicatives with the verbs bēōn (be) and weorðan (become). These constructions gradually transformed into the analytical forms of the passive voice.

There were two grammatical categories of the verb: the infinitive and the participle. Infinitive had no verbal categories.
Participle was a kind of verbal adjective, which was characterized not only by nominal but also by some verbal features. Participle I (present participle) was opposed to Participle II (past participle – expressed present or simultaneous processes) through tense...
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