Alliteration and Sound Change in Early English by Professor Donka Minkova

By Professor Donka Minkova

This learn makes use of facts from early English poetry to figure out while definite sound adjustments came about within the transition from previous to heart English. It builds at the premise that alliteration in early English verse displays faithfully the identification and similarity of under pressure syllable onsets; it really is according to the acoustic sign and never at the visible identification of letters. exam of the behaviour of onset clusters ends up in new conclusions in regards to the explanations for the detailed therapy of sp-, st-, sk-, and the chronology and motivation of cluster relief.

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23 Though metrically imperfect as compared to the classic Old English pieces, both poems are unmistakably alliterative. The paucity of English poetic material, as compared to poetry written in French or Latin, has always presented a problem for those who try to connect alliterative writing after the Conquest to the Anglo-Saxon poetic tradition. Why so little of this transitional alliterative material has survived is a characteristically intractable question in the historical reconstruction of the circumstances of creation and preservation of poetry.

109). 20. ‘so that boast need not / Grendel’s kinsmen’ 21. ‘so that he that breast-swelling / could not restrain’ 22. ‘after they God’s command / broken had’ 28 2 Linguistic structures in verse contrastively, re-cover, re-store, etc. Another modern parallel to the behavior of OE un- is mis-; compare mist´ake to m´ıscreant, and to m`ıs-c´ast, v. ¯ hraðe, s¯ona are generally stressed and can carry Adverbs like eft, n¯eah, ær, alliteration. 23 They are ictic and alliterate in the absence of nouns and adjectives in the same on-verse, or to the left of them in the off-verse, as in the following instances: þ¯a wæs eft swa ær ¯ / inne on healle24 mid nydgripe / nearwe befongen25 handgewriþene; / hra∂e seoþðan wæs26 Beo 642 Beo 976 Beo 1937 When other stressable items appear in ictic positions within the verse, the adverbs will not carry the structural alliteration: Hraðe wæs to bure / Beowulf fetod27 sona me se mæra / mago Healfdenes28 hatode ond hynde; / hord eft gesceat29 Beo 1310 Beo 2011 Beo 2319 (2) Stress the first root syllable of lexical verbs Verbal prefixes are almost never stressed, the only exceptions being verbs that are derived from nouns, like andswarian and verbs with adverbial prefixes like inn-gangan, æfter-spryrian, ymbfaran.

It is important whether 4. In line with the distinction between prosody and meter, stress is a prosodic property of the syllable, while ictus (or lift) is the metrical position of prominence. In Old English the syllable which carries the alliteration must be prosodically prominent. 5. The presentation here follows the ideas in Minkova (1996b, 1997a) and Stockwell and Minkova (1997a) – the latter will be referred to as SM. The literature on the issue is voluminous and the survey offered here which touches only on points of relevance to the alliterative practice should not be taken as a substitute for the originals.

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