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The verbal grammatical categories

Minor Groups of verbs in OE

They are Suppletive, Anomalous and Preterit-present.

Suppletive verbs. They had different roots in the conjugation. In present day English there are 2 verbs of this kind- to be, to go.

1)The OE verb “ gān ” had the following forms: gan- eode- ge-gan. In ME the form “eode” disappered and instead of it the OE verb “ wendan ” –“ wente ” came into use.

2)The OE beon is an ancient IE suppletive verb.

The verbs wesan, beon, es had no Past Participle in OE. In ME these forms underwent many changes. Synonymous parallel forms were lost. Infinitive “ wesan ” disappeared. The form beon survived in ME.

OE beon> ME ben> NE be.

Out of numerous forms of the present tense plural the form earon/aron survived.

OE aron> ME aren> NE are.

The form of the Present Participle “ beonde ” but not “ wesende ” survived. When the suff -ende was replaced by -inde/-ing the Participle became “ being ”.

The missing forms were formed in ME (The Imper. Mood- be, Past Participle- being). As a result of these processes in ME we find 5 roots in the conjugation of the verbs: am, is, are, be, was.

Anomalous verbs. They combined the features of weak and strong verbs.

OE don – dyde – ge-don (NE do) formed a weak Past tense with a vowel interchange in the root and its Participle ended in “ n ”- gedon.

Preterit-present verbs (12). (now modal). They go back to the time when the IE ablaut was used to express different aspect forms. These verbs are called so because their present tense originated in pre-historic times from the Past tense of strong verbs. These verbs never denoted actions, only attitude to the action.(сейчас это модальные глаголы) Their meaning was realized as the Preset tense forms. Originally they were past tense forms, but later they became used as the Present tense forms. Later they built up new past tense forms, following the pattern of weak verbs. These verbs gradually formed a special group of modern modal verbs.

Since historically they were past tense forms now they do not use the ending “-s” in the 3d person sg. And they had no infinitives.

The preterit-present verbs had a number of characteristic features: 1) the vowel-interchange occurred not in the Past tense (cunnan), but in the Present (can); 2) these verbs usually had the dental suffix in the past-t (ahte=ought).

1. Grammatical categories.

In Finite Forms they were: mood (3), tense (2), number (2), person(3).

1) There were 3 moods: Ind, Subj, Imp. They had approximately the same meanings which they have today with the exception of the Subj Mood, which was frequently used to express a problematic action and was found in indirect speech. It was much more often than in the Present.

2) The OE verbs had 2 tenses: the Present and the Past. The present form was used to denote both tenses present and future ( denote Pr and Future actions as in other Germanic langeages). There were no analytical forms, only inflexion. Futurity was shown lexically with the help of adverbial modifiers and the context. It is true that in OE there were combinations with the verbs: sculan (shall), willan (will), but they had there own lexical meaning. They were not auxiliary verbs. From these constructions the future forms (the future tense was) were formed later.

3) The category of person was represented only in the Indicative sg and in the Imperative in OE. There was no indication of person in the Ind pl or in the Subj forms. (One form for all persons.) Three persons were distinguished only in the present tense of the Ind Mood.

4) The Ind and Subj had 2 numbers in both tenses. The Imp Mood also distinguished 2 numbers. No dual number. At that time they were?homonymous? forms. In the Subj M the past and the present pl were the same and also in the sg present and past. In the Indicative they were homonymous forms in the sing and plural.

Lōcian (look) wv2 (weak verb class 2).

Tense Present Sg Ind 1. lōcie 2. lōcast 3. lōcaÞ Subj lōcie (only one form -present sg) Imp lōca
Pl lōciaÞ lōcien lōciaÞ
Tense Past Sg Ind 1. lōcode 2. lōcodes 3. lōcode Subj lōcode  
Pl lōcodon lōcoden  

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