Faculty: Second English Faculty Group: 410 Student: Toirova Nozima Seminar 3 How many cases were there in oe nouns?

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Faculty: Second English Faculty

Group: 410

Student: Toirova Nozima

Seminar 3
1. How many cases were there in OE nouns?

The noun had four cases: Nominative, Genitive, Dative and Accusative. In most declensions two, or even three, forms were homonymous, so that the formal distinction of cases was less consistent than that of numbers.

2. What do you understand by the word declension?

The most remarkable feature of OE nouns was their elaborate system of declensions, which was a sort of morphological classification. The total number of declensions, including both the major and minor types, exceeded twenty-five. All in all there were only ten distinct endings (plus some phonetic variants of these endings) and a few relevant root-vowel interchanges used in the noun paradigms; yet every morphological class had either its own specific endings or a specific succession of markers. Historically, the OE system of declensions was based on a number of distinctions: the stem-suffix, the gender of nouns, the phonetic structure of the word, phonetic changes in the final syllables.

3. In what ways the nouns were classified in OE? Count any three and give examples.

All the nouns can be classified according to the different principles. In traditional historical studies the nouns are divided into classes according to the former stem-forming suffixes, which were hardly visible even in Gothic, the language separated in time from the Old English by centuries. The remnants of these suffixes are even more vague in Old English. Still, these stem-forming suffixes determined what inflections were taken by the nouns. Though lost in Old English they still worked in the way the case and number forms were made (we may compare it with some Russian nouns - without knowing the history of declensions, for instance, it is difficult to explain why in Russian the plural of стол - столы, but that of стул is not стулы but стулья, very similar nouns ночь and дочь are not so similar in the plural: ночи but дочери and not дочи. In Ukrainian the nouns ім'я and хлоп'я look alike but the plural of the first is імена and of the second not хлопена but хлоп'ята. The nouns in Old English are commonly classified as belonging to strong and weak declension, within each of these groups there are several subgroups.

4. What kind of pronouns were there in Old English?

OE pronouns fell roughly under the same main classes as modem pronouns: personal, demonstrative, interrogative and indefinite. As for the other groups —relative, possessive and reflexive — they were as yet not fully developed and were not always distinctly separated from the four main classes. The grammatical categories of the pronouns were either similar to those of nouns (in "noun- pronouns") or corresponded to those of adjectives (in "adjective pronouns"). Some features of pronouns were peculiar to them alone.

5. What was the most distinctive feature of OE adjectives?

As stated before, the adjective in OE could change for number, gender and case. Those were dependent grammatical categories or forms of agreement of the adjective with the noun it modified or with the subject of the sentence — if the adjective was a predicative. Like nouns, adjectives had three genders and two numbers. The category of case in adjectives differed from that of nouns: in addition to the four cases of nouns they had one more case, Instr. It was used when the adjective served as an attribute to a noun in the Dat. case expressing an instrumental meaning — e.g.: lytle werede 'with (the help of) a small troop'.
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