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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

As compared with salb o dedum


Such

instances, even if quoted, would not be conclusive.

s. 405. Why would they not be conclusive? Because _even of the adjective there are uninflected forms_.

As early as the Moeso-Gothic stage of our language, we find rudiments of this omission of the inflection. The possessive pronouns in the _neuter singular_ sometimes take the inflection, sometimes appear as crude forms, _nim thata badi theinata_ = [Greek: airon sou ton krabbaton] (Mark ii. 9), opposed to _nim thata badi thein_, two verses afterwards. So also with _mein_ and _meinata_. It is remarkable that this omission should begin with forms so marked as those of the neuter (-ata). It has, perhaps, its origin in the adverbial character of that gender.

_Old High German._--Here the nominatives, both masculine and feminine, lose the inflection, whilst the neuter retains it--_thin dohter_, _s[^i]n quen[^a]_, _min dohter_, _sinaz l[^i]b_. In a few cases, when the pronoun comes after, even the _oblique_ cases drop the inflection.

_Middle High German._--_Preceding_ the noun, the nominative of all genders is destitute of inflection; _s[^i]n l[^i]b_, _m[^i]n ere_, _d[^i]n l[^i]b_, &c. _Following_ the nouns, the oblique cases do the same; _ine herse s[^i]n_. The influence of position should here be noticed. Undoubtedly a place _after_ the substantive influences the omission of the inflection. This

appears in its _maximum_ in the Middle High German. In Moeso-Gothic we have _mein leik_ and _leik meinata_.

s. 406. Now by assuming the extension of the Middle High German omission of the inflection to the Anglo-Saxon; and by supposing it to affect the words in question in _all_ positions (i.e., both before and after their nouns), we may explain the constructions in question, in case they occur. But, as already stated, no instances of them have been quoted.

To suppose _two_ adjectival forms, one inflected (_min_, _minre_, &c.), and one uninflected, or common to all genders and both numbers (_min_), is to suppose no more than is the case with the uninflected _the_, as compared with the inflected _thaet_.

s. 407. Hence, the evidence required in order to make a single instance of _min_ or _thin_, the _necessary_ equivalents to _mei_ and _tui_, rather than to _meus_ and _tuus_, must consist in the quotation from the Anglo-Saxon of some text, wherein _min_ or _thin_ occurs with a feminine substantive, in an _oblique_ case, the pronoun _preceding_ the noun. When this has been done, it will be time enough to treat _mine_ and _thine_ as the equivalents to _mei_ and _tui_, rather than as those to _meus_ and _tuus_.

* * * * *

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

ON THE CONSTITUTION OF THE WEAK PRAETERITE.

s. 408. The remote origin of the weak praeterite in -d or -t, has been considered by Grimm. He maintains that it is the d in _d-d_, the reduplicate praeterite of _do_. In all the Gothic languages the termination of the past tense is either -da, -ta, -de, -dhi, -d, -t, or -ed, for the singular, and -don, -ton, -t[^u]m[^e]s, or -dhum, for the plural; in other words, d, or an allied sound, appears once, if not oftener. In the _plural_ praeterite of the _Moeso-Gothic_, however, we have something more, viz., the termination _-d[^e]dum_; as _nas-id[^e]dum_, _nas-id[^e]duth_, _nas-idedun_, from _nas-ja_; _s[^o]k-id[^e]dum_, _s[^o]k-id[^e]duth_, _s[^o]k-id[^e]dun_, from _s[^o]k-ja_; _salb-[^o]dedum_, _salb-[^o]d[^e]duth_, _salb-[^o]d[^e]dun_, from _salb[^o]_. Here there is a second d. The same takes place with the dual form _salb-[^o]d[^e]duts_, and with the subjunctive forms, _salb-[^o]d[^e]djan_, _salb-[^o]d[^e]duts_, _salb-[^o]dedi_, _salb-[^o]d[^e]deits_, _salb-[^o]d[^e]deima_, _salb-[^o]dedeith_, _salb-[^o]dedina_. The English phrase, _we did salve_, as compared with _salb-[^o]dedum_, is confirmatory of this.


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