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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

As steorres for steorran stars


s.

99. This shows that by the middle of the 12th century, the Anglo-Saxon of the standard Anglo-Saxon authors, had undergone such a change as to induce the scholars of the present ago to denominate it, not Saxon, but Semi-Saxon. It had ceased to be genuine Saxon, but had not yet become English.

Some, amongst others, of the earlier changes of the standard Anglo-Saxon are,

1. The substitution of -an for -as, in the plural of substantives, _munucan_ for _munucas_ (_monks_); and, conversely, the substitution of -s for -n, as _steorres_ for _steorran_ (_stars_).

2. The ejection or shortening of final vowels, _thaet ylc_ for _thaet ylce_; _sone_ for _sunu_; _name_ for _nama_; _dages_ for _dagas_.

3. The substitution of -n for -m in the dative case, _hwilon_ for _hwilum_.

4. The ejection of the -n of the infinitive mood, _cumme_ for _cuman_ (_to come_), _nemne_ for _nemnen_ (_to name_).

5. The ejection of -en in the participle passive, _I-hote_ for _gehaten_ (_called_, _hight_).

6. The gerundial termination -enne, superseded by the infinitive termination -en; as _to lufian_ for _to lufienne_, or _lufigenne_.

7. The substitution of -en for -adh in the persons plural of verbs; _hi clepen_ (_they call_) for _hi clypiadh_,

&c.

The preponderance (not the occasional occurrence) of forms like those above constitute _Semi-Saxon_ in contradistinction to standard Saxon, classical Saxon, or Anglo-Saxon proper.

s. 100. _Old English stage._--Further changes convert Semi-Saxon into Old English. Some, amongst others, are the following:--

1. The ejection of the dative plural termination -um, and the substitution of the preposition to and the plural sign -s; as _to smiths_ for _smidhum_. Of the dative singular the -e is retained (_ende_, _worde_); but it is by no means certain that, although recognized in writing, it was equally recognized in pronunciation also.

2. The ejection of -es in the genitive singular whenever the preposition _of_ came before it; _Godes love_ (_God's love_), but the _love of God_, and not the _love of Godes_.

3. The syllable -es as a sign of the genitive case extended to all genders and to all declensions; _heart's_ for _heortan_; _sun's_ for _sunnan_.

4. The same in respect to the plural number; _sterres_ for _steorran_; _sons_ for _suna_.

5. The ejection of -na in the genitive plural; as _of tunges_ for _tungena_.

6. The use of the word _the_, as an article, instead of _se_, &c.

The _preponderance_ of the forms above (and not their mere occasional occurrence) constitutes _Old English_ in contradistinction to Semi-Saxon.

s. 101. In the Old English the following forms predominate.

1. A fuller inflection of the demonstrative pronoun, or definite article; _than_, _thenne_, _thaere_, _tham_;--in contradistinction to the Middle English.


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