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Series: Cambridge Companions to Literature Series by cover 1—7 of next show all. The Cambridge companion to American poets by Mark Richardson. The Cambridge companion to Balzac by Owen Heathcote. The Cambridge companion to British poetry, by Edward Larrissy. The Cambridge Companion to D. Lawrence by Anne Fernihough. The Cambridge Companion to E. Forster by David Bradshaw.

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The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature

The Cambridge companion to French literature by John D. The Cambridge companion to H. D by Nephie Christodoulides. The Cambridge companion to Irish poets by Gerald Dawe. The Cambridge Companion to J. Synge by P. The Cambridge companion to postcolonial poetry by Jahan Ramazani. The Cambridge companion to postcolonial travel writing by Robert Clarke. The Cambridge companion to postmodern American fiction by Paula Geyh. The Cambridge companion to slavery in American literature by Ezra F.

The Cambridge Companion to T. Eliot by A. David Moody. The Cambridge Companion to Tacitus by A. Chichester, — On the Danegeld, see M. Finally, the mustachioed English soldiery at the Battle of Hastings is illustrated in D. Wilson, The Bayeux Tapestry London, Full text and English translation of Alfred's lawbook is to be read only in B.

Liebermann, Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen, 3 vols. Halle, I, Winterbottom Oxford, , which contains at pp. Symons London, For the Wulfstan corpus, see D.


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  • Bethurum, 'Wulfstan', in Continuations and Beginnings, ed. Stanley London, , pp. Pope, 2 vols. For late Anglo-Saxon writs, see F. Harmer, Anglo-Saxon Writs, 2nd ed. London, , with discussion by S. McKitterick Cambridge, , pp.

    senjouin-renshu.com/wp-content/94/2001-como-entrar.php But in order to understand fully and appreciate the literature of the AngloSaxon period — its style, verse structure and content — it is necessary to read the texts in their original language. The following chapter is intended as an introduction to Old English, with emphasis on those characteristics and developments that distinguish this older stage of the language from Modern English.

    The chapter is not, however, meant as a grammar or work of reference, particularly since some simplification of the complex linguistic facts has been unavoidable. Some standard works on Old English language are listed below Further reading, pp. For the speaker and reader of Modern English who is beginning to study Old English, texts written in that language may at first appear strange and somewhat difficult. This is due mainly to the momentous changes that English has undergone during the last nine hundred years of its development, particularly during the Middle English period c.

    Since the science of comparative philology was established in the nineteenth century it has become possible to trace the prehistory of Old English and its relationship to other languages. As early as the twelfth century, scholars had observed certain similarities in the vocabulary of several European languages, similarities that apparently were not due to borrowing, but only in the nineteenth century did scholars like Jacob Grimm develop reliable methods for determining the genetic relationship of languages, and attempts could then be made even to reconstruct unrecorded, early stages of a language.

    As a result, we now have the concept of the Indo-European family of languages, languages that are so closely related, especially in their earliest recorded stages, that they must be assumed to be derived from a common ancestor, 'Indo-European', which does not survive, but whose phonology and morphology have been tentatively reconstructed, while its original home remains uncertain. The criteria that enable us to prove the genetic relationship of these languages are: a common basic vocabulary, and a large number of lexical correspondences among all or at least some of the languages; a common inflexional system, evidenced by close agreements in morphology and grammatical categories; and phonological correspondences that obey strict rules, or 'sound laws'.

    Again, phonological, morphological and lexical evidence enables us to distinguish between specific language groups and individual languages that developed out of Common Germanic under various historical, political and geographical conditions. Those for which written records have been preserved are: 1 East Germanic: the only language in this group for which we have written evidence is Gothic; a translation of parts of the Old and New Testaments made by Bishop Ulfila in the second half of the fourth century survives and, being so early, is of great value for the reconstruction of Common Germanic.

    A number of runic inscriptions go back as far as the third century AD, but extensive written texts, from Iceland and Norway, are only preserved from the twelfth century onwards.

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    This classification of the Germanic languages, as well as the assumption of a Common Germanic language often called Proto-Germanic, or Primitive Germanic is again based on precise linguistic criteria. Thus, all the Germanic languages — and therefore Common Germanic — are marked by a number of significant innovations: the accent is always on the first syllable of a word; every adjective can be inflected in two different ways see below, pp.

    Similarly, Old English is clearly differentiated from the other Germanic and West Germanic languages by developments in its inflexional system and a number of regular early sound changes some even going back to the pre-Insular period. The fact that our grammars and dictionaries are largely based on such texts is apt to create an impression of a relatively stable and uniform language.

    It is important to remember, however, that such an impression is wholly misleading. Our textual transmission, which is late and predominantly in a south-western dialectal form, tends to obscure the wide range of dialectal variation that must have obtained in a language reaching from the Channel to the Firth of Forth; it also tends to obscure the developments in sounds, inflexions, syntax and vocabulary between the period of the early settlements and the Norman Conquest.

    There cannot have been any written record of Old English until the AngloSaxons and then only a few of them learned to read and to write in the seventh century; from the eighth and earlier ninth centuries we only have a few glosses and two glossaries, as well as a few lines of Old English poetry, including Casdmon's famous hymn. No English prose text can be said with certainty to have been written down before the later ninth century. Some of the poetic compositions preserved in manuscripts of the late tenth or early eleventh centuries may well be modernized copies of much earlier exemplars, but it is impossible to date and localize exactly, or even to reconstitute, the original texts in these exemplars.

    While it seems sensible, then, that our grammars and handbooks should describe as the 'regular' forms of Old English the Early West Saxon ones of the period of King Alfred, and the slightly different ones of the time of JEMnc and Wulfstan, we must always keep in mind that our written texts provide us with a mere fraction of what was once a living language, spoken all over England for more than six centuries. Once this has become clear, however, it seems safe to say that Old English, as compared with other contemporary languages, has been extremely well preserved.