The Position of Negative Adjectives in Aelfric’s Catholic Homilies I

Maciej Grabski 1
  • 1 University of Łódź, Poland

Abstract

In Old English, negative adjectives, i.e. incorporating the negative prefix -un, are said to generally come in postposition to nouns (e.g. Fischer, 2001; Sampson, 2010). This paper investigates to what extent this general rule is followed in Aelfric’s Catholic Homilies, the texts of this author being a typical choice for the study of Old English syntax (cf. Davis 2006; Reszkiewcz, 1966; Kohonen, 1978). The data have been obtained from the York-Toronto-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Prose (YCOE). The following research questions have been formulated: Do strong negative adjectives outnumber nonnegated adjectives in postposition? Do strong negative adjectives have a tendency to appear in postposition? Do strong negated adjectives occur in preposition? The results indicated that for the sample analyzed, strong adjectives in postposition are not predominantly negated. Additionally, the postposition of most of those which are may potentially be explained by other factors, such as modification by a prepositional phrase, co-occurrence with a weak preposed adjective (both mentioned by Fischer), or indirect Latin influence in a formulaic phrase. Also, the data does not appear to support the observation that negated adjectives tend to appear in post- rather than preposition.

Falls das inline PDF nicht korrekt dargestellt ist, können Sie das PDF hier herunterladen.

  • Bartnik, A. (2011). Noun phrase structure in Old English: Quantifiers and other functional categories. Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL.

  • Davis, G. (2006). Comparative syntax of old English and old Icelandic: Linguistic, literary and historical implications. Bern: P. Lang AG, International Academic.

  • Fischer, O. (2001). The position of the adjective in (Old) English from an iconic perspective. Iconicity in Language and Literature. The Motivated Sign, 249-276.

  • Fischer, O. (2006) Syntax. In R. Hogg & D. Denison (Eds.), A history of the English language (pp. 43-108). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Haumann, D. (2010). Adnominal adjectives in Old English. English Language and Linguistics, 14(01), 53.

  • Hill, J. (2009) Aelfric: his life and works. In H. Magennis & M. Swan (Eds.), A companion to Ælfric (pp. 35-66). Leiden, NL: Brill.

  • Kohonen, V. (1978). On the development of English word order in religious prose around 1000 and 1200 A.D.: A quantitive study of world order in context. Åbo: Research Institute of the Åbo Akademi Foundation.

  • Lehmann, W. (1974). Proto-Indo-European syntax. Austin: University of Texas Press.

  • Mitchell, B. (1985). Old English syntax. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Perridon, H., & Sleeman, P. (n.d.). The noun phrase in Germanic and Romance. Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today. The Noun Phrase in Romance and Germanic. Structure, Variation, and Change, 1-22.

  • Pysz, A. (2006). The structural location of adnominal adjectives: Prospects for Old English. SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics, 3(3), 59-85.

  • Pysz, A. (2009). The syntax of prenominal and postnominal adjectives in old English. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Pub.

  • Reszkiewicz, A. (1966). Ordering of elements in late Old English prose in terms of their size and structural complexity (1st ed.). Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich.

  • Sampson, S. (2010). Noun phrase word order variation in Old English verse and prose. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University

OPEN ACCESS

Zeitschrift + Hefte

Suche