chapter  1
10 Pages

The Old English Alphabet, Pronunciation and Accentuation

WithE. E. Wardale

§1. The Old English Alphabet was based on that of Latin with the addition of the two symbols þ (N.E.th) and p (N.E.w), borrowed from the native runic alphabet, and of 5. It contained the follow ing vowels and consonants.

VOWELS: Front or Palatal æ, e, œ, i, y.

   Back or Guttural a, o, u.

   Diphthongs ea, eo, io, ie.

Consonants:

Labial.

Inter-Dental.

Dental.

Palatal.

Stops

voiceless

p

t

c(k)

voiced

b

d

ʒ2(=g)

Spirants

voiceless

f

þ

s

h

voiced

f(=v)

ð

s(=z)

ʒ2(= y)

Nasals

m

n

η, n

Liquids

l,r

Semivowel

w

Note 1.—All vowels might be long or short. When long they are marked in this grammar with a line above them, thus ā. When the sign ⌣ is used, it indicates that the vowel is short. The student should be careful from the beginning to observe the length of a vowel; ā and ă should be treated as two vowels as distinct as are a and e. Note 2.—3 is the symbol used in O.E. MSS. for g. For the sounds represented by it and for the use of the symbol 3 in this grammar see § 4, c. For ð see § 4, a, note. 5