chapter
30 Pages

UNIT 1: Thinking about the earliest English

The English language, as it in its different varieties through the pre-Conquest 11 century, is quite as sophisticated as any other medium of linguistic communication, and it is perceived as such by some contemporary writers and educators. It explains the inflectional loss from the perspective of WGmc, 600 years previous to the 11 century, that even classical West Saxon (WS) showed a markedly reduced set of inflectional endings. But for our purposes the simplest thing is to study inflectional loss against the context provided by WS Standard largely because established that this was a 'Standard', but also because it provides a convenient, though arbitrary, point of reference. Using the inflections of classical WS as a comparative baseline, to identify what was lost of the Old English (OE) inflectional system, particularly in the patterns of noun, adjective and verb inflections.