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A) the First Consonant Shift

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The first thing to be said about the parameters of this variety of belles-lettres is that the language of plays is entirely dialogue. The author’s speech is almost entirely excluded, except for the playwright’s remarks and stage directions.

The degree to which the norms of ordinary colloquial language are converted into those of the language of plays, that is, the degree to which the spoken language is made literary varies at different periods in the development of drama and depends also on the idiosyncrasies of the playwright himself.

Any presentation of a play is an aesthetic procedure and the language of plays is of the type which is meant to be reproduced. Therefore even the language of a play approximates that of a real dialogue, it will none the less be stylized.

 

The language of the characters is in no way the exact reproduction of the norms of colloquial language, although the playwright seeks to reproduce actual conversation as far as the norms of the written language will allow.

The language of plays is always stylized, that is, it strives to retain the modus of literary English, unless the play­wright has a particular aim which requires the use of non-literary forms and expressions.

The general trends in the developing literary language were also reflected in the wide use of biblical and mythological allusions, evocative of Renaissance traditions, as well as in the abundant use of compound epithets, which can also be ascribed to the influence of the great Greek and Latin epics.

The analysis of the language texture of plays has shown that the most characteristic feature here is, to use the term of the theory of in­formation, redundancy of information caused by the necessity to amp­lify the utterance. This is done for the sake of the audience.

the language of plays is already purposeful. The sequence signals, which are not so apparent in lively conversation, become conspicuous in the language of plays.

 

 

A) the First Consonant Shift

These peculiarities are mostly concerned with the system of consonants and are due to the so-called first consonant shift. This shift was explained by the German philologist Jacob [dзeikəb] Grimm in 1822. This exploration has the name Grimm’s Law.

Grimm’s Law shows the difference between the European system of plosives (взрывной) and that of the Germanic Languages.

The Law explains regular correspondences Germanic consonants and consonants such European languages as Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, and Russian and so on. These correspondences may be grouped into 3 theories or 3 acts:

1. The change of plosive voiceless stops [p], [t], [k] in Indo-European languages to voiceless fricatives [f], [θ], [h] in the Gl-s. For example:

[p] > [f] R пена – OE fām – NE foam

[t] > [θ] Lat. tu – OE Әu – NE thou

[k] > [h] Lat. cordis – OE heorte – NE heart

2. I-E voiced stops [b], [d], [g] correspond to Germanic voiceless stops [p], [t], [k]

[b] > [p] R болото – OE pōl – NE pool

[d] > [t] R два – OE tva – NE two

[g] > [k] R иго – OE ʒeoc – NE yoke

3. I-E voiced aspirated stops [bh], [dh], [gh] correspond to the G. voiced stops without aspiration [b], [d], [g]

[bh] > [b] Sct [bharat] – Goth bairan – OE beran

[dh] > [d] Sct [madhu] – OE medu

[gh] > [g] Sct [stighnoti] – Goth steigan – MnG steigen

B) Voicing of Fricatives (Verner’s Law)

It was observed that not all words show these correspondences. Sometimes instead of changing [f], [θ], [h] the sounds [p], [t], [k] became voiced.

[p, t, k] > [b, d, g] Lat. parter – OE fæder – NE father

Such exceptions were explained in 1877 by the Danish scholar Cart Verner. Verner proved that the change develop upon the place of the stress in a word. If the stress I-E word is before [p, t, k] the sound in Germanic word changes according to Grimm’s Law [f, θ, h]. For example: Gr `deka – Goth taihum (k>h), but if the stress follows the sound in the Germanic word it become voiced. For example: Gr de`kas – Goth tigus (k>g). There is one process which is due to Verner’s Law is called rhotacism [`rəutəsizm]. If the preceding vowel in the I-E word is unstressed the consonant [s] in the corresponding Germanic word becomes voiced and then changes into [r]. Rhotacism takes place in all Gl-s except Gothic. For example: Goth hausjan – OE hieran – NE hear.

 


The structure of the word in Gl-s

Beginning with proto-Germanic vowels also displace a strong tendency to change, they underwent certain changes: qualitative and quantitative, the nature of which was often determined by stress. In stressed syllables the position between vowels was more distinct (отчетливый). In unstressed position the contrast between vowels were weaked or lost.

The most important characteristic of the Germanic vowels was a strict differentiation of short and long vowels. Another feature is a tendency of long vowels to diphthongization. Whereas short vowels in Gl-s changed to more open sounds. For example: R мочь, могу – OE maʒan, mæʒ. One of the most distinctive features of the group is the peculiar Germanic system of word accentuation. If in I-E languages the position of the stress was free and movable, in late proto-Germanic its position in the word was stabilized. For example: ` дом – дом`а – домовн`ичать. The stress in the Germanic wod was fixed on the first syllable which was either the root or the prefix. The other syllables were unstressed. This feature was inherited (унаследована) by most Gl-s and now in English the main stress commonly falls upon the root `morpheme and it never shifted in different grammatical forms. For example: NE to become – becoming. The fixed word stress has played an important role in the development of specific morphological features in Gl-s.

 

Strong verbs. The system of Germanic ablaut. Weak verbs and peculiarities of their classes. Minor groups of verbs.

Ablaut is an independent vowel interchange unconnected with any phonetic condition; different vowels appear in the same environment, surrounded by the same sounds. Vowel gradation was used as a special independent device to differentiate between words and grammatical forms built from the same root. The principal gradation series used in the I-E languages – [e ~ o] – can be shown in Russian examples: нести ~ ноша. This kind of ablaut is called qualitative, as the vowels differ only in quality. Alternation [o:ltə’ neiſn] of short and long vowels, and also alternation with a “zero” represent quantitative ablaut. Germanic ablaut was mostly used in building the principal forms of the verbs called strong.

1. Strong verbs (built their forms by means of vowel gradation unconnected with any phonetic conditions). Strong verbs had 4 principal forms:

Gothic:

- Infinitive – bairan

- Past Singular – berum

- Past Plural – baurans

- Participle II – baurans

2. Weak verbs (built their past with the help of so-called dental suffixes [d, t, θ, Ә]). Weak verbs split into 4 classes in Gothic and into 3 classes in the German L-s. They had 3 principal forms:

Gothic:

- Infinitive – domjan

- Past Singular – domida

- Participle II - domiӘs

Weak verbs existed only in Gl-s

3. Preterit (форма прошедшего времени) – Present Verbs (built their present by means of ablaut and they built their past like weak verbs)

Gothic:

- Ifninitive – Kunnan

- Present Singular - Kann

- Past Singular - KunӘa

4. Anomalous Verbs. It was a small group of verbs that didn’t fit into any other group, among them there were verbs that built there forms by means of suppletivism/suppletion – they built there forms by means of different roots.

Gothic: ʒinʒan (inf) – iddja (past sg.)

R: иду – шел, есть – был

 

The structure of the noun in Old German and types of its declension.

The noun in I-El-s had a 3-part structure: the root, the stem building suffix and the ending. For example: daʒam. The stem-building suffix performed 2 functions:

- to build the stem

- to show the type of declension,

but in the cause of time this suffix merged with the infection, so it become difficult to identify it, as the result the Germanic noun of later periods had a 2-part structure: the root and the ending, only sometimes in oblique cases while declaiming the noun one could see some traces of the stem building suffix.

According to the type of the suffix all nouns in Gl-s could be divided into 4 types of Declension:

v Strong Declension included nouns with vocalic stems (vowel stem): - a, - o, - u, - i (suffixes)

v Weak Declension included nouns with the - n suffix

v Consonantal Declension included nouns with - r, - s suffixes

v Root Declension. The stems of the nouns of this declension coincided with the root.

So Old Gl had a complicated system of noun Declensions at the early periods of history.

 




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