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Noun system of Old English

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Nouns are words which indicate a person, place, animal, thing, or idea. In Old English they have 3 genders (masculine, neuter, feminine), 2 numbers (singular, plural), and 5 cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, instrumental). In Old English, nouns were inflected (they changed how they were written and spoken) to show add little bits of extra information to communicate their function within the sentence and the number of things a noun represented. Although learning a language with three different genders might seem hard, it isn't really very hard - it can easily enough be done if you just make sure to memorize nouns along with their definitive article. For example, don't just remember the word "ġiefu" - remember "sēo ġiefu", so you'll always know it's a feminine noun - you can easily just not say the article if you don't need to; on the other hand, if you don't know the gender of a noun, it might be annoying.

Nouns were the essential element to a noun phrase (either a noun or a pronoun had to be in a noun phrase). Also in the noun phrase you could put noun modifiers, like numbers, adjectives, articles, and demonstratives. All other words within a noun's phrase had to agree with the noun in gender, number, and case. In addition, most adjectives (but not most numerals) could either be declined strong or weak, according to whether or not the adjectives were preceded by a possessive pronoun, the article, or a demonstrative. For more information on adjectives, see the adjectives page.


2. Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. By an extension, the term "etymology (of a word)" means the origin of a particular word.

1. For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during earlier periods of their history and when they entered the languages in question. Etymologists also apply the methods of comparative linguistics to reconstruct information about languages that are too old for any direct information to be available.

2. By analyzing related languages with a technique known as the comparative method, linguists can make inferences about their shared parent language and its vocabulary. In this way, word roots have been found that can be traced all the way back to the origin of, for instance, the Indo-European language family.

3. Even though etymological research originally grew from the philological tradition, currently much etymological research is done onlanguage families where little or no early documentation is available, such as Uralic and Austronesian.



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