Monday, February 10, 2020

Two Questions on Quora about Old English

On Germanic Identity and Religion · Disagreeing with Jack Durand · Two Questions on Quora about Old English

How and when did old English become modern English?

This question previously had details. They are now in a comment.

Quora Question Details Bot
Aug 8, 2017
In what time period and any intermediate languages.

[I missed this, like Middle English being intermediate with 100 years after Norman Conquest to invention of English printing as limit dates. I took the question as meaning : "by what process?"]

Answer requested by
Jared Stone

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered Sat

Originally Answered:
How did old English become new English?
By changes added onto changes added onto changes.

Note very well, these did not develop new information, though they sometimes imported it or created it.

Post-stress vowels getting to schwah? Loss of information. Schwah getting dropped altogether? Loss of information. Cases simplified to one covering nominative, dative, accusative and may uses of genitive, with a remainder genitive for possession and only marked with -s? Loss of information.

Getting "very" from French? Imported information.

Getting 16 tense forms? Creating information.

But none of the more or less "automatic" changes in sounds constituted development of new information.

It can be seen as doing so only by the mirage from subjectivity, that Modern English is easy to understand if English is your first language and Old English isn't. If your first language had been Old English, it would be the other way round.

What does ere mean in Old English?

Answer requested by
Nelson Vidinha

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered Wed
The word “ere” is not Old English, it’s only old fashioned Modern English.

It means “before”.

Old English is like “ealc thara tha gehierth thas min word and tha gewyrcth bith gelic snotran mannu / monnu tha tha gebigged sin hus ofer stan” for Matthew 7:24. It’s also called Anglo-Saxon, and last instances of it being written are from 100 years after Norman Conquest.

Edit - I found the Old English word for ere : “ær”.

Matthew 24:38 in Wessex Gospels is “swa hyo wæren on ðam dagen ær þam flode etende & drinkende & wifiende & gyfte syllende oð þanne daig þe nöe on þam earce eode.”

Wessex Gospels c.1175 Textus Receptus Bibles

I’ll find the correct for 7:24 …

“Eornestlice ælch þare þe þas mine word ge-hereð & þa werceð beoð gelic þam wisen were se his hus ofer stan ge-tymbrede.”

It is actually another text than the one I had found in Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Primer which I cited from memory. But that is Old English, and “ere” is not, it is old fashioned Modern English.

Sara Smith
14h ago
And then there's Middle English, which Geoffrey Chaucer spoke. In his Prologue to The Canterbury Tales he says “er that I ferther in this tale pace". From Chaucer to Gray. The Harvard Classics

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Original Author
Just now
OK, Middle English “er”!

Thank you. I guess that the spelling “ere” is from when final e became silent and could be misapplied accordingly!

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