Excerpt from Some Notes on the Leading Grammatical Characteristics of the Principal Early English Dialects
If I were requested in a few words to mention the principal difference between Old English and Early Eng lish, this later period taken in its whole extent, it would suff... ice to say, that the Old English stage exhibits in its structure a language of in¿ection and a stock of words tolerably homogeneous, but in Early English a great deal of this in¿ection 'has gradually disappeared and a new vocabulary is making its way in the language. Again, if I had to point out the most noticeable changes in the old language, visible for instance in Lagamon's Brut at the beginning of the New Era, they would be as follows: The use of a or an (in the later text: on) as an article; the change of the Old English terminations -a and -an inte -o and -en, as well as the disregard of in¿ections and genders; the masculine forms given to neuter nouns in the plural; the neglect of the feminine terminations of adjectives and pronouns, and confusion between the definite and indefinite declensions; the in troduction of the preposition 'to' before infinitives, and occasional use of weak preterites of verbs and' of weak participles instead of strong; the constant recurrence of -on for -ou in the plurals of verbs, and frequent elision of the final 43; together with uncertainty in the rule for the government of prepositions. Further, the free use of the preposition 'o f 'as a genitive sign; with the appearence of will and shall as marking the future tense. Finally the so called nunnation which I shall treat of more fully hereafter.
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