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Personal pronouns in Old English

Англосаксонский

   You will find the personal pronouns easy to learn because of their resemblance in both form and usage to those of Modern English.

Table 1. First-person pronouns
Singular Plural
Nominative iċ (I) wē (we)
Accusative mē, mec (me) ūs (us)
Genitive mīn (my) ūre (our)
Dative mē (me) ūs (us)

   The first-person pronouns (table 1) are quite similar of those of Modern English, especially in prose, where you will generally use accusative singular rather than mec.
   The second-person pronouns, on the other hand, have changed radically since the Old English period (table 2). Modern English does not distinguish number of any case but the possessive; in fact there are now only two forms of pronoun, you and your. By contrast, the second-person pronouns of Old English look a lot like the first-person pronouns, distinguishing number and at least three of the cases.

Table 2. Second-person pronouns
Singular Plural
Nominative þū (you) ġē (you)
Accusative þē, þec (you) ēow (you)
Genitive þīn (your) ēower (your)
Dative þē (you) ēow (you)

   Old English does not use the second-person singular as a "familiar" form, the way Middle English, French and German do: þū is simply singular. Like mec, accusative singular þec is mainly poetic.
   The third-person pronouns, unlike the first- and second-person pronouns, are inflected for gender, but only in the singular (table 3).

Table 3. Third-person pronouns
Masculine Neuter Feminine Plural
Nominative hē (he, it) hit (it) hēo (she, it) hīe (they)
Accusative hine hīe
Genitive his hire hira
Dative him him

   Notice that several of the forms in table 3 can represent two cases or genders. As you study the pronouns, nouns and adjectives, you will find that forms repeat themselves in the same patterns:


   If you learn these patterns you will save yourself some of the labor of memorizing paradigns.
   The third-person plural pronouns may cause some difficulty at first, because they don’t start with th- the way their Modern English counterparts do. Also confusing is that dative plural him is exactly the same as the masculine/neuter dative singular pronoun. You will need to take extra care in memorizing these plural pronouns.

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21 февраля 2013 (09:07:12)


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