Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, 2021 vol. 56s1


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Now showing 1 - 5 of 14
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    In memory of the late Professor Jacek Fisiak, 1936–2019
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2021) Dylewski, Radosław
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    Strength and weakness of the Old English adjective
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2021) Malak, Janusz
    As regards Old English, the inflectional strength and weakness are characterised by a kind of inconsistency. In the case of Old English adjectives these two inflectional properties appear to be different from those associated with nouns and verbs. In the case of the latter the two properties seem to be lexically determined while in the case of adjectives they appear to be determined by syntactic conditions. The traditional accounts of the Old English grammar attribute two paradigms to one adjectival lexical item. The analysis presented in this article postulates that one can actually speak about one adjectival inflection and what is traditionally presented as strong and weak adjectival inflections is actually the result of two different syntactic derivations.
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    The manuscripts of the Middle English "Lay Folks’ Mass Book" in context
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2021) Smith, Jeremy J.
    This paper, part of a long-term programme of research into the forms and functions of the vernacular in late medieval liturgical practice in England, offers a “cultural map” of the Middle English poem known as The Lay Folks’ Mass Book (LFMB). Comparatively little research has been undertaken on LFMB since Simmons’s edition of 1879. However, new developments in the study of manuscript-reception in particular regions of the Middle English-speaking areas of Britain, combined with greater understanding of the cultural dynamics of “manuscript miscellanies” and of medieval liturgical practice, allow us to reconstruct with greater certainty the contexts within which LFMB was copied and used. LFMB survives in nine late medieval copies, but each copy presented a distinct version of the text. This article brings together linguistic, codicological, liturgical, and textual information, showing in detail how the poem was repurposed for a range of different cultural functions. In geographical terms, it seems clear that the work circulated in Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire, in Yorkshire, and in Norfolk, and can thus be related to other texts circulating in those areas. Some versions are likely to have emerged in parochial settings, possibly owned by local priests. There is also evidence that the text could be deployed in monastic contexts, while other versions probably formed part of the reading of pious gentry. What emerges from a study of the codices in which copies of LFMB were transmitted is that a range of shaping sensibilities for these manuscripts may be distinguished; the authorial role in texts such as LFMB was balanced with that of their copyists and audiences. In the manuscripts containing LFMB creativity was negotiated within textually-transmitted communities of practice.
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    Word-initial prevocalic [h-] in Middle English
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2021) Wełna, Jerzy
    The present contribution discusses the phonological reality of initial fricative h- in words of Germanic and French origin in dialectally identified 106 texts from the Innsbruck Corpus of Middle English Prose (Markus 2008), with the focus on native words where initial h- is frequently mute, as confirmed by (a) h-less spellings like ouse for house or especially (b) the use of the article an before h-nouns. In the early texts a phrase like an house may testify to the survival of the historical determiner (OE ān) put before both initial vowels and consonants, but in later texts this position may indicate mute initial h- in the following noun (or in an adjective before a noun). The paper offers numerical data concerning such distributions in particular Corpus texts as well as analogous data referring to the adjectives MIN and THIN (later on my and thy), where the final nasal consonant was lost when used in the function of an attribute. Consequently, this development led to the rise of a set of possessive adjectives with a syntactic, not phonological, distribution The data from the Innsbruck Corpus seem to indicate that an early loss of initial prevocalic h- in Middle English words of Germanic origin took place in particular texts rather than in texts from the whole region. The evidence from the Corpus shows that the implementation of the contemporary distribution, i.e., a before consonants and an before vowels, had a partly regional character, its first traces coming from as early as the 13th century.
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    The grammaticalization of the epistemic adverb perhaps in Late Middle and Early Modern English
    (Adam Mickiewicz University, 2021) Molencki, Rafał
    Old and Early Middle English did not yet have modal sentential adverbs of low probability. Old Norse did not have such words, either. From the 13th century onwards first epistemic prepositional phrases of Anglo-Norman origin functioning as modal adverbials consisting of the preposition per/par and nouns such as adventure, case, chance were borrowed into Middle English. In the late 15th century an analogous hybrid form per-hap(s), the combination of the Old French preposition per/par ‘by, through’ and the Old Norse noun hap(p) ‘chance’, both singular and plural, was coined according to the same pattern and was gradually grammaticalized as a univerbated modal sentence adverb in Early Modern English. The Norse root happ- was the source of some other new (Late) Middle English words which had no cognate equivalents in the source language: the adjective happy with its derivatives happily, happiness, etc. and the verb happen. Together with another new Late Middle English formation may-be, a calque of French peut-être, perhaps superseded the competing forms mayhap, (modal) happily, percase, peradventure, perchance, prepositional phrases with the noun hap and, finally, per-hap itself in Early Modern English after two centuries of lexical layering or multiple synonymy. The history of perhaps is a clear example of grammaticalization, whereby a prepositional phrase became a modal adverb now also used as a discourse marker. We find here all the typical features of the process: phonetic attrition, decategorization, univerbation, and obligatorification.