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However great may be the diffidence with which one offers his work, certainly no one need apologize for an attempt to contribute to our knowledge of the syntax of Old English. Therefore, since the plan and scope of this monograph are set forth at length in the General Introduction, it only remain for me to thank those to whose kindness I am indebted for much help in the course of the work.
This thesis was written under the direction of Professor Albert S. Cook, of Yale University, and to him I extend most hearty thanks for advice and encouragement from the inception of the work, and especially for his reading of the proof.
I owe hearty thanks to Professor Allen R. Benham, of the University of Washington, for many helpful suggestion, as well as for the stimulus that comes from association with one engaged in a similar task. I am also indebted to Professor Hubert G. Shearin, of Kentucky University, for valuable hints as to methods of work.
The aid given me in bibliographical matters by Mr. Andrew Keogh and Mr. Henry A. Gruener, of the Yale Library, and by Mr. William N. Carlton, of the Library of Trinity College, has been invaluable.
I would also thank the authorities of the Watkinson Library of Reference, in Hartford, for their many courtesies.
A portion of the expense of printing this book has been borne by the English Club of Yale University, from funds placed at its disposal by the generosity of Mr. George E. Dimock, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, a graduate of Yale in the class of 1874.
A. A. TRINITY COLLEGE, HARTFORD, Conn.
June 15, 1907.
Aim, Scope, and Method
The aim of this study is to treat exhaustively all the important syntactical features of the temporal clause in all the prose monuments of Old English. The work is designed to be a complete historical account of this syntactical element, distinguishing between early and late usage where such distinction exists, giving accurate statistics as to the relative frequency of different methods of expressing the same or similar ideas, and noting whatever else may seem to be of value for an understanding of the history of the construction in question.
To this end I have endeavored to note every clause having the function of an adverbial determinant of time, to present the peculiarities of each variety in a clear and succinct form, and to tabulate the results for each.
For the sake of ease in verifying the results presented, and as a convenience for lexical and synonymic study, every occurrence of every phenomenon falling within the scope of the study has been either discussed under its proper category in the text, or relegated to the index-lists in the Appendixes. In addition to these index-lists, tables have been prepared, presenting the actual numerical occurrence of each variety of clause, with its mode, arranged
with regard to authorship and chronology, so far as these are known. When dealing with so great a number of clauses, having so great a variety of connectives, it seemed that in no other way could the material be presented so that the mind might readily comprehend the whole field, and the relations of the various subdivisions to one another.
My attitude toward the subject has been historical, rather than what one might call philosophical or speculative. To me the relations of the phenomena of Old English to those presented, on the one hand, by the other Germanic dialects, and, on the other, to those offered by Middle and Modern English, are of greater interest than speculation as to the origin of connectives or constructions. However, I have not excluded such matter altogether; especially when such inquiry seemed to throw light on the particular case in hand, I have permitted myself to introduce it.
In no way, I believe, 'can so just and positive a notion of the intimate relation of English to the other languages of the Germanic group be obtained, as by a comparative study of their syntax. Identity or likeness of individual words may be explained by the theory of borrowing, but when we find a group of languages agreeing essentially in using a similar construction or group of constructions, it is plain that there must be a more intimate relation. On the other hand, modern usage is to be understood only in the light of Old and Middle English.
I have, therefore, in a series of notes, following the exposition of the Old English usage, presented matter in the nature of comparative studies, designed to exhibit the close parallelism in syntactical features between Old English and the other Germanic languages, and the changes in form and usage between Old English and the later stages of the language. In this way the reader may avoid considering the syntactical features of the temporal clause in Old English as mere isolated peculiarities, and be led to see them as the outgrowth of earlier influences and tendencies, on the one hand, and as the origin of later usage, on the other.
The fact that much of the Old English prose is translated from the Latin has been borne in mind, and in cases where the original aids in explaining an Old English construction, it has been included in the discussion.
That omissions have been altogether avoided in dealing with so vast a number of clauses, especially in the case of some of the more common classes, is not to be expected; but I believe that nothing of importance has been overlooked. The unpublished thesis of Dr. Frank H. Chase has been useful as a check, and comparison with his work has given me confidence in the accuracy and inclusiveness of my own.
List of Old English Prose-Texts Examined I have endeavored to include all the Old English prose-texts available, and these are arranged in alphabetical order below. With Dr. Shearin2 and Dr. Benham , I have included the Vespasian Psalter and Hymns“, though they are mere glosses, and almost worthless for syntactical study, however valuable they may be for the study of the phonology of Old English.
The abbreviations indicated on the left-hand margin of the page have been used throughout. If any system
1 Yale Library. · The Expression of Purpose in OE. Prose, Yale Studies in English 18. Unpublished, Yale Library.
* Contained in OET.