Conjugate a Old English Verb
Some of the Old English characters don't exist in the English alphabet. If you can't input them here - try the following:
|To Get||Enter||Sample Verbs|
|æ||aE||laEtan equals lætan|
|þ or ð||tH||tHurfan equals þurfan|
|ƿ||w||witan equals ƿitan|
Initial þ was written th until about 900 in imitation of Latin. This new letter was borrowed from runic alphabet, and written þ or ð. On these pages only þ is used.
w does not occur in Old English manuscripts, but was represented by uu, u. Afterwards it was written with ƿ (wynn), borrowed from runic alphabet. Due to www limitations, w is used here as a notation for ƿ.
Old English verbs were grouped in two major groups: weak verbs and strong verbs. A third group contains some verbs not belonging to neither of those groups.
- Weak verbs. Weak verbs form the majority of Old English verbs. They are divided in three classes according to the endings in the preterite.
- Strong verbs. The denominative for string verbs were that there was a vowel shift called 'ablaut' in the root of the verb. Due to different vowel shifts, strong verbs were grouped in 6 categories. An additional category were used for reduplicated verbs.
The English periods
English is divided roughly in the following periods:
Transition Old English
Transition Middle English
Old English may be defined as the period of full endings, Middle English as the period with levelled endings and Modern English as the period of lost endings.
Due to this fact Old English always presents endings -- in the infinitive, as well. Modern English does not have any personal endings in the verbs, except in the 3rd person singular.
- Wright, Joseph & Wright, Elizabeth Mary. Old English Grammar [reprinted]. Oxford University Press. Hong Kong, 1984.
- Robinson, Orrin W.. Old English and its closest relatives. Stanford University Press. Standford, 1992.
- Sweet, Henry. Short Historical English Grammar. Oxford, 1892.
- The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press. Oxford.. New York, 1996.