Page:Bright's Anglo-Saxon Reader.djvu/15

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AN OUTLINE OF ANGLO-SAXON GRAMMAR.


INTRODUCTORY REMARK.

1. The following outline of Anglo-Saxon Grammar is restricted to the West-Saxon Dialect, that form of the language which in the reign of Alfred the Great (871–901) became dominant for literary purposes and maintained that supremacy to the close of the Anglo-Saxon period. The changes which took place within the West-Saxon Dialect, though slight in respect of phonology and inflection, make it necessary to distinguish Early West-Saxon (EWS), the language of Alfred’s time, from Late West-Saxon (LWS), the language of the following two and a half centuries, with Ælfric (died between 1020 and 1025) as the central literary figure. In this outline EWS is regarded as the norm to which LWS is subordinated.

PHONOLOGY.
ALPHABET AND PRONUNCIATION.

2. The Anglo-Saxon alphabet, as here employed, has two characters (þ, ð) that are not employed in Modern English.

Note.—The MSS. use a special character for w; for g; (= and) and (= þat) are usual.

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