Page:Bright's Anglo-Saxon Reader.djvu/27

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xxi
PHONOLOGY.

Note.—The spirant quality of medial g, which underlies this process of disappearance, is further shown in the frequent change (especially in LWS) of final (and occasionally of medial) g into h. This change is most frequent after a long guttural vowel and after l and r, but it occurs also under other conditions. Thus, bēag (bēah), ring; burg (burh), borough; earg (earh), cowardly; lergđu (lerhđu), cowardice; sorg (sorh), sorrow; flōg (flōh), lōg (lōh), slōg (slōh), pret. of flēan, to flay, lēan, to blame, slēan, to slay.

LOSS OF MEDIAL h.

17. Medial h (not hh) preceded by a consonant and followed by an inflectional vowel disappears, and, in compensation, the stem-vowel is lengthened. (S. § 218.)

Thus, mearh, gen. mēares, horse; feorh, gen. fēores, life; seolh, gen. sēoles, seal.

CONTRACTION.

18. Intervocalic h disappears, and the vowels thus brought together are contracted, or the first vowel absorbs the second. (S. §§ 110-119, 218, 222.)

Thus, feoh, gen. fēos, property; eoh, gen. ēos, horse; pleoh, gen. plēos, peril; hēah, gen. hēas, and hēan (< *hēahan), high.

Note 1. This disappearance of h also occurs (with variation) before inflexional syllables beginning with n and r; before the comparative ending in r, and in composition and derivation: hēah, acc. masc. hēane (hēanne, S. § 222, Note 2), dat. fem, hēare, comp. hīera (hīierra); hēalīc, high; plēolīc, perilous; nēa-lǣcan, to draw near.

Note 2. Many contracted themes are due to the early loss of intervocalic h.

Thus, ah + a (ǫ), o, u results in ēa: slēan (Goth. slahan), to strike; đwēan (Goth. đwahan), to wash; tēar (< *tahur), tear.

eh + a (ǫ), o, u results in ēo (īo): sēon (<*seh(w)an; the ending of these infinitives should perhaps be written -ǫn), to see; gefēon (<*gifehan), to rejoice; twēo (<*tweho), doubt.

i, ī + a (ǫ), o, u results in īo (ēo): đēon (<*đīhan < *đenhan;