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Aspects of Medieval English Language and Literature

Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference of the Society of Historical English Language and Linguistics


Edited By Michiko Ogura and Hans Sauer

This volume is a collection of papers read at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in 2017, in two sessions organized by the Institute of English Studies at the University of London and four sessions organized by the Society of Historical English Language and Linguistics. Contributions consist of poetry, prose, interlinear glosses, syntax, semantics, lexicology, and medievalism. The contributors employ a wealth of different approaches. The general theme of the IMC 2017 was ‘otherness’, and some papers fit this theme very well. Even when two researchers deal with a similar topic and arrive at different conclusions, the editors do not try to harmonize them but present them as they are for further discussion.

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9 How Free the Translation could be: Choices of Verb Forms in Lindisfarne and Rushworth Versions of the Gospels11This title is deliberately modified and used by the present author from Cassidy (1965).

1 Introduction


Michiko Ogura

9 How Free the Translation could be: Choices of Verb Forms in Lindisfarne and Rushworth Versions of the Gospels1

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to tell how freely the scribes of Lindisfarne and Rushworth versions of the Gospels, as well as those of West Saxon versions, used periphrastic verb forms so as to make their glosses more natural to the Anglo-Saxons.

In general, glosses follow Latin forms, but double or triple glosses show the possibility of different choice even in forms (e.g. Mt(Li) 8.27 [dicentes] cueðende ł cuedon, Mt(Li) 12.47 [quaerentes] bedon ł sohton ł soecende), tense (Mt(Li) 13.20 [est] is ł wæs, Mk(Li) 4.15 [uenit] cuom ł cymeð, Mk(Li) 2.23 [factum est] gewearð ł geworden wæs, Mk(Li) 14.35 [processiset] wæs færende ł foerde), voice (e.g. Mt(Li) 13.8 [dabant] sáldon ł gesald weron, Mt(Li) 17.25 [tibi uidetur] ðe gesegen is ł ðe geðence), or either a single verb or “be + adjective” (e.g. Mt(Li) 8.32 [mortui sunt] deade weron ł deadedon, Mt(Li) 19.9 [moechatur] he syngias ł synnig bið), etc. It is not always the literal translation that comes as the first gloss, but we perceive some device when the number of the elements in gloss differ from the original, like [uidetur] and gesegen is or [factum est] and gewearð; that is, the glossator could not easily accept the one-to-one correspondence.2 It is perfect and future forms in Old English that cannot be produced...

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