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A Middle English Vocabulary

A Middle English Vocabulary

by J. R. R. Tolkien

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Overview

This glossary does not aim at completeness, and it is not primarily a glossary of rare or 'hard' words. A good working knowledge of Middle English depends less on the possession of an abstruse vocabulary than on familiarity with the ordinary machinery of expression—with the precise forms and meanings that common words may assume; with the uses of such innocent-looking little words as the prepositions of and for; with idiomatic phrases, some fresh-minted and some worn thin, but all likely to recur again and again in an age whose authors took no pains to avoid usual or hackneyed turns of expression. These are the features of the older language which an English reader is predisposed to pass over, satisfied with a half-recognition: and space seldom permits of their adequate treatment in a compendious general dictionary or the word-list to a single text. So in making a glossary for use with a book itself designed to be a preparation for the reading of complete texts, I have given exceptionally full treatment to what may rightly be called the backbone of the language.
Brief indications of the etymology of each word are given, with references in difficult cases to the Oxford English Dictionary (N.E.D.). Apart from their usefulness as a basis for exercises in phonology and the analysis of vocabulary, these will serve to differentiate words distinct in origin which coincide in some of their forms or spellings. The Old English or Old French forms cited are those that best illustrate the Middle English; in consequence the Old English forms frequently differ from normal West-Saxon, and the Old French forms are especially those of the French current in England (Anglo-French is rarely specified). Old Norse words have usually been cited in the normal spelling (e.g. of Zoëga's Old Icelandic Dictionary). Accordingly, long vowels in Old Norse words are marked as in bráþ-r. In Old English words stable long vowels are marked as in brād; uncertain quantity or probable shortening in Old English times is marked as in adrǣ̆dd; vowels that were lengthened in the Old English period (e.g. before ld, mb, nd) are marked as in cáld, clímban, bíndan.
For the convenience of beginners the glossary is liberally supplied with cross references, and the prefixed Table summarizes the principal variations of form or spelling. Particular attention should be given to the following points of arrangement: (i) Ȝ has a separate alphabetical place following G; cross-references to gh are not given: (ii) Þ has a separate alphabetical place following T; variation between þ and th is disregarded, and initial Th is entered under Þ: (iii) U, V are alternative forms of the same letter; variation between them is disregarded, and initial U is entered under V: (iv) Y initially has its usual place; but medial or final Y will be found in the alphabetical position of I.


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Product Details

BN ID: 2940148834281
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 602,017
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor who is best known as the author of the classic high-fantasy books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King). After his death, his son Christopher Tolkien published books based on Tolkien's notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion.

Date of Birth:

January 3, 1892

Date of Death:

September 2, 1973

Place of Birth:

Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)

Place of Death:

Oxford, England

Education:

B.A., Exeter College, Oxford University, 1915; M.A., 1919

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