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A. S. Anglo-Saxon.
Comp. compare.
D. Dutch.
F. French.
G. German.
Goth. Gothic.
Gr. Greek.
L. Latin.
lit. literally.
0. old English in general
P. provincial.
S. Scottish, the ancient English dialect of the Lowlands of Scotland, and

part of the north of England. Numbers, applied to a noun, denote the declension and class; to a verb, the

conjugation and class; to an adjective, the indefinite declension.






SECT. I.- The Alphabet, &c.
The A. S. letters are 24, viz.
A a [A]

N n
Æ æ [€]

B b


C c [C]

Rr [n]
Dd [5]

S s [r]
E e [e]

T t [t]
F f [F]

U u
G g [L 3]

W w [
H h [SD]
I i


у L 1

þ þ Þ M m []

Đ đ

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The characters between brackets were written by the Anglo-Saxons, but being for the most part mere corruptions of the Roman forms are now seldom printed.


In later times k was used for c; v and z occur in foreign names only. The abbreviations y for and, ß for þæt, the, that, and others were in use; in general – shows that m or n is left out.


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The accent (") over a vowel shows it to be long. The A. S. accented vowels are mostly long by nature; as, lar lore (G. lehre), bár bier (G. bahre), grén green (G. grün), wíd wide (G. weit), gód good (G.gut), rúm room, space (G. raum), fýr fire (G. feuer). Some have become long by contraction, g, h, ng, or n, being left out; as, smeagan, smean to consider, slea han, sleán to slay, gangan, gan to go, fangan, fón to take : in fíf five, tóđ tooth, múđ mouth, and the like, the kin. dred tongues show the omitted n; as, Teute, L. quinque, G. fünf; ó-douc, ó-dovr-os, L. dens,(1) G. zahn ; G. mund: a few from the omission of a vowel; as, tae, tá toe. From the examples above and below, it will be seen that in English a long or double vowel, and in German a long or double vowel, or diphthong, commonly answers to an A. S. long or accented vowel, while short vowels in general correspond in like manner. The accent serves at the same time, though never used for that purpose merely, to distinguish many words of like spelling but different meaning and sound; as, ac but, ac oak; mæst mast, mast most ; wende turned, went, wénde weened ; is is, ís ice; for for, fór journey; ful full,

(") In A. S. as in Greek, ns does not occur in the same syllable.

fúl foul ; hyrde herd, keeper, hýrde heard.(2) Without due attention therefore to the accent, A. S. cannot be rightly written, pronounced, nor understood.(*)

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The pronunciation is as follows:-
a has the sound of our a in ah; F. &c. short a.

á is longer and broader, like G. &c. long a, approaching our au and aw.

au and aw sound nearly like ow in now, but more open, like G. and Italian au.

æ is pronounced like a in glad.
a nearly as a in dare; G. eh; F. close é.

e sounds like e in send, rather, when thus placed ; before a consonant followed by a vowel it resembles the ea in bear, but is shorter, like F. open è. Before a or o

છે. it sounds as y; at the end of a syllable it is very lightly sounded, like the F. unaccented e, or the G. e final.

é is pronounced like a i and

y answer to i in dim.
i before another vowel to y.
í an dý to ee in deem.
o to short o in not


open o. ó to long o in note; F. close ô. ow is sounded as ow in now.

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(*) Comp. G. mast, meist; wandte, wähnte; ist, eis; für, fub r; voll, faul; hirt, hörte.

(3) The more advanced student will find comparison with the Gothic and other ancient dialects the only sure guide to the A. S. quantity.

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