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An Introduction to the Grammar of Old English

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This book applies the techniques of systemic functional grammar to the description of the Old English historical dialect, 650-1150 CE. Systemic functional grammar is an approach to the description of language which distinguishes three separate functions in communication: language as representation, language as attitude, and language as the construction of text. Most applications of systemic functional theory have concentrated on modern English. This book is the first comprehensive description of the Old English dialect on systemic functional principles. The book begins with an outline of systemic functional grammatical theory. It then describes the Old English clause with a separate grammar for each of the three general functions it serves, the representational, the attitudinal, and the text-formative. Other areas covered include structures and functions within nominal, verbal and adverbial groups; relationships among clauses; embedding; and cohesion. The book is thus designed to suit the needs of systemic functional grammarians who are interested in the historical development of the English language. It is also designed for students of Old English who are looking for ways of explaining the grammatical system of Old English on terms other than those of traditional grammar.

Published: May 1, 2010


Section Chapter Authors
List of Abbreviations Michael Cummings
Introduction Michael Cummings
Synopsis of systemic functional grammar Michael Cummings
The Old English clause from the interpersonal perspective Michael Cummings
The Old English clause from the experiential perspective Michael Cummings
The Old English clause from the textual perspective Michael Cummings
Old English groups and phrases Michael Cummings
Complexes of clauses, groups and words Michael Cummings
Beyond the clause: cohesion and metaphor Michael Cummings
Index Michael Cummings
Further Readings
Further Readings Michael Cummings

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The book makes a valuable contribution to systemic functional linguistics, and sheds light on how lexical and grammatical structures of Old English written texts function to form meaning.'
Notes and Queries
, Vol. 60, No. 1, March 2013