The Northumbrian old English glosses

Elly Van Gelderen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The articles in this volume contribute to our understanding of Northumbrian Old English of the 10th century, of the nature of external influence, and of the authorship of the glosses. This introduction provides a background to these three areas. Most of the introduction and contributions examine the Lindisfarne Glosses with some discussion of the Rushworth and Durham Glosses. Section 2 shows that the Lindisfarne glossator often adds a (first and second person) pronoun where the Latin has none but allows third person null subjects. Therefore, although the Latin original has obvious influence, Old English grammar comes through. Section 3 reviews the loss of third person-th verbal inflection in favor of-s, especially in Matthew. This reduction may be relevant to the role of external (Scandinavian and British Celtic) influence and is also interesting when the language of the Lindisfarne and Durham Glosses is compared. In Section 4, the use of overt pronouns, relatives, and demonstratives shows an early use of th-pronouns, casting doubt on a Norse origin of they. Section 5 looks at negation mainly from a northern versus southern perspective and Section 6 sums up. Section 7 previews the other contributions and their major themes, namely possible external (Latin, Norse, or British Celtic) influence, the linguistic differences among glossators, the spacing of 'prefixes' as evidence for grammaticalization, and the role of doublets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-133
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 10 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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