Negative contraction and noncontraction in Old English

Michiko Ogura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Levin (1958) examines Old and Middle English texts in order to show the different choice between contracted and uncontracted forms in Anglian and West Saxon dialects, which in turn proves the continuity of Old and Middle English dialects. Since his corpus is criticised as "limited", I investigate the whole corpus of Old English glosses, prose and verse, with a few prose texts in the transitional period, and re-examine Levin's results. In addition to the dialectal difference, I conclude that negative contraction was seen more widely than expected in Old English, though it is especially a West Saxon feature that the contracted forms are found with such a limited number of verbs like beon/wesan, habban, witan and willan that no choice is necessary for the rest of verbs, and that contracted and uncontracted forms are often used so as to make a stylistic contrast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-329
Number of pages17
JournalNeuphilologische Mitteilungen
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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