Linguistic features of Middle Dutch - Part
us begin with a careful comparison of the opening lines from the medieval
in the original and in a modern Dutch rendition (for a picture of the
original manuscript, click the (link) box in the Beatrijs pop-up
dichten comt mi cleine bate
Die liede raden mi dat ict late
Ende minen sin niet en vertare.
dichten geeft mij weinig baat [= voordeel]
De lieden [= mensen] raden mij aan dat ik het laat
En mijn zin [= geest] niet vermoei.
poetry gives me little gain
advise me that from it I abstain
And not wear out my brain.
like the Old Dutch fragments we analyzed, this passage displays various
degrees of language change. First, you will notice that some words
are exactly the same in the modern version: 'dichten', 'raden', 'dat',
and 'niet'. Second, others look very similar, but are spelt differently;
het (or: ik 't)
some phrases in the original seem to have disappeared in modern Dutch
and are substituted by a completely different word. An example is
'vertare' which no longer exists and which is translated as 'vermoei'.
the few examples given above, we can already deduce some general features
of Middle Dutch. In our discussion of Old Dutch, we established how
unstressed word endings became weaker over time. Old Dutch 'enda'
became modern Dutch 'en'. In Middle Dutch, we find an intermediate
stage: 'ende', with the original Old Dutch 'a' having become a
does the spelling 'comt' for 'komt' and 'cleine' for 'klein' illustrate?
your answer (>link)
the spelling was far from fixed. It is very common to find a word
spelt in different ways in the same manuscript. The following are
further possible spellings of three words found in the quotation from
Latin c = k; i = j)
remains the same; the e/i/y was used to indicate that the preceding
vowel was long)
in spelling can also point to a difference in pronunciation, depending
on the specific dialect areas. Some
examples from two neighbouring provinces (Flanders and Brabant) will
list also shows that Dutch and English are closely related languages.
Modern linguists believe that they developed separately from a common
ancestor which they refer to as 'Germanic' (>link)
did Middle Dutch spelling indicate a long vowel?
your answer (>link)
here (>link) to continue with your
analysis of the Beatrijs fragment.