Thijs Porck

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Old English grammar memes

Here is a collection of Old English grammar memes that I made to help explain elements of Old English grammar to my students. Please let me know (by e-mail or otherwise) whether you found these memes helpful in your endeavours to learn (or teach) Old English!


The five grammatical cases of Old English
A simple meme showing the difference between the case system in Old English and the case system in Middle English
The Germanic stress rule (which puts emphasis on the first syllable of a word) resulted in less emphasis falling on the final syllables of words and, as such, Germanic languages may be said to self-sabotage their case systems.
Two memes explaining the conflation of the instrumental and the dative in late Old English
A ‘Kalm Panik’-meme explaining dual case prepositions, where a dative object implies ‘stasis’ and an accusative object implies ‘movement’.


Old English has three verbal moods: indicative (used for FACTS), imperative (used for COMMANDS) and subjunctive (used for DOUBT, as well as the expression of desire, possibility and reported opinion).
Old English has strong and weak verbs. Commonly, strong verbs are defined as those verbs that change their stem (vowel) to form the past tense. However, as this meme demonstrates, there are some common weak verbs that also change their stem inthe past tense: brengan (brohte), þencan (þohte), secan (sohte), tellan (tealde) and sellan (sealde)
A more accurate distinction between strong and weak verbs: strong verbs do not add a dental suffix to mark the past tense (they do not have such weaknesses…).

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