Lesson 2
Nouns and their Terminology

The second most important step is learning the special word-endings that words use. Word endings fit into two main groups called The Strong Declension and the Weak Declension.

Within these Declensions are three genders, special groups called Masculine, Feminine,and Neuter. These don't revolve around being "manly" or "womanly". They are simply special groupings of words that must be learned as they are encountered.

Within each gender or special group there are four cases:

Nominative: The subject being or doing something (The messenger gives the message.)
Accusative: Something the subject is acting upon or using. (The messenger gives the message)
Genitive: Expressing possession: (The messenger's message)
Dative: Used with or implying to, for, in, with, etc. (The messenger gives the message to the people)

And within each case are two numbers: singular (referring to one) and plural (referring to more than one).

Lesson 3
Strong Declension
Masculine Nouns

The masculine nouns of the Strong Declension add the following endings. The Old English and Middle English endings differ only in the plural.

N.   (no ending) as  es
A.   (no ending) as  es
G.   es a  e
D.   eum  en

Therefore the masculine noun hund "hound" has the following forms:

N.   hund"hound"hundashundes"hounds"
A.   hund"hound" hundashundes"hounds"
G.   hundes"hound's" hundahunde"hounds' "
D.   hunde"to a hound"hundumhunden"to hounds"

Note: "A/an" is often naturally implied in the singular, so that hund "hound" alone also means "a hound".

The Common Gender

In Middle English, most nouns from other genders and new foreign nouns came to use masculine endings, with its distinct plural -es (from -as), making masculine the common gender. Today, with only a few exceptions, Modern English only uses the Masculine gender with its plural -s (from -es). In the Vocabulary, unless a word is marked with n. for neuter or f. for feminine, it is automatically of the common masculine gender .


hund, hound "hound"
egn, ein"servant"
deofol, deovel"devil"
castel "castle"
mgester, maister"master"

Other Words
on "in or on"
t, at"at"
ofer, over"over"
fter, after"after"
micel"great, much"
ic, ich"I"
u"thou, you"


u eart min god
"thou     art     my    god"

lc wisdom is of gode
"Each       wisdom     is   from   god"

On am dagum
"  In      those   days   "

Stanas magon hnexian
"  Stones        may       soften   "

Lesson 4
Strong Declension
Neuter Nouns

Neuter nouns of the Strong Declension add the following endings:

N.   (no ending) u  e
A.   (no ending) u  e
G.   es a  e
D.   eum  en

Therefore the neuter noun scip is:

N.   scip"ship"scipuscipe"ship"
A.   scip"ship" scipuscipe"ships"
G.   scipes"ship's" scipascipe"ships' "
D.   scipe"to a ship"scipumscipen"to ships"

Loss of Plural -u

One-syllable nouns that have a long vowel or end in two consonants omit the plural -u ending. If they have more than one syllable they sometimes have the u and sometimes don't..

word (not wordu)"words"
deor (not deoru) "animals"
ing (not thingu) "things"
More than One syllable
wteru or wter"waters"
tungolu or tungol "stars"
tacenu or tacen "signs"

Some other neuter nouns are:

gewrit n. "writing"
lim n."limb"
bod n."command"
fam n."embrace"

Lesson 5
Strong Declension
Feminine Nouns

Feminine nouns of the Strong Declension add the following endings:

N.   u   e
A.   e   e
G.   e   e
D.   e   e
a   e
a   e
a   e
um   en

Therefore the feminine noun talu is:

N.   talutale
A.   taletale
G.   taletale
D.   taletalen

"to a tale"

"tales' "
"to tales"

Loss of Singular -u

One-syllable nouns that have a long vowel or end in two consonants omit the singular -u ending. It is also omitted in words that have more than one syllable.

lar (not laru)"lore"
sped (not spedu) "luck"
wund (not wundu) "wound"
More than One syllable
ceaster (not ceasteru) "city"
sawol (not sawolu) "stars"
candel (not candelu) "candle"

Some other feminine nouns are:

lufu, love f."love"
giefu f."gift"
cearu f."care"
ea f."water"
strt f."street"

Lesson 6
Strong Declension
Review of Endings

Below is a review of all the endings you have learnt. The Middle English forms that differ are put in the brackets.

N.   -   as (es)
A.   -   as (es)
G.   es   a  (e)
D.   e   e  (en)
N.   -   u (e)
A.   -   u (e)
G.   e   a (e)
D.   e   e (en)
N.   u (e)   a (e)
A.   e   a (e)
G.   e   a (e)
D.   e   e (en)

For assistance with some nouns that have some oddities, see the list of Special Specifications in the Appendix.

Lesson 7
Genitive "Of" and Dative Case

Genitive "Of"

The genitive case as well as being a normal possessive is also used often where we usually use the word "Of". Therefore, Godes "God's" also means "of God". It should especially be thought as meaning "of" when it comes after another noun:

Before Another Noun:

Godes wisdom = "God's wisdom"

After Another Noun:

wisdom Godes = "wisdom of God"

The Dative Case

The dative case is primarily the case used with prepositions such as to "to", from "from", mid "with", on "in or on", ofer "over", t "at". A preposition may sometimes not be included, however. When there is no preposition we simply decide for ourselves which seems the most appropriate in meaning:

With a preposition:

Mid hundum = "with hounds"

Without a preposition:

hundum = "to hounds" or "with hounds" or "from hounds" etc.

Lesson 8:
The Weak Declension
Masculine, Neuter, Feminine

The other main group of nouns is the Weak Declension. In this declension we see a common use of -an. Masculine nouns in this group take endings like the masculine noun oxa "oxe", neuter nouns like the neuter noun eage "eye", and feminine nouns like the feminine noun cyrice "church".

N.  oxaoxan
A.  oxanoxan
G.  oxanoxena
D.  oxanoxum

In Middle English the endings are the same as those above, except the a's become e's: oxe (for oxa), oxen (for oxan), oxene (for oxena). And -um becomes -en: oxen (for oxum).

Lesson 9
Miscellaneous Declensions

The below are nouns that differ slightly from the most common manners of nouns that we learned in the previous chapters.

1. Sunu Nouns

N.  sunusuna
A.  sunasuna
G.  sunasuna
D.  sunasunum
This group includes only masculine and feminine nouns that both take endings like the masculine noun sunu "son". As in the Strong Declension, many nouns omit the -u ending. Below is a list of all the nouns that belong to this declension:

Masculine: sunu "son", medu "mead", wudu "wood", sidu "custom", lagu "lake", bregu "prince", hearu "sword", eard "land", flod "flood", ford "ford", had "condition", weald "forest", hearg "shrine", ppel "apple", sumor "summer", winter "winter", frelt "journey"

Feminine: duru "door", nosu "nose", hand or hond "hand", cweorn "mill", flor "floor".

2. Mann Nouns

N.  mannmenn
A.  mannmenn
G.  mannesmanna
D.  mennmannum
This group includes some masculine and feminine nouns, that originally had a special letter i in some of their endings. This i vanished but left behind a trail of influenced vowels to remind us it was there. Its influence included changing a in some places to e or (as in menn "men" and gt "goats" ), o to e (as in fet "feet"), and u to y (as in mys "mice"). The feminine nouns of this group differ from the masculine only in the singular genitive. Instead of -es the feminine words use the word with its vowel changed and no ending, or else use only the ending -e: as bec or boce "book's".

Masculine: mann "man", wifmann "woman", fot "foot", to

Feminine: boc "book", broc "pair of breeches", gos "goose", cu "cow", mus "mouse", lus "louse", burg "city", turf "turf", hnutu "nut", studu "post", ac "oak", gat "goat", furh "furrow", sulh "plough".

3. -End Nouns

N.  hlendhlend
A.  hlendhlend
G.  hlendeshlendra
D.  hlendehlendum
These nouns are all masculine and have the special ending -end. This ending was more commonly used to make present tense adjectives from verbs, equivelent to modern English -ing as in singing. A few of these adjectives however became specially used as nouns. Two words from this group that survived into Modern English are freond "friend" and feond "fiend". Freond "freeing one/ loving one" is from the verb freon "to free, to love" and feond "hating one" is from the verb feon "to hate".

Four nouns of this group have -nd instead of -end: freond "friend", feond "fiend", teond "accuser" and goddond "good-doer". In the singular dative and in the plural nominative and accusative the eond of the first three words shows up as iend instead. These four nouns also usually use the ending -a instead of -ra in the genitive plural. .

All nouns in this group sometimes mimic the Strong Declension and use the plural -as ending, as hettend or hettendas "enemies" plural of hettend "enemy".

4. Family Nouns

N.  broerbroer
A.  broerbroer
G.  broerbrora
D.  breerbrorum
The family nouns include the masculine nouns broer "brother" and fder "father", and the feminine nouns modor "mother", dohtor "daughter" and sweostor

All of these have some oddities and variations:

(a) Those with the vowel -o- : Broor, modor, dohtor become breer, meder, and dehter in the singular singular.

(b) Broor, modor, and sweostor sometimes have plural in -u: broru "brothers", modru "mothers", sweostru "sisters".

(c) fder often uses endings from the Strong Declension: fder or fdres "father's", fder or fdras "fathers".

5. Cildru Nouns

N.  cildcildru
A.  cildcildru
G.  cildescildra
D.  cildecildrum
The "Cildru Nouns" include some neuter nouns that have a unique -r- in their plural forms. One word with this -r- still survives in Modern English: children. The original plural of cild was cildru, but later on it came use -an from the Weak Declension, and eventually this an became en. Below are the seven words that belong to this declension:

Neuter: cild "child", g "egg", cealf "calf", lamb "lamb", bread "crumb", speld "torch", hmed "cohabitation".

6. Hle Nouns

N.  hlehle
A.  hlehle
G.  hleeshlea
D.  hleehleum
This group includes the two masculine nouns, hle "hero" and mona or mone "month", the feminine noun mge "maiden", and the neuter noun ealu "ale". All of these may sometimes lose the vowel before when endings are added. For example hlees "hero's" may also be hles

(a) Hle sometimes has the form hle (without -) in the singular nominative and accusative. Also hle and mona sometimes use the -as ending from the Strong Declension: hleas "heroes" moneas "months".

(b) Mge is different from the masculine nouns only in using no endings in the singular.

(c) Ealu has forms with and without --:

Nominative: ealu "ale"       ealo "ales"
Accusative:  ealu "ale"       ealo "ales"
Genitive:      ealo "ale's"   ealoa "ales' "
Dative:         ealo "to ale" ealoum "to ales"

Lesson 10
Personal Pronouns: First Person

The pronouns for the first person are:

          "I"                                    "We"

N.   icich
A.   meme
G.   minmin
D.   meme

"mine = my"
"(to) me"
ureure, ures

"our' "
"(to) us"

There are not many differences between Old and the Middle English shapes.

Min and Mi

In Middle English min often loses its n before words that begin with a consonant. But before words that begin with vowels it retains the n, just as an in Modern English. It also retains the n before words that begin with the letter h.

Lesson 11
Personal Pronouns: Second Person

     "You (singular)"                  "You (plural)"

N.   uu
A.   ee
G.   inin
D.   ee

"(to) thee"
eoweow, ow
eowereower, ower
eoweow, ow

"your' "
"(to) you"

in and i

Just as min, in often loses its n before words that begin with a consonant, but retains it before words that begin with a vowel or the letter h.

Superior "ye"

The plural form ge "ye" is sometimes used with a singular meaning. When used this way, it is usually a manner of politeness adressing someone looked up to as a superior. Notice also, that it is plural forms, eow and eower, that became our familiar you and your, used for both singular and plural in today's English.

Lesson 12
Personal Pronouns: Third Person

       " He"                              "It"                              "She"

N.   hehe
A.   hinehine
G.   hishis
D.   himhim

"(to) him"
N.   hithit
A.   hithit
G.   hishis
D.   himhim

"(to) it"
N.   heoho, hi
A.   hiehie
G.   hiere, hirehiere, hire
D.   hiere, hirehiere, hire

"(to) her"

                       ________________    ___________________
                                       \  /                                                    

hie, hihie, hi
hie, hihie, hi

"their' "
"(to) them"