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Series Introduction

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

Like the other Romance languages, French is a daughter-language of Latin. Its


standard variety traces back to one of the dialects of Old French, that is, the dialect
spoken in the Ile de France, which has been for centuries the geographical and
political center of what is France today.

Old French is one of the earliest attested Romance languages and offers a
fascinating field for research in historical linguistics: not only are many of its
changes attested in texts, but its linguistic ancestor, Latin, is richly documented as
well.

1. Emergence of a New Language

When Rome expanded under Caesar and the Roman emperors, Latin became the
dominant language in much of the Roman Empire. In many of the occupied
territories Latin eventually ousted the vernacular languages, but ultimately split
up in what are the Romance languages today. The Romance languages include
Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Occitan, French, Sardinian, Rhaeto-
Romance, Rumanian, and Romance Creoles.

Among these, (Old) French is the result of language contact between several
languages representing different language groups: Celtic (Gaulish), Italic (Latin),
and Germanic (e.g. Frankish, the language of the Franks).

Julius Caesar conquered Gaul between 58 and 51 B.C., but the southern parts of
the country had already been occupied by the Romans since 121 B.C. and therefore
had already been colonized and Romanized. After Caesar's conquest, the Gauls --
speaking a variety of Gaulish dialects -- came in touch with Latin through contact
with colonists, the military, tradesmen, and administrators. Even before the
Roman conquest, Gaul had towns and a well-developed road system; its
Romanization resulted in Latin becoming the predominant language -- a process
that took several centuries.

Without going too much into detail, we mention here two aspects of the process of
Romanization that were very important for the spread of Latin: education, and
administration. State officials were sent to Gaul to take care of various
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administrative tasks, among them the tax system. At first these state officials came
from Rome and therefore spoke Latin: Latin became the official language of
administration. Soon however it became possible for the indigenous population to
make a career in Roman administration as well, provided they spoke Latin. Latin
therefore became an important means to achieve socio-economic success. In
addition, because of the Roman school system, young generations of Gauls
acquired a systematic knowledge of Latin. Moreover Latin had its own writing
system, a rich written tradition, and represented a civilization that was politically,
militarily, culturally, admininstratively, and economically the most advanced of its
time. The socio-economic advantages Latin offered to those who knew it, and the
fundamental willingness of the Gauls to accept it, explain why not only the
Romanization but also the Latinization of Gaul was a success.

As noted, Latin gradually ousted Gaulish, which in fact left relatively few traces in
the new language, mainly lexical: approximately seventy or so Gaulish words
survive in French today, among them lieue 'mile', chemin 'road', charrue 'plow',
mouton 'sheep', and others. Most of these words refer to agriculture and everyday
life.

The invasion of the Germanic tribes in the 5th century A.D. marks the end of the
Roman Empire in Western Europe and the beginning of the Frankish rule in the
northern part of Gaul (up to the Loire). Although the Franks were in power, their
language did not oust Gallo-Romance. The Franks did, however, leave a few traces
in French, such as words starting with h-aspir, as in haricot 'bean', which traces
back to a Germanic word. Compare the h-muet in homme 'man'. Homme goes
back to Latin hominem, which lost its initial h sound before the Frankish tribes
occupied Gaul. Another Germanic feature is the existence and predominance of
place names in northern regions France of the type Neuville, Neufchateau,
Francheville, and others. In these formations the adjective precedes the noun, as
they do in Germanic today. These structures are not attested in the south, where
place names are found with the reverse order, noun + adjective: Villeneuve,
Chateauneuf, Villefranche, and others.

The Frankish kings made important contributions to the development of France:


with the conversion of Clovis to the Church of Rome (ca. 496 A.D.), the Church
became important. The countryside was christianized; monasteries were founded,
and soon became centers of activity and education. In the 8th century,
Charlemagne wanted to re-create the Roman Empire, but in a Christian version.
His reign marks a Renaissance: the civilization of Antiquity and its language were
ideals one set out to realize. It is in the early 9th century that two events mark an
important linguistic phenomenon. In 813 it was decided at the Concily of Tours
that sermons would no longer be delivered in Latin, but rather in the vernacular
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language. Then in 842 two of Charlemagne's grandsons, Louis le Germanique and


Charles le Chauve, took an oath in French and German, respectively, in front of
their troops in Strassbourg; this proclamation of mutual support resulted in a
written agreement, Les Serments de Strassbourg. These two events reflect the
awareness of the speakers of the day that (1) the Gallo-Romance they spoke was a
language separate and different from Latin, and (2) Gallo-Romance was a
language different from German. The earliest text in French, therefore, is the
Serments de Strassbourg; it marks, in fact, the political disintegration of
centralized power that started at Charlemagne's death.

During the early Middle Ages, contacts among people were rather local in nature
and therefore "vertical": most people lived and died in the region where they were
born, and communicated with others living in the same region independently of
their social background. The seigneur, for example, would communicate with his
farmers and soldiers, and so forth. This phenomenon contributed greatly to the
emergence of dialects.

Only later -- starting in the 12th century -- when pilgrimages, crusades, and
universities came up and towns became more important, did contacts become
"horizontal," cutting through geographical boundaries rather than social classes.
Gradually the king once again became a central power. At that point one sees that
the dialect of the Ile de France, where the kings established a fixed court, became
increasingly important and in fact started the journey that eventually would lead
to its standardisation. The historical background accounts for the fact that Old
French had many local dialects.

2. Dialects

Although this course in Old French is too short to make dialect variation a topic of
special interest, students should know that "Old French" in fact refers to a
collection of dialects. Since some of these dialects share more characteristics than
others, it is possible to divide them in two groups: the dialects spoken in the
northern parts of France, to which one refers as language d'ol and those spoken
in the Southern parts, referred to as langue d'oc. Oc and ol were markers of
affirmation ('yes') in the respective dialect groups.

La language d'ol includes the following dialects: the dialects of Picardie (le
Picard), Normandy (le Normand), Ile de France (le Francien), Lorraine (le
Lorrain), Anjou (l'Angevin), Poitou (le Poitevin), Bourgundy (le Bourguignon),
and Berry (le Berrichon).

La langue d'oc includes the dialects of the following regions: Provence (le
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provenc/al), Auvergne (l'auvergnat), Gascony (le gascon), and Languedoc (le


languedocien).

The differences between the dialects are primarily phonological. Lexical


differences are also found, some of which may have grammatical effects. In Old
French, negation is expressed with the negating particle ne, which may be
reinforced by an element of nominal origin. The modern French ne ... pas
negation traces back to this situation. Yet in Old French there were many other
elements used as reinforcer in this context, for example mie 'crumb', point 'dot',
goutte 'drop', and many others. In some regions pas predominated, in others e.g.
mie. Eventually pas supplanted all other varieties and became the unique non-
emphatic negating marker.

3. Grammatical Characteristics of Old French

Linguistically, Old French represents an intermediate stage between Latin and the
modern language. A case in point is the case system: whereas Latin had a full-
fledged case system with six cases, and modern French has none (except on
pronouns), Old French had two cases, a subject and an oblique case.

Similarly, in the history of word order, an important change occurred in the


transition from Latin to French: Latin was a verb-final language (Subject-Object-
Verb, henceforth SOV); in French the verb from the earliest documents precedes
the object (SVO). Old French therefore is an SVO language but its subordinate
clauses are often still verb-final. In addition, word order in Old French allows for
more variation and it is only later that sequences such as Complement + Verb +
Subject disappear. The word order patterns observed in Old French remind us of
those in today's German or Dutch. These languages, as well, are shifting from an
earlier SOV to an SVO system.

As noted, Old French had a system of two cases: a subject case (nominative), and
an object case (oblique). Yet the case distinction in nouns is formally marked in
masculine nouns only. Case is more manifest in pronouns where, for the third
person singular for example, there is a distinction between the direct object le/la
and the indirect object li.

With a few exceptions, all nouns have number marking (singular vs. plural); and
they are either masculine or feminine.

Case, number, and gender are also manifest in adjectival elements, such as
adjectives and participles. The adjective, for example, agrees with the noun in
case, number, and gender.

Another important characteristic of Old French, and an innovation with respect to


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Latin, is the use of definite articles. Old French definite articles trace back to Latin
demonstratives, which in the history of Latin became more and more frequent and
gradually lost their demonstrative value. The definite article in Old French
primarily had a defining function. In contrast to modern uses, the definite article
in Old French is not automatic. Like other nominal elements, definite articles are
marked for gender, case, and number.

When the demonstratives lost their demonstrative value, new demonstratives


developed: an element ecce 'behold' was added to the old demonstrative forms,
iste and ille. As a result, Old French had two demonstratives (instead of three in
Latin):

cist < ecce + iste 'this'


cil < ecce + ille 'that'
Most morphological processes are attested in the verb, which is marked for
person, tense, mood, voice, and aspect:

Person: 1st sg. 2nd sg. 3rd sg.


1st pl. 2nd pl. 3rd pl.

Tense: Present
Preterite Imperfect
Future

Mood: Indicative Subjunctive Imperative Conditional

Voice: Active Passive

Aspect: Imperfective Perfective


Some of the forms mentioned in this table are analytic (including an auxiliary and
a main verb), while others are "synthetic." In synthetic forms, one verb form
embodies the lexical element and all grammatical categories; cf.:

Analytic: ai chant 'I have sung'


Synthetic: chantai 'I sang'
An important difference between Old French and later varieties is that the subject
pronoun is not yet compulsory. In fact, it is rather infrequent.

In syntax, word order is predominantly SVO. Other sequences are motivated:


SOV, for example, is typically attested in subordinate clauses; in commands, the
imperative verb comes first.

Subject inversion is very common in Old French: it is triggered when a


complement (direct, indirect, adverbial) is in clause-initial position, creating
sequences such as Complement + Verb + Subject or Complement + Verb + Subject
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+ Object.

In line with the predominance of SVO, other elements follow specific patterns as
well: the genitive, for example, typically follows the head noun, with or without
preposition, cf. e.g.

l'ost des Franceis


'the army of the French'

la fille le roi
'the daughter of the king'
Negation in Old French was characterized by one negating element ne, which
precedes the verb. In addition there are many attestations of so-called "double"
negation, as in:

autrement ne m'amerat il mie


'otherwise he will not love me'
In this example, negation includes an element ne and an element mie. In this
construction the part ne + verb has been inherited from Latin. Adding a second
element (mie) was a later development and not yet compulsory in Old French.

Compared to the modern language, nominal forms of the Old French verb played
an important role: infinitive, participles, and gerunds. Yet, compared to Latin,
these elements just play a minor role. In Old French, absolute constructions --
widespread in Latin -- are limited to specific verbs and typically specify the
circumstances in which the action of the main verb is carried out, cf.:

juntes ses mains est alet a sa fin


'his hands joined he went to his death'
The infinitive in Old French may be nominalized, in which case a definite article
generally is added; it may function as subject or complement, for example cf.:

li porters dou rainsel


'the fact of carrying the small branch'

tens est del hebergier


'it is time to encamp'
The use of an infinitive as complement of a finite verb is less strongly developed
than in the modern language. In modern French the infinitive is automatically
used when the subject of the finite verb and the infinitive are identical. In Old
French this is not yet the case. Often a subjunctive, for example, is used instead,
cf.:

Modern French:
je ne sais quoi faire
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'I do not know what to do'

Old French:
ne sai que face [very common]
'I do not know what to do' (with subjunctive)

ne sai que faire [very rare]


'I do not know what to do'

4. Documents

A rich literature in Old French, along with many other documents, provide a
wealth of texts covering the period from the 9th century until the end of the 13th
century. From the end of the 13th century on, the case system disappears and the
dialect of the Ile de France becomes increasingly important. That is why one no
longer speaks of Old French, but rather of Middle French. Consequently the
language of the 14th and 15th centuries is typically referred to as Middle French.

The texts selected for this course represent the various genres: the Chansons de
geste, relating the exploits of Charlemagne and his nephew Roland; a
hagiography, presenting the life of St. Alexis; a hymn written to praise the virtues
of St. Eulalie; two examples of (early) littrature courtoise, Tristan and Yvain; an
historical account of the Fourth Crusade; two texts representing the littrature
bourgeoise, a fable and part of a play; and finally a translation of the well-known
Latin text about St. Brendan, who set out to discover what may have been North
America.

A striking characteristic of Old French texts is their international, European


character. Some texts are based on foreign or international traditions or are
translations or revisions of foreign texts. Moreover, the veneration of some saints
is an international phenomenon, and the component of Irish culture, for example,
is strong.

5. Abbreviations

In the Grammar points, several abbreviations have been used; these refer to the
following grammatical concepts:

abl. = ablative acc. = accusative adj. = adjective art. = article


comp. = comparative dir. = direct fem. = feminine gen. = genitive
impf. = imperfective indef. = indefinite indir. = indirect inf. = infinitive
masc. = masculine nom. = nominative obj. = object obl. = oblique
part. = participle pers. = person pf. = perfective pl. = plural
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pres. = present pret. = preterite sg. = singular subj. = subject


subju. = subjunctive La(t). = Latin OF = Old French

Related Language Courses at UT

Most but not all language courses taught at The University of Texas concern
modern languages; sometimes courses are offered in ancient languages, though
more often at the graduate level. French language courses are taught in the
Department of French & Italian (link opens in a new browser window). Other
online language courses for college credit are offered through the University
Extension (new window).

Italic Resources Elsewhere

Our Web Links page includes pointers to Italic resources elsewhere.

Lesson 1

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland) is a so-called Chanson de Geste, one


of the major genres of French medieval literature in the 12th and 13th centuries. In
the Chansons de Geste the deeds (Latin gesta) of the great heroes of Christian
lineage are described. As the oldest Chanson de Geste, the Chanson de Roland is
generally dated in the early 12th century (ca. 1100-1120) and traces back to an
historical event.

In 778, when Charlemagne crossed the Pyrenees returning from a campaign in


Spain, the rearguard of his army was attacked and massacred by the local
population. Toward the end of the 11th century, leading up to the First Crusade
(1096-1099), this event developed legendary characteristics and the historical
figures were interpreted as Christian heroes whose faith, loyalty, and courage in
the battle against the pagan Saracens is continually praised, as in the Chanson de
Roland.

In this epic two characters stand out: Charlemagne, king of the Franks, and
Roland, his nephew and most prominent adviser and knight, who is the epitome of
Christian heroism and sacrifice and who accepts martyrdom on the battlefield
against the enemies of Christianity. The poem relates the events that lead to the
betrayal and massacre as well as the battle itself; it describes not only the battle, in
great detail, but also the deliberations that precede the decisions made by the
main characters.
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Reading and Textual Analysis

The text is divided into laisses, stanzas of varying length. For this lesson two
laisses have been selected, numbers I (lines 1-9) and VIII (lines 96-121), which
present Charlemagne as one of the main characters of the work and show his
military strength.

Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes


set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:
Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.

Carles -- proper name; nominative singular <Charles> Charles, Charlemagne --


Charles

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

reis -- noun; nominative singular <roi> king -- king

nostre -- possessive; first person plural nominative singular masculine <nostre>


our -- our

emperere -- noun; nominative singular <empereor> emperor -- emperor

magnes -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <magne> great -- great

set -- numeral; <set> seven -- seven

anz -- noun; oblique plural <an> year -- years

tuz -- adjective; oblique plural masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- ...

pleins -- adjective; oblique plural masculine <plein, plain> full -- full

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has

estet -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <ester> stand,


remain, be -- been

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

Espaigne -- proper name; oblique singular <Espaigne> Spain -- Spain

tresqu'en -- preposition; <tresqu', trusqu'> up to, until + preposition; <en> in,


into, on, on top of -- up to

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

mer -- noun; oblique singular <mer> sea -- sea

cunquist -- verb; third person singular preterite <conquerre, cunquerre> conquer,


capture -- he conquered
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la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

tere -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- land

altaigne -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <altain> high, deep -- high

N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;


Mur ne citet n'i est rems a fraindre
Fors Saraguce, ki est en une muntaigne.

n'i -- negation; <ne, nen> not + particle; <i> there -- there... no

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- is

castel -- noun; oblique singular <chastel, castel> castle -- castle

ki -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> that -- that

devant -- preposition; <devant> before, in front of, in the presence of -- ...

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
him

remaigne -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <remanoir> stay,


remain, resist -- resists

mur -- noun; nominative singular <mur> wall -- wall

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- or

citet -- noun; nominative singular <cit, citet> city, town -- town

n'i -- negation; <ne, nen> not + particle; <i> there -- no... there

est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- is

rems -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <remanoir>


stay, remain, resist -- left

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

fraindre -- verb; infinitive <freindre, fraindre> break -- conquer

fors -- preposition; <fors> except -- except

Saraguce -- proper name; oblique singular <Saraguce> Saragossa -- Saragossa

ki -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> that -- which

est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- is located

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- on top of

une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- a


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muntaigne -- noun; oblique singular <montaigne> mountain -- mountain

Li reis Marsilie la tient, ki Deu nen amet,


Mahumet sert e Apollin recleimet:
Nes poet guarder que mals ne l'i ateignet. AOI.

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- ...

reis -- noun; nominative singular <roi> king -- king

Marsilie -- proper name; nominative singular <Marsilie> Marsilie -- Marsilie

la -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object feminine <il> he -- it

tient -- verb; third person singular present <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider --
holds

ki -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- he who

Deu -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

nen -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

amet -- verb; third person singular present <amer> love -- does... love

Mahumet -- proper name; oblique singular <Mahumez, Mahun> Mahomet --


Mahomet

sert -- verb; third person singular present <servir> serve -- serves

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

Apollin -- proper name; oblique singular <Apollin> Apollo, Satan -- Satan

recleimet -- verb; third person singular present <reclamer> call upon, invoke, beg
-- invokes

nes -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

poet -- verb; third person singular present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able --
can

guarder -- verb; infinitive <garder> watch over, guard -- prevent

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

mals -- noun; nominative singular <mal> evil, disaster, illness -- disaster

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- ...

l'i -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object singular masculine <il>
he + particle; <i> there -- him...there

ateignet -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <ataindre> reach,


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regain, catch -- reaches

AOI -- interjection; <AOI> ... -- ... # unknown element, possibly a war cry, typical
of the Chanson de Roland

Li empereres se fait e balz e liez:


Cordres ad prise e les murs peceiez,
Od ses cadables les turs en abatied;

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

empereres -- noun; nominative singular <empereor> emperor -- emperor

se fait -- verb; third person singular present <se faire> be -- is

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- ...

balz -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <balt> happy, full of fervor --


ebullient

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- as well as

liez -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <li, liet> happy, joyful -- joyful

Cordres -- proper name; oblique singular <Cordres> Cordres -- Cordres

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- he has

prise -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular feminine <prendre> take, take
hold of, seize -- taken

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

les -- definite article; oblique plural masculine <li> the -- the

murs -- noun; oblique plural <mur> wall -- walls

peceiez -- verb; perfective participle oblique plural masculine <pecier> smash to


pieces -- smashed to pieces

od -- preposition; <ot, od, of, o> with -- with

ses -- possessive; third person singular oblique plural masculine <son> his -- his

cadables -- noun; oblique plural <cadable> catapult -- catapults

les -- definite article; oblique plural feminine <li> the -- ...

turs -- noun; oblique plural <tor> tower -- towers

en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- its

abatied -- verb; third person singular preterite <abatre> knock down, destroy --
he destroyed
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Mult grant eschech en unt si chevaler


D'or e d'argent e de guarnemenz chers.

mult -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- ...

grant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <grant> great, large, tall -- ...

eschech -- noun; oblique singular <eschec> booty, loot -- booty

en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- its

unt -- verb; third person plural present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- are laden with

si -- possessive; third person singular nominative plural masculine <son> his --


his

chevaler -- noun; nominative plural <chevalier> knight -- knights

d'or -- preposition; <de> of, from + noun; oblique singular <or> gold -- gold

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

d'argent -- preposition; <de> of, from + noun; oblique singular <argent> silver,
money, riches -- silver

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...

guarnemenz -- noun; oblique plural <garnement> decorative object -- objects

chers -- adjective; oblique plural masculine <cher> beloved, expensive --


precious

En la citet nen ad rems paien


Ne seit ocis u devient chrestien.

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

citet -- noun; nominative singular <cit, citet> city, town -- town

nen -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- no

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- is

rems -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <remanoir> stay,


remain, resist -- left

paien -- noun; oblique singular <paien, pagien> pagan, heathen -- pagan

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not


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seit -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <estre, iestre, aistre> be --
has been

ocis -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <ocire> kill --


killed

u -- conjunction; <o, u> or -- or

devient -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <devenir> become --


become

chrestien -- noun; nominative singular <chrestien> christian -- christian

Li empereres est en un grant verger,


Ensembl'od lui Rollant e Oliver,
Sansun li dux e Anseis li fiers,
Gefreid d'Anjou, le rei gunfanuner,
E si i furent e Gerin e Gerers;

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

empereres -- noun; nominative singular <empereor> emperor -- emperor

est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- is

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- a

grant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <grant> great, large, tall -- large

verger -- noun; oblique singular <vergier> orchard, garden -- orchard

ensembl'od -- preposition; <ensemble od> together with -- together with...


(are)

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
him

Rollant -- proper name; nominative singular <Rollant> Roland -- Roland

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

Oliver -- proper name; nominative singular <Oliver> Oliver -- Oliver

Sansun -- proper name; nominative singular <Sansun> Sansun -- Sansun

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

dux -- noun; nominative singular <duc> duke -- duke

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and


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Anseis -- proper name; nominative singular <Anseis> Anseis -- Anseis

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

fiers -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <fier> fierce, strong, proud --


proud one

Gefreid -- proper name; nominative singular <Gefreid> Gefreid -- Gefreid

d'Anjou -- preposition; <de> of, from + proper name; oblique singular <Anjou>
Anjou -- of Anjou

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

rei -- noun; oblique singular <roi> king -- king

gunfanuner -- noun; nominative singular <gunfanuner> standard bearer --


standard bearer

e si -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and + particle; <si> so, and moreover -- and also

i -- particle; <i> there -- there

furent -- verb; third person plural preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- were

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- ...

Gerin -- proper name; nominative singular <Gerin> Gerin -- Gerin

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- as well as

Gerers -- proper name; nominative singular <Gerer> Gerer -- Gerer

La u cist furent, des altres i out bien:


De dulce France i ad quinze milliers.

la -- adverb; <la> there -- ...

u -- relative pronoun; <ou, u> where -- where

cist -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative plural masculine <cest, cist> this --


these

furent -- verb; third person plural preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- were

des -- preposition; <de> of, from + definite article; oblique plural masculine <li>
the -- ...

altres -- indefinite adjective; oblique plural masculine <altre> other -- others

i -- particle; <i> there -- there

out -- verb; third person singular preterite <avoir, aveir> have, be -- were
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bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- many

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- from

dulce -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <dolz, dous> sweet, gentle -- our
beloved

France -- proper name; oblique singular <France> France -- France

i -- particle; <i> there -- there

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- are

quinze -- numeral; <quinze> fifteen -- fifteen

milliers -- numeral; oblique plural <millier> thousand -- thousand men

Sur palies blancs siedent cil cevaler,


As tables juent pur els esbaneier
E as eschecs li plus saive e li veill,
E escremissent cil bacheler leger.

sur -- preposition; <seur, soure, sur, sor> on, over, to, above -- on

palies -- noun; oblique plural <paile> precious cloth -- precious clothes

blancs -- adjective; oblique plural masculine <blanc> white -- white

siedent -- verb; third person plural present <seoir> sit, be seated -- are seated

cil -- demonstrative; nominative plural masculine <cil> that -- the

cevaler -- noun; nominative plural <chevalier> knight -- knights

as -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on + definite article; oblique plural
feminine <li> the -- ...

tables -- noun; oblique plural <table> game -- games

juent -- verb; third person plural present <joer> play -- play

pur -- preposition; <por> for -- to

els -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object masculine <il> they --
themselves

esbaneier -- verb; infinitive <esbanir> amuse -- amuse

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

as -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on + definite article; oblique plural
feminine <li> the -- ...

eschecs -- noun; oblique plural <eschecs> chess -- chess


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li -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the

plus -- adverb; <plus> more -- most

saive -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <saige, saive> clever, educated --


clever men

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

li -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the

veill -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <vieil, veil> old -- old men

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

escremissent -- verb; third person plural present <escremir, escrimer> fence --


are fencing

cil -- demonstrative; nominative plural masculine <cil> that -- the

bacheler -- noun; nominative plural <bacheler, bachelor> young man, young


knight aspirant, page -- pages

leger -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <legier, ligier, loigier> light,


supple, light-hearted -- athletic

Desuz un pin, delez un eglentier,


Un faldestoed i unt, fait tut d'or mer:
La siet li reis ki dulce France tient.

desuz -- preposition; <desos, desous> under -- under

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- a

pin -- noun; oblique singular <pin> pine tree -- pine tree

delez -- preposition; <deles, del, deleiz> next to; beside -- next to

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- a

eglentier -- noun; oblique singular <aiglent> wild rose -- wild rose

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- a

faldestoed -- noun; oblique singular <faldestuel, faldestuef, faldestoed> folding


chair for important person, throne -- throne

i -- particle; <i> there -- ...

unt -- verb; third person plural present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- they have

fait -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <faire> make -- made

tut -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- entirely
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d'or -- preposition; <de> of, from + noun; oblique singular <or> gold -- of gold

mer -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <mer, mier> pure -- pure

la -- adverb; <la> there -- there

siet -- verb; third person singular present <seoir> sit, be seated -- is seated

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

reis -- noun; nominative singular <roi> king -- king

ki -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

dulce -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <dolz, dous> sweet, gentle -- our
beloved

France -- proper name; oblique singular <France> France -- France

tient -- verb; third person singular present <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider --
holds

Blanche ad la barbe e tut flurit le chef,


Gent ad le cors e le cuntenant fier:
S'est kil demandet, ne l'estoet enseigner.

blanche -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <blanc> white -- white

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- he has

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- a

barbe -- noun; oblique singular <barbe> beard -- beard

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

tut -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- entirely

flurit -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <florir> flower --


greyish white

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

chef -- noun; oblique singular <chief> head -- head

gent -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <gent> fair, handsome, beautiful --


fair

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- he has

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- a

cors -- noun; oblique singular <cors> body -- body


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e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- a

cuntenant -- noun; oblique singular <contenant> demeanour, expression,


appearance -- appearance

fier -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <fier> fierce, strong, proud -- strong

s'est -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus + verb third person singular present;
<estre, iestre, aistre> be -- and if... were

kil -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who + personal pronoun; third person
singular direct object masculine <il> he -- someone... him

demandet -- verb; third person singular present <demander> ask, ask for -- to
ask for

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

l'estoet -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il>
he + verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- him... it
is necessary

enseigner -- verb; infinitive <enseignier> teach, inform, point out -- point out

E li message descendirent a pied,


Sil saluerent par amur e par bien.

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

li -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the

message -- noun; nominative plural <message> messenger -- messengers

descendirent -- verb; third person plural preterite <descendre> descend,


dismount -- came down

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- ...

pied -- noun; oblique singular <pi> foot -- ...

sil -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus + personal pronoun; third person singular
direct object masculine <il> he -- and... him

saluerent -- verb; third person plural preterite <saluer> salute, greet -- greeted

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- out of

amur -- noun; oblique singular <amor> love -- love

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and


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par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- out of

bien -- noun; oblique singular <bien, ben> good, good fortune, well-being --
respect

Lesson Text

Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes


set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:
Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne. N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;
Mur ne citet n'i est rems a fraindre
Fors Saraguce, ki est en une muntaigne. Li reis Marsilie la tient, ki Deu nen amet,
Mahumet sert e Apollin recleimet:
Nes poet guarder que mals ne l'i ateignet. AOI. Li empereres se fait e balz e liez:
Cordres ad prise e les murs peceiez,
Od ses cadables les turs en abatied; Mult grant eschech en unt si chevaler
D'or e d'argent e de guarnemenz chers. En la citet nen ad rems paien
Ne seit ocis u devient chrestien. Li empereres est en un grant verger,
Ensembl'od lui Rollant e Oliver,
Sansun li dux e Anseis li fiers,
Gefreid d'Anjou, le rei gunfanuner,
E si i furent e Gerin e Gerers; La u cist furent, des altres i out bien:
De dulce France i ad quinze milliers. Sur palies blancs siedent cil cevaler,
As tables juent pur els esbaneier
E as eschecs li plus saive e li veill,
E escremissent cil bacheler leger. Desuz un pin, delez un eglentier,
Un faldestoed i unt, fait tut d'or mer:
La siet li reis ki dulce France tient. Blanche ad la barbe e tut flurit le chef,
Gent ad le cors e le cuntenant fier:
S'est kil demandet, ne l'estoet enseigner. E li message descendirent a pied,
Sil saluerent par amur e par bien.

Translation

Charles the king, our great emperor,


has been in Spain a full seven years:
he conquered the high land up to the sea.
There is no castle that resists him;
there is no wall or town left to conquer,
except Saragossa, which is located on top of a mountain.
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King Marsilie holds it, he who does not love God,


serves Mahomet and invokes Satan;
he cannot prevent that disaster reaches him there.

The emperor is ebullient as well as joyful:


he has taken Cordres and smashed the walls to pieces,
with his catapults he destroyed its towers;
his knights are laden with its booty
gold and silver and precious objects.
In the town no pagan is left
who has not been killed or become Christian.
The emperor is in a large orchard,
together with him are Roland and Oliver,
Sansun the duke and Anseis the proud one,
Gefreid of Anjou, the standard bearer of the king,
and Gerin as well as Gerer were there also;
Where these men were, there were many others:
from our beloved France there are fifteen thousand men.
The knights are seated on white precious cloths
to amuse themselves the most clever men and
the old men play games and chess,
and the pages, athletic, are fencing.
Under a pine tree, next to a wild rose,
they have a throne, entirely made of pure gold:
there the king is seated, who holds our beloved France.
He has a white beard and the head entirely greyish-white,
he has a fair body and a strong appearance:
if someone were to ask for him, it is not necessary to point him out.
And the messengers came down
and greeted him out of love and out of respect.

Grammar

1 Gender

Whereas the transition from Latin to French is characterized by the loss of the
neuter, gender distribution itself is not fundamentally different in Old French:
natural gender prevails for animate nouns, as in li uem vs. la feme ('the man' - 'the
wife'), le filz - la fille ('the son' - 'the daughter), li tors 'the bull', la vache 'the cow',
la jument 'the mare', and so forth. Inanimate nouns are either masculine or
feminine and this so-called grammatical gender is unpredictable, with a few
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exceptions. Nouns in -or, for example tend to be feminine (e.g. la dolor 'the pain').
Because of wide-spread agreement patterns, gender marking is found in articles,
demonstratives, possessives, adjectives, and participles.

2 Case: Nominal Declensions, Class I and Class II

Old French differs from all other stages of the language in that is still has
declension of nouns. In the declension system of Old French, number and case are
closely connected. The very large majority of nouns have a singular and a plural
form. A limited number of nouns have a so-called collective singular: the singular
refers to a single referent and to a group of persons or objects, as in fruit 'fruit' and
'fruits', or feuille 'leaf' and 'foliage'.

In Old French only two cases survive of the rich Latin nominal inflection. With Old
Occitan, Old French differs fundamentally in this respect from from most other
early Romance languages, which no longer have case marking on nouns; an
important and well-known exception is Rumanian, where even today two nominal
cases survive, a nominative-accusative and a genitive-dative.

The two cases that are found in Old French are the nominative and the so-called
oblique case. The Old French nominative goes back to the Latin nominative,
whereas the oblique case traces back to the Latin accusative, which assumed many
functions from the other cases when they gradually disappeared in the
development from Latin to Romance. Although Old French still distinguishes
between the nominative and the oblique, these cases are not explicitly marked on
all nouns. The majority of masculine nouns have distinct case forms; for feminine
nouns the distinctions are primarily limited to number. It is possible to distinguish
various classes.

Nominal Declensions, Class I

Sg. Pl.
Nom. fame 'woman' fames
Obl. fame fames
The majority of these nouns are feminine and go back to the Latin first declension
in -a; they therefore end in -e in Old French, by regular phonological
development. The class includes nominalized adjectives and participles as well, cf.
force 'strength' from the Latin neuter plural fortia 'strong things'.

Note that for these nouns there is no formal distinction between cases, because the
nominative is formally identical to the oblique case. The only formal distinction is
between singular and plural.

The majority of Class II nouns are masculine and they have formal marking,
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represented by the ending -s, which follows the stem in the nominative singular
and the oblique plural.

Nominal Declensions, Class II

Sg. Pl.
Nom. murs (from La. murus) 'wall' mur (from La. muri)
reis 'king' rei
Obl. mur (from La. murum) murs (from La. muros)
rei reis
Most of these nouns go back to nouns of the second declension in Latin, which
were primarily masculine nouns as well. When the fourth declension disappeared,
these nouns in -us became second declension nouns. This class of nouns further
includes nominalized infinitives (li mangiers 'the meal') and nominalized
participles and adjectives (Latin adj. diurnus 'daily' became Old French li jorz
'day').

3 Case: Hybrid Declensions

While not all feminine nouns end in -e, some masculine nouns do. This is the basis
of what some scholars call "hybrid" declensions. Nouns in these classes have a
declension pattern that does not correspond to what one might expect on the basis
of the gender of the noun.

In practice this means that the case ending -s is used for feminine nouns that do
not end in -e and that it lacks in some masculine nouns that do end in -e:

Nominal Declensions, Class Ia (feminine nouns)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. flors 'flower' flors
Obl. flor flors
Words in this class most often in origin belonged to the third declension in Latin,
such as amor 'love', mer 'sea', color 'color', dolor 'sorrow', loi 'religion', gent
'people', fin 'end', honor 'honor', main 'hand', valor 'worth', and others.

In the next class of nouns, the ending -s may or may not follow the stem.

Nominal Declensions, Class IIa (masculine nouns ending in ustressed -e)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. pere(s) 'father' pere
Obl. pere peres
This declension includes nouns such as frere 'brother', gendre 'son-in-law', mestre
'master', arbre 'tree', ventre 'belly', livre 'book', archevesque 'archbishop', ermite
'hermit', and others.
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Hybrid declensions are the result of the on-going breakdown of the case system,
which started in early Latin. The development resulted not only in the loss of cases
(compare the six cases of Latin to the two cases in Old French), but also in the
disappearance of entire declensions (see the five declensions in Latin). Many
nouns therefore moved from one declension to another on the basis of form or
gender. Sometimes form and gender characteristics did not parallel, which led to
declensional inconsistencies. In time the irregularities of declensions Ia and IIa
disappeared, for example when the ending -s of the masculine singular spread, as
in livre:

Nominal Declensions, Spread of -s

Sg. Pl.
Nom. livres 'book' (earlier: livre) livres
Obl. livre livres

4 Case Marking: Definite Articles and Adjectives

Case marking is also found in definite articles and adjectival elements, among
them adjectives and participles.

4.1 Definite article declension

Case Marking, Definite Article

Masculine Sg. Pl.


Nom. li 'the' li
li murs 'the wall' li mur
Obl. le les
le mur les murs
Case Marking, Definite Article

Feminine Sg. Pl.


Nom. la 'the' les
la fame 'the woman' les fames
Obl. la les
la fame les fames

4.2 Adjectival declension

Like articles, adjectival elements agree with the noun in gender, number, and case.
Adjectival inflection shows different patterns according to gender and to the
declension the adjectives belong to.

Latin adjectives were divided into two groups or declensions. One included
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adjectives that distinguished a masculine, feminine, and neuter form (La. bonus,
bona, bonum 'good') and the other declension -- the oldest one -- included those
adjectives that distinguish between a masculine/feminine and a neuter form (La.
fortis [masc./fem.] and forte [neuter] 'strong'). In Old French the first type of
adjective follows the pattern of nominal Declension I when the adjective is
feminine, and the pattern of nominal Declension II when the adjective is
masculine. Past participles typically follow these patterns as well.

Adjectival Declension, Class I (feminine)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. bone 'good' bones
dure 'hard' dures
entree 'enter' (Pf. Part.) entrees
Obl. bone bones
dure dures
entree entrees
Adjectival Declension, Class II (masculine)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. bons bon
durs dur
entrez entr
Obl. bon bons
dur durs
entr entrez
Adjectives that follow these patterns include, e.g., sains 'holy', bruns 'brown', clers
'clear', fiers 'proud', legiers 'light, souple', tot 'all'.

Adjectives in -e follow the declension patterns of Class I feminine nouns when


they are feminine and those of the Class II masculine nouns when they are
masculine.

Adjectival Declension, Adjectives in -e (feminine)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. sage 'wise' sages
Obl. sage sages
Adjectival Declension, Adjectives in -e (masculine)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. sages sage
Obl. sage sages
Examples of adjectives of this category include e.g. amable 'amiable', foible
'feeble', riche 'rich'.
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Adjectives in -re (e.g. povre 'poor') form a special group. The declension for
feminine adjectives is regular, that of masculine adjectives lacks the -s suffix in the
nominative singular.

Adjectival Declension, Adjectives in -re (feminine)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. povre povres
Obl. povre povres
Adjectival Declension, Adjectives in -re (masculine)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. povre povre
Obl. povre povres
Adjectives that follow this pattern include, among others: autre 'other', maigre
'thin', tendre 'tender'.

The archaic adjectival declension in Latin that originally distinguished animate


(masc. or fem., e.g. fortis 'strong') vs. inanimate (neuter, e.g. forte ) survives in Old
French in a declension pattern that does not include a suffix -e for feminine forms:

Adjectival Declension, Class III (feminine)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. fort (forz) 'strong' forz
Obl. fort forz
Adjectival Declension, Class III (masculine)

Sg. Pl.
Nom. forz fort
Obl. fort forz
Adjectives that are included are: brief 'short', cruel 'cruel', grant 'great', prod 'bold',
vert 'green', fol 'foolish', and others.

5 Case Functions

The nominative primarily is the subject case and is used when addressing people,
as in:

li reis tient la citet 'the king (Nom. Sg.) holds the town';

li empereres se fait balz (CdR 96, this lesson) 'the emperor (Nom. Sg.) is happy';

respunt li reis 'the king (Nom. Sg.) replies';

Deus, fet il 'God (Nom. Sg.), he said'.

The oblique case is used for all other functions, among them:
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direct object of transitive verbs, as in

gent ad le cors (CdR 118, this lesson) 'he has a handsome body (Obl. Sg.)';

indirect object, as in

li nums Joiuse l'espee fut dunet (CdR 2508) 'the sword (Indir. Obj.) was given the
name Joyeuse',

se Deu plet 'if it pleases (to) God (Indir. Obj.)';

genitive in combination with another noun, as in

la fille le rei 'the daughter of the king (Obl. Sg.)',

le rei gunfanuner (CdR 106, this lesson) 'the standard bearer of the king (Obl.
Sg.)';

object of prepositions, as in

e dist al rei (CdR 27) 'and he sayd to the king (Obl. Sg.)';

li empereres est en un grant verger (CdR 103, this lesson) 'the king is in a large
orchard (Obl. Sg.)';

adverbial expressions (e.g. space, time, direction), as in

set anz ad estet en Espaigne (CdR 2, this lesson) 'he has spent seven years (Obl.
Pl.) in Spain'.

Lesson 2

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

When Charlemagne's army reaches France and the troops prepare themselves
mentally to see their loved ones again, the rearguard under the command of
Roland is attacked at Roncevaux. Despite the wise and urgent advice of his friend
Oliver, Roland in his vanity refuses at first to blow the horn for military support.
Only when Roland sees that many of his troops have died does he decide to call for
Charlemagne's help. The physical effort of blowing the horn inflicts a fatal injury,
and as a result Roland dies.

The Chanson describes in detail the last moments of Roland's life and his passing.
When Charlemagne hears the signal, he returns to Spain to find that most of his
men there have been killed, including Oliver and Roland. He prepares his revenge,
which leads to the eventual victory of Christianity: the traitor is brought to justice,
and Sarragossa eventually is taken.

Reading and Textual Analysis


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The fragments below describe the most dramatic moments of the Chanson de
Roland: Roland's blowing the horn, his injury, and his death. They also describe
Charlemagne's arrival at the scene of the battle, and his emotions at seeing the
disastrous effects of the attack (lines 1753-1758, 1785-1795, 2355-2365,
2396-2402, and 2412-2416).

The reader will notice that the fragments tend to be repetitive, which may be
explained by the oral tradition that the Chanson de Geste was part of. The
repetitive nature of the text also underscores the strong emotions that the events
trigger in the characters. From a linguistic perspective, the reader will also notice
that in many instances the case markers are not used, or are used incorrectly,
illustrating the gradual disappearance of the case system.

Rollant ad mis l'olifan a sa buche,


Empeint le ben, par grant vertut le sunet.

Rollant -- proper name; nominative singular <Rollant> Roland -- Roland

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has

mis -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <metre, mectre,


mettre> put -- put

l'olifan -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the + noun; oblique
singular <olifant> ivory horn -- the horn

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- at

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his

buche -- noun; oblique singular <bouche, buche> mouth -- mouth

empeint -- verb; third person singular present <empeindre> blow, protrude -- he


places

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it

ben -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- solidly

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- with

grant -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

vertut -- noun; oblique singular <vertu> might, power, strength -- force

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it

sunet -- verb; third person singular present <suner, soner> sound, utter -- he
blows

Halt sunt li pui e la voiz est mult lunge,


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Granz .XXX. liwes l'orent il respundre.

halt -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <alt, aut, halt> high, strong,
important -- high

sunt -- verb; third person plural present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- are

li -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the

pui -- noun; nominative plural <pui> mountain, hill -- mountains

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- the

voiz -- noun; nominative singular <vois, voiz> noise, word, voice -- sound

est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- carries

mult -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- very

lunge -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <lonc, long, loing> long, far -- far

granz -- adjective; oblique plural feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- long

.XXX. -- number; <.XXX.> thirty -- thirty # in Old French, numbers were


preceded and followed by a dot

liwes -- noun; oblique plural <liue, live> mile -- miles away

l'orent -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he
+ verb; third person plural preterite <oir, odir> hear -- they heard...

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- it

respundre -- verb; infinitive <respondre> answer -- resonate

Karles l'ot e ses cumpaignes tutes.


Co dist li reis: "Bataille funt nostre hume!"

Karles -- proper name; nominative singular <Charles> Charles, Charlemagne --


Charles

l'ot -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he +
verb; third person singular preterite <oir, odir> hear -- heard it

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

ses -- possessive; third person singular nominative plural feminine <son> his --
his

cumpaignes -- noun; nominative plural <compaigne> troops -- troops

tutes -- adjective; nominative plural feminine <tot> all, every, completely -- all
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co -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <co, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it --
these words

dist -- verb; third person singular preterite <dire> say, tell -- spoke

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

reis -- noun; nominative singular <roi> king -- king

bataille -- noun; oblique singular <bataille> battle -- battle

funt -- verb; third person plural present <faire> make -- fight

nostre -- possessive; first person plural nominative plural masculine <nostre> our
-- our

hume -- noun; nominative plural <home, ome> man -- troops

Li quens Rollant ad la buche sanglente.


De sun cervel rumput en est li temples.

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- ...

quens -- noun; nominative singular <conte> count -- count

Rollant -- proper name; nominative singular <Rollant> Roland -- Roland

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- his

buche -- noun; oblique singular <bouche, buche> mouth -- mouth

sanglente -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <sanglent> bloody -- full of


blood

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

sun -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

cervel -- noun; oblique singular <cervel> brains -- brains

rumput -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <rompre>


break, burst -- burst open

en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- ...

est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- has

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

temples -- noun; nominative singular <temple> temple, forehead -- temple


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L'olifan sunet a dulor e a peine.


Karles l'ot e ses Franceis l'entendent.

l'olifan -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the + noun; oblique
singular <olifant> ivory horn -- the horn

sunet -- verb; third person singular present <suner, soner> sound, utter -- he
blows

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- in

dulor -- noun; oblique singular <dolor> pain, suffering -- suffering

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- in

peine -- noun; oblique singular <peine, paine> torment, suffering -- pain

Karles -- proper name; nominative singular <Charles> Charles, Charlemagne --


Charles

l'ot -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he +
verb; third person singular preterite <oir, odir> hear -- heard him

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

ses -- possessive; third person singular nominative plural masculine <son> his --
his

Franceis -- proper name; nominative plural <Franceis> free, noble, subject of the
king of France -- subjects

l'entendent -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine


<il> he + verb; third person plural present <entendre> try, pay attention,
understand, hear -- hear him

Co dist li reis: "Cel corn ad lunge aleine!"

co -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <co, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it --
these words

dist -- verb; third person singular preterite <dire> say, tell -- spoke

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

reis -- noun; nominative singular <roi> king -- king

cel -- demonstrative; nominative singular masculine <cil> that -- that

corn -- noun; nominative singular <corn, cor> horn -- horn

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has


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lunge -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <lonc, long, loing> long, far -- long

aleine -- noun; oblique singular <aleine, alaine> blast, breath -- a breath

Respont dux Neimes: "Baron i fait la peine!


Bataille i ad, par le men escentre.
Cil l'at trat ki vos en roevet feindre.

respont -- verb; third person singular present <respondre> answer -- answers

dux -- noun; nominative singular <duc> duke -- duke

Neimes -- proper name; nominative singular <Neimes> Naimes -- Naimes

baron -- noun; nominative singular <baron> brave warrior, brave knight -- a


brave knight

i -- particle; <i> there -- there

fait la peine -- verb; third person singular present <faire> make + definite article;
oblique singular feminine <li> the + noun; oblique singular <peine, paine>
torment, suffering -- is in distress

bataille -- noun; oblique singular <bataille> battle -- battle

i -- particle; <i> there -- ...

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- is

par le men escentre -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of + definite


article; oblique singular masculine <li> the + possessive; first person singular
oblique singular masculine <mon> my + noun; oblique singular <escent>
knowledge -- to my knowledge

cil -- demonstrative; nominative singular masculine <cil> that -- he who

l'at -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he +
verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has... him...

trat -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <trair> betray --


betrayed

ki -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural direct object <vos> you -- you

en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- ...

roevet -- verb; third person singular present <rover> ask, call upon, order --
orders

feindre -- verb; infinitive <feindre> do nothing, shy away -- to do nothing


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Adubez vos, si criez vostre enseigne,


Si sucurez vostre maisnee gente:
Asez oez que Rollant se dementet!"

adubez vos -- verb; second person plural imperative <adober> arm oneself +
personal pronoun; second person plural direct object <vos> you -- arm yourself

si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and

criez -- verb; second person plural imperative <crier> shout -- shout

vostre -- possessive; second person plural oblique singular feminine <vostre> your
-- your

enseigne -- noun; oblique singular <enseigne> war cry -- war cry

si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and

sucurez -- verb; second person plural imperative <secorer> go to the help of -- go


to the help of

vostre -- possessive; second person plural oblique singular feminine <vostre> your
-- your

maisnee -- noun; oblique singular <maisniee, maisnie> household, army -- army

gente -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <gent> fair, handsome, beautiful --


fair

asez -- adverb; <asez, asss> many, much, very well -- very well

oez -- verb; second person plural present <oir, odir> hear -- you hear

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

Rollant -- proper name; nominative singular <Rollant> Roland -- Roland

se dementet -- verb; third person singular present <se dementer> lament -- is


lamenting

Co sent Rollant que la mort le tresprent,


Devers la teste sur le quer li descent.

co -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <co, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it -- ...

sent -- verb; third person singular present <sentir> smell, feel -- feels

Rollant -- proper name; nominative singular <Rollant> Roland -- Roland

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- ...


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mort -- noun; nominative singular <mort> death -- death

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --


him

tresprent -- verb; third person singular present <tresprendre> overcome


completely -- overcomes completely

devers -- preposition; <devers, de vers> in the direction of, from the direction of --
from

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- his

teste -- noun; oblique singular <teste> head -- head

sur -- preposition; <seur, soure, sur, sor> on, over, to, above -- to

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- his

quer -- noun; oblique singular <cuer, coer, cor> heart -- heart

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


...

descent -- verb; third person singular present <descendre> descend, dismount --


it descends

Desuz un pin i est alet curant,


Sur l'erbe verte s'i est culchet adenz,
Desuz lui met s'espee e l'olifan,
Turnat sa teste vers la paiene gent:

desuz -- preposition; <desos, desous> under -- under

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- a

pin -- noun; oblique singular <pin> pine tree -- pine tree

i -- particle; <i> there -- ...

est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- he has

alet -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <aler> go -- gone

curant -- verb; participle present nominative singular masculine <corre> run --


running

sur -- preposition; <seur, soure, sur, sor> on, over, to, above -- on top of

l'erbe -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the + noun; oblique
singular <erbre> grass -- the grass

verte -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <vert> green -- green


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s'i est culchet -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object <se> he +
particle; <i> there + verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be +
verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <couchier> lie down --
there he has lain down

adenz -- adverb; <adenz> face downwards -- face downwards

desuz -- preposition; <desos, desous> under -- under

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
him

met -- verb; third person singular present <metre, mectre, mettre> put -- he puts

s'espee -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his +
noun; oblique singular <espee> sword -- his sword

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

l'olifan -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the + noun; oblique
singular <olifant> ivory horn -- the horn

turnat -- verb; third person singular preterite <torner> turn, return -- he turned

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his

teste -- noun; oblique singular <teste> head -- head

vers -- preposition; <vers> towards -- towards

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

paiene -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <paien> pagan, heathen -- pagan

gent -- noun; oblique singular <gent> race, people -- people

Pur co l'ad fait que il voelt veirement


Que Carles diet e trestute sa gent,
Li gentilz quens, qu'il fut mort cunquerant.

pur -- preposition; <por> for -- for

co -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <co, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it -- the
reason

l'ad -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he +
verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- he has... this

fait -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <faire> make -- done

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he


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voelt -- verb; third person singular present <voloir> want -- wants

veirement -- adverb; <voirement> really -- really

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

Carles -- proper name; nominative singular <Charles> Charles, Charlemagne --


Charles

diet -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <dire> say, tell -- say

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

trestute -- reinforcing element; <tres> ... + adjective; nominative singular


feminine <tot> all, every, completely -- entire

sa -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular feminine <son> his --


his

gent -- noun; nominative singular <gent> race, people -- people

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

gentilz -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <gentil> noble, brave -- brave

quens -- noun; nominative singular <conte> count -- count

qu'il -- conjunction; <que> that + personal pronoun; third person singular


nominative masculine <il> he -- that he

fut -- verb; third person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- has

mort -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <morir> kill, die
-- died

cunquerant -- verb; present participle nominative singular masculine <conquerre,


cunquerre> conquer, capture -- as a conqueror

Cleimet sa culpe e menut e suvent,


Pur ses pecchez Deu en puroffrid lo guant. AOI

cleimet -- verb; third person singular present <clamer> call, proclaim, confess --
he confesses aloud

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his

culpe -- noun; oblique singular <colpe, corpe, cope> sin, mistake -- sins

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- ...

menut e suvent -- adverb; <menu, menut> quickly + conjunction; <e, et, ed> and
+ adverb; <sovent> frequently, often -- tapping his chest quickly and
frequently
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pur -- preposition; <por> for -- for

ses -- possessive; third person singular oblique plural masculine <son> his -- his

pecchez -- noun; oblique plural <pechi> sin, mistake -- sins

Deu -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- to God

en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- ...

puroffrid -- verb; third person singular preterite <porofrir> present -- offered

lo -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- his

guant -- noun; oblique singular <gant> glove -- glove

AOI -- interjection; <AOI> ... -- ... # unknown element, possibly a war cry, typical
of the Chanson de Roland

Morz est Rollant, Deus en ad l'anme es cels.


Li emperere en Rencesvals parvient.

morz -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <morir> kill, die
-- died

est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- has

Rollant -- proper name; nominative singular <Rollant> Roland -- Roland

Deus -- proper name; nominative singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- ...

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has

l'anme -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the + noun; oblique
singular <anme, alme, arme, ame> soul, somebody -- his soul

es -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of + definite article; oblique plural
masculine <li> the -- in...

cels -- noun; oblique plural <ciel> heaven -- heaven

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

emperere -- noun; nominative singular <empereor> emperor -- emperor

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

Rencesvals -- proper name; oblique singular <Rencesvals> Roncevaux --


Roncevaux

parvient -- verb; third person singular present <parvenir> arrive -- arrives


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Il nen i ad ne veie ne senter,


Ne voide tere, ne alne ne plein pied,
Que il n'i ait o Franceis o paien.

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- ...

nen -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- ...

i -- particle; <i> there -- there

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- is

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- no

veie -- noun; oblique singular <veie> road -- road

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- nor

senter -- noun; oblique singular <sentier> path -- path

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- nor

voide -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <vuit, vuide> empty -- empty

tere -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- any piece of
ground

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- nor

alne -- noun; oblique singular <alne> ell -- any ell

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- or

plein -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <plein, plain> full -- full

pied -- noun; oblique singular <pi> foot -- foot

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- where

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- ...

n'i -- negation; <ne, nen> not + particle; <i> there -- there... no

ait -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- is

o -- conjunction; <o, u> or -- ...

Franceis -- proper name; oblique singular <Franceis> free, noble, subject of the
king of France -- Frenchman

o -- conjunction; <o, u> or -- or

paien -- noun; oblique singular <paien, pagien> pagan, heathen -- heathen

Carles escriet: "U estes vos, bels nis?"


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...

Carles -- proper name; nominative singular <Charles> Charles, Charlemagne --


Charles

escriet -- verb; third person singular present <escrier> cry out, shout -- cries out

u -- interrogative adverb; <ou> where -- where

estes -- verb; second person plural present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- are

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

bels -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome --


beloved

nis -- noun; nominative singular <nevot, neveu> grandson, nephew -- my


nephew

"Deus! dist li reis, tant me pois esmaier


Que jo ne fui a l'estur cumencer!"

Deus -- proper name; nominative singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

dist -- verb; third person singular preterite <dire> say, tell -- said

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

reis -- noun; nominative singular <roi> king -- king

tant -- adverb; <tant> so, so much -- so much

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I --
myself

pois -- verb; first person singular present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able -- I
can

esmaier -- verb; infinitive <esmaier> be dismayed -- torment

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- for

jo -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- ...

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

fui -- verb; first person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- having been

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- at

l'estur -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the + noun; oblique
singular <estor, estorm> noise, tumult, battle -- of the battle

cumencer -- verb; infinitive <comencier> begin, start -- the beginning


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Tiret sa barbe cum hom ki est iret;


Plurent des oilz si baron chevaler;
Encontre tere se pasment .XX. millers.

tiret -- verb; third person singular present <tirer> pull -- he pulls

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his

barbe -- noun; oblique singular <barbe> beard -- beard

cum -- conjunction; <com, comme> as -- like

hom -- noun; nominative singular <home, ome> man -- a man

ki -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- is

iret -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <ir, iri> angry, distressed,


furious -- distressed

plurent -- verb; third person plural present <plorer> cry, shed tears -- shed tears

des -- preposition; <de> of, from + definite article; oblique plural masculine <li>
the -- from their

oilz -- noun; oblique plural <oeuil, oil> eye -- eyes

si -- possessive; third person singular nominative plural masculine <son> his --


his

baron -- noun; nominative plural <baron> brave warrior, brave knight -- warrior

chevaler -- noun; nominative plural <chevalier> knight -- knights

encontre -- preposition; <encontre> to, towards, against -- on top of

tere -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- earth

se pasment -- verb; third person plural present <se pasmer> faint, swoon -- faint

.XX. -- number; <.XX.> twenty -- twenty # in Old French, numbers were


preceded and followed by a dot

millers -- numeral; nominative plural <millier> thousand -- thousand men

Lesson Text

Rollant ad mis l'olifan a sa buche,


Empeint le ben, par grant vertut le sunet. Halt sunt li pui e la voiz est mult lunge,
Granz .XXX. liwes l'orent il respundre. Karles l'ot e ses cumpaignes tutes.
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Co dist li reis: "Bataille funt nostre hume!" Li quens Rollant ad la buche sanglente.
De sun cervel rumput en est li temples. L'olifan sunet a dulor e a peine.
Karles l'ot e ses Franceis l'entendent. Co dist li reis: "Cel corn ad lunge aleine!"
Respont dux Neimes: "Baron i fait la peine!
Bataille i ad, par le men escentre.
Cil l'at trat ki vos en roevet feindre. Adubez vos, si criez vostre enseigne,
Si sucurez vostre maisnee gente:
Asez oez que Rollant se dementet!" Co sent Rollant que la mort le tresprent,
Devers la teste sur le quer li descent. Desuz un pin i est alet curant,
Sur l'erbe verte s'i est culchet adenz,
Desuz lui met s'espee e l'olifan,
Turnat sa teste vers la paiene gent: Pur co l'ad fait que il voelt veirement
Que Carles diet e trestute sa gent,
Li gentilz quens, qu'il fut mort cunquerant. Cleimet sa culpe e menut e suvent,
Pur ses pecchez Deu en puroffrid lo guant. AOI Morz est Rollant, Deus en ad
l'anme es cels.
Li emperere en Rencesvals parvient. Il nen i ad ne veie ne senter,
Ne voide tere, ne alne ne plein pied,
Que il n'i ait o Franceis o paien. Carles escriet: "U estes vos, bels nis?"
... "Deus! dist li reis, tant me pois esmaier
Que jo ne fui a l'estur cumencer!" Tiret sa barbe cum hom ki est iret;
Plurent des oilz si baron chevaler;
Encontre tere se pasment .XX. millers.

Translation

Roland has put the horn at his mouth,


He places it solidly, with great force he blows it.
The mountains are high and the sound carries very far,
Thirty long miles away they heard it resonate.
Charles heard it, and all his troops.
The king spoke these words: "Our troops fight a battle!"

Count Roland has his mouth full of blood.


The temple of his brains has burst open.
He blows the horn in suffering and in pain.
Charles heard him and his subjects hear him.
The king spoke these words: "That horn has a long breath!"
Duke Naimes answers: "A brave knight is in distress!
There is a battle, to my knowledge.
He who has betrayed him, orders you to do nothing.
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Arm yourself, and shout your war cry,


And go to the help of your fair army:
You hear very well that Roland is lamenting."

Roland feels that death overcomes him completely,


it descends from his head to his heart.
He has gone, running, under a pine tree,
there he has lain down on top of the green grass, face downwards,
he puts his sword and the horn under him,
he turned his head towards the pagan people:
He has done this for the reason that he really wants
that Charles and his entire people say
that he the brave count has died as a conqueror.
He confesses his sins aloud, tapping his chest quickly and frequently
For his sins he offered his glove to God.

Roland has died, God has his soul in heaven.


The emperor arrives in Roncevaux.
There is no road nor path,
nor any empty piece of ground, nor any ell or full foot,
where there is no Frenchman or heathen.
Charles cries out: "Where are you, my beloved nephew?"
...

"God!" the king said, "I can torment myself so much


for not having been there at the beginning of the battle!"
He pulls his beard like a man who is distressed;
His warrior knights shed tears from their eyes;
twenty thousand men faint on top of the earth.

Grammar

6 Case: Nominal Declension, Class III

In addition to the two declension classes discussed in Lesson 1, there is a third


group of nouns in Old French, which is characterized by a varying number of
syllables in the individual paradigms (the so-called imparisyllabic declension).
This group of nouns traces back to the third declension in Latin (e.g. lex, legis),
which included imparasyllabic nouns as well. Since the nominative singular had a
number of syllables different from the other cases (e.g. La. imperator 'emperor-
Nom.' vs. imperatorem 'emperor-Acc.'), the paradigm is characterized by a shift of
accentuation, which affects the subsequent phonological changes. The following
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table presents the Latin forms and their Old French equivalents:

Nominal Declension, Latin vs. Old French

Nom. Sg. Nom. Pl.


Latin: imperator 'emperor' imperatores
Old French: emperedre emperedor
Acc./Obl. Sg. Acc./Obl. Pl.
Latin: imperatorem imperatores
Old French: emperedor emperedors
Nominal Declension, Class III

Sg. Pl.
Nom. emperedre 'emperor' emperedor
chantere 'singer' chanteor
Obl. emperedor emperedors
chanteor chanteors
Nouns included in this class are, for example: cuens, conte 'count', enfes, enfant
'child', nis, nevo 'nephew', sire, seignor 'lord', tratre, trator 'traitor', and others.
These nouns can be divided in four groups; three of them are:

masculine nouns referring to agents (verb stem + a suffix -eor or (i)ere), for
example: chantere, chanteor 'singer', derived from the verb chanter (stem: chant-)
'sing' or buvere, buveor 'drinker' from the verb bevre (stem: buv-) 'drink';

masculine nouns, often of Germanic origin with a suffix -on for cases other than
the nominative. These nouns are primarily nouns of persons or proper names.
Examples include: ber, baron 'baron', lerre, larron 'thief', compaing, compaignon
'companion', Charles, Charlon 'Charles', Guenes, Ganelon 'Ganelon', and others;

feminine nouns that alternate the nominative singular with the other forms in
-ain.

Nominal Declension, Feminine Nouns in -ain

Sg. Pl.
Nom. la none 'the nun' les nonains
Obl. la nonain les nonains
Examples include ante, antain 'aunt', pute, putain 'prostitute', niece, niecain,
'niece', and others that are less frequent.

The fourth group in Class III consists of a variety of nouns, such as hom, home
'man', enfes, enfant 'child', sire, seignor 'lord'. These are all masculine nouns with
the exception of suer, seror 'sister'.

Like the other declensional groups (Lesson 1), the case distinction gradually
disappeared: the masculine nominative singular ending (-s) spread to nouns that
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originally did not have it, as sire > sires (which gives the following paradigm: li
sires, le seigneur, li seigneur, les seigneurs). Moreover, one of the two forms, the
nominative or oblique, came to be generalized to the rest of the paradigm; most
commonly it was the oblique form that generalized: e.g. li gars vs. le garcon 'boy'
became li garcons vs. le garcon (plural: li garcon and les garcons). This process
came to completion in the Middle French period, when the oblique form
eventually was the only form left. In the 13th century, a limited number of
(animate) nouns developed double paradigms, each based on the nominative vs.
oblique stem, cf:

Nominal Declension, Development of sire

Sg. Pl.
Nom. li sire li sire
Obl. le sire les sires
Nominal Declension, Development of seigneur

Sg. Pl.
Nom. li seigneurs li seigneur
Obl. le seigneur les seigneurs

7 Verb Conjugation: Present and Past

The verb in Old French expresses person, number, tense, mood, and to some
extent aspect. Verb forms typically do not have an obligatory subject personal
pronoun, so chant means 'I sing'. Cf. also: chante 'he sings' vs. li reis chante 'the
king sings'. A verbal paradigm typically has three forms in the singular (1st, 2nd,
and 3rd person) and three in the plural. The majority of the forms are "synthetic,"
which means that a unique form expresses the entire verbal concept, e.g. fenissons
'end-Present-we'.

Several forms are "analytic," which means that an auxiliary is combined with the
main verb, generally the perfective participle or an infinitive. Compare: chant 'I
sing' vs. ai chant 'I have sung'.

On the basis of the ending of the infinitive, we distinguish four conjugations in Old
French: verbs in -er, -ir, -oir, and in -re. Of these the verbs in -er and most verbs in
-ir are so-called regular verbs. It is accurate to say that as a rule of thumb the verbs
in -er, which are most frequent, trace back to the first conjugation verbs in Latin
(e.g. Latin cantare survives as chanter in Old French).

There are two types of verb in -ir: those that include an infix -iss- in some forms,
and those that do not. The infix traces back to the Latin infix -isc-, an inchoative
marker, which conveys the notion of 'to begin', as in tepesco 'I become warm',
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based on tepeo 'I am warm'. Reflecting this etymological origin, many verbs in -ir
are formed on adjectives (OFr. adj. sage 'wise' > v. assagir 'become wise', adj. riche
'rich' > v. enrichir 'become rich'); others are in origin Germanic verbs (e.g. rtir
'roast', choisir 'choose').

Verbs in -oir go back to second conjugation verbs in -ere in Latin (e.g. Latin
manere 'stay' vs. OFr. manoir 'stay'). Verbs in -re trace back to the Latin verbs in
-re.

Verbal Conjugation, Verbs in -er, Present Indicative (chanter)

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. - chant 'I sing' -ons chantons
2nd pers. -es chantes -ez chantez
3rd pers. -e chante(t) -ent chantent
In some verbs, the accent is on the verb ending throughout the entire paradigm; in
others, it shifts to the verb stem for certain forms (1st sg., 2nd sg. and 3rd sg. and
pl. present indicative and present subjunctive, and 2nd sg. imperative). This
accounts for an alternation pattern, as in the verb amer:

amer 'love'

Present Sg. Pl.


1st pers. aim 'I love' amons
2nd pers. aimes amez
3rd pers. aime(t) aiment
Verbal Conjugation, Verbs in -ir with infix

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -is fenis 'I end' -issons fenissons
2nd pers. -is fenis -iss(i)ez feniss(i)ez
3rd pers. -it fenist -issent fenissent
Verbal Conjugation, Verbs in -ir without infix

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. - part 'I leave' -ons partons
2nd pers. -s parz -ez partez
3rd pers. -t part -ent partent
Verbal Conjugation, Verbs in -re

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. - cor 'I run' -ons corons
2nd pers. -s cors -ez corez
3rd pers. -t cort ent corent
The Old French verb has two past tenses, an imperfective (which traces back to the
Latin imperfective in -bam, for example cantabam 'I sang') and a preterite (Fr.
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passe/simple), which goes back to the Latin perfective form, e.g. cantavi 'I have
sung'. Latin cantabam survived as chantoie in Old French; Latin cantavi survived
as chantai in Old French.

The imperfective and preterite forms for the various conjugations in Old French
are as follows.

Verbal Conjugation, Imperfective and Preterite, Verbs in -er (chanter)

Imperfective Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -oie chantoie -iiens chantiiens
-ons chantons
2nd pers. -oies chantoies -iiez chantiiez
3rd pers. -oit chantoit -oient chantoient

Preterite Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -ai chantai -ames chantames
2nd pers. -as chantas -astes chantastes
3rd pers. -a chanta -erent chanterent
Verbal Conjugation, Imperfective and Preterite, Verbs in -ir with infix (fenir)

Imperfective Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -issoie fenissoie -issiiens fenissiiens
-issons fenissons
2nd pers. -issoies fenissoies -issiiez fenissiiez
3rd pers. -issoi(e)t fenissoi(e)t -issoient fenissoient

Preterite Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -i feni -imes fenimes
2nd pers. -is fenis -istes fenistes
3rd pers. -i feni -irent fenirent
Verbal Conjugation, Imperfective and Preterite, Verbs in -ir without infix
(partir)

Imperfective Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -oie partoie -iions partiions
-ons partons
-ens partens
2nd pers. -oies partoies -iiez partiiez
-ez partez
3rd pers. -oit partoit oient partoient

Preterite Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -i parti -imes partimes
2nd pers. -is partis -istes partistes
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3rd pers. -i parti -irent partirent


Verbal Conjugation, Imperfective and Preterite, Verbs in -re (corre)

Imperfective Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -oie coroie -iiens coriiens
-ons corons
2nd pers. -oies coroies -iiez coriiez
3rd pers. -oit coroit oient coroient

Preterite Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -ui corui -umes corumes
2nd pers. -us corus -ustes corustes
3rd pers. -u coru -urent corurent

8 Avoir and Estre

The verbs avoir and estre in Old French have two functions: they function as full
lexical elements and as auxiliairies. Avoir is, first of all, a verb of possession; in
addition it is used in a common impersonal construction (see Grammar Point 10),
and it is an important tense auxiliary (see Grammar Point 9). Estre is a lexical verb
conveying existence, a copula, and an auxiliary. The conjugations of both verbs are
as follows:

Verbal Conjugation, avoir

Present Sg. Pl.


1st pers. ai 'I have' avons
2nd pers. as avez
3rd pers. a ont

Imperfective Sg. Pl.


1st pers. avoie 'I had' avons, aviiens
2nd pers. avoies avez, aviiez
3rd pers. avoit avoient

Preterite Sg. Pl.


1st pers. oi 'I had' emes, omes
2nd pers. es, os estes, ostes
3rd pers. ot, out orent, ourent

Participles
Present participle aiant
Perfective participle es
Verbal Conjugation, estre
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Present Sg. Pl.


1st pers. sui 'I am' somes, esmes
2nd pers. es, ies, is estes
3rd pers. est sont

Imperfective (Type I) Sg. Pl.


1st pers. iere, ere 'I was' eriiens, erons
2nd pers. ieres, eres eriiez, erez
3rd pers. iert, ert ierent, erent
iere, ere

Imperfective (Type II) Sg. Pl.


1st pers. estoie 'I was' estiiens, estons
2nd pers. estoies estiiez, estez
3rd pers. estoitt estoient

Preterite Sg. Pl.


1st pers. fui 'I was' fumes
2nd pers. fus fustes
3rd pers. fu furent

Participles
Present participle estant
Perfective participle est

9 Compound Tenses

While Latin only had one auxiliary, esse, which combined with the perfective
particle (e.g., laudauts est 'he is in the state resulting from the praising'), French
from its earliest stage had two, estre and avoir, as the following examples show:

Auxiliary estre:

alez est en un verger (CdR 11)

'he went into an orchard'

murs ne citt n'est rems a fraindre (CdR 5, Lesson 1)

'there is no wall or town left to conquer'

Auxiliary avoir:

li reis m'ad tramis ses messages (CdR 181)

'the king has sent me his messages'


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set anz ad estet en Espaigne (CdR 2, Lesson 1)

'he has spent seven years in Spain'

In Old French the auxiliaries combine with the perfective participle to form four
so-called analytic verb forms or compound tenses: present perfect, past perfect (or
pluperfect), future perfect, and conditional perfect. For example:

Present Perfect: ai chant 'I have sung'


Past Perfect: avoie chant 'I had sung'
Future Perfect: avrai chant 'I will have sung'
Conditional Perfect: avroie chant 'I would have sung'
In Old French, estre is not only a tense auxiliary but a passive auxiliary as well, as
the following examples show:

estre, tense auxiliary:

alez est en un verger (CdR 11)

'he went into an orchard'

estre, passive auxiliary:

la trasun ne poet estre celee (CdR 1458)

'the treason cannot be kept secret'

In general transitive verbs combine with avoir in compound tenses, while


intransitive verbs combine with estre, as in the following examples:

Transitive verb + avoir

li reis m'ad tramis ses messages (CdR 181)

'the king has sent me his messages'

Intransitive verb + estre

alez est en un verger (CdR 11)

'he has gone into an orchard'

Some verbs combine with avoir or estre according to whether their use is
transitive or intransitive, cf.:

morir, intransitive use ('die'):

morz est Rollant (CdR 2397, this lesson)

'Roland has died'

paien sunt morz a millers (CdR 1439)


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'the pagans have died by thousands'

morir, transitive use ('kill'):

qui tei a mort France douce a honnie (CdR 2953)

'(he) who has killed you has dishonored (our) beloved France'

Reflexive verbs as a rule combine with estre in compound tenses as well, cf:

s'i est cuchet (CdR 2358, this lesson)

'he lay down'

But there are many instances with avoir, as in:

il s'a vestu

'he has put his clothes on'

With other verbs as well, there is some variation or confusion in the use of
auxliaries, cf.:

mur ne citet n'i est rems a fraindre (CdR 5, Lesson 1)

'there is no wall or town left to conquer'

en la citet nen ad rems paien (CdR 101, Lesson 1)

'in the town no pagan is left'

10 Impersonal Verbs

Impersonal verbs are verbs that ypically occur in the third person singular, with or
without a pronominal element, as in:

anuite 'it is getting dark'

il anuite 'it is getting dark'

Strictly speaking, il in this context is a pronominal element that occupies the place
of a pronominal subject, but has no semantic value (it is empty). Most instances of
impersonal verbs in Old French do not have this element.

Impersonal verbs are found in all early Indo-European languages and, while many
early Indo-European languages had numerous impersonal verbs, their number in
most languages decreased with time.

There are three types of impersonal verbs in Indo-European:

1. impersonal verbs expressing meteorological conditions and events;

2. impersonal verbs expressing emotions, feelings, and physical experience;


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3. impersonal verbs expressing modality, such as necessity.

These three types are attested in Old French; category 3 verbs increase with time.

10.1 Meteorological conditions and events

(il) anuite 'it is getting dark'

(il) avesprit 'it is getting dark'

(il) ajorne 'the day breaks'

(il) neige 'it is snowing'

(il) plove 'it is raining'

10.2 Emotions, feelings, and physical experience

(il) abelist 'it pleases'

(il) membre 'remember'

(il) remembre 'remember'

10.3 Modality, such as necessity

(il) affiert 'it is fitting'

(il) loist 'it is possible'

(il) estuet 'it is necessary'

(il) semble 'it seems'

(il) fault 'it is necessary'

(il) covient 'it is necessary'

(il) chaut 'it matters, it is important'

In addition to these impersonal verbs, there are also several impersonal


expressions in Old French, cf:

estre tart a 'to be eager'

estre avis a 'to be of the opinion'

avoir mestier a 'to be of use to, need'

The person who is undergoing the emotional or physical experience or to whom


the modality refers is referred to in the oblique case or a pronominal direct or
indirect object:
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molt est la reine tart 'the queen is very eager'

m'est avis 'it seems to me'

morir le covient 'he had to die'

ni li chalt (CdR 227) 'it does no matter to him'

The verb avoir has been glossed in this on-line course as meaning 'have, be'. Avoir,
first of all, is a verb of possession 'have', but in impersonal constructions its
meaning becomes 'be', cf.:

num ad Rollant 'he has the name Roland; he is called Roland'

grifuns i ad 'there are griffins'

The object or person that is present takes the form of an oblique case, as in the
preceding example. The constructions are found in Old French with or without il
and with or without i, cf:

ad + oblique case 'there is' --

meillor vassal n'aveit en la curt nul (CdR 231) 'there was no better knight at the
court'

i + ad + oblique case 'there is' --

bataille i ad (CdR 1791, this lesson) 'there is a battle'

grifuns i ad (CdR 2544) 'there are griffins'

n'i ad cheval (CdR 2522) 'there is no horse'

n'i ad castel (CdR 3, Lesson 1) 'there is no castle'

il + i + ad + oblique case 'there is' --

il nen i ad ne veie ne senter (CdR 2399, this lesson) 'there is no road nor path'

que il n'i ait o Franceis o paien (CdR 2401, this lesson) 'where there is no
Frenchman nor pagan"

The use of il in these constructions is rather rare in early times, but spreads in the
Middle French period; eventually the expression became fixed, including il as well
as i. It survives in Modern French as il y a 'there is'.

Lesson 3

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

Saints played an important role in everyday life in the Middle Ages. A saint is a
person who is officially recognized by the Church of Rome as having lived a
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remarkably holy life. Because of their exceptional Christian virtues, saints are
assumed to be in heaven, where they are able to intercede for sinners, those who
live a less-than-holy life.

With the calendar of saints indicating the days of the individual saints, the Church
had introduced their systematic celebration, highlighting their virtuous lives as
Christians. Because of their interceding function, saints often were patrons of
certain groups, roles that generally trace back to events in their lives. St. Nicolas,
for example, was patron saint of sailors because -- according to legends -- he had
saved sailors at one point in his life; St. Luke, who originally was believed to be a
painter and a physician, was the patron saint of painters and of physicians.
Moreover people generally were named after a saint, for whom they tended to
develop special devotion.

Outside and inside churches and houses were many statues of saints, each with its
own symbols (e.g. St. John the Evangelist with the poisoned cup to which he was
condemned). There was a strong hagiographic tradition as well: an important
number of medieval documents describe saints' lives, often written by
contemporaries or based on stories told by them.

Saints were, so to speak, omnipresent in daily life in the Middle Ages.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text for this lesson has been taken from La Vie de Saint Alexis, which dates
from the mid-11th century and relates the life of Saint Alexis, a young Roman
whose life was devoted to God. The legend of St. Alexis is rather international: it is
attested in Syria, Greece, and Western Europe. The document discussed here
presumably is based on a lengthy written tradition.

The Old French text is a poem of 625 verses, which in all probability was chanted
during the liturgy of the saint's day, July 17.

Son of an important and rich Roman senator, Alexis decides on the eve of his
wedding to leave Rome and live with the poor. Having distributed his possessions
among the poor, he lives for seventeen years in Edessa, spending his days as a
beggar. When the locals come to consider him a saint, he leaves the town on a ship
and eventually ends up in Ostia, a port close to Rome. In the streets of Rome he
encounters his father, who fails to recognize him. Alexis asks to be taken into the
household. His father accepts, and Alexis stays there for another seventeen years
without being recognized by his family, living as a pauper under the staircase.
Refusing to reveal his identity, he sees how his parents and his wife grieve his loss.
He patiently undergoes the physical torments he imposes upon himself and the
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pestering by his father's men. After seventeen years he feels that he is about to die
and he calls for his servant: he will write a letter explaining the situation and
revealing his indentity. Shortly after his death, the letter is discovered and Alexis is
recognized as a saintly figure.

The fragments below describe how Alexis, after seventeen years, returns to Rome
and asks his father to take him into his house. They also describe how his parents
and his wife fail to recognize him, and spend their time grieving their lost son and
husband.

A un des porz ki plus est pres de Rome,


Iloec arivet la nef a cel saint home.

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- in

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- one

des -- preposition; <de> of, from + definite article; oblique plural masculine <li>
the -- of the

porz -- noun; oblique plural <port> harbour, port -- ports

ki -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> that -- that

plus est pres de -- adverb; <plus> more + verb; third person singular present
<estre, iestre, aistre> be + preposition; <pres de> close to -- is closest to

Rome -- proper name; oblique singular <Rome> Rome -- Rome

iloec -- adverb; <iluec, ilec, iluoc> there -- there

arivet -- verb; third person singular present <ariver> arrive -- arrives

la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- the

nef -- noun; nominative singular <nef> ship -- ship

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- of

cel -- demonstrative; oblique singular masculine <cil> that -- that

saint -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <saint> holy -- holy

home -- noun; oblique singular <home, ome> man -- man

Quant vit sun regne, durement s'en redutet


De ses parenz, qued il nel recunuissent
E de l'honur del secle ne l'encumbrent.

quant -- conjunction; <quant> when -- when

vit -- verb; third person singular preterite <veoir> see -- he saw


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sun -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

regne -- noun; oblique singular <regne> kingdom, country -- country

durement -- adverb; <durement> greatly, sorely, very -- very

s'en redutet -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object <se> he +
pronoun; inanimate <en> of it + verb; third person singular present <redoter> be
afraid, fear -- he is worried

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- about

ses -- possessive; third person singular oblique plural masculine <son> his -- his

parenz -- noun; oblique plural <parent> father, parent -- parents

qued -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

il -- personal pronoun; third person plural nominative masculine <il> they -- they

nel -- negation; <ne, nen> not + personal pronoun; third person singular direct
object masculine <il> he -- him...

recunuissent -- verb; third person plural subjunctive present <reconoistre>


recognize -- recognize

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...

l'honur -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the + noun; oblique
singular <onor, enor, anor> honor, respect, esteem, fief -- honors

del -- preposition; <de> of, from + definite article; oblique singular masculine <li>
the -- of the

secle -- noun; oblique singular <siecle, secle, seule> earthly life, world -- world

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- ...

l'encumbrent -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine


<il> he + verb; third person plural subjunctive present <encombrer> overload --
overload him with

Eist de la nef e vint andreit a Rome;

eist -- verb; third person singular present <issir> go out, come out -- he leaves

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the


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nef -- noun; oblique singular <nef> ship -- ship

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

vint -- verb; third person singular preterite <venir> come, go -- went

andreit -- adverb; <endreit> precisely, right, immediately -- directly

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

Rome -- proper name; oblique singular <Rome> Rome -- Rome

Vait par les rues dunt il ja bien fut cointe,


Altra pur altre, mais sun pedre i ancuntret,

vait -- verb; third person singular present <aler> go -- he goes

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- through

les -- definite article; oblique plural feminine <li> the -- the

rues -- noun; oblique plural <rue> street, village -- streets

dunt -- relative pronoun; <dont, dunt> of whom, of which, whose -- with which

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

ja -- adverb; <ja, jai> now, already, at once -- already

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- very

fut -- verb; third person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was

cointe -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <cointe> refined, clever,


elegant -- familiar

altra pur altre -- indefinite adjective; oblique singular feminine <altre> other +
preposition; <por> for + indefinite adjective; oblique singular feminine <altre>
other -- one after the other

mais -- conjunction; <mais> more, further, rather -- eventually

sun -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

pedre -- noun; oblique singular <pere> father -- father

i -- particle; <i> there -- there

ancuntret -- verb; third person singular present <encontrer> meet -- he runs


into

Ansembl'ot lui grant masse de ses humes;


Sil reconut, par sun dreit num le numet.
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ansembl'ot -- preposition; <ensemble od> together with -- together with... (is)

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
him

grant -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- large

masse -- noun; nominative singular <masse> mass -- group

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

ses -- possessive; third person singular oblique plural masculine <son> his -- his

humes -- noun; oblique plural <home, ome> man -- men

sil -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus + personal pronoun; third person singular
direct object masculine <il> he -- and... him

reconut -- verb; third person singular preterite <reconoistre> recognize -- he


recognized

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- by

sun -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

dreit -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <droit> direct, right, proper --


proper

num -- noun; oblique singular <nom, non> name, title -- name

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --


him

numet -- verb; third person singular present <nomer> name, call -- he calls

"Eufemen, bel sire, riches hom,


Quar me herberges pur Deu an ta maison;

Eufemen -- proper name; nominative singular <Eufemen> Eufemien --


Eufemien

bel -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome --


dear

sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- lord

riches -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <riche> powerful, strong,


generous -- powerful

hom -- noun; nominative singular <home, ome> man -- man

quar -- conjunction; <quar, car> for, because -- ...


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me -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

herberges -- verb; second person singular subjunctive present <herbergier> lodge,


shelter, receive as guest -- may you lodge

pur -- preposition; <por> for -- for the sake of

Deu -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

an -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

ta -- possessive; second person singular oblique singular feminine <ton> your --


your

maison -- noun; oblique singular <maison> house -- house

Suz tun degrt me fai un grabatum


Empur tun filz dunt tu as tel dolur;

suz -- preposition; <sos, soz> under -- under

tun -- possessive; second person singular oblique singular masculine <ton> your
-- your

degrt -- noun; oblique singular <degr> staircase -- staircase

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular indirect object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

fai -- verb; second person singular imperative <faire> make -- make

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- a

grabatum -- noun; oblique singular <grabatum> simple bed -- simple bed

empur -- preposition; <enpur, anpur> for the sake of -- for the sake of

tun -- possessive; second person singular oblique singular masculine <ton> your
-- your

filz -- noun; oblique singular <fil> son -- son

dunt -- relative pronoun; <dont, dunt> of whom, of which, whose -- about


whom

tu -- personal pronoun; second person singular nominative <tu> you -- you

as -- verb; second person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- have

tel -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <tel> such -- such

dolur -- noun; oblique singular <dolor> pain, suffering -- grief

Tut soi amferm, sim pais pur sue amor".


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tut -- adverb; <tot> entirely -- utterly

soi -- verb; first person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- I am

amferm -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <enferm> ill, crippled, weak,


unhealthy -- weak

sim -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus + personal pronoun; first person singular
direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- and thus... me

pais -- verb; second person singular imperative <paistre, pestre> feed -- feed

pur -- preposition; <por> for -- for

sue -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his

amor -- noun; oblique singular <amor> love -- love

Quant ot li pedre le clamor de sun filz,


Plurent si oil, ne s'en puet astenir:

quant -- conjunction; <quant> when -- when

ot -- verb; third person singular present <oir, odir> hear -- hears

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

pedre -- noun; nominative singular <pere> father -- father

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

clamor -- noun; oblique singular <clameor> appeal -- appeal

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

sun -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

filz -- noun; oblique singular <fil> son -- son

plurent -- verb; third person plural present <plorer> cry, shed tears -- shed tears

si -- possessive; third person singular nominative plural masculine <son> his --


his

oil -- noun; nominative plural <oeuil, oil> eye -- eyes

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

s'en -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object <se> he + pronoun;
inanimate <en> of it -- himself...

puet -- verb; third person singular present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able -- he
can
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astenir -- verb; infinitive <astenir> keep from -- contain

"Por amor Deu e pur mun cher ami,


Tut te durai, boens hom, quanque m'as quis,
Lit ed ostel e pain e carn e vin".

por -- preposition; <por> for -- for

amor -- noun; oblique singular <amor> love -- the love

Deu -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- of God

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

pur -- preposition; <por> for -- for

mun -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular masculine <mon> my --


my

cher -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <cher> beloved, expensive --


beloved

ami -- noun; object singular <ami> friend -- friend

tut -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- all

te -- personal pronoun; second person singular indirect object <tu> you -- you

durai -- verb; first person singular future <doner> give -- I will give

boens -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bon> good -- good

hom -- noun; nominative singular <home, ome> man -- man

quanque -- pronoun; <quanque> all that -- ...

m'as -- personal pronoun; first person singular indirect object <jo, jou, jeu> I +
verb; second person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- you have... me

quis -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <quere, querre> look
for, want, ask -- asked for

lit -- noun; oblique singular <lit> bed -- a bed

ed -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

ostel -- noun; oblique singular <ostel> house, dwelling -- lodging

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

pain -- noun; oblique singular <pain> bread -- bread

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and


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carn -- noun; oblique singular <charn, char> flesh, meat -- meat

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

vin -- noun; oblique singular <vin> wine -- wine

Sovent le virent e le pedre e le medra,


E la pulcele quet il out espusede:
Par nule guise unces ne l'aviserent;

sovent -- adverb; <sovent> frequently, often -- often

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --


him

virent -- verb; third person plural preterite <veoir> see -- they saw

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- ...

le -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- his # case form is
rather exceptional in this instance

pedre -- noun; nominative singular <pere> father -- father

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

le -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- his # case form and
gender distribution are rather exceptional in this instance

medra -- noun; nominative singular <mere> mother -- mother

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- the

pulcele -- noun; nominative singular <pucele> girl, servant, maiden -- girl

quet -- relative pronoun; oblique <qui> who -- whom

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

out -- verb; third person singular preterite <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had

espusede -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular feminine <esposer> marry


-- married

par nule guise unces -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of + adjective;
oblique singular feminine <nul> no, not any + noun; oblique singular <guise>
way, manner + adverb; <onques> once, ever -- never in any way

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- ...

l'aviserent -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il>
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he + verb; third person plural preterite <aviser> look at, see, recognize, appreciate
-- they recognized him

N'il ne lur dist, ne il nel demanderent,


Quels hom esteit ne de quel terre il eret.

n'il -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not + personal pronoun; third person singular
nominative masculine <il> he -- he...

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

lur -- personal pronoun; third person plural indirect object <il> they -- them

dist -- verb; third person singular preterite <dire> say, tell -- did... tell

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- and...

il -- personal pronoun; third person plural nominative masculine <il> they -- they

nel -- negation; <ne, nen> not + personal pronoun; third person singular direct
object masculine <il> he -- not...

demanderent -- verb; third person plural preterite <demander> ask, ask for --
did... ask

quels -- interrogative; nominative singular masculine <quel> what -- who

hom -- noun; nominative singular <home, ome> man -- ...

esteit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- he


was

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- nor

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- from

quel -- interrogative; oblique singular feminine <quel> what -- what

terre -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- country

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

eret -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- came

Soventes feiz lur veit grant duel mener


E de lur oilz mult tendrement plurer,
E tut pur lui, unces nent pur eil.

soventes -- adjective; oblique plural feminine <sovent> many -- many

feiz -- noun; oblique plural <feiz, veiz> time -- times

lur -- personal pronoun; third person plural indirect object <il> they -- them
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veit -- verb; third person singular present <veoir> see -- he sees

grant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

duel -- noun; oblique singular <dol, duel> suffering, grief -- grief

mener -- verb; infinitive <mener> take, lead, show -- display

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- from

lur -- possessive; third person plural oblique plural masculine <lor, leur> their --
their

oilz -- noun; oblique plural <oeuil, oil> eye -- eyes

mult -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- great

tendrement -- adverb; <tendrement> tenderly -- with tenderness

plurer -- verb; infinitive <plorer> cry, shed tears -- shed tears

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- ...

tut -- adverb; <tot> entirely -- entirely

pur -- preposition; <por> for -- for

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
him

unces nent -- adverb; <onques> once, ever + adverb; <nent> not at all -- never

pur -- preposition; <por> for -- for

eil -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object <il> they -- themselves

Danz Alexis le met el consirrer;


Ne l'en est rien, si'st a Deu aturnt.

danz -- noun; nominative singular <dam, dan> sir, lord -- sir

Alexis -- proper name; nominative singular <Alexis> Alexis -- Alexis

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it

met -- verb; third person singular present <metre, mectre, mettre> put -- takes

el -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of + definite article; oblique singular
masculine <li> the -- in...

consirrer -- verb; infinitive <conserrer, consirrer> deprive, resign -- resignation

ne l'en est rien -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not + personal pronoun; third
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person singular indirect object masculine <il> he + pronoun; inanimate <en> of it


+ verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be + indefinite
pronoun; <rien> anything -- it does not matter

si'st -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much + verb; third person singular
present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- that much... he is

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

Deu -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

aturnt -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <atorner>


turn, prepare -- turned

Soz le degrt ou il gist sur sa nate,


Iluec paist l'um del relef de sa tabla.

soz -- preposition; <sos, soz> under -- under

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

degrt -- noun; oblique singular <degr> staircase -- staircase

ou -- relative pronoun; <ou, u> where -- where

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

gist -- verb; third person singular present <gesir> lie -- lies

sur -- preposition; <seur, soure, sur, sor> on, over, to, above -- on

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his

nate -- noun; oblique singular <nate> matting -- matting

iluec -- adverb; <iluec, ilec, iluoc> there -- there

paist -- verb; third person singular present <paistre, pestre> feed -- feed

l'um -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the + personal


pronoun; nominative singular <om, on> one -- they

del -- preposition; <de> of, from + definite article; oblique singular masculine <li>
the -- of the

relef -- noun; oblique singular <relef> remains, scraps -- remains

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- the

tabla -- noun; oblique singular <table> table -- table

A grant poverte deduit sun grant parage;


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Co ne volt il que sa mere le sacet:


Plus aimet Deu que trestut sun linage.

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- in

grant -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

poverte -- noun; oblique singular <povert> poverty, misery -- poverty

deduit -- verb; third person singular present <deduire> lead, live -- he lives

sun -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

grant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <grant> great, large, tall -- high

parage -- noun; oblique singular <parage> family, origin, rank -- social rank

co -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <co, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it -- ...

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

volt -- verb; third person singular present <voloir> want -- does want

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- ...

sa -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular feminine <son> his --


his

mere -- noun; nominative singular <mere> mother -- mother

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- ...

sacet -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <savoir> know -- to know

plus -- adverb; <plus> more -- more

aimet -- verb; third person singular present <amer> love -- he loves

Deu -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

que -- conjunction; <que> than -- than

trestut -- reinforcing element; <tres> ... + adjective; oblique singular masculine


<tot> all, every, completely -- entire

sun -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

linage -- noun; oblique singular <lignage> lineage, family -- lineage

Trent'e quatre anz ad si sun cors pent:


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Deus sun servise li volt guereduner:


Mult li angreget la sue anfermett.

trent'e quatre -- numeral; <trente et quatre> thirty four -- thirty four

anz -- noun; oblique plural <an> year -- during... years

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- he has

si -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much -- that way

sun -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

cors -- noun; oblique singular <cors> body -- body

pent -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <pener> torture,


suffer -- tortured

Deus -- proper name; nominative singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

sun -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

servise -- noun; oblique singular <servise> devotion, favor, task -- devotion

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


...

volt -- verb; third person singular present <voloir> want -- wants

guereduner -- verb; infinitive <guerredoner> reward -- to reward

mult -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- much

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


for him

angreget -- verb; third person singular present <angregier> grow worse, become
more painful -- becomes more painful

la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- ...

sue -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular feminine <son> his --
his

anfermett -- noun; nominative singular <enfermet> physical or moral weakness,


illness -- physical weakness

Or set il bien qued il s'en deit aler:


Cel son servant ad a sei apelt.

or -- adverb; <or> now -- now


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set -- verb; third person singular present <savoir> know -- knows

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- well

qued -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

s'en deit aler -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object <se> he +
pronoun; inanimate <en> of it + verb; third person singular present <devoir>
have to + verb; infinitive <aler> go -- has to die

cel -- demonstrative; oblique singular masculine <cil> that -- ...

son -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

servant -- noun; oblique singular <servant> servant -- servant

ad -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- he has

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

sei -- pronoun personal; third person singular direct object <se> he -- him

apelt -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <apeler> accuse,


summon, call -- called to see

Lesson Text

A un des porz ki plus est pres de Rome,


Iloec arivet la nef a cel saint home. Quant vit sun regne, durement s'en redutet
De ses parenz, qued il nel recunuissent
E de l'honur del secle ne l'encumbrent. Eist de la nef e vint andreit a Rome; Vait
par les rues dunt il ja bien fut cointe,
Altra pur altre, mais sun pedre i ancuntret, Ansembl'ot lui grant masse de ses
humes;
Sil reconut, par sun dreit num le numet. "Eufemen, bel sire, riches hom,
Quar me herberges pur Deu an ta maison; Suz tun degrt me fai un grabatum
Empur tun filz dunt tu as tel dolur; Tut soi amferm, sim pais pur sue amor". Quant
ot li pedre le clamor de sun filz,
Plurent si oil, ne s'en puet astenir: "Por amor Deu e pur mun cher ami,
Tut te durai, boens hom, quanque m'as quis,
Lit ed ostel e pain e carn e vin". Sovent le virent e le pedre e le medra,
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E la pulcele quet il out espusede:


Par nule guise unces ne l'aviserent; N'il ne lur dist, ne il nel demanderent,
Quels hom esteit ne de quel terre il eret. Soventes feiz lur veit grant duel mener
E de lur oilz mult tendrement plurer,
E tut pur lui, unces nent pur eil. Danz Alexis le met el consirrer;
Ne l'en est rien, si'st a Deu aturnt. Soz le degrt ou il gist sur sa nate,
Iluec paist l'um del relef de sa tabla. A grant poverte deduit sun grant parage;
Co ne volt il que sa mere le sacet:
Plus aimet Deu que trestut sun linage. Trent'e quatre anz ad si sun cors pent:
Deus sun servise li volt guereduner:
Mult li angreget la sue anfermett. Or set il bien qued il s'en deit aler:
Cel son servant ad a sei apelt.

Translation

In one of the ports that is closest to Rome,


There the ship of that holy man arrives.
When he saw his country, he is very worried
About his parents, that they recognize him
And overload him with the honors of the world.

He leaves the ship and went directly to Rome;


He goes through the streets with which he was already very familiar,
One after the other, eventually he there runs into his father,
Together with him is a large group of his men;
And he recognized him, he calls him by his proper name.

"Eufemien, dear Lord, powerful man,


may you lodge me in your house for the sake of God;
Make me a simple bed under your staircase
For the sake of your son, about whom you have such grief;
I am utterly weak and thus feed me for his love".

When the father hears the appeal of his son,


His eyes shed tears, he cannot contain himself:
"For the love of God and for my beloved friend,
I will give you, good man, all you have asked me for,
A bed and lodging and bread and meat and wine."

They saw him often, his father and his mother,


And the girl whom he had married:
They never recognized him in any way;
He did not tell them, and they did not ask,
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Who he was nor what country he came from.

Many times he sees them display great grief


And shed tears from their eyes with great tenderness,
Entirely for him, never for themselves.
Sir Alexis takes it in resignation;
It does not matter, that much he is turned to God.

Under the staircase where he lies on his matting,


There they feed him of the remains of the table.
In great poverty he lives his high social rank;
He does not want his mother to know:
He loves God more than his entire lineage.

He has tortured his body that way during thirty-four years:


God wants to reward his devotion:
His physical weakness becomes much more painful for him.
He now knows well that he has to die:
He has called his servant to see him.

Grammar

11 Past Tenses: Uses

In the previous lesson it was said that Old French had an imperfect tense (Fr.
imparfait, e.g. chantoie 'I was singing'), a preterite (Fr. passe/ simple or passe/
de/fini, e.g. chantai 'I sang'), and a compound past tense, the perfective present
(e.g. ai chant 'I have sung').

The actual uses of these forms will be discussed in the following paragraphs. It is,
however, necessary to include in this discussion the present as well, because that
tense is often used as a so-called historical present.

The student may have noticed in the fragments analyzed so far that the present
and the three past tenses may alternate in any given sentence, as for example:

(a) the present and the preterite:

Karles l'ot e ses Franceis l'entendent (CdR 1788, Lesson 2)


'Charles heard (Pret.) him and his subjects hear (Pres.) him'
(b) the compound tense and the preterite:

Carles li reis, ...,


Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:
Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne (CdR 1-3, Lesson 1)
'Charles the king, ...,
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has been in Spain a full seven years:


he conquered (Pret.) the high land up to the sea'
The use of tenses was less strict in early medieval texts than it became from the
13th century onward. Yet even in the early period tense use was not chaotic; there
were definite tendencies:

(a) imperfect:

refers to past action and state;

refers to actions that are durative or repeted;

refers to habits;

refers to actions that typically are not completed;

in later texts the imperfect may also be used to refer to permanent qualities of
persons or objects (see also [b]);

the imperfect in Old French is less frequent than in later times and is often
replaced by the preterite.

Examples:

il nel demanderent
Quels hom esteit ne de quel terre il eret (Al. 239-240, this lesson)
'they did (Pret.) not ask him,
Who he was (Impf.) nor what country he was (Impf.) from'
(b) preterite:

refers to (completed) actions in the past that have no link with the present;

is typically found in reference to a sequence of events;

refers to permanent characteristics of persons or objects (later to be replaced by


the imperfect in this use; cf. [a]);

may replace the imperfect.

Examples:

Blancandrins vint devant Marsiliun (CdR 414)


'Blancandrin came (Pret.) to see Marsile'

vairs out les oilz et molt fier lu visage (CdR 283)


'he had (Pret.) grey-blue eyes and a proud face'

li quens Rollant fut noble guerrer (CdR 2066)


'Count Roland was (Pret.) a noble warrior'
(c) compound tense:
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refers to action in state of completion;

refers to actions that took place in the past, but have an impact on the present;

refers to action of the past, just like the preterite.

Examples:

Carles li reis, ... ,


Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne (CdR 1, Lesson 1)
'Charles the king, ...,
has been in Spain a full seven years'
[and now he is on his way back to France]
(d) historical present:

refers to actions that took place in the past as if they are taking place at the
moment of narration, enhancing the dramatic effects or liveliness of style;

emotional moments in the text often are in the historical present.

Examples:

In a story set in the past, one finds:

E Deu apelent andui parfitement (Al. 22)


'And they both beseeched (Pres.) God perfectly'
Changes in tense use often mark a dramatic moment in the text; cf:

Quant vit sun regne, durement s'en redutet ... (Al. 198, this lesson)
'When he saw (Pret.) his country, he was (Pres.) very worried'

Puis converserent ansemble longament:


N'ourent amfant, peiset lur en forment, (Al. 21-22)
'Then they lived (Pret.) together for a long time,
they had (Pret.) no children, which was (Pres.) a great grief to them'

12 Definite Article: Forms

The definite article in Old French has the following paradigm:

Definite Article

Masc. Sg. Masc. Pl. Fem. Sg. Fem. Pl.


Nom. li li la les
Obl. le, lo les la les
The vowel of singular forms often disappears in front of another vowel (elision);
cf.:

l'ami 'the friend' (Obl. Sg. Masc.)


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l'amie 'the friend'(Nom./Obl. Sg. Fem.)


As a rule there is no elision in the nominative singular masculine and in the plural:

li amis 'the friend' (Nom. Sg. Masc.)


li ami 'the friends' (Nom. Pl. Masc.)
In sequences that include a preposition, a definite article, and a noun starting with
a consonant, the definite article le and les may combine with the preposition
(enclisis); cf:

a + le > al, au
a + les > as, aus, aux

de + le > del, dou, du


de + les > des

en + le > el, eu, ou, u


en + les > es

13 Definite Article: Uses

Latin did not have definite articles, but in the shift from Latin to the Romance
languages definite articles developed out of Latin demonstratives. For French --
with the exception of a few dialects -- the definite article traces back to the Latin
demonstrative ille 'that'.

Whereas the use of definite articles in modern French has become


almostautomatic, its use in medieval French is motivated. Because of
inconsistencies, linguists so far have not been able to pinpoint the precise "rules,"
but there are definite tendencies.

The definite article in Old French is used when the element in question is known
either because it has already been mentioned, or because it is generally known; cf.:

Rollant ad mis l'olifan a sa buche (CdR 1753, Lesson 2)


'Roland has put the horn to his mouth'
In this example reference is made to the horn about which there has been much
discussion already. Similarly,

Li empereres se fait ... balz (CdR 96, Lesson 1)


'the emperor is ebullient'
The emperor is Charlemagne, who from the beginning of the document is the
main character.

In the following example reference is made to la feste seint Martin, which is


generally known in the Middle Ages:
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Vos le sivrez a la feste seint Michel (CdR 37)


'you will follow him on the holiday of St. Michael'
A noun may also refer to a unique phenomenon, e.g. the world:

Bons fut le secles ... (Al. 1)


'Good was the world ...'
On the whole there is no definite article when the noun has generic value, as in:

Fers e acers i deit aveir valor (CdR 1362)


'it is iron and steel that have value'
There is no definite article when the noun is an abstract noun; cf.:

el num la virgine ki portat salvett (Al. 89)


'in the name of the Virgin, who brought salvation'

cum fort pect m'apresset! (Al. 59)


'how much sin is tempting me!'
There is no article when the noun refers to a country; cf.:

de dulce France i ad quinze milliers (CdR 109, Lesson 1)


'from our beloved France there are fifteen thousand men'
Before the 13th century there generally is no article when the noun refers to
peoples or groups of people; cf.:

Franceis i unt ferut de coeur e de vigur;


Paien sunt morz a millers (CdR 1438-1439)
'the French have been striking there with zeal and strength;
the pagans have died by thousands'
There are a number of expressions including a verb and a direct object in which
the noun does not combine with an article, such as:

merci crier 'beg for mercy'


messe esculter 'go to mass' (lit.: to mass listen)
guerre commencer 'start war'
merci aveir 'have mercy'
There is no definite article in adverbial expressions introduced by a preposition;
cf.:

a grant poverte deduit sun grant parage (Al. 248, this lesson)
'in great povery he lives his high social rank'
In an ennumeration a noun may be ommited, leaving the definite article behind;
cf.:

al tens No ed al tens Abraham ed al David (Al. 6-7)


'in the time of Noah and in the time of Abraham and in that of David'
The definite article combines often with titles and proper names; cf.:
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Li reis Marsilie (CdR 10, Lesson 1)


'King Marsilie'

Li quens Rollant (CdR 1785, Lesson 2)


'Count Roland'
Definite articles may combine with possessives; cf.:

par le men escentre (CdR 1791, Lesson 2)


'to my knowledge'

la tue amurs (CdR 3107)


'your love'

la sue anfermett (Al. 278, this lesson)


'his physical weakness'

14 The Subjunctive: Forms

Old French is characterized by the productive use of the present and past
subjunctive. The formation of the two subjunctives is based on two different
stems. The present subjunctive is based on the present stem, which also is found
in the first person plural indicative; cf.:

Formation of the Present Subjunctive

Inf. Pres. Part. 1st Pl. Pres. Pres. Subju.


chanter chantant chantons chant
fenir fenissant fenissons fenisse
partir partant partons parte
The imperfect subjunctive is based on the perfective stem, found in the past
(perfective) participle and the preterite as well; cf.:

Formation of the Imperfective Subjunctive

Inf. Past Part. Pret. Impf. Subju.


chanter chant chantai chantasse
fenir feni fenis fenisse
partir parti parti partisse
From a historical perspective, Old French chantasse traces directly to Latin
cantavissem (cantav-issem), and like the preterite is based on the perfective stem
of the verb: chantai for example traces back to Latin cantavi (cantav-i). The Old
French past (or perfective) participle has the same stem as well, because it is based
on the Latin perfective stem. This is especially clear in Latin verbs like relinquere
'leave', which have -n- in its present stem, but not in the perfective stem; cf.
relinquo 'I leave' vs. reliqui 'I have left', relinquens 'leave-Pres. Part.' vs. relictus
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'leave-Pf. Part.'.

The present and imperfect forms of the subjunctive for the various conjugations
are as follows.

14.1 Present subjunctive

Present Subjunctive, Verbs in -er (chanter, e.g. chant 'that I may sing') --

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers.- chant -ons chantons
-iens chantiens
2nd pers. -s chanz -iez chantez
3rd pers. -t chant -ent chantent
Present Subjunctive, Verbs in -ir with infix (fenir, e.g. fenisse 'that I may end') --

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -isse fenisse -issons fenissons
-issiens fenissiens
2nd pers. -isses fenisses -iss(i)ez feniss(i)ez
3rd pers. -isse fenisse -issent fenissent
Present Subjunctive, Verbs in -ir without infix (partir, e.g. parte 'that I may
leave') --

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -e parte -ons partons
-iens partiens
2nd pers. -es partes -ez partez
3rd pers. -e parte -ent partent
Present Subjunctive, Verbs in -re (corre, e.g. corre 'that I may run') --

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -e corre -ons corons
2nd pers. -es cores -ez corez
3rd pers. -e core -ent corent

14.2 Imperfective subjunctive

Imperfective Subjunctive, Verbs in -er (chanter, e.g. chantasse 'that I sang') --

Imperfective Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -asse chantasse -issons chantissons
-issiens chantissiens
2nd pers. -asses chantasses -issoiz chantissoiz
-iss(i)ez chantiss(i)ez
3rd pers. -ast chantast -assent chantassent
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Imperfective Subjunctive, Verbs in -ir with infix (fenir, e.g. fenisse 'that I ended')
--

Imperfective Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -isse fenisse -issons fenissons
-issiens fenissiens
2nd pers. -isses fenisses -issoiz fenissoiz
-iss(i)ez feniss(i)ez
3rd pers. -ist fenist -issent fenissent
Imperfective Subjunctive, Verbs in -ir without infix (partir, e.g. partisse 'that I
left') --

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -isse partisse -issons partissons
-issiens partissiens
2nd pers. -isses partisses -iss(i)ez partiss(i)ez
3rd pers. -ist partist -issent partissent
Imperfective Subjunctive, Verbs in -re (corre, e.g. corusse 'that I ran') --

Present Ending Sg. Ending Pl.


1st pers. -usse corusse -ussons corussons
2nd pers. -usses corusses -ussoiz corussoiz
-uss(i)ez coruss(i)ez
3rd pers. -ust corust -ussent corussent

15 The Subjunctive: Uses

The subjunctive is a mood that expresses the speaker's attitude towards the action
conveyed by the verb: fear, anger, wish, and so forth. The indicative, by contrast,
refers to a plain fact. Compare the following two examples:

Li reis me done cunseil


'the king gives me advice'
In this example the speaker makes a simple observation of something that is
happening. In the next example the speaker expresses his wish that the event
expressed by the verb will take place; cf:

Que Deus pares me duinst


'(that) God give me access to Heaven'
In Modern French, the use of the subjunctive in main clauses is limited to one or
two fixed expressions (e.g. vive la France 'long live France') and to constructions
introduced by the particle que 'that', expressing wishes or orders; cf., for example,
que personne ne sorte 'nobody should go out'.

In Old French, the use of the subjunctive was more widespread. First, the present
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as well as imperfect subjunctive were both very much alive. Second, the
subjunctive was freely used in subordinate as well as main clauses and its
occurrence was semantically motivated.

In main clauses the subjunctive typically expresses wishes and orders, and may or
may not be combined with the particle que, si, or car:

filz, la tue aname el ciel seit absoluthe! (Al. 410)


'son, may your soul be free in heaven!'

si m'at Deus
'God help me'

de vos ait Deus mercit! (CdR 1855)


'may God have pity upon you'

Deus li otreit seinte benecun! (CdR 2245)


'may God give him his blessing'

paien, mal aies tu!


'heathen, be damned (lit.: have [Subju.] misery)!'

quar me herberges ... an ta maison (Al. 217, this lesson)


'may you lodge me in your house'
The second person subjunctive could also function as an imperative marked for its
politeness (see Grammar Point 16, Lesson 4).

In subordinate clauses, the subjunctive occurs:

after verbs expressing a wish; cf.:

il voelt veirement que Carles diet (CdR 2362-2363)


'he really wants that Charles said ...'

priet Deu que pares li duinst (CdR 2241)


'he prays to God that He give him access to heaven'
after verbs expressing the notion of 'thinking', e.g. penser 'think', m'est avis 'it
seems to me', cuider 'think', croire 'believe'; cf.:

ne sai le lieu ... u t'alge querre (Al. 133-134)


'I do not know the place where to look (Subju.) for you'
after verbs expressing an order:

je vos defend que n'i adeist nuls hom (CdR 2437)


'I order you that no one get (Subju.) close'
after verbs expressing doubt, possibility, or necessity; cf.:
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se mei lest, si t'osse guardt (Al. 490)


'if it had been allowed, I would have protected you'
after verbs expressing fear; cf.:

durement s'en redutet..., qued il nel recunuissent (Al. 198-199, this lesson)
'he is very worried that they [might] recognize (Subju.) him'
in indirect interrogative constructions, especially after a negation:

ne set qu'il face


'he does not know what to do (Subju.)'
after negated or hypothetical clauses; cf.:

n'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne (CdR 4, Lesson 1)


'there is no castle that resists (Subju.) him'

nuls n'en i at ki n'alget malendus (Al. 554)


'there is nobody who leaves (Subju.) in bad shape'
in adverbial clauses expressing time and referring to future events; cf.:

n'en descendrat ...


enceis qu'en seient .VII.C. espees traites (CdR 810-811)
'he will not come down
before seven hundred swords have been (Subju.) unsheathed'

Lesson 4

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

As noted in the Introduction to Lesson 3, Old French literature includes several


works that praise the lives or martyrdom of saints. Although most saints were
historical figures, a few were instead the product of popular imagination. One of
the latter figures was, in all likelihood, Saint Eulalia, whose martyrdom shows
striking similarities with that of St. Agnes, a young Roman martyr.

According to popular belief, St. Eulalia of Mrida (a.k.a. St. Eulalia of Barcelona)
was a saint and martyr who died in 304 at the age of twelve under Maximian, ruler
under Emperor Diocletian. In 304, Christianity was not yet the official religion of
the Roman Empire.

In 878, bones were identified in Barcelona as those of St. Eulalia, which triggered
the saint's cult there and in France as well. In Spain, St. Eulalia was one of the
most popular saints. In art she typically is represented with the martyr's palm, and
often a dove flies out of her mouth. Our text selection will show why she is
represented in that way.
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Reading and Textual Analysis

The text of this lesson, La Cantilne de Sainte Eulalie, is one of the earliest Old
French documents. Like the previous document, it has a liturgical background and
was in fact a hymn written to praise the Christian virtues of the saint in question.
The hymn praises the saint's stamina: her Christian faith and her love of God
remain unshaken in the face of material temptations, threats of torture, and
ultimately physical suffering. Having survived the flames, she eventually is
decapitated and her soul goes straight to heaven. The narrator then invites readers
and listeners to pray that St. Eulalia will intercede on their behalf.

For various scholarly reasons it has been assumed that the text dates from 882
and was written in the north of France. There is no consensus among scholars
whether this text is a poem or, rather, poetic prose. Earlier Latin texts may have
been a source of inspiration for this document. The reader will notice a relatively
high incidence of Latin words in this hymn, which counts only 29 lines (e.g.
anima, clementia, post, or Christus). The use of cases is more consistent than we
have noticed in the texts discussed so far.

The text also has a number of archaisms in word order patterns, cf. the sequence
genitive + noun as in li Deo inimi, the sequence direct object + verb as in qu'elle
Deo raneiet, or the sequence direct object + infinitive as in volt lo seule lazsier (see
also Grammar Point 17). The syntactic structures are more complex than they have
been so far: there are several rather complex subordinate constructions involving
a subjunctive form of the verb, e.g. elle no'nt eskoltet les ... conselliers qu'elle Deo
raneiet or il li enortet, dont lei nonque chielt, qued elle fuiet lo nom..., ell'ent
aduret lo ... element.

The nothern origin of the text is illustrated by a certain number of features, for
example retention of [k] before [a] as in cose 'thing', but chief 'head' with a
palatalized initial consonant.

Buona pulcella fut Eulalia,


Bel auret corps, bellezour anima.

buona -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <bon> good -- good

pulcella -- noun; nominative singular <pucele> girl, servant, maiden -- a girl

fut -- verb; third person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was

Eulalia -- proper name; nominative singular <Eulalia> Eulalia -- Eulalia

bel -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome --


beautiful
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auret -- verb; third person singular pluperfect <avoir, aveir> have, be -- she had
# very unusual form which traces back to Latin habuerat 3rd sg. pluperfect 'she
had had'; had preterite value in Old French

corps -- noun; oblique singular <cors> body -- a body

bellezour -- adjective; comparative oblique singular feminine <bel> dear, beloved,


handsome -- more beautiful

anima -- noun; oblique singular <anima> soul -- a soul # Latin word anima,
animae

Voldrent la veintre li Deo inimi,


Voldrent la faire diaule servir.

voldrent -- verb; third person plural pluperfect <voloir> want -- wanted # very
unusual form which traces back to Latin voluerant 3rd pl. pluperfect 'they had
wanted'; had preterite value in Old French

la -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object feminine <il> he -- her

veintre -- verb; infinitive <veintre> vanquish, conquer, overcome -- overcome

li -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the

Deo -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- of God

inimi -- noun; nominative plural <enemi> enemy, devil -- enemies

voldrent -- verb; third person plural pluperfect <voloir> want -- they wanted #
very unusual form which traces back to Latin voluerant 3rd pl. pluperfect 'they
had wanted'; had preterite value in Old French

la -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object feminine <il> he -- her

faire -- verb; infinitive <faire> make -- to make

diaule -- noun; oblique singular <deable, diavle> devil -- the devil

servir -- verb; infinitive <servir> serve -- serve

Elle no'nt eskoltet les mals conselliers


Qu'elle Deo raneiet chi maent sus en ciel.

elle -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative feminine <il> he -- she

no'nt -- negation; <non> not + adverb; <ent, end> subsequently -- not...

eskoltet -- verb; third person singular present <escolter> listen to, pay attention to
-- does listen to

les -- definite article; oblique plural masculine <li> the -- the


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mals -- adjective; oblique plural masculine <mal> bad, mean, wretched -- mean

conselliers -- noun; oblique plural <conseillier, conseilleor> counsellor, advisor --


men who advise

qu'elle -- conjunction; <que> that + personal pronoun; third person singular


nominative feminine <il> he -- that she

Deo -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

raneiet -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <renoier, renier> abjure,
deny -- abjure

chi -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

maent -- verb; third person singular present <maindre> stay, remain -- lives

sus en -- adverb; <sus, suz> up, above + preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of --
right up in

ciel -- noun; oblique singular <ciel> heaven -- heaven

Ne por or ned argent ne paramenz,


Por manatce regiel ne preiement,
Niule cose non la pouret omque pleier,
La polle sempre non amast lo Deo menestier.

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- not

por -- preposition; <por> for -- for

or -- noun; oblique singular <or> gold -- gold

ned -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- nor

argent -- noun; oblique singular <argent> silver, money, riches -- money

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- nor

paramenz -- noun; oblique plural <parament> finery, precious object -- precious


objects

por -- preposition; <por> for -- because of

manatce -- noun; oblique singular <menace, manace> menace -- menaces

regiel -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <regal> royal, of the king -- royal

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- not... or

preiement -- noun; oblique singular <priement> prayer -- begging

niule -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <nul> no, not any -- one
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cose -- noun; nominative singular <chose, cose> thing, affair, creature -- thing

non -- negation; <non> not -- not

la -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object feminine <il> he -- her

pouret -- verb; third person singular pluperfect <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able
-- could # very unusual form which traces back to Latin potuerat 3rd sg.
pluperfect 'had been able'; had preterite value in Old French

omque -- adverb; <onques> once, ever -- ever

pleier -- verb; infinitive <ploier> bend, yield -- to make yield from

la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- ...

polle -- noun; nominative singular <polle> girl -- ...

sempre -- adverb; <sempres, sempre> always, immediately -- continuously

non -- negation; <non> not -- ...

amast -- verb; third person singular subjunctive imperfective <amer> love --


loving

lo -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- ...

Deo -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God's

menestier -- noun; oblique singular <menestier> service, profession -- service

E por o fut presentede Maximiien,


Chi rex eret a cels dis soure pagiens.

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

por -- preposition; <por> for -- for

o -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <o, ou, euc> this -- this reason

fut -- verb; third person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- she was

presentede -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular feminine <presenter>


present, offer, bring before the judge -- brought before

Maximiien -- proper name; oblique singular <Maximiien> Maximian --


Maximian

chi -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

rex -- noun; nominative singular <regem> king -- king # Latin word rex, regis

eret -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was
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a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- in

cels -- demonstrative; oblique plural masculine <cil> that -- those

dis -- noun; oblique plural <di> day -- days

soure -- preposition; <seur, soure, sur, sor> on, over, to, above -- over

pagiens -- noun; oblique plural <paien, pagien> pagan, heathen -- the pagans

Il li enortet, dont lei nonque chielt,


Qued elle fuiet lo nom christiien
Ell'ent aduret lo suon element.

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object feminine <il> he --


her

enortet -- verb; third person singular present <enorter> exhort, urge, seduce --
urges

dont -- relative pronoun; <dont, dunt> of whom, of which, whose -- but

lei -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object feminine <il> he --
she

nonque -- adverb; <nonque> never -- never

chielt -- impersonal verb; third person singular present <chaloir> concern, matter
-- is interested

qued -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

elle -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative feminine <il> he -- she

fuiet -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <fuir, fuier> flee from,
abandon -- abandon

lo -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

nom -- noun; oblique singular <nom, non> name, title -- name

christiien -- adjective; oblique singular <chrestien> christian -- of christian

ell'ent -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative feminine <il> he +


adverb; <ent, end> subsequently -- and... subsequently

aduret -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <adurer> worship --


worship

lo -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- ...


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suon -- possessive; third person singular oblique masculine <son> his -- his

element -- noun; oblique singular <element> force, energy, god -- god

Melz sostendreiet les empedementz


Qu'elle perdesse sa virginitt.
Por os furet morte a grand honestt.

melz -- comparative adverb; <miels, mels> better, rather -- rather

sostendreiet -- verb; third person singular conditional <sostenir> sustain, support


-- she would undergo

les -- definite article; oblique plural masculine <li> the -- ...

empedementz -- noun; oblique plural <empedement> persecution --


persecution

qu'elle -- conjunction; <que> than + personal pronoun; third person singular


nominative feminine <il> he -- than...

perdesse -- verb; third person singular subjunctive imperfective <perdre> lose,


perish -- lose

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- her

virginitt -- noun; oblique singular <virginitt> spiritual purity, christian purity --


spiritual purity

por -- preposition; <por> for -- for

os -- demonstrative; oblique plural neuter <o, ou, euc> this -- these reasons

furet -- verb; third person singular pluperfect <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- ... # very
unusual form which traces back to Latin fuerat 3rd sg. pluperfect 'she had been';
had preterite value in Old French

morte -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular feminine <morir> kill, die
-- she died

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- in

grand -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

honestt -- noun; oblique singular <honestt> honor -- honor

Enz enl fou la getterent, com arde tost.


Elle colpes non auret, por o nos coist.
A czo nos voldret concreidre li rex pagiens;
Ad une spede li roveret tolir lo chief.
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enz -- adverb, reinforcing element; <ens, enz> ... -- ... # reinforces the preposition
en

enl -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of + definite article; oblique singular
masculine <li> the -- into the

fou -- noun; oblique singular <feu, fou> fire, family -- fire

la -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object feminine <il> he -- her

getterent -- verb; third person plural preterite <geter, giter> throw, reject, utter --
they threw

com -- conjunction; <com, cum> in order that -- so that

arde -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <ardoir, ardre> burn --
she would burn

tost -- adverb; <tost> soon, immediately, quickly -- quickly

elle -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative feminine <il> he -- she

colpes -- noun; oblique plural <colpe, corpe, cope> sin, mistake -- sins

non -- negation; <non> not -- no

auret -- verb; third person singular pluperfect <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had #
very unsual form which traces back to Latin habuerat 3rd sg. pluperfect 'she had
had'; had preterite value in Old French

por -- preposition; <por> for -- for

o -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <o, ou, euc> this -- this reason

nos coist -- negation; <non> not + personal pronoun; third person singular direct
object <se> he + verb; third person singular preterite <cuire> cook, burn -- she
did not burn

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

czo -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <co, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it -- this

nos -- negation; <non> not + personal pronoun; third person singular direct
object <se> he -- not

voldret -- verb; third person singular pluperfect <voloir> want -- did...want #


very unusual form which traces back to Latin voluerat 3rd sg. pluperfect 'he had
wanted'; had preterite value in Old French

concreidre -- verb; infinitive <concreidre> give in -- to give in

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the


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rex -- noun; nominative singular <regem> king -- king # Latin word rex, regis

pagiens -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <paien> pagan, heathen --


pagan

ad -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- with

une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- a

spede -- noun; oblique singular <espee> sword -- sword

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object feminine <il> he -- ...

roveret -- verb; third person singular pluperfect <rover> ask, call upon, order --
he ordered # very unusual form which traces back to Latin rogaverat 3rd sg.
pluperfect 'he had ordered'; had preterite value in Old French

tolir -- verb; infinitive <tolir> take off, cut off -- to (be) cut off

lo -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- her

chief -- noun; oblique singular <chief> head -- head

La domnizelle celle kose non contredist:


Volt lo seule lazsier, si ruovet Krist.
In figure de colomb volat a ciel.

la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- the

domnizelle -- noun; nominative singular <damoiselle> girl of noble birth -- girl

celle -- demonstrative; oblique singular feminine <cil> that -- that

kose -- noun; oblique singular <chose, cose> thing, affair, creature -- idea

non -- negation; <non> not -- not

contredist -- verb; third person singular preterite <contredire> oppose, resist --


did oppose

volt -- verb; third person singular present <voloir> want -- she wants

lo -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- ...

seule -- noun; oblique singular <siecle, secle, seule> earthly life, world -- earthly
life

lazsier -- verb; infinitive <laissier> leave, let, abandon -- to abandon

si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and

ruovet -- verb; third person singular present <rover> ask, call upon, order -- she
calls upon
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Krist -- proper name; oblique singular <Christ> Christ -- Christ

in -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

figure -- noun; oblique singular <figure> form, person, character -- the form

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

colomb -- noun; oblique singular <colon, colomb> pigeon, dove -- a dove

volat -- verb; third person singular preterite <voler> fly -- she flew

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

ciel -- noun; oblique singular <ciel> heaven -- heaven

Tuit oram que por nos degnet preier


Qued auuisset de nos Christus mercit
Post la mort et a lui nos laist venir
Par souue clementia

tuit -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- all

oram -- verb; first person plural imperative <orer> pray -- let us pray

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

por -- preposition; <por> for -- for

nos -- personal pronoun; first person plural direct object <nos> we -- us

degnet -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <daignier> deign -- she
will deign

preier -- verb; infinitive <prier, preier> pray, beg, beseech -- to pray

qued -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

auuisset -- verb; third person singular subjunctive imperfective <avoir, aveir>


have, be -- may have

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- on

nos -- personal pronoun; first person plural direct object <nos> we -- us

Christus -- proper name; nominative singular <Christus> Christ -- Christ # Latin


word Christus, Christi

mercit -- noun; oblique singular <merci> grace, mercy, pity -- mercy

post -- preposition; <post> after -- after # Latin word post

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- ...


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mort -- noun; oblique singular <mort> death -- death

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
Him

nos -- personal pronoun; first person plural direct object <nos> we -- us

laist -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <laissier> leave, let,
abandon -- may allow

venir -- verb; infinitive <venir> come, go -- to come

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- through

souue -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his --
His

clementia -- noun; oblique singular <clementiam> grace -- grace # Latin word


clementia, clementiae

Lesson Text

Buona pulcella fut Eulalia,


Bel auret corps, bellezour anima. Voldrent la veintre li Deo inimi,
Voldrent la faire diaule servir. Elle no'nt eskoltet les mals conselliers
Qu'elle Deo raneiet chi maent sus en ciel. Ne por or ned argent ne paramenz,
Por manatce regiel ne preiement,
Niule cose non la pouret omque pleier,
La polle sempre non amast lo Deo menestier. E por o fut presentede Maximiien,
Chi rex eret a cels dis soure pagiens. Il li enortet, dont lei nonque chielt,
Qued elle fuiet lo nom christiien
Ell'ent aduret lo suon element. Melz sostendreiet les empedementz
Qu'elle perdesse sa virginitt.
Por os furet morte a grand honestt. Enz enl fou la getterent, com arde tost.
Elle colpes non auret, por o nos coist.
A czo nos voldret concreidre li rex pagiens;
Ad une spede li roveret tolir lo chief. La domnizelle celle kose non contredist:
Volt lo seule lazsier, si ruovet Krist.
In figure de colomb volat a ciel. Tuit oram que por nos degnet preier
Qued auuisset de nos Christus mercit
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Post la mort et a lui nos laist venir


Par souue clementia

Translation

Eulalia was a good girl,


She had a beautiful body and an even more beautiful soul.
The enemies of God wanted to overcome her,
They wanted to make her serve the devil.
She does not listen to the mean men who advise
That she abjure God, who lives right up in heaven.
Not for gold, nor money, nor precious objects,
Not because of royal menaces or begging,
Not one thing could ever make her yield
From continuously loving God's service.
And for this reason she was brought before Maximian,
Who in those days was king over the pagans.
He urges her, but she is never interested,
That she abandon the name of christian
And subsequently worship his god.
She would rather undergo persecution
Than lose her spiritual purity.
For these reasons she died in great honor.
They threw her into the fire so that she would burn quickly.
She had no sins, for this reason she did not burn.
The pagan king did not want to give in to this;
He ordered her head to be cut off with a sword.
The girl did not oppose that idea:
She wants to abandon earthly life, and she calls upon Christ.
In the form of a dove she flew to heaven.
Let us all pray that she will deign to pray for us
That Christ may have mercy on us
And may allow us to come to Him after death
Through His grace.

Grammar

16 Imperative

The imperative is a mood that, in direct address, expresses an order, a request, or


a suggestion. The imperative may be negated:
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ne vus esmaiez! (CdR 27) 'do not worry'


vs. tais, Oliver (CdR 1026) 'be silent, Oliver'
Verbs in Old French have two imperative forms, the second person singular and
the second person plural, which are used when one addresses the person or
persons with whom one is talking; cf.:

Imperative, 2nd Sg. and 2nd Pl.

Imperative 2nd Sg. 2nd Pl.


Verbs in -er chante chantez
Verbs in -ir, with infix fenis fenissiez
fenissez
Verbs in -ir, without infix part partez
Verbs in -re cor corez

estre soies soiiez


soiez
avoir aie(s) aiiez
aiez
In addition, there is a first person plural imperative, which rather is an
adhortative, e.g. chantons 'let us sing'. Its forms are as follows:

Imperative, 1st Pl.

Imperative 1st Pl.


Verbs in -er chantons
Verbs in -ir with infix fenissons
Verbs in -ir without infix partons
Verbs in -re corons

estre soiiens, soions


avoir aiiens, aions
Verbs with varying stress patterns (e.g. aimer, aim 'I love' [stress on the stem] vs.
amons 'we love' [stress on the ending], see Lesson 2), have similar stress patterns
for the imperative forms; the singular forms have no ending, the plural forms are
identical to those of the present indicative:

Imperative, Verbs with varying stress patterns

Imperative 2nd Sg. 1st Pl. 2nd Pl.


aimer 'love' aim amons amez
tenir 'hold' tien tenons tenez
dire 'say' di dimes dites
faire 'make' fai faimes faites
croire 'believe' croi creons creez
boire 'drink' beif bevons bevez
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boif buvons buvez


The imperative often combines with the particle car, which functions as a
reinforcing element:

Rollant, l'olifant car sunez (CdR 1059) 'Roland, blow the horn'
Car chevalchiez, barun! 'Ride, knights!'
In polite expressions the second person subjunctive could have imperative value
as well, in main clauses with or without particle, e.g. car, which here again
functions as a reinforcing element; cf.:

quar me herberges ... (Al. 217, Lesson 3) 'may you lodge me' > 'lodge me'
Finally, infinitives could function as imperatives as well, especially in negation;
they then have the value of a second person singular imperative; cf.:

Sire cumpainz, amis, nel dire ja! (CdR 1113)


'Sir companion, friend, never say that!
In affirmative uses, the infinitive is preceded by de, the definite article, and or in
clause-initial position. Often the imperative then refers to the first person plural
and has adhortative value; cf.:

or del mangier 'well let's eat'


or du ferir 'let's strike!'

17 Word Order

When discussing word order patterns including subjects and direct objects,
linguists typically refer to the order of nominal elements; in the ordering of
pronominal elements non-syntactic factors (e.g. prosodic factors) play an
important role.

The well-established case system in Latin allowed for word order variation.
Consequently, for pragmatic reasons or reasons of emphasis, for example, word
order in Latin could vary, which however did not mean than Latin word order was
indiscriminately "free". There were clearcut tendencies, such as:

the direct object in unmarked sequence preceded the finite verb; cf.:

Caesar Gallorum animos verbis confirmavit


Caesar-Nom. Gauls-Gen. minds-Acc. words-Abl. comfort-Pf.-3Pl.
'Caesar comforted the minds of the Gauls with his words'
the genitive as a rule preceded the head noun in unmarked order; cf.:

Caesaris adventus
Caesar-Gen. approach
'Caesar's approach'
in comparative constructions the ablative of comparison tended to precede the
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adjective proper; cf.:

luce clarior
light-Abl. bright-Comp.
'brighter than light'
the subject as topic of the sentence occurred in clause-initial position. As a result
the unmarked word order of nominal elements in Latin was Subject + Direct
Object + Verb; cf.:

Ariovistus legatos ad eum mittit


Ariovistus-Subj. messengers-Dir. Obj. to him send-Pres.
'Ariovistus sends messengers to him'
In the course of history these Latin ordering patterns, which had been inherited
from Proto-Indo-European, were reversed. In Old French, therefore, the direct
object follows the finite verb, the genitive follows the noun, and the referent
follows the adjective.

verb + direct object:

esguardat la pulcela (Al. 56) 'he looked at the girl'


cunquist la tere altaigne (CdR 2, Lesson 1) 'he conquered the high land'
Similarly, with a predicate:

Li empereres se fait e balz e liez (CdR 96, Lesson 1)


'the emperor is ebullient as well as joyful'
noun + genitive:

la cambre sum pedre (Al. 74) 'the room of his father'


adjective + referent:

mains riches de mon pere (Palefroi 407) 'less rich than my father'
plus de .IIII. milliers 'more than four thousand'
chevalier ... plus vieil de lui (Palefroi 658-60) 'a knight older than he'
In general terms it is accurate to say that word order in Old French was well on its
way to developing the patterns that are typical of the modern language, but there
was more variety and many structures still featured archaic characteristics.

The archaic order object + verb, for example, survived for a long time in
subordinate clauses, especially in relative clauses; cf.:

Marsilie ..., ki Deu nen aimet 'Marsilie ..., who does not love God,'
Mahumet sert e Apollin recleimet (CdR 7-8, Lesson 1) 'serves Mahomet and
invokes Satan'
Similarly the next example with a prepositional phrase:

n'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne (CdR 3)


'there is no castle that resists him'
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In other constructions as well one may find archaisms, as in those including an


infinitive preceded by its direct object:

voldrent la faire diaule servir (Eul. 4, this lesson)


'they want her to serve the devil'
Other sequences are attested as well, but in given contexts. When the subordinate
clause is introduced by a relative pronoun in direct object function, the sequence
becomes, Complement + Subject + Verb, as in:

la dame ... que li chevaliers tant aima


'the lady whom the knight loved that much'
Verb + Subject + Complement typically is attested in interrogative sentences.

A typical construction in Old French is what generally is referred to as subject


inversion: when the clause is introduced by a complement, the subject follows the
finite verb. Similarly, when the clause is introduced by an adverb or an adverbial
construction, the subject commonly follows the finite verb:

Sur palies blancs siedent cil cevaler (CdR 110, Lesson 1)


'On white precious clothes the knights are seated'
co sent Rollant que ... (CdR 2355)
'Roland feels that ...'
Similarly, in interjections we frequently find subject inversion:

Deus! dist li reis, tant me pois esmaier (CdR 2412, Lesson 2)


'God, the king said, I can torment myself'

18 Demonstratives

Whereas Latin had a demonstrative system based on three elements, French from
its earliest times had a system based on two demonstratives; cf.:

Demonstratives, Latin vs. Old French

Latin Old French


this [close to me] hic cist 'this'
that [close to you] iste
that [close to him/her] ille cil ' that'
Old French therefore made a distinction between 'this' and 'that'. The forms cist
and cil trace back to Latin iste and ille respectively, to which a reinforcing
demonstrative element ecce has been added: ecce + istum > cist and ecce + illum >
cil.

The inflected forms of the demonstratives in Old French are as follows:

Declension of Demonstratives, cist 'this'


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cist 'this' Masculine Feminine


Nom. Sg. (i)cist (i)ceste
Obl. Sg. (i)cest (i)ceste
(i)cet
Obl. Sg. (stressed) (i)cestui (i)cest(e)i

Nom. Pl. (i)cist (i)cestes, (i)cez, (i)ces


Obl. Pl. (i)cez (i)cestes, (i)cez, (i)ces
(i)ces
Declension of Demonstratives, cil ' that'

cil 'that' Masculine Feminine


Nom. Sg. (i)cil (i)cele
Obl. Sg. (i)cel (i)cele
Obl. Sg. (stressed) (i)celui (i)cel(e)i

Nom. Pl. (i)cil (i)celes


Obl. Pl. (i)cels (i)celes, (i)ces
(i)ceus
The prefix i- is a reinforcing element.

To some extent the original demonstrative distinctions are still present in the early
uses in Old French: cist 'here' referred to elements within the range (in time and
space) of the speaker and the person spoken to; cil 'that' referred to elements close
to a third person.

Cist and cil originally were used both as adjectival and pronominal elements; cf.
adjectival uses:

en cest pas 'in this country'


en ceste ville 'in this town'
en celle ville 'in that town'
Pronominal use:

la u cist furent (CdR 108, Lesson 1)


'there were these were'
In time, a preference developed by which cist came to be used as an adjectival
element, and cil as a pronominal element. Some of the individual forms of the
paradigms underwent this change rapidly, others survived much longer. Adjectival
cels and celes, for example, relatively soon gave way to cez and ces in that
function.

Demonstratives in Old French have deictic function--pointing out elements that


are near or further away--and sometimes defining function. In these instances
they are similar to definite articles; cf.:
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sur palies blancs siedent cil cevaler (CdR 110, Lesson 1)


'on white precious clothes the knights are seated'
In order to reinforce the deictic value of demonstratives, speakers started to use
the adverbial particles -ci and -la. The particle was attached to the demonstrative
or its noun. Instances are attested from the 12th century onward.

The demonstrative paradigms in Old French also included "neuter" forms. These
forms were not part of the gender system as such, which was based on the
distinction masculine vs. feminine; they refer to elements that are best translated
in English as 'it', being elements of indefinite gender; cf.:

Neuter cist cil


Nom. sg. (i)cest (i)cel
Obl. Sg. (i)cest (i)cel

Nom. Pl. - -
Obl. Pl. - -
There also existed an isolated neuter form that traces back to Latin ecce + hoc: ce,
with a stressed form co. Ce, and especially co, is frequently used in Old French in
clause-initial position in combination with verbs such as dire 'say', croire 'believe',
sentir 'feel', voir 'see'; the construction is followed by a subordinate clause or by
direct speech; cf.:

Co dist li reis: "Cel corn ad lunge aleine!" (CdR 1789, Lesson 2)


'The king spoke these words: "That horn has a long breath!"'

Co sent Rollant que la mort le trespent (CdR 2355, Lesson 2)


'Roland feels that death overcomes him completely'
In addition to compound forms, a non-compound form survived as well in Old
French: Latin hoc > Old French o, ou, euc. The form could be used as subject as
well as object, often referring to the preceding clause or sentence; cf.:

E por o fut presentede Maximiien (Eul. 11, this lesson)


'and for this she was brought before Maximian'
It became obsolete by the end of the 12th century, surviving in a few fixed
epression and phrases only.

19 Negation

The most important negating element in Old French is the particle ne, nen. It
precedes the (finite) verb, following the inherited pattern from Latin; cf.:

ne s'en puet astenir (Al. 222, Lesson 3)


'he cannot contain himself'
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co ne volt il que sa mere le sacet (Al. 249, Lesson 3)


'he does not want his mother to know'
The negating element often is reinforced by another element that itself generally
has no negating value in origin, cf.:

nouns (originally) referring to small elements or elements of little value, such as


pas 'step', point 'point', goutte 'drop', mie 'crumb', rien '(some)thing', chose 'thing',
and many others. Whereas ne tends to precede the finite verb, the nominal
element follows; cf.:

Rollant, ki ne l'otriet mie (CdR 194)


'Roland, who does not appreciate it'
On the whole this type of negation is slightly stronger than negated clauses with
just the element ne. This emphatic value eroded with time and some of the
elements grammaticalized and came to be combined with ne to form the most
common negating device in later French; cf. il ne mange pas 'he does not eat'.

adjectives or pronominal elements, such as aucun 'some, someone', or nul 'no


one, not any'; cf.:

niule cose non la pouret omque pleier (Eul. 9, this lesson)


'not one thing could ever make her yield'
adverbs such as mais 'more, ever', onques 'ever', ja 'ever', gueres 'much' and
others; cf.:

ne ... onques 'never, not at all'


ne ... gueres 'not much, not much longer'
ne ... ja 'never'
ne ... mais 'no longer, never again'

unches mais hom tel ne vit ajustee (CdR 1461)


'never before man saw such a battle'

20 Indefinite Article: Forms and Uses

In addition to definite articles, Romance languages from the earlist times have
indefinte articles as well. The paradigm of un (from Latin unus 'one-Nom.' / unum
'one-Acc.) is as follows:

Declension of Indefinite Article

Indef. art. Masculine Feminine


Nom. Sg. uns une
Obl. Sg. un une
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Nom. Pl. un unes


Obl. Pl. uns unes
The uses of plural un typically have collective value, referring to pairs or to
elements that inherently are collective; cf.:

Pairs:

uns ganz 'a pair of gloves' (Be/r., Tristan 2006)


Tristan unes forces aveit 'Tristan had scissors'
Collective:

The occurrence of indefinite articles is rather limited in Old French, as several


examples in the texts analyzed so far have shown:

Ansembl'ot lui grant masse de ses humes (Al. 214, Lesson 3) 'together with him
was a large group of men'
bataille i ad (CdR 1791, Lesson 2) 'there is a battle'
But:

ad une spede li roveret tolir lo chief (Al. 22, this lesson)


'he ordered her head to be cut off with a sword'

Lesson 5

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

From the middle of the 12th century, novels emerged in medieval French
literature that put women and love in the limelight. These texts were in a way the
forerunners of those that represent l' amour courtois, 'courtly love'. While the
hero in the Chanson de Geste primarily was a brave Christian warrior, he now is
gallant as well and he fights for his dame rather than for God or his king. In early
times the action in these novels was set in antiquity or in the Celtic world (e.g.
Cornwall, Ireland, Wales, Armorica). These Celtic novels have strong mysterious
and magical characteristics, present passion as fatal, and often focus on the world
of King Arthur. The tradition comes to full bloom in the novels of Chrtien de
Troyes (Lesson 6). Less refined were the novels of Tristan, which relate the
dramatic story -- set in Britanny -- of Tristan and Iseut. The story presumably had
its roots in early Celtic legends and made it to France because of contacts with the
English.

Tristan was a knight at the court of Marc, king of Cornwall, who also was his uncle
and had raised him. Tristan was the son of King Marc's sister and therefore held
an important position from an Indo-European anthropological perspective. King
Marc was one of the vassals of King Arthur.
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Before the actual coup de foudre between Tristan and Iseut takes place, Tristan is
sent out on various difficult missions, which he carries out with great success. At
some point the king asks him to go to Ireland and bring Iseut, his (Marc's) bride,
to his court. On board the ship on their way back to Cornwall, Tristan and Iseut by
mistake drink a love potion that the king and Iseut were supposed to drink on the
evening of their wedding. As a result Tristan and Iseut are caught in a passionate
and overwhelming love that they cannot fight.

There are several texts that relate the story of Tristan and Iseut. Among the best
known are the text by Broul, and a more refined version by Thomas. The texts of
both Broul and Thomas are fragmentary, but Broul's stories relate the early
stages. Thanks to translations in other languages (German, Old Norse, English),
we are able to reconstruct the entire story.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text selected for this lesson is a passage from Broul's Tristan and is dated
around 1170 (# 142-175). After the marriage between Marc and Iseut, the affair
between Tristan and Iseut continues despite treason, primitive life in a forest,
reconciliation with king Marc, Tristan's marriage to another woman, and illness.
Eventually Tristan, deceived by his wife, commits suicide, and Iseut dies on top of
his body.

In this text Tristan and Iseut are secretly meeting in an orchard; but the king, who
has been notified and suspects an illicit relation, is listening in. Tristan and Iseut
are aware of his presence but do not show it. Tristan has just asked Iseut to
intercede with the king on his behalf.

The text presents an example of spoken medieval French. It includes relatively


many personal pronouns and hypothetical se contructions followed by
conditionals.

Par foi, sire, grant tort avez,


Que de tel chose a moi parlez
Que de vos le mete a raison
Et de s'ire face pardon.

par foi -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of + noun; oblique singular
<foi, fei> faith, honor -- sincerely

sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- lord

grant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

tort -- noun; oblique singular <tort> mistake -- a mistake


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avez -- verb; second person plural present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- you make

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- to

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- about

tel -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <tel> such -- such

chose -- noun; oblique singular <chose, cose> thing, affair, creature -- matter

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

moi -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

parlez -- verb; second person plural present <parler> speak, talk -- talk

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- about

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural direct object <vos> you -- you

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --


him

mete a raison -- verb; first person singular subjunctive present <metre, mectre,
mettre> put + preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on + noun; oblique
singular <raison> reason, speech, word -- talk to

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...

s'ire -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his +
noun; oblique singular <ire> anger, distress -- his distress

face -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <faire> make -- he forgets

pardon -- noun; oblique singular <pardon> grace, permission -- ...

Je ne vuel pas encor morir,


Ne moi du tot en tot perir!
Il vos mescroit de moi forment,
Et j'en tendroie parlement?

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

vuel -- verb; first person singular present <voloir> want -- do... want

pas -- negation; <pas> not -- ...

encor -- adverb; <encore, encor, uncore> still, yet -- yet


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morir -- verb; infinitive <morir> kill, die -- die

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- nor

moi -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- ...

du tot en tot -- preposition; <de> of, from + definite article; oblique singular
masculine <li> the + noun; oblique singular <tot> whole + preposition; <en> in,
into, on, on top of + noun; oblique singular <tot> whole -- completely

perir -- verb; infinitive <perir> perish, destroy -- perish

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural direct object <vos> you -- you

mescroit -- verb; third person singular present <mescroire> refuse to believe,


suspect -- suspects

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- on... behalf

moi -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- my

forment -- adverb; <forment> greatly, very, very much -- strongly

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

j'en -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I +
pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- I... about it

tendroie -- verb; first person singular conditional <tenir> hold, keep, seize,
consider -- would have

parlement -- noun; oblique singular <parlement> conversation, word, meeting --


a conversation

Donc seroie je trop hardie.


Par foi, Tristan, n'en ferai mie,
Ne vos nu me devez requerre.

donc -- adverb; <donc> then, therefore -- therefore

seroie -- verb; first person singular conditional <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- would
be

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- it

trop -- adverb; <trop> too much, extremely, excessively -- too

hardie -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <hardi> bold, brave -- bold

par foi -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of + noun; oblique singular
<foi, fei> faith, honor -- sincerely
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Tristan -- proper name; nominative singular <Tristan> Tristan -- Tristan

n'en -- negation; <ne, nen> not + pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- not... it

ferai -- verb; first person singular future <faire> make -- I will do

mie -- negation; <mie> not -- ...

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

nu -- negation; <ne, nen> not + personal pronoun; third person singular direct
object <il> he -- ... it

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- from
me

devez -- verb; second person plural imperative <devoir> have to -- should

requerre -- verb; infinitive <requerre> ask, beseech -- ask

Tote sui sole en ceste terre.


Il vos a fait chambres veer
Por moi: s'il or m'en ot parler,
Bien me porroit tenir por fole.

tote -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <tot> all, every, completely --


completely

sui -- verb; first person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- I am

sole -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <sol> alone -- alone

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

ceste -- demonstrative; oblique singular feminine <cest, cist> this -- this

terre -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- country

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- for
you

a -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has

fait -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <faire> make -- made

chambres -- noun; oblique plural <chambre> chamber, territory, royal apartment


-- his private apartments

veer -- verb; infinitive <veer> refuse, forbid -- forbidden teritory


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por -- preposition; <por> for -- because of

moi -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

s'il -- conjunction; <se> if + personal pronoun; third person singular nominative


masculine <il> he -- if he

or -- adverb; <or> now -- now

m'en -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I +
pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- me... about it

ot -- verb; third person singular present <oir, odir> hear -- he hears

parler -- verb; infinitive <parler> speak, talk -- talk

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- very well

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

porroit -- verb; third person singular conditional <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able
-- he could

tenir -- verb; infinitive <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider -- consider

por -- preposition; <por> for -- ...

fole -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <fol> crazy -- crazy

Par foi, ja n'en dirai parole;


Et si vos dirai une rien,
Si vuel que vos le sacis bien:
S il vos pardounot, beau sire,
Par Deu son mautalent et s'ire,
J'en seroie joiose et lie.

par foi -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of + noun; oblique singular
<foi, fei> faith, honor -- sincerely

ja n'en -- adverb; <ja> ever + negation; <ne, nen> not + pronoun; inanimate <en>
of it -- not... about it

dirai -- verb; first person singular future <dire> say, tell -- I will say

parole -- noun; oblique singular <parole> word, speech -- a word

et si -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and + conjunction; <si> yet -- but

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- you

dirai -- verb; first person singular future <dire> say, tell -- I will tell

une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- one


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rien -- noun; oblique singular <rien, ren> thing, creature, person -- thing

si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and

vuel -- verb; first person singular present <voloir> want -- I want

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- ...

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --


this

sacis -- verb; second person plural subjunctive present <savoir> know -- to


know

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- very well

s -- conjunction; <se> if -- if

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- you

pardounot -- verb; third person singular preterite <pardoner> forgive, pardon --


forgave

beau -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome


-- dear

sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- lord

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- through

Deu -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

son -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

mautalent -- noun; oblique singular <maltalent> anger -- anger

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

s'ire -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his +
noun; oblique singular <ire> anger, distress -- his distress

j'en -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I +
pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- I... about it

seroie -- verb; first person singular conditional <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- would
be

joiose -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <joieus> full of joy -- full of joy
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et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

lie -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <li, liet> happy, joyful -- happy

S'or savoit ceste chevauchie,


Cel sai je bien que ja resort,
Tristan, n'avreie contre mort.

s'or -- conjunction; <si> if + adverb; <or> now -- if... now

savoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <savoir> know -- he knew


about

ceste -- demonstrative; oblique singular feminine <cest, cist> this -- this

chevauchie -- noun; oblique singular <chevauchie> expedition, ride -- meeting

cel -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <cil> that -- ...

sai -- verb; first person singular present <savoir> know -- know

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- well

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

ja -- adverb; <ja> ever -- never

resort -- noun; oblique singular <resort> restriction, remedy, defense -- any


remedy

Tristan -- proper name; nominative singular <Tristan> Tristan -- Tristan

n'avreie -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; first person singular conditional
<avoir, aveir> have, be -- I would have

contre -- preposition; <contre> against, compared with -- against

mort -- noun; oblique singular <mort> death -- death

Vois m'en imais ne prendrai some.


Grant poor ai qu aucun home
Ne vos ait ci ve venir.

vois m'en -- verb; first person singular present <aler> go + personal pronoun; first
person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I + pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- I
am leaving

imais -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- no


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prendrai -- verb; first person singular future <prendre> take, take hold of, seize --
I will get

some -- noun; oblique singular <som, some> sleep -- sleep

grant -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

poor -- noun; oblique singular <paor, peor> fear -- fear

ai -- verb; first person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- I have

qu -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

aucun -- indefinite adjective; nominative singular masculine <aucun> some --


some

home -- noun; nominative singular <home, ome> man -- man

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- ...

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural direct object <vos> you -- you

ait -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <avoir, aveir> have, be --
has

ci -- adverb; <ci> here -- here

ve -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <veoir> see -- seen

venir -- verb; infinitive <venir> come, go -- coming

S'un mot en puet li rois or


Que nos fuson ca asembl,
Il me feroit ardoir en r.
Ne seret pas mervelle grant.

s'un -- conjunction; <se> if + indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a


-- if... one

mot -- noun; oblique singular <mot> word -- word

en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- ...

puet -- verb; third person singular present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able --
can

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

rois -- noun; nominative singular <roi> king -- king

or -- verb; infinitive <oir, odir> hear -- hear

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that


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nos -- personal pronoun; first person plural nominative <nos> we -- we

fuson -- verb; first person plural subjunctive imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be
-- have

ca -- adverb; <ca, cai> here, hither -- here

asembl -- verb; perfective participle nominative plural masculine <assembler,


assanler> call together, assemble, meet -- met

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

feroit -- verb; third person singular conditional <faire> make -- would make

ardoir -- verb; infinitive <ardoir, ardre> burn -- burn

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- at

r -- noun; oblique singular <r, rei, rez> stake -- the stake

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- no

seret -- verb; third person singular conditional <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- it


would be

pas -- negation; <pas> not -- ...

mervelle -- noun; nominative singular <merveille> what is surprising, wonder --


surprise

grant -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

Mis cors trenble, poor ai grant.


De la poor qui or me prent,
Vois m'en, trop sui ci longuement."

mis -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my


-- my

cors -- noun; nominative singular <cors> body -- body

trenble -- verb; third person singular present <trembler> tremble -- is trembling

poor -- noun; oblique singular <paor, peor> fear -- fear

ai -- verb; first person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- I have

grant -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- from

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the


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poor -- noun; oblique singular <paor, peor> fear -- fear

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> that -- which

or -- adverb; <or> now -- now

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

prent -- verb; third person singular present <prendre> take, take hold of, seize --
takes hold of

vois m'en -- verb; first person singular present <aler> go + personal pronoun; first
person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I + pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- I
am going away

trop -- adverb; <trop> too much, extremely, excessively -- too

sui -- verb; first person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- I have been

ci -- adverb; <ci> here -- here

longuement -- adverb; <longement> long, for a long time -- long

Lesson Text

Par foi, sire, grant tort avez,


Que de tel chose a moi parlez
Que de vos le mete a raison
Et de s'ire face pardon. Je ne vuel pas encor morir,
Ne moi du tot en tot perir!
Il vos mescroit de moi forment,
Et j'en tendroie parlement? Donc seroie je trop hardie.
Par foi, Tristan, n'en ferai mie,
Ne vos nu me devez requerre. Tote sui sole en ceste terre.
Il vos a fait chambres veer
Por moi: s'il or m'en ot parler,
Bien me porroit tenir por fole. Par foi, ja n'en dirai parole;
Et si vos dirai une rien,
Si vuel que vos le sacis bien:
S il vos pardounot, beau sire,
Par Deu son mautalent et s'ire,
J'en seroie joiose et lie. S'or savoit ceste chevauchie,
Cel sai je bien que ja resort,
Tristan, n'avreie contre mort. Vois m'en imais ne prendrai some.
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Grant poor ai qu aucun home


Ne vos ait ci ve venir. S'un mot en puet li rois or
Que nos fuson ca asembl,
Il me feroit ardoir en r.
Ne seret pas mervelle grant. Mis cors trenble, poor ai grant.
De la poor qui or me prent,
Vois m'en, trop sui ci longuement."

Translation

Sincerely, lord, you make a great mistake,


To talk to me about such matter
That I talk to him about you
And that he forgets his distress.
I do not want yet to die,
Nor perish completely!
He suspects you strongly on my behalf,
And I would have a conversation about it?
Therefore it would be too bold
Sincerely, Tristan, I will not do it,
You should not ask it from me.
I am completely alone in this country.
He has made his private apartment forbidden territory for you
Because of me: if he now hears me talk about it,
He could very well consider me crazy.
Sincerely, I will not to say a word about it;
But I will tell you one thing,
And I want you to know this very well:
If he forgave you, dear lord,
Through God his anger and his distress,
I would be full of joy about it, and happy.
If he now knew about this meeting,
I know well, Tristan, that I would never
have any remedy against death.
I am leaving but I will get no sleep.
I have great fear that some man
Has seen you coming here.
If the king can hear one word
That we have met here,
He would make me burn at the stake.
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It would be no great surprise.


My body is trembling, I have great fear.
From the fear, which takes hold of me now,
I am going away, I have been here too long.

Grammar

21 Possession

Possession in Old French noun phrases is expressed primarily by the oblique case,
with or without a preposition:

Without preposition:

li Deo inimi (Eul. 3, Lesson 4) 'the enemies of God'


le rei gunfanuner (CdR 106, Lesson 1) 'the standard
bearer of the king'
al tens No (Al. 6) 'in the time of
Noah'
el ventre la baleine (Elie. 3607) 'in the stomach of the
whale'
With preposition:

la nef a cel saint home (Al. 197, Lesson 3)


'the ship of that holy man'

filie d'un noble Franc (Al. 40)


'(the) daughter of a Frankish nobleman'

fille ad un conpta de Rome (Al. 42)


'the daughter of a count in Rome'
The distribution of these constructions depends on semantic and syntactic criteria.
From a semantic perspective, the construction with de combines with all types of
nouns, animate and non-animate. The preposition a / ad only combines with
nouns that are animate, whereas the construction without preposition only occurs
in combination with nouns that refer to humans or animals that behave like
humans (cf. the whale above). The possessor most commonly is referred to by a
noun that moreover, as a rule, has no or only a few complements; generally the
noun is singular, cf.:

la fille le rei 'the king's daughter'


les armes vos peres 'the arms of your fathers'
li filz son hoste 'the son of his host'
la feste seint Michel 'the holiday of St. Michael'
The various syntactic relations underlying the noun - (preposition) - noun
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sequences (e.g. subjective vs. objective genitive 'the love of father' vs. 'the love for
father') may affect the choice of the construction, but discussion of the details
would go too far in the context of this course.

The sequence of elements is most commonly 'element in possession' + 'possessor',


cf.:

la feste seint Michel


'the holiday of St. Michael'
la nef a cel saint home (Al. 197, Lesson 3)
'the ship of that holy man'
la filie d'un noble Franc (Al. 40)
'the daughter of a Frankish nobleman'
Yet the reverse order is attested, especially in formulaic expressions (e.g. la Dieu
merci), in expressions including autrui (e.g. l'autrui joie 'the joy of another
person') and in early texts (e.g. li Deo inimi Eul. 3). With time the sequence
'element in possession' + 'possessor' only spread, with the exception of a few
lexicalized items. Among the prepositional expressions there are very few
instances in which the possessor comes first.

22 The Future: Forms and Uses

In Lesson 2 it was explained that one of the important changes in the development
of the verb system from Latin to Old French was the emergence of 'have' as an
auxiliary. The compound past tenses of Old French illustrate this development.
Less obvious is the use of the auxiliary 'have' in the forms of the future. These
forms trace back to analytic Vulgar and Late Latin formations including an
infinitive and a finite form of the verb habeo 'have', cf.:

Latin Old French


cantare habeo 'sing-Inf. have-1st Sg.' > chanterai
With time the analytic Latin forms have become synthetic.

The Old French endings trace back to present tense forms (future) as well as
imperfect tense forms (past future and conditional). The paradigms are as follows:

Future, Conjugation

Future Past Future


1st Sg. chanterai chanteroie
2nd Sg. chanteras chanteroies
3rd Sg. chantera chanteroit

1st Pl. chanterons chanterons


chanterons
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2nd Pl. chanterez chanterez


3rd Pl. chanteront chanteroient
The future forms refer to actions that take place in the future. The forms in -roie
typically refer to actions that may take place in the future -- likely or unlikely --
and therefore they often occur in hypothetical sentences introduced by se 'if'.

de soe part vos voldreie preier (Cour. de Louis 516)


'on his behalf I would like to ask you'

s il vos pardounot ... j'en seroie joiose


'if he forgave you ... I would be full of joy' (Be/r., Trist. 160; 162, this lesson)

23 Common Irregular Verbs: voloir, pooir, aler

Irregular Verb voloir

voloir Present Preterite Subjunctive


Pres.
1st Sg. vue(i)l vo(i)l vue(i)lle
vol vos
2nd Sg. v(u)eus volis vue(i)lles
viaus vousis
3rd Sg. v(u)eut vo(l)t vue(i)lle
viaut vout

1st Pl. volons volimes voilliens


2nd Pl. volez volistes voiliez
vuelliez
3rd Pl. vuelent voldrent vueillent

Imperfect voloie
Future voudrai - vourrai
Conditional voudroie - vourroie
Impf. vosisse - volisse
subjunctive
Pf. Participle volu
Pres. Participle volant - voillant -
vueillant
Irregular Verb pooir

pooir Present Preterite Subjunctive Pres.


1st Sg. puis poi puisse

2nd Sg. poez pos puisses


puez pes
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3rd Sg. puet poutt puisse


peut pot puist

1st Pl. poons pomes puissiens


pemes puissons
2nd Pl. poez postes puissiez
pestes
3rd Pl. poeent po(u)rent puissent
pueent

Imperfect pooie
Future porrai
Conditional porroie
Impf. subjunctive posse - posse - pesse
Pf. Participle po - pe
Pres. Participle poant - puissant
Irregular Verb aler

aler Present Preterite Subjunctive Pres.


1st Sg. vois alai voise
aille, alge
2nd Sg. vais voises
vas ailles, alges
3rd Sg. va(it) voise, voist
vet aille, aut, alge

1st Pl. allons voisonss, voisiens


aillens, algiens
a(il)lons
2nd Pl. allez voisiez
ailliez, algiez
3rd Pl. vont voisent
aillent, algent

Imperfect aloie
Future irai
Conditional iroie
Pf. Participle al
Pres. Participle alant
Imperative va(s) - alez - alons

24 Adjectives: Comparative and Superlative

Adjectives in Old French are marked for case, gender, and number. In addition the
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adjectival paradigm has analytic comparative forms, although a few adjectives still
have synthetic formations.

The most widespread formation is analytic and includes an adverb followed by the
adjective proper, cf.:

Comparative, Analytic formation

Type of comparative Particle Adjective


comparative of superiority plus 'more' + adjective
comparative of inferiority moins 'less' + adjective
comparative of equality si 'as' + adjective
aussi 'as' + adjective
tant 'as' + adjective
other adverbs
Among these forms, the comparative of superiority is by far the most common
form.

Yet a few synthetic comparatives from Latin survive in Old French; these are very
common, cf.:

Comparative, Synthetic formations

Adjective Comparative Comparative


grant 'big, large' graindre (Nom.) / graignor (Obl.)
'bigger, larger'
grant maire (Nom.) / maior (Obl.)
'bigger, larger'
petit 'small' mendre (Nom.) / menor (Obl.)
bon 'good' mieudre (Nom.) / meillor (Obl.)
mal 'bad' pire (Nom.) / peior (Obl.)
'worse'
The following series of adjectives have a synthetic comparative form only in the
oblique case; these forms typically occur in the early texts:

Comparative, Synthetic formations

Adjective Comp. Obl.


fort 'strong' forcor 'stronger'
alt 'high' alcor 'higher'
bel 'beautiful' belasor (9th c.) 'more beautiful'
belior (12th c.)
sordois 'worse, dirty' sordoior 'worse, inferior'
gent 'noble' gencor 'more noble'
The declension of the comparative forms follows that of the third class of nouns,
cf.:
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Synthetic Comparative, Declension (masculine)

Masculine Singular Plural


Nom. graindre graignor
Obl. graignor graignors
Synthetic Comparative, Declension (feminine)

Feminine Singular Plural


Nom. graindre graignors
Obl. graignor graignors
Superlatives generally are not marked, and the interpretation therefore depends
on the context, cf.:

un des porz ki plus est pres de Rome (Al. 197, Lesson 3)


'one of the ports that is closest to Rome'
Very rarely one may find a superlative that is formally marked: a definite article
then combines with the comparative adjective proper (synthetic or analytic).
These formations spread in later times, cf.:

de toutes autres la gencor (Ben.)


'of all others the most noble'
Yet if there is no analytic formation of superlatives, there are a number of
synthetic formations that convey so-called absolute superlative value:

Several synthetic Latin superlatives have survived in Old French, cf.: pesme 'very
bad' (< La. pessimum), merme 'very small'(< minimum), malisme 'very bad',
proismes 'very close'(< La. proximum), and others.

There are learned formations in -isme, cf.:

Superlatives in -isme

Adjective Superlative
fort fortisme 'very strong'
alt altisme 'very high'
grant grandisme 'very big'
saint saintisme 'very holy'
Finally, there is a range of adverbs that convey superlative value in combination
with adjectives 'very, most', cf.: molt, tres, mais, tant, mut par and others, e.g.:

il est mult irascut (CdR 777) 'he is very angry'


mult grant venjance (CdR 1459) 'a very rude revenge'

25 Adjectives: Comparison

Whereas Latin had two types of comparison, Old French only has an analytic
construction. In Latin the comparison was either a case construction or a so-called
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particle construction.

In the case construction the ablative marks the element that is being compared,
cf.:

luce clarior
'light-Abl. brighter' > 'brighter than light'
In the particle construction the particle -- quam -- has that function:

lingua quam manu promptior


tongue than hand ready-Comp.' >
'prompter in words than in action'
With the loss of synthetic froms in Latin -- case, comparative, verb forms -- the
comparison in Old French has become analytic and includes either a particle or a
preposition.

The particle construction (of which the Latin quam construction was a forerunner)
is the most widespread type of comparison, cf.:

plus est isnels que esprever (CdR 1535)


'he is quicker than a sparrow hawk'
Constructions with a preposition--which trace back to the original case
construction in Latin-- typically include a pronominal element or a number, cf.:

meillor vassal n'out en la curt de lui (CdR 776)


'there was no better knight in the court than he'

plus de .IIII. milliers


'more than four thousand'
The prepositional construction is also attested with a nominal referent when it
functions simply as a subject, cf.:

maines riches de mon pere (Palefroi 407)


'less rich than my father'
Comparison constructions often include a negation, cf.:

plus est isnels que n'est oisel ki volet (CdR 1616)


'he is quicker than a bird that flies'
With time the particle construction spread and came to be used exclusively in
comparisons, with the exception of numbers (e.g. modern French il y a plus de
vingt tudiants 'there are more than twenty students'). (See Italian for a much
more common use of the prepositional construction today).

Lesson 6

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum


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With the pilgrimages and the crusades, life in Western Europe opened up to new
horizons and different lifestyles. As a result the social elite gradually became more
secular and developed a keen interest in refined literature, with new ideals and a
rich imagination. This development led -- towards the end of the 12th century -- to
la littrature courtoise, a literature in which knights with high prestige, following
l'idal courtois, are in constant pursuit of glory and love for their lady. Love in
these works is no longer an all-devouring passion, as in the Tristan novels, but
rather a pure and noble feeling, which imposes certain rules comparable to those
of a feudal society.

Love in these works is based on:

1. Loyalty and faithfulness;

2. Mutual admiration: of beauty and wisdom in the lady; of military qualities in the
knight. Both need to be polite, elegant, and well-educated (reading, writing,
music). They therefore typically represent the higher levels of society;

3. Veneration of the lady. A source of inspiration, the lady represents a distant love
which is almost inaccessible to the knight. The knight carries an object with him
that reminds him of her (e.g. glove, curl of hair) and the lady is allowed to ask for
rather extreme services, which will prove the knight's love and devotion;

4. Compensation. When the knight has proven his qualities and his willingness to
follow up on her capricious requests, the lady may accept his love, which in fact
will take the form of a friendship rather than a passionate love affair.

These ideals are expressed in poetry as well as prose. One of the best known
novelists of this period is Chrtien de Troyes, who between 1165 and 1190 wrote
several novels that continue the setting of the Celtic novels but combine it with the
new ideals: refined love stories involving magic and the world of King Arthur. King
Arthur -- reminding the French of Charlemagne -- was popular in France because
of his role as the leader of Celtic resistance under the Anglo-Saxons. The novels
were based on and related the legends of King Arthur, Lancelot, and the Cycle of
the Grail.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text selected for this lesson has been taken from Chrtien de Troyes' novel
Yvain ou le chevalier au lion (2560-2580; 2600-2615). Yvain is a knight who
discovers a magical fountain in a forest and is attacked by the nobleman who
guards it. Having killed his opponent, Yvain hides in the dead man's castle and
falls in love with his widow, whom he subsequently marries. Then King Arthur
passes by and Yvain decides to escort him on great adventures. He asks his lady to
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allow him to follow the king in his pursuit of glory. He is granted permission to go
away for a year, but he has to be back exactly one year later. When Yvain returns
too late, his lady refuses to receive him and Yvain has to carry out a series of new
tasks to win back her love.

In the text selected here, Yvain asks his lady to allow him to follow King Arthur
and his lady replies, specifying her conditions.

"Ma tres chiere dame,


vos qui estes mes cuers et m'ame,
mes biens, ma joie, et ma santez,
une chose m'acreantez
por vostre enor e por la moie."

ma -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular feminine <mon> my --


my

tres -- adverb; <tres> much, very -- very

chiere -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <cher> beloved, expensive --


dear

dame -- noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- lady

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

estes -- verb; second person plural present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- are

mes -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my


-- my

cuers -- noun; nominative singular <cuer, coer, cor> heart -- heart

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

m'ame -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular feminine <mon>


my + noun; nominative singular <anme, alme, arme, ame> soul, somebody -- my
soul

mes -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my


-- my

biens -- noun; nominative singular <bien, ben> good, good fortune, well-being --
good fortune

ma -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular feminine <mon> my --


my
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joie -- noun; nominative singular <joi, joie> joy -- joy

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

ma -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular feminine <mon> my --


my

santez -- noun; nominative singular <sant> health, well-being -- well-being

une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- one

chose -- noun; oblique singular <chose, cose> thing, affair, creature -- thing

m'acreantez -- personal pronoun; first person singular indirect object <jo, jou,
jeu> I + verb; second person plural imperative <acreanter> promise, allow, agree
-- grant me

por -- preposition; <por> for -- for

vostre -- possessive; second person plural oblique singular feminine <vostre> your
-- your

enor -- noun; oblique singular <onor, enor, anor> honor, respect, esteem, fief --
honor

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

por -- preposition; <por> for -- for

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- ...

moie -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular feminine <mon> my --


mine

La dame tantost li otroie,


qu'el ne set qu'il vialt demander
et dit: "Biax sire, comander
me poez ce qui boen vos iert."

la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- the

dame -- noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- lady

tantost -- adverb; <tantost> immediately -- immediately

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


to him

otroie -- verb; third person singular present <otroier, otrier> grant, agree --
grants (it)

qu'el -- conjunction; <que> that + personal pronoun; third person singular


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nominative feminine <il> he -- although she

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

set -- verb; third person singular present <savoir> know -- does... know

qu'il -- conjunction; <que> that + personal pronoun; third person singular


nominative masculine <il> he -- what he

vialt -- verb; third person singular present <voloir> want -- wants

demander -- verb; infinitive <demander> ask, ask for -- to ask

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

dit -- verb; third person singular present <dire> say, tell -- she says

biax -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome --


beloved

sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- lord

comander -- verb; infinitive <comander> give, recommend, order -- ask

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular indirect object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

poez -- verb; second person plural present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able --
you can

ce qui -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <co, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it +
relative pronoun; subject <qui> that -- what

boen -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bon> good -- ...

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- you

iert -- verb; third person singular future <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- like

Congi maintenant li requiert


mes sire Yvains, de convoier
le roi, et d'aler tornoier,
que l'an ne l'apialt recreant.

congi -- noun; oblique singular <congi> permission to leave, permission, leave


-- permission to leave

maintenant -- adverb; <maintenant> immediately, soon -- immediately

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object feminine <il> he --


her

requiert -- verb; third person singular present <requerre> ask, beseech -- asks
for
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mes -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my


-- ...

sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- lord

Yvains -- proper name; nominative singular <Yvain> Yvain -- Yvain

de -- particle; <de> to -- to

convoier -- verb; infinitive <convoier> escort -- escort

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

roi -- noun; oblique singular <roi> king -- king

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

d'aler -- particle; <de> to + verb; infinitive <aler> go -- to go

tornoier -- verb; infinitive <tornoier> whirl around, tourney -- fight in


tornaments

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- so that

l'an -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the + personal


pronoun; third person singular nominative <om, on> one -- one

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

l'apialt -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he
+ verb; third person singular present <apeler> accuse, summon, call -- does...
call him

recreant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <recreant> exhausted, cowardly


-- a coward

Et ele dit: "je vos creant


le congi jusqu'a un termine.

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

ele -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative feminine <il> he -- she

dit -- verb; third person singular present <dire> say, tell -- says

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- you

creant -- verb; first person singular present <creanter, granter> grant, agree --
grant

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- ...


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congi -- noun; oblique singular <congi> permission to leave, permission, leave


-- permission to leave

jusqu'a -- preposition; <jusqu'a> as far as, up to -- for

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- a

termine -- noun; oblique singular <termine> period of time -- period of time

Mes l'amors devanra hane,


que j'ai en vos, toz an soiez
sers, se vos trespassez
le terme que je vos dirai;
sachiez que ja n'en mantirai:
se vos mantez, je dirai voir.

mes -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but

l'amors -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the + noun;


nominative singular <amor> love -- the love

devanra -- verb; third person singular future <devenir> become -- will become

hane -- noun; nominative singular <haine> hatred -- hatred

que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that

j'ai -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I + verb;
first person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- I have

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- for

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural direct object <vos> you -- you

toz -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- ...

an -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- of that

soiez -- verb; second person plural imperative <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- be

sers -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <seur> sure -- sure

se -- conjunction; <se> if -- if

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

trespassez -- verb; second person plural imperfective <trespasser> pass, cross, go


by -- exceed

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

terme -- noun; oblique singular <terme> term, period, period of time -- period of
time
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que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- to you

dirai -- verb; first person singular future <dire> say, tell -- will mention

sachiez -- verb; second person plural imperative <savoir> know -- know

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

ja n'en mantirai -- adverb; <ja> ever + negation; <ne, nen> not + pronoun;
inanimate <en> of it + verb; first person singular future <mentir> lie, betray,
deny, fail -- I will keep my word

se -- conjunction; <se> if -- if

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

mantez -- verb; second person plural present <mentir> lie, betray, deny, fail -- fail

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

dirai -- verb; first person singular future <dire> say, tell -- will tell

voir -- adverb; <voir> truly, indeed -- the truth

Se vos volez m'amor avoir


et de rien nule m'avez chiere,
pansez de tost venir arriere
a tot le moins jusqu'a un an
huit jorz aprs la Saint Johan
c'ui an cest jor sont les huitaves.

se -- conjunction; <se> if -- if

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

volez -- verb; second person plural present <voloir> want -- want

m'amor -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular feminine <mon> my +


noun; oblique singular <amor> love -- my love

avoir -- verb; infinitive <avoir, aveir> have, be -- to have

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

de rien nule -- preposition; <de> of, from + noun; oblique singular <rien, ren>
thing, creature, person + adjective; oblique singular feminine <nul> no, not any --
in any way

m'avez chiere -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu>
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I + verb; second person plural present <avoir, aveir> have, be + adjective; oblique
singular feminine <cher> beloved, expensive -- you cherish me

pansez -- verb; second person plural imperative <penser> think, pay attention --
make sure

de -- particle; <de> to -- to

tost -- adverb; <tost> soon, immediately, quickly -- in time

venir -- verb; infinitive <venir> come, go -- come

arriere -- adverb; <arriere, arrere, arire> back -- back

a tot le moins -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on + adverb; <tot>
entirely + definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the + adverb; <meins,
mains, moins> less, fewer -- at the very least

jusqu'a -- preposition; <jusqu'a> as far as, up to -- within

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- one

an -- noun; oblique singular <an> year -- year

huit -- numeral; <huit> eight -- eight

jorz -- noun; oblique plural <jorn, jor> day -- days

aprs -- preposition; <apres> after, afterwards -- after

la Saint Johan -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the + adjective;
oblique singular masculine <saint> holy + proper name; oblique singular
<Johan> John -- the feast of St. John

c'ui an cest jor -- demonstrative; neuter <co, ceo, ce, ceu> this, that, it + adverb;
<ui, ue, oi> today + preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of + demonstrative;
oblique singular masculine <cest, cist> this + noun; oblique singular <jorn, jor>
day -- of which this very day

sont -- verb; third person plural present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- we celebrate

les -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the

huitaves -- noun; nominative plural <huitaves> octave -- octave # period of eight


days following an important Christian holiday

De m'amor soiez maz et haves,


se vos n'iestes jusqu'a ce jor
ceanz avoec moi au retor."

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- instead of


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m'amor -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular feminine <mon> my +


noun; oblique singular <amor> love -- my love

soiez -- verb; second person plural imperative <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- you will
have

maz -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <mat> feeble, exhausted, sad --


sadness

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

haves -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <have> dark, sick, somber --


gloom

se -- conjunction; <se> if -- if

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

n'iestes -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; second person plural present <estre,
iestre, aistre> be -- are not

jusqu'a -- preposition; <jusqu'a> as far as, up to -- on

ce -- demonstrative; oblique singular masculine <cil> that -- that

jor -- noun; oblique singular <jorn, jor> day -- day

ceanz -- adverb; <ceanz, seans> in here -- here

avoec -- preposition; <avuec, avec, avoc> with -- with

moi -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

au retor -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on + definite article; oblique
singular masculine <li> the + noun; oblique singular <retor, retorn> return --
back

... Mes or metroiz an vostre doi


cest mien anel, que je vos prest;

mes -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but

or -- adverb; <or> now -- now

metroiz -- verb; second person plural conditional <metre, mectre, mettre> put --
you should put

an -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- on

vostre -- possessive; second person plural oblique singular masculine <vostre>


your -- your

doi -- noun; oblique singular <doi, dei> finger -- finger


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cest -- demonstrative; oblique singular masculine <cest, cist> this -- this

mien -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular masculine <mon> my --


of mine

anel -- noun; oblique singular <anel> ring -- ring

que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- to you

prest -- verb; first person singular present <prester> lend -- lend

et de la pierre quex ele est


vos voel dire tot en apert:
prison ne tient ne sanc ne pert
nus amanz verais et leax,
ne avenir ne li puet max;

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- about

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

pierre -- noun; oblique singular <piere, pierre> stone, prison -- stone

quex -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine <quel> which -- that

ele -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative feminine <il> he -- it

est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- carries

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- you

voel -- verb; first person singular present <voloir> want -- I want

dire -- verb; infinitive <dire> say, tell -- to tell

tot -- adverb; <tot> entirely -- most

en apert -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of + adjective; oblique singular
masculine <apert> open, visible, manifest -- openly

prison -- noun; oblique singular <prison> captivity, prison -- captivity

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- ...

tient -- verb; third person singular present <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider --
undergoes

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- or


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sanc -- noun; oblique singular <sanc> blood -- blood

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- ...

pert -- verb; third person singular present <perdre> lose, perish -- loses

nus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <nul> no, not any -- no

amanz -- noun; nominative singular <amant> lover -- lover

verais -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <verai> real, true -- true

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

leax -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <leal, loial> loyal, legitimate --


loyal

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- and no

avenir -- verb; infinitive <avenir> arrive, happen -- happen

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- ...

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


to him

puet -- verb; third person singular present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able --
can

max -- noun; nominative singular <mal> evil, disaster, illness -- evil

mes qui le porte, et chier le tient


de s'amie li resovient,
et si devient plus durs que fers;
cil vos iert escuz et haubers
et voir einz mes a chevalier
ne le vos prester ne baillier,
mes por amors le vos doing gi."

mes -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- he who

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it

porte -- verb; third person singular present <porter> carry, bring, wear -- wears

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

chier le tient -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <cher> beloved, expensive +


personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he + verb;
third person singular present <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider -- cherishes it
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de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...

s'amie -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his +
noun; object singular <amie> friend -- his friend

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


...

resovient -- verb; third person singular present <resovenir> remember --


remembers

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- thus

devient -- verb; third person singular present <devenir> become -- he becomes

plus -- adverb; <plus> more -- ...

durs -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <dur> hard, unrefined, cruel --


stronger

que -- conjunction; <que> than -- than

fers -- noun; nominative singular <fer> iron, weapon -- iron

cil -- demonstrative; nominative singular masculine <cil> that -- this

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- your

iert -- verb; third person singular future <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- will be

escuz -- noun; nominative singular <escu> shield -- shield

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

haubers -- noun; nominative singular <halberc, osberc> hauberk -- hauberk

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

voir -- adverb; <voir> truly, indeed -- truly

einz mes -- adverb; <ainc, ainz, ains> earlier, rather + conjunction; <mais> more,
further, rather -- never before

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- ...

chevalier -- noun; oblique singular <chevalier> knight -- to a knight

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it

vos -- verb; first person singular preterite <voloir> want -- I wanted


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prester -- verb; infinitive <prester> lend -- lend

ne -- negation; <ne, ni> nor, and not -- or

baillier -- verb; infinitive <baillier> own, receive, give -- give

mes -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but

por -- preposition; <por> for -- because of

amors -- noun; oblique plural <amor> love -- my feelings of love

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it

vos -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- to you

doing -- verb; first person singular present <doner> give -- give

gi -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

Or a mes sire Yvains congi:


molt out plor au congi prendre.

or -- adverb; <or> now -- now

a -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has

mes -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my


-- ...

sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- lord

Yvains -- proper name; nominative singular <Yvain> Yvain -- Yvain

congi -- noun; oblique singular <congi> permission to leave, permission, leave


-- permission to leave

molt -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- many

out -- verb; third person singular preterite <avoir, aveir> have, be -- he...

plor -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <plorer> cry, shed
tears -- shed tears

au -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on + definite article; oblique
singular masculine <li> the -- when

congi -- noun; oblique singular <congi> permission to leave, permission, leave


-- his leave

prendre -- verb; infinitive <prendre> take, take hold of, seize -- taking
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Lesson Text

"Ma tres chiere dame,


vos qui estes mes cuers et m'ame,
mes biens, ma joie, et ma santez,
une chose m'acreantez
por vostre enor e por la moie." La dame tantost li otroie,
qu'el ne set qu'il vialt demander
et dit: "Biax sire, comander
me poez ce qui boen vos iert." Congi maintenant li requiert
mes sire Yvains, de convoier
le roi, et d'aler tornoier,
que l'an ne l'apialt recreant. Et ele dit: "je vos creant
le congi jusqu'a un termine. Mes l'amors devanra hane,
que j'ai en vos, toz an soiez
sers, se vos trespassez
le terme que je vos dirai;
sachiez que ja n'en mantirai:
se vos mantez, je dirai voir. Se vos volez m'amor avoir
et de rien nule m'avez chiere,
pansez de tost venir arriere
a tot le moins jusqu'a un an
huit jorz aprs la Saint Johan
c'ui an cest jor sont les huitaves. De m'amor soiez maz et haves,
se vos n'iestes jusqu'a ce jor
ceanz avoec moi au retor." ... Mes or metroiz an vostre doi
cest mien anel, que je vos prest; et de la pierre quex ele est
vos voel dire tot en apert:
prison ne tient ne sanc ne pert
nus amanz verais et leax,
ne avenir ne li puet max; mes qui le porte, et chier le tient
de s'amie li resovient,
et si devient plus durs que fers;
cil vos iert escuz et haubers
et voir einz mes a chevalier
ne le vos prester ne baillier,
mes por amors le vos doing gi." Or a mes sire Yvains congi:
molt out plor au congi prendre.

Translation
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My very dear lady


You who are my heart and my soul
My good fortune, my joy and my well-being
Grant me one thing
For your honor and for mine.
The lady immediately grants it to him
Although she does not know what he wants to ask
And she says: "Beloved lord, you can
Ask me what you like."
Lord Yvain asks her immediately for permission
to leave to escort the king
And to go fight in tornaments
So that one does not call him a coward.
And she says: "I grant you
Permission to leave for a period of time.
But the love I have for you
will become hatred, be sure of that,
If you exceed the period of time
That I will mention to you;
Know that I will keep my word:
If you fail, I will tell the truth.
If you want to have my love
And you cherish me in any way,
Make sure to come back in time
At the very least within one year
Eight days after the feast of St. John
Of which we celebrate the octave this very day."
Instead of my love you will have sadness and gloom,
If you are not on that day
Back here with me."
But now you should put on your finger
This ring of mine, that I lend to you;
And about the stone that it carries
I want to tell you most openly:
No true and loyal lover
Undergoes captivity, or loses blood,
And no evil can happen to him;
But he who wears it, and cherishes it
Remembers his friend,
And thus he becomes stronger than iron;
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This will be your shield and hauberk


And truly never before I wanted
To lend it or give it to a knight,
But because of my feelings of love I give it to you.
Now Lord Yvain has permission to leave:
He shed many tears when taking his leave.

Grammar

26 Adverbs of Manner

Most adverbs in Latin were either fossilized case forms or morphologically


marked. Magis 'more', plus 'more' and nimis 'too much', for example, were
fossilized accusative neuters. Among adverbs of manner the most productive
formation was based on a process of derivation whereby a suffix -e or -(i)ter was
added to an adjectival base: -e was used for adjectives of Declension I/II and
-(i)ter for adjectives of Declension III, cf.:

Latin Adverb Formation, Adverbs of manner

Adjective Adverb
stult-us 'stupid' stult-e 'stupidly'
grand-is 'great' grand-iter 'greatly'
In the later periods of Latin and in its popular varieties the -(i)ter derivation
spread at the expense of -e, cf.:

avidus 'eager' (avide) > aviditer


benignus 'benign' (benigne) > benigniter
Moreover two new strategies developed, prepositional phrases and adjective +
noun combinations:

prepositional phrases

in commune 'generally'
in totum 'entirely'
adjective + noun combinations

libero ore 'with a frank mouth, frankly'


citato pede 'with a speedy foot, quickly'
ardenti corde 'with a burning heart, ardently, intensely'
studioso animo 'with an eager mind, impatiently'
tristi mente 'with a sad mind, sadly'
Among these varieties the mente combinations survived in the Romance
languages, with the exception of Rumanian.
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In Old French we find several devices to form adverbs of manner:

26.1. Several adjectives are used as adverbs without any specific morphological
marker:

bel 'beautiful, beautifully'


chier 'dear, expensive, dearly'
cler 'clear, clearly'
droit 'right, rightly'
haut 'high, loudly'
petit 'small, slightly'
tot 'all, completely'
voir 'real, sincere, really'

escriet e haltement e cler (CdR 1974)


'he shouted loudly and clearly'
When adjectives are used as adverbs, they can still show agreement with the noun:
this pattern is typical of tot, cf.:

tote sui sole en ceste terre (Br., Trist. 153, Lesson 5)


I am completely alone in this country'

A l'apostolie revint tuz esmeriz (Al. 352)


'he turned toward the pope completely shaken'
26.2. A suffix -tre(s), which traces back to the -(i)ter suffix of Vulgar and Late
Latin is added to a base. In Old French the suffix combines with adjectives as well
as nouns, cf.:

nuitantre 'during the night, at night' < nuit 'night'


26.3. A device that survived as an almost "pan-Romance" phenomenon is the
adverbial formation in -ment mentioned earlier. It traces back to the formations
mentioned above:

Adjective + mente 'with a ... mind, in ... spirit'


Since mente originally was a feminine noun, the adjective in the French formation
takes the feminine form as well:

Adjective > Adverb


veir 'real' veirement 'really'(CdR 2361)
dur 'hard' durement 'bitterly' (CdR 1814)
gent 'noble' gentement 'bravely'(CdR 2099)
lung 'long' lungement 'for a long time' (CdR 1858)
isnel 'quick' isnelement 'quickly' (CdR 2085)

ki durement ne plurt (CdR 1814)


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'who does not cry bitterly'

si lungement ... m'avez servit (CdR 1858)


'you have served me such a long time'

vengent el camp cumunement (CdR 1838)


'they arrive at the battlefield together'
Some adjectives have both the -ment formation and may be used as an adverb
without morphological change:

Adjective Adverb Adverb in -ment


halt halt haltement 'loudly'
veir veir veirement
In Old French the formation may also include nouns and adverbs as its base:

altresi adv. 'same' > altresiment 'same'


vassal n. 'vassal' > vassalment 'bravely'

Franceis sunt bon, si ferunt vassalment (CdR 1080)


'the French are brave, they will fight bravely'
The derivation on the basis of Class I/II adjectives is not problematic because the
formation of the feminine is provided in the paradigm (e.g. dur masc. > dure fem.
> durement adv.). Class III adjectives do not include a feminine form in -e but
instead all adjectives end in a consonant (cf. Grammar Point 4): e.g. fort 'strong'.
Derivation with these adjectives as base therefore results in a number of phonetic
assimilations, cf.:

consonant assimilation

fort + -ment > forment


grief + -ment > griment
-l- vocalization

cruel + -ment > cruaument


loss of -l-

gentil + ment > gentiment


26.4. A suffix -s may be added to adverbs, prepositions, and nouns to form a new
adverb:

merveille > merveilles


'remarkable thing' 'marvelously, extremely'
This process is possibly based on analogy with the high number of Latin adverbs
in -s that survived in Old French and were very widespread: e.g. mais 'more' < La.
magis, plus 'more' < La. plus, fors 'except' < La. foris. The process accounts for the
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etymology of several formations as well:

unques / unces < La. umque + -s 'ever'


sempres < La. semper + -s 'always'
sens, sans < La. sine + -s 'without'
26.5. Adverbial formations based on prepositional phrases survive in Old French,
cf.:

par grant irur (CdR 1842) 'with great anger'


par / a compas 'regularly'
par maistrie 'excellently'
The formation is especially productive when including the preposition a + a plural
noun in -on, cf.:

a tastons 'gropingly'
a genouillons 'on one's knees'

27 Personal Pronouns: Forms

Since pronouns are elements that are used instead of a noun they agree in
number, case, and gender with the noun they replace. The paradigms of personal
pronouns in Old French distinguish person (1-3), number (singular/plural),
gender (for the third person), and case (nominative, direct object, indirect object).
Moreover there is an important distinction between so-called stressed and
unstressed non-nominative forms. The paradigms are as follows:

Personal Pronouns

1st Sg. 2nd Sg. 3rd Sg. 3rd Sg.


Masc. Fem.
Nom. jo, jou tu il el(e)
je(u)
Dir. Obj. me te le la
Dir. Obj. (str.) moi toi lui li / li
Indir. Obj. me te li li
Indir. Obj. (str.) moi toi lui li / li

1st Pl. 2nd Pl. 3rd Pl. 3rd Pl.


Masc. Fem.
Nom. nos vos il eles
Dir. Obj. nos vos les les
Dir. Obj. (str.) nos vos eus eles
Indir. Obj. nos vos lor lor
leur leur
Indir. Obj. (str.) - - - -
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Elision and enclisis

Like the definite article (see Grammar Point 14), personal pronouns may undergo
processes of elision and enclisis:

Elision:

unstressed elements easily undergo elision, especially le and la:

l'orent (CdR 1756) 'they heard it'


pur co l'ad fait (CdR 2361)
'for this reason he has done this'
je, which is inherently stressed, does not undergo elision;

strong forms, such as moi and toi, followed by en or i may undergo elision.

Enclisis:

The unstressed forms of the paradigm may be attached to other elements in the
clause, especially je, ne, se, si, que, en:

Personal Pronouns, Patterns of enclisis

je + le > jel, gel


je + les > ges
ne + le > nel, nu, nul
ne + les > nes
que + le > qel
qui + le > quil
qui + les > quis
se + le > sel
se + les > ses
si + le > sil, sel

s'est kil demandet (CdR 119, Lesson 1)


'if there is someone who asks for him'

e li message descendirent a pied


sil saluerent ... (CdR 121, Lesson 1)
'and the messagers came down'
'and they greeted him ...'

28 Personal Pronouns: Uses

28.1. In Old French tu was a second person singular pronoun, whereas vos was a
true plural, used only to address more than one person. Soon a polite use of vos
developed as well when it came to be used--inconsistenly at first--to address a
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person of higher social rank. Among nobles, for example, vos became part of basic
politeness. Yet, God typically continued to be referred to in direct address as tu.

28.2. Subject pronouns are late in Indo-European. The finite verb expressed
person and number, and early uses of subject pronouns were marked, having
emphatic function. In Old French as well, subject pronouns are not obligatory.
Accordingly the finite verb in Old French as a rule may occur without explicit
subject, be it nominal or pronominal:

Rollant ad mis l'olifan a sa buche


Empeint le ben, par grant vertut le sunet
(CdR 1753-1754, Lesson 2)
'Roland has put the horn at his mouth'
'(he) places it solidly and (he) blows with great force'

L'olifan sunet a dulor e a peine (CdR 1787, Lesson 2)


'(He) blows the horn in suffering'
The explicit subject can be absent even when there is a change of subject, cf.:

que de vos mete a raison


et de s'ire face pardon (Br., Trist. 165-166, Lesson 5)
'that I talk to him about you'
'and that he forgets his distress!'
The absence of subject pronouns traditionally has been accounted for by the
rather explicit verb ending. The texts analyzed so far show that in some the use of
pronominal subjects is more frequent than elsewhere. The Chanson de Rolland
has relatively few subject pronouns, and when they occur their use is emphatic.
The text of Lesson 5, a passionate dialogue in which persons take position, has
relatively many instances. The use of subject pronouns in Old French therefore
often marks a certain emphasis, cf. the following example, where the use of the
subject pronouns is contrastive:

pur mei n'iras tu mie! (CdR 296)


'you will not go in my place !'

Qui i purruns enveier ... ?


Jo i puis aler mult ben! (CdR 252; 254)
'whom could we send there?'
'I could go there easily !'
The following example illustrates emphatic use of the subject pronoun in
combination with left dislocation:

li quens Rollant, il est mult irascut (CdR 777)


'count Roland, he is very angry'
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As a result the subject pronoun is inherently stressed and therefore can occur at
various locations in the clause, not only in proximity to the verb: cf.:

il et ses freres ... 'he and his brothers ...'


je et mi chevalier ... 'I and my knights ...'
Instead of subject pronouns Old French may use nouns such as cors 'body', cf.:

mis cors trenble (Trist. 173, Lesson 5)


'my body is trembling' > 'I am trembling'
Cors can also be used as a reinforcing element especially when it combines with a
personal pronoun, cf.:

Jo cunduirai mun cors en Rencesvals (CdR 892)


'I myself will go to Roncedvaux'
vs.
En Rencesvals irai mun cors juer ! (CdR 901)
'I will go to Roncevaux'
With time the use of subject pronouns increased. One of the important differences
between Old and Middle French is the dramatic increase in use of subject
pronouns. It is important to point out that subject pronouns in Old French are
said to be "deleted" when in postposition to the verb: there are many more
instances of preverbal than postverbal pronominal subjects. It may be, however,
that the spread of subject pronouns as pointed out manifested itself preverbally
first, and postverbally only later.

The use of subject pronouns with impersonal verbs is late. If subject pronouns are
commonly used with finite verbs in Middle French, there is no regular use of
pronominal subjects with impersonal verbs before 16th century French. E.g:

anuite 'it gets dark'


bataille i ad (CdR 1971, Lesson 2) 'there is a battle'
m'est avis 'it seems to me'
tei cuvenist helme ... a porter (Al. 411) 'you need to wear a helmet'
Early instances of impersonal "subject" pronouns are attested, cf.:

Il nus i cuvent guarde (CdR 192)


'we need to be careful'
28.3. Unstressed pronominal forms are verb bound: they are in proximity to the
verb, either preceding or following it. Stressed forms are characterized by a much
less strict use. They typically occur at the beginning of the clause, function as
objects of prepositions, combine with infinitives, and are used with emphasis:

With an infinitive:

as tables juent pur els esbaneier (CdR 111, Lesson 1)


'they play games to amuse themselves'
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With a preposition:

desuz lui met s'espee (CdR 2359, Lesson 2)


'under him he places his sword'

a lui nos laist venir (Eul. 28, Lesson 4)


'may he allow to come to him'
28.4. Third person direct object pronouns may be omitted in Old French when co-
occurring with an indirect object in the same clause, cf.:

il la volt prendra: cil ne li volt querpir (Al. 351)


'he wants to take it: Alexis does not want to give (it) to him'
It can also be omitted when the direct object is governed by different verbs; in
these instances it will be omitted with the second verb.

29 Possessives: Forms

There are two series of possessives in Old French: stressed, and unstressed. The
unstressed possessives are used only as adjectival elements; the stressed forms
may be used both as pronominal and adjectival elements. As adjectival elements,
possessives agree with the head noun in case, number, and gender. As pronominal
elements they agree with the noun they replace.

Possessives, Masculine unstressed forms

1st Sg. 2nd Sg. 3rd Sg.


Nom. Sg. mes tes ses
Obl. Sg. mon ton son

Nom. Pl. mi ti si
Obl. Pl. mes tes ses

1st Pl. 2nd Pl. 3rd Pl.


Nom. Sg. nostre vostre lor (leur)
Obl. Sg. nostre vostre lor (leur)

Nom. Pl. nostre vostre lor (leur)


Obl. Pl. noz voz lor (leur)
Possessives, Feminine unstressed forms

1st Sg. 2nd Sg. 3rd Sg.


Nom. Sg. ma ta sa
Obl. Sg. ma ta sa

Nom. Pl. mes tes ses


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Obl. Pl. mes tes ses

1st Pl. 2nd Pl. 3rd Pl.


Nom. Sg. nostre vostre lor (leur)
Obl. Sg. nostre vostre lor (leur)

Nom. Pl. noz voz lor (leur)


Obl. Pl. noz voz lor (leur)
The feminine forms ma, ta, and sa regularly undergo elision when preceding a
vowel-initial noun, cf.:

s'ire (Br., Trist. 145, Lesson 5) 'his distress'


s'amie (Yv. 2610, this lesson) 'his friend'
The stressed possessives trace back to La. meum, tuum, and suum. While meum
gave mien, the Old French tuen and suen from the 13th century became tien and
sien, in analogy with mien.

Possessives, Masculine stressed forms

1st Sg. 2nd Sg. 3rd Sg.


Nom. Sg. miens tuens suens
Obl. Sg. mien tuen suen

Nom. Pl. mien tuen suen


Obl. Pl. miens tuens suens

1st Pl. 2nd Pl. 3rd Pl.


Nom. Sg. nostres vostres lor
Obl. Sg. nostre vostre lor

Nom. Pl. nostre vostre lor


Obl. Pl. nostres vostres lor
Possessives, Feminine stressed forms

1st Sg. 2nd Sg. 3rd Sg.


Nom. Sg. meie to(u)e so(u)e
moie teue seue
Obl. Sg. meie to(u)e so(u)e
moie teue seue

Nom. Pl. meies to(u)es so(u)es


Obl. Pl. meies to(u)es so(u)es

1st Pl. 2nd Pl. 3rd Pl.


Nom. Sg. nostre vostre lor
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Obl. Sg. nostre vostre lor

Nom. Pl. nostres vostres lor


Obl. Pl. nostres vostres lor
With the replacement of tu- and su- by ti- and si- respectively, in analogy with
mien (13th century), the declensional pattern of mien spread as well:

Declension of mien, tien, and sien, Masculine

1st Sg. 2nd Sg. 3rd Sg.


Nom. Sg. miens tiens siens
Obl. Sg. mien tien sien

Nom. Pl. mien tien sien


Obl. Pl. miens tiens siens
Declension of mien, tien, and sien, Feminine

1st Sg. 2nd Sg. 3rd Sg.


Nom. Sg. mienne tienne sienne
Obl. Sg. mienne tienne sienne

Nom. Pl. miennes tiennes siennes


Obl. Pl. miennes tiennes siennes

30 Possessives: Uses

Unstressed possessives are used only as adjectival elements. The stressed form,
when used as an adjective, as a rule combines with a definite article, a
demonstrative, or an indefinite article as well, cf.:

la meie mort (CdR 2198) 'my death'


la sue mort (CdR 2232) 'his death'
par le men escintre (CdR 1791) 'to my knowledge'
i metrai un mien filz (CdR 149) 'I will put a son of mine there'
cest mien anel (Yv. 2603, this lesson) 'this ring of mine'
The stressed possessive, when used as a pronoun, generally combines with a
definite article, cf.:

Sainz Alexis la sue ... alascet (Al. 372)


'St. Alexis let his (hand) go'

ne n'ai tel gent ki la sue derumpet (CdR 19)


'I do not have the troops capable of destroying his (army)'
Many instances in Old French include a preposition + personal pronoun instead of
a possessive, cf.:
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l'ame de mei 'my soul'


l'ame de lui 'his soul'

Lesson 7

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

During the heyday of the littrature courtoise, two important historical


documents were written about the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204). While the
littrature courtoise presents a world of courtly ideals and magic events, the
historians in their work present the real world, with its base passions.

Although Crusades primarily had an ideological motivation -- liberating the places


of pilgrimage and safeguarding pilgims -- political, personal, and socio-economical
reasons soon became important as well. During the Fourth Crusade the original
aim, the liberation of Jerusalem, was completely forgotten when political profit
and personal greed came to prevail.

The expedition was used by the doge of Venice to reinforce his political power. It
established the political hegemony of Venice over the Mediterranean, and ensured
its important commercial privileges. The abuse of power of the doge was based on
the primordial role Venice played in the transportation of troops. The Crusade
never made it beyond Constantinople, which was sacked; there one of the
Crusaders, Baudoin of Flanders, was made emperor of the Latin Empire. The
Empire would last until 1261.

Two participants in the Fourth Crusade have left lengthy reports about the events:
one is written by a poor knight from Picardie, Robert de Clari, who was a simple
warrior. The title of his work is L'histoire de ceux qui conquirent Constantinople.

The other source is the Histoire de la conqute de Constantinople, written


between 1207 and 1213 by one of the leaders of the Crusade, Geoffroi de
Villehardouin, who originally came from Champagne. Villehardouin relates the
historical events in a sober style, but his report may not be completely impartial.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The reading for this lesson has been taken from Villehardouin's Histoire de la
conqute de Constantinople, sections 345 and 346. In it, reference is made to the
Greek as enemy. Having conquered Constantinople, the Crusaders took over
Christian property in the area as well, because the Greek population and church
were not part of the Church of Rome.

The reader will notice Villehardouin's sober style, with its simplicity and lack of
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artificial effects. Because of its plainness, many assume that Villehardouin's


language was rather close to the spoken language of the day.

As an important representative of the medieval aristocracy, Villehardouin in his


text expresses many ideals of his class, the most important of which are loyalty
and faithfulness (in relation to God, promises made, and so forth) and braveness.
Consequently he rejects any form of cowardice, as he does in the text selected
here.

The text has an example of a vigesimal numeral: a numeral based on counting in


twenties, rather than in tens. The element in question is the number VI with XX in
superscript, meaning six times twenty, six-vingts 'one hundred and twenty'.
Vigesimals appeared in the various Indo-European languages in Western Europe
during the Middle Ages. Whereas the (inherited) counting system was decimal in
early Old French (e.g. huitante 'eighty'), vigesimal numbers emerged and spread
starting in the 12th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries their number
decreased, and modern quatre-vingts and soixante-dix (a so-called semi-
vigesimal) are residues of a phenomenon that was widespread in Old and Middle
French (see References in Lesson 10).

Or conte li livres une grant mervoille:


que Reniers de Trit, qui ere a Finepople,
bien .IX. jornees loing de Costantinople,
et avoit bien .VIXX. chevaliers avec lui,
que Reniers ses fils le guerpi, et Giles ses freres,
et Jakes de Bondine, qui ere ses niers,
et Achars de Vercli, qui avoit sa file.

or -- adverb; <or> now -- ...

conte -- verb; third person singular present <conter> count, relate -- relates

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

livres -- noun; nominative singular <livre> book, inventory -- book

une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- a

grant -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

mervoille -- noun; oblique singular <merveille> what is surprising, wonder --


remarkable event

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- the fact that

Reniers de Trit -- proper name; nominative singular <Renier de Trit> Renier de


Trit -- Renier de Trit
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qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

ere -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- at

Finepople -- proper name; oblique singular <Finepople> Finepople -- Finepople

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- at least

.IX. -- number; <.IX.> nine -- nine # numbers in Old French texts are preceded
and followed by a dot

jornees -- noun; oblique plural <jornee> day's journey -- a... days journey

loing -- adverb; <loing, loin, luin, lonc> far, far away -- away

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- from

Costantinople -- proper name; oblique singular <Costantinoble> Constantinople


-- Constantinople

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- ...

avoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- at least

.VIXX. -- number; <.VIXX.> six times twenty, one hundred and twenty --
hundred and twenty # numbers in Old French texts are preceded and followed
by a dot

chevaliers -- noun; oblique plural <chevalier> knight -- knights

avec -- preposition; <avuec, avec, avoc> with -- with

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
him

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- and the fact that

Reniers -- proper name; nominative singular <Renier> Renier -- Renier

ses -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular masculine <son> his
-- his

fils -- noun; nominative singular <fil> son -- son

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --


him

guerpi -- verb; third person singular preterite <guerpir> abandon, leave --


abandoned
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et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- with

Giles -- proper name; nominative singular <Giles> Giles -- Giles

ses -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular masculine <son> his
-- his

freres -- noun; nominative singular <frere> brother -- brother

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

Jakes de Bondine -- proper name; nominative singular <Jake de Bondine> Jake


de Bondine -- Jake de Bondine

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

ere -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was

ses -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular masculine <son> his
-- his

niers -- noun; nominative singular <nevot, neveu> grandson, nephew -- nephew

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

Achars de Vercli -- proper name; nominative singular <Achar de Vercli> Achar de


Vercli -- Achar de Vercli

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

avoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- was
married to

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his

file -- noun; oblique singular <fille> daughter -- daughter

Et li tolirent bien .XXX. de ses chevaliers,


et s'en cuidoient venir en Costantinople,
et l'avoient laissi en si grant peril com voz oez.

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


from him

tolirent -- verb; third person plural preterite <tolir> take off, cut off -- they took
away

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- at least

.XXX. -- number; <.XXX.> thirty -- thirty # in Old French, numbers were


preceded and followed by a dot
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de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

ses -- possessive; third person singular oblique plural masculine <son> his -- his

chevaliers -- noun; oblique plural <chevalier> knight -- knights

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

s'en cuidoient venir -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object <se> he
+ pronoun; inanimate <en> of it + verb; third person plural imperfective
<cuidier> think + verb; infinitive <venir> come, go -- they thought of going

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- to

Costantinople -- proper name; oblique singular <Costantinoble> Constantinople


-- Constantinople

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

l'avoient -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object <il> he + verb;
third person plural imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- they had... him

laissi -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <laissier> leave, let,
abandon -- abandoned

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

si -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much -- such

grant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

peril -- noun; oblique singular <peril> danger -- danger

com -- conjunction; <com, comme> as -- as

voz -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

oez -- verb; second person plural present <oir, odir> hear -- well understand

Si troverent la terre revellee encontre els,


et furent desconfit, si les pristrent li Grieu,
qui, puis les rendirent le roi de Blakie,
qui puis aprs lor fist les testes trencier.

si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and

troverent -- verb; third person plural preterite <trover> find -- they found

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

terre -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- country

revellee -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular feminine <reveler> revolt --


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in revolt

encontre -- preposition; <encontre> to, towards, against -- against

els -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object masculine <il> they --
them

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

furent -- verb; third person plural preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- they were

desconfit -- verb; perfective participle nominative plural masculine <desconfire>


demolish, defeat -- defeated

si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and thus

les -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object masculine <il> they --
them

pristrent -- verb; third person plural preterite <prendre> take, take hold of, seize
-- took... prisoner

li -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the

Grieu -- proper name; nominative plural <gr, grieu, griu, gri> Greek -- Greek

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

puis -- adverb; <puis> subsequently -- subsequently

les -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object masculine <il> they --
them

rendirent -- verb; third person plural preterite <rendre> give, return -- handed
over

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

roi -- noun; oblique singular <roi> king -- to... king

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

Blakie -- proper name; oblique singular <Blaquie> Blaquie -- Blaquie

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

puis -- adverb; <puis> subsequently -- ...

aprs -- adverb; <apres> after, afterwards -- afterwards

lor -- personal pronoun; third person plural indirect object masculine <il> they --
...

fist -- verb; third person singular preterite <faire> make -- ordered


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les -- definite article; oblique plural feminine <li> the -- their

testes -- noun; oblique plural <teste> head -- heads

trencier -- verb; infinitive <trenchier> cut -- to (be) cut off

Et sachiez que mult furent petit plaint de la gent,


por ce que il avoient si mespris vers celui
qu'i ne dessent mie faire.

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

sachiez -- verb; second person plural imperative <savoir> know -- you should
know

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

mult -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- very

furent -- verb; third person plural preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- they were

petit -- adjective, adverb; <petit> small, little -- little

plaint -- verb; perfective participle nominative plural masculine <plaindre>


complain, regret, mourn -- mourned

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- by

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

gent -- noun; oblique singular <gent> race, people -- people

por ce que -- preposition; <por> for + demonstrative; oblique singular neuter


<cil> that + conjunction; <que> that -- because

il -- personal pronoun; third person plural nominative masculine <il> they -- they

avoient -- verb; third person plural imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had

si -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much -- that much

mespris -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <mesprendre>


make a mistake, commit a crime -- been misbehaving

vers -- preposition; <vers> towards -- towards

celui -- demonstrative; oblique singular masculine <cil> that -- the one

qu'i -- relative pronoun; object <qui> who + personal pronoun; third person plural
nominative <il> they -- to whom... they

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

dessent -- verb; third person plural subjunctive imperfective <devoir> have to --


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should have

mie -- negation; <mie> not -- ...

faire -- verb; infinitive <faire> make -- behaved that way

Et quant li autre chevalier Renier de Trit virent ce,


qui si prs ne li estoient mie,
cum cil qui en doterent mains la honte,
si le guerpirent, bien .LXXX. chevalier tuit ensemble,
et s'en alerent per une autre voie.

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

quant -- conjunction; <quant> when -- when

li -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the

autre -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <altre> other -- other

chevalier -- noun; nominative plural <chevalier> knight -- knights

Renier de Trit -- proper name; oblique singular <Renier de Trit> Renier de Trit --
of Renier de Trit

virent -- verb; third person plural preterite <veoir> see -- saw

ce -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <cil> that -- that

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- those who

si -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much -- that

prs -- adverb; <pres> close -- close

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


to him

estoient -- verb; third person plural imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- were

mie -- negation; <mie> not -- not

cum -- conjunction; <com, comme> as -- as

cil -- demonstrative; nominative plural masculine <cil> that -- people

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- ...

doterent -- verb; third person plural preterite <doter> doubt, be afraid -- were
afraid of
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mains -- adverb; <meins, mains, moins> less, fewer -- less

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- ...

honte -- noun; oblique singular <honte> shame, disgrace -- shame

si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- ...

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --


him

guerpirent -- verb; third person plural preterite <guerpir> abandon, leave --


abandoned

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- at least

.LXXX. -- number; <.LXXX.> eighty -- eighty # numbers in Old French texts are
preceded and followed by a dot

chevalier -- noun; nominative plural <chevalier> knight -- knights

tuit -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- all

ensemble -- adverb; <ensemble> together -- together

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

s'en alerent -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object <se> he +
pronoun; inanimate <en> of it + verb; third person plural preterite <aler> go --
they went away

per -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- via

une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- a

autre -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <altre> other -- other

voie -- noun; oblique singular <veie> road -- road

Et Reniers de Trit remest entre les Griex a pou de gent:


que il n'avoit mie plus de .XV. chevaliers a Phynepople et a Stanemac,
qui ere uns chastiaux mult fort que il tenoit,
ou il fu puis longuement assis.

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

Reniers de Trit -- proper name; nominative singular <Renier de Trit> Renier de


Trit -- Renier de Trit

remest -- verb; third person singular preterite <remanoir> stay, remain, resist --
stayed

entre -- preposition; <entre> between, among, in the midst of -- among


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les -- definite article; oblique plural masculine <li> the -- the

Griex -- proper name; oblique plural <gr, grieu, griu, gri> Greek -- Greek

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- with

pou -- adverb; <poi, pou, pau> little, few -- few

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...

gent -- noun; oblique singular <gent> race, people -- people

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- because

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

n'avoit -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; third person singular imperfective
<avoir, aveir> have, be -- did not... have

mie -- negation; <mie> not -- ...

plus -- adverb; <plus> more -- more

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- than

.XV. -- number; <.XV.> fifteen -- fifteen # numbers in Old French texts are
preceded and followed by a dot

chevaliers -- noun; oblique plural <chevalier> knight -- knights

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- at

Phynepople -- proper name; oblique singular <Phynepople> Phynepople --


Phynepople

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- at

Stanemac -- proper name; oblique singular <Stanemac> Stanemac -- Stanemac

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> that -- which

ere -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was

uns -- indefinite article; nominative singular masculine <un> a -- a

chastiaux -- noun; nominative singular <chastel, castel> castle -- castle

mult -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- very

fort -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <fort> strong, hard, fierce --


strong

que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that


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il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

tenoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <tenir> hold, keep, seize,
consider -- held

ou -- relative pronoun; <ou, u> where -- and where

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

fu -- verb; third person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was

puis -- adverb; <puis> subsequently -- subsequently

longuement -- adverb; <longement> long, for a long time -- for a long time

assis -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <asseoir> place,


set up, lay siege -- besieged

Lesson Text

Or conte li livres une grant mervoille:


que Reniers de Trit, qui ere a Finepople,
bien .IX. jornees loing de Costantinople,
et avoit bien .VIXX. chevaliers avec lui,
que Reniers ses fils le guerpi, et Giles ses freres,
et Jakes de Bondine, qui ere ses niers,
et Achars de Vercli, qui avoit sa file. Et li tolirent bien .XXX. de ses chevaliers,
et s'en cuidoient venir en Costantinople,
et l'avoient laissi en si grant peril com voz oez. Si troverent la terre revellee
encontre els,
et furent desconfit, si les pristrent li Grieu,
qui, puis les rendirent le roi de Blakie,
qui puis aprs lor fist les testes trencier. Et sachiez que mult furent petit plaint de
la gent,
por ce que il avoient si mespris vers celui
qu'i ne dessent mie faire. Et quant li autre chevalier Renier de Trit virent ce,
qui si prs ne li estoient mie,
cum cil qui en doterent mains la honte,
si le guerpirent, bien .LXXX. chevalier tuit ensemble,
et s'en alerent per une autre voie. Et Reniers de Trit remest entre les Griex a pou
de gent:
que il n'avoit mie plus de .XV. chevaliers a Phynepople et a Stanemac,
qui ere uns chastiaux mult fort que il tenoit,
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ou il fu puis longuement assis.

Translation

The book relates a great remarkable event:


the fact that Renier de Trit, who was at Finepople,
at least a nine-days journey away from Constantinople,
had at least one hundred and twenty knights with him,
and the fact that Reniers, his son, abandoned him with Giles, his brother,
and Jake de Bondine, who was his nephew,
and Achar de Vercli, who was married to his daughter.
And they took away from him at least thirty of his knights,
and they thought of going to Constantinople,
and they had abandoned him in such great danger, as you well understand.
And they found the country in revolt against them,
and they were defeated, and thus the Greek took them prisoner,
who subsequently handed them over to the king of Blaquie,
who afterwards ordered their heads to be cut off.
And you should know that they were very little mourned by the people,
because they had been misbehaving that much towards the one
to whom they should not have behaved that way.
And when the other knights of Renier de Trit saw that,
those who were not that close to him,
as people who were less afraid of shame,
they abandoned him, at least eighty knights all together,
and they went away via another road.
And Renier de Trit stayed among the Greek with few people:
because he did not have more than fifteen knights at Phynepople and at Stanemac,
which was a very strong castle that he held,
and where he subsequently was besieged for a long time.

Grammar

31 Interrogatives: Forms and Uses

Questions in Old French can be marked by intonation, cf.:

il vos mescroit de moi forment


et j'en tendrait le parlement?
(Br., Trist. 169-170, Lesson 5)
'he suspects you strongly because of me and I would talk about it?'
Inversion is also found, cf.:
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Sire cumpain, faites le vos de gred?' (CdR 2000)


'Sir companion, do you do this of free will?
In addition a series of interrogative elements are used. The Old French
interrogative pronoun qui, ki traces back to Latin quis 'who' (fem. quae, and
neuter quod). The paradigm in Old French is as follows:

Interrogative Pronoun, qui 'who?', que 'what?', 'which?'

Masc/Fem. Neuter
Nom. Sg/Pl. qui, ki que, ke
Nom. Sg/Pl. (str.) quoi, coi
Dir. Obj. Sg/Pl. que, ke que, ke
Dir. Obj. Sg/Pl. (str.) cui quoi, quei
Indir. Obj. cui
Examples:

qui nominative masculine and feminine:

E ki serat devant mei en l'ansguarde? (CdR 748)


'and who will be in front of me in the vanguard?'
que direct object animate and neuter nominative and direct object, cf.:

que fereient il el? (CdR 1185)


'what would else would they do?'
cui functions as a strong direct object (e.g. with a preposition) and as indirect
object, cf.:

de co qui calt? (CdR 1806)


'to whom is it of importance?'
This example also shows that qui and cui often are confused.

As the strong form of the neuter interrogative, quoi may be used in isolation
(quoi? 'what?'), but it typically combines with prepositions, cf.:

Pur quei me portez ire? (CdR 1723)


'why are you angry with me?'

de quei avez pesance? (CdR 832)


'what hurts you?'
In addition, Old French has an interrogative element quant meaning 'how much,
how many':

Declension of quant 'how much', 'how many'

Masculine Feminine Neuter


Nom. sg. quanz quante quant
Obl. sg. quant quante quant
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Nom. pl. quant quantes -


Obl. pl. quanz quantes -
And an element quel 'which, what', which has the following paradigm:

Declension of quel 'which', 'what'

Masculine Feminine Neuter


Nom. sg. quels quel(s) quel
Obl. sg. quel quel quel

Nom. pl. quel quels -


Obl. pl. quels quels -
NB: -l- may vocalize before -s, which will give: queus

Examples:

Par quele gent quiet il espleiter tant? (CdR 395)


'for what people is he pretending to accomplish such things?'

En quel mesure en purrai estre fiz? (CdR 146)


'in what circumstances can I trust it?'
The reader will have noticed that interrogative elements tend to occur in clause-
initial position and therefore trigger subject inversion when they do not convey
subject function, cf.:

que fereient il el? (CdR 1185)


'what would else would they do?'
with an interrogative adverb, cf.:

U estes vos, bels nis (CdR 2403, Lesson 2)


'where are you, beloved cousin?'

U est vostre espee? (CdR 1363)


'where is your sword?'

cum le purrum nus faire? (CdR 1698)


'how should we do it?'

32 Relative Pronouns: Forms and Uses

The paradigm for the relative pronoun is almost identical to that of interrogatives,
cf.:

Relative Pronoun, qui 'who', que 'that, which'

Masc/Fem. Neuter
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Nom. Sg/Pl. qui, ki que, ke


Nom. Sg/Pl. (str.) quoi, coi
Dir. Obj. Sg/Pl. que que, ke
Dir. Obj. Sg/Pl. (str.) cui quoi, quei
Indir. Obj. cui
Other elements that are used in relative clauses are:

dont, originally an adverb of place and often used as an interrogative or relative,


meaning 'from where, whence'. It may also refer to animate nouns, 'of whose'.

lequel 'which', which spread from the 13th century onwards.

ou, originally a relative and interrogative. It refers to animate and inanimate


nouns, meaning 'where, in which, in whom'.

32.1. Function of qui as impersonal. On the whole the uses of the relative pronoun
correspond to the regular functions of the cases. Yet there are a few important
phenomena. One of them is the use of subject qui conveying generalizing value,
often tending toward 'if one ...', 'whoever'. Cf.:

Ki l'unt od remainent en grant dute (Al. 300)


'those who heard it remain very frightened'
Many proverbs in Old French include a generalizing qui:

qui tout tient tout pert


'who keeps it all to himself, will lose it all' >
'if one keeps it all to one's self, one will lose it all'
32.2. Cui is used in Old French primarily as indirect object, but is also found in the
function of a direct object, a genitive, or a prepositional complement.

32.3. Regular use of relative pronouns includes the occurrence of an antecedent,


cf.:

N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne (CdR 4, Lesson 1)


'there is no castle that resists him'
The physical distance between the antecendent and the relative pronoun may be
rather lengthy:

Li reis Marsilie la tient, ki Deu nen aimet (CdR 7, Lesson 1)


'Marsilie holds it, who does not love God'
The antecedent ce is often deleted, cf.:

ne sai jo que face (CdR 1982)


'I do not know what to do'
32.4. Deletion of relative pronoun. The relative pronoun is quite often deleted
after a negation, cf.:
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Ja mais n'ert hume plus volenters le serve (CdR 2254)


'there will never be a man who will serve him more readily'

33 On

While Latin nouns that survived in Old French originally were accusatives, a few
nominatives made it into (Old) French as well, cf. the difference between modern
sire and seigneur, which trace back to the nominative and accusative respectively.
Similarly two forms of the Latin noun homo survive, one goes back to the
nominative, one is the former accusative, cf. La. homo, which survives as on 'one',
and La. hominem which survives as modern French homme 'man'. We therefore
observe that in the history of Old French the nominative form homo survived and
grammaticalized into a pronoun; the accusative form survived as a regular noun
and did not undergo a process of grammaticalization.

Grammaticalization is a type of change whereby a lexical element develops into a


grammatical element: in this instance the noun homo developed into a
pronominal element in French. Similarly the Latin noun mente developed into a
derivational suffix in adverb formation in Romance (see Grammar Point 26). It is
also possible that a grammatical element develops a stronger grammatical profile.
This happened when Latin demonstratives -- with deictic value -- developed into
definite articles (see Grammar Point 13).

The fact that Old French (l')on is a grammaticalized personal pronoun does not
mean that the original element no longer is used as noun. The noun in question
had the following declension pattern:

Declension of (l')ome

Sg. Pl.
Nom. (l') (h)om, (li) (h)ome
(l ) on
(l') uem
Obl. (l') (h)ome (les) (h)omes

Nominative singular forms, with or without definite article, occur with the
generalizing meaning of 'one' from early texts onward, cf.:

iluec paist l'um del relef de la tabla (Al. 247, Lesson 3)


'there they feed him on the scraps of dinner'

que l'an ne l'apialt recreant (Yv. 2563, Lesson 6)


'so that one will not call him a coward'
The nominal origin of the element is reflected in the occurrence of the definite
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article. Since the element refers to an undetermined person or undetermined


persons, on may be rendered by in translations by 'one', general 'they', or passive
constructions.

In the glosses instances of (l')on have been identified as third person personal
pronouns because the grammaticalization process has reached that stage in Old
French.

34 Agreement

In Old French we find several processes of agreement:

Agreement between subject and finite verb. When there are several subjects in a
clause, the verb agrees with the subject that is closest, cf.:

Karles l'ot e ses cumpaignes tutes (CdR 1757, Lesson 2)


'Charles hears it and all his troops' >
'Charles and all his troops hear it'
For collective subjects there is variation: sometimes the finite verb is singular
sometimes it is plural:

Quan Rollant voit la ... gent,


ki plus sunt neirs que ... (CdR 1933-1934)
'when Rollant sees the ... people who are more black then ...'
Agreement between noun and adjective. The patterns in Old French are not
different from those in Indo-European. A remarkable phenomenon is the
declension of adjectives that are used as adverbs (see Grammar Point 26), but
continue to be marked for agreement, cf.:

tote sui sole en ceste terre (Br., Trist. 153, Lesson 5)


'I am completely alone in this country'
Agreement between nouns and their determiners: there is agreement marking for
case, number, and gender, cf.:

cest mien anel (Yv. 2603)


'this ring of mine'
Agreement between noun and perfective participle. Agreement patterns depend
on the auxiliary used in these contexts. A perfective participle that combines with
the auxiliary estre 'be' will agree in case, number and gender with the subject of
the clause, cf.:

fut presentede Maximiien (Eul. 11, Lesson 4)


'she was brought before Maximian'

morz est Rollant (CdR 2397, Lesson 2)


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'Roland has died'


When the perfective participle combines with the auxiliary avoir 'have', it may
agree in case, number and gender with the direct object, independently of its
relative position to the participle, cf.:

co dist li reis que sa guere out finee (CdR 705)


'the king says that he had finished his war'

Rollant ad l'enseigne fermee (CdR 707)


'Roland has attached the standard'

Cordres ad prise e les murs peceiez (CdR 97, Lesson 1)


'he has taken Cordres and smashed its walls'

proe avez la duchesse


'you have robbed the duchess'
When the direct object is masculine, agreement is especially manifest when the
participle follows, cf.:

Charles li magnes ad Espaigne guastede


les castels pris, les citez violees (CdR 703-704)
'Charlemagne has devastated Spain,
taken castles and violated towns'
Conversely when the direct object -- masculine or feminine -- follows the
participle, there may be no agreement:

j'ai cre vostre parole


'I believed what you said'
The perfective participle may also agree with the direct object of an infinitive or
with a direct object that is not explicit in the clause. Neuter elements (pronouns)
do not feature agreement. Along these same lines, there is no agreement in
compound tenses including impersonal verbs.

35 Brace Constructions

In a so-called brace construction, the finite verb and the perfective participle are
separated by the direct object, cf.:

Li empereres out sa raisun fenie (CdR 193)


'the emperor had finished his speech'
In Grammar Point 17 it was noted that if word order in Old French already had
strong SVO characteristics, there still are several archaic features, cf. for example
the occurrence of SOV in subordinate clauses. Another archaism is the ordering of
the direct object between the auxiliary and the perfective participle, as in:
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Li reis ad la culur muee (CdR 441)


'the king had changed color'
This type of construction goes back to the original Latin construction in which a
lexical verb 'have' combined with a direct object determined by a perfective
participle, cf.:

epistulas scriptas habeo


letters-Acc.fem written-Acc.fem.sg. have-1sg.pers.
'I have letters that are written'

puer epistulas scriptas habet


'the boy has letters that are written'
It would go too far to discuss the development of habeo into a Romance auxiliary,
but it is clear that when habeo changed position, a so-called brace construction
emerged, cf.:

puer habet epistulas scriptas


In Old French:

li gars a letres escrites


At later stages:

le garcon a escrit(es) les letres


The brace construction survived in Old French for a long time: instances are still
found in the 17th century. Yet in the Old French documents, one observed a
gradual decline in occurrence.

Examples in Old French:

ad sun tens uset (CdR 523)


'he has finished his time'

par tant teres ad sun cors travaillet (CdR 540)


'he has burdened his body by all these countries'

Guenes li fels ad nostre mort juree (CdR 1456)


'Ganelon the traitor has sworn to our death'

Lesson 8

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

During the 12th century new techniques in agriculture were developed and, as a
result, crop harvests increased dramatically. Consequently the population was
better nourished, more productive, and achieved greater wealth; commerce could
expand. Towns grew, becoming more important centers of regional and national
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commercial activity and craftsmanship. In the 13th century, with the foundation of
universities, towns became centers of academic activity as well. In addition to the
Church and the Aristocracy, a third non-peasant class emerged, the bourgeoisie.
Members of this class not only played their own roles within medieval society, but
also were organized in (professional) institutions, and developed a cultural life of
their own reflected in literature and theater, the littrature bourgeoise.

The literary audience was broader and less refined than that of the littrature
courtoise. The texts, mainly narratives in a rather loose style, were more openly
joyful. Narrative texts can be divided into religious works (e.g. Les Miracles de la
Vierge) and comic texts featuring animals. There was also a growing production of
plays, religious and comic (see Lesson 9). The animal texts are either short
narratives that fit the long-lasting tradition of fables (fabliaux), or longer texts,
among them the Roman de Renart. The fabliaux are meant to make people laugh,
but they also present wise lessons, based on critical observations of mankind. The
characters are animals, presenting the characteristics of their species in
combination with typically human behavior. In fact, the fabliaux present a
disguised form of social satire and criticism. All groups in society are represented.
The texts also offer a lively description of everyday medieval life and society.

The Roman de Renart (late 12th and early 13th centuries) is a series of poems
relating the adventures of the fox Renart.

The fabliaux continue a long tradition that is rooted in the East (India), and came
to Greece (e.g. Aesop) and Rome (e.g. Phaedrus). A manuscript of the Latin fables
allegedly of Phaedrus made it into the Middle Ages and was translated around
1180 by the well-known author Marie de France, with the title Isopet. In the 13th
century the word Isopet refers to any collection of fables.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text for this lesson is the fable Du Renart et du Corbet (Isopet 1.15). Isopet I is
a 13th century collection of fables by an unknown author. The fable selected here
is part of a long tradition and, with La Fontaine in the 17th century, became one of
the best known stories in French literature. It is a story of animals criticizing
man's greed for glory. The main characters are the Raven, who is vain, and the
Fox, who is the incarnation of slyness and deception. Another character is
mentioned, Hersen, who in the Roman de Renart is the wife of the wolf Ysengrin,
Renart's opponent. Hersen spends her life spinning and represents simple life
without claims to fame.

Sire Tiercelin, le Corbiau,


Qui cuide estre avenant et biau,
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Tenoit en son bech un fromage.

sire -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- sir

Tiercelin -- proper name; nominative singular <Tiercelin> Tiercelin -- Tiercelin

le -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

Corbiau -- proper name; nominative singular <Corbiau> Raven -- Raven

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

cuide -- verb; third person singular present <cuidier> think -- thinks

estre -- verb; infinitive <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- he is

avenant -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <avenant> beautiful,


attractive -- attractive

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

biau -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome --


handsome

tenoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <tenir> hold, keep, seize,
consider -- had

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

son -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

bech -- noun; oblique singular <bec> beak -- beak

un -- indefinite article; oblique singular masculine <un> a -- a

fromage -- noun; oblique singular <fromage> cheese -- cheese

Renart, qui a fait maint dommaige,


Par mi le bois chassant couroit
Com cil qui de grant fain mouroit.

Renart -- proper name; nominative singular <Renart> Renart -- Renart

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

a -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has

fait -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <faire> make -- done

maint -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <maint> many, many a -- much

dommaige -- noun; oblique singular <damage> trouble, harm -- harm


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par mi -- preposition; <parmi, par mi> through, in the middle -- through

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

bois -- noun; oblique singular <bos, bois> forest, tree -- forest

chassant -- verb; present participle nominative singular masculine <chasser> hunt


-- hunting

couroit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <corre> run -- ran

com -- conjunction; <com, comme> as -- like

cil -- demonstrative; nominative singular masculine <cil> that -- someone

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

grant -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

fain -- noun; oblique singular <faim> hunger, desire -- hunger

mouroit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <morir> kill, die -- would die

Le fromaige li vit tenir;


Bien scet qu'il n'i puet avenir
Se n'est par art et par engin.

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

fromaige -- noun; oblique singular <fromage> cheese -- cheese

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


him

vit -- verb; third person singular preterite <veoir> see -- he saw

tenir -- verb; infinitive <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider -- hold

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- well

scet -- verb; third person singular present <savoir> know -- he knows

qu'il -- conjunction; <que> that + personal pronoun; third person singular


nominative masculine <il> he -- that he

n'i -- negation; <ne, nen> not + particle; <i> there -- not... to it

puet -- verb; third person singular present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able --
can

avenir -- verb; infinitive <avenir> arrive, happen -- get


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se n'est -- conjunction; <se> if + negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; third person
singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- unless

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- by

art -- noun; oblique singular <art> liberal art, craft -- craft

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- ...

engin -- noun; oblique singular <engin, engien> skill, cheating -- cheating

"Ha," dit Renart, "biau Tiercelin,


Qui estes enparents,
Dommaiges iert que ne chants
Aussi bien com fist vostre pere.

ha -- interjection; <ha> ha, hello -- ha

dit -- verb; third person singular present <dire> say, tell -- says

Renart -- proper name; nominative singular <Renart> Renart -- Renart

biau -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome --


dear

Tiercelin -- proper name; nominative singular <Tiercelin> Tiercelin -- Tiercelin

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- you who

estes -- verb; second person plural present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- are

enparents -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <emparent> of noble


lineage -- of noble lineage

dommaiges -- noun; nominative singular <damage> trouble, harm -- a pity

iert -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- it is

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

chants -- verb; second person singular present <chanter> sing -- you do sing

aussi -- adverb; <aussi> also, likewise -- as

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- well

com -- conjunction; <com, comme> as -- as

fist -- verb; third person singular preterite <faire> make -- did


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vostre -- possessive; second person plural nominative singular masculine <vostre>


your -- your

pere -- noun; nominative singular <pere> father -- father

Se aussi chantissiez, par saint Pere,


Je cuit qu'en tout le bois n'est
Oisel qui tant a tous plest."

se -- conjunction; <se> if -- if

aussi -- adverb; <aussi> also, likewise -- as well

chantissiez -- verb; second person plural subjunctive imperfective <chanter> sing


-- you sang

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- by

saint -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <saint> holy -- St.

Pere -- noun; oblique singular <Perre> Peter -- Peter

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

cuit -- verb; first person singular present <cuidier> think -- think

qu'en -- conjunction; <que> that + preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- that
in

tout -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- entire

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

bois -- noun; oblique singular <bos, bois> forest, tree -- forest

n'est -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; third person singular subjunctive
imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- there would be no

oisel -- noun; oblique singular <oisel> bird -- bird

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

tant -- adverb; <tant> so, so much -- that much

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- ...

tous -- adjective; oblique plural masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- all

plest -- verb; third person singular subjunctive imperfective <plaire> please --


pleases

Le Corbiau, qui pas n'apercoit


Que Renart l'engingne et decoit,
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Et qui par son chant plaire cuide,


En chanter met si grant estude
Que son fromage li che.

le -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

Corbiau -- proper name; nominative singular <Corbiau> Raven -- Raven

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

pas -- negation; <pas> not -- ...

n'apercoit -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; third person singular present
<apercevoir> notice, know -- does not notice

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

Renart -- proper name; nominative singular <Renart> Renart -- Renart

l'engingne -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il>
he + verb; third person singular present <engignier, engeignier> invent, seduce,
deceive -- deceives him

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

decoit -- verb; third person singular present <decoivre> deceive, mislead --


misleads

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- with

son -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

chant -- noun; oblique singular <chant> song, melody -- singing

plaire -- verb; infinitive <plaire> please -- he will please

cuide -- verb; third person singular present <cuidier> think -- thinks

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

chanter -- verb; infinitive <chanter> sing -- his singing

met -- verb; third person singular present <metre, mectre, mettre> put -- puts

si -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much -- such

grant -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

estude -- noun; oblique singular <estude, estudie> study, zeal -- zeal


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que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

son -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular masculine <son> his
-- his

fromage -- noun; nominative singular <fromage> cheese -- cheese

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


...

che -- verb; third person singular preterite <cheoir, chaeir> fall -- fell

Renart ne fu pas esba,


Qui son chant mout petit prisa;
Le fromaige tantost pris a,
Si le menja trestout Renart;
Oncques Tiercelin n'i ot part.

Renart -- proper name; nominative singular <Renart> Renart -- Renart

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

fu -- verb; third person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was

pas -- negation; <pas> not -- ...

esba -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <esbai> frightened, troubled,


surprised -- surprised

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

son -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular masculine <son> his --
his

chant -- noun; oblique singular <chant> song, melody -- singing

mout -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- very

petit -- adjective, adverb; <petit> small, little -- little

prisa -- verb; third person singular preterite <prisier, proisier> esteem, appreciate
-- appreciated

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

fromaige -- noun; oblique singular <fromage> cheese -- cheese

tantost -- adverb; <tantost> immediately -- immediately

pris -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <prendre> take, take
hold of, seize -- taken

a -- verb; third person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has


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si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- it

menja -- verb; third person singular preterite <mangier, manjuer> eat -- ate

trestout -- reinforcing element; <tres> ... + adjective; oblique singular masculine


<tot> all, every, completely -- completely

Renart -- proper name; nominative singular <Renart> Renart -- Renart

oncques -- adverb; <onques> once, ever -- ...

Tiercelin -- proper name; nominative singular <Tiercelin> Tiercelin -- Tiercelin

n'i -- negation; <ne, nen> not + particle; <i> there -- never... of it

ot -- verb; third person singular preterite <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had

part -- noun; oblique singular <part> part, portion -- a portion

Mout en fu dolent le Corbiau,


Et de honte li croist son diau.

mout -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- very

en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- about it

fu -- verb; third person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was

dolent -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <dolent> sorrowful, wetched --


sorry

le -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

Corbiau -- proper name; nominative singular <Corbiau> Raven -- Raven

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- because of

honte -- noun; oblique singular <honte> shame, disgrace -- shame

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


...

croist -- verb; third person singular present <croistre, creistre> grow -- increases

son -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular masculine <son> his
-- his

diau -- noun; nominative singular <dol, duel> suffering, grief -- grief

La moralit :
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Qui vaine gloire quiert et chace,


Sa perte et sa honte pourchace.
Fausse honneur, ce pous entendre,
Maint grand anuy souvent engendre.

la -- definite article; nominative singular feminine <li> the -- the

moralit -- noun; nominative singular <moralit> character, lesson -- lesson

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- whoever

vaine -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <vain> weak, empty -- vain

gloire -- noun; oblique singular <gloire> glory -- glory

quiert -- verb; third person singular present <quere, querre> look for, want, ask --
looks for

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

chace -- verb; third person singular present <chasser> hunt -- hunts for

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his

perte -- noun; oblique singular <perte> fall, destruction -- fall

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his

honte -- noun; oblique singular <honte> shame, disgrace -- disgrace

pourchace -- verb; third person singular present <porchacier> seek, pursue --


pursues

fausse -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <fals, faus> false -- false

honneur -- noun; nominative singular <onor, enor, anor> honor, respect, esteem,
fief -- honor

ce -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <cil> that -- this

pous -- verb; second person singular present <pooir, poeir, poier> can, be able --
you can

entendre -- verb; infinitive <entendre> try, pay attention, understand, hear --


understand

maint -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <maint> many, many a -- very

grand -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

anuy -- noun; oblique singular <enoi, enui> torment, pain -- pain


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souvent -- adverb; <sovent> frequently, often -- often

engendre -- verb; third person singular present <engeindre, engendrer> cause --


causes

Les fols qui quierent vainne gloire


Sieulent asss de honte boire;
Gloire les met hors de leur sen.

les -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the

fols -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <fol> crazy -- crazy people

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

quierent -- verb; third person plural present <quere, querre> look for, want, ask --
pursue

vainne -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <vain> weak, empty -- vain

gloire -- noun; oblique singular <gloire> glory -- glory

sieulent -- verb; third person plural present <soloir> be accustomed -- are used
to

asss -- adverb; <asez, asss> many, much, very well -- much

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...

honte -- noun; oblique singular <honte> shame, disgrace -- disgrace

boire -- verb; infinitive <bevre> drink -- drinking

gloire -- noun; nominative singular <gloire> glory -- glory

les -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object masculine <il> they --
them

met -- verb; third person singular present <metre, mectre, mettre> put -- puts

hors de -- preposition; <hors> out, out of, except + preposition; <de> of, from --
out of

leur -- possessive; third person plural oblique singular masculine <lor, leur> their
-- their

sen -- noun; oblique singular <sen, sens> direction, sense -- senses

Plus saige tien dame Hersen


Qui viut sa coloingne filer;
Pour ce ne la doi aviler.
Qui veut estre trop apparent,
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De faintise n'avra garent.

plus -- adverb; <plus> more -- ...

saige -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <saige, saive> clever, educated --


wiser

tien -- verb; first person singular present <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider -- I
consider

dame -- noun; oblique singular <dame> lady, dame -- lady

Hersen -- proper name; oblique singular <Hersen> Hersen -- Hersen # Hersen is


the wife of the wolf Ysengrinus in the Roman de Renart

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

viut -- verb; third person singular present <voloir> want -- wants

sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- her

coloingne -- noun; oblique singular <quenoille, queloigne> distaff -- distaff

filer -- verb; infinitive <filer> spin -- to draw threat from

pour -- preposition; <por> for -- for

ce -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <cil> that -- this reason

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

la -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object feminine <il> he -- her

doi -- verb; first person singular present <devoir> have to -- I do... have to

aviler -- verb; infinitive <aviler> abandon, disgrace -- disgrace

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- whoever

veut -- verb; third person singular present <voloir> want -- wants

estre -- verb; infinitive <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- to be

trop -- adverb; <trop> too much, extremely, excessively -- too

apparent -- adjective; nominative singular <aparant> visible -- visible

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- from

faintise -- noun; oblique singular <feintise> pretense, deceit -- deceit

n'avra -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; third person singular future <avoir,
aveir> have, be -- will have no

garent -- noun; oblique singular <garant, garent> protection, defense --


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protection

Lesson Text

Sire Tiercelin, le Corbiau,


Qui cuide estre avenant et biau,
Tenoit en son bech un fromage. Renart, qui a fait maint dommaige,
Par mi le bois chassant couroit
Com cil qui de grant fain mouroit. Le fromaige li vit tenir;
Bien scet qu'il n'i puet avenir
Se n'est par art et par engin. "Ha," dit Renart, "biau Tiercelin,
Qui estes enparents,
Dommaiges iert que ne chants
Aussi bien com fist vostre pere. Se aussi chantissiez, par saint Pere,
Je cuit qu'en tout le bois n'est
Oisel qui tant a tous plest." Le Corbiau, qui pas n'apercoit
Que Renart l'engingne et decoit,
Et qui par son chant plaire cuide,
En chanter met si grant estude
Que son fromage li che. Renart ne fu pas esba,
Qui son chant mout petit prisa;
Le fromaige tantost pris a,
Si le menja trestout Renart;
Oncques Tiercelin n'i ot part. Mout en fu dolent le Corbiau,
Et de honte li croist son diau. La moralit :
Qui vaine gloire quiert et chace,
Sa perte et sa honte pourchace.
Fausse honneur, ce pous entendre,
Maint grand anuy souvent engendre. Les fols qui quierent vainne gloire
Sieulent asss de honte boire;
Gloire les met hors de leur sen. Plus saige tien dame Hersen
Qui viut sa coloingne filer;
Pour ce ne la doi aviler.
Qui veut estre trop apparent,
De faintise n'avra garent.

Translation

Sir Tiercelin, the Raven,


Who thinks he is attractive and handsome,
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Had a cheese in his beak

Renart, who has done much harm,


Ran through the forest hunting
Like someone who would die of great hunger.

He saw him hold the cheese;


He knows well that he cannot get to it
Unless by craft and cheating.

"Ha," says Renart, "dear Tiercelin,


You who are of noble lineage,
It is a pity that you do not sing
As well as did your father.

If you sang as well, by St Peter,


I think that there would be no bird
In the entire forest who would please all that much."

The Raven, who does not notice


That Renart deceives and misleads him,
And who thinks that he will please with his singing,
Puts such great zeal in his singing
That his cheese fell.

Renart was not surprised,


Who appreciated his singing very little;
Renart has taken the cheese immediately,
And ate it completely
Tiercelin never had a portion of it.

The Raven was very sorry about it,


And his grief increases because of shame.

The lesson:
Whoever looks and hunts for vain glory,
Pursues his fall and his disgrace.
False honor, this you can understand,
Often causes very great pain.

The crazy people who pursue vain glory


Are used to drinking much disgrace;
Glory puts them out of their senses.

I consider lady Hersen wiser


Who wants to draw threat from her distaff;
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And for that reason I do not have to disgrace her.


Whoever wants to be too visible,
Will have no protection from deceit.

Grammar

36 Passive

While Latin had a fully developed passive paradigm -- an innovation, from an


Indo-European perspective -- Old French had analytic forms to express passive
voice, cf.:

e por o fut presentede Maximiien (Eul. 11, Lesson 4)


'and for this reason she was brought before Maximian'

furent desconfit (Conq. 345, Lesson 7)


'they were defeated'
The passive was not a common structure in Old French, as the texts analyzed in
this course illustrate: so far only three passive constructions have been attested.

Generally the agent -- if expressed at all -- is referred to by a prepositional phrase


introduced by de, cf.:

purent petit plaint de la gent (Conq. 345, Lesson 7)


'they were little mourned by the people'
The prepositions par and a are found as well in this function, albeit not very
frequently.

37 Reflexive or Pronominal Verbs

Old French has many more reflexive -- or rather pronominal -- verbs than today's
language. That is because many intransitive verbs took the pronominal form,
referring to an action that does not involve anything or anyone outside the subject
itself, cf.:

se craindre 'fear
se demorer 'remain'
se dormir 'to sleep'
se feindre 'feign'
se pasmer 'faint'
se douter 'to be afraid'
se morir 'to die'
se perir 'to perish'
se monter 'ascend'
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se partir 'leave'
s'apoier 'learn'
Several of these verbs exist in non-proniminal form as well, cf. for example
demorer 'remain', monter 'ascend, mount', feindre 'behave in a cowardly way',
perir 'perish', partir 'leave', morir 'die'.

Not all pronominal verbs of today go back to a reflexive form in the Middle Ages:

Li reis est par matin levet (CdR 163)


'the king has gotten up early'
Modern French has the pronominal se lever in this use, cf.:

In compound tenses the auxiliary is estre, although instances with avoir are
attested as well, cf.:

with auxiliary estre:

sur l'erbe verte s'i est culchet (CdR 2358, Lesson 2)


'there he has lain down on the green grass'
with auxiliary avoir:

il s'a vestu
'he has put his clothes on'
For practical reasons, pronominal verbs have not all been identified in the glosses
of this course as a separate category. The pronominal element has been identified
as a pronoun, with the appropriate case indication, or the verb has been given as
se + infinitive (e.g. se pasmer).

38 Nominal Forms of the Verb

Old French has several so-called nominal forms of the verb: while these forms are
part of a given verbal paradigm, they express nominal characteristics, such as
gender, case, and number, and assume nominal functions. In Old French, the
nominal forms of the verb include the perfective participle, the present participle,
the gerund, and the infinitive.

the perfective participle is based on the perfective stem, cf. for example:

chanter chantet
fenir fenit
partir parti
corre coru
faire fait
venir venu
metre mis
the present participle is based on the present stem, cf. for example:
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chanter chantant
finir fenissant
partir partant
corre corant
faire fesant / faisant
venir venant
metre met(t)ant
Formally the declension of present participles follows the patterns of class III
adjectives, cf.:

Declension of the Present Participle

Masculine Feminine
Nom. Sg. chantanz chantant / chantanz
Obl. Sg. chantant chantant

Nom. Pl. chantant chantanz


Obl. Pl. chantanz chantanz
gerunds are formally identical to present participles, but in contrast to these
forms, gerunds are invariable.

infinitives, e.g. chanter 'sing', fenir 'end', partir 'leave', remanoir 'stay', corre 'run'.
Infinitives may convey case (see Grammar Point 39) as expressed in the definite
article and the case ending.

Declension of the Infinitive

Nom. Sg. li chanters


Obl. Sg. le chanter
The use of a preposition could lead to article enclisis, e.g. du doner 'of the fact of
giving'.

39 Nominal Forms of the Verb: Uses

39.1. The infinitive in Old French may function as a noun assuming the function of
subject, direct object, or complement in a prepositional phrase, cf.:

subject:

tencier est laide chose (Theb. 3924)


'quarreling is no good'
object:

doubtant le retourner de son adversaire (CNN 52.118)


'afraid of his ennemy's return'
complement of preposition:
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se seigne a l'entrer el champ (Art. 102.13)


'he crosses himself when he enterd the battlefield'

en chanter met si grant estude (Isop. 1.15; this lesson)


'he puts such great zeal in his singing'
The combining of a preposition + (determiner) + infinitive generally conveys
temporal or causal value, manner, means, for example:

temporal value:

se seigne a l'entrer el chanp (Art. 102.13)


'he crosses himself when he enters the battlefield'

au redrecier
'at his getting up'
expressing manner:

par nos passage paier


'by paying our crossing'
Infinitive used as a nominal complement, cf.:

tens est del herberger (CdR 2482)


'it is time to encamp'
The nominal characteristics of the infinitive are manifest not only in its combining
with a definite article, but also in case endings (for forms, see Grammar Point 38),
cf.:

(li) parlers 'the fact of talking'


For example:

li corners ne nos avreit mester (CdR 1742)


'blowing the horn would not be of help to us'
Determiners other than definite articles combine with the infinitive as well, cf.:

jusq'au mien partir


'until my leaving, until my departure'
Direct objects of infinitives may take either the form of an accusative (verbal
syntax) or a genitive (nominal syntax), cf.:

a l'ouvrir la chambre (CNN 279.55)


'at the opening of the room'

li porters dou rainsel


'the fact of carrying the small branch'
The accusative in this context reflects verbal syntax, showing that the infinitive is
considered a fully verbal element. The genitive reflects nominal syntax, showing
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that the infinitive is considered a nominal element.

Nominal uses of the infinitive survived until the 16th century; today's language has
several fossilized forms, cf. le dner, le djeuner 'lunch', le devoir 'task', and others.

39.2. The forms in -ant in Old French functioned as present participles and as
gerunds, but the distinction between both types of use is not always clear. The
form in -ant is commonly attested in prepositional phrases, expressing adverbial
value. The phrase may include a possessive:

a lor vivant 'in their lifetime'


en son dormant 'during his sleep'
The prepositional phrase may also include a noun conveying an underlying direct
object or subject, cf.:

subject:

devant midi sonnant (R. Cambr. 8399)


'before noon'

al coc cantant (Brut. 995)


'at cockcrow'
direct object:

a la porte ouvrant
'at the opening of the door'

eust grant peur de la teste perdant


'he was afraid he would lose his head'
Forms in -ant and infinitives may show overlap in some of the prepositional uses,
cf.:

par mes armes portant par noz testes trancher


'by carrying my arms' 'by cutting off our heads'

en mon dormant vi une vision jusqu'au mien partir


'I had a vision during my sleep' 'until my departure'
By contrast, forms in -ant alone combine with a finite form of the verb to indicate
progressive action or to specify the circumstances in which the action conveyed by
the main verb is carried out, cf.:

que Carles diet ... qu'il fut mort cunquerant (CdR 2362-2363)
'that Charles will say that he died a conqueror'

desuz un pin i est alet curant (CdR 2357, Lesson 2)


'he has gone under a tree running'
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Forms in -ant in combination with forms of the verb aler or estre specifically
convey action in progress, cf.:

il est as porz passant (CdR 1767)


'he passes by the ports'

40 Absolute Constructions

Absolute constructions in Old French are residues of a much wider (occurrence


and use) phenomenon in earlier times. An absolute construction is a combination
of a noun and a participle; both elements agree in number, case and gender and
are syntactically completley independent from the other elements in the clause.
The noun typically conveys the underlying subject or the direct object of the
participle. Latin absolutes typically had the ablative form and they conveyed a
wide range of meanings, such as temporal, causal, or conditional value. Cf.:

armis acceptis Crassus... (Caes., DBG 3.23)


weapons-Abl. accept-Pf.Part.Abl.pl. Crassus-Nom.
'having accepted the weapons, Crassus... '
These constructions survive in Old French--mostly in the oblique case--but their
use is rather limited. They often include nouns referring to clothes, bodyparts, and
general equipment. They are slightly fossilized and descriptive, cf.:

juntes ses mains est alet a sa fin (CdR 2392)


'his hands joined he went to his death'
Their fossilized nature is especially manifest in fixed expressions, such as helmes
laciez 'helmets fastened', espee cainte 'sword girded', and others.

Lesson 9

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

The littrature bourgeoise (see Lesson 8) also incorporated many plays, either
comic or religious. Theater has its roots in early religious ceremonies. From the
10th century, the liturgy of important Christian holidays (e.g. Christmas) came to
include a dramatic representation of the events that were celebrated. Persons in
special costumes would represent characters in the holy stories. Gradually, these
characters began to exchange sentences and communicate with one another;
dialogues became longer, and the sets more sophisticated. In the 12th century,
several scenes came to be combined on one stage. When the texts began to include
too many non-religious aspects, the stage left the confines of the church and
instead was set up outside, in front of the church. French was used increasingly,
actors were no longer recruited among priests and other religious figures alone,
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and the topics became more diverse. Yet the topics within this setting remained
religious; they addressed the history of mankind (starting at the Garden of Eden,
Le Jeu d'Adam), focused on saints (Le jeu de St. Nicolas), or related stories
featuring the Virgin Mary (Le miracle de Thophile).

The Virgin Mary played a most important role in the Middle Ages as a person who
would intercede on behalf of sinful Christians, even during their lives. Regretting
sin was the primary condition for salvation.

Some of the stories of these plays became very popular indeed, and are found in
other forms of art as well. The story of Theophile, for example, which had Greek
origins, is represented in the tympan on the north side of Notre Dame cathedral in
Paris.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text chosen for this lesson is taken from Le miracle de Thophile (540-580;
585), written by Rutebeuf during the second half of the 13th century. Theophile is
a priest to whom injustice is being done by his bishop. He therefore rejects God
and instead signs an agreement with the Devil. The Devil, in exchange for
Theophile's soul, ensures that Theophile gets back his possessions and standing
and prestige. Later Theophile regrets his actions and, in despair, decides to
beseech Our Lady to save him.

The fragment selected here presents Theophile petitioning Mary for help. After a
first rejection, Mary decides to save him and to wrest the agreement from the
Devil.

ICI PAROLE NOSTRE DAME A THEOPHILE ET DIST


Qui es tu qui vas par ci ?

ici -- adverb; <ici, issi> here -- here

parole -- verb; third person singular present <parler> speak, talk -- speaks

Nostre Dame -- possessive; first person plural nominative singular feminine


<nostre> our + noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- Our Lady

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

Theophile -- proper name; oblique singular <Theophile> Theophile -- Theophile

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

dist -- verb; third person singular preterite <dire> say, tell -- she said

qui -- interrogative; nominative singular <qui> who -- who


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es -- verb; second person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- are

tu -- personal pronoun; second person singular nominative <tu> you -- you

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

vas -- verb; second person singular present <aler> go -- goes

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- through

ci -- adverb; <ci> here -- here

THEOPHILES
Ha, Dame ! aiez de moi merci !
C'est li chetis
Theophiles, li entrepris
Que mauf ont loi et pris.

Theophiles -- proper name; nominative singular <Theophile> Theophile --


Theophile

ha -- interjection; <ha> ha, hello -- dear

Dame -- noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- lady

aiez -- verb; second person plural imperative <avoir, aveir> have, be -- have

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- on

moi -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

merci -- noun; oblique singular <merci> grace, mercy, pity -- mercy

c'est -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <cil> that + verb; third person
singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- it is

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

chetis -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <chaitif> miserable --


miserable

Theophiles -- proper name; nominative singular <Theophile> Theophile --


Theophile

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

entrepris -- noun; nominative singular <entrepris> unhappy person -- unhappy


one

que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> who -- whom

mauf -- noun; nominative plural <malf> devil, demon -- devils


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ont -- verb; third person plural present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- have

loi -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <lier, loier> bind --
tied

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

pris -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <prendre> take, take
hold of, seize -- taken hold of

Or vieng proier
A vous, Dame, et merci crier,
Que ne gart l'eure qu'asproier
Me viengne cil
Qui m'as mis a si grant escil.
Tu me tenis ja por ton fil,
Rone bele !

or -- conjunction; <or> now -- now

vieng -- verb; first person singular present <venir> come, go -- I come

proier -- verb; infinitive <prier, preier> pray, beg, beseech -- to pray

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

vous -- personal pronoun; second person plural direct object <vos> you -- you

Dame -- noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- Lady

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

merci -- noun; oblique singular <merci> grace, mercy, pity -- mercy

crier -- verb; infinitive <crier> shout -- to beg for

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- so that

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

gart -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <garder> watch over, guard
-- he will look for

l'eure -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the + noun; oblique
singular <ore, eure> hour, time -- the moment that

qu'asproier -- conjunction; <que> that + verb; infinitive <asproier> torment,


prosecute -- to torment

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

viengne -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <venir> come, go -- he


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will come

cil -- demonstrative; nominative singular masculine <cil> that -- he

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who

m'as -- personal pronoun; first person direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I + verb; third
person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- has... me

mis -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <metre, mectre,


mettre> put -- put

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- in

si -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much -- such

grant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <grant> great, large, tall -- great

escil -- noun; oblique singular <essil, eissil, issil> wretchedness, ruin -- misery

tu -- personal pronoun; second person singular nominative <tu> you -- you

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

tenis -- verb; second person singular preterite <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider
-- considered

ja -- adverb; <ja, jai> now, already, at once -- already

por -- preposition; <por> for -- as

ton -- possessive; second person singular oblique singular masculine <ton> your --
your

fil -- noun; oblique singular <fil> son -- son

rone -- noun; nominative singular <reine, raine, roine> queen -- queen

bele -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome --


beloved

NOSTRE DAME PAROLE


Je n'ai cure de ta favele.
Va t'en, is fors de ma chapele.

Nostre Dame -- possessive; first person plural nominative singular feminine


<nostre> our + noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- Our Lady

parole -- verb; third person singular present <parler> speak, talk -- speaks

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

n'ai cure de -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; first person singular present
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<avoir, aveir> have, be + noun; oblique singular <cure> care, anxiety +


preposition; <de> of, from -- do not care about

ta -- possessive; second person singular oblique singular feminine <ton> your --


your

favele -- noun; oblique singular <favele> story, lie -- story

va t'en -- verb; second person singular imperative <aler> go + personal pronoun;


second person singular direct object <tu> you + pronoun; inanimate <en> of it --
go away

is -- verb; second person singular imperative <issir> go out, come out -- go out

fors -- adverb; <fors> out, outside -- ...

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

ma -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular feminine <mon> my -- my

chapele -- noun; oblique singular <chapele> chapel -- chapel

THEOPHILE PAROLE
Dame, je n'ose
Flors d'aiglentier et lis et rose
En qui li Filz Dieu se repose,
Que ferai gi ?

Theophile -- proper name; nominative singular <Theophile> Theophile --


Theophile

parole -- verb; third person singular present <parler> speak, talk -- speaks

dame -- noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- Lady

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

n'ose -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; first person singular present <oser> dare
-- do not dare

flors d'aiglentier -- noun; nominative singular <flor> flower + preposition; <de>


of, from + noun; oblique singular <aiglantier> wild rose -- flowering wild rose

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

lis -- noun; nominative singular <lil> lily -- lily

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

rose -- noun; nominative singular <rose> rose -- rose

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in


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qui -- relative pronoun; object <qui> who -- whom

li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the

Filz -- noun; nominative singular <fil> son -- son

Dieu -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- of God

se repose -- verb; third person singular present <se reposer> rest -- rests

que -- interrogative; oblique <qui> what -- what

ferai -- verb; first person singular future <faire> make -- shall do

gi -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

Malement me sent engagi


Envers le mauf enragi
Ne sai que fere :
Ja mes ne finirai de brere !
Virge, pucele debonere,
Dame honoree,
Bien sera m'ame devoree,
Qu'en enfer fera demoree
Avoec Cahu.

malement -- adverb; <malement> badly -- badly

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

sent -- verb; first person singular present <sentir> smell, feel -- I feel

engagi -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <engagier>


commit -- am commited

envers -- preposition :; <envers> towards -- towards

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

mauf -- noun; oblique singular <malf> devil, demon -- devil

enragi -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <enragi> furious -- furious

ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not

sai -- verb; first person singular present <savoir> know -- I do know

que -- interrogative; oblique <qui> what -- what

fere -- verb; infinitive <faire> make -- to do

ja mes ne -- adverb; <ja> ever + adverb; <mais> more, further, rather + negation;
<ne, nen> not -- never
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finirai -- verb; first person singular future <fenir, finir> end, stop -- I will stop

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...

brere -- verb; infinitive <braire> shout, sing -- begging

virge -- noun; nominative singular <virge> virgin -- virgin

pucele -- noun; nominative singular <pucele> girl, servant, maiden -- maiden

debonere -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <debonaire> noble, sweet --


noble

dame -- noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- lady

honoree -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <honore> honored --


honored

bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- completely

sera -- verb; third person singular future <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- will be

m'ame -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular feminine <mon>


my + noun; nominative singular <anme, alme, arme, ame> soul, somebody -- my
soul

devoree -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular feminine <devorer>


devour -- devoured

qu'en -- conjunction; <que> when + preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of --
when... in

enfer -- noun; oblique singular <enfern> hell -- hell

fera demoree -- verb; third person singular future <faire> make + noun; oblique
singular <demoree> delay, stay -- staying

avoec -- preposition; <avuec, avec, avoc> with -- with

Cahu -- proper name; oblique singular <Cahu> Cahu -- Cain # According to some
Cahu was a pagan God, reinterpreted as the devil; others think that Cahu refers to
Cain

NOSTRE DAME
Theophile, je t'ai se
Ca en arriere a moi e.
Saches de voir,
Ta chartre te ferai ravoir
Que tu baillas par nonsavoir.
Ja la vois querre.
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Nostre Dame -- possessive; first person plural nominative singular feminine


<nostre> our + noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- Our Lady

Theophile -- proper name; nominative singular <Theophile> Theophile --


Theophile

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

t'ai -- personal pronoun; second person singular direct object <tu> you + verb;
first person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- have... you

se -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <savoir> know --


known

ca en arriere -- adverb; <ca en arriere> formerly, until now -- in the past when

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- at

moi -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- my
service

e -- verb; first person preterite <avoir, aveir> have, be -- I had

saches -- verb; second person singular subjunctive present <savoir> know --


know

de voir -- preposition; <de> of, from + adjective; oblique singular masculine


<voir> true -- for sure

ta -- possessive; second person singular oblique singular feminine <ton> your --


your

chartre -- noun; oblique singular <chartre> letter, agreement -- agreement

te -- personal pronoun; second person singular direct object <tu> you -- you

ferai -- verb; first person singular future <faire> make -- I shall make

ravoir -- verb; infinitive <ravoir> have back -- have back

que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- which

tu -- personal pronoun; second person singular nominative <tu> you -- you

baillas -- verb; second person singular preterite <baillier> own, receive, give --
gave away

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- by

nonsavoir -- noun; oblique singular <nonsavoir> ignorance -- ignorance

ja -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I


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la -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object feminine <il> he -- it

vois -- verb; first person singular present <aler> go -- go

querre -- verb; infinitive <quere, querre> look for, want, ask -- look for

ICI VA NOSTRE DAME POR LA CHARTRE THEOPHILE

ici -- adverb; <ici, issi> here -- here

va -- verb; third person singular present <aler> go -- leaves

Nostre Dame -- possessive; first person plural nominative singular feminine


<nostre> our + noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- Our Lady

por -- preposition; <por> for -- to get

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

chartre -- noun; oblique singular <chartre> letter, agreement -- agreement

Theophile -- proper name; oblique singular <Theophile> Theophile -- of


Theophile

Sathan ! Sathan ! es tu en serre ?


S'es or venuz en ceste terre
Por commencier a mon clerc guerre,
Mar le pensas.

Sathan -- proper name; nominative singular <Satan> Satan -- Satan

Sathan -- proper name; nominative singular <Satan> Satan -- Satan

es -- verb; second person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- are

tu -- personal pronoun; second person singular nominative <tu> you -- you

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

serre -- noun; oblique singular <serre> prison -- prison

s'es -- conjunction; <se> if + verb; second person singular present <estre, iestre,
aistre> be -- if you have

or -- adverb; <or> now -- now

venuz -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <venir> come,


go -- come

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- to

ceste -- demonstrative; oblique singular feminine <cest, cist> this -- this

terre -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- world


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por -- preposition; <por> for -- in order to

commencier -- verb; infinitive <comencier> begin, start -- start

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- ...

mon -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular masculine <mon> my --


my

clerc -- noun; oblique singular <clerc, clerge> clerk -- clerk

guerre -- noun; oblique singular <guerre> war, trouble -- to trouble

mar -- adverb; <mar> wrongly, in vain -- in vain

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- so

pensas -- verb; second person singular preterite <penser> think, pay attention --
you thought

Rent la chartre que du clerc as,


Quar tu as fet trop vilain cas.

rent -- verb; second person singular imperative <rendre> give, return -- give
back

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

chartre -- noun; oblique singular <chartre> letter, agreement -- agreement

que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that

du -- preposition; <de> of, from + definite article; oblique singular masculine <li>
the -- from the

clerc -- noun; oblique singular <clerc, clerge> clerk -- clerk

as -- verb; second person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- you got

quar -- conjunction; <quar, car> for, because -- because

tu -- personal pronoun; second person singular nominative <tu> you -- you

as -- verb; second person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- have

fet -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <faire> make -- done

trop -- adverb; <trop> too much, extremely, excessively -- too much

vilain cas -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <vilain> ugly, bad + noun;
oblique singular <cas> fall, event, affair -- harm

SATHAN PAROLE
Je la vous randre !
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J'aim miex assez que l'en me pende ! ...

Sathan -- proper name; nominative singular <Satan> Satan -- Satan

parole -- verb; third person singular present <parler> speak, talk -- speaks

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

la -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object feminine <il> he -- it

vous -- personal pronoun; second person plural indirect object <vos> you -- to
you

randre -- verb; infinitive <rendre> give, return -- give... back

j'aim miex -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I +
verb; first person singular present <amer> love + comparative adverb; <miels,
mels> better, rather -- I would... prefer

assez -- adverb; <asez, asss> many, much, very well -- very much

que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

l'en -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the + personal


pronoun; third person singular nominative <om, on> one -- they

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

pende -- verb; third person singular subjunctive present <pendre> hang -- hang

NOSTRE DAME
Et je te foulerai la pance.

Nostre Dame -- possessive; first person plural nominative singular feminine


<nostre> our + noun; nominative singular <dame> lady, dame -- Our Lady

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

je -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

te -- personal pronoun; second person singular indirect object <tu> you -- ...

foulerai -- verb; first person singular future <foler> harm -- trample

la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- your

pance -- noun; oblique singular <pance> stomach, belly -- belly

Lesson Text

ICI PAROLE NOSTRE DAME A THEOPHILE ET DIST


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Qui es tu qui vas par ci ? THEOPHILES


Ha, Dame ! aiez de moi merci !
C'est li chetis
Theophiles, li entrepris
Que mauf ont loi et pris. Or vieng proier
A vous, Dame, et merci crier,
Que ne gart l'eure qu'asproier
Me viengne cil
Qui m'as mis a si grant escil.
Tu me tenis ja por ton fil,
Rone bele ! NOSTRE DAME PAROLE
Je n'ai cure de ta favele.
Va t'en, is fors de ma chapele. THEOPHILE PAROLE
Dame, je n'ose
Flors d'aiglentier et lis et rose
En qui li Filz Dieu se repose,
Que ferai gi ? Malement me sent engagi
Envers le mauf enragi
Ne sai que fere :
Ja mes ne finirai de brere !
Virge, pucele debonere,
Dame honoree,
Bien sera m'ame devoree,
Qu'en enfer fera demoree
Avoec Cahu. NOSTRE DAME
Theophile, je t'ai se
Ca en arriere a moi e.
Saches de voir,
Ta chartre te ferai ravoir
Que tu baillas par nonsavoir.
Ja la vois querre. ICI VA NOSTRE DAME POR LA CHARTRE THEOPHILE
Sathan ! Sathan ! es tu en serre ?
S'es or venuz en ceste terre
Por commencier a mon clerc guerre,
Mar le pensas. Rent la chartre que du clerc as,
Quar tu as fet trop vilain cas. SATHAN PAROLE
Je la vous randre !
J'aim miex assez que l'en me pende ! ... NOSTRE DAME
Et je te foulerai la pance.
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Translation

HERE OUR LADY SPEAKS TO THEOPHILE, AND SHE SAID:


Who are you, who goes through here?

THEOPHILE:
Dear Lady! Have mercy on me!
It is the miserable
Theophile, the unhappy one
Whom devils have tied and taken hold of.
Now I come to pray
To you, Lady, and to beg for mercy,
So that he will not look for the moment that
He will come to torment me, he
Who has put me in such great misery.
You considered me already as your son,
Beloved queen!

OUR LADY SPEAKS:


I do not care about your story.
Go away, go out of my chapel.

THEOPHILE SPEAKS:
Lady, I do not dare.
Flowering wild rose and lily and rose,
In whom the Son of God rests,
What shall I do?
I feel I am badly committed
Towards the furious devil
I do not know what to do :
I will never stop begging!
Virgin, noble maiden,
Honored Lady,
My soul will be devoured completely,
When staying in hell
With Cain.

OUR LADY:
Theophile I have known you
In the past when I had you at my service.
Know for sure,
I will make you have your agreement back
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Which you gave away by ignorance.


I go look for it.

HERE OUR LADY LEAVES TO GET THE AGREEMENT OF THEOPHILE


Satan, Satan, are you in prison?
If you have come to this world now
In order to start to trouble my clerk,
You thought so in vain.
Give back the agreement that you got from the clerk
Because you have done too much harm.

SATAN SPEAKS:
Me give it back to you!
I would very much prefer that they hang me! ...

OUR LADY:
And I will trample your belly.

Grammar

41 Indefinite Elements

There are a number of indefinite elements in Old French, nouns, pronominal


elements, adjectival elements.

Indefinite nouns. Among indefinite nouns, chose (cose) and rien (ren) are the
most important and most common. Chose traces back to Latin causam 'cause,
business', whereas rien originated in Latin rem 'thing, business'. In Old French,
both chose and rien mean 'thing, something, (some) business, person'. The
difference between the two elements resides in the occurrence of rien in negated
contexts, meaning 'nothing'; cf.:

ne rien veer 'to see nothing'


It is this negated use that rien preserved into the modern period, cf.:

il ne mange rien 'he does not eat anything'


Pronominal and adjectival elements. There is a group of quantifying (quant, tant)
and qualifying (tel) elements. As nominal elements, they have declensional
paradigms.

Declension of quant, '(how)ever many, (how)ever much'

Masculine Feminine
Nom. Sg. quanz quante
Obl. Sg. quant quante
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Nom. Pl. quant quantes


Obl. Pl. quanz quantes
The student will have noticed that the declension of this element follows the
patterns of Class I and Class II adjectives. The group includes tant 'so much, so
many' and alquant (auquant) 'certain ones, several', which appear only in the
plural.

Declension of tel 'such, such one'

Masculine Feminine
Nom. Sg. tels, teus tel
Obl. Sg. tel tel

Nom. Pl. tel tels, teus


Obl. Pl. tels tels, teus
Various lexical qualifiers. In addition there is a series of indefinites that qualify
nouns, adjectives, verbs or adverbs: molt 'many, much', poi (pou, peu) 'a little,
little', tot 'all, entirely'; cf.:

Mult grant eschech en unt si chevaler (CdR 99, Lesson 1)


'his knights had a very large booty'

42 Adverbs

In Lesson 6 adverbs of manner were already discussed. In fact manner adverbs are
the most "regular" among the adverbs in Old French. The other adverbs have a
variety of etymological backgrounds. Some trace back to preposition, others to
particles, and so forth.

Adverbs of time. Time reference in Old French is conveyed by a group of adverbs,


cf.:

Present
ore, ores, or 'now'
maintenant 'now'
(h)ui 'today'
encui 'today'
oan 'this year'
endementres 'during'
anuit 'tonight'

Future
main 'tomorrow'
demain 'tomorrow'
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a piece 'in a moment'


tantost 'shortly'
tost 'soon'
dsormais 'from now on'
encore, encor, uncor 'yet again'
ads 'soon'
todis 'always'

Past
lors 'then'
(h)ier 'yesterday'
l'autrier 'the day before yesterday'
ja, jadis 'in the past'
antan 'last year'
onques 'never'
pieca 'long ago'
Pieca is a fossilized form of the temporal expression piece a:

piece a
segment of time have-3sg. pres.
'there has been some time'
Adverbs of place. Location in space is referred to with a variety of adverbs,
among them:

Here
ici, ci 'here'
ca 'here, hither'

In here
ceanz 'in here'

There
la 'there'
ca 'there'
i 'there, thither'

Place where
ou 'where'

Place from which


dont 'from which, whence'
en 'thence, away'

Inside
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leanz 'inside, within'


enz 'inside'
dedenz 'inside, within'

Outside
hors 'outside'
fors 'out, outside'

Above
sus 'up, above'

Under
suz, soz 'under, beneath'

Down
jus 'down'

43 Prepositions

Prepositions in Old French trace back to a variety of elements: prepositions in


Latin, adverbs, participle, and nouns.

Latin origin. Prepositions going back to Latin prepositions may be either


compound forms or non-compound forms:

a < Lat. ad 'at, in, ...'


sans < Lat. sine + s 'without'
tres < Lat. trans 'through'
de < Lat. de 'from'
contre < Lat. contra 'against'
en < Lat. in 'in'
In spoken Latin many prepositions were combined to form new prepositions,
several of which subsequently surivive in (Old) French; see, for example:

avan < La. ab + ante 'before'


devant < La. de + ab + ante 'in front of'
envers < La. in + versus 'in the direction of'
Adverbs. Several prepositions trace back to adverbs, such as:

Nouns. The prepositions chez 'at' and lez 'beside' originally were nouns. Chez
traces back to Latin casa 'hous', whereas lez originates in La. latus 'side'.

Participles. In the later stages of Old French, participles came to be used as


prepositions as well; mostly present participles, cf.:

Present participles:
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suivant 'following'
moyennant 'through'
durant 'during'
pendant 'during'
Perfective participles:

hormis 'with the exception of'


except 'with the exception of'

44 Subordinate Conjunction, que

The conjunction que in Old French has a very rich use. It may simply connect a
subordinate clause to the main clause, it may also express intensity ('so that'),
intention ('so that'), cause, reason, or concession ('because', 'although'), and
simply 'and'. Examples:

Connecting element, cf.:

Co sent Rollant que la mort le tresprent (CdR, 2355, Lesson 2)


'Roland feels that death overcomes him completely'
Intention, cf.:

Congi ... li requiert ... d'aler tornoier


que l'an ne l'apialt recreant. (Yv. 2563, Lesson 6 )
'he asks permission to fight in tornaments'
'so that they do not call him a coward'

Pur co l'ad fait que il voelt veirement (CdR 2361, Lesson 2)


'for this reason he has done this that he really wants'
Cause, reason, concession, cf.:

La dame tantost li otroie,


qu'el ne set qu'il vialt demander (Yv., 2556)
'the lady immediately grants it to him,
'although she does not know what he wants to ask'

45 Facts: Numbers, Distances, Measures, Time

Numbers. In Old French texts, numbers are either spelled out in full or are
rendered by Roman numbers. When Roman numbers are used, the number is
preceded and followed by a dot.

Numerals. Numerals in Old French are decimal, continuing a long tradition in


Indo-European. During the Middle Ages, vigesimals emerge in various languages
in Western Europe, among them Old French. They are also attested in other
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Medieval Romance languages as well as Germanic and Celtic languages. They are
used specifically in combination with elements that typically are counted:
agricultural products, coins, measures, and so forth. From the 16th and 17th
centuries vigesimals became less frequent again. Numerals like quatre-vingts in
modern French therefore are residues of a much wider use (see Grammar Point 48
in Lesson 10 for references).

Time. As pointed out in Lesson 3, the calendar of the Church determined life in
the Middle Ages to a great extent. The year, for example, is organized around
important Christian holidays or around important days in the liturgy of the
Church. These special days are used in reference to time, cf.:

pansez de tost venir arriere


a tot le moins jusqu'a un an
huit jorz aprs la Saint Johan (Yv., 2574-2576, Lesson 6)
'at the very least within one year
'make sure to come back in time
'eight days after the feast of St. John'
Reference is systematic as is the structure of the Church calendar. Epiphany, for
example, is set on the Twelfth Night following Christmas (i.e. on January 6);
Easter is set on the first Sunday following the first full moon after March 21; Lent
is set during the forty days preceding Easter; Pentecost (cf. Gk. pentekostos
'fiftieth') is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter and is preceded ten days before
by Ascension.

Hour indication in Medieval texts is quite relative, and follows Roman habits. The
24-hour day itself is divided into two important parts, the daylight part and the
night part, each of twelve hours. The twelve hours divide each of these segments.
Consequently, the length of the individual hours varies according to season. An
hour at night in summer, for example, is much shorter than an hour at day in
summer or an hour at night in winter. In addition, Old French had several adverbs
indicating moments of the day; several of them are related to prayer habits in
monasteries, cf.:

vespres 'early evening', 'sunset', when it gets dark


[early evening prayers]
complie 'evening', around 9 PM
[prayers of thanks for the completed day]
laudes between 3 AM and dawn
[laudative songs at dawn]
matins 'early morning'
first canonical hour, between midnight and dawn
[first prayers in the morninng]
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The hours are referred to with ordinal numbers, e.g.:

prime 'sunrise', around 6 AM


terce 'mid morning, around 9 AM
midi 'midday'
none 'nineth hour', 'mid afternoon', around 3 PM
Distance/length. Distance and length are measured in a way not found in a
metrical system: the measuring unit varies with the type of length and the object,
and there is no consistent correlation between the individual units (as there is
between a centiment, a decimeter, a meter, a kilometer, and so forth). The safest
strategy for the student/reader is to check the individual instances of distance
indication that are encountered. A few measures are relatively frequent:

pi 'a foot', a measure used in Antiquity; approx. 30 cm.


pouz 'a thumb', approx. 2.7 cm. (there are twelve pouz in one pi)
lieue 'a Gallic mile', approx. 4-5 km. (roughly three sea miles)

Granz 'XXX' liwes ... (CdR, 1756, Lesson 2)


'a long thirty miles away'
The absolute value of these measures often varies with the region.

Monetary system. The monetary system, which during the Middle Ages reaches
isolated parts of the countryside as well, has strong local characteristics. While the
official monetary system based on pounds (Fr. livres) becomes increasingly
important for commercial and tax reasons, local systems continues to be used as
well. The pound includes 20 shillings, each of twelve pennies, and goes back to
Charlemagne's reform of the monetary system.

Lesson 10

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

Students will have noticed that translations played an important role in medieval
French literature: texts in languages other than French, most commonly Latin,
were indeed an important source of inspiration. In addition, the gradual spread of
translations shows the increasing importance of French as a language of
communication -- that is, in registers other than the day-to-day spoken varieties.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text selected for this lesson is from Le voyage de St. Brandan, a translation of
the Latin Navigatio. Brendan was a 6th century Irish Benedictine monk who had
founded a monastery on an island and one day set out to sail to the "Promised
Land" situated in the West, which he reaches after seven years. His adventures
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have been related in the Latin Navigatio, which in all likelihood is a collection of
stories of a sea-faring nation.

The Irish in the (early) Middle Ages were well-known for their marine skills, and
they had the habit of traveling regularly from one island to another. That the
Navigatio may have more to it than just imagination became clear in 1976 and
1977, when an expedition proved that it is possible to cross the Atlantic Ocean and
reach North America while taking a northerly route in Irish skin boats (see
references below). During their journey in the 1970s, the crew regularly came
across phenomena that could be identified as the ordeals described in the text of
the Navigatio. If the adventures related in the Navigatio indeed reflect stories of
Irish people travelling to North America, then the Irish discovered that continent
long before Columbus, or even the Vikings.

The Latin text, which also had a Germanic version, was translated into Old French
no later than the second half of the 13th century.

The fragment chosen here relates the beginnings of Brendan's odyssey. Brendan is
head of a monastery at Clonfert when he receives a visit from another monk, St.
Barind. St. Barind tells him that he has been visiting his godson, Mernoc, who had
left him to live as an anchorite and has founded a new monastery on an island.
Mernoc invites St. Barind to travel to the "Promised Land," which is described as
rich in flowers and fruits and providing plenty of food. Hearing about these
possibilities, Brendan selects a group of monks and decides to seek the "Promised
Land" himself.

Cis Barintes commencha a plourer et se coucha a terre


et demoura longhement en orisons.

cis -- demonstrative; nominative singular masculine <cest, cist> this -- this

Barintes -- proper name; nominative singular <Barintes> Barind -- Barind

commencha -- verb; third person singular preterite <comencier> begin, start --


started

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

plourer -- verb; infinitive <plorer> cry, shed tears -- cry

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

se coucha -- verb; third person singular preterite <se coucher> lie down -- lay
down

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- on

terre -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- the soil
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et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

demoura -- verb; third person singular preterite <demorer> stay, remain --


remained

longhement -- adverb; <longement> long, for a long time -- for a long time

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

orisons -- noun; oblique singular <orison, oraison> prayer, speech -- prayers

Mais sains Brandains le leva de terre


et le baisa si dist:
Bials pere pour coi auons nous tristeche en te venue
Enne venistes vous a no consolation.

mais -- conjunction; <mais, mes> but -- but

sains Brandains -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <saint> holy + proper


name; nominative singular <Brandain> Brendan -- St. Brendan

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --


him

leva -- verb; third person singular preterite <lever> lift up -- lifted... up

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- from

terre -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- the ground

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --


him

baisa -- verb; third person singular preterite <baisier> kiss -- kissed

si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and

dist -- verb; third person singular preterite <dire> say, tell -- said

bials -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <bel> dear, beloved, handsome


-- dear

pere -- noun; nominative singular <pere> father -- father

pour coi -- preposition; <por> for + interrogative; oblique <qui> what -- why

auons -- verb; first person plural present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- do... have

nous -- personal pronoun; first person plural nominative <nos> we -- we

tristeche -- noun; oblique singular <tristece> sadness, horror -- sadness


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en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- at

te -- possessive; second person singular oblique singular feminine <ton> your --


your

venue -- noun; oblique singular <venue> arrival -- arrival

enne -- interrogative adverb; <enne> not -- not

venistes -- verb; second person plural subjunctive imperfective <venir> come, go


-- did... come

vous -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

no -- possessive; first person plural oblique singular feminine <nostre> our -- our

consolation -- noun; oblique singular <consolation> consolation -- consolation

Tu nous dois miex esleechier que courechier.


Demoustre nous le parolle diu
e refai nos ames des divers miracles que tu as veus en le mer.

tu -- personal pronoun; second person singular nominative <tu> you -- you

nous -- personal pronoun; first person plural direct object <nos> we -- us

dois -- verb; second person singular present <devoir> have to -- have to

miex -- comparative adverb; <miels, mels> better, rather -- rather

esleechier -- verb; infinitive <esleecier> rejoice -- make happy

que -- conjunction; <que> than -- than

courechier -- verb; infinitive <corocier> anger, afflict -- make sad

demoustre -- verb; second person singular imperative <demostrer> show,


indicate, explaine -- show

nous -- personal pronoun; first person plural indirect object <nos> we -- us

le -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the

parolle -- noun; oblique singular <parole> word, speech -- word

diu -- proper name; oblique singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- of God

e -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

refai -- verb; second person singular imperative <refaire> repair -- repair

nos -- possessive; first person plural oblique plural feminine <nostre> our -- our
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ames -- noun; oblique plural <anme, alme, arme, ame> soul, somebody -- souls

des -- preposition; <de> of, from + definite article; oblique plural masculine <li>
the -- with the

divers -- adjective; oblique plural masculine <divers> various -- various

miracles -- noun; oblique plural <miracle> miracle -- miracles

que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that

tu -- personal pronoun; second person singular nominative <tu> you -- you

as -- verb; second person singular present <avoir, aveir> have, be -- have

veus -- verb; perfective participle oblique plural masculine <veoir> see -- seen

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- on

le -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- ...

mer -- noun; oblique singular <mer> sea -- sea

Dont commencha a dire sains Barintes a saint Brandain d'une isle et dist:
Mes fils Mernoc pourueeres des poures ihu crist
se departi de devant mi et iestres curieus.

dont -- adverb; <donc> then, therefore -- then

commencha -- verb; third person singular preterite <comencier> begin, start --


started

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

dire -- verb; infinitive <dire> say, tell -- talk

sains Barintes -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <saint> holy + proper


name; nominative singular <Barintes> Barind -- St. Barind

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

saint Brandain -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <saint> holy + proper


name; oblique singular <Brandain> Brendan -- St. Brendan

d'une -- preposition; <de> of, from + indefinite article; oblique singular feminine
<un> a -- about an

isle -- noun; oblique singular <isle, ille> island -- island

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

dist -- verb; third person singular preterite <dire> say, tell -- he said

mes -- possessive; first person singular nominative singular masculine <mon> my


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-- my

fils -- noun; nominative singular <fil> son -- son

Mernoc -- proper name; nominative singular <Mernoc> Mernoc -- Mernoc

pourueeres -- noun; nominative singular <porveor> purveyor -- purveyor

des -- preposition; <de> of, from + definite article; oblique plural masculine <li>
the -- of the

poures -- noun; oblique plural <povre> poor -- poor

ihu -- proper name; oblique singular <Iesus> Jesus -- of Jesus

crist -- proper name; oblique singular <Christ> Christ -- Christ

se departi -- verb; third person singular preterite <se departir> leave, go away --
left

de devant mi -- preposition; <de> of, from + preposition; <devant> before, in


front of, in the presence of + personal pronoun; first person singular direct object
<jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

iestres -- noun; oblique singular <estre> life, condition, way of life -- a way of life

curieus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <curios> careful -- safe

Il trouva une isle dales le mont de piere


qui est apielee par non isle delisieuse.
Apries une grant pieche de tans me fu nonchiet
qu'il auoit pluiseurs moines aueoc lui.

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

trouva -- verb; third person singular preterite <trover> find -- found

une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- an

isle -- noun; oblique singular <isle, ille> island -- island

dales -- preposition; <dales, dalles, dall> next to, along -- next to

le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the

mont -- noun; oblique singular <mont> mountain -- mountain

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

piere -- noun; oblique singular <piere, pierre> stone, prison -- stone

qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> that -- which


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est -- verb; third person singular present <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- is

apielee -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular feminine <apeler>


accuse, summon, call -- called

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- by

non -- noun; oblique singular <nom, non> name, title -- the name

isle -- noun; oblique singular <isle, ille> island -- island

delisieuse -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <delicios> delicious -- delicious

apries -- preposition; <apres> after, afterwards -- after

une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- a

grant -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- long

pieche -- noun; oblique singular <piece> piece, segment -- period

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of

tans -- noun; oblique singular <tens, tans> time, weather -- time

me -- personal pronoun; first person singular indirect object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

fu -- verb; third person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was

nonchiet -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <noncier>


announce, tell -- told

qu'il -- conjunction; <que> that + personal pronoun; third person singular


nominative masculine <il> he -- that he

auoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had

pluiseurs -- indefinite pronoun; nominative plural masculine <plusor, pluisor>


several -- several

moines -- noun; oblique plural <moine, monie> monk -- monks

aueoc -- preposition; <avuec, avec, avoc> with -- with

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
him

Et que dex auoit demonstre molt de miracles par lui


En tel maniere alai a lui pour visiter men filluel
et com ie fuisse a trois iours pries de me voie
Il se hasta pour venir encontre mi atout ses freres.

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and


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que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that

dex -- proper name; nominative singular <Dieu, Deu> God -- God

auoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had

demonstre -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <demostrer>


show, indicate, explaine -- shown

molt -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- many

de -- particle; <de> ... -- ...

miracles -- noun; oblique plural <miracle> miracle -- miracles

par -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- through

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
him

en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in

tel -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <tel> such -- such

maniere -- noun; oblique singular <maniere> way, intention -- way

alai -- verb; first person singular preterite <aler> go -- I went

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- to

lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he --
him

pour -- preposition; <por> for -- in order to

visiter -- verb; infinitive <viseter> visit, observe -- visit

men -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular masculine <mon> my --


my

filluel -- noun; oblique singular <filuel> son, godson -- godson

et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and

com -- conjunction; <com, comme> when -- when

ie -- personal pronoun; first person singular nominative <jo, jou, jeu> I -- I

fuisse -- verb; first person singular subjunctive imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre>
be -- was

a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- ...

trois -- numeral; <trois> three -- three


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iours -- noun; oblique plural <jorn, jor> day -- days

pries -- adverb; <pres> close -- close to

de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...

me -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular feminine <mon> my -- ...

voie -- noun; oblique singular <veie> road -- underway

il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he

se hasta -- verb; third person singular preterite <se haster, se hasteier> hasten --
hastened

pour -- preposition; <por> for -- to

venir -- verb; infinitive <venir> come, go -- come

encontre -- preposition; <encontre> to, towards, against -- to meet

mi -- personal pronoun; first person singular direct object <jo, jou, jeu> I -- me

atout -- preposition; <atot> with -- with

ses -- possessive; third person singular oblique plural masculine <son> his -- his

freres -- noun; oblique plural <frere> brother -- brothers

Car nostre sires li avoit reuele men avenement.

car -- conjunction; <quar, car> for, because -- because

nostre -- possessive; first person plural nominative singular masculine <nostre>


our -- Our

sires -- noun; nominative singular <seignor> lord -- Lord

li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he --


to him

avoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had

reuele -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <reveler> reveal,


make known -- made known

men -- possessive; first person singular oblique singular masculine <mon> my --


my

avenement -- noun; oblique singular <avenement> arrival -- arrival

Lesson Text
The Linguistics Research Center

Cis Barintes commencha a plourer et se coucha a terre


et demoura longhement en orisons. Mais sains Brandains le leva de terre
et le baisa si dist:
Bials pere pour coi auons nous tristeche en te venue
Enne venistes vous a no consolation. Tu nous dois miex esleechier que courechier.
Demoustre nous le parolle diu
e refai nos ames des divers miracles que tu as veus en le mer. Dont commencha a
dire sains Barintes a saint Brandain d'une isle et dist:
Mes fils Mernoc pourueeres des poures ihu crist
se departi de devant mi et iestres curieus. Il trouva une isle dales le mont de piere
qui est apielee par non isle delisieuse.
Apries une grant pieche de tans me fu nonchiet
qu'il auoit pluiseurs moines aueoc lui. Et que dex auoit demonstre molt de
miracles par lui
En tel maniere alai a lui pour visiter men filluel
et com ie fuisse a trois iours pries de me voie
Il se hasta pour venir encontre mi atout ses freres. Car nostre sires li avoit reuele
men avenement.

Translation

This Barind started to cry and lay down on the soil


And remained for a long time in prayers.
But St. Brendan lifted him up from the ground
And kissed him and said :
Dear father why do we have sadness at your arrival ?
Did you not come to our consolation ?
You have to make us happy rather than make us sad
Show us the word of God
And repair our souls with the various miracles that you have seen on sea.
Then St. Barind started to talk to St. Brendan about an island and he said :
My son Mernoc, purveyor of the poor of Jesus Christ
Left me and a safe way of life.
He found an island next to the mountain of stone
which is called by the name delicious island.
After a long period of time I was told
That he had several monks with him.
And that God had shown many miracles through him
In such way I went to him to visit my godson
And when I was close to three days under way
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He hastened in order to meet me with his brothers.


Because Our Lord had made my arrival known to him.

Grammar

46 Grammars and Dictionaries

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Buridant, Claude. 2000. Grammaire nouvelle de l'ancien franais. Paris: Sedes.

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Kibler, William. 1984. An Introduction to Old French. New York: Modern


Language Association of America.

Raynaud de Lage, Guy. 1975. Introduction a l'ancien franais. 9e d. Paris: Sedes.

Roques, Mario. 1970. Recueil gnral des lexiques franais du moyen ge. 12e -
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Tobler, Adolf and Erhard Lommatzsch. 1925-1989. Altfranzsisches Wrterbuch.


Berlin: Weidmann and Wiesbaden: Steiner.

47 Sources

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The Linguistics Research Center

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49 Medieval Culture

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The Linguistics Research Center

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de l'iconographie du moyen ge. Paris: Colin.

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50 Handbooks, Literature

Castex, P.-G. and P. Surer. 1967. Manuel des tudes littraires franaises. Moyen
Age. Paris: Hachette.

Lagarde, Andr and Laurent Michaud. 1963. Moyen age. Les grands auteurs
franais du programme. Paris: Bordas.