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1. The ME verb database - a brief description
2. Classification of verbs in the database

1. The verb database - a brief description

The database of Middle English verbs provides the information about the formal properties of verbs that were used by Chaucer in A Treatise on the Astrolabe. It is enriched with etymological information about each verb and its modern meaning.

      The information that can be retrieved from the database includes:

Gerund and present participle forms, being formally identical, are included under one heading.
The infinitive forms of verbs that do not appear in Chaucer's work have been collected from other sources, mainly from A Chaucer Glossary by Norman Davis et al. The several forms, which could not be found there are collected from the Oxford English Dictionary on CD-ROM, by Murray at al. and the Middle English Dictionary by Kurath and Kuhn. The infinitives coming from these sources are marked by a number in square brackets.
      Frequently several variants of spelling were provided in these dictionaries, therefore the one which showed the closest resemblance to the forms (of the same verb) used in Chaucer's text has been chosen. For the majority of such 'external' infinitvies the spelling with -n ending is provided, although in almost all cases such ending was optional.
      The etymological information is gathered from the aforementioned sources. If an etymon had several different spellings, the one most often cited in the dictionaries is given.


2. Classification of verbs in the database

Each verb that is stored in the database has been categorised into one of four different groups of verbs. The basis of the categorisation is the morphological structure of the past tense and past participle forms and, in the case of MAD verbs (see the explanation of the term below), also the present tense forms. If a verb does not occur in the Treatise in any form that would allow its classification, it is classified according to external sources (Krygier 1994; Davis 1979; Sandved 1985).

      The following classification of verbs in the database has been adopted (based on Kastovsky 1996 and Fisiak 1968):

Finally, the term MAD requires clarification. It has been coined from the initial letters of the names of the three subgroups defined above. As these verbs are rather complicated morphologically and problematic when it comes to their detailed description and classification and also because of the lack of any other convenient term refering to these groups as a whole, the term seems to be very appropriate.

References

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