Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Subject and adjacency effects in the Old Northumbrian gloss to the Lindisfarne Gospels 1


The subject and adjacency effects found to condition the distribution of present verbal morphology in northern Middle English, and commonly referred to as the Northern Subject Rule (NSR), are generally regarded to be an Early Middle English development that did not condition the distribution of verbal morphology in northern varieties of Old English (Isaac 2003; Pietsch 2005; de Haas 2008; de Haas & van Kemenade 2015). Using data taken from the tenth-century interlinear gloss to the Lindisfarne Gospels, this study considers variation between the present-tense markers -ð and -s in Late Old Northumbrian and discusses evidence which indicates that the subject and adjacency effects at the crux of the NSR were already operative in Old Northumbrian with different morphological material. The findings also debunk the traditional conviction that -s spread first to second-person plural contexts and only subsequently to the third-person plural and singular (Holmqvist 1922; Blakeley 1949/50; Stein 1986).

Hide All

This research has been financially supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology (project FFI2011-28272). I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers who provided detailed comments on an earlier version of this article. Remaining errors are my own. This article draws from Cole 2014.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

English Language & Linguistics
  • ISSN: 1360-6743
  • EISSN: 1469-4379
  • URL: /core/journals/english-language-and-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 6 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 30 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 29th August 2017 - 24th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.