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THE USE OF "ÞA" IN OLD AND MIDDLE ENGLISH NARRATIVES
Vol. 76, No. 3 (1975), pp. 404-414
Published by: Modern Language Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43342989
Page Count: 11
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The grammatical role of the Old English sequential particle pa, and the underlying problem of the distinction of paratactic and hypotactic constructions, remain controversial. However, the presence of strings of clauses each headed by Þa and the frequent appearance of Þa in conjunction with other adverbs suggests that many narrative passages are composed of strings of largely independent units marked and coordinated by Þa, which functions as an infinitely-repeatable marker of temporal sequentiality and carries little or no grammatical information. This use of Þa may be borrowed from the OE and ME spoken languages. The pa construction, because of the organization of narrative material it requires, enables the analysis of stylistic techniques in simple narratives. Digressions or descriptions can be inserted into discourse units and other adverbs may be substituted for Þa. An analysis of two passages from Aelfric suggests the possibilities of this device for developing perspective, tension and other attractive narrative features.
Neuphilologische Mitteilungen © 1975 Modern Language Society