Old English genitive constructions [position of genitive]

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Senior Member
I'm not sure whether this should thread should be in this section or not; the description doesn't specify modern English, but if I'm wrong please move it.


I'm given to understand that, though Old English was a heavily inflected language, word order was still very uniform. My question is, then, when constructing a genitive (in particular a possessive) phrase, what order should the words take? For example, should "the king's sword" go:

"Cyninges sweord"

as in modern English, or

"Sweord cyninges"

Definite article notwithstanding.
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    I'm sorry I have no experience with Old English, Ihsiin. If the genitive worked as it does in German, then both these forms should work:
    The king's sword and The sword (of the) king's

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    Senior Member
    American English
    I have some experience in Old English (of all things), but I can tell you that although none of the positions seems to be incorrect, behind the noun seems to be the most common and neutral position, while before the noun is used for other purposes (like meter in poetry). That's my impression.
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