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Middle English preposition twen(e).

1. Introduction

The present paper focuses on the Middle English preposition twen(e) 'between, among, in between'. The aim of the study is to provide a plausible etymology of twen(e) as well as its semantics, dialect distribution, textual distribution (a full record of texts employing twen(e)), and absolute token frequency. Moreover, all texts found to contain the preposition twen(e) are examined in order to establish the whole repertoire of prepositions meaning 'between' in them and to evaluate their token frequency and the proportion of the application of twen(e) as against all other examined prepositions, especially the better established preposition betwen(e) in these texts. Finally, apart from contributing to a better knowledge of the Middle English preposition twen(e), a more general aim of the present study is to point out the need to employ complete historical English texts for the study of prepositions.

As regards the applied method, acknowledged historical English dictionaries such as the Middle English Dictionary online (henceforth the MED online) and the Oxford English Dictionary online (henceforth the OED online) are employed for the analysis. The linguistic information provided in these is used to critically evaluate the origin of the preposition twen(e) and to establish a more plausible etymology of the preposition as well as to construct a semantic profile and preliminary dialect and textual distribution profiles of twen(e). Then, the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse is employed in order to corroborate the dialect and textual distribution patterns of twen(e). Finally, the corpus and a few complete Middle English texts listed by the MED online as containing twen(e) but not included in the corpus are exposed to the investigation of all the types of prepositions meaning 'between' and of their token frequency and proportions of use.

The present study is of both a qualitative and quantitative nature. The etymology and the semantics of twen(e) will be considered in the context of subjectification (Traugott 1989, 1995), whereas the analysis of the dialect distribution, textual distribution and token frequency constitutes the statistical part of the paper.

2. Studies in Medieval English prepositions

Some Medieval English prepositions have been recently of interest to a few scholars. Lundskaer-Nielsen (1993) focuses on the semantics and syntax of the prepositions in, on, and at in selected Medieval English texts. Molencki (2005, 2007a, 2007b, 2008, 2011a, 2011b) devotes his papers to the study of prepositions such as after, before, because, forward in the framework of Hopper & Traugott's (2003) grammaticalization and Traugott's (1989, 1995) subjectification as well as to the analysis of a group of prepositions/conj unctions borrowed from French. Krygier (2011) discusses the preposition till in Old English and concentrates on a thorough investigation of its actual etymology in the context of structural borrowing. Iglesias-Rabade (2011) selects for his study a group of twelve Middle English prepositions including aboue, after, at, bi, bifore, bihinde, biside, in, on, ouer, purgh and under and studies their attestations in the Helsinki Corpus. Ciszek-Kiliszewska (2014) investigates the loss of the preposition yeond in Middle English on the basis of Layamon's Brut. The Middle English preposition twen(e) lacks proper treatment or even a remark in Middle English grammars or handbooks. As regards detailed studies of other prepositions meaning 'between', Kitson (1993, 1996), who establishes the provenance of selected Old English texts on the basis of spelling and phonetic variants of selected lexemes, thoroughly discusses also the dialect distribution, frequencies and syntax of the forms of the OE preposition between. Moreover, Alcorn (2013) concentrates on the placement of nominal and pronominal objects in phrases including variants of the prepositions by, for and between in Old English. Ciszek-Kiliszewska (2013, in press) provides a detailed account of the Middle English prepositions emell(e) and twix respectively.

3. Corpus descriptions

The Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse is a part of the Middle English Compendium online supported by the University of Michigan. The corpus description found on the official site contains information about the corpus so far including 54 Middle English texts and the statement that the corpus will be successively extended. However, the bibliography of the Middle English Compendium online comprises as many as 146 texts and text collections, some of them preserved in two or more manuscripts each (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c7 cme/browse.html; 18 April 2013). These are texts of all the attested Middle English genres and text types such as, e.g., religious texts, chronicles, documents and plays. Both poetry and prose texts are collected. These features of the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse illustrate the extensiveness and representativeness of the corpus.

4. Etymology of twen(e)

The Middle English Dictionary online labels the preposition twen(e) as a "[s]hortened form of bitwene prep. or atwen prep." It also refers the reader back to "OE tweonum in phrase be him (saem, us) tweonum". The earliest occurrence of twen(e) recorded by the MED comes from c. 1175 and can be found in Holy Rood (MS Bodl. 343).

The Oxford English Dictionary online describes tween as an "[a]phetic form of ATWEEN prep. and adv., BETWEEN prep, adv., and n." The earliest citation is dated to 1330 and comes from Guy of Warwick (MS Auchinleck).

However, it has to be noticed that while the ME bitwene goes back to the OE betweonum, the first attestation of atwen is recorded only in 1425 in John Lydgate's Troy Book (MS Cotton Augustus A.4; the MED). Hence, the etymology of the preposition twen(e) needs to be revised and the ME twen(e) should rather be defined as "an aphetic form of betwen(e) < OE betweonum".

5. Semantics of twen(e)

The MED online describes twen(e) as having meanings such as 'between, among, in between'. The most frequent is the meaning 'between', which seems to be the prototypical meaning of the investigated preposition. It can also be concluded from the definition that the ME twen(e), like the ME betwen(e) from which twen(e) was derived, can assume locative (1.), temporal (2.) and abstract (3., 4. and 5.) senses. The prototypical sense of betwen(e), and hence of twen(e), was locative, thus literal, which then gave rise to some metaphoric, more abstract semantic extensions (cf. Traugott 1989, 1995). The comparison of the MED online definition of twen(e) with a slightly more detailed definition of the preposition bitwen(e) demonstrates that it is not only the senses, but also the references of the two prepositions which overlap (1) (see Table 1 and definitions below). This means that the same semantic context is available for the Middle English preposition twen(e) as for the better established preposition betwen(e), which apart from going back to Old English was used in a much wider range of texts. The proportion of the application of twen(e) and betwen(e), and other prepositions meaning 'between', will be then tested in all texts which employ twen(e).

twen(e (prep.) Also twin, tuene, (early) tweonan & (error) tiren.

1. With ref. to location or position in space: between (two objects, localities, groups of people).

2. With ref. to position or duration in time: between (two events).

3. (a) With ref. to association or relationship: between (two persons or parties); (b) with ref. to communication, discussion, negotiation, or reconciliation: between (two parties or countries).

4. With ref. to something that separates or obstructs: between (two people), among (a number of persons).

5. (a) With ref. to opposition, vacillation, uncertainty, etc.: intermediate or wavering between (two states, qualities, etc.), in between; atwen ... ~;

(b) with ref. to difference: between (two qualities, things, or groups of people); ~..atwen (in); (c) with ref. to equity: between (right and wrong).

bitwene (prep.) Also (early) bitwenen, -twienen, -tweonen, -twune; bitwin(e).

1a. Of location or position in space: (a) between (two objects, localities, points); in among (several things); (b) in between (two surrounding objects); ~ armes, hondes, in (one's) arms, hands.

1b. Of extent or distance: between (two places).

2. Of position or duration in time: between (two events or periods of time).

3a. Of association or relationship between two persons or parties: between; --(a) of joint effort or enterprise; us ~, together; (b) of procreation;

(c) of affection, trust, etc.; (d) of strife, discord, hatred, etc.

3b. Of communication, consultation, etc., between two persons or parties: between;--(a) of negotiation, discussion, correspondence, dialogue; (b) of conferring or acting confidentially or secretly; ~ us (tweie), between (the two of) us; etc.; (c) of making an agreement or decision; (d) of mediation, reconciliation, etc.

4. Of dividing something: between (parties).

5. Of something that separates or obstructs: between (two parties or acts).

6. Of a group: among.

7. (a) Of states, qualities, etc.: intermediate or wavering between, in between; (b) of weight: between (two extremes); (c) of similarity or difference: between (two things, etc.); (d) of discrimination: between (two things).

The Oxford English Dictionary online does not provide the meaning of the Middle English preposition twen(e).

6. Dialect distribution and textual distribution of twen(e)

The Middle English Dictionary online makes no clear statement concerning the dialect distribution of the preposition twen(e) in Middle English. The dictionary records the use of twen(e) in 14 texts preserved in 15 manuscripts which could be localized in the South-West, in the North and in the East-Midlands. The manuscripts, however, are not equally distributed. Only one manuscript comes from the South-West and only two manuscripts (one text) from the North. The remaining 12 manuscripts can be localized in the East-Midlands. Moreover, it is noteworthy that of the latter, the majority of the texts, i.e., eight, constitute those by John Lydgate. Table 2 below classifies dialectally the texts containing twen(e). These particular texts will be subject to quantitative analysis in section 7 below.

The Oxford English Dictionary online, similarly to the Middle English Dictionary online, only lists texts in which it attests the preposition twen(e). Among these, there are only six Middle English texts. Table 3 below organises them according to the dialects of the manuscripts. All these texts have been included in the MED online entry for twen(e).

The analysis of the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse6 reveals the use of the preposition twen(e) in four additional texts (five manuscripts) not listed by the Middle English Dictionary online. All the texts belong to the East-Midlands and are written by John Lydgate (see Table 4 below).

Altogether, there are 18 Middle English texts preserved in 20 manuscripts which contain the preposition twen(e). All of them are poetical texts covering both religious and secular (also political) topics. The majority of these texts, i.e., 12, including one preserved in two manuscripts, are authored by John Lydgate and localised in the East-Midlands. Four further texts, including those by Osbern Bokenham and Charles of Orleans, also belong to the East-Midlands. Moreover, twen(e) can be found in one South-Western text, i.e., Holy rood (1175) and in two Northern manuscripts of one text, i.e., Cursor mundi (1400).

7. Token frequency and the proportion of twen(e) and other prepositions meaning 'between'

The detailed analysis of the entire preserved Middle English texts in which the MED online attests the presence of twen(e) (see Table 2 above) provides insight into the token frequency of the investigated preposition and other prepositions meaning 'between'. In the present section the examined texts will be first grouped according to the dialectal provenance of the manuscript in which they are preserved. Next, the author will provide the repertoire (type frequency) of prepositions meaning 'between' as registered in particular texts by the Middle English Dictionary online. These types will be subsequently validated against respective whole texts. Finally, the token frequency of twen(e) and other attested prepositions meaning 'between' will be calculated. Moreover, the results of the Corpus of Middle English prose and verse search will be presented in this section. The type and token frequency of twen(e) and other prepositions meaning 'between' will be likewise provided for these. The discussion is supplemented with some examples illustrating the usage. All the findings are summarised in Table 5 in section 7.4. below.

7.1. South-Western texts

As regards the only South-Western text employing the preposition twen(e), i.e., Holy Rood (MS Bodl. 343; 1175), the Middle English Dictionary online does not record the use of any other prepositions meaning 'between' there. The present text analysis reveals the application of one more such preposition, i.e., bitwen(e), not registered in Holy Rood by the MED online. What is more, bitwen(e) is attested three times, whereas twen(e) only once. Thus, the preposition twen(e) actually produces more instances. The examples (1)-(3) below illustrate the use of both bitwen(e) and twen(e) in context.

(1) Ic wat, leof, det zit mycele godes lufe & mycele freondraedenne habbaed inc tweonan. (Holy Rood: 8/16)

(2) zif hit godes wille beo ... pur pa freondraedene pe unc betweonan is ic wolde wilniaen aet pe ane bene. (Holy Rood: 6/15)

(3) Heo wundriende waeron heom betweonon paet heom swa ilumpen waes daet heorae nan oder icnawaen ne cude. (Holy Rood: 16/30)

7.2. Northern texts

The only Northern manuscripts listed by the MED online as featuring twen(e) are two manuscripts, i.e., MS Fairfax 14 and MS Gottingen Theol 107 of Cursor mundi. In the case of MS Fairfax 14, the other 'between' preposition ascribed to the manuscript by the MED online is bitwix(e). MS Got Theol 107 is listed as including twen(e) and twix(e). The scrutiny of both manuscripts demonstrates that they both actually employ the same set of four prepositions meaning 'between', i.e., bitwix(e) (7), twix(e), bitwen(e) and twen(e). Surprisingly, twen(e), which is the least frequent of all these prepositions with only one occurrence in each manuscript, is recorded by the MED online At the same time, for example, the use of bitwix(e), which is the most frequent preposition from the analysed group appearing as many as 96 times in MS Got Theol 107, is omitted from the Middle English Dictionary online. Table 5 below shows the token frequency of 'between' prepositions in the two manuscripts. Types neglected by the MED online are put in bold type.

Examples (4) and (5) below illustrate the use of the only instances of twen(e) in each manuscript. A parallel passage from the other manuscript is added to each example. When we consider the replacement of twen(e) with tuix and by-twene as well as by-twene with tuix, we can assume that the prepositions meaning 'between' could be rather freely selected from the available repertoire according to the preferences of the scribes. The choice might have been dictated by the requirements of meter since the text was written in eight-syllable couplets.

(4)

I. ne roz quat dede hit ware pat blessed bodi to winde pai walde & I. be-gan againe to halde suche strife twene vs was pare. (MS Fairfax 14)

I ne roght quat dede it ware. pat blisced bodi to wind pai wald, And i bigan it to wid-hald, Sli strijf tuix vs was pare. (MS Got Theol 107)

(5)

As dovis eie hir loke is swete Rose on thorne to hir vn-mete By-twene hem feire accord is non Then by-twene her kynne & my lemman (MS Fairfax 14)

As douues eye hir loke es suete, As rose on thorn er to vnmete; And tuene paim fayre acord es nane, Sua es tuix hir kin and my lenman. (MS Got Theol 107)

Yet another interesting observation is that the West-Midland manuscript of the same text, i.e., MS Trin. Coll. R.3.8 (383) uses exclusively bitwen(e). Hence, one can assume that bitwix(e), twix(e) and twen(e) did not belong to the unmarked pool of the 'between' prepositions of the West-Midland scribe.

7.3. East Midland texts

7.3.1. East Midland texts by John Lydgate

John Lydgate's Fall of Princes (MS Bodl. 263; 1439) is the text which includes the highest number of occurrences of the preposition twen(e) and also of atwen. The Middle English Dictionary online does not record the use of any other preposition meaning 'between' in the text. The analysed Fall of Princes features, however, also atwix and bitwix, with eight instances each. The former two top frequency prepositions produce as many as 65 and 93 occurrences respectively. It appears that the text exhibits a tendency for the use of twen(e) with nouns (see examples (6)-(8), whereas atwen rather attaches to the numeral tweyne 'two' and personal pronouns (see (9)-(11)):

(6) I meene, in sooth, twen Ing[e]land & Fraunce, His purpos was taue had a pes fynall, (p. 168)

(7) In this mater mak a comparisoun Twen Alisaundre and Diogenes: (p. 177)

(8) Twen the residue off this gret ioume And litil part theroff that was begunne, (p. 330)

(9) To declare, the story list nat feyne, The grete hatrede that was atwen hem tweyne. (p. 103)

(10) Atwen hemsilffe] be a feyned striff, To fynde a weie to reue hym off his liff. (p. 365)

(11) Ther may atwen vs be no menyng double, But oon herte, o will and o corage. (p. 357)

John Lydgate's Secreta Secretorum (MS Sloane 2464; 1450) is yet another work of Lydgate which includes numerous instances of the preposition twen(e). In terms of types, the Middle English Dictionary online lists Secreta Secretorum in the entries for twen(e) and atwen. In the text, however, one can also find atwix. As regards tokens, there are 15 occurrences of twen(e), eight of atwen and three of atwix. As the examples (12)-(14) illustrate, twen(e) and atwen can be used exchangeably:

(12) Set a good mene/twen yong and Old of age. Excellent prynce/this processe to Compyle Takith at gre/the Rudnesse of my style. (ll. 19-21)

(13) That the streemys/of liberallite Set in good mesour/Reffreytes of prudence, Peysed in ballaunce/So that Sapience, Queen of vertues/as lady souereyne, That suych a meene/be set atwen hem tweyne. (ll. 815-819)

(14) Or kepe a meene/twen vertuous plente, Atwen largesse/and prodigalyte. (ll. 598-599)

In his Praise of Peace (MS Harley 2255; 1460), John Lydgate involves the prepositions twen(e) and atwen. This MED online information is confirmed by the whole text analysis. Actually, one can find two instances of twen(e) and six of atwen. There seems to be no semantic difference between the two prepositions and their use might have been required to balance the meter, see the illustrative examples below:

(15) God sende vs pees twen Ynglond and Fraunce; Werre causith povert, pees causith habundaunce, And attween bothen for ther moor encrees, Withoute feynyng, fraude, or varyaunce, Twen al Cristene Crist Ihesus send vs pees. (stanza 22)

(16) God graunt vs alle, now aftir his discees, To sende vs grace attween ech partye, By loue and charyte, to live in parfiht pees: (stanza 23)

Horns away (MS Laud Misc. 683) from 1475, which is a poem consisting of nine eight-lined stanzas, contains only one instance of the preposition twen(e):

(17) Tween gold and gossomer is greet dyfference; Trewe metall requeryth noon allay; Vnto purpos by cleer experyence, Beute wol shewe, thogh hornys wer away. (stanza 1)

In the 1500 manuscript (MS Trin. Coll. R. 3.19 (599)) of Assembly of Gods by John Lydgate the Middle English Dictionary records the use of twen(e) and atwen. However, my analysis of the whole text clearly demonstrates the presence of two more prepositions from the investigated group, i.e., bitwen(e) and atwix. In terms of token frequency, I have obtained the following results: twen(e)--4 occurrences, atwen--1, bitwen(e)--2 and atwix--1, which shows that the use of the four prepositions was rather balanced, with a slight tendency to employ twen(e) more frequently. The prepositions seem to be used exchangeably in similar contexts and with the same senses (see examples (18) and (19) below). Their application might be dictated by the requirement of meter, though.

(18) The batayll holde twene Vyce & Vertew. But when I sy hit, hit was but a whew, A dreme, a fantasy, & a thyng of nought. To study theron I had nomore thought. (stanza 293)

(19) And as for the batayll betwene Vyce & Vertew holde, So pleynly appereth to the inwardly, To make exposicion therof, new or olde, Were but superfluyte-therfore refuse hit I. (stanza 261)

John Lydgate's Aesop's fables preserved in MS Trin. Coll. R. 3.19 (599) from 1500 employs twen(e) and atwen, which has been mentioned by the MED online. Twen(e) appears three times in the text and atwen six times. Here are two examples illustrating the use of twen(e)

(20) And phylosophers by wrytyng bere recorde, Twene trowpe & fraude may be non acorde. (stanza 33)

With cancryd lyppes & with tung[e] double Twene ryght & wrong forpe pey woll procede, (stanza 77)

Lydgate's Debate of the horse, goose and sheep (MS Lansdowne 699; 1500) is labelled by the Middle English Dictionary as including occurrences of twen(e) and atwen. The entire text analysis reveals that the use of the preposition bitwen(e) has been omitted. Moreover, the token count analysis demonstrates that bitwen(e) is actually the most frequent with four instances, whereas twen(e) and atwen produce two examples each. The example below illustrates the use of twen(e). It is interesting that MS Harley 2251 (c. 1475) incorporates atwen in the same position.

(22) Tweene riche & poore what is the difference, Whan deth approchith in any creature, (MS Lansdowne 699; 1500; stanza 87)

What is more, my analysis of the texts comprised in the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse demonstrates the presence of several more tokens of twen(e) in four more texts by John Lydgate (see 7.2. above). These instances have not been recorded by the Middle English Dictionary online, even though both the dictionary and the corpus belong to the Middle English Compendium.

In The pilgrimage of the life of man (MS Cotton Vitel) from 1426 there is a wide range of types of the prepositions meaning 'between'. Round the beginning of the text one can find the only instance of twen(e) (see example (23) below). Further in the manuscript, there appear atwen (16 occurrences), atwix (11 occurrences), betwixt (5 occurrences) and bitwen(e) (2 occurrences). The prepositions seem to be used interchangeably with parallel senses (see examples (24) and (25) below). Atwen and atwix tend to be used with the numeral 'two' and with 'both' (see example (26)).

(23) Twen hevene & Erthe stood the place, As yt hadde (only by grace) (ll. 865-866)

(24) And declare to yow I shal, Now that ye & I be met, The trewe boundys that be set. Atwyxe vs tweyne, syth go ful long, That noon to other do no wrong; (ll. 3404-3408)

(25) And therfore, yiff ye wer wys, Ye sholde nat in your avys. Speke of boundys in no degre. Set be-twyxe yow & me. (ll. 3767-3770)

(26) Conclude nat/In oo Sentence; For, as grete ys/the dyfference Atwene hem tweyne/by Obstacle, As bytwene venym/and Tryacle. (ll. 16165-16168)

In S. Giles (MS Harl. 2255; 1460) one can find three instances of twen(e) and three of atwen. Similarly, the two versions of Lyke the audience, so uttir thy language contain three occurrences of twen(e) in each manuscript, i.e., MS Harl. 2255 from 1460 and MS Univ. Lib. Camb. Hh. 4. 12 from c.1475, see example (27) below. Additionally, there is one instance of atwen in each manuscript.

(27) Twene germany and affrik was gret enmyte; Noo comperison twene good grayne and forage; Prayse euery thyng like to hys degre, And like pe audience, so vttyr pi langage. (MS Univ. Lib. Camb. Hh. 4. 12, ll. 93-96)

Finally, the text of S. Edmund und Fremund preserved in MS Ashmole 46 from 1500 contains seven occurrences of twen(e). The use of the preposition is accompanied by five occurrences of atwen and three of atwix. Twen(e) rather appears with nouns without numerals, whereas atwen tends to be followed by a numeral 'two', e.g.,

(28) Tween wynd and wawe his barge almost brast (l. 250)

(29) Thus atween tweyne hangyng in ballance, (l. 477)

7.3.2. Other East Midland texts

There are some dozen instances of the preposition twen(e) in four East Midland texts not attributed to John Lydgate. Interestingly, the MED records their presence in these texts but the dictionary omits some other preposition(s) meaning 'between'.

Genesis and exodus (MS Corpus Christi College 444) from 1325 employs twen(e) and bitwen(e). Here, exceptionally, all the types are mentioned by the MED online. However, the number of instances the dictionary provides can be misleading. The five examples of twen(e) are actually all the five occurrences in the whole text, while the four MED examples of bitwen(e) correspond to 18 instances in the text.

A slightly later text of Guy of Warwick (1330) preserved in MS Auchinleck is listed by the MED online as including twen(e) and atwix. These types occur only once in the whole text each. Interestingly, the later 1475 manuscript of the text paraphrases the passage including twen(e) in the way that the preposition is completely omitted (see example (30) below). Two other investigated prepositions not recorded by the MED online are bitwen(e) and bitwix. It is worth mentioning that bitwen(e) produces as many as 22 tokens in Guy of Warwick. Bitwix appears twice.

(30)

Femperour cleped Herhaud him to, & aresound him tvene hem tvo: Sir Herhaud, pou schalt bileue wip me. Wele ich pe sigge, & siker pou be, (MS Auchinleck; 1330)

The emperowre syr Harrowde calde And askyd hym, yf he dwelle wolde Wyth hym in that cyte, And a ryche man schulde he bee: (MS Cambridge Cai 107/176; 1475)

Osbern Bokenham's Lives of the saints (Legends of holy women) (MS Arundel 327) from 1447 contain twen(e), bitwen(e) and bitwix. The first two prepositions appear in the text three times each, and bitwix, not recorded by the MED, five times.

Finally, Poems by Charles of Orleans (MS Harley 682) from 1450 include five instances of twen(e), seven of bitwen(e) and one of twix (see examples (31) and (32) employing personal pronouns, which was rather unusual in the works of Lydgate). The latter type is not attested by the MED online.

(31) For as for thyn y take it hir bewte And yit she lete it ly twene hir and me As thou mayst se as yit she doth it wayfe As she were loth more then hir owen ressayue.

(32) Allas alone am y without compane Fare welle my lady fare welle my gladnes Now is the loue partid twix yow and me yet what for then y make yow here promes

7.4. Summary of the findings

Table 6 below includes the token frequency of the prepositions meaning 'between' in the investigated texts. Tokens in bold print refer to the types which have not been recorded by the Middle English Dictionary online in particular texts. The scale of negligence of the MED online is spectacular. Four texts (in five manuscripts) included in the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse, which like the Middle English Dictionary online belongs to the Middle English Compendium, are completely omitted in the MED online entries for prepositions meaning 'between'. In the remaining 13 texts (8), preserved in 14 manuscripts, bitwen(e) is not recorded in six manuscripts, atwix in three, bitwix in four and twix in two.

Regarding tokens, of the 126 attested tokens of the Middle English preposition twen(e) 109 are recorded in the works of John Lydgate in the East-Midland dialect. Fourteen are found in other East-Midland texts, two in two Northern manuscripts of Cursor mundi (1400), and one in Holy rood (1175) composed in the South-Western dialect. In the texts by John Lydgate twen(e) is either the dominating preposition meaning 'between' or the second one in terms of frequency. The other leading preposition is atwen. The only exception is The pilgrimage of the life of man (1426) in which atwen produces the highest number of tokens and twen(e) is the least frequent of the five prepositions meaning 'between' in the text. In other East-Midland texts, not authored by John Lydgate, twen(e) is the second or even third most frequent preposition meaning 'between', after bitwen(e) and/or bitwix. As regards the proportions in the two Northern Cursor mundi (1400) manuscripts, twen(e) constitutes about one per cent of the analysed prepositions, being strongly outnumbered by bitwix, bitwen(e) and twix. In the South-Western Holy rood (1175) the total number of tokens of all discussed prepositions is low, i.e., four, including one twen(e) and three instances of bitwen(e).

8. Conclusions

The aim of the present paper was to focus on the Middle English preposition twen(e) and to provide its origin, semantics, dialect distribution, complete textual distribution (record of texts employing twen(e)) and token frequency. Moreover, all the texts containing the preposition twen(e) were examined in order to establish the whole range of the prepositions meaning 'between' in them, and to evaluate their token frequency and the proportion of the application of twen(e) as against all other examined prepositions in these texts. The analysis was carried out on the basis of such extensive electronic databases as the Middle English Dictionary online, the Oxford English Dictionary online and the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse as well as on the basis of a number of complete preserved Middle English texts.

The etymology of twen(e), as the investigation has shown, is different from that presented by the MED online and OED online, which suggest the shortening/aphesis of both bitwen(e) and atwen. The analysis of the dates of the first attestations of these three prepositions clearly implies that the etymology of ME twen(e) needs to be revised as "an aphetic form of betwen(e) < OE betweonum".

As regards the semantics, twen(e) had the prototype meaning 'between'. It could also sporadically mean 'in between, among'. The analysis demonstrates that the preposition twen(e), similarly to betwen(e), could assume locative, temporal and abstract senses. Some syntactic observations include the fact that twen(e) was most frequently used with nouns and only sporadically with personal pronouns, without any numerals.

The dialect distribution of the preposition twen(e), as deduced from the localisation of the manuscripts of the texts listed by the Middle English dictionary, is confirmed by the analysis of the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse texts. Hence, twen(e) was attested most frequently in the East-Midland texts, mostly in the writings of John Lydgate. In the North and in the South-West, the preposition was almost unattested but still available, as demonstrated by the presence of three occurrences of twen(e) in two texts (three manuscripts). Twen(e) has not been used in any preserved Kentish or West-Midland texts. The analysis brings to light the recorded use of the preposition twen(e) in 18 Middle English texts preserved in 20 manuscripts. The majority, i.e., 12 texts (13 manuscripts) are authored by John Lydgate and localised in the East-Midlands. Four further texts also belong to the East-Midlands. Moreover, twen(e) can be found once in one South-Western manuscript and once in each of two Northern manuscripts of one text. All texts including twen(e) are metrical texts covering both religious and secular topics.

The investigation of the Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse and of a few other complete Middle English texts has granted us access to the actual token frequency of twen(e) and other prepositions meaning 'between'. Moreover, the study shows some instances of the use of twen(e) in texts which for unexplained reasons have not been recorded in the Middle English Dictionary online. Here belong four works of John Lydgate. In general, the investigation has revealed that the highest number of instances (absolute token frequency) of twen(e) can be found in the texts by John Lydgate (see Table 5 in section 7.4.), in which twen(e) is the top frequency or the second frequent preposition meaning 'between'.

Finally, a more general conclusion of the present study is that the Middle English Dictionary online needs to be treated more cautiously in terms of the text and thus dialect distribution of particular prepositions. Thus a study of complete Middle English texts is advisable not only for a token but also for a type frequency analysis.

doi: 10.1515/stap-2015-0008

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EWA CISZEK-KILISZEWSKA

Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan

(1) There is an additional meaning, i.e., 8., of bitwen(e), which includes a couple of specific collocations, i.e., bidden ~ the teth, to pray silently; passen ~ the teth, utter or say (sth.).

(2) The text will not be analysed in terms of token frequency since the author of the paper had no access to the complete text.

(3) Labelled as Lives of the saints (Legends of holy women) in the MED online.

(4) Should be 1500 (cf. MED online).

(5) The MED online labels this passage of text as Praise of peace from 1460.

(6) The corpus had been searched for all possible spellings such as twen*, tween*, tuen*, tven*, twyn*, twin*, tuyn*, tvin*, tvyn*.

(7) Kitson (1993, 1996) and Alcorn (2013), following Kitson, treat bitwix(e) (OE betweox) as a spelling/phonological variant of bitwen(e) (OE betweonum). I treat these, following the MED online, as two separate prepositions.

(8) One text, Saints Alban and Amphibal (1500), is not analysed in terms of token frequency since the author had no access to a complete text.
Table 1. Correspondence of references
of twen(e) and bitwen(e)

twen(e)          bitwen(e)

(1.)             (1a., 1b.)
(2.)                (2.)
(3. (a), (b))    (3a., 3b.)
(4.)            (4., 5., 6.)
(5.)                (7.)

Table 2. Dialect distribution of the MED online texts containing
twen(e)

South-West         North                    East Midlands

Holy rood (1175)   Cursor mundi (1400)      Genesis and exodus (1325)
  (MS Bodl. 343)     (MS Fairfax 14)          (MS Corpus Christi
                     (MS Got. Theol. 107)     College 444)
                                            Guy of Warwick (1) (1330)
                                              (MS Auchinleck)
                                            Osbern Bokenham, Lives of
                                              the saints (1447)
                                              (MS Arundel 327)
                                            Charles of Orleans,
                                              Poems (1450)
                                              (MS Harley 682)
                                            J. Lydgate: Fall of
                                              princes (1439)
                                              (MS Bodl. 263)
                                            Secreta secretorum (1450)
                                              (MS Sloane 2464)
                                            Praise of peace (1460)
                                              (MS Harley 2255)
                                            Horns away (1475)
                                              (MS Laud Misc. 683)
                                            Assembly of Gods (1500)
                                              (MS Trin. Coll. R.
                                              3.19 (599))
                                            Aesop's fables (1500)
                                              (MS Trin. Coll. R.
                                              3.19 (599))
                                            Saints Alban and Amphibal
                                              (1500) (2)
                                              (MS Lansdowne 699)
                                            Debate of the horse,
                                              goose and sheep (1500)
                                              (MS Lansdowne 699)

Table 3. Dialect distribution of the OED online texts containing
twen(e)

North                                    East Midlands

Cursor mundi (1400)        Guy of Warwick (1) (1330) (MS Auchinleck)
  (MS Got. Theol. 107)   Osbern Bokenham, Lyvys of seyntys (1447) (3)
                            J. Lydgate: Assembly of Gods (1420) (4)
                                   Fall of princes (1430-40)
                                        (MS Bodl. 263)
                             Political poems and songs relating to
                                  English history (1443) (5)

Table 4. Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse extra
texts containing twen(e)

John Lydgate--East Midlands The pilgri

The pilgrimage of the life of man (1426)
  (MS Cotton Vitel)
S. Giles (1460)
  (MS Harley 2255)
Lyke the Audience, so uttir thy language
  (MS Harley 2255) (1460)
  (MS Univ. Lib. Camb. Hh. 4. 12) (c.1475)
S. Edmund und Fremund (1500)
  (MS Ashmole 46)

Table 5. Token frequency of 'between' prepositions
in Cursor mundi

MS Fairfax 14        MS Got Theol 107

bitwix(e)       46      bitwix(e)       96
twix(e)         3        twix(e)        19
bitwen(e)       31      bitwen(e)       10
twen(e)         1        twen(e)        1

Table 6. Token frequency of the prepositions meaning 'between'

East Midlands--John Lydgate          twen(e)   bitwen(e)    atwen

Fall of princes (1439)                 65                     93
  (MS Bodl. 263)
Secreta secretorum (1450)              15                     8
  (MS Sloane 2464)
Praise of peace (1460)                  2                     6
  (MS Harley 2255)
Horns away (1475)                       1
  (MS Laud Misc. 683)
Assembly of Gods (1500)                 4          2          1
  (MS Trin. Coll. R. 3.19 (599))
Aesop's fables (1500)                   3                     6
  (MS Trin. Coll. R. 3.19 (599))
Debate of the horse, goose and          2          4          2
  sheep (1500) (MS Lansdowne 699)
The pilgrimage of the life of           1          2          16
  man (1426) (MS Cotton Vitel)
S. Giles (1460)                         3                     3
  (MS Harley 2255)
Lyke the Audience, so uttir thy
  language(MS Harley 2255) (1460)       3                     1
(MS Univ. Lib. Camb. Hh. 4. 12)         3                     1
  (c.1475)
S. Edmund und Fremund (1500)            7                     4
  (MS Ashmole 46)

East Midlands--other texts

Genesis and exodus (1325)               5          18
  (MS Corpus Christi College 444)
Guy of Warwick (1) (1330)               1          22
  (MS Auchinleck)
Osbern Bokenham, Lives of the           3          3
  saints (1447) (MS Arundel 327)
Charles of Orleans, Poems (1450)        5          7
  (MS Harley 682)

North

Cursor mundi (1400)
(MS Fairfax 14)                         1          31         46
(MS Got. Theol. 107)                    1          10         96

South-West

Holy rood (1175)                        1          3
(MS Bodl. 343)

East Midlands--John Lydgate          atwix    bitwix   twix

Fall of princes (1439)                 8        8
  (MS Bodl. 263)
Secreta secretorum (1450)              3
  (MS Sloane 2464)
Praise of peace (1460)
  (MS Harley 2255)
Horns away (1475)
  (MS Laud Misc. 683)
Assembly of Gods (1500)                1
  (MS Trin. Coll. R. 3.19 (599))
Aesop's fables (1500)
  (MS Trin. Coll. R. 3.19 (599))
Debate of the horse, goose and
  sheep (1500) (MS Lansdowne 699)
The pilgrimage of the life of          11       5
  man (1426) (MS Cotton Vitel)
S. Giles (1460)
  (MS Harley 2255)
Lyke the Audience, so uttir thy
  language(MS Harley 2255) (1460)
(MS Univ. Lib. Camb. Hh. 4. 12)
  (c.1475)
S. Edmund und Fremund (1500)           3
  (MS Ashmole 46)

East Midlands--other texts

Genesis and exodus (1325)
  (MS Corpus Christi College 444)
Guy of Warwick (1) (1330)              1        2
  (MS Auchinleck)
Osbern Bokenham, Lives of the                   5
  saints (1447) (MS Arundel 327)
Charles of Orleans, Poems (1450)                        1
  (MS Harley 682)

North

Cursor mundi (1400)
(MS Fairfax 14)                        3
(MS Got. Theol. 107)                   19

South-West

Holy rood (1175)
(MS Bodl. 343)
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Author:Ciszek-Kiliszewska, Ewa
Publication:Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: international review of English Studies
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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