The er- forms are by far the more numerous. It is remarkable that even in perfite, which already had ar in Old French, par- has been replaced by the Latin form per-. (The form perfect also
occurs: 15711). . _.«,
Words üke serve and certain are also remarkable for in Old
French they already had ar by the side of er (Meyer Lubke § 100).
These are cases of the reintroduction of -er, owing to the influence
of continental (standard) French (Luick HG. § 430.), or - and this
is more likely in this case, - of Latin, in which language the clergy
were of course well-versed.
The ar-forms are probably Anglo-Norman, so they do not
illustrate the English change er > ar.
3. ME. i.
ME. i is regularly represented by i or y, e.g.:
hilles, sinnes, linnen, sprinkeled, bitter, gift, thynges, lynnen, gyfte, spirites, consider, minister, deliuer, delyuer. The word little is usually spelled litle or lytle 11309 14015 et pass It seems doubtful if i: is represented in this word. Doubhng of consonants was not nearly so usual as it is now, so the^ sound represented may very well be i. It is of course ,ust possible that the uninflected type (ly:tel > Uttel) survived ^ f e as the 16th c and then got mixed up with the inflected type litle thus giving nse to Ivtle, but this cannot be proved. Simüar blends are, however, not unusual (cf. heaven, head). Cf. also Single and Doublé Cons P;,53 and OED. little: 'modern dialects that are marked by a large sound element in the vocabulary mostly have the vowel long, the pronunciation being la:t'l or the üke; this seems to point to influence from the ONo. U:tehY
There is no example ülustrating the opening of i to e.
1 In letany(e, the e-form is the only one in the text: (29126' 30', 36105', +6 times.) This form is from mediaeval Latin letama (by the side of titania), whence also OF. letanie. OED. Besides occurring in the regular forms with short i, some^words occur in forms which show traces of the lengthening of i to e.. The snelline used in this case is te or e, e.g.: "\ „
P 2ü36806', prieson 11618', 24017, 35024, -er 06203, 11116 prieuely(e 05028', 06307,16727, 24006, prieuily 05802, ktendled