Pronouns (PRO, PRO$)
Reflexives (HERSELF, etc.)
Possessive pronouns
Pronominal cases in which PRO is not used
Existential THERE (EX)
Common nouns (N, N$, NS, NS$, $)
Singular, plural, and collective nouns
Units of measure (DAY, YEAR, POUND, etc)
Possessives and genitives
The $ tag
Compass points
Treatment of individual words
Proper nouns (NPR, NPR$, NPRS, NPRS$)
Names of people
Names of places
Unique objects
Named days, months, and periods of time
Named events
Names of languages
Table of Contents

Pronouns (PRO, PRO$)

        PRO     Pronoun
        PRO$    Pronoun, possessive
All pronouns are labelled PRO with the exception of pronominal ONE and indefinate ME/MAN.

Reflexives (HERSELF, etc.)

Reflexive forms (HERSELF, etc.) are tagged PRO+N or PRO$+N when cliticized. SELF is always tagged as a singular noun, whatever its form.
        hym_PRO self_N
        herself_PRO+N (by default)

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns are tagged PRO$ whether or not they modify a noun.
        hys_PRO$ son_N
        thy_PRO$ baptym_N

        the_D lyon_N was_BED nat_NEG myne_PRO$

        and_CONJ therefore_ADV+P ye_PRO shall_MD loose_VB
        youres_PRO$ !_. '_'

Pronominal cases in which PRO is not used

The tag PRO is not used in the following two cases:
  1. the pronominal use of ONE (see Section ONE)
  2. ME, MAN when it means ONE (see Section MAN)

Existential THERE (EX)

Existential THERE is tagged EX. When THERE is ambiguous between a locative and an existential reading, the default is existential.
        whe+ter_WQ +tere_EX were_BED mo_QR of_P his_PRO$ predecessours_NS
        in_P paradys_N o+ter_CONJ in_P helle_N

        and_CONJ +tere_EX were_BED i-seie_VAN wonder_ADV false_ADJ 
        si+gtes_NS and_CONJ fals_ADJ tokenes_NS

Common nouns (N, N$, NS, NS$, $)

        N       Noun, singular and collective
        N$      Noun, possessive/genitive
        NS      Noun, plural
        NS$     Noun, plural, possessive/genitive
        $       Possessive clitic HIS or 'S if separated from word

Singular, plural, and collective nouns

Singular and collective nouns (HORS, FOLK, PEOPLE etc.) are tagged N. In early texts, before the universalization of plural -S, it can be quite difficult to distinguish reliably in all cases between singular and plural. Therefore, for the period M1, we have tried to follow the translation accompanying the edition used when one is available, or else a separate translation.

Units of measure (DAY, YEAR, POUND, etc)

Units of measure after numbers (TEN YEAR, etc.) are labelled as singular or plural based on overt marking as follows: forms in -s, -a, or -en are marked as plural, all others as singular.
        vii_NUM +gere_N
        .xxx._NUM +gera_NS
        .xx._NUM yeres_NS
        three_NUM hondred_NUM wynter_N
        ueale_Q hund_NUM wintra_NS
        xl_NUM daies_NS
        sex_NUM monthis_NS
        ix_NUM c_NUM pound_N

Possessives and genitives

All common nouns used as possessives are tagged N$, NS$. As with the plural, genitive marking in early texts predates universal -S and thus in these cases N$, NS$ indicates the function GENITIVE/POSSESSIVE rather than any particular form. In general only nouns in relationship with other nouns are marked as genitive/possessive. The two exceptions to this are:
  1. when the head noun in a genitive/possessive NP is empty. In this case other words, usually, quantifiers, but potentially other categories as well, can be tagged with $.
  2. in essentially superlative adjectival and adverbial expressions like ALRE FIRST/LAST/MOST (FIRST/LAST/MOST OF ALL), ALRE BEST (BEST OF ALL), etc., ALRE is tagged Q$. See Section GENITIVE/POSSESSIVE QUANTIFIERS.
        +te_D mannes_N$ shrifte_N               the man's shrift
        +te_D sowle_N$ fode_N                   the soul's food
        his_PRO$ sinne_N$ sore_N                sorrow of his sin
        +te_D apostles_NS$ mu+des_NS            the apostles' mouths
        +ter_PRO$ apostlene_NS$ lore_N          the apostles' teaching
        kinges_NS$ sunes_NS                     kings' sons
        alre_Q kinge_NS$ king_N                 king of all kings

        here_PRO$ beire_Q$ friend_N             friend of them both
        o+dres_OTHER$ pine_N                    (an)other's pain

        alre_Q$ mast_QS                         most of all
        alre_Q$ earst_ADV                       first of all
        alra_Q$ swi+dest_ADVS                   quickest of all
        alre_Q$ best_ADJS                       best of all

The $ tag

The tag $ is used for HIS in the JOHN HIS BOOK construction, as well as for the possessive clitic 'S. The possessive clitic really antedates the texts in this corpus, although it occasionally appears in the edited texts.
        Peter_NPR his_$ peny_N
        +Te_D kyng_N his_$ wyf_N
        in_P a_D man_N 's_$ saule_N
        a_D man_N 's_$ thoghte_N

Compass points

Compass points are tagged N, both when used alone and in combination with another noun. Only when the adjectival suffix -ERN is present is the form tagged ADJ (e.g., NORTHERN, SOUTHERN, EASTERN, WESTERN).
        if_P we_PRO gone_VBP toward_P +te_D north_N

        Thomas_NPR Grey_NPR ,_, a_D knyte_N of_P +te_D north_N

        Fro_P _CODE Cathay_NPR _CODE go_VBP
        men_NS toward_P the_D est_N be_P many_Q iorneyes_NS

        and_CONJ ano+tere_D+OTHER fram_P +te_D North_N 
        into_P +te_D South_N ,_, +tat_C was_BED callede_VAN 
        Ikenyle_NPR strete_NPR

        +de_D nor+d_N half_N

        +te_D nor+t_N hille_N

        +te_D nor+tside_N+N

        cf. ADJECTIVAL USE 
        all_Q +te_D host_N +tat_C cam_VBD with_P +te_D 
        king_N were_BED robbid_VAN be_P northen_ADJ men_NS

Treatment of individual words


In early texts, the construction is:
        sumes_Q kennes_N$ fisc_N        
where SOME KIND is the genitive complement of FISH (i.e, FISH OF SOME KIND). Later this is reanalyzed, with KIND as the head and FISH the complement, SOME KIND(S) OF FISH.
        some_Q kinds_NS fish_N
        +Des_D fower_NUM kinnes_N$ teares_NS  <--- early texts

        eches_Q kinnes_N$ chapman_N+NS

        that_D ylke_ADJ kynde_N compassyone_N

        any_Q kynne_N +ting_N


In early texts MANNER mayy take a gentive.
        ech_Q manyere_N lykinges_N$

        +teose_D twa_NUM manere_N meonestrales_N$
Later, when bare genitives are generally no longer used in this fashion, it often continues to appear without OF or any genitive marking. At this stage the complement noun (LIKING) is simply labelled N.
        each_Q manner_N liking_N
        eny_Q maner_N wyse_N

        a_D maner_N fals_ADJ drede_N


HALF and SIDE also routinely take bare NP complements. The complement NP in these cases is tagged simply as N(S) (unless it clearly shows genitive marking).
        euery_Q side_N +tat_D Gentil_ADJ Erl_N
        +tis_D half_N +ta_D muntes_NS
        +tis_D half_N Rome_NPR

Proper nouns (NPR, NPR$, NPRS, NPRS$)

        NPR     Proper noun
        NPR$    Proper noun, possessive
        NPRS    Proper noun, plural
        NPRS$   Proper noun, plural, possessive

Names of people

  1. Noun-noun pairs, like KING ARTHUR, EARL THOMAS, are treated as compound nouns, and so both parts are proper.
            kynge_NPR Arthure_NPR
            sire_NPR Thomas_NPR
            seynt_NPR Gregory_NPR
            Jhesu_NPR Crist_NPR
    Following THE and possessives, these are always treated as appositives, although this is almost certainly the wrong analysis in some cases.
            my_PRO$ lorde_N Arthure_NPR
            the_D kynge_N Royns_NPR of_P Northe_NPR Walis_NPR
            the_D grete_ADJ Lady_N Lyle_NPR of_P Avilion_NPR
            +te_D gentil_ADJ Erl_N Thomas_NPR
    Offices on their own (THE KING, THE ARCHBISHOP, THE EARL) are not proper nouns.
            +te_D kynge_N
            +te_D pope_N 
            archebisshop_N of_P Caunterbury_NPR
  2. In adjective-noun pairs, like ALMIGHTY GOD, the adjective is not considered part of the name, as long as the head noun is, by itself, a proper noun (or part of a noun-noun compound).
            god_NPR almihtin_ADJ    <--- GOD, CHURCH etc. are NPR when alone
            holy_ADJ cherche_NPR
  3. French and other foreign names are treated in toto as proper nouns, so all parts are NPR, including LE and DE or DU.
            Petir_NPR de_NPR Luna_NPR
            Melyot_NPR de_NPR Logyrs_NPR
            Sagramour_NPR le_NPR Desyrus_NPR
  4. In English names, only the actual name is tagged NPR, any NP or PP epithets are treated separately.
            seint_NPR iohan_NPR baptiste_N
            Iohannes_NPR +de_D godspellere_N
            Daui+d_NPR +de_D profiete_N
            Iosepe_NPR +de_D smi+de_N
            Gy_NPR of_P Marchia_NPR
            seint_NPR Patrik_NPR of_P Irlond_NPR
    However, when a specific epithet which belongs to a specific person is used alone to refer to that person, then it is tagged NPR.
            the_D Baptist_NPR       (when referring to John)
            the_D Conqueror_NPR     (when referring to William, etc)
            the_D Ironside_NPR      (when referring to Edmund)
  5. The names of peoples and groups are proper nouns. These are marked as singular or plural based on overt plural marking. The rules for noun-noun and adjective-noun pairs are the same as above.
            +te_D Iewys_NPRS
            +te_D Normans_NPRS
            +te_D Scottes_NPRS
            +te_D Lolardis_NPRS
            his_PRO$ kyngdom_N of_P West_NPR Saxons_NPRS
  6. Names and epithets of God (GOD, LORD, CHRIST, CREATOR, HEALER, SAVIOUR, etc.) and the devil (DEVIL, SATAN, FIEND, UNWIHT, WURSE, etc.) are always proper. This includes the names of the members of the Trinity: FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST.
            Lord_NPR                Lord_NPR God_NPR Almyghty_ADJ
            God_NPR                 Lord_NPR Iesu_NPR
            Crist_NPR               oure_PRO$ Lord_NPR Jhesu_NPR Crist_NPR
            ure_PRO$ helende_NPR    Oure_PRO$ Lorde_NPR Godd_NPR
            Oure_PRO$ Lorde_NPR     hali_NPR gast_NPR
            Trinity_NPR             +trumnesse_NPR    

Names of places

  1. As with names of people, noun-noun pairs are always considered compounds and both parts are labelled NPR.
            Penteney_NPR Abbey_NPR
            London_NPR Brigge_NPR
            North_NPR Galys_NPR
    As with THE KYNGE ROYNS, noun-noun place names preceded by a determiner are treated as appositives.
            the_D castell_N Nygurmous_NPR
            +te_D flum_N Iordan_NPR
            +te_D brynke_N of_P +te_D water_N Ponte_NPR
            +te_D Castell_N Aungel_NPR
    When the ``name'' part is not a noun, it is tagged NPR anyway.
            the_D Castell_N Terrable_NPR
            the_D Sege_N Perelous_NPR
  2. In adjective-noun pairs, if the head noun is a proper name in its own right, the adjective is not part of the name.
            New_ADJ Troye_NPR
    If the head noun is not a proper name on its own, the adjective is part of the name.
            the_D rede_NPR see_NPR
            Holy_NPR Lond_NPR
    THE X OF PLACE/PERSON is tagged as follows:
            the_D Castell_N of_P Four_NPR Stonys_NPR
            the_D cite`_N of_P Camelot_NPR
            +te_D citee_N of_P Acres_NPR
            +te_D covent_N of_P Coventre_NPR
            +te_D cherch_N of_P Chestir_NPR
            +te_D Abbay_N of_P Kyng_NPR Edward_NPR
    CHRISTENDOM is tagged NPR when it is being used locatively, but N when it means CHRISTIANITY or CHRISTIAN FAITH.
            +Dre_NUM +ting_NS ben_BEP +tat_C elch_Q man_N habben_HV mot_MD ._,
            +te_C wile_MD his_PRO$ cristendom_N leden_VB ._.
            +De_D rihte_ADJ bileue_N setten_VBP +te_D twolue_NUM apostles_NS on_P
            write_N ;_, ar_P hie_PRO ferden_VBD in_RP to_P al_Q middeneard_NPR
            to_TO bodien_VB cristendome_N ._.
            Hie_PRO is_BEP anginn_N of_P alle_Q cristendome_NPR ,_.

Unique objects

For names given to special things, and nouns denoting things of which there is only one, the rules for noun-noun and adjective-noun pairs are the same as above. If the head noun is not a proper name on its own, then the adjective is also labelled NPR.
        the_D Sankgreall_NPR
        the_D bible_NPR
        +te_D chirche_NPR  <--- when referring to the entity, not buildings

        hooli_ADJ chirche_NPR
        hooly_ADJ scripture_NPR

        haly_NPR writte_NPR
        +De_D hali_NPR gast_NPR
        the_D elde_NPR testament_NPR
        the_D Rounde_NPR Table_NPR

Note that for HOLY WRIT, HOLY BOOK, and THE OLD/NEW TESTAMENT, the head nouns are not proper on their own, therefore the adjectives are tagged NPR. This differs from HOLY SCRIPTURE and HOLY BIBLE because SCRIPTURE and BIBLE are proper on their own. Book titles in general are not treated as proper names, as this would hide their internal syntax. Only a small number of books (as above) which can be seen as having names rather than titles are treated this way. In addition, certain common Latin canticles and prayers as well as the creed (CREDO) are tagged NPR, not FW.
        Pater_NPR Noster_NPR
        Te_NPR Deum_NPR Laudamus_NPR
        Ave_NPR Maria_NPR

Named days, months, and periods of time

  1. Days of the week
  2. Months
  3. Holidays and holy days
            Estern_NPR Day_NPR 
            +te_D Ascencioun_NPR day_NPR 
            Seint_NPR Edward_NPR$ day_NPR
    But note that in adjective-noun pairs in which the noun is in itself proper, the adjective is tagged ADJ.
            Goode_ADJ Fryday_NPR
            Holy_ADJ Saturday_NPR

Named events

        +te_D incarnacion_NPR
        +te_D Assumpcioun_NPR
        the_D Resurreccion_NPR and_CONJ the_D Passion_NPR
In phrases like THE FEAST OF X in which X is a named event, only the event is tagged NPR.
        the_D feste_N of_P Pentecoste_NPR
        +te_D fest_N of_P Ascencion_NPR
In phrases like THE FEAST OF X in which X is not a named event, no part is a proper noun.
        +te_D feste_N of_P +te_D camel_N
        +te_D day_N of_P doom_N
NOTE: this gives clearly the wrong reading in some cases in which both nouns are common on their own, but the denotation of the phrase is clearly proper (e.g. THE WAR OF THE ROSES). This problem currently remains unsolved.

Names of languages

The names of languages are proper nouns:
        the_D langage_N of_P English_NPR
When used adjectively, however, they are tagged ADJ.
        Englissh_ADJ tonge_N
        Latyn_ADJ bible_NPR