Weak E and the Metre of Richard Spalding’s Alliterative Katherine Hymn.
Putter analyses the ‘visual realization of the grammar and the rhyme scheme’ (p. 289) in the Alliterative Katherine Hymn, offering manuscript evidence in support of the possible authorial design of the hymn’s layout. He presents rhyme evidence indicating the loss of unaccented medial –e in inflections in –en and –ed. The evidence suggests that the pronunciation of weak –e ‘could no longer be depended upon in Spalding’s language’ (p. 291), but that both reduced and unreduced forms of –en, -ed, and –es inflections were available, ‘presumably because both were used by competent speakers and writers of his dialect’ (p. 292).
Notes & Queries, n.s. 52 (2005), 288–92.