Mann and gender in Old English prose: a pilot study

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It has long been known that OE mann was used in gender-neutral as well as gender-specific contexts. Because of the enormous volume of its attestations in Old English prose, the more precise usage patterns of mann remain, however, largely uncharted, and existing lexicographical tools provide only a basic picture. This article aims to present a preliminary study of the various uses of mann as attested in Old English prose, particularly in its surprisingly consistent use by an individual author, namely that of the ninth-century Old English Martyrology. Patterns emerging from this text are then tested against other prose material. Particular attention is paid to gender-specific usage, examples of which are shown to be exceptional for a word which largely occurs in gender-neutral contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-158
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Old English literature
  • Old English Martyrology
  • Old English prose
  • Gender
  • Translation


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