The first personal pronoun nominative singular (abbreviated as the 1st pers. pronoun' below) is I in ModE, which was ic in OE. In Hivelok the Dane written about 1300, there appear eight forms of this pronoun — ic, hic, ich, ihc, i, y, hi, ig (the MS has ig, but the g should be expunged because it is considered mistakenly added). The developmental process ic → ich → i is easy to understand, and hic and ihc can be regarded as variant forms of ic and ich, while hi, ig, y are variants of i. Considering the fact that this romance was written in the transition period from ic to I, it is no wonder that as many as eight forms appear in it. How, then, was each of these forms used in the literary work?
My aim in this paper is to elucidate the peculiarities of each form by closely examining all the sentences of these forms.
In Chapter I, I set out all the instances of the 1st pers. pronoun. In Chapter II, I make a list of the instances, which are examined thoroughly. In Chapter III, I try to consider and explain the exceptions to the general tendency to the use of the 1st pers. pronoun.
The conclusions are as follows: Firstly, in general, seniors or superiors use the old forms — ic, hic, ich, ihc — when they speak to juniors or inferiors, while juniors or inferiors use the new forms — i, hi, y — when they speak to seniors or superiors. However, seniors or superiors use the new forms when they take a modest approach to juniors or seniors. while juniors or inferiors use the old forms when they take a resolute attitude. Secondly, some verbs beginning with a vowel, when they follow the 1st pers. pronoun, tend to take the old forms. Thirdly, some verbs prefer the new forms, while others tend to collocate with the old forms. Lastly, which forms someone uses is sometimes dependent on the state of mind at the time when he or she speaks to another.