One of the first positive responses to the hypothesis of Merovingian Latin influence on the code of AEthelberht was made in 1971 by J.
The marriage of king AEthelberht to Charibert I's daughter, Bertha, needs to be set against this background.
According to Wood, indubitable evidence of legal contact between Kent and the Franks shortly after the codification of AEthelberht's code is provided by "the presence of Justus of Rochester and Peter of Dover at the Council of Paris in 614." (9) What has been lacking is some sort of philological proof that AEthelberht's code is indebted to Frankish legal literature.
The theory of direct Frankish influence on the language and style of AEthelberht's code has not been without some vigorous resistance.
Contemporary studies of AEthelberht's legislation attempt to identify particular stylistic and even linguistic features of his code which mark it as a text dependent in some way on oral modes of composition.
A 1995 dissertation by Lisi Oliver largely adopts Wormald's method, this time to examine in greater detail most of the linguistic peculiarities of AEthelberht. (18) Oliver's study has become the standard text in work on the language of AEthelberht's code.
Oliver gives a list of these potentially archaic syntactic features in the conclusion of her study: (1) While in AEthelberht the mood of the verb in the subordinate clause (or protasis) is regularly indicative, in AElfred's code the mood is subjunctive; (2) The position of the verb in the main clause (or apodosis) is consistently final in AEthelberht, and always initial in the laws of AElfred; (3) A pronoun in a subordinate clause of AEthelberht tends not to be reiterated in the main clause, as it is in AElfredian legislation; (4) The auxiliary verb of the passive is almost always weordan in AEthelberht, but beon in AElfred.
AEthelberht 17.2/L 20: Gif man pone man ofslaehd, XX scillingum gebete.
AEthelberht: Indicative verb in protasis, verb-final apodosis, pro-drop apodosis.
AEthelberht 57/L65: Gif peoh gebrocen weordep, XII scillingum gebete.
AEthelberht: Auxiliary weordep, verb-final apodosis, pro-drop in apodosis.
(22) Regarding the former, Oliver argues that if the independent dative of purchase had occurred at all in Old English, it was most likely in the period of "Pre-Archaic English," given that this construction "was already obsolete at the time of the actual recording of AEthelberht's laws." (23)