Re: Grammatical Gender
- It's what we're taught, what can I say? In parts of England people say "we was", "you was", "they was", so the simplification trend was perhaps artificially stopped by teachers and other upholders of old-fashioned grammatical rules, when it reached "am", "are" and "is".
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Torsten" <tgpedersen@...> wrote:
> --- In email@example.com, "andythewiros" <anjarrette@> wrote:
> > I was actually thinking of why *sto:laz "chair" is masculine in
> > Germanic, while *sedlam "seat" is, if I'm not mistaken, neuter, and
> > things like that. That's why I'm hoping to read Brugmann's article
> > once it's posted.
> Most native English-speakers are puzzle by why anybody would do that. Historically the interesting part, I think, is why English (and Vestjysk) gave it up, and why Dutch, North West Low German and the other continental Scandinavian languages decided to lose the difference between masculine and feminine while retaining that between common gender and neuter (substrate? but which?), and before that why non-Anatolian IE decided to introduce a feminine gender.
> Myself, I was puzzled, when first getting acquainted with the English language, why anybody would want to use 'am', are' and 'is' for the same word, I mean, they all mean "er" in my language (Swedish är)? So, perhaps as a native speaker of the language, you are the one I should ask: Why do you all do a silly thing like that?
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, johnvertical@... wrote:
>That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it.
> > I will still claim that the suffix is individuating not
> > collectivizing: it produces something unitary (note old 3sg verbs
> > for NPlNom -a:) out of something plural. It became feminine not
> > actively, but by being gradually excluded from the Masc. gender
> > because of its other sense as diminutive (which can't be used for
> > important men: no 'prezzie' for President or 'primie' for Prime
> > Minister). For some reason it is similar in its use to a Semitic
> > *-at- suffix (IIRC), but I think the original source in
> > non-Anatolic IE is Finno-Permic or whatever lay under that: the
> > suffix occurs also in FP tree names
> > http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/cybalist/message/64751
> More correctly, "a suffix with no particular resemblance occurs in
> Baltic Finnic in tree names, some of whose roots are of Uralic
>But there might be a connection -x <-> -k in PIE (Miguel) or a substrate of it (me).
> > (the -v-, -j-, -k- are regular reflexes of *-Å- in Finno-Ugric).
> Not quite, PFU itself still had *Å, and there is no soundlaw -Å- >
> -k- in any of its descendants.
> Mordvinic *sÂ´eleÅ is form'd with a separate diminutiv -Å (not*Å -> *v exists in Baltic Finnic.
> restricted to tree names; even productiv IIRC).
>I never claimed it did.
> > The willow name, probably taken from the same language which gave
> us the *-aÅ- suffix, would be *saÅ-al-aÅ-, from *saÅ- "wet hole (to
> the other side)", the adjectivizing suffix *-al- and the
> individuating *-aÅ- suffix (our topic).
> > Torsten
> The FU evidence does not allow for an intervening syllable a la
> nor an original meaning of _willow_ (all but BF have "elm"),Which have similar uses (Paasonen)
> nor a non-palatal *s-.Make it *ÅaÅ-al-aÅ- then.
> Just for the record, for the benefit of rest of the list.You're welcome. As you can see, I'm busy here too.
> John Vertical