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Infestations, contortions, ambidextrations...

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  • llama_nom
    ... extinct (fewer than 100 speakers left), and it has proven difficult as well to obtain reliable and detailed research on the topic. The most recent book,
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 13 3:48 PM
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      --- In gothic-l@yahoogroups.com, Arthur Jones <arthurobin2002@...>

      > The difficulty here is that the Wilmisau dialect is almost
      extinct (fewer than 100 speakers left), and it has proven difficult
      as well to obtain reliable and detailed research on the topic. The
      most recent book, "The Making of a Language: The Case of the Idiom
      of Wilamowice", by Tomasz Wicherkiewicz, 2003, costs about 100
      Euros. I cannot afford it.

      Nor me. You might be able to peek at a few pages on Google Books
      though [ http://books.google.co.uk/books?q=%22Idiom+of+Wilamowice%
      22 ]. Or if that doesn't work, I think Amazon has a similar
      tantilisation device. I searched for "gothic", but most of the
      relevant pages were "access restricted". All very intriguing
      though. I found 'huot' used twice = NGH 'hat', Go. 'habaiþ' "has"
      (rather than 'haubiþ' head), 'starwa' = NHG 'sterben' "to die".

      > 2. Also collate comparable sentences and phrases for the oldest
      attested Slavic forms. Remember, up to 30 % of Slavic vocabulary
      was "borrowed" from Gothic. Could there have been a parallel
      superstrate influence on Slavic syntax as well, which would show us
      something of the syntax in use at the time in Gothic?

      30% seems a surprisingly lot to me. Doesn't match my experience of
      delving in Russian etymological dictionaries. But I'm not an
      expert. Wilhelm Streitberg believed that Gothic had a very similar
      system of verbal aspect to Slavonic, but I've just read an article
      by Philip Scherer ('Aspect in Gothic', Language 30:2, 1954) that
      completely refutes the idea of a formal system of aspect at least,
      although certain verbs might be perfective or imperfective due to
      their inherent meaning, while others are aspectually indifferent.
      He also says the 'present' tense of certain prefixed verbs in Old
      Bulgarian (=Old Church Slavonic) would always have a future meaning,
      although they aren't always necesarily perfective. He has examples
      of verbs in both perfective and imperfective contexts, both verbs
      that are always simple, always prefixed with ga- or another prefix,
      and verbs that appear either in simple or prefixed form. Which
      leaves me wondering why Streitberg concluded that there was a formal
      aspect system in Gothic. The one thing lacking from Scherer's
      article is a statistical breakdown of particular verbs, which might
      show whether there was a general tendency towards a particular
      prefixed verb being perfective, while its simplex counterpart was
      imperfective--even if the rule wasn't always strictly followed.
      Does anyone know if such studies have been done? It's also been
      claimed that there is a perfective/imperfective distinction made
      between the use 'wairþan' and 'wisan' as auxiliaries for the past
      passive. I don't remember Scherer mentioning this, but it's
      something else worth scrutinising. If there is any distinction
      made, and I'm not sure of that, I don't think it can be a simple one
      to one match, with one auxiliary perfrective and the other
      imperfective. E.g. all perfective, I think (but I'll have to check
      the context):

      atgibanos wesun imma bokos
      galagiþs was in kararai
      gabaurans warþ
      gabaurans was

      But then sometimes there does seem to be a distinction made, e.g.

      haitans was "was called" (imperfective)
      haitans warþ "was given the name" (perfective)

      Streitberg has some figures which suggest a definite tendency, if
      not complete strictness:

      was warþ ist
      imperfect 7 17
      pluperfect 5
      aorist 69 42 50
      perfect 4 42 50

      It would be interesting to see how these compare overall with the
      Old Bulgarian translation.
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