Infestations, contortions, ambidextrations...
- --- In email@example.com, Arthur Jones <arthurobin2002@...>
> The difficulty here is that the Wilmisau dialect is almostextinct (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. 'habaiÃ¾' "has"
(rather than 'haubiÃ¾' head), 'starwa' = NHG 'sterben' "to die".
> 2. Also collate comparable sentences and phrases for the oldestattested 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 'wairÃ¾an' 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
atgibanos wesun imma bokos
galagiÃ¾s was in kararai
But then sometimes there does seem to be a distinction made, e.g.
haitans was "was called" (imperfective)
haitans warÃ¾ "was given the name" (perfective)
Streitberg has some figures which suggest a definite tendency, if
not complete strictness:
was warÃ¾ ist
imperfect 7 17
aorist 69 42 50
perfect 4 42 50
It would be interesting to see how these compare overall with the
Old Bulgarian translation.