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Re: [Lambengolmor] Aorist across verb classes

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  • Ivan A Derzhanski
    ... Roughly speaking, the presence of more derivational morphology in lexical innovations may conflict with whatever inflexional morphology distinguishes the
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 6, 2002
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      "G. Dyke" wrote:
      > I'm afraid I have no Greek to add, but Ivan's remark that
      > "the latter is typical of lexical innovations" reminds me
      > of the French infinitive forms:

      Roughly speaking, the presence of more derivational morphology
      in lexical innovations may conflict with whatever inflexional
      morphology distinguishes the two stems in the verbs of the core
      vocabulary.

      [...]
      > although I know of no other languages with aorist, it does not seem
      > particularly strange that some verb classes should have a particular
      > form which others don't.

      Going back to Quenya: If it is the case that the present stem
      is obtained from the aorist one by lengthening the root vowel
      and replacing the final vowel by _-a_ (as in the pair _quete_
      `says' vs _quéta_ `is saying'), what shall we expect if (as in
      the case of _-ta/-ya_-verbs) the aorist stem already ends in _-a_
      and the root vowel can't be lengthened, because it is in a closed
      syllable? -- The two stems will coincide, which the language may
      or may not do something about. I'd say that, on the whole,
      languages tend to tolerate this sort of ambiguity.

      --Ivan
    • gentlebeldin
      ... This is not entirely correct, sorry! 1. The subjunctive is not a tense, it has forms in all tenses. 2. There are two subjuntives in German. 3. Both have
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 7, 2002
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        --- In lambengolmor@y..., "G. Dyke" <gordon.dyke@b...> wrote:

        > This is an effect that also happens in some more "archaic" tenses like
        > the German subjunctive: which has forms only for the auxiliary and modal
        > verbs (and for some strange reason the verb "to know") all the other
        > verbs having this tense formed with the assistance of a the modal
        > "werden".

        This is not entirely correct, sorry!
        1. The subjunctive is not a tense, it has forms in all tenses.
        2. There are two subjuntives in German.
        3. Both have basic forms (without auxiliary verbs) for all verbs, but
        some of them may coincide with other verb forms.

        Let's concentrate on subjunctive 2 (expressing wishes, irreal
        assumptions,...).

        Example: "singen" (sing). It's a strong verb, past tense "er sang"
        (3. sg.), past participle "gesungen" (that's called ablaut). The
        subjunctive (present tense) would be formed by umlaut mutation of the
        stem vowel in past tense: "er sänge".

        This rule was adopted for the less ancient weak verbs, forming past
        tense with suffix "-t(e)(n)", even for some without ablaut:
        brauchen -> er brauchte -> er bräuchte.

        However, there's a whole class of verbs where the forms coincide with
        past tense, because umlaut mutation is impossible (stem vowel "i/ie"
        or umlaut in past tense). In other cases, the umlaut mutated forms
        were abandoned for historical reasons ("wöllte"), or ancient strong
        forms were replaced by weak forms: "fragen" (ask) has past
        tense "fragte" instead of "frug" now, and the subjunctive 2 would
        be "früge", not "*frägte".

        In all those cases, the subjunctive coincides with forms of past
        tense, and where this could lead to ambiguity, the construction with
        an auxiliary verb ("fragen" -> "würde fragen") was introduced.
        This leads to the consequence that the original forms of the
        subjunctive are almost out of usage in vernacular now, replaced by
        the auxiliary construction even when it isn't necessary.

        They still exist in correct, literary German, however (listen to the
        news in tv :-): "Ich wünschte, Du kämest" (I wished you came).
        Since it is the continuation of an old, natural trend towards weak,
        analytical construction, the subjunctive will probably vanish in the
        standard language, too, whether one likes it or not (I don't :-).

        There's a question connected with ablaut in past tense related to
        nasal infixion: "gehen" (go) -> "er ging". The other direction would
        be "denken" (think) -> "er dachte", cf. "Gedanke" (thought).

        Since one would only expect another vowel here, this is an indication
        for ancient nasal vowel, changing into "in/en/an" later. Such nasal
        vowels remained in some other Indo-European languages (Polish), they
        aren't a mere hypothesis.

        Now nasal infixion plays an important role in Quenya. Is there any
        hint at the former existence of nasal vowels in primitive Elvish?
        (this was my first, never answered question in the Elfling list).

        Hans

        [I'm allowing this post, because it is instructive to consider these
        mechanisms, but this is getting rather far afield, both from the original
        topic and from Eldarin. I'd also like to ask Hans to repose his final
        question in a separate post, with a new topic description. Carl]
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