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7190The S=Z equation

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  • Eysteinn Bjornsson
    Oct 1, 2006
      --- "Grace Hatton" wrote:

      > I don't know why I can't seem to remember the s=z, etc.
      > Eventually it will penetrate, I hope.

      A bit unfair on you, I'd say, as it is only a result of
      the modernized spelling of the text you are using. Z was
      more or less dropped from the Icelandic orthographic system
      by an official decree back in 1974 (although that doesn't
      mean that everybody stopped using it).

      Just keep in mind that in Icelandic Z is basically only
      a conventional way of spelling T+S (or D+S and Ð+S), - not
      a voiced version of S. Thus in Old Icelandic, the name
      Þjazi could just as well be (and was) spelled Þjatsi, vizka
      as vitska, etc.

      In the modern language all those Zs are simply pronounced
      as Ss, which is why they have more or less disappeared from
      the language. Back in times of yore, when I was a kid in
      school, I was taught religiously where to write a Z properly.
      It never bothered me, but many found it impossible to learn.

      I find Z very useful for etymological purposes, for example
      the Z in vizka tells you immediately that the word is from
      VIT, whereas if you spell it VISKA (as is done nowadays), the
      connection isn't as readily apparent.

      In the modern language I also find it very useful for
      differentiating between forms like GERÐUST (gerðu+st)
      and GERÐUZT (gerðuð+st) - but both these forms are spelled
      the same today. The dropping of the Z resulted in some
      very ugly forms (at least to my taste), like FLUST, where
      we used to spell FLUTZT (flutt+st).

      No more of that - I promise!

      Best,
      Eysteinn
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