West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

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Herra Ratatoskr
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 20 Apr 2019 18:21

Nouns : Appendix / Errata

I-Umlaut Plurals
16 Nouns in West Saxon continue to use umlauts to mark the plural. One of these, broþer, didn't regularly umlaut in Old West Saxon, but did umlaut in the dative singular, and it is believed that this caused the vowel change to spread to the plural before stem vowels were leveled in the singular and plural.

It should be noted that, in addition to the vowel changes, 4 of these nouns (book, brook, oak, and buor) also experience a change in their final consonant, with the first three going /k/ -> /tʃ/ and the last going from /ʁ/ -> /ɹ/. The first of these was from palatalization caused by the original "i" in the ending that triggered umlaut in the first place, and the second was caused by sound changes in Middle West Saxon.

Animate umlaut nouns take the regular -es/-ne in the possessive case, attached to the appropriate singular/plural stem. For the nouns vruend, vuend, mann, and broþer the possessive plural ending is "-en", due to rules of allomorphy.

Code: Select all

   OO | EE
 tooð | teeð  M-I  [tɔwθ | tɛjθ]   "tooth"
 voot | veet  M-I  [vɔwt | vɛjt]   "foot"
 book | beec  F-I  [bɔwk | bɛjtʃ]  "book"
brook | breec F-I [bʁɔwk | bɹɛjtʃ] "trousers"
 goos | gees  N-A  [gɔws | gɛjs]   "goose"

  UO | UY
buor | buyr F-I [buʁ | byɹ] "town"
luos | luys N-A [lus | lys] "louse"
 cuo | cuy  N-A  [ku | ky]  "cow"
muos | muys N-A [mus | mys] "mouse"

  OA | EA
 oak | eac  F-I  [ɔɑk | ɛɑtʃ] "oak"
goat | geat N-A [gɔɑt | gɛɑt] "goat"

    UE | IE
vruend | vriend M-A [vɹøɥn | vɹin] "friend"
 vuend | viend  M-A  [vøɥn | vin]  "enemy"

   ONE-OFFS
  mann | menn   M-A   [mæn | mɛn]   "man"
broþer | breþer M-A [bʁɔːɹ | bɹɛːɹ]"brother"
  nute | nyte   F-I  [nɔwt | nøɥt]  "nut"
R-Plurals
The Old West Saxon nouns cild ("child"), ej ("egg"), lamb ("lamb") and cæuf ("calf") with plurals formed by adding a final -r have retained this plural into the present day, though now the suffix is a syllabic -re, with the plural possessive form -ren. However, due to the semantic similarity of these nouns as "offspring" nouns, the R-plural has been extended to all nouns describing offspring, including felp ("whelp"), bridd ("chick"), and especially the suffix -ling, which is quite productive to form offspring nouns. In addition, another use of this plural can be seen with the suffix -ing when it is used to form family names. The normal plural is used with describing multiple members of a family, but the R-plural is used to give a collective sense of all members of the family. This is used even when -ing is used in a more metaphorical sense (which I will go into later when I tackle derivational morphology).

A few nouns experience sound changes between the singular and plural:

Code: Select all

lamb  / lambre  [ɫɔɑm  | ɫæmbɹ̩]
cæuf  / cæufre  [tʃɑwf | tʃɒvɹ̩]
bridd / bridre  [bɹɪd  | bɹɪːɹ̩], possessive plural [bɹɪːrn̩]
Foreign Endings
For the most part, foreign borrowings are worked into the West Saxon grammar without much difficulty, with a few exceptions. The most prominent of these are borrowings of inanimate nouns from English that retain their ostensibly "wrong" plurals in "-s", though this is written as "-s", not "-es". In addition, there has been a recent trend to regularize these nouns to pluralize in "-en", like other regular inanimates. Currently, both forms are acceptable, but forms with "-en" are considered more informal, and may even be taken as a sign of poor education, especially by older speakers.

The Greco-Roman endings -um, -us, -on and -ma also have irregular plural forms, pluralizing as -a, -i, -a, and -mata respectively. In addition, the animate nouns ending in -us have the possessive endings -u and -un, though you will sometimes see -i used for the possessive singular. It should also be noted that in older texts, the prepositional case forms of -us nouns were -u in the singular and -us in the plural.

W-Stems and H-Stems
Nouns which were originally -wa/-wo stems in Old West Saxon which had a stem ending in a consonant have slightly different inflectional rules. If the stem was originally "heavy" in Old West Saxon (i.e. it had either a long vowel or diphthong, or consonant cluster at the end), then the noun has no inflection in the common singular, and forms a plural with either -us /-ʊz/ or -un /-ʊn/, depending on animacy. The possessive forms are -us and -un for the singular and plural respectively.

Nouns of this type that originally had a light stem in Old West Saxon end in -e in the singular common case and -wen/-wes in the plural. The -e is silent, but lengthens the stem vowel, while -wen and -wes are pronounced /-un/ and /-uz/ and do not trigger lengthening. In the possessive singular and plural case the endings are -wes and wen respectively.

In the old prepositional case, the endings were -u or -we in the singular and -us or -wes in the plural.

Finally, there are the H-Stem nouns. These are nouns that end in a vowel/diphthong + h in the common singular, but lose the final -h when any inflectional ending is applied. Additionally, the prepositional case was formed in the singular by dropping the -h.

Bonus Question
Okay, so I've been debating something back and forth to myself regarding the possessive case, and I'm having a tough time deciding whether or not to do it, so I thought I'd put it out there to see what people think. Hopefully that might help me decide one way or the other.

So, one of the uses for the genitive case is as the object of a verbal noun, which we still use with the "of" genitive; for example, in Old English "for middeardes alysednysse" meaning "for the salvation of the world" or even "for the world's salvation." West Saxon will probably keep this around for regular verbal nouns, with animates using the possessive case and inanimates using "of" periphrasis. However, the the imperfect, present progressive and future progressive tenses (actually the durative aspect) are formed with what is called the durative participle which ultimately derives from... a verbal noun.

Part of me wants to make the possessive case be used with these tenses to mark the direct object, at least somewhat. I could do it:
  • only with animates and have inanimates just use the common case
  • with possessive case for animates and have the inanimates use "of" periphrasis (since that's how they mark the possessive)
  • only with pronouns (and have the inanimates use "thereof")
  • have this cause the possessive case to stick around for inanimates as well.
Additionally, this would cause complications with syntax. As a quick intro, the durative participle is formed by prefixing "a-", a worn down form of the preposition "on" to a verbal noun ending in "ing", so the durative participle of "lufje" would be "alufjing". Now, West Saxon lost its post-positional genitives pretty early on, so these possessive objects would normally come before the participle. But they would come after the original "on" preposition. So I feel like I've got left with the options:
  • Have the durative participle "break" into its constituent parts when there is a direct object, so "I was watching him" would be something like "I was on his watching"
  • Have the object "jump out" of the original prepositional phrase that built up the participle, giving something like "I was his a-watching"
  • Jettison the no post-positional possessives rule and say that via analogy these possessives follow the "noun" they modify, like objects in the non-durative tenses
Or I could just say "screw it, while this sounds kind of cool it's not worth the headache". Thought? Also, if that description was confusing let me know and I'll try to clarify what I mean.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Salmoneus » 20 Apr 2019 22:09

Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
20 Apr 2019 18:21
Part of me wants to make the possessive case be used with these tenses to mark the direct object, at least somewhat. I could do it:
  • only with animates and have inanimates just use the common case
  • with possessive case for animates and have the inanimates use "of" periphrasis (since that's how they mark the possessive)
  • only with pronouns (and have the inanimates use "thereof")
  • have this cause the possessive case to stick around for inanimates as well.
Personally, what I would do would be the second option, because my tastes in anglelanging are conservative and mediaeval, and this feels like the most conservative, mediaeval english construction. For instance, Anthony Burgess (d.1664), in his introduction to a theological work by John Stoughton, explained the posthumous publication thusly: "whil'st he was a carrying of you up into the Mount, to shew you the land of Promise, God took him, and by Invisible messengers, caried him to the fruition of Eternall Blessednesse: he is taken out of your sight, and if you desire to finde him, you must aspire unto the heavenly Paradise, by walking in that tract which he hath in his Do∣ctrine here chalked out unto you; and in those steps of his religious and zealous conversation, which he hath walked in before you."

[Actually, I see citations from George MacDonald and Sarah Jewett for "was a-watching of", both from the 19th century, but both imitating rural speech]

But your tastes may of course be different!

All four options are plausible, though I think the second and third are definitely more likely, and the first option seems the least likely to me.

Or, as in English, you could generalise the 'of OBJ' construction even to animates
Additionally, this would cause complications with syntax. As a quick intro, the durative participle is formed by prefixing "a-", a worn down form of the preposition "on" to a verbal noun ending in "ing", so the durative participle of "lufje" would be "alufjing". Now, West Saxon lost its post-positional genitives pretty early on, so these possessive objects would normally come before the participle. But they would come after the original "on" preposition. So I feel like I've got left with the options:
  • Have the durative participle "break" into its constituent parts when there is a direct object, so "I was watching him" would be something like "I was on his watching"
  • Have the object "jump out" of the original prepositional phrase that built up the participle, giving something like "I was his a-watching"
  • Jettison the no post-positional possessives rule and say that via analogy these possessives follow the "noun" they modify, like objects in the non-durative tenses
All three options seem plausible.
Personally, what I would do would be to break the participle when the object was a pronoun, and leave it unbroken for nouns. Thus:
I was a-watching of the kettle
but
I was on its watching (obviously English kept "at its watching" longer than "on", but that's arbitrary).

This is both a) fun, and b) perfectly justifiable, since pronouns often undergo fronting that nouns avoid (or nouns undergo backing that pronouns avoid).


Of course, the next question is what you do with phrasal verbs. Do you keep the English "he was a-carrying of you up", or does the genitive go after the preposition ("he was a-carrying up you"), or does the preposition get moved up and if so where does it fit with the a- ("he was on up of it carrying " or "he was up on of it carrying", or... and if you distinguish pronoun and noun position, does the preposition's movement vary with that? Or what if the preposition could be moved up when the slot is absent, so in the imperfect but not in the durative?).

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by spanick » 22 Apr 2019 16:25

Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
20 Apr 2019 18:21
Part of me wants to make the possessive case be used with these tenses to mark the direct object, at least somewhat. I could do it:
  • only with animates and have inanimates just use the common case
  • with possessive case for animates and have the inanimates use "of" periphrasis (since that's how they mark the possessive)
  • only with pronouns (and have the inanimates use "thereof")
  • have this cause the possessive case to stick around for inanimates as well.
I agree with Sal, I prefer the second option.
Salmoneus wrote:
20 Apr 2019 22:09
Additionally, this would cause complications with syntax. As a quick intro, the durative participle is formed by prefixing "a-", a worn down form of the preposition "on" to a verbal noun ending in "ing", so the durative participle of "lufje" would be "alufjing". Now, West Saxon lost its post-positional genitives pretty early on, so these possessive objects would normally come before the participle. But they would come after the original "on" preposition. So I feel like I've got left with the options:
  • Have the durative participle "break" into its constituent parts when there is a direct object, so "I was watching him" would be something like "I was on his watching"
  • Have the object "jump out" of the original prepositional phrase that built up the participle, giving something like "I was his a-watching"
  • Jettison the no post-positional possessives rule and say that via analogy these possessives follow the "noun" they modify, like objects in the non-durative tenses
All three options seem plausible.
Personally, what I would do would be to break the participle when the object was a pronoun, and leave it unbroken for nouns. Thus:
I was a-watching of the kettle
but
I was on its watching (obviously English kept "at its watching" longer than "on", but that's arbitrary).

This is both a) fun, and b) perfectly justifiable, since pronouns often undergo fronting that nouns avoid (or nouns undergo backing that pronouns avoid).
I *really* like Sal's suggestion here.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 25 Apr 2019 18:24

I really like Sal's suggestions too. I think I'll go with the animates use their possessive and inanimates use of-periphrasis, and I'll incorporate breaking with pronominal objects (for animates at least, inanimates will have a "thereof" form that will go outside the verb phrase. I actually don't know why I didn't think of doing different things for nouns and pronouns, since pronominal objects already have a slightly different syntax than nominal objects with compound tenses.

Thanks to both of you for the help on this!

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 25 Apr 2019 23:11

Hey, have some sketchy info on West Saxon adjectives

ADJECTIVES
In standard Contemporary West Saxon adjectives show a distinction between a strong inflection, a weak inflection (both of which are used with attributive adjectives and are inherited from Proto-Germanic) and a predicative form that is ultimately derived from the strong inflection, though it is not quite identical to it.

Weak Inflection
The weak inflection is used when the noun the adjective is modified is preceded by a definite or specific article, a possessive adjective, or is modifying a noun being directly addressed (i.e. it's in the vocative case). In addition, last names that are derived from adjectives show the weak inflection, as do adjectives that are part of a title or nickname. The weak inflection no longer shows agreement for case, gender, or number, but instead is shown by the invariant suffix -e(n)

Strong Inflection
In the contemporary form of the language, the strong inflection marks for number and (in the singular) gender, but not case. The endings are summarized in the following chart:

Code: Select all

+-------+-----+------+-------+
| MASC  | FEM | NEUT | PLUR  |
+-------+-----+------+-------+
| -(ne) | -e  | -    | -e    |
+-------+-----+------+-------+
Special note should be given to the masculine ending -(ne) and the fact that both the entire suffix is in parentheses. Originally this was an oblique case ending, but due to the fact that this was the last place in the adjective system that a case distinction was being made, its usage began to be confused in Early Modern West Saxon, becoming phonetically conditions rather than syntactically conditions, based on analogy with the other instances of mobile (n) found elsewhere in the language

In earlier forms of the language the prepositional case had its own endings (-re in the singular and -e(n) in the plural, with no gender distinctions shown), but this had died out by about 1700.

Predicative Inflection

Code: Select all

+-------+-----+------+-----------+--------+
| MASC  | FEM | NEUT | M/F PLUR  | N PLUR |
+-------+-----+------+-----------+--------+
| -     | -e  | -    | -e        | -      |
+-------+-----+------+-----------+--------+
Bistem Adjectives
Much like with the nouns, adjectives whose root ends in a short vowel and a single consonant have long and short forms, with the long form being used whenever the inflection -e/-e(n) is used, and the short form otherwise.

For adjectives with a long vowel in the root and a single consonant, the masculine strong inflection -ne (when shown), is replaced with -en to keep stem pronunciation uniform. (NOTE: This rule also applies to the nominal possessive plural ending -ne as well).

-U/-WE Adjectives
Much like with nouns, there are a number of adjectives that are continuations of the Old West Saxon -wa/-wo stem adjectives. They have the endings -e, -u/-we, and -u(n)/-we(n) for the normal endings -, -e, and -e(n) respectively. The ending -(ne) is -un/-wen if the ending would be pronounced, and -e otherwise. The rules for the distribution between endings with -u and those with -we are the same as those for nouns.

Comparison
The Comparative degree is formed via the suffix -r, which is realized as either -er, -er(n), and -re, corresponding to the endings -, -(ne), and -e respectively. Interestingly, this leads to an inversion for bistem adjectives, where forms that are short-stemmed in the positive form are long-stemmed in the comparative, and vice-versa. The weak form of the ending is -re(n)

Relative Superlative
The relative superlative works much like the superlative in english, and is formed by the suffix -st, which is realized as either -est or -ste for the endings - and -e. The ending -(ne) is -est when the -ne is not pronounced, and -sten when it is pronounced. The weak form is -ste(n).

Absolute Superlative
There is, in addition to the relative superlative, and absolute superlative, formed by adding the prefix or- to the regular superlative form. This usage is similar to the aller- prefix found in German, Dutch, and Danish, and the old suffix alder- found in earlier forms of English, and in fact is cognate with all of those, being a worn down form of the old genitive plural form of all, meaning "Xest of all".

Irregular Comparison
A small number of adjectives have irregular comparative and superlative stems, dating back to the Old West Saxon Period. Most of them show umlaut in the comparative/superlative stem, but otherwise take normal superlative endings.

Code: Select all

+----------+---------------+---------+
| POSITIVE | COMP/SUP STEM | MEANING |
+----------+---------------+---------+
| broad    | bread-        | broad   |
+----------+---------------+---------+
| aud      | ild-          | old     |
+----------+---------------+---------+
| feor     | fir-          | far     |
+----------+---------------+---------+
| jong     | jing-         | young   |
+----------+---------------+---------+
| great    | griet-        | great   |
+----------+---------------+---------+
| lang     | leng-         | long    |
+----------+---------------+---------+
| scort    | scert-        | short   |
+----------+---------------+---------+
| strang   | streng-       | strong  |
+----------+---------------+---------+
Four others show suppletion between the positive and comparative/superlative forms.

Code: Select all

+----------+-------------+-------------+---------+
| POSITIVE | COMPARATIVE | SUPERLATIVE | MEANING |
+----------+-------------+-------------+---------+
| vuol     | wirs        | wirst       | bad     |
+----------+-------------+-------------+---------+
| good     | better      | betst       | good    |
+----------+-------------+-------------+---------+
| luytel   | less        | lesst       | little  |
+----------+-------------+-------------+---------+
| muyc     | moar        | moast       | large   |
+----------+-------------+-------------+---------+
Finally, the derivational ending -lij has the comparative/superlative stem -lik-, to which regular comparative/superlative endings are added.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 27 Apr 2019 02:24

And now, sketchy determiners!
DETERMINERS
Definite Article

Code: Select all

+-----+-------+--------+-------+------+
|     | MASC  | FEM    | NEUT  | PLUR |
+-----+-------+--------+-------+------+
| COM | de    | djo    | det   | do   |
+-----+-------+--------+-------+------+
| OBL | de(n) | di/der | det   | do   |
+-----+-------+--------+-------+------+
Specific Article

Code: Select all

+-----+------+------+------+------+
|     | MASC | FEM  | NEUT | PLUR |
+-----|------|------+------+------+
| COM | a(n) | an   | a(n) | zum  |
+-----|------|------+------+------+
| OBL | an   | a(r) | a(n) | zum  |
+-----+------+------+------+------+
Demonstratives
Demonstrative adjectives no longer exist in West Saxon, being replaced by the definite article + one of spatial deitic adverb placed at the end of the noun phrase. The adverb corresponds to the "person" the noun being referred to is close to. The adverbs are as follows:
  • heer "here", which corresponds to being close to the speaker
  • þoar "there", which corresponds to being close to the listener
  • jon "yon", which corresponds to being far from both the listener and the speaker
While demonstrative adjectives don't exist, there do exist demonstrative pronouns (discussed below).

Possessive Adjectives
Only animate nouns have a corresponding possessive adjective (since inanimates no longer show a genitive case), which inflects similar to a regular strong adjective. Normally the possessive adjectives are unstressed, but there do exist stressed versions that inflect like regular adjectives. The most common use of a stressed possessive adjective is as a complement to a copula, but it can be used for constructive purposes.

Code: Select all

+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
|      | MASC     | FEM   | NEUT    | PLUR  | STRESSED |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
| 1-S  | mi(n)    | min   | mi(n)   | min   | mien-    |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
| 1-PI | unger(n) | unger | unge(r) | unger | unker-   |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
| 1-PE | ur(n)    | ur    | u(r)    | ur    | uor-     |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
| 2-S  | di(n)    | din   | di(n)   | din   | dien-    |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
| 2-P  | jor(n)   | jor   | jo(r)   | jor   | jur-     |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
| 3A-M | ‘se(n)   | ‘se   | his     | ‘se   | his-     |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
| 3A-F | ‘re(n)   | ‘re   | hir     | ‘re   | hir-     |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
| 3A-N | ‘se(n)   | ‘se   | his     | ‘se   | his-     |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+
| 3A-P | hjor(n)  | hjor  | hjo(r)  | hjor  | hjor-    |
+------+----------+-------+---------+-------+----------+

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by eldin raigmore » 28 Apr 2019 01:09

Aren’t most languages’ articles either definite vs indefinite or specific-referential vs nonspecific-nonreferential?
Lots of languages distinguish the nonspecific from the specific by means of articles, and then use some other way to distinguish the definite from the indefinite-specific.
And lots distinguish the definite from the indefinite by articles, and use some other means to go on to distinguish the specific-indefinite from the nonspecific.

As far as I know your conlang will not follow the lead of any natlang I know about, if it marks the three-way contrast between
Definite
Specific but not definite
Not specific/referential

by means of articles or dedicated determiners.

That’s no reason not to do it, in my opinion!

I just wondered whether you’d discovered a natlang model I’ve never heard of;
or saw it in some other conlang and thought “what a neat idea!”;
or just made it up yourself, out of the obvious, crying need for something that is so sorely lacking in natlangs but would be so useful.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 28 Apr 2019 01:59

Yeah, the definite/specific article thing was a bunch of trouble for me for a while. I came up with it on the fly when I saw that Old English didn't have a proper indefinite article, and thought that going off of the typical system might make the language a bit more interesting. But then, after doing some preliminary digging I saw that it wasn't a well attested thing (I found a language with a few dozen speakers on Vanuatu that kind of has a system like this, but it seemed like too much of a stretch to use to justify something so weird, especially since I was putting in other really out of place things like inclusive and exclusive "we" and felt like I only had so much strain I could get away with putting on the credibility of this language). I went back and forth debating between realism and coolness, but was having a real tough time making a decision.

Then I found out that English(!) does a similar thing in some circumstances, with what's called "indefinite this", where "this" is used to mark a noun as specific, but not definite, as in "So this guy walks into the store and he cut in line ahead of me". It's not a perfect match for West Saxon system, but it works kind of like how I was imagining a/an/zum to, and a demonstrative like "this" is kind of close to an article, so it was enough of a fig leaf for me to justify keeping a specific article in the language.

Oh, and to make things clear, in general the definite article is used for nouns that are [+definite] and either [+specific] or [-specific], the specific article is used for [-definite] and [+specific], and no article is used for [-definite] and [-specific]. I'm working out some more detailed rules of usage, but those aren't ready for prime time yet.

Note, this applies to the standard West Saxon dialect, but I should say that in some dialects (predominantly along the Wessex/English border), an is an indefinite article and behaves much like in English. Meanwhile, the traditional Cornwallish dialect (probably due to heavy influence from Cornish) has an expand from being specific to being the definite article, and the West Saxon definite article staying as a demonstrative.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Salmoneus » 28 Apr 2019 12:28

FWIW, my own Wenthish does exactly the same thing. That is, it uses an as a broadly 'specific' article, distinct from the definite, with the indefinite unmarked.

In my case, it's inspired by:
- the fact that the indefinite article is not ancestral in germanic languages
- there is no indefinite article in Irish, a language that influenced Old Wenthish
- the Irish definite article is homophonous with the English indefinite article. Thus is seemed fun/funny to have both be homophonous with an article in Wenthish that is halfway between a definite and an indefinite

I think that Old Wenthish may have used both the demonstrative-derived 'the' article AND the numeral-derived 'an' article as definite articles (the latter coming both from mirroring Irish and from natural uses of 'one' in English as a sort of semi-definite), with the former gradually dominating the more definite, and the latter gradually dominating the less definite, contexts.

So it's probably not a pure "specific" in Wenthish, but a sort of "semi-definite", and also covers some cases that in English would still have 'one'.

I should probably look into this more...

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Salmoneus » 03 May 2019 16:01

I'll spare you all the details, as this isn't my thread, but after some reading around the subject, I've refined my article distinction along the lines of (though not identical with) the "strong"/"weak" definite distinction that occurs in many Germanic languages. This may be something you'd like to look into in this regard, if you do have second thoughts about the topic in future.

["Strong" definites are those that have a high level of givenness; "weak" ones are those with low givenness. Apparently the distinction is widespread in Germanic, and in some other languages, though not always explicitly expressed through a choice between two articles - although sometimes it is.]

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 10 Nov 2019 09:12

Hey, it's time for the semi-yearly resurrection of this thread! This time it's the first half of the Pronouns section, covering personal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, and interrogative pronouns.

PRONOUNS
Personal Pronouns
Personal Pronouns in West Saxon come in tonic and atonic forms, much like Dutch with its emphatic and unemphatic pronouns, and are used in a similar fashion. There are three persons, two numbers and two cases (nominative and objective). In the third person singular, there are three genders (masculine/feminine/neuter) which also have an animacy distinction. In the plural, there is no gender distinction, but the animate/inanimate distinction remains. For more information on West Saxon gender and animacy, see the information in the Nouns section.

Another feature of the West Saxon personal pronoun system is an (optional) clusivity distinction in the first person plural, something no other European language outside the Caucuses does. The West Saxon inclusive plural form is actually a descendant of the Old West Saxon dual. During the Middle West Saxon period, the dual sense of the form was weakened, becoming a more intimate plural, suggesting closeness with the speaker. This feeling of closeness began to be focused on the listener, and began to be used to show that the listener is included with the speaker, which is its current usage today. As said above, the use of the inclusive forms is optional; it will not sound strange to a West Saxon speaker to hear we/us used when it is referring to a group they are a part of. However, if the possibility for confusion exists and the speaker wants to clarify that the listener is included, then wit/ung would be used. Likewise, in that scenario using we/us would imply that the listener is not included in the group the speaker is talking about.

The second person dual jit/ing also continued as an intimate plural during the Middle period and even became a generalized familiar form of address in the Early Modern period, with the hitherto neutral du and ji taking a more formal tone. Much like in English, however, these newly "formal" forms began to be used in more and more contexts, eventually driving jit/ing to extinction by the early 1800s, though it still exists in some dialects.

Code: Select all

+------+------------+--------------+
|      |   ATONIC   |    TONIC     | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
|      | NOM | OBJ  | NOM  | OBJ   | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 1-S  | ic* | mi   | iec  | mee   | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 1-PI | wit | ung  | wiet | unk   | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 1-PE | we  | us   | wee  | uos   | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 2-S  | du  | de   | duo  | dee   | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 2-P  | ji  | jo   | jee  | juo   | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 3A-M | he  | him  | hee  | him   | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 3A-F | hjo | hir  | hjuo | hir   | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 3A-N | hit | hit  | hit  | hit   | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 3A-P | hi  | hjom | hie  | hjuom | 
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 3I-M | de  | dim  | dee  | dim   |
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 3I-F | djo | dir  | djuo | dir   |
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 3I-N | dat | dat  | dat  | dat   |
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
| 3I-P | da  | da   | doa  | doa   |
+------+-----+------+------+-------+
*ic has three forms, depending on the sound following it. If the following sound is a vowel or /h/ followed by a vowel, then ic is written as 'c and is pronounced as simply /tʃ/ (a following h is not pronounced, though it's still written). If the following sound is one of the following: [k,g,tʃ,dʒ,ɲ,ŋ,ç,ʃ,ʒ,j], then it is written as i' and is pronounced as /ɪ/. Otherwise it is written as ic and pronounced as /ɪtʃ/. The tonic form never changes based on following sounds, and is always pronounced as /itʃ/.

Demonstrative Pronouns
While demonstrative adjectives don't exist in West Saxon, there do exist three demonstrative pronouns, which inflect for case, gender (in the singular), number, and spatial deixis. There is no animacy distinction shown with these demonstratives.

Code: Select all

+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
| "THIS" | MASC  | NEU  | FEM  | PLUR  |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
|  COM   | þes   | þis  | þues | þoas  |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
|  OBJ   | þins  | þis  | þirs | þoas  |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
|  POS   | þiss  | þiss | þirs | þoars |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
| "THAT" | MASC  | NEU  | FEM  | PLU   |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
|  COM   | þe    | þat  | þue  | þoa   |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
|  OBJ   | þon   | þat  | þir  | þoa   |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
|  POS   | þes   | þas  | þir  | þoar  |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
| "YON"  | MASC  | NEU  | FEM  | PLUR  |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
|  COM   | jon   | jon  | jone | jone  |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
|  OBJ   | jonen | jon  | jorn | jone  |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
|  POS   | jons  | jons | jorn | jorn  |
+--------+-------+------+------+-------+
One note on pronunciation; all final [ s ]-es are pronounced /z/, except for the double [ s ] of þiss, which is pronounced as /s/.

Interrogative Pronouns
West Saxon has four interrogative pronouns, foa, fat, fiuc, and faþer, meaning "who", "what", "which" and "which of two", respectively. foa and fat show no number distinction, but the two have an intrinsic animacy distinction. fiuc can be either animate or inanimate, and has both singular and plural forms. Finally, faþer also shows no animacy distinction, and is inherently singular.

Code: Select all

+-----+------+------+-----------------+--------------+
|     | WHO  | WHAT |      WHICH      | WHICH OF TWO |
+-----+------+------+-----------------+--------------+
|     | S/P  | S/P  | SING   | PLUR   |     SING     |
+-----+------+------+--------+--------+--------------+
| COM | foa  | fat  | fiuc   | fiuce  |     faþer    |
+-----+------+------+--------+--------+--------------+
| OBJ | foam | fat  | fiucen | fiuce  |     faþren   |
+-----+------+------+--------+--------+--------------+
| POS | foas |  -   | fiuces | fiucre |     faþres   |
+-----+------+------+--------+--------+--------------+
Sorry for the rather sketchy nature of this post, thinking of good things to talk about here was a big part of my conlanger's block on this, so I've decided to just post what I have and let you guys ask questions to figure out what I need to flesh out, text-wise.

Coming up relatively soon will be Relative and indefinite pronouns, which are sketched out, but I'm having a bit of trouble working out how to describe them best. Then I hope to move onto Verbs (dun dun DUN!). That'll be fun to write up.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by spanick » 11 Nov 2019 03:15

I love that you transformed the first person dual into an optional inclusive plural. Very cool!

I also really like the truncated non-tonic form of the first person singular pronoun before all those consonants. It’s a great bit of allomorphy.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 11 Nov 2019 05:43

spanick wrote:
11 Nov 2019 03:15
I love that you transformed the first person dual into an optional inclusive plural. Very cool!

I also really like the truncated non-tonic form of the first person singular pronoun before all those consonants. It’s a great bit of allomorphy.
I'm glad you liked it, spanick. The clusivity bit is probably one of the most unrealistic things in West Saxon, but I was proud of coming up with a halfway reasonable to get such a strange feature into a Western European language.

I've also got the rest of the pronoun stuff written out; it wound up getting more cut down that I was originally expecting, so this will only be a short addendum. I hope it's all clear, otherwise feel free to question me on it and I'll clarify.

Relative Pronouns
In most cases, relative pronouns overlap with either the demonstrative pronoun forms for "that" (with two exceptions detailed below), or the interrogative ones. The demonstratives are used when the noun in question is definite or specific, the demonstrative form is used, while the interrogatives are used when the antecedent is generic.

The two exceptional forms are for the nominative mascuine and feminine forms, which are ze and zjo instead of the expected þe and þue. These are actually the only remnants of the original demonstrative forms se and seo of Old West Saxon.

In addition to these relative pronouns, the suffix -þe (descendent of the OWS relative particle þe is added to the relative antecedent when it is a pronoun, creating hybrids that act as their own head as well. This suffix takes a number of different forms, depending on the ending of the pronoun it is attached to. For forms ending in a vowel, the realization -þe is maintained. For forms ending in a voiced consonant, it is realized as -de, and a voiceless consonant sound yields -te. Additionally, pronominal forms ending in -m assimilate to -n. So, for instance, the form him + -þe becomes hinde.


Indefinite Pronouns
There are three main indefinite pronouns in West Saxon, two of which are animate (and roughly translate as "one", though with a slight difference in meaning), and one inanimate, that roughly translates to "something". The animates show a distinction between a true indefinite, and a specific indefinite. Originally, the two animates were one pronoun, with ma(n) functioning as the nominative form, and an/ans functioning as the objective and possessive forms, similar to the man/ein- alteration in German. However, objective and possessive forms with an initial "m" began to appear in the Early Modern period and were generalized with the aid of language reformers who wished to mirror the indefinite/specific distinction in nouns. While this stuck for animates, similar attempts to create a distinction for the inanimates failed to take on, leading to the three way split seen today.

Code: Select all

+-----+----------------+---------------+---------------+
|     |    AN-INDEF    |    AN-SPEC    |   INANIMATE   |
|     +-------+--------+------+--------+------+--------+
|     | SING  | PLUR   | SING | PLUR   | SING | PLUR   |
+-----+-------+--------+------+--------+------+--------+
| NOM | ma(n) | men    | an   | zum    | ouht | ouhten |
+-----+-------+--------+------+--------+------+--------+
| OBJ | man   | men    | an   | zum    | ouht | ouhten |
+-----+-------+--------+------+--------+------+--------+
| POS | mans  | mennen | ans  | zummen |   -  |    -   |
+-----+-------+--------+------+--------+------+--------+

In addition to these indefinites, the indefinites "whoever", "whatever", "whichever" and "either" can be derived from the corresponding interrogative pronouns by replacing the initial f- of the pronouns with iw- (except for faþer/faþren/faþres, which becomes eiþer/eiþren/eiþres).

Finally, there are a negative animate and inanimate pronoun, formed by adding n- to the pronouns an and ouht. These forms only exist in the singular.

One other thing (that probably should ultimately be in the adjective section), is that adjectives have a partitive form ending in -s, descended from the old genitive form, that is used with the indefinite pronouns an, ouht, and the negatives nan and nouht. Thus:
  • an goods means "someone good"
  • ouht goods means "something good"
  • nan goods means "no one good"
  • nouht goods means "nothing good"
Similar constructions can be seen in the closely related languages of West Frisian and Dutch.

...and that's it for pronouns. Next up will be a multi-part look at verbs, though part of me is a bit interested in taking a little hiatus from that and doing a brief rundown on my (still quite sketchy) thoughts on initial consonant mutation in the traditional (and now essentially extinct) Cornwallsc dialects; both the actual changes that happen, and when they occur. Which would you all would prefer to see?
Last edited by Herra Ratatoskr on 19 Nov 2019 20:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Ælfwine » 11 Nov 2019 08:17

Your system of atonic and tonic pronouns interests me, if only because I am considering that path for my own Gothish. As it turns out, one of my adstrates, Greek, also has atonic and tonic pronouns. I'm wondering how you derived them? I know that Proto-Germanic had sets of weak unstressed pronouns and strong stressed pronouns, like Old Norse ek vs Old Saxon ik, is that the difference I am seeing, or is it more of a difference of length or stress due to the different qualities?
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 14 Nov 2019 23:20

Ælfwine wrote:
11 Nov 2019 08:17
Your system of atonic and tonic pronouns interests me, if only because I am considering that path for my own Gothish. As it turns out, one of my adstrates, Greek, also has atonic and tonic pronouns. I'm wondering how you derived them? I know that Proto-Germanic had sets of weak unstressed pronouns and strong stressed pronouns, like Old Norse ek vs Old Saxon ik, is that the difference I am seeing, or is it more of a difference of length or stress due to the different qualities?
I was going off of what I read here in Wright's Old English Grammar. It seems like there's a tendency to have a stressed and unstressed version of pronouns, and then to have the unstressed form spread back to the stressed form via analogy, with new unstressed forms arising off of those new stressed forms.

I didn't do too much beyond what was already existing in Old West Saxon/Old English, except for having all long vowels shorten when unstressed, and hardening initial instressed þ- to d- The two main analogical changes were:
  • initial d-, djo- and hjo- spread from the unstressed forms to the stressed forms (the relevant changes that produced them only occur in unstressed syllables; the non analogized forms would have þ-, þue-, and hue-). The long vowels in djuo and hjuo were also analogical.
  • the first person singular form took a long vowel, via analogy with oblique form which also had a long/short distinction between the tonic and atonic forms.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 21 Nov 2019 01:55

VERBS - PRESENT TENSE
Unlike nouns and adjectives, which have simplified significantly since the Old West Saxon Period, verbs in West Saxon have retained most of the formal distinctions from the earliest forms of the language. These include:
  • Number - Singular and plural in all finite moods and tenses.
  • Person - 1st/2nd/3rd in the singular indicative tenses.
  • Mood - Indicative and subjunctive (which absorbed the function and some forms of the imperative).
  • Tense - The inflectional tenses of present and preterite, as well as several periphrastic tenses.
  • Inflectional Classes - The distinction between strong and weak verbs has been maintained, and the distinction between Class I and Class II weak verbs has been retained, much like in the Frisian languages. In fact, sound changes have caused the Class II verbs to split into two sub-classes, depending on the weight of the verbal stem.
  • Non-Finite Forms - The present and past participles still exist, as well as the bare infinitive and inflected infinitive, aka the gerundive form, another retention West Saxon shares with Frisian. In addition to these forms, West Saxon has innovated a third participle, the durative participle, from a verbal noun form. This form is primarily used to form a periphrastic durative/progressive/imperfective aspect.
Stem Alterations
Much like with nouns and adjectives, sound changes in West Saxon's history have left many verbs with monosyllabic roots with two different stems, usually simply called Stem 1 and Stem 2. These alterations are found in all verbs whose stem ends in a single consonant, or lengthening cluster. The only exceptions are Class IIB verbs that never show a (regular) stem alteration (though a few irregular verbs with alteration exist. Maybe. I haven't actually done the work to see if any Class IIB verbs would wind up alternating yet. But it's possible).

For strong verbs and Class I Weak verbs, Stem 1 is the "long" realization of the vowel in the verb stem, and Stem 2 is the "short" realization, while for Class IIA weak verbs it is the opposite, with Stem 1 being the "short" realization and Stem 2 being the long realization. It should be noted that, due to the sound changes which split Class II verbs into their two sub-classes, all monosyllabic stem Class IIA verbs will show Stem Alteration. For regular verbs, there is only an orthographic difference between the two stems if the stem originally contained a long verb that at some point experiences shortening. Otherwsie the difference between between the two can be orthographically deduced with the addition of the inflectional ending.

In the present indicative, Stem 1 is used with the first person singular and with the plural forms, while Stem 2 is used with the 2nd and 3rd person singular.

Irregular Stem Alterations
In addition to these length-based alterations, there exist some irregular alterations. The most common are verbs whose Stem 1 ends in "e" or "o" followed by "mb", "rd", "rl", "rn", "rð", or "rs". Some (though not all, it depends on etymology") will have an "a" in Stem 2. Any Class IIB weak verbs that show stem alteration will be of this type.

In addition to these, the strong verbs cweþe(n) "to say", cume "to come", ete "to eat", and speke "to speak" have the corresponding Stem 2s: cwid-, kym-, it-, and spik-. These are the only remnants of the umlauted forms that used to be common in Old West Saxon. The hardening of þ to d in cwid- is a regular change that strong and Class I weak verbs whose stem ends in þ experience.

Endings
To these stems the following endings are added:

Code: Select all

+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
|        | STRONG    | WEAK I   | WEAK IIa    | WEAK IIb  |
+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
| PRESENT INDICATIVE                                      |
+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
| 1ST    | {S1}-e    | {S1}-e   | {S1}-je     | {S1}-i    |
+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
| 2ND    | {S2}-st   | {S2}-st  | {S2}-est    | {S2}-est  |
+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
| 3RD    | {S2}-t    | {S2}-t   | {S2}-eð     | {S2}-eð   |
+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
| PLUR   | {S1}-eð   | {S1}-eð  | {S1}-jeð    | {S1}-ið   |
+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
| SUBJUNCTIVE                                             |
+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
| SING   | {S2}-     | {S2}-    | {S2}-e      | {S2}-     |
+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
| PLUR   | {S1}-e(n) | {S1}-e(n) | {S1}-je(n) | {S1}-i(n) |
+--------+-----------+----------+-------------+-----------+
Example Conjugations
To hopefully clarify how the stems work along with the endings, I've included a present tense conjugation of one of each verb class with both the orthographic representation of the form and its pronunciation.

Code: Select all

+------+----------------------+-----------------------+----------------------+------------------------+
|      | RIEDE(N) "TO RIDE"   | KEEPE(N) "TO KEEP"    | LUFJE(N) "TO LOVE"   | LOOKI(N) "TO LOOK      |
|      +----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+
|      | SPELLING | IPA       | SPELLING | IPA        | SPELLING | IPA       | SPELLING | IPA         |
|      +----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+
|      | PRESENT INDICATIVE                                                                           |
+------+----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+
| 1ST  | riede    | /ɹid/     | keepe    | /kɛjp/     | lufje    | /ɫʊvɪ/    | looki    | /ɫɔʊkɪ/     |
+------+----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+ 
| 2ND  | ridst    | /ɹɪtst/   | kepst    | /kɛpst/    | lufest   | /ɫɔʊvəst/ | lookest  | /ɫɔʊk(ə)st/ |
+------+----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+
| 3RD  | ridt     | /ɹɪt/     | kept     | /kɛpt/     | lufeð    | /ɫɔʊvə/   | lookeð   | /ɫɔʊkə/     |
+------+----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+ 
| PLUR | riedeð   | /ɹidə/    | keepeð   | /kɛjpə/    | lufjeð   | /ɫʊvɪ/    | lookið   | /ɫɔʊkɪ/     |
+------+----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+
|      | SUBJUNCTIVE                                                                                  |
+------+----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+
| SING | rid      | /ɹɪd/     | kep      | /kɛp/      | lufe     | /ɫɔʊv/    | look     | /ɫɔʊk/      |
+------+----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+     
| PLUR | riede(n) | /ɹid(n̩)/ | keepe(n) | /kɛjp(m̩)/ | lufje(n) | /ɫʊvɪ(n)/ | looki(n) | /ɫɔʊkɪ(n)/  |
+------+----------+-----------+----------+------------+----------+-----------+----------+-------------+
Ok, so that's the present tense. I haven't covered usage yet (that will come later), so this is just showing what the morphological forms are, and how they're pronounced. If anything was unclear (and I'm sure there's probably plenty I'm not detailing well enough in the sketch), let me know and I'll explain/expand on it.

Next up, (at least some of) The Preterite. It's a bit complicated...

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by spanick » 22 Nov 2019 05:05

This reminds me a lot of West Frisian for some reason.

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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » 22 Nov 2019 17:02

Not surprising, I took quite a bit of inspiration from West Frisian, including ideas of what to keep, like the two weak verb classes, as well as the vowel alterations, which were encouraged a bit by the breaking West Frisian experiences (albeit in different contexts and not as extensively). Plus the orthography has gotten a bit more Frisian-y.

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