Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Shameless Pilfering of Morphology

Just a little grammar snippet for you.

Looking at the history of Valthungian, the period between Griutungi (the dialect of Gothic that was likely the main parent of Valthungian) and Middle Valthungian occurred mainly in northern Italy and some other areas of southern Europe, and borrowing from Vulgar Latin and its subsequent descendants was fairly rampant. One such borrowing that occurred around the time of Old Valthungian was the borrowing of the Latin genitive plural ending –ōrum to replace Valthungian’s earlier –ē and –ō, which had by that time were starting to undergo some final unstressed vowel degradation and were in danger of vanishing from the language completely, leaving a bare root.

Classical Latin –ōrum was borrowed from Vulgar Latin –ōrũ into Old Valthungian –ōru, which eventually became Middle Valthungian –oru and Modern Valthungian –aro.

Some examples:

Gothic NS: bagms ‘tree’, andeis ‘end’, handus ‘hand’, wata ‘water’ → GP: bagmē, andjē, handiwē, watanē
Griutungi: bagms, andīs, handus, watar bagmē, andjē, handiwē, watanē
(early) Old Valthungian: bagms, endīs, handus, watar bagmē, endjē, hendjugē, watanē
(later) Old Valthungian: bagms, endīs, handus, watar bagmōru, endjōru, hendjugōru, watanōru
Middle Valthungian: bagms, endīs, handus, watr bagmoru, endžjoru, hendžjugoru, watanoru
Modern Valthungian: bagmas, endis, handus, watra bagmaro, enǧiro, henǧigaro, watanaro

Grammar sub-snippet: Why does watanaro still have so many vowels? Shouldn’t it be watnaro?

Yes and no. Watnaro is common enough in usage, but the retention of the unstressed /a/ here has to do with the development of Valthungian prosody, particularly throughout the Middle Valthungian period when a lot of vowels were jumping ship en masse, when the language came to have a much stricter iambic meter, so many unstressed vowels were retained and some were even added between two stressed syllables.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Grammar Crumbs: Swējuga X, īðanǭðan Y: The X-er the Y-er

In Valthungian there is a handy formula: Swējuga ___, īðanǭðan ___. 
This is roughly equivalent to the English formula “the ___-er the ___-er.”
Literally it translates to “So much ___, that then still then ___.” (Gothic gets weird with its conjunctions, and Valthungian just doubles down on them.) The comparative form of the adjective should be in its uninflected adverbial form (usually –is if its inflected form takes –iža).
E.g.
Swējuga mikilis, īðanǭðan batis. ‘The bigger the better.’
Swējuga langis lečiðit, īðanǭðan wersis gengiðit wisna. ‘The longer it takes, the worse it will be.’
You can also use the same construction with mǣs / mǣža or mitnis / mitniža and noun phrases, e.g.
Swējuga mat mǣžna ǣgums, īðanǭðan grēðo mitnižna (ǣgums). ‘The more food we have, the less hungry we’ll be.’
Swējuga birœ́uǧistu mǣs, īðanǭðan tīman langižna þik lētiþ þat guþ þīna ta livna. ‘The more you complain, the longer your God lets you live.’