Sunday, December 10, 2023

Lexember, Day 10: nôs, vôs

The plural pronouns in Gothic Romance are a busy set. In addition to the first person plurals, nôs (exclusive) and vôs (inclusive), there is also the second person plural iôs

Etymologically, nôs comes to us directly from Latin nōs via Romance Novelle and Bad Romance nos. Not many places to hide there! And iôs is only slightly less direct from Proto-Germanic *jūz via Griutungi *jūs, Old Valthungian iuvs, and Italian Gothic yous. Vôs, on the other hand, is a little trickier. It comes from Germanic *wīz via Griutungi *wīs and Old Valthungian vijs, but with Italian Gothic and Bad Romance co-existing in close proximity, Bad Romance vos ‘you’ was quickly replaced by the Germanic form to avoid confusion, but the influence of the Romance pronouns caused the change in vowels to vôs from where we would normally expect **vês.

Each of these three plurals also have a dual variant: ioth ‘you two’ from Italian Gothic yoth, from Old Valthungian jut, unchanged from Proto-Germanic *jut; veth ‘you and I, we two’ from IG veth, from Old Valthungian vit, Griutungi *wit, and Proto-Germanic *wet. Finally there is neth, a dual pronoun innovated from the exclusive nôs, ‘the two of us’ – mostly useful for couples referring to their significant others.

There are also oblique forms, such as second person dative plural iżus, or first person inclusive dative dual venqua, but those are for another day.

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