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Weak Verbs and the First Weak Conjugation

Page history last edited by David 13 years, 5 months ago

Weak verbs form a category separate from strong verbs. Whereas vowel gradation (ablaut) characterizes strong verbs (cf. Modern English sing-sang-sung-song), this is not so for weak verbs. Rather the addition of a dental suffix -d- in the past tense characterizes weak verbs (cf. Modern English arrive-arrived). This dental suffix is appended to the verbal stem, before the addition of personal endings. The dental suffix is found not only in finite verbal forms, but also in the past participle (cf. Modern English 'That problem, addressed by Einstein, was the beginning of modern quantum theory').

 

WG has four classes of weak verbs that are distinguished by a thematic vowel (thV) which precedes the dental suffix of the preterites, and the presence or absence of a nasal appended to the stem: -i-, -o-, -ái-, -no-. These correspond with different forms of the infinitive.

 

Class Infinitive Preterite
I nasjan nasida
II salbon salbóda
III haban habáida
IV fullnan fullnóda

 

http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/eieol/gotol-2-X.html#Got02_GP09

 

 

Basic Formation of Weak Verbs

The weak verbs stand in contradistinction to strong verbs. Whereas strong verbs employ ablaut to mark the past tense, weak verbs employ a dental suffix -d/þ- (sometimes -t-) to mark the past forms. This formation distinguishes the Germanic family from other branches of Indo-European, as the dental preterite is found nowhere else.

 

Early investigations into its origin supposed that the dental suffix represents the second element of an original periphrastic formation involving the root *dhē 'put', akin to suggestions that the Latin imperfect represents a periphrastic construction employing the root *bhū 'become'. As with the Latin situation, the hypothesis suffers from a lack of conclusive evidence as to the precise nature of the original construction, e.g. as to what was the form of the first element of the periphrastic construction. Gothic, however, is unique in displaying in the plural a fuller form of the second element than one finds in other Germanic languages. Specifically, while the singular suffixes with their endings monosyllabic: -da, -des, -da, the dual and plural forms are disyllabic: -dēd-u, -dēd-uts; -dēd-um, -dēd-uþ, -dēd-un. These forms are quite suggestive, in that they parallel the attested strong preterite forms of the root *dhē in other Germanic languages: Old High German tāt-um, tāt-ut, tāt-un; Old Saxon dād-un. The disyllabic forms in Wistra-Gutisk are reduced to the point that the -dē- element is completely gone from the paradigm. Past first person singular had the suffix -dēdjáu, it has become -djáu.

 

Another common thread of investigations into the origin of the dental preterite in Germanic has been its possible relation to the -t- of past participles in Germanic (e.g. WG nas-i-þ-s) and in other branches of Indo-European: Greek do-tó-s 'given'; Latin da-tu-s 'given'. A preterite form with this -t- suffix, such as PIE *kousitōm 'I heard' > PGmc *hauziðōm (EG *hausiðōm), might eventually be conflated in the Proto-Germanic period with PIE *dhōmi 'I put' > PGmc. *ðōm and reanalyzed as a compound form. Then by extension in Gothic the preterite plural forms of PIE *dhē, e.g. PGmc *ðēðum, would have been suffixed to fill out the rest of the paradigm.

 

Another possibility presents itself, one which does not suffer from the ambiguities of stem formation and analogy which are integral to the preceding theories. Benveniste early studied the use of the dh-determinatve in PIE, especially in the Greek and Indo-Iranian branches. Lehmann (1942, 1943) subsequently illustrated the connotations of this suffix within the Germanic family, and he proposed that this determinative is in fact the origin of the dental preterite. The dh-determinative, sometime in the period leading up to the split of Germanic from PIE, and then subsequently within PGmc, assumed a similar function in three basic situations:

 

  1. with nouns derived from transitive roots: to denote past passive modification. For example, consider PIE *bher- 'cut' > Gothic fotu-baúrd 'foot-board', Old English bord; compare Greek perthō 'destroy', Latin ferīre 'strike', Old High German borōn 'bore'; PIE *mel- 'grind' > Gothic unmidljái (nom. pl. masc.) 'unkind', Old Icelandic mildr 'kind', Old English milde 'kind': the semantic development is evidently 'something that has been ground up' > 'something soft' > 'gentle, mild'. Compare Gothic malan 'grind', Latin molēre 'grind'. Also PIE *wer- 'speak' > Gothic waúrd 'word', Old Icelandic orð 'word', Old English word. Compare Latin verbum 'word', Greek eírō 'speak'. The dh-suffix denotes 'something that has been spoken'.
  2. with nouns derived from intransitive roots: to denote modification caused by previous action. For example, consider PIE *gher- 'like', cf. Sanskrit háryati 'likes', Greek khaírō 'rejoice'. The dh-formant survives in Sanskrit grdhyati 'desires', Gothic gredáu (dat. sg. masc.) 'desire', Gothic gredags 'hungry', Old Icelandic gráðr 'hunger'. The semantics pass from 'liking' to the 'result of having liked continuing into the present', and hence 'desiring'. Consider also PIE *men- 'think'. This has a dh-extension PIE *mendh- 'turn one's attention to' > Gothic mundrōn 'turn one's attention to'; compare also Old High German muntar 'alert', Gothic mundrein (dat. sg. fem.) 'desire', resulting from the semantic association 'having turned one's attention towards' > 'alert'.
  3. with verbs: to denote modification or change resulting from previous action. For example, consider PIE *(s)keu- 'cover' > Sanskrit skáuti 'covers'. The dh-extension yields Old English hȳdan 'hide, conceal', Greek keúthō 'conceal', as well as the nouns Gothic skauda-raip 'shoe-string', Old Icelandic skjóða 'sack', Middle High German schōte 'covering', Old Persian tigra-xauda 'with pointed cap'. These dh-forms show a semantic development 'to have covered' > 'hidden'. Consider also PIE *ar- 'fit' > Greek ararískō 'arrange', Latin rērī 'think'. The dh-extension gives Gothic undrēdan 'take care of', as well as Old Icelandic ráða, Old English rædan, Old Saxon rādan, all meaning 'give advice'. These show a semantic development 'fitting together, thinking' > 'having thought' > 'giving advice'. Note in addition PIE *wal- 'be strong' > Latin valēre 'be strong'. The dh-extension gives Gothic waldan, Old Icelandic valda, Old English wealdan, Old Saxon waldan, Old High German waltan, Lithuanian veldéti, all 'rule, possess'. The dh-determinative changes 'be strong' to 'have been strong' > 'rule, possess'.

 

The semantics of the dh-determinative are thus consonant with the eventual dental preterite. Specifically, while the PIE verbal system of aspect was still transparent, the dh-determinative signified a state reached by previous event. As this aspectual system gave way to a tense system, this dh-determinative would have become associated with past action much as the stative developed into the perfect in other branches of IE, such as Greek and Indo-Iranian. Another distinctive feature commending this theory is the simple fact that it takes the elusive nature of the ending of the first periphrastic element at face value: there was none. The original formation is not V1+V2, but rather the typical PIE formation of R+S+E, that is root-suffix-ending.

 

By the period of the documented Germanic languages the weak verbs are a self-standing pillar of the verbal system. Across the rest of the Germanic languages, these verbs fall into three classes, stemming from the respective suffixation of PIE *-j- > PGmc *-j/ij-, PIE *-ā- > PGmc *-ō-, or PIE *-oi- > PGmc *-ai- to the verbal root. Gothic possesses a fourth class characterized by the suffix PIE *-nō- > PGmc *-nā-. Verbs formed in this manner are found in other Germanic languages, e.g. Old Norse vakna and Old English wæcnian 'awake', but they are not numerous enough to form a class by themselves. In terms of preterite morphology, these verbs conjugate according to the PIE *-ā- > PGmc *-ō- class. Wistra-Gutisk thus possesses the following weak verb classes, usually distinguished in grammars by the form of the infinitive. 

 

http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/eieol/gotol-8-X.html#Got08_GP37

 

 

The First Weak Conjugation

The first weak conjugation is characterized by the suffix PIE *-j- > PGmc *-i/ij- added to the verbal root. These verbs are typically either causative or denominative. Consider the following examples:

 

  Strong Infinitive
Past 3 Sg.
Meaning
Strong Class
Weak Class I Infinitive
Meaning
Causative
      
 

drigkan

ligan

ga-nisan

ur-reisan

sitan

sliupan

dragk

lag

ga-nas

ur-ráis

sat

sláup

drink

lie, recline

be save

arise

sit

slip

III

V

V

I

V

II

dragkjan

lagjan

ga-nasjan

ur-ráisjan

satjan

af-sláupjan

give to drink

make recline, lay

save

raise

set

put off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denominative Nominative          
 

diups

dulþs

mikils

riqis

sigljo

stains

 

deep

feast

great

darkness

seal

stone

 

ga-diupjan

dulþjan

mikiljan

riqizjan

sigljan

stainjan

make deep

(to) feast, keep a feast

magnify, praise

become dark

(to) seal, shut

(to) stone, cast stones at

 

 

In Wistra-Gutisk, as in the other Germanic languages, the reflex of the PGmc *-i/ij- suffix in certain morphological forms depends on the shape of the root to which it was affixed. There are two possibilities: -ji- or -ei- [ī]. First weak conjugation roots thus fall into two groups, based on the reflex of the suffix. The reflex of the suffix only differs between the groups in the 2nd and 3rd person singular present indicative active, in the 2nd person plural present indicative active, and in the 2nd person plural imperative. Elsewhere the form of the suffix does not depend on root shape, but appears as -j- in all other present forms. The suffix appears as -i- in all past forms. For the sake of clarity, paradigms for the two types of Class I weak verbs will be listed separately.

 

In order to make a clear statement of the distinction between the types of Class I weak verbs, we must refine our terminology of syllable length. Recall that syllables ending in a short vowel are termed short, all others are long. Thus long syllables end in a consonant or contain a long vowel, or both. For the purposes of describing the first weak conjugation, a further distinction must be made. We will restrict the term long syllable and define the term overlong syllable as follows.

 

  • long syllable: a syllable containing a short vowel followed by a consonant, or containing a long vowel with no following consonant;
  • overlong syllable: a syllable containing a long vowel followed by a consonant.

 

Note that traditional terminology in Germanic linguistics often includes the former category under the heading 'short' and terms the latter 'long'. This system has its advantages; the system above is employed here in order to keep terminology as close as possible to that used in grammars of other early Indo-European languages, e.g. Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit.

 

Class Ia Verbs

Given the above definitions of syllable length, we may succinctly characterize the first type of class i weak verbs:

 

Class Ia
Description
Explanation
Syllable
verbs with long stem syllable
For example, the stem syllable may contain a short vowel followed by a consonant, as nasjan 'to save'; or the stem syllable may contain a long vowel with no following consonant, as stójan 'to judge'.
Reflex
-ji-
in the 2/3 sg. and 2 pl. present indicative active, and in the 2 pl. imperative.

 

[Note that this class, according to traditional terminology, contains roots whose stem syllable is 'short' (nasjan) or 'long' and open (stójan).]

 

The verb nasjan 'to save' serves to illustrate the forms of verbs whose stem contains a short vowel followed by a consonant. The forms are as follows.

 

Class Ia - long
Active
    Mediopassive
 
  Indicative
Subjunctive
Imperative
Indicative
Subjunctive
Present
         

1 Sg

2

3

nasja

nasjis

nasjiþ

nasjáu

nasjáis

nasjái

 

nasei

nasjadáu

nasjada

nasjaza

nasjada

nasjáidáu

nasjáizáu

nasjáidáu

1 Du

2

nasjos

nasjats

nasjáiwa

nasjáits

 

nasjats

   

1 Pl

2

3

nasjam

nasjiþ

nasjand

nasjáima

nasjáiþ

nasjáina

nasjam

nasjiþ

nasjandáu

nasjanda

nasjanda

nasjanda

nasjáindáu

nasjáindáu

nasjáindáu

Past
         

1 Sg

2

3

nasida

nasides

nasida

nasidjáu

nasiðeis

nasidi

     

1 Du

2

nasidu

nasiduts

nasideiwa

nasideits

     

1 Pl

2

3

nasidum

nasiduþ

nasidun

nasideima

nasideiþ

nasideina

     

Infinitive

nasjan        
Pres Part nasjands        
Past Part       nasiþs  

 

For purposes of comparison, the conjugation of stōjan 'to judge' is given below. The forms illustrate the conjugation of Class Ia weak verbs whose stem contains a long vowel without a following consonant.

 

Class Ia - long
Active
    Mediopassive
 
  Indicative
Subjunctive
Imperative
Indicative
Subjunctive
Present
         

1 Sg

2

3

stója

stójis

stójiþ

stójáu

stójáis

stójái

 

stauei

stójadáu

stójada

stójaza

stójada

stójáidáu

stójáizáu

stójáidáu

1 Du

2

stójos

stójats

stójáiwa

stójáits

 

stójats

   

1 Pl

2

3

stójam

stójiþ

stójand

stójáima

stójáiþ

stójáina

stójam

stójiþ

stójandáu

stójanda

stójanda

stójanda

stójáindáu

stójáindáu

stójáindáu

Past
         

1 Sg

2

3

stauida

stauides

stauida

stauidjáu

stauideis

stauidi

     

1 Du

2

stauidu

stauiduts

stauideiwa

stauideits

     

1 Pl

2

3

stauidum

stauiduþ

stauidun

stauideima

stauideiþ

stauideina

     
Infinitive stójan        
Pres Part stójands        
Past Part       stauiþs  

 

Class Ia verbs are therefore characterized by the fact that -j- is retained in all present forms, where it is followed by a vowel. Note that the imperative 2 sg. ending is -ei, so the -j- becomes [ī] when final. When -j- comes between two consonants, as in the past forms, it is voiced as -i-. Before a vowel, ō is written au.

 

*Wistra-Gutisk differs from Gothic with the subjunctive past forms undergoing a reduction of the -dē- element.

 

 

Class Ib Verbs

Again according to the above definitions of syllable length, we may succinctly characterize the second type of Class I weak verbs:

 

Class Ib
Description
Explanation
Syllable
verbs with overlong stem syllable, or polysyllabic stems
For example, a monosyllabic stem contains a long vowel followed by a consonant, as sōkjan 'to seek'; or the stem may contain more than one syllable, as glitmunjan 'to shine'.
Reflex
-ei-
in the 2/3 sg. and 2 pl. present indicative active, and in the 2 pl. imperative.

 

[Note that this class, according to traditional terminology, contains roots whose stem syllable is 'long' and closed (sókjan).]

 

The verb sókjan 'to seek' serves to illustrate the forms of verbs whose stem contains a long vowel followed by a consonant. The forms are as follows.

 

Class Ib - overlong
Active
    Mediopassive
 
  Indicative 
Subjunctive
Imperative
Indicative
Subjunctive
Present          

1 Sg

2

3

sókja

sókeis

sókeiþ

sókjáu

sókjáis

sókjái

 

sókei

sókjadáu

sókjada

sókjaza

sókjada

sókjáidáu

sókjáizáu

sókjáidáu

1 Du

2

sókjos

sókjats

sókjáiwa

sókjáits

 

sókats

   

1 Pl

2

3

sókjam

sókeiþ

sókjand

sókjáima

sókáiþ

sókjáina

sókjam

sókeiþ

sójandáu

sókjanda

sókjanda

sókjanda

sókjáindáu

sókjáindáu

sókjáindáu

Past
         

1 Sg

2

3

sókida

sókides

sókida

sókidjáu

sókideis

sókidi

     

1 Du

2

sókidu

sókiduts

sókideiwa

sókideits

     

1 Pl

2

3

sókidum

sókiduþ

sókidun

sókideima

sókideiþ

sókideina

     
Infinitive
sókjan
       
Pres Part sókjands        
Past Part       sókiþs  

 

Class Ib verbs are thus characterized by the fact that -j- is retained before the back vowel -a-, but assimilates with a following -i- to give ī (written ei). As in class Ia the imperative 2 sg. ending is -ei, so the -j- becomes [ī] when final. Likewise, as in class Ia, when -j- comes between two consonants, it is voiced as -i-.

 

*Wistra-Gutisk differs from Gothic with the subjunctive past forms undergoing a reduction of the -dē- element.

 

 


 

Tense conjugation for Class I Weak Verbs

Wistra-Gutisk gets its various tense conjugation from a blending of Gothic and Icelandic weak paradigms.

 

Future shall/will(wiljan), can/may(magan/munan), must/shall(skal) + verb
1s mun -a
2s munt -a
3 munái -a
1d mun -a
2d munum -a
1pl munu -a
2pl munt -a
3 munand/ munun -a

In the above chart, the rare usage of munan (to think/consider) is shown. Skal has its own conjugation as a preterite-present verb.

 

Perfect have + verb
1s haba -að
2s habais -að
3 habaiþ -að
1d habos -að
2d habats -að
1pl habam -að
2pl habaiþ -að
3 haband -að

 

The present perfect tense is constructed using the forms in the chart directly above and the Active Voice preterite forms (indicative or optative). This tense describes an action that happened at an indefinite time in the past or that began in the past and continues in the present. Example: He who has suffered a lot, has learned a lot. Sa-ei habais þuláiðir manags, habais ga-kunnóðir manags.

 

Pluperfect had + verb
1s hafði -að
2s hafðir -að
3 hafðai -að
1d hafði -að
2d hafðum -að
1pl hafðu -að
2pl hafðu -að
3 hafand -að

 

Future Perfect will have (been)+ verb''
1s wilja haf -að
2s wiljar haf -að
3 wiljai haf -að
1d wilja haf -að
2d wiljum haf -að
1pl wiljið haf -að
2pl wilja haf -að
3 wiljand/-un haf -að

 

 


 

 

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