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Icelandic language (was Re: World Pidgin Suffices)

From:Oskar Gudlaugsson <hr_oskar@...>
Date:Friday, June 16, 2000, 5:58
Barry Garcia wrote:

>CONLANG@LISTSERV.BROWN.EDU writes: > >"sleikja" = 'lick', "sleikjo" = 'candy bar'). > >Very interesting, so a candy bar is seen as something you lick? :).
Yes :). The English equivalent construction would be 'chew' -> 'chewie' (chewing gum) 'lick' -> 'lickie' (candy bar) Other colloquial constructions (the -ó suffix in Icelandic is essentially colloquial, being less than 50 years old) of the same type are: "stræti" = 'street' "vagn" = 'wagon' (car) "strætisvagn" = 'bus' (lit. 'streetcar') colloquially -> "strætó" (used at all levels of society) "menntaskóli" ('college', "mennta" is drawn from the root for 'man') colloquially -> "menntó" "kýla" = 'hit' (drawn from "kúla" = 'a ball or bump' (hitting makes a bump on peoples head)) -> "kýló" = a children's game similar to baseball, where the ball is _hit_ with the hand instead of a bat With those word forms multiplying in the language, various loan-words become more acceptable, such as "vídjó" (video), "kíló" (kilo). The thing with Icelandic, in case you haven't heard about it, is that it's the only Nordic, or in fact Germanic, language which has retained much of the grammatic and lexical (and part of the phonetic) system of the Viking age. "Retained" may be slightly overstated (though it's the general cliché idea of us Icelanders today), as much of it was actually just "revived" during the 19th and 20th centuries. As the language has kept most of its old inflectional grammar (with four cases for almost all words (nouns, names, numerals 1-4, all pronouns)), past and present subjunctive, intricate system of sound changes), and its very tightly woven web of relations and derivations within the lexicon (which is more than 95% Germanic, my estimate), the Greco-Latin lexis which has trampled most the Germanic languages has been kept almost completely out of it. Of the few Greek words present, most of them entered the language many many centuries ago, so there's no extensive loaning going on today. Taken with a pinch of salt, Icelandic may well be described, as it often is, as the "Latin of the North". Perhaps I should present some examples of Icelandic word-construction tactics here; I gave some examples on AUXLANG, and even there it was popular. [about my conlang, "World Pidgin"]
>Anyway, I like your system there. Pretty simple and sweet. > >I'm not too sure I follow how /en/ works as a place marker, however
Syntactically, exactly like 'zai' in Mandarin Chinese. That is, it can be used as a verb or a preposition, indicating the subject's position at the place of focus. As to its function as an imperfect marker, I haven't decided if it should be suffixed (which would be reminiscent of English -ing, Spanish -ando/-iendo, etc) or used as an auxiliary (which would be logical). Oskar ________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at