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Pluralis på svensk och tysk (was: Re: Performative verbs (was: Re: here is some stuff i want all of ya'll to look at)

From:Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 7, 2004, 18:31
Andreas skrev:

>Quoting John Cowan <jcowan@...>: > >> English also has many fewer irregular forms (counting all the strong >> verbs as irregular, as one must in modern Germanic languages) than >> any of its relatives, not surprisingly. Not counting the Latin and >> Greek borrowings with their attached plurals, English has only about >> 30 irregular nouns. > >If we treat all Swedish and German nouns with impredictible plurals as >irregular, we're looking at very significant percentages of the dictionaries. > >For instance, there is no rule I'm aware of for telling whether a Swedish >non-neuter noun ending in a consonant gets _-er_ or _-ar_ in the plural. And >then there's the really irregular ones like _ros_ "rose", pl _rosor_.
My handy-dandy little reference grammar lists five declensions: First: roughly 10% of Swedish nouns, common gender ending in "-a", plural in "-or". Three ending in a consonant are listed: "ros, rosor", "våg, vågor", och "svan, svanor." Second: roughly 40%, plural in "-ar". Most monosyllabic common gender nouns ending in a consonant. "Some" (they list three) monosyllabic common gender nouns ending in a vowel. Most polysyllabic common nouns ending in unstressed "-e," "-el", "-en", or "-er". Common nouns with "-dom" or "-ing". "Some" (five, here) irregulars plurals like "somrar". Third: roughly 20%, plural in "-er". "Many" (two) monosyllabic nouns ending in a consonant: "damer", "parker." All nouns with "-eum" or "-ium." "Some" (six) common nouns ending in a vowel, where the plural ending is just "-r" (e.g. "hustrur", "skor"). _Seventeen_ (they didn't mince words on this part) nouns with some umlaut action going on (e.g. "bränder", "fötter"). Fourth: 5%, plural in "-n". Neuters ending in a vowel. Two irregulars: "ögon" and "öron." Fifth: 25%, no ending. Most neuters that end in a consonant. Common nouns with "-are" or "-ande" and "some (one) with "-er" ("musiker"). Five irregular common nouns, but these should be on an English speaker's radar ("gäss" ("geese"), "möss" ("mice") et al.) Okay, so it ain't paradise and the word "rule" may be a tad strong, but it's not completely up for grabs either. My dictionary gets even more specific, pointing to noun endings like "-ion" and "-tris" as taking "-er" in the plural. So if I was a bettin' man and encountered a common noun I didn't recognize, if it didn't end in one of those noun endings that invoke "-er," I'd run with the 2:1 odds on "-ar", and see if I were laughed out of town.
>Something I find nifty is the existence of pairs like _mask_, pl _masker_, >"masque", and _mask_, pl _maskar_, "worm", or _slav_, pl _slavar_, >"slave", and >_slav_, pl _slaver_, "Slav".
That is nifty. Då skrev John:
>In the case of German, almost all nouns are irregular. The regular >ending (that is, the one applied when there is no lexical information) >is -s, but that is very rare. In Dutch, OTOH, most nouns are regular, >taking either -s or -en (predictable by rule).
Again, it's not as bad as all that, is it? Masculines and polysyllabic neuters in "-e"; feminines in "-en" or "-n"; monosyllabic neuters in "-er, with an umlaut if if can take it"; and nouns ending in unstressed "-el", "-en" or "-er" get nothing (well, maybe an umlaut for good measure). Foreign loans in "-s". Here too, no day the beach, and to umlaut or not to umlaut is a bit dodgey, but no need for apoplexy :) Kou


Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>En något ogrannlaga fråga om svenska
John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>