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|
>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
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_,
>_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 :)