Re: English plural -(e)s
|From:||Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, November 27, 2004, 18:20|
Ray Brown wrote:
> On Friday, November 26, 2004, at 01:32 , Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
>> Ray Brown wrote:
>> I beg to differ slightly. I think that the /z/ phoneme had already
>> developed into /r\/ in Common Scandinavian of the viking age,
> You mean [z] had developed to [r\], I think - there's no phonemic change.
No, but they had begun to drop out the _R_ in the cluster
_rR_ in runic inscriptions, e.g. the name |iuarR| _IvarR_.
>> i.e. there was a fricative/approximant /r\/ contrasting with
>> a rolled /r/.
> I suspect there was still some friction - maybe [z`} ?
>> It is true they later merged, but into what
>> sound or allophonic alteration is impossible to tell.
>> However any bilingual(*) could easily figure out that
>> OE -as and CS -aR corresponded to one another.
> I suspect the Old English "heard" -aR as -as [-az] pronounced "with a
> 'Danish' accent", and on their side the Danes/Vikings whose /s/ did not
> have the [z] variant, "heard" the OE [az] as -aR pronounced "with an
> English accent".
Possibly. Certainly they were smart enough to figure
out that [stA:nas] and [stainaz`] were the same things,
especially in context ("Come on over here and help me
remove those stones, will you?")
>> -as was the only ending in the two languages that was
>> unambiguously a nom/acc plural ending. This helped to
>> establish it no doubt!
> I would not disagree with that, whatever the details of pronunciation may
> have been/
The thing is that *all* Scandinavian plural endings and
*all other* Old English plural endings could denote other
morphemes as well, while _-as_ was always nom/acc masc.pl.
No doubt speakers of these two closely related languages
would spot this fact.
>> (*Actually these two languages differed less than many
>> dialects of modern languages.
> Absolutely - I think this is certainly so.
It was so. A mere coparison of the languages
indicates this, and it is corroborated by
the statements of Snorri. Also contemporary
speakers were able to "translate" personal names
and placenames, which they probably wouldn't have
done if they had percieved them as two different
languages. E.g. Æþelstán becomes Aðalsteinn and
Óttarr becomes Oþere, Cantwaraburh becomes
>> The 13th century Icelander
>> Snorri Sturluson explicitly said that in viking times
>> Scandinavia, England and northern Germany had all one
>> language -- i.e. so it still seemed to contemporaries.)
I shall see if I can find the exact reference, and its
English translation. BTW Snorri has one of the best
accounts of the events of 1066, where he speaks of
_Haraldr konungr_ and _Vilhjalmr jarl_ without flinching.
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch at melroch dot se
Solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant!