Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

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: > > [snip] > >> 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`} ?
Very possibly.
> >> 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?")
>> Moreover >> -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 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 Kantaraborg etc.
> >> 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.) > > > Interesting.
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. /BP 8^) -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch at melroch dot se Solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant! (Tacitus)


John Cowan <jcowan@...>