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Verbs in Finlaesk

From:Paul Bennett <paul.w.bennett@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 26, 2007, 11:37
I've started looking in earnest at the verb in Finlaesk, and I'm not
sure I like what I see.

The sound-changes seem to be close to something aesthetically nice,
but they've reduced the number of conjugations much more than I was
aiming for -- down to what looks like maybe three: one "weak" and one
or two "strong", or rather one that has ending-only morphology, and
one or two that also have ablaut morphology.

This is pretty harsh, especially when this merger of "columns" is
compounded with the mergers of several "rows", i.e. person/TAM forms.
Perhaps critically, 1sg and 2sg nonpast have merged, as have 3sg and
3pl past.

The obvious solution is to borrow and/or calque new discriminating
features, and the obvious sources are Algonquin and Inuktitut, both of
which have verb systems that I can only describe as byzantine (small

Verbs in Ojibwe (my Algonquin language of choice, simply because it's
well-documented) potentially have forms for 14 subject persons, 14
object persons, 3 apparently pragmatic categories, plus I think 3
mood-like categories, i.e. possibly 1700+ forms. Thankfully, they're
pretty agglutinatively formed, and there are well-defined "holes" in
that 4D grid, but it still points to a verbal system that's going to
be hard to make compatible with the Old Norse system, even my reduced
Finlaesk system.

I've already got an enlarged pronoun set in Finlaesk (which
coincidentally turned out to be mostly similar to Ojibwe), so
enlarging the verbal person set should not be horrific, but I'm still
facing down a pretty hefty problem of deciding how much of the rest of
the structure to absorb, let alone how best to do it.

How much borrowed structure would seem naturalistic? Just the bare
minimum to restore the distinctions lost from ON? Enough to impart all
the distinctions in Ojibwe? What about the other distinctions unique
to Inuktitut (if and when I get to studying them properly)?

Dear lazyweb, please do my homework for me.




Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Benct Philip Jonsson <conlang@...>