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Icelandic umlauts

From:Mangiat <mangiat@...>
Date:Friday, June 23, 2000, 13:30
Oskar wrote:

> The umlauts are grouped by the different "ending vowels" (for grammatical > endings) which create them. Icel. has three unstressed ending vowels, 'a' > [a], 'i' [I], and 'u' [2] (French 'deux', Swedish 'hus'). The "basic", > "neutral" vowel in this group could be said to be 'a', while the others > effect the umlauts listed above. As you can see, 'u' only affects 'a', cf. > 'kaka' (nom. 'cake') > 'köku' (acc/dat/gen 'cake').
OK, now I got the saga/sögu declension.
> The confusing thing here is that the strong verbs both have different
> going on for present, past singular, past plural, and past participle > (though many of those use the same stems, each verb having about three > different forms). The relationship between those stems is *not* umlaut,
> rather a different kind of sound change called "sound shift" (my > translation). I recently helped a student of Icelandic study verbs, but > first had to untangle a huge that had been created by not separating those > two things properly. She tried to apply the umlaut relationships on the > different verbal stems, which didn't work, and then concluded that the > umlaut rules were just fickle and unusable.
As someone already said, that's Ablaut, or, to use the Greek word we love so much in Southern Europe, APOPHONIA.
> Umlauts in noun declension is, IMO, rather uninteresting. There are too
> irregularities for me to recount here. You can only really count on there > being u-umlaut after any 'u' and 'um' endings (but not 'ur', for the same > reasons as above). Generally, the i-umlaut is not particularly active in > nouns, except in the masculine strong declension. For example, the > declension of "köttur" 'cat', with the stem "katt":
You said that -ur does not affect the stem, but you have katt+ur = köttur. How's it possible? AFAIR, the ending in Old Icelandic was directly -r (OI dagr > MI dagur), am I right?
> Sing Plural > nom köttur kettir > acc kött ketti > dat ketti köttum > gen kattar katta > > Very enjoying for foreign students ;) ([with thick Icelandic accent] "How
> you like Iceland so far...?" ;) ;)
I was thinkning to have a round there, one of these years... obviously to learn the language! One of my dreams is to come to live in Iceland, or at least in Scandinavia. Finland looks really nice, my teacher of Maths said it's the most beautiful place he's ever visited (he's surely a great traveller: this summer he'll go to Poland, Cuba and Normandy...)
> Okay, okay...I've really written a lot here, if not too much; hope I
> ruined people's interest in Icelandic. And yes, I hope Mangiat is somewhat > closer to understanding Icelandic umlauts now :)
Thank you very much! Luca