Saturday, August 16, 2008

The clusters łg/rg and gd

The clusters łg
In Modern Jamtlandic, the Old Norse clusters łg/rg have typically become pronounced [ɽj]/[ɾj], i.e., as if they were spelled "łgj/rgj". In this respect Jamtlandic follows Swedish rather than Norwegian. The crucial thing here is that Jamtlandic has independently invented this softened pronounciation of g. In the case of Swedish, g has become a "j" in this cluster due to the fact that it used to be soft, i.e. [ɣ], in Old Norse. In the case of Jamtlandic the explanation is fundamentally different. Indeed, the softening is due a a generalization of the softened pronounciation in the definite form of mainly masculine nouns. I quote Vidar Reinhammar's Hammerdalsmålet (p.23):

"I Lg och rg har g övergått till j (âLj 'älg', vârj 'varg').
Troligen är det inte frågan om en regelrätt övergång
utan om ett ersättande av Lg, rg med Lj, rj, lånade
från den bestämda formen (âLjen, vârjen), där övergången
till j är regelbunden. Detta utbyte har i så fall antagligen
ägt rum ganska sent i tiden."

The phenomenon is more obvious for words of the type fisk [fɪsk] 'fish' which in the definite form is fisk·jen [ˈfɪʂːən] 'the fish'. In Modern Jamtlandic one often hears an incorrect [fɪʂː] "fiskj" in the indefinite form due to the softening in the definite. According to V. Reinhammar, this is a very recent devlopment (p. 36: "Sådana former är unga." 'Such forms are young.').
The main conclusion we must draw isn't to forbid people to pronounce łg/rg as [ɽj]/[ɾj], but to use a formally softening j in the definite. Thus, nouns like æłg 'elk' and bærg 'mountain' are in the definite form æłg·jen and bærg·jeð, respectively.

The cluster gd
A perhaps equally interesting phenomenon is that the ON cluster [ɣð] in Modern Jamtlandic often is pronounced as [jd], i.e., as if it were spelled "jd". In 21th century Jamtlandic spelling this is often represented as (ö)yd or (e)id. Needless to say, the proper Jamtlandic pronounciation is [gd] (older: [ɣd]) corresponding to the spelling gd, and the improper pronounciation is directly borrowed from Swedish without any form of internal phonetical evolution.
A tragic example of the incorrect swedified pronounciation is the "official" Jamtlandic lyrics of Jämtlandssången, the inofficial national anthem of Jämtland (P.-G. Norman & B. Oscarsson):

"Mæ sir frå höjdom
bort mot åsom,
der kjörsan står milla gålom"

where I have quoted only three lines due to copyright reasons. (Even the Jamtlandic flag needs a license fee paid to private interests to be manufactured and sold! The legal owners of the flag are Storsjöyran AB and Bo Oscarsson. This is the reason I don't use the Jamtlandic flag at all in this blog.) The word in question is "höjdom" [ˈhœjdɔm], dative plural of "höjd" [hœjd] 'height, hill'. (Today it's recommended that one should spell these words "høydom", "høyd".) Let's quote Vidar Reinhammar in his discussion about the fate of ON ð (p. 22):

"Däremot står det kvar i reid 'skogstrakt', bögd 'bygd',
högd eller höjd 'höjd'."

Note the order högd then höjd, not the reverse, suggesting he assumes högd is a more proper dialectal form than höjd. (Not very important, but it should also be noted that he writes höjd rather than "höyd", i.e., he doesn't consider the softened form to have a diphthong.) Since my orthography focuses on the pure dialectal forms, it's obvious I spell høgd with g. (The g suggests that the related verb pronounced [ˈhœ.œʏː] or [ˈhœʏːjə] 'raise, increase', ON hœgja, should be spelled høgje rather than "høye".) Another example is sløgd [l̥œɡd] 'handicraft', which in Swedish is slöjd. I guess most modern Jamtlandic writers following the recommendations would spell it "shlöyd" [sic!]. (A third example is nøgd [nœɡd] 'satisfied', which in Swedish is nöjd and which in Jamtlandic today typically would be spelled "nöyd". The g suggests that the related noun pronounced [ˈnœ.œʏː] or [ˈnœʏːjə] 'satisfaction, pleasure', ON nœgi, should be spelled nøgje rather than "nøye".)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Verb conjugation w.r.t. grammatical person

This time I'll discuss the conjugation of verbs with respect to grammatical person. In Swedish dialects and folk traditions 2004 (ed. Maj Reinhammar) I noticed the verb form vilin [ˈʋɪˑlɪn] 'want' (second person plural). The part of the 52 lines long poem where vilin is mentioned goes like:

Såm skä nöna sta igen
Å krus tä Mass Jansa Jlin,
Å ha bydi Hössbonn sänn
Frila bö däck, dä da vilin

(where "Jlin" is read as Ilin
[ˈɪˑlɪn], the colloquial Jamtlandic form for Helen) with the more or less literal translation

Which will now go away again
And cookies to Matt Johnson's Ellen,
And has invited her master
Much was offered to you, that you want

There are two things which are interesting about vilin. Namely, the ending -in rather than -an, and the fact that it's not an imperative mood but in indicative. Note that today the ending in question is exclusively -an, and verbs are only conjugated with respect to grammatical person in the imperative.

The ending -in is of course the old one, but is a more modern form than Old Norse -ið. Indeed, in ON, vilin would've been viljið [
ˈwɪɫɪ̯ɪð]. The 18th century form vilin probably comes from an older vili [ˈwɪlɪ] with a dropped (ON ð after a vowel has always become silent in Jamtlandic). An -n has been added, probably with Swedish as a rôle model. (In slightly outdated Swedish it'd be viljen, from Old Swedish viljin.) The reason is probably to avoid ambiguities due to converging pronounciations. For example, ON kastið 'throw' (second person plural) would straightforwardly have become "kasteð" [ˈkastə] in Jamtlandic, which would be the same as the imperative and the past participle. It's obvious that the -n was added at a late stage since otherwise one would end up with "vili" and "kasta" due to (at least for the latter) nasalization, opening and dropped -n. I would definitely suggest that old short stemmed verbs get -in (like e.g. vilin, since vil was a short stem) and old long stemmed verbs get -an (like e.g. kastan, since kast was a long stem).

The other thing to discuss is the fact vilin isn't used as an imperative in the poem, but as an indicative. It's apparently the fact that in mid 18th century Jamtlandic, at least sporadically, one could conjugate a verb in the indicative mood with respect to grammatical person. Today this is only the case for the imperative mood, and even though it's standard in the second person plural, it's not in first person plural. One evidence that it still exist is the following quote from p. 99 in the PhD dissertation Om dativ i svenska och norska dialekter: 1. Dativ vid verb by Maj Reinhammar (1973):

Lyckönska: lyckönschom nu bröfoLkom Mörsil

which translates to 'Let us congratulate our brother nations!' In standardized spelling, the first person plural ending would be -um. My suggestion is that, since it was possible in 18th century Jamtlandic (which I count as Late Modern Jamtlandic, the period 1700-now i.e. the period for which Jamtlandic has been studied by scholars), it should be possible to conjugate verbs with respect to grammatical person.

As an example, take the verb kaste 'throw'. Followin the prescription above, the "light" (modern) conjugation pattern for the indicative mood would be


while the "heavy" (archaic) conjugation is

1st Pl.kastumkasteð
2nd Pl.kastankasteð
3rd Pl.kastekasteð

(The imperfect tense has a single conjugation for this specific class of verbs. Other classes of verbs have a "full" conjugation pattern with respect to grammatical person.) For the imperative, I think it's a good idea to impose the special first person plural as standard, giving

Sg.1st Pl. 2nd Pl.

This concludes the post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Spelling 'orkj' from 'yrkj'

In Swedish dialects and folk traditions 2004 (ed. Maj Reinhammar) in the contribution En jämtländsk 1700-talsdikt by Maj Reinhammar where a mid 18th century Jamtlandic (presumably in the Offerdal dialect) poem is analyzed, it is written

Jämtskans öppna »grumliga» ö-ljud, som fonetiskt
brukar tecknas med »åttan» (stundom å-haltigt) eller
»skålpundsåttan» (u-haltigt) skrivs i dikten med ö,
nöna 'nu', (3 o. 21), hör (44 o. 47), döm (19),
söm (20; vanligen såm 16, 21, 27 o. 34), nör (16),
örskje (12), körskjen (26), föll38 (29, 35 o. 41),
-örta (36), [...]

(The numbers within parantheses refer to the line in the poem.) The sounds in question are what in IPA are written [
ɞ] (»åttan», i.e. "the eight", in Swedish Landsmålsalfabetet, i.e. 'The Dialect Alphabet') and [ə̹ ] (»skålpundsåttan», i.e. "the pound eight"), where the latter is a rounded schwa.

Fig. 1: Swedish Landsmålsalfabetet. (Source: SOFI.)

The two interesting words in the context are örskje [
ˈɞʂːə] 'wood, material' and körskjen [ˈtʃɞʂːən] dat. 'the church', derived from Old Norse yrki [ˈʏrcɪ] and kyrkju·nni [ˈcʏrcɪ̯ʊnːɪ], respectively. Note that the spellings are semi-etymological in that the k is spelled out, one would've expected rs rather than rskj to denote [ʂː]. It can't be ruled out that rskj denotes an earlier stage in the phonetical evolution, perhaps [ʂtʃ].

Let's take a look at what these too words are in Hammerdal dialect (H), Klövsjö dialect (K) and Åre dialect (Å), where we employ the usual references:

kyrkju[ˈtʃœ.œʂː] [ˈtʃœʂːə][ˈtʃœ.œʂː]

(Note that I have considered ON kyrkju rather than kyrkju·nni.) We see that all dialects in question have developed yrkj into [œʂː]. Does this mean we should spell yrkj, as according to the etymological spelling? (Compare with e.g. kyn [ tʃøːn] 'gender', ON kyn.) Or more phonetical as ørkj? There's another choice, namely orkj. This seems suggestively more consistent with [ɞʂː] of mid 18th century Offerdal dialect, and, in fact, more consistent with what has happened to ON yrk.

To explain what I mean, consider the more general situation of ON yrC and yłC where C denotes an appropriate consonant, e.g. k. To be specific, consider e.g. ON myrk- 'dark', kyłd n. 'cold', and fylgði imp. 'followed':

fylgði [ˈfa.aɖː][ˈfɞɖːə][ˈfɔ.ɔɖː]

These samples are perfectly consistent with the spellings mork, kjo
łd and fołde with o rather than u (or á, or any other vowel) as a stem vowel. Adding a j in the equation, one would get suggestively an implied i-umlaut of o. This would give the spellings orkje 'wood, material' and kjorkje 'church'. It's the j which tells us that o is pronounced as if it were spelled ø. One could imagine the spelling ø too, i.e., "ørkje" and "kørkje", respectively. This could need more discussion.

To conclude, ON yrkj is spelled orkj, though it
can be in principle ørkj as well.

Next time I'll probably discuss the second person plural verb ending -in found in the word vilin [ˈʋɪˑlɪn] 'want' in the poem discussed in Swedish dialects and folk traditions 2004.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cardinal numbers (part 3)

In this post we'll conclude the discussion about the cardinal numbers. We have:

30 [ˈtɾɛtːɪ]?þríatigitrettig
40 [ˈfœʈːɪ]?fjóratigifyrtig
50 [ˈfɛmtɪ][ˈfæmtɪ]femmtigi femtig
60 [ˈsɛkstɪ]? sextigisekstig
70 [ˈʂɵtːɪ]?sjautigisjúttig
80 [ˈɔtːɪ]?áttatigiáttig
90 [ˈnɪtːɪ]?níutigi nittig
100[ˈhɵnɾə] [ˈhɵnːəɾ] hundrað húnnreð
1000 [ˈtʉːsn̩]? þúsundtúsn

Unfortunately, my references don't say much more than this. Note the apocopated form [ˈhɵnːəɾ] for 100 in the Åre dialect (Å) suggesting a spelling "húnnr" without -eð. I think this is a secondary form borrowed from Swedish hundra, though. (Swedish words ending in -a typically correspond to apocopated forms in Å.) Alternatively it's the acute accent which has forced an apocopation.
Cardinal numbers of mixed form such as e.g. 21, 657 etc. are form in the following way: tjugueitt, sekshúnnreðfemtigsjú, respectively, which is very straightforward.
The system above works for the cardinal numbers 1999,999. Cardinal numbers greater than 999,999 don't traditionally exist in Jamtlandic, though one could say 1,000,000 is milljón [ˈmɪlːɪ̯uˑn] and 1,000,000,000 is milljarð [ˈmɪlːɪ̯ɑˑɽ].
 Note: The cardinal numbers húnnreð '100' and túsn '1000' can be considered as neuter nouns while milljón '1,000,000' and milljarð '1,000,000,000' are masculine.

I think next time we'll take a look at the ordinal numbers ('first', 'second',...).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cardinal numbers (part 2)

Let's continue the cardinal numbers (I don't consider the Klövsjö dialect anymore due to the fact that the reference doesn't have any cardinal numbers in it):

11 [ˈɛlːɵ(ʋ)] [ˈœlːɔʋ] ellufuelluv
12 [tʰaɽʋ][tʰɔɽʋ]tołftołv
13 [ˈtɾɛtːæn][ˈtɾetːɐn] þrettántrettan
14 [ˈfɪ̯ʊʈːæn][ˈfɪ̯ʊʈːɐn]fjórtánfjórtan
15 [ˈfɛmtæn][ˈfæmtɐn]femtánfemtan
16 [ˈsɛkstæn][ˈsekstɐn]sextánsekstan
17 [ˈsœtːæn][ˈʂœtːɐn] søytjánsøttan
18 [ˈat(ː)æn][ˈaʈːɐn]átjánattan
19 [ˈnɪtːæn][ˈnɪtːɐn] nítjánnittan
20 [ˈtʃɵˑɣə][ˈtʃɵˑɣɵ]tjogutjugu

Notes: (1) Old Norse had various words for 11. In Old Icelandic it was ellifu, in Old Swedish ellufa. I assume Old Jamtlandic (N) had ellufu, but I could be wrong. What's peculiar is that the unstressed vowel hasn't become a schwa ([ə]) but either [ɵ] or [ɔ]. Maybe one considered the word being a compound el-lufu where lufu became simplified to luv giving elluv rather than "ellev"?
(2) In Jamtlandic it's not too uncommon to double a consonant after a long vowel, e.g. ON sýta 'to lament' has become sytte [ˈsʏ.ʏtː] 'to nurse' in Jamtlandic. That seems to have happened for the numbers 1719. Note especially 17 where the dipthong has been lost in the process. (The Hammerdal dialect always preserves diphtongs otherwise, even the short ones, which suggests one should spell "søyttan".) Also note how an unstressed -ján has become -an. It's possible the j was dropped very early.
(3) The number 20 has a pretty diffuse etymology. Old Icelandic had tuttugu, Old Swedish tjugu. I use the etymology found here, which assumes a u-broken form of a root teg- (tegu-tjog-).

To be continued in Part 3.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cardinal numbers (part 1)

To do something concrete, we can derive the cardinal numbers of Jamtlandic. I'll use the references

[1] Hammerdalsmålet, Vidar Reinhammar
[2] Klövsjöord, Gösta Edlund et al
[3] Åremålet, Anna-Lena Forsåker

In the table below, H, K and Å will refer to the dialects of Hammerdal, Klövsjö and Åre, respectively, with evidences found in references [1], [2] and [3], respectively. Furthermore, N will refer to the reconstructed etymology of the (Late) Jamtlandic dialect of Old Norse. (I'll use this site as a source for the reconstructions.) Finally, J will refer to the derived orthography based on the dialectal evidences and the ON etymology.
The first cardinal numbers (in the sense of abstract counting) are given by

1 [eɪtː]?[etː]eitteitt
2 [tʋuː] ? [tʋuː]tvátvó
3 [tɾiː]? [tɾiː] þríatrí
4 [fyː.yɾ]?[fyː.yɾ]fjóra fýre
5 [fɛmː]?[fæmː]femmfemm
6 [sɛks] ?[seks]sexseks
7 [ʂʉː]?[ʂʉː] sjúsjú
8 [ɔ.ɔtː] ?[ɔ.ɔtː] áttaátte
9 [ˈniːə] ?[ˈniː.i]níuníe
10 [ˈtʰiːə] ?[ˈtʰiː.i]tíutíe

Note here that [2] lacks any references to the lower cardinal numbers, and that the numbers 9 and 10 in the Hammerdal dialect surprisingly aren't apocopated. One would have expect the same as in the Åre dialect. Also note that the Old Norse etymologies tvá, þría, in some dialects (and usually spelled in the literature) þrjá, and fjóra are masculine accusative. This is in contrast with eitt which is neuter (accusative?). Cardinal numbers greater than 4 weren't declined in any way in Old Norse. The final note is that the reconstructed etymologies femm [fɛmː] and sjú [sɪ̯uː] are usually spelled fimm [fɪmː] and sjau [sɪ̯ɒ.ʊ] in the literature on Old Norse. The Old Jamtlandic dialect (like many other ON dialects) probably had femm and sjú, which is the reason I use these as etymologies.

To be continued...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Concrete examples

I think it'd be a good idea to take a concrete example from Vidar Reinhammar's contribution in Jämten 1987 (see this post). In the beginning of his contribution he discusses how Old Norse u [ʊ] today is pronounced in the Jamtlandic dialects. Supporting the idea a unified Jamtlandic is possible, I'll try to do my best to meet his examples. He writes (translated by me from Swedish to English, the red information being added by me for clarity):

"Old short u (Old Norse [ʊ]) appears in the Jamtlandic
dialects in most situations as u [ɵ], å [ɔ] or ô [ɞ] (i.e., a
sound between u [ɵ] and ö [ɶ]). Swedish hund [hɵnd]
('dog', ON acc. hund [hʊnd]) is pronounced in all of
Jämtland hunn [hɵnː], but Swedish mun [mɵnː]
('mouth', ON acc. munn [mʊnː]) is pronounced in
Alanäs, Ström, Hammerdal and Gåxsjö mônn [mɞnː],
in Lit, Häggenås, Laxsjö, Föllinge and Hotagen månn
[mɔnː] and in other Jamtlandic dialects munn [mɵnː].
The Swedish rhyme word tunn [tʰɵnː] ('thin', ON þunn-
[θʊnː]) is pronounced tunn [tʰɵnː] in Åre, Undersåker
and Kall and the Norwegian Lid dialect in Frostviken,
but tônn [tʰɞnː] in Lower Frostviken, Alanäs, Ström,
Hammerdal and Gåxsjö, Borgvattnet, Stugun, Ragunda,
Håsjö, Hällesjö, Nyhem, Bräcke, Bodsjö, Revsund,
Sundsjö (also tånn [tʰɔnː]) and Berg, and in other
Jamtlandic dialects as tånn [tʰɔnː]. If we consider
Swedish rund [ɾɵnd] ('round', ON rund- [rʊnd]) rhyming
with hund [hɵnd], it has like tunn [tʰɵnː] the
pronounciations runn [ɾɵnː], rônn [ɾɞnː] and rånn [ɾɔnː].
Thus, there's no uniformity in how Swedish u [ɵ] is
pronounced in the rhyming words mun [mɵnː], tunn
[tʰɵnː] and hund [hɵnd], rund [ɾɵnd], respectively."

Now, let's refute his argumentation. His argumentation is that except for how Swedish hund is pronounced, the dialects disagree on the choice between the possible [ɵ], [ɞ] and [ɔ]. Therefore, there's no way to employ a unified spelling for the words in question. I guess he also argue that the geographical distribution of [ɵ], [ɞ] and [ɔ] isn't even completely predictable when given a word whicb in Swedish (and Old Norse) has u.
The first issue is easily refuted by using the etymological principle. One could simply spell the words húnn, munn, tunn and runn. Note that short ú is always [ɵ] no matter the dialect. The second issue is more serious since given a dialect we don't know from the orthography only how munn, tunn and runn are supposed to be pronounced. This is solved by the following argumentation. It's obvious that there seem to be one geographical epicentre for each one of the possibilities [ɵ], [ɞ] and [ɔ]. In Western Jämtland one has an epicentre [ɵ], in Northeastern Jämtland one for [ɞ], and in Central Jämtland for [ɔ]. The exact distributions for every word varies, but the epicentres are always fixed. This suggests that the words individually have dissipated into "foreign" areas through not so well-defined boundaries. This means that the only dialects we sacrifice when fixing the spellings munn, tunn and runn are the boundary ones. For Jamtlandic as a whole, we can safely employ unified spellings. In "polished" Jamtlandic, one can choose a consistent way of pronouncing a short u, one just chosse one of the epicentres.

To conclude, we write húnn, munn, tunn and runn.

It's possible I'll return to other concrete examples which Reinhammar discusses in his contribution. I think they can all be solved in a similar way. In some cases one would probably have to defined what's the "best" (i.e., most genuine and/or distinctive) Jamtlandic.