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Cainntear
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 Message 41 of 60
11 December 2010 at 2:40pm | IP Logged 
Random review wrote:
Will you be around to critique the next (should be penultimate) draft ,please? Hopefully it will be much tighter, and so would take less effort on your part.

Certainly -- I've found it really interesting so far.
Also, it was the lack of follow-on material on cases that scared me off continuing with German, so it's really great to see it explained so simply.
Quote:
I'm afraid I still think it would be confusing to introduce the ihn/ihr/ihm subpattern at the same time as the main pattern, I think I will teach the main pattern first, using diese/dieses/dieser etc, and THEN introduce the subpattern, unless anyone has a better idea.

That sounds fine -- Thomas didn't always compartmentalise things so heavily himself and was happy to spread things out when it made sense to do so.

Quote:
Is it true what you said about the origin of the "e" in adjectives before nouns? In the absense of significant Old High German texts (yes the Lay of Hildebrand etc, but I meant significant in terms of a Corpus, not in terms of Literature value) I think it's as good an idea as we're going to get (it's so much easier with Spanish where the existence of a large Latin Corpus makes clear the evolution of forms like "el agua", which are traditionally explained as avoiding cacophany- pure nonsense b.t.w.) easy to understand, sigh.

*shrug*
It's an educated guess, and even if it's not true... well, it's still true, because it would make things harder to pronounce if it wasn't there.

Actually, my best guess would that the predicative ("is") adjective actually lost its ending, rather than the attributive ("next to the noun") adjective gaining it. This is consistent with the tendency of first person verbs to lose the final -e of the traditional forms.

If the predicative adjective lost its -e, why didn't the attributive? Something had to actively support its retention, and I'd say it's either:

* pronunciation, as I said
or
* a means of marking phrases as separate.

Making the second hypothesis would be beyond my knowledge of German, but from what you've taught me so far, I can't see how you could ever have a predicative adjective preceding an -e attributive adjective, so there doesn't seem to be any potential confusion that you would need to avoid.
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Iversen
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 Message 42 of 60
11 December 2010 at 9:03pm | IP Logged 
I couldn't resist having a go at some genuine Old High German texts even though I haven't studied Old High German (yet). Nevertheless it seems to me that the modern German endings can be recognized fairly reliably even in texts that are more than 1000 years old. The problem is that the examples point in all possible directions. A few examples from the following sources:

stefanjacob.de: /SJ/
www.skaldenmet: /SM/
Biblioteca Augustana /BA/
H. Naumann, W. Betz: Althochdeutsches Elementarbuch (book) /AE/


First a number of prepositioned attributive adjectives without an article:

want her do ar arme wuntane bauga,
Da wand er vom Arme gewundene Ringe [Hildebrandslied, 8. century]   /SM/

Unde bediu uuiret er ofto an heligero gescrifte genamit.
Und deshalb wird er oft in der heiligen Schrift genannt. /SJ/

dat uuas so friuntlaos_ man
Das war so ein freundloser Mann /SM/

"welaga nu, waltant_ got [quad Hiltibrant],
"Wohlan nun, waltender Gott’, sprach Hildebrand, /SM/

(NB I find the apparent lack of an ending in 2 out of 4 cases interesting, - notice the lack of an indefinite article in the last two example plus example no. 2 where a definite article would be expected in Modern German)



Now for some postpositioned attributive adjectives with no article at the noun:

du habes heme herron goten
du hast daheim guten Herrn, /SM/

Prooth unsêr emezzihic_ kip uns hiutu
Unser regelmäßiges Brot gib uns heute
[PS - an undated translation from Isidor of Sevilla, but made well before 1050] /SJ/

A combined example where Modern German would have used an article in no. 1 (the 'prepositioned' case) - and as you can see: quite generally with endings:

Hiltibrant gimahalta [Heribrantes sunu]: her uuas heroro man, ferahes frotoro;
Hildebrand sprach, Heribrands Sohn: Er war der (hehrere) ältere Mann, des Lebens weisere [weíse = froto] /SM/

Here some appositional adjectives, and as you can see they also have endings:

dat sagetun mi usere liuti, alte anti frote,
Das sagten mir unsere Leute, alte und weise /SM/


Now for a couple of examples with articles and/or demonstratives pronouns:

Suohhemes nu auur in dhemu aldin heileghin chiscribe dhesa selbun dhrinissa.
Suchen wir nun aber in der alten heiligen Schrift diese selbe Dreiheit. /SJ/

samane staim bort chludun, heuwun harmlicco huitte scilti
Buntborde kloben sie, hieben harmvoll weiße Schilde /SM/

dhie heidenen man
The pagan man (/AE/ - my translation)

One strange word order (and allegedly from a halfburnt Latin/German fragment of a love poem with a monk and a nun, hehe!)

suavissima nunna / choro miner minna
sweet nun / dear my love ('affection') (?? /AE/ - my translation, "choro" guessed from Danish 'kær')



Finally: what about predicative adjectives? A couple of examples illustrating this case (and there are examples with and examples without endings - what a mess!):

Oh dhes sindun unchilaubun Iudeoliudi,
Trotzdem sind die Judenleute ungläubig, /SJ/

Daz wez ik daz ist alewar_
that I know that (it) is true (???? - my translation from "Das Lied vom heiligen Georg, 10. century /AE/)

War mochta dar diu hella sin / dar giengi sulih_ volc in?
Where (?) might that hall be / 'there' (where) went such people in?
(???? - my translation /AE/)

But in initial position - again with or without ending as the wind blows:

tot_ ist Hiltibrant, Heribrantes suno
Tot ist Hildebrand, Heribrands Sohn /SM/

Tole sint Uualhâ, spâhe sint Peigira;
Stulti sunt Romani, sapienti sunt Paioari,
Stupid are the Romans, wise are the Paioari [whoever they are] [AE, - my translation]


The following example has two object predicatives (or whatever they are called in English) in one sentence:

her furlaet in lante luttila sitten / prut in bure, barn unwahsan, / arbeo laosa
Er ließ im Lande die Kleine sitzen, die Braut im Hause, das Kind unerwachsen, erbelos.
/SM/

Natürlich haben die Sprachhistoriker dies alles erforscht. Most sources are apparently on paper, but here is at least one useful source on the internet: H. Brinkmann: "Entwicklungstendenzen" (Uni Bielefeld)

Here some places to look for more texts: texte.mediaevum.de
... and the old "Althochdeutsches Elementarbuch", which I for some unknown reason bought in the late 70s - but it is probably not for sale any longer

And for those who might have some free time (and serious ambitions about reviving Old High German) : I accidentally found an English High German dictionary here


Edited by Iversen on 11 December 2010 at 10:39pm

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Random review
Diglot
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 Message 43 of 60
11 December 2010 at 9:45pm | IP Logged 
@Cainntear: cheers, man. Should be ready in around 8-9 days. My plan is to use any points made about that draft to make a final draft, and then as a last step get the German sentences in that checked by a native. Fingers crossed the whole thing should be ready in 2-3 weeks! Thanks again, and also to Andy E and everyone else too.

@ Iversen: wow! What a lot of interesting information. If I may risk coming across as a bit greedy, could you possibly tell us what the adjective endings are in Gothic, which I believe to be the oldest Germanic Language we have records for?
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Iversen
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 Message 44 of 60
11 December 2010 at 10:32pm | IP Logged 
There is a concise summary of those forms at Wikipedia (approx. halfway down, after the declension of substantives). And I just got the wild thought that it might be interesting to look at the situation for adjectives in Gothic as well - but I would like to spend some time on living languages now.

PS: for those of you who cannot get enough the complete Wulfila Bible fragment can be studied here in an excellent Gothic edition with interlaced translations into English and Koiné. Long live the Wulfila project.

Edited by Iversen on 11 December 2010 at 10:37pm

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Diglot
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 Message 45 of 60
11 December 2010 at 10:53pm | IP Logged 
Iversen, just checked out your link, and was chuffed to read the following sentence:-

"Germanic "strong" adjectives, however, take many of their endings from the declension of pronouns, while "weak" adjectives take the endings of -n stem nouns, regardless of the underlying stem class of the adjective"

I had no idea that the weak declension of adjectives was derived from the declension of nouns like 'der Junge'! That's really going to help me teach these nouns (I was going to leave them out, to be honest, but not now!). Thanks for this, Iversen.

Edited by Random review on 11 December 2010 at 11:07pm

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lingoleng
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 Message 46 of 60
12 December 2010 at 12:11am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:

Tole sint Uualhâ, spâhe sint Peigira;
Stulti sunt Romani, sapienti sunt Paioari,
Stupid are the Romans, wise are the Paioari [whoever they are]

Paioari, Baiern (Bavarians, Bavarii, Bajuwaren).

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Iversen
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 Message 47 of 60
12 December 2010 at 8:43am | IP Logged 
Random review wrote:

"Germanic "strong" adjectives, however, take many of their endings from the declension of pronouns, while "weak" adjectives take the endings of -n stem nouns, regardless of the underlying stem class of the adjective".I had no idea that the weak declension of adjectives was derived from the declension of nouns like 'der Junge'! That's really going to help me teach these nouns (I was going to leave them out, to be honest, but not now!). Thanks for this, Iversen.


If you teach any German language except English you have to deal with 'strong' and 'weak' adjectives. However the important thing to point out is that we also speak about strong and weak verbs and nouns. In both cases a given word is either strong OR weak (with a very small number of words being able to switch cathegory).

In contrast, weak and strong adjectives are not two groups of adjectives, but merely adjectives with different endings according to the syntactical pattern they are part of. And Cainntear's rule about 'only once' (with some minor adjustments) is a shrewd way of formulating the logic behind the use of the two patterns. With my (until yesterday evening) non-existant knowledge about Old High German I can't give clear rules about the choice of inflection/non-inflection in this language (or rather heterogenous bundle of dialects), but it seems that the rules were much more flexible than in Modern German. Exactly the same development can be seen in for instance Old French. When a language changes there is always a possibility that some kind of unconscious logic puts its mark on the new system - and hurray for that.

lingoleng wrote:
Paioari, Baiern (Bavarians, Bavarii, Bajuwaren).


Well, having acestors that were smarter than the Romans will certain please that specific segment of the German population.


Edited by Iversen on 12 December 2010 at 8:51am

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Diglot
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 Message 48 of 60
03 January 2011 at 4:18pm | IP Logged 
Was snowed under with work for a couple of weeks (the Catering Industry is very seasonal!) and then woke up very ill on Christmas day, and remained so for over a week, so I have done nothing for several weeks. I'm just starting all the suggested revisions now (literally this second), sorry for the delay.


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