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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Bird's-Eye View of Teutonic Grammar   277
nearer to those of common intercourse. To accommodate local senti-
ment of communities separated by great distances in a vast and thinly-
populated territory, the newest official spelling and grammar-books
admit many alternative forms, and as yet no English-Norwegian
dictionaries incorporate the changes which came into force in 1938.
The net result of all these changes is that written Norwegian is now as
close to Swedish as to Danish
The grammar of Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian is very much
simpler than that of German The word-order (see Chapter IV) is
essentially like that of the authorized English Bible except that the
negative particle or an adverb of time precede the verb in a subordinate
clause Illustrations of this are the Swedish and Danish equivalents of
the sentence he said that he could not come
Han sade art han inte (or icke) kunde komma    (Swed)
Han sagde at han ikke kunde komme                (Dan )
Personal flexion of the verb has disappeared The present tense
ending for all persons singular and (except in literary Swedish) all
persons plural, is the same, -r added to the infinitive form, the only
exception to this rule is that the present tense of some Swedish verbs
ends in -er instead of -ar The infinitive ending is -a (Swedish) or -e
(Danish and Norwegian) The past tense of weak verbs ends in -de or
-te (cf loved and slept} in accordance with the preceding consonant
(p 81) when the end vowel of the stem is omitted Compound tense
forms are analogous to our own Thus we have (Swedish) jag kallar (I
call), jag kallade (I called), jag har kallat (I have called), jag hade
kallat (I had called),;^ shall holla (I shall call),^ skulle kalla (I should
call) In the Danish equivalent e replaces a throughout (e g jeg kalder)
Any good dictionary gives a list of the past tenses and past participles
of strong verbs
The active past participle used with hava or have always ends in t as
above The passive adjectival form is nearly always the same in Nor-
wegian, often in Danish, but never in Swedish The Swedish adjectival
form ends in -d (sing ; or -de (plur) when the verb is weak, or -en (sing),
-ena (plur ) when it is strong, as in given or givna in contradistinction to
givit (given) after hava The many Danish verbs which form a contracted
past analogous to dreamt (in contradistinction to dreamed)^ e g betale-
betalt (pay-paid), have no special adjectival form, and uncontracted verbs
have kept the d form in the plural only, e g straffet (punished) m the
singular, straffede in the plural