Icelandic: sentence swapping

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by ShakeyX, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Shōgi (将棋), oft kallað japönsk skák, er borðspil sem upprunnið er í Japan.

    first of all, is it common to swap the adjective (past participle) upprunnið with the verb after a conjunction... i thought it was only after adverbs, or does this conjunction cause the leading sentence to act as an adverbial phrase?

    second, "is a game which "IS" originated"... if the conjunction sem is there, why is the second "er" needed? Is this correct?
  2. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    It's really common after 'sem' in more formal writing.
    This inversion is called stílfærsla in Icelandic (stylistic inversion) and it's when there is a gap where a subject would usually go. Sentences with 'sem' are relative clauses which go on to describe further information about something and are naturally always subjectless so this is why you often see it here. It's not compulsory, only optional. It's to put the verb in the second position of that clause - with is something Icelandic likes to do.
  3. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Samkvæmt orðabók Oxford var heitið „England“ fyrst notað í suðurhluta eyjunnar árið 897 og var nútímastafsetning þess fyrst notuð um 1538.

    Surely stílfærsla doesn't happen after OG. I thought it was after adverbial phrases or "sem".

    But this was totally confusing to try and read, og var nútímastafsetning þess ...

    Is this how it is suppose to be, is it a choice? This is the first tie I've noticed it.
  4. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    You're totally right, it's not stílfærsla, but rather Narrative Inversion (stylistic inversion only happens when there is no subject, and there is a subject here).
    In story telling and related academic styles it's not uncommon (but also not common) to put the verb in the first position in a sentence.
    If you look at enough news articles you'll see it pop up at times. It's meant to be indicative of a story-telling device and was much more regular in older forms of Icelandic but is gradually losing ground. Now, there is one environment which is really, really common for this to occur, and it's actually lost most of its 'narrative' feel and is actually used in the spoken language as well and that is inverting subject and object after og. That's what's going on here. This is quite frequent and I'm sure now that you've noticed this, you'll see it everywhere.

    Forgot to answer the choice part, so editing this in now... yes it is a choice and you can rearrange it if you want to.
    It will eventually sound natural and maybe even a bit more sophisticated after a bit of time!
    It's odd to think about how you can get stylistic readings from other languages but I assure you it grows on you. ;)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013

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