Icelandic: any deviations from V2 word order

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Roman A., Nov 24, 2017.

Tags:
  1. Roman A. New Member

    russian
    Good day!

    I have questons about icelandic syntax.
    All german languages but english are so called V2-languages, where a finite verb must stand on the second place of a sentence.
    It's very interesting for me, if that rule can be broken sometimes in icelandic, for emphasis reasons, til dæmis.

    In grammar books it is said that there are so called V3 adverbs in icelandic, which can move a finite verb onto the third place.
    These adverbs are: auðvitað, líklega, sennilega, kannski, ennþa, bara, and some others. My question: can any other adverbs or adverbial phrases like "í dag" move the verb to the third place? Can I say, for example?

    Ég aldrei las þessa bókina. Ég ekki las þessa bókina. Ég, í dag, las þessa bókina.

    Or that would be quite unnatural? Can I say "þessa bókina ég las ekki"?

    Can I say "Allir fuglar úr eggi skríða"?

    So, I'm interested in all cases with V3 orders in main clause in icelandic, if any.
    Thank you.
     
  2. Rafeind Member

    Icelandic - Iceland
    First off while “þessa bókina” is possible, “þessa bók” is more usual in these sentences. Secondly none of those sentences (Ég aldrei las þessa bókina. Ég ekki las þessa bókina. Ég, í dag, las þessa bókina.) sound right, so no not all adverbs fit in this position (Ég líklega las þessa bók works). "Þessa bókina ég las ekki" also does not work.

    On the other hand “Allir fuglar úr eggi skríða” might work in a poem. Not because the verb is in the third position, but because it is last. (“Gamall þulur hjá græði sat”, “og niður í bráðan Breiðafjörð í brúðarörmum sökk”, “Austanbrælu yfir sló“ those are all from poems and none of them have more than one verb in the clause.) In normal conversation it would sound weird.

    I think that on the whole you would find more cases where the verb is in first position without it being a question (or a omission) than of the verb being in third position, although this is also more common in poems than normal conversations (i.e. “Fljúga hvítu fiðrildin”).
     
  3. Roman A. New Member

    russian
    Thank you, Rafeind, very much. That helped me. Would you mind several more questions? :)

    So, "Ég hef séð hana." is normal. But "Ég hef hana séð." is not, and is good only in old sagas or special high style, copying the old one. Is that right?

    And a question about participle constructions:
    a.) bók rituð af Jóni
    b.) bók af Jóni rituð
    c.) af Jóni rituð bók
    d.) rituð af Jóni bók

    All of these variants are correct or not?
     
  4. Rafeind Member

    Icelandic - Iceland
    As for your first question, “Ég hef hana séð.” sounds like a line form a poem. Although you also find such sentences in laws: “..., er af megi ráða, að hann vilj íslenskur ríkisborgari vera.” (text on the last page of my passport). In those cases it always seems to me like they are copying the so-called Kanselístýll (just with out Danish loans) and not the sagas although the length of the sentences might have something to do with that. (Kanselístýll is basically Icelandic influenced by Danish influenced by Low German and tends to have long convoluted sentences).

    I think variants c. and d. are not correct (although “þessa af Jóni rituðu bók” might be found in a text written in Kanselístýll (which should never be considered good Icelandic by the way)). Variant b. sounds like it might be found in a poem while variant a. sounds normal. “Bók sem Jón skrifaði” would be more common though. On the whole using af to include the doer with a passive is very uncommon in Icelandic. You can say “bókin var skrifuð af Jóni” but if you want to include Jón at all you are much more likely to simply say ”Jón skrifaði bókina”. In the same vain even if is possible to say “hann á bók skrifaða af Jóni” “hann á bók sem Jón skrifaði” is much more common.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  5. Segorian Senior Member

    Icelandic & Swedish
    It is a line from a poem, namely one of many poems or rhymes called Grýlukvæði. The one in question was first printed in the middle of the 19th century, and its ninth stanza (out of a total of 52) reads:

    Eg þekki Grýlu og eg hef hana séð;
    hún er bæði ófríð og illileg með.

    (According to the poem, Grýla—a giantess used to scare children—has a number of children herself, some of which are called jólasveinar, described in the poem as being giants themselves and “dangerous to little children”. Today, the jólasveinar have been turned into Icelandic versions of Santa Claus.)

    The manner of writing called kansellístíll (in both name and substance the same as the Danish kancellistil) indeed used to be characteristic of official Icelandic texts. Beginning in the late 19th century efforts were made to get rid of its influence, including in legal writing. Nevertheless, it is true that the paragraph from the Act on Icelandic citizenship that contains the line að hann vilji íslenskur ríkisborgari vera is structured in a way that is reminiscent of kansellístíll (keeping in mind that proper kansellístíll was always about writing in a logical manner and without ambiguity). I can’t help but thinking, however, that this particular wording was used to give the passage a more solemn ring than would otherwise have been the case.

    An important point, which can be illustrated through the following sentence:

    Myndin var tekin af Jóni Sveinssyni við gegningar á Hofi í Vatnsdal.

    The sentence refers to a photograph taken of Jón Sveinsson, not by him.
     
  6. Roman A. New Member

    russian
    Thank you for your answers.

    Segorian
    It is a line from a poem

    I didn't know that, it's just an example. Articles written by icelandic grammatists say that such word order, called OV order (object-verb, when a main verb follows an object) was quite normal in icelandic till the beginning of the 19th century. Since then OV order has suffered a strong decline, and icelandiс has become, in a few decades only, a language withe VO order only possible. Of course, there are some exceptions from this rule but normally only VO order is possible. By the way, german language, on the contrary, is an OV language and we can only say "ich habe sie gesehen" (not "ich habe gesehen sie").

    Now I'm reading some icelandic fairy tales (Ævintýri) and OV order happens there sometimes. Examples from the texts:

    En sem hann ætlaði að ganga til hallar sér hann konu koma á móti sér forkunnar fríða og þóttist hann aldrei slíka séð hafa.
    Nú er frá því að segja að í öðru landi ríkti kóngur einn
    segist hún ekki annað fé eiga.
    ólmast hún nú enn meir og segist mega úr hungri deyja (although in this example "úr hungri" is rather adverbial modifier than object)

    I forgot to ask one question. In icelandic there is only one relative pronoun - sem. Is it possible (in bookish style or maybe kansellístíll) to use interrogative pronouns as relative ones (like in english, latin or russian)?

    Þetta er maðurinn sem María fór með í gær.
    Þetta er maðurinn með hverjum María fór í gær.
     
  7. Segorian Senior Member

    Icelandic & Swedish
    Yes, I think this is generally accepted. The reasons why the change happened so quickly are not entirely clear, although it is reasonable to suppose that it was a longer process in the spoken language.

    Most Icelandic fairy tales were written down in their current form in the 19th century, but given that they were handed down as an oral tradition from one generation to the next, they probably reflect an earlier style. Of your examples, the first, third and fourth are typical of the narrative style used in Iceland from the 12th and until the early 19th century. You wouldn't see this today except in texts deliberately imitating that older style (but in such contexts it would be seen as perfectly acceptable). Your second example, however, is still a very common way of speaking, and there exist several other expressions of a similar kind, for instance þess er hér að geta að...

    In formal (or somewhat elevated) language, one can also use er:

    Konurnar er taka þátt í sýningunni eru: (Morgunblaðið, 27 April 2000, promotional section, p. 12)​

    Yes, this was used in official documents employing kansellístíll and in some other texts. Extremely rare today but not totally unknown.

    Að því er snertir úrskurð hjeraðsdómarans, sem kveðinn var upp 5. júnímán., með hverjum hann synjaði gagnáfrýjanda um lenging á fresti þeim, sem hann hafði veitt honum með úrskurði frá 29. maímán., þá hefur gagnáfrýjandi tekið það fram, að... (Appellate Court judgment No 28/1879)​
     
  8. Roman A. New Member

    russian
    Thank you, Segorian. Only asking native speakers helps to better understand things about the language.
    Although this thread is about syntax, I have a couple of questions about other things.

    First - diminutives in icelandic. I know, suffixes -l- and -ling- added to a stem form diminutives from nouns. For example:
    mús - mýsla/mýslingur, ormur - yrmlingur/yrmla, önd - endlingur, blað - bleðill, köttur - kettlingur

    The question is if this way of forming diminutives is still productive in modern language? Do many words form diminutives or only few?
    Can we form diminutives freely? Сan we say, for example, fisklingur (from fiskur) or synlingur (from sonur) or hyndla (from hundur) or eygill (from auga)? Are there other ways to form diminutives, maybe other suffixes?

    The second question is about consonant clusters hl- hr- hn-. Is the initial h- pronounced in these clusters after all or not? [l̥], [r̥], [n̥] or [hl̥], [hr̥], [hn̥]?
     
  9. Segorian Senior Member

    Icelandic & Swedish
    It is productive at least to some extent. Disklingur is from the 1970s (although it is a word that was probably coined by a committee and has already been made obsolete by technological advances). Jepplingur is from the 1990s and is in fairly common use (jeppill was also tried). The suffix -ill is used fairly often to create new words, but these are only rarely diminutives. Hreyfill is from the early 20th century and means ‘motor’. Fíkill was coined in the 1970s as a word for ‘addict’ and gained rapid acceptance. Kyndill came into use spontaneously a few years ago as a word for ‘ebook reader’ (after the Kindle, and using the same spelling as the word for ‘torch’ although a more logical way of spelling it would have been kindill).

    Many words do form diminutives, but I'm not sure that diminutives can be formed freely. It's clear that words created with -lingur are often accepted fairly readily, but synlingur for instance sounds very strange. Of the other words you mention, both fisklingur and hyndla exist (the former is recent, I believe, and, while rare, probably strikes most people as a normal word; the latter is old and hardly in use today). If I saw the word eygill, I would expect it to have been coined as a specialist term, and I would have to take a wild guess as to its meaning.

    Prefixes can be used. Hundreds of words have been formed with smá-: smábátur, smámenni, smámunir, smásmygli, smáþarmar, etc., etc. A few diminutives in í- and ei- exist, including íbjúgur (‘slightly curved’) and eilítill (‘very small’). Also, ör- is used as an intensifier denoting smallness: örmjór means ‘very thin’ and örsnauður means ‘very poor’.

    It's the former: [l̥], [r̥] and [n̥].
     
  10. Roman A. New Member

    russian
    This pronunciation occurs throughout the whole country or dialectically it can vary?
    I'm asking because I have seen the both transcriptions in textbooks and dictionaries, among them those of icelandic authors.

    Thank you. I'm drawing a conclusion that forming diminutives with suffix -ling- is productive enough in the modern language.
     
  11. Roman A. New Member

    russian
    What does it mean, by the way?)
     
  12. Segorian Senior Member

    Icelandic & Swedish
    It is possible that there is some dialectal variation, but I haven't noticed it with these sounds. I don't think ever precedes [l̥], [r̥] or [n̥]. However, the unvoiced sound (this is true for [l̥] and [n̥] at least) is sometimes briefly followed by the corresponding voiced sound before the vowel is reached (my feeling is that this primarily occurs either incidentally or idiosyncratically), and that is why the notations [hl] and [hn] are sometimes used. On the other hand, I don't think I have ever seen [hl̥], [hr̥] or [hn̥]. In these, the seems entirely redundant.

    That would be my conclusion, too.

    Jepplingur is a small jeppi. The latter word was originally used for the four-wheel-drive vehicle called Jeep and later as a generic term for the kind of car now known as SUV. Although modern SUVs are often quite large, there also exist so-called ‘mid-size’ and ‘compact’ SUVs, and jepplingur is used for the latter category.
     
  13. Roman A. New Member

    russian
    Segorian, reading the icelandic wikipedia, I have found such a sentence in an article dedicated to "Fimbulvetur":

    Í Snorra Eddu, Ragnarök er þessum vetri lýst svona: ,,Hár segir: ,,Mikil tíðindi eru þaðan að segja mörg. Þau hin fyrstu að vetur sá kemur er kallaður Fimbulbvetur. Þá drífur snær úr öllum áttum. Frost eru þá mikil og vindar hvassir. Ekki nýtur sólar. Þeir fara þrír saman og ekki sumar á milli. En áður ganga svo aðrir þrír vetur að þá er um alla veröld orustur miklar. "

    This sentence begins with an adverbial, after which there goes a subject, and a finite verb comes third. Is it a normal sentence since the finite verb is not on the second position or is it just a mistake of the writer of the article? What do you think about that?
     
  14. You are in fact wrong there. Two things you must keep in mind:
    1. Ragnarök is a plural noun, so it would use the conjugation "eru" if subject
    2. The sentence uses the passive form of "describe" to mean "something is described". The icelandic verb "lýsa" takes dative, so the passive "e-u er lýst" takes a dative subject

    Keeping these things in mind (and knowing that an adverbial is usually not followed by a comma like this) you can see that the sentence has the passive "þessum vetri er lýst" in the order "er þessum vetri lýst" according to v2, and that you can just you can ignore the ", Ragnarök" part.

    What that ", Ragnarök" means is a bit hard to say, as even for an Icelander it looks strange and out of place, but it seems that the author meant "Í Snorra Eddu, Ragnarök" to be read as "in Snorra Edda, in the Ragnarök part / when talking about Ragnarök".


    Hope that helps. I know I'm not Segorian, but I decided to answer anyways :p.
    Wish you a great day :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  15. Roman A. New Member

    russian
    Thank you, Þórir, you really helped. Yes, I now understand, Ragnarök in this sentence is just a name of a chapter of Snorra Edda.
     
  16. Segorian Senior Member

    Icelandic & Swedish
    Correct. The words “Snorra Edda Ragnarök” are being used as a title. It is worth pointing out that there are at least five errors in the quoted text (Mikil tíðindi eru þaðan að segja og mörg. ... er kallaður er Fimbulbvetur ... Þeir vetur fara þrír saman og ekki sumar á milli).
     

Share This Page

Loading...