Skip to main content

View Diary: ÍslensKos: The Icelandic Language (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Lingustic Complexity) (183 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  One thing I've noticed about Icelandic... (8+ / 0-)

    is that much of the grammar has a "cobbled together" feel.  Which is strange when you first think about that, because you expect that more with English, right?  But, just for example, it's "Ég elska" (I love), but "Mig langar" (Me'd like"), but "Mér líkar" (I like).  It's crazy enough when different verbs or particles take different cases as objects or direct objects, but when they even take different cases for the subject?  If proto-Germanic was similar, I'd strongly suspect this is a linguistic atavism of it or an earlier language being cobbled together from a bunch of local dialects.  

    •  Meh... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lorinda Pike

      "Mér líkar" is literally "Me like".  :P  Djöfulsins lyklaborð...

      •  As in "me like dogs" ? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rhubarb, JVolvo

        It's like that in German and Spanish too, if I understand you correctly.

        German: "Mir gefallen Hunde."
        Spanish: "Me gustan los perros."

        For both, literally something like "Dogs please me," but this is the normal way to say "I like dogs."

        Lamentablemente, por ahora, los objetivos que nos planteamos no fueron logrados en la ciudad capital. - Hugo Chávez, 1992

        by Anak on Mon Sep 26, 2011 at 05:30:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's a very common pattern (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anak, Ahianne

        ... maybe better thought of as "it likes to me" i.e., "it is pleasing to me." There's a bunch of verbs that happens to in all the Germanic languages.  English used to do the same thing, for ex. Shakesperian melikes, methinks, meseems - these have dropped out, but we still say "it seems to me."

    •  English Dropped Reflexive Constructions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Youffraita, Oh Mary Oh

      That construction you cited about personal preference, etc. is a reflexive construction, which English has dropped.  Actually, most of the western IE languages have retained more extensive forms of that construction.  French, German and Spanish all have similar forms.  English is the odd man out.

      You speak about languages being cobbled together, with reference to Icelandic.  It's English which is the creole.  Middle English differs radically from Old English, which did resemble Old Norse.  Once the Normans invaded with their bastardized version of French (remember, they had been Old Norse speaking Northmen who had settled on the Cotetin Peninsula only about 200 years before William the Bastard took his little cruise), crushed the Anglo-Saxons and imposed their new government and language, Old French and Anglo-Saxon got pushed together on the British Isles.  Out of that stew bubbled up Middle English, with the reduced noun case and verb conjugation structures one would expect from a creole.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 06:37:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My Latin teacher once said (0+ / 0-)

        that the reason it devolved into Italian was because few people could figure out all the declensions.

        After one year of Latin, I tend to think she was right.  It was a monstrously difficult language to study & that was my one and only year of attempting it.  It may have helped my English skills, but really, I think French was much more useful: at least when someone speaks to me in Spanish, I understand the sentence structure.  Latin was just too confusing.

        For me, anyway.  ;-D

        Over the past 30-odd years, the Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved into a mental hospital. --Bill Maher

        by Youffraita on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 06:21:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site