--- David Stifter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Elliott wrote:
> > I tend to agree with David that these forms are
> > difficult and unclear. I'm not sure if deriving it
> > from a form with a verb (i.e. 'esti') is at all
> > needed.
> I agree that theoretically (typologically speaking)
> a form of the
> verb would not be necessary. But it would be very
> difficult to
> demonstrate this for Irish. First of all, in a
> number of forms the
> verb was certainly present (e.g. 1st pl. "-dan" <
> *-den < "-dem" < *-
> demmi). Second, given the fact that the copula was
> always unstressed
> and therefore liable to massive phonetic reductions,
> it would be
> hardly impossible to show that even in cases where
> nothing remains
> visible in OIr. it wasn't there at an earlier stage.
I agree with all of the above, although I'm not sure
the typological argument is as strong as you'd like.
Typologically speaking, 3rd singular present is the
most likely to be verbless, even if all other persons
(or tenses) have verb forms.
> > some forms of the copula could have started out as
> > pronouns. This is well attested for various
> > Hebrew, Akkadian, Arabic, Maltese, Amharic,
> > Beja, Nubian, Margi, Kanuri, Nuer, Shilluk ...etc.
> > just because most of these are 'exotic' languages,
> "Exotic" solely depends on the point of view :-) In
> some respects,
> standard European languages are quite exotic
> compared with other
> languages of the world.
Quite right :).
> > Anyway, my guess then, would be that some 3rd
> > pronouns became copula morphemes. This may explain
> > coincidence between -s- in (nis) and the -s- in
> > infixed 3pl pronouns
> Because of the drastic reductions that must have
> taken place in
> prehistory, I would be very cautious when comparing
> coincidences like the "s" of "nís" and in clitic
> pronominals. Since
> it is not clear at all how the "s" in "nís" came
> about, I wouldn't
> dare compare thosse forms.
Perhaps you're right, although, I wouldn't put it past
Old Irish speakers at least to think about their
language as a series of surface coincidences. Well,
maybe not the learned classes, but certainly those
> as well as the coincidence
> > between -did-, -id-, -d- and 3s masculine pronouns
> > the copula.
> Well, we shouldn't neglect diachronic aspects here.
> It is at least
> clear that the "d" in the clitic pronominals has -
> speaking - nothing to do with pronouns. For example
> in the 3rd sg.
> masc. class B or C infixed pronoun "-d(id)", that
> part which reflects
> the historical pronouns is the nasalisation effect
> on the following
> element. The "d", on the othr hand, is a particle,
> most likely *de.
> That is to say, when we have a "d" in dependent
> copula forms, this
> may just as well only be a particle to which the
> true copula was
> affixed in prehistory. But because of the radical
> sound changes in
> the prehistory of Irish the original copula-portion
> had become lost,
> with only an (originally meaningless) particle
> surviving on the
Again, I agree with the above. Perhaps, I was a bit
hasty in my comparison. However, a plausible (but
unprovable) scenario for 'nis', would perhaps be that
Old Irish speakers, unaware of the historical
background, analyzed 'did,id,d' as pronouns, hence
extending pronominal forms elsewhere by analogy. Who
Anyway, I spent yesterday puzzling through Peter
Schrijver's 1997 book. A great gem that is.
Unfortunately, he shed no light on the copula. All I
could piece together was that has something to do with
*de. But this doesn't explain the double 'd' in -did,
or the 'i' in either
-did or -id. Really, *de could only plausibly be
reconstructed for -d, with perhaps an *esti following.
So we have:
-d < *de (esti)
-did < *de ...
-id < ??
Any ideas? Sims-Williams 1984 seems to think that the
-id part has been added to -d (from *de (esti)) as a
later extension. But the opposite view is found in
Thurneysen 1897 and 1946, which say that the initial
'd' was added to an original -id/-d, by analogy with
the other persons of the singular.
Very confused indeed this subject is.
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