Øynduyska – X (Predication)

The continuing adventures of Øynduyska


Adjectival and Participial Stative Predication

There are three forms of predication of adjectives in Øynduyska: gnomic, present tense, and past tense.

Gnomic predication used the copula (senn). It indicates a currently essential characteristic of the subject, and typically indicates something permanent, or at least unlikely to change in the short term. Thus, iss is cąld, “ice is cold”.

Present tense predication indicates a current but inessential characteristic. It employs an auxiliary, typically stąnn, sitta, or ligga. Ligga is used with inanimate subjects, or occasionally animate subjects upon which the characteristic has been imposed: lieg mi hąw cąld, “my hand is cold”.

With animate subjects, either stąnn or sitta may be used. The former is used more often for states that may provoke action, or that may be chosen by the subject: thus, stá ða mann cąld, “the man is cold”, tends to connote “the man is cold (he’s choosing to stand outside)” or “the man is cold (so he may come inside)” or the like. Sitta tends to be used for states that are the result or conclusion of an event, and that relatively little can presently be done to address: sitt ða mann cąld, “the man is cold”, may suggest, for example, “the man is cold (because he forgott his coat)”. With the specific connotation of the result of an action, sitta may also be used with inanimate subjects: sitt ða cuppa cąld, “(as a result) the cup is cold”; conversely, stąnn may be used with inanimate subjects with the specific connotation of a state that demands a response: stá ða cuppa cąld, “the cup is cold (so what are you going to do about it?)”.

However, alternative auxiliaries may also be used, particularly in poetic writing. In particular, certain classes of noun tend to call for specific auxiliaries: so, for example, houses, trees and mountains all call for staða (also “to be standing”), while moving fluids tend to take rąsa. Thus staąð ða huss bán, “the house is white”, but raąs ða béch cąld, “the river is cold”.

Past-tense predication is formed in the same way as for the present-tense, save that in the past tense it is the compound past of the auxiliary that is used: ða béch is cąld raąs, “the river was cold”. An alternative form of past-tense predication instead employs the preterite of the auxiliary: raąst ða béch cąld; however, this construction is now generally considered archaic or poetic, outside of fixed expressions.

It is important to note that in the past tense, there is no gnomic predication. Thus, ða huss is hár, “the house is tall” (because this is an essential quality of the building), alongside staąð ða huss bąn (because the house is only incidentally white – repainting it would not essentially alter the building), but ða huss is hár staða, “the house was tall” sits alongside ða huss is bąn staða, “the house was white”, with no difference in structure.

The exact same structures may be used when the adjective predicated is a participle. However, where a past participle is predicated, it takes the suffix (or infix) y-, as in the compound past.

Similarly, the same structures are used when predicating a prepositional phrase. However, in many cases the choice of auxiliary with prepositional predication may carry idiomatic significance, as prepositional predication is used for many purposes in Øynduyska. Thus, lieg ðat á ða tarb, “it’s the bull’s fault”, against stá wi á ða tarb, “we rely upon the bull”.


Adjectival and Participial Transformative Predication

Transformative predication, in which a subject develops or aquires a certain state, requires one of two further auxiliaries.

With non-participial adjectives, the auxiliary becwem is used with adjectives imputing a relatively high degree of agency to the subject, as well as adjectives relating to beneficial or desirable qualities, or adjectives relating to a natural and appropriate state for the subject: becwem ða cnafa lang, “the boy becomes tall”. With adjectives suggesting low agency, as well as non-beneficial or undesirable qualities, or adjectives relating to an unnatural or inappropriate state for the subject, the auxiliary getta  is used instead: gett ða cnafa seoch, “the boy becomes sick”.

With past participles formed from transitive verbs, the auxiliary gett is always used: gett ða cuppa upybrǫka, “the cup becomes broken”, gett ða cnafa ysmjack, “the boy becomes kissed”.

The same auxiliaries may be used in the compound past to form past tense predicative constructions.


Nominal Predication

Nominal stative predication employs the copula, senn, for essential identifies, and for most nominal descriptions, but the periphrastic construction vorstąnn for titles, functions and so forth. Thus ech em ði vjaðr, “I am your father”, and he is ða langest cnafa, “he is the tallest boy”, but stá she vor Presedenta, “she is the President”.

Transformative nominal predication employs the modal verb wørða, except in the case of titles, functions and so forth, when the auxiliary atrisa is used. Thus, ech wørð vjaðr, “I become a father”, but riys she at Presedent, “she becomes President.”

In the past tense, nominal stative predication shares the same forms as nominal transformative predication, which in turn employs the compound past. Hence, ech em ði vjaðr worða, “I was your father”/“I became your father”, and she is at Presedent risa, “she was President”/“she became President”.


Phonetic Samples:
sitt ða cuppa cąld
/ zɪt ðə ˈcʊpə cɑld/
lieg ðat á ða tarb
/lɪəg ðat aː ðə ˈtæɹəb/
gett ða cnafa ysmjack
/get ðə ˈknævə əˈsmjæk/
she is at Presedent risa
/ʃe ɪz at ˈpɹezədənt ˈɹiːzə/


3 thoughts on “Øynduyska – X (Predication)

  1. Hans says:

    staąð ða huss bán
    So we can assume that there was a significant Goidelic influence?

  2. I was wondering if anyone would notice that…

    Yes, the islands were at one time settled by Irish monks, and they seem to have had some subtle (and not so subtle) influences on the local language. They are probably why a VSO order became the default (from a parent language that was SOV but with a loose order, with frequent fronting for emphasis). They are also probably why the language makes considerable use of prepositional structures, and has lost the verb ‘have’ other than as an auxiliary. Their influence is also occasionally seen in the vocabulary, mostly in more abstract political and religious terminology, and they were the conduit for some of the earlier Latin borrowings as well. However, the level of borrowing is intended to be much lower than in a language like English.
    [There was another influx of Irish speakers to the islands in the 19th century, when Ireland was overpopulated and the islands were having a brief coal mining boom. There will be some loans from this time also.]

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