Øynduyska – XI (Passives, Impersonals, Subjunctives)

The adventures of Øynduyska trundle on…


The Passive and the Impersonal

Øynduyska possesses no morphological passive; instead, periphrastic constructions are employed.

The aorist and preterite passives are formed with the aorist and present tenses respectively of the copula senn, and a past participle with the prefix y-, where no inseperable prefix is present. The aorist passive is therefore very close to the compound past of an intransitive verb, and identical for verbs possessing an inseperable prefix. However, ambiguity is rare, as most verbs are lexically specified for transitivity. Ech em com, “I came”, must be a compound past form, because cwemma is an intransitive verb; ech em upybrǫka, “I am broken (by something)” must be an aorist passive, because upbreaka is transitive.

The compound and double past passives are formed with the auxiliary hebba, the past participle of senn, and the past participle of the main verb: hav ðat upybrǫka beon, “it was broken”; had ðat yetha beon, “it had been eaten”.

There are no specifically progressive, perfect, imperfect or experiential passives. Widespread use is made, however, of “impersonal” constructions: verbs that simply lack a subject. Impersonals, which may occur in any verbal form, are commonly used where the subject is unknown, general or unimportant, but do not shift emphasis to the object in the manner of a perfect. Thus, hav ðat yetha beon, “it was eaten”, may be contrasted with hav yetha ðat, “there was consumption of it”, or just hav yetha, “there was consumption”. Impersonals are also used for weather verbs: reyn in, “it rains”; lieg afti sniung, “it has snowed”.

The Subjunctive

Øynduyska possesses a morphological subjunctive, which is utilised in optatives, conditionals, commissives, indirect speech, and many subordinate clauses (although modal verbs may also convey some of these meanings, and more precisely). Any tense construction may be placed in the subjunctive – where an auxiliary is used, it simply takes the subjunctive form.

One difference, however, concerns predication, which is much simpler than in the indicative. Subjunctive stative predication always employs senn, and subjunctive transformative predication always employs wørða, neutralising the various distinctions made in the indicative.