Verb Conjugation in Old Wenthish (1)

A break today from the usual trickle of book reviews: lots of verb tables! Today’s post outlines the verb conjugation system of Old Wenthish, a fictional Germanic language spoken on some fictional islands in the latter half of the first millennium. At least, this post deals with the strong verbs – weak verbs will require another post.

And yes, this is all stupidly complicated. Don’t blame me, blame Proto-Germanic…

[my goal here is actually developing modern Wenthish – I intend to put most of its content up on a dedicated blog. But in this latest revision of the language, I’m trying to do things Properly, which means step-by-step, which means I’m still more than a thousand years from even having the vocabulary to write an introductory headline for that blog. Much of this verbal conjugation will be completely lost in the further development of the language, so in that sense it’s sort of pointless; but since I’ve done it, I may as well show people.]

This probably isn’t as clear as it could be; if there’s anything you don’t understand, please ask!

 


 

VERB CONJUGATION

Verbs in Old Wenthish followed one of two distinct sets of paradigms: those of strong verbs, or those of weak verbs. There were also a handful of irregular verbs that did not closely follow either pattern.

 

Strong Verbs

Strong verbs can be divided into a large number of distinct classes, in which a degree of irregularity is also found. Howevr, the relevant suffixes are generally the same: -ād for the indicative present plural, -t for the indicative past 2nd person singular and -n for the indicative past plural; for the subjunctive present singular in the 1st person, and in the 2nd and 3rd persons, and -ēn in the plural, but –n in the past plural; -end to form the active participle and -ena to form the infinitive and the passive participle; the verbal noun is formed in -n. In addition, the 2nd and 3rd person singular present indicatives and the singular past subjunctives take an additional -i if the root is light (as does the imperative in Class IV), while the subjunctive past plural is similarly lengthened to -in in the case of light roots.

The general paradigm of suffixes is thus:

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular
2nd Person Singular (-i) t
3rd Person Singular (-i)
Plural ād n
Subjunctive 1st Person Singular ō (-i)
2nd Person Singular ē
3rd Person Singular
Plural ēn -(i)n
Imperative  
  Active Participle end
Passive Participle ena
Infinitive ena
Verbal Noun n

 

However, in addition to these suffixes, strong verbs undergo a number of root changes: ablaut; consonant gradation; and secondary articulation. The main secondary articulation change is the palatalisation of the final clusters of the past subjunctive and the present indicative 2nd and 3rd persons, regardless of whether the -i in the suffix is expressed, and also of the verbal noun.

Consonant gradation is in the form of inherited grammatischer Wechsel, which has been extended by analogy to plosive consonants. As a result, all nouns showing final voiceless consonants in the infinitive and in the present indicative show voicing in the past indicative plural, the past subjunctive, and the passive participle (which in the case of a few verbs may cause homophony with other roots in these forms).

More substantial is the process of ablaut. Strong verbs may possess up to seven root vowels in alternation, resulting in seven ‘parts’: that of the indicative and subjunctive present 1st person singulars (1st part); that of the 2nd and 3rd present subjunctives, the present indicative plural, the active participle, the imperative and the infinitive (2nd part); that of the indicative present 2nd and 3rd persons singular and the verbal noun (3rd part); that of the indicative past singular (4th part); that of the indicative past plural (5th part); that of the past subjunctive (6th part); and that of the past participle (7th part). A small number of verbs also show an irregular form specifically in the imperative.

A final complication occurs predictably in the past indicative plural, and in the past subjunctive plural of verbs with heavy roots: in these, a root-final voiced fricative drops before the nasal suffix, lengthening (if possible) the preceding vowel; the same process also occurs to the verbal nouns of verbs with voiced fricatives in the root.

 

 

Class I verbs generally preserve the Proto-Germanic Class 1, and minus a number of roots ending in a fricative, which have become part of the new Class V. Class I can be divided into three subtypes: Ia comprise the great majority of verbs in the class; Ib is a subtype occuring where the verbal root ends in a velar; and Ic are unusual verbs sharing the properties of each, and with a root ending that disappears in some forms (a pattern of lenition also found in some Class IIa verbs).

Class I verbs are relatively straightforward, with only four alternating vowels: the ablaut pattern for Ia verbs is io-ī-ī-ā-i-i-i (as in all classes, actual orthographic vowels may differ to indicate adjacent secondary articulations); this becomes io-ē-ē-ā-ia-ia-ia in the velar subclass, while Ic verbs show io- ī-ī-ā-ia-ia-ia, with the additional irregularity of a 1st person singular subjunctive in ūi; all three types typically show final palatalisation in the first four parts, in addition to the usual sixth. The three subtypes are represented here by the verbs mīthena, ‘to shun’, strēicana, ‘to stroke’, and and wrīna, ‘to skew, to place awry’ respectively:

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular mioth

mʲ^ioþʲ

māith

mʷ^aːþʲ

2nd Person Singular mīth

mʲ^iːþʲ

māitht

mʷ^aːþʲtʲ

3rd Person Singular mīth

mʲ^iːþʲ

māith

mʷ^aːþʲ

Plural mīthād

mʲ^iːþʲaːðʷ

mīun

mʲ^iːnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular miothō

mʲ^ioþʲoː

midi

mʲ^iðʲi

2nd Person Singular mīthē

mʲ^iːþʲeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural mīthēn

mʲ^iːþʲeːnʷ

midin

mʲ^iðʲənʲ

Imperative mīth!

mʲ^iːþʲ

 
  Active Participle mīthend

mʲ^iːþʲənʷdʷ

Passive Participle midena

mʲ^iðʲənʷa

Infinitive mīthena

mʲ^iːþʲənʷɑ

Verbal Noun mīthn

mʲ^iːþʲnʲ

 

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular strioic

sʲtrʲ^iokʲ

strāic

sʷtrʷ^aːkʲ

2nd Person Singular strēic

sʲtrʲ^eːkʲ

strāict

sʷtrʷ^aːçʲtʲ

3rd Person Singular strēic

sʲtrʲ^eːkʲ

strāic

sʷtrʷ^aːkʲ

Plural strēic

sʲtrʲ^eːkʲaːðʷ

striagn

sʲtrʲ^iəkʷnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular strioicō

sʲtrʲ^iokʲoː

strieg

sʲtrʲ^iəgʲ

 

2nd Person Singular strēicē

sʲtrʲ^eːkʲeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural strēicēn

sʲtrʲ^eːkʲeːnʷ

striegn

sʲtrʲ^iəgʲnʲ

Imperative strēic

sʲtrʲ^eːkʲ

 
  Active Participle strēic

sʲtrʲ^eːkʲənʷdʷ

Passive Participle striagena

sʲtrʲ^iəkʷənʷa

Infinitive strēic

sʲtrʲ^eːkʲənʷɑ

Verbal Noun strēicn

sʲtrʲ^eːkʲnʲ

 

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular wrioih

wrʷ^ioçʲ

wrāih

wrʷ^aːçʲ

2nd Person Singular wrīh

wrʷ^iːçʲ

wrāiht

wrʷ^aːçʲtʲ

3rd Person Singular wrīh

wrʷ^iːçʲ

wrāih

wrʷ^aːçʲ

Plural wrīād

wrʷ^iːaðʷ

wrīun

wrʷ^iːnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular wrūi

wrʷ^yː

wrieg

wrʷ^iəɣʲ

2nd Person Singular wrīē

wrʷ^iːe

3rd Person Singular
Plural wrīun

wrʷ^iːnʷ

wrīn

wrʷ^iːnʲ

Imperative wrīh!

wrʷ^iːçʲ

 
  Active Participle wrīnd

wrʷ^iːnʷdʷ

Passive Participle wriegena

wrʷ^iəɣʲənʷa

Infinitive wrīna

wrʷ^iːnʷɑ

Verbal Noun wrīhn

wrʷ^iːçʲnʲ

 

 

Class II verbs are a large class, preserving the Proto-Germanic class well. There are three subforms: the typical IIa; IIb verbs that replace the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th parts with a long vowel; and a handful of IIc verbs in which more substantial vowel lengthening and monophthongisationhave occured due to the absence of a final consonant. Class II verbs, with the partial exception of IIb, display some of the most complex ablaut, but few secondary articulation shifts: palatalisation is seen only in the past subjunctive, not in the present indicative. IIc verbs show an unusual imperative and some doubling of nasals in suffixes. The ablaut paradigm is eo-eo-ia-ā-u-ui-o for IIa, with the first four parts replaced by ū for IIb, and ōe-ōe-ī-ā-ū-ūi-ō for IIc; IIc verbs furthermore show irregular eo in the imperative. The ā in the past tense generally indicates /aː/, but in a few irregularities (particularly before velars) may indicate /ɑː/.

The three subtypes are represented here by reofana (‘to rip, to rend’), dūcana (‘to dive, to dip’) and cōena respectively:

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular reof

rʷ^eofʷ

rāf

rʷ^aːfʷ

2nd Person Singular riaf

rʲ^iəfʷ

rāft

rʷ^aːfʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular riaf

rʲ^iəfʷ

rāf

rʷ^aːfʷ

Plural reofād

rʷ^eofʷaːðʷ

rūn

rʷ^uːnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular reofō

rʷ^eofʷoː

ruibi

rʷ^yβʲi

 

2nd Person Singular reofē

rʷ^eofʷeː

 

3rd Person Singular
Plural reofēn

rʷ^eofʷeːnʷ

ruibin

rʷ^yβʲənʲ

Imperative reof!

rʷ^eofʷ

 
  Active Participle reofend

rʷ^eofʷənʷdʷ

Passive Participle robena

rʷ^oβʷənʷa

Infinitive reofena

rʷ^eofʷənʷɑ

Verbal Noun riafn

rʲ^iəfʲnʲ

 

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular dūc

dʷ^uːkʷ

dāc

dʷɑːkʷ

2nd Person Singular dūc

dʷ^uːkʷ

dāct

dʷɑːkʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular dūc

dʷ^uːkʷ

dāc

dʷɑːkʷ

Plural dūcād

dʷ^uːkʷaːðʷ

dugn

dʷugʷn

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular dūcō

dʷ^uːkʷoː

duig

dʷygʲ

2nd Person Singular dūcē

dʷ^uːkʷeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural dūcēn

dʷ^uːkʷeːnʷ

duign

dʷygʲnʲ

Imperative dūc!

dʷuːkʷ

 
  Active Participle dūcend

dʷuːkʷənʷdʷ

Passive Participle dogena

dʷogʷənʷa

Infinitive dūcena

dʷuːkʷənʷɑ

Verbal Noun dūcn

dʷuːkʲnʲ

 

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular cōe

kʷ^øː

kʷ^aː

2nd Person Singular

kʲ^iː

cāt

kʷ^aːtʷ

3rd Person Singular

kʲ^iː

kʷ^aː

Plural cōeād

kʷ^øːɑðʷ

cūnn

kʷ^uːnʷnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular cōe

kʷ^øː

cūi

kʷ^yː

 

2nd Person Singular cōē

kʷ^øːe

 

3rd Person Singular
Plural cōen

kʷ^øːnʷ

cūinn

kʷ^yːnʲnʲ

Imperative ceo!

kʷ^eo

 
  Active Participle cōend

kʷ^øːnʷdʷ

Passive Participle cōnna

kʷ^oːnʷnʷa

Infinitive cōena

kʷ^øːnʷɑ

Verbal Noun cīn

kʲ^iːnʲ

 

Class III verbs represent a dramatic aggregation of classes, comprising most of the third, fourth and fifth Proto-Germanic classes. The original ablaut of the old Class 3 has largely been preseved, and as a result the new Class III shows a common (though not universal) a-u-ui-o paradigm for the fifth through eighth parts. However, the new class can be divided into four phonologically-predictable subtypes: IIIa verbs (whose roots in a cluster or a velar) have ea-ea-ie in the first three parts; IIIb verbs (whose roots end in a single consonant that is not a sonorant or a velar) show e-e-i; IIIc verbs (whose roots end in a single non-nasal sonorant) have the pattern eo-e-i; and IIId verbs reduce the first three parts all to i, while raising the seventh part to u. IIIc verbs have a further irregularity, as their verbal nouns show ia (invariably orthographically ie to indicate the following palatalisation), instead of the expected plain i. The a in the past tense represents /ɑ/. Here, IIIa is represented by the verb healpena, ‘to help’; IIIb by uebena, ‘to weave’; IIIc by berena, ‘to carry’; and IIId by swiummena, ‘to swim’:

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular healp

hʷ^eəlʷpʷ

halp

hʷ^ɑlʷpʷ

2nd Person Singular hielp

çʲ^iəlʲpʲ

halpt

hʷ^ɑlʷptʷ

3rd Person Singular hialp

çʲ^iəlʲpʲ

halp

hʷ^ɑlʷpʷ

Plural healpād

hʷ^eəlʷpʷɑːðʷ

hulbn

hʷ^ulʷbnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular healpō

hʷ^eəlʷpʷoː

huilb

hʷ^ylʲbʲ

2nd Person Singular healpē

hʷ^eəlʷpʷeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural healpēn

hʷ^eəlʷpʷeːnʷ

huilbn

hʷ^ylʲbnʲ

Imperative healp!

hʷ^eəlʷpʷ

 
  Active Participle healpend

hʷ^eəlʷpʷənʷdʷ

Passive Participle holbena

hʷ^olʷbʷənʷa

Infinitive healpena

hʷ^eəlʷpʷənʷɑ

Verbal Noun hielp

çʲ^iəlpʲnʲ

 

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular ueb

w^eβʷ

uab

w^ɑβʷ

2nd Person Singular uibi

w^iβʷi

uabt

w^ɑβʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular uibi

w^iβʷi

uab

w^ɑβʷ

Plural uebād

w^eβʷaːðʷ

uūn

w^uːnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular uebō

w^eβʷoː

ūuib

w^yβʲ

2nd Person Singular uebē

w^eβʷeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural uebēn

w^eβʷeːnʷ

ūūin

w^yːnʲ

Imperative ueb!

w^eβʷ

 
  Active Participle uebend

w^eβʷənʷdʷ

Passive Participle uebena

w^eβʷənʷa

Infinitive uebena

w^eβʷənʷɑ

Verbal Noun uīn

w^iːnʲ

 

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular beor

bʷ^eorʷ

bar

bʷ^ɑrʷ

2nd Person Singular biri

bʲ^irʲi

bart

bʷ^ɑrʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular biri

bʲ^irʲi

bar

bʷ^ɑrʷ

Plural berād

bʷ^erʷaːðʷ

burn

bʷ^urʷnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular beorō

bʷ^eorʷoː

buir

bʷ^yrʲ

2nd Person Singular berē

bʷ^erʷeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural berēn

bʷ^erʷeːnʷ

buirn

bʷ^yrʲnʲ

Imperative ber!

bʷ^erʷ

 
  Active Participle berend

bʷ^erʷənʷdʷ

Passive Participle borena

bʷ^ɑːrʷənʷa

Infinitive berena

bʷ^erʷənʷɑ

Verbal Noun biern

bʲ^iərʲnʲ

 

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular swiumm

sʷw^imʷmʷ

swamm

sʷw^ɑmʷmʷ

2nd Person Singular swimm

sʷw^imʲmʲ

swamt

sʷw^ɑmʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular swimm

sʷw^imʲmʲ

swamm

sʷw^ɑmʷmʷ

Plural swiummād

sʷw^iumʷmʷɑːðʷ

swumn

sʷw^umʷnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular swiummō

sʷw^imʷmʷoː

swuimm

sʷw^ymʲmʲ

2nd Person Singular swiummē

sʷw^imʷmʷeː

 

3rd Person Singular
Plural swiummēn

sʷw^imʷmʷeːnʷ

swuimn

sʷw^ymʲnʲ

Imperative swiumm!

sʷw^imʷmʷ

 
  Active Participle swiummend

sʷw^imʷmʷənʷdʷ

Passive Participle swummena

sʷw^umʷmʷənʷa

Infinitive swiummena

sʷw^imʷmʷənʷɑ

Verbal Noun swimn

sʷw^imʲnʲ

 

Class IV verbs do not represent many if any of the original Proto-Germanic class of this name. Instead, they comprise primarily the old j-stem Class V and Class VI verbs, with some additional Class III, IV and V verbs that have drifted into this class. Class IV is numerically minor, although it includes several highly important verbs. The class comprises two, rather diverse subtypes: IVa verbs show the paradigm i-i-i-a-ō-ō-e (where a may represent either /a/ or /ɑ/), with the exception of the verb sittena (which shows ā (/ɑː/) in its fifth and sixth parts), while IVb verbs instead show e-e-e-a-ō-ō-a, where a may indicate either /a/ or /ɑ/, and e typically represents /ɛ/ but in some verbs instead represents /e/. The class is also characterised by a pattern of root-final consonant doubling in some forms. It is represented here by sittena, ‘to sit’ (IVa) and sceppena (‘to shape’) [note that the lack of grammatischer Wechsel in sittena is irregular]:

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular sitt

sʲ^itʲtʲ

sat

sʲ^atʷ

2nd Person Singular siti

sʲ^itʲi

satt

sʲ^atʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular siti

sʲ^itʲi

sat

sʲ^atʷ

Plural sittād

sʲ^itʲtʲaːðʷ

sātn

sʲ^ɑːtʷnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular sittō

sʲ^itʲtʲoː

sāit

sʲ^ɑːtʲ

2nd Person Singular sittē

sʲ^itʲtʲeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural sittēn

sʲ^itʲtʲeːnʷ

sāitn

sʲ^ɑːtʲnʲ

Imperative   siti!

sʲ^itʲ

 
  Active Participle sittend

sʲ^itʲtʲənʷdʷ

Passive Participle sātena

sʲ^ɑːtʷənʷa

Infinitive sittena

sʲ^itʲtʲənʷɑ

Verbal Noun sitn

sʲ^itʲnʲ

 

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular scepp

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲpʲ

scap

sʲkʲ^ɑpʷ

2nd Person Singular scepi

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲi

scapt

sʲkʲ^ɑpʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular scepi

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲi

scap

sʲkʲ^ɑpʷ

Plural sceppād

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲpʲaːðʷ

scōbn

sʲkʲ^oːpʷnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular sceppō

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲpʲoː

scōib

sʲkʲ^oːbʲ

2nd Person Singular sceppē

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲpʲeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural sceppēn

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲpʲeːnʷ

scōibn

sʲkʲ^oːbʲnʲ

Imperative   scepi!

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲi

 
  Active Participle sceppend

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲpʲənʷdʷ

Passive Participle scabena

sʲkʲ^ɑbʷənʷa

Infinitive sceppena

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲpʲənʷɑ

Verbal Noun sceipn

sʲkʲ^ɛpʲnʲ

 

Class V verbs are a new class, formed chiefly from old Class III verbs ending in clusters of a nasal and a fricative (or voiced stop), although a number of other verbs have drifted into this class also, particularly from the old Class I, with which they have much in common. Notably, however, not only do they lack the unusual palatalisation in the 4th part found in Class I verbs, they also lack the more standard palatalisation found in most classes in the 6th part. The ablaut paradigm is io-ī-ī-ā-ū-ū-ū. They are represented here by sīthena, ‘to travel’:

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular sioith

sʲ^ioþʲ

sāth

sʲ^aːþʷ

2nd Person Singular sīth

sʲ^iːþʲ

sātht

sʲ^aːþʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular sīth

sʲ^iːþʲ

sāth

sʲ^aːþʷ

Plural sīthād

sʲ^iːþʲaːðʷ

sūdn

sʷ^uːðʷnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular sioithō

sʲ^ioþʲoː

sūd

sʷ^uːðʷ

 

2nd Person Singular sīthē

sʲ^iːþʲeː

 

3rd Person Singular
Plural sīthēn

sʲ^iːþʲeːnʷ

sūdn

sʷ^uːðʷnʲ

Imperative sīth!

sʲ^iːþʲ

 
  Active Participle sīthend

sʲ^iːþʲənʷdʷ

Passive Participle sūdena

sʷ^uːðʷənʷa

Infinitive sīthena

sʲ^iːþʲənʷɑ

Verbal Noun sīthn

sʲ^iːþʲnʲ

 

Class VI verbs largely preserve the original Proto-Germanic class, though with a considerable number of additions. They follow the ablaut paradigm a-a-e-ō-ō-ō-a, where a represents /ɑ/; they show an irregular -u ending in the 1st person indicative singular. They are represented here by uacena, ‘to wake’:

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular uacu

w^ɑkʷu

uōc

w^oːkʷ

2nd Person Singular ueci

w^ekʲi

uōct

w^oːkʷ

3rd Person Singular ueci

w^ekʲi

uōc

w^oːkʷ

Plural uacād

w^ɑkʷaːðʷ

uōgn

w^oːkʷnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular uacō

w^ɑkʷoː

uōig

w^oːkʲ

2nd Person Singular uacē

w^ɑkʷeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural uacēn

w^ɑkʷeːnʷ

uōign

w^oːgʲnʲ

Imperative uac!

w^akʷ

 
  Active Participle uacend

w^ɑkʷənʷdʷ

Passive Participle uagena

w^ɑgʷənʷa

Infinitive uacena

w^ɑkʷənʷɑ

Verbal Noun ueicn

w^ekʲnʲ

 

Class VII verbs comprise two subtypes: VIIa verbs represent the old Proto-Germanic 7c class, while VIIb verbs represent a merger of Proto-Germanic classes 7a, 7b and 7d. They have the ablaut paradigms a-a-a-ea-ea-ea-a (with a as /ɑ/ in each part except the third, in which it is /a/) and ā-ā-ā-ē-ē-ē-ā respectively. Notably, the default secondary articulation of VIIb verbs is unpredictable, and does not show alternation. These verbs are represented here by saltena, ‘to salt, to flavour’, and hlāpena, ‘to leap’, of the VIIa and VIIb subclasses respectively:

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular salt

sʲ^ɑlʷtʷ

sealt

sʲ^eəlʷtʷ

2nd Person Singular sailt

sʲ^alʲtʲ

sealt

sʲ^eəlʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular sailt

sʲ^alʲtʲ

sealt

sʲ^eəlʷtʷ

Plural saltād

sʲ^ɑlʷtʷaːðʷ

sealdn

sʲ^eəlʷdnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular saltō

sʲ^ɑlʷtʷoː

seild

sʲ^eəlʲtʲ

2nd Person Singular saltē

sʲ^ɑlʷtʷeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural saltēn

sʲ^ɑlʷtʷeːnʷ

seildn

sʲ^eəlʲtnʲ

Imperative salt!

sʲ^ɑlʷtʷ

 
  Active Participle saltend

sʲ^ɑlʷtʷənʷdʷ

Passive Participle saltena

sʲ^ɑlʷtʷənʷa

Infinitive saltena

sʲ^ɑlʷtʷənʷɑ

Verbal Noun sailtn

sʲ^alʲtnʲ

 

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular hlāp

hʷlʷ^aːpʷ

hlōp

hʷlʷ^oːpʷ

2nd Person Singular hlāp

hʷlʷ^aːpʷ

hlōpt

hʷlʷ^oːpʷtʷ

3rd Person Singular hlāp

hʷlʷ^aːpʷ

hlōp

hʷlʷ^oːpʷ

Plural hlāpād

hʷlʷ^aːpʷaːðʷ

hlōpn

hʷlʷ^oːbʷnʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular hlāpō

hʷlʷ^aːpʷoː

hlōp

hʷlʷ^oːbʷ

2nd Person Singular hlāpē

hʷlʷ^aːpʷeː

3rd Person Singular
Plural hlāpēn

hʷlʷ^aːpʷeːnʷ

hlōpn

hʷlʷ^oːbʷnʲ

Imperative hlāp!

hʷlʷ^aːpʷ

 
  Active Participle hlāpend

hʷlʷ^aːpʷənʷdʷ

Passive Participle hlābena

hʷlʷ^aːpʷəna

Infinitive hlāpena

hʷlʷ^aːpʷənɑ

Verbal Noun hlāpn

hʷlʷ^aːpʷnʲ

 

Finally, Class VIII verbs represent the original Proto-Germanic 7e class. They show a basic ablaut pattern ō-ō-ō-eo-eo-eo-ō. They are represented here by flōna, ‘to flow’:

    Present Past
Indicative 1st Person Singular flō

fʷlʷ^oː

fleo

fʷlʷ^eo

2nd Person Singular flō

fʷlʷ^oː

fleot

fʷlʷ^eotʷ

3rd Person Singular flō

fʷlʷ^oː

fleo

fʷlʷ^eo

Plural flōād

fʷlʷ^oːað

fleon

fʷlʷ^eonʷ

Subjunctive 1st Person Singular flō

fʷlʷ^oː

fleo

fʷlʷ^eo

2nd Person Singular flōē

fʷlʷ^oːe

3rd Person Singular
Plural flōēn

fʷlʷ^oːenʷ

fleoin

fʷlʷ^eonʲ

Imperative flō!

fʷlʷ^oː

 
  Active Participle flōnd

fʷlʷ^oːnʷdʷ

Passive Participle flōna

fʷlʷ^oːnʷa

Infinitive flōna

fʷlʷ^oːnʷɑ

Verbal Noun flōin

fʷlʷ^oːnʲ

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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4; by Sue Townsend

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ is a peculiar sort of a novel. Its interest does not lie where the reader might expect.

In theory, Diary is, as the name suggests, a (comedic) epistolary novel, formed from the diary entries of a young boy navigating adolescence in England in the early 1980s. Taken as that, the reader will very soon develop an objection: Adrian Mole is not a teenage boy; Adrian Mole is a wholly unbelievable character written by an author who was evidently never a boy, and had not been a teenager for some time, and had largely forgotten what it was like.

Adrian is, in fact, whatever age the plot demands. Sometimes he feels in his late teens – although maybe kids in the 80s were just more adult in some ways. Much of the time, however, he feels rather younger, because, and this is the key area in which the reader may struggle to suspend disbelief, he has a mental age of maybe five. I’m in close contact with a child a few years older than that, and: nope, she has a far, far greater ability to understand the world than Adrian ever displays. Sure, she’s ignorant of some areas where Adrian has some rudimentary knowledge; but Adrian consistently displays a complete inability to deduce even the most mind-numbingly obvious things that no self-respecting child over five or six would be oblivious of.

He’s also painfully inconsistent. At some points we’re seemingly meant to take seriously his intellectual pretensions – his voracious reading, for instance – but at others he not only fails to in any way learn from what he reads (or otherwise observes), but even fails to learn rudimentary facts about the world that an even vaguely informed teenager could not be ignorant of. At some points, the plot demands us to accept Adrian as an exemplary pupil, at least by the standards of his school; indeed, he displays extravagant virtues that seem hard to believe of any boy his age (even if he does moan about it); yet the rest of the time, he’s both a moron and a boy utterly devoid of empathy or consideration. It would be nice to assume that this is simply clever writing, skillfully demonstrating the inconsistencies of the human heart; but honestly, to me it just reads like an inconsistent author driven from one side to another by the demands of the moment.

Certainly very little understanding of the male teenage experience could be got from this – while the usual traumas and anxieties are there, it all feels third-hand and formulaic, and utterly predictable. Everything is larger than life – which generally means it is much smaller than life.

Nor is there much of a plot; some things happen, and eventually the book ends, at a fairly random point in time. That is, I suppose, valid – but it feels less like a novel that’s setting up some point about how life goes on, how life doesn’t confirm to narrative arcs, and more like an author who started writing, continued writing until she got bored, and then stopped.

So as a novel about a teenage boy, it’s largely a failure. [As a novel about the 1980s, its striking characteristic is how much the 1980s look almost exactly like the 2010s just without social media.]

…but.

Stop thinking of it as a novel, and stop thinking of it as about Adrian. Think of it, instead, as a standup comedy routine – the Jack Dee, miserable deadpan recitation of petty domestic tragedies. Adrian, to be honest, is maybe the least interesting element – he works best as a window onto the world. It’s an irritating and inconsistent and manipulative window – at times, his suffocating and improbable idiocy makes this almost into The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (in that his authorially-imposed selective idiocy makes him as much a baffled external observer as ASD  makes the protagonist of that novel). But it’s a window that provides us with some surprisingly magnetic comedy.

While the epistolary structure feels ill-suited to what little plot there is – stories constantly being interrupted – it comes into its own as a delivery mechanism for jokes. The jokes are generally predictable and familiar; but Townsend’s comic timing is often superb, as a series of entries, divided naturally in the reader’s head by amplifying pauses, hammers home a point or delivers a cruel twist, all to make Adrian a little more miserable. The brevity of most of the diary entries, and the lack of much in the way of overarching structure, help make the book weirdly compelling in places – just one more entry!

And yeah, sure, I’ll admit: brazenly manipulative though it is, it’s impossible to avoid some vibration of the heartstrings, as the child’s miseries pile up, leavened by occasional moments of respite or human decency.

So overall, it’s actually a little bit charming, once the gears have gotten going and you’ve pushed pass the silliness of the character. It’s a novel that’s a childhood favourite of many people, and it’s not impossible to see why – the ideal age, I suspect, is “old enough to feel superior to Adrian, but young enough not to realise that a well-trained blancmange is superior to Adrian”. For more I think it was about 8 or 9, although I know for some people it’s older than that. For anyone past this window, <i>Billy Liar</i> is both funnier and more poignant.

In the end, I’m left thinking… despite initial skepticism, it turned out well enough that I’ll probably rustle out my copy of the second book in the series and re-read it in a dull moment sometime. But unless that’s very much better than this, I won’t be going out to buy the other six volumes after that…

Adrenaline: 2/5. Technically, there were moments of tension.
Emotion: 3/5. It does play on the heartstrings now and then; but too superficially to really hit home.
Thought: 2/5.
Beauty: 2/5.
Craft: 3/5.
Her novelistic craft of character-building and plotting is poor; but her comedic craft of setting up farcical situations and having them unravel at the right pace is solid.
Endearingness: 3/5. Some bits were a pleasure to read; other bits, a chore.
Originality: 2/5.

Overall: 4/7. NOT BAD. It starts out ‘bad’, and spends a lot of time in ‘bad but with redeeming features’, but overall, pehaps aided by nostalgia, I’ll call it ‘Not Bad’ in the end.

Ash: A Secret History; by Mary Gentle (short review)

I recently reviewed Gentle’s Ash – but the review was ridiculously long. I thought I’d better produce a condensed version. I usually do that for my Goodreads reviews anyway, so here’s the review I wrote for GR… (you can still find the full review over here)

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The first thing that should probably be said about Ash: A Secret History is that it’s probably the apex of the epic fantasy genre – or at least, the best thing written in the genre since The Lord of the Rings.

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Nightfall and Other Stories, by Isaac Asimov

I’ve always had a little difficulty reviewing short story collections – in part because I don’t do it enough to have developed a clear method. So how about this: I’ll give a few words in general, then give some words about each story, then go back to the general again for a conclusion. OK?

Image result for nightfall and other stories

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The Fifth Head of Cerberus, by Gene Wolfe

I don’t know how to start this review. I’m not entirely sure what I can say about The Fifth Head of Cerberus… and I’m even less confident that I know what order to say it in.

Perhaps that’s rather fitting. I’m used, after all, to reading stories – narratives, that move, like music, or like a stream, from a beginning to an end. Gene Wolfe’s 1972 debut novel* is not like that. There are, I suppose, narratives – in the plural – but it would be a mistake to think of this novel as being a story.

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Ash: A Secret History. By Mary Gentle.

It’s been a while, I know. It’s not just that I’m lazy, or entirely that I’m disorganised. It’s also been that I’ve been gradually extruding a gargantuan review… of a gargantuan novel. It’s so ridiculously long that I’ve even divided it into sections: Part One sets the scene; Part Two introduces the general concept of the novel; Part Three talks about what it’s like and what’s special about it; and Part Four sums up and scores.

But because the review is so cripplingly long, I’ll summarise it here and now for those who can’t be bothered to read to the end: if you like epic fantasy (and maybe even if you don’t), you need to read this book.

[housekeeping note: in America, it’s considered a series of four novels. This doesn’t really make sense to me, and if possible I’d recommend getting the complete edition]

Now, the long version…

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

One day, on a summer’s afternoon, a young Oxonian mathematical lecturer and his friend were taking some of the children of the Dean (his boss) out for a rowing trip on the Isis. To pass the time, the mathematician, Charles Dodgson, began to tell a rather silly story to the kids about a fantastical adventure that might happen to them – or, at least, to his favourite of them, young Alice. But Dodgson had a rather hyperactive mind – he was so constantly inventing things, from an electoral system (Dodgson’s Method) to a steering mechanism for a tricycle, to a device for making it easier to read books sideways, to a double-sided adhesive, to a forerunner of Scrabble, that one of the things he felt the need to invent was a cipher system to make it easier to write down inventions in the middle of the night without having to light a lamp. With that sort of mind, perhaps it’s no surprise that his mind may have wandered from the narrative task at hand – and so, little echoes of his day-job perhaps filtered through in the heat haze over the river, making his story unusually odd.

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