Lexember, Day 20: Inversion, part I

Instead of a selection of new vocabulary today, instead I wanted to give a little bit of insight into a part of Gutish morphology that I’ve been smoothing out over the past few months.

When I give conjugations of verbs in those tables I set up for some of the Lexember blogs, I just give the base form [pronoun]+[conjugated verb], and in most languages that’s really all you need.  In Gutish it’s usually all you need as well, but the form of the verb can change slightly depending on whether it precedes the pronoun and/or is negative.

Inverted forms of verbs are very important in Gutish, because the V2 nature of the language makes the [verb]+[pronoun] format as common as the standard [pronoun]+[verb] order.  Irregular verbs are also more likely to have differences between their default and inverted forms.  Take, for example, wisna ‘to be’, the most common of verbs:

Ind. Sbj.
Prs. Pst. Prs. Pst.
ik im
þū is
is ist
it ist
wit sījum
wīs sījum
jut sījuþ
jūs sījuþ
īs sinþ
ījas sinþ
ī sinþ
ik was
þū wast
is was
sī was
it was
wit wēsum
wīs wēsum
jut wēsuþ
jūs wēsuþ
īs wēsun
ījas wēsun
ī wēsun
ik sīja
þū sījas
is sīja
sī sīja
it sīja
wit sījam
wīs sījam
jut sījaþ
jūs sījaþ
īs sījan
ījas sījan
ī sījan
ik wēša
þū wēsis
is wēse
sī wēse
it wēse
wit wēsim
wīs wēsim
jut wēsiþ
jūs wēsiþ
īs wēsin
ījas wēsin
ī wēsin

Pretty straightforward.  The only oddity is the third person feminine singular present indicative, and that’s only because of a pretty basic sandhi rule (-ī+i- → -’ī-) – just make sure that you put the long vowel on the right side of the apostrophe!  But now let’s look at the inverted forms (alternate/optional forms are given in parentheses):

Ind. Sbj.
Prs. Pst. Prs. Pst.
ist sī
sījum wit (sījum’t)
sījum wīs (sījum’s)
sījuþ jut (sīju’t)
sījuþ jūs (sījuþ’s)
sinþ īs (sinþ’s)
sinþ ījas (sinþ’s)
sinþ ī (sinþ’s)
wasik (wažik)
wasis (wažis)
was sī
wasit  (wažit)
wēsum wit (wēsum’t)
wēsum wīs (wēsum’s)
wēsuþ jut (wēsu’t)
wēsuþ jūs (wēsuþ’s)
wēsun īs (wēsun’s)
wēsun ījas (wēsun’s)
wēsun ī (wēsun’s)
sījastu (sīstu)
sīja sī
sījam wit (sīm’t)
sījam wīs (sīm’s)
sījaþ jut (sī’t)
sījaþ jūs (sīþ’s)
sījan īs (sīn’s)
sījan ījas (sīn’s)
sījan ī (sīn’s)
wēse sī
wēsim wit (wēsim’t)
wēsim wīs (wēsim’s)
wēsiþ jut (wēsi’t)
wēsiþ jūs (wēsiþ’s)
wēsin īs (wēsin’s)
wēsin ījas (wēsin’s)
wēsin ī (wēsin’s)

There are a few different types of things going on here, but you’ll notice that the oddball from the basic form is the only one that doesn’t have any sort of deviation when inverted.  So as far as what’s going on here:

  • When the verb ends in a consonant, the pronouns ik, is, and it readily attach right to the verb without so much as an apostrophe or an apology.
  • The second person in all cases shifts from þū to -tu.
  • The plural forms are pretty straightforward, but they all have optional contracted forms which are slightly opaque, especially the third person plural, all of which have the same contracted form.

I’ll touch on what happens with negation and some other less common verbs in another post soon - particularly if I run out of new vocabulary to talk about!