agglutination in Scandinavian languages

Nicholas Widdows nicholas.widdows at
Mon Feb 1 12:36:04 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

> Now I don't think English would go through that change, and it is also easier
> to agglutinate "en" and "et" (the indefinite articles, common and neuter) to
> the noun, which in turn makes them definite articles.

> house is neuter. et hus, huset (a house, the house)
> kone is common.  en kone, konen (a wife, the wife)

I could wait another day and look up the answer in Gordon, or I could
shoot my mouth off now and work from memory. Stand well back. Isn't this
a conflation of the two Norse articles? Indefinite <einn maDr>, <ein
kvinna>, <eitt skip>, and definite <hinn maDr>, <hin kvinna>, <hit
skip>. On a simple noun the definite article was normally postposed,
<maDrinn>, <skipit>, but with an adjective it stayed in front, <hinn
ri'kr maDr>. Or something of that kind?

Still, this is a saltation, not a slight change like [p] > [f]. It's not
easy to imagine starting to say "man the", "the woman young", "Frau
die", "Schiff blaues", though such crossovers have happened. I often use
elegant inversions in my English but don't think any of them will
displace norms like SVO. Are there any examples in familiar languages of
such a thing in progress now?

Nicholas Widdows
[The opinions in this are mine only, not those of Trace PLC.]

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