Old High Jermench (MGR)

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Old High Jermench
Iermanzze / Jërmântzê
Spoken in: Kingdom of Germany / Holy Roman Empire
Conworld: Mundus Germaniae Romanae
Total speakers: unknown
Genealogical classification: Indo-European
Romance
Northern-Romance
Old High Jermench
Basic word order: SVO
Morphological type: inflecting
Morphosyntactic alignment: nominative-accusative
Created by:
P Collier, BP Jonsson 2006+

Introduction

The term Old High Jermench (OHJ) refers to the earliest stage of the Jermench language and it conventionally covers the period from around 500 to 1050 CE. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as 'prehistoric' and date the start of OHJ proper to 750 for this reason.

The main difference between OHJ and the Northern-Romance dialects from which it developed is that it underwent the High Jermench Consonant Shift. This is generally dated very approximately to the late 5th and early 6th centuries - hence dating the start of OHJ to around 500. The result of this sound change is that the consonant system of Jermench remains different from all other Northern Romance languages, including {Rom-English} and Low Jermench (Basjeirmenk). Grammatically, however, OHJ remained very similar to Old {Rom-English}, Old Batavian and Old Low Jermench.

By the mid 11th century the many different vowels found in unstressed syllables had all been reduced to 'e'. Since these vowels were part of the grammatical endings in the nouns and verbs, their loss led to radical simplification of the inflectional grammar of Jermench. For that reason, 1050 is seen as the start of the Middle High Jermench period.

Modern Descendants

Phonology

Consonants


Consonants
Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p   b t   d k   g
Affricate p͡f     t͡s     k͡x    
Fricative f   v θ     s   z x     h
Approximant w j
Trill r
Lateral l

  1. There is wide variation in the consonant systems of the OHJ dialects arising mainly from the differing extent to which they are affected by the High Jermench Consonant Shift. Precise information about the articulation of consonants is impossible to establish.
  2. In the plosive and fricative series, where there are two consonants in a cell, the first is fortis the second lenis. The voicing of lenis consonants varied between dialects.
  3. /θ/ changes to /d/ in all dialects during the 9th century.
  4. OHJ has long consonants, and the following double consonant spellings indicate not vowel length as in Modern Jermench orthography, but rather genuine double consonants: pp, bb, tt, dd, ck (for /kk/), gg, ff, ss, hh, zz, mm, nn, ll, rr.

Vowels


Vowels
Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
High
Near-high ɪ ʊ
High-mid e
Low-mid ɛ   ɛː ɔ   ɔː
Low a   aː

Phonological History

Hardening of Stops

Proto-Northern Romance fricatives [β], [ɣ] and [ɸ] were hardened to the stops [b], [g] and [p]. The hardening of /g/ and /p/ was unconditional, but the hardenening of /b/ was dependent on position, and there was some attendant interchange of [β], [b] and [f], along with the creation of a new allophone [v]:

[β][b] after [l], intervocally, or post-vocally in final position
[b][v] in all other positions
[f][b] after [l], intervocally, or post-vocally in final position

High Jermench Consonant Shift

The High Jermench consonant shift was a phonological development which took place in the southern parts of the Northern Romance dialect continuum in several phases, probably beginning between the 3rd and 5th centuries CE, and was almost complete before the earliest written records in the High Jermench language were made in the 9th century. The resulting language, Old High Jermench, can be neatly contrasted with the other continental Northern Romance languages, which mostly did not experience the shift.

The High Jermench consonant shift altered a number of consonants in the southern Jermench dialects, and so explains why many Jermnch words have different consonants from the obviously related words in {Rom-English} and Batavian. Depending on definition, the term may be restricted to a core group of nine individual consonant modifications, or it may include other changes taking place in the same period.

For the core group, there are three thrusts which may be thought of as three successive phases:

  1. The three voiceless stops became fricatives in certain phonetic environments ( Spanish picaza maps to Jermench faiche);
  2. The same sounds became affricates in other positions (tu : zu); and
  3. The three voiced stops became voiceless (de : tei).

Of the other changes which sometimes are bracketed within the High Jermench consonant shift, the most important (sometimes thought of as the fourth phase) is:

4. /θ/ (and its allophone [ð]) became /d/ (Proto-Northern Romance *thrattar : Modern Jermench dratzer).

This phenomenon is known as the "High Jermench" consonant shift because it affects the High Jermench dialects (i.e. those of the mountainous south), principally the Upper Jermench dialects, though in part it also affects the Central Jermench dialects. However the fourth phase also included Low Jermench and Batavian.

The High Jermench consonant shift did not occur in a single movement, but rather, as a series of waves over several centuries. The geographical extent of these waves varies. They all appear in the southernmost dialects, and spread northwards to differing degrees. While some are found only in southernmost parts, most are found throughout the upper Jermench area, and some spread on into the central Jermench dialects. The shift thd was more successful; it spread all the way to the North Sea and affected Batavian as well as Jermench. Most, but not all of these changes have become part of modern standard Jermench.

The High Jermench consonant shift is a good example of a chain shift. For example, phases 1/2 left the language without a /t/ phoneme, as this had shifted to /s/ or /ts/. Phase 3 filled this gap (d→t), but left a new gap at /d/, which phase 4 then filled (th→d).

Stage 1

In this phase, voiceless stops became geminated fricatives intervocalically, or single fricatives postvocalically in final position.

pff or final f
tzz (later Jermench ss) or final z (s)
khh (later Jermench ch)

Note: In these OHJ words, <z> stands for a voiceless fricative that is distinct somehow from <s>. The exact nature of the distinction is unknown; possibly <s> was apical while <z> was laminal.

The first phase did not affect geminate stops in words like *fattar "father", nor did it affect stops after other consonants, as in words like *sunt "(they) are", where another consonant falls between the vowel and the stop. These remained unshifted until the second phase.

Stage 2

In the second phase, which was completed by the eighth century, the same sounds became affricates (i.e. a stop followed by a fricative) in three environments: in initial position; when geminated; and after a liquid consonant (/l/ or /r/) or nasal consonant (/m/ or /n/).

/p/ > /p͡f/ (written <pf> or <ph>. In later OHJ the affricate shifted further to /f/ when it immediately followed /l/
/t/ > /t͡s/ (written <z> or <tz>)
/k/ > /k͡x/ (written <kch> or <ch>)

The shift did not take place where the stop was preceded by a fricative, i.e. in the combinations /sp, st, sk, ft, ht, xt/. /t/ also remained unshifted in the combination /tr/.

  • The shift of /t/ > /t͡s/ occurs throughout the High Jermench area and is reflected in Modern Standard Jermench.
  • The shift of /p/ > /p͡f/ occurs throughout Upper Jermench, but there is wide variation in Central Jermench dialects. The further north the dialect the fewer environments show shifted consonants. This shift is reflected in Standard Jermench.
  • The shift of /k/ > /k͡x/ is geographically highly restricted and only took place is the southernmost Upper Jermench dialects. The Tyrol is the only region where the affricate /k͡x/ has developed in all positions. In alpine regions only the geminate has developed into an affricate, whereas in the other positions, /k/ has become /x/. However, there is initial /k͡x/ as well, since it is used for any k in loanwords, for instance [kxariˈb̥ikx].
Stage 3

The third phase, which had the most limited geographical range, saw the voiced stops become voiceless.

bp
dt
gk

Of these, only the dental shift dt finds its way into standard Jermench. The others are restricted to southernmost dialects. This shift probably began in the 8th or 9th century, after the first and second phases ceased to be productive, otherwise the resulting voiceless stops would have shifted further to fricatives and affricates.

Simplification of geminate consonants

Geminate consonants were simplified in final position, when immediately preceded or followed by a consonant, or immediately following a long vowel.

Primary I-Mutation

Old High Jermench underwent a limited degree of I-mutation, which is usually referred to as 'primary I-mutation' to differentiate it from the more general and widespread secondary I-mutation in Middle High Jermench.

The change affected short /a/, which mutated to /æ/ (<e>) when the following syllable contained an /i/ or /j/. The conditioning /i/ or /j/ was subsequently lost.

Primary I-mutation was blocked by intervening /x/, /h/, a consonant + /w/, or a liquid + a consonant.

Other Consonantal Changes

/gg//kk/.
/sp/, /st/, and /sk//ʃp/, /ʃt/, and /ʃ/ in initial position.
/h/ was lost before /l/, /r/, /n/, or /w/.
/t//d/ before a nasal.

Other Vowel Changes

/ɔ͡ə//u͡o/.
/ɛ͡ə//i͡e/.
/a͡u//o͡u/, except before /h/, /t/, /d/, /s/, /n/ or a liquid, where /a͡u//o:/.

Morphology

Nouns

1st Declension

Group I

Feminine.

A

Standard paradigm

1st Declension – Group Ia
Singular Plural
Nominative – a – as
Accusative – a – as
Genitive – â – âr
Dative – â – îs
B

Nouns with primary I-mutation.

1st Declension – Group Ib
Singular Plural
Nominative – a – as
Accusative – a – as
Genitive – â – âr
Dative – â ̈– s

C

Nouns with primary I-mutation
and loss/assimilation of final -s after
/s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

1st Declension – Group Ic
Singular Plural
Nominative – a – as
Accusative – a – as
Genitive – â – âr
Dative – â ̈–


Group II

Feminine.

A

Standard paradigm

1st Declension – Group IIa
Singular Plural
Nominative – as
Accusative – as
Genitive – s – âr
Dative – â – îs
B

Nouns with loss/assimilation of final -s
after /s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

1st Declension – Group IIb
Singular Plural
Nominative – as
Accusative – as
Genitive – âr
Dative – â – îs

C

Nouns with primary I-mutation.


1st Declension – Group IIc
Singular Plural
Nominative – as
Accusative – as
Genitive – s – âr
Dative – â ̈– s

D

Nouns with primary I-mutation
and loss/assimilation of final -s after
/s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

1st Declension – Group IId
Singular Plural
Nominative – as
Accusative – as
Genitive – âr
Dative – â ̈–


2nd Declension

Group I

Masculine.

A

Standard paradigm

2nd Declension – Group Ia
Singular Plural
Nominative – î
Accusative – s
Genitive – s – ôr
Dative – î – îs
B

Nouns with loss/assimilation of final -s
after /s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

2nd Declension – Group Ib
Singular Plural
Nominative – î
Accusative
Genitive – ôr
Dative – î – îs

C

Nouns with primary I-mutation.


2nd Declension – Group Ic
Singular Plural
Nominative ̈–
Accusative – s
Genitive – s – ôr
Dative ̈– ̈– s

D

Nouns with primary I-mutation
and loss/assimilation of final -s after
/s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

2nd Declension – Group Id
Singular Plural
Nominative ̈–
Accusative
Genitive – ôr
Dative ̈– ̈–


Group II

Masculine.

A

Standard paradigm

2nd Declension – Group IIa
Singular Plural
Nominative – s – î
Accusative – s
Genitive – s – ôr
Dative – î – îs
B

Nouns with loss/assimilation of final -s
after /s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

2nd Declension – Group IIb
Singular Plural
Nominative – î
Accusative
Genitive – ôr
Dative – î – îs

C

Nouns with primary I-mutation.


2nd Declension – Group IIc
Singular Plural
Nominative – s ̈–
Accusative – s
Genitive – s – ôr
Dative ̈– ̈– s

D

Nouns with primary I-mutation
and loss/assimilation of final -s after
/s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

2nd Declension – Group IId
Singular Plural
Nominative ̈–
Accusative
Genitive – ôr
Dative ̈– ̈–


Group III

Masculine.

A

Standard paradigm

2nd Declension – Group IIIa
Singular Plural
Nominative – s – î
Accusative – s
Genitive – î – ôr
Dative – îs
B

Nouns with loss/assimilation of final -s
after /s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

2nd Declension – Group IIIb
Singular Plural
Nominative – î
Accusative
Genitive – î – ôr
Dative – îs

C

Nouns with primary I-mutation.


2nd Declension – Group IIIc
Singular Plural
Nominative – s ̈–
Accusative – s
Genitive ̈– – ôr
Dative ̈– s

D

Nouns with primary I-mutation
and loss/assimilation of final -s after
/s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

2nd Declension – Group IIId
Singular Plural
Nominative ̈–
Accusative
Genitive ̈– – ôr
Dative ̈–


Group IV

Masculine.

A

Standard paradigm

2nd Declension – Group IVa
Singular Plural
Nominative – î
Accusative – s
Genitive – î – ôr
Dative – îs
B

Nouns with loss/assimilation of final -s
after /s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

2nd Declension – Group IVb
Singular Plural
Nominative – î
Accusative
Genitive – î – ôr
Dative – îs

C

Nouns with primary I-mutation.


2nd Declension – Group IVc
Singular Plural
Nominative ̈–
Accusative – s
Genitive ̈– – ôr
Dative ̈– s

D

Nouns with primary I-mutation
and loss/assimilation of final -s after
/s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

2nd Declension – Group IVd
Singular Plural
Nominative ̈–
Accusative
Genitive ̈– – ôr
Dative ̈–


3rd Declension

Group I

Feminine.

A

Standard paradigm

3rd Declension – Group Ia
Singular Plural
Nominative – s – s
Accusative – s
Genitive – s
Dative – î – ius
B

Nouns with loss/assimilation of final -s
after /s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

3rd Declension – Group Ib
Singular Plural
Nominative
Accusative
Genitive
Dative – î – ius

C

Nouns with primary I-mutation.


3rd Declension – Group Ic
Singular Plural
Nominative – s – s
Accusative – s
Genitive – s
Dative ̈– – ius

D

Nouns with primary I-mutation
and loss/assimilation of final -s after
/s/, /z/, or /t͡s/.

3rd Declension – Group Id
Singular Plural
Nominative
Accusative
Genitive
Dative ̈– – ius


Pronouns

Pronouns
Singular Plural
masculine feminine reflexive impersonal masculine feminine reflexive
1st person Nominative nus
Accusative nus
Genitive mëî nostrê
Dative nûs
2nd person Nominative wus
Accusative wus
Genitive zwî wëstrê
Dative wôs
3rd person Nominative ëllê ëlla hômô illî ëllas
Accusative hōmmē
Genitive swî hōmmes swî
Dative hōmmī sîs
Interrogative
& relative
Nominative
Accusative kus quas
Genitive kus quâjs côrô quarô
Dative quâî kius

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Verbs

The earlier shift of stress to the word stem in Proto-Northern Romance (PNR), together with the loss of many unstressed vowels, led to considerable changes in the morphology of verbs in Old High Jermench as many of the old Latin/Romance verb endings merged or disappeared.

By far the largest degree of change took place in the preterite indicative, which was derived from Latin's perfect. The change was wrought by the loss of the original fourth conjugation endings and the subsequent reanalysis of many verbs, and it was these changes which really drove the beginning of the creation of the new OHJ verb system.

The changes, which began in PNR and continued in early OHJ, saw the -ī class indicative perfects disappear entirely as new preterite forms arose, with the exception of feci and fui, which came to be viewed as irregular. Original fourth conjugation verbs whose stems ended in –s were often reanalysed as -si class (original third conjugation), while others with stems ending in -d were aligned with the formerly reduplicative verbs in the original first declension. The remaining original fourth conjugation verbs generally developed new - forms and merged their preterites with original second conjugation verbs:

vēnī > *vénuí > winvî.

There followed a general rearrangement of all preterites, and ultimately examples of all classes could be found in each conjugation. From this point, a more useful distinction when considering the preterite became the distinction between weak (those formed from Latin perfects in -v-) and strong verbs, rather than their conjugation per se.

In the remainder of the original third conjugation the original short vowels were in frequently lost, to be replaced in some instances by [ə] but usually by the corresponding second conjugation endings as these two conjugations increasingly fell together.

By the end of the OHJ period, the verb system is classified as having two conjugations (respectively, from the original first and from a combination of the original second, third and fourth), each of which has strong and weak forms.

These forms are illustrated in the tables below.

Indicative Mood

1st Conjugation
Present (weak)
Singular Plural
1st person – ô – âms
2nd person – as – âzzës
3rd Person – aʐ – anz
Preterite (weak)
Singular Plural
1st person – aî – oums
2nd person – ahî – ahës
3rd Person – ôʐ – ârnz


Some 1st conjugation verbs, primarily those with stems ending in -dd, -ld, -nd and -t, formed their preterite indicative differently:

Preterite (weak)
Singular Plural
1st person – ëî – ams¹
2nd person – hî – hës
3rd Person – ëʐ – arnz¹

¹ Here a represented [ə]. Dropped if immediately following a sonorant.

2nd Conjugation
Present (weak)
Singular Plural
1st person – ô – eims
2nd person – ës – eizzës
3rd Person – ëʐ – inz
Preterite (weak)
Singular Plural
1st person – vî – veims
2nd person – vihî –vihës
3rd Person – vëʐ – veirnz
Preterite (strong)
Singular Plural
1st person – sî – sams
2nd person – hî – hës
3rd Person – sëʐ – seirntz


Subjunctive Mood

1st Conjugation
Present (weak)
Singular Plural
1st person – ê – eims
2nd person – ës – eizzës
3rd Person – ëʐ – inz
Preterite (weak)
Singular Plural
1st person – ôsê – ôseims
2nd person – ôsës – ôseizzës
3rd Person – ôsëʐ – ôsinz


2nd Conjugation
Present (weak)
Singular Plural
1st person – a – âms
2nd person – as – âzzës
3rd Person – aʐ – anz
Preterite (weak)
Singular Plural
1st person – vëssë – vëssseims
2nd person – vissës – vësseizzës
3rd Person – vissëʐ – vissinz
Preterite (strong)
Singular Plural
1st person – sê – sësseims
2nd person – sës – sësseizzës
3rd Person – sëʐ – sinz


Imperative Mood

Singular
1st Conjugation – a
2nd Conjugation – ê
Plural
1st Conjugation – âzzê
2nd Conjugation – eizzê


Infinitive and Past Participles

Infinitive
1st Conjugation – ârê
2nd Conjugation – eirê


Perfect Past Participle (Supine)
1st Conjugation kun – âʐô
2nd Conjugation kun – ûʐô

</div>

Passive Past Participle
Masculine Feminine
1st Conjugation kun – âts kun – âʐa
2nd Conjugation kun – ûts kun – ûʐa

The passive participle agrees with the gender of the patient.

Auxilliary Verbs

Ëstrê (to be)
Present
Singular Plural
1st person sou soums
2nd person ës ëhës
3rd Person ës sunz
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person duî doums
2nd person duhî duhës
3rd Person duʐ dournz

Ëstrê was used in conjunction with a passive participle to create the passive voice.

The passive participle agrees in gender with the patient. For example, ëlla ës kunâmûʐa (she is loved), ëllê duʐ cuntâts (it was given).

Hâveirê (to have)
Present
Singular Plural
1st person haveims
2nd person has haveizzës
3rd Person haʐ hônz
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person houwî houweims
2nd person houwihî houwihës
3rd Person houweʐ houweirnz

The present tense of hâveirê was used in conjunction with a past participle to create the perfect: jô hâ kundûʐô (I have been).

The preterite of hâveirê was used in conjunction with a past participle to create the pluperfect: wus houweims kunwinzô (we had come).

Wênîrê (to come)
Present
Singular Plural
1st person wianô wênîms
2nd person wianîs wênîzzîs
3rd Person wianëʐ wianz
Preterite (Simple Past)
Singular Plural
1st person winvî winveims
2nd person winvihî winvihës
3rd Person winvëʐ winveirnz

The present tense of wênîrê was used in conjunction with an infinitive to create the future: zû wianîs indûzzajrê (you will lead).

The preterite of wênîrê was used in conjunction with an infinitive to create the conditional (i.e. 'future-in-the-past): jô winvî phërtônârê (I would forgive).

Articles

Definite Article

Definite Article
Masculine Feminine
Nom. sing. la
Acc. sing. la
Gen. sing. lûjs lâjs
Dat. sing. luî lâî
Nom. plur. las
Acc. plur. lus las
Gen. plur. larô larô
Dat. plur. lîs lîs

Indefinite Article

Indefinite Article
Masculine Feminine
Nom. sing. ûns ûna
Acc. sing. ûnô ûna
Gen. sing. ûnûjs ûnâjs
Dat. sing. ûnvî ûnâî

Sample Texts

Sacramenta Argentariae

The Sacramenta Argentariae are the pledges of allegiance taken in 842 by Louis the German and his brother Charles the Bald. As well as their allegiance to each other, Louis and Charles pledged their opposition to the Emperor, their elder brother Lothair.

According to our chief source for the meeting, Nithard's De dissensionibus filiorum Ludovici pii (On the Dissensions of the Sons of Louis the Pious), each king swore the oath not in Latin but in the vernacular of the other's kingdom, in front of the assembled armies, which then made their pledge in their own languages. The first oath is in a variety of old Gallo-Romance, the ancestor of Old French; The second is in Old High Jermench. They are one of the first texts we have written in Romance languages clearly distinct from Latin.

LODHVVICVS, QVONIAM MAIOR NATU ERAT, PRIOR HAEC DEFINDE SE SERVATVRVM TESTATVS EST:
Pro Deo amur et pro Christian poblo et nostro commun salvament, d'ist di in avant, in quant Deus savir et podir me dunat, si salvarai eo cist meon fradre Karlo et in aiudha et in cadhuna cosa, si cum om per dreit son fradra salvar dift, in o quid il me altresi fazet, et ab Ludher nul plaid numquam prindrai, qui, meon vol, cist meon fradre Karle in damno sit
QVOD CVM LODHVVICVS EXPLESSET, KAROLVS ROMANA LINGVA GERMANIARVM SIC HEC EADEM VERBA TESTATVS EST:
Pfôr Tëî âmar ëʐ lo christjânô pfuofals ëʐ nôsras ambas slûts, tei ëctjaluî jornô ah ônzê, in sî mî Tës sâfɪjnza ah pfuozzê pfërtaʐ, sî wardô jô ëctjalô môu dratrê, sîht hômô âf trëhtô sôu dratrê tiuʐ, in la kî ëllê mê sî mêsams tëʐ, ëʐ âf Lôʐarjô in nunrê kôsa nei sôbeirê, la ma wuolnzas sî nozzeirê winnaʐ.


Original manuscript
Original text Uncorrected transcription
Sacramenta Argentariae MGR.png

phor tĩ amar ez lo xpiano phuofals &
nrãs ambas sluts tei ectialui iorn o ah
once in simi t safiinza ah phuosce pher~
taz, si uardio ectialo mou dratre siht
homo af trehto sou dratre tiuz in la ki
ellme si me sams tez ez af lozario in ñre
kosa nei sobeire la ma uuolnzas si noscei~
re uiñaz.