Votian/Imperfect Tense

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Imperfect tense [1] [2][edit]

Personal endings[edit]

Person

Singular

Plural

1. -i-n -i-mmak
2. -i-t -i-ttak
3. -i- -i-vat
  • The very same endings of the first and second person are used in all moods and tenses.
  • Only the third person of singular is different from the present tense and has no marker at all in the imperfect tense.
    • The third person of plural has in the imperfect tense the same ending as in the present tense, even though it is derived from a suffix of present participle with a plural nominative marker t.
    • Thus according to consonant gradation principles the third person may occur only in the strong grade both in plural and singular e.g. e̮saB ('She buys.') > e̮ssi ('She bought.'), annaB ('She gives.') > anti ('She gave.' in Liivtšülä dialect - explained below), tetševäD ('They do (it).') > tetšiväD ('They did (it).'), pake̮ne̮-vaD ('They run away.') > pake̮ni-vaD ('They ran away.'), because these morphemes can never close the preceding syllable.
  • All those endings follow the vowel harmony rules like in the present tense e.g. saitta ('You (in plural) got (it).') vs. süntüzittä ('You (in plural) were born.').

Past tense marker[edit]

The past tense marker was -i-, but it is less obvious now after numerous sound changes.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • Long vowels and i melt together into diphthongs e.g. sāmma ('We get (it).') > saimma ('We got (it).').
    • Some of them have changed their quality.
      • E.g. ȫ + -i- > ei: lȫn ('I (do) hit.') > lein ('I (dit) hit.').
      • E.g. ǖ̄ + -i- > öi: mǖmmä ('We sell.') > möi ('He sold.' in Alutaguse dialects [3]).
    • (In some dialects all the long mid vowels ē, ō, ȫ have been diphthongized to ie, uo, üö elswhere e.g. lüön ('I (do) hit.') > lein ('I (dit) hit.').)
  • Short vowels and i melt together into a single short vowel.
    • E.g. e + -i- > i: pezemmä ('We wash.') > pezimmä ('We washed.').
    • E.g. + -i- > i: ne̮ise̮vaD ('They rise.') > ne̮isivaD ('They rose.').
    • E.g. ä + -i- > i: püvvän ('I catch.') > püvvin ('I caught.' in Mati dialect) vs zin ('I caught.' in Lempola dialect - explained below).
    • E.g. a + -i- > i: ve̮ittavaD ('They win.') > ve̮ittivaD ('They won.'), e̮saB ('She buys.') > e̮ssi ('She bought.'), annaB ('She gives.') > anti ('She gave.' in Liivtšülä dialect).
      • The cases above may produce long i in certain words and dialects e.g. murraB ('He breaks.') > murtī ('He broke.' in Mati dialect), lentī ('She flew.'), pake̮ne̮vaD ('They run away.') > pake̮nīvaD ('They ran away.' in Lempola dialect).
        • The long i is characteristic to words of long stem-vowel (usually derived with -tta) e.g. kummartāB ('He bows.') > kummartī ('He bowed.'), (h)üppǟB ('She jumps.') > (h)üppī ('She jumped.').
    • a + -i- > in the second syllable, if the first syllable has a (in the majority of the dialects) : e.g. ajavaD ('They drive (away).') > aje̮vaD ('They drove (away).').


    • o + -i- > : e.g. sioB ('He ties.') > site̮ ('He tied.'), tahoB ('He wants.') > tahte̮ ('He wanted.'). This occurres only with the third person of singular though and all the other personal endings follow zi as explained below.
    • o + -i- > o (in other dialects): e.g. tahoB ('He wants.') > tahto ('He wanted.'). This occurres only with the third person of singular though and all the other personal endings follow zi as explained below.
    • u + -i- > u: e.g. kutsuB ('He calls.') > kuttsu ('He called.'). This occurres only with the third person of singular though and all the other personal endings follow zi as explained below.
    • ü + -i- > ü: e.g. sünnüB ('He will be born.') > süntü ('He was born.'). This occurres only with the third person of singular though and all the other personal endings follow zi as explained below.
    • i + -i- > i: e.g. ehiB ('He decorates.') > ehti ('He decorated.'). This occurres only with the third person of singular though and all the other personal endings follow zi as explained below.
      • Except the third person of singular, all the other personal endings follow zi after o, u, ü and i-stems. All those forms may occur only in the strong grade, because this morpheme can never close the preceding syllable.
        • o + -i- > zi: e.g. se̮ise̮ ('He stood.') ~ se̮isoziD ('You stood.').
        • u + -i- > zi: e.g. kuttsu ('He called.') ~ kuttsuzin ('I called.').
        • ü + -i- > zi: e.g. süntü ('He was born.') ~ süntüzittä ('You (in plural) were born.').
        • i + -i- > zi: e.g. ehti ('He decorated.') ~ ehtiziväD ('They decorated.').
    • The metanalytic zi morpheme comes originally from -t stems , which had to undergo a regular Finnic sound change *ti > si [4]: e.g. viskān ('I throw.') > viskazin ('I threw.') < * viskasin < viskat+i+n.
      • Those stems may have *at + -i- > for the third person of singular : e.g. viske̮ ('He threw.').
      • Nevertheless the regular form should be simply zi with no personal ending : e.g. suvāB ('He loves.') > suvaz(i) ('He loved.'). The final i may be dropped.

Morphophonology[edit]

  • All the personal endings follow the vowel harmony rules like in the present tense e.g. saitta ('You (in plural) got (it).') vs. süntüzittä ('You (in plural) were born.').
  • According to consonant gradation principles the third person may occur only in the strong grade both in plural and singular e.g. e̮saB ('She buys.') > e̮ssi ('She bought.'), annaB ('She gives.') > anti ('She gave.'), tetševäD ('They do (it).') > tetšiväD ('They did (it).'), pake̮ne̮-vaD ('They run away.') > pake̮ni-vaD ('They ran away.'), because these morphemes can never close the preceding syllable.

Dialectal alternatives[edit]

  1. In Alutaguse dialects [5]
    1. The local counterpart (si) of zi-morpheme has intruded into every conjugation now (influenced by Mid Estonian dialect) including the third person of singular. It's characteristic to heavy two-syllable -a, -ä, -e-stems.
      1. E.g. : kitkesimma ('We plucked.'), laskes ('He let (down).'), tunDes ~ tunDas ('He felt.'), jättäsimmä ('We left (it).'), kanDasin ('I carried.'), karttas ('She was afraid.'), luottasin ('I hoped.'), nīttasimma ('We mowed.'), paistas ('It seemed.'), tappas ('It killed.'), toittasin ('I fed.'), te̮stas ('It lifted.'), maksas ('She paid.'), kurttasin ('I complained.'), e̮stasitta ('You bought.'), kastas ('He watered.'), laulas ('He sang.'), sāttas ('He sent.'), tahtas ('He wanted.' in Iisaku dialect);
    2. The original system has been preserved in limited verbs only.
      1. E.g. most of the monosyllable vowel-stems : vei ('He took (it somewhere).') ~ vein ('I took (it somewhere).');
      2. most of the consonant-stems : panin ('I (did) put (it somewhere).'), olin ('I was.'), tulin ('I came.'), meni ('She went.'), surivaD ('They died.'), kūli ('She heard.'), me̮tlin ('I thought.'), e̮mblin ('I sewed.'), ütlin ('I said.'), kauplit ('You traded.'), rītlivaD ('They quarreled.'), vihtliväD ('They whisked (in sauna).'), vihelsiväD ('They whisked (in sauna).'), tuisima ('We rose.'), siGini ('It propagated.');
        1. näGin ('I saw.' instead of näin), teGin ('I did.' instead of tein), suk̆in ('I combed.'), lukin ('I (did) read (it).'), lasin ~ lasima ('I ~ we (did) let down.'), which do not follow consonant gradation principles any more;
      3. some of the -a and ä-stems : tahi ('She wanted.'), aiD ('They drove (away).'), jaksivaD ('They had strenght enough to (do something).'), jättimä ('We left (something).'), karDin ('I was afraid.'), keiDimä ('We boiled.'), laulivaD ('They sang.'), ve̮ttin ('I took.'), süöDima ('We fed.');
        1. verbs derived with -tta on a long vowel or sonorant had to undergo a regular Finnic sound change *ti > si: e.g. je̮usivad ('They had strenght enough to (do something).') < * je̮ut+i+vat < * je̮uta+i+vat, leisin ('I found.'), ne̮usima ('We demanded.'), oisin ('I hold.'), pǖsima ('We caught.'), tiesit̆ta ~ tiasitta ('You knew.'), ǖsiväD ('They shouted.').
          1. Sometimes the result has a new secondary t between n and s: e.g. an(t)s ~ anDas ('She gave.'), küntsin ~ künDäsin ('I plowed.'), len(t)si ~ lenDi ('He flew.').
    3. The final i of the third person of singular is usually dropped excluding light two-syllable stems : e.g. je̮us ('She had strenght enough to (do something).'), te̮mps ('She pulled.'), püörs ('He turned.'), künts ('He plowed.'), peks ~ peksäs ('He (did) beat.'), leis ~ leitäs ('She found.'), ois ~ oitas ('She hold.'), ties ~ tias ~ tieDäs in Lüganuse dialect ~ tiaDas in Iisaku dialect ('She hold.'), tuis ~ tuises ('He rose.'), ammust ('He bit.'), me̮ttel ('She thought.'), kauppel ('She traded.'), nuhtel ('She penalized.'), rīttel ('He quarreled.'), vihtel ('She whisked (in sauna).'), üttel ('She said.'), juoks(i) ('She ran.'), tappas ~ tap̄ ('She killed.'), luki ('She (did) read (it).').
    4. The third person of plural may use a bare plural nominative marker t (influenced by Mid Estonian dialect) and thus become not distinguishable from the second person of singular e.g. aiD ('They drove (away).' instead of ajivaD ).


Other Finnic dialects [6][edit]

The first person of singular

The first person of plural

The second person of singular

The second person of plural

The third person of singular

The third person of plural

References[edit]

  1. Ariste, Paul Vadja keele grammatika. Tartu, 1948. p. 73-78
  2. Laanest, Arvo: Sissejuhatus läänemeresoome keeltesse, Tallinn 1975. p.173
  3. Must, Mari 1987. Kirderannikumurre: häälikuline ja grammatiline ülevaade. p. 244
  4. Laanest, Arvo: Sissejuhatus läänemeresoome keeltesse, Tallinn 1975. p.152
  5. Must, Mari 1987. Kirderannikumurre: häälikuline ja grammatiline ülevaade. p. 243-249
  6. Laanest, Arvo: Sissejuhatus läänemeresoome keeltesse, Tallinn 1975. p.152, 163-181

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