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THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
Some Considerations on the Origins of Wymysorys A thesis submitted to the Department of Linguistics in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Carlo Ritchie November, 2012
Preface Wymysorys (Wymysiöerys), the smallest Germanic language, is a critically endangered language of Southern Poland spoken by less than 45 inhabitants of the town of Wilamowice. The classification of Wymysorys is a contentious issue and one that has been the focus of much of the scholarly work on the language over the past century. Historically Wymysorys has been grouped alongside languages such as Modern German as an Irminonic Language; this classification however, has been made largely without consideration of the phonological and morphological character of the language. The classification of Wymysorys as an Irminonic language is at odds with folk-history of the last Wilamowiceans, who variously claim to be descendant of Frisian, Flemish or English settlers, a claim that has yet to be investigated on the basis of the genetic origins of the phonological and morphological innovations of Wymysorys. This will be the focus of this paper. Chapter 1 examines the current classification of Wymysorys as well as a brief linguistic and ethnological history of the language. Chapter 2 introduces current theories on the disposition of West Germanic, placing Wymysorys within this broader context. Chapters 3 and 4 comprise the bulk of this paper, focusing on the phonological and morphological innovations of Wymysorys. Chapter 5 summarises this paper’s conclusions.
Acknowledgements My sincere thanks go firstly the people of Wilamowice for their hospitality and generosity which seem to know no bounds. Especially I would like to thank the families Sojka and Król for welcoming a stranger into their lives. Dziękuję bardzo moja rodzina polska. To my own family I am especially grateful for their encouragement, love and support despite my absentia from your lives for the better part of the year. My thanks also are owed to my proof reader Mathew Wainscot for so kindly offering his time and for reading a linguistics text that I imagine made little or no sense at times and to Dr Monika Bednarek my thanks for her help with my German translations. I gladly accept responsibility for the remaining errors. Thanks are also due to Dr Toni Borowski, Michaela Bester and Veronica Wagner for accommodating my constant honours woes and angst over the past semester. My thanks also to Dr James Martin, Olivia, James and Glenn, it’s been emotional. I also owe a special debt of gratitude to Dr Tomasz Wicherkiewicz, Dr Michael Hornsby and Dr Rinaldo Neels who in addition to their tireless support have generously put-up with constantly reading my emails over the past year. I am especially thankful to my supervisors. My thanks to Prof. William Foley and Dr Jason Johnston it has been an absolute pleasure and indeed a privilege. I would especially like to thank Jason for his persistent calm and assistance, without which I could not have managed. Thank you. Finally I wish to thank three Wilamowiceans, Anna Fox, Helena Biba and Tymoteusz Król. To whom I dedicate this work. Bej’h inda ym gedanka men fråjda, Łowst’dy łong. Hylf Göt.
Oh, dü ołdy, łiwy śproh Wjyr kuza dejh inda nöh Dü byst mej wat wi giełd Wjyr müsa oü andry łyjn Oder dejh weła wer inda hjyn Bocufs end fur wełt -
Contents List of Figures
List of Recordings
An Ethnolinguistic History of Wilamowice
Written works in Wymysorys
A Note on Tymoteusz Król and Current Preservation Efforts
2. The Germanic Languages
Wymysorys, a West Germanic Language
The West Germanic Languages
2.2.1. The Ingvaeonic Language (North Sea Coast Germanic) 22.214.171.124. Ingvaeonic Nasal Deletion 2.2.2. The Irminonic Languages (Alpine Germanic) 126.96.36.199. The High German Sound Shift 2.2.3. The Istvaeonic Languages (Franconian)
3. Phonology 3.0.
20 24 25 29 29
33 The Sounds of Wymysorys
3.0.1. Palatalisation of Velar Plosives
3.0.2. Distribution of /l/ and /w/
The High German Sound Shift
3.1.1. First Phase
3.1.2. Second Phase
3.1.3. Third Phase
3.1.4. Fourth Phase
New High German Diphthongisation 4
New High German Monophthongisation
The gen/gan and sten/stan Alternation
Loss of Final –n
The 3rd Person Masculine Singular
A Note on Word Order
5. Closing Remarks
List of Figures 1.1.
Location Of Wymysorys
The distribution of Germanic languages in Europe
The Germanic Family Tree
Chronology of Ingvaeonic
Low, Central and High German
Chronology of Irminonic
Chronology of Istvaeonic
Chronological and geographical progress of the High German Sound Shift 41
Major sound shifts in relation to dialect groups
The Uerdingen Line
The Speyer Line
East Central German
The Personal Pronouns of Wymysorys
Distribution of h- and er 3SM nominative
List of Recordings Accessed from the archives of Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznań, Poland): WYM 120131_001 WYM 120210_002
1. Introduction Wymysorys, the traditional language of the Southern Polish town of Wilamowice, is the smallest language in the West Germanic family. The origin of Wymysorys remains contentious; central to this being the conflict between the conclusions of the majority of scholar works for a German origin of the language and the self-identification of ethnic Wilamowiceans as being distinctly non-German. This position on the non-German origin of Wymysorys is central to local folketymology and is central to the small number of literary works published in the language; the possibility of a non-German origin of Wymysorys, however, has historically been dismissed and it not until recent years that any historical or linguistic weight was attached to this non-German self-identification. Wymysorys has traditionally been classified as a member of the Irminonic family, the grouping of West Germanic Languages that includes Standard German, Yiddish and Silesian German. The West Germanic family of languages in addition to Irminonic is further divided into the Istvaeonic which includes Dutch, Flemish and Afrikaans, and Ingvaeonic languages, to which English, Scots, Low German and Frisian belong. The classification and make-up of the varieties of West Germanic is discussed in greater detail in Chapter 2. Differing local accounts for the geographic origin of Wymysorys (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 17) place the language variously in the Ingvaeonic and Istvaeonic language families. The Ingvaeonic family for example, or ‘North Sea (Coast) Germanic’ (Harbert 2007, Nielsen 1989 and others), is defined not only by those morphological and phonological innovations unique to Frisian, Low German, Scots and English but also by the geographical area which these languages inhabit. In (very) broad terms the historical Ingvaeonic Sprachraum could be considered to be an area consisting of parts of modern Schleswig-Holstein, Friesland and the British isles; folk history that suggests an origin from this region consequently suggests a possible relationship between Wymysorys and the Ingvaeonic Languages. Theories on the origins of Wymysorys found in folk-histories 7
are, however, not ubiquitous and variously suggest the point of origin as the British Isles, Flanders and Friesland. Of these, the possibility of a Flemish origin has been the subject of a number of recent studies (Neels forthcoming, Ryckeboer 1984, Morciniec 1984) and is the most widely expressed conviction of the Wilamowiceans themselves (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 15). The classification of individual West Germanic languages as Istvaeonic, Irminonic or Ingvaeonic is based on shared innovation, “changes which have appeared in some members of the family but not in others” (Trask 1996; 182). The notion of genetic separateness in the West Germanic family is related to the gradual dissemination of phonological and morphological innovations across the West Germanic family from the point of departure from Indo-European up until the present day, the result being the 38 different languages that now comprise the Germanic Family (Harbert 2007; 7-8). The significance of morphology and phonology in the classification of any Germanic language cannot be understated. Nielsen (1989) concludes that “any attempt to group the Germanic dialects should take as its point of departure the fields of phonology and morphology” (Nielsen 1989; 147). This conclusion is made partly on the basis of the wealth of material available to linguists on the geographical and historical spread of phonological and morphological features dating from “the days of Rask and Grimm”1 (Nielsen 1989; 146) and also on the relative stability of phonology and morphology when compared to lexis (Arndt 1959; 181). Despite the significance of shared phonological and morphological innovations to language classification, the origins of Wymysorys have not been considered with respect to phonology or morphology. The notion that Wymysorys is an Irminonic language is made on the basis of lexical
Rasmus (Christian) Rask (1787 – 1832), a Danish philologist whose work is considered to be the
first to posit a connection between the Western and Nothern Germanic languages. Rask is generally credited with discovering the consonant transmutation between Greek, Sanskrit and Germanic, the basis of “Grimm’s Law” posited by Jacob Ludwig Grimm (1785 – 1863) in 1822.
comparison or extralingustic evidence; tracing the origins of the phonological and morphological innovations of Wymysorys has not yet been undertaken. This and consequently the validity of the Irminonic classification of Wymysorys is the focus of this paper. 1.1 Current Classification Wymysorys is grouped with Standard (High) German, Upper Saxon and Upper Silesian, to be classified by Lewis (2009) as East Central German, the branch of Central German that originating from Irminonic (Harbert 2009; 8, Howe 1993; 51) 2. Lewis’ (2009) classification is made on the basis of peer-reviewed literature and so the classification as an Irminonic language is therefore understandable given the large number of sources that claim a German origin for Wymysorys (Lasatowicz 1994, Mojmir 1936, Kleczkowski 1920 and others), for a complete history of the classification of Wymysorys see Wicherkiewicz (2003; 5-14). The historical proximity of Wilamowice with Upper Silesia has also contributed to this view. 1.2 An ethnolinguistic history of Wilamowice Wicherkiewicz (2003) provides a comprehensive account of the history of both Wilamowice and the surrounding region, in addition sketching the changing ethnolinguistic profile of the area over the past 700 years. As the purpose of this paper is an evaluation of the origins of Wymysorys on the basis of morphological and phonological evidence, I will provide a brief summary of Wicherkiewicz’s (2003) work on the ethnolinguistc history of Wilamowice and its surrounds. I aim to demonstrate in this summary that there is no more evidence for why Wymysorys
It is important to note here that Harbert (2007) makes no mention of Wymysorys in his discussion
of the Irminonic family or in his work in general, the language having only been classified by Ethnologue in 2009 (Lewis 2009). I have placed Wymysorys in the same group as Harbert (2007) has placed High German and Yiddish (Harbert 2007: 8).
should be considered a language of German origin than there is to support folk claims of a possible Flemish or Ingvaeonic origin.
Figure 1.1 Location of Wilamowice (star) with respect to the Modern Germanic Languages (green and blue) Historically the town of Wilamowice (Wymysorys Wymysoü) was situated in Lesser Poland, the region directly east of the Biała River in southern Poland. While the distance between the town and the surrounding localities is often as little as a kilometre, Wilamowice, until the conclusion of the Second World War, was culturally and linguistically separate from its neighbours. The first recorded mention of the town, under the name ‘Novovilamowicz’, dates from 1325 (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 5), the origin of the original settlers is, however, unknown (Wicherkiewicz 2003). A paucity of physical evidence makes it difficult to know whether Wymysorys, or its ancestor, was spoken in the settlement at this time, later sources however do suggest that for greater part of Wilamowice’s history, the dominant language of the town was Wymysorys (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 10).
The official language of Lesser Poland (Polish Małopolska) with the exception of the Second World War, has remained Polish since before 1325. Throughout its history the region was inhabited by speakers of a variety of languages and there is no evidence to suggest that during this time Wymysorys was suppressed, nor disapproved of by any administrative authority prior to the ban of the language from 1946 – 1956 (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 12, Purchla 2008; 263). Despite being surrounded by Polish speaking communities, for the greater part of its history, contact remained with Upper Silesian dialects (another Irminonic language) and with large German speaking communities such as Bielsko and Katowice (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 5). The presence of German communities in Lesser Poland was the result of the German enclave, historically referred to as the Bielitz-Bialaer Sprachinsel (BielskoBiała linguistic enclave) which consisted of 20 “colonies” settled between the 12th and 18th centuries (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 6). The colonisation of this area was the result of “advantageous conditions” (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 7) created by the Piast princes towards the end of the 12th century, which encouraged Germanic peoples to settle in the area of Lower Silesia and later the borderlands of Lesser Poland (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 7). Wilamowice and neighbouring towns Alzen (now Hałcnów), Seiffersdorf (Kozy), Altdorf (Stara Wieś) and Schreibersdorf (Pisarowice, these last two now part of the Wilamowice municipality) were included in this enclave. At the time of writing, Wilamowice and Hałcnów are the only remaining settlements from this period that retain speakers of their colonial languages. The situation in Hałcnów is significantly worse than in Wilamowice3. It should be noted that despite both towns’ inclusion in the Sprachinsel, there is a definite sense of separateness, at least from the perspective of native speakers of Wymysorys, between themselves and the speakers of Hałcnówian and other local Germanic 3
The last known speaker of Hałcnówian is believed to have passed away in February
2012. Other speakers may still live however (Król p.c) 11
languages (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 19). According to Wicherkiewicz (2003), the origins and ethnicity of these settlers is historically contested however, most scholars “generally quote the area of [the] middle part of the Main and Rhine rivers” (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 7). With specific regard to Wilamowice, it has been argued by critics of the German-origin theory such as Ryckeboer (1984) that rather than the Rhineland, the original colonists originated from Flanders, a theory supported by local folk-etymology and also by the poems of Florian Biesik, whose works, re-discovered in 1989, comprise the largest written source of Wymysorys (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 18-19), this is discussed in 1.3.2. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, Polonisation and the relocation of the populations of surrounding towns in the Bielitz-Bialaer Sprachinsel led to the eventual isolation of Wilamowice from the central German community of BielskoBiała. Wicherkiewicz (2003) places the cultural and linguistic assimilation of Altdorf and Schreibersdorf as the first stage of this divide, occurring between the 15th and 16th centuries the last stage being the relocation of the population of Seiffersdorf to Prussian Upper Silesia in 1770 (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 9-10). Wicherkiewicz (2003) contends that the introduction of Polish to schools and government offices by the Austro-Hungarian administration in 1875 similarly initiated the Polonisation of Wilamowice and decline of Wymysorys (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 11). In 1880 the percentage of the population speaking Wymysorys was 92%, shrinking to 73% by 1921 (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 11). The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 and the formation of the Second Polish Republic did not alter the continued use of Polish in education and administration in the town, which remained until the Nazi occupation of 1939-1945. During this time Standard German replaced Polish as the language of administration and was the exclusive language of education, however the use of Wymysorys was promoted by Nazi officials (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 10). Following the conclusion of the Second World War the newly formed Polish Communist authorities issued a decree in 1946 that the language and traditional clothing of Wilamowice be banned and in so doing drastically 12
accelerated the decline of Wymysorys. The ban lasted until 1956, during which time the town underwent significant Polonisation, the social and demographic structure changing significantly from the pre-war and inter-war years (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 11-12). At present, less than 45 of the town’s just under 3000 inhabitants speak Wymysorys as a native language with varying proficiency, of whom the majority are over the age of 80. If not for recent efforts to engage the town’s younger population in learning their traditional language, Wymysorys would be considered moribund, with only isolated cases of children learning the language since the conclusion of the Second World War. In 2009 the language was classified by UNESCO as “Severely Endangered” (Moseley 2010), that is, the language is predominately spoken by an older generation, while it has been replaced by another language for successive generations. While there are exceptions, this classification accurately describes the present situation of Wilamowice, which has been replaced by Polish as the vernacular since the conclusion of the Second World War (Neels forthcoming; 118122, Wicherkiewicz 2003; 13). 1.3 Written Works in Wymysorys The idea of a standard written form for Wymysorys is a relatively recent innovation in the history of Wymysorys which historically existed in what might be considered diglossia with Polish until the Second World War. While Wymysorys was historically the spoken vernacular, Polish was used in all written domains. A small number of sources written in Wymysorys do exist; with the exception of a two diaries which contain some early writings4, the remainder of the works are poetry and songs, using a variety of orthographies. The oldest of these works is a collection of songs, poems and folk tales by Jacob Bukowski from 1860, reprinted in Wagner (1935; 112) and Neels (forthcoming; 48). This collection is particularly important as it contains the first documented opinion on the non-Irminonic origins of Wymysorys
Found in the private collections of the Biba family and former Mayor Barabara Tomanek.
(Wicherkiewicz 2003; 16) in the poem A Welmeßajer ai Berlin (“A Wilamowicean in Berlin” from Wagner 1935; 111): De fremda Loit, se hon an wing verstanda, Ma docht har wär vo England har. Dos ei kaj Wuinder; den de Welmeßajer, Die stemma jou vo derta har. “The foreign people (in Berlin), they hardly understood him, Some thought he came from England there, That is no wonder; since the Wilamowiceans, They stem from (over) there.” -
Bukowski 1860 (translation my own)
Two other collections of folk tales and songs were also published at the turn of the century, the first by Ludwik Młznek in 1907 and the second by Józef Latosiński in 1909. Other than the selected poems and songs recorded in these collections, the remaining prose is in Polish (Wicherkiewicz 2003). The notion that the Wilamowiceans originated from England is continued in possibly the most important work in the language, the collected poems of Florian Biesik, rediscovered in 1989 and recently translated into English, German and Polish by Wicherkiewicz (2003)5. Biesik, like Bukowski, argues for an Anglo-Saxon origin of the Wilamowiceans, also adding the possibility of a Dutch connection, contending that the clothing and town name, among other features, are evidence of the town’s English or Dutch origins, see Wicherkiewicz (2003; 19). Biesik also goes on to claim in the poem Wymysau an wymysojer (“Wilamowice and Wilamowiceans”) that “They 5
An incomplete version of the collection was published in Anders (1933)
[the Wilamowiceans] wandered from England, Holland, and came via Silesia to Poland” (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 22). Biesik’s collection is of particular significance as it was intended as a literary standard for Wymysorys however it did not achieve this status. Biesik’s orthography has since been succeeded by the recent orthographies of Józef Gara (2003) and Tymoteusz Król (2011, 2012). Both writers unfortunately continue to use orthographies that differ not only from each other’s but from the proposed standard of Biesik, despite being contemporaries. Of the two systems, Król’s orthography has been widely accepted as the modern standard for Wymysorys and is employed by both Andrason (2010, 2011) and Neels (forthcoming). Examples in this paper from Biesik are presented in their original orthography which is discussed in Chapter 3 where they are also compared with the orthography of Król (section 3.0.1). All other examples are presented following the conventions established by Król unless otherwise noted. 1.4 A Note on Tymoteusz Król and Current Preservation Efforts At the present time considerable effort is being made to preserve Wymysorys as a spoken language. This includes a weekly language class attended by a number of local gymnasium (middle school) students which continues to run at the time of writing, under the supervision of Tymoteusz Król. The youngest native speaker of Wymysorys by a considerable margin (ca. 60 years), Król has spearheaded a revival of the town’s traditional language. In 2009 Król was responsible for a proposal to the Unites States Library of Congress to have the language officially added to the register of languages, in turn leading to the language’s registration by the International Organisation of Standardisation. Most recently Król was behind a successful bid to incorporate signage in both Polish and Wymysorys in Wilamowice. Król’s continued work in the preservation of his native language may yet alter the language’s essentially moribund status.
2. The Germanic Languages The purpose of this Chapter is to provide a basic sketch of the West Germanic family of languages in order to demonstrate how they are grouped into the Ingvaeonic, Istvaeonic and Irminonic branches. Of the two extant branches of Germanic, West Germanic is the largest and by virtue of the endeavours of its speakers (the case of Dutch, German and English), is also the most widely distributed. The distribution of the smaller North Germanic on the other hand has changed little since the Middles Ages, spoken exclusively in Scandinavia and islands of the North Atlantic. The geographical distribution of North Germanic (blue) and West Germanic (green) can be seen in figure 2.1. Note that areas in which Germanic languages are traditionally a second language, parts of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Belgium, are not shaded.
Figure 2.1. The distribution of Germanic languages in Europe.
The Germanic languages are defined by shared innovations separating these languages from other branches of Indo-European. Among them, verb-second word order, the reduction of the Indo-European case system to four core cases and the introduction of definite articles (see Harbert 2007; 6-7). It was traditionally hypothesised that the North, East and West branches of Germanic became distinct from each other as the early Germanic peoples dispersed across Europe in the last centuries of the first millennium BCE. Evidence of continued contact between the North and West Germanic has meant that this traditional view is no longer the consensus. Modern theories hold that the Germanic family separated first into the East and Northwest Germanic subgroups of languages, the latter hypothesised to have separated into North and West Germanic sometime before the Common Era. This hypothesis accounts for the retention of a number of archaic features found in Gothic, an East German language, which were lost in North and West Germanic (Harbert 2007: 7). As Wilamowice is not recorded until 1325, is it only essential for the purposes of this paper to understand the separation of North, West and East Germanic. A comprehensive account of the history of early Germanic and of Germanic philology can be found in Nielsen (1989).
Figure 2.2. The Germanic Family Tree Figure 2.2. presents the generally accepted view of the division of the Germanic languages based on Harbert’s (2007) Germanic Family tree (Harbert 2007: 8). The concept of the tree diagram is to show the relationships between languages with regards to shared innovation (Trask 1996; 182). The tree diagram model is however unable to show the continued interrelationships of the Germanic languages or the changing influences of particular families on each other, over time. Harbert (2007) for example cites the influence of Low German on the Scandinavian Languages through the Hanseatic League and the possible Norse influence of on Old English as examples of this interrelatedness (Harbert 2007; 9), similarly the mutual influence between Frisian, Low German and Dutch (Bremmer 2009; 19). Note however that Standard German, Yiddish and Silesian German are not dominated by a single branch, representing the mutual influence of the High Franconian and Irminonic. See Harbert (2007; 6-9) for further discussion on the on the mutual influence of the Germanic languages (also Nielsen 1989; 67ff). The evidence for North Germanic is less controversial than for West Germanic; the modern Scandinavian languages having a common heritage of shared 18
innovation, resulting in a familial resemblance much stronger than the languages of West Germanic. Gooskens (2007) for example, has demonstrated that despite being geographically contiguous, the average intelligibility between West Germanic languages Frisian and Dutch (55.6%) is significantly lower than between Swedish and Norwegian, the latter two having an average intelligibility of 70% (Gooskens 2007: 453). In contrast to the North Germanic languages, West Germanic is marked by the significant differences between its constituent languages and evidence for the subgroup has been questioned (Harbert 2007: 7). Separate periods of innovation are hypothesised to have further divided the sub-group into the Ingvaeonic, Istvaeonic and Irminonic branches of West Germanic, these are discussed below. 2.1. Wymysorys, a West Germanic Language With the possible exception of Hałcznowian (Chapter 1), Wymysorys is the smallest language of the West Germanic family; the branch of the Germanic family to which English, Dutch and German belong. It is important to note that despite differing opinions on the precise origins of Wymysorys, an origin outside of the West Germanic family has not been suggested (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 15-19). As mentioned in Chapter 1, Wymysorys has traditionally been argued to be closely related to Standard German in scholarly work, most recently in the work of Lasatowicz (1992) however the extent to which this work accurately reflects the spoken (and indeed written) language is questionable. Many of the features described in Lasatowicz’s (1992) study, including paradigms for the personal pronouns, phonetic inventories and the morphology of verbs are inconsistent with any previous or latter descriptions of the language (cf. Mojmir 1936, Kleczkowski 1920 see also Wicherkiewicz (2003; 407, 415). In terms of the relationship of Standard German and Wymysorys, it would be impossible to argue that the two languages do not share a number of similarities, as can be seen in a comparison of a one to one Standard German translation of Bukowski’s A Welmeßajer ai Berlin (section 1.1.2): 19
De fremda Loit, se hon an wing verstanda, Ma docht har wär vo England har. Dos ei kaj Wuinder; den de Welmeßajer, Die stemma jou vo derta har.
Die fremden Leute, die hatten nur ein wenig verstanden, Man dachte, er wäre von England her, das ist kein Wunder; denn die Welmeßajer, die stammen ja von daher.
2.2. The West Germanic Family 2.2.1. The Ingvaeonic Languages (North Sea Coast Germanic) The Ingvaeonic branch of West Germanic refers to the group of languages traditionally spoken along the North Sea Coast and the islands in close proximity to this region, for this reason it is often referred to as North Sea Coast Germanic (Nielsen 1989, Harbert 2009). The largest language of this family is English, by a significant margin, the remaining languages being spoken as minority languages – often of significant size (Lewis 2009) – in Scotland, the Netherlands and Northern Germany. English is also distinct from this family in the extent of Romance and Scandinavian influence on the character of the lexicon and grammar. Massive nonnative lexical borrowings, particularly from Latin and French have led to grammatical innovations in English that put it at odds even with other languages in the West Germanic family that have been similarly influenced by the Romance languages, such as Flemmish and German (Harbert 2009: 13, 19). 20
The remaining languages of the Ingvaeonic branch are Scots, Frisian and Low German. There is some contention as to whether the Scots language should be considered as mutually unintelligible from English, just as there is contention as to the extent of mutual intelligibility between varieties of Scots (Lewis 2009, Kirk 1991, Melchers 1991). I will treat Scots as a language separate to English, for the remainder of this paper, as in Lewis (2009). Frisian (Frysk) is spoken by approximately 750,000 people in the Netherlands and Germany, the greater number of these speakers residing in the former (Harbert 2009: 17, Tiersma 1985: 1). The general term “Frisian” refers not to a single homogenous language, but rather to three mutually unintelligible languages. West Frisian, in the northern coastal Netherlands, is the largest of these languages and is the second official language of the Netherlands. North and East Frisian are significantly smaller. North Frisian on the western coast of Schleswig-Holstein below the German border with Denmark continues to be spoken by about 10,000 people; dialects also continue to be spoken on a small number of islands in proximity with this area. East Frisian, once spoken throughout the historical area of East Frisia (German Ostfriesland) in Northern Germany, is now restricted to three villages in the Municipality of Saterland (East Frisian Seelterlound) where it is spoken by less than 2000 people (Tiersma 1985, Hoekstra and Tiersma 1994: 505, Harbert 2009: 1718). For the remainder of this paper, I will use the term “Frisian” to refer to both, Modern West Frisian for specific examples and as a collective term for North, West and East Frisian, unless noted otherwise. Low German (Plattdüütsch) is similar to Frisian, in that the term “Low German” refers not to a single language but to a collection of dialects with varying levels of mutual intelligibility. As many as ten million (Lewis 2009) people are reported to understand a variety of Low German, across Northern Germany and along both sides of the Germany’s border with the Netherlands, making it the second largest Ingvaeonic language. Middle Low German was the Lingua franca of the Hanseatic 21
League, during which time it developed considerable prestige in the regions surrounding the Baltic sea; this resulted in a significant influence of Low German on the Scandinavian languages and on varieties (section 2.2.2) of Central German (Harbert 2007; 9). The decline of the Hanseatic League led to the fragmentation of Middle Low German into the various current dialects, which are divided into nineteen principal dialects along a continuum from East Friesland to the River Neiße (Stellmacher 1983: 243) all of which are descendant from Old Saxon, an Ingvaeonic language (Harbert 2007; 18). Since the recognition of Low German as a Regional language in 1998 efforts to preserve and revive the language have been hindered by the lack of linguistic cohesion of the various dialects (Harbert 2009: 18), in particular the independent development of dialect specific orthographies has made standardisation difficult (Ritchie forthcoming). Despite this fragmentation, spoken Low German dialects remain mutually intelligible, at least to some degree, despite the same not able to be said for the various orthographies (Bayerschmidt 1940: 494). For this reason,6 the term “Low German” will be used when discussing the features of what I contend is, a single language with respect to shared innovations.
I discuss the validity of the single term “Low German” to describe a homogenous language rather
than a collection of dialects at greater length in my forthcoming paper (Ritchie forthcoming).
Pre-Roman Iron Age
Middle Modern Age
1500–1700 1700 to present
Middle Low German
(North Sea West Germanic
Anglo – Frisian Primitive
Middle English Scots
Figure 2.3. Chronology of Ingvaeonic7
Figure 2.3 and the corresponding figure for Irminonic (Figure 2.5) and Istvaeonic (Figure 2.6) are a
summary of the various historical accounts of the West Germanic family (Bremmer 2009, Harbert 2007, Jacobs 2005, Howe 1996, Nielsen 1989, Tiersma 1985, König 1978). The format is based on images from Wikipedia Commons.
188.8.131.52. Ingvaeonic Nasal Deletion The deletion of Germanic nasals before voiceless fricatives had long been contended as a shared innovation of the Ingvaeonic languages (Bremmer 2009; 25, Nielsen 1987; 72-99). Among West Germanic this phenomenon was originally restricted to the Ingvaeonic languages8 although it has been contended as a common phonological process outside the Germanic languages (Ohala and Busá 1995; 129). The shared realisation of this innovation among the pre-modern varieties of Ingvaeonic (Old Frisian, Old English and Old Saxon) is generally cited as evidence for a common ancestry of the Ingvaeonic languages among other phonological and morphological features (Nielsen 1987; 78). Significantly, it is not a feature of Wymysorys. Compare; English
(Tiersma 1985; 3, Wymysorys, Król p.c) There are a small number of examples in which nasals are dropped before voiceless fricatives, such as weak neuter third person pronouns however it is my view that these represent an independent phonological innovation. This is discussed in the relevant section on weak pronouns (4.3.2.).
It is also found Alemannic however this is a later innovation (Nielsen 1987; 73)
2.2.2. The Irminonic Languages (Alpine Germanic) The Irminonic branch of West Germanic refers to the group of languages historically spoken in the Alpine regions of Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Northward migration of the Alpine Germanics has also resulted in the varieties of East Central German; the Central German languages not descendant from High Franconian (see below). Wymysorys and Silesian German are currently classified as varieties of East Central German. The term “Central German” (Mittedeutsch) is one used traditionally in Germanic philology to describe those languages that took part in the High German Sound Shift but did not complete these sound changes to the same degree as the southern High German (Hochdeutsch) languages which underwent the shift to completion. Low German (section 2.2.1), to the north is then separated from High and Central German in not participating in the High German Sound Shift at all, common for all of the Ingvaeonic languages:
Figure 2.4. Low, Central and High German The term “High German” seen in figure 2.4 was historically a topographical term, used to refer to the geographically “higher” languages of the alpine regions of southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria (both not shown) compared the “lower” languages of the northern coastal plains. These languages, sometimes referred to as “Alpine Germanic”, have a reasonably low intelligibility with Standard German. Swabian, for example, an Alemannic dialect spoken in Baden-Württemberg, has been reported to have as little as 40% intelligibility with Standard German (Lewis 2009). In a broader sense, “High German” also refers to Standard German, which developed as a written standard in the 16th and 17th centuries (Lewis 2009) and is now the official spoken variety of the German language. It has been suggested, 26
however, that the language was not representative of the mother tongue of the majority of the German population before the middle of the 20th century (Elspaß 2002; 43). For Wymysorys, the principal contact with the German language, since at least the 19th century, was with the standard form (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 10). For the remainder of this paper, the term “High German” will only be used in regards to the Alpine Germanics, Standard German will be used elsewhere. Given their importance to this paper, I will briefly discuss the distinction between East and West Central German varieties before moving on. As mentioned above, East Central German is the varieties of Central German not descendant from High Franconian, that is, West Central German (Howe 1983; 41). Historically there has been considerable mutual influence between the High Franconian and High German dialects, best seen in Standard German, which has the hybrid characteristics of both (Harbert 2007: 8 and see figure 2.2 above). Importantly, the phonology of Standard German was significantly affected by these contacts, evident by the extent to which the consonant system of Standard German reflects the High German Sound Shift (Nielsen 1989: 50, Harbert 2007: 48). Nielsen (1989) provides a thorough history of this relationship, which began as early as the 4th century (Nielsen 1989: 48). Despite this connectedness, some varieties of High Franconian are only marginally mutually intelligible with Standard German (Lewis 2009), as with varieties of High German, discussed above. The Yiddish (
) language arose from contact between the indigenous
language of Ashkenazic Jewry and the medieval Germanic languages (Jacobs 2005: 2). Standard Yiddish is based on the features of the Northeastern and Southeasten dialects of Yiddish, the remaining dialects being Western and Central. The participation of Yiddish in the High German Sound Shift and a number of corresponding features with Bavarian and East Central German (Jacobs 2005: 16) have been suggested as evidence for an Irminonic ancestry, however the origins of the language remain contentious. It has been suggested by Jacobs (2005) that 27
Yiddish may in fact be a creole or contact language rather than a variety of West Germanic (Jacobs 2005: 12-13). The issue of the source dialect of Yiddish and the question of whether the language can suitably be viewed as West Germanic or rather should be considered a “Fusion” language9 are addressed in Jacobs (2005). Of particular interest to this paper is the number of phonological and morphological similarities between Yiddish and Wymysorys which will be discussed respectively in Chapters 3 and 4 (see also Wicherkiewicz 2003; 413-423). As Yiddish traditionally uses the Hebrew alphabet, Yiddish examples discussed in this paper will be presented in transliteration, using the Romanised form, as in Jacobs (2005).
Pre-Roman Iron Age
1350– 1500–1700 present 1500
High German Varieties
(Northwest Germanic) Irminonic Proto (Alpine Germanic West Germanic)
Primitive High German
Early New High German
East Central German Varieties
Figure 2.5. Chronology of Irminonic
Jacobs (2005) suggests that the term “Fusion”, used originally to describe Yiddish might better be
described as creolisation or pidginisation (Jacobs 2005: 13).
184.108.40.206. The High German Sound Shift The High German Sound Shift refers to the system of changes whereby the voiceless stops of Germanic became fricatives and affricates while voiced stops became voiceless. The sound shift is variously realised in the Central German dialects and not at all in Ingvaeonic or Dutch and Flemish. The importance of the High German Sound shift in the diction between varieties of Central and High German as well as between Irminonic and the Ingvaeonic and Istvaeonic languages is illustrated in Chapter 3. 2.2.3. The Istvaeonic Languages (Franconian) The modern varieties of the Istvaeonic Branch of West Germanic are to be Dutch, Flemish and Afrikaans, these languages being descendants of Low Franconian which did not experience the same extent of influence from the Irminonic languages as did High Franconian (section 2.2.2. Both Low and High Franconian are considered Istvaeonic, the former not having undergone the High German Sound Shift. Contact between High Franconian and Irminonic make it difficult to separate the modern ancestors of these languages with respect to Irminonic and Istvaeonic features. The same can be said of Modern Dutch and Low German: just as High Franconian experienced considerable influence from the Irminonic languages, so too did Low Franconian from the Ingvaeonic languages. The self-identification of the Wilamowiceans as originating from the so-called Low Countries of continental Europe (Friesland, Flanders, the Netherlands), dismissed by early surveys of the language, has been called again into question by recent studies (Neels forthcoming, Wicherkiewicz 2003, Ryckeboer 1984,). With the exception of Friesland (section 2.3.1), if Wymysorys was to have originated in the Netherlands or Flanders sometime in the early fourteenth century10, then it would be expected that the language belonged to the Istvaeonic branch of West Germanic and so would be
Likely, earlier, as Novowilamowicz existed by 1325.
related to Dutch and Flemish. As discussed in Chapter 1, this thesis aims to determine the linguistic validity of this claim. As with Low German, Modern Dutch (Nederlands) is divided into a number of different dialects with varying degrees of intelligibility, the most significant is the separation of the dialects spoken in the Netherlands and those spoken in Belgium. Flemish (Vlamms) is the variety of Low Franconian spoken in Belgium, generally considered a variety of Dutch (Booji 1995; 1) however it is listed by Lewis (2009) as a separate language. Linguists concerned specifically with Wymysorys have also generally treated Flemish as an autonomous language to Dutch (Neels forthcoming, Wicherkiewicz 2003, Ryckeboer 1984). As the folk history of the ethnic Wilamowiceans places the point of origin of the language specifically in Flanders I will refer to both Flemish and Dutch for the remainder of this paper. Modern Flemish and Dutch can both be traced to Middle Dutch, the period of the evolution of the Low Franconian languages between 1150 and 1500, from which there is substantial original literature. The suggested chronology of Dutch within the context of the Istvaeonic languages can be seen in figure 2.6. As discussed in Chapter 1, it is thought that what would become Wymysorys was transplanted from Western continental Europe sometime before 1325. Therefore the Middle Dutch period will be of particular interest for the purposes of this paper. It has been noted by Lewis (2009) that some varieties of Dutch and Flemish and West Central German are mutually intelligible, while it is not of importance to the current study I would suggest that a comparison of the mutual intelligibility between these languages and Wymysorys would be of considerable interest.11 Afrikaans, a daughter language of Dutch, is descended from Dutch dialects transported to South Africa in the seventeenth century.
Rinaldo Neels (p.c) estimates that the intelligibility between Wymysorys and Flemish might be as
high as 50%. However, he also observes that the accent, prosody and some lexical features of Wymysorys make fluent conversation between speakers of both Wymysorys and Flemish impossible.
Ingvaeonic Nasal Deletion (section 220.127.116.11) and the High German Sound Shift (section 18.104.22.168) are not shared innovations of the Istvaeonic languages and serve as a basic distinction between the Ingvaeonic, Irminonic and Istvaeonic languages. As mentioned above, Ingvaeonic Nasal Deletion is not a feature of Wymysorys which might be considered evidence for a possible Dutch or Flemish ancestry of Wymysorys if not for the fact that it has participated in the High German Sound Shift. Of the Istvaeonic languages, only the High Franconian or West Central German varieties participated in the High German Sound Shift, which is strong evidence against a possible Dutch or Flemish origin for Wymysorys. The question of Wymysorys’ origins with regards to the High German Sound Shift and other West Germanic phonological innovations will be discussed in Chapter 3.
Pre-Roman Iron Age
Roman Iron 100 BCE– 100 CE
Old Franconian (from 500)
Early New Central German
Central German Varieties
Early Limburgish Limburgish
Franconian (Old Dutch)
Dutch & Early
Modern Dutch Afrikaans
Figure 2.6. Chronology of Istvaeonic
3. Phonology This Chapter compares the phonology of Wymysorys with the phonological systems of various West Germanic languages. The primary concern of this paper is to determine the origins of Wymysorys, consequently, a complete description of the phonology of the language is not provided. For a comprehensive study of the phonology of Wymysorys (in Polish) see Klezckowski (1920). This paper is significant in its departure from purely lexical comparison, which has previously been the basis of previous claims for the origin of Wymysorys (Chapter 1). The organisation of the current chapter is partly based on the work of Noble (1983), who outlines four principal innovations that have the “greatest overall significance in determining the phonological character of the German dialect map” (Noble 1983; 38) these being: participation in the High German Sound Shift, New High German Diphthongisation, New High German Monophthongisation and the gan/gen and stan/sten alternation (Noble 1983). The following sections of this chapter will introduce these features and examine the extent to which these innovations are present in Wymysorys. In addition, this chapter will discuss the sounds of Wymysorys, retention of the Germanic labial fricatives, henceforth /β/ retention and the loss of final -n. Finally, this chapter will examine the phenomenon of final –n deletion. 3.0. The Sounds of Wymysorys Before continuing, it is important to have some idea of the sounds of Wymysorys in addition to their representation in the orthographies of Tymoteusz Król and Florian Biesik, whose texts form the bulk of written evidence for this paper.
Data for the tables above was taken from the archives of Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznań, Poland) recorded as part of the project Linguistic Heritage of Poland – Documenting Endangered Languages. This data has then been compared with the work of Tomasz Wicherkiewicz (2003) to give a comprehensive account of the phonetic inventory of Wymysorys. Note that vowels are listed alongside their representation by Biesik (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 407-408) and Król (2012) which is the greatest difference in the orthographies of both authors. Wicherkiewicz (2003) provides an exhaustive account of the various orthographies employed before 2003 in addition to the complete inventory of the sounds of Wymysorys (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 309-412). The more recent orthographies employed by Jozef Gara (2003, 2007a, 2007b) and Tymoteusz Król (2009, 2011) have been discussed in section 1.3. I have chosen not to also compare Gara’s orthography as it bears a strong resemblance to that of Biesik, with the exception of the inclusion of the graphemes ö and ü for /ø/ and /ʏ/ respectively (Gara 2003). With regard to consonants, the orthographies of Biesik and Król generally correspond with their phonetic values, notable exceptions however are; /v/ /w/ and /ts/ are expressed, as in Polish, by w, ł and c respectively. The few differences in the orthographic representation of consonants between Biesik (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 408-409) and Król (2009, 2011) are as follows:
ńn / n
ng / ń
The sounds [ç, x, h] are in complementary distribution, which can be represented by the following pattern: /x/
/ [+ high + front] ___ , / ___ [ + high + front]
/ # ___
This can be seen in the following examples, from Król (2011). Roman numerals indicate poem number followed by stanza number: fiht
3.0.1. Palatalisation of Velar Plosives A complete phonological account for palatalisation in Wymysorys has yet to be undertaken. Of particular concern to this paper is the non-contrastive palatalisation of /k/ and /g/ before front vowels, a feature shared by Wymysorys and the Ingvaeonic Languages. Palatalisation of /k/ and /g/ is sporadically marked by both Biesik (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 409) and Król (2003) with i or j, in the case of the latter, i is generally preferred; giełd
The palatalisation of /k/ and /g/ was a feature of Old English and Old Frisian (Bremmer 2009; 31) and the Scandinavian languages which lead to the development12 of /tʃ/ and /j/ (Harbert 2007; 48). While these changes do not represent a single historical innovation it is significant that did not occur in the Istvaeonic or Irminonic languages (Harbert 2007; 49). This is discussed in section 3.7. 3.0.2. Distribution of /l/ and /w/ The labio-velar approximant /w/ is a rare phoneme amongst the West Germanic languages, found only in English, Scots (Rennie 2004), some varieties of
Care of the following sound changes (Harbert 2007; 48-49); Proto-Germanic /k/ → /kʲ/ → /tʃ/ *kinnu → tsin ‘chin’ (Old Frisian Bremmer 2009; 31) Proto-Germanic /g/ → /gʲ/ →/j/ *saggjan → segi [seiji] ‘say’ (Icelandic Harbert 2007; 48)
Flemish (Noske 2006: 474, Devos & Vanderchove 2005), Frisian (Tiersma 1985; 26), and evidently Wymysorys. In these languages /w/ usually represents a form that did not undergo fricativisation, to become /v/ as in the remaining West Germanic languages (Bremmer 2009; 50, Harbert 2007; 45), and so normally appears in environments in which cognates have /v/. Compare for example English water and Standard German wasser [vasər] (Messinger and Türck 1993). In this regard, Wymysorys can generally (section 3.5) be compared to Standard German, so [vɑsər] water, [vɔs] what, [vɪər] we and would appear to similarly have fricitavised the West German /w/. The /w/ found in Wymysorys is unique, in that it surfaces in place of West Germanic /l/. So: Wymysorys
With the exception of a small number of loan words (Appendix) /l/ is found only in diminutive forms, where it is found in complementary distribution with /w/. With the exception of Polish onomastic diminutives (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 421) the suffix –ła [-wɑ] marks diminutive forms. The allomorphic form –la [lɑ] is always found when the final consonant of the preceding stem is velar. This is illustrated by the following generalisation: 38
/ [+high, + cons ] ___
Compare (Król 2011): Wymysorys
*(WYM 120131_001 30:18) While the change from West Germanic /l/ to /w/ across almost all environments is an innovation found only in Wymysorys, it is comparable to the vocalisation of /l/ found in Dutch and English (Harbert 2007; 56). For both Dutch and English the variation in /l/ is generally with respect to the extent to which the dorsal gesture is timed with respect to the coronal gesture in the articulation of /l/, a shorter and longer dorsal gesture producing a ‘light’ or ‘dark’ /l/ respectively (Borowsky 2001; 70-71). For both languages, however, the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ /l/ are complementarily distributed, ‘light’ /l/ appearing more often in syllable onsets while ‘dark’ /l/ (/ɫ/) demonstrates an affinity for the syllable coda (Harbert 2007: 56, Jongkind & van Reenen 2007, Borowsky 2001: 71). In contrast is Standard German for which ‘light’ /l/ “prevails in all contexts” (Harbert 2007: 56). The change of West Germanic /l/ to /w/ in Wymysorys may be then a highly productive extension of this process to all environments (with the exception of diminutives) which led to the production of /w/. This is likely to be a product of contact with Polish, which shifted the pronunciation of the velarised /ɫ/ to /w/ in the sixteenth century (Teslar and Teslar 1962; 4-5) and which continues to distinguish dialects on 39
the basis of the pronunciation of /ɫ/ versus /w/ (Swan 1983; xix, Wieczorkiewicz 1974). The almost complete loss of /l/ is an innovation unique to Wymysorys but as the chronology of this change is unknown it cannot provide any strong evidence for the origins of the language. It is significant that German does not have vocalised /l/. It should be noted however that Bukowski’s (1860) A Welmeßajer ai Berlin (section 1.3.) has only l (Neels forthcoming), particularly marked is the form Loit ‘people’ recorded by Król (2011; 4) as łoüt. This may be evidence that the change from /l/ to /w/ is a recent innovation; however, Wicherkiewicz (2003) notes that Bukowski uses only High German orthography, which would preclude the use of ł (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 412). 3.1. The High German Sound Shift The High German Sound Shift is so named for its origins in the Alpine regions of Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It can consequently be considered as originally an Irminonic feature although it has considerable effect on the High Franconian varieties. The First or “Germanic” (Nielsen 1989; 31) Sound Shift separated the consonant systems earliest forms of Germanic from Indo-European, completing this change by approximately 500 BCE (Noble 1983; 33). The Second or “High” German Sound Shift began amongst the Irminonic languages in the fifth century and was complete by the seventh. These sound changes then extended north, reaching the maximum extent of their northern penetration by 1500 CE (Iverson and Salmons 2006; 47, Noble 1983; 35, 112), the varying effects of which resulted in a continuum of isoglosses across the Germanic speaking areas, reflecting the degree by which individual dialects participated in the shift from south to north.
Figure 3.1 Chronological and geographical progress of the High German Sound Shift (Noble 1983; 112) Traditionally the sound shift is discussed in relation to two phases, the first; the shift of the voiceless stops /p, t, k/ to the voiceless geminate fricatives /ff, ss, hh/ or the affricates /pf/, /ts/ and /kx/ depending on word position; the second being the devoicing of voiced13 stops /b, d, g/. From the perspective of chronology,
There is some debate within Germanic theory as to whether these sounds should be considered
contrastive by voicing as opposed to aspiration. For a complete discussion on the relevant theories surrounding the voicing or aspiration contrast of the Germanic languages see Harbert (2007; 43-44). While I support Harbert’s (2007) argument for contrastive aspiration as opposed to voicing, I will continue for the remainder of this paper, to refer to the stops /b, d, g/ and /p, t, k/ by the conventional terms, “voiced” and “voiceless” respectively.
discussing the Sound Shift in relation to two phases does not account for the nonuniform participation of the non-Ingvaeonic varieties in these changes. In particular, the two phase distinction does not take into account the differing chronology the shift of /p, t, k/ into fricatives and affricates. The former affected the entire area from Austria up to the effective border of the Low German speaking area in the north of Germany (section 3.1.1.) while the latter variously affected dialects as it penetrated northwards (Noble 1983; 33). The Uerdingen Line (Figure 3.3) marks the northern extent of any of these sound shifts. The Low Franconian languages, Dutch and Flemish, were also unaffected by the High German Sound shift, which aside from the extent to which they have been influenced by the Irminonic languages, is decisive in the distinction between the Low and High varieties of Franconian (section 2.2.3.). Given the different extent to which they have had effect, I will treat the shift of the Germanic voiceless stops to fricatives or affricates as two separate phases for the remainder of this paper. As mentioned above, participation in the High German Sound Shift is considered to be the most important phonological means for identifying individual Germanic varieties. While separated in this paper into three principal phases, within these phases there are six degrees of major consonantal shifts which further divide the participating dialect groups. The principal, dialect-distinguishing sound shifts, from North to South are generally considered (Noble 1983; 34) to be those shown below. The five principal isoglosses separating these sounds are shown below the sound shifts to which they correspond. Forms to the left of the slashes are those found north of these isoglosses, so variations of the form ik are found north of the Uerdingen Line, while varieties of ich are found south:
x (after vowel)
f (after consonant)
Uerdingen Line maken/machen
medial Benrath Line
Bad Honnef Line dat/das
Sankt Goar Line appel/apfel
Speyer Line In addition to these shifts, the op/auf and kind/chind shifts have been argued by Noble (1983) to be significant in the distinction between varieties of Low and Upper German respectively (Noble 1983; 34). Unlike the remaining six sound shifts, the distribution of op/auf and kind/chind is considerably less uniform (König 1978; 165), the former generally occurring north of the Speyer Line, but also found in dialects surrounding Cologne, while the latter is found only in Alemannic (Noble 1983; 139). They are included here to give a complete picture of the dialectally significant sound shifts. The remaining six shifts are the concern of this paper. The historical development of these sounds has resulted in seven distinguishable dialect areas, separated by the isoglosses for the above six sounds, shown in figure 3.2. Note that zone six is exceptional in that it has fund rather than pund/pfund. This is an important sound change in relation to Wymysorys and will be discussed below.
For now it will suffice to mention that this is the only dialect area that uniformly shows this sound change.
Figure 3.2 Major sound shifts in relation to dialect groups (Noble 1983; 113) Before moving on to discuss the individual phases of the High German Sound Shift, I will briefly justify the inclusion of the dental fricative shift as a fourth phase of the High German Sound Shift. Here included as the “Fourth Phase” (section 3.2.4) the shift of dental fricative /θ/ to /d/14 is not traditionally considered to be a feature of the High German Sound Shift, although it has been viewed as an extension of this shift in discussion of the consonant inventories of West Germanic (Harbert 2007, Smith 2008). This phase is thought to have been completed by the eleventh century for Low and Standard German (Smith 2008; 31) and by the late middle ages for Dutch (Harbert 2007; 53). As it is a feature of all the West Germanic languages with the exception of (Standard) Scots and English this change will be discussed only briefly and for this paper will be considered as a Fourth Phase of the High German Sound Shift.
The Voicing agreement here is discussed in Harbert (2007; 52) and at length in Smith (2009).
3.1.1. First Phase Generally the First Phase of the High German Consonant Shift caused the voiceless /p, t, k/ to become fricatives postvocalically, geminating in intervocalic environments. The shift of /p, t, k/ to the geminate fricatives /ff, ss, xx/ affected the entirety of the central and upper Germanic varieties up to the traditional “Low German boundary line” (Noble 1983; 33) or the “Uerdingen Line”, the isogloss separating Ingvaeonic and Dutch speaking areas from the Central German and Irminonic varieties running from just south of Magdeburg in the east of Germany to the north of Cologne in the west; “zone 1” in figure 3.2.
Figure 3.3 The Uerdingen Line: ik (north), ich (south) As can be seen in figure 3.3, the North Sea Coast region and consequently the Ingvaeonic languages as whole, were entirely unaffected. The Netherlands and 45
Flanders were similarly unaffected by the shift. This can be seen through comparison of Dutch and Standard German (Dutch, Osselton and Hempelman 2009, German, Messinger and Türck 1993):
P → ff
t → ss
*Note here and for the remainder of this chapter that Standard German has undergone subsequent degemination. For the shift from k → hh Dutch is here compared with Old High German as the geminate sound /hh/ has become the velar fricative /x/ in Standard German (Dutch, Osselton and Hempelman 2009, Old High German, Kluge 1883).
k → hh
Old High German
With respect to this initial phase of the High German Sound Shift, Wymysorys is most like Standard German in the extent to which it has participated in the changes listed above. Like Standard German, Wymysorys would appear, from a comparison of cognates, to have shifted the all postvocalic voiceless stops /p, t, k/ to fricatives, almost without exception. Wymysorys examples here taken from the poems (in Wymysorys) of Florian Biesik’s Óf jer wełt (“In the other world”) (in Wicherkiewicz 2003) and Tymoteusz Król’s S’ława fum Wilhelm (“The life of Wilhelm”) (Król 2011). Numbers indicate stanza. For Król (2011) roman numerals are also given, to indicate poem number. (Dutch, Osselton and Hempelman 2009, German, Messinger and Türck 1993): p→f
postvocalic, word final
p → ff
postvocalic, word medial
*(Scots “to shout, cry out”, Rennie 2004)
postvocalic, word final
t → ss
postvocalic, word medial
k → h (x)
postvocalic, word final
kjyh (XVII; 121)
k → hh (x)
postvocalic, word medial
maha ( I 48)
breaks (3P pres.)
It is clear from this data that Wymysorys has participated in the first phase of the High German Sound Shift, a fact that initially separates the language from Low German and Dutch (and indeed, English). From the perspective of linguistic heredity, this does leave considerable doubt for a possible Ingvaeonic origin for the language, from the perspective of consonantal systems, as the Ingvaeonic languages did not participate at all in this initial shift (Bremmer 2009; 48-49, Iverson and Salmons 2006; 49, Noble 1983; 33). The participation of Wymysorys in the first phase of the High German Sound Shift also puts it at odds with Dutch and Flemish, both of which are descendant from Old Low Franconian which also did not undergo any stage of the High German Sound Shift (Harbert 2007; 17). Geographically this would place the point of origin of Wymysorys or at least, the language from which it inherited its consonant system, somewhere beneath the Uerdingen Line (figure 3.3). This will be examined in greater detail in section 3.7. Before continuing, I will discuss the aforementioned exceptions which are, unsurprisingly, the small number of Polish borrowings: smok (‘dragon’), biskupa (‘bishop’), zakonica (‘nun’)16 and so on (Biesik from Wicherkiewicz 2003). Unfortunately the chronology of these borrowings is unknown and will likely 15
Unfortunately no data is available on the infinitive form “to break”. As pointed out by Bremmer
(2009), /k/ regularly surfaces as /x/ in the Frisian languages before /t/. Citing the example, brecht (breaks 3Psg.) (Bremmer 2009; 48). This example is therefore problematic. 16
This spelling is that of Biesik (Wicherkiewicz 2003), the actual spelling for ‘nun’ is zakonnica
remain so given the absence of written evidence. The most significant of these borrowings is the Wymysorys word for ‘husband’ kłąp [kwɔp] which is derived from the Polish dialectal word for ‘man’ chłop [xłop]. Harbert (2007) notes initial /x/ did not occur in common Germanic, generally becoming /h/ (Harbert 2007; 46), so it is perhaps unsurprising that despite having a velar fricative in its consonant inventory, Wymysorys has strengthened the initial consonant to /k/. Unlike Yiddish which has reintroduced initial velar fricatives (Harbert 2007; 46) the same is not true of Wymysorys. Gara (2003), who uses the diagraph ch to express /x/, lists no initial velar fricatives. Unfortunately, I have found no other /x/ initial borrowings to substantiate this claim. Generally however, polish forms appear unchanged. There is one final exception which warrants mention: the word for ‘girl’ mákia (Biesik VI 1 in Wicherkiewicz 2003; 360) which has not undergone this shift. The form mákia is significant as it does not correspond either with the Standard German form Mädchen or with the Silesian variants Madla, Mädla, Maidla or Maidl (König 1978; 166). The closest corresponding cognate is the form Mäken found along the River Oder, east of Berlin and the River Weser in central Germany (König 1978; 166). The form mákia may then be the product of palatalisation (section 3.0.1) and subsequently final –n deletion (section 3.6). This form is only found north of the Speyer line, which, as has been demonstrated above, is at odds with the origins of Wymysorys with regards to the first phase of the High German Sound Shift. Mákia may then represent a later borrowing or an unchanged form from an ancestor of Wymysorys.
3.1.2. Second Phase The Second Phase of the High German Sound Shift again involved the voiceless consonants /p, t, k/ which shifted to the affricates /pf, ts, kx/ in three environments: word initially; when the original consonant was geminated; or following a liquid (/r, l/) or nasal (/m, n/) (Dutch, Osselton and Hempelman 2009, Swiss German, Thuleen 1991): Dutch
p → pf
t → ts
k → kx
Unlike the First Phase, the sound changes involved in the Second Phase of the consonant shift did not extend northwards in a uniform fashion. While the southernmost (Irminonic) varieties undergo the shift more-or-less to a point of completeness, the northward penetration of the Second Phase is staggered, one result of which is the pattern of isoglosses known as the “Rhenish Fan” as well as the seven dialect areas discussed in section 3.1. Of these changes, the shift to /kx/ was the least productive, occurring only in extreme southwest of the Germanic speaking area, specifically the Alemannic varieties of Switzerland (Weinreich 2008; A557). The shift from /p/ to /pf/, on the other hand, had a greater range of influence, reaching as far of the River Main and marks the northern extent of the Upper German varieties (Noble 1983; 34). In relation to this shift, Wymysorys has not carried through the Second Phase of the High German Sound Shift to the same degree of completion as the Irminonic varieties in the south. Again, through a comparison of cognates, it would appear that while the shift from /t/ to /ts/ appears to be complete, the remaining shifts are more complex. With regards to the shift of /t/ to /ts/, it has been suggested by Hock 51
(1989) that [ts] may be considered more “natural” crosslinguistically in comparison to [kx] and [pf] which “had no direct precedents in native structure” (Hock 1989; 429). From this, it is perhaps unsurprising that the distribution of [ts] is more widespread. (Dutch, Osselton and Hempelman 2009, German, Messinger and Türck 1993): p → pf
funt (Gara 2003)
p → pf
* Bavarian dialectal form, also Upper Silesian A(r)dappel (König 1978; 206)
p → pf
proceeding liquid or nasal
hylfa (BVI 36)
siöf (Gara 2003)
*Old High German helpfan (Harbert 2007; 47) and scharpf (Schrijver 2011; 220) The examples above reveal that Wymysorys has undergone this shift in initial and preceeding liquid/nasal environments with respect to /pf/, however it has preserved voiceless geminated stopes. In the case of the former, however, it has not carried out the complete shift to affricates rather /p/ has shifted to /f/ following liquids or nasals and word initially. This is typical of East Central German (Figure 3.2) and both Upper and Lower Silesian (König 1978; 64). This may however be an independent innovation; Hock (1989) notes for example, that the simplification of /pf/ to [f] is found throughout Central German among those languages which “accepted [pf]” (Hock 1989; 339-340). The suggestion is, discussed above, that as these sounds had no native precedent in Germanic they were variously realised as more common or “natural” sounds. This variation is not found in the High German languages (Howe 1983; 34-35). The retention of the geminated /p/ is more significant as it places the source dialect/language of Wymysorys north of the Speyer line, the appel/apfel isogloss separating Upper German varieties from the rest of Germanic (see Figure 3.3 below).This will be discussed further in section 3.7.
Figure 3.4 The Speyer Line: Appel (north), Apfel (south) As mentioned above, the shift from /t/ to /ts/ is unexceptional, having been carried through to completion in Wymysorys, as shown below (Dutch, Osselton and Hempelman 2009, German, Messinger and Türck 1993): t → ts
*From Biesik II (Wicherkiewicz 2003) 54
t → ts
t → ts
following liquid or nasal
ganc (I; 22)
The final, velar, sound change of the Second Phase as mentioned above, was only productive in Alemannic, while elsewhere in the Germanic speaking area, the velar consonant remained unchanged, as in the Central German dialects or reverted to /k/ as in the remaining High German languages17, in the above environments (Howe 1983; 34, 68-89). Wymysorys does not possess the velar affricate and therefore the paradigm below will suffice for the purposes of this paper (Dutch, Osselton and Hempelman 2009, Swiss German, Thuleen 1991 and Keller 1979):
The situation in Alemannic is much more complex and is discussed at length in Howe (1983; 68-
k → kx* English
*From Gara (2003; 80, 78)
3.1.3. Third Phase When compared with the two preceding developments, the Third Phase of the High German Sound Shift is of comparatively less significance, having had apparently little effect on the non-Irminonic varieties of Germanic. While the change of /b, d, g/ to /p, t, g/, can be seen in the consonant inventories of all the Upper German varieties, which underwent the change completely (Harbert 2007; 48, Ivenson and Salmons 2006; 47, Noble 1983; 33), it affected only the coronal consonant /d/ in the High Franconian dialects. Standard German, which takes its consonant system from the High Franconian varieties, consequently has the shifted form /t/ alongside the un-shifted /b/ and /g/. Like the previous shifts, the Low Franconian and Ingvaeonic languages remained unaffected, as shown below (Dutch, Osselton and Hempelman 2009, German, Messinger and Türck 1993, Bavarian, Harbert 2007; 48):
Wymysorys, like German, appears to follow the High Franconian system, shifting only the coronal /d/: d→t
initial, medial, final
trynkja (I; 47)
*From Król (2009; 31) **From Gara (2003; 87, 85)
*From Biesik VI (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 360) ** (Gara 2003; 56) A possible exception may be póter (“butter” Biesik I; 1455) however this may also be a later borrowing from Austrian German (Keller 1979; 204). g→k English
*From Król (2009; 31) ** The g in Dutch is variably pronounced as either [g], [ɣ] or [χ] and is often a distinguishing feature between Eastern and Western varieties of Dutch (Harbert 2007; 46, Booji 1995; 8). With respect to the examples above, it would appear that Wymysorys has participated in the Third Phase of the High Germanic Sound Shift to the same extent as the High Franconian varieties and as such resembles Standard German with respect to /b, d, g/. 3.1.4. Fourth Phase
English (and Scots) represent the only West Germanic languages that did not undergo this shift, which was completed by the fifteenth century for the continental West Germanic Languages; the eleventh century for Low German (Smith 2008; 31) and as early as the eighth century for the Irminonic varieties (Smith 2008; 11). A full account of the nature of this shift can be found in Smith (2008). As mentioned above the shift of the voiceless dental fricative /θ/ to /d/ is generally not considered to be part of the High German Sound Shift, however Harbert (2007) has argued that this shift may represent a final systematic change which “fills the gap in the system created by the change of unaspirated [voiced] to aspirated [voiceless] stops (t → ts/s, d → t, θ → d)” (Harbert 2007; 52). It is important for this paper, only, that the consonantal inventory of Wymysorys does not include dental fricatives. Wymysorys has participated in the Fourth Phase of the High German Sound Shift (Old High German, Kluge 1883, German, Messinger and Türck 1993): θ→ð→d English
Old High German
*Middle English thorp 3.2. New High German Diphthongisation Beginning in approximately the twelfth century, though not before (Noble 1983; 36), the diphthongisation of the Middle High German high vowels penetrated again as far as the Low German Boundary line, however it had no effect on the Alemannic languages (Noble 1983; 120). Importantly this sound change penetrated 59
Silesian German by the fifteenth century and evidently also affected Wymysorys. The shift involved the high vowels /i:, ʉ, u:/ becoming /aɪ, ɔʏ, aʊ/: Middle High German
i: → aɪ
ʉ → ɔʏ
u: → aʊ
(Middle and Std. German, Howe 1983; 36, Wymysorys Król 2011) 3.3. New High German Monophthongisation A feature of the central German area (between the Speyer and Benrath lines) that had only a minor effect of the Upper German languages, the process of New High German Monophthongisation shifted the three diphthongs /iə, ʉə, uo/ to /i, ʉ, u/ from the twelfth century. This sound change also affected Low German, shifting to /e, ø, o/, also found in some central German varieties (Noble 1983; 37). With respect to these changes, Wymysorys has indeed monophthongised these vowels, although the modern surface forms do not necessarily correspond with the Modern German sounds. Middle High German
iə → i
ʉə → ʉ
uo → u
(Middle and Std. German, Howe 1983; 37, Wymysorys, Król 2011) It should be noted before moving on, that the Wymysorys monophthongised forms kni ‘knee’ and grin ‘green’ are the same for Yiddish (Jacobs 2005; 16). This is discussed in section 3.7. 60
3.4. The gen/gan and sten/stan alternation The infinitive forms gen/gan and stan/sten, corresponding to Modern Standard German gehen ‘to go’ and stehen ‘to stay’, occur frequently enough to warrant their use in broadly locating varieties of Germanic. Generally speaking the gan/stan forms are found in the continental Ingvaeonic languages and in Alemannic, while gen/sten can generally be attested elsewhere; see Noble (1983; 38) for a complete discussion. With respect to these forms Wymysorys again distinguishes itself from the Ingvaeonic languages and Dutch in having the forms gejn [geɪn] and śtejn [ʃteɪn]. The significance of these forms will be seen in later sections. 3.5. /β/ retention The retention of the labial fricative / β / usually realised as [v] or [f] between two vowels and following /l/ and /r/ (cf Dutch halv, English half, German halb) is found in the Ingvaeonic and Low Franconian languages (Harbert 2007; 45) and Wymysorys. This shift can be estimated to have occurred sometime before the eighth century, as attested by its absence in Old High German which did not possess /v/ until the later fricativisation of /w/ (Harbert 2007; 45, also section 3.0.2). Given the number of similarities between Wymysorys and Standard German, at least with respect to the features discussed above, it is peculiar that Wymysorys also appears to have retained a voiced labial feature in the environments mentioned above.
[died]** (3PsgPAST) sterfte
* cf. Grave ** cf. Starve *** From Gara (2003; 87) The retention of /β/ does not provide strong evidence for or against the supposed Irminonic origins of Wymysorys. While it is a feature of the Ingvaeonic and Low Franconian languages it was also a common feature of all Germanic (Harbert 2007; 45). As Trask (1996) concludes in his discussion on the significance of shared innovations and shared retentions; “Shared archaisms are of little or no use in establishing groupings within families” (Trask 1996; 182). 3.6. Loss of Final –n West Germanic final –n in the unstressed sequence *–an has been lost in Wymysorys. This can be seen by comparison of the following examples from Standard German (Messinger and Türck 1993) and Wymysorys ( Król 2011);
kuma (Intro; 4)
zejwa (Król, p.c)
ława (Intro; 4)
Monosyllabic infinitives however continue to be marked with –n; English
śtejn (VII; 36)
The loss of final –n has been argued as an innovation of Proto-Frisian, completed between the sixth and eighth centuries CE, however it does not occur, as in Wymysorys, for numerals (Bremmer 2009; 41). Importantly Old West Frisian reappended final –n in monosyllabic infinitives at some point prior to the fifteenth century CE (Bremmer 2009; 41, Meijering 1990; 348-345). Even more significant is that the same infinitive verbs are monosyllabic in Old West Frisian and Wymysorys, with the exception of ‘to have’ compare Old West Frisian dāwn ‘to do’, siān ‘to see’, hebbe ‘to have’ (Meijering 1990; 336). Again, while this might be suggested as possible evidence of Ingvaeonic ancestry in Wymysorys, it seems unlikely, for reasons that will discussed below.
3.7. Findings The participation of Wymysorys in the First Phase of the High German Sound Shift is strong evidence against the possibility that it is a variety of Ingvaeonic or Low Franconian. To illustrate this point I will again use the figure discussed above;
Figure 3.3 The Speyer Line It is well documented that the Low Franconian and Ingvaeonic languages did not participate in any of the first three phases of the High German Sound Shift. That Wymysorys has undergone the first phase completely would suggest either that the source dialect of Wymysorys originates south of Low German Boundary line or that the language has undergone parts of the High German Sound Shift during relocation to Poland. This second hypothesis might help to explain the language’s eclectic phonological character. If we assume the first hypothesis, that the consonant system 64
of Wymysorys has remained unchanged with respect to the High German Sound System, then the degree to which it has participated in the Second Phase would suggest an East Central point of origin. This conclusion is made on the basis of the presence of non-affricate consonants for Germanic /p-, -pp-, -lp/, Wymysorys; fot ‘horse’, opuł ‘apple’, hylfa ‘help’ and the instance of /f/ in initial position, where /p/ is found in West Central German. Given the proximity of Silesian German, also an East Central German variety (Lewis 2009, König 1978), this fact is perhaps unsurprising. There is however the possibility that this represents an independent innovation, as discussed section 3.1.2. In either possibility an Ingvaeonic or Low Franconian origin is unlikely, given these languages did not participate in this shift.
Figure 3.5 East Central German (shaded) The East Central German character of Wymysorys is reinforced by the degree to which Wymysorys has participated in the Third and Fourth Phases of the High 65
German Sound Shift. As seen in section 3.1.3 Wymysorys, like Standard German, has shifted only the voiced coronal /d/, which rules out an Alemannic or Bavarian origin, these languages having completed this shift by the seventh century CE (Noble 1983; 33). That Wymysorys participated in the fourth phase is unsurprising, as it affected all of continental West Germanic. While it could be seen as evidence to refute both Biesik and Bukowski’s (Wicherkiewicz 2003) claims for an English or Scottish background, it is not strong enough evidence to reach this conclusion. Firstly, because not all dialects of English (or Scots) have retained dental fricatives (Shetlandic, Harbert 2007; 46) and secondly, the sound may have existed in Wymysorys in the fourteenth century and has since become /d/. Without evidence from early Wymysorys, it is useless speculating. Stronger evidence for a background outside of England or Scotland is that Wymysorys did not undergo the process of Ingvaeonic Nasal Deletion (Section 22.214.171.124.). The two vowel changes, the New High German Diphthongisation and Monophthongisation respectively, would also support an East Central German extraction for Wymysorys, just as they have been argued as evidence for the East Central German character of Yiddish (Jacobs 2005; 16). The gejn/śtejn forms found in Wymysorys are also typical of East Central German (Howe 1983; 38). However, as seen in section 3.6 these forms may also suggest a possible Frisian origin, though the possibility of an Ingvaeonic origin of Wymysorys does seem unlikely with respect to the degree to which the language has participated in the High German Sound Shift. Of the phonological innovations described in this chapter, three might be considered Ingvaeonic: the palatalisation of velar plosives (section 3.0.1), retention of the labial fricative in medial position (section 3.5) and the loss of final – n in unstressed –an sequences (section 3.6). With respect to the latter, it should be noted that the loss of final –n is also a found in some varieties of Bavarian and Swiss German for infinitives (Harbert 2007; 329-330, Keller 1979; 225) and in Dutch (Booij 1995; 139). Given the extent of the participation of Wymysorys in the High German Sound Shift and the remaining Ingvaeonic features found in the language, a 66
Bavarian or Swiss origin of Wymysorys is unlikely. The phenomenon in Dutch is more complex but also unrelated, as has been shown in Booij (1995). While /n/ dropping is widespread in Dutch, the underlying form remains /ən/ for verbs and nouns (Booij 1995; 139). Crosslinguistically the loss of final consonants in unstressed syllables would appear to be a common phonological process (cf Late Latin to Romance, Old Norse to Danish, Swedish and Icelandic, Harbert 2007; 330, the Austronesian-Ongan languages, Blevins 2007; 162). As it does appear to be a common feature both crosslingsitically and within the broader Germanic family, it is entirely possible that this feature is independent innovation. It is especially unlikely that this is a shared Frisian innovation that has been preserved in Wymysorys, given that difficulty Wymysorys has not undergone further development of the palatalised velar consonants, also a proto-Frisian feature (Bremmer 2009; 31). If the palatalisation of velar plosives is a retained innovation from an originally Ingvaeonic ancestor, it is not likely to be a variety of English, which underwent further assibilation, developing the sounds /tʃ/ and /j/ significantly earlier than the settlement of Wilamowice (van de Hoek 2010; 148, Minkova 2003; 73). The same can also be said of Old Frisian. While the paucity of written records of Frisian make it difficult to determine the chronology of this shift, it has been suggested as a Proto-Frisian innovation (van de Hoek 2010; 195, Bremmer 2009; 31). As Low German did not undergo further development of these consonants to the extent of Frisian or English (van de Hoek 2010; 148), it does seem more likely, given the relative chronology, that this innovation may be shared with Low German. A Low German origin or at least influence, would also account for the retention of labial fricatives in medial position which are not found in East Central German or any dialect south of the Uerdingen Line. This would also support the claims of a Flemish origin of Wymysorys; Dutch and Flemish also retaining medial labial fricatives (Harbert 2007; 45). With regards to the palatalisation of /k/ and /g/, while this has traditionally been considered as a fundamental innovation of the Ingvaeonic languages (Nielsen 1987; 78), the relative frequency of this phenomenon 67
crosslinguistically (Trask 1996; 182) again allows the possibility that this is an independent innovation of Wymysorys, especially given the participation of Wymysorys in the High German Sound Shift, anomalous with Low German. Similarly, labial retention could only be considered as evidence for a non-Irminonic heritage for Wymysorys if it similarly shared innovations with a non-Irminonic language, which, with the possible exception of palatalised velar stops, it does not. With respect to shared phonological innovation Wymysorys would appear to be a Central German language. The possibility that the change from /pf/ to /f/ in initial and post-liquid position is an independent innovation or a product of contact with Silesian German does make classification as either West Central or East Central difficult. This will be considered with respect to Morphology in the following chapter.
4. Morphology The morphology of Wymysorys is largely indistinct from the Irminonic languages, with the exception that is has incorporated a number of Polish morphological features as a result of their prolonged contact. In this way Wymysorys is similar to Yiddish, particularly Eastern Yiddish, which has had comparable contact with the Slavic languages (Jacobs 2005, Wicherkiewicz 2003). While Polish morphological elements form only a small part of the overall grammar of Wymysorys, they do contribute to the distinctness of the language within West Germanic. As this paper is concerned primarily with the possible origins of Wymysorys, this chapter will focus specifically on those morphological innovations found in Wymysorys that are not typical of the language’s supposed Irminonic origins, specifically the h- initial third person masculine singular pronoun har and the form of the infinitve verb. For a comprehensive account of the morphology of Wymysorys I would direct the reader to the work of Kleczkowski (1920), supplemented by Wicherkiewicz (2003). With respect to the morphology of Wymysorys, perhaps more interesting than the small number of innovations that separate the language from the Irminonic family are the shared retentions of Wymysorys and these languages. Wymysorys is comparatively conservative amongst West Germanic, retaining a distinction between three genders and four cases. As previously discussed, Trask (1996) contends that shared retentions should not be considered as evidence for language groupings (Trask 1996; 182), it does go some way to demonstrating the relative morphological conservatism of Wymysorys with respect to West Germanic. Before moving on to discuss the non-Irminonic innovations of Wymysorys, I will briefly discuss the shared retentions of Wymysorys and the Irminonic family of languages. 4.1 Case Wymysorys along with Yiddish and Modern German are the only extant Germanic languages to retain a four-case system (Kleczkowski 1920), the remaining 69
West Germanic languages having lost this system to various degrees over the last millennium (Harbert 2007; 104). As with Yiddish and Standard German (Harbert 2007; 104) case in Wymysorys is primarily marked on the articles and adjectives that accompany the noun (Kleczkowski 1920; 133-141). There are some differences between these languages, for example, Wymysorys continues to distinguish nominative/accusative for plural and feminine determiners; Masc.
(WYM 120210_002; 6:26) This is not true of Yiddish or Standard German, for which the nominative/accusative distinction can only been seen in the paradigms for masculine verbs compare; Masc.
(Yiddish, Jacobs 2005; 172) Masc.
(German, Bosch, Rozario, & Zhao, 2003; 4)
Wymysorys in maintaining this distinction resembles Old High German (Harbert 2007; 104) and Old Frisian (Bremmer 2009; 54), again, demonstrating the relative conservatism of Wymysorys. As mentioned above, the preservation of these archaisms is not evidence for the grouping of Wymysorys with Yiddish and Standard German. The four-case distinction was once common for all West Germanic and so its retention in Wymysorys is not as interesting as if it had been lost. Importantly, those languages that lost the four-case system, Frisian for example, still possessed this system contemporary to the settlement of Wilamowice in their pre-modern forms (Bremmer 2009; 53). 4.2 Gender Wymysorys retains the common Germanic classification (Harbert 2007; 99) of masculine, feminine and neuter nominals (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 419, Kleczkowski 1920; 133-141). The contrast of masculine, feminine and neuter is no longer typical of the West Germanic languages however it is retained by Wymysorys. Low German is the only Ingvaeonic language to retain a three gender system (Harbert 2007; 100), Frisian having collapsed the system to two, and English having lost gender with the exception of pronouns. Dutch, like Frisian also maintains only two genders. In addition to Low German, Wymysorys shares the three-gender system with the Irminonic languages, with the exception of some varieties of Yiddish (Jacobs 2005; 70). The retention of a three gender system in Wymysorys, is not surprising given its relationship with Polish and the proximity to Silesian German both of which maintain three gender systems.
4.3. Pronouns 4.3.1. The Personal Pronouns NOM. 1 S 2 S
yh(y) / ’h
mejh / mih
miyr / mer
dü / ’ty
dejh / dih
djyr / der
har / ’å
ejn / å
ejm / jum
zej / zy
zej / zy
ejs / ’s
ejs / s
ejm / jum
3 S M 3 S F 3 S N 1 P 2 P 3 P
wjyr / -wer
jyr / -er
oüh / jüh
zej / zy
jyn / å
Figure 4.1. The Personal Pronouns of Wymysorys 72
The personal pronominal system of Wymysorys most closely resembles that of the Middle Central German (Mitteldeutsch) varieties. That is, varieties of German spoken between the Speyer and Uerdingen lines (Chapter 2) from the late eleventh century to approximately 1350 CE. Figure 4.1 gives the various personal forms of Wymysorys. These forms are presented using the standard orthography employed by Król (2012) for the reasons discussed in Chapter 1. For tokens separated by slashes (/), the example to the left of the slash is the demonstrative form while the form on the right is a clitic form, the use of which is discussed in section 4.1.2. As with the Modern Irminonic languages (German, Yiddish, Silesian), Wymysorys maintains the distinction between the nominative, accusative, dative and genitive cases. The preservation of this distinction is again conservative within the context of West Germanic languages which have generally levelled the accusative and dative forms, specifically the 1st and 2nd singular pronouns (Howe 1996; 105). According to Howe (1996), the levelling of 1st and 2nd person singular to the originally dative pronouns is an Ingvaeonic innovation that has not affected the Irminonic languages (Howe 1996; 105). While Old Frisian, Middle Dutch and Old Saxon (Old Low German) all maintained Dative and Accusative pronouns, the levelling of 1st and 2nd singular accusative-dative pronouns was complete by at the beginnings of the thirteenth century for Old Frisian18 and Middle Dutch and for Old Saxon, as early as the ninth century (Howe 1996; 179, 204, 256). The preservation of the accusative-dative pronouns is strong evidence for Irminonic heritage of Wymysorys however it may be a shared retention caused through contact with Silesian or indeed Standard (Austrian) German under Austria-Hungary (Chapter 1). In light of this evidence though, a non-Irminonic heritage (at least with respect to the pronominal morphology) does seem unlikely. This is discussed in the conclusion of this chapter. Before moving on, I should mention that the lack of distinction
There are no surviving documents of the Frisian language prior to the thirteenth century (Howe
between singular and plural 1st and 2nd accusative-dative pronouns is not the product of levelling; rather, it is related to the loss of dual forms in Germanic (see Howe 1996; 111) and is not significant for the purposes of this paper. 4.3.2. Weak Forms Pronouns in Wymysorys are contrastive with regards to stress, so that a single pronoun may be realised either as “strong” or “weak”, the latter being a “light, unstressed, often phonologically reduced pronoun” (Harbert 2007; 185). Both forms are shown in Figure 4.1. Within the field of Germanic Linguistics there has been considerable debate as to whether weak pronouns (or “clitics” as they are sometimes labelled) are in fact distinct, morphosyntactically deficient pronouns (Harbert 2007; 185-186). This claim and the antiquity of clitics in Germanic are discussed in detail in Harbert (2009). For the purposes of this paper, I will use the term “weak (pronouns)” to refer to unstressed and phonologically reduced pronouns. With regards to pronouns, the most interesting innovation in Wymysorys is the use of weak genitive pronouns. As with German, the possessive pronouns agree for gender with the head noun they modify (cf. WYM 120210_002 27:58); måjner kłop
The use of the weak form is more common. Bieisk (cf. Wicherkiwicz 2003) for example, seldom uses the gender-marked forms; jér korón
her crown (F)
her head (M)
their land (N)
(Biesik VI; 12)
(Biesik VI; 11)
(Biesik IX; 57)
my mother (F)
my father (M)
my bed (N)
(Biesik I; 1669)
(Biesik I; 1550)
(Biesik I; 722)
Note that while Biesik uses the form máj here for mother, this is phonologically identical to maj. Biesik interchangeably uses áj and aj for the sound [aɪ] (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 407). Non-weak forms have been largely reduced to emphatic or focal constructions, compare; dos ej måj kłop
dos ej måjner kłop!
that is my man
that is my-M man
That is my husband.
That is my man!
(WYM 120210_002 25:44)
The 1st an 2nd singular genitive pronouns; weak
(WYM 120210_002 27:55 – 29:47) Within the context of Germanic, particularly interesting is that the weak forms for the 1st and 2nd singular pronouns, måj, dåj, are not formed with /n/ following the stem vowel, which is common for all Germanic19 (Howe 1996), with the exception of English my (however English also has mine). The loss of final -n in weak forms would appear to be the product of final –n deletion, discussed in chapter 3; the weak forms, being unstressed, delete the final nasal. The loss of /n/ in strong neuter forms should be noted however, as with this exception, the genitive pronominal paradigms of Wymysorys are identical to those of Standard German (cf. mein, dein, Howe; 33). The deletion of /n/ before /s/ would appear to conform to the Ingvaeonic Nasal Spirant Law (section 126.96.36.199). As discussed, this is not a shared innovation of Wymysorys and may be attributed the loss of post-vocalic nasals before voiceless obstruents which is a common feature among the world’s languages (Ohala and Busá 1995; 129). 4.3.3. The 3rd Person Masculine Singular With regards to pronouns, the best evidence for a possible non-Irminonic origin of Wymysorys is the h- initial formation of the nominative masculine
Howe (1996) mentions that the Dutch forms mijn and dijn date from the fourteenth century,
however he does not state what these forms were previously. Given that Gothic, Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Icelandic and Old High German all have a variant of –n final possessive pronouns, its would be strange for Old Franconian to have a non –n final form.
singular. For a comprehensive account of h- forms in West Germanic, see Howe (1996; 276-279). To briefly summarise Howe (1996), generally speaking, h-initial pronouns are a feature of the Ingvaeonic and Istvaeonic languages of the Low Countries, where they are thought to have originated before spreading south to the Rhineland, where they continue to be found20 and as far as the border with Alemannic (Howe 1996; 241, 279, König 1978; 164). It has been noted by Howe (1996) that with respect to the 3rd person masculine singular nominative “High German dialects without h-, Yiddish, and Gothic are exceptional in not having h-” (Howe 1996; 279 emphasis in the original). Figure 4.2, below, (König 1978; 164) illustrates the geographical distribution of h- forms21. The striped region is a transitional region in which the form her is found, representing a combination of the northern h- and southern er forms (Howe 1996; 243).
Figure 4.2. Distribution of h- and er 3SM nominative (König 1978; 164) 20
The geographical distribution has since receded to the Northwest (Howe 1996; 278).
Note that not all of the Netherlands is included.
Also worth noting from figure 4.2 is the Upper Silesian 3rd masculine nominative form ar. Wymysorys har [hɑr] may then be said to be, like Franconian her (Howe 1996; 247), a combination of h- and ar. As can be seen in figure 4.2 hinitial forms are not found elsewhere in Upper Silesia and that the transitional area reaches only the northern most part of Lesser Silesia. The form har of Wymysorys may then be a retained feature from the ancestor of Wymysorys. It could also be hypothesised that h- forms were brought by later waves of migration. In both cases, the modern Wymysorys har is subsequently the product of contact of these hsources and the Silesian ar form. A third possibility is that Wymysorys is a remnant of h- forms that once spread further into Silesia. With respect to this last hypothesis, Howe (1996) notes there is evidence to suggest that the transitional area once spread as far into Silesia as Brieg (Polish Brzeg) which marked the south-eastern extent of this innovation (Howe 1996; 278). This would place the border of this area one hundred kilometres further south of the position shown in figure 4.2. This would still place the boundary two hundred kilometres distant to Wilamowice, a significant distance for the purposes of dialectology; consequently I suggest that the former two hypotheses for the origins of h- 3rd masculine nominatives are more likely. As no documentary evidence for the origins of the original Wilamowiceans appears to have survived to the present day (chapter 1), the remaining two hypotheses must be considered with regards to later evidence or with respect to the folk history of Wilamowice. For the hypothesis that h-forms were brought by later waves of migration, there is documented evidence of later arrivals of settlers from Lower Silesia (Wicherkiewicz 2003; 296), however whether these groups constituted a large enough linguistic community to cause change is unknown. The first hypothesis, that the masculine nominative h- is a remnant from the source dialect of Wymysorys, is supported by folk claims on a non-German origin of Wymysorys. By the end of the twelfth century, h- nominative masculine forms are 78
found in Middle Dutch, Old Frisian and Middle Low German (and English) similarly, h- forms are found in varieties of Middle Central German (Howe 1996; 204, 179, 260). A link with Middle Dutch and Old Frisian is, with respect to pronoun morphology, less likely, as for both languages h- forms are productive beyond the third masculine nominative (Middle Dutch cf. Howe 1996; 179, Old Frisian cf. Bremmer 2009; 56); 3MS
Similarly, h-forms in Middle Dutch and Old Frisian are found beyond masculine singular forms, forming also the singular feminine, neuter and plural third person (Howe 1996; 179, 204) while in Wymysorys they do not extend beyond third masculine nominative. A closer resemblance to the third person masculine forms in Wymysorys is those of Middle Low German and Middle Central German (cf. Howe 1996; 237, 260); 3MS
Middle Central German
Middle Low German
en(e), on(e), un(e), hin
ine, en(e), on(e)
ime, eme, öme, en
The forms compared here are strong forms.
The form har may be the product of contact between a Middle Low German source dialect and the form the Silesian masculine pronoun ar, just as Middle Central German her is the product of contact between Low German h- forms and the Southern er forms. Similarly har may be directly traced to Middle Central German, a hypothesis supported by the participation of Wymysorys in the High German Sound Shift (section 3.7). Also possible, while less likely, is the hypothesis that speakers of Old Frisian or Middle Dutch varieties came via the Low German territories, losing hin all but the masculine nominative singular forms. Whichever the case, the preservation of the initial h- singular masculine nominative is evidence for the influence of the Ingvaeonic languages or varieties of Dutch in the pronoun morphology of Wymysorys. 4.4. Diminutives The diminutive suffix –ła and its allomorph –la, (section 3.0.2) is a feature (cf. the form –la) of Southern Silesian and Northern Bavarian (Mannsbart 2010, Wicherkiewicz 2003; 421, König 1978; 157). The precise chronology and spread of l-based diminutive systems is controversial, however it is not found in the Ingvaeonic languages nor in Dutch (König 1978; 157). As discussed in Chapter 3 (section 3.7), given the phonological character of Wymysorys, it is unlikely this is a retained Bavarian innovation. Given its proximity, it is my view that the diminutive suffix –ła is a borrowing from Silesian German that has evidently undergone the change of /l/ to /w/ as discussed in section 3.0.2.
4.5. Cardinal Numbers The numbers thirteen to nineteen affix –ca [tsɑ] (cf. English –teen). This is not typical of Germanic. Generally these number affix forms which correspond to the number ten, Wymysorys con; 13
The absence of –n in numbers thirteen to nineteen is a peculiarity of Wymysorys; Dutch –tien
Old Frisian –tine
(Osselton & Hempelman, 2009)
(Bremmer 2009; 68)
(Messinger & Türck 1993)
(Jacobs 2005; 191)
The same can be said for the number seven, zejwa which is formed with final-n in all West Germanic. This is likely attributed to the loss of /n/ in unstressed syllables rather than an innovative morphological construction (section 3.6). 4.6. Verbs The verbs of Wymysorys remain the best described linguistic feature of Wymysorys and have been the subject of a number of recent works, see Andrason (2010a, 2010b, 2011), Wicherkiewicz (2003), Lasatowicz (1994) and Kleczkowski (1920). Nevertheless, a complete account of the entire system of verbs with respect 81
to shared morphological innovations has yet to be undertaken and should be a consideration for further study of the language, as the data required for such a study is beyond what is currently available. 4.6.1. Infinitive The majority of verbs in Wymysorys form the infinitive with the suffix –a, the product of the loss of final –n (section 3.6), with the notable exceptions of monosyllabic verbs, marked with –n (Kleczkowski 1920). Modern borrowings from High German retain their original –en infinitive forms; meditieren, studieren, telefonieren23 (Król 2012). As discussed in Chapter 3, the loss of final –n universally, may be an originally Frisian innovation that has been preserved in Wymysorys. While the loss of –n is a feature of infinitive formations for example, in the Irminonic varieties of Swiss German (Harbert 2007; 329-330) and Northern Bavarian (Keller, 1979; 225), contact with these languages, particuarly the former, seems unlikely if we assume that the number of Low German phonological and morphological features are retained innovations from earlier contacts either along or above the Low German Boundary Line. 4.7. A note on word order The proposed relative freedom of word order Wymysorys is discussed in Wicherkiewicz (2003; 413)24. Claims for freedom of word order in Wymysorys have historically been made in comparison with Standard German, which with respect to rigid word order would make all West Germanic relatively “free” by comparison. To compare the word order of Wymysorys, a language without a formalised written
The forms studieren, meditieren and telefonieren are presented in the orthography of Standard
Wicherkiewicz (2003) contends that the word order of Wymysorys is “quite free” (2003; 413).
More important however is his summary of previous work on the theme of free word order.
form, with any of the standard varieties of West Germanic serves no purpose linguistically, especially when non-standard varieties typically do not share the same rigid systems (cf. Bremer City Dialect and Standard German, Tilgner 2011; 12). Word order may be freer than that of Standard German but it is certainly not “free”. Generally, Wymysorys appears to be verb-second; a feature of all West Germanic to some degree (Harbert 2007; 404); Wymysiöryś ej ju śpröh fu mer zejł.
(Król 2012; 4)
Wymysorys is-3P yes language for my thought Wymysorys is the language of my thoughts.
måj gancy at dedykjy’h ym gydanka fu dan dråj Wymysiöejer
(Król 2012; 3)
my whole work dedicate-I in thanks for the three Wilamowiceans I dedicate my entire work in thanks for three Wilamowiceans.
A szyjn mákia wąch bygánt śtyd
(Biesik VI; 1 cf. Wicherkiewicz 2003)
a beautiful-N girl what-1sg meet-1sg-PAST always A beautiful girl who I kept meeting Further study of the word order of Wymysorys may disprove these preliminary findings. For a discussion on the nature of verb-second constructions across the Germanic languages see Harbert (2007; 404-410).
4.8. Findings With respect to the small number of morphological features discussed in this section, only the h- third person masculine pronoun is evidence of a non-Irminonic influence on Wymysorys. Generally, Wymysorys can be said to resemble the morphology of Standard German and Silesian, however, given the lack of written records it is impossible to say whether this is the product of more recent contact with these languages, particularly with Standard German, or reflects the origins of the language. The diminutive system for example is evidently Silesian, just as the paradigms for genitive pronouns is almost identical to that of Standard German, with the exception of the loss of stem final –n in strong neuter forms discussed above. The infinitive suffix –a is the product of the loss of –n in unstressed syllables which is productive for the entire grammar of Wymysorys. While Wymysorys resembles Frisian with respect to this feature, these should be considered as independent innovations as indeed can be found, at least for the infinitive, elsewhere in West Germanic (cf. Swiss German, Northern Bavarian and others). Without a complete picture of the verb system from the perspective of verb class innovations it is difficult to assess the degree to which Wymysorys and Frisian correspond outside this morphological innovation and as I have mentioned, warrants further investigation. Such an analysis is beyond the limits of the data available at this time. The strongest (and indeed, only) morphological evidence for non-Irminonic influence is the h- forms of the third person masculine singular pronouns. As shown above these forms are geographically restricted to an area roughly north of the Speyer line and so are not found outside of varieties of Central German and Ingvaeonic. Forms resembling Wymysorys har are found only in the regions that border the Uerdingen line, the product of historical contact with h- languages (section 4.1.3). It is my contention that the form har of Wymysorys be viewed as a 84
merging of the Upper Silesian third person masculine ar and an h- form originating in the pre-modern form of Wymysorys. This proposal is made on the basis of distance between Wymysorys and Upper Silesian from the transitional area south of the Uerdingen line and the absence of other h- forms in varieties of Upper Silesian. I would suspect that h- forms are also not found in varieties of West Germanic found in Lesser Poland, as in Yiddish (Jacobs 2005; 185), however I have been unable to determine if this is also the case for neighbouring Hałcznowian and dialects of Bieslko-Biała. While it is possible that the h- third masculine form of Wymysorys is a retained feature from contacts with this family prior to, or during exodus to Poland it is not strong enough evidence to suggest anything other than Irminonic ancestry, a claim supported by the phonology of the language.
5. Concluding Remarks The aim of this thesis was originally to find linguistic evidence that could potentially validate claims that the Wilamowiceans and their language, Wymysorys, originated somewhere considerably west of the Irminonic Sprachraum. Specifically, it was hypothesised that Wymysorys may be an Istvaeonic language, descendant from the Low Franconian varieties of Flanders and the Netherlands. The data investigated in this paper has not provided strong evidence either for or against this hypothesis. It has been seen in this paper that Wymysorys shares a number of features with Standard German and the Irminonic family in general, in particular the participation of Wymysorys in the High German Sound Shift. Other features shared with Wymysorys and Standard German, however, such as a four-way case distinction and the preservation of three genders, are shared archaisms and so not conclusive as to Irminonic ancestry. It is worth noting however the relative conservatism of Wymysorys amongst the West Germanic languages, in some ways resembling closer the pre-modern languages than their modern manifestations. From the extent to which Wymysorys has participated in the High German Sound Shift there is strong evidence to suggest that Wymysorys is a Central German language, specifically the extent to which the second and third phases had effect. It would also appear from the extent its participation in these sound changes, that Wymysorys resembles most the East Central German languages. The grounds for this distinction are principally the de-affrication of /pf/ to [f], however as evidence for an East Central German heredity this is countered by the possibility that this may also be an independent innovation. The small number of innovations that Wymysorys shares with the Ingvaeonic languages; the palatalisation of velar stops and the loss of –n in unstressed syllables; are again not strong evidence for a shared period of development given the apparent naturalness of these changes crosslinguistically. 86
The strongest evidence that distinguishes Wymysorys at least from the High German Irminonic varieties is the h- form of the third person masculine singular pronoun. The h- form is found almost exclusively in the Ingvaeonic and Low Franconian languages and in those varieties of Central German that were geographically contiguous to these languages. The incidence of this form distinguishes Wymysorys from the High German languages and importantly, neighbouring varieties of East Central German. This is again evidence for a shared period of development between Wymysorys and varieties of Central German. This thesis can neither affirm nor strongly deny the folk-beliefs of the Wilamowiceans that they originate from the, so-called, Low Countries, nor the classification of Wymysorys as an East Central German language. The data examined in this paper would however strongly suggest that Wymysorys is a variety of Central German. Further research, particularly with regards to the inflectional morphology of the verbs of Wymysorys is required to form a stronger argument for the origins of Wymysorys. The data presented by this paper would suggest, however, that a genetic affiliation outside of Central German is unlikely.
Appendix Words containing /l/ (Wymysorys, Gara 2003; 81, German, Messinger & Türck, 1993): Wymysorys
Note Gara (2003) used the grapheme ao to denote /ɑ/.
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