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Nynorn in general, Shetland Mainland and Foula&Westside Nynorn
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What is Optative?

Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:34 pm

Hi everyone,
I read in the Grammar of Nynorn that Nynorn had a tense called Optative. It also said that Optative is a sort of subjunctive. One question remains: how to use it? Is it like French subjunctive? (in case someone has knowledge on French tenses...)

Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:11 pm

Hej :)

Well, Old norse has subjunktive. and that is every action that is imagined, hypothetical, conditioned, non-factual.

optativ, it is in danish called "ønskemåde" (wish-mood).

Fx: kongen længe leve (long live the king). In danish, that is the only leftover from the old norse subjunktive.[/b]

Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:09 pm

Old Norse subjunctive (possible or unreal action) was also used as optative (desirable action).

Nynorn optative descends from ON subjunctive, but it has lost its subjunctive function, hence the name change.

Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:15 pm

So to what extent is optative used in Nynorn?

Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:52 pm

Hrafn wrote:
So to what extent is optative used in Nynorn?
This is not very well thought-out yet, but I think the main scope of its usage should be expressions like "may he go to..." - hann fari til...

Re: What is Optative?

Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:57 pm

A similar thing in English is "If I were...", which you could translate into Faroese as "Veri eg..." but this is rarely done and would be archaic to most people. I don't know if you did this in Nynorn, but there are three verbs in Faroese which have lost the original ON past tense and have replaced it with the past subjunctive form, these are at hava (past hevði), at leggja (legði), at siga (segði). This hevði form is then used to make the past perfect which is used as a conjunctive in Faroese.

That said however, there are frozen optatives spread out in Faroese. In the Book of Genesis in the Bible, God says "Verði ljós!" (Let there be(come) light!). When you sneeze, people will usually react by saying: "Jesus(pápi) signi teg" ([May] Jesus(father) bless you), etc.

Re: What is Optative?

Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:32 pm

Faroese has also preserved another old subjunctive form, "gævi", although it can hardly be considered to be a verbal form now.

Re: What is Optative?

Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:38 am

Indeed. The question is, if the optative is productive in Modern Faroese. I'm not totally sure, since it's often confused with the plural imperative (though spelled differently they are always homonyms), and it's virtually limited to poetry and ecclestial texts.
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