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Subject: Alternative Verb Conjugations
Question: I am looking for examples of two alternative sets of verb conjugations for the same tense, aspect, or mood that co-exist in a language. As an example, modern Spanish has two distinct conjugations for the imperfect subjunctive. The older conjugation ends in -se and comes from Latin's pluperfect subjunctive. The newer conjugation ends in -ra and comes from Latin's pluperfect indicative. The -ra set is more popular in the spoken language but -se is still used in written Spanish, and I have occasionally heard it spoken. There are some minor differences in usage but when it comes to the primary functions of the imperfect subjunctive, -se and -ra are interchangeable. Do you know of other examples? Thanks, Judy Hochberg, Fordham University
Reply: There are some more or less parallel cases in Germanic. Most of these cases concern real inflected forms that are replaced with periphrastic form, like the German subjunctive being replaced with periphrastic constructions with 'werden', or the amalgamation of past (inflected)with perfect (periphrastic) in Southern German, with the periphrastic form as the survivor. In the latter case, if you are a user of the kind of German with the amalgamated tense, you will find the distinction stilted and very formal, and if you are a user of the kind of German with two tense forms, you will consider the use of the amalgamated form strange and very peripherical. Modern Danish has two passives, one flectional (with -s) and the other periphrastic (with forms of a verb 'blive'), but in many cases you will find slight semantic differences between those two passives. Also in this case you will find remarkable differences in the opinion of the speakers, but this seems to be a chronolectal phenomenon: older speakers make some distinctions, but younger speakers handle it differently, at least in writing.
Reply From: Henrik Joergensen      click here to access email
Date: 10-Jun-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Alternative Verb Conjugations    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (10-Jun-2013)
  2. Re: Alternative Verb Conjugations    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (10-Jun-2013)
  3. Re: Alternative Verb Conjugations    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (10-Jun-2013)
  4. Re: Alternative Verb Conjugations    James L Fidelholtz     (10-Jun-2013)

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