- I was just conlangin' when this question passed by in my head: What's up with infinitives, is there a thing they're useful for?
- Some natural languages don't have them.
in Serbian its kinda optional... желим да jедем means I want to eat, but it literally translates "I wish (to) I eat". да kind of acts as the infinitive, in that it makes the jедем mean to eat, even though its conjugated in present first person singular. This kind of thing is also used exclusively in Greek, Bulgarian and Macedonian.
In greek... thelo na fao
thelo (I want) na (to) fao (I eat)
In these languages, the dictionary forms are usually rendered in first person singular or third person singular.
- "желим да jедем" + "thelo na fao"
Both other Slavic languages and older versions of Greek have infinitive.
Ethelo fagein. (Shouldn't have said that, getting hungry).
Polish has chcę jeść [I want + to eat ]
- yep, that's exactly what I'm talking about.
[Screen shot of Balkan Sprachbund article]
Speaking of Sprachbund, how do you like Trubetskoy's idea, Indo-European language community started out as a Sprachbund rather than by a Proto-Language?
- I've never actually heard of this. But no, I would rather like to think that the languages from europe diverged from a single language, rather than several languages sharing similar grammar because of sprachbund. It just seems more natural to me.
- Since "natural" means "born with", I'll bear with your thinking it more natural.
But look at heading of the article you quoted:
"Several features are found across these languages though not all need apply to every single language."
Very true for IE too.
"While they share little vocabulary, their grammars have very extensive similarities; for example they have similar case systems and verb conjugation systems and have all become more analytic, although to differing degrees."
Apart from Turkish all Balkan languages are IE.
This means "share little vocabulary" applies even more to IE.
Roumanian and Bulgarian arguably share more vocabulary than Spanish and Ukrainean.
[In case anyone thinks this unclear, of course Roumanian and Spanish share more than Roumanian and Bulgarian, and Bulgarian and Ukrainean also more than Roumanian and Bulgarian - but when a Slavic and a Romance language are both Balkan based (Roumanian and Bulgarian), they are closer than when they are neither Balkan based nor neighbourse elsewhere (Spanish and Ukrainean).]
My Greek professor cited this theory of Trubetskoy - and now I see Trubetskoy was one of the early experts on Balkan Sprachbund.
[Speaking of Trubetskoy, he was better off under Austrofascism than after the Anschluss. Composer and Music Theorician Schenker was also better off under Austrofascism (he died in 1935, old age of 67) than his widow after Anschluss]