Upper Sorbian Grammar

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The Ł-participe


Some Upper Sorbian compound tenses and moods make use of a special verb form called Ł-participe.


Formation


The Ł-participe is formed using the infinitive stem of a verb by adding to it the endings shown below. The Ł-participe agrees in number and gender with the subject of a sentence.

singulardualplural
masc.-łojvir.-li
fem.-ła
non-vir.-li/-łe
neut.-ło


Example: pisać pisa impf. to write

singulardualplural
masc.pisałpisałojvir.pisali
fem.pisała
non-vir.pisali / pisałe
neut.pisało


Non-virile plural


As can be seen from the above tables, the non-virile plural form has two variants. The variant with the -li ending (eg. pisali) coincides with the virile plural form and is neutral in terms of style. Nowadays it is the dominant form in both written literary and colloquial spoken langage. The variant with the -łe ending (ex. pisałe) is stylistically marked as archaic. Currently it is rarily used although it frequently occurs in older written texts.


Usage


The Ł-participe is used to make compound past, past perfect and conditional forms.

Examples:


compound past
sym pisał I wrote / I have written (masc.)
je pisała she wrote / she has written
sće pisali you wrote / you have written (vir. and non-vir. plur.)

past perfect
běch pisał I had been writting (masc.)
bě pisała she had been writting
běšće pisali you had been writting (vir. and non-vir. plur.)

conditional
bych pisał I would write (masc.)
by pisała she would write
bysće pisali you would write (vir. and non-vir. plur.)


a || e alteration


In verbs with infinitive stems ending in -e- preceeded by a soft consonant (ex. widźeć to see), the stem-final -e- originates from an earlier -a- that was altered according to a phonetic rule that states that any -a- between two soft consonants turns into -e-. As the infinitive ening is a soft consonant the rule applies to the infinitive form of a verb. But when we replace the infinitive ending with , -ła, -ło or -łe to form a Ł-participe, the a > e change does not take place as ł is a hard consonant. Then again, if we use the plural -li edning the alteration takes place because l is a soft consonant.

Example: widźeć widźi impf. to see

singulardualplural
masc.widźałwidźałojvir.widźeli
fem.widźała
non-vir.widźeli / widźałe
neut.widźało




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