Vágamálføri

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Published Jan 1, 1996
Hjalmar P. Petersen

Abstract

The dialect of Vágar and Mykines (hence VM) is spoken on the westernmost islands of the Faroc Islands. Earlier works on dialects - e.g.- Fterøsk Anthologi (1891) - regard it as a part of the dialect in Suðurstreymoy. In my opinion it better taken as a genuine dialect. The reasons are: diftongization and glide insertion in the structures 1) a/æ-a > ei:a (hagan), 2) ú-a > áu-a (fáa)
and3)ø-a>>'w:-a(kvøða).(The IPA script is used in the article itself). Some other minor phonological features speak against grouping VM with Suðurstreymoy, especially the pronunciation of Old Norse ó as /eu:/ rather than /áu:/ as in Suðurstreymoy. More important - together with the diftongization an glide insertion - is, that VM has one special intonation sct called drynjing.
The tone of a word at the end of a phrase is approximately as high as the tone on the following syllable. This intonation set has although nothing to do with the musical accent in Norwegian, Swedish and in Danish dialects. The drynjing is one of the reasons for very clearly articulated vowels at theend of a word. This has, in turn influence on the morphology, compare Suðurstreymoy ein stórir vinir (nom. sg. mask.), tann góðe vinirin (nom. sg. mask.), leir góðe vinirnir (nom., akk. pl. mask.), eg vende (pret. 1. p. sg. ind.) vit vende (pret. 1. p. pl. ind.) and Vágar/Mykines ein stórur vinur, tann góói vinurin, teir góðu vinirnir, eg vendi, vit vendu. VM and Suðurstreymoy has thus different ways of expressing the content of some bound morphemes. The
dialect of Vágar and Mykines do not soften plosives between vowels and at the end of a word as in Suðurstreymoy, e.g. VM tak(a): Suðurstreymoy tag(a). Wíthin the area there are no mentionable differences, and the only change I have observed is that the younger generation do not have glide insertion and diftongization in word of the kvøða-typc. Older texts (Svabo towards the end of 1800) fails to quote this diftongization and in the fúa-type. There is a possibility, that they were not present
in the dialect at that time, but Svabo also fails to quote diftongization in words of the hagan-type. It is only seen in hypercorrect writing with original Faroes ey /ey) form Old Norse au. This makes you think, that he deliberately is avoiding all.the diftongizations whatever his reasons may be. One observation I made, listening to the tapes, was a spirant g in lagdur. This can be the ON pronunciation of the g-sound in a protected phonological environment an just in one family, or an innovation. Following the development of the dialect from Svabo until today, there are rather few changes in morphology and phonology. One change seen durng the last years in VM is when youngsters confuse nom. and akk. pl. definite eg sú bátarnar > eg sá bátarnir. This can be due to radio and television, which is very mush under influence of the Suðurstreymoy dialect, or just an inner change taking place in the morphology, so that the system gets »simpler«.

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Section
Linguistics