v41: fingo

An odd one this week. Do you even think fingo is a real Swedish word? It doesn’t look Swedish, and you can test this by searching for *ingo in Norstedts. The results are bingo, dingo, and flamingo, all clearly loan words. A search for fingo in online resources finds no hits, except for Norstedts, which returns the entry for the auxiliary verb , with no mention of fingo. What’s going on here?

Fingo is an old Swedish word, apparently too old to appear in online dictionaries. Back in those old days, Swedish had a plural form of the verb in its various tenses. Remember that I said Modern Swedish dates from 1526, and Late Modern Swedish from 1732, so how old is too old? Surprisingly, only the early 1900s, according to Holmes and Hinchliffe, and even as late as 1945 in more formal writing. That doesn’t seem so long ago to me. See the reference for a more complete discussion, but here are a couple of examples you might want to look out for, particularly if reading religious texts (which fit into the more formal category). The first person plural imperative ends in -om, and the second person plural imperative in -en/n:

Låtom oss bedja.
Let us pray.

Bedjen och eder varda givet.
Ask and it shall be given to you.

As for fingo, it is the irregular plural form of fick, the past tense of the already irregular verb . Similarly, the even-harder-to-find gingo is the plural of gick, the past tense of .

Published in: on December 21, 2010 at 09:05  Comments (1)  
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  1. There is a wellknown poem, by Gustav Fröding, containing the word ‘gingo’.

    Tre trallande jäntor
    Där gingo tre jäntor i solen
    på vägen vid Lindane Le,
    de svängde, de svepte med kjolen,
    de trallade, alla de tre.
    Och gingo i takt som soldater
    och sedan så valsade de,
    och “Udden är så later”
    de trallade, alla de tre.
    Men när som de kommo till kröken
    av vägen vid Lindane Le,
    de ropade alla: “Hör göken!”
    sen skvätte och tystnade de.
    Och tego så tyst som de döda
    och rodnade, alla de tre.
    Men varföre blevo de röda
    och varföre tystnade de?
    Det stod tre studenter vid grinden,
    och därför så tystnade de
    och blevo så röda om kinden,
    de trallande jäntorna tre.
    Det stod tre studenter vid kröken
    och flinade, alla de tre,
    och härmde och skreko: “Hör göken!”
    och alla så trallade de.

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