Inversion in Eilauners

Written by Dyami Millarson

Inversion is a phenomenon in Eilauners where the verb is placed before the subject so that the normal word order SV (Subject – Verb) has become inverted into VS (Verb – Subject):

  • Hy is hier. Is hy hier? Wer is hy? He is here. Is he here? Where is he? (The non-inverted word order is “hy is” while the inverted word order is “is hy.”)
  • Jò het in freeuwn. Het jò in freeuwn? Wa is har freeuwn? She has a (boy)friend. Does she have a (boy)friend? Who is her (boy)friend? (Non-inverted order: Jò het. Inverted order: Het jò.)
  • Jò hiet Anna. Hiet jò Anna? Hò hiet jò? She is called Anna. Is she called Anna? How is she called? (No inversion: Jò hiet. Inversion: Hiet jò.)

Inversion is used in Eilauners in the following situations:

  • in questions
  • when a sentence starts with a prepositional phrase
  • when a sentence starts with an adverb
  • when the word as, if, is omitted from conditional clauses

English speakers will find no difficulty using inversion in interrogative sentences in Eilauners, because inversion is used in questions in English as well. Example: Is she happy? Is jò bliid? 

Native speakers of English prefer to put prepositional phrases or adverbs at the end of sentences, whilst native speakers of Eilauners prefer to put prepositional phrases or adverbs at the beginning of sentences.

This stylistic preference renders inversion a very common word order in affirmative sentences in Eilauners, as opposed to English where inversion is rare in affirmative sentences, yet common in interrogative sentences.

Example of the different preference in style between Eilauners and English: Yn it hús is it meu. It is beautiful inside the house

Likewise, inversion is also more common in conditional clauses in Eilauners than in English.

Example of inversion used with dan, then, compensating (together) for the omission of as, if: Wied er der wal, dan súe jò dat net dien hewwe. Had he been there, then she would not have done that. 

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