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For lack of a better, proper term, Common Western is an umbrella term for the North Germanic koiné spoken as late as the late 14th century in western Norway, having evolved out of Vāgøgjaskt proper. It is out of this koiné that the Våg Islander dialects evolved by the 18th and 19th centuries. The grammar and phonetics of the Western koiné are in many ways similar to Vāgøgjaskt, but are very much representative of a 14th century Germanic language.

The primary sound changes that lead to the Western koiné are:

  • Insertion of -j- in hiatus after long vowels [Ø > j / V[+long]_V] (sø̄ą > sø̄ją)

The insertion of -j- was so as to stop vowel coalescence, especially in the plethora of inflected verb forms, which ended up being characteristic for overseas Vāgøgjaskt descendants.

It was followed by the loss of nasalisation in certain rounded long vowels:

  • Loss of nasalisation in long {ỹ ø̨̄ ǫ̈̄} (ø̨̄tʀ > ø̄tʀ)
  • Merger of -ȫ- into -ā- (tȫ > tā)

The merger of long -ȫ- into the unrounded vowel -ā- was followed by a qualitative levelling of the low vowel more towards the back end of the vowel space, effectively forcing the change — a a: > [ɑ ɑ:] — unto all words regardless of length.

J-loss in consonant clusters effectively obscured conjugational classes for many weak verbs:

  • Dropping of -j- after a long consonant cluster [j > Ø / VCC_V; !VNT_V] (gørvją > gørvą, mølvją > mølvą; but, bringją > bringją)

This effectively obscured some of the differences between class II and classes I/III verbs, forcing some of the distinctions to become fully lexically determined relative to the infinitive.

Although already theoretically complete by the early Vāgøgjaskt period, the coalescence of velar-palatal (as well as several alveolar-palatal) sequences into single clusters is a notable Western characteristic:

  • [kʰj ɡj ɡɡj kkj ŋɡj xj ɣj lj l̥j nj n̥j > cʰ ɟ ɟɟ cc ɲɟ ç ʝ ʎ ʎ̥ ɲ ɲ̊] (bringją > [briɲɟɑ̃])

Another notable common Western characteristic is the lateralisation of palatal /j/ in certain consonant clusters:

  • [pj bj ppj bbj mj > pʎ̥ bʎ ppʎ̥ bbʎ mʎ] (mjöðʀ > [ˈmʎɒ.ðɻ])

Analogically, because of this, verb classes I and III end up having palatal laterals in their final consonant clusters that had a normal laveolar lateral:

  • [l > ʎ / in str. I & III] (mølvą > [møʎʋɑ̃])


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