Askeisk, a Scandinavian language (part 1)

Introduction

Askeisk is a North Germanic conlang. It belongs to the West Scandinavian branch and is spoken on the (fictional) island of Askei, located halfway between Shetland and the Faroe Islands. It has around 5,000 speakers, many of whom are also bilingual in either Irish, Icelandic, or Norwegian.

Askeisk was primarily created for a story I was thinking about writing in 2016. That story is permanently on hold, but the conlang has managed to hold my interest for quite a long time.

Phonology

Askeisk’s consonants are fairly similar to the other North Germanic languages. At one point, it included /ɬ/, /ð/, and /θ/, but I removed them as I didn’t want to deal with too many fricatives. Like in Faroese and Iceland, stops contrast aspiration instead of voicing.

Askeisk’s vowels are thoroughly uninteresting. Each vowel is either long or short. Short vowels exist in closed syllables (end with a consonant) and long vowels appear elsewhere.

Consonants

  • Nasals: m n ɳ ɲ ŋ
  • Stops: pʰ p tʰ t ʈʰ ʈ cʰ c kʰ k ʔ
  • Fricatives: f v s ʃ ʂ ç h
  • Approximants: l ɹ ɭ ɻ j

Certain consonants & consonant clusters have “soft” (palatalized) versions which only occur before front vowels. I created this rule before I decided on an aspiration rather than voicing distinction, which is really the only reason /g/ becomes [j] and not [c]:

  • /k/ → [c]
  • /g/ → [j]
  • /h/ → [ç]
  • /n/ → [ɲ]
  • /sk/ → [ʃ]

Certain consonants followed by /j/ become palatalized:

  • /nj/ → [ɲ]
  • /hj/→ [ç]
  • /gj/ → [j]
  • /kj/ → [c]
  • /tj/→ [ʃ]
  • /sj/ → [ʃ]

All geminated, nonaspirated stops become preglottalized:

  • /gg/ → [ʔk]
  • /bb/ → [ʔp]
  • /dd/ → [ʔt]

Meanwhile, geminated, aspirated stops become preaspirated:

  • /kk/ → [hk]
  • /pp/ → [hp]
  • /tt/ → [ht]

Other misc. sound changes:

  • /nn/ → /tn/ → [ʔn̩]
  • /ll/ → /tl/ →[ʔl̩]
  • /gl/ → [ll]
  • /skj/ → [ʃ]

Vowels

  • Close: iː yː uː ɪ ʏ ʊ
  • Mid: eː øː oː ɛ œ ɔ
  • Open: æ æː a aː

At one point, every first-syllable /a/ was [æ]. I then decided that was obnoxious and made /æ/ its own independent phoneme.

There are quite a few possible diphthongs, but not all of them occur in actual words:

  • aɪ aiː aʊ auː
  • ɛɪ eiː
  • ɔɪ oiː ɔʊ ouː
  • œʏ øyː
  • ʊɪ uiː

Stress

Like Norwegian and Swedish, Askeisk has a pitch accent! I guess at some point I decided I needed some kind of difference from Faroese and Icelandic, because I absolutely remember there being a stress system initially.

Monosyllables have no accent. Bisyllabic or longer words are pronounced with a rising tone on the first syllable.

Orthography

Askeisk’s orthography isn’t particularly strange, I think.

I’m including diphthongs & digraphs here because why not?

Letteraaiauæbdef
Soundaaiauæptef
Letterggjglhhjijk
Soundkjhçij
Letterkjlllmnngnjnn
Soundlʔl̩mnŋɲʔn̩
Letterooiouøøyprs
Soundooiouøøyrs
Letterskskjttjuuivy
Sound sk, ʃʃtʃuuivy

Part 2 >>

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