Askeisk, a Scandinavian language (part 3)

<< Part 2


Determiners

Like in Swedish (and probably the other Scandinavian languages, but I don’t know for sure since I’ve only studied Swedish), determiners are formed with a combination of tann “it” + heir/tar.

The proximal demonstratives “this/these” are:

 

Singular Plural

 

Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative tann heir tøn heir tad heir tanner heir tønir heir

tad heir

Object tann heir tøni heir tadi heir tannum heir tønym heir

tadum heir

Genitive tans heir tønar heir tads heir tana heir tønæ heir

tada heir

And the distal demonstratives “that/those”:

 

Singular Plural

 

Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter

Nominative

tann tar tøn tar tad tar tanner tar tønir tar

tad tar

Object tann tar tøni tar tadi tar tannum tar tønym tar

tadum tar

Genitive tans tar tønar tar tads tar tana tar tønæ tar

tada tar

Examples:

  • Tann heir er køttrinn minn. “This is my cat.”
  • Tad tar epli eru raudt. “These apples are red.”
  • Tøn tar er døttrin sin. “That is her daughter.
  • Tønir tar røydhakar eru smølær. “Those robins are small.”

The Definite & Indefinite Articles

The definite article is suffixed to the noun. The indefinite article comes from the word einn meaning “one”. It declines in the way any other noun does.

Verbs

Verbs are not nearly as complex as they are in Old Norse. I prefer to create highly regular conlangs, and there was a lot that was irregular in Old Norse. Still, this is supposed to be a naturalistic language, and natlangs have a lot of irregularity and redundancy built into them.

Verbs have four classes: strong, weak, preterite-present, and irregular. There is no subjunctive mood, primarily because I couldn’t find enough examples of it on Wiktionary. That, and I didn’t want to make more verb tables.

Verbs are marked for person (1st, 2nd, 3rd), number (singular, plural), tense (present, past), mood (indicative, imperative) and have infinitive, present & past participle forms.

Strong Verbs

In strong verbs, the past tense and participle are indicated with a vowel change. This happens for every single vowel:

  • /a/ → /e/
  • /au/ → /ei/
  • /æ/ → /ø/
  • /ei/ → /øy/
  • /i/ → /ei/
  • /o/ → /a/
  • /ou/ → /au/
  • /ø/ → /y/
  • /u/ → /au/
  • /y/ → /ø/

The present participle ends in –andi, past participle ends in –inn, singular imperative is the stem, and plural imperative ends in –id.

Indicative verb endings are shown in the table below:

 

Singular Plural Singular Plural
 

Present

Past

1st

-um -um
2nd -ur -id -t

-ud

3rd -ur -a

-u

Example: at falla “to fall”

  • Present participle: fallandi
  • Past participle: fellinn
  • Imperative singular: fall
  • Imperative plural: fallid

 

Singular Plural Singular Plural
 

Present

Past

1st

fall fallum fell fellum
2nd fallur fallid fellt

fellud

3rd fallur falla fell

fellu

If a strong verb starts with the consonant /v/, then the first vowel in the past tense plural and past participle shift to /u/ while the initial /v/ is dropped.

Example: at verda “to become”

  • Present participle: verdandi
  • Past participle: urdinn
  • Imperative singular: verd
  • Imperative plural: verdid

 

Singular Plural Singular Plural
 

Present

Past

1st

verd verdum vard urdum
2nd verdur verdid vart

urdud

3rd verdur verda vard

urdu

Weak Verbs

Weak verbs have no vowel shift, only verb endings to indicate tense and person.

The present participle ends in –andi, past participle ends in –dur or –tur, singular imperative is the stem, and plural imperative ends in –id.

Indicative verb endings are shown in the table below:

 

Singular Plural Singular Plural
 

Present

Past

1st

-i -um -a -um
2nd -ir -id -ir

-ud

3rd -ir -a -i

-u

Example: at læra “to learn”

  • Present participle: lærandi
  • Past participle: lærdur
  • Imperative singular: lær
  • Imperative plural: lærid

 

Singular Plural Singular Plural
 

Present

Past

1st

læri lærum læra lærum
2nd lærir lærid lærir

lærud

3rd lærir læra læri

læru

Preterite-Present Verbs

These are only a handful of verbs in this class, but they were interesting enough that I decided to keep them instead of putting them with the strong or weak verbs.

Present tenses are the same as strong verbs’ past tenses, and past tenses are formed like weak verbs’ past tenses. The participles are the same as weak verbs’, the singular imperative is the stem, and the plural imperative ends in –ud.

Indicative verb endings are shown in the table below:

 

Singular Plural Singular Plural
 

Present

Past

1st

-um -a -um
2nd -t -ud -ir

-ud

3rd -u -i

-u

Example: at muna “to remember”

  • Present participle: munandi
  • Past participle: munadur
  • Imperative singular: mun
  • Imperative plural: munud

 

Singular Plural Singular Plural
 

Present

Past

1st

maun munum muna munum
2nd maunt munud munir

munud

3rd maun munu muni

munu

Irregular & Auxiliary Verbs

Askeisk only has a few irregular verbs. The most used is the copula, vera “to be”:

  • Present participle: verandi
  • Past participle: verit
  • Imperative singular: ver
  • Imperative plural: verid
 

Singular

Plural Singular Plural

 

Present Past

1st

em eru var

vøru

2nd ert eru vart

vøru

3rd er eru var

vøru

Auxiliary verbs follow the same declension as weak verbs.

Passive Verbs

Passive verbs are formed by suffixing –sk to the verb form.

The Future Tense

Askeisk doesn’t have a specific verb ending for the future tense. Most of the time, an auxiliary verb (munu, skulu, or vilja) is used in front of the bare infinitive form of the following verb.

Jeg munu fulgja tig. “I will (in the future) follow you.”

Jeg skulu fylgja tig. “I will (must) follow you.”

Jeg vilja fylgja tig. “I will (intend to) follow you.”

A temporal adverb can be used with a present tense verb to indicate that an action occurs in the future:

Jeg fylgjir tig senn. “I’ll follow you soon.”

Negating Verbs

The adverb ekki “not” is used to negate verbs:

Jeg em ekki gladur. “I am not happy.”

Tau er ekki fornt. “They are not old.”

The Present & Past Perfects

The weak verb hava “to hold” can be used as an auxiliary verb when the following verb is in its supine form. The supine form is formed by suffixing the verb stem with –(a)t.

Jeg havi fylgjat tig. “I have followed you.”

Jeg hava fylgjat tig. “I had followed you.”

Askeisk, a Scandinavian language (part 2)

<< Part 1 | Part 3 >>


Grammar

Askeisk’s grammar is pretty straightforward North Germanic. I did consider adding in some Irish influences, including some kind of initial consonant mutation, but I genuinely could not figure out how to make it work.

Nouns

Nouns have three cases (nominative, object, and genitive), two numbers (singular and plural) and three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter).

The object case comes from the merger of the dative & accusative cases. For the most part, the object case declensions descend from the Old Norse dative declensions.

Nouns – Masculine

The masculine noun declension is basically identical to that of Old Norse:

 

Singular

Plural

 

Indefinite

Definite

Indefinite

Definite

Nominative

-(i)nn -(a)r -(a)rnir

Object

-(i)num -(u)m

-(u)num

Genitive

-s

-(i)nns -a

-(a)nna

Examples:

  • fadir “father” → fadrinn, fedrar, fedrarnir
  • hundur “dog” → hundinn, hundar, hundarnir
  • mauni “moon” → mauninn, maunir, maunarnir
  • ørn “eagle” → ørninn, ernar, ernarnir

Nouns – Feminine

The masculine and feminine declensions were too similar at first. I spent a while thinking about how to distinguish them instead of collapsing them both into common like Danish and Swedish, and came up with something I think is fairly unique.

The plural declension of feminine nouns exclusively contain front vowels. This causes /u/, /o/, & /ou/ to front to /y/, /ø/, and /øy/. I took this from what happens to the feminine forms of adjectives, which is something I came up with long before I decided to do this.

Many other random back vowels get fronted, but…it’s random. I don’t think I decided on an actual pattern for it.

 

Singular

Plural

 

Indefinite

Definite

Indefinite

Definite

Nominative

-(i)n

-(æ)r

-(æ)næ

Object

-i

-(i)ni

-(y)m

-(y)nym

Genitive

-ar

-(i)nar

-(æ)næ

Examples:

  • aska “ash” → askan, askær, askænæ
  • douttir “daughter” → douttrin, døyttrær, døyttrænæ
  • gaus “goose” → gausin, gæysær, gæysænæ
  • ull “wool” → ullin, yllær, yllænæ

Nouns – Neuter

Neuter nouns are the same in the nominative plural and singular (except for some occasional vowel changes). I did nothing interesting with this declension.

 

Singular

Plural

 

Indefinite

Definite

Indefinite

Definite

Nominative

-(i)t

-(i)n

Object

-i

-(i)nu

-(u)m

-(u)num

Genitive

-s

-(i)ts -a

-(a)nna

Examples:

  • barn “child” → barnit, børn, børnin
  • egg “egg” → eggit, egg, eggin
  • hus “house” → husit, hus, husin
  • navn “name” → navnit, nøvn, navnin

Personal Pronouns

Askeisk’s personal pronouns are nothing special. There are singular and plural versions, three genders in the third person, and possessive pronouns have different forms depending on the gender of the following noun.

Subject pronouns:

  • 1st person: jeg, veir
  • 2nd person: tu, eir
  • 3rd person masculine: hann, teir
  • 3rd person feminine: hon, tær
  • 3rd person neuter: tad, tau

I decided to keep the distinction between the third person plural pronouns because collapsing everything into neuter seemed to be a little boring.

Object pronouns:

  • 1st person: mig, oss
  • 2nd person: tig, ydur
  • 3rd person masculine: honum, teim
  • 3rd person feminine: hen, teim
  • 3rd person neuter: tad, teim

Here, the third person plural is the same in all genders, which it how it was in Old Norse.

Possessive pronouns:

  • 1st person singular: minn, min, mitt, minar
  • 1st person plural: vaur, vaurt, vaurar
  • 2nd person singular: tinn, tin, titt, tinar
  • 2nd person plural: ydar, ydart, ydarar
  • 3rd person masculine singular: hans, hansar
  • 3rd person feminine singular: henar, henrar
  • 3rd person neuter singular: tess, tessar
  • 3rd person plural: teirra, teirrat, teirrar

Only the 1st and 2nd person singular possessives distinguish between the masculine & feminine genders on the following noun. The 3rd person singular possessives don’t distinguish gender at all, just number.

Here are some examples with 1st person possessives:

  • køttrinn minn “my cat”
  • boukin min “my book”
  • augat min “my eye”
  • armarnir minar “my arms”
  • eidrinn vaur “our oath”
  • husit vaurt “our house”
  • beinin vaurar “our bones”

The third person possessive pronouns do not specifically refer to the subject or speaker; they can refer to absolutely anyone. Like with the other North Germanic languages, there is a separate set of reflexive pronouns – sinn, sin, sitt, sinar – which are used to clear up ambiguity:

  • køttrinn henar “her cat”
  • køttrinn sinn “her (own) cat”

“It”

Like the other pronouns, the Askeisk word for “it” is declined for case, number, and gender. The “default” form is tad.

 

Singular Plural

 

Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter

Nominative

tann tøn tad tannar tønir

tad

Object tann tøni tadi tannum tønym

tadum

Genitive tanns tønar tads tana tønæ

tada

Adjectives

Like you’d expect, adjectives take on the case, number, and gender of the noun they modify. Adjectives with /a/, /u/, and /au/ in the masculine (the default form of the adjective) become /ø/, /y/, and /øy/ in the feminine.

Masculine nouns almost exclusively end in –ur. The feminine and neuter forms drop the –ur, and the neuter adds –t.

Examples:

  • daudur, døyd, daudt “dead”
  • fraul, frøyl, frault “free”
  • heitur, heit, heitt “hot”
  • reddur, redd, reddt “afraid”

Adjectives can “agree” with 1st and 2nd person pronouns by matching the gender of the person:

  • Jeg em gladur. “I (male) am happy.”
  • Jeg em glød. “I (female) am happy.”
  • Jeg em gladt. “I (neuter) am happy.”
  • Tu ert gladur. “I (male) am happy.”

For the plural versions of the 1st and 2nd person pronouns, the neuter forms of adjectives are used by default:

  • Veir eru gladt. “We are happy”
  • Eir eru gladt. “You are happy”.

Since adjectives have the same declensions as nouns, gladt is the same in the singular and plural numbers.

Comparatives & superlatives also have different forms depending on the gender of the adjective:

 

Comparative Superlative

Masculine

-ari -asti
Feminine -øri

-østæ

Neuter -ara

-ast


<< Part 1 | Part 3 >>

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 >>