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 >>

Qitiniasaaq, the language of the Qitiniina

Background & Introduction

I created Qitiniasaaq in 2016, sometime after I’d created Kitlinar. It’s less complete than Kitlinar, since the first version of The Gate at the End of the World only had one Qitiniina character and the Qitiniasaaq language wasn’t spoken.

kitlinqitinmap

I never bothered creating any specific dialects for it like I did with Kitlinar, even though it’d likely have many more dialects. I guess what I’m describing here is the Kuulitaisaa dialect.

You may have assumed that this language has some phonological and orthographical influences from the Inuit languages, and you’d be correct. It also has some inspirations from Finnish – primarily in the number of cases it has.

Consonants

[ɴ] is an allophone of /n/ and only occurs at the end of words.

LabialAlveolarPalatalVelarUvular
Nasalmnŋ(ɴ)
Stopptkq
Fricatives
Approximantlj

Vowels

Vowels are either long or short. Diphthongs are the same.

FrontBack
Closei iːu uː
Opena aː

Syllable Structure and Stress

Syllable structure is CVC, where:

  • C = any consonant
  • V = any vowel or diphthong

The majority of syllables are CV, with CVC syllables mainly occurring word-finally.

Primary stress usually falls on syllables with long vowels.

Orthography

Letteraaaiiijkl
Sound/a//aː//i//iː//j//k//l/
Lettermnngpqst
Sound/m//n//ŋ//p//q//s//t/
Letteruuu
Sound/u//uː/

Pronouns

Qitiniasaaq didn’t even have any pronouns until I started cleaning up all my notes a couple of months ago. That’s how little grammar I made for this language – it’s basically a glorified naming language!

As a result, the pronoun system is fairly standard and boring:

PersonSingularPlural
1stliinliinik
2ndsanasanamik
3rdmainmainik

Nouns

Nouns are marked for case & number. They can also take on a demonstrative determiner as an interfix. Adjectives are fused onto the end of the noun, and any noun can be used as an adjective without any modification – til can mean both “ice” and “icy”.

Short phrases formed with the genitive case tend to become one word, such as qitiniasaaq “tundra’s language”. This is broken down into qitin “tundra” + ia “genitive” + saaq “language”.

Qitiniasaaq is also ergative-absolutive instead of nominative-accusative like most of my languages – another major influence from the Inuit languages.

SingularPlural
Ergative-kaa-kaamik
Absolutive-(m)ik
Genitive-ia-iamik
Dative-inuu-inuumik
Comitative-pi-pimik
Instrumental-qui-quimik
Abessive-miu-miumik
Ablative-tautaumik
Allative-kaai-kaaimik
Adessive-laa-laamik
Inessive-qu-qumik
Elative-sau-saumik
Illative-naa-naamik

Verbs

Verbs are declined for tense, mood, and voice. They aren’t declined for person, but pronouns can be stuck onto the end of the verb.

  • Tenses: far past, past, near past, present, present habitual, near future, future, far future
  • Moods: indicative, conditional, imperative
  • Voice: active, passive

I think Qitiniasaaq is the first language where I made a distinction between near & far past/future tenses. That’s something I’ve used in other conlangs I’ve created since 2016.

Not all conjugations in the table below exist – I haven’t yet figured out which ones don’t:

Far pastPastNear pastPresentPresent hab.Near futureFutureFar future
Ind. (A)-timi-mi-kami-lii-katuu-tuu-tituu
Ind. (P)-timisa-misa-kamisa-sa-liisa-katuusa-tuusa-tituusa
Cond. (A)-timimiiq-mimiiq-kamimiiq-miiq-liimiiq-katuumiiq-tuumiiq-tituumiiq
Cond. (P)-timimiiqsa-mimiiqsa-kamimiiqsa-miiqsa-liimiiqsa-katuumiiqsa-tuumiiqsa-tituumiiqsa
Imp. (A)-timikui-mikui-kamikui-kui-liikui-katuukui-tuukui-tituukui
Imp. (P)-timikuisa-mikuisa-kamikuisa-kuisa-liikuisa-katuukuisa-tuukuisa-tituukuisa

Here’s an example of the passive/active voice:

Kaalaliiliin Qitiniasaaq.

  • I speak Qitiniasaaq.
  • speak.PRS-HAB.IND.ACT.1SG Qitiniasaaq.ABS

Kaalaliisaliin Qitiniasaaq.

  • Qitiniasaaq is spoken by me.
  • speak.PRS-HAB.IND.PASS.1SG Qitiniasaaq.ABS

Resemblance to the Greenlandic Inuit word “kalaallisut” is entirely coincidental. Seriously!

Kitlinar, the language of Kitlin

Background & Introduction

Kitlinar is a language I created in 2016 when I was developing the first version of The Gate at the End of the World. While that version of the story never ended up working out, the conlangs and worldbuilding were something I decided to keep.

kitlinqitinmap

Kitlinar is a language spoken on the eastern parts and islands of the land of Kitlin (called Qitin by the Qitiniina). It has been spoken in Kitlin since before recorded history. It is a language isolate and its origins are unknown, though the language was likely brought to Kitlin by its speakers, who are unrelated to the indigenous Qitiniina. Kitlinar has many loanwords and some grammatical influence from Qitiniasaaq, the language spoken by the Qitiniina.

There are two main dialects: eastern and western. Eastern dialects use retroflex consonants in place of the /rC/ consonant clusters used in the western dialects; this is seen in the pronunciation of the capital city Tyrsä: [ˈtə.ʂæ] vs. [ˈtər.sa]. These retroflex consonants did not exist in Kitlinar before it split into the two dialects.

The phonology of Kitlinar was primarily inspired by the Swedish & Norwegian languages. Before I reformed the orthography, it used <å> instead of <ä> to represent /æ/. You can see this in the old map up above; I only have a png version and can’t change the text.

Consonants

With the exception of /j/, the palatal consonants are allophones of /Cj/ clusters in the Western dialects. In the Eastern dialects, they are independent phonemes.

Retroflex consonants are allophones of /rC/ clusters in transition dialects, while they are independent phonemes in Eastern dialects.

LabialAlveolarRetroflexPalatalVelarGlottal
Nasalmnɳɲŋ
Stopp bt dʈ ɖc ɟk g
Fricativef vsʂɕ çh
Approximantlɭj
Trillr

Vowels

/a/ is usually /æ/ in Eastern dialects.

Eastern Kitlinar has a couple of diphthongs, gained from /Vl/ & /Vj/ shifting to /Vu/ and /Vi/. Western Kitlinar has no diphthongs, and transition dialects vary.

FrontCentralBack
Closeiu
Mideəo
Opena~æɑ

Syllable Structure & Stress

Syllable structure is (C1)V(C2), where:

  • C1 = any consonant or initial consonant cluster
  • V = any vowel
  • C2 = any consonant or final consonant cluster

Initial consonant clusters are CA & CT, while final consonant clusters are AC & AT, where:

  • C = any consonant
  • A = any approxmant
  • T = /r/

Primary stress falls on the initial syllable. Monosyllables are unstressed.

Orthography

Letteraäbdef
Sound/ɑ//a~æ//b//d//e//f/
Letterghijkl
Sound/g//h//i//j//k//l/
Lettermnngopr
Sound/m//n//ŋ//o//p//r/
Letterstuvy
Sound/s//t//u//v//ə/

Pronouns

Pronouns are marked for case and number. The third person distinguishes animacy.

The first person singular and plural are unique words, while the plurals of the 2nd and 3rd persons just take on the plural.

SingularPlural
1stjerlun
2ndmirdmirdyt
3rd Animatealtaltyt
3rd Inanimatehäjhäjt

Nouns & Adjectives

Nouns are either animate or inanimate and are marked for case, number, and definiteness. Plants, animals, humans, and things like weather and volcanoes are animate, while things that do not or never move are inanimate. This is distinguished only through the definite suffix; case and number are marked in the same way on animate and inanimate nouns.

There are three cases: nominative, genitive, and object. The object case covers direct and indirect objects of verbs; in that manner, it’s essentially a combined dative/accusative case.

Adjectives precede nouns and take on the case, number, and definiteness of the noun.

Indefinite SingularIndefinite PluralDefinite SingularDefinite Plural
Nominative-(y)t-(u)n-(y)tun
Genitive-(j)en-(y)ten-(u)nen-(y)tunen
Object-(r)äg-(y)täg-(u)näg-(y)tunäg
Animate Declension
Indefinite SingularIndefinite PluralDefinite SingularDefinite Plural
Nominative-(y)t-(a)l-(y)tal
Genitive-(j)en-(y)ten-(a)len-(y)talen
Object-(r)äg-(y)täg-(a)läg-(y)taläg
Inanimate Declension

Verbs

Verbs are conjugated for mood and tense.

  • Moods: indicative, subjunctive, imperative
  • Tenses: past, present, future

The future tense is used exclusively with the subjunctive mood:

Alt hyrvekev mar jartitun girnekev.

  • Ey will change when the glaciers melt (stubborn people do not change their minds easily).
  • 3SG.ANIM change.SBJ.FUT when glacier.PL.DEF.NOM melt.SBJ.FUT

The imperative mood is used for commands; the verb stem is preceded by word tal:

Tal bart lunäg!

  • Help us!
  • IMP help we.OBJ

I know the past and present tenses look pretty similar to English’s (-d for past tense verbs and -ng for present tense) but I genuinely was not thinking of that when I was creating the tenses, and I don’t particularly feel like changing it, either.

PastPresentFuture
Indicative-(V)d-(V)ng-(V)v
Subjunctive-(V)k(V)d-(V)k(V)ng-(V)k(V)v
Imperativetal {VERB}

Forming factual statements

Kitlinar has no copula; in places where English would use one for statements of of existence or fact, Kitlinar uses a “factual statement” particle, lirs:

Lirs fjevud häj.

  • It is special.
  • FS special 3SG.INAM

Additional Sentences

Jer herdekev loj parunäg.

  • I’ll travel to the sea.
  • 1SG.NOM travel.SBJ.FUT toward sea.DEF.OBJ

Frujen frujeng ben rad.

  • The sun shines warmly.
  • Sun.NOM.DEF shine.IND.PRS with warm

Slenyt kjul altäg.

  • Blessings of the goddess on you (pleased to meet you).
  • Blessing.NOM.PL on 3SG.ANIM.ACC

Art Shop: ZhilongArt

After thinking about it for over a year, I’ve finally opened up a Redbubble shop.

Last year, I decided to paint/draw some print-size artworks (11″x17″) with the expectation that I’d open up a print shop in the fall. I did two, got a new job, and completely forgot about it.

I didn’t think about my goal of opening up an art shop until recently, primarily because…I needed to buy some fridge magnets. I’ve been following a bunch of artists for years on social media, and assumed that at least one of them would be selling fridge magnets (they are). Then I remembered how I’d drawn this piece of art in January:

20210121_witchhatcat

I’d originally imagined a line of stickers with cats wearing different hats, but that seemed like too much work at the time so I just drew this instead.

I decided I wanted to do the stickers after all, but that would mean I had to redraw everything, since I hadn’t kept a version of the witch hat cat file with layers. So I did that, and ended up with these eight designs:

witch hat cats 1

witch hat cats 2

Then I decided to redraw another piece of art that would make a good sticker: an upset desert rain frog.

desert rain frog redo

Then because I hadn’t seen it done anywhere, I also made a bunch of “conlanger” pride flags:

conlanger pride flags

Then, after I’d drawn everything and set up the Redbubble shop, I realized…that I’d completely forgotten to buy fridge magnets.

I plan on redrawing some artwork from the last few years to make into prints. I’ll make a blog post every time something new is available. And I definitely plan on updating the “Art” page on this website at some point.