Friday, November 1, 2019

Grammar Crumbs: Preposition 𝑢𝑓 for ‘in’ re: Languages

When talking about speaking or writing or understanding something in a language, use the preposition uf.  E.g.:
Hit ist uf angliškan skrivnas.‘This is written in English.’
The name of the language is always in the dative, almost always –an, because most languages are really just a weak feminine adjective omitting the word “language,” though you may find it written out in full as well, e.g. uftiža rasta grējutungiškan ‘in the Valthungian language’.

Though it wasn’t intentional, this is funny to me, because it looks and sounds reminiscent of German auf, which is used for language in the same context (“auf Deutsch”) but has exactly the opposite underlying meaning. So in each of these Germanic languages, a different preposition is used:
English ‘in’ – In French
German ‘on’ – Auf Französisch*
Valthungian ‘under’ – Uf Frankiškan
*One could also say im Französischen, but that’s another grammar crumb for someone else’s blog.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Grammar Crumbs: Articles and Body Parts

Grammar quirk: Valthungian has two definite articles – his and – which are inherited from the Germanic proximal and medial demonstratives, *hiz and *sa, respectively. is usually the default (as became the case in most Germanic languages), but you can use his if your “the” feels more “this-y” than “that-y.”

However, when referring to personal body parts, always use his for your own and for others’.

E.g. ‘my heart’ is always hit herta mīna – never þat herta mīna; conversely, you would never say hit herta þīna – always þat.

Some other useful body parts:

“mine” “yours”
hair: his hast mīna sā hast þīna
head: hit hǭviþ mīna þat hǭviþ þīna
brain: hit hežne mīna þat hežne þīna
eyes: hīj·ǭgnas mīnan þ·ōgnas þīnan
nose: hīja nasa mīna sō nasa þīna
ears: hīja hǭsana mīnan þō hǭsana þīnan
mouth: his munþs mīna sā munþs þīna
tongue: hīja tunga mīna sō tunga þīna
teeth: hīs tynþis mīnans þǣ tynþis þīnans
throat: his hals mīna sā hals þīna
neck: his þnaka mīna sā þnaka þīna
arm: his arms mīna s·ārms þīna
hand: hīja handus mīna sō handus þīna
fingers: hīs fingras mīnans þǣ fingras þīnans
nail: his naglas mīna sā naglas þīna
chest: his brust mīna sā brust þīna
heart: hit herta mīna þat herta þīna
lungs: hīja lungna mīnan þō lungna þīnan
stomach: his maga mīna sā maga þīna
leg: hīj·anke mīnasō anke þīna
knee: hit knio mīna þat knio þīna
shin: hīja skina mīna sō skina þīna
calf: his waþua mīna sā waþua þīna
ankle: his anklas mīna s·ānklas þīna
feet: hīs fœučis mīnans þǣ fœučis þīnans

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Old Valthungian Alphabet (ca. 950ᴀᴅ)

Most of my posts about Valthungian have something to do with the modern Valthungian language, but I wanted to share a little bit about a stepping-stone we cross on our way from Griutungi (a dialect or close relative of Gothic) to Valthungian.

Old Valthungian, the language spoken by Goth descendants living in parts of Northern Italy between 800 and 1200ad, had a unique writing system which seems to have been largely based on Gothic, but with a few innovations possibly inspired by some of the interesting things that were happening to “Latin” at the time (before it really consciously registered for anyone that they weren’t really speaking Latin anymore). There were very often Latin characters mixed into the Old Valthungian texts as well.

Of course, spelling was very inconsistent, and what I’ve attempted to regularise here is merely academic; a more thorough list of variations and exceptions can be found at the link below. The order of the alphabet as shown is also approximate, based on Gothic and modern Valthungian alphabetic orders; no extant documents or artifacts contain the Old Valthungian alphabet in full.

For more information on Old Valthungian, please visit:



O.V. Rom. Gothic IPA E.g.

a 𐌰 ɑ apls ‘apple’

b 𐌱 b bagyms ‘tree’
 
g 𐌲 ɡ gaets ‘goat’
d 𐌳 d dagyz ‘day’
ð (𐌳) ð aeðij ‘mother’
e 𐌴 ɛ erða ‘earth’

qv 𐌵 kw qvernu ‘mill’
z 𐌶 ʐ þizae ‘to that’
h 𐌷 h~x herjis ‘army’
þ 𐌸 θ þjuþ ‘people’
i 𐌹 i~ɪ igyil ‘hedgehog’
j 𐌾 j jeir ‘year’

k 𐌺 k⁽ʰ⁾ korts ‘short’
l 𐌻 l~ɫ langz ‘long’
m 𐌼 m maeðms ‘gift’
n 𐌽 n naoþs ‘need’
o 𐍉 ɔ ortigardz ‘garden’
p 𐍀 p⁽ʰ⁾ paeða ‘shirt’
  r 𐍂 r riqvus ‘darkness’
s 𐍃 s sougila ‘sun’
t 𐍄 t⁽ʰ⁾ tungl ‘star’
u 𐌿 u~ʊ ulbvandus ‘camel’
f 𐍆 f~ɸ fimf ‘five’
v 𐍅 w vilðijs ‘wild’
y (𐍅) y~ʏ hyhsopus ‘hyssop’
k 𐍇 korts ‘short’
hv 𐍈 xw hvilftri ‘curve’
 
aa 𐌰 ɑː haah  ‘curtain’
 
ae 𐌰𐌹 ɛː aens ‘one’
ao 𐌰𐌿 ɔː kaupoun ‘buy’
bv (𐌱) β gibvan ‘give’
 
eao 𐌰 œː leaosjan ‘liberate’
ei 𐌴 eː meina ‘moon’
eo (𐌰𐌿) œ andweordjan ‘answer’
eou (𐍉) øː afmeouðij ‘disagreement’
eu (𐌿) y feutlijns ‘fulfillment’
euv (𐌿) yː heuvhjan ‘hoard’
gy (𐌲) ɣ aogyou ‘eye’
ij 𐌴𐌹 iː ijs ‘ice’
ju 𐌹𐌿 ju jup ‘up’
ng 𐌲𐌲 ŋɡ singan ‘sing’
nk 𐌲𐌺 ŋk drinkan ‘drink’
nqv 𐌲𐌵 ŋkw inqvar ‘your’
ou 𐍉 oː ous ‘river-mouth’
uv 𐌿 uː uvhtvou ‘pre-dawn’

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Grammar Crumbs: Genitive-Dative Alignment

While the Grey Tongue uses the standard plain-old, boring-old Germanic cases (Nominative, Genitive, Dative, and Accusative, yes in that order), I’ve been gradually giving a little more responsibility to the Genitive, such as taking over certain rôles like the standard Germanic “accusative of time.” (E.g. ‘today’ – in Gothic hina dag or himma daga – is hisdagis, or sometimes hindag in specific circumstances.)

I’ve recently noticed that this has created an interesting dichotomy between the Genitive and the Dative, where they’ve started to grow into rôles of opposites: Dative being generally analogous to “to/for/towards” and Genitive to “from/of/away from.” This is particularly notable among the pronouns, which occur frequently in the genitive as well (rather uncommon in Germanic languages except for Icelandic, but there it’s actually replacing or mirroring the dative rather than contrasting with it.)

E.g. His ist mīn skenča ‘This is a gift from me’, which contrasts with His ist skenča mīns ‘This is my gift’ or ‘This is a gift of mine.’

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Shameless Pilfering of Morphology

Just a little grammar snippet for you.

Looking at the history of Valthungian, the period between Griutungi (the dialect of Gothic that was likely the main parent of Valthungian) and Middle Valthungian occurred mainly in northern Italy and some other areas of southern Europe, and borrowing from Vulgar Latin and its subsequent descendants was fairly rampant. One such borrowing that occurred around the time of Old Valthungian was the borrowing of the Latin genitive plural ending –ōrum to replace Valthungian’s earlier –ē and –ō, which had by that time were starting to undergo some final unstressed vowel degradation and were in danger of vanishing from the language completely, leaving a bare root.

Classical Latin –ōrum was borrowed from Vulgar Latin –ōrũ into Old Valthungian –ōru, which eventually became Middle Valthungian –oru and Modern Valthungian –aro.

Some examples:

Gothic NS: bagms ‘tree’, andeis ‘end’, handus ‘hand’, wata ‘water’ → GP: bagmē, andjē, handiwē, watanē
Griutungi: bagms, andīs, handus, watar bagmē, andjē, handiwē, watanē
(early) Old Valthungian: bagms, endīs, handus, watar bagmē, endjē, hendjugē, watanē
(later) Old Valthungian: bagms, endīs, handus, watar bagmōru, endjōru, hendjugōru, watanōru
Middle Valthungian: bagms, endīs, handus, watr bagmoru, endžjoru, hendžjugoru, watanoru
Modern Valthungian: bagmas, endis, handus, watra bagmaro, enǧiro, henǧigaro, watanaro

Grammar sub-snippet: Why does watanaro still have so many vowels? Shouldn’t it be watnaro?

Yes and no. Watnaro is common enough in usage, but the retention of the unstressed /a/ here has to do with the development of Valthungian prosody, particularly throughout the Middle Valthungian period when a lot of vowels were jumping ship en masse, when the language came to have a much stricter iambic meter, so many unstressed vowels were retained and some were even added between two stressed syllables.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Grammar Crumbs: Swējuga X, īðanǭðan Y: The X-er the Y-er

In Valthungian there is a handy formula: Swējuga ___, īðanǭðan ___. 
This is roughly equivalent to the English formula “the ___-er the ___-er.”
Literally it translates to “So much ___, that then still then ___.” (Gothic gets weird with its conjunctions, and Valthungian just doubles down on them.) The comparative form of the adjective should be in its uninflected adverbial form (usually –is if its inflected form takes –iža).
E.g.
Swējuga mikilis, īðanǭðan batis. ‘The bigger the better.’
Swējuga langis lečiðit, īðanǭðan wersis gengiðit wisna. ‘The longer it takes, the worse it will be.’
You can also use the same construction with mǣs / mǣža or mitnis / mitniža and noun phrases, e.g.
Swējuga mat mǣžna ǣgums, īðanǭðan grēðo mitnižna (ǣgums). ‘The more food we have, the less hungry we’ll be.’
Swējuga birœ́uǧistu mǣs, īðanǭðan tīman langižna þik lētiþ þat guþ þīna ta livna. ‘The more you complain, the longer your God lets you live.’

Saturday, April 6, 2019

In the meantime...

I recently posted this in the Valthungian Facebook group, and thought I might as well add it here to the bloggosphere too.

Gǣl Ǭstra! (‘Happy Spring!’) – It just occurred to me that I should write something up about the various uses of “Happy” in Valthungian.

There are easily half a dozen words that could translate directly to ‘happy’ in English, but they are not all equivalent. When describing a person who is happy – i.e. a person who feels happiness – the most common words to describe them are fās, glaþs, or frǭs. Swēgnas is particularly celebratory – ‘jubilant,’ perhaps – and wižniǧ is more of a generally happy demeanor.

When wishing someone happiness on a holiday – i.e. an event which causes or evokes happiness – the options are greatly reduced. A day cannot be glaþs or wižniǧ or frǭs – these only apply to people.* The most common, used for most holidays, is fās; however, Christmas is always blīþ.** Of course, this is further complicated by the gender of the holiday in question, because irregular adjectives like fās and frǭs can have very different forms, e.g. neuter, fagun masculine, and fagua feminine… at least in the accusative, which is all we’re concerned with when wishing people happy things.

For holidays which begin with a vowel, rather than have an awkward pause in “fā … ǭstra!” use gǣl instead. Like the complement of glaþs, gǣls always refers to a happy event or occasion, and is never used to describe a person.***

Here are some Valthungian holiday wishes for reference:
  • Merry Christmas, Happy Yule – Blīþ Ǧul, Blīðna Ǧultin
  • Happy New Year – Blīþ/Fā Njuge Jēr
  • Happy Imbolc/Candlemas – Fā Halbwastra
  • Happy Spring/Vernal Equinox/Ostara – Gǣl Ǭstra
  • Happy Mayday/Beltane – Fagun Halbsumbra
  • Happy Mid-Summer/Litha – Fā Linþ
  • Happy Lughnassadh/Lammas – Fagun Halbharvist
  • Happy Fall/Autumnal Equinox/Mabon – Gǣl Harve
  • Happy Halloween/Samhain – Fagun Halbwintro
  • Happy Birthday – Fagun Gabórþisdag
  • Happy ____ Day – Fagun ____(+genitive) Dag

* Think of the word glad in English, discounting the particularly old-timey usage of things like “glad tidings.”
** Just like it’s always merry for Usanians instead of happy.
*** Well, it can be, but it doesn’t mean ‘happy’. German speakers, you know what I’m talking about!

Lexember 0nth: I quit!

Hello, Gothlings! It’s me, you know, that guy who writes here every day for two-thirds of December and then otherwise maybe twice a year. Anyway, I’m trying to make an effort to post a little more regularly and provide content that people might actually want to read. This isn’t one of those posts that has useful content or that anybody would want to read, but I just wanted let you know that they’re coming.

Mostly I wanted to post here today to say:


I quit Lexember!

Don’t get me wrong – I love Lexember, and it’s a great idea, but December is a bad month for me, and after three years of trying (two of which you can autopsy here on this blog), I realize it’s just not sustainable going into the holidays. Not to mention trying to get everything organized to have something in a nice format (e.g. on Contionary) to link to from a blog, and Facebook, and Twitter, and all that other junk. So for those of you wondering why my Lexember entries end abruptly each December with a dozen or so days to go, that’s why.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Animals

Sure, why not? I saw this floating around the conlang Twitterverse and it seemed like fun, so I decided to put it together for Valthungian.

hunǧ (gen. hundis, pl. hundas)
kātus (gen. kātus, pl. kǣtis)
fǭs (gen. fǭsis, pl. fǭsas)
wulfs (gen. wulvis, pl. wulvas)
čukin (gen. čukinis, pl. čukina)
matnǣkwern (gen. matnǣkwernis, pl. matnǣkwerna)
frusk (gen. fruskis, pl. fruskas)
swīn (gen. swīnis, pl. swīna)
berna (gen. bernins, pl. bernans)
kūs (gen. kūs, pl. kȳs)
ketnin (gen. ketninis, pl. ketnina)
mūs (gen. mūsis, pl. mȳsis)
ǣjus (gen. ǣjus, pl. ǣjus)
heruts (gen. herutis, pl. herutas)
bīja (gen. bījans, pl. bījans)
fivlaðra (gen. fivlaðrans, pl. fivlaðrans)
wivaris (gen. wivaris, pl. wivaris)
skilðukua (gen. skilðukuns, pl. skilðukuns)
snaka (gen. snakins, pl. snaknas)
naðra (gen. naðris, pl. naðras)
agiþǣša (gen. agiþǣšis, pl. agiþǣšins)
krāba (gen. krābins, pl. krābnas)
fuglas (gen. fuglis, pl. fuglas)
marikivra (gen. marikivrins, pl. marikivrans)
fišk (gen. fiškis, pl. fiškas)
ulvandus (gen. ulvandus, pl. ulvandis)
gǣts (gen. gǣtis, pl. gǣtis)
skēp (gen. skēpis, pl. skēpa)
ara (gen. arins, pl. arnas)
aniþs (gen. aniðis, pl. aniðis)
🦢 swans (gen. swanis, pl. swanas)
rātus (gen. rātus, pl. rǣtis)
hana (gen. hanins, pl. hanans)
ēmate (gen. ēmačis, pl. ēmačis)
mūstrinǧ (gen. mūstringis, pl. mūstringas)
tanþuǧus (gen. tanþuǧužis, pl. tanþuǧuža)
mariswīn (gen. mariswīnis, pl. mariswīna)
hāfs (gen. hāfis, pl. hāfas)
snīga (gen. snīgins, pl. snīgnas)
hwals (gen. hwalis, pl. hwalas)
serafa (gen. serafis, pl. serafas)
kamilus (gen. kamilus, pl. kamilis)
🦛 āwamárþe (gen. āwaméršis, pl. āwaméršis)
hornanasa (gen. hornanasis, pl. hornanasas)
ljuga (gen. ljugins, pl.ljugnas)