Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Lexember 19th: ‘stare; overlook’


/ferˈwiːt.nɑ/ trans. to stare at, to gawk at.
Via Middle and Old Valthungian from Griutungi ferwītan, cf. Gothic fairweitan, from ProtoGermanic ferweitaną.ītna


/ˌuv.rɑˈmut.nɑn/ v.wk.2 trans. to overlook, to neglect, to forget about.
From Middle Valthungian uvrmutnon, from Old Valthungian uvarmutnōn, from Griutungi ufarmunnōn, cf. Gothic ufarmunnōn, from ProtoGermanic ufarmunnōną.útnan

Lexember 18th: ‘model, template’


/ˌɑv.rɑ.gɑˈrai̯s.nɑs/ model, form, muse, original upon which something is designed or patterened.
From Middle Valthungian avrgarēfsns, from Old Valthungian avargarēhsns, from Griutuingi afargarēhsns, cf. Gothic *afargarēhsns, from ProtoGermanic *afargarēhsniz.


/ˌɑv.rɑˈmuns/ model, paradigm, prototype, template.
From Middle Valthungian avrmuns, from Old Valthungian avarmuns, from Griutuingi afarmuns, cf. Gothic *afarmuns, from ProtoGermanic *afarmuniz.

While there is a lot of overlap between the semantic space of these two nouns, the main difference is that the former tends to deal with physical objects or people (e.g. a ‘model’ posing for a painting) while the latter is more conceptual (e.g. a ‘model’ for city planning).

Lexember 17th: ‘French’


/ˈfrɑŋk.iʃk/ adj.a French.
From Middle Valthungian frankišk, from Old Valthungian frankisks, Cf. Old High German frankisk.šk


/ˈfrɑŋk.iʃ.kɑ/ n.wk.f.ōn French (language).
From Middle Valthungian frankiško, from Old Valthungian frankiskō.ška

Rīks þiža Franka

/riːks ˈθi.ʒɑ ˈfrɑŋ.kɑ/ France.
From Middle Valthungian þiže Franke (sā) rīks (“Kingdom of the Franks,” cf. German Frankreich), from Old Valthungian þižē Frankē sā rīks.īks_þiža_franka

Lexember 16th: ‘cool, chilly’


/kau̯ls/ adj.i ‘cool, chilly’
Via Middle and Old Valthungian kōls from Griutungi kōls, from Proto-Germanic *kōliz.ōls


/ˈkœy̑.li/ n.wk.f.īn coolness, chill.
Deadjectival noun from kōls, from Middle and Old Valthungian kœulī, from Griutungi kōlī, cf. unattested Gothic kōlei, from ProtoGermanic *kōlį̄.œuli

Lexember 15th: ‘suffer’


/ˈθul.nɑ/ v.wk.3 to suffer, to endure. (Used with the genitive, i.e. to suffer from.)
Via Middle and Old Valthungian from Griutungi þulan, cf. Gothic þulan, from ProtoGermanic þulāną.


/ˈθy.lins/ suffering, enduring.
From the verb þulan. (Verbal nouns from non-class-1 weak verbs were assimilated to the weak i-stem ending – including any applicable umlaut – around the time of Middle Valthugian. We would normally expect **þulans here, from a theoretical Middle Valthungian **þulens, from an attested Old Valthungian þulǣns, from Griutungi þulǣns, cf. Gothic þulains, from ProtoGermanic *þulainiz.)

Lexember 14th: ‘thunderstruck’

Swēva þīfuns þrundnas

/ˈswai̯.va ˈθiːfuns ˈθrund.nɑs/ adj.a thunderstruck, amazed, astonished, bewildered.
A phrasal adjective (the word þrundnas is declined to agree with its noun or pronoun), this is literally the phrase “as though struck by thunder,” i.e. ‘thunderstruck’.
From swēva ‘as though’ (from swē ‘so, as, like’ and iva ‘if, whether’) and þifuns, genitive of þīfua ‘thunder’, and þrundnas, past participle of þrindna ‘to strike’.ēva_þīfuns_þrundnas

Lexember 13th: ‘fault, guilt, excuse’


/disˈ v.wk.1ija to excuse, to exculpate.
From dis- ‘apart from’ and kulpa ‘guilt’.ýlpin


/disˈkyl.pi/ n.wk.f.īn excuse, extenuating reason.
From the verb diskýlpin.ýlpi


/inˈi.lɑ/ n.wk.f.ōn excuse, reason.
From Middle Valthungian inilo, from Old Valthungian and Griutungi inilō, cf. Gothic inilō, from ProtoGermanic *inilǭ.íla


/ˈkul.pɑ/ō guilt, responsibility, wrong.
From Middle Valthungian kulpa, from Latin culpa ‘guilt’.
Syn: ferina


/ˈfe̞.ri.nɑ/ō fault, responsibility, culpability.
Via Middle and Old Valthungian from Griutungi ferina, cf. Gothic fairina; further etymololgy questionable, possibly from ProtoGermanic *ferinō.
Syn: kulpa

Lexember 12th: ‘dedicate, dedication’


/usˈte̞ːk.nin/ v.wk.1ija (ditransitive) to dedicate (something) to (someone).
From Middle Valthungian ustǣknjen, from Old Valthungian ustǣknjan, from Griutungi ustǣknjan, cf. Gothic ustaiknjan, from ProtoGermanic uztaiknijaną.ǣknin


/usˈte̞ːk.nins/ dedication, public honoring.
From verb ustǣknin.ǣknins

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Lexember 11th: ‘to entertain’


/ˈfrau̯ɡɑˌhɑlðɑn/ trns. to entertain.

From frǭs ‘happy, glad’ (via Middle and Old Valthungian from Griutungi frǭs; cf. Gothic fraus, from ProtoGermanic frawaz), and halðan ‘to keep’ (via Middle and Old Valthungian halðan from Griutungi haldan, cf. Gothic haldan, from ProtoGermanic haldaną).álðan

Lexember 10th: ‘lightbulb’


/ˈljuːðɑˌtuŋɡlɑ/ lightbulb.

From ljūþ ‘light’ (doublet of ljuguþ, via Middle Valthungian from Old Valthungian ljuhþ, ljuhaþ, from Griutungi liuhaþ; cf. Gothic liuhaþ; relationship to ProtoGermanic leuhtą uncertain), and tungla ‘planet, orb, sphere’ (via Middle and Old Valthungian and Griutungi tungl, cf. Gothic tuggl, from ProtoGermanic tunglą). We might expect -hwerb here (‘sphere, orb’ in the geometrical sense) instead of -tungla (which usually refers to stellar phenomena – “the heavenly spheres,” if you will), but this refers more to their ability to emit light than to their shape.ūðatungla

Monday, December 10, 2018

Lexember 9th: ‘to conceal, secret, secrecy’

Today’s and tomorrow’s entries will deal with one method of derivation of nouns and verbs from adjectives using “i-stems”.


/ɑnˈlø̞ɡ.nin/ v.wk.1ija trns.

to conceal, to hide, to secrete.

From Middle Valthungian anlœ̄gnjen, from Old Valthungian anlœ̄gnjan, from Griutungi analǭgnjan, cf. Gothic *analaugnjan, from ProtoGermanic *ana-laugnijaną.



secrecy, concealment.

From Middle Valthungian anlœ̄gnī, from Old Valthungian anlœ̄gnī, from Griutungi analǭgnī, cf. Gothic *analaugnei, from ProtoGermanic *ana-laugnį̄.


/ɑnˈlo̞ːɡ.nɑs/ adj.i

secret, concealed, clandestine.

From Middle Valthungian anlǭgns, from Old Valthungian anlǭgns, from Griutungi analǭgns, cf. Gothic analaugns, from ProtoGermanic *ana-laugniz.


/ɑnˈlo̞ːɡ̞/ adv.

secretly, clandestinely.

From Middle Valthungian anlǭgnivi, from Old Valthungian anlǭgnivi, from Griutungi analǭgnibi, cf. Gothic analaugniba, from ProtoGermanic *ana-laugnibi.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Lexember 8th: ‘to blink; to cause to blink’


/ˈbliŋk.nɑ/ intr. to blink, to flash, to flicker.

From Middle Valthungian blinkn, from Griutungi blinkan, cf. Gothic *bligkan, from ProtoGermanic blenkaną.


/ˈble̞n.ʧin/ v.wk.1ija trns. to blink, to flash, to flicker.

From Middle Valthungian blenkšjen, from Old Valthungian blenkjan, from Griutungi blankjan, cf. Gothic *blagkjan, from ProtoGermanic *blankijaną.

The main difference between these two terms is that the first is intransitive, while the second is transitive (or, more specifically, causative). E.g.:

blinkna: Þ·ōgana þis ǧužis blunkun
‘The creature’s eyes blinked.’

blenčin: Þat ǧus blankiða is ǭgana. 
‘The creature blinked its eyes.’

Friday, December 7, 2018

Lexember 7th: ‘extraordinary’


/ˌuːtɑ.ðrɑˈme̞ːns/ adj.i extraordinary, unexpected, outside the normal; irregular, abnormal.

From ūtaðra ‘extra, outside’ (from Middle Valthungian ūtaðro, from Old Valthungian ūtaðrō, from Griutungi ūtaþrō, cf. Gothic ūtaþrō, from ProtoGermanic ūtaiþrô) and mǣns ‘common, regular, normal’ (from Middle and Old Valthungian mǣns, from Griutungi mǣns, cf. Gothic mains, from ProtoGermanic mainiz).ūtaðramǣns

Sī ǣfta þō swinþi ūtaðramǣna fōn miþiža gahugiða sīnan a tenǧin.
‘She had the extraordinary ability to start fires with her mind.’

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Lexember 6th: ‘surprise’


/usˈfil.mi/ n.wk.f.į̄ surprise, amazement, bewilderment, shock, astonishment.

From Griutungi usfilmī, cf. Gothic usfilmei, from ProtoGermanic uz- ‘out’ and felmį̄ ‘awe’.ílmi

Þī frisǣtistu þ·ōsfílmin mīna þenis þrǭ!
‘So imagine my surprise when it exploded!’

Lexember 5th: ‘ship-wreck’


/ˈski.pɑˌrɛu̯.ri/ n.wk.f.į̄ ship-wreck.

From skip ‘ship’ (from Griutungi skip, cf. Gothic skip, from ProtoGermanic skipą) and rjuri ‘wreck, disaster, ruin’ (from Old Valthungian rjurī, from Griutungi riurī, cf. Gothic riurei, from ProtoGermanic reurį̄).

Itma nī wēsun n·īna uvralibins hun þižas skiparjurinis.
‘There were no survivors from the ship-wreck.’ 

Lexember 4th: ‘imagine’


/friˈseːʧin/ v.wk.1ija to imagine, to visualize, to picture.

From Middle Valthungian frisǣtjen, from Old Valthungian frisehtjan, from Griutungi frisahtjan, cf. Gothic frisahtjan; earlier etymology uncertain.ǣčin

Frisǣti hita: Sičilia, jēr njuntǣn hunda twǣtiǧiþrīja…
‘Picture it: Sicily, 1923…’

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Lexember 3rd: ‘roll of coins’


/ˈskɑːtɑˌwɑl.u.ɑ/ n.wk.f.wōn roll of coins.

From skāts ‘coin’ (via Middle Valthungian, from Old Valthungian and Griutungi skatts, cf. Gothic skatts, from ProtoGermanic skattaz) and walua ‘roll’ (from Middle Valthungian walwo, from Old Valthungian and Griutungi walwō, cf. Gothic *walwō, Latin volvō, from ProtoGermanic *walwǭ).

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Lexember 2nd: ‘desert’


/ˈø̞.ðis/ desert, arid region; wasteland, barren place.

From Middle and Old Valthungian œ̄ðīs, from Griutungi ǭþīs; cf. Gothic auþeis, from ProtoGermanic auþijaz).

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Lexember 1st: ‘motor’, ‘mechanic’


/ˈwe.ʤins/ motor, engine.

From weǧin ‘to cause to move’ (Middle Valthungian wegžjen, from Old Valthungian wegjan, from Griutungi wagjan; cf. Gothic wagjan, from ProtoGermanic wagjaną) and deverbial suffix -ins (Middle and Old Valthungian -īns, from Griutungi -īns; cf. Gothic -eins, from ProtoGermanic -īniz).


/ˈwe.ʤi.ris/ mechanic, machinist. One who builds or repairs engines. 

From weǧin ‘to cause to move’ (Middle Valthungian wegžjen, from Old Valthungian wegjan, from Griutungi wagjan; cf. Gothic wagjan, from ProtoGermanic wagjaną) and agentive suffix -iris, -aris (Middle Valthungian -(j)arīs, from Old Valthungian -(j)ārīs, from Griutungi -(j)ārīs; cf. Gothic -(j)āreis, from Latin -ārius).ǧiris

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Lexember 2019 Kickoff

For Lexember this year I’m hoping to continue working on my gradual translation of Le Petit Prince into Valthungian. A lot of things have changed since last year, though, and the grammar has gotten a lot more solidified. There’s also been a minor sound change that I’ve been fighting with for many months. Before we jump into the vocab, I wanted to outline a few of those changes.

Adjective Phrases (with a few exceptions) are now mainly N-A. Pretty self-explanatory. This may eventually end up changing the way I handle strong and weak adjectives (or get rid of them completely), but so far those are the same.

The one sound change is that the i-umlaut of ‹ō› ([au̯]) is now ‹œu› ([œy̑]) instead of ‹œ̄› ([ø̞ː]), which is now exclusively the umlaut of ‹ǭ› ([o̞ː]). This contrasts with ‹au› ([au̯]), the umlaut of which is (and has always been) ‹eu› ([ɛu̯]). This is largely the result of all the futzing I was doing last year trying to settle on a pronunciation for ‹ō› and ‹ē› in the first place, which have been troublesome ever since I decided to get rid of the Stressed Long Vowel Raising rule a year or so ago. Anyway, that’s irrelevant here. The practical result of this is that the spelling of many noun, verb, and adjective forms has changed slightly.  Some examples:
  • mōðra [mau̯.ðrɑ] ‘mother’; plural mœuðris [mœy̑.ðris]
  • dōms ‘doom’; sundradœumin ‘to decide’
  • sœučin ‘to seek’; sōfta ‘sought’

Along the lines of phonology, I also codified a rule that I had been applying subconsciously, but haphazardly – an extension of a rule already present in Gothic for creating compounds. In the simplest terms, when the first element is a u- or w-stem, ‹u› separates the words, e.g. alo ‘ale’ + katna ‘cup’ = alukatna ‘stein’. For an i- or j-stem, use ‹i›: e.g. hauge ‘hay’ + mēnaþs ‘month’ = haugimēnaþs ‘August’. Plain a-stems take no vowel unless the first word ends in a syllabic.

I hammered out a complex system of passive verbs in which different auxiliary verbs are used depending on whether the verb is intentional or unintentional by both the agent and the patient:

  • gečin: deliberate agent and patient. E.g. Ik gatiða fergilðiþs forðat work. ‘I was paid for the work.’
  • gitna: agent deliberate, patient inanimate or unintentional. E.g. Ik gat þis weris slaguns. ‘I was hit by the man.’
  • þiǧin: patient deliberate, agent inanimate or unintentional. E.g. Ik þagiða þižas fœuðinis nutriškiþs. ‘I was nourished by the food.’
  • werðan: inanimate or unintentional agent and patient. E.g. Ik warþ þis þljuðis angǣsiþs. ‘I was startled by the noise.’

On the subject of auxiliary verbs, I also decided to relegate skulna to the specific realm of obligation, while the contrived causative genǧin (from gangna) exclusively forms the future tense.

For Lexember this year I plan to place most of my entries into Contionary on Linguifex, and then link them here (probably with some additional explanation) and on Twitter and the FB Conlang groups and the usual places. I would encourage other Linguificers to do the same – especially if, like me, you’re bad at TeX formatting and just need something quick ‘n’ dirty. (If you’re a CWS person, they have their own unique Lexember format, but I still haven’t even figured out how to post my phonology on that monstrosity.) 

In case anyone is interested, I’ve also just completed work on the 2019 Valthungian calendar, which is brooding and complex, as you might expect.

Finally, I wanted to officially announce that there is a Facebook group for the Valthungian Language!  Actually, it’s been there for a while, but I wanted to wait a bit to make it public. So far it’s really mostly a place where I bounce around thoughts about things like changing the umlaut of ‹ō› to ‹œu›, but as the language becomes a little more stable and usable and the vocabulary grows, I hope that it will soon be a place where I can roll out lessons, texts, maybe even videos… we’ll see! Anyway, it’s here if you’re interested: (There are a few questions to answer in order to join. This is mostly because an extraordinary number of people seem to be under the impression that the Valthungian Language, a.k.a. Sō Grējutungiška Rasta, is a secret language spoken by Rastafarian priests, and somehow, therefore, the group must be full of people who can tell you where to get weed. To the best of my knowledge, neither of these things is correct. Anyway, if you’ve read this much, you probably know the answers to all of the questions, and even if you don’t, that’s usually okay too, as long as I can figure out from your answers that you know which tree you're upbarking.)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Couple of Valthungian Folk Etymologies and Conspiracy Theories

The Valthungian calendar is rather complicated, containing a total of 28 overlapping months, and is really an amalgamation of three (or more) other calendar systems, including the standard Gregorian calendar, the traditional Gothic calendar, and the Northeadish calendar. Among the various confusions this creates, we find that the name of the Gregorian month of July, Ǧulismēnaþs (“Julius’ Month”), which begins shortly after the Summer Solstice, bears a striking similarity to the Solar month of Sagittarius Ǧulis (“Yule”) which ends on the Winter Solstice. Add to this another similarity between the solar term of Aries Wyniamēnaþs (“Joyful Month”), beginning at the Vernal Equinox, and Libra Wīnmēnaþs (“Wine Month”) beginning at the Autumnal Equinox, and within a couple of generations, there are a large number of Grey-tongue people who believe that their ancestors the Goths either conquered or originally came to Europe from somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons were reversed.

In reality, these names have no relation to one another, and even the postulation that the Grey Tongues are in fact descended from any of the original Goths is suspect, but this does not stop arm-chair linguists and archaeologists from speculating. Most common candidates for a Southern Hemisphere Gothic origin are: Easter Island, Madagascar, Tierra del Fuego, and most inexplicably, the Antarctic Peninsula, where some claim the Goths dwelt from time immemorial, but eventually moved north as continental drift moved their homeland closer to the South Pole and it became too cold to continue living there. Of course, anyone with a little knowledge of geology will tell you that Antarctica has been pretty much right where it is now for quite a bit longer than humans have been on the planet – but facts have never been very useful deterrents to speculation!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Another Grey... er Gray-ish Tongue

Not an update for the Grey Tongue, but I thought I'd drop this here as well:

I've recently completed work on a commission for a language coincidentally called Grayis, which you can peruse through over at Linguifex:

Grayis is spoken by the Grayis Kin, a race of space-faring aliens from the planet of Oyrigin, one of six races described in the soon-to-be-released board game Pilots of Gallaxia, designed by Stefan Rasporich of Infinite Mind Pictures, Inc. There will be a crowdfunding campaign launching soon to get the game into production soon: I'll post an update in the comments (below) when the campaign is open!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Grey Tongue

Hello Gothlings!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted – blah blah blah, you know how all of these posts start – and I don’t have much time to post today either, but I wanted to stop by to deliver some exciting news about the language! Well, a couple of pieces of exciting news, actually.

First, I will be presenting a paper about the language at the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo on May 12th as part of a roundtable discussion about modern uses of medieval languages. If you happen to be there, please stop by and say hello!

Leading up to the conference, I’ve also been doing some more structural work on the language, and one thing seems of particular importance to share with you: I’ve changed the name!

From its inception, the name of this language has been some derivation of ‘Gothic’, with some various sound changes.  As the language has really started to develop its own identity apart from Wulfila and friends, I’ve felt more and more awkward about using it. That coupled with the fact that the anglicisation of Gutiška yields “Gutish,” which sounds more like a digestive condition than a language, led me to start looking for a new moniker.

Going back to the roots of Gothic, two of the main gothic tribes were the Greuthungi (or Griutuggōs) and the Thervingi (Tairwiggōs) – probably more literally ‘the steppe-dwellers’ (or maybe ‘stony-beach-dwellers’) and the ‘forest-dwellers’. In my mind, the Language-soon-to-be-formerly-known-as-Gutish is/was spoken by a population who are vaguely descended from the Goths, though they have about as definitive a relationship to the Ostrogoths and Visigoths as the French have to do with the Franks led by Charlemagne: That is, well, the name is similar…

After some deliberation, I’ve decided to give the language two names, actually. A nice Latinized English exonym: Valthungian (Walðungiška), language of the Valthungs (Walðungas), literally, the ‘language of the forest people’ (walðus being another more common word for forest). But in Valthungian, no one actually uses the word walðungiška apart from an occasional historical reference, just like the Germans speak Deutsch and not Germanisch. Or Allemanisch. Or Tedeskisch or Sachsisch or Nemezkisch or any of the other exonyms given to them by their neighbors. In Valthungian, the endonym is derived from the other tribe, the Greuthungi, but somewhere along the line, the etymology got a little turned around, and greut-ung was reanalyzed as grew-tung, and the language came to be called Grējutungiška ‘language of the grey-tongues’, or even sō Grējuga Tunga ‘the Grey Tongue’.

So in case you’re wondering what happened to Gutish, it’s still here, just rebranded in time for my paper!