Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Valthungian Calendar & The Measurement of Time

The Valthungian Calendar is fairly complex, compared to most, and that is largely due to trying to cram three different competing calendar systems into one. It didn’t work, and at a certain point they just cut their losses and kept using the monstrous system they had.

Ultimately, the calendar is a fairly standard solar calendar, beginning each new year on the Winter Solstice. The coming year, 2020, will be 1610 in the Valthungian Calendar. Years are numbered starting from the Sacking of Rome in 410ad; to calculate the Valthungian year, simply subtract 410 from the current Gregorian year unless you happen to be in the period between the Winter Solstice and January 1st, in which case you should probably find something more productive to do.

The year consists of twenty-eight overlapping months: the standard Gregorian twelve (because it remains important to keep in sync with the rest of the world) and sixteen traditional months: eight standard and eight “short months.” The months are based on the same astronomical calculations that make up the twenty-four Solar Terms of the Chinese calendar, though not every Solar Term is a month. A new months starts at the beginning of each zodiac sign and at each of the four “cross-quarters,” i.e. the points between the solstices and equinoxes.

Most long months last from 29 to 31 days, while short months are between 14 and 16 days long. Short and long months are always paired, so two long months will always be followed by two short months, and vice versa.

The sixteen traditional Valthungian months:

The traditional months are mostly named for traditional Germanic months, and have many counterparts in Old English, Old High German, and others.

Ǧulis (long) ‘Yule’
Langistmēnaþs (short) ‘Longest Month’
Þlavawastra (short) ‘Half Spring’
Blatimēnaþs (long) ‘Melting Month’
Wyniamēnaþs (long) ‘Joyous Month’
Milukimēnaþs (short) ‘Milk Month’
Þlavasumbra (short) ‘Half Summer’
Sutnamēnaþs (long) ‘Sun Month’
Linþis (long) ‘Lithe’
Haugimēnaþs (short) ‘Hay Month’
Þlavaþravist (short) ‘Half Harvest’
Wiðumēnaþs (long) ‘Wood Month’
Wīnamēnaþs (long) ‘Wine Month’
Blōtamēnaþs (short) ‘Sacrifice Month’
Þlavawintrus (short) ‘Half Winter’
Wintrumēnaþs (long) ‘Winter Month’

The twelve Gregorian Months:

The Gregorian months are fairly unambiguously ported over from the Roman calendar, though some confusion did arise between the traditional month of Ǧulis and the Gregorian month of Ǧulismēnaþs, leading to some outrageous conspiracy theories (see here, for example).

Ǧanismēnaþs ‘John's Month’
Fǣvrismēnaþs ‘Fevria's Month’
Merčismēnaþs ‘Mars' Month’
Ǣprilismēnaþs ‘April's Month’
Mǣǧismēnaþs ‘May's Month’
Ǧunismēnaþs ‘Junius' Month’
Ǧulismēnaþs ‘Julius' Month’
Augustismēnaþs ‘August's Month’
Sivunþamēnaþs ‘Seventh Month’
Ātuðamēnaþs ‘Eighth Month’
Njunþamēnaþs ‘Ninth Month’
Tǣjunþamēnaþs ‘Tenth Month’

A typical Valthungian calendar combines these two systems generally with the traditional dates at the top of each cell and the Gregorian at the bottom. See, for example, the first few weeks of the coming year:


(You can also see from the example that the words mēnaþs ‘month’ and daǧ ‘day’ are left off most calendars as unnecessary.)

The days of the week:

Also fairly obviously Germanic are the days of the week:

Sōgilisdaǧ ‘Sunday’ “Sun’s Day”
Mēninsdaǧ ‘Monday’ “Moon’s Day”
Tījugisdaǧ ‘Tuesday’ “Tīwaz’ Day”
Wōðnisdaǧ ‘Wednesday’ “Wōdanaz’ Day”
Þīfunsdaǧ ‘Thursday’ “Thunder’s Day”
Frižisdaǧ ‘Friday’ “Love’s Day”
Lǭgisdaǧ  ‘Saturday’ “Laundry Day”

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 þreta mīna – never þat þreta mīna; conversely, you would never say hit þreta 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 þrežne mīna þat þrežne þīna
eyes: hīž·ǭgnas mīnan þ·ōgnas þīnan
nose: hīža nasa mīna sō nasa þīna
ears: hīža hǭsana mīnan þō hǭsana þīnan
mouth: his munþs mīna sā munþs þīna
tongue: hīža tunga mīna sō tunga þīna
teeth: hīs tynþis mīnans þǣ tynþis þīnans
throat: his þlas mīna sā þlas þīna
neck: his þnaka mīna sā þnaka þīna
arm: his rams mīna sā rams þīna
hand: hīža 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 þreta mīna þat þreta þīna
lungs: hīža lungna mīnan þō lungna þīnan
stomach: his maga mīna sā maga þīna
leg: hīž·anke mīna sō anke þīna
knee: hit knio mīna þat knio þīna
shin: hīža 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:


Update: Yeah, so I’ve totally rearranged and reconstructed all of this. The link above is current. The table below is out of order and missing a couple of letters. Also, just kidding about the “exact order of the alphabet is unknown” thing. Now it’s mostly known.

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’
 
ea 𐌰 ɛ eandjis ‘end’
 
eao 𐌰𐌿 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, eandijs, handus, vatar bagmei, eandjei, heandjugei, vatanei
(later) Old Valthungian: bagms, eandijs, handus, vatar bagmouruv, eandjouruv, heandjugouruv, watanouruv
Middle Valthungian: bagms, endîs, handus, watʀ bagmoru, endzjoru, hendzjugoru, watɴoru
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.