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!

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