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.’