Grammar

Word Classes

Pronouns and Anaphoric Clitics

Personal Pronouns

 1s2s1p2s
Nominativeekþúvérér
Accusativemikþikossyðr
Dativemérþérossyðr
Genitivemínþínváryðr

First and second person pronouns in Eittlandic

The only notable change in written form from their Early Old Norse version is the regularization of the genitive plural second person yðar into yðr. Otherwise, most changes only happened regarding their phonology as explained in the evolution from Early Old Norse to Eittlandic.

 MasculineFeminineNeuter
Singular Nominativehannhanþat
Singular Accusativehanhanþat
Singular Dativehanumhennþví
Singular Genitivehanshennarþass
Plural Nominativeþeirþérþau
Plural Accusativeþáþérþau
Plural Dativeþeimþeimþeim
Plural Genitiveþeirþeirþeir

Third person pronouns in Eittlandic

Here we also have few changes from the Early Old Norse pronouns for the third persons, singular and plural.

An additional set of pronouns contains reflexive pronouns. This one is relatively small, as it does not agree in person, number, or gender. However, it still agrees in case. Note that there is no nominative reflexive pronoun in Eittlandic.

Nominative-
Accusativesik
Dativesér
Genitivesín

Demonstrative Pronouns

During its evolution from Old Eittlandic, the Eittlandic language lost one set of demonstrative pronouns, the one containing in Old Eittlandic and Old Norse, in favour of the sets containing hinn and þessi. Thus, we have these two sets in Eittlandic.

 MasculineFeminineNeuter
Sg Nomhinnhinnhitt
Sg Acchinhinhitt
Sg Dathinumhinhin
Sg Genhinshinshins
Pl Nomhinerhinerhin
Pl Acchinhinerhin
Pl Dathinumhinumhinum
Pl Genhinnhinnhinn

It is interesting to see that this set of pronouns retained some differences between their masculine and feminine form, which has become quite rare in Modern Eittlandic. These are used similarly to “that” or “those” in English, designating elements or things that are judged as distant by the speaker from themselves.

On the other hand, the following pronouns containing þess relate to the words “this” and “these” in English.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns in Eittlandic simply are the genitive form of the personal pronouns shown above. The pronoun agrees with the owner in person and number, and in gender when the third person is used, as in English.

They generally replace a whole nominative proposition, such as with the example below.

Example

– Havir þú historiabøk? – Ek haft gleymt mín

You can compare them to English possessive pronouns like mine, yours, or theirs.

Verbs

Eittlandic, as most if not all North Germanic language, is a V2 language. This implies that in most cases, the verb in sentences will come at the second position, possibly moving its subject right between the verb itself and the rest of the verb phrase. The only exception to this are questions and the use of imperative. More on that later.

Since Early Old Norse, Eittlandic evolved its verb both towards simplification on one hand, making the verb endings a lot more regular and predictable, and complexification with the addition of new moods and tenses.

Verbal Inflexions

Verbs in Eittlandic agree with their subject in person and number, though it lost a lot of its diversity Old Norse had. It also varies depending on the tense, mood, and aspect of the verbal sentence. The examples are given using the verbs far(a) (to go, a former strong verb), and berja (to beat, a former weak verb).

person Indicative PresentSubjunctive PresentIndicative and Subjunctive Past
1s -r-ir-t
2s -r-ir-t
3s -r-ir-t
1p -um-im-um
2p -ið-ið-uð
3p -ið-ið-uð

Typical Verb Inflexion

person farberja
1s ferrberjar
2s ferrberjar
3s ferrberjar
1p farumberjum
2p fariðberið
3p fariðberið

Indicative present inflexion of far(a) and berja

Note that the final vowel of berja gets replaced with the vowel from the inflexion, and the final j also disappears when it is immediately followed by an i.

Present subjunctive has similar declensions to present indicative.

person farberja
1s ferirberir
2s ferirberir
3s ferirberir
1p farimberim
2p fariðberið
3p fariðberið

Subjunctive present inflexion of far(a) and berja

We can see again how the ja at the end of infinitive berja got replaced by the ending of subjunctive present verbs.

The past declension is simpler as there is no difference between indicative and subjunctive past.

person farberja
1s fertberjat
2s fertberjat
3s fertberjat
1p farumberjum
2p faruðberjuð
3p faruðberjuð

Indicative and subjunctive past inflexion of far(a) and berja

The infinitive and imperative merged due to the final vowel loss, making far and berja not only the infinitive form of to go and to beat, but also their imperative form. Present and past participles are on the other hand made by appending -and and -it respectively.

infinitive / imperativefarberja
present participlefarandberjand
past participlefaritberit

When it comes to the passive voice, inherited from the -sk form in Old Norse, its declension is a lot more regular. However, we’ll see the remaining difference between strong and weak verbs.

person StrongWeak
1s -umk-umk
2s -(a/i)sk-(ð/d/t)isk
3s -(a/i)sk-(ð/d/t)isk
1p -umk-umk
2p -(a/i)sk-(ð/d/t)isk
3p -(a/i)sk-(ð/d/t)isk

Strong and Weak Verb Inflexion for the Indicative Present and Past in Passive Voice

person farberja
1s ferumkberjumk
2s feriskberjaðisk
3s feriskberjaðisk
1p farumkberjumk
2p faraskberjaðisk
3p faraskberjaðisk

There is only one minor difference for the subjunctive mood: both the first-person singular and plural change to -imk instead of -umk. Imperative, on the other hand, only works with the second person in the present tense by appending an -sk at the end of the infinitive of the verb.

Due to this uniformisation of the passive voice in Eittlandic, Eittlanders began using the verbs ver(a) and hav(a) (respectively to be and to have) as auxiliaries preceding the verb in order to convey the subject, tense, and mood agreement. The verb ver(a) is most often used in active verbs, while the verb hav(a) is generally used with stative verbs. While all verbs have a default auxiliary, such as ver(a) for a verb like et(a) (to eat), the speaker may choose to use the other auxiliary in order to increase or decrease the agency of the semantic agent (not the syntactic agent), even if it is not present in the sentence.

Example

  • Ek var brennumk mik

    ekvarbrenn-umkmik
    1s.NOMbe.1s.IND.PSTburn-1s.PAS1s.ACC

    I burnt myself

  • Ek hav brennumk mik

    ekhavbrenn-umkmik
    1s.NOMhave.1s.IND.PSTburn-1s.PAS1s.ACC

    I got burnt

The verbs var(a) and hav(a) are irregular verbs that do not follow the same inflexion rules. For a list of their inflexion, see their dictionary entry (ver(a) and hav(a)).

The passive voice inherits from the Old Norse mediopassive voice. It is often used to promote a semantic patient to a syntactic agent and to demote a semantic agent to a syntactic oblique, sometimes even completely removing it from the sentence.

Example

  • Maðrinn dragt fiskin frá vatnin

    maðr-inndrag-tfisk-infrávatn-in
    man.NOM-DEF.NOMdrag-IND.PSTfish-DEF.ACCfromwater-DEF.DAT

    The man fished the fish from the water

  • Fiskinn var dragask frá vatnin

    Fiskr-innvardrag-askfrávatn-in
    fish.NOM-DEF.NOMbe.3s.IND.PSTdrag-STG.PASfromwater-DEF.DAT

    The fish was fished from the water

Constituants Order Typology

Questions

Questions in Eittlandic are formed by inverting the syntactic subject with its verb in a normal sentence. For example, the sentence hann komr í dag með faðin hans (he’s coming today with his father) becomes a question when inverting hann and komr. This is generally regarded as a formal way of forming questions.

A more formal way of creating a question is by suffixing -vit at the end of a verb without any change to the word order of the sentence. If there is any declension at the end of the verb, -vit will bear it instead of the stem of the verb itself. It is somewhat similar to asking a question in English by simply raising the sentence’s tone.

Example

  • Hann komr í dag með faðin hans

    hannkom-rí dagmeðfað-inhans
    3s.m.NOMcome-s.PRES.INDtodaywithfather.ACC-DEF3s.m.GEN

    He’s coming with his father today.

  • Komr han í dag með faðin hans?

    kom-rhanní dagmeðfað-inhans
    come-s.PRES.IND3s.m.NOMtodaywithfather.ACC-DEF3s.m.GEN

    Is he coming with his father today?

  • Han komvitr í dag með maðin hans?

    hannkom-vit-rí dagmeðfað-inhans
    3s.m.NOMcome-Q-s.PRES.INDtodaywithfather.ACC-DEF3s.m.GEN

    He’s coming with his father today?

The verbs ver(a) and hav(a) both cannot use this construction. Instead, Eittlandic speakers may instead simply add vit as a standalone word at the end of the question.

Example

  • Hann er konung.

    hannerkonung
    3s.m.NOMbe.3s.PRES.INDking.ACC

    He is the king.

  • Er hann konung?

    erhannkonung
    be.3s.PRES.IND3s.m.NOMking.ACC

    Is he the king?

  • Hann er konung vit?

    hannerkonungvit
    3s.m.NOMbe.3s.PRES.INDkingQ

    He is the king?

This also applies to general questions as shown below, where the question word takes the place of either the syntactic patient or syntactic dative of the verb.

Example

  • Ná hvar ert þú?

    hvarertþú
    nowwherebe.2s.PRES.IND2s.NOM

    Where are you now?

  • Ná þú ert hver vit?

    þúerthvarvit
    now2s.NOMbe.2s.PRES.INDwhereQ

    You are where now?

Yes/No questions

Yes/no questions are generally answered by or nei (yes or no respectively), sometimes with a repeat of the core of the sentence to confirm the reply.

Example

  • Komr han í dag með faðin hans?

    Is he coming today with his father?

  • Nei, han komr eig

    No, he’s not coming

or

  • Já, han komr

    Yes, he’s coming

The interjections and nei are often ambiguous when replying to a question employing a negative verb and are often avoided; Eittlanders will prefer to reply with part of or the entirety of the question with either a negative marker or not to confirm or deny the assumption of the question.

Example

  • Komr han eig í dag?

    Is he not coming today?

  • Han komr eig

    He’s not coming

or

  • Han komr

Another strategy, a lot more common when replying to negative questions, is to reply using counter-factual interjection eng meaning yes, while speakers will consider a simple nei as an approbation of the assumption of the question.

Example

  • Komr han eig í dag?

    Is he not coming today?

  • Nei (han komr eig)

    No (he’s not coming)

or

  • Áng (han komr)

    Yes he is coming

Similarly, when a question with a positive assumption is asked, Eittlandic speakers can answer with a counter-factual náng to insist on its erroneous nature.

Example

  • Komr han eig í dag?

    Is he not coming today?

  • Náng (han komr eig)

    Of course not (he’s not coming)

Some yes/no questions are sometimes asked in a very reduced form, without a full verbal sentence and only consisting of a noun phrase. Think of questions like Coffee? or Another cookie? in English. Such questions in Eittlandic require the final word vit.

Example

  • Té ell kafé vit?

    Tea or coffe?

  • Té, þakk.

    Tea, please/thanks.

General questions

General questions that are not yes/no questions will most of the time begin with a question word such as hvar (who), the equivalent of WH words in English.

Structure of a Nominal Group

Grammatical Case

Cases in Modern Eittlandic

Although seldom visible, as described in Case Marking, cases still remain part of the Eittlandic grammar, expressed through its syntax rather than explicit marking on its nouns and adjectives. Four different grammatical cases exist in this language: the nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative case.

  • The nominative case represents the subject of a sentence, that is, the subject of intransitive clauses and the agent of transitive clauses. As we’ll see below, it is morphologically marked only in dialects other than Standard Eittlandic, and only if the word is a strong masculine word.
  • On the other hand accusative, like Old Norse, usually marks the object of a verb, but it can also express time-related ideas such as a duration in time, or after some prepositions. It is also the default case when a noun has no clear status in a clause, and it can as such serve as a vocative.
  • Dative usually marks indirect objects of verbs in Old Norse, though it can also often mark direct objects depending on the verb used.

Case Marking

Although present in Early Old Norse, the use of grammatical cases has been on the decline since the Great Vowel Shift (see Phonology: Great Vowel Shift). Due to the general loss of word-final short vowels and to regularization of its nouns, Eittlandic lost almost all of weak nouns’ inflexions and a good amount in its strong nouns’ inflexions. On top of this, the root of most nouns got regularized, getting rid of former umlauts. Hence, while in Old Norse one might find the table below presented in Cleasby and Vigfusson (1874), Modern Eittlandic is simplified to the table following it.

Table 1: 1st declension of strong nouns and declensions of masculine weak nouns in Old Norse
 Strong MasculineStrong FeminineStrong NeuterWeak Masculine
Sing. Nom.heim-rtíðskiptím-i
Acc.heimtíðskiptím-a
Dat.heim-itíðskip-itím-a
Gen.heim-stíð-arskip-stím-a
Plur. Nom.heim-artíð-irskiptím-ar
Acc.heim-atíð-irskiptím-a
Dat.heim-umtíð-umskip-umtím-um
Gen.heim-atíð-askip-atím-a
Table 2: Declensions for strong and weak nouns in Modern Eittlandic
 Strong CommonStrong NeuterWeak Nouns
Sing. Nom.heim-rskiptím
Acc.heimskiptím
Dat.heimskiptím
Gen.heim-arskip-stím-s
Plur. Nom.heim-rskiptím-r
Acc.heimskiptím
Dat.heim-umskip-umtím-um
Gen.heim-arskip-stím-s

As you can see, a good amount of declensions disappeared from nouns, with only four marked cases for strong common nouns and two for strong neuter and weak nouns. The declension system completely merged weak nouns which are no longer distinguished by gender. Strong masculine and strong feminine also got merged into strong common.

We end up with the following declension system in Eittlandic.

Table 3: Eittlandic noun inflexion
 Strong CommonStrong NeuterWeak Nouns
Sing. Nom.-r  
Acc.   
Dat.   
Gen.-(a)r-s-s
Plur. Nom.-r -r
Acc.   
Dat.-um-um-um
Gen.-(a)r-s-s

The -ar ending drops the a when an underlying ending vowel is present in a word, as with dótt (daughter) becoming dóttir in its genitive form. In some regions of Eittland, such as in the area of Vátrsteinn, a strong neuter / weak noun merger is in effect, where strong neuter merged into weak nouns. In the area of Hvítvall in North Western Eastern Eittland, a complete merger between the three types of nouns happened around the 1850s, where everything is declined as a weak noun.

Nethertheless, declensions are no longer productive in most Modern Eittlandic dialects. They are still mostly used in formal and written speech, but they are less and less frequently used in less formal circumstances and in oral speech. The Royal Academy for Literature, which authored the Standard Eittlandic, even recommends not using grammatical cases when using this dialect as they are seen as reduntand with other syntactic strategies. While the recommendation is mostly followed, speakers still tend to use the singular genetive declension oraly. Younger folks at the time of writing even tend to regularize it as -ar for strong neuter and weak nouns.

One exception to declensions no longer being productive is in and around the Hylfjaltr Kingdom exclave in southern Eittland where speakers of its local dialect tend instead to favour strong nouns for newer terms. Hence, while most dialects agree on “internet” (pl.nom internetr, pl.dat internetum) being a weak noun, this dialect treats it as either a strong feminine (sg.gen internetar, pl.nom&acc internetr, pl.dat internetum) or a strong neuter (sg.gen internets, pl.dat internetum) — the difference is due to subdivisions in said dialect, mainly between rural and urban areas favouring the former and the latter respectively.

There are some regular exceptions to the declension system. The first one, inherited from Old Norse, is the -r suffix becoming -n or -l when a noun ends with an «n» or an «l» respectively, hence the table below showing the declensions of strong masculine himn (heaven) and strong feminine hafn (harbour, haven).

 himnhafn
Sing. Nom.himnnhafnn
Acc.himnhafn
Dat.himnhafn
Gen.himnarhafnar
Plur. Nom.himnnhafnn
Acc.himnhafn
Dat.himnumhafnum
Gen.himnarhafnar

During the last five centuries, the root of the word got regularized so that only one or two forms are allowed. Due to umlaut or ablaut, it is possible the main vowel of a word changes between its singular and plural form, even sometimes affecting its dative form. These changes are due to old vowels long gone since — with most even gone by the time of Old Norse. These changes mainly remains in a few common words. The table below gives some examples of such irregularities. These words are marked as irregular in the dictionary.

 kettle (m.)foot (m.)book (f.)water (n.)
Sing. Nom.ketllfótrbókvatn
Acc.ketlfótbókvatn
Dat.ketlfótbókvatn
Gen.ketlarfótarbókarvatn
Plur. Nom.katllfœtrbœkrvótnn
Acc.katlfœtbœkrvótn
Dat.katlumfótumbókumvótnum
Gen.katlfœtbœkvótn

Articles and Demonstratives

When the noun of a nominal group is not a mass noun or a proper noun, an article must accompany it, except for indefinite plural nouns.

Indefinite Article

The indefinite article is einn, the same term as one in Eittlandic. It agrees in declension with its noun, though it is to be noted its declension is irregular, as seen in table below. Similarly, other numerals have declensions as discussed in Word Classes: Numerals.

 MasculineFeminineNeuter
Nom.einneineit
Acc.eineineit
Dat.einneineit
Gen.eineinneits

Definite articles

As in other Scandinavian languages, definite articles in Eittlandic act as suffixes to the noun and fully replace its declension as it has case marking itself. The full declension table of definite articles can be found in the table below. As we can see, the definite articles underwent an important regularization as well as merging strong neuter and weak nouns together.

 Strong CommonStrong Neuter and Weak Nouns
Sing. Nom.-(i)nn-(i)t
Acc.-(i)n-(i)t
Dat.-(i)n-(i)t
Gen.-(i)ns-(i)ts
Plur. Nom.-(i)nn-(i)tr
Acc.-(i)n-(i)t
Dat.-(i)num-(i)tum
Gen.-(i)n-(i)t

The initial i is only used when using the definite articles as a suffix would cause a consonant cluster forbidden by Eittlandic phonology, otherwise it is omitted. An example of the former case is with vatn (water) which becomes vatnits when in its definite singular genitive form, while øy (island) becomes øyns in the same form. Like the indefinite article, the suffix agrees in gender, agreeing either with strong masculine or feminine words (or as established before, strong common) or with strong neuter and weak nouns.

The use of definite articles with nouns is further discussed in Definiteness.

Definiteness

Definiteness in Eittlandic serves multiple purposes. Its most obvious one is to distinguish between an indefinite and a definite entity, as in English a dog or the dog, respectively einn hundr and hundinn, as discussed in Articles and Demonstratives.

However, definiteness is also necessary with suffixed possessives and demonstrative.

Possessives

Gender

Eittlandic inherited from Old Norse a gender system divided into three genders: male, female, and neuter. Although the number of elements marking it declined during its evolution, Eittlandic still marks gender in its strong nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and to a certain degree in its articles. However, as mentioned in Case Marking, case marking and by extensions gender marking is slowly disappearing in Modern Eittlandic nouns and adjectives.

Due to the presence of declensions with strong nouns and adjectives, its pronouns, and to a certain degree different articles, it can still be said Eittlandic is a gendered language, although it doesn’t hold much importance in its grammar any more. Since strong nouns aren’t productive any more and weak nouns lost all obvious gender differences, we can even consider gender as not productive any more in Eittlandic and bound to eventually disappear. In fact, the loss of gender is even stronger in Standard Eittlandic due to the theoretical absence of declensions in this dialect.

In case a strong noun is used with a strong adjective, both will agree in number and gender.

Example

  • hvítr hund

    white.m.sg.accdog.m.sg.acc

    white dog

  • langir tungir

    long.f.pl.acctongues.f.pl.acc

    long tongues