Phonetic Inventory and Translitteration

Evolution from Early Old Norse to Eittlandic

Eittlandic evolved early on from Early Old Norse, and as such some vowels it evolved from are different from the Old Norse vowels and consonants some other Nordic languages evolved from. In this chapter, we will see the main list of attested phonetic evolution Eittlandic lived through.

The history of Eittlandic goes from the late 8th century until modern-day Eittlandic. Its history is divided as shown on table below. It is not an exact science though as changes happened progressively through the country. Changes were also progressive, meaning the dates chosen to go from one language to the other are relatively arbitrary. In evolution examples, it will be indicated whether the Eittlandic pronunciation is specific to a certain time area (with Early Middle Eittlandic, Late Old Eittlandic, etc…) but if it only specifies Eittlandic it means no significant changes in pronunciation occurred since the phonetic rule shown. Meaning is also shown between parenthesis. In case of semantic shift, its new meaning in Eittlandic is shown — the same goes for the word’s spelling.

Table 1: Linguistic eras of Eittland
8th century - 12th centuryOld Eittlandic
13th century - 16th centuryMiddle Eittlandic
17th century - todayModern Eittlandic

It is generally considered the gj-shift of the 13th century is the evolution that marks the change from Old Eittlandic to Middle Eittlandic while the great vowel shift marks the change from Middle Eittlandic to Modern Eittlandic between the 16th and the 17th century.

hʷ > ʍ

One of the first evolution of the Eittlandic was the evolution of the /hʷ/ into a /ʍ/ (written «hv»). It differs from other nordic languages which evolved their /hʷ/ into a /v/, like in Icelandic or in Norwegian. However, this evolution is cause to debate, mainly due to the original phoneme /hʷ/ which could be inherited from Proto-Norse instead.


Early Old Norse or Late Proto-Norse hvat (what) /hʷɑt/ > Eittlandic hvat (what) /ʍɑt/

C / #h_ > C[-voice]

When preceded by a /h/, word-initial consonants such as «l», «r», «n» would lose their voicing and become voiceless consonants. Note «hj» went to /ç/.


  • Early Old Norse hlóð (hearth) /hloːð/ > Old Eittlandic hlóð /l̥oːð/
  • Early Old-Norse hneisa (shame, disgrace) /hneisɑ/ > Early Old Eittlandic /n̥eisɑ/
  • Early Old Norse hrifs (robbery) /hrifs/ > Old Norse /r̥ifs/
  • Early Old Norse hjól (wheel) /hjoːl/ > Old Eittlandic /çoːl/

g / {#,V}_⁣{V,#} > ɣ

In word-initial position and followed by a vowel or when between vowels, Early Old Norse /g/ gets palatalized into a /ɣ/.


Early Old Norse gegn (against, right opposite) /gegn̩/ > Old Eittlandic /ɣegn̩/

V / _⁣# > ∅ ! j _

When finishing a word, short unaccented vowels disappeared. Historically, they first went through a weakening transforming them into a /ə/, but they eventually disappeared before long vowels got affected by the first part of the rule. However, it did not apply to final vowels following a «j».


Old Norse heilsa (health) /heilsɑ/ > Late Old Eittlandic heils /heils/.

Reflecting this change, the last vowel got lost in the Eittlandic orthography. However, this rule did not get applied consistently with a good deal of people that kept them well until the Great Vowel Shift.

V / j_# > ə

While the final short vowel of words did not disappear when preceded by a «j», they still weakened to a schwa.


Old Norse sitja (to sit) /sitjɑ/ > Old Eittlandic /sitjə/

Vː / _# > ə

When at the end of a word, long unaccented vowels get weakened into a schwa.


Old Norse erþó (as though) /erθoː/ > Late Old Eittlandic /erθə/.

Notice how in the modern orthography the «ó» didn’t get lost, unlike with the previous rule. Unlike the schwa from the previous rule, the current schwa still bears the long vowel feature, although it is not pronounced any more by that point, influencing the final schwa loss.

ɣ / {#,V}_ > j ! _{l,j}

During the 13th century, continued palatalization of the letter «g» when beginning or preceding a vowel transformed it from /g/ in Proto-Norse to /ɣ/ in Old Eittlandic to /j/ in Early Modern Eittlandic.


Old Norse gauð (a barking) /gɑuð/ > Early Middle Eittlandic gauð (a barking, a quarrel) /jɑuð/.

This is the first rule of the g/j-shift along with the three next rules, marking the passage from Old Eittlandic to Middle Eittlandic.

gl > gʲ

The exception to the above rule is the «g» remains a hard /g/ when followed by an «l» in which case /gl/ becomes /gʲ/.


Old Norse óglaðr (sad, moody) /oːɡlɑðr̩/ > Early Middle Eittlandic óglaðr (very sad, miserable) /oːɡʲɑðr̩/

d g n s t / _j > C[+palat]

Another exception to the lenition of /ɡ/ is it remained until the appearance of this change a hard /g/ when followed by a /j/. It however ended up getting assimilated by /j/. Other phonemes /d/, /h/, /n/, /s/, and /t/ also get palatalized, assimilated by the following /j/. In the end, we have the conversion table given by the table below.

Table 2: Consonants palatalization
Early Old NorseEittlandic

Note this is also applicable to devoiced consonants described above.


  • Early Old Norse djúp (deep) /djuːp/ > Middle Eittlandic djúp (deep, profound) /dʒuːp/
  • Early Old Norse gjøf (gift) /gjøf/ > Early Middle Eittlandic /jøf/
  • Early Old Norse snjór (snow) /snjoːr/ > Middle Eittlandic /sɲoːr/
  • Early Old Norse hnjósa (to sneeze) /hnjoːsɑ/ > Middle Eittlandic /ɲ̥oːs/
  • Early Old Norse sjá (to see) /sjɑː/ > Middle Eittlandic /ʃɑː/
  • Early Old Norse skilja (to understand, to distinguish) /skiljɑ/

    Early Middle Eittlandic /ʃkiljə/

  • Old Eittlandic sitja (to sit) /sitjə/ > Middle Eittlandic /sitʃə/

j > jə / _#

With the appearance of word-final /j/, and epenthtetic /ə/ appeared due to the phonological rule forbidding word-final consonant clusters to end with a /j/.


Early Old Norse berg (rock, boulder) /berɡ/ > Middle Eittlandic berg /berjə/

u / V_ > ʊ

When following another vowel, /u/ becomes an /ʊ/.


Old Norse kaup (bargain) /kɑup/ > Early Middle Eittlandic /kɑʊp/

{s,z} / _C[+plos] > ʃ

If /s/ or /z/ precede a plosive consonant, they become palatalized into a /ʃ/ — the distinction between «s» and «z» is lost.


  • Old Norse fiskr (fish) /fiskr̩/ > Middle Eittlandic /fiʃkr̩/
  • Early Old Norse vizka (wisdom) /βizkɑ/ > Middle Eittlandic viska /βiʃk/

Note that in the Modern Eittlandic orthography, the «z» is replaced with an «s».

f / {V,C[+voice]}_ {V,C[+voice],#} > v

When a «f» is either surrounded by voice phonemes or is preceded by a voiced phoneme and ends a word, it gets voiced into a /v/.


Old Norse úlf (wolf) /uːlf/ > Middle Eittlandic úlv /uːlv/.

l / _j > ʎ

When followed by a «j», any «l» becomes a /ʎ/, merging with the following «j».


Early Middle Eittlandic skilja (to understand, to distinguish) /ʃkiljə/ > Middle Eittlandic /ʃkiʎə/

ɑʊ > oː

Sometime in the 15th century, any occurence of «au», pronounced by then /ɑʊ/, began shifting to /oː/.


Early Middle Eittlandic kaup (bargain) /kɑʊp/ > Late Middle Eittlandic kaup (commerce) /koːp/

C[+long +plos -voice] > C[+fric] ! / _C > C[+long +plos] > C[-long]

Unless followed by another consonant, any unvoiced long plosive consonant becomes a short affricate while other long plosives simply become shorter.


  • Old Norse edda (great grandmother) /edːɑ/ > Late Middle Eittlandic edda (great grandmother, femalle ancestor) /edɑ/
  • Old Norse Eittland /eitːlɑnd/ > Late Middle Eittlandic /eitlɑnd/
  • Old Norse uppá (upon) /upːɑː/ > Late Middle Eittlandic /upɸə/

r > ʁ (Eastern Eittlandic)

From the beginning of the 16th century, the Eastern Eittlandic /r/ began morphing into an /ʁ/ in all contexts except in word-final «-r», remanants of Old Norse’s nominative «-R». This is typical in the Eastern region of Eittland, and it can be even heard in some dialects of Southern Eittlandic.


  • Old Norse dratta (to trail or walk like a cow) /drɑtʃ/ > Eastern Modern Eittlandic dratt (act mindlessly) /dʁɑtʃ/
  • Early Old Norse fjárdráttr ((unfairly) making money) /fjɑːdrɑːtːr̩/ > Eastern Modern Eittlandic fjárdráttr (to scam) /fjɛʁdʁɛtr̩/

Great Vowel Shift

The great vowel shift happened during the 16th and 17th century during which long vowels underwent a length loss, transforming them into different short vowels. Only three rules governed this shift:

  • V[+high +long] > V[-high -long +LT]
  • V[+tense +long] > V[-tense -long +LT]
  • V[-tense +long] > V[-long -low +LT]

This shift reintroduced a bitonal system in Eittlandic, contrasting former long vowels with short vowels. Hence, the vowels evolved as shown in the table below.

Table 3: Evolution of Old Norse long vowels to Eittlandic short vowels
OrthographyOld Eittlandic vowelModern Eittlandic Vowel
œ (ǿ)/øː//œ̀/

As you can see, some overlap is possible from Old Norse vowels and Modern Eittlandic vowels. For instance, Eittlanders will read «é» and «á» both as an /ɛ̀/.


  • Middle Eittlandic sjá (to see) /ʃɑː/ > Modern Eittlandic /ʃɛ̀/
  • Old Norse (cattle) /feː/ > Modern Eittlandic (wealth) /fɛ̀/
  • Late Proto-Norse hví (why) /hʷiː/ > Modern Eittlandic /ʍè/
  • Old Norse bók (beech, book) /boːk/ > Modern Eittlandic (book) /bɔ̀k/
  • Early Old Norse œgir (frightener, terrifier) /øːɡir/ > Modern Eittlandic Œgir (a kind of mythical beast) /œ̀jir/
  • Middle Eittlandic úlv (wolf) /uːlv/ > Modern Eittlandic /òlv/

Diphthongs also evolved following these rules:

  • /ei/ > /ɑɪ/
  • /ou/ > /ɔʊ/
  • /øy/ > /œʏ/

It is probably up to this time period when Eittlandic stopped nasalizing its vowels aside from Southern Eittland (see below), although the timeframe regarding this evolution is very much unclear and it might have happened as early as during the 13th century.

ə[-long] / C_# > ∅

As described in the weakening of final long vowels, the schwa resulting from it kept its long vowel feature, although it wasn’t pronounced anymore. This resulted in the current rule making all schwas resulting from short vowels at the end of words to disappear when following a voiced consonant. However, this process lengthened any previous vowel, thus reintroducing a contrast between short vowels and long vowels in Eittlandic. This distinction is however unmarked when written in Standard Eittlandic due to the spelling dropping the final vowels affected here.


Middle Eittlandic (to understand, to distinguish) /ʃkiʎə/ > Modern Eittlandic /ʃkiːʎ/

C[+plos +fric] > C[-plos +long]

During the late 19th century to early 20th century, Eittlandic lost its affricate consonants as they morphed into simple fricatives. Therefore, some Middle Eittlandic /pː/ became in Modern Eittlandic /ɸː/ through /pɸ/.


Old Norse uppá (upon) /upːɑː/ > Late Middle Eittlandic /upɸə/

Modern Eittlandic /uɸːə/

t / _C > ʔ ! _ʃ

When a /t/ precedes another consonant, it becomes a glottal stop.


Early Modern Eittlandic Eittland /ɑɪtlɑnd/ > Modern Eittlandic /ɑɪʔlɑnd/

Vowel Inventory

Modern Eittlandic has a total of ten simple vowels and three diphthongs, regardless of the dialect. It does not directly inherit the vowel length contrast Old Norse bore anymore since the great vowel shift (see the Great Vowel Shift), though most of it shifted to a bitonal contrast instead. The original bitonal contrast believed to have existed in Old Norse has been most likely lost early on during Eittlandic’s evolution, leaving room for the current one. The first table below lists the Eittlandic simple vowels while the second table lists the Eittlandic diphthongs. Note that the contrast by length or tone is not listed in the table.

Table 4: Vowel inventory of Modern Eittlandic
closei yu
close-mide øo
open-midɛ œɔ
open ɑ
Table 5: Diphthongs of Modern Eittlandic
Eittlandic Vowel Featural Tree
Featural tree of Eittlandic vowels

Here is a quick guide regarding the pronunciation of these vowels:

  • a /ɑ/: as in General American English “hot” with a high tone
  • á /ɛ̀/: as in General American English “bed” with a low tone
  • æ /ɛ/: as in General American English “bed” with a high tone
  • e /e/: as in French “été” or General American English “may” with a high tone
  • é /ɛ̀/: see /æ/
  • i /i/: as in English “free” with a high tone
  • í /è/: as in French “été” or General American English “may” with a low tone
  • o /o/: as in French “beau” or Cockney English “yawn” with a high tone
  • ó /ɔ̀/: as in General American English “thought” with a low tone
  • u /u/: as in French “mou” or General American English “boot” with a high tone
  • ú /ò/: as in French “beau” or Cockney English “yawn” with a low tone
  • y /y/: as in French “lune” with a high tone
  • ý /ø̀/: as in French “deux” with a low tone
  • œ/ǿ /œ/: as in French “neuf” with a low tone
  • ei /ɑɪ/: as in English “I”
  • au /ɔʊ/: similar to Canadian “ow” or in General American English “bow”, but more open
  • ey /œʏ/: as if it were “œy” but more open

Eittlandic also has a second vowel inventory dedicated to unstressed vowels. While the one described above describes all vowels found in stressed positions, the unstressed inventory is much lighter.

Table 6: Unstressed Vowels in Eittlandic
Eittlandic Vowel Featural Tree
Featural tree of unstressed Eittlandic vowels

As shown in the table above, /i/ and /e/, /u/ and /o/, and /a/ and /œ/ are considered as allophones in unstressed positions. Their pronunciation is based on the vowel harmony spread forward by the preceding stressed vowel.

Regarding the first two pairs, in case a vowel is not preceded by a stressed vowel, then the first one will spread its vowel harmony backward. Vowel harmony follows the ±high feature of stressed vowels, meaning a stressed vowel with a +high feature will be always followed by either /e/ or /o/.

The unstressed vowel «a» on the other hand follows the same vowel harmony principles following the ±round phonological feature, morphing into /œ/ if the stressed vowel influencing it is rounded.

When writing in Standard Eittlandic, the vowel written in unstressed position will follow its pronunciation, but when written in other dialects, it may follow the historical spelling. The grapheme of unstressed «a» becomes «œ» only in Standard Eittlandic, otherwise it won’t change in other dialects.

Note the features borne by the diphthongs:

  • ei: +high -round
  • au: -high +round, same as «ó»
  • ey: same as «ei»


  • djúplig: /dʒòpleɣ/, the /o/ morphed the unstressed /i/ into an /e/
  • pengvin: /peŋβen/, the /e/ morphed the unstressed /i/ into an /e/
  • øfund: /øvond/, the /ø/ morphed the unstressed /u/ into an /o/
  • vótnum: /βɔ̀tnom/, the /ɔ̀/ morphed the unstressed /u/ into an /o/
  • ofan: /ovœn/, the /o/ morphed the unstressed /ɑ/ into an /œ/
  • bókar: /bɔ̀kœr/, the /ɔ̀/ morphed the unstressed /ɑ/ into an /œ/


  • fiskum: /fiskum/
  • feðar: /feðar/

Consonant Inventory

Under construction

Pitch and Stress

The original bitonal pitch accent of Eittlandic is thought to have been lost around the 10th or 11th century, though it is no certain this dating is accurate due to next to no documentation contemporary documentation existing regarding this evolution. It has been, however, replaced by a newer bitonal system during the Great Vowel Shift as a replacement for the loss of the contrast between short and long vowels. The low pitch is marked, while the high pitch is unmarked.

The distinction between low and high pitch is only done on stressed vowels, whether they are the bearer of the primary stress or a secondary stress. The primary stress always falls on the first syllable of a word, while the secondary stress falls where the primary stress would fall in compound words, such as noregsúlv /ˈnorejsˌòlv/. In this instance, no distinction is made regarding whether /e/ is a high pitch or low pitch vowel as it bears no stress. On the other hand, the initial /o/ bears a high pitch, while the second /o/ bears a low pitch. Note that there is no correlation between which stress carries which pitch.

Regional accents

Eittlandic is a language in which three distinct main dialects exist with their own accent. These three main dialects are Eastern Eittlandic spoken in the majority Kingdom of Hylfjaltr, Western Eittlandic spoken in the majority of the Kingdom of Ðeberget, and Southern Eittlandic spoken on the southern parts of the island, regardess of the legal kingdom (see the map shown in Culture). These dialects are further divided into other dialects, such as the dialect spoken around Hylfjaltr differing from the dialect spoken in the neighbour town of Tvinnár, or the dialect spoken in Ðeberget differing from the dialect spoken in the nearby city of Kóparvall.

Additional minor dialect exist, as Northeastern or Northwestern Eittlandic do exist, but most of these are considered as endengered as they are spoken mostly by older folk. Interestingly, younger Eittlanders living in Northern Eittland are beginning to speak a new dialect commonly referred to as Teveseittlandsk (“TV Eittlandic”) or Internetseittlandsk (Internet’s Eittlandic). While it may have some regional variation regarding its vocabulary, its grammar and pronunciation tend to merge both Western and Eastern Eittlandic into a common dialect resembling in some aspects urban Eittlandic.

Western Eittlandic

VU > ə ! diphthongs

Recently, Western Eittlandic evolved a weakening of all of its unstressed vowels that are not diphthongs, transforming them into schwas. It is only documented in casual speech but almost never in formal speech.


  • Standard Eittlandic ádreif (spray) /ɛ̀drɑɪv/ > Western Casual Eittlandic /ɛ̀drɑɪv/
  • Standard Eittlandic einlægr (sincere) /ɑɪnlæɡr/ > Western Casual Eittlandic /ɑɪnləɡr/

Eastern Eittlandic

Great Vowel Shift variation

When the Great Vowel Shift happened, not all regions were affected the same. As such, we can find in some rural parts of the Eastern Eittlandic dialect area high vowels slightly more open than their equivalent in Standard Eittlandic, as shown in table below.

Table 7: Equivalence Between Eastern Eittlandic and Standard Eittlandic
Rural Eastern EittlandicStandard Eittlandic

Southeastern Eittlandic

rg > ʁ

Some time after the Great Vowel Shift, the phonemes /r/ and /g/ began assimilating with one another, with an initial evolution as /ɣɡ/ which eventually led to a pronunciation of «rg» as /ʁ/. For instance, the word myrgun, pronounced /myrɡun/ in Standard Eittlandic, is prononced as /mʏʁːʊn/ in Southeastern Eittlandic.

Ø > ʁ / V#_V

A recent evolution in Southern Eittlandic seems to highlight a tendency for rhoticism in this dialect, as a prothesis of /ʁ/ appears to occur at the beginning of words beginning with vowels, especially between words ending and beginning with a vowel.


  • Sentence: Ek em frá Auðfrýriboll
  • Translation: I am from Auðfrýriboll
  • Standard Eittlandic: /ek em frɛ̀ ɔʊðfrø̀ribolː/
  • Southeastern Eittlandic: /ek em frɛ̀ ʁɔʊðfrø̀ribolː/

Southern Eittlandic

ɑ > a / {C[+nas],C[-cons]}_ and ɑ > ɐ

Southern Eittlandic tends to front its /ɑ/ into /a/ after nasal consonants and glides and into /ɐ/ otherwise.

VN / _ > Ṽ[-tense] ! V[+high] (Southern Eittlandic)

When preceding a nasal, any vowel that is not high as determined by the vowel tree in Vowel Inventory gets nasalized when preceding a nasal consonant and loses its tenseness if it has any. Hence, the pronunciation of the «a» in Eittland is /ã/. However, Old Norse runa (rune) /runɑ/ becomes run (letter, character, rune) /run/ without any nasalization.

Note this evolution is mostly proeminent in the southern regions of Eittland and the city of Hundraðskip. It is less often documented in Eastern Eittland and almost undocumented in Western Eittland. It is more often documented in casual conversation buch rarer in formal conversation, especially when the majority of the speakers in a group are not southerners.

Urban Eittlandic

ɣ > h (Urban Eittlandic)

Since around the middle of the 20th century, urban Eittlandic started leniting any /ɣ/ into a /h/.


Standard Eittlandic djúplig /dʒòpliɣ/ > urban Eittlandic /dʒòplih/

In urban areas North of Ðeberget, word-final /h/ resulting from this evolution tends to get completely dropped since around the 90s.


Standard Eittlandic djúplig /dʒòpliɣ/ > urban Eittlandic /dʒòplih/ > Northwestern Urban Eittlandic /dʒòpli/