Difference between revisions of "Valthungian"

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A less common alternation is that of ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩.  This occurs in the same environment as the second type of palatalisation (above), but instead of a true palatalisation, there is a shift of ⟨v⟩ to ⟨b⟩; or, more accurately, some paradigms without an original ⟨j⟩ are able to shift from ⟨b⟩ to ⟨v⟩ when intervocalic, but those with ⟨j⟩ are blocked from spirantizing.  
A less common alternation is that of ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩.  This occurs in the same environment as the second type of palatalisation (above), but instead of a true palatalisation, there is a shift of ⟨v⟩ to ⟨b⟩; or, more accurately, some paradigms without an original ⟨j⟩ are able to shift from ⟨b⟩ to ⟨v⟩ when intervocalic, but those with ⟨j⟩ are blocked from spirantizing.  

For example, the adjective ''drœ̄vis'' ‘muddy’ (from Griutungi ''*drōbīs'', cf. Gothic ''drōbeis'') has the dative singular form ''drœ̄bia'' (from ''*drōbja'').
For example, the adjective '''''[[drœ̄vis#Valthungian|drœ̄vis]]''''' ‘muddy’ (from Griutungi '''''*[[drōbīs#Griutungi|drōbīs]]''''', cf. Gothic '''''[[wikt:𐌳𐍂𐍉𐌱𐌴𐌹𐍃|𐌳𐍂𐍉𐌱𐌴𐌹𐍃 (drōbeis)]]''''') has the dative singular form '''''drœ̄bia''''' (from '''''*drōbja''''').


Revision as of 04:57, 29 June 2022

Valthungian is an East Germanic language descended from a language that was probably mutually intelligible with Gothic, though much of its corpus cannot have been inherited from the language of Wulfila. It is likely, however, that the speakers of the ancestor of Valthungian did consider themselves Goths (or Gutai or Gutþiudōs), and that their language was mutually intelligible with other dialects of Gothic. The Valthungian relationship to “Classical Gothic” can be thought of as analogous to the relationship between Modern High German and Old High German – that is, not a direct lineage, but the modern languages are descended from neighboring dialects spoken by people who would likewise have considered themselves to be “Gutisks,” in the case of Valthungian, or “Diotisk” in the case of German.

While Valthungian shares many of the areal changes common to North and West Germanic languages, it is also marked by distinctive changes in palatalisation, which, while similar to those of Old English, are most likely influenced by contact with Romance and Slavic languages. Modern Valthungian can be traced back to Middle Valthungian (spoken from around 1200‒1600ᴀᴅ) through Old Valthungian (800‒1200ᴀᴅ) and ultimately to Griutungi, which would likely have been thought of as a dialect of Gothic (400‒800ᴀᴅ).

The name “Valthungian” comes from the name Valthungi – a Latin term likely derived from a pre-Old Valthungian name *Walþungae – meaning “Forest-dweller,” likely a branch of or related to the Thervingians (idem), though the Valthungian people refer to themselves as Grējutungišk, which is probably from an earlier Griutuggs (the name of an Ostrogothic tribe living along the northern shore of the Black Sea), but which underwent some semantic reanalysis over the generations and came to mean ‘the grey-tongued ones’. In turn, they call their language Grējutungiška Rasta ‘Grey-tonguish Language’ or just So Grējuga Tunga ‘the Grey Tongue’.


Phonemic Inventory


Labial Dental Coronal Palatal Dorsal
Plosive p · b
[p~pʰ · b]
t · d
[t̪~t̪ʰ · d̪]
č · ǧ
[ʨ · ʥ]
k · g
[k~kʰ · ɡ]
Fricative f · v
[f · v]
ð · þ
[ð · θ]
s ·
š · ž
[ɕ · ʑ]
h ·
Nasal · m
· n
· n[1]
Approximant · w/u
· l
· r[2]
· j


Any vowel can be short or long, and the quality of the vowel does not differ other than length. Long vowels must carry primary or secondary stress (see Stress). Orthographically, the historic long mid-vowels are realized as diphthongs.

Short Vowels Long Vowels Diphthongs
Front Back Front Back Front Back
Closed i · y
[i · y]
ī · ȳ
[iː · yː]
Mid e · œ
[e̞ · ø̞]
ǣ · œ̄
[e̞ː · ø̞ː]
Mid-to- œu
Open a
Open-to- ē
ō, au

There are four diphthongs in Valthungian; the two low-to-high diphthongs are considered long vowels, as they are developments of earlier [eː] and [oː], though [ɑu̯] also arises from another process. (See #Orthography & Romanization and #Historical Phonology.)


Compounding Strategies

There are several compounding strategies for Valthungian words, but most boil down to understanding the inherent (and often no longer obvious) stem vowel of the words being compounded.

Generally in compounds, the final element of the compound retains its inherent grammatical properties, while the first element is reduced. For example, if an i-stem noun is compounded to an a-stem noun, the result is an a-stem noun; if a u-stem noun is incorporated into a class I weak verb, the result is a class I weak verb.

While there are some nuances in how the first element is formed (stay tuned for a fancy table I haven’t finished filling out yet!), a basic rule could be:

  1. If the stem contains an i, e, or j, the compound links with –i-.
  2. If the stem contains a u, o, or w, the compound links with –u-.
  3. If the stem is weak, add –n- if the following element begins with a vowel.
  4. If the second element begins with an unstressed vowel, no compounding link is used.
  5. …otherwise, link with –a-.


Modern Valthungian is a stress-timed language. Stress is very regular and almost explicitly iambic in nature. In fact, in Late Middle and Early Modern Valthungian, an epenthetic schwa was added to many words which contain two sequential stressed syllables, while a syllable was often deleted from sequential unstressed syllables.

As is the case with most Germanic languages, stress is usually initial except in the case of words with unstressed prefixes and a very small collection of recent borrowings which have maintained non-initial stress.

In writing, stress is indicated with a dot over the stressed vowel only in cases where stress is non-initial. (In Romanisation, an acute diacritic is used.) Long vowels, ⟨œ⟩, and ⟨y⟩ are not marked, because they cannot occur unstressed. In Valthungian orthography (but not in romanization), the letters ⟨ǣ⟩ and ⟨ǭ⟩ may sometimes be marked merely because they do not have the classic macron which marks other long vowels.

Consider the stress and use or lack of diacritics in the following examples:


Voicing Alternation

This rule is inherited from Proto-Germanic. The rule is not persistent, but the variation in forms still affects the inflections of nouns, verbs, and adjectives in Valthungian, and is readily assimilated into neologisms and borrowings. (A similar v/f alternation rule exists in English, for example in singular knife and plural knives, or the noun strife and the verb strive.) The Gothic version of this rule caused alternation between ⟨f⟩, used only at the end of a word or before an unvoiced consonant, and ⟨b⟩ used elsewhere, e.g. giban, ‘to give’, gaf, ‘gave’. Likewise the relationship between ⟨þ⟩ and ⟨d⟩. There are three main realisations of this rule in Valthungian:

  • v → f
  • ð → þ } at the end of a word, or before an unvoiced consonant.
  • ž → s

The implications of this rule for Valthungian are:

  • ⟨f⟩ or ⟨þ⟩ occur before ⟨s⟩ in the nominative singular of masculine or some feminine strong nouns, e.g. þlǣfs ‘loaf of bread’, but genitive þlǣvis.
  • ⟨f⟩ or ⟨þ⟩ occur when word-final in the accusative of masculine or some feminine strong nouns, and the nominative and accusative of neuter strong nouns, e.g. blōþ ‘blood’, but genitive blōðis.
  • ⟨f⟩ occurs when word-final or before ⟨t⟩ in the preterit singular and the second person imperative singular of strong verbs, e.g. gaf, gaft, ‘gave’, but infinitive givna.
  • ⟨þ⟩ also occurs when word-final in the preterit singular and imperative, but is assimilated to ⟨s⟩ before ⟨t⟩ in the second person preterit (see Coronal Consonant Assimilation below), e.g. biǧin ‘to bid’ has the first- and third-person preterit baþ but second-person bast.
  • The implications for ⟨s⟩ and ⟨ž⟩ can be a little trickier, because this split was not uniform in Gothic, and intervocalic /s/ was not later voiced (as it was in many other Germanic languages, leveling out this particular conundrum), so many words retain ⟨s⟩ throughout the paradigm. These are noted in the lexicon.

Please note that because this rule is not persistent, there are several words which later developed an intervocalic ⟨f⟩ or ⟨þ⟩ from earlier ⟨h⟩ which is not affected by this rule.


Palatalisation is another historic rule that is no longer persistent in Valthungian, but has wide-ranging implications for inflections in Valthungian. There are actually several types of palatalisation that occur in Valthungian, but they can all be boiled down into the following rules:

  • Masculine and feminine nouns whose roots end in ⟨d⟩ or ⟨g⟩ become palatalised before ⟨s⟩ in the nominative singular of a-, i-, and u-stems (but not feminine ō-stems). E.g. Griutungi *dags ‘day’, *winds ‘wind’ become daǧ, winǧ. This type of palatalisation only occurs when there was a /dz/ or /gz/ present in the language at some point historically (from Griutungi/Gothic /ds/ or /gs/).
  • • A much more common form of palatalisation, however, is that which occurs whenever the ending of a noun, verb, or adjective begins with ⟨j⟩, e.g. strong masculine ja-stem nouns or adjectives or class 1 weak verbs. (However, inflections which did not originally have ⟨j⟩ in the stem maintain their original consonant, which makes it important to understand the historical implications of Siever’s Law in Germanic.) In these cases, the following occurs:
    • d or g + j → ǧ
    • t or k + j → č
    • s or h + j → š
    • z + j → ž (Actually, all instances of ⟨z⟩ eventually became ⟨ž⟩.)

Palatalisation of the latter type usually goes hand in hand with Umlaut, below.

On an orthographic level, where other consonants may usually be followed by vowel clusters like –ia or –io, palatal consonants assimilate the /i/ of such clusters. For example, the dative singular and the nominative and accusative plurals of neuter j-stem strong nouns are normally formed by umlaut of the stressed vowel and an ending of –ia, but those roots ending in the above consonants undergo palatalization and only get an ending of –a. E.g.

No Palatalization With Palatalization
anþeeia ‘forehead’ ambāteambǣča ‘office’
hrežnehrežnia ‘brain’ drengedrenǧa ‘coconut’
þljuðreþljuðria ‘wing’ seša ‘new moon’
tangletenglia ‘comet’ gapīkegapīča ‘dumpling’
fōðrefœuðria ‘vanilla bean’ rikužerikuža ‘eclipse’
[b]/[v] Alternation

A less common alternation is that of ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩. This occurs in the same environment as the second type of palatalisation (above), but instead of a true palatalisation, there is a shift of ⟨v⟩ to ⟨b⟩; or, more accurately, some paradigms without an original ⟨j⟩ are able to shift from ⟨b⟩ to ⟨v⟩ when intervocalic, but those with ⟨j⟩ are blocked from spirantizing.

For example, the adjective drœ̄vis ‘muddy’ (from Griutungi *drōbīs, cf. Gothic 𐌳𐍂𐍉𐌱𐌴𐌹𐍃 (drōbeis)) has the dative singular form drœ̄bia (from *drōbja).


Umlaut is another of those sound laws that no longer happens actively in the language, but it has become indicative of specific tenses or cases in the language, and may appear analogically in certain words.

  • The accusative singular of strong nouns with palatalisation are not umlauted. All other forms of nouns with palatalisation are umlauted.
  • The past subjunctive of verbs is umlauted except for the 3rd person singular, which never is. In informal speech, this may be umlauted by analogy.
  • Verbs ending in –jan in Gothic have umlaut in the present and imperative. These verbs all end with –in in Valthungian.

Umlaut in Valthungian initiates the following changes in the stressed vowel of a word:

  • a → e - *satjan ‘to set’ → sečin
  • ā → ǣ - *hlahjan ‘to laugh’ → þlǣšin
  • ǭ (Got. ⟨áu⟩) → œ̄ - *hǭsjan ‘to hear’ → hœ̄šin
  • o (Got. ⟨aú⟩) → œ - orsjan ‘to thirst’ → þrœšin
  • ō → œu - *hwōtjan ‘to threaten’ → huœučin
  • u → y - *hugjan ‘to think’ → hyǧin
  • ū → ȳ - *hrūkjan ‘to crow’ → þrȳčin

NB: The word “Umlaut” can refer to several different types of vowel change in Germanic languages – i/j-umlaut, u/w-umlaut, and a-umlaut most commonly – but only one type ever occurred in Valthungian: Umlaut here is used to refer specifically to i/j-umlaut, also known as i-umlaut, front umlaut, or i-mutation.

Coronal Consonant Assimilation

This rule has a formidable name, but it is actually common to all Germanic languages. This rule states that whenever a coronal consonant (namely, d, t, or þ) is directly followed by ⟨t⟩ or ⟨st⟩, the former consonant ⟨s⟩. This accounts for the English word best, from earlier betst, from *batest. This applies mainly to second person singular preterit of strong verbs, e.g. ǧutna ‘to pour’ and biǧin ‘to bid’ have a second person preterit of gǭst ‘you poured’ and bast ‘you bade’, rather than the otherwise expected **gǭtt and **baþt.

Blocking of Metathetical Unpacking

Another formidable name, but what this means is that at various times historically, sound changes caused unstressed /a/ to disappear before sonorants (/l/, /r/, /m/, or /n/), turning them into syllabics. This happened at least once before the Gothic era, giving rise to words like *bagms and *aþn, and again before Valthungian, most notably collapsing the infinitive ending -an to -n. Later on, syllabics were “unpacked;” that is, they regained the /a/ that had been lost, but it now appeared after the sonorant instead of before it. For example, Griutungi *brōþar ‘brother’ (Gothic brōþar) and later Old Valthungian brouðar became Middle Valthungian brôðʀ with syllabic /r̩/, and eventually Modern Valthungian brōðra. However, there are a few instances where this unpacking didn’t happen because the restoration of ⟨a⟩after the sonorant would have rendered the word unpronounceable, in which case the word reverts back to its pre-syllabic state.

The practicality of this rule as it applies to modern Valthungian is that:

  • Dative plural a-stem nouns whose roots end in –m have the ending of –am rather than –ma, e.g. vroms ‘worm’ has the dative plural of vromam rather than **vromma.
  • Masculine strong a-stem nouns ending in –n have the the dative plural ending of –am (as above) and the accusative plural ending of –ans rather than –nas, e.g. ǭns ‘oven’ has the dative plural of ǭnam and the accusative plural of ǭnans rather than **ǭnma and **ǭnnas.
  • Strong a-stem adjectives ending in –n have a masculine accusative singular of –an rather than –na, e.g. ǣnsǣnan, not **ǣnna
  • Strong verbs and weak class 3 verbs ending in –nan:
    • Have the infinitive form -an rather than –na, e.g. skīnan ‘to shine’, not **skīnna.
    • Have the third person plural present indicative -anþ rather than -naþ, e.g. skīnan ‘to shine’ → skīnanþ ‘they shine’, not **skīnnaþ.
    • Have the present participle forms in -anþ rather than -naþ, e.g. skīnanþatma, not **skīnnaþatma.
    • Have the third person plural imperative -anþa, rather than -naþa, e.g. skīnanþa, not **skīnnaþa.
Assimilation of [r] and [s]

Historically, this is a sound change that occurred in the transition from Proto-Germanic to Gothic and is no longer persistent, but it has specific reflexes that affect Valthungian paradigms.

The change initially applied to “light”-syllable nouns with roots ending in /s/ or /r/ in the masculine and feminine classes that take a final /z/ in the nominative singular. E.g. PGmc. *weraz, *drusiz → (Post-Germanic Short Unstressed Vowel Deletion) → *werz, *drusz → (Final Obstruent Devoicing) → *wers, *druss → (r/s-Assimilation) → Griutungi *wer, *drus (cf. Gothic waír /wer/, drus).

Later, beginning around the time of Early Middle Valthungian, this change was expanded analogously to other /r/-final nouns and adjectives which had “heavy” syllables, and eventually the rule emerged that nouns and adjectives ending in /r/ do not take an (additional) /s/ in the nominative singular, though they otherwise follow the paradigm of their particular stem. (E.g. *bērsbēr ‘boar’, *stiursčur ‘steer’. One notable example of this phenomenon is the Germanic *tersazmentula’ which became *ters in Griutungi as expected, but was then reanalyzed as an exception to the original r-rule (instead of the s-rule that it actually is), and eventually it became ter in Valthungian. It remains, however, an unkind word.)

Affix Anaptyxis

When a prefix ends in the same letter as the root, /a/ is inserted to break up the resulting geminate. /a/ may also be added to avoid awkward consonant clusters. This is just part of a larger change in the general structure of the language in which many unstressed syllables appeared unbidden in Late Middle and Early Modern Valthungian causing the language to be almost entirely iambic. In Modern Valthungian all stressed syllables (primary and secondary) must de separated by an unstressed syllable.

Some of the most frequent are:

  • af+f: Griutungi *affilhanafaflījan ‘to hide away’
  • fer+r: Griutungi *ferrinnanferarítnan ‘to attain’
  • un+n: Griutungi *unnutansunanútans ‘unused; useless’

However, the prefix us- becomes ut-: Griutungi *ussandjanutsenǧin ‘to send out’

Writing System

Alphabet & Pronunciation

Here I give the traditional Valthungian letters followed by the romanisation I use for them in the second row. This romanisation is otherwise used throughout this article.

    IPA Name Name Meaning
Valthungian-aska.png A a [ɑ] aska ‘ash’
Valthungian-aejus.png Ǣ ǣ [e̞ː] ǣjus ‘horse’
Valthungian-breka.png B b [b] breka ‘birch’
Valthungian-giva.png G g [ɡ] giva ‘gift’
Valthungian-djus.png Ǧ ǧ [ʤ] ǧus ‘beast’
Valthungian-dagz.png D d [d] daǧ ‘day’
Valthungian-aedhi.png Ð ð [ð] ǣði ‘mother’
Valthungian-egja.png E e [e̞] eǧa ‘blade’
Valthungian-akuzje.png Ž ž [ʒ] akuže ‘axe’
Valthungian-hagla.png H h [h~x] hagla ‘hail’
Valthungian-thronus.png Þ þ [θ] þronus ‘thorn’
Valthungian-igil.png I i [i] igil ‘hedgehog’
Valthungian-jeer.png J j [j] jēr ‘year’
    IPA Name Name Meaning
Valthungian-kune.png K k [k~kʰ] kune ‘family’
Valthungian-lagus.png L l [l] lagus ‘lake’
Valthungian-matna.png M m [m] matna ‘person’
Valthungian-naoths.png N n [n] nǭþs ‘need’
Valthungian-ore.png O o [o̞] ore ‘riverbank’
Valthungian-predhra.png P p [p~pʰ] preðra ‘chance’
Valthungian-redha.png R r [r] reða ‘earth’
Valthungian-soogila.png S s [s] sōgila ‘sun’
Valthungian-sjuge.png Š š [ʃ] šuge ‘colour ’
Valthungian-tiijus.png T t [t~tʰ] tījus ‘Teu ’
Valthungian-kjus.png Č č [ʧ] čus ‘choice ’
Valthungian-ungula.png U u [u] ungula ‘owl’
Valthungian-ivra.png V v [v] ivra ‘boar’
    IPA Name Name Meaning
Valthungian-faejo.png F f [f] fǣjo ‘cattle’
Valthungian-wynia.png W w [w] wynia ‘joy’
Valthungian-roetja.png Œ œ [ø̞̞] rœča ‘farmer’
Valthungian-ynkja.png Y y [y] ynča ‘ounce’
Valthungian-aosus.png Ǭ ǭ [o̞ː] ǭsus ‘ox’
Non-Alphabetic Variants
Valthungian-aade.png Ā ā [ɑː] āde ‘egg’
Valthungian-eemate.png Ē ē [ɑi̯] ēmate ‘ant’
Valthungian-iis.png Ī ī [iː] īs ‘ice’
Valthungian-oodhla.png Ō ō [ɑu̯] ōðla ‘inheritance’
Valthungian-uurus.png Ū ū [uː] ūrus ‘aurochs’
Valthungian-ooezja.png Œ̄ œ̄ [ø̞ː] œ̄ža ‘fortune’
Valthungian-yyfti.png Ȳ ȳ [yː] ȳfti ‘custom’

Though the seven long vowels of the Non-Alphabetic Variants have individual names, they are not considered part of the standard alphabet or alphabetical order. Instead, each long vowel is considered alphabetically equivalent to its doubled short counterpart. That is, ⟨ā⟩ is equivalent to ⟨aa⟩, ⟨ē⟩ to ⟨ee⟩, ⟨ī⟩ to ⟨ii⟩, and so on. (The long vowels ⟨ǣ⟩ and ⟨ǭ⟩ are included in the standard alphabetical order, and do not have short forms, though they are written with macrons in their romanised forms.)

(NB: The Valthungian alphabet, while mainly latin- and cyrillic-based, contains several characters which are not readily representable using the standard Unicode characters. The forms presented throughout this wiki are a romanisation of the letters shown in the table above.)


The orthography of Valthungian is quite regular to its phonology; indeed, there are very few exceptions:

  1. The letter ⟨n⟩ before ⟨g⟩ or ⟨k⟩ is realised as a velar nasal [ŋ]. Specifically, ⟨ng⟩ is [ŋɡ] and ⟨nk⟩ is [ŋk]. (E.g. drinkna [driŋk.na] ‘to drink’.)
    1. In combinations where ⟨ng⟩ is followed by another nasal consonant, [ɡ] is elided in speech: ⟨ngm⟩ is [ŋm] and ⟨ngn⟩ is [ŋn]. (E.g. gangna [gaŋ.na] ‘to go’; not **[gaŋɡ.na].) In rapid speech this may also occur to the other nasal-stop combinations ⟨mbn⟩, ⟨mbm⟩, ⟨ndm⟩, and ⟨ndn⟩; sometimes the stop may also become glottal.
  2. In the combination ⟨hw⟩ (i.e. ⟨hu⟩ followed by a vowel), ⟨h⟩ is realised as [x].
  3. The combination ⟨rju⟩ is realised as [rɛu̯] (rather than the expected [rju]). (E.g. frjusna [frɛu̯s.na] ‘to freeze’.)
  4. The diphthong ⟨eu⟩ is realised as [ɛu̯] (rather than the expected [e̞u̯]). (E.g. sneugna [snɛu̯g.na] ‘to snow’.)
  5. The diphthong ⟨œu⟩ is realised as [œy̑] (rather than the expected [ø̞u̯]). (E.g. grœunis [ɡrœy̑.nis] ‘green’.)
  6. For some speakers, word-final ⟨þs⟩ may be realised as [t̪s].
  7. For some speakers, medial ⟨tl⟩ (usually derived from earlier /ll/) may be realised as [dɮ].
  8. Inexplicably, the letter wynia, while quite regular in and of itself, has a rather irregular romanisation. It is sometimes romanised quite regularly as ⟨w⟩, though in combination with consonants before a vowel (/dw/, /tw/, /þw/, /hw/, /gw/, /kw/, or /sw/), it is romanised as ⟨u⟩ (i.e. ⟨du⟩, ⟨tu⟩, ⟨þu⟩, ⟨hu⟩, ⟨gu⟩,⟨ku⟩ and ⟨su⟩.)
    1. This process cannot cross morpheme boundaries, so + wītnaiþwītna, not **iþuītna.

Stress is indicated in the standard orthography with an acute accent only if:

  1. The stress is not on the first syllable.
    1. (By default, stress falls on the primary syllable.)
  2. The stressed vowel is short.
    1. (All unstressed long vowels were reduced to short vowels in the Middle Valthungian period.)
  3. The stressed vowel is not ⟨œ⟩ or ⟨y⟩.
    1. (The rounded front vowels can only occur as the result of i-umlaut, which could only arise from a stressed vowel.)

For example, iníla ‘excuse’, akéčim 'even so'; but garǣts ‘correct’ or gavrœčin ‘to handle’.

Orthographic Variants

There are a few regional and stylistic variations in the orthography of Valthungian romanisation.

  • In some areas, rather than indicating non-initial stress by placing an acute diacritic on the stressed vowel, the vowel of the initial unstressed syllable is marked with a grave diacritic. This is not standard anywhere, but is often used in children’s books and language learning tools, as it is a more consistent indicator of stress than the acute, which is not deployed over long vowels or rounded front vowels. It is often used in combination with the acute stress system, and the acute may also be used on otherwise exempt characters. E.g.:
    • ǧukospríngna ‘to leap up’ → ǧùkospringna or ǧùkospríngna
    • gadrynis ‘symphony’ → gàdrynis or gàdrýnis
    • miðlǣði ‘sympathy’ → mìðlǣði or mìðlǣ́ði (sometimes mìðlǽði)
  • ⟨w⟩ may be used in place of word-initial ⟨v⟩ or pre-vocalic ⟨u⟩ to represent /w/ as a more direct transliteration of the letter vynia. There is no logical or efficient reason for this transliteration to be split up the way it is in the standard language: Its existence is purely aesthetic, and many people are not as interested in aesthetics as efficiency.
  • Conversely, there are some who romanise jēr as ⟨i⟩ rather than as ⟨j⟩, likely out of spite towards those who use ⟨w⟩ as above.


Personal Pronouns

The genitive pronouns form the base of the possessive determiners, but the third person non-reflexive genitives are never inflected. The third person singular and plural reflexive pronouns are identical. The non-singular pronouns may also take a reciprocal particle mīsa, roughly equivalent to ‘each other’ or ‘one another.’

  Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc.
1sg ik mīn mis mik I, my, (to) me, me
2sg þū þīn þis þik thou, thy, (to) thee, thee
3sg.masc is is itma in he, his, (to) him, him
3sg.neu it it it, its, (to) it, it
3sg.fem ižas iža ī, iža she, her, (to) her, her
3sg.refl - sīn sis sik himself, herself, itself, &c
1du wit unkra unkis unk we two, our, (to) us, us
2du ǧut inkur inkus inko you/ye two, your, (to) you, you
1pl wīs unstra unsis uns we all, our, (to) us, us
2pl jūs ižur ižus you/ye all, your, (to) you, you
3pl.masc īs iža im ins they, their, (to) them, them
3pl.neu ī, iža ī, iža
3pl.fem ižas ižas
3pl.refl - sīn sis sik themselves

Reflexive and Reciprocal Pronouns

The third person reflexive pronouns are inherited from Indo-European. The other pronouns form their reflexives from a compound with the third person form. The accusative and dative for most forms are merged.

  Gen. Dat. Acc.
1sg misīn mišk myself
2sg þisīn þišk thyself
3sg sīn sis sik himself, herself, itself, &c
1du unkra sīn unkišk ourselves
2du inkur sīn inkusk yourselves
1pl unstra sīn unsišk ourselves
2pl ižur sīn ižusk yourselves
3pl sīn sis sik themselves

The reciprocal is formed with the particle mīsa. It does not inflect.

Indefinite Pronouns

The interrogative and negative pronouns can take the adverbial complement hun, which gives them the sense of ‘any’. Additionally, the interrogative pronouns may double as elective pronouns. For example, huat ‘what’ or ‘something’; huat hun ‘anything’.

Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc.
inter.masc huas huis huatma huan who, whose, to whom, whom
inter.neu huat huat what, &c
inter.fem huō huižas huiža huō who, &c
gen. guma gumins gumin gumna one, one’s, &c
univ.masc huažuþ huižuþ huatmaþ huanaþ everyone, everyone’s, &c
univ.neu huāþ huāþ everything, everything’s, &c
univ.fem huōþ huižaþ huōþ everyone, everyone’s, &c
neg.masc nījus nījus nījutma nījun noöne, noöne’s, &c
neg.neu nījut nījut nothing, nothing’s, &c

Distributive Pronouns

The distributive pronouns are non-singular pronouns formed when the personal pronouns were fused with the distributive particles huaðru ‘each of two’ and huerižu ‘each of many’. In most forms they have now become inseparable from their root components; e.g. compare the dual genitive second person inkur and distributive huaðrižu, but the distributive pronoun inkuáðrižu. While the distributives as determiners, by definition, take a singular verb, the distributive pronouns take the non-singular verb of their respective pronouns, e.g. Aplas huerižu gatiða itnas ‘Each apple was eaten’, but Īshuerižu gatiðun itna ‘Each of them was eaten’.

Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc.
1du withuáðruþ unkuáðrižuþ unkuáðratmaþ unkuáðranuþ each of the two of us
2du ǧuthuaðruþ inkuaðrižuþ inkuaðratmaþ inkuaðranuþ each of the two of you
1pl wīshuerižuþ unshuerižuþ unshueritmaþ unshuerinuþ each of us
2pl jūshuerižuþ ižuhuerižuþ ižushueritmaþ ižushuerinuþ each of you
3pl.masc īshuerižuþ ižahuerižuþ imhueritmaþ inshuerinuþ each of them
3pl.neu ižashuerituþ ižashuerituþ each of them
3pl.fem ižahueriþ ižahueriþ each of them



  Proximal (“this”)   Medial (“that”)   Distal (“yonder”)
  Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc. Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc. Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc.
masc.sg his his hitma hin þis þatma þan jǣns jǣnis jǣnatma jǣnan
neu.sg hit hit þat þat jǣn jǣn
fem.sg hī, hiža hižas hiža hī, hiža þižas þiža þō jǣna jǣnižas jǣna jǣna
masc.pl hīs hiža him hins þǣ þiža þǣm þans jǣna jǣniža jǣnam jǣnans
neu.pl hī, hiža hī, hiža þō þō jǣna jǣna
fem.pl hižas hižas þōs þōs jǣnas jǣnas


Valthungian has two definite articles, he and sa, both of which are equivalent to ‘the,’ but may also be translated as ‘this’ and ‘that’, respectively. Where there is a lack of clear proximity-based dichotomy, sa is usually preferred. These are simply unstressed equivalents of the demonstratives his (proximal) and (medial). The distal demonstrative, jǣns, is never used as an article.

  Proximal (“this”)   Medial (“that”)
  Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc. Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc.
masc.sg he*, his† his him he*, hin† sa*, s·† þis þam þa*, þan†
neu.sg he*, hit† he*, hit† þa*, þat† þa*, þat†
fem.sg hi*, hiž·† hižas hiža*, hiž·† hi*, hiž·† so*, s·† þižas þiža*, þiž·† þo*, þ·†
masc.pl his hiža him hins þe þiža þǣm þans
neu.pl hi*, hiž·† hi*, hiž·† þo*, þ·† þo*, þ·†
fem.pl hižas hižas þos þos

* Form used before a consonant. † Form used before a vowel.

There are complex rules around how and when to use the elided forms of the articles. For simplicity’s sake it is broken down into forms used before vowels or consonants, though this doesn’t always apply to all vowels or all consonants. Expect a more detailed article on liaison someday maybe.

There is no indefinite article in Valthungian.

Other Determiners

The determiners are an important word class in Valthungian because they trigger the choice of whether to use a strong or weak adjective in the noun phrase they introduce. Though most adjectives follow their nouns, determiners always precede them. A non-exhaustive list follows:

  • als ‘all’
  • ǣnagis ‘any, whichever’
  • ‘both’
  • hreužiþ ‘each (of many)’
  • hreužis ‘which (of many)'
  • huaðra ‘which (of the two)'
  • huaðruþ ‘each (of the two)’
  • huǣjus ‘how much, how many’
  • þrǣ ‘all three’
  • līts ‘little’
  • managis ‘much, many’
  • mǣs ‘more’
  • mǣst ‘most’
  • mitnis ‘less’
  • mitnist ‘least’
  • suǣjus ‘so much, so many’
  • sums ‘some’ (general, non-specific)
  • faugis ‘fewer’
  • faugist ‘fewest’
  • filus ‘much, many’
  • fǭs ‘few’

And finally all possessive adjectives can be used as determiners. (See below.)


All possessives can be used as determiners; however, it is more common to for possessive phrases using a definite article (sa or he) followed by the noun followed in turn by the possessive declined as a weak adjective. For example, ‘my house’ may be rendered as mīn hūs or þa hūs mīna.

The third person non-reflexive pronouns do not decline, and they may precede or follow the noun without an article, and any adjective that accompanies the noun phrase is declined as strong.

The possessives are:

  • mīns ‘my’
  • þīns ‘your’
  • sīns ‘his, her, its’
  • is* ‘his, its’
  • ižas* ‘her’
  • iža* ‘their’
  • unstra ‘our’
  • ižur ‘your’
  • inkur ‘your’
  • unkra ‘our’
  • huis* ‘whose’
  • huižas* ‘whose’
  • nījus* ‘no one's’
  • huižuþ* ‘everyone's’

* Does not decline.


Declinable Numerals

Singular (‘one’)

Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc.
masc. ǣns ǣnis ǣnatma ǣnan
neu. ǣn(at) ǣn(at)
fem. ǣna ǣnažas ǣna ǣna

Dual (‘two, both’)

Numeral Distributive
Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc. Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc.
masc. tuǣ tuǣǧa tuǣm tuans bǣǧa bǣm bans
neu. tuā tuā
fem. tuōs tuōs bōs bōs

Trial (‘three, all three’)

Numeral Distributive
Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc. Nom. Gen. Dat. Acc.
masc. þrīs þriža þrim þrins þrǣ þrǣža þrǣm þrans
neu. þrī, þriža þrī, þriža þrā þrā
fem. þrīs þrins þreǧis þreǧis

Undeclinable Numerals

# 1# 2# #0 #00 #000 #000
0 (nǣns) tǣjun (tǣn) tuǣtiǧis -tiǧis tēhund þūsunde -ljǭn
1 (ǣns) ǣnlif tuǣtiǧis ǣns tǣjun ǣn hund ǣna þūsunde miljǭn
2 (tuǣ) tualif tuǣtiǧi tuǣ tuǣtiǧis tuā hunda tuōs þūsunǧis biljǭn
3 (þrīs) þrižatǣn tuǣtiǧi þrīs þrīstiǧis þrī hunda þrīs þūsunǧis þriljǭn
4 fiður (fiðra) fiðratǣn tuǣtiǧi fiður fiðratiǧis fiður hunda fiður þūsunǧis friljǭn
5 fim fimfatǣn tuǣtiǧi fim fimtiǧis fim hunda fim þūsunǧis fimfiljǭn
6 sǣs sǣstatǣn tuǣtiǧi sǣs sǣstiǧis sǣs hunda sǣs þūsunǧis sǣsiljǭn
7 sivun (sivna) sivnatǣn tuǣtiǧi sivun sivnatiǧis sivun hunda sivun þūsunǧis sivniljǭn
8 āta (āt) ātatǣn tuǣtiǧis āta ātatiǧis āta hunda āta þūsunǧis ātatiljǭn
9 njun njunatǣn tuǣtiǧi njun njuntiǧis njun hunda njun þūsunǧis njuniljǭn

The numbers in Valthungian – as in most languages – have gone through more phonological change than other words, and as a result, there are some irregularities. Four numbers have two forms (some of which may be optional). There is also an innovated trial distributive (‘all three’), probably by analogy with the dual ( ‘both’). The number ‘one’, usually alternating with the indefinite article in most languages, is used merely for counting purposes, as an indefinite article is not used in Valthungian.

The number ‘four’ is fiður, where we would normally expect **fidur through regular sound change (specifically, the change of /d/ to /ð/ would normally be blocked by the following /w/ in *fidwōr). There is also a further lenited form of fiðra, which is optional when it stands alone, but standard in compounds. (Gothic also had two versions of ‘four’: fidwōr and a compound form fidur.)

The number ‘seven’ has the expected form of sivun, but also a lenited form of sivna, again, required in compounds but otherwise optional. ‘Eight’ is āta, but may optionally be lenited to āt. (This is a newer innovation, and is not considered to be correct in writing.) Finally ‘ten’ is tǣjun or lenited tǣn, the latter being used exclusively in the “teen” numbers.

For compounding numbers, Griutungi and Gothic separated each of the number’s components with the word jah (‘and’, now ), but Valthungian has dispensed with this and now uses i – possibly a shortened form of – only before the last component. For numbers ending with –tiǧis, a further contraction has become standard, and the new suffix is shortened to –tiǧi, e.g. þrīstiǧi fim ‘thirty-five’. Hund becomes hundi and hunda is also contracted to hund·i, þūsunde to þūsund·i, and þūsunǧis to þūsunǧi. (Note the lack of apostrophic interpunct in -tiǧi, hundi, and þūsunǧi.) No -i- is added before numbers beginning with a vowel, i.e. ǣn- and āta.

Number terms higher than ‘thousand’ are ostensibly borrowed from Latin, though they contain their own Germanic innovations, e.g. þriljǭn ‘trillion’, fiðriljǭn ‘quadrillion’, fimfiljǭn ‘quintillion’, instead of the expected **triljǭn, **kuaðriljǭn, and **kuintiljǭn.

Another note concerning the higher numbers: Valthungian follows the short scale for higher numbers (whereas many European languages currently use the long scale); that is, each new number term is one thousand times larger than the previous term (whereas in the long scale, each new term is one million times larger). This is further confused by the now-standard European “hybrid” model where intermediate terms in the long scale are applied to the “thousands” with the suffix ‘-ard’. The following table is applicable to most modern standards:

N⁰ Numerals Valthungian Short Hybrid Long Metric
10³ 1,000 þūsunde thousand kilo
10⁶ 1,000,000 miljǭn million Mega
10⁹ 1,000,000,000 biljǭn billion milliard thousand million Giga
10¹² 1,000,000,000,000 þriljǭn trillion billion billion Tera
10¹⁵ 1,000,000,000,000,000 fiðriljǭn quadrillion billiard thousand billion Peta
10¹⁸ 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 fimfiljǭn quintillion trillion trillion Exa
10²¹ 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 sǣsiljǭn sextillion trilliard thousand trillion Zetta
10²⁴ 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 sivniljǭn septillion quadrillion quadrillion Yotta
10²⁷ 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ātatiljǭn octillion quadrilliard thousand quadrillion -
10³⁰ 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 njuniljǭn nonillion quintillion quintillion -

Ordinal Numbers and Other Number Forms

Ordinal numbers are usually formed by adding a dental suffix to the end of a number, though there is some suppletion for the first and second ordinals, and the third is irregular (just as is the case in English). In Proto-Germanic and Gothic, all of the ordinals except for first and second took only the weak declension, but all ordinals now take both strong and weak declensions according to standard rules of adjectives.

The multiplicative numbers arise from a conflation of the word þīfs ‘time, occurrence’ with the genitive singular form of the ordinal number, resulting in a robust albeit historically incorrect derivation system. In Griutungi, the concept of multiple occurrences was expressed simply as a number and the accusative of the word þīhs ‘time, occurrence’: ǣn þīhs ‘once’, tua þīhsa ‘twice’, þrija þīhsa ‘three times’, and so on. Gradually these constructions fused together (Old Valthungian: aenþijhs, tvaþijhsa, þrijþijhsa…) and perhaps based on the more common analogue of ‘twice’, around the time of Early Middle Valthungian they were reanalyzed as a genitive ending affixed to an ordinal (Middle Valthungian: ǣnþis, tuaþis, þriþis…) The forms of the first three multiplicatives aren’t even particularly odd, in terms of language evolution, but that apparent ordinal + genitive construction was then applied analogously to the rest of the numbers, so where we might otherwise expect fim þīfs ‘five times’ to have become fimþis, instead we find the ordinal form fimftis.

Fractions are formed from the archaic genitive plural form of numbers followed by dǣlaro, literally ‘of ___ parts’, e.g. ¾ = þrīs fiðra dǣlaro = ‘three of four parts’. (This is equivalent to the modern German construction of affixing -tel to the end of numbers, e.g. drittel, viertel, zehntel, &c., -tel being a direct cognate to dǣl.) The genitive numbers are a holdover from ancient times, and are rarely used outside of the context of fractions; in fact, most fractions are formed by simply adding a suffix of -a to the end of a number, without any consideration that it might have once been a genitive.

  Ordinal Multiplicative Fractional
(Strong) (Weak)  
1 frumist, frums frumista, fruma first ǣniþis once, one time --
2 anðra second tuaþis twice, two times hlafs, tuǣǧa dǣlaro half
3 þrīǧis þrīǧa third þriþis thrice, three times þriža dǣlaro third
4 fiðraþs fiðraða fourth fiðurþis four times fiðra dǣlaro quarter/fourth
5 fimft fimfta fifth fimftis five times fimfa dǣlaro fifth
6 sǣst sǣsta sixth sǣstis six times sǣsa dǣlaro sixth
7 sivunþs sivunþa seventh sivunþis seven times sivna dǣlaro seventh
8 ātuþs ātuða eighth ātuðis eight times āta dǣlaro eighth
9 njunþs njunþa ninth njunþis nine times njuna dǣlaro ninth
10 tǣjunþs tǣjunþa tenth tǣjunþis ten times tǣjun dǣlaro tenth
11 ǣnlift ǣnlifta eleventh ǣnliftis eleven times ǣnliva dǣlaro eleventh
12 tuālift tuālifta twelfth tuāliftis twelve times tuāliva dǣlaro twelfth
13 þrižatǣnþs þrižatǣnþa thirteenth þrižatǣnþis thirteen times þrižatǣjun dǣlaro thirteenth
20 tuǣtiǧist tuǣtiǧista twentieth tuǣtiǧistis twenty times tuǣtiǧa dǣlaro twentieth
100 hundaþs hundaða hundredth hundaðis a hundred times hunda dǣlaro hundredth
1,000 þūsundiþs þūsundiða thousandth þūsundiðis a thousand times þūsunǧa dǣlaro thousandth
1,000,000 miljǭnþs miljǭnþa millionth miljǭnþis a million times miljǭna dǣlaro millionth

Alternative Numbers

The Gothic number system, modeled after the Greek system (in turn modeled after the Hebrew), which used the letters of the alphabet instead of separate unique characters, continued to be used well into the middle ages (Middle Valthungian), and certain taboo numbers came to be called by their character representation rather than their numeric form. Primarily among these numbers was ‘13’, which was written in Gothic as ·ig·. This also occurred with the numbers ‘113’ (rig), ‘213’ (sig), ‘313’ (tig), ‘413’ (wig), and ‘513’ (fig). (This was not mirrored in the higher numbers of the hundreds, because most of those combinations would have been unpronounceable.)

The number ‘19’ is also sometimes called by the same formulation.

Certain slang terms have also developed out of this system, in reverse, as it were. For example, the homophony of hortative particle with the number 19 gives rise to a nominal form þat njunatǣn referring to a duty or obligation. Similarly, a ‘road’ or ‘highway’ is sometimes referred to as a ‘413’ (fiður-þrižatǣn), written wig (the accusative of wiǧ (‘road’).

A much more recent slang term that has evolved from this system is the use of the number ‘843’ to represent the (unpronounceable) letter combination ·omg·.

A Note on Terminology: “Strong” vs. “Weak”

In most Germanic languages, nouns, verbs, and adjectives tend to be broken into categories considered “strong” and “weak.”

In verbs, these denote two of the many categories into which verbs may be broken, “strong” verbs being those that form the preterit by means of ablaut, and “weak” being those that form the preterit with a suffix containing some manner of dental consonant. There are further classifications of preterit-present, aorist-present, subjunctive-present, and anomalous, and many of them overlap with the simplistic “strong” and “weak” descriptors. (See Verbs for more information.)

This usage is completely unrelated to strong and weak nouns and adjectives, in which “weak” means that the words cling to their determiner endings inherited from Proto-Indo-European, which usually have an /n/ inserted between the root and the ending.

And even though the meaning of strong and weak in nouns and adjectives are historically related, their usage is not: In nouns, like the verbs, this is merely a convenient way of categorising certain types of nouns which take certain endings. In adjectives, however, the use of a strong or weak adjective depends on whether other determiners are present in the same noun phrase; most adjectives have both a strong and a weak declension.

For the purposes of this text, I dispense with the traditional strong and weak categories as relates to nouns and simply relate the various stem classes into which nouns can be classified, based on their inherited Proto-Germanic endings (which include the /n/ infix where applicable). Since these endings can be irregular and each class must be learned by rote anyway, there is no need in the context of the Valthungian language to add this additional arbitrary distinction. I maintain the use of the terms for verbs and adjectives, though, to be honest, their usage with verbs could easily be similarly eschewed; the only area where these distinctions are really functionally important is in the discussion of adjectives.


Noun classes differ by suffix vowel and by gender. They may also differ by glides (/j/ or /w/) suffixed to the stem and/or the presence of infixive /n/. The main classes are those stems in /a/ or /ō/, in /i/, in /u/, or in /n/ (as described below: See “Strong” vs. “Weak”). There is also a small class of nouns in /r/ having to do with familial relations. Some former noun classes in Gothic (such as consontant-stem and nd-stem nouns) have been regularised in Valthungian through paradigmatic levelling, and their declensions have been assimilated into other classes.

Every noun in Valthungian (and many of the older Germanic languages, as well as modern German and Icelandic) has eight possible forms. These are the singular and plural forms of the nominative (those nouns which comprise the subject of the sentence), genitive (those used to indicate possession or relation), dative (the indirect object), and accusative (the direct object).

Masculine and feminine nouns usually take an ending of –s or –a for the nominative singular, while neuter nouns take no ending. The genitive is almost universally indicated by –is (this is equivalent to the “’s” of the English possessive). The dative usually takes –a. The accusative usually does not take any ending.

In the plural, Masculine and feminine nouns usually take –as as an ending; neuter takes –a. The genitive plural takes –aro, borrowed from Latin. The dative plural takes –am, but in many cases this ending undergoes a process of metathesis, rendering it –ma. Finally, the accusative plural of masculine and feminine nouns is usually –ans, but again may metathesise to –nas; neuter accusative plurals generally take –a.

Most of the actual declensions of nouns are fairly standard – much more standardised, in fact, than Gothic – however, the various phonological rules governing the language create a great deal of variation (See Phonology). It is important to be familiar with the rules set forth in the Phonology section of this document in order to fully understand some of the otherwise unexpected variants that emerge.

a-Stems (Masculine & Neuter)

This is by far the most common noun class, and technically includes the feminine ō-stems as well, though we describe those here separately. The masculine and neuter forms of all a-stems differ only in the nominative and accusative.


These nouns end in a consonant and are followed by a simple ending with no drama. There are some minor variations, more of which are detailed in Valthungian a-Stem Nouns.

Strong masculine a-stem noun slēps, ‘slēp’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. slēps slēpis slēpa slēp
Pl. slēpas slēparo slēpma slēpnas
Strong neuter a-stem noun plat, ‘plat’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. plat platis plata plat
Pl. plata plataro platma plata


The ja-stem nouns contain a short vowel followed by a single consonant which is followed by –j– which is in turn followed by the a-stem endings. At least that’s how it was two millennia ago, but now the –j– has vanished, the endings disappeared, the vowel (usually) subjected to umlaut, and the stem’s final consonant (usually) subjected to palatalisation. More details at Valthungian a-Stem Nouns.

Strong masculine ja-stem noun tepis, ‘carpet’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. tepis tepis tepia tape
Pl. tepis tepiro tepim tepins
Strong neuter ja-stem noun kafe, ‘coffee’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. kafe kefis kefia kafe
Pl. kefia kefiro kefim kefia


The ija-stems are a variation of the ja-stems, but these follow stems with long vowels or multiple consonants or syllables before the ending. (This is the modern Valthungian reflex of something called Siever’s Law.) The main difference between ja-stems and ija-stems in Modern Valthungian is that there is no palatalisation in the nominative and genitive singular, though there is still umlaut. (This same pattern occurs in the class 1 weak verbs.) More details at Valthungian a-Stem Nouns.

Strong masculine ja-stem noun mīris, ‘observer’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. mīris mīris mīria mīre
Pl. mīris mīriro mīrim mīrins
Strong neuter ija-stem noun futle, ‘full moon’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. futle fytlis fytlia futle
Pl. fytlia fytliro fytlim fytlia


The wa-stems nouns have –w– after the stem instead of –j–, and they tend to be a lot less dramatic than the j-stems because there is no palatalisation or umlaut or Siever’s Law to worry about. They are, however, plagued by another rule called Holtzmann’s Law – or an extension of it, anyway – which causes an unexpected –g– to pop up in a few of the declensions. More details at Valthungian a-Stem Nouns.

Strong masculine wa-stem noun skaðus, ‘shadow’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. skaðus skaðugis skaðuga skaðo
Pl. skaðugas skaðugaro skaðugma skaðugnas
Strong neuter wa-stem noun milo, ‘flour’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. milo milugis miluga milo
Pl. miluga milugaro milugma miluga


The wja-stems combine all of the worst aspects of the w- and j-stems, but fortunately they’re a pretty small group. Read more about them here: Valthungian a-Stem Nouns.

ō-Stems (Feminine)

The ō-stems are really just the feminine version of the a-stems, historically speaking. More details about all of the ō-Stem Family here.


The pure ō-stems have even less drama than the masculine and neuter a-stems. No metathesis, no umlaut, no palatalisation: pretty straightforward, really.

Strong feminine ō-stem noun snuža, ‘daughter-in-law’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. snuža snužis snuža snuža
Pl. snužas snužaro snužam snužas


The jō-stems have umlaut, but it is persistent throughout the paradigm, so there are no extra steps to learn. There are the usual palatal variations as well, but they are also consistent.

Strong feminine jō-stem noun henia, ‘hen’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. henia henis henia henia
Pl. henis heniro henim henis


The ijō-stems are a bit weird, mainly because the nominative singular seems to have collapsed in Proto-Germanic into a single -i (more of Siever’s shenanigans), leaving a modern reflex of a simple -e following an unumlauted, unpalatalised stem. Otherwise, the ijō-stems are indistinguishable from the jō-stems in modern Valthungian.

Strong feminine ijō-stem noun hundre, ‘century’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. hundre hyndris hyndria hyndria
Pl. hyndris hyndriro hyndrim hyndris


The wō-stems are uneventful, differing from the standard ō-stems only in that a /u/ shows up in some of the endings instead of the standard /a/.

Strong feminine ō-stem noun bandua, ‘symbol’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. bandua bandus bandua bandua
Pl. bandus banduro bandum bandus

i-Stems (Masculine & Feminine)


The i-stems are very similar to the a-stems – the singular declension is identical to the masculine a-stems – but the plural resembles the ja-stems, and the nominative plural has umlaut. The i-stems can be masculine or feminine, and their declensions are identical. There are no neuter i-stem nouns.

Most nouns which were part of the “consonant-stems” in Gothic (such as miluks or mēnaþs were assimilated into the i-stem class.

Strong feminine i-stem noun dluþs, ‘dlyð’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. dluþs dluþis dluþa dluþ
Pl. dluðis dluþaro dluþim dluþins
Strong masculine i-stem noun mats, ‘met’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. mats matis mata mat
Pl. matis mataro matim matins

u-Stems (all genders)


The u-stems are similar to the i-stems except – you guessed it! – the stems have /u/ instead of /i/. The masculine and feminine declensions are identical (like the i-stems), but there are also neuter u-stems. A large number of u-stems are made up of borrowed Latin words ending in –us and Greek words ending in -ος (–os). The genitive and dative singular of the u-stems has been assimilated from the wa-stems, and there is both umlaut and palatalisation in the nominative and genitive plural.

Strong masculine u-stem noun þāsus, ‘badger’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. þāsus þāsus þāsua þāso
Pl. þǣšis þǣšigaro þāsum þāsuns
Strong feminine u-stem noun handus, ‘hand’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. handus handus handua hando
Pl. henǧis henǧigaro handum handuns
Strong neuter u-stem noun šalto, ‘peach’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. šalto šaltus šaltua šalto
Pl. šelčua šelčugaro šaltum šaltua


The ju-stems are to the u-stems as the ja-stems are to the a-stems. There is umlaut and palatalisation throughout the paradigm. Once again, the masculine and feminine declensions are identical.

The neuter u-stem only exists in newly-borrowed Latin or Latinate words ending in –ium (e.g. aluminio ‘aluminum’), while earlier borrowings of neuter nouns in –ium tend to be ja- or ija-stems (e.g. ōraloge ‘clock’, from hōrologium)

Strong masculine ju-stem noun drynis, ‘voice’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. drynis drynis drynia drynio
Pl. drynis drynigaro drynim drynis
Strong feminine ju-stem noun wǣǧis, ‘wall’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. wǣǧis wǣǧis wǣǧa wǣǧo
Pl. wǣǧis wǣǧigaro wǣǧim wǣǧis
Strong neuter ju-stem noun krœumio, ‘chrome’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. krœumio krœumis krœumio krœumio
Pl. krœumio krœumigaro krœumim krœumio

r-Stems (all genders)

The r-stems are a very small class of nouns consisting of family members. Here are some samples, but the full list can be found at Valthungian r-Stem Nouns.

Strong masculine r-stem noun faðra, ‘father’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. faðra faðris faðra faðra
Pl. feðris faðro faðrum faðruns
Strong feminine r-stem noun mōðra, ‘mother’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. mōðra mōðris mōðra mōðra
Pl. mœuðris mōðro mōðrum mōðruns
Strong neuter r-stem noun ǧutra, ‘grandchild’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. ǧutra ǧutris ǧutra ǧutra
Pl. ǧutris ǧutro ǧutrum ǧutruns

n-Stems (all genders)

The n-stems, sometimes known as “weak nouns,” decline in the same manner as weak adjectives. Like the a-, ō-, and u-stems, they have various reflexes depending on the presence of glides between the stem and the endings. Weak neuter nouns are very rare, and mostly refer to parts of the body.


Weak masculine ô-stem noun gumna, ‘person’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. guma gumins gumin gumna
Pl. gumnas gumnaro gumma gumnas
Weak feminine ǭ-stem noun drjusa, ‘cliff’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. drjusa drjusans drjusan drjusan
Pl. drjusans drjusnaro drjusam drjusans
Weak neuter ô-stem noun hretna, ‘heart’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. hreta hretins hretin hreta
Pl. hretana hretnaro hretnam hretana


Weak masculine jô-stem noun sinþia, ‘traveller’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. sinþia sinþins sinþin sinþin
Pl. sinþins sinþinaro sinþim sinþins
Weak feminine jǭ-stem noun sinþia, ‘traveller’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. sinþia sinþins sinþin sinþin
Pl. sinþins sinþinaro sinþim sinþins
Weak neuter jô-stem noun lipia, ‘lip’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. lipia lipins lipin lipia
Pl. lipina lipinaro lipim lipina


Weak masculine wô-stem noun ankua, ‘butter’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. ankua ankuns ankun ankun
Pl. ankuns ankunaro ankum ankuns
Weak feminine wǭ-stem noun þīfua, ‘thunder’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. þīfua þīfuns þīfun þīfun
Pl. þīfuns þīfunaro þīfum þīfuns
Weak neuter wô-stem noun tegua, ‘toe’
  Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Sg. tegua teguns tegun tegua
Pl. teguna tegunaro tegum teguna


The īn-stems are exclusively feminine, and are comprised largely of nominalized adjectives. Template:Valthungian/n.wk.f.į̄n

r/n-Stems (“Heteroclitic Nouns”)

The r/n-stems, also known as “heteroclitic nouns” or “heteroclites,” are a small group of weak neuter nouns in which the typical -n- of the ending is replaced by -r- in some declensions. This is and old, old relic likely from Pre-Indo-European. Heteroclites were not present in Gothic. They are all somewhat irregular, but there are just three of them:

Weak Neuter r/n-Stem Noun: ǧikur ‘liver’
n.wk.n.r/n Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Singular ǧikur ǧikuns ǧikun ǧikun
Plural ǧikuna ǧikunaro ǧikum ǧikuna
Weak Neuter r/n-Stem Noun: fōr ‘fire’
n.wk.n.r/n Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Singular fōr funins funin fōn
Plural funa funaro funam funa
Weak Neuter r/n-Stem Noun: watra ‘water’
n.wk.n.r/n Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative
Singular watra watins watin watna
Plural watna watnaro watnam watna


Strong Verbs

Strong Verbs: Class I (ī – ǣ – i – i)


Strong Verbs: Class II (ju – ǭ – u – u)


Because of the shift of the vowel from iu to ju, when a class II verb begins with a consonant that is subject to palatalisation, some unusual patterns may emerge as a result. Template:Valthungian/v.st.2čugun

Those class II verbs which are descended from ProtoGermanic *-euwaną have a slightly different paradigm, as the medial /w/ undergoes Verschärfung in East Germanic to /ngw/, and the result, with the exception of the past singular, is remarkably similar to class III. Template:Valthungian/v.st.2w

Strong Verbs: Class III (i – a – u – u)

Class III strong verbs are those verbs with /i/ (historically /e/) as the root vowel which is followed by a sonorant (r, l, m, n) and an obstruent (p, t, k, b, d, g, f, þ, s, h), or, rarely, two obstruents (e.g. /hs/, /gd/). Ablaut causes the second principle part to shift to /a/, and the third and fourth to /u/.


In verbs where /r/ is the sonorant in question, the paradigm shifts to /e/ in the first principle part and /o/ in the third (due to the East Germanic Reflex of First Umlaut).


Strong Verbs: Class IV (i – a – ē – u)


In verbs where /r/ is the sonorant in question, the paradigm shifts to /e/ in the first principle part and /o/ in the third (due to the East Germanic Reflex of First Umlaut).


Strong Verbs: Class V (i – a – ē – i)


Strong Verbs: Class VI (a – ō – ō – a)


Strong Verbs: Class VII (reduplication)



Weak Verbs

Weak Verbs: Class Ia (-janą)


Weak Verbs: Class Ib (-ijaną)


Weak Verbs: Class II (-ōną)


Weak Verbs: Class III (-āną)


Weak Verbs: Class IV (-naną)

Weak Verbs: Class V (-ną)

Preterit-Present Verbs

Template:Valthungian/v.pp.ǣgna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.dorsna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.dugna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.kutnan Template:Valthungian/v.pp.lisna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.magna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.mōtna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.munan Template:Valthungian/v.pp.nugna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.ōgna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.skulna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.witna Template:Valthungian/v.pp.þorvan

Finally, wilin is not actually a preterit-present verb, but a subjunctive-present verb. However, it seems to fit best here amongst its other quasi-anomalous quasi-auxiliary brethren.


Anomalous Verbs

Dōn is sometimes categorised as a Class VII strong verb, though it does not follow the same reduplication or ablaut patterns of other verbs in this class. Some Germanic philologists also argue that the ancestor of Proto-Germanic dōną actually gave rise to the /d/-reduplication in the past tense of weak and preterit-present verbs.


The present indicative tense of gǣn/gangna has two forms – a short and a long form – as did the non-finite forms (the infinitive and the participles) as well as most of the imperatives. The past tenses show suppletion, and have been replaced by īǧ- from Proto-Germanic *ijj-, the same source as Old English ēode, and ultimately related to the Latin verb ire.


The present indicative tense of stǣn/standna has two forms – a short and a long form – as did the non-finite forms (the infinitive and the participles) as well as most of the imperatives. Though it acts like a Class VI verb in how it ablauts in the past, there is also a parallel form with reduplication, indicating Class VII.


Wisna is easily the most heavily suppleted of the Germanic verbs. Aside from the obvious wis- stem, which is completely missing from the present tenses, the present shows two other stems, i- and . The imperative also has an anomalous ī as an alternative for the second person singular, though it is unrelated to the i- stem of the present, and may actually come from Latin ī, imperative form of ire (‘to go’).


Compound Tenses

Forming the Perfect

In Gothic, there was no explicit perfect or perfective aspect in verbs. In order to express the perfect, sometimes the prefix ga- was added to verbs. Latin had a dedicated perfect inflection in verbs.

In later Germanic and Romance languages, the perfect was formed by combining an auxiliary verb (usually ‘have’ or ‘be’) with a participle. In languages which make the distinction (such as French, German, and Italian), ‘have’ is used with most transitive verbs, while ‘be’ is reserved for intransitive verbs dealing with change of state or motion. Valthungian maintains a similar transitive/intransitive distinction as the aforementioned languages, but the distinction is much broader (purely transitive/intransitive, rather than the various rules, exceptions, and sub-rules that govern “être/sein/essere” verbs), and the difference in the realisation of the two types is much more extreme.

Intransitive verbs are formed in the Romance style by creating a compound of the verb wisna and the past participle.

  • īst lēkare vroðna.
    • ‘She has become a doctor.’
  • Is was hǣma gangna.
    • ‘He had gone home.’

Transitive verbs are formed in the Gothic manner, though the ga- prefix from Gothic has since been grammaticalised and stands on its own as an adverb which is usually placed clause-finally.

  • S·ītmit gaf gā.
    • ‘She had given it to him.’
  • Ik þik sǣjua gā.
    • ‘I have seen you.’

Forming the Future

The future is formed by using the auxiliary genǧin ‘to go’ followed by an infinitive (not unlike future compound constructions with go in multiple European languages).

  • Ik genǧa þo hroþ lūkna.
    • ‘I will lock the door.’
  • Ik ni gangiða nījo ligna þo livran af hǣða hun.
    • ‘I was never going to read that book anyway.’

Forming the Passive

Gothic transitive verbs had a passive form, but this has disappeared from Valthungian. Instead, the passive may be formed using a variety of auxiliary verbs determined by the volition of the agent and the subject (patient). By their very nature, passives need not specify an agent, but an agent can be indicated using the genitive (as we would use ‘by’ in English).

Unintentional / Inanimate
gečin ‘to cause to get’
lenǧin ‘to cause to succeed’
gitna ‘to get’
þiǧin ‘to receive’
Unintentional / Inanimate
þiǧin ‘to receive’
lenǧin ‘to cause to succeed’
skīčin ‘to cause to happen’
skeǧin ‘to cause to happen’
verðan ‘to become’

Agent/Patient Deliberate: This tends to refer to things that happen as a result of mutual agreement

  • Ik gatiða forða vork fraglíðiþ.
    • ‘I was paid for the work.’
  • Þǣ ankýmbiðas langiðun þis broðaþjugis ganōguþ.
    • ‘The diners were served by the waiter.’

Agent Deliberate / Patient Unintentional: These auxiliaries are used mainly when the agent is a person and the patient is either an object or a person who is unaware of the agent’s intention or an unwilling participant in the action.

  • Ik gat þis weris slagun.
    • ‘I was hit by the man.’
  • S·wagnas þagiða þiža mœuǧis fariþ.
    • ‘The car was driven by the girl.’

Agent Unintentional / Patient Deliberate: This usually refers to agents (usually inanimate) that are being used by a patient for a specific purpose.

  • Ik þagiða þižas fœ̄ðinis nutriškiþ.
    • ‘I was nourished by the food.’
  • Þū langiðas (þiž·intǣkninis) toðiža miðéndina tugun.
    • ‘You were led to that conclusion (by the evidence).’

Agent/Patient Unintentional or Inanimate: This final group is possibly the most common, and refers to inanimate agent and patient, or when the agent or patient is an unwilling participant in the action. It may refer especially to natural phenomena, e.g. ‘blown down by wind’ or ‘rained on’.

  • Ik skīkiða þis þljuðis angǣsiþ.
    • ‘I was startled by the noise.’
  • Þe lǭvas skagiðun þižas rynins avbrón.
    • ‘The leaves were carried away by the stream.’

Immediacy: Forming the Recent Past and Immediate Future

The adverb straks can be used in conjunction with most tenses as an “immediacy particle.” In the past tenses, this translates roughly to the word ‘just’, as in “I just did that.” In the future, it is most closely translated as ‘about to’.

  • Ik straks āt gā.
    • ‘I had just eaten.’
  • Is straks gangiþ hǣma.
    • ‘He is about to go home.’

NB: Straks is definitely a Germanic word, but cannot be descended from East Germanic. (If it were, we might expect strakis or perhaps straka.) It is likely a more recent borrowing into Middle Valthungian from a West or North Germanic source. Cf. Dutch, Norwegian, and Danish straks, Swedish and Icelandic strax, German stracks, &c.

Forming the Progressive

The progressive tenses are not used often in Valthungian, but they can be a useful way to indicate that something is left unfinished, since the Perfect – originally a perfective indicating completed action – has taken on more of a perfect meaning, including that of a more generalised past tense.

The progressive is formed using the auxiliary verb sitna ‘to sit’ and the preposition ‘by’, followed by the infinitive. (In very formal language, you may encounter sitna bi followed by the dative of the nominalized form of the verb, e.g. ‘I am drawing’ may be rendered as Ik sita bi vrǣtina rather than the expected Ik sita bi vrǣčin.

  • Ū sitistu njužis bi drinkna gā?
    • ‘Have you been drinking again?’
  • Ik sita bi skrīvna þo bisāt mīna. Ranive sitik bi drinkna gā.
    • I’m writing my dissertation. Of course I’ve been drinking.’


In Valthungian, adjectives can be strong or weak (as with adjectives in any Germanic language that declines). The general rule is: If a nouns takes a determiner (article, possessive[3], quantifier, &c), its accompanying adjective is weak; otherwise it is strong.

Predicative adjectives do not decline; they take the form of the strong neuter singular regardless of what they modify.

  • Predicative
  • Strong
  • Weak

For example:

  • S·wer duala ist dual. ‘The stupid man is stupid.’
  • So kuina duala ist dual. ‘The stupid woman is stupid.’
  • Þa kliþ duala ist dual. ‘The stupid child is stupid.’
  • Þ·avnas dualnas sinþ dual. ‘The stupid husbands are stupid.’
  • Þos kwēnis dualans sinþ dual. ‘The stupid wives are stupid.’
  • Þo brana dualan sinþ dual. ‘The stupid children are stupid.’

But strong declension for 3rd person possessives[4], since they don’t decline!

  • Ižas brōðra duals ist dual. ‘Her stupid brother is stupid.’
  • Is dǭtra duala ist dual. ‘His stupid daughter is stupid.’
  • Iža bran dualat ist dual. ‘Their stupid child is stupid.’
  • Iža synis duala sinþ dual. ‘Their stupid sons are stupid.’
  • Is swistris dualas sinþ dual. ‘His stupid sisters are stupid.’
  • Ižas kliða duala sinþ dual. ‘Her stupid children are stupid.’


Valthungian Vocabulary

  1. /n/ → [ŋ] / ___{ɡ ,k}
  2. /r/ → [ɾ] / [+dnt]___
  3. Only when a possessive is used without an article; otherwise the possessive itself is also declined as weak.
  4. With the exception of sīns, which declines normally like mīns and þīns and takes a weak adjective.