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Grammar of Nynorn

In the process of compiling the grammar of Nynorn we have followed two main guidelines, as declared elsewhere: (1) the existing Norn material is to be used to the greatest extent, (2) remaining gaps are filled up from Old Norse or other Nordic languages, where all borrowings are rehashed according to the phonetic rules of Shetland/Orkney Norn.

We base the reconstruction on Shetland Norn from the period of The Ballad of Hildina/the Lord's Prayer, i.e. when the grammar still preserved the inflectional system. Latter forms of Norn have not been considered reliable to be used as a model pattern: they seem to be much worn out and probably uttered by people who were more accustomed to use Scots than Norn (if they spoke the latter at all).

Working out the endings of Nynorn we have taken most of them from the grammar of Shetland Norn. Those endings that differ or are not present in Norn are explained explicitly. Reconstructing the endings missing from Norn, we normally use their Old Norse archetypes, given a 'Norn touch' when needed. This is not a big step away from the truth, because the existing Norn endings are quite reminiscent of their Old Norse archetypes (our readers are encouraged to check the grammar of Old Norse for more detailed information on grammatical topics that has to do with Nynorn).

Having tried various combinations of endings for our reconstruction we have decided to drop some of them for the sake of integrity. For instance, this applies to those endings whose status within the inflectional system of Norn is not clear or which are considered as a result of corruption, f.ex., -a, which is often used as the definite article in masculine (ON -inn, see Grammar of Shetland Norn, A.2.1.1.a), a plural ending (Orkney Norn) or a common ending for most forms (like in the "Gryle" verse from Foula). The inclusion of such endings did not worked well in earlier test versions of Nynorn grammar, making the whole picture look a bit chaotic, so we have decided to make our reconstruction more conservative and 'Old Norse-oriented'. Whether it is right or wrong, is subject to discussion, but meanwhile our experiment continues its run (feel free to share your ideas on this matter and they will be reserved for the Great Revision).

Of course, when dealing with the real Norn such a loose treatment of the material would be inappropriate, but we have full rein for it in our experimental project, so there will always be some space for reasonable imagination, where it is backed up with logical conclusions and typological evidences. Remember Hebrew - you might probably not be aware that we do not know for sure what the vowels of many Old Hebrew words were, because in the writing they were not marked (f.ex., the name of God in the Old Testament can be read either as Yahweh or Yehowah). The vocalisation of the contemporary Hebrew (the revived one) originates from different medieval traditions of reading Old Hebrew textes and uses their combination (read more on the revival of Hebrew here). This is a living example of a theoretical reconstruction that has been brought to life and continues existing as a real linguistic phenomenon.

Before we proceed to the actual paradigms let us make some general points, which concern a number of orthography issues.

1. ON ir/ur endings. In Norn they have mixed into -er (ON -ar often did too), so we use the same approach in Nynorn. This system has a close parallel, as in many Faroese dialects the old endings -ir and -ur are also indistinguishable (where either -ir or -ur is chosen; this topic is covered in detail by Björn Hagstrom in his "Ändelsevokalerna i färöskan").

2. ON
i/e and u/o endings. In Old Norse i/e and u/o were phonetic variations of the same vowels (phonemes) in unstressed position. In this case the following policy has been chosen: i,u is used before the final ð and in the final position (except -rne in definite noun declension and comparative degree of adjectives and adverbs -(e)re), e,o in front of a consonant: hesti < hesti, lambið < lambit (Icel. and Far. lambið), but hestenon < hestinum; hvitu < hvítu, but hviton < hvítum. Marius Haegstad postulates the reverse distribution for the language of Hildina, however, the system we have chosen seems to be closer to Jakobsen's data presented in his dictionary.

3. The ON dative ending -um is spelled as -on. Shetland Norn has mostly -en or -an, and the only instance where we have -on is honon < ON honum '(to) him'. It has been decided to use the ending -on instead of -en/-an both for phonological reasons and in order to avoid its mixing together with accusative singular masculine ending of adjectives -an and the article -en: hviton vs. hvitan < ON hvítum/hvítan, heston vs. hesten < ON hestum/hestinn.

Short view

A. Substantives
  A.1. Indefinite declension
    A.1.1. Masculine
      A.1.1.1. Strong 1 (ON a-type)
      A.1.1.2. Strong 2 (ON i/u-type)
      A.1.1.3. Weak (ON an-type)
    A.1.2. Feminine
      A.1.2.1. Strong 1 (ON ō-type)
      A.1.2.2. Strong 2 (ON i-type)
      A.1.2.3. Weak (ON ōn-type)
    A.1.3. Neuter
      A.1.3.1. Strong (ON a-type)
      A.1.3.2. Weak (ON an-type)
  A.2. Definite declension
    A.2.1. Masculine
      A.2.1.1. Strong
      A.2.1.2. Weak
    A.2.2. Feminine
      A.2.2.1. Strong (consonantal)
      A.2.2.2. Strong (vocalic)
      A.2.2.3. Weak
    A.2.3. Neuter
      A.2.3.1. Strong
      A.2.3.2. Weak
B. Adjectives
  B.1. Strong declension
    B.1.1. Sonorant and polysyllabic declension
  B.2. Weak declension
  B.3. Comparative and superlative degree
    B.3.1. Comparative degree
    B.3.2. Superlative degree
C. Pronouns
  C.1. Personal pronouns
  C.2. Possessive pronouns
  C.3. Reflexive pronouns
  C.4. Interrogative pronouns
  C.5. Indefinite and other pronouns
D. Numerals
  D.1. Cardinal numerals
  D.2. Ordinal numerals
E. Verbs
  E.1. Strong verbs
    E.1.1. Present
    E.1.2. Past
    E.1.3. Participles
  E.2. Weak verbs
    E.2.1. Present
      E.2.1.1. Type 1 (ON ja/ia/ē-type)
      E.2.1.2. Type 2 (ON ō-type)
    E.2.2. Past
    E.2.3. Participles
  E.3. Preterite-present verbs
  E.4. Reflexive mode
F. Syntax


A.1. Indefinite declension

A.1.1. Masculine

A.1.1.1. Strong 1 (ON a-type) -s, -ar.
The most widespread type in masculine.

hest 'horse'

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. hest hestar
Acc. hest hesta
Dat. hesti heston
Gen. hests hesta

A.1.1.2. Strong 2 (ON i-/u-type) -s, -ar, -er.

The genitive singular ending can vary between -s and -ar. Several words (f.ex. benk 'bench' admit either ending.

rygg 'back', gest 'guest'

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. rygg, gest rygger, gester
Acc. rygg, gest ryggi, gesti
Dat. ryggi, gesti ryggon, geston
Gen. ryggar, gests rygga, gesta

A.1.1.3. Weak  (ON an-type) -a, -ar.

skuggi 'shade'

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. skuggi skuggar
Acc. skugga skugga
Dat. skugga skuggon
Gen. skugga skugga

A.1.2. Feminine

A.1.2.1. Strong 1 (ON ō-type) -ar, -ar.

mør 'bog, swamp'

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. mør mørar
Acc. mør mørar
Dat. mør møron
Gen. mørar møra

A.1.2.2. Strong 2 (ON i-type) -ar, -er.

ferd 'journey'

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. ferd ferder
Acc. ferd ferder
Dat. ferd ferdon
Gen. ferdar ferda

A.1.2.3. Weak  (ON ōn-type)

voga 'week'

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. voga voger
Acc. vogu voger
Dat. vogu vogon
Gen. vogu vogna

A.1.3. Neuter

A.1.3.1. Strong (ON a-type)

lamb 'lamb'

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. lamb lamb
Acc. lamb lamb
Dat. lambi lambon
Gen. lambs lamba

A.1.3.2. Weak (ON an-type)

joga 'eye'

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. joga joger
Acc. joga joger
Dat. joga jogon
Gen. joga jogna

A.2. Definite declension

We faced a number of problems with certain definite forms, first of all the genitive singular of feminine (strong) and the dative plural (of any gender, not found in the existing Norn material).

a. The problem of the ending for dative plural is closely related to that of dative singular of masculine (ON -unum and -inum/-anum respectively). The language of Hildina has one form for bardagana < ON bardaganum (weak masculine declension). Such a form would look the same as accusative/genitive plural in Nynorn, so it is not what we need. However, there can be a solution, which we can look up in the pronominal forms hana/honon 'him' < ON honum. These forms show us that the endings -ana and -onon were interchangeable (where -ana most likely represented the unstressed form). This is why we have decided to construct the ending -anon. For the strong declension -enon is chosen and in the case of plural we go for -onon. The last point can be argued and we reserve the right to admit -enon instead of -onon for this form, which saves us from creating one more artificial ending. Such a system exists in a number of Faroese dialects which do not differ between -inum (sg.) and -unum (pl.), see Hagström, "Ändelsevokalerna i färöskan", p. 160. However, bearing in mind that Old Norse and most other Scandinavian dialects with a surviving dative case strictly distinguish between dative singular and plural in the definite declension, a separate ending for dative plural like -onon looks to be more preferable.

b. Genitive singular feminine (strong). Shetland Norn seems to have the indefinite ending -a/ar and definite -na. To construct the Nynorn form we have tried several options, most of them either coincided with other endings or were too far from the real Norn. In the end the following compromise was found: indef. -ar < ON -ar, def. -anar < ON -arinnar, f.ex. Nynorn årnar - Norn orna < ON árinnar. The final -r in -anar is brought in because, as we have found out in the Hildina chapter, this sound is often omitted in Norn in the final position, especially when the next word begins at a consonant. This makes it reasonable to restore the original -r when we specially need it.

It is also worth mentioning that our reconstruction of the ending fits perfectly into the whole feminine definite paradigm. As mentioned below (A.2.2), like in Norn, there is no distinction made between the strong and weak definite endings in Nynorn. This goes well with most endings except genitive of singular, where the strong and weak endings considerably differed in Old Norse. But in our reconstruction the strong genitive singular ending becomes almost the same as in the weak declension (except the first vowel), so the problem is happily solved:

grinden, stoljken < ON grindin, stúlkan
grindena, stoljkena < ON grindina, stúlkuna
grindanar, stoljkenar < ON grindarinnar, stúlkunnar

A.2.1. Masculine

A.2.1.1. Strong

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. hesten, ryggen hestarne, ryggerne
Acc. hesten, ryggen hestana, ryggena
Dat. hestenon, ryggenon hestonon, ryggonon
Gen. hestsens, ryggarens hestana, ryggana

A.2.1.2. Weak

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. skuggen skuggarne
Acc. skuggan skuggana
Dat. skugganon skuggonon
Gen. skuggans skuggana

A.2.2. Feminine

We have decided to distinguish between the vocalic and consonantal declension in the strong feminine declension as is the case in Shetland Norn (see The language of the Ballad of Hildina and Grammar of Shetland Norn, A. The vocalic declension includes nouns ending at vowels and (silent) and preserves the old Old Norse dative singular ending -ni < -inni. The consonantal declension has -en coinciding with nominative:

hallen < ON hǫllinni, but leðni < ON leiðinni, ånni < ON ánni

Another feature borrowed from Norn is that the ending of definite weak female nouns is in accusative, dative and genitive the same as in the case of the strong ones, i.e. its vocal is e instead of the o of the indefinite paradigm: accusative indefinite dimsku, but definite dimskena < *dimskuna, dative definite dimsken < *dimskunni. These are exclusive features of Norn unknown in Old Norse, Icelandic or Faroese.

A.2.2.1. Strong, consonantal (mør, pl. mørar - Strong 1)

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. møren mørarne
Acc. mørena mørarne
Dat. møren møronon
Gen. møranar mørana

A.2.2.2. Strong, vocalic (leð pl. leðer - Strong 2), Dative -ni

leð 'way'

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. leðen leðerne
Acc. leðena leðerne
Dat. leðni leðonon
Gen. leðanar leðana

A.2.2.3. Weak

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. vogan vogerne
Acc. vogena vogerne
Dat. vogen vogonon
Gen. vogenar vogana

A.2.3. Neuter

As shown in Grammar of Shetland Norn, A.2.1.1.c, Norn data show two variants of the neuter nominative/accusative definite article: ON -it and -i, which refers to its later version, cf. Icelandic -ið [ið] and Faroese -ið [i]. We have declined to use the later version too. The rest of the endings is trivial and identical to the masculine declension (except dative singular).

The plural nominative/accusative ending had in Norn two variants: -ene and -en/in (see Grammar of Shetland Norn, A.2.2.1.b). The former coincides with the Old Norse ending and is still present in Icelandic. The latter type is represented in Faroese and Danish. We use the Old Norse variant. Apart from the fact that the number of occurrences of -en/in is noticeably higher, we would also like to point at the Norn word sotskin 'brother(s) and sister(s)', also mentioned in A.2.2.1.b. In several other Nordic languages the latter part of the word coincides with the respective neutral plural ending of the article, cf. Icel. systkin vs. börn-in 'the children', but Far. systkini vs. børn-ini, Dan. søskende [syskǝnǝ] - børn-ene. Using the word sotskin as a marker, we have chosen to use the article -en in neutral plural instead of -ene.

A.2.3.1. Strong

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. lambið lamben
Acc. lambið lamben
Dat. lambenu lambonon
Gen. lambsens lambana

A.2.3.2. Weak

  Sg. Pl.
Nom. jogað jogen
Acc. jogað jogen
Dat. joganu jogonon
Gen. jogans jognana


B. Adjectives

B.1. Strong declension
The strong declension is used with indefinite nouns:
svart hest '(a) black horse', guder båtar 'good boats'.

As in the case of masculine nouns, we have decided to omit the old ending -er ( < ON -r) that is still present in a few Norn adjectives (naber, uvolter). The only place where we had to use a direct borrowing from Old Norse is the genitive plural ending -ra. Norn has only one form in this case and number - gamla, which is not very illustrative about the ending due to assimilation: gamla < ON gamalla < *gamalra. The same decision to use the archaic ending -ra is often taken by Faroese grammatists (see Lockwood "Introduction into Modern Faroese", p. 46, ; Føroysk orðabók (1998), p. 1438, cf. also Meginfelag føroyskra studenta 'Association of Faroese students'), despite the fact that the ending has disappeared from Faroese for good as well as the genitive case itself except in several types of set expressions.
The feminine dative singular ending -
ari is the same as in Faroese (cf. ON -ri) and is inspired by the forms arar and whìtrane, see our analysis of the Ballad of Hildina.

gul 'yellow', gud 'good'

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. gul, gud gul, gud gult, goitt
Acc. gulan, gudan gula, guda gult, goitt
Dat. gulon, gudon gulari, gudari gulu, gudu
Gen. guls, guds gular, gudar guls, guds

Pl. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. guler, guder gular, gudar gul, gud
Acc. gula, guda gular, gudar gul, gud
Dat. gulon, gudon gulon, gudon gulon, gudon
Gen. gulra, gudra gulra, gudra gulra, gudra

B.1.1. Sonorant and polisyllabic stems that end in l,n decline in the following way (grøn 'green', gamel 'old'):

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. grøn, gamel grøn, gamel grønt, gamelt
Acc. grønan, gamblan grøna, gambla grønt, gamelt
Dat. grønon, gamblon grønari, gamblari grønu, gamblu
Gen. grøns, gamels grønar, gamblar grøns, gamels

Pl. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. grøner, gambler grønar, gamblar grøn, gamel
Acc. grøna, gambla grønar, gamblar grøn, gamel
Dat. grønon, gamblon grønon, gamblon grønon, gamblon
Gen. grønna, gamela grønna, gamela grønna, gamela

The main distinction is the form of genitive plural, where r is assimiliated by l or n of the stem. Polysyllabic stems lose the vowel of the second syllable if the ending begins at a vowel (this type is widespread among strong past participles, see E.1.3.).
Notice that when
m and l meet in several forms of gamel, b is inserted inbetween.

B.2. Weak declension

The weak declension is used with definite nouns and possessive attributes consisting of possessive pronouns or genitive nouns:

svarti hesten 'the black horse', gudu båtarne 'the good boats'
min svarti hest 'my black horse', svarti hest drengsens '(the) black horse of the boy'

The only change from the Old Norse paradigm is the ending -a instead -u in accusative, dative and genitive of feminine singular, which fully corresponds to many existing instances from Norn (see Grammar of Shetland Norn, B.2.3.). The plural ending remains -u as in Old Norse, cf. the form dimmodali (ibidem).
The main weakness of this system is that it does not distinguish between the weak and strong forms of accusative singular feminine.

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. guli, gudi gula, guda gula, guda
Acc. gula, guda gula, guda gula, guda
Dat. gula, guda gula, guda gula, guda
Gen. gula, guda gula, guda gula, guda

Plural of all cases and genders has the same form: gulu, gudu

B.3. Degrees of comparison

B.3.1. Comparative:
gulari (from gul), beter (from gud)
Indeclined (like in Faroese).

B.3.2. Superlative: gulast (from gul), best (from gud)
Admits both strong and weak declension. However, due to the nature of the superlative meaning, which assumes the singleness, and hence definiteness, the weak superlative forms are used more often than not.

C. Pronouns

C.1. Personal pronouns.

Reconstructed forms are marked with blue.

Sg. 1 2 3. masc. 3. fem. 3. neut.
Nom. eg du hann hun dað
Acc. mog dog hann hana dað
Dat. mjer djer honon henni di
Gen. min din hans hennar dess


Pl. 1 2 3. masc. 3. fem. 3. neut.
Nom. vi di der der de
Acc. vus dor der de
Dat. vus dor dem dem dem
Gen. vora dora derra derra derra

C.2. Possessive pronouns

min 'my'
din 'your (sg.)'
hans 'his'
hennar 'her'
dess 'its'
vor 'our'
dor 'your (pl.)'
derra 'their'

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. min, vor min, vor mitt, vort
Acc. min, voran mina, vora mitt, vort
Dat. minon, voron minari, vorari minu, voru
Gen. mins, vors minnar, vorrar mins, vors


Pl. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. miner, vorer minar, vorar min, vor
Acc. mina, vora minar, vorar min, vor
Dat. minon, voron minon, voron minon, voron
Gen. minna, vorra minna, vorra minna, vorra

din and dor conjugates like min and vor respectively. The other possessive pronouns are in fact genitive forms of corresponding personal pronouns and hence do not change.

C.3. Reflexive pronouns

Nom. -
Acc. sog
Dat. sjer
Gen. sin

The possessive reflexive pronoun sin conjugates like min, see C.2.

C.4. Interrogative pronouns (to be updated)

hvar? - who? (masc.)
hvat, hvatna? - what? (neut. of hvar)
hvarna? - where?
ner? - when?

C.5. Indefinite and other pronouns (to be updated)

sikk - 'such'
ingen - 'none', neu. ikke
hvar - 'every' (same word as hvar?, see C.4.)
annar - 'other'
annarhvar - 'either' (annanhvarn, adrahvara, annaðhvat, adruhvaru etc.)

Sikk declines like a usual adjective (see B.1.). The other pronouns in this group decline as follows:

a) ingen:

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. ingen ingen ikke
Acc. ingan inga ikke
Dat. ingon ingari ingu
Gen. inges ingar inges


Pl. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. inger ingar ingen
Acc. inga ingar ingen
Dat. ingon ingon ingon
Gen. ingra ingra ingra

 b) annar:

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. annar annar annað
Acc. annan adra annað
Dat. adron annari, adrari adru
Gen. annars annar annas


Pl. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. adrer adrar annar
Acc. adra adrar annar
Dat. adron adron adron
Gen. annara annara annara

c) hvar:

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. hvar hvar hvat
Acc. hvarn hvara hvat
Dat. hvaron hvarari hvaru
Gen. hvars hvarrar hvars


Pl. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. hvarer hvarar hvar
Acc. hvara hvarar hvar
Dat. hvaron hvaron hvaron
Gen. hvarra hvarra hvarra

D. Numerals

D.1. Cardinal numerals
1 en
2 tver
3 trir
4 fyre
5 fimm
6 seks
7 sjø
8 åtta
9 nie
10 tie
11 ellive
12 tolv
13 tretten
14 fjurten
15 fimmten
16 seksten
17 sjøtjen
18 åtjen
19 nitjen
20 tuttu (Ork.)

Like in Faroese, only the first 3 numerals decline. en '1' has singular and plural, while tver and trir are plural only.

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. en en ett
Acc. en(an) ena ett
Dat. enon enari enu
Gen. ens ennar ens


Pl. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. ener enar en
Acc. ena enar en
Dat. enon enon enon
Gen. enna enna enna


  Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. tver tver tvø
Acc. två tver tvø
Dat. tvemon tvemon tvemon
Gen. tvegga tvegga tvegga


  Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. trir trår tru
Acc. trå trår tru
Dat. trimon trimon trimon
Gen. trigga trigga trigga

D.2. Ordinal numerals

1. fyrsti 'first'
2. annar 'second' etc
3. tridi
4. fjurdi
5. femti
6. setti
7. sjøendi
8. åittendi
9. niendi

10. tiendi
11. ellivti
12. tolvti

13. trettendi etc.

All of the above numerals decline as weak adjectives except annar, which is covered in Pronouns, see C.5.

E. Verbs

The verb declensions of Nynorn repeat in most respects those of Old Norse and Faroese. Like in the latter, no distinctions between persons is done in plural (cf. Norn vi forgiva < vit forgefa, di gava < þit gefa); optative (the old subjunctive) has only one indeclined present form. The only place where Nynorn differs from Faroese and follows Old Norse is the 1. person of singular in the strong present declension (cf. Hildina winn < ON ek vinn) - it has zero ending and i-umlaut (cf. ON ek tek, Nynorn eg tek vs. Far. eg taki).

E.1. Strong verbs

E.1.1. Present

Strong verbs have i-umlaut in the singular except those where the root vowel is -e- or -i-.

at driva 'to drive', at taka 'to take'

Pres. Sg. Pl.
1. eg driv vi driva
2. du driver di driva
3. hann driver der driva

Imperative: sg. driv(du), pl. drivið
tive: drivi

Pres. Sg. Pl.
1. eg tek vi taka
2. du teker di taka
3. hann teker der taka

Imperative: sg. tak(tu), pl. takið

E.1.2. Past

Pres. Sg. Pl.
1. eg drev vi drivu
2. du drev di drivu
3. hann drev der drivu


Pres. Sg. Pl.
1. eg tuk vi tuku
2. du tuk di tuku
3. hann tuk der tuku

E.1.3. Participles

Present (active): drivandi, takandi
Past (passive): driven (neu. drivið), teken (neu. tekið)
The neuter form of past participle is used in perfect (this participle form is called 'supine'):
eg hevi drivið/tekið

Present participles do not change. Past participles decline like normal adjectives (gamel-type):

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. driven, teken driven, teken drivið, tekið
Acc. driven, teken drivna, tekna drivið, tekið
Dat. drivnon, teknon drivnari, teknari drivnu, teknu
Gen. drivens, tekens drivnar, teknar drivens, tekens


Pl. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. drivner, tekner drivnar, teknar driven, teken
Acc. drivna, tekna drivnar, teknar driven, teken
Dat. drivnon, teknon drivnon, teknon drivnon, teknon
Gen. drivena, tekena drivena, tekena drivena, tekena

E.2. Weak verbs

E.2.1. Present

E.2.1.1. Type 1 (ON ja/ia/ē-type)

at gera 'to do, make'

Pres. Sg. Pl.
1. eg geri vi gera
2. du gerer di gera
3. hann gerer der gera

Imperative: sg. ger(du), pl. gerið
Optative: geri

E.2.1.2. Type 2 (ON ō-type)

at kalla 'to call'

Pres. Sg. Pl.
1. eg kalla vi kalla
2. du kallar di kalla
3. hann kallar der kalla

Imperative: sg. kalla(du), pl. kallið
Optative: kalli

E.2.2. Past

In type 1 the stem of the past tense is formed through adding -d or -t to the root: gera > gerd-. Like in Faroese, the tense has only 2 endings: singular -i and plural -u., cf. Norn sagde < ON sagði, soketu < sóttu, sóktu. (The plural ending -e, as in rude < *róðu, vogede < vǫktu, is considered in this connection as corrupted or representing a later version of Norn than the one we base our reconstruction upon.)

The past tense of type 2 (
kalla) caused us a bit of a problem. The only example of its past is a form from the Ballad of Hildina: kast-ans < kastaði hans (no past plural is registered). his would suggest creating the same past in Nynorn: kalla. But then there would have been no distinction between past and 1. sg/1.-3. pl. of present which is kalla as well. As a solution, we have decided to use the following artificial endings to distinguish between singular and plural: -aði and -aðu respectively (like in Faroese). The phonetic value of these endings, namely, the spelling of ð, will be clarified later during the Great Revision.

Past Sg. Pl.
1. eg gerdi vi gerdu
2. du gerdi di gerdu
3. hann gerdi der gerdu


Past Sg. Pl.
1. eg kallaði vi kallaðu
2. du kallaði di kallaðu
3. hann kallaði der kallaðu

E.2.3. Participles

Present (active): gerandi, kallandi
Past (passive): gerd (neu. gert), kallað (neu. kallað)
The neuter form of past participle is used in perfect (this participle form is called 'supine'):
eg hevi gert/kallað.

In the case of kallað we had to choose between the ending -t (archaic) and (latter) of the neuter form. Norn preserves both types: vandet < vandaðr/vandat, sópet < sópaðr/sópat, hoitted < háttaðr/háttat, but uppidoga < uppidagaðr/uppidagað. It is quite possible though, that the -et/-ed in these participles has stayed due to the influence from numerous adjectives ending in -et < -óttr, so we have decided to go for the 'silent' forms and use -ð- (as is the case in modern Faroese and Icelandic).

The present participles do not change. The past participles decline like usual adjectives:

Sg. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. gerd, kallað gerd, kallað gert, kallað
Acc. gerdan, kallaðan gerda, kallaða gert, kallað
Dat. gerdon, kallaðon gerdari, kallaðari gerdu, kallaðu
Gen. gerds, kallaðs gerdar, kallaðar gerds, kallaðs


Pl. Masc. Fem. Neu.
Nom. gerder, kallaðer gerdar, kallaðar gerd, kallað
Acc. gerda, kallaða gerdar, kallaðar gerd, kallað
Dat. gerdon, kallaðon gerdon, kallaðon gerdon, kallaðon
Gen. gerdra, kallaðra gerdra, kallaðra gerdra, kallaðra


E.3. Preterite-present verbs

This group consists of the following verbs: munu 'will/shall (fut.)', skulu 'shall, must', kunnu 'can', vilja 'to wish, will', må 'may'. These are mostly used as modal or auxiliary verbs.

Pres. Sg. Pl.
1. eg myn, skal vi mynu, skulu
2. du myn(t), skal(t) di mynu, skulu
3. hann myn, skal der mynu, skulu


Past Sg. Pl.
1. eg myndi, skuldi vi myndu, skuldu
2. du myndi, skuldi di myndu, skuldu
3. hann myndi, skuldi der myndu, skuldu

The other verbs in this group conjugate in a similar way:

eg kann, vi kunnu
eg kundi, vi kundu

eg vil, vi vilja
eg vildi, vi vildu

eg må, vi må
eg måitti, vi måittu

(The reflex of ON eiga 'to own' is to be presented later).

E.4. Reflexive mode

The mode has a reflexive, reciprocal or passive meaning. It has only one ending: -st, which is added to the end of the respective form. Herewith the following phonetic changes occur:
- the final
r,t,d,ð are omitted: hann gerer > hann gerest, gert > gerst; kallað > kallaðst;
- the strong present ending -er (ON -r) is omitted altogether: du teker > du tekst

a) at taka:
present: eg/du/hann tekst, vi/di/der takast
past: eg/du/hann tukst, vi/di/der tukust
optative: takest
past participle: tekest

b) at gera:
eg/du/hann gerest, vi/di/der gerast
past: eg/du/hann gerdest, vi/di/der gerdust
optative: gerest
past participle: gerst

c) at kalla:
eg/du/hann kallast, vi/di/der kallast
past: eg/du/hann kallaðist, vi/di/der kallaðust
optative: kallest
past participle: kallast



The syntax is similar to that of Old Norse. The word order is rather free besides one strict rule, which requires the conjugated verb to be the second member of the sentence (the first member can normally be a subject, object or adverbial modifier):

Drengen sjer stolkena. 'The boy sees the girl.'
Nu sjer drengen stolkena. 'Now the boy sees the girl.'

Notice that a member of a sentence can consist of more than one grammatical word:

Vi furu til Lervikar i vår. 'We went to Lerwick (in) this spring'
[I vår] furu vit til Lervikar. '[(In) This spring] we went to Lerwick' (modifier - [i vår])

Eg hvita hesten. 'I saw the white horse.'
[Hvita hesten] eg ikke. '[The white horse] I did not see.' (object - [hvita hesten])

Genitive attributes are preferably used in postposition. In this case Nynorn joins Icelandic and German, the only Germanic languages which preserve the old four-case system and at the same time where the genitive attribute is used in post-position. Nouns with a genitive attribute or possessive pronoun do not use the definite article.

hund drengsens 'the dog of the boy'
hest stoljkenar 'the horse of the girl'



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