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Lesson Two

1. Orthography

In Shetland Mainland Nynorn, the double consonants ll and nn are regularly pronounced palatalized: [lj,nj]. The same change occurs in ld,lt,nt,nd: [ljd,ljd,njd,njt], although exceptions are possible (check the dictionnary).

Several vowel changes occur before [lj] and [nj]:
a reads as [æ], which is equivalent to a in English cap;
o and å reads as [oi]

Palatal consonants lj,nj are formed with additional articulation by which the body of the tongue is raised toward the hard palate (as if j followed). The sound nj is like Spanish ñ, lj is like Spanish ll.

Exercise 2.1.
Read the following words:

a) hann, ull, Dumbvilla, mella, kalla, full, enni, gronn, annehvar, kenna, bånn;
b) kelda, mond, millablanda, hald, golti, brand, folda

In the dialectal orthography for Mainland Nynorn hann, kalla, hald, bånn, millablanda are spelled as hænnj, kællja, bå(i)nnj, hæljd, milljablænjda.

****************************************************************
(This part of the lesson has only to do with the Foula/Westside dialect and can be skipped by those only interested in Mainland Nynorn)

In Foula/Westside Nynorn, ll and nn are read as [dl] and [dn] respectively. Additionally, rn often changes to [dn] (possibly also rl). The above mentioned vowel changes caused by llj and nnj do not occur.

Exercise 2.2.
Read the following words with Foula/Westside pronunciation:

all, ill, inni, bjarn, korn, henni, ern, enni

In the Foula/Westside Norn dialectal notation the above words are spelled as adl, idl, idni, bjadn, kodn, edn, edni.

Exercise 2.3.
Read the words from exercise 2.1. with the Foula/Westside pronunciation. Notice that Shetland Mainland bånn [boinnj] 'child' corresponds to Foula/Westside bjarn [bjadn].
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2. Weak substantives. Plural.

As we said in Lesson One, Ch. 2, substantives in Nynorn are divided into strong and weak. We have already started covering the strong declension in the previous chapter, now let us introduce its weak counterpart. As already known, weak nouns always end in a vowel: -i for masculine, -a for feminine and neuter. Weak substantives form their plural by replacing -i with -ar (M), -a with -er (F) or -u (N):

M. drengi 'boy, lad' - drengar 'boys'
F. floga 'fly'- floger 'flies'
N. joga 'eye' - jogu 'eyes'

Exercise 2.4.
Change the following words to plural:

dokka 'young girl', mågi 'stomach' (MW), jora 'ear' (NW), bogi 'curve; small bay' (MW), nyra 'kidney' (NW), nalta 'grain, particle' (FN), måni 'moon' (MW), skiva 'slice; piece of turf' (FW)

 

3. Personal pronouns

    Sg. Pl.
1. person   eg 'I' vi 'we'
2. person   du 'you (sg.)' di 'you (pl.)'
3. person Masc. hann 'he' dir 'they (M)'
  Fem. hun 'she' der 'they (F)'
  Neu. dað 'it' de 'they (N)'

Hann/dir refer to masculine names, hun/der refer to feminine names and dað stands for neuter ones. This has nothing to do with animacy, which differentiates pronouns in English, Norwegian or Danish. For example, Nynorn sten (M) 'stone' should be referred to as hann 'he' (never dað 'it'!) and stenar 'stones' as dir. Analogically, hun 'she' stands for rug (F) 'heap' and der stands for rugar 'heaps'. On the other hand, bånn (N) 'child' would be referred to as dað 'it', bånn 'children' as de.

The use of the same pronouns for humans and inanimate objects is an ancient Germanic feature, still valid in Faroese, Icelandic and German.

When a masculine and feminine substantive meet together, the neuter plural pronoun is used: Johan (M) og Maria (F), sten (M) og rug (F) 'a stone and a heap' should be referred to as de (N).

This is another old trait, no longer relevant to German but still vital in Icelandic and Faroese.

Exercise 2.5.
Replace the following words with the corresponding pronoun (third person) or several different pronouns when applied:

mågi -
rum -
joga -
fjord -
skiver -
nyru -
hus -
månar -
nalta -
ruger -
Johann og Hendrik -
bånn og hus -
Hendrik og Astrid -
rug og skiva -
Astrid og Maria -

 

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