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Lesson Three


1. Orthography.

The long consonants tt,pp,kk and p,t,k before l or n everywhere in Nynorn acquire the so called preaspiration, i.e. a short preceding [h]: [ht,htl,htn,hp,hpl,hpn,hk,hkl,hkn].

Exercise 3.1.
Read the following words:

a) bakk 'bank, slope; edge, bank', ikke 'not', mukkið 'much', mitt 'my (N)', røtt 'red' (N), upp 'up', knippa 'to break asunder', knotti 'ball', neppa 'to join together', skinnalepp 'remains';
b) ketling 'kitten', netla 'to trifle with one's work', bjokl 'high dorsal-fin of a whale', mukler 'big (pl. M)', driplet 'spotted', skiplaga 'to build air-castles'.

In Mainland Nynorn, o,å change to [oi] in front of tt: gott [goiht] 'good (N)', nått [noiht] 'night', tottlig [toihtli] 'comely, neat'.
Foula/Westside Nynorn is free of this change.

The preaspiration of tt,pp,kk and p,t,k + n,l is obligatory in Icelandic and Faroese. It also occurs in several Norwegian and Swedish dialects, albeit less regularly there. Outside of the Scandinavian area, stops p,t,k are widely preaspirated in Scottish Gaelic (apparently borrowed from the language of the Vikings). Non-existent in today's Shetland live speech, preaspiration was still sporadically heard in a number of old Norn words recorded in Shetland by the Faroese linguist Jakob Jakobsen in the end of the 19th century.


2. Adjectives. Introduction.

Nynorn adjectives take genders, cases and numbers. It means that, for instance, in the expression "white horse" the word "white" must take the same gender, number and case as the word "horse".

Such a dependency from the substantive is called 'agreement': the adjective 'agrees' in gender, number and case with the substantive it describes.

The initial singular forms of masculine and feminine have no ending and do thus not differ: gul 'yellow' (M,F).

The neuter form takes the ending -t: gult 'yellow' (N).

If the adjective ends in -d or , in neuter either consonant changes to -t, giving double -tt after a vowel or single -t in case there is a preceding consonant: blid 'kind-hearted' (M,F) - blitt 'kind-hearted' (N), røð 'red' (M,F) - røtt 'red' (N), bald 'bold; quick; skilful' - balt.

Adjectives which end in a vowel require in neuter double -tt too: grå 'grey' (M,F) - grått 'grey' (N).

Adjectives ending in a consonant + t undergo no changes in neuter: bjart 'cold (of wind); biting, sharp (of weather)'.

The adjective gud 'good' has an irregular neuter form gott.

NB! Do not forget about preaspiration in words like blitt, røtt and additionally the [o]-[oi] alternation as in grå-grått, gott.

The plurals of adjectives are -er (M), -ar (F) and zero in N (the plural N form is identical to the singular M/F):

M. gul - guler, røð - røðer, blid - blider, gud - guder
F. gul - gular, røð - røðar, blid - blidar, gud - gudar
N. gult - gul, røtt - røð, blitt - blid, gott - gud

M. gud drengi 'a good boy' - guder drengar 'good boys'
F. svart floga 'a black fly' - svartar floger 'black flies'
N. blitt hjarta 'a kind heart' - blid hjartu 'kind hearts'

NB! Don't confuse the endings of substantives and adjectives! Masculine and feminine substantives may take either -ar or -er in plural endings, while for adjectives it is strictly -er for M and -ar for F!
The following combinations are possible:

hviter hestar 'white horses' (M)
guler vegger 'yellow walls' (M)
langar ferder 'long journeys' (F)
blidar kerlingar 'kind-hearted old women' (F)

Exercise 3.2.
Change the following adjectives to neuter:

'loose, free'

Exercise 3.3.
Change the following phrases to plural:

svart hest
røtt joga
bald hund
grå vegg
gul knotti (MW) 'ball'
blid dokka
gott hus


3. Verbs. Present tense. Introduction.

We begin our study of the Nynorn verbal system with two very common verbs: at vara 'to be' and at heda 'to be called'.
At is a particle which means 'to' as in English 'to be' and is only used with infinitives. There is another particle - ikke, which means 'not' and is always placed after the verb. Nynorn does not have the form 'do not', ikke always provides the negation alone:

at vara 'to be':
eg er - I am
du ert - you (sing.) are, thou art
hann/hun/dað er - he/she/it is
vi,di,dir eru - we/you (pl.)/they are
eg er ikke - I am not
du er ikke - you (sing.) are not etc.

Eg er mann. Hann er ikke hest. Hestar eru ikke guler.
I am a man. He is not a horse. Horses are not yellow.

NB! Adjectives after the word 'to be' agree with the substantives in gender and number.

at heda 'to be called':
eg hedi - I am called, my name is
du heder - you (sing.) are called, your (sing.) name is
hann/hun/dað heder - he/she/it is called, his/her/its name is
vi,di,dir heda - we/you (pl.)/they are called, our/your (pl.)/their name is
eg hedi ikke - my name is not etc.

Eg hedi Magnus. Hon heder Astrid. Hann heder ikke Torkel. De heder Hendrik og Maria. Hon er blid. Dað er røtt. Dir eru balder. Der eru baldar.
I am Magnus. Her name is Astrid. His name is not Torkel. These are Hendrik and Maria. She is kind-hearted. It is red. They (M) are bold. They (F) are bold.

Exercise 3.4.
Translate the following phrases:

Our names are Torsten and Bjarnhild. Your (sing.) name is not Sunneva. You (sing.) are not a horse. You (pl.) are not horses. Journeys are long. White horses are kind-hearted.


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