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Lesson Ten.

1. Genitive. Strong declension.

The concept of the genitive case in Nynorn is very much the same as in English – its main task is to express possession (somebody’s something). The biggest difference is that in Nynorn, genitive is placed after the “possessed” word (joga katts), not before, as in English (cat’s eye). Genitive can also correspond to English preposition of.

There are three main genitive endings in the strong declension. In singular, -s is used with most masculine and all neuter nouns. Feminine nouns and some masculine ones (second strong class) have -ar. In plural the common ending is -a:

  Sg. Pl.
M. hest – hests, fjord – fjordar hestar – hesta
F. ferd – ferdar, kerling – kerlingar ferder – ferda
N. kast – kasts kast – kasta

Genitive is used with a small number of prepositions – til ‘to’, uten ‘out of; without’, mella ‘between’ etc.

a) hus manns, fud hests, mynni fjordar, katt kerlingar, sedlar hesta;
b) til Hjetlands, til Orknøja, til Lervikar, til Skålavågs, til Kirkevågs, til Stromness (nom. Stromnes);
c) uten hests, uten hesta;
d) mella Lervikar og Skålavågs, mella Hjetlands og Orknøja.
a) a man’s house, a foot of a horse, the opening of a fjord, an old woman’s cat, horses’ saddles;
b) to Shetland, to Orkney, to Lervik, to Skallaway, to Kirkwall, to Stromness;
c) without a horse, without horses;
d) between Lerwick and Scalloway, between Shetland and Orkney.

Exercise 10.1.
Translate into Nynorn:

A boy’s book, mum’s hat, cats’ paw, a cat’s paw, a dog’s ear, dogs’ ear, a dog’s ears, dogs’ ears, water of a fjord, to Caithness (Katanes nn.s.), to Kirkwall, to Reykjavik, to Faroes (Førøjar, without a dog, without dogs, without a fjord, without fjords, without an old woman, without old women, between Iceland and the Faroes, between Kirkwall and Stromness.

hatt nm. (s2) – hat
krammek nm. (s1) – paw 


2. Perfect tense of strong verbs

As in English, the perfect tense form consists of two words, the auxiliary verb hava ’to have’ plus the perfect (past) participle. Strong verbs form their perfect participle with the fourth ablaut degree of the root vowel (see also Lesson 7.3 to refresh our recollection of the first three ablaut degrees):

1. i - i:
bita ‘to bite’ – biten ‘bitten’

2. ø/u/ju - o:
bøða ‘to propose’ – boðen ‘proposed’

3. i,e - u,o:
finna ‘to find’ – funnen ‘found’
binda ‘to bind’ – bunden ‘bound’
varda ‘to become’ – vorden ‘become’

4. e(o,a) – e(o):
gevageven ‘given‘

5. a – a,e:
taga ‘to take’ – tegen
standa ‘to stand’ – staðen ‘stood’

6. a,å – a,e:
falla ‘to fall’ – fallen ‘fallen’
gånga ‘to go’ – gengen ‘gone’
‘to get’ – fengen ‘gotten’

Perfect participles have gender, case and number and are declined like en-adjectives (see Lesson 9, p. 3). The participles in the above table are given in masculine. In perfect the neuter form of the participle (-ið) is only used:

eg hevi bitið ‘I have bitten’, du hever lotið ‘you have bent forward’, hann hever funnið ‘he has found’, vi hava gevið ‘we have given’, di hava staðið ‘you (pl.) have stood’, dir hava fallið ‘they (masc.) have fallen’.

Exercise 10.2.
Translate into Nynorn:

I have fallen off a house. They (M and F) have stood close to their (own) mother. Men have buried dead horses. You have taken my dogs. He has given me a book. A dog has bitten your (di) sons. She has gripped your hand. We have got fish.


3. Dependent clause

A dependent (or subordinate) clause is a part of a complex sentence that augments an independent (or main) clause with additional information, but which cannot stand alone as a sentence. The dependent clause plays a similar function to an object:

I know that you are sick. (I know what?)
She knows where you are. (She knows what?)
I didn’t see whom you were coming with. (I didn’t see whom/what?)

The words in bold are called subordinating conjunctions and the underlined phrases are named dependent clauses. The conjunctions act like markers signalling that another clause within a compound sentence is to begin after them.

The most universal subordinating conjunction is at, corresponding to English that:

Eg vet at du ert sjuk. I know that you are sick.
Eg vet at du er her. I know that you are here.

As in English, many subordinate conjunctions are similar to corresponding interrogative pronouns. Nevertheless, there are exceptions from that rule in Nynorn.

Let’s brush up our knowledge of interrogative pronouns (see Lesson 8, part 3):

hvar? – who? which?
hvat(na)? – what?
hvarna? – where?
hvagar?/hvartil? – whereto?
hvaðan?/hvarfrå? – wherefrom?
ner? – when?
hvu? – how
hvi?  – why?

The same words are used as subordinating conjunctions, except ner? when? (see below).

Hvat er dað? Eg vet hvat dað er. What is it? I know what it is.
Hvar ert du? Eg vet hvar du ert. Who are you? I know who you are.
Hvarna er mamma? Eg vet hvarna mamma er. Where is mum? I know where mum is.
Hvu sov du? Eg vet hvu du sov. How did you sleep? I know how you slept.

The conjunction when differs from its respective interrogative pronoun. In that case, Nynorn uses hjejer, mostly for present and future time. In the context which refers to the past you can either use hjejer or another conjunction . The latter one is preferable when the interrogative clause is nested into another dependent clause:

Ner kemer du? Eg vet hjejer du kemer. When are you coming? I know when you are coming.
Ner kom du? Eg vet hjejer du kom. (=Eg vet då du kom). When did you come? I know when you came.
Hjejer du kemer, ring til min. When you come, call me up.
Då du kom, ringdi du til min. When you came, you called me up.
Eg vet at då du kom, var mukkið sent. I know that when you came it was very late.

Exercise 10.3.
Translate into Nynorn:

I know where he is gone to. You do not know who knows me here. You do not know whom I know here. I did not say where my boat was. I heard that you were speaking Faroese. I have seen with whom you played.  I do not know when he arrived. They told me how hard (hart) it was for them to learn Icelandic.

hard adj., neu. hart – hard
førøsk nf.s1. – Faroese language
islandsk nf.s1. – Icelandic language

NB: Adjectives can be transformed into adverbs (which answer the question how?) by changing their gender to neuter.



Johann hever lengi buð i Fugla. Hann sejer at i går hever hann farið til Lervikar. Johann tuk ferju frå Fugla sen kom til Våga. Darefter købdi hann bilett til buss og fur veð honon til Lervikar. Hjejer hann kom til Lervikar, vitsjaði hann fyrst sinar sostren [frender], eð bua dar. Hann kjobdi itse tul og varaparta fyri sin motorbåd. Folk spurdi hann nokron faron um hann ikke var frå Fugla or Vestsidu, di de hørdu at hann talaði dialekt Fugløjar. Hann svaraði at hann sagda var frå Fugla, men ikke Vestsidu. Men hann havdi sostren [frender] i Sandnesi. Um aftan fur hann atter til Våga veð bussi. Hann øvernåttaði hjå sinon skulvini i Skålavågi og nesta mornen fur hann við ferju atter hem til Fugløjar. Nu då hann hever komið hem etlar hann at umbita sin motorbåd. Dað hever verið en mukkið gud tur til Meginlands sen hever tikið honon två daga.

lengi adv. – long, for a long time
i går adv. – yesterday
ferja nf. w1 – ferry
våg nm. s1 – a bucht?
Vågar nm. pl. – Walls
buss nm. s1 – bus
sostren nn. s. pl. – relatives
frender nm. s2. pl. – relatives
dog part. – though  
dar adv. – there
kjoba vw. 1 – to buy
itse part. – also, too
tul nn. s. – instrument
varapart nm. s1 – spare parts
men conj. – but
motorbåd nm. s1 – motorboat
noker pron. – some, several
far nn. s – time (as in this time, for the first time, for the second time etc.);
nokron faron – several times
sagda adv. – certainly
tala vw. 2 – to speak
aftan nm. s1. – evening
atter adv. – back (to)
øvernåtta vw. 2 – to stay overnight
skulvin nm. s2 – a school friend
nesti adj.weak – next
morn nm. s1 – morning
nesta mornen – next morning
ferja nf. w – ferry
etla vw. 2 – to intend
umbita vw. 1 – to repair
tur nm. s1 – a tour, journey
Meginland nn. s – Mainland
taka honon (dat.) två daga (acc.) – it took him two days

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