This article belongs to the lore of Ajax.

Difference between revisions of "Erish language"

(Started dialects)
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Early attestations of Erish in runic inscriptions appear throughout the latter half of the first millennium, sometimes being difficult to distinguish from Norse, but it was a predominantly oral language for the first part of its history. When Christianization missions reached Erishland in the 900s, they brought with them the {{wpl|Latin script}}. Though Erishland would ultimately remain pagan, local leaders saw the value of writing, and the Latin script remained. Though Old Erish became more consistently attested, it would take until the mid-1000s for the period most associated with Old Erish in Erish culture to finally begin, when poetry that had been oral for sometimes centuries began to be written down. These included heroic poetry like ''Gunnar Eldhúsins'' ("Gundar of the Burnt House"), which tells the tale of Gundar Grimuson and his efforts to avenge the death of his entire family, early poems describing ''Mannins'', the first being in what would come to be the Ardist creation myth. Gradually, this literary period exploded into the foundations for Erish culture, laying down the histories of the Lands, documenting the wisdom and accounts of {{wpl|Thyle|Thyles}}, and establishing the body of sacred texts for the Ardist faith. Though initially these texts were fairly varied, reflecting the Erish dialects of the time, the written Erish language gradually solidified into the standard based upon the dialect of Serdstead with the rise of the House of Tosk. After the creation of Erishland in 1297, the Old Erish period drew to a close, though the standardization of the literary language, combined with the cultural significance of the time, would mean that Old Erish would continue to be written well after it had stopped being spoken - as it may have already been doing.
 
Early attestations of Erish in runic inscriptions appear throughout the latter half of the first millennium, sometimes being difficult to distinguish from Norse, but it was a predominantly oral language for the first part of its history. When Christianization missions reached Erishland in the 900s, they brought with them the {{wpl|Latin script}}. Though Erishland would ultimately remain pagan, local leaders saw the value of writing, and the Latin script remained. Though Old Erish became more consistently attested, it would take until the mid-1000s for the period most associated with Old Erish in Erish culture to finally begin, when poetry that had been oral for sometimes centuries began to be written down. These included heroic poetry like ''Gunnar Eldhúsins'' ("Gundar of the Burnt House"), which tells the tale of Gundar Grimuson and his efforts to avenge the death of his entire family, early poems describing ''Mannins'', the first being in what would come to be the Ardist creation myth. Gradually, this literary period exploded into the foundations for Erish culture, laying down the histories of the Lands, documenting the wisdom and accounts of {{wpl|Thyle|Thyles}}, and establishing the body of sacred texts for the Ardist faith. Though initially these texts were fairly varied, reflecting the Erish dialects of the time, the written Erish language gradually solidified into the standard based upon the dialect of Serdstead with the rise of the House of Tosk. After the creation of Erishland in 1297, the Old Erish period drew to a close, though the standardization of the literary language, combined with the cultural significance of the time, would mean that Old Erish would continue to be written well after it had stopped being spoken - as it may have already been doing.
  
The conservative nature of the Erish written language means basic vocabulary in Old Erish is somewhat recognizable, especially after normalization: Old Erish ''Ic com frá Ęrsclandi'' ("I come from Erishland") is similar to ''Ig komi frá Ärsklandið''. Nonetheless, the grammatical differences, and even orthographic differences, between the two languages can make reading difficult without either knowledge of Old Erish or a translation. Old Erish had a complex system of four grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative) for which nominals declined, and verbs conjugated for person in the plural, the subjunctive mood, and fell into many more irregular conjugations. Though the standard Erish language and many dialects are fairly conservative in some senses, the morphological differences between the two languages can make reading even more confusing. It is thought that the written language of Old Erish, especially starting in the 1200s, reflects an increasingly conservative version of the Erish language, given how certain errors which seem to be indicative of features associated with Middle Erish begin to appear.  
+
The conservative nature of the Erish written language means basic vocabulary in Old Erish is somewhat recognizable, especially after normalization: Old Erish ''Ic com frá Ärsclandi'' ("I come from Erishland") is similar to ''Ig komi frá Ärsklandið''. Nonetheless, the grammatical differences, and even orthographic differences, between the two languages can make reading difficult without either knowledge of Old Erish or a translation. Old Erish had a complex system of four grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative) for which nominals declined, and verbs conjugated for person in the plural, the subjunctive mood, and fell into many more irregular conjugations. Though the standard Erish language and many dialects are fairly conservative in some senses, the morphological differences between the two languages can make reading even more confusing. It is thought that the written language of Old Erish, especially starting in the 1200s, reflects an increasingly conservative version of the Erish language, given how certain errors which seem to be indicative of features associated with Middle Erish begin to appear.  
  
 
===Middle Erish===
 
===Middle Erish===
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The rebirth of the written Erish language, and the beginnings of Modern Erish, would in some ways perhaps be founded upon the realization that Erish was not a Nordic language. The renewed interest this brought in the older stages of Erish amongst those who were literate at the very least coincided with the emergence of new literary works in Erish like ''Ütlandlingas'' ("The Exiles") or ''Heusi av Graimin'' ("The House of Grimm"), and authors like Thjudrik Rolfson. This new literary revival, in its early years, often was written according to the dialect of the author, and not in Old Erish or the Nationalist standard. As the Erish independence movement began to strengthen, and modern technologies like the radio emerged, Havnstead once more became the center of a new emerging standard language, though this time it was unchallenged. Nonetheless, old arguments about how Old Erish should be modernized re-emerged, such that, by the time of independence in 1937, the provisional government's Erish Language Committee held initially intense debates over the matter. Ultimately, a fairly conservative modernization based upon the early 1800s normalization of Old Erish would be adopted by 1939 (though formally adopted in 1942). Despite some reforms since then, the 1939 modernization remains the basis of modern Erish orthography.
 
The rebirth of the written Erish language, and the beginnings of Modern Erish, would in some ways perhaps be founded upon the realization that Erish was not a Nordic language. The renewed interest this brought in the older stages of Erish amongst those who were literate at the very least coincided with the emergence of new literary works in Erish like ''Ütlandlingas'' ("The Exiles") or ''Heusi av Graimin'' ("The House of Grimm"), and authors like Thjudrik Rolfson. This new literary revival, in its early years, often was written according to the dialect of the author, and not in Old Erish or the Nationalist standard. As the Erish independence movement began to strengthen, and modern technologies like the radio emerged, Havnstead once more became the center of a new emerging standard language, though this time it was unchallenged. Nonetheless, old arguments about how Old Erish should be modernized re-emerged, such that, by the time of independence in 1937, the provisional government's Erish Language Committee held initially intense debates over the matter. Ultimately, a fairly conservative modernization based upon the early 1800s normalization of Old Erish would be adopted by 1939 (though formally adopted in 1942). Despite some reforms since then, the 1939 modernization remains the basis of modern Erish orthography.
 
==Phonology==
 
 
The phonology of Erish has a degree of variability between dialects, particularly with regards to the development of certain Old Erish vowels. Overall, however, the dialect of Havnstead serves as a common standard of pronunciation, under which traditional dialectal phonologies are increasingly influenced into becoming regional variations of the standard. Although the presence of those dialectal pronunciations has risen in recent years, media broadcasters on television and radio predominantly follow those Havnstead norms.
 
 
===Vowels===
 
 
Similar to other Germanic languages, Erish has a large vowel inventory, having 18 phonemic monophthongs, as well as six allophonic diphthongs. The Havnstead dialect is usually considered a Bayland dialect for, amongst many reasons, shifting the Old Erish long back vowel, characteristically a trait of those dialects. However, it monophthongizes the Old Erish dipthongs, a trait more associated with the East or West.
 
 
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center"
 
! rowspan="3" | || colspan="4" | {{wpl|Front vowel|Front}} || rowspan=2 colspan="2" | {{wpl|Central vowel|Central}} || rowspan=2 colspan="2" | {{wpl|Back vowel|Back}}
 
|-
 
! colspan=2 | {{wpl|Roundedness|unrounded}} || colspan=2 | {{wpl|Roundedness|rounded}}
 
|-
 
! <small>short</small> || <small>long</small> || <small>short</small> || <small>long</small> || <small>short</small> || <small>long</small> || <small>short</small> || <small>long</small>
 
|-
 
! {{wpl|Close vowel|Close}}
 
| {{wpl|Near-close near-front unrounded vowel|ɪ}} || {{wpl|Close front unrounded vowel|iː}} || {{wpl|Near-close near-front rounded vowel|ʏ}} || {{wpl|Close front rounded vowel|yː}} || || {{wpl|Close central rounded vowel|ʉː}} || {{wpl|Near-close near-back rounded vowel|ʊ}} || {{wpl|Close back rounded vowel|uː}}
 
|-
 
! {{wpl|Close-mid vowel|Close-mid}}
 
| || {{wpl|Close-mid front unrounded vowel|eː}} || || {{wpl|Close-mid front rounded vowel|øː}} || {{wpl|Close-mid central rounded vowel|ɵ}} || || || {{wpl|Close-mid back rounded vowel|oː}}
 
|-
 
! {{wpl|Open-mid vowel|Open-mid}}
 
| {{wpl|Open-mid front unrounded vowel|ɛ}} || {{wpl|Open-mid front unrounded vowel|ɛː}} || {{wpl|Open-mid front rounded vowel|œ}} || || || || {{wpl|Open-mid back rounded vowel|ɔ}} || {{wpl|Open-mid back rounded vowel|ɔː}}
 
|-
 
! {{wpl|Open vowel|Open}}
 
| || || || || {{wpl|Open central unrounded vowel|a}} || || || {{wpl|Open back unrounded vowel|ɑː}}
 
|}
 
 
* The inventory of 18 monophthongs can alternatively be analyzed as 10 monophthongs which have long and short allophones that occur based upon syllable stress and structure.
 
** The long allophones occur when they are stressed and followed by no more than a single, ungeminated consonant. The short allophones occur in all other contexts, or before an approximant /j,ʋ/ that is in syllable coda. This is the analysis essentially underlying Erish orthography.
 
* Roundedness allophonically falls into two categories
 
** Compression, which is used by close non-front rounded vowels, making /ɵ~ʉː,ʊ~uː/ typically [ɘ<sup>β</sup>~ɨ<sup>β</sup>ː,ʊ<sup>β</sup>~ɯ<sup>β</sup>ː]. Because /ʉː/ typically has a fairly advanced quality, this makes compression one of the key distinguishing traits from /yː/.
 
** All other rounded vowels use protrusion, making /ɔ~oː,ɔ~ɔː,ʏ~yː,œ~øː/ typically [ʌʷ~ɤʷː,ʌʷ~ʌʷː,ɪʷ~iʷː,ɛʷ~eʷː]. Similar to the situation between the central and front rounded vowels, the long mid-close front rounded vowel is heavily distinguished from the short mid-close central vowel by protrusion (as well as length), as the latter vowel is also fairly advanced.
 
* The short qualities of the vowel pairs given here may vary depending upon dialect. Bayland and Western Erish dialects tend to use the distinct qualities, whilst Eastern dialects just use the long vowel's quality for both short and long (though the open vowel tends to then instead have a central [ä] quality). Incidentally, the dialects which use the latter system may distinguish /ɛ(ː),ɔ(ː)/ completely from /e(ː),o(ː)/, though just as many have them completely merge with /a(ː)/.
 
* Erish has six diphthongs which can be analyzed as a sequence of vowel plus approximant, the latter of which is typically in syllable coda before another consonant.
 
** /aj/, as in ''sagdi'' "I/he said" [ˈsaɪ̯ðɪ]
 
** /aʋ/, as in ''ravn'' "raven" [ˈɽaʊ̯n]
 
** /ej/, as in ''regn'' "rain" [ˈɽɛɪ̯n]
 
** /eʋ/, as in ''stevn'' "voice" [ˈstɛʊ̯n]
 
** /oj/, as in ''fugl'' "bird" [ˈfɔɪ̯l]
 
** /oʋ/, as in ''Håvnstäd'' "Havenstead" [ˌhɔʊ̯nˈstɛːð]
 
* Only the vowels /a,ɪ,ʊ/ occur in unstressed syllables of native vocabulary or inflectional suffixes. Other vowels in these positions are only found in loanwords.
 
 
===Consonants===
 
 
Erish has a similar consonant inventory to Norwegian or Swedish, having palatalized consonants, allophonic retroflexion by /ɽ/, and no phonemically voiced fricatives. However, the allophony of these consonants heavily differs from those languages.
 
 
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center;"
 
|-
 
! colspan="2" | || {{wpl|Labial consonant|Labial}} || {{wpl|Alveolar consonant|Alveolar}} || {{wpl|Retroflex consonant|Retroflex}} || {{wpl|Palatal consonant|Palatal}} || {{wpl|Velar consonant|Velar}} || {{wpl|Glottal consonant|Glottal}}
 
|-
 
! colspan="2" | {{wpl|Nasal consonant|Nasal}}
 
| {{wpl|Voiced bilabial nasal|m}} || {{wpl|Voiced alveolar nasal|n}} || ({{wpl|Voiced retroflex nasal|ɳ}}) || || {{wpl|Voiced velar nasal|ŋ}} ||
 
|-
 
! rowspan="2" | {{wpl|Stop consonant|Plosive}} || {{small|{{wpl|voicelessness|voiceless}}}}
 
| {{wpl|Voiceless bilabial stop|p}} || {{wpl|Voiceless alveolar stop|t}} || ({{wpl|Voiceless retroflex stop|ʈ}}) || || {{wpl|Voiceless velar stop|k}} || ({{wpl|Voiceless glottal stop|ʔ}})
 
|-
 
! {{small|{{wpl|voice (phonetics)|voiced}}}}
 
| {{wpl|Voiced bilabial stop|b}} || {{wpl|Voiced alveolar stop|d}} || || || {{wpl|Voiced velar stop|g}} ||
 
|-
 
! colspan="2" | {{wpl|Fricative consonant|Fricative}}
 
| {{wpl|Voiceless labiodental fricative|f}} || {{wpl|Voiceless alveolar sibilant|s}} || {{wpl|Voiceless retroflex sibilant|ʂ}} || {{wpl|Voiceless palatal fricative|ç}} || ({{wpl|Voiceless velar fricative|x}}) || {{wpl|Voiceless glottal fricative|h}}
 
|-
 
! colspan="2" | {{wpl|Approximant consonant|Approximant}}
 
| {{wpl|Voiced labiodental approximant|ʋ}} || {{wpl|Voiced alveolar lateral approximant|l}} || ({{wpl|Voiced retroflex lateral approximant|ɭ}}) || {{wpl|Voiced palatal approximant|j}} || ({{wpl|Voiced labiovelar approximant|w}}) ||
 
|-
 
! colspan="2" | {{wpl|Rhotic consonant|Rhotic}}
 
| || || {{wpl|Voiced retroflex tap|ɽ}} || || ||
 
|}
 
 
* Geminated nasal consonants /mː,nː/, as well as all instances of /ŋ/ where it is not followed by another consonant (phonetically [ŋː]), cause nasalization of the preceding consonant, as seen in ''kynga'' "queen" [ˈçʏ̃˧˩ŋːa˥˩].
 
* Similar to English and several other Germanic languages, the voiceless plosives /p/, /t/, and /k/ have aspiration in stressed syllable onsets [pʰ, tʰ, kʰ] (''úniversitet'' [ɵnɪβæːʂɪˈtʰeːt] "university") without an intervening consonant to the vowel nucleus, except when preceded by /s/. Word-initially, these aspirates are affricated, resulting in ''person'' "(legal) person" [ˈp͡ɸæːʂɔn], ''ting'' "thing" [ˈt͡sɪŋː], ''kona'' "wife" [ˈk͡xoː˧˩na˥˩].
 
* The voiced plosives /b/, /d/, and /g/ are realized in word-initial, geminated, and post-nasal contexts as full voiced plosives (though /g/ never occurs in post-nasal contexts); /d/ is also realized as [d] after /l/. In other contexts, they are lenited to fricative [β,ð,ɣ], as in ''håvuð'' "head" [ˈhɔː˧˩βʊ˥˩], ''kod'' "(computer) code" [ˈk͡xoːð], and ''kríg'' "war" [ˈkɽ̥iːɣ].
 
** This is not a continuation of the original Germanic system of fricative allophones for the voiced consonants, because words like ''av'' "of" [aʊ̯] and ''bað'' "bath" [ˈbɑː] would then have these allophones. Moreover, words with an initial g like ''gá'' "go" [ˈgoː] should have a [ɣ] if that was the case.
 
** A preceding /ɽ/ phoneme does not trigger retroflexion of /d/, as seen in ''ord'' [ˈɒɽð] meaning that this sound change most likely occurred during the 1700s, after the original voiced fricative allophones had been lost or hardened, but before /r/ become retroflexed.
 
* Standard Erish does not allow for consonant clusters made by two plosives (discounting geminates), so it lenits the first plosive in such clusters to a fricative, and then devoices both (if applicable), like in ''byggdi'' "I/he built" [ˈbʏxtɪ].
 
** The presence of this by dialect somewhat varies - particularly in the Baylands (southern Erishland), it is still possible to have [ˈbʏgdɪ], and other dialects may lenit but not devoice, making [ˈbʏɣdɪ].
 
** Those that do do both, however, create a phonemic /x/, since /k/ and /g/ merge in that context.
 
* The sonorants /n,ʋ,l,ɽ/ have voiceless allophones when they are part of an onset in which they are preceded by a voiceless obstruent, as seen in ''frýsa'' "to freeze" [ˈfɽ̥yːsa]. Depending upon dialect, the voiceless [ʋ̥] may be realized as a fricative [f], as in ''kvinna'' "woman" [ˈkfɪ̃˧˩nːa˥˩].
 
* The labial consonants become labiodental when followed by an alveolar consonant, as seen in the word ''bistimmd'' ("definite") [bɪˈstɪɱd].
 
** In dialects which lenit the first plosive in a consonant cluster with another plosive, this is the reason why /p/ (and potentially /b/) in consonant clusters with another plosive merge with /f/, as seen in ''køyptirt'' ("you bought") [ˈk͡xœftɪʈ].
 
* The retroflex nasal, plosive, approximant, and fricative are allophones of /ɽ/ plus their alveolar counterpart. The stressed mid-open vowels /ɛ(ː),ɔ(ː)/ lower to [æ(ː),ɒ(ː)] before /ɽ/. Retroflexion of these consonants causes stressed vowels to lengthen. All three of these phenomenon can be seen in the word ''hjårtu'' "hearts" [ˈjɒː˧˩ʈʊ˥˩], which is phonemically /ˈjɔɽ˧˩tʊ˥˩/.
 
* /ʋ/ only realizes its phonemic value word-initially; in syllable coda, it forms a diphthong with the preceding vowel, as seen in ''Håvnstäd'' "Havnstead (Erish city)" [ˌhɔʊ̯nˈstɛːð], phonemically /ˌhaʋnˈsteːd/.
 
** The labiodental approximant /ʋ/ is realized as a voiced labiodental fricative [v] when followed by a liquid word-initially, as seen in ''vrist'' "wrist" [ˈvɽɪst].
 
* /j/ may also form a diphthong in syllable coda, as seen in ig "I" [ˈɛɪ̯], phonemically /ˈɛj/
 
* In syllable coda, non-geminated /l/ is realized as a dark [ɫ].
 
* Vowels standing in hiatus have an allophonic glide between them based upon their point of articulation (diphthongs are also affected by this):
 
** High front vowels are followed by an allophonic [j], as in ''nýa'' "new" [ˈnyːja]
 
** High back vowels are followed by an allophonic [w], as in ''róis'' "calm" [ˈruː˧˩wɪs˥˩]
 
** Non-high vowels before a high front vowel are followed by [ʝ], as in ''blái'' "blue" [ˈblɔːʝɪ]
 
** Non-high vowels before a high back vowel are followed by [w], as in ''bláun'' "blue" [ˈblɔːwʊn]
 
** Non-high vowels before an open vowel are followed by [ʔ], as in ''bláa'' "blue" [ˈblɔːʔa]
 
 
===Prosody===
 
 
Similar to several Nordic languages, Erish is a {{wpl|pitch-accent language}} with two tones: a neutral tone and a rising tone. Whilst the tone distinction is not particularly distinctive, there are nonetheless a few hundred Erish words which are only phonemically distinct by tone. For example, ''mannis'' "the man" [ˈmãnːɪs] has neutral tone, whilst ''Mannis'' "Manni (Erish god)" [ˈmã˧˩nːɪs˥˩]. These tones generally correspond to originally monosyllabic words (neutral tone) and polysyllabic words (rising tone) in Old Erish, though there are several exceptions, particularly with loanwords.
 
  
 
==Written language==
 
==Written language==
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In the aftermath of the establishment of the Erish Republic in 1843, reform and modernization became the spirit of the age. In the issue of the written language, the tenor of debate changed from whether reform should take place to how it should take place, in particular whether a modernized standard language should be based upon the dialect of Serdstead, or the dialect of the rising Havnstead, which had become a major center of print media and liberal movements. With the election of 1846, the question would be resolved when the newly elected Nationalist government asked Jarlstead professor Frodi Roarson to devise a new standard. In 1849, but months before elections, Roarson presented his new standard, which was essentially based upon the dialect of Serdstead.
 
In the aftermath of the establishment of the Erish Republic in 1843, reform and modernization became the spirit of the age. In the issue of the written language, the tenor of debate changed from whether reform should take place to how it should take place, in particular whether a modernized standard language should be based upon the dialect of Serdstead, or the dialect of the rising Havnstead, which had become a major center of print media and liberal movements. With the election of 1846, the question would be resolved when the newly elected Nationalist government asked Jarlstead professor Frodi Roarson to devise a new standard. In 1849, but months before elections, Roarson presented his new standard, which was essentially based upon the dialect of Serdstead.
  
Despite several critics, the Roarson standard was well-received. Even if spellings and grammar like ''I kann skjo din nyi kotzin his'' ("I can see his new cat") were often utter breaks from Rolfson's ''Ic cann sjå þann nýa cattinn his'', the public generally viewed the modernization as finally bringing literacy within much closer reach of vast swathes of the public. Even if this essentially necessitated being taught the Serdstead dialect, most ultimately regarded the new standard positively. The popularity of the Nationalist standard ultimately soured, however, when the Nationalist party took increasingly ultranationalist policy stances. Private documents were required to follow the spelling standards, and speaking local dialects in public areas was made a punishable offense. Whilst the extent to which these were actually carried out varied, the perception remained well after Ottonian annexation that the Nationalists had used modernization as a tool to suppress areas outside of Serdstead.  
+
Despite several critics, the Roarson standard was well-received. Even if spellings and grammar like ''I kann skjo dan nyi kotzin his'' ("I can see his new cat") were often utter breaks from Rolfson's ''Ic cann sjå þann nýa cattinn his'', the public generally viewed the modernization as finally bringing literacy within much closer reach of vast swathes of the public. Even if this essentially necessitated being taught the Serdstead dialect, most ultimately regarded the new standard positively. The popularity of the Nationalist standard ultimately soured, however, when the Nationalist party took increasingly ultranationalist policy stances. Private documents were required to follow the spelling standards, and speaking local dialects in public areas was made a punishable offense. Whilst the extent to which these were actually carried out varied, the perception remained well after Ottonian annexation that the Nationalists had used modernization as a tool to suppress areas outside of Serdstead.  
  
 
====The Raskson standard (c. 1930-present)====
 
====The Raskson standard (c. 1930-present)====
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In 1918, Jugar Raskson began attempting to reconstruct the pronunciation of Old Erish. Though the texts of the time gave hints, Raskson was interested in finding out the specifics of how the language would have actually sounded. This necessitated his travels to various corners of the Erish-speaking realm, noting sound developments and what the correspondences between them could suggest about the finer details he was interested in. By 1923, Raskson had developed a detailed enough analysis that he gathered a group of friends and family together to listen to a speech in Old Erish he proclaimed was the first time the language had truly been spoken in centuries. Despite certain inaccuracies, it was not a claim without merit. For his reconstruction, Raskson used the orthographic standards of Rolfson, viewing them as the most succinct method of describing Old Erish pronunciation. He did, however, introduce the letters ''ę'' and ''ǫ'' for the Old Erish vowels /ɛ/ and /ɔ/, which had previously not been consistently reflected in the orthography, and replaced ''å'' with ''á''.
 
In 1918, Jugar Raskson began attempting to reconstruct the pronunciation of Old Erish. Though the texts of the time gave hints, Raskson was interested in finding out the specifics of how the language would have actually sounded. This necessitated his travels to various corners of the Erish-speaking realm, noting sound developments and what the correspondences between them could suggest about the finer details he was interested in. By 1923, Raskson had developed a detailed enough analysis that he gathered a group of friends and family together to listen to a speech in Old Erish he proclaimed was the first time the language had truly been spoken in centuries. Despite certain inaccuracies, it was not a claim without merit. For his reconstruction, Raskson used the orthographic standards of Rolfson, viewing them as the most succinct method of describing Old Erish pronunciation. He did, however, introduce the letters ''ę'' and ''ǫ'' for the Old Erish vowels /ɛ/ and /ɔ/, which had previously not been consistently reflected in the orthography, and replaced ''å'' with ''á''.
  
Soon after his speech, Raskson gradually came to the realization that he had enough information that he could create an orthography that reflected common sound developments whilst preserving the sound correspondences between dialects. Over the next four years, Raskson worked to create a new written standard he viewed as reflecting the ''grundmál'' ("fundamental language") underlying Modern Erish. When the 1927 Erish Language Conference
+
Soon after his speech, Raskson gradually came to the realization that he had enough information that he could create an orthography that reflected common sound developments whilst preserving the sound correspondences between dialects. Over the next four years, Raskson worked to create a new written standard he viewed as reflecting the ''grundmál'' ("fundamental language") underlying Modern Erish. In practice, Raskson's standard slightly favored Western dialects in terms of phonology - for example, ''ð'' is only still pronounced in Western dialects, where it is often identical to ''d'', whilst ''í'' and ''ý'' are only distinct from ''i'' and ''y'' in said dialects. However, the grammatical norms of Raskson's standard were much more in line with Baylands and Eastern dialects - for example, grammatical case is distinct in all but the neuter singular (Western dialects only distinguish case in the masculine and feminine singular), and strong verbs still have a distinct ''-ur(t)'' suffix from the weak verb's ''-ar(t)'' (whereas Western dialects use ''-or(t)'' for both).
  
 
===Old Erish-Modern Erish correspondences===
 
===Old Erish-Modern Erish correspondences===
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| ⟨œ⟩ || ''grœns'' ("green") || ⟨ø⟩ || ''grøns'' ("green") ||
 
| ⟨œ⟩ || ''grœns'' ("green") || ⟨ø⟩ || ''grøns'' ("green") ||
 
|}
 
|}
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==Dialects==
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===Phonology===
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 +
====Unstressed vowels====
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 +
Old Erish had three unstressed vowels: /ɑ,i,u/. The evolution of these three vowels has depended upon dialect:
 +
* Most Eastern dialects, as well as some southerly Baylands dialects, all but preserve /a,ɪ,ʊ/.
 +
* Several Bayland dialects keep three unstressed vowels, but shift the unstressed vowels to /a,e,o/
 +
* Westerly dialects, as well as some northerly Baylands dialects, reduce the tripartite system to /e,o/.
 +
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===Grammar===
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====Oblique case====
 +
 +
All Erish dialects retain two distinct cases, nominative and oblique, but the manner in which this case system works somewhat differs depending upon whether a dialect's oblique case is derived from the Old Erish ''dative'' or ''accusative'' case. The written language, as well as Eastern dialects and many Baylands dialects, are ''dative'' dialects, though they do have some oblique case forms which are accusative in origin. "Accusativity" is a stereotypically Western feature, but some Baylands dialects, including the traditional dialect of Serdstead, are accusative dialects, though several pronouns have oblique case forms which are dative in origin.
 +
 +
Dative and accusative dialects essentially have two major differences:
 +
* Dative dialects distinguish case in the plural, whilst accusative dialects use the nominative plural for the oblique plural in most contexts.
 +
** '''Dative:''' ''Úlvas átu fiskun'' ("The wolves ate the fish")
 +
** '''Accusative:''' ''Úlvos áto fiskos''
 +
* The case morphology of accusative dialects has systematic differences from dative dialects:
 +
** The strong adjective singular oblique is normally ''-o'' for both masculine and feminine nouns instead of a distinct ''-un'' and ''-ra''.
 +
*** '''Dative:''' ''Ig sá gódun mann and gódra kvinna'' ("I saw a good man and a good woman")
 +
*** '''Accusative:''' ''Ig sá gódo mann end gódo kvinno''
 +
** First and sixth declension nouns use the definite feminine singular oblique suffixes ''-en'' and ''-jen'' instead of ''-an'' and ''-jan''.
 +
*** '''Dative:''' ''Dú havirt jårðan and sädjan'' ("You have the soil and the seed")
 +
*** '''Accusative:''' ''Dú havert jårðen end sädjen''
 +
* A less important, but still notable third difference is that verbs with an oblique subject do not exist in accusative dialects.
 +
** '''Dative:''' ''Hundin er varmt'' ("The dog is warm")
 +
** '''Accusative:''' ''Hundes er värms''
 +
 +
The presence of accusativity is highly linked to whether a dialect has three or two unstressed vowels. Dialects with only /e,o/ are always accusative, whilst almost all dialects with either /a,i,u/ or /a,e,o/ are dative. It is generally agreed that accusative dialects were the first to collapse the Old Erish case system into the modern nominative-oblique case system, perhaps during the 1500s, whilst dative dialects preserved a nominative-accusative-dative distinction for longer. Beyond grammatical hints in errors, the nominative vs. accusative-dative distinction of dative dialects is typologically unusual for a Germanic language; it may be plausible that the two-case system of accusative dialects ultimately engendered the collapse of dative dialects into nominative-oblique, though this does not explain why dative forms over accusative forms were chosen.
 +
 +
==Phonology==
 +
 +
The phonology of Erish has a degree of variability between dialects, particularly with regards to the development of certain Old Erish vowels. Overall, however, the dialect of Havnstead serves as a common standard of pronunciation, under which traditional dialectal phonologies are increasingly influenced into becoming regional variations of the standard. Although the presence of those dialectal pronunciations has risen in recent years, media broadcasters on television and radio predominantly follow those Havnstead norms.
 +
 +
===Vowels===
 +
 +
Similar to other Germanic languages, Erish has a large vowel inventory, having 18 phonemic monophthongs, as well as six allophonic diphthongs. The Havnstead dialect is usually considered a Bayland dialect for, amongst many reasons, shifting the Old Erish long back vowel, characteristically a trait of those dialects. However, it monophthongizes the Old Erish dipthongs, a trait more associated with the East or West.
 +
 +
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center"
 +
! rowspan="3" | || colspan="4" | {{wpl|Front vowel|Front}} || rowspan=2 colspan="2" | {{wpl|Central vowel|Central}} || rowspan=2 colspan="2" | {{wpl|Back vowel|Back}}
 +
|-
 +
! colspan=2 | {{wpl|Roundedness|unrounded}} || colspan=2 | {{wpl|Roundedness|rounded}}
 +
|-
 +
! <small>short</small> || <small>long</small> || <small>short</small> || <small>long</small> || <small>short</small> || <small>long</small> || <small>short</small> || <small>long</small>
 +
|-
 +
! {{wpl|Close vowel|Close}}
 +
| {{wpl|Near-close near-front unrounded vowel|ɪ}} || {{wpl|Close front unrounded vowel|iː}} || {{wpl|Near-close near-front rounded vowel|ʏ}} || {{wpl|Close front rounded vowel|yː}} || || {{wpl|Close central rounded vowel|ʉː}} || {{wpl|Near-close near-back rounded vowel|ʊ}} || {{wpl|Close back rounded vowel|uː}}
 +
|-
 +
! {{wpl|Close-mid vowel|Close-mid}}
 +
| || {{wpl|Close-mid front unrounded vowel|eː}} || || {{wpl|Close-mid front rounded vowel|øː}} || {{wpl|Close-mid central rounded vowel|ɵ}} || || || {{wpl|Close-mid back rounded vowel|oː}}
 +
|-
 +
! {{wpl|Open-mid vowel|Open-mid}}
 +
| {{wpl|Open-mid front unrounded vowel|ɛ}} || {{wpl|Open-mid front unrounded vowel|ɛː}} || {{wpl|Open-mid front rounded vowel|œ}} || || || || {{wpl|Open-mid back rounded vowel|ɔ}} || {{wpl|Open-mid back rounded vowel|ɔː}}
 +
|-
 +
! {{wpl|Open vowel|Open}}
 +
| || || || || {{wpl|Open central unrounded vowel|a}} || || || {{wpl|Open back unrounded vowel|ɑː}}
 +
|}
 +
 +
* The inventory of 18 monophthongs can alternatively be analyzed as 10 monophthongs which have long and short allophones that occur based upon syllable stress and structure.
 +
** The long allophones occur when they are stressed and followed by no more than a single, ungeminated consonant. The short allophones occur in all other contexts, or before an approximant /j,ʋ/ that is in syllable coda. This is the analysis essentially underlying Erish orthography.
 +
* Roundedness allophonically falls into two categories
 +
** Compression, which is used by close non-front rounded vowels, making /ɵ~ʉː,ʊ~uː/ typically [ɘ<sup>β</sup>~ɨ<sup>β</sup>ː,ʊ<sup>β</sup>~ɯ<sup>β</sup>ː]. Because /ʉː/ typically has a fairly advanced quality, this makes compression one of the key distinguishing traits from /yː/.
 +
** All other rounded vowels use protrusion, making /ɔ~oː,ɔ~ɔː,ʏ~yː,œ~øː/ typically [ʌʷ~ɤʷː,ʌʷ~ʌʷː,ɪʷ~iʷː,ɛʷ~eʷː]. Similar to the situation between the central and front rounded vowels, the long mid-close front rounded vowel is heavily distinguished from the short mid-close central vowel by protrusion (as well as length), as the latter vowel is also fairly advanced.
 +
* The short qualities of the vowel pairs given here may vary depending upon dialect. Bayland and Western Erish dialects tend to use the distinct qualities, whilst Eastern dialects just use the long vowel's quality for both short and long (though the open vowel tends to then instead have a central [ä] quality). Incidentally, the dialects which use the latter system may distinguish /ɛ(ː),ɔ(ː)/ completely from /e(ː),o(ː)/, though just as many have them completely merge with /a(ː)/.
 +
* Erish has six diphthongs which can be analyzed as a sequence of vowel plus approximant, the latter of which is typically in syllable coda before another consonant.
 +
** /aj/, as in ''sagdi'' "I/he said" [ˈsaɪ̯ðɪ]
 +
** /aʋ/, as in ''ravn'' "raven" [ˈɽaʊ̯n]
 +
** /ej/, as in ''regn'' "rain" [ˈɽɛɪ̯n]
 +
** /eʋ/, as in ''stevn'' "voice" [ˈstɛʊ̯n]
 +
** /oj/, as in ''fugl'' "bird" [ˈfɔɪ̯l]
 +
** /oʋ/, as in ''Håvnstäd'' "Havenstead" [ˌhɔʊ̯nˈstɛːð]
 +
* Only the vowels /a,ɪ,ʊ/ occur in unstressed syllables of native vocabulary or inflectional suffixes. Other vowels in these positions are only found in loanwords.
 +
 +
===Consonants===
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 +
Erish has a similar consonant inventory to Norwegian or Swedish, having palatalized consonants, allophonic retroflexion by /ɽ/, and no phonemically voiced fricatives. However, the allophony of these consonants heavily differs from those languages.
 +
 +
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center;"
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="2" | || {{wpl|Labial consonant|Labial}} || {{wpl|Alveolar consonant|Alveolar}} || {{wpl|Retroflex consonant|Retroflex}} || {{wpl|Palatal consonant|Palatal}} || {{wpl|Velar consonant|Velar}} || {{wpl|Glottal consonant|Glottal}}
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="2" | {{wpl|Nasal consonant|Nasal}}
 +
| {{wpl|Voiced bilabial nasal|m}} || {{wpl|Voiced alveolar nasal|n}} || ({{wpl|Voiced retroflex nasal|ɳ}}) || || {{wpl|Voiced velar nasal|ŋ}} ||
 +
|-
 +
! rowspan="2" | {{wpl|Stop consonant|Plosive}} || {{small|{{wpl|voicelessness|voiceless}}}}
 +
| {{wpl|Voiceless bilabial stop|p}} || {{wpl|Voiceless alveolar stop|t}} || ({{wpl|Voiceless retroflex stop|ʈ}}) || || {{wpl|Voiceless velar stop|k}} || ({{wpl|Voiceless glottal stop|ʔ}})
 +
|-
 +
! {{small|{{wpl|voice (phonetics)|voiced}}}}
 +
| {{wpl|Voiced bilabial stop|b}} || {{wpl|Voiced alveolar stop|d}} || || || {{wpl|Voiced velar stop|g}} ||
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="2" | {{wpl|Fricative consonant|Fricative}}
 +
| {{wpl|Voiceless labiodental fricative|f}} || {{wpl|Voiceless alveolar sibilant|s}} || {{wpl|Voiceless retroflex sibilant|ʂ}} || {{wpl|Voiceless palatal fricative|ç}} || ({{wpl|Voiceless velar fricative|x}}) || {{wpl|Voiceless glottal fricative|h}}
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="2" | {{wpl|Approximant consonant|Approximant}}
 +
| {{wpl|Voiced labiodental approximant|ʋ}} || {{wpl|Voiced alveolar lateral approximant|l}} || ({{wpl|Voiced retroflex lateral approximant|ɭ}}) || {{wpl|Voiced palatal approximant|j}} || ({{wpl|Voiced labiovelar approximant|w}}) ||
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="2" | {{wpl|Rhotic consonant|Rhotic}}
 +
| || || {{wpl|Voiced retroflex tap|ɽ}} || || ||
 +
|}
 +
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* Geminated nasal consonants /mː,nː/, as well as all instances of /ŋ/ where it is not followed by another consonant (phonetically [ŋː]), cause nasalization of the preceding consonant, as seen in ''kynga'' "queen" [ˈçʏ̃˧˩ŋːa˥˩].
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* Similar to English and several other Germanic languages, the voiceless plosives /p/, /t/, and /k/ have aspiration in stressed syllable onsets [pʰ, tʰ, kʰ] (''úniversitet'' [ɵnɪβæːʂɪˈtʰeːt] "university") without an intervening consonant to the vowel nucleus, except when preceded by /s/. Word-initially, these aspirates are affricated, resulting in ''person'' "(legal) person" [ˈp͡ɸæːʂɔn], ''ting'' "thing" [ˈt͡sɪŋː], ''kona'' "wife" [ˈk͡xoː˧˩na˥˩].
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* The voiced plosives /b/, /d/, and /g/ are realized in word-initial, geminated, and post-nasal contexts as full voiced plosives (though /g/ never occurs in post-nasal contexts); /d/ is also realized as [d] after /l/. In other contexts, they are lenited to fricative [β,ð,ɣ], as in ''håvuð'' "head" [ˈhɔː˧˩βʊ˥˩], ''kod'' "(computer) code" [ˈk͡xoːð], and ''kríg'' "war" [ˈkɽ̥iːɣ].
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** This is not a continuation of the original Germanic system of fricative allophones for the voiced consonants, because words like ''av'' "of" [aʊ̯] and ''bað'' "bath" [ˈbɑː] would then have these allophones. Moreover, words with an initial g like ''gá'' "go" [ˈgoː] should have a [ɣ] if that was the case.
 +
** A preceding /ɽ/ phoneme does not trigger retroflexion of /d/, as seen in ''ord'' [ˈɒɽð] meaning that this sound change most likely occurred during the 1700s, after the original voiced fricative allophones had been lost or hardened, but before /r/ become retroflexed.
 +
* Standard Erish does not allow for consonant clusters made by two plosives (discounting geminates), so it lenits the first plosive in such clusters to a fricative, and then devoices both (if applicable), like in ''byggdi'' "I/he built" [ˈbʏxtɪ].
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** The presence of this by dialect somewhat varies - particularly in the Baylands (southern Erishland), it is still possible to have [ˈbʏgdɪ], and other dialects may lenit but not devoice, making [ˈbʏɣdɪ].
 +
** Those that do do both, however, create a phonemic /x/, since /k/ and /g/ merge in that context.
 +
* The sonorants /n,ʋ,l,ɽ/ have voiceless allophones when they are part of an onset in which they are preceded by a voiceless obstruent, as seen in ''frýsa'' "to freeze" [ˈfɽ̥yːsa]. Depending upon dialect, the voiceless [ʋ̥] may be realized as a fricative [f], as in ''kvinna'' "woman" [ˈkfɪ̃˧˩nːa˥˩].
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* The labial consonants become labiodental when followed by an alveolar consonant, as seen in the word ''bistimmd'' ("definite") [bɪˈstɪɱd].
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** In dialects which lenit the first plosive in a consonant cluster with another plosive, this is the reason why /p/ (and potentially /b/) in consonant clusters with another plosive merge with /f/, as seen in ''køyptirt'' ("you bought") [ˈk͡xœftɪʈ].
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* The retroflex nasal, plosive, approximant, and fricative are allophones of /ɽ/ plus their alveolar counterpart. The stressed mid-open vowels /ɛ(ː),ɔ(ː)/ lower to [æ(ː),ɒ(ː)] before /ɽ/. Retroflexion of these consonants causes stressed vowels to lengthen. All three of these phenomenon can be seen in the word ''hjårtu'' "hearts" [ˈjɒː˧˩ʈʊ˥˩], which is phonemically /ˈjɔɽ˧˩tʊ˥˩/.
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* /ʋ/ only realizes its phonemic value word-initially; in syllable coda, it forms a diphthong with the preceding vowel, as seen in ''Håvnstäd'' "Havnstead (Erish city)" [ˌhɔʊ̯nˈstɛːð], phonemically /ˌhaʋnˈsteːd/.
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** The labiodental approximant /ʋ/ is realized as a voiced labiodental fricative [v] when followed by a liquid word-initially, as seen in ''vrist'' "wrist" [ˈvɽɪst].
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* /j/ may also form a diphthong in syllable coda, as seen in ig "I" [ˈɛɪ̯], phonemically /ˈɛj/
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* In syllable coda, non-geminated /l/ is realized as a dark [ɫ].
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* Vowels standing in hiatus have an allophonic glide between them based upon their point of articulation (diphthongs are also affected by this):
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** High front vowels are followed by an allophonic [j], as in ''nýa'' "new" [ˈnyːja]
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** High back vowels are followed by an allophonic [w], as in ''róis'' "calm" [ˈruː˧˩wɪs˥˩]
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** Non-high vowels before a high front vowel are followed by [ʝ], as in ''blái'' "blue" [ˈblɔːʝɪ]
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** Non-high vowels before a high back vowel are followed by [w], as in ''bláun'' "blue" [ˈblɔːwʊn]
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** Non-high vowels before an open vowel are followed by [ʔ], as in ''bláa'' "blue" [ˈblɔːʔa]
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===Prosody===
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Similar to several Nordic languages, Erish is a {{wpl|pitch-accent language}} with two tones: a neutral tone and a rising tone. Whilst the tone distinction is not particularly distinctive, there are nonetheless a few hundred Erish words which are only phonemically distinct by tone. For example, ''mannis'' "the man" [ˈmãnːɪs] has neutral tone, whilst ''Mannis'' "Manni (Erish god)" [ˈmã˧˩nːɪs˥˩]. These tones generally correspond to originally monosyllabic words (neutral tone) and polysyllabic words (rising tone) in Old Erish, though there are several exceptions, particularly with loanwords.
  
 
==Grammar==
 
==Grammar==

Revision as of 04:00, 1 July 2020

Erish
ärskið
Pronunciation[ˈæːʂkɪ]
Native toErishland
EthnicityErish
Native speakers
7.5 million (2019)
Early forms
  • Old Erish
    • Middle Erish
      • Early Modern Erish
Latin
Official status
Official language in
Erishland
Regulated byErish Language Council
Language codes
ISO 639-1er
ISO 639-2ers
ISO 639-3ers
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Erish (Havnstead Erish: ärskið [ˈæːʂkɪ]) is a West Germanic language spoken by over seven million people, mainly in Erishland, where it is the native and official language. It is most closely related to languages like Anglish or Allamunnic, though extended contact with Nordic languages has significantly influenced it. Erish is divided into the Bayland, Eastern, and Western dialect groups, which exist in a dialect continuum where Erish becomes increasingly mutually unintelligible the further one's dialects are from one another.

The earliest form of Erish, known as Old Erish, was brought to the region of modern Erishland by the Erish people during the Allamunnic migrations in the 400s. During this period, the Erish language somewhat evolved alongside Old Norse, adopting many features and changes alongside the language. After the introduction of the Latin script in the 900s, a literary period began which continued through the start of Middle Erish, marked by its independence from the Kingdom of Staalmark in 1297. Middle Erish would be marked by a drastic phonological and morphological restructuring, as the complex grammar of Old Erish changed under the pressure of the erosion of unstressed syllables, and the Erish dialects began to diverge. Modern Erish is traditionally distinguished from Early Modern Erish, the latter of which is considered to have begun in the late 1700s and ended with Ottonian annexation in 1867. Modern Erish itself is periodized as beginning with the literary movements of the early 20th century, which sought to reassert a new, modern Erish national identity, and later establish a modern standard language.

Though Erish is more closely related to West Germanic languages like Anglish or Allamunnic, extended contact with Nordic speakers has profoundly influenced the language. It has adopted many features of those languages, including vocabulary like kjåt ("meat"), and grammar like suffixed definite articles or a default subject-verb-object syntax. Grammatically speaking, the language has fairly conservative features like two grammatical cases or three genders, but there is significant discontinuity between Old Erish and Modern Erish grammar. Similar to other Germanic languages, it has a high number of vowels, with the de facto standard Havnstead dialect having 18 phonemic vowels.

Classification

Erish is an Indo-European language which belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Germanic languages. The West Germanic languages are divided into four branches: Ingvaeonic, which includes languages like Anglish, Irminonic, which includes German, Istvaeonic, which includes Dutch, and Northern, which includes Erish. Despite its West Germanic origins, extensive contact with Nordic languages has influenced the language to the point where it is much more in line with those languages than it is its sisters; up until the emergence of modern linguistics within the past two centuries, Erish was actually thought to be a Nordic Germanic language, if one with some peculiarities. Erish itself is divided into three dialect clusters: Bayland Erish, Eastern Erish, and Western Erish. These clusters exist in a dialect continuum in which, at the extreme ends, speakers of the same Erish language may find it difficult to understand one another, especially in informal registers.

Genetically speaking, Erish is a West Germanic language. This was not particularly apparent to many up until the emergence of modern linguistics, and the eventual realization that some of the apparent peculiarities of Erish as a Nordic language were actually indications of its West Germanic origins. Some of the evidence pointing towards this includes:

  • Word-final d - Erish has hardened the reflex of Proto-Germanic *ð to d in all positions, a sound change which occurred in Proto-West Germanic, but not in the Nordic languages. This results in vocabulary like blad ("leaf"), húd ("skin"), or víd ("wide"), which should have been *blað, *húð, and *víð if Erish was Nordic.
  • Reflex of Proto-Germanic *z - In both Old Erish and Modern Erish, masculine nouns of the first declension like stein ("stone"), for example, have an indefinite/specific singular nominative form hund, but an indefinite/specific plural nominative hundar; were Erish Nordic, the Old Erish singular form would have been *hunds. The singular form's lack of s, the word-final reflex of *z in Erish, reflects the loss of unstressed word-final *z in Proto-West Germanic; the plural form's -r reflects a Proto-West Germanic -ōzi, related to Old Frisian -ar.
  • Absence of Holtzmann's law - Erish reflexes of Proto-Germanic vocabulary with geminated semi-vowels *jj and *ww lack the expected hardening, and instead display the reanalysis of the first semi-vowel to the second element of diphthongs, a sound change common to West Germanic languages. Erish vocabulary like ei ("egg (archaic)") and trýs ("true") would be egg and trygg were this the case (Modern Erish egg is a borrowing from Old Norse).
  • Core grammatical words - Erish has several key grammatical words which cannot be sufficiently explained as being Nordic in origin. Forms of Erish vocabulary like hira ("her") and júg ("you") should be *hirar and *iðr if that were the case, but are explainable from coming from a Proto-West Germanic *hezō and *iuw.
  • West Germanic gemination - Words like bidda ("to ask"), häbba ("to have"), sägga ("to say") should be *biða, *hava, and *sägja if Erish was Nordic. Instead, their forms are an indication that Erish was affected by West Germanic gemination, where consonants other than *r or *z were lengthened before Proto-Germanic *j.

Despite its roots, the extended contact with speakers of Nordic Germanic languages has made Erish much more akin to a Nordic language than a West Germanic language. Indeed, Erish has changed enough through exposure to languages like Norsk that it is considered to be in a North Germanic sprachbund with them, sharing features like:

  • Common phonological developments - Old Erish underwent many of the same sound changes seen in Old Norse, possibly driven by the relative mutual intelligibility of the languages at their earliest stages. such as loss of word-initial j or vowel breaking, resulting in Modern Erish vocabulary like ár "year" (cf. Norsk år) and jårð (cf. Norsk jord).
  • Common vocabulary - Erish shares a great deal of basic vocabulary with these languages which were either directly inherited and maintained in Erish despite being usually lost in other closely related West Germanic languages, or was loaned from the Nordic languages. Examples of the former include ský ("cloud") from Old Erish scý (cf. Norsk sky), gammals ("old") from Old Erish gamals (cf. Norsk gammel), and stórs ("big") from Old Erish stœrs (cf. Norsk stor). Old Norse loans include skóg ("forest") from Old Norse skógr (cf. Norsk skog), kjåt ("meat") from Old Norse kjǫt (cf. Norsk kjøtt), and, potentially, taka ("to take") from Old Norse taka (cf. Norsk taka).
  • Plural -r marker - The earliest runic inscriptions of Old Erish seem to indicate that the "r-plural" of nouns is a direct inheritance from Proto-Germanic, but it was initially restricted to certain masculine nouns. Old Norse influence, however, likely led to its extension as a generic plural marker for non-neuter nouns.
  • Suffixed definite article - The Erish definite article is suffixed to a noun, as seen in the sentence Ig sjá mannin ("I see the man"), where mann "man" has had the definite article attached (cf. Norsk Eg ser mannen). In a situation where a definite noun is preceded by an adjective, as in the Nordic languages, a demonstrative, normally deis ("that"), must then also precede the adjective, Ig sjá dein gammli mannin ("I see the old man") (cf. Norsk Eg ser den gamle mannen).
  • Subject-verb-object V2 syntax - Erish has a syntax far more similar to the Nordic languages than to most of its West Germanic relatives. The sentence Ig kann køyra him til Serdstadin mið bilin mínun í dag "I can drive him to Serdstead with my car today" has a very different word order from Dutch Ik kan hem vandaag met mijn auto naar Serdstad rijden (lit. "I can him today with my car to Serdstead drive"), but one essentially identical to Norsk Eg kan køyra han til Serdstad med bilen min i dag.
  • Mediopassive construction - Erish has an analytic mediopassive voice formed by the verb blíva ("to become") and a present participle, which fulfills the same role as the -s/-st mediopassive found in Nordic languages. The sentences Ríkarð and Fródi blíva slándu ("Rikard and Frodi are fighting") and Dyri kann blíva opnanda ("The door can be opened"), for example, corresponds to Norsk Rikard og Frodi slåst and Døra kan opnast.

History

Old Erish

The history of the Erish language begins in the prehistory of the Erish people, who spoke West Germanic dialects. When the Allamunnic migrations occurred in the 400s, however, Erish would be isolated from its sister languages, and begin the extended contact with Nordic speakers which has occurred ever since. During this period of Erish history, the differences between Proto-Erish and Proto-Norse were so relatively minor that mutual intelligibility would have been possible. This likely played into Old Erish undergoing numerous phonological, grammatical, and lexical developments alongside Old Norse. By the end of the Old Erish period, Erish was far more similar to Old Norse than relatives like Old Anglish. The period also saw the emergence of the literary period which continues to be a culture base for the Erish in the present day, though the Old Erish language itself can be difficult, if not impossible for Modern Erish speakers to understand without help.

The Erish people first settled what is now Erishland in the 400s, moving in the Allamunnic migrations. Though attestations are fairly scarce for Erish for the first few centuries, parts of even the modern Erish language itself attest to the extremely close contact which occurred even at its early stages. Core Erish vocabulary like kjåt ("meat") and ving ("wing") are Old Norse loans. Old Erish would also participate in many of the sound changes which occurred in the Nordic languages, resulting in Old Erish words like hjalpa ("to help"), jǫrð ("earth"), and yngs ("young") (cf. Old Norse hjalpa, jǫrð, ungr). It would even develop grammatical features like suffixed definite articles or subject-verb-object word order, which are common to the Nordic languages. These commonalities perhaps reflect the degree to which Proto-Erish and Proto-Norse were similar enough that common developments could affect speakers of both languages. Nevertheless, Old Erish did undergo a few distinct changes. the most important of them being the word-final devoicing of Proto-West Germanic *z to s, facilitating, for example, the alternation between hundar ("dogs") and hundas ("the dogs") which occurs in Modern Erish.

Early attestations of Erish in runic inscriptions appear throughout the latter half of the first millennium, sometimes being difficult to distinguish from Norse, but it was a predominantly oral language for the first part of its history. When Christianization missions reached Erishland in the 900s, they brought with them the Latin script. Though Erishland would ultimately remain pagan, local leaders saw the value of writing, and the Latin script remained. Though Old Erish became more consistently attested, it would take until the mid-1000s for the period most associated with Old Erish in Erish culture to finally begin, when poetry that had been oral for sometimes centuries began to be written down. These included heroic poetry like Gunnar Eldhúsins ("Gundar of the Burnt House"), which tells the tale of Gundar Grimuson and his efforts to avenge the death of his entire family, early poems describing Mannins, the first being in what would come to be the Ardist creation myth. Gradually, this literary period exploded into the foundations for Erish culture, laying down the histories of the Lands, documenting the wisdom and accounts of Thyles, and establishing the body of sacred texts for the Ardist faith. Though initially these texts were fairly varied, reflecting the Erish dialects of the time, the written Erish language gradually solidified into the standard based upon the dialect of Serdstead with the rise of the House of Tosk. After the creation of Erishland in 1297, the Old Erish period drew to a close, though the standardization of the literary language, combined with the cultural significance of the time, would mean that Old Erish would continue to be written well after it had stopped being spoken - as it may have already been doing.

The conservative nature of the Erish written language means basic vocabulary in Old Erish is somewhat recognizable, especially after normalization: Old Erish Ic com frá Ärsclandi ("I come from Erishland") is similar to Ig komi frá Ärsklandið. Nonetheless, the grammatical differences, and even orthographic differences, between the two languages can make reading difficult without either knowledge of Old Erish or a translation. Old Erish had a complex system of four grammatical cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative) for which nominals declined, and verbs conjugated for person in the plural, the subjunctive mood, and fell into many more irregular conjugations. Though the standard Erish language and many dialects are fairly conservative in some senses, the morphological differences between the two languages can make reading even more confusing. It is thought that the written language of Old Erish, especially starting in the 1200s, reflects an increasingly conservative version of the Erish language, given how certain errors which seem to be indicative of features associated with Middle Erish begin to appear.

Middle Erish

Middle Erish is the most formative period of time for the shape of the modern Erish language, being the era in which the language was drastically restructured in terms of grammar and phonology. Unfortunately, it is also not particularly well attested - the best attestations usually come from scribes proscribing grammatical or pronunciation "errors" made in common speech.

The Middle Erish language saw a number of changes which have shaped the nature of the modern Erish language spoken today. In terms of phonology, several unstressed, ungeminated voiced consonants were lost, and the voiceless dental fricative /θ/ merged with /t/ or, very rarely, /d/. Palatalization of the velar consonants, alongside some alveolars, changed the pronunciation of many consonants. The long back vowels shifted, and the Old Erish diphthongs monophthongized. Despite these changes and others, the Old Erish unstressed vowels /a,i,u/ were mostly preserved, though they were also dropped completely in several contexts where other Germanic languages which have merged unstressed vowels preserve them. These sound changes helped drive the grammatical changes which occurred during the period. Phonological erosion of the weak verb conjugations' past tense suffix eventually led to an analytic construction involving gjera ("to do") that overtook a conjugated past tense in most verbs (though several common verbs retain it). Although Modern Erish has a fairly robust case system, the Old Erish case system underwent significant reductions: the genitive case disappeared outside of a few pronouns and the form of the feminine singular dative, whilst the accusative and dative cases gradually merged into the modern oblique case.

Despite these changes to the language, the written language continued to be Old Erish, generally following the grammatical and spelling conventions established by the late 1200s. The only major changes arose from the introduction of the printing press, which led to the replacement of older characters like ð or þ with digraphs like dh and th. This led to Middle Erish (and the early part of the Early Modern Erish period) having fairly distinctive writing conventions if it is not normalized - a Middle Erish equivalent of the phrase Ig vill gjeva him deira nýa bókin ("I want to give him that new book"), for example, would be Ic uill gefa himmi tha(a) nuyu bookina. Despite this conservation of the Old Erish written language, there were early debates over modernizing the language. Queen Ljosna I notably attempted to mandate that the official written language reflect the modern court speech of Serdstead, but failed to achieve any lasting change. Nonetheless, these debates foreshadowed what would come during the Early Modern Erish era.

Early Modern Erish

The Early Modern Erish era was essentially defined by a widespread debate about the modernization of the written language, and, to a lesser extent, whether the dialect of Serdstead or Havnstead should form the basis for a modern spoken standard. With the sudden arrival of the Republican era of Erish history, and the rise of the Nationalist party, essentially resolved the debate by force, attempting to promote a modern, standardized language based on the dialect of Serdstead. Ultimately, the Early Modern Erish era would end with the annexation of Erishland by Ottonia and the failure of the Nationalist effort.

Important features of Modern Erish arose during the Early Modern Erish period. Retroflexion of alveolar consonants after /r/ became a major feature of many Erish dialects during this time, as well as the allophonic lenition of voiced plosives to fricatives in several contexts. Grammatically, the past tense began to further atrophy as dialects began replacing the Middle Erish gjera ("to do") construction with the perfect tense; though the past tense is still present in Modern Erish, it is much less commonly used than the perfect, outside of Western dialects. Several dialects in the West began losing pitch accent as well.

Modern Erish

Following Ottonian annexation, the written Erish language effectively ceased to exist, and the standard that the Nationalist regime had promoted died with it. With the new language of prestige being Anglish, the Erish language was relegated to being a spoken language, and, for decades, writing, much less reading Erish was a narrow pedantic pursuit. During this time, Anglish vocabulary began to more steadily enter the language.

The rebirth of the written Erish language, and the beginnings of Modern Erish, would in some ways perhaps be founded upon the realization that Erish was not a Nordic language. The renewed interest this brought in the older stages of Erish amongst those who were literate at the very least coincided with the emergence of new literary works in Erish like Ütlandlingas ("The Exiles") or Heusi av Graimin ("The House of Grimm"), and authors like Thjudrik Rolfson. This new literary revival, in its early years, often was written according to the dialect of the author, and not in Old Erish or the Nationalist standard. As the Erish independence movement began to strengthen, and modern technologies like the radio emerged, Havnstead once more became the center of a new emerging standard language, though this time it was unchallenged. Nonetheless, old arguments about how Old Erish should be modernized re-emerged, such that, by the time of independence in 1937, the provisional government's Erish Language Committee held initially intense debates over the matter. Ultimately, a fairly conservative modernization based upon the early 1800s normalization of Old Erish would be adopted by 1939 (though formally adopted in 1942). Despite some reforms since then, the 1939 modernization remains the basis of modern Erish orthography.

Written language

Modern Erish as a single, standard language is most realized in the written language, where its orthographic and grammatical conventions provide a unifying force that mitigates some of the issues created by the relative diversity amongst the Erish dialects. Speakers of Erish can and do often incorporate aspects of the written language's grammar that may not be present in their dialect into more formal registers, or when trying to communicate with someone speaking a dialect that may not be readily understood. There is no single standard of pronunciation of written Erish, with the official government policy being that pronunciation is proper insofar as it conforms to the phonology of one's own dialect (nevertheless, Havnstead's pronunciation has emerged as an informal standard).

Alphabet

The Erish alphabet is a Latin script which utilizes 21 characters of the standard Latin alphabet, alongside accented variants of a, i, o, u, and y and the additional letters ð, ä, å, and ø. In total, there are 30 letters in the Erish alphabet. In the following table, they and their names are listed alongside their pronunciation in the Havnstead dialect.

Letter Name IPA
A, a a [ˈɑː]
Á, á annað-a [ˈãnːa ˈɑː]
B, b be [ˈbeː]
D, d de [ˈdeː]
Ð, ð edd [ˈɛdː]
E, e e [ˈeː]
F, f eff [ˈɛfː]
G, g ge [ˈgeː]
H, h [ˈhoː]
I, i i [ˈiː]
Í, í annað-i [ˈãnːa ˈiː]
J, j je [ˈjeː]
K, k [ˈkʰoː]
L, l ell [ˈɛlː]
M, m emm [ˈæ̃mː]
N, n enn [ˈæ̃nː]
O, o o [ˈoː]
Ó, ó annað-o [ˈãnːa ˈoː]
P, p pe [ˈpʰeː]
R, r err [ˈæɽː]
S, s ess [ˈɛsː]
T, t te [ˈtʰeː]
U, u u [ˈuː]
Ú, ú annað-u [ˈãnːa ˈuː]
V, v ve [ˈʋeː]
Y, y y [ˈyː]
Ý, ý annað-y [ˈãnːa ˈyː]
Ä, ä ä [ˈɛː]
Å, å å [ˈɔː]
Ø, ø ø [ˈøː]

The letters C (se [ˈseː]), Q (ku [ˈkʰuː]), W (dobbult-ve [ˌdɔbːʊltˈʋeː]), X (iks [ˈɪks]), and Z (seta [ˈseːta]) are not official components of Erish orthography, and essentially only appear in proper names; otherwise, they are always replaced by ⟨k⟩ or ⟨s⟩, ⟨k⟩, ⟨v⟩, ⟨ks⟩, and ⟨s⟩.

Sound-spelling correspondences

As it is the dialect most typically taught to foreign students, as well as the de facto spoken standard, the pronunciation guide below, along with the rest of the article, reflects the pronunciation of the dialect of Havnstead.

Vowels

Erish monophthongs, or vowels represented by a single letter, always have a long or short pronunciation, with the long pronunciation occurring when the vowel is stressed and is followed by no more than a single consonant. Some unstressed grammatical words have irregularly short pronunciations, such as dað "the; that" [da], and Romance words like úniversitet "university" [ɵnɪβæːʂɪˈtʰeːt] have stress on the last syllable before a consonant, but this rule otherwise governs vowels. The Erish diphthongs, or vowels represented by a combination of two letters, can have a long or short pronunciation (though only when the phoneme it represents is actually a monophthong).

Grapheme Pronunciation Notes
Long Short
⟨a⟩ /ɑː/ /a/
⟨ag⟩ /aɪ̯/ Only at the end of some words, or before another consonant.
⟨av⟩ /aʊ̯/ Only at the end of some words, or before another consonant.
⟨á⟩, ⟨o⟩, ⟨ou⟩ /oː/ /ɔ/
⟨ág⟩, ⟨og⟩, ⟨óg⟩, ⟨ug⟩, ⟨úg⟩, ⟨åg⟩ /ɔɪ̯/ Only at the end of some words, or before another consonant.
⟨áv⟩, ⟨ov⟩, ⟨óv⟩, ⟨uv⟩, ⟨úv⟩, ⟨åv⟩ /ɔʊ̯/ Only at the end of some words, or before another consonant.
⟨e⟩, ⟨ei⟩ /eː/ /ɛ/
⟨eg⟩, ⟨ig⟩, ⟨íg⟩, ⟨äg⟩ /ɛɪ̯/ Only at the end of some words, or before another consonant.
⟨ev⟩, ⟨iv⟩, ⟨ív⟩, ⟨äv⟩ /ɛʊ̯/ Only at the end of some words, or before another consonant.
⟨i⟩, ⟨í⟩ /iː/ /ɪ/
⟨ó⟩, ⟨u⟩ /uː/ /ʊ/
⟨ú⟩ /ʉː/ /ɵ/
⟨y⟩, ⟨ý⟩ /yː/ /ʏ/
⟨yg⟩, ⟨ýg⟩, ⟨øg⟩ /œʏ̯/ Only at the end of some words, or before another consonant.
⟨yv⟩, ⟨ýv⟩, ⟨øv⟩ /œʊ̯/ Only at the end of some words, or before another consonant.
⟨æ⟩ /ɛː/ /ɛ/
⟨å⟩ /ɔː/ /ɔ/
⟨ø⟩, ⟨øy⟩ /øː/ /œ/

The way in which ⟨å⟩ is used is fairly distinctive to Erish orthography amongst the North Germanic sprachbund. Instead of representing the reflex of Old Erish /aː/, which would be similar to its use in the Nordic languages, it represents Old Erish /ɔ/ (/aː/ is instead represented by ⟨á⟩). Though some dialects do not distinguish ⟨å⟩ from ⟨á⟩, most generally do in their long pronunciations.

Consonants

Due to the variability with which consonants can be pronounced, explanatory notes about pronunciation will be provided below, though it should be noted that the pronunciation rules provided therein only apply within the context of a word, meaning that they are unaffected by being in a compound or by a non-grammatical affix.

Grapheme Phoneme(s) Example(s) Notes
⟨b⟩ /b/ ([b]) bidda "to ask"
[ˈbɪdːa]
At the beginning of words, as well as when geminated or after ⟨m⟩, ⟨b⟩ is pronounced as [b]. In other contexts, it is pronounced as [β], which is similar to English /v/. The distinction is not phonemic, instead being a matter of allophony.
/b/ ([β]) bebi "baby"
[ˈbeːβɪ]
⟨d⟩ /d/ ([d]) dóttur "daughter"
[ˈdʊt͡sːʊɽ]
At the beginning of words, as well as when geminated or after ⟨l⟩ or ⟨n⟩, ⟨d⟩ is pronounced as [d]. In other contexts, it is pronounced as [ð], which is similar to English /ð/ (as in "the"). The distinction is not phonemic, instead being a matter of allophony.
/d/ ([ð]) gód "good"
[ˈguːð]
⟨dt⟩ /tː/ ([t͡sː]) roudt "red"
[ˈɽɔt͡sː]
⟨ð⟩ /∅/ faðr "father"
[ˈfɑːɽ]
⟨ð⟩ is an etymological grapheme representing a historic /d/, /t/, or /θ/ which lenited to [ð]. In many dialects, including Havnstead, this [ð] completely disappeared. In such dialects, the resulting hiatus between vowels which often results is eliminated through the insertion of a gliding consonant between them. After ⟨i⟩, ⟨í⟩, ⟨y⟩, or ⟨ý⟩, or before ⟨i⟩, a [j] is pronounced; after ⟨u⟩ or ⟨ú⟩, or before ⟨u⟩, a [w] is pronounced; otherwise, there is simply a glottal stop [ʔ] between vowels.
/∅/ ([j]) líða "to suffer"
[ˈliːja]
/∅/ ([w]) bráðun "sudden"
[ˈbɽɑːwʊn]
/∅/ ([ʔ]) baðar "(he/she/it) bathes"
[ˈbɑːʔaɽ]
⟨f⟩ /f/ fjór "four"
[ˈfyːɽ]
⟨g⟩ /g/ [g] "to go"
[ˈgoː]
⟨g⟩ generally represents /g/, which is realized as a plosive [g] word-initially or when geminated before a non-front vowel or the end of a word.
/j/ ([j]) gift "poison"
[ˈjɪft]
Word-initially before the vowels ⟨i⟩, ⟨í⟩, ⟨y⟩, or ⟨ý⟩, it often represents /j/.
/g/ ([ʝ]) dagis "the day"
[ˈdɑːʝɪs]
In non-initial, non-geminated contexts before ⟨e⟩, ⟨ei⟩, ⟨i⟩, ⟨í⟩, ⟨y⟩, ⟨ý⟩, ⟨æ⟩, ⟨ø⟩, or ⟨øy⟩, it represents the palatal fricative allophone [ʝ].
/∅/ ([∅,j,w,ʔ]) ig "I"
[ˈiː]
In a few native Erish words or suffixes, a ⟨g⟩ at the end of a word or between two vowels is silent, often causing a glide like ⟨ð⟩.
/g/ ([ɣ]) skóg "forests"
[ˈskuːɣ]
In all other contexts, it is realized as a velar fricative [ɣ].
⟨gj⟩ /j/ gjera "to do"
[ˈjeː˧˩ɽa˥˩]
⟨ggj⟩ /jː/ ([ʝː]) byggja "to build"
[ˈbʏ˧˩ʝːa˥˩]
⟨h⟩ /h/ hár "hair"
[ˈhoːɽ]
⟨hj⟩ /ç/ hjarta "heart"
[ˈçaː˧˩ʈa˥˩]
⟨hv⟩ /f/ hvít "white"
[ˈfiːt]
⟨j⟩ /j/ júg "you (pl.)"
[ˈjʉː]
⟨k⟩ /k/ kann "(I/he) can"
[ˈkʰãnː]
⟨k⟩ generally represents /k/, though word-initially before the front vowels ⟨i⟩, ⟨í⟩, ⟨y⟩, or ⟨ý⟩, it often represents /ç/.
/ç/ kinn "chin"
[ˈçɪ̃nː]
⟨kk⟩ /kː/ [k͡xː] takk "thanks"
[ˈtʰak͡xː]
⟨kk⟩ is realized as a geminated velar affricate [k͡xː] before non-front vowels or the end of a word, and a geminated palatal affricate [c͡çː] elsewhere.
/kː/ [c͡çː] takki "(I) thank"
[ˈtʰa˧˩c͡çːɪ˥˩]
⟨kj⟩ /ç/ kjåt "meat"
[ˈçɔːt]
⟨kkj⟩ /çː/ läkkja "to laugh"
[ˈlɛ˧˩çːa˥˩]
⟨l⟩ /l/ láta "to let"
[ˈloː˧˩ta˥˩]
⟨m⟩ /m/ móta "must"
[ˈmuː˧˩ta˥˩]
⟨n⟩ /n/ nýs "new"
[ˈnyːs]
⟨n⟩ is generally pronounced as /n/, but before ⟨k⟩, it is pronounced as /ŋ/.
/ŋ/ tank "tank (container)"
[ˈtʰaŋk]
⟨ng⟩ /ŋ/ synga "to sing"
[ˈsʏ̃˧˩ŋːa˥˩]
⟨p⟩ /p/ pakki "pack"
[ˈpa˧˩c͡çːɪ˥˩]
⟨r⟩ /ɽ/ rót "root"
[ˈɽuːt]
⟨rl⟩ [ɭ] karl "man"
[ˈkʰaːɭ]
⟨rn⟩ [ɳ] horn "horn"
[ˈhɒːɳ]
⟨rs⟩ /ʂ/ tyrst "worse"
[ˈtʰʏːʂt]
⟨rt⟩ [ʈ] kort "short"
[ˈkʰɒːʈ]
⟨s⟩ /s/ syv "seven"
[ˈsɛʊ̯]
⟨sj⟩ /ʂ/ sjú "she"
[ˈʂʉː]
⟨sk⟩ /sk/ skó "shoe"
[ˈskuː]
⟨sk⟩ generally represents /sk/, but before the front vowels ⟨i⟩, ⟨í⟩, ⟨y⟩, or ⟨ý⟩ at the beginning of a word, it occasionally represents /ʂ/.
/ʂ/ ský "cloud"
[ˈʂyː]
⟨skj⟩ /ʂ/ skjåld "shield"
[ˈʂɔld]
⟨stj⟩ /ʂ/ stjarna "star"
[ˈʂaːɳa]
⟨t⟩ /t/ taka "to take"
[ˈtʰɑːka]
⟨tj⟩ /ʂ/ tjóv "thief"
[ˈʂuːβ]
⟨tt⟩ /tː/ ([t͡s]) kått "cat"
[ˈkʰɔt͡sː]
⟨tt⟩ is realized as a geminated alveolar sibilant affricate [t͡sː] before non-front vowels or the end of a word, and a geminated post-alveolar sibilant affricate [t͡ʃː] elsewhere.
/tː/ ([t͡ʃː]) kättir "cats"
[ˈkɛt͡ʃːɪɽ]
⟨v⟩ /ʋ/ villa "to want to"
[ˈʋɪlːa]
At the beginning of words, ⟨v⟩ represents /ʋ/. Elsewhere, it represents the fricative allophone [β] of /b/.
/b/ ([β]) skjúva "to shove"
[ˈʂʉːβa]

History

The earliest forms of Erish were written in the Runic script, the alphabet used to write ancient Germanic languages. After the introduction of the Latin script by Christian missionaries in the 900s, Erish rapidly transitioned into a literary stage which made use of that script. By the late 1200s and early 1300s, a written standard had developed that would remain in place into the 1800s, when a new written standard was briefly adopted before the annexation of Erishland by Ottonia, at which point both standards were dropped by most. The modern written standard arose during the early 1900s, and was formally adopted in 1942, and is periodically updated every five years by the Erish Language Council.

Old Erish (900s-1824)

For most of its history, Erish has more or less used a spelling system based upon the pronunciation of Old Erish. Whilst Erish was first written with the Runic script, writing with the Latin script introduced by Christian missionaries during the 900s constitutes the vast majority of all attested Old Erish. Between the 900s and 1100s, spelling was fairly flexible, reflecting the actual grammar and pronunciation of words. Characteristic traits of this period were the use of the runic characters þorn and ꝩend for the sounds /θ/ and /w/. Vowel length was not necessarily marked, though when it was, it usually involved doubling the vowel letter (Old Erish bóc, for example, would be spelled booc); fairly unintuitively for Modern Erish speakers, the long vowel digraphs for i, u, and y were actually ei, ou, and ey. Starting in the mid-1100s, a literary standard began to coalesce around the dialect of Serdstead, which had mostly entrenched itself by the early 1300s.

Whilst the Erish language in speech dramatically changed over the centuries, this standard remained fairly inflexible, particularly due to the literary culture which had developed. Scribes were trained to read, write, and speak an ever-increasingly conservative and unintelligible language, generally confining the written language to the upper classes and literati. Whilst occasional errors occur and writers of the era often criticize the spoken language, providing insights as to the state of the language, the written language remained stable enough for the introduction of printing to completely cement it for centuries to come.

The introduction of printing in the 1500s did lead to some minor changes, if but for the lack of printing presses which could completely reflect the scribal practices which had built up to that point. The consonants þ, ð, and were replaced with th, dh, and v, whilst the long vowels æ, , and œ were replaced with ä, å, and ö. Though Queen Ljosna I famously tried and failed in 1647 to force modernization of the literary standard, these would amount to the only real changes in the written standard until the early 1800s.

The Rolfson standard (1824-49)

By the late 1700s, much less early 1800s, the Old Erish language had become mostly unintelligible for anyone who spoke the Early Modern Erish language. With the gradual development of Erish democracy, controversy gradually inflamed over the issue of whether the language should be modernized. Traditionalists advocated the continuation of the Old Erish written language, arguing that anybody who was literate could understand the foundational works of Erish culture. As reformers pointed out, however, keeping Old Erish made actually becoming literate a difficult task, effectively confining it to a few.

During this period, philologist Adolf Rolfson was amongst a few officially asked by the national Landthing in 1821 to come up with a modernization of Old Erish, to be presented before the Landthing. Amongst the proposals that followed from these requests, Rolfson's was one of, if not the most conservative proposal. Rolfson staunchly believed that not only would major reform disconnect Erish speakers from their past, but would unnecessarily engender the debates already taking place about which dialect should be the basis for the modern standard (though, in effect, his proposal slightly favored the Serdstead dialect). Consequently, his proposal primarily focused upon the principle of "one letter, one sound" for Old Erish, since the scribal practices had created inconsistencies. Old Erish vowel length was marked through either an acute accent or a ligature, the letters þ and ð were reintroduced, and the Old Erish diphthongs ai and ay were changed to ei and ey under the influence of Nordic languages. The grammar of Old Erish was essentially left in place, again in the interests of not undergoing too major a reform.

Ultimately, Rolfson's standard proved to be the most popular amongst the Landthing, and was officially adopted in 1824. Despite this official acceptance, widespread support of the reform was lacking. Many viewed it as little more than a token reform, meant to appease those interested in modernization without actually addressing the issues that were being fought over. Though this unpopularity would ultimately contribute to the downfall of the standard, the events which followed would eventually lead to its ultimate triumph.

The Nationalist standard (1849-67)

In the aftermath of the establishment of the Erish Republic in 1843, reform and modernization became the spirit of the age. In the issue of the written language, the tenor of debate changed from whether reform should take place to how it should take place, in particular whether a modernized standard language should be based upon the dialect of Serdstead, or the dialect of the rising Havnstead, which had become a major center of print media and liberal movements. With the election of 1846, the question would be resolved when the newly elected Nationalist government asked Jarlstead professor Frodi Roarson to devise a new standard. In 1849, but months before elections, Roarson presented his new standard, which was essentially based upon the dialect of Serdstead.

Despite several critics, the Roarson standard was well-received. Even if spellings and grammar like I kann skjo dan nyi kotzin his ("I can see his new cat") were often utter breaks from Rolfson's Ic cann sjå þann nýa cattinn his, the public generally viewed the modernization as finally bringing literacy within much closer reach of vast swathes of the public. Even if this essentially necessitated being taught the Serdstead dialect, most ultimately regarded the new standard positively. The popularity of the Nationalist standard ultimately soured, however, when the Nationalist party took increasingly ultranationalist policy stances. Private documents were required to follow the spelling standards, and speaking local dialects in public areas was made a punishable offense. Whilst the extent to which these were actually carried out varied, the perception remained well after Ottonian annexation that the Nationalists had used modernization as a tool to suppress areas outside of Serdstead.

The Raskson standard (c. 1930-present)

After Ottonian annexation, both the Rolfson and Nationalist standards fell out of use as many switched to the now-prestige Anglish language. Beginning in the 1900s, however, Erish began to re-emerge as a written language alongside independence movements. As writers began using Erish, older standards were generally not followed in favor of writing according to one's dialect or experimenting with different standards. Anglish conventions often influenced writers like Gunnilda Smith, who based her spelling off of a regularization of English, whilst others more associated with independence movements distanced themselves and tried different conventions. This resulted in a wide variety of standards, where a word like Modern Erish djós ("animal") could be spelled anywhere between uce and dür.

As the Erish independence movement began to strengthen, the debates which had occurred a hundred years prior began to resurface once again. Prominent authors of the time like Tjudrik Rolfsun began calling for the creation of a new unified written language, ultimately resulting in the Erish Language Conference of 1927, where a group of authors and scholars met to try and agree to some basic orthographic conventions. Despite the ambitions of the Conference, it failed, though the precedent it set of working together on the question laid the groundwork for the next Conference in 1930, where the standard underlying Modern Erish would be first presented by linguist Jugar Raskson.

In 1918, Jugar Raskson began attempting to reconstruct the pronunciation of Old Erish. Though the texts of the time gave hints, Raskson was interested in finding out the specifics of how the language would have actually sounded. This necessitated his travels to various corners of the Erish-speaking realm, noting sound developments and what the correspondences between them could suggest about the finer details he was interested in. By 1923, Raskson had developed a detailed enough analysis that he gathered a group of friends and family together to listen to a speech in Old Erish he proclaimed was the first time the language had truly been spoken in centuries. Despite certain inaccuracies, it was not a claim without merit. For his reconstruction, Raskson used the orthographic standards of Rolfson, viewing them as the most succinct method of describing Old Erish pronunciation. He did, however, introduce the letters ę and ǫ for the Old Erish vowels /ɛ/ and /ɔ/, which had previously not been consistently reflected in the orthography, and replaced å with á.

Soon after his speech, Raskson gradually came to the realization that he had enough information that he could create an orthography that reflected common sound developments whilst preserving the sound correspondences between dialects. Over the next four years, Raskson worked to create a new written standard he viewed as reflecting the grundmál ("fundamental language") underlying Modern Erish. In practice, Raskson's standard slightly favored Western dialects in terms of phonology - for example, ð is only still pronounced in Western dialects, where it is often identical to d, whilst í and ý are only distinct from i and y in said dialects. However, the grammatical norms of Raskson's standard were much more in line with Baylands and Eastern dialects - for example, grammatical case is distinct in all but the neuter singular (Western dialects only distinguish case in the masculine and feminine singular), and strong verbs still have a distinct -ur(t) suffix from the weak verb's -ar(t) (whereas Western dialects use -or(t) for both).

Old Erish-Modern Erish correspondences

Written Modern Erish's central principle is the representation of the grammatical and sound correspondences between modern Erish dialects, often called the grundmál ("fundamental language") underlying the language. Written Erish is thus fairly conservative by necessity, but there are more than a few differences between Old Erish and Modern Erish. Just how close or far from Old Erish the modern written language should be was and is an issue of some controversy, even with the compromise grundmál principle, between the traditionalists that want older texts to be more easily read, and the reformists who want the language to be more consistent and modernized.

The following table provides information about the most common and important spelling correspondences between Old Erish and Modern Erish.

Old Erish Modern Erish
Grapheme Example Grapheme Example Notes
⟨au⟩ raud ("red") ⟨ou⟩ roud ("red")
⟨c⟩ cona ("woman") ⟨k⟩ kona ("wife") In most words, Old Erish ⟨c⟩ is preserved as Modern Erish ⟨k⟩. However, at the beginning of a word where the stressed vowel is ⟨e⟩, ⟨ei⟩, ⟨ey⟩, ⟨ę⟩, or ⟨ø⟩, Old Erish ⟨c⟩ becomes Modern Erish ⟨kj⟩. In unstressed syllables and some grammatical words, Old Erish ⟨c⟩ becomes a silent Modern Erish ⟨g⟩.
cęnna ("to know") ⟨kj⟩ kjänna ("to know")
mic ("me") ⟨g⟩ mig ("me")
⟨d⟩ dýr ("animals") ⟨d⟩ dýr ("animals") Old Erish ⟨d⟩ mostly continues into Modern Erish unchanged. Some grammatical words and unstressed syllables change Old Erish ⟨d⟩ to Modern Erish ⟨ð⟩.
hǫfud ("head") ⟨ð⟩ håvuð ("head")
⟨ey⟩ reyc ("smoke") ⟨øy⟩ røyk ("smoke")
⟨é⟩ hér ("here") ⟨e⟩ her ("here")
⟨ę⟩ męnn ("men") ⟨ä⟩ männ ("men")
⟨f⟩ fisc ("fish") ⟨f⟩ fisk ("fish") At the beginning of words, Old Erish ⟨f⟩ is preserved. Elsewhere, it becomes Modern Erish ⟨v⟩.
lifr ("liver") ⟨v⟩ livr ("liver")
⟨g⟩ gás ("goose") ⟨g⟩ gás ("goose") In most words, Old Erish ⟨g⟩ is continued in Modern Erish. However, at the beginning of a word where the stressed vowel is ⟨e⟩, ⟨ei⟩, ⟨ey⟩, ⟨ę⟩, or ⟨ø⟩, Old Erish ⟨g⟩ becomes Modern Erish ⟨gj⟩.
gefa ("to give") ⟨gj⟩ gjeva ("to give")
⟨hl⟩ hleif ("loaf") ⟨l⟩ leiv ("loaf")
⟨hn⟩ hnacki ("neck") ⟨n⟩ nakki ("neck")
⟨hr⟩ hring ("ring") ⟨r⟩ ring ("ring")
⟨jó⟩ frjósa ("to freeze") ⟨ý⟩ frýsa ("to freeze") Generally speaking, Old Erish ⟨jó⟩ becomes Modern Erish ⟨ý⟩. The main exceptions occur when ⟨jó⟩ is word-initial, or is preceded by a word initial ⟨b⟩, ⟨c⟩, ⟨d⟩, ⟨f⟩, ⟨g⟩, ⟨h⟩, ⟨l⟩, ⟨m⟩, ⟨n⟩, ⟨p⟩, ⟨s⟩, ⟨sc⟩, ⟨sp⟩, ⟨st⟩, ⟨t⟩, or ⟨þ⟩.
scjóta ("to shoot") ⟨C(C)jó⟩ skjóta ("to shoot")
⟨jú⟩ drjúgs ("lasting") ⟨ý⟩ drýg ("lasting") Similar to ⟨jó⟩, Old Erish ⟨jú⟩ usually becomes Modern Erish ý unless the j is word-initial or preceded by ⟨b⟩, ⟨c⟩, ⟨d⟩, ⟨f⟩, ⟨g⟩, ⟨h⟩, ⟨l⟩, ⟨m⟩, ⟨n⟩, ⟨p⟩, ⟨s⟩, ⟨sc⟩, ⟨sp⟩, ⟨st⟩, ⟨t⟩, or ⟨þ⟩.
ljúga ("to (tell a) lie") ⟨C(C)jú⟩ ljúga ("to (tell a) lie")
⟨mb⟩ lamb ("lamb") ⟨mm⟩ lamm ("lamb")
⟨ǫ⟩ hǫnd ("hand") ⟨å⟩ hånd ("hand")
⟨qu⟩ quicks ("quick") ⟨kv⟩ kvikk ("quick")
⟨r⟩ rád ("council") ⟨r⟩ rád ("council") Old Erish ⟨r⟩ is generally preserved in Modern Erish. When proceeded by a consonant other than ⟨ð⟩, ⟨f⟩, or ⟨g⟩ and not at the beginning of a word, ⟨r⟩ oftentimes becomes ⟨ur⟩.
vatr ("water") ⟨ur⟩ vattur ("water")
⟨t⟩ til ("to") ⟨t⟩ til ("to") Old Erish ⟨t⟩ mostly continues into Modern Erish. In unstressed syllables or some grammatical words, ⟨t⟩ becomes ⟨ð⟩.
hvat ("what") ⟨ð⟩ hvað ("what")
⟨v⟩ vis ("we") ⟨v⟩ vis ("we") At the beginning of words, Old Erish ⟨v⟩ continues into Modern Erish. Elsewhere, however, it generally disappears.
scauva ("to show") ⟨∅⟩ skou ("to show")
⟨x⟩ sex ("six") ⟨ks⟩ seks ("six")
⟨z⟩ bęzt ("best") ⟨s⟩ bäst ("best")
⟨þ⟩ þorn ("thorn") ⟨t⟩ torn ("thorn") In almost all words, Old Erish ⟨þ⟩ becomes Modern Erish ⟨t⟩. However, in a few core grammatical words, it instead becomes ⟨d⟩.
þú ("you (sg.)") ⟨d⟩ ("you (sg.)")
⟨æ⟩ næri ("nearer") ⟨ä⟩ näri ("nearer")
⟨œ⟩ grœns ("green") ⟨ø⟩ grøns ("green")

Dialects

Phonology

Unstressed vowels

Old Erish had three unstressed vowels: /ɑ,i,u/. The evolution of these three vowels has depended upon dialect:

  • Most Eastern dialects, as well as some southerly Baylands dialects, all but preserve /a,ɪ,ʊ/.
  • Several Bayland dialects keep three unstressed vowels, but shift the unstressed vowels to /a,e,o/
  • Westerly dialects, as well as some northerly Baylands dialects, reduce the tripartite system to /e,o/.

Grammar

Oblique case

All Erish dialects retain two distinct cases, nominative and oblique, but the manner in which this case system works somewhat differs depending upon whether a dialect's oblique case is derived from the Old Erish dative or accusative case. The written language, as well as Eastern dialects and many Baylands dialects, are dative dialects, though they do have some oblique case forms which are accusative in origin. "Accusativity" is a stereotypically Western feature, but some Baylands dialects, including the traditional dialect of Serdstead, are accusative dialects, though several pronouns have oblique case forms which are dative in origin.

Dative and accusative dialects essentially have two major differences:

  • Dative dialects distinguish case in the plural, whilst accusative dialects use the nominative plural for the oblique plural in most contexts.
    • Dative: Úlvas átu fiskun ("The wolves ate the fish")
    • Accusative: Úlvos áto fiskos
  • The case morphology of accusative dialects has systematic differences from dative dialects:
    • The strong adjective singular oblique is normally -o for both masculine and feminine nouns instead of a distinct -un and -ra.
      • Dative: Ig sá gódun mann and gódra kvinna ("I saw a good man and a good woman")
      • Accusative: Ig sá gódo mann end gódo kvinno
    • First and sixth declension nouns use the definite feminine singular oblique suffixes -en and -jen instead of -an and -jan.
      • Dative: Dú havirt jårðan and sädjan ("You have the soil and the seed")
      • Accusative: Dú havert jårðen end sädjen
  • A less important, but still notable third difference is that verbs with an oblique subject do not exist in accusative dialects.
    • Dative: Hundin er varmt ("The dog is warm")
    • Accusative: Hundes er värms

The presence of accusativity is highly linked to whether a dialect has three or two unstressed vowels. Dialects with only /e,o/ are always accusative, whilst almost all dialects with either /a,i,u/ or /a,e,o/ are dative. It is generally agreed that accusative dialects were the first to collapse the Old Erish case system into the modern nominative-oblique case system, perhaps during the 1500s, whilst dative dialects preserved a nominative-accusative-dative distinction for longer. Beyond grammatical hints in errors, the nominative vs. accusative-dative distinction of dative dialects is typologically unusual for a Germanic language; it may be plausible that the two-case system of accusative dialects ultimately engendered the collapse of dative dialects into nominative-oblique, though this does not explain why dative forms over accusative forms were chosen.

Phonology

The phonology of Erish has a degree of variability between dialects, particularly with regards to the development of certain Old Erish vowels. Overall, however, the dialect of Havnstead serves as a common standard of pronunciation, under which traditional dialectal phonologies are increasingly influenced into becoming regional variations of the standard. Although the presence of those dialectal pronunciations has risen in recent years, media broadcasters on television and radio predominantly follow those Havnstead norms.

Vowels

Similar to other Germanic languages, Erish has a large vowel inventory, having 18 phonemic monophthongs, as well as six allophonic diphthongs. The Havnstead dialect is usually considered a Bayland dialect for, amongst many reasons, shifting the Old Erish long back vowel, characteristically a trait of those dialects. However, it monophthongizes the Old Erish dipthongs, a trait more associated with the East or West.

Front Central Back
unrounded rounded
short long short long short long short long
Close ɪ ʏ ʉː ʊ
Close-mid øː ɵ
Open-mid ɛ ɛː œ ɔ ɔː
Open a ɑː
  • The inventory of 18 monophthongs can alternatively be analyzed as 10 monophthongs which have long and short allophones that occur based upon syllable stress and structure.
    • The long allophones occur when they are stressed and followed by no more than a single, ungeminated consonant. The short allophones occur in all other contexts, or before an approximant /j,ʋ/ that is in syllable coda. This is the analysis essentially underlying Erish orthography.
  • Roundedness allophonically falls into two categories
    • Compression, which is used by close non-front rounded vowels, making /ɵ~ʉː,ʊ~uː/ typically [ɘββː,ʊββː]. Because /ʉː/ typically has a fairly advanced quality, this makes compression one of the key distinguishing traits from /yː/.
    • All other rounded vowels use protrusion, making /ɔ~oː,ɔ~ɔː,ʏ~yː,œ~øː/ typically [ʌʷ~ɤʷː,ʌʷ~ʌʷː,ɪʷ~iʷː,ɛʷ~eʷː]. Similar to the situation between the central and front rounded vowels, the long mid-close front rounded vowel is heavily distinguished from the short mid-close central vowel by protrusion (as well as length), as the latter vowel is also fairly advanced.
  • The short qualities of the vowel pairs given here may vary depending upon dialect. Bayland and Western Erish dialects tend to use the distinct qualities, whilst Eastern dialects just use the long vowel's quality for both short and long (though the open vowel tends to then instead have a central [ä] quality). Incidentally, the dialects which use the latter system may distinguish /ɛ(ː),ɔ(ː)/ completely from /e(ː),o(ː)/, though just as many have them completely merge with /a(ː)/.
  • Erish has six diphthongs which can be analyzed as a sequence of vowel plus approximant, the latter of which is typically in syllable coda before another consonant.
    • /aj/, as in sagdi "I/he said" [ˈsaɪ̯ðɪ]
    • /aʋ/, as in ravn "raven" [ˈɽaʊ̯n]
    • /ej/, as in regn "rain" [ˈɽɛɪ̯n]
    • /eʋ/, as in stevn "voice" [ˈstɛʊ̯n]
    • /oj/, as in fugl "bird" [ˈfɔɪ̯l]
    • /oʋ/, as in Håvnstäd "Havenstead" [ˌhɔʊ̯nˈstɛːð]
  • Only the vowels /a,ɪ,ʊ/ occur in unstressed syllables of native vocabulary or inflectional suffixes. Other vowels in these positions are only found in loanwords.

Consonants

Erish has a similar consonant inventory to Norwegian or Swedish, having palatalized consonants, allophonic retroflexion by /ɽ/, and no phonemically voiced fricatives. However, the allophony of these consonants heavily differs from those languages.

Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n (ɳ) ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t (ʈ) k (ʔ)
voiced b d g
Fricative f s ʂ ç (x) h
Approximant ʋ l (ɭ) j (w)
Rhotic ɽ
  • Geminated nasal consonants /mː,nː/, as well as all instances of /ŋ/ where it is not followed by another consonant (phonetically [ŋː]), cause nasalization of the preceding consonant, as seen in kynga "queen" [ˈçʏ̃˧˩ŋːa˥˩].
  • Similar to English and several other Germanic languages, the voiceless plosives /p/, /t/, and /k/ have aspiration in stressed syllable onsets [pʰ, tʰ, kʰ] (úniversitet [ɵnɪβæːʂɪˈtʰeːt] "university") without an intervening consonant to the vowel nucleus, except when preceded by /s/. Word-initially, these aspirates are affricated, resulting in person "(legal) person" [ˈp͡ɸæːʂɔn], ting "thing" [ˈt͡sɪŋː], kona "wife" [ˈk͡xoː˧˩na˥˩].
  • The voiced plosives /b/, /d/, and /g/ are realized in word-initial, geminated, and post-nasal contexts as full voiced plosives (though /g/ never occurs in post-nasal contexts); /d/ is also realized as [d] after /l/. In other contexts, they are lenited to fricative [β,ð,ɣ], as in håvuð "head" [ˈhɔː˧˩βʊ˥˩], kod "(computer) code" [ˈk͡xoːð], and kríg "war" [ˈkɽ̥iːɣ].
    • This is not a continuation of the original Germanic system of fricative allophones for the voiced consonants, because words like av "of" [aʊ̯] and bað "bath" [ˈbɑː] would then have these allophones. Moreover, words with an initial g like "go" [ˈgoː] should have a [ɣ] if that was the case.
    • A preceding /ɽ/ phoneme does not trigger retroflexion of /d/, as seen in ord [ˈɒɽð] meaning that this sound change most likely occurred during the 1700s, after the original voiced fricative allophones had been lost or hardened, but before /r/ become retroflexed.
  • Standard Erish does not allow for consonant clusters made by two plosives (discounting geminates), so it lenits the first plosive in such clusters to a fricative, and then devoices both (if applicable), like in byggdi "I/he built" [ˈbʏxtɪ].
    • The presence of this by dialect somewhat varies - particularly in the Baylands (southern Erishland), it is still possible to have [ˈbʏgdɪ], and other dialects may lenit but not devoice, making [ˈbʏɣdɪ].
    • Those that do do both, however, create a phonemic /x/, since /k/ and /g/ merge in that context.
  • The sonorants /n,ʋ,l,ɽ/ have voiceless allophones when they are part of an onset in which they are preceded by a voiceless obstruent, as seen in frýsa "to freeze" [ˈfɽ̥yːsa]. Depending upon dialect, the voiceless [ʋ̥] may be realized as a fricative [f], as in kvinna "woman" [ˈkfɪ̃˧˩nːa˥˩].
  • The labial consonants become labiodental when followed by an alveolar consonant, as seen in the word bistimmd ("definite") [bɪˈstɪɱd].
    • In dialects which lenit the first plosive in a consonant cluster with another plosive, this is the reason why /p/ (and potentially /b/) in consonant clusters with another plosive merge with /f/, as seen in køyptirt ("you bought") [ˈk͡xœftɪʈ].
  • The retroflex nasal, plosive, approximant, and fricative are allophones of /ɽ/ plus their alveolar counterpart. The stressed mid-open vowels /ɛ(ː),ɔ(ː)/ lower to [æ(ː),ɒ(ː)] before /ɽ/. Retroflexion of these consonants causes stressed vowels to lengthen. All three of these phenomenon can be seen in the word hjårtu "hearts" [ˈjɒː˧˩ʈʊ˥˩], which is phonemically /ˈjɔɽ˧˩tʊ˥˩/.
  • /ʋ/ only realizes its phonemic value word-initially; in syllable coda, it forms a diphthong with the preceding vowel, as seen in Håvnstäd "Havnstead (Erish city)" [ˌhɔʊ̯nˈstɛːð], phonemically /ˌhaʋnˈsteːd/.
    • The labiodental approximant /ʋ/ is realized as a voiced labiodental fricative [v] when followed by a liquid word-initially, as seen in vrist "wrist" [ˈvɽɪst].
  • /j/ may also form a diphthong in syllable coda, as seen in ig "I" [ˈɛɪ̯], phonemically /ˈɛj/
  • In syllable coda, non-geminated /l/ is realized as a dark [ɫ].
  • Vowels standing in hiatus have an allophonic glide between them based upon their point of articulation (diphthongs are also affected by this):
    • High front vowels are followed by an allophonic [j], as in nýa "new" [ˈnyːja]
    • High back vowels are followed by an allophonic [w], as in róis "calm" [ˈruː˧˩wɪs˥˩]
    • Non-high vowels before a high front vowel are followed by [ʝ], as in blái "blue" [ˈblɔːʝɪ]
    • Non-high vowels before a high back vowel are followed by [w], as in bláun "blue" [ˈblɔːwʊn]
    • Non-high vowels before an open vowel are followed by [ʔ], as in bláa "blue" [ˈblɔːʔa]

Prosody

Similar to several Nordic languages, Erish is a pitch-accent language with two tones: a neutral tone and a rising tone. Whilst the tone distinction is not particularly distinctive, there are nonetheless a few hundred Erish words which are only phonemically distinct by tone. For example, mannis "the man" [ˈmãnːɪs] has neutral tone, whilst Mannis "Manni (Erish god)" [ˈmã˧˩nːɪs˥˩]. These tones generally correspond to originally monosyllabic words (neutral tone) and polysyllabic words (rising tone) in Old Erish, though there are several exceptions, particularly with loanwords.

Grammar

Modern Erish is a fusional language which shares many features with the Nordic languages, particularly with regards to nominal morphology and syntax. Erish is a fairly conservative Germanic language in certain aspects, as it still retains a fairly robust morphological system that has two cases or three genders, but, similar to many modern Germanic languages, it has undergone a considerable transition away from the complex grammars of older Indo-European languages. The traditional divide between "strong" and "weak" verbs, for example, is not as descriptive of the modern Erish language as it is in most others, as a combination of erosive sound changes, regularization, and an analytic perfect tense has replaced the past tense in most Erish verbs.

Nominals

Erish nominals inflect for two cases (nominative, oblique), three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), and two numbers (singular, plural); adjectives and nouns further inflect for definiteness, and adjectives inflect for three degrees of comparison (positive, comparative, superlative). Most nominals inflect through suffixation, but certain adjectives, determiners, nouns and pronouns irregularly decline through some form of stem change.

Case and gender

The modern system of Erish case and gender arose during the Middle Erish period, when the complex Old Erish system collapsed. Whilst the Modern Erish singular preserves all three genders, said genders have merged in the plural. The four-case system of Old Erish has been heavily changed, as the genitive case has all but disappeared outside of a select few pronouns, whilst the accusative and dative cases have merged into an oblique case which generally follows the form of the dative, similar to the personal pronouns of many Germanic languages.

The function of the case system is primarily to indicate whether the noun is a subject (or complement), or not; the nominative case is used for the former, whilst the oblique case is for the latter. A noun in the oblique case without a preceding preposition generally indicates the direct object (Dýsið høyrdi agarin "The animal heard the hunter"), though in some contexts it may indicate the indirect object (Drängis gjørdi singa móðrin sína hymnan "The boy sang his mother the hymn"). Traces of the oblique's partial origins as the dative remain in some verbs and verbal expressions, such as in Konan mína er kaldt ("My wife is cold"), where the subject konan mína ("my wife") is in the oblique case instead of the nominative.

Declension and definiteness

Erish nouns generally fall into one of five regular declensions, alongside an additional two somewhat irregular declensions and an assortment of irregular nouns. Similar to the Nordic languages, Erish nouns use a suffixed definite article, but because Erish has somewhat preserved unstressed syllables, the form of the definite article can vary depending upon declension. The following table provides examples of some of the various declension patterns Erish nouns can follow, with the definite articles bolded:

number case mann "man" kvinna "woman" barn "child"
INDF DEF INDF DEF INDF DEF
SG NOM (eis) mann mannis (ei) kvinna kvinna (eit) barn barn
OBL (ein) mann mannin (eina) kvinna kvinnan
PL NOM (sus) männ männis (sus) kvinnur kvinnus (su) bårn bårni
OBL (sun) männ männun (sun) kvinnur kvinnun

As opposed to the two-way article system found in most Germanic languages, Erish has a three-way system which indicates both definiteness and specificity. The specific article eis, which corresponds to English "a, an" though not necessarily vice versa, is only used if the speaker is referring to a specific noun or group of nouns. In the sentence Leiraris gjørdi lesa bøkir ("The teacher read books"), the teacher read books in general; by contrast, in Leiraris gjørdi lesa sun bøkir ("The teacher read (some) books"), the teacher read some particular books that the speaker may go on to describe.

In Erish, proper names tend to receive the definite article. The name of the Erish capital city, Serdstead, for example, is Serdstädis (lit. "the Serdstead"), not Serdstäd.

Adjectives

As in Anglish, Erish adjectives are words which normally precede a noun and provide additional information about it. These Erish words, however, must also inflect for the case, gender, and number of their nouns, and also use different declensions and suffixes depending upon their definiteness and degree of comparison. The most basic division in the use of adjectives is that the "strong" declension is used when a noun is indefinite or is preceded by the specific article, and the weak declension before a noun using the definite article; when a definite article is used for a noun, the adjective must be preceded by the determiner deis ("the; that") or another definite determiner.

number case Strong declension Weak declension
M F N M F N
SG NOM (eis) stórs mann (ei) stór kvinna (eit) stórt barn deis stóri mannis dei stóra kvinna dað stóra barnið
OBL (ein) stórun mann (eina) stórra kvinna dein stóri mannin deira stóra kvinnan
PL NOM (sus) stóris männ (sus) stóris kvinnur (su) stór bårn deis stóru männis deis stóru kvinnus dei stóru bårni
OBL (sun) stórun männ (sun) stórun kvinnur dein stóru männun dein stóru kvinnun

The comparative and superlative degrees are typically formed by the suffixes -ari and ast respectively, though some words like gód ("good") or yvils ("bad") have irregular degrees, using, for example, bättri ("better") or verst ("worst"). Comparative only use the weak adjective declension, whilst the superlative uses both the strong and weak declensions.

Pronouns and determiners

Pronouns are a class of words which are used in place of other words, with the most important being the personal, relative, and interrogative pronouns. These pronouns are actually fairly correspondent to their English counterparts because both languages retain grammatical case in these types of words, though Erish does so to a greater degree. An important difference between the two languages is that, instead of having a distinct reflexive -self form, Erish pronouns use their oblique forms or, if they are third-person, the dedicated reflexive pronoun sig.

case 1 2 3
PERS REL INT REFL
M F N M F N M F N
SG NOM ig hin sjú hið deis dei dað hvas hvað
OBL mig dig him hira dein deira hvein sig
PL NOM vis jis sjeis sjú deis dei hvas hvað
OBL oss júg hjun dein hvein sig

Determiners are a special class of pronouns which can be used both attributively and substantively, meaning that they can work either like an adjective (Ig älski konan mína "I love my wife") or a noun (Ig älski mína "I love mine"). One of the most important classes of determiners are the possessive determiners, which are used to indicate ownership, and normally follow the nouns they describe. The reflexive third-person possessive determiner is used when the possessor is the same as the subject of the sentence (Sjú talar mið dóttrin sína "She speaks with her (own) daughter"), whilst the regular third-person possessive determiner is used when they are not (Sjú talar mið dóttrin hiras "She speaks with her (some other woman's) daughter").

1 2 3
PERS INT REFL
M F N M F N
SG mís dís his hiras his hveiras hveis sís
PL várs júrs hiras hveiras hveis sís

Verbs

Erish verbs have undergone considerable reduction in their morphology, and generally only conjugate for two moods (indicative, imperative), two numbers (singular, plural), and three persons (first, second, third). However, these reductions have been replaced by the emergence of several analytic verbal constructions that rely on auxiliary verbs like vera ("to be"), blíva ("to become"), gjera ("to do"), and häbba ("to have"). The conjugation paradigm of a typical Erish verb looks like that followed by fiska ("to fish"):

Mood Tense Person,
Number
"to fish"
INF fiska
PTCP PRS fiskandi
PST fiskas
AUX häbba
IND PRS 1SG fiski
2SG fiskart
3SG fiskar
PL fiska
IMP SG fisk
PL fisk

In the standard language, the past tense has been replaced in most verbs by an analytic construction involving the past tense of gjera ("to do") plus infinitive, making, for example, the Erish translation of English "I bathed the dog" to be Ig gjørdi baða hundin (lit. "I did bathe the dog"). In common speech outside of Western dialects, however, this analytic construction itself has been replaced by the perfect tense, making the spoken equivalent actually Ig häbbi baðat hundin (lit. "I have bathed the dog"). The perfect tense is normally formed by the verb häbba ("to have") and the neuter singular declension of the past participle, but some verbs that relate to change and direction instead use vera ("to be") plus past participle.

Combined with certain sound changes and morphological levelling, the loss of the past tense has greatly reduced the distinction between strong and weak verbs in Erish. In the standard language, for example, the strong verb skríva ("to write") is indistinguishable from a weak verb, though the past participle skrivas has an orthographic change of the í to i. Some strong and irregular verbs retain a conjugated past tense, but by and large, such conjugation is otherwise moribund.

Late Old Erish and early Middle Erish had a mediopassive voice formed through the suffix -sk, similar to the -s passive found in modern Nordic languages. However, that conjugated voice has been replaced by an analytic construction of blíva ("to become") and the present participle of a verb; the Erish equivalent of Norsk Rikard og Frodi slås ("Richard and Frodi are fighting"), for example, is Ríkardis and Fródis blíva slándu (lit. "Rikard and Frodi become fighting").

Erish has a fairly distinctive method of forming the future tense amongst Germanic languages. Similar to its relatives, the future tense can be formed simply by using the present tense and, usually, adding an adverb, as seen in Ig arvidi í morgin ("I work tomorrow"). However, the future tense may also be formed by using vera ("to be"), specifically in its unique future tense conjugation bi-. Whilst it can be used as a equivalent to English "will", as in Mannis bir lesa eina bók ("The man will read a book"), it often has gnomic connotations, expressing fundamental or universal truths about something, as seen in Bårni bi leika ("Children play").

Syntax

Erish has a syntax which is extremely similar to that found in the Nordic languages. The basic word order is subject-verb-object, which is subject to the V2 restriction that the first constituent, the topic (most often the subject), must be immediately followed by the finite verb, which acts as a topic marker. In interrogative and imperative clauses, however, the finite verb is fronted.

Mannis singur sangin.
The man sings the song
"The man sings the song."
Singur mannis sangin?
Sings the man the song?
"Does the man sing the song?"
Sing (dú) sangin!
Sing (you) the song!
"Sing the song!"

Because Erish morphologically marks the basic roles of subject and direct object through case and, to a much lesser extent, verbal subject marking, Erish word order can be fairly flexible. The following sentence provides some potential translations of the English sentence "The mother gave her children a cat":

Móðri gav bårnun sínun ein kått.
The mother gave her children a cat
Móðri gav ein kått til bårnun sínun.
The mother gave a cat to her children
Til bårni sí gav móðri ein kått.
To her children gave the mother a cat
Gjeva gjørdi móðri ein kått til bårni sí.
Give did the mother a cat to the children
Ein kått gav móðri til bårni sí.
A cat gave the mother to her children

Further variations on word order are possible, but, generally speaking, these are the ones that would normally occur in common speech. Any constituent of the sentence is able to be topicalized, and word order can be shifted around for matters of emphasis. However, when the indirect object is topicalized or does not immediately precede the direct object, it has to use the preposition til ("to"). Similarly, when the verb of a sentence is topicalized, if there is not already an auxiliary verb there, the verb gjera ("to do") must occupy the second slot of a sentence.

In contrast to most Germanic languages, the V2 restriction applies to subordinate clauses as well as main clauses. However, this is somewhat confined to the written language, particularly in lyrical contexts; in the spoken language, only the subject can normally occupy the topical position of a subordinate clause.

Ig veit dað sárt him
I know that you saw him
"I know that you saw him"
Ig veit dað him sárt
I know that him saw you

In wh-questions, the interrogative word is almost always fronted.

Hvas gjørdi hjelpa dig?
Who did help you?
"Who helped you?"
Hvein gjørdirt hjelpa?
Whom did you help?
"Whom did you help?"

Vocabulary

The Erish lexicon is primarily composed of Germanic vocabulary, with vocabulary from Greco-Romance and other Germanic languages constituting the main sources of loanwords. The most basic wordstock of Erish is of Germanic origin, being either directly inherited from Old Erish or having been loaned from Old Norse during early Erish history. Examples of basic Erish vocabulary that was loaned from the common ancestor of the Nordic languages include guls ("yellow"), kjåt ("meat"), and skóg ("forest"). Other core vocabulary words like tyrrs ("dry"), ský ("cloud"), and barn ("child") are probably original Erish words which developed in tandem with their cognates in the Nordic languages.

English Erish English Erish English Erish English Erish English Erish
ant mýra ash aska back rygg to bear, carry bera big stórs
bird (fowl) fugl to bite bíta bitter bitturs black svart blood blód
to blow blása bone knoki,
bein (leg)
breast brýst to burn (intransitive) brinna child barn
to come koma to crush, grind mala to cry gráta to do, make gjera dog hund
to drink drikka ear øyra to eat eta egg egg eye ouga
to fall falla far fjarrs fire eld fish fisk flesh, meat kjåt
fly flýga foot fót to give gjeva to go good gód
hair hár hand hånd hard hård he, she, it hin (m.),
sjú (f.), hið (n.)
to hear høyra
heavy svárs to hide gøyma to hit, beat slá horn horn house hús
I ig in í knee kne to know vita to laugh läkkja
leaf blad, louv liver livr long langs louse lús mouth munn
name nami navel nåvli neck hals (front),
nakki (back)
new nýs night nátt
nose nås not ikki old gammals one eis rain regn
red roud root rót rope reip, toug to run loupa salt salt
sand sand to say sägga to see sjá shade,
shadow
skú skin, hide húd
small, little lýttils smoke røyk soil,
earth
jårð to stand stá star stjarna
stone, rock stein to suck súga sweet søt tail hali to take taka
thick tykk thigh this dänna to tie, bind binda tongue tunga
tooth tann water vattur what? hvað who? hvas wide, broad víd, breid
wind vind wing ving wood tre, vid yesterday í gistur you (singular)
English Erish English Erish English Erish English Erish English Erish

Examples

The following table provides a comparison between Erish and other Germanic languages, including Old Erish, Anglish (and Old English), the Nordic languages, German, and some other West Germanic languages.

Language Phrase
Modern Anglish I come from Erishland What is his name? This is a horse The rainbow has many colours
Erish Ig komi frá Ärsklandið Hvað heitar hin? Dätta er eis jó Regnbogis havir mangis fargar
Old Erish Ic com frá Ęrsclandi Hvat heitr his? Þęnna er eins jó /
Þętta er eitt hross
Regnbogins er manglitir
Danish Jeg kommer fra Erskland Hvad hedder han? Dette er en hest Regnbuen har mange farver
Norsk Bokmål Jeg kommer fra Erskland Hva heter han? Dette er en hest Regnbuen har mange farger
Nynorsk Eg kjem frå Erskland Kva heiter han? Dette er ein hest Regnbogen har mange fargar/leter /
Regnbogen er mangleta
Swedish Jag kommer från Ärskland Vad heter han? Detta är en häst Regnbågen har många färger
Old Norse Ek kem frá Ersklandi Hvat heitir hann? Þetta er hross /
Þessi er hestr
Regnboginn er marglitr
Icelandic Ég kem frá Ersklandi Hvað heitir hann? Þetta er hestur/hross Regnboginn er marglitur
Faroese Eg komi úr Ersklandi Hvussu eitur hann? Hetta er eitt ross / ein hestur Ælabogin hevur nógvar litir /
Ælabogin er marglittur
Old Anglish Ic cume fram Ærisclande Hwat hāteþ he? Þis is hors Regnboga hæfð manige hiw
German Ich komme aus Erschland Wie heißt er? Das ist ein Pferd Der Regenbogen hat viele Farben
Dutch Ik kom uit Ersland Hoe heet hij? Dit is een paard De regenboog heeft veel (vele) kleuren
Afrikaans Ek kom van Ersland Wat is sy naam? /
Hoe heet hy?
Dit is 'n perd Die reënboog het baie kleure
West Frisian Ik kom út Irslân Hoe hjit er? Dit is in hynder De reinbôge hat in protte kleuren
Low Saxon Ik kom üüt Ärskland Ho hit e? Dit is een peerd De regenboge hev völe klören