Øynduyska – V (Various noun phrase things)

The continuing adventures of Øynduyska.


Pronouns inflect for the same three cases as nouns, but their use is slightly different: the dative form is generally used for the direct objects of transitive verbs, in contrast to the nominative form used by nouns. However, prepositions that normally govern the nominative in nouns still govern the nominative in pronouns.

In the first person, three numbers are distinguished: a singular, a plural, and an inclusive dual used only for the speaker and the listener alone.

In the third person, four genders are distinguished in the singular: masculine, feminine, animate neuter, and inanimate neuter. The animate neuter pronoun is used for unknown and hypothetical persons, young children, and people being referred to by a title, and sometimes for higher animals whose sex is not known, as well as for groups of mixed gender. In recent times, activists have encouraged its use for individuals who do not identify with either sex, although this use is not yet universal. The three animate genders are identical in the dative and genitive plurals, and the animate neuter is identical to the masculine in the dative and genitive singular.

There is a distinct reflexive pronoun, not distinguishing gender and not occuring in the nominative.

Artekelen ay Pópekendon

Øynduyska possesses two articles: one definite, ða, and one indefinite, á/an (the latter appearing before nouns beginning with a vowel or a voiceless stop, the former appearing before all other nouns). These precede the noun, and also precede any adjective modifying the noun – though they do not precede genitive modifiers. Thus ða littel stép, “the little step”, but männ ða cątt, “the cat of a/the man”. Note, however, that such constructions are uncommon in modern speech outside of set expressions, with prepositional constructions preferred.

The definite article is used much as might be expected by speakers of other European languages, although perhaps more sparingly. Definite articles are not used when referring to classes (such as species) as in English. Nor are definite articles generally used with personal names as in some other languages; an exception to this is the traditional use of the definite article with a surname to indicate the senior male member (or in some cases the currently dominant or currently most notable member) of a particular family, when listeners are expected to be familiar with the family – this has come to be confined to rural village settings and older speakers, though it may also be found in satirical use in describing members of political or financial dynasties.

The indefinite article is more atypical in use. Given its location, Øynduyska is unusual perhaps in even having such an article, and perhaps this explains why it is used much more sparingly than in other Germanic languages. Broadly, the indefinite article is more precisely an indicator of distinctness, of ongoing relevence, and of new information: while by default indefinite nouns require no article, the article is found either where the item or individual in question is both specific and likely to reappear later in the conversation, or else where it or they are both specific and in some way surprising or unexpected (while remaining indefinite). In the former use, it may be considered analogous to colloquial English use of “this”, without the informal connotations: thus yngącht mann, “a man walked in”, but yngącht á mann, “this guy walked in”, with the expectation that “this guy” will be prominent in the subsequent events to be narrated. In the latter use, the article might be compared to such colloquial English expressions as employ “this other” or “some”: sach ech her smjack á mann!, “I saw her kiss some guy!

In addition to the two articles, Øynduyska further enjoys two demonstratives: proximal ðes, and obviate ðat.


Adjectives can be divided into four sorts: definite, indefinite, predicative, and postposed.

Definite Adjectives
Defeneta Adyectebha

Adjectives agree in definiteness, gender and case with the noun they modify. Definite adjectives decline as weak nouns of the appropriate gender. Hence, av ða littlen stépa (“of the small step”), and ða blion wylfer twąnn (“the two blind wolves”). Note, however, that ‘definiteness’ of adjectives is purely agreement, not semantic definiteness; adjectives used as bare substantives, without a noun to modify, are always morphologically ‘indefinite’, even when semantically or syntactically definite.

Indefinite Adjectives
Indefeneta Adyectebha

Adjectives modifying an indefinite noun, or used as bare substantives, instead decline using an alternative pattern. Adjectives modifying a masculine noun decline as for masculine strong nouns, with the exception that a bare -a is found in the nominative plural form. Those modifying a feminine noun, or bare substantives, decline as for feminine strong nouns in the plural, but take non-umlauting -er in the dative and genitive singular.

Thus, av littler stépa (“of a small step”), and twá blia wylfer (“two blind wolves”).

Predicate Adjectives
Predeceta Adyectebha

Adjectives used in predicative constructions do not decline. Thus ða migglon äppler (“the big apples”), but stáð ða äppler miggel (“the apples are big”).  

Postpositive Adjectives
Postposetebha Adyectebha

A very small number of adjectives follow the noun rather than preceding it. These adjectives do not decline. Thus, ða migglon männer (“the big men”), but ða männer lang (“the tall men”).

Numerals and Possessives
Numerala ay Possessebha

Numerals behave somewhat oddly: when modifying an indefinite, they precede the noun and decline, but when modifying a definite they follow the noun and do not decline – except that numerals twá and thria, when modifying definite animate masculine nouns, take the special forms twąnn and thira.

The first and second person and reflexive possessive adjectives display a different anomaly: their position depends upon a distinction between essential and accidental possession. Body parts, relations, thoughts and so forth take preposed possessives (with reduced forms before consonants): mi hąw (“my hand”), ði vjaðr (“your father”), senn yðank (“their own thought”). Other nouns take postposed possessives: cątt menn (“my cat”), huw ðenn (“your dog”), huss senn (“their own house”). A few words may take either pattern, with the choice indicating a difference in meaning: huss menn (“house of mine”) alongside mi huss (“my home”); wątha menn (“water I own”), alongside mi wątha (“the urine I produce”). Postposed possessives indicate a noun that is indefinite by default, whereas preposed possessives automatically make their nouns definite.

Nouns referring to human beings, when describing or implying a relation of a non-inherent kind, take instead a prepositional possessive phrase consisting of the preposition ta followed by a pronoun in the dative: advocat ta mi (“my lawyer”). This may also be used to make a distinction from the essential possessives: mi cnafa (“my son”), against cnafa ta mi (“the boy assigned to me” (a pupil, for example)).

Regardless of position, possessives do not agree with their noun. Numerals do not agree either, with the exception of two special forms for twá: feminine twó, and postposed masculine twąnn (which is also used in counting).

Next Up: Verbs! (no, really this time!)
Nu ta vylga: Verbema!


One thought on “Øynduyska – V (Various noun phrase things)

  1. […] The continuing adventures of Øynduyska! […]

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