Þrjótrunn: A North Romance Language



Þrjótrunn is a North Romance language, i.e., it belongs to the Romance family of the Indo-European language group. It is spoken in Þrjótur.[1] (Ef þú ert Íslendingur álítur þú vissulega að 'Þrjótur' sé íslenska. En það er ekki íslenska, það er þrjóska (þrjótrunn).) The language derives from Vulgar Latin (VL) of the 1st century CE.[2]

Distinctive Features

This section gives an overview of the features that make Þrjótrunn or the North Romance language different in the family of Romance languages.

  • Nominative forms are usually retained.[3]
  • A four cases system is retained.[4] (The five/six case system of Classical Latin was probably not preserved because acc. and abl. had merged too early in VL.)
  • There is a complex system of umlauts and sandhi.[5]
  • The verbal system looses many synthetic tenses.
  • The article is suffixed to the noun.[6]
  • The early vowel system does not collapse to seven vowels.[7]
  • 'de' is never used for possessives: genitive case is used instead.
  • Retention of synthetical comparative and superlative.[8]
  • Retension of 4th declension for many words.
  • 'hví' (what?) and 'hvæll' (what kind of?) clearly distinguished in adjectival interrogative usage.
  • Lexical differences from South Romance:
    • '(The) same' is not from '*metipsimus', but from 'aequalis'.
    • 'Equus', not 'caballus', is the standard word for 'horse'.
    • 'Iste' is almost completely lost.
    • The article derives from 'ipse', not from 'ille' (shared with a few South Romance languages).[9]
    • The distal demonstrative derives from 'ipse'.


This section compares some words in Þrjótrunn which those in Icelandic and Latin.



'engill' is a native word in Þrjótrunn and a Latin loan in Icelandic (and it is a Greek loan in Latin). It means 'angel' in both languages.

Þrjótrunn Icelandic
sg. nom. engill engill
acc. engil engil
dat. engla engli
gen. engli engils
pl. nom. engli englar
acc. englar engla
dat. englir englum
gen. englur engla


'fjörður' is a native word in Icelandic and a Germanic loan in Þrjótrunn. It means 'fjord' in both languages.

Þrjótrunn Icelandic
sg. nom. fjörður fjörður
acc. fjörð fjörð
dat. fjarða firði
gen. firði fjarðar
pl. nom. firði firðir
acc. fjarðar firði
dat. firðir fjörðum
gen. fjörður fjarða


'björk' is a native word in Icelandic and a Germanic loan in Þrjótrunn. It means 'birch' in both languages.

Þrjótrunn Icelandic
sg. nom. björkur björk
acc. björk björk
dat. börkvi björk
gen. björkur bjarkar
pl. nom. björkur bjarkir
acc. björkur bjarkir
dat. birkifur björkum
gen. björku bjarka


'bær' is Þrjótrunn for 'ox', deriving from Latin 'bōs'. 'kýr' is Icelandic for 'cow', deriving from Germanic '*kūz'. Both derive from the same Proto-Indo-European word '*gʷōus'. It is quite irregular in both languages.

Þrjótrunn Icelandic
sg. nom. bær kýr
dat. bövi
gen. bör kýr
pl. nom. bovir kýr
acc. bovir kýr
dat. bófur kúm
gen. búm kúa

True Friends

Þrjótrunn and Icelandic
björk birch
engill angel
fjörður fjord
sól sun

False Friends

Þrjótrunn Icelandic
á from at; in; on
aðal animal nature, character
aur gold loam, clay
ekki there not
lyng language heather, ling
mjöl apple flour (meal, farina)
mundur world dowry
ósk voice wish
söngur blood song
þrjótur Iceland villain


This section juxtaposes some Latin nouns with the Þrjótrunn equivalent to show how the Þrjótrunn words are sound shifted.

1: capra - goat

Þrjótrunn Latin
sg. nom. kapur capra
acc. kapur capram
dat. kapri caprae
gen. kapri caprae
pl. nom. kapri caprae
acc. kaprar caprās
dat. keprir caprīs
gen. köpru caprārvm

2m: ramus - branch

Þrjótrunn Latin
sg. nom. rámur rāmvs
acc. rám rāmvm
dat. ráma rāmō
gen. ræmi rāmī
pl. nom. ræmi rāmī
acc. rámar rāmōs
dat. ræmir rāmīs
gen. rámur rāmōrvm

2n: *melum - apple

Þrjótrunn Latin
sg. nom. mjöl melvm
acc. mjöl melvm
dat. mjala melō
gen. mili melī
pl. nom. mjal mela
acc. mjal mela
dat. milir melīs
gen. mjölur melōrvm

3: panis - bread

Þrjótrunn Latin
sg. nom. pænn pānis
acc. pán pānem
dat. pæni pānī
gen. pænn pānis
pl. nom. pánir pānēs
acc. pánir pānēs
dat. pænifur pānibvs
gen. pán pānvm

4: fagus - beech

Þrjótrunn Latin
sg. nom. þágur fāgvs
acc. þág fāgvm
dat. þægvi fāgvī
gen. þágur fāgūs
pl. nom. þágur fāgūs
acc. þágur fāgūs
dat. þægifur fāgibvs
gen. þágu fāgvvm


It seems the vocabulary and morphology are like in Romance language here and the syntax and phonotactics are almost the same as in Icelandic. What an extraordinary coincidence!
Some Romance languages here retain a few nominatives, but most are lost. The retained nominative are those used in VL, which are sometimes different from CL by analogy with other words, VL has *nūbs instead of CL nūbēs.
Just like Icelandic is conservative.
It is very similar to Icelandic.
This is an analogy with Icelandic. Romanian is a Romance language that does that, too.
Sardinian keeps the ten vowel system too, and later collapses length distinctions.
Although Icelandic does this (like quite some other Germanic languages), this is unknown from Romances languages here except for a few irregular words.
Here, this holds for Sardinian and Balearic Catalan.
October 28th, 2007
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