Þrjótrunn: A North Romance Language


In this section, the usage and meaning of the languages' morphological forms and syntactic structures is described.


Adverbials of time and location often use the plain accusative. This is not productive anymore, but is often visible in lexicalised phrases like 'one time' etc.

Past vs. Perfect


The Latin perfect tense has taken the function of the (lost) Latin imperfect tense and is called 'past' by Þrjótrunn grammarians. An analytical perfect tense was more and more used (as in other Romance languages) and has taken the function of the original perfect tense.

Indicative vs. Subjunctive

The subjunctive is used in the following situations.

In Main Clauses

To express a wish or demand.

In Subordinate Clauses

To express a subjective view.

Middle Voice

Definite vs. Indefinite

The usage of the definite article usually does not accompany proper names, nor nouns used by their function (e.g. 'in school', 'in hospital', 'in heaven', 'on earth').

The definite article is usually enclitic. In older language as well as in formal or ceremonial language, it may be prefixed as an independent word.

If the article is both prefixed and suffixed, the meaning is 'the other ...'.

If a demonstrative is used, no definite article is used.

Nouns with a suffixed possessive pronoun are marked with the definite article enclitic. Nouns with a prefixed possessive pronoun are not marked with a definite article. The latter form is archaic or usually reserved for formal or ceremonial occasions.

To Have, To Own, To Hold, There Is

English Þrjótrunn
to have (auxiliary) hefir
A has (now, with him/her) B A[nom] tinir B[acc]
A holds B A[nom] tinir B[acc]
A owns B A[nom] pöstir B[acc]
there is A ekki issir A[nom]

Usage of Kví, Kvæll, and Tög

'kví' has a 'sociative' case form in both singular ('kvíg') and plural ('kjúsk') , which is used instead of *' kve' and *' kær', resp. These forms are contractions, therefore in adjectival usage, the modified noun phrase is in accusative case just as with the preposition ''.[1]

'Tög' is the uninflected relative pronoun.[2]

Interrogative Noun

Gender is used on 'kví' in interrogative substantive usage to distinguish 'who?' (by masculine: kví) and 'what?' (by neuter: koð). The feminine forms are not used – the masculine is interpreted as gender neutral. The question 'what?' may well be answered with a grammatically feminine or masculine noun – the neuter 'koð' is interpreted (grammatical) gender neutral, too. Both interrogative nouns are neutral wrt. number, too – you may well answer with a plural noun.

The pronoun can be used in the genitive case to ask for the possessor ('whose ...'), so in contrast to the possessive pronoun, it does not agree in case with its modified noun.

Kví katt? Who (both f. and m.) sings? Eykkli kattað. My uncles (m.pl.) sing.
Aukkull kyggur katt? Whose (f. or m.) uncle sings? Aukkull myr katt. My (f. or m.) uncle sings.
Kví ert bjöllur? Who (f. and m.) is beautiful? Mer ert bjall. Mary (f.sg.) is beautiful.
Koð ert bjöll? What is beautiful? Domisi sutt belli. The houses (f.pl.) are beautiful.
Koð pésar ? What do you think?
Kvíg kattar ? With whom (f. and m.) do you sing? aukkul mjú katta . I sing with my uncle (m.sg.).

Interrogative Adjective

'Kví' is used to query individuals, while 'kvæll' is used to query the general kind of something.

Kví aukkull katt? What uncle sings?
Kvæll aukkull katt? What kind of uncle sings?
Kvíg aukkul kattar ? With what uncle do you sing?

Relative Noun

sepja kví katt. I know who sings.
sepja aukkull kyggur katt. I know whose uncle sings.
sepja kví ert bjöllur. I know who is beautiful.
sepja koð ert bjöll. I know what is beautiful.
sepja koð pésar . I know what do you think.
sepja kvíg kattar . I know with whom you sing.

Relative Adjective

sepja kví aukkull katt. I know what uncle sings.
sepja kvæll aukkull katt. I think what kind of uncle sings.
sepja kvíg aukkul kattar . I know with what uncle you sing.

Relative Pronoun

Mer tög katt ert bjall. Mary, who sings, is beautiful.


The Latin interrogative noun 'qvis' was lost. Instead, 'qvī' is used.

On the other hand, the relative pronoun 'qvī' fell out of use and was replaced by 'tög' < tanqvam, which originally meant 'as much as, how'.

The sociative forms derive from qvīcvm and qvibvscvm, resp.


These sociative forms have survived in Spanisch and Portuguese, too, but in Romance languages here they lost their original sociative meaning so that they are now used together with 'con', e.g. 'conmigo' - 'with me' < cvm + mecvm. Þrjótrunn is probably unique in retaining the sociative meaning of the contraction.
No Romance language here is known to use a cognate of this as a relative pronoun; they use the original Latin relative pronoun derived from qvī.
December 15th, 2009
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