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LotM - May 19: Norþic
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May's language of the month is the first IAL to win Language of the Month, Slackline's Norþic! Designed as a pan-Germanic auxiliary language, Norþic has a Memrise course, video tutorials, and even its own website outside CWS. Read on to learn all about it!
This public article was written by Admin Sheep on 2 May 2019, 04:03.

[comments] Menu 1. Phonology and orthography 2. Morphology and syntax 3. Lexicon 4. More on Norþic 5. A Note on Norþic May's language of the month is the first IAL to win Language of the Month, Slackline's  Norþic! Designed as a pan-Germanic auxiliary language, Norþic has a Memrise course, video tutorials, and even its own website outside CWS. Read on to learn all about it!

[top]Phonology and orthography

Given that it's based on Germanic languages, Norþic has two things in abundance: fricatives, and vowels. The Norþic consonant system has 8 fricatives, coming in 3 voiced pairs (/f v θ ð s z/), plus /ʃ h/. Other consonants include the nasals /m n ŋ/, the plosives /p b t d k g/, two affricates /t͡s t͡ʃ/, and three approximants /r~ɾ l j/, making an overall fricative and affricate heavy consonant inventory, which feels familiar from other Germanic languages while not being typical of any one Germanic language in particular.

There are 8 separate vowel qualities in Norþic—very small for a Germanic language, but large for an IAL. The cardinal vowel qualities /i e a o̞ u/ are present, and so are three lax vowels /ɪ ə ɛ/, and one polyphthong /aow/.

The orthography of Norþic is unsurprisingly inspired by Germanic languages, especially Icelandic. Most phonemes are represented by their IPA symbols, with the exception of the affricate /t͡ʃ/ <c>, the dental fricatives /θ ð/ which are both represented by <þ>, and the vowels /i ɪ e ɛ ə/ <í i æ e y>.

In addition to the Romanized orthography, there is also, fittingly, a Runic orthography using futhark. Some translation samples using this orthography are available.

[top]Morphology and syntax

The basic word order of Norþic, like most modern Germanic languages, is SVO. It also uses prepositions and puts adjectives and determiners before nouns. It has relatively simple morphology, and uses a lot of bound morphemes from Germanic languages. It also has some periphrastic strategies for marking core grammatical features like tense and possession. For instance, the future is marked with the auxiliary verb vill, whereas the past is marked with the suffix -d, cognate of English -ed. Much like English, possession can be formed with a possessor-first strategy using an affix -z on the possessor, or a possessor-second strategy using a preposition yv.

Some other suffixes of Norþic include the plural -n, as well as many derivational suffixes, which deserve their own article.

[top]Lexicon

The lexicon of Norþic should feel very familiar to English speakers, and even more familiar to speakers of other Germanic languages. Many of the translated sentences, such as "Þí bik ryd knob bí ser vigtik" and "Þu bí æn yld man" are almost entirely composed of cognates of modern English words, with the rest of the words having common cognates in Scandinavian or other Germanic languages. Many of the words are shortened, compared to their cognates in natural languages.

Because of its emphasis as a scientific auxiliary language, Norþic has a very large set of technical vocabulary, including some very advanced space and astronomy terms. Many of these terms are ultimately derived from Latin or Greek, but with forms that resemble Latin or Greek derived words in Germanic languages. However, for every stratosfær "stratosphere" or eksentrikscin "eccentricity", there is a starstyffken "astrochemistry" (star-stuff-ken) or aosyrþlik "extraterrestrial" (out-earth-like). Much of the joy of the Norþic lexicon is in its accommodation between Germanic and Greek or Latinate roots for scientific vocabulary, sometimes even in the same word.

[top]More on Norþic

That wraps up our tour of Norþic! There's loads more to read, so check out Norþic's LexiBuild sets, phrasebook, translations, and articles! Also make sure to check out the external links to the Norþic Memrise course, website, and tutorials.

[top]A Note on Norþic

Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Norþic that wasn't covered and you wish it had been? Feel free to shoot us (protondonor, Hastrica) a PM with your questions, comments, and/or concerns. Also feel free to drop by the LotM clan if you have other feedback, want to join in the voting process, or nominate a language!
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