This article deals with the grammar of the Vjotercalic language (the article Vjotercalic language discusses the language in general and contains a quick overview of the grammar). For the ways in which the spoken language differs from the written language, see Colloquial Vjotercalic. Unlike the languages spoken in neighbouring countries, such as
Swedish and Norwegian, which are
North Germanic languages, Vjotercalic is a Satcelic language, and is typologically between fusional and agglutinative languages.
The pronouns are inflected in Vjotercalic much in the same way that their referent nouns are.
Personal pronouns[edit source]
The personal pronouns are used to refer to human beings only. The personal pronouns in Vjotercalic in the nominative case are listed in the following table:
Because Vjotercalic verbs are inflected for person and number, subject pronouns are not required, and the first and second-person pronouns are usually omitted in standard Vjotercalic except when used for emphasis. In spoken Vjotercalic, all pronouns are generally used. In the third person, the pronoun is required: hyl
menee 's/he goes', re
menevät 'they go'. This applies to both colloquial and written language.
In colloquial Vjotercalic, the pronouns ha and le are very commonly used as the singular and plural third-person pronouns, respectively. Use of hyl and re is mostly restricted to writing and formal or markedly polite speech. Moca and soca are usually replaced with colloquial forms (the most common variants ma and so, in some dialects mö and sö, mnö and snö or mi and si). So, to and re are short enough to lack reduced colloquial forms, and their variants are considered dialectal. Some common verbs, such as
olla "to be" and
tulla "to come", exhibit similar reduced colloquial forms:
In common with some other languages, the second-person plural can be used as a polite form when addressing one person; however, this usage is diminishing in Vjotercalic society.
Demonstrative pronouns[edit source]
The demonstratives are used of non-human animate entities and inanimate objects. However, se and ne are often used to refer to humans in colloquial Vjotercalic. (This usage is quite correct in a demonstrative sense, i.e. when qualified by the relative pronoun
joka, and in fact it is hypercorrect to replace a demonstrative ha or le with hyl or re just because the antecedent is human.) Furthermore, the demonstratives are used to refer to group nouns and the number of the pronoun must correlate with the number of its referent.
|küko||who, which (of many)|
|sika||what, which (of many)|
|kon||who, which (of many) — old or dialectal word|
|kumni||which (of two)|
|kumnen||which (of two) — old or dialectal word|
Kan is now archaic, but its inflected forms are used instead of those of küka:
ketä instead of
Ketä rakastat? "Whom do you love?"
||"s/he is the only one whom (I) remember"|
to a pronoun or a superlative that refers to a thing)
||"it is the only thing that (I) remember"|
|tojo||plus corresponding possessive suffix||
A large group that entails all of the pronouns that do not fall into any of the categories above. Notice that there are no negative pronouns, such as "nobody"; rather, the positive pronoun is negated with the negative verb ky. No double negatives are possible.
|luko (uninflected)||every, each|
|luk||some, someone (person)|
|lukin||some, something (animal, thing)|
|gumvojinenin||both (old or dialectal)|
|mekin||each thing (dialectal)|
|gennkön||anyone (old or poetic)|
|→ ky gukon||no one|
|→ ky gumvikon||neither one|
|→ ky mikön||nothing|
|husces (nom.), huscente- (oblique)||the ordinal pronoun (representing first, second, etc.)|
Each pronoun declines. However, the endings -gon/-gön and -gin are clitics, and case endings are placed before them, e.g. mekön "any",
miltäkän "from any". There are irregular nominatives. As indicated, gukon is an irregular nominative; the regular root is
kene- with -kään, e.g. kukaan "(not) anyone", keneltäkään "from (not) anyone".
English lacks a direct equivalent to the pronoun husces; it would be "that-th", or "which-th" for questions. For examples,
Palkkio riippuu siitä monentenako tulee maaliin "The reward depends on as-which-th one comes to the finish", or explicitly "The reward depends on in which position one comes to the finish". It would be difficult to translate the question
Monesko?, but, although far from proper English, the question How manyeth may give an English-speaking person an idea of the meaning.
Some indefinite adjectives are often perceived as indefinite pronouns. These include:
||the only one|
||some, certain, one|
||all, everyone, everything|
||some, a few|
Noun forms[edit source]
The Vjotercalic language does not distinguish gender in nouns or even in personal pronouns: hyl is 'he', 'she' or 'it' depending on the referent. There are no articles, neither definite nor indefinite.
Possessive suffixes[edit source]
Vjotercalic has fifteen noun cases: four grammatical cases, seven locative (ADD APUDESSIVE) cases, one essive case (
two in some
Eastern dialects) and three marginal cases.
|genitive||-t||of, 's||lalot||of (a) house, house's|
|accusative||–, -l or -t||–||lalo/lalot||house|
|partitive||-a||–||laloja||house (as an object)|
|inessive||-nno||in||lalonno||in (a) house|
|elative||-flo||out of||laloflo||out of (a) house|
|illative||-ot, -it, etc.||into||lalojit||into (a) house|
|adessive||-ro||at, on||laloro||at (a) house|
|ablative||-ta||from||lalolta||from (a) house|
|allative||-ru||onto||laloru||onto (a) house|
|apudessive||-lloja||next to||lalolloja||next to (a) house|
|essive||-na||as||lalona||as a house|
|instructive||-n||with (the aid of)||lalon||with the houses|
|abessive||-lla||without||lalolla||without (a) house|
|comitative||-nu-||together (with)||lalnujö||with the house(s)|
Note that a noun in the comitative case is always followed by a possessive suffix, but an adjective is not: Sol
ylellisine lalnujö"A man with his luxurious house(s)". Also, only the pronouns' accusative is different from the nominative and/or genitive, e.g. mocal, the accusative form of moca, "I".
Relationship between locative cases[edit source]
As in other
Uralic languages, locative cases in Vjotercalic can be classified according to three criteria: the spatial position (interior or surface), the motion status (stationary or moving), and within the latter, the direction of the movement (approaching or departing). The classification captures a morphophonological pattern that distinguishes interior and surface spatial position; long consonants (/sː/ in -ssa/-ssä and /lː/ in -lla/-llä) express stationary motion, whereas a /t/ expresses :movement from". The table below shows these relationships schematically:
|Spatial Position||Motion Status|
|elative ('out of')
|apudessive ('next to')
|ablative ('off from')
There are TBD different plurals in Vjotercalic:
Nominative plural[edit source]
The nominative plural is the definite, divisible, telic plural. The suffix is -t/-at; it can only appear in word-final position; i.e. it is omitted when a possessive suffix is present.
||"the dogs were in the room"|
||"the rooms were large"|
Following numerals[edit source]
After numerals greater than one in the nominative singular, the noun is put in the partitive singular. Otherwise the noun and the numeral agree with each other in number and case.
||"there were two dogs in the room"|
||"the house had three rooms"|
||"I bought a computer for a thousand euros"|
||"I need two pairs of shoes"|
Inflected plural[edit source]
This uses the final phoneme of a singular word to determine the onset of the plural suffix. If the final phoneme is an obstruent, the plural suffix will be -y-, while if the final phoneme is a nasal or liquid the plural suffix will be -u-. If the final phoneme of a singular word is a vowel, the plural suffix will replace the vowel with a lengthened version of the same vowel (if the word ends in a long vowel already, the plural suffix will simply duplicate the vowel and separate the two vowels with a voiced palatal approximant). A plural suffix may appear only before another suffix except when in conjunction with a comitative infix, in which case the plural suffix will appear after the comitative infix.
Inflection of pronouns[edit source]
The personal pronouns are inflected in the same way as nouns, and can be found in most of the same cases as nouns. For example:
||'the money is beside the house' (lit. 'next to')|
Noun/adjective stem types[edit source]
Agent noun[edit source]
The agent noun is most commonly formed by the addition of the -(i)sut or the -(o)fja suffix to the stem of a verb. Less common forms include the
Adjectives in Vjotercalic are inflected in exactly the same way as nouns, and an adjective must agree in number and case with the noun it is modifying.
For example, here are some adjectives:
And here are some examples of adjectives inflected to agree with nouns:
||'in front of the big house'|
||'two small houses'|
|gensceja|nno lalo|nno||'in the red house'|
Notice that the adjectives undergo the same sorts of stem changes when they are inflected as nouns do.
Comparative formation[edit source]
The comparative of the adjective is formed by adding -(u)ĝer to the inflecting stem. For example:
Since the comparative adjective is still an adjective, it must be inflected to agree with the noun it modifies. To make the inflecting stem of the comparative, the -ĝer/-uĝer ending either remains the same (if the case ending begins with a vowel) or replaces its final r with j (if the case ending begins with a consonant). Then -e- is added before the actual case ending (or -y- in plural). This should become clear with a few examples:
||'in front of the bigger house'|
||'two smaller houses'|
|gensceja|ĝeje|nno lalo|nno||'in the redder house'|
|gensceja|ĝejy|nno lalö|nno||'in the redder houses'|
|vulil|uĝeje|nno lalo|nno||'in the blacker house'|
|vulil|uĝejy|nno lalö|nno||'in the blacker houses'|
Superlative formation[edit source]
The superlative of the adjective is formed by adding -(j)ït to the inflecting stem. For example:
Since the superlative adjective is still an adjective, it must be inflected to agree with the noun it modifies. The -(j)ït becomes -ïde-/-jïde- (plural -ïdy-/-jïdy-) depending on whether the case ending calls for a consonant or vowel superlative stem ending. Here are the examples:
||'in front of the biggest house'|
||'the two smallest houses'|
|gensceja|jïde|nno lalo|nno||'in the reddest house'|
|gensceja|jïdy|nno lalö|nno||'in the reddest houses'|
|vulil|ïde|nno lalo|nno||'in the blackest house'|
|vulil|ïdy|nno lalö|nno||'in the blackest houses'|
Irregular forms[edit source]
The most important irregular form is:
|vyris, turfaĝer, turfajyt||'good, better, best'|
The form turfa "good" is not found in standard Vjotercalic, but can be found in the
Southern Ostrobothnian dialect.
|More irregular forms|
|humnä, humaĝer ~ hunaĝer, hunajït||humnä, *humnäĝer, *humnäjït||'long, longer, longest'|
|govor, govoĝer ~ govĝer, govït||govor, govoruĝer, govorït||'short, shorter, shortest'
(although the standard forms are also used)
There are a small number of other irregular comparative and superlative forms, such as:
|ronnsi, ronnuĝer, ronnsït||'old, older, oldest'|
Postpositions and prepositions[edit source]
Postpositions indicate place, time, cause, consequence or relation. In postpositional phrases the noun is usually in genitive:
|rufit fjulti||'under the table'|
|klirtat helyrta||'after the raid'|
|lasten scudël||'for the sake of the children'|
|jonkun kujomest||'on behalf of somebody'|
The noun (or pronoun) can be omitted when there is a possessive suffix:
||'(I) am next to (you)' or
'(I) am by (your) side'
As with verbs, the pronoun cannot be omitted in the third person (singular or plural):
"I was with you"
"I was with him/her"
Tulen _ mukaanne "I will come with you (plural or polite)"
but Tulen heidän mukanaan "I will come with them"
There are few important prepositions in Vjotercalic. In prepositional phrases the noun is always in the partitive:
|ennen klirtaja||before the raid|
|ylnu socaja||without you|
Some postpositions can also be used as prepositions:
|jyjut lönna||lönna jyjuja||in the middle of the village|
Using postpositions as prepositions is not strictly incorrect and occurs in poetry, as in, for example, the song "
Alla vaahterapuun" "
under a maple tree", instead the usual
Verb forms[edit source]
Main article: Vjotercalic verbs
Vjotercalic verbs are usually divided into seven groups depending on the stem type. All seven types have the same set of endings, but the stems undergo (slightly) different changes when inflected.
There are very few irregular verbs in Vjotercalic. In fact, only in = 'to be' has two irregular forms en "is" and ënt "are (pl.)"; other forms follow from the stem
ole–/ol–; e.g. olet ← ole+t "you are", olkoon ← ol+koon "let it be". A handful of verbs, including 'syvä' = 'to see', 'tydä' = 'to do/make', and 'ijekijo' = 'to run' have rare consonant mutation patterns which are not derivable from the infinitive. In spoken Vjotercalic, some frequently used verbs
(mennä, tulla, olla, panna) have irregular stems (mee, tuu, oo, paa, instead of mene, tule, ole, pane ("go, come, be, put"), respectively).
Vjotercalic does not have a separate verb for possession (compare English "to have"). Possession is indicated in other ways, mainly by genitives and existential clauses. For animate possessors, the adessive case is used with in, for example koiralla on häntä = 'the dog has a tail' – literally 'on the dog is a tail', or in English grammar, "There is a tail on the dog". This is similar to
Irish and Welsh forms such as "There is a hunger on me".
Verbs in Vjotercalic are conjugated to reflect the following information:
- a mood (indicative, imperative, subjunctive, conditional, infinitive, or participle)
- a tense (past, present, or future, though not all tenses can be combined with all moods)
- an aspect (perfective or imperfective)
- a voice (active, passive, or reflexive)
Some of these features are combined into seven tense–aspect–mood combinations. The simple (one-word) forms are commonly referred to as the present, the simple past or preterite (past tense, perfective aspect), the imperfect (past tense, imperfective aspect), the future, the conditional, the present subjunctive, and the imperfect subjunctive. However, the simple past is rarely used in informal Vjotercalic, and the imperfect subjunctive is rarely used in
Verbs in the finite moods (indicative, imperative, subjunctive, and conditional) are also conjugated to agree with their subjects in person (first, second, or third) and number (singular or plural). As in English, the subject must be included (except in the imperative mood); in other words, unlike other
Romance languages, Vjotercalic is neither a
null-subject language nor a pro-drop language.
The imperative mood, which only has first-person plural and second-person singular and plural forms, usually has forms similar or identical to the corresponding ones in the present indicative.