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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.

Pronouns[edit source]

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:

Personal pronouns
Vjotercalic English
moca I
soca you
hyl he, she
sa we
ta you
re they
Ta you

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 and , 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:

Personal pronouns
Written/formal Spoken/colloquial
(moca) olen/tulen mo oon/tuun
(soca) olet/tulet so oot/tuut
hyl/re on/tulee ho on/tulee
(sa) olemme/tulemme sa ollaan/tullaan
(ta) olette/tulette ta ootte/tuutte
re/le ovat/tulevat le on/tulee
Ta olette/tulette Ta ootte/tuutte

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.

Demonstrative pronouns
Vjotercalic English
töjo this
tyr that
scyr it/that
tat these
rija those
li they/those

Interrogative pronouns[edit source]

Interrogative pronouns
Vjotercalic English
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 kuta ("whom"): Ketä rakastat? "Whom do you love?"

Reciprocal pronouns[edit source]

Relative pronouns
Pronoun Example English
joka(refers to preceding word) hyl on ainoa, jonka muistan "s/he is the only one whom (I) remember"
mikä(refers to preceding clause/sentence or

to a pronoun or a superlative that refers to a thing)

se on ainoa asia, minkä muistan" "it is the only thing that (I) remember"

Reciprocal pronouns[edit source]

Reciprocal pronouns
Pronoun Example English
tennan he rakastavat toisiaan "they love each other" (plural)
he rakastavat toinen toistaan "they love one another" (dual)

Reflexive pronouns[edit source]

Reflexive pronouns
Pronoun Suffix Example English
tojo plus corresponding possessive suffix keitin itselleni teetä "(I) made myself some tea"

Indefinite pronouns[edit source]

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.

Indefinite pronouns
Vjotercalic English
luko (uninflected) every, each
lukojinen every, everyone
luk some, someone (person)
lumvigamvi either one
lukin some, something (animal, thing)
gukin each one
gumvojinenin both (old or dialectal)
gumvikin both
mekin each thing (dialectal)
gennkön anyone (old or poetic)
gukon (nom.), kene...kään (oblique) anyone
ky gukon no one
gumvikon either one
ky gumvikon neither one
mekön anything
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:

Indefinite adjectives
Vjotercalic English
ainoa the only one
eräs some, certain, one
mohvo few
tojo (non-reflexive) self
kaikki all, everyone, everything
molemmat both
moni many
tama some, a few
yda same
toinen (non-reciprocal, non-numeral use) another

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]

Cases[edit source]

Main article:

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.

Vjotercalic cases
Case Affix English prep. Example Translation
nominative lalo house
genitive -t of, 's lalot of (a) house, house's
accusative –, -l or -t lalo/lalot house
partitive -a laloja house (as an object)
Locative (internal)
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
Locative (external)
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:

Schematic Summary of Locative Cases
Spatial Position Motion Status
Stationary Moving
approaching departing
Interior inessive ('in')

-sco /-scö

illative ('into')


elative ('out of')

-flo /-flö

Surface adessive ('on')

-ro /-rö

apudessive ('next to')

-lloja /-llojä

allative ('onto')


ablative ('off from')

-ta /-tä

Plurals[edit source]

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.

Nominative plural
Vjotercalic English
koirat olivat huoneessa "the dogs were in the room"
huoneet olivat suuria "the rooms were large"

Following numerals[edit source]

Further information:

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.

Following numerals
Vjotercalic English
huoneessa oli kaksi koiraa "there were two dogs in the room"
talossa oli kolme huonetta "the house had three rooms"
ostin tietokoneen tuhannella eurolla "I bought a computer for a thousand euros"
tarvitsen kahdet kengät "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:

Inflection of pronouns
Vjotercalic Case Example English
moca nominative 'I'
mocat genitive ('my, mine')
tämä talo on minun 'this house is mine'
tämä on minun taloni 'this is my house'
mocal accusative hän tuntee minut 's/he knows me'
mocaja partitive hän rakastaa minua 's/he loves me'
mocanno inessive tämä herättää minussa vihaa 'this provokes (lit. awakens) anger in me'
mocaflo elative hän puhui minusta 's/he was talking about/of me'. Also used idiomatically to mean 'in my opinion'.
mocaja illative hän uskoi minuun 's/he believed in me'
mocaro adessive minulla on rahaa 'I've got some money' (lit.'On me there's money')
mocada ablative hän otti minulta rahaa 's/he took some money from/off me'.
mocaru allative anna minulle rahaa 'give me some money'
mocalloja apudessive sinuna en tekisi sitä 'the money is beside the house' (lit. 'next to')
mocasca essive häntä luullaan usein minuksi 'If I were you, I wouldn't do it' (lit. 'as you')

Noun/adjective stem types[edit source]

The stem of a word is the part to which inflectional endings are affixed. For most noun and adjective types, the nominative case is identical to the basic stem (the nominative is unmarked).

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 TBD suffixes.

Adjectives[edit source]

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:

Vjotercalic English
nuta 'big'
idyha 'small'
gensceja 'red'

And here are some examples of adjectives inflected to agree with nouns:

Vjotercalic English
nuta|n lalo|n ečonno 'in front of the big house'
kaksi idyha| lalö|ja '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:

Vjotercalic English Vjotercalic English
nuta 'big' nuta|ĝer 'bigger'
idyha 'small' idyha|ĝer 'smaller'
gensceja 'red' gensceja|ĝer 'redder'
vulil 'black' vulil|uĝer 'blacker'

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:

Vjotercalic English
nuta|ĝer|n lalo|n ečonno 'in front of the bigger house'
kaksi piene|mpä|ä lalo|a '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:

Superlative formation
Vjotercalic English Vjotercalic English
nuta 'big' nuta|jït 'biggest'
vulil 'black' vulil|ït 'blackest'

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:

Vjotercalic English
iso|imma|n lalo|n ečonno 'in front of the biggest house'
kaksi pien|in|tä lalo|a '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:

Main irregular form
Vjotercalic English
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.

Notice also:

More irregular forms
Vjotercalic Hypothetic regular English
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:

Vjotercalic English
ronnsi, ronnuĝer, ronnsït 'old, older, oldest'

Postpositions and prepositions[edit source]

Postpositions are more common in Vjotercalic than prepositions. Both postpositions and prepositions can be combined with either a noun or a possessive suffix to form a postpositional phrase.

Postpositions[edit source]

Postpositions indicate place, time, cause, consequence or relation. In postpositional phrases the noun is usually in genitive:

Vjotercalic English
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:

Vjotercalic English
olen _ vierellä|si '(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):

Elnu_ mukanasi "I was with you"
but Elnu hänen mukanaan "I was with him/her"
Tulen _ mukaanne "I will come with you (plural or polite)"
but Tulen heidän mukanaan "I will come with them"

Prepositions[edit source]

There are few important prepositions in Vjotercalic. In prepositional phrases the noun is always in the partitive:

Vjotercalic English
ennen klirtaja before the raid
ylnu socaja without you

Some postpositions can also be used as prepositions:

Postpositions as prepositions
Postposition Preposition English
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 vaahterapuun alla.

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. oletole+t "you are", olkoonol+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:

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 modern Vjotercalic.

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.

See also[edit source]

Vjotercalic lexicon