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Islander Norse
Created byNeil Whalley
Native toKingdom of the Isles
Early forms
Official status
Official language in
Kingdom of the Isles

Éljansk /eːʎənsk/ or Islander Norse is a heavily Gaelic-influenced West Norse language that developed in the medieval Kingdom of the Isles from the 9th century.


Phonology and Orthography


  Front Near- front Central Near- back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg

All vowels except /ə/ may be long or short; vowel length is phonemic and invariable. The obscure vowel /ə/ occurs only as an allophone of mid- and low vowels (i.e. /e, o, a/) in unstressed syllables.

There is only one diphthong, éi /ɛi̯/.


Bilabial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Guttural
Plosive p b t d c ɟ k g
Nasal m n ɲ (ŋ)
Fricative ɸ β θ ð ʃ s (x) ɣ h
Affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Approximant j
Lateral l ʎ
Rhotic r
  • /ŋ/ is an allophone of /n/ before /k, g/.
  • /x/ is an allophone of /ɣ/ before /t/.

gh /ɣ/

The phoneme /ɣ/, written gh, has several allophonic variants, depending on its position. It is:

  • /ɣ/ in word-final position and between vowels, e.g. hógh "hill" /hoːɣ/, borgh "fort" /borɣ/, dagher "days" /daɣər/
  • /x/ before /t/, e.g. floght "flutter" /floxt/, láght "low" (neut.) /laxt/.
  • /Ø/ (zero) before a consonant, causing the following vowel to lengthen when short, e.g. laghman "lawyer" /laːmən/, boghskot "bowshot" /boːskot/.


Primary stress is always on the first syllable of the word.


Until the 13th century, Éljansk was primarily written using the Younger Futhark runes, but a spelling system using the Roman alphabet was already in use. The standardised form of the alphabet consists of the following letters:

a b d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v

The runic letters ð and þ continued to be used into the 15th century, but are replaced by the digraphs dh and th in the standard orthography. In addition to these letters, all vowels may take the acute accent (á, é, í, ó, ú) to symbolise long vowels, and the letters d, k, l, n, s, t occur with a cedilla (usually realised as a diacritical comma in digital text; e.g. ḑ, ķ, ļ, ņ, ș, ț) to symbolise palatal consonants.

Palatal Consonants

The consonants /t, d, k, g, l, n, s/ (written t, d, k, g, l, n and s) all have palatal variants: /t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ, c, ɟ, ʎ, ɲ, ʃ/. The method of writing these palatal sounds is dependent on the context:

  • before i or í, the sounds are always palatal and the unmarked forms of the letters are used, so that ti is always /t͡ʃi/ etc., e.g. dim "dim, dark" /d͡ʒim/, sidhan "since" /ʃiðən/.
  • before other vowels, the letters are followed by j, e.g. tjarn "pond" /t͡ʃarn/, ljú "lie" /ʎuː/.
  • before a consonant or word-finally, the sounds are marked with a diacritical comma, e.g. veņ "custom" /βeɲ/, driķ "drinking" /dric/. An exception is the letter g, which is usually written gj even at the end of a syllable, e.g. legj "lie down" /leɟ/.

Sound to Spelling Correspondence

Graph IPA Environment Examples
a /a/
/a:/ before gh + consonant
(except t)
á /aː/
e /e/
é /eː/
éi /ei̯/
i /i/
í /iː/
o /o/
/oː/ before gh + consonant
(except t)
ó /oː/
u /u/
ú /uː/
Graph IPA Environment Examples
b /b/
d /d/
/d͡ʒ/ before i or í
dh /ð/
f /ɸ/
g /g/
/ɟ/ before i or í
gj /ɟ/
gh /ɣ/
/x/ before t
/Ø/ before any consonant
except t*
h /h/
j /j/
/Ø/ after t, d, k, g, s, n, l
indicates palatalisation
k /k/
/c/ before i or í
l /l/
/ʎ/ before i or í
m /m/
n /n/
/ɲ/ before i or í
/ŋ/ before k or g
p /p/
r /r/
s /s/
/ʃ/ before i or í
t /t/
/t͡ʃ/ before i, í or j
v /β/


  • In some cases j signifies the palatal nature of the preceding consonant, rather than a distinct sound.
  • When syllable-final palatal consonants written with a diacritic comma come to stand before a vowel, due to the addition of word-endings or compounding, the marked letter is replaced by Cj, e.g. ríķ "kingdom" → ríkjer "kingdoms", erviņ "heir" → ervinjum "heirs" (dat. pl.)



Nouns are declined according to number only (singular or plural). There are no grammatical genders in Éljansk and case is not marked.

The base form of the noun is always singular, e.g. man "man", barn "child", ríķ "kingdom". In most cases the plural is formed by adding -er to the singular form, e.g. maner "men", barner "children", ríkjer "kingdoms".

The genitive of possession is shown by placing the possessor after the possessed, e.g. hús Duvan "Duvan's house", kirķ Patriķ "Patrick's church". When the possessor is a definite noun, the article en may be placed before it, e.g. Kong en Éljaner "King of the Isles".


There is no indefinite article and the noun alone is considered indefinite, e.g. stól "(a) stool", ár "(an) oar". The definite article is en for both the singular and plural; it always precedes the noun, e.g. en stól "the stool", en árer "the oars".



Cardinal Ordinal
1 éin first
2 twéi aner
3 thrí thridh
4 fjór fjórdh
5o fim fimt
6 ses set
7 sjó sjónd
8 át átand
9 nínd
10 tínd
11 elif elift
12 tólf tólft
13 thrí tán thrí tánd
14 fjór tán fjór tánd
15 fim tán fim tánd
16 ses tán ses tánd
17 sjó tán sjó tánd
18 át tán át tánd
19 ní tán ní tánd
20 tutú tutúnd
21 éin eg tutú first eg tutú
30 þrítí þrítínd
40 fjórtí fjórtínd
50 fimtí fimtínd
60 sestí sestínd
70 sjótí sjótínd
80 átí átínd
90 nítí nítínd
100 títí títínd
110 eliftí eliftínd
120 hunredh hunrest



Personal Pronouns
Subject Object Prepositional
Sing 1 ik mik
2 thú thik thé
3m han ham
3f hon hen
3n that thí
Plural 1 os
2 é í
3 théi thá them
Reflexive - sik


The demonstrative pronouns are:

  • then "this", thes "these"
  • that "that" (near you), thó "those"
  • hit "that" (at a distant, abstract), hin "those".

These pronouns are used as stand-alone forms. When demonstratives qualify a noun it is more common to use the adverbs hér "here", thar "there" and than "yonder" with a definite noun, e.g. en man hér "this man", en hund thar "that dog".