Alska/Dialects

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This page is no longer "canon" with my re-working of Alska. I'm going to leave it as it is, but it does not necessarily reflect on Alska as it currently stands


Dialect Classification

Alska has six primary dialects. Four of these form a continuum across the main island of Alsland; the fifth and sixth dialects are not related to each other, but are easily recognizable as Alska.

On Alsland Proper, there are four dialect regions: East, West, North, and South. Southern Alsla is the standard, and Eastern Alska is the farthest from it. The two colonial dialects are even further, but are not spoken on the main island. These regions in turn have their own dialects, but they are far too small to be recognized by non-speakers as such.


Sydalska

Southern Alska is the standard language for all government documents and is taught in schools as a mandatory language in Alsland. Its dominance is in part due to the area it is natively spoken in, which is much more temperate than the West, East, or North. This allowed for a larger population of native speakers, and the largest city in the South of Alsland, Syderhamn, is the country's main port and center of trade.

Nordalska

Northern Alska is one of the least spoken of all the dialects, and while it looks somewhat similar to Standard Alska in its orthography, the pronunciation is quite different. Many times, native speakers of SA have a hard time understanding Northern Alska, and they describe it as if 'one is speaking with marbles in their mouth.' On the other hand, speakers of Eastern Alska can understand Northern Alska the best, follows by Western Alska speakers.

Phonology

Letters Pronunciation Further information
a [a:]/[ɑ] can make two different sounds, but has no short version
b [b] -
d [d] -
e [ɛ] / [e:] -
f [f] -
g [g] -
h [h] -
i [i] No short version
j [j] corresponds to y in English you
k [k] -
l [l] -
m [m] -
n [n] -
o [ɔ]/[o̞] -
p [p] -
r [ʁ]
s [s]/[ʃ] -
t [t] -
u [ʉ] has no short version
v [f] -
y [i:] pronounced like 'e' in English 'me'
å [au] -
ø [ø] -
æy [aj] -
ey [ei:] -
uy [u:i] -
iy [i:j] Mid-closed version of [i:]
øy [øy] -

The Northern Alska alphabet has 28 letters. The five digraphs, æy, ey, ui, iy, and øy, are counted as single letters. All of these sounds can be made with Standard Alskan (SA) orthography, with the exception of [au], which is represented by the letter å in Northern Alska.

The letter iy is also known as 'creaky i' because of it's pronunciation.


Certain letters, such as å and y do not correspond to their Standard counterparts. Compare the SA versions of å and y ([ɔ] and [y:]) to NA's [au] and [i:].

The letter s is also pronounced [ʃ] in many cases, and the digraph sj is pronounced [sj]

Another overarching rule for NA pronunciation is that most consonants switch with their voiced or unvoiced versions when they are used in a word, but are pronounced normally when they start a word.

  • [k] - [d]
  • [g] - [k]
  • [d] - [b]

And so forth.

Pronunciation Differences/Spelling Differences

Many words are spelled the same in both dialects, but can be pronounced very differently from each other:

Word Pronunciation (NA) Pronunciation (SA) Meaning
Alsland [alʃ'leɪnt] [als'la:nd] alsland
Flyge [fli:'kɛ] [fly:'gɛ] girl, woman
Vadr [fa:'tɛʁ] [fa:'r] father


There are certain common words that are spelled differently but are pronounced the same:

Word (SA) Word (NA) Pronunciation (Both) Meaning
Hej Hæy [haj] hello
Sju Su [ʃu] shoe
Dig Dæyg [dajg] you (acc.)


Finally, there are many words that are spelled differently and pronounced differently:

Spelling (SA) Pronunciation (SA) Spelling (NA) Pronunciation (NA) Meaning
Ja [ja] [jau] yes
Nej [naj] Ney [nei:] no
ett Vere [ɛt vɛrɛ] i Ve [i: ve:] to be

Grammar

Grammar is largely the same in Northern Alska as it is in Standard Alska, with a few execptions.

When verbs are in the infinitive, i is placed in front of them instead of SA's ett:

  • i køyke (NA) - ett kyke (SA) - to cook

Notice the spelling change from 'y' to 'øy' to accommodate the missing [y:] phoneme in NA.

Verbs

The formation of past tense endings also changes in NA. Words that have an '-r' ending in the past tense in Standard Alska have a '-kk' ending in Northern Alska:

  • gikk (NA) - gir (SA) - went
  • fikk (NA) - fir (SA) - found

This change applies only to '-r' words and the other past tense suffixes are the same in Northern Alska as they are in Southern Aslka.


Definite/Indefinite Articles

The definite and indefinite articles are different in Northern Alska than they are in Southern Alska. The neuter indefinite article changes from et to ey, but the common articles stay the same.

Definite article Common Neuter Plural Indefinite Article Common Neuter Plural
Nom. / Acc. den dey denne/deye Nom./Acc. en ey -
Dat. dan day danne/daye Dat. an ay -

This also changes the enclitic article ending for the Neuter Gender: Neuter nouns now end in '-ey' instead of '-et'

Personal Pronouns

Standard Alska first, Northern Alska second:

Case 1st person
Singular Plural
Nominative jeg/jæyg vi/vi
Accusative mig/mæyg oss/uss
Dative mig/mæyg oss/uss
Genitive minn/mæyn osser/usser
Case 2nd person
Singular Plural
Nominative du/du i/enne
Accusative dig/dæyg ig/enneg
Dative dig/dæyg ig/enneg
Genitive - -
Case 3rd person
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative han/han hun/hun den/det / den/det disse/disse / disse/disse
Accusative han/han hun/hun den/det / den/det disse/disse / disse/disse
Dative ham/ham hum/hum dan/dat / dan/dat dasse/dasse / dasse/dasse
Genitive - - - -


Comparison

Here is the Lord's Prayer, first in English, then in Standard Alska, and finally in Northern Alska:

   Our Father in heaven,                             Osser vadr i himmell,                                    Usser vadr i himell                  
   hallowed be your name.                            helighet er din Nafn.                                    helighet e dæyn Nafn
   Your kingdom come,                                din konngdøm kommer,                                     dæyn kunngdum komme                       
   your will be done,                                din will gør,                                            dæyn vil gør
   on earth as it is in heaven.                      på jorden hvorden somm det er i hemmell.                 po jorden hvordan sum det e i himell
   Give us this day our daily bread,                 giver oss disse dagligen brød,                           giv uss disse dagligen brød
   and forgive us our debts,                         ok tillgive oss osser skulder,                           o tilgiv uss usser skulder 
   as we also have forgiven our debtors.             hvorden vi har tilgivedde osser skuldmanner.             hvordan vi har
   And lead us not into temptation,                  ok leder oss ikke i på frissthellse,                     o led oss ikje i po fristhelse
   but deliver us from evil.                         men tillever oss fra ande.                               men tilev uss frå ande

There are several noteworthy differences in this translation:

  • The dropping of double consonants where appropriate in himell and fristhelse. (The double consonant-short vowel length rule still applies in NA, but there is no short version of i
  • to po ([pɔ] - [pɔ])
  • ok to o ([o̞] - [ɔ])
  • ikke to ikje ([ɪg'gɛ] - [i:ʃ'jɛ]) Normally, the digraph kj is pronounced [ʃ], but in this instance the [j] is realized as well.
  • somm to sum ([sɔm] - [sʉm])
  • fra to frå ([fra:] - [fʁau])
  • din to dæyn ([dɪn] - [dein])
  • er to e ([er] - [e]) ett Vere changes to i Ve in Northern Alska, and the conjugation for all persons in present tense is simply e in NA.
  • giver to giv ([gɪv'ɛr] - [gi:v]). The command form of a verb in SA is the exact same as it's present tense conjugation, but in NA the command form is simply the infinitive without the e attached to it. This also appears with the verbs ett lede, ett tillgive, ett vere, and ett tilleve (SA versions).

Østalska (Ustalsj')

Eastern Alska, called Østalska in Standard, and Ustalsj' [ʉsd'a:lʃɛ] natively, is the dialect furthest from Standard Alska. It is somewhat similar to Northern Alska in phonology, which is why speakers of those two dialects can understand each other better than speakers of the other dialects. However, the orthography differs quite drastically from the straightforward spellings of Standard and Northern Alska.

Phonology

Letters Pronunciation Further information
a [au] -
aa [a:] can be long or short
á [eɪ] pronounced like 'long a' in English
b [b] -
d [d]/[ð] pronounced [d] at the beginning or end of a word, [ð] elsewhere
e [e:] -
f [f] -
g [g] -
h [h] -
i [ɪ]/[i:]/[ɛ] [ɛ] in some cases, most notably ikke
j [j] corresponds to y in English you
k [k] -
l [l] -
ll [tl] -
m [m] -
n [n] -
o [ɔ]/[o:] ([o̞:]) [o̞:] is similar to English book
p [p] -
r [ɹ]
s [s]/[ʃ] -
t [t] -
u [ʉ] has no short version
v [f] -
y [aj] -
å [ɔ] -
ø [ø] -
' [ɛ] -

Eastern Alska (EA) has 27 letters in its alphabet, including aa, which stands for the phone [a:], and á, which stands for [eɪ]. (The letter a in EA is pronounced [au])

There are several letters that do not produce the sound one would expect. Since EA does not have any sort of recognized diphthongs, the letters a and y stand for [au] and [aj] respectively. (These sounds are represented by diphthongs in other dialects)

The apostrof (') is counted as a full letter in Eastern Alska, and is pronounced [ɛ]. This can be confusing to non-native speakers of EA because words that would normally have a short 'e' are instead spelled with an apostrophe. This also happens in the definite/indefinite articles.

The same voiced-unvoiced consonant switch occurs in Eastern Alska as it does in Northern Alska, but to a lesser degree.

One notable phonetic shift in Eastern Alska is the placement of sj in words that normally contain kj in Standard

  • Alsj' [al'ʃɛ] (EA) - Alska [als'ka] (SA) - Alska
  • Mensjer [mɛnʃ(ɹ)] (EA) - Mennsker [mɛn'skɛr] (SA) - People

Apostrof

The Apostrophe (') represents the phone [ɛ], and is used only when the sound is to be fully realized. The apostrohpe is used to counteract the dropping of word-final, unstressed syllables in Eastern Alska. It is also used in stressed syllables because the letter e only represents the phone [e:]. If e, or any other vowel is found in an unstressed syllable (usually at the end of a word), it is dropped from speech. However, if ' is in the final syllable, it is still unstressed, but the [ɛ] is pronounced.

This is shown in the tables below.

Pronunciation Differences/Spelling Differences

Here is a table with many confusing examples of the EA orthography:

Spelling (SA) Pronunciation (SA) Spelling (EA) Pronunciation (EA) Meaning
Ja [ja] Ja [jau] yes
Nej [naj] Ny [naj] no
ett Vere [ɛt vɛrɛ] å V'r [ɔ vɛ(ɹ)] to be
Alsland [a:ls'land] Aalsl'n [a:ls'lɛ(n)] alsland
Flyge [fly:'gɛ] Fluk' [flʉ'kɛ] girl, woman
Vadr [va:r] Vaa'r [fa'ɛ(ɹ)] father
Hej [hei] Hy [hei] hello
ett Kyke [ɛt ky:'kɛ] å Kug [ɔ kʉ(g)] to cook

There are also certain 'core words' in Alska that are pronounced so differently from EA to SA that they are hard to distinguish:

Spelling (SA) Pronunciation (SA) Pronunciation (EA) Meaning
Jeg [jaj] [a:]/[ja] I
Ikke [ɪg'gɛ] [ɛk] not

Jeg is either pronounced [a:] or [ja:] depending on how far east you are. The word-final g is never realized, nor is the [aj] sound of the Standard Word.

While the letter 'e' normally stands for the phone [e:], it is often dropped from speech altogether when it is in an unstressed syllable in EA. If the unstressed e is to be pronounced, it is represented with the letter ':


  • ikke [ɛk] - ing'n [ɪŋ'ɛn]

This means that the past tense of many verbs have the entire past-tense suffix dropped from speech: havede is pronounced [ha:v(ð)], and kykte is pronounced [ki:k(t)]. The parentheses indicate that the consonant can be realized, but never fully. There is an incredible reduction of word-final consonants in Eastern Alska:

Spelling (SA) Pronunciation (SA) Spelling (EA) Pronunciation (EA) Meaning
Snakker [snak'kɛr] Snákk'r [ʃneɪk'ɛ(ɹ)] to talk (present tense conjugation)
For [fo̞r] For [få] for
Hemmell [hɛm'mɛl] h'mmel [hɛm'(l)] heaven, sky

Grammar

The grammar in EA is very different from SA. The largest differences comes from the distinction between three genders (kån) instead of only two. Eastern Alska has a Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter gender, each with its own enclitic article and definite article:

SA on the left, EA on the right

Gender Enclitic Article
Standard Alska Eastern Alska
Masculine en in
Feminine - ijn
Neuter et et

This also causes the possessive pronouns to switch to a three-gender system:


Gender Possessive Pronoun
Standard Alska Eastern Alska
Masculine minn [mɪn] myne [mein]
Feminine - mijn [mi:n]
Neuter mitt [mɪt] mytt [meit]


Adjectives are also inflected for three genders instead of two:

  • Din sp'ddi hustir [dɪn spɛð hʉs'ti:(ɹ)] - the excited pet (While hus is neuter, the gender of a compound word is always taken from the final noun in the compound. In this case, tir(in) is masculine. Din is the masculine definite article, and is not to be confused with the SA din, which is the second person possessive pronoun. It's counterparts in EA are dine, dijn, and ditt)
  • Dij smukjijn fluk' [di: smʉk'ji:(jn) flʉkɛ] - the pretty girl
  • Det reddt hus [de: ɹe:ðd hʉs] - the red house

Verbs

Verbs are made with an å in the infinitive form, but do not have any special ending on the actual verb, such as SA's way of adding an e onto verbs.

  • å Kug - to Cook (EA)
  • ett Kyke - to Cook (SA)

Additionally, the conjugation, while still universal in the present tense, is an -e instead of -er. This can be confusing in speech because final-syllable vowels are always dropped unless the syllable contains ' , and the adding of an e does not change the pronunciation of a verb from the infinitive. This also changes the form of 'to be' form er to e.

Verb (EA) Present IPA Meaning Verb (SA) Present IPA Meaning
å Skriv skrive [skɹi:'f] to write ett Skrive skriver [skri:'vɛr] to write
å Kug kuge [kʉg] to cook ett Kyke kyker [kʉg'ɛr] to cook
å Løb løbe [løp] to run ett Lufe lufer [lʉf'ɛr to run
å Find find [fɪn(ð)] to find ett Finne finner [fɪn'nɛr] to find
å Bord borde [bɔɹ(ð)] to eat ett Spise spiser [spi:'sɛr] to eat
å Gå Gåe [gɔ] to go ett Gå går [gɔr] to go
  • Hin skrive over for å kug - he writes about cooking (EA) [hɪn skɹi:f o:'fɛ få å kʉg]
  • Han skriver over for ett kyke - he writes about cooking (SA) [han skri:'vɛr o:'vɛr fo:r ɛt ky:kɛ]