SamSkandinavisk

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SamSkandinavisk (Samska for short) is naturalistic a-posteriori auxlang based on the continental North Germanic languages (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish).

It is intended to be a tool for inter-Nordic communication and integration. It also is intended to be used as a tool for people from outside the Scandinavian region to communicate with Scandinavians -- as an alternative to learning one or all of the natural Scandinavian languages.

Samska includes complex grammatical features, but only when they are present in all of the source languages. It should theoretically be easier and more regular than any one of the natural Scandinavian languages.

The status of the language is currently under construction. There is a lexicon of approximately 3000 words available, but it still lacks many essential words for basic conversation.

Design Philosophy and Practice

It is generally intended that linguistic features that are common to two or more of the Scandinavian languages will be included in the language. A linguistic feature is for example a word carrying a particular meaning, a sound in the phonology, a spelling practice or a grammatical rule.

In regards to the grammar, grammatical features must be present in all three of the source languages to be represented in SamSka. This allows certain complex grammatical features and irregularities to be present, but only when they are present in all the source languages and are thus considered intrinsic to the Scandinavian linguistic experience. When there is not total agreement in the grammar, it defaults to what is considered the most regular, simple and schematic solution used by one the source languages.

For example in some cases a verb may have an irregular way of forming the past tense such as being a strong verb that changes the stem vowel. If all 3 of the source languages use this method in their cognates to this verb then in SamSka its equivalent will likewise form the past tense by ablaut. But if only one or two of the source languages use ablaut, or the verb has cognates in only two of the source languages, then the SamSka equivalent will form the past tense according to the default verb rules.

For a word to be represented in SamSka, it needs to have cognates with the same meaning in two or more of the source languages. When cognates are present in all three languages but due to semantic drift no common meanings, then a cognate word will not be present in SamSka. Where a word has cognates with multiple meanings in all three languages, only the meanings that are shared will be in the canonical definition of the SamSka cognate.

The form of words is determined by the Etymological Prototype, using a prototyping scheme inspired by Interlingua. It is also close to the method used by Ivar Aarsen when developing Nynorsk, which he called "the most perfect form" [1] (den fuldkomneste Form) This means the form of SamSka words tend to be relatively close to the original common source of the word in the Scandinavian languages (be that Old Norse, Middle Low German or French). Where the form of the etymological prototype is ambiguous or debatable SamSka allows variant forms. For example the adjective tykk /tʏkː/ (thick, fat) has an alternative form of tjukk /ʧʊkː/.

Vocabulary

SamSka words originate in cognate words in the source languages; Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Consequently the source of the majority of words are as in those languages, mainly Old Norse, Middle Low German, French and Latin. English and German are also common sources. SamSka words have cognates with the same meaning in at least two of the three source languages and most have cognates in all three languages. Because two of the source languages, Danish and Norwegian, are lexically quite close, the lexicon of SamSka is closer to Danish and Norwegian than it is to Swedish. As a feature of the word selection criteria, there are frequently synonyms to express the same concept, for example SamSka has both ete and spise meaning to eat. A further feature is words with multiple meanings, for example orm means both snake and worm. In such cases, the preferred words or preferred meanings are those present in all three languages.

Orthography

SamSka uses the standard 26 letter Roman alphabet, plus three additional letters; å, ä, and ö. The letters q, w, x are rare - only used in names and in very recent borrowings. ä and ö can be substituted with æ and ø which are considered equally valid substitutes. When å, ä and ö may not be easily used or input (for example on primitive computer systems or manual typewriters), they may be substituted with the digraphs aa, ae and oe. The pronunciation of letters in the orthography is often dependent on neighboring letters in the same word. For example the letter g may be pronounced as /ɡ/ or as /j/ depending on the following vowels. (It is /j/ before e,i,y,ä or ö). The length of vowels is marked by the following consonants. Short vowels tend to be followed by a cluster of consonants or a doubled consonant. The same sound may be spelled in more than one way, the choice of letters depends on the etymology of the word and related words. For example short e /ɛ/ can be spelled in some words with e, in other words with ä.

Phonology

SamSka’s phonology resembles its Scandinavian source languages – it is particularly close to Norwegian and Swedish. It has a large number of vowels which have a long and short distinction. Consonants also have a long-short distinction. Consonant length and vowel length have complimentary relationship. Short vowels are followed by long consonants, long vowels are followed by short consonants.

Because SamSka is an auxiliary language, a range of pronunciations are accepted and some phonemes have alternative forms.

Many consonants have been subject to palatization when before a frontal vowel. For example sk- is normally /sk/ but before e, i, y, ä and ö it is /ʃ/. This means that related words may have quite different consonants. This can even be the case with the inflections of a word - if the vowel changes due to an inflection, then the consonant may be palatized as a result.

Word Final g

In the case of the g consonant, when at the end of word it will be pronounced as /g/. But adding a suffix such as -en will change the pronunciation to /j/. For example dag /dɑːg/ > dagen /ˈdɑːjən/.

Word Final v

Some phonemes have allophones that are quite far from the phonemic pronunciation. For example v after a vowel, at the end of a word can be pronounced as /ʋ/ or even as the vowel /ʊ/. If /ʊ/ it will form a diphthong with the preceding vowel. For example brav (good, great) can be pronounced /brɑːv/, /brɑːʋ/ or /braʊ/. This also applies to v at the end of a syllable when the following syllable begins with a consonant. For example havde (past tense of ha) may be pronounced as /ˈhɑːʊdə/

Pronunciation of "hv"

Like Norwegian Nynorsk but unlike standard varieties of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Bokmål, Samska does make a distinction in pronunciation between v and hv. It has the spelling distinction that is retained by Danish and Bokmål and also has a difference in pronunciation. Hv is pronounced as /ʍ/ but variations are permitted such as /xʷ/ and /w/. So hvar /ʍɑːr/ (where) has a distinct pronunciation to var /vɑːr/ (was/were).

Retroflex Consonants

Clusters of r followed by a dental consonant such as rd, rt, rn, rl, rs merge to form the retroflex consonants /ɖ/, /ʈ/, /ɳ/, /ɭ/, /ʂ/. This also leads to a compensatory lengthening to stem vowel. For example hard /haːɖ/. Long versions of the vowel in such instances are considered to be allophones of the short vowels rather than long vowels. The long e vowel in verd /vɛːɖ/ is not considered the same vowel as in ved /veːd/

Tone

Many words in SamSka carry a pitch accent (also called a rising tone). These words are nouns, adjectives and verbs in which the stem includes the primarily stressed syllable followed by an unstressed schwa syllable. For example slange /ˈslǎŋːə/ (snake) has a rising tone; slang /slaŋː/ (slang) has no tone. This extends to inflections of such words when they acquire suffixes. For example slangen /ˈslǎŋːən/ (the snake) looks identical to slangen /ˈslaŋːən/ (the slang) when written but the first word may be distinguished in speech by its rising tone.

In the case of related words such as styre (noun = management) and styre (verb = to steer), the stem of the noun is regarded as ending in an unstressed schwa syllable and styre (noun) will have a rising tone. In the case of the verb, the stem is considered to be styr- and it will have no tone. This means that styret (the management) will have a rising tone whereas styret (past participle of styre) will not.

Other words with a rising tone would be two syllable stems that end in -el, -en, or -er. This would include:

avle (verb, to beget) enkel (adjective, simple) ketel (noun, kettle) sakne (verb, to lack) galen (adjective, crazy) vaten (noun, water) slummre (verb, to slumber) vakker (adjective, beautiful) veder (noun, weather)

Table of Phonemes

Short vowels Variations Spelling Comments Example
a ɑ a sammle \ˈsǎmːlə\ to gather
ɛ e e, ä berg \bɛrːg\ mountain; gänge \ˈjɛ̌ŋːə\ screwthread
ɪ i i skikk \ʃɪkː\ behavior
ɔ o o, å ost \ɔsːt\ cheese; skålde \ˈskɔlːdə\ to scald
ʊ u u fuktig \ˈfʊkːti\ moist
œ ø ö tömme \ˈtœmːə\ to empty
ʏ y y rygg \rʏgː\ back
ə ɐ e sömme \ˈsœmːə\ to stitch
Long vowels Variations Spelling Comments Example
ɑː a hale \ˈhɑ̌ːlə\ tail
æː ɛː ä väte \ˈvæːtə\ to wet
e dele \ˈdeːlə\ to divide
i gris \griːs\ pig
ɔː oː , ɒː å båt \bɔːt\ boat
o skole \ˈskǒːlə\ school
ʉː u slut \sluːt\ end
øː ö röd \røːd\ red
y skyg \ʃyːg\ shy
Dipthongs Variations Spelling Comments Example
ej, eg, ig marginal -- could be interpreted as /e/ +/j/ jeg \jeɪ\ I; dejlig \ˈdeɪli(g)\ lovely
ei appearing mainly in borrowings feil \faɪl\ wrong
au appearing mainly in borrowings automat \aʊtɔˈmɑːt\ automaton
ɛʊ ɛʋ eu appearing mainly in borrowings neutralisere \nɛʊtralɪˈseːrə\ to neutralize
Consonants Variations Spelling Comments Example
p p kämpe \ˈçɛ̌mːpə\ giant
b b skrubbe \ˈskrʊbːə\ to scrub
t t lytte \ˈlʏtːə\ to listen
d ð d d between two vowels may optionally be pronounced as \ð\ dålig \ˈdɔːli(g)\ bad; bade \ˈbɑːðə\ to bathe
k k kalle \ˈkalːə\ to call
g g gull \gʊlː\ gold
m m mme \ˈdœmːə\ to judge
n n ny \nyː\ new
ŋ ng rang \raŋː\ rank
f f fri \friː\ free
v ʋ v Word final or syllable final followed by another consonant can become /ʊ/ väre \ˈvæːrə\ to be; hav \hɑːʊ\ sea
s s s, z sol \soːl\ sun; zone \ˈsǒːnə\ zone
ʃ sk, skj, sj, ch syllable-initial sk before e, i, j, y, ä and ö is /ʃ/ skenke \ˈʃɛŋːkə\ to donate; skjorte \ˈʃɔ̌ːʈə\ shirt; själ \ʃæːl\ soul; chokk \ʃɔkː\ shock
ʒ ʃ g, j Marginal -- appearing only in borrowings kurage \kʊˈrɑ̌ːʒə\ courage
ç k, kj syllable-initial k before e, i, j, y, ä and ö is /ç/ kysse \ˈçʏsːə\ to kiss; kjole \ˈçǒːlə\ dress
ʧ tj, ti+vowel tjuv \ʧuːv\ thief; nation \naˈʧoːn\ nation
ʦ s c appearing only in borrowings december \dɛˈʦɛ̌mːbər\ December
h h hate \ˈhɑːtə\ to hate
r ʀ r klar \klɑːr\ clear
j j, gj, g g before e, i, j, y, ä and ö is /j/ jage \ˈjɑːjə\ to hunt; gjärne \ˈjɛ̌ːɳə\ willingly; gift \jɪfːt\ poison
l l låg \lɔːg\ law
ʂ rːs, ʀːs rs kors \kɔːʂ\ cross
ɖː rːd, ʀːd rd gerde \ˈjɛ̌ːɖə\ fence
ʈː rːt, ʀːt rt svart \svaːʈ\ black
ɳː rːn, ʀːn rn horn \hɔːɳ\ horn
ɭː rːl, ʀːl rl verld \vɛːɭd\ world
ʍ xʷ, hʋ, v hv hvar \ʍɑːr\ where

Grammar

Nouns

Main article: SamSkandinavisk nouns

There are two grammatical genders for nouns; common and neuter. Common gender nouns account for approximately 75% of nouns. The common gender originates in the merger of the Feminine and Masculine gender in earlier phases of the source languages.

Nouns have two cases, a common subject/object case and a genitive/possessive case. The definite status of a noun is formed by adding -en to the stem in the case of common gender nouns, -et in the case of neuter nouns and -erne in the case of plural nouns. For example en ankel (common gender = an ankle), ett hus (neuter gender = a house) in definite form become anklen (the ankle) and huset (the house) However this changes to a pre-noun definite article when it is preceded by an adjective. eg anklen = the ankle; den ömme ankel = the sore ankle. Huset = the house; det store hus = the big house.

The plural of nouns is commonly formed by adding -er to the stem. eg stokk (rod) plural stokker. However this suffix can be agglutinated to other suffixes that mark case and definite status. eg stokkerns (the rods'/of the rods). Approximately half of neuter nouns don't add -er and have same form in plural as in singular. There is also a small minority of nouns that form the plural with a change of the stem-vowel by umlaut. eg tann (tooth) plural tänner.

Pronouns

Main article: SamSkandinavisk pronouns

Pronouns have 3 cases: subjective, objective and possessive. In the third person there is also a reflexive case and a reflexive-possessive case. Third person singular pronouns have three genders; feminine (hon), masculine (han) and neuter (det). There is also den - a third person singular pronoun which can be used for common gender nouns when they have no natural gender -- such as in the case of inanimate objects or abstract concepts. It may also be used of people when the gender is not known or considered irrelevant.

The second person pronoun has two numbers -- singular (du) and plural (i). Unlike in German or French for example, it is socially acceptable to address an adult stranger as du. i is thus restricted in usage to addressing groups of people.

Adjectives

Main article: SamSkandinavisk adjectives

Adjectives have two paradigms for declension -- a indefinite declension and a definite declension. In the predicative position, the adjective must agree with the gender and number of the noun it refers to. It does not however agree with the definite or indefinite status; The form of the adjective in the predicative position always takes the indefinite form

Similar to other Germanic languages, the comparative is formed by adding -ere to the stem and the superlative is formed by adding -est or -este. A minority of adjectives have irregular declensions, typically they change the stem-vowel by umlaut when forming the comparative and superlative. eg stor (big); comparative större; superlative störst. Some adjectives are further irregular and have totally different stems in the definite form or the plural form of when forming the comparative and superlative. For example, with god (good) the comparative is bettre and the superlative is best.

Adverbs

Adjectives must have a -t suffix added to be used as adverbs.

Verbs

Verbs end in -e in the infinitive. The present tense in all persons and numbers is formed by adding -er to the stem. The past tense is formed by adding -de, -te, or -ede to the stem. The past participle is formed by adding -t or -et. Transitive verbs can have a passive form which is made by adding -es to the stem. There are many irregular verbs where the stem vowel also changes when forming the past tense and past participle. There are also seven classes of strong verb where the stem vowel changes by ablaut when forming the past tense and past participle.

Sample Texts

Snart skall vi dverger endeligt besegre våre nuvärende fjender ok hevne alle gammle vanärer. Då skall det väre en ny gulltid för den skeggige slekt. Hvis männene ok halflingerne kenner sin rang ok klasse, de skall have ären för at tjäne oss. Halflingerne skall röre vår gröt ok bäre våre ölkrus. Männene skall slite i våre gullgruber ok hente för oss ting som står på höge hyller.

(Soon we dwarfs will finally defeat our current enemies and avenge all ancient dishonors. Then it will be a new golden age for the bearded race. If the men and halflings know their place, they will have the honor of serving us. The halflings will stir our porridge and bear our ale tankards. The men will toil in our gold mines and fetch for us things that are located on high shelves.)

I den mörke tommrumm af tidens begynnelse, kämpen Ymir blev födet af gift ok frost, ok han diede hos den store ku Auðumbla. Frå henne kåm vesnet Búri som avlede Burr som avlede guderne Óðinn, Vili ok Vé. Burrs söner drepede Ymir ok skapede Jorden af hans lik. Den förste mann samt den förste kvinne, Ask ok Embla, blev skapet frå ett asktre ok ett almtre henhåldsvist.

(In the dark void of time's beginning, the giant Ymir was born of poison and frost, and he suckled at the great cow Auðumbla. From her came the being Búri who begat Burr who begat the gods Óðinn, Vili and Vé. Burr's sons slew Ymir and created the Earth from his corpse. The first man and woman, Ask and Embla were created from an ash-tree and an elm respectively.)

Durianen er en tropiskt frukt som er meket populär i landerne i Sydöstasie. Den omdömes at have en meket sterk ok särskilt lukt ok mange folk anser den at have en motbjudelig smak. Men hvardan smaker durianen faktiskt? Förestell eder en meken stor lök som har blivet litt rotten. Nå förestell eder at en seksgalen ape har knullt denne rottene lök. Durian er präcist likesom det... men i ett godt vis. Min hustru er uenig. Hon seger at det er likesom at kysse mig tidlig på morgenen förut för jeg har rengort mine tänner. Likesom smaken af denne kysse men med ekstra sukker. Underligt, efter den förste provning af Durian, blir smaken ok den vämmelige duft ufornuftigt tvingende — likesom stanken af de svetige trusser af den Brazilianiske kvinners volleyballlag.

(The Durian is a tropical fruit that is very popular in the lands of South-East-Asia. It has a repuation to have a very strong and distinctive odour and many people consider to have a revolting flavour. But in fact how does the durian taste? Imagine a very large onion that has gone a little rotten. Now imagine that a sex-crazed monkey has made love to this rotten onion. Durian is precisely like that... but in a good way. My wife doesn't agree. She says that it is like kissing me early in the morning before I have cleaned my teeth. Like the smell of this kiss but with extra sugar. Curiously, after that first taste of durian, the taste and the horrid aroma become inexplicably compelling — like the stench of the sweaty panties of the Brazilian women's volleyball team.)

Nordvinden ok Solen på SamSka

Nordvinden ok Solen bestred om hvem var sterkere, då kåm en reisende förbi som klädde sig i en varm kappe. De stemmde at den som först kunne vålde reisenden at tage af sin kappe skulle anses sterkere enn den andre. Då blåsede Nordvinden så hardt som han kunne, men jo mer han blåsede, desto tettere reisenden hyljede kappen omkring sig; ok til sidst uppgav Nordvinden forsöket. Då skinede Solen varmt, ok straks tog reisenden af kappen. Så måtte Nordvinden erkenne at var Solen den sterkere af dem.

(The North Wind and The Sun were arguing about who was stronger, when along came a traveler who was wearing a warm cloak. They agreed that the first who could make the traveler take off his cloak should be considered stronger than the other. Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew, the tighter the traveler wrapped the cloak around himself; and eventually the North Wind gave up the attempt. The the Sun shone warmly, and immediately the traveler took off the cloak. So the North Wind had to acknowledge that the Sun was the stronger of the two.)