This article is about Atmoramál (lit. Language of Atmora), the language of the Atmoran people, its grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation as well as its history. Following the Return, it became the dominant language of Skyrim.
- 1 History
- 2 Pronunciation
- 3 Grammar
- 3.1 Adjectives
- 3.2 Adverbs
- 3.3 Conjunctions
- 3.4 Definite article
- 3.5 Interrogatives
- 3.6 Nouns
- 3.7 Numerals
- 3.8 Prepositions
- 3.9 Pronouns
- 3.10 Verbs
- 3.11 Word order
- 4 Vocabulary
- 5 Trivia
The history of Atmoramál starts in the northern continent of Atmora during the Mythic Era. There it evolved from the native Ehlnofex dialect by mixing with the language of the dragons, Dovahzul. When the dragons conquered the Atmoran people and placed their cult in charge of society, Dovahzul became commonly used by the humans. Though only the Dragon Cult used proper Dovahzul, the rest of the population spoke a vulgar version of the language. This Vulgar Dovahzul, also called Drekarmál, is what would become old Atmoran by the Mid-Mythic Era. This ancient form of the language is now known as Aldinnmál. The language was purely oral and diverted enough from Dovahzul for the two became mutually unintelligible. Since it had no written form, the Atmorans had to translate words into Dovahzul to use that language's runes (). As such Dovahzul remained in use by a significant part of the population, mainly members of the Dragon Cult and Atmoran nobility. The common man, though, was illiterate. This oral dependency, however, allowed the warrior-poets known as Skalds to become very prominent in Atmoran society.
It wasn't until around ME 300 that Atmoramál developed a writing system, when the Atmoran named Ysgramor Word-Bringer adapted the writing system of the Snow Elves () into a runic alphabet. The Atmoran alphabet consisted of the following lettersː a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v w x y z æ ø ǫ ð þ; as well as the long vowels: á é í ó ú ý œ ǫ́.
The initial alphabet developed by Ysgramor went through numerous changes in the following centuries as the modern language took form. By the 1st Era, the Atmoran runic alphabet had been fully formed and was used by all the Atmoran people. This runic alphabet led to the language standardizing throughout the population, something that was aided by the Skalds. Elements of Dovahzul remained within the modern language, like the neuter gender. Dovahzul is an ungendered language as dragons are neither male nor female, and this concept remained ingrained in the Atmoran language. This current form of Atmoramál was in use for most of the 1st Era, though different dialects began to form later on.
Never at the start of words
fall (initial position)
|g||good (initial, after n)|
loch (before s or t)
Voiceless directly after h
far (before s or t)
what (after h = huwat)
Never at the start of words
|e||é as in Bretonic 'été' (short)|
|é||é as in Bretonic 'été' (long)|
|i||ee as in feet (short)|
|í||ee as in feet (long)|
|o||o as in vote (short)|
|ó||o as in vote (long)|
|u||u as in droop (short)|
|ú||u as in droop (long)|
|y||ü as in München (short)|
|ý||ü as in Füße (long)|
|æ||a as in 'cat' (long)|
|ø||eu as in Bretonic 'feu' (short)|
|œ||eu as in Bretonic 'feu', (long)|
|ǫ||o as in 'lot', (short)|
|ǫ́||o as in 'lot', (long)|
|au||ow as in 'now'|
|ei||ay as in 'hay'|
|ey||combination of e+y|
When a noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb has a long vowel or diphthong in the accented syllable and its stem ends in a single "l", "n", or "s", the "r" in an ending is assimilated. When the accented vowel is short, the ending is dropped.
The verb blása ('to blow'), has third person present tense blæss ('[he] blows') rather than blæsr. Similarly, the verb skína ('to shine') had present tense third person skínn (rather than skínr); while kala ('to cool down') had present tense third person kell (rather than kelr).
Stress in Atmoran always falls on the first syllable of a word no matter how long a word may be.
Umlauts, a sound change in which a vowel is pronounced more like a following vowel or semivowel, occurs in Atmoramál in during the declesion of certain words or when words change category (e.g. a noun becoming a verb, a noun becoming an adjective, etc.). When it occurs it follows either I-Umlaut or U-Umlaut. I-Umlaut entails a fronting of back vowels, with retention of lip rounding. U-Umlaut entails labialization of unrounded vowels.
|Underlying vowel||I-Umlaut vowel|
|Underlying vowel||U-Umlaut vowel|
Adjectives can be strong or weak depending on how they are used in a sentence. Strong adjectives are used independently to alter a noun, while weak adjectives must be parred with a demonstrative pronoun or definitive article.
- Rautt blóm (red flower)
- Inn rauða blóm (the red flower)
- Þat rauða blóm (that red flower)
The comparative and superlative forms are formed by inserting -r- and -st- or -ar- and -ast- between the uninflected form of the adjective and a strong or weak ending. In the strong adjectives, a long vowel or diphthong in the accented syllable and its stem ends in a single l, n, or s, the r the definite and superlative are strong when indefinite, weak when definite. The comparatives are weak when both definite and indefinite, and are declined like the active participle. Some strong adjectives i-umlaut their root vowel in their comparatives and superlatives, so that stórt hús (a large house) becomes stœrst hús (a house most large). The past participles of weak verbs decline as strong adjectives.
Nouns and verbs can be turned into adjectives by adding -inn, for example: gullinn golden from gull gold, grátinn tearful from gráta to cry. When added to nouns, the -inn suffix means "made from <noun>". So gullinn literally translates to "made from gold". When added to verbs, the -inn suffix means "prone to <verb>". So grátinn would translate literally to "prone to crying".
Verbs can also be turned into adjectives by adding -ull, for example: þǫgull taciturn from þegja to be silent.
An adjective can be turned into an adverb by adding -liga, for example: fagrliga beautifully from fagr beautiful. -liga can also be used on adverbs to emphasize their meaning, for example: opt often, optliga very often/frequently.
- alls - as, since
- at - at, to
- ef - if
- en - but, than, and (as a copulative)
- er - where, when
- eðr - or
- hvárki - neither, nor
- meðan - meanwhile, as long as, while, whilst
- nema - except, unless, but
- né - nor
- ok - and
- sem - as, the same, like
- síðan - from the time when, since
- unz - until
- útan - except, but
- þí - because
- þó - though
Atmoramál has a definite article which works quite differently from the Tamrielic article. The indefinite article does not exist.
The article is gendered as: -inn (m), -in (f), -it (n).
Instead of being used as a separate word it is usually suffixed to the noun. The only exceptions are when the noun is preceded by an adjective, in which case the article comes as a separate word before the adjective, or when the adjective is used to classify a pronoun such as in a byname/title.
- Maðrinn (the man)
- Inn sterki maðr (the strong man)
- Eirikr inn sterki (Eirikr the Strong)
Furthermore, the definite article is declensioned to match the noun.
The interrogatives include:
- hvar - where
- hvárt - which of two, each
- hvat - what
- hveim - whom
- hvert - whether, which of many
- hvess - what sort
- hví - why
Atmoran words have three grammatical genders – masculine, feminine and neuter. Adjectives or pronouns referring to a noun must mirror the gender of that noun. The grammatical gender of an impersonal noun is generally unrelated to an expected natural gender of that noun. While karl, "man" is masculine, kona, "woman", is feminine, and hús, "house", is neuter. But hrafn and kráka, for "raven" and "crow", are masculine and feminine respectively, even in reference to a female raven or a male crow.
Agent nouns are created from verbs using the suffix -i. For example: skyti - “shooter” derives from skjóta - “to shoot”. The noun usually appears the same as the 3rd-person singular/plural of the verb.
- 1 - Einn
- 2 - Tveir
- 3 - Þrír
- 4 - Fjórir
- 5 - Fimm
- 6 - Sex
- 7 - Sjau
- 8 - Átta
- 9 - Níu
- 10 - Tíu
- 11 - Ellifu
- 12 - Tólf
- 13 - Þrettán
- 14 - Fjórtán
- 15 - Fimmtán
- 16 - Sextán
- 17 - Sjautján
- 18 - Átján
- 19 - Nítján
- 20 - Tuttugu
- 120 - Hundrað
- 1200 - Þúsund
Atmorans use a 'long hundred' and a 'long thousand', 120 and 1200 respectively, instead of the typical hundred or thousand used by other races. Multiples of ten from 30 to 110 are expressed by combining a cardinal number with the plural masculine noun tigir ("tens"), i.e.: fimm tigir (lit. 5 tens) = 50. For non multiples of ten, an ok ("and") connecting the multiple of ten and the single digit is used. Examples are: þrír tigir ok tveir = "thirty-two, 3 tens and 2"; ellifu tigir ok sjau = "one hundred seventeen; 11 tens and 7." Numbers between 120 to 199 are transcribed as: hundrað ok þrír tigir = "150, long hundred and 3 tens.); Multiples of 100 are expressed by combining the cardinal number with the plural hundruð, i.e.: fimm hundruð = 500. Multiples of 1000 are expressed by combining the cardinal number with the plural þúsundir, i.e.: fimm þúsundir = 5000.
The prepositions are used either with the accusative, dative or genitive case of nouns. They include:
- á - (with dative) on, in
- af - of, from, off, by
- án - (with accusative, dative and genitive) without
- at - at, to
- frá - (with dative) from, away from, about
- fyrir - before, in front of, for
- gagnvart - (with dative) over against, opposite to
- gegnum - (with accusative) through
- hjá - (with dative) by, near, with
- í - (with dative) in remaining in a place; (with accusative) in motion towards a place
- innan - (with genitive) within
- með - (with dative, with accusative) with, along with
- nær - (with dative) in the vicinity of
- of - over, above
- ofan - (with genitive) above the surface of
- ór - (with dative) out of, from, made out of (denoting a substance), from among (a group), denoting a cause, beyond, denoting absolute completeness as in "utterly"
- sakar - (with genitive) on account of, for the sake of
- síðan - (with accusative) since
- til - (with genitive) to, towards
- um - (with accusative) about, concerning, round, past, beyond, over, across, along, during, at a point in time, because of, for
- umhverfis - (with accusative) round, all around
- und - under
- undan - (with dative) from under, from beneath, away from, ahead of, before
- undir - (with accusative or dative) under, underneath
- upp - up
- útan - (with accusative) without, beyond, outside
- við - (with dative): against, (of direction) towards, against, (sociative) along with, (instrumental) with, among, (denoting barter, exchange) against, for, (denoting remedy) against, (denoting contest) against; (with accusative): by, at close to, (about time) towards, at, (about a person) towards, respecting, regarding, (of cause) by, at, as compared with, set off against, according to
- yfir - above
There are also prepositional phrases formed from different word types, like: adverb + noun, preposition + adverb, preposition + preposition.
- eptir makligleikum - deservedly
- fyrir útan - (with accusative) outside
- í gegnum - (with accusative) through
- í gær - yesterday, last night, tomorrow
- í milli - (with genitive) in between
- við trauð ok nauð - with great difficulty
|We two (us)||vit||okkar||okr||okr|
Hinn is the demonstrative pronoun used for "the other".
Þessi is the demonstrative pronoun used for "this, that" and is used to refer to both persons and things.
Verbs are conjugated in person and number, in present and past tense, in indicative, imperative and subjunctive mood. There are elements of repetition and minor variation in the inflections, but the type of verb also determines which patterns are present. The subjunctives show the largest and widest spread pattern among the inflections, with both strong and weak classes ending subjunctives (past and present) with ek/þú/þat -a/-ir/-i, vér/þér/þau -im/-ið/-i, except for a minor variation in the 3rd, 4th and 5th strong conjugations.
The active participle is used to form a gerund or a verbal noun with weak masculine singulars but strong masculine plurals in r, or else with weak neuter declension. As a plain participle, it is a weak adjective. The general sense of the noun is of the Tamrielic suffix -er or of being able to perform the action. The plural as a prefix, ęndr-, is equivalent to the Tamrielic and Cyrodiilic prefix re-.
The case of the object of an Atmoran verb is lexically assigned, meaning that the case is determined on a per-verb basis. Most verbs take an accusative object, but some, such as gefa (give) have primary and secondary objects in the accusative and dative, while still others have nominative, genitive, or dative direct objects.
Strong verbs, unlike weak verbs, are conjugated by ablaut, a process that replaces, rather than modifies, their root vowel. The Tamrielic sing uses ablaut to conjugate to sang in the past tense and sung as the past participle. Like weak verbs, strong verbs use inflections and umlaut, but they rely on them much less to distinguish forms and conjugations. While the strongs' umlaut and inflectional patterns are largely the same from verb to verb, there are different sets and numbers of vowels involved in ablaut, and so their patterns are used to classify the strong conjugations.
If there are 2 vowels in the pattern (as in the 6th & some 7th conjugation patterns), the 2nd is used for all the past forms. If there are 3, the 2nd vowel is used for the indicative past singulars, & the 3rd for the other past tenses. The 1st vowel is used for the remaining forms: the infinitive, present forms, and imperative, and usually the past participle of 3-vowel words. However, some 3-vowel words have a 4th vowel appearing only in the participle.
The past participle of strong verbs follows the pronominal declension of hit (the definitive article).
The 3rd, 4th and 5th conjugations have an i, rather than an a, in the 1st person subjunctive past ending. Third conjugation words ending in n, g, or k have a u for their past participles' root vowel. The jas of the 3rd conjugation are due to vowel breaking. The 4th and 5th conjugations are identical except in the past participle, where the 4th conjugation normally has o and the fifth conjugation e. Generally, 3rd conjugation stems have two consonants following the vowel; 4th conjugation stems have a single sonorant consonant (l, r, m or n) following the vowel; and 5th conjugation stems have a single consonant that is not a sonorant.
The 6th conjugation is cognate with Tamrielic's take/took/taken conjugation. The 7th conjugation is a heterogenous category. Its ablaut patterns include a/á, e/é; au, jó; a, jó, jo; and ý, jó, ú.
|1st (í, ei, i, i/e)
ex: rísa (rise)
|2nd (ú/jú/jó, au, u, o)
ex: bjóða (bid)
|3rd (i/e/ja, a, u, u/o)
ex: brenna (burn)
|4th (e/o, a, á, u/o/ó)
ex: bera (bear/carry)
|5th (e/i, a, á, e)
ex: gefa (give)
|6th (a, ó)
ex: fara (go)
In Atmoramál, the word order is quite free, mainly because the information about which word plays which role is given by grammatical endings (cases and more). I.e.: the subject and object of a sentence are indicated by its ending, with verbs either have their endings or ablaut indicating what words they go with. Thus one must look at the grammatical ending of Atmoran words to find their place in the sentence.
It is possible to see subject-verb-object, object-verb-subject and even occasionally verb-subject-object, though the most common order used is subject-verb-object. In poems and songs, the word order can vary between verses which is seen as a sign of good prose.
The words are marked (noun, adjective, verb) as well as the gender and plural form for nouns. (n.n. = noun, neuter; n.m. = noun, masculine; and n.f. = noun, feminine). The verbs are in infinitive form.