Lesson 7

ja-stems and jo-stems

A large number of strong nouns and adjectives, which in the primitive Germanic language could simply be classified as a-stems and o-stems, evolved in a somewhat different direction, particularly in the nominative and accusative singular because the stem-vowel was preceded by the sound j.
Masculine ja-stem nouns:

These fall into two classes. Class (A) ends in -jis. It includes those in which the part of the noun before the j is a single syllable containing:

a short vowel followed by only one consonant (e.g. the nith- in nithjis “kinsman”), or
a long vowel or diphthong followed by no consonant (mostly seen in adjectives, like the niu- in niujis “new”).

The class (A) endings are:
Singular Plural
N -jis -jos
A -i -jans
G -jis -je
D -ja -jam

These are essentially the a-stem endings preceded by j, except for the nominative singular (which is -jis not *-js) and the accusative singular (which is -i not *-j). Note that the nominative and genitive singular forms have become identical. Example: sa nithjis “the kinsman”
N sa nithjis thai nithjos
A thana nithi thans nithjans
G this nithjis thize nithje
D thamma nithja thaim nithjam

The Vocative is nithi.

Other -jis nouns:

sa harjis “the army”
sa andastathjis “the adversary”

Class (B) nouns end in -eis. This class includes those nouns in which the syllable before the ending is:

followed by more than one consonant (e.g. haird- in hairdeis “herdsman”), or
if followed by only one consonant, contains a long vowel or a diphthong (e.g. lek- in lekeis “doctor”, sipon- in siponeis “disciple”), or
if none of the above, contains more than one syllable exclusive of prefixes (e.g. laisar- in laisareis “teacher”).

The endings are:
Singular Plural
N -eis -jos
A -i -jans
G -eis -je
D -ja -jam

The only difference between these endings and those of class (A) is that -eis substitutes for -jis. Example: sa laisareis “the teacher” (cf. German “Lehrer”)
N sa laisareis thai laisarjos
A thana laisari thans laisarjans
G this laisareis thize laisarje
D thamma laisarja thaim laisarjam

Other -eis nouns:

sa andeis: the end
sa asneis: the servant (cf. Old English esne)
sa bokareis: the scribe (connected to boka “letter”)
sa hwaiteis: the wheat
sa lekeis: the doctor (cf. “leech”)
sa ragineis: the counsellor
sa siponeis: the disciple

This table sums up the basis for the difference between -jis and -eis nouns: on the left side, Vowel is the quantity of the vowel of the last syllable before the -jis or -eis ending, and across the top, Consonant is the number of consonants following the vowel:
Consonant: zero one two polysyllabic
Short —– nithjis hairdeis laisareis
Long/Diphthong niujis lekeis —– siponeis
Neuter ja-stem nouns

The endings are:
Singular Plural
N -i -ja
A -i -ja
G -jis -je
D -ja -jam

These are the same as the neuter a-stem endings preceded by j, except that in the nominative and accusative singular we have -i instead of *-j.

Example: thata nati “the net”
N thata nati tho natja
A thata nati tho natja
G this natjis thize natje
D thamma natja thaim natjam

Note that the English word “net” shows the “umlaut” change of vowel a > e, which often occurs in this group of words.

Other neuter ja-stems:

thata badi: the bed (umlaut a > e)
thata fairguni: the mountain (Old English firgen)
thata hawi: the hay (plural tho hauja)
thata kuni: the generation, the tribe (cf. “kin”; umlaut u > i)
thata kunthi: the knowledge (related to kunnan “to know”)
thata reiki: the power
thata taui: the deed, the work (pl. tho toja)
thata wadi: the pledge (cf. archaic English “wed”, a security)
thata waldufni: the power (cf. English “wield”)

Feminine jo-stems

We’ve already encountered some of these, e.g. halja “hell”, sunja “truth”; all of which had a short vowel followed by one consonant, and were declined exactly like the ordinary o-stems. Other types, with a long vowel or diphthong, a short vowel followed by two consonants, or polysyllables, had a slightly different declension with the nominative singular ending in -i, e.g. so haithi “the field” (cf. “heath”)
N so haithi thos haithjos
A tho haithja thos haithjos
G thizos haithjos thizo haithjo
D thizai haithjai thaim haithjom

In every case other than the nominative singular, the endings are just like the normal o-stems preceded by j.

Where the vowel preceding the j was one of the diphthongs ending in u (au, iu) the u became w before the i of the nominative singular, as in so mawi “the maiden”:
N so mawi thos maujos
A tho mauja thos maujos
G thizos maujos thizo maujo
D thizai maujai thaim maujom


so bandi: the bond, the binding
so frijondi: the friend (feminine)
so haithi: the field (cf. “heath”)
so mawi: the maiden (cf. archaic English “may” for “maid”), pl. thos maujos
so thiudangardi: the kingdom (jurisdiction of the thiudans)
so thiwi: the maidservant, pl. thos thiujos
so thusundi: the thousand
so wasti: the clothing (related to “wear”, and more distantly to “vest”, “vestment”)

ja-stem adjectives

These adjectives fell into two classes, divided on the same basis as the classes of the masculine ja-stems. Class (A) had the same endings as the normal a-stem adjectives preceded by j, except in the masculine nominative singular which ended in -jis, and the neuter nominative/accusative singular, which ended in -i as well as -jata.

E.g. niujis “new”

Masculine: niujis hlaifs “new bread”
N niujis hlaifs niujai hlaibos
A niujana hlaif niujans hlaibans
G niujis hlaibis niujaize hlaibe
D niujamma hlaiba niujaim hlaibam

Neuter: niwi (niujata) razn “new house”
N niwi/niujata razn niuja razna
A niwi/niujata razn niuja razna
G niujis raznis niujaize razne
D niujamma razna niujaim raznam

Feminine: niuja thiuda “new people”
N niuja thiuda niujos thiudos
A niuja thiuda niujos thiudos
G niujaizos thiudos niujaizo thiudo
D niujai thiudai niujaim thiudom


aljis, ali, alja: other
freis, frei, frija: free (freis for *frijis; frei for *friji; but frija, frijata, etc.)
midjis, midi, midja: middle
niujis, niwi, niuja: new
sunjis, suni, sunja: true
unsibjis, unsibi, unsibja: lawless

Class (B) substituted -eis for -jis in the masculine and neuter, and -i for -ja in the feminine nominative singular.

Masculine: altheis manna “old man”
N altheis manna althjai mannans
A althjana mannan althjans mannans
G altheis mans althjaize manne
D althjamma mann althjaim mannam

Neuter: althi (althjata) eisarn “old iron”
N althi/althjata eisarn althja eisarna
A althi/althjata eisarn althja eisarna
G altheis eisarnis althjaize eisarne
D althjamma eisarna althjaim eisarnam

Feminine: althi qino “old woman”
N althi qino althjos qinons
A althja qinon althjos qinons
G althjaizos qinons althjaizo qinono
D althjai qinon althjaim qinom


airzeis, airzi, airzi: astray
altheis, althi, althi: old
fairneis, fairni, fairni: old
wotheis, wothi, wothi: sweet

Past Participles:

The Past Participle is an adjective derived from the verb which indicates a present state resulting from a past action. In the strong verbs it ends in -ans (masculine), -an or -anata (neuter), -ana (feminine) when declined as a strong adjective; it can also be declined as a weak adjective (-ana, -ano, -ano). It corresponds to the verb forms ending in -en in English.

The past participle is the fourth principal part of the strong verb, and like the other parts shows internal vowel changes. However it only has a distinct stem of its own in Class IV; in Classes I, II, and III it has the same stem as the Preterite Plural; in Classes V, VI, and VII it has the same stem as the Present. In Class I (verbs like beitan) the Past Participle contains -i- (ai before r, h, hw).
beitan “to bite” bitans “bitten”
dreiban “to drive” dribans “driven”

In Class II (verbs like driusan) the Past Participle contains -u- (au before r, h, hw):
biugan “to bend” bugans “bent”
driusan “to fall” drusans “fallen”

In Class III (verbs like hilpan) the Past Participle contains -u- (au before r, h, hw):
bindan “to bind” bundans “bound” (archaic English “bounden”)
hilpan “to help” hulpans “helped” (archaic English “holpen”)
wairpan “to throw” waurpans “thrown”

In Class IV (verbs like niman) the Past Participle contains -u- (au before r, h, hw):
bairan “to bear” baurans “borne”
niman “to take” numans “taken”
stilan “to steal” stulans “stolen”

In Class V (verbs like giban) the Past Participle contains -i- (ai before r, h, hw):
giban “to give” gibans “given”
saihwan “to see” saihwans “seen”

In Class VI (verbs like skaban) the Past Participle contains -a-:
skaban “to shave” skabans “shaven”
swaran “to swear” swarans “sworn”

In Class VII, the Past Participle has the same stem as the Present, and no augment is added (as there is in the Preterite):
haldan “to hold” haldans “held”
tekan “to touch” tekans “touched”
saian “to sow” saians “sown”


aftra: again, once more
atbairan, atbar, atberun, atbaurans: offer
frathjan (irregular), froth, frothun, frathans: understand
haitan, haihait, haihaitun, haitans: call, name, command
thata hlaiw: the grave
lisan, las, lesun, lisans: gather
nehwa: nigh, near
nu: now
sinteino: always, continually
slahan: beat, strike
thata rign: the rain
thar: there
und: until, up to (with accusative), for (with dative)
us: out, out of (with dative)
usdriban: to drive out
waila: well (ai pronounced as short e)
waian, waiwo, waiwoun, waians: blow


Thata huzd stulan was fram razna thiudanis.
Weis sehwum thana hari saei hwarf in land nehwa fairgunjam.
Sa laisareis siponjam seinaim qath managa waurda thoei eis ni waila frothun.
In thaim althjam dagam, sa guth rignis, saei “Frauja” was haitans, was inwitans in thizai thiudangardjai thize Gutane. (“Frauja”: cf. Old English Frea, Old Norse Freyr).
Tho maujos etun wothi milith thatei in althjamma bagma funthan was.
So fijathwa andastathjis meinis brinnith in saiwalai is.
Thai unsibjans mannans usdribanai wesun us thamma landa.
Weiha unsar qithith sunja waurda, ith weiha ize sinteino liugith.
Hwa skal wisan atbauran thaim gudjam Thunris? (“Thunrs” cf. OE Thunor, ON Thorr).
In haithja ana thamma fairgunja stoth ik, jah sahw thata skip sugqano in marein.

(Answers to this exercise.)

I gave my children to the army; now they are killed.
Tell me, from what kingdom did your kinsman come?
The rain fell, and the wind blew, and the wheat was neither gathered nor threshed.
Where are the new helms and breastplates which were given to us?
When the grain is sown, do not (pl.) walk on the fields with your friends (f.pl.).
Our king lies in his grave until the end of days
Call my maidservants and say, “Where is clothing that was given to the maiden?”
God gives us a new land; there we (will) always eat fruit and drink wine.
Free men and free women should not be beaten.
The king under the mountain comes again to his own kingdom.

(Answers to this exercise.)

On to Lesson 8.
Back to Lesson 6.