Ar Dienga Galedonag
2. Articles, Nouns, Pronouns

Chapter 2: Articles, Nouns, Pronouns

The indefinite article

There is no indefinite article 'a' or 'an' in Caledonic, thus there is no difference between 'book' and 'a book'. Also, english has substitiute articles for use with plurals and uncountables such as 'some' and 'any', and these have no equivalent in Caledonic either. Examples:

Benno mi levrai adith
[ben-no mee lev-ruh uh-'dith]
I bought some books today

Es baran uin gennig adith?
[ess ba-run winn genn-igg uh-'dith]
Have you got any white bread today?

Ná vel Andru eth lenni levrai i blineth
[nah vell an-droo th'lenny lev-ruh ee blinn-uth]
Andrew hasn't read any books for years

The definite article

The definite article 'the' in Pictish is ar, or ’r when following words that end in a vowel. The article, as in English, is the same whether it refers to singular or plural nouns. The gender (masculine or feminine) of the noun also does not affect the definite article.

Mutations and the definite article

The definite has different effects on the following noun depending upon gender. Masculine nouns do not change after the definite article, whether singular or plural. Feminine singular nouns undergo mutation following the definite article, although plural nouns are unaffected.



ar kí

the dog



ar kín

the dogs

kath (f)


ar gath

the cat



ar kathai

the cats

trath (m)


ar trath

the beach



ar trathai

the beaches

luvan (f)


ar luvan

the owl



ar luvaneth

the owls

dín (m)


ar dín

the man



ar dein

the men

benin (f)


ar venin

the woman



ar beninai

the women

brívradar (m)


ar brívradar

the dictionary



ar brívradrai

the dictionaries

blídhan (f)


ar vlídhan

the year



ar blineth

the years


Nouns are words for things, places, people etc. Personal nouns and foreign place names do not tend to undergo mutation, although foreign places which have a name in Pictish do undergo mutation when required.

Genitive relationship

Pictish is like other Celtic languages in that it has a special way of expressing possession. The noun doing the possessing is always last in the phrase and takes the article, if appopriate:

Tíg ar medig
[teeg er medd-igg]
The doctor's house

If the possessing noun is indefinite there is no article:

Kennar ker
[kenn-er doon]
The middle of a city

Noun gender

As mentioned above, nouns in Pictish can be masculine or feminine. Although the gender of many words can be surmised from their natural gender, e.g. dín/ar dín 'the man', benin/ar venin 'the woman', or from some characteristic of the word, most words cannot be classified in this way and the gender must be learned aling with the noun.

Noun number

As has been seen above, there are many different plural forms of nouns. One of the most common plural noun endings is -ai, and -eth is also quite common, but there are many others and they must be learned along with the noun.


Pronouns are words that stand in the place of nouns, such as I, she, them, who?, this one etc. There are several categories of pronoun:

  1. personal pronouns: I, you, he, she etc
  2. reflexive pronouns: myself, himself etc
  3. demonstartive pronouns: this (one), these (ones) etc
  4. interrogative pronouns: who?, what?, whose? etc
  5. miscellaneous

Personal pronouns

Caledonic personal pronouns have many differences from the English ones:

  1. There is no distinction between subject pronouns, I, he, she, we, they, and object pronouns, me, him, her, us, them, e.g. Pictish uses ho to mean they or them depending on the context.
  2. There is no word for it as the appropriate masculine or feminine pronoun is used depending on the gender of the noun being referred to.
  3. In common with many languages (but not English), there is a difference between a singular you (ti) and plural you (gi) and, like in french, the plural form is used as a formal or polite singular.
  4. The personal pronouns have extended forms used in a contrastive or emphatic sense.

The full list of personal pronouns is:

  Singular   Plural  
1st mi I, me ni we, us
2nd ti you gi you
3rd he
he, him
she, her
ho they

The pronouns for inanimate objects ('it') are also he and hi depending upon the gender of the noun.

Contrastive personal pronouns

These are extended personal pronouns that are used in certain circumstances as described below:

  Singular Plural
1st misi nisi
2nd tisi gisi
3rd (m)
3rd (f)


  1. Gul tisi.
    [goll tee-see]
    You go.
  2. Ai pui cantoth hi? Cantoth hi ai essi.
    [Ah pwee kant-oth ee. Kant-oth ee ah yess-ee.]
    Whom did she speak to? She spoke to him.

Reflexive pronouns

These refer back to the subject as in myself, yourself, himself etc.

  Singular Plural
1st mi-hein ni-hein
2nd ti-hein gi-hein
3rd (m)
3rd (f)


  1. Bidha mi'n gaith nán mi-hein.
    [bi-thuh meen ga-ith naan mee-hayn.]
    I'll go there myself.
  2. Bidhan ho'n denni enam or ó-hein.
    [bi-thun hone denn-ee enn-um orr oh-hayn]
    They will make a name for themselves.


© Alex Middleton 2009