Niw Englisc/Level I/Hu hattest þu? (2. Dæl)

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Lesson I.2: Hu hattest þu? (2. Dæl)

The dialogue of this lesson is a conversation between two persons: Franz and Mr. Swart. We also discuss some grammar: subject pronouns and some important verbs in the present tense.


In this short dialogue Mr. Swart uses the form youþu.

Franz Goden Morgen. Ert þu Herr Ƕeit?
Herr Swart Na, ic em Herr Swart. Hu hattest þu?
Franz Ich hatte Franz. Þanke, Herr Swart. Ic em lætt.
Herr Swart Bidde, Franz. Ic em eak lætt. Oþ lætter!
Franz Oþ Eftseen!
Problems: Listen carefully!
The Niw Englisc pronunciation of many letters is similar to the English pronunciation, but there are also many differences. Try to answer the following question by listening carefully:
  1. How is the "ee" in "eftseen" pronounced?
  2. How is the "ei" in "Ƕeit" pronounced?
  3. How is the "þ" in "þu" pronounced?
  4. How is the "a" in "hatte" pronounced?
  5. How is the "g" in "Morgen" pronounced?
  6. How is the "æ" in "lætt" pronounced?
  1. Similar to "ay" and "e" in "bay" and "bet".
  2. "ei" is pronounced like "ai" in German or like the "i" in the English word "time".
  3. "þ" is pronounced like "th" in "thin".
  4. "a" is pronounced like "Mann" in German.
  5. "g" is usually pronounced like "gold", but in the middle of words, it is sometimes pronounced like "ch" in "loch".
  6. Similar to "a" in "mad".

English Niw Englisc
Good morning. Goden Morgen.
you (singular) þu
You are... (singular) þu ert ...
Are you...? (singular) Ert þu ...?
no na
late lætt
I am late. Ic em lætt.
You're welcome. Bidde.
also eak
later lætter
See you later. Oþ lætter.
Problems: Working with the dialogue
  1. Translate the dialogue to English with the help of the list of vocabulary.
  2. Listen to the recording without reading and try to understand the meaning of the words. If you cannot remember some words, look them up and start again.
  3. Read the dialogue aloud. Compare your pronunciation with the pronunciation of the recording.
  4. Listen to the recording without reading and write down the dialogue in Niw Englisc. Pause the playback after each sentence to write down what you have heard. Repeat this exercise until you know the spelling of the German words.
  1. Translation to English:
    Franz: Good morning. Are you Mr. Weiß?
    Mr. Swart: No, I'm Mr. Swart. What's your name?
    Franz: My name's Franz. Thank you, Mr. Swart. I'm late.
    Mr. Swart: You're welcome, Franz. I'm also late. See you!
    Franz: Goodbye!

ȝiȝ and þuEdit

Unlike many European languages, there is only a singular, and a plural form of 'you' in Niw Englisc. English around 1600 had "thou" and "ye" for the singular and plural, but now usually has just "you." In Niw Englisc, if you address one person, you use "þu" and if you address more than one, you use "ȝiȝ." If you address two people, you use "ȝit."

Notice that Franz addresses Mr. Swart with his last name while Mr. Swart addresses Franz with his first name. Even with this, they both use "þu" with each other, because there is one Franz and one Mr. Swart.

Subject PronounsEdit

A noun is a word that describes a person, place, animal, or thing, e.g. "apple", "woman", "man", etc. Pronouns are the little words that refer to previously mentioned nouns, e.g. "it", "she", "he", or even "we", "him", etc.

The subject of a sentence is the noun or pronoun that the sentence is about. Usually it is the most active thing or being of the sentence. For example, in the sentence "The woman ate an apple.", both "woman" and "apple" are nouns, but "woman" is the subject of the sentence because the sentence is about the action performed by the woman. (If you are curious: "apple" is the direct object of the sentence.)

If we replace the nouns of the example by pronouns, the sentence becomes: "She ate it." In this example, "she" and "it" are pronouns. The subject of this sentence is the pronoun "she" and therefore this kind of pronoun is called a subject pronoun.

Now that you know about the English subject pronouns, here is a table of them with their Niw Englisc counterparts. Note that you corresponds to three different words in Niw Englisc, depending on whether you address one or more persons and whether you are using a more formal or more familiar way of addressing them.

English Niw Englisc
singular 1st person I ic
2nd person you þu
3rd person he, she, it he, scie, it
plural 1st person we wiȝ
2nd person you ȝiȝ
3rd person they hje

*Wit is the first person dual ("we two"), and ȝit is the second person dual ("you two").

Problems: Subject pronouns
Try to translate these English pronouns to Niw Englisc:
  1. we
  2. they
  3. he
  4. you
  5. I
  6. it
  7. you two
  8. you guys, y'all, you all
  9. she
  10. we two
  1. wiȝ
  2. hje
  3. he
  4. þu
  5. ic
  6. it
  7. ȝit
  8. ȝiȝ
  9. scie
  10. wit


To say the name of someone or something you can use to be calledhaten. The form of the verb is the only remnant of the passive form of the verb. You have already seen some forms of the verb haten. Here is a more systematic table with all the forms in the present tense. Note that the subject pronouns are capitalized because they start the sentences.

English Niw Englisc
My name is... Ic hatte ...
His/Her/Its name is... He/scie/it hatte...
Their names are... Hje hatten ...
Our names are... Wiȝ hatten ...
Your name is... Þu hattest ...
Your names are... Ȝiȝ hatten ...
What is your name? Hu hattest þu?*
What are your names? Hu hatten ȝiȝ?*

Note: There are possessive pronouns (e.g. "my", "your", "his", her", ...) in Niw Englisc, they just don't apply here. For instance, native speakers usually don't say Mein Name is ... (My name is...).

Problems: Names
Translate to Niw Englisc:
  1. Hello. My name is ____ (put your name here).
  2. What is your name?
  3. My name is Iris.
  4. What is his name?
  5. His name is Andreas.
  6. What are their names?
  7. Their names are Gerd and Udo.
  8. Her name is Eda.
  9. Its name is Mensch-ärger-dich-nicht. (This is a popular board game in Germany.)
  1. Hallo. Ich hatte ____.
  2. Hu hattest þu?
  3. Ic hatte Iris.
  4. Hu hatte he?
  5. Er hatte Andreas.
  6. Hu hatten sie?
  7. Sie hatten Gerd und Udo.
  8. Scie hatte Eda.
  9. It hatte Mensch-ärger-dich-nicht.

Important VerbsEdit

Verbs are the words that describe the action of a sentence, e.g. (to) run, (to) call, (to) be, etc. Conjugation refers to changing the form of a verb depending on the subject of a sentence. For example, the verb to bewesen has several different forms: (I) am..., (you) are..., (he) is..., etc. Most English verbs, however, have only two forms in the present tense, e.g., (I/you/we/they) run and (he/she/it) runs. Niw Englisc verbs, on the other hand, have usually several forms in the present tense.

You have already learned the forms of one Niw Englisc verb: to be calledhaten.

English Niw Englisc
singular 1st person I am called ic hatte
2nd person you are called du hattest
3rd person he/she/it is called he/scie/it hatte
plural 1st person we are called wiȝ hatten
2nd person you are called ȝiȝ hatten
3rd person they are called hje hatten*

Two extremely common verbs are to bewesen and to havehaben. They are conjugated like this:

English Niw Englisc
singular 1st person I am ic em
2nd person you are þu ert
3rd person he/she/it is he/scie/it is
plural 1st person we are wiȝ sind
2nd person you are ȝiȝ sind
3rd person they are hje sind

English Niw Englisc
singular 1st person I have ich habe
2nd person you have þu hafst
3rd person he/she/it has he/scie/it hafþ
plural 1st person we have wiȝ habeþ
2nd person you have ȝiȝ habeþ
3rd person they have hje habeþ

Problems: Verbs
Practice pronouncing the verbs above and making sure they correspond with the proper person. List all of the various forms which you have learned.

1. haten

  • (ic/he/scie/it) hatte
  • (þu) hattest
  • (wiȝ/ȝiȝ/hje) hatten

2. wesen

  • (ic) em
  • (þu) ert
  • (he/scie/it) is
  • (wiȝ/ȝiȝ/hje) sind
  • (wit/ȝit) sind

3. haben

  • (ic) habe
  • (þu) hafst
  • (he/scie/it) hafþ
  • (wiȝ/ȝiȝ/hje) habeþ


The test consists of three parts: grammar, vocabulary, and translation. The grammar part is about conjugation; i.e., different forms of verbs for different subject pronouns. The vocabulary and translation problems are all from English to Niw Englisc because this is what you have to learn if you want to communicate in Niw Englisc.

Problems: Grammar
Translate the following phrases using the correct forms of to be called — haten, to be — wesen, and to have — haben.
  1. we are
  2. she is
  3. we have
  4. he is called
  5. you have (singular, informal)
  6. he has
  7. they are called
  8. I am
  9. you are (singular, informal)
  10. it is called
  11. he is
  12. it has
  13. we are called
  14. it is
  15. you are (plural, informal)
  16. you have (plural, informal)
  17. I am called
  18. they are
  19. she is called
  20. I have
  21. she has
  22. you are called (singular, informal)
  23. they have
  24. you are called (plural)
  1. wiȝ sind
  2. scie is
  3. wiȝ habeþ
  4. he hatte
  5. þu hafst
  6. he hafþ
  7. hje hatten
  8. ic em
  9. þu ert
  10. it hatte
  11. he is
  12. it hafþ
  13. wiȝ hatten
  14. it is
  15. ȝiȝ sind
  16. ȝiȝ habeþ
  17. ic hatte
  18. hje sind
  19. scie hatte
  20. ic habe
  21. scie hafþ
  22. þu hattest
  23. hje habeþ
  24. ȝiȝ hatten

Problems: Vocabulary
Translate from English to Niw Englisc:
  1. we
  2. no
  3. she
  4. late
  5. you're welcome
  6. I
  7. you (singular)
  8. yes
  9. they
  10. also
  11. it
  12. you (plural)
  13. later
  14. he
  1. wiȝ
  2. na
  3. scie
  4. lætt
  5. bidde
  6. ic
  7. þu
  8. ȝa
  9. hje
  10. eak
  11. it
  12. ȝiȝ
  13. lætter
  14. he

Problems: Translation
Translate from English to Niw Englisc:
  1. Good evening! Are you Franz?
  2. Good evening. Yes, I'm Franz. Are you Susanne?
  3. No, my name is Sabine. I'm late. See you later!
  4. Bye!
  1. Goden Æfen! Ert þu Franz?
  2. Goden Æfen. Ȝa, ic em Franz. Ert þu Susanne?
  3. Na, ic hatte Sabine. Ic em lætt. Oð lætter!
  4. Faarwell!

(edit template)   Level I Lessons (discussion)

  I.0 Introduction

Section I.A:   I.1 Hu hattest þu? (1. Dæl)  I.2 Hu hattest þu? (2. Dæl)  I.3 Bidde bokstafe þu  Review Section I.A

Section I.B:   I.4 Freeteid  I.5 Gebyrddæȝ  I.6 Etten  Review Section I.B

Section I.C:   I.7 Kleidung  I.8 Kynn and und Nationalität  I.9 Skole  Review Section I.C

Section I.D:   I.10 Þat Fest  I.11 Sunderfreedom and Geandwyrdung  I.12 Weddr  Review Section I.D

Section I.E:   I.13 Æt Huse Etten  I.14 Filme  I.15 Þat Huus  Review Section I.E