The most common adverb of this kind is of course the negation. The two most common ones are eigi and ekki. They both simply mean 'not'.
In poetry one can also find the negation -a/-at, which is enclitic.
The ancient negation né has lost it's function as a regular negation, but is used in the meanings 'neither' and 'nor': né ... né ... 'neither ... nor ...', ekki ... né ... 'not ... nor ...'.
Eigi comes from a pre-ON. *ne aiwê-gi (PIE *ne oiwoi-ghi (cf. greek oukhí 'not at all')), i.e. the emphasized negated dative (former locative) of a noun closely related to the noun æfi 'era' and the adverb ei 'always'.
Ekki is the neutral form of the pronoun engi 'noone', it's composed from the numeral eitt 'one' and the particle gi: pre-ON. eka ne wait ainata-gi 'I don't know anything' > ek veit ekki.
The enclitic negation -a/-at is an old contraction of the numeral eitt which was left with a negative function when the real negation ne was lost: pre-ON. ne sehu eka ainata 'I don't see one thing' > .
Adverbs of manner
Adverbs of manner can be formed from adjectives in several ways. A very common way is to simply put the adjective in its neutral nom/acc. form.
skammt 'shortly' (from skammr 'short')
skjótt 'rapidly' (from skjótr 'fast')
Another common way to form adverbs from adjectives is to add the suffix -líka or (later) -liga (= eng. -ly).
Many adverbs of manner are formed by adding -a to the stem.
The local interrogative adverbs are formed like the other local adverbs above.
Other interrogative adverbs are:
lengi 'for a long time'
lengr 'longer, anymore'
Temporal expressions such as 'a year ago' and 'for a month' cannot be called adverbs, but are dealt with here anyway.
© Peter Pettersson