Old Prussian language
|(Prūsiskai Bilā, Prūsiskan)|
|Extinct||Late 17th or early 18th century|
Old Prussian (Prussian: Prūsiskan or Prūsiskai Bilā) is an extinct Baltic language, once spoken by the Old Prussians, the indigenous peoples of Prussia (not to be confused with the later and much larger German state of the same name), now north-eastern Poland and the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia.
The language is called “Old Prussian” to avoid confusion with the German dialects Low Prussian and High Prussian, and the adjective “Prussian”, which is also often used to relate to the later German state.
The Old Prussian name for the nation, not being Latinized, was Prūsa.
Old Prussian began to be written down in the Latin alphabet in about the 13th century. A small amount of literature in the language survives.
Original territory 
In addition to Prussia proper the original territory of the Old Prussians may also have included eastern parts of Pomerelia (some parts of the region east of the Vistula River). The language may have also spoken much further east and south in what became Polesia and part of Podlasia with the conquests by Rus and Poles starting in the 10th century and by the German colonisation of the area which began in the 12th century.[clarification needed] According to the archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, the entire area has thousands of river names that can be traced back to an original Baltic language, even though they have undergone Slavicization.
Relation to other languages 
Old Prussian was closely related to the other extinct Western Baltic languages, Curonian, Galindian and Sudovian. It is more distantly related to the surviving Eastern Baltic languages, Lithuanian and Latvian. Compare the Prussian word seme (zemē), the Latvian zeme, the Lithuanian žemė.
Old Prussian contained loanwords from Slavic languages (e.g., Old Prussian curtis "hound," just as Lithuanian kùrtas, Latvian kur̃ts come from Slavic (cf. Ukrainian хорт, khort; Polish chart; Czech chrt, ),[dubious ] as well as a few borrowings from German, including Gothic (e.g., Old Prussian ylo "awl," as with Lithuanian ýla, Latvian īlens) and even Scandinavian languages.
In addition to the German colonists, groups of people from Poland, Lithuania, France, Scotland, England, and Austria, found refuge in Prussia during the Protestant Reformation and thereafter. Such immigration caused a slow decline in the use of Old Prussian, as the Prussians adopted the languages of the others, particularly German, the language of the German government of Prussia. Baltic Old Prussian probably ceased to be spoken around the beginning of the 18th century due to many of its remaining speakers dying in the famines and bubonic plague epidemics harrowing the East Prussian countryside and towns from 1709 until 1711. The regional dialect of Low German spoken in Prussia (or East Prussia), Low Prussian, preserved a number of Baltic Prussian words, such as kurp, from the Old Prussian kurpi, for shoe (in contrast to the standard German Schuh).
Until the 1930s, when the Nazi government began a program of Germanization, and in 1945, when the Soviets annexed Prussia and made Old Prussian place-names illegal, one could find Old Prussian river and place names in East Prussia, like Tawe, Tawelle, and Tawelninken.
Lord's Prayer 
Lord's Prayer after Simon Grunau (Curonian-Latvian)
Lord's Prayer after Prätorius (Curonian-Latvian)
Lord's Prayer in Old Prussian (from the so-called "1st Catechism")
Lord's Prayer in Lithuanian dialect of Insterburg (Prediger Hennig)
Lord's Prayer in Lithuanian dialect of Nadruvia, corrupted (Simon Prätorius)
- Tiewe musu, kursa tu essi Debsissa,
- Szwints tiest taws Wards;
- Akeik mums twa Walstybe;
- Tawas Praats buk kaip Debbesissa taibant wirszu Sjemes;
- Musu dieniszka May e duk mums ir szen Dienan;
- Atmesk mums musu Griekus, kaip mes pammetam musi Pardokonteimus;
- Ne te wedde mus Baidykle;
- Bet te passarge mus mi wissa Louna (Pikta)
A list of monuments of Old Prussian 
- Prussian-language geographical names within the territory of (Baltic) Prussia. The first basic study of these names was by Georg Gerullis, in Die altpreußischen Ortsnamen ("The Old Prussian Place-names"), written and published with the help of Walter de Gruyter, in 1922.
- Prussian personal names.
- Separate words found in various historical documents.
- Vernacularisms in the former German dialects of East and West Prussia, as well as words of Old Curonian origin in Latvian, and West-Baltic vernacularisms in Lithuanian and Belarusian.
- The so-called Basel Epigram, the oldest written Prussian sentence (1369). It reads:
- This jocular inscription was most probably made by a Prussian student studying in Prague (Charles University); found by Stephen McCluskey (1974) in manuscript MS F.V.2 (book of physics Questiones super Meteororum by Nicholas Oresme), fol. 63r, stored in the Basel University library.
- Various fragmentary texts:
- Recorded in several versions by Hieronymus Maletius in Sudovian Nook in the middle of the 16th century, as noted by Vytautas Mažiulis, are:
- Beigeite beygeyte peckolle ("Run, run, devils!")
- Kails naussen gnigethe ("Hello our friend!")
- Kails poskails ains par antres – a drinking toast, reconstructed as Kaīls pas kaīls, aīns per āntran ("A healthy one after a healthy one, one after another!")
- Kellewesze perioth, Kellewesze perioth ("A carter drives here, a carter drives here!")
- Ocho moy myle schwante panicke – also recorded as O hoho Moi mile swente Pannike, O ho hu Mey mile swenthe paniko, O mues miles schwante Panick ("Oh my dear holy fire!")
- A manuscript fragment of the first words of the Pater Noster in Prussian, from the beginning of the 15th century: Towe Nüsze kås esse andangonsün swyntins.
- 100 words (in strongly varying versions) of the Vocabulary by friar Simon Grunau, an historian of the Teutonic Knights, written ca. 1517–1526; these have been reconstructed into a more unified single system of spelling by Mažiulis. Except those words Grunau also recorded an expression sta nossen rickie, nossen rickie ("This (is) our lord, our lord").
- The so-called Elbing Vocabulary, which consists of 802 thematically sorted words and their German equivalents. This manuscript, copied by Peter Holcwesscher from Marienburg on the boundary of the 14th and 15th centuries, was found in 1825 by Fr. Neumann among other manuscripts acquired by him from the heritage of the Elbing merchant A. Grübnau; it was thus dubbed the Codex Neumannianus. Again, the words have been reconstructed into a more unified single system of spelling by V. Mažiulis, a scholar and contributor to the revival of the Prussian language.
- The three Catechisms printed in the Prussian language in Königsberg in 1545, 1545, and 1561 respectively. The first two consist of only 6 pages of text in Prussian – the second one being a correction of the first into another sub-dialect. The third one, however, consists of 132 pages of Prussian text, and is a translation of Luther's Small Catechism by Abel Will.
- Commonly thought of as Prussian, but probably actually Lithuanian:
- An adage of 1583, Dewes does dantes, Dewes does geitka: the form does in the second instance corresponds to Lithuanian future tense duos ("will give")
- Trencke, trencke! ("Strike! Strike!")
Examples of Prussian 
|Prussian [language]||Prūsiska bilā, (Prūsiskan)|
|Prussia||Prūsa and historic state Prūsija (in Lithuanian)|
|Good morning||Kaīls ankstāinai|
|Where is the bathroom?||Kwēi ast spaktāstuba?|
|(Generic toast)||Kaīls pas kaīls aīns per āntran|
|Do you speak English / Prussian?||Bilāi tū ēngliskai / prūsiskai?|
Prussian was a highly inflected language, as can be seen from the declension of the demonstrative pronoun stas, "that". (Note that translators of the Teutonic Order frequently misused stas as an article, i.e. for the word "the"; Old Prussian, like the other Baltic languages, but unlike German, had no real articles.)
|Dative||stesmu||stessei||stesmu or stesmā||stēimans||stēimans||stēimans|
|Accusative||stan||stan||stan or sta||stans||stans||stans or stas|
Prussian also possessed a vocative case.
Revived Old Prussian 
A few experimental communities involved in reviving a reconstructed form of the language now exist in Lithuania, Russia, Poland, and other countries. About 200 people have learned the language and are attempting to use it in as many everyday activities as possible.
Important in this revival was Vytautas Mažiulis, who died on 11 April 2009, and his pupil Letas Palmaitis, leader of the experiment and author of the web site Prussian Reconstructions. Two late contributors should be mentioned specially: Prāncis Arellis (Pranciškus Erelis), Lithuania, and Dailūns Russinis (Dailonis Rusiņš), Latvia. After them Twankstas Glabbis from Kaliningrad oblast and Nērtiks Pamedīns from Polish Warmia-Mazuria actively joined.
The current versions being used in these revival attempts are:
- A dialect based on the Samland dialect as recorded in the Catechisms. It is admitted that the language of the Catechisms may contain material from the language of some Sudovians whom the Teutonic Order resettled in northwest Samland. This revival necessitated much reconstruction of lost or missing vocabulary. This dialect is used:
- In Lithuania, actively by Mikkels Klussis and Dāiwa Starnīti, inactively by Dangilė Palmaitytė, Bonifacas Stundžia, Vytautas Rinkevičius and others
- In the Kaliningrad oblast, actively by Twankstas Glabbis and his daughter Alnā Glabbini, inactively by their friends
- In Polish Warmia-Mazuria, actively by Nērtiks Pamedīns, Katti and Pīteris from Pomesania, inactively by their friends
- In Latvia, actively by Mertīns Kukkurs and Kareusnā Kukkura, inactively by Valdis Muktupāvels and Raitis Wannags
- In Belarus, by Alis Mikus
- Other dialects:
- A version based on Pomesanian of the Elbing Vocabulary, by Mikkels Klussis and Valdis Muktupāvels, has been revived for sacred and poetic texts only.
- In Germany, by Günter Kraft-Skalwynas. G.Kraft, has written many New Prussian texts. This version is a mixture of Old Prussian dialects (Samlandian and Pomesanian) and Lithuanian and Latvian words.
- In Poland, by Mattis (Maciej) Piegat. This version is based at the oldest Prussian texts, Elbing Vocabulary, I and II Catechisms. The Enchiridion is of course the biggest source of Prussian words, but its grammar is treated very skeptic, as a word-after-word translation of Germans grammatical rules into Prussian language.
- By Joseph Pashka in Arizona, U.S.A. He named his language Sudovian, but some say that it is a kind of reconstructed Samlandian on the stage before the appearance of the Catechisms.
- Mikkels Klussis. Bāziscas prûsiskai-laîtawiskas wirdeîns per tālaisin laksikis rekreaciônin Donelaitis.vdu.lt (Lithuanian version of Donelaitis.vdu.lt).
- Encyclopædia Britannica article on Baltic languages
- A Short History of Austria-Hungary and Poland by H. Wickham Steed, et al. Historicaltextarchive.com
"For a time, therefore, the Protestants had to be cautious in Poland proper, but they found a sure refuge in Prussia, where Lutheranism was already the established religion, and where the newly erected University of Königsberg became a seminary for Polish ministers and preachers."
- Ccel.org, Christianity in Poland
"Albert of Brandenburg, Grand Master of the German Order in Prussia, called as preacher to Konigsberg Johann Briesaman (q.v.), Luther's follower (1525); and changed the territory of the order into a hereditary grand duchy under Polish protection. From these borderlands the movement penetrated Little Poland which was the nucleus for the extensive kingdom. [...] In the mean time the movement proceeded likewise among the nobles of Great Poland; here the type was Lutheran, instead of Reformed, as in Little Poland. Before the Reformation the Hussite refugees had found asylum here; now the Bohemian and Moravian brethren, soon to be known as the Unity of the Brethren (q.v.), were expelled from their home countries and, on their way to Prussia (1547), about 400 settled in Posen under the protection of the Gorka, Leszynski, and Ostrorog families."
- "Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia, Part III – Documents (3)". Retrieved 2007-02-18.
- "Elbing" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-18.
- Donelaitis Source, Lithuania
- Poshka.bizland.com, Pirmojiknyga.mch.mii.lt, Eki.ee.
- Reinhold Trautmann, Die altpreußischen Personennamen (The Old Prussian Personal-names). Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, Göttingen: 1923. Includes the work of Ernst Lewy in 1904.
- Basel Epigram
- The Old Prussian Basel Epigram
- Prussian Catechisms.
- Prussian Reconstructions
- Donelaitis.vdu.lt, "Reconstructing Prussian".
- G. H. F. Nesselmann, Thesaurus linguae Prussicae, Berlin, 1873.
- E. Berneker, Die preussische Sprache, Strassburg, 1896.
- R. Trautmann, Die altpreussischen Sprachdenkmäler, Göttingen, 1910.
- G. Gerullis, Die altpreussischen Ortsnamen, Berlin-Leipzig, 1922.
- G. Gerullis, Georg: Zur Sprache der Sudauer-Jadwinger, in Festschrift A. Bezzenberger, Göttingen 1927
- R. Trautmann, Die altpreussischen Personnennamen, Göttingen, 1925.
- J. Endzelīns, Senprūšu valoda. – Gr. Darbu izlase, IV sēj., 2. daļa, Rīga, 1982. 9.-351. lpp.
- L. Kilian: Zu Herkunft und Sprache der Prußen Wörterbuch Deutsch–Prußisch, Bonn 1980
- J.S. Vater: Die Sprache der alten Preußen Wörterbuch Prußisch–Deutsch, Katechismus, Braunschweig 1821/Wiesbaden 1966
- J.S. Vater: Mithridates oder allgemeine Sprachenkunde mit dem Vater Unser als Sprachprobe, Berlin 1809
- V. Mažiulis, Prūsų kalbos paminklai, Vilnius, t. I 1966, t. II 1981.
- W. R. Schmalstieg, An Old Prussian Grammar, University Park and London, 1974.
- W. R. Schmalstieg, Studies in Old Prussian, University Park and London, 1976.
- V. Toporov, Prusskij jazyk: Slovar', A – L, Moskva, 1975–1990 (nebaigtas, not finished).
- V. Mažiulis, Prūsų kalbos etimologijos žodynas, Vilnius, t. I-IV, 1988–1997.
- M. Biolik, Zuflüsse zur Ostsee zwischen unterer Weichsel und Pregel, Stuttgart, 1989.
- R. Przybytek, Ortsnamen baltischer Herkunft im südlichen Teil Ostpreussens, Stuttgart, 1993.
- M. Biolik, Die Namen der stehenden Gewässer im Zuflussgebiet des Pregel, Stuttgart, 1993.
- M. Biolik, Die Namen der fließenden Gewässer im Flussgebiet des Pregel, Stuttgart, 1996.
- G. Blažienė, Die baltischen Ortsnamen in Samland, Stuttgart, 2000.
- R. Przybytek, Hydronymia Europaea, Ortsnamen baltischer Herkunft im südlichen Teil Ostpreußens, Stuttgart 1993
- A. Kaukienė, Prūsų kalba, Klaipėda, 2002.
- V. Mažiulis, Prūsų kalbos istorinė gramatika, Vilnius, 2004.
- LEXICON BORVSSICVM VETVS. Concordantia et lexicon inversum. / Bibliotheca Klossiana I, Universitas Vytauti Magni, Kaunas, 2007.
- OLD PRUSSIAN WRITTEN MONUMENTS. Facsimile, Transliteration, Reconstruction, Comments. / Bibliotheca Klossiana II, Universitas Vytauti Magni / Lithuanians' World Center, Kaunas, 2007.
|Old Prussian language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
|For a list of words relating to Old Prussian language, see the Old Prussian language category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Studies in Prussian language, history, archeology and culture, experimental revival of Prussian, the fate of Baltic Prussia and Baltic Prussians, bibliography and links
- Six-language prussian dictionary with automatic inflection
- Prussian–German–English dictionary
- Dictionary of recovered and reconstructed Prussian
- Frederik Kortlandt: Electronic text editions (contains transcriptions of Old Prussian manuscript texts)
- Discussion forum in Prussian
- Nērtiks website (in Prussian)
- Prussian language on Ethnologue
- Map of former Old Prussian language area, with placenames in Old Prussian
- Discussion on possibiity of having a Prussian Wikipedia
- Bilingual catechism (first page) of 1545
- M. Gimbutas Map Western Balts-Old Prussians
- Unofficial prussian Wikipedia