Wenedyk

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Wenedyk
Created by Jan van Steenbergen
Date 2002
Setting and usage A thought experiment in the alternate history, Ill Bethisad, if Latin had replaced Polish's ancestor.
Purpose
Sources constructed languages
 a posteriori languages
(Romance language based on Polish)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Wenedyk (in English: Venedic) is a naturalistic constructed language, created by the Dutch translator Jan van Steenbergen (who also co-created the international auxiliary language Slovianski). It is used in the fictional Republic of the Two Crowns (based on the Republic of Two Nations), in the alternate timeline of Ill Bethisad. Officially, Wenedyk is a descendant of Vulgar Latin with a strong Slavic admixture, based on the premise that the Roman Empire incorporated the ancestors of the Poles in their territory. Less officially, it tries to show what Polish would have looked like if it had been a Romance instead of a Slavic language. On the Internet, it is well-recognized as an example of the altlang genre, much like Brithenig and Breathanach.

The idea for the language was inspired by such languages as Brithenig and Breathanach, languages that bear a similar relationship to the Celtic languages as Wenedyk does to Polish. The language itself is based entirely on (Vulgar) Latin and Polish: all phonological, morphological, and syntactic changes that made Polish develop from Common Slavic are applied to Vulgar Latin. As a result, vocabulary and morphology are predominantly Romance in nature, whereas phonology, orthography and syntax are essentially the same as in Polish. Wenedyk uses the modern standard Polish orthography, including (for instance) w for /v/ and ł for /w/.

Wenedyk plays a role in the alternate history of Ill Bethisad, where it is one of the official languages of the Republic of the Two Crowns. In 2005 Wenedyk underwent a major revision due to a better understanding of Latin and Slavic sound and grammar changes. In the process, the author was assisted by the Polish linguist Grzegorz Jagodziński.

The dictionary on the WWW page linked below contains over 4000 entries.

The language has acquired some media attention in Poland, including a few online news articles and an article in the monthly Wiedza i Życie ("Knowledge and Life").

Spelling and pronunciation[edit]

Wenedyk uses the Polish alphabet, which consists of the following 32 letters :

A Ą B C Ć D E Ę F G H I J K L Ł M N Ń O Ó P R S Ś T U W Y Z Ź Ż

Also, there are seven digraphs, representing five phonemes (ch being identical with h, and rz with ż):

Ch Cz Dz Dź Dż Rz Sz

Pronunciation is exactly like in Polish. Stress almost always falls on the penultimate syllable. A preposition and a pronoun are generally treated as one word, and therefore, when the pronoun has only one syllable, the preposition is stressed.

(In theory, the construction of Wenedyk enables relatively easy construction of other "Slavo-Romance" languages. The Romance "mirror" for Czech, for example, is called "Šležan"; [1] another for Slovak, although somewhat looser than the other two as it uses a partially Hungarian orthography, is called "Slevan". [2])

Grammar[edit]

Nouns and adjectives[edit]

Wenedyk does not have articles. This is a feature that distinguishes Wenedyk from all natural Romance languages and also from other Romance-based constructed languages like Esperanto and Ido. The reason for this is that Vulgar Latin showed only a rudimentary tendency toward the formation of articles, whereas they are absent in Polish and most other Slavic languages.

Nouns, pronouns and adjectives can have three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), two numbers (singular, plural), and three cases:

  • the direct case: used for both the subject and the direct object of a sentence. In the sentence: Miej poterz leże libier "My father reads a book", Miej poterz "my father" and libier "a book" are both in the direct case.
  • the genitive case: used to indicate possession, for example: siedź potrze "my father's chair", rzejna Anglie "the queen of England".
  • the dative case: used to indicate the indirect object of a sentence, for example: Da mi ił libier "Give me that book", Da mi łu "Give it to me".

Wenedyk also has a vocative case. In most cases it has the same form as the direct case, but there are exceptions: O potrze! "Oh father!"

Noun can be subdivided into four declensions. They are similar to the declension system in Latin:

  • the first declension are all words on -a, the vast majority of which are feminine;
  • the second declension are mostly masculine and neuter words ending with a consonant. It is a mixture of the second and fourth declension in Latin;
  • the third declension are mostly feminine words ending with a soft consonant;
  • the fourth declension are words on -ej, it matches the Latin fifth declension.

Adjectives always agree in gender, number and case with the noun they modify. They can be placed both before and after it.

Pronouns[edit]

Unlike nouns, adjectives and other pronouns, personal pronouns do not use the direct case, but preserve the distinction between the nominative and accusative instead. They are displayed in the following chart:

Pronouns
singular plural
first person second person third person first person second person third person
masculine feminine neuter masculine feminine neuter
Nom.
Acc.
Gen.
Dat.
jo
mie
miej
mi
ty
cie
ciej
ci

łu
łu
li
ła
łą
lej
lej
łu
łu
łu
li
nu
nosz
nosz
nów
wu
wosz
wosz
wów
li
łosz
łór
lew
le
łasz
łar
lew
le
le
łór
lew
English I
me
mine
to me
thou, you
thee, you
thine, yours
to thee, to you
he
him
his
to him
she
her
hers
to her
it
it
its
to it
we
us
ours
to us
you
you
yours
to you
they
them
theirs
to them

Verbs[edit]

Verbs are inflected for person, number, mood and tense. The forms in the present tense are:

1 sg.jemu "I love"
2 sg.jemasz "you love"
3 sg.jema "he/she loves"
1 pl.jemamy "we love"
2 pl.jemacie "you love"
3 pl.jemą "they love"

Interestingly, because Latin and Proto-Slavonic had virtually identical person/number inflections, Wenedyk and Polish do also.

Wenedyk verbs have the following moods and tenses:

infinitivejemar "to love"
present tensejemu "I love, I am loving"
imperfectjemawa "I loved"
perfectjemie " I have loved"
future tense (imperfective)joru jemar "I will love, I will be loving"
future tense (perfective)jemaru "I will have loved"
conditional moodjemarsi "I would love, I would have loved"
imperative moodjem "love!"
present active participlejemęć "loving"
perfect passive participlejematy "beloved"

Word list[edit]

Wenedyk vocabulary as published on the internet consists of over 4000 words. Because of how it was developed from Vulgar Latin, Wenedyk words are closest to Italian, but with phonologic differences from Italian which may be compared to those distinguishing Portuguese from Spanish. The following charts of 30 shows what Wenedyk looks like in comparison to a number of other Romance languages; note that unlike Brithenig, where one-quarter of the words resembled Welsh words, only four Wenedyk words (not counting szkoła, borrowed into Polish from Latin) resemble Polish words, due to the Slavic languages' greater distance from the Romance languages compared to the Celtic languages:

Romance languages compared
English Latin Portuguese Spanish Catalan French Italian Rhaeto-Romance Romanian Brithenig Wenedyk Polish
arm brachium braço brazo braç bras braccio bratsch braţ breich brocz (ramię)
black nĭger negro negro negre noir nero nair negru nîr niegry (czarny)
city, town cīvĭtas cidade ciudad ciutat cité città citad oraş ciwdad czytać (miasto)
death mŏrs morte muerte mort mort morte mort moarte morth mroć (śmierć)
dog canis cão perro gos chien cane chaun câine can kań (pies)
ear auris orelha oreja orella oreille orecchio ureglia ureche origl urzykła ucho
egg ovum ovo huevo ou œuf uovo ov ou ew ów jajko
eye ŏcŭlus olho ojo ull œil occhio egl ochi ogl okieł oko
father pater pai padre pare père padre bab tată padr poterz (ojciec)
fire ignis, fŏcus fogo fuego foc feu fuoco fieu foc ffog fok (ogień)
fish pĭscis peixe pez, pescado peix poisson pesce pesch peşte pisc pieszcz (ryba)
foot pĕs pie peu pied piede pe picior pedd piedź (stopa)
friend amīcus amigo amigo amic ami amico ami amic efig omik (przyjaciel)
green vĭrĭdis verde verde verd vert verde verd verde gwirdd wierdzi (zielony)
horse ĕquus, cabăllus cavalo caballo cavall cheval cavallo chaval cal cafall kawał (koń)
I ĕgo eu yo jo je io jau eu eo jo ja
island īnsŭla ilha isla illa île isola insla insulă ysl izła (wyspa)
language, tongue lĭngua língua lengua llengua langue lingua linguatg, lieunga limbă llinghedig, llingw lęgwa język
life vīta vida vida vida vie vita vita viaţă gwid wita życie
milk lac leite leche llet lait latte latg lapte llaeth łoc mleko
name nōmen nome nombre nom nom nome num nume nôn numię imię
night nŏx noite noche nit nuit notte notg noapte noeth noc noc
old vĕtus velho viejo vell vieux vecchio vegl vechi gwegl wiekły (stary)
school schŏla escola escuela escola école scuola scola şcoală yscol szkoła szkoła
sky caelum céu cielo cel ciel cielo tschiel cer cel czał (niebo)
star stēlla estrela estrella estrella étoile stella staila stea ystuil ścioła (gwiazda)
tooth dĕns dente diente dent dent dente dent dinte dent dzięć (ząb)
voice vōx voz voz veu voix voce vusch voce gwg wucz (głos)
water aqua água agua aigua eau acqua aua apă ag jekwa (woda)
wind vĕntus vento viento vent vent vento vent vânt gwent więt wiatr

Example[edit]

The Lord's Prayer:

Potrze nostry, kwały jesz en czałór, sąciewkaty si twej numię.
Owień twej rzeń.
Foca si twa włątać, komód en czału szyk i sur cierze.
Da nów odzej nostry pań kocidzany.
I dziemieć nów nostrze dziewta, komód i nu dziemiećmy świew dziewtorzew.
I nie endycz nosz en ciętaceń, uta liwra nosz dzie mału.
Nąk twie są rzeń i pociestać i głurza, o siąprz. Amen.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article I

Tuci ludzie noską sie liwrzy i jekwali z rześpiece świej dzińtacie i swór drzecór. Li są dotaci ku rocenie i koszczęce i dziewię ocar piara wyniałtru en jenie frotrzeńtacie.

Similar languages[edit]

In the Ill Bethisad universe, there are two other languages which are related to Wenedyk: Slevan, which is spoken in that universe's counterpart of Slovakia; and Šležan, or Silesian, spoken in Silesia. Šležan mirrors Czech [3] [4] in much the same way Wenedyk does Polish, whereas Slevan, despite being located in Slovakia, is more similar to Hungarian and Croatian in its orthography. (The Romance "mirror" of Slovak is a dialect of Slevan spoken in Moravia called Moravľaňec.) (As if in compensation, Croatian in Ill Bethisad is forced to be noticeably different from Serbian by being made to resemble the now-virtually-missing Czech and Slovak. [5] )

Additionally, in the famous The Adventures of Tintin series, the fictional language Syldavian may be thought of as the Germanic counterpart of Wenedyk, showing what Polish might have looked like if it was a Germanic and not a Slavic language. Interestingly, the nearly extinct Wymysorys language provides another real-life example of this. Ill Bethisad also has such a "Slavo-Germanic" language: Bohemian, spoken in that universe's Czech Republic, developed by amateur Czech linguist Jan Havliš.

References[edit]

  • Tilman Berger, Vom Erfinden Slavischer Sprachen, in: M. Okuka & U. Schweier, eds., Germano-Slavistische Beiträge. Festschrift für P. Rehder zum 65. Geburtstag, München 2004, pp. 19–28. Cites Wenedyk as an example of Slavic-based extrapolated conlangs.
  • Michał Foerster, Wariacje literackie: o językach, in: Esencja, no. 07/2008 (LXXIX), August–September 2008.
  • Dorota Gut, : Now@ Mow@ ("New Language"), in: Wiedza i Życie, February 2004. This article is mostly, but not exclusively, about Wenedyk.
  • Jakub Kowalski, Wymyślone języki, on: Relaz.pl, 2 March 2007.
  • Stefan Michael Newerkla, "Auf den Spuren des ř in den slawischen Sprachen und rund um den Globus", in: Johannes Reinhart & Tilmann Reuther, eds., Ethnoslavica: Festschrift für Herrn Univ. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Neweklowsky zum 65. Geburtstag; Beiträge des internationalen Symposiums des Instituts für Slawistik der Universität Klagenfurt in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Institut für Slawistik der Universität Wien, Klagenfurt, 7.-8. April 2006, München-Wien: Otto Sagner, 2006, p. 212.
  • Paul J.J. Payack, A Million Words and Counting: How Global English Is Rewriting the World, 2008, p. 193.
  • Ziemowit Szczerek, Świat, gdzie Polska nie jest Polską, on: Interia.pl, 26 September 2008.
  • Romance glossary. A list of common words in all Romance languages, including Wenedyk and Brithenig.

External links[edit]