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Venedic language

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Created byJan van Steenbergen
Setting and usageA thought experiment in the alternate history, Ill Bethisad, if Latin had replaced Polish's ancestor.
Sourcesconstructed languages
 a posteriori languages
(Romance language with a Polish substrate)
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
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Venedic (Wenedyk, lęgwa wenedka) is a naturalistic constructed language, created by the Dutch translator Jan van Steenbergen (who also co-created the international auxiliary language Interslavic). It is used in the fictional Republic of the Two Crowns, based on the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, in the alternate timeline of Ill Bethisad. Officially, Venedic 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 Venedic 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. Venedic uses the modern standard Polish orthography, including (for instance) ⟨w⟩ for /v/ and ⟨ł⟩ for /w/.

Venedic 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 Venedic 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 several online news articles and an article in the monthly Knowledge and Life [pl].

Spelling and pronunciation


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


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 as 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 Venedic 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])



Venedic does not have articles. This is a feature that distinguishes Venedic from all natural Romance languages. The reason for this is that Vulgar Latin showed only a rudimentary tendency toward the formation of articles, and 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".

Venedic 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!" In earlier version of Venedic, it used to have nominative and accusative cases, but later merged to form the direct case.

Nouns 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. However, the author treated the nouns with the 4th declension ending as irregular, see also the sections below.

Declension endings

Declension class I II III
f m m n f n
hard soft hard soft hard soft hard soft hard soft hard soft
Singular Direct -a -∅
Genitive -ie -u -ie -u -ie
Dative -ia
Plural Direct -ie -i, -ie1 -ia -ie -ia
Genitive -ar -ór -i2
Dative -iew
  1. The ending -i is used for male persons, while -ie is used for objects or animals instead.
  2. In some cases, -iar is used in the place of -i, and sometimes both endings is used.

Hard and soft in this context are suffixes that are decided by final consonants, either hard (remaining consonants, like -n, -c, or -d) or soft (postalveolars or palatal-like sounds, like -l, , or -rz). Endings in -ia-, -ie-, and -i- are always affected by regular changes below:

+ -ia- + -ie- + -i-
c ca ce cy
ch sza sze szy
cz cza cze czy
ć cia cie ci
d dzia dzie dzi
dz dza dze dzy
g ża że ży
k cza cze czy
j ja je i
ł la le li
ń nia nie ni
r rza rze rzy
sk szcza szcze szczy
sz sza sze szy
t cia cie ci
ż ża że ży
ź zia zie zi
An example of noun declension: moszkieł "man" (2nd decl.)
Singular Plural
Direct moszkieł
Genitive moszkłu
Dative moszkli

Irregular nouns


There is a number of irregular nouns. Not just completely irregular nouns on the table below, some nouns have less predictable oblique stems (the rest stem other than nominative singular), as in above moszkieł, gen. moszklu. However, nouns with the last vowel ó regularly shorten to o (sórz, sorze).

numię "name"1 ciępu "time"1 fołgr "lightning"1
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct numię numna ciępu cięprze fołgr fołgra
Genitive numien numnie cięprze ciępr fołgrze fołgr
Dative numni numniew cięprzy cięprzew fołgrzy fołgrzew
dziew "god" womień "person"2 kap "head"
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Direct dziew dziei womień ludzie kap kapta
Genitive dzieju dziejór womnie ludzi kapcie kaptór
Dative dziei dziejew womni ludziew kapci kapciew
rzej "head" dzej "day" Jezus "Jesus"
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular
Direct rzej rzeje dzej dzeje Jezus
Genitive rzei rzejar dzei dzejór Jezu
Dative rzei rzejew dzei dzejew Jezui
  1. There are some other nouns that follow these irregular nouns' patterns (krzymię "crime" < numię, fiodu "treaty" < ciępu, marmr "marble" < fołgr). Some treat these nouns are separate patterns of the third declension, while others consider them irregular.
  2. Like the plural suppletion of "person" in many Slavic languages, the plural form ludzie is suppletive and it is borrowed from Proto-Slavic ľudьje.



Adjectives always agree in gender, number and case with the noun they modify. They can be placed both before and after it. Unlike nouns, the adjective declension are always consistent and there is no distinctions in declension classes.

Singular Plural
Masculine Neuter Feminine Masculine Neuter Feminine
Direct Non-personal -y -a -ie
Personal -i -ie
Genitive -u -iej -ór -ar
Dative -i -iew
Direct Non-personal -i -ia -ie
Personal -i -ie
Genitive -iu -iej -iór -iar
Dative -i -iew

Further derivatives of adjectives


The comparatives and superlatives are formed by the suffixes -ierzy and -ieśmy, respectively, to the adjective's stem. However, the adjectives below have irregular comparative (second row) and superlative (third row) forms:

  • bony "good", mielerzy, oćmy
  • mały "bad", piejerzy, pieśmy
  • grędzy "big", mojerzy, mośmy
  • łonięcy "far", łonierzy, łonieśmy
  • pieskły "small", mnierzy, mnieśmy
  • wiekły "old", wieszczerzy, wieszcześmy
  • jałty "high", sprzerzy, sprześmy
  • mołt "many/much", pły "more", płerześmy "most"

Adverbial forms are either done by removing the -y/-i from the root or adding the suffix -mięć into the root (kłary, kłar/kłaramięć "warmly"). There are no rules which forms are preferred, but the latter usually expresses how something is done.

For the longer form, -amięć is used after hard consonants while -iemięć used after soft consonants. Adjectives in -ły use the suffix -lemięć (i.e. -ł- + -iemięć), except for the adjectives biały, mały, miły, siegły which are always suffixed with the former (białybiałamieć). The adjective bony "good" has an irregular adverbial derivation: bień. The comparatives and superlatives can also have adverbial forms, by substituting -ierzy and -ieśmy with -iu and -ieśmie. Verbal participles always remove their last vowels.

The predicative forms are the same as masculine and neuter direct singular forms, except that sometimes the suffix -y/-i is removed, but this predicative forming is somewhat archaic and the resulting forms should not be confused with adverbs.



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:

singular plural
first person second person third person first person second person third person
masculine feminine neuter masculine feminine neuter

English I
to me
thou, you
thee, you
thine, yours
to thee, to you
to him
to her
to it
to us
to you
to them



Verbs are inflected for person, number, mood and tense. Because Latin and Proto-Slavonic had virtually identical person/number inflections, Venedic and Polish do also.

Venedic 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"

Regular verbs

Present tense
Person ↓ Classes
Singular 1st -u -je -u -sku
2nd -asz -esz -szczesz
2nd -a -e -szcze
Plural 1st -amy -iemy -my -szczemy
2nd -acie -ecie -cie -szczecie
3rd -ję -ską

Word list


Venedic vocabulary as published on the internet consists of over 4000 words. Because of how it was developed from Vulgar Latin, Venedic 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 Venedic 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 Venedic 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:

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

Sample text


The Lord's Prayer in Venedic:

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 swór dziewtorzór. I nie endycz nosz en ciętaceń, uta liwra nosz dzie mału. Nąk twie są rzeń i pociestać i głurza, o siąprz. Amen.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Venedic:

Tuci ludzie noszczę 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.[1]

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.[2]

Similar languages


In the Ill Bethisad universe, there are two other languages which are related to Venedic: 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 Venedic 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 pseudo-Slavic fictional language Syldavian may be thought of as a Germanic counterpart of Venedic. 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.






  1. ^ "Texts in Wenedyk". steen.free.fr.
  2. ^ "Universal Declaration of Human Rights". un.org.


  • 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 Venedic 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.
  • 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.
  • Romance glossary. A list of common words in all Romance languages, including Venedic and Brithenig.