Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Old English, Germanic derived languages and Conlangs

 Welcumen! No, I did not spell that incorrectly, what you are seeing is the word "Welcome" in Old English. Old English is much different than what we speak today. It is amazingly similar in some ways, and yet drastically different in others. OE sounds more like German and you can listen to what OE might have sounded like by watching this video here.   

In modern English we do not change, very much,  or inflect words when talking about: me, you, he, she, it, they etc.  for example: I make, you make, he, she it makes.  However, OE was different and the variations of OE Conlangs keep with the idea of inflection. As in our example above from the Conlang Englisc Ic makeþu makest, he, sci, it makeþ. 



Another great site is The Anglish Moot, a place for linguistic purism (that is, removing words that are not from the base language from the language itself, in the case of English, removing all the Romance words from Latin, Greek, French etc.) Replacing borrowed words from the Romance languages with updated varioations of OE or Germanic-based words. Below is a smaple of the 23rd Psalm in Anglish. 

(Brought from the Hebrew tung over to Anglish by MDS)1 A song of David.The LORD is my shepherd. I cannot fail.
2 In green abodes He lays me down, upon springs of stillness He leads me.
3 My soul does He fill, and guide me in my paths of rightwisness for the sake of His Name.
4 Yea, were I even to walk in deathly hallows, I would not fear evil since You are with-me; Your rod and Your staff: they soothe me.
5 You set up before me a meal board against my downtrodders. You heap rich oil on my head and fill my cup to the brim.
6 Oh, that Goodness and godkindness would run after me every day of my life, that I could abide in the house of LORD forever! So be it. Wouldn't it be cool to talk like this once more? English has changed so much from its beginnings. I, for one, would love to see English change to a more German-like language. Some might think of this as a reversal but I think it would be good to get English back to the way it should have been all along. If Normandy hadn't won the war with England in 1066, it is quite possible English would have evolved like Frisian and would have been even closer to the Frisian language today. 

Other languages worth taking a look at are: Afrikaans which is very easy to learn because of its very regular and simplistic grammar, Chathan (a Conlang) Here is a sample of Chathan with other natural Germanic languages: 

Chathan Ek vejst niek velk honden sin scvart. /ɛk veɪst nik vɛɫk hɔndɛn sɪn ʃvɑɚt/
English I don't know which hounds (dogs) are black.       
Dutch Ik weet niet welke honden zwart zijn.
Afrikaans Ek weet nie wat honde swart is nie. 
German Ich weiß nicht, welche Hunde schwarz sind.
Danish Jeg ved ikke, hvilke hunde er sorte.
Swedish Jag vet inte vilka hundar är svarta.
Icelandic Ég veit ekki hver hundarnir eru svartir.
Auregan Ikt witte whilch honde swarthe zischens nick.
Dearish Ick wid neet wilk hoend swaard aar.
Oxman Ik weat neat welke hounds sy'n swart.
NOTE: the last three languages compared, Auregan, Dearish and Oxman are also conlangs!