Brzhonegh

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Brzhonegh (Brezonegh in English) is a Celto-Romance language, spoken in the province Zeeland of the Batavian Kingdom. It was created by Ferko and was originally intended to be the language of the Breton region of France. However, the material was lost in 1999, leaving Brittany open again. No details about it are known apart from a few examples.

Brittany was then settled by Old Kerno speakers (at about the same time Old Cornish speakers settled Brittany *here*). However, Brezhoneg was not quite dead... From limited historical research we know that the Brzhona came to Zeeland from somewhere in Britain some time in the first millenia AD, undoubtedly settling in what is now Zeeland in a similar manner and timeframe as the Brehonecq speakers in Armorica.

It remains to be seen what is the precise relationship between Brezhoneg and Kerno/Brehonecq. Rumbold (1995) suggests that "...the proto-Brezhoneg speakers must have come from the same areas that the proto-Brehonecq speakers came from, .i., the southern shoars of the old Kingdom of Dumnonia in the V century." Makes sense from a population perspective, but ignores that in the V century, Romano-British was still the spoken language of eastern and central Britain as well -- Londinium was still Londinium at this time! Humbolt (1997) argues: "Based upon the dissimilarities between modern Brehonecq and Brezonegh (disregarding for the moment the rather unusual and scattered nature of Brezonegh orthography), it can only be concluded that the proto-Brezonegh speakers did nòt come from Dumnonia. It seems a safer and saner wager that the proto-Brezonegh speakers came from the southeastern shoars of Britain." Next to nothing is known about what dialects were spoken east of Dumnonia, and only a little more is known about the dialects along the Thames, so the exact placement of the proto-Brezonegh speakers can not be accomplished.

The minority status of Brezonegh has not helpped the situation either. A scant literature and decreasing population have caused Batavian scholars to largely ignore the language.

Description

Below follows a compilation of all that was written about Brezhonegh in the Sessiwn in the period April-June 1998 in the thread Rromei-Geldyghei lyngvei (Roman-Celtic langs). This is basically all we know about it.

Dhlegebam dhlidleros yn Rromis-Geldyghis lyngvis, et tandem swm parotws moztrrore lyngvam ydhle fazherebam, Brzhonegh.

(I read the letters in Roman-Celtic languages, and finally I am ready to show the language that I made, Brzhonegh)

The grammar is not yet finished, but it's solid engough to make a few simple sentences. As one might guess from the name, it's based on Breton; lexically it's mostly Latin.

Phonology

Vowels

a e i o u y w

  • a, e, i, o are as in Breton (or Spanish: basically, the "normal" values for these)
  • u is like Breton (/French) 'ou' [Spanish 'u']
  • y is like French, Dutch 'u' [German 'ü']
  • w is like Breton (/French) 'eu' [German 'ö']

This is the same range of vowels as Breton, tho spelt differently  ;-) However, the Brzhona do not have nasalized varieties like the Bretons?

Consonants

  • b, k, g, m, p, s = all as in German/English
  • z = like English
  • f = the voiceless counterpart of English 'w'
  • v = word-initially, word finally and intervocalically like in English anywhere else (ie. pre- or postconsonentally) like English 'w'
  • gh = voiced velar fricative (in the pronunciation of some speakers, "gh" is articulated like Dutch 'g' in "gek")
  • dh = voiced interdental fricative
  • j = like Dutch, German, etc.
  • l, t, n, d are always dental
  • r = frictionless continuant like in English
  • rr = trilled (but not too much; like in Latvian, say)
  • sh, zh = like in English
  • rzh = like Czech 'r-hachek'
  • dhl = voiced alveolar lateral fricative (voiced counterpart of Welsh 'll')
  • dl = voiced alveolar lateral flap (a "d" and an "l" articulated simultaneously)

Stress is always on the next from last syllable.

m, s, n and rzh can be syllabic.

Consonant mutation

Q: I'd like to know how other Celticonlangers have treated consonant mutation; Breton has it absolute word initially.
A: Re consonant mutation, my main thing is that I want to make it different from Breton, but I want to keep it Celtic. I kept the Breton stress pattern (next to last syllable) in Brezhonegh, partly because it's simpler than random stress (as in my Slavic lang, Vranian).

Nouns

Cases are the six Latin (nom, acc, gen, dat, abl, loc).

Verbs

Tenses, moods and aspects I haven't worked very much on, but I'm tending to Latin with some Breton forms.

[...] I've only roughly sketched out present indicative (Latin forms).

Adjectives

I haven't decided what to do with adjectives yet; Both Breton and Latin adjectives agree with the noun; but I'm bored with that from Vranian and Neo-Dalmatian; undeclining adjectives like Finnish and Hungarian are intrinsically boring too. Suggestions?

Well, you may certainly do with your adjectives as you see fit. :-) If you're trying for a "likely" Romano-Celtic tongue (the overall goal of the Brithenig Bunch), then you most likely will settle for boring Neolatin adjectives. In Brithenig (and in Kerno), the adjectives of fem. nouns take the mutation of the noun. Though that has been decreasing in Kerno over the last century or so. It also has a few irregular adjectives that differentiate masculine from feminine: il varru beccos / la gwena becca.
Yes, you're probably right; I do want to keep it as "likely" as possible.

Numbers

I kept the Breton numbers, with a vigesimal system like French, so I guess that'll make it base-20; 18 is "three sixes".

[...] Brithenig seems to have some base 15 (?) forms, and also base 20:
15 kindig, 16 yn e ghindig, 17 dew e ghindig
20 gweint, 30 deg e weint, 40 dew weint
These are simply pemdhek/gvedhek/seidhek but ugwd/trrenta/davgwd [2 20's]

Prepositions

Breton has "inflecting prepositions". Kerno does as well, Brithenig does not seem to have retained them. I'm still figuring those out, whether to include the feature or not; I'm leaning towards the 'not'.

[...] I haven't decided yet, but I'm thinking that as Brezhonegh has retained quite a few Breton forms, I'll probably keep these as well.

I would note that if we posit this as an areal feature of "southern tier" Romano-British (as opposed to "middle tier" and "northern tier" which lack the feature), then it seems most likely that Brezhonegh will also have the feature.

Pronouns

Personal pronouns I'm keeping from Breton, with forms for nom, acc, dat/abl and gen/loc:

        1ps     2       3m      3f      3n      1pl     2       3
Nom     me      te      en      dhi     dhu     nw      ghvw    wnt
Acc     am      azh     dhen    dhel    dhen    dhol    ogh     o
Gen     am      azh     dhen    dhol    dhen    dhol    ogh     o
Dat     va      dha     egh     esh     egh     dhon    ogh     o
Abl     va      dha     egh     esh     egh     dhon    ogh     o
Loc     am      azh     dhen    dhol    dhen    dhol    ogh     o

Interrogative pronouns are /bwv/ "who (sg.)", /bws/ "who (pl.)", /brzh/ "what (sg.)", /brzhws/ "what (pl.)", /bwrw/ "which one" and /bzwrr/ "which".

Sample

Here is the first sentence (yes, that's all I've managed so far) of Little red raver girl:

Odhlym, rragh bwrw twmpu wst kvam dhu mwjrws, vivwbat Parva Rusha Rreizwrryna. Dhi wrat parva pvwla dhleita bwv lifwrat portarrw kdhleidhas ghrrotas et skyrtes pwlzhros. Ulws ajlwrr bwv dhel vydwrat, dhel lifabyt.

<roughly literally>

Once upon a time, because which time is than that better, lived Little Red Raver Girl. She was [a] little girl happy who loved to wear big clothes and pretty shirts. Any raver who her saw, her will love.

<in English>

Once upon a time, because, what better time than that, lived Little Red Raver Girl. She was a happy little girl who loved to wear big clothes and pretty shirts. Any raver who saw her would love her.

I guess several Dutch loanwords are to be pointed out: lifwrrw (to love), rreizwrryna (raver - fem.), kdhleidhei (clothes, pl. only), ghrrot (big), skyrts (shirt), ajlwrr (raver-masc). The rest is mostly Latin, except the pronouns, which are ex Brezhoneg.

Salwt, Ferrens

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