Oregonian English

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Oregonian English is the dialect of English spoken in Oregon, descended from a mix of Lallans Scots and American English with several loanwords from Russian, Salish, Chinook, and Castilian. It was first spoken by the far western Hudson Bay Company settlers in the early 1800's and spread to the Natives and Russians as it became the de facto lingua franca of the region. This dialect was the de jure official language of Oregon from 1942 to 1960, when it was replaced with "Oregon Wawa", a creole language with a mostly Native vocabulary and English grammar. As of 2020, Oregonian English is spoken by around 15 million people, mostly living in Oregon and surrounding countries.

One of the most striking features of the language is that it is written exclusively in the Cyrillic Alphabet.

The Cyrillic Alphabet

When Russian ecotopists first landed in Oregon in the early 1900's, most of them settled among the Natives. They got along very well as they had similar philosophies and were willing to adopt much of each other's cultures. The Russians taught the many Native nations how to write in the Cyrillic alphabet, each nation devised orthographies to write their own languages. The Natives readily adopted the Cyrillic alphabet and proudly used it to communicate with both Russian and English settlers and to keep their personal records.

After the Hudson Bay Company firmly established themselves in the regional capital of Viridian City in 1920, English became the official language of government and business. Since most of the population in Oregon already consisted of Americans speaking English, many Native tribes learned English to trade with the Americans and subsequently with each other as a lingua franca. However, since these tribes had already been using the Cyrillic alphabet for about a decade, they wrote to each other in English but wrote English in the alphabet that they were already familiar with. Also, because they used the Cyrillic alphabet phonetically, i.e. they used each character to transcribe a particular sound, they also wrote English phonetically. This meant that they seldom wrote English words according to how they were spelled in the Roman alphabet and mostly wrote them according to what they sounded like. This orthography varied from tribe to tribe, but collectively the most common spellings are referred to as the Native orthography.

In 1933, an Oregonian nationalist movement began to arise among the Americans. Being a continent's width away from Philadelphia and still a thousand miles from Winnipeg, many in Oregon felt that they were a distinct nation from the NAL-SLC with a distinct identity. They took inspiration from the Mormons writing in their own Deseret alphabet and began writing in the Cyrillic alphabet. By 1940, the Cyrillic alphabet was fully integrated into Oregon culture, and the white Oregonians had created a standard orthography for themselves. This orthography, however, was very distinct from the Native orthography: while the Native orthography transcribed English sounds, this new orthography transcribed English spellings letter for letter. This orthography became known as the Anglo orthography. They chose this orthography because it was easier for those who were familiar with English spelling to learn than the Native orthography. It was used from the 1940's to the 1960's as the official orthography of the Oregon rebel government, even being used on the old flag of Oregon.

Native Orthography Sample:

Ол гюман биингс ар борн фрии янд икўал ин диґнити янд райхтс. Ђэй ар эндаўд ўиѳ риизан янд коншанс янд шуд якт таўордз ўан анађэр ин э спирит ав брађэргуд.

Anglo Orthography Sample:

Алл хуман біингс арэ борн фріі анд іҁўал ин дигнитѥ анд рикхтс. Ѳэи арэ эндоыэд ыиѳ ріасон анд конссйэнсэ анд шоулд акт тоыардс онэ аноѳэр ин а спирит оф броѳэрхоод.

Current Standard Orthography

This is an example the current standard orthography first instituted in the 1960's. It was constructed under commission of the Oregon government to be equally intelligible with the Native and Anglo orthographies. For example, silent e's are written as full vowels in Anglo, unwritten in Native, and written as hard/soft signs in the Standard.

“Ѳэ Говэрнмэнт ов Оригон сэнт а ларжь контйнжэнтъ ов йтс Хюманйтариан Врйгадь анд мйлйтаре то провйдь айд то ѳэ цунаме стрйккэн арeас, дрйнкйнг ыатэр, шэлтэр анд форэнсйкс тоталйнг овэр а кроръ далэрс. ‘Ые аръ эѯпэктйнд а цунаме ыйѳйн ѳэ нэхт 300 йерс анд ыйшэс то гайн дата анд ундэрстандйнг ов ѳйсъ фэномэнон, сайд Докт. Прохаска ов ѳe Ошйан Студес Йнстйтютъ. ‘Йт ыйлл бе а бйг ун!,„

[The Times of New Castreleon transliteration] THe Government of Oregon sent a large contingente of its Humanitarian Brigade and military to provide aid to þe tsunami stricken areas, drinking water, shelter, forensics, totaling over a crore dalers (£6.5M). “We are expectind a çunami within þe next 300 years and wishes to gain data and understanding of þis phenomenon,” said Dr. Prohaska of þe Ocean Studies Institute. “It will be a big un!”

EnglishCyrillicSound Value
AА, аa
BБ, бb
CК, кk
CС, сs
CHЧ, чtS
DД, дd
EЪ, ъ; Ь, ьsilent
EЭ, эe, @
EE, EA, EIИ, иi
FФ, фf
GГ, гg
GHГХ, гхh
GEЖ, жZ
HХ, хh
IЙ, йaj, I
JЏ, џdj
KК, кk
CHКХ, кхch
LЛ, лl
MМ, мm
NН, нn
NGНГ, нгng
NGEНЖ, нжnge
OО, оO
OѠ, ѡo
OOЮ, юju
OUОУ, оуu, au
PП, пp
QUҀЎ, ҁўkw
RР, рr
SС, сs
SHШ, шsh
TТ, тt
Þ, THѲ, ѳth
ÇЦ, цts
UУ, уu, U
VB, вv
WЎ, ў; Ы, ыw
HWХЎ, хўhw
ХѮ, ѯks
Y (initial)Й, йj
Y (medial/final)Е, e; Ѥ, ѥaj, I, i, ej
ZЗ, зz
PSѰ, ѱps

Typesetting in the Modern Era

First with the invention of metal type in the 20th century and then with the advent of the videotex and internetwork systems in the 21st century, it has become clear that Oregonian English uses a lot of characters that are not used in any other adaptation of the Cyrillic alphabet. Because of this, very few fonts and applications support these characters, and for some time Oregonians have come up with some work-arounds. Sometimes this involves using other characters in the Cyrillic alphabet, and other times it means substituting in letters from Latin or Greek Alphabets. Listed below are the original characters and alternative characters in order from most common to least common.

Original LetterAlternatives
Ѡ, ѡW, w; Ω, ω; ОО, оо
Ҁ, ҁQ, q; К, к; Ϙ, ϙ
Ѳ, ѳ (Fita)Ө, ө (Barred O); Θ, θ; ТХ, тх
Ѯ, ѯΞ, ξ; КС, кс
Ѱ, ѱΨ, ψ; ПС, пс
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