Wessish

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Germanic conlang by Ananaso. Also known as Wessasch, or Wessisc.

Wessish Language History

The Wessish language, which is a blend of Anglo-Saxon and P-Celtic, was spoken in Wessex and Wight shortly after the Angles and Saxons invaded the Eastern part of the British Isles, and were stopped by the Romano-Celts. Where the remainder of the Celtic speakers remained (before their language was ultimately replaced by Brithenig or English, depending on which side of the border they found themselves), the Celtic peoples merged their tongue with that of the invading Anglo-Saxons in the Wessex region to form the Wessish language. Wessish eventually died out in the late 16th century or early 17th century in the last stronghold of the language, the Isle of Wight.

Wessish Language Revival

The Revival Movement has been active for at least a hundred years (since the late 19th century), but in the past 20 years (mid 1980s onwards) has split into several movements of which the only major difference is their orthographies, the two leading factions being United Wessish (which was begun by Mortyn and Nans about 100 years ago) and Common Wessish (an orthography which was created by Cynedd Geory). In the past few years, a newer form of Wessish has been created called United Wessish Revived (UWR) by an Irishman, Nigol J.A. Mellyans, but UWR is generally ignored by serious students of Wessish, because it is seen as a poorly informed attempt to rebuild Wessish.

All the others base their reconstruction of Wessish on texts which date from a good long time before the language died out, but there is another faction, called Modern or Late Wessish, or just simply Wessasch, which bases the reconstruction of the language on later texts which were recorded in the dying stages of the language. The main proponent of this is Hrothgar Grendel.

The native word for the island is "se Wight" ('the Wight', fem noun), and the name of the language in the language is "Wessisc" ('Wessish', from contraction of 'West Saxon'+ '-isc', adj ending).

Wessish Literature

There are several great tracts of prose in Wessish.

One must undoubtedly be the aborted translation of the Bible, begun by a monk named Geowan Smaþwyr (John Smith). Geowan Smaþwyr is the patron Saint of the Wessish people. A confused man, he became a parish vicar hoping to find answers from God for his troubled mind. He began translating it in 1607, and aborted it after 10 and a half chapters of Genesis, finding confusion when he found the contradiction of Genesis chapter 11 verses 1-9 (the Babel story) did not match up with Genesis chapter 10, verse 5. As he was a linguist, this greatly troubled him. To try and resolve this, he became a very pious man and retreated into prayer and fasted for three whole years, before 'understanding'.

The events of his death are not certain, but one day in 1610 whilst out walking, Geowan Smaþwyr got into an argument on a cliff top over why he had not finished translating the Good Book for the few speakers of Wessish left, and details are scant, but some say he jumped due to his disquietened mind, others say he was pushed. However, his body was found washed up on a beach quite dry, including his perfectly intact clothes, and looking as though he were only sleeping. For various legal reasons, his body was not buried immediately, partially due to the fact that it had been reported by some as a suicide, but the body did not deteriorate. Eventually he was buried in the cathedral at Newhythe.

Shortly after, some miracles occurred when people visited his Church and touched the copy of the Wessish Bible, such as blind being able to see, lame walking, dinosaurs coming back to life (although this is not held in much repute), etc. Later he was canonised. The Bible today is in the care of Newhythe University, as it seems to have lost its miracular powers.

Another text which must undoubtedly be considered is the ribald poem that was discovered in the Vatican libraries in 1956, dating from 1070. Not a very long piece, but wonderful in the extent that it proves that Wessish had light-hearted texts as well.

Wessish (Wessisc): http://www.wessisc.co.uk/wessisc/index.html

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