Brittainese (bretneis [ˌbrɛtˈneːz] or leng bretneis [ˈlɛŋg ˌbrɛtˈneːz]) is a Romance language spoken by around 400 million people as a native language, mainly in the Brittish Isles, North America, Australia, India and Africa. It is most closely related with the Channel languages and French, with which it forms the North-West branch of the Romance languages, and with which it shares many linguistic features.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Orthography
- 3 Phonology
- 4 Grammar
- 5 Syntax
- 6 Example texts
- 7 Other resources
Brittainese is a language created by user Llwcybwy, heavily inspired by Ray Brown's fantastic but yet unfinished conlang with the same name. I cannot however claim that this is a continuation of the language, as my conlanger skills are as of now very lackluster as compared to his. Furthermore, some features of the language are, while in my opinion realistic, also influenced by personal taste, and thus breaking one of the rules set up for continuing the conlang.
The goal of the language is basically the same as that which was described by Brown: it is a study of what Latin would have evolved into in the Brittish Isles, meaning that the language is meant to be as realistic as possible. The world is essentially the same as ours however.
The Brittainese alphabet consists of 26 letters, six of which are vowels and twenty consonants. It uses diacritics to distinguish between sounds as well as to mark irregular stress, and contractions make use of the apostrophe to mark vowel omission.
|Letters of the Avendonian alphabet|
While not considered part of the alphabet, Ââ represents a unique sound in the language and is listed along with Aa in dictionaries (compare German Öö, Üü).
Much like in French's alphabet, it is possible to know how to pronounce any given written word, although it is often difficult to know how to write a spoken one. The rules governing this are however much simpler, and are given as follows:
- The letters 〈c〉 and 〈g〉 are pronounced /t͡ʃ/ and /d͡ʒ/, respectively, if followed by 〈e〉 or 〈i〉. A word-final /t͡ʃ/ and /d͡ʒ/ sound can be made by adding an 〈e〉 (which becomes silent) after 〈c〉 and 〈g〉 respectively. Example: brace.
- The digraph 〈sc〉 before 〈i〉 and 〈e〉 makes the sound /ʃ/. Final /ʃ/ is written as detailed above.
- The sequence with 〈c〉 and 〈g〉 and a front vowel is made using the digraphs 〈qu〉 and 〈gu〉 respectively. Before a non-front vowel, they represent the sounds /kw/ and /gw/.
- 〈h〉 is silent, but is used for etymological purposes, as well as to create a hiatus between vowels. The sound /h/ is made by using 〈ḥ〉.
- All consonants except 〈h〉 and 〈ḥ〉can be geminated, that is written twice next to each other. They can only be geminated between vowels or word-finally. Some consonants or clusters of consonants have a different form of gemination. 〈c〉 is geminated 〈cque〉 word-finally (with silent 〈e〉), and 〈qu〉 is geminated 〈cqu〉 word-medially.
- Some consonants are always geminated. These are /t͡ʃ/, /d͡ʒ/ and /ʃ/.
- 〈s〉 is pronounced /z/ between vowels and sonorants (〈r〉, 〈n〉, 〈m〉 and 〈l〉), and word finally. In all other situations, it is pronounced /s/. 〈ss〉 is always pronounced as /s/, but may not be written word-initially or next to a consonant as stated above. In situations where neither 〈s〉 nor 〈ss〉 can be used to represent /s/, 〈z〉 is used. It represents /z/ where 〈s〉 represents /s/.
Stressed vowels in most dialects of Brittainese can be either long or short, which is indirectly shown in the orthography as follows. Note at 'C' represents a single consonant, 'V' a vowel, 'CC' either a consonant cluster or a consonant geminate and '#' marks a word boundary.
|Letter\Syllable||V||VC#||VC or VCC#||Secondary stress||Unstressed|
|◌́||Irregularly stressed vowel (not last full vowel, i.e. some loan words).|
|◌̀||Pronounciation of accented diphthong as diphthong.|
The Brittainese phonology differs from all modern Romance languages, through the retention of archaisms, innovation and foreign influence. It has retained the Proto West Romance voiced dental fricative /ð/ and has developed its allophonic lengthening of vowels a phonemic distinction of length, a distinction rare in modern Romance Languages.
- Unvoiced stops are most often not aspirated.
- [ŋ] is only an allophone of /n/ preceding /k/ or /g/.
- /θ/ is only marginally phonemic in Brittainese, only appearing in loan words, names and is a common realisation of the cluster /ðs/.
- /ɾ/ can be pronounced in a number of ways depending on the speaker and the situation. It is most commonly weakened to an aproximant or may, depending on the dialect, even be deleted before another consonant or word-finally, sometimes lengthening the previous vowel. It is however never pronounced as [ɻ], and its realisation as [ʀ] has mostly died out in the historically concerned dialects.
Vowels in Brittainese varies greatly between dialects. Below is listed one rendering of the vowels for the Standard Brittainese, Brittish Brittainese and American dialects, although the view in the matter may differ among specialists.
|Mid||ɛ||ɛː eː||ə||ɔ||ɔː oː|
|Diphthongs||ai̯ ei̯ eu̯ u̯i|
|Diphthongs||ai̯ ei̯ øʏ̯|
|Diphthongs||ai̯ ei̯ eu̯ u̯i|
Vowel length is phonemic in Standard Brittainese, but is only contrastive on the primarily stressed syllable. It arose from the allophonic vowel length of Proto-West-Romance, that became phonemic due to the loss of many vowels in the Old Brittainse stage of the language. Vowels will always be long in open syllables, but may be either long or short in closed syllables.
Vowel length used to be phonemic in all Brittainese dialects, although this has been lost in favor of a lax/tense distinction in American Brittainese. It was instead replaced by an allophonic lengthening of stressed vowels in open syllables and final syllables with a one-consonant coda.
Unstressed Brittainese vowels are pronounced differently from stressed vowels in every dialect, although their precise realisation may differ. In Standard and Brittish Brittainese unstressed vowels must always be short, as only primarily stressed vowels may be long. In the American dialect however, as it lacks a contrastive vowel length, only stressed vowels may be tense, while unstressed vowels are always lax. All dialects however contrast three unstressed vowels /ə i u/. Below are listed their exact pronunciations in Standard, Brittish and American Brittainese.
- Standard Brittainese: [ə i u]. /a/ is pronounced [ɐ] in secondarily stressed syllables.
- Brittish Brittainese: [ə ɨ ʉ]. /ʉ/ is unrounded to [ɨ] before coda /r/ or /n/. /a/ is pronounced [ɐ] in secondarily stressed syllables.
- American Brittainese: [ə ɪ ʊ].
Unstressed syllables may also contain a syllabic sonorant [n̩], [l̩], [r̩] or more rarely [m̩], from unstressed /ən/, /əl/, /ər/ and /əl/.
Most Brittainese words can receive both primary and secondary stress. Only a few words receive no stress, such as articles, clitics, prepositions e.t.c. The primary stress is phonemic, but is most often given to the last full syllable. In that case, a secondary stress is given to the first vowel (unless it is in an adjacentsyllable to that of the stressed vowel). Some words however have their stress on another vowel than the last full. In addition to the secondary stress on the first syllable, they also receive a secondary stress on the last vowel (unless it is in an adjacentsyllable to that of the stressed vowel).
Compound words created from two or more words keep their original secondary stress, but the primary stress of all words but the last are converted to secondary stress, leaving only one vowel with primary stress.
Brittainese grammar has evolved greatly from that of Latin, and is much more similar to that of the various modern [w:Romance_languages|Romance languages], especially [w:French_language|French] and the Chanel languages.
Brittainese is a moderately inflected language. Adjectives and some pronouns are inflected for number (singular and plural); nouns, personal pronouns and some pronouns are inflected for person, gender, number and case; and verbs, for tense, aspect, mood, and the person and number of their subjects. Certain verb features are marked using auxiliary verbs.
Brittainese nouns have one of two genders (masculine or feminine) that must be learned together with the word, as there are no reliable rules governing which gender any given word has. They are also inflected for two numbers (singular and plural) and for case (nominative and oblique). Unlike Brittainese verbs, the nouns are generally more conservative than many other Romance languages, as they have preserved the distinction between the nominative and oblique (descended from the Latin accusative) cases. In that regard it is most similar to Old French, although many archaic features have been leveled over time.
A regular Brittainese noun belongs to one of three main declensions, a group of nouns with similar inflected forms. The declensions are identified by the oblique singular form of the noun.
- The second declension is the smallest of the two inherited declensions and is no longer productive. It is mainly descended from the Latin second, third and fourth declension, as well as from many neuter nouns. It has a nominative singular -s and oblique singular -Ø.
- The third declension is not inherited from Latin, but rather borrowed from the Classical languages during the Renaissance as an effort to preserve the newly-borrowed words' original declension. As these words became more wide-spread, these inflections simplified and became more general to create the modern-day third declension. During later years, some words from Non-classical languages have been attributed this declension (although they were never inflected this way in their original languages), such as 'bábuschka'. It has a nominative singular -s or -Ø and oblique singular -m.
The first declension is the largest of the declensions and the most productive, and contains many irregularities and subgroups. Nominative and oblique forms have identical endings in both the plural and singular, although they are not always identical.
It contains almost all feminine nouns, as well as a few masculine nouns. It is the main declension assigned to foreign loan-words that don't fit into any other declension, such as tsunámi. It is descended from the Vulgar Latin first declension, which in turn comprises the Classical Latin fifth declension, as well as feminine third declension, soft-stemmed masculine third declension as well as some neuters.