- 1 Introduction
- 2 Phonology
- 3 Morphology
- 4 Syntax
- 5 Example texts
- 6 Other resources
The Vezhuan language, referred to by its speakers as the Dzvada Vezhua Dlin, "true humans speak this way", is a minority language spoken in Romania and parts of Hungary. Throughout most of the language's history, it was confined chiefly to the Carpathian Mountains. The language is also known as Dezvadian given to it by the 18th century British explorer Sir Edward James Hampton; this name is actually the exonym of the Dzvada people, whereas the word vezhua from which Vezhuan comes, actually means "We speak."
Today there are approximately 24,000 speakers of the language total, a number that has remained fairly stable since the end of the Industrial Revolution. A minority language in both Romania and Hungary, it has only recently acquired official status. Some speakers have left their traditional homeland in search of a better standard of living amongst the general populace in both countries. A small diaspora also exists, chiefly centered in parts of Greece and Macedonia, and an even smaller population in Lazio, Italy.
The language is classified as an isolate. Theories of connections to a larger Rhaetian or Vasconic family had been proposed, but later were dismissed due to insufficient or even contradictory evidence.
There are three types of determiners in Vezhuan that occur either as suffixes, such as the definite and demonstrative suffixes, or as quantifiers that precede their noun heads, e.g. Vadzini dulach nodorzhi uzanio pepak "Many of the barbarian slaves revolted that day".
The definite marker refers not only to specific or highly referential nouns, but may also refer to an abstract noun class that would normally be considered concrete e.g. gazhda < *gal-gda "the (class of animals known as) horse". The definite marker is also used to nominalize verbs, e.g. lozha < loz-sha "singing". The definite marker, which occurs as a suffix, has different forms that agree in number and gender with their noun heads; however, it does not mark for case. The forms for the definite marker are as follows:
The definite marker suffixes directly to the noun root before case markers are applied. In the following example, the masculine plural form of the definite marker -vda- is attached to the noun root gal ("horse") before the comitative case suffix is applied
with the horses
|Masculine||Neuter I||Feminine |
Vezhuan verbs mark for tense and aspect. Verbs fall in three broad classes, based on how they mark the past vs. the non-past tenses: the zu-/vu- class, the etymologically related z-/v- class, and the u-/u- class. Another feature of the verb is that plural verb stems get truncated, e.g.zeganuadzh "I spoke", from the stem -egan-; vs. zegzua "We spoke", from the stem -eg-.
- Vadzini dulach nodorzhi uzanio pepak
/va.'dzini 'dulatʃ nodoɚʒi u'zanjo 'pepak/
vadzini 'dulat-sh nodor-sh-ri u-zan-io pepak
many infestation-DENON-DEF.CL2.P slave-DEF.CL2.P PST-create.chaos-CL2.P that.day
Many of the barbarian slaves revolted that day.