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Brainstorming Burgendish

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <melroch@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 26, 2007, 13:50
I'm trying to create a sister language to Gothic which
is thought to have been spoken by Burgundians in 12th
century Gaul (in an alternate timeline, of course! :-)
The native name of the language is not quite determined
yet, so I call it _Burgendish_ in English -- a supposed
modern derivative of the Old English ethnonym

Phonologically Burgendish is about as advanced as Old
English. The idea is that it has shared its most recent
phonological developments with the co-territorial
Romance language as a result of long-term bilingualism.

The Romance language in question is of course also a
conlang. It started out as my 'ideal' mix of French and
Italian but soon took on a life of its own, as these
things do. Since, as Tolkien observed, conlangs tend to
want to have a place to live it placed itself
geographically between French and Italian along the
banks of the Rhône, or _Rhodre_ as it is called in the
language, which took on the name _Rhodray_, or
'Rhodrese' in English. I had some bad conscience for
ursurping the territory of Franco- Provencal, but
decided that that in this ATL that language was alive
and healthy in Switzerland, where it was not, to boot,
considered a patois of French.

There soon arised the question of how Rhodrese survived
as a language distinct from French, and so a polity
named Borgonze, ultimately going back to the kingdom of
Burgundian _foederati_ arose, and with it the idea of a
coterritorial East Germanic language surviving into the
Middle Ages.

The question now at hand is how this East Germanic
language may have differed from Gothic before migrating
westwards to Gaul. What would be common East Germanic
traits, what was distinctly Gothic and what may have
been distinctly Burgundian?

I'd guess that Verschärfung (I don't know what the *j >
ddj and *w > ggw change is called in English --
"sharpening"?) and the merger of high and low short
vowels (*wegaz > vigs, *jokam > juk) were common East
Germanic while the monophthongization of *ai and *au
was specifically Gothic. (I have in mind that the
merged *i( and *u( show up as e and o in most positions
in the late 'attested' Burgendish, just as Latin i( and
u( do in Rhodrese.)

One idea I have for a specifically Burgendish
development is that final *-ô becomes -u and later -o,
instead of -a as in Gothic. On the other hand final *-
an and/or *-on may become -a. Germanic *-a in final
syllables is lost as in all other Germanic languages.

I also think that stressed *ê and *ô remained low in
Burgundian, so that they show up as ie and uo in
Burgendish, just as lengthened Vulgar Latin /E/ and /O/
do in Rhodrese. (It happens to be parallel to Old High
German as well...)

Perhaps unstressed *ai/*ê/*î and *au/*ô/*û merge as i
and u so that we get a nominative sono(s) and a
genitive sonu(s).

Well, all this is still a bit meagre...

/BP 8^)>
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
No man forgets his original trade: the rights of
nations and of kings sink into questions of grammar,
if grammarians discuss them.
-Dr. Samuel Johnson (1707 - 1784)


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>