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Brithenig
Created by Andrew Smith
Date 1996
Setting and usage A thought experiment in alternate history, Ill Bethisad, if Latin had replaced Celtic
Purpose
Sources constructed languages
 a posteriori languages
(Romance language based on Celtic)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bzt
Linguist list
bzt

Brithenig is an invented language, or constructed language ("conlang"). It was created as a hobby in 1996 by Andrew Smith from New Zealand, who also invented the alternate history of Ill Bethisad to "explain" it.

Brithenig was not developed to be used in the real world, like Esperanto or Interlingua, nor to provide detail to a work of fiction, like Klingon from the Star Trek scenarios. Rather, Brithenig started as a thought experiment to create a Romance language that might have evolved if Latin had displaced the native Celtic language as the spoken language of the people in Great Britain.

The result is a sister language to French, Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and Italian, albeit a test-tube child, which differs from them by having sound-changes similar to those that affected the Welsh language, and words that are borrowed from Brythonic and from English throughout its pseudo-history. One important distinction between Brithenig and Welsh is that while Welsh is P-Celtic, Latin was a Q-Italic language (as opposed to P-Italic, like Oscan), and this trait was passed onto Brithenig.

Similar efforts to extrapolate Romance languages are Breathanach (influenced by the other branch of Celtic), Judajca (influenced by Hebrew), Þrjótrunn (influenced by Icelandic), Wenedyk (influenced by Polish), and Xliponian (which experienced a Grimm's Law-like sound shift). It has also inspired Wessisc, a hypothetical Germanic language influenced by contact with Old Celtic.

Brithenig was granted the code BZT as part of ISO 639-3.

Andrew Smith was one of the conlangers featured in the exhibit "Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond: The World of Constructed Languages" displayed at the Cleveland Public Library from May through August 2008.[1] Smith's creation of Brithenig was cited as the reason for his inclusion in the exhibit (which also included the Babel Text[2] in Smith's language).

Vocabulary[edit]

Most of Brithenig's vocabulary is distinctively Romance, even though it is disguised as Welsh. The following list of 30 words gives an impression of what Brithenig looks like in comparison to nine other Romance languages including Wenedyk, and to Welsh. The similarity of about one-quarter of the Welsh words to Brithenig words (indicated by not being bracketed) is due to their common Indo-European background, although a few others, such as ysgol, were borrowings from Latin into Welsh.

Brithenig compared with Romance and Welsh
English Brithenig Latin Portuguese Spanish Catalan French Italian Rhaeto-​Romance Romanian Wenedyk Welsh
arm breich brachium braço brazo braç bras braccio bratsch braţ brocz braich
black nîr nĭger negro negro negre noir nero nair negru niegry (du)
city, town ciwdad cīvĭtas cidade ciudad ciutat cité città citad oraş czytać (dinas)
death morth mŏrs morte muerte mort mort morte mort moarte mroć (marwolaeth)
dog can canis cão perro gos, ca chien cane chaun câine kań (ci)
ear origl auris, aurĭcŭla orelha oreja orella oreille orecchio ureglia ureche urzykła (clust)
egg ew ovum ovo huevo ou œuf uovo ov ou ów wy
eye ogl ŏcŭlus olho ojo ull œil occhio egl ochi okieł (llygad)
father padr pater pai padre pare père padre bab tată poterz (tad)
fire ffog ignis, fŏcus fogo fuego foc feu fuoco fieu foc fok (tân)
fish pisc pĭscis peixe pez, pescado peix poisson pesce pesch peşte pieszcz pysgodyn
foot pedd pĕs pie peu pied piede pe picior piedź (troed)
friend efig amīcus amigo amigo amic ami amico ami amic omik (cyfaill)
green gwirdd vĭrĭdis verde verde verd vert verde verd verde wierdzi gwyrdd
horse cafall ĕquus, cabăllus cavalo caballo cavall cheval cavallo chaval cal kawał ceffyl
I eo ĕgo eu yo jo je io jau eu jo (mi)
island ysl īnsŭla ilha isla illa île isola insla insulă izła (ynys)
language, tongue llinghedig, llingw lĭngua língua lengua llengua langue lingua linguatg, lieunga limbă lęgwa (iaith)
life gwid vīta vida vida vida vie vita vita viaţă wita (bywyd)
milk llaeth lac leite leche llet lait latte latg lapte łoc llaeth
name nôn nōmen nome nombre nom nom nome num nume numię (enw)
night noeth nŏx noite noche nit nuit notte notg noapte noc (nos)
old gwegl vĕtus, vĕtŭlus velho viejo vell vieux vecchio vegl vechi wiekły (hen)
school yscol schŏla escola escuela escola école scuola scola şcoală szkoła ysgol
sky cel caelum céu cielo cel ciel cielo tschiel cer czał (awyr)
star ystuil stēlla estrela estrella estel étoile stella staila stea ścioła (seren)
tooth dent dēns, dĕntem dente diente dent dent dente dent dinte dzięć dant
voice gwg vōx voz voz veu voix voce vusch voce wucz (llais)
water ag aqua água agua aigua eau acqua aua apă jekwa (dŵr)
wind gwent vĕntus vento viento vent vent vento vent vânt więt gwynt

Example[edit]

The Lord's Prayer:

Nustr Padr, ke sia i llo gel:
sia senghid tew nôn:
gwein tew rheon:
sia ffaeth tew wolont,
syrs lla der sig i llo gel.
Dun nustr pan diwrnal a nu h-eidd;
e pharddun llo nustr phechad a nu,
si nu pharddunan llo nustr phechadur.
E ngheidd rhen di nu in ill temp di drial,
mai llifr nu di'll mal.
Per ill rheon, ill cofaeth e lla leir es ill tew,
per segl e segl. Amen.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond (photo group at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26418663@N05/2478687117/ . Accessed 9/7/2009
  2. ^ http://www.langmaker.com/babelintro.htm, accessed 9/7/2009

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brithenig — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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