Between Germany and Spain

A couple of years ago, when I was beginning to discover the fascinating world of languages, I remember having found and article about Grimm’s Law which explains a series of sound changes Germanic languages went through which led to languages such as English, Dutch,German or Danish to have (for example) and F in words which in related non-Germanic languages such as Latin or Greek (not affected by Grimm’s Law) had P (which explains why the Latin word for fish and father start with p (piscis, pater) instead).

Those articles about sound changes which led to the forking and creation of languages caught my attention so much that, after reading them I started to wonder what would happen in the future. Will the languages we currently speak grow out to form an even wider linguistic variety? Or would factors such as globalization stop it definitely? I had no answers for such questions. But I also wondered something which I could answer: What would Spanish, my mother language, be like if it had went through Grimm’s law as its distantly related Germanic cousins?

My approach was the most logical one I could think of: to substitute each consonant with the corresponding one in Germanic languages. For example, pez and padre turned into fes and fatre (which look more similar to English fish and father. Those consonant substitutions may seem hard, but actually I was able to perform them instinctively and, what’s more, I realised that the result didn’t sound too weird but was sort of feasible! That’s when I realised I was just about to make a new conlang.

In a few days I had already set down many aspects from it. In addition to Grimm’s law, I also performed a couple of other changes such as to drop some final vowels in order to make the words more similar to those of Germanic languages. The result was a language I called Lynx (although I would later change its name to Lynn /lyn/). It was a nice conlang, as well as an answer to my question. However, I decided it was not enough ;).

While most English-speaking and Spanish-speaking people I’ve talked to think that German is though and ugly, I found it quite pleasant. The sound of words as Unendlichkeit fascinated me, and I often argued that the supposedly toughness of its words helped to express emotions (even though French is often called the Language of Love, I think that no Je t’aime is more expressive than an Ich liebe dich). Then, it shouldn’t be surprising that I went one step further into turning the generic-Germanic Lynn into a German-sounding language which I called Lün /lyn/.

Even though almost every Lün word has a Spanish origin, I cared to make most words resemble German both in sound and in writing (for example by using German sch for the English SH sound and capitalizing every noun). In addition to that, its grammar was also influenced by German’s, specially as far as word-order is concerned. However, it has differences to both. For example, while both German and Spanish inflect nouns and adjectives for gender, gender is not indicated in Lün, and definite articles as English the (widely used in Spanish and in German) is almost non-existant. Verbs retain, however, much of Spanish complex conjugation system.

Given that this languages is so heavily influenced by the languages of Germany and Spain, it would be fairly appropriate to use a text from a neutral place in the middle of them such as France ;). This is The Albatross (L’Albatros) a poem by Charles Baudelaire:

 

Alpfador

Marine sülen var se zipferdir
Al Alpfadore, krant Apfe zal Mare hahturar
Maihnar schos, veresos Pfaihhonvainere, sichen
Es Napf ha sopfer amarch Apfisme se zeslis.

Aven son sopfer Huvaird zeht
Est Resche zal Asul, dorf i umischat,
Zehn lastimosmehn su krant planch Ale
Hom Reme a su Latze arastar.

Est alat Pfaiher he dorf i zepfil es!
Affoh dan pfesch i aur homich i föh!
Un Marin hem su Vih hon un Vif
I odor, höhnt, imid Rench ha pfoloh!

Vöhd es varsid al Virsif zal Nupfe
Ha Denvestatze verhühn i zal Ahrer rih;
En Sül ehsilait, en Mait zal apfuschahn Muldüd
Su Kaihn-Ahle inviz le marschar.

 

As usual, I’ll make an analysis for which I’ll use the following scheme:
Text in Lün
/IPA pronunciation/
/IPA pronunciation in another dialect/
Text translated literally to English
Translation

I decided not to give Lün only one pronunciation standard but a range of pronunciations. By the way, any pronunciation as read as it was proper German would be valid.

Lün poses the same problem as another conlang of mine I’ve already talked about, Efenol: I didn’t established a detailed grammar nor a set vocabulary but a set of rules about the changes Spanish words undergo, so it would be quite difficult to learn without previous knowledge of Spanish. If you are able to speak Spanish, I advice you to read the Spanish version of the post.

 

Analysis:

 

Alpfador (title)
/al’pfa.dor/
/əl’pfa.tɔɐ/
albatross
The Albatross
The tittle already displays one of the key differences between Lün and its base languages: the absence of definite articles (the).

 

Marine sülen var se zipferdir | al Alpfadore, krant Apfe zal Mare, hahturar.
/ma’ʁi.nɛ ‘sy.lɛn var se tsi’pfer.dir  al al’pfa.do.ʁɛ kʀantʰ ‘a.pfɛ tsal ‘ma.ʁɛ ha:’tu.ʁar/
/’ma.ʀɪ.nə ‘syl.lɛn fa: se tsɪ’pfɐ.tjɐ: al əl’pfa.to.ʁə kʀantʰ ‘a.pfɛ tsəl ‘ma.ʀɛ ha:’tʰu.ʀa:/
sails use-to for themselves enjoy | to albatrosses, large birds of sea catch
So as to have fun, sailors often hunt albatrosses, large sea birds.
Many things can be noticed in these verses:

  • It uses a different word order to that of Spanish of English. For example, verbs other than the main one usually go at the end (as hahturar).
  • The German convention of capitalizing every noun (proper or not).
  • Regular plurals are made by adding an e at the end (and, occasionally, changing the last consonant)
  • As in English, adjectives don’t change according to the number of its subject.
  • Short (Apfe) and long (hahturar) vowels are distinguished. Generally, a silent H is placed after a long vowel.

Maihnar schos, veresos Pfaihhonvainere, sichen | es Napf ha sopfer amarch Apfisme se zeslis.
/’maɪ.nar ʃos, ve’ʁe.sos pfaɪ.hon’vaɪ.ne.ʁɛ ‘si.çɛn ɛs napf hə ‘so.pfer ‘a.març a’pfiz.mɛ se ‘tses.lis/
/’maɪ.na: ʃos, fe’ʀe.zos pfaɪ.hon’faɪ.nə.ʀə ‘si.çɛn əs napf hə ‘so.pfɐ ‘a.ma:x a’pfiz.mɛ sɛ ‘tsez.lis/
while they, lazy voyage-partner, follow | that ship that over bitter abysses itself slides.
Lazy companions of the voyage who follow | the ship which slides over bitter abysses.
The H in maihnor would indicate that the previous vowel is long, but its pointless as all diphthongs are long in Lün. Its function is purely etymological, indicating that the ‘ancient’ Spanish word it descends from had an NT cluster there (mientras). While not as common as in German, some compound words (which can get quite a bit long) are used as its the case with Pfaihhonvainere which could be translated as fellow sailor or, literally, tripmate. The word es means ‘that’ in this case, but it can also mean  ‘is‘ (a form of the verb ser, to be), it (as a neutral third person pronoun) and it can even be used as a sord of definite article (serving like English the).

 

Aven son sopfer Huvaird zeht
/’a.vɛn son ‘so.pfer ‘hu.vaɪrd tse:t/
/’a.fən sɔn ‘so.pfɐ ‘hu.faɪrt tsi:t/
no-sooner (they)-are over deck left
Hardly after they are left in the deck
Spanish /x/ sound (as CH in loch in some accents, represented by J and G in Spanish) disappeared in Lün, leading to the following development of the word for left (participle of to leave): dejado→*teqato→tead→zeht.

Est Resche zal Asul, dorf i umischat
/est ‘ʀe. ʃɛ tsal ‘a.sul dorf i u’mi.ʃat/
/ɛstʰ ‘ʀe. ʃɛ tsəl ‘a.sul tɔɐf ‘ju.mɪ.ʃat/
this kings of blue, clumsy and humiliated
These clumsy and humiliated kings of the blue
Resche descends from Spanish plural reyes (/’re.ʝes/, king). Its singular form isn’t *Resch however, but Rai (from Spanish singular rey /rej/), making the noun Irregular.

Zehn lastimosmehn su krant planch Ale | hom Reme a su Latze arastar
/tse:n las.ti’mos.me:n su kʀant planç ‘a.lɛ hom ‘ʀe.mɛ a su ‘la.tsɛ a’ʁas.tar/
/tsi:n las’ti.mɔs.mi:n su kʀantʰ pʰlanç ‘a.lɛ hɔm ‘ʀe.mɛ a su ‘la.tsɛ a’ʀas.ta:/
let piteously their big white wings | like oars at their sides pull
Let pull piteously their big white wings like oars by their sides.
When a noun ends in T as Lat (side), its T changes to tz in plural: Lat→Latze. Similar changes occur for p→pf, k→ch and  f→v.

 

Est alat Pfaiher, he dorf i zepfil es!
/est ‘a.lat ‘pfaɪ.her | he dorf i ‘tse.pfil ɛs/
/ɛstʰ ‘a.latʰ ‘pfaɪ.hɐ | he tɔɐf i ‘tse.pfɪl əs/
this winged traveller, how clumsy and weak is
This winged traveller… He is so clumsy and weak!

Affoh dan pfesch, aur homich i föh!
/
a’fo: dan pfeʃ | aur ‘ho.miç i fø:/
/ə’fo: dəm’pfeʃ | aur ‘ho.mɪç i fø:/
no-long-ago so beautiful, now comic and ugly
Not so long it was so beautiful and now it is comic and ugly!

Un Marin hem su Vih hon un Vif
/un ‘ma.ʁin hem su vi: hom un vif/
/un ‘ma.ʀɪn hem su fi: hon un fif/
a sailor burns its beak with a pipe
A sailor teases its beak with a pipe

I odor, höhnt, imid Rench ha pfoloh
/i ‘o.dor | hø:nt | ‘i.mid ʀenç hə pfo’lo:/
/i ‘o.tɔɐ | hø:ntʰ | ‘i.mɪt ʀenç hə pfo’lo:/
and other, limping, imits lame-one that flew
And another one imits limping the lame bird that once flew


Vöhd es varsid al Virsif zal Nupfe
/
vø:d əs ‘var.sid əl ‘vir.sif tsal ‘nu.pfɛ/
/fø:t əs ‘fa:.zit əl ‘vɪɐ.zif tsal ‘nu.pfɛ/
poet is similar to prince of clouds
The Poet is alike the Prince of Clouds

Ha Denvestatze verhühn i zal Ahrer rih
/hə deɱ’ves.ta’tsɛ ‘ver,hy:n i tsal ‘a:.ʁer ʀi:/
/hə teɱ’fes.ta’tsə ‘fɐ,hy:n i tsəl ‘a:.ʀɐ ʀi:/
which tempests haunt and of bowman laugh
Which haunts tempests and laughts at the archer

En Sül ehsilat, en Mait zal apuschahn Muldüd
/ən syl ‘e:.si’lat | ən maɪt tsal ‘a.pu.ʃa:n ‘mul.dyd/
/ən syl ‘e:.si’lətʰ | ən maɪtʰ tsəl ‘a.pu.ʃa:n ‘mul.tyt/
in floor exiled, in-middle of jeering crowd
Exiled on the floor, amid a jeering crowd

Su Kaihn-Ahle inviz le marschar.
/su kaɪn ‘a:.lɛ ‘iɱ.vits lɛ ‘mar.ʃar/
/su kʰaɪn ‘a:.lɛ ‘iɱ.fits lə ‘ma:.ʃa:/
its giant-wings prevent him (from) leave
His giant wings prevents him from leaving.

That’s all. Schau!

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Posted on 2011/06/13, in English, Lün (en), Lynn (en). Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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