Lecture 1: The History of Talossan Jul 8, 2013 18:29:48 GMT -6 Txosuè Pologn, Jack Bevolo, and 2 more like this
Post by Hooligan on Jul 8, 2013 18:29:48 GMT -6
LECTURE 1: THE HISTORY OF TALOSSAN
As mentioned in the course introduction, each lecture will be prefaced with a Cliffs Notes version, providing only the bare facts that the instructors feel you should take away from the content in the lecture. More detail can of course be found in the lecture itself, but if each bullet point is clear to you and you don't find yourself with related questions, you can probably get away with just taking the Cliffs Notes. (That said, if you only read the notes and then ask a question that is covered in the lecture, I'm sure your fellow students will call you out on it and laugh at you. Children can be so cruel.)
The Myth (a.k.a. The Other Reality)
- Talossan is a Romance language. This means it is related to Latin.
- Because of this, Talossan sentence structure is familiar to anyone who knows Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc.
- Also, many words are similar (for example casa means "house" in both Spanish and Talossan).
- The myth runs that Talossan developed from the form of Latin spoken by North African Berbers.
- The myth continues that the North Africans, driven out by the Moors, took their form of Latin into mainland Europe as they became itinerant.
- The language then mythically evolved, taking on features of other European languages, even non-Romance languages like the Celtic languages, and the Germanic languages. Even some Russian features. For example, the Talossan word for "is" is isch which is Germanic, not Romance in origin (even though other forms of the "to be" verb have retained their Romance forms).
- Eventually, the mythical migration reached Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Talossan even has a few American Indian language features.
- Due to this mythical migration that gave Talossan flavors of English and languages that are closely related to English, Talossan has been said to be easier for English speakers to learn than are the other Romance languages.
- Talossan was created by R. Ben Madison at the age of 15 in 1980, in Talossa (which most people call Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Good Talossans say, though, that Madison "rediscovered" the language.
- Madison developed the North African Berber story and used this myth to guide the language's development and growth.
- The language, in addition to being something meant to give all Talossan citizens something unique and common to share and nurture, was part of Madison's "Berber Project", an in-depth myth claiming Berber responsibility for the mysterious ancient North American Indian "mound" burial grounds near Talossa.
- Madison worked on the language with dedication, regularly publishing a newspaper in Talossan even though he was the only one who could read it. This newspaper was named Støtanneu (which is Talossan for "Tusk", a reference to an early Talossan patriotic song, as recorded by Fleetwood Mac).
- As Talossa grew, so did interest in the language and Madison was soon joined by Tomás Gariçéir, a student of languages. Madison and Gariçéir formed the Comità per l'Útzil del Glheþ (the Committee for the Use of the Language) as a group that would study and develop the language, recommend changes in its use in publications known as Arestadas (which means "decrees"), and keep a word list (known as the Treisour) updated, announcing new words in publications known as Pienamaintschen ("supplements").
- From the beginning, Talossan was often considered difficult to learn due to the fact that many letters were adorned with marks, and very often the marks didn't mean anything. The Committee often considered adjusting the language to address this situation.
- When the Talossan Republic was formed in 2004, those persons interested in the language who chose to claim citizenship in the Republic continued their study of the language in an organisation formed by that group known as L'Icastolâ (which means "the [language] School"). The most important mover and shaker in this group was Dame Miestrâ Schivâ.
The Present (a.k.a. The Surreality)
- When Madison left the Kingdom in 2005, the Committee membership fell to near zero, but it was resurrected by (most centrally) now-King John and now-Sir Cresti Siervicül. I was involved too, yeah.
- The Committee set about making Talossan easier to master by addressing the many marks on the letters, studying the phonology and stress of the language. Seeking input from non-Committee members familiar with the language, the result was the Arestada of 2007, titled "On Orthography" ["Orthography" is a fancy word for "Spelling"].
- The Arestada of 2007 recommended institution of a stress rule, and that stress marks that do not indicate stress be abolished. A couple other marks were modified or removed in this simplification of Talossan spelling, and not all of the changes were universally accepted outside the Kingdom.
- Then I, your humble professor, did some stuff you can find on the Internet, getting the language more, you know, accessible and learnable and all that crap.
- The Arestada of 2012, accomplished after Reunision, made minor adjustments to the Committee's previous recommendations, such that currently two completely non-colliding and near-identical Talossan "writing styles" are recognised. As ever, all Talossan readers can easily read text written using either of the styles.
In some sense, the Talossan language has two histories. Although all actual evidence that has yet been unearthed indicates that the language was created in the year 1980 by the Founder of Talossa, R. Ben Madison (King Robert I, the first King of Talossa), that incontrovertible fact should be given no more credence than the fanciful and mythical history of the language that King Robert I came up with (expounded upon further in The Berber Project), and that has been refined in the years since.
So, the history of the Talossan language is usually considered to begin two millennia or more before its "rediscovery" by Robert I in 1980. We'll discuss this ancient history first.
PART 1: THE MYTHICAL HISTORY OF TALOSSAN
In the time of Rome, the Empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. Throughout the Empire, Latin was the language of government and commerce. However, the Latin spoken in one corner of the Roman Empire naturally was not exactly the same as the Latin spoken in another corner. Rome's central location and authority kept the forms of Latin similar, but it was inevitable that localised versions of Latin would take hold in the various lands in the Empire.
This is the reason that languages descended from Latin are called "Romance" languages, since they come from the "Roman" language (Latin). In fact, the Romance languages grew from what is known as "Vulgar Latin" (or, as it was known in some parts, "Ruman"), which is the term used for the different forms of Latin spoken in the remote parts of the Empire.
As a result, all Romance languages share a large number of features, and indeed a familiarity with one Romance language will improve one's ability to learn other Romance languages, since the words were derived from the same Latin source, and the order of words in a sentence is also common to all Romance languages.
For example, the English word "always" has the following forms in Latin and different Romance languages:
- semper - Latin, Milanese, and Sardinian
- sempre - Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Corsican, Galician, and Occitan
- siempre - Spanish, Aragonese, Asturian, and Mirandese
- sèmper - Burmanasque and Piedmontese
- sempri - Sicilian
- sempe - Neapolitan
- siempres - Leonese
- simpri - Friulian
- sänper - Bolognese
- sènpre - Venetian
In Talossan the cognate word for "forever" is schemp. See the similarity? (A bit more on this particular word later.)
Before continuing our history, let's explore one more similarity along these same lines. In some Romance languages, the semper form of "always" has been displaced by using the Latin form "every day" or "all [the] days". This is seen in the following examples:
- toujours – French
- totjorn - Occitan
- totdeauna - Romanian
- todi - Walloon
- tojor - Franco-Provençal
The similar form in Talossan here, toctziua ("every day"), is used for "always".
All of this illustrates that Talossan is a Romance language. In the mythical history of Talossan, the language developed from the Ruman spoken by the Berbers who lived in the westernmost portions of the Roman Empire, in what is now Morocco and other areas of North Africa.
Here again, our story splits in two, because there are two theories as to how this ancient Berber derivative of Latin made it across the Atlantic to take root in what is modern Talossa, on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Luckily, there is no reason to believe that these two theories aren't both correct.
The first of these two theories is that sometime long before the Christian era, a community of Berbers from North Africa crossed the Atlantic and influenced the creation of the North American Moundbuilder culture. The Moundbuilder culture is something of an anthropological mystery — ancient mounds of earth constructed by early Americans, for purposes lost to time, in the Great Plains and fertile river valleys of the midwestern United States of America — near Talossa. King Robert I laid the credit for the Moundbuilder culture at the feet of Talossa's mythical Berber forebears, and posited that when they arrived to create the Moundbuilder culture, they brought with them the early form of the Talossan language. This Romance language, thus isolated from the other European languages, developed separately into what is modern Talossan.
The second story takes into consideration the fact that modern Talossan shows a great many obvious influences from the Romance and other European languages that developed after the theorized migration of the Berbers who founded the Moundbuilder culture. Talossan, as we will see, is not as "purely Romance" as other Romance languages. Although it is definitely a Romance language, with the bulk of its features and vocabulary derived from Latin, Talossan has taken on some undeniable features of Germanic and Celtic languages as well, and this indicates a different (or at least a second) migration path for the language.
The second story of the migration of Talossan from Africa to America begins in the 6th century A.D., when the Roman Empire was collapsing and being invaded from all sides. Arabic Moors invaded North Africa and subjugated the Ruman-speaking population. Those Berbers who resisted Arabisation would have taken their language with them wherever they went, as their community became itinerant and ghettoized. These Berbers would have fled the Moors by crossing the strait of Gibraltar and settling on the north coast of the Mediterannean. From such cities as Marseille and Tolouse (which is still called "Tolosa" in some languages), the speakers of the Talossan language would have found their language changing due to influences from French, Occitan, Corsican, Sardinian, Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages of the region.
As the Talossan-speaking people began to enter into trade with other European communities, the language's geographical center began to move north and east, through areas where Germanic and Celtic languages are spoken. These languages influenced Talossan, with non-Romance features that we will see in this class. Through these years of the language's mythical migration, Talossan picked up vocabulary and features of Breton, Flemish, Dutch, German, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, and then (crossing the North Sea) Welsh, English, and Irish and Scots Gaelic.
(The influence from non-Romance languages can in fact be seen in the example word that was used earlier in this lecture. The letter-combination "sch" — pronounced like the English "sh", as in "ship" or "ash" — is a very Germanic combination, not found in Romance languages, and so the Talossan word schemp, which is derived from the Latin semper, is but one illustration of Talossan's Germanic influence.)
After this journey through Europe, the Talossan-speaking community crosed the Atlantic, perhaps rejoining the Moundbuilding Berber pioneers that went before them, and well, that is the story of Talossan before 1980.
PART 2: THE MODERN HISTORY OF TALOSSAN
The story of Talossan since 1980 is the story of one very dedicated teenage boy who grew to become a very dedicated man. At the age of 15, Robert Ben Madison, King of Talossa (which was at that time a much smaller nation than it is today, both in geography and population)
Madison had a knowledge of a great many languages, which was in part inspired by the book The Loom of Language, a book that describes the origin and evolution of language families. This book was so important to Madison and Talossa that it is still the book on which the Prime Minister of Talossa rests his hand when taking the oath of office.
Madison studied many languages during his education; he spent time in Russia (which was then part of the Soviet Union) where his familiarity with the Russian language grew. Talossan was influenced by Russian among many other languages. In fact, Madison often documented the intentional borrowings from other languages that went into the creation of Talossan.
Madison was initially alone in his pursuit of the language. In the small community that was Talossa back in the 1980's, Madison issued a mimeographed newspaper named Støtanneu (Talossan for "Tusk", which — performed by the rock band Fleetwood Mac — is one of our nation's patriotic anthems). This newspaper was written completely in Talossan, and there is every chance that no one who received a copy could read a word of it...except Madison himself. This is how Talossan grew its impressive vocabulary; through being used on a daily basis in the writing of this newspaper. The issues of this newspaper that survive give great insight into the early form of the language, some of which are barely recognizable in today's Talossan.
Madison labored over Talossan tirelessly, creating and maintaining a huge list of the translations of English words and phrases into Talossan (this list, which today has over 30,000 entries, is known as the "Treisour", which means "treasure"). He also wrote a book entitled La Scúrzniâ Gramáticâ Del Glhetg Talossán (The Short Grammar of the Talossan Language, which is often referred to as La SG, or simply as SG). By 1996, this book had gone through two editions.
Madison viewed the language as a uniquely Talossan thing; something that would bind people sharing the Talossan culture together. This remains true today, and a familiarity with the language is something that every Talossan would have reason to be proud of. This feeling is expressed in the motto "Estetz Talossan, Parletz Talossan", which means "Be Talossan, Speak Talossan". That is the motto of the Comità per l'Útzil del Glheþ (Committee for the Use of the Language, often referred to by the acronym "CÚG"), the group that Madison created to oversee and study the language.
The Committee was formed when Madison was joined by others who became enthusiastic about Talossan and began to study it. Madison formed the CÚG to provide this growing community of enthusiasts with a forum to discuss and work on the language. Notable among its members over the years is Tomás Gariçeir, who became the first knight in the Order of the Purple Tongue by King Robert I for his service and dedication to the language). [One of your instructors, Sir Iustì Canun, became the second such knight in 2011.] Gariçeir is very knowledgeable in linguistics, and his assistance in understanding and documenting the language that Madison had built was invaluable.
Under the leadership of Madison and the Committee, the Treisour continued to grow in size. Influences from various languages were intentionally encouraged, thus giving the language the flavor that its mythical heritage would imply. As examples, in the late 1980's, Talossan was imbued with a great many words derived from Gaelic, and lately, the CÚG has indicated a preference for deriving words from the languages believed to be closest to Talossa's mythical origins — such as Occitan, Catalan, and Sardinian.
One of the missions of the CÚG is to periodically issue documents known as Arestadas and Pienamaintschen. An Arestada ("decree") is a document that describes changes that the CÚG recommends be made in the usage of the language, and a Pienamaintsch ("supplement") is a list of newly-coined words that have been added to the Treisour by the CÚG. Over the years, the CÚG has issued a great many Arestadas, some of them detailing minor changes in the language, and others detailing major reforms. As just one example, one of the changes recommended by the Arestada of 13 February 1994 was a change to the plural form of nouns ending in -m.
In 2004, a group of Talossan citizens renounced their citizenship and began to live the Talossan culture separate from the Kingdom, forming the Talossan Republic. This event caused some Talossans to feel torn in their allegiances and friendships, among them Tomás Gariçeir and other members of the CÚG. As a result, the CÚG membership was reduced to a handful of people, including King Robert I. The Talossan Republic formed a separate organization dedicated to the Talossan language. This organization was known as L'Icastolâ (which means "the school"), and its leading light was now-Dame Miestrâ Schivâ.
PART 3: POST-MADISON TALOSSAN
In 2005, during the election to the 32nd Cosa, the La Mha Nheagra (The Black Hand) political party was challenged on the issue of the availability of material to assist in the teaching and learning of the language. This challenge was one of the causes that led to the abdication of King Robert I, and to his renunciation of Talossan citizenship. The departure of the King further crippled the CÚG, to the point where only one member remained, Quedeir Castiglha (known simply as Q or, now that he is a baron, Lord Q).
This is very near the point where I, your professor, come in. As someone who had been spoken to (ad nauseam) about the language by John Woolley (who is now our King, may God save him and all that rot), I was one of four people (the others being the King himself, Sir Cresti Siervicül, and Xhorxh Asmour) who joined the CÚG to help resurrect it and to ensure that the language would continue to be studied and updated in the Kingdom.
Ever since its "rediscovery", Talossan had been a difficult language to learn, and this was most often blamed on its confusing set of accent marks. One of the goals of the post-Madison Committee was to understand, regularise, and formalise the use of the various accent marks, and in the process simplify spelling, minimizing the number of marks used, as a great many of them were truly meaningless. So, beginning in 2006, the CÚG undertook an in-depth study of the phonology, stress, and other features of the language, and input on the proposed reforms was sought from Tomás Gariçeir and from persons involved in L'Icastolâ. All of this led to the issuance by the Committee of the Arestada of 12 December 2007. This Arestada (entitled "On Orthography") recommended a number of simplifications in the writing system.
As an example, prior to the Arestada of 12 December 2007, an accent mark on a Talossan vowel could indicate stress, or it could indicate a change in the pronunciation of the vowel, or it could indicate both, and very often this same mark could indicate neither. For instance, xhurnálátsch (meaning "a tabloid newspaper"] has two stress marks but only one of these indicates stress. The Arestada of 12 December 2007 gave Talossan a slightly different "look" by removing the unnecessary stress marks, and also marks that were determined to be phonological rather than accenting (that is, indicating a change in sound that is simply natural for the letter in question). For example, the 2007 recommendations allowed for the word casâ (meaning "house") to be spelled casa (losing the circumflex on the final "a", which indicates that the letter is pronounced as it is in the English word "sofa", which is only natural).
It was at this time that (with help that is impossible to overstate from Sir Cresti and the King) I undertook a number of language projects, especially the creation of L'Översteir (the online Talossan-to-English word translator and conjugator), the writing of the Guizua Compläts (the Complete Guide to Talossan, now in its second edition), and the creation of the Websites www.cuglang.com and www.talossan.com (where L'Översteir now lives, along with adapted and updated versions of the original lectures for the 2010 University class on the language). But enough about me. Back to our story....
Some of the Talossan-language users did not embrace the Committee's 2007 recommendations. While the recommendations were widely accepted in the Kingdom, for example, they didn't take hold with many in the Talossan Republic. It wasn't until the Reunision of 2012 and the addition of some former Republicans (and, importantly, the return of Sir Tomâs Gariçéir) to the Committee that debate truly got serious concerning how to make all parties happy, and most of the outstanding issues were resolved by the 2012 Arestada. In true Talossan compromise fashion, a few of the changes recommended in 2007 were rolled back after study, the "stress rule" was embraced by users of the more traditional style, and the colliding use of the circumflex was addressed, allowing the mark (if used) on the vowel in words like "casâ" to once again uniquely mean only the "sofa"-type ending (the 2007 Arestada had recommended a different, pronunciation-related, meaning for â; this was reversed in 2012).
As a result, the Committee now recognises two near-identical "styles" of Talossan writing (and, very importantly, these styles are not incompatible and in fact follow the same set of rules). These two styles are termed the "classical" (or "traditional") style and the "reformed" (or "simplified") style. Both styles of writing are CÚG approved.
In this course we will introduce and concentrate on the Reformed Style, but will also provide instruction on how to write Talossan in the "classical style".
(In case you see the terms, you should know that during the years 2007-2012, before the two styles were reconciled, other terms were used for the different forms of Talossan spelling. These terms included "Classic Talossan"/"Modern Talossan" and "Old Spelling"/"New Spelling". Notice that "Old Spelling" is not to be confused with "Old Talossan". "Old Talossan" is one term that Talossans use to refer to the Latin language.)
Whether in its mythical past or in its very real present, the Talossan language has been a continually evolving language. This very fact is what has made Talossan a living language like the other natural languages of the world. Because of this, Talossan has the same kind of odd corners, interesting peculiarities, and quirky irregularities that other languages have. This gives Talossan a unique feel, to where it does not "feel" like a constructed language.
The Kingdom of Talossa celebrates Llimbaziua ("Language Day") as a national holiday every year on December 12. It was on that day in 1980 that the Talossan language was first used in Talossa. And so, as we prepare to celebrate the thirty-third anniversary of that first use, Talossan is experiencing a new burst of interest, study, and use; you, the students in this class, represent that burst, and you will be a part of the next chapter in the history of Talossan. How Talossan will grow and adapt, how it will be treasured and maintained, and how strong it will be when it is passed along to our Talossan posterity — all of this is up to you.
This concludes the first lecture. Thanks for your attention. Please post to indicate your attendance, and Sir Iustì and I will entertain questions about this lecture in this thread, and then Sir Cresti will correct our answers.