Tundrian is the official language of Tundria, an
island country off the western coast of France in Western Europe. It is also the
mother tongue of about two-thirds of the country's population.
Tundrian is a Romance language, derivable like the
others from Latin, which was introduced into the island by its Roman conquerors
some two thousand years ago. Tundrian shares certain features with its closest
Romance neighbours, French and Spanish, and some others with more distant
relatives, particularly Italian. Yet it is a language with some unique (or
almost unique) characteristics, not present in any other Romance language. Here
are the most important of these:
is the only descendant of Latin that preserved the distinction between
original short and long vowels until quite late in its history (9th-10th
century AD). Although this distinction has by now disappeared in
pronunciation, Tundrian spelling has retained it to this day, as can be
seen from the following examples of stressed vowels:
Latin ĕ > Tundrian e [ɛ] ~ [e]. Examples:
perdo ['pɛrdu] 'I lose'; ped ['ped]
- Latin ē > Tundrian ei [i].
Example: teila ['tila]
Latin ĭ > Tundrian i [i]. Example: fid ['fid]
Latin ī > Tundrian iy [øĭ]. Example: viyta ['vøĭta]
Latin ŏ > Tundrian o [ɔ] ~ [o]. Examples: porta
['pɔrta] 'door'; vole ['volə] 'he wants'
Latin ō > Tundrian ou [u]. Example:
- Latin ŭ > Tundrian û [u]. Example: pûtz
['puts] 'well' (n.)
Latin ū > Tundrian u [y]. Example:
It should be noted that the development of Latin /a/
was not affected by its original quantity:
Latin ă > Tundrian a [ɑ] ~ [a]. Examples: Lat.
părtem > part ['pɑrt] 'part'; Lat.
mălum > mal ['mal]
Latin ā > Tundrian a [ɑ] ~ [a]. Examples: Lat.
pāscō > pasco ['pɑsku] 'I feed
(animals)'; Lat. portāre > portar
[pɔr'tar] 'to carry'
In a related development, word-final Latin -ō has
been retained as -o [-u], while word-final -ŭ (originally -ŭs, -ŭm) is normally
lost: cantō > canto ['kɑntu]
'I sing' but lupus/lupum > lûp ['lup]
Unlike other western Romance languages, Tundrian has not voiced its intervocalic
voiceless stops, as can be seen from the following examples (VL = Vulgar
Latin): sapēre > sapeir
'to know'; VL fāta > fata
'fairy'; VL pacāre > pacar
'to pay'; facimus > VL facēmus
'we make, do'. It should be noted, however, that intervocalic -s- was
voiced to [-z-], although
spelling still retains the -s- in most cases: rosa ['roza]
['kaza] 'house'. Voicing
of voiceless stops did take place before l and r, with
later spirantization or vocalization: pop(u)lus
'people'; capra > cavra 'goat';
patrem > paire 'father'.
Tundrian had a palatalization sequence unknown
in other western Romance languages, although something similar has occurred in
Romanian. Essentially, dental consonants were palatalized before Latin stressed
ĕ and ĭ (and, sporadically, also before stressed ŏ and ŭ). In the case of dental
stops, there was a further development to affricates. Examples:
tĕrra > tzerra [''tsɛra]
dĕcem > dzeç [''dzetʃ]
nĭvem > nhive [''ɲivə]
Latin sĭtis > xit
Latin lĕvō > lhevo
['ʎevu] 'I lift'
Latin sŭrdus > xûrd
Tundrian has kept two of the cases of Latin alive: the nominative and the
accusative (the latter also serving as the complement of prepositions). Thus the
language can still make a distinction such as the following:
Li caini han mordut los homnes 'the dogs have bitten the men'
Li homni han mordut
los cans 'the men have bitten the dogs'
In personal pronouns, Tundrian has maintained the accusative-dative distinction
for all persons and numbers (this is shared with Romanian). Thus we have:
Voy prêsentar-te a mîs amiycs
'I am going to introduce you to my friends'
un de mîs amiycs 'I am going to introduce to you one of my
The verbal system of Tundrian is similar to that of other western Romance
languages. Some notes:
double use of auxiliaries in the perfect tenses has survived (esseir
with verbs of movement, haveir
with others), as in French and Italian: soy
eulat(a) 'I have gone'; hoy
comprat 'I have bought'.
preterite (simple past) is still heavily used, as in the Iberian languages:
cantái 'I sang' as against hoy
cantat 'I have sung'.
synthetic pluperfect has survived, as in Portuguese: devura 'I/he/she had had to'. This tense is also used as the "unreal"
condition in past conditional constructions: Xi
jo havura dinêr, havrîa comprat esta grand casa
'Had I had
money, I would have bought that big house'.
- Tundrian has merged the Latin 2nd (monēre)
and 3rd (legĕre) conjugations by extending the stressed -eir ending to
the infinitive of all of them: habēre
> haveir; perdere > perdeir.
An interesting peculiarity of Tundrian is the existence of two negative
particles ("not"): non
is used when there is no other negative particle present, while ne
is used when there is. Ne is also the negative
particle used with the imperative and in subordinate phrases with a verb in the
subjunctive. Examples: Non cognousco una soula persouna en celâ
'I do not know a single person in this city'; ne
cognousco neim ací ' I do not know anyone here'; ne mi ho diyce!
''don't tell me that!'; lhis han ordonat que ne venhan
ordered them not to come'.