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:

Tundrian 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:

It should be noted that the development of Latin /a/  was not affected by its original quantity:

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] 'wolf'.

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 > faceim '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] 'rose'; casa ['kaza] 'house'. Voicing of voiceless stops did take place before l and r, with later spirantization or vocalization: pop(u)lus > povlo '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:

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:

In personal pronouns, Tundrian has maintained the accusative-dative distinction for all persons and numbers (this is shared with Romanian). Thus we have:

The verbal system of Tundrian is similar to that of other western Romance languages. Some notes:

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 çutat '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 'they have ordered them not to come'.

Copyright Gabor Sandi 1998-2024

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