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Vilamovian
Wymysiöeryś
Spoken in Poland
Region Wilamowice
Total speakers 70
Ranking  ?
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Latin alphabet
Official status
Official language in
Regulated by no official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2
ISO 639-3 wym

Vilamovian or Wilamowicean (Wymysiöeryś) is a West Germanic language spoken in the small town of Wilamowice (Wymysoj in Vilamovian) near Bielsko-Biała, on the border between Silesia and Lesser Poland in the historical region of Galicia. At present, there are about 70 native users of Vilamovian, the majority of them elderly people; Vilamovian is therefore a moribund language.

Contents

History

In origin, Vilamovian appears to derive from 12th century Middle High German, with a strong influence from Low German, Dutch, Frisian, Polish and Old English. The inhabitants of Wilamowice are thought to be descendants of German, Dutch and Scottish settlers who arrived in Poland in the 13th century. However, the inhabitants of Wilamowice always denied any connections with Germany and proclaimed their Dutch origins.

Vilamovian was the vernacular language of Wilamowice until 1939–1945. After World War II, local communist authorities forbade the use of the language. Although the ban was lifted after 1956, Vilamovian has been gradually replaced by Polish, especially amongst the younger generations.

Vilamovian was the language in which the poetry of Florian Biesik was written, during the 19th century.

For fans of the Tintin series, Vilamovian is probably the closest real language to the fictional Syldavian language.

Wilamowicean alphabet

The Vilamovian alphabet consists of 34 letters derived from the Latin alphabet:

Majuscule forms (also called uppercase or capital letters)
A Ao B C Ć D E F G H I J K L Ł M N Ń O Ö P Qu R S Ś T U Ü V W Y Z Ź Ż
Minuscule forms (also called lowercase or small letters)
a ao b c ć d e f g h i j k l ł m n ń o ö p qu r s ś t u ü v w y z ź ż

Wilamowicean orthography includes the digraph "AO", which is treated as a separate letter.

Sample words and relation to other languages

A sample of Vilamovian words with German, Dutch and English translations. Note that ł is read in Vilamovian like English w (as in Polish), and w like v (as in Polish and German):

Vilamovian German Dutch English
ałan allein alleen alone
ana, an und en and
bryk Brücke brug bridge (cf. Scots brig)
duł dumm dom stupid (cf. English dull)
fulgia hören horen to hear (but cf. Dutch volgen and German folgen "to follow", which also mean "to understand, hear", and Eng. "follow?" = "understand?")
ganc ganz gans entirely
gyrycht Gericht gerecht court (cf. German Recht "{legal} right" and English right)
dyr hymuł Himmel hemel heaven
łiwa Liebe liefde love
a mikieła ein bisschen een beetje a bit (cf. Old English micel, Scots mickle and English much)
müter Mutter moeder mother
mytuł Mitte middel middle
nimanda niemand niemand no one (cf. English no man)
ny nein nee no
ödum Atem adem breath (cf. Old English ǽðm, archaic German Odem, West German vernacular Öödem)
olifant Elefant olifant elephant
öwyt Abend avond evening
śrajwa schreiben schrijven to write (cf. English shrive, or later loan scribe)
syster Schwester zuster sister
śtaen Stein steen stone
trynkia trinken drinken to drink
obrozła Bild beeld picture (cf. Polish obraz and cognates in other Slavonic languages)
wełt Welt wereld world
wynter Winter winter winter
zyłwer Silber zilver silver
zyjwa sieben zeven seven
sgiöekumt wilkommen welkom welcome

Sample texts

Lord's Prayer in Vilamovian

Ynzer Foter, dü byst ym hymuł,

Daj noma zuł zajn gywajt;

Daj Kyngrajch zuł dö kuma;

Daj wyła zuł zajn ym hymuł an uf der aot;

dos ynzer gywynłichys brut gao yns haojt;

an fercaj yns ynzer siułda,

wi wir aoj fercajn y ynzyn siułdigia;

ny łat yns cyn zynda;

zunder kaonst yns reta fum nistgüta.

[Do Dajs ej z Kyngrajch an dy maocht, ans łaowa uf inda.]

Amen

A lullaby in Vilamovian with English translation:

Śłöf maj buwła fest!

Skumma fremdy gest,

Skumma muma ana fettyn,

Z' brennia nysła ana epułn,

Śłöf maj Jasiu fest!

Sleep, my boy, soundly!

Foreign guests are coming,

Aunts and uncles are coming,

Bringing nuts and apples,

Sleep my Johnny sound

Further reading

  • Ludwik Młynek, "Narzecze wilamowickie", Tarnów. 1907: J.Pisz.
  • Józef Latosiński, "Monografia miasteczka Wilamowic", Kraków, 1909.
  • Hermann Mojmir, "Wörterbuch der deutschen Mundart von Wilamowice" (Słownik niemieckiej gwary Wilamowic), Kraków, 1930-1936: Polska Akademia Umiejętności.
  • Adam Kleczkowski, "Dialekt Wilamowic w zachodniej Galicji. Fonetyka i fleksja". Kraków, 1920: Polska Akademia Umiejętności.
  • Adam Kleczkowski, "Dialekt Wilamowic w zachodniej Galicji. Składnia", Poznań, 1921: Uniwersytet Poznański.
  • Maria Katarzyna Lasatowicz, "Die deutsche Mundart von Wilamowice zwischen 1920 und 1987". Opole, 1992: Wyższa Szkoła Pedagogiczna.
  • Tomasz Wicherkiewicz, The Making of a Language: The Case of the Idiom of Wilamowice, Mouton de Gruyter, 2003, ISBN 3-11-017099-X

External links

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