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Arcadian is at the other end of the alphabet to Zelandish. It is a language sketched out by Andrew Smith -- a romance language designed reflect sound changes in Scots. As a designed language it covers no new ground than what I have already achieved in designing Brithenig, and yet it deserves a repeal from redundancy, so I describe it here.

It was once suggested in correspondence with IJzeren Jan that Arcadian's homeland lies somewhere between the borders between France and Italy.

The name of the language, Arcadian was chosen as a reference to the Otago settlement of southern New Zealand under the patronage of the Free Church of Scotland, promoted as a utopian social project called 'Arcadia'.

Sound changes

The changes in the language is treated as if it was conventional romance language.

Short vowels are treated the same as other romance languages in that e and i collapse together as e /ɛ/. Original short u in a stressed open position becomes a front rounded vowel ö /ø/, otherwise o and u collapse together as o /ɔ/. Short and long a collapse together /a/.

Long u is unchanged /u/.

The other long vowels undergo a great vowel shift: long i becomes a diphthong /ɑɪ/ written ai. E rises to replaces it, written i. O becomes ö in all positions.

When a velar consonant after a vowel becomes a ʒ it creates new vowels before it disappears. (from short u) becomes ou /ʌʊ/; (from long u) is no different to u and no different to i. rises to become /e/, written è. A in the cluster aʒi becomes /ɑɪ/, reduced to /ɛ/ in words such as mes, but (from *magis); otherwise becomes au /aʊ/.

The loss of l after a, o, and u has created new diphthongs: au, ou, and u (again not distinguished u from above).

All vowels are short, except before v, s /z/, d /ð/, and r. The e in the plural ending -es is silent.

Consonants show little change from early romance to Arcadian. Clusters simplify at the end of words (nt, nd become n, st to s, etc.), mpt and nct become nt. The cluster rd becomes rt at the end of a word. D is pronounced as a fricative /ð/ when it occurs between vowels. Certain consonants have become palatals: gn and ni have become ny /ɲ/ or /nj/, /ŋ/ at the end of a word. ti has become ci /ʧ/ before a vowel, and /ʃ/ where it is word-final. Likewise gi is /ʤ/ before a vowel and /ʧ/ where is word-final. Si is pronounced /ʃ/.

V becomes f when final, it disappears before a closed syllable ending in a nasal, semivowel or liquid.

R is pronounced as a retroflex /ɾ/ except when doubled, or at the beginning or end of a word where it is pronounced as /ʀ/.

The u is pronounced /w/ in the combination qu-.

Gramatical Notes


The personal pronouns are jo, I; nos, we; tu, thou; vos, you; el, he; ella, she, and elles, they. nos and vos can be used before or after a verb or after a preposition. Jo, tu, and the third person pronouns are all used as subject pronouns. The forms of these pronouns used after a preposition are mi, me; ti, thee, and si, oneself. As the subject of a verb they become shorter in form m, t and s. They shift to before the verb, after the subject. There are also special forms with the preposition con, with: comec, contec, and consec. If the third person pronoun does not refer back to the subject, different pronouns are used: after a preposition 'he' or 'she' is (accented for stress, and never reduced to l'), and 'they' is lör. As the object of a verb, 'he' or 'she' is and la respectively. They come before a verb. The plural forms are los and las.

The possessive pronouns agree with the gender of the possessed object. They are miun/mia, my; nostre/nostra, our; tön/tua, thy; vostre/vostra, your, and sön/sua, one's.

Polite forms of address to a man or a woman are domnevostre, sir, you; and domnevostra, ma'am, you.

When an indefinite pronoun is needed gen or gentes, one, we, people, is used.

The interrogative pronouns are quai, who; and qué, what. 'Whom' is qué, after a preposition it is quai. The relative pronoun is que, or more specifically for gender and number le quau, la quau and les quaus.


Cantar, to sing

Present tense, indicative and subjunctive:

jo can nos cantamos jo can nos cantemos
tu cantas vos cantates tu cantes vos cantetes
el canta elles cantan el can elles canten

Imperative: canta, cantat

Simple past tense:

jo cancia nos canciamos
tu cancias vos canciates
el cancia elles cantán

Past Historic

jo cantai nos cantamos
tu cantaste vos cantastes
el cantau elles cantaron


jo cantas nos cantassemos
tu cantesses vos cantassetes
el cantas elles cantassen

Tenir, to hold

Present tense, indicative and subjunctive

jo teny nos teniamos jo tenya nos tenyamos
tu tenes vos tenites tu tenyas vos tenyates
el ten elles tenen el tenya elles tenyan

Imperative: ten, tenit

Simple Past Tense:

jo tenia nos teniamos
tu tenias vos teniates
el tenia elles tenian

Past Historic:

jo tené nos tenemos
tu teneste vos tenestes
el teniu elles teneron


jo tenis nos tenìssemos
tu tenìsses vos tenìssetes
el tenis elles tenìssen

Perdre, to lose, to miss

Present tense, indicative and subjunctive

jo pert nos perdemos jo perda nos perdamos
tu perdes vos perdetes tu perdas vos perdates
el pert elles perden el perda elles perdan

Imperative: pert, perdet

Simple Past Tense:

jo perdia nos perdiamos
tu perdias vos perdiates
el perdia elles perdian

Past Historic:

jo perdé nos perdemos
tu perdeste vos perdestes
el perdiu elles perderon


jo perdes nos perdessemos
tu perdesses vos perdessetes
el perdes elles perdessen

Dormair, to sleep

Present tense, indicative and subjunctive:

jo dorm nos dormaimos jo dormia nos dormiamos
tu dormes vos dormaites tu dormias vos dormiates
el dormai elles dormen el dormia elles dormian

Imperative: dorm, dormait

Simple past tense:

jo dormaya nos dormayamos
tu dormayas vos dormayates
el dormaya elles dormayan

Past Historic:

jo dormi nos dormemos
tu dormeste vos dormestes
el dormiu elles dormeron


jo dormes nos dormessemos
tu dormesses vos dormessetes
el dormes elles dormessen

Apart from common verbs: partair, dormair, tenair, morair, etc; verbs of the -air class take the affix -esc-:

Patair, to suffer

Present tense, indicative and subjunctive:

jo pates nos pataimos jo patesca nos paciamos
tu patesces vos pataites tu patescas vos paciates
el pates elles patescen el patesca elles patescan

Imperative: pates, patescet

Babel Text

To whet the appetite:

Accöra le mön entèr avía un lenguagi e las parablas cemas. Como movían de l'öciden, venayan a un plan en la terra de Sennar e lau's stablayan.

"Venait," daicían a un autre, "alamos far uns briques e corlos a fön."

Avian le bric por la petra, e le bitume por le mortari.

"Venait," daicían, "alamos edifecarnos una ciutá, è un tör que tocci les cels. Alamos far un nome por nos; autremen seramos disperset söpra la facia de la terra entèra."

Le DOM descendía vedir la ciutá e le tör, que les umanes avian edifecat.

"Vaidit," le DOM daicía, "son un popöl, e tot an un lenguagi; ces es sölamen le començamen de le quau facessen. Nu que proponyan sera impossibel por lör. Venait, alamos descendre, e comföndre siu lenguagi lau, por que n' comprendran las parablas d'un autre."

Esai le DOM los dispersía de lau söpra la facia de tota la terra, e lausían edifecar la ciutá. Car s'appellía Babel, porque lau le DOM comföndía le lenguagi de tota la terra; e de lau le DOM los dispersia söpra la facia de la terra.