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Rhodray, Borgonzay
Spoken in: Burgundy (Borgonze)
Conworld: Lucus
Total speakers: several million
Genealogical classification: Indo-European
Rhodrese (Rhodray, Borgonzay)
Basic word order: SVO
Morphological type: inflecting
Morphosyntactic alignment: accusative
Created by:
BPJ 2007
Approximate outline of Borgonze superimposed on OTL modern France. The borders certainly need to be adjusted to correspond to natural boundaries.


Alphabet and pronunciation

Digraphs which appear bold in the left column below are considered separate letters of the alphabet.

Letter Pronunciation
A a a, ə Stressed a is [a], unstressed a is [ə].
Ai ai, Ay ay ai̯ The only difference between ai and ay is that theoretically final ai is unstressed while final ay is stressed. In practice final ai occurs mostly in unstressed monosyllabic particles like mai.
Ao ao, Au au au̯ These digraphs are pronounced alike. Their distribution is partly governed by etymological criteria, in that ao is found where there was al or ol in Latin, and au where there was au or aβ' in Vulgar Latin, but the main criterion is whether related forms with i-affection have eo or eu. These criteria are of course related, in that the i-affected form of original al or ol was originally el, which became eo, while the i-affected form of original au or aβ' was eu.
B b b, p Pronounced [p] at the end of a word.
C c k, s Pronounced [s] before e, i and y and [k] elsewhere.

The older 'soft' pronunciation of c was [ts]. This pronunciation is preserved in some dialects, and some purists think that it ought to still be the standard pronunciation. Other dialects have [θ] as the soft pronunciation of c, and those speakers may use that pronunciation when speaking standard Rhodrese.[1]

Ch ch k Note that the Rhodrese pronunciation of ch differs from the French but agrees with the Italian.
Ç ç s This is the traditional spelling for the 'soft' pronunciation of c in other positions than before e, i and y. The above remarks about the 'soft' pronunciation of c apply equally to ç. Some dialects often have ç before a where the corresponding French word has ch, e.g. çaod, standard Rhodrese caod, Fr. chaud; ciar, standard Rhodrese chiar, Fr. cher.
D d d, ð. t Pronounced [t] at the end of a word, [ð] after a vowel or r inside a word and [d] elsewhere, including at the beginning of a word. Some speakers have [θ] for d after a vowel at the end of a word.

To pronounce d after a vowel as [z] or zero is considered sub-standard. Some speakers whose dialects have these pronunciations use a hard [d] in all word-internal positions.

dg ʤ, ʧ
E e e, ɛ, ɪ Stressed e is [e] or [ɛ]. Unstressed e is [ɪ], even where it derives from Latin a
Eu eu y
Eo eo eu̯, ɛu̯
F f f
G g g, ɣ, ʤ, k
Gh gh g, ɣ
H h Ø
I i i, ɪ
Ia ia ja
Iao iao jau̯
Ie ie
Ieo ieo jɛu̯
Io io iu̯
J j ʤ
K k k
L l l Some speakers pronounce l as [ɺ̢] (cf. ll) at the beginning of words.
Gl gl ʎ
Ll ll ɺ̢ A lateral retroflex flap. Some speakers who don't have this sound in their dialect pronounce ll as [dl].
M m m
N n
Gn gn ɲ
O o o, ɔ, ʊ
P p p
Q q k
R r ʁ, ɾ
rr ʁ
S s s, z
Sc sc sk, ʃ
Sç, sç ʃ
Sdg, sdg ʒ, ʃ [ʃ] at the end of words.
S'dg, s'dg zʤ, sʧ [sʧ] at the end of words.
Sg, sg ʒ, zɡ, sk [ʒ] before e, i and y, e.g. basgiar [bəˈʒjaɾ]; [sk] at the end of words; [zɡ] elsewhere.
S'g, s'g [zʤ] before e, i and y.
ss s
T t t
Tx tx ʧ
U u u, ʊ
Ua ua wa
Ue ue ø
Uo uo wo
V v v
W w v, w
X x ks, gz
Y y j, i, ɪ
Yo yo jo, jɔ, iu̯
Z z z

Liquid consonants

Rhodrese has five distinct liquid phonemes, developed out of Latin single and double double liquids and some combinations of liquid and consonant. The spelling of these phonemes is consistent:

  • /ɾ/ is written r.
  • /l/ is written l.
  • /ʎ/ is written gl (and /gl/ is written ghl).
  • /ʁ/ is written rr except after a consonant or at the beginning of a word, where it is written r.
  • [ɹ] is an allophone of /ɾ/ which occurs before a consonant and before a pause. However some speakers have [ʁ] or [χ] which are allophones of /ʁ/ in this position, so in fact the distinction between /ɾ/ and /ʁ/ is neutralized there.
  • /ɽˡ/ is written ll. The distinction between between /ɽˡ/ and /l/ is only maintained between vowels. [ɽˡ] occurs instead of [l] word-initially if the preceding word ends in a vowel and word finally if the next word begins in a vowel. In modern Rhodrese this is shown in spelling only with the masculine singular definite article before a word beginning in a vowel (and in the contractions della, alla, delli, alli etc.).

The following table Illustrates the origins of these sounds in Vulgar Latin.

#__ V__V __C __’C __# __’#
r ʁ ɾ ɹ ɹ ɹ ɹ
d d ɾ [2] ɹ Ø/t ɹ
rr ʁ ɹ ɹ ɹ
dr, d’r ʁ ɹ ɹ
tr, t’r ʁ ɹ ɹ
n’r ʁ ʁ ɹ ɹ
l l/ɽˡ l/w w w w w
ll, l’n l/ɽˡ ɽˡ l/w l l
t’l, d’l l/ɽˡ ɽˡ l l
lj, llj, gl, g’l ʎ ʎ w ʎ ʎ
kl, k’l kl ʎ w ʎ ʎ


Vulgar Latin Rhodrese
illo pede el pier /pjɛɾ/ pl. li pir
illo patre el piar (Old Rh. pearr) pl. li pier!
laudare lauriar /ləwɾˈjaɾ/
rotundu rodon /ʁʊˈdɔn/, f. rodonde /ʁʊˈdɔndɪ/ or /ʁʊˈdɔnɪ/, pl. reden.
petra pierre /ˈpjɛʁɪ/[3]
quadraginta quarrante
senior ser 'Mr.' ( and analogical sir 'Messrs.') cf. segnaur 'lord' < seniorem.
ponere habet porrat /pʊˈʁat/ 's/}he will put'
illu bellu el bel
illa stella l'estelle
illo malo el mao
illa mala la male
illo stab'lu ell estabo
illi oc'li igl egl (sg. ell egl)[4]
illo filio el fegl pl. li figl 'son, children' (Old Rh. el figl, li figl)
illo filiolu el figláo pl. li figléo 'brat'[5]
illa fil[j]ina la figline pl. li figlí 'daughter'[6]


^  To the extent that d / __C existed in Latin it was assimilated to the following consonant. The main exception was dj which in Old Rhodrese became either /dz/ z or /dʒ/ j, g.

^  Since the plurals of petra and pede became homophones in Rhodrese the former is strictly an uncountable mass noun. To denote 'piece(s) of stone' pierghe pl. pirg < petrica, or if the stone(s) be larger el pierráu < petrone are used. Many of the sensu stricto Rhodrese dialects, like several Italian dialects, have forms like el pried, li prid as if from preta, pretae but these are strictly banned from the written language. The personal name Petrus is now used only in the semi-learned form Piedre or in the originally Provençal form Pair, but the adjective pierraus (O.Rh. perrous) and the surnames Pirrí and Pierrot are still current. Pier is used as an ethnic slur for a Frenchman (cf. French Pierre /pjɛʁ/ < Petrus)

^  egl /ɛʎ/, the plural of ogl /ɔʎ/ should not be confused with eghle /ˈɛglɪ/ the plural of aghle /ˈaglɪ/ < aquila.

^  The pejorization in the meaning of figláo filiolus was no doubt due to confusion with a supposed or real **figláu < filione.

^  la figline, li figlí is an example of how the ending -ina became productively added to nouns and nominalized adjectives denoting female living beings after the plurals of paired masculine/feminine designations had become identical. This happened also with names: the lady Claudine and her maid Clauzine (< -ina added to the male name Clauz < Claudius are a staple pair of the traditional Borgonzay comedy. Sometimes the endings -áu -one or -air -ariu were added to the masculine designation instead of or in addition to adding -ina to the feminine designation. This was however a rule only with trees and their fruits as perair 'pear-tree' and paire 'pear'.

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