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Spoken in: Vosnia (Eastern Europe)
Timeline/Universe: State Secret (Film)
Total speakers: 1950s
Genealogical classification: Commercial conlang drawing inspiration from Eastern European languages
Basic word order: unknown
Morphological type: inflecting
Created by:
Georgina Shield 1950


Vosnian is an invented language designed for use in London Films 1950 work State Secret. Among the stellar cast is the curious credit: Language Adviser ... Georgina Shield.

Historical Place

Almost two decades before Star Trek would introduce Vulcans and Klingons, yet roughly contemporaneous with the publication of 'Lord of the Rings', Vosnian appears as an integral part of a fictional Eastern European country, giving life to Sydney Gilliat's vision of post-WWII politically tense Vosnia. This language is important to the community of language inventors on account of its several bonafides and its almost unique position within the constellation of the great arts.

First, it was created by a person familiar with how language works, and is thus not merely a random collection of randomly generated gibberish. Rather, it is a thoughtfully invented language. Secondly, it marks a recognition of glossopoetry as art, and fit to exist among the more established arts of fictionally inventive film and literature.

Georgina Shield

Shield was a teacher at the London School of Languages.

Press About the Language

Press at the time viewed Shield's work with positivity, though between the lines, one can sense some hesitation on the glossopoet's part.

Photoplay (Jan-Jun 1951) heralds the film itself as "ONE of the best thrillers of the year, this British-made adventure story will hold you breathless."

Of the fictional country and language, they say: "For obvious reasons, the country in ivhich the action takes place teas given the mythical name of Vosnia, but the film was shot in Central Italy in the vicinity of the beautiful Dolomite Mountains. Georgina Shield of the London School of Languages was called upon to create the Vosnian tongue spoken throughout the film. This “language” evolves from Estonian, Cz*ch, Hungarian and Finnish. Miss Shield admits, however, that fifty per cent of it was her own invention. She created a dictionary of 1,000 words and the entire cast was so intrigued they went around chatting Vosnian between scenes."

The ABC Weekly of June 9 1951 says: "Miss Georgina Shield, who is on the staff of the London School of Languages, was responsible for the creation of the Vosnian language, with a vocabulary of over 2000 words. A mixture of Estonian, Czech, Hungarian, Finnish, and more than a dash of imagination, its verbs can be declined and conjugated, one is told She had to compose the stirring Vosnian National Anthem, work out a football commen tary, and create a telephone directory. Vosnian thus made its debut as one of the most effective foreign languages yet heard on the screen. Scripts had Vosnian on one side and the English trans lation on the other!"

The News and Views (October20, 1950) syas: "An interesting aspect is the 'Vosnian' language compounded for the movie by Georgina Shield, a London language teacher. It's a mixture of Italian, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Esthonian and Finnish words, plus some of her own invention. A spokesman says this synthetic vocabulary numbers more than 2000 words."

The Language

There exists in the archives of the British Film Institute a number of artifacts relating to the film, including scripts with Vosnian translations.