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Spoken in: New Zealand
Conworld: (universe)
Total speakers: 1
Genealogical classification: Indo-European
West Germanic
Basic word order: SVO
Morphological type: inflecting
Morphosyntactic alignment: nominative - accusative
Created by:
Andrew Smith 1996
Zelandish is a language derived from Old English by Andrew Smith and used as a journal language. At the time of writing I have been using it for several years. These pages will be an attempt to describe and remember the language as I have used it.

The name is derived from New Zealand, the locality in which I write my journal.


Zelandish is primarily a written language. There are no hard and fast rules on how it is pronounced. It has an evolving orthography.


A, a /a/

E, e /ɛ/

EE, ee /e/ -- Not part of my natural phonology and can be pronounced as a diphthong, also EI, ei

I, i /ɪ/

IE, ie /i/

O, o /ɔ/ -- also written as Á, á, no longer current language

OE, oe /œ/

OU, ou /y/ or /ʉ/ -- also written as Ú, ú no longer current language

U, u /ʊ/

If the second E is marked with a dieresis, ë, it is pronounced as a diphthong with schwa.

A vowel written with a circumflex is pronounced long. It generally indicates a consonant has been elided after it, usually h.


The following consonants are pronounced the same as in English, particularly a southern hemispheric Commonwealth dialect:

B, C, CH, D, F, H, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Z

CG, cg is pronounced as 'dg', /dʒ/, in English

G, g is pronounced hard, /g/. In GJ, gj and after a vowel it is silent

J, j /j/

SCH, sch /ʃ/

There is no hard and fast rule on post-vocallic R, r. It can be pronounced as an approximant or elided. The non-rhotic pronunciations of vowels are ar /a:/, or /ɔ:/, ir, er and ur /ɜ/.



Personal Pronouns

The subject pronouns / direct object pronouns are:

ik /ɪk/ I, first person singular

dou /dʉ:/ thou, second person singular / familiar

hy /hi:/ he, third person singular masculine

sy /si:/ she, third person singular feminine

hit /hɪt/ it, third person singular neuter

wy /wi:/ we, first person plural

jy /ji:/ you, second person plural / formal

hylie /hi:li:/ they, third person plural

The indirect object pronouns are:

my /mi:/ me

dy /di:/ thee

him /hɪm/ him

hir /hɪɹ/ her

ous /ʉ:s/ us

ew /æʊ/ you

him /hɪm/ them

Hit with a preposition is replaced with deer or die which comes before the preposition. It is written as one word. The form depends on whether the preposition begins with a consonant or not.

The possessive adjectives are:

myn /mi:n/ my

dyn /di:n/ thy

our/ʉ:ɹ/ our

eur /æʊɹ/ your

hir /hɪɹ/ their

The above are declined as weak adjectives.

his /hɪs/ his, its

hir /hɪɹ/ her

His and hir, when it means 'her', are not declined as adjectives.



The most common form of the infinitive is the verb stem plus the ending -e, such as neese, to visit. If the verb stem ends in 'l' this ending is silent, such as tell, to tell.


The subjunctive verb uses the verb stem after singular subjects in the present; and an ending similar to the infinitive after plural subjects. It is usually used after verbs of communication such as tell, to tell. It may be used as the primary verb in a sentence if the primary verb is conditional or expresses possibility (may, might).

Weak Verbs

A complete paradigm is as follows:

toe loeke, to look

ik loek, I look

dou loekst, thou lookest, you look

hy, sy, hit loekt, he, she, it looks

wy, jy, hylie loekt, we, you, they look

ik, hy, sy, hit loeked, I, he, she, it looked

dou loekedzt, thou lookedest, you looked

wy, jy, hylie loeke, we, you, they looked

loekend, looking, present participle

loeked, looked, past participle

loeking, act of looking, verbal noun

As Zelandish is a journal language written in the third person the 'thou'-forms are rare. Hypothetically they should be common in spoken Zelandish, where speakers value informality.

When a weak verb ends in 'l' or 'r', such as tell or heer, the past tenses preserve the 'd' in both the singular and plural forms of the past tense: teld, telde; heerd, heerde.

To Be

Toe ben, to be.

The present tense:

ik em /ɪk ɛm/ I am wy 'sinde /wi: 'sɪndə/ we are
dou ert /dʉ: ɛɹt/ thou art jy sinde /ji: 'sɪndə/ you are
hit is /hɪt ɪs/ it is hylie sinde /'hi:li: 'sɪndə/ they are

Ik em contracts to ikem or 'kem.

The past tense:

ik wes I was wy weern we were
dou wie thou wert jy weern you were
hit wes it was hylie weern they were

The subjunctive forms of the verb generally only occur after a verb of expression ('they said that...'). In the present tense they are sie (singular) and sien (plural), and in the past tense they are wie and weern.

With the past participle the present tense of 'to be' is used to mark the passive verb. If a verb is intransitive it marks the past perfect verb.

The past tense of the verb 'to be' is used similarly to the present tense of 'to be' to mark the past tense of the passive and the pluperfect intransitive verb.

ik be I be wy bet we be
dou bist thou beest jy bet you be
hit bit it be hylie bet they be

The be-forms are used in future sentences, 'will be', axiomatic sayings, and for emphasis or topic-marking, 'the fact is that...'. The subjunctive forms are be and ben. It has no special past tense.

To Have

This verb is irregular.

Toe hebbe, to have

The present tense:

ik heb I have wy hat we have
dou hest thou hast jy hat you have
hit het it has hylie hat they have

It is quite common for the forms het and hat to become confused.

The past tense:

ik hed I had wy hedde we had
dou hedzt thou hadest jy hedde you had
hit hed it had hylie hedde they had

The past tense is used as the auxiliary to mark the pluperfect on transitive verbs.

The subjunctive forms are heb, hebbe, and hed, hedde.

To Know

Toe witte, to know (something)

The present tense:

ik wot I know wy witte we know
dou wost thou knowest jy witte you know
hit wot it knows hylie witte they know

The past tense:

ik wis I knew wy wisse we knew
dou wist thou knewest jy wisse you knew
hit wis it knew hylie wisse they knew

The subjunctive forms are wit, witte, and wis, wisse. The negative adverb nie elides with this verb to form a negative verb, ik n'wot, I don't know, pronounced /nɔt/. The w becomes silent.

Note that there is also a weak verb toe wisse, to point out, to guide.

To Go

Toe gon, to go

The present tense:

ik go I go wy got we go
dou gjeest thou goest jy got you go
hit gjeet hit goes hylie got they go

The g in the first person singular form of the verb is often elided so it is written ik'o.

The past tense:

ik eed I went wy eië we went
dou eiëst thou wentest jy eië you went
hit eed it went hylie eië they went

The subjunctive forms are go, gon, and eed, eië.

The participles are gangend (present) and jegon (past). The past participle agon is also very common and has the implication of 'gone and done with, past'.

The present participle nearly always ends in -end. It is rarer than in English. Zelandish has not developed a present continuous tense to the same extent as English and where English uses a present participle after another verb, Zelandish prefers an infinitive, although this rule is not absolute.

The verbal noun ends in -ing. There are some latinate borrowings ending in -ación(e). These are rarer than in English.


Plural nouns end in -s, -n, or sometimes -e. Some nouns do not change to mark a plural ending. Some irregular endings are preserved, such as childer, the plural of child.

The genitive case has become steadily unmarked in Zelandish. The s-genitive still survives and has been extended by the use of the reduced forms of the third person possessive pronouns, -'s from his, his, its; -'r from hir, her, their, and -'rn from hirn, their (in a prepositional clause or before a plural possession).

The dative case has disappear from the language except in a few fossil forms where it survives as an -o ending. In such cases it is not necessary obvious that it is dative.

In words borrowed from latin the -um ending has survived, but it is used as a prepositional ending rather than accusative.


The definite article has abandoned grammatical gender and only one form survives in the modern language.

det marks the subject and direct object of a verb in the singular, the plural equivalent is do.

des (sg.) and der (pl.) means 'of the'. It is generally used without the preposition of and comes after the possessed noun.

dom comes after a preposition. After many prepositions it is reduced to -'m. There are also contracted forms such as om, on the, and im, in the.

These forms are used as demonstratives and are qualified by hie and die, reduced forms of the demonstrative adverbs, directly after the article.

There are two indefinite pronouns: an and sum. Both are declined like adjectives. If the following noun is singular then an is used: an wief. If there is more than one indefinite object, whether plural or collective, then sum is used: sum wieve, sum folk. Sum has become an independent indefinite pronoun in its own right meaning 'of them', or 'some'. It is especially tagged to numerals. Ik heb an sum, I have one (of them).


Zelandish divides adjectives into weak, which have to be supported by a definite article; and strong, which stand independently of the definate article.

Adjectives are marked for case.

Riet, right

Strong Singular Plural
Nom. / Acc. riet riet
Possessive riets rieter
Dative riete riete
Weak Singular Plural
Nom. / Acc. riete riete
Possessive riete rieten
Dative riete riete

Zelandish Lexicon

Zelandish Ethnographical Questionnaire