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The Background: How Northeadish Came to Be

So, way back in the spring of the year 2000, i took up a bit of “conlanging.”  (I hate that word though, as it just sounds a little trite, and a little like something there might be a convention for, complete with costumes. I’ve tried glossothesis, linguifaction, and a few other derived terms, but none of them have caught on as far as i know, so for the time being we’re stuck with “conlangs,” “conlanging,” and “conlangers” {cringe}.)

It started out innocently enough, working on a latin-based project i was calling latinovesa, and i didn’t really know at the time that there was actually anyone else in the universe who was lame enough to do such a thing.  But, through the magic of the internet, after founding the Artificial Languages group on Yahoo (which later became ArtificialLanguages2 – I don’t want to talk about it), i eventually discovered there were more of my kind out there who encouraged this sort of depravity.

Actually, that’s not all entirely true.  Let me back up a bit.  My first attempt at creating an artificial language was back in 1994 while i was an exchange student in Germany.  It was something to do while i sat in Frau Semmler’s Geschichte class, which i eventually stopped attending altogether, and instead of divided into genders, the nouns consisted of animate and inanimate classifcations.  But i digress.

Anyway, somewhere around may of 2000, i started playing around with a germanic-based constructed language, which at the time i dubbed “Tsœxisca.”  Sadly, this was years before i ever found so much as a resource for proto-germanic, and most of the first words were derived from my own comparisons of english, german, swedish, and various other modern germanic languages.

As the years went by, tsœxisca evolved, but its name did not, and eventually it made sense to change it, since the initial ts- just didn’t exist anywhere else in the language, and the closest derivation i could come up with from the language had to do with belching, so i decided that since, at that time, it really resembled a more north germanic language, i should rename it “norðisca.”

A few more years, and this name started to annoy me as well.  I suddenly realized, with a burst of what i thought at the time might have been cleverness, that i could name it after the germanic people themselves, much like “deutsch” and “dutch” are derived from þeudiskōn.  I struggled with an english back-translation and came up with “theadish,” or þýdisca.  So theadish it was, until i discovered that about five other “conlangers” had had the same clever thought.

Not wanting to change it again, i just tacked on a “north-” and Northeadish it has been ever since.  And, after a couple of vowel shifts within the language itself, nurðþþȳðesc or nurþȳðesc.

So that’s what’s in a name.  The evolution of the language itself is quite a different and longer story, and has largely followed my own exploration into the study of proto-germanic language and linguistics.  Today, i would venture that northeadish is an example of what a south germanic branch of the germanic language family might have evolved into: There are some definite ties to west germanic, but not enough so as to be considered a west or northwest germanic language beyond some areal changes (like ē > ā shift and rhotacism, for example).  It’s certainly not east germanic, though it does retain certain vocabulary that is not to be found in northwest germanic.  The grammar is probably closest to that of old saxon or old frisian, and is certainly less “SVO” than the modern germanic languages, but with certain other modern innovations.

For the particularly geeky, i’ve created what is basically an extension of Voyles’ rules of proto- and post-germanic morphology and plugged in some of the appropriate changes that northeadish might have undergone.