Just thought I'd share a short write-up about Bjarmish
The Bjarmish language is a North Germanic language spoken by roughly 40.000 people around the White Sea are. The Bjarmian arrived at the shore of the White Sea sometime during the early 10th century. They most likely traveled by sea from the eastern coast of today's Sweden, looking for new trade routes. They eventually settled in the area where Bjarmish is spoken today.The Bjarmish flag, designed by Erna Jennarsson in 1964Sound changes
The historical developments of Bjarmish are traditionally divided into three main parts, followed by further sub-divisions.Old Bjarmish
During the early Old Bjarmish period the sound changes were few but significant. The nasal vowels merged with their oral counterparts. The diphthongs /ei/ and /øy/ merged with long /eː/ and /øː/. The vowel traditionally transcribed as <ǫ> (/ɔ/), both long and short, merged with /ɑ/; ON bjǫrn
. Another early change was the merger of <ʀ> with the regular, trilled <r> in all positions.
The late Old Bjarmish period is characterized by sound changes such as /œ/ merging with /ø/. The phoneme /w/ shifted to /v/, which phonemized the post-vocalic allophone of /f/. The sequences /hj/, /sj/, /k(ː)j/ and /g(ː)j/ palatalized to /ɕ/ (/hj/ and /sj/), /t͡ɕ/ and /d͡ʑ/. The sequence /hl/ was strengthened to /gl/. During the final period of late Old Bjarmish an epenthetic /ə/ was inserted to break up certain sequences, like armr
. Another significant sound change was the reemergence of nasal vowels, however this only occurred before /mb/, /nd/ and /ng/.
(It should be noted that a sporadic breaking of /ɛ/ to /jɛ/ probably occurred during this period.)Middle Bjarmish
The middle Bjarmish period was probably the most drastic of them all in terms of sound and grammatical changes. In the early period /hv/ became /kv/ through [xv]. The sequences /mb/, /nd/ and /ng/ became /bː/, /dː/ and /gː/, which caused long nasal vowels to shorten. The phoneme /e/ merged with /ɛ/, while /ɑ/ and /ɑː/ were centralized to /a/ and /aː/. The stops /p/, /t/ and /k/ were voiced post-vocalically, unless followed by a voiceless consonant.
During the later period /gː/ became /jː/ when followed by a nasal vowel; /sɛ̃ɡː/ "bed" became /sɛ̃jː/. The voiced velar stop /g/ was weakened to /h/ intervocalically; /saga/ "story" became /saha/. The sequence /st/ was palatalized to /ɕt/ post-vocalically. During this period the dental fricative /θ/ merged with /t̪/ word-initially and /d̪/ post-vocalically. The sequence /juː/ became /ʊɪ̯/ when followed by two consonants, and /yː/ when followed by a single consonant. The long vowel /oː/ diphthongized to /oʊ̯/ and its short counterpart /o/ was lowered to /ɔ/. The vowels /øː/ and /ø/ were lowered to /œː/ and /œ/. The previous sporadic breaking of /ɛ/ to /jɛ/ in Old Bjarmish was followed by significant breaking of the same phoneme during the Middle Bjarmish period, this time conditioned by a following /r/.
The unstressed vowel /u/ started shifting towards /y/ during the final period of late Middle Bjarmish. Also during this period, the diphthong /aʊ/ started changing to /ɔ/ before two consonants and to /aː/ before a stop. In all other positions it became /ɛɪ̯/.Modern Bjarmish
During the Modern Bjarmish period a quantity shift occurred, causing syllables of the type VC to shift to VːC, and syllables of the type VːCː and VːCC to shift to VCː and VCC. VCC and VCː syllables remained as they were.
The nasalized vowels once again merged with their oral counter parts. This time, however, /ɛ̃/ opened to /ã/ before merging with its oral counterpart, similarly the original /ã/ became /ɔ̃/ before losing it's nasalization. The voiced stop /b/ softened to /v/ intervocalically, while /g/ and /d̪/ where dropped word-finally when preceded by a vowel. The sequence /ər/ became /a/ word-finally. Stressed /a/ became /ɛ/ when preceding /r/, while /aː/ diphthongized to /ɛɪ̯/ in the same position. The sequence /ld/ become /lː/ and then /lj/. /h/ was dropped word-initially. During the later period, the now fronted unstressed vowel /y/ was derounded to /i/ (realized as [ɪ]). The sequence /gn/ became /nj/ in all positions.Grammatical changes
During the evolution of Bjarmish several stems merged with each other. The ending -er
became very common in both the nominative and accusative during the Middle Bjarmish period, even re-appearing where it had previously disappear through analogy, as in Middle Bjarmish íser
from Old Norse íss
. Eventually these two cases merged with each other. During the same period the -s
genitive became a lot more common (even in the plural), but the -ar
genitive received new functions, resulting in a case-split. This case basically functions as an instrumental even though it has a few locative features as well.Orthographic history
During the Old Bjarmish period, the language was written using a Cyrillic orthography. Only a small amount of the population at that time could write, and individual spellings were preferred. Written texts of the time usually consisted of laws, trade documents and religious texts, with only a few fragments surviving today.
Sometime during the 1920's, the Bjarmians were rewarded with an official, Latin based orthography. Shortly thereafter, sometime during the 1930's, this orthography was directly transcribed into a Cyrillic version. This remains the official orthography to date. However, a movement arose in the early 1960's that supported the of creating an etymologically based Latin orthography as well as replacing the Slavic loanwords with loanwords from the various North Germanic languages. This eventually led to the creation of the unofficial Bjarmish flag, designed by Erna Jennarsson in 1964.