A brief history of the Patriżju language
It all started at the end of 1987 when I received, as a gift, a Danish dictionary. I was 13 years old at that time and I had already been passionate about foreign languages for several years.
This gift gave me the idea of creating my very first language. That language didn't have a name but was based on Danish (or, at least, on what I thought was Danish).
In the 90s, there was a big change of course. I indeed decided to create Patríciu, which was based on Catalan. That language was more structured, it had a grammar and a dictionary. Yet, by complicating again and again its spelling and pronunciation rules, I lost interest in that project.
It was finally in the Summer of 2001 that Patriżju came to life. The original idea was to create a language which would be a combination of all the languages I like the most. In other words, a mix of:
- Romansh and Catalan for its vocabulary;
- Maltese and Monégasque for its spelling;
- and Portuguese for its grammar.
Later on, Italian and, to a lesser extent, Sardinian have become new sources of inspiration for the Patriżju vocabulary and grammar. Finally, I borrowed 3 letters from Esperanto and add them to my alphabet.
There are currently 22,000 entries (words and expressions) in my dictionary.
Patriżju does not intend to be an international auxiliary language. I created it for my own pleasure (hoping it could please others though) and not in the hope that, one day, everybody would speak it.
Since Patriżju is a fictitious language, it had to be spoken in a fictitious country. That's why I created Saint Patrice, an archipelago located in the Mediterranean Sea, between Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. Please see the section « Saint Patrice » for further information.
Is Patriżju a difficult language to learn ?
Well, as I invented it, it's difficult for me to be very objective on that aspect. Nevertheless, I'm inclined to classify it as a moderately difficult language to learn and this, for different reasons:
- First of all, as all Romance languages, its grammar is rather difficult (irregular conjugation, excessive use of subjunctive, complex agreements, numerous exceptions, and so forth), all the more since some of its grammar points are unique (such as, e.g., absence of compound tenses) or share with only one or two Romance languages (e.g., use of future subjunctive, which is a tense that does not exist in French or English but which is very common in Portuguese or Galician) ;
- Second of all, its pronunciation is rather puzzling as the spelling of Patriżju is full of diactrics ;
- Finally, the vocabulary of Patriżju, influenced mainly by Romance languages but also by non-Romance languages, is very rich and can, sometimes, appear as rather different from French (not to mention English).
Patriżju pronunciation guide
Most letters are pronounced like in French. But you have to pay attention to the following letters which have a distinctive pronunciation.
- A : « a » as in father but shorter. However, at the end of a polysyllabic word or in the ending used to mark the feminine plural « -as », « a » is pronounced « a » as in about.
- Ċ and Ĉ : « ch » as in China. Please note that the letter « ĉ » can only be found in the personal pronouns and the possessive forms used for the plural “vouvoiement” (polite and formal “you”).
- E : between the « ay » as in say and the « e » as in set.
- G : « g » as in go, never as in general.
- GN : « gn » as in ignore.
- Ġ : « j » as in Japan.
- H : is silent.
- Ħ : « h » as in hot.
- I : « ee » as in feet but shorter. Never « i » as in island.
- J : « y » as in yes.
- NJ : « ny » as in canyon.
- Q : « qu » as in quality.
- R : like the Spanish or Italian « r » (similar to the Scottish rolled « r »), never like the English or the French « r ».
- S : « s » as in seven, never as in easy or pleasure. In initial position and if followed by a consonant (except « ġ »), « s » is pronounced « sh » as in show. Elsewhere, « s » followed by a consonant (except « ġ ») can be pronounced either « s » as in seven or « sh » as in show.
- SCH and Ŝ : « sh » as in show. Please note that the letter « ŝ » can only be found in the personal pronouns and the possessive forms used for the singular “vouvoiement” (polite and formal “you”).
- SĠ : « s » as in pleasure.
- TZ : « ts » as in tsar (to be found only at the end of the verbal forms used for plural “tutoiement” (informal “you”)).
- U : « oo » as in pool but shorter.
- Ŭ : « w » as in cow (to be found only at the end of the verbal forms used for the singular “vouvoiement” (formal “you”)).
- Ü : « oo » as in pool but shorter. This letter is only used when a « u » follows or is followed by another vowel, in order to clearly distinguish the two vowels.
- W : « w » as in cow.
- X : « sh » as in show. There are only two exceptions: in the verbal endings « –mx » and « –jx » used, respectively, to express the first person plural and the plural “vouvoiement” (polite and formal “you”), « x » is silent.
- XH : « x » as in taxi.
- Y : « ee » as in feet but shorter.
- Ż : « ts » as in tsar.
- The grave (or straight/vertical) accent on a vowel marks a stressed syllable in words that deviate from the standardized stress patterns. It however does not change the pronunciation of that particular vowel (except a final « à » that will always be pronounced « a » as in father and never as in about).
« Patriżju » is therefore pronounced like : pa-tri-tsyoo.