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Old Pomorian language
(Vėtuhapamarėska gålba)
POMORZE XII-copy.png
Pronunciation /ˈʋeː.tʊ.ɦɑ.pɑ.ˈma:.reː.skɑ/
Created by Raistas
Setting Parallel World
Language family
  • Old Pomorian language
Early forms:
Writing system Latin

The Old Pomorian (Vėtuhapamarėska gålba in Pomorian) is a Balto-Slavic language which is a direct ancestor of modern Pomorian. It's own ancestor could possibly be Proto-Balto-Slavic itself, but because the language shares many common sound changes and vocabulary with Proto-Slavic most scholars agree that the Pomorian language descends from a dialect of Early Proto-Slavic.

Usually Old Pomorian refers to a period from the VIIth to the late XIIIth centuries. During it Old Pomorian was spoken on a large territory of Northern Poland and South-Western Prussia.

The area marked in green represents Pomorian majority on the territory in the XIIth-XIIIth centuries

Homeland and migration

The history of Old Pomorian starts in the VIIth century during the Migration Period. Back then Pomorians lived in Polesie which is now the territory of South-Western Belarus and Eastern Poland. The ancestors of modern Pomorian people were also Baltic tribes, particularly Baltic Prussians.

The exact route of migration is not clear, however it is when a contact with Prussians started, so Pomorians probably headed north first (approximately Vth-VIth centuries) and then they moved to the west, where their current land is. Many Prussian loanwords entered the language during this time. The separation of Western and Eastern branches happened right after the migration had finnished with later mixing between them and creating other dialects.


Here the Pomorian phonology of the XII century is represented. Some specific sound changes have not occured yet making the language more similar to its Baltic neighbours than to closer Slavic relatives.


The consonant inventory was a bit smaller. Palatalization of velars only began in the Eastern dialect, and many other palatals were still sequences of dentals and "j" sound.

Labial Dental Palato-alveolar Velar
Nasal m
Plosive voiceless p k
voiced b g
Affricate voiceless (t͡ɕ)
voiced (d͡ʑ)
Fricative voiceless (ɕ) x
Trill r
Approximant w l j


  • /t͡ɕ/ and /d͡ʑ/ sounds appeared as allophones before front vowels at that time only in Eastern dialect, while in Western one they probably stayed as /kʲ/ and /gʲ/ respectively, while the /ɕ/ sound was in every dialect (but has a different outcome in each group).


The system of vowels was symmetric in Old Pomorian meaning that all the vowels could be either long or short. During this period the language completely lacked the /o/ sound, typical in modern Pomorian, but it appeared near the end of the XIII century, then turning into /uo/ in Western dialect and later in the rest except Eastern and South-Eastern where it preserved as /oː/

Long vowels
Front Back
Close i: u:
Open-mid ɛ:~æ:
Open ɑː
Short vowels
Front Back
Close i u
Open-mid ɛ~æ
Open ɑ


  • /ɑ/ and its long counterpart /ɑː/ could possibly be central rather than back. However it is disputed.
  • It is not known, whether Old Pomorian had nasal vowels or they were sequences of an oral vowel and a nasal consonant. Even nowadays in modern Western dialects nasal vowels do not appear after stops.
i u l m n r
e ei jau el em en er
ē ēi (jāu) ēl ēm ēn ēr
a ai au al am an ar
ā āi āu āl ām ān ār
i il im in ir
u ul um un ur


  • All diphthongs could be either descending (with an acute intonation) and long or ascending (with a circumflex intonation) and short.
  • The jāu diphthong is not directly attested.
  • Phonetically speaking sequences of a vowel and an approximant were not real diphthongs, but they also were descending or ascending and took part in ablaut.


Old Pomorian was a pitch-accented language. Little can be found out about its stress from the few attestations but it is generally considered to be similar to modern Pomorian. There were also two different types of accent - acute and circumflex. According to the newest data and the research of extinct southern dialects there could actually be three distinct accents, all of which having long or short variation. Some scholars even propose that Old Pomorian had broken tone similar to Danish stød or Latvian lauzta intonacija which then became a long circumflex accent in modern Western dialects. But this topic still needs more research, yet nothing can be stated for sure.


As in Early-Proto Slavic, Old Pomorian also retained productive ablaut alterations, although they had been reduced early in its history. Some new alterations appeared instead and ablaut is still mostly productive even in the modern language. Here the alterations are listed:

e-grade e ei jau el er em en
ē-grade ē ēi (jāu) ēl ēr ēm ēn
i-grade i ī u il ir im in
a-grade a ai au al ar am an
ā-grade ā āi āu āl ār ām ān
u-grade u i ū ul ur um un

All the ablaut series remained mostly unchanged (they only underwent some phonological changes and became slightly diiferent in every dialect), but only North-Western dialects retained most qualitative alterations productive.


Almost all the Old Pomorian morphology is reconstructed and not attested. The internal reconstruction was used by comparing different dialects.


Noun declension patterns were pretty much recognizable with few differences in endings. There were also seven declensions same as in modern Pomorian. Endings for the Western dialects are before the slash while endings for Eastern - after the slash in the table below.

-es (masculine), -ā (feminine), -an (neuter)

grā́des = hail galvā́ = head mârjan = sea
singular dual plural singular dual plural singular dual plural
Nominative grā́des grā́dā grā́dai galvā́ gàlvai gàlvās marjan mârjai mar
Genitive grā́dās grā́dau grā́dūn galvā́s galvâu galvū́n màr mârjau marjū́n
Dative grā́dāu grā́damā grā́dames gãlvāi galvā́mā galvàmes màrjāu marjàmā mariãmes
Accusative grā́dan grā́dā grā́dus gãlvān gàlvai gãlves màrjan màrjai màrjes
Instrumental grā́dumis/ā grā́damā grā́daimīs gâlvajān/ān galvā́mā galvā̂mīs màrjumis/jā marjàmā marjâmīs
Locative grā́dē/ēi grā́dau grā́daihu gâlvāje/āi galvâu galvā̂su mârēje/ēi mârjau marjā̂su
Vocative grā́dei/e grā́dā grā́dāi gãlva gàlvai gãlvā màrja màrjai màr

-is (masculine, feminine), -in (neuter)

zwērì = animal ugnìn = fire
singular dual plural singular dual plural
Nominative zwērìs zwē͂rī zwḗreis/īs ugnìn ûgnī ùgnijē/ī
Genitive zwēreîs zwērjaû zwērjū́n ugneîs ugnjaû ugnjū́n
Dative zwē͂rijei/ēi zwērìmā zwērìmes u͂gnijei/ēi ugnìmā ugnìmes
Accusative zwē͂rin zwē͂rī zwḗrins u͂gnin ûgnī ugnī́n
Instrumental zwērîmi zwērìmā zwērîmīs ugnìmi ugnìmā ugnîmīs
Locative zwērē̂i zwērjâu zwērìhu ugnē̂i ugnjâu ugnìhu
Vocative zwēreĩ/ī́ zwē͂rī zwērijḗ/ḗi ũgni/eĩ ûgnī ugnijḗ/ḗi

-us (masculine), -un (neuter)

sūnùs = son ledùn = ice
singular dual plural singular dual plural
Nominative sūnùs sū́nū sū́nawe/ūs ledùn lèdū lèdū
Genitive sūnaûs sūn sūnawū́n/ū́n ledaûs led ledū́n
Dative sū̂nawei sūnùmā sūnùmes lêdawei ledùmā ledùmes
Accusative sū̂nun sū́nū sū́nuns lêdun lèdū lèdūn
Instrumental sūnùmi sūnùmā sūnûmīs ledùmi ledùmā ledûmīs
Locative sūnā̂u sūnâu sūnùhu ledā̂u ledâu ledùhu
Vocative sū̂nau/ū sū́nū sū́nau/ū lêdu/ū lèdū lèdau/ū

-s (masculine) -ū (feminine), -n/t/s (neuter)

zmū́ = human being mḗns = moon
singular dual plural singular dual plural
Nominative zmū́ zmène zmènes/ènīs mḗns mḗnese mḗnenes/esās
Genitive zmenī́s zmenù zmenū́n mḗnesīs mḗnesu mḗnesū́n
Dative zmênei zmènmā zmènmes mḗnesei mḗnesmā mḗnesmes
Accusative zmênin zmène zmenī́ns/ènā mḗnesin mḗnese mḗnesīns/esā
Instrumental zmenmì zmènmā zmènmīs mḗnesmi mḗnesmā mḗnesmīs
Locative zmenē̂ zmenù zmènsu mḗnesē mḗnesu mḗnesu
Vocative zmenĩ/ū́n zmène zmène/esā mḗnesi/s mḗnese mḗnese/esā


Verb conjugation was a bit different from modern Pomorian being more archaic. More verbs belong to the fourth conjugation type. Simple present and past tenses have been reconstructed for Old Pomorian with relics of a simple (or probably continuous) future tense. Verb endings are in the table below.

Present tense
person Singular Dual Plural
1st *-ām, *-ū 1 -wā -emas/-eme
2nd -esēi/-ēi -tā -ete
3rd -eti -tes -anti
person Singular Dual Plural
1st *-mì -wā́ -màs
2nd -sēi -tā́ -tè
3rd -ti -tes -ànti
Past tense
person Singular Dual Plural
1st -an/-un -wai -āme
2nd *-ēis, *-eis 2 -tāi -āte
3rd -e -tes -ēn
person Singular Dual Plural
1st -uhun -hawai -hāme
2nd *-his, *-hēis 2 -stā -āste
3rd -hēs -stes -hēn
Future tense
person Singular Dual Plural
1st *-sjām, *-sjū 1 -siwā -esimas
2nd -sjei/-sēi -sitā -esite
3rd -siti -sites -sjanti
*(Continuous) 3
person Singular Dual Plural
1st *-ensjū -ensiwā -ensjemas
2nd -ensjēi/-ensēi -ensitā -ensjete
3rd -ensiti -ensites -ensjanti


  1. Both endings could be reconstructed for 1st person singular in present tense. The former ending is from the Western dialects, the latter - from the Eastern ones. The Eastern form with an ū is expected from simple phonological development, while the Western ām is explained by an innovation, shared with Slavic languages, however it doesn't mean that the change happened in early Proto-Slavic, otherwise there would be no differences in endings between the dialects.
  2. According to the modern language the -ēis ending is reconstructible for 2nd person singular in past tense, but the form -ei was attested. However it is not precisely known whether the -ei(s) ending was real or it could be a misspelling.
  3. It is not know how exactly the en suffix functioned, it could indicate a process or duration of an action. It is not found anywhere except this tense.

An interesting feature Old Pomorian verbs possessed was a presence of objective clitics. These clitics were attached to the end of prefixless transitive verbs or to the beginning of transitive verbs with prefixes to show a direct object. Those clitics are seldom used in North-Western dialects of the modern language, but are considered archaic. Pronouns in accusative case are used instead nowadays.

person Singular Dual Plural
1st -mej-/-mi- -vās-/-vā- -mes-/-me-
2nd -tej-/-ti- -tās-/-tā- tes-/-te-

Clitics could be attached in all tenses and moods and didn't change their form like real verb personal endings. However they had long form (if the verb began in a vowel) and short (if the verb began in a consonant). There was no clitic for a third person, a corresponding pronoun was always used in that case. A similar reflexive clitic (-sej-/-si-) was also present which made a verb intransitive (it is similar to English word "oneself). For example: nātigēdjau means "I asked you", beināsigēdjesi is "if you ask yourself".


To Early and Old Pomorian

  • *ś, *ź > *s, *z, a change shared with West Baltic and Proto-Slavic.
  • *ē, *ō > *ī, *ū before a final sonorant and sometimes at the end of the word. This change was blocked in some cases by analogical leveling, like in dual number.
  • *eu > *jau
  • *ā and *ō > *ā, a change shared with Proto-Slavic and West Baltic (in unstressed positions only).
  • -as > *-es (in Baltic remained as *-as, in Slavic changed into *-əs and then into *-ъ except Old Novgorodian, where it became -e)
  • *š > *x
  • *ā > *ū before labial consonants, but was blocked due to an analogical leveling in -āti endings before labials and its conjugation. Similar change happened in Old Prussian.

These changes happened before the IIIth century CE. It was the time when Early Pomorian separated from Early Proto-Slavic while still remaining a dialect of it. Some loanwords from Proto-Germanic and old Indo-Iranian languages and then also from Old Gothic were entering the language during this time. There were some changes in morphological structure but nothing major had happened by the VIIIth century, when the palatalization of velars started similar to the first Slavic palatalization.

  • *k, *g, *x > *č /t͡ɕ/, *dž /d͡ʑ/, *š /ɕ/ before front vowels.
  • sk, *zg > *škj, *žgj before front vowels.

Some Germanic words borrowed during this time were also affected by the palatalization. Despite started in the VIII century this process has not finished yet in the North-Western dialect, where words both with and without the palatalization appeared.

At first the nasalization happened only with long vowels approximately in XIIth - XIIIth centuries, after which Old Pomorian started developing into Middle Pomorian.

To Middle Pomorian

  • In the XIII century most final consonants fell out.
  • Nasalization of short vowels happened after fricatives. These short nasal vowels than merged with the long ones in all dialects except Southern.

In the late XIVth century the process called the iotation happened resulting in new palatal phonemes.

  • *tj, *dj, *lj, *nj, *rj > */tʲ/, */dʲ/, */lʲ/, */nʲ/, */rʲ/
  • *sj, *zj, čj, džj > */sʲ/, */zʲ/, */t͡sʲ/, */d͡zʲ/
  • *stj, *zdj > *šť, *žď
  • *škj, žgj > *sk, *zg or *šk, *žg in Western dialects.
  • *škj, žgj > *č, *dž in Southern dialects.
  • *č, *dž > *c /t͡s/, *dz /d͡z/. Did not occure in extinct Southern dialects.
  • *škj, žgj > */t͡ʃ/, */d͡ʒ/ in Eastern dialects.
  • */ɕ/ > /ʆ/
  • *ao (probably /ɑɔ̯/) > *å /ɔː/

In the XVth century final long vowels shortened. This is the time when final *e dropped in non-Western dialects.

  • [i], [u] > [ɪ], [ʊ]
  • Final *i drops in extinct Southern dialects and Ežerina.
  • *a > *o [ɔ] under new circumflex accent in extinct Southern dialects and Ežerina.
  • *s, *z, *c, *dz > *š, *ž, *č, *dž before high front vowels. Does not occure in Western dialects.
  • *s, *z, *c, *dz > *š, *ž, *č, *dž before open-mid front vowels. Only in Southern dialects.
  • *au, *ei > *ō /oː/, ẹ /eː/
  • *ai > *ē everywhere except Eastern dialects.
  • *ai > *ei in Eastern dialect.
  • *a > *o /ɔ/ under short and long circumflex accent in Eastern dialects.
  • */ʆ/, */ʃ/ > /ʃ/
  • /sʲ/, /zʲ/, /t͡sʲ/, /d͡zʲ/ > /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /t͡ʃ/, /d͡ʒ/ before front vowels in Western and Central dialects.
  • */tʲ/, */dʲ/, */lʲ/, */nʲ/ > /c/, /ɟ/, /ʎ/, /ɲ/
  • *ą̄, *ą, *ę̄, *ę > ą, ę, everywhere except Southern dialects.
  • *ą̄, *ę̄ > ā, iā in Southen dialects.
  • *a > *å before velar consonants in Central and Cenral-Eastern dialects.
  • *a > *å before *v
  • *vå > *å in South-Western and Southern dialects.
  • *å > *o [ɔ] in Ežerina.
  • /f/ appears as a phoneme in borrowings.
  • */c/, */ɟ/ > /t͡ɕ/, /d͡ʑ/ in Southern and Eastern dialects.
  • *šť, *žď, > *č, *dž in Southern and Eastern dialects.

In the XVIIth century the rest short vowels before nasal consonants became nasal. This did not happen in Western dialects.

To modern Pomorian

During the modern period Pomorian vowels underwent a major shift resulting in modern vowel system.

  • *ō, *ẹ > uo, ie. Did not happen with *ō in Eastern dialects.
  • *ā, *ē > o /oː/, ė /eː/. Did not happen in Eastern dialects.
  • *a > *u before labial consonants in Western and South-Western dialects.
  • *ovo > uo
  • *į, *ų > (j)ie, (v)uo in some Northern dialects including Hel dialect.
  • *ę, *ą > [jæː]/[æː], [aː] in some Northern dialects including Hel.
  • *ēi, *āu > ei, au everywhere, except Eastern dialects.
  • *ei, *ie, *au, *uo > jei, jei, vau, vuo word initially in North-Western dialects.
  • *ie > ī in Eastern dialects.
  • *ēi, *āu > ie, uo in Eastern dialects. This also applies to *o in loanwords.
  • *i, *ī > y /ɨ/, ȳ /ɨː/ before dental stops, affricates and fricatives in Southern and Eastern dialects.
  • *e > a before dental stops, affricates and fricatives in Eastern dialects.
  • *ū > *yu /ɨʊ/ in some South-Eastern dialects.
  • *ū > *ui /uɨ̯/ after labial consonants in Central and under a long circumflex in Eastern dialects.
  • *il > *yu /ɨʊ/ in Eatern dialects.
  • */uɨ̯/ > /ɨʊ/ in Eatern dialects.
  • */rʲ/ > /r/ in Southern, South-Western and Ežerina
  • *i, *ī > y /ɨ/, ȳ /ɨː/ before *r in Southern, South-Western and Ežerina
  • *x > h
  • /sʲ/, /zʲ/, /t͡sʲ/, /d͡zʲ/ > /ɕ/, /ʑ/, /t͡ɕ/, /d͡ʑ/ in Western and Southern dialects.
  • Palatal consonants become dental in Northern dialects.
  • *u, *a > *ü, *ö > *i, *e near front vowels in Hel dialect, when unstressed.
  • *a, *å > oa under circumflex accent in Northern dialects.
  • *e > ea under circumflex accent in Northern dialects except Hel.