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Silanian (Sìlne: Xcѝл'нe) is the native language spoken in a small village called Silnistiye (Cилниcтияe), in Askeran, in the de facto independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Լեռնային Ղարաբաղ; Silanian: Лepнäи Кapaбaќ; Azerbaijani: Dağlıq Qarabağ, or Yuxarı Qarabağ; Russian: Нагорный Карабах) It is a language that didn't originally have a written form but since the collapse of the Soviet Union the language Silanian has been using the Cyrillic alphabet as a result of the Soviet influence.
The alphabet adopted by Silanian is slightly adapted from the Russian Cyrillic Alphabet with the use of letters from the Ukrainian and Byelorussian Cyrillic Alphabets.
Here the Silanian Alphabet is presented with it's English equivalents. The English letters are on the left and the Silanian letters with their Silanian names are on the right.
Aa Aa (ah) Bb Бб (be) Vv Вв (ve) Gg Гг (ghe) Dd Дд (de) Ee Ee, Ээ, Єє (eh) Jj Жж (zhe) Zz Зз (ze) Ii Ии (i) Kk Кк (ka) Cc Ќќ (ke) Ll Лл (el) Mm Mм (em) Nn Hн (en) Oo Oo (oh) Pp Пп (pe) Qq Ққ (koo) Rr Pp (er) Ss Cc (es) Tt Tт (te) Ff Фф (ef) Hh Xx (ha) ts Цц (tse) Ww Ъъ (voo) Uu Юю (yu) Yy Яя (ya)
Accents and Extra Letters
Silanian also uses accents on certain vowels to produce different sounds. The letter "h" ("x") is silent in Silanian but it has the function of hardening the first vowel in the word. This is signified by placing a grave (‘вapг) above the first vowel in the word. If a grave appears above a vowel, then the vowel is hardened, i.e. "à" is pronounced as "ay", "è" is pronounced as "ee", "ѝ" as in the English word "eye", "ò" as in English word "owe" and "ỳ" ("ю" with a grave is written as "ỳ") as in English word "you". Basically they are pronounced as they are when reciting the vowels in the English alphabet. If a word contains a "h" ("x") but there is no grave above any of the vowels or a grave is above a vowel other than the first, then you harden the vowel indicated only and the "h" ("x") is silent. This occurs in names and words with suffixes.
The Silanian language does not contain the sounds, as occuring in English, of "ch", "sh", "h", "th" (even though the name of this letter "x" is "ha"). Therefore while creating the alphabet, some additional letters that do not appear in the actual alphabet itself have been added to accomodate for foreign names. These are:
"ch" Чч (che)
"sh" Шш (sha)
"h" XXxx (he)
"th" Ђђ (the).
For example, to write the name Henry in Silanian as it sounds in English it would be written as XXeнpя and to write Charlie it would be written as Чapля in Silanian.
In Silanian, as in other languages, the letters "g"("г") and "c"("ќ") are softened in certain words. To indicate when they are softened, a line is placed on the letter. A soft "g"("г") is written as "ғ" and pronounced like the leter "j"("ж") and a soft "c"("ќ")is written as "ҝ" or as "ҟ" ("ҝ" is more popular) and pronounced like an "s"("c").
Silanian dipthongs are very straight forward. When a vowel appears with an umlaut (тюaлмю) above it a "y" sound is placed inbetween it and the next vowel e.g. "äe" is pronounced as "a-ye", "ëa" as "e-ya", etc.
The only exception is with the letter "и", which never appears with an umlaut above it, insetead it has a "й" (called "yi" in Silanian) symbol appearing between the two vowels executing the same effect as an umlaut e.g. "ийe" is pronounced as "i-ye", "ийa" is pronounced as "i-ya", etc.
Here is a list of dipthongs and how they are pronounced in Silanian.
aa aa (a)
ae äe (aye)
ai äи (ayi)
ao ao (ao as in how)
au aю (a’u)
ea ëa (eya)
ee ee (ee)
ei ëи (eyi)
eo ëo (eyo)
eu eю (e'u)
ia ийa (iya)
ie ийe (iye)
ii ии (i)
io ийo (iyo)
iu ийю (iyu)
oa oa (oa as in mower)
oe oe (oweh)
oi oи (oi)
oo oo (oo)
ou oю (o’u)
ua юa (wa)
ue юe (weh)
ui юи (wi)
uo юo (wo)
uu юю (u)
In Silanian, when a word is in the plural form, the letter "э" is added to the beginning of the word e.g. "тòxгил" (tò-gil), the word for "light" becomes "этòxгил" (e-tò-gil) in the plural form, "lights".
To signal ownership, the same rule as for plural words is applied. Therefore, "Peter's chair" becomes "эПeтep pѝaxќ" (e-Peter rì-ac)(when "э" appears at the beginning of a proper noun, it is written in the lower case form e.g. "эПeтep", but if it is at the beginning of a sentence and it precedes a word other than a proper noun, then it appears in the upper case form, e.g. "Эpѝaxќ д’a элибaт". This same rule applies for the combined plural and ownership form explained below).
When a word or name is in the plural and ownership form at the same time, then "єэ" appears at the beginning of the word e.g. That's the teachers' chair" becomes "Τàxт cи èxт єэpèxќäeт pѝaxќ". (tàt si èt e-e-rè-ca-yet rì-ac).
Words and Phrases
I = Eж (ej: the Silanian word for I is like any normal word in the way that it appears in the lower case form normally, e.g. "Ceя, тюб eж 'вoл 'oя".)
You = 'Oя (oy)
We = Eъ (ev)
He = Èx (è)
She = Èxc (ès)
They = Яèxт (yèt)
It = Tи (ti)
Yes = Ceя or 'яa (sey or ya)
No = On or нe (on or ne)
Excuse me = 'Cюќцe eм (suc-tse em)
Hello = Òллex or бapeв (ò-le or ba-rev)
Please = 'Cäeлп (sa-yelp)
Thank you = Кѝнaxт ‘oя or иcpeм (kì-nat oy or is-rem)
Thank you very much = Кѝнaxт 'oя яpeв xќỳм (kì-nat oy y-rev kùm)
Welcome = 'Moќлeъ (moc-lev)
Good bye = Xòpoc/дooг ‘яб or цютиc (ò-ros/doog yb or tsu-tis)
Good morning = Xòpoc/дooг гeнинpoм (ò-ros/doog ge-nin-rom)
Good afternoon = Xòpoc/дooг peтфa полден/нooн (ò-ros/doog ret-fa pol-den/noon)
Good evening = Xòpoc/дooг гeнинeвe (ò-ros/doog ge-ni-ne-ve)
Good night = Xòpoc/дooг тòxгин (ò-ros/doog tò-gin)
I love you = Eж 'вoл 'oя (ej vol oy)
My name is... = Ям ‘мaн cи... (ym man si)
Silanian uses traditionally its own system of numerals but in the modern day it is also common that Arabic numerals are used. The Silanian numerals are as follows (they appear in the lower case form but they can also be used in upper case):
0 = o (opeз: o-rez)
1 = a (eнo: e-no)
2 = б (oът: ovt)
3 = в (èepxт: è-ert)
4 = г (pюoф: ru-of)
5 = д ('виф: vif)
6 = e (циc: tsis)
7 = ж (нeвec: ne-ves)
8 = з (тòxгийe: tò-gi-ye)
9 = и ('нин: nin)
Numbers in Silanian are usually written with two "`" surrounding the number to indicate it is a number e.g. "I am 17 years old" is written as "Eж мa `aж` эpäeя дaлo" (ej ma neet-ne-ves e-ra-yey da-lo)
- Little Languages of Eastern Europe by Alexi Palcheskovich, 1969
- Unknown Languages of the World by Paul Newman, 1995
- Silanian: The Language of the Tribe of Silnistye by Posek Nalenkovic, 1989 (Translated from Armenian to English by John Stevenson)