Over the years, there have been many reforms to Talossan spelling, and with many of them has come an outcry that should the proposed changes not be accepted by all Ladintschen, the result would be an inevitable recognition of different dialects in the language of our culture. While spelling disagreements might spark an eventual distinction between spoken dialects, even the most radical of reforms have been largely accepted by the community, and such dialectic differences have never yet arisen. But perhaps the cautions against promoting dialects in Talossan are too late; perhaps Talossan is already a language of multiple dialects! Don’t think so? You might be surprised...
Many languages can accurately be called polyglots. Take English, for example. The most basic words in English – its articles, pronouns, simplest nouns and verbs – are of Germanic origin, such as every word in the sentence, "My cow ate the hay." However, over the centuries of invasion, migration, and colonisation, English has borrowed and adopted a great many words from a great many other languages – often seemingly needlessly! For example, if you say that "the cow is big," your thought was expressed entirely using words of Germanic origin. But if you express the exact same thought by saying that "the cow is large," you have done so using a Latin word that came to English through Old French.
Some of these borrowings have even supplanted different forms of well-established Germanic words in the English vocabulary. For example, although the English word "cow" is of Germanic origin, both the plural form of that very word, and the word that is used for the meat of the animal are French imports – words of Romance origin. While English speakers see a chicken, raise chickens, and eat chicken, they see a cow, raise cattle, and eat beef.
What does all this have to do with Talossan? Quite a bit, actually. Even a very casual skimming of Talossan vocabulary shows that, perhaps even more so than English, Talossan is rife with influences from a vast number of languages, influences that have given us an extremely rich set of synonyms that came to our language from various sources. And just like in English, these influences have often been strong enough to affect even the words that are most central to the core of a language – pronouns and articles.
One translation of the English sentence "Our cheese was eaten by my horse" would be Ar fromatx füt menxhescu par v’aic. However, another Talossan speaker might choose instead to say Noastra caisch c’esteva menxhat par va caval. Both those sentences are word-for-word identical in meaning, and yet they share only one word (the preposition par). Where the first sentence uses a word for “our” that came to Talossan from Irish, the other uses one that came from Latin. Similarly, caisch, one of the words meaning “cheese”, comes to Talossan directly from Latin, and its synonym, fromatx, comes through French. Even one of the most important verbs in Talossan, estarh (meaning “to be”), is seen in these sentences conjugated in two different ways: füt and esteva, both meaning “was”. To top it all, the final words of these sentences (aic and caval, which both mean “horse”) both came to Talossan from the same language (aic is cognate to the Old Latin "equus" and caval arose from the Late Latin "cabal")!
Now that we’ve moved the conversation from cows to horses, the point can be pressed (or stretched) a little further by noting that Talossan, like English, has different words for different types of horses: an armißair is a steed, a bricol is a nag, and an aseglhul is a colt, just to name three of a great many. And, of course, this kind of diversity in word-choices is certainly not unique to horses.
Talossan is lucky to have a vocabulary that is so full of words of identical or similar meanings. Such a thing is unique in the world of “constructed” languages; it is the mark of a language that is living and growing, not one that was designed then etched in stone. As users of our great language, each of us should treasure the diversity we have in our word choices. You might prefer to employ words that originated in Latin, or you might intentionally lean towards using words that Talossan received from Germanic – or Celtic, or Slavic, or Amerind! – languages; heck, everyone knows that the Talossan vocabulary even contains a very solid set of imports from Finnish (a Uralic family language). If you do lean your word choices one way or another, you might very well be said to be using a different
dialect of Talossan than does someone who makes other word-choices to express the same thought. Alternatively, you might choose to intentionally vary your word choices in your speech and writing – sometimes using aic, other times caval, for example – and thus aid in preserving our rich set of synonyms and promoting the beauty, diversity, and prosaic and poetic flexibility of our language.
The two sentences about the horse eating the cheese (for which credit must be given to Sir Cresti Siervicül) provide only a small sample of the surprisingly large number of Talossan synonyms. Can you beat Sir Cresti by coming up with two completely different sentences, with completely identical meanings (or, as Cresti did, two identical sentences that differ in all but one or a handful of shared words)?
Consider yourself challenged to do so! Send in the longest or most instructive such sentences you can create, and see your work published in the next column of Snert! Perhaps your sentences will be glics... or perhaps you would call them adretzen? Or perhaps they will consist of nothing but pure sputacjaziun... or would you say fostaça? So...are you up to the challenge? Get ready... Get set... ¡Vetz! (...or ¡Iöt! – your choice)!