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Vilamovian language - now that's something interesting

McCoy 27 | 1,269
28 Aug 2010 #1
Vilamovian or Wilamowicean (Wymysiöeryś) is a West Germanic language spoken in the small town of Wilamowice (Wymysoj in Vilamovian) near Bielsko-Biała, on the border between Silesia and Lesser Poland in the historical region of Galicia. At present, there are about 70 native users of Vilamovian, the majority of them elderly people; Vilamovian is therefore a moribund language.

In origin, Vilamovian appears to derive from 12th century Middle High German, with a strong influence from Low German, Dutch, Frisian, Polish and Old English. The inhabitants of Wilamowice are thought to be descendants of German, Dutch and Scottish settlers who arrived in Poland in the 13th century. However, the inhabitants of Wilamowice always denied any connections with Germany and proclaimed their Dutch origins.

MareGaea 29 | 2,752
28 Aug 2010 #2
So you see, the Dutch are everywhere :)


M-G (even in PL!)
OP McCoy 27 | 1,269
28 Aug 2010 #3
Dutch are everywhere
Softsong 5 | 495
16 Oct 2010 #4
Turns out my "so-called" Germans are also mainly Frisian, Dutch and Flemish. They were from the Russian partition, but had been in the Gdańsk area and moved down the Vistula. They were invited to Poland by the nobles to help reclaim swampy land. They were first subjects of Prussia, then Poland and then Russia.

Their language was similar to this one. Like Vilamovian, it is also almost a dead language. It was called Niederung Platt and it turns out that when they were expelled to Germany, they could understand the Flemish housekeeper perfectly. They no longer had their records from 300 years back, but the oral history said they were of Dutch origins. I really enjoy learning about languages and how they developed. Thanks for posting.
jonni 16 | 2,485
16 Oct 2010 #5
Check out the SEARCH function - there have been three of four threads on wymysorys, one of them very recently.

One interesting thing is that it's supposed to be mutually intelligible with NE Scots dialects.
Softsong 5 | 495
16 Oct 2010 #6
Really? Had not seen those threads, but did notice this one.

So, I am happy McCoy posted. Maybe they will merge them someday. :-)

Yes, I was surprised to also learn that that Scot dialect is also I believe a low German derivative. There was so much trade going on between all these areas and the low German language of the Hanseatic Trade League was used a lot like English is today.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
12 Jan 2021 #7
I found this video a while ago - it's of a presumably native speaker speaking, and I can barely understand a word he says.

It's fascinating - if I didn't know better, I'd assume it was Dutch or Swiss German!

Has anyone been to Wilamowice/Wymysoü?
pawian 178 | 15,909
12 Jan 2021 #8
and I can barely understand a word he says.

Yes, it is Dutch to me. it was like listening to a Turkish sermon.
Lyzko 30 | 7,505
12 Jan 2021 #9
An old saying goes something like this, "Good butter and good cheese is good English and good Fries". While I've no tangible personal knowledge of the language which is the topic of this thread, linguists have theorized that modern West Frisian, still spoken in sections of Northern Germany, is the closest extant tongue to present-day English.
LostSoul 3 | 84
26 Jan 2021 #10
Bumpity bump, because I wish I could speak Vilamovian. I don't know, where is the proper dictionary for such language. Can someone please help me with it?
jon357 67 | 16,825
26 Jan 2021 #11
I wish I could speak Vilamovian

Wymysorys? Sadly you'd not find many people to speak it with.

Here's a basic dictionary:ózef_Gara_-_Słownik_języka_wilamowskiego.pdf

Are you a polyglot? How many do you speak?

There's also Hałcnowski if you're good with languages.
LostSoul 3 | 84
26 Jan 2021 #12
I'm pretty awful at speaking languages, but I speak Polish, English and Esperanto fluently. I took French in junior high school and I know a little German and I can understand Russian. I talked with a couple of friends from Czechia in Czech. But honestly, I'm pretty bad at grammar.

I'm devaluating myself in this, though. I'm just afraid of complex grammar in any language. Polish is complex enough to me, even a torture.
jon357 67 | 16,825
26 Jan 2021 #13
complex grammar

No grammar (of an Indo-European language) is especially complex; just concentrate on communication rather than precision and any grammar point that you're uncomfortable with will come in time. Besides, some (many) people are 'creative' about the grammar of even their first language so you shouldn't worry too much.

Wymysorys is a rural dialect. I doubt that the handful of elderly villagers who grew up speaking it ever worried too much about grammar.
LostSoul 3 | 84
26 Jan 2021 #14
I'm not worried, I was seeking some advice, to be honest. I could learn any language I wanted, I just gotta have some proper resources that allow me to do that.

Besides, I won't learn million languages a day, even though I always wanted to...
jon357 67 | 16,825
26 Jan 2021 #15
proper resources that allow me to do that.

For Wymysorys, your best option is to contact the UJ.
Lyzko 30 | 7,505
26 Jan 2021 #16
@jon, spot on! Fluency overrides accuracy for most practical purposes.
jon357 67 | 16,825
26 Jan 2021 #17
When learning, it's more or less essential.

And in Wymysorys, there's barely a written language or more than a few rural speakers.
Lyzko 30 | 7,505
27 Jan 2021 #18
Sounds rather much Manx or Cornish then, doesn't it.
jon357 67 | 16,825
27 Jan 2021 #19
Manx or Cornish

They're a step further down the line. Wymysorys is a moribund language with only a tiny handful of (largely uneducated) native speakers, Manx and Cornish lost their last native speakers many years ago and the only people who speak it are educated people trying to revive it.

Perhaps Wymysorys can be saved before it gets to that stage, perhaps it can't. I hope it can.

The future doesn't look bright for Hałcnowski either.
Lyzko 30 | 7,505
27 Jan 2021 #20
Latin as well is considered a "dead" language, by all save the Holy See.
jon357 67 | 16,825
27 Jan 2021 #21
the Holy See.

They use it, there are people who speak it as a hobby, however it isn't tied to any given place and of course was a lingua franca. Even the city of Rome in the peak of classical times spoke mostly Greek for day to day use!

Wymysorys will last as a living language only as long as its last native speaker. Unless something is done quickly, and even then it's probably too late. Sadly it's one of many moribund languages.
Lyzko 30 | 7,505
27 Jan 2021 #22
Wonder how Sorbian aka Wendish or Kashub fit into the ever debated category of moribund vs. living languages.
jon357 67 | 16,825
27 Jan 2021 #23
Wendish or Kashub

Both are in a healthier state.
Lyzko 30 | 7,505
27 Jan 2021 #24
Good to know. Trust Lusatian too is alive and well:-)

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