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Brithenig, Comroig
Created byAndrew Smith
Setting and usageA thought experiment in alternate history, Ill Bethisad, if Latin had replaced the Brittonic languages
SourcesA posteriori Romance language[1] constructed from Vulgar Latin with a Celtic substrate
Language codes
ISO 639-3bzt

Brithenig, or also known as Comroig,[2] is an invented language, or constructed language ("conlang"). It was created as a hobby in 1996 by Andrew Smith from New Zealand, who also invented the alternate history of Ill Bethisad to "explain" it. Officially according to the Ill Bethisad Wiki, Brithenig is classified as a Britanno-Romance language, along with other Romance languages that displaced Celtic.[3]

Brithenig was not developed to be used in the real world, like Esperanto or Interlingua, or to provide detail to a work of fiction, like Klingon from the Star Trek franchise. Rather, Brithenig started as a thought experiment to create a Romance language that might have evolved if Latin had displaced the native Celtic language as the spoken language of the people in Great Britain.

The result is an artificial sister language to French, Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Occitan and Italian which differs from them by having sound-changes similar to those that affected Welsh, and words that are borrowed from the Brittonic languages and from English throughout its pseudo-history. One important distinction between Brithenig and Welsh is that Welsh is P-Celtic, but Latin was a Q-Italic language (as opposed to P-Italic, like Oscan), and the trait was passed onto Brithenig.

Similar efforts to extrapolate Romance languages are Breathanach (influenced by the other branch of Celtic), Judajca (influenced by Hebrew), Þrjótrunn (a non-Ill Bethisad language influenced by Icelandic), Venedic (influenced by Polish), and Xliponian (which experienced a Grimm's law-like sound shift). It has also inspired Wessisc, a hypothetical Germanic language influenced by contact with Old Celtic.

Brithenig was granted the code BZT as part of ISO 639-3.

Andrew Smith was one of the conlangers featured in the exhibit "Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond: The World of Constructed Languages" displayed at the Cleveland Public Library from May through August 2008.[4] Smith's creation of Brithenig was cited as the reason for his inclusion in the exhibit (which also included the Babel Text[5] in Smith's language).


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Brithenig orthography is similar to that of Welsh, except:



Like Welsh and other Celtic languages, initial consonant mutations (cluinediwn, lit. "declensions") in Brithenig is an important feature. There are three mutations: soft (moillad), spirant (solwed), and nasal (naral).

Radical Soft Spirant Nasal
/k, tʃ/
/ɡ, dʒ/
not applicable
not applicable
not applicable

Soft mutation are used with feminine nouns, adjectives, verbs, change in word order, after an adverb, and prepositions di "of, from" and gwo "under". Spirant mutation are used for marking plurals on nouns, adjective, and verbs, but also after prepositions tra "through" and a "to, at", and the conjunction mai "but". Nasal mutation are used after the negative adverb used to negate verbs rhen, and prepositions in "in" and cun "with".

Before a vowel, the prepositions a "to, at" and e "and" irregularly became a-dd and e-dd.

Notation for mutation triggering
Soft -x dix di bedd "of foot"
Spirant -x trax tra phedd "through foot"
Nasal -x cunx cun mhedd "with foot"

Nouns and adjectives

Gender in Brithenig nouns is lexical and unpredictable, as it obscured by historic sound changes. The indefinite article in Brithenig is ynx "one".

Definite articles
Singular Plural
Masculine ill llox
Feminine llax or x

Unlike Welsh with unpredictably-formed plurals, there is no dedicated separate plural suffix for Brithenig, thus, the singular and plural forms are almost always invariable (similar to transnumeral languages such as Indonesian and Korean). Instead, the plural definite article is generally placed before the noun (lla gas, llo chas), but yet there are some exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include the plural of (ill) of "man", (llo) h-on; and some plurals that formed by placing feminine singular definite article before it with spirant lenition (ill bordd, lla fordd).

Dual forms of natural pairs (e.g. arms, legs), however, have their own prefix and formed by prefixing dew- "two" to the nouns. The similar feature also occurs in Breton. Diminutives and augmentatives are derived by suffixing -ith (usual)/-in (affection/collective) and -un, respectively.


Person Nominative Accusative Dative Disjunctive Possessive
Singular 1st eox mi mui mew
2nd tyx ti tui tew
Plural 1st nux nustr
2nd gwx gwstr
Both 3rd m. ysx llo lle sui sew
3rd f. sax or x lla

There is no distinction of numbers in third person, but can be indicated by spirant lenition on succeeding nominals or verbs (before singulars the mutation is not used). Unlike nouns, pronouns are not just inflected for numbers, but also grammatical cases. Like many languages, there are T–V distinction, with ty is used for addressing people that the speaker is familiar with or gods, while Gw is used when speaking to a stranger or a less familiar or more formal acquaintance (with capitals). Before feminine nouns, the succeeding noun(s) exhibit soft mutation, while before plural the noun(s) exhibit spirant mutation. When mutated, ty and ti irregularly becomes dyx to avoid confusion with di "of". Unlike Welsh, Brithenig make fewer use of inflected prepositions, and such prepositions only found in the word cun "with":

Singular Plural
1st person cunmeg cunnusc
2nd person cunneg cungwsc
3rd person cunseg


Similar to Spanish and Portuguese, Brithenig verbs are divided into 3 conjugations according to their infinitive endings: -ar (canhar "to sing"), -er (perdder "to lose"), and -ir (dorfir "to sleep") (note that the final -r are usually silent). Brithenig is a non-null-subject language, that is, it requires pronouns before the verb forms (ys cant "he sings"). Note that the stem's final consonants also undergo lenition, but also unvoiced final stop consonants become voiced in the imperfect, past definite, and subjunctive past plurals; future, and conditional forms (that in verbs like canhar those also undergo mutation as well).

Subjunctive forms nowadays only survive in fixed phrases, like can in Rhufein, ffâ si llo Rhufan ffeigant "when in Rome, do as the Romans do". Also in subjunctive present forms, final vowels are affected by i-affection (except in -ar verbs where it only happen in plural forms):

Unaffected Affected
-a- -ei-
-u- -y-
-aw- -ew-

Regular verbs

infinitive canhar
present participle canhan
past participle canhad
person singular plural
1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
indicative present gant gant cant gant chanhan chanhath chanhant
imperfect ganhaf ganhaf canhaf ganhaf chanafan chanafath chanafant
past definite ganhaf ganhast canhaf ganhaf chanafan chanast chanarent
future ganarai ganara canara ganara chanaran chanarath chanarant
conditional ganarew ganarew canarew ganarew chanarewn chanarewth chanarewnt
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
subjunctive present gant gant cant gant cheinhen cheinheth cheinhent
past ganhas ganhas canhas ganhas chanassen chanasseth chanassent
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
imperative cant (familiar), canhath (formal)
infinitive perdder
present participle perdden
past participle perdded
person singular plural
1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
indicative present berdd berdd perdd berdd pherdden pherddeth pherddent
imperfect berddef berddef perddef pherddef pherddefan pherddefath pherddefant
past definite berddef berddest perddef berddef pherddefan pherddest pherdderent
future berdderai berddera perddera berddera pherdderan pherdderath pherdderant
conditional berdderew berdderew perdderew berdderew pherdderewn pherdderewth pherdderewnt
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
subjunctive present beirdd beirdd peirdd beirdd pheirddan pheirddath pheirddant
past berddes berddes perddes berddes pherddessen pherddesseth pherddessent
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
imperative perdd (familiar), perddeth (formal)
infinitive dorfir
present participle dorfin
past participle dorfid
person singular plural
1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
indicative present ddorf ddorf dorf ddorf ddorfen ddorfith ddorfent
imperfect ddorfif ddorfif dorfif ddorfif ddorfifan ddorfifath ddorfifant
past definite ddorfif ddorfist dorfif ddorfif ddorfifan ddorfist ddorfirent
future ddorfirai ddorfira dorfira ddorfira ddorfiran ddorfirath ddorfirant
conditional ddorfirew ddorfirew dorfirew ddorfirew ddorfirewn ddorfirewth ddorfirewnt
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
subjunctive present ddeirf ddeirf deirf ddeirf ddeirfan ddeirfath ddeirfant
past ddorfis ddorfis dorfis ddorfis ddorfissen ddorfisseth ddorfissent
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
imperative dorf (familiar), dorfith (formal)

Irregular verbs

While the Brithenig conjugation is mostly regular, there are some irregular verbs. In past definite tense, some verbs have s-stem preterite originating from Latin perfect tenses in -x- or -s- (eo ddis from diger "to say" for example):

Singular Plural
1st person ddis ddisen
2nd person ddisist ddisist
3rd person Masculine dis ddisirent
Feminine ddis

In past participles, instead of regular forms, some verbs have irregular participles inherited from Latin supines in -tum (facere, factumfager, faeth "to do"), -sum (claudere, clausumclodder, clos "to close"), or even combinations of them (vidēre, *vistumgwidder, gwist "to see"). Some verbs also have irregular imperative forms, either by lengthening the last vowel and deleting last consonant (only in the case of familiar imperatives, diger, , digeth), or taking forms from subjunctive (saber, seib, seibeth). The verb gweddir "to go", where it comes from Latin vadō but it is not suppleted with other verbs, has irregularities in the present tense: eo wa, tu wa, ys wa, sa wa, nu wan, gw wath, ys/sa want.

Most irregular verbs

Irregular forms are underlined.

Esser "to be"
infinitive esser
present participle essen
past participle ystad
person singular plural
1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
indicative present su es es es sun hes sunt
imperfect er er er er h-eran h-erath h-erant
past definite ffew ffewst ffew ffew ffewns ffewst ffewrent
future serai sera sera sera seran serath serant
conditional serew serew serew serew serewn serewth serewnt
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
subjunctive present sia sia sia sia sian siath siant
past ffews ffews ffews ffews ffewssens ffewsseth ffewssent
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
imperative sia (familiar), siath (formal)
Afer "to have"
infinitive afer
present participle afen
past participle afyd
person singular plural
1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
indicative present ai a a a hafen hafeth hant
imperfect afef afef afef afef h-afefan h-afefath h-afefant
past definite afew afewst afew afew h-afewns h-afewst h-afewrent
future afrai afra afra afra afran afrath afrant
conditional afrew afrew afrew afrew afrewn afrewth afrewnt
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
subjunctive present ai ai ai ai aian aiath aiant
past afews afews afews afews h-afewssens h-afewsseth h-afewssent
eo tu ys sa nu gw ys sa
imperative ai (familiar), aiath (formal)


The default word order in Brithenig is subject–verb–object (SVO), overall syntax is similar to French but unlike Welsh. However, when the verb coexists with an object pronoun the word order changes to subject–object–verb. The word order for yes–no questions is verb–subject–object (gw pharolath Brithenig "you speak Brithenig" vs. parola'gw Frithenig? "are you speaking Brithenig?").[7]


Most of Brithenig's vocabulary is distinctively Romance even though it is disguised as Welsh. This list of 30 words gives an impression of what Brithenig looks like in comparison to nine other Romance languages, including Wenedyk, and to Welsh. The similarity of about one quarter of the Welsh words to Brithenig words (indicated by not being bracketed) is because of their common Indo-European background, but a few others, such as ysgol, were borrowings from Latin into Welsh.

Brithenig compared with Romance and Welsh
English Brithenig Latin Picard Portuguese Galician Spanish Catalan Occitan French Italian Rhaeto-Romance Friulian Romanian Wenedyk Welsh
arm breich brachium bro braço brazo brazo braç braç bras braccio bratsch braç braţ brocz braich
black nîr nĭger, nĭgrum noére preto, negro negro negro negre negre noir nero nair neri negru niegry (du)
city, town ciwdad cīvĭtās, cīvĭtātem ville cidade cidade ciudad ciutat ciutat cité città citad citât oraş, [cetate] czytać (dinas)
death morth mŏrs, mŏrtem mort morte morte muerte mort mòrt mort morte mort muart moarte mroć (marwolaeth)
dog can canis quien cão, cachorro can perro, can gos, ca gos, can chien cane chaun cjan câine kań (ci)
ear origl auris, aurĭcŭla orele orelha orella oreja orella aurelha oreille orecchio ureglia orele ureche urzykła (clust)
egg ew ovum œué ovo ovo huevo ou uòu œuf uovo ov ûf ou ów wy
eye ogl ŏcŭlus oeul olho ollo ojo ull uèlh œil occhio egl voli ochi okieł (llygad)
father padr pater, patrem monpére pai pai padre pare paire père padre bab pari tată poterz (tad)
fire ffog ignis, fŏcus fu fogo lume, fogo fuego foc fuòc feu fuoco fieu fûc foc fok (tân)
fish pisc pĭscis pichon peixe peixe pez, pescado peix peis poisson pesce pesch pes peşte pieszcz pysgodyn
foot pedd pĕs, pĕdem pied pie peu pied piede pe pît picior, [piez] piedź (troed)
friend efig amīcus anmi amigo amigo amigo amic amic ami amico ami amì prieten, amic omik (cyfaill)
green gwirdd vĭrĭdis vert verde verde verde verd verd vert verde verd vert verde wierdzi gwyrdd
horse cafall ĕquus, cabăllus gval cavalo cabalo caballo cavall caval cheval cavallo chaval cjaval cal kawał ceffyl
I eo ĕgo J'/euj eu eu yo jo ieu je io jau jo eu jo (mi)
island ysl īnsŭla ile ilha illa isla illa iscla île isola insla isule insulă izła (ynys)
language, tongue llinghedig, llingw lĭngua lingue língua lingua lengua llengua lenga langue lingua linguatg, lieunga lenghe limbă lęgwa (iaith)
life gwid vīta vie vida vida vida vida vida vie vita vita vite viaţă, [vită] wita (bywyd)
milk llaeth lac, lactis leite leite leche llet lach lait latte latg lat lapte łoc llaeth
name nôn nōmen nom nome nome nombre nom nom nom nome num non nume numię (enw)
night noeth nŏx, nŏctem nuit noite noite noche nit nuèch nuit notte notg gnot noapte noc (nos)
old gwegl vĕtus, vĕtŭlus viu velho vello viejo vell vièlh vieux vecchio vegl vieli vechi wiekły (hen)
school yscol schŏla école escola escola escuela escola escòla école scuola scola scuele şcoală szkoła ysgol
sky cel caelum ciu céu ceo cielo cel cèl ciel cielo tschiel cîl cer czał (awyr)
star ystuil stēlla étoéle estrela estrela estrella estel estela étoile stella staila stele stea ścioła (seren)
tooth dent dēns, dĕntem dint dente dente diente dent dent dent dente dent dint dinte dzięć dant
voice gwg vōx, vōcem voé voz voz voz veu votz voix voce vusch vôs voce, [boace] wucz (llais)
water ag aqua ieu água auga agua aigua aiga eau acqua aua aghe apă jekwa (dŵr)
wind gwent vĕntus vint vento vento viento vent vent vent vento vent vint vânt więt gwynt


The Lord's Prayer:

Nustr Padr, ke sia i llo gel:
sia senghid tew nôn:
gwein tew rheon:
sia ffaeth tew wolont,
syrs lla der sig i llo gel.
Dun nustr pan diwrnal a nu h-eidd;
e pharddun llo nustr phechad a nu,
si nu pharddunan llo nustr phechadur.
E ngheidd rhen di nu in ill temp di drial,
mai llifr nu di'll mal.
Per ill rheon, ill cofaeth e lla leir es ill tew,
per segl e segl. Amen.

See also


  1. ^ Higley, Sarah L. (March 2000). "Audience, Uglossia, and CONLANG: Inventing Languages on the Internet". M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture. 3 (1). para. 18. doi:10.5204/mcj.1827.
  2. ^ "Kemr, land of Brithenig speakers". Archived from the original on 2009-05-20. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Brithenig - IBWiki".
  4. ^ "Esperanto, Elvish, and Beyond". Flickr. 9 May 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-07.
  5. ^ "Babel Text Introduction". Langmarker. Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2009-09-07.
  6. ^ Spirant variant of c- are same to the soft variant when before -e- and -i-.
  7. ^ Note that the second-person plural ending -th was elided before the pronoun gw.