AHC Alternate or Surviving Languages

Formosan Japanese (Takasago-ben, 高砂弁)

Official Language: Although the main Japanese dialect spoken in Chukyo [1] is used as a secondary official language along with Selduongese and Ryukyuan in the Portuguese Overseas Province of Formosa, the island's local Japanese dialect is still widely spoken today.
Language Family: Japonic -> Japanese -> Kyushu Japanese -> Hichiku Japanese -> Nagasaki and Saga dialects -> Formosan subdialect
Region: 12.5 million speakers, mostly in Nova Beira (Formosa north of the Tejinho River) and the city of Takao in Novo Alentejo with diaspora populations in Brazil, Terrastralia, Cabo and Portugal and a large community of returnees to Japan (mostly around big cities such as Chukyo, Edo, Osaka and Fukuoka as well as in Nagasaki and Saga, where most of the Formosan Japanese have there ancestries from)
Writing Script: Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji
Loan Words: 45% Portuguese, 35% Seludongese [2], 15% various indigenous Formosan languages, 5% Ryukyuan
History: The Oda clan unites Japan in this scenario, leading to Japan having a significant 30% Catholic minority (mostly around Kyushu, Chugoku and Tohoku). Catholics from Hizen province in Kyushu begin to seek refuge in the island of the Formosa in the late 16th century to escape persecution by the Buddhist establishment during the Sengoku period, where the Portuguese had just established its presence there as a key island for Nanban trade in a world where Portugal remains a key European player in the East Indies and East Asia. Although Catholicism is tolerated within the Oda Bakufu's lands after unifying the country, most of the Japanese Catholics who fled to Formosa decided to stay, leading to a Lusified Japanese culture in the island that is distinct from Japan's home islands and interacting and intermarrying with Catholic migrants from Celudão (Portuguese Luzon TTL) in the southern region of Novo Alentejo.

There are multiple Formosan Japanese dialects, with the main dialect spoken in the capital of São Domingos and the nearby city of Nancão resembling the dialect spoken in Nagasaki due to most of their inhabitants having descended from migrants from Nagasaki, while the dialect spoken in Nova Aveiro resemble the dialect spoken in Saga due to most of its inhabitants having their roots there. Due to the amount of foreign loanwords, Formosa's Japanese dialect is often seen by many Japanese in the home islands as a dialect of rednecks, even by many Japanese Catholics.

[1] Nagoya is Japan's TTL capital in this Oda Shogunate scenario.
[2] Kapampangan with Significant Portuguese and Javanese influences, as well as some Japanese, Tagalog, Ilocano and Pangasinan influences, based on the old language of the Kingdom of Tondo and the remnants of the Majapahit Empire
 
Last edited:
Ah, I was wondering where this old chestnut went.
In the spirit of the Map, Flag, and CoA threads, put forth basic summaries of Alternate Languages in a wikipedia-esque format.

For example:

Hindustani
  • Spoken in
    • India, Europe, Americas, Oceania
  • Region
    • Gangetic Plain (first language)
    • Bengal, Transbengal, Deccan, Punjab, Lower Pushtunistan, Sind (common second language)
    • Great Britain, Dutch Antillies, Fiji (major immigrant communities)
  • Total speakers ca. 250 million in 2000
  • Language family
    • Indo-European
      • Indo-Iranian
        • Indo-Aryan
          • Central zone
            • Western Hindi
              • Hindustani
  • Standard forms:
    • Bureaucratic Hindustani (official)
    • Capital Hindustani (most common)
    • Temple Hindi
    • Northern (Poetic or Court) Urdu
    • Dakhini Urdu
  • Writing system
    • Devanagari script
    • Nasta'liq script
    • Roman script
Official status
  • Official language in
    • Imperial Dominion of India
  • Regulated by
    • Imperial Department of Official Language
    • Civil Service Guidebook of Transliteration and Orthography
Language codes
  • ISO 639-1 hi
  • ISO 639-2 hin
  • ISO 639-3 hin
Not so much a surviving language as one that avoided a top-level split.
 
Language: Graeco-Galatian
Official Language: Kingdom of Galatia
Region: Greece and Western Anatolia
Family: Indo-European -> Celtic -> Gaulish -> Galatian -> Graeco-Galatian
Writing Script: Greek
Loan Words: 34% Greek
History: Galatia Wins the Galatian war against the roman republic and Pergamon and then sides with the seleucids and invades Greece. Seleucids agree to hand over part of their anatolian territory in exchange for most of the greek population in anatolia and mainland greece. The Seleucids Re-settle the population in the zagros mountains and persia.
The Galatians Grow Their population and mix with the remaining greeks and a new celtic language is created with greek loan words and greek writing system and the galatians survive
 
Last edited:
Language: Hebrew-Latin
Official Language: Roman Empire
Region: Roman Empire
Family: Indo-European -> Italic -> Latino-Faliscan -> Latin -> Hebrew-Latin
Writing Script: Hebrew and Latin although Hebrew writing script is used more and encouraged
Loan Words: 35% Hebrew
History: Jews win the Kitos war and a jew becomes the roman emperor and start judaising the roman empire eventually a new language forms in the new Roman Empire with more jewish loan words and characteristics
 
Language (well, technically a dialect, but its so distinct...): Courtly Russian
Official Language: Language of Court in the Russian Empire
Region: Russian Empire (mostly St Petersburg and the Gulf of Finland)
Family: Indo-European > Balto-Slavic > Slavic > East Slavic > Russian> Courtly Russian
Writing Script: Cyrilic and Chinese Characters, with Cyrilic of a mixture of the two being the most common
Loan Words: 32% Mandarin Chinese and 7% Finnish
History: Basically, the result of a surviving Shun Dynasty results in a chinese prince becoming Emperor of Russia through inheritance and bringing many chinese words and customs to the Russian Court, while his daughter and successor ended up adding some Finnish bits due to her own fondness for them (basically those two posts I made on the 5th Wikipedia Infobox thread: https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/alternate-wikipedia-infoboxes-v-do-not-post-current-politics-here.430177/page-493#post-20657689 https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/alternate-wikipedia-infoboxes-v-do-not-post-current-politics-here.430177/page-494#post-20663198)
 
The original Bulgar language surviving would be cool to see.

And here is one I bet few would have thought about:
Fenya (Russian: феня, IPA: [ˈfʲenʲə]) or fenka (Russian: фенька, IPA: [ˈfʲenʲkə]) is a Russian cant language used among criminals. Originally it was a cryptolanguage of ofenyas or ofenes, old Russian peddlers, and had a number of names... The original fenya consisted of broken Russian words borrowed from Greek and other foreign languages... The vocabulary changed over time, with notable infusion of words of Yiddish origin.[1] During the times of the Soviet Union fenya penetrated into common spoken Russian and can no longer be considered cryptic, although it is still commonly associated with those who have connections to the Russian criminal culture or who have spent a significant amount of time incarcerated.

A number of explanations for this phenomenon are suggested. For one, a significant part of the population, not necessarily criminals, went through labor camps, and massive indiscriminate amnesties after the death of Joseph Stalin resulted in a penetration of the subculture of convicts into everyday life in the form of a shock wave.[2] Particularly, many writers, poets, and journalists who had been arrested began to use fenya in their work after release. Another reason comes from the fact that criminal life was romanticized in popular culture: for example, in the form of "blatnaya song". Few "common" Russians possess a complete or even complex understanding of fenya and fewer still - for various reasons - will admit to it.

Fenya influences Russian culture in different ways.
In particular, a whole subgenre of Russian humour exists, in which a known tale, such as Romeo and Juliet or a popular Russian fairy tale is cast into fenya.
It would be interesting to speculate on the development of Russian language & culture in, say, a surviving Tsarist Empire TL or some other situation where mass incarcerations of the 20th century in the region are avoided so Russian language goes down one trajectory while Fenya remains a cryptic & coded thieves language.
Language (well, technically a dialect, but its so distinct...): Courtly Russian
Official Language: Language of Court in the Russian Empire
Region: Russian Empire (mostly St Petersburg and the Gulf of Finland)
Family: Indo-European > Balto-Slavic > Slavic > East Slavic > Russian> Courtly Russian
Writing Script: Cyrilic and Chinese Characters, with Cyrilic of a mixture of the two being the most common
Loan Words: 32% Mandarin Chinese and 7% Finnish
History: Basically, the result of a surviving Shun Dynasty results in a chinese prince becoming Emperor of Russia through inheritance and bringing many chinese words and customs to the Russian Court, while his daughter and successor ended up adding some Finnish bits due to her own fondness for them (basically those two posts I made on the 5th Wikipedia Infobox thread: https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/alternate-wikipedia-infoboxes-v-do-not-post-current-politics-here.430177/page-493#post-20657689 https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/alternate-wikipedia-infoboxes-v-do-not-post-current-politics-here.430177/page-494#post-20663198)
Eh, it would be hard to make “Courtly Russian” a mixture of Russian & Mandarin with a 18th century POD since at the time most Russian nobles conversed in French & not Russian.

(Apparently there are even accounts of Russian officers being attacked by their own countrymen during the Napoleonic War because the aristocrats spoke the Russian language with a heavy French accent and were mistaken for enemy combatants)

EDIT: fixed spelling errors.
 
Last edited:
Language: Ptolemaic Greek
Official Language: Ptolemaic Kingdom of Greater Egypt
Region: Egypt Levant Cyrenaica Nubia and Armenia
Language Family: Indo-European -> Hellenic -> Greek -> Attic-Ionic -> Koine Greek -> Ptolemaic Greek
Writing Script: Greek Alphabet and Egyptian Demotic
Loan words: 35% egyptian 6% Latin
History: Ptolemaic Egypt wins the battle of actium and thus survives and expands eventually hellenization of new territories and upper egypt occurs and thus a new language forms
 
Eh, it would be hard to make “Courtly Russian” a mixture of Russian & Mandarin with a 18th century POD since at the time most Russian nobles conversed in French & not Russian.
Thinking more about it, another interesting situation might be if the use of the French language by the Russian nobility continues indefinitely and diverts from standard French to become its own dialect akin to Québécois or Louisiana French. Not sure how this could be achieved since dialects like Québécois developed as a result of isolation from metropolitan French whereas Russian aristocrats weren’t isolated from European French & (I imagine) took pride in speaking “proper” French. Maybe if there is some sort of “reverse Cold War situation” where radical republicans take over France and dictate significant changes to the French language for political-ideological reasons but Russia remains monarchist and the French-speaking nobles refuse to acknowledge the changes done in France?
 
Language: Nîwe Anglisc
Official Language: The New England region of the Federal Socialist Republic of Russia
Region: Primarily the Crimean Peninsula, but with New English speakers spread throughout the northeastern coast of the Black Sea and a few settlements in northern Anatolia
Language Family: Indo-European -> Germanic -> West Germanic -> Anglo-Frisian -> Nîwe Anglisc
Writing Script: Typically Cyrillic, but Latin and Greek alphabet variants are not uncommon
Loan Words: 27% Russian, 6% Greek, 2% other languages
History: The New England colony set up by Anglo-Saxons fleeing William the Conqueror is actually incredibly successful. Additionally, Genghis Khan never rises to power, but that's just a mostly-irrelevant fun fact.
 
Last edited:
Thinking more about it, another interesting situation might be if the use of the French language by the Russian nobility continues indefinitely and diverts from standard French to become its own dialect akin to Québécois or Louisiana French.
Old-style French left behind by lenguistic developments in Paris? Sure!

Language: Salibi
Official Language: None. Recognized minority language in the Kingdom of Syria
Region: Roughly ~1500 L1 speakers of related dialects in scattered rural Levantine hamlets.
Language Family: Indo-European -> Italic -> Romance -> Western -> Gallo-Romance -> Gallo-Rhaetian -> Oïl -> Salibi
Writing Script: Latin Alphabet (use of Arabic script is not unknown but traditionally frowned upon
Loan words: < 20% Arabic, 5% Modern French & Italian
History: Settlers in the backwaters of the Crusader Kingdoms were overlooked during their fall, and stubbornly retained their identity and faith (pre-Lyon I rite Latin Christianity). There was considerable dispute over whether their speech was a creole or even badly-learned near-contemporary French when 19th century European scholars stumbled across it, but extensive studies have confirmed a number of preserved archaisms.

But closer to what you are likely looking for

Language: Osmani
Official Language: Free City of Salonika (alongside Ladino and Greek)
Region: Minority language in Northern Aegean & southern Macedonia. Dialect continuum with 'Republican' Turkish in Thrace.
Language Family: Turkic -> Shaz -> Oghuz -> Osmani
Writing Script: Perso-Arabic. Adaptations of the Turkish Republic's Latin orthography has become more common as relations improve, but remains officially discouraged.
Loan words: ~50% Perso-Arabic, 5% Greek, 2% Ladino.
History: When the Sephardic Jewish plurality of Salonika stood off both Greek and Bulgarian forces during the Balkan Wars they did so in the name of the Ottoman Emperor, refusing the join the Young Turk led regime and using their comparative isolation (and Royal Navy assistance, but few like to discuss that part) to establish independence. It served as a natural refuge for the Ottoman house and certain other anti-Ataturk factions.
 
Afro-Romance
Official Language of: Empire of Africa
Language Family: Romance
Writing Script: Latin
Loan Words 10% Vandalic. 10% Berber

History: Gregory the Patrician wins the Battle of Sufetula and uses his success from that to turn the Exarchate into an Empire by pushing the Arabs back east of Cyrenaica.
The crazy thing about this comment is that this is part of my timeline that I've been writing.
Also
New world Greek
Official language: Florida, Georgia, Caribbean
Language family: Indo-European>>hellenic>> new world Greek
Basically there's a mass migration of Greeks to the new world to escape ottoman domination and they leave a lasting influence in the aforementioned states like how France has left major influence in Louisiana and Canada
 
Language: Macedonian
Official Language: Western Roman Kingdom
Region: Northern Greece
Family: Indo-European -> Italic -> Latino-Faliscan -> Latin -> Macedonian
Writing Script: Greek alphabet
Loan Words: 20% greek 20% gothic
History: Belisarius Accepts gothic offer of becoming western roman emperor and then justinian accepts him being co emperor and gives him northern greece
justinian focuses on conquering eastern lands such as mesopotamia and the zagros mountains region
Belisarius Romanises Northern Greece and invites settlers from roman italy and some goths and eventually a romance language is formed
 
Reading through this thread, I'd like to see these ideas made into full-fledged TLs. Not as traditional timelines, but instead focused on the languages themselves (spelling, grammar, vocabulary, evolution, etc.). I know this isn't a conlang site, but does anyone know of any examples of what I'm talking about? To my knowledge, that hasn't been done on this site before.
 
Around the time of the Crusades, a Georgian ruler invites a large body of Frankish mercenaries to settle in areas depopulated by Turkish raids. They are given land there, as well as local wives (including some widows and such); in exchange each household has to provide one fighting man whenever called upon.

In the long term, this leads to either a highly Georgianized dialect of French or Gallicized dialect of Georgian.
 
Reading through this thread, I'd like to see these ideas made into full-fledged TLs. Not as traditional timelines, but instead focused on the languages themselves (spelling, grammar, vocabulary, evolution, etc.). I know this isn't a conlang site, but does anyone know of any examples of what I'm talking about? To my knowledge, that hasn't been done on this site before.
conlangs for alternate histories are very intresting although we dont know every language and what was written so they may not be perfect
 
Language: Salagian
Official Language:Confederation of Salagia
Region: Southeastern Sylvania (OTL Kentucky, with parts of the Carolinas, the Virginias, Georgia, Alabama)
Language Family: Indo-European -> Italic -> Romance -> Western -> Sylvano-Romance -> Salagian
Writing Script: Latin Alphabet
Loan words: Many from Old Salagian and other pre-conquest Native Sylvanian languages.
History: Rome survived long enough to discover and extensively colonize Sylvania (OTL North America) before eventually falling. Romanized native elites filled the power vacuum left by the Empire's collapse.
 
Reading through this thread, I'd like to see these ideas made into full-fledged TLs. Not as traditional timelines, but instead focused on the languages themselves (spelling, grammar, vocabulary, evolution, etc.). I know this isn't a conlang site, but does anyone know of any examples of what I'm talking about? To my knowledge, that hasn't been done on this site before.
I don't know about anything like that on this site, but Ill Bethisad has a lot of stuff about language. Not necessarily realistic (its most famous conlangs take Vulgar Latin and apply sound changes from Welsh and Polish, respectively), but it is interesting.
 
Modern Gaulish

Official Language:
France (OTL: north, central and southeast langue d'oïl regions, Lyonnais and Auvergne), Gothia (OTL: Poitou, Charente, Dordogne and Limousin), Canada (OTL: Quebec, Northern Ontario, Acadia) and Gaulish East Africa[*] (OTL: Seychelles[1], Mascarene[2], Mauritius[3] and Réunion); in the international level: European Union and United Nations.

Regions: Gaul (Western European subregion), northeastern North America and East African islands.

Family: Indo-European -> Celtic -> Continental Celtic -> Gaulish -> Modern Gaulish

Writing System:
Latin alphabet

Loanwords: Minimally detected, as there is a regular tendency to Gallicize loanwords, either phonetically or replacing with neologisms made from Gaulish cognate words.

Explanation/History:
I based it on the argument made by @LSCatilina on this 2011 thread, more probably a mix of first two scenarios; thus, ATL Gallic population in this scenario were bilingual in both urban and rural settings: In the former, they used more Latin, while in the latter, Gaulish was used more often, and the peasants only used the latter. When Christianity was introduced and became widespread in Gaul, the priests who spread the said faith among the population were either descendants of old Gaulish druidic clans or from nearby Britain, particularly from the bilingual rural elite. When the Frankish invasion occured, the urban population fled to the countryside, they now often used Gaulish to communicate with their rural counterparts, thus mirroring the OTL situation of British Romance speakers in Wales; in addition, the new Frankish ruler themselves had been Gallicized as they expanded beyond their homeland.

NOTES:
[*] Madagascar could be included in this scenario.
[1][2][3]More geologically developed than OTL, thus there's a bit of ASB, but that's relatively minimal
 
Last edited:
Language: Persepolitan Greek
Official Language: Empire of Nova Graecia (OTL Acheamenid Empire)
Region: Persepolis and surrounding regions
Language Family: Indo-European -> Hellenic -> Ionic -> Persepolitan Greek
Writing Script: Greek alphabet
Loan Words: 25% Persian
History: The 10.000 greek mercenaries win the Battle of Cunaxa and conquer Acheamenid Persia they then eliminate cyrus the younger and put one of their own as ruler
a period of hellenisation starts the capital persepolis is populated by greeks and in other nearby regions greek cities and settlements are built
 
Top