The Sūdovian language belongs to the Indo-European linguistic family. It is a branch of the Baltic group of languages. Of this group, the Lithuanian and Latvian languages are more well known. Together with Old Prussian they share an extraordinarily archaic lexicon. Sūdovian is therefore also of first-rate significance for Indo-European linguistic studies.
The Western Balts were a polyethnic, polyphyletic mix of TRB, Funnel Beaker, Globular Amphora Centum speakers, and Corded Ware Satem peoples on a Neolithic Nemunas and Narva substratum population - that also included Comb-Pit Ware coastal Uralics. The Middle Dnieper Repin contribution to poly-ethnic Globular Amphora is reflected by Tocharian / Germanic proclivities, and the Centum Globular Amphora substratum ( "GAs " ) contribution to the Baltic languages ( klau- / šlav- ) and their lexicons ( peku ).
Perkūnas acquired an "alpine" velar plosive from poly-ethnic "GAs" assimilation and their beliefs around five thousand years ago. The study of Baltic languages thus provides a unique window for Tocharian / Proto-Germanic investigations. The Corded Ware Satem newcomers themselves were also a mix of Sredny Stog Satems and late Tripolye folk on a Dnieper-Donets substratum. The I.E. Satems, in turn, were descendants of Eurasian nomads and North Caucasian (R1) folk. A "Heinz 57" of ethnic lineages, so to speak.
Recent scholarship has highlighted the Sūdovian linguistic influence in the 2nd and 3rd Old Prussian Catechisms, which were also produced for the many exiled endogamic Sūdovians in Sembia. The Preface to the First Old Prussian Catechism of 1545 comments that the Sūdovians sound more "rustic" than the Prussians & understand all words.
The account of Hieronymus Meletius', Warhafftige Beschreibung der Sudawen auff
Samland sambt ihren Bock heyligen und Ceremonien (True Description of the
Sūdovians in Samland along with their goat sanctifications and ceremonies) that came out
in two editions (mid 16th century) contained a few phrases or sentences from
Sūdovian endogamic enclave as well.
Kails naussen gnigethe.
Kellewesze perioth, Kellewesze perioth.
Ocho Moy myle schwante Panike.
Beigeite beygeyte peckolle.
Kails poskails ains par antres.
There is also the wealth of regional toponyms, hydronyms, and accented vocabulary preserved for us by those that remained in their homeland, and survived. This lexicon draws from all those historical and authentic regional sources. Assertions by a few that there are no records of the Sūdovian language are evidently baseless.
Around the 9-10th century ( circa 854 ), the Sūdovian-Dainavian territory witnessed the arrival of more Varangian ( < Old Norse: Væringi ) Viking-Rus' river trade, and a few settlements ( re: Indura -Vawkavysk, Belarus, etc. ) of distinctly Norse cultural character around the Grodno-Vawkavysk region - affiliated with the Viking trade posts of Kaup ( < Old Gutnish Kaup-ung, aka "Gintijar" in Arabic ) Wiskiauten, Irzekapinis, Linkuhnen, Bogeviken, and others, including the Franopol, Belarus Vikings - along the Nemunas river ( Gintaras-Amber ) trade route to Byzantium, far to the South.
Excavations indicate the Norsemen dispersed and / or assimilated in with locals of rank ( a common Viking custom ), sometime around the 10th-11th centuries. The Byzantine Treaty of Kiev prince Igor ( Ingvarr - ᛁᚾᚴᚢᛅᚱ ) in 944-945 notes among the Rus' ambassadors ( Grk. Ρως ) a Ӕтьвѧгъ Гунаревъ, "Játvįg' for Gunnar". [* spelling note > J = Y ] . Ρως ? Játvįg(r) ? Gunnarr ? ᛁᛅᛏᚢᛁᚴᚱ ? Uh-oh.
The Grodno [ C + Ͻ ] Ulfberht
Type Y Sword
The Norse Rus' ᛁᛅᛏᚢᛁᚴᛋ ᚱᚢᛋᛗᛖᚾᚾ of their Varangian leader "Játvígr" ( Old Norse gen. sg. "Játvígs > Játvįgs Róss-menn ( Lið ) > Jātvings " ) would influence those known later as "Яцвягi ", or "Jotvingiai", just as the by now poly-ethnic mixed Balt & Slav locals influenced them. Bilingualism was a key necessity for profitable trade. The "nasal infixation" ( -ígs / -īgs > -įgs > -ings ) of the Old Norse original reflects close early contacts with local Dainavians-Sūdovians, for whom the ubiquitous trademark "nasal -ing-" suffix was indeed highly productive ( re: Aps-ingis, Zietela "Rus-ingis", etc ) and is thus non-problematic - and in fact, rather insightful for it's "nasal" affectation of the local Balts. With the peculiar parallel nominative-genitive masc. singular ( re: Wilkaskaymen ) of West Baltic dialects, it it easy to see how an original genitive Játvígs Róss-menn ( Liðsmenn - Družīna - Sėbrija ) from Old Norse becomes assimilated as a poly-ethnic West Baltic nominative/genitive Jātvings. "Jotvings". ᛁᛅᛏᚢᛁᚴᛋ Voilà!
As convenient as that all sounds, it should be noted that the ubiquitous modern Lithuanian "Jotvingis" term itself is a recent theoretical neologism from the middle 1920's. Opps. This "Jotvingis" neologism coined in the 20's was derived solely from various Rhōs affiliated, & historical Rus' era, Slavic labels of a prior millennium. Játvígr ( ᛁᛅᛏᚢᛁᚴᚱ ) may have been a Rhōs / Liðs Foringi ( ᛚᛁᛋ ᛫ ᚡᚬᚱᚢᚾᚴᛁ / Crew Leader ), or perhaps related to a Járl ( Gunnar? ) of Bogeviken or Garðariki-Austrvegr.
Centuries of multi-cultural commingling between West Balts & Scandinavians are also reflected at other trade settlements like Saeborg-Grobina, Truso, Linkuhnen, or Kaup / Wiskiauten ( aka "Gintijar" ) & Bogeviken. PI Z alleles and S alleles in the Courland ( Kurland ) region of Latvia ( Beckman L. et al, 1999 ) mirror cultural blending of Grobina artifacts, as does LWb in Gotland. To the West Balts resisting the encroachment of the Kiev Rus' of Vladimir's era, and later Crusaders, these assimilated mixed Norse-Balt poly-ethnic descendants were already "one of us". They had names, alright - just like everyone else did. They were neighbors, brothers, kin - literally. They still are.
The "Pagan dialects from Narew" glossary of Zinkevičius ( 1984, 1985, 1992 ) may require a reanalysis from an Old Norse perspective, given some unexpected new DNA evidence from Sūduva, and regional Norse artifacts of the 10th-11th century connected to Gotland. The "Játvįg(r) for Gunnarr " of 944-945 invites such a fresh, qualified approach. Guti / Guti ( Gotlander ). Kałdi / kalði ? A Zietela dialect word "pamarkas"-accursed, is probably a legacy of an assimilated bilingual Viking relic term from the Old Norse "morkinn"- putrid, rotten, like the Scots English "murkle" reproach.
No traces of any
hypothetical Baltic hydronym *Jāt-vā
have ever been found to this day.
None. Nada, ... Zip. Yet there is still a
Yatvyagi town in the Ukraine, located in Lviv
oblast & Mostyskyi raion. GPS coordinates for the town are N
49.65700 E 23.21733. Two other places in the Lviv area shared the
same Yatvyagi name ( 49°43'0"
N 23°29'0" E ). (
p.74 ) And there are still
Yatvez' towns in the Belarus, & Poland. Perhaps
Nethimer of St. Bruno of Querfurt was someone named
The beginning of the Russian Primary Chronicle lists many tribes that pay
tribute to the Rus'. The Yotvingians are conspicuously absent from that
These poly-ethnic assimilated Norse ᛁᛅᛏᚢᛁᚴᛋ ᚱᚢᛋᛗᛖᚾᚾ - Játvįgs Liðar, or Játvígr's Rus' & Varangians by the Nemunas river would acquire the local West Baltic language of Dainavians and Sūdovians within a few generations - if not sooner. Bilingualism is a key necessity of cross cultural traders ( O.N. farmenn ). Soon, they all became united as one nation, defending their homes & loved ones from external "foreign" threats. Ethnic identities shifted with that unification. They fought together side by side, as brothers - just as Tatars did with Lithuanians. It was the era of seemingly unending Crusades, one after another, after another. Their individual sacrifices are why many of us are still here. Runais teisingai. Honor them!
Why did the Sūdovians, Dainavians, or Yotvingians "vanish"? For the same reason the
Anasazi in the American Southwest "vanished".
It is the fiction of utterly incompetent Academics - defending the fictitious
lies of a powerful Church and their waning reputations.
It never, ever happened.
The myth of Terra Nullius was merely historical propaganda - a Lie, justifying Papal conquests and atrocities in both the Old and New World. The new science of < DNA > has exposed those Lies as merely fiction. A census by the Orthodox clergy of the Belarus Grodno area in 1860 had as many as 30,929 inhabitants identifying themselves as Yatviags ( Яцвягаў - GDL descendants). Today, Sūduva is officially called "Suvalkija", as an acquiescence to protect the old Lie of the powerful, and it's related propaganda. More nonsense. But simpletons believe this nonsense. Even still to this very day!
The old East Baltic Ural component of later Vedic language and culture, which the author contends is evident in Vedic words such as "dhēnā" (Baltic "daina") or "rathas" (E. Baltic "ratas ") will be better understood using a wide variety of Baltic language resources. The archaeological data ( Mochalov O.D. 2001-2 ) of the integrated poly-ethnic Balanovo / Abashevo / Sintashta / Arkaim cultures by the Urals supports his proposal, as do reports of R1a1a Z280 & M458 from Eurasia which now being documented. The author notes Vedic Sanskrit also borrowed "Soma" (entheogen "Amanita muscaria"), from the native Uralic word for a "hewn wooden mortar-bowl" used in production of the Soma drink. (re: mtDNA haplogroups U4, T1) Saule is still a common Kazak girl's name - meaning "Sunny". The conduit for this Ural bilingualism were the Balanovo Balts. Balts to this day still partake dried Amanita muscaria with milk & honey, as they have done for well over four thousand years. It is "Senasis Takas" (The Ancient Way).
Studies in various languages (Proto Indo-European, Proto Baltic, Proto West-Baltic, Proto Slavic, Proto Germanic, Hittite, Old Indic / Sanskrit, Old Persian / Avestan, Celtic, Old Norse / Icelandic, Old Armenian, Khotanese Saka , Old Sogdian, Yagnobi, Tokharian, Albanian, Dacian, Thracian, Gypsy, Old Church Slavic, Old Russian, Belorussian, Old Lithuanian, Curonian, Samogitian, Estonian Finnic, Turkic, Nostratic, etc,...) will be enriched by the lexical treasures Sūdovian has to offer.
Historical forces almost exterminated the various West-Baltic dialects. Today, the Prussian language is enjoying a revival primarily due to the exceptional scholarship of the late great Prof. Vytautas Mažiulis and Prof. Letas Palmaitis. Perhaps the Sūdovian language (known also by the names język jaćwiński, яцьвяжская мова) will fare as well.
Sūdovian, aka "Yotvingian", vocabulary, terminology, and accentuation has a natural continuum in current dialects of their lineal descendants in Lithuania, Belarus, and Poland. Sūdovian, aka "Yotvingian", is resting, not dead. Of those whom have inherited it, some may choose to use it more. It is a recognized indigenous cultural right and choice they may freely make for themselves. It is a genuine indigenous continuum of our culture.
By including just the one word greeting "Kails", the Lithuanian, Polish, and Belarusian inhabitants of the old Sūdovian, Dainavian, & Yotvingian area may transcend petty ethnic, political, and religious differences and instantly re-affirm a long forgotten unity they still share with each other. DNA does not lie. People lie. It can minimize the petty modern neo-tribalism of politics, superficial ethnicity, language, and religious dogmas. "Kails" re-affirms that we are all One - with each other, and with the Earth we share.
This small lexicon (Слоўнік) is a memorial to the Holocaust of the Sūdovians, Dainavians, & Yotvingians - the descendants of which, having mixed in ( as area dialects & genetics reveal ), still walk and inhabit this present world. A new ( re: A.С. Кибинь below ), rational etymology of "Jotvingis", now rescued from the tunnel vision of a provincially inert ethnocentrism, can finally be derived from the Dainavian influenced Old Norse root of a West Norse Játvígr "lucky spear" ( poetic Heiti for "Lucky-Victor" ) Varangian leader of ᛁᛅᛏᚢᛁᚴᛋ ᚱᚢᛋᛗᛖᚾᚾ ( Játvįgs Rhós / Játvįgai ), Játvígr's Rus' & Varangians.
( 983 ) Иде Володїмиръ на Ӕтвѧгы . и взѧ землю ихъ .
Vladimir went against Játvígs Rus', and took their territory ( land ).
( with it's strategic Nemunas river access to lucrative Baltic Sea Viking trade with Bogeviken )
The Belarusian Vawkavysk dialect Yatvez' [ * also spelled Jatvez' ] "Anchor" ( ᛎ ) term obtusely connects the Norse Rus' Viking pendants & other Scandinavian relics from Gotland unearthed in that "Black Russian" region to the original Yotvingians - who initially spoke the Old Norse ( Greek "Ρωσιστί" ) of Varangians. Nobody " vanished ". ᛁᛅᛏᚢᛁᚴᚱ ? Gunnarr ? ᚴᚢᚾᛅᚱ ! Get real. "When in doubt, tell the truth" - Mark Twain.
Sūdovian was the language of immense forests, long rivers, and the friendly people of Sūduva. It is surviving. It is waking.
...select next topic from Contents
- Joseph Pashka
Virdainas - U.S.A.
All Rights Reserved
* For more about a Norse Rus' Yatviag / Yotvingian etymology, see:
Кибинь A.С. Ятвяги в X-XI вв.: « балтское племя » или « береговое братство »?
// Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana. 2008. № 2(4). С.117-132.
A special "Thank You" to
M. Gorska &
for protecting the Jaćwież lands from desecration.
For use by
We Shall Remain.
United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples