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.
Recent scholarship has suggested 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 on how the two languages are mutually inteligible - that although the Sūdovians sound more "rustic", they understand this Prussian language as it is printed in the Catechism, and they express themselves well & understand all words.
" Vorskaitas "
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 ( Konigsberg 1561 ) contained a few phrases or sentences from
Sūdovian endogamic enclave as well.
( Variant spellings of variant versions available at this
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 the Holocaust of the Crusade against them. This restored Sūdovian-Yotvingian lexicon draws from all those historical and many other authentic regional sources. Errors in the old spelling have been corrected by a direct genetic descendant of a Yotvingian. Assertions by a few Academics that there are no such records of the Sūdovian-Yotvingian language are evidently baseless propaganda, and patently false. These same Academics label the above Sūdovian words as "Old Prussian". Abipusība ast dermē.
"Esamoji medžiaga neduoda nė vieno kalbos fakto,
kuris rodytų jotvingius kalbėjus ne prūsų kalbos tarme.“
- K. Jablonskis
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 "Kaupungr", 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. Nearly all dirhams found in the territory of West Balts date to pre-900 A.D.
Adam of Breman, in his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum, #62, notes that ships from Sembia-Samland would navigate the sea to the commercial center of Birka. "Ad quam stationem, quia tutissima est in maritimis Suevoniae regionibus, solent omnes Danorum vel Nortmannorum itemque Sclavorum ac Semborum naves aliique Scithiae populi pro diversis commerciorum necessitatibus sollempniter convenire". In Old Novgorod, one of the oldest streets bears the name "Prussian Street". Bilingualism follows trade, & trade follows the money..
Excavations indicate the Norsemen along the Nemunas dispersed and / or assimilated in with locals of rank ( a common Viking custom ), sometime around the 10th-11th centuries. The RPC 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 ( Gunnarr? ) of Bogeviken or Garðariki-Austrvegr. The 944-945 RPC middle nasal vowel - ѧ - is in all probability an insignificant scribal error, or misinterpretation of source material, perhaps of runic -ᚤ-, now enshrined for perpetuity.
Centuries of multi-cultural commingling between West Balts & Scandinavians - beginning with the poly-ethnic Wielbark ( Gothic ) culture & Przeworsk ( Vandal ) culture [ exhibited by artifacts like spears, spurs, Roman coins, etc. ], are also reflected at other trade settlements like Saeborg-Grobina, Truso, Linkuhnen, or Kaup / Wiskiauten ( aka "Kaupungr" , or "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 the later Holocaust of the Crusades, 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, kinfolk - literally. They still are.
The "Pagan dialects from Narew" glossary of Zinkevičius ( 1984, 1985, 1992 ) may require a reanalysis from an Old Norse-Old Gutnish perspective, given some unexpected new DNA ( R1a1a, YP704* ) evidence from Sūduva, and regional Norse artifacts of the 10th-11th century connected to Gotland & Kaup. The "Játvįg(r) for Gunnarr " of 944-945 invites such a fresh, qualified approach. Guti / Guti ( Gotlander ). Kałdi / kalði ? Some scholars have even suggested the Narew 215 word glossary to be the Kurlandian Yiddish of a merchant. If so, some Gutnish influence would not be wholly unexpected. A Zietela Lithuanian dialect word "pamarkas"-accursed, is most 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 - Játvígs Liðar, or Játvígr's Rus' & Varangians by the Nemunas river would acquire the local West Baltic language of Dainavians and Sûdovians 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 ( w/ R1a Z93 ) 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
It is the fiction of utterly incompetent & effete Academics - defending the fictitious
lies of a powerful Church and / or their waning reputations.
It never, ever happened.
As for the depopulated "wasteland" myth of the Crusader's propaganda
priests, the evidence does not reflect it ever happened. The highly
respected archaeologist, Pranas Kulikauskas, notes on page 164 in his 1982 book
piliakalniai", that the archaeological evidence of the
Užnemunės region does not support such a depopulated "wasteland" myth.
The wealth of old hydronyms & toponyms there would agree,
as does the very low
regional frequency of the LWb
allele. In fact,
the northern part of the Užnemunės region was densely populated at that time,
and may explain the later post-Grunwald-Melno influx of new immigrant settlers to the south. The
hillfort excavations did not find a destruction layer.
Die-hards will inevitably refer to the decreased pollen records of that period to prop up "the Lie". Science has now confirmed the "Little Ice Age" (LIA) of that time did occur in the Northern Hemisphere. There were widespread crop failures throughout Europe. The Greenland Viking colonies either abandoned their homes or wasted away. China's orange crop crashed. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII issued a papal bull called "Summis desiderantes", which specifically condemned the use of cannabis as "Satanic" - all due to the widespread cataclysmic crop failures of the "Little Ice Age" (LIA) - which had been blamed on residual European "Pagans" and their antiquated practices.
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 ethnocidal propaganda. More nonsense. But simpletons believe this nonsense. Even still to this very day!
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. An online dictionary is available here. Perhaps a restored Sūdovian-Yotvingian language ( known also by the names język jaćwiński, яцьвяжская мова ) will also fare as well.
If some Native Americans now speak English, have they actually "vanished"?
Nonsense! DNA does
not lie. Should they be publicly ridiculed for
restoring the language of their native forefathers? Sounds absurd, doesn't it?
As the subject of a highly disingenuous article by Prof. Jenny H. Larsson in a popular Swedish magazine, I've reiterated that this restored Jatvingian lexicon is of an Indigenous Peoples' Language, & a genetic birthright. Språktidningen declined to publish a rebuttal. ( the rebuttal link ). Terra Jatwezenorum was the birthplace of Raphael Lemkin, who created the word "Ethnocide". Professor J. H. Larsson states the Jatvingians have "vanished". Not only is that a lie - it is, by definition, ethnocide. Mes paliksim.
Sūdovian, aka "Yotvingian", vocabulary, terminology, and accentuation has a natural continuum evident 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 as a birthright, some may choose to use it more. It is a U.N. recognized Indigenous Cultural Right ( re: Articles 13 & 16 ) and choice they may freely make for themselves. It is a genuine indigenous continuum of our native Sūdovian-Dainavian-Yotvingian culture, as is our DNA. Mes paliksim.
By including just one word of the historically authentic Sūdovian 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 restored lexicon (Слоўнік), by a direct genetic descendant of a Yotvingian, 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 ), Játvįgr'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" ) & Old Gutnish 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 our forefathers in Sūduva. It is, our language.
It is surviving. It is waking.
...select next topic from Contents
- Joseph Poška
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.
>>> USAGE GUIDELINE <<<
For use by
& their descendants.
as an officially acknowledged
Indigenous Cultural Right
( re: Articles 13 & 16 )
United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples