In the time of Rome, the Empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. Throughout the Empire, Latin was the language of government and commerce. However, the Latin spoken in one corner of the Roman Empire naturally was not exactly the same as the Latin spoken in another corner. Rome’s central location and authority kept the forms of Latin similar, but it was inevitable that localised versions of Latin would take hold in the various lands in the Empire.
This, of course, is the well-known reason why there are “Romance” languages, which is the family of languages that grew from the “Roman” language (Latin). In fact, the Romance languages grew from what is known as “Vulgar Latin” (or, as it was known in some parts, “Ruman”), which is the term used for the different forms of Latin spoken in the remote parts of the Empire.
All Romance languages therefore share a large number of features, and indeed a familiarity with one Romance language means that you can almost certainly learn other Romance languages very quickly, and can often even read other Romance languages, since the words were derived from the same Latin source, and the order of words in a sentence is also common to all Romance languages.
For example, the English word “always” has the following forms in Latin and different Romance languages:
In Talossan, which is a Romance language, the cognate word for “forever” is schemp. Before continuing our history, let’s explore one more similarity along these same lines. In some Romance languages, the semper form of “always” has been displaced by using the Latin form “every day” or “all [the] days”. This is seen in the following examples:
- toujours – French
- totjorn – Occitan
- totdeauna – Romanian
- todi – Walloon
- tojor – Franco-Provençal
The similar form in Talossan here, toctziua (“every day”), is used for “always”.
All of this was simply to illustrate the fact that Talossan, as mentioned above, is a Romance language. In the mythical history of Talossan, the language developed from the Ruman spoken by the Berbers who lived in the furthest-west portions of the Roman Empire, in what is now Morocco and other areas of North Africa.
Here again, our story kind of splits in two, because there are two theories as to how this ancient Berber derivative of Latin made it across the Atlantic to take root in what is modern Talossa, on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Luckily, there is nothing that says that these two theories aren’t both correct.
The first of these two theories is that sometime long before the Christian era, a community of Berbers from North Africa crossed the Atlantic and sparked the North American Moundbuilder culture. The Moundbuilder culture is something of an anthropological mystery — ancient mounds of earth constructed by early Americans, for purposes lost to time, in the Great Plains and fertile river valleys of the midwestern United States of America — near Talossa. King Robert I laid the credit for the Moundbuilder culture at the feet of Talossa’s mythical Berber forebears, and posited that when they arrived to create the Moundbuilder culture, they brought with them the early form of the Talossan language. This Romance language, thus isolated from the other European languages, developed separately into what is modern Talossan.
The second story takes into consideration the fact that modern Talossan shows a great many obvious influences from the Romance and other European languages that developed after the theorised migration of the Berbers who founded the Moundbuilder culture. Talossan, as we will see, is not as “purely Romance” as other Romance languages. Although it is definitely a Romance language, with the bulk of its features and vocabulary derived from Latin, Talossan has taken on some undeniable features of Germanic and Celtic languages as well, and this indicates a different (or at least a second) migration path for the language.
The second story of the migration of Talossan from Africa to America begins in the 6th century A.D., when the Roman Empire was collapsing and being invaded from all sides. Arabic Moors invaded North Africa and subjugated the Ruman-speaking population. Those Berbers who resisted Arabisation would have taken their language with them wherever they went, as their community became itinerant and ghettoised. These Berbers would have fled the Moors by crossing the strait of Gibraltar and settling on the north coast of the Mediterranean. From such cities as Marseille and Tolouse (which is still called “Tolosa” in some languages), the speakers of the Talossan language would have found their language changing due to influences from French, Occitan, Corsican, Sardinian, Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages of the region.
As the Talossan-speaking people began to enter into trade with other European communities, the language’s geographical center began to move north and east, through areas where Germanic and Celtic languages are spoken. These languages influenced Talossan, imbuing its edges with non-Romance features. Through these years of the language’s mythical migration, Talossan picked up vocabulary and features of Breton, Flemish, Dutch, German, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, and then (crossing the North Sea) Welsh, English, and Irish and Scots Gaelic.
(The influence from non-Romance languages can in fact be seen in the example word that was used earlier. The letter-combination sch — pronounced like the English “sh”, as in “ship” or “ash” — is a very Germanic combination, not found in Romance languages, and so the Talossan word schemp, which was originally derived from the Latin semper, is but one illustration of the influence of Germanic languages on Talossan.)
After this journey through Europe, the Talossan-speaking community crossed the Atlantic, perhaps rejoining the Moundbuilding Berber pioneers that went before them, and well, that is the story of Talossan before 1980.