Prussian English Dictionary

Prussian English Dictionary

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Mikkels Klussis



2005 2006

Institut Europƒeen des Minoritƒes Ethniques Dispersƒees

© Letas Palmaitis

To my dear Colleague Prof. Dr. Habil. Winfried Boeder, whose generous friendship and material support were a great help in bringing this project to completion

PREFACE This work is only a little step toward realisation of the task set for all years of remaining life: as authentical as possible to reconstruct vocabulary of the extinct Baltic Prussian language. This means to produce a kind of persuasive falsification on the basis of modern as well as comparative linguistics. This is the reason why this Dictionary consists of: 1) inherited lexis found in the monuments of Old Prussian; 2) authentic Baltic Prussian lexis reconstructed mostly by Vytautas Maþiulis as well as by other Prussologists; 3) areale cultural lexis which had to penetrate into Prussian in concreteepochs first and foremost from Lower German as well as from German dialects of former West- and East Prussia; 4) generally spread modern international lexis. LINGUISTIC PRINCIPLES OF THE RECOVERY OF OLD PRUSSIAN 1. The Prussians, “Ideal Prussians”, Old Prussian and New Prussian To recover a language as a tool of communication means to revive it for needs of a concrete group of people. When speaking about Prussian one always faces 2 common “truths”: 1) the Old Prussians were annihilated by the Germans who misappropriated their name; 2) Old Prussian died out in the 16th c. The Old Prussians never created a centralized state, but their tribes became united and comprehended as one nation only under the rule of the Teutonic Order. Moreover: the first Prussian state was an independent Baltic state – not any national German state – despite German of the authorities of the Order. After bloody almost century-long wars against the Baltic Prussians, even the authorities of the state were mixed, being representatives of different European nations who had participated in crusades against Baltic Prussia in the 13th c. The Old Prussian nobility became linguistically Germanized by the 14th c. Linguistic Germanizing of free Prussian peasants began in the middle of the 15th c., when after the catastrophe of Tannenberg (1410) the Free Prussians fled to Germanized towns in order to avoid being sold as serfs, together with their land, for the debts of the state. The remaining Prussians serfs preserved their language until their physical extinction during the plague and famine of 1709–1711. 4

If the language was extinct in the 16th c., as alleged, what would have been the point of translating M. Luther’s Enchiridion into it in 1561? There are references indicating that Old Prussian was still spoken at the end of the 17th c.1 The spread of the name Prussia, as well as a multicultural history of this Baltic land, rich with legends and archaic folk-lore, maintained local and international interest in Baltic Prussians throughout the centuries. In the 1st half of the 20th c. pan-Baltic ideas appeared, along with parallel attempts to revive Old Prussian on the basis of attested monuments. This was hindered by the official German state patriotism of the Nazis but after 1945 all autochthons became victims of the genocide and total deportation. In spite of such unfavorable development, the Prussian romanticism became noticeable in the last quarter of the 20th c., but it gets organized forms nowadays. The first Ethnic Community of Baltic Prussians has been officially registered in Lithuania in 2001. Representatives of Baltic Prussians in Germany are trying to acquire rights of a minority there. The Internet makes it possible to find persons, who regard themselves as Baltic Prus