- For the fictional rat, see User:Tepples/The maze.
Ditch is a constructed language based on English with some elements adopted from other West Germanic languages. It is intended to bear the same relationship to standard English that Dutch, Deutsch, Dietsch, Deitsch, and Dütsch have to one another. With its contact-language implications, it could be used in fiction to represent a low-prestige dialect spoken by the proles who dig the ditches in a story whose viewpoint character speaks the prestige dialect. The name comes from a blend between ditch digging, a manual occupation associated with low prestige, and the descendants of the Germanic stem borrowed into Latin as theodiscus.
The big word order difference is V2 word order, which resembles that of West Germanic languages other than English.
- Move the sentence's verb phrase to the end.
- In main clauses, move the first word of the verb in main clauses after the first adverb phrase or noun phrase, or to the start for questions or commands. Leave the verb at the end in subordinate clauses.
Participles have prefixes to separate them from the preceding noun phrase: a- for the progressive (such as awritin), and ge- (as in Geraldo) for the passive (such as gewritten). Additionally, the progressive participle never gained a -g, unlike the gerund.
Words that end with a vowel sound keep their English -(e)s plural, but most words whose last syllable carries primary or secondary stress and ends with a consonant sound are pluralized with -en (or -n after silent e), and a single final consonant is doubled if the vowel is short. Verbs in the infinitive and the present plural take the same -(e)n ending, which incidentally helps to distinguish singular from plural in the second person.
All instances of "gh" after vowels are pronounced "f" as in laugh. For example, "dough" rhymes with "rough". Some writers have adopted a spelling reform that changes these "gh" to "ph" to make it clearer.
Final -n in plurals isn't pronounced, but final unstressed -pen is pronounced -?m, and -ben and ven are pronounced and written -m (or -me if needed to preserve the long vowel).
Most words come from standard English, but some differ.
- A. Used as the singular indefinite article regardless of whether the next word starts with a vowel sound: an hero.
- (from Dutch heel and Tonto-speak "heap") very. Used as an intensifier.
- -ness. Used to make nouns from adjectives. The endings -ty and -tude also become -thood, such as puberthood, abilithood, attithood.
- I. Used as the first person singular pronoun in the nominative case.
- The. Used as the definite article in neuter noun phrases. English has lost the distinction between animate and neuter genders, but Ditch has preserved it. Infinitives, diminutives, names of places, -ism words, Latin -um words, and Greek -ma words are neuter, for example.
- My. Used as the first person singular pronoun in the genitive case regardless of whether the next word starts with a vowel sound.
- -tion. The common suffix -ation used with words of Latin origin becomes -atsy, pronounced to rhyme with "Yahtzee".
- I. Replaces ick in some areas; contracts to utch before vowels.
- 1. -ion
- 2. Contraction of ick immediately following a main verb, when a fronted object, adverb, prepositional phrase occupies the lead slot. Seen in Chaucer.
Some dialects will have more more French and Latin words than others. Dialects more distant from standard may use attested synonyms of Germanic origin more often, having been polluted less by the fictional culture's counterpart to Norman French. Also consider borrowing from Frisian in cases where Frisian hasn't in turn borrowed from Dutch, because "as milk is to cheese, are English and Fries."
- This section requires expansion.
Translation of Genesis 11:1-9
- Dunglish on Wikipedia, a set of common errors made by Dutch speakers learning English
- CONLANG mailing list post announcing Advanced English, a reform of English spelling by Pascal A. Kramm that Thomas R. Wier suggested might be used in fiction as a reform of English by German-counterpart conquerors
- Sean B. Palmer. "Origins of a Pronoun". What Planet is This?, 2005-10-06. Accessed 2018-05-01.