by Constance Prongthorn. Monday 1st April 2019
The Isle of Wight lies off the south coast of England. It is the largest island in England, and has been inhabitated since about the Stone Age. Over the years it has been home to a variety of people, including ancient Britons, Celts, Romans, Jutes, Saxons, Viking and Normans. It was even an independent kingdom for a while between 530-661 AD ruled by the Jutes.
Recently linguists from Ventnor University discovered inscriptions and manuscripts in a long-forgotten language on the island. At first they thought it was a form of Old English, but when they studied it more closely, they concluded that it was a separate language that developed from Jutish, and which was influenced by Saxon, Old Norse and Norman.
The newly discovered language have been named Vectian after the Latin name for the Island Vectis or Vecta. Nobody speaks this language, but echoes of it remain in the local dialect, particularly in pronunciation and some vocabulary.
A number of Isle of Wight residents are interested in trying to reconstruct and revive this language, and are working on a dictionary and grammar. These are difficult tasks as so little of the language remains.
Here is a reconstructed alphabet for Vectian:
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