The Slavic languages are usually subdivided into three subgroups: East Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Rusyn), West Slavic (Polish, Kashubian, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Czech, Slovak), and South Slavic (Slovene, Serbo-Croat, Macedonian, Bulgarian). Unfortunately, North Slavic languages do not exist in our world, although the term is sometimes used for the West and East Slavic languages together in opposition to the South Slavic languages. This “gap” is particularly attractive for people who enjoy creating languages, sometimes with a higher purpose in mind but mostly just for the fun of it. To put it simply: the existence of East, West and South Slavic simply begs for the creation of at least one North Slavic language.
The Vozgian language (gŭor vŭozgašchai) is an example of those attempts. Other members of the North Slavic family are: Nasika (by Jan Havliš), Sevorian (by James Campbell), Skuodian (by Pavel Iosad), several languages by the late Libor Sztemon (Slavëni, Seversk, Slavisk, Lydnevi and Mrezian), Onegian and Rothian (rodzku jezuk) (by Paweł Ciupak), Gárðnenskina (by Michał Pietrusiński), and Novegradian (a fairly recent and truly impressive work by Martin Posthumus, which also features an eleborated state). The differences between these languages are huge; not only because of differences in style and taste of their creators, but also because every creator inevitably has his own ideas about what a North Slavic language would look like. Some languages appear to be influenced by the Scandinavian languages, while others rather underwent Uralic, Baltic or other influences. Nevertheless, the North Slavic languages have much in common too, especially when it comes to avoiding some of those omnipresent Slavic clichés, like liquid metathesis and the treatment of the Common Slavic ultrashort vowels (“jers”). It would go too far to say that these features are shared by all of them, but the tendency is undeniable.
Vozgian is the easternmost of all North Slavic languages. Its primary influence are the Uralic languages, especially the Komi language. This influence is much stronger than in for example Russian. It left its mark in the phonological development of the language (an example of which is vowel harmony, resulting in front vowels like ö and ü), but also in its grammar: where the other Slavic languages have seven cases at most, Vozgian has thirteen of them as a result of the postfixation of prepositions. A secondary influence is Russian, particularly the North Russian dialect spoken in the Arkhangelsk region. A peculiarity of Vozgian worth mentioning is the presence in most dialects of dental fricatives (like the English th, represented in the Vozgian romanisation as þ and ð). It is primarily these elements that distinguish Vozgian from similar projects. Over the years, I have seen it described as “that Slavic language with eths and thorns” – characterstic, as somebody else put it, for its “noun declensions from hell”.
Along with Nasika, Skuodian and several other constructed languages, Vozgian plays a role in the alternate timeline of Ill Bethisad. It is spoken in the Vozgian Republic (Respublika Vŭozgašcha, or shortly Vŭozgaština), which is part of the Russian Federation. It covers a territory roughly similar to Vologda oblast, and its immediate neighbours are the Republic of Petrograd and Novgorod, Muscovia and the Komi Republic.
The development of Vozgian was started back in 1996. It was mostly an experiment, in which I applied Germanic sound changes to Slavic. This was my first conlang; it had two sister languages too, Motyak and Slopik. Later I decided that all three languages were both ugly and utterly implausible, and in 2003 I finally started redoing Vozgian from the beginning. The current version is radically different from the old version, although I did incorporate some of its features I liked in particular.
If you are interested these and other constructed Slavic languages, be sure to check out Slaviconlang, a mailing list dedicated to their discussion.
Anyway, let's cut the talking and move on to the language itself. Please note that Vozgian is written in Cyrillic script; if you have problems reading Cyrillic, click here to see my stuff in Latin script.