The chairman of the Prussian Society Gniewomir Sarbicki says that Prussian, like Latvian and Lithuanian, belongs to the family of Baltic languages. It was used by the Baltic tribes which lived between the lower Wisła and the lower Neman. The oldest examples of the language in literature are the 14th-century Elblągian dictionary and three of the 16th-century catechisms of Martin Luther, consisting of 78 pages of Prussian text. Reconstructing this language, unused since the beginning of the 18th century, began in the 1980s, and the 16th-century writings served as a basis for the efforts.
We know the basic range of words from the written relics, and newer words are currently being restored by a team lead by Lithuanian linguists from local nomenclature and the East-Prussian German language dialects, which have preserved many Prussian words.
– said Sarbicki.
Nowadays, Prussian is a second language for several dozen Prussians and is officially classified as a living language, not as extinct. It is used by dozens of speakers, 10 of which live in Poland. Among them are a few children, for whom Prussian is their mother tongue.
The level of difficulty, when it comes to learning Prussian, is relative, I guess it’s simpler than Polish in terms of grammar, more difficult than German. Propagation of Prussian culture is our passion and personal need; language is the most important part of one’s identity. Descendants of the indigenous population belong to the society, although we’re not asking about descent inquisitively.
– Sarbicki added.
Little Prince was translated by Piotr Szatkowski, philologist and graduate of Scandinavian studies, who’s passionate about comparing languages. He’s been interested in Prussian, but also in the Warmian and Mazurian dialects, for the past 6 years.
Translation begun in 2011, and after 2 years it was ready for proofreading. Last year, the literary work took on its final form. It was distributed in 200 copies. Work on an audiobook version is in progress.
Members of the Prusaspira Society, now a formal group, have been actively rebuilding the Prussian language since the mid 1990s. With their own funds, they have published two printed Prussian dictionaries – in 1999 and in 2007. Twankstas Prusas Preigara, an online journal managed by Prussians from the Kaliningrad Oblast, has been published in Prussian since 1989.
– Sarbicki adds.
Prusaspira members are also working on other projects; among others: an online dictionary with automatized declension, a mobile dictionary, Prussian keyboards for Windows and Linux systems and a dictionary for automatic correction during typing. Works on an Android-compatible Prussian dictionary and a Prussian language textbook are also on track.
Source: PAP, oprac. A.W.