Crepax’s Reversed Lautverschiebung .

A fun post [scroll down at the blog link] from goofy at bradshaw of the future:

Guido Crepax’s Valentina comics feature a subterranean race with a language that was heavily influenced by Germanic languages – he calls it “Lautverschiebung in reverse” as I noted in my previous post.

These stories have recently been published by Fantagraphics in beautiful English editions and I am reading them for the first time. Here are some of the words of the subterranean language, their meanings, and my guesses on where Crepax got them. Most of them are from Gothic.

A few that goofy couldn’t find in the dictionaries: LÉTNAN
‘land,’ MÁTNAN ‘man, men,’ QÉD ‘kneel,’ MÁKLA ‘great,’ GEQÚNDAN ‘dances,’ JGHNA ‘Virgo,’ and MÁUTIA ‘woman.’


  1. Jen in Edinburgh says

    MÁKLA looks Norse – as in Miklagard=Byzantium, or York’s Micklegate, or Scots ‘muckle’

  2. kattuzila says

    @Jen Yes, English mickle / Gothic mikils, cognate with mega and magnus
    LÉTNAN < Gothic landa “land” and
    MÁTNAN < Gothic manna “man”, compare Icelandic pronunciation of “nn” as “dn”
    J́GHNA (acute accent on the J is missing in the post) < German Jungfrau? “ghn” could be interpreted as [ʕn] which is close to “ung”

  3. Excellent sleuthing!

  4. Found interesting tidbit:

    “another thing that Antonio and Caterina told me was that their mother Luisa Crepax created a language for the men from the subterraneans at Valentina stories based on german language that she learned at school mixed with her own vision of how german sounded to her.”

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