Syldavian is a fictional language created by Hergé as the national language of Syldavia, a small fictional Balkan kingdom that serves as a major setting in some "Tintin" stories. Hergé modeled the language on Marols, a dialect of Dutch spoken in and around Brussels. The entire corpus of the language has been analyzed by Mark Rosenfelder, and his work forms the basis of this article. (See References below.)


As presented in the Tintin books, Syldavian resembles a Slavic language due to its orthography. It is most commonly written in the Cyrillic alphabet, albeit with the Latin alphabet by the royal court. It shares numerous orthographic features found in various Eastern European languages, most notably the "sz" and "cz" of Polish. However, the language is clearly a Germanic language. Its vocabulary and grammar resembles that of Dutch and German and has little in common with any Slavic languages. The language also appears to have been influenced by Bordurian, Slavic languages and Turkish.

This language, which is Germanic but bears a great resemblance to Polish, may be likened to the artificial Romance language Wenedyk, or to Wymysorys.


Syldavian boasts a rich range of sounds.


In addition to the diacritical marks shown in the chart below, there are acute and grave accents that may indicate stress.

ingle letters

* a - [a]
* ä - probably [æ] or [ɛ]
* â - uncertain
* e - [e]
* i - [i]
* ï - uncertain
* o - [o]
* ô - [ɔ]
* ö - [ø]
* u - [u]
* û - [ʊ]
* ü - [y]
* y - [ɪ]


* oe - [ø]
* ou - [ou]
* eu - uncertain: perhaps the vowel [œ] or [ø] , perhaps a diphthong [eu] or [ɛu] . It is only seen in one word: "teuïh" ("door").
* ei - [ei]


* Stops: b [b] , p [p] , t [t] , d [d] , k [k] , g [g]
* Fricatives: f [f] , w [v] , s [s] , z [z] , sz [ʃ] , zs [ʒ] , kh [x] , gh [ɣ] , h [h]
* Affricates: tz [ʦ] , dz [ʣ] , cz [ʧ] , dj [ʤ]
* Nasals: m [m] , n [n]
* Laterals: l [l]
* Approximants: ph [ɸ] , v [β] , r [r] , rz [rʒ]
* Semivowels: j [j]

Note: the letter r can be syllabic, as seen in names such as "Staszrvitch" and "Dbrnouk".

There are some additional digraphs and trigraphs, including tch (used in names and pronounced [ʧ] ), chz (uncertain, but may be an alternative form of cz [ʧ] ), and th [t] . These demonstrate that the Latin-based orthography has a number of irregularities.



* Native words are pluralized with -en: "klebcz"en - "dogs"; "fläsz"en - "bottles"

* Loanwords are pluralized with -es: "zigarett"es - "cigarettes"

Definite articles

Indefinite articles

* Singular: "on" - "a"

* Plural: "onegh" - "some"



Personal pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns

czei - this
tot - that




"szplug" - a curse word, perhaps equivalent to "damn". (Not found in original French edition, only English translation.)


Historical changes

Samples of Syldavian from only two periods - the 14th century and the 20th century - are available to us. But even with such a small sample, some changes can be seen in the language over a 600 year period:

* "pho" became "vüh" ("for")

Sample text

From a 14th century manuscript, "Noble Deeds of Ottokar IV":

:"Pir Ottokar, dûs pollsz ez könikstz, dan tronn eszt pho mâ. Czeillâ czäídâ ön eltcâr alpû, kzommetz pakkeho lapzâda. Könikstz itd o alpû klöppz Staszrvitchz erom szûbel ö. Dâzsbíck fällta öpp o cârrö."

English translation::"Father Ottokar, thou falsely art king; the throne is for me." This one said thus to the other, "Come seize the sceptre." The king thus hit him, Staszrvitch, on his head. The villain fell onto the floor."

More examples

"Czesztot on klebcz." - "That's a dog."

"Kzommet micz omhz, noh dascz gendarmaskaïa." - "Come with us to the Police Station." ("politzski" in the English translation.)

"On fläsz Klowaswa vüh dzapeih... Eih döszt!" - "A bottle of Klow water for this guy... He's thirsty!"

"Czesztot wzryzkar nietz on waghabontz! Czesztot bätczer yhzer kzömmetz noh dascz gendarmaskaïa?" - "That's surely not a tramp! Isn't it better for him to come to the police station?" (Lit. probably "Is it better [that] he comes to the police station?")


* [ "On the Syldavian language"] by Mark Rosenfelder

See also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Syldavia — (Cyrillic: Зылдaвыa) is a fictional Balkan kingdom featured in The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé.OverviewSyldavia is a monarchy, ruled at the time of the King Ottokar s Sceptre story by King Muskar XII. The capital is Klow, formerly Zileheroum,… …   Wikipedia

  • King Ottokar's Sceptre — Graphicnovelbox| englishtitle=King Ottokar s Sceptre foreigntitle=Le sceptre d Ottokar caption=Cover of the English edition publisher=Casterman date=1939 series= The Adventures of Tintin (Les aventures de Tintin) origlanguage=French… …   Wikipedia

  • List of The Adventures of Tintin characters — The Adventures of Tintin sports a vast array of secondary and tertiary characters. The supporting characters Hergé created for his series The Adventures of Tintin have been cited as far more developed than the central character, each imbued with… …   Wikipedia

  • Zyldav Zentral Revolutzionär Komitzät — In the Belgian comic book series The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé, the Zyldav Zentral Revolutzionär Komitzät (Syldavian Revolutionary Central Committee), ZZRK, was an organization with the goal of removing the Syldavian monarchy and unify with… …   Wikipedia

  • Characters in The Adventures of Tintin — See also: List of The Adventures of Tintin characters, for a complete list The supporting characters Hergé created for his series The Adventures of Tintin have been cited as far more developed than the central character, each imbued with a… …   Wikipedia

  • Bordurian — is a fictional language, the national language of Borduria, a fictional Balkan dictatorship created by Hergé for the Tintin comics series. Little is known about Bordurian, as it is not extensively presented in the Tintin stories. The neighboring… …   Wikipedia

  • Marols — For the town in France, see Marols, Loire. Sketch of the district of Marollen in 1939 by Léon van Dievoet. Marols or Marollien (also known as Brusselse Sproek, brusseler, brusseleir, brusselair or bruss …   Wikipedia

  • Idioma syldavo — Este artículo o sección necesita ser wikificado con un formato acorde a las convenciones de estilo. Por favor, edítalo para que las cumpla. Mientras tanto, no elimines este aviso puesto el 16 de julio de 2011. También puedes ayudar wikificando… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Borduria — is a fictional country in the comic strip series The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé. It is located in the Balkans and has a rivalry with the fictional neighbouring country of Syldavia. Borduria is depicted in King Ottokar s Sceptre and The… …   Wikipedia

  • Frank Wolff (Tintin character) — Frank Wolff is a fictional character from The Adventures of Tintin series of classic comic books drawn and written by Hergé (1907 1983). Wolff appears in Destination Moon (1950 52) and Explorers on the Moon (1952 53). He is a meek and amiable… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.