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Ancient tongue

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The ancient tongue (original name: Nader-canoch, literally "our word") was the language of the early Humans who colonized Mizahar, many millennia ago, when they were a united people. While it does not possess any special arcane properties, it is still in use in magical and scholarly circles, mainly because of custom and tradition, but also because many older writings happen to be recorded in this language.

Contents

History

It is a historical fact that the early Humans all came from the same place and spoke the same language, which may not be native to Mizahar. These humans were few in numbers and belonged to a single culture that is usually called Protohuman. It was a very primitive culture, though it is unknown whether they had possessed more advanced societies where they came from and subsequently lost that knowledge. Because of its humble origins, Nader-canoch is a simple language, and it is quite ironic that it is now a language for a small cultural elite.

The ancient tongue did not suddenly fall out of use. It was a slow, gradual evolutionary process. As people found more concepts and ideas, they needed more words to represent them, and as such they made them up. Different regions invented different words and constructs, and this divergence is often quoted as one of the main reasons why humanity stopped being a cohesive force and dissolved into many cultures and civilizations. The end result was a plethora of new language that only bore minimal resemblance to the original tongue - only a few, niche fields managed to preserve it in a form that was close to the original version. Foremost among these was the magic community.

Wizards were less prone to going with the flow of times, and retained a more or less intact form of Nader-canoch. It could be said that wizards actively sought to remove their speech from that of the common people, so as to add an aura of mystery and secrecy to their craft and make it inaccessible to outsiders. Indeed, some scholars believe that wizards were behind the creation of modern languages so they could claim the old one as their own.

Basics

Nader-canoch is a straightforward language. The foremost difficulty in learning it is its low word count, meaning that most words have multiple meanings used depending on context. The listener needs to perform the interpretation work and derive the correct meaning, which is not always an easy task. One should remember that the ancient tongue was not originally designed to be written, as writing was a later gift of Qalaya. While ambiguity is not a major problem in a conversation, it is much more of an issue when reading a book or text, especially one written by someone who lived in a different era and social context.

It is also to be noted that the actual pronounciation of words in the ancient tongue may be somewhat different to what it is today. Qalaya's original alphabet did not include vowels, which were omitted from scripts. The current versions are later adaptations made to be easier to pronounce. In other words, what is now spelled Djed was at one time Djeod or Djid. In the unlikely event of finding an ancient speaker, these differences must be accounted for.

Nader-canoch is spoken a bit more slowly than the common tongue, because it contains fewer words. Inflection is an important part of the language, and it cannot be fully conveyed in writing. The position of accents and stressed words can change the meaning of a sentence considerably. Tone and stress make up for its lack of vocabulary when spoken - again, the mark of a primitive language.

Sounds

Nader-canoch has the following consonant sounds: b, c, ch (pronounced as a fricative "k"), d, dj (hard "z"), f, g, h, l, m, n, p, q (a hard "k"; an actual "k" is used in later translitterations), r, s, t, v, y (which is considered a consonant), z (soft "z"). "D" and "g" are considered emphatic sounds, found in important words (such as Djed) or replacing "t" and "q" when the word is especially stressed. Most words will consist of two or three consonants.

There are five vowels: a (as in "hard"), e ("pet"), i (halfway between "live" and "leave"), o ("hot"), u ("moon"). All vowels have approximately the same length, including dyphtongs (in which each vowel is only half as long to make the combination last as long as normal vowels).

Grammar

Grammar in Nader-canoch is loose at best. There is a set of agreed-upon principles, but much is left to the individual speaker and the context.

  • Basic word order is subject-object-verb.
  • Secondary clauses are literally placed wherever the speaker wishes, but usually before the main clause. "I think you are wise" would probably be rendered as "you wise, I think".
  • Relative clauses are often condensed into a single compound word: "The sword you bought is sharp" would be "You-bought sword sharp is." For a more complex example, "The village we raided last month seems to have recovered" could be translated as "last month we-raided village recovered, seems".
  • Joining pairs of words with a hyphen is very common. The very word "Nader-canoch" is an example. The hyphen is often omitted when the second word is a verb or the first word ends with a vowel, e.g. Rozacapotl = Roza ("death") + capotl (past form of "color").
  • Possessive adjectives are the same as the base pronoun, that is, "Nader" means "we", "us" and "ours".
  • There is no explicit plural; the presence of numbers or qualifiers such as "many" or "a few" will convey the idea of multiple entities. Sometimes the word will be doubled to express the same idea ("vasat-vasat" for "battles").
  • The language only defines nouns and pronouns. These can be transformed into verbs, adjectives and adverbs by replacing word endings.
  • In order to make a verb, replace the last vowel or consonant with "t" for the present tense, "tl" for the past tense or "tlas" for the future tense. It is allowed to add a vowel before the "t" to make it easier to pronounce. For example, "abase" means life and "abast" means "to live". "Canoch" means "speech"; "to speak" could be translated as "canocht", "canochat", etc. depending on the speaker.
  • Past participle is the same as past tense.
  • Adding "s" turns a noun into an adjective. "Sutla" means "length"; "sutlas" means "long". Adverbs are formed in the same way, and are only distinguished from adjectives because they are placed next to verbs.

Vocabulary

  • Abase - life, beginning, spring, that which moves
  • Adra - liquid, water, juice, liquor, not solid
  • Ala - up, above, sky, heavens, that which is unreachable
  • Canoch - word, speech, that which is spoken
  • Capos - color, tint, quality, variety, faction
  • Cha - blue, ocean, cool, relax
  • Daeq - shape, to make by defining the boundaries
  • Dala - to change, to improve, to alter the shape of
  • Daraq - equal, identical, that which cannot be told apart if placed side by side
  • Djas - I, self, oneself, alone, selfishness, egotism, the speaker
  • Djed - backbone, spine, that which stands upright, vertical line
  • Djunn - art, craft, that which is made by man
  • Furugu - green, leaf, plant, forest
  • Glig - pair, twin, joined together
  • Gug - many, that which is too large to be counted at a glance
  • Isikai - faith, to believe, to trust in
  • Irst - veil, to veil, to be veiled in
  • Kasai - hope, to look forward to something, optimism
  • Korad - string, rope, to tie together
  • Hea - reach, look for, to touch
  • Nader - we, us, ours, what we share
  • Nen - young, youth, fresh
  • Pond - thought, balance, scales
  • Pechi - to unite, to bond, to copulate
  • Radjud - damaged, broken, that which is imperfect
  • Ranuri - desire, need, addiction
  • Randjaq - prison, chain, that which limits our freedom
  • Recha - red, blood, rust
  • Roza - death, end, termination, interruption
  • Ruwe - down, below, under, move downwards
  • Sutla - length, width, extension, that which spans
  • Vaknui - orange, warm, heat, fire
  • Vasat - battle, fight, conflict, attack
  • Vino - child, offspring, brood
  • Yaq - circle, sphere, curve, bend
  • Yomi - yellow, gold, precious
  • Zapatl - legacy, heritage, that which was passed down