Dermorian Language

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The Dermorian language (named Gádèrmará "Jah-there-mah-rah") is the language of the Dermorians. It features an elaborate case system. The Dermorians themselves being nomads has resulted in the necessity for Dermorians to invent new words, causing Gadermara to become agglutinative; although there is evidence that this was not the case early in its development as a language.

Writing System

The Dermorian writing system is strongly phonetic- possibly because the language had evolved so little since writing was developed (nothing ever changes for Elves). Despite being phonetic and consistent, the language is still complex.

Consonants and vowels are formed by "grouplets" of simpler symbols, frequently written over eachother. The writing system encourages writing to be large. Increasing detail allows one to write more in the same space, allowing aesthetic arrangement based on print size, and resulting in a bewildering conciseness.

Much like the land of Dermoria, with its endless flowing rivers and valleys, the Dermorian script is an extremely smoothly flowing language. Ancient Dermorian legend has it that this script was a gift from one of their mythical goddess (although few Dermorians believe in these godesses any longer, at least since the time of Vodùl). The script was traditionally hand painted with plant dyes (and rarely-- blood). A writer would dip their finger into dye and draw a single stroke. It's common for a Dermorian to teach eir children calligraphy, consistent with the philosophy of beauty in Dermorian culture.

Pronunciation

Dermorian is a weakly tonal language. The 3 tones are rising (high), falling (low), and middle. In this article, these tones are written in the latin alphabet by indicating the acute, grave and no accent respectively: á, à, a. They will always be written over the last vowel over which they affect as the tone changes occur over the course of a syllable.

Syllables are not inherently emphasized.

Written Short
A Father
C Cheese
D This
E Enter
F Feel
G James
H Henry (but more frequently just weakly aspirated)
I See
J Yawn
K IPA: /x/ Huge (but a little bit stronger)
L Lamb
M Mother
N No
O York (pronounced Boat when long)
R Real (English nasal style)
Rr Perdón (trilled in Nordic or Spanish style, not rolled)
S Sore
T Thaw
U Moo
V Very
W Water
X Ship
Y Fur, but closer to saying English "ee" with your mouth shaped as the English "oo"
Z French Je (soft Dermorian "G")
Æ Hat

Vowels can be lengthened by writing them twice in a row. This can be done to all vowels, although in some (Æ) it is exceptionally rare. A long vowel is about twice as long as a short vowel, which is saying something as Dermorian is spoken slow to begin with (Excruciatingly slow, some say).

Dermorian has no diphthongs per se; when multiple vowels are seen in a row, they are each to be pronounced independently (which can lead to some amusing consonant-free words). In fact, coupled with the tonal system, this quality has permitted the language to influence the development of Dermorian music in very interesting ways. Note that as the Dermorian letter j is always used as a consonant, which means the English word "eye" sound can be written "aj".

Be aware that this mapping of the Dermorian language to Latin script bears little resemblance to the Dermorian writing system, which is so thoroughly complicated that it could make learning the spoken language prohibitively difficult.

Dialects

The few historical tribes of Dermorians had interacted frequently enough that Dermorian failed to diverge to any large degree. An interesting phenomenon is the increasing disuse of significant amounts of some of the cases (when it is not critical to meaning) among young Dermorians, possibly because of a huge amount of modern interaction with non-Dermorians. A Dermorian joke is: "How long does it take an Ylian to learn Gádèrmará?" "Fewer every day!" indicating how the language has suddenly become simplified.

Grammar

Dermorian is generally Subject-Verb-Object (as in English), although there are various common grammatical constructs that cause this order to change. Adjectives precede their nouns.

Cases

Dermorian has the following cases:

  • nominative
  • dative
  • ablative
  • genitive
  • locative
  • instrumental
  • temporal
  • causal-final

Words may be singular, dual and plural.

Dermorian has no noun gender (even for personal pronouns).

The instrumental case is also used to describe the use of a spell.

Vocabulary

This section is really not yet hashed out entirely Thara 15:57, 29 April 2008 (EDT)

Noun Forms

Type Nominative Dative Ablative Genitive Locative Instrumental Temporal Causal-final
1 ~ ~g, ~ìg ~d, ~ùd ~m, ~ìm ~eàs ~eàt  ? na~aà (1)

(1) The inflected root word loses its first consonant's voicing if it begins with a voiced consonant: d->t, v->f, etc except for j. For example: "Naélsaà ex naténaà!" (For Love and Life!)

Basic Words

Nouns

  • home: fantarà
  • hello: térrà
  • water: jénsà
  • tree: jénerà
  • food: dénerà
  • life: dén
  • fire: déven
  • wind: tjèn
  • mother: eaa
  • father: eoo
  • companion: árolílja
  • love: élsaà
  • sword: févhe
  • shortsword: afefévhe
  • longsword: éestefèvhe (note the change in pitch)
  • fight: tévease
  • gold: axfe
  • diamond: ajexte
  • iron: uleen

Verbs

  • go: ske
  • see: Vre
  • eat: Tlexe
  • want: géspèrre
  • write: presja
  • fight: tévnàre
  • build: vỳgérre (more emphatic than "make")
  • live: dénee
  • die: xup

(Need to add declension for verbs)

Adjectives

  • short: afe
  • long: éeste

Prepositions

  • with: ærr
  • without: reoo

Conjunctions

  • and: xe (except in certain poetic phrases and all exclamatory phases without verbs, in which case it's "éx", or between two verbs, in which case "ax")

Pronouns

Dermorian pronouns for "things that don't talk but are alive" such as trees or animals. They are called the "Alive" pronoun below.

English Dermorian Nominative Object Dative Ablative Genitive Locative Instrumental Temporal Causal-final
I (s.)
We (dual)
We (pl.)

Lox
Lot
 ?  ?  ? Dòm
Lom
Lom
 ? Dòrat
Loxat
Lotat
Never used  ?
You (s.)
You both
You all
Ri
Rix
Rit
 ?  ?  ? Rim
Rixim
Ritim
 ? Rorrat
Roxat
Rotat
Never used  ?
Alive You (s.)
Alive You both
Alive You all
Rri
Rrix
Rrit
 ?  ?  ? Rrim
Rrixim
Rritim
 ? Rrorrat
Rroxat
Rrotat
Never used  ?
He/Her/Alive It (s.)
They, Alive They (dual)
They, Alive They (pl)
Fala
Falax
Falat
 ?  ?  ? Fam
Falam
Falam
 ? Farrat
Faxat
Fatat
Never used  ?

When referring to "Alive" things that are more personally known, it is common to use the "Dermorian" pronoun. For example, if a Dermorian were to develop a spiritual bond with a plant, they may use "Ri" to address it as opposed to "Rri". Plural forms are not used as an indication of respect.

While Dermorian features no definite article ("the"), the genitive first person articles are used in almost exactly the same way, except following the definite noun (consistent with the rule of nouns before adjectives). Modern orthography is to glue them together as one word:

dévenímlòm - The fire (literally: Our fire)

In general, when words have their order reversed, it's common for the latter to shift to falling tone. As a rule, all such definite articles feature this transformation.

Example Sentences

  • Do géspèrre dénerà - I want food/I'm hungry
  • Do tévnare févheàt - I fight with swords
  • Ri déveneàt! - Cast Fire! (literally: You fire), note the lack of verb in a sentence that would have an imperative verb in english
  • Lox tévnàre lom naárolíljaà! - We fight for our companions!

Number System

In natural Dermorian, the number system is base-8 (thumbs are not fingers!). When translating numbers from another language, it's common to retain the numbers in the foreign system (decimal). This results in an ambiguity and Dermorians commonly clarify by following the number with "af" or "éeste" (short or long, respectively for base-8 or base-10). In day to day speak between Dermorians, the numbers are always in the natural base-8.

  • 0 reoon (compare to "without")
  • 1 ii
  • 2 oote
  • 3 te
  • 4 reti
  • 5 azi
  • 6 tolmi
  • 7 frré
  • 10 (7+1) àn
  • 11 (7+2) oolv
  • 12 ànoote
  • ...
  • 20 ((7+1)*2) ootænz
  • 21 ootæii
  • 22 ootætee
  • ...
  • 77 frræfrré
  • 100 ((7+1)²) gen
  • 101 genii
  • 1000 ((7+1)³) xaaran
  • 1001 xaaranii
  • 1,0000 ((7+1)<super>4</super>) treem
  • 10,0000 ántreem
  • 100,0000 gentreem
  • 1000,0000 xaarantreem
  • 1,0000,0000 wáleen

Wáleen, while having a decimal value of 16,777,216 is considered the first "really big" number, colloquially used like "million" in English. "I have a wáleen things to do before I can make dinner."

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