Casual A'millian Language: A Guide for Tourists

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Destructionator
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Casual A'millian Language: A Guide for Tourists

Post by Destructionator » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:49 am

Casual A'millian: A Guide for Tourists

(OOU note: I've had some little word construction guides and some language ideas in my head for a while now - I use them when naming planets and stars - and now decided to go ahead and write up a little in universe style guide to some of the stuff (I want to name their months actually). It is meant to be hard to understand - A'millian has what we computer people call a "context sensitive grammar" on several levels, but that's part of the fun!

Also note my furious handwaving to explain why it sounds so similar to English and Latin at times :P And an in universe note: there are at least 3 different A'millian languages (vaguely, south, east and west) and four major A'millian accents (Cornelian (the King's Pronunciation) , Lesalian (eastern accent), Midean (northern accent - remember "lots of planets have a north!" :D ), and Zeon (western accent)). I'm not going into describing them. Yet. Maybe someday.

Anyway, let's get on with it.)


The Language of the King (adapted for English pronunciation):

Note that there are other languages on A'millia, still in use in some places, but the King's Language (actually a bizarre combination of several languages really) is the official one.

There are several accents with which you may speak it; one should be flexible in what he accepts for pronunciation. Documented here is the bastardization adaptation for English speakers. Most sounds have been adapted to a close enough representation to be shown with the English alphabet. Those sounds impossible to represent or adequately adapt are omitted with an apostrophe in their place.

We've also tried to adapt the language as much as possible to be familiar to English speakers while maintaining understandability for an A'millian listener.


Word Construction


Words are generally made up of several parts jammed together. Prefixes have the most significant one first and modify the word created by the combination of roots and suffixes (like adjectives and adverbs). Equally significant prefixes may come in any order without changing the meaning. Suffixes go in the opposite order of modification and are used to create a new noun or verb.

Naturally, there are several exceptions to the rules, but for simplicity, we won't go into them here. A'millian listeners should be able to correct most these mistakes from your sentences using context and inferring missing meaning, so it should not break your ability to communicate.

Let's do an example: A'millian. The word is formed from one prefix, one root, and two suffixes.

To decode the meaning, you'll want to start at the end of the word, with the suffixes. Using them, you can determine what part of speech the word may be. Here, the suffixes are "ia" and "n".

It can be difficult to see where the suffixes begin if you don't see the root, and this is sometimes ambiguous without trying to parse the word. Try the shortest suffix possibilities first, and if that doesn't make sense with the root to form a word, try a longer suffix. If a word doesn't make sense in a sentence, reparse it with a suffix from the expected part of speech to force it to make sense.

With practice, this process will feel natural; you won't think about it any longer, but it is a common stumbling block for beginners.


To understand the suffixes, you'd read them backward. "n" means "of the" and "ia" means "land of the". This, the combined "ian" would read "of the land of the". This is a noun construction, but it doesn't describe a concrete object, so it must be an adjective.

(This can also at times devolve into a noun, if it describes nothing in a sentence. Which can in turn devolve into a verb if needed. However, such rules are beyond the scope of this guide.)

Since we have an adjective, we know the root must be a noun, and thus, the prefixes must be interpreted as adjectives. We'll try parsing the prefixes as adjectives to isolate the root.

The prefix, "A'm", can be used as an adjective and makes sense here. It means "first".

Finally, with the prefixes and suffixes pulled off, we have the root. "ill", which, as a noun, means "star". With the prefix, the base word is "first star."

Now, we read the suffixes backward with the base word at the end. "of the land of the first star". We have successfully read the adjective!

Now, the next word in the sentence should be a noun, giving us a complete idea. If not, either consume the previous noun with this adjective, or if that doesn't work, you'll want to consider a noun that makes sense given the rest of the context and pretend it is there. Throughout this guide, we have used the English word "A'millian" without a noun and it makes sense from context - we are discussing the language of the land of the first star, so we can leave "language" off and still understand what it means.


Once again, don't be alarmed if the rules seem complex. They are complex, but I'll remind you English is equally obscure for the new learner. Just as you got used to English's quirks and can now speak it fluently, with time, you'll get used to A'millian's quirks.

In the mean time, yes, A'millians speak incredibly fast by nature, but politeness requires them to slow down if you simply let them know you aren't keeping up. There is never shame is asking for clarity!


Let's list some common building blocks for words.


Prefixes:

A'm : first
Fant : second
Lant : third
Kor : fourth
Wiv : fifth
M' : my (strong - means it overrides other articles that follow)



Roots:

ill : star
ayute : water



Suffixes:

ia : land of (or world of, determined from context)
n : of the
us : body of
ski : son of
lysi : daughter of



Let's construct a word using the above parts. We can mash them together quite haphazardly and come up with something that probably makes sense!

Let's try it.

M'korayuteskius

Can you understand what it means? Test your answer below.



.
.
.




.
.
.





.
.
.

Our word was "M'korayuteskius". First, we look for a suffix to determine the part of speech.

"s" can be used as a suffix, but, no suffix ends in the preceeding letters, "iu", so it must be part of that suffix.

"us" is a suffix! It means "body of", describing a noun. Now, we go to the beginning and work off adjective prefixes.

"M'" should jump right out at you, meaning "my". Right after that, "kor" is the next part that makes sense, meaning "fourth".

The root word "ayute" should now jump out.

Now, we pull off the final suffix(es). "s" could be one, but that leaves only "ki" to form the next complete suffix. It isn't one, so we know the suffix must be "ski", which means "son of".

Since we now have the word decomposed into its roots, we can put the translations together. It means "my fourth body of my son of water."

As bizarre as this may sound, it is a valid A'millian word, describing a concept, so if you heard it, you should try to make sense of it from context.

"M'korayuteusski" - the same parts, but with suffixes reversed, means "my fourth son of my body of water", which may also sound bizarre, but again is a valid word and probably makes sense given sentence context. In this case, for example, it might be a fleet admiral referring to one of beloved ships. Context is as important as the word itself.
Last edited by Destructionator on Wed May 20, 2009 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Dakarne
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Re: Causal A'millian Language: A Guide for Tourists

Post by Dakarne » Wed May 20, 2009 8:26 pm

Causal? It's a language that follows a linear sequence of temporal events, as opposed to being non-linear? :P Or did you mean 'casual'?
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'For the moment, mortal, they find the thought of killing me more desirable than that of killing you.'
'And what are their chances?'
'The answer to that is evident in how long they've been hesitating, wouldn't you think, mortal?'

-Anomander Rake and Ganoes Paran in Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

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Destructionator
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Re: Causal A'millian Language: A Guide for Tourists

Post by Destructionator » Wed May 20, 2009 8:27 pm

D'oh!

Though both kinda fit. Sort of.

Actually, I am infallible, so it must fit.

*waves hand* There is no error here. I can go about being perfect. Move along....
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Ford Prefect
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Re: Casual A'millian Language: A Guide for Tourists

Post by Ford Prefect » Thu May 21, 2009 10:52 am

I am often impressed by your sheer dedication to worldbuilding, D. Even this little tidbit on language speaks of its own kind of psychopathic madness. ;)
FEEL THESE GUNS ARCHWIND THESE ARE THE GUNS OF THE FLESHY MESSIAH THE TOOLS OF CREATION AND DESTRUCTION THAT WILL ENACT THE LAW OF MAN ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

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