New alphabet (abugida) for Seloi and Karkin!

I have been doing a LOT of conscripting (making new writing system) for my languages this summer! Now that the semester has started (only just), I may slow down somewhat but I am promising myself not to stop!

Much of what I’ve worked on has been the new alphabet for the Seloi and Karkin languages. Before I get into the writing system itself, I will give a little background on the people who use this alphabet.

The Selupa (speakers of Seloi) and Karkin people live on a shared island, off the east coast of the Izoi continent (in Elta–so we’re on the side of Aeniith with Tosi, Ríli, etc.). The Selupa (of the zuna species of humanoid–same as the Tosi and Karkin) have a very secretive but comparatively technically advanced society. Their cities are highly protected, entry and exit is tightly regulated, and their technology and medical advances are not generously shared, when they are shared at all. The Selupa value art and culture as well as science, and are famous for their universities where topics like drama, writing, philosophy, rhetoric, and even culinary skills are taught.

The other major cultural group on the island are the Karkin, also a zuna people, who live in parts of the island not inhabited by the Selupa. Their population is largely split into two–some live inside seven cities that are protected by ruling clans. Just outside of these guarded cities are agricultural areas that supply these cities with food. Others, who dwell outside the protection of the cities, live in an arid expanse of land called the Planulum (sōngē’ën /soːˈŋeːʔən/ in Karkin). This is a harsh land, and its soil is hard and difficult to grow in. The people who live in the Planulum are not under rule of the city clans, and lawlessness is rampant in areas that are outside of settlements. Settlements in the Planulum are lightly governed by consensus, if at all. In the winters, sand storms ravage crops, and in the summer, hot winds can wilt them if not enough rains come. It is a difficult place to live. Caravans travel between the various Planulum settlements and the seven cities, but sometimes are detained due to crime or bad weather conditions.

The original inventors of the present alphabet, which I’m tentatively calling Vinuvu (Seloi for ‘scratched pieces’ or ‘written bits’), are the Selupa. Seloi itself has a very small phonemic inventory (collection of differently recognized sounds)–just 10 consonants and 6 vowels. Vinuvu is technically an abugida–a variant of alphabet in which the consonants are represented by full letters and the vowels are represented by modifications to the consonants (often diacritics or small marks on or near the consonant letters). The following is the version used for Seloi, its original intended use.

Seloi alphabet: VinuvuEach consonant is a full letter with the following vowels being marked as diacritics over the consonant. Freestanding vowels are written as full, and diphthongs and double vowels are either combined diacritics or a full vowel symbol plus a diacritic.

So this is simple enough, but then I decided I wanted this whole system to be used by other zuna cultures in the region of Izoi. That includes the Tosi and Karkin. The Tosi are a massive empire, but I decided that I wanted them to have borrowed the alphabet after the Karkin–the immediate neighbors of the Seloi–had already borrowed it.

The main challenge here was due to the Karkin language itself. It has a lot of sounds, far more than the particularly sparse Seloi. Karkin is mad for different consonants: it has 32 of them! It also has six vowels that can all be long or short (in duration). So obviously, when the Karkin borrowed this writing system, they were going to have to do a lot of modification to make it work for their language…

Behold!
Karkin modifications to VinuvuAs you can see, many letters are modified to represent the numerous additional sounds that Karkin has. Some consonants have added marks to indicate that voicing (Seloi doesn’t have voiced stops like b, d, g, for example). Some letters have descender marks below them to indicate a change in place of articulation (usually farther back in the mouth). Some fricatives (like the letters for v and s) are reversed to show a change in voicing (f and z). The letter for /l/ is modified to represent /r/ and /ʎ/. Various other changes show sounds that don’t exist in Seloi. Long vowel are represented by double diacritics.

A few examples of writing in Vinuvu for Karkin.

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Also the punctuation marks and numerals:
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More information will be coming–watch this space!

 

Margaret

Rílin language: expression of sorrow and sympathy

Well, it’s been a while! I do want to get back in to posting things here, despite my busy workload. Maybe it’s even better for me to do so because of that workload.

Anyway.

In light the recent catastrophe in Paris, I have been thinking about how the Ríli form expressions of sorrow, sympathy, condolences, etc. Languages often have formalized/idiomized or set phrases for these kinds of expressions, so I thought it was important that Rílin did as well. Rílin culture emphasizes harmony, support, respect, and sensitivity to others’ emotions, so I wanted to make their phrases of sorrow and sympathy reflect some of those values too. All of the words and grammar used herein are extant parts of the Rílin language–I am configuring them in ways that seem appropriate.

Note: the variations on the way of saying ‘you’/’your’ are due to traditional Rílin’s (and Lunauli Rílin) way of distinguishing three levels of formality/familiarity for pronouns and persons (lí at the most familiar and zana at the most formal for ‘you sg.’).

Lilaíkim – ‘I am grieving/mourning/crying’ (this word lilaí also means to weep copiously)
lilaí-k-im
/lɪˈlaikɪm/
grieve-pres.prog-1sg

Lilaíkim líu/xyu/zanau – ‘I grieve with thee’
lilaí-k-im lí-u/xy-u/zana-u
/lɪˈlaikɪm ˈliu (ˈxyu) (ˈzanau)/
grieve-pres.prog 2sg-instr

R̂yla límu/xymu/zanamu imi – Lit., ‘I am in/with thy sorrow’
r̂y-la lí-mu/xy-mu zana-mu imi
/ˈʂyla limu (ˈxymu) (ˈzanamu)/
sorrow-instr 2sg-poss

Hestia(tíí)/(tyy)/(taa)ky – Lit. ‘may you recuperate/rest’
hestia-t-íí/t-yy/t-aa-ky
/hɛstɪaˈtiiky (hɛstɪatyyky)(hɛstɪataaky)/
rest-npst-2sg.fut-irr

Bítapky Démas/Ifinŝas líet/xyet/zanat – ‘May Déma/Ifinŝe embrace/aid thee’ (depending on which goddess you would like to reference)
bí-t-ap-ky Déma-s/Ifinŝe-as lí-et/xy-et/zana-et
/biˈtapky ˈdemas(ɪfɪnʃas) ˈliɛt (ˈxyɛt)(ˈzanat)/
embrace/aid-npst-3sg-irr Déma-erg/Ifinŝe-erg 2sg-abs

Image of a Rílin woman: Silin

Commissioned art of a Rílin woman named Silin. Free Image Hosting at FunkyIMG.com (Please click the image to see the full size version! It looks squished when I insert it here.)

Silin is a scount with the Sunulí guerilla militia. She spies on the Tosi encampments and is an expert tracker of the woods. Her home settlement was destroyed in the initial Tosi attack on Rílin border towns, and Silin’s husband and young son were murdered. She wandered for a few years and fled to the northern coast of Elinís̆. It was here she met Tsilu, another Rílin woman who had fled the invasion, and they became friends, and eventually lovers.

I want to write stories about Silin, but I have three WIPs going right now that need to be dealt with first!

Poem for a narēd

In Tosi legend, narēdi (singular narēd /’nare:d/) are fire spirits that seduce zuna (the species that Tosi are) into throwing themselves into lava flows and burning. This is a poem about a narēd. Her name is Sapof (which comes from the Tosi words for “never extinguished”).

~

the narēd

her bleeding eyes alight

with fires from ancient earth

weaving around the stones

from within a blistering cavern

hotter than the blinded stretches of the deserts

she claims those who gaze on her fiery glory

a death worthy of a queen

how sublime

to burn away

in the eyes of the narēd.

~

Mintaka

Voagry Treir

Moodboard for Voagry Treir :

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 4.37.26 PM

Before me stood a woman in a flowing green gown, with pearls draped at her breast like dew on a flower. Her eye seemed to glow in the low lamplight and the flicker of the fire cast orange shadows over her skin. She was pale, much paler than most people in norther Quarios, and I wondered where she’d been born. She could have looked Orikrindian if not for her great height. She was one of the tallest women I had ever seen. Her gold hair ran in a river down shoulders that were broad and stately. In her face was an incomprehensible peace, of such a nature that I was sure I had never felt so serene once in my short lie. At that moment, I felt a piercing pain in my heart, both sweet and agonizing, and it occured to me that this woman seemed, to my naïve heart, like a god.” 

Elucuna in Quarios

~~~

I am still working on Elucuna’s story, but I wanted to take this excerpt from the upcoming section to use for Voagry’s moodboard, because Voagry is one of my oldest OCs and one of my personal favorites. ❤

~

Also I promise to post more real content again soon. Grad school is starting up for me again and I have more work! I am going to keep worldbuilding, conlanging, and writing over the semester (as I always have) because it a great stress-reliever for me. And god knows I could use that.

Legend and Lore: The children of Hestaya (a poem)

In Orikrindian myth, Hestaya (the mother goddess, the goddess of the mountains and earth) bore 12 infants, which were conceived beneath the hardest rock in the earth, fathered by the fire god, whose life blood flows under the world as magma. The twelve children were born upon twelve hills that encircle the island of Orikrindia. In legend, the children were found by nomads of a group called the Lost Ones. The queen of this people, Crestellin, was the first to find one of these children, and then, one by one, she and her handmaidens found all twelve. She was a childless queen before this moment, but adopted the babies into her family and raised them as her own. According to legend, these demigod children grew into the founders of the twelve great cities of Orikrindia.

This poem is about Crestellin finding the first of the children of Hestaya.

~

Moving like a green snake

In the dewdrops

A fragmented line of tiny sighs

Blooming life along the dusty horizon.

 

Clinging still to mother

Unwilling to relinquish

That summer warm smell

Of newborns and flowers and vegetables

Singing in the sweltering heat

Humming with an old life

 

You know who they were

The ones who came before

The earthy faces digging themselves out from under hills and mounds

Stones in the dusk

In the distance,

They approached

Farther and farther

Until we heard their breath

Whispering and scraping in the evening air

Like leaves against your cheek.

 

We took them in

Opened our wings

And drew in these

Infants.

 

We gave them the instincts

We had left,

Pretending

To be mothers

Pretending

To understand beyond the eons

What we were doing.

 

The children of the stone

The babies found

In the earth                            

Creeping into humanity

Latching onto a nipple

They were lucky to find

 

Vines covering the tomb

An ancient space

Threshold to a world beyond

We remained and named the children

After the wish of the Mother,

Hestaya.

 

~

Mintaka

 

Orikrindian lore and legend

I want to do a new segment about Orikrindian lore and legend (which may expand to other cultures), small little blurbs about ideas that have been floating around my head for a while. They don’t really have a home yet so we’ll see what becomes of them.

~

Today’s is about the Song of Esala. The word is not originally Ori, but comes from a nearby language from the mainland of Ei to the west. The word was originally Ashal, but changed over time and to fit Ori phonology a bit more closely.

The Song of Esala is a song that is supposedly divine in nature, or at least somehow supernatural. It is said to be heard in the wilderness when one is completely alone and can neither see, hear, nor sense in any way another person. It is at this time that one may hear the Song of Esala. What Esala is or means is not clear. There are competing etymological theories, variously saying that it is the name of a person, a place, or a concept.

To hear the Song of Esala is a disturbing experience. The listener will think they are going mad and may run even deeper into the wilderness, always avoiding the proximity of any other person. It is thought that this leads them to wander permanently and live like a wild person until a certain, unspecified time before their death, during which they will be released from the hold of the Song and “wake up” from their fervor or delirium. This time is usually months to years after first hearing the Song.

The Song is thought by some in Orikrindia to be a curse of the goddess Moltirin put upon those who have displeased her in some way. Others, however, consider it a kind of intense blessing given by the spirits of animals in the wild that have found a soul that they deem kindred to their own and wish to draw it in amongst themselves. This view is the predominant idea in Behr Gehen (country of the Ei Lands, west of Orikrindia). Those who return from being held by the Song are considered holy and are given special treatment upon their return to society.

Whatever the nature of the Song of Esala, it is a part of folklore that is commonly understood as one of the many risks of venturing into the wilds alone for lengths of time, both across Orikrindia and the Ei Lands.

~

Mintaka