Zezhi script: a syllabary

In addition to working on the Vinuvu abugida, I’ve also been creating a new conscript, called Zezhi. It is a syllabary, and is used in Keta, specifically in and around Ngyenau Bwezh, a small country in Ei (north of Quarios). I have the beginnings of a majority language of Ngyenau Bwezh, called Bwezhi, but it’s far from usable yet. It’s at that awkward stage where I know what the phonemes are and some basics about verbs, nouns, and word order, but not much else. It is essentially a fetus.

Zezhi itself has independent symbols for combinations of consonants and vowels, in the CV syllable structure. It also has symbols for lone vowels: V structure. It doesn’t have codas embedded in each symbol, but rather marks a “default” syllable as “vowelless” for this purpose, as Bwezhi does have some codas.

Here are some examples:

This is a given name: Miza Lie

Another name: Minisa Burun.
This is the name of the country Ngyenau Bwezh /ˈŋʲɛnau bʷɛʒ/. You can see the diacritics that indicate patalization and labialization in co
nsonants. The line under the final character means that there is a null vowel after this consonant, i.e. a syllable coda. You can also see that in the previous name “Burun”. The character used for codas is always the Ce (consonant plus /ɛ/) character. So without the line underneath, the name would appear as “Burune”.

Below is a transliteration of my full name: Margaret Neal Ransdell-Green.
The transliteration works out to: /margaret nil ranzdɛl grin/

Conscripts

I’ve been refining and practicing the Vinuvu script, which I first created in summer 2019. It’s getting more to where I want it in terms of specifics, but remains largely how I originally designed it. I’m practicing writing in it in calligraphic software on iPad/with Apple pencil, as well as using actual pen/ink.

Vinuvu is the second script I’ve created that I’m still using. The first is the Rílin script, which I made into a font. You can see more about this font/script on the Rílin phonology page. You can also download the font itself here.

Here are some recent examples of the Vinuvu script as used to write Karkin.

I’d like to develop a font for Vinuvu too, though because it is an abugida, and vowels are usually marked using diacritics, it might present an additional challenge, since different characters will essentially need to be overlaid on each other to form syllables.

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 script

So you’ve all probably seen at least some of my numerous poems written in Rílin, along with their accompanying script. I wanted to explain how the alphabet for Rílin works.

It is pretty simple conceptually. Rílin traditionally uses a phonetic alphabet, where each letter corresponds to a phoneme (distinguished sound) in the language. Rílin has a large phonemic inventory (29 consonants and 13 vowels), so there are as many letters in the alphabet.

In the below image, you can see the IPA symbol for each Rílin phoneme, followed by (in brackets) the Romanized representation (sometimes there are variants available for those times when it is not convenient or possible to use diacritic marks)

rilinletters
Consonants

vowels
Vowels

 

Ori poem

A poem in Ori. I use poetry to expand on my lexicon and grammar, as well as invent new ways of doing metaphor.

~

Clidolyal

Catyin-gae nalistityin tyae

Calin natin nalepa can iyutu cyan

Yullacu tyuhacu

Bane cohace

Nye nalemasye

 

Catyin eltrutyin tyae

Na lyen-tatyin tyo

Ilu cyalace

Na syutace

Milis cuheo bumi

Na misuhile lunin cyon-lastilen

Bine

Nyilleya hatanulya.

 

 

A false vow

But you knew my reasons

You never saw me how you should

Every year

We would slip further

From the truth.

 

You know my ways

And I know yours

We come together again

And split apart

A tree cloven in two

And from the sap running from our wounds

Perhaps

A new story.

Welcome to Quarios!

Map-10

The second of my regional maps of Aeniith (please click here for the full version!). The first was Izoi, which has actually been a BIT modified since then to make it more geologically plausible. We go for accuracy in worldbuilding when it comes to systems like geology, economics, etc. 😛 Anyway…

Quarios is a single state nowadays, run by a consitutional monarchy, which is currently headed by Queen Inacaporia. The continent was, until pretty recently, made up of two sovereign states: Lomilin and Gotêvi. Incaporia was the Queen of Gotêvi and married a Prince of Lomilin, and they merged their lands.

In the north of Quarios, the weather is warm and humid most of the time, with mild winters. This is because Quarios is in the southern hemisphere. The southern most islands are frigid and cold. They are home two some ethnically distinct peoples known as the Teg and Phuli. These peoples speak their own languages (Teg and Phul) in addition to Gotevian. People living on the Lomilin side of Quarios (the west side) speak Lomi.

The northern port city of Naeglitan is where Elucuna arrives when she first getsto Quarios from Orikrindia (island nation to the north). She then travels with Glohitan to Valley of Voagry just to the southeast of there.

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

WIP: Crypt of the Mind

This is a short story about a Tosi guy named Kel whose older sister Koma decides to leave and join the war with the Ríli. Because Tosi society is a matriarchy, it’s not common for young men to be living on their own (especially in middle class homes like this one), and he feels abandoned by his sister and worried for her safety. Soon, he finds that the strain of being left alone is aggravating some mental problems he’d had in the past. Problems increase for Kel when he starts to discover some unsettling facts about his family’s past, and discovers that his ancestral home may be haunted by secrets unknown, both figuratively, and maybe literally.

Genre will be fantasy/scifi/paranormal with tinges of romance and adventure. Rating is at M for now just to be safe. Nothing to warrant the rating so far though. CWs for mental illness, mild violence, mentions of death, mild sexual themes, and paranormal scariness.

Feedback is welcome if you feel like reading!

~~~~~~~~~~

Continue reading “WIP: Crypt of the Mind”

Ori needed more declensions?

I decided Ori needs more nouns declensions. 😛

So here are two new celestial class declensions.

2nd declension (celestial)

These nouns often end in -n or -m.

Btw, the -∅ symbol in linguistics means ‘null’ or ‘nothing’. So that means the nom. sg. forms don’t add a suffix.

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Using Calcurassen’s name as an example (in the singular, of course–there is only one of the God of Justice):

Calcurassen ryintat trulali ‘Calcurassen drinks wine’

Ti-clespes Calcurasseni astere lya. ‘Calcurassen’s jewel is bright’

Murlinis Calcurassene iyuru ‘A raven sees Calcurassen’

Hensapya Calcurassena maroi cyan ‘I gave praise to Calcurassen’

Calcurassenul minim cyan nalemapya peli. ‘By means of Calcurassen, I was able to find justice’

Hestinyal Calcurassenul lya. ‘Hope lies with Calcurassen’

Oa, Calcurassene! Maropye tyeli abarig! ‘Oh, Calcurassen! Give us blessings.’

~

The next declension is also for celestial nouns–most of these ending in vowels.

3rd celestial declension

image

Examples:

Ti-hembe lilya rya. ‘The body of fresh water is small’ (Note that ‘small’ still agrees with embe–it just uses a different celestial (nom sg. suffix, the one from the very first celestial declension I introduced, which is -ya rather than -∅.)

Culleryal caben bellu. ‘The expanse of the world is wide’

Gilupye yalutyin tatyin ti-trahellet ‘Turn your eyes to the meteor shower’

Ok, you get the idea. 🙂

~

Mintaka