Ashian, also known as Ashian, is the native language of the people who live on the central continent of Aterra.
Ashian is known for its robust palatal series.
|Stop||p • b
p • b
|t • d
t • d
|č • ǯ
c • ɟ
|k • g|
k • ɡ
|Fricative||f • v
ɸ • β
|þ • ð
θ • ð
|s • z
s • z
|š • ž
ɕ • ʑ
|ĸ • ɢ|
x • ɣ
Ashian vowels may be short or long, and there are a number of diphthongs. Short vowels are generally pronounced lax, while long vowels are tense.
|Short Vowels||Long Vowels|
|High||í • ý
iː • yː
| • ú|
|i • y
ɪ • ʏ
| • u
|Mid||é • œ́
eː • øː
| • ó|
|e • œ
ɛ • œ
| • o
|á • |
Orthography & Romanization
|a||a||a||Like ⟨a⟩ in Spanish allí.|
|á||á||ɑː||Like ⟨a⟩ in father.|
|ai||aj||aɪ̯||Like ⟨igh⟩ in sigh.|
|au||aw||aʊ̯||Like ⟨ou⟩ in loud.|
|b||b||b||Like ⟨b⟩ in boat.|
|č||kj||ʨ||Like ⟨ch⟩ in chair.|
|d||d||d||Like ⟨d⟩ in dog.|
|ð||dh||ð||Like ⟨th⟩ in these.|
|e||e||ɛ||Like ⟨e⟩ in empty.|
|é||é||eː||Like ⟨é⟩ in French allé.|
|eu||ew||ɛʊ̯||Like ⟨eu⟩ in Spanish neutro.|
|f||f||ɸ||Like ⟨f⟩ in foot.|
|g||g||ɡ||Like ⟨g⟩ in goat.|
|ɢ||gh||ɣ||Like ⟨g⟩ in Spanish amigo.|
|ʜ||h||h||Like ⟨h⟩ in house.|
|i||i||ɪ||Like ⟨i⟩ in inch.|
|í||í||iː||Like ⟨ee⟩ in see.|
|iu||iw||iʊ̯||Like ⟨ieuw⟩ in Dutch nieuw.|
|ǰ||j||j||Like ⟨y⟩ in yes.|
|k||k||k||Like ⟨c⟩ in cape.|
|ĸ||kh||x||Like ⟨j⟩ in Spanish rojo.|
|l||l||l||Like ⟨l⟩ in Spanish solo.|
|ʌ̌||lj||ʎ||Like ⟨gl⟩ in Italian glielo.|
|m||m||m||Like ⟨m⟩ in man.|
|n||n||n||Like ⟨n⟩ in no.|
|ň||nj||ɲ||Like ⟨ñ⟩ in Spanish año.|
|ɴ||ng||ŋ||Like ⟨ng⟩ in singing.|
|o||o||ɔ||Like ⟨a⟩ in all.|
|ó||ó||oː||Like ⟨o⟩ in hope.|
|œ||ø||œ||Like ⟨eu⟩ in French peu.|
|œ́||ǿ||øː||Like ⟨eu⟩ in French creuse.|
|p||p||p||Like ⟨p⟩ in pike.|
|r||r||r||Like ⟨rr⟩ in Spanish perro.|
|ř||rj||r̝||Like ⟨ř⟩ in Czech Dvořak.|
|ʀ||rh||ʀ||Like ⟨r⟩ in French rien.|
|s||s||s||Like ⟨s⟩ in soap.|
|š||sj||ɕ||Like ⟨sh⟩ in shoe.|
|t||t||t||Like ⟨t⟩ in top.|
|þ||th||θ||Like ⟨th⟩ in think.|
|u||u||ʊ||Like ⟨oo⟩ in good.|
|ú||ú||uː||Like ⟨oo⟩ in food.|
|ui||uj||uɪ̯||Like ⟨uy⟩ in Spanish muy.|
|v||v||β||Like ⟨b⟩ in Spanish bosca.|
|w||w||ʋ||Like ⟨w⟩ in Dutch waarom.|
|y||y||ʏ||Like ⟨ü⟩ in German Hütte.|
|ý||ý||yː||Like ⟨u⟩ in French lu.|
|z||z||z||Like ⟨z⟩ in zig-zag.|
|ž||zj||ʑ||Like ⟨s⟩ in vision.|
|ǯ||gj||ʥ||Like ⟨j⟩ in joke.|
Nouns are classified as masculine, feminine, or neuter. Verbs in the third person inflect for animate (masculine and feminine) and inanimate (neuter).
Nouns and pronouns may be singular or plural. Number is marked on nouns and pronouns.
There are five grammatical cases, and these are reflected in all nouns and pronouns. The cases are: Nominative (subject), Genitive (possessive, ‘of’, ‘from’), Dative (Indirect Object, ‘for’, ‘to’), Instrumental (‘by means of’, ‘using’), and Accusative (direct object). Not every sentence needs to contain all of the cases; indeed, most sentences contain only the nominative and accusative. When prepositions are used, however, a case is required. Most prepositions take the dative or instrumental; some take the genitive or accusative; a select few take the nominative. See Adpositions for guidance on which prepositions are governed by various cases. Below I will describe some of the cases in more detail with the use of glosses.
The nominative case is simply the subject of a sentence. It is the “default” form of the word, and the noun in the sentence which is doing the action in the verb. In the sentence “I read the book,” the word I is in the nominative.
|Ok nóška ʌ̌avak.|
|‘I read the book.’|
The nominative case is also used in copular sentences. In the sentence “I am an author,” both I and author are in the nominative case.
|Ok ó knúramaš.|
|‘I am an author.’|
Though nouns and articles no longer have case in English, the pronouns do: The pronouns I, he, she, it, we, you, they and who are all nominative (though it and you are the same in other cases as well). The archaic prepositions thou and ye are also nominative. (Modern “you” is from the accusative form of ye.)
In the ancient neo-grammarian tradition of describing cases in grammars, the accusative normally comes fourth or fifth in the list of cases, but I mention it here in second place because this is the most direct contrast to the nominative, and sometimes the most difficult to grasp for the student who is new to grammatical cases.
The accusative case is used for the noun or pronoun which fills the role of direct object in a sentence. In our previous sentence, “I read the book,” the book is the direct element and would be in the accusative case.
|Ok nóška ʌ̌avak.|
|‘I read the book.’|
As aforementioned, English does retain the accusative case in its pronouns: me, him, her, it, us, you, them, and whom are the accusative pronouns in English, though whom is falling out of use now.
The dative case, again out of the traditional order, is not as frequently used as the accusative, but it is still quite common. The dative describes the indirect object of the sentence, usually in relation to the accusative (direct object), or used with a preposition to establish location or direction. The dative pronouns in English have long since melded with the accusative, but it is often replaced with phrases using the preposition “to” or “for.” In the sentence “I gave the book to him,” “to him” is the dative element – it is the indirect object of “give,” while “the book” is the direct object” – that which is being given.
|Ok rag ʌ̌avak feron.|
|I||gave||the book||to him|
|‘I gave the book to him.’|
You might be tempted to ask, “What if I were to say, ‘I gave him the book’?” This changes some syntax rules, but it does not actually change the cases of the objects: the book is still what is being given (accusative), and “him” is still what the direct object is being given to (dative).
|Ok rag ʌ̌avak feron.|
|I||gave||(to) him||the book|
|‘I gave (to) him the book.’|
Certain prepositions, such as suk ‘with’ and íš ‘out of’ are always followed by the dative case, though other prepositions may take different cases depending on other factors such as motion or change of state. Particularly “locative” prepositions, which describe where something is, tend to take the dative case when something is stationary and the accusative when it is moving. This is a feature that is believed to be inherited from the Orka language, which in turn inherited it from Germanic. For example, in the sentence “The book is on the table,” on is your dative preposition and the table is in the dative case, because the book (the subject) is not in motion. diš koðrai
|Ʌ̌avak diš er koðrail.|
|the book||sits||on the table|
|‘The book is on the table.’|
However, in the sentence “Put the book on the table,” the book is no longer stationary; it is the direct object of the imperative verb put, and on the table slips into the accusative case as well to reflect that there is motion involved.
|Vrá ʌ̌avak er koðral.|
|Put||the book||on(to) the table|
|‘Put the book on the table.’|
There are some subtleties, but generally the rule is: If the subject is moving, accusative; otherwise, dative.
As the dative began to vanish from English, we compensated for this by changing some of the actual prepositions themselves, though others just collapsed together. For example, the prepositions in and on got fused with the “accusative to” and became into and onto to replace the dative/accusative distinction when it was lost.
The genitive case is fairly simple but is sometimes hard for English speakers to grasp because we actually have two genitive cases, and only one of them is really still a case. The true genitive case in English is the possessive “‑’s” ending which indicates possession, though the secondary genitive is the preposition of. In any case, it is a single case in Ashian: the genitive. It also encompasses the possessive pronouns, such as my or their. Sticking with our examples, in the sentence “Her book is dedicated to the memory of John’s brother,” there are actually three genitive clauses floating around, all different in English:
|Ʌ̌af ek fleki furu šukoǯ lorira gau Ǯanu.|
|Ʌ̌af ek flek-i fur-u||šuk-oǯ||lor-i-ra||ga-u Ǯan-u|
|The book at her hand||is summoned||to the memory||of the brother of John|
|book.nom-def at hand-dat 3sg.fem-gen||call-3sg.psv||memory-dat-def||brother-gen John-gen|
|‘Her book is dedicated to the memory of John’s brother.’|
Here the possessive adjective her is the genitive of she, John’s is a true genitive retaining it’s ‑’s, and finally of (the) brother, though this is broken up by the second genitive. Sometimes it can be helpful in phrases like these to reword sentences using “of” to target the genitives, e.g. “The book [gen: of yours] is dedicated [dat: to the memory] [gen: of the brother] [gen: of John].”
The instrumental is a simple case that is more rarely used than the others, but it simply means by means of, with the use of, or via.
|Ok vrátaš ʌ̌avak er koðral rú flekin.|
|ok||vrát-aš||ʌ̌av-ak||er koðra-l||rú flek-in|
|I||put||the book||on the table||with my hand|
|1.sg.nom||put-pst||book-acc.def||on table-acc.def||1.sg.gen hand-ins|
|‘I put the book on the table with my hand.’|
Possession is indicated in one of two ways.
For inalienable possession such as body parts or family members, the genitive is used (e.g. rú flek ‘my hand’, windu má ‘our mother’). The genitive expression in this case precedes the possessed noun.
Alienable possession instead follows the noun, and is constructed from the phrase ek fleki “at hand,” e.g. ʌ̌af ek fleki rú ‘my book’ would literally translate to ‘the book at my hand’. Here the genitive (rú) follows the dative expression.
Personal pronouns in Ashian inflect for number (singular and plural) and gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter). The first and second person pronouns do not inflect for gender. Pronouns do not inflect for clusivity.
Declension of Pronouns
|Sg||flek, ʌ̌af||fleku, ʌ̌avu||fleki, ʌ̌avi||flekin, ʌ̌avin||flek, ʌ̌af|
|Pl||fleka, ʌ̌ava||flekra, ʌ̌avra||flekna, ʌ̌avna||fleknin, ʌ̌avnin||fleka, ʌ̌ava|
|ek||at, by, next to||dative/accusative|
|er||on, upon, onto||dative/accusative|
|íš||from, out of||dative|
|ol||in, into, inside of||dative/accusative|
All generally precede the nouns the modify. Like nouns, all adjectives fall into groups determined by their final vowel (or lack thereof). The aš-stem adjectives are declined very similarly to aš-stem nouns.
E.g. šili stofreš ‘the small cloud’
Numbers are duodecimal; that is, base-12, like most other number systems on Aterra. For duodecimal transcription, ⟨X⟩ is used to represent ‘ten’ and ⟨B⟩ for ‘eleven’. Decimal equivalents are given in parentheses after the duodecimal.
|nín||ča||dlé||þer||þuž||šox||šum||tax||rem||gent (10)||lesk (11)||ǯuk (12)|
Ashian is what is described as a “V2” language. That is, it is normally SVO (subject – verb – object), but when a clause begins with another element, such as an adverb or adverbial phrase, the verb changes place with the subject. In other words, the standard English word order is used in the sentence Ok ekla þibreň “I see the-bird,” but add the word ‘now’ – Far ekla ok þibreň “Now see I the-bird” and the order of subject and verb changes. (This does not happen after conjunctions.)
Inflection / Conjugation
Aside from a few irregular verbs, all verbs may be either “strong” or “weak,” to use the terminology of their ancient Germanic ancestors. Weak verbs form the past tense by adding the suffix -aš to the verb stem, with some minor alteration depending on the inflectional endings. Strong verbs form the past by changing the root vowel of the stem.
|narat ‘to fall’||rogat ‘to give’|
Negation is formed by affixing the negative suffix –aɴk to the conjugated verb, though this may change the conjugation slightly depending on the ending, particularly in the animate third person singular, where the negative assimilates to the palatalized ending.
|narat ‘to fall’||rogat ‘to give’|
- ↑ NB: The alienable possessive is used here, which means that this is a book that she owns. If it were inalienable, it would imply that it is a book that she wrote.