THE STUDY OF LANGUAGES IN ATLANTEAN TIMES
We have seen in an earlier section how the Juralic Language Group, comprising Atlantean, Chalcran, Helvran and Yalland, was spoken by the vast majority of the peoples within the Atlantean Empire. However, there were some who spoke languages of completely different origins within the bounds of the Imperium, while outside it, the tongues of the other major nations on the Great Continent were descended from other language groups, distantly or unrelated to Juralic. A theory of the varying origins of the languages spoken on the Continent was first proposed in Atlantis around 380. Thereafter, during the Second Empire, a whole school of Atlantean linguists studied and analysed the grammatical and morphological structures of the Juralic languages, but paid little detailed attention to any other tongues. This changed after about 510, when an interest in all things exotic and non-Atlantean flowed from the Romantic movement into the rather hidebound studies of the Atlantean linguistic school. For the next 80 or so years, languages such as Basquec, Ughan and Keltish were subjected to the same analysis as the Juralic languages had been during the previous century, and various theories were put forward as to the origins and relationships between all these different languages. Most of these views were mistaken, partly because the principles of historical sound changes were not yet grasped, but also owing to a lack of knowledge about older, now extinct languages, the only traces of which now consisted of inscriptions or ancient, incomplete and hard to decipher manuscripts. The chaotic conditions after 600 ended nearly all linguistic studies, and when they began again under the third Empire after about 660, they were on a small and very detailed scale, like so much other study and art in this period. For some decades, individual words in the Juralic languages were studied for changes of meaning in different contexts and over past centuries. Gradually these studies widened out to include non-Juralic tongues, and then, after 700, to the development of a genuine historical and comparative study of language development over the centuries. The foundations and development of all we now know about the languages of the great Continent were laid between 700 and 800. (Modern scholars have made a few discoveries which seem to have eluded the Atlanteans of this period – though it could also be that we have simply lost the sources which would have revealed that the Atlanteans had after all found out these things long before us!) After 800, more linguistic study did take place, but it consisted largely either of grandiose theories to common origins between all the languages of the world, or the detailed investigation of semantic and morphological practice and comparisons between different languages. Scholars also became interested in ever more esoteric languages – those long defunct, or spoken in the furthest reaches of the Great Continent, or on other continents altogether.
1. THE BASQUEC-VULCAN-UGHATIC LANGUAGE GROUP ("BASQUATIC")
These languages, spoken by nations who were repeatedly rivals of the
Atlantean Empire, were amongst the first to be studied by Atlantean
scholars after the sixth century. They are divisible into two groups –
Ughan, and Basquec-Vulcan. Note that Raziran, as spoken in the country,
and later Province, of Razira, is a dialect of Basquec. (It died out
after the 700s). The Group as a whole is completely unrelated to Juralic
or any of the other, earlier western languages, and it is assumed that
the peoples who spoke these tongues originated from the south-east of
the Continent, well separate from the original Numedean or Juralic
areas. All the Basquatic languages are highly inflected, and make great
use of prefixes and suffixes for tense and case. Consonance is
important, especially in Ughan, where affixes have to have vowels in the
same "field" as the root. All the languages like to use
bunches of "awkward" vowels together, eg Ughan: DG, PSJ, and
TJ. Basquec: TTH,SSH,CCH, corresponding to Vulcan DJ, SJ, GJ. Examples
of usage as found in place-names within or just outside the Atlantean
2. LIOSSAN GROUP
Old Liossan split into three main language some time before –900. These were Lio-Marossan, Eliossen and Phonerian, the latter also divided into Island and mainland Phonerian. Lio-Marossan was spoken in the Marossan area, and was separate from the other two groups, which were more closely linked. Eliossen was spoken in the country of Eliossie, and Phonerian in the peninsula that was later to become the Atlantean Province of Yciel Atlantis, and on the various islands in the Marossa Liranca and Eliossia Liranca (Bays of Marossan and Eliossie), as well as on Phoneria.
The overall features of these languages, which survived, as far as Phonerian was concerned, until after 750, were that all words end in a vowel; all syllables end in a vowel, or a vowel or liquid (Phonerian); sentences were spoken with certain tones, lending a musicality to the languages; a lack of "harsh" consonants (eg voiced plosives) or some spirants (eg ch, dj); and great simplicity of grammar – no genders, few affixes.
Lio-Marossan was the "purest" and most vowel-orientated of the languages. It had no voiced plosives or fricatives, and a wide range of diphthongs and triphthongs. All syllables ended in a vowel, eg LEI-YA-SI-A, i.e. NATION. Eliossien was very similar to Lio-Marossan, as far as word and syllable-formation was concerned, eg E-LI-O-SSIE, (the name of the country). Eliossien had no compound consonants, and only used voiced consonants at the start of words. Phonerian was the least rigid of the languages, and would permit syllable groups like CONSONANT-VOWEL-LIQUID/NASAL, unlike the other two. It also used a few consonant groups, such as NT, NC, LT, LD,CH,TH. It had no triphthongs, and very few diphthongs (mostly combinations of vowel and i/y). It did not use tones to distinguish between cases and tenses, as did the other two tongues, preferring auxiliary verbs and prepositions with nouns.
Examples of words, as found in place-names are:
3. MAROSSAN-KELTISH GROUP
Keltish, as spoken in the northern parts of the Great Continent right up until the fall of the Atlantean Empire in 889, was one offshoot of the language spoken in the ancient Marossan Empire until its collapse after –1400. Marossan had been a highly inflected and declined language, with an extensive vowel and consonant system, including diphthongs and consonant-groups. Lenition of intervocal sounds and vowels after l,r,m,n,ng, was also the rule. By the time of "modern" Keltish (i.e. after 400), many of these features of the primitive language had been changed. Inflections and declensions had become much simpler; consonant combinations were fewer; and there were fewer diphthongs (AE,AI,AU,EU). Words had become shorter, due to the loss of endings. Lenition remained, but was now spelt out, eg intervocal consonants voiced as a result of lenition were written as such: P/B,T/D,C/G, etc.
Place-names in Atlantean times preserve original Marossan or Keltish words, as follows:
4. NUMEDEAN-JUTISH-MANRALIAN GROUP
Numedean (North and South), the tongue of the ancient Empire, which had been overthrown by the Juralic invaders around –900, was a strongly inflecting language. It had all the usual vowels, plus some diphthongs –AI,EU,EI,OI,AU (AV and EV, plus AE and OU in South Numedean). Most of the usual consonants were present, too, though not C,F,Q and W. palatalisation was common, and was represented by an "I" before the following vowel. Certain consonant combinations were also common, namely TH,PH,KH,PS and TS.
Jutish was spoken by the inhabitants of the Jute peninsula at least until 880, and was a descendant of North Numedean. It had the same vowel system, but fewer suffixes and a stricter word-order than was usual in Numedean. It possessed some of Numedean’s diphthongs – written AY,OY,EY and OU, plus IE, as well as AV,EV, etc from Numedean AU,EU. So far as consonants were concerned, C,F,Q, and W were still missing, but also now J,Y, and G (which had become Y). PH became V, and KH became H.
Manralian was descended from South Numedean, and by Atlantean times was no longer a living language in Manralia. It was used for religious and ceremonial purposes until about 815, when Rabarrieh eliminated the Manralian Church and its language. As a language, its vocabulary and morphology were strongly influenced by the various southern languages spoken in and south of Manralia. Again it possessed all the normal vowels, but fewer diphthongs. Note especially OE,AI,EI and OU. AF and EF came from S. Numedean AV and EV. Palatalisation, as in Numedean, was common, but shown by a "Y" preceding the following vowel, not by "Y", as in Numedean. H, when following a vowel, was pronounced SH. Initial consonants were often palatalised, and written PH,TH,CH and SH.
Dravedean, the language of the ancient Dravedean Empire, was distantly related to Numedean, but it had no descendants in Atlantean times, other than a few peoples in the later Province of Dravidieh, whose ancient language had died out before it could be properly recorded by Atlantean linguists. A few elements of the old language are buried in some Atlantean place-names – for examples, see the Introduction to this History. Note that the element "Dravi" is common in Atlantean names in this area, as, for example, the Province, Dravidieh. Somewhere along the way, the correct "Dravedean" spelling of their name, became mistransliterated into "DRAVI-".
Examples follow of place-names, using words from these three
5. SOUTHERN LANGUAGES
This is the group of languages spoken by the peoples in the Far South Continent, and distantly related to them, the tongue of the southern peoples of the Great Continent (araishim), and that of the Polder Folk to the south-east. In another form, this was also of course the language of the great conquering Power, Rabarrie. The elements of words in these languages keep rigidly to a formula, usually: CONSONANT-VOWEL-CONSONANT-VOWEL-CONSONANT-etc. Different parts of speech, tenses of verbs and number of nouns are usually formed by changes of vowel within this consonantal/vowel skeleton, and also by affixes, whose vowel copies one of those in the root. There are few consonant combinations, except double consonants, which follow short vowels, and R or L plus a stop or fricative (eg RT, LF). Vowels are A,E,I,O,U, plus diphthongs AI,EI,OU. Nearly all consonants are used by the various languages. "Q" represents a harsh, aspirate "K". "H" is always aspirated. The northern dialects and languages have a number of additional fricatives, viz.: KH,TH,SH, and also frequently use doubled vowels. The indefinite and definite articles are represented by two prefixes, i- and a-, which are often seen to begin place-names.
Here are examples of Southern words from place-names:
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