The Naxadan Language
- Naxadan has a range of vowels. Long vowels are the same as the letter names:
Long a – as in bark, often rendered as aa in the text, as in amaaj.
Long e – as in spree
Long i – as in file
Long o – as in slope
Long u – as in plume
- Short vowels are also used:
Short a – as in back
Short e – as in egg
Short i – as in fit
Short o – as in top
Short u – as in cup (Southern England pronunciation)
- However, not all vowel sounds are used. The Naxadans don’t make sounds like the o in or, hence they have some trouble with Jordas’s name. To render this they use the short o.
- The sounds of a (as in bake) and u (as in book) are used.
- Consonants are mostly as in UK English, and aren’t often used in combinations; where two meet the Sargussi insert an indeterminate half-vowel to separate them, which is why Yado has trouble with English pronunciation. Naxadan is a language of very pure sounds.
- With no written script they’ll find silent letters difficult to understand. When they lived in the city of Keramanthu the Naxadans recorded events there pictorially. Since leaving the city to pursue a nomadic way of life, they have developed a tradition of oral story-telling which is an important part of their way of life. Spoken language won’t totally flummox them, but they’ll find it hard to learn to read English with no pre-established similar skill. If a script is ever developed it will be phonetic. So Shiranu is pronounced with a short i, and a long a, and long u: (Shir-aa-noo), while Sargussi uses the u as in book: (Sar-goo-see). Humanu is the corrupted word for humans used by the Naxadans, and is pronounced hoo-maa-noo.
- Nouns are either masculine, feminine or plural. Masculine nouns end in -e or –o. Feminine nouns end in –i or –a. Plural nouns end in –u whether masculine or feminine. Some words, for such items as fruit and vegetables, have no singular form, or no plural form. This rule doesn’t apply to names.
- Verbs consist of a root word or stem which does not decline for case or plurality. But tenses differ a little in the Sargussi and Shiranu versions of the language, hence the future tense uses “shall” instead of “will”. And whereas English uses the subjunctive to imply doubt (e.g. about some event) the Sargussi use it all the time. It is a relict linguistic use which reflects their archaic speech.
- Possessive case: This is always indicated by the suffix –far, e.g. Chixifar = Chixi’s, Yadofar = Yado’s. Where this produces a consonant blend, the rule is amended by adding the neutral vowel, e.g. Jordasafar = Jordas’s. This is the only instance in which a person’s or tribe’s name would decline.
|Aggi||A type of fruit grown by the Shiranu, often dried to preserve it for use over the approaching season before the new harvest is in.|
|Aldu||A type of grain grown by the Shiranu. It can be used as a cereal with expressed mother’s milk, or mixed with oil and baked to make a type of unleavened bread.|
|Amaaj (pl. amaaju)||Family group. This will include men and a woman, and any children of either sex.|
|Amaajne (pl. amaajnu)||Husband.|
|Amaamu||Ancestors; the dead. Sometimes used as an oath.|
|Bachu||A small species of animal which propels itself along by jumping. It is of the class of nouns which do not decline in the plural.|
|Daazni||The women’s Word for the female sex organ. The word is not considered a rude word by any means, but it wouldn’t usually be repeated between male and female. Words pertaining to the “women’s mysteries” are only for the use and knowledge of females. The males’ equivalent Word is muchuwa.|
|Gahle (pl. gahlu)||An animal hunted by the Sargussi for their meat and hides. They pair for life, and usually seek food in pairs.|
|Ganzu||A species of animal with vicious spines. The name is plural because it refers to the spines. Humans call them “cave porcupines”. Its temper is notorious and an encounter with one is to be feared.|
|Gare||Brother. An archaic word from the time before the exodus of the tribes from Keramanthu. It specifically refers to brothers who are related but not mindlinked.|
|Ghasru masaachifar!||Flames of the volcano! An oath.|
|Humanu||The tribespeople’s name for the humans.|
|Igeeja||Arm-band (also jewellery in general)|
|Kaz’mora||Status-debt. This is the system by which the tribespeople ensure social responsibility. Kaz’mora can only be imposed by the tribal elders.|
|Luthu||A type of root vegetable grown by the Shiranu.|
|Maaj’gar||Thought brother. All the brothers in each Naxadan family group (amaaj) are telepathically linked to each other.|
|Maaj’nag’ur||The daze of grief which the brothers of a dead Naxadan man enter when he dies. It is a period of adjustment to what is effectively the mental equivalent of an amputation, and lasts about 30 days, during which time the brothers must be cared for in every way as they can do nothing for themselves.|
|Mathna||Red, globe-like fruit of the mathna bush; difficult to harvest without a knife because of the way the plant grows. The fruits are similar in size to large grapes.|
|Mooska||A species of animal, considered promiscuous by Naxadans because they do not bond-mate.|
|Pythet||A Naxadan unit of estimated measurement, equivalent to about half a kilometre.|
|Ruzli/ruzlu||A species of fly. Dead husks are used by the Shiranu to feed the glowcakes, in order to encourage them to produce their light to help plants to grow. They also pollinate plants.|
|Sajamu||Sense impressions received by mind-linked males from their brothers, particularly touch impressions.|
|Samaatchi||The women’s Word for the male sex organ, which is largely similar to a human male’s. Again, this is not considered a rude word. The males’ equivalent Word is uchaan.|
|Sargussi||Literally, “the tribe of hunters”.|
|Shiranu||Literally, “the people of the white fur”.|
|Umi||A species of beetle whose sting is highly poisonous. Dead husks are used by the Shiranu to feed the glowcakes, in order to encourage them to produce their light to help plants to grow. Like the ruzli flies they are also pollinators.|
|Yadofar cha||It’s Yado’s.|
|Zhazhi||A strong liquor made by the Shiranu.|