Cricket (ˈkrɪ.kɪt)

CRICKET
Cricket is a pidgin language constructed to bridge the communication gap between the sentient alien species Hachca and the people in Rara. There were significant challenges in its development considering the many physical differences between the two species, but over the course of centuries it has become a standard pidgin language and one of the state languages of Rara.

phonics

There are very few shared sounds between the Rara and the Hachca because of the substantial differences in their anatomy (see Challenges below). The full list is:  
sound Hachca articulation human articulation romanization letter name
h uncovered hymnacle unvoiced glottal fricative H hac
ɦ fluttered hymnacle voiced glottal fricative h1 ha
ç crumpled hymnacle unvoiced palatal fricative c ca
ə vibrating hymnacle central vowel a/e1 æc
1. Simplified. Diacritics and digraphs are meaningful.   Four sounds, including three consonants that Rortodjo speakers struggle to differentiate by ear, and a single vowel, are not enough to make an easily-created spoken language. However, there are other variations in sound that can be produced by humans and Hachca that are distinguishable with only a little bit of practice.  

Harmonies and Pitch

Tones are differentiated between one another by the frequency of their sound waves. There is a biological processing of the frequency of the sound waves and a neurological response is not directly proportionate to any particular wave frequency, but there is a variation of wave frequencies that becomes distinct enough for a listener to perceive the two as being different sounds.   Humans and Hachca have different methods of musical tuning systems, but a 7 limit hexany has become the default for Cricket harmonies. The relationships between the sounds are differentiated using mathematical relationships and do not rely on a particular base as does regular Raram music.   This adds six harmonies to Cricket: 1*3, 1*5, 1*7, 3*5, 3*7, 5*7. Because harmonies are applied with the human voice, only the voiced ha and æc can convey information through harmony.   Natural human speech vowel sounds vary in tone and thus harmonizing and declining æc can be done by changing the vowel pronunciation. Shaping the ə into a different vowel by shifting the articulation around in the mouth works as well as changing the harmony while maintaining the same central vowel.  

vowel charts

verbs
mmmmmmmmmm
harmonic factor romanization syntactical purpose
1*3 e indicative mood
1*5 é imperative mood
1*7 è interrogative mood
3*5 ę subjunctive mood
3*7 ê participle
5*7 æ verbal noun
nouns
mmmmmmmmmm
harmonic factor romanization syntactical purpose
1*3 a ergative
1*5 á absolutive
1*7 à possessive
3*5 ā (in)direct address
3*7 â object of preposition
5*7 æ verbal noun

Harmonized Consonant Charts

verbs
mmmmmmmmmm
harmonic factor romanization syntactical purpose
1*3 h indicative mood
1*5 h! imperative mood
1*7 h? interrogative mood
3*5 h/ subjunctive mood
3*7 h+ participle
5*7 h= verbal noun
nouns
mmmmmmmmmm
harmonic factor romanization syntactical purpose
1*3 h ergative
1*5 h. absolutive
1*7 h, possessive
3*5 h' (in)direct address
3*7 h| object of preposition
5*7 h= verbal noun
 
marking harmony
mmmmmmmmmm
On any given word, if there are both ha and æc present, one or both may be marked for meaning.  

syntax

Cricket is predominantly ergative-absolutive. This is a relic of its early history as a manual signed language which used modifiers in verb signs to show agency and how speakers of Cricket understand the natural forces behind magic. Agents of transitive actions are external forces that are marked separately.   Verbs are generally transitive. Prepositional phrases mark indirect objects. Intransitive constructions in other languages are expressed as transitive with an ergative suffix added at the end of the verb, e.g. "cHee Háchá aH", meaning "cat kills bird," would become "cHeea Háchá" to say "cat kills." Note that in proper Cricket spelling, the æc is written with "a" as the base letter, such as with nouns, rather than "e" as the base letter used in verbs.

History of Development

 

Initial Contact

In the Years of Salt 192, Hachca made themselves known to Elsi Wriou, the Magical Grand Dunchess, through a series of quantum entangled particles. The particles caused disruption in neighboring molecules that the skilled magician could detect. Following their source, the Magical Grand Dunchess located the Hachca planet and determined when they would arrive. The Magical Grand Dunchess purposefully shaped her own lifespan and that of her daughter, Jorji Wriou, in order to be around at the time of the Hachca first contact.   When the Magical Grand Dunchess died in the Years of Salt 349, Jorji became the only human in the world with the linguistic preparation and versatility required when the Hachca first landed in Bajisha.  

Manual Proto-Cricket

  Proto-Cricket was extremely crude by today's standards. When the interaction between the species consisted of a few individuals, manual (signed) language dominated.   Conversations were marked by an initial hand sign and body position. Discourse began once the participants mirrored the body position. One of the participants would raise two arms up above their head. For humans, this was a near-universal method of attention. It also demonstrated trust by exposing the heart and gut. For the Hachca, this sign was not part of their standard interactions, but was easily copied and was practical because their ear is located between their first and second pair of arms.   Once conversation began, miming followed, but the miming actions became standardized and simplified. The proto-Cricket word for "water" consisted of two hands pressed together (palms for humans, tarsi for Hachca) and brought to the front of the mouth twice, adapted from the motion required for a human to bring water to the mouth. While again not part of their standard actions, Hachca picked up the meaning of the sign quickly. The proto-Cricket word for "sun" consisted of raising the chin toward the sky twice, once for each star of the Hachca home planet. Vocabulary transfer continued in this way until interspecies peace was achieved.  

Musical Cricket

  When common words were recognized, sounds became attributed to them more easily. The development of the Cricket alphabet did not include the hexany tuning system, but relied on a standard starting note.   Standard starting notes became agreed upon during initial discourse set up (still manually). When this proved difficult to communicate to large groups of with mixed populations, relational tuning became a necessity.   The Priest-King Astral developed the mathematics behind the relational tuning and applied it to Cricket. It was slow to be adopted, but once it was it became much easier to teach children. It also effectively created enough variations in sound for humans and Hachca to be comfortable using it.  

Written Cricket

  Before musical Cricket, a writing system had not been developed. Once the tuning system was developed and sounds became standardized, an alphabet was developed by the artist Taresa Wriou.  

challenges

Humans and Hachca have fundamentally different biological structures and methods of sound production that make interspecies communications very difficult.   The phonetics of Cricket were constructed around the limitations of the speech and listening capabilities of both species. Evolution created human mouths for eating, and sail sacks and hymnacles for flying and breathing, respectively. The differences in evolutionary paths have created two completely different modes of sound production.  

Human Speech Production

  Humans have the ability to use their lips, tongue, teeth, uvula, esophagus, and pharynx to articulate sounds generated by the layrnx, or voice box. The human brain processes directional hearing with two ears and a series of very small bones shaped to detect differences.   The basic process for the human voice involves expelling air from the lungs and using their mouths and throats to manipulate the sound of the air as it is forced out. Human language sounds are divided into two major categories: consonants, which are defined when the vocal tract is closed or partially closed, and vowels, which are open. There is a further differentiation between voiced and unvoiced consonants. An example of a voiced consonant is /b/ and its unvoiced equivalent is /p/.  

Hachca Mouth Anatomy

  Hachca have a completely different mouth, hearing apparatus, and breathing system. Their mouth parts include the:  
  • 1. Labrum: a flat, hardened part of the exoskeleton used as a top "lip"
  • 2. Mandibles: powerful sharp jaws that function like nutcrackers operating laterally
  • 3. Maxillae: hard, antennae-like structures in front of the mouth that assist with food manipulation and tasting
  • 4. Labium: a bottom "lip" evolved from additional maxillae that is involved with sensory input
  • 5. Hypopharynx: a small globular organ on the labium that secretes saliva
 
Illustration by Taresa Wriou
 

Hachca Sound Production

Not only are their mouths very complicated and different, but they do not breathe through their mouths. Their respiratory system involves holes along their exoskeletons called spiracles through which air travels.   They also only have a single ear, located in their chest, without the ridges and bones found in the human ear, so they are unable to determine the location of sounds in a stereo system in the same way that humans can.   Instead of vocal or spoken language, Hachca communicate with the sound they can create from air blowing through their hymnacles and the shape and movement of the sail sack.  
Sound Organs
The Hachca thorax divides into two toward the posterior of the body. Exoskeleton panels frame around a balloon-esque organ called a "sail sack" (2) As the name implies, its other use is to spread out into a sail so that the native winds on their home planet can carry them around. For sound production, evolution has transferred what were initially backlegs into arms inside the sack so they can cover various hymnacles to produce different sounds (brachae, 3). Smaller spiracles (4) used for breath evolved over time into hymnacles (1), larger spiracles that go all the way through the thorax. When there is no wing present, the arms inside the sail sack can flutter to generate air that goes through the hymnacles.  
Illustration by Taresa Wriou
  Due to the different sizes of hymnacles and insects, the exact ones that are able to be covered to produce the right pitches varies from individual to individual, and it is very rare that even a young Hachca cannot produce all of them. Growing usually resolves this.  

Sample Text

Written Cricket

ca”hece Hacha ca”ââhâhâ: cHee Háchá aH: cehece Háááá: cę HcæHcæH Háchá âcHâ H h/cęcę h.ah.a Hàch,àh,àh æh Hacha Heeh àcHà æh:  

Literal Translation

Cat down-climbs down-tree. Cat kills bird. Two suns make dark. Cry-cat would walk home and give bird to kitten, but no cat find home no.  

Translation

A cat climbs down from a tree. The cat kills a bird. Both suns set. The crying cat would walk home and give the bird to its kitten, but the cat cannot find its home.

Dictionary

20 Words.

syntax

word order
Generally verb-ergative-absolutive, but flexible given declension. There is no copula.  
number
Nouns are numbered by repetition of pitched sound, but this is optional and usually denotes emphasis. For instance, the Cricket word for cat, Hacha, would be Haachhaa if there were two cats.  
noun-adjective agreement
Nouns and adjectives agree in case, with adjectives appearing in front.  
tense
Tense is optionally marked. An additional vowel in the front denotes simple past tense and an additional vowel at the end of the word denotes simple future.  
negation
Negation is accompanied by a headshake when spoken casually. In writing or when communicating in long distances, negation is marked with the negative article (æh) at the beginning and end of the clause.  
syllables
The syllabic structure is (C)(C)(C)V(C). The onset cluster cannot contain three of the same consonants in a row at the beginning of a root.  
prepositions
Prepositions fall into two general categories: prepositions of momentum and prepositions of rest, and they are based on verbal roots. For example, the verb root "ecH", which literally means "to dig", becomes the preposition "into" by the momentum prefix H- (HecH) and becomes "below" with the resting suffix -h (ecHh).  
writing rules
Words are separated from each other with spaces, prepositional affixes to verbs are added with ", and a colon : is used to delineate sentences.
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Comments

Author's Notes

all illustrations are attributed to an in-universe artist. the author is the actual artist for all images shown.


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6 Jan, 2022 00:31

Can't help but notice that in describing this language, you also outlined the basis for this story. Great job.

Grandmaster zpires
jyliet +& maddy zpires
7 Jan, 2022 03:19

thanks! any language's existence tells a story about the people who speak it. while i'm still shaping a lot about the rest of this world and its major plots, i love the idea that after all these conflicts everyone stuck around long enough to try miming at each other. :)

love, jyliet & maddy