Afirian

Written by jrcsalter

History


Afirian was given as the original language by God to the ensouled beings. Many kept it as an official language with few changes, but mankind lost the ability to genetically pass it on after the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel. By this time many other languages had evolved and Afirian had almost been forgotten, but was still used as a lingua franca in most of the world, primarily what is now the Middle East. Without it, cultures were unable to easily communicate and needed to spend time learning other languages as we do today.

Alphabet

Afirian never had a writing system to call its own, instead being written using the native system of the speaker. For example, in Europe it was often written using a form of Arabic, Hebrew, or Greek, and in Calnis, a simplified version of Calnissian script was used. It was not until the end of the Forgotten War that it was written down using the Roman Alphabet. The spelling has not changed with time, leaving the diacritics and archaic letters such as Þ, Ð, and ſ still remaining.

All letters are pronounced in all positions. There are no silent letters in any other these languages.

Vowels

A vowel can be either long or short. A long vowel is marked by an acute accent or macron and is to be pronounced audibly longer than a short vowel.

Sometimes half of a diphthong is lengthened. This is to be pronounced almost as the normal long vowel the accent is connected to, with a touch of the beginning or ending letter.

Accents, Diacritics, and Special Characters

A macron over a vowel, such as Ā, denotes a long vowel.

A tilde above a vowel, such as Ã, , or Õ, denotes long versions of Ă, Ĕ, and Ŏ.

A diaeresis above a vowel, such as Ä, indicates the stressed vowel.

As a remnant from Old English orthography, Afirian retains the usage of five symbols that do not exist in Modern English, Ææ, Œœ, Ðð, Þþ, ſ. These are detailed below, but they all have Modern English equivalents. Four of these are written in all instances of the sound occurring, and have both capital and lower case versions. The long S character, ſ, however, is only used as part of the digraph ſh, and only in lower case form.

Stress

If no other notation is made, the stress falls on the third to last syllable; and on the first syllable in disyllabic words, with an additional minor stress on every second syllable before the main stress in longer words.

If a vowel is long or a diphthong, it takes the stress, ignoring the above rule.

If a vowel is followed by two consonants, such as -mm or -ld, but not digraphs like ſh, then the vowel takes the stress, ignoring all the above rules.

If a vowel is marked with a diaeresis, it takes the stress, ignoring all the above rules.

Pronunciation

Most letters are to be pronounced the same as in English. However, there are some that will need to be clarified.

C is to be pronounced as in ‘Cat’ at all times. Never as in ‘Circle’.
CH as in ‘Loch’, never as in ‘Church’.
DH or Ð ð as the TH in ‘This’. Note, the sound differs from that of ‘Thistle’.
G is a hard G in all positions. Always as in ‘Gone’, never as in ‘Giant’. Note this rule still applies even following N.
Ń ŋ is as the NG in ‘Sing’, except no G sound is present (unless, of course, it has a following G).
Q as in ‘Queen’. Unlike it often does in English, this is rarely used in conjunction with U. If it is, the U is to be pronounced as a vowel, not as part of the Q sound.
R, like in English, can have many different pronunciations, but is commonly either trilled or tapped.
Þ þ as the TH in ‘Thistle’.
X as the H sound in ‘Human’.
Y as in ‘Yacht’, except when used as a vowel.

A as in ‘Cat’.
Ă as in ‘Car’.
Æ æ as AY in ‘Hay’.
AU as OW in ‘How’. E as in ‘Pet’. Ĕ as U in ‘Further’. EO has no direct English equivalent. Sounds similar to an upper class English person pronouncing O in ‘So’. I as in ‘Pit’. O as in ‘On’. Ŏ as in ‘Port’. Œ œ as in ‘Low’. U as in ‘Put’. Y, when used as a vowel is to be pronounced as in German ‘Büch’.

Geographical Distribution

Afirian is now only spoken on Earth in prophecies, worship, enchantment, and as a source for new words. It is the only language able to be spoken in Heaven, every ensouled being remembering it after they enter. It is still spoken in the mortal universe on nine of the other Twelve Worlds in various dialects. The other two have their own languages but still use it as a universal tongue.

Phonology

Afirian has a strict phonology. No stop stands on its own except initially. They are always preceded by an approximant, fricative, or nasal; even in this form they never end a word. Nor are they followed by anything other than a vowel with the exception of q which is a transliteration of [kʷ] (as usual it can occur initially on its own, but in the middle of a word it still has to be preceded by a nasal, approximant or fricative). This is so prevalent that 'd' and 'nd' are considered allophones and are marked with the same glyph.

All other combinations of consonants exist, but no more than two are allowed initially or centrally. Only one is allowed to end a word, usually a nasal.

Vowels can occur in sequence separated by a hyphen. In these cases, they to be pronounced as individual syllables, as opposed to the diphthongs.
 

Afirian Consonants

All consonants featured in Afirian


BilabialLabio-dentalDentalAlveolarPost-AlveolarRetroflexPalatalVelarGlottal
Plosivep bt dk g
Nasalmnŋ
Tap or Flapɽ
Fricativef vθ ðsʃçxh
Approximantjw
Laterall
 

Afirian Vowels

All vowels featured in Afirian


FrontCentralBack
Closeu
ɪ
Close-mide
Open-midɜɔ
Openaɑ ɒ

Morphology

Afirian Case System

Noun declensions for all cases featured in Afirian


CaseAffixeExampleEnglish Example
AbessiveN(æ)-ŋcalauſaWithout the world
Naſoŋŋon
AblativeM(e)-MeŋcalauſaMove away from the world
Maſoŋŋon
AccusativeT(o)-Toŋcalauſa[Earth is] the world
Taſoŋŋon
AdessiveG(e)-GeŋcalauſaOn the world
Gaſoŋŋon
AllativeP(e)-PeŋcalauſaTowards the world
Paſoŋŋon
ApudessiveE(l)-EŋcalauſaNext to (or near) the world
Elaſoŋŋon
AversiveO(ſ)- -(r)uOŋcalauſaruAor fear) the world
Oſaſoŋŋonu
ComitativeÆ(l)-Æŋcalauſawith the world
Ælaſoŋŋon
DativeR(æ)-ŋcalauſa[I gave my life] for the world
Raſoŋŋon
ElativeD(e)-DeŋcalauſaOut of (or from) the world
Daſoŋŋon
GenitiveA(l)-AŋcalauſaBelonging to the world
Alaſoŋŋon
InessiveD(e)- -(l)æDeŋcalauſaIn the world
Daſoŋŋonæ
InstrumentalT(æ)- -(l)æŋcalauſaBy means of the world
Taſoŋŋonæ
PossessiveB(a)-Baŋcalauſa[The population] of the world
Baſoŋŋon
SubessiveO(r)- -(lc)aOŋcalauſalcaBelow the world
Oraſoŋŋona
TranslativeL(æ)-ŋcalauſaTurn into the world
Laſoŋŋon
VocativeAi(ð)-Æŋcalauſa[I speak to you,] O world
Aiðaſoŋŋon

Syntax

Afirian has a relatively free word order due to the case system, however, it is mainly SOV with adjectives and adverbs coming after the words they modify. In addition, there are a number of post-positions rather than pre-positions.

Vocabulary

Afirian Pronouns

All pronouns featured in Afirian.
Afirian does not distinguish between male and female pronouns due to divinity having no concept of gender. It does, however, distinguish between mortal and immortal/divine.


ImmortalMortalPluralNeuter
1st Person
BasicÆnÆlaincl.ÆnarÆ
excl.lenar
Possessive DeterminerBenBelaincl.BenarBe
excl. Belnar
PossessiveBentBeltaincl.BentarBent
excl. Belnar
2nd Person
BasicÆnorÆlarLenLer
Possessive DeterminerBenorBelarBelenBelar
PossessiveBentorBeltarBeltenBelter
3rd Person
BasicÆnonÆlalLænalLæro
Possessive DeterminerBenonBelalBelenalBelro
PossessiveBentonBeltalBeltelalBelto
   

Afirian - English Vocabulary


WordPronunciationMeaning
A
Ala1 num.['ala]One
Ala2 pr.['ala]God
Alayanaþa interj.[alaj’anaθa]Hello, goodbye, general greeting.
lit. 'God is good.'
Amberai adj['ambeɽɑɪ]Beautiful. When suffixed with -al, it means 'Beautiful One' or 'Wondrous One'.
Anſi v.['ansɪ]to Like. When used along with weom, it can mean 'to Love' as used in English to refer to friends and family. However, it is never used to refer to a spouse or other partner. For that, use Shi-anſi.
Aſoŋŋon n.[as’ɒŋɒn]Wind, air
C
Calauſa n.[kal’ausa]Earth, world
D
Damari-a pr.[dam'aɽɪ.a]Heaven
I
Insi v.['ɪnsɪ]to Walk
R
Rampau adj.[‘ɽampau]Big, great
W
Weom adv.[wium]Really, very. Often used to emphasise what is being said.
Þ
Þruſi v.['θɽusɪ]to Begin
Þulgi v.[‘θulgɪ]to Give

Successor Languages

Footnotes


Grammatical Abbreviations
The Corpus:

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