The Arianian language Language in Empire of the Covenant | World Anvil

The Arianian language



Former glory

  The Arianian language takes its name from the House of Arianie which used to rule the biggest Estate in the Northern half of the continent for almost two millennia. Since the House also led the Northern coalition in the war against the Southern Estates, Arianian was considered to be the regional language of diplomacy. Once the two halves of the continent were united into one federal empire, Arianian was chosen as one of the official languages spoken during the debates of the senate, alongside the Southern language spoken in the Estates of Alyssenne and Lyrienne. Thus, to be able to fully take part into the political and social life of the empire, all the lords and ladies had to learn both languages.  
- So, I heard you wanted to join?
- Yes, captain! It would be a great honour to contribute to the takedown of Lord Partesse!
— A rebel leader and a new recruit
Map of the Empire of the Covenant
The Empire of the Covenant is a millennia-old federal empire spread over a whole continent and gathering around 600 independent Estates. Those are ruled by powerful mages, lords and ladies who are the Heads of their Houses and who are linked to the ancestral magic of their Lands. Estates are divided by their affilitation with the Light or Dark political factions.   See Geography, Climate and Demography of the Empire and Political Organisation of the Empire.

Arianie market

Arianie is well known for its vibrant fish and spice market, illustration by AmélieIS with images from Pexels and Pixabay

As the major port city and the capital of the new empire, Arianie has always been a vibrant trade centre and the host of numerous expatriate communities of merchants, especially from the nearby Northern Islands. Yet, Arianian stayed the dominant language so long as its ruling family prospered. After the death of the House of Arianie however, the Estate was placed under the direct rule of the imperial government. The election of its successive leaders have lead to waves of immigration in Arianie, bringing even more languages to the Estate.  
- And why are you so eager to join such a risky endeavour?
- The lord's behaviour led to my parents' death! I'm eager to get rid of the whole Partesse House so that someone can properly lead the Estate!
— A rebel leader and a new recruit


  As the new rulers of the Estate favoured their own languages, Arianian soon lost its prestige as well as most of the economic opportunities it used to offer. The Arianiens were proud of their history and of their language, and they stubbornly fought for its survival for several centuries. Nevertheless, the waves of immigration proved to be too important for the native speakers to resist, especially when their efforts were hampered by the government itself whose leaders were desiring to lead an Estate unified around a common language - theirs.   In an attempt to present the empire as one unified entity, all languages spoken by its inhabitants are considered to be dialects of the same language. What is now spoken in Arianie is considered to be the standard example for the family of Northern dialects, as opposed to the Southern dialects exemplified by the language spoken in the Estate of Alyssenne and Lyrienne. This Northern dialect consists of a mixture of the languages that were brought by the immigrants with some leftover traces from old Aranian itself .  
- So...
- So? - Oh! Umm - Qabmudfze dasqiu oqni?
- ... Did you just call me a horse?
— A rebel leader and a new recruit

Modern usage

Today Arianian is not spoken anymore in the Estate, but numerous ancient documents written in it are still conserved in the libraries of the senate and the government. Since the House of Arianie was so influential and militarily prominent, those documents carry information on powerful magical spells and intricate craftings and rituals. Thus, even if there is no native Arianian speaker left, the language is still studied in the state schools of the Estate. Working as a librarian for the senate or the government is an acclaimed profession for the commoners native from the Estate, and the available positions are the subject of a fierce competition.   Modern Arianie is the seat of the imperial government, and most of its workers are from the Estate. Because of the conflict between the government - representing the people - and the Light and Dark lords and ladies of the senate - the rulers of the Estates - some supporters of the government and the rebels fighting against the control of the lords and ladies have taken to speaking some revived version of the language. They use it for passing along secret messages and identify each other, and to writing coded message in Arianian script.  
Someone come and get rid of the corpse of this ancestor-forgotten spy! Those imbeciles are not even able to conjugate correctly and they think they can fool us!
— A rebel leader

The imperial library of the senate, by mutantmommy on Pixabay

Cover image: The imperial library of the senate, by AmélieIS with an image from Skitterphoto on Pixabay


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Mar 14, 2021 18:07 by Time Bender

I really like this article! Especially the idea of the language being used as code by rebels. Good job!

Mar 14, 2021 18:30 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Thanks :D

To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
Apr 17, 2021 21:21 by Jan Kaltenecker

This was an interesting read!   I had a bit of a hard time understanding the dynamics (what replaced what) because you don't name the other languages. Were they all called Arianian? Had they perhaps a local Name the Arianiens used to differentiate what they talked from what the Government wants them to talk. Or what I think I would've done in their place, invent some dismissive or derogatory name for the other language.   I'm only nitpicking here. Thank you for this entertaining article!

"Thunder rolled. It got a 6." — Guards, Guards by Sir Terry Pratchett
Island-Inquest awaits!
Apr 17, 2021 21:57 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Good remark, I need to come up with more names :p   Thank for the comment :D

To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
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