Munyobu has two scripts which can be used interchangeably within a sentence to provide for maximum compactness. Munyobu Gloss Script is an alphabet where each symbol represents a single phoneme. Munyobu Glyph Script is a logography which allows for a limited number of concepts (usually objects) to be represented with individual glyphs. Logograms in the Glyph Script generally only have single meanings, though the addition of contextual Gloss Script may cause the meaning to change (i.e. from a noun to a related verb).
Munyobu was traditionally inscribed into a clay or wax tablet with a stylus. Copies could be created by applying ink to the resulting message and then laying a sheet of paper or cloth over the top, creating a woodcut-like effect. Among the modern Freelander descendants of the original Munyobu speakers, the language is more often written with ink pen or lead pencil on paper.
Munyobu typically uses VSO word order, though it has enough markers that simple sentences can be intelligibly spoken with any word order desired.
Munyobu is of interest to modern linguists because, unlike Iuxat
, the language uses heavy amounts of nasalization as a direct result of being optimized for the well-developed Rostran sinus tract. Munyobu is also unusual in that, in terms of languages found in the Manifold Sky
setting, it lacks much in the way of voiceless plosives and features a small and unusual vowel inventory.
Munyobu's consonants (and their romanizations) are:
b, d, g, d, k, q/ʔ (q), m, mj
(my), n, ɲ (ny), ŋ (ng), j (y), z, ʤ (j), ħ (h), ɫ (l), ɾ (r)
The language's vowels are:
e, o, u
Munyobu features several verb tenses for past (remote-past, ongoing remote-past, past, near-past, and ongoing near-past) and present (present, ongoing present) events, but only a single, rarely-used future tense. More often, speakers of Munyobu speak as though from the perspective of their future selves, meaning the various past and present tenses are used instead. For example, the statement "I will walk on the shore" is more likely to be constructed as "I think of myself walking on the shore," with the specific preparatory reflexive verb chosen indicating the certitude of one's future plans - "I plan on myself walking" is more certain than "I think of myself walking" is more certain that "I dream of myself walking."