Vjin uses a flowing script derived from calligraphy. Each word is written from left to right in one continuous line barring diacritics, clicks, and whistle syllables. After each line, the overall writing direction alternates, but the writing direction within words remains left to right. Front and back consonants use the same base symbol with the corresponding back consonant marked by a simple line diacritic. High tones use a taller variant of the symbol for the neutral tone, while low tones use the same symbol flipped below the baseline. The table below shows the vowels and regular consonants of the writing system. Where two characters are shown, the character on the left is used at the start of words.Whistle syllables use a separate system combined into the primary writing system. Whistle sounds are written as diacritics top-to-bottom along a special character in the main script. Each such character can represent up to three whistle pitches, meaning some whistle syllables require two such segments to write. The whistle diacritics can be written on either side of the base character.
|Stop||d /d/||g /ɡ/|
|Fricatives||z /z/||j /ʑ/|
|Click||t /ǀ/||x /‼/|
TonesThe language uses tones with most of its phonemes. Tones are often omitted in transliterations intended for audiences not familiar with the language. There are three classes of tones:
Vowel TonesThe vowel tone system applies to a and i and uses three tones; neutral, low and high. In the transliteration, these tones are notated as diacritics:
|High||á /á/||í /í/|
|Neutral||a /ā/||i /ī/|
|Low||à /à/||ì /ì/|
Consonant TonesSome of the consonants can also have tones added. By default, consonants take the pitch of the nearest vowel in the same syllable, but an added tone emphasizes the consonant and raises its pitch above that of the vowel. The possible consonant tones are as follows:
- ń: /n̄/, /ń/, /n̋/
- ź: /z̄/, /ź/, /z̋/
- j́: /ʑ̄/, /ʑ́/, /ʑ̋/
Whistle TonesFinally, the whistle consonant has five distinct pitches. There are two common ways of notating this in the transliteration:
PhonotacticsVjin has two distinct syllable structures. One consists exclusively of 1-5 whistle sounds, while the other does not include any whistle sounds and has the following structure:
- C1 is any of d /d/, g /g/, z /z/, j /ʑ/, t /ǀ/, or x /‼/.
- C2 is any of n /n/, z /n/, j /ʑ/, or r /r/. If C1 is present and is a fricative, C2 cannot also be a fricative.
- V is either vowel.
- C3 is n /n/ or r /r/.
VerbsVerbs in Vjin always have a root with three vowels, the tones of which are used for declination. Declinations are made according to the following table:
|First Vowel||3rd person||1st person||2nd person|
NounsNouns have a root of at most two vowels and never end in an open syllable with a single vowel. Tones are not directly used for any kind of declination and may distinguish between similar words. Nouns are marked with a suffix which is defines both case and number. The following number categories exist:
- Collective Inclusive - a coherent group of people including the speaker
- Collective Exclusive - a coherent group of objects or people not including the speaker
- Plural - any group of objects or people
CasesAbsolutive and Ergative Vjin features Ergative alignment. The actor of an intransitive verb construction and the direct object of a transitive verb construction are both marked by the absolutive case, while the actor of a transitive verb is marked by the ergative case.
ántaíri ín jáiìn
ántaí-ERG-SG I-ABS speak-3.P-SG-PAST
Ántaí spoke to me
Dative The dative is primarily used to mark indirect objects.
ship-ABS moon-DAT-SG fly-3.P-SG-FUT
the ship will fly to the moon
Genitive The genitive marks one noun as modifying another, and is often used to mark possession.
Perlative The perlative case is primarily used to mark movement through a location or medium, but is also used to express other concepts, most notably speaking a language.
ship-ABS-PL space-PERL fly-3.P-SG-PRES
the ships fly through space
ántaíri ín vjínar jáiìn
ántaí-ERG-SG I-ABS vjin-PERL speak-3.P-SG-PAST
Ántaí spoke Vjin to me
Vocative The vocative case is used when addressing people.
ántaí-VOC-SG I-ABS vjin-PERL speak-3.P-SG-PAST
Ántaí, (you) spoke Vjin to me
The markings for all combinations of case and number are shown in the table below. Consonants in parentheses are omitted if the noun ends in a consonant.
|Singular||Coll. Inc.||Coll. Ex.||Plural|
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