The Stenza writing system contains logographic, ideographic, and syllabic elements, resulting in around nine hundred symbols. Most of these correlate to sounds and words in the Stenza language, but there is also an inventory of determinatives which are almost exclusively appended to names in documents, to designate the clan to which an individual belongs, and any other important information (in some cases this may include species or titles). Early versions of the system may be as old as some of the rocks found at the "boundary" to the Frozen Wastes, dedicated to Jeshra, including the anomalous "five dots on one side and seven on the other", which is suspected to be an early depiction of his eyes.
Lexemes as Applied to NamesMost Stenza names are derived from common or uncommon terminology (and older names will have meaning that has been buried in the Collective for quite a while, and is harder to access than other information). As such, this distinguishes the lexeme related to a name from the lexeme related to the term itself, much the same as with English lexemes "EAT" and "EATER".
AffixesUse of adjectives in Mudeweian Stenza is incredibly rare. Instead, affixes are used to convey information about a noun or verb.
DescriptiveThese alter the form of the word in order to add an ending such as "-ka/-ika/-oka" and similar ("-kha/-khei" is a rare variant of this used by several clans, but is not seen in the standardized form of the language for state business). For example, a Stenza might, on learning of the Earth religion Catholicism, describe a practitioner of that religion as "Katoika", but the religion itself as "Katlite".
PluralPlural suffixes are softer-sounding, such as "-ei/-en/-ive/etc." They are much more varied and case-specific, being highly dependent on the original spelling and sound of the root word in order to work. For an example, a Stenza might describe one pedophile as a "paška", but a group of such filth as "pašei".
MarkednessIn the Stenza language, formal speech is set apart from informal speech by the sounds used, which are generally "softer" and contribute to slightly longer words (a good example being the dol'ge/dulan'the distinction). Children learn that this is a sign that the speaker has a good control of his or her temper (especially in the case of informing superiors of potential military disaster) and a good head on his or her shoulders. Formal language is used to address ranked officers in military affairs and conflicts, clan elders or Droghi in matters of grave importance, and the Leader in all circumstances. It is also commonly used around the clan of someone with whom the speaker would like to be more serious relationship-wise. In all other circumstances, informal speech will suffice (and sometimes formal language will sound incredibly pretentious). (Speeches and addresses are an interesting case where a blend of formal and informal speech is the preferred style.)
The Adjectival Form ḍevúḍevú"ḍevúḍevú" is a Stenza word which literally means "something which is itself", and describes a particular word form used to express the ineffable qualities of a given object. Typically this is applied to religious concepts ("úlêúlê", which translates to either "space has spaceyness" or simply "spaceyness" depending on context; "ùrpǒùrpǒ" is frequently used to describe those qualities of a star as a physical object that make it especially suited to house a divine entity, as well as the mere religious fact that this is what stars do in the universe as the Stenza understand it). It is especially common (to the point it's a stereotype) for religious experts to use this form a lot while attempting to convey key concepts to students.
The kelaThe kela is a mark (often ' in non-Stenza writing systems) that serves as a separator, denoting two parts of a word which must be said with equal emphasis (i.e. Ta'zhen, Saeh'han, Lan'tha, Y'eṣto (and the derivative phrase "Ȟây’eṣtîkoyæ’!")). While ' may be used in transliteration for other purposes (such as for T'zim-Sha or T'zu-Crae), this is distinct from a kela in function and is never used in the Stenza writing system.
Gender as Applied to NamesMost of the Stenza dialects recognize four grammatical genders: male, female, they, and it. "Male" and "female" are reserved exclusively for deities, intelligent life, and animals (as well as their corpses and "it" is reserved for inanimate objects and plants in certain cases. "They" is a funny case in that it can apply to deities, intelligent individuals who take the pronoun up for themselves, plants in certain instances, and spacecraft. This property informs the morphological "shape" of nouns, including proper nouns. (For an example of the type of shift this can induce, a phrase such as "reṣaka ṣai", meaning something like "tiny has privileges", can be warped into the feminine "Ta'zhen", or the masculine "Šer'ka".) The four genders are used primarily to convey general information about the object or person under discussion (such as whether it is an object or a person under discussion), which is otherwise excluded, particularly in written work where determinatives are involved. Most often, the names of individuals are aligned with the gender the individual wishes to express, although individuals outside of Stenza culture have been known to inadvertently cause confusion. (Angstrom, a female Albarian, has sometimes been mischaracterized in Stenza coverage of the final Rally of the Twelve Galaxies as male or a plant of some type. Her name does not translate neatly, and standards in reporting have gotten much more lax by this point.)
|Plosives||p||t d||ʈ ɖ||c||k||q||ʔ|
|Fricatives||f v ɸ||s z ʒ š ž||ʂ ʐ||x ȟ||χ||ħ ʕ ɦ|
|Affricates||ʦ ʣ č ǰ|
|Liquids||ⱱ||l r ɾ ɬ||ʎ||ʟ|
|High||i ü||ɨ ʉ||ɯ u|
|Close||e ɪ ʏ ö||ɘ ɵ||ɤ o o̞|
|Open||ɛ œ æ||ɜ ɞ ə||ʌ ɔ|
|Low||ä ɐ||ɑ ɒ|
Selected AudioConsonants ʈ; ɖ; ʔ; ɸ; ʒ/ž; š/ʂ; ʐ; x; ȟ; χ; ħ; ʕ; ɦ; č; ǰ; ɳ; ⱱ; ɾ; ɬ; ʎ; ʟ; ɥ; ɹ; ɰ Vowels IPA Vowel Chart
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild