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Nem (Faren language)

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Go back to the Languages of Salan!

Nem, a word simply meaning 'speech' or 'language', is the majority language of the Southern Continent , and is the main language spoken by the Farens of places such as the Republic of Free West Island and Silford. Nem is distantly related to Aradal spoken further east on the Serme Mountains.  


Nem is the most widely spoken language on Salan. The main speaker community of Nem are Farens living in the central Lowlands. Nem is the major prestige language of the whole area, although in the periferal areas the commoners are often natives of other languages such as transitional dialects of Aradal. Nem is also a widely used trade language, often learned by the Zeribian sea traders and elites from the Mountain kingdom for dealing with the rich lowland city states.

Much of Nem's prestige stems from the speakers' control of the fertile farmland of the river valleys, which is ste base for the city states wealth, but Nem speaking culture has also had a great impact on its surroundings. The Nem alphabet was the first writing system developed, and the invention spread Nem literacy and the Faren stories wide from the traditional speaking area of the language.
by Tuisku

Writing System

The Nem script was developed after the God Naruseińkaut revealed the skill of writing to the people of Fares (Silford). The script is an alphabet, and the typical writing direction is from the left to the right and top to bottom.  


Because the script was developed specifically for Nem, the system is fairly regular and well suited to writing in Nem. There are 22 main letters that represent vowels and consonants. In addition, diacritics are used to mark the long vowels  


The Nem script is the most widely used writing system on Salan. It is used for writing the Nem variants, and also for other primary languages of the continent such as Aradal and Tasal language and it has yielded many variations, such as the zeribian abjad. However, the literacy rate of the population is low, and the most of the commoners especially in the countryside can't read or write.  


The example text here is written in the monumental font, intended to be carved on stone or otherwise used for public display. In the handwriting version of the script the letter shapes are more round, and they are written partially connected.

Example text

The following is an excerpt from the beginning of the tale of the Heroes Daursan and Kauteirin.


The words are usually separated by a small space. The sentences can be separated with either a long line or with a dot, but there is a huge variation in if and how punctuation is used.



i ɛ a u ɔ (written as /ieauo/)
Long vowels: í, é á ú ó
Diphtongs: ai, ei, oi, ui, au  


bilabial alveolar palatal velar
nasal m n ń
stop p b t d k g
fricative f s ɕ~ç h
approximant w l y
other affricate: c (t͡s) trill: r
  Nem phonology prevents and consonant clusters longer than two consonants. Consonant clusters are not allowed word initially or word finally. The affricate c (ts) is treated as single consonant, and is allowed in the beginning of words.

Nem also resists long sequences of alternating consonants and short vowels (CVCVCV). Thus Proto-Ara-Faren words such as arama 'bad' and balama 'fat' are rendered in Nem as arma and balma (compare to Aradal aräm and waläm )



The verbs have 3 tenses: preterite, present and future, and 3 persons. The verb also agrees in number, but the similarity between 2nd and 3rd person suffixec (ń, n) and the plural suffix (n) has made explicit plural marking disappear in some verb and dialects.

In addition to the indicative stem, the verbs also have a so-called long stem, which is identical to the imperative form. The long stem is used to conjugate the verb in some subordinate clauses. Due to the sound changes that have happened in Nem, the difference is usually no longer in the lenght of the vowels but in quality, as we see with mauńa -> muińu   The conjugation of mauńa 'to wash'


Nem has a rich agglutinating morphology. The nouns have 7 cases, singular and plural numbers.  


singular plural meaning
nominative çelta çeltan rope
accusative çeltá çeltan rope (obj)
possessive çeltam çeltanim rope's
dative çeltek çeltanek to rope
locative çeltes çeltanes in rope
ablative çeltei çeltanei from rope
comitative çeltalit çeltannit with rope / related to rope
  The nominative is unmarked, and is used for the subject of the sentence, while the accusative marks the object:
Run ante ás-á yarsa-d!
Dog(NOM) that I-ACC bite-PST
'That dog bit me!'

The possessive case is used for marking the owner:
Yai-n Alten, silmu hamr-ak ás-im felin-ek çeille!
holy.PL lord.PL night time.DAT I.POSS house.DAT come.IMP
'Dear Lords, come to my house for the night!'

The Locative, dative and ablative cases are used for marking the location. Locative marks the general location:
Fenér cana-s ke-n.
sailor boat.LOC be-3.PRES
'The sailor is on the boat'

Dative marks the movement towards a location:
Yain Alten, silmu hamr-ak ás-im felin-ek çeille!
holy lord.PL night time.DAT I.POSS house.DAT come.IMP
'Dear Lords, come to my house for the night!'

Ablative marks the movement away from a location:
ná Kur-ú béce-d sal-ei yé-s alte ked
and Cyrus.ACC call.PST.3 land-ABL that.LOC lord be-PST.3
'And he called Cyrus away from the land where he was ruling'

The comitative-instrumental case marks many of the remaining relationships between nouns. It behaves like genitive where there is no literal possession ("spirits OF the forest", even though the forest does not own the spirits):
  Sawa-lit áda-n Kauteirin-ek nemme-d-en
Forest-COM spirit.PL Kauteirin-DAT speak-PST-PL
‘The spirits of the forest spoke to Kauteirin’

It also marks with whom of with what tool something is done:
  Sasinfa-lit say keińi-n kein nemliní yonu-d-an
Sasinfa-COM two child-PL be.IRR to.speak hear-PST-PL
‘They heard a word that two sons were living with Sasinfa’


Adjectives of Nem have both verbal and noun-like properties. The adjectives agree with the nouns in number, but not in case:
kein çara 'a small child'
keińin çaran 'the small children'
keińek çara 'to a small child'
keińinek çaran 'to the small children'

The adjectives don't require copula (be-verb) like nouns:
kein ken ren 'the child is a man (male)'
kein çara 'a small child / the child is small'
kein tálad 'the child is dead / the child died / the dead child'

Verbal adjectives refering to plural nouns do NOT agree in number:
keińin çara 'the children are small'
vs. keińin çaran 'the small children'

Adjectives ending in consonants have verbal forms ending in a vowel (ul->ulu):
Des faidu felek ul 'I don't like a dark house'
Feleses ulu 'my house is dark'


The basic word order of Nem is SOV, but it is quite flexible.   More on word orders:
N GEN toitu astim 'my rabbit'
N AP toitu sasse 'white rabbit'
N DEM toitu ente 'this rabbit'
NP ADP savas serme 'in the middle of forest' (literally: forest-in middle)
Interrogative clauses have the normal word order. Polar question (yes/no) are formed with the interrogative prefix an:
Pend-í an-mauńa-n? 'Did you wash your hands?' (literally: hand-ACC Q-wash-you)   Content questions usually have both the interrogative prefix and the question word:
Çaurinnit, násal sallinfeles an-ken?
sorry where bathroom Q-is
'Excuse me, where is the toilet?'
Nem, written in the Nem Script
Root Languages
Spoken by
Common Phrases
Ande / tainka / silmu aime
Good (literally:beautiful) morning/day/night
Nalit çellen?
How are you? (how are you going)
Ainkan, çauras.
I'm fine, thank you
Nemlit des nemmes.
I don't speak Nem
çaurinnit, yenté çarkan neime!
Please say that again!
Yenté nempe anándan?
Could you write that?
Uińu walmar ken, felek ásim ançelnan?
You are very beautiful, do you want to come to my home?
Ampa çeile!
Go away!

Run ásim antí lassed
My dog ate it!
Palaksára welles. Ásek áskaiya raun des neilgani, kaiya yán maciyek palgakas.
I have a catapult. If you won't give me all your money, I'll throw a huge rock on your head.

Dialectal variation

The largest phonological differences in Nem dialects are how the Proto-Ara-Faren long vowels are realised. In Standard Nem all of them, exept á, have gone through diphtongisation. Some dialects have produced different diphtongs, or retained some of the original long vowels. These original long vowels are often still represented in the writing system.   Later many dialects have been influenced by the Standard Nem, or encountered other influences that have made them less similar to it. The dialects of Der Fem Island have many loans and even some grammatical influence from the bilingual Ngad i zerib (Zeribian language) speakers, and especially common are the loan translations of Zeribian compound words. The Eastern dialects are strongly influenced by Aradal, and can be classified as transitional dialects between Aradal and Nem.

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E. Christopher Clark
7 Jan, 2022 15:32

Psyched to have discovered his after clicking through via your comment on my language Lüota for WorldEmber. I'm adding this to my reading list for after I finish judging the Tradition articles, but I can already tell it's going to help me polish my language articles in the future.

Check out my progress on WorldEmber 2022
10 Jan, 2022 10:48

Thanks, glad to be of inspiration! ^^ Nem is my super long-term project, it has existed in some form from 2006 is think, when I was only 12!

Check out my World Ember articles here!
10 Jan, 2022 10:50

I have a personal project of going through all the language articles from WE even though I'm not a judge, it's fun to see what all the others have been up to!

Check out my World Ember articles here!
22 Aug, 2022 23:42

Wow. I'm going to have to really sit and read more deeply than my initial look over. I love the phrase - "I have a catapult..."

25 Aug, 2022 08:40

Thanks! If I remember correctly, I think the catapult phrase was originally from my highschool Latin classes :D I thought it was fun, and it fit my world as well, so I had to translate it!

Check out my World Ember articles here!