Sai Õl Tal (Saial language) Language in Salan | World Anvil
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Sai Õl Tal (Saial language)

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  Sai Õl Tal (in Aradal: sayaltal) is a language spoken by the Saial people on the highlands of the Serme Mountains. The literal meaning of Sai õl tal is common people's speech.


History & Sociolinguistics

Saial used to be the dominant language in the Yamenawa highlands spoken in all the cities surrounding Lake Ulüwerä. Originally Saial was the language of the cities and settled farmers, while the goat herdering pastoralists were often of the Ara people.   428-430 AFS the region was devastated by the Black Years' Plague, that killed approximately 1/5 of the total population of the continent, and the densely populated Saial cities were hit the hardest. The Ara took advantage of devastation, and the weakened cities were conquered by Aramacänten.   While the dominant language in the Kingdom is Aradal, there are still approximately 3 million Saial, making up about a third of the Kingdom's total population. The most are peasants in the southern and central provinces, but they also include many influential people especially in the Áçäwal temples.   The Ara people have inherited most of the characteristic features of their culture from the Saial, including farming methods, social class system, and religious practises such as Áçäwal temple tradition and the tradition of worshipping and taming mountain dragons. Saial is still an important language of religion and oral literature. Some of the historical narratives, mythology and prayers are conducted exclusively in Saial.


Sayal loans in Aradal

Some of the most interesting Saial loans in Aradal include:
  • sayal 'person', Saial sai öl 'common people'
  • dal 'language', Saial tal 'to speak, language'
  • äso 'mother', Saial äsu 'mother'
  • áçä 'temple', Saial ai šä 'holy place'
  • päsä 'family', Saial pöšäq 'family, siblings'
  The loans reflect a very close relationship between the two peoples. For example, it can be seen seen how especially the Ara men have often married Sayal women, and the children have learned the original word for father, nenä, in Aradal, but mother äso in Sayal (instead of original Aradal *túmü).   Most of the place names in the Kingdom are superficially Aradal. In practice, however, Aradal has borrowed most of it's geographical vocabulary from Saial, and most place names are either direct loans or loan translations from Saial.  


  • If you are unfamiliar with the IPA symbols, you can listen to the sounds HERE!

  • There are no long vowels or diphtongs. Two or more vowels next to each other are separated by a glottal stop.
  •   r~l is pronounced differently depending on it's location in the word:
  • word-initially: ru’ö [ɾuʔə] 'father'
  • between vowels: p’awaräq [pawaɹɐq] / [pawalɐq] 'clothing, cloak'
  • word-finally: tal [taɬ] / [tar̥] 'to speak'
  • Writing System

    Saial is almost never written, because literacy is not widespread in the Aramacänten (Mountain kingdom) and any official documents are produced in Aradal. If Saial words or names are written, the Aradal interpretation of their pronounciation is used, erasing the phonemes that don't exist in Aradal.



    The Saial verbs are marked for person, tense and number.   The verbs have direct-inverse alignment. This means that some persons are seen as more important in the grammar, and always get person marking, whether they are the subject or the object in the sentence. The hierarchy is Saial is first person > second person > third person.
      When a person higher in the hierarchy is the subject, and the lower is the object, the subject person is marked as expected:
    'I love him'

    'He loves him'

    But if the lower person is the subject and the higher person the object, the object is marked, and inversion marker (-en) is added. Note that without inversion marker this would be identical to 'I love him':
    'He loves me'


    The Saial nouns are only minimally marked and do not have case. Usually the only marking is for plural (-aq).    


    When counting Saial nouns, a numeral classifier must be used. The classifiers are chosen according to the shape and animacy status of the noun.   k'up' rõ õl-aq
    2 CLASS person-PL
    'two people' (lit: two mouths of people)
      k'up' rõ ot'ipõ-aq
    'two younger sisters'
      k'up' mat' äpõr-aq
    'two (heads of) cattle'
      k'up' suŋ p'awaröq*
    'two (flat sheets of) cloth'


    The basic word order is subject-verb-object:
    k’ön ŋai äso nim-p’awar-ak’ p’awaröq
    1SG POSS mother PST-weave-DefO cloth
    ‘my mother weaved this cloth’
          Saial doesn't have subordination. English subordinate clauses are expressed as two verbs:
    k’ä-qär aišä sak’, k’a-tal-ak’-aq a-aq.
    1SG-go temple to, 1SG-speak-DefO-PL god-PL
    ‘I go to the temple in order to pray’ (lit. 'I go to the temple, I speak to the gods')
    Root Languages
    Spoken by


    Please Login in order to comment!
    Aug 16, 2023 23:49 by Molly Marjorie

    Language! I love the notations on the relationship between the two languages. It reminds me of Spanish and Portuguese or Danish and Norwegian. And I've never heard of direct-inverse alignment. That's really interesting!

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    Aug 18, 2023 20:03

    Thanks! There's a lot I should update in this article honestly, sinse my newer conlang Tašalian is related to it...

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