Sina Language Language in Tiyu Amara | World Anvil

Sina Language

"In my mind, it can't possibly be an alphabet."
"Why not? I say there are more than enough symbols to account for it. By my count it more than doubles our inventory."
"Certainly. But if these gaps are spaces between words, you then suggest most words are only 2-4 letters long."
— A discussion of the Sina Script by two researchers
The Sina language is the one presumed to be spoken by the Sina People, a lost civilisation hailing from East Abravost along the Chalsei Sha river. While some things can be assumed about the culture of the Sina, very little is concretely known of their language.

Script

Catalogue of known Sina Language symbols by Isaac Thompson
The majority of scholarship on the Sina language revolves around its script, which has been found carved on stone and wood at many Sina sites.   According to most researchers, there are a minimum of 64 signs used for writing down the Sina language, allowing for the possibility of some undiscovered symbols. There is some debate with regards to so-called 'composite signs', which appear to stack two other signs vertically, and whether these are best considered separate symbols in their own right or something more akin to a ligature.   Due to being carved, the script lacks any clear means of identifying the direction in which it should be read. Consensus has formed on it being a right-to-left bottom-to-top script, with the latter deduced from how it is written on the hollow trees at the centre of sites like Shiang Jomjite, and the former assumed based on how certain symbol combinations recur frequently in a way which suggests titles or modifiers.
Rubbing of carvings on Shiang Jomjite Trunk #4 by Isaac Thompson
While definitive meanings for symbols or sets of symbols cannot be determined, it currently appears that many existing examples of Sina script are nouns. This is due to sets of signs recurring in the same contexts - on the hollow trunks, the symbols at the right hand side of the above picture appear frequently, with some researchers suggesting they might be title markers like Miss or Mister. On the keystones of some buildings, other sets will occur, possibly denoting the purpose of the building or ownership of it, in the manner someone might hang an inn sign.   There are exceptions to this general trend, such as the Kámcholte Stone, found at the base of the trunk at the Kámcholte site. No segments of this particular writing have been found repeated elsewhere with the exception of the composite sign on the far left, which has no contextually-discernible meaning. It may possibly describe the site itself, perhaps denoting its foundation, though this would be unusual as no other site has done this.
Kámcholte Stone by Isaac Thompson

Corpus

All examples of the Sina script have been found along the old course of the Chalsei Sha river, as well as a rare few along the coast where the river meets the Amara Ocean. This despite there being many other Sina sites not in this region, such as Houngchol in the north, where no examples of the script have been found. As a result, it is a common theory that the script developed in settlements along the river and spread along trade routes, failing to make it far inland.   The greatest quantity of inscriptions have been found at the sites of Shiang Jomjite and Siishol, with the former noted as providing examples of nearly every sign thus far identified.  
Map of Major Sina Cultural Sites
Spoken by
Spoken In
Eastern Abravost, particularly around the Chalsei Sha
Open Book Flower
Old Open Book by congerdesign

Letters or Images

Significant debate has gone into discussing what manner of writing system the Sina language used. While initial experts suggested it might be an alphabet due to the use of one for writing Vostan, a "neighbouring" language, many now consider that unlikely due to the structure of "words" in inscriptions.   A common suggestion is that it must be a logography, like the distant Tengirhu. While it possibly descends from one, the script only appears to number 64 symbols and an unknown number of composite signs, which would be far too few for a logography.   Instead, the Sina script may be some form of syllabary, which each symbol representing a vowel and consonant sound. Whether the language has symbols for vowels on their own, or the need/ability to represent clusters or codas is not clear.
Forest
Forest by Alex Mihis

Spread

Based solely on where evidence of the Sina Script has been found, the extent of Sina being spoken is rather narrow, following the old course of the river and partially along the coast. However, due to other similarities between archaeological sites in East Abravost, the language is assumed to be spoken far more widely, quite possibly throughout the entirety of the continent east of the Krenar Mountains.   This is impossible to prove with what little evidence of the culture remains, and some instead propose that the north, while sharing many elements of symbology and cultural practice, spoke a related but distinct language, which would explain their slow to non-existent uptake of the Sina script.
book burning fire destroy
Burning Book by Movidagrafica

Lost Evidence

Due to the effects of the Collision, which brought two worlds calamitously together, it is assumed that the majority of evidence for the Sina language and its speakers was destroyed or disappeared past the Planar Sea. When travel to Tiyu Noha became possible in the 200s AC, no sign of these lost people or their language was found.   However, this has not been the only loss of Sina artefacts and text. It is a known fact that Sina buildings in north-eastern Abravost were cannibalised for house construction, and that the hollow trunks around which many settlements were built were taken to be used in major Waal Zaimyalkee buildings. The lack of Sina Script in the north may not be merely a result of the writing system not spreading so far - the evidence may well have been destroyed and hidden within house foundations.


Cover image: Sina Language by Isaac Thompson

Comments

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Dec 9, 2023 15:34 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love the mysteries surrounding this language. I think I would be of the opinion that it is a syllabary too.

Dec 13, 2023 15:53 by Dimitris Havlidis

Holy wowzers Isaac!

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Jan 6, 2024 19:35

I love that you put so much effort in creating theories and myths around this one language! This may be the most well thought out language article I have read on here!

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Jan 26, 2024 01:27 by Solomon Weatherby

As I'm working on a language myself for my world reading this was great insight on what it's like discovering a langauge without knowing its purpose. So much mystery with clues sprinkled on top to different symbolic meanings was so much fun too read. I would love to see an article over time just slowly crack the code to this langauge great job!