A Guide to Astellan, the Common Tongue of Indigon

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  1. Jane

    Jane Member

    Aug 20, 2019
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    Hello. Jane here, and I'm posting this guide to the fictitious language I'm in the process of constructing. This language is the common tongue of the early peoples of Indigon, meaning that basically everyone from one corner of the world to the other, including people of all classes, can speak it; the word Astellan comes from "astelan" (AHS-tell-ahn), which means "commonness". I certainly don't expect anyone to learn this language and start speaking it (although that would be super cool), but some people are interested in what I've been building here, so I might as well post it.

    A Guide to Astellan

    The Common Tongue of Indigon

    I. Alphabet

    Astellan, being completely separate from the languages of our Earth, doesn't use the Latin alphabet (the one English-speakers use). They have their own script which would not look decipherable to us. However, this is what the Astellan alphabet would look like if it were transliterated (letter-translated) from their script to ours.

    A B C D E G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V X Z

    Additionally, some letters are paired with H to create new sounds, much like in English: CH DH PH SH TH ZH

    Notice that our letters F, K, W, and Y are missing. The F sound is represented by Ph. K is C. W is U. Y is I.

    II. Pronunciation

    Unlike English, every letter in Astellan has a fixed sound, meaning it doesn't change ever. In English, the A in "father" doesn't sound like the A in "ant." Here are the Astellan pronunciation rules:

    A = /ah/, as in the A in father
    B = same as in English
    C = /k/, as in the C in cat (never pronounced like an S)
    D = same as in English
    E = /eh/, as in the E in met
    G = same as in English
    H = same as in English
    I = /ee/, as in the two Es in green
    J = same as in English
    L = same as in English
    M = same as in English
    N = same as in English
    O = /oh/, as in the O in mole
    P = same as in English
    Q = same as in English (always followed by U)
    R = depends on location in word. When it is the first letter in the word, R is rolled. Otherwise, R is pronounced like you're about to say D but your tongue never touches the roof of your mouth.
    S = same as in English
    T = same as in English
    U = /oo/, as in the UE in cruel
    V = same as in English
    X = same as in English
    Z = same as in English

    CH = almost an H sound, but your throat is a little more closed. Listen to the Scottish word "loch"
    DH = voiced dental fricative. Pronounced like the TH in "the", "then", but not "thick", "thin"
    PH = F sound
    SH = same as in English
    TH = /th/, as in the TH in "thick", "thin", but not "the", "then"
    ZH = pronounced like the S in pleasure

    Every word has an emphasized syllable. In the word "syllable," the first syllable is emphasized/stressed. It's pronounced SIL-uh-bl. All Astellan words are assumed to stress their first syllable. If not, the vowel representing the stressed syllable is marked with a circumflex on it. Circumflexes are these diacritics: â, ê, î, ô, û. This symbol doesn't change the pronunciation of the vowel itself, only where the emphasis of the word lies.

    III. Common Phrases

    • Hello = Dini (literally "greetings"; pronounced "DEEN-ee")
    Note: Most, if not all, words that end in "I" are plural nouns. A singular "greeting" would be din (pronounced "deen"), simply removing the "I". You'll find that many nouns end in "N". The verb "to greet" is formed from this rood word din, the noun "greeting". All verbs end in "as," so "to greet" is dinas (pron. "DEEN-ahs"). Another word form, the adjective, is usually formed by removing the "S" from the verb, so "greeted" (the adjective form, or participle of the verb) is dina (pron. "DEEN-ah").
    • Goodbye = Padmi (roughly "good leavings"; pron. "PAHD-mee")
    • Good morning = Carthnash ma ("good new day"; pron. "CARTH-nahsh mah")
    Note: Carthnash is a compound word. It literally means "day new." It's important to note that all noun modifiers, including adjectives like "new," come after the noun. This is how the compound word carthnash, roughly "morning," was constructed. Additionally, ma, meaning "good," comes after the noun carthnash. If we translate the phrase but keep the order, it looks like "daynew good."
    • Good evening = Palomnash ma ("good new night"; pron. "PAHL-ohm-nahsh mah")
    Note: Palom means night, nash means new, and ma means good.
    • Good night = Palom u ma ("good night"; pron. "PAHL-ohm oo mah")
    Note: When the first word ends with the same consonant the second word starts with, you add the word u in the middle.
    • Welcome = Dini mina ma ("good first greetings"; pron. "DEEN-ee MEEN-ah mah")
    Note: Mina means "first." Notice it's an adjective (because it ends with "A"). Ordinal numbers (first, second, third) are adjectives that end with A in Astellan, and you get rid of the A to get the cardinal numbers (one, two, three). Therefore, min "meen" means one.
    • Thank you / You're welcome = Quindi ("praises"; pron. "QUEEN-dee")
    Note: You use quindi when generally thanking someone, when leaving offerings to a deity, and when giving tribute to a leader or superior, but also when you mean "you're welcome." Quindi is a reply to itself.
    • Please = Can ulvias / Can tan ulvias ("I beg / I beg [of] you"; pron "kahn OOL-vee-ahs" / "kahn tahn OOL-vee-ahs")
    Note: Can means "I" or "me;" in this case, "I." Ulvias is the verb for "beg." Tan means "you."
    IV. Basic Sentences

    • My name is Jane = Livian ca Jane rias (pron. "LEE-vee-ahn kah [Jane] ree-ahs")
    Note: The word order here is much different from English. Livian means name, ca means my, and rias means be/is. There is a formula to Astellan word order: Subject, Object, Verb. In English, the subject is "my name." "My" is a possessive pronoun, and possessive pronouns modify nouns. Modifiers come after the noun, so Livian ca means "my name," and it is the subject. Then comes the object, which is "Jane." I'm not going to translate my name, although if you kept the pronunciation it would look like "Jein." The object comes after the subject, livian ca, so our sentence so far is Livian ca Jane. Lastly, we need the verb to complete the thought "my name Jane." If you recall, all Astellan verbs end in "as." The verb "to be" or "is" is rias. It also means "am" and "are" (Astellan verbs don't change based on the subject).
    • I don't speak Astellan = Can astelan il blas (pron. "kahn AHS-tell-ahn eel blahs")
    Subject: can (I). Object: astelan (Astellan). Verb: il blas (not speak). Il is the word used to negate verbs; it always comes directly before verbs.
    • She is Stessa, Goddess of Light = Indan Stessa, gon pa stes rias (pron. "EEN-dahn STESS-ah REE-ahs gohn pah stess)
    Subject: indan (she). Object: Stessa. Verb: rias (be/is). The verb is always the last part of the sentence, so the additional information about Stessa naturally goes in between her and the verb "rias." Gon pa stes means god[dess] of light.
    • What is your name? = Can livian ta hildas (pron. "kahn LEE-vee-ahn tah HEEL-dahs")
    Note: There are no real questions in Astellan. This sentence is translated as "I ask for your name." Get used to using the verb hildas (ask [for]) instead of a question mark. However, these sentence-questions can get rather tricky...
    • Where are you from? = Can azquet u ta pa vuan hildas (pron. "kahn AHZ-quet oo tah pah VOO-ahn HEEL-dahs")
    Translation: "I ask for your location of birth." Because there are no questions, there are very few question words, like what, when, and where. We must instead use nouns that describe these question words, and for this reason, the sentence "Where are you from?" can be translated several ways. The most common substitute for "where" is to ask for a location, or azquet. Specifically, "your location", azquet u ta, of birth, azquet u ta pa vuan.
    • Who are you? = Can disdan ta hildas
    Translation: "I ask for your identity."
    • Why? = Sha ophis jino
    One of the few question words with an actual equivalent. This means "for which reason." sha is for, ophis reason, jino which (remember modifiers of any sort come after the noun). This sentence used to be can sha ophis jino hildas, "I ask you for which reason," but that was too long to express such a simple phrase. A recent movement within Astellan scholarly circles suggests removing the "I ask" parts of questions, can at the beginning and hildas at the end, and simply saying WHAT you ask for. This construction was once considered rude, and some traditionalists still oppose it, but it's the direction Astellan is headed.

    V. List of All Astellan Words and Phrases So Far

    the = [no direct equivalent]. Nouns without anything before them are assumed to have definite articles: carth means "the day," or just the idea of day
    of/from = pa
    to/at = a
    and = um
    a/some = su [indefinite article]. su carth means "a day." su carthi means "some days."
    in = lo
    on = lai
    be/is/am/are = rias
    was/were = ria rias
    will be/is going to be = beas rias
    go = beas
    how are you = can rian ta hildas (i ask [about] your [state of] being)
    i'm doing well = carthan can dolmas (Carthan (the sun) smiles [at/on/upon] me)
    i'm not doing well = carthan can il dolmas
    lady stessa smiles upon you = stessa'saph tan dolmas
    sorry = sulviêni
    what?/huh? = anashblazh (say anew; command verbs end with zh, not s)
    what is that? = can plorian pa al hildas (i ask the meaning of that)
    when did that happen? = can ash pa al jora rias hildas (i ask the time of that happened)
    which = jino
    i am from Rosarian = can rias pa Rosarian
    how old are you = can duni stamia ta hildas (i ask your years lived)
    i am thirty years old = can nilsam duni stamia rias (i lived thirty years)
    what time is it = can ash hildas (i ask for the time)
    it is 9 in the morning = zal sush lo carthnash rias (it is nine in the morning)
    do you speak Astellan = can hildas phi tan astelan blas (i ask for if you speak Astellan)
    no, i don't = dau, can il zas
    yes, i do = mau, can zas
    yes = mau
    good = ma
    no = dau
    bad = da
    always = seste
    never = varno
    sometimes = a ashi (at times)
    well done = za maz
    city = loth
    citizen = lothian
    beginning = sirian
    begin = sirias
    commonness = astelan
    common = astela
    to make common (to normalize) = astelas
    time / flow = ash
    world = gath
    front = pord
    before / at the front = apord
    queen = vesix
    queendom = vesixan
    king = vesich
    kingdom = vesichan
    to rule = vesicas
    i love you = can tan vilmathas (i am passionate about you)
    i will destroy you = can tan beas luquas
    i want to destroy the world = can gath philas luquas
    this / here = ad
    that / there = al
    month = dach
    second = vasa
    two = vas
    middle (noun) = sapan
    green = trila
    divine = empîria
    powerful/divine being = empîrian
    powerful = empia
    power = empian

    Mina'india (first person):
    - can (I, me)
    - ca (my, mine)
    - cani (we, us)
    - cania (our, ours)

    Vasa'india (second person):
    - tan (you)
    - ta (your)
    - tani (you all/y'all)
    - tania (y'all's)

    Nila'india (third person):
    - indon (he, him)
    - indan (she, her)
    - inda (his, her, hers, their [singular], theirs [singular])
    - ind (they, them [singular])
    - zal (it)
    - za (its)
    - indi (they, them [plural])
    - india (their, theirs [plural])
    - zali (they, them [plural of it])
    - zalia (their, theirs [plural of its])

    gon = god
    quet = space, 3D location. from quetzal (space thing)
    zal = thing (as well as the pronoun it)
    stes = light (noun). from stessa
    stesa = light (adjective)
    dracôn = dark (noun). from dracôna (dark (adj.))
    vilm = heat (n.), love (n.) from vilmian
    vilma = heated, loved, hot
    vilmas = to heat
    vilmathas = to love
    vilmatha rias = to be loved
    vilmana rias = to be in love
    remôr = cold (n.) from remôra (cold (adj.))
    remôras = to make cold
    remôra rias = to be cold
    carthan = sun. from carthan (the sun god)
    cartha = sunny
    carthas = to make sunny
    carth = day
    paloman = moon. from paloman (the moon god)
    paloma = of or relating to the moon
    esm = water
    esma = wet
    esmas = to water
    esmith = ocean/sea
    esm pa esmith = seawater
    ron = earth/ground
    rona = earthy
    rond = rock/stone
    vasil = fire
    vasila = fiery
    vasilas = to make fire
    avan = air/wind
    ava = airy/windy
    esmasar = waterbender
    esmasan = waterbending
    esmasas = to waterbend
    ronasar = earthbender
    ronasan = earthbending
    ronasas = to earthbend
    vasilasar = firebender
    vasilasan = firebending
    vasilasas = to firebend
    avanasar = airbender
    avanasan = airbending
    avanasas = to airbend
    vasilasazh = firebend (command)

    vash = old
    vavash = ancient
    vashi = the elderly / the elders
    vavashi = ancients
    nash = new / young
    nanash = very new / very young
    nashi = the youth
    tan su vasilasar ma il beas rias varno = you will never be a good firebender
    tan su vasilasar ma il beas rias varno phi tan il vilmas vasilasas = you will never be a good firebender if you don't love to firebend
    hescadar = councilor
    hescadan = advice
    valetar = general/commander
    valetas = to command
    valetan = command
    etha = high
    ethetha = very high
    unetha = higher
    uznetha = highest
    ethahescadar = high councilor
    uznethahescadar = highest councilor
    quindar = priest
    ethaquindar = high priest
    darinar = magister/government worker
    darinan = capitol, place of governance
    darinas = to legislate
    darin = law
    darini = laws
    darinisar = lawyer
    col = money
    colas = to make money, to enrich, to print money
    cola = rich
    colan = treasury
    colar = treasurer, money-maker
    taph = house/home
    taphar = landlord
    taphan = family/dynasty/household
    regna = great
    regnan = greatness
    regnas = to make great
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020

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