Cerian

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Cerian
Čérízon
šérošu čérí
Flag of the Republic of Ceria
Pronunciation [tʃeːˈriːzon]
[ˈʃeːroʃu tʃeːˈriː]
Created by Lili21
Setting Calémere
Date Mar 2017
Region Western Evandor (Great Cerian Plain)
Ethnicity Cerians
Native speakers 450,000,000  (2312)
Language family
Evandorian languages
  • Central Evandorian
    • Íscégon
      • Cerian
Writing system Íscégon script for Cerian
ISO 639-3

Cerian — natively Čérízon [tʃeːˈriːzon] or šérošu čérí [ˈʃeːroʃu tʃeːˈriː] — is the main global lingua franca on the planet on Calémere, particularly in the nations of its Western Bloc, and its second-most spoken language by number of native speakers (after Chlouvānem). It is an Evandorian language belonging to the Central Evandorian branch, and one of the direct descendants of one of the two most important Classical language of the Calemerian Western civilization, namely Íscégon.

Native to the country of Ceria (Cer.: Čéría; Isc.: Ciairegiion) in the western part of Evandor, Cerian is the official language of seven countries in Evandor - Ceria, Šáritun, Vétaní, Čaga, Rogoma, Noméde Ínéma, and Sternia (Cer. Seténía - co-official with Majo-Bankrávian) - and 37 other countries around the planet. It is also a regionally recognized language in the Evandorian countries of Besagret, Helinetia, Ingvensia, Auralia and Nordulic (Cer.: Bésói, Helinétía, Envenšía, Órolía, Nódóa), and in many other countries of the planet, including even a few areas in the northwestern Chlouvānem Inquisition.

External History

The name Ceria (and therefore Cerian), as with many major Calémerian, particularly Evandorian, peoples and places, dates back to my first proto-conworlding projects, and I simply imported it into Calémere - something that meant justifying the very-IE-looking -ia ending in a Calémerian linguistic perspective.
Cerian itself is the main lingua franca of Calémere, a role equivalent to that English has on Earth, and to some extent English is one of my inspiration, although only as far as Cerian, just like English, has a large number of dialects spoken in many countries across the world. Aesthetically, my main inspirations behind Cerian are Latin, Japanese (mostly in the syllable structure), and to a lesser extent also Norwegian and Swedish. Grammatically I wanted a mostly analytic language, even though in the end it is not as analytic as other Evandorian languages (such as Nordulaki, to name one) and with some SAE traits, most notably phonology (even though that lack of a distinction between /r/ and /l/ is not SAE at all), mixed in with a few non-European traits; the verbal system is, for example, inspired by Hindustani.

Phonology

Orthography

Consonants

The consonant inventory among different Cerian dialects is fairly similar, with the most noticeable exception being Hilly Southeastern Cerian which are the only ones that didn't merge Íscégon /l/ into /r/ (the distinction is still kept everywhere in the spelling - e.g. áleron "road" /ˈaːreron/ even if 95% of speakers merge them). Many Southern Cerian dialects (incl. e.g. Šáritunen Cerian) also have /dʒ/ instead of /ʒ/, as Old Cerian did.

→ PoA
↓ Manner
Labial Labiodental Alveolar Alveolopalatal Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasals m m n n
Plosives Voiceless p p t t k k
Voiced b b d d g g
Affricates č
Fricatives Voiceless f f s s š ʃ h h
Voiced v v z z j ʒ
Trill r-l r
Approximants u w i j

All consonants except voiced fricatives, approximants, /tʃ/ and /h/ can be geminated. Note, though, that /ʃ/ is only geminated in two words, the irregularly spelled ešečen /ˈeʃʃen/ and fášečen /ˈfaːʃʃen/, respectively the habitual and continuous forms of the present subjunctive of íso (to be) - which are used in order to form the subjunctive of all other verbs.

Vowels

Front Central Back
High i í i iː u ú u uː
Mid e é e eː o ó o oː
Low a á a aː

Vowels are extremely varied in different Cerian dialects, with the long-short contrast being actually realized depending on dialect as a pure quantity one, a quality one, a hybrid quality-quantity, by having monophthongs vs. diphthongs, and with some possible mergers or (more rarely) splits. The phonemic representation given above is conventional and reflects the spelling as well as the underlying phoneme in most (not necessary all) Cerian dialects. For example, élógen "lamp" - phonemically represented as /eːˈroːgen/ is pronounced in different ways, including:

  • Evandorian dialects: [e(ː)ˈroːgɐn] (Mánébodin Cerian or Standard Evandorian Cerian), [ɪːˈroːgɪn] (Čagan Cerian), [eə̯ˈʁɔːgən] (Central Coastal), [eˈlogɛn] (Hilly Southeastern - note the conservation of /l/), [(j)eːˈruːgʲən] (Šáritunen)
  • Púrítonen dialects: [eɪ̯ˈrʊə̯gən] (NE Coastal Púrítonen), [ɛɪ̯ˈruːgen] (Inland Northern Púrítonen), [eɪ̯ˈʁoʊ̯gen] (Bénáteno Lake)
  • Céránentian dialects: [eːˈɾoːgʲɪn] (Cánésen), [eˈruːgʲɪn] (Pásuone)

Some Cerian dialects from Evandor may have kept closer values to Íscégon, notably for example with /iː/ which became /e/ in most Cerian dialects (and is thus represented in the orthography). So for example Šáritunen Cerian speakers pronounce refusécé "castle" (Mán. Cer. [refuseːˈkeː]) as [riːpʉseːˈkeː] - a different development from Íscégon rípsercé. Similarly, rébé "stone" (< Ísc. rírbé) is [riːˈbeː] in Šárituni (St. Cer. [re(ː)ˈbeː]), and jéče "word" (< Ísc. giécí) is [dʒeːˈɕiː] (Mán. Cer. [ˈʒeːtʃɐ]).

Prosody

Stress

Intonation

Phonotactics

Morphophonology

Morphology

Nouns

Cerian nouns have lost most of the inflections of Íscégon, leaving only a predictable agglutinative pattern, regular for almost all nouns. Cerian nouns distinguish two cases - one called "nominative" (but also used as accusative), and an "indirect" (AKA oblique) case used after all prepositions and as the object of some verbs.
Nouns also distinguish between singular and plural, but the two forms are identical for all nouns ending in a vowel; to avoid ambiguity, Cerian has developed a marked plural (usually called the "indefinite plural") used when the plurality is important but not otherwise shown in a sentence. Every noun has the indefinite plural (which is completely regular), even nouns ending in -n which do mark plural normally. The indefinite plural, however, is never used in the indirect case, as indirect plurals are always marked.

The regular inflection of a Cerian noun is as follows:

Vowel noun - rutó "hawk" N-noun - vútin "tree"
Singular Plural Pl. Indef. Singular Plural Pl. Indef.
Nominative rutó rutó rutóoran vútin vútiné vútinoran
Indirect rutón rutóin vútini vútinen

Gender and Articles

Cerian has grammatical gender and two definite articles, one for each gender, used in the singular only (plural vs. plural indefinite inflection does the same effect in the plural). As in most Evandorian languages, -n is a marker of feminine gender, so that most nouns (not all) ending with that letter are feminine; those which end in vowels are usually masculine. Note that natural gender is prevalent, as shown e.g. by couplets such as "brother" and "sister" where the nouns have the "wrong" ending.
The masculine article is šo; the feminine one is šen.

Examples:

  • Masculine nouns: šo rutó "the hawk"; šo sérešu "the language"; šo jéče "the word"; šo císenen "the brother".
  • Feminine nouns: šen réboten "the price"; šen číečón "the flower"; šen putuánen "the wall"; šen ránéco "the sister".

Note that adjectives do not have gender in any way, and nouns which have the same form as an adjective may be used in either gender (prevalent in Púrítonen Cerian) or are feminine and have a marked masculine form (prevalent in most dialects). This is most notable with denonyms, as the corresponding adjectives usually end in -n. "Cerian" is an exception, as it has two forms (different from the adjective) in all dialects.

Examples:

  • šo Čérízuo "the Cerian man"; šen Čérízen "the Cerian woman" (all dialects)
  • čérízon "Cerian"; nódógolénen "Nordulaki"; imúnigúronen "Chlouvānem" (all dialects)
  • šo Nódógoléo "the Nordulaki man", šen Nódógolénen "the Nordulaki woman"[1]; šo Imúnigúronno "the Chlouvānem man"; šen Imúnigúronen "the Chlouvānem woman". (Standard Evandorian Cerian; most dialects)
  • šo Nódógolénen, šen Nódógolénen "the Nordulaki man/woman"; šo Imúnigúronen, šen Imúnigúronen "the Chlouvānem man/woman" (most Púrítonen Cerian dialects)

There are words that can be used in both genders - šo bésuon "the son" and šen bésuon "the daughter" is a notable example.

Pronouns

Cerian pronouns are simple, even though they are more complex than nouns, with four forms: nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative/oblique (post-prepositional).

Number Person Gender Nominative Accusative Genitive Oblique
Sing. 1st fe ésuon on
2nd se séšon son
3rd Masc. uso usáon úsan
Fem. ízen íne insáon insan
Pl. 1st péru pérén píren
2nd ríšu re ríšán ríšun
3rd Masc. súno súnne usúnnon usúron
Fem. isún isúre isúnnon isúron

The 2nd person plural pronoun is also used as a courtesy form, albeit Evandorian Cerian is becoming less formal and allowing the use of in more contexts. For example, in Ceria is normal to use the 2SG pronoun when talking to a shopkeeper - in most other Cerian-speaking countries this is usually frowned upon.

Genitive forms are adjectives and decline as such, cf. bícon ésuon esu ríté "my pen is blue", fú šoséreon ton bíconi rítéu ésuonno "I write with my blue pen".

Demonstratives

Cerian, as most Evandorian languages do, distinguishes between a series of "moving" demonstratives and a series of "static" demonstratives. Furthermore, it distinguishes between proximal and non-proximal demonstratives with, in the non-proximal, a further, more marked form, identifying a higher position. The "moving" series distinguishes number but not gender, while the "static" series is invariable.

Static Moving
Singular Plural
Non-proximal Same height éon
that/those
aréso
that one moving
aréjé
those ones moving
Higher órion
that/those one(s) up there
óriéso
that one moving up there
oriéjé
those ones moving up there
Proximal pán
this/these
péso
this one moving
péjé
these ones moving

Correlatives

Category ↓ / Type → Proximal Distal Interrogative Negative Assertive exist. Universal Positive altern.
Attributive (see previous table) oguá?
which (one)?
béo
no
ásin
some
fín
every, all
ráze
another
Thing ogéme?
what?
béme
nothing
ásime
something
fíme
everything
rázime
something else
Person ogíro?
who?
bíro
no one
ásíro
someone
fíro
everyone
rázíro
someone else
Time rende
now
donde
then
ogunde?
when?
bunde
never
ó cójen ásinno
sometime, somewhen
fínde
always, everytime
ó cójen rázeu
sometime else
Place reta
here
dota
there
otta?
where?
ó čadán béo
nowhere
ásitta
somewhere
fínta
everywhere
ó čadán rázeu
elsewhere
Manner relin
thus, hereby
dolin
thereby
ogulin?
how?
biázo linuo béo
bulin (formal)
no way
biázo linuo ásin
somehow
biázo linuo fín
everyway
biázo linuo ráze
rázolin (formal)
otherwise
Reason in četánen pánno
herefore
in četánen éonno
therefore
ogóbu?
why?
in četánen béo
buóbu (formal)
for no reason
in četánen ásinno
ášóbu (literary)
somewhy
in četánen fínno
for every reason
in četánen rázeu
rázóbu (formal)
for another reason

Lative and ablative place correlatives are regularly analytic, with the prepositions nao (towards) (e.g. nao reta, nao dota, nao otta?, nao čadán béo...) and in (from) (e.g. in reta, in dota, in otta?, in čadán béo...) respectively.

Interrogative forms starting with v- were the most commonly used ones in Old Cerian, and are typical of Southern and Eastern Cerian dialects, but not found in the more spoken Western ones (including Mánébodin/Standard Evandorian Cerian), as well as in those spoken outside Evandor. Written Cerian in Šáritun, Vétaní, and Ingvensia uses the v-initial forms (e.g. voguá?, vogéme?, vogíro?...).

Adjectives

Cerian adjectives are morphologically simple, distinguishing case only. They can be classified in two ways depending on if they end in -n or a vowel.

  • -n adjectives form their oblique form by adding -no, e.g. eréden "fourth" → erédenno.
  • Vowel adjectives add an -u morpheme, which is, however, rarely seen as such:
    • -a and -e combine with the -u, forming -eu (-éu if the stem vowel is long), e.g. fúsuná "hot" → fúsunéu; ontére "big" → ontéreu.
    • -i becomes semivocalic, triggering the changes siš, cič, and gij, e.g. méroni "sweet" → méroniu; pósi "easy" → póšu.
    • -u and -o become (< pre-Cerian *ou), e.g. ramo "first" → ramó; čufutú "enough" → čufutó. Those that already end in are practically invariable, e.g. egoró "ninth" → egoró, as are those in -Vːo, e.g. béo "no, not any" → béo.


Prepositions

Cerian uses only prepositions; most of them require the oblique case, but a few ones (notably, re) require the nominative. Many prepositions also have forms contracted with the articles:

Prepositions requiring nominative case:

  • biázo – through
  • den – about, concerning
  • re – of

Prepositions requiring oblique case:

  • bi – on
  • cato – for (benefactive)
  • gáno – under
gáno+šo = gánšo, gáno+šen = gánšen
  • in – from; made of
in+šo = ío, in+šen = íjen
  • nao – towards
  • ó – in, inside
ó+šo = očo, ó+šen = očen
  • ton – with
ton+šo = tójo, ton+šen = tójen
  • toro – to (dative)
toro+šo = tóšo, toro+šen = tóšen

Verbs

Cerian verbs may be said to be more morphologically complex than Íscégon ones, as grammaticalization added a completely new tense - the future - and a new aspect - the habitual. On the other hand, the older past continuous has been replaced in form by the shorter non-continuous past, as the two perfective tenses (future and past) are now analytic. On the other hand, the subjunctive of all verbs except "to be" (íso) is now analytically formed by the participle plus the subjunctive of íso. Note that the "present perfective" is semantically past, and the "past perfective" is a pluperfect.

Conjugation of "to be" (íso) — where two forms are given, the first is masculine and the other is feminine.

↓ Tense / → Aspect Indicative Subjunctive
Habitual Continuous Perfective Habitual Continuous Perfective
Present ešon esu fedí esu ešečen
/ˈeʃʃen/
fášečen
/ˈfaːʃʃen/
fedí fášečen
Past esítin sétu
sétin
fedí sétu
fedí sétin
ešoná fáená fedí fáená
Future esínzión zoníso
zoníten
fedí zoníso
fedí zoníten
ešizínon díteníso
díníten
fedí díteníso
fedí díníten
Active participle endáe fedí
Verbal noun íso
Informal imperative enše
Formal imperative enšečen

Note that the copula is usually esu, but ešon is used for gnomic, natural truths. As an example, "my pen is blue" is bícon ésuon esu ríté, but "the sky is blue" is šen gáteon ešon ríté. The habitual form is typically used with large, typically unchanging objects - the sky, the sea, trees, buildings... while the continuous is used mostly for small objects or temporaneous states (cf. ser vs. estar in Portuguese). When in doubt, however, use esu.
Note, however, that when "to be" is used in order to indicate possession, esu denotes alienable possession while ešon denotes inalienable.

Example conjugation of another verb - čéléton "to read" (stem čélét-):

↓ Tense / → Aspect Indicative Subjunctive
Habitual Continuous Perfective Habitual Continuous Perfective
Present čéléteon máčéléti čéletí esu čéletáe ešečen čéletáe fášečen čéletí fášečen
Past čéletótín sočéléti čéletí sétu
čéletí sétin
čéletáe ešoná čéletáe fáená čéletí fáená
Future čélénzión zončéléti čéletí zoníso
čéletí zoníten
čéletáe ešizínon čéletáe díteníso
čéletáe díníten
čéletí díteníso
čéletí díníten
Active participle čéletáe čéletí
Passive participle čéleté čéletéco
Verbal noun čéléton
Informal imperative čéléše
Formal imperative čéléšečen

Passive forms are formed by using the passive participles instead of the active ones; habitual and continuous indicative use the participles with the respective forms of íso (e.g. čeletótínčéleté esítin, zončélétičéleté zoníso/zoníten).


Syntax

Constituent order

Noun phrase

Verb phrase

Sentence phrase

To have

The verb "to have" is usually translated by a dative construction, i.e. toro + oblique pronoun + íso (to be):

Torón ešon císenen. – I have a brother.
Toro cáruton ésuonno esu bénuo opéuso. – my uncle has a new car.

Dependent clauses

Vocabulary

The family

  • Family: šo zómo
  • Father: šo ófano; mother: šen méan
  • Son/daughter: šo/šen bésuon
  • Brother: šo císenen; sister: šen ránéco
  • Husband: šo ótó; wife: šen čétíren
  • Uncle: šo cáruto; aunt: šen cátézin

Basic vocabulary

  • Boy: šo cúrasu (dial. also šo vajúni)
  • Girl: šen ráginen (dial. also šen vajúnien)
  • Friend: šo íporo (m), šen íporian (f)
  • Man: šo iróčo; woman: šen térínan
  • Pen: šen bícon
  • School: šo comíbero
  • Ship: šo gama
  • Tree: šen tócoro
  • to see: sítelon
  • to eat: suóron
  • to say: poédon
  • to do: cáripon
  • to sleep: ródónion
  • to write: šoséron

Cardinal directions

All of them are masculine (article šo), but the article is always omitted if used without an adjective:

  • North: časúné
  • South: quéšon
  • West: uíra
  • East: mutin

Example texts

UDHR Article 1

(I'll probably replace this with something more Calémerian, maybe the Calémerian analogue to the UDHR?)

Pérécito fín sucáreien bácífaten de rédo gánšen cetorénani de fáteren. Turóteon súno socánue de toncoráfa, de étoreien cato usúron si bevenuzáe ešečen tójo ráziron usúnnonno ton foríton re císenečéta.
All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Gloss:

human.NOM. every. be_born-PRES.HAB. free. and. equal. under-the. dignity-OBL. and. right-OBL. | possess-PRES.HAB. 3PL.MASC.NOM. reason.NOM and. conscience.NOM. and. suppose-PRES.HAB. for. 3PL.MASC.OBL. that. act-PART.PRES.ACT. be-SUBJ.PRES.HAB. with.the. other-OBL. their-OBL. with. spirit-OBL. of. brotherhood.NOM.

IPA (Standard Evandorian Cerian):

[peːˈreːkito ˈfiːn suˈkaːrejɪn baːˈkiːfəten də ˈreːdʊ ˈgaːnʃən ketoˈreːnəni də ˈfaːtəren] [tuˈroːteo̞n ˈsuːnʊ soˈkaːnwe də tonkoˈraːfə | d‿ˈeːtʊrejɪn cat‿uˈsuːrʊn sɪ bevenuˈzaː‿ˈeʃʃən toːʒʊ ˈraːzɪron uˈsuːnnʊnʊ ton foˈriːtʊn rə kiːsəneˈtʃeːtə]

Other resources

Notes

  1. ^ Old Cerian: -euo, -eunen.