Ejale ena in Qenan script.
|Spoken natively in||Oare Kahoana|
|Writing system||Qenan (Eyalian alphabet)|
|Official language in||the United Republics of Five Nations, the Tarna Republic|
|Recognised minority language in||the Virjan Federation|
The Eyalian language (Ejale ena, [ɛ.ˈjɑ.lɛ. ɛ.ˈnɑ]) is a Western language in the Ketan language family. It was originally spoken by the Eyans and slowly spread with the expanse of the Oare Empire eastwards. It later split into two major dialects: Tare and Kei ("west" and "east" respectively). Both dialects are still mutually intelligible with each other, but Keian is nowadays treated as a separate language from Tarnan, which is commonly named Eyalian, or Eyalian Proper. Both dialects are used as spoken langauges in their respective republics as official languages, but the only official language of the whole United Republics is Tar Eyalian.
It is also the primary liturgical language of Ayatarvism (Le-Ajatarvo - the main religion of the eastern part of the continent) and the predominant language of most works of the Ajatar philosophy. Old Eyalian, in its variants, was the lingua franca of the former Oare Empire and lands to the east of it. Even nowadays Tar Eyalian is considered to be a language of high culture in these regions and is commonly taught in educational institutions.
The language became standardised by the time of the Oare Empire, about a thousand years ago by various writers and scholars. This period is generally referred to as Old Eyalian. The language spoken between after the split into two main dialects is generally referred to Modern Eyalian, or Tar Eyalian. This shift is marked by several grammatical and phonetic changes, although Old Eyalian is still generally intelligible to both Tar and Kei speakers.
Eyalian is a moderately synthetic language, with a relatively simple nominal and more complex verbal morphology.
It is generally believed that the word "ejale" originates from an ancient Kvetain word "eb qəlajəsi", the exact translation of which is undetermined, but is usually translated as "spoken from the gods' name", which connotes a divine origin of the language. From what is known from the ancient texts sound and oral transmission were highly valued qualities. The language was meant to be spoken and not written and words were valued by the way they sounded. Thus almost all ancient linguistic works were forgotten and disappeared without a treace.
Eyalian is a Ketan language and is one of three languages with an extensive literary tradition (the other two being Virjalian, which is a close relative of Eyalian, and Phomˀald, which is much younger than the previous two written languages). There are other languages with a long written history are Zėnan, Pietan and Kianne, but they were not continuous. Eyalian and Virjalian also share a common period, usually called Old Qenan. Several texts are known from this period, but the data they had given is insufficient to clearly establish whether Old Qenalan was a single language of both nations, or both Virjans and Eyans used a single written standard. Even if the second is true, both languages were likely very close during that period.
Tarnan and Keian
The oldest evidence of the split between Tar and Kei goes back to almost a seven hundred years ago, however Kei Ejale was finally standardised only two hundred years ago. Prior to that Keians used a modified Tarnan orthography. Modern Tar Eyalian also underwent a spelling reform two hundred years ago. Nowadays both standards are referred to as Ejale and Keile respectively, though some speakers occasionally refer to Eyalian as Tarejale, mostly among the Tarnans. The Tar-Kei boundary was traditionally placed directly on the border between the Tarna and Keina Republics, however as the dialects diverged, it became obvious that the old boundary became obsolete. A new boundary is placed roughly along the Ropra (or Ravar) river to the north and east and along the Uve Province borders to the south. These dialects are called the Transitional (including Uve) dialect, sharing common traits with both Tar and Kei varieties, while culturally most of its native speakers refer to themselves as simply Ejale without any further differentiation. The capital of the United Republic Kaurez (often pronounced as [kɛʊ.rɛθ] natively) also lies within the Transitional area, even though all neighbouring towns belong to the Keian speaking territory.
Despite Tarnan and Keian varieties still share a low mutual intelligibility, they are treated as separate languages rather than dialects of a single Eyalian language. Both also show dialectal variation, especially Tarnan, being located in the mountainous region and thus remaining in a relative isolation for centuries.
Northern Tarnan (ehomėla Toalejale)
There is no consensus on the northern Eyalian borders with the Viryan language. Though both standard languages differ in their respective phonology and grammar, Eastern Viryan dialects are more similar to Tarnan Eyalian than to Viryan. From a linguistic perspective it would be reasonable to consider Ahāres and Valeres (natively - Ahāre and Vajare) to be Eyalian dialects rather than Viryan, as both preserve the phoneme [kʷ], while other Viryan dialects have [p] instead. The same is true for Tēna Viryan (natively - Cēna or Ceana) which is almost identical to Oana Eyalian and both dialects are fully mutually intelligible.
Here are some features of Ahāre:
- Strengthening of consonant clusters: *sujda>lusta (E. lȯhta) – “hay”.
- Phoneme [kʷ]: skvane "neck" (E. kona).
- Initial rhotacism: *dapenta>rafta (V. rafen, E. lauta) – “house".
- Rounding: *å>o [ɔ], *ā>[ɑɔ~ɒː]. Short *a does not undergo any rounding - zasku (E. zohtu) – ("he/she has become").
- All words receive penultimate stress (on the second to last syllable).
- The intial *n is preserved in a small western area: naze (E. aze) "dark", but "n" can appear in words that didn't originally begin with this sound: nīhpo "feather".
- Partial diphthogization: *ō>ou, *ē>ei in the eastern area.
- Initial and medial lenition of k: *kal>xal (E. and V. kal) – “who (relative pronoun)”.
- Medial lenition of t: *jetīji>hezei (E. heti) – “small”.
- No rounding, but the phoneme å [ʌ] is distinct from "a": kårni (E. korni) – "to give".
- Diphthongisation of high vowels: *ū>au [ʌʊ], *ī>ei [eɪ], but *īt>yz [ɪθ].
- Phonemes [kʷ] and [c]: *bårgwi>(v)ykve (E. oakve) "heavy", *jinees>ceine (E. cienji) – “husband”.
- In border regions (and further eastwards) initial [ʋ] is elided: vykve – ykve "heavy".
- Phoneme "y" [ɪ]: '*dōki>lyx (E. loake) – "hand, arm".
- Pitch accent with two pitches: high (acute) and low (default or unmarked).
Ohta (ehoma Ohte)
Ohtan dialects, spoken primarily in the Tarnan Province of Olerana but also extend into the Virjan territory are undoubtfully Eyalian dialects:
- No plosive lenition: *kiiki>kieke – “short”.
- Complete diphthongization of long vowels in stressed syllable (including *ā>oa).
- Rounding: *å>o, including *a, although the latter is partial and does not spread on the whole area.
- apocope of the final "e" in nouns and verbs: zkvan~kvon "neck" (E. kona). The final "e" did not elide in genitive, which was "-es" originally, and in adjectives, where it was restored by analogy.
- Phonemes [kʷ] and [c].
- Phoneme "y" [ɪ]: *sujda>lyhta (E. lȯhta) – “hay”.
- Pitch accent: rising - éna [ɛ̌.nɑ] "language"; and falling - Ena [ɛ̂.nɑ] "the Ena region".
The transitional dialects (ehomėla irekėnėla) are spoken in the west of the Keina Republic. This is not a genetic grouping and thus various dialects show different features closer to either Tarnan or Keian. None of these dialects have a specifically Keian [s̠] sound, but they also lack rounding of *ā typical to Tarnan (initial *ā>uo in Uve, but initial *ō>eu, which means they did not merge like in Tarnan), with some also lacking rounding of the short *a. Dialects close to Keian lenite /f/ to [v] between vowels: lavat "house" (T. lauta), but do not lenite /k/ or /t/ even word-finally.
A special subgroup within the transitional dialects is the ehoma enejale. This dialect possesses a few distinct phonological and morphological features and is close to Enan dialects right to the south. It has a three-way distinction of lateral approximants and dental nasals, unlike other dialects, which have one or two of each (this is shared with Old Enan). Like Keian, South Eyalian lenites /f/ to [v] between vowels, but it also elides the weak /n/ (distinct from the strong [n̪ˠ]) in the same position: *mina>ja/ėja "sparrow", but *qena>eṅa/iṅa "language"; and /l/: zōli>zoai "cold", but *qådani>olae "old". In the southernmost area *c became "z" [θ] or [t͡θ] rather than [c] like in other dialects.
The following is a table of phonemes in both Eyalian varieties. There are some differences between them: Tarnan preserves the phoneme /x/ (mostly word-initially) and underwent the debuccalization of [s̠] to [ɦ] in all positions. That's why Tarnan /ɦ/ (which becomes voiceless [h] before plosives) does not correspond to Keian /h/ (which is often voiced word-medially under the Tarnan influence). Keian also has a phoneme /ɲ/, which is not phonemic in Tarnan. Also Keian phoneme /s̠/ can be pronounced as [ʃ] (often by speakers from the East of the Keina Republic) as it is already close to that place of articulation. Unlike in Tarnan, /j/ and /ʋ/ in Keinan are strongly fricated, especially /ʋ/, which often becomes a true fricative [v].
|Fricative||f||z /θ/||x||h /ɦ/|
|Fricative||f||z /θ/||s /s̠/||h|
|Approximant||v /ʋ~v/||r||l||j, lj /j~ʝ/|
|Old Qenan||Tar Eyalian||Kei Eyalian||Position|
between long back vowels
|→||∅||∅||medial, near front vowels|
Eyalian consonants can undergo two processes, called akȯnna ("strengthening") and heottine ("smoothing"). Both processes are often productive in word derivation. The akȯnna is a lengthening (gemination) of final consonants triggered by certain derivational suffixes (the word "akȯnna" is an example of this process too as it derives from the word "kone" ("strong"). Many adjectives are derived from verbs with this process: hilni "to choose" - hėllan "choise". Heottine is the opposite of akȯnna as it is the lenition of consonants in the same position. Unlike the other process, it can only affect plosives (/p/, /t/, /k/) and /f/: lafa ("dwelling") - lauta ("house"). A third process is not productive anymore, but it affected some old Eyalian words. It operated in a cluster of two consonants, when one or both should have underwent lenition: *sujdas>lȯhta (instead of expected **lȯhra). It also affected approximants that did could not lenite in this position: *jinerees>hėtti "brother-in-law". In modern days this process not longer operates in Tarnan: eli ("being") + ja ("nominalization suffix") - elja ("life"), where "lj" is just palatalized, but did not change.
In Old Eyalian there was also a dissimilatory process which involved a lenis consonant followed by another lenis consonant in the next syllable. In this position the first consonant strengthened. However, the conditions of this process are not well understood. Certain consonants, like *r, and *m did not trigger this process, while *q (which by those time had probably become [ʔ]) did. An example of such process is *jibe- > ceuni "to shine" (instead of the expected **heuni), while other languages have a regular reflexes (Kianne - siū).
Eyalian monophthongs are represented in tables below. Vowel qualities may vary from dialect to dialect, but in general Tarnan has two more monophthongs than Keian. Certain words in Tarnan are written with "y" (mostly loanwords and placenames), the high standard pronunciation of which is [ɪ] or even [ɘ], but it is commonly pronounced as either [e] or [i]. The latter is also the common pronunciation of this vowel in Keian, which has "i" in those words. For example, one of Tarnan provinces is named Vyzi (after vyś - a person from Vyzi), which is usually pronounced as either [ˈʋi.θi] or [ˈʋe.θi].
|Close||i, (y) /i/||u|
|Close-Mid||ė, y /e/||ȯ /o/|
|Open-Mid||e /ɛ/||o /ɔ/|
|Mid||e /e/||o /o/|
|Old Qenan||Tar Eyalian||Kei Eyalian||Position|
|→||oa||ei||before high vowels|
Long vowels underwent diphthongization very early, but yielded different results in Kei and Tar Eyalian; however, the vowel "ā" merged with "ō" in Tarnan first, but remained distinct in Keian. Eyalian short vowels also underwent assimilation, called hiemlata ("becoming similar"). A short high vowel lowered to a close-mid one before low vowels, for example: jėkar "you have gone", but jiki "you go" from jikki "to go". In Keian this change was often levelled by analogy in almost all verbs and in some nouns. Suffixes which trigger consonant gemination usually block this change, for example fulla "breathing" has "u" instead of an expected "ȯ".
Stress (oaveulo) can be placed on either the first (initial) or the second syllable. Eyalian had a pitch accent in the past, called almoara ("the pleasing one") or eulo almoan, and many mountainous dialects still possess this feature. Usually elision of a plosive lead to the rising accent, while the absence of elision resulted in the falling accent, for example *qena "language" resulted in éna [ɛ̌.nɑ]. Falling pitch was default and thus conditional, but could sometimes become "independent" (o'hiehtanne) or "marked" under certain phonological processes: alòama "woman" > jàloama "this woman" (in the latter word the accent falls on the short syllable instead of the expected long one, like in the former word), or jùmui ("completely" from ix qomu in "in one piece") instead of expected **júmui. Later both pitches coincided, but the rising accent shifted the stress to the next syllable, hence modern [ɛ.ˈnɑ]. There is no regular way to predict the position of stress and it needs to be memorised. Most of the words have one accented syllable, with the exception of compond words.
Changes in initial consonants occur in words according to their morphological environment. From a synchronic perspective certain prefixes or particles can trigger various consonant changes. Diachronically, however, this was caused by word-initial elision or lenition of many consonants. Similar changes happened word-medially, but the alternations were either levelled or spread on other word forms without them. There are two different yet related processes: fortition (or turning a non-plosive consonant into plosive) and prothesis (addition of an initial consonant in words that begin with a vowel). Here, as an example, a topic marker ah/al is used to demonstrate, how these changes operate:
- The independent form of the word a-njer "here" is not used in the standard, but can be found in dialects.
Dialects show a great variation of such changes, especially prothesis, even in words that do not change in the standard, for example: on m'earin, a-v'epa (standard: on fearin "I feel", a-h'epa "the lake"), these prothetic consonants can sometimes spread onto the independent form: tona, zona "space", which is a back-formation of ona, vyp ("lake" in the Ohtan dialect- a back-formation of ei-v'yp "near the river", standard: ape "river").
Eyalian is a mildly fusional language with a moderate degree of inflection, with three numbers for both nouns and verbs; and a rich derivational morphology, meaning there can be a large number of words derived from the same root. This section will be primarily focused on the Tarnan variety.
Nouns and adjectives inflect by number, case and have two forms (or states):
- four cases: xattane "direct" (or nominative), lohuonne "relative" (or genitive), o'xattane "indirect" (or dative and eilėke vocative;
- three numbers: jevaoha (singular), ecevaoha (dual), ėhkȯvaoha (plural).
- two forms: fiellame "independent" and lohulti "conjunct".
This degree of inflection is considerably less than found in Meinqələr Kvetain - the oldest known language of Keta, but it likely similar to the inflectional morphology of Proto-Ketan, from which Eyalian descends. Like in most Ketan languages, Eyalian forms noun compounds in which the second noun modifies the category given by the first, for example: elja-oh “tree of life” (in nominative case, though eljoh can also be found as a simple word), koaz-kȯnui “door of a house” (in genitive case). The second noun is in the conjunct form (aujo lohulti), which is also used with prepostional clitics (but not with possessive clitics): i-kȯn “in the house”, but zėkono “my house” (where the independent form is used instead).
Eyalian nouns can be topicalized with the topic marker. A topic is the main theme of a sentence, what is being talked about. Tarnan has two topic markers (ah and al), which are variants of a single word (*as), but the first one was analysed as separate (hence the final *s>h), while the second was not (and the change was *s>l). Al is now used less and less, though it is much more common in western dialects. There is no rule which tells which variant is correct with a certain word, al is always used when a word begins with a "j" and originally had no initial consonants (though this is not transparent anymore and varies greatly among dialects). The topic marker is a prefix which requires the conjunct form of a noun to be used with it: a'i-kȯn ola lofin "as for the house, I live in it" (the prefix ah-i- is contracted to a'i-).
The verb is one of the most complex parts of Eyalian grammar. Not a full list of verb forms is given here; the purpose is to explain the nature and structure of the verbal system. One of the remarkable characteristics of the Eyalian verb is the fact that verbs can be conjugated both synthetically (i.e. have morphological finite forms); and analytically with some only having non-finite forms, which can enter into a wide variety of compound tense structures (consisting of a non-finite verb form combined with a finite auxiliary). For example, "I eat" is ohane (synthetic), but on fearin "I feel" (periphrastic, lit. "on me is feeling"). These two groups are further divided into two categories: transitive and intransitive, althouth most transitive verbs have synthetic forms. Old roots have three grades, kuole ("long"), kieke ("short") and ekikke ("reduced"), though usually only the "long" and "short" grades show in conjugation. Traditionally Eyalian verbs are cited using a non-finite form conventionally referred to as the infinitive, which ends in "-ni" regardless of a previous consonant (if the root ends in a consonant cluster, it is usually reduced - katni "to count" – zolkohte "he/she is counting them").
Eyalian has ten aspects, but some are rarely used and can only be found in literature. The verb aspects (though they are often tenses and moods too) are organized into "systems" (as well as infinitives, intensives, desideratives, causatives, and benedictives) based on the different verb forms used in conjugation.
Every verb also has three additional forms: affirmative (zolkohte "he/she is counting them"), negative (zolkohtim "he/she isn't counting them") and hypothetical (zolkohtiz "he/she might be counting them").