*If you would like to hear a sample of the language spoken, please click onto the Facebook link on the right side and scroll down to a video I posted with a candle.

There, I recite a poem I translated into my language. The candle and stuff is just to have something pretty to look at while listening.*

And here’s where my language nerdiness starts to show…

I realize that for the vast majority of readers, none of this will really matter.  You might look it over to get an idea of things, and maybe you’ll think it’s cool or interesting, but you won’t try to speak it or learn the grammar and vocabulary.  That’s fine.  I don’t expect you to.  But, for those who would like to know this part of my creative process, and maybe you have a bit of language-nerd in your own soul somewhere, this can be fun.

This is not complete and I do not intend to share my complete system online.  I hope to someday see it in its own little book for a side project or supplement.  Though, if you have any questions or would like to know how to say something in this language, please leave a comment and I’ll let you know.

Yes, there are swear words, but they’re different than in English.  I’m not against using “colorful metaphors” (to quote Mr. Spock), but my language has its own nuances for insulting someone or talking dirty.  Please be creative or at least respect my creativity if you ask me for something you wouldn’t say in a church.

The language of the desert tribes — Kumpanilago — is phonetic and very simple to pronounce, compared to lots of words in English.  Letters always sound one way.

The language does not use the letters G, Q, W, X, & Y.

C is also not used unless it is paired as CH — this is always pronounced as the sound at the beginning and ending of church, never as a hard gutteral sound as in loch or as SH in chandelier.

Every letter in a word is pronounced.  In a diphthong, both letters are pronounced basically as they would be in English — as a gliding vowel. This typically doesn’t divide the word into other syllables. An example from the story Kasima’s Gift is the word majai.  This is pronounced mah-ZHAHee. (This word means ‘mage’ [masculine].  Majei is pronounced mah-ZHEHee and is for a female mage, and majos (mah-ZHOSS) is the plural (mages or magi, depending on your preference)

There are no silent letters in this language. Stress is most often placed on the last syllable in a 2-syllable word and on the second syllable in anything with two syllables. When there are more than two syllables stress seems to fall on the second syllable most of the time, but can vary.

Vowels are pronounced as follows:

A – “ah” as the a in father
E – “eh” as the e in let
I – “ee” as in keep
O – “oh” as in hotel
U – “oo” as in cool

Some more pronunciation help:
F – “f’ like fall, never as ‘v’ like of
J – “zh” like Taj [Mahal], never as ‘j’ like jelly
S – “ss” like hiss, never as “z” like his

Names of characters seen thus far are pronounced:
Shali – shah-LEE
Kasima – kah-SEE-mah
Tavedo – tah-VEH-doh
Ledahi – leh-DAH-hee

Generally a noun will end in ‘o’ if it’s masculine and ‘i’ if it’s feminine.  This is also reflected in the majority of tribal names given.  Males aren’t given names that end in ‘i’ just as no girls would be given names that end in ‘o’.  Consonant endings, or names that end in ‘a’, ‘e’, or ‘u’ could go either way.

The Tribal concept of family holds a different meaning than simply blood relations. Because of this, there are sometimes several words that are used in different context depending on what is meant. Blood-relation will be shown by words in bold. Other more loosely-used definitions will be in regular text. The idea of being family without being blood is the root of the tribe’s link to each other.

There are no words for cousin, aunt, or uncle. A cousin is considered a brother or sister and uses the non-blood relation word, javino or mavini, respectively. Non-blood terms can be used among extended family – because in the tribe, there is no real concept of extended family. Your sister’s child is like your child (davino or kavini) and so on. An Aunt is considered a related mother you weren’t born to – Madrini.

Family: Dashani, Kumpani (Kumpani may also be translated as tribe)
Father: Tato, Tavino
Mother: Madri, Madrini
Brother: Jafo, Javino
Sister: Mafi, Mavini
Son: Davo, Davino
Daughter: Kavi, Kavini
Husband: Haseno (no non-related word here)
Wife: Rasheni (same for a wife)
Grandfather: Tashino
Grandmother: Mashini
Elder: (used in place of the alternate familial word for grandfather/grandmother) Shinano/Shinani

Common Words
Yes: Vasi
If: Sin
No: Net
Not: Nedi
A, An: Ni, Nin
The: (Only used when not in front of a proper noun. Otherwise, ‘the’ is inferred.) Adi
Only: Sol
Many: Rasa
And: I (pronounced “ee”)
But: Vol
Or: Malet
Back: Laso
Forth: Kamito

I: En
Me: Eni
You: (singular) Avo (plural) Avin
He: Tav
She: Mav
It: Set
We/Us: Omin/Omen
They: Mevin
My, mine: Eno, Enive
Yours: Anive
His/Hers: (clue in context) Shave
Its: Sete
Ours: Omive
Theirs: Meve

Some are idiomatic and do not hold a direct translation to Common/Outdweller. Also, some are translated into a special case for these instances and do bend my grammar rules a bit, mostly because I thought they sounded better this way.

Always/Forever: Tenivo
Sweetheart: Jaleno/Jaleni
Help me: Eni jesai
Come here: Vame’le
Come to me: Vameni
Come back: Vamei laso
Come back to me: Vamelas’eni
Dance with me: Reshai nef’eni.
Do you speak Common? Av’esejarat takli Komon?
Go away: Nei bashi
Good evening: Dobre devani
Good morning/day: Dobre deni
Good night: Dobre devanali
Good/well: Dobre
Goodbye: Dasavi
Good Health (cheers): Dobrosovai
Hello: Keko
Here: Ele
How are you?: Adem’avo sarat?
How? : Ademe?
I am fine: En sareo dobre.
I don’t speak Kumpanilago: Eno nedi taklaro Kumpanilago
I forbid it/you: En set fasadireo/En avo fasadireo
I don’t know: En neshuvaro
It is known/unknown: Set saran shuve/set saran neshuve
I love you: En avo maro
My name is: Eno tulerezo / Eni tulai (more casual “call me _”)
Please: Vase
Sure/Certain: Apin
So/Very: Ve
Sweet dreams: Jalen eresos
Thank you: (idiomatic translation for “I am honored”) Eshevrezo (Thanks: Eshe)
Welcome: (greeting) Velaketi
What is your name? Shopr’avo tulerezat?
What?: Shopre?
You are welcome: Sarat valeki

*Language rules regarding the grammar, structure, and gender of words or their relationship to the lifestyles or philosophies of fictional creations do not necessarily reflect the creator’s preferences or beliefs in relation to either polyamory or gender-fluidity/gender-identity.

Some advice I wrote for writing for characters who speak other languages


2 thoughts on “Language

  1. This is awesome and makes a lot of sense. I had fun sounding the words out to myself and the a, e, i, o, u, sounds make me think of the Japanese pronunciations. This inspires me to try and work on a language of my own a bit. ❤


  2. Pingback: A-to-Z Challenge Day 3 – C Is a Useless Letter | No Word For Sand

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