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L. Shelby - Cultivator Universe - Languages


There are hundreds of worlds, and most worlds have multiple languages. This linguistic cacophony makes communication very difficult. The Empire has tried to simplify matters a bit by inventing the Imperial Communications Standard (generally called 'Standard' but occasionally referred to as 'icks')

Standard Basic contains the following sounds:
t, d, k, g, n, l, f, v, s, z, sh, zh, j/y
ah(aw), ay, ee, o(oh), w/oo, a, e(eh), i, u(uh)

Extended Standard includes the following additional sounds in order to accommodate more native naming practices-
m, b, p, th, dh(th vocalized), r, h, rr (rolled or trilled r), ll (extended l), k! (alveolar click), t! (dental click), p! (bilabial pop), ' (glottal stop)
And extended vowels -- aah, ayy, eeh, ohh, ooh, aa, ehh, ii, uhh

Written Standard uses a set of symbols that are non-directional... each symbol remains unique even if it is reversed or rotated.

 t oo (w) m ooh
 d ah (aw) b aah
 k ay p aay
 g ee th eeh
 n o (oh) dh (th voiced) ohh
 l a r aa
 f e (eh) h ehh
 v i rr ii
 s u (uh) ll uhh
 z   k!  
 sh   t!  
 zh   p!  
 j/y   '  

Standard is designed not to need a certain word order to be understood because people learning it always attempt to paste the vocabulary they learn into the word order they are familiar with anyway, however words that modify other words are expected to be grouped with those words. Concepts of word gender or other such arbitrary groupings are not used. Words are identified by tags to indicate which part of speech they belong to, and so a base word modified by affixes is the common building block of Standard.

Although the affixes do have official pre or post positions, the affixes are quite commonly disassociated with their bases and used on their own, as non-native speakers attempt to communicate. Also, although there are native speakers, native speaking communities have a tendency to quickly develop their own dialects.

The non-vocalized elements of K!tukuk languages and dialects tends to be high. The Hworill are particularly fond of tonal languages.

Standard uses a base 16 counting system, because most humans use base 10, Zthiir base 8, Hworill base 6 or 12, and K!tukuk base 14 or base 7. Mostly this doesn't come up much in my stories as I simply translate all terms into the closest decimal metric equivalent, and modify the numbers to match.

Quote from Velvet Lies
'I suppose that is an advantage of speaking with servants. It doesn't take them a paragraph to ask for clarifications.'
-- The Most Astute Zelli tos Renpli
Copyright © Michelle Bottorff

Email mbottorff at lshelby period com