The Sinistral Language
Throughout the series, some Sinistrals such as Erim make statements in the Sinistral language, or as they call it, Ŝinosa. It's very distantly related to Common Eiranic, the in-universe equivalent to English, but due to very early divergence the two are entirely unintelligible.
For the glossary, please click here
Sinistral is a constructed language consisting of influences from Chinese, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, and Japanese. It follows two syntaxes based on the sex of the speaker:
OSV - Feminine form
SOV - Masculine form
HistoryThe native language of the Sinistrals, the language has its origins as a dialect of Eirano-Shino Old Tongue, a name for a standardized, shared form shared with the human Classical Eiranic, only differing in writing system and minor spelling differences. This dialect is referred to as Ancient Sinistral. These two languages diverged over time, the Sinistral varieties influenced by inscriptions of their lost language, only referred to as Old Sinistral. This language appears entirely unrelated to Ancient Sinistral. Attempts at decipherment have mostly ended in failure, but the language is known to have an innate power to it when spoken correctly. Efforts at decipherment led to the foundation of the magical school of Crypticism, a school of magic only understood by a select few Sinistrals. This magical school uses the handfuls of partially deciphered words and phrases to alter the world.
Modern Sinistral, a form emerging 1,700 years ago, is spoken entirely on the Sinistral archipelago, though many Sinistrals can understand Common Eiranic and continue to use it in mixed company, primarily due to the difficulty of their language for foreigners.
Orthography and TranscriptionSinistral is traditionally written in an angular, vertically written abugida from top to bottom, left to right. Old Sinistral utilized a different writing system. This system used a modal, runic alphabet written either in boustrophedon (mode 1) or top to bottom, left to right (mode 2). The latter form has some overlap with Ancient Sinistral.
Because of the impracticality of this, a romanization system and alphabet is also usable. The alphabet is:
A Ã Ch D E F G H I J K L M N O Ø R Ř S Ŝ T U Ü V W X Z
There is no B, P, Q or Y in the language, and these sounds are not used in the language. The meanings of the marked letters will be explained in each specific section on pronunciation.
There does exist some spelling irregularities and historical spellings that are used, and these will be explained as they come up. Like modern orthographies, it is not perfect at replication or making the writing the most logical.
Sinistral has an eight-vowel system. Most vowel lengths are consistent, except where the ` mark is used, to clip the vowel short. The IPA for the vowels are below: a: /a/ e: /e/ i: /i/ o: /o/ u:/u/ ã:/ɐ̃/ ø:/œ/ ü: /y/Vowels marked with a ˆ or circumflex mark stress accent in text. If the stress is not marked, it is on the second vowel.
Sinistral's consonants are very irregular compared to most human languages, lacking /b/ or /p/ sounds at all. For names transcribed into it, substitute /b/ for /v/ and /p/ for /h/.
ch /t͡ɕ/ d /d/ f /f/ g /g/ h /h/ j /j/ k /k/ l /l/ m /m/ n /n/ r /ɹ/ ř/ɾ/ (The alternative form is "rh") s /s/ ŝ/ɕ/ (The alternative form is "ss") t /t/ v /v/ w /w/ x /x/ z /z/
Basic Introduction to GrammarThe language has a complex noun-verb agreement. Take the following sentence:
téi nà sû goéi - "I love you" (Feminine speaker to a masculine recipient)
téi - You. Transitive declension. The ´ accent changes the vowel stress from the e to the i and marks it directly as the object of the transitive verb.
nà - I (topical, feminine). The ` accent clips the vowel short. Na is the feminine first person. Clipping the vowel indicates this is the declared topic.
sû - adverb. Indicates the following verb is strong, or sincere.
goéi - to have passion for (towards the direct object). This verb cannot be used standalone, it needs an adverb for it, and depending on that adverb it can mean love, like, dislike, hate or anything in between.
Notice that the verb and direct object agree. This is used for correspondence in the text.
There are two types of verbs in Sinistral:
Standalone verbs, which do not require an adverb.
Dependent verbs, which require an adverb. There are, in the standard dialect, no exceptions to these types.
ConjugationSinistral is an agglutinative language, with multiple independent morphemes used to modify the verb and other parts of the sentence.
Sinistral uses the following grammatical declensions:
Topical: Sinistral is a topic-comment language, and any pronoun, or name, can be marked the topic by clipping the last vowel short with a ` accent. Once a topic has been declared, it's not brought up again unless changed.
Transitive: Used when a verb is transitive (being used for a object) The ending used is -´i (The accent goes over the preceding vowel). The transient declension follows the recipient pattern. I.e. in the verb go - to love/hate/dislike/like someone, the transitive must be used.
Reflexive: Used when the verb is reflexive to the subject, an example being used for "I am" statements using the copula verbs. The ending is -ão, except if the preceding vowel is a u. In which case, the u becomes a w and the ending goes to -ao, without the nasal a.
Dative: Used with intransitive verbs IF the object is being affected by the verb more than the subject. The ending is -ii.
Negative: Used to negate verbs. Can be combined with any other declension. The ending is -ai
Completive: Used to indicate past tense and is applied to the verb and subject or object, depending on if a reflexive or transitive declension is used. The ending is -da
Continuous: Marks the continuous tense for present tense. The ending is -îr
Future tense in Sinistral is not done using a declension, but a particle appended to the end of any sentence, "lei". Use of "chuu lei" indicates potential, or uncertainty.
Interrogatives are done using the particle esu right before the verb. This indicates a question.
Prepositions and DeixisPrepositions are used to determine relations between nouns or clauses.
nei - of hü - in jod - around fika - withSpatial Deixis - Sinistral has four categories of describing things in space:
Close to the speaker
Close to the listener
Far away from one/both
These are handled as prepositions:
řão - close to the speaker, referring the location. řiu - close to the speaker, referring to the object/person/animal ŝoü - close to the listener, referring to the location ŝix - close to the listener, referring to the object/person/animal zore - far away from one/both, refers to the location zare - far away from one/both, refering to the object/person/animal miřo - not visible/present, refers to a location milos - not visible/present, refers to object/person/animal/ideaThese precede the adjectives and any nouns.
ConjuctionsConjuctions are used to join concepts in sentences. When joining clauses using -and- the first clause must be concluded with a comma
wai - and uja - or
Grammatical GenderEvery noun in Sinistral is gendered, and this affects the use of copulas, and pronouns. Unlike English, there exists no "it" in the language, so objects are always described as he/she, even if that is meaningless.
Male categories: Commerce, Engineering, Writing, War, Tools, Villages/Settlements, Art, Food
Female categories: Ideas, Emotions, Weapons, Cities, Clothing, Music, Buildings, Elements/Compounds
Some common verbs:
Go - To have passion for (Dependent) Fai - Feminine copula (Standalone) Vão - Masculine copula (Standalone) Chigu - To have (standalone) Aruct - To go, to travel to (Standalone) Mea - To trade (Dependent) Saitas - To fall (Standalone) Korvo - To kill (Standalone) Jarou - To fornicate with, vulgar (standalone) Tar - To express an emotion (Dependent) Ŝok - To open/enter (standalone) Řø - To close/exit (standalone) Jigu - To capture/contain (Standalone) Kaguŝ - To release/let go (Standalone) Chomas - To trespass (standalone) Verei - To liberate/free/release (standalone, also a noun) Noři - To treat or act
Epistemic adverbs: sû - absolute positive dii - normative positive hei - normative negative eru - absolute negative gua - neutral Example: dii go - to like something, hei go - to dislike something, gua go - to have little to no opinion on, ambivalent, eru go - to hate, sû go - to love Commerce Adverbs (used with mea to qualify the verb further): tao - to buy/purchase/exchange money for goods ju - to sell/give for money chuu - to trade/barter directly without exchange of money, a fair tradeAdverbs come before the verb they modify.
Nouns and PronounsNouns and pronouns are separated by masculine and feminine, and there is no exception to the gender of the noun.
Pronouns are relatively regular:
na - First person feminine sa - First person masculine tei - You (either gender) kano - Third person feminine naso - Third person masculine
PluralsTo add plurality, two different suffices can be used:
iji - a pair, two. sa iji (The two of us)
aji - more than two.
These only are used for nouns referring to people. For inanimate objects, the number must be stated or it is inferred via context.
AdjectivesAdjectives come before the noun always. They are written separately unless being used in a compound noun.
tai - large ŝi - small jeng - cold nø - hot uye - wide zoha - flat geida - useless/futile volti - other
Phonology DevelopmentFor proper nouns in Common Eiranic and Sinistral, there are some sound divergences:
/ks/ in Common Eiranic is /kt/ in Sinistral. /ir/ at the beginning of words was lost in Sinistral, resulting in just /r/ for some nouns. /s/ at the end of words in Common Eiranic is corresponded with /z/ in Sinistral at the end of words. /o/ in Sinistral became /mo/ in Common Eiranic. /ao/ in Sinistral became /amo/ in Common Eiranic.Additionally, Sinistral is undergoing some sound changes that will eventually affect all speakers of the language:
The elimination of the nasal vowel /ɐ̃/ which is not distinguished in some dialects already from /a/. The merging of /l/ with /ɹ/ in Ikudo dialects, as they say all /l/ sounds as /ɹ/. The elimination of /œ/ - replacing it with /u/.
Translation of some texts into Sinistral can be difficult for some people. Generally, it is recommended to use SOV syntax if the sex of the speaker is unimportant, as that's how the in-universe books are written most of the time.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 1
Eiradòaji vereião wai mojaimoja hü moja wai xarei vão. Toheião chigwao, wai volti eiradãoaji fika voisadiřen norião.
Literal translation: Humans are free and equal in value and rights. (Humans) have logic, and should treat other humans with brothergroup (there's no separate word for hood - all groups are diřen).
I am the King of chickens!
sà airaktão nei tokařu vão!
Literal translation - I am the King of Chicken!
Fuck your mother!
sa téi nei rarà jaroúi.Literal translation: I fornicate/fuck your mother.