A dialogue in Old Urianian.
|From:||Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 21, 2007, 16:15|
Hi, I've been looking at Old Urianian a little, and with this I mean
the language spoken about 700 BCE, during the lifetime of Uttrediay.
At this time Urianians were still performing pirate raids along the
coast, but had formed settlements in coastal areas where strong local
governments were not able to chase them, mainly in the east where
Nunanja already more than a century ago had been the first Gaajan
realm to be obliterated and the Urianians also had populated the
adjacent highlands, but settlements existed in the southwest and
northwest as well.
The language was much closer to proto-IE than today, but I am
postulating some changes due to a non-Gaajan substrate, possibly
Uralic. To my best current knowledge these are as follows:
1)The short diphthongs /ei/ and /oi/ become /e/, and /eu/ and /ou/
become /o/. This also helps simplifying the verbal system. In the
longer corresponding diphthongs the second element is treated as a
semivowel in many environments, causing the first element to shorten
2)In compositions following the -VC-o-C- pattern, where -o- is any
composition vowel, the composition vowel is ellipsed.
3)Stress is shifted to initial syllables. Final short vowels are
dropped or reduced. Final long vowels become short. Short vowels in
the first syllable become long before single consonants.
4)Final /m/ becomes /n/. An old change, so that an /m/ becoming final
after 3) is not affected.
5)All unaspirated stops are aspirated.
6)/bh/ becomes /B/, written _v_, /dh/ becomes /D/, written _z_, and /
gh/ becomes /G/, written _h_.
7)Unaspirated labiovelars become unaspirated stops, and will round a
following vowel. Thus /gw/ becomes /g/, written _q_, and /kw/
becomes /k/, written _c_. /gwh/ on the other hand becomes /w/,
written _w_, and will not round a following vowel.
8)Initial /s/ is lost before double consonants. Internal s is lost
before consonants, causing preceding short vowels to lengthen.
9)Prepositions and some conjuctions and connective pronouns are
The vowel shifts, the changes in the other diphthongs and the further
change of the labiovelars from unaspirated stops to fricatives as
well as the voicing changes, final /s/ -> /t/ and more I leave to
later centuries, because these seem to differ from dialect to
dialect. I think the latter is relatively early though.
I'd be glad for some comments from linguistic experts on this. And
Now for the dialogue. Old Urianian was an unwritten language and the
writing system is only my tentative invention. The values will not
differ from PIE except as noted above. Long vowels are marked with an
Uttrediay has just conquered the Ity realm and the clouds over Ity
town are breaking up in the morning after the battle. In the distance
a monotonous, shrill song is swelling in the wind. Uttrediay's
warriors have been toying with enemy girls in the night and now
emerge one by one from the houses, some leading their new slaves in
their hands and some leading them in ropes. Here and there citizens
are emerging too, and find their way to the storage houses, but will
return empty handed from those already discovered by Urianians.
Karaguas too emerges, and he too leads his woman by the hand, but
this is no fresh plunder from Ity, it is Upilase, the gift of
Uttrediay. Rubbing her eyes, she says: "Cid ét krenka sa éla?" (What
is that horrible noise?)
"Cid krenka?" (What noise?) Karaguas is puzzled. Upilase glances in
the direction of the song.
"Oh, tód." (Oh that.) "Tód ét kantos déwomos." (That is the song of
the gods.) "Utredinos érek wergim lawnon kaimio." (Uttrediay has
decided that we make a thanksgiving.)
Upilase turns half away, lowering her gaze. "In kánet kále." (She
does not sing beautifully.)
Karaguas is annoyed. "Wédes nékon toi," he says. (You know nothing
about that.) "Vakaneka ésect Kluksencus Megistei." (Vakaneka has
learned from Kluksencas in Megistis.) "Wédet alnon swersos déwomos cu
génet alnon kantons." (She knows everything about the gods and all
the songs.) "Nenlos kánet vadjos." (No-one sings better.)
Upilase does not reply. She stands in silence for a while gazing
towards the remote monotonous song. Then she turns towards Karaguas
again. "Co sent déwe kais wóson?" (Who are these gods of yours?) "Cor
wésent, cu cid zént?" (Where do they live and what do they do?)
"Himne sent es ansoes, es cid?" (Are they humans or spirits or what?)
Karaguas regards her stunned and casts a short glance towards the
sky. "In...in déwe wóson sent?" he stotters. (Don't...don't you have
"In havrem." (I don't think so.) She has turned half away again, eyes
turned down. "In hossens weswon kemnu es statu octu nenloi, wítos
ét." (We don't pray to someone living in the sky or a place that no-
one can see, that's for sure.) She casts a quick glance towards
Karaguas, who stands speechless staring at her. Then she continues.
"Net ancus ét altu." (But there is spirit in everything.) "Nucu
swersu in tu octu." (Also in things you cannot see.) She turns
towards him again. "Cid ancus ét two déwu?" (What spirit is in your
Karaguas coughs. "In lésem two socton, céna." (I don't understand
what you are talking about, woman.) He grips her arm. "Toi tolcujon
te amze." (I will explain this to you later.) "Nu atjom vágunti
édon." (Now we shall go and get some food.)
They walk to the nearest storage house. Before they arrive, Upilase
speaks again. "Karaguas?"
"Éwednu keimin síet domdewon vrewrio." (I have heard there is
supposed to be a temple of the source here.) "Atomes tómin?" (Can we
Karaguas doesn't reply. The behaviour of his woman baffles him. She
seems changed. Maybe she needs a hiding. He cannot recall anything
but submission in her since they left Nomag, Uttrediay's first
conquest. But now he senses obstinacy.
They arrive at the storage house and receive bread, butter, dried
meat and some ale. Karaguas is well known by the Urianian guards.
They sit down to eat. Karaguas looks at Upilase. She is more than ten
years older than him, but pretty as an elf. She's shorter than him by
more than a head, thin and frail, pale-skinned. Maybe she needs a
hiding. He has treated her well until now, out of respect for
Uttrediay. But he couldn't spoil her either. That would ruin her as
well, and it wouldn't do, although he has no plan to sell her, not at
an ordinary price at any rate. He looks at her again. She bites off a
piece of meat and chews it without heeding his gaze. Follows it with
a sip of beer, dips the bread in the butter and takes a bite. No, he
won't beat her up. She looks fragile, like a costly object. Her
collarbone is like a twig. Violence will break her, he fears.
"Cid ét domdewon vrewrio?" (What is a temple of the source?)
Upilase throws him a long stare. She finishes chewing before she
replies. "Ékios swerson sent ancus mukjos cu aldjos aljomos." (Some
things have more and stronger spirit than others.) "Í nes sécon
veslons nuce nes sécent vrewrons." (They who send us medicines also
send us sources.) "Vrewrio ét qéris erginos." (The source has a
Karagues doesn't like this. "Tupila, terkjes sítas..." (Tupila, if
you are scheming some magic...) He doesn't know what to threaten her
She looks down. "In síta ét." (It is not magic.) "Sinos qéris vrewrio
ét." (It's just the power of the source.) "Vádos ét alnomos." (It is
good for everyone.) She sighs. "Delse mu nomnos in Tupila
ét." (Besides my name isn't Tupila.)
She stands up, grabs his hand and sends him a brief little smile.
Karaguas wonders. She's never smiled to him like that before.
Friendly, inviting, and prettily. He rises up. They wander about the
town a while until they find a low, domed house with a mass of little
blue flowers on the grassy roof. Upilase is sure. "Keimin ét." (Here
She pulls the curtain aside and wants to pull him in. Karaguas gasps,
because the doorway emits a blue glare that reflects in Upilase's
skin, giving it a strange blue glow. As he breathes in he senses a
strange smell in the air. But not unpleasant. Fresh, like a flowery
meadow a sunny day in the spring. Or after a thunderstorm. He follows
her inside. There is only one chamber. Benches along the walls. Naked
floor. Hard-trodden earth without straw. Opposite the entrance is a
table with dark bronze dishes before a low stony wall, and from
behind the wall the blue light shines with remarkable force.
But between them and the wall stands two shadows. Urianians. The one
to the left bends over the light, which bathes him in an intense blue
glare. And as he unbends, he has something in his hands. A sight
Karaguas never shall forget. A ball, clear as crystal, with two rods
jutting to opposite sides, of black metal, like wrought iron. And
from inside the ball comes the mysterious blue light, dazzling,
unearthly and incomprehensible.
"Aa!!!" It is Upilase's cry. "Ara auguk an! Rakabis iu!" Only now she
realises that she has used her own language, and repeats the warning
in Urianian: "Id in takte! Péros ét!" (Don't touch it! It's dangerous!)
Dialogue over. Does this work, or what?