Lenani-Littoral

From Almeopedia

Contents

The people

Lenani-Littoral is a language family of eastern Ereláe. The speakers’ original homeland was the Lake Lenan region as well as Edinel to its south. They adopted agriculture by -2000 (they seem to be the first to have cultivated rye). They were divided into clans, which were matrilocal (husbands joined their wife’s clan) and matrilineal (inheritance was through the female line), and they worshipped paired male and female gods. They were not matriarchal— men were usually in charge of a clan— but women had a high position and unusual freedom for a pre-modern culture.

Around -150 a large fraction of the people invaded Skouras, to which, indeed, they gave the name, based on the name of the Šinour river. They are thus known as the Skourenes, and their invasion formed the Littoral branch of the family. The Skourenes created a brilliant but highly fractious urban civilization, colonizing the southern littoral and even founding Gurdago on the coast of Luduyn.

Over the centuries the remaining peoples could be distinguished into Lenani and Tžuro. In the late 1400s the Tžuro adopted a severe monotheistic religion, Jippirasti, and in the 1600s their leader Attafei, allied with the Caďinorian emperor Ervëa, destroyed the ktuvok empire of Munkhâsh. The Tžuro then conquered Skouras, though they did not manage to take over the entire littoral, partly due to the intervention of Gurdago.

In 2988 a late Tžuro state, Jaešim, founded a colony named Fananak (‘New Feináe’) on the western coast of Arcél. Though contact with the colony was lost, it thrived and took over a good deal of the interior; Lenani-Littoral is thus the only language family of Almea to be a major presence on two continents.

The languages

Old Skourene, the best-known ancient Lenani-Littoral language, is distinctive for its roots formed from three consonants, with a rich morphology based on infixing vowels and entire syllables. It's also noted for preferring to coin words from verbal rather than nominal roots, for its ergative-absolutive case system, and a four-class gender system (masculine, feminine, animate, inanimate). Old Tžuro, the language of the Jippirasti scriptures, is fairly similar.

The modern languages are a good deal more synthetic, and the triconsonantal roots have been enormously complicated by sound change, and in some cases (especially in Šureni and Gurdagor) reworked with a good deal of reanalysis and analogy. The original infixing system is barely discernible in the Lenani languages.

There are two separate writing systems used in the family: the Littoral languages are all written with a syllabary descending from the Old Skourene writing system; the Lenani and Tžuro languages are written using the Jippirasti alphabet. (Technically, what is written is almost always pure Old Tžuro; on the rare occasions when it’s desired to record the spoken vernaculars, they are written phonetically.)

Classification

Lenani branch
Lenani, Lumbani, Karimi
Tžuro branch
Old Tžuro+, Šureni, Jaešeni, Fananaki
Littoral branch
Old Skourene+
Eastern subbranch: Uṭandal, Gelihurendi, Barmundi, Šijinti,
Western subbranch: Diḍburir, Gurdagor

See also