Monkhayic [mon 'xa jɪk] is a family of language in eastern Ereláe. Its speakers once occupied all of Eretald, but was pushed to the north and east by the invasion of the Central peoples starting in -375; this also divided the family into northern (Meťaiun) and eastern (Monkhayu) branches.
In classical times the Meťaiun languages were restricted to the Mišicama littoral, but the continent was slowly Caďinorized, leaving Kebreni as the sole extant representative of the subfamily. The Monkhayu once occupied almost all of Sarnáe, but they were slowly absorbed by the ktuvok empire of Munkhâsh (by 458). Monkhayu languages have persisted in the mountainous southwest of Sarnáe since then, though they have been independent only during periods of simultaneous Caďinorian and ktuvok weakness.
The Monkhayic languages are characterized by a morphology based on vowel interchange, vowel change, and infixing, rather than affixation, and by a verbal system that does not inflect for person, but for aspect and politeness. Both branches are also notable for a base-18 counting system (relating to the fact that Almean humans have just four toes on each foot).
Monkhayic languages form the substratum for all the languages of Eretald, contributing many geographic names (notably Mišicama, Svetla, Lake Como, Ctelm, Efrat, Menla, Avéla, Arosd, Ismahi, Érenat) as well as hundreds of words. Kebreni, as the language of a major naval, manufacturing, and commercial nation, has also been a fertile source of borrowings. Thanks to Kebreni colonization, the language family seems poised to spread across Almea.
Etymology and philological notes
Meťaiun derives from the name of the southernmost of the Monkhayic states at the time of the Central invasion; the Cuzeians generalized this to the name of the ethnic group as a whole, calling them the Metailō and the state they had conquered Metayu. The reconstructed Northern Meťaiun form is Meťaiγo, of unknown meaning except for the honorific; cf. Keb. Meťaahu. Meťaiu is the Caď. form; the Ver. is Metayu.
The Cuzeians never connected the Meṫaiun (who were civilized people and respectable opponents) with the Monkhayu, who were considered savage mountain men, called Xavigō, the 'boar people'. The Caďinorians were aware of the ethnic connection, but this receded from common knowledge. It was late medieval Kebreni scholars who rediscovered the link and worked out correspondences between their language and Monkhayu.
None of the Central invaders were very interested in the languages of the people they had conquered; as a result we have very little information on Southern Meťaiun. We assume that it was closer to Northern Meťaiun-- after all, the Meṫaiun speakers were connected by the Svetla-- but for all we know it was closer to Monkhayu.