Omeguese

From Almeopedia

Omeguese
Native name Yiguat
Verdurian oméguořon
Characteristics
Location Apoyin
Family Western
Subfamily Bekkayin
Standard Uyun
Writing system syllabographs
Info available lexicon (~250 words)
Sample wordlist
one it
two nai
three sem
river nai
town čo
people main
big da
little mu

Omeguese [o me ˈgiz] is the language of Omeguo, the kingdom occupying the southern half of Apoyin island.

It’s a member of the Bekkayin branch of the Western family (along with K'aitani). It's most closely related to Urunči, spoken on the mainland opposite Omeguo and in fact its historical parent, as Urunči invaded Apoyin a milennium ago. Urunči and Omeguese are about as far apart as German and Norwegian.

The official name of the language is Omeguat ‘Ome(guo) speech’, but it’s more commonly called Yiguat, after Yiguo, the central province. (To the neat Omeguese mind, there should be a dialect per province; this is almost but not quite true.)

Omeguese has borrowed from K'aitani, and there are place names that derive from the aboriginal Old Bekkayin settlers; both are generally hidden by accommodation to Omeguese phonology, and by the fact that due to extensive sound change, almost every possible Omeguese syllable has several possible meanings. For instance, the city name Ičan is taken to mean ‘first harvest’, but it’s actually a borrowing of K'aitani Ečahen ‘great ford’. Similarly Besibo lake is analyzed as ‘having a beautiful surface’, but is most likely an aboriginal name.

The Lun dynasty developed a code for military secrets, which was expanded and adapted until it formed a syllabographic writing system. (Homophones are distinguished if they have obvious graphic representations.) King Čenko Yatan created a standardized list of glyphs in 3112. Various materials were tried, but the best was the dried large flat leaves of a particular jungle plant (dalau). To avoid ripping the leaf, the script avoids vertical straight lines.

Phonology:

  • Stops p t k b d g
  • Affricates č
  • Fricatives f s š
  • Nasals n m
  • Liquids l w y
  • Vowels i e a o u; diphthongs ai au

Final consonants are limited to n m t.

Omeguese is largely isolating, and indeed the initial impression an outsider gets of a typical sentence is "word salad". Things that would be respectably solid combinations in other languages, like a verb and its aspect or a noun and its particles, can be separated seemingly at will. However, there are strict rules for Omeguese syntax, though they are enormously complex.

  • The default sentence order is topic-comment, and clauses tend to be SVO. Modifiers precede their heads.
  • Verbs can be used transitively or intransitively or indeed become nouns— sometimes, disturbingly, in the same sentence (as in the sample sentence below).
  • There is an elaborate set of deferential phrases which replace the first and second person pronouns; one of the commonest is na nau ma ‘this base person’ for ‘I’. This is an open class in that new forms are continually developed or even improvised.
  • There is a plethora of homophones: e.g. lau can mean ‘old’, ‘leaf’, or ‘servant’, among other things. Suffixes are used to disambiguate these: e.g. laulu ‘old-ways = tradition’, lauma ‘servant-person = servant’, guailau ‘green-leaf = leaf’.

Sample text

Čen det ma čan lam lit li gom da gain li yit.
that marvel person shoot too good past please great lord past be
Your excellent archery has surely pleased our lord.