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Vinlandic

“Vinlandic” is the English name for the native tongue of the skrayling merchants who visit England. Because it is a second language for all its speakers, its syntax and morphology are simple.

Pronunciation guide

The following tables attempt to provide both a linguistically accurate phonology and a guide for non-linguists on how to approximate the sounds of Vinlandic.

Consonants

Orthography X-SAMPA Pronunciation
t t English “tea”
d d English “dog”
k k English “kit”
g g English “get”
q q Arabic “Qatar”
s s English “sun”
z z English “zoo”
h h English “hat”
n n English “net”
r r English “run”
l l English “let”
j j German “ja”
tj t’ English “tube”
dj d’ British English “dew”
kj k’ English “cube”
gj g’ English “
nj n’ Spanish “mañana”
ng N English “ring
th T English “thin”
dh D English “that”
sj s’ English “
sh S English “shine”
zh Z English “rouge”
lh K Welsh “Llewellyn”
kh x Scots “loch
gh G English “
qh X English “
hj h’ English “huge”
rh R German “rein”
rj r’ English “
lj L English “million”
hr R\ French “roi”

Vowels

Vowels are much harder to define in non-technical terms, because they vary so much from one accent to the next.

Orthography X-SAMPA Pronunciation
a a French “dame”
e e English “met”
i i Spanish “si
o o French “gros”
u u English “boom”
aa a: Australian English “father”
ee e: Australian English “hair”
ii i: English “see
oo o: Australian English “caught”
uu u: English “soon”

Syntax

The default word order is SOV (subject-object-verb), and Vinlandic is strongly left-branching:

  • modifiers precede their heads (e.g. adjectives precede nouns, as in English)
  • postpositions (in contrast to English’s prepositions)
  • suffixes are more common than prefixes

Sample suffixes

Root words in Vinlandic can be either verbs or nouns, and can be converted to other forms using suffixes.

Suffix Function Description
-aq Verbaliser append to a noun to make a verb
-en Nominaliser, animate append to a verb to make an animate noun
-et Nominaliser, inanimate append to a verb to make an inanimate noun

Sample sentences

Here are some examples from the Night’s Masque books. In each case, I will give the text and an idiomatic translation, then a gloss (linguistic analysis) to demonstrate the morphosyntax.

 

The Alchemist of Souls: Leland greets Ambassador Kiiren

Note that the numbers refer to pronouns: 1P is first person plural (we, us), 2S is second person singular (you), POSS refers to the possessive mode.

Kaal-an rrish, senlirren. Kaalt tokuur London-an iin tuuraq. Iin kaal-an lish hendet tutheeq.

“Greetings, outspeaker. Your visit to London honours us. We wish you a pleasant stay.”

 

Kaal-an rrish, senlirren.

2S-to greet, out-speaker

Kaalt tokuur London-an iin tuuraq.

2S-POSS visit London-to 1P honour

Iin kaal-an lish hendet tutheeq.

1P 2S-to good stay wish.

 

The Merchant of Dreams: Ruviq in Calvi

Pronouns marked as above. SUB refers to the subordinate mood, which can be appended to nouns and pronouns to create a request. Note also how the auxilliary verb “come”  (related to the verb “visit”, above) is used to mark future tense, similar to “will” in English.

Kuru tokh nejanaa sjel! Kuru tokh kurut siqirr kith-gan nejanaa sjel, nej nejt adringeth dihaaqoheet-iz aj-an.

“Kill me, I beg you! Kill me with your steel knives, so that I may join my kinsmen in death.”

 

Kuru tokh nejanaa sjel!

2P come 1S-SUB kill

Kuru tokh kurut siqirr kith-gan nejanaa sjel,

2P come 2P-POSS steel knives-with 1S-SUB kill

nej nejt adringeth dihaaqoheet-iz aj-an.

1S 1S-POSS kinsmen NEG-sleep-dream-in go-to.