So, with me writing Looking for The Wrong Thing, I realized I need to start working on the constructed language Hissian, the language spoken by the United Hidanork Tribes in the creatively named country of Hidanork.
This is more of a process of creating the language instead of an exhaustive introduction to Hissian. The rest of this page is about taking the ideas I've written over the years and start to make them a more formal language.
Existing Almanac Entries
So, I've been toying with the language for a couple of years through my almanac. I only have a few phrases written down until I created more formal rules. Ideally, we can use those phrases to “bootstrap” into a more complex language instead of off-the-cuff ideas.
The applicable entries:
- A nomadic Hidanork tribe is called a “ca solidar dac asu misado” which translates to “wind-blown rocks.”
- The blood lands (kasinador nic alies shik) are abandoned except in times of battle.
- The central government of Hidanork is located in the river city of Gilidam fy Kiso.
- The native language of Hidanork is Hissian. Hissian has thousands of accents but few dialects.
- Like most languages in Fedran, Hissian does not have capital letters.
- Most Hidanork names follow the pattern “of the tribe, given name.”
So far, I have these proposed translations:
ca solidar dac asu misado wind-blown rocks
kasinador nic alies shik blood lands
Wind-Blown Rocks (Family/Tribe)
However, we know some languages that are a bit more verbose than English (French), so I'm sure this will be fine. So, we are going to make this work. That means we need to get “wind-blown rocks” out of
ca solidar dac asu misado.
ca is too short, so we'll ignore that for now.
solidar sounds like solid, so I'm going to say this is the basic word for “rocks”.
Now, I have a preference for nicely broken out languages where everything is separate words, so we are going to establish a language with nouns declination and verb conjunctions. That would let us use
soli for the base noun which is nice and short.
That means we need to figure out what
-dar means. Number is a good one, so we can use the idea that this is about a family, so we can say
-dar means “many”. So,
solidar means “many rocks”.
The next big word is
misado so that should mean “wind”. Well, we want it short so
misa is going to be the noun and we just have to figure out what
-do would mean. How about singular or combined? That would make
misado mean “single wind”. That fits the family idea.
Since Miwāfu is a language with particles, I think this one should be purely in word order. One of the more common ones is verb-subject-object (VSO) so that means we could say
ca means “go” or “travel”.
That leaves me with
asu. My gut feeling is that
dac asu has to be some way of indicating that the wind is affecting the rocks in some manner, almost a “type of” phrase or a linking clause. That seems rather long, so I'm going to make
dac as the “of”.
asu, we can just have sort of verb for blowing. We want to have our verb conjunctions, so that would lead into
as meaning blow and
-u is to say it is part of the noun phrase.
Putting that together, that gives me:
ca solidar dac asu misado [go] [rocks-many] [of] [blow] [wind-singular] go many rocks of a single blown wind
This probably would get shorted in day-to-day use to
ca solidar [go] [rocks-many] traveling rocks
Now to get
kasinador nic alies shik to mean blood lands.
Going with the ordering rules, that means
kasinador means lands. It's a common word and one that's important to the culture, so that means
kasi is “land” and we need a meaning for
This is an important idea in the culture since tribes have a number of lands they “claim” and spend their years traveling between them to hunt and harvest. The idea of lands going fallow is also important to let the energies to recover; this is the foundation of their magic system as discussed with Look for the Wrong Thing. We are seeing a bunch of
-d* modifiers, so how about saying
-nador to mean “a specific number” since a family has a very specific list of claims and it's a Big Deal to claim another land.
The whole idea of blood lands are ones that are left fallow for many years to enough energy to be used for emergencies or for major events. So instead of being part of the annual trip around the country, these are the fallow lands from above. So, we can say
nic alies shik is the concept of fallow or not abandoned.
I'm going to use
nic to mean “for purpose” and then we can say
alies shik means for gathering or restoring energy with
alies being the word for fallow or gather and
shik for energy/magic. We can also say the Hidanork use blood and magic in the same tense, so
shik can also mean blood (plus it sounds like a noise made by a knife in magna).
Since we need some way of indicating that
alies is an adjective of
shik and not
kasi, we can say
-es indicates that.
kasinador nic alies shik [land-specific-number] [for the purpose of] [fallow] [magic] specific lands that are left fallow for magic
I'm terrible at this, so I'm just going to mark based on best guess of what they should look like. I prefer to use IPA over the English-style. Mostly I work based on what I think it sounds right, but I would need someone much more comfortable with pronouncing things correctly and know IPA to tell me if I'm wrong.
IPA are enclosed by by
// and syllables are indicated by a
For the sounds, I'm going to start by using a guide on pronunciations for English.
/ɔ:/is the “a” in “call” or “hall”.
/æ/is a harder “a” such as “cat” or “black”. This will typically be used in the beginning of words.
/ɑ:/is the “a” in “arm” or “father”. I'm leaning toward this being used at the end of words.
/tʃ/is the “ch” sound in “church” or “check”.
/d/is “d” in “did” or “dad”.
/i:/is a harder “i” like “see” or “three”.
/k/is the “c” in “cat” or the end of “back”.
/l/is “l” in “leg” or “little”.
/m/is “m” in “man” or “lemon”.
/n/is “n” in “no” or “ten”.
/oʊ/is the “o” in “go” or “home”.
/s/is the “s” in “see” or “sing”.
/ʃ/is “sh” in “she” or “crash”.
- Verb-Subject-Object order.
- Modifiers come after the main word.
- Nouns are declined with a suffix based on number:
-dofor a single or combined one.
-darfor many of an unspecified number.
-nadorfor many of a specific number, a closed set.
- Nouns can be modified in a noun phrase with a particle:
dacmeans “of type”
nicmeans “for the purpose of”
- Verbs in a noun phrase have a suffix of
- Adjectives use
-esto indicate they modify an secondary noun in a phrase.
- I'm sure the rules will change based on the last letter of the word later.
So here is the beginning of our language.
- ali /æ.li:/ Fallow.
- as /æs/ v. Blow
- ca /tʃæ/ v. Go or travel
- dac /dɔ:k/ “of”
- kasi /kɔ:s.i:/ n. Land.
- shik /ʃi:k/ n. Blood or magic
- soli /soʊl.i:/ n. Rocks or stones
- misa /mi:s.ɑ:/ n. Wind or breeze
- nic /ni:k/ “for the purpose of”
Creating languages is somewhat of an art form and one I enjoy doing despite having little experience in the actual process. Mostly, I just try to fake it from things I've read.
It isn't until a story is posted that I consider these ideas “set in mud” with actual publication being “set in stone”. Until then, I'm willing to change things around so I hope to have a language I'm happy with by the time that happens.