Oekin is spoken by the aquatic race native to the lakes and rivers of the Minwan Basin to the northwest of the Last Continent. It is poorly understood and often even denied the status of a language by many humans due to being physically unpronounceable by the more dominant species. The anthropologist Miriam Braun spent decades with a Oekin tribe to codify its grammar and propose a method of translation between the two species, but due to political and cultural tensions between humans and Oekinel it has not been widely accepted apart from by a handful of diplomats.
Despite general opinion of it, Oekin is in reality a number of separate dialects, some of which are on the verge of differentiating into their own languages, though tribes are being forced together in recent years and many dialects are dying out. Described here is the most prominent Oekin dialect, Rieliko (Smallnose).
The common name and adjective for the language and species is Oekin (pronounced /wekɪn/ by Braun), as is the word for a single Oekin individual. The plural, used to refer to multiple individuals and Oekin cultures is oekinel (oekinits refers to two individuals), although other species use Oekin for both the singular and plural.
- 1 Phonology
- 2 Grammar
- 3 Lexicon
- 4 Examples
Miriam Braun's final paper before her death outlined a suggestion for a phonetic transliteration standard that would easily replace Oekin phonemes with human ones that could be recognized by a trained Oekin ear, or vice-versa by a human trained in the standard. Although this work has been largely dismissed, Braun's phonetic equivalents will be included here along with descriptions of Oekin vocalizations, as will probable graphemes suggested for an orthographic system.
|F||Affricative puff of air produced by an incomplete closure of the front jowls over the bottom teeth and quick release.||[f]|
|H||Glottal sound, similar to human phoneme.||[h]|
|C, K||A repeatable click produced at the back of the mouth.||[k]|
|T||Ingressive sucking noise similar to CH but produced towards the front of the mouth with the tongue tip.||[t]|
|L||Growl produced at the back of the mouth.||[ɫ]|
|N||Nasal produced with the tongue flat across oral articulators.||[n]|
|CH||Ingressive noise produced by running the flat tongue back over oral articulators. Described as a "nursing" sound.||[tʃ]|
|TL||Probably a coarticulated dorsal growl and coronal ingressive.||[tɬ]|
|TS||Coarticulated coronal ingressive and a nasal fricative-like sound.||[ts]|
Oekin vowels are very high-pitched and difficult to distinguish to human ears. It's more useful to visually observe tongue and jaw placement.
Oekin has a pitch-accent system that places either a high pitch on the first syllable and a low pitch on the second, or vice-versa. These accents are more important for social reasons than for comprehension, as whether a lexical item uses the first or second accent type varies greatly between even otherwise similar dialects.
Vowel length is phonemic.
|A||Tongue low and back; jaw wide.||[a]|
|E||Lips spread, jaw close, tongue center.||[e]|
|I||Mouth barely open. Tongue probably anterior.||[i]|
|O||Sounds like an M. Lips pursed.||[u]|
|AI, AE||Jaws close and lips stretch during production.||[aɪ]|
|AO||Jaws close from wide position and lips purse during production.||[aʊ]|
|IE, IA||Jaw opens and lips relax during production.||[iə]|
|IO||Lips purse from stretched position during production||[ju]|
|OE||Lips and jaws relax from pursed position.||[we]|
- Although front-front have variable spellings, the only back-front diphthong in the language, OE, defaults to that spelling, even when formed by contact between O and a front vowel other than E.
- Vowel length is phonemic.
Syllables can be V, VC, CV, CLV, CVC, or CLVC.
Oekin is relatively synthetic, postspecifying, with an SVO/VS word order (active-stative), four cases, three numbers, and two grammatical genders.
- Noun>Verb: -yor
- Verb>Active Person:-ti
Gender, number, and case are expressed in a single bound morpheme.
- Possessive suffixes precede any case suffixes.
Other Nominal Affixes
Oekin inflects for aspect (progressive, completed, contemplative), mood (conditional, potential, causative), person/gender/number, and voice (active, passive). The initial two inflections take the form of an infix before the first nuclear vowel, while the latter two are combined in a suffix.
Aspect and Mood
The following are infixes before the first nuclear vowel of a root. These infixes are also particles as inflections of "to be" (ar).
Ar, like other verbs, also agrees in terms of number, but not gender:
- A dual subject places the suffix -a on the copula, and
- A plural subject places the suffix -ot on the copula.
Verbs agree with the intransitive subject or the transitive object.
Agents of passive verbs are preceded by the particle fe.
Negative is an immediate prefix maich-
Adjectives follow the noun they modify. They agree with its gender or number with a suffix.
Suffix ~m also derives an adverb.
This is the proximal paradigm. The distal demonstrative is formed with a suffixed -n in the case of the masculine and dual, -t in the case of the feminine, and -s in the case of the plural.
Base-10. Follows noun. Ordinal derived using adjective suffix on final morpheme.
|1||mel (masc), men (fem)|
|222||tlo crestlo aotlotli|
|Which, If, As||shai|
Given at birth, taken at death.
The red gives, the red takes away.
Glory to the mother who gave
Respect to her Earth through worthy battle.
Taren lofatlin, tomaren loshon.
Tierar amockene, tieromar amockene.
Rattol liemotsin ioke fiortin
Telar me liecaila cocaertac fracarom.
The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 1-9)
- Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.
Mac caila room hiraritoe shiftsit mel him ranmeel arikiar.
(Now the entire earth had one language and the same words.)
- And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
Him oekinel iriorot clicherits loroel tlaar, him moerel hirishaot reShinar, him siriesel tsaer.
(And people made a migration via eastern waters, and they found land in Shinar, and they lived there.)
- And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.
Him miramolot liemoekin enestim: "Hatar, chetiaretseto oerelchirets, him feroolicsamotsin room." Him hiraritot moerelchirets liecai.
(And they said to the one next to them, Come, we will make building materials, and they will be burned completely. And they had building materials for stone.)
- Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth."
Him miramolot, "Hatar, chetiaretseto elsis him moerelsis liehaiho, him chetiaretseto aila eliot, le clicherits iriorotsin liecaila room."
(And they said, "Come, we will make a village and a building to the sky, and we will make a name for ourselves, or we will be made a migration across the whole earth."")
- And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.
Him Tsiesa hirataroe laam fiasoe oelsis him moerelsis shai ionielechio chiriaretsot.
(And God came down to see the village and building that our children built.)
- And the Lord said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.
Him Tsiesa miramol, "Fias, arot ekinel men, him haritot hiftsit mel, him aroe aosem hoeterotsis. Him maichotsi shai fiolot ielarai maichenmialo liertsits."
(And God said, "Look, they are one people, and they have one language, and this is only their beginning. And nothing that they want will be impossible for them.)
- Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech."
Hatar, crieloleto laam him achieloeftileto shiftsitotsis, him oekinano enestim mirinamol maichieloecarim."
(Come, we will go down and we will confuse their language, and cause them to not understand the speech of the person next to them.)
- So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.
Maichamoloe, Tsiesa shiriotoe otsits liecaila room hoer tsaer, him maichiriaretsot oelsis.
(As she said that, God split the people around the whole world from there, and they didn't build the village.)
- Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.)
Shaichiotoe, ailaom iraroe Fafel, Tsiesa aichoefotiloe cailaama room shiftsit. Him hoer tsaer iriorotsin clicherits liecaila room fe Tsiesa.
(As she split, its name was Babel, because God confused the whole world's language. And from there they were made to migrate across the whole world by God.)
No man should ever ridicule
Oekininca maifoonai maichashi