Although there are many dialects in Æthereal Sun, there is no more than a dozen major languages. Numbers of speakers are estimates - they aren't precise. For ease of comparison, Etera has a total population of less than 4 billion.
The differences between a language and a dialect are even less clear-cut on Etéra than in the real world. Even so, we tend to call a language is usually termed a dialect by Etérans, while what they call a language is usually a related language group to us. People of this world seem to be more linguistically talented, and able to learn such a plethora of tongues with relative ease: purchasing any of the Etéran languages (and Nébran) assumes that the character can understand all of its dialects (except those that are listed as exceptions), though one's primary dialect will still be discernible to others, unless one either takes a proper perk, or employs skills for mitigating recognition.
A sufficiently motivated inhabitant of this world can usually pick up Broken comprehension in about a Long Month if exposed to sufficient amounts of learning materials or immersed in an environment where a given language dominates. Accented comprehension usually takes less than an Etéran year, while Native takes a few years.
See also the Transliteration and pronunciation guide.
Wejít languages[edit | edit source]
- Maktó - created as a trade pidgin, from many languages found in Northern Wejít. Currently, Maktó is much more developped, and is a full-fledged language. Maktó has one of the poorest phonetic inventories in the world, avoiding 'difficult' sounds, especially consonants. Maktó alphabet is strictly phonetic. It is estimated that there are roughly 1½ billion people speaking Maktó.
- Xixtalál - the autochtonous language of Southern Wejít. It is rather diverse, having over twenty major dialects, but these dialects are very intelligible among themselves. Xixtalál is logographic, and lacks an alphabet. Perhaps a half-billion people speak it.
- Géshkir - the traditional tongue of the Gésh, a deist faith originating in Northern Wejít. It is said that this is the language of the Gésh Prophets. Gésh alphabet is phonetic, but made of syllables, not singular phonemes. Uskír and Géshkir default between each other from Native to Broken. There are perhaps one or two hundred million Géshkir speakers.
- Zurán - a 'minor' language, known by the 20,000 natives of Azúria. It has a notoriously complex relationship between writing and pronunciation. Despite a small number of speakers, its existence seems to be under no threat. The language's existence is a testament to the people's pride, while its infamy - to the relative wealth and influence of Azúria.
Nariyása languages[edit | edit source]
- Vilkrészt - the mix of the original dialects of Nariyása flatlands, especially the clanlands. It is the orthodox form of Vilrán. Vilkrészt is known for a mostly-phonetic, stylishly cursive script. Vilkrészt and Vilrán default among each other from Native to Broken. About two billion people speak Vilkrészt.
- Vilrán - the descendant of Vilkrészt. Essentially, it is Vilkrészt after a series of major grammar reforms and pronouncuation drifts. The script is much more angular and straight-lined than Vilkrészt. It is common in the more developped regions of Nariyása, particularily in the West. Vilkrészt and Vilrán default among each other from Native to Broken. There are perhaps between 1 and 1½ billion speakers of this language.
- Uskír - this is a heavily modified version of Géshkir. It is common on the Nariyása Coast (particularily in the East). Uskír script uses slightly modified Vilrán-like characters representing Géshkir-originating sound-combinations (mostly mapping one character to one phoneme). Uskír and Géshkir default between each other from Native to Broken. It is a language spoken by several hundred million people. While this language is less common than Xixtalál, it is somewhat more useful due to Uskír speakers being less likely to be proficient in a foreign language.
- Gamma language - the current artificial language of the Justicariate. It is highly logical in construction, has the largest phonemic inventory, and is somewhat intimidating to beginners. It most closely resembles the Ilaksh / Ithkuil language. Gamma has both a phonetic and an ideographic script. It should be noted that citizens of the Justicariate are typically fluent in another language, most commonly Vilrán, Maktó, or Khæn. There are no more than 50 million speakers of Gamma Language.
- Beta language - the obsolete artificial language of the Justicariate. Less flexible than Gamma, it was developed and used in the era immediately before Self-Awareness 2.0, and has been abandoned ever since. There is perhaps a few hundred enthusiasts still fluent in this language, and perhaps a few thousands with broken comprehension (who abandoned it half-way through). There are a couple of old programming languages in which keywords are derived from Beta words.
- Skyless Vilkrészt - an obscure and highly divergent dialect of Vilkrészt, spoken by the nomad inhabitants of the Alienated Zone of Etera (but not by anyone else). Retains phonetic and graphic distinctions that have become largely obsolete in other Vil-group languages ([ɣ] vs. [g], [i] vs. [ɨ]), but fully ditched the handwritten script (replacing it with simplified printed symbols) due to scarcity of paper. Has between 3 million and 300 thousand speakers depending on era. Has mutual defaults with Vilrán and Vilkrészt from Native to Broken.
Khæn language[edit | edit source]
- Khæn language, also informally called Khænish. Yes, there is only one Khæn language, and its form has remained mostly static throughout the ages. Some words became more or less common, but they all follow the rules and explanations found in the original Concise Dictionary - the one found in the ancient tablets scattered among the islands. Words are always formed from two morphemes. The first morpheme always starts with one or more consonants, and ends with one or more vowel, while the last morpheme always start with a one or more vowels, and ends with one or more consonants. Sometimes, the two vowels in the 'collision point' are pronounced as a diphthong. There is a phonetic and an ideographic script, but both of them have a peculiar cuneiform appearance. There are 150 million speakers, or perhaps very slightly more.
Tebríthan languages[edit | edit source]
- Nébran is the most common living Tebríthan language, and is on its way to becoming the only one. Its script is mostly phonetic. Is somewhat remarkable for treating many phonemes as interchangeable if they share a viseme, which means that Lip Reading enjoys a +4 Task Difficulty Modifier when trying to understand what is being said.
- Signed Nébran. Unlike Etéran sign languages, this Tebríthan sign language shares most of its syntax with spoken Nébran. Instead of the usual language mechanics, this language's levels allow the following: at one point ('Broken'), the user has mastered the signed alphabet and the more basic sign-words, and can sign with about 4-8 times slower than voiced speech, or add minor helper-signs while speaking to facilitate understanding in hard-hearing conditions (+4 TDM); at two points ('Accented'), the user has mastered most or all of the sign vocabulary and additional tricks, and can accompany or replace speech with signs at full speed. The actual level of comprehension is based on one's regular Nébran fluency. (Note: This is absolutely not how true sign languages normally work, and should not be assumed to be normal. It's also a reason why many don't consider Signed Nébran to be a language, but rather a code.)