Mestian (natively Mástā) is a dragon herder language spoken in the central lowlands and on the isle cluster of Dragonforge. Mestian is a transitionally agglutinating and fusional language that possesses a moderately opaque morphology. It has, as is characteristic of languages native to the lowlands, a pitch accent that is moderately well developed and is fairly contrastive. It is written most frequently in the indigenous Dragon Imperial alphabet modified to suit its needs; it is, for the most part, written with full stress and length marks and nearly unambiguously indicates all the language's consonants.
It is furthermore a relative isolate within the wider Adaric language family, and as such is a distant relative of languages such as Sarhan. Even though they are both herder tongues, Mestian and Mendian are presumably completely unrelated. This page is dedicated to a step-by-step walk backwards through Mestian's linguistic history. It deals with internal reconstruction up to a point, and then tries to use both guesswork and what little comparison is possible to go back all the way to proto-Adaric.
Mestian (natively Mástā) is the language of some of the dragon-herding peoples in the central lowlands and on the Dragonforge. It is part of the lowlands Sprachbund. It is part of the Adaric language family and is a distant relative of Sarhan.
Speaking from a mixed diachronic and synchronic point of view, Mestian is a heavily fusional language descended from a heavily agglutinating stage. Many of the previously agglutinative components of the now-fusional morphemes are still vaguely evident and partially identifiable, although many have long since merged beyond transparency. Its tonal system descends from a mixture of stress accent and the disappearance of /*h/: most dipping long vowels come from a vowel that was lengthened by the loss of that /*h/.
Mestian is natively written most frequently in the indigenous Dragon Imperial alphabet, specifically modified to suit the needs of the language. It is written with full stress marks and is used as the template for orthographies of the languages recorded and described by Mestians.
In its present state, Mestian is a primarily fusional, secondarily agglutinative language. It is morphologically fairly complex, inflecting for a wide range of grammatical categories. It has a thin and fuzzy line between derivational and inflectional morphology, often fusing the two. Its nouns decline for ten cases and three numbers and come in nine declensions, and its verbs include polypersonal marking. Its nouns can be in one of five genders that are further reinforced by adjective gender congruence and pronominal reference. Gender doesn't play a big role in the language's morphology. The declensional classes are still fairly transparently derivable from the nominative, which is taken to be the basis of the stem, but a fully comprehensive citation of the nominative together with the partitive is required to get the full declension of each noun as sometimes nouns have two different stems, and their nominatives do not strictly have to line up with their partitives and declension classes and may instead irregularly take the suffixes of a different class.
It has a pitch-accent system, with a tonal difference in stressed long vowels. Unstressed vowels may either be long or short, and stressed vowels can be short, long high or long low. Stress shifts and their corresponding stem changes feature heavily and are a prominent feature of the language. Its current pitch accent system evolved out of a simpler mobile stress system by loss of an older, extremely prominent /*ẖ/ whose loss and/or merger with other sounds caused a great deal of mostly regular changes and alternations. This loss is, in the context of Mestian diachronics described here, referred to as pneumallagma (change of breathing); it is one of the most influental diachronic changes in modern Mestian history, and also one of the most recent.
Accurate Mestian written records do not come older than 362 years before the present, when the orthography was codified and standardised, and the language has since underwent one single major orthographical revision. As Mestian is a codified, regulated and formally maintained language, the standard reflects an upper-class grammar and pronunciation.
In its present shape, Mestian morphology is very complex and extensive, with the greatest level of complexity present in verbs, followed by nouns and adjectives. Noun morphology is most probably older than either, as it includes the most patterns and morphological irregularities: the language's verbs, while complex, are almost completely regular and self-consistent (following a polysynthetic pattern), and its adjectives appear to be generalisations of some nominal patterns and seem to have been moulded by nominal morphology.
Most nominal inflection suffixes and suffix sets follow some sort of common pattern that's still fairly unanalysable from a synchronic point of view. Suffix sets across declensions:
|A-Stems||UR-Stems||Ā-Stems||Class IV||Class V||Nasal Stems||L-Stems||Alvpal. Stems||Cons. Stems|
The direct ancestor of Mestian — or, perhaps, its earlier form — can be called Pre-Mestian as it gave birth to Mestian alone. It was characterised most especially by its much more agglutinative nature.