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| Sarhan |
|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Sarhan (from Mesian Sárha) is a classical Dragonborn language. It was the language of maize and rice farmers and dragon herders of the southern foothills and lower reaches of the Forge. Its prominence was secured by its prolific use by the administration of the third Dragon Empire of the Forge.
It is an Andaric language, and is thus a distant relative to Mestian. It was, during its natural lifetime, primarily recorded using beadcord as a means of preserving information, while as a classical language it has been recorded in various scripts, the primary being beadcord and the script of the fourth and fifth Empires.
Phonology and OrthographyEdit
Sarhan was natively recorded in its unique beadcord script: words and sentences were strung together from arrangements of decorated and painted beads. In total, there are 684 different common bead types, which are augmented by a few hundred unique or scarcely attested and specialised logographic beads, usually carved into a shape or made out of a special material.
Beads can be either syllabic, logographic or morphographic in nature. The earliest uses of beadcord, representing early Sarhan, were almost exclusively logographic, with morphographic and syllabic beadcord elements developing later. The syllabic component of the script was developed using the rebus principle. Many of its beads thus have dual syllabic and morphologographic readings. Most early beadcords had no way of separating words; later records use thin rings as dividers.
As the beads were used to represent simple V, CV or VC clusters, representing a language as phonologically complex was often a challenge for the weavers. To preserve space, some consonants were often dropped, and long vowels were usually indicated with the help of CV-V(C) complexes and sometimes completely disregarded. Accent placement and type were almost always ignored, even in situations with minimally contrastive pairs. Most consonant clusters were either written with ambiguous VC glyphs (confusion with vowel length), with silent echo vowels (confusion with actual possible syllables in those positions), or without some of their members (confusion with different clusters or single consonants).
Sarhan is a fusional language with a great deal of its morphology derived from semi-transparent agglutinative processes in its parent languages. It is, for the most part, head final, and has an animacy-sensitive split-ergative alignment. It has a characteristic overabundance of half-defunct suffixed that once made up its now obsolete classificatory system.
Sarhan nouns decline for case and number. They also have an innate gender and are sorted into one of four animacy tiers. The great majority of Sarhan nouns has an additional classificatory suffix.
The suffixes are divided into three layers. The older layer of these classifiers are semantically empty and are considered morphological sludge; they often disappear, are vaguely conditioned by long-gone environments and are in general ripe with irregularities. The middle set is made up of suffixes with reduced, bleached or totally supplanted semantics that still follows some general rules. The youngest set of classifiers are the new reanalysed nominal determiners; they make up a stable, coherent and regular class that still carries salient and up-to-date morphosemantic information.