The Sempian language is spoken only in a smaal inland group in the Mediterranean Sea; roughly half-way between Greece and Italy. It is a language isolate with no known relative languages and has distinctive features unlike most European languages. However, because of extensive cultural relations with both Ancient Greek city states and the Roman Empire (and later Italy), it has developed some similarities to them, especially in sentence structure and vocabulary.
Traditionally, Sempi is written in the Greek alphabet as it was the first standardized scripture for the language. Later on, as Roman influence became stronger on the archepelago, a second alphabet was introduced to ease communication with the Romans. Nowadays, both the Latin and Greek alphabet have official status and official documents are always published in both alphabets. The Latin alphabet is the more commonly used alphabet, though.
Grammatically, Sempi is a highly synthetic language with agglutinative features.
The Sempian language has a relatively small number of vowels with only 7 native monophthongs /a ɛ e i ɔ o u/. The vowels /a e i o u/ are usually called "big vowels" because they (have to) appear on their own without a following consonant (called "free vowels" in English). On the other hand, the remaining vowels /ɛ ɔ/ are called "small vowels" because they (have to) appear with a following consonant (called "checked vowels" in English).
The vowel /y/ is not native in Sempi but it appears in a number of Greek loan words. It is also often used as a replacement for the native /u/ (depending on dialect) in uneducated speech in an effort to sound more educated.
In addition to the 7 monophthongs, Sempi also has 2 diphthongs /ei̯ ou̯/ which are equivalent to free vowels (except for word stress).
|Plosive||p b||t d||k g|
|Fricative||f||s (z)||x (ç)|
The consonantal system of Sempi is also relatively small with only 14 consonants. The consonants /n s l r/ are called "enhancers" because they can follow checked vowels to form a complete syllable. There is no specific name for the other consonants.
The only consonants with allophones are /n/, which is pronounced [ŋ] before dorsal plosives or [m] before labial plosives, /s/, which is pronounced [z] before voiced plosives, and /x/, which is pronounced [ç] before front vowels /ɛ e i/.
The general syllable structure of Sempi is C(C)(r)V(E).
The onset can be either a single consonant, /s/ followed by a /p t k/ or /f x/ followed by /t/. Additionally, /p b t d k g f x/ can be followed by /r/ and /p b k g f/ can be followed by /l/, regardless of any previous consonants.
In non-native words, some additional rules are allowed; the most important one is the combination of /p t k/ and /s/.
The nucleus is formed either by a single free vowel /a e i o u/ or by a checked vowel /ɛ ɔ/ followed by an enhancer /n s l r/.
The primary stress of words usually falls on the ultimate syllable of a word but can shift to the penultimate syllable if the ultimate contains a free vowel and the penultimate contains either a diphthong or a checked vowel.
|Α α||Αλαφα [a.la.'fa]||/a/|
|Β β||Βητα ['bɛt.ta]||/b/|
|Γ γ||Γαμα [ga.'ma]||/g/|
|Δ δ||Δηλτα ['dɛl.ta]||/d/|
|Ε ε||Επσιλων [e.psi.'lɔn]||/e/|
|Η η||Ητα ['ɛt.ta]||/ɛ/|
|Ι ι||Ιωτα ['jɔt.ta] or Ϊωτα [i.'ɔt.ta]||/i/ , /i/|
|Κ κ||Καπα [ka.'pa]||/k/|
|Λ λ||Λαμαδα [la.ma.'da]||/l/|
|Μ μ||Μυ [my]||/m/|
|Ν ν||Νυ [ny]||/n/|
|Ο ο||Ομικρων [o.mi.'krɔn]||/o/|
|Π π||Πι [pi]||/p/|
|Ρ ρ||Ρο [ro]||/r/|
|Σ σ/ς||Σιγιμα [si.gi.'ma]||/s/|
|Τ τ||Ταυ [ta.'u]||/t/|
|Υ υ||Υπσιλων [y.psi.'lɔn]||/u/ ,(/y/)|
|Φ φ||Φι [fi]||/f/|
|Χ χ||Χι [çi]||/x/|
|Ω ω||Ωμεγα [ɔm.me.'ga]||/ɔ/|
The Greek version of Sempian alphabet is a phonemic alphabet, in which every letter is assigned to only one phoneme (and vice versa). There are only 2 exceptions to this rule:
The letter "Ι ι" can either represent the vowel /i/ or the consonant /j/. If "Ι ι" represents /i/ and is followed directly by another vowel, it has to be marked with a trema "Ϊ ϊ". Usually, the context of the letter makes it very clear which sound is meant.
The second exception is the letter "Υ υ". In native Sempian words, it is always used to represent /u/, while in Greek loan words, it is always used to represent /y/. Usually, the letters are not marked to indicate a particular pronunciation and the correct pronunciation of a word has to be learned. If there actually is a minimal pair between the different pronunciations (which are very rare) and a differentiation has to be made, /y/ is marked by a trema "Ϋ ϋ". It is allowed (although not common) to write every /y/ with "Ϋ ϋ" for clarification.
|A a||A [a]||/a/|
|B b||Bi [bi]||/b/|
|C c||Ci [ki]||/k/|
|D d||Di [di]||/d/|
|E e||E [e]||/e/ , /ɛ/|
|F f||Effe ['ɛf.fe]||/f/|
|G g||Gi [gi]||/g/|
|H h||Aka [a.'ka]||/x/|
|I i||I [i]||/i/ , /j/|
|L l||Elle ['ɛl.le]||/l/|
|M m||Eme [e.'me]||/m/|
|N n||Enne ['ɛn.ne]||/n/|
|O o||O [o]||/o/, /ɔ/|
|P p||Pi [pi]||/p/|
|R r||Erre ['ɛr.re]||/r/|
|S s||Esse ['ɛs.se]||/s/|
|T t||Ti [ti]||/t/|
|U u||U [u]||/u/|
|(Y y)||(Ypsilon [y.psi.'lɔn])||(/y/)|
The Latin version of the Sempian alphabet is also mostly phonemic; however, due to less vowel letters than the Greek alphabet, it has more letters with 2 different phonemes.
The letter "E e" is used for both /ɛ e/ and the letter "O o" is used for both /ɔ o/. Since they have different syllable structures, it is easy to tell the different pronunciations apart. However, sometimes certain (written) consonant combinations would allow both pronunciations, in which case the checked vowel is marked with an accent mark "É é" or "Ó ó".
The letter "I i" is used in the same way as the letter "Ι ι" is used in the Greek alphabet. The only difference is that instead of a trema an accent is used to mark the vowel.
In the Sempian language, nouns, pronouns, articles and adjectives can be declined for case, gender, number and (in case of adjectives) for grade of comparison.
Sempi possesses a total of 7 cases; 3 of them are the morphological cases that make Sempi a tripartite language and 4 are mostly
- Absolutive - agent of an intransitive verb
- Ergative - agent of a transitive verb
- Accusative - patient of a transitive verb
- Genitive - possession, origin, quality
- Dative - recipient, direction
- Vocative - addressee
- Oblique - used with most prepositions; on its own usually expresses time, place, manner ...
The Sempian language distinguishes 3 genders: male, female and neuter. Their usage is subject to high irregularity, their are some general rules to consider, though.
- Male - refers to male beings, qualities associated with males, place names, countries, geographical terms
- Female - refers to female beings, qualities associated with females, plants, water systems, weather
- Neuter - refers to animals, inanimate objects, time/dates, numbers, abstract concepts; also used in genderneutral speech
In addition to the very universal singular and plural, Sempi also has the paucal and collective number.
- Singular - used for 1 thing or (with negation) for 0 things
- Paucal - used for a few things (very subjective and can mean different things depending on topic)
- Plural - used for many things
- Collective - used for all things
Grades of comparisonEdit
Sempi differentiates between 5 different grades of comparison.
- Positive - stating a quality without comparison
- (Positive) comparative - stating that a quality is better than ...
- Negative comparative - stating that a qualiy is worse than ...
- (Positive) superlative - stating that a quality is the best of its kind
- Negative superlative - stating that a quality is the worst of its kind