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|The Sorcerer's Tongue|
|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Native pronunciation: /'un.di.kwe/ (OON-dee-kway), from undi 'our' and kwela 'power, knowledge'
Undique is widely known in Mygith as the Sorcerer's Tongue. It is the language of the Ancients who once dwellt in the Mage City (Undiquitus) of Masecraeia on the Eruscan Sea, where word-magic has been studied, developed, and taught since prehistory.
This is the language in which sorcery is conducted, written, and read; it has two written forms, which are sometimes used together. The first is an alphabet, which is used for most purposes, especially for all non-magical purposes; the second form is ideographic, and is used for alchemy, and sometimes in scrolls and enchantments.
Linguistically, Undique is a fusional language roughly resembling Indo-European languages. It has 26 consonants with voicing distinction, including labiovelars and two uvular sounds, and nine vowels plus length distinction. There are six cases - ergative, absolutive, accusitive, genitive, dative, and instrumental, (as well as reflexive particles and anaphora in the pronominal paradigm), and three animacy states. It has five tenses, two aspects, and marks for evidentiality, and optionally for subject volition. It is a pro-drop language.
|Plosive||p b||t d||k g||kw||q||ʔ|
|Fricative||v f||þ ð||s z||š||x||xw||χ||h|
There was a historic /gw/ phoneme, but it has merged with /w/.
|Front long||Front short||Central||Back short||Back long|
AlphabetEditUndique is written in two different native writing systems - the first being alphabetic, and the second ideographic. The alphabet is used in everyday writings - letters, official records, books - and, as a right-to-left cursive script, bears some resemblance to modern Arabic. The ideographic script, on the other hand, is used to preform magic, and is generally arranged in a ring formation.
Here it will be written in an IPA-based Romanization, with a few non-IPA exceptions (such as thorn in place of theta, a in place of ash). Also, the forms "c" and "ʒ" will be used to denote postalveolar affricates - [tš] and [dž] respectively - although these are in fact entirely-predictable palatalized allophones of /k/ and /g/.
Undique allows relatively complex syllable structure, although complex onsets are often avoided with an epenthetic schwa or barred i. The stress system is trochaic, generally with penultimate primary stress, but feet will align to the beginning of a heavy syllable.
There are three noun classes, divided by thematic vowels, which are referred to as grammatical genders; the feminine i-class (front vowels) /i, e, ɛ/, neuter a-class (low vowels) /a, ə, ɑ/, and masculine u-class (back vowels) /ɔ, o, u/. These classes are used in case derivation, and are assigned by the last vowel in the word in the ergative case, or the last long vowel if there are any; so while vosi, 'fish,' is feminine, lósi, 'tortoise,' is masculine.
Some synchronic rules of the language are:
- x, k, g → ʃ, t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ /_i, e, j, r
- "velars palatalize before i, e, j, r"
- /varg-je/ → [vard͡ʒe] 'it will...'
- x, k, g → ʃ, ʒ /i, e, j, r _ #
- "velars palatalize (differently) word-finally after i, e, j, r"
- /þalɛc/ → [θælɛʃ] 'knee'
- short V → ∅ /between two feet
- "short vowels delete between two feet"
- /cé.lu.wes-i/ → [t͡ʃeːl.wesi] 'he is born'
- short V → h / V:[+Obs -Voi]_#
- "short vowels debuccalizes word-finally following a long vowel and a voiceless obstruent"
- /lópə/ → [loːpʰ] 'tomorrow'
As a cased language, Undique has relatively free word order, but in subordinate clauses the main constituents appear as VSO. Modifiers preceed their complement.
Undique has six cases: ergative, absolutive, accusitive, genitive, dative, and instrumental. The ergative is the subject of transitive verbs (a verb with both subject and object), whereas the absolutive is the subject of intransitive verbs (where there is no object). The accusative is the direct object, the dative the indirect; genitive is a possessor, and an instrumental is a tool used in the completion of an action.
The case system is generally simplified to a system of two (active/ passive) or three (ergative, absolutive/accusative, oblique) cases on words other than pronouns or nouns (e.g. on verbal agreement and numbers).
There are also three genders (more accurately states of animacy). These are šarna or animate (people and animals), módɛm or moderate (fluids, plants, and magic), and qekwɛm or inanimate.
Nouns are declined by number, case, gender, and animacy. There is much synchronism across the animacy paradigm, particularly between animate and moderate classes, but a few distinct forms remain.
It is worth noting that although the underlying phoneme in the singular dative forms is -k, this is realized in the majority of feminine words as -c [š] due to palatalization.
Adjectives and adverbs immediately follow their head. Adjectives and adverbs are little differentiated within the language besides in position, with the exception that adjectives agree with the gender of their noun - cast with a thematic vowel e, a, or o depending on whether their noun is feminine, neuter, or masculine. Some adverbs are further marked with -m.
Quantitatives ('some'), comparatives (bigger) and superlatives (biggest) behave similarly to numbers and determiners in English, and preceed their heads.
Locative particles, also known as directionals, are similar to English prepositions or verb particles - get up, fall down - and are suffixes on the verb.
Temporals are a specific set of adverb-like forms that have to deal with time, such as 'yesterday,' 'soon,' or 'again.' These are always phrase-initial.
In general, due to its robust morphology, Undique has a very free word order. VSO is most common, however.
The verbal complex is generally ordered as well, although arguments can it in any order around (or even within) it, in the order illocutionary particle, modals, tense, aspect, verb root. However, due to affix lowering which indicates tense and aspect agreement on aspects and verbs, even these items can sometimes be found in alternative orders.
Adjectives and adverbs are always adjacent to their nouns/verbs, although temporal adverbs appear phrase-initially. This is also true of the question particle hazɛ́ŋ, 'when', the only "wh-word" with "wh-movement" - all others appear in-situ.
Subordinate clauses, where VSO always occurs, are denoted by the use of special subordinate moods called repurcursive moods; if he'd done Y, then X, or he won't do Y, so X won't happen either.