Languages of Noen
The federation of Noen, probably the dominant civilization in the game world, has two languages, thought to be called by their speakers Nognese [noˈɲɛze] and Noeneg [ˈnuːnɵ̆ɸ]. They appear to be as closely related as, say, Italian and Dutch. Other languages borrow words rawther liberally from these two. But because the names are so similar, our scouts have been using the codenames V for Nognese and C for Noeneg, after the languages' perceived relative propensities for vowels and consonants.
Both human languages and bird songs reflect the environments in which their speakers use them. Dense tropical forests and hot climate distort consonants, while consonants keep their distinctive sounds in more open temperate terrain. On the other hand, languages native to warm open spaces tend to be more sonorous in order to communicate across longer outdoor distances. Languages native to cold regions tend to have more closed sounds (high vowels and consonants) to minimize heat loss through breath. Plant cover in forests inverts this: less sonority in warmer regions because of shorter distances, but more sonority in colder regions because of less wind chill. Likewise, the climate of Noen is temperate, not the sort of humid climate that leads to emergence of phonemic tone.
The grammar of these may appear more regular than familiar real-world spoken languages. Being a language of trade, it finds itself subject to ongoing creolization processes. These include the natural leveling inherent in transitional idiolects of second-language learners, not unlike what happened with English around the end of the eleventh century CE. Neither language has person or number agreement on verbs. The case and pronoun system of Nognese, for instance, consists of more or less orthogonally conjugated prepositions, and its tense system closely follows the one described by Derek Bickerton for creole languages. However, some of the regularity can be attributed to more deliberate simplification by dictionary authors and by the wacky education ministry taking childish regularizations and running with them.
- Nognese, spoken especially in the south
- Noeneg, spoken especially in the north
- Common vocabulary of Noen
|Behind the scenes information|
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