Friday, August 4, 2017

Monvesia RetCon: Rakasta Language

In the process of drafting a post on ceremonial weapons from years-old notes, I took the time to explore the rakasta language.  I pulled in two location names of supposed rakasta origin--Zyrndy and Tamyya--and incorporated them into a standardized "transliteration."  From there, I was able to identify what sounds would be used in a rakasta alphabet (instead of using elfish runes as previously suggested).

Outlined below are the letters I have used to write rakasta words with [the basic sounds they represent] and (the Turkish letters they replace).  While the sounds do not exactly correspond to the sounds of Turkish, these correspondences are useful when transforming a Turkish root to a rakasta word.
  • Vowels:  A [ah] (a); E [ay] (e); I [ee] (ı, i); O [oh] (o, ö); U [oo] (u); Y [i~u] (ü).
  • Plosives:   C [t~k] (k, t); D [d~g] (d, g); P [p~f] (f, p); Q [gutteral k~g] (k, g); V [b~v] (b, v); ' [glottal stop] (ğ).
  • Nasals:   M [m] (m); Mj [mi, my] (n/a); N [n] (n); Nj [ni, ny] (n/a). (mj and nj are unique rakasta sounds that can be used in place if Turkish y)
  • Fricatives:   Cj [ch] (ç); Dj [j, soft g] (c); S [s] (s); Sj [sh] (ş); X [x, ch] (h); Z [z] (z); Zj [zh] (j).
  • Rhotics: R [flap or trill r] (l); Rr [gutteral r] (r).

Following these rules, the spelling of some words already in use has changed (such as nyaqan and rr'nyan becoming nja'an and irnjan); these changes have been made in their original entries.

To better match the race's intended Turkic flavor, names for the great tribes have also been changed . Some of these names are "translated" to human languages (such as Lyncasta), while others are metely transliterated (such as Aslanasta)
  • Vasjaqasca ("Vashakasta"), Lyncasta
  • Asranasca, Aslanasta (formerly Simbasta)
  • Qapranasca, Kaplanasta (formerly Sherkasta)
  • Parrsasca ("Parsasta"), Pardasta
  • Cjicasca, Tjitasta (formerly spelled Xitasta)
  • Zyrrndasca, Zyrndasta (formerly Sylvasta) [this is also a way of explaining the non-Germanic name of the Zyrndy River, which flows through the former homeland of this great tribe.

Along a similar note, the names of the monastic traditions tied to rakasta origin have also been given new names.  These primarily draw from their original names--with the exception of the Way of the Four Elements, which is not appropriate to Monvesia as a whole.
  • acjiq er njoru, Way of the Open Path
  • qorqe njoru, Way of the Shadow
  • simnja njoru, Way of the Four Elements (literally Alchemy Path)
  • uzun orym njoru, Way of the Long Death
  • qynesj rruxu njoru, Way of the Sun Soul

The native name of the rakasta homeland has also been decided.  The root word rraq means "pride/tribe." With the suffix -asca, meaning folk, we get Rraqasca (Pridefolk).  With the secondary root vacan, meaning native land, we get Rraqvacan, the Pridelands.  We can even apply the secondary root risan, language, to get Rraqrisan (Pridetongue).

Visually, rakasta writing--Rraqnjazi (Pridescript)--resembles cuneiform.  It is a syllabic alphabet demonstrating great variation.  These symbols can be found pressed into clay tablets, inscribed onto plates of metal, or even carved into planks of wood.  Though originally written with bare claws, sturdy "writing caps" have become common for rakasta scholars and historians.

Related image
An example of rraqnjazi, or "pridescript" [cuneiform]
Edited August 19, 2018 (adding rraqnjazi).

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