Itarakoské is a language, or more accurately a dialect continuum, which is spoken by the Tarakasane people.
Head Direction: Strongly Final
Number of genders: 0
The name 'Itarakoské' literally means 'The Splendid Language', from i- (definite prefix), -tarak- 'splendid, brilliant' and -koské 'language'.
When used without qualification, Itarakoské mostly refers to the standardised written version of the language, which is mostly used in official contexts and records, and most closely approximates the pronunciation in the upper portion of what is known as the Imperial Jurisdiction - the portion of the Empire which runs between the imperial capital of Meiron and the great trading port of Eosuri. As such, the term is often qualified to fit the dialectal origin of a speaker; someone might speak Nuvailé Itarakoské (Itarakoské of the South) or Sharél Itarakoské (the spoken language in the Shar regions in the north).
The differences in written and spoken forms of Itarakoské are often very divergent, sometimes to the extent that officials can only communicate by written correspondence (which may, accordingly, not be read in anything like the way the word is spelled). This issue is further compounded by the fact that, in many peripheral regions of the Empire, Itarakoské is used as a written standard for completely different languages. Indeed, the term Nuvailé Itarakoské could well mean that the person does not speak any sort of Itarakoské, though they might well be literate enough in the script to communicate in letters.
|Vowels||IPA Symbols||Vowel||IPA Symbols|
The basic syllable structure in Itarakoské is (C)(V)V(C); geminates are not allowed.
Roots and Word Formation
Words in Itarakoské are generally organised, if not historically formed, by their consonantal roots. It is estimated that about a third of the roots are biconsonantal, about 5% are quadriliteral, and the rest are triconsonantal.
Since there is no fixed pattern in how words are formed from these consonantal roots, however, there is some debate as to whether the phenomenon of the 'roots' - which has been a feature of dictionaries and word-compilations in Itarakoské almost since it became a written language - was inherent to the language, or an artifact that has become reinforced by centuries of learned use. Certainly, the strictness and ubiquity of roots representing related concepts is almost unique to the variety of Itarakoské used in official discourse, and in the lower valley of the Meidorién river.
Words are classed according to their phonemic structure into three main groups, and five subgroups, in Itarakoské:
- Even words follow a constant CVCVCV or VCVCVC structure.
- Even words starting with a consonant are hard; those beginning with a vowel are soft.
- Bridged words have a consonant cluster; ie. two of their triconsonantal roots are adjacent.
- In a triconsonantal word, if the first two consonants are adjacent, the word is front-bridged.
- If the latter two are adjacent, then the word is rear-bridged.
- Singing words have a vowel cluster.
In Itarakoské, nouns are declined according to their final phoneme. This leads to a three-way division:
- Stone-ended nouns (after todav, stone) - any consonant
- Water-ended nouns (after launa, water) - ending in a, é, o, u
- Wind-ended nouns (after etolki, wind) - ending in i, e, ü
There are three grammatical numbers in Itarakoské: singular, dual (for small numbers) and plural. A grammatical saying states that 'if the number is not multiplied, use the dual' (see Numerals).
For number, wind- and water-ended nouns are not differentiated.
|Wind- or Water-Ended||(null)||-en||-ne|
Itarakoské declines nouns for six cases:
- Nominative: To mark the subject of a sentence
- Accusative: To mark the object of a sentence
- Genitive: To mark possessor and composition relationships
- Dative: To mark the indirect object of a verb, or the consequence of an action
- Ablative: To mark causal relationships or in adverbial uses
- Instrumental: To mark instruments or accompanying agents ('with')
Alone among the declensions, definiteness is marked by a prefix i-. It can also modify adjectives, eg. in itarakoské itself.
There are two groups of conjugations for Itarakoské verbs, which are known as the 'inner' and 'outer' conjugations.
- Voice, Number and Mood are 'outer' conjugations - they are marked by affixes.
- Tense and Aspect are 'inner' conjugations - they are marked by infixes and changes in vowels, according to what the Tarakasane call the vowel cycle.
Number is relatively simple; while nouns have three numbers, verbs have only two. The plural is used for both dual and plural nouns, and is the suffix -méd.
Voice is also simple; Itarakoské has a passive voice prefix, khen-.
Itarakoské conjugates its verbs for multiple moods, including the imperative, hortative, potential, subjunctive, conditional and negative.
- The Imperative, with the suffix -atad, denotes commands.
- The Hortative, with the suffix -acin, denotes exhortation; it is therefore also known as the Weak or Inclusive Imperative.
- The Potential, with the suffix -mit, denotes possibility or ability: that something could happen, or that a subject is capable of doing something.
- The Subjunctive, with the suffix -ruli, denotes a hypothetical situation or an intention: that something might happen, or that someone would do something.
- The Conditional, with the suffix -kamo, denotes the conditions of something happening: that if something happens (conditional), then something else would (subjunctive) or can (potential) happen.
- The Negative, with the suffix -nét, denotes negation.
The vowel cycle is as follows:
Inner conjugations, ie. tense and aspect, are achieved by moving the vowels within a word along the vowel cycle. The vowel that is modified changes with the class of the word.
- In even verbs, the penultimate vowel is always the one modified.
- In bridged verbs, the vowel after the consonant cluster is modified.
- In singing verbs, the isolated vowel is modified. If there are multiple isolated vowels, the last one is modified.
Itarakoské has four tenses: the present (null), the past, the certain future and the uncertain future.
- The past tense is self-explanatory, and is accomplished by moving the modified vowel back one step.
- Eg. Yé Haséka (I talk) -> Yé Hasaka (I talked)
- The certain future is only used if the sentence specifically mentions the time at which the action will be taking place, or if something has been planned or prepared. It is accomplished by moving the modified vowel forward one step.
- Eg. Yé Haséka -> Yé nékeir Hasoka (I will talk tomorrow)
- The uncertain future is used if a time for the action is not mentioned, or if the action denoted is not being planned for, or its eventual occurrence is itself uncertain. It is accomplished by moving the modified vowel forward two steps.
- Eg. Yé Haséka -> Yé Hasuka (I will talk (but not necessarily at some fixed future time))
Besides tense, Itarakoské also has a system of aspects, covering a wide range of time relationships. Most of the time, ten aspects are recognised; these are the perfective (null), perfect, continuous, habitual, gnostic, iterative, inceptive, terminative, protractive and defective.
- The perfect aspect is denoted by inserting -i- after the modified vowel (-e- if the vowel is i)
- Yé Haséka -> Yé Hasaika (I have talked)
- The continuous aspect is denoted by inserting -é- after the modified vowel (-o- if the vowel is é)
- Yé Haséka -> Yé Haséoka (I am talking)
- The habitual aspect is denoted by inserting -e- after the modified vowel (-a- if the vowel is e or é)
- Yé Haséka -> Yé Haséaka (I talk every day/I habitually talk)
- The gnostic aspect is denoted by inserting -u- after the modified vowel (-i- if the vowel is u or ü)
- Yé Haséka -> Yé Haséukamit (I can talk (it is a well known thing))
- The iterative aspect is denoted by inserting -a- after the modified vowel (-é- if the vowel is a)
- Yé Haséka -> Yé Haséaka (I speak again and again)
- The inceptive aspect is denoted by inserting -i- before the modified vowel (-e- if vowel is i or o)
- Yé Haséka -> Yé Hasiéka (I start talking)
- The terminative aspect is denoted by inserting -o- before the modified vowel (-é- if vowel is o)
- Yé nékeir Hasoka -> Yé nékeir Haséoka (I will stop talking tomorrow)
- The protractive aspect is denoted by inserting -a- before the modified vowel (-e- if vowel is a)
- Yé Haséka -> Yé Hasaéka (I speak on and on)
- The defective aspect is denoted by inserting -u- before the modified vowel (-o- if vowel is u, é or a)
- Yé Haséka -> Yé Hasoéka (I almost spoke)
There is a grouping of what are called 'short verbs', most of which are copula verbs expressing some kind of state. These verbs do not follow the normal word order restrictions in an Itarakoské sentence, but they are nonetheless conjugated in much the same way, except that it is always the final vowel that is modified.
- Eg. süde 'become' -> südi 'became', süda 'will become in the future', südui 'almost became'
The most common method of writing Itarakoské is known as 'climbing script'.
Itarakoské is a strongly head-final language; adjectives precede the nouns, and adverbs the verbs, that they describe.
While the use of nominative and accusative cases means that in spoken Itarakoské there is a much more fluid word order, written Itarakoské is almost always written in an SOV word order.
The most common exceptions to this rule appears to be in a group of what are called 'short verbs', such as ade 'to be', kumé 'to have' and süde 'to become', which are mostly written in SVO order.
Besides large numbers, there are only five numbers in Itarakoské:
These five numbers are then multiplied and declined to give the other numbers. For example, 6 to 10 are as follows:
|7||Shurda (above three)|
|9||Unda (above four)|
|10||Césrim or Céshim (two-five)|