Head direction
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect

General information[]

Mendian (natively Mæ̂nda) is the language of the dragon-herding peoples in the mid-western lowlands. It is a Dentheric language, of the western branch. Beyond the native speakers, the Ø̂nnak peoples, it is also used as the lingua franca of the mid-western and western lowlands, as well as a trade language deeper into the mainland. It has a rich literary tradition and a long history of literacy.

Mendian was the administrative lingua franca of the entire Dragon Imperium during the Fifth Imperium, and as such it has influenced many of the herder languages spoken in it, and has acquired a thick stratum of loanwords from various imperial languages.

Mendian is a prototypical example of a Lowlander Sprachbund language, being starchly verb-initial and possessing a productive pitch-accent system.


/i u e o ɛ ø ɜ ɔ ɑ —— ɑ ɑɑ & ɑ̀ ɑ̀ˤ ɑ́ ɑ́ɑ̀ ɑ̀ɑ̀ˤ ɑ̀ɑ́/ <ı u e o æ ø ẹ ọ aa ā & ȧ à á â ȁ ã>

/m mˤ n nˤ nʷ ɲ ɲˤ ɲʷ ŋ ŋˤ ŋʷ/ <m mh n nh nw ñ ñh ñw ŋ ŋh ŋw>
/p b t d tʷ dʷ k ɡ kʷ ɡʷ/ <p b t d tw dw k g kw gw>
/s z sʷ zʷ ʃ ʒ ʃʷ ʒʷ ɕ ʑ x ɣ xʷ ɣʷ ħ ħʷ/ <s z sw zw šw žw ś ź x ḡ xw ḡw h hw>
/ʋ ʋˤ r rˤ l lˤ lʷ j jˤ jʷ ʎ ʎˤ ʎʷ/ <v vh r rh l lh lw j jh jw y yh yw>
/ts dz tsʷ dzʷ tʃ dʒ tʃʷ dʒʷ/ <ts dz tsw dzw tš dž tšw džw>

Mendian is a language with a prominent pitch accent system. Even though all vowels in a word may be either short or long (with a tendency for most atonic vowels to be short), only one syllable may be accented per word. Vowel suprasegmental features may be classified as features on two axes:

Short Long
Atonic ı a ę ī ā ę̄
Peaking i ȧ ę̇ î â ę̂
Dipping í á ę́ ĩ ã ę̃
Glottal ì à ę̀ ȉ ȁ ę̏

A special feature of certain vowels is underlying glottalisation with no surface realisation: stemming from true glottalised vowels in early Mendian times, certain vowels may carry glottalisation that is realised only when stress shifts to them. This is generally unmarked and is left as a feature of morphophonology; words with such vowels are often treated as a special accentual class.

Consonantal glottalisation always has a surface realisation: it triggers stiff voicing in unstressed vowels, and transfers the glottalisation from the consonant to the accented vowel, which then takes on a glottalised pitch accent. A sequence of any of /{m n ɲ ŋ ʋ r l j ʎ}/ followed by /ħ/ contracts to /{mˤ nˤ ɲˤ ŋˤ ʋˤ rˤ lˤ jˤ ʎˤ}/. A post-vocalic /ħ/ often drops, leaving behind compensatory lengthening and underlying vowel glottalisation.

Rounding in consonants is neutralised before the rounded vowels /u o ɔ ø/; a syllable such as /-tʷɔ-/ would invariably surface as [-tɔ-], though this loss of labialisation isn't reflected in the orthographical representation.


Mendian broadly divides its words into two morphological classes: mutable words, possessing productive grammatical inflection, and immutable words that do not change via morphological processes (though they may morph due to morphophonological changes).

The class of mutables includes nominals (nouns, pronouns and adjectives) which follow one inflectional pattern, and verbs which follow another. The class of immutables includes particles, adpositions and clitics.


Mendian has a complex system of fusional/agglutinative noun inflection, and its nouns distinguish nine cases and encode numerous grammatical enumerations in a morphologically fusional way. They also reflect a gender system in which each noun has one of four innate genders. Gender assignment is mostly semantic and arbitrary, though certain patterns do show up.

Mendian divides its noun into categories based on multiple criteria. Its nouns can be divided into:

  • By their countability
    • countable — existing in discrete units
    • uncountable — existing only as a continuous mass
  • By gender
    • ignic — generally of things related to fire, warmth, life
    • animate — for living beings
      • human
        • masked
        • unmasked
      • non-human
    • inanimate — for perceptible inanimates
      • primordial / force of nature
      • inert
    • neuter — for abstract concepts, imperceptible entities

Mendian nouns distinguish nine cases:

  • Nominative
  • Aversive
  • Accusative
  • Vocative
  • Dative
  • Topical
  • Locative
  • Lative
  • Vialis

Not strictly encoding grammatical number as a well-defined category, Mendian nouns may inflect for quantity:

  • For countables
    • singular — one specific instance of an object
    • dual — two specific instances of an object
    • plural — three or more instances of an object
    • partitive — a subset of discrete instances of a larger group of objects
    • collective — all instances of an object
  • For uncountables
    • monadic — a small amount viewable as its own whole
    • coherent — a specific instance of a discrete object that breaks down into monads
    • collective — all quantities viewed as a mass




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