The Alzetjan Elvish language

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Introduction

Alzetjan (originally spelled Alzećan) is one of the many poorly documented languages that I sketched in the mid-1980's. Notes on the language are scattered among various folders and computer files, and contradictions between these sources are not uncommon. Fortunately, Alzetjan has been associated from the beginning with the related (and more thoroughly documented) language Devérrin. The basis for this page is a reconstruction of Alzetjan from the original sources, modified and updated with the intention of eventually continuing the development of the language.

Alzetjan is spoken in the Alzhaitjo region of Draconia, and various other Elvish lands. Dragons have lived in the region for centuries along with a dark-skinned race of Minyel Elves, with a long history of conflict between them. The Alzetjan elves are one of the oldest races of humanoid beings in the Kolagian sector, with historical records that pre-date the existence of Humans.

The Alzetjan alphabet, sounds, and the romanized spelling

p [p] as in "spot".
b [b] as in English.
f [f] as in English.
v [v] as in English.
m [m] as in English.
w [w] as in English.
t [t] an unaspirated voiceless dental stop.
d [d] as in English.
s [s] as in "see".
z [z] as in English.
n [n] as in English.
l [l] as in "leaf".
r [ɾ] as in Spanish; similar to American English "t" in "meeting".
tj [tɕ] similar to British English "t" in "Tuesday".
dj [dʑ] like "d" in the British pronunciation of "due".
nh [ɲ] a voiced palatal nasal, like Spanish "ñ". Similar to "n" in British pronunciation of "news".
y [j] as in "yes".
c [tʃ] like "ch" in "choose".
j [dʒ] as in English.
sh [ʃ] as in "shoe".
zh [ʒ] like "s" in "measure".
k [k] as in the English word "skill"; an unaspirated voiceless velar stop.
g [ɡ] as in "game".
x [ʜ] like Arabic h: a voiceless epiglottal fricative.
lh [ʟ] like "l", but pronounced in the back of the mouth; a voiced velar lateral approximant.
rh [ʀ] as in German or French, a voiced uvular trill.
í [i] as in "see".
i [ɪ] as in "pick".
ï [ɨ] similar to Russian "ы", a high central unrounded vowel.
é [e] as in German "See".
e [ɛ] as in "bet".
u [u] as "oo" in "moon".
o [o] similar to Spanish "o".
å [ɒ] similar to the British pronunciation of "o" in "hot".
a [a] a low "ah" sound, like Spanish "a".

Nouns

Alzetjan has four cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, and dative, formed by adding suffixes to the noun.

relån "a dragon" (nom.)
relånm "a dragon" (acc.)
relånon "of a dragon" (gen.)
relånyad "to a dragon" (dat.)

Plural forms of nouns are simply formed by adding the preposition "de". Some nouns, such as "kïla" (sand), are found only in the plural form ("de kïla").

Verbs

Alzetjan verbs have three tenses: past, present, and future. Other tenses are formed, as in Devérrin, by adding auxiliary words after verbs. Alzetjan has no participles. The infinitive of a verb ends in -as or -das.

sherdas "to give"
sherda "give" (imperative or subjunctive)
sherne "gives" (present)
shernitj "gave" (past)
sherrin "will give" (future)

Examples:
ke stilne de nishlim
I-NOM. like-PRES. PL. cat-ACC.
I like cats.

djelna zvårnitj ínhtarh
water-NOM. fall-PAST yesterday
It rained yesterday.

tjaicam za sherda de keyad
tea-ACC. you-NOM. give-SUBJ. (suggestion) I-DAT.
I would like some tea, please.

Dialogue

Here is an analysis of a fragment of Alzetjan dialogue. An audio sample for this text is also available.

Stilne se kåri l-éitjo rit em zo?
enjoy-PRES. you(pl.)-NOM. true the-one place-NOM. around-here as home-NOM.
Is it true that you enjoy living around here?

Zhuden, zemne r-éitjo nendar kí tjabne.
not-really but-PRES. the place-NOM. only we-NOM. know-PRES.
Not really, but it's the only place we know.

Ats ík se ploya de. Skoidas es kí rin.
with we-ACC. you(pl.)-NOM. come-SUBJ. (suggestion). help-INF. you(pl.)-ACC. we-NOM. gladly
Come to our homeland. We would gladly help you.

Skoidas ík se kozhne. Otsina se ník de vorxa.
help-INF. we-ACC. you(pl.)-NOM. can-PRES. divert-SUBJ. you(pl.)-NOM. we-GEN. PLUR. enemy-NOM.
("enemy" probably should have been ACC.)
There is another way you can help us. You could divert our enemies.

Vocabulary

alzetjan    the people of the Alzhaitjo region
alzitj      the Alzetjan language
as          to be
ats         with; at the home of
az          you (acc.sing.)
briyas      to love
cabas       to know, be familiar with
de          plural
-de         (suggestion)
deltas      to read
démas       to ask, inquire
den         somewhat, a little
djelna      water, rain
djelnazvårn rainfall; festival of rain
éitjo       place
ek          me
em          as, for
en          him, her, it
es          you (acc.pl.)
ev          them
ext         or (either/or)
fílha       easy
fín         blue
fum         after
i-          great
íf          less
-ïf         bad
ík          us
ïm          by that time; already
ims         purple
ínhtarh     yesterday
ínïk        name
io          zero
íris        art
ist         six
-ka-        (aug. infix)
kåri        true, real
ke          I
kí          we
kï          between
kïla (pl.)  sand
kladjísh    spear
klik        leaf
kos         red
kozhas      to be able
kun         next, following
l           the one
le          each, every, all
lhozh       time, instance
líko        happy
lira        bird
lïvas       to look, watch
mevå        possible
naz         your (sing.)
ne          he, she, it
-ne         (present tense)
nek         my
nen         his, her, its
nendar      only
nérya       tomorrow
nes         your (pl.)
nev         their
neza        ten
ni          one
-ni-        (dim. infix)
ník         our
nís         month
nishli      cat
nizen       one hundred
nle         nine
nor         air
nran        yellow-green
nu          seven
otsinas     to divert
oy          above, over
oyt         or (and/or)
ployas      to come
pre         beside, next to
priyas      to speak, communicate
psi         across, beyond, over
r           the
rax         orange (color)
relån       dragon
réldas      to save
reli        pretty
retjåzhna   dagger
rhi         three
ri          here
rí          another, other
rin         gladly
rit         around here
se          you (nom.pl.)
sherdas     to give
sim         five
sím         structure, form
skoidas     to help
sku         bored
snïnd       revenge
sornas      to listen
srat        book
stïlashin   bow (with arrows)
stildas     to like, enjoy
sto         eight
suraym      symphony
sure        maybe, perhaps
svidas      to know (facts)
syåtas      to control
tak         four
tja         there
tjaica      tea
tjavas      to get, take
tjeldas     to see
ultïr       wonderful
uy          under, below
ve          they
vïn         ship
vís         search
vorxa       enemy
vri         yellow
xar         green
xår         exact
yat         near
yåtrí       cave
yïn         land
yïsin       crystal
yix         war
za          you (nom.sing.)
zaudas      to need
ze          two
zem         but
zharic      sword
zhe         where
zhirdas     to find, meet
zhoi        time, duration
zhu         not
zhuden      not really
zhuzï       no
zï          yes
zo          home
zodas       to live in, inhabit, dwell
zvårdas     to fall