The Scythian language is spoken in what was formerly northern Gaul, in the territory of the Belgae and Treveri, and east towards the Rena river. It borders the Helvetian lands to the south, and ends its territory at the beginning of the <Rhône> river in upper Gaul. In the west it abuts the Norman lands, and follows the southward curve of the Nantes Gallic territory.
The history of the Scythian people is a long one, with a very dark beginning, and is covered in more detail elsewhere. Suffice to say the Ganžas tribes formed the first true empire on the European continent, and were destroyed as a malevolent fighting force in 507AUC, and were reformed into the Scythian nation as it stands today.
Here we are generally describing the modern language, but references to older stages are quite useful, and are included where needed.
|Stop||p b||t d||č ǧ||k g|
|Spirant||(f)*||s z||š||x γ|
*The phoneme /f/, in Old Ganžas, was extremely rare, and only present in a few loans. To this day, it remains the rarest sound in the language, and is frequently exchanged with /p/. Fêniča
'Carthaginian' is a learned form, and is usually exchanged for punika
The Old Ganžas phoneme/grapheme lyel
was the least common letter and only used commonly in the verb šalyapadyai
'come up, be at' (MS čaǧê
). Most instances of lyel
merged with a stop to form /tʃ/, and those which did not fell in with the dental /l/.
The standard language maintains the distinction between long and short (in reality front unrounded and back rounded) /a/, long after the corresponding length in /i/ and /u/ was dropped; only the conservative dialects of the South and East retain phonemic length. The phoneme /y/ is firmly bracketed, as it is only distinguished in the standard language from /ø/ by native speakers of Western, where they are retained.
The Modern Scythian language uses a Greek-derived alphabet, having abandoned the Classical Ganžas script, derived from the Avestan, in the years following the Fall of Blackmoon. In modern times, the modified alphabet has been extended to deal with the range of sounds present in the language (at first the Greek letters most closely corresponding to the sounds, namely Σ
for all of /s/, /z/, /ʃ/ (even the later /tʃ/), and /ʒ/ (!); and Γ
for /γ/ and /g/ were used while the cluster letters (Ξ ksi
and Ψ psi
) were used even though KΣ
could easily be substituted. It is best to give a table and examples of the early orthographies:
MαρσιαμMarsiammars-i-amdie-pres.part-acc.sg τϝαιtwāitw-āiyou.sg-dat λαυβιητlaubyēt!laub-yē-thave-opt.-3sg
|Γ||/g/ /γ/ /ŋ/||Ο||/o:/|
|Ε||Ø||Σ||/s/ /z/ /ʃ/ /ʒ/|
|Ι||/i/ /i:/||Φ||/f/ (rare)|
"May you die!"
(Classical Ganžas had all but lost the subjunctive/optative tenses, and these were replaced by contracted forms of laubyāi 'have' and aiyāi 'go'. The future contraction substituted for a jussive subjunctive)
παρσια ϝαυσ γαλητι
Parsia wāus galēti. 'The Lutetian cow ate (grass).'
Parsia wāus γalēti. 'The Lutetian cow slaughtered (humans).'
Context could be used to distinguish these, obviously, but it was still not the ideal situation. Certain writers (particularly in the east and south, where Greek influence was more pronounced) devised systems to get around this, unfortunately mostly centering on using vowel signs not otherwise used (in particular eta and omega) to indicate the consonant quality. In the central areas, (particularly the writers of Parzya), they developed new symbols for the consonants, and for the new vowels as they developed. This was the direct ancestor of the Modern Scythian script, and differed from it in very few ways, mostly in things peculiar to the Parzya dialect (which tends to bridge the gap between the Central and Western dialect groups, a consequence of its position as gateway to and later master of the Teutonic frontier).
The Modern Scythian orthography is explained thusly:
|Α α||/a/ <a>||Ν ν||/n/ <n>|
|Β β||/b/ <b>||Ο o||/o/ (OG ō) <o>|
|Γ γ||/g/ <g>||Ɵ ɵ||/ø/ <ø>|
|C ʗ*||/dʒ/ <ǧ>||Π π||/p/ <p>|
|Ϝ ϝ||/ʋ/ <v>||Ρ ρ||/r/ <r>|
|Ϙ ϙ||/γ/ <γ> (qoppa)||**||/tʃ/ <č>|
|Δ δ||/d/ <d>||Σ σ||/s/ <s>|
|Ε ε||/ε/ (OG ai) <ê>||Τ τ||/t/ <t>|
|Ζ ζ||/z/ <z>||Υ υ||/u/ <u>|
|Η η||/e/ (OG ē) <e>||Oυ oυ||/u/ <u>|
|Ι ι||/i/ <i>||Φ φ||/f/ (rare)<f>|
|Κ κ||/k/ <k>||Χ χ||/x/ <x>|
|Λ λ||/l/ <l>||**||/ʃ/ <š>|
|Μ μ||/m/ <m>||Ω ω||/ɔ/ (OG au) <ô>|
*The symbol ǧel
is a block(majuscule)/stretched(minuscule) version of the Roman Cappa. It derives from gamma, by the addition of a bar on the bottom, not unlike the Etruscan modification that produced Cappa.
**The symbols čel
were borrowed from the Old Ganžas alphabet.
1.4 Sound Changes
1.4.1 Old Ganžas to Early Middle Ganžas
|1.||The gradual loss of velarisation |
|w > v /_||wāus > vau cow; wažya > veǧa path, road|
|2.|| Nasal changes|
|m > n /_#||neuter Nominative -am > -an|
|nt > n /_||Infinitive -ntam > -(n)an|
|3.||voicing with loss of /r/.||This change is common to all of the languages of northern Gallia as well as Scythian, Aquitanian, and the Saxon elements of Normandic. |
|Cr, rC > Cvcd /_||marsati > mazad he died; trais > dê three; Parsia >Paǧa|
|4.||voicing of obstruents|
|p > b /V_V |
|t > d /V_V |
|k > g /V_V||lakas > laga goat's milk|
|š > ž /V_V |
|x > γ /V_V||axalas > aγala mountain|
A feature of late Classical Ganžas dialects was syncope, with the second syllable of a three (or more)-syllable word typically losing its vowel: Old Ganžas γamaliā
, early Middle Ganžas γamlya
, Modern Scythian γača
. Related was the loss of double syllables: Old Ganžas šantam
, early Middle Ganžas šanan
, Modern Scythian šan
. Words whose third syllable was an inflectional one did not lose the vowel, in the central dialects; the Southern grouping, however, did, giving forms axla
for Standard Scythian aγala
1.4.2 Middle Ganžas sound changes
|lC > č /_X||walpas > vača wolf; altarās > ačar one of two|
|Cl > č /_|
|kt, pt > č||saptam > začan|
|C > č, ǧ /_i,j||γamaliā > MG γamlya > γača|
|s > z /V_V||sōsā > zoza dry|
|s > z /#_||saiš > zêš 6|
1.4.3 Modern Scythian sound changes:
|d > ǧ /_i,j||dius > ǧu deity|
|ž > ǧ||ažam > aǧa I; žanus > ǧan royal family|
|a > e /_i,j||gansis > gensi goose; manias > mena spirit, ghost|
|o > ø /_i,j||daundias > dønda wind|
|ai > ê||trais > dê three; aikā > êga one|
|au > ô||augainadyai > ôgênaǧê snow, be cold|
|a > a||ažaias leader > aǧe mayor|
|s > Ø /_#||a-stem nom. sg. -as > -a|
> PG *mel-γā
> OG malγā > mača
> PG *meǰ-
> OG Mažaias
Great One (the usual address form of one of the high priests of the ancient Ganžas religion > MS Maǧêa
common male name
There are four main Scythian dialects, each with its own subset of dialects. The standard language is based on the Central dialect, which was the area colonised shortly after the beginning expansion of the Ganžas tribes. It is closely associated in the national conciousness with the glory that was the Blackmoon Empire, which is venerated here after many long years of denial and cursing. It is usually held to be the most conservative dialect, even though this title really goes to the northeastern dialects surrounding the Ruins of Blackmoon.
The lands along the Rena are the territory of the Eastern dialect, which are the conservative dialects, retaining many features of Middle Ganžas (though they do have their own distinguishing traits (notably the nonconditional syncope as opposed to the conditioned syncope of Central dialects; this is one feature it shares with Southern Scythian)). There is one dialect on the east bank of the Rena, which is heavily influenced by the Teutonic languages around it. It is not ruled by the Scythian crown, but remains as the last testament to the fractuous nature of the Scythian nation predating unification in 900AUC. It is rather different from even its compatriots on the west bank, and preserves some features that were lost in other Eastern dialects.
Half a millennium ago (c.1300AUC) the Duchy of Parzya (modern Paǧa) began annexing the Saxon statelets towards and along the Teutonic Coast, and settled many Scythians there. This dialect, referred to as Western, is in many ways a leveling of the old dialects, but also has considerable influence from the Teutonic language it by and large replaced.