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Thralni

The nephilim language

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I have been playing with this idea for a long time: making a Nephilim language for my BoA scenario, so it will make everything more interesting for the player. now the player doesn't have to learn the language, it will only make it more interesting. that's why I started making one about two weeks ago. now here comes the obvious question: can anybody supply me with some basic information from Avernum 1,2 and 3 of their language?

 

And no, this isn't because of kelandon and his Slith language. I came up with this idea at the moment I started coming up with the story of my scenario, I just told nobody about it. I'm also contemplating about a scenario in which the players tries to help a bunch of nephilim to get to their homeland (yes, that sounds really like Bahssikava, I know). Does anybody know of a nephil homeland, does it actually exist, or do they just get slaughetered in Avernum?

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The nephilim come from the surface, according to the AT.

 

I'd advise checking A1-3 in the places where one meets nephilim to see their names. That can give you hints about the sounds they like to pronounce, which can get you started on phonology.

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I made up some vague stuff back in November for my Nanowrimo thing, because there didn't exist any basis for the language. As opposed to Vahnatai (and possibly even Slithzerikai), there don't appear to be any occurences of Nephilim language, inscriptions or anything. When they speak, the game just describes it as growling.

 

I'd summarize it into a short vocabulary (a dozen or so words and some pronounciation guidelines), but I don't have the time now and it doesn't have any basis anyway. It is supposed to be an "ancient" language much like Kel's is an ancient Slith language, so the current one might be completely different (and therefore free for you to develop).

 

The longest sentence of any kind is:

 

Quote:
"Rephna sathosha nish, yapheshis ramh'

Barh amh'rosh serina avalash-amh'

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Okay, I spent about half an hour walking around in Avernum, but didn't find much which seemed usefull. The only places where I thought I'd might have a chance are the Avernum 1 Nephil castle and that small cave where they captured those mining workers of Cotra.

 

All I found in these two sites were the occasianal signs saying: "this sign is in Nephil script, so you can't read it." indeed, when they talk, the game describes it as growling.

 

The piece of text you have there, Aran, is it from the game, or did you make it up? do you know what it means?

 

I have plunged into ancient languages, eagerly developing a case system. I threw away the conjugations I made for the verbs, as I thought it was stupid.

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He made that bit of text up for his novel, as he says. Do try to read people's posts more carefully.

 

The only word I can think of (other than a character's name) that was used by Nephilim in a SW game was "Ghath", which is the password to get into the Nephil Castle in Exile 2. This may or may not be an actual word in the Nephil language.

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I thought he meant that, what was written there, was the longest sentence he ever encountered in the game. If he made it up, then again: what does it mean? Chances are I won't use it as it is now, as I almost completed the system of postpositions and case endings.

 

Ghath, I remember that one. that however, is nothing more then a simple english word: "gate," only transformed to make it sound Nephil like. So ne, its not an actual nephil word, unless they were extremely influenced by english. Most names of nephilim in Avernum are also nothing more then mrrrfrrr or something like that, so that also won't be very usefull.

 

Thanks that you are at least trying to help.

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For some reason I remember it as "ghash", but I might have that mixed up with the weird Orcish word for "fire" from LotR.

 

Also, the novel is here , and from chapter six on there are some references to the Nephilim language every now and then. As I said, I can't be bothered to compile it now.

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Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, chicken god prophet:
Most names of nephilim in Avernum are also nothing more then mrrrfrrr or something like that, so that also won't be very usefull.
No, that tells you something! It tells you that they prefer nasals and liquids to vowels. It is possible to have a language that has few or no vowels if it allows nasals and liquids to take a full stress (whereas English only allows them to sit in unstressed positions, as in "apple" — properly /œp-l/ with no vowel in the second syllable, although some insert a schwa for ease of pronunciation).

It also tells you that their language draws out its R's in sort of the way the sliths draw out their S's, which is worth considering for paradigms. Nephils might make a distinction between many kinds of R's, from the approximant to the trill to the tap (and Wikipedia's IPA page might be worth checking if you're not already an expert on phonology).

You can get all sorts of ideas from the names. Don't ignore them!

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Well, that I already knew when i wrote that post, so therefor it wasn't exactly useful. basically there are four letters which the Nephilim really seem to prefer: r, f, h and m. In almost evey name at least two of these letters appear. it's actually quite interesting. It also makes things a bit more difficult, but I'll get over it. I completed the case-system. I'll go on with verbs shortly.

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Quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:
Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, chicken god prophet:
Most names of nephilim in Avernum are also nothing more then mrrrfrrr or something like that, so that also won't be very usefull.
No, that tells you something! It tells you that they prefer nasals and liquids to vowels. It is possible to have a language that has few or no vowels if it allows nasals and liquids to take a full stress (whereas English only allows them to sit in unstressed positions, as in "apple" — properly /œp-l/ with no vowel in the second syllable, although some insert a schwa for ease of pronunciation).

It also tells you that their language draws out its R's in sort of the way the sliths draw out their S's, which is worth considering for paradigms. Nephils might make a distinction between many kinds of R's, from the approximant to the trill to the tap (and Wikipedia's IPA page might be worth checking if you're not already an expert on phonology).

You can get all sorts of ideas from the names. Don't ignore them!
Now that's something I neglected. But, again, it can be explained by the older language having vowels, and the modernized one dropping them. wink

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If the Nephilim have a surface homeland, the closest thing would be grottoes and hovels housing the scattered remnants of tribes in Valorim. Whether they are actually native to Valorim or were driven there by Empire expansion through the other continents is anyone's guess.

 

As to the language, there would be some limitations imposed by the structure of the Nephil mouth. Since they can purr (Avernum II, when you cure the diseased clan near Mertis), then they are related more to housecats than to plains cats and cannot roar.

 

They would have trouble with the dentals and probably use sounds for F and H that are substitutes for a human fricative.

 

Though it would be funny to see a Nephil trying to make an F the human way and spitting out the sides of his mouth.

 

They are omnivorous, however (the slave-driver Nepharim in the fort northeast of Fort Duvno in Avernum II forced the Nephilim to tend mushroom crops), which means that the limitations normally imposed by carnovire teeth would not necessarily apply to them.

 

Even so, they do have elongated, catlike faces. They would not be able to rely on the human range of facial expression, but their tails and ears could make adequate substitutes, so you should not need to build that into the language.

 

Even those human expressions they could use would be altered, however. A smile, for example, would not indicate happiness--they can purr, so they'd have no need for it. Actually, my cat only ever smiles when she's royally pissed off, which maes sense, because it frees the teeth to bite.

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If nephilim are omnivores and able to communicate without many difficulties in whatever language is spoken by humans, as the nephilim in Avernum seem to do, they may not have such a different facial and dental structure.

 

—Alorael, who could make a case for the nephilim no longer having a full language of their own and speaking a kind of nephil-human creole.

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That is certainly possible, with such incidences as Anastasia's defection in Avernum I and the obvious integration of Nephilim in subsequent games. I'd think that the priests would try to preserve the old tongue for religious texts (we know they have them) and other such, much like Ecclesiastical Latin.

 

I did some more looking.

 

One of the major points while raiding the Nephilim Castle in Avernum I was the single English paper, addressed to 'Thinshadow' and left in a desk in the robing room/rectory behind the temple. Obviously, the priests understood English.

 

Furthermore, in Avernum II, a Nephilim raised by humans owns the inn in Almaria, and one of the most easily-noticed things about him (according to the dialogue) is that he speaks English quite clearly.

 

This would suggest that it's like a Japanese man speaking English as a second language, and that the only substantial difference between human and Nephil speech lies in the fact that they developed completely isolated from one another--limitations imposed by the Nephilim mouth structure either do not exist or can be effectively compensated, unlike the Slithzaerikai, who apparently have a permanent impediment to human speech.

 

I'm going to tentatively suggest that Nephilim laryngeal structure evolved, not parallel to the human homologue, but approached the same limit from the other direction, assuming that evolution plays a part in the world--after all, the wide variety of Priest Spells proves a number of deities (or at least one with many faces), whose influence might throw a monkey wrench into the works.

 

In any event, the mouths of both need to allow easy speech, but both are also for eating and breathing. Nephilim almost certainly came from carnivores, while humans almost certainly came from herbivores. Nephilim are obviously toolmakers, and excellent archers, so they probably don't use their teeth to kill. They might use their mouths to pant, and don't sweat normally like humans, which would imply a large surface area and elongated tongue.

 

Where are the bleeding graphics files? I might as well get the portraits of the Nephilim and pray that they qualify as legitimate, instead of the dreaded 'Artist's Rendition'.

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Quote:
Originally written by Tom:
Since they can purr (Avernum II, when you cure the diseased clan near Mertis), then they are related more to housecats than to plains cats and cannot roar.
Actually, all cats can purr, so the fact that the Nephilim can purr doesn't really prove anything. The fact that a roaring Nephil has never been encountered (correct me if I'm wrong) says a lot more than their purr. I would think that if Nephilim could roar, they would do so during battle and that the game would comment on this.

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Not so. Cats either purr or roar, not both.

 

Lions and tigers can't purr--the theoretical reason is because the laryngeal structure required to allow a domestic cat (or puma, cheetah, or any other purring cat) to purr is too constrictive to allow a roar; the most you get is a scream, not a true roar.

 

Roaring cats have a nice, big larynx that gives their roars a lot of volume, but it also means that there is no chance for the constriction whose vibrations we hear as a purr to take place. Instead, you get growls, not a true purr. Some big cats can make a purring sound while exhaling, but a true purr occurs independently of the direction of airflow; small cats can purr while inhaling and that's what counts.

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Okay, wait a second. before we start assuming all kinds of things, lets think about this thing first:

 

Just like with the Sliths happened, a group of nephilim were banished to Avernum by the Empire, but probably not all of them, as we still encountered them outside Avernum in Avernum 3. This suggests a development in the Nephil language, caused by this sudden change of evironment. the banished nephilim were sent to another world, to another place, were probably also only then the Nepharim were born, as there were no limitations anymore of what to do. these limitations and rules, set by the older generation who still spoke the "ancient nephilian" as I tend to call it. However, the youngsters (and some older ones too, probably, were banished and therefor cut off of nephilim society, cutting them off from their homes, and therefor culture, religion and also language. The language might have started to change in the absence of the older generation, thereby making a situation wherein some Nephilim can only speak that way, but others only the other way. A good example is the "Hugenoten:" Dutch who went to Africa. if you try to speak with them Dutch, then that Dutch is totally different from modern Dutch. To cut this whole story short: you, Tom, are now taling about modern nephilian, what I want to reconstruct is the "ancient" nephilian. Of course, you need to know the modern one to be able to reconstruct the ancient one, but I'm certain they didn't speak English.

 

So if a cat can pur or roar isn't that important in my opinion, when trying to understand the basics of the ancient language. The older generation might have purred, might have roared, might have done both (although that's unlikely). I think they probably made a more roaring sound, as they are big cats, and big cats roar. The smaller the cat is, the bigger the chance it can roar. This, however, doesn't mean that a nephil, a cathuman (please, don't forget the most important part: these are Cathumans, and not just cats, or lions, or tigers), couldn't have done both. A cat can pur as it has a second vocal chord that enables him to make the purring sound. A nephil could maybe have don't both. We don't know that for sure, as there is no way that somebody actually did scientifical research on a Nephil.

 

I still believe that Nephilim prefered to say f, r , m or h, and vowels alot less. talk to the first Nephil you encounter: what's his name? right. Whatever he says, his name consists of at least two of that letters, sometimes three or all of them. If they couldn't have pronounced it proparly, then why do they call themselves that way?

 

EDIT: oooooh! This is so exciting! making my own language is really so nice and interesting! If anybody would want it, when it's finished I'll put it on my site. then finnaly I can actually try to repay you guys for all the help you gave me already. if nobody reacts, I won't put it on my website, but only with my scenario. That will mean that people will first have to dowbload the scenario before seeing the Nephil grammar and vocabulary.

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Nephilim cannot have been banished to Avernum long before humans, because the Empire jumped on the idea of banishment quickly. I can't remember any reference to nephil aging, so I'll assume that they live somewhere around as long as humans, their generations come at roughly the same intervals, and so on. They're probably in the same situation as the humans linguistically and evolutionarily.

 

Linguistically, like the humans, the nephilim were most likely sent down in a constant trickle and primarily first-generation exiles. Language doesn't spontaneously change because environment changes; it changes slowly over time because of drift. The nephilim were separated from the surface for significantly less than a lifetime, and they received a steady infusion of new surface nephilim. If youngsters were born in significant numbers in Avernum, which isn't certain (few humans were born in A1-ish times), they were raised to speak the language of their parents, which was the same language as the surface.

 

Purring isn't from vocal chords. It has to do with closing and opening of the larynx in a way that can only be mechanically possible in a larynx incapable of roaring, and a larynx capable of roars can't be set up to purr. That's why no cats can do both and why nephilim couldn't either without very different physical structure.

 

A cat is physically capable of purring or roaring on a species by species basis, and it's not really dependent on size. If nephilim can purr, they can't roar, and that's not likely to change in a century or even a hundred centuries. They couldn't change that if they wanted to, which I can't imagine they would, because I still don't see any cause for rapid language shift. If nephilim roar in the Avernum games, I think it's like human "roaring:" they make a loud, angry sound roughly analogous (but not homologous!) to the loud, angry sound made by some large cat species.

 

Sure, nephilim can pronounce their names despite how strange they seem to us. They're probably no more physically incompatible with human speech than the clicks in various Khoisan languages.

 

—Alorael, who realizes that this post is poorly written and feels no need to edit it. This is, after all, more biologically and linguistically serious than any discussion of a fictitious and nonexistent language in a fictitious setting deserves.

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When were Sliths banished to Avernum? I suppose that they also weren't that long in Avernum, or were they?

 

The purring. I already said that its very unlikely that they could do both, but as they are able to pronounce their own names, I think that roaring or purring doesn't really make the difference in their speech. It's probably something different then. It will still relate to their build what they can say and what not, but I'm not really troubled by that. the most important part is that they prefer these four letters above vowels, which suggest (although correct me if I'm wrong) that they prefer to pronounce letters that lie in the back of their throat (how do you call that?).

 

I have seen various Nephilim in Avernum 1, 2 and 3, who had difficulty talking English. I don't believe that (although a nephil grew up in a place were they mainly spoke English) a nephil can easily speak english, without having to learn it for many years. he simply wouldn't be able to pronounce it in the right way.

 

I wanted to say more, but i forgot what it was.

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To reinforce part of what Alorael said: I would be careful about linguistic shift, which normally happens very slowly. You're trying to create a nephil language from a particular time period; which one? If it's less than a couple hundred years ago, then the language ought to be almost identical to the one today, with perhaps a couple of sound changes.

 

EDIT: Sliths were banished a hundred years before A1 or two hundred years, depending on who you talk to. I prefer the two hundred years. But I've created Classical Slith on the assumption that it was spoken nearly 1000 years ago.

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Kelanondon, you are the expert on Slith language here. When was a part of the slith community bansihed to Avernum, so how long are they in Avernum. What is the difference between ancient, modern and barbaric Slith? How long did it take to form them?

 

EDIT: what I'm after is not the Avernum nephilian, but a much older version. the one that was spoken maybe before the Empire really banished them. The ancient nephilian. Taken that nephilim and humans were banished in the same time, how long is Avernum in existence then?

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The humans were sent to Avernum, too, and they don't speak a radically different language from the Empire humans.

 

Besides, for such a change in language to occur, it would all have to happen with some kind of division from the parent group and the resulting divisions remaining isolated from one another. On the cave side, they were, but people and Nephilim both were banished to Avernum continuously for at least fifty years, if not more, and Nephilim have been reported to have been sent by the entire tribe, if possible--which makes sense anyway because they were sent down for what they were, not what they did.

 

Even so, continual replenishment would continually reinforce the basic existing language, even though many words would need to be invented (e.g. stalagmite) and others would lose their meaning (e.g. sun). Actually, it could conceivably make your job easier, because the Nephilim sent to Avernum all went to the same place. Such forced interaction among the tribes would give rise to a common tongue, instead of a bunch of different tribal dialects . . . but that's assuming that being driven to the literal end of the Earth (or at least Valorim) by the Empire for a few centuries didn't do that already.

 

I don't understand what you mean by limitations. I know it is said in several cases that no one knows why Nepharim are born--that it just happens, and so it would not be subject to any kind of legal restriction.

 

What I meant by my discourse of mouth structure and pronunciation is that they could not produce the human sound; the letters we see in the dialogues are transliterations, and a human trying to pronounce a Nephil name after having read it would sound very odd (much like a Japanese- or Chinese-speaking person trying to pronounce R or L in English).

 

The Nephilim might use R as a vowel, but we don't, and it sounds (and looks) funny to us, which means that we can't tell the difference between various grades of vowel without lots of training.

 

I can make a decent miaou to my own ear, but that doesn't mean my cat believes me. For that matter, if you've ever heard a cat miaou, then you know that the word is a close approximation, but not an exact pronunciation. So Frrrrr, the name of the third default party member from Exile II, might not actually be what it looks like, but rather something that requires a lot of spit and a good falsetto, with rising and falling tones in the string of Rs that make up his name and might distinguish it from Frrrrr of Exile III's default party whose R string is monotonic. The distinctions between long and short vowels would behave the same way; there are two ways to pronounce tomato, and you can't tell which is which without hearing them or using a phonetic spelling.

 

So while I stand by my earlier statement in that Nephilim speaking English as a second language can't pronounce various fricatives correctly, perhaps my focus was on the wrong party. Perhaps I should have said that humans likewise can't produce Nephil vowels.

 

It's something to think about, in any case.

 

Oh--before I forget: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purr

 

Edit: Oh. Well, ignore the parts about Avernite influences on the language. What I said about the Empire driving them to Valorim still stands, since Valorim has only been settled for two centuries (as of Avernum III) and the Nephilim (specifically, the Ratbane Clan, according to the in-game text) had developed strongholds there during the settling of . . . whatever's to the north.

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One thing is totally clear, and that is that, whatever the use of r, f, h and m, they were probably used in different ways. A Nephil often made these sounds, so we can assume that it must have had more then one pronounciation. However, the letter f is often made by cats who feel endangered. i think that therefor a nephil will also only make that sound in terms of war, fighting, names which relate to that.

 

We don't know anything about Nephilian (I even had to invent a name for it). that is a great problem, but it makes things also more fun. the problem with vocabulary though, is hwo the hell are we supposed to know how a nephil would see it, and therefor how he would call it. I'll come over it, but it'll need some thought too. the gammar part is actually the easiest. now at least it has some basis.

 

EDIT: A small pronounciation problem: Europian/American. I was just thinking that europeans generally pronounce words differently then Americans, that also goes for r in Nephilian. how can I be certain that Americans pronounce like I want them to pronounce it, when I'm not able to put ` and the like (how does one call those again?) on not-vowels?

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Well, another part of the problem is how human you want to make the Nephilim.

 

For example, real cats of all types have small hearts and lungs for their bodies; they can exhibit great bursts of energy, but they simply do not have any real endurance. For intelligent cats with opposable thumbs, that would certainly give them incentive to get really good with bows, especially if their mouth structures, changing for speech, lost the killing teeth. Or, like is theorised in some circles for humans, the use of tools to kill freed the mouth to develop toward speech.

 

But the point is that small lungs would keep long words from coming into existence, since they simply would lack the capacity for them. That, in turn, would mean that you'd have to come up with a mid-word stop or a long alphabet of letters (or phonemes, if you want to go that route).

 

How many fingers would Nephilim have? That would affect their maths--you won't need words for 'nine' and 'ten' if they have only four digits per hand.

 

You can probably drop the idea of a zero (as a number, not a concept), as well.

 

Are you trying to create a written language, as well, or just a transliteration of a spoken one? Any written language would most likely be inscribed in some readily-available material. While paper grows in trees, it does not grow on them, and paper-making is rather an involved process.

 

So, where do Nephilim come from? If they come from a temperate, forested clime, then their written language might be runes with few or no transverse strokes, since the easiest soft-but-durable material to obtain would be wood, and wood has a grain.

 

Then again, incentive to get really good with bows might come from their originating in a place where wood is scarce, and so they would have to get the best results from limited materials. Any Nephil who doesn't shoot well doesn't eat, and so all remaining Nephilim have a genetic disposition for higher dexterity.

 

If they come from a place where clay is plentiful, they could use pictograms . . . yeah, right. Let's keep this practical. Even if you want to come up with a few thousand pictograms, you'd never finish it.

 

Edit: You can forget about Americans pronouncing your language with anything remotely close to accuracy. They don't even spell things correctly. I think it is because they harbour a deep-seated resentment of authority . . . but such is their Constitutionally-guaranteed right.

 

Edit Again: Without constructing your language to internationally-accepted phonetic standards, you could explore a phonemic written language, as I mentioned. Create a bunch of basic blocks for each complete sound in the language, and put them together like syllables.

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Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, Nephil translators & co.:
Kelanondon, you are the expert on Slith language here. When was a part of the slith community bansihed to Avernum, so how long are they in Avernum.
As I said in my previous post, about two hundred years before A1.

Quote:
What is the difference between ancient, modern and barbaric Slith? How long did it take to form them?
I've been basing all of this on the disintegration of Latin in the Late Empire and after the fall. Really good classical Latin was spoken from the 100's B.C. to the 200's A.D. After that, Late Latin pronunciations began to creep in, and although everyone could still understand golden age Latin, people were starting to change their vocabulary and pronunciation (especially the uneducated).

By the 800's, people couldn't really understand good classical Latin anymore unless they learned it as a second language, and by the 1000's or 1100's, the Romance languages had clearly developed, more similar to their modern forms than to their classical ancestor. Wikipedia has some pretty good resources on Vulgar Latin if you want to look further into this for comparison.

Quote:
Taken that nephilim and humans were banished in the same time, how long is Avernum in existence then?
Nephil language immediately prior to exile is only forty years older than A1, which isn't enough time for the language to undergo a really significant shift.

Quote:
i think that therefor a nephil will also only make that sound in terms of war, fighting, names which relate to that.
I'm reasonably sure that no language is as specific as this. You can suggest that F is far more common in those circumstances, but it seems unlikely that it's only found in those words.

Quote:
how can I be certain that Americans pronounce like I want them to pronounce it
I've created a slith alphabet assuming that no one will pronounce it correctly unless they've read what I've had to say about it. I don't think you have to worry about this.

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Thanks, kelandon. it will make it much easier for me to understand the development of nephilian, now I know how it worked with the Sliths.

 

About the f, its certainly not only, its even found in the case postpositions, but you'll see it more often in thise words.

 

of how much letters does the Slith alphabet consist, and how long did you take to make it? i suppose that if you know what letters can be pronounced and which not, it will be easier to do and will take you less time. How did you describe how to pronounce the letters anyway. with signs or with words in which that same pronounciation also occurs?

 

am I getting irritating already with all these question?

 

Hmmm, forty years. that's a lot less then I had actually imagened it. I thought it would have been much longer. Suposse the nephilim in Avernum still did speak a sort of ancient nephilian, would there be many changes in the grammar also, or just vocabulary and maybe pronounciation? i think not.

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Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, Nephil translators & co.:
of how much letters does the Slith alphabet consist, and how long did you take to make it?
Er, let's see. There's 27 letters (counting digraphs, like "kh" and "th"), or 32 if you count the long vowels separate from the short vowels. That's in Classical Slith — it simplifies somewhat in Modern Slith and a lot in Barbaric Slith. It only took me an hour or two to do Classical Slith phonology, because I basically knew what I wanted right away.

Quote:
How did you describe how to pronounce the letters anyway. with signs or with words in which that same pronounciation also occurs?
Well, I haven't actually written down a description anywhere. I describe it to myself in terms of standard phonological terminology (see the link to the Wikipedia IPA page earlier).

Quote:
am I getting irritating already with all these question?
No. :p

Quote:
Suposse the nephilim in Avernum still did speak a sort of ancient nephilian, would there be many changes in the grammar also, or just vocabulary and maybe pronounciation? i think not.
I agree. There'd be very little change in forty years. Remember that Shakespeare wrote in Early Modern English four hundred years ago, so you need at least that amount of time to get a dialect that sounds different enough that people would have to struggle to understand each other.

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And now some final questions:

 

How can I make accents on non-vowels? I have tried all kinds of things, but it can't be done in microsoft word, i think. Do you know of any way of doing that?

 

is there anything know of the nephil history? Something about how long they actually exist for example. there could have been changes in grammar and the lot, also before they were sent to Avernum.

 

I must say its really hard to come up with words that seem to be correct by nepil standards. therefor, I ask you, is it alright if I look at thr Slith alphabet? I'm veryt curious to how it is contructed. I t probably won't help me much with the Nephilian, but just out of curiosity: may I see the Slith alphabet?

 

that was all for now. thanks kelandon and the rest who already helped me. i'm very grateful.

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Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, Nephil translators & co.:
And now some final questions:

How can I make accents on non-vowels? I have tried all kinds of things, but it can't be done in microsoft word, i think. Do you know of any way of doing that?
Well, since most accented non-vowels are non-ASCII characters, the first thing you need is a font that supports them. After that you should be able to use your word processor's Insert Characters option to put them in.

They probably won't display properly in a post on these forums anyway, though. Sorry.

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UBB does not support Unicode input, sadly. I'd assume that BoA doesn't, either, although I don't know its limitations; I'd guess that it can properly display anything that can be brought up using option keys on a standard U.S. keyboard, which does not include diacritical marks over anything other than vowels.

 

In other words, you're best off using digraphs (two letters to represent one sound) rather than diacriticals (marks above the letter).

 

The Classical Slith alphabet is as follows:

Vowels:

a: as in father

e: as in bet

i: like the ee in beet — more or less a Spanish I

o: American no — more or less a Spanish O

u: French lûne or German ü

 

Long forms of the vowels indicated either by double vowles (aa) or a macron (or whatever's available — â).

 

Stops:

k: as in kid

g: as in get

t: as in today

d: as in dog

p: as in pin

b: as in boy

 

Liquids/nasals:

l: as in let

r: as in red

m: as in met

n: as in net

rh: uvular trill, like some French or German R's

 

Fricatives:

f: as in fan

v: as in van

s: as in song

z: as in zoo

kh: ch in properly pronounced Chanukah or in Scottish loch

gh: voiced version of kh

th: as in thing

dh: like th in then

sh: as in should

zh: like the s in measure or z in azure

h: as in happy

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Thanks very much. it afterall did help me a bit. now I have a much better idea of how to make certain tones and letters clear. thanks!

 

is there somebody who would want to eventually see the Nephilian grammar and vocabulary on my site?

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More nitpicks!

 

Why would nephilim use a different number system and have no zero because of their number of digits? Not all humans cultures on Earth used base 10, and it's not as though one of the missing fingers could be the zero finger.

 

Human language has nothing to do with the sounds made by other primates to express feelings. I doubt nephil language would be equivalent to other cats' sounds. In fact, even purring could change from an expression of happiness (or whatever it is) to just another sound for communication. If that's true and vocal chords can work even when the larynx is doing what it does to purr, almost all nephil speech could be modified by purrs. (R or R+purr, F or F+purr, and so on).

 

Since nephilim produce warrios aplenty and no mention is made of any lack of nephil stamina, I think it's fair to say that they evolved out of the cheetah model of energy bursts and into the slow and steady one.

 

—Alorael, who would like to know if nephilim from all over the Empire were banished to Avernum and, if so, if they all spoke exactly the same language before coming down. If they didn't, the language of Avernum could become a pidgin of all the pure nephil languages or dialects from the surface.

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Quote:
Originally written by Arcane Methodological Square:
Why would nephilim use a different number system and have no zero because of their number of digits? Not all humans cultures on Earth used base 10, and it's not as though one of the missing fingers could be the zero finger.
Eh, while a few cultures here and there used something other than a base 10 system (including, for the barefoot, a base 20 system), base 10 is overwhelmingly dominant throughout most of the world. It's not just coincidence.

I mean, that doesn't make it mandatory that nephils have a system based on the number of their fingers, but it does make it a lot more likely.

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Zero as a concept is one thing, but zero as a number is quite another. The earliest cultures did not use zero as a number until they needed advanced maths (such as trigonometry) for things like architecture, at which the Nephilim have never been very good.

 

In fact, the only real castle we've seen was built with the assistance of a human mage; all the other dungeons look to be holes with haphazard partitions.

 

The rationale for a lack of zero was something to the effect of, 'If there's nothing there, why try to count it?' Maybe the shamans would need a zero for their magical formulæ, but given the rather low power and complexity of their magic, it doesn't look like it.

 

Sliths, what with their own history of being decent architects in the past, might well have lost a zero as they reverted to barbarism.

 

It's actually rather funny, just how influential the power of nothing can be.

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Quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:
Quote:
Originally written by Thralni, Nephil translators & co.:
And now some final questions:

How can I make accents on non-vowels? I have tried all kinds of things, but it can't be done in microsoft word, i think. Do you know of any way of doing that?
Well, since most accented non-vowels are non-ASCII characters, the first thing you need is a font that supports them. After that you should be able to use your word processor's Insert Characters option to put them in.

They probably won't display properly in a post on these forums anyway, though. Sorry.
Characters like Alo's — and stuff like ø can be entered through the html code. Some characters don't have html codes, however, and only have numbers. Does this work - @?

Edit: Does! smile

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So I guess I can write... ♠!

 

Uh, where does one get a list of what all these things do? I think Wikipedia\'s page fails me here. It doesn't list every possible four-number hex combination, and there are definitely some that work that aren't listed.

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Quote:
Originally written by Arcane Methodological Square:
More nitpicks!

Why would nephilim use a different number system and have no zero because of their number of digits? Not all humans cultures on Earth used base 10, and it's not as though one of the missing fingers could be the zero finger.

Human language has nothing to do with the sounds made by other primates to express feelings. I doubt nephil language would be equivalent to other cats' sounds. In fact, even purring could change from an expression of happiness (or whatever it is) to just another sound for communication. If that's true and vocal chords can work even when the larynx is doing what it does to purr, almost all nephil speech could be modified by purrs. (R or R+purr, F or F+purr, and so on).

Since nephilim produce warrios aplenty and no mention is made of any lack of nephil stamina, I think it's fair to say that they evolved out of the cheetah model of energy bursts and into the slow and steady one.

—Alorael, who would like to know if nephilim from all over the Empire were banished to Avernum and, if so, if they all spoke exactly the same language before coming down. If they didn't, the language of Avernum could become a pidgin of all the pure nephil languages or dialects from the surface.
I can't remember ever saying something about using the base 10 system, did I? Actually, when I started this project, I actually wanted something different, really special which will make the Nephilian language a new, interesting thing, and I'm on my way of making it that way. this means that not only the cases and verbs are different, but also the counting system. I was planning on using the Babylonian method of counting, and maybe modify it a bit.

The letters m, f ,r and h, as we already broadly discussed, have different pronounciations, also meaning different things. For example this name:

Mrrrrfrrrr

This is just "Mrrrrfrrrr" for us, humans, but more Mrarhfrarh for Nephilim, if you understand what I mean.

I believe that there were two or three main places were Nephilim lived and some still live, therefor giving two or three slightly different dialects, with slightly different pronounciations.

You guys are really obsessed with the purring and roaring, aren't you? *nods in approval*

Dikiyoba: nice to see others (apart from me and kelandon) like to make their own language! Welcome to the club! And as soon as I have Nephilian words for this sentence, I'll greet you in Nephilian.

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Quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:
So I guess I can write... ♠!

Uh, where does one get a list of what all these things do? I think Wikipedia\'s page fails me here. It doesn't list every possible four-number hex combination, and there are definitely some that work that aren't listed.
http://www.unicode.org/charts/

Tremble, mortal, before the might of Unicode.

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I added a new part to me website: "major news", where you can read about the Nephilian grammar and the slith grammar. it isn't much at the moment, but eventually, the grammar will be posted there (Nephilian, Slith is kelandon's area).

 

And before I forget, don't start complaining about grammar and spelling mistakes, okay?

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So those are Unicode numbers. Okay. For some reason, I couldn't see how the numbers lined up with my Character Palette before.

 

In any case, to all of you, I say: ✖. Or perhaps more interestingly, ? ? ?.

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Nephilian.

 

other then that, indeed: what Student of Trinity said.

 

Other then all that: Now that I'm posting, I thought I'd give a small progress report, although probably nobody is interested. All nouns are ready, basic verb conjugation is also ready, need to make four more tenses. Due to lack of time I can't work on it to long, resulting in a lack of progress.

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The name Nephilian sounds wrong. "-ian" is commonly reserved for nationality, and even humans would not call it that way. You wouldn't refer to the Slithzerikaii language as Slithian either.

 

The Nephilim word for the language would be an entirely different one, of course.

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Quote:
Originally written by Arancaytar:
The name Nephilian sounds wrong.
Agreed. I wasn't sure if I should say something before, but I've been thinking this for a while.

Oh, and SoT: ? ? ?. And also, ?.

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I don't care at the moment if nephilian sounds wrong or not. This is just a temporary name, which means it'll get its name later. I only have seventeen words at the moment, and these are just the really necessary ones. A name for the language will be one of the last things I'll think of.

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By the way, does that display on most people's computers? I had to download a particular font to get Unicode Linear B to show up on my computer.

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Many languages are simply called by the adjective of the nationality that speaks the language. The adjective for nephil seems to be nephil, so the language should be nephil. So much for learning nephilish or nephilese!

 

—Alorael, who expects the nepharim to demand that the language become nephir or nephal to show acceptance of the nepharim.

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