Virtual Verduria

Dialects Kinship terms Time and Weather Conventional expressions Examples

Dialects [Index]

Regional dialects Class variations

Regional dialects

dialect map

The cultures of the Caďinorian plain are largely rural, and this has encouraged a high degree of dialectalization of Verdurian. In some outlying areas it is difficult to decide whether a dialect of Verdurian or an independent derivative of Caďinor is spoken.

The map above shows the languages and the dialects of the Plain. As an attempt to reduce a complex linguistic reality to a clear geometric presentation, it is perhaps more misleading than informative. If the distribution of almost any sound change or lexical item were mapped (some such maps are included in the monograph on Language in Almea), differences from the dialect map would be noted-- sometimes very striking ones. The dialect map can be considered a summary or overview constructed by overlaying thousands of distribution maps, retaining lines which coincide, and ignoring those which do not.

Even this is not quite true; the result of such a procedure would be a pattern of dialect areas very much smaller than those shown, particularly in isolated areas such as Viminia or Hežina. The names on the map really represent groups of similar dialects.

The map also makes no attempt to show bilingualism (or bidialectism), or small communities speaking one language in another's area (such as the pockets of Viminian-speakers within Caizura). Verdurian is widely spoken in the entire area of the map (and elsewhere) as a second language; Kebreni, Dhekhnami, and Xurnáš have the same status in more restricted areas. Conversely, there are quite large communities within Verduria-mažtana which speak Barakhinei, Ismaîn, Flaidish, or one of the Verdurian dialects.

Dialectal words are given below using the same transcription used for Verdurian and Caďinor, with a few supplemental signs: i.e. â (as in cat), ê/e [bet, bait], ô/o [ought, oat], û [soot], e [schwa], w, j [as in English], r [the rhotacized vowel of curt], x [kh]. There is in fact no standard orthography for most of the dialects. Writing is almost always done in the Mažtane dialect, or at least using the standard Mažtane orthography; when a dialect word is used, or a quotation from a dialect is given, the writer simply adapts it as best he can to Mažtane conventions.


The standard literary and administrative language in Verduria and in most other countries of the Plain is Mažtane, which in technical terms is the speech of educated citizens of Verdúria-mažtana (Verduria city). It is this language which is described in this Grammar.

The Esčambra occasionally addresses language questions, and has given the University of Verduria a charter to create a standard dictionary and grammar. The scholars at the University are not, however, modern terrestrial linguists, and their codification of Mažtane is prescriptive and rather artificial. As an example, they disapprove of the use of reflexive verbs in place of the impersonal pronoun tu, and (imitating Caďinor) they greatly overstate the flexibility of word order in Verdurian. Their dictionary contains no slang and sometimes over-Caďinorizes.

However, aside from class distinctions, regional accents, and the usual local lexical differences, Mažtane is either spoken or understood in the entire northern half of the Plain, and far up the Svetla; also, the other dialects have all borrowed many Mažtane words. This might not have been true several centuries ago; the invention of printing and the increase of trade have been important standardizing influences.


The standard language of the state of Ctésifon (and that of Guaya, Bažra, and Dracnáe) is the dialect of Ctésifon city, which the inhabitants do not consider Verdurian at all-- they call it caďino tëdene, 'modern Caďinor.' Nevertheless it is not all that different from Mažtane (about as far removed from it as American is from British usage).

The Ctésifonese enjoy the pretension that their language is little changed from the days of the Empire. In fact Sarsfahe, Eř, and Benécë are much more conservative; it is the centers of empire rather than the peripheries where language changes fastest. The most vaunted archaism of Ctésifonei, the aspiration of h, is believed to be a revival rather than a survival of older usage; while most of the other phonological differences from Mažtane noted below are pure innovations. (None of these changes is reflected in spelling; Ctésifonei uses the same orthography as Mažtane.)

-- e and o are pronounced open [e, o] in open syllables, closed [ê, ô] in closed ones
-- h is aspirated
-- r is trilled
-- k is pronounced identical to c (that is, as [k])
-- Caďinor t and d palatalize before e as well as before front vowels: čenec 'have'
-- m --> n before affricates as well as stops: inčelan 'arrange'
-- s --> z before nasals: proznai 'I walked'

Ctésifonei does avoid an innovation of the northern dialects, the use of dy as a relative pronoun; but it has innovations of its own, such as the use of žanen 'come' as an auxiliary verb, replacing the future: žai pasetir druk, "I am going to visit a friend," or the use of -ank- as a disapprobatory infix: žianko 'nasty little boy.'


Avéle is the official language of Erenat, spoken in Avéla and (with regional variations) in Novok and the northern portion of Sarnáe (northwestern Dhekhnam).

Avélan chauvinists like to describe their speech as a "sister language" of Verdurian. Again, their claim would have been more plausible some centuries back. Through political, trading, and cultural ties-- Avéla is the birthplace of printing and the Eleďát religion-- Erenat is closely tied to Verduria, and its intellectuals have pushed Avéle in the direction of Mažtane. Already distinctive features of the dialect, such as the use of stádë (from estát lë) as a formal 'you', are in decline.

Phonological characteristics of the dialect include:

-- Vowel reduction in unstressed syllables: e.g. sädre isë 'my sister'
-- The vocalic r (r) has been acquired from Ismaîn, and is used for any unstressed vowel preceding an r (rlelen 'oversee') as well as for loan words
-- r has also replaced Mažtane î: esolr 'donkeys'
-- Caďinor ct becomes š rather than ž: šanen'come'
-- Caďinor c before i, e becomes š rather than s: dešisr 'order'
-- Caďinor d before i, u becomes j rather than z: siji 'thirsty' Only this and the previous change are reflected in spelling when Avéle dialect is written.
-- In the western areas (not Avéla itself), perhaps under the influence of Ismaîn and Kebreni, voicing of intervocalic consonants: ebeze 'thick'

Not surprisingly, Avéle has acquired numerous terms from Kebreni (e.g. turgul 'battalion', epdirau 'holiday'), Ismaîn (prin 'secretary'), and Dhekhnami (kudror 'ambush').

Eř, or Southern, is spoken in the far south of the plain, in Svetla, Pakšohan, Lapiri, and Cerei. It is a language of the common people only; law and literature in these states is committed in more northern dialects, formerly Ctésifonei, now Mažtane.

Eř is perhaps the least unitary of the dialects described here; it varies widely in different regions, and is considered by some to be merely a transition zone between Ctésifonei, Sarsfahe, and Curiye. Each of the following features is found in the majority of Eř dialects, but only that of Iida in Svetla is said to possess them all.

-- Caďinor th and ď become t and d (never ď): ad 'god'
-- ui becomes i (or, in the eastern regions, remains ui) rather than ü: li 'loves'
-- ue becomes e (or, in the eastern regions, ue) rather than ö: šeln 'pretty'
-- h is aspirated, as in Ctésifonei
-- r is pronounced like ř: řis 'grain'
-- l does not, as in northern dialects, change to u before stops: halte 'tall'
-- Caďinor l changes to [ly] ly not y after i: gunilë 'armor'
-- k is pronounced as an velar fricative: xeřom 'coward'

Eř is also notable for a tendency to place the verb at the end of the sentence, for the retention of the 'classical imperative' in everyday use, and for a different formation of the future tense. Its vocabulary retains many Caďinor words lost in the north (lescen 'sell', hun 'land') as well as words from Xurnese, Caizu, and Eluyet. In the sample sentence below, mářilalt derives from mařilë 'wife', another relic of Caďinor, plus the Caizu diminutive -alt.

Mářilalt, soi medi řu urxořan iž caucaio přeni; eti bemi cořošcan řo volu.
[Cira, prenanei soi imfáti až urkoran iž cäciai; řo vulu pišan bemuli caë.]

Wife, remove the children from the woodpile before I chop; I don't want to smash in their little heads.


Sarsfahe, or Eastern, is spoken in Hežina and Melináe, and is perhaps the most conservative of Verdurian dialects: many of the differences below are retentions from late Caďinor rather than innovations.

-- Caďinor th and ď become t and d (never ď): ad 'god'
-- ui and ue become i and e: li 'loves', keřom 'coward'
-- The Mažtane î sound is absent; e occurs instead
-- h is aspirated, as in Ctésifonei
-- r and k are pronounced like ř: řis 'grain', keřom 'coward'
-- Caďinor ct becomes žd (reduced to ž in Mažtane): žde 'comes'
-- Similarly, sc becomes šc rather than š: šceun 'handsome'
-- Likewise, g palatalizes to j rather than ž: jen 'people'
-- And c palatalizes to č rather than to s: čer 'male'
-- d before u, i becomes j rather than Mažtane z: rijir 'smile'
-- Caďinor l does not change to y after i: gunile 'armor'
-- The Mažtane change of en or er to ë does not occur: rencen 'meet'

Sarsfahe is noted for placing pronominal objects after rather than before the verb, and for its mesoclitic negative (inserted before the personal endings); it is also the only Verdurian dialect to have retained Caďinor bu as the negative. Its vocabulary is very difficult for a Mažtane speaker, containing many words of Xurnese, Kešvareni, Eluye-Makši and Dhekhnami origin.

Řohogul, sajile, cii gadni bařidoi badřetu tam ya, esli voyiřbuum telem urestom lelen, bu e?
[Prade, sazë, ci-litnî bortomî tam baďretu ërece, esli řo isvoyirum šeršoligum lelen, řo e?]

Truly, prince, those pesky bandits will hit us for sure, if we don't send a party out there for a look-see, right?


Curiye is spoken in Curiya and Deštai. Curiye is used for local administration, but what literature is produced in the region aspires to Mažtane norms.

-- As in Ctésifonei, e and o are pronounced open [e, o] in open syllables, closed [ê, ô] in closed ones
-- There is also a distinction between u and û = [u]
-- Caďinor ct has become š rather than ž: šanên 'come'
-- c palatalizes to š rather than s: dešidêr 'order'
-- Palatalization of t and d is as extensive as in Ctésifonei: čenêc 'have'
-- The Caďinor fricative kh is retained in Curiye: khûtor 'farm'
-- The same sound replaces Mažtane ř: kho 'no, not'
-- r is flapped [r]
-- k is pronounced c, as in Ctésifonei: cökhôm 'coward'
-- l before a stop becomes u: ceudoni 'trade'
-- en and er are not replaced with ë, as in Mažtane: rêncên 'meet'

Curiye has taken many words from the barbarian tongues around it: skadu 'sheep', bdornor 'stranger', mulua 'saddle.' It is noted for its often bizarre idioms (crežên ôc dëni, lit. 'eat eight days', 'wait a week'), and for its adoption of the third person pronouns of Obenzayet, which supply 'familiar' and 'stranger' forms: go 'he I know', ba 'he who is a stranger' etc.

Khipom êsié go leuné čirond ne cozanan, er cîbûrdné bam dûn a elêďnarên êsié.
[Snugá esë lelnai čiron ne ďarimacán, er ciberznai ilet dan aďnáen esë]

A servant of mine saw an elephant in the wilderness, and I decided to give it to my church.


Benécian, spoken in Benécia and Ešan, is sometimes considered a separate language, or an intermediary between Verdurian and Barakhinei. (Bešbalicue, sometimes described as a dialect of Benécian, is more accurately described as a separate Verdurian dialect.)

-- Benécian shares the vocalic system of Barakhinei: a â e ê i î o ô u û
-- Caďinor ue becomes û, ui becomes î: šcûn 'handsome', 'loves'
-- Caďinor ct has become št rather than ž: šte 'comes'
-- Caďinor sc has become šc rather than š: šôkh 'duke'
-- Caďinor c and g never palatalize: cêr 'male', gên 'people'
-- t and d do not change before front vowels: tâna 'pot', ridir 'smile'
-- The Caďinor fricative kh is retained: khûtor 'farm'
-- en and er are not replaced with ë, as in Mažtane: rêncên 'meet'
-- Caďinor th and ď become t and d, never ď: âd 'god'
-- r is flapped, as in Curiye
-- Mažtane ř is : křît 'pot'
-- l before a stop becomes u: ceudoni 'trade'

Benécian shares many words with Barakhinei-- êta 'money', sîte 'great', maktan 'city'-- but also has characteristic derivations of its own; compare šcûn 'handsome' with Barakhinei ekhûn, Mažtane šön. Its inflectional system contains many differences from Mažtane.

Samârit, kitimi kiem křukh ê štane im êndetêm prespom; cêta latui šcuten s'urêton cûn so zoran.
[Řošriful, prezuireu ci-řuk er žano co ciman silven; cečel deveu platir so uestum cum zerán.]

Stranger, pass this castle and you will come to a forested hill, where you must pay the man with the pizza.


Viminë is spoken in Viminia and parts of Solhai and Lebcaizura. Viminians (a highly rural, isolated people) have the reputation elsewhere in the Plain of being simpletons, and the elements of the Viminian dialect described below are the source of endless comedy in Verduria-mažtana and Ctésifon.

-- Caďinor ue and ui become u and i, not ö and ü: kuhom 'coward', wi 'loves'
-- Caďinor th and ď become s and z: az 'god', pusë 'small'
-- Mažtane final î is absent, replaced by et: azet 'gods'
-- Caďinor ct becomes žd rather than ž: žde maždanan 'comes to the city'
-- h is aspirated
-- b and v are pronounced identically, as a bilabial fricative [B] (as in Spanish)
-- l is pronounced w: fawe 'white'
-- Caďinor kr has become (aspirated) h rather than ř: hit 'pan'

Viminë has taken numerous words from the Caizurans, their former overlords: zavv 'mercenary', ptuyu 'magician'. Viminian also shares with Caizu the tendency to insert subject pronouns and to mark the dative and genitive with prepositions.

Ceyui so ern yaže swa sura, ceyui so mot e debec de wefán, otál se fsurai pro dimon de tiždapaye.
[Com so örn yage soa sura, com so mot e devec lefei, ozë ai im fsurán pro ošoran tižapažië.]

As the eagle hunts the mouse, as the sheep is prey to the wolf, so am I hungry for a mess o' catfish.

Class variations

The speech in some of the rural dialects is fairly uniform; in only three cities is the population urban and sophisticated enough to produce significant class differences in speech: Verduria, Ctésifon, and Avéla. It is worth describing two class varieties of Mažtane, those of the upper and lower classes.


Upper-class speech (Melaštei), widespread among nobles, upper bourgeois, and their retainers and entertainers, shows traits common to all useless effetes: hyperbole, euphemism, flippancy, and over-elaboration.

Phonologically Melaštei is spoken with something of a drawl, and with a trilled r; the pronunciation of s as š is also common. The augmentive -áš- is frequent; other characteristic words are ül 'ancient' = 'old'; pasetir 'visit' = 'sleep with', fayulî 'necessaries' = 'servants', šönule 'little pretty' = 'dear', and soa enšeynura 'duck motif.'

Fuai eludëno otál durnece fašášë, šönule ešë-- tun mizao, ce-kazčala huyon še režžinan vule dec pavi nenóm de muďe!
I was so terribly mad today, my dear-- I tell you, that horrid bitch of a maid wants ten whole ořulî more a week!


The speech of the lower classes-- called soa Basfahe-- is considerably more interesting. It is full of phonetic reductions, slang, curses, and solecisms. In the argot ř is pronounced [hr]; ö as [â], ü as [î]. An unstressed mid vowel is typically inserted into difficult consonant clusters; unstressed vowels are often lost. The tendency to turn s + y into š should also be noted.

The slang of the Basfahe is extremely rich, and benefits not only from native sources, such as redefinition (kazčal 'nasty' = 'monster', isu 'enough' = 'very') and the addition of stock syllables (drukobo 'pal'), but also from other languages, conveyed through immigrants, sailors or traders (zevu 'man', from Kebreni; botoc 'food' from Nanese).

There are argots and argots, of course; those of thieves, beggars, sailors, prostitutes, and temple orphans are particularly distinctive. Each of these specialized argots has contributed to the Basfahe as a whole, and often to the standard language. It should also be realized that the Basfahe is a continuum, from the near-pidgin of recent immigrants, to the fluent and habitual cant of hustlers and petty crooks, to the earthy talk of lower bourgeois who speak Basfahe among themselves but can speak standard Mažtane when needed.

Ey, drukobo, ci-šoz e isu buona šari, iler ambri'eteu.
Hey, friend, this stuff is real cool weed, you'll love it.

Hr'e sešue, Piro, e braďu še.
He ain't heavy, Father, he's m' brother.

Zdešireu, zevu, hro scešimai glavam še ifkiel im hro rašan gecilán. Epei ten' šâna čuza hip, ac auší teneo ci-rašem kazičali.
Look, man, I'm not gonna risk my neck [lit. rattle my sword] in no f--ing dungeon. Maybe you got some nice shit down there, but you also got your f--ing monsters.

Kinship terms [Index]

Direct descent
predavo great-grandfather
avo grandfather
ava grandmother
piro father
mira mother
baraďu brother
sädra sister
meď son
meca daughter
nepo grandson
nepa granddaughter
Indirect descent
avulo great-uncle
onavulo great-uncle's son
kuzulo 2nd cousin (avulo's grandson) (m.)
kuzula 2nd cousin (f.)
vlay uncle
vlaya aunt
kuzo cousin (m.)
kuza cousin (f.)
nemo nephew
nema niece
maris husband
cira wife
süra mother-in-law
nora daughter-in-law
ulëc brother-in-law
ulëca sister-in-law

Other terms may be formed by suffixes.

bo- means 'in-law', specifically one who has married a blood relative: bosädra 'sister-in-law', bomeď 'son-in-law'. There are independent terms for some in-laws, as shown in the table. Beyond the immediate family one generally, as in English, uses the blood relationship term instead: your uncle's wife is called vlaya, not bovlaya.

Your ulëc's wife is your boulëca. More distant relatives are named by description: so avo cire esë 'my wife's grandfather', meď ulëcei esë 'my brother-in-law's son.'

an- can be used to indicate the eldest among siblings. Ammeď 'eldest son' is the most common, but your anvlay is also important, as he is the head of the family if he is older than your father and your grandfather is dead.

leb- refers to relatives by remarriage: lebmira 'stepmother', lebbaraďu 'half-brother.'

The suffixes mi- and pi- can be used to distinguish between cousins, uncles, and grandparents on your mother's or father's side: pivlay 'father's brother', miava 'mother's mother.'

Similarly ba- and sa- distinguish between the children of your brother and your sister: sanemo 'sister's son.'

Where we start to accumulate great-, Verdurians start numbering: your great-great-grandfather is your ftore predavo, and so on. However, this usage is only found where it is strictly necessary, e.g. discussing the genealogy of kings; predavo really means any of your direct ancestors.

Likewise, a single application of on- generally suffices for any degree of descent; but for pedantic purposes you may call your great-grandson onnepo, your nephew's granddaughter ononnema, etc. For that matter, it's acceptable not to apply the prefix at all: if you wish to call your great-uncle's son avulo instead of onavulo, go ahead.

No more than one affix should be added to any of the terms in the table. That is, mivlay, saonnemo, and anavulo are all acceptable, but concoctions like bomionkuzulo are not.

The English kinship system can be extended indefinitely-- sixth cousin twice removed-- although nobody will understand it if you do. The Verdurian system cannot be so extended: e.g. there is no special term for 'third cousin.' One would generally use the closest analogical term-- in this case kuzulo. Indeed, in a large enough clan, the majority of each generation will be kuzuloi of each other; from this fact comes the jocular term for 'extended family', kuzulora.

Time and Weather [Index]

Telling time

The Verdurian day has 24 hours and begins at dawn (solial). Thus one says

E kî hora? What time is it?
E solial. It's dawn [6 a.m.].
E ana hora. It's one hour [7 a.m.].
E ďinî horî. It's three [9 a.m.].
E decsues horî. It's sixteen [10 p.m.].

Time is also counted from noon (eldën), sunset (zakát), or midnight (elnočy), in order to use smaller numbers. In this case the hour is given with a genitive indicating the starting point:

E ana hora šueze. It's one in the afternoon [1 p.m.].
E ďunî horî nočii. It's two at night [8 p.m.].
E par horî utrei. It's four in the morning [4 a.m.].

Time expressions are usually abbreviated: 5h means pan horî after dawn. The above three times are abbreviated 1h-š, 2h-v, and 4h-u. (The v stands for vëčerei, which however is no longer used. In official documents one sometimes sees h expanded to h-d, for horî dënei.)

The smaller units of time are the megua, of which there are 12 to the hora (5 minutes each); and the piya, of which there are 100 to the megua (3 seconds each). Half and quarter hours (that is, 6 or 3 meguî) are also used. Thus we have

10hm dec horî er muatë 4:30 p.m.
9h9 dec horî muán bargë 3:45 p.m.
10h3 dec horî er bargë 4:15 p.m.
6h1 sues horî ana 12:05 p.m.
5h11 sues horî muán ana 11:55 a.m.
or pan horî dežán
2h7,20 ďunî horî hep er dvadec 8:36 a.m.

Days of the week

scúreden day of the country
širden day of Išira, goddess of light
fidren day of Fidra, goddess of night
calten day of Caloton, god of the sun
zëden day of the sea
néronden day of Nečeron, god of markets
ceďnare feast of Enäron

Verdurians typically work six days and have ceďnare off, and néronden morning off every other week (originally, to go to market). Worshippers of Eleď call this day sabato instead.

The months

month #days meaning season
olašu 27 beginning demeča (spring)
reli 27 sowing
cuéndimar 28 festival
vlerëi 27 name of planet esta (summer)
calo 27 heat
recoltë 28 harvest
yag 27 hunt peleti (fall)
želea 27 calm
išire 28 name of planet
šoru 27 dark iveri (winter)
froďac 27 cold wind
bešana 28 promise

The Almean year has 328 days. Every fifth year, except those divisible by 300, has a leap-day, the kasten, between recoltë and yag. It is not part of any month but it is a normal week-day. (Leap-days have been observed since Caďinorian times. Even so the year is too short, and the vernal equinox creeps slowly forward in the calendar. No systematic correction is applied; instead, when the pagan priests become aware of the discrepancy, every century or two, the First Patriarch declares an extra kasten. In medieval times such proclamations did not reach everyone, and the calendar could vary by region.)

The planets Išire and Vlerëi are the brightest in Almea's sky. The other month names are descriptive of the seasons in the homeland of the Caďinorians (present-day Svetla). In Verduria itself the growing season lasts from olašu to yag and one can often get in two crops.

Other time expressions

Expressions involving age use the verb tenec 'to have' (or the preposition še).

Kedimo zoni tenei? How old are you?
Tenao dvadecďín zoni. I am twenty-three years old.
Ředao dy tene 23 zoni. I believe he's 23 years old.
Londrot Täl, še 23 zonî. Londrot Täl, age 23.
Řo tencom sul decsues zoni. We were only sixteen.

To express how long ago something happened use esan 'there is':

E ďinî dënî. Three days ago.

Trounerai so Sannam esne ana hora.
I had found the Lord one hour before.

E an hepdën dy Frédrot creže ne Prusin Frédrotei.
Fred's been eating at Fred's Bar for one week.


The current weather is expressed using the verb žanen, which normally means 'to come'.

Kiel že? --Že froe.
How's the weather? It's cold.

There are also some verbs relating to weather conditions: belfassec 'be fair'; pluyer 'rain', neyžen 'snow.' These verbs are always used impersonally.

Belfašše, ac vremë pluyre.
It was nice out, but then it rained.

To attribute temperatures to persons or objects one uses esan:

Ai froe. Ei froe. Ci-për e cal.
I'm cold. You're cold. This rock is hot.

Conventional expressions [Index]

Expressions such as the following are highly formalized; one should not attempt originality here. The examples are given using the intimate second person; conversion to mu and tu is straightforward.

Verdurians are more formal than most English speakers and greatly appreciate verbal courtesies.

Emai. Dobre utro. Dobrë šueza. Dobre vëčer.
Hello. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening.

Piyula. Inžanenei. Eř ásuireu.
One moment. Come in. Sit down.

Kiel len bože? Kiel läde? Esce bo'?
How do you do? How's it going? What haps?

Bože. Bože, dëkuy, er len? Lyö dobrece. Řo et feyai.
Fine. Fine, thanks, and you? Very well. Not bad.

Lereže eř rëcen. Eř mësai. Kiel eř epai snucan?
Pleased to meet you. At your service. How can I help you?

Ar. Řo. Epe. Ř'e niš len.
Yes. No. Maybe. None of your business.

Urave. Dëkuy. E niš. Et ďiloranei. Dolorai.
Please. Thank you. You're welcome. Excuse me. I'm sorry.

Ad onlelán. Esme fruece. Ravec fue.
Goodbye. See you soon. It's been a pleasure.

Kiel eř nomei? Eř lübao.
What is your name? I love you.

Examples [Index]

1. Emanél Mitušek: Base racont

Mitušek's story is represented as being told by a simple porter to a group of gentlemen. The full story can be found in Dvadec racontî (Twenty stories), Emanél Mitušek, Znak Bouanei, Verdúria-mažtana, 3468.

Base racont

Tësî mu šrifo, sannoi esë,(1) kedimo šrifta tróumo ne Šriftanáen i Verdúria-- isu dy smerisî mil pážianië, et parete, prosotü divrec cečel, prokena soî osänî eu otál mudraî, dy im tësen almean řo epo tróuen muďe mudraim, hoyan išo pro šatem zonin.

Ča! Fuáy e, kiam esnu(2) ďinî suléomî ke elircu dénuo co Reuelán prosian im soán Biškon. So pere zet nomne Isava, er fue ismaë. Fue haute er macre, cum irevolun mlaken er nültenen; zet abilne ab pelerinán er samrukavon, er ab sönkumpoin kořui husilei-- licre fue com snugán snugé, ac tróune kiel zet abilen com šidan.

So ftore fue viminë, er otál zol dy bouan, hoyan řo otál čume, acinao. Fue meď hutoromei, er tence estä teša lenocseë ševeuë, er soa iscreniora lië fue so muďe inye er äsera, acřó kiam osne gulere. Vremya mü lačano kašir až ilun!(7) Fuáy e, kiam gedre uestum tra atun, prokena so dobu malmiže inďulom lië. Zet nomne Bero.

Poslëdni tenco Savel, ke fue verdúry, zevu breve er lerte, hepe meď hepei meďei ilu, er visandre dénuo römát, prokena pirodonul lië ešele tro piďë ab kion zet alir. Ut ešele řo otál pigre, crivcele soi osäni im selä, ac řo nikagdá epne aklädan zet rizuir.

A low tale

All of you know, my lords, how much knowledge you will find at the University of Verduria, such that students from a thousand lands, it seems to me, clamor to study there, because the masters are so wise that in all the world you can't find a wiser one, though you look for a hundred years.

Well! There were once three young men who lived along Reuel Street in the Biško(3). The first called himself Isava, and was from Ismahi.(4) He was tall and thin, with a black and curled moustache; he wore a cape and vest-coat, and riding boots of real leather-- poor as a servant's servant he was, but he knew how to dress himself like a dandy.(5)

The second was Viminian, and as strong as a bull, though not as smart, I hear. He was the son of a farmer, and had a great mess of blond hair(6), and his disposition was the most kind and merry, except when he got mad. Then you hid from him! Once he threw a man across a room, because the guy insulted his tutor. His name was Bero.

Finally you have Savel, who was Verdurian, a short clever chap, seventh son of a seventh son he was(8), and studying to be an accountant, because his inheritance was too small to live on. If only he weren't so lazy, he would read his masters into the ground(9); but he could never resist having some fun.

1. The narrator is talking to gentlemen (sannoi), but seems not familiar enough with them to have mastered the formal tu.
2. Fuáy e, kiam esne is the conventional formular for opening a story, like the English 'Once upon a time there was...'
3. The Biško is the students' and artists' neighborhood in Verduria city, just south of the University on the Island.
4. The Ismaîn are considered devious and proud, though not really refined.
5. Isava's clothes are those of a gentleman, but his true estate is betrayed by his thinness-- an aristocrat is fat.
6. Blond hair is a mark of Southern descent and is considered rustic.
7. The imperative adds some liveliness to the sentence.
8. Like a snugá snugé (a servant's servant), a seventh son of a seventh son would be very poor. Both expressions are Verdurian idioms.
9. Literally, he could study them into the river.

2. Eleďne Margiteya: Celsfahe com Šm Deberen

From So elir Šm Ihaney Deberei (the Life of Dr. John Debere), by Eleďne Margiteya, 3277. Debere is one of Verduria's finest essayists, famous both for his scholarship, his strong pro-Eleďe convictions, and his extemporaneous wit.

At issue in the passage below is the legitimacy of the House of Eleďe. In theory the ruler of Verduria was never hereditary, but was selected by the Biyetora, the assembly of nobles. In practice, the Sáluer family soon acquired something of a monopoly over the throne-- over the sash (gintro), to use the Verdurian symbolology-- and provided over half the sannoi (Lords) of Verduria, as well as the Kings of its first dynasty, the Arcalnei (from the accession of Caleon, 2943). After the usurpation of Boďomor Kušdey the Biyetora elevated the duke of Pelym, Caloton Soley, to the sash; Soley also had some connection to the Arcalnei and to the Sáluerî.

However, the wizard dictator Utu took power in 3198, and was succeeded by Utu-On. It was Tomao Ihtüec, leader of the Mažtan-Kal (City Forum) and baron of Arostrana, who led the revolution which toppled Utu-On, and was acclaimed by the Biyetora as King. In 3257, the date of this conversation, Ořeon Badbec (not Soley), the then duke of Pelym, caused some commotion by claiming to be the rightful King. The duke explained that the monarchy had been a 'divine gift' to the Sáluerî, and that he as duke of Pelym was the rightful heir of this gift.

Elena, Tomao's daughter, engendered a constitutional change under which the Esčambra (the Verdurian parliament, which includes representatives of people, nobility, and clergy) rather than the Biyetora (composed of high nobles only) has the right to choose a new King. Ořeon's claim, by the way, died with him; later Dukes were friendly to the monarchy.


Šm Debere fue audäm im Curesin u drukán zië Gn Andaleon, so depirom dy tróune rëco lë ne šriftanáen.(1) Oligulu ciozë colre ne domán lië nočín iž lädecan lië, ktë otál esnai.

Nëcto ke esne ktë-- ředao Maizmesti-- pavetne siča soa bäzä Soleii, Ořeon šoh Pelymei, er so mižaam Donulei aďië.

--So mižao Donulei aďië e cidimo sancuraya, miže Debere. So pol ci-donulei bäzecei ya tu ilet imnišne. Soa imaltena Tomaei debiyetne er soi aďi er soi Soleom.

--Ac puřo soî Soleî tenu amrábisem bäz pro gintron, kiom tencu iž Utun?

--Řo řoece. Ublianam pro piyulan soa eta bäzei Ořeonei lië pro šohín, prokena řo anoke pera Soleuë. Řo epe mizec sul nrüsk, dy soa dálua e mezinece ziëca šohii Pelymei, prokena soî tengintroi lengî er ambrábisî Arcalnei cam ižläznu, er ërece perece tencu gintram daluim. Ši-tagiam ilat sudü žankî ofórize er ženašee tombir nun iy žanmen(2). E im mezinen suvea tagië apros tagië. Esli soa curayora Soleuë suvne soa ďayem, dy ab řezin befelán aďië tagia tencele gintram, urë ca zam debiyu(3), prokena ceprokio(4) soî Arcalneî ilet tenu elnora. Esli duya Soley naže, e dy Arcaln tombre, er iššelce bäz zië; er Soley ya tombre otál.

--Ac esce řo e niš ak gintrovelecán? cuesnai.

--Esli e altu, ab soán taun iššele so gintram, miže Gruneom.

--E ozë, er esli tene lonëglér ženei, esčambre, er biyetore, ce-uestum tu řo ilet nome ni velec ni fsitenec, ac Spasiec, Akežom, Nážei Imlebec. Soa vulei ženei, kiam ya divere, e ne leben tagian. Ozë nese elut. --Er kiam Šm Debere ya miže, nikto řo epne tróuen log de muďe surmetan iy aklogen, hoyan esnu desî sëoligomî ci-Ořeonei im atunán.


Dr. Debere was to be the guest, in Curesi, of Mr. Andaleon, the brewer whose acquaintance he made at the University. A group therefore gathered at his house the night before his departure; I was among them.

Someone there-- Maizmesti, I believe-- mentioned the Soley Pretender, Ořeon, duke of Pelym, and the theory of the Divine Gift.

"The theory of the Divine Gift is so much nonsense," said Debere. "The very ground for this claimed gift has been abolished. The accession of Tomao disenfranchised both the pagan gods and the Soleys."

"But certainly the Soleys have a legal claim to the sash, which they held before Utu?"

"Not at all. Let us forget for a moment Ořeon's own claim to be duke; for he is no descendent of the first Soley. Only a fool could say that the kingship is in the nature of things(5) a property of the duchy of Pelym: because the long and legitimate dynasty of the Arcalnei preceded them, and was in fact the first to hold the royal sash.(6) Every dynasty is condemned by the accidents of fertility and opinion to fall sooner or later. There is in the nature of things a succession of dynasty after dynasty. If the argument of the Soleys is correct, that by an eternal commandment of the gods a dynasty has a right to the throne, then they unseat themselves; because in that case the Arcalnei still hold it. If then Soley reigns, it is because Arcaln fell, and lost its claim; and Soley has done the same."

"But can nothing be done against a usurper?" I asked.

"If he is a tyrant, morally he loses the right," said Gruneom.

"It is so. And if he has the acclamation of people, Parliament, and nobility, that man is not called a usurper or imposter, but is named Savior, Protector, Renewer of the Land. The will of the people, once it has changed, is with the new house. Thus is born legitimacy." And when Dr. Debere had spoken, no one could find a word, whether in agreement or in contradiction, to speak further on the subject, although there were in the room several supporters of this Ořeon.

1. Note the relative clause beginning with dy, avoiding the awkward rëco kë tróune...
2. Now or later-- lit. 'now or (in the) future.'
3. Cf. biyeten šoh (acc.), to make the duke an elector; biyeten dalun (dat.), to elect a king; thus zet debiyeten 'to disenfranchise oneself.'
4. Šm Debere's demonstrative adverbs, such as prokio 'for that reason' are rather archaic.
5. mezinece, a very useful word-- 'following the Mezinë, the divine order'; thus, 'logically, necessarily, obviously, fittingly, by God's plan,' according to the context.
6. The gintro (sash), as the symbol of legitimacy, has spawned derivatives such as tengintroi 'sashholders, legitimate rulers', velgintro 'sash-stealer, usurper.'

3. Ikobo Mirtíy: So zaklát

From the Racontî verdúrî ženei ('Verdurian folk stories'), collected and retold by Icovo Mirtíy, and published in 3262.

The use of the present tense is typical of such fables. Verdurian writers are not so wedded to the past tense as are English-speaking ones.

So zaklát

Bardinó er Guryon voitu im zaklatán lelen ke epe so muďe fasilece adesan dalum. Cummižu fäsir so zaklát apros pan zonin, er ši-zonán onrëcen.

Bardinó proše divee scura er ilat veture, er rëce dénuo(1) žen lië; yage cum Barsucán, er egule cum Arasnin, er tëcize er moleze cum Maršon. Pronun Guryon, ab mužon zië er řavican, abbose imlädan céšuaš belgomië, šualsannoi sur pakán kentán.

Ftoren zonán Bardinó činece dénuo ečom pro imbeman dasculoin hicetevisam, alaďea, Caďinam, aluatas, eyurcrivát, plesčura, kestora, er lätát; er mušî caë divre peran fuaín ivrec er crivan, er oteran Aď. Guryon ci-tëmpon ya creže Urs, so šofom céšuašei lië, er prene nivam lië; ilet nkašu dénuo mil dascoi.

--Ečomoro? cuese Guryon drukán zië. Esce suzanei, dy eseyum adesan dalom?

--Otál le řo ei dalu, mis lef. Vižienam.

Ac prošan zonán ërece Guryon ya adese dalum; duise céšuaš zië ab monin venceon ir dernén dalun, esten Čironán. Cupe cum zen(2) šefomi fäsulië céšuašië im nižyát: Čucul, Lefa, Örn, Lupek, Giuro. Nenén zonán Bardinó er druk zië Top ya tróuu lebem žuim méunen ke imcrešme irďimom po muaten, er veturu dénuo soa scura pro ilet imbeman soán ženán. Ti-kuna ilat ingrime Bardinó ozë, ac ilat doršete saten maladnáa.

--Nun ai Dalu, mis soa gurë. Permizao, dy činecteo ivrora?

--Ašcelu dy řo(3), mis Bardinó. Řo tenao diďam.

Ya e dénuo fascotene četven zonán. E nabro i felnavira ke tësiše urzem scurem er zëem, er bolem opon ilet amene žesán. Ab torán zië, sate hižena domië, er cam done licrem. Lae inclaesa prokena isvärece desi Lapisi er Egusfer is furnáen tšurecán. And eto tu ilet nome Ovnelom.

Guryon otál e fascotene. Imrete naž zië ir perä kent, er imcuče er vence tësem scurem mažtanuli, ac tot Bardinei.

--Lelei dy ai nun Elordalu er Atabo, mis Bardinón. Prokio ya řo spureo? Zaklát taë e salädul!

--Panî zonî, mis guren. Esli suve soa ďayem, Guryon, ilat suvmei otál apros zonán, řo e?

Guryon cummis; ac sul apros anán iliažyošán, an hipom lië, Estecäh, opune er deprene gintram lië. Kaë fueu nižnî lië bistru ilet metan im tyurma, er soa Elória lië tombe im prak.

Nenén zonán so Dalu scurë ktë žese Bardinó šušče sam imfátin, er tu biyete tësvuáece Bardinón. Prinime, er načale dénuo mudraece, er so tëse žen ilet veaďe. Ne urokešen zonei, ab coamrabán zië še sanno scurë, tróue kiel lelen Guryon im fakon lië im scurin Estecähei.

--Pyeru eř lelen im tyurman, mis.

--Ya permizao, mis soa gurë. Ča, ya irzoveo, raf rafei.(4)

--Malbosa, druk esë. Žanenei et lelen kiam fäsreteu, voittom im otren zaklatán!

--Rauouar! adveče Guryon.

The wager

Coyote(5) and Lion made a wager to see who could most easily become a king. They agreed to meet once a year, and to end the contest after five years.

Coyote then chose a country and travelled over it, and met its people; he hunted with Badger, and wove sweaters with Spider, and hammered and sawed with Beaver. Meanwhile Lion, by means of his roar and his courage, succeeded in joining a tribe of warriors, horsemen(6) on a nearby steppe.

The second year Coyote ran a school to teach the young animals mathematics, music, Caďinor, grammar, rhetoric, history, natural philosophy, and athletics;(7) and many of them learned for the first time how to read and write, and to know God. Lion at this time ate Bear, the chief of his tribe, and took his place; a thousand animals now feared him.

"Schoolmaster?" asked Lion of his friend. "Do you remember that we're trying to become kings?"

"You aren't a king either," said the other. "We'll see what happens."

But the next year Lion, in fact, did become a king: he led his tribe to a brilliant victory over the last king, a great Elephant. He personally boxed the other tribal leaders into submission-- Leopard, She-Wolf, Eagle, Fox, Stallion. The same year Coyote and his friend Mole discovered a new way to plow that increased one's yield by half, and travelled the land to teach it to the people. Coyote got some money from this, but he spent it to establish a hospital.

"Now I am a King," said the great cat. "I suppose you'll become a bookseller now?"

"I think not," said Coyote. "I don't have the time."

Indeed, he was very busy the fourth year. He captained a sailing ship that explored strange lands and seas, and brought back much wealth. With his own share he built a row of houses, and gave them to the poor. He got some reknown by saving some Rabbits and a Hedgehog from a burning theater. As a result of this, he was named a Judge.

Lion was also busy. He extended his realm over the whole steppe, and invaded and conquered all of the civilized lands except Coyote's.

"You see I am now an Emperor and King of Kings(8)," he said to Coyote. "Why not just give up? Our wager is over!"

"Five years," said Coyote. "If you're right, you'll be just as right a year from now."

Lion agreed; but after only one month one of his lieutenants, an Alligator, rebelled and seized his throne. His own subjects bustled to throw him in prison, and his Empire crumbled into dust.

That same year the King of the country where Coyote lived died, without children, and Coyote was elected King by acclamation. He accepted, and ruled wisely, and he was loved by the whole nation. At the end of the year, using his privileges as a head of state, he managed to see Lion in his prison cell in the Alligator's land.

"I'm sorry to see you in jail," he said.

"I'll bet," said Lion. "Well, you win, fair and square."

"Bad luck, old friend. Come see me when you get out. We'll have another bet."

"Rawowar!" replied Lion.

1. Note the frequent use of dénuo in this story, referring to the habitual activities of Lion and Coyote during each year. You will also see ya used, by contrast, to highlight a specific, completed event.
2. Lit., 'accompanied by himself', a nice paradoxical idiom with the idiomatic meaning 'with no one else', thus, 'personally, by himself.'
3. Lit., 'I think that no,' that is, 'I think not.' French has the same construction: Je pense que non.
4. Raf rafei, lit. 'justice of justice', an idiom which can be translated 'fair and square.' Compare 'A gentleman's gentleman.'
5. The bardinó is a type of wild carnivore similar to the coyote. It is an intelligent animal, and in stories appears as clever, though not malicious. Guryon is a masculine derivative of gurë 'lion.'
6. There are several types of šualsannoi, 'horselords,' nomadic nations of the steppes. Only in the last few centuries have the agricultural states achieved the military strength needed to escape their periodic ravages.
7. This list describes the normal education of a Verdurian below the university level (although rural children would only have one or two years of it). Kestora could be glossed as 'philosophy,' including natural philosophy, that is, descriptive science. To study the kestî 'types of things' in the world is to study the things.
8. Elordalu er atabo. Much history is resumed in these words. The Caďinorian Emperor was called atrabion, whence atabo. A dalu was a prince of those times-- a king today; an elordalu is king of a larger realm-- the modern term for emperor. The conjunction of both terms is reminiscent of the title of the Verdurian monarch, dalu er sanno, 'King and Lord.'

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