Rosalie and Master Obi-Wan finally got fed up and made me give you guys (and them!) a Saalisan ‘crib sheet’. Saalisan is a tolerably complex language. I’ve heard it said there is a reason the Saalisan species is highly tolerant of alcohol – we can’t afford to be buzzed, we have to cope with the language!
The following may be of help.
We’ll be working on the dictionary over the course of War Stories – keep checking back for updates!
– Nasriel K. Threeb
Pronunciation and Grammatical Points:
- Saalisan has five vowel sounds and only five: ah (like in father), eh (like in egg), ee (like in green), oh (like in orange), oo (like in lunar). Y used as a vowel is pronounced exactly the same as i. Where two vowels are written one after the other, as in chaered, they are not pronounced as a blend. Chaered is pronounced CHA-ered. This rule also applies in cases of compound words.
- In the case of a double vowel, as in Saalis or gehdyii, it is acceptable to pronounce the vowel only once.
- CH is always the ch of the Basic word lurch, not the Scotch word loch.
- X is not to be pronounced ts, sk, or indeed in any way but ks. This especially applies at the beginning of words. (X isn’t pronounced ch, either!)
- G is always the hard g of gate, not the soft g of general.
- Where a h immediately precedes an r, the h is silent and the r trilled as in the French language.
- An apostrophe or hyphen is never used to denote possession or contraction: if either appears in a word, that is how the word is spelled, and does not mean another word is connected thereto.
- The plural form of any noun is -al, as in ilaraal, daughters; dai-schenal, fools.
- A noun can be converted into a verb by adding the prefix si-, as to differentiate between iblas, a falsehood, and siiblas, lying or deceiving.
- A verb can be converted into a noun by adding the prefix eng-, as to differentiate between berekes, grumbling, and engberekes, a complaint.
- The compounding of words is used, without hyphenation, to turn a word into a phrase, as in xekacher, “inaccurate”; chenilara, “beloved child”. (E.g. I would have no problem with calling my Master chenray varetki, but if he asked me to translate it might take a while.)
- Compound words are very common, as in loalxan, “their”. (lo + al + xan)
- Wira or vehl should be appended to past or future action verbs to denote when the action takes place, as in wira erelyan, will come. If the action takes place in the present, wlen is considered implied.
- Numbers are “spelled out”, so 72 would be said fitarui, and 100 tehatekateka. After 1,000 the rule changes slightly, so that 1,000,000 is said teha v onoteka, (one and six noughts) and certainly not tehatekatekatekatekatekateka.
- It is correct to call a stranger chen, but never ray, adnil, ilara, or linda.
- Because no wlen and closely related phrases are common, but difficult to say, it is considered pardonable to say instead noen. On the whole, contractions are frowned upon in polite society.
- Above all do not confuse sita and gehdyii. Any half-decent story-teller can explain the reason for this. (A lexicographer I know said he was pretty sure the words were originally mangled versions of Sith and Jedi, but the meanings have changed over the years since the Shendi invasion.)
- Skeg is not rude. Yrelt is.
- To avoid ill-feeling, avoid using the adjective kynanze in relation to Shendi. It will not make you any friends – unless of course you remember to specify that you mean mikri Shendi like Ben and Master Obi-Wan.
- Pensloe and hedyen are not words to be thrown about carelessly. They have very weighty legal meanings.
- Concrete nouns are masculine, abstract nouns feminine, except in the case of ships and other vehicles, which are also feminine. Saalisan has no neuter-gender option – if you don’t know which gender to use, mumble.
- The words used for “we, our” varies according the gender of the speaker: a male would say yoal, yoalxan, a female yual, yualxan, regardless of the other person’s gender. (e.g. if I had to explain something Ben and I had done, I would still say yual.)
- The gender of “they” is determined by the prevailing gender of the group, including both animals and people; e.g. Ben, Kijé, Telcontir, Sima, and I would be referred to as loal, but Sima, Cifonabh, Kijé, Zait, and Blaze, as lual. If the numbers are exactly equal lual is used.
- Wlen can be used to mean “is”, “now”, “am”, or “are”. Unlike wira and vehl, it is never added to verbs in the present tense.
|-al||(suffix) denotes a plural||-ahl|
|eng-||(prefix) denotes a word as a noun||eng-|
|si-||(prefix) denotes a word as a verb||see-|
|athemyx||a precious jewel||ah-THEM-eeks|
|chen||“dear” – respect/affection||chen|
|dai-shen||a fool (lacks morals or wits)||da-EE-shen|
|eran||a writer or poet||ER-ahn|
|hestrem||to recite poetry/orate||HES-trem|
|hroest||language, words, speech||ROH-est|
|kan||daring (diff. from courage)||kahn|
|k’burnam||a small town||k-BOORN-ahm|
|ki (suffix)||of, from||kee|
|mir||paper, esp. legal or official||meer|
|mistrauti||to tell an unconvincing lie||mees-TRAH-oo-tee|
|mleh||[expression of disgust]||mleh|
|mured||concrete, permanent (adj)||moo-REHD|
|narxai||great, supreme (of a person)||narks-AH-ee|
|nataz||light, ‘all right, okay’||nah-TAHZ|
|pepred||a convincing lie||PEHP-rehd|
|revaed||trust, faith, hope (noun)||reh-VAH-ed|
|riyo||a species of large tree||REE-yoh|
|sepris||a tree similar to a cypress||SEH-prees|
|silevri||make, create (verb)||see-LEHV-ree|
|skre||[intensifier, like Latin ego]||skreh|
|snark||steal, or sneak away||snahrk|
|solvi||why or because||SOHL-vee|
|svess||relating to the military||svehss|
|taji-ik||one who lives in one place||tajee-EEK|
|T’Harexto||god of death||t-har-EKS-toh|
|T’Narxai||god of the sky, chief god||t-NARKS-ah-ee|
|tre-etim||havoc or anarchy||treh-EH-teem|
|treng||relating to flying||trehng|
|T’Varel||god of love and marriage||t-vah-REL|
|T’Xan’n||god of snakes and hunters||t-KSAN-n|
|v’ben||devious (literally and then some)||v-BEHN|
|vehl||was [past tense]||vehl|
|vruchlayam||a large city||VRUCH-la-yahm|
|wira||will be [future tense]||WEE-rah|
|wlek||the grand scheme of things||wlek|
|wlen||am, are, is [present tense]||wlen|
|xor||of, about, involving||ksohr|
|yknalen||abandon, throw away||eek-NAH-lehn|
|yo/yu||I, me (m/f)||yoh/yoo|