|Dialects||See "dialects" below|
Official language in
Shinasthana (震旦語系, tjerh-tanh-ngja′-′kêgh) is a group of languages most widely spoken in Themiclesia, with 22 officially-recognized dialect groups. It is a member of the Menghic language family, originally spoken in Menghe and introduced to Themiclesia by Meng merchants and settlers in several strata. The variety of Shinasthana that is the official language in Themiclesia is l'ong-ngja', or the "Common Speech". Language policy in pre-modern Themiclesia had curtailed the dialectal variety present in the country, with several now critically endangered; modern efforts to preserve them are in effect. Shinasthana has around 41 million native speakers, domestically and abroad, as well as several million second language speakers. The language is widely taught and researched in foreign educational institutions.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Morphology
- 4 Writing Systems
- 5 Phonology
- 6 Comparison
- 7 Vocabulary
- 8 Dialectal variation
- 9 Comparative phonology
- 10 Scholarship
- 11 Neologisms
- 12 In popular media
- 13 Notes
- 14 See also
The word Shinasthana is from an early transliteration of tsjinh (name of a dynasty) into Old Maverican, suffixing -sthana, which means "place"; this term was later further transliterated by Casaterran scholars into Shinasthana, Sinastana, Xinastana, Zenaktana, Shenaclana, and also Themiclesia. Though technically the same word, Shinasthana is now exclusively used to refer to the language, and Themiclesia the country.
The phylogeny of Shinasthana was considered settled in the 19th century, as a branch of the Menghic languages, which is distributed in Menghe, Themiclesia, Argentstan, Dzhungestan, northern Maverica, and communities outside them. However, in 1935, Themiclesian scholar S. N. Kip discovered that the 22 dialects of Shinasthana do not form a monophyletic clade of languages; that is, there is no single language was the ancestor to all Shinasthana dialects and only them. Rather, the language shows at least two strata of Menghic influence, which may be connected to waves of Menghean immigration to Themiclesia.
The oldest layer corresponds to Themiclesia's lengthy pre-dynastic period and reflects phonological features of Old Menghean; S. G. Mang places this layer around the 10-4th c. BCE, or the founding of Themiclesia as a trading post, ending at the start of the Hexarchy. This layer is not represented as any single dialect in Themiclesia, but traces of its structure can be evinced in some of the more archaic ones as irregular readings. Systematic reconstruction of this layer is difficult due to lack of material. The main characteristics of this stratum are:
- Non-monosyllabic or "iambic" words, with a minor syllable preceding the main syllable;
- Non-obstruent prefixes in *s(ə)-, *N(ə)-, and *m(ə)-;
- Obstruent prefixes, such as *p(ə)-, *t(ə)-, *k(ə)-, and *q(ə)-;
- *r- infix;
- Certain items seem to contain dual or trial prefixes;
- A series of uvular consonants *q, *qʰ, *ɢ, *ɴ, and *ɴ̥ and their labialized counterparts *qʷ, *qʷʰ, *ɢʷ, *ɴʷ, and *ɴ̥ʷ;
- Codas, some compound, and suffixes in *-nC, *-k, *-q, *-ʔ, and *-s;
- Syllabic coda in *-kə.
The Southern Dialect Group, represented by the common dialect, descends from the lingua franca of the learned elites from the 3rd c. BCE to the 3rd CE. It is, by a considerable degree, the most conservative of modern Menghean languages, and the fullness of its phonetic variety is preserved only with the assistance of Maverican writing, which was used to transcribe Shinasthana characters phonetically by Mavericans. This system was later used by Themiclesians themselves as a guide to proper pronunciation. The main characteristics of this layer, as they evolve into the common dialect are:
- *N- is preserved before obtruents as prenasalization, e.g. *N-p > mb, *N-t > nd, and *N-k > n-g (this contrasts with ⟨ng⟩, so is written ⟨n-g⟩ )
- but preserved before continuants assimilating to the place of articulation, e.g. *N-l > nl and *N-h > nh
- *m- and *k- > ′ [ə] before obstruents, e.g. *m-prong > ′prjong;
- but preserved before non-obstruents, e.g. *m-ljə-s > mljeh and *k-rak > k.rak.
- *s- is retained.
- *r- is retained.
- Iambic prefixes in *Cə-C- simplify to C-C-, while simple prefixes and unprefixed initials *(C-)C- > (C-)Cj-.
- *N- is preserved before obtruents as prenasalization, e.g. *N-p > mb, *N-t > nd, and *N-k > n-g (this contrasts with ⟨ng⟩, so is written ⟨n-g⟩ )
- Plain and labialized uvulars merge with corresponding laryngeals in all environments, *q(ʷ) > ′(w), *qʰ(ʷ) > h(w), *ɴ(ʷ) > ŋ(w), and *ɴ̥(ʷ) > ŋ̊(w)
- *ɢ > l; *ɢʷ > ghw
- Suffix *-ʔ and *-q is lost and generates the rising tone;
- Suffix *-s lost after vowels, liquids, and nasals, generating the lowering tone;
- but voices final stops, *-ps > -bh; *-ts > -dh; *-ks > -gh; *-kws > -gwh
- retained in *-ʔ-s > -s, e.g. 好 *huʔ-s > hus "liked", from 好 *huʔ > hu′, "to like"; 上 *daŋʔ-s > djangs "up, high", from 上 *daŋʔ > djang′ "raise"
The Northern Dialect Group is thought to represent the language of the Chǒllo aristocracy and of the migrants to Themiclesia in the mid-6th century. This stratum sees general phonetic shifts in the syllabic core, unlike in previous strata, where only the onset and coda seem to participate in them. The dialects spoken in northern Themiclesia represent this stratum best, and, given changes shared with the common ancestor of Menghean dialects today, seem much more familiar to speakers of that language today.
In the following list, acute refers to dental and liquids, and grave refers to everything else.
- *p- and *q- are lost
- *t- displaces the following obstruent
- *k- is lost before obstruents
- *k-r- > k-; *k-r̥ > kʰ (Div. II)
- *k-l- > k-; *k-l̥ > kʰ (Div. I)
- *s- displaces the following voiced nasal
- *s- interacts with the following consonants
- *sn̥- and *sŋ̊- > t͜sʰ-
- *sm̥- > ɕ-
- *sk- and *sq- > s-
- *skʰ- and *sqʰ- > h-
- *str- > ʈ͜ʂ-
- *stj- > ɕ-
- *sdj- > ʑ-
- *sdrj- > ʐ-
- The fate of **sɴ-, **sŋ̊ʷ-, **sɴ̥, and **sɴ̥ʷ-, if such sequences existed, is unclear
- *r- causes the following alveolar to become retroflex and metathesizes with other following obstruents
- *N- causes voiceless initials to become voiced
- *m- is lost except before *r-
- *l̥- and *r̥- > tʰ-; *l̥j > ɕ; *l̥r(j)- > ʈʰ(j)
- *l- > d; *lj- > j
- *n̥- > tʰ-; *n̥j- > ɕ-
- *ŋ̊- and *ɴ̥ > x-
- *ŋ̊ before *e > ɕ-
- *m̥-, *ŋ̊ʷ-, and *ɴ̥ʷ > xʷ-
- *tr- > ʈ-, *tʰr- > ʈʰ-, *dr- > ɖ-, *nr- > ɳ-, *sr- > ʂ-
- *tj- and *klj- > t͜ɕ- , *tʰj- and *kʰlj- > t͜ɕʰ-, *dj- and *glj- > d͜ʑ-
- *g(ʷ)- and *ɢʷ in Div. I, II, and IV > h(ʷ)-
- *kʷ > kw; kʰʷ > khw; gʷ > gw
- *-r- after iambic initials gives rise to Division II vowels
- weakened to subphonemic [ɯ] after grave initials
- *-r- after simple initials disappears except after grave initials and preceding front vowels, where it is weakened to -ɨ-
- -j- is inserted after all simple initials without *-r-
- *-r- after iambic initials gives rise to Division II vowels
- *-s suffixes
- *-ps and *-ts > -j(H);
- *-ks and *-s > -(H);
- Liquids codas
- *-l > -j
- *-r > -n
- *-aj > a
- Labialvelar codas
- *-ikʷ > ek; *-rikʷ > -rek; *-(r)jikʷ > -juk
- *-akʷ > -ok; *-rakʷ > -ruk; *-(r)jakʷ > -jak
- *-rjiw > rji
- *ra > æ
- *re and *rə > ɛ
- *o before acute coda > wa
- *u before acute coda > wə
- *ja and *je before acute coda > je
- *-a > -o; -ja > -jo
- *-ro > -o
- Diphthongization of *u
- *-u > -aw
- *-ru > -æw
- Assimilation of velar and alveolar codas after *i
- *-iŋ and *-ik > -en and -et
- Assimilation of labials
- *-jə following bilabials and labialized consonants > -ju
- Div. II rounded vowels before velar codas
- *-ruŋ and *ruk > -ɵŋ and -ɵk
- *-roŋ and *-rok > -ɞŋ and -ɞk
- Merging of mid-vowels
- *-ə > -əj
- *-rə > -ɛj
- *-ə between acute initial and coda > -e
- *-rjə > -ɨi
- *-jo > jwo
- *-rjaŋ and *rjak > -jɛŋ and -jɛk except after acute initials
- *-jam > -jem
- *-s suffixes
Modern loans are a blanket term for Menghean influence after the 6th century. As Themiclesia's language has been well-established after then, loans rarely add more than an alternate readings to existing words. In the earlier period, between the 6th and 19th centuries, loans generally agree with the Menghean Gwanhwa; after Gwanhwa was abolished as lingua franca in Menghe, later loans agree with one of two sources, one being the Chǒllo dialects and the other the Menghean Botong-ǒ. A prominent example is the reading meng as in "Menghe"; the standard reading in Themiclesia would be mrangs. The former reading is used exclusively as a abbreviation for "Menghe", while the later is the name of the Meng Dynasty, with which Themiclesia identified for much of history.
Shinasthana as a family of languages exhibits both agglutination and isolation. In the more archaic languages, as in the reconstructed ancestral language, morphology is productive, while in the more derived ones, morphology, often obscured by phonetic change, is unanalyzable and vestigial. It is assumed that loss of morphology is an innovation shared by most members of the Meng language family, though notable exceptions exist; as for the conspicuous derivational system in the Common dialect, scholars agree it has been retained mainly through conscious effort and an early bloom in linguistics, likely inspired by Maverican grammarians during the early years of Themiclesian settlement.
It should be noted that there is contrast between lexical and morphological segments that appear before r, e.g. 兢 krjang ≠ 京 k.rjang. Themiclesian grammarians consider k the root consonant in the former, but r in the latter. A comparable but imperfect contrast in Anglian is that between redress and re-dress. While prefixes can occur before any number of root consonants, confusion only arises before r; a prefix is separated from it by means of a full stop or period <.>.
The function of prefix *k- is not clear. In the Old Menghean period, scholars believe it had two allomorphs, *k- (simple) and *kə- (iambic), with no discernable difference in meaning. Gleamed from very limited examples in old texts, it appears to have a concretizing function.
- 囧 *k-mrang > kwrjang "window", from 明 *mrang > mrjang "bright"; 格 *k-rak > k.rak "arrive", from 落 *rak > rak "descend"
The prefix *s- has multiple functions. In the Old Menghean period, scholars believe it had two allomorphs, *s- (simple) and *sə- (iambic), with no discernable difference in meaning. The existince of these allomorphs is inferred through early borrowings into Maverican and other languages that either preserve the opposition or possess differing reflexes; in Shinasthana, the opposition is closely linked to that of syllable types A and B, where A is a syllable without medial yod /j/, and B, one with. Prefix *s- is phonologically preserved in the Common dialect, but the script does not always reflect the derivational relationship. Words derived from each other may not be co-phonetic with each other, and the simple character may not be the root. The following are functions of s- that scholars have recovered through semantic comparison:
- Transitive verbs from intransitive verbs, e.g. 升 *s-təŋ > steng "raise", from 登 *təŋ > teng "rise"; 喪 *s-maŋ > smang "lose", from 亡 *maŋ "escape".
- Denominal verbs, e.g. 使 *s-rək-s > srjegh "to task", from 吏 *rək-s > rjegh "office".
The prefix *N- has the primary function of deriving intransitive (often stative) verbs from transitive verbs. Its effects are opposite to those of prefix *s-. That both prefixes exist has been considered evidence that certain roots were inherently transitive or intransitive, thus necessitating two opposing affixes to derive them, while preserving semantic consistency. Prefix *N- is phonologically reflected in the Common dialect as prenasalization before obstruents, but remains a separate segment before continuants. While it is no longer transparent before obstruents, its morphological functions are recognized and even productive in some instances. Moreover, *N- derivations tend to be reflected in the script, often with the same character.
- Stative verbs from transitive verbs, e.g. 敗 *N-prat-s > mpradh "to be defeated", from 敗 *prat-s > pradh "to defeat".
- N.B. 敗 *prat-s is itself a suffix -s derivative from 別 *prat "break, split", where "defeated" is a derivative meaning of "break"; 別 *prat also has its own *N- derivation in 別 *N-prat > nprat "to depart".
- Intransitive verbs from transitive verbs, e.g. 現 *N-kenʔ-s > nkens "to be present" (i.e. to be seen present), from 見 *kenʔ-s > kêns "to see".
- 見 *kenʔ-s > kêns is itself a derivative of 顯 *kenʔ > kên′ "to shine", which also has an N- derivation in 顯 *N-kenʔ > nkên′ "to be renowned".
Prefix *m- at the Old Meng level has a number of functions that may have resulted from the merger of several older prefixes, though this remains controversial amongst linguists. Phonologically, *m- is reflected in the Common dialect through the affix usually written as ‹′› in the Sylvanization scheme; different schools of traditional philology ascribe a variety of phonetic values to it, although all but one acknowledge its existence apart from *N- and *s-. The oldest Maverican transcriptions give the have the value [a], though later texts also use [e], possibly showing that the prefix was only used in literary circles and no longer saw use in daily language.
- Volitional verbs from non-volitional verbs or nouns, e.g. 學 *m-kruk > ′kruk "learn (consciously, as in education)", from 覺 *kruk > kruk "to learn (unconsciously, as in becoming aware)"; 背 *m-pək-s > ′pəgh "to betray", 背 *pək-s > pəgh "to have one's back facing".
- Nouns from verbs, e.g. 廷 *m-leŋ > mlêng "place for standing", from 定 *leŋ > lêng "stop"; 朝 *m-traw > ′trjaw "morning meeting", from 朝 *traw > trjaw "morning".
- Agent nouns from nouns, e.g. 袍 *m-pru > ′pru "robe (i.e. something which wraps the body)", from 胞 *pru > pru "seed casing".
The infix *-r- is morphologically prolific and is suspected to have an intensive or distributive function.
The suffix *-s was a prolific suffix and also had a number of functions. As it generates the departing (falling) tone in all varieties of Shinasthana, it remained productive for longer, well after the suffix itself was lost. In the Common dialect, it voices the final obstruent and also gives the departing tone in all instances. There is a vestigial /h/ after obstruents, but in the sequence of *ʔ-s it is reflected as -s.
- Deverbial and agent nouns, often called the "agent *-s", e.g. 內 *nup-s > nubh "inside", from 納 *nup > nup "take inside"
- Denominal verbs, often called the "participle -s", e.g. 冠 *kor-s > korh "to crown", from 冠 *kor "crown"; 王 *ɦʷaŋ-s > ghwjangh "to rule", from 王 *ɦʷaŋ > ghwjang "king, prince".
- Transitive verbs, e.g. 好 *huʔ-s > hus "to like, prefer", from 好 *huʔ > hu′ "good"; 惡 *ʔak-s > ′agh "to dislike", from 惡 *ʔak > ′ak "bad".
Inherited from the Menghean language, each Menghean character is monosyllabic and morphemic. This writing system is common to all Shinasthana languages and is the standard script. Under traditional reckoning, there are six methods that govern the formation of characters:
- Pictographic (象形, sghjangh-gêng), where the character depicts the physical appearance of an object; however, the actual meaning of the character needs not be constrained by the object depicted.
- Pictophonetic (形聲, gêng-l′jêng), where a pictogrammatic character used determinatively is combined with another, unrelated grapheme that represents the character's pronunciation.
- Ideographic (指事, klji′-dzrje′), similar to pictogrammatic characters, but the depiction (or at least part thereof) does not correspond to a physical attribute or object.
- Ideosynthetic (會意, gobh-′jeh), where multiple pictogrammata are combined and meaning deduced from the relationship between them.
- Transideographic (轉注, trjon′-tjoh), where the definition of an existing character is given to a new character.
- Substitution (假借, krai′-tsrjaih), where a completely unrelated character acquires the definition of a word that otherwise cannot be formed according to the principles above.
There are certain differences between characters used in modern Menghe and Themiclesia. In the late 3rd to early 2nd c. BCE, a process called yebyeon (隸變; Shinasthana: rjebh-bronh) that prioritized ease of writing at the expense of fidelity. This process was not yet complete when the first non-monumnetal writing is attested in Themiclesia. As a result, the preferred character forms in both countries diverged. More than half of the characters are wholly identical, and where they differ they are usually not difficult to identify. In a few cases, the characters have become totally unrecognizable. Such changes are cumulative, since Themiclesians continued to modify the shape of the characters for artistic reasons well after the yebyeon stage was complete in Menghe.
Various schemes, based on the Sylvan Alphabet, have been used by Casaterrans to notate Shinasthana since the 14th century, when the first Casaterran merchants landed in Themiclesia and began to study its language. Few Casaterran languages have the same phonemic or phonetic inventory as Shinasthana, resulting in the use of several alphabets to represent a single phoneme or the agglomeration of several phonemes into one Casaterran alphabet; the former leads to cumbersome writing and reading, and the latter, ambiguity. Between the 14th and 19th centuries, Sylvan, Sieuxerrian, Rajian, Tyrannian, and Columbian scholars each Sylvanized Shinasthana according to idiosyncratic rules. That they often draw on different dialects or even mix them further reduces intelligibility. As printing Shinasthana characters was nigh-impossible in Casaterra, academic work was hampered by this confusion.
In 1807, the first Sylvanization reference with government backing appeared, devised by Columbian scholar, George Figley, who worked for over three decades on the Shinasthana. Keenly aware of the difficulties that Casaterran scholars encountered in writing about Themiclesia, not only about its tongues, but also whenever proper terms are mentioned, they presented to and received sanction for their proposal from the Magistrate of Tonning. As he lived in Tonning, the Sylvanization plan was based on the dialect there, albeit aware of other dialects. While it found a somewhat sympathetic audience in Casaterra, other scholars, based elsewhere in Themiclesia, found their choice of dialect to generalize for Shinasthana, as a whole, unacceptable. Figley continued to defend their system and improve upon it, publishing a final revision in 1829, then presented it to the Imperial Court. Ratification was granted, but its use was not made mandatory. This standard eventually gained widespread acceptance and today is known as the Figley Transcription System, or F for short.
As phonemic theory gained prominence late in the 19th Century and crested in the early 20th, there was significant impetus to rework Figley according to phonemic lines (it was originally phonetic) and suggestions from the government to adopt a more generalist system that worked for all dialects in some way. In theory, by applying phonemic analysis to the most archaic dialect of Shinasthana then known, one can describe a set of syllables that encompass all syllable varieties in any dialect, since it was assumed that the oldest stage of the language must be the most complex, and subsequently phonemes could not be added; this was later convincingly disproven. Nevertheless, the revision was announced in 1930, known as Revised Figley or R. Though widely acclaimed by lingiusts as a successful and accurate practice of phonemic theory, phoneticians and lay persons criticized it for being distant from the actual, spoken language. The government maintained that the revision better represented all the major dialectal groups unambiguously. To demark this scheme from the previous, a drop capital R was printed ahead of the sylvanized phrase.
Vowels and medials:
Vowels and medials:
Meng dynasty stratum
The Meng dynasty stratum loses the Old Menghean uvular series completely but otherwise preserves its consonants well.
Middle Meng stratum
The syllable structure Shinasthana varies considerably due to its paraphyletic composition. While the Old Menghean language is agreed to have a syllabic structure at least similar to CCCCCVCCC, most dialects have undergone some sort of secondary simplification. For example, the Common dialect permits five onsets, with much more restrictive phonotactical options, and tolerates only two codas, of which the second must be -s. While such long onset sequences are typologically uncommon, it is noted that, with rare exceptions, there could only be one obstruent in each onset sequence; linguists working with the Menghic family, term this obstruent the onset nucleus, and elements aside from it often correspond to morphological affixes. The syllable permits glides between the onset and syllable nucleus. The Common dialect both permit two glides, the first of which has a retroflective value (typically /r/ and /l/, but not simultaneously), and the second has a palatalizing effect. Though most dialects descended from the Old Menghean language have tonal contrasts, all can be attributed to lost but attested suffixes; most scholarly work on Old Menghean phonology therefore do not recognize phonemic tones. Synchronic studies may consider such suffixes and tonal contrasts allophones of each other, in an unusual way.
Those dialects that descend directly from the Old Menghean language generally allow more complex syllable structure, as exemplified by the two above. In contrast, those that are descended from Middle Menghean are relatively simple. Their syllabic structure can be observed in the Menghean Gwanhwa and dialects spoken in the Themiclesian North. Scholars have debated what the maximal syllabic structure of Middle Menghean was, without much consensus; the most-commonly cited form is CCCVCT. The first C, representing the onset nucleus, can either be a consonant inherited from Old Menghean or an affricate or fricative resulting from a prefixed obstruent. The second C represents the pre-vocalic glide, which could have one of three contrastive values (/ɯ/ /ɨ/ /i/); the third C represents a rounding element /w/. This rounding element is thought to result from Old Menghean labialized consonants and diphthongized, rounded vowels.
Within the Menghic family, Shinasthana is more closely related to the Menggok-descended group of dialects. Having diverged around 2,700 years ago at the oldest stratum, differences between modern Menggok dialects and Shinasthana are considerable. An obvious example is the absence of phonemic tones in Standard Menghean, though they remain in conservative dialects of the south and west of Menghe. These dialects are more closely related to Gwanhwa, the language of the Menghean court; however, scholars do not classify them as descendants of Gwanhwa, since Gwanhwa itself lost tones between the 9th and 11th centuries. Not all these dialects retain the three tones presumed to have existed in the Old Menggok period. Moreover, under the influence of modern Standard Menghean, some of the younger generation have dispensed with tonal distinction when speaking a dialect that canonically retains it.
The collapse of a three-way distinction between between voiceless, aspirated, and voiced consonants has occurred in most of Menghe. In Themiclesia, a similar but less pervasive change occasioned the phonemization of relative pitch in the tonal system (previously only distinguishing contour), while in Menghe it seems to have simply devoiced formerly voiced consonants, merging them with their unvoiced and unaspirated counterparts.
余 / la
- The most basic first person pronoun, can be used as nominative and accusative. The referent is usually singular. Genitive use is uncommon.
我 / ngar′
- Meaning is similar to la, but usually used as a plural. Sometimes given the blanket translation "we". Accusative use is uncommon.
朕 / lrjem′
- Called the emphatic I in some literature, use is nuanced. In nominative function, lrjem′ draws attention to oneself, which can be expressed as "I, this person". For this function, it has been characteristically used in Menghe by sovereigns, forbidden from others, but in Themiclesia the pronoun was not exclusive to the monarch. In genitive function, it tends govern inalienable, highly valued, or humanly significant things, particularly family relations; where the governor can be either alienable or inalienable, lrjem′ can provide additional information, e.g. ngar′ kra "my house", but lrjem′ kra "my household"; ngar′ kjung "my (physical) body", but lrjem′ kjung "my person, my personhood". Abuse of this pronoun may make the speaker appear arrogant or inconsiderate, e.g. lrjem′ gwrje′ "my friend (who has no choice but to be my friend)". Accusative use is uncommon.
臣 / gljin and 妾 / ts′jap
- Respectively meaning "slave" and "slavewoman" originally. These two terms were only used to identify oneself when addressing monarchs (of any nationality). In modern Themiclesia, these two terms are deemed unnecessary.
民 / mrjing
- Originally meaning "commoner", it was used by individuals not in public office towards those who are. It is still used by some individuals in letters to the government, though most would consider it old-fashioned.
僕 / bok
- Originally meaning "groom", it is most often found in writing by men with their peers.
愚 / ngja
- Meaning "ignorant", it is often found in academic writing to express circumspection or humility about the idea one is about to expound.
私 / sje
- Meaning "private, personal", individuals use this term to express a non-qualified opinion.
女 / nja′
- General second-person pronoun in nominative and accusative position.
乃 / ne′
- Second person genitive.
爾 / nji′
- Meaning "near", also used as second person pronoun.
子 / tsje′
- Originally meaning the leader of a clan, it has been generalized as an honorific in second-person function.
君 / kljul
- Originally meaning "lord", it is often used in the second person as an honorific to equals.
公 / kong
- Originally meaning "lord", it has a similar function and semantic evolution as above.
卿 / k′rjang
- Originally meaning "companion", it was used by monarchs to address their servants, acquiring honorific value when used for social inferiors bound in some sort of relationship with the speaker. However, it is also used between couples, since they are bound in an equal relationship.
郎 / rang
- Originally meaning "gentleman", it is used by unmarried females to their male partners.
良人 / rjang-njing
- Originally meaning "good person", it is used between couples.
陛下 / prêdh-gras
- Usually translated as "your majesty", used to address monarchs.
殿下 / denh-gras
- Usually translated as "your lordship", used to address hereditary nobility.
|Middle Meng Stratum||Old Meng Stratum|
|guk ji eo eum
i ho jung guk
yeo mun ja bul sang yu tong
go u min yu so yo geon
i jong bul deuk sin gi jeong ja da ui
yeo wi cha min yeon
sin je i sip pal ja
yok sa in in yeo seup pyeon eo il lyong i
|kwek chi ngjo' iim
ih gho tiung kwek
ngjo' mjun dzih' pjut sjang lju t'ung
koh ngjo miin ghju' srjo' yoh ngjan
nje cung pjut tek shin gje dzjeng tja ta ghwje'
yo wjeh ts'i' min njen
sjin c'iai njih zip peat dzje'
yok srje' nin nin yik zjek pianh yo njit yungh ni
|kwek tje ngja' 'rjem|
lis ga trjung kwek
la' mjen dzje' pje sjang rju l'ung
kah ngjo mrjing gwje' sk'rja' ljuk ngjan
nje trjung pje tek l'jin gje dzjeng tja' tai ghwje'
la gwrjarh sn'ji' mrjen' njen
sjing djêdh njih gjep prêt dzje'
ljuk srje' njing njing lêk sgljap prjanh gwrja njik l'ongh nje'
The canonical anthology of ancient phonology consists of the following twelve works.
|聲類 hling-rjed||2nd c.||李登 ′rje′-teng||Fragmentary||322 rhymes extant||Compiled in Menghe|
|韻集 ghjwonh-dzjep||275||呂靜 glja'-dzjingh||Extant||539 rhymes|
|釋韻 st'jak-ghjwonh||334||李軌 ′rje′-krju′、徐邈 sdja-mrawk||Extant||421 rhymes|
|四聲 sjed-hleng||472||沈約 st'jem-'jawk||Extant||252 rhymes||First work to describe tones concretely|
|玉篇 ngjowk-p'rjan||531||梁惠帝 Emperor ghwid of Rjang||Fragmentary||260 rhymes||Reflects speech in Kien-k'ang|
|經典音義 king-ten'-'rjem-ngjars||560||陸明 rjuk-mrjang||Extant||212 rhymes||With definitions|
|切韻 ts'it-ghwjens||601||陸法延 rjuk-pjap-lan||Mostly extant||193 rhymes||Reflects speech in Glak-lang|
|廣音錄 kwang-'rjem-rjuk||732||張常拱 trjang-djang-kjung′||Mostly extant||2,742 dialectal peculiarities|
|廣韻 kwang'-ghwjens||1001||丁重 teng-drjong||Extant||206 rhymes||With definitions|
|集韻 dzjep-gwjens||1030||孫皓青 sun-ghu'-ts'ing||Extant||238 rhymes||With definitions|
|韻鏡 gwjenh-krjangs||1161||uncertain||Extant||3,324 syllables||A table-style summary of all known syllables in the language|
|簡韻略 kren'-ghjwonh-gljak||1210||顧平水 gah-brjang-hljei′||Extant||106 rhymes||Abridged ver. of dzjop-ghjwohn|
To support the study of classical literature that often possessed much philosophical and political esteem in imperial-period Themiclesia, many authors have written epexegeses (a work that explains another) that offer analyses of the canonical texts, including definitions of terms, notable contrasts with other works and other epexegeses, and correct pronunciation of words. The corpus of such explanatory literature has since accumulated, over many centuries, to be dozens, if not hundreds, of times longer than canon. Authors provide their opinion on how individual characters should be read, often reflecting the speech of their own environment and age.
In 972, Sungh Dynasty scholar Mak Mjon-ghwed developed a method of the phonological relationship between rhyming syllables in verse. This is known as the Rhyme Identification Method (歸韻法). It stipulates:
- If a poem has lines XXXA / XXXB / XXXC / XXXD, and if each line is known to rhyme with each other, then syllables A, B, C, and D must rhyme with each other.
- If a second poem has lines XXXA / XXXE / XXXF / XXXG, then syllables E, F, and G must rhyme with each other and B, C, and D, since they are "connected" by syllable A.
These two principles proved incredibly potent in reconstructing the phonological structure of ancient languages based on a logical and consistent analyses. Though Mak himself did not pursue this subject much further, his students proceeded to apply this method to hundreds of poems dating to the archaic and classical eras of Menghean history. In the 1100s, scholars concluded that ancient Menghean poetry had nine "rhyme departments"; for many generations afterwards, this conclusion was refined by exhaustive studies to remove connections made by incorrect rhyme identification (i.e. connecting two words that do not actually rhyme) and glyph conflation (i.e. assuming each glyph corresponds to only one syllable). This heralded the birth of Ancient Phonology (古音學) in Themiclesia.
In 1594, it was known that ancient poetry rhymed according to 33 departments; upon this conclusion, scholar Drjon Teh (陳第) asserted that the pronunciation of some words have changed since ancient times, but a number have not. He (using methods not rigorous) identified some such syllables as "anchor rhymes" and consulted well-established analyses to assert that words, in his time not rhyming, must have been pronounced in a way that did rhyme with his so-called "anchor rhymes". The majority of modern scholars believe that Drjon's theories, though factually flawed, pioneered the assignment of phonetic values to abstract phonological structures and the principle that sound changes occurred under specific phonological conditions (i.e. not randomly). His successors focused on the criteria under which such changes occurred, though until the modern period and the arrival of Casaterran phonology in 1757, their results have been limited. Of the types of criteria they could assert as a conditioning factor for a phonetic change, place of articulation (i.e. glottal, velar, alveolar, and bilabial), manner of articulation (i.e. plosive, nasal, approximant), voicedness, aspiration, tone, and vowel quality have all been used to explain the causes of sound change. This in turn allowed more recent scholars to describe accurately the phonological and phonetic characteristics of languages lost to time, e.g.
- What has been analyzed as two separate groups of consonants under Modern Phonology (今音學), the /t/ and /tr/ groups, were in complimentary distribution and should be the same group in Ancient Phonology, and the /tr/ group diverged under the criteria of second-division and third-division-type-B factors.
- The /pf/ group in some modern dialects diverged from /pj/ in others, and /pj/ is asserted to be the "ancient pronunciation".
|Term||Themi. reading||Themi. meaning||Alternate reading||Alternate meaning|
|皇帝||gwang-tih||Emperor of Themiclesia||hwang-tsrjiah||emperor (generally)|
|孟||mrangs||first; ethnonym of Themiclesia||meng||Menghe (abbreviation)|
|錢||dzjian||a unit of mass; 1/100 of one mjon||tsuen||Jŏn, 1/100 of a Menghean Won|
In popular media
Being a major branch of the Menghic family of languages, Shinasthana has often been compared with Menghean by scholars, students, and laymen alike. With surprising uniformity, most students consider Menghean both easier to learn and more pleasant to the ear; prominent Internet personages have described some forms of Shinasthana as "creeping", "tinny", and "slimey". A rather large portion words contain /j/ or /i/, which tend to front the following vowel, leading to a sensation of constriction. The presence of /r/ and /l/ in combination with /j/ also can occlude a speaker's voice, making vowels less resonant. In response, several linguists believe that these features are necessary to produce as many distinct syllables as possible, highly motivated in a language in which most words are monosyllabic.
In the early to mid-20th century, linguists attribute this difference to sound changes in Yang-influenced dialects that occurred in the Middle Menghean period. In one famous (and extreme) case, Dr. Mran Tsod, research fellow at the Academia Themiensis, produced a long list different syllables  corresponding with only one syllable in Botong-ǒ Menghean; since these syllables may themselves represent more than one word, Mran questioned the aptitude of the Sinmun writing system devised in the 13th century. Other researchers rejected Mran's "emotionally-motivated" assessment, showing that the Yang languages were responsible for deleting via assimilation some distinctions that were present in Old Menggok. The dialects spoken in the Haedong region, under Yang influence, thus did not maintain the syllable structure that characterized the Old Menggok language, from which Shinasthana and most Menggok-derived forms of Menghean have descended.
These scholars also assert that the contribution of Old Menggok language has been considerably over-estimated in the formation of Modern Standard Menghean, particularly on a phonetic and structural level. They state further that the straightforward syllable structure of Yang-based dialects (and by extention the historical Yang proto-language) was not a "shortcoming" as Mran has claimed, since native Yang vocabulary was predominantly polysyllabic, and borrowings from Old Menggok represented a small and specialized subset of words used by Yang-dialect speakers. With fewer words to distinguish, there was no motivation to retain some contrasts that originally existed in Old Menggok and still now exist in Shinasthana.
- k'jot, k'joh, k'jo, k'rje', k'rjeh, grje, grje', kljeh, hjo', 'jar', 'jarh, kjoi, gjo, krjod, gjoi, kjar', gljed, k'rjod, grjwed, gjar, kjar, grjeh, kja, kjoi', gjod, k'jar, gjoh, k'rjo, k'je', klje', k'jod, ngjod, kjod, gje, k'joi', totalling 36.