|Region||Western Evandor (Great Cerian Plain)|
|Native speakers||450,000,000 (2312)|
|Writing system||Íscégon script for Cerian|
Cerian — natively Čérízon ([tʃeːˈriːzon] (SEC); [tʃeɪ̯ˈʁiːzon] (L. Bénáteno); [tɕʰeˈriːzɔn] (Pásuone)) or šérošu čérí [ˈʃeːroʃu tʃeːˈriː] (SEC) — is the main global lingua franca on the planet on Calémere, particularly in the nations of its Western Bloc, and its second-most spoken language by number of native speakers (after Chlouvānem). It is an Evandorian language belonging to the Central Evandorian branch, and one of the direct descendants of one of the two most important Classical language of the Calemerian Western civilization, namely Íscégon.
Native to the country of Ceria (Cer.: Čéría; Isc.: Ciairegiion) in the western part of Evandor, Cerian is the official language of ten countries in Evandor - Ceria, Šáritun, Vétaní, Čaha, Rocoma, Corevía, Ótéa, Úrofa, Noméde Ínéma, and Sternia (Cer. Seténía - co-official with Majo-Bankrávian) - and 37 other countries around the planet. It is also a regionally recognized language in the Evandorian countries of Besagret, Helinetia, Ingvensia, Auralia and Nordulic (Cer.: Bésói, Helinétía, Envenšía, Órolía, Nódóa), and in many other countries of the planet, including even a few areas in the northwestern Chlouvānem Inquisition.
- 1 External History
- 2 Dialects
- 3 Phonology
- 4 Morphology
- 5 Syntax
- 6 Vocabulary
- 7 Example texts
- 8 Other resources
- 9 Notes
The name Ceria (and therefore Cerian), as with many major Calémerian, particularly Evandorian, peoples and places, dates back to my first proto-conworlding projects, and I simply imported it into Calémere - something that meant justifying the very-IE-looking -ia ending in a Calémerian linguistic perspective.
Cerian itself is the main lingua franca of Calémere, a role equivalent to that English has on Earth, and to some extent English is one of my inspiration, although only as far as Cerian, just like English, has a large number of dialects spoken in many countries across the world. Aesthetically, my main inspirations behind Cerian are Latin, Japanese (mostly in the syllable structure), and to a lesser extent also Norwegian and Swedish. Grammatically I wanted a mostly analytic language, even though in the end it is not as analytic as other Evandorian languages (such as Nordulaki, to name one) and with some SAE traits, most notably phonology (even though that lack of a distinction between /r/ and /l/ is not SAE at all), mixed in with a few non-European traits (such as the tense system).
Due to being one of the most widespread native languages on the planet and having an extremely large number of L2 speakers, with at least one Cerian-speaking country on each continent, there are multiple Cerian dialects.
Evandorian Cerian is the macro-variety with the most dialects, as it is spoken in the area where Cerian first originated; today, no linguist accepts "Evandorian Cerian" as a single variety, as the individual dialects in this area often show more variation between them than Cerian variants spoken on different continents; the term remains valid as a purely geographical grouping.
Evandorian dialects include:
- West Cerian, spoken mainly in the plain along the Cáteron river; this area was one of the centers of Íscégon civilization and it maintains great cultural prestige to the present day, due to the presence of Mánébodin, capital of Ceria. This area is divided between the western regions of Ceria, most of Ótéa, and northeastern Corevía.
West Cerian, and in particular a refined form of the Mánébodin dialect, is the basis of the so-called Standard Evandorian Cerian, the Cerian dialect most commonly used in media and teaching materials in Ceria and most Cerian-speaking countries in Evandor.
- Central Cerian is a macro-variant spoken in the hilly areas of Čióro, Fútare, and Holázion, which have different dialects (more generally known as čióronen, fútarizen, and holázinen) with various common features.
- Northern Cerian is a collective term for the dialects of the plains of Northern Ceria (and minorities in the bordering areas of Nordûlik), which form a dialect continuum from the Čifa spit in the west to the foothills of the Carodázo hills in the east.
- Carodájen is the dialect spoken in the Carodázo hills in northeastern Ceria, on the border with Nordûlik; it shares some features with Northern Cerian, but also has its own peculiarities as well as multiple influences from Nordûlaki.
- Úrofen is the dialect spoken mostly in the sovereign country of Úrofa, in the southeastern corner of the Cerian lowlands, and adjoining areas in Ceria.
- Southeastern Hilly Cerian is a common term for the dialects spoken in the hilly areas along the mid course of the Šerézo and Halone rivers, between Úrofa to the east and the northern Barotáči mountains to the west. It is a peculiar conservative dialectal area, with various archaic lexical elements from Íscégon and - alongside the adjoining dialects of the northern side of the Barotáči - maintains the distinction between /l/ and /r/.
- Barotáčízen is the name for the dialects spoken in the Barotáči mountains, an important mountain ridge dividing Central and Southern Evandor. They are a group of very conservative dialects, maintaining many features of Íscégon that have been lost from other Cerian dialects.
- Southern Cerian or Vétanízen is the group of Cerian dialects spoken south of the Barotáči, in the modern country of Vétaní; the city-state of Noméde Ínema a thousand of kilometres away near the southwestern tip of Evandor was a former maritime colony of Vétaní, and its dialect to this day pertains to this group, even though in the last two decades there has been a notable influence from Standard Evandorian Cerian.
- Šáritunen is the group of Cerian dialects spoken in the modern-day country of Šáritun; having both transitional traits between Cerian and Péigu, some archaisms (shared with Vétanízen) and heavy Auralian influence, it is generally considered the most divergent Cerian variant, and rural Šáritunen is often hardly intelligible to speakers of other Cerian variants (especially some non-Evandorian ones) not used to it.
- Bárogention is the dialect group of the Bárogente valley, west of the West Cerian area; the area corresponds to most of Rocoma, most of Corevía, and western Ótéa.
- Čátiron - taking its name from the Čátiro region and the Čátiro Strait - is the name of the dialects spoken in the littoral northwest of the West Cerian area, that is, all of Čaga, the northernmost parts of Rocoma, and the Cerian-speaking part of Sternia (Seténía).
The Márusúturonian dialects are:
- New Ézélonían Cerian – New Ézélonía is the Cerian-speaking country farthest from others, being located in the northeastern part of Márusúturon and bordering only the Inquisition and Greater Skyrdagor. The majority of the country is sparsely inhabited taiga (and tundra along the coast north of 56ºN), and most inhabitants of those areas are either indigenous peoples or settlers of mining or lodging towns; the majority of the population is found in two areas of the country: the inland Catézo valley and the areas around Fúrion Bay and the Fúrion peninsula at the far southern end of the country; New Ézélonían Cerian dialects - which are the native language of most of the population - are therefore only broadly distinguished into catézonen and fúrionen, but the differences between them are small. Influences from indigenous languages are very limited, as are those from Chlouvānem or Skyrdagor (the border with Greater Skyrdagor is in the remote taiga, while the Chlouvānem border, while open, is only crossed sporadically in either directions due to the tense relationship between the two countries). New Ézélonían Cerian is the standard dialect officially adopted in the country, but it is not taught in any foreign country.
- Aréntízon, Répérutonen, and Péránizen are the Cerian variants spoken in the three former Cerian colonies in western Márusúturon, on the southeastern shore of the Carpan Sea, respectively Aréntía, Répéruton, and Péráno – mostly covered by desert, especially Aréntía. Unlike New Ézélonían Cerian, but like Cerian varieties in Védren, Fárásen, and Ovítioná, these varieties of Cerian are spoken mostly as second languages by indigenous speakers, as only small numbers of Cerians of Evandorian origin remain in those countries.
- Tárošébizen is the name for the Cerian dialect spoken as a first language by Cerians in the former Cerian colony of Tárošébi, today the Chlouvānem diocese of the Tārṣaivai, in the Northwest (not far from the border with Aréntía). Cerians in Tārṣaivai are a small minority (about ten thousand people) consisting of the descendants of those Evandorians that didn't leave the territory after it was taken by the Chlouvānem. Tárošébizen is a divergent dialect as its speakers have had for more than a century very limited contacts with the rest of the Cerian-speaking world, and it is only preserved as the language of a small minority; it has absorbed numerous influences from Chlouvānem, and notably it generally does not share vocabulary related to technology, culture, or science of the last hundred years with other Cerian dialects; Tárošébizen speakers are likely to be familiar only with Standard Evandorian Cerian, as it is the Cerian dialect usually taught as a foreign language in the Inquisition. Despite this, it remains the native vernacular of the Cerian ethnic community of the Inquisition, mostly remaining in Tārṣaivai but sometimes also found in other major cities of the country.
The consonant inventory among different Cerian dialects is fairly similar, with the most noticeable exception being Hilly Southeastern Cerian (the predominant variant in the country of Úrofa) which are the only ones that didn't merge Íscégon /l/ into /r/ (the distinction is still kept everywhere in the spelling - e.g. áleron "road" /ˈaːreron/ even if 95% of speakers merge them). Many Southern Cerian dialects (incl. e.g. Šáritunen Cerian) also have /dʒ/ instead of /ʒ/, as Old Cerian did.
|Nasals||m m||n n|
|Plosives||Voiceless||p p||t t||c k|
|Voiced||b b||d d||g ɡ|
|Fricatives||Voiceless||f f||s s||š ʃ||h h|
|Voiced||v v||z z||j ʒ|
|Approximants||u w||i j|
All consonants except voiced fricatives, approximants, /ʃ/, /tʃ/ and /h/ can be geminated.
/h/ is lost in about half of all Evandorian dialects (including all of the most spoken ones, but notably it is preserved in formal Standard Evandorian Cerian) and in virtually all Púrítonen ones; it is generally still found in dialects spoken on other continents.
|High||i í i iː||u ú u uː|
|Mid||e é e eː||o ó o oː|
|Low||a á a aː|
Vowels are extremely varied in different Cerian dialects, with the long-short contrast being actually realized depending on dialect as a pure quantity one, a quality one, a hybrid quality-quantity, by having monophthongs vs. diphthongs, and with some possible mergers or (more rarely) splits. The phonemic representation given above is conventional and reflects the spelling as well as the underlying phoneme in most (not necessary all) Cerian dialects. For example, élógen "lamp" - phonemically represented as /eːˈroːgen/ is pronounced in different ways, including:
- Evandorian dialects: [e(ː)ˈroːgɐn] (Mánébodin Cerian or Standard Evandorian Cerian), [ɪːˈroːgɪn] (Čagan Cerian), [eə̯ˈʁɔːgən] (Central Coastal), [eˈlogɛn] (Hilly Southeastern - note the conservation of /l/), [(j)eːˈruːgʲən] (Šáritunen)
- Púrítonen dialects: [eɪ̯ˈrʊə̯gən] (NE Coastal Púrítonen), [ɛɪ̯ˈruːgen] (Inland Northern Púrítonen), [eɪ̯ˈʁoʊ̯gen] (Lake Bénáteno)
- Céránentian dialects: [eːˈɾoːgʲɪn] (Cánésen), [eˈruːgʲɪn] (Pásuone)
Cerian phonotactics are very simple, with most syllables – and all syllables outside of learned reborrowings from Íscégon or Ancient Nivarese – being of the structure (C)(L)V(C). The coda consonant may only be one of /n j w/, or gemination of the following consonant.
L in native and nativized words can only be one of /j w/ (not all CL combinations are possible). In certain learned borrowings, the combinations stop + /r/ as well as the sequence /fr/ are possible initial sequences.
Cerian (and its sister languages) lost the case system of Íscégon, maintaining only a plural inflection that is formed with the same suffix for all nouns, regardless of gender; the plural suffix actually derives from the Íscégon accusative, not nominative, plural. There are, however, quite a few irregular plurals, of Íscégon origin: as Cerian lost virtually all word-final consonants (save -n), their plural forms didn't have those consonants at the end, so they resurface again in the plural form.
The pluralizing suffix is -uó [woː], with a short vowel if the preceding one is long, and removing the final vowel of the word if it is anything but -o.
- reišan "daughter" → reišanuó "daughters";
- reide "son" → reiduó "sons";
- míe "noun, name" → míuo "nouns, names"
- jóbo "finger" → jóbo "fingers" (invariable)
- tasú "foot" → tasuó "feet"
Regular nouns ending in -ti, -di, -si have their plural forms in -čuo, -juo, -šuo:
- jéti "house" → jéčuo "houses"
Íscégon word-final -t and -s resurface and assimilate the consonant of the suffix:
- dúšo "axe" (Ísc. duxios) → dúšossó "axes"
- šeti "river" (Ísc. sítis) → šetissó "rivers"
- cómé "chair" (Ísc. cármet) → cómettó "chairs"
Íscégon word-final -r also resurfaces, but does not assimilate the consonant:
- dé "wall" (Ísc. dír) → deruó "walls"
Finally, nouns that ended in -x in Íscégon typically end in -ːso in Cerian; in the plural, they have no consonant but a long vowel (even with the previous one being long) – the [w] in the plural wasn't there to begin with in Íscégon.
- haréso "Calémerian avocado" (Ísc. harex) → harésó "avocadoes" (cf. Ísc. harexát).
Some nouns have completely irregular plurals:
- účen "fish" → ússó "fish (plur.)" (here, the singular actually derives from the diminutive uóscien, while the plural derives from the plural of the unmodified noun uós)
- ési "person" → iúressó "people" (completely different roots)
Mostly in poetry and some set usages, words not ending in -n, -ó, and -ú maintain a distinct genitive form, used for the singular. It is formed by adding -u [u̯] at the end (lengthening u o instead), except for words in -ía which lose the -a instead.
In contemporary Cerian, it is mostly found in some set usages and locutions, such as šérošu čérí "Cerian language" (with the genitive of Čéría), ronuo dútú "blade of the sword" (dútu "blade"), requíbača Ašeirau "orbit of Ašeira", šóben lerió "pomegranate juice" (lerio "pomegranate").
Gender and articles
Cerian has grammatical gender and two definite articles, one for each gender, used in the singular only (plural vs. plural indefinite inflection does the same effect in the plural). As in most Evandorian languages, -n is a marker of feminine gender, so that most nouns (not all) ending with that letter are feminine; those which end in vowels are usually masculine. Note that natural gender is prevalent, as shown e.g. by couplets such as "brother" and "sister" where the nouns have the "wrong" ending. As many consonant-final nouns were feminine in Íscégon (although the common -s finals could be of both genders), there are more feminine exceptions than masculine ones.
Also note that demonyms generally always end in -n, but may be invariably used in the masculine or feminine as needed.
The masculine article is šo; the feminine one is šen.
- šo quíto "the foreigner"; šo jóbo "the finger"; šo lerio "the pomegranate"; šo ínéma "the city"; šo ronuo "the sword".
- BUT: šo císenen "the brother"; šo ín "the water", šo tieibin "the money".
- šen ruban "the wine"; šen niún "the wolf"; šen účen "the fish"; šen reišan "the daughter"; šen lun "the mouth".
- BUT: šen ránéco "the sister"; šen dé "the wall", šen tení "the sun".
Demonyms and nouns of both genders:
- šo/šen Helinetízon "the Helinetian man/woman"; šo/šen Nódóion "the Nordûlaki man/woman"; šo/šen Ímúnigúronen "the Chlouvānem man/woman".
- cf. adjectives helinetízon "Helinetian", nódóion "Nordûlaki, ímúnigúronen "Chlouvānem".
- BUT: šo Čérízuo "the Cerian man", šen Čérízen "the Cerian woman" (different from the adjective čérízon "Cerian").
- non-demonyms: šo/šen tífude "the husband/wife"; šo/šen vajúni "the boy/girl" (dialectal, Púrítonen Cerian).
Like other descendants of Íscégon, Cerian radically restructured the Íscégon verbal system. While Íscégon had a system of mostly prefixing inflections that mainly changed aspect or valency, these inflections have with time transformed into self-standing verbs, becoming a derivational process rather than an inflectional one (cf. Ísc. táso "I walk", máentáso "I start walking" → Cer. tóson "to go, walk", méntón, earlier méntóson "to depart"). These aspectual inflections and valency changes are now marked by auxiliary verbs or adverbs (with few exceptions); meanwhile, Cerian (and other descendants of Íscégon, as well as some languages influenced by it in a sprachbund covering various parts of central Evandor, most notably Nordûlaki) started cliticizing at the end of the verb various adverbs that served to indicate tense; later on, in Cerian (excluding some Southern dialects) and Péigu only, final -n in some of those adverbs started being analyzed as a feminine marker, which led to it being added to those verbs that did not have it, resulting in the present system that morphologically marks tense and gender.
Morphologically, Cerian verbs are simple and agglutinative, however they are used in various auxiliary constructions in order to mark aspect, mood, and valency.
|Tense||Suffix||čeléton "to read"|
|Remote past||-re(n), -e(n)||čelétore||čelétoren|
Aspectual distinctions are made with forms of the copulae úši (habitual "to be"; ← Ísc. ód-sir) and reuši (continuative "to be"; ← Ísc. riqued-sir), plus the present participle, as in the following examples (note that all these examples may be translated with any subject):
- reuši čelétofú "I (m) am reading", reuši čelétofún "I (f) am reading";
- úšire čelétofú "I (m) used to read", úširen čelétofún "I (f) used to read";
- reušire čelétofú "I (m) was reading [in the past]", reuširen čelétofún "I (f) was reading [in the past]";
- reušimóni čelétofú "I (m) was reading [yesterday]", reušimónin čelétofún "I (f) was reading [yesterday]";
- reušiaše čelétofú "I (m) was reading [earlier today]", reušiašen čelétofún "I (f) was reading [earlier today]";
- reušiútei čelétofú "I (m) will be reading", reušiútein čelétofún "I (f) will be reading";
- úšituéle čelétofú "I (m) may get used to read, will be used to read", úšituélen čelétofún "I (f) may get used to read, will be used to read".
The past participle is used to form passive forms of transitive verbs. In this case, the copula used to build perfective forms is the otherwise causative tíuši:
- tíušimóni čelétti "it (m) was read [earlier today]", tíušimónin čeléttín "it (f) was read [earlier today]";
- úšire čelétti "it (m) used to be read", úširen čeléttín "it (f) used to be read".
UDHR Article 1
(I'll probably replace this with something more Calémerian, maybe the Calémerian analogue to the UDHR?)
- Pérécito fín sucáreien bácífaten de rédo gánšen cetorénani de fáteren. Turóteon súno socánue de toncoráfa, de étoreien cato usúron si bevenuzáe ešečen tójo ráziron usúnnonno ton foríton re císenečéta.
- All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
- human.NOM. every. be_born-PRES.HAB. free. and. equal. under-the. dignity-OBL. and. right-OBL. | possess-PRES.HAB. 3PL.MASC.NOM. reason.NOM and. conscience.NOM. and. suppose-PRES.HAB. for. 3PL.MASC.OBL. that. act-PART.PRES.ACT. be-SUBJ.PRES.HAB. with.the. other-OBL. their-OBL. with. spirit-OBL. of. brotherhood.NOM.
IPA (Standard Evandorian Cerian):
- [peːˈreːkito ˈfiːn suˈkaːrejɪn baːˈkiːfəten də ˈreːdʊ ˈgaːnʃən ketoˈreːnəni də ˈfaːtəren] [tuˈroːteo̞n ˈsuːnʊ soˈkaːnwe də tonkoˈraːfə | d‿ˈeːtʊrejɪn cat‿uˈsuːrʊn sɪ bevenuˈzaː‿ˈeʃʃən toːʒʊ ˈraːzɪron uˈsuːnnʊnʊ ton foˈriːtʊn rə kiːsəneˈtʃeːtə]
- The lexical divergence of Tárošébizen from other Cerian dialects is especially noted, in fact, by immigrants to other Chlouvānem cities, where there are small pockets of people from Cerian-speaking countries of the Western world who immigrated to the Inquisition.