Namorese language

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Namorese language
Наморайин (Tzhishin)
Namorayin (Tziroma)
纳摩言 (Tzihan)
Pronunciation /namoraˈjin/
Spoken in  Namor
 Ainin
 Katranjiev
 Vyvland (Islands)
 Nevanmaa (Laukaa)
 Riro
Nantai 1
Other areas with significant Namorese population
Native speakers 1000 million (2015)
L2: >1200 million
Language family
Sino-Tibetan
  • Monic
    • Nozamic
      • Namorese
        • Namorese language
Writing system
  • Tzishin (mainland Namor, some overseas Namorese communities)
  • Tziroma (Nantai, Peitoa)
  • Tzihan (Ainin)
Official status
Official language in

 Namor
 Katranjiev
 Luziyca
 Riro

Recognised minority language in  Ainin
 Vyvland
Regulated by Namor Regulatory Committee of the National Language and Dialects
Language codes
ISO 639-3 nmr
Linguasphere TBA

Namorese (Наморайин in Tzishin, Namorayin in Tziroma and 纳摩言 in Tzihan) is a Monic language spoken by Namorese people. With over 800 million native speakers worldwide, it is one of the most widely spoken languages in Esquarium.

The Namorese language is believed to be as old as Namorese civilization itself, with the first written records of Namorese dating back to 30,000 years ago. For most of its history, Namorese was written in Tzihan script, a subset of pictographs that are still used in the Monic world. It wasn't until the late 19th century when a new script based off of the Latin alphabet, known as Tziroma, was introduced, although during its time as the official script it didn't completely antiquate Tzihan. After the Namorese Civil War, mainland Namor adopted a third script based off of Cyrillic, Tzishin, as its official script, while outlying territories Peitoa and Nantai maintained the use of Tziroma. Today, all three scripts are used to some extent, making Namorese one of the few Esquarian languages that can be understood by its speakers in various writing systems.

Most native Namorese speakers are from Namor, and a majority of Namorese speakers in Namor are of Kannei ethnicity; most of Namor's minority groups speak Namorese as a first or second language, depending on the group. The remainder of Namorese speakers mostly belong to overseas Namorese communities in the East. A few speakers are ethnically unrelated to Namorese; most of them speak Namorese as a second language.

Namorese is the official language in four countries: Namor, Katranjiev, Luziyca and Riro. It is the official language throughout the disputed Nantai region, in both the Luziycan-controlled Republic of Nantai and the Namorese-controlled Nantai Prefecture. It is a recognized minority language in Ainin, and Vyvland.

Names

While Namorayin (Наморайин/纳摩言) is the most common Namorese name for the Namorese language, other names exist as well.

  • Gukyin (Гукйин/国言) or Gukjinyin (Гукджинйин/国人言), meaning "language of the country" or "language of the country's people [in this case, country/guk refers to Namor)"
  • Kanneiyin (Каннеийин/关内言) or Neiyin (Неийин/内言) means "language of the Kannei." "Kannei" in this context may refer to the geographical region covering southern and parts of central Namor known as "Namor Proper," or it may refer to the predominant ethnic group in Namor whose native tongue is Namorese. This name remains in use, although it is officially discouraged as it implies that the language isn't endemic to people living outside of Namor Proper or Namorese who are not ethnically Kannei.

Dialects

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Map of Namorese dialects

Namorese is generally divided into six varieties: Nozamic, Dong (Eastern), Vetdong (Far Eastern), Vetpei (Far Northern), Vetxhi (Far Western) and Nan (Southern). Sometimes, the Nozamic variation is divided into Upstream (Sangyo) Nozamic, which is spoken in central Namor, and Downstream (Sayo) Nozama which is spoken in southern Namor.

Although Namorese has six to seven varieties, whether all of these varieties constitute dialects of Namorese is disputed. While Nozamic, Dong and Vetdong are mutually intelligible in speech, they are mostly unintelligible with either Vetxhi or Vetpei and somewhat intelligible with Nan. However, speakers of all Namorese varieties share similar lexicon such that they may understand each other in writing. The Namorese government considers Nozamic (specifically Sayo Nozamic as it is the form of Nozamic spoken in Namo) to be the standard variation of Namorese, hence the term "Standard Namorese" which is used officially to describe the dialect. As the standard variation, Nozamic is used in most media regardless of region, the education system and government. This has led to the decline of non-Nozamic variations of Namorese, although they remain widely used in conventional speech.

In addition to the various variations, each variation is composed of several slightly distinct "sub-variations" or "sub-dialects." Differences between these sub-variations vary; for example, Nantainese Vetxhi and Shachinese Vetxhi aren't as different from each other as are Nan Namorese and Nanxhi. Whereas the former two are simply distinguished by Nantainese's use of Luziycan loanwords for words describing modern technology, the latter two are distinguished by the plethora of Katranjian loanwords in Nanxhi that are used for a wide range of things.

Writing systems

Tzihan

Tzihan, Tsihan or Cihan (Tzihan: 字汉, Tzishin: Цихан) is the oldest known script of Namorese. A Monic script, it is distinguished from Tziroma and Tzishin by its logographic nature. Tzihan does not have an alphabet, but several thousand characters, with each character representing an idea. It is said to have inspired other logographic writing systems in the Monic world.

The earliest form of Namorese Tzihan dates back to tens of thousands of years ago. For much of Namorese history, Tzihan was the primary script, used in daily communication, art and literature. It began to decline in the 20th century as a result of Tziroma and Tzishin, but it remained widely understood by Namorese speakers.

A Yinganhoi study found that 80% of Namorese speakers in Namor are able to write and understand up to 5,000 Tzihan characters considered basic to the understanding of the script; 60% can understand over 8,000 characters. However, less than 10% of Namorese use Tzihan at a constant basis.

Tziroma

Tziroma, Tsiroma or Ciroma (Tzihan: 字囖唛, Tzishin: Цирома), literally "Romanized script," is the writing system used in Peitoa, Nantai and several overseas Namorese communities. It is a Latin alphabet consisting of 26 letters.

Tziroma was first introduced by Christian missionaries in Namor who found learning Tzihan difficult and believed that a non-logographic writing system would make it easier for Namorese to understand Christian teachings. The first Namorese editions of the Bible, printed in the late 18th century, were also the first texts in Namorese Tziroma.

Tziroma was initially shunned by the Hào Namorese authorities, and its use was restricted to Namorese Christians, the script gained popularity following the First Namo-Luziycan War, when reformers in the Hào court attributed Luziyca's military and economic strength to its use of the Latin alphabet. The idea of "Abandoning Tzihan to take Tziroma (Taihan Zuro, 汰汉取囖) was accepted by the Rungchi Emperor. Up until its demise in NMR 2290, the Hào Dynasty started replacing Tzihan with Tziroma in its official documents, but the transition was uneasy as powerful conservative elements in the court resisted the changes. As a result, many officials stuck to Tzihan. The Double Fourth Revolution brought to power a republican government that officially declared Tziroma to be the "national script" and required all officials to write in Tziroma; those that didn't were seen as royalists. But in the NMR 2260s, the government of Jung To halted Taihan Zuro in the name of preserving Namorese heritage. While Tziroma continued to be the "national script," officials could use Tzihan if they chose to do so. Despite this, a majority of the population remained illiterate, as Tziroma was mostly understood by the wealthy elite, intellectuals and some in the middle class.

Upon its adoption in Katranjiev by King Zhivkov in 1816, Tziroma quickly gained ground, becoming the de-facto script among the Namorese Katranjian population throughout the 19th century. Tziroma remained in common use among Katranjian Namorese until the adoption of Tzishin in the 1950s and 1960s in Namor. While Tziroma has once again become the official script for Namorese since 1989, Tzishin is in wider use among the Namorese population to such a point that in 2008, Tzishin was made co-official with Tziroma, due to higher literacy for Tzishin compared to Tziroma, and the fact that many Namorese schools in Katranjiev often exclusively used Tzishin anyway.

Tzishin

Tzishin, Tsishin or Cišin (Tzihan: 字新, Tzishin: Цишин), literally "new script," is the writing system used in mainland Namor. It is also the official script of Namorese in Katranjiev (whose pro-Namor Liberationist regime adopted it, and is now co-official with Tziroma) and Riro. Some overseas Namorese communities, especially those that are located closer to Namor, are beginning to use it, although both Tzihan and Tziroma remain the more prevalent scripts among overseas Namorese. It is based on the Cyrillic alphabet.

Tzishin was first proposed by linguists in the NMR 2260s as an alternative to both Tzihan and Tziroma. But the script was not widely accepted until the Liberationists began promoting it in NMR 2295 as part of its counter-illiteracy program. The term "Tzishin" was coined by President-General Antelope Yunglang, who viewed Tzihan and Tziroma as a legacy of feudalism and imperialism, respectively.

As part of its "quick and smooth" transition to Tzishin, the government mandated that all printed material be published in Tzishin and Tziroma. Schools taught Tzishin, and workshops promoting Tzishin to the workers and peasants were set up. After a ten year-long transitional period, in NMR 2305 the government allowed the removal of Tziroma from most printed material. Thirty years after the introduction of Tzishin, in NMR 2325, the Yinganhoi reported that a majority of Namorese could write and understand Tzishin, attributing the rise in literacy rates to the new script.

Orthography

Tziroma Tzishin Tzihan IPA
A a А а /a/
B b Б б /b/
Ch ch (Č č) Ч ч /t͡ʃ/
D d Д д /d/
E e Е е /e/
F f Ф ф /f/
G g Г г /g/
H h X x /h/
I i И и /i/
Y y Й й /j/
J j (Dzh, dzh) Дж дж /d͡ʒ/
K k К к /k/
L l Л л /l/
M m М м /m/
N n Н н /n/
O o О о /o/
P p П п /p/
R r Р р /r/
S s С с /s/
Sh sh (Š š) Ш ш /ʃ/
T t Т т /t/
Ts ts (C c) Ц ц /t͡s/
U u У у /u/
V v В в /v/
W w W w /w/
X x Щ щ /ɕ/, /ʂ/
Z z З з /z/
Zh zh (Ž ž) Ж ж /ʒ/
Ya ya Я я /ja/
Yu yu Ю ю /ju/

Notes

1.^ Parts of the region of Nantai are disputed between Namor and Luziyca. Namor lays claim to the entire area, considering it part of Nantai Prefecture, West Namor; Luziyca claims the area (excluding East Po'ai) to be part of the Republic of Nantai, a constituent republic established in 1951. Since 2014, both countries agreed to designate the area as "Namorese territory under Luziycan administration," although the dispute over its future status continues.