Tainish, often called Aldish by foreigners, is the language spoken by roughly half of Alderode, predominantly in the northernmost provinces, or ginnals. It is the recognised language of the Ssaelit faith. The rest of the population of Alderode, and the rest of Kasslyne, speaks Continental. Old Tainish is also used internationally for pymary.
Tainish is written in its own phonetic alphabet, in conjunction with roughly two hundred pictographs. An additional seven hundred pictographs are used only for Old Tainish.
Tainish came from the Tains, a group of fair-haired people who, thousands of years ago, lived in a secluded valley beyond the Gold Mountains (soud vaghal) of eastern Alderode. When this valley and its people were conquered by western tribesmen, the Tainish culture and language were disseminated westward. Over time the Tainish language, which was and continues to be the language of pymary, was simplified into a less complicated, formal, and ritualistic tongue until it became what it is today. Original Old Tainish is reserved for use in pymary and in educational and scholarly treatises.
Many concepts unique to Alderode find expression only in Tainish. For example, because a portion of Alderode lives for centuries this has made necessary convenient terms for one's relatives that extend further back than two or three generations. There are also myriad unique units of measure specific to pymary (measurements for the saturation of colour, the strength of smells, the density of rainfall, etc). Aldish schoolchildren are required to fully understand both Continental and Tainish, but there are no translations for many of these Tainish terms. Also, all terms unique to the Ssaelit faith and Ssaelit temple are expressible only in Tainish.
Tainish is mostly right-branching. Word order is subject-verb-object, determiner-noun-adjective, and preposition-object. It is ungendered, and contains a complex system for expressing politeness which, when mirrored in Continental, can make Aldish speakers seem overly formal and stiff. Because Tainish's current form is a deliberate redesign of its original, Tainish forms and conjugations are very regular, making it a moderately easy language to learn.
Verbs have suffixes indicating tense, person and number.
Pronunciation and spelling
Tainish vowels are mostly as in Latin and Spanish: [a e i o u]. There are long vowels and diphthongs. R's may be rolled or trilled.
Some unusual spellings:
|Tainish spelling||IPA||English (or other) equivalent|
|s||[s] (?)||s (probably)|
|ssh||/ʃ̩/1; phonetically probably [ʃ̩.ʃ] (or maybe [ʃʒ̩.] or [ʃ̩.ʔ]?)||a syllabic "sh" sound, as in "Sh! Be quiet!"|
|th||[θ]||th as in think|
|mm||/m̩/; phonetically probably [m̩.m] or possibly [m̩.ʔ]1||syllabic "mm" as in "mm, this cookie is good"|
|initial nn- (?)||/n̩/; phonetically probably [n̩.n] or possibly [n̩.ʔ]1||syllabic "nn" sound, probably|
|non-final n, final -nn||[n]||n|
|final -n||[~]||nasalize vowel, as in French|
|kh||[x]||unvoiced velar fricative: Dutch g, Scottish "loch"|
|g||[χ]||unvoiced uvular fricative: German Ach|
|iw||[y]||German ü, French u|
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Stress in two-syllable words is almost always on the second syllable.
Translations of every notable line of Tainish from the comic so far.