The Old Language

The Old Language began as a limited collection of words used by dragons in the Bishel homeland; most of the words were proper nouns.  Over time, the language has expanded into the sole spoken language of the Hirgyae clan, so it is referred to both as the Old Language and as Hirgyae.

The language is simple,  but there are many intricacies to speaking it.  Even within the Hirgyae clan, there are various dialects.  The information here is a summary of the rules of speaking the language.  There is no standard written form of Hirgyae, as the dragons do not use written records or correspondence.  The pages here attempt to reduce Hirgyae into syllables that can be represented by the English alphabet.

If there is a word or phrase you need and cannot find in the dictionary or if you would like a bit of proofreading, do not hesitate to ask over on the DeviantArtBishenRealm DeviantArt group.

Word Joins

In the Hirgyae language, if words are related to one another or connected in a phrase, they are often joined together, either by directly meshing them or with an apostrophe. In this transition, common letters, awkward syllables, or similar sounds may be dropped. Often, the joining is done where the words will best flow together, and there are many variations that all mean the same thing. The result is that someone unfamiliar with spoken Hirgyae may have trouble deciphering what words are in a complex word join. For this reason, Hirgyae ambassadors will often speak a very formal, separated version of the language. While easily translated, it does not reflect how native Hirgyae would speak.

Examples

  • "dark creature"
    • "nuna ker"
    • "k'nuna"
  • "powerful deity"
    • "evidyla mordach"
    • "evidyladach"
    • "evidylach"
    • "mordach'evidyla"

Plural Nouns

Most nouns are made plural with an additional sound at the end of the word. The syllable added varies depending on the word ending.

  • For nouns ending with a consonant or the letter "U", add "-as".
  • For nouns ending with the letters "A", "I", or "O", add "-s".
  • Nouns ending with the letter "E" are the same whether singular or plural.

Examples

    • "wing" : "etal"
    • "wings" : "etalas"
    • "fire" : "eida"
    • "fires" : "eidas"
    • "fish" : "iske"
    • "fishes" : "iske"

Adjectives

Adjectives are generally placed after the noun they modify, although there are exceptions to this rule. They may also be joined to the word they are modifying. In cases where the adjective is placed before the noun, it is almost always joined to the noun by an apostrophe.

There is also a suffix, "-ari", that can be added to nouns to modify them for use as adjectives. The suffix "-ari" can be translated as "full of", "containing", or "embodying".

Examples

  • "the black armor"
    • "h'taral haker"
    • "h'taral'aker"
    • "h'hakeral"
    • "h'haker'taral"
  • "blue light"
    • "sri keso"
    • "sri'keso"
    • "keso'sri"
    • "ke'sri"
  • "misty path"
    • "o issilkari" [issilk (mist) + ari suffix]

Verbs

Actions are kept simple in Hirgyae. There are few compound verb structures and no passive language. "I do not care" becomes "I care not". "I have won" is simply "I won". "He does sing" would be "He sings." Very rarely are two verbs put together, and then it is usually considered weak language, lacking action. Be careful to avoid using two verbs where one would be appropriate.

In the Old Language, subjects are added in front of verbs, and the verbs themselves must be conjugated for tense. The verb roots given in the dictionary are present tense.

Verbs Ending with a Consonant

For verbs that end with a consonant, add the following tense suffixes:

  • Present: none/root
  • Present Uncertain: "-k"
  • Past Tense: "-a"
  • Past Uncertain: "-ak"
  • Future: "-ek"
  • Future Uncertain: "-ikek"
  • Participle/Continuous: "-kal"

Example

  • "circle" : "cern" [Present]
  • "could/may/might be circling" : "cernk" [Present Uncertain]
  • "circled" : "cerna" [Past]
  • "could/may/might have circled" : "cernak" [Past Uncertain]
  • "will/would circle" : "cernek" [Future]
  • "could/may/might circle" : "cernikek" [Future Uncertain]
  • "is/are circling" : "cernkal" [Participle/Continuous, suggests an action without a defined end]

Verbs Ending with the Letter "A"

For verbs that end with the letter "A", add the following tense suffixes:

  • Present: root
  • Present Uncertain: "-k"
  • Past Tense: "-d"
  • Past Uncertain: "-dak"
  • Future: "-kik"
  • Future Uncertain: "-kikek"
  • Participle/Continuous: "-kal"

Example

  • "burn" : "caidlata " [Present]
  • "could/may/might be burning" : "caidlatak" [Present Uncertain]
  • "burned" : "caidlatad" [Past]
  • "could/may/might have burned" : "caidlatadak" [Past Uncertain]
  • "will/would burn" : "caidlatakik" [Future]
  • "could/may/might burn" : "caidlatakikek" [Future Uncertain]
  • "is/are burning" : "caidlatakal" [Participle/Continuous, suggests an action without a defined end]

Adverbs

There are not many true adverbs in the Hirgyae language. The three most common are:

  • "darkly" : "kerk"
  • "evilly" : "iserk"
  • "with goodness" : "kisluk"

For other phrases where an adverb is required, the Hirgyae equivalent would be to say an action was done with a certain quality. This is constructed in the format "verb keh noun. The noun is usually joined with the word "keh" by an apostrophe.

Examples

  • "die honorably" : "die with honor" : "mada keh'onora"
  • "maliciously insult" : "insult with malice" : "maklata keh'derigrat"

Negatives

Negating Verbs

In the Hirgyae language, any negative sentence requires the verb to have an additional prefix to make it negative. The words "no" and "not" do not strictly exist, except where a one-word "no" is an answer or exclamation. Also, the language does not use verb structures such as "do not", "have not", "will not" with another verb. "I do not eat" would be "I eat not". "I have not eaten" would be "I ate not". "I will not eat." would be "I will eat not" (but no verb for "will"; the future tense of "eat" is automatically "will eat"). Using more than one verb at a time is a bad English language habit that you need to break when you write Hirgyae.

Add the following prefixes to negate a verb:

  • For verbs beginning with a consonant, excepting the letter "L", precede with "va-".
  • For verbs beginning with a vowel or the letter "L", precede with "vak-".

Examples

    • "circled" : "cerna"
    • "did not circle" : "vacerna"
    • "wanders" : "irom"
    • "does not wander" : "vakirom"
    • "will sacrifice" : "lai'grenalek"
    • "will not sacrifice" : "vaklai'grenalek"
  • "No, he did not eat that." : "Vak, bukai vagracta ak."
  • "I am not speaking to you." : "Okar vaklatakal a tu."

Negating Nouns and Adjectives

There are also ways of negating adjectives and nouns in Hirgyae. The most commonly used prefix is "ma-". When used with a noun, "ma-" can be loosely translated as "failing to have", "lacking", or "lack of". For example, the word for death in Hirgyae is "madal", which is "ma-" added to the word for life, "dal". Death is translated more accurately as "lack of life".

Adjectives can be affected in the same way. When used with an adjective, "ma-" can be considered to mean "failing to be". For example, "alive" is "dala", while "dead" is "madala". For adjectives only, there is also the prefix "ber-", which translates as "un-" or "not". "Guilty" in Hirgyae is "berneamha", "ber-" added to the word for "innocent", "neamha". The difference between "ma-" and "ber-" is complex, and there are no standard rules. "Maneamha" could mean the same thing as "berneamha", although "berneamha" is the standard form.

Negative nouns and adjectives can be used instead of negative verbs. For example, "he is not innocent" and "he is guilty" mean roughly the same thing, but are constructed differently ("bukai vajana neamha" versus "bukai jana berneamha").

Examples

  • an unlit or dead fire : "failing to have flame" : "maidan" ("ma-" + "aidan")
  • "dishonor" : "lack of honor" : "ma'onora" or "monora" ("ma-" + "onora")
  • "wingless" : "failing to be winged" : "ma'etalla" or "matalla" ("ma-" + "etalla")
  • "invisible" : "not visible" : "berviti" ("ber-" + "viti")

Numbers

Basic numbers are provided in the dictionary. To construct other numbers, join all the required numbers with "un" ("and"). The Hirgyae language uses "and" between all the number elements and not just between the last ones as in English. For creating numbers other than those listed in the dictionary, the process follows the same pattern as the hundreds, where the required numbers are attached to the beginning of the base with an apostrophe.

Examples

  • "seventy-nine" : "seventy and nine" : "kurikam un risa"
  • "three hundred and twenty-seven" : "three hundred and twenty and seven" : "ri'vivinam un to'vinam un kurik"
  • "six thousand" : "tiom'vikanam"
  • "eighty thousand" : "totominam'vikanam"

Ordinal Numbers

Ordinals are not considered proper in Hirgyae. To indicate order, the propositions "after" and "before" are used with numbers. Instead of "the fourth river", a Hirgyae would say "the river after three".

Younger dragons in informal situations often use what we could consider ordinals. These terms are considered slang in Hirgyae and would not be used by elders or in formal situations. To form an ordinal from a number, add the proper suffix:

  • For numbers ending with a consonant, add "-ern".
  • For numbers ending in the letter "A" or "I", add "-rn".

Examples

  • "He is my third son." : "He is my son after two." : "Bukai jana okat skail aidyl tom."
  • "You will attack sixth." : "You will attack before seven." : "Tu odunchetek aradyl kurik."
    • "ten" : "vinam"
    • "tenth" : "vinamern" [slang]
    • "three" : "ri"
    • "third" : "rirn" [slang]

Bishen Realm

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