by Max Barry

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The Stroulian Language - La Lingvo Sudalotero

The native language of Stroulia, known as Denalingvo (lit. "mother tongue"), is one that is not entirely original in design. When the country was originally colonized and the native population faced genocide and enslavement, a result of this was that use the native language spoken, referred to as "Old Stroulian", was nearly lost, particularly as the English speaking colonists quickly overtook the number of natives. Those who weren't killed were effectively forced to learn English to get by.

However, over the next couple centuries, as the independence movement for the nation grew, the need to develop for a cultural identity grew as well, and this included the need for a distinctly "Stroulian" language. Thus a concerted effort began to develop such a language. A special committee was established in the early 1880s, known as the Stroulian Cultural Language Movement, that was in charge of creating this new language.

The committee, knowing that the majority of the island's population was of European descent, looked to the Indo-European languages for inspiration. Taking elements of French, German, English, Spanish, etc., as well as using spoken elements of surviving examples of Old Stroulian, the committee was able to construct a language that felt familiar to the Islanders but was distinct enough to separate it from the established European languages.

When it came to developing the alphabet to be used, again they took the fact that the vast majority of those living in Stroulia were European, particularly from Western Europe, and thus settled on basing it in Latin script. The letters Q, W, X, and Y were removed, relegated to use for writing foreign and proper names. Five of the letters were also doubled and given accented diacritic marks: ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ.

Full Alphabet

a, b, c, ĉ, d, e, f, g, ĝ, h, ĥ, i, j, ĵ, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, ŝ, t, u, ŭ, v, z

After spending a couple of years refining the language and making alterations, the language was officially revealed to the general public and colonial government. It was very positively received and was officially adopted alongside English as Stroulia's official language. By the 1890s it had begun making its way into the various educational institutions in order to keep it a viable language for future generations.

Since that time Stroulian has remained strong, and while English may be the de facto main language spoken, Stroulian is spoken as a fluent second language by about 95% of the country and has a strong culture surrounding it, both positive and negative. Although it's only spoken by the country for which it is named, at over 11 million speakers, it's certainly not an insignificant language by any measure.

Structure

Denalingvo, as mentioned before, takes most of its design from European languages, and thus much of its structure is similar to those languages. It follows a subject-verb-object sentence structure (eg. "Andy ate cereal."), and words are formed by stringing together the various roots and endings, as well as any prefixes and suffixes. Certain compound words are formed by taking two words, for example "bird song", which would normally translate as "kanto de birdoj", and shortening the words and removing elements, such as the "to" in kanto and the word "de", and then putting them together to form the compound word "kanbirdoj". This is mainly done for location and family names. In fact, the name "Sudalotero", the Stroulian name for the country, is a compound word meaning "Land of the South People".

Stroulian contains 26 consonants and the 5 standard Latin vowels. Sounds are mainly stressed on the second-to-last vowel (eg. familio, stress is placed on the second "i"), while the tone is not used a distinguishing feature for words.


Consonants

Bilabial

Labiodental

Alveolar

Postalveolar

Palatal

Velar

Glottal

Nasal

m

n

Stop

p | b

t | d

k | g

Affricate

t͡s | (d͡z)

t͡ʃ | d͡ʒ

Fricative

f | v

s | z

ʃ | ʒ

(x)

h

Approximant

l

j

(w)

Trill

r

Vowels

Front

Back

Close

i

u

Mid

e

o

Open

a

(same)


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