Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
The Languages of Selhomarr:by Geoff Gander
Every day was an education, reflected Anslin. Ever since he had come to Calimnis, which was the capital of this strange land, he had been confronted with languages unlike any he had heard before! Jia, the innkeeper with whom he was staying, had decided that Anslin would be best served if he learned one of the local languages, instead of relying on the simple Neathar tongue.
"Come now, Anslin," said Jia, "let us venture to the market, where you will experience our language first hand. Remember that some people in Selhomarr speak in dialects that you may not be able to understand at first. Do not be alarmed, as they will soon recognise you as lara, and they will speak in such a way that you may comprehend them better. These days, there many such as yourself in Calimnis and other cities - those from far-off lands who often cannot speak our languages and do not know anything of our culture."
The two languages most commonly used in Selhomarr are Lhomarrian and Ilarnnian. Of the two, Lhomarrian is by far the more common. Neathar is also spoken in Selhomarr as well, primarily for the benefit of foreigners.
The Lhomarrian language is very ancient. Its vocabulary is both immense and highly detailed; there are no homonyms (words that mean different things yet sound the same - a good example of which is "night" and "knight" in English), and there are literally dozens of synonyms for each word, each reflecting a subtle change in meaning. This is especially true for things that tie deeply with Lhomarrian culture, such as sailing, the water, and winds. There are words that describe different shades of blue in the seas, different shapes of waves, and different intensities and directions of winds. As a result, the Lhomarrian language is both precise and expressive, though it is not any more difficult to learn than other languages - costing only one language slot as per standard rules. The list below shows some typical Lhomarrian words, and what they mean:
Lhomarrian Word Meaning Lhomarrian Word Meaning anor (pl. anora) tree lhoir (pl. lhoira) land anyos (pl. anyosa) bay liann (pl. lianna) berry belna (pl. belnar) cloud mar (pl. mara) sea, ocean breth (pl. brethia) flower -on (suffix) born of brul (pl. brulla) mountain orast (pl. orasta) hill carith (pl. carithia) river ormin cold carnos (pl. carnosan) stormy sea prys (pl. prysan) garden dil silver ros hot dul- (prefix) old, former rothnyi (pl. rothnyii) coast galith gold se- (prefix) new gil (pl. gilla) honourable title tar (pl. tara) month harist (pl. harista) leaf thall bronze inith (pl. inithi) cursed one tors (pl. torsan) ship ithas (pl. ithasa) field, plain xe- (prefix) new (archaic) lara (pl. larar) foreigner xer sun
Ilarnnian, the other commonly-spoken language in Selhomarr, is not related at all to Lhomarrian. Unlike many other languages, Ilarnnian relies heavily on placement and emphasis when spoken. Adding stress to different syllables in the same sentence at different times, or changing the positions of certain words, will change the meaning of what is said. As a result, many people unfamiliar with the Ilarnnian language, when speaking to Ilarnnians, can run the risk of offending people, or simply amusing them, by their attempts to speak it. Also, Ilarnnian has no plural forms for any of its nouns; nor do nouns have any gender. For many Ilarnnians, as a result, learning foreign languages that do have these features, such as Lhomarrian, is often a struggle. If you choose to have an Ilarnnian as a character, you will not have this problem - unless you think it will provide good opportunities to role-play culture shock.