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Words from the Alphatian Calendar

by Travis Henry

Here's an analysis of names from the Alphatian Calendar, with comparisons to the Thyatian Calendar:

Alphatian; Thyatian; English

<jhur>; <dain>; "day" (certainly means "day"; from an OOC perspective, the TSR designer was likely inspired by French <jour>)
<ma>, <luna>; "moon" (<ma> begins with the same letter as English "moon", and has a feminine connotation like the moon; also matches with <Matera>)
<Ti>; <Grom>; "Tue-" (The Alphatian name resembles <Tiw> the ancient English god of war, associated with the Roman god and planet-name Mars. The Thyatian name seems to be fantastic, though there's a small chance the TSR designer was thinking of "Crom" the god of the Cimmerians.)
<Wo>; <Tser>; "Wednes-" (The Alphatian name resembles <Woden>, the ancient English god of travellers, associated with the Roman god and planet-name Mercury. The Thyatian name seems to be fantastic.)
<Tha>; <Mol>; "Thur-" (The Alphatian name resembles <Thunor>, the ancient English god of lightning, associated with the Roman god and planet-name Jupiter. The Thyatian name seems to be fantastic.)
<Fla>; <Nyt>; "Fri-" (The Alphatian name resembles <Frige>, the ancient English god of love; associated with the Roman goddess and planet-name Venus. The Thyatian name may be fantastic, or it might evoke the English word "night".)
<Se>; <Losh>; "Satur-" (The Alphatian name resembles "Saturn", the Roman god and planet-name.)
<la>; <sola>; "sun" (The TSR designer might've gotten Alphatian <la> from shortening Thyatian <so-la>, but this is not certain)

If the Alphatian month names have the same meaning as the Thyatian month names (though it's not certain if they do), then that'd be twelve more deciphered Alphatian words. Of course there's an in-game difficulty in justifying how the Alphatian and Thyatian calendars would be parallel in meaning. But my concern here is to analyse the Alphatian Calendar to see to what degree the TSR designer meant it to match the Thyatian. A few of them do match the Thyatian, but others don't necessarily seem to match:

Alphatian; Thyatian; English (followed by notes as to how the Alphatian does or doesn't match the Thyatian and English words)

<mir>; <mont>; "month" (<mir> certainly means "month"; it may be noted that the Alphatian, Thyatian, and English words all begin with "m")
<nyx>; <nuw>; "new" (The Immortal name suggests Alphatian <nyx> might mean "night", just like the "Nyx" Greek goddess of Night. But the fact that all three words -- Alphatian, Thyatian, and English -- all begin with "n" suggests that the TSR designer intentionally made the Alphatian name similar to the Thyatian -- and the Thyatian surely means "new".)
<sula>; <flaur>; "flower" (no clear correspondence)
<tsla>; <fel>; "fell" (no clear correspondence)
<hast>; <svift>; "swift" (close correspondence with "haste" and "swift")
<amphi>; <vater>; "water" (some correspondence in the sense of "water" and "amphibian", though Greek <amphi> means "both" not "water"; "amphibian" means "both-life" -- living on both land and water)
<sud>; <yarth>; "earth" (no clear correspondence)
<andru>; <fyr>; "fire" (no clear correspondence; <andru> is evocative of the Greek prefix <andro-> "male")
<ei>; <eir>; "air" (close correspondence in form; the similarity cannot be a coincidence)
<alpha>; <thau>; "thaw" (no clear correspondence; <alpha> might be the same root that is in "Alphatia", "Alphas", and "Alphaks", which doesn't match with "thaw" at all)
<vert>; <klar>; "clear" (some correspondence in the sense of English "vitreous" (glass-like) and Italian <vetro> "glass")
<cypr>; <ambyr>; "amber" (some correspondence in the sense of the colour "yellow". Alphatian <cypr> is similar to English "copper" -- and the word "copper" comes from the name of the island "Cyprus" where much of copper ore came from. Both "amber" and "copper" are associated with the colour yellow. The Alphatian root is likely the same as in "Cypri" the copper-skinned Alphatians. The month-name might refer to the yellow leaves of autumn even though the 11th month is late for leaves to change colour)
<bury>; <kald>; "cold" (no clear correspondence)

It's not 100% certain whether all these are complete words, or if some are worn down like English "Mon-" for "moon" in "Monday". Still, I think some Alphatian vocabulary can be gleaned.

Analysing Alphatian planet names

M1: Into the Maelstrom describes the planetary remnants of Old Alphatia, called the Star Kingdoms. Of note are three planets with names similar to "Alphatia": Belthar, Gammar, and Delthar. From an out-of-game perspective, obviously all four names are inspired by the Greek letters alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.

It appears that the three planets of the Star Kingdoms consist of a root-word plus an ending. The ending is almost certainly either <-ar> or <-r>. In which case, the root words are either <belth>, <gamm>, and <delth> or <beltha>, <gamma>, and <deltha>. Since the latter forms with an "a"-ending are more similar to the Greek, they are most likely.

The ending is therefore likely <-r>, and may be a place-name ending -- something like Latin "-ia".

I suggest that the Alphatian words <alpha>, <beltha>, <gamma>, and <deltha> mean about the same thing as the Greek letters. Those four words would be the first four characters of the Alphatian orthography. (I'm not wading into the discussion of whether the Alphatian script is an alphabet, syllabary, or something else.) And, like in Greek, the letters likely also have numerical and symbolic significance: "first/beginning", "second", "third", and "fourth".

I wonder if "Alphatia" is really only the Thyatian Common (and "TSR English") name for Alphatia. Perhaps the actual Alphatian name is <Alphar>.

Matera and Patera

I suggest that <Matera> and <Patera> are both untranslated actual Thyatian names. Though they could theoretically be Alphatian or some other Mystaran language, I suggest that the clearest assumption is that they represent Thyatian names since it's the default Common language of the planet. And it'd be strange for the main name for the planet to be from an extraplanetary language (Alphatian) instead of a native Mystaran language (Thyatian).

The names do not appear to be English "fictive translations", since though "Matera" is the name of a province and city in Italy (and is used in English), and "patera" has some rare or specialist meanings in English, I doubt Bruce had these in mind when he invented the name.

As far as RW similarities besides English, the moon names most resemble Latin <mater> "mother" and Latin and Greek <pater> "father" (Greek for "mother" is <meter>). This matches with how Latin and Greek are two of the main ingredients in Thyatian.

It's not certain whether the <-a> ending is a suffix, or if it's part of the base form of the word. But the posited Thyatian word for "sun" <sola> has a final "-a" even though Latin <sol> doesn't. Therefore, I think that, like <sola> "sun", these are the base forms. Which gives us two more actual Thyatian Common words:

<matera> "mother"
<patera> "father"