Language of Meitsung: Zarya Heul

Introduction

Zarya Heul is a conlang I originally created in 2015. I’d been reading about the Tocharian languages and was inspired, so Zaryaheul /zarja.heɯl/ took some influences from Tocharian and was intended to be spoken by a fictional Central Asian people. It had some extreme vowel harmony (syllables could only contain front vowels or back vowels, not both) and consonant assimilation, which I thought was impressive at the time but probably contributed to me losing interest in the conlang after a few months.

When it came time to write The Book of Immortality, I decided to revamp Zarya Heul. I dropped the vowel harmony, greatly simplified the consonant structure, and decided that words wouldn’t compound/stick together like they previously did. This brought it from a somewhat synthetic language to a more analytic one.

Information relevant to The Book of Immortality:

Zarya Heul “silk language” is a language spoken in the homelands of the Zarya Tel people. These homelands comprise the entirety of the West Zarya Wa Province and the majority of East Zarya Wa Province in the Meitsung Empire, as well as some lands to the north and west of the Empire.

Phonology

Zarya Heul‘s consonant inventory is fairly “normal”. The 2015 version of the conlang had voiced and unvoiced versions of each consonant (not just stops), but that was dropped in the final version.

 

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal

Nasal

m n ŋ

Stop

p b t d k g

Fricative

s z

h

Affricate ts dz

Approximant l j w

Trill r

Originally, the conlang had diphthongs; they were all removed. All vowels are now pronounced separately. Each vowel also had rounded and unrounded counterparts, but since vowel harmony was removed, there was no longer any need for them.

 

Front Back

Close

i u
Mid e

o

Open

a

Syllable structure is CVN, where:

  • V = any consonant
  • V = any vowel
  • N = any voiceless alveolar, /n/, and /ŋ/

Stress usually falls on the first syllable. Words are rarely longer than three syllables.

Nouns

All modifiers (adjectives, numbers, etc.) precede nouns and case markers follow. Nouns are not inflected as Zarya Heul is an analytic language. The resulting “noun phrase” is NUMBER ADJECTIVE NOUN CASE.

There are six numbers: singular, dual, general plural, small plural, large plural, and all. As the singular is default, it is unmarked.

 

Marker Meaning

Singular

One thing

Dual

et Two things

General plural

as

Things

Small plural wo

A few things

Large plural yi

A lot of things

All apa

Every

Examples:

  • kin astar mawu “one black cat”
  • men kiye gung et “two red houses”

Nouns have multiple case markers: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, and instrumental.

 

Marker Meaning

Nominative

Subject

Accusative

len Direct object
Genitive sil

Possessor

Dative ra

Indirect object

Instrumental neng

With, using

Zarya Heul also has a series of locative markers, which can be understood as cases:

 

Marker Meaning

Ablative

din Away from

Allative

ku To, toward

Adessive

gat

On, on top of

Inessive hera

In, inside

Elative long

Out of

Illative yo

into

Pronouns

Pronouns are treated the same as nouns: they are preceded by modifiers and followed by case markers.

Person

Singular Meaning Gen. Plural Meaning

1st

yel I as yel We
2nd sen You as sen

You

3rd daru It as daru

They

Reflexive pronouns are followed with the marker nar:

Person

Singular Meaning Gen. Plural Meaning

1st

yel nar Myself as yel nar Ourselves
2nd sen nar Yourself as sen nar

Yourselves

3rd daru nar Itself as daru nar

Themselves

Verbs

Verbs have two types of markers: auxiliaries which express modality, and tense. Auxiliaries precede the verb and tenses follow it. If the verb is negated, the negation particle is first in line.

There are five tenses: far past, near past, present, near future, and far future.

Tense

Marker Meaning

Far past

esa A while ago

Near past

arza Recently
Present toku

Currently

Near future ker

Soon

Far future lau

A long time from now

The far past is used for actions that happened a significantly long time ago. What is considered a long time is fairly flexible, and usually up to the speaker.

Yel weki esa zarya heul len.

  • I spoke Zarya Heul a long time ago.
  • 1SG speak FAR-PAST zarya heul ACC

The near past tense is used for actions that happened recently. It is similar to a perfect aspect.

Yel woan arza as kisang len.

  • I recently saw snakes.
  • 1SG see NEAR-PAST GEN-PL snake ACC

The present tense is only used for actions that are currently occurring.

Yel miya toku.

  • I’m running right now.
  • 1SG run PRES

The near future tense is used for actions that will happen soon. Like with the far past, what is considered “soon” is up to the speaker.

Yel penke ker as sare len.

  • I will buy eggs soon.
  • 1SG buy NEAR-FUT GEN-PL egg ACC

The far future tense is used for actions that will happen far in the future.

Yel penke lau as sare len.

  • I will buy eggs at some point.
  • 1SG buy FAR-FUT GEN-PL egg ACC

Verbs that are not marked for tense can be used for general statements:

Yel miya.

  • I run (for exercise, as a hobby, in general, etc.).
  • 1SG run

Yel penke as sare len.

  • I buy eggs.
  • 1SG buy GEN-PL egg ACC

Verbal auxiliaries are used in place of mood:

Auxiliary

Marker Meaning

Can/could

dur be able to
May/might king

possibly

Must/shall tenai

Requirement, obligation

Dur is used to indicate that an action can be carried out:

Yel dur miya.

  • I can run (I am capable of running).
  • 1SG can run

King is used to express that an action could possibly occur:

Yel king penke as sare len.

  • I might buy eggs.
  • 1SG might buy GEN-PL egg ACC

Tenai is used to express that a verb is an obligation or requirement:

Yel tenai penke as sare len.

  • I have to buy eggs.
  • 1SG must buy GEN-PL egg ACC

Negation is indicated with the particle tu:

Yel tu miya toku.

  • I’m not running right now.
  • 1SG not run PRES

Other Parts of Speech

Zarya Heul has two determiners: ngas “this”, which is used for objects close by, and keyu “that”, which is used by objects further away.

There are two locative adverbs: poku “here” and tsung “there”. Location can also be expressed with the constructions ngas kilar “this place/here” and keyu kilar “that place/there”.

Zarya Heul has multiple question words. Interrogative phrases start with a question word and end with the question tag mat:

Location

Word Meaning

Beginning of phrase

lang how

Beginning of phrase

garas what

Beginning of phrase

muka when
Beginning of phrase liya

where

Beginning of phrase yar

why

Beginning of phrase tuwe

who

End of phrase mat

Question tag

Examples:

Yar sen miya toku mat?

  • Why are you running right now?
  • Why 2SG run PRES question-tag

Liya sen penke as sare len mat?

  • Where do you buy eggs?
  • Where 2SG buy GEN-PL egg ACC question-tag

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