Old Tongue Conventions and Pronunciation

In rendering the Old Tongue I have used the "Lęsų system" because of its general familiarity, despite its obvious drawbacks. I am grateful to the University of Lęsų and the Hosyindre Institute for their help in reconstructing a 12th century Forest dialect. What passes for Middle Age Old Tongue in television and movies is, of course, generally a very modern (say, 17th century) Mountain dialect. Since the peoples of Uliante and Huascarįn split before 0 AR, even by the 12th century they were quite distinct.

In particular I wish to thank Prof. Omar Ovetnye of the Hosyindre Institute, who actually read all my dialogue and compared it to his linguistic drift analyses, and the librarian at UL, Ms. Ragny Olafson, who let me listen to actual wire recordings of elderly children of Uliante, dating from the beginning of the previous century.


aas in tot
eas in bet or kate
ias in bit or beet
oas in coat
uas in butt or boot

The Lęsų system is largely easy, with a few inacuracies. Embarassingly, two of these include the names Epijanio and Isijio, which are more properly spelled Epizanio and Isizio. The "j" in these cases represents not the aspirated "h" of "Jose," but the "zh" sound rendered "si" in "television." "Zh" was an allophone of "z," not "j." There is also the needless distinction between the soft "h" of "Hasyendri" and the aspirated "h" of "Jisi."

Otherwise, vowels tend to follow standard European norms (in which a long "e" is pronounced "ay" rather than "ee"). Exceptions are noted in the table at right.

cas in cub
gas in gone
jas in Jose or hope
rwith slight "hr" sound, not rolled
was in well, NOT where
zas in television or zero

Consonants are pronounced as is standard in English, with a few exceptions noted at right. Double consonants involving "r" or "y" in the second position are, in fact, a single consonant, and never split into separate syllables. This second position "r" does not have the "hr" sound of a solo "r." Thus it is "Es-te-dri," not "Es-ted-ri," and "Ho-syen-dri," not "Hos-yen-dri."

Stress is fairly regular, typically falling on the second syllable, "iSIjio," and often noted with an accent when there is a variance, "RAStiĮN." One notes in this case that the stress on the first syllable is assumed. Following common practice, I omitted the accent that should appear on "Epijįnio," and in other names still in common use and spelled without accents ("Jįvel").

Contest Notice:

On the pages in the language section there are three scripts in this corner written in the Old Hand. Anyone who can translate all three correctly will be entered in a drawing for a free Uliante merchandise (TBD). Visit the Eugene-Fairfield facebook page and send a message with your translations.

The judges have exclusive and final say on the accuracy of a translation. Contest is open until August 15, 2013. Deadline may be extended.