Vuwcid

DATE 2018-2021
GENERAL RULES Stress generally on first syllable
WORD ORDER Marker-Article-ADJ-Subject-Article-ADJ-Object-Verb.Tense-ADV
Word order does not change for questions.
INSPIRATION Panorama of a train by Rhiannon Rasmussen
RELATED Guide to Kroma
Zhavise language
Jumble script

Vuwcid is the second conlang I fleshed out for the Kroma setting. After working on Zhavise, the world's lingua franca, I wanted to bite into something more grammatically complex and less regular.

Vuwcid ("voo-chid") is mainly spoken in the east of Shungvales, particularly in the Moss Mountains separating the north-east coast from the Zhavise region. The Vuwcid capital is Vinnor, situated in the northern mouth of The Herds and home to the Eddlyr Uts, who serve the same purpose as Kroma's Oroshadan.

The region today known as Etuji is also historically Vuwcid, but due to the spread of Oroshadan knights over the years Etuji cities now primarily use Zhavise. The Zhavise spoken here has not been hugely influenced by Vuwcid, though it is common for northern Zhavise speakers to use Vuwcid state markers (see below) as slang. ro is particularly popular and it often goes misused by southern Zhavise speakers, much to the chagrin of native Vuw. Traditional Vuwcid spoken in the east is often mocked by Etuji speakers for sounding like one is speaking around a mouthful of food; the Etuji accent is much sharper and pocket vowels are pronounced further back in the mouth.

Phonology

LETTER SOUND LETTER SOUND LETTER SOUND
k* k c** i i/ɪ
m/n* m/n nn** ñ iw ɥ
d* d dd** u ʊ
p* p b** b uw u
t t l l o ɔ
r ɹ s s oi ɔɪ
v v w w a æ
f f y/yo i/j/joʊ aw ɒ
e ε

Vowels belong to two categories, "base" and "pocket" vowels. Every base vowel has a pocket*** form:

  • i → iw
  • u → uw
  • o → oi
  • a → aw

"Loose" vowels do not fit in the base or pocket categories:

  • y/yo - always end a word and are never in the middle
  • e - never on a stressed syllable

Base vowels are always pronounce individually and do not form diphthongs (eg. liuwik would be pronounced "lih-oowick" rather than "lyoowick"). Pocket vowels are pronounced as diphthongs.

Pronouns

There are a wide range of third-person pronouns, though these are separated by age rather than gender. First-person and second-person pronouns do not differ by age.

SUBJECT OBJECT REFLEXIVE
1st person (single) vly von vidda
1st person (plural) siw sin sadda
2nd person kyo kon kidda
3rd person (non-specific person or a group of people of multiple ages) syo son sodda
3rd person (baby) bibiw bibon bibba
3rd person (young children) byo bon byodda
3rd person (teenagers) abyo abon bodda
3rd person (20's) diyo don dodda
3rd person (30's and 40's) dyo don dodda
3rd person (50's+ with grandkids) pyo pon padda
3rd person (50's+ without grandkids) apyo apon apadda

Possessives are formed using the viw ("at") construction: the noun at owner. The noun must be accomapanied by the definite article.

POSSESSIVE EXAMPLE
1st person (single) viwvly ofa ciw viwvly, "my bird"
1st person (plural) viwsiw ofa ciw viwsiw, "our bird"
2nd person viwkyo ofa ciw viwkyo, "your bird"
3rd person (non-specific person or a group of people of multiple ages) viwsyo ofa ciw viwsyo, "their bird"
3rd person (baby) vibibiw ofa ciw vibibiw, "their bird"
3rd person (young children) viwbyo ofa ciw viwbyo, "their bird"
3rd person (teenagers) vabyo ofa ciw vabyo, "their bird"
3rd person (20's) vidiyo ofa ciw vidiyo, "their bird"
3rd person (30's and 40's) viwdyo ofa ciw viwdyo, "their bird"
3rd person (50's+ with grandkids) vipyo ofa ciw vipyo, "their bird"
3rd person (50's+ without grandkids) vapyo ofa ciw vapyo, "their bird"

Verbs

Verbs are separated into three categories: non-phsyical ("to be"), vague physical ("to have"), and actual physical ("to sing"). Each verb category has a different conjugation ruleset. All verbs conjugate according to subject.

NON-PHYSICAL
oatir
"to be"
VAGUE PHYSICAL
ciwpin
"to have"
ACTUAL PHYSICAL
eddoalik
"to sing"
vly oatab vly ciwpib vly eddoalab
siw oatinn siw ciwpinn siw eddoalinn
kyo oato kyo ciwpyo kyo eddoalo
syo oatib syo ciwpid syo eddoaloi

MARKER TENSE EXAMPLE
none present vly oatab, "I am"
aot future vly oatab aot, "I will be"
oit past vly oataboit, "I was"
apt imperative oatir apt, "be!"
iddaot future past vly oatab iddaot, "I will have been"
iddoit past perfect vly oatab iddoit, "I had been"
adda present progressive vly oatab adda, "I am being"

Nouns

Nouns have two genders, "high" and "low"

  • odd - high indefinite article
  • od - low indefinite article
  • ef - high definite article
  • ofa - low definite article

Plurals also change according to gender

  • -il - high plural
  • -ol - low plural

Adjectives

Adjectives must agree with high nouns:

  • The final consonant of the adjective must harden.
  • If the final consonant is already hard, then the final vowel pockets.
  • If the final consonant is already hard and the final vowel already pocketed, then nothing changes.

Adjectives do not need to agree with low nouns

ADJECTIVE HIGH NOUN LOW NOUN
annin, "good" odd anniwn faw,
"a good morning"
od annin ciw,
"a good bird"
ipad, "big" odd ipadd apanoi,
"a big tower"
od ipad tuwly,
"a big cat"

When describing yourself or a person, you do not use adjectives. Instead, you say that you have a characteristic:

  • od ipad tuwly, "a big cat"
  • BUT: vly ciupib ipa, "I am tall" (literally "I have tall height").
  • ef anniwn pidd, "the good name"
  • BUT: kyo ciwpyo annina, "you are good" (literally "you have goodness").

State Markers

State markers are an important feature of Vuwcid which go at the very beginning of the sentence and introduce the mood of the phrase. There are four state markers:

  • ro - positive sentence
  • py - negative sentence
  • cy - question
  • so - hypothetical sentence

ro and py don't make a statement positive or negative by themselves, but they reinforce the positivity or negativity. A sentence like "py I like cabbage" doesn't mean "I don't like cabbage", it means "I like cabbage... wiggly eyebrows so you know I'm not telling the truth.

cy must be placed at the beginning of every question to turn a statement into a question, similar to Japanese ka.

Example sentences

  • English: The cat stole my dinner
    Vuwcid: ofa tuwly ikkaloi oit ofa epa viwvly
    Transliteration: the cat steal past the dinner at-me

  • English: Stop asking me to dance
    Vuwcid: naddalo apt ep kyo abuddiyo von luvik
    Transliteration: you-stop imperative that you ask/request me to-dance

Writing system

Similar to the Zhavise script, Vuwcid is written top to bottom, left to right. Vuwcid wasn't restricted to the rigidity of blockprinting, however, so it is a very loose and decorative script, traditionally written with a chisel tipped pen. Letters do not connect, but the "stem" of each letter begins along the same central line.

State markers are not written in full, but are instead indicated with the following glyphs. The "neutral" glyph is only used in writing to indicate a stateless phrase and is not spoken aloud.

Examples

  • so set ofa adda viwkyo ka ciwpid kiw oatrinnka ilyo siw otsolinn asin rubotlid - ofa adda viwkyo ka ciwpid aot kiw oatrinnka ilyo siw niwddalinn. (on left)

  • "If your mouth is closed when you're cooking, then it will be closed when you're eating." Singing while you cook is important to Vuwcid culture and there are hundreds of songs written to be sung during the preparation of specific meals.

Development

Vuwcid started life years before Kroma even existed, as a botched panorama of a train taken by Rhiannon Rasmussen. I was really taken by the jumble of letters on the side of the train and decided to see what I could turn it into. I love doing this, developing whole languages from one picture of some weird wiggly lines. If you ever have a weird wiggly line picture and you think it would make a cool script send it my way.


I directly transcribed the "words" in the photo and used them as the jumping off point for a grammar. Below are my original notes; you can see that the bones of Vuwcid were there from the very beginning.

When Spire and I started discussing developing Vuwcid, I had a language basically ready to go. The next question was what it would look like; I had already considered using my Scarab script for this language, but I didn't think it fit quite right. I showed Spire what I'd done with my Jumble script as another option and we decided to use that as a base for the direction we wanted to go. Spire put together some glyph ideas, I picked out my favourites, and the Vuwcid script was born.