This page shall cover how the fictional language, Astervotum, works. Understanding it is entirely optional for enjoying DeSTRESS.
Again, this section is only here to help those who want to know how the language works and (probably) want to translate the in-comic lines for fun. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, feel free to skip this section!
**version 2.0 (01.07.14)**
I am not perfect at languages, but for the most part I feel I cover Astervotum thoroughly enough for it to function properly. If you find any "holes", have any questions, spot something horrendously wrong grammatically or think something isn't adequately explained, feel free to PM me about it so that I may address it in a timely manner.
Additionally, because this section is optional, I will be including some "author notes" that are typically in parentheses following whatever aspect of the language talked about. I hope this proves to be interesting/insightful to anyone who reads it!
Writing Astervotum (How Letters and Numbers Look)|
**View Alphabet** - **Download the Font!**
-Note the font was created with the following program: [link]. As such it is not intended for commercial use, but more as a for-fun thing. In order to access the special 0-ender character, use shift + 0. (Because of this there are no parentheses!)
-There are no "extra" letters and each letter converts exactly as it would to its English letter counterpart. There are no uppercase/lowercase letters or a "shorthand" version of Astervotum.
The only "difference" (in writing) is when it comes to writing numbers, the very last 0 (denoted as 0*) in a number gets an additional symbol as there are no 'commas' in Astervotum and it is used to help avoid confusion in the case of multiple numbers.
-In a sense, Astervotum could be considered the "cursive" of the world of DeSTRESS. (However it also extends verbally as well- and yes this means there IS NO cursive language in the world of DeSTRESS.)
-"Quotes" are denoted with double "periods" at the beginning and the end of whatever is being quoted. (Very few things in Astervotum are ever quoted, so there is no need for a unique symbol.)
-Ellipses and hyphens are never written or used, even though word combinations such as "half-baked" do exist, they are not represented as such in Astervotum (they would simply appear as "half baked").
-Symbols that denote the end of a sentence exist where "hyphens" do in English rather than hug the bottom line like periods, question marks and exclamation points do.
I = Inbrae
("I" is given a fair amount of note in comparison to English as there is an emphasis and value to identifying the self. Dropping "I" is very rarely, if ever done.)
You = Sareus
(Including "you" in a sentence is typically a formality and expected courtesy, dropping the "you" in a sentence is considered to be a sign of lack of respect or that "you" is not important enough to address. Dropping "you" can also be used to indicate the person being addressed is not intended to have any say in the matter being discussed.)
We/Us = Imbrus
(The "royal we" does not exist in Astervotum. "We/Us" is only used to address an actual collective. Misuse of the identifier is detrimental to the (singular) speaker.)
Them/They/Those = Ergein
(Use of "Them/They" to address "one of unknown sex (singular)" is viewed as incorrect form, see "Falir" for further clarification.)
He/She/It = Falir
(Sex-exclusive pronouns serve no real purpose in Astervotum. The sex of a pronoun has to be inferred from context. If the speaker wishes to specify an entity's sex they can borrow and use the (exact) word "Male" and "Female" respectively.)
Mine/My = Iern
Your(s) = Yiern
His/Her(s)/Their(s)/Its = Giern
(When having to describe someone as owning something ie: [Person]'s trait/property, 'Giern' is used. The formula would be [Name] + Giern + [what is possessed].)
's = En
('En' is used in the formula [noun] + en + [whatever it possesses]- it should be noted that 'En' can only be used for non-living objects. ie: Fire's brilliance, knife's sharpness, building's sturdiness, etc. It should be noted that this is never used in conjunction with something that is dead, ie: "[Deceased]'s wishes" would use 'Giern' NOT 'En'. Animals and plants would also use 'Giern' not 'En'.
In the rare instance of referring to Familiars having possessives, 'Giern' is used instead of 'En'.)
Articles + Demonstratives|
(These words are direct translations regardless of their placement and possible usage in a sentence.)
The = Ral
A/An = Sura
That/This = Fiel
The "Being" Verb|
(The "Being" verb is special, all other verbs are discussed much further down.)
Is/Are = Ir/Ive
Am = Virave
Was/Were = Rwa/Erwe
Be = de
At = Tsun
(This includes location and "time" ie: At sunrise.)
(Again, direct translations regardless of their location in the sentence. If the question word is used at the start of a sentence, it generally carries a tone of neutrality or no emotive connection. However when it is used elsewhere in a sentence it ceases to be a "neutral" word.)
Who = Vaseel
What = Irivel
Where = Pahyeel
Why = Andsel
How = Qiansvel
When = Chroveneel
Could/Would/Shall/Will (as in "will you") = Maheve
(There is no difference between "could/would.", it is simply regarded as a "request" word. The actual verb "to request" (and other similar words) exist and are regarded differently. This "request" word is considered the most polite, verbs often carry a "command/demand" tone.
(There are no words designated exclusively as explicative language (ie: damn, etc.), Astervotum is very "stiff" in that regard and these modifiers act as a way to compensate for this. Some words do have leeway "poetic"/Romantic meaning but these meanings come from preexisting practical descriptive words. By this same token, there aren't any idioms that originate from Astervotum.)
Plural OBJECTS -> Added Suffix
(+) positive = -tra
(In English a "positive" phrase would be "awesomely sweet apples" vs Astervotum which would simply say "sweet apple(awesomely)s". The (awesomely) would be localized to another positive word if it were translated to English)
(0) neutral = -oin
(This would be the equal of simply pluralizing the subject in question. Apple -> Apples)
(-) negative = -vwei
(In English a "negative" phrase would be "damn rotten apples" vs Astervotum which would simply say "rotten apple(damn)s". The (damn) would be localized in if it were translated.)
Respect/Courtesy Signifier -> END OF SENTENCE
(Used for tonally indicating feelings towards Statements/Definite/Insistence/Commands/Requests/Vows, this is NEVER used in writing, only in verbal, very personalized speech. It is spoken as a completely separate sound in a verbal sentence.)
(+) positive = phe
(These would be used when expressing affection, adoration, respect, etc. when talking to someone or about someone/something.)
(0) neutral = (none added)
(-) negative = zief
(These would be used when expressing hatred, distaste, disgust, etc. when talking to someone or about someone/something.)
(An additional note about this, these respect/courtesy signifiers carry an insistence that these qualities are STATIC/CERTAIN or are highly unlikely to change. These ending words would be used to indicate ideas as powerful as moral codes, creeds, philosophy, facts (in the case of "neutral"), urgency, etc.)
(This is added at the end of the sentence as a seperate sound/word UNLESS it is being attached to a one-word statement ie: greetings/farewells, etc., in which case it is combined with the standalone word.)
(+/0) positive/neutral = -selah
(-) negative = -deit
(Farewells, commenting on uncertain states of being such as sickness, wishing someone well, etc. ie: "Farewell" is rendered "Faren" in Astervotum, "Farenselah" is a typical/expected farewell, "Farendeit" is the equal of insulting someone while departing.
These can also be combined with the before mentioned Question Words to change the tone of the sentence without adding on more verbs/words.)
very = tsaa (equal to very when used BEFORE a word)
-er, -ly = -tsaa (equal to -ly when used at the end of an adjective)
(Despite using the same word, they can be used to designate very different things as well as drastically change the grammar of a sentence. Using both denotes even more emphasis and can be used to achieve an -est for the descriptive word in question.)
(precedes the word it modifies)
sul- = equal to not/un-
(Nouns CANNOT be negative, their "being" verb must be made negative or employ "Confirmation Words" (see next box). If used as "not" it is spaced out from the word it modifies, if used as a prefix that modifies it is incorporated in the beginning of the word it modifies.)
nul- = negative [number]
(Obviously this is only used for numbers.)
False/No/Nay = uln
True/Yes/Yay/(casual) "Understood" = eys
(All verbs conjugate according to a strict formula (see below), the only irregular verb is the earlier mentioned "Being" verb.)
MULTIPLE VERBS IN A SENTENCE
(The long and short of it is to conjugate as need be as you would in a (grammatically correct) English sentence. "I want to eat" vs "I want you to eat" vs "I can see that you're eating" vs "I would like to see how you cook."
Present = (infinitive verb) -vi; [eat(s), swim(s), grant(s)]
Past = (infinitive verb) -ia; [ate, swam, granted]
Future = willenvi + (infinitive verb) -a; [will eat, will swim, will grant]
Present = tul (infinitive verb) -ia; [has eaten, has swam, has granted, etc.]
Past = dal (infinitive verb) -ia; [had eaten, had swam, had granted, etc.]
Future = willenvi var (infinitive verb) -ia; [will have eaten, will have swam, will have granted, etc.]
Present = ir (infinitive verb) -nant; [is eating, is swimming, is granting]
Past = rwa (infinitive verb) -nant; [was eating, was swimming, was granting]
Future = willenvi de (infinitive verb) -nant; [will be eating, will be swimming, will be granting]
"Perfect" Tense Words
Has = tul
Had = dal
Have = var
(Note: These are different from the verb "to have" as in "possess/own". The "have to" as in an obligation or command uses the word "must".)
*The verb can simply be plugged in and it will be the correct translation of the example verbs in the brackets.
Miscellaneous Unique Words|
Mion- = World/Realm of Existence
(This word carries the implication that it is something to be inherently respected and is not "owned" by anyone in the sense that a realm (such as a home) can have an owner. It is also different from what "world" can mean to indicate something large/massive/encompassing ie: A world of hurt. This is the [subjective adjective] world I live in.
"Mion-" CAN ONLY be used to describe something (a large space) that exists for certainty (such as a country/nation or the planet itself) and it cannot be used to poetically describe something.
Other words can be used to describe countries/nations but Mion- carries an "older"/more traditional air.)
Nihil- = (Of or pertaining to the essence of a) soul
(This word deals with the defining and united qualities of a soul as a respectable and accountable entity (a decision-making individual). It has the same significance as "human" does in the context of "human individuality", "human nature", etc. And is not exclusive in the classification sense of "human being" has with "homo sapiens".)
Seele = Soul
(This word is simply listed to illustrate the difference between "Seele" and "Nihil-". "Seele", despite both translating directly to "Soul", addresses it in a completely different manner. "Seele" refers to the components of a soul as a resource and not as something that is recognized as an individual or can be held accountable for its actions. It would be much like how blood or any other organ is treated in relation to a human body.)
Familiar => Familiar (Embodied Will, Soul Craft, etc.)
(In terms of overall concept, spelling, and pronunciation, it shares much in common with its English (our world's mythical) definition, HOWEVER it also has additional in-world significance of being understood as the manifestation of will and power of a human into a coherent action, intention or expression to be carried out.)
-faer = Broken, not exclusively in a physical sense, but also in terms of idea, concept, intention, etc.
(This is a suffix specifically created for describing the extent of how "bad" something has become or currently is. In simplest terms, it is the idea of corruption taken to its most extreme and unfortunate degree. It is the only suffix that has a completely negative meaning when used to describe something. This suffix is most closely related to "cursed" but is treated as more severe by those who know its meaning.)
Sie'- = (Phonetic emotive sound)
(This word has multiple connotations, typically its meaning has to do with the tone of the speaker and the context. The ending sentence modifiers help solidify the meaning that the speaker intends. However, if it is written, it automatically defaults to reverence/respect in a "superior" sense. When used in conjunction with a name or object it would be most closely translated to "God" or "Superior". It should also be noted that the word "God" in a divine sense does not exist in Astervotum, the closest in terms of significance (without being "Sie'") would be the title "Dearly Trusted" which is translated directly. Another word that "Sie'" is similar to would be the expression, "Oh" and its various connotations.)
What about slang? (Or dialects?)
There is no slang, the closest Astervotum gets to slang would be the verbal modifiers, dropping certain words and the possible order of the words (without breaking the grammar structure or losing meaning). Astervotum can really only be spoken or written correctly/incorrectly. Dialects can be somewhat indicated by word frequency, however the vocabulary of Astervotum does not change over time.
Are there contractions?
Nope, none whatsoever, contractions can lead to confusion so the language doesn't bother with it. There is also an inherent idea of "Say it completely or don't say it at all" to the language. (As a result the language is pretty lengthy!)
How do I translate [infinitive verbs]/[nouns]/[adjectives]?
They(after deciphering the unique words and respective conjugations) can be translated with simple pronunciation and (by ear) should make it apparent what word it is. The words that are NOT listed in this section aren't made up, but it's still too early for me to reveal how I go about "translating" the words; a hint is that it is closer to English than you may think it is!
I notice "can" isn't mentioned anywhere, why is that?
"Can" is lumped in with the word "Capable", or as appropriate, with the "Being" verb.
Why is that when Humans speak Astervotum it is in a different font than when Chiranobles/Bezzafrayl speak it?
The different fonts are intended and it is important for you to note from a World perspective! (However the difference in font may not be what you think it initially means, and what it signifies is VERY minor in the grand scheme of things.)
I just looked at what [unique word] really means. Isn't that a spoiler?
Not really, as you [the reader] do not know how/why they are named as such. Let your curiosity wander as to why they were/are named that for the time being. :)
Astervotum is kind of long! Why is that?
The (in-universe) origins and intended use of Astervotum requires that it be a fairly dickish language. Astervotum does not like you or anyone who really wants to learn it both in and out of comic.