While the reference grammars available on this site are very efficient in conveying how the language works in a general sense and provide ample information for understanding the differences between various Lilitika's dialects, students eager to adopt the language, either for personal use or to better understand the many writings left behind by the poets of the age will generally find them wanting. This textbook aims to provide the student with a comprehensive grasp of Sarasí Lilitika (generally in use c. 400-800 lilpo), by far the most prominent and long-serving dialect of the language. From that understanding, it should be easy to transition to understanding both earlier and later dialects from the exodus of Ksreskézo up until the settlement of Thet and first contact with other human cultures.
Lilitika has many featural and syntactic similarities with the classical Mediterranean languages of Earth, especially Latin, and for this reason the information presented here is structured in a manner and tone that will model, at least somewhat, on Wheelock's Latin grammar, which has long-established itself as a standard in Classics, if not as a role model, then at least as a piece of furniture against which to compare other approaches.
History and Timeline
were a tribe of space-faring humans who developed a distinct cultural identity following the sudden and catastrophic extinction of their captors, the Ksreskézai
, some twenty-four thousand years ago, approximately 480,000 years after the abandonment of Earth by the Terrans. They had lived in slavery for almost eleven millennia before that, fulfilling a wide range of roles within the context of Ksreskézaian society. During the acclimatization process at the beginning of this slavery, their male population was exterminated by their captors, forcing the surviving women to depend on state-controlled artificial fertilization technologies in order to reproduce. These experiences, in combination with the absence of males from their society, deeply shaped how they interpreted their past and architected their future.
Classical Lilitic society comprises a span of approximately one thousand years by their own calendar, starting with their exodus (the Vendashro
in 67891 lky, ending the Ksreskézaian era at 23948 ksepo and beginning the Lilitic era at 1 lilpo) and concluding with encountering the Lyrisclensiae in 1071 lilpo (68156 lky) on the newly-settled Thet. For most of this period, the Lilitai were nomadic. They lived aboard a fleet of two dozen ships, travelling between the space-time-bubble-enclosed star systems of the Ksreskézaian Expanse
, a globular cluster of approximately two thousand stars. As the Lilitai had been genetically engineered to live a very long time, many individuals survived this entire trip, including the disastrous plague-ridden colony at Illera
(672-829 lilpo), which killed almost 80% of the population.
The Lilitai were innovators by nature, coping with the traditions of their former captors in a mixture of nostalgia and hatred that often manifested in contradictory ways. Grammatical features of the old language (Oksirapho) might be considered profane one century but later be re-added to the new language (Lilitika) in the next, while still others continued to be shed for pragmatic, artistic, or political reasons. As a result, the history of the language itself is rich with anthropological intrigue, requiring repeated and coordinated efforts to stabilize it through standardization committees, which were often more innovative than they were conservative. The major dialects are as follows:
Oksí Lilitika (1-5 lilpo): not widely spoken, very isolating grammar, widely seen as experimental
Íomanazinení Lilitika (5-100 lilpo): simple, regular inflections, easy to learn, still cumbersome
Zeyetaní Lilitika (81-300 lilpo): adds combined case/gender/number markers for nouns and, later, inflected prepositions
Venrafivíai (200-390 lilpo): not actually one dialect, but a period of de-standardization where every ship, social group, and age group developed its own argot, resulting in dozens of permutations
Sarasí Lilitika (390-830 lilpo): selects the best features of the Venrafivíai and wraps them in an unambiguous package with both full noun and verb inflections
Lilitika Illeran (680-829 lilpo): adds bare postfix genitives, replaces the inflection table of Sarasí, adds combining rules for moods
Lilitika Ketalán (830-1044 lilpo): replaces the inflection table of Sarasí again, replaces the articles and several key particles, expands on Illeran's postfix adjective system
Except for Illeran, these are properly called chronolects
, as they are separated by time and not space, but we will mostly refer to them as dialects for familiarity's sake.
Occasionally, the dialects are often broken into an "Archaic" period (those that only mark mood and tense on the verb) and a "Classical" period (those that add number and person), with the break being placed in the middle of the Venrafivía. There is some dispute about exactly where to draw the line, as we will see when we get to the more advanced verb morphology. From time to time the textbook will mention the differences between dialects and the histories of various features, but we will try to avoid being overly confusing as a result.
Writing a textbook is a substantial ordeal, so as a result it will take some time to produce all of the chapters. Here is the table of contents of material, including both finished and unfinished material.
UNIT I: FORMING A NOUN
Basics I: Alphabet and phonology
Nouns I: Cases
Nouns II: The -a declension
Nouns III: The -e declension
Nouns IV: The -o declension
Determiners I: The article
Derivations I: Nouns from verbs
Basics II: Combining rules
UNIT II: BASIC SENTENCES
Verbs I: Basic tenses in the active voice
Syntax I: Copulas and basic statements
Syntax II: Subclauses with tsu and tsilu
Adjectives I: Adjectives and adverbs
Verbs II: Aspect
Moods I: Basic (kai, kin)
Syntax III: Questions and answers (kwedzin, dí, sur, des, zúl, and zhur)
Derivations II: Adjectives from verbs and nouns
UNIT III: COMPLETING THE PALETTE
Verbs III: Unusual tenses
Syntax IV: Conjunctions
Adjectives II: Comparatives, superlatives, and emphatics
Verbs IV: The passive voice
Moods II: Advanced (kú, kí, ke, korr, and lú)
Syntax V: Basic paragrammatical remarks
Moods III: Irrealis
Determiners II/Adjectives III: Numbers and counting
UNIT IV: NUANCES
Moods IV: Compound irrealis
Syntax VI: sesu, oshu, and hedí/hedíu/hedu
Determiners III: Variant determiner ordering
Adjectives III: lú(n)- and dzú(n)-
Derivations III: Verbs from nouns