Continued from Dialectology of Ksreskézaian. This document supersedes Dialectology of Lilitika.
Supplanting the mother tongue
Previous reconstructions of the evolution of Lilitika have been very much over invested in the narrative put forth by an organisation called Survika
, the official body of progressive grammarians and poets instituted by Reséa Sarthía in 2 lilpo to drive innovation and the fostering of cultural identity through language reform. With the discovery of several key works by Sarthía herself in Oksirapho and recognisably early Ketalán, apparently written before
the better-known Íomanazinení versions, the traditional account of Lilitika's naturalistic phase as a consequence of synthetic effort does not hold water. It is time to reinterpret the available evidence.
The Egrekelai—the human descendants who escaped the tragedy at Ksreskéza as a whole, regardless of political alignment—continued to compose substantial numbers of new works in the father tongue well into the 5th century lilpo. Conversationally, it most likely survived well into the eighth century in the hands of the Mitrajethíasa. Except for those written by the Mitrajethíasa, most texts from the 2nd century onward show a gradual suppletion and wholesale replacement of various words either invented or modified by the Lilitai.
functioned under a mandate issued by the first Matriarch to foster the development and spread of a uniquely Lilitic language and culture, suited to human tongues and experiences. Initially, this was interpreted with the candour of a young Ksreskézaian institution, and records exist of book-burnings, both of old Oksian works and of certain texts (usually of a politically sensitive nature) composed in colloquial language (see below.) Under this plan, the Survika produced three language standards, Oksí, Íomanazinení, and Zeyetaní, which were largely ignored by the people except for ceremony. These dialects were overrepresented in aphorisms, official documents, and literary critique—which often made reference to the titles of works in other dialects in translation rather than in their own formats—helping to perpetuate the illusion to scholars that they were more widespread than they really were.
The Survika began by completely doing away with the grammar of Oksirapho. Building on a scientific premise, the grammar was exhaustively analytical and involved little inflection, resulting in tedious clusters like the well-known -is ím kai
subjunctive of purpose. This was the natural extension of the postpositional system in Oksirapho; verb complexes always ended with -is and noun complexes always ended with gender: -a, -e, or -o, (plurals -asa, -ete, and -ozo.) Use of Oksí was only advocated briefly, from c. 5 lilpo to 9 lilpo.
Íomanazinení Lilitika texts appeared as early as the summer of 8 lilpo, featuring a distinctively synthetic style with very exact grammar, similar to Oksí but with more agglutination. Initial standards documents from Survika suggest it was never intended to be an everyday language, but rather an evolution of Oksí specialized as a formal language. Oksirapho continued to be the popular tongue on the nomadic fleet for several more decades.
Not long after the first appearance of Íomanazinení, poets began to tinker with its grammar, particularly replacing the case infix system with more compact case endings. It seems that there is some grain of truth to the myth that the Office of the Matriarch at first opposed these developments (which tended to resemble Oksirapho case endings), although most of what we know of this comes from preserved propaganda posters made by Mitrajethíasa around 20–25 lilpo.
The widespread occurrence of these experiments proved to be problematic for the grammarians of Survika, who were accustomed to prescriptive work rather than descriptive, but recognised the importance of securing the legibility of these poems for future generations. Sometimes these grammarians referred to such language as kantí steka apes haponí deñkumelasa
, "pure body in soiled clothes," to indicate their contempt for such regressive grammar. Instead they favoured a drive toward a simpler, more compact grammar influenced by Paligu
and other languages, but these languages had very low prestige in the former Ksreskézaian Empire and were widely disliked.
In the end, Zeyetaní manifested as a sanctioned form of these experiments by the exasperated grammarians of Survika, and the efforts to develop another constructed dialect for everyday use were shelved. The alternative they had been developing, internally referred to as Itsaní Lilitika, was never completed, and is now considered lost.
Natural threads: the Rafivíai