Ancient Shieldian (Lengûa Seldàoyr) was the original language spoken on the Shield (Seld). The first written record of the language comes from Wyclyfe (Oclyfe) and is roughly dated to 1900 BC. Ancient Shieldian continued to develop largely in isolation among the local chiefs of the Shieldian tribes until the Sentrian Invasion of circa AD 550. The Sentrians (Sîntrar), who spoke a language most akin to Effitian Latin, ruled on the Shield from 550 until defeated by the Prince of Mansbâr in 1091. During that time, Ancient Shieldian remained the predominant language, but it integrated many elements of Latin (for instance, the Shieldian ‘lengûa, lengûam (m.)’ is based on the Latin ‘lingua -ae (f.)’).
After 1091, Ancient Shieldian continued to be spoken by the newly independent states, going through something of a revolution. The Retáonurcârm´ynsia, a heroic epic dating from around 750 or 760 and centered around an ancient (and probably fictional) High King who had unified the warring tribes of the Shield in the ‘old days’ before the Sentrian invasion was drug out and extensively rewritten. It was meant (and received) as a blatantly anti-Sentrian propaganda piece. Ironically, however, the title is completely of Sentrian Latin origin: Res, Retam (m.) comes from Rex, Regis (m.) and cârmynsia, cârmynsiam (m.) from carmen, carminis (n.).
However, the language was not to survive the barbarian invasions of 1160-1200. During that time, Dianatranians (Dyânatânar), who were driven by overpopulation from their homelands to the southeast, swept up through Shadoran (Sâdôra) and the rest of the Shield. Their leaders quickly intermarried with local Shieldian nobility and the commoners amongst themselves. By about 1240 or 1250, the two cultures (on the Shield at least) were indistinguishable as a new “Shieldian” culture. With them, the Dianatranians brought Germanic grammatical constructions, which quickly began to replace the Ancient Shieldian declensions. The vocabularies of the three languages - Ancient Shieldian, Dianatranian, and Sentrian Latin - merged into one, and modern Iansislean English began to form. By the mid to late fourteenth century, when the Kingdom of Weshield was formed, English had become far and away the most commonly spoken language. Roughly one hundred years later, the Javian Kingdom - Ancient Shieldian’s last holdout - gave in and adopted English as its official language.
Ancient Shieldian is currently spoken by zero countries - it is a completely dead language. Much of the Iansislean nobility can read and speak limited amounts of Ancient Shieldian, but the field is mostly scholastic. With the coming of the Gull Flag Revolution, however, those seeking to create a sense of national identity have started increasingly turning to Ancient Shieldian for political logos and catch phrases.
Ancient Shieldian uses the following letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U and Y. A, E, I, O, U, and (always) Y are vowels. Most are pronounced similarly to their English equivalents. A circumflex (ˆ) is used to indicate changes to vowels. A chart follows:
- a = as in odd
- â = as in father
- b = as in boy
- c = as in cat (but never chase or face)
- d = as in dog
- e = as in net
- ê = as in pat
- f = as in fame
- g = as in George (but never God)
- h = at the start of a word, as in hut. Otherwise silent.
- i = as in cup
- î = as in leap
- l = as in lizard
- m = as in moon
- n = as in noxious
- o = as in oil
- ô = as in oat
- p = as in petard
- r = as in red
- s = as in short
- u = as in house
- û = as in sand dune
- y = as in fit
- ˆy = as in pie
NB: In ancient Shieldian, ‘y’ is a full vowel and takes circumflexes, acute accents, and grave accents. However, as I have not yet found a way to put on a y, they will be shown as the symbol preceding the letter, as seen above. The letter is not used very often outside of a diphthong, so it ought not to be a major problem.
- oy = perhaps the most common. Pronounced as in the English we or the French oui.’ When oy is accented, the accent goes on the ‘o.’
- ây = as in eye
Ancient Shieldian uses both grave and acute accents in a manner similar to Spanish. An acute accent (´) is used to change the stress from syllable to syllable. A grave accent (`) is used both to change the stress and change the vowel form; grave accents work as both an acute accent and a circumflex. The stress defaults to the second syllable unless marked.
- goytâtî (we go): jwe-TAH-tee
- y dûnam (into the fortress): eh doon-AM
- dûnây(as far as the fortress): doon-EYE
- Adiê na'sùtrâp dûnan. (he gave the fortress to Adie): aw-DUH-ah nah-SHOO-trap doon-ON
Ancient Shieldian is an extremely declined language with at least nine different major cases and four declensions. Most native Shieldian words fall into one of the first three declensions (masculine, feminine, and neuter, or first, second, and third), with the fourth being used for words of foreign or modern origin. Often these declensions involve something as minor as a location change for an accent or a new long mark, which is one reason Ancient Shieldian is now a dead language.
The gender of nouns is not as important as in modern languages because no articles are ever used, like in Latin, and adjectives follow declension. However, no native adjectives go into the fourth declension, meaning that knowing the gender of fourth declension words is quite important.
Case is indicated with a suffix. All nouns stems, except some fourth declension ones, end with a consonant.
- Nominative: the subject or predicate
- Prepositional: used for nearly all prepositions
- Essive: used for a temporary state of being
- Compositional: used for inalienable possession
- Possessive: used to show alienable possession
- Ergative: the subject of a transitive verb
- Absolutive: the subject of an intransitive verb
- Terminative: used instead of the phrase “as far as...”
- Dative: used for the indirect object.
Plurals are made by adding ‘r’ to the end of a noun. If the declension used ends in a consonant, ‘ur’ is used.
|Essive||1+ -a||-é||1+ -oy||1+ -o|
1 = the first vowel is accented. If the first vowel is already accented, nothing changes.
The most common nouns now seen in Ancient Shieldian are Dûn Ádien, the King’s castle.
Dûn, which means ‘fortress’ or ‘castle’ and occasionally ‘palace,’ is actually an exception to the rule. At one time, it was properly ‘Dûna’ but common use dropped the last letter in the nominative case. All other cases decline with the first declension. Adie is a proper noun which was the name of the wife of a fisherman. He named the island upon which stood his hut after she died in childbirth. That island later came to hold the great fortress of the House of Callahan. 'Ádien' is the singular possessive of Adie; hence, ‘Dûn Ádien’ means ‘the Fortress of Adie’ or ‘Adie’s Fortress.’
For example, if we wished to say “the Adie of the Fortress,” Adie would be put in the nominative and Fortress in the possessive. This example would be “Dûnàoy Adie” (doon-AWE ah-DUH-eh).
If we wanted to say “I am going as far as Adie’s Fortress,” we would leave Adie in the possessive and put Dûn into the terminative. This example would be: “goytâg Dûnay Ádien” (jwe-TAJ doon-EYE AH-duh-ehn).
- Note that in the above example Dun ends "-ay" in the Terminative, not "-áy." Because the stress would be on the second syllable any which way, the accent is not needed.
Present Active Indicative
Ancient Shieldian uses both a simple present (he walks) and a present continious (he is walking) form. The present continious is formed by the present participle followed by the proper present conjugation of ‘pànû’ (PAH-noo; to be).
Points to remember when conjugating Ancient Shieldian verbs:
- Ancient Shieldian does not differentiate between the second and third person in verb forms. A prefixed nominative pronoun is used instead, except when the subject has been clearly defined. IE: ‘na’lanâp’ (he walks) would need the prefix, but ‘Adie lanâp’ (Adie walks) would not.
- The first person singular ends in ‘-g.’ Remember that a word ending with -g in Ancient Shieldian is pronounced similarily to the ‘j’ in the Hindi word ‘raja.’
- Although Shieldian verbs fall into one of three major conjugations (those ending -ânû, -ênû, and -onû), there are several exceptions to the rules. Major ones will be listed below.
- Verbs are conjugated in the present tenses by dropping the -nû and ending the personal ending to the stem.
|Second||pa’ -p||pâr’ -nûé|
|Third||na’ / ne’ / no’ -p||nâr’ / ner’ / nor’ -nûé|
Example: lanânû (to walk)
|First||lanâg||I walk||lanâtî||we walk|
|Second||pa’lanâp||you walk||pâr’lanânûé||you all walk|
|Third||na’lanâp||he walks||nâr’lanânûé||they (m.) walk|
The present participle of most verbs is formed by cutting off the ‘-nû’ and adding the suffix ‘bîta, -e, -oy.’ The participle declines to match its noun in case, number, and gender. pànû is also conjugated. Note the irregular conjugation of pànû; it does separate the third and second person and therefore never requires a pronoun.
|First||lanâbîta pâg||I am walking||lanâbîtar râtî||we are walking|
|Second||lanâbîta râtad||you are walking||lanâbîtar pâdî||you all are walking|
|Third||lanâbîta pâp||he is walking||lanâbîtar râtanûé||they (m.) walk|
- Adie lanâbite pâp dûnarm. Adie was walking to the fortress.
- Note how fortress was put into the Absolutive and not the Dative. lanânû is an intransitive verb but does not use the dative, as in English.
- na’lanâp Adiet’mân (or mân Adiet) dûnay. He walks with Adie as far as the fortress.
- Note use of the preposition ‘mân’ (with). For more information on the use of prepositions, see that section.
From the Retáonurcârm´ynsia, the Song of Kings:
y dûnam na’enitûdéc, Seldaonur Nûmmaonur Res, hû
ê enitet unenet “Getoya, fûnama eraon, erarm clândûs!"
"Into the fortress rode he, the King of All Shieldians, and,
dismounted from his horse, 'Getoya, son of my flesh, hasten to me!' (called)"