The name taken on its own reveals what part of the world this family is from and hints at its importance. Indeed, the Seligonian Languages are the most prominent and by far the most widespread of Seligon’s three ancient language families (the others being Avalian and Iliatarian). And yet, it is one of the ancient language families, and, not unlike Avalian, it saw its heyday before Lécaronian times, in the empires and civilizations of the Bronze Age. All great literary language of Seligon, save for Classical Shaharic, came from this family, and before the Olgish conquest, most of Seligon spoke languages that were members of this family.
The external history of the Seligonian Languages is, especially relative to their size as a family, perhaps the most curious and of all of my language families, and with certainty the most consequential after the inciting construction of Olgish and Aribelian. Their construction began with a single language, what would later become the High Dialect of ‘Iru Ni‘i, created over a fairly short period of time during end-of-semester boredom in high school in June 2016. A blend of Polynesian phonotactics and a particle-based grammar inspired in part by that of Japanese, it was originally meant to have been an isolate, remnant only as a substrate explaining some of the alien names of southern Seligon. Only one and half years late, I decided that more indigenous languages were required in Seligon and that I should begin work on a third major language family. Working backwards in time, I first created a Macro-Proto-Language, then moving forward to a Proto-Language shared by all of the family except for ‘Iru Ni‘I (to explain a number of grammatical innovations I was planning) and further into its first branch, Armundic, thus constructing a Latinate pastiche from a Polynesian base (possibly one of my more extravagant phonotactic projects). Not as thoroughly sketched out as most of my other language families, it has for most of its existence been a creation on-the-go, with languages and entire branches added whenever needed or convenient.
Branches and Languages
- Early Proto-Seligonian
- Primitive ‘Iru Ni‘i
- Archaic ‘Iru Ni‘i (three dialects)
- ‘Iru Ni‘i (four dialects)
- Archaic ‘Iru Ni‘i (three dialects)
- Proto-Seligonian (Seligonian Proper)
- [Several languages planned]
- Old Armundic
- Classical Armundic (two dialects)
- Primitive ‘Iru Ni‘i
- Branch extinct
- Major literary language
The history of the Seligonian languages reaches further back in time than that of their neighbouring families, except perhaps for that of Avalian. It can be presumed that the ancestors of the later Seligonians already inhabit an area central to Seligon, the Armundic Valley east of the Ruah Mountains. The language tentatively called Early Proto-Seligonian, or alternatively Primitive Proto-Seligonian or Proto-Macro-Seligonian, is spoken in the late Neolithic; it is the direct ancestor to only one sub-branch of Seligonian, the languages of the ‘Iru Ni‘i, who seem to leave the Armundic Valley around 4000 B.E.B. and migrate southward, where they establish several chiefdoms on the Great Islands of Jallan, Ancarion, Edessa, and Asarok, and finally a kingdom spanning them all. Their languages remain in fairly stable use for almost four millennia, until their culture is first diminished under the Fenedic Empire and finally destroyed after the Olgish Conquest of Seligon. As with the majority of Seligon’s languages, many ‘Iru words and phrases remain in everyday use as substrate in the local dialect of Soskish.
One and a half millennia after the separation of ‘Iru Ni‘i, four more subfamilies branch off what has now become Proto-Seligonian; first the Ruldôrians, who migrate east, founding the cities of Urukash and Olksûr, defeating the Nokimi and conquering their states, and establishing some of the greater empires of the Middle Bronze Age; second the Hyatti, who are known to be the most mystic of all peoples of Elondor and dwell in relative peace (safe for a few incursions into Hakessian space by their own hand towards the end of the Bronze Age) in their kingdoms in the north; third the Armundians, who migrate south, founding Serdon and Tinaris and become one of the most revered high cultures of Seligon, in their age and significance second perhaps only to Abreshahar of the Dasmil; and, lastly, the Hakessians, who at first remain in the Armundic Valley and the lands to its west, where they fight many long wars with the Avalians, but in the 14th century B.E.B. make an invention that will forever change the battlefields of Seligon and make them superior to any foe until the arrival of the Olgs and their feared cavalry: the chariot. As if flying on their wheels, they quickly expand west, south, and east, defeating first the Ukkari and then the Armundians, and finally also the Ruldôrians, and founding new, Hakessian kingdoms on their sites.
For the latter half of the Bronze Age, more than half of Seligon is under Hakessian rule, and with their rapid expansion, their dialects have likewise split into three branches, Northern Hakessian in Ukkar and the Armundic Valley, Eastern Hakessian in Urukash, Olksûr, and Ruldôr, and Western Hakessian in Serdone and Dūda. Their conquests have taken a grave toll on the other branches of Seligonian; the Ruldôrian languages are extinct and nearly forgotten, Armundic survives only as the shadow of its former glory, as a language of church and prayer. The Hyatti and the ‘Iru Ni‘i alone have remained untouched until now, and this is soon to change, when in the latter centuries of the Bronze Age one of the Western Hakessian kingdoms, the state of the Fenede of Dūda, the later Urwín, gains power first over its neighbours and later over all of the Armundic Valley and even the Great Islands, arising into the Fenedic Empire. The dialects of the ‘Iru are diminished, like even most Hakessian languages supplanted by the idiom that will reign western Seligon for over a thousand years, Fenedic.
The Fenedic Empire's greatest rival, who will also conjure its end once the time is ripe, hails from the west. Soon after the Iilish Empire is expelled from Belkondíl, twelve Olgish princes of Gërrun, who had taken sides with the invaders, are banished and, seeking support from their former ally in Mebetgar, settled on the border between Old and New Seligon, in Iilmildarn. But instead of guarding the Iilish lands they were meant to defend, these Olgish settlers quickly make friend and foe among the natives of Seligon and after over a thousand years, the Hakessian chariot armies have found their match on the battlefield, when an alliance Olgish-Soskish riders and Ukkari pikemen defeat the Northern Hakessians and found their own kingdom of Great Ukkar. Thus begins the Olgish Conquest of Seligon and the slow but steady diminishment of Hakessian rule. After almost 500 years, the Fenedic Empire weakened by countless wars and devastated by the Aukanian Plague, finally falls to the foreign invaders. The east is soon to follow; so is the domain of the Hyatti and the Great Islands, and only a few centuries after the first Olgs have settled down in Seligon, the Seligonian Languages are almost extinct.
Only a handful of languages survive; most prominent among them of course Classical Armundic, which, although not spoken natively, is all but dead in the temples and schools of southern Seligon; the port of Arvelos stubbornly holds on to its traditional dialect, Velosti; and more than one ancient language is revived when the Olgish dominion over Seligon begins to crumble and local nations attempt to rise again.
Proto-Seligonian was most likely an analytical language on the brink of agglutination, and most of its descendants show a similar structure, with fully concatenative verbal morphology but unbound particles for casus coding, the latter usually blending into a paradigmatic system trough frequent cliticizations like in Armundic and Old Velosti. Remarkable is the high degree of fusion in both categories, with even the case particles of Proto-Seligonian presumably already fusing case, gender, and number (although the seams are oftentimes still apparent), and all of its daughter languages readily accepting single affixes in their paradigms. The vast majority of Seligonian languages is strictly lexeme-initial and inflection-final, with noun phrases headed by a left-edge noun and closed by a particle on the right edge, enclosing adjuncts in between them. Word order is commonly free, with SOV the usual preference.