The language described here is the one known as the ‘trade language’, which the M’rowan use to communicate with outsiders, as well as for telecommunications and other situations where a verbal-only language is desirable.
The full, or ‘high’ M’rowan language incorporates scents and body language to a degree that for all practical purposes makes it impossible to understand for other species, much less communicate in.
Ch+vowel = ch, as in church
Chr ~ = cr, as in crisis
Zh ~ = sh, as in share
~ zz ~ = s, as in asset, or in some dialects as zh
Z ~ = s, as in seek
Z’ ~ = ts, as in pizza
2. Grammar and word construction
The M’rowan trade language is gramatically fairly simple, with no use of declination or conjugation. In most situations, meaning is derived from context – instead of having different word forms for e.g. past, present and future, such as “I will come tomorrow” and “I came yesterday”, one uses a single word form and specifies when the event happened.
On the other hand, extensive use is made of suffixes to modify words and signify a variety of meanings. Common suffixes include -ani, which negates the preceding word, and -ax which signifies plural.
Compounds of two or more individual words are very common as well, and can be used to form new concepts. For example, aza’i refers to a quality that controls social standing, and razzht means “combat”. The compound word aza’i’razzht is thus a duel meant to determine relative aza’i between two individuals. Elements of such compounds often become contracted with long usage; thus, the Commonwealth capital world Drai’zhint, “new planet”, eventually became just Dr’zhint.
Compound words can also include suffixes, and again, the suffix modifies the immediately preceding word. Thus, razzht-Ka’i means “leader of combat/war”, i.e. a troop commander or ship captain, and the plural is razzht-Ka’i-ax; but razzht-ax-Ka’i is a “leader of many combats”, i.e. the rough equivalent of an admiral or a general, and again the plural is razzht-ax-Ka’i-ax.
An unusual element is the conceptual suffix -azi, which signifies that the attached word should be interpreted as an abstract concept. For example, razzht translates variously as “combat”, “battle”, or “war” in general, but with the addition of the -azi suffix, the meaning changes to “war” as an abstract, theoretical concept. Terms which in themselves signify abstract concepts, such as azi’dra do not take the -azi suffix. One should note that the distinction between terms that are and are not ‘inherently abstract’ is not always obvious to the non-native speaker.
For example, consider the difference between the specific zhant’razzht ara, “World War II”, and the abstract razzht-azi. razzht-azi tarz-ani k’nai, “War. War never changes” (literally: “War. War change-not always”); or between the specific razzht-Ka’i, “military leader” and the abstract razzht-Ka’i-azi, “military leadership, tactics”.
|-azi||conceptual suffix (see above)|
|Ar’rizztu-ani||(n.) “without clan”; an outcast or slave|
|Ar’rizztu-Ka’i||(n.) Clan Patri-/Matriarch|
|Ar’rizztu’iriz||(n.) “gathering of Clans”, The Commonwealth; also refers to the Commonwealth Council|
|Aza’i||(n.) quality that determines social standing; a “soul”|
|Aza-i-russht||(n.) ancestor worship|
|Aza’i’razzht||(n.) formalized duel, usually using knives, which determines relative aza’i (qv.)|
|Azi’dra||(n.) history, tradition|
|Chruzzht||(n.) knife, implements of combat generally; name of a Clan|
|Grsht’za’i||(n.) hunter cult, a sect mostly found in Clan Cruz’zht|
|Harz||(v.) to teach, instruct (cf. Ma’shari, Z’ahari )|
|H’ratze||(n.) dangerous animal on Azin, traditionally considered highly prestigious prey|
|K’nai||(adv.) always ; if preceded by a verb modified with -ani, often better translated as ‘never’|
|Ma’shari||(n.) student, apprentice (cf. Z’ahari )|
|Razzht||(n.) combat, war|
|Razzht-Ka’i||(n.) commander, war leader|
|Razzht-ax-Ka’i||(n.) leader of many war groups; an ‘admiral’ or ‘general’|
|Ra’zhani||(adj.) sacrosanct, common heritage; typically used about the planet Azin|
|also: (n.) peace, armistice|
|Tarz||(v.) to change|
|Tuan||(v.) to be, exist|
|Z’ahari||(n.) teacher, mentor (cf. Ma’shari )|
|Zhant||(n.) (dialect) planet, world (cf. zhint)|
|Zhint||(n.) planet, world (also zhant in some dialects)|
|Zhini||(n.) star. Also the name of the M’rowan homeworld star|