WW #4: Say Hello to Nitherian

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This week, a third language, Nitherian, joins Weekly Words. While Muipido and Kharul were contemporaries and neighbours in the northwest of Meamoria, the Nitherian empire emerged from the jungles of Meamoria’s southeast, becoming a major power over eight hundred years after Muipido had fractured into city-states. To the north of the Nitherian empire was the Nither Sea, a large inland sea full of islands and peninsulas. Cut off from the ocean surrounding the supercontinent, the Nither Sea was free from nerite control, so it was the only place where humans built seagoing ships for trade and warfare.

Let’s have the old hands give a formal greeting to the newcomer!

  • Muipido says hmeta muytïdo [ˈm̥e.ta ˈmʊj.tɨ.do] (day-ABST good-ABST-DEF), “good day”.
  • Kharul says ichkankhyúlan [itʃ.kanˈçu.ɫan] (1.INC-DUAL-well-PROG), “we are well”. When addressing more than one person, this is ichighnúlan [i.tʃəʝˈnu.ɫan], using the plural instead of the dual.

The Nitherians were known for flowery greetings, even in casual situations. So Nitheria responds with rechmkoshashoni thavnpatasa [re.tɕm̩.ko.ɕaˈɕo.ni ða.vn̩.paˈta.sa]:

re-chm-kosh-ashon-i           tha-vn-pa-ta-sa
PROG-be.moved-INTENS-around-1s ANT-stand-LOC-2s-1s

This means “It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen you”. The verb stem chm-washn-, literally “to be moved around”, has the idiomatic meaning “to pass time”, while pn-pa-, literally “to stand at”, means “to be with someone”. Despite its literal meaning, Nitherians will say this even if it’s only been a day or two since their last meeting.

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