|Timeline and Universe:||Lorech|
|Spoken:|| National language in: None
|Total speakers:||1,841,600 (most also speak Celinese)|
|Basic word order:||Free, though OVS is the most common in most contexts.|
Speaking Nelíc is now a firmly entrenched part of Ioðinbêr identity for up to a third of the capital's residents; whilst ISC is – to a certain extent – shared with the nation, Nelíc is not really heard outside of the greater capital region of Louriem. It has gone from being seen as a shady patois to being a celebrated marker of belonging to the capital. Books, moving pictures, radio shows, magazines and even a newspaper now use a once decried sociolect either on its own, or in combination with Standard Celinese, which has led to some non-Ioðinbêr residents to learning Nelíc.
Phonology and orthography
There is no universally accepted standard in which to write Nelíc, but the standard pioneered by such cultural zines of Chibrâ (Fire – an inverted form of Brych) and Leyiyain (Poets – from Leiðírain) has been hugely influencial. The benefits of the Chibrâ-Leyiyain system (CLS) is its regularity and familiarity for those used to Standard Celinese.
The consonant inventory of the average nelíc speaker is not radically different from that of their Ioðinbêr Standard Celinese (henceforward referred to as ISC) speaking counterparts. There are, however, a few notable differences:
- /θ/ and /ð/ in Celinese-originating words are nearly elided in medial and final position: caith /kaɪθ/ simply becomes cai /kai/ - neiðír /nɛɪˈðiʐ / becomes neiyír /neiˈjiɐ/. At the beginning of words, they are pronounced /t/ and /d/ respectively: thus the reversed Nelíc counterpart to path (so) and caraið (train) is tap and daraic.
- In common with many Southern Elithoan varieties, Nelíc is non-rhotic: ar – typically /aʐ/ - is pronounced /a/. After other vowels, the /ʐ/ of the Ioðinbêr acrolect is replaced by /ɐ/ in final position or before another consonant. Many speakers replace the ISC initial and medial /ɾ/ with /ʐ/, /ʋ/ or even /ʍ/. Thus, norír /ˈnɔɾiʐ/ can become /noˈʋiɐ/ or even the Chelím ronír /ʋoˈniɐ/.
- ISC acrolects and mesolects have retained a number of palatal consonants – namely /ɲ/, /c/, /ɟ/, and /ʎ/ - which do not appear outside of ISC. These all disappear in Nelíc: tain (tree) is not pronounced /taɲ/, but rather /tain/, closer in line with non-Ioðinbêr dialects.
- /ʐ/ - usually from Jinyera words – can be found in all positions, whereas in ISC, it is only an allophone of /ɾ/. Usually written as <j>
- /ç/ can be found in all positions, rather than just in word-final position as in Standard Celinese.
- <ch> is usually pronounced /x/ rather than /χ/.
- /ɣ/ is present in Nelíc, but not in non-Ioðinbêr dialects, and is dying out in ISC except for amongst working class, non-Nelíc ISC speakers. It is usually transcribed as <gh>, and is used not only in Foreign derived words, but in words from the old Ioðinbêr dialect that began to be used less when a standard Celinese was agreed upon. Compare Standard Celinese and ISC teglos with Nelíc taighlos.
|Close||[i] <i>||[u] <u>|
|Mid||[e̞] <e>||[o̞] <o>|
|Near-open||[ɐ] final <r>|
|Open||[a] <a>||[ɒ] <â>|
The typical vowel inventory of the average speaker of Nelíc is rather drastically reduced from that of Standard Celinese. Whilst the average Celinese speaker has ten phonemic vowels, Nelíc speakers generally have six - /ɐ/ being an allophone of /ʋ/.
/ɔ/ and /o/ merge (often as /o̞/); /ɛ/ and /e/ merge (often as /e̞/). These are roughly referred to as /e/ and /o/ by local linguists. /ø/ and /ɪ/ merge into i, and words containing /ə/ change to /ɒ/, denoted as <ë> or <â>.
/ɒ/ is an interesting local peculiarity – not only is it used where /ə/ is in Standard Perís-Ioðinbêr Celinese, it is also used in many words denoted in /a/ in the standard written language as a result of an /a/-/ɒ/ merger. Compare Standard Celinese tralethí /tɾalɛˈθi/ with Nelíc trâleyí /ˈtʋɒleˌji/ and ISC trolythí /ˈtɾɔlɪθi/.
Both vowel and consonant inventories can be considerably different depending on the background of the Nelíc speaker. Some speakers retain the dental fricatives; others retain the Celinese vowel system or are influenced by the phonology of their native language. It can be said that there are Jinyer, Wyšo and other varieties of Nelíc, but the above illustrates the average speaker's vowel inventory.
In the CLS, diacritics that are superfluous to Nelíc are removed – only the acute, denoting irregular stress and not vowel quality, and the circumflex, used over â for the distinctive /ɒ/ sound, remain. CLS does away entirely with <y> and <ë>, but speakers of Nelíc often use both, partially out of force of habit. Etymologically justified but phonologically redundant renderings of Celinese words with diacritics – e.g. cêis, coroê, séile instead of the suggested ces, coroye and şelâ – still occur, as can the non-adapted borrowing of foreign words – e.g. Jinyera tôla instead of the recommended tolâ.
The Nelíc system eliminates some of the difficulties that Celinese can pose for a learner – having to know when to use a circumflex rather than an acute, when a g is pronounced /ç/, when an <f> is pronounced /v/ or an <s> pronounced /ʂ/. In the CLS, there is only one letter for each sound, except for vowels other than <â> which can be marked with an acute to show irregular stress (i.e. non-penultimate stress.)
|ofor /ɔvɔʐ/||ovor /o̞vo̞͡ɐ/|
|sí /ʂi/||şi /ʂi/|
|anséilmisoroê /anʂeɪlˈmøsɔˌɾɔje/||anşelmísoroye /anʂe̞lˈmiso̞ˌʋo̞je̞/|
Whilst all varieties of Celinese have been immeasurably influenced by the cultures and languages of neighbours and of immigrant groups, Nelíc is perhaps the most remarkably foreign language-influenced Celinese variety. In Nelíc, the incorporation of any foreign word or phrase is fair game, as long as both interlocutors understand the word – so a conversation between two Nelíc speakers from Jinyer families may well include more Jinyera words than otherwise; two Nelíc speakers from a Wyšo background may use more Wyšo, and so on.
There are, however, hundreds of items of vocabulary from other languages that have become a part of everyday speech in Nelíc that are shared by all speakers, and yet not heard outside of Ioðinbêr. It can be said that all the immigrant communities of the capital have left an indelible mark on Nelíc.
The language of the Jinyer has been perhaps the most influential outside language in shaping Nelíc. The greater Louriem region is home to over 400,000 Jinyer nationals and Elithoans of Jinyer descent and East Louriem borders the northermost provinces of Jinyero. Most words from Jinyera are inverted and altered greatly, and their meaning subverted, due to the original desire that no eavesdroppers could understand.
One only has to look at the likes of sof /so̞f/, meaning an expert or an inside man, and its verbal counterpart sofí (to read up on, become wise to) to see how radically Jinyera words can change – it comes from the Jinyera ifozô /ˌɜhɔˈzoː/, meaning to study. Another good example comes is henín or fenín (/he̞ˈnin/ /fe̞ˈnin/) which comes from the Jinyera nefîn /nɛ̟ˈhɘɪn/. It originally meant teacher, but now means the most experienced person in a group of friends.
Some words are taken from Jinyera whole and not inverted: the Jinyera name for Ioðinbêr, Jembêa, has become the de facto name for the capital amongst most Nelíc speakers, and tolâ (from Jinyera tôla) the standard way to refer to the Jinyera language. Other words are not inverted, but see their meaning changed: the Jinyera têhyo /ˈteːʝo/ - meaning mountain – became teço /'te̞ço̞/, referring to a person who is widely admired.
The language of Ilbiyon, the isles of the lake that separates parts of North-Western Jinyero from parts of South-Eastern Elitho, punches way above its weight in terms of its influence on Nelíc. Despite only an estimated 36,000 Ilbiyoni speakers liing in Ioðinbêr, many words have become part of the shared lexicon. Whilst şelâ remains the Nelíc word for the sun (x.r. séilë), the Ilbiyoni word, tenifă – written as ténifo in Nelíc – is the word for day. Other Ilbiyoni-derived words in Nelíc include lilainoir (place where live music is played, from lilain – music – and the Celinese suffix -oir) and devles, a friend of a friend, from Ilbiyoni debles, acquaintance.
With Ioðinbêr second only to Iferðí in terms of Wyšo émigrés, a fair few words from the Wyšo language have filtered into Nelíc, such as tofto, a members' club, wâsol, a sleepless night – from wyšol /ˈwɘɕoɫ/; sobro, from sovyro /ˈsovɘɻo/, which originally meant 'brush' but now means someone with good fortune or a good card player; and the chelím-style inverted şirogh /ˈʂiʋo̞ɣ/ - from Wyšo xyroš /ˈɣɘɻo̞ɕ/, which in Wyšo means a 'person' but in Nelíc refers to a loved one.
There are a fair few Beichlophone dissidents in Ioðinbêr, and a few heavily modified Beichlë words have made it into the Nelíc lexicon, such as pirâs – from the Beichlë пҳирхастјҳ /ˈpʰɪɾχəscʰ/ - which originally meant 'beast' and now means a thug or an untrustworthy person (and is also used as the city-wide nickname for members of the Beichlír junta), and buchic – deriving from бухик /'bʊχɪk/ - meaning misfortune.
Chelím – coming from a modified form of the word lechím, words – is a language game that has greatly enriched the Nelíc lexicon. Even the name nelíc derives from a chelím version of celín. To create a word in Chelím, the position of the vowels in the root stays the same, but the position of the consonants is changed. Generally, the first and last consonants (or consonant clusters) switch places: thus celín becomes necíl; mairí and noloyâ become raimí and yolonâ, and stayí becomes yastí. Things such as prefixes and suffixes do not change: so ðwygelínast, where ðwy- and -ast are affixes, becomes ðwynelígast rather than *styneligaðw. Likewise, plural endings stay in place – so the plural of şelâ is not *teloş but leşot (compare standard: séilot). In practice, few words over two syllables or words containing consonant clusters get a chelím form. Nonetheless, chelím is a rich source of vocabulary for Nelíc, wherein not only are Celinese words turned around, but also words from other source languages:
|Jinyero||kajô /kɐˈʐo/||jocâ /ˈʐo̞kɒ/||Money|
|Wyšo||jubiru /ˈʑʊbɪ̈rʊ/||bujír /buˈʐiɐ/||Liar|
|Ilbioni||tigric /ˈtɨ̞ʝ.rɨ̞ç/||çigri /ˈçigʋi/||Violin|
|Esfoth Celinese||wynis /wʏnəʏs/||sinif /'sinif/||Blatant person|
Some speakers use a slightly different system, switching only the first two consonants, which leads to puns such as: şi safár ma ne fasár (I am a good person, but not a snitch). As this example also shows, often the ordinary and chelím variant of a word are used by the same speakers with radically different meanings attached to each.
The Bethwen Ioðinbêrig – the traditional but now arguably moribund language of South-Eastern Elitho – was in many ways the predecessor to Nelíc. It can still be heard in smaller towns on the Timúr estuary and amongst the older generations in Ioðinbêr proper. The bethwen - /ˈbʌ̈ːθwʌ̈n/, "language" – is grammatically very similar, but lexically hugely different from Standard Celinese; most linguists believe that it is a Celinised variety of an extinct separate language, whose speakers transitioned into speaking Celinese.
Nelíc has always incorporated Bethwen words due to contact between Bethweni sailors and newcomers, but their use has increased tangentially in the last twenty years, due to a concious lingua-political campaign by Chibrë to help save Bethwen words and phrases by incorporating them into Nelíc. One can hear many Nelicophones refer to their city as Gevol wyn (our town), refer to the Timúr as the Témoa, and refer about their job and family as gibrâ and oldruş rather than caiyos (or saiyoc) and elín (or eníl). Some speakers to not modify Bethwen spellings, retaining <th>, <ð> and vocalic <y> despite these being not pronounced in Nelíc or merged; others do not. One curiosity that unites nearly all Nelíc speakers is a refusal to switch Bethwen words around in Chelím style.
Celínec ioðinbêrig gimel (limeç)
Another huge source of vocabulary is the speech of the working and middle classes in Ioðinbêr before the creation of a compromise standard. Because of the Perís-Ioðinbêr standard, a lot of Perís and Ioðinbêr-specific words fell out of favour amongst the bourgeoisie, who were quick to adopt the more nationally recognisable standards. This process did not affect Nelíc. As in some SIC dialects, one can hear – to name just a few examples - lavorí instead of ilðí for 'to begin', paromoir instead of efos for 'centre' and heriç rather than 'goyiç.'
It is somewhat futile to write about Nelíc grammar, because its acrolect and basolect are immensely different. Some speakers, particularly recent immigrants, sometimes use the normally dropped pronouns with verbs rather than the conjugational system of ISC: one can not uncommonly hear 'el şi âna?' instead of 'el şis?' Most speakers, however, conjugate in much the same way as one does in Standard Celinese, except that the 3rd person singular forms end in -l rather than -o: one translates 's/he's coming' as noril rather than the standard norío. Those who are interested in acrolectic or mesolectic Nelíc grammar will learn best from consulting the page on Standard Celinese.
As a 'unique variety of Celinese' recognised by the tystír of Ioðinbêr, the state invests in Nelíc and there is an organisation, Nâloe go Nelíc na Jembea, currently headed by the former chief-editor of Chibrâ, Eðwyn Gerinolth. The first action of the NNJ was to erect some dual variety signs, including one famous sign on the periphery of the capital wishing folk 'yerem loné lâ Jembea' (welcome to Ioðinbêr) – but it has done much more than that to help language visibility, supporting the production of Nelíc films, music, periodicals and books. National recognition of Nelíc is growing due to the NNJ's very successful theatrical tour of several regional cities, where the works of Elitho's arguably greatest playwright, Mildë Loreimbír, were re-set into modern Ioðinbêr and translated into Nelíc. Due in part to NNJ funding, University studies into Celinese Metropolitan Sociolects can be undertaken in six of the nation's athecosoirain.