Star languages

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The Star languages are the aboriginal languages of the dark-skinned Sukuna peoples who inhabited the central tropics of the continent of Rilola prior to the arrival of the blonde, light-skinned Mumba people. The most famous tribe later formed the Star Empire; however, the Stars were just one of more than a dozen such tribes; the other tribes mostly blended with the Mumba settlers whereas the Stars stayed isolated. Even the Star Empire had mostly switched to speaking the Gold language, however, so the Star languages had been nearly wiped out by the year 1900 AD and today survive only in placenames.

Phonology

All Star languages shared a three-vowel inventory, /a i u/, but some distinguished vowel length while others did not. A typical consonant inventory is that of the Ekwĕbe dialect:


Labials:       p       b   m       v   w
Alveolars:     t   ṭ   d   n   s   z   l
Postalveolars: č       ǯ   ň   š       ł
Palatals:      ć           ń   ś       y
Velars:        k   ḳ       ŋ   x   g
Postvelars:    q   q̇           h    

This large consonant inventory was merely an average; some language had even more consonants, while others had less. Consonant clusters were mild and word-final stress was the default. There were no tones. In some languages, the postalveolar and palatal rows can be ignored, as they do not contrast with sequences of consonant + /y/.

Some languages had dental consonants, spelled /þ ð ṣ ẓ ḷ/; here, þ ð stand for stops.

The Kaha dialect has no coarticulated consonants; some other languages did, but these mostly developed under influence from neighboring non-Star languages. In languages with a robust labialization contrast, the /u/ vowel was unrounded when not bordering a labialized consonant.

The most common syllable structure is CV, but CVC is common, with the coda always being coronal in isolation or assimilated when non-final. There is never a distinction between syllable pairs like /tan.a/ ~ /ta.na/; the codas are always offloaded onto the onset of the next syllable.

Diachronic history

The pre-proto-Star language had had five vowels, /a e i o u/. But then, in a conditional change, much of the /i/ and /u/ disappeared, creating new coarticulated consonants. Then, /e o/ merged unconditionally with the /i u/ that had survived the first shift, establishing a three-vowel system with a large consonant inventory.

Then, preexisting /p b/ shifted to /h Ø/.

Later, all of the coarticulated consonants became simple. Labialized consonants became pure labials, thus adding back /p b/ into the inventory, along with a new ejective /ṗ/. Meanwhile, the palatalized forms of the other consonants became postalveolars and palatals, with these two series then partly merging with each other. However, in some clusters, the labialization decayed to simple consonants instead. For example, /tul/ > /tl/, never /pl/. In general, homorganic clusters were favored.

The commonest ejective was /ṭ/, since previous sound changes had distributed the others among /ḳ q̇ ṗ/ and eliminated some.

Grammar

Star languages were SOV, like nearly all other languages of Teppala. However, the grammar of the Star languages was less fusional than most, and there were more small words in each sentence to play with.

Cultural contacts

The Stars living east of the Gold Sea were smothered by the Mumba settlers early on; in Paba, the Sukuna population was wiped out within just 400 years, just prior to the Pabap king's declaration that henceforth Paba would be a pacifist empire and would no longer participate in any wars. In Subumpam, they survived much longer and many Sukuna married into Mumba families. However, when Subumpam's Mumba population was itself conquered in the Vegetable War, the few surviving Sukuna disappeared with them.

West of the Gold Sea, nationality was determined by geography, and therefore it was always possible to claim that the aboriginal Star population was alive and well, and healthier than it had ever been. It was simply a changed population due to the increase in immigration of both the Mumba and many other peoples. However, the Star languages died out here at about the same pace as they had in the east, because the Gold language had spread throughout all of Star territory during the rise of AlphaLeap's sea power around the year 1103.

Contact with the Andanese

Paba was able to achieve a quick victory against its dark-skinned aboriginal minority because they had settled in the most important area and managed to turn the remaining tribes against each other. As Paba's territory grew, the Pabaps killed or drove out all of the aboriginals in each new piece of land, even though they were still in alliance with other physiologically similar tribes. The Pabaps promised to protect these aboriginals from other aboriginals in exchange for the aboriginals allowing Pabaps to settle their land.

The Pabaps never betrayed the tribes who helped them, but as Paba evolved into a naval power, they excluded even these friendly aboriginals from their rapidly growing economy, and as a result, the wealthy Pabap population vastly outgrew the aboriginal population. By the time the aboriginal nations were admitted to the Pabap empire as new states, they already had secure Pabap majorities.

However, as Paba grew, it attracted many new minority populations. The relative size of these racial minorities ebbed and flowed, as some prospered while others suffered, and some built large settlements in Pabap territory while others moved on to different empires. The Andanese people were the poorest minority as they typically lived in the wilderness and survived by hunting and stealing food from nearby settlements. As the Sukuna people were chased out of their homelands, some Sukuna fled into Andanese territory and became Andanese themselves. Thus, Paba's Andanese minority had darker skin and a different facial structure than all other Andanese peoples. When the Andanese lost a war in 4175 and were driven off the entire continent, they fled to the icecapped island of Xema, where the light-skinned phenotype quickly became dominant, but some other traits remained and, in later generations, entered Xema's wider population.

Later history

The remaining Star languages were wiped out by the Gold language as they settled Lobexon. This was in turn driven out by FILTER, who brought a dialect of Subumpamese with their conquest beginning in 3041.

Notes