Early Moonshine languages

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The Proto-Moonshine people broke away from their parent empire, the Crystals, in the year 3958.


Mar 4, 2021

See feminist.doc ... this shows that some Crystals settled in "Wamia", which may or may not have been Dreamland ... the timeline gives a border city that may or may not have been in Dreamland during that period. Also, the reference could be reinterpreted to belong to the very early struggles in the 1500-2000 era, despite the references to cities of the far north.


The Crystals originated in the tropics of Amade, tracing their roots to the 1500s, before the rise of true party politics. They had no distinct language, speaking the languages of their home nations within the Star Empire.

The Crystals conquered the dark-skinned aboriginals of Baeba Swamp in the year 3370, introducing them to the Crystal homeland language, Middlesex. These aboriginals had originally been favorable towards nearby Dreamland, but when those aboriginals who supported Dreamland fled into Dreamland for safety, they were turned back by the Dreamers, and so the aboriginals submitted to Crystal rule with little bloodshed.

Eventually the Crystals ruled an empire stretching for thousands of miles, and including both Baeba Swamp and their original homeland in Amade. They spread their language throughout this entire territory and even to a few areas outside their territory. The proto-Moonshine people thus spoke the same language as the Crystals in Baeba Swamp.

Adopted languages

The Middlesex language,[1] inherited from the Star language of the tropics, was the working language of the Crystal Empire and the only one spoken by young children. Its name here indicates that its written form is halfway in between the spoken forms of the male and female speech registers; the Crystals were feminists, but did not hold that women's speech was superior to men's.

If Middlesex is identified culturally with Xap, there must exist a separate speech register for young children alongside the men's and women's speech registers. Due to their broad cultural reach, the Crystals could have adopted the entire vocabulary of a stereotypically childish language such as Late Andanese or Play into their own. More likely, however, the vocabulary of the children's speech register is native, and the derivational morphology is what stands out; Late Andanese in particular was known for extensive use of partial reduplication, which speakers of surrounding languages (except Play and its relatives) considered to sound childish.

Note that the True Dates writeup describes a language with only three consonants, which uses mostly the vowels /a i/, spoken not by young children but by babies; this may be in fact a type of reduplication in which the three consonants are determined by the base word and only two vowels can occur in the syllables of the reduplication morpheme.

The Leaper language was the language of diplomacy, adopted from the Crystals' enemies in AlphaLeap. The Crystals did not have a problem learning the language of a hostile empire because friendly and neutral outside nations also spoke Leaper.

The Asup language is mentioned in an early writeup; its identity cannot be convincingly aligned with any one language on the planet, and it may be a ceremonial speech register of Leaper.

Height of power

The Crystals also conquered the Thunder Empire using both their superior economic power and their superior military power. That is, over the course of about 400 years, the Crystals alternated between economic and military conflict against the Thunderers. The Thunderers were a tribe of Lenian ancestry; near the historical border of the two empires, especially towards the north, many Thunderers converted to the Crystal party and, of these, many began speaking the Crystal language as well.

Many words from the Oyster language also entered Middlesex.


In the 4100s, the Leapers defeated the Crystals and an alliance of third parties which had come to rule areas in and around Baeba Swamp. The Leaper language became the official language of Baeba Swamp. The Leapers briefly controlled much of the Crystals' remaining territory as well, but were pushed out by the various other armies fighting for control; by this time, an entirely new power called the Thunder Empire had come and gone, and because the climate had warmed, the Thunder territory was the most important prize for these many armies.

The proto-Moonshine culture broke away from the Crystals in 3958, and though their language was Crystal (Trunkwater), many Moonshines also spoke the Leaper language for diplomatic purposes. The Moonshines migrated through Thunder territory and reached the polar regions as a fully bilingual population.

Education and diplomacy

The founding Crystals had opposed the very idea of education on principle, preferring to put children to work as soon as they could get around on two feet. Although the Crystals continued to practice child labor throughout their existence, in later generations the concept of children's work incorporated more and more educational concepts. For example, children would be paid modest a sum of money for studying and passing an academic test. Though not all Crystals studied linguistics, it soon became common for Crystals to study and achieve fluency in the rival Leaper language, spoken in the rival nation of AlphaLeap, which was officially part of the Crystal Empire but had for hundreds of years wielded sufficient economic power to disobey the Crystals' laws.

Star Empire Crystal (1900) to Middlesex Baeba Crystal (3370)

See Middlesex.

This language spread throughout the entire Crystal Empire, from Baeba Swamp in the north, to Amade in the south, and to places like Gìba[2] in the east. Because it was the native language of all Crystals, it was associated with low education levels, as educated Crystals learned to speak Leaper as well, and Leaper was already the language of diplomacy for many other military powers as well.

Contact with Oyster

The Middlesex and Oyster languages both shared a grammatical adaptation in which roots with medial /b r/ shift them to /p t/ to form the genitive of the word. These were evolved separately, but the gaps in the phonology which led to them were present in the parent language.

Middlesex /p/ almost always corresponds to Oyster /p/. In some words, Oyster has /p/ where Middlesex has /kʷ/; because labialization was also determined in part by the gender of the speaker, the /kʷ/ > /p/ shift did not spread into Crystal territory even after intimate contacts between the two peoples began.


  1. note that the "true dates" story identifies this is Xap, but only because Xap is a distant cognate of Baeba. There are considerable differences between the original plan for Xap and the current state of Middlesex, but one important common trait is that both have elaborate speech registers.
  2. that is, Lypelpyp; both names mean scorpion