27 November 2017

The Language of Kralorela (Part Two)

As written in the Guide to Glorantha (p55):
“Written Kralorelan uses a logographic script devised in the God Time by a student of NiangMao and perfected by Emperor Shavaya. The characters capture the special characteristics that set apart each and every thing on the earth. The script is primarily used for seals and engraving; a less exact but easier to write derivative script devised by Emperor Mikaday is used for most purposes.”
In my campaign, I call these two styles respectively the seal style and the regular style. Both are extremely difficult and time-consuming to learn, being thus the province of aristocrats and scholars. Over time, and in particular at the time of ShangHsa and his God Learner companions, a simpler, non-logographic system was devised, which I call the demotic style, and which is only used by commoners. Its use by aristocrats or scholars entails a loss of Reputation of 1D4%.

Examples of the seal and regular styles can be seen in the Guide to Glorantha, respectively on pages 744-746 and on page 266.

The classical Kralori writing system in both its seal style and its regular style has been adapted by most other Vithelan languages (notably Imperial and Tanyen).
The debased writing system has been adopted by the Ignorants and adapted to write Stultan.

Here is how the phonemic demotic style works:

Clearly denoting God Learner influence, the shapes of the consonants and of the vowels are based on the standard runes the God Learners popularised over Glorantha at the height of their power.

The vowels have been drawn from the Elemental Runes:

Darkness - u
Water - i
Earth - e/ɛ
Air - o/ɔ
Fire/sky - a
Moon - mute/very short vowels

The consonants have been drawn from the other Runes; opposite pairs denote consonantal pairs:

Beast - k
Man - g
Fertility - t
Death - d
Harmony - p
Disorder - b
Truth - f
Illusion - v
Stasis - m
Movement - n
Movement (reversed) - ŋ
Luck - s
Fate - z
Dragonewt - ʃ
Dragon - ʒ

Pairless runes are used for unopposed consonants:

Law - l
Plant - r
Spirit - h
Chaos - q

Less-used runes play the role of diacritics:

Mastery - preceded by semi-vowel
Magic - followed by semi-vowel
Infinity - gemination

Each syllable is written separately within an imaginary square of the same size and shape as a regular character, e.g, Godunya [go - du - nja] is written

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