Brief Translation of a First Year Ventrair Languages Class at Ventrair University's Mokiin School of Law
For today's lesson, we'll delve into a single sentence of Late Isovedian. (Eye-so-ve-D-an) The sentence is the motto that surrounds our city's official seal.
Matre u tch iiy uch kooam ututnua grio.
Literally translated to, Mother's eye kind order maintains. Or more fluidly, "A mother's kind eye maintains order." This is in reference to the third paragraph of the Articles of Foundation in which Mokiin writes, "It is considered a simple truth that those who govern the children of Matre are not to be their rulers. The wisdom of Matre was to bring us the fundamentals of parenthood, and we hold it to be right to follow these principles in governance as well as daily life. Within the walls we have built, let no child stand as ruler over another, instead let the wisdom of the elders be looked upon as a means of guidance."
So let's take this a word at a time.
Matre is a word carried over into our language from Late Isovedian, though only as a proper noun. Nobody knows how it was carried over exactly, but the word seems to have survived primarily in the vocabulary of the Angels. It is in all likely hood from the those first Angel Children that Matre became the proper title that it is today. It's important to remember though, that in Late Isovedian Matre was neither a proper title, nor a proper noun, making it a more general reference to all parents*.
U means eye. In the writing system of the Isovedians it was symbolized by a low line with a slight downwards tilt. Though it's debatable whether this was a new invention of Old Isovedian, or left over from an even older ideographic language, the connection is quite clear.
The tch particle is used to assign a word to the before it. In this case it denotes the fact that the eye belongs to a parent. It's important not to confuse the letter tch with a combination of the letters t, c, and h, though those letters will probably never be used together. Like the letter tre, tch uses a softer tuh sound, made by placing your tongue against your upper teeth rather than the roof your mouth. While tre, nua and gr have been adopted into modern Angel as sound rules, Demon still uses short hand letters for them. TCH and uch however have not survived to either language, as they existed solely in the use of particles which have been either replaced by suffix rules or removed completely.
The adjective iiy means kind and follows the y rule of double i adjectives. The entomology of iiy is still in a great deal of doubt. Unfortunately the section of the library ruins which housed the books on entomology was on the west end, which remained exposed to corrosion for roughly ten thousand years longer than the rest of the library.
The letter uch was used to denote that the word before it was an adjective or adverb. However, with language rules like the i rule, the y rule, for adjectives, it was instead simply wrapped into the u adverb in Angel and the uj suffix in Demon.
Kooam and ututnua can't really be explained independently of each other. The words are only used in the context of governance and kooam is almost exclusively used with ututnua or atnua. Kooam refers to more than just order in the traditional sense, but order as an ideal of behavior in which the individual contributes to the flourishing of society around them. You can have, atnua, kooam, or maintain, ututnua, kooam, but rarely is it ever used as a stand alone subject. Also note that kooam is not a proper noun, it's always considered plural and only exists as on the level of a concept. I'd recommend finding a translation of Ngra Amitte's "Commentaries On Justice and Society" if you can, Oringa's translation is my personal favorite as he'll often explain where the Isovedian mind set differs from our own. Also Mokiin's "Gathered Translations of Isovedian and Onos Philosophy" should have a section entitled "Kooam Atnua es Vern". If you couldn't guess from the Middle Onos in the title, the article focuses on differences in fundamental concepts between Isovedian law and Onos law.
I won't go into kooam ututnua any more here, but as you can tell from it's inclusion on the seal, it is an important concept to Ventrair law. There is a required course on it in the legal philosophy major even and more than a few of your professors are going to be looking for papers on it. Second year it's going to be considered basic knowledge, so if your looking to impress one of those hard grade professors, you might want to fully understand it as soon as possible.
The sentence ends in grio, which means the preceding word was a verb. This was a rare word to use in Late Isovedian, and only came up in highly formal, and impersonal communication. Very much in line though with a governmental seal, or during an official governmental edict. If a city official were to write an open letter to the city's police for instance it might have grio, however, if the empress of Isoved were sending a letter to, say for instance their top general, grio wouldn't make it. Basically it means that the target audience is more important the level of formality, a relatively known audience wouldn't have it, but an audience of unknown size or identity would have it.
Any questions? Yes, in the back.
Student: I've been interested in Isoved for a while now, I know it was named after one of their mythological heroes, Izoval, but I had heard that the names were once identical, is that true?
Yes, actually, we have found some corroborating sources that prove that the name of the country and the hero were exactly the same at one point. It ruffled some feathers among the fans of the united drift theory, that was a fun few months to be a languages professor, believe me. But back on topic, it has been found that in Old Isovedian the name of the country Isobal, is identical to the name of the hero at that point. It's likely that towards the end of Old Isovedian, as the rules were beginning the shift as to what particular sounds implied, the ed sound was at some point considered to be a governmental sound. When exactly the s and z changed is unknown, however by the later end of Middle Isovedian we can see from their entertainment literature and plays that is was completely deprecated for fictional characters and iz was almost universally adopted instead, with only a scattered use of ix to compete with it.
Well, it looks like our time is about up now. If you have any further questions, just visit my office, the hours are in the syllabus.
*Translators note: The Ventrair have no concept of gender permanence, to them the words mother, father and parent are all relatively interchangeable. Also to refer to someone using male, female or neutral pronouns is generally more of an observation of how feminine, masculine or androgynous the person looks.