Kassidorian alphabet with button to download dictionary

Language

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One important fact that many first timers to Kassidor sometimes forget is that once you are more than a mile from the Kassikan, you are not going to hear another word of Centish or see another Centish character displayed until you find your way back to the gatehead. Those characters above are what everything is written with for at least a local year in all directions. They are combined into pictograms per syllable. It's completely phonetic, and completely translates the sound of spoken Kassidorian. The character set has gained some cachet in parts of Centorin society, especially when advertizing sex or medicine, and is used to phonetically transliterate Centish. Please beware that you will not see any of that on the planet itself, it is used to write down the sounds of the local language.

The language we call 'Kassidorian' is the only language really used in Kassidor Yakhan and the Highlands. Seventy something percent of the planet's inhabitants use this language every day, sixty something percent use it only. Ninety something percent can speak it well enough to converse in it, though they may call it 'Fsharek', which means 'Elvish'. Once you learn this language, you can travel for years on Kassidor and not have to learn another. Very much unlike Earth.

The population of Kassidor that knows some other language is as high as the entire population of any other language. But there are about four hundred languages still in some kind of regular use in the Lumpral basin. A few billion speak Mythra in their daily lives today. A few billion once spoke Lystic in their daily lives, but none do today. Only Preelklar will be detailed in the following paragraphs.


Translating Kassidorian

The vast majority of the population of Kassidor uses the language they call 'common tongue' or 'preelklar,' the language we call 'Kassidorian.' They would say 'Preelkassidorek' if they called it 'kassidorian' instead of 'common tongue.' It is a very different language from Centish, some could describe it as having some features of Japanese, of Slavic languages, and of computer programing languages. It is a very simple language in that each syllable generally keeps it's meaning unless in a proper noun. It's sentence structure is logical and precise but words are in a totally different order than Centish. The meanings of few syllables translate exactly. Regional slang and accents make the translation more problematic.

It is not always possible to translate all words from the Kassidorian language into Centish. Most Kassidorian words are proper names of people or places. There are also a few words which have no possible translation into Centish and must be left in Kassidorian or partially in Kassidorian. In most cases the syllables could be literally translated in most proper names and some translation apps will do this. That gives you people with names like Riverfoot and Bendingmilk. Calling these people Wabeth and Primleel works better for me. In speech, a proper name is inflected up at least a fifth, as much as a whole octave by the totally tone-deaf. A native speaker is not conscious of the literal translation, the pitch shift keys in subconsciously and the syllables become letters in a proper noun that is remembered as a word. The better commercial translation apps can pick this up and pass the proper name untranslated, but the cheap one in most guide books may not.

One encounters problems when trying to translate Kassidorian literature. Many accounts of events on the planet Kassidor (or other foreign planets) have attempted to displace the action to Earth and have substituted the nearest equivalent Earth animals and plants, etc. and called it a fantasy. This is fine for telling a story from history which would be as much of an adventure on Centorin as on Kassidor. This would hinder understanding when the whole narrative revolves around the meeting of the two cultures, as many tales do. It also does not do justice to leave out many of these proper names. In real life when real people speak to each other, they use names, lot's of them, and that fact is just as true of people on the planet Kassidor as on Earth. To substitute short phrases or leave most of the names out would leave the narrations unnatural and stilted.

The sentence structure is so different that no translator can begin work on a sentence until the sentence is complete. This is fine if you are visiting for the evening or conducting business. It will soon get old in day to day life. Beware that some inexpensive translation apps can do a very bad job of it and get between you and the people you are trying to communicate with. If you're going to spend any time there, Kassidorian is not hard to learn once you get the hang of the word order. Once you get to Kassidor you can get a pill that will get you speaking (almost) like a native by the next morning, for less than a hundred credits. If you get far from the gatehead you will not find batteries for your comm anyway, so you really must pick up some of the language if you venture beyond the tubes.

The translation of the Kassidorian language to Centish is made more difficult by the fact that so many familiar frames of reference do not apply. Not only is the environment totally different, different life forms, landforms and a different sky surround the planet, but the society is so much different that the meaning of some terms don't come across that easily. The following details the translations provided by some of the better translation programs, and what have been used in any stories found on this site.


Numbers:

One of the greatest difficulties is certainly the number system. While the Kassidorian language is planet wide, the notation for the numbers is not. Kassidorians use a number system which they consider to be based on five, but is in fact based on six. However, it is usually written with two digits to a character, the most significant a geometrical shape, the least significant a dot at one of the points of a five pointed star around it, or no dot at all. In some basins, Bordzvek being the most important, that is reversed and the dot is the more significant digit and there are no lower case numbers. There are many ways to represent 0, and many ways to represent single digit numbers, the most common being to put a dot in the position around the name of the thing that is being enumerated. This means that instead of spelling out 'two socks' there is the syllable for socks with an extra dot to the lower right. When it is in a list of numbers, most basins use a lower case geometrical sign, and most do not agree on what that lower case sign is. Most use a blank for zero, many basins write their numbers in boxes. Quite a few use the box shape to represent zero, the empty box, and sometimes the handwriting is not very legible, especially the box.

Even if you have high end translation software that is tied into your comm's camera, it is quite likely that it will fail when confronted with numerals from any part of the planet but the Highlands. Even then it is likely to fail if they are hand-written.

In translating literature, it does not always make sense to convert all numerics to base ten. Most large numbers are converted, many small ones are not. Large numbers with even numbers of digits between comma's are in base six, as are expressions like twenty four hundred thousand.


Time:

There are no corresponding time measurements between Earth and Kassidor. Kassidor rotates in 84 hours 39 minutes and something, which the natives divide into three days. We translate those as Morningday, Afternoonday and Nightday, they say Koyahn, Kovar, Kozor. There are also three 'sleeps' in the week, Noonsleep, Dusksleep and Dawnsleep; Vistee, Vikhone, Viyeen. This period when the planet rotates once is more easily translated as 'week' than 'day'. Thus we have a problem with what is meant by the word 'day'. When it is used, it usually means the period from waking up to going back to sleep, the translation of the Kassidorian syllable 'ko'. The word 'vel', is translated as 'light.' It is the period of the week when it is light. Kassidorian has a separate word, 'ming' meaning illumination. The word 'night' just doesn't translate properly. Most will use the word 'dark' for 'zor,' that half of the week when it is dark, and 'sleep' for that period of time when people are in bed, in spite of how stilted it sounds at times. In some cases the word 'night' must be used. For instance, 'fmalzor' is literally 'dark coat' but when translated that way it might imply it was of a dark color. This is an article of clothing everyone needs in the Highlands, and the most prized are made of light colored coriax fur with black lace-decorated leather collars and fringes of inglethor feather. So most will translate the name of this garment as 'nightcoat'.

The year is 64.79 Earth days long. 18 or 19 weeks to each one. Each week has a name. (See calendar) The year itself is such a short unit of time that it does not feel right to translate it as such, but most translators will. Many translators will translate all dates to Earth standard and all time to Kex standard. You will find that more confusing if you are actually there. If your software lets you, turn that feature off.

Thirty six Kassidorian years is 6.39 Earth years but most will translate the word 'yen' as 'decade'. This is commonly used in speech as we would use years. Thirty six of those make 229 Earth years but we translate their word 'yeeng' as 'century'. Thus thirty six years (what they call a hundred) in a decade and thirty six decades in a century. Almost all commercial apps will translate all dates to Earth years and leave you outside the native frame of reference.

In translating literature, most translate lesser time intervals to the equivalent hours, minutes and seconds since there is no natural reference to get confused with. This is not helpful if you are on Kassidor. They have three hundred hours (einl) in a week, forty (24) in each ko, twenty (12) in each vi. So the Kassidorian einl (hour) is 47min 1 2/3 seconds. Where there are clocks (in the cities) we must warn you that they will be in einls, not hours, and in the local representation of a six-based number system.


Animals:

There are some words that translate in a generic sense that are really names of animals. 'Fish' is an example. That is generally used for the word 'jung' which is a general term used for active and conveniently sized denizens of any body of water. Colloquially, anything in the water that will take a baited hook. There are several Kassidorian evolutionary paths by which a creature might get to that hook, really only vertebrates on Earth. In many cases the Kassidorian word will be used, especially if a specific animal is referred to.

The Centish word 'bird' is usually translated for most of the ksaroid or the smaller dactyloid types. The larger dactyloids are called dactyls by most translators. The word 'bug' may be used for small or tiny ksaroid types, especially if they are pests. When the specific type is important it has been more convenient to use the Kassidorian word. The word 'bug' will generally be used for most of the Dtairoids, and some forms from the Klinoid phylum. The word 'worm' will be used for many species from many different phyla if they have a worm-like shape.

'Balloonleaves' is used for almost any form of lighter than air plant from the smallest algae (ylotzen) to 50' jellyfish in the sky (Tjareme) and the ones with leaves floating on vines above roots in the ground. Most of them come from the sumoid evolution, but three different classes related to water and ground leaves.

All lighter than air animals are called 'floaters', and these all come from only two phyla, also in the sumoid evolution. Those from one of the phyla are technically plants because they make their living via photosynthesis, but they are mobile. That one is well known and used in air commerce but the lesser known ones can be found tethered by their strong tentacle and darting tiny ksaroids with their spear tentacles. They are more closely related to klizhorn than to the main floater phylum, which is related to the great trees of the deeps with leaves that float in the air.

Most animals however have retained their native names or a part of their natives names. An exception is the syllable 'gess' which means 'large', it has been translated as 'saur' in most texts.

In many cases when Kassidorian literature is translated and relocated, the word 'keda' has been translated as 'horse'. Since most are from the Troubled Times and presented as fantasies, imbuing a horse with a keda's intelligence and stamina does not cause much notice. A keda, in fact, has little in common with a horse other than weight and line of work. Most translators today will pass the word 'keda' unharmed.


Manners and Customs:

There are many Kassidorian expressions, as in Centish, that are basically meaningless and are translated as their Centish equivalent of the same slanginess and social content and not their literal translation. For instance the formal Centish 'how do you do?' would be translated to Kassidorian literally as 'BleelrasfenA?' which would leave a Kassidorian asking 'BleeikA?' – 'Do what?' because it isn't a complete sentence. (Beware cheap translator apps.) Instead a typical formal acknowledgment of introduction by a Kassidorian might be 'GesfmoondeI' which would translate to Centish as 'Treasured memories will be'. When translating literature we will translate GesfmoondeI to 'How do you do?' and have nothing to do with the literal translation. Only if the literal translation causes confusion will it be translated that way. Quite a few of even the more well known translation apps will cause confusion when working on expressions like these.

Kassidorians in general are much more casual about sensuality than we are, so that literal translations of some behaviors would create a very different social context in Centish than was meant in Kassidorian society. Thus what we translate as 'giving a hug' would have landed you in criminal court in America but is considered a pleasantly friendly greeting by Kassidorians.

The culture of the different basins varies widely, that of the individual basins is discussed on their geography page as they come up. In translating, some allowance has been made for the social and economic norms of the basin the action takes place in.


The Races:

The names of the various races or ethnic types of Kassidor have been translated using names from Earth's mythology which have at least some general characteristics in common. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that the ethnic groups of Kassidor have anything to do with Earth's mythology, they are just convenient words that already exist, and are used by most translators on the market.

The people originally native to the Dempala area tend to be rather tall and slender with fair skin, sparse beards, large eyes and a calm disposition. The word for their race, 'fshar;' is translated as 'Elf'. The big-boned, husky, broad nosed people with thick dark hair and beards that are native to rugged mountains and forests are called 'Trolls'. Their shorter relatives who may have red hair and blue eyes are called Dwarves. Both these races are thought to have at least some Neanderthal genes in them. The people called 'Nordic' tend to be tall, rugged and blonde. The small slight people with pointed chins, shiny black hair and vary pale skins who originated in the deepest deeps are called Pixies, their own name for their race in most of their own languages is 'Megnor' and only the females are small enough to be called pixies. This is a race with no close equivalent on Earth or in Earth's mythology. There is a separate group like the Megnors in the far north, slightly darker and huskier. The Kassidorian name for them is 'isheelie' which means literally 'of the tundra', and this has been translated as 'Tundrite'.

Today the vast majority of the population is a mixture of races. During the energy age, when world-wide travel first became possible, racial distinctions started to blur. In today's age when anyone can look as they please, within the limits of their budget, racial distinctions are more a matter of personal preference than parental history.

There are a few other races on the planet which may be called Gnomes, Hobbits etc. that are closet to the word's connotation. Many are listed in the dictionary. Within each race there are various ethnic divisions that are identified by adjectives we have translated to the nearest Centish equivalent such as 'Wood Elf' or 'Eastern Pixie.'


Alphabet and Spelling

Most of the planet uses the phonetic symbology seen at the top of the page. It's origin is associated with Common Tongue but is now used as the symbology for almost all phonetic alphabets, about a hundred and sixty languages altogether. This is a strictly phonetic system with forty symbols. They are grouped into syllables but not strung in order, thus making it appear that the language has thirty or forty thousand pictograms.

When transcribing Kassidorian words, we have only twenty six letters to work with. In general, translators try to use a spelling that the average Centish speaker will pronounce correctly if they just say what it looks like and don't worry about it. Note that Kassidorian uses six phonemes that are not present in Centish, we write them as hg or hk, gK, Ft, Tv, Dth and hack, though they don't sound like that. In some cases the same syllable will be spelled different ways in different words if it looks like it will be more likely to be pronounced correctly by a Centish speaker. And don't worry, it won't be.

Kassidorians say they can hear the difference between the two kinds of W's, but Centorins can't.


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