Oceran

Oceran is a conlang, or constructed language: a language that did not naturally evolve from any existing languages, but was created entirely on a fictional basis. The creator of it is Joelle D. Haskell (also the writer of this text).

Within fictional canon, Oceran is the common language of the planet Ocera (o-sair-a), spoken by all Theksarsi (thek-sar-see) and some Dizastrusi (dee-za-stroo-see), who are natives to the planet. It has a few loan words from human and elven languages but largely stands unrelated to any languages.

That said, any happenstance similarities or duplications of words already in use by another language that don't mean the same thing are just accidents, and the result of most of Oceran vocabulary being produced by a random text generator code.

Overview
Pronunciation & Grammar
Oceran-English Dictionary

Building a Simple Sentence
"This Is": Subjects & Objects
"This Does": Verbs
Plurals & Numbering
This, That, Here, There
Pronouns & Names
Questions & Answers
Posessives
Portmanteaus & Borrowed Words

More coming eventually!



Pronunciation & Grammar
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Pronunciation

Oceran pronunciation shouldn't be too difficult for speakers of most languages (particularly English, the creator's native tongue and presumably one you can speak if you are reading this). There are some important things to make note of within the alphabet that will be explained.

The consonants are B, CH, D, F, G, H, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, SH, T, TH, V, W, X, Z, Y.

For the most part these are pronounced as in English with some exceptions. CH is always a hard, guttural sound (like Bach), never as in 'chair'. TH is always as in 'both', not 'then'. X is always 'ksh', never 'z' or 'ks' (even at the beginning of a word). R is rhotic, do not ignore it. S and F, I often romanize as C and PH for aesthetic purposes, so remember that all instances of C and PH are pronounced S and F (except for CH, of course).

Y is as in 'yellow', even when following a vowel or preceding a consonant or both (such as 'shaniysi').

You may notice certain letters do not exist at all, such as J or anything close to its sound, as G and Z are always hard as in 'good' and 'zoo'.

Also note that combinations like PH and SH are actual single letters when represented in Oceran, and that two consonants together than may be typically combined into a new sound don't necessarily do so. For example, NG would not be the combined into a single nasal sound (like in 'singing'), but retain their separate sounds (like in 'Ben-Gay').

The vowels are A, E, I, O, and U. When stressed (in the emphasized syllable), they are 'aw', 'ay', 'ee', 'oh', and 'oo'. When unstressed, A, E, and I become 'uh', 'eh', and 'ih'. O and U don't change. Try to avoid the American way of pronouncing A.

When a vowel is doubled (AA, EE, II, etc.), they do not always slur into a single syllable sound. They retain their separation and distinct pronunciations, but with a glottal stop at the beginning of the second vowel. (AA is 'ah-ah') This will be represented by a colon ( : ) in pronunciation guides.

When a word ends with two consonants that can't be easily pronounced together (TS and LP are easy, such as in 'cats' and 'help'; DN and TR would be difficult), then an imaginary vowel is assumed between them, usually an unstress 'a' or 'i'. For example, Dizastr (dee-zas-ter)(Yes, that's a loan word I stole, from Maltese specifically). Fortunately this doesn't happen too often, and you do not need to worry about it if it happens in the middle of a word, only at the end.

Don't worry if you didn't take in any of that. Pronunciation guides will be provided for every word for now.

Grammar

Now that you have learned how to say any letter you come across, we can move on to composing sentences. It is simple, if one remembers the syntax order.

English is an SVO (subject-verb-object) language, meaning that a sentence first states the noun that is acting or being described, followed by a verb, and completed with an object being acted on (another noun), or a state of being or description (adjective). For example, "She picks flowers", with 'She' as the subject, 'picks' as the verb, and 'flowers' as the object. Descriptive statements such as 'The wall is colorfully painted', 'The wall' is the subject, 'is' the verb (a form of 'be'), and 'painted' is the adjective and also the wall's state of being (technically it is a past-tense verb, but is being used as an object here). 'Colorfully' is an adverb, meaning a word modifying another verb, or an adjective. In this case, it is also part of the object.

Most of you who are native English speakers probably already know that, and you don't even give it second thought when you compose a sentence. Admittedly the tenses of verbs or the proper placement of an adverb can get confusing, but you don't encounter many people making odd mistakes such as "Candy eats children". However, in some languages (those that depend on cases to indicate meaning, such as Latin), the word ordering can be exactly like that, and it's important to know that even a perfect vocabulary is for naught if you don't know how to arrange the words you know. Even knowing the meaning of the words 'candy', 'eats', and 'children', anyone who routinely spoke like the above sentence would sound absurd at best and completely unintelligible at worst.

That said, you should know that Oceran is generally SOV. So, instead of 'children eat candy', it would be, 'children candy eat'. Knowing that simple rule (subject-object-verb) will be of vast importance, but still one can't just throw together words in the right order and hope it comes across as intelligible (consider the following: 'Her wore dress waiting he arrived'. Correct word order, but the forms of the verbs and pronouns are completely wrong, and some words are missing completely. It would be in English, "The girl wearing a dress waited for him to arrive". And in Oceran, something else entirely.)

While any language has a capacity for complexity we're going to start on the simplest of sentences.



"This Is": Subjects & Objects
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Here is a sample sentence in Oceran.

Oceran Pronunciation English
"Naatya anutsi." (na-:at-ya  a-noot-see) "The cat is beautiful."

Which means, "The cat is beautiful". But there are only two words, it would seem! However, Oceran uses some various word cases (or word agglutination, depending on how you look at it) instead of additional words to change word meaning (meaning word order is not as relevant as it is in English).

"Naat" alone means "cat", and "anut" alone means "beauty" (both nouns). But this sentence is not "cat beauty".

In English, you know what the subject of sentence is by when it appears. If it's the first noun, it's the subject. Moving it around changes that (consider "Candy is eaten by children". Even if children are doing the eating, the candy is the subject; its verb is to BE eaten.) In Oceran, the subject has the syllable 'ya' added to the end of the word (unless it ends in 'Y', in which case you just add 'A'.)

"Naatya" still means "cat". However, now the listener knows that the cat is the one being described, or doing something.

As for "anutsi", you may have guessed that adding "si" changes a word into an adjective. Oceran lacks words that exist in adjective form by default.

Here are some more examples:

Oceran Pronunciation English
"Baiopya dirab(si)." (bye-ohp-ya  dee-rab-see) "The cactus is a plant"/"(the cactus is plantish)."
"Merxazya chish(i)" (mare-kshaz-ya  khee-shee) "The thunder is a noise"/"(the thunder is noisy)."

Note that "chish", which ends in SH, only has I added (rather that becoming "chishsi"). This goes for all words ending in S, X, and Z.

Any noun can be changed into an adjective, or you can simply state that "Something is something else." However, for demonyms and ethnic words, adjective form is always used.

Oceran Pronunciation English
"Thaya telsi." (tha-ya  tel-see) "I am a human," or, "I am of the human species."

(Tha = First-person pronoun; Tel = human)



"This Does": Verbs
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Here's an example sentence.

Oceran Pronunciation English
"Ashirzaya ithizayu." (a-sheer-za-ya  ee-thee-za-yoo) The bird flies/a bird is flying.

The root noun of course is "ashirza" (a-sheer-za). The root verb is "ithiza" (ee-thee-za). You might notice that adding an additional syllable shifts the stress, as emphasis should always fall on the last (in two-syllable words) syllable, or the second-to-last (in words with more than one syllable). Therefore you must be careful not to treat the suffixes as seperate words, or the words they're supposed to attach to will have an incorrect stress.

"Yu" is the suffix, of course, that indicates a verb. As with "ya", if the word already ends in Y, you only need add the U.

"Yu" is present-tense active. To use past-tense, or a verb whose action is already completed, use instead "yen".

Oceran English
"Ashirzaya ithizayen." The bird flew/the bird has flown.

To make an imperative (command-form) verb, use "yet".

Oceran Pronunciation English
"Aerr, slipyet!" (a-:airr  sleep-yet) "Child, go to sleep!"

"Slip", pronounced exactly as "sleep", is of course a loan word: Theksarsi (the main speakers of Oceran) do not sleep, and simply borrowed the word from humanoids.



Plurals & Numbering
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Pluralizing a noun is easy. Add the prefix "ta-".

Oceran Pronunciation English
Naat(na-:at)Cat
Ta-naat(ta  na-:at)Cats.

Unlike suffixes, these prefixes do not change stress placement, which is what the hyphen is there to indicate. However, the prefix is still part of the word and in written Oceran nothing sets it apart.

Alternatively, you could prefix a word with a number, if the amount of something is that specific.

Oceran Pronunciation English
Alev-naat(a-layv  na-:at)One cat.
Bet-naat(bate  na-:at)Two cats.
Zyen-naat(zyane  na-:at)Seven cats.

Why would you need to say "alev-naat" when "naat" means "the cat"? Because it doesn't mean "the cat": there are no definite or indefinite articles; every noun can be "The something" or "A something".

You could also create some interesting sentences by specifying none of something:

Oceran Pronunciation English
Rey-naat(rey-yih  na-:at)Zero cats.

Another important piece of vocabulary is "il" (eel), which means "and". It isn't a prefix, you slap it between two words just as in English.



This, That, Here, There
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There are a few different ways to say this/that in Oceran. There are three samples using the seperate forms of "that":

Oceran Pronunciation English
"Etya naat."(et-ya  na-:at)It's a cat.
"Etapr naatya zias."(eh-ta-per  na-:at-ya  zee-as)That cat is yours.
"Madapirsi naatya."(ma-da-peer-see  na-:at-ya)Over there, there is a cat.

"Et" is the third-person pronoun. Oceran has no gender in its pronouns, so "et" can be "this", "that", "it", "she", or "he".

"Etapr" is something of an indicator word. It's probably the closest equivalent to the English form of "that".

"Adapir" is a location word meaning "there", specifically, a place that's not near either the speaker or the listener. "M(a(d))" is a prefix to indicate that something is a location, or rather, it means "in, on, at, to". The D can be ignored if the location starts with D, and both AD can be ignored if it starts with AD. (Which is why it's not "madadapir" or "maadapir".)

All pronouns, whether they are near to or far from the speaker or listener, are "et".

Here are the all the forms of this, that, here, and there:

OceranEnglishSpecifics
EtaduThisNear speaker
EtaziThatNear listener
EtaprThatDistant
AdHereNear speaker
AduziThereNear listener
AdapirOver thereDistant

Here are some other location words that may be useful:

OceranEnglish
AhTop; above
OrBottom; below
MuxRight
HipLeft
ImCenter; interior
AzHind
NevFore
AdaleAdjacency

Here are two sample sentences:

OceranEnglish
Kihya azelas madalesi. Kihas madimsi ithizaya.The tree is next to the bush. In the tree is a bird.

So if you want to state the location of something, you can either make a statement roughly being, "SUBJECT-ya NOUN-as mad-LOCATION-si," which will mean the subject is in the specified location in relation to the second noun, OR you can say, "NOUN-as mad-LOCATION-si SUBJECT-ya," which means practically the same thing but puts more emphasis on where something is, rather than the something itself. (In other words, there's no real grammatical difference; here, word order just depends on what you feel like drawing more attention to first.)

Why does the prefix "mad-" exist if the location nouns seem self-evident? "Mad-" specifies that the subject is there, while otherwise the location nouns are simply nouns you can use in a sentence without saying anything occupies the space. For example, you can refer to someone's right side or the interior of a building as nouns. The "si" suffix is not, however, strictly necessary; it's provided here as a formality and can help sentences flow better by shifting stress.

Of course you can drop the possessive "-as" if you feel like it. Oceran is highly pro-drop, meaning extraneous words and word parts are left out for more concise sentences while still retaining enough meaning.



Pronouns & Names
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As you saw in the last section, "et" is a catchall word for things that aren't the speaker or listener. That is, "et" is "he", "she", "it", "that", et cetera, and can refer to anything and anyone. It's not considered rude to refer to a person with the same pronoun used for a rock or a plant, nor is calling a person an "it" indicative of androgyny. The reason? Theksarsi have internal reproductive organs and very little sexual dimorphism. For this reason, no Oceran pronouns have gender (or, for that matter, animation). So, here is a list of all the pronouns.

OceranTypeEnglish
Tha1st-person singularI, me
Tatha1st-person pluralUs, we
Zi2nd-person singularYou
Tazi2nd-person pluralYouse
Et3rd-person singularHim, her, he, she, it
Taet3rd-person pluralThem, they, those

So, what about proper nouns? They usually take on idiomatically "incorrect" pronunciations that differ significantly from the individual words used to make the names. Why? Because Theksarsi have "name-sense", the ability to automatically hear their name whenever it is spoken anywhere in the world. This could get very annoying for someone with a name made of common nouns such as "red rocks" or "sharp teeth". The way a proper noun will be pronounced can't really be predicted; it has to be learned on an case-by-case basis. For example, Teliah, made of the words "tel" ("human") and "iah" ("hand"), would be (tay-lee-:a) if it weren't a proper name. Instead, it's (teh-ligh-a). Other names of note include Dechaerrim (nominally dek-kay-reem instead of day-ka-:air-reem), and Harziyax (har-zee-yaks instead of har-zee-yaksh).

However, making a proper noun a subject is done exactly the same way as any other noun: simply add the suffix "ya", but without the stress shift.



Questions & Answers
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Asking a question can be done one of two ways: placing "bah" or "ba" at the end or beginning of a sentence, or replacing a word that you're asking about with an equivalent "question word" instead. Or, for the particularly inquisitive, all of the above.

Here are the question words:

Oceran Pronunciation English
Bapah (ba-pa) What
Batir (ba-teer) Why
Badu (ba-doo) Where
Badar (ba-dar) Which
Bazi (ba-zee) What kind of
Bayil (ba-yeel) Who

Here are some examples of their use, with appropriate responses:

QuestionResponse
Etaziya bapah? Etaduya bipel.
"What is that?" "This is a beetle."
Sosithya tupi batir? Etya hinahyir tatrav.
"Why is a skeleton a coward?" "He doesn't have any guts."
Thaas kilyan badu? Zias bluthas madalesi.
"Where is my sword?" "Next to your bow and arrow."
Kihya kavarsi badar? Hip kih.
"Which tree is taller?" "The left tree."
Ziya bazi teladib? Cepik teladib.
"What kind of wizard are you?" "A summoner wizard."
Etya bayil? Etya teladib.
"Who is that?" "He is a wizard."
Etaduya apalas ba? Esp, etya apalas.
"Is this a palace?" "Yes, it is a palace."



Possessives
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You have already seen some possessives before, both for nouns and for locations. Here I'll cover them in a little more detail. To make a possessive noun, you simply add "as" to the end of it, and whatever is mentioned after that is possessed by it.

The location possessives (such as "kihas madimsi" earlier, meaning "in a tree") work pretty much the same way. In the "kihas madimsi" example, the noun "kih" (tree) is possessing the location "madim" (inside). So it's literally, "The tree's inside area", or, somewhere in the tree (presumably somewhere up in the branches, not on the inside of the trunk itself, but it could be that too). This is why when stating locations relative to other things, the possessive relationship is implied; "my left", "the bird's adjacency", "the building's interior", etc.



Portmanteaus & Borrowed Words
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Oceran heavily uses portmanteaus and combinations, as evidenced in their names (such as "Harziyax" not being "Harziheyax"). If you have difficulty parsing out a word, try searching for small parts of it in the dictionary instead.

Oceran also has a lot of borrowed words, particularly for humanoid items that they've previously had no encounters with (or use for). Rather than coin a new word for "chain", they simply respell it as "tshein".

If a word isn't in the dictionary yet it's because I personally haven't needed it yet. I've tried to fill out the vocabulary as robustly as possible, but this doesn't make it all-encompassing, and we can assume nonexistent words that should be there, still exist (such as "love" which I haven't added yet), with some exceptions (I highly doubt Theksarsi have words for things like "tabasco", "computer", or "Chinese").

If you need a word and can't find it, either A. remember not to search for anything in its adjective form (eg. look for "beauty", not "beautiful"), or B. shoot me an email requesting me to add it.