Keith Gaughan

An attempt at public introspection

The Porteressia

The word 'eretas' in its native script The Porteressia (meaning, ‘The People of Portu’) was a conculture I worked on some years back. It’s far from finished, but I figure I ought to put my notes up online.

The language and culture were developed for a set of stories I’d intended to write revolving initially about a messiah-like figure called Portu and later on the effect he had on the culture he was part of. The stories were intended to be part of a metaseries centring on something called The Weave, and was meant to deal with themes like the resolution of the ideas of pre-destination and free will, the heroism of small actions, and other such lofty things.

I got as far as developing a complete writing system called Fenaï1, a featural alphabet (albeit with some abjad-like properties), and one (decorative) typeface. I’ve included a same of the word ‘Eretas’, which means ‘speech’ or ‘language’, to give you an idea of what text written in the language would look like. It runs from top to bottom, left-to-right. The character shapes take influence from the Syriac Nestorian script and the Manchu alphabet, so much so that the essentialist explanation I came up with for Fenaï is:

Fenaïr2 is essentially badly scrawled Nestorian masquerading as Manchu.

Feel free to download my unfinished notes on Eretas in PDF form. Some day, I’d like to revisit Eretas and the Porteressia when I’ve time and some inspiration.

For a rough idea of what the language looks like, here’s a slightly updated version of the CONLANG t-shirt fragment, which translates as ‘Fight language death: invent a language’: Mjulhin eretasséan sjessonde; eretas ellonde. I’m pretty sure that’s out of date though. Here’s the interlinear:

Mjulhin  eretasséan      sjessonde;     eretas    ellonde
death    language.GENpl  dispute.IMPpl  language  make.IMPpl

  1. That dieresis is a hint that ‘ai’ is not a diphthong, but two separately pronounced vowels. 

  2. Articles are enclitic, as in languages such as Danish. The article ir (‘that’) becomes ‘-r’ and is attached to the end of the word. Thus fenaï means ‘strokes’ whereas fenaïr means ‘the strokes’. Similarly, the singular would be fene, ‘stroke’, and fener, ‘the stroke’.