Kobold language

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Language: English
Kobold
RegionBrutang, Neressa and Charnek
Native speakers
roughly 182,000, excluding speakers of Charnek Kobold and Neressan Kobold. (831)
Goblin
  • Kobold
Early form
Language codes
ISO 639-3

The Kobold language is the most spoken language amongst the Goblin languages, and is also the only exant Goblin language that's considered relevant: the Koblin language is presumed extinct, while the Gaildaurn language is endangered, due to the fact that slavery highly accelerates the enroaching of Keldorni Etrandish on Gaildaurn. The Kobold language continues to thrive and be spoken in Brutang and Empire of Neressa, as well as amongst Goblin diasporas elsewhere (except in Keldorn). The Kobold language has two special variants: Charnek Kobold spoken in the Free City of Charnek and Neressan Kobold spoken in the Empire of Neressa.

The Kobold endonym /ko̞bo̞ld/ -> [kʰo̞bo̞ld] gave rise to the Middle Etrandish "cobold" (Middle Etrandish: cobold ; IPA: [kɔbɔłd]), being retained into current Etrandish (Etrandish: cobold ; IPA: [kʰɔbɔłd̥]) and the Etrancoasti "cobold" (Etrancoasti: cobold ; IPA: [kʰo̞bo̞lt]).

Evolution from Proto-Goblin

  • The original /r/ became [ʁ], while /ɾ/ remained untouched
  • The original diphthongs /ui̯ iu̯ ie̯ uo̯ ia̯ ua̯/ became /wi ju je wo ja wu/.
    • /kw kj gw gj/ coalesced into new labio-velar and palato-velar sounds [kʷ kʲ gʷ gʲ]. The palato-velar [kʲ gʲ] eventually evolved into [t͡ɕ d͡ʑ]
    • /nj tj dj sj/ coalesced into /ɲ t͡ɕ d͡ʑ ɕ/.
  • Loanwords from Old Orcish introduced /p/ into the language
  • At one point, the voiceless stops /p t t͡ɕ k kʷ/ became aspirated [pʰ tʰ t͡ɕʰ kʰ kʷʰ].
    • Unlike in Orcish, the voiced stops never lost their voicing, remaining fully voiced in all environments.

Phonology

The Kobold language has 20 native consonant phonemes /m pʰ b n tʰ d s l ɾ ɲ t͡ɕʰ d͡ʑ ɕ j kʰ g ʁ kʷʰ gʷ w/, and two consonants that only appear in loanwords: /f/ and /x/.

Consonants

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Plain Labialized
Nasal m n ɲ (ŋ) (ŋʷ)
Stop Voiceless (pʰ) t͡ɕʰ kʷʰ
Voiced b d d͡ʑ g
Fricative (f) s ɕ (x)
Approximant l ɾ j ʁ w
  • /pʰ/, /f/ and /x/ appear only in loanwords, but even monolingual speakers can pronounce them mostly correctly. The exact realizations of /f/ and /x/ respectively vary between [ɸ~f] and [x~χ~h], but they are never conflated with /pʰ/ and /kʰ/.
  • [ŋ] and [ŋʷ] are not phonemes on their own, but allophones of /n/ before /kʰ g x/ and /kʷʰ gʷ/ respectively.
  • /ɾ/ can appear in any positions, except word-initially.
  • /ʁ/ could traditionally only appear word-initially and between two vowels, but influence from Orcish enabled it in other positions too.

Vowels

The Kobold language has 5 vowel phonemes /a e i o u/ and 6 dipthongs /ai̯ au̯ ei̯ eu̯ oi̯ ou̯/, no vowel length distintion, no gemination, no tones.

Monophthongs

Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a
  • /e o/ are true mid [e̞ o̞]

Diphthongs

Base vowel Fronted Backed
/e/ /ei̯/ /eu̯/
/o/ /oi̯/ /ou̯/
/a/ /ai̯/ /au̯/

Grammar

Vocabulary

Dialects and accents

Charnek Kobold

Neressan Kobold

Ogre accents

Ogres never had a language of their own - those Ogres who do not live under Orcish rule are primarily monolingual Kobold-speakers. Those who live in Brutang under Orcish rule are mainly bilingual Orcish-Kobold speakers, usually (but not always) having Orcish as their native language. Despite never having had their own language, they still have some unique words that only Ogres use, and their own accents when speaking both languages.

Typical features of the Ogre accent in Kobold are:

  • Pronounciation of the aspirate /kʰ/ as an affricate [k͡x~q͡χ]
  • Pronounciation of /ʁ/ as a long alveolar trill [rː] and /ɾ/ as a short alveolar trill [r̆].
  • Laxing of the vowels /a e o i u/ to [ɑ ɛ ɔ ɪ ʊ], and lengthening of them [ɑː ɛː ɔː ɪː ʊː] in non-final open syllables and before voiced stops. This leads to /ogɾe/ turning into [ɔːgrɛ].
  • Simplification of the diphthongs /ei̯ eu̯/ to the long monophthong [eː]
  • Simplification of the diphthongs /oi̯ ou̯/ to the long monophthong [oː]
  • Simplification of the diphthongs /ai̯ au̯/ to the long monophthong [aː]

Orcish accents

While unlike the Ogres, the Orcs have their own language, the fact that they have always been outnumbered by Goblins and forced to deal with them necessiated bilingualism amongst the Orcs. Orcs speak Kobold with their own characteristics accents, whose features are:

  • Realization of /ɾ ʁ/ as [ɽ~r ʀ]
  • Devoicing of the modally voiced stops /b d d͡ʑ g gʷ/ word-initially and word-finally [p t t͡ɕ k kʷ]. The modally voiceless stops are still kept distinct, as they are aspirated in both Kobold and Orcish.
  • The five monophthongs /a e o i u/ are typically realized as laxed [ɒ ɛ ɔ ɪ ʊ]. In non-final open syllables, they are typically enlonged and tensed [æː eː oː iː uː].
  • The six diphthongs /ei̯ eu̯ oi̯ ou̯ ai̯ au̯/ are typically realized as [eː ɛu̯ ɔi̯ oː ai̯ au̯].
  • The velar stops /kʰ kʷʰ g gʷ/ usually become uvular [qʰ qʷʰ q~ɢ qʷ~ɢʷ] before the non-high vowels /a e o/, remaining velar [kʰ kʷʰ k~g kʷ~gʷ] before the high vowels /i u/.