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Minotaur Tongue

Page history last edited by AveMaria 12 years, 10 months ago

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The Minotaur Tongue






The language of the Minotaur, usually called “Muu-ing” or “Bellering” by the other races of Battal, is deceptively complex. Though Minotaur are known to be fully capable of expressing speech in Plaincommon, Darv, and even The High Speech Of The Low-Elves, they much prefer to communicate with each other through their own ancient language. Unlike the speech of the “small shrill ones”, the Minotaur speak without tense, nouns, or pronouns… but in long continuous verbs with a multitude of adjective prefix and suffix fragments in order to describe both simple objects and complex feelings.




The Tongue is basically impossible to Romanize, but an approximation of its sounds will be described here.


Words are primarily constructed of a short range of sounds (approximated by sounds we would associate with the vowels a, u, o, and e) that are given a diversity of meaning by volume, sustain, repetition, and punctuation by sharp, staccato sounds (best approximated by most consonants of the roman alphabet, in the absence of j, q, s, x, and z).



Words are predominantly filled with vowel sounds. The sound patterns are usually associated with certain themes and emotions, and in some cases are reserved for certain members of the Herd.

Sound pattern Usually conveys Spoken By
uu Basic life functions (Breeding, Grazing, Fighting) All Members, predominantly Cows
aa Relationships (Nurturing, Courtship, Affection) All Members
oo Struggle (Butting, Challenges, Aggression) Bulls
ee Mysticism (Dying, Praying, Summoning) Minotaur Shaman and Hammer Lords



The meaning of vowels sound patterns is enhanced through a great diversity of modifiers. The following table approximates a few of them:

Head/Tail Sounds Glottal Stops Volume Source Actions Breath
m-, -m g soft high (nose) Rearing Inhale
n-, -n k loud shallow (throat) Stomping Exhale
r-, -r p very loud deep (bronchii) Bowing Rasp
w-, -w f deafening deepest (third stomach) Killing Snort


Though basically impossible to Romanize due to the great complexity of sustained sounds, stops, breaks, repeats, glottal stops, rasps, tones, snorts, stomps, source of intonation (nose, throat, broncii, diaphragm) and other particulars, what follows is an extremely small matrix of variations on the Minotaur root-sound “uu” (repetition is denoted by a -, stops by and volume increases by capital letters):


Example Word Fragment Tree

The following table describes an extremely small matrix of variations on the Minotaur root-sound “uu” (repetition is denoted by a -, non-glottal stops/pauses by and volume increases by capital letters):


modifiers 1-second sustain 2-second sustain repetition short ‘m-‘ modifier less short ‘mm-‘ modifier 2 stops 3 stops
1-second sustain uu : tasty (adj) uuuu : green (adj) uu-uu : large (adj) muu : grow (v) mmuu : heavy (adj) uu'uu : repetitive (adj) uu'uu'uu : numerous (adj)
2-second sustain uuUU : hairy (adj) UUUU non- (prefix) uuuu-uuuu : epic (adj) muuuu : young (adj) mmuuuu : eat (v) uuuu'uuuu : cold (adj) uuuu'uuuu'uuuu : think (v)
repetition UU-UU : purple (adj) uuUU-uuUU : slow (adj) UU-UU : dangerous (adj) muu-muu : soft (adj) mmuu-mmuu : upward (adj) uu'uu-uu'uu : smooth (adj) uu'uu'uu-uu'uu'uu : disorderd (adj)
short ‘m-‘ mUU : black (adj) muuUU : distant (adj) mUU-mUU : quiet (adj) MUU : dull (adj) Muu : blue (adj) muu'uu : fragrant (adj) muu'uu'uu : inward
less short ‘mm-‘ mmUU : bony (adj) mmuuUU : beautiful (adj) mmUU-mmUU : fight (v) MMUU : straight (adj) mMUU : circular (adj) mmuu'uu : dry (adj) mmuu'uu'uu : clean (adj)
2 stops uu'UU : fertile (adj) uuUU'uuUU : continuously (adj) uu'UU-uu'UU : male (adj) muu'UU : full (adj) mmuu'UU : temporary (adj) uu'UU : open (adj) uu'UU'UU : behind (adj)
3 stops uu'UU'UU : strong (adj) uuuu'uuuu'uuUU : sing (v) uu'uu'UU-uu'uu'UU : upset (adj) muu'uu'UU : good (adj) mmuu'uu'UU : bright (adj) uu'uu'UU : painful (adj) UU'uu'UU : tight (adj)



Please note that the english translations are not words themselves, but rather word fragments.



Sentence Structure

The Minotaur Tongue lacks nouns, pronouns, tenses, and many other features of most other languages. Minotaur communicate by speaking very long words. With a single word, the Minotaur Tongue can convey the simplest and most complex of thoughts. Words consist of a central root verb surrounded by an elaborate number of prefix and suffix adjectives. Though Ulfulaz the Historian once stated that the Minotaur had “one thousande wyrds for grasse”, he was in fact incorrect… it is likely that the Minotaur could develop a nearly infinite number of words for grass. Composing words to describe grass is the main form of Minotaur Epic Poetry, followed closely by words describing Hammers.


An example of a word for “grass”:




The components of the word being:




This word would be roughly equivalent to the following poem:


Her virile sons in multitude

file in high-coiffed ranks

atop the purplest shoots

of her nobled reaching

ever further to the sky,

masking epicurean delights

in the verdant leaves

throwing blue shadows

upon themselves.




The Minotaur Tongue is also a tonal language. The following tones were classified by Errath Southwind, the Savannah Ranger

  • Rising
  • Falling
  • Entering
  • Dissonant
  • Diminishing
  • Sarcastic
  • Waxing
  • Waxing-Off
  • Expanding
  • Sass-Mouth


Tones can change the meaning, emotive content, emphasis, or tense of the syllables to which they are assigned (depending upon the word and context). Furthermore, tones are distinct from other modifiers in that they can accumulate or interfere throughout a word, weaving a subtext throughout that became the hallmark of the highest poets of the Minotaur.




Most Minotaur will have a name bestowed upon them by a Minotaur Shaman that can never be told to them, and can only be revealed when they have finally come to the mortal demise that has been predicted by their true name. Minotaur Cows give their calves short (usually one or two syllable) names that have no meaning in the Minotaur Tongue just for the sake of convenience.


Even the Minotaur Gods are not known by their “Tongue-Names”. It is said that at the end of time, the unspeakable name of Mighty Taur will be spoken, and all that has ever existed will be destroyed in an Epic Cataclysm.




Much like Time, Mathematics is exceedingly difficult to convey in the Minotaur Tongue, and words denoting discrete numbers are conspicuously absent. Minotaurs believe anything that is worth the trouble of accounting can be notched in the shaft of a Hammer, whether those things be the passing years, the number of calves sired that year, or the numbers of mighty Dog-Things slain in the Wandering Season. Minotaur who learn new languages must necessarily grapple with the idea of Time and also learn to count for the first time.


An Epic Poem of the Minotaur, which takes approximately 16 hours to recite, roughly translates to:


Why attempt to count the untold hordes

Slain by the Third Leg of Mighty Taur

‘Til past and future meet when spoken

His forgotten name from times of Yore.



Translation problems

The compounding of word fragments is somewhat problematic in terms of translation, especially for non-native speakers of The Tongue. It is not really known how Minotaur discern the difference between:


muuuu young word fragment (no meaning of its own)
muuuu grow + tasty crude contraction for “grass”, considered profane


It is likely that Minotaur are accustomed to their language to the point that they can discern very slight variations in volume or inflection that are far too subtle for speakers of other languages to appreciate. Even a single long sustained syllable can be punctuated with stomping, weeping, volume changes, or a great variety of other modifiers, thus transforming it into an emotion-word of a quality of expression unparalleled by other languages.


Common Usage

Very few Minotuar use the Tongue to its great potential of expression, mostly speaking in an amalgam of rude contractions blended with Plaincommon or Darv for everyday purposes. Sadly, the average Minotaur has a very poor grasp of his own language, mostly using its sounds to communicate emotions.


The Last Ones Herd of Zonardia speak their own variant of the Tongue, which is much more compact in their opinion, but still quite exasperating for others to use. As this herd has developed more abstract concepts as well as their own technologies, words exist in this dialect to provide for the accounting of numbers as well as time. However, it should be noted that of the Zonardian Minotaur, only the Duruds speak the language exclusively.


Source Material


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