Classical Sillenic (Thēten Sillenika) is a classical language that was spoken from the fourth century until the fifteenth century. It belonged to the Sillenic branch of the Qero-Sillenic languages and therefore was closely related to Old Makuku and Old Olmac. Sillenic was the main language of the Sillenic Empire and was imposed upon the peoples it conquered. Asides from serving as the regional lingua franca, Sillenic also held importance as the liturgical and ecclesiastical language of Orthodox Anystesseanism - being the language in which the Triad was written in.
Under the reign of Suntzía (3XX), Old Sillenic had been standardized into Classical Sillenic. Vulgar Sillenic was a colloquial form spoken by the lower classes starting the tenth century and is attested in plays and prose fiction. Vulgar Sillenic eventually developed into the modern Sillenic languages, such as Standard Sillenic, Olmac, Makuku, Kaloman, Teninukalese, and Aputian, in the sixth to tenth centuries. Classical Sillenic continued to be the language of communication, scholarship, and science within Sillas until it was supplanted by vernaculars during the TBD dynasty in the twenty-fifth century.
Classical Sillenic is an agglutinative language with moderate inflection: there are three noun cases (direct, indirect, and oblique), three tenses/aspects, four moods, and two voices. It is also a verb-final language with strong topicalization. It was written with two scripts: TBD - which is logographic, and TBD - which is a featural alphabet.
By the fourteenth century, Vulgar Sillenic (VS) had replaced Classical Sillenic (CS) as the spoken vernacular of the Eastern Empire. However, VS was not a unified language – a fact amplified by the lack of linguistic standardization – but rather a general term for the various sociolects that had developed in ther region.
- North Makuku – heavy Makuku substrate
- Olmaco–Kaloman – heavy Qeran substrate
- South Makuku / Sillenic – most conservative; characterized by lenition
- exo-Sillenic – a potentially creolized form spoken by Sillenic diaspora
Initially, the differences between them were mainly phonological. For example, Sillenes in Kaloma would pronounce /pʰ ~ ɸ/ where Sillenes in Sillas Minor would pronounce as /p/. However, starting the sixteenth century, the different varieties would begin to diverge in grammar (mainly in word morphology and syntax).
Sillenic is a synthetic, agglutinative language. Grammatical function is conveyed through markers which are attached onto a root word in the form of an affix (a prefix or a suffix - never a circumfix). Meanwhile, reduplication in verbs to convey the present and future tenses, to amplify a modifier (an adjective or adverb), and rarely, as another way to denote plurality.
Sillenic is an ergative-absolutive language, thus the subject of an intransitive argument is treated as an object (both are "patients"), and are kept distinct from the "agent" or the subject of a transitive argument. Meanwhile, the oblique case denotes a noun that is both the object of a verb or a proposition. There are three noun cases: ergative, absolutive, and oblique. Nominal case is conveyed through inflection, with the prefixes a-, na-, and sa- denoting the ergative, absolutive, and oblique cases respectively.
- N = nasals
- ~ = root
- * = umlaut (vowels are raised)
- a – e
- e – i
- o – u
- i – ai
- u – au
Type I actor-focus triggers are used solely for internally-directed actions; conversely, type II actor-focus triggers are for externally-directed actions. Type III actor-focus triggers are used only for semantically intransitive verbs (for example, toloi "to sleep")
Type I patient-focus triggers are used for items: moved towards the actor, permanently changed, or that are thought of. Type II patient-focus triggers are used for items which undergo a change of state such as being moved away from an actor. The last set of patient-focus triggers are used items undergoing a surface change.
- In addition, there are the following (optional) articles – all of which are unbound morphemes
- Definite – la
- Indefinite – sagno
- ouala (nouns)
- hendzí / dzi (verbs)
- ant – langam (lanzhei ~ londzhe)
- appearance – iciora (esior ~ eshor)
- bullion-vault – banko (banche ~ bantche)
- cave – kueba (ceve ~ cebe)
- circus – serkus (serche ~ sertche)
- egg – icioe (echua ~ ichoua)
- merchant – negosiante (nessiante ~ nechante)
- school – eskuela (ecuale ~ ecuale)
- ship – banka (bancha)