A. Walker Scott

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     B-G-2-3,  the main language of the northern continent of Iridia, serves as the primary language of wider communication on Iridia. Unlike the majority of Human languages, it is not sound-based. Even the minority of human languages which are visual, like B-G-2-3, are based on motion and placement of hand shapes, whereas Iridian languages are based on changing the color and pattern of one's skin.

     

     B-G-2-3 makes use of a large subset of the colors Iridian skin is capable of producing, but there are colors used in other Iridian languages of which B-G-2-3 does not make use. Those of the southern half of the western continent and the north-eastern island chains, make use of a number of other colors and patterns, but here we will be describing the standard dialect of B-G-2-3 as used in and around the capital.  The colors used in B-G-2-3 are traditionally arranged in rainbow order. 


The following colors are used:

  • R=red
  • T=red-orange
  • O=orange
  • D=yellow-orange
  • Y=yellow
  • C=chartreuse
  • G=green
  • A=aqua
  • B=blue
  • I=indigo
  • V=violet
  • F=fuscha
  • S=silver
  • X=gold

The following patterns are used:
  • 1=solid
  • 2=above
  • 3=below
  • 4=streak
  • 5=stripe
  • 6=wave
  • 7=ripple
  • 8=splash
  • 9=wash
  • 10=spray
  • 11=shimmer
  • 12=spark
  • (13=glimmer)

     The use and relevance of 13 is hotly debated, both among Iridian linguists and outworld linguists. Its use is limited to a mere handful of terms, many of them of a marginal nature, teetering on the boundary between interjection and what could best be described as onomotopoeia. Many of these terms are current in only one, or a small group of B-G-2-3 non-standard dialects, though a couple have been claimed to be current in only the standard dialect.

      These colors and patterns are combined to present "syllables." Each color must of necessity be presented in one of the patterns. Conversely, the patterns may not be presented without recourse to one of the colors. The transcription system used in this page follows that used by the native writing system in that the symbol for the color is always presented first with the symbol for the pattern following. In "polysylabic" words the symbols for each of the colors is written first followed in order by the symbol for the pattern which presents it. (eg. B-G-2-3) Once again this is done to conform to the native writing system in hopes that this will make easier the task of learning the native script for those who wish to make the effort to do so.

     Here below is a brief text from the beginning of a famous folk tale.

Y-12 R-9 G-9 F-5 A-7
day long.ago when live PST.CONT
When the days of long ago were living,

C-6 C-6 G-1 Y-8 S-7 A-7
family family land abroad trek PST.CONT
families were trekking across the land,

X-R-10-5 X-R-10-5 S-12 B-11 O-4 A-5
city city few birth receive PST.PERF
and few cities had received birth,

V-12 S-11 X-G-11-7 I-Y-10-5 C-8 A-7
v-12 S-11 treasure genuine seek PST.CONT
Violet-spark Silver-shimmer was seeking true treasure.

From this brief bit of text, the reader can see the use of reduplication to indicate plurals, and the placement of modifiers after the words they modify. Iridian is an SOV language, placing the subject and object in front of the verb. Tense and aspect are noted by a large set of particles, which follow their verbs. The reader can also note the placement of time phrases at the beginning of a sentence.