- Language: Ebisédian
- Created: 2000
- Alternate names:
- Language code:
- Language family: fictional language
A constructed language by H. S. Teoh.
Ebisédian is well-known for its other-worldliness due to its being set in a fictional universe that has radically different physical laws, and for its aptitude in causing dramatic distortions to relay texts. However, beneath the surface, what distinguishes it the most linguistically is its unique typology, in which the active voice and the passive voice are one and the same, expressed through a unique semantically-based case system. So far, no one has been able to name a natlang that has a similar typology; yet once one understands it, it makes sense and feels quite natural.
Language sources: Many ideas in Ebisédian are drawn from various natlangs: Classical Greek is one of the bigger influences; Japanese (in part) for the pronominal system; and other features vaguely imitating Spanish and some of the Sinitic languages.
Although I've taken the liberty of throwing in ideas I thought were interesting at the time (e.g., the nullar number, the decidedly sideways pronominal system, and odd verb conjugation categories), the main drive for the language is its typology and its unique case system. Ebisédian's typology is my answer to the passive voice---which I consider an inelegant and unnecessary feature of natlangs. Ebisédian serves as the vehicle through which I can express what I think is a better alternative to passives, and in which I can experiment and further develop this idea.The second most influential principle is that of matching the fictional universe the language is supposed to exist in. Many aspects of the language reflect the obsession of its speakers with the numbers 3 and 5, and much of the vocabulary derives from this fictional universe. (This last is probably the one cause of much of the grief in the conlang relays associated with Ebisédian, with such glaring holes such as the lack of a word for "star", since the Ferochromon has none.) In building a language for a people who inhabit a radically different world from ours, I had to stop and reconsider every natlang feature that would make it into Ebisédian, and evaluate whether it would fit its setting. Lastly, but not least, I did not wish this language to become so foreign and alien that it would be incomprehensible to humans---after all, its speakers are meant to be human! So I did try to stick as close as possible to what a human might consider intuitive in a language, without making it too familiar and Earth-like so as to be unfit for its intended setting.
Some people have learned a bit of Ebisédian---mostly out of curiosity, but mainly because they were on the receiving end of an Ebisédian text during a conlang relay. :-) But those who had delved into it further did find it less foreign than what they were led to expect.