It must be noted at the very, very first that none of the articles I am to write here on the Portal are meant to be exceedingly technical. Any and all plausibly technical terms used will be defined within the confines of the Portal, and apply only to the extent of it. On that note, where matters of transcriptions are involved, you may find that in addition to anglicisations I rely heavily on the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), having been trained as a linguist. The foremost reason being a desire for some degree of accuracy, since Neradsof has more vowels than the Roman Alphabet you must be familiar with has to offer, and while that may be the case with most languages that have adopted the use of the Roman Alphabet, devising an orthography system for language that oughtn’t have had access to the Roman Alphabet seems a tad silly. Nonetheless, for the comfort of you, my humankind brethren, I will attempt to offer an anglicisation of Neradsof as is consistent with the specific tradition from which these words may have come. (We shall discuss the matter of Neradsof dialects and their orthographic tendencies on some day to come.)
For my friends who are familiar with the IPA, let it not be said that I am a masterful transcriber, in fact I am known to be rather lazy about it. Therefore, my phonetic transcriptions will likely be fairly broad — though I imagine it shan’t quite matter one way or another, since Neradsof is, first, entirely constructed, and second, predominantly written where you are concerned.
In choosing to include Neradsof constructs in ‘Letters to Cody’, I had been resolved very early on in the writing process that some manner of Neradsof dictionary would be necessary. At first it was a matter of writing a glossary, but as the Neradsof morphosyntax grew in complexity it became quickly apparent that I could not be satisfied with a simple list of entries. We’ll call it insufferability. These grammar posts, therefore, are meant in some part for my own entertainment, and in some part to give those so inclined the chance to uncover the flaws in Cody’s Neradsof translations.
Now, on the subject of Neradsof phonetics and orthographic fundamentals — the most general definition I can offer is that Phonetics is the study of speech sounds, and orthography is a system of spelling. I’m sure my professors shall think these insufficient as definitions, but they shall suffice for our purposes. Believe it or not, Neradsof is not a difficult language to read because every character is generally mapped to a specific speech sound, that is, the individual sounds that make up words, or that which we might call letters. If we think of the English Language to be built of the letters that we have in that egregious Alphabet Song (it isn’t, but lets say it is), then I suppose we could say that Natural Neradsof is comprised of 31 letters, specifically, eighteen consonants and thirteen vowels. These are the 31 letters that any good Neradsof would recite, in the order represented here.
It could be said, given this, that you may now have about 75% of all you need to know to be able to read Neradsof. But there are a few peculiarities to discuss. First is the subject of variants. While each character is mostly mapped to only one sound, there are several which are mapped to a range of sounds. In theory it doesn’t matter which variation you might use in some character space; it is largely a dialectal choice. However, as a general rule of thumb, variants are only used should some word be easier to pronounce with a variant rather than the fundamental sound.
The natural question to follow, then, must be how to read a construct like the inscription over the mess hall at the Manor School:
As with English, Neradsof reads left to right, and an additional criteria of being read top-down. This left-right, top-down reading pattern is necessary because not all characters take up the entire height of a written line. Most consonants, except for nasals and rhotics (m, ng, n, and r) are tall characters, therefore will span the entire vertical of a line, however, vowels and the exception consonants only take up half a line. Therefore, they are stacked on top of one another, with the preceding sound on top. The entire inscription, therefore, would be anglicised: jeyh-thueyqol, va-ngeusair oi-J’havey, si-n’rad-vrehnsahf-eh.
There is a lot more to say on the subject of the mechanics of Neradsof, though I suppose that may be better left to another post. For the present, this ought be just enough to make Neradsof constructs pronounceable. As for understanding them, well, that’s what dictionaries are for.