The Language of the Empyreaum (Là Glostèan Empyraen)

ESG (technically it’s LGE – Là Glostèan Empyraean – but I chose to keep it simple and produce intresting acronyms) was the result of several years of soldiers from across the Empyraeum trying to determine the location of the mess tent or latrines during the Bloodless Conquest. Six million soldiers, artisans, merchants, and the numerous other professions that support what was effectively a mobile city, two hundred and fifty languages, many more dialects…Greek was no longer the predominant language of this force of unequalled size and people had to communicate.
It started with various pidgins and cants, a word here, a phrase there – this thing is called that and you say this in this fashion, it costs this many – but, eventually, words and phrases started to integrate and spread, especially those not meant to be heard in polite company! Soldiers are rarely know for their smooth tongues and gentle manner, after all.
Nobody really knows how it started, it was not recorded, no one group sat down and decided, it ws purely organic osmosis and people doing what people do best; taking what they have and making it work. Eventually, a universal argot started to emerge; every soldier knew it and you can be certain that everyone who made a living taking their wages away from said soldiers knew it. Alexander got to hear about it when his Kalshodar and Dracograth (many of whom, such as Neshaa, were not Greek by birth and had struggled to learn their King’s speech) started to use it and he was delighted, he took it as an omen; his cultural melting pot blending together nicely, no longer were they Greeks, Perisans, Sythians, Celts and so on; they were something new and were creating something new together. He knew this boded well for the Empyraeum to come.
With each country conquered and each fresh batch of recruits added, the flavour of the argot changed as the shiny-faced young men and women in search of adventure added their own languages and dialects to the mix. So delighted was Alexander with this developing language that he made his first formal edict to the new Empyraen Senate, the task of formalising this argot into what would become Empyraen Standard Greek. The greatest minds of the whole Empyraen descended on Alexandria-The-First and debate with lively and passionate. Alexander smiled to see it because, once again, people from all over the new Empyraen were, after a fashion, working together and, once the bruises had faded, forcing a unified identity into being.
Empyraen Standard Greek or ESG was formalised on Gamelia 25th, HA7. The first Lexicóm Empyrean was produced and distributed from Manchuria to Eiré over the following years, to schools, libraries, and town/city halls.
Of course, individual nations kept their own versions, brought by soldiers or merchants who were either returning home or starting a new life elsewhere. ESG is the formal language of the Empyraeum but there are hundreds of vulgar dialects thereof.
To practise;
“Nera ú chalk mug siú éjookaíd drúsa” – An ugly conman finds little business
“Gwyn-ía espry, gage. Sui oy-toy shy yonks anoí.” – Dude, Gwy’s (he is) gone. He surely got captured ages ago.
“Shy itú tevo-éi kat dú la-choir, ma geall” – That sneak is a police informer, I’m sure of it!
“Itù laebh tì èjookàid gamma orì anoì!” – You’ve been staring at that book for three hours now!

[Note; for the purposes of invention, we have focussed on five languages, together with some artistic license, to create ESG. Those languages are the ones we felt worked best together and made the most coherent combination. Ancient and Modern Greek, Nepali & Burmese, Gujarathi and Sanskrit, and Scots/Irish/Welsh Gaelic.]

A Linguistic Nightmare?

When the idea of the modern and current Empyraeum was set out, it came with a nagging problem; Latin never came to dominate because Rome never rose in the vacuum left by Alexander’s death and Ptolemy’s failed legacy in Egypt.

Citizens of the Empyraeum, even in its current state would not speak a language we’d recognise. Latin languages wouldn’t exist. Turns of speech and even complex words would be quite different.

We touch on this is first acknowledging the rise of koiné in the invasion of Persia and hints toward what we called the argot or emerging conlang of the Empyraen army; the result of one hundred different cultures and armies melding into a whole. Some would learn the koiné, others would speak a pidgin of their native tongue and koiné, others would make up an odd mixture of both. By osmosis, an argot started to spread, even Neshaa and Kalliades started to converse in it.

Following formal foundation of the Empyraeum in Alexandria, the argot was formalised as ESG or Empyraen Standard Greek.

Early stages of its use can be found in the stories of the Collections and inside the Novellas. Place names and little terms and insults were replaced, just to give an idea of how different the world of the Empyraeum is.
After much thought and linguistic play, we decided more was needed and below, we introduce you to a particular flavour of ESG, that spoken in Lúndún, the capital of Brytton, where much if the action of Book One “A Flame Undying” will take place.

What we consider Great Britain was never invaded by Rome, the Vikings, the Saxons. The Welsh and Gaelic tongues common in 4th Century BC remained the mother tongue of the common people who learned ESG later on, at school or for work. Also London of our world is known for its unique slangs and argots, as is Britain as a whole so our Bryttons will, of course, add and adapt words to their preference. Elements of Irish, Scots, and Welsh mix with the ancient Greek and, often, the two blend together;

Common Empyraen insults and slang of Lúndún Town

Kop = idiot/stupid Ease/Easy-G = ESG Myrt = slapper of either gender, a person of adaptable morality Moik = untrustworthy Kora = *uck Kopra = s*it Koraka = *ucker Kúna = bitch/dog Glàm = falsely flashy Laik = wimp, little bitch Proko = arse kisser Chalk = wiseguy, smartass, sort of a compliment of the backhanded type Myx = stubborn person Gràs = stinky Pòra = p*ssy, invaliant person Tod = overweight fellow, slang for aristocracy/the rich Pánastás = rebels, commonly known as Pans Hèg = boss or leader Kos = military unit or group The Choir = slang for the Keepers, Union Police Savs = Alexander Loyalists Savmor = The Kalshodar, considered a myth Gowl = clumsy person Gomb = trick, trap, ambush Felci = a fart, often used for an unfocused person Cach = crap, worthless Twm = jumped up officer, often pronounced ‘Tim’ Man = undecided, indefinite reply…”Man a well” means, ‘why not?’ or ‘might as well’ Pilli = Day dreamer, head in the clouds Clats = fight, violent disagreement Soomp! = Brilliant! Excellent! Cool! Sometimes simply “Soom” Lemb = Embarrassingly Stupid Moog = bad/dangerous Cleka = informant, grass, traitor Gaida = arse, annoying person. “On the Gaid” – messing around, fooling with someone. Skatagam = A Charlie-Fox, or complete and messy failure militarily Melit = one who favours DIY intimacy; an objectionable individual Och = multiuse term that can mean almost anything depending on context. “Gaid och” means ‘**ck it’. “Och soom” means indescribably amazing. “Och man” means ‘give me a minute to think about this’. “Och Aye” can mean anything depending on the speaker’s tone of voice. Tevo = a sneak or thief Gamina = multiuse word of emphasis meaning anything between ‘darn, ‘curses’,’**ck’, ‘**cking’ etc. Kàton = negative situation. “Dwin a lig gamina katon…” means ‘I’m in serious effing trouble here…’ Lig = a bit, a small amount. Often used ironically. Mor/Maw = big or large. Serious. Dwin = I am . “Dwin Pan, drae sior” is a common rebel greeting.
More may be coming as time allows but, for now, enjoy playing with speaking like a Lúndolix using the clues I have scattered around.