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II. Language

According to Imperial Turamzzyrian histories, the origin of the name Tehir comes from the name of their language, Tehir. The language was a closely guarded secret for ages, and was seldom spoken in the presence of non-Tehir. Those who befriended the mostly nomadic culture had to take a blood oath before being taught even the most basic nouns. Today though, with an increase of trade and socialization with other races, this is no longer the case. Both vowels and consonants are softer in pronunciation than the more precise Common, relying more on tone to decipher the various meanings behind what is being said -- be it a compliment or an insult. For this reason, it is still quite difficult for most non-Tehir to fully understand the language.

Often, while out on hunts or during raids and war, the Tehir use a secondary language -- a guttural, animalistic pattern of sounds and whistles that imitate nature. For example, bird cries and animal growls will sound natural in their environment, but the trained Tehir will use combinations of them as commands or signals. The Tehir are masters of mimicry. This allows them to stalk their prey, be it animal or humanoid -- discreetly and quickly -- and has contributed to their reputation as a stealthy people.

There are female and male variations for several of the Tehir words, often only with a single consonant difference, which can imply ownership, verb activity, or preciousness. Below is a small list of examples, though the complex grammatical structure makes precise translation difficult:

A selection of common words:

Common Tongue Tehir Translation feminine/masculine
hello tiu
goodbye qaiteke
farewell vobriqi
I am uodi / iebri
Thank you zomjii
him tiel
her tid
he ti
she tzi
mother luzhid
father vozhib
sister zevid
brother kruzhib
child gtuy / gtiere
baby qoqa / koka
girl tudy
boy koa
name moni
master lovid / lovib
rite duri / biedi
power huid / huieb
wrist ubrav
leg rite
body qua / kua
blood qyeke / keke
skin vyitz
mouth luazh
drink edumj / ebiemj
tea rio
eat ior / iod
see fizum
love [lover] yafi [rafir]
marriage lodduoji
godless teuriz
death eizh
dying air / ime
bleeding qyekeir / kekeir
riding golbuir
raiding teddir
wish qietz
make loji
life yuvi / rievi
fire vubri
wet qir / uir
water qorit
day [sun] uo [zom]
night [moon] muttd [lekem]
wild dog gojor
hunting dog tuame
she-goat / goat tzaor / teuod
camel golir
seat zurib / zori
spider zkoub / zkoieb
home tuli
trade tufi / in-gtomtei
land yome / rome
heavens zhi zja / mu teur
sand (yellow) zome
blue krai
black gir
veil fiier

A few sample phrases:

We went to the park Qi ru-teumi zhi huuj
My wife is strong La uvi uz vur
Girls belong at home Tudy qirur od tuli
I hold a big knife Uture o qut meiv
I have a huge blade Utofi o tate qyo
Kill those who escaped! Ju zhim otu ru-izgohi!

The Sea of Fire itself goes by many names among the Tehir, though most common is Zhiívieba. Others include Zhizio, Zhudurqua, Turmeda, Latduame, and Zhifiier. Landmarks, territories, and oases are given practical names, such as Edaqorit, known for unusually warm water. The series of arching stone protuberances about a dayís hike south of BiríMahallah is called Fovgroq, or Vast Claw.

The moons of the night sky possess unique names, including Tzou Lekem (Lornon), Ufura (Liabo) and Zlo (Tilaok). The satellite Makiri is not recognized among the Tehir.

In recent years, and with the increase of transient populations in Vornavis and the Eastern Nations, the Tehir have become somewhat less protective of their language. They now allow merchants to converse with them directly, instead of forcing the Tehir to use Common in their own lands. When traveling beyond the Sea of Fire though, most Tehir speak fluent Common seldom using their own language, except when alone with each other or in trusted company. Personal names are also used exclusively in private, with many Tehir families and couples using pet names almost exclusively, to ward off any possibility of enchantment, theft of essence, or attraction of the dead.

Whether welcomed or not, even the name of the Tehir has been subjugated by the influx of Imperial troops within the Sea of Fire. The official pronunciation sounds like "tih-fearee," and means "He-Veiled," which implies "Speaker of the Veil." The misconstrued pronunciation also leads to the usage of "Tehiri" to imply craftsmanship. Incidentally, the Shakat often reinforce this misconception and use the name Tehiri with flagrant disdain, including further mispronunciations to the extent of sometimes calling them (as a whole) Teuriz, or "godless."

Wide swaths of common Tehir words, from the names of clothing to animals, are similarly unpronounceable by the Common-speaking tongue. These include the Tehir woman's tabard, called (by the common tongue) "hudor", and the "ayr," or Tehir lute. The yierka was once known as the "yursbe" and the selshis, as "zirtziez." The takouba has undergone a similar fate. The special songs -- zamads -- are often misheard by Common-speakers as "sonnets."

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