A key feature of the Temetar religion is the language from which the faith gets its name. Traditionally held to be the language of the gods themselves, Temetar is used extensively in the liturgy through the ubiquity of chanting, prayer, and religious poetry. The priesthood and some scholars also use Temetar to write essays and treatises, especially on theological, thaumaturgical, and scientific topics.
An important part of becoming a priest is developing fluency in the language. The grammatical rules of Temetar are taught to a strict standard and while eloquence in the language is admirable, too much variance from the established grammatical norms is considered vulgar (and possibly even blasphemous if done flippantly). And while it does see frequent use, Temetar cannot be considered a living language; it is no one's native language.
The upshot of this is that Temetar has changed very little over time. Ancient records in the language are, generally, as understandable as those penned more recently. This has supported a sense of long continuity in the religion and its dogma.
The Sounds of Temetar Edit
The most distinctive feature of the actual sound of Temetar is its extensive use of lengthened sounds (known as geminate sounds in linguistics). The majority of the sounds in Temetar have long versions, where the sound is held for a beat longer than the short version. The language considers these to be completely different sounds contrasting words from one another.
For example, the word kela is made up of short sounds. The word kella, however is pronounced slightly differently: the "l" sound is held for a beat longer than it would be in kela. In Temetar, these are distinctly different words, with kela meaning "chair" and kella translating roughly into "wind-swept, buffeted by the wind".
This distinction is critical to properly understanding Temetar. It is also a common place for error, especially among the uninitiated. If one watches carefully during religious services involving reciting Temetar prayer, you can see the priests wincing as the subtleties of this distinction are mangled by the laity. For many priests, it is a constant source of frustration.
The consonants you will find in Temetar are: p, t, k, f, v, ch, s, z, sh, zh, m, r, l, y, w. These are all pronounced as in English, with the exception of the sound zh. zh is found in English, but it doesn't have it's own letter in our language. zh sounds like the 's' in vision, or the 'z' in azure in many dialects.
Note that all of the consonants except ch have lengthened versions. This is usually written in our alphabet by doubling the letter: pp, ff, ww, etc. For lengthened versions of sh and zh, the first letter it doubled: ssh and zzh.
The sounds t, p, and k have some interesting exceptions in pronunciation. One expection is that they are, strictly speaking, pronounced differently when between two vowels. They become voiced; that is, p is pronounced b, t is pronounced d, and k is pronounced g. The language doesn't consider these changes in pronunciation as different sounds like we would in English, however; it is just a variation in pronunciation. Because of this, the priests do not generally write those sounds differently when transcribing the language.
Not all priests actually follow this rule of pronunciation consistently, and it one of the few areas where variation from the rules of the language is not actively frowned upon. However, the priests are expected to maintain the proper accent in prayer.
Finally, lengthened versions of p, t, and k are not pronounced as long when they begin a word. However, in this case the word is still written as a long sound (doubled letters). This is because if the word is compounded with another word, or a prefix is added, that long sound is then pronounced as it is no longer at the beginning. For example, ppil and pil are pronounced the same, with a short p. But if you add the a- prefix to each, appil and apil are not pronounced the same.
Vowels in Temetar are divided in the categories of 'great' and 'lesser'. Great vowels have long versions like consonants do, while lesser vowels have no long version.
The great vowels are:
● i as the e in beet
● u as the u in rule
● a as the a in father
So, for example pil in Temetar is pronounced the same as the English word 'peel' Great vowels have long versions, like the consonants do, so you have ii, uu, and aa.
The lesser vowels are:
● e as the e in bet
● o as the o in no
● uh as the u in but
As mentioned above, these vowels have no long versions.
- Language development by Veronica Hamilton