Internal History

In the North Atlantic, about halfway between England and Portugal, lies an island called Talante. It is believed to have been settled by the Minoans during the Bronze Age, but after the eruption of Santorini and the Bronze Age Collapse, it lost touch with the rest of the world for 2½ millenia. During the Middle Ages, however, traders travelling between England and Portugal rediscovered the island, and it became a staging post on the trade route between the two countries.

Talante is divided into 6 city states, which are governed by councils of the nobility. Its people, who call themselves Ketifi, quickly adopted Christianity and the Latin alphabet after making contact with the outside world, with the aristocracy being the last to embrace them. They are fond of the works of Chaucer and King Dinis

External history

During lockdown, I decided to start a new project. I wanted to use a number of ideas that I'd had over the years I'd been conlanging that didn't fit into my existing conlangs. One of my goals was to be able to translate a lengthy piece of text, and because I was using three genders, (Human, Animal and Inanimate), I decided it should be a beast fable. I chose The Nun's Priest's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, and from working out why Kipin's speakers would know this story and translate it into their own language, I worked out the details of the setting.

Kipin is still very much a work in progress.

Key features

Kipin has three genders, Human, Animal and Inanimate. Verbs are marked for the person, number, and gender of their subject, primary object and secondary object, while the role of the primary object may be changed by a series of applicatives. Kipin is a split subject language, where Human and Animal nouns have the familiar nominative/accusative case system, but Inanimate nouns have an ergative/absolutive case system. Possession is marked on the thing possessed by means of an affix showing the person, number and gender of the possessor.

Kipin's morphology is quite irregular, as adding an affix to a word can cause the whole word to undergo complex mutations. The word order is variable too, with new information being moved to the beginning of the sentence and old information moved to the end.

These changes in morphology and syntax are not arbitrary, but are worked out as consequences of Kipin's evolution from its ancestor, Kikun.

Kipin's orthography is mainly based on Portuguese.