|79 million (2016)
Classical Algaz (Hafsighi)
|Official language in
|Recognised minority language in
Algaz is an Argeyazic language spoken in western Ekuosia. The official language of the Algazi Union, Algaz also has a substantial number of speakers in diaspora communities across Baredina and southern Miraria, particularly in Letzia, Ebo Nganagam, and Azerin.
The earliest form of Algaz was spoken in and around Hafsigh and was part of a larger continuum of Continental Argeyazic dialects. This dialect rose in prestige with the expanding power of the Hafsighi Kingdom and accompanying population movements in the first few centuries CE, and largely displaced or absorbed other languages within the core Hafsighi territories. Here, the language was used in all aspects of society: government, religion, literature, and daily life. In outlying areas under Hafsighi rule or influence, elites, whether Algazi or native, typically spoke Algaz even as the majority of the population continued to speak other languages.
From the 4th Century CE onwards, the Hafsighi Kingdom came under the influence of the Adzamasi Empire, leading to the adoption of a substantial number of words from Old Adzamic. A number of grammatical changes, most notably the shift to an animacy-based gender system, are believed to have taken place during this period but are poorly attested before the late Sadhas dynasty, suggesting that they may have been stigmatized or that the written standard remained highly conservative.
Following the disintegration of the Hafsighi Kingdom, the language underwent a series of dramatic phonological and grammatical changes, some of which had likely begun earlier. The language also began to diverge into more pronounced regional dialects due to the fragmentation of the former kingdom and its surroundings; this trend towards divergence began to revert in the 15th Century, as expanding trade networks and a renewed literary culture saw increased dissemination of linguistic innovations.Increased trade with foreign regions also fostered a great deal of linguistic exchange, with numerous loan words entering Algaz in all registers. During this time, the vernacular dialects displaced Classical Algaz as the language of literature and, subsequently, government.
By the early 19th Century, the cultural and political integration of the Algazi Union, along with its well-developed transportation and communication infrastructure, had relegated regional dialects to urban peripheries, rural coasts, and diaspora communities, with a fairly consistent unofficial standard serving as the primary language for most Algazis. The introduction of mandatory public education at the turn of the century served to further standardize the language.
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