|Around 46 million (2020)
|Official language in
|Cimseje, Povan Union
Ledzib is classified as a Neviric language, which is itself part of the broader Ekuo-Lahiri family. Within the Neviric branch itself, Ledzib is far away from its sister Nevesh, although its vocabulary is easily reconciliable with cognates in Nevesh, which has also excerpted major influences in Ledzib due to Nevira's influence in the Povan region. However, despite this, it is not considered mutually intelligible with Nevesh, mostly due to semantic drift of cognate words.
Proto-Neviric speakers reached the lower kuos region around the year 0 CE. While most other Neviric groups settled around the coast of Nevira, the Ledzib migrated upstream the Ekuos delta into modern Cimseje by the 3rd century CE the latest.
The name Ledzib is theorised to come from Proto-Neviric *laide- "coast" and *-dībe-, whose meaning is commonly reconstructed as "eat", the combination having the meaning of those who ate the coast. It is thought this could have been the name given to the Ledzib by other Neviric groups, as Proto-Neviric *laidedībe regularly develops into *laideɟībe in Neviran varieties, which could have been loaned into the variants the Ledzib spoke. The name would've come from the fact that most Neviric groups lived across the coast, so when they met with Ledzibeth people, it stood out their lack of seacoast, and a popular and humorous explanation was that they simply ate their coast.
However, Ekuo-Lahirists point out that the PEKl root that gave *dībe is reconstructed with the meaning "put away, store", which could have remained in Neviric, taking on the meaning "to abandon" in Ledzib, as such the name would have the more serious meaning of those who abandoned the coast. As there are no written records of this era, it is difficult to totally confirm which version is correct, although the latter is the one most commonly heard in popular culture across the Povan Union
Proto-Neviric developed into Old Ledzib, dated in the same time period as Classical Neviran. The Adzamic script had been introduced into the region, although, most members of the upper class wrote in either Classical Neviran or Old Adzamian, as such there are few records of Old Ledzib, however there are some features that make the language different from modern Ledzib that can be extrapolated. These include a distinction of length in all 5 vowels, a lack of the palatalisation and labialisatiom found in modern Ledzib, /sʼ/ and /t͡sʼ/ being different phonemes, and a lack of most recognisable clusters of the modern language.
An effort for more standardisation of Ledzib came in the aftermath of the collapse of the Saruan Empire, to emphasize the independence of Ledzib from Nevesh.
|p pʲ b bʲ
|t tʲ d dʲ
|k kʷ ɡ ɡʷ
|t͡ʃ~t͡ʂ t͡ʃʼ~t͡ʂʼ d͡ʒ~d͡ʐ
|(f fʲ)¹ v vʲ
|s sʲ z zʲ
|x xʷ (ɣ)¹
|ɫ lʲ r rʲ
• /ʔ h/ are marginal phonemes, occuring only word initially
• ¹ /ɣ ɢ f fʲ/ are modern loaned phonemes from Nevesh (and Adzamic, in the case of /f fʲ/). They are pronounced consistently in educated speech, where /ɣ/ is also never palatalised nor labialised. Colloquially, /ɢ ɣ/ are often merged if they are pronounced, into either of the sounds, /g/, /q/ or less commonly /h/. /f fʲ/ may be substituted by p or v.
• ² /θʲ xʲ/ merged with their respective plain versions in the standard dialect, and as such they are not written any differently, and pronouncing them can come off as antiquated. However, they can still be found in dialects.
• ³ /pʼ pʲʼ/ are both inherited and loaned, but in modern times it's becoming less common to pronounce it as ejective. Some speakers merge them with /p pʲ/, while others have a chain shift pʼ > p > f, especially those closer to the Neviran border. In educated speech, it is expected to differentiate them.
As is common in the region, Ledzib has a complex consonant inventory, which consists of 39 consonants, 19 of which have phonemic palatalisation, for a total of 58 consonants.
Some consonants are not present in native words, those being /f fʲ ʃ ʒ t͡ʃ t͡ʃʼ d͡ʒ q qʼ ɢ ɣ/, which come from mainly Adzamic and Nevesh loans. Ledzib stands out in the region for not developing uvular consonants on its own, although due to loanwords those consonants are used oftenly on day-to-day conversation, appearing in words such as zleq "to leave" and iq’at "to buy".
In contrast to the consonant inventory, the vowel inventory consists of the cardinal 5 vowels.