|Native speakers||9 Million (2021)|
|Writing system||Soptenese Alphabet, Vaniuan Alphabet|
|Official language in||Soptemia|
Soptenese is the primary language spoken in Soptemia. A member of the Masic branch of the Ryamaian languages, it represents one of the furthest western extremes of the Ryamaian family. Due to its isolation from other Ryamaian languages, Soptenese many features that set it apart from related languages; it also has heavy influences from the Rietic family and some influence from the Mahavic languages.
Soptenese is a Masic language. It branched off from Proto-Masic around 500 BCE.
Old Soptenese was the most recent ancestor of Soptenese. It was more similar to other Masic languages than modern Soptenese. Over time, Soptenese developed its vowel system into one with both long-short and fronting distinctions, wherein the strong version is typically a fronted version of the vowel. Around 1700, uppercase letters fell out of fashion, and Soptenese transitioned to a monocameral alphabet. Uppercase letters are still seldom used today, and when they are used they are seen as archaic. In 1952 and 1958, the reform standardized many aspects of Soptenese spelling, orthography and grammar, and offically did away with many archaic rules. It also saw the introduction of standardized short-unfronted vowels.
In general, in Soptenese, the maximum allowable syllable is CCVVC. In the onset, any consonant may appear on its own. Clusters in the onset may be made with /s/ in preceding most, but not all consonants. In addition to this, kl, tl and pr are legal. Vowels may appear on their own, or in diphthongs. For the purposes of making diphthongs in Soptenese, vowels are divided into five pairs of "strong" and "weak" vowels, wherein "strong" vowels are generally, but not always fronted versions of their "weak" counterparts. A diphthong always consists of a "weak" vowel followed by a "strong" vowel. In the coda, all consonants may appear, with the exception of /h/. In foreign words, /h/ in the coda is sound-shifted to /x/. Consonant clusters do not appear in the coda.
Stress in Soptenese is not explicitly marked, but it can always be ascertained from spelling. Typically the penultimate syllable is stressed. If there is only one syllable, that syllable may be stressed. If one of the vowels is long, that vowel is stressed, instead of the penultimate syllable. If there is more than one long vowel, and none of them fall on the penultimate syllable, the final long vowel is stressed.
Morphology and syntax
Writing and literature
Soptenese is typically written with the Soptenese alphabet. The Soptenese alphabet is largely the same as the Vaniuan script, with a few stylistic changes, such as the addition and reuse of some characters in order to accommodate the four-way vowel distinction in Soptenese, as well as the elimination of uppercase characters. Soptenese is often written with a more conventional version of the Vaniuan alphabet. This is made possible by the number of variants in the orthography for many of Soptenese's unique vowels. It has become more common in recent years, especially with the standardization and internationalization of the language, to simply write Soptenese using the Vaniuan alphabet by default.