i before e except after c does not apply to chief

Overview: The Skakdi Dialect of Matoran

Introductory Remarks

It has been known for some time now that the Skakdi canonically have their own language. The following sketch does not represent that language per say, since we’ve never been provided any explicit data to go on. Instead, this post outlines a Skakdi dialect of the Matoran Language, meaning that it is derived from the “standard” dialect of the Matoran Language by a series of systematic (mostly phonological) changes. That said, the more the changes pile up, the more the dialect begins to take on a character of its own, which is why the distinction between “dialect” and “independent language” is notoriously murky.

The remainder of this post is broken up into sections detailing the phonological and grammatical properties of the Skakdi dialect of Matoran, concluding with a short lexicon + etymologies.

Sound Changes

The changes that apply to yield the Skakdi dialect are based on a few inferences about Skakdi physiology and how it might affect linguistic forms. For example, one of the most obvious anatomical differences between Skakdi and Matoran (Toa, Turaga) is in the structure of the mouth. The Skakdi have   (almost comically) large jaws and teeth, whereas Matoran do not–Matoran may not have teeth at all! Based on this, I’ve assumed that the Skakdi have very limited jaw and lip articulation, hence any sounds that involve the equivalent of lips for Matoran are altered significantly in Skakdi pronunciation ([p, b, w, u] etc.). Instead, the Skakdi rely on sounds articulated with the teeth, tongue, and the back of the throat ([t, d, k, g, n, s, z] etc.).

Two interesting exceptions to this rule are the sounds [f] and [v] which do show up in various Skakdi-influenced names (fenrakk, vezok, etc.). Interestingly, these sounds are articulated with the lower lip against the upper teeth, which, if you have limited vertical range on the lips, isn’t nearly as difficult to pronounce as, say, [p] or [b], which do not appear in any Skakdi-influenced name.

The rules that characterize the Skakdi dialect of Matoran are listed below:

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