The Sanaman language, xele sanamali, formerly called Lakhesian by the colonial power Shireroth and Sani/Ama, is a Cosimo-Benacian language spoken by approximately 55 million people in Sanama and Talenore. Sanaman is an ergative-absolutive agglutinating language. It has two orthographic standards, called Sani and Ama. It is also related to the divergent Estarisan. Around 50 million speakers can be found in Sanama, and 5 million in Talenore. It is an official language in Talenore and the main official language in Sanama.
The Sanaman language is the proposed common name for the Sani and Ama languages. The two languages are almost entirely mutually intelligible, differing only slightly in orthography, word choice and pronunciation. While speakers of a western dialect of Ama and an eastern dialect of Sani might struggle to understand each other in certain circumstances, exposure to different dialects increase understanding dramatically. Many Sanis and Amas push back against the notion of a common language, stressing the many perceived differences between the two standards. In 1680 the new government lead by the United Nationalist Alliance started promoting the notion of a common Sanaman ethnicity, comprising both the Ama and the Sani peoples. The federal census of 1680 also classed the Sani and Ama as Sanaman for the first time.
Sanaman is an official language in Sanama and recognised for local official use in Talenore.
Distribution and usage
Sanaman is spoken natively in western, central, southern and southeastern Sanama, in the areas traditionally called Sanilla and Amarra. It has its strongest position outside the large cities. In rural areas and smaller cities and towns, it is by far the majority language. In larger cities, like Niyi, it has a much weaker position, usually in favor of Istvani. In the entire country of Sanama, 60 percent of all people speak Sanaman as their first language.
|Lateral approximant||l̥ l|
Where consonants appear in pairs, the left is unvoiced and the right is voiced.
Sani has six vowel phonemes. They do not contrast for length or nasality. The Sani schwa vowel is transliterated as Ë, while the E vowel varies between /e/ and /ɛ/ depending on environment.
Verbs in Sanaman are modified to express aspect and modality, but not tense. Tense is instead indicated by a combination of aspect, mood and time adverbial construction.
Sanaman uses several aspects and indicate them by affixes and infixes.
- Perfective aspect: an action is viewed as completed (as in "I saw the dog").
- Imperfective aspect: an action is viewed as initiated but not completed, it is ongoing. This aspect has two forms:
- Habitual aspect: the action is performed repeatedly ("He comes here every day").
- Continuous aspect: the action is ongoing without pause ("she is swimming").
Sanaman expresses modality by affixes to the verb.
- Indicative: a statement is a fact. This comes in two forms, one strong indicating it is a fact and cannot be otherwise, and one weak which is any other degree of certainty. (Compare "I know the capital of Shireroth is Shirekeep" and "I believe the capital of Shireroth is Shirekeep").
- Subjunctive: Event is considered unlikely.
- Conditional: Event depends on another condition ("if").
- Optative: Event is hoped, expected, or awaited.
- Potential: Event is probable or considered likely.
- Imperative: Event is directly ordered or requested by the speaker.
- Prohibitive: Event is prohibited by the speaker, i.e. negation of the imperative.
- Desiderative: Event is desired/wished by a participant in the state of affairs referred to in the utterance.
- Dubitative: Event is uncertain, doubtful, dubious.
- Admirative: Event is surprising or amazing.
- Interrogative: Event is asked or questioned by the speaker.
- Hortative: Signals the speaker's encouragement or discouragement toward the addressee's bringing about the action of an utterance. There are several indicating different levels of encouragement as well as discouragement.
Sanaman is a verb-subject-object language, where the direct object precedes any indirect objects. However, given that the language is highly agglutinating, word order is also quite free. The internal phrase structure is right-branching, meaning that the head of the phrase precedes its determiners. Many determiners are expressed as suffixes instead of as separate words, especially what in Istvanistani would be expressed through adjectives, adverbs and prepositions.