What’s usually called the Neptunian language isn’t a language in the traditional sense, so much as a sort of grammar to exchange psychic/empathic impressions. It developed as a mindlink-based augment to more standard languages, eventually developing into the primary communication mode as more and more Neptunians spent more and more time in situations where vocal communication was difficult, like deep under the ocean and deep under the influence of magenta kelp. Nowadays, even when speaking with others, most Neptunians can’t help but broadcast their own language on a side-channel, and many Neptunian cultural concepts only have a name in their native language.
Their acclimation to psionic use causes a bit of cognitive dissonance when trying use spoken words alone. One example exists, a recording of early communication between Jovian traders and natives. The discourse consisted of a short discussion of trying to strike a deal for a sample of...particularly potent kelp. The farmer was offered a tidy sum- in coin, paper, and even gemstone- but he refused, repeatedly insisting the kelp was 'too valuable!' before ultimately rejecting the offer, following several offers (bordering on downright opulent). From the Jovian's perspective, he was being greedy. the Neptunian was trying to express over psionics how he had been putting hard work for perfecting the strain- not to sell, but to give to his fellow people- but it was left on deaf ears. it was valuable in a sense of 'hard work invested' and 'facilitating expanded mental state', a value beyond money. (That said, he probably would have been willing to trade for other psychoactives.)
Since its purest manifestation is psionically-transmitted sensations and impressions, Neptunian is intrinsically difficult to transcribe. A sort of syntax has been developed though, consisting of text-represented concepts (‘referents’) and puntuation-like operators. The subjective experience of a particular phrase can be roughly understood as the mental visualization of those referents, modified by the sequence of operators connecting them. Sometimes, operators combine multiple referents which are then acted on as a group by other operators; as such operators are usually referred to as acting on ‘tokens’, where a token can either be a single primitive referent (a word) or a combination.
Operator types, in order of precedence, are:
- Prefix and postfix: Operate immediately on the token they precede/follow.
- Circumfix: Paired operators that surround a token)
- Infix: Connect more than one token. Evaluation of infixes proceeds strictly from left to right, all infixes have equal precedence to each other.
There are a few other modifications to this as well. First, infixes can either be noncommutative, usually to express some sort of series or progression, or commutative, to connect a group of two or more tokens as one. Any number of tokens connected by the SAME infix, in series, are all combined as one token/referent. Second, some operators (other than circumfixes) can be chained in another way, by multiple repetitions of the same operator together. This is used as an indicator of intensity; the more repetitions, the stronger that operator acts on the associated tokens. Operators in a commutative group can have different intensity levels, and still be all considered part of the same group.
Some of the simpler operators are given below, but more exist, many that are fairly impervious to written description, needing to be inferred from context.
- ! - Negator
- Indicates a sense of the absence of the referent.
- * - Abstraction
- The referent should be understood in an abstract or symbolic sense. For example, *light covers all of inspiration, goodness, etc (subject to the thinker's cultural biases, of course)
- $ - Individuation
- denotes a name or description understood to refer to a specific entity, something like a proper noun.
- ~ - Affection (chainable)
- Emphasises personal closeness or general good feeling; otter~ is an otter who is a friend, otterIndi (talk) is a loved one or favorite. Also can trail a whole clause to give a general uplifting/intimate mood.
- ! - Intensifier (chainable)
- The referent should be understood as particularly strong.
- * - Generalization (chainable)
- The referent should be applied in broader terms. For instance, person* expands to include edge-cases such as semi-sentient toys, fictional characters, etc.
- (token) - Grouping
- Specifically marks off a token boundary to clarify order of operations. For instance, light,sound! is something bright and very loud, but (light,sound)! would be something very bright AND very loud.
- %token% - Feeling
- Signifies an empathic transmission of experience, usually emotion. %joy% is differentiated from simple joy with the former being a transmission of the experience and the latter simply being the concept.
- [token] - Integration
- One should feel as if the referent is an integrated part of emself. Can be used for body parts, as in [gills] or even emotions, like [joy]'’. For the latter, it is the most intense expression of such.
- -token- - Requirement (chainable)
- Marks the token as a need; physical, emotional, or otherwise; the more chaining, the stronger the need.
- ^token^ - Imperative (chainable)
- Designates a command; the more chaining the stronger it is. These never remove free will, but Neptunian minds DO tend to be rather suggestible.
- *token* - Action
- One should feel as if the referent (usually a verb or sensation) is being performed on emself. For a self-explanatory example: *hug*
- - - Token concatenation (noncommutative)
- In the case that a token needs to be transcribed as more than a single word, this should replace spaces in the phrase. However, it’s generally best to simplify the token further and express it by richer means.
- , - Accompaniment (commutative)
- The referents are placed near one another; this is the simplest infix relationship. It can be seen as implying a scene with all the referents combined. For example, otter,kelp could be understood as an otter swimming among kelp. As the simplest relationship, it is sometimes omitted if a circumfix or other marker is sufficient to provide clear division between tokens.
- ; - Sequence (noncommutative)
- The first referent, followed by the second, as distinct experiences, a transition from one scene or thought to another. Implies more separation than Accompaniment does.
- / - Break (noncommutative)
- Indicates the end of one train of thought and start of a new one.
- + - Synthesis (commutative)
- The referents are completely merged or hybridized into one whole. For instance, otter+squid is a hybrid of the two species, and trapped+arousal is a common result of bondage.
- & - Combination (commutative, chainable)
- The referents are combined or connected in a close, but not intrinsic way. This is considered less intense than + but is chainable; the more & that are chained, the closer the bond is, asymptotically approaching +. For example, otter&manta represents an otter riding a manta mount, though if a strong mindlink exists, it is likely to be styled as otter&&&manta'.
- ~ - Intimacy (commutative, chainable)
- Similar to Combination, but with a stronger implication of an emotional relationship. Also asymptotically approaches + with repitition, though sometimes the two are combined, as +~ to describe a synthesis based on intimacy.
- # - Description (noncommutative)
- The second referent describes the first further, in a basically adjectival fashion. sea#warm is the tropical ocean. sea#warm#bright is the tropical ocean during daytime (Also, a friendly greeting)
- . - Component (noncommutative)
- A meronym, or sub-part of something larger, as in orca.tail to refer to that specific sort of tail, or that of an individual.
- > - Transition (noncommutative)
- One referent changing into another. For instance, Halcyon’s toyification industry is locally known as person>toy.
- : - Causation (noncommutative)
- One should understand the second referent as being caused by the first: useful:joy is the happiness caused by being useful.
- @ - Inclusion (noncommutative)
- The second referent is within the primary, including senses of location (not necessarily physical)
- = - Equality (commutative, chainable)
- Represents a simple ‘is’ equivalency between concepts.
- ! - Disjunction (chainable)
- Denotes separation, opposition, or mutual mutual-exclusion of the referents.
- | - Alternation (commutative)
- Describes an inclusive choice between multiple referents. Implies that any or all are possible; disjoint choices are better represented by infix !
These are not definitive translations, they are commonly-used glosses and more-complex illustrations of construction:
- The Mindlink, also used to refer to the language itself.
- The core tenet of Neptunian society and philosophy:
- Expands to [(family+acceptance+harmony)+(adaptability+immersion+movement)+(enlightenment+creation+joy)]
- Also used as an intimate hello/goodbye
- A more casual hello/goodbye, for folks not known closely yet.
- The Neptunian winter holiday of light and togetherness.
- The mindset that must be adopted to apprehend Neptunian communication, particularly for a non-native.
- A proverb