Soar: Ka’aulele


Example of highly stylized calligraphy. Na’aulele are fond of this sort of color play in their writing; in this case, it’s representative of feather colors.

Fly High and Cry Loud

“Fly High and Cry Loud”, a common blessing. This is an example of vertical writing.

The bird people of To Dream, Perchance to Soar are called the Na’aulele, or Ka’aulele in singular. Their language is also called Ka’aulele.

As time goes on, we’ll fill in more details about the language here. The book also contains a pretty solid primer on the language for those that are interested. Here are some highlights for now.

  • Ka’aulele has a phonology (sound palette) similar to many Polynesian languages. It has 11 consonants (including a glottal stop, as in “uh-oh”) and 5 vowels. Consonants must always be followed by a vowel, leading to a flowing and melodious sound.
  • The written language is written using major glyphs for the consonants and modifiers for vowels. Vowels that come before consonants go to the left of the divider point, and vowels that come after consonants go to the right of it. There is a special “consonant” glyph called a “vowel hanger”, which has no language value; it’s just a place to hang vowel modifiers for words that are all vowels. Vowel modifiers are written top to bottom and then left to right. The major glyphs can also be written that way for vertical text. As you can guess, this leads to quite a range of artistic expression in calligraphy.
  • Several hundred words of Ka’aulele are recorded, many more than are used in the book, and the number is constantly expanding. Much of the vocabulary is onomatopoeic — based on sound impressions of what they describe — and flavored by their culture, winged anatomy, and a more 3-D perspective of the world.
  • A fairly large grammar is known for Ka’aulele, based mostly on post-fix particles. Many sentence constructions are possible with the known grammar, and a few constructions that aren’t known in any human language are possible as well.
  • Ashlyn and her co-conspirators for Soar often speak bits of Ka’aulele to each other in a practical way. Yeah, we’re geeks!
  • Ashlyn’s last name, Nafina, is Ka’aulele! Homework for you!
  • A web-based typography system for Ka’aulele is in progress and will hopefully become part of the learning materials available on this web site soon.