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Muqali

The Muqali (in their own word, Muqali; in Yuktepat, Moqol) are a high altitude nation roughly within the tropical zone of central and southern Tiptum. Living in one of the highest inhabited places in this world has certainly influenced Muqali - and insulated them from the world. This affects not only who the Muqali are, but also who other nations think they are, and those nations generally agreed that Moqaali was backward. People in America tell Polish jokes; people in other parts of Tiptum tell Muqali jokes. They looked up to the Tepat and tried superficially to imitate them, while stubbornly adhering to their entrenched customs. They were widely considered backward by the more advanced nations around them. Muqali's revenge for this would be the Muqali revolution, which rapidly and radically transformed the nation - although, as might be expected of a joke, its revenge fell hardest on Muqali itself.

The Land

The Muqali live in rough terrain, on a high plateau - the Hallatlama - and between the peaks of the Qhaluyamacutl. Muqali rises above all its neighbors, even the Notoq, who carved out their own niche just slightly northwest and downhill. It has the greatest average elevation of any country in Tiptum, and second-highest in the world after Ashake in central Atonya. It also contains the continent's highest peaks, such as Qatlak P'awu, "the Dragon's Fang." It was from here that the aristocracy lorded it over everyone with an altitude to match their attitude. Muqali's destiny is tied to the fact that they are a mountain people, and they also often simply call themselves the Yamuyli, "mountain people."

Precipitation was frequent on the western slopes, and the higher peaks were often covered with fog. It is here that most of the country's crops are grown. Drier conditions prevail as one moves east. Trees are short, vegetation is patchy, soil is thin and dry, and rocks are ubiquitous. Here and there especially lofty peaks are covered with snow year-round. Glaciers and famously pristine lakes also dot the higher elevations. Steep valleys funnel air into themselves creating strong blasts of wind running along their lengths. The higher one goes, the cooler and thinner the air becomes. More solar radiation slowly baked the Muqali to a darker color than their lowland contemporaries.

Ridge after ridge not only separated the Muqali from their neighbors, but also from themselves. Thus communication and trade were poor, governance decentralized, and dialects diverse. The word for"valley" could also mean "clan," "estate," "county," "dialect," and so on, since all of these usually coincided. Asking someone what their valley was a shorthand for finding out who he was, and judging him accordingly. This interplayed with the very Muqali phenomenon of "Altitudism," or looking down on those downhill from you.

Muqali is also one of the few nations where wheels practically do not exist. It's not that the Muqali are especially ignorant (though outsiders may like to think that). They have been well aware of the wheel for a long time. However narrow, undulating, rocky trails make wheels as much a burden as the loads they carry, so the Muqali just continued using packs strapped to the backs of camel-like cicil.

Low air pressure means that water doesn't need to get as hot to boil, so to compensate the Muqali clamp the lid down on their food and high-pressure boil or steam it. This has led to one of the distinctive features of Muqali homes, the c'uh, a thick stone stove with a built-in water chamber over which a heavy, tightly-fitting lid is placed to keep the pressure up. You just dump all your ingredients in the pot with salty water and leave it for a few hours, and voilà, soup for dinner! That soup is probably cicilmiqtha hapak c'ulu, or potato soup with llama meat.

History

The event Muqali is most famous for is an extremely messy revolution. The country's history can basically be split in two by the Revolution; there is Pre-Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Muqali. Before the Revolution, the king was God; after the revolution, "king" was a four-letter word.

Muqali royalty
Muqali royalty

Prior to the revolution, the Muqali lived in a state of fear and ignorance. The country was divided by thousands of different clans and dialects with little to unify them except the rule of a divine kingship. While confidently secure in the superiority of their own divinity, the lords of Muqali had encountered the more advanced states of Tepat and the east coast, and were quite attracted. Enlightenment was fashionable, and as all decent people did, the Muqali aristocracy more and more modelled themselves on Tepat. They bought the products of Tepat, wore Tepat clothes, built Tepat-style houses, taught their children to read and write Mwentepat, quoted Tepat sages, and without a break maintained all the hallowed customs that the Tepat despised. Nevertheless in their own minds they had adopted an enlightened concern for the world, and held it against their illiterate serfs that they did not also do so.

The Muqali Language

The language is ergative, and its ergativity apparently arose from such frequent use of the passive voice that it became the primary voice, with the instrumental case becoming the ergative and the nominative becoming the absolutive. For verbs of experience, and even of thinking, the stimulus was universally encoded as the (ergative) subject and the experiencer as (absolutive) object.

The language also didn't care much for fine distinctions of volition and intention. Pairs such as "murder" and "manslaughter," "fall" and "get down," and "misspeak" and "lie" were expressed by the same words. Foreign visitors complained that the Muqali had no concept of good intentions, and would accuse them of lying over mere mistakes. Law similarly punished without regard to intentions.

Writing

When the Muqali were exposed to writing for the first time in the form of Klûttepat (Tepatic glyphs), they didn't understand it, but held an almost religious awe for it. As they began to learn, the potent symbols were drawn into divinatory traditions. In the late period of Muqali royal rule, the rulers taught Mwentepat to their children, wrote in Mwentepat, and occasionally transcribed Muqali in klût, but divination by klût continued alongside it with the persistence of astrology in America. During the revolution, the logographs were scrapped and replaced with a freshly-devised syllabary working on similar principles to the Hamtumite one. This was promoted heavily in an attempt to eradicate illiteracy. It reflected the contemporary speech of the capital nigh perfectly but has become less accurate with the accumulation of changes in the spoken language.

Phonology

Muqali Consonants













Plain
p
t
tl
c

k
q



Glottalized
p'
t'
tl'
c'

k'
q'
'


Aspirate
ph
th

ch

kh
qh


Fricative



s



h
Nasal
m
n


ny



Lateral


l

ly



Glide
w



y



Vowels: /i a u/
Syllables: CV(C)

Morphology

Karawaļak luwikku palcwi mulmukatha XXX waytu hul'uc yama hul'uc iltap.
Katha
waļa
-k
luwik-
-k
-u
palc-
-wi
mul
muk
-atha

waytu
hul
-'uc
uma
hul
-'uc
ilta-
-p
state
change
ERG
council
ERG
3P
investigate

bad
fate
COM
man
forest
next
DAT
road
next
DAT
lie
NONP
By the side of the road, next to the scrub-forest, lies an unfortunate man, who was investigated by the Revolutionary Council.


































He is a very rich man, with many camels, potatoes, and wives.


Wulku
-k














Wulku
ERG
him
please
girl

DAT
potato
throw







Wulku throws potatoes at the girl he likes.













































































































"Muqali, where the land approaches the sky."
"What's your valley?"

Syntax

Muqali sentences are usually Subject-Object-Verb, although sometimes Object-Subject-Verb is also found. The ergative case marker -k makes sure you know what's up. It has postpositions (and case endings) instead of prepositions, and adjectives and possessive come in front of the word they modify. Muqali has two kinds of relative clauses, internal and extenernal.


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© 2005-2011 by Damátir Ando. Updated September 16, 2014.