Syteizon (pronounced “suh-TAY-zone”) was invented by a group of linguists on a human multicultural sub-light colony ship Queqiao back in the 22nd century as a common language meant to be easy for all the colonists to learn. All of the details of the language were transmitted back to Earth with other reports. Year later, communication from the ship suddenly and mysteriously stopped, and it was never heard from again.
Syteizon’s vocabulary is based on words from the 13 most widely-spoken Earth languages of the time (which are also the most widely-spoken languages here in the early 21st century): English, Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, French, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Urdu, Indonesian, German, and Japanese.
Learning to speak Syteizon became a counterculture phenomenon later in the century, as a way of protesting American hedgemony and the role English was playing in suppressing other languages. Within a couple of decades, political action drove it to be adopted as the official language for use in multinational space stations and, as space travel became more common, off-planet colonies. It has become the predominant human language outside of Earth and is widely spoken on Earth as well.
Syteizon pronunciation and grammar are both entirely consistent. The language has no plurals (like Japanese); definite and indefinite articles like “a,” “an,” and “the,” (like Russian and Chinese); or noun declensions (like many languages, for instance Spanish). Verbs are conjugated only for tense and mood, not person, using particles, so for instance, the word for “to start” is always “nazat.” The future tense consists of one word (“uil”), the past tense of another single word (“ty”), etc. Words can be transformed from one part of speech to another using other words: for instance, “a start” or “a beginning” can be said as “in nazat” (“EEN NAH-zaht”).
The letter “y” in Syteizon is technically a schwa (ə), and can also be pronounced as “ih” or “uh”. The accent in Syteizon words is always on the first syllable that has a vowel other than a “y.” The letter “z” is substituted for sh, ch, and zh sounds, hence, for instance, the word “zenovek” (“human”) comes from the Russian “chenovek.”
Syteizon is spoken by nearly everyone on earth’s moon, including Lana Quel. Lana’s journal is kept in Syteizon and was translated into 21st-century English for the purpose of this podcast, with some poetic license.