It goes without saying, for anyone who’s ever heard their singers or language, but Kivanians (and by evolutionary connection, Tylanians) have exceedingly complex larynxes.
For most humans the variety and kinds of phonemes commonly found in their languages are virtually (in some cases utterly) impossible to reproduce. Some excellent mimics can fake as much as 50% of the sounds and upwards of 80% of the most common; the average person is lucky to get 5% and 20%.
Part of it is that their complex vocal cord structure allows for chordal tones – some of the sounds they use to talk are actually two simultaneous vocalisations from the throat. They largely incorporate sounds that can best be described as clicks, pops, chirps, and blended vowels. Some dialects and words get even weirder and may include caws, whistles, and screeches.
The language is fairly easy to transliterate into Galfarran due to the very wide selection of phonemes included and glyphs for each of them with diacritics to help cover more esoteric alien phonics, but even here some sounds are often “skipped.” In Universal Standard (English) these skips are indicated, typically, by an apostrophe. In Galfarran they’re usually marked with a kilĵā. An example, the Kivanian word for “plate,” “k’ghnma,” has a complex vowel, ǔǫī, between the k and g, those who’d like to pronounce it properly would have to manage to pronounce an oo while making something on the lines of a long i (the simplest accent of that vowel; some dialects’ way of pronouncing it cannot be meaningfully conveyed in English), but as with many similar transliterative tricks in English the apostrophe should be treated as a syllable break, the ghnm should be pronounced as closely to a single consonant sound as possible, the a should be soft like in “car”.
There are several dialects of Kivanian, but few of Tylanian. This is due to the much smaller population of the first Tylanians and no significant effort for the earlier members to preserve any ancestral tongues. Dialects have cropped up in the mean time in a manner rather analogous to the various accents/dialects found in various regions of the Earth city called “London“.
Tylanian is incomprehensible to Kivanian speakers and vice versa as they broke off when there were more distinct Kivanian languages and predates the Imperial Decree of Languages and its corresponding founding of the Imperial Language Conference.
Within the span of the Imperium a common tongue based on the first Imperial clans’ native tongues was adopted, but various clans kept and used their ancestral languages as well. Due to the influences of having to conduct all formal interactions in Imperial Kivanian influences settled into the ancestral languages that has aligned them somewhat with the common language. The dialectal differences can still manage to be distinct enough that two clans from far enough apart in the Imperium will sound as though they are saying the same thing, but could be making radically different statements (kind of like in Albanian when some regional dialects use a word that some interpret as war, but another as a vulgarity for coitus). Even speaking Imperial can get strange for them as accents can be difficult for those from extremities to follow, though it’s safe to say they figure it out more often than not.
Written Kivanian is a kind of cursive script that has often been described as intricate drawings of vines.
The loops, curls, and other features of the script very rarely go far above or below the ulk’ragth (central connective line), leaving the writing very narrow on the vertical (if it were written out in typical left-right top-down fashion like English) and quite wide. There is no break between words, instead the breaks appear to indicate ending of sentences.
Diacritics are used to indicate inflections, and inflections indicate exclamation/interrogative/etc. as well as a certain degree of irony/humour/etc.
The lot is arranged into spirals beginning at the centre and working one’s way outward.
Simple texts will maintain very basic geometric shapes: triangles, circles, or squares (generally) with shape chosen having loose conventions relative to the shape of what’s being written on, whim of the writer, and other factors. Poetry, however, has a habit of becoming a complex drawing of something related to the topic of the poem – including foregoing sentence breaks in favour of specialised punctuation, to help the clarity of the image. This leaves Kivanian books of longer fiction quite beautiful in many cases as they never really got the idea of the novel or prose, so keep to something better described as epic poetry for longer works.
Tylanian written language is best described as cursive Sanskrit.
Their writing has no ulk’ragth, instead there is the ulthg’ath, which is a connecting line at the top of the characters. Words and sentences are separated by marks, but the only spacing is between stanzas (some linguists argue it should be translated ‘paragraph’ as the purpose is closer, but the grammatical rules involved favour ‘stanza’). The text is read from the centre as with Kivanian, but generally keeps to triangular spirals.
Tylanians have a better grasp of prose, though only about two centuries old and still not exceedingly popular, but some quite creative novels have evolved. Even in prose the Tylanian tradition of writing fiction in elabourate knots similar to the Celtic and Nordic designs of ancient Earth is held, though the prose struggles with the convention of the complexity of the design being reflective of the complexity of the content and lends to its lack of popularity as the designs from page to page are seen as being in an aesthetically disturbing chaos.