Marain is a language consciously designed as a comprehensive and inclusive vehicle for communicating cultural and technical information.[1]

Marain was created during the formative years of the Culture[1], when its essential identity was still in flux.[2]

Glyphs and encoding[edit | edit source]

"Written" Marain is fundamentally a binary language. Each symbol - or glyph - is a representation of a binary number - or byte - created by arranging the bits within a multi-dimensional container.[2] Different strata of Marain use different byte sizes, with a commensurate increase in the number of possible unique glyphs. Byte size, and the number of dimensions a glyph may be constructed in, are limited only by computational resources.[3][2] In practice, the more complex strata of Marain - using very long bytes and multi-dimensional glyphs - are only used by and comprehensible to machine intelligences like Minds.[2]

Glyphs may be used to represent a wide range of data, including musical notation[2] and arbitrary symbols and pictograms.[3]

Culture standard nonary[edit | edit source]


The Culture's standard nonary encoding[4][2] used 9-bit bytes[5][3]; its glyphs were created by laying out the bits on a 3x3 grid.[4][2][3]

The principle set of Culture glyphs - representing the basic alphabet - could each be rotated or mirrored without being mistaken for any of the other primary glyphs. The remaining glyphs were used to represent numbers (in base 8), and a variety of symbols and numerical constants.[3]

Marain in Popular Culture[edit | edit source]

A language called "Marain" was created by Reddit users u/comradelenin456 and u/ratioprosperous using the alphabet from "A Few Notes On Marain"[6]. It is a synthetic language with such features as flexible word order, no tenses, six grammatical cases, fourth-person pronouns, and genderless third-person pronouns[6]. Though it has recognition within Reddit and has been used to make tattoos[7] , this language is non-canonical.

Marain in the Culture[edit | edit source]

Marain was designed to be clear, concise and as unambiguous as technically feasible.[3]

The Culture used its standard nonary encoding and primary glyph set to express its form of Marain. Each primary glyph represented a phoneme, with rotated glyphs representing either similar phonemes or different vocalizations.[3] It had a phoneme to denote upper case.[5] The range of represented phonemes was intended to allow the replication of nearly any pan-human language.[3]

It has a Secondary Numbering Series, which may be used to denote Shellworld levels in Full Names.[8]

A single pronoun was used to describe all sentient entities, regardless of sex or species.[9]

While Marain was the predominant language in the Culture, it also saw significant use outside of that polity.[1]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "A Few Notes on the Culture"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 The Hydrogen Sonata, chapter 7
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 "A Few Notes on Marain"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Excession, chapter 3.4
  5. 5.0 5.1 Matter, chapter 20
  6. 6.0 6.1
  8. Matter, chapter 10
  9. The Player of Games, chapter 2
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