Azurian is the language spoken across the wide, fertile plains of Uriania north of the Byntian mountains. Speakers of Azurian also are found intermingled with the English speakers of Byntland and the Urianian speakers in the northeast. Almost half of the country’s population speaks Azurian.
The earliest documents are runic inscriptions, which are mainly of two kinds: monumental inscriptions on stones, and wooden runic tablets and other inscriptions on wooden artifacts. Runic stones are found on the eastern islands and along the eastern and southern coasts. They are especially numerous in the vicinity of Lundeby. The wooden inscriptions are scattered wherever settlements existed. None of them exhibit any particular characteristic distinguishing the language from the one used on the mainland, and at this stage, the Old Azurian stage, the language can be considered identical to Old Norse.
The earliest known Azurian writings in Latin letters are legal documents from the 12th century. Changes are beginning to set in here, but interpreting them is complicated, as the scribes were normally using mainland standards, and the Azurian forms can only be discerned from the mistakes they make. The next few centuries yield some letters written in nearly pure Azurian, but from the 16th century, almost all written material is in Danish. The Azurian that we find in writings from this period is called Middle Azurian.
A written standard
The first attempts towards a standard Azurian orthography was made in the 18th century, when scholars wrote down peasant songs and published them for the amusement of the city educated classes. By then, the language divide between these classes and the lower ones, peasantry and city folk alike, had grown sharp, as the former had been educated in Danish and used this language to communicate with each other. In the early 19th century, dictionaries were published along with more folk tales and songs. Differences between dialects began to be studied.
The education act of 1854
The rise of Azurian nationalism lead to thoughts of standardising and institutionalising the language. A grammar was published in 1846, and one of the main themes of the 1849 rebellion was to have it taught in schools. In 1854, the newly formed National Council voted in its favour. Institutionalising this wasn’t so easy, however. The conservative side of the educated classes found the rustique flavour of the script short of taste, and clung to their Danish. As a compromise, linguists proposed reforms to create a version of Danish more aligned with the local language. These ideas were met with vehement resistance, though.
The teaching of Azurian was adopted into the curriculum in the University of Christiansborg in 1854, though, and in 1859, the academy of Finstad followed suit. In 1860, a new and improved addition of the grammar was published, and many individual schools began to use it. This slowly grew until the Grand Assembly in 1886 decided to make it compulsory. The 1891 edition of the grammar was published in such numbers that it could be distributed to all the schools in the province, including the ones where most pupils were speaking Urianian.
Standard Azurian today is nearest to the language spoken by common people in eastern cities such as Lundeby and Finstad. The language of this region has an impoverished morphology compared to the west, but as it was much closer to the Danish or Danoid language of the upper classes, it constituted an acceptable compromise, and was tolerated. Still, Danish was taught in schools as a standard until 1954, after which it has been voluntary.
Azurian dialects are as varied as in most countries, and perhaps more. Among the morphological variations we could mention for example that in the eastern dialects, on which the standard language is based, the dative is preserved only in the definite form and is otherwise extinct, while in the northwest we have locative and ablative forms as well in addition to the full morphology of the traditional four cases, no doubt due to a substrate or areal influence from Urianian.
The article that you can read if you click above gives an extended account of the phonology of Azurian with some details of its changes since the Old Norse stage. As you can see, the language has various characteristics distinguishing it from the mainland Scandinavian languages, mainly diphthongisation and the lack of tonality, but particularly the eastern dialects will be easily recognisable to Scandinavians.