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Pravic is the language used and referred to in the science-fiction book The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin. Pravic is a fictional auxiliary language: in the book, it is said to have been constructed by a person named Farigv. It's spoken in the planet Anarres, where followers of the philosopher Leia Asieo Odo chose to be exiled in order to achieve the goal of a functioning anarchic society. Anarres is actually the semi-desertic moon of Odo's homeworld Urras. As far as we know, the only language spoken widely in Anarres is Pravic, though the few people that have contact with Urras (mostly trade officials and scientists) also speak Iotic, the language of Urras's dominant nation A-Io.

The anarchist philosophical premise produces some interesting linguistic phenomena, mentioned in passing by the author. For example, since private property doesn't exist, the possessives ("my", "your", etc.) are usually avoided, and replaced by the more general definite article ("the").

Equality of the sexes follows automatically from Odo's principles, and thus there's no word in Pravic for what a man does to a woman (or viceversa) during mutually consented sex: there's just an intransitive verb ("make love") that must have a plural subject. For sex understood as imposition or as a gain of dominion, the only alternative is the use a transitive verb meaning "rape".

In the Odonian society, the authority associated with parenthood is also played down, and descent becomes unimportant. Accordingly, the words for biological "mother" and "father" are clearly separated from those referring to the people who raise a child (mamme, tadde), which in turn don't mean just "mom" or "dad" but cover the whole set of parents, relatives and others involved directly in physical and emotional contact with the child. The word ammar is used for "brother", not in the genetic sense but as a general expression of fraternity, for fellow human beings.

Although not said explicitly in the text, Pravic is implied to lack pronouns that show different degrees of politeness or deference, as well as titles and other terms of address that do not refer to an actual function of the person.

Pravic is not a good language for cursing; sex is not considered obscene and the deity is not even mentioned. The author mentions that "bastard" as an insult is used in Iotic, but it remains a foreign untranslated word during a conversation in Pravic, since it has no meaning in Anarres, where marriage doesn't exist. Shevek, the main character in the book, ponders about the institutions of "marriage" and "prostitution", which appear in quotes in the text because he's thinking in Iotic, not in Pravic.

Pravic apparently has no word for "forest", probably because Anarres has no real forests, being mostly dry, with small sparse trees and bushes, if anything. It also has no words for many common animals found in Urras, such as horses; for institutions like prisons; for gambling (since there's no money or property to be gambled); or for religious terms like "hell".

Linguistic description

There's not much actual linguistic information about Pravic in the book. It doesn't say anything about syntax, morphology or phonology. Most Pravic words in the book are proper names (said to be generated randomly by a computer), and they are two-syllable words with five or six phonemes (of the form CCVCVC, where C = consonant, V = vowel), if one counts the groups sh, gv and kv as single consonants, which they probably are. Gv appears several times word-finally (Kadagv, Farigv) and word-initially (Gvarab), and kv at least once word-initially (Kvetur), and once medially (Takver); they are suggestive of labiovelar consonants. Other than that, consonant clusters seem rare; there's a person named Trepil and another named Skovan. Word-final clusters aren't present in our limited sample.

Words like ammar and tadde, as well as the place-name Abbenay, would seem to indicate the presence of long/geminate consonants, unless LeGuin uses double consonants as pronunciation aids as in English. We don't know whether Anarres and Urras are actually proper Pravic words. They of course must have existed before the invention of Pravic, so they could have been borrowed from Iotic or other language, but maybe they're indeed Pravic adaptations, or simply approximated English spellings.