Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Your conculture has a specific dialect for each season, but they don’t have established boundaries on when each season starts on their calendar.


Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Evidentiality is marked by the meter of a clause. Anything directly observed is iambic, hearsay evidence is dactylic, inferences are anapestic, etc.


Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Have a series of consonants that occurs mostly in words about the human body and in slang from a period about 50 years before.

These are, of course, the retro-flex consonants.


Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Get yourself some denim and make yourself a jonlang.

Remember Defiance

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

David J. Peterson received a BA in English and Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 2003 and an MA in Linguistics from UC San Diego in 2005. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Castithan, Irathient and Indojisnen languages for Syfy’s Defiance, the Sondiv language for the CW’s Star-Crossed, the Lishepus language for Syfy’s Dominion, the Trigedasleng language for the CW’s The 100, and the Shiväisith language for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s been creating languages since 2000.


The show Defiance aired on the Syfy network for three seasons from 2013 to 2015. It featured four full conlangs each with its own writing system. This paper details some of what went into making that a reality.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

shadow is irjal (revisited)

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

irjal = shadow (noun) (Some things Google found for “irjal”: an unusual to uncommon term; a rare last name that can be Indonesian; a rare first name; similar írjál is in Hungarian a conjugation of the verb to write; similar Irja is an uncommon feminine Finnish first name; Irjal ash Shaykhiyah is the name of a place in Iraq; similar Irjala is the name of a place in Finland)

Word derivation for “shadow” :
Basque = itzal, Finnish = varjo
Miresua = irjal

My previous Miresua conlang word for shadow was iljar. I swapped the L and R around, which makes the new word look more similar to the Basque and the Finnish words.

The word shadow isn’t in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, although its plural can be found once in Through the Looking-Glass.

— the mild blue eyes and kindly smile of the Knight — the setting sun gleaming through his hair, and shining on his armour in a blaze of light that quite dazzled her — the horse quietly moving about, with the reins hanging loose on his neck, cropping the grass at her feet — and the black shadows of the forest behind —

Language Needed for Mystery Novel

Saturday, October 24th, 2015


Will Hodgkinson is looking for a conlang expert to create a language for a novel he is planning to write next year. In the context of the novel the conlang itself is fictional, created by one of the characters who uses it to write diary entries in it, and it serves as a kind of encryption method for both other characters of the novel and the readers themselves to crack, if they wish to do so.
The job itself consists of:

  • Developing a full conlang with a 1000-word vocabulary and a complete grammatical description;
  • Translating texts for the novel. This does not fall under the original compensation scheme and compensation for it will have to be negotiated between employer and applicant.

An orthography may be requested for the language at a later time. Compensation for it can be negotiated if the need arises.


Will Hodgkinson

Application Period

Closed due to reached deadline


The employer is looking to start writing the novel itself in May 2016. The conlang is part of the preparatory work and should be ready before then. The employer is expecting the chosen applicant to set up a working schedule with regular updates in order to keep track of progress.


$600 ($300 upfront, $300 on final delivery) for the language, grammar description and original lexicon. Compensation for translations and other additional work to be negotiated.

To Apply

Email “at” “dot” to express your interest in the project. Examples of previous work are welcome.

Note: Please assume that comments left on this post will not be read by the employer.

Daedalus et Icarus, 7

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Aqua quae eum recepit nomen ab illo tenet. At pater infelix, nunc non iam pater, “Icare,” dixit, “Icare, ubi es? Quo in loco te quaeram? Icare,” dicebat cum pennas notas in undis summis spectavit et damnavit suas artes. Tum corpus carum filii in sepulchrum posuit et terra a nomine pueri dicta est–Icaria.

la anhāri anakkāsimma pa jawēramma; ē masōwa mamāsa āl wa masōwa; samma ien λi īkarus; λi īkarus, la sāen sūkēñ; salla jarūna mo riēn sūkēñ; il samma ien λi īkarus il sema jatīāni jawāññi sū jatāoni ōl ī samma jatūrelil mo jakēlimma; ē ñamma mīsa macāna janōññū rā jajōste ī āl pa jekiēn mamōīñ jawēramma īkarja;

la anhāri anakkāsimma aqua quae eum recepit
pa jawēramma nomen ab illo tenet
ē masōwa mamāsa at pater infelix
āl wa masōwa nunc non iam pater
samma ien λi īkarus “Icare,” dixit
λi īkarus, la sāen sūkēñ Icare, ubi es?
salla jarūna mo riēn sūkēñ Quo in loco te quaeram?
il samma ien λi īkarus “Icare,” dicebat
il sema jatīāni jawāññi cum pennas notas…(spectavit)
sū jatāoni ōl in undis summis
ī samma jatūrelil mo jakēlimma et damnavit suas artes
ē ñamma mīsa macāna janōññū tum corpus carum filii…posuit
rā jajōste in sepulchrum
ī āl pa jekiēn et terra
mamōīñ jawēramma īkarja a nomine pueri dicta est–Icaria

Me and Storm Bride on Conlangery

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

I’m a few days late posting this (because reasons), but I’m very excited to post this interview I recently did with the folks on Conlangery, about the languages of Storm bride, and a bunch of other questions regarding fantasy literature and language creation. You can listen here:

We talk about:

  • How I got into linguistics and conlanging
  • Why there’s only two sentences of actual conlang in Storm Bride
  • Why most fictional languages in SFF suck
  • Ursula K. LeGuin’s Always Coming Home and other SFF works that at least try to get it right
  • How to present strange phonologies without terrifying your readers
  • Cultural appropriation issues when conlanging based on an real languages and cultures
  • Other stuff that I can’t remember.

This was the most fun I’d had in a while! Hope you like listening.

Tagged: conlang, conlangery, cultural appropriation, leguin, linguistics, podcast, praseo, storm bride

In The Beginning… Part 1

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

The following begins the creation myth of the Tylnor translated from Umod:

Before all, there was only Mognokum (1). No thoughts rippled the essence of his great mind. He was the void, and nothing existed outside of him.

Time began when Mognokum became aware and when he started to take form. His limbs stretched. His hair grew from his body, and his horns sprouted and curved through space. Yet his eyes remained closed. Ages passed in contemplation as he grew in strength and size.

His eyes opened slowly and light shown from them. That first light piercing the void, and light and darkness came into being. Mognokum exhaled and space expanded around him. Again, he exhaled, and, again, the void expanded. Three times in all, Mognokum breathed the breath of life into the void, and yet his breath knew no form. His breath, he could see with his eyes of light, and yet it continued to have no form which he could touch. A desire rose up within his mind to use his hands and body to touch a form other than his own.

Long did he consider his desire, and the form which it should take. As he pondered this, his eyes perceived a form moving toward him from out of the void. It was a form like unto his own and yet different. As the form neared, it spoke to him:

“Galyluma,” she said (2): The first word ever uttered in the void.

Mognokum could not reply for his thoughts had not yet taken the form of words. Galyluma reached out her hand and touched the cheek of Mognokum with the back of her hand. Her fingers touched his lips, and Mognokum bellowed the second word ever uttered in the void:

“We are one.”(3)

Both Mognokum and Galyluma had eyes of light and slowly circled each other, seeing each other, slowly reaching out, softly touching, and retreating. For ages, they existed in this way, two beings in the void. They discovered love and trust and commitment.

Ages passed until Mognokum and Galyluma saw another form coming toward them out of the swirling breath of life. This form was both like and unlike each of them, but Galyluma was troubled at its approach.

Galyluma put her arms about Mognokum and held him tight. Mognokum held her in his powerful right arm and lowered his head, his horns pointed toward the approaching form.

The form’s horns were pointed, its long flowing hairs trailed behind it.

Mognokum uttered the third instance of words in the void:

“Who are you?”

The form was silent and motionless. Mognokum raised his horns.

The new form leaped across the void and grabbed Mognokum’s horns, throwing his head back. The form lowered its own sharp horns and ripped across Mognokum’s chest. Pain and anger arose in the void.

Mognokum released Galyluma. She spun away from him into the void crying his name. Mognokum bellowed with rage, his divine essence seeping into the void from the wound across his chest.

The newcomer leapt into the darkness of the void. Mognokum’s eyes flared with light, illuminating the fleeing form. Mognokum had no other thought than to catch the one who had wounded him. For a time, his mind forgot his beloved Galyluma…


(1) Mognokum is the name traditionally given to the originator of all. It can be translated as First Divine: mognok = “first” um=a particle with various meanings but, in this case, it signifies the first, best, or paramount of something. In context, it can also mean “divine” “superior” “royal” etc.

(2) Note 1. There is discussion within the orthodox Tylnor community concerning whether Galyluma was born of the thoughts of Mognokum, out of his own breath of life, or whether Galyluma was co-existent in another part of the void, and breathed her own breath of life into the void. Those who contend the latter maintain that existence came forth from the intermingling of the two breaths of each deity.

(2) Note 2. Controversy surrounds the original words of Galyluma. In fact, some early manuscripts appear to have not Galyluma but Ngalyuman. This discrepancy is significant to the Tylnor and has had numerous treatises written about it. Galyluma can be interpreted as simply her name; however, Ngalyuman can be interpreted as “I am one who is divine” [Ngaly uman]. Even those who contend the correct reading is Ngalyuman still refer to her as Galyluma.

(3) In the best texts, this is actually one word: an inclusive first-person plural pronoun: ngorok (or in later manuscripts: ngrok)