Friday, July 20, 2012

Creating a Fantasy Language: Lesson 4

Lesson 4: New concepts in grammar
(Creating a fantasy language: (Lesson 1, Rationale, Lesson 2Lesson 3, Lesson 4, Choosing wordsCreating an Alphabet)

In our last lesson for creating a fantasy language, we built on rules we already had by adding more of the same.

Now let’s try something entirely new:
It gave her a flower for her hair.

New concepts:
two objects (her, a flower)
possessive case (her hair)

Grammar-lovers will know that her in it gave her is a dative-case noun. Everyone else knows that her is another noun in the sentence, the person to whom the flower is given.

In my language, dative pronouns gain the suffix –s (or –es to nouns that it’s otherwise hard to add an –s to).

We’ll put the person to whom something is given after the thing that is given.

It gave for her hair a flower to her.

Now possessive case: I’ll add a –p suffix to create possession. In nouns ending with a consonant where that isn’t easily spoken, it will be –ip, -op, or -ap.

ot (it)
itis (her, dative)
a (ne)
laksh (to give)
Merin (flower)
fle (for)
Stiton (hair)
itop (her, possessive, for neuter noun)
(What)(to whom)(for what purpose/other prepositional phrases)(verb)(thing given)
It (to) her for her hair gave a flower.
ot itis laksho fle itop Stiton ne Merim.

Try another, just to get the hang them.

Charlie gave his mother a flower.
laksh (to give)
ne (a)
Merin (flower)
mother (chenin)
Charlie (to) his mother gave a flower.
Charlie atip Cheninis laksha ne Merin.

I (female) stole an apple from my father.
iko (I, female)
bork (to steal)
ne (a/an)
Munoch (apple)
du (from)
ikap (my, for masculine noun)
Chanan (father)
I from my father stole an apple.
iko du ikap Chananos borki ne Munoch.

Now combine with another rule, using phrases you’ve used before:

He under the table stole an apple from his father.
at (he)
uz (under)
ke (the)
hoskon (table)
bork (to steal)
ne (a)
Munoch (apple)
du (from)
at-p (his)
Chanan (father)
He under the table, from his father stole an apple.
at a’uz ke aHoskon, du atop Chananos borka ne Munoch.

And use new phrases with the same concepts:
The dog (neuter) with a tail accepted from you (masc) its collar.
ke (the)
ne (a)
du (from)
you (ut)
wufon (dog)
ot-p (its)
Donparlan (collar)
vesh (with)
sota (tail)
drigoh (to accept [as in, to allow to be given])
The dog with a tail, from you accepted its collar.
ke wufon ovesh ne oSota, du utas drigoho otap Donparlan.

By now, you should have vocabulary for all your pronouns. I still haven’t addressed me or my. Let me fix that:
ikop/akop/okop: my
ikos/akos/okos: me (dative case, such as “he gave me a dog” or “he stole from me an apple”)
ikon/akon/okon: me (objective case, such as “my father handed me to my aunt”)

And of course, I want to practice.

The dog without a tail gave me a flower.
veshra (without)
sota (tail)
wufon (dog)
ke (the)
Merin (flower)
ne (a)
laksh (to give)
ikos (me, dative)
The dog without a tail (to) me gave a flower.
ke wufon oveshra ne oSota, ikos laksho ne Merin.

What new concepts did you create for your language this go-around? Post a sentence and translation!

Vocabulary so far:
san: to drop nansan: to put down nansanko: to lie down ko: self koma: self-aware
uzko: to be sick kopalli: to self-reprimand palli: to reprimand del: to create laksh: to give
borr: to roll syl: to cast magic der: to cause bork: to steal dragoh: to accept
uz: under tep: on elti: into el: in ti: to
du: from vesh: with veshra: without
sylpana: the magic source pana: lake cortan: ball hoskon: table fodratan: anger
witkin: chair bason: floor fodrishin: hostility dupon: bowl Merin: flower
stiton: hair chenin: mother chanan: father munoch: apple wufon: dog
donparlan: collar
ut: you (subject) ot: it (subject) ako: I (male) iko: I (female) utu: you (object)
ata: him iti: her oto: it (obj) at: he it: she
ikop/akop/okop: my ikos/akos/okos: me (dat.) ikon/akon/okon: me (obj.)
ke: the ne: a
fodrish: hostile
kes: one des: two tres: three fes: four res: five
ses: six pes: seven les: eight nes: nine doc: ten


  1. These lessons on creating a language are just what I was looking for! I've been trying fruitlessly by just shooting in the dark with no real idea really but these lessons give an effective and concise way to do it. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reading! There does seem to be a dearth of information on actually making a language, so I wanted to share how I did it. I'm glad you found these useful!

  2. This is perhaps one of the few guides that was actually helpful in my work on fantasy. Thank you for giving us this guide to language creation. Se' onr sverdar sitja hvass!

    1. Thanks for commenting--I'm glad it helped!