Tag Archives: conlang

How to Construct a Language: Part 3

The Language Family of Nysâerith

Previously we have talked about history of Nysâerith, so I won’t repeat that here.

When the great mages perished, every kingdom and every tribe attempted to safeguard their knowledge of Nysâerith. This resulted in several descendant languages. Today I’ll talk about one such language, which I call Therfanzir. This was spoken by the people of the sunflower valley. These people had bountiful harvest and temperate climate. They had very little use of magical powers.

Therfanzir will be a mixed language and it will have many loanwords from other languages. For the sake of simplicity, I shall only describe the sound changes of Therfanzir here.

Sound Changes in Therfanzir

Compared to Nysâerith, Therfanzir is a much simpler language. It got rid of the long vowels, many of the consonant sounds, and even stress marks. Here is a list of important changes. Many of these rules were influenced by famous sound changes in spoken languages, such as Grimm’s Law and Great Vowel Shift of English.

Vowel Changes
  • Long Vowels: The long vowels are either dipthonged or transformed into a short vowel.
    • a:i > ei, a:e > ɛ, a:>e
    • i: > ai
    • e: > i
    • u: > ou
    • o: > y
  • Short Vowels:
    • ɔ > o
    • last sound i > dropped
Consonant Changes
  • d > t > θ
  • b > p > f
  • ɣ > x > h > drop
  • (stress on ʋ) ˈʋ > w
  • ʃr > rʃ if there is a vowel sound before and after ʃr
  • θr > rθ if there is a vowel sound before and after θr
  • s/os at the end > drop
  • in at the end > m

All stress marks are also dropped.

Therfanzir Word Inventory

How to Construct a Language: Part 2

I am back again with new updates. I made several changes to Nysaerith. I added stress marks, accented letters and constructed more words. Starting from now, I shall use the phonetically correct pronunciation Nysâerith.

I am also working on the linguistic family of Nysâerith. I created a direct successor of Nysâerith that I call Therfanzir (IPA: /θrfanzir/). It was spoken by the people of the sunflower valley. It deserves its own post.

The Story So Far

In a fantasy universe, Nysâerith is the language of the magic itself. It binds the world and guides it. Words in Nysâerith have real magical power. Those who speak become one with the world, and the world bend to their will. They are called mages. There were many mages in the early days. They could move mountains, call upon storms. However, soon their desire for power corrupted them. They fought and massacred each other until no-one who truly understood Nysâerith was left alive.

Many years have passed since then. Now Nysâerith is only preserved in ancient runes and in the incantations that were passed down orally. As the language evolved, its magical power also waned significantly.

Now you might wonder if all it takes is to muster a language to become an expert mage, wouldn’t everyone just become mages? The answer is no. Nysâerith is a magical language. Understanding Nysâerith is same as understanding the intricacies of nature. As a result, interpretation of Nysâerith comes from how one observed the world. It varies from person to person. Two speakers of Nysâerith may not understand each other, despite speaking the same language. Think of it as two people expressing the same feelings in two unrelated languages, like English and Japanese. The feelings are there, but expressed differently.

This is why repeating another mage’s spells won’t have the same effect. When incantations are passed down across the generations, they gradually lose effectiveness as the background information is forgotten. That being said, the closer two people are (say in a family, a tribe, or a kingdom) the more likely they are to understand each other.

What you see here can be called my interpretation of Nysâerith.

Major Changes

  • Dropped some of the consonants that I did not use such as /ð/ and /ʒ/
  • Added accents for short and long vowels
  • Included front high rounded /y/ sound
  • Added stress marks. Nysâerith syllable stresses are quite predictable. Here are some rules for stressing:
    • Monosyllabic words are never stressed.
    • Certain sounds such as /ʋ/, /x/ are always stressed except in monosyllabic words.
    • No two consecutive syllables can be stressed.
    • If none of the rules above are violated, syllables with long vowels are stressed.
    • If none of the rules above are violated, the stress falls on the second syllable in disyllabic and polysyllabic words.
  • Added 20 more words

Phonemes

 

Word Inventory

How to construct a Language: Part 1

I am currently taking MIT’s ConLang class. Over the course of this semester, I’ll construct a fictional language called Nysaerith (IPA: /njsa:eriθ/). I think the best way to improve upon a project like this is to get a ton of feedback. So, I’ll post periodical updates on my progress. Let’s get started!

No language can exist without a fictional world. So, I’ll set the background first. In a fantasy universe, Nysaerith is the language of the magic itself. It binds the world and guides it. Words in Nysaerith have real magical power. Those who speak

become one with the world, and the world bend to their will. They are called mages. There were many mages in the early days. They could move mountains, call upon storms. However, soon their desire for power corrupted them. They fought and massacred each other until no-one who truly understood Nysaerith was left alive.

Many years have passed since then. Now Nysaerith is only preserved in ancient runes and in the incantations that were passed down orally. As the language evolved, its magical power also waned significantly. If this was a fantasy novel, the main character would travel around the world to reconstruct Nysaerinth haha.

Anyways, I think this background is sufficient.

Phonemes

Here is the phonemes of Nysaerinth and also a list of twenty words. You’ll notice that there are several uncommon consonants and long vowels. This is intended because I want this language to sound mystical and rhythmic. Later I’ll write many spells in it.

 

Some Words

I am continuously improving the language, hence some discrepancy in the future posts is expected. That being said,  any criticism of my word list is welcome!