[] Jörg Rhiemeier's Conlang Pages

My Juvenalia


I have been working on my current main project, Hesperic, since the year 2001, when I decided to stop working on Nur-ellen in favour of doing entirely my own thing. But Nur-ellen, which I had started in April 2000, was not my first conlang, either (Germanech was later). I fact, I made the first conlangs I can remember in the 1980s - as a teenage boy who knew close to nothing about linguistics; so not much in the way of "quality conlanging" can be expected from these early projects. After all, I already made up fictional worlds at that time, which would have their own languages, even if most of them were never elaborated. This page is dedicated to the three projects I can remember: the "Homu" project; the Serindian family, and the Aldarnic language. Of none of those, I can offer a complete sketch, though; partly because these languages were never elaborated in full, partly because I have forgotten many things about them.


The first project I can remember is one whose name is forgotten, if it ever had a name. ("Homu" is just a nickname I coined much later, after the language's word for 'human being'.) I also don't know when that was, but it must have been in the early 1980s. The project differed from most of my later conlangs in two important regards. First, it was not a fictional but an auxiliary language, something I later lost interest in; second, it was a collaboration with my brother, who now maintains a dim view of conlangs in general, applying Wittgenstein's saying that "private languages" were "impossible" to them (however, I think that he is wrong on that - after all, examples of conlangs actually working in practice are not particularly hard to come by).

There is not much I remember about this project. What I remember is that the language had three genders - masculine, feminine and "neuter". The first two were reserved for male and female beings respectively, while everything else (including gender-neutral terms for people etc.) was "neuter". These genders were marked by final vowels, -o for masculine, -a for feminine, and -u for "neuter". We were planning to use Latin roots, so the word for 'human being' would have the following gender forms:

Masculinehomo'male human being'
Femininehoma'female human being'
"Neuter"homu'human being of either sex'

That's all I remember about it. Maybe that also was all that had been worked out. What I dimly remember is that I used the gender system in some names for fictional worlds after that, though.

The Serindian family

In my mid-teens, I made my first attempt at making a conlang family. Of course, I did not really know yet how languages change, so I just made up one language and changed words randomly by altering individual letters (I also had no idea of phonology back then) in order to develop words in the daughter languages from words of the parent language.

I do not remember much from this project. The fictional world in which these language would be spoken was an "ancient astronauts" scenario featuring a civilization even more technologically advanced than us which was at home in India (I no longer remember why specifically India), about 12,000 years from now. This civilization was called Serinde, and their language accordingly Serindian. I had the idea that two related languages, Serparsian and Sersinian, were spoken in Iran and China, respectively, but those languages were never worked out.

Serindian was an agglutinating language which inflected the words for pretty much the same categories as German, except that gender worked more or less as in English: male beings were masculine, female beings were feminine, everything else was neuter. In nouns, the final vowel (the language had six vowels, /a e i o u y/) expressed the gender and number; to this was suffixed a consonant expressing case (nominative was unmarked).

I only remember a few words from names I coined for several geographical features: ante 'city', ginte 'gate', laustre 'dawn', lope 'iron'. Laustriginte 'Gate of Dawn', was the name of the Straits of Gibraltar (apparently named from the perspective of Atlante, a Serindian colony on a now lost island in the Atlantic Ocean), inspired by Pink Floyd album title The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

The Serindians were technologically advanced enough to travel to nearby stars and establish colonies on their planets. I already was astronomy-savvy enough not to blunder into unlikely, faraway and unpromising sites like Deneb or Betelgeuse, but to choose stars that were similar to our Sun and not too far away. At least two of these colonies, named Ardenor and Jagarath in their modern forms of the language, would exist to the present day, and I did work out some parts of Ardenorian. The language was, as said above, not derived by regular sound changes of which I had no idea back then, and it was still recognizably similar to its Serindian parent language despite being spoken 12,000 years later - in reality, more than enough time to render the language utterly irrecognizable!

The language worked much like Serindian. Again, final vowels encoded gender and number of nouns (though reshuffled from Serindian), and suffixed consonants marked case (but this time, the nominative was overtly marked with -r). A fragment of a dictionary survives in an old notebook. Examples or Ardenorian words are róndor 'eagle' (apparently, Ardenorian lifeforms were similar to those of Earth), zándor 'arm', trasinne 'extremely'; there was a sense of derivation as in kölinor 'doctor' vs. kölakor 'remedy'; apparently, the root köl- meant 'to heal'.


In the same notebook that contains the Ardenorian dictionary fragment there is an old (but almost certainly younger than the above) timeline of events, apparently from a Traveller-like science fiction universe with humans left behind on various planets by a prhistoric spacefaring alien species, and some inflectional paradigms of the language of one of these peoples, the Aldarni. There were four nominal declension classes:

Case Consonantal e a o
Sing. Plur. Sing. Plur. Sing. Plur. Sing. Plur.
Nominative -i -e -i -a -ai -o -oi
Genitive -a -ath -ja -eth -ja -ath -ja -oth
Dative -ai -assen -ei -essen -ai -assen -oi -ossen
Accusative -o -an -eo -en -ao -an -no -on
Locative -ka -kai -eka -ekai -aka -akai -oka -okai

The personal pronouns were declined like this:

Case 1st person 2nd person 3rd p.masc. 3rd p.fem.
Sing. Plur. Sing. Plur. Sing. Plur. Sing. Plur.
Nominative io ioi sha shai al ali il ili
Genitive ija iath shja shath ala alath ila ilath
Dative ioi iossen shai shassen alai alassen ilai ilassen
Accusative imo ion shao shan alo alan ilo ilan
Locative ioka iokai shaka shakai alka alkai ilka ilkai

Apparently, the nominal and pronominal declension functioned on a fusional principle, as in Latin (and other old Indo-European languages, which, however, I did not know yet then). The verb, however, was apparently conjugated in an agglutinating manner; only a few morphemes are given:

The participles were declined according to the consonantal declension; with the auxiliary verb shu, they were used to form the perfect (past part. + shu) and the passive (pres. part. + shu). An excample sentence is gven: tavlan shajam 'I have eaten'.

© 2021 Jörg Rhiemeier
Last update: 2021-10-15