I’ve been refining and practicing the Vinuvu script, which I first created in summer 2019. It’s getting more to where I want it in terms of specifics, but remains largely how I originally designed it. I’m practicing writing in it in calligraphic software on iPad/with Apple pencil, as well as using actual pen/ink.

Vinuvu is the second script I’ve created that I’m still using. The first is the Rílin script, which I made into a font. You can see more about this font/script on the Rílin phonology page. You can also download the font itself here.

Here are some recent examples of the Vinuvu script as used to write Karkin.

I’d like to develop a font for Vinuvu too, though because it is an abugida, and vowels are usually marked using diacritics, it might present an additional challenge, since different characters will essentially need to be overlaid on each other to form syllables.

Some Lexember examples: new words in conlangs

December is the month that conlangers of all kinds participate in something called Lexember. We create a new word (in the lexicon) for our conlang(s) every day of the month. I’ve been participating and sharing words largely through tumblr (user: aeniith) and twitter (@MintakaGlow). Here are a few from the first days so far.


Dec 1:

íha [ˈiha], [v tr/intr] : [1] forgive, pardon; accept, understand; [2] know, acknowledge, recognize; [3] bring attention to, point out, remark on; [4] notice, realize

Etymology: Possibly from iŵ- [iɸ] ‘take in, accept’ and ja ‘know’


íhazim kasa tañ lönenet naba ŵedínla
íha      -z        -im kasa       tañ        lön -en-et     naba                  ŵedí -n-la
forgive-pst.prf-1s already dist woman-pl-abs whatever wrongdoing-pl-instr
“I have already forgiven those women for any wrongdoing’


Dec 2:

vkāmēgh [vkɑːˈmeːɣ] [v tr/intr] (ki-verb class) : [1] break out of, escape from within; [2] break down a wall or other barrier; [3] (fig) destroy a boundary, flout a rule, defy expectations

Etymology: From vkā ‘strike, hit’ and mēgh ‘run, run away’.


Psi  nux-ë     twë  qhrō    ki    vkāmēgh-ā  -yi         vuq     kuqhkë mi  ja   wëngi-ā   -pa   
dist girl-3s.p  who early part defy        -pst-3s.a    all       clan      gen part speak-pst-1s.a
“I spoke with that girl who had previously broken all the boundaries of her family clan.”


Dec 3:

bióŝû [bɪˈoʃʌ] [v intr] : [1] walk precariously, walk on a slippery or icy surface; [2] be in a precarious or unsure state; [3] be in a risky state, ‘walk on thin ice’.

Etymology: From bió ‘slip, slide’ and [jó]ŝû ‘walk’.


Ŝy-ky  sé    zaín séfet   tû pre-t       pato        bióŝû -l -í
be-irr prox time now do care-abs because walk.slippery-prs.hab-2s.fam
‘Now is the time to take care because you are in a precious position’


Dec 4:

móníhas [moˈnihas] [n, inan] : [1] portent, omen, sign; [2] hint, clue; [3] tell, revealing action.

Etymology: From móní ‘watch, guard’ and has ‘sign, signal’.

Example: Né      í-t     -íí          kuala              -n-et ómina-mí,    x-óly    -t      -aap      lí-et      
      if   look-npst-2s.fut constellation-pl-abs sky-gen  caus-solve-npst-3s.fut 2s-abs the

                 bí ǵom-et ka-ŝó      kalum-mí a       oma-mí.  
                 knot-abs two-adv world-gen and  soul-gen

“If you look into the constellations in the sky, it will let you untie the knot of both the world and the soul.”


tūgh [tuːɣ] [n] : [1] face; [2] front; [3] cover, outside covering, skin; [4] sleeve, sock, outer layer (e.g. of a wrapping, of clothing); [5] protective layer, protection, assurance, aide, help, assistance, back-up, auxiliary force.

Etymology: From Old Tosi tūhuz- “face; scalp”


Tapi sur ja da chi tūgh i vis rīy.
imp angle vrblz 2s.fem gen face obj to sky
“Turn your face toward the sky”


Dec 6:

gungar [ˈɡuŋɡar] [v, tr] : [1] chase, pursue; [2] hunt (e.g. animals); [3] fish, catch fish; [4] seek out, look for, search for.

Etymology: From gar ‘follow’, and gun-, an emphatic prefix (cf. gun ‘great, might’).

Na gangur na chi xeti gek i, gempe tapi ixari!
1s.f pursue 1s.f gen female.servant drunk obj please imp help
“I’m chasing after my drunken servant, please help me!”


Dec 7:

hās [hɑːs] [v, tr] : [1] fill; [2] replenish; [3] add to, increase.

Etymology: From old Tosi hāh-, hāθ- ‘full, plentiful’

Tapi hās na chi kūn i ge na gō tiv gunāl.
imp fill 3s.f gen cup obj if 3sg.f be punct.fut empty
“Fill her cup if it is empty”

Tosi proverbs + religion

Translation of a Tosi religious proverb, from the texts of Lamat.

Sa tapi gō fū sanā jela ji chi lōlchu i
neg imp be content without kneel.before 2sg.m gen goddess obj

“Content thee with naught without first kneeling before thy goddess”

I am working on writing the tenets of Tosi belief systems, which primarily focuses on one deity, Lamat, war goddess, but also on Kalu, god of silence and peace. The current matriarchal expansionist empire of the Tosi obviously draws most political attention to the cult of Lamat, but the priesthood of Kalu endures and cannot be denied its importance to the history of the Tosi people.

The highly stratified culture of the Tosi traditionally feeds/gears different sections of the texts toward either men or women, to further enforce gender roles. The modern translation (into Tosi from Old Tosi) shows this with the use of the masculine 2nd p sg pronoun: ji, rather than da (feminine).


In creating these deities, I originally wanted Lamat to be the only main goddess, to show the Tosi reverence for power and might through warfare, but I then decided that they should have more nuance in their spiritual and religious beliefs. Before Tos was an Empire, it was simply a small nation, with no massive army and military force to show the world. People would have worshiped a multitude of gods and demi-gods, as well as other divine spirits. I think, as Tosi culture changed over time with the changing political structure and the ever-expanding Empire, the religious institutions would have changed too, to emphasize those things that were politically beneficial for the expansion of the state and the Empire. The primary means of this expansion was via the military, so Lamat, as the goddess of war, would have expanded as well, from a goddess to whom soldiers would offer supplications for protection before going into battle, to a central deity whose texts would come to have a greater influence over many areas of life.

The masculine deity Kalu, who represents many of the opposing forces of Lamat (silence, peace, introspection, asceticism, purity, etc) is fundamentally seen as an extension of what the Tosi view as the perfect man: one is is serene and peaceful, not governed by passion. Women are seen as intrinsically superior in this matriarchal society, but they are also seen as imperfect in that they supposedly naturally of a stormier and more tempestuous nature. Men are supposedly a tempering force of quiet, darkness, passivity, rationality, as well as “softer” emotions, such as compassion and mercy. I don’t want to remove this opposing force in Tosi society, because I think without it, the religion becomes more one-dimensional.

Previously, I had only addressed the adherents of Kalu in terms of the priesthood–men who would cloister themselves from the rest of the world (including the world of war, which is seen as primarily the purview of women) and devote their energy to preserving some special force of calm in a culture that is known for its systematic violence and occasional chaos. I want to build up this side of the religion more, and include it in more fiction that I write for the Tosi.

Translation practice in Rílin

I’ve been doing more practice translation for Rílin, to fill out any needed grammatical or lexical gaps. Here is a recent one, taken from here.

English: “That is the city of the Goyanim. They are a strange people. They light their cities at night, as if the stars weren’t sufficient for their needs. They fight and kill each other, not realising the greater danger beyond their small world. And they do not hunt each other with bows and arrows. No, they have strange devices that kill from far away without arrows. And take care near their strange iron horses they use to travel. They travel faster than any natural beast ought to, and ignore the strength of the bow and arrow. Best if you avoid their cities, my son.”

Rílin: “Tañ yẃäp Góyanimenmu. Be’a li apen. Xavéjalapen tañ yẃäpet bänkasla, do be hyzû bín kuan. Ŝílapen apenset a zansalapen. Be mílulapen bí gaŝ krur̂ûet dexe ẃy kalumla apenmu. Be siŝulapen apenset kótûñla a ítäla. La, lykylapen be’a mönet baes zansalapen róŝó ŝa ítänla. A toroky né lí mu be’a ǵasíaínla zar̂mí baet lykylapen níñgíle. Zaílapen psötar̂ó dexe gölhañ ŝutréla, dexe lhyntíla kótûñmí a ítämí. Ptatí histä tañ yẃäpenet, mävû.”

I imagine a Rílin father telling his son about a culture with more advanced technology (possibly Tosi?). I may do an interlinear gloss but for now, it stands as-is. More to come.

New alphabet (abugida) for Seloi and Karkin!

I have been doing a LOT of conscripting (making new writing system) for my languages this summer! Now that the semester has started (only just), I may slow down somewhat but I am promising myself not to stop!

Much of what I’ve worked on has been the new alphabet for the Seloi and Karkin languages. Before I get into the writing system itself, I will give a little background on the people who use this alphabet.

The Selupa (speakers of Seloi) and Karkin people live on a shared island, off the east coast of the Izoi continent (in Elta–so we’re on the side of Aeniith with Tosi, Ríli, etc.). The Selupa (of the zuna species of humanoid–same as the Tosi and Karkin) have a very secretive but comparatively technically advanced society. Their cities are highly protected, entry and exit is tightly regulated, and their technology and medical advances are not generously shared, when they are shared at all. The Selupa value art and culture as well as science, and are famous for their universities where topics like drama, writing, philosophy, rhetoric, and even culinary skills are taught.

The other major cultural group on the island are the Karkin, also a zuna people, who live in parts of the island not inhabited by the Selupa. Their population is largely split into two–some live inside seven cities that are protected by ruling clans. Just outside of these guarded cities are agricultural areas that supply these cities with food. Others, who dwell outside the protection of the cities, live in an arid expanse of land called the Planulum (sōngē’ën /soːˈŋeːʔən/ in Karkin). This is a harsh land, and its soil is hard and difficult to grow in. The people who live in the Planulum are not under rule of the city clans, and lawlessness is rampant in areas that are outside of settlements. Settlements in the Planulum are lightly governed by consensus, if at all. In the winters, sand storms ravage crops, and in the summer, hot winds can wilt them if not enough rains come. It is a difficult place to live. Caravans travel between the various Planulum settlements and the seven cities, but sometimes are detained due to crime or bad weather conditions.

The original inventors of the present alphabet, which I’m tentatively calling Vinuvu (Seloi for ‘scratched pieces’ or ‘written bits’), are the Selupa. Seloi itself has a very small phonemic inventory (collection of differently recognized sounds)–just 10 consonants and 6 vowels. Vinuvu is technically an abugida–a variant of alphabet in which the consonants are represented by full letters and the vowels are represented by modifications to the consonants (often diacritics or small marks on or near the consonant letters). The following is the version used for Seloi, its original intended use.

Seloi alphabet: VinuvuEach consonant is a full letter with the following vowels being marked as diacritics over the consonant. Freestanding vowels are written as full, and diphthongs and double vowels are either combined diacritics or a full vowel symbol plus a diacritic.

So this is simple enough, but then I decided I wanted this whole system to be used by other zuna cultures in the region of Izoi. That includes the Tosi and Karkin. The Tosi are a massive empire, but I decided that I wanted them to have borrowed the alphabet after the Karkin–the immediate neighbors of the Seloi–had already borrowed it.

The main challenge here was due to the Karkin language itself. It has a lot of sounds, far more than the particularly sparse Seloi. Karkin is mad for different consonants: it has 32 of them! It also has six vowels that can all be long or short (in duration). So obviously, when the Karkin borrowed this writing system, they were going to have to do a lot of modification to make it work for their language…

Karkin modifications to VinuvuAs you can see, many letters are modified to represent the numerous additional sounds that Karkin has. Some consonants have added marks to indicate that voicing (Seloi doesn’t have voiced stops like b, d, g, for example). Some letters have descender marks below them to indicate a change in place of articulation (usually farther back in the mouth). Some fricatives (like the letters for v and s) are reversed to show a change in voicing (f and z). The letter for /l/ is modified to represent /r/ and /ʎ/. Various other changes show sounds that don’t exist in Seloi. Long vowel are represented by double diacritics.

A few examples of writing in Vinuvu for Karkin.


Also the punctuation marks and numerals:

More information will be coming–watch this space!



Rílin language: expression of sorrow and sympathy

Well, it’s been a while! I do want to get back in to posting things here, despite my busy workload. Maybe it’s even better for me to do so because of that workload.


In light the recent catastrophe in Paris, I have been thinking about how the Ríli form expressions of sorrow, sympathy, condolences, etc. Languages often have formalized/idiomized or set phrases for these kinds of expressions, so I thought it was important that Rílin did as well. Rílin culture emphasizes harmony, support, respect, and sensitivity to others’ emotions, so I wanted to make their phrases of sorrow and sympathy reflect some of those values too. All of the words and grammar used herein are extant parts of the Rílin language–I am configuring them in ways that seem appropriate.

Note: the variations on the way of saying ‘you’/’your’ are due to traditional Rílin’s (and Lunauli Rílin) way of distinguishing three levels of formality/familiarity for pronouns and persons (lí at the most familiar and zana at the most formal for ‘you sg.’).

Lilaíkim – ‘I am grieving/mourning/crying’ (this word lilaí also means to weep copiously)

Lilaíkim líu/xyu/zanau – ‘I grieve with thee’
lilaí-k-im lí-u/xy-u/zana-u
/lɪˈlaikɪm ˈliu (ˈxyu) (ˈzanau)/
grieve-pres.prog 2sg-instr

R̂yla límu/xymu/zanamu imi – Lit., ‘I am in/with thy sorrow’
r̂y-la lí-mu/xy-mu zana-mu imi
/ˈʂyla limu (ˈxymu) (ˈzanamu)/
sorrow-instr 2sg-poss

Hestia(tíí)/(tyy)/(taa)ky – Lit. ‘may you recuperate/rest’
/hɛstɪaˈtiiky (hɛstɪatyyky)(hɛstɪataaky)/

Bítapky Démas/Ifinŝas líet/xyet/zanat – ‘May Déma/Ifinŝe embrace/aid thee’ (depending on which goddess you would like to reference)
bí-t-ap-ky Déma-s/Ifinŝe-as lí-et/xy-et/zana-et
/biˈtapky ˈdemas(ɪfɪnʃas) ˈliɛt (ˈxyɛt)(ˈzanat)/
embrace/aid-npst-3sg-irr Déma-erg/Ifinŝe-erg 2sg-abs

New words in Ori + examples

Dropping in to note that I am in fact not dead. I have been super busy with stuff related to doing my doctorate! But I am still conlanging, worldbuilding, etc.
#Lextreme2018 and #Lexathon are my continuing daily lexicography conlang project via twitter ( Here are yesterday’s and today’s words, plus example sentences!

Nov 20
Ori: [adj] milon- /’milon/ ‘slow, unhurried; easy; soft’

Nov 21
Ori: [n, inan] pilya-s /’pilʲas/ ‘tear, teardrop’


Abbreviation key:

1 = 1st person

2 = 2nd person

3 = 3rd person

nom = nominative

sg = singular

an = animate class

in = inanimate class

adv = adverbial

pst = past tense

perf = perfect aspect

q = question (interrogtive) particle

acc = accusative

pl = plural

hab = habitual aspect

Pilyas eun syolle miloni plecir cyan
pilya-s eun syol-le milon-i plec-ir cyan slow-adv pst.perf
‘A tear fell slowly down his cheek’

Nasya milonis ti ma?
nasya milon-is ti ma
why you.are q
‘Why are you being slow?’

Eme! pilyatyin cityin bayalbra lyes
eme  pilya-tyin ci-tyin bayal-bra lyes
alas weep-1pl pst.hab
‘Alas! we cried so many tears’

Rílin script

So you’ve all probably seen at least some of my numerous poems written in Rílin, along with their accompanying script. I wanted to explain how the alphabet for Rílin works.

It is pretty simple conceptually. Rílin traditionally uses a phonetic alphabet, where each letter corresponds to a phoneme (distinguished sound) in the language. Rílin has a large phonemic inventory (29 consonants and 13 vowels), so there are as many letters in the alphabet.

In the below image, you can see the IPA symbol for each Rílin phoneme, followed by (in brackets) the Romanized representation (sometimes there are variants available for those times when it is not convenient or possible to use diacritic marks)




Ori poem

A poem in Ori. I use poetry to expand on my lexicon and grammar, as well as invent new ways of doing metaphor.



Catyin-gae nalistityin tyae

Calin natin nalepa can iyutu cyan

Yullacu tyuhacu

Bane cohace

Nye nalemasye


Catyin eltrutyin tyae

Na lyen-tatyin tyo

Ilu cyalace

Na syutace

Milis cuheo bumi

Na misuhile lunin cyon-lastilen


Nyilleya hatanulya.



A false vow

But you knew my reasons

You never saw me how you should

Every year

We would slip further

From the truth.


You know my ways

And I know yours

We come together again

And split apart

A tree cloven in two

And from the sap running from our wounds


A new story.