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Created byMIGUELbM
Native speakers? (2014)
Language codes
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Riagi is an a priori constructed language designed to be the mother-tongue and language-of-the-gods in the constructed fantasy world of Aokae. The language is widely used throughout the world in rituals and scriptures and to communicate with powerful spirits and gods. Even though it has no native speakers, it is believed to have been the first language to be spoken and most languages in the world are derived either directly or indirectly from it.

Its phonology is inspired by the descriptions of the Eloi language given in the book of The Time Machine and by Polynesian languages such as Maori and Hawaiian, likewise, the script it uses is vaguely derived from the Rongorongo inscription found in Easter Island and by Javanese and its parent Old Kawi.

Its grammar is not directly derived from any one language, instead is a mix of grammatical features meant to give it a unique feel. It’s a language focused on the reasons behind actions and their context rather than in actions themselves.


Even though Riagi does not have a large amount of different sounds, it compensates for it by distinguishing between long and short vowels and long and short stops changing the amount of phonemes from 13 consonants and 5 vowels to 16 consonants and 10 vowels.


Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/ /n/ - /ŋ/ -
Stop /p pː/ /t tː/ - /k kː/ /ʔ/
Fricative /f/ ~ /ʃ/ - - -
Approximant /β/ ~ /ð/ /j/ /ɰ/ /h/
Flap - /ɾ/ - - -

Riagi has a wide range of free variation, the labio-alveolar voiceless fricative, being the only fricative in the inventory, has free variation between [ɸ], [f], [θ], [s] and [ʃ]. Similarly, the labio-alveolar voiced approximant has free variation between [β], [ʋ] and [ð]. And because Riagi has no voiced fricatives of any sort, all voiced approximants can be 'correctly' pronounced as their voiced fricatives equivalents.


Phonemic gemination is only found in Riagi in the voiceless stops /p/, /t/ and /k/.


Front Back
Close /i iː/ /u uː/
Close-mid /e eː/ /o oː/
Open /a aː/ -

Long vowels

Unlike consonants, vowel elongation is found in all vowels


Short diphthongs are formed by a central or back vowel followed by an equal or closer vowel: /ae/, /ao/, /ai/, /au/, /oe/, /oi/, /ou/, /ui/

Long diphthongs are formed by a long vowel followed by /a/: /eːa/, /oːa/, /iːa/, /uːa/


The syllable structure in Riagi is quite simple, it consists of an optional onset consonant followed by a vowel or diphthong, or (C)V(V).


Riagi has a predictable stress that falls on the penultimate syllable, irregular words (often loanwords) have their stressed syllable marked by an acute diacritic on the last vowel.


The following romanization is going to be used throughout the article

  • /m/ → m
  • /n/ → n
  • /ŋ/ → ng
  • /p/ → p
  • /pː/ → pp
  • /t/ → t
  • /tː/ → tt
  • /k/ → k
  • /kː/ → kk
  • /ʔ/ → '
  • /f/ ~ /ʃ/ → s
  • /β/ ~ /ð/ → v
  • /j/ → j
  • /ɰ/ → g
  • /h/ → h
  • /r/ → r
  • /a/ → a
  • /aː/ → ä, ā
  • /e/ → e
  • /eː/ → ë, ē
  • /i/ → i
  • /iː/ → ï, ī
  • /o/ → o
  • /oː/ → ö, ō
  • /u/ → u
  • /uː/ → ü, ū


Riagi is a predominantly agglutinative language with a fair share of fusion.

Glossing abbreviations are found next to their respective terms and within parenthesis. Morphemes not found in tables are in bold text.


The affix positions are the following: NOUN.case.obviative.number


  • Nominative (nom) Ø
    Marks the agent, the entity which performs the action
  • Absolutive (abs) -o
    Marks the patient or theme, that is the entity that undergoes the action
  • Instrumental (ins) -oe
    Marks the instrument or entity with which the action was carried out, this can be a tool or a person.
  • Locative (loc) -ae
    Marks the location or time at which the action was performed
  • Benefactive (ben) -a
    Marks the entity for whose benefit the action occurs, this includes recipients with verbs that express change of possession
  • Origative (ori) -ti
    Marks the place, time, motive or cause from which the action originated, it also acts as a possessive.
  • Metative (met) -mi
    Marks the direction, purpose or objective towards which the action aims


Riagi has three levels of obviative/proximate distinctions

  • Proximate
    The most salient or proximate entity, unmarked
  • Obviative (obv) -ge
    The obviative marks a less salient entity
  • Further Obviative (fobv) -gē
    The further obviative mark is much less common, it marks an entity less salient than an obviative


Riagi has number marking for both count and mass nouns. Number is marked after cases.

  • Singular (sg)
    The singular form is the default number for count nouns, it indicates a single element (i.e. A pen. A book)
  • Singulative (svg) -'e
    The singulative form marks a single unit of a mass noun, the unit is culturally and contextually determined (i.e. A drop of water. A grain of salt)
  • Collective (col)
    The collective form is the default number for mass nouns (i.e. Water. Salt)
  • Plural or Plurative (pl) -'o
    The plural or plurative form marks both a group of countable nouns and a group of mass nouns (i.e. Pens. Books. Waters. Salts)


First Person (1) Dual Person (D) Second Person (2) Third Person (3)
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
ē ō na nao sa sano rage rago
Fourth Person (4) Fifth Person (5)
Singular Plural Singular Plural
nae nae'o re re'o
Zero Person (0)
Singular Plural
anga anga'o
  • The First person plural is exclusive
  • The Dual person singular indicates both the Speaker and the Addressee
  • The Dual person Plural is an inclusive version of the first person plural
  • The Fourth person is an indefinite category that encompasses First and Dual persons. "These ones think so" (referring to themselves)
  • The Fifth person is similar to the fourth but covers Second and Third persons.
  • The Zero person is a completely generic category. "One could say so"

For non-humans, the pronoun aja is used


The affix positions are the following: tense-aspect.VERB.mood.negation


Rjargi has four tenses:

  • Past (pst)
    Sets the reference time of the action in the past
  • Present (prs)
    Sets the reference time of the action in the present
  • Future (fut)
    Sets the reference time of the action in the future
  • Gnomic (gno)
    Does not limit the reference time of the action to a specific time


Rjargi has five aspects:

  • Perfective (pfv)
    Describes the action as a whole or without interior composition
  • Retrospective (ret)
    Describes an action that took place before the frame of reference
  • Continuous (cont)
    Describes an action taking place within the frame of reference
  • Prospective (prosp)
    Describes an action expected or taking place in the future of the frame of reference
  • Habitual (hab)
    Describes an action that takes place regularly within the reference time

Tense-Aspect Affixes

Perfective Retrospective Continuous Prospective Habitual
a i ao ae u
Past r ra- ri- rao- rae- ru-
Present Ø Ø i- ao- ae- u-
Future kk kka- kki- kkao- kkae- kku-
Gnomic m ma- mi- mao- mae- mu-


Moods are divided in External, Internal and Evidential

  • Permissive (prm) -tou
    Used to express permission
  • Requisitive (req) -nēa
    Used to express requests or suggestions
  • Compulsory (cls) -po
    Used to express orders and commands
  • Impositive (ims) -se
    Used to express expectations or imposed actions
  • Promissory (pms) -ga
    Used to express for promises oaths or threats
  • Desiderative (des) -si
    Used to express willingness or intent
  • Aspirative (asp) -joe
    Used to express hopes, fears or wishes
  • Necessitative (nec) -no
    Used to express needs or obligations
  • Factual (fac) -ve'e
    Indicates the certainty of the action
  • Probable (pbl) -va
    Indicates the likelihood of the action
  • Improbable (ipb) -hā
    Indicates the unlikelihood of the action
  • Potential (ptn) -tao
    Indicates the possibility of the action, regardless of it's likelihood


Negation is done through the affix -hīa placed at the end of a verb or coverb


Coverbs are words used in serial verb constructions, they are placed after the main verb and take inflections when the main verb can't or shouldn't because it's already fully inflected or it's meaning requires it that way. Two coverbs exist in Riagi

  • Aono
    Used as a coverb of stative verbs
  • Hare
    Used as coverb of dynamic verbs



Interrogative Demonstrative Quantifier
Proximal Distal Universal Existential Elective Alternate Negative
Personal ta'e ta (sg)
tao (pl)
tare (sg)
taro (pl)
tauma ta'ota ta'ina hōvi ho'i
Impersonal ho'e ho (sg)
ho'o (pl)
hore (sg)
horo (pl)
houma ho'ota ho'ina
Place kko'e kko kkore kkouma kko'ota kko'ina ngōvi ngo'i
Time ngo'e ngo ngore
Manner moi'e moi - moi'ota - - -
Origin, Quality gi'e gi - gi'ota - - -
Goal, Reason gui'e gui - gui'ota - - -



Personal forms are used for human animates

First Person (1) Dual Person (D) Second Person (2) Third Person (3)
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
aee aoo naīa najo saīa sajo raje rajo
Fourth Person (4) Fifth Person (5)
Singular Plural Singular Plural
nāe nāe'o are are'o
Zero Person (0)
Singular Plural
angīa angīa'o

For inanimates places and abstract nouns the determiner āja is used


Coordinating conjunctions

  • Cumulative
    • 'a - Presents a non-contrasting idea
    • 'ai - Presents a non-contrasting negative idea
  • Adversative
    • seno - Presents a contrasting idea
  • Alternative
    • no - Presents an alternative
  • Illative
    • mani - Presents a cause
    • pui - Presents a consequence
  • Explanative
    • sōto - Presents an explanation

Subordinating conjunctions


Reference markers

Reference markers are verb-like copulas that can take an object and a referenced argument as their subject for the purpose of building subordinate clauses. But unlike verbs, they cannot be conjugated and their word structure is strictly VO with the subject implicit in the particle.

  • Subject reference marker (srm) vāe
    References the subject of it's supraordinating clause as its subject
  • Object reference marker (orm) vāte
    References the object of it's supraordinating clause as its subject
  • Indirect object reference marker (irm) vāme
    References the indirect object of it's supraordinating clause as its subject


Riagi uses a base-20 numeric system (similar to the mayan numerals)


For syntax samples see sample sentences

Word order

The Subject goes before the object whenever possible, indefinite arguments are placed before the verb, definite arguments after, possible word orders are:

  • VSO - Both arguments are definite
  • SVO - Subject is indefinite and object is definite
  • OVS - Object is indefinite and subject is definite
  • SOV - Both arguments are indefinite

Indirect objects are placed after the subject and object whenever possible.


  • Verb
    • Coverb
    • Adverb


  • Determiner
  • Adposition
  • Noun
    • Adjective


Adverbs modify the preceding word, meaning that they automatically nest, in order to have multiple adverbs modifying the same word a coordinating conjunction is needed.

  • Head
    • Adverb
      • Adverb
    • Conjunction
    • Adverb


Since adverbs and adjectives can be used interchangeably trough zero derivation, in order to avoid their nesting and adverbalization, multiple adjectives need a coordinating conjunction between them.

  • Noun
    • Adjective
      • Adverb
    • Conjunction
    • Adjective



Declarative clauses are 'normal' and their syntax has been explained above


Polar questions

Polar questions, also known as yes-no questions are formed by adding the main verb at the end of the question, but in inverted polarity, this means, when the main verb is positive it is added in negative form and when it is negative it is added in normal form, this is similar to english tag questions.

  • PST.PFV.fly away bird.NOM, PST.PFV.fly.N ("The bird flew away, didn't it?"; literally "The bird flew away, flew not?")

These questions are answered by the questioned verb in the correct polarity, followed by any pertinent information.

  • PST.PFV.fly ("it flew"; literally "flew")
  • PST.PFV.fly.N ("it didn't fly"; literally "flew not")
Non-polar questions

Non-polar questions are formed by replacing the questioned element by its respective interrogative determiner, verbs have a special construction, needing a coverb before the determiner. These structures are similar to english echo questions.

  1. PST.PFV.fly away what ("what flew away?")
  2. PST.PFV.fly how bird.NOM ("the bird flew how?")
  3. PST.PFV.coverb what bird.NOM? ("the bird did what?")

These questions are answered by replacing the interrogative determiner with the proper information, alternatively, in informal environments, they can be answered just with the missing information

  1. PST.PFV.fly away bird.NOM ("the bird flew away") / bird.NOM ("the bird")
  2. PST.PFV.fly away bird.NOM ("the bird flew away") / away
  3. PST.PFV.fly away bird.NOM ("the bird flew away") / PST.PFV.fly away ("flew away")

While answer #2 would be considered 'dumb' or 'smartassy' in english, in Riagi it is the proper answer to what was asked. If the circumstances which allowed the bird to fly away are what are being asked, then the origin/reason interrogative determiner is used, which is translated to english as 'why', 'wherefrom' or 'whence'.




Valence increasing


Valence decreasing

Passive voice



Writing system

"Rīagi pākkamēa" written in the Riagi alphabet


Consonants in IPA, romanization and native script
Vowels in IPA, romanization and native script






From Nouns

From Verbs

From Adforms

Cultural usage of language

See Also