From Linguifex
Jump to navigation Jump to search



To create an aesthetically pleasing, yet easily pronounceable (for me, anyways), language for the setting of a habitable alternative Venus.


The setting is a Venus with a thinner crust which enables convection of heat within the planet's core and, despite Venus' slower rotation, the subsequent generation of a magnetic field sufficient to prevent the loss of the planet's oceans.

Jakvalat (Often called Common Venerian in English) is the predominant lingua franca spoken on Venus (Ja: Sinty). It originated from the environs of the mercantile city of Tulirijyq on the continent of Jekkarramet.


The main phonological inspirations were from Finnish and Greenlandic with some input from Tolkien's conlang, Quenya. The morphological inspirations will likely be primarily from the Inuit and the Uralic languages.



Native Script Practical Orthography IPA Value
⟨o⟩ ⟨p⟩ /p/
⟨ɵ⟩ ⟨m⟩ /m/
⟨s⟩ ⟨v⟩ /ʋ/
⟨v⟩ ⟨t⟩ /t/
⟨ʌ⟩ ⟨n⟩ /n/
⟨x⟩ ⟨h⟩ /h/
⟨z⟩ ⟨r⟩ /ɹ/
⟨w⟩ ⟨s⟩ /ɬ/
⟨ʍ⟩ ⟨l⟩ /l/
⟨n⟩ ⟨k⟩ /k/
⟨u⟩ ⟨q⟩ /ŋ/
⟨ʜ⟩ ⟨j⟩ /j/
⟨ʎ⟩ ⟨i⟩ /i/
⟨y⟩ ⟨e⟩ /ɛ/
⟨h⟩ ⟨y⟩ /ə/
⟨ɥ⟩ ⟨a⟩ /ä/
⟨b⟩ ⟨u⟩ /u/
⟨q⟩ ⟨o⟩ /ɔ/


1. The native alphabet is ultimately derived from an ancient featural abugida.

2. The practical orthography was devised by one the first terrestrial linguists to reach Venus. The Wilkins Orthography has since become the default scheme of romanisation for Yakvalat.

3. The spelling of the practical and native orthographies are morphophonemic in that the spelling is phonemic but does change to reflect morphophonemic changes.

4. The following punctuation marks are in use in the native alphabet:

⟨.⟩ = short pause, equivalent to a comma or semi-colon. ⟨:⟩ = long pause, equivalent to a colon or full stop.

Punctuation marks occur immediately after the last word of a clause and never occur consecutively.

5. Any given word is separated from any following word by a space. There are no equivalents to parentheses, quotation marks, exclamation marks or questions marks.

Phoneme Inventory


Labial Central Coronal Lateral Coronal Dorsal Glottal
Plosive /p/  /t/  /k/
Fricative   /ɬ/ /h/
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ŋ/
Liquid /ɹ/ /l/
Semivowel  /ʋ/   /j/ 


1. All coronals are alveolar except /ɹ/ which is postalveolar.

2. Jakvalat has 12 consonants which, according to the World Atlas of Language Structures, is a small inventory. The most notable features, according to WALs, are the presence of an initial velar nasal and a lateral obstruent.


Front Central Back
High /i/ /ə/ /u/
Low /ɛ/  /a/ /ɔ/


For the purposes of vowel harmony, /ə/ counts as a high vowel and /ɛ, ɔ/ count as low vowels.

Jakvalat has 6 vowel qualities which, according to WALS, is a small inventory. The consonant-vowel ratio is 2.0 which, according to WALS, is a moderately low ratio.


1. /p, t, k/ are realised as [pʰ, tʰ, kʰ] when in the onset of a stressed syllable.

2. /ɬ/ is realised as [θ̠] when in coda position.

3. /h/ is realised as [x] when in coda position.

4. /ɹ/ is realised as [ʃ] when in coda position before /p, t, k/.

5. /ɹ/ is realised as [ʒ] when in coda position elsewhere.

6. /ʋ/ is realised as [w] when the second segment of a consonant cluster.

7. /ʋ/ is realised as [v] elsewhere.

8. The geminate clusters /pp, tt, kk/ are realised as [f, s, x].

9. The geminate clusters /ɬɬ, hh/ are realised as [tɬ, kx].

10. The geminate consonant clusters /mm, nn, ŋŋ/ are realised as [mb, nd, ŋɡ].

11. The geminate consonant clusters /ll, ɹɹ/ are realised as [ld, ʒd].

12. The geminate consonant clusters /ʋʋ, jj/ are realised as [bw, ɡj].

13. /i/ is realised as [ɪ] when following a /j/ onset.

14. /u/ is realised as [ʊ] when following /ʋ/ when it is the second segment of a consonant cluster.

15. /i, u/ are realised as [ɪ, ʊ] in closed syllables.


1. Syllable template:



C = consonant, V = vowel

2. Permitted syllable codas: all consonants

3. /ɬ, h, l, ɹ, ʋ, j/ do not occur morpheme-finally.

4. If a particle has a word-final consonant then that consonant will be one of /m, n, ŋ/.

5. Permitted Consonant Clusters:

P pp - - - - - - - - - pv* pj*
T tt  - - - - - - - - tv* tj*
K - kk - - - - - - - kv* kj*
S sp st sk ss - - - - - - sv sj
H hp ht hk - hh - - - - - hv hj
M mp - - - - mm - -  - mv -
N nt - ns nh - nn - - - - -
Q - - qk - - - - qq - - - qj
L lp lt lk - - - - - ll - lv lj
R rp rt rk - - - - - - rr rv rj
V - - - - - - - - - - vv -
J - - - - - - - - - - - jj


a. The practical orthography is used here for clarity.

b. First segment of cluster runs along left of table.

c. Second segment of cluster runs along top of table.

d. An asterisk indicates a consonant cluster may occur root-initially or suffix-initially.

e. All other consonant clusters may only occur across a syllable boundary

6. No consonant cluster may have more than two segments.

7. Consecutive vowel sequences do not occur.

8. Diphthongs do not occur.

10. Most native roots are disyllabic with monosyllabic roots being restricted to pronouns. Most particles are monosyllabic.

11. Roots may have one of the following phonotactic shapes:

a. Pronominal And Numeral Roots Only:






b. Some Numeral Roots And All Nominal And Verbal Roots:




13. Particles may have one the following phonotactic shapes:






14. Suffixes may have one of following phonotactic shapes:









1. Primary stress falls on the first syllable of the root.

2. Secondary stress is borne on every odd-numbered syllable after the primary stress.

3. Rhythm type is trochaic.

4. Jakvalat is spoken with a somewhat slower cadence than English is.


1. When two-segment consonant clusters result from suffixation, they are treated as per the table below:

P  K S H M  N L V J
P pp tt kk sp hp mp mp mp lp rp pv pj
T pp tt kk st ht nt nt nt lt rt tv tj
K pp tt kk sk hk qk qk qk lk rk kv kj
M mp nt qk ns nh mm nn qq ll rr mv qj
N mp nt qk ns nh mm nn qq ll rr mv qj
Q mp nt qk ns nh mm nn qq ll rr mv qj


a. The practical orthography is used here for clarity.

b. First segment of cluster runs along left of table.

c. Second segment of cluster runs along top of table.

2. If a three-segment consonant cluster results from suffixation, then an epenthetic echo vowel is inserted after the first segment in the cluster.

Vowel Harmony

1. Vowels are divided into two harmonic classes for the purposes of vowel harmony:

a. High Vowels: /i, ə, u/.

b. Low Vowels: /ɛ, a, ɔ/.

2. All vowels in a root or particles must belong to the same harmonic class.

3. All suffixes have two allomorphs,one containing high vowels, the other containing the corresponding low vowels.

4. The vowels in a suffix must belong to the same harmonic class as the vowels in the preceding morpheme.


Yakvalat morphemes fall into the following classes:

1. Particles:

These do not bear any inflection, have little semantic content and comprise such things as temporal or locative adverbs, conjunctions, interjections and anything else that isn't a root.

2. Roots:

These do bear inflection and contain much of the semantic content of an utterance. Roots are divided into nouns and verbs. Nouns are further divided into animate and inanimate categories, verbs into transitive and intransitive categories.

3. Stems:

These are any given sequence of root plus following suffixes.

4. Suffixes:

These either comprise inflection or modify the semantic content of a root or stem.


Constituent order

Noun phrase

Verb phrase

Sentence phrase

Dependent clauses

Example texts

Other resources