|Created by||Brian Bourque|
|Setting||Dhamashi, a circumbinary planet|
|Native speakers||~ 60,000,000|
Lortho is an a priori constructed language created by Brian Bourque in the beginning of 2003. It originally started as a prop for a strategy board game where only the script was created for aesthetics. It is an agglutinating language with some minor fusional aspects.
The people (Kalanune) who speak Lortho live on Dhamashi, a circumbinary planet which is itself one of the habitable moons orbiting the gas giant Kus. The planet's surface has many similarities to Earth where it has oceans, mountains, deserts, and forests. The planet has three major continents: Mashonu, Kashti, and Lamona. The Kalanune live on Lamona.
A friend was creating a board game similar to Risk; however, instead of taking place on Earth, this new game was to take place on an inter-planetary scale. The game creator wanted to develop an extraterrestrial theme and requested a fictional script. The name of the race on this game is "Lortho" and thus the seed was planted. Brian was unable to work on this piece for quite sometime until he joined the Conlang Mailing List  and observed both seasoned and novice conlangers discussing all aspects of linguistics. Since then he decided to move forward and bring Lortho into fruition. The language itself was not invented until the spring of 2016.
Much of the language stems from the languages that Brian knows, namely Persian, French, and Korean. Although the language is a priori, much of its construction resembles that of an Indo-European flavor; albeit unintentionally. The phonology is largely inspired by Persian (Farsi) in that each letter is strictly pronounced regardless of their position in the the syllable/word. The agglutinating aspect of the language was largely influence by both Hungarian and Finnish. The orthography was inspired by Central/East Asian orthographies which is further expounded below.
Another source of inspiration is Brian's daughter. Through her development of learning how to make speech sounds leading to coherent speech and communication, she "created" words to communicate her wants and needs. Some of these words found their way into the Lortho lexicon.
NOTE: The map below is not 100% scientifically accurate and needs improvement.
Etymology of Lortho
Lortho is a combination of Lor, the god from which their story of life stems, and -tho, the inalienable form for the genitive case. It has since become a noun and can take other case endings (e.g. konpharin lorthome - I speak Lortho-ACC).
The mountain whence Lor is said to originate is called Malhi Dharakhi, "Great Mountain," and is located in the coastal mountain range on the west coast of Lamona.
The goal is to create the gradual progression of Lortho which will lead to the development of daughter languages and, eventually, create sister languages which have developed on different parts of the planet.
A secondary goal is to see this language come to life on the screen either in a series or feature film.
|Plosive||p pʰ||b||t tʰ||d dʱ||k kʰ|
|Lateral Approximant||l ʰl|
|Tap or Flap||ɾ|
|Front||Near- front||Central||Near- back||Back|
The syllable structure is (C)V(V)(C).
- The syllables can be constructed as:
There are no consonant clusters allowed in onsets or codas; however, clusters formed from adjacent syllables (i.e. coda + onset) are allowed. These clusters are:
- /nk/ (with an allophone of [ŋk])
- /np/ (with an allophone of [mp] e.g. the verb konpharo to speak)
Stress in Lortho is handled as follows:
- Stress is always on the penultimatae syllable of the root or infinitive except:
- -n verbs will always receive stress on the final syllable of the infinitive or root.
- Pluralized nouns will shift the stress to the penultimate syllable.
- If the word is two syllables long, then the stress is on the first syllable.
- Stress is neither given to prefixes nor suffixes.
The writing system of Lortho is called Dhadakha, so named from the first three letters. It is an alphabet with some featural aspects in denoting aspirated vs tenuis consonants. Dhadakha is comprised of 21 letters, one of which is a vowel. The writing system behaves in a similar manner to an abugida; however, there are no conjunct consonants and vowels are given equal status as consonants. Ligatures are formed by consonant + vowel with the vowels [i] and [ɛ] being the exceptions. Lortho's script was inspired by the Devanagari, Uchen, and Tengwar writing systems.
|This script has been revised to include a "common" script. More to come.|
Vowels and Vowel Constructs
Vowels (except [i]) are attached to the preceding consonant forming ligatures.
The diphthongs are written as seen below.
Word-Initial Vowels and Diphthongs
For word-initial vowels, the letter [i] will be used as the place holder (unless the [i] is the vowel) and the additional vowel will be added as one would on a consonant-vowel ligature.
Since Lortho has its own script, a romanized version has been set up to make it easy to read and pronounce as shown in the tables below.
Nouns in Lortho have three distinct features:
- They are one of three genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter
- All nouns can be modified to denote case
- All nouns end in a vowel (with few exceptions)
There there are a couple nouns that do not follow the above rules for gender (this will increase as Lortho's lexicon grows):
Lortho has ten cases. The vowels in parentheses are added if the word ends in a consonant. The following word will be used for demonstration:
- woods, forest
|Accusative||-me||kansapthame||forest (direct obj.)|
|Dative||-mela||kansapthamela||forest (indirect obj.)|
|Genitive1||-nau||kansapthanau||of the forest|
|Lative||-ina/ena||kansaptaina||in/into the forest|
|Ablative||-nat||kansapthanat||out of/from the forest|
|Allative||-dan||kansapthadan||to/towards the forest|
|Prolative||-dar||kansapthadar||through/via/by way of the forest|
|Instrumental||-len||kansapthalen||using the forest|
1 -nau is the alienable genitive whereas -tho is the inalienable genitive as seen in the endonym Lortho.
- chair, seat
Each noun is pluralized by adding a suffix:
- Feminine (-u) and Neuter (-a) nouns add the plural suffix -ne:
- Feminine: kansaphu (n. fem) tree; pl kansaphune
- Neuter: hadikha (n. neut) land, country; pl hadikhane
- Masculine nouns (-i):
- Regular masculine nouns will add the infix -en- before -i:
- Masculine nouns that end in -ni will add the infix -em-.
- olakhi (n. masc) boat; pl olakheni
- phorenni (n. masc) peak, summit; pl phoɾennemi
- If the noun ends in a consonant, the suffix -eni will be added:
- Example: tapas (n. masc) pasta; pl tapaseni
A recent discovery in Lortho is the use of reduplication. So far, one example has emerged:
- kisha [ˈki.ʃa]
- plural kishane [ki.ˈʃa.ne]
- a repeated design; pattern
- (kisha kisha) an overly used pattern which loses its effect over time; a pattern of movements no longer requiring thought (e.g. muscle memory)
plural: kisha kishane
2 The 2nd person plural neuter, naman, is meant for addressing crowds or general audiences
Verbs are conjugated in gender and in number which are governed by the subject (written or implied). For the most part the conjugations are simple and are formed through agglutination; however, there are slight fusional changes that occur when denoting aspect.
There are three main verbs in Lortho: -o verbs, -t verbs, and -n verbs. The conjugation tables below show a preview of how the regular verbs conjugate in each category. Conjugation in other tenses includes more fusional aspects.
The root is formed by subtracting the final "o."
|konpharo [kon.'pʰɑ.ɾo] to speak|
The root is formed by changing the final "t" to a "d."
|phramit ['pʰɾɑ.mit] to push|
The root is the same as the infinitive.
|shailan [ʃaɪ.'lɑn] to sit|
Although labelled irregular, the verbs still have a regular feel in that they still use the same personal endings; however, the root is derived slightly differently. One example is the verb harlan.
|harlan [hɑɾ.'lɑn] to be|
The indicative mood is the simplest of the moods and requires no extra suffixes.
The imperative form of the verb is simply the root with the vocative case (which can be either implied or explicit). Currently, this is still in development. I must discover the explanations of the imperative mood in first person plural and second person plural.
- famannu, konphar!
- Hey you, speak!
- fanamin, nathar namineme!
- Hey you, be quiet! (lit. quiet yourselves)
- fabrian, shailan!
- Brian, sit!
- konpharo (konphar-) v. to speak
- natharo (nathar-) v. to quell, pacify
- mannu pronoun you (fem. sing.)
- namin pronoun you (masc. pl.)
- shailan (shailan-) v. to sit
The subjunctive mood has many different facets. For now, we will talk about wants/wishes.
In the present tense, the expression of want is done by using the verb hankhan to want + infinitive.
hankhan-in kilikho kansaptha-me
want -1MSG see.INF forest.N -ACC
I want to see (the) forest
The passive voice is formed by adding the suffix -im after the root before any other additional suffixes. The passive voice does not apply to the present tense at this moment.
- madhit (madhid-) v. to give
madhid-ikh-i i khanishu-me u -mela
give- PST-3MSG PN.3MSG book.F -ACC PN.3FSG-DAT
He gave the book to her
- The verb agrees with the subject he (i).
madhid-im -ikh-u khanishu u -mela
give -PASS-PST-3FSG book.F PN.3FSG-DAT
The book was given to her
- The verb agrees with book since there is no subject initiating the action; however, book is still affected by the action, hence the accusative case.
Negation is accomplished by adding the prefix dha(k)-. The phoneme /k/ is added before verbs with either initial vowel or initial /h/, which in turn morphs into /kʰ/.
- konpharo (konphar-)
I do not speak, I am not speaking
- hankhan (hankhan-)
to want, wish
I do not want
- artemit (artemid-)
I do not continue
Adjectives behave a little differently than most natural languages. All adjectives are roots since they must agree in gender with the noun which they modify. For placement, adjectives must be placed in front of the noun which they modify.
The basic word order is Verb-Subject-Object (VSO). Lortho contains a lot of information in the verb and the noun or noun phrase. The verb is conjugated by person and gender and thus pronouns are largely unnecessary except for emphasis or clarification. The nouns are altered to denote case, greatly diminishing the need for prepositions. In addition, below are the basic syntax rules for word order:
- The word order changes to Subject-Verb-Object only in the vocative case.
- Adjectives are placed before the noun.
- Ordinal numbers are treated as adjectives (see below regarding word agreement)
- Adverbs are placed after the verb.
- Interrogatives (who, what, et al) are placed before the verb.
- The question marker (represented in the Leipzig Glossing Rules as Q) is placed at the beginning of the sentence to denote a question.
There are four basic rules which govern agreement between words:
- Verbs must agree in gender and number with the subject (explicit or implied)
- Cardinal numbers do not take case nor gender
- Nouns are not pluralized when counted
see -1MSG tree.F -PL-ACC
I see trees
kilikh-in bon kansaphu-me
see -1MSG two tree.F -ACC
I see two trees (lit: I see two tree)
- Adjectives must agree with the noun which they modify in gender, but not in grammatical case nor number
Examples of grammatical case, verb conjugation, and word order.
|konpharin lorthome||I speak Lortho|
|kalanune denimanimu kalanune khonaminalo
hana tomidikhimu ma kansapthaina
|The people are known as people of the|
lanterns and they lived in that forest.
|lharidikhin kansapthanat hana tharnidikhin
dharakhime. konpharinin toshanimela hana
semanikhin, "hankhanin malhiro
danadanar1." remedikhi toshani,
|I ran out of the forest and climbed the mountain.|
I was speaking to the dragon and said, "I want
to walk through here." The dragon replied,
"You will not walk through here."
|This was taken from Brian's Instagram account
1This has been recently changed to -dar to reduce multi-syllabic affixes.
|The latest version of handwritten Lortho.|
- Endangered Alphabets - YouTube channel about 14 of the world's writing systems threatened with extinction
- International Phonetic Alphabet
- Glossika Phonics - YouTube channel for IPA pronunciation
- NativLang - YouTube channel about the history of written and spoken language
- Online Etymology Dictionary (English)
- Reddit: Linguistics
- Wikitongues - A not for profit YouTube project to help preserve the world's living languages
- World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS)
- Conlang Atlas of Language Structures (CALS)
- Conlang Bulletin Board (CBB)
- Conlang Critic - A YouTube vlogger who offers insight on conlangs
- Conlang Mailing List
- Conlang Relay Museum on CALS
- Conlanging on Wikibooks
- ConWorkShop - an online one-stop-shop for cataloging your conlang
- Fiat Lingua - an online archive of conlang articles
- Guide: Writing System - A guide on how to develop your own writing system
- Language Creation Society (LCS)
- LCS on YouTube
- Reddit: Conlangs
- Reddit: Neography (Constructed Scripts)
- Speculative Grammarian - A satirical periodical on linguistics and conlangery
- Zompist Bulletin Board (ZBB)
- Lortho on CALS
- Lortho in the 24th Conlang Relay (8th Position)
- Lortho on ConWorkShop
- Lortho on FrathWiki
- Lortho Lexicon
- The World of Dhamashi (CBB)
- The World of Dhamashi (Conworlds.fun) <- Archived and moved to a different site
- Lortho hosted on LCS
- Lortho on Omniglot
- Lortho – English Dictionary
- Bourque, B. (2017, September 6). The language of Lortho and the world of Dhamashi. Retrieved from http://aveneca.com/cbb/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=6334
- Conlang Mailing List. (n.d.). Retrieved from Brown University: http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/conlang.html
- International Phonetic Alphabet. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.internationalphoneticalphabet.org
- Guide:IPA. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://linguifex.com/wiki/Guide:IPA
- Bourque, B. (2017, July 15). My newest text in my invented language. [Instagram post]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BWmOEyinpTA/?taken-by=bbbourq