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Created byBrian Bourque
Date2003, 2016
SettingDhamashi, a circumbinary planet
Native speakers~ 60,000,000
Early forms
  • Old Lortho
Language codes

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,[1] 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.


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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 [2] 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.

      Kashti      Lamona Mashonu

Etymology of Lortho

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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.


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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. The aforementioned goal is a little outdated and no longer is appropriate. The long term goal is to see this language develop to a fully usable language. To the point where people from the general public wish to learn it. It is ambitious, but I think Lortho and it's world might take off. In the words of Jim Hopkins (Itláni): "Lortho exists in 'Realms-Somewhere-Real.'"

A secondary goal is to see this language come to life on the screen either in a series or feature film.


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There are 18 consonants[3][4] in Lortho and all are strictly pronounced the same regardless of placement.

Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Postalveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive   p   pʰ   b   t   tʰ     d   dʱ     k   kʰ          
Fricative f s ʃ h   
Lateral Approximant l   ʰl
Tap or Flap ɾ


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  Front Near- front Central Near- back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg


LorthoDiphthongs Chart.png


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Syllable Structure

The syllable structure is (C)V(V)(C).

  • The syllables can be constructed as:
    • V
    • CV
    • CVV
    • VC
    • CVC
    • CVVC

Consonant Clusters

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:

  1. /nd/
  2. /nk/ (with an allophone of [ŋk])
  3. /np/ (with an allophone of [mp] e.g. the verb konpharo to speak)
  4. /ns/
  5. /pt/
  6. /rt/
  7. /sk/
  8. /pr/


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Stress in Lortho is handled as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. If the word is two syllables long, then the stress is on the first syllable.
  3. Stress is neither given to prefixes nor suffixes.


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Writing System

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.


Lortho Alphabet
Lortho Alphabet

Vowels and Vowel Constructs

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Vowels (except [i]) are attached to the preceding consonant forming ligatures.

Lortho Vowels
Lortho Vowels


The diphthongs are written as seen below.

Lortho Diphthongs
Lortho diphthongs

Word-Initial Vowels and Diphthongs

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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.

Romanized Text

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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.

IPA d k l t p ʃ s n m h b f ɾ
Romanization dh d kh k lh l th t ph p sh s n nn m mm h b f r
IPA i ɑ ɛ u o
Romanization i a e u o
IPA ɔɪ
Romanization ai au oi ei


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Nouns in Lortho have three distinct features:

  1. They are one of three genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter
  2. All nouns can be modified to denote case
  3. All nouns end in a vowel (with few exceptions)


Masculine Feminine Neuter
country, land


There there are a couple nouns that do not follow the above rules for gender (this will increase as Lortho's lexicon grows):

Masculine Feminine Neuter

Grammatical Case

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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:

  • kansaptha
    (n. neut.)
  1. woods, forest
Case Affix Example Translation
Nominative - kansaptha 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
Vocative fa(l)- fakansaptha Hey, Forest!

1 -nau is the alienable genitive whereas -tho is the inalienable genitive as seen in the endonym Lortho.


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The personal possessive is formed using a prefix which is gender and number specific. We will use the following word:

  • dhammu
    (n. fem.)
  1. chair, seat
Person Singular Plural
masculine feminine neuter masculine feminine neuter
1st person nidhammu nudhammu - nimadhammu numadhammu -
2nd person lindhammu lundhammu - nanidhammu nanudhammu -
3rd person lidhammu ludhammu ladhammu limidhammu limudhammu limadhammu


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Each noun is pluralized by adding a suffix:

  1. Feminine (-u) and Neuter (-a) nouns add the plural suffix -ne:
    • Examples:
    1. Feminine: kansaphu (n. fem) tree; pl kansaphune
    2. Neuter: hadikha (n. neut) land, country; pl hadikhane
  2. Masculine nouns (-i):
    • Regular masculine nouns will add the infix -en- before -i:
    • Masculine nouns that end in -ni will add the infix -em-.
    • Examples:
    1. olakhi (n. masc) boat; pl olakheni
    2. phorenni (n. masc) peak, summit; pl phoɾennemi
    • If the noun ends in a consonant, the suffix -eni will be added:
    1. 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]
  1. a repeated design; pattern
  2. (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

Personal Pronouns

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Masculine hin manni i minan namin nimi
Feminine hun mannu u munan namun nimu
Neuter a naman2 nima

2 The 2nd person plural neuter, naman, is meant for addressing crowds or general audiences



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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.


Regular Verbs

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.

-o verbs

The root is formed by subtracting the final "o."

Present Tense
konpharo [kon.'pʰɑ.ɾo] to speak
root: konphar-
Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st pers konpharin konpharun - konpharinan konpharunan -
2nd pers konpharanni konpharannu - konpharamin konpharamun -
3rd pers konphari konpharu konphara konpharimi konpharimu konpharima

-t verbs

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The root is formed by changing the final "t" to a "d."

Present Tense
phramit ['pʰɾɑ.mit] to push
root: phramid-
Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st pers phramidin phramidun - phramidinan phramidunan -
2nd pers phramidanni phramidannu - phramidamin phramidamun -
3rd pers phramidi phramidu phramida phramidimi phramidimu phramidima

-n verbs

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The root is the same as the infinitive.

Present Tense
shailan [ʃaɪ.'lɑn] to sit
root: shailan-
Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st pers shailanin shailanun - shailaninan shailanunan -
2nd pers shailananni shailanannu - shailanamin shailanamun -
3rd pers shailani shailanu shailana shailanimi shailanimu shailanima

Irregular Verbs

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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.

Present Tense
harlan [hɑɾ.'lɑn] to be
root: harl-
Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st pers harlin harlun - harlinan harlunan -
2nd pers harlanni harlannu - harlamin harlamun -
3rd pers harli harlu harla harlimi harlimu harlima


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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.


  1. famannu, konphar!
    • Hey you, speak!
  2. fanamin, nathar namineme!
    • Hey you, be quiet! (lit. quiet yourselves)
  3. fabrian, shailan!
    • Brian, sit!


  1. konpharo (konphar-) v. to speak
  2. natharo (nathar-) v. to quell, pacify
  3. mannu pronoun you (fem. sing.)
  4. namin pronoun you (masc. pl.)
  5. shailan (shailan-) v. to sit


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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

Passive Voice

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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
    1. 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).
    2. 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.


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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/.

  1. konpharo (konphar-)
    to speak
    • konpharin
      I speak
    • dhakonpharin
      I do not speak, I am not speaking
  2. hankhan (hankhan-)
    to want, wish
    • hankhanin
      I want
    • dhakhankhanin
      I do not want
  3. artemit (artemid-)
    to continue
    • artemidin
      I continue
    • dhakartemidin
      I do not continue


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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.


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Morphosyntactic Alignment

The morphosyntactic alignment of Lortho is Nominative - Accusative.

Word Order

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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:

  1. The word order changes to Subject-Verb-Object only in the vocative case.
  2. Adjectives are placed before the noun.
    • Ordinal numbers are treated as adjectives (see below regarding word agreement)
  3. Adverbs are placed after the verb.
  4. Interrogatives (who, what, et al) are placed before the verb.
  5. The question marker (represented in the Leipzig Glossing Rules as Q) is placed at the beginning of the sentence to denote a question.

Word Agreement

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There are four basic rules which govern agreement between words:

  1. Verbs must agree in gender and number with the subject (explicit or implied)
  2. Cardinal numbers do not take case nor gender
  3. Nouns are not pluralized when counted
    • kilikh-in   kansaphu-ne-me
      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)
  4. Adjectives must agree with the noun which they modify in gender, but not in grammatical case nor number

Example texts

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Grammar Samples

Examples of grammatical case, verb conjugation, and word order.

Nominative Case

  • thomid-a kansaptha
    live-3NSG forest.N
    The forest lives

Accusative Case

  • kilikh-in hin kansaptha-me
    see-1MSG PN.1MSG forest.N-ACC
    I see the forest

Dative Case

  • madhid-ikh-in hin ikhi dhammu-me i-mela
    give-PST-1MSG PN.1MSG chair-ACC PN.3MSG-DAT
    I gave a chair to him

Genitive Case

  • madhid-ikh-in hin ikhi dhalannu-me ni-dhammu-nalo u-mela
    give-PST-1MSG PN.1MSG one leg.F-ACC POSS.1MSG-chair-GEN PN.3FSG-DAT
    I gave a leg of my chair to her.

Sublative Case

  • kaura lharid-ikh-annu kansaptha-dan?
    Q run-PST-2FPL forest.F-SUBL
    Did you run into the forest?

Ablative Case

  • lharid-ikh-un-i-an kansaptha-nat
    run-PST-1MPL-PROG forest.F-ABL
    We were running out of the forest

Allative Case

  • kaura malar lharid-in-unan numa-dharati-dan?
    Q why run-PFV-1FPL POSS.1FPL-house.M-ALL
    Why have we run towards our house?

Prolative Case

  • lharid-in-i toshani kansaptha-danar
    run-PFV-3MSG dragon.M forest-PROL
    The dragon has run through the forest


  • bilar-ikh-amin nani-dharati-me noima-len
    build-PST-2MPL POSS.2MPL-house-ACC wood.N-INST
    You built your house with (using) wood


  • fa-toshani, dha-tumed-anni nukhimo hin-eme!
    VOC-dragon, NEG-able-2MSG destroy.INF PN.1MSG-ACC
    O dragon, you cannot destroy me!

Writing Samples

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Sample Text
Text Translation
konpharin lorthome I speak Lortho
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Lortho Sample
Text Translation
kalanune denimanimu kalanune khonaminalo
hana tomidikhimu ma kansapthaina
The people are known as people of the
lanterns and they lived in that forest.
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Longer Sample
Text Translation
lharidikhin kansapthanat hana tharnidikhin
dharakhime. konpharinin toshanimela hana
semanikhin, "hankhanin malhiro
danadanar1." remedikhi toshani,
"dhamalhirianni danadanar."
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[5]

1This has been recently changed to -dar to reduce multi-syllabic affixes.

Handwritten Lortho
The latest version of handwritten Lortho.


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   The Unlucky Fox
shadar lharane dasat dharakhinat harlikhi nuphi.
khabalikhi nuphi dalhotamekhon dhaharlikha halhadar a.
kilikhikhi ikhi molha kansapume.
harlikha dirdhalama lidalhota mokansapoina.
khar khesikhi nuphi kansapume denalikhu kansapu lukhothume hana tushadikhu khashume nuphinalo.
tharikhu bonhan monu saurammu thasame nuphinalo.
ˈʃɑ.dɑɾ lhɑ.ˈɾɑ.nɛ ˈdɑ.sɑt dʰɑ.ˈɾɑ.kʰi.nɑt ˈhɑɾ.li.kʰi ˈnu.pʰi
kʰɑ.ˈbɑl.ikʰ.i ˈnu.pʰi dɑl.ˈho.tɑ.mɛ.kʰon dʰɑ.ˈhɑɾ.li.kʰɑ ˈhɑl.hɑ.dɑɾ ɑ
ki.ˈli.kʰi.kʰi ˈi.kʰi ˈmol.hɑ kɑn.ˈsɑ.pu.mɛ
ˈhɑɾ.li.kʰɑ diɾ.dʰɑ.ˈlɑ.mɑ li.dɑl.ˈho.tɑ mo.kɑn.ˈsɑ.pɔɪ.nɑ. kʰɑɾ ˈkʰɛ.si.kʰi ˈnu.pʰi kɑn.ˈsɑ.pu.mɛ dɛ
ˈnɑ.li.kʰu kɑn.ˈsɑ.pu lu.ˈkʰo.tʰu.mɛ ˈhɑ.nɑ tu.ˈʃɑ.di.kʰu ˈkʰɑ.ʃu.mɛ ˈnu.pʰi.nɑlo
ˈtʰɑ.ɾi.kʰu ˈbon.hɑn ˈmo.nu saʊ.ˈɾɑm.mu ˈtʰɑ.sɑ.mɛ ˈnu.pʰi.nɑ.lo
Leipzig Gloss:
shadar  lhara-ne dasat      dharakhi  -nat harl-ikh-i    nuphi
ago.ADV year -PL beyond.ADV mountain.M-ABL be  -PST-3MSG fox.M
Once upon a time, there was the fox
khabal-ikh-i    nuphi dalhota-me -khon dha-harl-ikh-a    halhadar a
search-PST-3MSG fox.M food.N -ACC-but  NEG-be  -PST-3NSG much.ADJ PN.3NSG
The fox searched for food, but there was not much of it
kilikh-ikh-i    ikhi molha  kansapu-me
see   -PST-3MSG one  huge-N tree.N -ACC
It saw a huge tree
harl-ikh-a    dir     -dhalam-a li          -dalhota mo   -kansapo-ina
be  -PST-3NSG SUPERL  -good  -N PN.POSS.3MSG-food.N  that -tree.F -SUBL
Its favorite food was in that tree
khar khes   -ikh-i    nuphi kansapu-me  denal-ikh-u    kansapu lu          -khothu-me  hana tushad-ikh-u    khashu-me  nuphi-nalo
when scratch-PST-3MSG fox.M tree.F -ACC close-PST-3FSG tree.F  PN.POSS.3FSG-wall.F-ACC and  bury  -PST-3FSG head.F-ACC fox.M-GEN
When the fox scratched the tree, the tree closed its wall (here it means bark) and buried (trapped) the fox's head
thar-ikh-u    bonhan mon  -u saurammu thasa -me  nuphi-nalo
eat -PST-3FSG twenty other-F animal.F head.N-ACC fox.M-GEN
Twenty other animals ate the fox's body

I know this story is a little morbid; however, I was compelled to write a backstory as to why in Lorthoan culture calling someone a "fox" is considered derogatory, as in someone who is utterly unlucky or who has amassed misfortune.
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Constructed Languages

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  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Conlang Mailing List. (n.d.). Retrieved from Brown University: http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/conlang.html
  3. ^ International Phonetic Alphabet. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.internationalphoneticalphabet.org
  4. ^ a b Guide:IPA. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://linguifex.com/wiki/Guide:IPA
  5. ^ 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
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