From Linguifex
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This conlang, 리과야뽀 Rigwayavo, was probably the first fully operational one I made. I don't particularly like it anymore, and some of the ideas are rather naïve, but it does incorporate features that I have never seen in any other natlang or conlang, most notably having only one part of speech and semantic elision of the ends of words/word fragments that have already been used in a given passage.

Orthography and phonology

Modified Korean Hangeul. Phonology (transliteration shown when differing from IPA):

  • ㄹ = /ɾ/ (tr: r)
  • ㄷ = /d/
  • ㅌ = /t/
  • ㄸ = /θ/ (tr: th)
  • ㄴ = /n/
  • ㅁ = /m/
  • ㅂ = /b/
  • ㅍ = /p/
  • ㅃ = /v/
  • ㅈ = /dʒ/ (tr: j)
  • ㅊ = /tʃ/ (tr: ch)
  • ㅉ = /ʃ/ (tr: sh)
  • ㅅ = /s/
  • ㅆ = /z/
  • ㄱ = /g/
  • ㅋ = /k/
  • ㄲ = /ʒ~r~ɣ/ (idiolectal variation) (tr: rh)
  • ㅎ = /h/
  • ㅇ = ø
  • ㅏ = /a/ or /ɑ/ (tr: a)
  • ㅔ = /e/ or /ɛ/ (tr: e)
  • ㅣ = /i/ or /ɪ/ (or /j/ if semivowel) (tr: i or y)
  • ㅗ = /o/ or /ɔ/ (or /w/ if semivowel) (tr: o or w)
  • ㅜ = /u/ or /ʊ/ (or /w/ if semivowel) (tr: u or w)
  • ㅐ = /æ/ (tr: ä)
  • ㅡ = /œ/ (or /j/ in combination) (tr: ü or y)
  • ㅓ = /ʌ/ (tr: uh or uh' (used when preceding a vowel))

This does not imitate Korean phonology; it merely mirrors it slightly to make the writing system easier for those who learned it via Korean to use. Odd syllables always take stress, secondary stress within the word and primary stress on the paroxytone. Syllables are always open.

Vowels and <ㄲ> may be realized in many different ways, even by the same speaker. Glottal stops may be placed between vowels, but this is not phonemic. For some speakers, the other distinctions may be phonemic.


Agglutinative. All independent words are so-called 'nouns' (usually two syllables long), and may take suffixes in this order: case marker, number, pronoun, adjective, adverb. The first three suffixes of those listed are always one syllable long. Only the case marker is required, and in informal speech if the case marker is the only suffix, the final vowel is elided. The only verb is the copula, which is unwritten and does not in fact exist. There are 22 cases, and curiously the genitive is not among them.

Pronouns are not used independently, but if it is desired to refer to a previous word or a suffix at least two syllables long found in that word, the first syllable of it can be used. If there is another word or long suffix that starts with that syllable, the next syllable must be included, and so on to differentiate. In speaking, the word may be pronounced or not depending on the formality of the situation, although it may sound stilted to do so (in a legal proceeding, for example, all forms would be fully pronounced so that a quote could be used out of context without excess difficulty for the judge). If the antecedent is a noun, then its suffixes are assumed to be the same to the point at which the repetition differentiates them, if it in fact does so. If it is a suffix, then only the suffix can be repeated. If a word is used with a different set of suffixes, then it is "reset".

Words may be formed from terms that have suffixes themselves and require suffixes to be placed on them. In this case, the word is put in quotation marks and considered to be a unit. For example, 리가야뽀 Rigwayavo is composed of 리과 rigwa- "tongue" + 야 -ya "beginning" + 뽀 -vo "one". To say, "I am learning Rigwayavo", it would be necessary for "Rigwayavo" to be the direct object, but it already has a case marker. To solve that, it is put in quotation marks, and one would say: "리과야뽀"아 사뻬야미.

List of cases:

  1. -da near
  2. -pa alongside
  3. -na in
  4. -ba among
  5. -ja at
  6. -sa beneath
  7. -ra above
  8. -da toward
  9. -tha from
  10. -ta out of
  11. -ga before
  12. -ka after
  13. -sha during
  14. -ya beginning
  15. -wa ending
  16. -za across
  17. -ma by means of
  18. -va for the sake of
  19. -cha dative indirect object
  20. -ha subject
  21. -rha with
  22. -a direct object

Sound changes

The vocabulary is derived from Latin; because of the severe limitations that Rigwayavo puts on every word (must be two syllables, must conform to the phonotactics), many terms are nearly unrecognisable. However, terms that are borrowed from Latin instead of being inherited can be as long as they need to be, and follow slightly different rules. Among the common rules that tend to influence development are:

  • Rhotic sounds at the end of syllables are usually eliminated
  • Nasal sounds at the end of syllables are usually eliminated in inherited terms, although not in borrowed terms
  • Latin h may be eliminated, although it is more often retained
  • Consonant clusters are broken up by the neutral vowel ü
  • Latin i or u followed by a vowel is changed to a semivowel (y or w)
  • Latin l is changed to r
  • Latin ch is changed to k or rh, depending on context
  • Latin f and ph are changed to th (and Latin th is retained as such)
  • Latin sc followed by i or e becomes sh; otherwise, c always becomes k
  • Latin gn becomes ny
  • Latin cl, gl, and fl may become ry, but are irregular and often do not
  • Latin vowel length distinctions are completely disregarded
  • The accusative singular with the final -m removed (for nouns) and 1st person singular present active indicative (for verbs) tend to be the lemma forms used as a basis for Rigwayavo forms, although nouns ending in -um or -us in the accusative singular have their endings changed to -o
  • Some stems with primarily verbal meanings may come from the present imperative forms, such as 이테 ("go")
  • Single syllable stems are reduplicated to form stems with the necessary minimum length of two syllables
  • Regular vowel changes: Lat. au --> Rig. uh, Lat. ae --> Rig. ä, Lat. y --> Rig. ü, Lat. oe --> Rig. e or u (irregularly)

Example text

Example text:

Hangeul: 호모하모토토 나토하리베로 디늬타테아애콰레 "레레아오포테"나애. 호 커사아아고 코느찌에느탸아아 데베아"모도나뽀뜨라".

Romanisation: Homohamototo natoharibero dinyitatenaäkware "rereaopote"naä. Ho kuhsaaago konüshienütyaaa debea"modonavothüra".

Grammatical analysis: person-NOM-DEF-PL-all birth-NOM-free dignity-ABL-equal (thing-ACC-INDEF-PL-able)-ABL-equal. person-NOM-DEF-PL-all reason-ACC-action conscience-ACC-action debt-ACC-(manner-ABL-SING-brother)

Translation: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)