Untitled Interlanguage

A language for international/interpersonal communication. Hopefully this will be better than Esperanto.


Here are the sounds of the language, represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA:


labial coronal dorsal
nasal m n
stop b t d k g
fricative f s ʃ
continuant w l~r j


front central back
high i u
mid ɛ o
low a


/n/ assimilates to the place of articulation of a following stop: thus, it is realized as [ŋ] in the clusters /ng/, /nk/, and as [m] in /nb/. The spelling reflects this: /nb/ is spelled <mb>.

The fortis/lenis pairs /t/, /d/ and /k/, /g/ may contrast through aspiration, voicing, or both. Thus, they may be pronounced [tʰ], [t], [kʰ], [k]; or [t], [d], [k], [g]; or [tʰ], [d], [kʰ], [g].

/v/ may be realized as voiced or unvoiced, bilabial or labiodental: [v], [f], [β], or [ɸ].

/ʃ/ may be realized [ʃ], [tʃ], or as any similar sound (e.g. a retroflex affricate). It may also be a palatal or velar fricative: [ç] or [x].

The /l/~/r/ phoneme is a rhotic (usually an alveolar tap or post-alveolar approximant) intervocalically, and an apical lateral [l] elsewhere. The spelling of words reflects this:

  • linya
  • ture
  • delka
  • chival
  • arada
  • alda

The glides /w/ and /j/ form diphthongs when they follow vowels. E.g. /aw/ is realized [aʊ], and /aj/ is realized [aɪ].


Allowable syllable codas include: /n/, /ʃ/, /s/, /w/, /j/, and /l/~/r/. The phone [m] occurs syllable-finally, but does not contrast with /n/ in this position; it is an allophone of /n/ that occurs adjacent to the homorganic stop /b/.

An epenthetic schwa or other central-ish vowel may be inserted between consonants in clusters that are difficult to pronounce. So a word like echli sick, ill may be realized e.g. [ɛʃəli] or [ɛʃɨli].


Stress is on the first syllable of a word. The stressed syllable is pitched at least as high as the unstressed syllables. Typically, the pitch of successive syllables decreases throughout a word, so each word has an overall falling tone.

Latin Orthography

XXX can be written with the Latin alphabet. Sounds are represented by their characters in the IPA, with the exceptions of /ʃ/, which is spelled ch, and /j/, which is spelled y.

Capital letters are used as the first letter of names and foreign loanwords—basically, any word that's not in the XXX dictionary. Beginning a sentence does not cause a word to be capitalized.

Grammar 1: Imperative Verbs

The imperative, or command form of a verb is the most basic form. I.e. it's what's listed in dictionaries.

A sentence may consist of a single imperative verb.

  • kindo! know!
  • layto! celebrate!
  • alfo! speak!

As you may have noticed, all imperative verbs end in -o.

An imperative verb may take a direct object, or target for the action. This follows the verb, as in English.

  • kindo falafram! know a language!
  • layto cheynam! celebrate love!
  • alfo alfeyel! speak a word!

Since the imperative form of verbs is used for other things as well, the particle ay may be added at the beginning of the sentence to make it clear that the verb is imperative. This doesn't change the meaning.

  • ay kindo falafram! know a language

You'll notice that there's no word in XXX corresponding to a in English. XXX has no words for a, an, or the; they're implied by context.

Grammar 2: Possession

The possessor comes after the thing possessed. Here's how it works with pronouns:

  • maytas che his/her/their book
  • maytas chay their (pl) book
  • maytas te its book
  • maytas tay their (inanimate) book
  • maytas le your (sg) book
  • maytas lay your (pl) book
  • maytas ne my book
  • maytas nay our (not your) book
  • maytas way our (all of us) book

The pronouns are:

person singular plural
1st excl. ne nay
1st incl. way
2nd le lay
3rd anim. che chay
3rd inan. te tay

The third person pronouns do not distinguish gender, but you can use paraphrases instead of pronouns if necessary: i wu that woman, i wer that man.

Possession works the same way for words that aren't pronouns:

  • maytas Naru Naru's book
  • falafram maytas The book's language

The word order seems backwards relative to English, but here's a way to make it make sense: think of this as the of possessive construction with the of dropped, e.g.

  • maytas Naru a book of Naru
  • falafram maytas the language of the book
  • maytas falafram a book of language

Grammar 3: Inevitable Mood

The inevitable mood is a type of sentence used to talk about things that either have already happened or are currently happening.

It is indicated by beginning the sentence with the particle e. The rest of the sentence looks exactly like an imperative sentence.

  • E wa-kindo maytas a book is learned i.e. (someone) learns a book
  • E falafro falafreyel a word is spoken i.e. (someone) speaks a word

You'll notice that these sentences have no explicit subjects. This is totally valid in XXX; it's equivalent to the passive voice in English. In the next section we'll learn about sentences with subjects.

Grammar 4: Verbal Subjects

The subject of a verb (the person or thing doing the action) is marked with the prefix a.

  • e a-Naru flesto. Naru celebrates.
  • e a-Kinyel falafro XXX. Kinyel speaks XXX.
  • e a-che kindo maytas. They know the book
  • e a-ne cheyno le. I love you

This prefix does not change the stress of the word, and is separated from it by a dash to indicate this fact.

As in English and many other languages, the subject usually comes before the verb. However, since it is marked with a prefix, you can move it around to change the emphasis of the sentence.

  • e falafro falafreyel a-Kinyel. a word is spoken by Kinyel

Grammar 5: Imperfect Mood

The imperfect mood is used for talking about actions that occur repeatedly, continuously, or habitually, with no definite start or end point. This is in contrast to the inevitable mood, which is used for talking about specific actions that occur within a definite period of time.

The imperfect mood is indicated by beginning a sentence with the particle eyu.

Consider the following two sentences:

  • eyu a-Kinyel falafro XXX. Kinyel speaks XXX.
  • e a-Kinyel falafro XXX. Kinyel speaks XXX.

The first sentence implies that Kinyel knows XXX well, and speaks it regularly or habitually. This is a more or less permanent state of affairs.

In the second sentence, we're talking about a particular speech act, isolated in time. Perhaps this is her first and only utterance in the language. There's no implication that she speaks the language regularly, though there's also no implication that she doesn't.

Linguists in the audience may quibble that this isn't really a mood, but an aspect: the imperfective. However, it certainly contrasts with the other realis mood (the inevitable) and the irrealis moods (the evitable and imperative), in the sense that a sentence cannot be both imperfect and imperative, or imperfect and inevitable. For that reason, I classify it as a mood.

Grammar 6: Evitable Mood

The evitable mood is used when talking about things that have not yet occurred and might never occur. Usually, this means hypothetical situations. The evitable mood is not a future tense; future constructions are usually formed with derivational affixes (e.g. gowa-kindo intend to learn) or by combining verbs (e.g. yuwo kindo want to know).

  • Fi a-ne kindo XXX, wel a-ne falafro te. If I knew XXX, I'd speak it.
  • Fi a-che telto. He might go.

Grammar 7: Narrative Tense

So far all the verbs we have seen are in the present tense. There is also a narrative tense for talking about things happening in a far-distant time (past or future) with no particular relationship to the present moment. Fiction is typically written in the narrative tense.

In the narrative tense, the modal particles that begin a sentence are all different. There's also no imperative mood.

present narrative
imperative a
inevitable e li
evitable fi du
imperfect eyu elo

Of course, characters in stories will use the present tense when speaking to each other (from their perspective, the world of the story is the present).


  • -?? abstract system or interpersonal institution. E.g. alfan language < alfo speak. dosflan government < dosflo decide. cheynam love (n) < cheyno love (v).
  • -(e)yel unit of exchange. E.g. ekonyel dollar, coin < ekono trade. falafreyel word < falafro speak. kindoyel fact, observation < kindo know.
  • su- begin, do to a small degree. E.g. sukindo know shallowly, be learning < kindo know, perceive. su-cheyno start to love, have a crush on < cheyno love.
  • wa- begin, accelerate, ramp up. E.g. wa-kindo learn. wa- indicates a more energetic process than su-, which can refer simply to a steady state of doing something shallowly or without full commitment.


owil-kindo! see!

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