- Rynian -

The Ground

(for the curious: these are what i call narui, the type of vision that is my namesake. Don't expect to understand them ;)

  • stone-ringed fern, grasses four seven
  • oaks and glassy knots
  • the tech shop, dripping with paint
  • paul's house, the wooded gloom
  • yellow brush: sun; pinwheel; tea; grass
  • deep deep deep silence silence silence

How did I choose these? They happen to be the ones I can conjure pretty much on demand, and that don't make my head hurt if I focus on them for more than a second or two. In other words, they're harmonious. Most of the other narui I've found are dissonant with the very structure of my being—which is not to say they're bad; they just aren't me.

On the other hand, I should stay away from:

  • images
  • the temple of the sun
  • greek. I like it, but not in this language
  • chess by the window of stars
  • writing a formal grammar

Design Principles

I think the overall aesthetic I'm going for is packed: there is a lot of information (visual, acoustic, semantic) per morpheme. Consider a word like:




These are aesthetically dense. It almost seems like each one is two words that somehow got mashed on top of each other. This contributes to the other quality I'm going for: a kind of dreamlike ambiguity, where things only seem to make sense if you don't look directly at them. This is a language that's designed to be skimmed deeply: rather than reading it, you just sort of absorb it.

Enough rambling. It's time for...



i     u
 e    o
  ɛ   ʌ
  • /a/ <a>
  • /e/ <ä>
  • /ɛ/ <e> <ë>
  • /ʌ/ <e>
  • /o/ <o>
  • /u/ <u>

Long: ô û î â



m    n      ng
b    t d    c g
f v  s   --ch--
     l lh
     r rh


  • /m/ <m>
  • /n/ [ŋ] <n>
  • /ŋ/ <ng>
  • /b/ <b>
  • /t/ <t>
  • /d/ <d>
  • /k/ <c>
  • /g/ <g> <dh>
  • /f/ <f>
  • /v/ <v> <mh>
  • /s/ <s>
  • /ʃ/-/x/ <ch>
  • /w/ <w>
  • /l/ <l>
  • /ɬ/ <lh>
  • /r/ <r>
  • /r̥/ <rh>


Consonant clusters are governed by the sonority hierarchy principle. Consonants that are more sonorous (in a sense, closer to being vowels) occur closer to the vowel at the syllable's nucleus.

From low to high sonority, the order is:

  • stops: b d g t c
  • fricatives: v f s ch
  • nasals: n m ng
  • approximant: w
  • liquids: r l rh lh

At most two sounds from each group can occur per cluster (and they must be different). There are additional restrictions too, relating to voicing, but the rules are complicated and I don't feel like writing them down :P

Vowels follow their own pattern: to form a diphthong, vowels must be arranged in order of increasing lightness. The lightness hierarchy goes:

  • u
  • o
  • a
  • e
  • i

The letters ë and ä cannot appear in diphthongs.

Triphthongs (clusters of three vowels in one syllable) are also possible, again respecting the lightness hierarchy.

So a maximal syllable in Rynian looks like this:


though of course that's not typical, and even I find this word impossible to pronounce. It's more common for syllables to look like:

gdnwos mno mhni dgarlc cwel fnai cnâm tolch bar sdair mhî lhind dnoei thôg wroarl

Words of multiple syllables are possible too, of course:

dgëe amrû tawal diant argël ëdor umral bmraich dalant gaman selcnâma fiog miobrian


The constituents of a verb phrase are arranged in order of volition. Willing participants in the action come first in the sentence. Often this means that the word order is subject-object, but not always.

Rynian is notable for having no way of embedding a verb phrase or sentence inside another type of phrase. You have to use concatenation with verbal anaphors instead: