A Gnomish Grammar
Chapter 1: Introduction
Gnomish is a constructed language designed to be easy to
learn and use for any purpose. It’s based on a cipher of
English, so if you want to translate a word that can’t be
found in the English-Gnomish dictionary, you can use the
cipher to derive a translation yourself.
Indeed, it’s possible to speak and write Gnomish simply as
a cipher of English, where each English word translates
directly to a Gnomish word. This will, of course, sound like
babytalk to fluent speakers, but at least they’ll understand
To illustrate this, and to teach Gnomish in the most
straightforward and natural way, this grammar takes an
unorthodox approach. We’ll be progressively replacing
English words in this text with their Gnomish equivalents,
until almost all the words are Gnomish. Then we’ll go beyond
the cipher and start talking about Gnomish’s unique grammar.
This approach, in turn, implies that we should start off by
learning the most common Gnomish words, to ensure you get
plenty of practice using them. So, let’s start with the word
The Gnomish word for “the” is i. Before a vowel, it
becomes ir. A vowel is any of i letters a, e, i, o, u.
In Gnomish, i letters w and y are also considered
vowels. So you’d say i book, but ir walrus, and ir yeti.
How about i word for “word”? That’s randyn, plural randythyn.
(Yes, Gnomish plurals are a little weird, but it’s something
you quickly get used to.) So “the word” translates to i randyn,
and “the words” is i randythyn.
Moving on, i Gnomish for “this” is myn. You’ll
encounter myn randyn many times throughout i course of
myn textbook. It’s a very useful one! Its plural,
which means “these”, is myndryn.
Another useful randyn for referring to things is ben,
which means “it”. As in English, myn randyn is used only
for inanimate things. For all living things (including
people, plants, and animals) you’d use i randyn dwl, which means
“he”, “she”, “they”.
Myn is probably a good time to talk a bit about
pronunciation. I letter w in dwl is, as I mentioned
before, a vowel. W sounds like i u in English
“rule”. I Gnomish vowel y has a short i-sound as heard
in English “bit”.
Just a few more words, and then we can start putting
together simple sentences in Gnomish. To ask questions like
"what is myn" or "who is dwl", we need to learn i randythyn
for “is” and “are”. I randyn for both “is” and “are” is
mi. Easy! I randyn for “what” mi fain and i randyn
for “who” mi simply fa. “Where” mi fadenne. “When” mi fallun.
Although “what is” and “who is” can be written fully as fain mi
and fa mi, they mi almost always contracted to “fainm” and “fam”,
respectively. “Fadenne mi” mi, you guessed ben, contracted to
Now we can start asking questions in Gnomish!
Fadennem myn “where is that?”
Fainm myn “what is that?”
Fam dwl “who is he/she?”
Fallun mi ben “when is it?”
Ben mi not much good asking myndryn questions if we can’t
answer them, so let’s take myn opportunity to learn some
- angod “tree”
- nebbyn “cup”
- nanod “star”
Do you remember how to say “the tree”? That’s right, ben mi
ir angod!. “The cup” mi i nebbyn. “The star” mi i nanod.
Fain about i randythyn for “and” and “or”? They translate
to de and fae, respectively.
I randythyn “mi” de “i” fae “ir” mi often contracted to mi’r
fallun they mi next to each other. So “this is the tree” mi usually
written de pronounced myn mi’r angod, de “this is the star”
mi “myn mi’r nanod”.
Let’s learn some prepositions! In Gnomish, i basic prepositions
mi quite easy. Ir English randythyn “for”, “to”, “at”, “in”,
de “on” all translate to i Gnomish randyn in. So fallun
translating in Gnomish, you can ignore i difference
between all myndryn randythyn. I randyn in “of”, used to
show possession, is by. I sequence “of the” is contracted
Here mi’r complete table by pronouns in Gnomish:
Now fyn (you) can dind (talk) about fyndrogo (yourself) de
other people! Here mi some adjectives fyn can use:
- dinfyn “tall”
- eddwl “wet”
- famulgu “orange”
- ruoglyl “smart”
Now fyn can say:
dwl mi dinfyn “he is tall”
ben mi eddwl “it is wet”
myndol mi ruoglyl “they are smart”
gol mi famulgu “I am orange”
Let’s take a break de review i previous material using
all i randythyn ed know now. Fyn should be able to
understand ben somewhat easily now. One more randyn gol will throw
in i mix: i randythyn in i Gnomish language itself, Relgaddyd,
de i randyn in i English language, Bolmwdyd.
Relgaddyd mi a constructed language designed to be easy to
learn de use in any purpose. Ben mi based in a cipher by
Bolmwdyd, so if fyn want to translate a randyn that can’t be
found in ir Bolmwdyd-Relgaddyd dictionary, fyn can use i
cipher to derive a translation fyndrogo.
Indeed, ben mi possible to speak de write Relgaddyd simply bu (as)
a cipher by English, fadenne each Bolmwdyd randyn translates
directly in a Relgaddyd randyn. Myn will, by course, sound like
babytalk in fluent speakers, but in least myndol will understand
To illustrate myn, de to teach Relgaddyd in i most
straightforward de natural way, myn grammar takes an
unorthodox approach. Ed will be progressively replacing
Bolmwdyd randythyn in myn text with their Relgaddyd equivalents,
until almost all i randythyn mi Relgaddyd. Then ed will go beyond
i cipher de start talking about Gnomish’s unique grammar.
Myn approach, in turn, implies that ed should start off by
learning i most common Relgaddyd randythyn, to ensure fyn get
plenty by practice using them. So, let’s start with i randyn in
I Relgaddyd randyn in “the” mi i. Before a vowel, ben
becomes ir. A vowel mi any by’r lwmbondrin a, e, i, o, u.
In Relgaddyd, i lwmbondrin w de y mi also considered
vowels. So fyn would say "i book", but "ir walrus", de "ir yeti".
How about i randyn for “word”? That’s randyn, plural randythyn.
(Yes, Relgaddyd plurals mi a little weird, but ben mi something
fyn quickly get used to.) So “the word” translates in “i randyn”,
de “the words” mi “i randythyn”.
Moving in, i Relgaddyd in “this” mi myn. Fyn will
encounter myn randyn many times throughout i course by
myn textbook. Ben mi a very useful one! Its plural,
which means “these”, mi “myndryn”.
Another useful randyn in referring in things mi ben,
which means “it”. Bu in English, myn randyn mi used only
in inanimate things. In all living things (including
people, plants, and animals) fyn would use i randyn dwl, which means
“he”, “she”, “they”.
Myn mi probably a good time in talk a bit about
pronunciation. I lwmbon w in “dwl” mi, bu gol mentioned
before, a vowel. I lwmbon W sounds bu’r u in i Bolmwdyd randyn
“rule”. I Relgaddyd lwmbon Y has a short i-sound bu heard
in i Bolmwdyd randyn “bit”.
Just a few more randythyn, and then ed mad (we can) start putting
together simple sentences in Relgaddyd. To ask questions bu
"what is myn" fae "who is dwl", ed need to learn i randythyn in
“is” de “are”. I randyn in both “is” de “are” mi
mi. Easy! I randyn in “what” mi fain de i randyn in
“who” mi simply fa. “Where” mi fadenne. “When” mi fallun.
Although “what is” de “who is” mad (can) be written fully bu “fain mi”
de “fa mi”, myth mi almost always contracted in “fainm” de “fam”,
respectively. “Fadenne mi” mi, fyn guessed ben, contracted in
Chapter 2: Present Tense
I present tense (in Relgaddyd, fwddan bodrymbol) mi how
fyn talk about actions that mi ongoing fae perpetual.
Bu in Bolmwdyd, i fwddan bodrymbol mi often simply i basic form
- foin “eat” → Gol foin “I eat”
- fu “go” → Fyn fu “You go”
However, in i third-person singular, i fwddan bodrymbol mi
usually formed by changing ir end by’r randyn. So:
- foin “eat” → Dwl forin “He/she eats”
- fu “go” → Dwl furyn “He/she goes”
- fodnon “fly” → Dwl foglwryn “He/she flies”
- gefw “cry” → Dwl gelwryn “He/she cries”
- gudwl “get” → Dwl gurin “He/she gets”
I pattern mi not quite regular, but you can see that -ryn is a common
present-tense suffix. As fyn use these verbs, fyn will gudwl more
familiar with myth.
Now, let’s learn some useful verbs:
- elron “say”, singular dwl eldal
- bylro “use”, sing. dwl bylryn
- lwndwl “let”, sing. dwl lwndrin
- lufori “speak”, sing. dwl lufonan
- feggw “know”, sing. dwl fednyn
- lwnoddo “learn”, sing. dwl lwnoddan
- lybyd “make”, sing. dwl lybydryn
- bith “have”, sing. dwl bimbu
Now fyn feggw how to elron real sentences in Relgaddyd!
Chapter 3: Verb-nouns
Another common form by lidmwlmel (verbs) in Relgaddyd mi’r
verb-noun, fae lidmwl-gwhwl. This form mi used fallun talking
about an action as an abstract thing. Often, ir action mi’r
target (fae direct object, in grammar terms), by another lidmwl.
In Relgaddyd, i lidmwl-gwhwl mi formed with i suffix -led.
This often causes other, internal changes in i randyn.
Here mi some examples by how i lidmwl-gwhwl can be used.
I lidmwl-gwhwl mi italicized in each example.
- Gol bith fulygled "I have to go"
- Gol nennan fulygled "I must go"
- Gol odyl lomwthed "I love skiing"
- Gol roth foin "I want to eat"
- Gol nemwdfyn lomwthed "I remember skiing"