Let’s Make a Conlang: Soleisu Week 1

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I’ve technically been working on this conlang since December 1st – after all, I am using it for Lexember – but surprisingly, I’ve had very little time to work on it. All I’ve created so far are the phonology, orthography, and noun cases. I thought I’d have the opposite problem – that I’d speed through the conlanging process and be “done” in just a few weeks. Looks like this will be a longer series of blog posts after all.

I decided yesterday that this conlang would be called soleisu. What does soleisu mean? Uh…at the moment, I have no idea. I made the word, but I haven’t assigned a meaning to it yet. And it definitely can’t mean “language”, since the word for that is kala.

Consonants

Soleisu has a rather small (for me) consonant inventory. Three stops with no voicing distinction, two fricatives, and two approximants. It doesn’t have /r/ or /w/, which most of my languages include.

 

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal

Nasal

m n

Stop

p t k

Fricative s

h

Approximant l j

It took me a while to figure out what kind of consonants I wanted. I eventually decided on a smaller consonant inventory because it would make the initial consonant mutations (something I had in mind from the very beginning) much more regular. Those consonant mutations will be explained in the noun case section.

Vowels

The vowels here are nothing special. I deliberated for a while with whether or not I wanted /y/, but then threw it in anyway because…I don’t actually remember the reason. It’s just there now.

 

Front Central Back

Close

i y u
Mid e

o

Open a

Soleisu also has a few diphthongs: /ai/, /ei/, /ou/, and /oi/. If I remember correctly, I added these because I wanted the language to look more like Ancient Greek. I don’t think I succeeded in that regard.

Syllable Structure

Syllable structure is CV, with two finals – /n/ and /l/. They can only exist mid-word, never at the end of a word.

I considered having more final consonants, but then decided against it for a reason I don’t remember. This may change in the future. I think I want /s/ as a final as well.

Orthography

I deliberated for a while how I wanted to represent /y/ and /j/. /j/ was originally represented with <j> and /y/ with <y>, but I thought that might make the language look a little too much like Finnish.

Letter

a e h i k

Sound

/a/ /e/ /h/ /i/ /k/

Letter

l m n o p
Sound /l/ /m/ /n/ /o/

/p/

Letter s t u ü

y

Sound /s/ /t/ /u/ /y/

/j/

Noun Cases

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use initial consonant mutations, but not in what way. I eventually decided on using consonant mutations to indicate case. This meant that there could only be a few cases, so I decided on three: nominative, genitive, and dative.

It didn’t take me very long to figure out how to create the genitive case through consonant mutations: every consonant became a fricative. The dative case took a lot more thought. I eventually decided on making each initial consonant “harder” – they shifted to stops.

In the genitive case:

  • Initial consonants become fricatives
  • /h/ is deleted
  • /s/ becomes [ʃ]
  • Initial vowels are prefixed with /h/.

In the dative case:

  • Nasals are prefixed with /t/
  • Stops are unchanged
  • /s/ becomes [ts] and /h/ becomes [t]
  • /j/ becomes [dʒ]
  • /l/ becomes [tl]
  • Initial vowels are prefixed with /t/

Nominative

Genitive Dative

/h/

[t]

/j/

[ʒ] [dʒ]

/k/

[x]

/l/

[ɬ] [tl]

/m/

[v] [tm]

/n/

[h] [tn]

/p/

[f]
/s/ [ʃ]

[ts]

/t/ [θ]

/a/ [ha]

[ta]

/e/ [he]

[te]

/i/ [hi]

[ti]

/o/ [ho]

[to]

/u/ [hu]

[tu]

/y/ [hy]

[ty]

Here are some examples:

Nominative

Meaning Genitive

hali

ali t-ali

kala

khala kala

laati

lhaati t-laati
mailke mhailke

t-mailke

palha phalha

palha

tolko tholko

tolko

yene yhene

t-yene

Words Created This Week

Included here are all the words I created since December 1st.

  • hali /ha.li/ n. star
  • kala /ka.la/ n. language
  • kannai /kan.nai/ n. person
  • laati /la.a.ti/ n. memory
  • lunta /lun.ta/ n. secret
  • /ly/ n. fish
  • mailke / mail.ke/ n. dirt, earth
  • nalai /na.lai/ n. thought
  • palha /pal.ha/ n. fire
  • selio /se.li.o/ n. water
  • tolko /tol.ko/ n. moon
  • yene /je.ne/ n. sun

<< Let’s Make a Conlang: Introduction | Let’s Make a Conlang: Soleisu Week 2 >>

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