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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:46 am 

Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:37 pm
Posts: 4
So of the conlangs I've worked on so far, this is the only one I've published. It's my shot at the language of the Argonians from the Elder Scrolls game series, extrapolated from existent sources (hence the sometimes awkward assignment of phonetic values to certain letters, I'm working on that). This is a grammatical sketch of the language. It is not comprehensive in the least, but I'd like to hear from you guys, since most of you are more experienced than me.


The Jel alphabet goes:

a, ch, d, e, g, h, i, j, jh, k, l, lh, ny, n, o, q, r, s, t, th, ts, u, w, x, y, p

Jel has no labials since Argonians don't have any lips.

a is /a/

ch is /c/

d is /d/

e is /e/ or /ɛ/ when unstressed

g is /g/

h is /ɦ/

i is /i/ or /ɪ/ when unstressed

j is /dz/

jh is /ɟ/

k is /k/

l is /l/

lh is /ɮ/

ny is /ɲ/

n is /n/

o is /ɤ/

q is /ʝ/

r is /ɾ/

s is /z/

t is /t/

th is /ð/ except before unvoiced consonants, where it becomes /θ/

ts is /ts/

u is /ɯ/

w is /ɰ/

x is /ɣ/

y is /j/

The last consonant appears as p only at the end of a word, but is present at the beginning of every syllable that begins with a vowel. It is the glottal stop. The stress always falls on syllables containing a long vowel, a diphthong or ending with a click. Otherwise it falls on the penultimate. There are also two clicks. In Argonian, they are c', pronounced /‖/ and xh, pronounced /!/.


Jel has two sets of pronouns: the “connected” set, used to refer to all individuals connected through the Hist, i.e. all Argonians, and a “disconnected” set, used for everything else. The Argonians make no distinction in number, so understanding whether a given pronoun refers to a single individual or to a group of people is entirely a matter of context.


1st person: sep

2nd person: xho

3rd person: suu

4th person: c'a

The 4th person is a special pronoun which we could call a “hyper-inclusive we”, which is used to refer to every being connected through the Hist at the same time, and is therefore the only pronoun which carries some sense of plurality, although this is misleading, since the Argonians perceive themselves as one when they're connected. Depending on context, it can be translated as “the whole world” or “the Argonian people” or other such expressions.


1st person: see

2nd person: to

3rd person: thuu

The “disconnected” set is a later derivation of the “connected” set, created when the Argonians were forcibly taken out of their millennia-long isolation by the Alessian Empire in the First Era, is used to refer to all non-Argonians, which Argonians perceive as being “disconnected” in some way. This is a very discomforting feeling to Argonians, which need to get used to it before interacting with other peoples on a long-term basis. There is no “collective” 4th person.

Use of the Pronouns

All Argonians refer to themselves and their peers with the “connected” set of pronouns, although in special circumstances, such as when speaking with a tribe-leader or a very important individual, an Argonian may refer to himself with the “disconnected” 1st person pronoun, to suggest humility, implying that he's not worthy of being connected through the same Hist as whatever person he's talking to. To address an Argonian with the “disconnected” 2nd person pronoun is in an of itself a powerful insult, and it's not that rare to hear enemy tribes refer to each other as thuu rather than suu. Conversely, every non-Argonian must refer to himself and to his peers with the “disconnected” set of pronouns. To do differently would be seen as unbelievably arrogant and insulting. Argonians may refer to non-Argonians with the “connected” set of pronouns when these strangers have done them a great favour or when they consider them close friends (eg. Mere-Glim probably addressed Annaïg with xho).


Unmarked word order is OSV (Object-Subject-Verb), when the subject of the verb is a pronoun, however, it becomes OVS.

Some Important Suffixes

The Possessive Suffix

Jel marks the possessed noun, not the possessor. The suffix used is -uth if the noun ends in a consonant, and -huth if it ends in a vowel.

The Ablative Suffix

The suffix -duj means from, originating from.

The Purposive Suffix

The suffix -to means (in order) to.

The Derisive Suffix

The suffix -luu indicates amusement or mocking intent.

The Locative Suffix

The suffix -daa means in, inside.

This is about it for the grammar at the moment. Here's the sample sentences I've made:

Suur Haj-Ei golt.
Hist.Sap Haj-Ei drink
Haj-Ei drinks Hist-Sap

Suur golt-suu.
Hist.Sap drink-he/she
He/she drinks Hist-Sap.

Hajhiit maagaruth goc'daa gooluu.
Khajiit cart-POS mud-LOC get.stuck-DER
The Khajiit's cart got stuck in the mud.

Thuu chakkuth lod Hajhiit c’oo? Hajhiit gortsuquth gorihuth thuu gooluthduj thdeitoluu!
they butt-POS lick Khajiit why? Khajiit cuisine-POS flavour-POS they mouth-POS-ABL chase.away-PUR-DER
Why do Khajiit lick their butts? To get the taste of their cooking out of their mouths! (The famous "Khajiit joke")

The Jel Verb

The Jel verb has no tense and doesn't distinguish between persons, but it does distinguish three aspects, five moods, two voices and three cathegories of evidentials. There are also suffixes which I call "emotionals", which specify how the speaker feels about the utterance, and various other suffixes.


There are three aspects: the perfective, the imperfective and the punctual.
The punctual aspect is unmarked, and indicates an action performed once, without any indication as to whether it's been finished or it's still in progress.

Gor Annaig tsuq.
Annaïg cooks./Annaïg cooked./Annaïg will cook.

The imperfective mood is marked by the suffix -re, and indicates an actions which is incomplete, either because it's still in progress or because it was never finished.

Gor Annaig tsuqre.
Annaïg is cooking./Annaïg cooked (but didn't finish)

The perfective mood is marked by the suffix -loj, and indicates an action which has been completed.

Gor Annaig tsuqloj.
Annaïg has cooked.


There are five moods: the indicative, the irrealis, the imperative, the purposive and the optative.
The indicative is unmarked and indicates that the sentence is a factual statement, without personal bias.

Gor Annaig tsuq.
Annaïg cooks.

The irrealis is marked by the suffix -uxh, and indicates that the sentence is not actually all that factual. It is used in "if-clauses" and is required by some evidentials.

Gor Annaig tsuquxh.
Annaïg may be cooking.

The imperative mood is marked by the suffix -lop, and sometimes by the particle c'ee, which is placed at the beginning of a sentence. It is used for commands.

C'ee gor tsuqlop!

The purposive is marked by the suffix -to, and indicates purpose ("in order to...").

Gor Annaig tsuqto, gorjhig rogitee-xho.
In order for Annaïg to cook, you must bring over the pot.

The optative is marked by the suffix -thelh, and indicates desire.

Gor Annaig tsuqthelh!
How I wish Annaïg would cook!

Ok that's it for now, stay tuned for more!

Last edited by lu_ming on Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:51 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Texas
So this is pretty awesome, in my opinion. I didn't read through all of it, though, because I can't distinguish the different parts well after the phonology. I think if you organize it better, mostly grouping things together better, then more people would comment.

I never gave it much thought that they wouldn't have any labials in their language. But they kinda look like they have lips at least in Skyrim. Though I'm sure that's up for debate.

Also, I'd like to know where you got a few sources for the language? Is it just their names?

Have a Dr. Pepper with me?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:48 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:26 pm
Posts: 702
Yes, please set up the phoneme inventory in a chart a la an IPA chart.

The case marking might be a little clearer in a table also.

And I prefer glosses and translations not to be spaced out from the original (it's much easier to see what goes with what if a line break separates examples rather than everything).

Nonetheless, being a fan of Elderscrolls, I think this is quite cool.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:43 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:37 pm
Posts: 4
Yeah sorry for the bad formatting, guys. I'm still getting used to how the board works. I'll edit it to make it a bit more readable.

Yes they look sort of like they have lips in Skyrim, but they're not very agile as far as lips go, so I've decided to ignore them and go full reptilian.

EDIT: I've put the section titles in bold and modified the spacing so it's more readable now. Still don't know how to make tables though. :P

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:43 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:26 pm
Posts: 702
Much better.

For the phonemic inventory (alphabet, whatever), I suggest if not a table, at least put the vowels in one section and consonants in a second, for extra points, arrange them roughly by type (so stops, fricatives, etc.).

So for example:

/a e~ɛ i~ɪ ɤ ɯ/ <a e i o u>

/t d c ɟ k g/ <t d ch jh k g>

and so on.

The angled brackets indicate romanization or orthography.

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