Citizens of the Imperium

Citizens of the Imperium (
-   Contact! (
-   -   RFC: LLellewyloly basic grammar (

robject October 23rd, 2017 12:50 AM

RFC: LLellewyloly basic grammar
1 Attachment(s)
This is a Request For Criticism.

Attached is my very basic grammatical sketch of the LLellewyloly trade language.

Adam Dray October 23rd, 2017 03:44 PM

Because of my goals of becoming the Dandelion King, I take special interest in the language of the Llellewyloly.

I get why you reduced the phonology, but might I suggest adding tonality to it? I get that you don't to turn it into a full whistled language like Silbo, because our medium is largely print, not audio.

You could do a variety of tones or contours for each word, like high, low, flat, rising, falling, trilled, and so on, and denote each with punctuation.

I also understand that Nahuatl has a whistled form, but you didn't explore its tonal aspects.

Also, dare I suggest, the Llellewyloly biology is such that they might have multiple sound-producing organs, and could thus use chords to produce their sounds. I'm pretty sure you don't want to mess with that, though.

One more thing. The TravellerWiki page for Llellewyloly suggests a pronunciation for "Llellewyloly" that uses the Welsh "LL" phoneme (voiceless lateral fricative): [ɬ]. Your phoneme list seems to overrule that; is that intentional? Or should I assume that "Clhh" is [ɬ]?

robject October 23rd, 2017 05:32 PM

I figured if it was pronounced "ch" that it should read "ch" and not "ll". Now granted I don't know what an "ll" is...

I didn't realize I'd reduced the phonology!

You know, the vowel could simply be a tonal marker. O = low, E = middle, Y = high, YUO = warble.

I like the idea of chorded whistles, trills, and warbles, like birds singing in cacophany. Let's tackle that. Since I can't really type in musical chord notation.... hmm, well I guess I actually could, if I grouped a set of chords together. That's strange; it would be as though one word would consist of a couple "beats", or a frame, or some kind of structure that identified chording. Like:

These four letters represent a four-part chord. The third voice here is different than voices one, two, and four.

Would the chord be one piece of information? Would the entire group be whistled, trilled, or warbled?

Or would each voice have its own aspect?


Adam Dray October 23rd, 2017 06:46 PM

Or they just write up to five lines of text at once.

Adam Dray October 23rd, 2017 06:57 PM

Probably "LLellewyloly" (pronounced "Chlay-chlew-i-lolly") is a terrible approximation of how they say it.

Maybe it's

_Chu_ . . . \Shu\ . ~Lalala~
/Laaaaaay/. _Luu_ . /Ee/
. . . . . . . . ~Leeleeleeleelee~

Key: _flat tone_, /rising tone/, \falling tone\, ~trilled or repeated~

Good luck with that.

It becomes a five-dimensional code (really, more once you count the multiple dimensions of the phonemes and tones that other languages already have).

I mean, perhaps "_Chu_ . . . \Shu\ . ~Lalala~" is the throughline and /Laaaaaay/ is a kind of modifier.

robject October 23rd, 2017 08:10 PM


I'm really tempted to solve that cute little orthographic puzzle, if only because it really looks alien.

Your example resembles a bagpipe chord. If the drone were a full voice.

OK. You sold me. The bagpipe metaphor won me over.

You'll be sorry now.

Adam Dray October 24th, 2017 12:01 PM

Anything that produces a weird and alien language for a weird and alien race is a win for me. I will not be sorry.

robject October 24th, 2017 01:20 PM

Thanks Adam. Yes, this is exactly the kind of criticism I'm looking for.

Let me ask you if we can get this as an almost-freebie. What if we say that each "chord" in a word has up to five parts, which are here transcribed as syllables? Can we do that and only minimally change the way we write their words?

So, without making the written text rather inaccessible via multiple lines per word...
...because, while that definitely looks alien,
  • we're still in the milieu of players of a game, right?
  • (let's face it) the grammar is human for the same reason...
  • and the more un-writing-like it looks, the less likely anyone is to bother with it...

If I write


Then this means

LL, voice 1, even tone
LL, voice 2, warble
L, voice 3, falling tone
L, voice 4, rising tone
-0-, voice 5 (silent)

Well? It's annoyingly satisfying from an alien point of view, but the orthography is also "legible" and doesn't require thinking "Now which symbol do we use for the trill? And how do I line these up on separate lines? DANG NABBIT THIS IS ANNOYING I'M NOT BOTHERING WITH IT!"

I'd posit adding a dash or an apostrophe as a "null vowel" that represents an "un-voiced" voice, so words can have "silence" in voices 1-4 (and if there's only four syllables, of course voice 5 is silent).

robject October 24th, 2017 01:29 PM

I think the reason I didn't examine the whistled form of languages like Matazecan is exactly because I didn't worry about tone.


You know, if we have a "high functional load" in tones, then that would make LLellewyloly a (nicely) whistled language. It would make sense since the consonant inventory is very low (C, Clhh, H, L, LL) (although /SH/ (or Slhh?) is probably ok to add). Everything else could theoretically be considered a vowel. And we could extend the "vowel" inventory... especially if those vowels are "just" representations of tones - even, rising, falling, trill, warble, splat, whatever.

Of course, if you can honk out FIVE tones in ONE syllable, even with the reduced sound inventory you've got a good bitrate.

Adam Dray October 24th, 2017 04:45 PM

In agreement across the board.

I don't think it's canon-breaking or troublesome to say that "LLellewyloly" is just the human transcription of their word, and then say that the LLellewyloly version of their own name is more like:




and that it's pronounced in three chords over two syllables.

It's just a matter of whether you want to deal with that complicated of an orthography.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Far Future Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.