by Max Barry

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by The Empire of Ru-. . 51 reads.

The Drailaek Language (Heavy WIP)

ooc note: i was never expecting to attempt describing what the Ruvian language actually was, since I thought conlangs were way above my ability or interest. However I've looked into it recently and I was surprised by how interested I actually am in this stuff and how much the idea of actually working this out is appealing to me. There is something major that will make this alot easier for me, despite how new I am to all this: since I've already established heavily in my world building that English is the lingua franca of Ru, and that the Ruvians teach and promote it's use as a global trade language very aggressively, I need not worry about Drailaek feeling " too similar" to English. Actually quite the opposite, I *need* to avoid differentiating too much from my native English, otherwise it would make little sense for me to claim that it is somewhat easy for Ruvian highschoolers to learn what is objectively a very difficult language.This will be mostly a way for me to write this stuff down as I come up with it, so it'll be updated constantly

Drailaek is the Ruvian native language and one of the two official languages in Ru (English being the other). This is typically the first language learned by the great majority of Ruvian children. Many Ruvian adults are bilingual due to the core curriculum taught in Ruvian public schools. However, in especially rural and remote areas of Ru, Drailaek is often the only language spoken or understood. Ironically enough, the word "Drailaek" actually breaks the established conventions of the language (you'll see how shortly) this is because it is actually the Sharnese word for "the language spoken by the people of the 12 cities." (meaning "dragon language") The ancient people of the Dragonlands did not seem to have a word for their language previously, but they loved the Sharnese term and used it themselves. "Drailen" (meaning "dragon men") has the exact same origin. It is the Sharnese word for the people of the 12 cities, and those people loved it enough to add it to their language, as a word referring to their entire race (which, in a confusing twist, includes the Sharnese themselves, who use a different word to refer to the "Drailen" race.)

(despite the spelling, it's often pronounced with an extra "e" sound at the end, Ruvians were just too used to having all thier words use open vowel syllables to avoid this.


consonant sounds: m, n, p, b, d, g, dʒ, k, tʃ, r, f, s, z, ʃ, h, l, ɹ, j, ʍ, ʔ, t

vowel sounds: a, e, i, o, u
dipthongs: ei, ɔi, ai

Drailaek Script
ooc: Don't have symbols for these yet, so I'll just discuss the letters. I am thinking of a syllabry, which will be made up of combinations between the following vowels and following consonants:

The vowels
1. a (as in "ah")
2. e (as in "eh")
3. i (as in "see")
4. o (as in "oh" or "snow")
5. u (as in "moo" or "Ru")

1. ei (as in Aiden or day. Written as "ai" in the romanized alphabet)
2. ɔi (as in boy or toy. Romanized: written as "oi"
3. ai (as in pie or spy. romanized: written as "ie"

The Consonants
1. b
2. ch
3. r (unrolled)
4. d
5. h
6. k
7. l
8. g
9. m
10. n
11. p
12. s
13. w (pronounced "hw" / "ʍ" )
4. x (pronounced with "z" sound if it begins a word)
15. y
16. sh
17. f
18. j

the script so far looks like it'll have 100 glyphs. The 90 consonant-vowel combinations + glyps for the 5 vowels themselves, +5 for the 5 double consonants (ll, rr, mm, nn, and kk) They will have upper and lower case forms. (upper case will be indicated with just a simple addition, such as 2 horizontal lines through the middle of the glyph) Will have a rule that F and J can only begin words derived from Drailaek itself.

note: the "rolled r" trill is not given it's own letter in the romanization, and is instead pronounced whenever there are two /r/ letters in a row (rr, like in "barren")


word order
SVO (subject, verb, object) word order. Prepositions, adjectives, and possessive pronouns come before the nouns. (just like in English! If i wanted English to be an easy enough second language for my native speakers to grasp, I felt keeping these the same was important. Will also keep things easy for me too.) Word order is thus very important in Drailaek in order for a sentence to be understood.

Syllable rules: This language uses an open vowel syllable system, where each is made up of one consonant and one vowel or diphthong.

possible exceptions:
-proper nouns
-pairs of like consonants, which count as 1 consonant for this rule. (such as ll, rr, mm, nn, kk, etc.)

All words must end in a vowel
Exception: proper nouns (such as, for example, "Drailen" and "Drailaek")

Note: e if placed at the end of a word, is always silent. This allows words from foreign languages that do not end in a vowel sound to be pronounced correctly, without breaking the system of the original Drailaek syllabry. "Drailen" could simply end with the glyph "ne" and speakers would know not to pronounce the e part. The silent ending e would eventually take over the "e" vowel sound in many Drailaek dialects, causing the speakers to eventually not pronounce "e" at all unless it is the sound that begins a word.

Names, especially family names, were very important and powerful things in ancient Ruvian society. Having a family name meant one was of the nobility, and as the language was codified and written down, they wanted to be certain that their names and the names of Ruvian cities and deities would be written and continue to be spoken correctly no matter how they related to Drailaek's grammatical and phonotactical rules. Which is the reason behind the proper noun exception.

ooc: I added these vowel rules because I like the way that words with lots of vowels sound. Italian words seem to do this alot and I've always been a big fan of how those sounded. I noticed that alot of the Ruvian noble and place names I came up with beforehand already did this anyway, so I take that as a sign that my preference for words like this is really strong. This also meant I could make the Drailaek script a syllabary system instead of an alphabet!

capital letters: like in English, letters will be capital letters if they begin a sentence, or if they begin proper nouns.

numbering: English has an affix for plural words. I learned that ancient greek has a different affix for pairs. I thought this was kinda neat so I'll have Draillaek do it too.

tense: english has an affix for past tense but not for future tense. I noticed french does add an affix for words in future tense. I thought this was kinda cool so I wanted it.

I think I am gonna try to have the language not use separate words for articles, and instead have them attach to the noun as a suffix. I also want to incorporate a formality system where there are different honorifics, pronouns, and certain other words that have different forms that are more or less proper to use depending on to whom you are speaking. (basically there might not be many function words, and instead articles and prepositions may be expressed with affixes or clitics.

so a different suffix for definite article (i.e. "the") one for indefinite article ("a/an") and then the suffixs for plural and pairs. in this order: noun > article suffix > singular/plural suffix. Not sure if I want separate words for determinatiors, quantifiers, demonstratives and interrogatives yet. will think about it. "a" and "the" will be clitic suffixes that go after the first relevant noun in the sentence. (i.e. "the king and queen built a castle." would be "King(the) and Queen build(ed) castle(a)." )

Case is expressed through word order. The subject and object are identified by where they are in the sentence compared to other words.
-pronouns, which are expressed through different words depending on their case: subject, object, and additional cases to express different levels of formality.
-gentitive suffix, (to show possession.) this is expressed by giving the latest relevant noun in the sentence a clitic affix (i.e. the 's in "the king and queen's castle.")
-inessive prefix, to show the noun is physically inside another noun (in), or part of a larger category (within)
-adessive prefix, to say something is near something else (by/nearby)
-locative prefix, (at)
-subsessive prefix, to say something is below something else ("under")
-superessive prefix, to say something is above something else (on to of, "upper")

1 past tense (past suffix), 1 present tense (no tense affix), 1 future tense (future suffix)
aspect: perfective (completed) and imperfective (incompleted) verbs are perfect by default but can be made imperfect by making it a past participle and adding an auxillary verb
note: add affixes for past and present participle.
indicative - expresses fact, opinion, assertion, question. the standard verb mood
imperitive - expresses a command. verb can leave "you" unspoken
subjunctive: expresses a wish for something to be true, or expresses something that is contrary to what actually is

agreement for third person singular pronoun ("he run(s)")

might add a verb inflection to show politeness/formality! I kind of want sentences to change completely whether you are in the polite/formal/respectful speaking mode, or the informal/friendly speaking mode.

lots of affixes, basically. This is looking like and agglutinative language, which lends itself to having many affixes creating larger and larger words. (the more tiny english words like a/the/in/by/is/of/etc. i can eliminate in favor of an affix without my head exploding, the better.)

Drailaek has a grammatical "it" to provide a subject for verbs with 0 valency, since all verbs need a subject.

agreement: adjectives do not have to have to match the inflection of the nouns they are modifying. (though verbs must match thier subjects)

comparison: 3 degrees of comparison: positive, comparitive, superlative. (i.e. strong, stonger, strongest)

adjectives only describe nouns, to describe verbs, adverbs are used instead. They can also be used to describe adjectives or sentences or other things as well. A special suffix is used to indicate an adverb.

compunding: modifier-head order.

equivalent affixes for "er" "un" "pre"
"er" can turns verbs into nouns ("to work" becomes "worker")
"al" equivalents can turn a noun into an adjective, "ize" can turn that into a verb and "ation" can turn it back to a noun (concept->conceptual->conceptualize->conceptualization)

relative clause: a sentence combined into another sentence to describe a noun. Must be put after the noun it's describing. "The bike *i just bought yesterday* rolled down the hill"

nominal clause: take the place of nouns. "The Ball is red. I know the ball is red." becomes "I know that the ball is red."

adverbal clauses: act like adverbs, modify verbs
of time: determines when something is happening. "when"
of reason: justifies the meaning of the clause they determine "because" "since"
purpose: shows the objective of the subject of the verb they determine. "(in order) to"

some starting words

Person: Chai
Man: Chaio
Woman: Chaia
Child: Chia
Men: Chaiona
Women: Chaiana
Children: Chiana
2 men: Chaiodi
2 women: Chaiadi
2 children: Chiadi

(thinking of having nouns that refer to types of people having different plural rules then other words)

Drailaek is already filled with exceptions and cheeky loopholes for rule breaking words to be allowed in anyway. I will likely continue down this path for as long as I can wrap my head around it all. This is because Ru was an expansionist empire, surrounded by other cultures and languages and it's culture had no problem stealing words and ideas from other cultures and twisting them to make them seem like they were always meant to be there. (this is the reason why english is the way it is as well!)


for nouns
locator prefix -> personal prefix -> article prefix -> noun -> numeral suffix -> honorific -> posessive suffix

plural: xi
plural person: na
dual: di

gentitive possesive singular suffix: 'si
genitive possesive plural suffix: 'ixi
personal possessive prefix: mi
inessive prefix: la
adesive prefix: lo
locative prefix: lu
subsessive prefix: limo (limono = under)
superessive prefix: lima (limana = upper)

definite article prefix: hi
indefinite article prefix: ho

boka = house

Limohibokaxi = under/below the houses
Limahobokadi = ontop of/above two houses
Labokaxi = in houses
Luhiboka = at the house
Lumiboka = at my house
Lumibokaxi = at my houses
Lumiboka'si [birthday] = at my house's [birthday]
Lumiboka'ixi [birthday] = at my houses' [birthday]

for verbs
negation prefix -> verb -> participle

verb negation: prefix fo (replaces "not")
verb negation imperative: fopa (replaces "do not")
adjective negation: prefix fo (replaces "un" and "im")


present participle: 'i. represents an action as ongoing or incomplete (english: "-ing")

past participle: 'e. It represents a completed action or state. (note: "e" is always silent when it ends a word *except when it is a past participle* the gluttal stop ' is used to indicate this status) (english: -d, -ed, -t, -n, and -en)

future active participle: 'o. It represents an action that is about to happen. (english: "about to" "going to")

future passive participle 'u. (english: " is to be" "will be")

when used as an adjective, the present participle has a passive meaning. ("burn'e child" would mean, "a child who is burnt")

when used as an adjective, the past participle has an active meaning. ("bark'i dog" would mean "a dog who barks")

particple suffixes go at the very end of the verb no matter what.

formal participles
present: xerro
past: xorru
future: xarri

goli = to speak

Goli'i = speaking
Goli'u = will be speaking
Goli'e = spoke
Golixerro = speaking (formal)
Golixorru = will be speaking (formal)
Golixarri = spoke (formal)

formality effects the verbs and pronouns used when engaged in the formal form of speech. It also affects honorifcs which are added to people's names, and sometimes regular nouns as well, if one wishes to personify them.

pronoun formality = replace the pronoun with a new formal equivalent

Ba: color
Be: gem
Bi: skin
Bo: hair
Bu: beauty
Ka: safety
ke: fly
ki: small
ko: bird
ku: big
da: danger
de: bone
di: two
do: dog
du: hunt
fa: wood
fe: soil
fi: rice
fo: not
fu: tool
ga: sand
ge: spice
gi: ice
go: wind
gu: storm
ha: hot
he: heart
hi: dry
ho: cold
hu: love
ja: gold
je: iron
ji: scales
jo: stone
ju: blood
la: cat
le: silk
li: I
lo: wealth
lu: luck
ma: rain
me: wet
mi: mine
mo: fish
mu: water
na: sea
ne: reptile
ni: spirit/ghost
no: sleep
nu: peace
pa: horse
pe: animal
pi: cow
po: earth
pu: pig
ra: mountain
re: honor
ri: king
ro: god
ru: society
sa: day
se: summer
si: fire
so: sun
su: light
wa: moon
we: autumn
wi: star
wo: bug
wu: magic
xa: future
xe: present
xi: many
xo: past
xu: one
ya: tree
ye: medicine
yi: plant
yo: forest
yu: food
cha: spring
che: flower
chi: young
cho: new
chu: life
sha: death
she: winter
shi: old
sho: shadow
shu: night

--other roots--

The Empire of Ru-