Lortho

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Lortho
Lortho
['loɾ.tʰo]
Spoken in: Lamona Continent
Conworld: Dhamashi, a circumbinary planet
Total Speakers: ~ 60,000,000
Genealogical classification: Proto-Lamona
   - Old Lortho
      - Lortho
         - ?
Basic word order: Verb-Subject-Object
Morphological Type: Agglutinating
Morphosyntactic Alignment: Nominative-Accusative
Created by:
Brian Bourque Conceived in 2003
Manifested in March 2017

Lortho is an a priori constructed language created by Brian Bourque in the beginning of 2003. It originally started as a prop for a strategy board game where only the script was created for aesthetics. It is an agglutinating language with some minor fusional aspects.

The people (Kalanune) who speak Lortho live on Dhamashi, a circumbinary planet which has two natural satellites. The planet's surface has many similarities to Earth where it has oceans, mountains, deserts, and forests. The planet has three major continents: Mashonu, Kashti, and Lamona. The Kalanune live on Lamona.


Inspiration

A friend was creating a board game similar to Risk; however, instead of taking place on Earth, this new game was to take place on an inter-planetary scale. The game creator wanted to develop an extraterrestrial theme and requested a fictional script. The name of the race on this game is "Lortho" and thus the seed was planted. Brian was unable to work on this piece for quite sometime until he joined the CONLANG mailing list and observed both seasoned and novice conlangers discussing all aspects of linguistics. Since then he decided to move forward and bring Lortho into fruition.

Another inspirational source is Brian's daughter. Through her development of learning how to make speech sounds leading to coherent speech, Brian found certain "words" to use in Lortho which he used to develop its phonology.


Dhamashi
Kashti Lamona Mashonu
Dhamashi

Etymology of Lortho

Lortho is a combination of Lor, the god from which their story of life stems, and -tho, the archaic form for the genitive case. It has since become a noun and can take other case endings (e.g. konpharin lorthome - I speak Lortho-ACC).

The mountain whence Lor is said to originate is called Malhi Dharakhi, "Great Mountain," and is located in the coastal mountain range on the west coast of Lamona.

Goals

The goal is to create the gradual progression of Lortho which will lead to the development of daughter languages and, eventually, create sister languages which have developed on different parts of the planet.

Phonology

Consonants

There are 18 consonants in Lortho and all are strictly pronounced the same regardless of placement.

Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Postalveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive   p   pʰ   b   t   tʰ     d   dʰ     k   kʰ          
Fricative f s ʃ h   
Lateral Approximant l   lʰ
Tap or Flap ɾ

Vowels

Monophthongs


  Front Near- front Central Near- back Back
Close
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
i
u  
o  
ɛ
ɑ 
  Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open

Diphthongs

There are only four diphthongs in Lortho: [aɪ], [eɪ], [aʊ], and [ɔɪ].

Phonotactics

Syllable Structure

The syllable structure is (C)V(V)(C).

  • The syllables can be constructed as:
    • V (at this time only used in 3 person singular)
    • CV
    • CVV
    • VC
    • CVC
    • CVVC

Consonant Clusters

There are no consonant clusters allowed in onsets or codas; however, clusters formed from adjacent syllables (i.e. coda + onset) are allowed. These clusters are:

  1. /nd/
  2. /nk/ (normally pronounced [ŋk])
  3. /np/ (colloquially it is sometimes pronounced [mp] e.g. the verb konpharo to speak)
  4. /ns/
  5. /pt/
  6. /rt/
  7. /sk/

Prosody

Stress

Stress in Lortho is handled as follows:

  1. Stress is always on the penultimatae syllable of the root or infinitive except:
    • -n verbs will always receive stress on the final syllable of the infinitive or root.
    • Pluralized nouns will shift the stress to the penultimate syllable.
  2. If the word is two syllables long, then the stress is on the first syllable.
  3. Stress is neither given to prefixes nor suffixes.

Intonation

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Orthography

Writing System

The Lortho alphabet contains 21 letters, one of which is a vowel. The writing system behaves in a similar manner to an abugida; however, there are no conjunct consonants. Ligatures are formed by the combination of consonants and vowels (other than the vowel [i]). Lortho's script was inspired by the Devanagari, Uchen, and Tengwar writing systems.

Lortho Alphabet
Lortho Alphabet


Vowels and Vowel Constructs

Monophthongs

Vowels (except [i]) are attached to the preceding consonant forming ligatures.

Lortho Vowels
Lortho Vowels


Diphthongs

The diphthongs are written as seen below.

Lortho Diphthongs
Lortho diphthongs


Word-Initial Vowels and Diphthongs

For word-initial vowels, the letter [i] will be used as the place holder (unless the [i] is the vowel) and the additional vowel will be added as one would on a consonant-vowel ligature.

Romanized Text

Since Lortho has its own script, a romanized version has been set up to make it easy to read and pronounce as shown in the tables below.

Consonants
IPA d k l t p ʃ s n m h b f ɾ
Romanization dh d kh k lh l th t ph p sh s n nn m mm h b f r
Monophthongs
IPA i ɑ ɛ u o
Romanization i a e u o
Diphthongs
IPA ɔɪ
Romanization ai au oi ei

Morphology

Nouns

Introduction

Nouns in Lortho have three distinct features:

  1. They are one of three genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter
  2. All nouns are modified to denote case
  3. All nouns end in a vowel

Gender

Masculine Feminine Neuter
-i
dharakhi
mountain
-u
dhammu
chair
-a
hadikha
country, land

Exceptions:

There there are a couple nouns that do not follow the above rules for gender (this will increase as Lortho's lexicon grows):

Masculine Feminine Neuter
tapas
pasta
dhi
water

Grammatical Case

Lortho has ten cases. The vowels in parentheses are added if the word ends in a consonant. The following word will be used for demonstration:

kansaptha (n. neut.) woods, forest
Case Affix Example Translation
Nominative - kansaptha woods, forest
Accusative -(i)me kansapthame forest (direct obj.)
Dative -(i)mela kansapthamela forest (indirect obj.)
Genitive -(i)nalo kansapthanalo of the forest
Sublative -ina/ena kansaptaina in/into the forest
Ablative -(e)nat kansapthanat out of/from the forest
Allative -(e)dan kansapthadan to/towards the forest
Prolative -(e)danar kansapthadanar through/via/by way of the forest
Instructive -(i)len kansapthalen using the forest
Vocative fa(l)- fakansaptha Hey, Forest!

Possessive

The personal possessive is formed using a prefix which is gender and number specific. We will use the following word:

dhammu (n. fem.) chair
Person Singular Plural
masculine feminine neuter masculine feminine neuter
1st person nidhammu nudhammu - nimadhammu numadhammu -
2nd person lindhammu lundhammu - nanidhammu nanudhammu -
3rd person lidhammu ludhammu ladhammu limidhammu limudhammu limadhammu

Pluralization

Each noun is pluralized by adding a suffix:

  1. Feminine (-u) and Neuter (-a) nouns add the plural suffix -ne:
    • Examples:
    1. Feminine: kansaphu (n. fem) tree; pl kansaphune
    2. Neuter: hadikha (n. neut) land, country; pl hadikhane
  2. Masculine nouns (-i):
    • Regular masculine nouns will add the infix -en- before -i:
    • Masculine nouns that end in -ni will add the infix -em-.
    • Examples:
    1. olakhi (n. masc) boat; pl olakheni
    2. phorenni (n. masc) peak, summit; pl phoɾennemi
    • If the noun ends in a consonant, the suffix -eni will be added:
    1. Example: tapas (n. masc) pasta; pl tapaseni

Personal Pronouns

1SG 2SG 3SG 1PL 2PL 3PL
Masculine hin manni i minan namin nimi
Feminine hun mannu u munan namun nimu
Neuter a naman nima

Verbs

Introduction

Verbs are conjugated in gender and in number which are governed by the subject (written or implied). For the most part the conjugations are simple and are formed through agglutination; however, there are slight fusional changes that occur when denoting aspect.

Conjugation

Regular Verbs

There are three main verbs in Lortho: -o verbs, -t verbs, and -n verbs. The conjugation tables below show a preview of how the regular verbs conjugate in each category. Conjugation in other tenses includes more fusional aspects.

-o verbs

The root is formed by subtracting the final "o."

Present Tense
konpharo [kon.'pʰɑ.ɾo] to speak
root: konphar-
Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st pers konpharin konpharun - konpharinan konpharunan -
2nd pers konpharanni konpharannu - konpharamin konpharamun -
3rd pers konphari konpharu konphara konpharimi konpharimu konpharima

-t verbs

The root is formed by changing the final "t" to a "d."

Present Tense
phramit ['pʰɾɑ.mit] to push
root: phramid-
Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st pers phramidin phramidun - phramidinan phramidunan -
2nd pers phramidanni phramidannu - phramidamin phramidamun -
3rd pers phramidi phramidu phramida phramidimi phramidimu phramidima

-n verbs

The root is the same as the infinitive.

Present Tense
shailan [ʃaɪ.'lɑn] to sit
root: shailan-
Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st pers shailanin shailanun - shailaninan shailanunan -
2nd pers shailananni shailanannu - shailanamin shailanamun -
3rd pers shailani shailanu shailana shailanimi shailanimu shailanima

Irregular Verbs

Although labelled irregular, the verbs still have a regular feel in that they still use the same personal endings; however, the root is derived slightly differently. One example is the verb harlan.

Present Tense
harlan [hɑɾ.'lɑn] to be
root: harl-
Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st pers harlin harlun - harlinan harlunan -
2nd pers harlanni harlannu - harlamin harlamun -
3rd pers harli harlu harla harlimi harlimu harlima

Moods

Indicative

The indicative mood is the simplest of the moods and requires no extra suffixes.


Imperative

The imperative form of the verb is simply the root with the vocative case (which can be either implied or explicit).

Examples:

  1. famannu, konphar!
    • Hey you, speak!
  2. fanamin, nathar namineme!
    • Hey you, be quiet! (lit. quiet yourselves)
  3. fabrian, shailan!
    • Brian, sit!

Vocabulary:

  1. konpharo (konphar-) v. to speak
  2. natharo (nathar-) v. to quell, pacify
  3. mannu pronoun you (fem. sing.)
  4. namin pronoun you (masc. pl.)
  5. shailan (shailan-) v. to sit


Subjunctive

The subjunctive mood has many different facets. For now, we will talk about wants/wishes.

In the present tense, the expression of want is done by using the verb hankhan to want + infinitive.

Examples:

  • hankhan-in    kilikho kansaptha-me
    want   -1MSG  see.INF forest.N -ACC
    I want to see (the) forest

Passive Voice

The passive voice is formed by adding the suffix -im after the root before any other additional suffixes. The passive voice does not apply to the present tense at this moment.

Example:

  • madhit (madhid-) v. to give
    1. madhid-ikh-i    i       khanishu-me  u      -mela
      give-  PST-3MSG PN.3MSG book.F  -ACC PN.3FSG-DAT
      He gave the book to her
      • The verb agrees with the subject he (i).
    2. madhid-im  -ikh-u    khanishu u      -mela
      give  -PASS-PST-3FSG book.F   PN.3FSG-DAT
      The book was given to her
      • The verb agrees with book since there is no subject initiating the action; however, book is still affected by the action, hence the accusative case.

Adjectives

Adjectives behave a little differently. All adjectives are roots since they must agree in gender with the noun which they modify. For placement, adjectives must be placed in front of the noun which they modify.

Syntax

Morphosyntactic Alignment

The morphosyntactic alignment of Lortho is Nominative - Accusative.

Word Order

Verb-Subject-Object (VSO). Lortho contains a lot of information in the verb and the noun or noun phrase. The verb is conjugated by person and gender and thus pronouns are largely unnecessary except for emphasis or clarification. The nouns are altered to denote case, removing almost entirely the need for prepositions.

Word Agreement

There are four basic rules which govern agreement between words:

  1. Verbs must agree in gender and number with the subject (explicit or implied)
  2. Cardinal numbers do not take case nor gender
  3. Nouns are not pluralized when counted
    • kilikh-in   kansaphu-ne-me
      see   -1MSG tree.F  -PL-ACC
      I see trees
    • kilikh-in   bon kansaphu-me
      see   -1MSG two tree.F  -ACC
      I see two trees (lit: I see two tree)
  4. Adjectives must agree with the noun which they modify in gender, but not in grammatical case nor number

Example texts

Grammar Samples

Examples of grammatical case, verb conjugation, and word order.

Nominative Case

  • thomid-a kansaptha
    live-3NSG forest.N
    The forest lives

Accusative Case

  • kilikh-in hin kansaptha-me
    see-1MSG PN.1MSG forest.N-ACC
    I see the forest

Dative Case

  • madhid-ikh-in hin ikhi dhammu-me i-mela
    give-PST-1MSG PN.1MSG chair-ACC PN.3MSG-DAT
    I gave a chair to him

Genitive Case

  • madhid-ikh-in hin ikhi dhalannu-me ni-dhammu-nalo u-mela
    give-PST-1MSG PN.1MSG one leg.F-ACC POSS.1MSG-chair-GEN PN.3FSG-DAT
    I gave a leg of my chair to her.

Sublative Case

  • kaura lharid-ikh-annu kansaptha-dan?
    Q run-PST-2FPL forest.F-SUBL
    Did you run into the forest?

Ablative Case

  • lharid-ikh-un-i-an kansaptha-nat
    run-PST-1MPL-PROG forest.F-ABL
    We were running out of the forest

Allative Case

  • kaura malar lharid-in-unan numa-dharati-dan?
    Q why run-PFV-1FPL POSS.1FPL-house.M-ALL
    Why have we run towards our house?

Prolative Case

  • lharid-in-i toshani kansaptha-danar
    run-PFV-3MSG dragon.M forest-PROL
    The dragon has run through the forest

Instructive

  • bilar-ikh-amin nani-dharati-me noima-len
    build-PST-2MPL POSS.2MPL-house-ACC wood.N-INST
    You built your house with (using) wood

Vocative

  • fa-toshani, dha-tumed-anni nukhimo hin-eme!
    VOC-dragon, NEG-able-2MSG destroy.INF PN.1MSG-ACC
    O dragon, you cannot destroy me!

Writing Samples

Sample Text
Text Translation
konpharin lorthome I speak Lortho


Lortho Sample
Text Translation
kalanune denimanimu kalanune khonaminalo
hana tomidikhimu ma kansapthaina
The people are known as people of the
lanterns and they lived in that forest.
Longer Sample
Text Translation
lharidikhin kansapthanat hana tharnidikhin
dharakhime. konpharinin toshanimela hana
semanikhin, "hankhanin malhiro
danadanar." remedikhi toshani,
"dhamalhirianni danadanar."
I ran out of the forest and climbed the mountain.
I was speaking to the dragon and said, "I want
to walk through here." The dragon replied,
"You will not walk through here."
Source: Brian's Instagram post

Resources

Linguistics

Endangered Alphabets - YouTube channel about 14 of the world's writing systems threatened with extinction
International Phonetic Alphabet
Glossika Phonics - YouTube channel for IPA pronunciation
NativLang - YouTube channel about the history of written and spoken language
Omniglot
Online Etymology Dictionary (English)
Reddit: Linguistics
Wikitongues - A not for profit YouTube project to help preserve the world's living languages
World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS)

Constructed Languages

Conlang Atlas of Language Structures (CALS)
Conlang Bulletin Board (CBB)
Conlang Critic - A YouTube vlogger who offers insight on conlangs
Conlang Mailing List
Conlang Relay Museum on CALS
Conlanging on Wikibooks
ConWorkShop - an online one-stop-shop for cataloging your conlang
Fiat Lingua - an online archive of conlang articles
Guide: Writing System - A guide on how to develop your own writing system
Language Creation Society (LCS)
LCS on YouTube
Reddit: Conlangs
Reddit: Neography (Constructed Scripts)
Speculative Grammarian - A satirical periodical on linguistics and conlangery
Zompist Bulletin Board (ZBB)

Lortho

Lortho on CALS
Lortho in the 24th Conlang Relay (8th Position)
Lortho on ConWorkShop
Lortho on FrathWiki
Lortho Lexicon
The World of Dhamashi (CBB)
The World of Dhamashi (Conworlds.fun)

Miscellaneous

Sajem Tan (Common Honey) Collaborative Conlang Discord Server