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Spoken in: Dhamashi
Conworld: A circumbinary planet
Total Speakers: 6 million
Genealogical classification: Proto-Lamona
   - Old Lortho
      - Lortho
         - ?
Basic word order: Verb-Subject-Object
Morphological Type: Agglutinating
Morphosyntactic Alignment: Nominative-Accusative
ISO 639-3 Code: qlt
Created by:
Brian Bourque Conceived in 2003, Manifested in 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 plant 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.


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[1]. The name of the race on this game is "Lortho" (IPA: [ˈloɹ.θo]) and thus the seed was planted. I was unable to work on this piece for quite sometime until I joined the CONLANG mailing list[2] and observed both seasoned and novice conlangers discussing all aspects of linguistics. Since then I decided to move forward and bring Lortho into fruition. The language itself was not invented until the spring of 2016.

Much of the language stems from the languages that I know, namely Persian, French, and Korean. Although the language is a priori, much of its construction resembles that of an Indo-European flavor; albeit unintentionally. The phonology is largely inspired by Persian (Farsi) in that each letter is strictly pronounced regardless of their position in the the syllable/word. The agglutinating aspect of the language was largely influenced by Korean; however, the cases were inspired by both Hungarian and Finnish. The orthography was inspired by Central/East Asian orthographies which is further expounded here.

Another source of inspiration is my daughter. Through her development of learning how to make speech sounds leading to coherent speech and communication, she "created" words to communicate her wants and needs. Some of these words found their way into the Lortho lexicon.


Many people have asked me, "Why? What is the goal?" The answer is fairly straightforward: I am an artist and I love languages. So, I merged the two. I have an affinity towards non-Latin writing systems and I truly enjoy calligraphy. Therefore, aesthetics are very important in Lortho. If I am honest with myself, I would love to see this language in a movie or television series, but that isn't the main goal. The goal is to make a functional language and its associated world to where I can create works of art pertaining to this world/culture. I want to instill a sense of awe and wonder as if an old relic of eons past had been discovered and its beauty is unsurpassed by anything compared to contemporary times.



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



There are five vowels in Lortho which are strictly pronounced regardless of placement or stress.

  Front Near- front Central Near- back Back
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg


Diphthongs Lortho.png

Syllable Structure

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

Romanization System

For ease of reading outside of its script, a system of Romanization has been developed as shown in the tables below.

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
IPA i ɑ ɛ o u
Romanization i a e o u
IPA ɔɪ
Romanization ai ei au oi


Writing System

The writing system of Lortho is called Dhadakha, so named from the first three letters. It is an alphabet with some featural aspects in denoting aspirated vs tenuis consonants. Dhadakha is comprised of 21 letters, one of which is a vowel. The writing system has some qualities reminiscent of an abugida; however, there are no conjunct consonants and vowels are given equal status as consonants. Ligatures are formed by consonant + vowel with the vowels [i] and [ɛ] being the exceptions. Lortho's script was inspired by the Devanagari, Uchen, and Tengwar writing systems.

This script has been revised to include a "common" script. More to come.

Lortho Alphabet


The vowels are written as ligatures:

Lortho Vowels
[dʰi] [dʰa] [dʰɛ] [dʰo] [dʰu]
Lortho vowels (bookish)

Lortho (Simplified)
[dʰa] [dʰɛ] [dʰo] [dʰu] [dʰi] [dʰ]
Lortho vowels (simplified)



Lortho has ten cases. The following word will be used for demonstration:

  • kansaptha
    (n. neut.)
  1. forest, woods

Case Modifier Example English
Nominative - kansaptha forest, woods
Accusative -me kansapthame forest (direct obj.)
Dative -mela kansapthamela forest (indirect obj.)
Genitive1 -nau kansapthanau of the forest
Lative -ina/ena kansapthaina in/into the forest
Ablative -nat kansapthanat out of (from) the forest
Allative -dan kansapthadan to/towards the forest
Prolative -dar kansapthadar through the forest
Instrumental -len thomidin kansapthalen I live off of the forest
Vocative2 fa(l)- fakansaptha, lharid! Run, forest!

1 -nau is the alienable genitive whereas -tho is the inalienable genitive.

2 the vocative case is the only case which forces the word order to change to SVO vs. the normal VSO.


The possessives are formed by using personal prefixes to the nouns. The same word kansaptha will be used in the table below.

Person Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st person nikansaptha nukansaptha - nimakansaptha numakansaptha -
2nd person linkansaptha lunkansaptha - nanikansaptha nanukansaptha -
3rd person likansaptha lukansaptha lakansaptha limikansaptha limukansaptha limakansaptha

Gender and Number Agreement

There are three rules for noun-adjective-verb agreement:

  1. Verbs must match number and gender of the noun.
  2. Adjectives must match noun gender, but not number or grammatical case.
  3. When a specific noun is counted, the noun does not take the plural since the ordinal number denotes pluralization.


English Lortho
We walk through their forest malhirinan limakansapthadar
He sat on his chair shailanikhi lidhammoina


There are three major verb types: -o verbs, -t verbs, and -n verbs. Each follow a general rule for conjugation.

-o verbs

-o verbs are conjugated by subtracting the -o and adding the personal endings.

-t verbs

-t verbs are conjugated by changing the -t to -d then adding the personal endings

-n verbs

-n verbs keep their infinitive form and personal endings are simply added to the verb. The exception to this rule is the verb [hɑɾlɑn] to be, which will be discussed later.

Conjugation Table

Present Tense
-o Verbs konpharo [kon.'pʰɑ.ɾo] to speak
root: konphar-
-t Verbs phramit ['pʰɾɑ.mit] to push
root: phramid-
-n Verbs shailan [ʃɑɪ.'lɑn] to sit
root: shailan-
konpharin, konpharun konpharinan, konpharunan phramidin, phramidun phramidinan, phramidunan shailanin, shailanun shailaninan, shailanunan
konpharanni, konpharannu konpharamin, konpharamun phramidanni, phramidannu phramidamin, phramidamun shailananni, shailanannu shailanamin, shailanamun
konphari, konpharu, konphara konpharimi, konpharimu, konpharima phramidi, phramiu, phramia phramidimi, phramidimu, phramidima shailani, shailanu, shailana shailanimi, shailanimu, shailanima

Irregular Verbs

At present, there are very few irregular verbs in Lortho; however, the irregular verbs which do exist are somewhat regular in their own right. One such verb is harlan to be.

The verb harlan is conjugated slightly different from the regular -n verbs. The -an is dropped and then the personal endings are added to the root, harl-.

harlan [hɑɾlɑn] to be
root: harl-
Singular Plural
masc fem neut masc fem neut
1st person harlin harlun - harlinan harlunan -
2nd person harlanni harlannu - harlamin harlamun -
3rd person harli harlu harla harlimi harlimu harlima

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.


  • 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
      • In this example, the verb agrees with the subject he (i).
    2. madhid-im  -ikh-u    khanishu-me  u      -mela
      give  -PASS-PST-3FSG book.F  -ACC PN.3FSG-DAT
      The book was given to her
      • In this example, the verb agrees with book since there is no subject initiating the action.



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


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


  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

Sample Text

Lortho Vowels
Text Translation
konpharin lorthome I speak Lortho

Relay 24 Text.jpg
Sample text in Lortho script. Text taken from Relay 24 in CALS


   The Unlucky Fox

shadar lharane dasat dharakhinat harlikhi nuphi.
khabalikhi nuphi dalhotamekhon dhaharlikha halhadar a.
kilikhikhi ikhi molha kansapume.
harlikha dirdhalama lidalhota mokansapoina.
khar khesikhi nuphi kansapume denalikhu kansapu lukhothume hana tushadikhu khashume nuphinalo.
tharikhu bonhan monu saurammu thasame nuphinalo.


ˈʃɑ.dɑɾ lhɑ.ˈɾɑ.nɛ ˈdɑ.sɑt dʰɑ.ˈɾɑ.kʰi.nɑt ˈhɑɾ.li.kʰi ˈnu.pʰi
kʰɑ.ˈbɑl.ikʰ.i ˈnu.pʰi dɑl.ˈho.tɑ.mɛ.kʰon dʰɑ.ˈhɑɾ.li.kʰɑ ˈhɑl.hɑ.dɑɾ ɑ
ki.ˈli.kʰi.kʰi ˈi.kʰi ˈmol.hɑ kɑn.ˈsɑ.pu.mɛ
ˈhɑɾ.li.kʰɑ diɾ.dʰɑ.ˈlɑ.mɑ li.dɑl.ˈho.tɑ mo.kɑn.ˈsɑ.pɔɪ.nɑ. kʰɑɾ ˈkʰɛ.si.kʰi ˈnu.pʰi kɑn.ˈsɑ.pu.mɛ dɛ
ˈnɑ.li.kʰu kɑn.ˈsɑ.pu lu.ˈkʰo.tʰu.mɛ ˈhɑ.nɑ tu.ˈʃɑ.di.kʰu ˈkʰɑ.ʃu.mɛ ˈnu.pʰi.nɑlo
ˈtʰɑ.ɾi.kʰu ˈbon.hɑn ˈmo.nu saʊ.ˈɾɑm.mu ˈtʰɑ.sɑ.mɛ ˈnu.pʰi.nɑ.lo

Leipzid Gloss:
shadar  lhara-ne dasat      dharakhi  -nat harl-ikh-i    nuphi
ago.ADV year -PL beyond.ADV mountain.M-ABL be  -PST-3MSG fox.M
Once upon a time, there was the fox
khabal-ikh-i    nuphi dalhota-me -khon dha-harl-ikh-a    halhadar a
search-PST-3MSG fox.M food.N -ACC-but  NEG-be  -PST-3NSG much.ADJ PN.3NSG
The fox searched for food, but there was not much of it
kilikh-ikh-i    ikhi molha  kansapu-me
see   -PST-3MSG one  huge-N tree.N -ACC
It saw a huge tree
harl-ikh-a    dir     -dhalam-a li          -dalhota mo   -kansapo-ina
be  -PST-3NSG SUPERL  -good  -N PN.POSS.3MSG-food.N  that -tree.F -SUBL
Its favorite food was in that tree
khar khes   -ikh-i    nuphi kansapu-me  denal-ikh-u    kansapu lu          -khothu-me  hana tushad-ikh-u    khashu-me  nuphi-nalo
when scratch-PST-3MSG fox.M tree.F -ACC close-PST-3FSG tree.F  PN.POSS.3FSG-wall.F-ACC and  bury  -PST-3FSG head.F-ACC fox.M-GEN
When the fox scratched the tree, the tree closed its wall (here it means bark) and buried (trapped) the fox's head
thar-ikh-u    bonhan mon  -u saurammu thasa -me  nuphi-nalo
eat -PST-3FSG twenty other-F animal.F head.N-ACC fox.M-GEN
Twenty other animals ate the fox's body
I know this story is a little morbid; however, I was compelled to write a backstory as to why in Lorthoan culture calling someone a "fox" is considered derogatory, as in someone who is utterly unlucky. The story was partly inspired by the competition on the Conlang subreddit for reaching 20,000 followers and the theme was the numeral 20.



Lortho on CALS
Lortho in the 24th Conlang Relay
Lortho on ConWorkShop
Lortho Lexicon
Lortho on Linguifex
Lortho on Miraheze.org
The World of Damashi
Lortho - Hosted by LCS (new)


Conlang Atlas of Language Structures (CALS)
Conlang Bulletin Board (CBB)
Conlang Critic - a YouTube vlogger who offers insights on conlangs
Conlang Mailing List
Conlang Relay Museum on CALS
ConWorkShop - an online one-stop-shop for cataloging your conlang
Fiat Lingua - an online archive of conlang articles
Language Creation Society
LCS on YouTube
Reddit: Conlangs
Reddit: Neography (Constructed Scripts)
Speculative Grammarian - A satirical periodical about linguistics and conlangery
Zompist Bulletin Board (ZBB)


Endangered Alphabets - a not-for-profit organization to catalog 14 alphabets threatened by extinction
Glossika Phonics - a YouTube channel for IPA pronunciation
International Phonetic Alphabet
Online Etymology Dictionary (English)
World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS)

"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." - Mark Twain Brian Bourque (talk) 17:15, 18 March 2017 (PDT)
  1. http://www.omniglot.com/conscripts/fictional.htm
  2. https://listserv.brown.edu/?A0=conlang