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Velyan is one of the two main classical languages of the continent Pellargos, on the planet Máa. Máa is an alternate Earth planet.



There are 12 vowels, each of which can be short or long.

Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
High i y u
High-mid e ø o
Near-low æ
Low a


Bilabial Labiod. Dental Alveolar Post-alv. Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m m n n ŋ ŋ
Labialised Nasal mw nw ŋʷ ŋw
Palatalised Nasal my/m' ny/n' ŋʲ ŋy/ŋ'
Plosive p p t t k k q q
Labialised plosive pw tw kw qw
Palatalised Plosive py/p' ty/t' ky/k'
Aspirated Plosive ph/px th/tx kh/kx
Prenalised Plosive ⁿp mp/mb ⁿt nt/nd ⁿk nk/ng ⁿq nq/mq
Prenalised Labialised Plosive ⁿpʷ mpw/mbw ⁿtʷ ntw/ndw ⁿkʷ nkw/ngw ⁿqʷ nqw/mqw
Prenalised Palatalised Plosive ⁿpʲ mpy/mby ⁿtʲ nty/ndy ⁿkʲ nky/ngw ⁿqʲ nqy/mqy
Prenasalised Aspirated Plosive ⁿpʰ mph/mbh ⁿtʰ nth/ndh ⁿkʰ nkh/ngh ⁿqʰ nqy/mqy
Fricative s s ʃ ʃ (x h) h h
Labialised Fricative sw ʃʷ ʃw () xw hw
Palatalised Fricative sy/s' ʃʲ ʃy/ʃ' () xy/x' hy/h'
Prenalised Labialised Fricative ⁿsʷ nsw/nzw ⁿʃʷ nʃw/nʒw ⁿxʷ nxw ⁿhʷ nhw
Prenasalised Palatalised Fricative ⁿsʲ nsy/nzy/nz' ⁿʃʲ nʃy/nʒy/nʒ' (ⁿxʲ) nxy/nx'
Approximant ʋ v j j
Trill rr
Labialised Trill rʷː rrw
Palatalised Trill rʲː rry/rr'
Flap ɾ r
Labialised Flap ɾʷ rw
Palatalised Flap ɾʲ ry/r'
Lateral Approximant l
Labialised Lateral Approximant lw
Palatalised Lateral Approximant ly/l'


Below is a table of the IPA sounds of Velyan, with transcription.

IPA Letter
a a
æ ä
e e
h h
i i
j j
k k
l l
m m
n n
ŋ ŋ
o o
ö ö
p p
q q
r r
ɾː rr
s s
ʃ š
t t
u u
y y
ʋ v


Velyan has three basic tones, called high, mid and low. The high and low tones are marked with accents, whilst the mid tone is the default tone and is not marked. The high tone is marked by an acute accent over back and neutral vowels and y (á é í ó ú ý) and by a double-acute accent over front vowels (a̋ ő); similarly, the low tone is marked by single or double grave accents: (à ȁ è ì ò ȍ ù ỳ). Long vowels and diphthongs can have two tones.

Vowel harmony

Velyan phonotactics restrict the vowels that can appear in any one word to a subset of the entire inventory. Vowels are divided into three groups: front vowels (ä, ö, ü), back vowels (a, o, u) and neutral vowels (e, i). All vowels in a word must be either front vowels, or back vowels, but not both (though neutral vowels can appear in words with either front or back vowels.)

Initial Consonant Mutation

In Velyan, consonants at the beginning of words undergo a process of initial consonant mutation', whereby an initial p, t, or k is mutated to its equivalent nasal consonant (respectively m, n or ŋ under certain conditions. Conversely, under the same conditions the consonants m, n or ŋ mutate to the consonants p, t or k. The conditions under which this happens are explained more fully in the section on Syntax.

Consonant Gradation

The phenomenon of consonant gradation arises due to a restriction in Velyan words, that prohibits a "strong" syllable from ending in a consonant. A strong syllable is a syllable that begins with a consonant and is preceded by another ending in (at least) one consonant. When this happens, the consonant or cluster at the beginning of the final syllable undergoes lenition or softening (although it can be historically explained as a process of fortition or hardening).

The following changes occur as a result of consonant gradation:

  1. Geminate phonemes change to simplex ones, e.g. tt -> t, rr -> r, ss -> s.

The remaining changes only affect plosives and clusters containing plosives: Clusters change as follows:

  1. Nasals:
    1. Nasal + voiceless plosive changes to geminate nasal, e.g. mp -> mm, nt -> nn
  2. Liquids:
    1. lt -> ll
    2. lp -> lv
    3. lkU -> lvU
    4. rkU -> rvU
    5. lkI -> lji
    6. rkI -> rji
  3. Consonant clusters beginning with s:
    1. sp -> sv
    2. st -> *sr -> rs
    3. sk -> ss
  4. Consonant clusters ending with s:
    1. ps -> *vs -> sv
    2. ts -> rs
    3. ks -> s
  5. Simplex consonants
    1. t -> r
    2. p -> v
    3. k -> Ø
    4. iki -> iji
    5. -UkU -> UvU
    6. v -> w


  1. Long vowels and geminate consonants are written double, e.g. aa, kk. Note that /ɾː/ is the geminate counterpart of /r/.



Nouns are divided into noun classes and inflect for quality, dimension, age, tense/aspect, number, case, possessor, destination and deixis. Suffixes (there are no prefixes or infixes in Velyan) are added to the noun, or (more often) to the oblique stem.

Noun Classes

There are several noun classes, reflecting the division of nouns into several semantic categories. The noun classes are added to a notional form of the noun known as the base. In some cases, the base of a noun ends in one of the letters l, n, r, s, or t, and the noun is in Class IX, which has no suffix; in these cases the base form does surface.

The class suffixes are as follows:

Class Meaning Suffix
I Divine Female -tAri
II Divine Male -tAr
III Female Human -O
IV Masculine Human
VI Female Professional -jA
V Male Professional -ri
VII Animate (Non-Human) -e
VIII Inanimate I
IX Inanimate II -i
X Abstract -U
XI Small Place -lA
XII Large Place -mA
XIII Instrument -ìn


Nouns in Velyan take suffixes to show quality, that is, whether something is good or bad. The suffix for good is -


Nouns in Velyan take suffixes to show dimension, that is whether something is large or small. The suffix for large is -iso after consonants, -is- after consonants and before vowels and -so after consonants and before vowels.



Number in Velyan distinguishes the following categories: general, singulative ("one"), dual ("two"), paucal ("more than two, upto about 10 or a dozen"), plural ("more than ten or a dozen") and collective ("all"). The general form of the noun is the form used when citing the noun in general contexts. as in the English equivalents The lion is a member of the cat family. The number suffixes differ depending on whether the suffix is the last suffix on the noun, or is followed by a suffix beginning with a consonant or a vowel.

Number affixes
Singulative Dual Paucal Plural Collective
Finally -na -r -há -t -kà
Before consonant -na- -u- -h- -i- -kà-
Before a vowel -nan- -v- -h- -j- -kàk-


In English, the demonstratives "this", "these", "that" and "those" are used to point out objects located in space or time. In Velyan, the demonstratives occur as prefixes on the noun, and, in addition, there is a three-way distinction as opposed to the two-way distinction of English (similar to Spanish esto, eso, aquel or the archaic "this, there, yon".

The suffixes are as follows:

Demonstrative Suffixes
Near Medial Far
-ŋi -ti -mi

These forms are clearly related to the possessive suffixes (below).


Nouns take suffixes to show possession.


Verbs are divided into two groups: the transitive conjugation and the intransitive conjugation. Verbs in the intransitive conjugation inflect for person, class/gender and number of the patient; gender and number of the addressee; tense; aspect; voice; mood and verbal number. Verbs in the transitive conjugation also inflect for person, class/gender and number of the agent, indirect object and beneficiary. There are also evidential suffixes and non-finite forms, comprising infinitives, participles, and gerunds.


There are four tenses: present, past, remote past and future.

Compound Tenses

There are compound tenses formed from the past participles of verbs in all moods plus the appropriate tense of the verbs ralta (an old verb meaning "to have") for verbs of the transitive conjugation, or halka (the full form of the existential verb which now survives as a suffix on nouns) for verbs of the intransitive conjugation.


There are seven aspects: aorist, imperfect, perfective, continuative, inchoative, habitative, and conclusive.


There are five voices: active, passive, antipassive, medial and reciprocal.


There are eight moods, comprising the indicative, the imperative, the hortative, the optative, the desiderative, the necessitative, the obligative, and the similitive,


There are infinitival (non-personal) forms for all tenses and aspects except the imperative.


The numbers from 1 to 20 are:

'hanki 1, rotpi 2, työtki 3, papsi 4, vuusi 5 kauvi 6 kirpi 7 lÿÿlli 8 saunni 9 muupi 10 hankimuupi 11 rotpimuupi 12 työtkimyypi 13 papsimuupi 14 vuusimuupi 15 kauvimuupi 16 kirpimuupi 17 lyyllimyypi 18 saunnimuupi 19 väppi 20


See main article Velyan syntax