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The Xliponian Language


Institut Lingistic Bovlai

Bovlai Institute of Linguistics

Foxlo sin serm est foxlo sin hor

A Brief Introduction

Xliponian (the letter x is pronounced [ʃ]) is an Indo-European language spoken almost exclusively in the Kingdom of Xliponia. It is derived from the vulgar Latin of the Roman imperial conquerors who occupied the region in the early centuries of the Common Era. The main feature that distinguishes Xliponian from other Romance languages is the soundshift suffered very early by some consonantal sounds. The labials, velars and dentals of the original (vulgar) Latin were transformed as follows:

[b] > [p] > [f] > [v] > [b]
[g] > [k] > [x] > [g]
[d] > [t] > [ts] > [z] > [d]

(The [x] sound – as in German Bach – is currently written as h; the [ts] sound is written ç)

This Lautverschiebung affected word-initial consonants, but not all, and some medial and (to a lesser extent) final consonants were also shifted.

The alphabet – with pronunciations – is as follows:

a b c ([k]) ç ([ts]) d e f g h ([h] or [x] according to position and dialect)
i j ([ʒ]*) k* l m n o p q ([tʃ]) r s t u v w* x ([ʃ]) y* z

(*) in foreign or dialectal words

The [ʃ] sound – written x – derives mainly from the Latin word-initial clusters [kl], [fl], [pl], which became [ʃl]. Xliponian q comes to a large extent from Latin x.

Another characteristic aspect of Xliponian phonology is diphthongisation. The main vowel of the original Latin word becomes affected by that of the ending, generating evolutions like L panem > Xl fain, and likewise cantus > haunt, salix > sailq. Latin ae and oe became ai and oi respectively.

The stress pattern is generally as follows: words ending in vowels are stressed on the penultimate, and words ending in consonants on the ultimate.

As an example, the numerals from 1 to 10 are as follows in Modern Xliponian:

on – tou – çers – hautor – henc – seq – seft – ohto – nou – teih

100-Word Swadesh List

I you we this that who? what? no(t) all a lot
eco çu nos ete ate hi? hu? non çot mux
one two big long small human man woman fish bird
on tou maun lonc eqic om om vemma fiq aib
dog louse tree seed leaf root (tree-)bark skin meat blood
hain fetixlo arpor semm voil raqi horçeq huiç haur sainc
bone (body-)fat egg head horn tail feather hair ear eye
oq atef oub hauf hourn hauta fena hirn auri ouhul
nose mouth tooth tongue (finger-)nail leg knee hand stomach neck
naus puca teint lincua unca hurs ceun main bentr houl
breast heart liver to drink to eat to bite to see to hear to know to sleep
feq hor iecro piper mauncar moirer biter auter qier tormer
to die to kill to swim to fly to go to come to lie (down) to sit to stand to give
morer oqider naçar bolar eçir bener humper asiter star tonar
to say sun moon star water rain stone sand earth cloud
tiqer soil luna qela acua xluib saq aren teir nupe
smoke fire ash to burn road mountain red green yellow white
vum inci hin arter bia monn ruper biret valb alp
black night hot cold full new good round dry name
nicer noq halit virc xleun noub poun roçunn siq noim


Some Points of Grammar

Plurals of Nouns and Adjectives

sg. -a1 -e -i -o -u -C2
pl. -e -i -i -o -i -Ci

1 mainly for feminine nouns and adjectives
2 C = consonant

Personal Pronouns

Nom. Acc. Dat. Gen.
1s eco me mi mei (fem. mea)
2s çu çe çi çei (fem. çea)
3s masc. to te ten tei (fem. tea)
3s fem. la le len lei (fem. lea)
3refl. om se si sei (fem. sea)
1p nos nos nos nosser
2p bos bos bos bosser
3p li tem tem tenen

Verbal Paradigms

(Alternative verbal forms in parentheses)

Eser "to be" - also auxiliary verb for imperfect (with a + infinitive of main verb) and for passive voice (with participle of main verb)

Person Present Perfect Imperfect Future Conditional/
1s sui vui erm gabo eser sei eser
2s es vus ers gabes eser sei esut
3s est vut ert gabet eser sei esenn
1p sum vum eram gabem eser sin ei (pl. eit)
2p eis vuis erat gabeis eser sin
3p sunn vunn erann gabenn eser sin

Gaber "to have" - also auxiliary verb for future (with infinitive of main verb)

Person Present Perfect Imperfect Future Conditional/
1s gabo gabui erm a gaber gabo gaber gabei gaber
2s gabes gabis ers a gaber gabes gaber gabei gabut
3s gabet gabit ert a gaber gabet gaber gabei gabenn
1p gabem gabuim
eram a gaber gabem gaber gabin gabi (pl. gabit)
2p gabeis gabuis
eirm a gaber gabeis gaber gabin
3p gabenn gabuinn
erann a gaber gabenn gaber gabin

Mauncar "to eat" - paradigm for verbs in -ar

Person Present Perfect Imperfect Future Conditional/
1s maunco mauncui erm a mauncar gabo mauncar mauncai mauncar
2s mauncas mauncis ers a mauncar gabes mauncar mauncai mauncut
3s mauncat mauncit ert a mauncar gabet mauncar mauncai mauncann
1p mauncam mauncim
eram a mauncar gabem mauncar mauncin maunci (pl. mauncit)
2p mauncais mauncuis
eirm a mauncar gabeis mauncar mauncin
3p mauncann mauncinn
erann a mauncar gabenn mauncar mauncin

Piper "to drink" - paradigm for verbs in -er and ir

Person Present Perfect Imperfect Future Conditional/
1s pipo pipui erm a piper gabo piper pipei piper
2s pipes pipis ers a piper gabes piper pipei piput
3s pipet pipit ert a piper gabet piper pipei pipenn
1p pipem pipim
eram a piper gabem piper pipin pipi (pl. pipit)
2p pipeis pipuis
eirm a piper gabeis piper pipin
3p pipenn pipinn
erann a piper gabenn piper pipin

Some Useful Expressions and Words

(to be expanded)

See Xliponian for Travellers

a = of (genitive / possessive relation); a res a = because of; ac = and; aciç = thus; ad = to (destination); alihit = something; atte = thence; au = or; auçem = then; cunne = therewith; de = by (passive voice); eh = behold, lo!; eq = out of; ete = this; eti = these; fer = for (as in exchanging ... for ...); fro = for (before noun); ha = that; hihumme = any; hirha = about; hom = as (in the manner of); hui = whose; ihirc = therefore; ilo = that one; in = in; inte = therein; item = (the) same; non = not; omoto = nonetheless; ot = for, in order to, so that (before verb); set = but; si = if; sihuç = in any way; sin = without; sufra = on top of, about

Names of the Letters of the Alphabet

A [a:]
B [be:]
C [ke:]
Ç [tse:]
D [de:]
E [e:]
F [ɛf]
G [ge:]
H [ha:]
I [i:]
J [ʒi:]
K [ka:]
L [ɛl]
M [ɛm]
N [ɛn]
O [o:]
P [pe:]
Q [tʃe:]
R [ɛr]
S [ɛs]
T [te:]
U [u:]
V [ve:]
W [vetu'flɛtʃ]
X [ʃi:]
Y [i'krajx]
Z [ze:]

Archaic Spelling

Xliponian spelling was regularised in the mid-19th century. Before that, two main alternative spelling modes were in effect beside the present one. They may still be seen in ancient texts and inscriptions.

They are the Latinate and the Venedate spelling, based respectively on those used by several other Romance languages, and on Wenedyk. The main differences from the present mode are as follows [noted as Present < Latinate; Venedate]:

  • c < k; k
  • v < v; w
  • i < j [initial; both modes]
  • f < ph [initial; both modes]
  • i < y [before another vowel]; i
  • x < sc; sz
  • ç < th; c
  • q < ch; cz
  • h < h; ch [when sounded as German ich-Laut or ach-Laut]

Sometimes a circumflex or a tilde was written over a, e, i, o for au, eu, iu, ou;
Sometimes an acute or a macron was written above a vowel preceding a doubled consonant (which was then spelled single).

The Babel Text in Xliponian

1 In çer ert on serm ac on mot lincui.
In earth was [3rd sg.] one language and one way [of] tongues.
2 Vut ha salirinn de orient ac inbeninn
[It] was that they went out from east and they found
hamp in çer Xinar ac apiçarinn inte.
field / plain in land Shinar and they dwelt therein.
3 Ac tiqit om ad om, benit, vahem laçri
And said [3rd sg.] man to man, come [2nd pl.] let us make bricks
ac hocuim tem in inci ac gabuinn laçri hom saqi
and let us bake them in fire and they had bricks as stones
ac peçuim hom himenn.
and slime for mortar.
4 Ac tiqirann, benit, vahem nos hibiçait ac çur
And they said, come [2nd pl.], let us make us city and tower
hui hulmin fertincit ad hail ac heliprem noim nosser
whose top may reach to heaven and let us celebrate name our
ot non sin tibituti in çeri çoti.
so that not we be scattered in lands all.
5 Auçem teqinnit Tomen ot biter hibiçait ac çur
Then came down [3rd sg.] the Lord so that see city and tower
ha aiçficarann vili Adam.
that built [3rd pl.] sons [of] Adam.
6 Ac tiqit, eh foxlo est on ac serm tenen est on,
And said [3rd sg.], behold people is one and language their is one,
ac ete hoifrinn vaher, ac non gabenn tesistir a çot ha hocitann vaher.
and this they have begun do, and not they will give up from all that they think do.
7 Eh benit teqinnem ac hofunnem ipi serm tenen
Behold come [2nd pl.] let us go down and let us confound there language their
ot non gabet autir om lincu a om.
so that not shall hear [3rd sg.] man tongue of man.
8 Aciç tibitit tem Tomen eq loh ilo ad çeri çoti
Thus scattered [3rd sg.] them the Lord out of place that in lands all
ac hesarann aiçficar hibiçait.
and they ceased build city.
9 Ac ihirc noim tenen est bohut Babel a res a ipi
And therefore name their is called Babel because there
honvusit Tomen serm a çer çot ac atte
confused the Lord language of earth all and thence
Tomen sfirsit tem sufra vaih a çer çot.
the Lord scattered them upon face of earth all.

[Modern Xliponian Version]

Tintin Titles as Pointers to Xliponian Pronunciation

Interest for Tintin in Xliponia was fuelled by the Syldavian adventure (a roman à clef of sorts), and translations into the Xliponian language started in 1940, always published by Bernard & Croll. The main characters are called Tintin, Milu, Capitan Hadoc, Profesor Trifon Geliçorf, Carol ac Karol.

The titles of the Xliponian books (Abençuri a Tintin [aben'tsurjə tin'tin] - a “of” normally pronounced as schwa) are pronounced as follows:

Title IPA Remark
Tintin in Çer SNOR T. [in tsɛr snɔr] 1
Tintin in Kongo T. [iŋ 'koŋgo] 2
Tintin in America T. [in ame'rika]
Çigari a Faraon [tsi'garjə fara'on] 3
Lotus Hairul [lo'tus haj'rul] 4
Auri Vracut ['awri vra'kut]
Insul Nicer [in'sul ni'ker] 5
Çeptro a Ottokar ['tsɛptrwə ot:o'kar] 6
Hancri a Unci Aurosi ['haŋkrjə 'uŋki aw'rosi] 7
Qela Misteriosa ['tʃɛla misteri'osa] 8
Sehret a Onhourn [se'xretə on'howrn] 9
Çesaur a Rackham Ruper [tse'sawrə rak'ham ru'per]
Seft Pulli a Cristal [sɛft 'pul:jə kris'tal]
Çempl a Soil ['tsɛmplə sojl] 4
Tintin in Çer a Auro Nicer T. [in 'tsɛrə 'awro ni'ker]
Sohp Luna [soxp 'luna] 9
Ammularann sufra Luna [am:ula'ran: 'sufra 'luna]
Hauz Geliçorf [hawz geli'tsɔrf] 10
Coc in Stoc [kɔk in stɔk]
Tintin in Tibet T. [in ti'bet]
Ornammi a Castafiore [or'nam:jə kastafi'ore]
Bol 714 ad Sednîr [bɔl sɛftɔnhaw'tor ad sed'ni:r] 11
Tintin ac Picaros T. [ak 'pikaros] 12
Tintin ac Alf-Art T. [ak alf'art]

1 e, o in monosyllables are normally [ɛ], [ɔ]
2 nk, ng are sounded with [ŋ] even across word boundaries
3 Stressed o before a single consonant is sounded [o]
4 The diphthongs are: ai [aj], ei [ej], oi [oj], ui [uj], au [aw], eu [ew], iu [iw], ou [ow]
5 Stressed e before a single consonant is sounded [e]
6 Stressed e before more than one consonant is sounded [ɛ]; doubly-written consonants are pronounced long (even in foreign words)
7 s is always sounded [s]
8 io is no diphthong
9 h sounds as [h] or [x] depending on environment
10 Stressed o before more than one consonant is sounded [ɔ]
11 e (from seft) and o (from on) in the composite seftonhautor "seven-one-four" remain [ɛ] and [ɔ] as in the respective single words; “714” may also be pronounced [sɛft'hɛn: hawtor'tex] (sefthenn hautorteh "seven hundred fourteen")
12 Foreign pronunciation of Picaros

See also