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LotM - Aug 15: Riyan
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August is here, and so is Riyan - a language created by Fleur with a Celtic-looking flair and geminates galore.
This public article was written by Admin Sheep, and last updated on 1 Dec 2015, 05:02.

[comments] Menu
1. Phonology
2. Nouns
3. Verbs
4. Adjectives
5. More on Riyan
6. A Note on LotM

Congratulations to Fleur and her language  Riyan, our August 2015 winner. Riyan is an a priori language that has a Celtic-looking orthography (sort of), and is laden with nominal declension and plenty of fun with verbs.


Length is by far the distinguishing factor of Riyan's phonology. All consonants, from liquids to stops, come in single and geminated varieties, and all vowels show up as long or short. The consonant inventory runs the gamut of fricatives - every point of articulation present in the language has a fricative, and all but two (alveolar and post-alveolar) has both a voiced and voiceless one: /ɸ(:) β(:) f(:) v(:) θ(:) ð(:) s(:) ʃ(:) x(:) ɣ(:)/. Stops pop up in the usual /p(:) t(:) k(:) b(:) d(:) g(:)/ arrangement. Nasals are only phonemic as bilabial and alveolar.

Riyan features a large set of vowels, again with a length distinction: /i(:) u(:) ʏ(:) ʊ(:) e(:) o(:) ɛ(:) a(:) ɑ(:)/. It's fun to see that the only front rounded vowel is /ʏ(:)/, as this vowel is 1) not too common and 2) usually we see /y/ with it, or at the least /ø/.

Consonants are doubled when written to show gemination; vowels however are followed by <h> to show length. Acute accents appear on vowels to show quality, not length or tone (as there is no phonemic tone). Riyan also has its own script, seen here on a translation. It's delightfully loopy.


Nouns decline for nine different cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, locative, lative, ablative, causative, translative; as well as for two numbers (single and plural). Plurals are differentiated from singular forms by a vowel mutation - most often this involves raising (hehe, seems like  Edievian -roped away from keyboard-). One of the more fun things about Riyan declension is the endings - many, such as the locative, are just a consonant (in the locative's case, /b/) that is tagged onto the end. No epenthetic vowel, just BAM, here's a consonant for you. You can see the full nominal declension paradigm here.


Verbs have a lot goin' on, too. They conjugate for tense (past, non-past), person and number (first second, and third person plus singular and plural), and mood (indicative, subjunctive, conditional). There are also past and present participle forms. The typical dictionary form of a Riyan verb ends in <-ae>, such as méchae, "to eat". The full verbal paradigm is here.


Unusually for such an inflected language, adjectives do not match in case or number with the nouns they modify. Instead, adjectives just come in comparative and superlative forms.

[top]More on Riyan

Want some more Riyanfun? Check out its namebase, couple of grammar tables, or translations (with some sound samples!).

[top]A Note on LotM

Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Riyan that wasn't covered and you wish it had been? Hate my guts and want to tell me? Feel free to shoot me (argyle) or me (phi2dao) a PM with your thoughts, suggestions, and hate mail. Also feel free to drop by the LotM clan if you have other feedback, want to join in the voting process, or nominate a language!
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