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  • Clay Matthew

Vanash - The Vamiliar's Native Language

The Vamiliar are a white and red furred species with cyan eyes and facial structures that resemble the neanderthals. They live on the ocean floor of The Vapor Sea, where the vapor is thickest. Thus they've adapted to the vapor with special eyes that allows them to detect heat from animals up to a mile. In addition, by rubbing their fur together at a high speed, they can produce electricity and shock their prey. They can also walk on the clouds of The Vapor Sea's seafloor instead of sinking into them like humans (people sink into clouds like quicksand and suffocate/drown) due to their feet being webbed (unlike their hands).


When developing this language, I used the French phonemes and Portuguese grammar. For the most part English and Portuguese are the same, but things like noun and adjective order are reversed (instead of saying “the blue car” I’d say “the car blue”).


Vanash was originally concepted for communicating in the woods (where the Vamiliar reside) when hunting and gathering. I should also mention that Vanash is vertically written as it is a language made from the Vamiliar rubbing their fur together to produce static that is used to burn marks in trees to relay information to one another when hunting or in the past, when fighting wars with humans. This then developed into Vanash overtime when humans were banished from the forest. Though a few remained in secret and a few came back. At this point, the Vamiliar and humans signed a treaty where they would each get half of the forest and thus they began to build a Great Divide together which would separate the species.

I divided the alphabet up into its phonetic portions so that characters will be easier to find. I didn't organize this alphabet in the same order that English is because this is a different culture that would have chosen its letter order differently. The first two parts are the voiced and unvoiced consonants (sounds like “b”, “p”, “k”, etc…) for a total of 18 letters. The third portion contains 13 oral vowels while the fourth and fifth parts contain nasal (4 letters) and semi (3 letters) vowels respectively. Anyways, here are some famous quotes in Vanash:


ENGLISH: “Everyone sees noon at their door.”

CONLANG: “/suji/ /wi/ /sufø/ /ʒɔ/ /pœ/ /pã/.”


I made “everyone” (suji) as a combination of two words “all’ (su) and “one” (ji). This sounds a little too English for my liking. After all, “all-one” doesn’t make much sense. The alternative I came up with which I find better would be “ɲekɑ” which is the combination of “every” (ɲe) and “person” (kɑ).


There's also “wi” which means “see” in English, proper conjugation and grammar dictate that “see” becomes “sees” when in reference to third person in most cases (he/she sees, everyone sees, etc…) in this language however, that isn’t necessary. With that said, I left off any pluralization markers from “see”. At this point it matters what flows best off the tongue for the species for effiency when hunting and when just talking to one another.


ENGLISH: “The night carries advice.”

CONLANG: “/ɑ/ /ʒãʁ/ /sø/ /fuŋ/.”


The first is “a” which means “the” if you look at the word list, you’ll see that I have two words for “the” (a, o). Many languages distinguish between masculine and feminine words, but here I thought I'd like to do something different. I wanted to try differentiating between tangible (a) and intangible (o). Night is something tangible and real; things like emotions aren’t. This could provide a unique nuance in this language as you could say “ɑ sɔʁ” (the [tangible] danger) or “o sɔʁ” (the [intangible] danger), and both would have very different responses. The next word is “sø” which means “carry” in English we say “the night carries…” for the same reasons we say “he sees” the pluralization is only necessary for us in this language.


ENGLISH: “In theory democracy is beautiful; in practice it is a fallacy. You of the human realm will see that someday.”

CONLANG: “/ɛ/ /ɔzɛt/ /kɑt/ /ʒ/ /ʁu/; /ɛ/ /jɛʁ/ /a/ /ʒ/ /lo/ /səsi/. /wo/ /ɛ/ /ɑ/ /blɥi/ /mjan/ /va/ /wi/ /əbi/ /aŋ/.”


The words in question are: theory, democracy, practice, it, a, you, the, and human.

Starting with theory and practice, I came up with the two words separately, but have come to think that they might be better off paired. It isn’t necessary, but something to think about. If theory became “pre-practice” then not only would I have created a useful prefix for the language, but I would have invented a new word that doesn’t quite translate into English. I could then use this new prefix to alter a whole host of words: pre-one (zero perhaps?), pre-in (the act of considering entering?), pre-down (still standing, hasn’t lost yet, or something else?), and so on. There are many benefits that could come from this.


Democracy is an interesting word in English because it comes from Greek and means “the power of the people” the word in a vacuum doesn’t make much sense, and it is only because of our earthly history that we call this form of government democracy and not something else. How about the Vamiliar? I thought about their history and invented a word that is a much better match. I made up the word (kɑt) that is a combination of “people” (kɑs) and “government” (tœ).


“A” has the same rules an “the”. “La” is for tangible while “lo” is for intangible things. Since a fallacy is an intangible concept, I used “lo”.


I really wasn’t sure wha to do with “you” (wo). Some languages have a plural you while English does not. That said, I made a singular “you” for this phrase. I have decided that adding an “s” to the end of a word (much like English) will make it plural, so “wo” could become “wos”.


I said “the (tangible) human realm because it is a separate place.

Referring to humans, I made the word “mjan” (pronounced me-yan) which sounds similar to “man”. I did this since when Vamiliar came in contact with Humans in the past, the Vamiliar called people by a term that they used to refer to themselves. As accents and such aren’t the same, they might have adopted “mjan” as the closest thing to what people said. This could be seen as an example of one language adopting terms from another (English --> Vanash).


Roman numerals are used for the numbering system in Vanash.

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