Ring B: 10/20: iljena

Pete Bleackley
[ Relay 13 | Ring A | Ring B | Ring C | Conlangs | Participants ]
[ iljena | Smooth English | Interlinear | Grammar | Vocabulary ]

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nerite jgada. eposen hfara hpuso ksipa djasa ijegd. ktada hfara hops wtigu oswive unves. watig mogn praka awamr. tnaja nkaja kvis ejgad kolv. ajegd ijigid kivas. kovs ejgad kolv kvisu esnas oswive unves.

wutig bnaga oswive unves. wetigu mahne wmara ehfar mjaza stulo. iwteg thala bnaga ekavs kolt.

witog hops esnas oswive unves.

Smooth Translation

The story describes a boy. Someone had removed the cold time to make the boy happy [1]. For a long, cold time, the student [2] saw the ice ship [3] approaching. The student dwelt in a field near the wall. A small black raven perched on the boy's shoulder. The boy tried to force the raven to leave. The raven held the boy's shoulder to see the teacher's ice ship come [4].

The student worried because the ice ship was coming. The student raised his hand to touch the wall, which was very cold [5]. The student became calm because the raven went into the cargo.

The student rejoiced when the teacher's ice ship came.

[1] This is just as garbled in the Klingon, or at least that's my excuse.
[2] The student is presumably the same person as the boy.
[3] What's an "ice ship"? I came up with three alternatives -
    A) An icebreaker. Plausible but prosaic.
    B) A kind of large sledge with sails. Sounds fairly plausible, and seemed
to ring bells from somewhere.
    C) A ship made of ice. A rather fantastical concept, but I liked it
and  decided to run with it. Implausible but irresistible.
[4] These two sentences were joined with a "but" in the Klingon.
[5] The Klingon was "but it was very cold".


story-describe boy-be. someone-remove cold-be time-undergo, purpose-make happy-be boy-benefit [1]. long-be cold-be time-hold student-see [2] ice-compose ship-come [3]. student-dwell field-hold nearby-be wall-stand. small-be black-be raven-perch boy-have shoulder-hold. boy-try boy-force raven-leave. raven-hold boy-have shoulder-hold raven-see teacher-have ice-compose ship-come [4].

student-worry reason-be ice-compose ship-come. student-raise hand-touch wall-be cold-have great-be manner-undergo [5]. student-begin calm-be reason-be raven-go cargo-hold.

student-rejoice time-hold teacher-have ice-compose ship-come.


The most important feature of iljena grammar is that each word is both a noun and a verb. The consonants of the word comprise the nominal root, while the vowels and their arrangement with respect to the consonants give the verbal sense. An iljena sentence has no subject or object - everything is a participant in the action described, and each word describes the role that one participant plays in the action. Humans learning iljena (Literally "ljn speak", ljn (normally rendered "Leyen" in English) being the self-designation of the speakers) often find it difficult to chose appropriate vowels for the participant that they regard as the object, while ljn learning human languages have difficulty with the idea of separating objects from their actions. Word order is used to convey the flow of the action between the participants, and to bring together closely related participants. As "The Essential Guide to Alien Languages" puts it, "Morphologically, iljena is essentially a Semitic language turned up to 11. Syntactically, it is essentially a slightly exaggerated version of Mandarin."

If this all seems a bit abstract, an example sentence might help:

ewtag kvis mohn
student.have raven.perch hand.hold
The student's raven perches on his hand.


Noun roots

bng reason
djs  happy thing
hfr cold thing
hps time
jgd boy
klt cargo
klv shoulder
ksp purpose
ktd  long
kvs bird similar to a raven
mgn field
mhn hand
mjz great
nky black thing
nrt  story
nvs ship
prk nearby thing
psn somebody
sns teacher
stl manner
swv ice
thl calm
tnj small thing
wmr wall
wtg student

Verb patterns (the numbers 123 represent consonant positions)

12a3a be
12i3 perch
12i3a make
12i3u see
12u3o undergo
1a23e touch
1a2i3 dwell
1e2i3e describe
1e2i3u raise
1i2a3 leave
1i2o3 rejoice
1o23 hold
1u2i3 worry
a1a23 stand
a1e23 try
e12a3 have
e1a23 go
e1o2e3 remove
i12e3 begin
i1e23 benefit
i1i2i3 force
o12i3e compose
u12e3 come

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March 6th, 2006
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