Ithkuil/Roots and Stems
|This page is currently under construction|
Pronunciation & Character Representation
Ithkuil has 45 consonants and 15 vowels. Because the script does not directly map phonemes to graphemes, a romanization system is used to help with pronounciation.
The following consonantal characters explicitly mark part of a word's pronunciation. Usually, they indicate the root of a word or the consonantal pronunciation of a loan word. They are also used in word suffixes and mathematical expressions. Note that the digraphs dh and xh are individual consonants.
Below is the first chart you should memorize, containing the handwritten consonants:
In addition, there are 29 extensions that can be placed on the bottom of consonantal characters as prefixes.
Below is a chart of the handwritten prefix extensions applied to letters pointing down, right, and left (t, k, and g are shown).
There are also 13 underposed diacritics that serve as suffixes or prefixes. In loan words, however, these diacritics indicate tone. By default, Ithkuil words have a falling tone and are stressed on the second-to-last (penultimate) syllable, both of which are unmarked.
|s+||z+||š+||ž+||f / v+||ţ / dh+|
Note that applying two prefixes (a character extension and diacritic) gives ambiguous pronunciation. For example, the y base character with the f+ and s+ prefixes can be read as fsy or sfy (vsy and svy are phonologically invalid). In the case of roots, only fsy is used. In such cases it is preferable to write the s base character with the f+ and +y affixes.
The vowel extensions are used for explicit pronunciation of loan words. They can be used alone with a top bar or with one of the above consonantal characters.
Formatives and adjuncts are Ithkuil words which do not explicitly mark the pronunciation of vowels. Various grammatical values are indicated by the script, but the pronunciation of such words must be conjugated from charts written with the romanized transcript. So, for any Ithkuil word it is important to be able to distinguish between the main 13 vowels. For example, kö' and ku use different cases. The former means "you effectively", while the latter means you "you reflexively". Below is a table showing the vowels relative to their given pronunciations.
|unrounded • rounded||Front||Central||Back|
|High||î • (ü)||• ü||• û|
|Mid-High||i •||• u|
|Mid||ê • ö||ë •||• ô|
|Mid-Low||e • ö||• o|
|Low||a •||â •|
For loan words, the diacritics below are used to transliterate non-default tone, stress, and whether the vowel comes before the consonant(s). By default, the vowel follows pronunciation of the consonant(s).
(ˇ or ~)
(´ or `)
Diphthongs & Stress Marks
The diphthongs written ai, au, ei, eu, ëi, ëu, iu, oi, ou, öi, öu and ui are monosyllabic. They are pronounced aî, aû, eî, eû, ëî, ëû, iû, oî, oû, öî, öû, and uî respectively. All other vowel pairs (e.g., ae, ia, eî, iû, ûi, ûî) are disyllabic. To mark disyllabic conjuncts that would be mistaken for a diphthong, a grave (`) is written over the second vowel unless it is stressed, in which case the accent becomes an acute (´). In the case of a diphthong, the first vowel indicates stress. If there are three vowels in the row, the last two must be a diphthong.
By default, Ithkuil words have penultimate stress. If a word is monosyllabic, stress is unmarked, but interpreted as penultimate. If non-default stress can be marked, the respective vowel carries an acute. If that vowel has a circumflex or umlaut, another vowel carries a grave to shift the stress to the otherwise marked vowel. If every vowel has a circumflex or umlaut, the stressed vowel is simply doubled.
Consonantal characters oftentimes represent roots, the basis of an Ithkuil formative. The formative conveys the root meaning, conjugated into three stems under three patterns and two designations (informal and formal). Stem 1 usually refers to the general concept, stem 2 usually refers to a specific or tangible instance, and stem 3 usually refers to another reference or related concept.
|Root: -d-||Root: -x-||Root: -dh-|
|Pattern 1 Stem 1||(a)dal name and referent; being called||Pattern 1 Stem 1||(a)xal sight||Pattern 1 Stem 1||(a)dhal water|
|Pattern 1 Stem 2||edal designation and referent; being referred to as||Pattern 1 Stem 2||exal eye||Pattern 1 Stem 2||edhal water|
|Pattern 1 Stem 3||udal label and referent; going by a nickname||Pattern 1 Stem 3||uxal visualize||Pattern 1 Stem 3||udhal water|
The three stems are complementary even if another pattern or format is used on the root. Note that the a can be omitted before the root if there are no preceding characters and the stress is penultimate. In analysis, this word's stress would still be considered penultimate. The al values following the root indicate default case and ca, which are discussed in the next few lessons.
|Root: -q-||Root: -q-||Root: -q-|
|P1 S1||(a)qal higher-order being||P2 S1||oqal male higher-order being||P3 S1||âqal female higher-order being|
|P1 S2||eqal human||P2 S2||öqal man||P3 S2||êqal woman|
|P1 S3||uqal beast||P2 S3||îqal / ûqal male beast||P3 S3||ôqal female beast|
|-mm-||-t- (informal designation)||-t- (formal designation)|
|P1 S1||(a)mmal nuclear family member||P1 S1||(a)tal living thing||P1 S1||atál civilized thing|
|P1 S2||emmal male family member||P1 S2||etal animal||P1 S2||etál domesticated animal|
|P1 S3||ummal female family member||P1 S3||utal plant||P1 S3||utál cultivated plant|
|P2 S1||ommal parent||P2 S1||otal male being||P2 S1||otál civilized male being|
|P2 S2||ömmal father||P2 S2||ötal male animal||P2 S2||ötál domesticated male animal|
|P2 S3||îmmal / ûmmal mother||P2 S3||îtal / ûtal male plant||P2 S3||îtál / ûtál cultivated male plant|
|P3 S1||âmmal child||P3 S1||âtal female being||P3 S1||âtál civilized female being|
|P3 S2||êmmal son||P3 S2||êtal female animal||P3 S2||êtál domesticated female animal|
|P3 S3||ômmal daughter||P3 S3||ôtal female plant||P3 S3||ôtál cultivated female plant|
The pattern 2 stem 3 cell has two values î and û because it may sometimes be preceded by a w or y. This avoids illegal consonant-vowel pairs as found in yîqal and wûqal.
Formal designation is denoted by a dot diacritic alongside (usually) the primary case character.
Below is the second chart you should memorize, containing the pattern/stem conjugation for an example root -t- (life).
|Pattern 1||Pattern 2||Pattern 3|
|Stem 1||Stem 2||Stem 3||Stem 1||Stem 2||Stem 3||Stem 1||Stem 2||Stem 3|
|(a)-||e-||u-||o-||ö-||î- / û-||â-||ê-||ô-|
- Write the following names in the handwritten script, including opal prior and surrounding the foreign name with 3-dot linear marks:
- /Qin ~Shi /Huang
- gaius juli.us kaesar
- ~Wû /zé tiān
- Genghis Khan
- Jeanne d'Arc
- Martin Luther
- Galileo Galileij
- John Smith
- Rene Descartes
- Issac Newton
- Johann Sebastian Bach
- Thomas Jefferson
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Albert Einstein
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- Elvis Presley
- Al Gore
- John Quijada
- Write the following places, including îpal or ûpal prior and surrounding the foreign name with 3-dot linear marks:
- New York
- San Francisco
- New Orleans
- Las Vegas
- Write your name in the romanized and Ithkuil scriptǃ Add ta uipal prior and the surrounding 3-dot linear marks.
- Write and translate the following roots conjugated with their respective patterns and stems:
- Using the lexicon, translate the following words into the romanized script:
- domesticated cat
- male beast
- Challenge: higher-up business associate