Gràďlutut: Word Families and Creative Roots

This is the first time I’ve delved into the complicated realm of conlanging — creating a language. As complicated as learning existing languages are, native or foreign, creative a new language from scratch is even harder.

Before I can even introduce my topic, you need some background information to understand the context of the language.

The universe in which N’Zembe resides is polytheistic, not just in practice but actuality. There are thirty deities. When the N’Zembe system was created, for it was created, and the people of the world came into being, the deities taught them language.

Gràďlutut is that first language.

The name of the language has a few components:

“Gràďlut,” meaning “language” (derived from gràď meaning “word”) and “ut,” the possessive modification referring to the “túfalni” or deities.

The name literally means “the language of the gods.”

The other day, I was transferring my handwritten lexicon into a Google sheet and encountered this word: “unajalùntangraď.”

As we’ve already seen, gràď is a piece meaning “word.”

“Jalùntan” is a verb meaning “to know or to understand.” Una- is a prefix that modifies a verb to make it a noun. So “unajalùntan” means “knowledge or understanding.”

Combined with gràď, it becomes the “the knowledge or understand of words.” Or more simply, “vocabulary.”

It is this type of construction, modifying existing words or creating compound words, that makes language so interesting.

Deleted Draft: Drelkensoul Story

This was started with the prompt, “As our story came to a close, I realized we were the villains all along.” Where I went became a bit of a mess. I created a species, the drelkensoul, for N’Zembe, but didn’t have a solid idea how the function. Not only that, but I didn’t have any sort of plan and my loose plot was a convoluted idea. This may get a rewrite/complete restart, but for now, here it is:

As our story came to a close, I realized that we were the villains all along. By then, though, it was too late. All was said and done, we had already faced our judgment, we were dead. I had always assumed that after death was nothing, but it seems I was wrong. Otherwise I would be unable to record our story. It is my hope that others will avoid our path to destruction, learn from our mistakes, be better than we were.

I don’t blame anyone who assumes this whole tale, including our deaths, is a hoax. But what does it matter? I lived it, so did they. I won’t try to convince anyone of the truth of my recollection by claiming to have been tasked to write my adventure by one of the gods. Yes, there is a multiplicity of deities. There are many, both benevolent and malevolent, in balance.

This is not a religious text, so I shall move on. Surely it is more important to know who we were and what we did that was so terrible. At least, terrible in retrospect. I never realized until after we had died that we had done anything wrong, inflicted pain upon so many. I didn’t know what we truly were until it was too late.

I had my suspicions that we were villainous, but never were they very great. Our people were not known for their kindness anyway, but rather our cruelty and ruthlessness. We were drelkensheath.

I’m not sure how old I was when I became aware of another entity within me. Yes, another entity. A literal separate being inhabiting my body.

We fought for quite some time over control of my being, the external portion of it, at least. Eventually, I was offered a compromise.

Share this vessel with me, and I will grant you unfathomable power–power that will free you from your dependence on the sea. I can still hear those words in my mind, even now that I’m dead.

Knowing the alternative was to continue fighting, as the spirit had made clear he was unwilling to leave, I readily agreed.

Peace brought a strange sense of cohabitation within my own body. I was no longer one person, but two in disguise, if this other creature was even to be considered a person. Are they even a creature? The gods are unwilling to entertain my questions, so I’ll likely never know.

When I rose upon the fertile land, I soon met others like me–drelkensheath who were now cohabiting their own bodies, vessels as the spirits called them. We decided to band together, the seven of us. Perhaps we’d survive better, figure ourselves out quicker, understand these new abilities.

“Hey, we need to leave! Everyone get up!” I yelled at the five still laying on their mats.

Adesola consistently woke up early enough for us to leave, but she had also been out of water the longest–she was the most at home on land.

The Apocalypse of Irqulnirn

I am currently writing a short story that may become a novelette set on Irqulnirn after an apocalypse. It actually inspired the creation of quarzyls.

This is the historical background for the piece. Some of the details are incomplete at this time and require more worldbuilding.

Irqulnirn is dependent upon quarzyls’ life-giving and creating abilities, because of its distance from N’Zembe. This is common knowledge among Irqulnirn’s inhabitants, yet not often are its full implications considered.
The quarzyls live throughout Irqulnirn, nourishing the soil and assisting in the growth of plants and sometimes animals. However, a large concentration of them live in the country of Arziki, creating a greater level of prosperity there than anywhere else on the planet.
Jealousy sparked in the hearts of the other peoples, and they decided to band together and attack Arziki. The quarzyls from elsewhere gathered in Arziki with their fellow quarzyls. The quarzyls, despite preferring small groups, began building all around Arziki’s borders with magic-resistant stone mined from their country and nearby lands. They built a wall two hundred and fifty feet tall, five feet wide.
As soon as the wall was tall enough to block the quarzyl’s magic, Irqulnirn began to suffer. All the other species began to die from starvation and suffocation. The plants helped regulate Irqulnirn’s atmosphere and temperature. Now without them, there was no hope or possibility for life outside of Arziki.
The quarzyls had not thought through the results of their actions, not fully realizing how dependent Irqulnirn truly was on their magic. The other species did not realize this either.
Over time, after those first quarzyls had died and several generations passed, everyone forgot about life before the walls. Life with other species. Life elsewhere on Irqulnirn. The people were content, lacking nothing, creating all they could ever want or need. However, their true purpose had been lost. They had killed their planet and all those who depended on them. Those they were meant to protect and nourish were killed at the hands of those who made their lives possible on this far away planet.
One small green speck exists on Irqulnirn when viewed from space. Eventually, it too will cease, once Irqulnirn drifts too far from N’Zembe for even the quarzyls to live.

Shahwings (Species Description)

Some details relating to names are pending an edit so they conform to the language used by the people rather than English.

(Derogatively called Shwings)

Characteristics:
human-like body, feathery wings on back, wispy hair, shorter and lighter than humans, wide feet with rough soles; male, female, or zirch

Found on:
Lekreanfyr, Fohrtiil, Qarlilian, Arshilkrin, Ortenfeil, Slyrpfyrn, Xhorgliff, Yrfsholgh

Social habits: mature at 8 (Earth) years, couple with a shahwing of the opposite sex generally around the same time, highly social — spend most of their time with other shahwings

Lifespan:
20-70 (Earth) years, depending on the planet, climate conditions, etc.

Housing:
high ceilings, high off the ground, no stairs, curtains instead of doors, vibrant decor, nest-like hammocks for beds

Clothing:
flowing halter tops with open backs (shirt or dress) and pants (if not a dress)

Familial structure:
mom and dad start a house, children can choose to build extensions off the original structure or start their own house after they marry

Children:
mothers carry 1-3 baby shahwings for 6 (Earth) months, nurse them for 1 (Earth) year; males generally remain in the family’s house structure, females leave to the husband’s, zirch are either kept as servants or sold to others

Zirch is a third gender for some species that is incapable of reproduction because they do not have reproductive organs.

Hierarchy:
based on wing colors and patterns — white, beige, then brown for base colors, patterned wings in each color are lower than the single-color based on the color of the marks (same order as for the main social strata)

Abilities:
flight, telepathy (with other shahwings or other creatures with telepathy), craftsmanship (especially construction)

Halphbloods (Species Description)

An interesting fact about this species: I initially created them for a comic but didn’t develop them very well. That comic has since died/been canceled and I decided to repurpose the species and flesh them out better.

(the derogative name will not be related to English, so will be filled in later)

Characteristics:
human-like body, fangs or sharp teeth, multiple possible skin colors, different colored scleras and irises, male or female, multiple hair colors, pointed ears

Found on:
Lekreanfyr, Fohrtiil, Craoxien, Arshilkrin, Ortenfeil, Slyrpfyrn, Yrfsholgh, Irqulnirn

Social habits:
mature at about 20 earth years, often couple with a halphblood of the opposite sex, but may interbreed with other species, prefer relative isolation until mature

Lifespan:
50-120 earth years, possible more or less with interspecies breeding (for example, if a halphblood were to interbreed with a quarzyl, the resulting offspring might live to 300 earth years)

Housing:
often drab colored exteriors, elaborate architecture in and out, bright colored or shiny interiors, sleep in beds of various materials depending on what’s available and personal preferences

Clothing:
large, loose shirts in varying colors, pants in varying but more limited colors, don’t often wear shoes unless circumstances demand it

Familial structure:
mother cares for young until about one to two earth years, the offspring live a short distance from parents until they’re about five earth years when they go on a long journey to find a desirable place to live–this location may change once they’ve matured and coupled

Children:
mother carries a single baby halphblood for six earth months, the baby eats semi-solids as teeth finish coming in which takes two to four earth months, after which they eat like adults; the mothers don’t produce milk, so there is no nursing stage

Hierarchy:
based first on purity of bloodline, then color combination of scleras and irises from darkest colors to lightest, then skin color from coolest to warmest

Abilities:
can interbreed with any non-aquatic species inhabiting the same planets (generally the halphblood has to be female, but if the other species can also interbreed, it could go either way), can see small details far away, can hear far away or whispered conversations

Quarzyls (Species Description)

Some details relating to names are pending an edit so they conform to the language used by the people rather than English.

(Derogatively called Scars)

Characteristics:
human-like body with longer, more flexible limbs, taller and generally lighter than humans, not very muscular, long fingers and toes, soil colored skin, male or female, thick and heavy hair

Found on:
Irqulnirn (Irqulnirn’s ecosystem is dependent on quarzyls)

Social habits:
mature at 15 (Irqulnirn) years, couple with another quarzyl generally within two (Irqulnirn) years — bisexual species, not particularly social, don’t prefer isolation, like living in groups of 10-20 quarzyls

Lifespan:
80-150 (Irqulnirn) years, excepting tragic accident

Housing:
one story, squatting structures, drab exteriors, slightly more vibrant but still plain interiors, mat-like beds after 2 (Irqulnirn) years, most of house one large room, smaller rooms with plant-based doors for bedrooms

Familial structure:
one parent keeps house while the other makes money, keeping house includes gardening, children go to schools centering around applicable life skills from very a young age

Children:
both genders “lay eggs,” but two quarzyls must make one complete “egg” together; incubated in plant matter for 3 (Earth) months, hatch and eat plant matter; one egg at a time, a couple can lay up to fifteen eggs per lifetime

Hierarchy:
based on lifespan of ancestors, then skin color, and then mastery of life-giving abilities

Abilities:
nurturing plants and soil, creating life (plants, in most cases, but occasionally animals) from other non-living things, and sustaining and prolonging life — this is how Irqulnirn is able to support life while having such distance from N’Zembe

The N’Zembe System

Some time ago, I read a tutorial of sorts with tips for creating a realistic world, for a story, that is. I fell in love with the idea, and created a planet called Arshilkrin. It has since expanded to an entire star system rather than a single planet. I named it N’Zembe. There are eighteen planets called Dizlohke, Mavidian, Lekreanfyr, Romnylfyx, Fohrtiil, Craoxien, Qarlilian, Arshilkrin, Krekkqar, Ortenfeil, Zalgrythfin, Slirpfyrn, Xhorgliff, Ugflurrn, Bienghyrd, Yrfsholgh, Erxflynx, Irqulnirn. Ten of those are inhabitable.

Currently I have several species developed for the system, the sizes and details about each planet’s rotation and revolution, and a language in progress. Over time I’ll share what I have ready and progress that has been made concerning these various aspects of worldbuilding. All of it will be under the category N’Zembe System on the blog if you want to look back at other material.

If you have any questions about the system, let me know and I will be sure to answer them. I plan on making a FAQ about the system, either as a separate page on my website or as a blog post.