A Nominalized Discovery

I recently made a discovery regarding nominalized nouns in Lortho. Nominalization is achieved by adding the prefix mo– to the verbal root followed by the gender suffix [one of –i, –u, –a for masc, fem, neut, respectively]. The gender is normally assigned by the gender of the “doer.” However, I uncovered a nominalized verb with a fixed gender.

The word to which I am referring is the nominalized verb: khathuro [kʰa.ˈtʰu.ɾo] v. · fight, battle

Normally, this would be nominalized as either mokhathuri or mokhathuru; but what I found was the nominalized form was only feminine: mokhathuru. This opens so many questions, like: Why is it only feminine? Who did the Lorthoans fight? How many wars were fought? Where there only female warriors?

I think the more light shed onto this topic the more we will learn about the Lorthoans and their warriors. It seems they weren’t purely the peachy peaceful type as previously thought.

A Twist Develops

While researching I discovered this word:

didera [di.ˈdɛ.ɾa] n. neut • invalid, a person disabled by illness or injury; (informal) unbeliever, heretic

The informal definition of this word really struck me. I had always thought the Lorthoans to be a kind and loving people, but even as this culture is deeply rooted in the power of nature, they, too, have their ways of removing those who do not follow “the way.” Thus, this opens a new door into the world surrounding this culture—and created plenty of questions: Where do these unbelievers go? Do they have a dialect? Did they make an underground network or perhaps a secret form of communication with one another? Are they mortal enemies?

And other questions: Who ousts these diderane [ˌdi.dɛ.ˈɾa.nɛ] (plural of didera): Are there different factions or sects? Are there sympathizers? And a plethora more.

In no other path during my research did I stumble upon these diderane which leads me to believe that the Lorthoans wrote them out of their history. Could it be the recent discovery I made with the loesheq [ˈlœ.ɕɯq] (speakers of Dhakhsh)? Could they be the diderane? So many questions. I’m really curious what will pop up in my research. I will definitely take a closer look at Dhakhsh and see if there are any hints of this. Curious as I did discover that both cultures are aware of one another’s existence, so it is possible that the diderane could be the link.

The Art of Discovery

Every creative writer has their “source” of information. For some, it is the history books. Others, it is works of science fiction. For Marc Okrand and Klingon (thlIngan) it is a “prisoner of war” with whom Marc is the only person who has access. In my case, I see the source unfold by itself. Suffice it to say that the world presents itself to me when the time is right.

This topic was the focus of my talk during the last Language Creation Conference held online earlier this year. Entitled, “The Art of Discovery,” I dive into what motivates me to keep going in hopes that my approach can help others who are in a creative rut. As it turns out, there are many other conlangers who cultivate their language(s) in this manner. The two most prominent figures in our niche who use this method are Jim Hopkins (Itlani) and Tony Harris (Alurhsa)—which surprised even me. It delighted me knowing that I was not the only one, as much as it did for those out there who had the exact same thought.

So, if you are so inclined, I invite you to watch my talk. It might help you get past a certain point in your language. It might also spark interest in designing a new language to practice this fluid technique. In either case, have fun with your languages; you just might muster a renewed appreciation for what they are and what they could become.

Lortho Source Discovered

Many of you who follow me on Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, or Discord (@bbbourq#4561) might already know that I based the script off of one of the races on a strategy board game a friend of mine was developing. I originally developed it in early 2003. Unfortunately, due to our profession at the time we lost contact with one another. Shortly thereafter my hard drive in which I had stored this script crashed. This was long before I truly understood the CIA triad in cyber and information technology (Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability). I tried for so long to find my friend and colleague, but to no avail. When I finally gave up looking for it, I decided to work on it based solely off my memory. I remembered only a couple base shapes and the more I worked on the script, the more it morphed into the one you know and love today.

Fast forward to 19 January 2021. I finally found my friend and we had a nice, long conversation to catch up on the last 18 years. I finally broke the silence and asked about the script. Not only did he still have it, but he sent it to me like it was something he references often! What a feeling of euphoria and catharsis!

I have the script, but there is a twist: it was developed for a different race on the same game—Lortho was one of them. The script was actually for the race called Brine [bɹaɪn]. With this newly rediscovered old information, I now feel compelled to make another conlang, based on this new script. Perhaps it might be a variant of Lortho? Or better yet, perhaps I can make Lortho a daughter language to Brine. Either way, I making something out of this!

The Wonderful (and Strange) World of Dhamashi

One of the most daunting tasks of making a fictitious language is creating the world in which it is spoken. As a conlanger, one does dabble in the art of world building, but where to start? Maybe my experience can help. I am (by no stretch of the imagination) not an expert world builder, but through my conlanging I have been able to paint a neat setting. I will provide links to what I have created thus far at the end of this post so you can enjoy the journey with me, and perhaps this will jump-start my world building to further refine what I have been able to uncover.

For me, I dove into the world building arena early on. I wanted to make a unique culture that is not human, per se. Akin to, perhaps, some of the races found in Star Trek or even J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make the language feel like an archaeological discovery from a different world. This was the seed I planted to help with creating the culture and to also explain the holes in the language.

Many words I created were the result of—shall we say—a “gut feeling.” For example, the Lorthoan word (roughly translated) for “dragon” is toshani [to·ˈʃa·ni] n. masc. At the time it felt like dragon, but I did not want the animal to be anything like what one could find in folklore or stories here on Earth, so I experimented with it. Thus, the toshani was born:

The toshani is a six-legged, diurnal reptile which resembles something you would expect to see if a Spinosaurus and a Mosasaurus had offspring, just a little smaller. The largest animal described was approximately 30 to 40 feet in length (a system of measurement has yet to be created). The head is nearly a quarter of its body length. Its teeth are knife-shaped to tear through flesh and bone with ease and has the crushing power equal or greater than that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. With its six legs, it is very agile and can climb up, down, and around rocks at astonishing speed. Its legs are sprawled, much like that of a crocodile giving it the ability to stay low to the terrain. Its outer skin is scaly and armored and has a pattern of red, orange, and tan pastel colors giving it the perfect camouflage for the rocky terrain.

The Language of Lortho and the World of Dhamashi. (2017, September 13). In CBBForum.

The possibilities are endless; there are two quotes I live by as a conlanger to which I constantly and consistently refer when I am writing:

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t. – Mark Twain

No matter how strange something is… if you give it enough time, it becomes normal. – Sarah Kellogg (Marg Helgenberger) Fire Down Below

I believe you, too, can make wonderful stories and culture references based on these two quotes. You have the power to awe and inspire, and I hope that—in some small way—I have done the same for you.

The Language of Lortho and the World of Dhamashi
Lortho Wiki

Lexember is Nigh upon Us

Soon the conlanging community will be involved with the activity known as Lexember. Lexember is a portmanteau of the words lexeme and December. Lexember is the largest community challenge in which language inventors make the goal of creating new words for their language(s). The intent is to make at least one word each day during the month of December.

The past two years have been a blur for me, so I hope that I will have the time this year to stay consistent with one word a day. I think with the support of the community I will be successful in reaching my goal. In fact, my family wants to help me this time around!

My hope is that I will not only discover new words, but also new grammatical constructs. Since the word order in Lortho is verb-subject-object, I am sure to find new ways to express any intent. I will be—more than likely—mostly active on Reddit and Twitter. Keep a look out for the Lexember hashtags as well as any related threads on /r/conlangs. Wish me luck and give us support! We sometimes find inspiration through some of the most unlikely sources…

Lortho Blog is live!

Hello readers! This feature has been on hold for a long time—partly due to me being shy and uncertain of how often I can update this site. I have since placed my personal feelings aside and decided to move forward with this blog.

In this site you will find a plethora of information regarding the language Lortho. It started as a spark in 2003 as a writing system which was lost to all but a few glyphs in my memory. It was not until 2016 when I decided to continue its development into a language that you see today.

My intent is to make this language feel like a discovery, rather than a creation or work of art. Each word I create for Lortho is viewed as its own individual discovery and I explain it as such when I want to test it in a sentence or phrase. I have yet to make other languages or dialects based on Lortho, but hey, one step at a time, right?

The current lexicon of Lortho recently passed 700 entries and it is still growing. My hope is that in the future I can open up Lortho to the community and let it become a true living language akin to Na’vi or Klingon. That is ambitious, I know, but one day I am sure it will be successful—hopefully during my lifetime!

So please peruse this site freely and enjoy your stay! I hope that during this journey you and I can find inspiration in each other’s works. Bye for now!

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” – Mark Twain

Edited on 2020-11-22.