Gjarrda Vocabulary
2orfom Jardae
(For best results, install the Gjarrda TrueType font, Lhoerr, to read examples written in Gjarrda, and the Zirinka font to read examples in Jaradh and Zharranh.)


Many artificial languages end up being relexified versions of the inventor's native language (which in the case of Gjarrda is English). That is, the concepts represented by the words in the new language match up closely with the concepts of the native language. This problem was typical of many early Kolagian languages, especially Niskloz (which often reads as a word-for-word literal translation of English). To minimize this effect, Gjarrda was originally developed in parallel with a Zireen language, Jaradh (qahdhr), and the alien cultures of the Jaradh-speakers, the Jaraziyidh (qahdhneaer). Since Jaradh is related to Zharranh, the language of the Kireethin, Gjarrda also borrows Zharranh concepts when there is no Jaradh equivalent (such as slavery and related concepts). Designing Gjarrda along with Jaradh requires more effort than relexifying English, but ultimately should result in a more useful language for personal uses. (After all, if the language ends up being little more than a different way to write English, why not just use English?)


Gjarrda uses a number of different specialized words for measuring different kinds of things. The size of gemstones such as emeralds, for instance, is measured in cElki-spiR kjelki-spir (plover's eggs). However, as a common reference system for defining all other units, Gjarrda uses the Jaradh system of scientific units based on universal physical constants. From the mass (me) and charge (e) of an electron, the speed of light (c), and Planck's constant (h), a large number of the basic units can be easily derived. For instance, the basic unit for length, the mheqah saija (Gjarrda jud yud), is h/mec, or 3.8616 10-13 m. In Gjarrda, units that are more useful for everyday needs are derived from these basic units; for example, a trillion jud, or a Rigjud rigyud, about 15 inches long, is called a big big. Time intervals are measured in units of h/mec2 1021 (about 1.288 seconds), but the time of day is considered as an angle and measured in revolutions (one revolution per day).


The Gjarrda color system has undergone a number of revisions; this is the most current version. Jaradh color words are not directly useful in Gjarrda, because Zireen eyes see different colors than human eyes. However, the basic ideas behind Jaradh color words may be adapted to human perception for Gjarrda color words. The basic problem with color words is the continuous variation between colors. However, there are a few useful "landmarks" in the color spectrum. Yellow (mqdhaee strayii), turquoise (sdhnih grazha), indigo (ahgtjge yaumui), and ultraviolet (redht dhiran) are the basic colors of Jaradh, based on the sensitivity of the four Zireen color receptors. Gjarrda uses red, green, and blue as the basic colors, representing the approximate corners of the CIE chromaticity diagram, which is based on the properties of human vision (although not directly so in the way that the Zireen colors are named). Yellow can be defined (for the purposes of Gjarrda) as the brightest color in the spectrum, the wavelength to which human eyes are most sensitive, in the same way as green (Jaradh rlhgah cauya) is to Zireen eyes. Actually, the basic value of cauya is a bright yellowish green (around 560 nm), strayii is a rather orangey yellow, and some colors we would consider "green" in English are called grazha in Jaradh. Zireen languages do not generally distinguish orange from red or yellow in everyday language, but they do make finer distinctions in the blue end of the spectrum, extending into the ultraviolet. Here is a table of some common Zireen color words, limited to the pure spectral colors within the range of human vision. (Since Zireen have four-color vision, they have many words for mixed colors that are indistinguishable to humans, which are omitted from the table.)








































The basic colors in Gjarrda, on the other hand, are derived from the colors of the red, green, and blue phosphor on a color monitor or television set. The three primary hues are GoL ghoulh (red), ze5 zeisj (green), and m8R meor (blue), although the secondary hue tRal tral (yellow), an equal mixture of GoL and ze5, is also considered a primary hue for the purpose of color identification. With these four colors in addition to white (zol zoul), gray (xan khan), and black (miK midhl), any color can be identified for rough approximate purposes. Orange and brown things, for instance, would be considered either GoL or tRal, whichever is most similar. The two other secondary hues, snul snul (cyan) and 2aR zjar (magenta), in addition to Jyn gjuen (orange), a mixture of GoL and tRal, are used for more precise identification of hue. For specialized uses, in cases where the seven basic Gjarrda hues are insufficient, the Zireen-based colors vor vourr (copper), zil zil (gold), jWn yeun (lime), dRaz draz (turquoise), Rul rul (azure), and vren vrrein (purple) are borrowed, with kEm kem (pink) filling the gap between magenta and red. (Although spectral violet is not the same hue as purple from a mixture of blue and red, Gjarrda does not normally distinguish the two hues.)

In order to name a wide range of colors, derivative suffixes are added to the basic color names. These derivative suffixes represent a combination of saturation and value, which together with the hue can represent any color. There are six of these suffixes: im im (bright), ku ku (light), ev eiv (pale), am am (dull), az az (medium), and oR our (dark). This system allows for the description of 105 different colors (including five shades of gray), such as GoLim ghoulhim (scarlet), voraz vourraz (brown), 2aRam zjaram (mauve), kEmku kemku (rose), Rulku rulku (sky blue), and kEmoR kemour (maroon). In addition, adjacent hues can be combined, resulting in intermediate hues such as ziltRal ziltral (golden-yellow), the suffixes can be combined in nine ways (imku imku, imaz imaz, kuev ku'eiv, kuam ku'am, kuaz ku'az, evam eivam, azam azam, azoR azour, oRam ouram), the suffixes "pale", "dull", and "dark" can be intensifed by adding -om -oum, or diminished by adding -it -it, and "bright" can also be diminished by adding -it -it, resulting in a total of 623 different colors. Also, the fourteen standard hues may be combined with white, black, and the five shades of gray, for example m8Rxan meorkhan "blue-gray", vormiK vourrmidhl "sepia". While "blue-white" (m8Rzol meorzoul), for instance, is the same as "extra-pale blue" (m8Revim meoreivim), it is a syllable shorter, and four new shades of blue-gray (such as m8Rxanev meorkhaneiv "pale blue-gray"), are available with this method. This brings the total number of Gjarrda colors to 679.

Here is an illustration of 98 Gjarrda colors, illustrating the effect of the suffixes on the basic colors (in the center row). There is also a chart of the Gjarrda color suffixes, with saturation on the horizontal axis and value on the vertical axis, which shows the results of combining two color suffixes. For specialized purposes, such as naming birds, many combinations of hue and saturation-value suffixes have their own single-syllable equivalents. There are many of these in the red to yellow region of the spectrum, and few elsewhere (mainly because there are many subtly different shades of brown in nature, and few distinct shades of cyan). For ordinary purposes, though, a brown bird can be described simply as brown (voraz vourraz), orange (Jyn gjuen), or even red (GoL ghoulh).


The Gjarrda word xRin khrin corresponds to the Jaradh word qqeohr tiladh (Zharranh qqbohr tylath), meaning "a living thing capable of sensing, remembering, and responding to events". This is the usual Gjarrda translation of the English word "animal", although it doesn't correspond exactly to any of the English usages. There is no Gjarrda word meaning "animal" that excludes humans; if it is necessary to make such a distinction, the word vaguR vagur (meaning "non-human") or the phrase xRin vaguRi khrin vaguri ("non-human animal") is used. Alternatively, a non-human animal can be referred to as vaR8l vareol ("non-person"); the word R8l reol (Jaradh demph rispa) refers to living beings capable of using language, and "language" in this sense (Gjarrda tal tal, Jaradh sshmee kasii) is limited to communication systems with a large, open-ended vocabulary of concepts that can be combined into complex units. "Animal" in the biological sense is translated as mezo meizou, from the scientific name Metazoa. An appropriate translation for the insulting use of the word "animal" (and similar words such as "beast", "bestial", "brutal") to refer to cruel, vicious humans is pE5 pesj ("monster").

There are few Jaradh words for specific kinds of terrestrial animals. Zaisa (the Jaradh name for the planet Reeshai) is populated mainly by animals from the Draconian worlds, with a few introduced Mizarian animals that are genetically altered versions of terrestrial animals. (The Zireen themselves are altered Draconian fur-fairies.) Gjarrda words for animals that have no equivalent in Jaradh are chosen partly by referring to scientific classifications, and to some extent influenced by the English or other human-language words for animals. Thus, even though a mole-rat (family Bathyergidae) is not a true rat, its Gjarrda name, t8maRi5eg teomarisjeig, is a compound of the Gjarrda words for "mole" and "rat". This is a convenience introduced to reduce the number of basic roots necessary, rather than an assumption of relationship based on resemblance. The word Ri5eg risjeig by itself (not part of a compound) can only refer to mammals of the genus Rattus or closely-related genera of the family Muridae. The first letter of an animal name may be the same as the first letter of the Latin name, as a hint (e.g., Ri5eg risjeig = Rattus, gaci gakji = Gallus, mEr merr = Mephitinae, t8ma teoma = Talpidae, citRa kjitra = Chiroptera), but this is not necessary. More information on the Gjarrda method for naming animals is on this page.

Government-related words

There is no equivalent in any of the Jaradh-speaking cultures for government and laws of the kind we are familiar with: a complex, arbitrary system of bans and demands enforced by people with weapons. The Jaraziyidh have only one law: everything is permitted except for actions which harm unconsenting individuals or their possessions. (The fate of public property, which is jointly owned by many, is decided in some cases by a 5/8 majority, but in other cases a 7/8 majority is required.) There are no "victimless crimes" in Jaraziyidh society. Violations of the law are of three sorts, which may be translated roughly as "accidents" (unintentional violations resulting from unexpected circumstances), "misunderstandings" (unintentional violations resulting from a failure to communicate correctly), and "offenses" (intentional violations). Actions that are illegal in human society, even something as horrible as killing a person, are perfectly legal among the Jaraziyidh, providing that every person involved consents to the act (as in the more deadly forms of ritual combat). It may seem barbaric to us, but the ultimate freedom inherent in Jaraziyidh society is one of their most treasured and sacred beliefs.

Since human laws are more complicated than Jaraziyidh laws, the necessary concepts to describe them must come from another source: Zharranh words relating to the history of Nikta enslavement of the Kireethin. The Zharranh word tjhoah malha (cognate to Jaradh tjhqah maja and synonymous with Gjarrda Jag gjag) refers to the rules of a game, voluntarily agreed upon by the players who consent to play the game, but in the derived form oagtjhoah lhomalha, it refers to rules involuntarily forced upon slaves by a master. The Gjarrda equivalent, GWJag gheugjag, is the general word used to translate the English word "law". Specific kinds of lhomalha for which Zharranh has words include bans (moifmaqqh srrechta), general demands (sbmlh kyrsa), and direct orders (nactjh juma). A srrechta (Gjarrda R0g roeg) is any general order that prohibits a certain activity (under a given set of circumstances) with the threat of punishment for disobeying the ban. The failed Communications Decency Act is an example of a roeg. A kyrsa (Gjarrda mWg meug) is a different kind of law, one that requires certain people to do a thing under certain circumstances, again with the threat of punishment. Income taxes and seat belt laws are typical examples of meug. A juma (Gjarrda pEf pef) is a specific command to a specific person from someone in a position of power, such as a master to a slave or a police officer to a citizen.


The simplest Gjarrda compound is a combination of two noun roots. The first root modifies the meaning of the second, although the exact sort of modification is not predictable. A mole-rat (t8maRi5eg teomarisjeig, family Bathyergidae) is a kind of animal related to rats (Ri5eg risjeig) that resembles a mole (t8ma teoma), for instance, but a tree-rat (zanRi5eg zanrisjeig, genus Mesembriomys) is a kind of rat that nests in trees (zan zan). Often, as in the word 2orfom zjourrfoum ("vocabulary"), the relationship between the two nouns is similar to the genitive case, or the usage of the preposition "of" in English (a vocabulary is one's repertoire or expressive range, fom foum, of words, 2or zhourr. The single word 2orfom zhorrfom means the same as the phrase fom 2ore foum zhourrei.)

A compound of two noun roots (or verb roots) that belong to the same category represents a concept intermediate between the two roots. For example, ze5tRal zeisjtral is a color intermediate between green (ze5 zeisj) and yellow (tRal tral). Compounds of this sort are treated as single roots for the purpose of forming more complex compounds.

Compounds of three or more noun roots are also possible, grouping from right to left. The Gjarrda year names, such as pEnkE2laz penkezjlaz (1997), are compounds of this sort.

In a verb-verb compound, the first verb root is treated as an adverb that modifies the meaning of the second: tonm8R tounmeor "dark blue", skudreg skudrreig "stop abruptly".

In a verb-noun compound, the verb is treated as an adjective describing the noun. For instance, a m8-drun meo-drrun is a kind of drun drrun (thrush) that is m8R meor (blue), specifically a bluebird (Sialia). (The final -r of m8R meor is omitted to avoid an awkward cluster.) Verb-noun compounds can substitute for a single noun in a compound of two or more noun roots: m8-drunrel meo-drrunrreil "the song of a bluebird".

Noun-verb compounds narrow the meaning of the verb according to characteristics associated with the noun. zul Zul, for instance, refers to trade of any kind, including barter (as does the Jaradh aeedh yiira), but buRzul burzul is specifically trade involving money (that is, buying and selling). The color green in general is ze5 zeisj, but the specific color of a green anole lizard (ze5zivad zeisjzivad, or zeizzivad, Anolis carolinensis) is zivadze5 zivadzeisj, "lizard green". Also in this category are Gjarrda equivalents of the suffixes -ed (as in m8Rnavni meornavni "having blue irises, blue-eyed") and -less (as in stonvam stounvam, "lacking color, colorless"), which are actually verb roots.

Another kind of noun-verb compound is formed with verbal nouns. There are five kinds of verbal nouns in Gjarrda, formed by adding suffixes to the verb root. The suffix -is -is forms a noun that represents the meaning of the verb itself, for example vragis vrragis "spelling", Jardavragis Gjarrdavrragis "Gjarrda spelling". The suffix -8l -eol forms a noun that represents the subject of a transitive verb: cig8l cigeol "one who eats", pagcig8l pagcigeol "anteater". The suffix -ag -ag forms a noun that represents the subject of an intransitive verb or the object of a transitive verb: stiag sti'ag "possession", kajastiag kayasti'ag "personal possession". Finally, the suffixes -un -un and -El -el represent the dative and instrumental cases of the noun respectively: 2umun zjumun "one who is given something", giR2umun girzjumun "award winner", pEdEl pedel "tool for striking", gadpEdEl gadpedel "tool for striking nails; hammer".


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