Hemes /ˈhe.mes/  audio is a conlang that I made in an hour in 2018 for a one hour challenge (my post here)


Constraints and theme

Within one hour, create a conlang sketch sufficient to translate the following text idiomatically:

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. - Leonardo da Vinci


Phoneme inventory


Nasal/m/ ⟨m⟩/n/ ⟨n⟩ audio
StopPlain/p/ ⟨b⟩/t/ ⟨d⟩/k/ ⟨g⟩ audio
Aspirated/pʰ/ ⟨p⟩/tʰ/ ⟨t⟩/kʰ/ ⟨k⟩ audio
FricativeVoiced/v/ ⟨v⟩/z/ ⟨z⟩/ɦ/ ⟨'⟩ audio
Voiceless/f/ ⟨f⟩/s/ ⟨s⟩/h/ ⟨h⟩ audio
Affricate/pf/ ⟨pf⟩/ts/ ⟨ts⟩ audio
ApproximantVoiced/w/ ⟨w⟩/l/ ⟨l⟩/j/ ⟨y⟩ audio
Voiceless*/ʍ/ ⟨wh⟩/ɬ/ ⟨lh⟩/ç/ ⟨yh⟩ audio

* some of these are actually fricatives, but are considered the voiceless equivalents of the corresponding approximant


High/i(ː)/ ⟨i/ii⟩/u(ː)/ ⟨u/uu⟩ audio
Mid/e(ː)/ ⟨e/ee⟩/o(ː)/ ⟨o/oo⟩
Low/a(ː)/ ⟨a/aa⟩

Also the diphthongs /ai/  audio and /au/  audio , which don't have a length distinction.


Syllable structure: (C)(G)V(F)

Onset can be any single consonant, or a stop or voiceless fricative (other than /h/) plus an approximant (other than /j/). In onset clusters, aspiration is not distinguished, and the two consonants can't be at the same place of articulation. Thus, possible onset clusters are

tw kw sw
pl kl fl

Final can be null or /f/, /s/, or /h/, or a duplication of the following consonant (except the final syllable). If the final is not null, the vowel has to be short.

Stress is on the penult if it's heavy (has a final consonant, long vowel, or diphthong), otherwise the antepenult. The final syllable does not distinguish vowel length.

/wo wu ji je ʍo ʍu çi çe/ are not possible.

If a suffix starting with a fricative or approximant is added to a word ending in a fricative, the two sounds combine into a geminate voiceless version of the suffix's fricative, unless the sequence is allowed in a syllable onset.


Sentence structure: SVO

The main verb of the sentence is marked with suffixes for TAM and the person of the subject and object:

  1. Tense and mood
    • no marking: non-future
    • -ga: certain future
    • -hef: uncertain future
    • -zu: intentional future
  2. Subject
    • -ne: first person singular subject
    • -do: second person singular subject
    • -li: first and/or second person plural subject
    • no marking: third person subject
  3. Object
    • -bi: first person singular object
    • -bido: second person singular object
    • -pli: first and/or second person plural object
    • no marking: third person or no object

Pronouns can be omitted. Certain and uncertain future can also be used as inferential evidentials or to mark guesses (anything the speaker hasn't directly observed).

Subordinating conjunctions come before clauses they modify, like in English.

No case marking, except prepositions.


baa  audio
be (present/future), also used as an auxiliary for anything present tense (irregular uncertain future form: baf)
zii  audio
be (past)
tis  audio
when (conj.)
ma  audio
while (conj.)
eku  audio
because (conj.), cause (v.)
a  audio
on (prep.)
ene  audio
towards (prep.)
sada  audio
feda  audio
lef  audio
v. to want, to long for
koona  audio
v. to be familiar with something; also used as an auxiliary for something like the perfect aspect
whaffa  audio
v. to fly (movement verbs are intransitive)
fa  audio
n. sky
dana  audio
n. ground
galas  audio
v. to walk, to go
koloh  audio
v. look
emmef  audio
adv. forever
lau  audio
adv. back
hemes  audio
v. say; n. language, speech


Tis koonado whaffa, emmef galasgado a dana ma kolohgado ene fa, eku koonado fada, emmef lefgado galas lau.
/tʰis ˈkoːnado ˈʍaf.fa, ˈem.mef ka.ˈlas.ka.to a ˈta.na ma koˈloh.ka.to ˈe.ne ˈfa, ˈe.ku ˈkoː.na.to ˈfa.ta, ˈem.mef ˈlef.ka.to ˈka.las ˈlau/
tiswhen koona-dobe_familiar-2s whaffa,fly, emmefforever galas-ga-dogo-fut-2s aon danaground mawhile koloh-ga-dolook-fut-2s enetowards fa,sky, ekubecause koona-dobe_familiar-2s fada,there, emmefforever lef-ga-dowant-fut-2s galasgo lau.back.

"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
Literally: "When you're familiar with flying, you will forever go on the ground while you look towards the sky, because you're familiar with there, you'll forever want to go back."


19:13 GO!
19:31 done with phonology stuff, mostly
19:59 I spent THAT long on basic grammar stuff‽ HURRY UP!
20:21 and, done! okay that was almost ten minutes past time. wait, it needs a name!
20:23 okay, NOW done.