Empyrean
Empyrean is a constructed language intended to provide a means of formal or esoteric communication between enthusiasts of linguistics, literature, and related fields. While primarily influenced by English (the native language of its creator), Empyrean draws elements of its syntax, phonology, and writing system from many existing languages.

Contents
1. Classification
2. Phonology
3. Orthography
4. Grammar
5. Sample text


Classification

As a constructed language, Empyrean doesn't fall within a single classification, however is most closely associated with Indo-European languages. Much of its phonology and letter-forms are derived from this group, as well as its semantic core—this serves to facilitate learning the language for a large subset of people. Empyrean is typologically similar to English in that it follows a SVO word order with prepositions; adjective order places determiners, followed by size-related adjectives, before the nouns they describe, and places other adjectives afterwards.


Phonology

Empyrean phonology consists of its main set of native phonemes, which is limited to ten consonants and six vowels. A subset of ten additional consonants is included for the addition of loanwords and proper nouns; alphabetical order places their representing glyphs after all native elements. Empyrean words do not use tone to modify their meanings; stress is always placed on the second vowel, except in two-syllable words, which stress the first vowel.

Consonants
As can be seen below, the native phonology does not include plosives or affricates (/p/, /t/, /k/, /b/, /d/, /g/), and does not use lenis (voiced) fricatives (/v/, /z/, /ð/, /ʒ/). These specific ten consonants are represented in the extended alphabet, added for loanwords and proper nouns. This lends Empyrean a unique sound, and naturally emphasizes loanwords, names, and other proper nouns by contrast.

Labial
Dental
Alveolar
Post-
alveolar

Palatal
Velar
Glottal
Nasal
m

n




Plosive¹/
affricate¹
fortis
p¹

t¹

k¹
lenis b¹
d¹

g¹
Fricative
fortis f
θ
s
ʃ


h
lenis¹ v¹ ð¹ z¹ ʒ¹

Approximant


l
ʁ
j


¹These consonants are used exclusively for loanwords and for proper nouns

Vowels
All native vowel sounds are monophthongs; consecutive vowels therefore inhabit separate syllables. Diphthongs are used only in loanwords and proper nouns.

Front
Central
Back
short
long
short
long
long
Close


ʊ

ɔː
Mid
ɛ

ə¹

Open
æ




¹This shortened mid-vowel is used exclusively to articulate a small set of one-letter, consonant-only words, and only when they're placed directly before a consonant-initial word. It is not represented orthographically.


Orthography

Alphabet
The Empyrean alphabet uses a one-sound-one-letter principle, and has expanded to include additional (non-native) letters used for unassimilated words and proper names. While diacritics are not used in native words, using the macron accent (ˉ) with vowels to indicate syllable stress while learning Empyrean is an accepted practice; it is also used to indicate syllable stress for loanwords and proper nouns that don't follow the standard convention. Note that voiced consonants use the same glyphs as their voiceless counterparts, while extending below the baseline to indicate voice (i.e.: f/f → v/v).

Native alphabet
Extended alphabet¹
Number
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Upper Case
C
N
I
H
E
X
L
A
R
U
M
O
Y
S
W
F
Q
J
Z
V
K
G
T
D
P
B
Lower Case
c
n
i
h
e
x
l
a
r
u
m
o
y
s
w
f
q
j
z
v
k
g
t
d
p
b
IPA phoneme
/θ/
/n/
/i/
/h/
/ɛ/
/ʃ/
/l/
/æ/
/ʁ/
/u/
/m/
/ɔ/
/j/
/s/
/ʊ/
/f/
/ð/
/ʒ/
/z/
/v/
/k/
/g/
/t/
/d/
/p/
/b/
Name (phonemic)
/ɛθ/
/ɛn/
/i/
/hɛ/
/ɛ/
/ɛʃ/
/ɛl/
/æ/
/ʁɛ/
/u/
/ɛm/
/ɔ/
/jɛ/
/ɛs/
/ʊ/
/ɛf/
/ðɛ/
/ʒɛ/
/zɛ/
/vɛ/
/kɛ/
/gɛ/
/tɛ/
/dɛ/
/pɛ/
/bɛ/
¹These letters/phonemes are used exclusively for loanwords and for proper nouns

Punctuation
Punctuation essentially follows the same rules as in English, however many of the punctuation marks themselves either differ in appearance or resemble different marks used in other languages. Key differences include:

English
Empyrean
Comma
,
,
Period
.
.
Semicolon
;
;
Colon
:
:
Ellipsis


Quotation
mark

""
Exclamation
mark

!
¡!
Question
mark

?
¿?


Grammar

Almost all Empyrean words are derived from a root and "conjugated" into up to thirteen variations and parts of speech. With the exception of a short list of special verbs and the cardinal and ordinal numerals, all roots end with a consonant by rule. Empyrean roots themselves are not actually words with definitions, but simply serve as the basis for conjugation. Other words (those that don't stem from a root) vary, but may not end with e—this suffix is reserved for infinitive verbs. Possessiveness in Empyrean (like appending ''s' in English) is achieved by prepending 'ha-', for example "Mary's""ha-Mari".

Conjugation
Empyrean roots can be conjugated into nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Conjugable nouns are categorized as uncountable, countable, and actor nouns, with the two latter classes also having plural varieties. Conjugable verbs are categorized as infinitive, present, or past verbs, with the latter two classes extending to related adjective forms and a related adverb form. As can be seen below, pluralization is achieved by appending 'ya' (/jæ/); it only applies to nouns and pronouns.
Conjugation
Rule
English example
Empyrean example
→v. inf.
+e
(to) become
cimcime
→v. pres.
+i
(I) become, (he) becomes, (is) becoming
cimcimi
→v. past
+u
became
cimcimu
→n. uncount.
(unch.)
(deep) thought, (deep) thinking
acoxacox
→n. count.
+ec
(a) thought
acoxacoxec
→n. count. pl.
+rcya
(some) thoughts
acoxacoxecya
→n. actor
+ex
(the) thinker
acoxacoxex
→n. actor pl.
+exya
(many) thinkers
acoxacoxexya
→adj. act. pres.
+in
(the) playing (children)
nolcnolcin
→adj. act. past
+un
(the) played (game)
nolcnolcun
→adj. qual.
+ar
playable (equipment)
nolcnolcar
→adj. quan.
+ax
(a) playful (puppy)
nolcnolcax
→adv. qual.
+arc
visibly (happy)
fresfresarc

Special Verbs
Twelve of the most commonly-used verbs are considered "special"—they come from very short roots that can't be conjugated on their own into usable words. For these roots, 'ey' (/ɛj/) is appended to the root prior to conjugation into a noun, adjective, or adverb; verb conjugation rules are unchanged. For example, 's' (root for the concept of doing) is conjugated "se
" ("(to) do", v. inf.) and "sey" ("doing", n. uncount.). The following table shows the twelve special roots with their conjugations into infinitive verbs; also note 'to be', using the 'empty' root.
Verb
Root
→v. inf.
(to) be

e
(not to) be
n
ne
(to) put
l
le
(to) do
s
se
(to) happen
x
xe
(to) have
c
ce
(to) use
f
fe
(to) set
ny
nye
(to) get
m
me
(to) let
h
he
(to) go
y
ye
(to) make
r
re

Monoliths
Empyrian possesses six words that are comprised of only a single consonant; these are the only words without vowels. When pronounced, a shortened mid-vowel 'ə' is pronounced after the consonant sound for articulation purposes, but this only takes place when not directly followed by a word beginning with a vowel—pronunciation otherwise simply prepends the next word. For example, phrases "do not": "n se" (/nə sɛ/), and "to you": "s wl" (/sʊl/, rather than /
sə ʊl/).

This has also resulted in the integrated contractions "ne", "ni", and "nu", origianting from negations of "(to) be" ("e
")—i.e. "n e""ne", much like "is not""isn't"; there are no other examples of contractions in Empyrean.
Monolith
English
f
for
x
so
m
at
s
to
n
not
l
the

Pronouns
Pronouns, like all other words in Empyrean, do not have gender. The main pronouns are divided into groups: first person; second person; third person (animate)—used for living things; third person (inanimate)—used for objects; and indefinite. Additionally, pronouns do not have different forms for subject and object; thus first person "I" and "me" ("es") use the same word, just as second person "you" ("wl") already does in English. Finally, possessive pronouns don't use different forms for dependence and independence; thus "my" and "mine" ("esei") use the same word as well.
Person
Number
Subject/
Object
Possessive
Reflexive
First
Singular
I, me
es
my, mine
esei
myself
esenei
Plural
we, us
esya
our, ours
eseiya
ourselves
eseneiya
Second
Singular you
wl
your
wlei
yourself
wlenei
Plural wlya
wleiya
yourselves
wleneiya
Third
(animate)
Singular he, him, she, her
eri
his, her, hers
erei
himself, herself
erienei
Plural they, them
eriya
their, theirs
ereiya
themself, themselves
erieneiya
Third
(inanimate)
Singular it
eli
its
elei
itself
elienei
Plural they, them
eliya
theirs
eleiya
themself, themselves
elieneiya
Indefinite
Singular
one
is
one's
isei
oneself
isenei

Other pronouns in Empyrean function much the same way as in English. Some examples:
Demonstrative
Relative
Indefinite
Interrogative
this
el
who
mei
one, oneself
is, isenei
who
mei
these
elya
what
rei
something, nothing
icel, exuel
what
rei
that
ac
which
cei
anybody, everyone
wliis, iciis
which
cei
those
acya
that
ac


Sample Text

English:
In many places in China, there were temples of the dragon-king. During times of drought, people would pray in the temples that the dragon-king would give rain to the human world. At that time the dragon was a symbol of the supernatural creature. Later on, it became the ancestor of the highest rulers and symbolized the absolute authority of a feudal emperor. The emperor claimed to be the son of the dragon. All of his personal possessions carried the name "dragon" and were decorated with various dragon figures. Now dragon decorations can be seen everywhere in China and legends about dragons circulate.

Empyrean (Sans serif):

Fri ili leyecya fri Txaina, ali u xanxecya w l crexec-myelex. Solc xolcecya w cwnx, crtlexya fie rame fri l xanxecya yw l crexec-myelex fie elce lux s l rwlec mywcar. M ac xolc l crexec u il elcisec w l eyex emocar. Wci, eli cimu l oswxex w l fli-conxar myelexya a elcisu l xwlc fosar w il xralex. L xralex onxu s e l mixex w l crexec. Elu w erei ceyecya crtlar cu l acixec "crexec" a u emsacu wx crexec ilhimecya licar. Ax crexec emsacecya lie e lensu icisei fri Txaina a alonxecya w crexecya xreli.

Empyrean (Serif):
Fri ili leyecya fri Txaina, ali u xanxecya w l crexec-myelex. Solc xolcecya w cwnx, crtlexya fie rame fri l xanxecya yw l crexec-myelex fie elce lux s l rwlec mywcar. M ac xolc l crexec u il elcisec w l eyex emocar. Wci, eli cimu l oswxex w l fli-conxar myelexya a elcisu l xwlc fosar w il xralex. L xralex onxu s e l mixex w l crexec. Elu w erei ceyecya crtlar cu l acixec "crexec" a u emsacu wx crexec ilhimecya licar. Ax crexec emsacecya lie e lensu icisei fri Txaina a alonxecya w crexecya xreli.

See also: Empyrean Syntax Test Cases


©2021 Adam Alexander T. Croke. All rights reserved.