Keith Gaughan

An attempt at public introspection


Consider this an attempt to remake my old Tèrnaru language from scratch.


The language is primarily isolating, and has a SOV typology, though it displays remnants of an ancestor language with VSO typology, particularly in the initial complex, which is a fossilised auxiliary verb. Its morphosyntactic alignment resembles that found in Austronesian alignment, but also resembles that of fluid-S languages.


The transcription method used in this document is not the language’s native orthography and is only a latinisation for convenience.

The phonology of the language is relatively simple.

Vowel system

There are nine vowels. The schwa only occurs in unstressed syllables.

i       u
 e  ə  o
  ɛ   ɔ
   a ɑ

Orthographically, these are realised as:

i       u
 e  y  o
  è   ò
   a á

‘y’ might appear to be an odd choice to represent schwa, but I’m Irish and I’m familiar with Welsh and Manx, so it’s not odd to me. The choice of the grave accent for lowering and thus ‘è’ and ‘ò’ to represent /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ is based on Romance languages. My choice of ‘á’ to represent /ɑ/ is based loosely Irish and the fact that I needed some reasonable choice to represent the sound and recycling the grave accent didn’t seem appropriate. Other possibilities would’ve been to use the trema or the circumflex, but both would’ve had their own issues.


The consonant system is similarly simple:

           Bil    Alv  Ret  Vel
           U  V   U V    V  U V 
Stop       p  b   t d       k g
Fricative  f  v   s z
Nasal         m          n
Flap                          r
Lat. App.                l

/f/ can be realised as either [f] or [ɸ] and /v/ as [v] or [β]. They’re generally realised bilabially. /s/ can be realised [ʃ] or [s] and /z/ and be realised as [ʒ] or [z]. Both are generally realised as alveolar consonants. [h] is occasionally used to prevent hiatus, but is not written.


To do.

Some sample sentences

?       fè  ták
?       βe  tɑk
MID.PST 1sg hit
'I hit myself'