Ithkuil: A Philosophical Design for a Hypothetical Language




Home   Introduction 4 Case Morphology 8 Adjuncts 12 The Number System
FAQs   1 Phonology 5 Verb Morphology 9 Syntax List of Abbreviations
Links of Interest   2 Morpho-Phonology 6 More Verb Morphology 10 Lexico-Semantics The Lexicon
Updates / News   3 Basic Morphology 7 Suffixes 11 The Writing System Texts


  “My Hovercraft is Full of Eels”
  Opening Line from Anna Karenina
  Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2
  Basic Greetings and Salutations
  The Lord’s Prayer
  The Litany Against Fear from Frank Herbert’s Dune
  The “Babel” Text (Genesis 11:1-9)
  Schleicher’s Fable
  The Passover Seder Question & Answers
  Kaduatán Song Lyrics and Ithkuil Poetry


This page presents various texts in Ithkuil including interlinear morphological analyses similar to the examples in previous chapters. Additionally, a few narrative presentations are offered based on presentations the author has given in other venues or formats.


For the Monty Python Fans Out There...

Tî  akt’asalb  abjatļud.
1m-PRP    STA-‘hover’-OBL-NRM/PRX/M/CSL/UNI-CVY1/5    STA-‘eel’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/DCT-SUF1/9
My hovercraft is full of eels.       LISTEN 


Opening Line from Anna Karenina

The following narrative presents the step-by-step procedure undertaken by the author in translating the opening line of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina into Ithkuil. It should be noted that I have used the English translation of the sentence instead of the Russian original as my translation source:

All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

STEP ONE: Semantic Analysis of Source Sentence

Before beginning translation, it is important to carefully analyze the actual meaning of the sentence from a cognitive standpoint, i.e., what is the cognitive intent of the sentence as opposed to how it reads stylistically? This is important because Ithkuil must convey the underlying cognitive intent of the sentence. In this sentence, one might initially interpret the sentence to suggest that there are two different kinds of families, one happy, the other unhappy, and that happy ones can’t ever be unhappy or vice-versa. But in fact, all families are capable of being happy or unhappy. Therefore, the Ithkuil translation will reword the sentence to convey that when families are happy, they resemble one another, whereas when they are unhappy they don’t resemble one another. Secondly, we must analyze what is meant by the word ‘resemble’. In English, ‘resemble’ refers to similarity in visual appearance or observed behavior. However, the intent of the sentence is that the similarity of behavior is intrinsic and occurs whether or not there is anyone available to visually observe it. Therefore, the Ithkuil translation must avoid use of any concept such as ‘resemble’ to imply visual observation of behavior. The behavior simply is similar or dissimilar, regardless of whether there is any visual comparison made. The Ithkuil translation will therefore simply distinguish between similarity in the manifestation/behavior of happiness in families versus dissimilarity in the manifestation/behavior of unhappiness in families. Finally, in the original sentence, the second clause is syntactically disguised as a co-equal main clause, however, cognitively it is a dependent clause in a contingent relationship to the first half of the sentence. The “missing” conjunction should be ‘whereas’ or ‘as opposed to’ or ‘while on the other hand’ since it is being contrastively compared to the first clause. Ithkuil provides a case-frame (the COMPARATIVE) for exactly these kinds of contrastive comparisons. Therefore the Ithkuil sentence will employ such a case-frame when translating the second half of the sentence. So at this point, what we will be translating into Ithkuil reads something like “All families manifest happiness similarly, whereas they manifest unhappiness dissimilarly.”

STEP TWO: Separating the Lexical from the Morphological

At this point, the original sentence must be analyzed to determine what Ithkuil lexical roots/stems will be necessary, as opposed to those words/concepts in the original which can be translated via morphological components instead of lexical roots/stems. We can see we are making a statement about families and are qualifying those families as happy or unhappy. Therefore it is likely we will need Ithkuil lexemes for ‘family’ and ‘happy/happiness.’ We have already determined above that we do not need a word for ‘resemble’ and words like ‘all’, ‘one another’, ‘each’, ‘in its own way’ carry little intrinsic meaning by themselves until they are used in conjunction with the main participants (nouns and verbs) of the sentence. We know from studying Ithkuil morphology that all of these words will be handled by morphological, not lexical means when translating. Therefore, we only need two main lexemes: ‘family’ and ‘happy/happiness.’

STEP THREE: Analysis/Derivation Using Ithkuil Morphological Categories

Those who have studied the Configuration and Affiliation categories of Ithkuil morphology might recognize at this point that the concept ‘family’ is a composite sort of concept, indicating an entity composed of sub-components or sub-members, each one of whom is a ‘family member.’ Ithkuil tends not to lexify as discrete stems those words that are gestalt entities comprised of sub-components. Rather it is the sub-components that are lexified into stems and then morphologically modified via the various Configuration and Affiliation categories. The Ithkuil lexicon contains the Pattern 1, Stem 1, INFORMAL stem amm meaning a nuclear family member, derived from the root -MM- referring to the various sanguine members of a nuclear family (parent, child, mother, father, son, daughter, etc.). A family consists of various such members, each of whom are not identical in their attributes (e.g., gender, age, personality, talents, etc.). A gestalt composite composed of non-identical members who are not physically interconnected, is shown by the AGGREGATE [AGG] configuration in Ithkuil. Likewise, the resulting gestalt entity ‘family’ is more than the sum of its parts from a cognitive standpoint (i.e., it is capable of participating in events or being described in ways irrespective of its individual members), therefore it should be placed in the COALESCENT [COA] affiliation. Finally, the particular sentence being translated talks about families in a timeless cultural sense, describing families in an archetypal fashion. Such a sense can best be captured by use of the AMALGAMATE [AMG] context in Ithkuil. So far, the Ithkuil word for ‘family’ we are fashioning has been declined for Configuration, Affiliation, and Context. However, there are five remaining morphological categories for nominal formatives in Ithkuil. We must consider each of these:

PERSPECTIVE: The sentence is comparing every family against every other family, thus it is speaking of each family as a single discrete entity, not a collective concept. This is reinforced by the use of the word ‘all’ (which in the Ithkuil translation will appear as the Inclusive suffix [INL] in ninth degree, meaning ‘each/every’). Thus the correct perspective is the default MONADIC perspective.

EXTENSION: Each family is being considered as an entire discrete entity within the context of the sentence, therefore the default DELIMITIVE extension is appropriate.

DESIGNATION: The stem amm is in the default INFORMAL designation, as indicated by its syllabic stress pattern (recall from Section 1.3.3 that all monosyllabic stems are considered to have penultimate stress from a morphological standpoint).

ESSENCE: The sentence refers to all families in the real world, not families in a hypothetical or contrary-to-fact context, therefore the default NORMAL essence is appropriate.

CASE: The word ‘family’ will be the “subject” of a verb complex meaning ‘manifests happy behavior’. The appropriate semantic role for the subject of a non-causal descriptive state is as CONTENT, shown by the default OBLIQUE [OBL]case in Ithkuil.

The concept ‘happy/happiness’ is given in Ithkuil by the Pattern 1, Stem 2, FORMAL stem öqtá which literally means ‘degree of happiness/joy’. This stem is derived from the root -QT- ‘DEGREE OF POSITIVE EMOTIONAL SATIETY/FULFILLMENT’. Qualitative concepts such as happiness are usually lexified in Ithkuil as a spectrum or range which then takes the Sufficiency [SUF] or Extent/Degree [EXN] suffix to indicate what particular amount/extent/degree of the quality is manifested, anywhere from none up to an overabundance. In this case, we will use the [EXN1/6] suffix indicating ‘an above-normal degree of’. Adjectives such as ‘happy’ don’t exist in Ithkuil; their equivalent is usually shown using a verbal formative declined into either the STATIVE [STA] function or the DESCRIPTIVE [DSC] function. The choice between using STATIVE or DESCRIPTIVE function for this translation is subtle. I have chosen [DSC] because it captures more of the sense of describing the nature of the family itself (which is what I think the author was trying to convey) rather than simply a state they are in. Verbal formatives are complex structures in Ithkuil, inflecting for 22 different morphological categories. So, besides the DSC function, the remaining 21 categories must be analyzed, as follows:

: Conceptually, ‘happiness’ is not a gestalt composite, therefore the default UNIPLEX value is appropriate.

AFFILIATION: The UNIPLEX configuration implies a default CONSOLIDATIVE affiliation, and the uses of the remaining three affiliations are inapplicable to the intended meaning of ‘happiness’.

PERSPECTIVE: The sentence is asserted as being true at all times, a “law of nature” about families, therefore the appropriate perspective is the NOMIC [N].

EXTENSION: The state of happiness being discussed is not described as having specific beginning or ending points, therefore the appropriate extension is PROXIMAL [PRX].

CONTEXT: Happiness as an emotional state exists irrespective of opinions, cultural ideas, social conventions, etc., therefore, the default EXISTENTIAL context is appropriate.

DESIGNATION: The stem is in the default INFORMAL designation, as indicated by its syllabic stress pattern.

ESSENCE: The sentence refers to happiness as a real-world state, not in a hypothetical or contrary-to-fact context, therefore the default NORMAL essence is appropriate.

ILLOCUTION: The sentence constitutes a propositional speech act, an utterance which is either true or false and can be either believed or disbelieved. Thus, the default ASSERTIVE illocution is appropriate.

VALENCE: The state of happiness is being compared between families, implying PARALLEL valence (i.e., one participant is engaged in or experiencing the same activity or state as the other). However, because the verbal formative will be carrying the [SIM1/8] suffix (meaning ‘very similarly’), the valence relationship between one family and another is already implied. This means that overtly showing the PARALLEL valence in this sentence is unnecessary (or at least optional).

VERSION: The utterance describes a non-hypothetical end-in-itself and is not goal-oriented, therefore the default PROCESSUAL version is appropriate.

FORMAT: Their is no incorporated stem in this verb, therefore the showing of Format is inapplicable.

MODALITY: There is no modal or hypothetical content in this sentence, therefore there is no modality.

LEVEL: While one might consider translating this sentence using Ithkuil’s EQUATIVE level, its use would imply that families manifest happiness exactly the same way (as opposed to similarly). This is not the intent behind the word ‘resemble’ and therefore use of the [SIM1/8] suffix (meaning ‘very similarly’) is more appropriate. Therefore, the default INDETERMINATE level is appropriate.

CASE-FRAME: As previously mentioned, the second clause of this sentence will employ the COMPARATIVE [CMP] case-frame to signify a “whereas X” or “as opposed to X” type of relationship.

VALIDATION: Since the statement is not an empirically verifiable statement, but is written as being a truthful assertion, the implied source of information behind the statement is as an inference on the part of the author based on his own intuition or feelings. Therefore the appropriate validation is the INFERENTIAL.

PHASE: The statement does not refer to any repetitive or iterative situation, therefore the default CONTEXTUAL phase is appropriate.

SANCTION: The statement constitutes an ontologically subjective assertion or allegation expressing an opinion or belief, potentially subject to challenge or refutation. Therefore, the appropriate sanction is the ALLEGATIVE [ALG].

ASPECT: The sentence contains no additional aspectual information.

MOOD: The sentence is an assertion of an alleged fact, therefore the default FACTUAL mood is appropriate.

BIAS: The utterance contains no overtly subjective attitude or bias.

STEP FOUR: Assemble the Ithkuil words

When putting these elements together to render the final Ithkuil sentence, I take the option to separate out some of the suffixes into affixual adjuncts for the sake of phonetic euphony. Here then, is the end result, accompanied by the most natural sounding literal translation into English:

Mmarnuqha  than-n  hwöeqtàdhûbüp  öeqtóu’adhiböp.
STA-‘’-OBL-NRM/DEL/M/COA/AGG-INL1/9-IFL      ALG     INF-DSC-‘degree.of.happiness’-NRM/PRX/N/CSL/UNI-EXN1/6-SIM1/8-FML            FRAMED-DSC-‘degree.of.happiness’-CMP-NRM/PRX/N/CSL/UNI-EXN1/1-SIM1/2-FML
All families are happy in the same way, while being unhappy in their own way.       LISTEN 



Description of Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2”

Ithkuil’s ability to express subjective, non-linear, and synergistic gestalts as easily as objective, linear, discrete, componential phenomena allows it to describe phenomena such as artistic works succinctly but in great detail. For example:


STEM: okkr- 'descend at oblique angle'

i-okkr-a-s         aukkras




STEM: êq- 'woman'

êq-u-tt          êqutta

'imaginary representation of a woman as self-initiator of action'


STEM: ogv- 'article of clothing as coverage
                 (as opposed to fashion)'


'without a set of clothing as coverage'
(i.e., 'nude')



STEM: etn- 'stair'

etn-ou’a-lkw-            tnou’elkwa

'along the directional vector of an imaginary representation of a staircase'


p - a - l-lš - i       pal-lši       ITR-SQN-PRG

‘in a repetitive series of single manifestations’
‘one after the other’
‘being in the midst of; ...-ing’




STEM: ogw- '(make) ambulatory bodily movement'

i-ogw-ai-l         áugwaila

'by means of making an ambulatory bodily movement'




'by means of a tightly integrated set of ambulatory bodily movements'




'by means of a tightly integrated set of ambulatory bodily movements which combine into a three-dimensional trail/wake behind her'




'by means of a tightly integrated set of ambulatory bodily movements which combine into a three-dimensional trail/wake behind her, forming a timeless, emergent whole to be considered intellectually, emotionally and aesthetically'



Aukkras  êqutta  ogvëuļa  tnou’elkwa  pal-lši  augwaikštülnàmbu.

DYN-'descend'-NRM/PRX/M/CSL/UNI-IFL               STA-'woman'-IND-RPV/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL       
STA-'stair'-NAV-RPV/PRX/M/ASO/COH-IFL              ITR-SQN-PRG      

‘An imaginary representation of a nude woman in the midst of descending a staircase in a step-by-step series of tightly-integrated ambulatory bodily movements which combine into a three-dimensional wake behind her, forming a timeless, emergent whole to be considered intellectually, emotionally and aesthetically.’

[NOTE: Since I first encountered this painting as a teenager, I've always seen it as representing a woman. It wasn't until after I'd prepared the Ithkuil translation that someone pointed out to me that the original French title uses the masculine word "nu", implying an androgynous figure at best. Nevertheless, I've decided to keep the figure feminine.]



Aukkras  êqutta  ogvëuļa  tnou’elkwa  pal-lši  augwaikštülnàmbu.

‘An imaginary representation of a nude woman in the midst of descending a staircase in a step-by-step series of tightly-integrated ambulatory bodily movements which combine into a three-dimensional wake behind her, forming a timeless, emergent whole to be considered intellectually, emotionally and aesthetically.’       LISTEN 


Marcel Duchamp:  Nu descendant un escalier, No. 2    — 1912



Basic Greetings and Conversational Elements

This section provides various formulaic statements and responses, both formal and informal, pertaining to some basic conversational elements.



The formal stem attá- is the general stem denoting ‘salutation/greeting.’  With the addition of the SSD1/6 suffix -ûk it conveys ‘farewell/leavetaking.  The formal stem edná- ‘peace through fellowship’ and the informal stem edn- ‘goodwill/kindness’ are also used in greeting formulas.  Many formal and informal phrases are possible using these stems, as shown by the following examples.


Ükhu  attál.
I bid you greetings.

Ki  attàwîl.
Greetings to you.

Attál. / Attàwîl.

Ki  attàlûk.
Goodbye to you.


Ükhu  ettál.
I bid you welcome.

Ükhu  ettàlûk.
I bid you farewell.

(În-n)  ednal  kü.
(May there be) goodwill to you.

(În-n)  uhednál.
(May there be) peace through fellowship between us.

Ükhu  attál  în-n  uhednaláň.
2m/DAT-1m-IND   STA-‘greet’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-FML  EXH   RCP-CNF-STA-‘peace.through.fellowship’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-COO1/7/FML
I bid you greetings and may there be peace through fellowship between us.


How Are You?

The stem glal ‘state of health/physical well-being’ in conjunction with the suffix -ač ‘acceptably good/well’ are used to inquire about one’s well-being.  As an affixual adjunct (see Section 8.3), the suffix -ač functions as a shortcut means of creating various informal expressions.

Ki  glawulač? 
How are you?  (literally:  Are you in acceptable health?)

En-n  ki  ač.
Hopefully, things are well with you.

Ti  glalač.
I’m doing fine.  (literally:  I’m in acceptable health.)

Ti  ač.
I’m fine.



The “short” form of communicating thanks is Tô myal, meaning “my thanks” or more specifically “my offer of gratitude.”  This phrase is an informal abbreviated form of the following formal sentences:

Auspal  ükhu  tô  myal.
DYN-‘’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL   2m/DAT-1m/IND   1m-ATT   STA-‘offer.of.gratitude’-OBL-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL 
I offer you my gratitude.


Uhispal  ükhu  tô  myal  kô  ednaul.
CPL-CNF-DYN-‘exchange’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL   2m-ATT  STA-‘goodwill/kindness’-CMM-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL
I offer you my gratitude in exchange for your kindness.


The above sentences are addressed to one single person.  If the addressee is an UNBOUNDED party or an AGGREGATE group of people, then appropriate modifications of Perspective, Configuration, etc., should be made to the personal reference adjuncts within the sentence, e.g.,  üphu, hükhu, , etc.

If the feeling/manifestation of gratitude is more formal, in response to an honor bestowed or to the extent that it leaves the grateful party feeling beholden to the addressee, the formal stem ömyál ‘gratefulness/feeling of being honored’ can be used in place of myal.

Variations on the above examples where the stems asp- or osp- are incorporated into the stem amy- are also possible.



The Lord’s Prayer


Ömmële  têhwei  elthâ'àlôs
Our father in heaven

în-n  imnadh  kô  adal
hallowed be your name

Îl-lm  ¯euč’ane  tehwei  driocaipšé  kû

May your kingdom come to exist among us
(Literally: May the [metaphorical] environment which fosters/sustains your rule eventually [metaphorically] permeate us)

Ôbartöák în-n  ¯aipšalu

May your will be done
(Literally: As for your aspirations, may they be made real)

Swâál  elthâ'àlöňňôs

on Earth, not just in heaven

ř  uigrawulakkönurň
SOL STA-'food/drink'-DIR-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-TPR3/5-AGC1/2-IPT1/9

please be one who enables us to eat and drink our critical sustenance

Iekčawelöň  okhühwei  îvyoerduap  ^uhékčeöt  no.
DYN-'forgive'-DIR-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-COO1/2-IFL   2:ERG-Referent1:1m/Referent2:2m-1:DAT-1:COA-1:CST
STA-'morally right'-REF-NRM/PRX/U/CSL/AGG-SIM2/1-IFL
FRAMED-CPL-CNF-DYN-'seek and grant pardon'-FUN-NRM/DEL/U/CSL/UNI-IFL   1+ua-ERG
And forgive us in regard to our moral transgressions in the way we grant and receive forgiveness amongst each other

‘be one who does not enable desires against better judgement to happen’

uilthalaiňqàrzönöň  tehwei
And deliver us from evil
(literally: and be one who enables us to successfully avoid ideas associated with the Devil)


Note that Line Eight could also be written uibawetâmzìurön. A different way to translate Line Eight that puts the responsibility for avoiding tempation on us instead of God [I know it’s not how the original reads but personally it makes more sense to me], would be as follows:

în-n  tihwei  arz  batâmz
EXH-FAC    1m-AFF-COA-CST    IMP1/5    STA-'unwilled.desire'-NRM/DEL/U/CSL/UNI-MOT2/5-IFL
may we successfully avoid temptations (literally: may we successfully avoid having desires [that are] against our better judgement)



The “Litany Against Fear” from Frank Herbert’s Dune


Tei  svasuřfal.
1m-ACT   STA-‘fear’-NRM/PRX/M/CSL/UNI-MD071/9-NA21/5-IFL
I must not fear.

Svuic  than-n  izadhumsiuţ.
Fear is the mind killer.
(literally: Fear, I allege, undoes the mind to maximal effect.)

Svac  than-n  uitacioxine  icai’cókhiţe.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
(literally: Fear, I allege, is metaphorically the small undoer of life that utterly undoes existence.)

Eixalund  te  svaloit.
DYN-‘visualize’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-MD101/9-IFL   1m-ABS   STA-‘fear’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-1m/ATT-IFL
I will face my fear.
(literally: I intend to mentally visualize my fear.)

Uetö  ˉqe  ˉiočqal  ˉič’alaň.
NAV-1m-EFF   mi-ABS   CPT-DYN-‘vector.motion.over/above’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL   CPT-DYN-‘pass.through’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-COO1/5-IFL
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
(literally: I will enable it to pass over me and pass through me.)

ˉQe  ˉkéi’iulöt’  izap’alarxondü   tu  skhal  ˉqau.
mi-ABS   CPT-FRAMED -‘move.away.from.nearer.point’-PCR-DYN-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-TPF1/2-IFL   DYN-[incorp.stem: ‘mind’]-‘pursue/track’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-BOD1/5-MD101/7-SCH/RPS-IFL     1m-IND   STA-‘course’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-IFL   mi-COR
And when it has gone I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

(literally: After it recedes I intend to metaphorically track mentally with my eyes its course.)

ˉKâ’ìuta  svelöt’  e  uicawîluad.
CPT-FRAMED -‘move.away.from.nearer.point’-LOC-DYN-NRM/DEL/U/CSL/UNI   STA-‘fear’-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI   PRS   MNF-‘existent.thing’-DEC-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-SUF2/1-IFL
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
(literally: In the place where the fear receded to I declare there will be nothing.)

Iun-niu  ti  casexh.
Only I will remain.
(literally: I intend only my existence to continue.)



The “Babel” Text (Genesis 11:1-9)

Here are the first four sentences of the Babel Text:

Ai’tilafxup  embuliëqtuqh.

All the people of the land spoke the same language.
[LITERALLY:  Each person in the land spoke language in the same way to one another.]

Unš  ikàkč’êňž  çu  ˉip’ataspöň  usmas  îpual  Šinar   /qia  aitwapkáň.
Then wandering from the east they came upon the plain of Šinar and began to dwell there.
[LITERALLY:  Then wandering they inadvertently found the plain of Šinar and began to reside in it.]

Ai’tilatunš  çu  iùktict’awélgümui  no  aň  uok’auqvaludai  ˉxhe. 
DYN-CTX/ASR/PPS-RCP-‘speak’-NRM/DEL/U/CSL/UNI-SQT1/9-IFL   Col-IND   FRAMED:MNF-inc.stem:‘stone’-‘block’-OBL-DIR-NRM/PRX/U/ASO/DCT-ROL1/8-ISR-FNC/IFL   1m+ua/ERG   COO1/5   DYN-inc.stem:‘flame’-‘resiliency’-OBL-NRM/DEL/M/CSL/UNI-SUF1/9-ISR-IFL    ui-ABS
Then they said to each other:  let us make bricks from stone and fire them to make them strong.
[LITERALLY:  They then said to each other let us be brick-makers using stone and make them super-resilient by means of fire.]

Öň  êktict’algui  îktalgöň  ôňgyé’c.
COO1/2   STA-inc.stem:‘stone’-‘block’-NRM/PRX/U/ASO/DCT-ISR-FNC/IFL  

And there was stone for brick and clay for mortar.
[LITERALLY: And there were batches of stone blocks and there was clay for the purpose of mortar.]


Schleicher’s Fable

Florian Bauer of the Ithkuil Facebook group has taken a stab at translating Schleicher’s Fable here.



The Passover Seder Question & Answers

I received a special request to translate the traditional Question and Answers from the Jewish Passover Seder dinner. You'll find my translation here.



Song Lyrics and Ithkuil “Poetry”

During the period March through June 2014, I wrote lyrics to six progressive-rock songs I composed during late 2013 and early 2014 (music composition is one of my many hobbies). I decided to write the lyrics in Ithkuil in order to explore using the language for (quasi-)poetic purposes, as I’ve long threatened to do.

It should be noted that I do not consider these song lyrics to be poetry per se, given that the lines are meant to be sung to music, so that syllables are often spread across multiple beats, or several syllables rushed through a single beat, all for a musically aesthetic effect. If this were meant to be real poetry, I would demand a strict meter and specific alliterative scheme, perhaps with room for some sort of rhyme as well.

Nevertheless, given the nature of the music and the subjects of the songs, the lyrics can be considered poetic in a quasi-verse sort of way. The experience of writing them was very interesting, in that it allowed me to explore the language for use in conveying both metaphorical and psychological imagery.

I am currently working on the actual musical production of these songs with a couple of musician friends. The band’s name is Kaduatán, that is “Wayfarers.” When the songs are finished, they will be made available via compact disc and as mp3 downloads.

Two of the six songs are now finished. Links to YouTube videos of these songs, featuring artwork by my brother Paul, are below, for those interested in a taste of the forthcoming album. The first song is called “Ozkavarkúi” (“Guessing Games”) and the second is called "Uňk’ŕtân" ("Renegades").


Kaduatán - Ozkavarkúi (“Guessing Games”)

Lyrics with translation and morphological analysis


Kaduatán - Uňk’ŕtân (“Renegades”)

Lyrics with translation


Additionally, here are the lyrics to another forthcoming song, “Ôrödyagzou”. I've yet to add the morphological analysis for this second song, but am posting the lyrics anyway for those who may have an interest in analyzing the morphology for themselves. Also, the lyrics to this song in particular were composed directly in Ithkuil rather than being translated from notes in English; as a result, I think the lyrics really showcase the language's ability to convey psychological imagery succinctly.








Home   Introduction 4 Case Morphology 8 Adjuncts 12 The Number System
FAQs   1 Phonology 5 Verb Morphology 9 Syntax List of Abbreviations
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Updates / News   3 Basic Morphology 7 Suffixes 11 The Writing System Texts


Cover of Ithkuil Grammar book


For those who would like a copy of the Ithkuil Grammar
in book form, it is now available!

And while you’re at it, you can check out the novel I co-
with my twin brother Paul, also now available!

(It’s a political thriller/science fiction story that explores the
philosophical implications of quantum physics, and features
Ithkuil as a “para-linguistic” interface to a quantum computer.)

Cover of "Beyond Antimony" by John & Paul Quijada







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