Speedlang 9: Fall 2021


The 9th Speedlang Challenge took place from October 15, 2021 to October 31, 2021. I hosted it on r/conlangs, the CDN, and a couple other Discord servers.


The phonological requirements were to have an asymmetrical plosive inventory, some sort of featural metathesis, and a minimum constraint on word size. The grammatical requirements were a symmetrical voice system, marking of a grammatical form by removing something from a word, and a causative construction. Since it was due on Halloween, I wanted to make it spooky: there was also a Non-Human Speaker DLC, where you could include sounds not pronounceable by humans  You can read the full requirements here


I got ten submissions in total. Although several were spoken by non-human speakers, only one fully went for the non-human DLC. Good work everyone! Here are each of the submissions, roughly in the order that I received them. I’ve set it up so that along with the PDFs I received, there’s a comments page for each submission. Go ahead and ask questions! Let us know what you think!

  • Salgnain by Kilenc: the first-ever submission as a Notion page with a pretty on-the-nose language name, Salgnain has only a few full verbs, but makes the symmetrical voice distinction with a variety of participles paired with light verbs.
  • Dzibdziapa by Anhilare: Anhilare gives multiple distinct analyses for the phonology they created, which is a fun exercise to think about. Their featural metathesis involves “click-consonant-ness” (which they call “dejectiveness”) moving from consonant to consonant. I also enjoyed the addition of in-world traditional grammatical terminology for phenomena like “throat avoidance” and “texture control.”
  • Sea Nomadic by Miacomet: My own submission! I’m happiest with the case marking, the interactions between the voices, and the fact that I’ve accidentally got something that looks like focus concord. I’m less happy with how little I was able to flesh out some of my ideas about the syntax of the language (I didn’t even get to a sentence structure section!). 
  • Kohim by Mareck: spoken by cryptids in Mareck’s attic and presented in the form of a report to the *ahem* prestigious Central Delaware Network University. Mareck met the challenge put specifically to her with a whopping TWO labial stops (compared to one each coronal, velar, and glottal).
  • Hava by MatzahDog: Hava features Kiowa-Tanoan-inspired number system, a bipartite verb stem system with ‘cap suffixes,’ and more than twice as many grammatical voices as personal pronouns.
  • Tswɔ́lɔ by Akam Chinjir: Akam set a speedlang submission length record, but every page is worth reading (even the bibliography!). The phonology section is a tour de force of non-segmental phonology, elegantly and interestingly satisfying the requirements with tonal and length metathesis and some constraints not only on words, but also on larger phrases. It’s also always fun to see a creative language on the analytical side of things.
  • Mokmok (T’elom and Pt’ew) by Ironicallytrue and Floof: another first, with a joint submission. Ironic and Floof made a parent language, then Floof developed Pt’ew and Ironic developed T’elom, which they present as a bundle here. A really cool way to play with some diachrony in the constraints of the challenge!
  • Ƶbuzgí by Jujubeecat: Although they’re a cat, they aren’t Mareck, so Jujubeecat got away with dropping a labial to meet requirement one. There is a hell of a phonology, which seems asymmetrical at a first glance, but is actually very even when grouped according to the natural classes they propose. There’s also a tiny tiny closed class of verbs, but one that still allows for compounding…so 16 possible two-verb compounds, wonder what they all mean!
  • Nyciina Cawjadaxan by EthanV: Submitted with a supplemental spreadsheet. Ethan went in with the non-human speaker DLC for this one, including a pop made by the speakers’ split tongues as a phoneme and vocabulary for the speakers’ deeply alien bodies and abilities.
  • C’eel by Max Reenoch: I’m thankful to Mr. Velen for sharing his language with Max during this challenge. The noun morphology especially is fun and I’m excited to them document this language further!