Welcome to the Maltcέgj Project

Maltcέgj is a language project i worked on some eight or ten years ago, really before i'd ever heard of a blog or anything similar, although since i did write it in the form of a blog, i thought it appropriate to import it as such.  Perhaps one day i'll carry on with the project, once i finish up with my other more pressing ones.

In short summary, Maltcέgj was designed to be an a priori, largely uninflected language with a sound similar to, or at least largely inspired by, Welsh, though completely unrelated to IndoEuropean.  As I gradually worked on more language projects, Maltcέgj was rolled into the "Baraqesh" language family, which included other language projects of mine like Dlatci, Lzhaxu, and Barak (and for the record, i invented Barak years before i'd ever heard of Mr. Obama:  Do not mistake it for an over-inflected tribute).

If you really want the full story of Maltcέgj, I'd suggest you start at the beginning, at the oldest post, and work forward.


A few more updates. There have been a few new words added, and I’ve rearranged a bit to simplify things. 

Specifically, I’ve replaced /c/ with /k/ and then /š/ with /c/, as i threatened to do in the fall, though i haven’t yet committed to changing /ǧ/ to /q/. Really, these are all just placeholders until i find the “right” alphabet, which i’m coming closer to. I’ve actually made a good deal of progress on this, but it doesn’t quite look “right” yet, so nothing formal so far.

In other news, i added a slightly unorthodox system of deixis, on top of the already questionable system of “ul,” “úli,” and “úlót;” adding the modifiers “la,” for “last” or “yester-” (e.g. yesterday, last night, last year) “ja” for “to-“ or “this” (e.g. today, tonight, this afternoon), and “þa” for “next,” (e.g. tomorrow, next week, next month). I’ll elaborate on these a little more when i’m not busy at work.


So, a few updates here.  Some minor vocabulary and some less minor phonological changes (or, rather, clarifications).

Let's tackle the big one first:

Long vowels

For a while now i've thought about adding in some sort of long/short vowel clarification to the orthography, but there is already so much going on with the markers for primary and secondary stress and those annoying letters that don't have a clear equivalent (like š and ǧ), that i wanted to be careful about not introducing macrons or something that would further complicate the orthography, at least until i create a writing system that I'm happy with.

After some thought, i've decided that a simple rule can supplant the need for long and short vowel markers.  Well, i thought it was a simple rule that i could write out with combinations of stressed and tense vowels, but there are, of course, exceptions, so until i work that out more succinctly, here's the bulk of it:
  • The vowels e, i, o, ǫ, and u are always long, whether stressed or unstressed, unless part of a diphthong.
  • The vowels ɛ and y are always short, whether stressed or unstressed.
  • The neutral vowel a is short when unstressed, long when stressed.
There.  No need to add additional diacritics now.

Possible Orthography Change

On the same track, i've been toying with the idea of moving around some letters to get rid of the š and ǧ problem; possibly c > k, š > c, and ǧ > q, but i haven't decided yet.  I don't particularly care for q as a replacement for [γ]. I've also thought about replacing ǫ with w, but i don't really like that either.

New Vocabulary

Finally, i have a lot of new words that i've been adding to the lexicon, many through various translations in random "conlang" groups on Facebook, etc., and most recently by filling out an extended swadesh list.  One day i aspire to tackle the Universal Language Dictionary, but i don't think that's going to happen anytime soon, and if it does, it will be Northeadish before Maltšέgj. In the meantime, i'm going to work on getting the new words added to the lexicon today, but i'm a little distracted with the age-old problem of how best to keep the lexicon updated in a format that I can actually use effectively.  We'll see how it turns out... (For now, I'm creating entries in Word, stripping out the formatting, and then pasting them into Google Sites, which seems redundant and annoying.)

One exciting facet of new vocabulary building that i explored this morning was with familial relationships. Years ago i added the words "adína" (sister) and "ǫ́bri" (niece), after my sister Adina and her daughter Aubrey. I figured i'd continue with that theme, and added "tym" (father - Tim), crýstʌ (mother - Christl), crɛg (maternal uncle - Craig), kyp (paternal uncle - Kip), lýnda (materal aunt - Linda), hɛ́lɛn (maternal grandmother - Helen)... and so on. I don't have any brothers or nephews, so I might have to make something up on those fronts, and I had to choose among family members for who had the most "maltšέgj-able" name, but I thought it was a nice tribute.


I’ve recently had a bit of a chance to play around with Maltšɛ́gj in a “conlang” group on Facebook, which hasn’t led to much more than my reviewing some of the finer points of grammar and the creation of the word “djɛ́lyš” (coffee), but I have been considering a slight grammatical shift that could be quite interesting regarding the “free stress” of the language.

It seems that I, perhaps unconsciously, created most verbs with final stress. It’s not exactly a new concept, especially for English, but I think I would like to implement a “verbs have final stress, nouns/adjectives have primary stress” rule, along the same lines as English verbs borrowed from French or Latin, like présent/presént, cóntract/contráct, &c.

So in other words, leaving us with pairs like ðrɛ́pnid (permission) and ðrɛpníd (to be allowed, may); glácsi (memory) and glacsí (to remember); or bjóxɛf (full, complete) and bjoxɛ́f (to fill, to fulfill, to complete).

This would, of course, entail revising the lexicon quite extensively, and maybe modifying some verbs, but it’s just something I’m thinking about at the moment.


Maltšέgj Project Reloaded... (only better than the Matrix)

I suppose this could be considered the first official revival of the Maltšέgj Project.  While codifying these entries into blog format, i've also undertaken to transcribe the lexicon on my linguistics site, and in doing so i've already made some changes, which in the sake of fairness, ought to be recorded here.

In part four of the project, i changed [ʃ] from § to ж, which is just hard to type and weird to look at.  For now, i've transcribed it as š (though i flirted briefly with the idea of ƨ, now that Times New Roman is a little more robust).  I've also replaced λ with ʌ, because it just looks a little neater, and all the various iterations of y and γ into plain old y.  I'd like to change ђ to something else, too, but that can wait... probably ǧ.

Transcribing these entries has reawakened Maltšέgj for me, and this might just be the beginning of a resurgence of the project.  Part Five, anyone?


And another while. I have made progress, though, having added quite a few new words due to translating parts of my website into maltжέgj, dlatci, norðısca, latinovesa, and various other languages. Rather than embarking on a long discussion of it now, i would rather just paste it in here and refer to the updated lexicon any changes.

The above images of the ginkgo are from the 本草綱目 (Běn Cǎo Gāng Mù, Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu), or the Great Catalogue of Herbs, still used in Chinese Medicine today. Compiled by 李時珍 (Lǐ Shízhēn, Li Shih-chen) in 1578, it is among the most invaluable extant books on Chinese herbalism. The ginkgo is a remarkable tree, being in its own class of gymnosperms (Kingdom: Plantae, Division: Spermatophyta, Subdivision: Gymnospermae, Class: Ginkgoopsida, Order: Ginkgoales, Family: Ginkgoaceae, Genus: Ginkgo, Species: biloba), and is not closely related to any other plant species. It is unique among trees, being neither deciduous nor evergreen (hence Goethe’s reference in the second verse, above). It is also known in chinese as the silver apricot (銀杏, yín xìng, yin hsing).

Below is Goethe’s original manuscript of the poem above, which can be found today in the Goethe Museum in Düsseldorf, complete with the two leaves he pasted on it himself from a ginkgo tree in the garden at the castle in Heidelberg.

εc ul ac imbiláj ul gγ́nco u ul 本草綱目o, rélεb ul bórga clag ac жarc u, εc rac ðroж calc úli nad scan djungwó жtral ðrax oc. rac scrav lìжudjέn íli avíl 1578 oж, e εc paj am ac narán жal oc blai εc clag u djungwó жarc жtral ðrax έloì. εc ul gγ́nco am gráva víctro, εc calc mεs frantж i ac bwílio dat u (djεжt arán: Plantae, cεrðíð: Spermatophyta, cεrðíðilà: Gymnospermae, frantж: Ginkgoopsida, cwaðrat: Ginkgoales, mávilà: Ginkgoaceae, djip: Ginkgo, pγtá: biloba), εc blεg paj ðέfni fórwið ac pγtá íli жarc u. εc paj ac víctro u ámεst, ðrímiέm εc blεg bláca-жafát blεg gwéðul-gnir, (ðrímiέm εm guþa o ul sàpatál ul gji dai bjir e). blγnþ xányu glơd paj að ul ђέbna zaníж.

iþ εc ul urál narám nascáj guþa u ul em cveð u, rac culóm calc úli nad ul guþa nascáj arán e, εc calc dísλdorf e, dai bláca oc, dγd fástnar gúþa calc að, am gγ́nco víctro o ul gwárxo e ul bórga márga a háidλbεrg e.


Below is a painting of the ginkgo by Minneapolis-based artist Michelle Layland. More examples of her work can be found on her website at:

iþ εc am zεndj nascáj ul gγ́nco víctro u, nascáj lað mγжέl léland íli mγ́niápolγs o. patáx rac cúlεn ac εlέђam nascáj u pεl u wέbsait alx pεl u:

[Editor's Note: whosiswhatsis.com is no more, but Michelle's work can still be found today by visiting http://www.msfledermaus.com/]


So it's been a while. Most of the past year has been spent working on τsœɧısca, and little progress has been made in maltжέgj except, as you can see, i did away with § and replaced it with ж.

I think i mentioned this before, perhaps when i was talking about those locative adverbs (up, down, in, out, off, on, &c), but just to stress in case i haven't: Infinitives must directly follow any verb that modifies them, i.e. djogóж tжoc jơg.


One slight revision that’s been bothering me: I have changed the broad l to λ. It only occurs in the words tέfλðu and §λþ, but it was annoying me.

Just for fun, i’m going to have another go at translating the Vǫluspá. Here goes:

[Old Norse]
Hlióðs bið ec allar helgar kindir,
meiri oc minni, mǫgo Heimdalar.
vildo at ec, Valfǫðr, vel fyrtelia
forn spiǫll fira, þau er fremst um man.

[My original translation]
Aþ bad jơg cúluì bjólεt ac-rata,
bórga e íla ac-hanác-ráta Hémdal-u
dγd-gjot clεg jơg, Válfóðr, bjólεt ðac
vεlc ac-gú§e ac-hanác-u, calc εc narán tεmtíð clεg glácsi-jơg.

[My current translation]
Bad jơg aþ að mέlεm o, cúluì ac ráta bjólεt
bórga e íla, mέlεm hanác ac ráta Hémdal u.
Dγd gjot mέlεm clεg ðac bjólεt jơg, Válfơðr, mέlεm a
ac gú§e að ac hanác u, calc εc narán tεmtíð clεg glácsi jơg.


I’ve noticed that i’ve had some confusion as to the order of genitive constructs when eliminating the preposition. I see that i’ve used both áran clag (library) and djε§t lað (king). In keeping with the order that makes the most sense to me and the correlatives, the official rule shall now be: genetive particle first followed by subject. Hence:

library – clag arán ruler – djε§t lað dlatci – dlát§i glơd bedtime – caiþ ðlai
school – bul arán student – bul lað german – doit§ glơd morning – tεmέt (ðlai)

and so on... And note the invention of caiþ, the word for sleep.

Well, time to revise the lexicon again.


Just some words i’ve been tossing around in my head. Let’s see if we can come up with something for them to mean... What words do i still need? Prepositional adverbs might be good; i have a few, but i’m not sure if i like them. Then again nothing beats good old fashioned nouns and adjectives. Then again, probably i should just hold onto them until i come up with something i need.


Anyway, moving on, i foresee a sort of revolution coming on for malt§έgj... i’m thinking of merging the language, at least language family-wise, with barac. Of course the grammar is completely different, but i think a few cognates would help along barac’s development as well as give an interesting sense of history for the two. Of course, this won’t really affect malt§έgj very much, but i thought i’d bring it up anyway.


A couple new words spawned from an email i wrote to a friend about malt§έgj:

vlag = to teach (hence,
lað vlag = teacher,
lað rac vlag = student, &c.)
jiv = beer
nac = now (see above)

nos dyd ðac almítra, “mεn ðac jalc að ðblεucþ έloi.” e dyd bran pul mεs talp e dyd culóm ut ul ga§ág a, e dyd t§ơ§ am wára parþ ap. e dyd ðac pul am harέc bórga oc: lơ bad t§ơ§ ðblεucþ naur o§ mέlεm að, mεn grol§ pul it, mal lơ εc pul u ac bweð xa§ e tεlx. e lơ t§ơ§ pul u ac fwi naur o§ mέlεm εð, mεn gεlc mέlεm pul a, mal lơ dyd nag patáx ul styx huct mέlεm að, úla, rac stáfad calc pul u ac áro§ e. e ðac pul naur o§ mέlεm a, cwégir pul a, mal lơ dyd nag patáx pul u harέc naxád a§ mέlεm u ac vlaj, lεf naxád a§ batár yen u gwárxo. ðrímiὲm lεf anácne ðblεucþ mέlεm að, t§a nag clớgεx pul mέlεm að. lεf εc pul mέlεm u dúmbwe i, t§a εc pul mέlεm u xóre§à i. lεf t§ơc mεs pul mέlεm u ac §ála a, e §adé pul ul ac ro§ að narán javlé jadío iþ (calc?) rac báralà, t§a nag t§ơc na§ pul mέlεm u ac rεnáþ a, e báralà a§ parþ að parþ u fástnar o mó§arà a. nag scrav ðblεucþ úli ac ðrax cúluì að mέlεm a, ðrímiεm nag patáx mέlεm apþan ac jomεn að mεs baxέf u, e, úla apþan oc, cleg nag patáx mέlεm ðráupnir am þrε§ að báldrεf u baxέf u. rεb §él, mέlεm u §ax vul, lơ nag cúlεn mέlεm tárεx ðblεucþ u wára e ðblεucþ u bjólεt að, ðrímiεm εc nan bjólεt, clεg lơ blánaþ mέlεm mεs bwíliò að e t§ơc ut ðblεucþ u lacþ §afát o, som alm múndi e, ùlarán e nag hahár mέlεm, rεb blεg mέlεm u hahár cúluì að, e nag wahár, rεb blεg mέlεm u ac §iþ cúluì að.

Yay! Well, now that that’s all over with, and the new words have been added to the lexicon, we can finally move on...

I’m again starting to feel the need for some sort of alphabet for malt§έgj. Don’t worry though, i’ll try to keep it to myself for as long as possible.

I think the word mεs should be considered an article of some sort. A reflexive demonstrative adjective, if you will. Something like the difference between hennes and sin in swedish or hæra and sǽna in τsœxısca. Only it can apply to any pronoun, no matter the person, because it is only used in conjunction with the pronoun it modifies if that pronoun is the subject. Hence,

I saw my sister = Dγd culóm jơg mεs adína að. But,

He saw my sister = Dγd culóm pul jơg u adína að.

Okay, i’m feeling better about that one now. So what’s next? I am still a bit concerned about clauses regarding this latest nutso sentence structure craze. But that’s probably something i’m going to have to worry about later when [REDACTED].

I need some simple words to break down some complex ideas. At first i was all about compound words like “úla ðlai o§” to mean “when” and such, but it’s getting really annoying. Some new words that i need:

who- - the other person the same person everyone anyone someone noöne
whatthisthatthe other thingthe same thingeverythinganythingsomethingnothing
whennowthenthe other timethe same timealwaysanytimesometimenever
whereherethereyonderthe same placeeverywhereanywheresomewherenowhere
how-----anywaysomehowno way
how muchthis muchthat much-the same amount-anysomenone

Of course i modified the traditional esperantoèsqueness of this table, which i actually worked out quite nicely in dlatci, but i don’t think that malt§έgj, being a more random and a priori language, really requires too many words. By the way, can i mention just in passing that I actually came up with this table for dlatci and had it all worked out long before i ever heard of the esperanto correlatives, and it really pissed me off when i found out about them. Fortunately not too much, however, since mine are better! Therefore:

mlau lað, mlað- - úlot lað, uláð
the same person everyone anyone someone blεg lað, blað
mlau ðrax, mlaxúli (ðrax)úla (ðrax)úlot (ðrax)the same thingeverythinganythingsomethingblεg ðrax, blax
mlau ðlai, mlaiúli ðlai, nacúla ðlai, naurúlot ðlaithe same timealwaysanytimesometimenever
mlau arán, mlaránúli aránúla aránúlot aránthe same placeeverywhereanywheresomewhereblarán
mlau cþiðúli cþiðúla cþið---anywaysomehowblεg cþið
mlau máraúli máraúla mára-the same amount-anysomeblára


I believe i need to rethink the way certain words are put together, and really come up with something solid as far as sentence structure goes. I’m not sure why, but it’s really been bothering me the last couple of days. I think partly it has to do with adjectives: in particular, the demonstrative kind. So let’s analyze that for moment, if we can...

Let’s see... demon adjectives consist of:

úlot(the other)
calc(that, which)
mlau(what, which)
blεg(no, none)
jơg u(my, mine)
mέlεm u(your, yours)
mεlmíne u(your, yours)
pul u(his)
pεl u(her, hers)
paj u(its)
jalc u(our, ours)
parþ u(their, theirs)

My brain is foggy today, and i think i might be coming down with some malevolent virus, so if i don’t make a whole lot of sense, or if i overlook something fundamental, forgive me. However, thinking on a much lower level like this actually opens me up to interesting new ideas, which i’ll most likely have to undo as soon as i’m well again.

My confusion lies herein: if we are to treat these words as adjectives, they should, naturally, follow the noun they modify. However, i have been preceding the noun with most of these, which is fine as long as we can establish a decent rule for it. The problem with the possessives, in particular, is that they contain a pseudo-suffixed preposition, which conflicts with any preposition the noun might be using. So my initial solution is to declare that all demonstrative adjectives precede the noun they modify. So using that idea, let me see what still bothers me about changing around this translation...

nos dyd ðac almítra, “mεn ðac jalc að ðblεucþ έloi.” e dyd bran pul mεs ul talp mεs e dyd culóm ut ul ga§ág a, e dyd t§ơ§ am wára parþ ap. e dyd ðac pul am harέc bórga oc: lơ bad t§ơ§ ðblεucþ úla ðlai o§ mέlεm að, mεn grol§ pul it, mal lơ εc pul u ac bweð pul u xa§ e tεlx. e lơ t§ơ§ pul u ac fwi pul u úla ðlai o§ mέlεm εð, mεn gεlc mέlεm pul a, mal lơ dyd nag patáx ul styx huct mέlεm að, úla, rac stáfad calc pul u ac áro§ e. e ðac pul úla ðlai o§ mέlεm a, cwégir pul a, mal lơ dyd nag patáx pul u harέc pul u naxád a§ mέlεm u ac vlaj mέlεm u a§, lεf naxád batár yen u gwárxo . ðrímiὲm lεf anácne ðblεucþ mέlεm að, t§a nag clớgεx pul mέlεm að. lεf εc pul mέlεm u dúmbwe i mέlεm u, t§a εc pul mέlεm u xóre§à i mέlεm u. lεf t§ơc mεs pul mεs mέlεm u ac §ála a mέlεm u, e §adé pul ul ac ro§ narán javlé jadío iþ (calc?) rac báralà, t§a nag t§ơc na§ pul na§ mέlεm u ac rεnáþ a mέlεm u, e báralà parþ að parþ u fástnar o mó§arà a parþ u...

Well, that looks a little different. New rules: adverbial particles (gads, i can’t even think of the proper names for things... those little end-of-the-sentence things that aren’t quite prepositions) will now DIRECTLY FOLLOW the verb they modify. This being a language with no changeable words, we have to stick related things as close together as possible so we can keep track of them!

Here’s an idea that just seeped out of my addled brain. It might be interesting one day to create an alternative malt§έgj language that would actually incorporate all the adverbs and particles and prepositions into their respective nouns and verbs and pronouns and such... the pronunciation would remain the same, but the orthography would change significantly... for instance instead of

e dyd bran mεs pul ul talp e dyd culóm ut ul ga§ág a, e dyd t§ơ§ am wára parþ ap.

one might write

e dydbran mεspul ultalp e dydculomut ulga§aga, e dydt§ơ§ amwara parþap.

or something vaguely similar that would allow for a slightly less rigid sentence structure. But that’s a project for a different day.

The other thing i wanted to take care of was a standardization of the orthography concerning diphthongs. I’ve been rather wishy-washy about it and i’d like to get something set in stone. I’m just not sure what. I think i’d feel a lot better about it if i had some other vowel that i could use for “y,” because right now it’s [ɪ] and [j] and [i]. The trouble is, i need something that has a full range of diacritics so i can indicate if it’s stressed or not. Perhaps ι? That would at least give me ι, ί, and ὶ, but it looks a little too similar to i, í, and ì. и, и́, ѝ? No. I can use some random character and play around with combining diacritics, too, i suppose. Then again there’s also ê, ế, and ề, but that seems a little excessive on the diacritic front. η, ή, ὴ? Maybe... or υ, ύ, ὺ. Yes, that does bring out that lovely welsh feel to it, even though it’s a greek letter.

Ευρηκα! How about i break a couple rules of what’s supposed to be a consonant and what’s supposed to be a vowel and i just use γ? Perfect.

So... γ will now represent the short i [ɪ], diphthongs will be formed with i, and glides will remain y. Similarly, although this isn’t as i’d planned it, diphthongs will be formed with u and glides with w. So mote it be!

Which means i have to go mess with the lexica again.

Ack. I forgot about the voiced velar fricative. That’s y too, and by rights it should have the first stab at γ. Too late now... that shall become...um...ђ? ג? That might look a little weird. But since i haven’t really used that letter yet that i can remember, i’ll just say that theoretically, should i ever use it, it will be ђ, just because i kinda like that letter. Then again, since it’s a consonant and i really don’t have to worry about diacritics and such, it could be just about anything. ğ perhaps. Actually, i’m not going to worry about it until i have a need for it.