- This page is out of date, and the primary source for Rën's grammar is now its own book, available for free online here.
The lexeme Rën can refer to any being and is the only animate noun in the lexicon. The language is also unique in that it lacks referential pronouns, instead preferring to use morphological markers to label and refer back to persons in discourse. To the speaker, all beings in the universe are only individuals on an illusory level, and in truth are reflections of the same single divinity, known as Rën. As a result of this and its polysynthesis, the language ideally comes across as highly deliberate and philosophical.
- 1 Script
- 2 Phonology
- 3 Grammar
- 4 Formality, Register and Taboo
- 5 Poetry
- 6 Lexicon
- 7 Examples
The Rën script is an abugida, written in cursive.
- Base consonants written first from left to right, and then the vocalic and other diacritics written over them, starting from the right.
- ‹h› has both a diacritic and a consonant glyph. The consonant is used in onset position, while the diacritic is used elsewhere.
- Vowel progressions used as obviative infixes such as ‹ia› and ‹au› are often written together over the same consonant in those places.
- The gylph transliterated as a comma is flexible in position, used in any place in which the writer wishes to indicate a pause, and may correspond to commas, semicolons, quotation marks as well.
There exists another character that is treated as a consonant glyph, which is a monogram of the word Rën:
Consonants carry an inherent schwa that is deleted when the consonant may be analyzed in coda position, or when followed by a nuclear vowel.
|Plosive||Voiceless||p ‹p›||t ‹t›||k ‹k›|
|Voiced||b ‹b›||d ‹d›|
|Nasal||m ‹m›||n ‹n›|
|Fricative||Voiceless||f ‹f›||θ ‹z›||s ‹s›||ɕ ‹c›||x ‹x›||ħ ‹h›|
|Voiced||ʑ ‹j›||ɣ ‹g›|
|High||i ‹i›||u ‹u›|
|Mid||ɛ ‹ë›||ə ‹e›||ɔ ‹o›|
The pharyngeal fricative following a vowel is a suprasegmental, and may be analyzed as a fricative in coda position; or lengthening/gemination of the following consonant, or pharyngealization, or laryngealization (creaky voice) of the vowel idiolectically. The syllable in which it is found typically receives primary stress. Usually this is the variable syllable, but there are some words in which the suprasegmental exists in the stem. This is always prior to the variable syllable, however, so the variable syllable still receives primary stress.
Diphthongs are typically reserved for obviative affixes (see below), so vowel clusters outside of that context should be viewed as disyllabic. To distinguish these in Latin an apostrophe may be used to separate them.
- ‹g› does not occur word-initially (historically an intervocalically voiced /k/, later lenited).
- Word-final schwa following voiceless consonants is often deleted, leaving a syllabic consonant.
- No limitation at this point on which consonants may form the onset or coda, but they must be singular. Inherent schwa is used to break up illegal consonant clusters.
- Regressive nasal assimilation (place).
- Standard (C)V(C) syllables. The only allowed complex coda for the moment is nA#, in which A is an alveolar obstruent.
In its infancy I am attempting to keep Rën relatively simple and regular. There was a case system, which I have nixed, seeing it unnecessary in the synthetic system in which it exists, being reduced now to a single oblique case. However, a few grammatical abnormalities will be kept:
- A lack of tense-aspect. The strong monistic philosophy on which Rën is built views time as flexible and illusory; everything that happens is in the present.
- A default passive voice in a transitive verb, with marked active, making zero-subject sentences easier, as well as flexibility between traditional verbs and adjectives.
Ren lacks animate nouns in a general sense, instead identifying descriptors of a referent. It differentiates between descriptors using "extended obviation", with animate referents identified by the vowel quality on a syllable in the stem, along with marking for inanimate referents, impersonal referents, and omnipresent referent (Rën). Referential morphemes are vocalic infixes, with their position specific to the stem. The stem Rën is the only true animate noun in the language and is used to refer to any animate individual, group of individuals, existence at large, and, most particularly, God. This fits with the monistic ideal of the language speaker, which does not acknowledge an inherent separation between individuals. It also allows for highly fluid storytelling without a necessary subject.
The syllable in which the infix is set is dependent on the stem, and referred to as the variable syllable, and may be in syllable 1 (initial syllable), 2 (second syllable) or 0 (in which the infix is a prefix). Note that syllable 0 never exists in transitive verb stems.
Following are the fixed referential infixes. Animate infixes may be any sequence of non-schwa vowels or semivowels, optionally ending in an obstruent — V[V/O] — the speaker chooses in their idiolect or dialect. Some dialects may disallow ‹ë›, semivowels, or obstruents.
The most common infixes which are legal in all dialects include: ah, au, ih, io, iu, oh, oa, uh.
The common inanimate infix is deleted where it can be (ie when following a single consonant), or in the case of a consonant cluster, a syllabic /ə/ (not written in Rën script, written ‹e› in Latin). In some dialects, and frequently in poetry, the inanimate schwa infix is always pronounced even in places where schwa would normally be deleted, and is given stress. In these cases, it is often Latinized as ‹h› when normally deleted, or ‹é› when present, and is given the "H" diacritic in Rën script.
The definite, as well as the proximal, are a suffix -n, though uncommonly used except when referring to an earlier or unclear subject.
Words lack any tense or aspect. A mood system exists as a series of suffixes.
- Indicative (it is dropped.) -- unmarked
- Conditional (if it is dropped...) -- ir/il
Presupposes uncertainty. Flavours the remainder of the sentence to a hypothetical conditional on the positive result of that uncertainty. A double-negative (ie "if it is not dropped, it will not hit the floor") is common to indicate an exclusive cause and effect ("it will only hit the floor if it is dropped"). The ir/il alternation occurs from progressive dissimilation — if the preceding consonant is /r/, the suffix will dissimilate to /il/.
- Hypothetical (although it was dropped...) -- icre
The antithesis to the conditional. Can be viewed as indicating a form of certain past/present/future in the face of uncertainty. Flavours the remainder of the sentence to a hypothetical that is unrelated causally to that uncertainty.
- Jussive (it should be dropped.) -- ma
Often used as an imperative, though not restricted to this, and is softer-toned and less authoritative than imperatives in other languages. May also indicate that, to one's knowledge, the verb will occur in the future. Causally indicates that some factor (ie the utterance of the sentence) makes that event more likely.
- Energetic (it must be dropped.) -- më
A more forceful form of the jussive and typically only used to describe natural law or divine decree. Indicates that a cause necessitates the presented outcome.
- Optative (it is desirous that it be dropped.) -- wil
Used to express desires, hopes, and wishes. Similar to jussive in this fashion, but does not suggest any causation.
- Potential (it may be dropped.) -- cin
Expresses a future-based, unconditional potentiality, ie that causes that may result in the positive or negative result are presently unknown, and that either outcome is possible.
- Inferential (it seems to have been dropped.) -- ic
Expresses a past-based, unconditional potentiality, but with causes for the speaker to believe that it is the case (ie that they are seeing the evidence).
- Dubious (it might have been dropped.) -- id
Similarly to inferential, a past-based, unconditional potentiality, except without causes for the speaker to believe that it is or is not the case.
- Causative (because it was dropped.../it was dropped, so...) -- ki
Mood affix used to denote a cause, often in conjunction with other non-indicative moods in the same sentence.
- Basis - -le/-re is a case suffix used with the oblique that is used to denote the basis or origin of an action.
- Comparative - -fas is a verbal prefix used to express that a descriptor is of a greater magnitude for one noun than another. Note that this effectively makes an intransitive verb transitive and in the active voice.
- Complementizer - ih is a particle used as a catch-all complementizer used for recursion.
- Exceptional - ba- indicates that an instance or object is unique, often analogous with "only". May be used with the negative (bari-).
- Interrogative - ki is a particle that precedes an interrogative sentence.
- Inverse (Active Voice) - a- is a common verbal prefix used for transitive verbs to indicate active voice. Also used for intransitive verbs in order to make them transitive (with the subject in optative case).
- Reflexive (Middle Voice) - ah- works similarly to the inverse verbal prefix, and typically denotes a reflexive verb. This form of reflexivity places more emphasis on the subject as patient, and upon the outcome rather than the action and process.
- Negative - ri- is a common negative prefix. If the next syllabic onset is /r/, dissimilates to li-.
- Oblique - -z; -s following a syllable with /z/ as consonantal onset;-iz immediately following /s/; -is immediately following /iz/. is the most common nominal affix and is the primary case to indicate direction, location, affiliation, or a ditransitive object, among many other uses.
- Reciprocal - pa'i- is used only with plural subjects, and indicates that they are acting with one another as transitive objects.
- Reflexive - pes- is similar to the middle voice, but places focus on the subject as the agent, and indicates a process rather than placing focus on the result of the process.
- Similitude - -zali is a nominal prefix that indicates that the noun is the same, or similar to another (oblique) noun.
- Superlative - -fel is a verbal prefix that indicates that the subject has the greatest magnitude of all possible things in that category.
- Supernegative - ëri- indicates that something is not, never was, and never will be the case. Note that Rën does not have grammar for "always", as while there are many things that will never occur, there is only one that will always occur, which is Rën. The supernegative comes with the implication that the statement is certain and thus ordered by the law of Rën, and thus should not be used in hyperbole.
- Verbal Noun - -sen forms a noun out of an action, similarly to a gerund.
Formality, Register and Taboo
The sacred and strictly non-dualistic nature of the Rën language requires its speakers to hold certain conventions and taboos when speaking or writing in the language.
While it is possible to identify an animate noun through a thorough description of it using verbal descriptors — for example, a "cat" may be identified as "having fur", "quiet", "quadrupedal", and "sheathing its claws", to do so without very good reason should be considered inappropriate. One who insists on using such descriptors without good reason may come across as materialistic or judgmental.
The word Rën, even when inflected to indicate an individual being, has a reverential connotation. It is often used as a vocative to get someone's attention, or in polite conversation to indicate firstly, that one is speaking the Rën language; second, the veneration of Rën; and third, the vocalic variable assigned to the listener. It does not need to be reciprocated by the listener. As such, the word should not be frequently used in conversation outside of a specifically sacred context, and effort should be made to imply animate tokens through verbal agreement (via infixation) or through context. One who overuses the word Rën may come across as irreverent or egotistical.
The vowel letter ‹ë› takes on some of this taboo, as it represents the irreferable, or Rën itself. It is used in relatively few root words, and is never found in diphthongs or aspirations, and is always stressed.
Rën grammar frequently has a null-subject, making evasion of the word relatively simple. However, especially when referring to autonomic, physiological processes, the word om- "body" may be used in subject position in place of Rën-. Similarly, thoughts and beliefs that are taboo, undesirable, or automatic may be given the subject -ra "mind".
Rën poetry takes advantage of the language's polysynthesis. The most striking visual feature of written poetry is the frequent arrangement of words as a grid, indicating relationships between rows and columns of words, or surrounding words. Other poetic forms make use of alliteration. Nearly all Rën poetry has the same number of words in each peri (line).
Thematically, traditional Rën poetry is contemplative in nature, reflecting upon emotions, the passing of time, existence, and Rën (God) itself. As in formal speech, the vocative (inflected) Rën is used to introduce a poem, and the reverential (uninflected) Rën closes it.
Jun-Mufta (Free Wing)
Jun-mufta poetry is without alliteration or alternate readings. It is typically written in a rectangular grid, with an unfixed number of lines with an equal number of words.
Rënia banhe arazade
Sixia aniestir sianaëide
Aniestir sixiawile sukiaide
Sukie këda Rën
O being, by poetry, you are liberated
You will learn to love if you listen
You will love to learn if you contemplate
Jun-Cabak (Cross Wing)
Jun-cabak poems can be read in full both horizontally (perho-peri) and vertically (suk-peri). The meanings of the two readings tend to complement each other with slight differences in priority and ultimate intention, leading the reader to consider the content literally from a different angle. A simple example:
Rënah, sukahmëa sande
Tahzamëa cen apahrhocin
Kecen caragëre Rën
O being, contemplate silence
See thou the things you may look upon
Everything makes up Rën.
O being, see thou everything.
Contemplate the things that make up divinity.
Jun-cabak poems may have one or more words leading the "rectangle" of the poem, situated above or to the left of the first word, to allow for more freedom of reading, called a delhe ("tail"). A delhe above the initial word will not be read in the perho-peri reading, while one to the left is not read in the suk-peri reading. Similarly, a delhe may be added below or to the right of the final word. Nevertheless, because of the constraint of the vocative and reverential Rën beginning and concluding formal jun-cabak poetry, there will rarely be a delhe above the body of the poem without one to the left, or one below without one to the right, and vice-versa.
Zomzali (Alike Sounds)
This is a simple alliterative style that encompasses all forms. Alliterative Rën poetry is usually written in couplets, which may then be split into thematic stanzas. There is no limitation on the number of alliterative couplets or stanzas. In older fehlzom poetry, there is marking, usually an "H" diacritic, on syllables with optionally stressed schwa. Particularly at the end of a stanza, there may be zompajen ("heartbeat"), a single unalliterated word.
Sabhé (There is Nothing)
|There is no Rën|
There is no time
There is no virtue
Rën is benevolent
Numbers are used effectively as transitive roots when identifying multiple individuals as a single subject (as identified in obviation). For example, "the two of them" may be translated as abil(ah)". An indefinite number may use the intransitive root dib-.
No man should ever ridicule
Fehlmorje ahra acahn iara riacian
SUP-dear.IN mind.1 AC-know.1 mind.3 NEG-AC-know.3
|One1 should not be ridiculed|
For one's1 love
One1 should not be abused
It is dearest, one1 is a mind, one1 knows; another3 is mind, another3 does not know,
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
|All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience
and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
|Kelrënah fazah mufahta jahfente resinze sajze.
Dahna keranaz samraz.
|every-Rën.1 give_birth.1 free.1 equal.1 dignity.IN-OBL right.IN-OBL \
give.1 reason.IN-OBL conscience.IN-OBL \
|Every Rën is born, is free, is equal, in dignity, in rights.|
They are given reason, conscience.
They should act to one another with unity.
|There once was a wren who had made his nest in a garage. He lived there with his family. One day he and his mate went out to look for some food to bring their chicks, leaving the young birds all alone.
After a while the father wren returned home.
“What’s been going on here?” he asked. “Has something happened? You children look scared to death!”
“Dad!” they said, “a big monster just came by. He looked so scary! He glared into our nest with his big eyes! That scared us to death!”
“I see,” he said, “Where did he go?”
“He went that way!”
“You children wait here,” said the father wren, “I’m going to teach him a lesson he won’t soon forget! Don’t worry, children. I’ll get him.” So he chased after the monster.
He turned a corner and saw a lion walking along, but the wren wasn’t afraid. He landed right on the lion’s back and started shouting at him. “Who on earth do you think you are coming to my nest and scaring my children to death?!”
The mountain lion didn’t listen to the wren though, but just kept on walking.
That annoyed the wren even more, and he started really shouting at the mountain lion. “You have no reason coming to my nest, and if you come back,” he said, “then you’ll really live to regret it! I don’t want to get violent,” he said lifting one of his legs into the air, “but I’ll break your back in a heartbeat!”
Having said that, he flew back to his nest.
“There’s nothing to worry about now, children,” he said, “I’ve taught him a lesson. He won’t be coming back.”
|Rënahz, sagijun, hahrëzu bige kerëjiz. Bhidah rënësiz. Uwiaz, abilwë, axojwë bhojanze dësna, fëslet ikësli, nësri pësloka.
"Nin xen?" Ahswali. "Pëslokic egrëstolze!"
Kogësne hax. "Wagihjaigi fikujai! Asëidpailok! Wajaikoz ataizam hësrëzu! Pëslok egrëstolze!"
"Ah," atahdu. "Wapni jaina?"
"Zësiraima," atahdu. "Saixa paziz rianansai! Ricalëskima, uwës. Iaiaikibhe." Pitcai.
Ruxnez jahna, taizam: warënai, wamaixlabhe, wamaixaci, wadhaile, saire; ripahlok. Zairihz zaminah iacikai: "Nin rënaiz, aiuna hahrëzuz uwës pëslok egrëstolze?!"
Risahnaë, saire, saire.
Fastiahaj, fasiacikai: "Rikairana aiunaz hahrëzuz. Wailatidhe," atahdu, "pajaidim! Riëhisafahwile..." ahswali, latah hax, "zairih tirëh zanze!"
"Ricalëskima, umës," ahswali. "Saixa paziz. Riwailat."
|Rën.1-OBL, small-wing.IN, nest.1 build.IN garage.IN-OBL \ live.1 Rën.2.OBL \ love.3-OBL AC-two.4, AC-search.4 food.IN-OBL give.2, leave.2 alone.2, young.2 frighten.2
wait.2, wait.2 ... return.1
"What happen.IN?" say.1 \ "frighten.2-INF cry.2-OBL!"
beak.2 raise.IN \ "evil.5 come.5! AC-very-frighten.5! large-eye.5-OBL AC-look.5 nest-2! frighten.2 cry.2-OBL!"
"Ah," say.1 \ "Where go.5?"
"wait.2-JUS," say.1 \ "teach.5 lesson.IN-OBL NEG-AC-forget.5! NEG-worry.2-JUS, love.2. punish.5" chase.5
corner.IN-OBL come.1, see.5: large-Rën.5, large-claw.5, large-tail.5, walk-5 \ NEG-frighten.1 \ back.5-OBL land.1 shout.5: "What Rën.5.OBL, come.5 nest.1-OBL love.2 frighten.2 cry.2-OBL?!"
NEG-listen.1, walk.5, walk.5
COMP-annoy.1, COMP-shout.5: "NEG-reason.5 come.5-OBL nest.1-OBL \ return.5-COND," say.1, "regret.5! NEG-violent.1-OPT ..." say.1, foot.1 raise.IN, "back.5 break.IN second.IN-OBL!"
"NEG-worry.2-JUS, love.2," say.1 \ "teach.5 lesson.1-OBL \ NEG-return.5"
|There was a Rën1, with small wings, his nest built in a garage. He lived with others2. With his lover, the two of them searched for food they2 were given, who were left alone, young and frightened.
They2 waited, and waited, and he returned.
"What happened?" he said. "You seem frightened to crying!"
They raised their beaks. "It was evil! And it was very frightening! With its large eyes it looked at our nest! We were frightened to crying!"
"Ah," he said. "Where did it go?"
"In that direction it went!"
"You should wait," he said. "It will be taught a lesson it will not forget! You should not worry, love. It will be punished."
To a corner he came, and it was seen: It was a large Rën, had large claws and a large tail, and was walking. He was not frightened. On its back he landed and shouted at it: "What is it to you that you come to my nest and frighten them whom I love to crying?!"
It did not listen, and walked, and walked.
He was more annoyed, and shouted more at it: "You do not have a reason for you to come to my nest. If you return," he said, "you will regret it! I do not want to be violent..." he said and his foot was raised, "your back will be broken in a second!"
To his nest he flew.
"You should not worry, love," he said. "It was taught a lesson. It will not return."