(Just one moment)

Jeidai: A Constructed Language


I have had an interest in constructed languages since seeing the Klingons in Star Trek: The Next Generation as a child. On occasion over the years I have dabbled with and experimented in the creation of my own language. Often it happens as a result of getting distracted while trying to study Japanese, but I have found it to be an interesting pastime. Trying to create your own language can really make you think about some aspects of your native language that are easy to take for granted. This page here will just contain the story of how I came up with the language, what inspired me, and why I made some of my design decisions. Jeidai is the name of a constructed language I am developing.

Language is really complex. Like really complex. I have put significant thought into creating a usable grammar system, but every time I think I have it, I discover some concept that is difficult or impossible to express with it. Given the nature of how language evolves over time there should be nothing surprising about its complexity. And yet I cannot help but marvel at it all. It is so easy to take language for granted because I can’t remember not being able to understand or to communicate. My very earliest memories are from when I was maybe four years old and could talk. It is easy to take it for granted because it has always been there for me. But if you take the time to examine it, there are some really fascinating things going on.

At the beginning, I had no specific goal in mind. I just had the urge to create something. I probably spent a week just doodling characters and tossing ideas around in my head until some foundational concepts started to form. I came up with a couple rules or constraints that I imposed upon myself. I always find that doing this helps me as I sometimes suffer from a bit of decision paralysis.

The first rule I made for myself was that I would not just make an analog for another language. Inspiration is fine, but I didn’t want to make something that was just a cypher and could be translated simply by replacing words with their English counterparts. I knew I wanted to have my own writing system, and I knew that I wanted each individual symbol to be written without lifting a pen. No dotting i’s or crossing t’s for me! And unlike with cursive writing, I was not going to use drawing over an existing line again to accomplish that. Intersecting a line would be okay, but nothing like what the ‘h’ character does. So that was my second constraint.

I have always liked writing systems with uniform spacing so I decided that all letters would fit within a square shape. I further refined this rule by creating a template of sorts that all letters would have to follow. Lines for the letters must be drawn along the 4 edges of the box, or 4 lines that cross through the center of the square. They could follow the entire line or only half of it, but the symbol had to be a continuous line that could intersect itself, but not overlap itself. Below is the template I used. I know it is not the most original design, but it gave me a style guide so that all the symbols look like they belong to the same language.

I actually came up with this design while thinking about those 7 segment displays used to display numbers. I was thinking about how they get used for letters and how many more segments I would need to make the letters look better and add some symbols. I also wondered if I could come up with a 6 segment design that would at least allow the numbers to all be readable. I think about weird things like this all the time ? But I digress…

I think it is worth mentioning at this point that my computer nerd background asserted itself. You see, with the work that I do in my professional career, I often find myself looking at hexadecimal numbers, and sometimes even have to perform hexadecimal math in my head (or with a calculator if I am feeling lazy). I also work with binary on occasion, but conversion between them is simple as every 4 bits in binary is equal to 1 hexadecimal digit. It is much easier than switching between hexadecimal and decimal at least. But all of this has led to somewhat of an obsession with the powers of 2, and specifically the number 16. But it has always bothered me that we recycle the letters a-f to represent the extra 6 numbers in hexadecimal. I mean sure it works, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. So with that in mind I decided to add the requirement that any numbering system I came up with would have to be hexadecimal compatible, and in fact you can find many places where binary and hexadecimal have influenced my language. The ironic part is that I ended up not giving numbers their own characters and instead they all use characters from the syllabary for representation. At least my method is consistent.



As I mentioned I have been studying Japanese a bit and decided to adopt a syllabary for my language as well. But it would be a unique syllabary. As I already said I didn’t want to just make a cypher for some other language. And in case you are not familiar with the term, a syllabary is a set of characters used to represent the syllables of a word, instead of using letters to build up the individual sounds of a word. I actually ended up with something of a hybrid between an alphabet and a syllabary, but I will explain that later.

My hybrid syllabary is actually a matrix of 16 consonants and 16 vowels. Admittedly I cheated a little bit by adding some ‘r’ and ‘n’ sounds to vowels to make 16 vowels. But there is always a vowel such as is the case with ‘or’ and ‘on’ which are both considered vowels for the sake of my language. Technically a vowel would keep the tongue in the middle of the mouth without touching any other part of the mouth. The sounds for ‘r’ and ‘n’ violate this definition, but I make the rules here ? I suppose that I could come up with unique terms for the two sets of letters, but since the letters in the vowel category all actually do contain vowel sounds, and none in the consonant category do, I decided it was fine to call them vowel letters. I only mention this distinction to avoid misleading anyone in the definition of a vowel. In the end I settled on the following letters and sounds.


as in cat
as in pain
as in ant
as in dare
as in pet
as in seize
as in end
as in here
as in fuss
as in guide
as in fun
as in fur
as in hello
as in boing
as in stone
as in bore


as in day
as in kit
as in say
as in year
as in luck
as in zoom
as in void
as in pet
as in join
as in girl
as in flex
as in well
as in width
as in may
as in free
as in boy


This language is meant to be written using the syllabary characters more so than the letter characters. The individual letters can be used, and indeed sometimes are required, but primarily you will be using the syllables. Lets use my name to demonstrate how to form and write syllables in Jeidai. Devon is pronounced with the ‘deh’ and ‘ven’ syllables. In Jeidai we can spell that with the ‘d’, ‘eh’, ‘v’, and ‘en’ letters. Like this:

D- -EH V- -EN

But we are not done quite yet. As I said, this writing system is a hybrid form of syllabary which means that I promised single character syllables. This is a rather simple process of merging the left half of the consonant and the right half of the vowel into a single symbol with a single line running continuously from start to finish of the symbol.  In the case of my name, ‘d’ and ‘eh’ merge to become ‘deh’ while ‘v’ and ‘en’ merge to form ‘ven’ like this:


Using this method of merging a 1 of 16 consonants followed by 1 of 16 vowels gives use a syllabary of 256 characters and sounds. Merging two letters together to form a new symbol form what is called a ligature. So technically what I created was a set of 32 letters that are combined to make 256 ligatures. And those ligatures are the primary symbols used for writing. That allows for over 65,000 words with two syllables. Adding a third syllable gives you over 16 million possible words. While that is plenty, I also wanted to leave some flexibility for growth. But given the rule I set on drawing letters, diacritical marks were not going to work. I paid special attention to the graphemes, the symbols, so that no one letter is symmetrical and none of the consonants are the mirror of another letter. This will allow me to declare rules later which could extend the allowable sounds. I could flip the consonant upside-down to morph its pronunciation. Like turning the ‘d’ into a ‘t’ for example. I have been experimenting with mirroring the whole ligature and reading it backwards. In this case, ‘den’ would become ‘end’ if written backwards. But I still need time to develop the concept further before I implement it. The point is, I have methods available that would allow me to extend this language in the future.

I should also point out that I intentionally avoided punctuation marks in this language. I wanted there to be a very close relationship between written and spoken Jeidai. This meant that there would be no silent characters that only really have meaning in text. No periods, commas or question marks, at least not in the same manner as English. There is a character used to indicate a question, actually there are a few different one, but they are spoken rather than being an ornament at the end of a question. In English we use words like “what” and “why” to form many of our questions. This makes the question mark redundant as the reader can already tell it is a question. But some questions are not built around those question words like, “They do?” In this case we use vocal intonation to indicate it is a question when speaking, but English doesn’t really have written intonation so the question mark is required when writing. So I decided to make some of the syllables, in essence,  vocalized question marks. 

There is one exception to the rule of not having unspoken characters or silent letters. You may notice that all of the letters either begin or end with a horizontal line in place of a vowel or consonant. This helped keep everything lined up neatly, and allowed me to fill the whole square of the character space. The line itself indicated the lack of sound. If you were to put that silent line in both halves of a character, it would be a completely silent character. I decided to leave this in the script since it goes along with the individual letters and allows them to be expressed as syllables. As a bonus, it can be read as a pause. This is the only character in my language that has no sound, and that is because it is a written silence. Everything else is spoken. Below you can find a handy chart of the syllabary.

The Jeidai Syllabary

Computer Font

I am without a doubt, something of a computer nerd. Thus it was only natural for me to want to be able to type in my language and create documents with it. I started with a few pages of hand-drawn notes, but quickly set about making vector images of all of my glyphs… all 288 of them. This ended up taking significant effort because I did so before I finalized my design. Every time I made revisions, and there were many revisions, I replicated those changes to my digital glyphs. While digitizing them, I had to learn how to create a font. I had poked around at the concept in the past, but this would have some special requirements. I not only needed to include all the glyphs, but figure out how to type them as well. In Windows, there is the Character Map application which will let you pick specific characters and copy them to another application, and while that would work, it would be slow and tedious.

Ligatures to the rescue! I discovered a widely supported feature of computer fonts called ligatures which allows the designer to make custom characters for specific letter combinations. ‘Th’, ‘fi’, and ‘ae’ are common examples letter combinations that get replaced by ligatures. What is particularly useful about them is that the replacement happens automatically. So I ended up making every letter and syllable in Jeidai JEIDAI into a ligature. It was a bit tedious, but worth it because now I can simply type ‘JEIDAI’ when using my font and it will automatically turn into JEIDAI. I decided to bind them to all caps so as to help avoid accidental conversions when you don’t want them. As you can see, I also managed to get the font to work here on my site so that I can demonstrate my language in style!

You can download the font and try it out yourself if you like!



I spent a lot of time working on the writing system and deciding which sounds would be native to the language. I felt as though I had to pretty much lock those down before I tried to develop a vocabulary. Creating the vocabulary seemed like the most daunting task so I avoided it for some time and instead went through many iterations on the symbols and which sounds they represented. I even went through and created older versions of the script to show an evolution of the language.

But eventually I had to start building up the vocabulary. I started by grabbing a list of the 1000 most common words in English with the intention to just translate them. But I ended up setting that aside because I had trouble connecting with the words. so much of what I attempted just felt random. This was actually before I came up with the categorization methods. Nothing felt quite right at the time so I set it aside for later. But I couldn’t put it off much longer. Instead I devised a different method to help me generate words. I decided I was going to translate a short story. I first went through line by line and converted the sentences to match my sentence structure, but retained the English words. The sentence, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” would look something like, “Jump over [actor] the fox (quick, brown) [target] dog (lazy).” This method allowed me to try out the language using complex sentences without needing to first build up a lexicon with over a thousand words in it. It forced me to reevaluate my grammar system and expand on it to allow for greater nuance and complexity than I previously had considered. That short story created the initial list of words that I made. Even after going through that I still found myself dissatisfied with randomly generated words, which is what eventually led to me creating the following category system which established guidelines for generating words.

I divided words up into 4 different types and the vowels into 4 groups, one for each type of word. The primary word types in Jeidai are actions, things, descriptions, and functions. Actions include verbs and use the ‘u’ type vowels. Things include all forms of nouns and use the ‘e’ type vowels. Descriptions include adjectives and adverbs and use the ‘o’ type vowels. Functions include grammatical particles, affixations like a plural suffix, and operators for logical and mathematical expressions, which are integrated into the language somewhat. It is basically the catch-all for everything else. Each word type is further subdivided into categories specific to that type. For example, thing type words have tools, pronouns, time, and energy as some of the subcategories. These categories are divided along groups of consonants. The function words actually organize into these sub categories but for each vowel and are usually only a single syllable. I made this decision because I assumed that they would be used the most frequently. I should emphasize that these are more guidelines that I established for word generation rather than hard rules. And while the words should be made from the same grouping of vowels, I was only concerned with the first consonant of the word for the subcategories. But in general, the first syllable was most important to me for categorization and generation of words. Initially I only came up with about 250 words, not counting the numbers or inflected versions of words. I will maintain a lexicon on this site for reference.


I was starting to get a sense of what I wanted my language to look like. I decided that the action of a sentence had the most importance and so would come first in the sentence. This includes the verbs and any adverbs used to describe the action. I also decided that my language would have a feature where nouns are bound to the verb through a declared role. The actor, target, location, and time were all roles or ways in which a noun could be associated with the action of a sentence. I also decided that roles would be defined in pairs like actor and target, or cause and effect. two sides to every type of role. And in order to declare what role a noun fills, the role must be stated before the noun. This is not too dissimilar to words like “to”, “from”, “by”, and “for.” In general it does not matter the order in which these roles and their associated nouns are stated, though it can be assumed that emphasis is usually placed near the verb.

Later, after I started to actually try to write with the language, I found that there were complex statements which did not fit cleanly into this model and extended the system to allow for sentences to be linked together or cut short, like we sometimes do with a commas and periods. So I added definitions for those concepts into the role mechanism since I was still tried to avoid punctuation as much as possible.

Oftentimes the actual roles used in a sentence are going to be up to the speaker, and how they want to phrase what they are saying. I could jump over a location or an object that is at a location, or I could jump with the effect of me moving over an object. They would all be different ways of saying the same thing. It largely depends on the verbosity and the formality of the speaker. Here are the 16 roles and how to use them.

Dan DAN – The null role is less of a role and functions more like a period. But instead of using it for every statement, it is used to explicitly separate two sentences in cases where it could be otherwise confusing. Most of the time, it is not required as typically a new sentence would begin with a verb which would terminate the previous sentence. But if you find yourself needing a full stop for any reason, you can just end the sentence with “dan” DAN. Technically you could end every sentence with “dan” DAN but it would be overly verbose and weird. Imagine if you ended every sentence by speaking the name of the punctuation mark in English. It would be unusual and maybe even distracting.

Kan KAN – The actor role is who or what is performing an action. Kan KAN can often be omitted if it can be contextually understood who the actor is in the sentence. 

San SAN – The cause role is the reason for performing an action.

Yan YAN – The asset role is what is used to perform an action. If I were to play music on my phone, I would be using my phone to play music. So the phone would be an asset, a “yan” YAN.

Lan LAN – The place role is where an action happens.

Zan ZAN – The time role is when an action happens.

Van VAN – The authority role is who or what required the action to be taken.

Pan PAN – The collection role is used to denote a list of actions, things, or descriptions

Jan JAN – The link role provides a link between phrases and can be used similar to a comma. 

Gan GAN – The target role indicates the thing on which the action is performed. This role is easy to misuse in some ceases. For example, if you were to quote a book, the book would not be the target or “gan” GAN. Instead, the book would be the asset or “yan” YAN because you are quoting to an audience using the book as a reference. There are many scenarios where the target may better fit into another role. In these cases it should be given those roles. However, with informal speech it can be acceptable to just use “gan” GAN more liberally and you will generally be understood.

Xan XAN – The effect role is the result of the action being taken

Wan WAN – The liability role is what made the action difficult or prevented it from happening

Tan TAN – The distance role is how far the action went

Man MAN – The duration role is how long the action took

Fan FAN – The beneficiary role is what benefited from the action taken

Ban BAN – The reference role serves a similar function as quotation marks. Like with the “pan” PAN role, it can be used for encapsulation. Typically this is how you would quote someone or something. Take for example the following sentence: I told you, “I don’t know.” the action would be the past tense tell, the actor or “kan” KAN would be me, the target or “gan” GAN would be you, and then “I don’t know” would be encapsulated between a beginning quote “bandar” BANDAR and and ending quote “banjar” BANJAR.


Modifiers take the form of a suffix and must be attached to another word. An example of this would be the plural suffix, “mar” MAR. To say “places,” you would combine “yeh” YEH and “mar” MAR, resulting in “yehmar” YEHMAR. There are other suffixes as well such as the near suffix, “sar” SAR and the emote “ar” -AR. Emotes can be used as modifiers or independently so I will discus them in more detail later. When multiple suffixes are in use, they should appear in order of emotive, temporal, spatial, quantitative, inquisitive. So “nearby places” would be “yehyarmar” YEHYARMAR.

Dar DAR – “Now” This is a present tense modifier. By default words have no specific tense. This modifier is used to explicitly declare an action is currently happening or will happen imminently or referring to a thing’s current state.

Kar KAR – “Before” This is a past tense modifier. It can be used with an action to say what has already happened, or with a thing to refer to an earlier version of that thing. If the verb of the action is made past tense with kar KAR, then the rest of the sentence can be assumed to be past tense as well.

Sar SAR – “Begin” This modifier is used to mark the beginning of something. It could be the beginning of a list, or the beginning of an action. It all depends on the word that is being modified by “sar” SAR.

Yar YAR – “Close” This is used to distinguish between things that are different distances, usually from the speaker. It indicates that the thing is close to the speaker.

Lar LAR – “Specific Singular” This is like using the word “the” as in “the cat” it refers to a specific noun or verb which is known through context. If a speaker is already talking about a specific cat, they could use this to indicate they are talking about that cat, and not cats in general. Depending on context, it may be acceptable to simply use a pronoun like “they”, but it may not always be clear who or what the speaker is talking about and this can be used to clarify without fully describing the noun or verb again. If a conversation is about multiple cats then an adjective or two can also be helpful.

Zar ZAR – “Indefinite Singular” This is similar to the word “a.” As in “There is a cat.” In this example the cat would be modified. This refers to a specific cat rather than any cat or to the concept of a cat. It differs from lar LAR in that the specific cat is not known. This would be used when asking someone to chose an item from a menu that is not stated in the current sentence.

Var VAR – “Choose” Request that the listener select from a list or grouping. It is like asking a multiple choice question.

Par PAR – “What” Typically used with a role to ask the listener to supply the thing that fills the role. It is a general purpose question marker which can mean who, what, where, when, or why depending on how it is used. What the role is exactly in relation to the sentence and the language’s grammar system is described in the next section.

Jar JAR – “Indefinite Tense” The indefinite tense is the default state for words. So this modifier is not needed most of the time. But in the rare cases where it is necessary for clarity’s sake.

Gar GAR – “After” This is a future tense modifier. It can be used with an action to say what is going to or may happened, or with a thing to refer to a future version of that thing. If the verb of the action is made future tense with “gar” GAR, then the rest of the sentence can be assumed to be future tense as well.

Xar XAR – “End” This modifier is used to mark the ending of something. It could be the ending of a list, or the ending of an action. It all depends on the word that is being modified by “xar” XAR. It is the opposite of “sar” SAR.

War WAR – “Distant” This is used to distinguish between things that are different distances, usually from the speaker. It indicates that the thing is far away from the speaker.

Tar TAR – “Any Singular” This is used when the specific member of a group does not matter. This is slightly different from the indefinite singular modifier zar ZAR. With the any singular modifier, it really doesn’t matter which thing is referenced. Take the phrase, “Press any key to continue.” This would be an appropriate use of tar TAR because it doesn’t matter which key is pressed. But with zar ZAR the specific key would matter, but which key that is has not been established. That would be more like selecting an option from a menu.

Mar MAR – “Plural” This is used to indicate that there are multiple of the modified word. Typically it is only used with nouns and verbs. When the quantity of a thing is given, the plural modifier is not required.

Far FAR – “Confirm” This is used to request that the listener confirm that part of a statement is true. It can be used on a nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and roles.

Bar BAR – “Describe” Similar to “par” PAR in that it requests the listener to supply information. But in this case the listener is asked to supply descriptions. If appended to a verb, it requests adverbs to be provided so as to describe how the verb was performed. Likewise if appended to a noun, the listener is expected to supply adjectives to describe a thing.

Numerical Expressions

In my insistence on doing things differently, I decided I should have my own system for numerical expression. As I mentioned earlier, I sometimes have to use hexadecimal numbers and math, and one of the things that I have never been happy about is the use of the letters a through f to represent the numbers 10 through 15. It certainly works so maybe I shouldn’t complain, but I always wished there were dedicated numerals for them. So since I built this language around the concept of 16, it only made sense to give it a hexadecimal number system. Of course you can always just use the numerals for 0 through 9 and stick with decimal if you prefer ?

I also decided that I didn’t want to complicate my writing system with an additional set of glyphs for the numerals. So I decided to create a system to make use of the existing glyphs which takes. Each consonant represents a different digit place. For example, d is used for the 1’s digits, k is used on the 10’s digits, s is used on the 100’s digits, and so on until you get to b for the quintillion’s digits. Then the vowels are used to indicate which digit is in that place. For example “ah” is a 0, “ae” is a 1, “an” is a 2, and so on until you get to ‘or’ for 15. Generally the zeros are not needed except for actual zero. So the number 1002 would be “yai” YAI for 1000, and “dan” DAN for 2 and would be written as “yaidan” YAIDAN. Including the two different zeros would not be wrong, but it is not necessary to do so.

The catch with a system like this where the characters are overloaded is that it could be difficult to distinguish between words and numbers. In order to remove any ambiguity, numbers will require an initiator. The benefit of this is that I have an easy way to define different types of numbers. For example A cardinal number is used for the quantity of something, We use the “dah” DAH sound as a prefix to trigger a cardinal number. So the number 1002 that I referenced earlier would actually be “dahyaidan” DAHYAIDAN. But there are other types of numbers as well such as ordinal like 1st and 2nd. Some languages even have different ways of counting for physical vs conceptual things. Jeidai adopts the concept of different types of numbers, but care more about how the number is used than what the number is used on. Below is a chart of all the numbers, followed by all the number types. Conveniently, all of the number types start with an “ah” -AH sound.

Another feature of this number system is the approximate values. All of the numbers in the 0 column below can be used as approximate values. How that actually works depends somewhat on the number type. Lets us a few different versions of “kah” KAH for example. The abstract number “dahkah” DAHKAH refers to the 10s digit itself rather than a specific number. It can be used as a zero in the 10s digit like in the example 1002. With the cardinal number “kahkah” it is a quantity. It would be like saying that there are 10s of a thing. The quantity could be any number at least 10 but less than 100. While the scaler number “sahkah” SAHKAH is a magnitude or intensity. So it would be like a 1 on a scale of 0 through 15, which is to say a very low intensity.

One final note on numbers is where they fit in a sentence. In general, a word that modifies or describes another word follows the original word. So numbers would come immediately following the thing that they enumerate. I should also mention that when you give a quantity of more than one for a noun or verb the plural modifier is not required. The plural modifier is only used when the specific quantity is not provided.

The Jeidai Numbers

Dah DAH – Initiates an untyped or abstract number. It can be used if you are just stating an arbitrary number like I did in my example above. It refers to the concept of the number. It can also be used as a fallback if you are unsure which type of number you should use.

Kah KAH – Initiates a cardinal number. It is used to count things and express quantities of things.

Sah SAH – Initiates a scaler number. It is used to express the magnitude or intensity of something. When used with an adjective, it indicates the intensity of that adjective. For example, “sahdai” SAHDAI would have a low value of 1 or ‘barely’. If this was used to to qualify a small cat, the small would only apply to the cat a little bit. In other words, the cat could barely be called small.

Yah YAH – Initiates an ordinal number. It is used to give order such as 1st, 2nd, etc.


I have incorporated an emotive component to my language. I find the concept of emoji and emoticons an interesting one, especially how it has effected our written communication. They offer a somewhat universal means to convey information or at least feeling, which is sometimes lost in writing even between people speaking the same language. I sometimes find I use them just to make sure the other person knows I am not trying to be impolite or sarcastic. I am also fascinated by how some people use them so heavily it almost becomes a language in of itself. I am reminded of the Star Trek: TNG episode “Darmok” where they encounter a people who communicate exclusive through analogy and it requires shared knowledge of culture and events to make sense of it. But I am getting off topic.

As I said I like the idea of using a written indicator of emotion to help avoid misinterpretation. I also like the idea because I sometimes find myself forgetting to emote properly. When I worked as a cashier in my youth, I would have people tell me to smile when I already thought I was smiling. Apparently the 5mm that my mouth moves in a casual smile is too subtle ? It was mostly old men who probably mistook me for a girl because of my long hair. I confused a lot of people with that for some reason. But because of my own personal history and struggles with expressiveness, I have found emoji and emoticons to be useful. So I decided to incorporate an analogous concept of emotional expression into my language. Except in Jeidai, it is not just for written communication, but instead is a part of verbal communication as well as written. I picked 16 different emotions to use as the basic emotions. Then I divided them into 8 positive and 8 negative emotes. Each positive emote has an opposite, negative emote. I use the terms positive and negative loosely here but it is somewhat indicative of how I view emotion on a personal level.

Emotions are complex and don’t always fit neatly into any given category. But I am fixated on those numbers so they will form the foundation for emotional expression in Jeidai. Each emotion is assigned a vowel which can be used by itself to declare that emotional state. It can also be affixed onto a word to add emotion to it. For example, if you wanted to express remorse and apologize for something. You would start with the word for “me” which is “deh” DEH and add the emote for remorse which is “er” -ER. So to say, “I am sorry” in Jeidai you can say, “deher” DEH-ER. You could just say “er” -ER as well, just be careful not to sound insincere. Here are the rest of the 16 core emotional states in Jeidai. And remember that these are translations of basic emotes without nuance and actually cover a wide range of emotion.

Positive Emotes

Ah -AH – Passion/Creativity

Ai -AI – Energy/Motivation

An -AN – Joy/Amusement

Ar -AR – Love/Enjoyment

Eh -EH – Confidence/Sureness

Ei -EI – Courage/Bravery

En -EN – Rest/Comfort

Er -ER – Remorse/Regret

Negative Emotes

Uh -UH – Apathy/Banality

Ui -UI – Exhaustion/Stagnation

Un -UN – Sorrow/Boredom

Ur -UR – Hate/Disdain

Oh -OH – Confusion/Doubt

Oi -OI – Caution/Fear

On -ON – Anxiety/Discomfort

Or -OR – Anger/Insult

Grammatical Gender

Years ago, I spent a month or two trying to learn Spanish with poor results to show for myself. The thing that really seemed to trip me up was trying to figure out the grammatical gender of nouns. I can understand the concept well enough. In fact as I just described I am using a similar concept in my word generation were the category of the word guides its spelling. And I can recognize how having gendered forms of animate nouns can be useful to quickly convey gender information, such as with gato and gata, which mean male and female cat respectively. But I had trouble making the connection between masculinity and femininity for inanimate objects. Recognizing gender when given a Spanish sentence or phrase isn’t too difficult because there are general rules for spelling and pronunciation. But when I was just learning the concept, it all seemed so arbitrary. What about bread is masculine? I find that sometimes I fixate on those kinds of details instead of just accepting it as a feature and moving on. It created a mental block for me and just left me frustrated. I do not mean any insult to Spanish as a language in my complaint here. I recognize it was my own shortcoming that held me back. But because of my experience with the language, I knew that gendered nouns was something I wanted to avoid.

While avoiding gendered nouns I decided to take things a step further and left out gendered pronouns as well. Instead of saying “he” or “she” you would only use the gender neutral “they” or “kei” KEI in Jeidai. You can have gender descriptions attached to it if desired, but it must be a deliberately added adjective. The jeidai words for male and female are “jon” JON and “jor” JOR respectively, and they are strictly adjectives. So if I wanted to say “him” and wanted to specifically indicate that the person is male, I would say “kei jor” KEI JOR or literally “male them.” Things like this cause the language to be a little more verbose, but I felt it was worthwhile.

I had adopted this practice to some degree in my day to day life. Oftentimes when talking about someone I know or retelling a story that happened, I try to use gender neutral personal pronouns and only use gendered pronouns if the identity of the person has already been established, or if it is relevant to the conversation. I don’t always remember, but I do make a point to try. I actually started this practice at work when reviewing and discussing candidates who had applied for a job with us. Partially because I see names from many different cultures and it is not always clear to me if the name is a masculine or feminine one. But perhaps more importantly, so as to reduce gender bias when discussing the applicants. I work in a male dominated industry, and while the gap is beginning to close, things are far from equal.

Another interesting note on the topic of grammatical gender is how to handle, grammatically speaking, the rise in awareness of non-binary gender. We often resort to simply using the neutral forms “they/them” for English. But not every language can do this as readily, and so language must evolve along with our society in order to accurately communicate. Even within English, there are movements to establish new genders for personal pronouns. But this is moving further and further from topics of which I am qualified to discuss. But by omitting grammatical gender from my language entirely, it devalues a person’s gender, keeping the focus on them and their actions instead. At least, that was my motivation behind this decision.

What’s Next

I still have a lot of work to do to build out this language to something that could actually be used. I would like to continue to expand the vocabulary as I have a top secret project I am working on as a means to put my language into use. It is a somewhat unique concept I think. At least I am not familiar with anyone having done quite what I am hoping to achieve. But for now I shall keep that project a secret. I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into my journey to create my own original language. I will be updating this site with additional details and resources for using Jeidai. Once that has happened, I highly encourage anyone who wants to try it out to do so. Few things in life make me happier than to see something I created be enjoyed and benefit other people. And feel free to reach out to me with questions or feedback. I make no claims to be an expert or a linguist so it is entirely possible that I have made mistakes along the way.