Partair Doaege Rihanai

Grammar of the Romulan Language

Ulaere - Introduction

This grammar is an attempt at getting some semblance of standardisation and formalisation into the Rihan* language, using sources found on the internet. The primary source for both grammatical and lexical information was found at While a good repository of raw information, there are many inconsistencies and oversights, as well as errors related to terminology which could be misleading, throughout the site, both in the grammatical outline and the dictionary. In this work I am attempting to correct these inconsistencies, errors and oversights.

In the case of inconsistencies, I have tried as much as possible to preserve all variations, either as "exceptions to the rule", dialectal differences, or by using one form or another to cover a gap left by oversight.

Oversights presented a special challenge, as I have gone to great lengths to avoid creating anything completely a priori. This might be regarded as odd, considering this *is* an a priori constructed language, however as it is not *my* original creation, I felt it best to treat it as a natural-language reconstruction. There are certainly examples of this in the real world, the most notable being the modern Hebrew language as spoken in Israel, which is a reconstruction which was based on the only surviving source of information on the ancient Hebrew language, namely the Tanakh (Old Testament of the Bible). Another example is the in-progress reconstruction of the ancient, pre-German Prussian language, a close relative of Latvian and Lithuanian. In dealing with grammatical oversights in the Rihan language my first choice was to extrapolate from known forms, and construct the missing form in this way. The second choice was to use variations left over after selecting a certain form of several, where an inconsistency had occurred. Only after these avenues were exhausted was I forced to create new forms of my own invention. Lexical oversights, that is, words not present in the dictionaries and glossaries available at various sources on the internet, were a challenge of a different sort. The lexical corpus of the Rihan language is quite large, sufficiently broad to allow neologisms of the sort found in Icelandic, wherein existing words are used to create new ones (a good example is the Icelandic word talsími, "telephone", which is made of of the words tala, "to talk" and sími, "wire", to create a new word "talk-wire", that is, "telephone". Other lexical gaps were filled in ways such as using a participle of a verb as a noun, for example, using the present participle "entering" (i.e., "he is entering") as a noun to mean "entrance". Again, this was possible due to the large amount of material already available.

As a former linguistics major with an interest in historical linguistics and as an avid conlanger, and as someone who derives a great deal of pleasure from exercising (torturing!) her brain, I have had a lot of fun so far, working on this project, so whether it is accepted by anyone is a secondary matter. If a single person finds this interesting and, perhaps, useful, I will be very happy. Besides, if the klivam can have a properly fleshed-out language, then certainly the Rihanh deserve one!

Ekkhae t'Annhwi,
honorary chairperson,
Catoena ih'Swaet Doaege ch'Rihan
(Central Institute of the Romulan Language)



* - It is often seen that the word "Rihannsu" is used in referring to the Romulan language, as in "Rihannsu language". However, this is (based on the information available to us about the language) not correct, as "Rihannsu" is a plural noun referring to a specific group of Rihanh ("Rihanh" being the word for "the Romulan people as a whole", "Rihannsu" being "a specific group of Rihanh, i.e. Romulan people). The proper adjective is "Rihan", thus this must be used in referring to the language - the Rihan language. As far as the word "Rihannsu" is concerned, there are several other occasions where it can be seen used in a way that is, strictly speaking, incorrect, notably in the phrase "Rihannsu Stelam Shiar". However, such violations can be valid on the grounds of poetic liberty, as is certainly the case in the Rihan name of the Romulan Star Empire, where not just a liberal use of the word "Rihannsu" is found, but also a considerable divergence from the normally-accepted sentence structure and word order. To be grammatically correct, the phrase should read "Shiar ih'Stelam Rihan" or "Shiar ih'Saeihr Rihan", but at the time of the Empire's establishment, it was probably a poetic soul who came up with the name in this way, for reasons that nowadays only the Elements know.



Continue to PHONOLOGY


"This site is hosted for FREE at Click here to get your own free website."