Tsolyáni language

Tsolyáni is one of several languages invented by M. A. R. Barker for the Tékumel Empire of the Petal Throne gaming series. It was the first constructed language ever published as part of a role-playing game, and was inspired by Urdu, Pushto and Mayan. The latter influence can be seen in the inclusion of the sounds hl [ɬ] and tl [tɬ]. Tsolyáni has its own writing system, the Engsvanyáli script, especially invented for writing this artificial language.


Tsolyáni is written in the highly unusual Engsvanyáli script, and is read from right-to-left (like Hebrew and Arabic). The consonants each have 4 different forms: isolate, initial, medial, and final; the 6 vowels and 3 diphthongs each only have an independent initial form, while combining marks are used for the medial and final positions.


Tsolyáni has an unusual sound system, with elements blended from Arabic, Urdu, Pashto, and Mayan.

  Labial Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Central Lateral
Plosives voiceless p /p/ t /t/ k /k/ q /q/ /ʔ/
voiced b /b/ d /d/ g /ɡ/
Affricates voiceless (ps /ps/) ts /ts/ tl /tɬ/ ch /tʃ/ (ks /ks/)
voiced (bz /bz/) (dz /dz/) j /dʒ/ (gz /gz/)
Fricatives voiceless f /f/ th /θ/ s /s/ hl /ɬ/ sh /ʃ/ ss /ʂ/ kh /x/ h /h/
voiced v /v/ dh /ð/ z /z/ zh /ʒ/ gh /ɣ/
Nasals m /m/ n /n/ ng /ŋ/
Rhotics Tap r /ɾ/
Trill rr /r/
Approximants w /w/ l /l/ y /j/

Front Back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
High i /i/ ü /y/ or /ɯ/ u /u/
Mid e /e/ o /o/
Low a /ɑ/
There are three diphthongs used by Tsolyáni: ai /ɑi/, oi /oi/, au /au/.

Related Conlangs

Tsolyáni is the only Tekumeláni language that has had a full grammar book, dictionary, pronunciation tapes (now on CD) and a primer, all publicly released. Yet, it is not the only language Barker has developed for his imaginary world. He also wrote grammar guides for other languages he developed for it, including Yán Koryáni, Livyáni, Engsvanyáli and Sunúz. In the world of Tékumel, the latter two languages are extinct, or dead languages: Engsvanyáli is the root language for Tsolyáni and of many other currently spoken languages of the known parts of Tékumel. Sunúz is an obscure language, used for sorcerous purposes; it contains terms to describe movement in a supposed six-dimensional multi-planar space, something of use to the fictional beings who visit the other planar realms where demons live.

Barker has also published extensively on scripts for other languages of Tékumel.

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