About "Tibetan Dwarvish"


"Tibetan Dwarvish" is my working name for the constructed language ( "conlang" ) I am designing for a race of Dwarves in a yet to be created fantasy world.   The concept for the race is to couple Tibetan and Nepalese cultural features with traditional pulp fantasy concepts of Dwarves.   Dwarves are usually depicted as living in mountainous regions, so using Nepalese and Tibetan cultures as an overlay seems pretty natural.  The main concept of this pairing is that these “Tibetan Dwarves” would have a governing body of spiritual monks, much like the Buddhist monks of Tibet.

The main features of Tibetan Dwarvish are the following:

  • Most consonants have a “strong” and “weak” version of the phoneme.  The primary noun cases are formed by using the strong or weak version of various consonants in the root word.
  • The primary word order for sentences is OVS (object – verb – subject).   Although rare, it makes sense to use this word order for a Dwarvish race given their association with crafts.   The idea is that Dwarves naturally focus on the object they are creating, and secondarily what they are doing to that object.   The subject (who is performing the action) is almost an after thought.
  • There are no traditional verbs or adjectives.  The focus is on nouns because the Dwarves think of the world in terms of "things", be they concrete or abstract.  Adjectives are just genitive constructions for nouns.  "Verbs" consist of a noun, which describes the event, placed in a locative phrase similar to "The bird is in flight".   A pronoun copula (which replaces the English words "is/are/was/were/etc.") is inflected like a traditional verb to change the sentence's voice, mood, and tense.
  • The alignment is absolutive-ergative.   For intransitive sentences, there is no object upon which to focus, so the subject can take more prominence in the sentence.
  • The pronoun system will have grades of formality and politeness, similar to Tibetan and Nepali.  It will also have deixis built in like Nepali, and so it will be fairly complex. 

The website is currently incomplete because Tibetan Dwarvish is also incomplete.   The phonology is mostly in place, and the morphology is starting to take shape.   As each section is written, I will update this website since it will be the main place for the public to read about the language.