Ghilani: a ‘Conlang’ for Ghouls

For my most recent novel Ghilan I developed a constructed language (‘conlang’) known as Ghilani.  I did this for several reasons — not the least of which is that conlangs are fun, and I always wanted to try it.  But mainly I created it to give dimension to the creatures know as ghilani (singular ‘ghul’).

Simply put, Ghilani is the language of ghouls.

For reasons that are an important part of the plot, Ghilani is a pidgin.  It is most heavily influenced by Arabic (Classic and Andalusian), Coptic, and Ancient Egyptian, although you will find elements of other tongues.  The novel contains an abbreviated grammar and lexicon included as an appendix.

The complete lexicon of over 600 words remains unpublished, but if there is enough interest on the part of ‘conlangers’ I’d be happy to put it up somewhere.  Just comment here and I’d be happy to oblige.  Bear in mind though, I’m not a professional linguist.

Just to give you a feel for the language, here are a few Ghilani colloquialisms:

suksumut labkin biber matar talabi – “On which pathway did your mother eat your placenta?” The equivalent in English to “Where are you from?”

khobah parlar – Lit. “Speech entombs.” Said as one might say, “Don’t speak; let us sit quietly and enjoy the moment.”

musgartalati – Lit. “I mind three.” or “I’m sorry, I’m very distracted.”

astamur hsskurhinar sultan – “The monarch proudly leaves the marrow.” This proverb expresses the general disdain ghilan have for the wastes and excesses of rulers of all kinds. The marrow, though hard to get at, is the most nourishing part of prey.

urztil sakhir somnox – “Night-sleepers ridicule the anus.” For scavengers, the anus provides easy access to the internal organs of any prey animal, regardless of the relative toughness of its hide. An accusation of cowardice when spoken from one ghul to another, or a general comment to on the squeamishness of humans.

haimet metaparuk jinar – “Rightness trumps blood.” A very thought provoking proverb from the poem ‘Murr Sharbatas.’

ahkaos shsh’sunus merwat – “Love cuddling, sings of chaos.”

nitsultan khotn onusas – “Blame the clothing, not the chieftain.”  Expresses the folly of those who blame the individual rather than the uniform, the traditions if you will, that dictate a chieftain’s actions.

nityakar nitrever – “No liver, no dream.”

4 responses to “Ghilani: a ‘Conlang’ for Ghouls

  1. I just downloaded Ghilan. I love conlangs and and would love more grammar and vocab.

  2. Outstanding — I really hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think of the book and the language. At the back of “Ghilan” you’ll find an appendix with the basic grammar and a short lexicon. If there is enough interest I could be persuaded to release the entire dictionary, which is about 650 words.

  3. I just bought the book and i love it.
    I would be happy to know more about the gilani-language. Can i get the whole dictionary somewhere?

    • Thank you Christian, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Unfortunately all of the additional material is just handwritten notes, which include a dictionary of about 700 words. If the book had been more popular — or if it gains more popularity in the future — I would/will certainly publish more material. Please email me your address and your size — you’re in Deutschland, correct? — and I’ll send you a t-shirt!

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