The Language Vorlin (2006)

Chapter 3: Nouns

number and definiteness

Unlike English, Vorlin does not mark nouns for the quality known as definiteness. (English does this with the definite article “the” and the indefinite article “a, an.”) The rules that govern the usage of articles vary from language to language, and are sometimes a great difficulty for people whose native languages do not have articles. (Many languages, including Russian and Chinese, do not have articles).

Vorlin also does not mark nouns for singular/plural status. (Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, and many other natural languages also do not mark this distinction.)

Thus, the Vorlin word ful might be translated into English as “bird” or “the bird” or “a bird” or “birds” or “the birds” or “some birds,” depending on context. Of course, Vorlin allows more precision when it is needed: you can say yun ful = one bird, men ful = more than one bird, tan men ful = these birds, and so forth.

NOTE: Fans of Vorlin have occasionally experimented with a dialect that does customarily mark nouns for plural status, using the unstressed suffix en to indicate the plural, as in fulen = birds.


Possession is indicated by placing the particle es after the possessor and before the possessed. Erik es hus = Erik’s house. The type of possession indictaed by es is vague, usually indicating ownership by law or custom (e.g. “Erik’s car”), or usage or consumption (e.g. “Erik’s apartment” or “Erik’s beer”).

converting common nouns to proper nouns

A common noun can be converted to a proper noun by placing the particle nas before it and capitalizing the first letter: bab = a gate, the gate; nas Bab = some person or animal named “Gate.”

nouns are the foundation of verbs

Vorlin creates its verbs by attaching the suffixes -i and -o to nouns. The suffix -i is intransitive and means “to engage in the specified process or activity” or “to be in the specified state or condition.” The suffix -o is transitive and means “to do process X to Y” or “have relationship X toward Y.” See Chapter 5 for more information about the relationship between nouns and verbs.

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