Let’s make a language – Part 16c: Time (Ardari)

As before, we have a decision to make. Ardari is a bit more difficult, but I’ve chosen to place it in the same “alternate” Earth of Isian. It’s a few thousand miles removed, however, being located in a forgotten part of Western Asia, around the southern Caucasus. This is an area with plenty of space for a “lost” culture, but one that could plausibly have contact with historical civilizations. And it makes things easier for me, because I don’t have to do as much worldbuilding, meaning I can focus more on the conlang itself.

The time of day

The Ardari word for “day”, jan, is totally not the same as Isian ja, despite their visual similarity. But it’s equally central to the Ardari culture’s notion of time. Being an Earthbound language, it’s 24 hours (uld) long, and each hour has 60 minutes (weyn), each of which contains 60 seconds (timi).

Days officially begin at olongoz “midnight”. From midnight to 6:00 AM is the gozoza (roughly speaking, the “late night”). (Dawn, or ärchi, comes at different times throughout the year, as does khowchi “dusk”, so these periods are approximate.) After dawn is the chèrni “morning”, which lasts until noon, called either inyi or the more formal olonyan. The next six hours are the nèchinyi “afternoon”, while the period from 6:00 PM to midnight is the sulta “evening”.

A period of a few days is a vach “week”; this has historically been anywhere from 5 to 7 days, but outside pressure has forced Ardari to standardize on a seven-day week. Months are literally “moons”, using the same noun: duli. Ardari speakers keep a lunar calendar for certain holidays (tsijan), but this is linked to a solar calendar used to calculate the avèch “year”.

This same solar calendar tracks the seasons (zedra). There are four main seasons: kyof “winter”, tingli “spring”, sadya “summer”, and kadyll “autumn”. These can also be divided into smaller periods, such as a harvest season, but those have no specific names.

Human time

Time (tänölad) is also considered important in human terms, particularly the notion of age, or pòdymat. People can be jers “young” or pòd “old”, and those older ones are often granted higher standing, becoming dämbar “revered”.

Histories speak of the past (pèls), but the present (brogh) is also on Ardari speakers’ minds, and many are always looking to the future (dwanar). Today (zalyan) is the day when things happen, but yesterday (birjan) is the time that was, and tomorrow (kwanyan) is what will come.

Some things are always (zalajch) the same, while others never (dulajch) are. Actions begin (sòto-) and end (jop-), and they sometimes abruptly stop (uq-). And we are often (vurtän) left to wait (rhèta-).

Next up

It’s fun to ponder time, but now we must depart for the future. The next part of this series will delve into the workings of the human body, and we’ll come out with close to a hundred new items in our lexicon, covering us from head to toe.

Word List

As with Isian, the choice of words comes from the Universal Language Dictionary, a great resource for lexical ideas. Instead of walking you through which word belongs to which part of speech, I’ll assume you’ve read previous entries in this series.

Relative terms

  • early: ächem
  • eventually: nèchdwanar
  • future: dwanar
  • late: zolz
  • long ago: jöghpèls
  • now: nyas
  • on time: motön
  • past: pèls
  • present: brogh
  • recently: jöghnyas
  • soon: nèchnyas
  • today: zalyan
  • tomorrow: kwanyan
  • yesterday: birjan

Units of time

  • century: grusö
  • day (period): jan
  • decade: kyänsö
  • hour: uld
  • minute: weyn
  • moment: win
  • month: duli
  • period: gracha
  • second: timi
  • week: vach
  • year: avèch


  • afternoon: nèchinyi
  • date: jënäl
  • dawn: ärchi
  • day (time): tulyana
  • dusk: khowchi
  • evening: sulta
  • fall (autumn): kadyll
  • holiday: tsijan
  • middle of the night: olongoz (or gozoza “deepest night”)
  • midnight: olongoz
  • morning: chèrni
  • night: goz
  • noon: inyi (or olonyan “midday”)
  • season: zedra
  • spring: tingli
  • summer: sadya
  • winter: kyof


  • again: jejan
  • age: pòdymat
  • already: päntös
  • always: zalajch
  • ever: manölajch
  • interval: lon
  • irregular: unonall
  • long (duration): tur
  • never: dulajch
  • new: vän
  • often: vurtän
  • old: pòd “old”; dämbar “revered, ancient”
  • rarely: bintän
  • regular: nonall
  • short (duration): nèr
  • still: jodös
  • time (abstract): tänölad
  • time (instance): tän (or lajch “time of day”)
  • to begin: sòto-
  • to continue: sovo-
  • to end: jop-
  • to pause: plada-
  • to stop: uq-
  • to wait: rhèta-
  • young: jers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *