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Guide to the Vötgil Language

Table of Contents


Vötgil is a constructed language created by Jack Eisenmann in 2012, originally documented on his website here. It is based on English while having simplified spelling, grammar, and a reduced vocabulary of 609 official words, all of which are 3 letters in length. Vötgil is the descendant of JE's earlier attempt at simplifying English, Iqglic (though more accurately it was the descendant of the little-known intermediary step between Iqglic and Vötgil, Anti English).

My motivation to create this page was that I found all other existing Vötgil documentation to be either not comprehensive enough or not accurate enough. Vötgil grammar is not particularily well defined in its original documentation, so there's a fair bit of disagreement and vagueness surrounding how the language is supposed to work. A lot of common Vötgil usage, including by JE himself, appears to break the rules of Vötgil grammar as outlined by the offical documentation. This doucment aims to present Vötgil grammar in the way that I understand it, and in a way which I personally believe correlates well with common usage and is close to what the language was intended to be.

Note that there is an unofficial set of small modifications that I often employ in my Vötgil usage, however this document will stick to describing Vötgil in its standard original form.

Alphabet and Sounds

Vötgil has 20 consonant sounds and 8 vowel sounds, although some vowels may behave as consonants and vice versa, as described later. The Vötgil alphabet thus uses 28 letters, which includes the 26 basic Latin letters A through Z plus the letters Ð/ð and Ö/ö. These letters may be approximated as '9' and '0' respectively if the writer is unable or unwilling to type these characters.


Letter Sound Letter Sound
P /p/ as in pat B /b/ as in bat
T /t/ as in tap D /d/ as in door
K /k/ as in cat G /g/ as in get
F /f/ as in fan V /v/ as in van
X /θ/ as in thing Ð /ð/ as in there
S /s/ as in set Z /z/ as in zap
C /ʃ/ as in show J /ʒ/ as in measure
M /m/ as in main N /n/ as in nap
Q /ŋ/ as in sing H /h/ as in hat
L /l/ as in let R /ɹ/ as in rain


Letter Sound Letter Sound
A /æ/ as in cat E /ɛ/ as in bet
I /ɪ/ as in bit Y /i/ as in seem
O /o/ as in note Ö /ɑ/ as in hot
U /ʌ/ as in fun W /u/ as in soon

The letters W and Y may also behave as consonants, and the letter R may also behave as a vowel. In these cases, the letters are pronounced like so:

Letter Sound Example Word
W /w/ as in water Wök (walk)
Y /j/ as in yes Yer (year)
R /ɚ/ as in burn Lrn (learn)

Word Structure

Every word in Vötgil contains exactly 3 letters. All words begin with a consonant and contain one vowel. This means that every Vötgil word follows one of two forms: CVC or CCV; that is, consonant-vowel-consonant (for example: Run, Coy, Lör), or consonant-consonant-vowel (for example: Bre, Ste, Tcy).

No Vötgil word ends in the vowels A, I, or U.

The letters Y, W, and R may only end a CVC word if they follow certain vowels. These sequences of vowels followed by Y, W, or R may be analyzed as being equivalent to certain English diphthongs and rhotic vowels:

Sequence Sound Example Word
aw /aʊ/ as in sound Kaw (cow)
ey /eɪ/ as in late Sey (say)
oy /oɪ/ as in boy Poy (polite)
uy /aɪ/ as in buy Tuy (tie)
er /ɛɹ/ as in care Fer (fair)
or /oɹ/ as in corn Por (pour)
yr /iɹ/ as in near Hyr (hear)
wr /uɹ/ as in boo-er¹ Twr (towards)
ör /ɑɹ/ as in bar Lör (large)

All CCV words in Vötgil contain only the following consonant clusters:
Bl Br Fl Fr Gl Gr Kl Kr My Pl Pr Sk Sl Sm Sp St Sw Tc Xr

The cluster 'Tc' may be analyzed as being equivalent to the affricate sound /tʃ/ as in cheese. However, the voiced equivalent 'Dj', which would correspond with /dʒ/ as in just, does not appear in any Vötgil words; the sound /dʒ/ is always transcribed into Vötgil as simply 'J' /ʒ/.

No word begins with the letter Q or end with the letter H.

Grayscale Alphabet

In addition to the Latin alphabet, Vötgil may also be written in its own unique writing system. Each symbol is a column of three dots, each dot having one of four grayscale values: white, light gray, dark gray, or black. Below is an image describing this writing system courtesy of Jack Eisenmann's original page.

Writing Conventions

The traditional way of writing Vötgil sentences is to write them without any spaces (facilitated by every word in the language being the same length), while capitalizing the first letter of every word (and suffix). This is the convention that will be used for example sentences in this document. For example: "NuyWilGofCinTwrÐytBil".

However, it is perfectly acceptable to write the language with spaces² (including between some words but not others) and employ whatever means of capitalization is desired. For example, the previous sentence could just as well have been written "Nuy wilgof cintwr ðytbil".


Parts of Speech

Vötgil has four parts of speech: nouns, verbs, descriptors, and prepositions. Every word in Vötgil belongs to exactly one of these parts of speech.

Nouns describe objects, people, living things, and abstract concepts. Nouns in Vötgil also include what are pronouns in English, such as "I" and "you".

Verbs describe actions and relationships. All verbs in Vötgil are transitive, which means they are able to accept a direct object.

Descriptors are words which describe the qualities and traits of other words in a sentence. Descriptors encompass what would be adjectives, adverbs, and articles in English.

Prepositions express relationships between words, like verbs but with different syntactic behavour. In addition to words usually classified as prepositions in English such as "in" and "about", prepositions in Vötgil also include what are called conjunctions in English, such as "and" and "but".

Word Order and Sentence Structure

A basic sentence in Vötgil follows the order of "subject-verb-object": first a noun performing the verb's action, followed by the verb, then optionally followed by a noun recieving the verb's action. There are specific cases in which the subject of a sentence may be excluded, which will be covered later.

I sleep.
I sleep.

I sleep the bed.
I sleep on the bed.

As a special case, the verb Viz (to be) may also be followed by a lone descriptor or preposition phrase.

I be happy.
I am happy.

you be on the grass.
You are on the grass.

A sentence may also consist of solely a noun phrase, to form an interjection-type sentence. This is most commonly done in the Vötgil expressions for "hello" and "goodbye".


anti hello!

Descriptors always precede the word that they modify. Any number of descriptors can be stacked onto a word.

good day
Good day

a person see the very large ocean.
A person sees the very large ocean.

this animal good eat.
This animal eats well.

A preposition phrase consists of a preposition followed by a noun.

in the green building
In the green building

A preposition phrase may be placed after another noun:

a person in the green building eat.
A person in the green building eats.

Or after a verb and its direct object, to modify the sentence as a whole:

i will hear music during this day.
I will hear music during this day.

Or before the whole sentence, to the same effect³ (a comma may used to delimit the preposition phrase from the sentence, but this is not necessary):

during this day i will hear music.
During this day, I will hear music.

Two nouns, verbs, or prepositions (both being the same part of speech) may be grouped together. In such a construction, the second word pertains or relates to the first word. The grouping behaves as the same part of speech as its component words.

money building
Money building; a building pertaining to money

see focus
To focus (on something) in a way which pertains to seeing; a common way to say "to look"

in to

the woman go in to the government building.
The woman goes into the government building.

Noun groupings are used to express possessive constructions, including possessive pronouns:

I house
My house


Vötgil has several suffixes that may be appeneded to the end of words. Each suffix contains 3 letters, just as words do.

Suffix Summary
-Sis/Zis Plural noun
-Did/Tid Passive descriptor
-Niq Gerund noun
-Rer Performer noun
-Rey Receiver noun
-Nis Quality noun

Note the two different forms of -Sis/Zis and -Tid/Did. While it doesn't strictly matter which one you use, the general rule is that -Sis and -Tid are used when the word ends in a voiceless consonant (one of P, T, K, F, X, S, C), and -Zis and -Did are used in all other cases (voiced consonants and vowels). However, the speaker can simply choose whichever suffix feels easier to pronounce for them in the given word.

-Sis/Zis makes a noun plural (more than one). This is much like '-s' in English.

i see some rock-(plural).
I see some rocks.

this bird-(plural) like I.
These birds like me.

This is also how plural pronouns are expressed:

I-(plural) will give prize-(plural) to you-(plural).
We will give prizes to you all.

-Tid/Did makes a verb into a descriptor which describes something recieving a verb's action, equivalent to a passive participle. In English this is often expressed with the suffix -ed.

the lock-(passive) door not be open-(passive).
The locked door is not opened.

the know-(passive) limit be large.
The known limit is large.

Like in English, this suffix is used in the formation of passive sentences:

the pizza be take-(passive) by the animal.
The pizza is taken by the animal.

Given the correlation between -Tid/Did and the English suffix -ed, it may be tempting to use this suffix to cause a verb to be in the past tense. However, this is incorrect. "NuyLrnDid" does not mean "I learned". (There is a different way to express past tense verbs which will be described later.)

-Niq converts a verb into a noun which represents the state or action of the verb, equivalent to a gerund. It is similar to the English suffix '-ing'.

I like write-(gerund).
I like writing.

sleep-(gerund) be good for the body.
Sleeping is good for the body.

Since the suffix -ing is also commonly used in English to denote an active participle, such as in "I am learning", it may be tempting to do the same in Vötgil. However, this is incorrect. "NuyVizLrnNiq" does not mean "I am learning" (it instead means "I am the process of learning"). Nor does "SumWökNiqPrs" mean "a walking person" (however, it does mean "a person pertaining to walking", which might or might not have a similar or identical meaning anyways").

Another thing to note is that -Niq can only apply to a single verb word, not an entire clause. "LrnNiqLeqZisVizGwd" does not mean "learning languages is good" (it instead means "languages which pertain to learning are good"). (A situation noun can instead be used to express this sentence, a mechanism which will be described later.)

-Rer converts a verb into a noun which routinely performs the verb's action. In English, this is commonly expressed with the suffix '-er'.

the write-(performer) want bread.
The writer wants bread.

the learn-(performer)-(plural) of this language be happy.
The learners of this language are happy.

-Rer can also convert a descriptor into a noun which routinely has the descriptor's quality.

One who is smart; a smart person; a genius

-Rer is not used to form comparative adjectives like the suffix '-er' in English. "HevRer" does not mean "heavier".

-Rey converts a verb into a noun which routinely receives the verb's action. In English, sometimes the suffix '-ee' is used in a similar way (eg. "employee"), though it rarely makes sense to translate Vötgil -Rey words using this suffix.

Thing which is exploded; a bomb

Thing which is written; text

-Nis converts a descriptor or preposition into a noun which represents the quality or state of the word. It is much like the '-ness' suffix in English.


in-(quality) be more good than anti in-(quality)
Inside-ness is better than outside-ness; being inside is better than being outside

Situation Nouns

Situation nouns are a mechanism of embedding a sentence within another sentence. They are often used in place of what are subordinate clauses, infinitives, and gerunds (more complex ones than -Niq can handle) in English.

A situation noun is formed by enclosing a sentence in quotation marks. This causes the sentence to become a noun which represents the state, action, or process of the enclosed sentence.

I know "you enjoy this music".
I know that you enjoy this music.

if "you want soda", I will go to the shop
If you want soda, I will go to the store.

I need "you carry this bag".
I need you to carry this bag. / I need that you carry this bag.

"learn language-(plural) be good."
Learning languages is good.

There is no official way to pronounce the quotation marks in sitation nouns, though it is feasible that in speech there might be a slight pause before speaking the situation noun, much like the slight pause one might make before speaking something in quotation marks normally.

The subject of a situation noun may be excluded if it is easily implied:

I want "have this book".
I want to have this book. (The subject of the situation noun is implied to be "Nuy")

'Wis' and 'Wim' are special descriptors that are used with situation nouns. 'Wis', when applied to a situation noun, will "extract" the subject of the situation noun, causing the situation noun to refer to that subject instead of the state or action. 'Wim' works the same, except it extracts the object from the situation noun (either the direct object or prepositional object). Situation nouns modified by 'Wis' or 'Wim' are commonly equivalent to relative clauses in English.

I see (subject) "the person have the bread".
I see the person who has the bread. ("the person" is the subject of "the person has the bread", so that is what the situation noun refers to.)

I see (object) "the person have the bread".
I see the bread which the person has. ("the bread" is the direct object of "the person has the bread", so that is what the situation noun refers to.)

I see (object) "the woman go towards the building".
I see the building which the woman is going towards. ("the building" is the prepositional object of "the woman goes towards the building", so that is what the situation noun refers to.)


Numbers in Vötgil are counted in base ten, which you are probably familiar with. Numbers behave as descriptors. All numbers are expressed using these digits:

Digit Value
Zyr zero (0)
Wun one (1)
Twn two (2)
Xry three (3)
Fwr four (4)
Fiv five (5)
Sik six (6)
Sev seven (7)
Vot eight (8)
Nin nine (9)

Larger numbers are expressed by concatenating the digits of the number, from the least significant digit to the most significant digit. This is the reverse of the order that numbers are traditionally written in. In laymen's terms, you say numbers in Vötgil by saying their digits backwards.

zero one
Ten (10)

four six
Sixty four (64)

zero eight five one rectangle-(plural)
One thousand five hundred eighty (1580) rectangles

Ordinal numbers are expressed by prefixing a number with the descriptor 'Req'.

the ranked nine circle
The ninth (9th) circle

Fractional values are expressed by prefixing a number with the descriptor 'Fre'. The resulting number refers to the reciprocal of the original number, ie. 1 divided by X.

a fraction three circle
A third of a circle


The Vötgil lexicon avoids having antonyms (words which have opposite meanings). Instead, antonyms can be created from existing words using the descriptor 'Vöt'.

anti good

anti begin
To stop (something)

anti in
Outside of

anti friend


Any word can be negated using the descriptor 'Nöt'. Sentences are negated by applying 'Nöt' to the verb. 'Nöt' and 'Vöt' are not necessarily the same thing; it is possible to not be something without being the opposite of it.

not full
Not full (but not necessarily empty)

not above
Not above (but not necessarily below)

I not see the building.
I do not see the building.


Vötgil has two descriptors which are derived from and behave similarly to English articles: 'Ðyt' (the definite article "the"), and 'Sum' (the indefinite article "a" or "an", or "some" for plural nouns). They are usually placed before all other descriptors of a noun, similar to English.

Nouns in Vötgil do not strictly need articles on them, however many speakers will tend to use 'Ðyt' and 'Sum' in almost the same way that "the" and "a/an/some" are used in English.

animal-(plural) often eat. the animal see a piece of food.
Animals often eat. The animal sees a piece of food.

Verb Tense

The descriptor 'Wuz' causes a verb to be in the past tense:

i was see you house
I saw your house.

The descriptor 'Wil' causes a verb to be in the future tense:

i will see you house
I will see your house.

'Wuz' and 'Wil' may be combined to form past future and future perfect verbs:

i was will see you house
I was going to see your house.

i will was see you house
I will have seen your house.


To form an imperative sentence (a sentence expressing a command, request, or demand), the descriptor 'Ply' is applied to the verb of the sentence. The subject of an imperative sentence may be excluded.

please go to the shop.
Go to the store. / Please go to the store.

crazy dog please not eat that garbage
Crazy dog, don't eat that garbage!


To ask a question with a yes or no answer, the descriptor 'Duz' is applied to the verb of the sentence. This is optional however, and a question may instead be implied simply by a question mark and rising intonation.

you does like this music
Do you like this music?

you does know (subject) "the person was eat I bread"?
Do you know who ate my bread? / Do you know the person who ate my bread?

To form questions that ask for a noun, the descriptor 'Wit' is applied to the noun that is being asked about.

you like which kind of music
What kind of music do you like?

which person was eat my bread?
Who ate my bread?

computer is which thing
What is a computer?

you was eat my bread for which purpose
Why did you eat my bread? / For what purpose did you eat my bread?

you know that thing by which way
How do you know that? / By what means do you know that?

The descriptor 'Weð' causes a situation noun to mean "whether or not the situation noun is true".

i not know whether "the food is ready"
I do not know whether the food is ready.


Adjectives can be compared using the descriptors 'Mor' and 'Mos'.

this new house is more good than I anti new house
This new house is better than my old house.

anti english be the most good language in the world
Vötgil is the best language in the world.

Proper Names

Proper names in Vötgil can be any length, and are always delimited by spaces in a sentence. They can be transcribed to fit Vötgil phonology and orthography, but they don't have to be.

NuyNemViz Jack.
I name is Jack.
My name is Jack.

SumVötLöqStoBuy Eysöp
a anti long story by Aesop
A fable by Aesop

Third Person Pronouns

Vötgil has no words corresponding to third person pronouns (he, she, they, it...). This is an infamous aspect of the language, however contrary to popular belief, third person pronouns are not an inherent and strictly necessary part of human language, and a language lacking them is not a complete and utter fatal design flaw! Instead, you can simply use demonstratives and articles such as Ðyt, Ðis, or Ðat.

a woman was walk in to the building. i was say hello to the woman.
A woman walked into the building. I said hello to her (the woman).

some person-(plural) say anti correct thing-(plural) about anti english. this person-(plural) annoy I.
Some people say incorrect things about Vötgil. They (these people) annoy me.

Sample Text

The following is a translation of The Dog and its Shadow, one of Aesop's fables, into Vötgil. It was taken from JE's Vötgil examples page, with some corrections and with spaces and altered capitalization for the sake of readability.

Ðytdög van ðytvötlytcep; sum vötlöqsto buy Eysöp.

Vat sumtem sumdög wuztey sumpör vun fwc van "wuz kas ðytfwd twr hom cin yotniqgon for "yot nötwix ðornamzis"".

Vat ðistem cön ðytpax twr hom ðyt dög wuznyd "gof krö wis "sumflölumrek res rov wis "vötlörrivrun""".

Jwr "dög wök krö", ðytdög wuzvötcupfok van "syc wis "vötlytcep vun sef viz bystid cin ðytwöt vötrov sef"".

Byk "ðytdög sup "ðyt vötlyt viz sumðordög wix sumðorfwcpör"", ðytdög wuzpik "löshav ðatfwc".

For ðatprp ðytdög wuzbyt twr ðytvötlyt cin ðytwöt, but jwr "dög pon yotniqgon vun sef" ðyt fwcpör wuzviz jöptid vöttwr ðytyotniqgon, van "wuzgof cintwr ðytwöt" van "wuzviz nötsyctid vat cenðortem".


The following dictionary of official words is taken directly from the original Vötgil website. I have also included definitions for many common antonyms. I have mainly included ones that are particularily obvious and/or well attested in various Vötgil resources (namely the translator utility) as well as in equivalent dictionary definitions for other Jack Eisenmann languages.

Parts of speech in dictionary entries are abbreviated like so:

Official Words

Semi-Official Words

There are 3 Vötgil words which do not appear in the official dictionary, but which do appear in the translator utility. They all correspond to English swear words.


(some footnotes are multiple paragraphs because i am a very rambly person. idk if i even needed to warn you about that. look idk how footnotes work i've never read a book)

¹ this is always a tricky (diphthong/rhotic vowel/whatever the heck) to approximate in English. you could use a word like "tour", except not everyone pronounces it like that. I thought I saw something describe it with "boo-er" before, or maybe I'm misremembering some Esperanto guide approximating /uj/ as "boo-ey" or something, but in any case that's what I went with.

² the official Vötgil documentation does strictly say that "spaces do not separate words in a sentence", but the official introductory video phrases it as "Vötgil sentences MAY be written without any spaces". But at the end of the day, I don't think there is any harm in ignoring such a perscription anyway. if you ask me, spaces make Vötgil infinitely more readable, and it especially makes longer texts with nested situation nouns actually tolerable to read (you can easily tell which quotation marks are the start of a situation nouns and which are the end!). However, I still felt like sticking to convention for this document; the example sentences here aren't all that long anyways. Well, except for the sample text, that is.

JE has been rather lenient about writing conventions in his languages; for instance in his Zese lessons he states that Zese's all-caps writing style is not at all mandatory. although, that is solely about capitalization, which Vötgil's documentation makes no mention of.

³ this sort of breaks the written rules of how prepositions work in many Eisenlangs, arguably including Vötgil. however JE himself does it a lot in his writing, and personally I greatly value when conlangs allow freedom of flow of information, so I think it's perfectly fine.

⁴ this is one of those things which technically breaks the written rules of Vötgil grammar but which everyone still does anyways, including JE. Oren Watson spent a long while insisting that these sentences are incorrect Vötgil and instead proposed that one should say something like "NuyHapViz" (I happily be), which in my opinion doesn't make sense either (and certainly goes against common usage).

in the later eisenlangs Zese and Keru, there is a rule stating that "Ellipsis is permitted when the missing word is self-evident.", with the provided example showing that a sentence meaning "Grass is a green plant" can have the word for "plant" removed due to self-evidence, effectively resulting in "Grass is green". so perhaps this is another way that these constructions could be analyzed in Vötgil: "NuyVizHap" is really just short for "NuyVizHapPrs" and this hidden rule was lurking in the shadows all along!

however in Zese and Keru, this rule also potentially allows for many things that would probably not make sense in Vötgil, such as lone descriptors in place of nouns ("ÐytVizGwd") and the removal of Viz ("NuyGwd"). so, perhaps the most likely reason that "(noun)Viz(descriptor)" sentences are a thing in Vötgil is because they're a thing in English. although, following that logic, certain lone descriptors like Ðis and Ðat may be able to stand in place of nouns ("ÐatVizGwd"), but I think this is generally considered incorrect and one should put a noun there "ÐatXiqVizGwd" (though I presume this'd be quite a common mistake to make).

this is already the longest footnote in the world because these topics make me so infodumpy, but I still want to go on about how I think this raises a deeper question about this document and my analysis of Vötgil as a whole: what counts as a "mistake" and what counts as "not technically correct but common enough to be acceptable"? Vötgil's official example sentences contain some blatant and obvious mistakes, such as "calculate" being translated as "Kal" which isn't a word at all, and "Uy" being written instead of "Nuy". But they also contain things which are more borderline, such as "CinWitPlwVizDicVunNuy?" and, indeed, "ÐytFicVizFas". my answer to this is: I don't freaking know. I'm not trying to be rigorous here, I'm just attempting to describe Vötgil in a way that makes instinctive sense to me personally.

⁵ "Blö" is always transitive in Vötgil ("to explode something"), so "BlöRer" wouldn't mean "something which explodes", but rather "something/someone which explodes things".

⁶ it's always great when languages have sentences which aren't so easy to directly translate into English without sounding awkward, isn't it? (though, I'd consider this a rather tame example...) I don't think I've ever even seen anyone use -Nis with a preposition, and in fact I only just now realized that this is a thing described in the official documentation while I was writing this! so I'm sort of just making a guess on how this would be used, which I think is pretty reasonable.

⁷ it took me quite a while to notice that, yes, the word 'Duz' is described as "optional; removes ambiguity" in the offical dictionary. this sort of makes sense, since Pegakibo had no such word and questions were implied solely with question marks. it's like a little piece of eisenlang evolution, how the word that indicates yes/no questions went from non-existent (Pegakibo) to optional (Iqglic, Vötgil) to mandatory (BreadSpeak).

⁸ if I'm going to write my own Vötgil documentation, it is obligatory that I write a whole section dispelling one of the most infuriatingly superficial criticisms about the language perpetuated by a certain conlang review series.

⁹ officially, you delimit proper names with spaces even if what follows is end-of-sentence punctuation, ie. "NuyNemViz Jack ." however, I find this a bit silly.