Reptigan is the name of the language spoken throughout the Reptigan Union, which see.

It is descended from the late form of Middle Adpihi spoken from Planetary Unification and the Return to Space until First Contact.

From First Contact through the growth of the Reptigan Union, Reptigan gradually developed to be one of the major ties holding the Union together.

It is now spoken by many different species native to many different planets and living on even more planets, and is also spoken by many Artificial Intelligences.

From a certain point of view one might consider Middle Adpihi to be Old Reptigan; but since Reptigan is spoken by non-Humans as well as Humans, and Middle Adpihi was primarily a Human language (at least originally), it is usually considered a different language.

The History of the Reptigan LanguageEdit

  • The time from First Contact through to the acceptance of non-humans as full citizens of the Reptigan Union might be regarded as "Early Reptigan".
  • The time from the growing acceptance of the "Unionists" viewpoint over the "Imperialists" viewpoint, until the re-establishment of contact with Earth, might be regarded as "Classical Reptigan".

First ContactEdit

By the time the people of Adpihi -- who, after Planetary Unification, began increasingly to regard themselves as "Reptigans" -- first contacted a non-human intelligent species, the "explorer's dialect" was a creole rather than a pidgin, and was different in certain notable ways from Old Adpihi.

The Phonology of ReptiganEdit

The Sounds of ReptiganEdit

The Consonants of ReptiganEdit

Languages' inventories of consonants are classified as;

  • very small (10 or fewer),
  • small (11 to 20),
  • medium (21 to 30),
  • medium-large (31 to 40), or
  • large (over 40).

All told, Reptigan has 33 consonants. It has a medium-large inventory of consonants.

Reptigan lost seven of Old Adpihi's consonants.

Reptigan lost all the semivowels (j and w) and all the laterals (l) of Old Adpihi. Reptigan has no semivowels and no laterals.

Reptigan also lost all the labiodentals (f, v), all the palato-alveolars (S), and all the retroflexes (r`) of Adpihi. Reptigan has no labiodentals, no palato-alveolars, and no retroflexives.

So Reptigan does not have f, j, l, r`, S, v.

But Reptigan has twelve other consonants that Old Adpihi lacks; B, B\, C, c\, D, G, h\, J\, j\, p\, r_d, and $.

By place of articulation, Reptigan has:

  • 6 bilabials; p\, p, B, b, m, B\;
  • 6 dentals; T, t_d, D, d_d, n_d, r_d;
  • 6 alveolars; s, t, z, d, n, rr;
  • 6 palatals; C, c, j\, J\, J, c\;
  • 6 velars; x, k, G, g, N, $; and,
  • 3 glottals; h, ?, h\.

By manner of articulation, Reptigan has:

  • 6 mute fricatives; p\, T, s, C, x, h;
  • 6 mute stops; p, t_d, t, c, k, ?;
  • 6 voiced fricatives; B, D, z, j\, G, h\;
  • 5 voiced stops; b, d_d, d, J\, g;
  • 5 nasals; m, n_d, n, J, N; and
  • 5 trills; B\, r_d, rr, c\, $.


In tabular form, the consonants of Reptigan are;

  Bilabials Dentals Alveolars Palatals Velars Glottals
p\ T s C x h
p t_d t c k ?
B D z j\ G h\
b d_d d J\ g  
Nasals m n_d n J N  
B\ r_d rr c\ $  

In descending order by frequency of occurrence, the manners of articulation are;

  • Mute Stops
  • Nasals
  • Mute Fricatives
  • Voiced Stops
  • Voiced Fricatives
  • Voiced Rhotics

In descending order by frequency of occurrence, the places of articulation are;

  • Bilabials
  • Velars
  • Alveolars
  • Dentals
  • Palatals
  • Glottals

The consonants that Reptigan has in common with Old Adpihi occur in the same order of frequency that they occurred in Old Adpihi. Most of the "new" consonants occur less frequently than any of the "old" consonants that were actually retained, except perhaps for h, z, and most of the palatals.

What Became of the "Lost" ConsonantsEdit
  1. The labiodentals were usually re-analyzed as the closest bilabials (f becoming p\ and v becoming B), especially if they were neither preceded by nor followed by a bilabial. Often the labiodental was reanalyzed as the closest dental (f becoming T and v becoming D), provided it was neither preceded by nor followed by a dental.
  2. The palato-alveolars were usually re-analyzed, usually as either the closest palatals (S becoming C), in case they were neither preceded nor followed by other palatals, or as the closest alveolars (S becoming s), in case they were neither preceded nor followed by other alveolars.
  3. The semivowels were usually re-analyzed, usually either as the closest vowels (w becoming u and j becoming i), or as the closest fricatives (w becoming B and j becoming j\).
  4. The retroflexes were usually re-analyzed, usually either as the closest alveolar if they were neither preceded nor followed by another alveolar (r` becoming rr), or as the closest palatals if they were neither preceded nor followed by another palatal (r` becoming c\).
  5. The lateral l was usually re-analyzed, usually as the closest nasal n.
Where did the "New" Consonants Come FromEdit

I do not yet know for everything; but here's a summary of what I know so far.

  • B came from v and from w
  • C came from S
  • c\ came from r`
  • D came from v
  • j\ came from j
  • p\ came from f
Unusual and/or Difficult Features of Reptigan's Consonant InventoryEdit

Reptigan is unusual in having five rhotics rather than only one.

  1. The velar trill $ is hard to make. In some accents it sounds almost like a uvular trill R\.
  2. The palatal trill c\ is hard to make. In some accents it sounds almost like a voiced palatal fricative j\.
  3. The dental trill r_d is hard to make. In some accents it sounds almost like a voiced dental fricative D. In other accents it sounds almost like an alveolar trill rr.
  4. The distinction beween the dental trill r_d and the alveolar trill rr is hard to make. In some accents the alveolar trill sounds almost like a retroflex trill c\` to dissimilate it from the dental trill.
Voiced Glottal FricativeEdit

The sound [h\] is a difficult one for many foreign speakers to make; the difference between this sound and the other two glottalics is sometimes difficult for foreigners to distinguish.

The Vowels of ReptiganEdit

Languages are ranked by the sizes of their vowel inventories into:

  • "Small" (fewer than 5),
  • "Medium-Small" (5 to 9),
  • "Medium" (10 to 14),
  • "Large" (15 to 19), and
  • "Very Large" (20 or more).

Reptigan has a large-sized inventory of vowels. However it has almost as large a vowel inventory as it can have and still be considered "large" instead of "very large".

Reptigan has eighteen (18) vowels, whereas Old Adpihi had only five vowels. Reptigan has 6 close or high vowels, 6 mid vowels, and 6 open or low vowels. Reptigan has 6 front vowels, 6 central vowels, and 6 back vowels. Reptigan has 9 unrounded vowels and 9 rounded vowels.


Unrounded Vowels
front near-front central near-back back
close i 1 M
mid e_o E_r @\_o 3_r @_c 7_o V_r
open a 6_o_c a_" A_" A

Rounded Vowels
front near-front central near-back back
close y } u
mid 2_o 9_r 8_o 3\_r @_O o_o O_r
open & 6_o_O &_" Q_" Q
Where Did the New Vowels Come From?Edit

The new vowels seem to have been used a great deal by Reptigan's non-human speakers, especially its AIs. However the "Explorer's Dialect", which was really more of a genre or register than a dialect, but also an elite "contact language" among all of Middle Adpihi's dialects or "languages" during the drive toward Planetary Unification and the Return to Space, had already set a precedent for the use of most, if not all, of them.

The Phonotactics of ReptiganEdit

Reptigan does not allow gemination at all.

Reptigan does not allow two consecutive consonants at the same place of articulation, without an intervening vowel.

Reptigan also has a high-priority violable constraint against two consecutive consonants with the same manner of articulation; but notice that a difference in voicing counts as a different manner of articulation. So, for instance, a mute fricative and a voiced fricative count as different manners of articulation; and a mute stop and a voiced stop also count as different manners of articulation.

Reptigan's Syllable StructureEdit

All Reptigan syllables fit the pattern:


There is a sonority scale among Reptigan's consonants;
1. Stops and Plosives
2. Fricatives
3. Nasals
4. Rhotics

If two consonants both occur in a syllable, then the one closer to the vowel(s) must be more sonorant than the one further away from the vowel(s).
So onsets must have rising sonority, and codas must have falling sonority.
It is possible for two consonants in a syllable to be equally close to, or equally far away from, the vowel(s); provided, that they are on opposite sides of the vowel(s), that is, that one is in the onset and the other is in the coda. If this happens, the one in the coda must be more sonorant than the one in the onset.


A "sonority trough" -- a consonant which is less sonorous than either of the sounds just before or just after it -- is the first sound of the onset of the next syllable; just before it, the previous syllable ends, whether or not it had a coda.

Most Common Syllable TypesEdit

Far and away the most common type of syllable in Reptigan is:

  • CV.

Also quite common are:

  • V
  • VC
  • CVC
  • CCV.

Syllables with diphthongal nuclei tended to diminish from Adpihi by the time of Reptigan; so, also, did syllable codas containing clusters of consonants.

Many of the older diphthongs were re-interpreted as one of the newer monophthongs. Many of the diphthongs had an epenthetic glottal inserted between the vowels. In some cases one of the vowels metathesized with a neighboring consonant. In some cases one of the vowels was simply dropped. And, of course, in some cases no sound change was made.

Many of the older consonant clusters were re-interpreted as one of the newer stand-alone consonants. Many of the consonant clusters, especially the clusters in the codas, had an epenthetic vowel inserted between the consonants. In some cases one of the consonants metathesized with a neighboring vowel; sometimes this resulted in the cluster being in the onset instead of in the coda. In some cases one of the consonants was simply dropped from the cluster. And in some cases no sound change was made.

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