Nearly a decade ago, as an exercise in what my wife would undoubtedly call “geek humour,” I began writing an introduction to an invented language, Sclgnqi. I didn’t get very far, but I did complete the pronunciation guide. I dug it up to quote from for my word tasting note on sternutatory. Herewith I present it in entirety, for those whose sense of humour is as frankly odd and language-geeky as mine can be. It’s not polished or revised. So what. You paid how much to read this?
Before your have a klagnat’s hope of speaking the most beautiful, profound and logical language in the world, you must learn how to pronounce it. As you have been all your life speaking this flabby worm of a language English, this will take practice. You will never be able to walk down the street in Qhalgnna unless you practice the following sounds for three hours a day for at least two years:
a – a simple “ah!” as you would say in English
b – not unlike an English b, but much nobler and more forceful
c – similar to English ts, but nobler and much more forceful
cq – faintly echoed by English ch, but never spoken as though by a dainty woman at a supermarket cheese counter
cs, cz – see below!
d – again, the English d is simply too timid; you absolutely must press your tongue into the ridge of your mouth as though doing push-ups with it
e – a sound of surrender and senescence that occasionally appears in words, it is halfway between a and i
f – as in English
ff – with the second f much louder, as though you were insulting someone; raise your eyebrows as you say it
g – an essential sound in Sclgnqi, and nothing like the weak and senseless g in English, it is said by pressing the full middle of your tongue into the roof of your mouth and releasing it. You must realize that speakers of Sclgnqi are not afraid of the roof of their mouths as English speakers are. We have not had bad peanut butter experiences as children. The soul of Sclgnqi is in the roof of the mouth. Place your heart there.
gn – a g (a Sclgnqi g!) softened poetically to an n by opening the nose after initial expression
gnn – as the above, but longer
gnq – as the above, but moving back into the throat to end in the nq sound, which is described below
h – if you cannot produce a bit of spit with this, you are not saying it correctly
i – said just as the first vowel in the word idiot as spoken by a Russian
j – take the English j and do to it as you must do to the English d as you have been instructed above
k – a g without voice but with proper breath and spit
kt – you had better read below about this
l – look, you surely must understand by now that this cannot be said as though it were English. Your tongue must be fully mashed against the roof of your mouth with only space at the sides for the sound to escape. It is a central vowel sound in Sclgnqi, and is seldom used as a consonant between vowels.
m – exactly as in English, and never as in French
n – a g with the nose open
nq – perhaps as the English ngy as in go hang yourself, but with far more strength and much more tongue contact
o – said with the chest
p – only women pronounce this letter, and how they do is their business
q – this letter moves other letters back in the throat but is never left by itself
r – this is only pronounced on the middle two days of the week, when it is alternately said at the very back of the throat and with the tongue curled behind the ridge of the palate like a cobra ready to strike
s – do unto the s as you have done unto the d
sc – the tongue is coiled behind the ridge of the palate and the air is whistling past it like wind in the trees of Sclhay
ss – the s combined with an s as you say it in English, either before or after
t – did you read above about d? Then you know what to do.
u – surely the most poetic and beautiful sound in the language, so wonderful that it can be sung for half-hours as house entertainment. You must start as though saying a German ü or a Norse y, but bring everything closer together so that your tongue whistles and your lips buzz. From there you can alter your embouchure to vary the pitch of the whistle and buzz. A u held for more than five seconds is usually written uu.
v – not so unlike u, but with the tongue out of action and the teeth brought in instead
vv – a v treated as f is in ff
w – we do not use this letter
x – we no longer use this letter; it was replaced officially by kt, as it was the first name of the inglorious traitor, and is not normally allowed in print
y – when your tongue struggles to say g but your breath forces on through as Vlksnk Glnat, the ugly, forced himself upon my wife and bewitched her to run off with him, may hlknq rain down upon them
z, zz – as s and ss, above, but voiced
Note! In addition to the usual kinds of consonants possessed by any dull language – plosives, fricatives, voiced and unvoiced – Sclgnqi has an especially beautiful class of consonants sound that sets it apart from all others: the sternutative. Mandarin produces the faintest of echoes with its “ci” and “zi” sounds, but these do not produce the beautiful spray that Sclgnqi sternutatives make. A speaker of a dull, flat language such as English can only hope to simulate the sound of the Sclgnqi cs, cz and kt with the aid of pepper and good chest muscles. To produce a proper cs or the best imitation of which you are capable, position your tongue as if you were to say the zz in pizza, and then force all the air in your lungs out within a quarter of a second. An involuntary vocalization usually accompanies. For cz, clench your teeth as if biting down hard on a delicious cznqgt (a pastry never matched in any other country) and trying to say ch as in choke at the same time, then expel all the air in your lungs in a quarter of a second. An involuntary vocalization usually accompanies. To pronounce kt, position your tongue fully against the roof of your mouth as though about to shout with all dignified hatred, Kill Vlksnk Glnat! and then expel forcefully all the air in your lungs and all the saliva on your tongue in the time it takes to drive a knife into a cow that is being held by two of your strongest friends. An involuntary vocalization usually accompanies.