Category Archives: Triband (en)

Writing in colors: Triband scripts

Given that Triband language can’t be seen or heard by humans (as it uses radio electromagnetic waves instead of sound), it’s only accesible to humans in its written form. That’s why I’ve created a number of scripts for it: four different writing systems. Three of them were created by humans (according to Triband’s fictional history) so as to understand this uncanny language, while the remaining one is Tribands’ native script.

I will also translate a phrase I’ve translated to all my other conlangs; Tolkien’s elvish greeting A star shines upon the hour of our meeting, which proved to be quite hard to translate, as I had to work out in which way the Tribands would ‘see’ the stars (I finally decided they would see it as a sort of eerie light-like sensation  from above).

1 – Roman transcription

This is by far the simplest script to type (actually, it’s the only type-able Triband script) and was also the first one I created for this conlang. Each of Triband Language’s 18 photemes (the electromagnetic-wave equivalent of our phonemes) is written with a Roman alphabet letter, a number or a sign such as ‘+‘. This script is entirely human, no Triband would ever use it.

In the following table you can find the Roman-transcription letters for each photeme along with a graph which shows varies for each one (or remains constant in the case of the photemes written as numbers).

Tribands are able to emit different photemes in their three wavelengths at the same time, so it must be written using three lines, one for each wavelength. As a result, the sentence ‘A star shines when we come toghether’ looks like this:

R: 34 ^- Rd 0 5cR X+ 44- 4L 0 ++L Y 310
G: X0 ^5 Y2 0 ^L3 3- XR3 33 0 +34 X Y4+
B: ^4 Y3 Y1 0 Y3Y 2b 2+3 Y^ 0 c3- L Y+1

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A Language of Light

A graphic representation of Triband language (each colored stripe corresponds with a combination of signals).

In the last two posts, I talked about a fictional extraterrestrial race called the Tribands. In the first one, I wrote a little story about them while in the second one I explained how they looked like and some basic stuff about their society. Now, I’m going to talk about the very reason which led me to create this race of manta_ray-bat-radio-like beings: their language, a xenoglossopoetic conlang which would be impossible to speak by any human being as it doesn’t use sound but radio waves. While that is quite innovative, I’m afraid its grammar is not so alien (English speakers, however, may find it unusual).

Note: As I explained in the previous post, Tribands have a large variety of languages (just as humans do!) but almost everyone shares a common language, a lingua franca. My conlang is supposed to be that common speech.

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Grey flying things’ anatomy

If I were skilled at drawing or at 3D-modelling, I wouldn't be using a Spore screenshot here. By the way, this creatures weren't supposed to be so ugly :/

Before I go on to explaining how Triband language works, I think I should explain more things about those strange creatures I introduced to you in my last post and the odd way they perceive the world.

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Flying manta rays! The Triband

In the last few weeks I’ve had ideas for four brand-new conlangs. Triband is probably the most interesting (or at least the most innovative). It is my first ‘alien-language’, a conlang which was not intended to be spoken by human beings but by some extraterrestrial species (this kind of constructed languages are also called ‘exolangs’). Of course, there is plenty of exolangs out there. Many of them can be pronounced by humans but either have bizarre grammars (Kēlen, Sylvia Sotomayor’s verb-less language comes to my mind) or employ uncommon phonologies (such as those of Klingon). On the other side, there are also conlangs which are spoken by creatures with completely different means of communication, such as the Rikchik which say things to each other by making signs and gestures with 7 of their 56 tentacles (what else can I say?). The Triband language is also ‘spoken’ by an alien species which is very different to ours. So different that I think they deserve a science-fiction-ish introduction…

The crew grew more and more excited as the ship got closer and closer to the Planet we had named Nikoté (nee-kaw-tay) and those anomalous radio-signals strengthened. Those signals, those peaks in the smooth electromagnetic noise which fills the space, were the only reason for us to be there, so far from home, so far from any other human being.

The star (whose prosaic name JB-60257 would be changed if we found what we wholeheartedly wanted to find there) was not a pale dot of light anymore but something slightly bigger that we could already call ‘a sun’. In a few hours, we would finally arrive. One of the antennae on the ship aimed at the planet (a barely visible dot far away) and beamed a powerful radio signal. We crossed our fingers longing for an answer but it was in vain. We weren’t disappointed though. We would have been too optimistic if we really thought such an answer would be detected by our gadgets.

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