The Helian language (Γλὼσσα ἡλισήν [ˈglɔ̀‿hɛ.li.ˈsɛ́n] or ἡλισήν [hɛ.li.ˈsɛ́n]) is the official language of the Royal-Helian Republic and the native language of the republic's people. The origin of the language is unknown as it does not belong to the Indo-European family and has no known relatives. Due to intensive contact with both Greece city states and later the Roman empire, the language's vocabulary, syntax and grammar were heavily influenced by Ancient Greek and Latin.



1. Monophthongs
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid ɛ e ɔ o
Open a

Helian has a system of 7 native vowels /a ɛ e i ɔ o u/ without phonemic length distinction. Both close vowels are "unstable" and tend to be pronounced more centered [ɪ ʊ] in closed syllables or be reduced to semivowels [j w] in a hiatus (except when preceded by a liquid). The vowel /ɛ/ is reduced to the schwa [ə] in unstressed final syllables. If stressed with high tone, the vowels /e o/ tend to be lengthened [eː oː].

The vowels /a e o/ can form diphthongs with either /ɪ̯/ or /ʊ̯/.


2. Consonants
Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative f s z x h
Approximant l
Trill / Tap / Flap r

Helian has a relatively small consonant inventory of 16 consonants. Geminated consonants are allowed except for /h/. The fricatives /f x/ tend to be voiced [v ɣ] between vowels. Additionally, /d/ tends to be pronounced [ð] between vowels. /l/ tends to be pronounced [ɬ] when neighboring voiceless plosives. /r/ may be either [ɾ] or [r].

Non-native sounds[]

Due to extensive borrowing, Helian possesses many words with sounds which do not appear in native words. All of these sounds - /pʰ/, /tʰ/, /kʰ/ and /y/ - stem from Ancient Greek. Modern speakers of Helian usually do not distinguish between aspirated and unaspirated plosives in casual speech. /y/ tends to be centralized [ʏ] in closed syllables.

Stress & Tone[]

Helian features a pitch accent which is interdependent with the position of the word stress. If the stress falls onto the ultimate syllable, the high tone is used; if the stress falls onto the penultimate syllable, the low tone is used instead.

Stress is assigned in a regular pattern (see below). The operators <=> refer to the syllable weight of the syllables which correspond with being open (if light) or closed (if heavy).

3. Assignment of stress
2 syllables? More than 2 syllables?
Ult Hiatus? No Hiatus?
Penult Ult > penult Ult = penult Ult < penult
Ult Ult ending in /r/? Ult not ending in /r/? Penult
Ult Penult


Every Helian syllable must contain a vowel as its nucleus. Both the onset and the coda are optional elements. The coda can at maximum contain a single consonant which is either a nasal, a liquid, /s/ or part of a geminate consonant. The onset can contain up to three consonants in the sequence /s/ + voiceless plosive + /r/. All clusters must end in an alveolar consonant and all fricatives and plosives must be either voiced or devoiced.