gjâ-zym-byn (gzb)

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gjâ-zym-byn is a personal language I use pretty much every day, thinking in it, praying in it, sometimes talking to myself even on days when I don't happen to read or write in it. I started working on it in early 1998, as a psychological experiment; I aimed for a balance of exoticity and learnability so I could try out new grammatical and semantic structures and see how they affect my thinking — and whether in fact I would be able to learn to use them fluently. I also stocked the phoneme inventory with several exotic sounds that I could (at the time I created the language or added them to it) just barely pronounce. To compensate, I severely limited the ways consonants can cluster.

I've been intermittently keeping my journal in gjâ-zym-byn since about 2001 (for the first couple of years I was not yet fluent enough in it, nor did it have a large enough vocabulary, to use it thus), and re-reading old journal entries (besides a few original stories and several translations) from time to time to build fluency. I also use gzb for prayer, to-do lists, grocery lists, documenting other, less well-developed conlangs, and making notes about natural languages I'm studying, among other things.

The language has changed a lot over the years -- primarily in the first two years (I kept altering the phonology for the first twenty-six months, and made major alterations to the grammar in the first year), but some aspects of the grammar have still not quite settled down (conditional/subjunctive clauses, for instance, and the argument structures of a few verbs), and of course I add new root words from time to time as I think of a concept that I can't conveniently express with a short compound, or finally decide that an existing compound is too long for frequent use.

I am working on an essay describing my experiences developing, learning and using the language, still unfinished. I am also doing research on the general phenomenon of conlangers learning their own conlangs fluently and using them for various purposes. In 2008 I conducted a survey on that subject, and gave a talk on the subject at the third Language Creation Conference on 21 March, 2009. I'm working (very intermittently) on an article on the subject, which will hopefully appear in Fiat Lingua.

I was honored to have gjâ-zym-byn selected, in a tie with Sylvia Sotomayor's Kēlen, for the conlang_learners project. Send mail to gjax-zym-byn-subscribe@googlegroups.com if you're interested in joining, or see the list archives (you can read the archives online without joining the list).


More lessons to follow, I expect. I have a couple of lessons' worth of material drafted already.

In-depth documentation

gjâ-zym-byn elsewhere on the web



  • Brett Williams has created several images illustrating gzb nouns.

    Messages posted to the CONLANG and AUXLANG mailing lists about gjâ-zym-byn


    Some scripts I've used in preparing these pages, in scripts.zip:

    Philip Newton has created several scripts for gzb, which he's shared on his website. They include a vim keyboard layout, a Windows keyboard layout, and instructions for using the Firefox Transliterator Add-on to enter gzb text.

    To the top of this page.
    Jim Henry's home page.
    My general conlang page
    Email me: jimhenry@pobox.com.

    Last update / ₣âl mje θǒ
    February 2022
    (sub-pages maybe updated more recently; see What's new)