Barsoomian language

Barsoomian is the constructed language of the fictional Barsoomians, the sapient humanoid inhabitants of Mars in the Barsoom series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was developed from Burroughs' examples and descriptions by Paul Frommer for the 2012 film John Carter of Mars; Frommer also created the Na’vi language for Avatar.

Spoken Barsoomian has mostly lexical words, with the equivalent of grammatical words such as prepositions and pronouns conveyed telepathically. There are few inflections, and word order is fixed to verb–subject–object. Possession is indicated by juxtaposing the object with the possessor, as in Malay. There is a word that makes direct object definite, as in Hebrew. The vocabulary is relatively simple, with little poetic language.[1]

Some inflection is found in the pronouns. For the object, the initial consonant is suffixed: tu "I", tut "me"; ki "he", kik "him". To form the plural, the consonants are voiced: du "we", dud "us", gi "they".[1]

The effect of the language is staccato. There are ten vowels, five long and five short, transcribed short a e i o u and long aa ey ee oa oo; diphthongs are ao (as in how) and ay (as in high). Consonants are similar to English (b d j g, p t tj k, v z, f th s h, r l, m n, w y),[2] with the addition of the velar fricatives ch [x] and gh [ɣ].[3] Consonants, both voiced and unvoiced, may also be long or short.[1]

In the books it is mentioned that Barsoomian is the only language spoken on the entire planet of Barsoom. Therefore, there never are any language barriers between different people from Barsoom, no matter what country or city on the planet they originate from. Written versions of Barsoomian however can differ greatly between different cities.

Created byPaul Frommer, Edgar Rice Burroughs
Setting and usage2012 film John Carter
Sourcesconstructed languages
 a priori languages
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)


  1. ^ a b c Fredrik Ekman, 2012, An Interview with Paul Frommer
  2. ^ In transcription, x is /ks/
  3. ^ Emanuel Levy, John Carter: Inventing New Language March 3, 2012

External links

A Princess of Mars

A Princess of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It was first serialized in the pulp magazine All-Story Magazine from February–July, 1912. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th-century pulp fiction. It is also a seminal instance of the planetary romance, a subgenre of science fantasy that became highly popular in the decades following its publication. Its early chapters also contain elements of the Western. The story is set on Mars, imagined as a dying planet with a harsh desert environment. This vision of Mars was based on the work of the astronomer Percival Lowell, whose ideas were widely popularized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Barsoom series inspired a number of well-known 20th-century science fiction writers, including Jack Vance, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, and John Norman. The series was also inspirational for many scientists in the fields of space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life, including Carl Sagan, who read A Princess of Mars when he was a child.


Jetan, also known as Martian Chess, is a chess variant with unclear rules. It was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs as a game played on Barsoom, his fictional version of Mars. The game was introduced in The Chessmen of Mars, the fifth book in the Barsoom series. Its rules are described in Chapter 2 and in the Appendix of the book.

Martian language (disambiguation)

Martian language is the nickname of unconventional representation of Chinese characters online.

Martian language may also refer to:

A hypothetical alien language that dwellers of Mars would use

Barsoomian language, the Martian language of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Fake "Martian language" fabricated by Hélène Smith

Paul Frommer

Paul R. Frommer (; born September 17, 1944) is an American communications professor at the University of Southern California (USC) and a linguistics consultant. He is the former Vice President, Special Projects Coordinator, Strategic Planner, and Writer-Researcher at Bentley Industries in Los Angeles, California. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Director of the Center for Management Communication at the USC Marshall School of Business.

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