Virtual Verduria


Introduction Sources - Dialects
Orthography Spelling rules
    Nominal declension Masculine - Neuter - Feminine - Unusual endings
    Adjectival declensions First - Second - Third - Comparatives
    Pronouns Other pronouns and determiners
    Verbal morphology Definite - Remote - Imperfect - Passive voice - Causative - Inceptive - Infinitive - Participles - To be - Unusual verbs
Derivational morphology Nominalizers - Adjectivizers - Verbalizers - Names
    Word order - Case usage
    Noun phrases Numbers - Comparative expressions - Prepositions
    Tense usage Infinitive - Tense - Mood - Conditional expressions - Aspect - Passive - Causatives
    Subordinate clauses - Clitics - Negatives - Questions -

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ā ē ī ō ū Ā Ē Ī Ō Ū č ď ř š ť ž Č Ď Ř Š Ť Ž

Introduction [To Index]

Map of Cuzei Cuêzi is the language of the ancient Cuzeians, a people who ruled the Eärdur valley, and culturally and diplomatically dominated the entire Plain, from about -375 Z.E. till their absorption into the Caďinorian empire in 1024. Their language was supplanted by Caďinor in the subsequent centuries, but continued to be studied for scholarly and literary reasons. In recent times the language has undergone something of a revival, as Verdurian scholars attempt to understand the history of the Plain, and Eleďe intellectuals make the effort to read the Book of Eīledan in its original tongue.

Cuêzi is a branch of Karazi branch of the Eastern language family, and is thus related to ancient Nimoicu, Coruo, Sainor, Bucardo, and Sainor, as well as modern Caizu, Kešvareni, and Losainu. (None of the latter, however, are direct descendents of Cuêzi, but belong to different sub-branches of Karazi.) It is more distantly related to Caďinor, Xurnáš, and the Naviu languages.

Sources [To Index]

Cuêzi was the first language of the Plain to be written, beginning circa -200. The first important writings in Cuêzi are the epics, believed to have been written between -100 and 50, although some of them seem to be based on earlier oral tales. (The epics are set during the time of the invasion of the Plain by the Cuzeians and Caďinorians, displacing the earlier Meťaiun civilization; but they are so full of anachronisms that they must have been composed centuries later.)

The Book of Eīledan is comprised of individual writings from almost the entire range of Cuzeian history, from the Songs of Iáinos (Pettē Iáinex), written about -75, to Îcēiledan's Lamentations, written after the fall of Eleisa. However, the bulk of the writings predate the year 250. The earliest manuscripts of the Count of Years (Rēneca sōniē) date to -50 and -25 (based on earlier oral tradition), but it was rewritten around 125 by a poet, Anacūlato, and revised many times by Knowers and poets; it was also customary for scribes to bring the concluding section up to date to their own times.

Clearly the "Book" was never seen by the Cuzeians as scripture. It is, rather, the cream of an evolving body of religious literature, compiled and edited in its final form (with further changes proscribed) by the Knowers during the persecution of their religion and people by the Caďinorians. (For more on Cuzeian religion, see Almean Belief Systems.)

(Wise as the compilers were, they were handicapped by lack of access to many important scrolls, as well as by their own prejudices, including a deep hatred for all things Caďinorian, and fusty views on what constituted good Cuêzi. The earlier, non-canonical forms of the component books are often livelier than the official versions, and more interesting to the student of Cuzeian language and literature.)

There is an outpouring of literature from the Golden Age of Cuzei (104 to 440): plays, poetry, manuals of statecraft and spiritual instruction, letters, histories; from the Silver Age (to 600) and beyond there are also travelogues, philosophical and scientific speculations, essays, biographies, songs, chronicles, even novels and literary criticism.

Dialects [To Index]

Our knowledge of Cuêzi dialects is scanty. Literature was almost invariably written in the dialect of Eleisa, and regional departures from this standard are described by the Cuzeians as errors, rusticisms, or barbarisms. We are forced to rely for our information on speeches by rustic characters in plays; grammarians' lists of proscribed regionalisms; a few songs or annotations in dialect; errors in the writing of non-Eleitans, and so on.

In general there were three major dialect areas:

These dialects remained mutually intelligible all through the Golden and Silver Ages; but in later times there are increasing complaints about the "shabby speech" of the peasants and even the intelligentsia, and some rural dialects, at least, became incomprehensible to monodialectal Eleitans. (Some very early sources from Aure Árrasex show some differences from the standard which are commonly assumed to be dialectal, though they are not always easy to relate to what we know of the dialects.)

Cuzei being largely rural, and the non-Eleitan dialects having no approved literary expression, speech varied from town to town, or even from House to House. The speech of the nobles and upper servants, who spent more time in Eleisa, and interacted frequently with their peers from other Houses, tended to approach the Eleitan ideal, so that the regional dialects were class dialects as well.

Characteristic of the southern dialects are ž for Central y (ružisi 'red'), ht- for ut- (htāne 'come'), and w for v (ewissas 'knower'). Similar giveaways of Northern dialect include the fall of intervocalic voiced consonants (xowe 'barley'), and the raising of Cuêzi's frequent ae diphthongs to /aj/, as in mayca 'nobody'.

Perhaps more striking than the regional variation is the chronological, inasmuch as the corpus of written Cuêzi extends over 1700 years. Some changes are noted in the discussion below; other changes of particular interest are the appearance of r and l in some words in very early manuscripts (e.g. abrēna, cālco), now understood as a retention from proto-Eastern; and the twin tendencies in late Cuêzi to multiply auxiliaries, and to place them in second position in the sentence, rather than at the end of the sentence.

'Early Cuêzi' can be taken as before the Golden Age (that is, before 104), and 'Late Cuêzi' as after the Silver Age (after 601).

The form of the language described below is that written (and, at least during the early part of the period, spoken as well) during the Golden Age in Eleisa.

Phonology [To Index]

The consonantal system of Cuêzi is as follows:
labial dental alveolar velar
stops p t c
b d g
fricatives f s x
v z
nasals m n
laterals l r
semivowels w y

c is the /k/ sound. c and g are always hard, not soft as in cell or gem.

In early Cuêzi x is a velar fricative (as in Bach); later it was the palatal fricative [ç] of German ich, and in late Cuêzi it weakened to /h/.

t, d, and n are pronounced with the tongue against the teeth. n assumes the point of articulation of a following consonant; thus incāu is pronounced [iŋka:w].

l is always clear (as in look), never dark (as in cool); s is never voiced (as in wise).

f and v are, as the chart indicates, bilabial fricatives, rather than labiodental ones, as in English. f is the [f] in Japanese Fuji; v is the [b] in European Spanish haber.

r is an approximant, not tapped or trilled, but not retroflexed like the Midwestern American r.

Cuêzi has a seven-vowel system /i e e a open O o u/, as in Italian. The orthographic representations i a u are straightforward. Closed /e/ is represented as e word-finally, ei elsewhere; open /e/ is always spelled e, since it does not occur word-finally. Thus Eleisa /elesa/. Likewise /o/ is represented as o word-finally, ou elsewhere; /open O/ is spelled o, and does not occur word-finally.

Each of these vowels can be pronounced long: ā, ē, ēi, ī, ō, ōu, ū. There is no difference in quality between short and long vowels-- only length.

The semivowels [w] and [j] are arguably allophones of /u/ and /i/ rather than separate phonemes. A short u or i becomes a semivowel word-initially (uelo [welo]) or between vowels (ruyisi); note that i is spelled y in these cases, but u does not change.

Adjacent to another vowel, u and i generally form diphthongs (but without orthographic change): maime [majme]; bardāu [barda:w]. A literal pronunciation (e.g. [maime]) is always allowed, however; it's used in poetry and is common in the southern dialects.

Cuêzi is a tonal language: the long vowels are pronounced with a medium-high even tone, the circumflexed vowels â, ê, î, ô, û with a falling tone, or a low tone. The low vowels are intermediate in length between short and long vowels. Short uncircumflexed vowels are generally pronounced with a medium tone, except immediately following a falling tone (even in a previous word), where they are pronounced low. A high tone in a syllable immediately following another high tone is pronounced somewhat higher.

A few tonal contours (indicated on a 1 to 5 scale)

44 3 3     3 1   44 4  2 1    44 55 

mēlate brinâ lēve lôdas rīxū

There is no stress accent in Cuêzi.

Orthography [To Index]

The Cuzeians always said that they were taught writing by the ilii. This claim has been doubted, on the grounds that the Cuzeian alphabet is quite unlike the writing system for the ilian language, Eteodäole. On the other hand, no other human nation has been shown greater favor by the ilii than Cuzei, and Cuzeian religion is a modified form of ilian worship. Most likely the idea of the alphabet was due to the ilii, but letterforms were not borrowed from the ilian script (not easy to adapt to human phonology anyway). When we consider that the Cuzeian script is the only one we know that never passed through an ideographic or logographic phase, the borrowing becomes a near certainty.

The earliest forms of the letters were pictographs, each picture being a representation of an object whose name began with that letter:

   u  utānar 'door'
a araunas 'eagle'
o olfas 'nose'
e etêia 'flower'
i ilenda 'maiden'
y yêtu 'feather'
p/b pomas 'man'
c/g goêlu 'wheat'
t/d tōuresiu 'cup'
s/z sīxe 'grape'
x xue 'eye'
r rāsī 'pot'
l licū 'bed'
m manāu 'hand'
n nega 'foot'
f/v vionnas 'lyre'

The ilian script does not operate on this principle; it must have been adopted as a mnemomic either by the Cuzeians or by the ilii who inspired them.

The words above also served as the names of the letters; though it was common to abbreviate them to their first two syllables: uta, ara, olfa, ete, ile, etc. The word 'alphabet' derives from this convention: utavio.

The letterforms shown are from a manuscript dated about ZE -150, and already show some stylization. For some time, however, fairly mimetic representations were fashionable; a tomb from -175 is famous for its calligraphy, with the letters like miniature paintings.

There were originally multiple forms for each letter: any object whose name began with the desired sound could be drawn. Many liked the decorative or aesthetic effect; but increasing stylization made the variants merely confusing, and by about -100 the above list was standardized. Some variants did survive for quite some time, or in remote regions, which is no doubt why the Caďinorians of Araunicoros, when creating their alphabet, found K (for cīllā 'hair') as an alternative for C (from goêlu 'wheat'), and could adapt the first for the Caďinor /q/ sound, the second for /k/.

By the Golden Age the letterforms had been simplified, voiced consonants were distinguished from unvoiced consonants with a bar, and the letters had been arranged in their canonical order:

u a o e i y p b c g t d s z x r l m n f v

Some phonetic analysis is evident in the order of the alphabet, corresponding to the categories of sounds in the classic grammar of Pirāusio (ZE 350).

The voiced consonants were called gouritēi 'barred', referring to the forms of the letters rather than to any phonetic fact.

Those who ordered the letters seem not to have grasped the notion of places of articulation, as can be seen from the rather chaotic order p/b - c/g - t/d. Pirāusio however specified the proper tongue position for each of the consonants (and understood that voicing was connected to the vibration of the vocal cords).

The indication of long vowels by a subscripted slash (), and low vowels by a superscript half-moon () was an innovation of the Silver Age grammarians. The diacritics were at first used only in grammars, word lists, and the holy books, and slowly spread to other books copied in the scriptoria; they were never used in correspondance or in official documents.

(Some scholars have suggested that this concern for proper pronunciation shows that the pitch-accent system was falling into disuse, but there is no other evidence for this. Certain commentaries suggest the real reason: it was occasionally important to the interpretation of a passage to know which vowel was meant.)

There were no punctuation marks, and spaces were inserted only between phrases, not between words. The title of Beretos' work would thus be represented

Turn on images, man!
Xuêsicranas fâsaex eduntrâcinu rāe sā xūntu Neni-Nemaē
A defense before the judges of my conduct which was in the land of Babblers

The alphabet was adapted by the Arániceri for use with Caďinor around 650. A few of the differences reflect post-Golden Age changes in the Cuêzi script (e.g. the change from to , and the simplification of to ), but others are Caďinorian developments.

Toward the end of the Cuzeian kingdom, cursive forms of the script were developed, and a number of abbreviations came into common use. Spelling errors also become more frequent, indicating that sound changes were beginning to obscure the phonetic nature of the script. It takes some training to read a late Imperial document.

Spelling rules [To Index]

The following spelling rules affect inflectional paradigms, derived words, and affixes.
  1. A stop (p t c b d g) assimilates to a following consonant (except laterals l r) in voicing: radas --> abl. rattu; nîtas --> dat. nîdnu.

  2. n before m, b, p, l --> m: dun- + bodê = dumbodê.

    Similarly, m before t, d, c, g, x --> n: pomas --> ins. ponco

  3. aa --> ā, etc.: fabēias --> pl. nom. fabēī; agentive e + eruisû 'redden' = ēruidas 'reddener'.

  4. y before a consonant becomes i; i between two other vowels becomes y: Nayas --> dat. Nainu; narrûos --> gen. pl. narrûyē

    There are traditional exceptions, such as etêia 'flower'.

Morphology [To Index]

Nominal declension [To Index]

Cuêzi possesses three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter) and six cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative, and instrumental).

Masculine nouns [To Index]

case - -e -os, -as/i -as/āe -is
s. nom oluon- nōr-e cor-os āet-as man-is
s. acc oluon-(a) nōr- cor- āet-a man-u
s. gen oluon-ex nōr-ex cor-ex āes-ex man-ex
s. dat oluon-nu nōr-nu cor-nu āet-anu man-nu
s. abl oluon-tu nōr-tu cor-tu āet-atu man-tu
s. ins oluon-co nōr-co cor-co āet-aco man-co
pl. nom oluon-i nō-i cor-i āet-āe man-ū
pl. acc oluon-i nō-ī cor-i āet-āe man-ū
pl. gen oluon-iē nō-iē cor-iē āet-aē man-uē
pl. dat oluon-inu nō-inu cor-inu āet-ānu man-ūna
pl. abl oluon-itu nō-itu cor-itu āet-ātu man-ūta
pl. ins oluon-ico   nō-ico   cor-ico   āet-āco   man-ūco  
comb. oluon-i- nōr-i- cor-i- āet-a- man-i-

The masculine nouns in -e almost all end in -re; these have plurals without the r. (Other consonants are not lost in the plural.)

Masculine nouns in -as may decline like coros or like āetas. The former descend from proto-Eastern forms in -Cs; the latter from forms in -as. Fortunately the āetas forms are rare. (They're indicated in the Lexicon as m2.)

In the consonantal declension, the s.acc. -a ending appears only for animate objects, and disappears entirely in later Cuêzi.

Alternations of the root occur in the s.gen. and in the -i- plurals: t --> s, c --> s, g --> y due to sound changes on the way in from proto-Eastern. We also see x --> c, but only in the plurals. This process can be seen in the genitive āesex above; compare also brexas 'arm' --> pl. breci. It is blocked when the final consonant of the root is preceded by another consonant, or by some long or circumflexed vowels (e.g. utâtos -->gen. utâtex).

Nouns in -vas change -v- to -f- (or sometimes -b-) in the singular, except for the genitive: lēivas 'wolf' --> acc. lēif. Similarly nouns in -zos change -z- to -s-: mizos 'word' --> ins. misco. (It is actually the -v- or -z- which is the innovation; compare proto-Eastern *leyfs, *mis.)

Spelling rules 1 (voice assimilation) and 2 (place of articulation assimilation) apply to the -nu, -tu, and -co endings, for roots ending in a stop or a nasal: e.g. pomas 'man' --> dat. ponnu.

Comb. identifies the combining form, used in derivations; e.g. manibodû 'fill the hand'.

Neuter nouns [To Index]

case -u -iu -o
s. nom usol-u il-iu sūr-o
s. acc usol-u il-i sūr-o
s. gen usol-ex il-iex sūr-ex
s. dat usol-nu il-inu sūr-onu
s. abl usol-tu il-itu sūr-otu
s. ins usol-uco il-ico sūr-oco
pl. nom usol-ū il-iū sūr-ō
pl. acc usol-ū il-ū sūr-ō
pl. gen usol-uē il-uē sūr-oē
pl. dat usol-ūna il-ūna sūr-ōna
pl. abl usol-ūta il-ūta sūr-ōta
pl. ins usol-ūco   il-ūco   sūr-ōco  
comb. usol-u- il-i- sūr-o-

Root alternations will also occur among the neuter nouns. Again, t --> s, c --> s, g --> y in the s.gen. of -u and -o nouns: cāco 'heel' --> gen. cāsex. The reverse process occurs in some (not all) -iu nouns, in the plural: orbesiu 'sunflower' --> pl.acc. orbecū.

The -iu and - (nom.) forms change to -y- if preceded by a vowel: meyu 'water', meyū 'waters' (but s.acc. mei).

Feminine nouns [To Index]

case -a -e -i
s. nom etêi-a aur-e êd-i
s. acc etêi-ā aur-ê êd-a
s. gen etêi-aē aur-eē êd-iē
s. dat etêi-anu aur-inu êd-inu
s. abl etêi-adi aur-edi êd-idi
s. ins etêi-alu aur-elu êd-ilu
pl. nom etêi-ē aur-ē êd-ā
pl. acc etêi-ē aur-ē êd-ā
pl. gen etêi-eē aur-eē êd-aē
pl. dat etêi-ēnu aur-ēnu êd-ānu
pl. abl etêi-ēdi aur-ēdi êd-ādi
pl. ins etêi-ēlu   aur-ēlu   êd-ālu  
comb. etêi-e- aur-i- êd-i-

In the -a nouns, t --> s, c --> s, g --> y in the plural: tāuca 'nipple' --> pl. tāusē. The reverse process, plus c --> x occurs in some (not all) -i nouns in the s.acc. and the plural: lusi 'Glade' --> pl. lutā.

The s.gen. ending - changes to - after a vowel: mâsei 'mistress' --> mâseyē.

Note that the genitive - is not simply a triple-length vowel; since the long vowels are high pitch, the -e- is clearly distinguished from the -ē.

Unusual endings [To Index]

Some nouns end in a long or circumflexed vowel, and these receive some special handling.

Adjectival declension [To Index]

There are three adjectival declensions. Since the masculine nominative forms do not distinguish the first and second declensions, the citation form for adjectives is the neuter nominative singular: e.g. sōlo, lēve, sidi.

Adjectives normally agree with the nouns they modify in case, gender, and number: thus aurinu ruyisanu 'to the red house, manūco leretōco 'with clever hands'.

From -100 onward it became common for the first of a pair of adjectives to appear in its undeclined combination form: thus sīedi feroi xuzoladi 'from a cold gray sea'. (These may well have been perceived as true combinations: feroixuzoladi 'cold-gray'. It is impossible to tell, since the Cuzeians did not write spaces between words.)

By the time of the Golden Age the combination form was frequently used even for a single adjective: ilenda gobrinti 'a compassionate maiden', Etêia Mitano 'Flower of the South'. So far as we can see this usage was only proper when the adjective named an essential rather than an accidental or temporary property of the referent (it was therefore common in names and poetic formulas). Furthermore the undeclined form could appear only immediately before or after the noun; if it appeared anywhere else it must decline (e.g. ilenda ê gobrinte 'the maiden is compassionate').

In later periods the combination form could be used also to replace any of the oblique forms (dative, ablative, or instrumental-- e.g. manāūco lereti), and grammarians began to complain of its use in other contexts. Attestations of such overuse are actually fairly rare, from which it seems likely that the combination form had become usual in all contexts (save perhaps predication) in speech.

First declension [To Index]

The forms are the almost the same as nominal declensions of the same gender and ending, except that nominatives and accusatives are identical.

In late Cuêzi there is an increasing tendency to use the neuter forms for masculine nouns as well (since among adjectives the distinction is made only in this declension).

case m n f comb.
s. nom sōl-e    sōl-o    sōl-a    sōl-o
s. acc sōl-e sōl-o sōl-a
s. gen sōl-ex sōl-ex sōl-aē
s. dat sōl-nu sōl-onu sōl-anu
s. abl sōl-tu sōl-otu sōl-adi
s. ins sōl-co sōl-oco sōl-alu
pl. nom sōl-i sōl-ō sōl-ē
pl. acc sōl-i sōl-ō sōl-ē
pl. gen sōl-iē sōl-oē sōl-eē
pl. dat sōl-inu sōl-ōna sōl-ēnu
pl. abl sōl-itu   sōl-ōta   sōl-ēdi  
pl. ins sōl-ico sōl-ōco sōl-ēlu

Second declension [To Index]

The feminine forms are like feminine nouns in -e. The masculine and neuter forms are identical, and resemble neuter nouns in -u.
case m n f comb.
s. nom lēv-e     lēv-e     lēv-e     lēv-i
s. acc lēv-e lēv-e lēv-e
s. gen lēv-ex lēv-ex lēv-eē
s. dat lēv-inu lēv-inu lēv-inu
s. abl lēv-etu lēv-etu lēv-edi
s. ins lēv-eco lēv-eco lēv-elu
pl. nom lēv-ēi lēv-ēi lēv-ē
pl. acc lēv-ēi lēv-ēi lēv-ē
pl. gen lēv-eē lēv-eē lēv-eē
pl. dat lēv-ēinu lēv-ēinu lēv-ēnu
pl. abl lēv-ēitu   lēv-ēitu   lēv-ēdi  
pl. ins lēv-ēico lēv-ēico lēv-ēlu

If the adjective ends in -ê, only the singular acc., abl., and ins. retain the circumflex; all other forms are unaffected. Thus sīcicolê --> m. s. gen. sīcicolex, m. s. abl. sīcicolêtu.

Third declension [To Index]

Again, the feminine forms resemble feminine nouns in -i, except for the s.acc.. The masculine and neuter forms are identical, and resemble the neuter nouns in -i, except for the nominative forms.
case m n f comb.
s. nom sid-i     sid-i     sid-i     sid-i
s. acc sid-i sid-i sid-i
s. gen sid-iex sid-iex sid-iē
s. dat sid-inu sid-inu sid-inu
s. abl sid-itu sid-itu sid-idi
s. ins sid-ico sid-ico sid-iu
pl. nom sid-ū sid-ū sid-ā
pl. acc sid-ū sid-ū sid-ā
pl. gen sid-uē sid-uē sid-aē
pl. dat sid-ūna sid-ūna sid-ānu
pl. abl sid-ūta sid-ūta sid-ādi
pl. ins sid-ūco   sid-ūco   sid-ālu  

Comparatives [To Index]

The comparative is formed by adding -âte (1st declension), -âse (2nd), or -îse (3rd) to the adjectival root. If the root contains a long vowel, the circumflex is removed. In any case the resulting form is a regular second-declension adjective.
declension   comparative
sōlo 'true' sōlate 'truer'
lēve 'new' lēvase 'newer'
sidi 'thirsty' sidîse 'thirstier'

Pronouns [To Index]

Cuêzi has an abundance of personal prounouns. First, there are masculine and feminine forms for each of the singular pronouns: a Cuzeian man calls himself sēo; a woman calls herself sēi. There is no such distinction in proto-Eastern; apparently the early Cuzeians became so used to having masculine and feminine declension patterns that they insisted on using them for pronouns too.

Gender distinctions need not be made in the plural. One sometimes sees plural dative and ablative forms tādi, tālu, etc. for groups of women, but this is a hypercorrection which never achieved general use.

There is no word for 'it'; tāu should be used for masculine and neuter nouns, tāi for feminine.

There are distinct singular and plural second person pronouns. There is no familiar/formal distinction, however: any single person from King to peasant is led (or lei); any group of people is māux.

Finally, note that there is both an exclusive we tazū (excluding the listener) and an inclusive one letazū. The latter obviously derives from expressions like led tazū 'thou us'; each form is simply the first syllable of the corresponding 'thou' form, plus the form for the exclusive we. Letazū is used only when there is a specific, individual addressee (e.g. when speaking to someone, or writing a letter); in the general sense of 'all of us' tazū is used.

The Cuêzi pronouns show a good deal of reinterpretation in the descent from proto-Eastern. The singular genitives in *-ay, for instance,which should have been inherited as *-āe, have been replaced with nominal endings (ex, ē). The plural pronouns have been similarly adapted following nominal models. For instance, *tāsu should have been inherited as *tāzu, but tazū is the more typical form for a plural. However, Cuêzi has retained the suppletive forms seem in the accusative for 'I' and 'thou'.

Subject pronouns are not needed in Cuêzi, except for emphasis, or to answer questions.

It is a peculiarity of (all except Early) Cuêzi style that pronouns are not to be used to refer to deities; one must refer to Eīledan, Iáinos, Ulōne instead, or use alternative titles. (This rule only applies to explicit pronouns, not to dropped subjects.) It seems to have been considered impious to use pronouns to speak to or about God.

I/m I/f thou/m thou/f he she
nom sēo sēi led lei tāu tāi
acc etu etu ēr ēr tāua tāya
gen soex soē loex loē tāuex tāyē
dat sēnu sēnu linu linu tāunu tāinu
abl sētu sēdi letu ledi tāutu tāidi
ins sēco sēlu leco lelu tāuco tāilu
we/excl we/incl you they
nom tazū letazū māux cayū
acc tāe ertāe caē
gen tazuē lotazuē muē cayuē
dat tānu litānu mūna caēnu
abl tātu letātu mūta caētu
ins tāco letāco mūco caēco
what (s.) (pl.)
nom rāe radē
acc rade
gen rāex radaē
dat rāenu radanu
abl rāetu radatu
ins rāeco radaco

Other pronouns and determiners [To Index]

rete adj  which itas this one
īlo adj this totas n that one
oêlo adj that
seri adj every rebanco why
āno adj some
mûse adj many
bizāno adj none, no
rēdue loc where rēda when
idue loc here ida now
ecui loc there êca then
maidue loc nowhere maida never
oniu n everyone/everything
āneca n someone/something
māeca n no one/nothing

The words marked adj are declined as regular adjectives; those marked n as regular nouns.

The words marked loc are locatives; to form the dative forms ('whither' etc.) replace the final vowel with -nu (rēdunu etc.); to form the ablative ('whence' etc.), replace the final vowel with -ta (rēduta etc.).

The remaining words are adverbs, and are invariable.

Verbal morphology [To Index]

The Cuêzi verb is enormously expressive. The price paid is a plethora of tenses and forms.

Verbs must agree with their subjects in number and person. By way of compensation, pronominal subjects may be dropped.

Besides this, each verb form indicates the following distinctions:

If you're counting, that makes up to 576 distinct lexical forms for each verb.

In addition, there are five separate conjugations (patterns of inflection). There is no single lexical form which is different in each of them, so they are traditionally simply numbered from 1 to 5.

Sound changes have created alternations for many verbs; note rīx- vs. rīc- and clāg- vs. clāy- in the sample conjugations below. The diachronic rule is perhaps simplest: t --> s, c --> s, g --> y before i and e, x --> c before i. The synchronic rules are a bit more complicated. Consonants in clusters were unaffected; but the protecting consonant may have been lost; we see this below in bêti (from earlier *bektit). The lost consonant is often commemorated by a circumflexed vowel. Finally, the present distribution of i and e is not necessarily that of the proto-language, so that softenings may not seem to occur in the right place. The lexicon indicates verbs with alternations.

Active definite perfect [To Index]

Present definite

The present and past definite have distinct endings, generally different between conjugations. In the present, conjugations 2 and 3 are identical except in the 3p; 4 and 5 are identical except in the 3s. and 3p.
person 1 2 3 4 5
I lūv-āo rīx-āi utān-āi bêt-āu clāg-āu
thou lūv-ēo rīx-ēi utān-ēi bêt-ēu clāy-ēu
he/she lūv-e rīx-e utān-e bêt-i clāy-e
we lūv-ōmo rīx-āmo utān-āmo bêt-umo clāg-umo
you lūv-ōzi rīx-āzi utān-āzi bêt-uzi clāg-uzi
they lūv-ota rīx-ota utān-itu bêt-itu clāg-uta

Past definite

Endings are identical in the 2nd and 3rd conjugations, and in the 4th and 5th. The 1s and 2s endings are identical. If context does not disambiguate, it is more common to insert 'I' rather than 'thou'.
person 1 2 3 4 5
I lūv-iu rīc-io utān-io bêt-ie clāy-ie
thou lūv-iu rīc-io utān-io bêt-ie clāy-ie
he/she lūv-ū rīx-ā utān-ā bêt-ē clāy-ē
we lūv-ūmo rīx-ōmo utān-ōmo bêt-ēmo clāy-ēmo
you lūv-ūzi rīx-ōzi utān-ōzi bêt-ēzi clāy-ēzi
they lūv-ūta rīc-ītu utān-ītu bêt-ītu clāy-ītu

Past anterior definite

The past anterior forms are composed of the verb root + er (ir in 4) + the past endings.
person 1 2 3 4 5
I lūv-eriu rīx-erio utān-erio bêt-irie clāy-erie
thou lūv-eriu rīx-erio utān-erio bêt-irie clāy-erie
he/she lūv-erū rīx-erā utān-erā bêt-irē clāy-erē
we lūv-erūmo rīx-erōmo utān-erōmo bêt-irēmo clāy-erēmo
you lūv-erūzi rīx-erōzi utān-erōzi bêt-irēzi clāy-erēzi
they lūv-erūta rīx-erītu utān-erītu bêt-irītu clāy-erītu

Future/imperative definite

The future forms are composed of the root + il (al in 2) + the present tense endings.
person 1 2 3 4 5
I lūv-ilāo rīx-alāi utān-ilāi bêt-ilāu clāy-ilāu
thou lūv-ilēo rīx-alēi utān-ilēi bêt-ilēu clāy-ilēu
he/she lūv-ile rīx-ale utān-ile bêt-ili clāy-ile
we lūv-ilōmo rīx-alāmo utān-ilāmo bêt-ilumo clāy-ilumo
you lūv-ilōzi rīx-alāzi utān-ilāzi bêt-iluzi clāy-iluzi
they lūv-ilota rīx-alota utān-ilitu bêt-ilitu clāy-iluta

Active remote perfect [To Index]

The remote tenses are formed by adding an infix (-et- for conjugations 1, 4, 5, changing to -es- before e or i; -in- for conjugations 2 and 3) between the verb root and the personal endings.

The -in- infix derives from *em in proto-Eastern; for this reason it never triggers the x --> c alternation.

Present remote
person 1 2 3 4 5
I lūv-etāo rīx-ināi utān-ināi bêt-etāu clāy-etāu
thou lūv-esēo rīx-inēi utān-inēi bêt-esēu clāy-esēu
he/she lūv-ese rīx-ine utān-ine bêt-esi clāy-ese
we lūv-etōmo rīx-ināmo utān-ināmo bêt-etumo clāy-etumo
you lūv-etōzi rīx-ināzi utān-ināzi bêt-etuzi clāy-etuzi
they lūv-etota rīx-inota utān-initu bêt-esitu clāy-etuta
Past remote
person 1 2 3 4 5
I lūv-esiu rīx-inio utān-inio bêt-esie clāy-esie
thou lūv-esiu rīx-inio utān-inio bêt-esie clāy-esie
he/she lūv-etū rīx-inā utān-inā bêt-esē clāy-esē
we lūv-etūmo rīx-inōmo utān-inōmo bêt-esēmo clāy-esēmo
you lūv-etūzi rīx-inōzi utān-inōzi bêt-esēzi clāy-esēzi
they lūv-etūta rīx-inītu utān-inītu bêt-esītu clāy-esītu
Past anterior remote
person 1 2 3 4 5
I lūv-eresiu rīx-erinio utān-erinio bêt-iresie clāy-eresie
Future/imperative remote
person 1 2 3 4 5
I lūv-iletāo rīx-alināi utān-ilināi bêt-iletāu clāy-iletāu

Active imperfect tenses [To Index]

The imperfect tenses are formed from the perfect by adding a final -r (-re) in the 3s.). In all but present and past definite, the 1p -mo- ending changes to -bo-. Here are the forms for the verb rīxa:
pres past past ant fut
I rīx-āir rīc-ior rīx-erior rīx-alāir
thou rīx-ēir rīc-ior rīx-erior rīx-alēir
he/she rīx-ere rīx-āre rīx-erāre rīx-alere
we rīx-āmor rīx-ōmor rīx-erōbor rīx-alābor
you rīx-āzir rīx-ōzir rīx-erōzir rīx-alāzir
they rīx-otar rīc-ītur rīx-erītur rīx-alotar
pres past past ant fut
I rīx-ināir rīx-inior rīx-erinior rīx-alināir
thou rīx-inēir rīx-inior rīx-erinior rīx-alinēir
he/she rīx-inere rīx-ināre rīx-erināre rīx-alinere
we rīx-inābor rīx-inōbor rīx-erinōbor rīx-alinābor
you rīx-ināzir rīx-inōzir rīx-erinōzir rīx-alināzir
they rīx-inotar rīx-inītur rīx-erinītur rīx-alinotar

Passive voice [To Index]

The passive voice must have been formed in proto-Karazi by prefixing the verb with o- and adding -l to the end. However, the prefix replaced any initial vowel (usāle --> osālel); while the final -l suppressed the final vowel in the singular, and the penultimate vowel in the plural forms; and this in turn triggered some reinterpretation. The result is that the passive endings are uniform across all conjugations, and differ somewhat from the active endings.

(No other Eastern language family has a morphological passive, and no other forms any tense in quite this way; for this reason linguists are unwilling to trace the Cuêzi passive back to proto-Eastern. )

Note that the -sal/-sul/-tal/-tul endings change to -zal/-zul/-dal/-dul after a voiced consonant; also note the significant simplifications in the remote tenses (compare active rīxerinōmo 'we had perhaps seen' with orīxerimul 'we had perhaps been seen').

To form the passive imperfect tenses, replace the final -l with -r.

pres past past ant fut
I o-rīx-āl o-rīc-il o-rīx-eril o-rīx-alāl
thou o-rīx-ēl o-rīc-il o-rīx-eril o-rīx-alēl
he/she o-rīx-el o-rīx-āl o-rīx-erāl o-rīx-alel
we o-rīx-mal o-rīx-mul o-rīx-ermul o-rīx-almal
you o-rīx-sal o-rīx-sul o-rīx-erzul o-rīx-alzal
they o-rīx-tal o-rīx-tul o-rīx-erdul o-rīx-aldal
pres past past ant fut
I o-rīx-ināl o-rīx-inil o-rīx-erinil o-rīx-alināl
thou o-rīx-inēl o-rīx-inil o-rīx-erinil o-rīx-alinēl
he/she o-rīx-inel o-rīx-ināl o-rīx-erināl o-rīx-alinel
we o-rīx-imal o-rīx-imul o-rīx-erimul o-rīx-alimal
you o-rīx-izal o-rīx-izul o-rīx-erizul o-rīx-alizal
they o-rīx-idal o-rīx-idul o-rīx-eridul o-rīx-alidal
Definite imperfect
pres past past ant fut
I o-rīx-ār o-rīc-ir o-rīx-erir o-rīx-alār
Remote imperfect
pres past past ant fut
I o-rīx-inār o-rīx-inir o-rīx-erinir o-rīx-alinār

Causative [To Index]

The causative is perhaps best seen as a separate parameter of inflection, like the passive voice (and like the passive, uniform across all conjugations). (Some grammarians treat it, however, as a derived lexical item, with a distinctive conjugation.)
pres past past ant fut
I rīx-ū rīx-ebū rīx-erū rīx-alū
thou rīx-ū rīx-ebū rīx-erū rīx-alū
he/she rīx-u rīx-ebu rīx-eru rīx-alu
we rīc-īmo rīx-ebīmo rīx-erīmo rīx-alīmo
you rīc-īzi rīx-ebīzi rīx-erīzi rīx-alīzi
they rīc-īzu rīx-ebīzu rīx-erīzu rīx-alīzu
pres past past ant fut
I rīx-etū rīx-esebū rīx-eserū rīx-etalū

The active imperfect is formed by adding -r (3s -re) to the perfect forms; the passive by prefixing o- and suffixing -l (perfect) or -r (imperfect). The 1s forms follow.

pres past past ant fut
act imp rīx-ūr rīx-ebūr rīx-erūr rīx-alūr
pass perf o-rīx-ūl o-rīx-ebūl o-rīx-erūl o-rīx-alūl
pass imp o-rīx-ūr o-rīx-ebūr o-rīx-erūr o-rīx-alūr
pres past past ant fut
act imp rīx-etūr rīx-esebūr rīx-eserūr rīx-etalūr
pass perf o-rīx-etūl o-rīx-esebūl o-rīx-eserūl o-rīx-etalūl
pass imp o-rīx-etūr o-rīx-esebūr o-rīx-eserūr o-rīx-etalūr

Inceptive [To Index]

The inceptive is formed using the prefix ba-. The final vowel is also removed from the personal endings, if it's preceded by another vowel. Examples:
pres past past ant fut
I ba-rīx-ā ba-rīc-i ba-rīx-eri ba-rīx-alā
thou ba-rīx-ē ba-rīc-i ba-rīx-eri ba-rīx-alē
he/she ba-rīx-e ba-rīx-ā ba-rīx-erā ba-rīx-ale
we ba-rīx-āmo ba-rīx-ōmo ba-rīx-erōmo ba-rīx-alāmo
you ba-rīx-āzi ba-rīx-ōzi ba-rīx-erōzi ba-rīx-alāzi
they ba-rīx-ota ba-rīc-ītu ba-rīx-erītu ba-rīx-alota
pres past past ant fut
I ba-rīx-inā ba-rīx-ini ba-rīx-erini ba-rīx-alinā

The active imperfect is formed by adding -r (3s -re) to the perfect forms (barīxā --> barīxār etc.). The passive is formed using the ordinary passive endings (e.g. obarīxmal 'We are beginning to be seen').

Infinitive [To Index]

There are active and passive infinitives, as well as infinitives for the causative and inceptive forms. The active infinitives are formed with the following endings; the circumflexes in the first three conjugations disappear if there is a long vowel in the root. (In compounds, only the last root counts: mētulerê 'analyze' is OK because the final root is lerê.)
1 2 3 4 5
-i -e
lūv-e rīx-a utān-e bêt-i clāy-e

The passive infinitive is, for all conjugations, o- + the verb root + -i or -î: thus olūvi 'to be loved', obêtî 'to be changed'.

The causative infinitive takes a final -û (-u if the root has a long vowel): lūvu 'to cause to be loved'; lanû 'to cause (someone) to think'.

The inceptive infinitive is simply ba- plus the ordinary infinitive: balūve 'begin to love', balanê 'start thinking.'

The passive infinitive can be turned into an inceptive by infixing -ba-: obalūvi 'to begin to be loved'.

Participles [To Index]

The active participle is composed of e + the verb root + -eto: e.g. elūveto 'loving'; esaleseto 'jumping'. The e- is instead am- before b: ambriseto 'dancing'. The e- is added to any root vowel: êcuri --> ēcureto 'accusing'.

The passive participle is composed of o + the verb root + -elo; for example olūvelo 'loved', obêtelo 'changed'. We see om- before b: ombriselo 'danced'. The o- replaces any initial vowel in the root.

The causative participle is composed of e + the verb root + -ūzo: e.g. elūvūzo 'causing to love', ebodūzo 'filling'.

The participles are declined as ordinary adjectives of the first declension.

As there is a separate passive voice, there is no need to use the passive participle predicatively: one says Antāu olūvel 'Antāu is loved', not Antāu olūvele ê. Likewise the imperfect tenses must be used rather than using the active participle as a predicate.

The agentive ('one who does' form) is e + the verb root + -as (m.) or -ei (f.), the result being a regular noun; thus elūvas 'lover', evissas 'one who knows'. Again, it's am- before a b: ambrisas 'dancer'. A verb which suffers root alternations will have different masculine and feminine forms: pīsi drink --> epītas, epīsei.

There is no corresponding passive form; but the passive participle can be used substantively (retaining its adjectival declension). The same can be said for the causative.

To be [To Index]

The verb esc is irregular.
Definite Remote Imperfect
pres past pres past pres past
I sāi sio zetāu zesie fuāi fuio
thou sēi sio zesēu zesie fuēi fuio
he/she ê zesê zesē fue fuā
we zāmo sōmo zetumo zesēmo fuāmo fuōmo
you zāzi sōzi zetuzi zesēzi fuāzi fuōzi
they zota sītu zesitu zesītu fuota fuītu

In the other tenses esc acts like several verbs at once (which is in fact partly due to it being inherited from two proto-Eastern verbs, *esam and *fuam.

The derived verbs ties 'can' and goes 'occur' conjugate like esc. The rule is: prefix ti- or go- to the appropriate form of esc, but after inceptive ba-. Thus tisāi 'I can'; goê 'it occurs', tizesēzi 'they were perhaps able to', bagozerā 'it had begun to occur'.

Unusual verbs [To Index]

Some mention should be made of the 'one-letter' verbs 'give', fi 'do', 'have', and 'put'. They are quite regular, but having so little in the way of root, their lexical forms are not always recognized by the student.

de he gives
dītu they gave
milāo I will have
bāre he was always putting it

The passive of 'have', omî, has the meaning 'there is':

Araunas arevatu omel.
There is an eagle in the tree.

Dima xuvi omerdul ida-nô omāl ane.
There had been two eggs, and now there was one.

There are two verbs with only passive forms: ogonî 'to be on fire' and onî 'to be born'. Besides the absence of active forms, they're regular.

4 Derivational morphology [To Index]

When a suffix begins with a consonant, the combination form of the root should be used (e.g. for mūra, mūre-); otherwise, the root alone (mūr-).

Nominalizers [To Index]

State or abstraction: -āuas:
namo lord --> namāuas lordliness, majesty
ilenda virgin --> ilendāuas virginity
pomas man --> pomāuas manliness

Nominalization of common verbs: in -eyas or -ias:

aviê die --> aviēyas death
barīdi marry --> barīdias marriage

or -āu:

duli must --> dulāu duty

Process or act: -eca:

lāda --> lādeca going
barīdi --> barīdeca wedding

Result: -â with doubled final consonant; or -da after another suffix:

taige live --> taiggâ life
brisê dance --> brissâ dance
pisi write --> pissâ letter
risoni draw --> risonda drawing

Process, state, or result: -anavas, similar to our -tion:

vissê know --> vissanavas knowledge
duntrâcê judge --> duntrâcanavas judgment, trial

Adjectives commonly nominalize with īras or -de:

ziene fertile --> zienīras fertility
same bright --> samīras brightness
ailue lithe --> ailuede gracefulness
lalei young --> laleide youth

One who does: m. -as, f. -ei with initial e-. See "Participles" above for morphological oddities.

lūvī love --> elūvas, elūvei lover
duntrâcê judge --> eduntrâcas, eduntrâcei judge
brisê dance --> ambrisas, ambrisei dancer
pīsi drink --> epītas, epīsei drinker

One who has: -ciu.

rīda wife --> rīdeciu husband
pûtas stomach --> pûticiu pregnant woman
namo lord --> bisnamociu rōnin, lordless soldier
dunas movement --> duniciu animal

Descendant: -go. The resulting noun can be used for persons of either sex.

eressâ west --> Eressego Western barbarian
Amnās Satan --> amnigo demon

Inhabitant or follower: -ilo. Again, the derived noun can be used for either sex.

Munxeas --> Munxesilo Munkhâshi
Uâsa --> Uâsilo follower of Uâsa

Substance (with a particular property): -das (declined like āetas):

mavoro black --> mavordas iron
dēne breast --> dēnedas milk

Material (used for or accomplishing a particular action): -on:

dei use --> deōn material
olue hold --> oluon buttress

Tool: -siu:

tōura pour --> tōuresiu cup
sīxego wine --> sīxisiu wineglass

Place: a + root + -r, lengthening the previous vowel:

ziene fertile --> azienār forest
zimbi Ažimbean --> Azimbār Ažimbea
rizas grain --> arizār granary

Diminutive: -īll:

ilenda maiden --> ilendīlla girl, señorita
xudas hole --> xudīllas little hole

Fraction: -gāu:

bāor four --> bargāu quarter
duna two --> dunagāu half

Adjectivizers [To Index]

Related adjective: -oro or -te:
mēliye girl --> meliyoro girlish
narras kingdom --> narroro kingly
pomas man --> pomoro masculine

fūca color --> fūcate colorful
gobrinâ understand --> gobrinte compassionate
solci have sex --> solcite sexual
teras miracle --> terate miraculous

Like: -llê:

ilenda maiden --> ilendellê maidenly
moêle woman --> moêlillê womanly
taiggâ life --> taiggellê lifelike

Un-: bi- + root + -uo (or just -o after another suffix):

creyê eat --> bicreguo inedible
tolê bear --> bitoluo unbearable
nūmicolê pious --> binūmicolo impious
rēne count --> birēnuo uncountable

Full of: -bodê:

diazami promise --> diazambodê untrustworthy
mīsia joy --> misibodê joyful

Making: -boe:

moêle woman --> moêliboe effeminate
ridi laugh --> ridiboe comic

Lover of: -colê:

cūrita talk --> cūritecolê talkative
dulāu duty --> dulāucolê dutiful
sīxe grape --> sīxicolê wine-loving

Possibility: oti- plus final -ê:

creyê eat --> oticreyê edible
vissê know --> otivissê knowable
lerê see --> otilerê visible

Ordinal (numbers above four): -ge:

pâtu five --> pâtuge fifth
dêt ten --> dêdege tenth

Verbalizers [To Index]

Inceptive: ba-. (Already covered under Morphology.)
rīda wife --> barīdi marry
pomas man --> bapomi become a man

Repetition or reaction: - (sun- before vowel):

fi do --> sûfi resume
missê say --> sûmissê respond
utāne come --> sunutāne return

Causative from adjective: e + root + û. These become defective verbs, with causative forms only.

fōre loud --> efōru make louder
aviê dead --> eviû deaden

Instrumental use: -oni:

risi reed --> risoni draw

Associated verb: -ivê (1st conjugation):

cranas shame --> cranivê shame, rebuke
brose second --> brosivê repeat

Names [To Index]

Till late in their history, Cuzeians did not have a set of canonical names, but invented them as needed. Almost any noun which appealed to the parents could be chosen; except that masculine nouns were reserved for men, feminine for women; neuter nouns were available for either sex. Examples: Alaldas (star), Banimu (voyager), Caumēliye (sweetheart), Dulāu (duty), Eteîa (flower), Niōre (beauty), Oluon (buttress), Tisāti (waterspray), Siyise, Yoreta (types of flower), Zienīras (fertility).

Adjectives could be turned into nouns by adding -os or -io (m.), -a or -ē (f.): Ambrisio (dance), Bāuros (old), Beretos (green), Celōusio, Leretē (clever), Misiē (joyous), Sarēina (easterner), Zeilisio (lively).

A very few names have no contemporary derivation, such as Arrasos, Oromo, Urisāma. A few others have unusual forms, but contain recognizable roots: Denūra (from dēne 'breast'), Einātu (from eine 'first'), Samīrex (from same 'bright')

In later times the Cuzeians had accumulated such a stock of names that people were usually named after an ancestor or famous figure, rather than being given an invented name.

The lexicon includes a number of names-- mostly those which became common names in the Plain; it is by no means exhaustive.

Syntax [To Index]

Word order [To Index]

As a fully inflected language, Cuêzi has free word order-- which is to say, of course, that rules apply, but not those of English.

The unmarked word order in Cuêzi is SOV. Within a noun phrase, nouns precede adjectives, genitives, and subordinate clauses. However, these are only general tendencies. A random rearrangement of the words in a Cuêzi sentence would be perfectly grammatical.

As in Caďinor, the topic of the sentence (the old information) is placed first, followed by the comment (the new information). This rule is followed perhaps even more rigidly in Cuêzi than in Caďinor, perhaps because the Cuêzi passive allows free topicalization of almost any parameter.

Cuêzi, like Latin or Russian, has no articles. Since the topic is invariably placed first, there is no need for a separate word to indicate whether the reference is definite.

Note the pragmatic implications of each of the following sentences, each a translation of 'Oluon loves the servant-girl':

Oluon ecivea lūve.
active, SOV; topic = Oluon
Answers the question, "Who does Oluon love?"
Also serves as unmarked order-- e.g. if the entire sentence is hot news.

Ecivea Oluon lūve.
active, OSV; topic = servant
Answer to "Who loves the servant?"

Ecivei [Oluonco] olūvel.
passive, SIV; topic = servant
Answers the question "What's happening to the servant?"
Compared to the active, there's more interest in the verb: the actor (Oluon) need not even be stated.

Lūve Oluon ecivea.
active, VSO; topic = love
Answers the question "Who loves who?"
Best for emphasizing the relationship between the two parties.

Case usage [To Index]

The most obvious difference between English and Cuêzi is that Cuêzi has a full case system. It isn't so hard to learn to use the accusative for direct objects, the dative for indirect ones. It may take more time to get used to Cuêzi using an oblique case form where English would use a more specific prepositional phrase (e.g. yēoredi 'in the river', 'at the river', 'from the river'.

Worse yet, many expressions have (from the point of view of English) quirky assignments of cases: e.g. in 'He paid the money to the trader', money is in the instrumental, not the accusative; in 'He argued the case before the judge', judge is in the dative. On the other hand, such usages have a logic of their own: e.g. money is after all what you use while paying, which is an instrumental use.

The Lexicon indicates unusual case usages of verbs.

Nominative [To Index]

The nominative is used for the subject of a sentence, and also for predicate nominals.
Ilenda ambris lūve.
The maiden loves the dancer.

Beretos ambrisas bāxe ê.
Beretos is a fine dancer.

Accusative [To Index]

The accusative is used for the direct object.

Ilenda ambris lūve.
The maiden loves the dancer.

Dative [To Index]

The dative is used for the indirect object.

Narruôs tōurosi ōilādnu dā.
The King gave the cup to the stranger.

Where an action is performed against or in the presence of a human being, this referent tends to appear in the dative, where English would use 'with' or 'before'.

Ilendē ambecālu namōna brisītu.
The maidens danced gracefully before the Lords.

It's also used for the destination of a movement. Frequently Cuêzi will use the dative alone where English would use a prepositional phrase.

Ecivas tōurosi etolnu bā.
The servant put the cup on the table.

Lādāmo Eleisanu.
We're going to Eleisa.

Genitive [To Index]

The genitive expresses possession: sīma namoex 'the lord's dinner'; xūnas neni-nemaē 'the land of the Babblers'.

Genitive expressions indicating provenance are very common: Beretos Eteîaē Mitano 'Beretos of Eteîa Mitano'.

The genitive cannot be used in a partitive sense (unlike in Caďinor).

Ablative [To Index]

The ablative expresses the source of a movement. As with the dative, Cuêzi often does without the preposition needed in English.

Sīxisiu etoltu ōicopā.
The wineglass fell off the table.

Sindatu fācumo.
We are leaving the city.

As an extension of this meaning, the ablative is used for locative expressions designating cities or regions (smaller areas, such as rooms, must take prepositional phrases).

Dūntrâcanavas Norunaitu gosā.
The deliberation took place in Norunayas.

The participial ablative of Caďinor does not exist in Cuêzi.

Instrumental [To Index]

The instrumental expresses what an action is performed with. Note the double instrumental in the example-- anything used as materials can be expressed in the instrumental.

Isiliē pissā crindaco trîgoco pisē.
Isiliē wrote a letter on the paper with ink.

An important use of the instrumental is as an adverbial, since Cuêzi lacks a morphological adverb.

Antāu coelīrco Namiea-si gocivūre.
Antāu served his Lady devotedly (lit., with-devotion)

With prepositions [To Index]

When a preposition is used, the dative expresses motion toward; the ablative expresses motion from; and the genitive expresses location alone, with no suggestion of motion. (Note that this assignment of cases is not the same as in Caďinor.)
Lōn fa nêmnu balēi.
Put the apple inside the box (dat.).

Tībal fa āetidi ambrozalēi.
Take the horse out of the lake (abl.).

Antāu xu etolex gâsi.
Antāu is hiding under the table (gen.).

Other prepositions are generally used with one particular case; see the section on Prepositions below.

After transformations [To Index]

When a sentence is nominalized, the subject turns into a genitive, the object into a dative.
Ilenda ambris lūve --> lūvore Ilendaē ambrisnu
The maiden (nom.) loves the dancer (acc.) --> the maiden's (gen.) love for the dancer (dat.)

When a sentence is passivized, the object is promoted into a nominative, and the subject is demoted to an instrumental.

Ambrisas olūvel ilendalu.
The dancer (nom.) is loved by the maiden (ins.).

Noun phrases [To Index]

Numbers [To Index]

The numbers from 1 to 10 are āno, duna, dīma, bāor, pâtu, sêta, xāeps, yosi, nebu, dêt. One hundred is sicātu; one thousand is mēcau.

Āno is declined as a regular adjective: āne namo 'one Lord', ānanu yinanu 'to one girl'. Unlike other adjectives, numbers normally precede the noun. The other numbers below 100 are not declined (except in very early Cuêzi, in which 2 and 3 are declined). Sicātu and mēcau are declined as a noun, followed by the genitive: sicātu loniē 'one hundred apples'.

Historically, multiples of 10 were formed by adding -dêt to a combination form of the simple numbers; in classical Cuêzi the forms have become somewhat worn down: dêt, dundê, dīnde, bārde, pâdê, sêdê, xāede, yoddê, nêddê.

Intermediate numbers are formed from the ten-multiple + -t(o) + the one-multiple: dêtāno 11, dêtoduna 12, dundêtodīma 23, bārdetobāor 44, sêdêtoxāeps 67, nêddêtiosi 98. These forms obviously derive from expressions like dundêt-to dīma 'twenty and three', which indeed are seen in pre-Golden Age Cuêzi.

In rapid speech the -- seems to have been left out, and the two-syllable numbers reduced to one: dun'todīm' 23, pâ'tān' 51.

The first three ordinals have suppletive roots: eine, brose, dîero. The subsequent ordinals are formed by the suffix -ge: bāorge, pâtuge, and so on. Fractions are named with the suffix -gāu: dunagāu 'one half'.

Comparative expressions [To Index]

In an expression like 'A is newer than B', A appears in the comparative, but is declined appropriately for its role in the sentence; B appears in the ablative, and agrees with A in gender and number.
Enatēras leretâse lēiftu ê.
The steward is more clever than a wolf.

The comparison can be reversed with mai 'not': mai leretâse lēiftu 'less clever than a wolf'. Literally you've only said that the gentleman is not cleverer than the wolf; but idiomatically it is understood that he does not even reach the wolf's level.

If we're dealing with an equal level of cleverness, one uses a different expression: lerete banco lēivex 'clever as a wolf', literally 'clever in the way of a wolf'.

The comparative alone, without a following ablative, is used as an intensifier:

Anda Caumēliye, lāurâte gobrintâse-to sēi.
O Caumēliye, you are most beautiful and most compassionate.

A superlative-- A is the newest of the B's-- is formed like a comparative, but with seri 'all' modifying B: aduōrate serūna sindānu 'mightiest of cities', literally 'more mighty than all cities'.

Prepositions [To Index]

Cuêzi is not rich in prepositions. There are only seven locative prepositions, each of which does the work of several of our prepositions.
Prep Meaning Example
na on, over, on top of na etolex 'on the table'
xu under, beneath xu nîiē 'under the snow'
fa in, within, inside, among fa xudex 'inside a hole'
bri in front of; around, near bri aureē 'near the House'
drâ behind, beyond, in back of drâ pomex 'behind the man'
ōi away/apart/far from ōi sindex 'away from the city'
between sā arevitu 'between the trees'

The examples are all locative expressions, using the genitive. Phrases using the dative express movement toward: na etolnu 'onto the table', while the ablative expresses movement away: na etoltu 'off the table'. Note that English would generally use different prepositions for the ablative expressions: compare fa yeōrinu 'into the river', fa yeōredi 'out of the river'.

Naturally, all the locative prepositions can be used metaphorically: fa cavex soex 'in my heart', na coelīrex 'on (the subject of) devotion', xu cācoē biraxex 'under the heels of the enemy', etc.

Expressions of time are generally prepositional phrases. The main prepositions used are:

Prep Meaning Case Example
na when did the event occur ins. na sīmalu 'at dinnertime'
xu how long did it take ins. xu setauco 'for a week'
drâ subsequent events gen. drâ barīdecaē 'after the wedding'
bri preceding events gen. bri sīmaē 'before dinner'
abl. bri sontu 'a year ago'

Other prepositions, with their case usage:

Prep Meaning Case Example
go with ins. go rīdalu-si 'with his wife'
in return for acc. go sīmā 'in exchange for dinner'
bis without gen. bis bāxanavex 'without skill'
ex against, despite acc. ex narrû 'against the king'
so pro, for, in favor of dat. so onāemnu 'in favor of the work'

Tense usage [To Index]

Infinitive [To Index]

The infinitive is used, as in English, when there is more than one verb in a sentence:
Pomas pomillê bēre mai visse.
A real man does not know how to fear.

Pomi pomillēi loex sādore soē namasiê tiê.
My sister can overpower your real men.

The infinitive can also be used as an (undeclined) abstract noun, where we would generally use a gerund.

Etu vissê ê etu lūve. To know me is to love me.

Tense [To Index]

The present and past tense need no explanation. The past anterior is used in a past context to refer to an even earlier time:
Rēda narrûos utānā, bāsirē mâsio.
When the King arrived, the steward had already left.

The future tense is used, of course, to refer to future events. In Cuêzi, unlike English, one does not slip into the present to talk about the future.

Rēda utānilēi, brisilitu ilendē.
When you get here, the maidens will dance.

The future tense is also used as an imperative (but see the next section).

Brisilēi! Dance!

Mood [To Index]

As the name indicates, the definite mood is used for what has actually happened, is happening now, or is probably going to happen.

The remote mood is used for conditional, counterfactual, or unlikely actions or states. The simplest usage is simply to express doubt.

Mai lanê po narrûos mīsibodê zesê.
I don't think the king is happy.

Murgêde banco usūtaē creyinā. Murgêde is said to have / may have eaten like a pig.

With verbs of desire it expresses concern that the desire may not be met. Xotāu po lādale and Xotāu po lādaline both mean 'I want him to go' (In both cases lāda is placed (like the leaving) in the future); the second version, using the remote mood, implies that the prospect of him leaving is more remote, or at least it seems that way.

The remote is much like the Romance subjunctive. However, it is not used for expressions of emotion, or for impersonal expressions-- unless there is uncertainty about the action itself.

The future remote is frequently used as an imperative. Since it conveys uncertainty, it is considered more polite or deferential than the definite mood. In general the definite is reserved for children, inferiors, barbarians, and intimates

Sīxego pisilesēu. Please have some wine.

In relative clauses, the remote can be used to indicate an indefinite antecedent. Compare:

Pom rāe xāeps rīdēnu barīdē orāu.
I know of a man who has seven wives [he definitely exists].

Pom rāe xāeps rīdēnu barīdesē îcāi.
I seek a man who has seven wives [if there is one].

Past events tend to be expressed in the definite, and future events in the remote, due to the inherent certitude of the former, and the unknowability of the latter. But the past remote still finds many uses (if the course of events is unknown, for instance, or if one is considering what could have happened), and so does the definite future (it is used when the event's probability is high, or the will of the participants strong).

Conditional expressions [To Index]

Conditional expressions can occur with various combinations of the remote and definite moods. 'If X then Y' is expressed Po X go totex Y. If X and Y are both near certain, the definite is used for both:
Po barīdie, go totex barīdie.
If you're married, you're married.

If X is counterfactual, or even merely unlikely, both it and Y should be in the remote. (The consequent can't be less unlikely than the condition.)

Po namo vissese, go totex mai lerê zamêrine.
If the Lord knew, he would still pretend not to see.

In English, to signal that the Lord doesn't actually know, we use the past tense; Cuêzi uses the tense which applies to the time discussed, but in the remote. The tense may take some getting used to, but it is actually quite logical. If the condition applies to the present, as above, the present tense is used (the example translates literally "If the Lord knows..."); if it applies to the past, use the past:

Po namo vissetū, go totex mai lerê zamêrinā.
If the Lord had known, he would still have pretended not to see.

Finally, X can be placed in the definite, Y in the remote. The implication would be that X is an actual event or state, while Y is contingent; perhaps it depends on something else.

Po brissâ niōra zale, go totex enatēras ridilesi.
Though the dancing is beautiful, the steward may or may not smile.

(The example refers to a future event, so both clauses are in the future tense.)

Aspect [To Index]

In general the perfect aspect is used for singular, completed actions; the imperfect is used for incomplete, durative, habitual, or repetitive actions.
Brozio lusinu. I walked [PERFECT] to the glade.
Brozior lusinu. I was walking / used to walk [IMPERFECT] to the glade.

Xuêsicran mērie. I've read Babblers [and finished it].
Xuêsicran mērier. I was reading Babblers [but hadn't finished it].

As in French or Spanish, the imperfect can be used to describe an action which was in progress at the time of a reported action:

Antāu Metainu lādāre rēda obērelo banilerā.
Antāu was proceeding to Metaiu when he encountered the monster.

The imperfect is similar to our own progressive. It's also used for habitual or repeated actions, where we use our own past or perfect tense:

Na seriu sualixuelu arizārnu brozior.
Every day I walked to the granary.

It is not used in Cuêzi when the verb is inherently durative or stative: ôco tērie 'I was watching the flock'. There is no need to indicate that the action is incomplete; watching (like seeing, thinking, or standing) is an activity which is happening while you're doing it, not (like recognizing, killing, or arriving) only when you're done with it. The imperfect (ôco tērier) would here be used only in a habitual sense ('I used to watch the flock').

Esc 'to be' is of course stative, and so usually used in the perfect; the imperfect implies a habitual meaning. Of course, what one in in the habit of being could be considered more one's true nature than what one is just sometimes; so the imperfect of 'be' comes to have the meaning 'is by nature'. Compare sīcicolê sēi 'you're drunk', sīcicolê fuēi 'you're a drunkard'. The distinction is similar to that between ser and estar in Spanish. However, statements of category membership (things which are always true) are expressed in the perfect: siyise eteîa ê 'a daisy is a flower'.

When you've just finished an action, English used the present perfect ('I've just finished Babblers! '); Cuêzi uses the ordinary present (Xuêsicran mērāu!).

Where English uses the present perfect to indicate an ongoing action, however, Cuêzi uses the present imperfect:

Eleisadi xu pâtu sualixuēlu fuāi.
I've been in Eleisa for five days.

Passive [To Index]

The passive voice presents no great difficulty; it has the same meaning as the English passive. The English learner has only to remember that in Cuêzi, as in Latin, the passive is morphological rather than synthetic.
Antāu Isiliê lūve. Antāu loves Isiliē.
Isiliē Antāco olūvel. Isiliē is loved by Antāu.

Both direct and indirect objects can passivize; but no other expressions (ablatives, instrumentals, etc.).

Narrûos tībal sindanu dā.
The King gave the horse to the city.

Tīble narrûco sindanu odāl.
The horse was given to the city by the King.

Sindas narrûco tībal odāl.
The city was given the horse by the King.

The passivized subject is demoted to an instrumental; the raised object becomes a nominative.

Objects in subordinated clauses cannot be passivized: e.g. in the equivalent of The king desired to give the horse to the city, neither horse nor city can be raised to be the subject of the main clause.

A few verbs have only passive forms: e.g. onê 'to be born', ogonê 'to burn'.

Causatives [To Index]

The causative is narrowly defined in Cuêzi, compared to Caďinor; the causative of a verb V simply means 'cause to V, make (someone or something) V.'
And'ilenda, sēnu ēr lūvū.
Girl, you make me love you.

The subject of the causation is placed in the dative. Compare:

Yina fēā-si creyā.
The girl ate her vegetables.

Mīdore yinanu fēā-si creyeru.
Her mother made the girl eat her vegetables.

Quite a few verbs in Cuêzi are intransitive; the causative must be used to produce a transitive meaning.

Meyu ripā. The water boiled.

Ecivei meinu riperu. The maid boiled the water.

Finally, note that there are a few concepts which are expressed in Cuêzi by a causative expression, where English would have an independent verb: ōicopâ 'fall', ōicopû 'drop'; cōli 'gather (intr.)', cōlu 'assemble (trans.)'. However, the meaning of the causative is always predictable from that of the main verb (which is not true of the dynamic tenses in Caďinor).

Subordinate clauses [To Index]

A propositional object is introduced with the conjunction po 'that'.
Enatēras Sonurdaē visse po birax lerete ê.
The Master of Arms knows that the enemy is clever.

Relative clauses are introduced by rāe 'who/what', whose case and number must correspond to its role in the subordinate clause. The relative clause normally follows its head noun, but this is not necessary.

Ande pīdore, moêle rā lūvāo lerilē.
O Father, behold the woman I love.

Pomi namasiōmo radē tībal ōisizirītu.
We defeated the men who had stolen the horse.

Relativization can be interpreted as a raising transformation:

Moêle [moêlê exmissiu] būe.
The woman [I insulted the woman] is crying.

--> Moêle [rā exmissiu] būe.
The woman [whom I insulted] is crying.

As in English, a doubly embedded noun phrase can't be raised:

I've met the woman [the stranger hit the man [The man insulted the woman]]
--> *I've met the woman who the stranger hit the man who insulted.

However, a noun phrase may be relativized out of a sentence subordinated to a verb of cognition, like know or believe:

Ilendā [lanēo [ilenda po Norunaitu utāne]] bri setāuco balerio.
A week ago I met the maiden [you think [the maiden comes from Norunayas]].

Ilendā rāe lanēo po Norunaitu utāne bri setāuco balerio.
A week ago I met the maiden you think comes from Norunayas.

A better analysis, however, may be that the verb of cognition is simply treated as a parenthetical:

Ilendā rāe (lanēo) po Norunaitu utāne bri setāuco balerio.
A week ago I met the maiden (you think) comes from Norunayas.

Clitics [To Index]

If you can deal with Senātus populusque Rōmae, you should be able to deal with clitics in Cuêzi. Clitics cannot be combined.

It seems likely that only -si and -to were heard with much frequency in speech, and the latter only when conjoining single words, not sentences. Other uses of the device tend to be highly literary.

Negatives [To Index]

The normal way to form the negative is to use the particle mai before the verb, or before the element particularly to be negated. (Note that the negation is presumably news, so the negated element tends to appear near the end of the sentence.)
Tīble fa āetiê mai ê.
The horse isn't in the lake.

Fa āetiê mai tīble ê.
It isn't the horse that's in the lake.

Any other negative word may be used in place of mai. Double negatives are prohibited; but the negative clitic -me may appear as an intensifier.

Bardāu soex maida zīdê cāure.
My brother never brings trouble.

Bardāu-me soex tiblê fa āetinu maida bā.
My brother NEVER put the horse in the lake!

Questions [To Index]

To form a yes-no question, add the clitic -me to the verb, or to the element to be questioned:
Narrûos namiea lūve-me? Does the King love the Lady?
Narrûos namiea-me lūve? Is it the lady the King loves?
Namiei narrûco-me olūvel? Is it the King who loves the lady?

The clitic can be added to mai 'no' to form the interrogative particle maime, which suggests the answer no:

Bardāu soex cazu bri āetiē maime sā?
My brother wasn't even near the lake, was he?

The relative pronouns can also be used interrogatively:

Rāe bardāu soex lelā?
Who has seen my brother?

Examples [To Index]

From the Count of Years [To Index]

A short poem from the account of creation in the Count of Years, written before -50. The meter is syllabic, based on lines of 14 syllables; there is also a somewhat intricate pattern to the number of long vowels on each line.

Acūritār Alaldiē, na ūdelu oniex
Same mēgro-si, banco bardāex sualixueē!
Bis xuōmaē, bis usolex, sīe-dâ sillaē.
Ecaîas Esileto rōvas aduōre sā;
Rīxa mai alaldi gōgnu tāunu tisītu.
Rāe līxrōvate ê? Dralāde Eīnatu
Enatēras Sonurdaē; drâlu Yeâ dēsa
rāex rogas gōngili rēda rêsile oniu.
Iáinos Bidêroêllê caē natērēre,
Somâ xosêyas-to cayuē sā amīsialu.
Eīledan caē drouvū na ūdelu oniex;
Fa itīraniē-si ogonas Ulōneē.

The Council of Stars, at the dawn of all:bright was its glory, like a brotherhood of suns!No shadow, no dark, only a sea of light.Ecaîas the Bright was their mighty head,Not even the stars could look full on his face:who could be stronger? Eīnatu came next, the Master of Arms; then Yeâ the kind, whose Horn will ring when all things end. Iáinos Unbegotten reigned over them,his dream and will were joyfully theirs.Eīledan formed them, at the dawn of all;in their hearts burned the fire of Ulōne.


1Note the idiom banco bardāex sualixueē, literally 'in the way of a brotherhood of suns'. Banco is the ablative of banas 'way', but is frequently used in this way to introduce a metaphor; it is followed by the genitive. Note also further on.

2 Each line in this meter is divided into two halves of roughly equal size, and the unmarked order (mai alaldi gōgnu tāunu rīxa tisītu) wouldn't facilitate this. The easiest piece to move is rīxa.

3 'Reigned' is in the imperfect, to emphasize that Iáinos's rule was ongoing. The other verbs are in the perfect. In a couple of places the poet uses the present tense, for immediacy-- or to fit the meter.

In the land of Babblers [To Index]

A short passage from In the land of Babblers, by Beretos of Eteîa Mitano, written c. 300. Here Beretos is describing his tutor back in his House of origin, Tefalē Doro.

Sūro pomas bāure sā, cillā rāex yêtullē sītu, gori-to1 tāuex mōle, douzas-nô tāuex lēnite banco bâtex2 mavordex sā, serū-to xôtilli-si mūre. Maibanco2 enatērex sonurdaē evissex-to3 bāurex, etu maida clāyē tāu, mai cazu gora-si sēnu efōreru;4 faleriê5 solēsico tisāi ōina ane cranivēy rā sēnu dā (ton rebancīrco oêlco bōsalu falerinu soex banco ulidanu odrâcāl). Tāunu rōcie po azienārtu brozâ coêlier6, emê zamêrê tifuio po ane ecūnas roccaē fuinio. "Yine pungillê," missū. "Landāuā loex currēlu īlēlu eviū radē eîcēlu opistul7, rēda serico bri loex roccâ omer rāe dosilu Eīledanex opiser."

Sūro was an old man, whose hair was feathery and his voice soft; but his back was as straight as an iron rod, and he had all his teeth. Unlike the Master of Arms, and the old priest, he never struck me, or even raised his voice to me; in fact, I can only recall one rebuke he ever gave me (and for that reason, perhaps, it is engraved on my memory as if in steel). I had told him that I liked walking in the woods, because I could pretend I was one of the epic heroes. "Foolish boy," he said. "You deaden your mind with these thoughts of stories written by men, when all about you is a story which is written by the finger of God."


1 Beretos frequently uses clitics: instead of ton gori tāuex mōle (ê), he writes gori-to tāuex mōle. The second-position placement of rāex in the previous clause is an instance of the same stylistic device.

2 Maibanco 'unlike' works like banco, which we met above.

3 Both titles are interesting. An enatēras is one who is set to watch over (na + tēre) a sheepherd or by extension an estate or an office. Nure literally means 'to suck'; so sonure is literally to give suck-- that is, to provide what is necessary; thus sonurdāe 'provisions', or more precisely 'weapons'. Thus enatēras sonurdaē 'Master of Arms'. Finally, vissê is 'to know', so an evissas Eīledanex is a 'one who knows Eīledan'-- a specialist in religion, a priest.

4 Literally, he did not efōru 'make louder' his voice-- an example of a causative formed from an adjective. It appears here in the imperfect, emphasizing that the restraint was habitual.

5 Another interesting word: to remember is falerê-- literally 'to see inside' your mind. The next word, solēsico, is the instrumental of solēsias 'truth', which must serve for the adverbs Cuêzi does not possess.

6 Note the use of the naked ablative azienārtu 'in the woods'-- no preposition is needed, since no other could reasonably have been meant. The imperfect is used here, as Beretos' walks were repeated.

7 Sūro might equally have said rade eīcē pisītu 'which men wrote'; note how the Cuêzi passive, unlike the English, is no wordier than the active; it is thus available for subtle distinctions of focus, without imparting a difference in stylistic register.


© 2003 by Mark Rosenfelder
Virtual Verduria