Virtual Verduria


Introduction PeopleFamilyTermsSources
Phonology ConsonantsVowelsPhonotacticsStress
Morphology NounsPronounsNumbersVerbsDerivational
Syntax Sentence orderNP orderNegativesQuestionsCopulasConjunctionsPossessionLocativesGiving and speakingSerial verbsCausativesPurposeRelative clausesAspect contrastsComparatives
Semantic fields Polite formulasKinship termsNames
Samples Gods and humansRecording


© 2021 by Mark Rosenfelder


The people

Šɯk is the language of Šɯʇ— to be precise, the language of the Šɤ river valley in what is today known as Šočya, on the eastern coast of Lebiscuri.

Šɯʇ adopted agriculture from the Bhöɣetans around 1300 Z.E.; we don’t know if the Šɯʇ went to the Bhöɣeta, or if Bhöɣetan settlers arrived. (There is no trace of Bhöɣetan languages in the area.) Chiefdoms appeared in each of the twenty river valleys (ǁɤ) that run through the desert.

Right: Šɯʇ and its major rivers. The orange area is desert; the light green, subtropical. The map is labeled in Šɯk. ǁika is the name of the ocean.

The most populous valley, Šɤ, conquered the remaining valleys by 3400. As it was ruled by a queen, Nyaʇa, and she had only one daugher, ǁika, she proclaimed that only queens could rule Šɯʇ. As a result the queendom was matriarchal, a practice soon adopted by the chiefdoms; families outside the elite remained male-dominated.

In the 3540s the Šɯʇ were decimated by Ereláean diseases; this made it easy for Verdurians to begin settling the river valleys. In 3549 queen ʘisa attempted to repress ʇak, the valley to the south, which had accepted Verdurian sovereignty. The Verdurians took the opportunity to conquer the Šɤ valley, depose ʘisa, and assert their authority over all of Šɯʇ. In 3551 the region was organized as the colony of Šočya.

Some of the more interesting features of Šɯk:

The family

The languages of Šɯʇ form the Šɯʇian family.

The family can be divided into north and south— the languages of Črek and Šɯʇ, separated by an icëlan forest. Črek (ʇlik) is steppeland, and its people were hunter-gatherers and then pastoralists; they rarely interacted with the southern group and were not part of the Šɯʇ queendom.

Within South Šɯʇian, each valley developed its own culture and language— as the Šɯʇ say, ǁɤ nya kah ket: “Every valley its own language.” Almean linguists have taken them at their word, cataloguing twenty different South Šɯʇian languages. This is undoubtedly exaggerated: e.g. it’s clear that the varieties spoken in the adjacent Šɤ and ʇak valleys, though clearly distinguished, are mutually intelligible.

In general people could understand the languages two or three valleys over, but not farther. That is, there is a clear north-south geographical continuum, with no obvious discontinuities, except for the three northernmost languages (ʘɤml, Mahl, and a minor river in between). There is no consensus on how many languages there “really are” nor on where the divisions should be put.

Terminological note

The Šɯʇ themselves introduced some confusion, applying the word Šɯʇ first to the people of the Šɤ valley, then to the entire Šɯʇian queendom.

I will use Šɯʇ only for the entire region (i.e. Šočya). In Šɯk, if desired, it was possible to distinguish ʇšɤ ‘inhabitant of the Šɤ valley’ from ʇpily ‘inhabitant of Šɯʇ’.

When the Verdurians arrived they made laymen’s approximations to Šɯk words— e.g. Šɯʇ > Šoč > Šočia > Šočya; Šɤ > Šö; ʘisa > Bisa. Šɯk was sometimes Šuc and sometimes Šočë. These became conventional, but I will avoid Verdurianisms here.

Dating and sources

This document describes “classical Šɯk” (üla Šočë), the language as recorded around 3600. The major sources are the University of Verduria grammar edited by Vrzol Šin in 3613, and the Śycte nizgu by the masterful Kebreni linguist Cadec Angen.

This is post-contact (so there are words for Verdurian things), but does not reflect the thorough Verdurianization already underway at that time, which would make the language almost unrecognizable by the time Angen pubished her grammar in 3646.

The corpus of classical Šɯk is disappointing. Scholars collected songs, folk tales, and myths, but these amount to a few volumes, and no one thought about recording ordinary conversation (though we do have a few phonographic recordings made in the 3590s). By the time scholars paid more attention to everyday language, Šɯk had greatly changed, and no more precolonial speakers existed.

As a result we cannot answer all the questions we might have about Šɯk, and aspects of the grammar are still debated.



The consonantal array:
labial dental post-alv velar
stops p b t d k g
clicks ʘ ǁ ʇ
fricatives f s š h
nasals m n ny
liquids l ly
Šɯk is notable for having three click consonants. These are formed by articulating a stop and creating suction, then releasing it suddenly. t d s n all use a purely dental place of articulation. ʇ and š are post-alveolar. ǁ is lateral.

h is pronounced /h/ by women and the elite, and as /x/ by everyone else.

ny and ly are palatalized. It was widely observed that ny was identical to Bhöɣetan ñ; the romanization here reflects the orthography. The lower classes pronounced ly as [ɬ].

Some of the other Šɯtian languages, especially in the north, have a wider range of clicks.


front back
high i ɯ
mid e ɤ
low æ a
There are six vowels; note that the back vowels are unrounded— there are no phonemes /u o/. The Verdurians often hear ɯ ɤ as ü ö; this will seem strange if you’re thinking of the rounding, but makes more sense if you think of them as “not /u o/ for some reason”. The Kebreni represent ɯ as their y y.

On the allophonic level, after a labial consonant (including ʘ), the back vowels are somewhat rounded. Thus pɯt mɤ are pronouced [put mo]. Similarly, front vowels are rounded after ny ly, so nyik lyeh are pronounced [ɲük λöh].


Syllables are limited to two patterns: Medial clusters are not well tolerated. Note that ly and ny are not clusters, and a word like bassak is three syllables /ba-s-sak/.

For the syllabic consonants, cf. ʇ-pily, ʇ-šɤ, kɯs-ǁ, l-hɤn, ǁit-l, kak-s. This can happen only if the consonant is followed or preceded by another consonant: ǁika is ǁi-ka, not ǁ-i-ka. Note that nɯš-s is pronounced [nɯʃ:]. A very few words have no vowels, e.g. ʘǁ, sʘ.

Earthly click languages normally restrict the clicks to the syllable onset, but Šɯk does not.

Voicing is lost word-finally. Fricatives are voiced in medial position— e.g. ifa is pronounced [iva].

Multiple vowels should each get their own syllable— e.g. hɤi is [hɤ i] or even [hɤ ʔi], not [hɤj].


Stress should be placed on the first syllable (which may, as noted above, be a click or syllabic s or l).


Šɯk is written with the Verdurian alphabet, thus:
labial dental post-alv velar
stops p p t t c k
b b d d g g
clicks w ʘ ® ǁ ç ʇ
fricatives f f s s ß š h h
nasals m m n n ny ny
liquids l l
ly ly
The motivating principle for the orthography— not unknown in terrestrial linguistics— is “make use of what’s already on the typewriter.” The vowels:
front back
high i i u ɯ
mid e e o ɤ
low ä æ a a
That is, the Verdurians write ɯ ɤ as u o— though they usually borrow them as ü ö. ä for æ (Verdurian ä) is another case of using a convenient, vaguely related letter.

Scholars sometimes use the Almean phonetic alphabet, but Šɯk speakers have stuck with the system above. If you use the Verdurian font, make the following substitutions before switching fonts.

š    k    u    o    æ    ʘ    ǁ    ʇ    lye    nye   
ß c u o ä w ç ®
On the Mac, ß ç ® are alt-s alt-c alt-r. On Windows, well, cut and paste is your friend.



Nouns do not inflect, but NPs do. There are several clitics used: Applied to a noun, these look like inflections: pa > pany ‘mothers’, ɯsak > ɯsaknye ‘healers’; pɤt ‘of mother’, ɯsakat ‘of the healer’; ɯsaknyit ‘of the healers’; Šɤ > Šɯʇ ‘of the Šɤ’; Šɯʇnyæt ‘to Šɯʇ’.

But add some modifiers, and you’ll see that the clitic applies to the end of the NP:

pa sɤl > pa sɤlnye ‘the good mothers’
pa sɤl > pa sɤlat ‘of the good mother’
pa sɤl ʘe > pa sɤl ʘeny ‘those good mothers’
As the clitics end an NP, they can stack. ɯsak ʘilyat ‘the queen’s healer’ is straightforward, but note
meç usac wily-at-at-në
meʇ ɯsak ʘily-at-at-nye
son healer queen-gen-gen-pl
the sons of the queen’s healer
It may be hard to wrap your head around this, but it’s a simple application of the NP rule. It may be easier to understand if we add brackets and colors:
[meʇ ɯsak [ʘily-at]-at]-nye
son healer queen-gen-gen-pl
the sons of the queen’s healer
The genitive clitic can’t occur more than two times in a row, unless another clitic intervenes. Thus the above phrase could be extended to nap meʇ ɯsak ʘily-at-at-nye-at ‘the house of the sons of the queen’s healer’, but 'the house of the son of the queen’s healer’ is nap meʇ ɯsak ʘily-at-at with a ‘missing’ -at.



Personal pronouns are rarely used, as person is marked on the verb. But independent forms do exist, used for emphasis or precision, or with conjunctions.
s pl
1 nim nimnye
2 gɤm gɤmnye

Personal genitives

Though the genitive clinic can be added to the above forms (nimat ‘my’; nap nimat ‘my house’), it’s more common to add affixes: 1 -s, 2 -l, 3 -n(ɤ). Thus:
naps my or our house
napl your house
napnɤ his/her house
These are not clitics, but inflections, so you say e.g. napsnye ‘my houses’, naps siny ‘my beautiful house’.

(We’ll meet these same affixes in the verbal morphology, but note that the ‘you’ marker works differently for verbs.)


adj NP anim NP inan
this baly ɯbaly bah
that ʘe ɯpe ʘeh
The first column is used with a noun: nily baly ‘this girl’, nily ʘe ‘that girl’.

The other forms take the place of an entire NP. The ɯ- form is used for animates, the -h form for inanimates. These can also be used as 3rd person pronouns.


none si
some hiʘɤ
other aly
many lyɤ
all nya
The quantifiers are adjectives, following the noun: nyeš si ‘no person’, he nya ‘all temples’.

To form NPs, these are combined with an appropriate generic noun— nyeš ‘person’, tat ‘thing’, mat ‘day’, mɯs ‘place’ are the most common, but something more specific can be used.


The basic interrogative is ɤʘ ‘who, what’. It combines with various nouns to form other questions, e.g. mat ɤʘ ‘what day’ = ‘when’.

There is also nyɤʘ for ‘why’.


n n+10 1/n Verd
1 lyeh se
2 hi lɯka mai
3 ʘɤ lɯka se eke
4 ely lyeh elybæ ʘelyat pal
5 nyar lyeh nyarbæ ʘnyarat pan
6 nyaši lyeh nyašibæ ʘnyašit ses
7 nyalɯ taha kai ʘnyalɯt ep
8 nyaʇap teha ʘnyaʇapat šɤk
9 mida ʘmidet nef
10 lyeh ʘlyihat dek
The numbers 5 and up are largely borrowed from Bhöɣetan. Lyeh, now ‘10’, is related to lyɤ ‘many’ and probably once meant only ‘more than four’.

100 is dašaʇ, 324 is tenaʇ.

Multiplication is implied by concatenation. This allows multiples of 10 or 18 to be used:

lyeh hi 20
lyeh nyaši 60
teha hi 36
teha nyar 90
dašaʇ hi 200
tenaʇ ʘɤ 972
Addition is indicated with the clitic -:
lyeh elybæ 10 4-and 14
lyeh nyaši ʘɤbæ 10 6 3-and 63
dašaʇ hi lyeh nyašibæ 100 2 10 6-and 260
teha hi nyalɯbæ 18 2 7-and 43
Merchants in Šɯʇ often simply used a Bhöɣetan language for counting and arithmetic (indeed, they were often Bhöɣetans themselves). Unsurprisingly, Verdurian numeration was adopted quickly; the last column of the table shows the borrowed numbers. (Native 1 2 3 were kept.)

Numbers follow the noun, usually with no plural: nily ʘɤ ‘three girls’.


Subject affixes

Verbs are marked by affixes which give the subject:
-s I/we
e- you
-n he/she/it/they
kɯs I go, we go
ekɯ you go
kɯn he/she goes, they go
mes I am, we are
eme you are
men he/she is, they are
kaks I speak
ekak you speak
kan he speaks
When there’s a final consonant, as with kak, -s becomes syllabic.

The 3rd person -n usually eats the final consonant. But there are exceptions, marked in the lexicon: e.g. kap ‘hide’ > kam ‘he/she hides’.

Object affixes

Verbs are also marked with object prefixes.
s- me/us
l- you
ʘ- him/her/it/them
Here are all the combinations for hɤl ‘see:
1 2 3
Object (none) hɤls ehɤl hɤn
1 sehɤl shɤn
2 lhɤls lhɤn
3 ʘhɤls ʘehɤl ʘhɤn
Object marking is not used in the following cases:


Some speakers optionally indicated the plurality of either subject or object by suffixing -nye to the verb. Thus ʘkaksnye could mean any of ‘I spoke to them’, ‘We spoke to him’, or ‘We spoke to them.’


The verb alone can be said to be perfective or completive: it sees the action as a single event which proceeeds to completion. It does not necessarily imply past, though it’s normal for describing past events.

As perception and belief are immediate, verbs expressing these can be used in the present: hɤls = ‘I see’ or ‘I saw’.

There are three clitics which express various aspects and modalities. Only one can be used at a time.

The meanings change in conditional expressions; see the syntax section.


The habitual or iterative is formed by reduplicating the verb, omitting the final consonant. Thus:
kɯkɯs I went often, I go on and on
hɤhɤs I watched often, I watched and watched
kakas I spoke often, I spoke a lot
ʇɤʇɤs I coughed often, I had coughing fits
The idea is that the action starts and stops, as opposed to the imperfective which describes a prolonged or uncompleted action.

It can be combined with the irrealis (ha-ekakas ‘you should speak often’) or intentive (ge-kakas ‘I will speak a lot’).


The prefix - forms the ventive, which indicates that the action moves toward the speaker, or takes place near them, or was done for their benefit.

Thus kɯn ‘he went’, but mɯkɯn ‘he came’, i.e. ‘he went towards me’.

The combination mɯ + e- > mɤ; thus ekɯ ‘you went’ > mɤkɯ ‘you came’.

The ventive often becomes a simple benefactive: e.g. a queen may boast mɯlin he ‘they built the temple for me’. You can also use the ventive with reference to your household or institution, so long as you are closely associated with it. E.g. a member of the queen’s court could also say mɯlin he, though the benefit is understood to be for the queen.


The negative is formed by suffixing -ǁ:
kɯsǁ I didn’t go
ekɯǁ you didn’t go
kɯnǁ he didn’t go
me-kɯsǁ I wasn’t going, I’m not going
ha-kɯsǁ I shouldn’t go
kɯkɯsǁ I wasn’t going a lot
mɯkɯnǁ he didn’t come
If ǁ is applied after the subject affix -s, the final consonant of the root disappears: thus kasǁ ‘I didn’t speak’.


The prefix ba- expresses the middle, which we can define simply as “not active.” It may be more useful to enumerate its three major uses.

If ba- is used, omit the 3rd person -n if any. Ba + e- > bæ-.

First, it’s a reflexive: hešs ‘I washed it’ > bahešs ‘I washed myself’.

Second, it expresses an agentless action. This is similar to a passive, but it’s generally used when there is no apparent agent at all. Compare ssan ‘he healed me’ with bassak ‘I got better’. Baniǁ fɤt ‘the door opened’ is appropriate when the door opens by itself, but not when an indefinite subject is meant.

This meaning is often lexicalized as a change in valence, but note that the person experiencing the action continues to be expressed as an object, not a subject. Thus eǁan ‘he killed you’ > bæǁat ‘you were killed’.

Finally, with verbs of perception or belief, the middle expresses a change of state. Thus hɤls ‘I saw it’ > bahɤls ‘I came to see it, I (just then) noticed it.’


The simplest imperative is the verb root: ! ‘go!’

It’s negated in two ways. The normal negative ǁ is used to prohibit an action: kɯǁ! ‘don’t go!’ By extension, ǁ alone has the meaning ‘Don’t!’

The verb ɤʇ means ‘stop’, but can be prefixed to an imperative with the meaning ‘stop that’. Thus ɤʇ-kɯ! ‘stop going!’ This can be abbreviated ɤʇ! ‘stop!’

The other verb prefixes can be used, sometimes with slightly changed meanings:

Derivational morphology

ɯ- doer ɯsak healer
-(i)h nominalizer (fronts vowel) kak speak > kah language
ʘ- concrete object (plus genitive) nye evil > ʘnyit monster
-k language Bedur Verduria > beduk Verdurian
ʇ- member nam palace > ʇnam courtier
-m augmentative nap house > nam palace
-l adjectivizer (syllabic after a consonant) ǁit heart > ǁitl vigorous
-ly feminine hik husband > hily wife
-a verbalizer fih work > fiha work


Šɯk is largely head-first. This means verbs normally come first in the sentences, and nouns head their NPs.

Sentence order

The normal sentence order is VOS:
‰an wnyit utul.
ǁan ʘnyit ɯtɯl.
kill.3 monster warrior
The warrior killed the monster.

Mecan wily çe.
Mekan ʘily ʇe.
irr-see.3 queen priest
The priest should speak to the queen.

The fact that verb affixes are in the order O-V-S (mostly; subject e- is an exception) makes linguists wonder if the syntactic order was once OVS. But there is no direct evidence of this.

If the object is not stated, and it’s animate, it’s marked on the verb with ʘ-:

W®an utul.
ʘǁan ɯtɯl.
3-kill.3 warrior
The warrior killed it.
We do see VSO sentences, which show object agreement. They are thus a form of topicalization.
W®an utul wnyit.
ʘǁan ɯtɯl ʘnyit.
3-kill.3 warrior monster
The monster, the warrior killed it.
1st and 2nd person arguments are expressed using verb affixes. Personal pronouns are rare.
Mecacs wily.
Me-kaks ʘily.
irr-see-1 queen
I should speak to the queen.

I should speak to her.
Another form of topicalization is to front an argument, replacing it with ɯpe/ʘeh ‘that one (animate/inanimate)’.
Utul, çan wnyit upe.
Ɯtɯl, ǁan ʘnyit ɯpe.
warrior / kill.3 monster
The warrior, he killed the monster.

Wnyit, çan upe utul.
ʘnyit, ǁan ɯpe ɯtɯl.
monster / kill.3 warrior
The monster, the warrior killed it.

NP order

The noun always heads the NP. Some examples:
nily a girl
nily siny a beautiful girl
nily baly this girl
nily siny baly this beautiful girl
nilynye girls
nily balynye these girls
nily nyar five girls
nily siny nyar balynye these five beautiful girls
nily naǁatnye the girls of the city
nily naǁše a girl from the city
nily naǁšenye girls from the city
nily naǁnyeše a girl from the cities
nily ǁanl ɯtɯl the girl who killed the monster
Modifiers relate to the preceding noun. Compare:
nily siny nyar na®at
nily siny nyar naǁat
girl beautiful five city-gen
the five beautiful girls from the city

nily sinynë na® nyarat
nily sinynye naǁ nyarat
girl beautiful city five-gen
the beautiful girls from the five cities

There are no articles.


A sentence is negated using the verbal suffix ǁ:
‰an® wnyit utul.
ǁanǁ ʘnyit ɯtɯl.
kill.3-not monster warrior
The warrior didn’t kill the monster.
If you want to negate a particular element, use the quantifier si ‘none’. The ǁ suffix is optional in this construction.
‰an(®) wnyit si utul.
ǁan(ǁ) ʘnyit si ɯtɯl.
kill.3-(not) monster none warrior
The warrior didn’t kill any monster.



To question a statement, use the particle meʘ at the end of the sentence:
‰an wnyit utul mew?
ǁan ʘnyit ɯtɯl meʘ?
kill.3 monster warrior Q
Did the warrior kill the monster?
The simplest answer is ʘeh, literally ‘That.’ Colloquially, just ʘ will do. You can also repeat the verb, though be careful when pronominal affixes appear as they must be corrected:
—Me-wecacs mew?
—Me-ʘekaks meʘ?
irr-3-see-1 Q
Should I speak to her?

Yes, you should speak to her.

The negative response is meǁ ‘no’ (literally ‘it is not’). Colloquially you can just utter ǁ.

You can question a negative statement the same way:

‰an® wnyit utul mew?
ǁanǁ ʘnyit ɯtɯl meʘ?
kill.3-not monster warrior Q
Didn’t the warrior kill the monster?
Here ʘeh affirms the negative: “Right, he didn’t kill it.” To affirm the positive— “he did kill it”— you say aly, literally ‘the other’. If that is confusing, just use the verb (ʘǁan ‘he killed it’, ʘǁanǁ ‘he didn’t kill it’).

You can also answer questions with edaš ‘you know’. This is the response when the answer is obvious, or you suspect the speaker is playing games (they’re speaking rhetorically or evasively).

The interrogative

The interrogative pronoun ɤʘ replaces any argument, and is not moved out of its position. ɤʘ does not trigger any verbal agreement.
‰at wnyit ow?
ǁat ʘnyit ɤʘ?
kill monster who
Who killed the monster?

‰an ow utul.
ǁan ɤʘ ɯtɯl.
kill.3 who warrior
What did the warrior kill?
When pronominal affixes are involved, there will be only one argument, but the affixes will make the meaning clear.
‰ats ow?
ǁats ɤʘ?
kill-1 who
What did I kill?

S®at ow?
Sǁat ɤʘ?
1-kill who
What killed me?
The interrogative can take the locative and genitive clitics:
Mi-ekɯ ownyät?
Mi-ekɯ ɤʘnyæt?
imperf-2-go who-allat
Where are you going?

Men nap owat bah?
Men nap ɤʘat bah?
be-3s house who-gen this-inan
Whose house is this?
To query a time, use an expression like mat ɤʘ ‘what day’:
Moku mat ow?
Mɤkɯ mat ɤʘ?
vent-2-go day who
When did you arrive?
There is a separate interrogative nyɤʘ for ‘why’:
Nyow men ßel ßom?
Nyɤʘ men šel šɤm?
why be-3 sky blue
Why is the sky blue?


Me ‘be’ can be used as an ordinary verb:
Men unyeh çbedurnë.
Men ɯnyeh ʇbedɯrnye.
be-3 villain Verdurian-pl
Verdurians are villains.
This statement can be used of a present or past state. The imperfective (me-me) is used for a temporary state. Compare:
Me-men Usiny ßap.
Me-men Ɯsiny šap.
be-be-3 Ɯsiny drunk
Ɯsiny is currently drunk.

Men Usiny ßap.
Men Ɯsiny šap.
be-3 Ɯsiny drunk
Ɯsiny is a drunkard.
However, it’s more common to simply treat a one-word predicate as a verb. This construction always expresses the current condition without asserting that it is permanent.
Nyen çbedurnë.
Nyen ʇbedɯrnye.
evil-3 Verdurian-pl
Verdurians are evil.

Ían Usiny.
Šam Ɯsiny.
drunk.3 Ɯsiny
Ɯsiny is drunk.
Note that denominals like ɯnyeh (‘villain’, literally ‘evil one’) are replaced by their roots in this construction.


Nouns are normally conjoined using the comitative clitic -. Thus matšemat matɤlatbæ ‘summer and winter’, nily šimbæ ‘a girl and a boy’.

Again, the clitic attaches to an entire NP.

nily nyaßl ßim sinybä
nily nyašl šim siny
girl brave boy beautiful-com
the brave girl and the beautiful boy
Grammatically, the NP+clitic modifies the first name, and thus is not reflected on the verb. That is, only the first conjoint triggers verbal agreement:
Me-gewen nas nimbä.
Me-geʘen nas nimbæ.
impf-argue.3 father-1 I-com
My father and I were arguing.

Me-gewems nim nasbä.
Me-geʘems nim nasbæ.
impf-argue-1 I father-1-com
I and my father were arguing.
If you have more than two conjoints, add -bæ only to the last: ʘily nam nyešbæ ‘the queen and the court and the people’.

The clitic can’t be used with adjectives or verbs. But in these cases concatenation can be used:

nily nyaßl siny
nily nyašl siny
girl brave beautiful
the brave beautiful girl

Íin nen wily.
Šin nen ʘily.
eat.3 sleep-3 queen
The queen ate and slept.
Sentences are conjoined with ifa:
Nen wily, ifa mucun wnyitnë.
Nen ʘily, ifa mɯkɯn ʘnyitnye.
sleep-3 queen / and vent-go monster-pl
The queen slept, and the monsters came.
which is also used (more rarely) with other constitutents
nily nyaßl ifa ßim siny
nily nyašl ifa šim siny
girl brave and boy beautiful
the brave girl and the beautiful boy
Other conjunctions are far simpler, being particles that work the same with all constituents. E.g. han ‘or’:
matßemat han matolat
matšemat han matɤlat
summer or winter
summer or winter

Íin wily, han nen.
Šin ʘily, han nen.
eat.3 queen / or sleep-3
The queen ate, or she slept.


The genitive is used for actual possession, and more abstract association— much like our ‘of’.
çɯny uçet
ʇɯny ɯʇet
pot potter-gen
the pot of the potter

hily uçet
hily ɯʇet
wife potter-gen
the wife of the potter

uß lyainyit
ɯš lyainyit
forest icëlan-pl-gen
the forest of the icëlani
Again, the clitic –(a)t attaches to the end of the NP, which can produce a stack of clitics at the end of a complex phrase:
Cus nap nily sinynyitnyät.
Kɯs nap nily sinynyitnyæt.
go-1 house girl-beautiful-pl-gen-allat
We’re going to the house of the beautiful girls
Genitives are often lexicalized, with an initial ʘ deriving from ʘe ‘that’— e.g. ʘe neʇat ‘that of the bee’ > ʘneʇat ‘honey’; ʘe gɤlyat ‘that of the penis’ > ʘgɤlyat ‘semen’. This is also the regular way to form fractions, e.g. ʘnyašit ‘that of six > one sixth’.

Existentials are expressed with the verb (not me). Note that locatives are placed just after the verb, and the subject at the end.

Con na®il saßaly siny.
Kɤn naǁil sašaly siny.
exist-3 city-loc prostitute beautiful
There is a beautiful prostitute in the city.

Possession uses the same expression, with a genitive in second position:

Con nilyat nap siny.
Kɤn nilyat nap siny.
be-3 girl-gen house beautiful
The girl has a beautiful house.
1st person possession uses the ventive:
Mucon nap siny
kɤn nap siny
vent-be-3 house beautiful
I have a beautiful house. (Lit. there exists for me…)
2nd person possession uses the prefix l-; that is, ‘you’ is treated as the object.
Lcon hily siny.
Lkɤn hily siny.
vent-be-3 wife beautiful
You have a beautiful wife. (Lit. there exists you…)


The language has no prepositions, but it has three case clitics. Compare:
Ulyos na®il.
Ɯlyɤs naǁil.
reside-1 city-loc
I live in the city.

Cos na®nyät.
Kɯs naǁnyæt.
go-1 city-allat
I went to the city.

Cos na®ße.
Kɯs naǁše.
go-1 city-abl
I left the city (literally, went from it).
Like the plural and genitive, these are clitics, not affixes: naǁ sinyil ‘in the beautiful city’, naǁ siny mæše ‘from the beautiful big city’.

For more precision, you can use expressions like

guhil dacat
gɯhil dakat
bottom-loc tree-gen
at the bottom of the tree
In the above sentences the locative is an argument. It can also be used as an NP modifier:
na® moi
naǁ mɤi
city water-loc
a city on the river
Locatives are also used for time: For duration, use the quantifier nya ‘all’: bɯha nyai ‘all night’. But note that using the plural forces a distributive meaning: bɯha nyanyi ‘every night’.

Verbs of giving and speaking

Verbs of giving seem at first to be simple: the recipient takes the allative.
Pon hicnyät nam wily.
Pɤn hiknyæt nam ʘily.
give.3 husband-allat palace queen
The queen gave her husband a palace.
When the recipient is not explicitly given, however, it is represented by the object prefixes on the verb:
Spon nam wily.
Spɤn nam ʘily.
1-give.3 palace queen
The queen gave me a palace.

Wpon nam wily.
ʘpɤn nam ʘily.
3-give.3 palace queen
The queen gave him a palace.
A 1st person object can also be expressed with the ventive: Mɯpɤn nam ʘily.

The same is true of verbs of speaking:

Lcan wnyit.
Lkan ʘnyit.
2-speak.3 monster.
The monster spoke to you.

Serial verbs

Sometimes the object of a verb is another verb. This is handled simply by placing it in the object slot, with no inflections.
Menon däfa nily.
Menɤn dæfa nily.
impf-want.3 dance girl
The girl wants to dance.
An object can be included, but it triggers verbal agreement on the main verb; this can be seen as a form of Raising.
Menon ßif whanet nily.
Menɤn šif ʘhanet nily.
impf-want.3 eat peach girl
The girl wants to eat a peach.

Smenon cac nily.
Smenɤn kak nily.
1-impf-want.3 speak girl
The girl wants to speak to me.
If the subordinate verb is intransitive, its subject can be expressed, and also triggers object agreement on the main verb:
Meße®n ku çe nily.
Mešeǁn kɯ ʇe nily.
impf-await.3 go priest girl
The girl hopes the priest will go.

Lmeße®n ku nily.
Lmešeǁn kɯ nily.
2-impf-await.3 go girl
The girl hopes you will go.
If you want to express both subject and object of the subordinated verb, there are two methods. First, the subordinate subject can be expressed as an allative:
Ren ßif whanet çenyät nily.
ǁen šif ʘhanet ʇenyæt nily.
order-3 eat peach priest-allat girl
The girl ordered the priest to eat a peach.
Second, you can state the subordinated sentence separately, either fronted or backed, and refer to it with ʘeh ‘that’.
‰en weh nily, ha-ßin whanet çe.
ǁen ʘeh nily, ha-šin ʘhanet ʇe.
order-3 girl / irr-eat.3 peach priest
The girl ordered the priest to eat a peach.
Note that the subordinated sentence is inflected like an independent sentence. In this case it’s irrealis, so that we’re reporting the order without stating that it was carried out. If the priest did eat the peach, you use the realis.


There are three ways to form causatives.

One is lexical, and is of course limited to what the lexicon supplies. E.g. hol is ‘see’, naʘ is ‘cause to see’, i.e. ‘show’. Also note the pattern exemplified by ǁat ‘kill’, which in the middle voice means ‘die’.

Second, we can use a subordinated verb, often with the main verb gai ‘cause’:

Gain nily, ßin whanet çe.
Gain nily, šin ʘhanet ʇe.
cause-3 girl / eat peach priest
The girl made the priest eat a peach.
Third, the causer can replace the subject, which is demoted to an allative:
Íin whanet çenyät nily.
Šin ʘhanet ʇenyæt nily.
eat.3 peach priest-allat girl
The girl made the priest eat a peach.
If the causee isn’t directly expressed, and the normal object is inanimate (like the peach), the causee triggers verbal agreement:
Wßin whanet nily.
ʘšin ʘhanet nily.
3-eat.3 peach girl
The girl made him eat a peach.


The organ of will was considered to be mɯt, the liver. This supplies idioms of intent or purpose, notably mɯtil X ‘intending to do X’. Note that X is usually uninflected, as aspect and arguments can be supplied from the context.
Popan utul, mutil niwa wnyit.
Pɤpan ɯtɯl, mɯtil niʘa ʘnyit.
walk-3 warrior / mind-in touch monster
The warrior walked, intending to find the monster.
The interrogative nyɤʘ X ‘why X’ can also be used as an object:
Nɯßs nyow mocu.
Nɯšs nyɤʘ mɤkɯ.
seek-1 why vent-2-go
I want to know why you came.

Relative clauses

Relative clauses are formed using the -l adjectizer, which produces a type of participle.
Min wilynyenyät çe.
Min ʘilynyenyæt ʇe.
sacrifice god-pl-allat priest
The priest sacrificed to the gods.

> çe micl wilynyenyät
> ʇe mikl ʘilynyenyæt
priest sacrifice-adj god-pl-allat
the priest who sacrificed to the gods
The participle can optionally take inflections: lmikl ‘sacrificing to you’, hamikl ‘possibly sacrificing’, miklǁ ‘not sacrificing’, etc.

If it’s the object that’s relativized, it should be represented by an object prefix on the participle.

‰an wnyit utul.
ǁan ʘnyit ɯtɯl.
kill.3 monster warrior
The warrior killed the monster.

> wnyit wçanl utul.
> ʘnyit ʘǁanl ɯtɯl.
monster 3-kill.3 warrior
the monster that the warrior killed

Aspect contrasts

Often two adjacent sentences differ in aspect. The combination itself is meaningful. me + ø (imperfective + perfective) expresses what action was going on when something else happened.
Me-nen wnyit, whon utul.
Me-nen ʘnyit, ʘhɤn ɯtɯl.
impf-sleep-3 monster / 3-see-3 warrior
The monster was sleeping when the warrior saw it.
ha + me (irrealis + imperfective) expresses a conditional. The presupposition is that the condition is untrue or unknown.
Ha-babeß ®o, me-babeß mupily.
Ha-babeš ǁɤ, me-babeš mɯpily.
irr-mid-lose valley / impf-mid-lose queendom
If the valley is lost, the country is lost.
ha + ge (irrealis + intentive) expresses a conditional vow or warning: “If this happens, may this happen!” In this construction only, ge- may be used for non-1st-person subjects.
Ha-bassac gupl, gi-emik poc.
Ha-bassak gɯpl, gi-emik pɤk.
irr-mid-heal dog-2 / intent-2-sacrifice flauk
If your dog gets better, you must sacrifice a flauk.


The formula for the comparative is <be> NP <adj> <comparator> NP-loc:
Men Laß siny se Filai.
Men Laš siny se Filai.
be-3 Laš beautiful more Fila-loc
Laš is more beautiful than Fila.
For “less” use kai in place of se.

Without a comparison NP, the expression is superlative:

Men Laß siny se.
Men Laš siny se.
be-3 Laš beautiful more
Laš is the most beautiful.

Semantic fields

Polite formulas

The standard exchange of greetings is Me-lkaks / Me-diʇs, literally “I am speaking to you” / “I am listening.”

With nobles, a lesser person instead says Baʘɯts ‘I abase myself’. You can add a title, but the Šɯʇ norm is for inferiors to say as little as possible, not to be florid.

Lower-class people are known, or notorious, for the greeting ssǁ— the [s] is loud and prolonged. A relatively mild put-down for the masses is ʇsǁ, the people who say ssǁ.

On parting, you say tan ʘinye, literally “The gods call”— the idea being that only a summons from the gods is grounds for ending a conversation. The response is Tan kɯbæ “They summon so go!” (a rare use of the conjunctive clitic with verbs).

If you receive something, you say Enyɤl ‘you are kind’; the response is Ekak ‘you say it’, which in general is used for noncomittal replies (“is that so”).

If you’re mildly sorry about something, you say Mæm dɯǁs ‘great is my sin’; the response is kɤǁ ‘it doesn’t exist’.

You would add honorifics before a superior’s name, and in elite contexts, to an equal’s or even a lofty inferior’s: ʘily Laš ‘Queen Laš’, An Laš ‘Lady Laš’, hɯm Laš ‘elder Laš’, umɤ Laš ‘older brother Laš’. An all-purpose honorific was sɤl ‘good’.

Kinship terms

In Lewis Morgan’s terms, Šɯk has a variant of the Iroquois kinship system. The basis of this is bifurcate merging. The key points: The “merging” is the use of ‘father’ and ‘mother’ for their same-sex siblings. The “bifurcate” part refers to the remaining aunts and uncles having their own terms:

star = ego; triangles = males; circles = females
The merging intensifies in previous and later generations. E.g.: The kinship names are reflected in noble inheritance rules. E.g., suppose you are a woman and the daughter of a chief (an). The heir of your mother is her younger sister— you call both of these pa. However, you are next in line after both pa, even if your aunt has female children. Next is your sister if any, and then your daughter.

Relatives of your spouse are formed with the appropriate genitive, e.g. pa hilyat ‘mother of-wife = mother-in-law’. If it’s clear (e.g. on second reference, or addressing the person), you can just say hilyat, or hikat if you’re female.


Most names are ordinary nouns or adjectives, often relating to nature. Some examples: bɯha night, dak tree, fila flower, gɤš moss, keǁ sword, kip green, laš storm, lyai icëlan, neʇ bee, nɤf love, nyɤl kind, nyaš bravery, siny lovely, sɤl good, šɤm blue, tɤl snow, ɯdæfa dancer, ɯš woods, ǁika sea, ǁitl vigorous

Names are unisex, at least from the time of queen Nyaʇa who established female dominance in the nobility.

One-syllable names are preferred, but two-word N+A phrases are not uncommon, e.g. meʇsiny ‘beautiful boy’, filašɤm ‘blue flower’, keǁip ‘fast sword’.

Names can also be inflected verbs:

šeǁs we waited
snan he/she (probably a god) showed to us
gemih I will sacrifice
kakan he/she talks a lot
In such names final 3s -n is optional: the last name could also be kakak. Queen Nyaʇa’s name means ‘it thunders’.

Sample texts

1 • Gods and humans

This short text is a history of the universe. A longer version of the story exists but only in Verdurian translation. This version was elicted from one of Vrzol Šin’s informants in the 3580s, so it is distinctive in being a colloquial prose retelling, and in containing a theological explanation for the disasters the Šɯʇ had just gone through: disease and colonization.

The text explains, but also simplifies, the two classes of spriritual beings— gods (m. ʘi, f. ʘily) and spirits or godlings (fæm ‘great soul’). The gods were powerful; there was at least one per valley, with the gods of the Šɤ valley (ʘai Ɯʇa and An ǁikam) above them all. The godlings had less power, but were far more approachable. There was a tendency, not universal, for the elite to worship gods and the rabble to follow spirits, which may mean that they are really from different religious systems entirely.

Mat saii, con no Wai Uça.
Mat saii, kɤn nɤ ʘai Ɯʇa.
day early-loc / exist-3 only lord shaper
One day, there was only ʘai Ɯʇa.

Con® nëcnë si.
Kɤnǁ nyeknye si.
exist-3-not land-pl
There was no world, no spirits.

Çan An ‰icam hilyno wgolyatnoße.
ʇan An ǁikam hilynɤ ʘgɤlyatnɤše.
create-3 lady ocean semen-3-abl / wife-3
He created An ǁikam from his semen as his wife.

Wmon çiçi lyo, ifa mon alynë çiçiny: men fämnë.
ʘmɤn ʇiʇi lyɤ, ifa mɤn alynye ʇiʇiny: men fæmnye.
3-bear-3 child many-pl / and 3-bear other-pl child / be-3 spirit-pl
She bore him many children, and their children had other children, who were the spirits.

Con® upit nap, hoi gain wai Uça Weš Wai Nëh, ifa çan nëc mobä.
Kɤnǁ ɯpit nap, hɤi gain ʘai Ɯʇa ʘeš ʘai Nyeh, ifa ʇan nyek mɤbæ.
exist-3-not house / therefore cause-3 lord shaper fear lord chaos / and create-3 land water-and
There was no room for them, so ʘai Ɯʇa frightened Chaos and made land and water.

Ulyon wi fämnëbäi, ifa wtun Wai Nëh buha nyai.
Ɯlyɤn ʘi fæmnyebæi, ifa ʘtɯn ʘai Nyeh bɯha nyai.
reside-3 god spirit-pl-and land-loc / and 3-fight-3 lord chaos night every-loc
The gods and the spirits lived in the land, but Chaos fought them every night.

Oçlil, çen Wai Nëh An ‰icam, hoi con saßa.
ɤʇlil, ʇen ʘai Nyeh An ǁikam, hɤi kɤn saša.
end-loc / destroy-3 lord chaos lady ocean / therefore exist-3 peace
Finally An ǁikam destroyed Chaos, so that there was peace.

Con wi fämnëbä, ifa nëßnë si.
Kɤn ʘi fæmnyebæ, ifa nyešnye si.
exist-3 god spirit-pl-and human-pl none-and
There were gods and spirits, but no humans.

Fifihan fämnë mecat winyat.
Fifihan fæmnye mekat ʘinyat.
hab-work-3 spirit-pl foot-loc gods-pl-gen
The spirits worked for the gods.

Ninin ßaßal šalacbä, ifa çoçoin ®ony, ifa mimin.
Ninin šašal šalakbæ, ifa ʇɤʇɤin ǁɤny, ifa mimin.
hab-grow-3 junegrass knotcorn-and, and hab-dig-3 valley-pl and hab-sacrifice-3
They grew grain and dug river valleys and made sacrifices.

Loßan ifa on fiha.
Lɤšan ifa ɤn fiha.
tired-3 and stop-3 work
They were tired and stopped working.

Wcu mutil daš nyow mumin®.
ʘkɯ mɯtil daš nyɤʘ muminǁ.
3-go-3 god mind-loc know why vent-sacrifice-3-not
The gods came to them to see why they did not sacrifice.

Can fämnë, Loßas fiha.
Kan fæmnye, Lɤšas fiha.
say-3 spirit-pl / tired-1 work
“We are tired of working,” said the spirits.

Mes® çiçil mew? Ge-fihas® se.
Mesǁ ʇiʇil meʘ? Ge-fihasǁ se.
be-1-not child-2-pl Q / intent-work-not more
“Aren’t we your own children? We will not work any more.”

Gegen winy, ifa wcon® fämnyit dihnë.
Gegen ʘiny, ifa ʘkɤnǁ fæmnyit dihnye.
hab-talk-3 god-pl / and 3-exist-3-not spirit-pl-gen ear-pl
The gods talked and talked, but the spirits had no ears for them.

Can An ‰icam, ge-ça ufihnë nyuße, sfihal.
Kan An ǁikam, ge-ʇa ɯfihnye nyɯše, sfihal.
say-3 lady ocean / intent-make worker-pl sand-abl / 1-work-adj
An ǁikam said, “We will make workers from sand, to work for us.

Ceh ha-doman, ge-spoç nepe a® wit.
Keh ha-dɤman, ge-spɤʇ nepe aǁ ʘit.
however irr-live-3 / intent-1-give body dead god-gen
But to make them live, you must give me the dead body of a god.”

Ba®an wi Uhol®.
Baǁan ʘi Ɯhɤlǁ.
mid-kill-3 god one-see-not
The god Ɯhɤlǁ [The Blind One] was killed.

Men wi çlicat, ifa weh nyow con® wi çlicil.
Men ʘi ʇlikat, ifa ʘeh nyɤʘ kɤnǁ ʘi ʇlikil.
be-3 god Črek-gen / and that-one why exist-3-not god Črek-loc
He was the god of Črek, and this is why Črek has no god.

Çan nëßnë An ‰icam, ifa fifihan nëßnë mekat winyit.
ʇan nyešnye An ǁikam, ifa fifihan nyešnye mekat ʘinyat.
make-3 human-pl lady ocean / and hab-work-3 human-pl foot-loc god-pl-gen
An ǁikam made humans, and the humans worked for the gods.

Pupulyan ®onë nëßnë.
Pɯpɯlyan ǁɤnye nyešnye.
hab-fill-3 valley-pl human-pl
The humans filled the valleys.

Oçlil, pägain ®o nyany Nyaça ifa men wily.
ɤʇlil, pægain ǁɤ nyany Nyaʇa ifa men ʘily.
end-loc unite-3 valley all-pl Nyaʇa and be-3 queen
Finally Nyaʇa brought all the valleys together and became queen.

Goçan gä daßaçil ifa ba®an.
Gɤʇan gæ dašaʇil ifa baǁan.
rule-3 year hundred-loc / and mid-kill-3
She ruled for a hundred years, then died.

Ceh çeçeça nëßnë ifa mimin gapum, hoi cäcän wily çeçno.
Keh ʇeʇeʇa nyešnye ifa mimin gapɯm, hɤi kækæn ʘily ʇeʇnɤ.
however hab-noisy-3 human-pl and hab-sacrifice-3 not.enough / therefore hab-molest-3 god-pl noise-3
But the humans were noisy and did not sacrifice enough, and their noise bothered the gods.

Hoi gun çbedurnë mutil çen Íuç.
Hɤi gɯn ʇbedɯrnye mɯtil ʇen Šɯʇ.
therefore send-3 Verdurian-pl mind-loc destroy Šɯʇ
Therefore they sent the Verdurians to destroy Šɯʇ.

Bah nyow mocu.
Bah nyɤʘ mɤkɯ.
this-thing-3 why vent-2-go
This is why you (Verdurians) came.

2 • Recording

We have several phonograph recordings of classical Šɯk— mostly song performances, stories, and word lists. This one was not very successful from the linguist’s point of view, but it was retained as it was one of the few recordings of a Šɯt speaking colloquially, not performing a bit of folklore. The linguist did not record her own questions or statements, though they should be obvious.

(To come: a voice recording of part of this text.)

Basseta Lyai.
Basseta Lyai.
mid-1-name-3 Lyai
My name is Lyai.

Doma gä teha ely.
Dɤma gæ teha ely.
live-1 year 18 4
I’m 72 years old. (A round number in eighteens— he could be anywhere 72 or older.)

Ecac ow?
Ekak ɤʘ?
say-2 what
What did you say?

Cac ®ec, musoson® dih mui.
Kak ǁek, mɯsɤsɤnǁ dih mɯi.
say loud / vent-hab-good-3-not ear somewhat
Speak louder, I’m a little deaf.

Ge-cac nilunyä mew? weh nyow?
Ge-kak nilɯnyæt meʘ? ʘeh nyɤʘ?
intent-speak machine-allat Q / that why
I should speak to the machine? Why?

Lcon dihnë; con nilut dihnë mew?
Lkɤn dihnye; kɤn nilɯt dihnye meʘ?
2-exist-3 ear-pl / exist-3 machine-gen ear-pl Q
You have ears, does the machine have ears?

Sßän gi-ecac, nilu.
Sšæn gi-ekak, nilɯ.
1-say-3 intent-2-speak / machine
She asked me to speak to you, the machine.

Sɤl, kan®.
Sɤl, kanǁ.
good / say-3-not
Miss, It doesn’t say anything.

Con ®itil nilut ow?
Kɤn ǁitil nilɯt ɤʘ?
exist-3 heart-in machine-gen what
What is inside the machine?

Ai weh. Cocon elët nilut lyonë hopat bahat.
Ai ʘeh. Kɤkɤn elyet nilɯt lyɤnye hɤpat bahat.
oh that-thing / hab-exist-3 queen-gen machine many-pl face-gen this-thing-gen
Oh yes. The queen had many machines like this.
Presumably because he’s speaking to a Verdurian, Lyai uses the Verdurian word for queen, elye (< elrei).


Alphabetization: Bh indicates Bhöɣetan borrowings, V Verdurian, K Kebreni.

Word count: 503

ai interj oh, ooh, ah
afa v blow; breathe
afah n breath; breeze
aly pr other, another; (answering a negative questiion) no, it did happen
an n lady, chief, noblewoman
anl a noble, high-born
An ǁikam n the chief goddess [‘Lady Ocean’]
aʘis n statue of a nude goddess, bringing blessings [Bh apsiś ‘nymph’]
a dead
æh interj ow, ugh
ætaš n fox
bah pr this one (inanimate)
baly pr this
-bæ afx comitative
bæl n hand
bedɯk n Verdurian language
Bedɯr n Verduria [V]
bepɯš n rifle, gun [V]
besak n Wesaitan language
Besat n Wesaita [Bh]
beš v lose; (middle) be lost
beših n loss
biʇ n side, flank
Bɤgat n Bhöɣeta Sea [Bh]
Bɤhat n Bhohait (country) [Bh]
bɤl n eye
bɤla a guard, watch over; check, test; spy
bɤǁ n rock, stone
bɤǁl a rocky, stony
bɯha n night
dak n tree
dalɯ n king (of Verduria) [V]
daš v know
dašaʇ # one hundred [Bh]
daših n knowledge
dek # ten [V]
a moral, right, virtuous
dæh n morality, virtue
dæf n dance
dæfa v dance
dæm n back
dæml a posterior, in or at the back
delæ n ash, ashes; soot; ink
delæl a ashy; gray
den n document, paper; relic [V]
dih n ear; listening
diʇ v hear, listen
dɤm n life
dɤma v live
dɤsat n salmon
dɯi n steam [V]
dɯk n bean [Bh]
dɯl v miss (not hit); fail; sin
dɯǁ n failure; sin
ebæs n condor (a bird of prey native to eastern Lebiscuri)
ekak v you’re welcome (response to thanks); so you say, do tell [‘you say it’]
eke # one third
Eles n Eleď, Verdurian deity— in full ʘai Eles [V]
ely # four
elye n queen (of Verduria) [V]
enyɤl v thank you [‘you are kind’]
ep # seven [V]
faba n breast
fak n knot, binding
faka v tie, bind; wear (i.e. tie on)
fakah n skirt; clothing
fala n coin, money (esp. Ereláean) [V fale]
fæm n godling, minor deity, spirit [‘great spirit’]
fæml a uncanny, fae; relating to godlings; name of a river
fæt n soul, spirit
fila n flower
fih n work, toil
fiha v work, toil
fiʇ n blood
fiʇl a bloody
fɤt n door, gate; entrance
fɤta v enter
fɯl a light, white
fɯm n silver [‘great white’]
fɯna n apple [Bh]
gai v make (someone do), cause
gapa n tail
gapɯm adv not enough [‘bad amount’]
gasɤl adv enough [‘good amount’]
gat n amount, sum; rate
n year
gæl a tall, high
ge pfx intentive prefix
gep v talk, chat, converse (3s form gem)
geʘ n conversation, chat
geʘem v argue [gep-šem ‘talk hot’]
v drink
gɤh n drink
gɤly n penis
gɤm pr you
gɤš n moss
gɤʇ n head; capital (city); rule
gɤʇa v rule, reign
v send, cause to go
gɯh n bottom, base; ground, floor
gɯha v found, establish; (middle) be located
gɯi n way, manner; path [related to ‘send’]
gɯn n skin
gɯp n dog
haly n girl child, daughter
han conj or
ha pfx irrealis prefix
had n line, row [Bh]
hakak v whisper [imitative ha + ‘say’]
han n field, yard
Hanan n Hanuana
he n temple
hela a round, curved
helah n ball; sphere
heʘ n aunt (father’s sister only)
heš v, n wash, clean
hi # two
higai v divide, cut In two
higaih n division
hik n companion, partner; husband
hikat n father- or mother-in-law (of wife)
hily n female companion; wife
hilyat n father- or mother-in-law (of husband)
hiʘɤ pr some
his a fast, quick
hisa v run
hɤh n vision, looking, observation
hɤi conj therefore, so
hɤl v see, look at; habitual observe, watch
hɤlǁ a blind, unseeing [‘not see’]
hɤp n face, front
hɤpl a frontal, in front
v cry; mourn
hɯh n tears; mourning
hɯkal n coastal desert; the arid places between the valleys
hɯm a old, aged; elder
hɯmih n age
ih a small, little
ifa conj and, then, moreover
n center, middle
iʇl a central, middle
kai adv less
kak v speak, say
kah n language, speech, speaking
kap v hide, conceal; (middle) be hidden. 3s form is kam
kæʘ v bother, molest, annoy
Kebi n Kebri [K]
kebik n Kebreni language
keh conj however, but, in contrast
kel n a Verdurian city [V ‘port’]
ket a different, separate
keta v separate; treat differently
keʘ v, n drop; (middle) fall
keǁ n sword
kip a green
kiʇ v steal, rob
v exist; there is/are (existential verb)
kɤba v gather, collect; fish
kɤh n thread, string [Bh, with nominalizer]
kɤla n oil [Bh]
v go
kɯh n road, route; departure
kɯm n fire
kɯna n money, coins [V]
labah n lorbil, a type of squash [Bh]
laš n storm
lip v teach; counsel, advise; (middle) learn, study (3s form lim)
lis v build, erect
liʘ n teaching, education; advice, counsel
lɤpih n song
lɤpi v sing
lɤš a tired
lɤša v be tired, be worn out
lɯk v run, manage, lead
lɯka # twelve [Bh]
lɯl b beard
lyai n icëlan
lyeh # ten
lyes v have sex, make love; (n) sex
lyika n star [Bh]
lyɤ pr much, many
lyɯ n hide; leather
mah n milk
maha v nurse (a baby); (middle) suck, be nursed
mahl a milky; name of a river
mai # half
makak v moan, murmur [imitative ma + ‘say’]
mal v sit; serve, work for
malih n servant
mašuh n beer, fermented drink
mašuk v brew, ferment; (middle) be fermented [Bh ‘brewer’]
mat n day; time
An Mat Ënomai, the Sun
matɤlat n winter [‘time of snow’]
matmɤkat n birth, birthday [‘day of bearing’]
matšemat n summer [‘time of heat’]
maʇ n luster, shine
maʇa v shine
maǁ n gold [from ‘shine’]
a big, large
mækak v shout [‘big say’]
mæm v great, huge, enormous
me v be; (as clitic) imperfective
mek n foot; mekat X-(gen) for X, on X’s behalf
meʇ n boy, son
meǁ pt no [‘it is not’]
meʘ pt question particle [‘be’ + interrogative]
mida # nine [Bh]
mih n sacrifice, worship
mik v sacrifice (to gods), worship [Bh]
Misæt n Mirzait [Bh]
n water; river
mɤgɤh n tavern, inn [‘place of drink’]
mɤk v bear, give birth; (middle) be born
mɤl a watery, liquid
mɤly n sister (daughter of a pa) [‘born’ + fem.]
mɤs n grandchild (child of a umɤ or mɤly) [‘born more’]
v lie down, recline
mɯbesat n shop, store [‘place of the Wesaitan’]
mɯg a heavy, dense
mɯi adv somewhat, a little, partly
mɯil a partial; scanty
mɯlip n school [‘place of learning’]
mɯlyes n brothel [‘place of sex’]
mɯpily n country, kingdom, queendom [‘place of queen’]
mɯs n place, location, site
mɯsa v put, place
mɯš n worm, grub
mɯt n liver; (metaphorically) mind, will; (loc) intending to, of a mind to
mɯtl a willful, impulsive
na n father, father’s brother
nabir n ship [V]
nak n edge, rim; shore, beach
nal a urban, of or in the city
nam n palace, mansion; court [‘big house’]
naml a courtly, governmental
nan a short
nanɤt n grandfather (i.e. the na of any na) [‘father of father’]
nap n house
naǁ n city, town
naʘ v show, draw attention to, cause to see
v throw, cast
næh n slingshot
næp a wise; prudent
næpih n wisdom, prudence
nef # nine [V]
nepe n body
ne v sleep
neh n sleep
neš a previous, last
neteǁ n viper, poisonous snake in the coastal valleys; slang for Verdurians
neʇ n bee
ni a young, new
nih n opening, hole
nil a feminine, female
nilɯ n machine, device, contraption [V]
nily n young woman, girl, maiden
nim pr I
nis v plant, sow, grow (tr.); farm; (middle) grow (intr.)
niʘ n finger
niʘa v touch; find, locate
niǁ v open
pt only, just, nothing but
nɤf v desire, need, love
nɤi n herb, weed
nɤʘǁ n bitterleaf (ŋastwaśam)
nɤnɤp n obsidian [from a western language]
nɤǁ n seed, egg
nɯh n pursuit, chase, hunting
nɯi n cousin (see kinship section)
nɯis n child of a cousin (see kinship section)
nɯš v follow, chase; seek, search for; hunt; want to know
nɯʘ n cod, a commonly caught fish
nya pr each, every
nyaʇ n thunder, lightning (they’re viewed as a combo)
nyaʇa v thunder, strike (of lightning)
Nyaʇa n the queen who conquered all of Šɯʇ [‘thunders’]
nyaʇap # eight [Bh]
nyaši # six [Bh]
nyalɯ # seven [Bh]
nyar # five [Bh]
nyaš n bravery, boldness
nyašl a brave, bold
nyæk n garlic [Bh]
nyæt afx allative
nye a malignant, evil
nyeh n evil, chaos
nyek n earth, land; (pl) the world, Almea
nyeš n human; person, individual; (pl) people
nyešl a human, mortal
nyih n lie, deception
nyik n bug, insect
nyily v lie, deceive (3s form nyiny)
nyɤh a kind, generous
nyɤša n fish
nyɤʘ pr why, for what reason
nyɯ n sand
ɤmi n uncle (mother’s brother only); the son of any (ʇ)ɤmi
ɤʘ pr who, what
ɤʇ v stop, end, finish; (as prefix) stop (doing that)!
ɤʇl n end, finish; (locative) finally, at last
pa n mother or mother’s sister
pal # four [V]
pan # five [V]
papɤt n grandmother (i.e the pa of any pa) [‘mother of mother’]
# one
pægai v unite, bring together [‘make one’]
pægaih n unity
pæš n bresh, a plant producing a fabric like cotton [Bh]
pely n cat
piri v tell, recount
pirih n story, tale
pɤk n flauk (large lagomorph) [Bh]
pɤp n leg; walk
pɤpa v walk
pɤš n fat, grease
pɤšl a fat, fatty
pɤʇ v give
pɯly a full, filled
pɯlya v fill; (middle) intr.
pɯm a bad; sick, ill
pɯt n sauce, cream; any viscous liquid
pɯtl a creamy, viscous
pɯǁ a foolish, stupid
pɯǁa v act foolish, make a dumb mistake
sai a early; ancient
sak v heal, cure; care for; middle get better
salat n arrow [Bh]
saša n ease, relief; peace
sašaly n whore, prostitute [‘ease woman’]
se adv more
ses # six [V]
sesɯn n ktuvok [Hanuanan]
set n name
seta v name (someone), call; (middle) be named
si pr none, not any
sih n food; meal
sil n, a hair; hairy
siny a beautiful, lovely
ssǁ interj hoy! hello!
sɤl a good
sɯm n bone; tooth
v fry; cook, prepare food [imitative]
šalak n knotcorn [Bh]
šap n frog; drunk, high; (verb) be drunk— 3s is šam
šašal n junegrass [Bh]
sašur n Šočyan governor [V]
šæh n request; beg; prayer
šæha v ask, request; pray
šæla n oasis, spring
šæm n smoke
šæml n smoky
šæp n a peachlike fruit; an Ereláean (because of the skin color)
šæs a dark; brown, black; a river
-še afx ablative
šel n sky
šem n heat; the south
šeml a hot; southern
šeǁ v expect, wait for, hope
šif v eat
šil a male, masculine
šim n young man, youth
šiš a cold; northern
šiših n cold; the north
šɤ a long
Šɤ n a river valley [‘long’]
šɤk # eight [V]
šɤm n blue
Šɯk n the language of Šɯʇ
Šɯʇ n the people or nation of Šɯʇ (Šočya), or of the Šɤ valley [‘of Šɤ’]
tam v call, summon
tat n thing, object, item
teha # eighteen [Bh]
tenaʇ # 324 (182) [Bh]
titɯ n bird
tɤk n rod, staff
tɤka v strike, beat
tɤl n/v snow
tɯh n war, fight
tɯl v fight, go to war
tɯm n mountain; (in pl) the mountains west of Šɯʇ; the west
tɯml n western; mountainous
ɯbaly pr this one (animate)
ɯbalip n student
ɯbɤl n guard; spy
ɯda n flour [Bh]
ɯfih n worker; commoner
ɯɤgɤly n tavern-keeper (usually female)
ɯhɤl n watcher, observer; herdsman
ɯhɤlǁ n blind person
ɯhɯkal n scavenger, esp. someone who hunts in the coastal desert (hɯkal)
ɯkiʇ n thief, robber
ɯkɤba n fisherman
ɯlip n teacher; counselor, advisor
ɯlɤpi n singer
ɯlɯk n leader, manager
ɯlyes n lover, sex partner
ɯly a holy, sacred, numinous; name of a river
ɯlyɤ v live in, reside, inhabit
ɯmal n servant, esp. male
ɯmaly n maid, maidservant
ɯmašuk n brewer
ɯmɤ n brother (son of a pa) [‘one born’]
ɯna n nose
ɯnan n elcar [‘short one’]
ɯnæ n peltast, slingshotter
ɯnæp n wise person, sage
ɯnis n farmer, peasant
ɯnyeh n villain [‘evil one’]
ɯpe pr that one (animate)
ɯpɯǁ n fool, idiot
ɯsai n ancestor
ɯsak n healer, physician; caregiver
ɯsalat n bowman, archer
ɯsiny n a beauty, a beautiful girl/boy
ɯsʘ n cook
ɯš n forest, woods
ɯšap n drunkard
ɯšæh n beggar
ɯšɤm n iliu [‘blue one’]
ɯtɯl n fighter, warrior, soldier
ɯš n egg
ɯʇa n shaper; potter
ɯǁe n commander
ʘ pt yes! (short for ʘeh); as prefix, forms nominalizations and fractions
ʘai n lord, nobleman
ʘai Ɯʇa n consort of An ǁikam ; former chief god [‘Lord Shaper’]
ʘæʘ a insane, crazy
ʘæʘih n insanity, madness
ʘdakat n wood [‘that of the tree’]
ʘe pr that (demonstrative)
ʘeh pr that one (inanimate); (answering a question) yes
ʘelyat # quarter, one fourth
ʘeš v fear, be afraid
ʘgɤlyat n semen [‘that of the penis’]
ʘgɯl n cargo, merchandise [‘that sent’]
ʘha n lip
ʘhanet n peach [‘thing of Hanuana’]
ʘi n god
ʘil a divine, godly
ʘily n goddess; queen
ʘilyat n the capital of Šɯʇ (Verd. Bílët) [‘(city) of the queen’]
ʘilyni n princess, heir to the throne [‘new queen’]
ʘisa n strong; last queen of Šɯʇ (to the Verdurians, Bisa)
ʘlis n building
ʘlyɯ n bag, sack [‘that of leather’]
ʘket n tongue [‘that of speaking’]
ʘmidet n one ninth; tax
ʘneʇat n honey [‘that of the bee’]
ʘnyarat # one fifth
ʘnyit n monster [‘that of evil’]
ʘšæs n coal, charcoal [‘that black’]
ʘɤ # three
ʘɤk a free, independent; (physically) loose
ʘɤka v free; loosen
ʘɤml a slow; a river
ʘpɤpat n loincloth [‘that of the leg’]
ʘɯm n mouth
ʘɯt v subdue, (middle) abase oneself, bow down
ʘɯtl a subdued; abased, humble, poor
ʘʇɤi n mine, dig, excavation [‘that of mining’]
ʘǁ a bitter, sour
ʇ p son or daughter of
ʇ- pfx member, individual with a characteristic [‘child’]
ʇa v shape, form; create (as a god)
ʇah n shape, form; creation
ʇak n a river valley, south of Šɤ
ʇala n homosexual [Bh caura]
tæh n husk, peel
ʇæk v peel, dehusk; strip (clothes); (middle) be naked
ʇækl n peeled, dehusked; nude, naked
ʇbedɯr n Verdurian
ʇbɯha n moon [‘child of night’]
An ʇbɯha Iliažë, the larger moon [‘Lady Moon’]
ʘai ʇbɯha Iliacáš, the medium moon [‘Lord Moon’]
ʇbɯhaih n Naunai, the smallest moon [‘small moon’]
ʇe n priest, priestess [‘child of temple’]
ʇeš v destroy, break
ʇeʇ a noisy
ʇeʇa v be noisy, make a ruckus
ʇfæm n seer, oracle, prophet [‘child of godling’]
ʇiʇi n child
ʇlik n Črek, a nation and people north of Šɯʇ
ʇnam n courtier, member of the court
ʇnaǁ n resident of a city; citizen, townsman
ʇɤh v, n cough
ʇpily n subject of the queen, inhabitant of (greater) Šɯʇ [‘child of queen’]
ʇsǁ n the masses, the commoners [‘people who say ssǁ’]
ʇšɤ n inhabitant of the Šɤ valley
ʇɤi v scratch; dig, mine
ʇɤmi n cousin (daughter of ɤmi); the daughter of any (ʇ)ɤmi
ʇɯny n pot
ʇʇ v, n rain
ʇʇlik n someone from Črek
ǁ afx negative; standalone word don’t! no!
ǁat v kill; middle die
ǁe v command, order
ǁek a loud
ǁika n sea, ocean; the east; second queen of Šɯʇ
ǁikal a eastern
ǁikam n the Ocean surrounding the world
ǁim n dung, feces, shit
ǁit n heart; (metaphorically) vigor, guts; insides
ǁitl n vigorous; a chief of ʇak [‘heartful’]
ǁɤ n river valley
ǁɯly n vulva, vagina [related to ‘valley’]