Virtual Verduria


Verdúry tëdene

Modern Verdurian

SyntaxPast anteriorAspect ValenceCaseGenderPronominalEach otherFormal youArticleQuantifiersKësPrepositionsNumbersNegatives QuestionsInterrogatives
TransformationsSentential subjectsWhetherRelative clausesNonrestrictive ConditionalsExistentialsConstituent dislocationPragmatic particles
Modern dictionColloquialFormal

© 2024 by Mark Rosenfelder


Modern Verdurian (MV) is the standard language of Verduria (the city and country) in the late 3600s. It’s useful to have a specific date for choosing and clarifying the data; I’ll use 3678, the beginning of the Almea War. This is just two centuries past the Early Modern Verdurian (EMV) of the reference grammar. But everything here, bar some technological terms, would apply to the previous decades.

I will cite words and sentences in EMV in black, MV in green.

As cultural background, Verduria at this time is the planet’s leading nation, with extensive colonial holdings and effective control over Eretald and Sarnáe. This is the era of space exploration, computers, quantum mechanics, genetics, and nuclear weapons. Oil is limited on Almea, so a mass automobile economy never develops, and other energy sources are aggressively pursued. The advanced world now includes Xurno, Dhekhnam, the Democratic Union (southeast Ereláe), the Bé, and increasingly Śaidahami and Šočya.

For more, much more, see the Almea+400 project, or my book Almea: Industrial Age.

MV is not spectacularly different from EMV. Rather like English and French, the spelling is the same as two centuries before, people are still familiar with old books, and there is no great discontinuity in syntax. You can easily write sentences that would be fine and unremarkable in either era, e.g.:

Cuesnai baraďun esë, ac agrenuli lië e fsëgdá nena: e lukulát řucorei.
ask-past-1s brother-dat 1s-gen / but opinion 3s-gen be-3s always same-f / be-3s fault government-gen
I asked my brother, but his opinion is always the same: it’s the government’s fault.
Saying the sentence out loud is another story. A fair number of sound changes have accumulated, but most are not reflected in writing. The above sentence is pronounced:
Cosnáy braďũ še, ac agrenuli ilë e fšegdá nena: e lukulát ȟucoré.
At the same time, an English or French speaker could easily completely befuddle a speaker from 1810, and the same is true of a speaker of MV. For instance:
Öȟ, lapye etpé, e tõpa, ac nemima ilë, ȟo iresáy ad ibũ— yanã õtegöl.
ugh / rabbit-dim me-gen / be.3s cool / but same-mom 3s-gen / not overcome-1s to owl-dat / too.much show-dick
My girl, she’s cool, but ugh, I can’t deal with her brother, such a showoff.
A few of the major changes:
  • Nasalization of final -n/m, and monophthongization, have simplified the case system.
  • The aspect particles have been revamped.
  • A new formal ‘you’ has developed.
  • Features such as the past anterior, the imperative, esce, and prepositional prefixes, have largely disappeared.
  • The slang vocabulary is different.
As of our target date, the standard language of Šočya is Mažtane MV— but already there was a strong Šočyan accent, distinctive vocabulary, and a simplified morphology. Some of this filtered back to Ereláe, especially at the slang level. I will consider Šočyan separately (and with a later target date).

In Verdurian itself, it’s always been possible to call the language so verdúry (řon), colloquially soa Sfahe. In EMV the latter was more common; in MV the former.

Scholars talk about verdúry tëdene ‘Modern Verdurian’. The usual way to talk about periods is to use the king’s name, so the speech of 3462–96 would be verdúry Alricei and that of 3654–80 is verdúry Sarvencei. But you could also refer to EMV as verdúry frutëdene.

Overall plan

Like the summary of Basfahe, this section is written as a comparison to the Reference Grammar and follows its order. As there’s more to say, it may look like a reference grammar itself, but it’s incomplete, and anything not covered here is the same as in EMV.

Many MV features were first seen in Basfahe, but things are often more complicated:

  • There have been two more centuries of development.
  • Some features of Basfahe were too stigmatized and didn’t become mainstream.
  • Outside phonology, MV has often taken the Basfahe option and continued the EMV alternative.
There is of course a modern Basfahe, which I hope to cover later— as it’s essential to understanding FV (Future Verdurian). The language described here is not Basfahe, but the standard spoken language of the 3600s.

I refer sometimes to the language of the 3500s, but this is by no means a full explanation of the language of that time. Naturally it’s in between EMV and MV; but there was also more of an effort to retain EMV features in the face of language change. It had its own slang, and a few innovations that didn’t make it to MV.

A word on who drives the process of language change. As William Labov documented for English, it’s neither the upper classes, nor the stewards of language teaching, nor the lowest classes. Labov was able to identify individuals who were more advanced in their sound changes and spread them to others: they were upper working class, widely connected, somewhat nonconformist, and often female. And as other researchers have noted, men generally don’t pickup sound changes from women… but boys pick them up from their mothers.



Palatalization (due to y or ë) is often reduced to fricativization or affrication:
  • sy > š, zy > ž
  • ty > č, dy > j
  • cy > č, gy > j
  • ny, my > y
Or it disappears: ry > r, ďy > ď, čy > č, šy > š, žy > ž.

For reference, the unaffected consonants are p b f v k ȟ l.

ř is pronounced [x], which I will write ȟ.

Post-syllabic r is lost: borpul > bopu, řucor > ȟuco. Exception: one-syllable words; e.g. cer, mur. The r is restored before a vowel in morphology (ȟucoré). It may or may not be restored word-finally if the next word begins with a vowel: so ȟucor e… / so ȟuco e…

Word-final ul is lost: donul > donu, but donulî > donule. The l may or may not reappear between words: so donul e… / so donu e…

ts > č: tsesse > čese.

You no longer lengthen consonants: prenne is pronounced prene.

MV consistently assimilates clusters in voicing: kazčal > kasčal, mažtana > maštana, ředtao > ȟettáw > ȟetáw.

j is phonemic, and allows borrowings like jos ‘quick’ from Flaidish, though this would have to be spelled dyos (dyos).


Final î > e: drukî > druke. Elsewhere î > i: kîčosa > kičosa.

> ë, but insulates against the palatalization changes: žonë > žoyé, but ženië > ženë.

For most speakers, stressed final -é is [e], and unstressed -e is [ɛ]. But others pronounce them the same. Some varieties distinguish etymological î in various ways.

ä is not lengthened, but it preserves the stress: lädeca > ládeca.

Syllable-final -n/m is nasalized: imbraki > ĩbraki, drukán > drukã́.

There is a strong tendency to monophthongization.

  • ue, uo, oe, ou > o
  • ua > a
  • ui > ü
  • oi > ö
  • ei > e
  • eo, eu > ö
  • unstressed ai > a, oi > o
  • stressed ai > ay, ao > aw, oi > oy

Thus uestu > ostu, šual > šal, sannei > sané, duisir > düsi.

This applies across word boundaries: dalu e > dalo. It’s not easy to represent this in writing, so (with apologies) I won’t!

[w] existed as an allomorph in EMV: uestu = ['wɛ stu], mižao = [mi 'ʒaw] ~ [mi 'ʒa o]. The monophthongization eliminated the first example; but borrowings like awisa ‘hottie’ reintroduced [w], at least marginally. Borrowings like wets ‘nerd’ < Xurnese wec ‘artistic milieu’ are now more likely to be pronounced correctly.

Stigmatized changes

Some still-stigmatized proununciations are common, but avoided in genteel speech:
  • Loss of post-syllabic l after all vowels: Calto > Cauto or Cato
  • ti > tsi: gluti > glutsi; this is not affected by the ts > č change
  • ü > [ɪ], ö > [ʊ]
  • With some exceptions, vowel reductions: belacát > blacát
  • Vowel epenthesis (e.g. ptoc > potoc)
The very common ȟo e ‘it’s not’ is pronounced [ȟo]— which is identical to ȟo alone. This has led to some speakers reanalyzing the construction as not requiring a copula, and some writers reproduce this: Řo dobre ‘it isn’t good’. That in turn leads some speakers to emphasize the difference somehow, e.g. saying [xo je].


Almost always stress is unchanged from EMV.

In my romanization, I’ve used the same stress accent rules as for EMV (if there’s an acute accent, stress that; if not, stress the first syllable with a diaresis; otherwise the penult). Corollaries:

  • If a vowel with diaresis disappeared, an acute may be needed: sazë > sažé . Or removed: vánë > vaye .
  • Nasalized vowels are not inherently stressed, but may also take an acute ( ã́ ).
  • I write e.g. dascóy to emphasize that there’s only one vowel; but for that very reason it now needs an acute to represent the stress.

The orthographic problem

The standard spelling of EMV was Elena’s reform of 3272. In 3480 this was just two centuries old, and the spelling system was still fairly phonemic, though it was stretched for Basfahe.

The standard spelling of MV is… the same. This means that for someone who grows up speaking MV, there are a lot of pitfalls in the orthography. If you happen to know EMV, you can make do with a list like the one above, but for a native speaker, there are plenty of ambiguities— e.g. is final [e] to be spelled e, or î , or ei , or er ? Is final [o] spelled - o , or - ue , or - ou , or - oi , or - or ? Is [č] spelled č or ty or cy or ts ? When are you blindsided by spellings like mažtana or lädan or prenne ?

People learned the orthography with some difficulty— and then, naturally, held to it as an accomplishment and a mark of status. The idea of spelling reform was considered radical and barbarous.

Almeologists have none of these problems… but we do have the problem that the spelling was reformed in 3728. Should we use it? I haven’t used it below, for several reasons:

  • It’s only fifty years beyond our target date— but much more than that when we’re discussing the 3600s in general. And it was a busy time.
  • All our sources from the 3600s, all major historical and literary characters, wrote using the old spelling system. Most would object to the new system, and its proponents, very strenuously. It would be jarring to use the new one instead.
  • The reform does not incorporate all the changes listed above, either because it was too conservative (e.g. its treatment of - î ), or because it simply reinterpreted characters (e.g. there was no need to change ř or ü ).
  • The reform includes some changes that are not attested before the Almea War.
Naturally, I’ll use the reformed system when discussing the language after 3728.

In case it’s not clear: the romanization I am using is not a transliteration of either spelling system. It simply consistently marks the sound changes I discussed above. It is closely related to phonemic representations used by Almean linguists. It’s also of course systematically related to the spelling reform, and I’ll discuss how when we get to the reform.

Changes that snuck in

It’s not true to say that no changes are represented in spelling. Some examples:
  • The 3s-gen pronoun is often written as it’s pronounced, ilë ilë.
  • When used as a generic pronoun, žẽ is spelled #e.
  • The clitic sü- is writtten su- not suy-.
  • Similrly the aspect particle is written nu, not nun.
  • The word šame ‘electric’ is written ßame rather than syame (following earlier syametec syametec).
Beyond this, many people just misspell words, good writers slip, and others purposely choose a more speech-like spelling. It would be tedious to go through the discussion below and mark which changes are sometimes written, and by who; just be aware that non-standard spellings are common. Foreigners are always well advised to stick to the standard.

Spelling closer to the pronunciation is more likely with slang words. E.g. people will usually write çuto instead of cyuto for čuto ‘cop’, bopu instead of borpul for bopu ‘drunk’.


New punctuation has developed— a process accelerated by modern phototypesetting and then the computer revolution. I will cover only the basics here.

The dot (čuca) - is used to separate words, as in Verdúria-mažtana Verdúria-mažtana ‘Verduria-city’. In the 3500s this was used to mark abbreviations— Z-E- Z.E.— but later on this was seen as old-fashioned. However, it’s still used to mark lowercase initialisms like A-t A-t for Aďom tësaďatei “pagan priest”, or h-š h-š for hora šveze “hour of the afternoon”.

A need was felt for punctuation in between the comma and period. Thus the kešaš-čuca) ;. This can be used much like our semicolon. Other typographers simply extended the comma into the lenge kešaš) :; like our colon or ellipsis, this is used to introduce extra material or to highlight its absence (e.g. someone trailing off into silence).

The laun is used to mark off items in a list, exactly like our bullet. It’s also used for suppressed or unknown information— e.g. Gn Ihano D• Gn. Ihano D• "Mr. Ihano D——". By extension it’s one expedient for avoiding specifying gender in writing: so• leb• oligom• so• leb• oligom• ”the new members”.

Programmers found it essential to add new types of brackets, square [ ] and round { }. These are sometimes found in other contexts.

Culture, commerce, science, and technology invented quite a few new symbols. Here I’ll just mention currency symbols such as @ for the Verdurian fale, and þ ¦ for copyrights (aniseca) and trademarks (zenegre) respectively.


Verbal endings

Quite a few personal endings have changed:
1s ai u ao áy u áw
2s ei eu eo é ö ö
3s e e e e e e
1p am um om ã õ õ
2p o o o o o o
3p u ü u u ü u
  • The changes ei > é and eu/eo > ö, and the 1p nasalization, are general sound changes.
  • The change of 1p R om is an analogical change, simply borrowing the C ending.
  • ao > áw eliminates an unusual diphthong.
  • ai au > áy áw is not really a change, as this was already the usual pronunciation in EMV. But the two-vowel allomorph, then present, has disappeared.
The R and C conjugations now share 4 rather than 2 forms; this is shared with Basfahe. But the 3p R ending ü has been preserved in the standard language. -u is common in everyday speech but is stigmatized, perhaps because it erases the 1s/3p distinction.

But all this isn’t complicated enough! A few common R verbs retain 1p -um, pronounced ũ. These are řaner, teker, ašir, colir, devir, duisir, fäsir, kašir, oir, platir, rašir, šatir, voyir, vulir, and žusir.

Future tense

The infix for the future tense for R verbs is now t, as with C verbs. Thus tekretu > tektu ‘I will stand’.

Exception: if the verb root ends in -t or -d, use et: platetu ‘I will pay’.


In writing, the EMV imperative survives: rihané! ‘look!’

In speech, however, the unstressed vowel was lost, merging the infinitive and the past tense. Thus rihné! ‘look’ / rihné ‘you looked’. It’s also possible to use the present tense instead: rihé! If that weren’t enough, you can use the irrealis (rihcelé!), and with any of these forms you can prepend ut to make the infinitive meaning clear— or more rudely, ey.

So which do you use? The array of options has become a continuum of urgency or familiarity. The past is more distanced than the present; the conditional is more distanced yet; the written form is the most formal. For each of these ut adds more distance and ey adds urgency. The classical imperative is no longer used.


Final n’s are nasalized, and final r’s are lost, so lavan, lelen, baďir, baner are now properly pronounced lavã, lelẽ, baďi, bane. Most speakers have given up any distinctions and now say lavã, lelã, baďi, bani.

(The only verb form that reinforced the final vowel, the EMV imperative, is no longer spoken. The -i forms probably won in the R conjugation to avoid confusion with the 3s ending.)

Nominal morphology

The Verdurian case system now shows a good deal more syncretism. In particular, the accusative and dative are often identical. Sometimes singular and plural forms are no longer distinguished.
m f
s nom reď dasco dalu kati esta rana alia casi leve culë
s acc reď dascõ dalũ katĩ esta rana aliã casĩ levẽ culá
s dat reďã́ dascõ dalũ katĩ́ estã ranã aliã casẽ levẽ culẽ
s gen reďé dascé dalü katí esté rane alie cašé levé culë
pl nom reďe dascóy dale kate estáy rane ale case leve cule
pl acc reďi dascõ dalõ katõ estã ranẽ alẽ casẽ levẽ culẽ
pl dat reďĩ dascĩ́ dalĩ́ katĩ́ estã ranẽ alẽ casẽ levẽ culẽ
pl gen reďë dascë dalë katë estë ranë alë casë levë culë

(As the MV forms represent spoken forms, I’ve written kati instead of the usual romanization katy, reflecting katy.)

The bulk of the forms can be generated if the following sound changes are applied:

  • nasalization of final n/m
  • > ë (the lost i insulates the consonant from Cy sound changes)
  • î > e
  • monophthongization (except for stressed oi ai)
  • the root change in cašé is a regular development from casë: [ka sjé > ka ʃé]
As for the analogical changes:
  • dascõ, casĩ, levẽ show the Basfahe tendency to mark accusatives with -m
  • alie, ale regularize the declension with ali- as singular root, al- as plural root
  • dative casẽ for expected *casĩ regularizes the feminine non-a declensions
The -ia and -ë inflections are subject to the palatalization changes, which almost all have the effect of replacing [Cy] with a single phoneme. This in turn led to most words being simply reanalyzed as belonging to the -a and -e declensions. Examples:
EMV mísia eloria sazë miďë
s nom miša elora sažé miďé
s acc miša elora sažẽ miďẽ
s dat mišã elorã sažẽ miďẽ
s gen miše elore sažé miďé
pl nom miše elore saže miďe
pl acc mišẽ elorẽ sažẽ miďẽ
pl dat mišẽ elorẽ sažẽ miďẽ
pl gen mišë elorë sažë miďë
In these cases the changed consonant appears, by analogy, even where the sound change did not— e.g. pl.acc. mísem > mišẽ not *misẽ.

But a few -ia words instead have differing singular and plural roots, and follow the alia paradigm. Examples: leria > leria/lere, tagia > tagia/taje, tsísia > čísia/čiše, Verdúria > Vedúria/Vedure.

MV -o may derive from -o, -or, and -u from -u, -ur, -ul. In the standard language, all words stay in their historical paradigms: e.g. gecul > gecu has the singular declension gecu, gecu, geculã́, geculé— it belongs to the reď not the dalu paradigm. (Note the reappearance of l in the oblique forms.)

For less common words and less educated speakers, this is a struggle. So e.g. hutor > huto ‘farm’ still belongs to the reď paradigm, but dupor > dupo ‘stork’ is often declined like dasco.


As ever, declension 1 (des/desa) follows the corresponding nominal forms.

Declension 2 (mese/mesë) is a little more complicated. The masculine forms match leve. For the feminine:

  • If the palatalization changes the root, make this change, then follow sazë. E.g. mesë > mešé, mešẽ, mešẽ, mešé
  • If not, follow alia: e.g. fale > falia, faliã, faliã, falie / fale, falẽ, falẽ, falé.
Declension 3 (gliny) is similar. The masculine forms match kati. The feminine forms follow rana, with these modifications:
  • If there’s a palatalization root change, make it. E.g. gliny > gliya, gliya, gliyã, gliye
  • If not, just insert a y: doly > dolya, dolya, dolyã, dolye
Declension 4 (nenë/nena) has a regular feminine. The masculine forms follow the same rules as declension 2 feminines— thus nenë > neyé, neyẽ, neyẽ, neyé… The adverb ending -ece often loses its unstressed final: lerežece > lerežéc.

The article

The declension of so is unchanged in writing, but the usual sound changes affect the pronunciation:
  m     f  
s nom so sa
s acc so sa
s dat
s gen se so
pl nom so so
pl acc so
pl dat
pl gen

Personal pronouns

nom acc dat gen
I se et sẽ še
you s le lẽ
he ilu ilet ilũ ilë
she ila ilat ilã ilë
we ta
you pl mu
they ca
refl ze zet zẽ
pl za
impers žẽ žẽ ženã žené
who ke ket kẽ če
pl kaẽ kaẽ këne
what ko
Pronouns are not exempt from sound change, but are usually too high-profile for analogy. But—
  • The merger of lë/lië was too inconvenient; the Basfahe innovation ilë has become mainstream.
  • became [mɪ] for many speakers, but makes the plural system regular (acc/dat merged and marked by the nasal).
There are very colloquial pronouns 1s etpe, 2s eȟre, 3sm luwe, 3sf luwa, which are declined like nouns. Ibu/iba ‘guy/girl’ sounds like ilu/ila, and are sometimes jocularly given acc. forms ibet, ibat.

The plural reflexive za and interrogative remain in the standard language, but people colloquially use only the singular.

Impersonal tu has largely disappeared, in favor of žen ‘people’ > žẽ. The dat/gen are often pronounced žnã, žne.


Er ‘and’ > e, which merges with 3s ‘is’. But…
  • The ‘one-syllable’ exception may apply: some speakers always say [ɛr].
  • Some restore the r before a vowel: cone er aluróy ‘cats and dogs’.
  • Those who don’t restore the r may have sandhi instead: e ureke > öreke.
  • A few lengthen the vowel to [e:], especially in contexts where confusion with ‘is’ might occur, such as at the beginning of a sentence.


Past anterior tense

In speech, you use yatá instead of the past anterior: crežneram > yatá crežnã. Note that this was already a possibility in EMV, and mandatory in Basfahe.

Nonetheless, the past anterior can still be used in writing.

Aspect markers

The key to the changes in the aspect system is the particle ya. Its etymological meaning is ‘indeed’, so it was at first emphatic, and then completive. It was used more and more as a perfect, even with stative verbs, and this is its primary meaning in the 3500s. But one of the meanings of the perfect is an assertion of relevance— and after all, isn’t everything ultimately relevant? Linguists wondered if ya had become nothing more than a marker of verbhood.

And then the entire aspect system was reinvented. First, a new progressive construction appeared, using esã še ‘be at’ plus the infinitive. This replaced the particle siča.

Ȟo voytö, ay še dabilã.
not enter-2s / be-1s in undress-inf
Don’t come in, I’m getting undressed. (Lit., I’m in undressing)
(In EMV še dabilan could be used as an adverbial— ‘while undressing’. It still has this meaning when fronted or backed, when another verb is present.)

This was extended with fšegdá ‘always’ to cover habitual or repeated actions, replacing dénuo:

Fay fšegdá še piti Konacĩ ne utrõ.
be.past-1s always at drink-inf Konaci at morning-dat
I would drink Konaci in the morning.
Next (from nun ‘now’, or núnece ‘just now’) was used as a completive. The emphasis is on the event being done or the object disposed of.
Tenö agrenuli eta Etayẽ, ac ilet nũ ivritáw.
have-2s opinion-pl.acc about Etanë-dat / but 3s-acc compl read-past-1s
You have opinions about Etanë, but I’ve read him.

Nũ brisru so taš.
compl break-past-1s the-s.m.acc teacup
I broke the teacup.
Very colloquially, you can use the present tense instead: Nũ brisu so taš. You can also use with the present to indicate things that are about to occur: Nũ ladã! ‘We’re going right now!’

In colloquial speech, but not formal writing, vulir ‘want’ or another expression of desire or intention is used in place of the future:

Elujéno vulu visani ahonaš še.
today want-1s study-inf Xurnese 1s-gen
Today I’m going to study my Xurnese.
Yatá is chiefly used to mark an event as earlier than another event, replacing the past anterior.
Yatá visãru kiã užãné.
prev study-past-1s when visit-past-2s
I’d already studied when you came by.
Inceptive za- is no longer used, except when lexicalized (e.g. začorã ‘burst into tears’).

The bare verb is still unmarked for aspect. It’s used for general statements where aspect isn’t very important:

So elodale načalnu pro scaďorã.
the emperor-pl rule-past-3p for century-pl.dat
The emperors ruled for centuries.

So cuyenome nikagdá ȟo dešu.
the oppressor-pl never not stop-3p
The oppressors never stop.
Where does this leave ya? It’s still used as a perfect, but the threshhold of relevance is higher. E.g.
Ya brisru so taš.
perf break-past-1s the-s.m.acc teacup
I’ve broken the teacup.
Unlike the sentence with , this sentence can’t be used merely to report an event, or to emphasize that it occurred (perhaps surprisingly). It has a sense of challenge or immediate anticipation: So what does that mean for you? It can still be used, though, to explain something by implication. So the above example might be a response to “Pour yourself some tea.” (“I can’t, because…”)


In EMV it was possible to simply omit the subject: So múrtanim kekne ‘The múrtany was killed’. This is archaic in MV. Instead use impersonal žẽ— fronting the múrtany if you like.
So mútanĩ žẽ kekne.
the múrtany-acc impers kill-past-3s
The múrtany was killed.
As for increasing valence, šesã and other causative verbs now raise the causee to an accusative. Compare:
Raheli šesne šantan šant Ihanon.
Raheli-nom cause-past-3s sing-inf song-acc Ihano-dat

Raheli šesne Ihanõ ji šãtã šãt.

Raheli-nom cause-past-3s Ihano-acc sub sing-inf song-acc
Raheli made Ihano sing a song.

Case usage

Ad is used before dative arguments. This usage goes back to Basfahe, but became necessary once datives and accusatives merged for many nouns.
Raheli done čĩlavec ad nepõ zë.
Raheli-nom give-past-3s dishwasher-acc to grandson-dat refl-gen
Raheli gave her grandson a dishwasher.
(Nepõ is both accusative and dative.)

If the dative argument is a pronoun, it can either be left where it is with ad, or moved before the verb without ad.

Raheli done čĩlavec ad ilũ.
Raheli-nom give-past-3s dishwasher-acc to 3sm-dat

Raheli ilũ done čĩlavec.
Raheli-nom 3sm-dat give-past-3s dishwasher-acc
Raheli gave him a dishwasher.
The dative of relation (piro sen ‘father to me’) is no longer used— piro še ‘my father’ is fine.

In the 3500s, grammarians fought a losing battle to save the partitive. Textbooks would contain statements like “It’s rude to ask for all the cake [culanul]! Ask for some of the cake [culanulei]!” But MV no longer uses the genitive like this— vulu culanũ just means that you want cake, not that you want the whole thing.

It’s common to name stores and restaurants using the genitive— e.g. Fãdule ‘Fandula’s (place)’. In EMV you would decline these as if they were nominatives— Šatu Fandula ‘I like Fandula’s’; Lädam Fandulen ‘We’re going to Fandula’s’. In MV they are invariable: Šatu Fãdule, Ladã ad Fãdule.

Gender mismatches

As in EMV, many nouns can be used with either gender. However, there is a tendency to ‘correct’ gendered forms, or produce new ones.
  • sažé ‘prince’ is now masculine, declined like declension 4 adjectives.
  • if a profession ends in the very common -õ or -ec, the feminine -oma/-eca should be used for women.
Nonetheless mismatches will occur— e.g opfë ‘victim’ is feminine but can apply to males; irestát lë ‘your majesty’ is masculine but applies to queens.

As in MV, immediately modifying adjectives agree: soa opfë suletë ‘the young victim’. But predicatives now agree with the semantic subject:

Sa opfë sulečé fo faše.
the-f victim young-f be.past-3s angry-m
The young (male) victim was angry.
A few slang terms are declined normally, but immediate modifiers agree semantically: mitra pak ‘close (male) friend’.

Pronominal gender

The pronoun il is avoided, in favor of the demonstratives. Compare:
Ihano miže dy Abend ya fäsre, ac řo iler ředao.
Ihano say-past-3s sub Abend compl leave-past-3s / but no it-acc believe-1s

Ihano miže ji Abẽd yatá fasre, ac ȟo ředáw tot.
Ihano say-past-3s sub Abend already leave-past-3s / but no believe-1s that-acc
Ihano said that Abend had left, but I don’t believe it.

Each other

The expression pere ftore is outdated. Where possible, just use the reflexive:
Sa faboma e õtã́ zë zet risunu.
the-f painter and model refl-gen refl-acc draw-past-3p
The painter and her model drew each other.
If you want to head off any implication of self-action— in the example, the idea that each person drew themselves— you can add the phrase ad otrẽ (literally ‘to the other’).

Formal you

The formal pronoun tu died out in the 3500s. It’s often said that it was a casualty of the democratic atmosphere of the Eretald Revolt, but it had been lost in Basfahe decades before. (As an impersonal pronoun, tu was replaced by žẽ.)

By the end of the century, a new formal pronoun had developed. The genesis was the old system of locutions such as estát lë ‘your greatness’, řemát lë ‘your holiness’, etc. You didn’t have to repeat these multiple times per sentence; you could use ilu (the 3sm pronoun) on second reference:

Suzanu dy estát lë ditavne ci-bröca, ac devao ilun pisadan dy bröca lië zet mauttrure im soán uverälavecán.
remember-1s sub greatness 2s-gen prefer-past-3s that-pants / but must-1s 3sm-dat report-inf sub pants 3s-gen refl-acc destroy-past-3s in the-s.m.dat washer-dat
I recall that Your Lordship liked those trousers, but I must report that Your Lordship’s trousers were destroyed in the washing machine.
This usage spread from servants and courtiers outwards, and in its new incarnation could be used on first reference as well:
Kiel epáy ilet colaprẽ?
how can-1s 3s-acc help-inf
How can I help You?
In this usage the relationship to the titles was forgotten, and naturally ila was used for women.

In the written language these pronouns were capitalized to distinguish them from the ordinary 3s pronouns. The above sentence would be written Kiel epai Ilet colapren?

The article

So is used more often than in EMV. In particular:
  • It’s used for one’s own body parts: zet cesune so orel ‘he scratched his ears’.
  • It can be used in prepositional phrases: ĩ sã atunã́ ‘in the room’
  • It’s often used with abstractions: So iosu e agolã́ ‘Mercy is important’.


Suy ‘none’ has been reinterpreted as a clitic -, which does not require the negator ȟo.
Šatu sü-salsõ.
like-1s none-fascist-pl.acc
I like no fascists.
This is one of the few changes that are reflected in the orthography— you would write the above sentence as Šatu su-salsoin.

MV has innovated cikël ‘this way’ and cekël ‘that way’ (from kiel ‘how’). These are most useful in making a contrast:

Oto, ȟo fasö cekël, fasö cikël.
dummy / no do.that-2s that-how / do.that-2s this-how
Idiot, don’t do it that way, do it this way.
These can be taken as representing an entire VP, and support VP Deletion:
Ilisea mãšre sĩ žoyẽ e Lana cekël.
Ilisea steal-past-3s jewel-pl.acc and Luana that-how
Ilisea stole the jewels and so did Luana.


Kies > kës ‘do what?’ survives, but colloquially it’s often replaced with kël fasec ‘to do that how’:
Kël fasö ci-vëčerã́?
how do.that-2s this-evening-dat
What are you doing tonight?


The battle to save the dative/accusative distinction after prepositions (acc = movement, dat = location) was lost when the cases merged in many paradigms.

Instead, you can optionally re-use the preposition in adverb form to reinforce the movement meaning:

Ktuvóc notne ĩ žeĩ imã́.
ktuvok swim-past-3s in sea-dat in-dat
The ktuvok swam into the ocean.
The prepositional prefixes are no longer used, but a few combinations are lexicalized:
cune around, roughly at
fco all around, surrounded by
throughout, in all of
fipros ever since
recõ far from being, unlike
ris far (away) from
šapros just after
šco next to
šip just under (a table etc.)
šisu on top of
šiž just before
špak almost the same as
As the dative is increasingly perceived as “the prepositional case”, the use of the nominative after eta, i, še is not always respected, especially in colloquial speech.


Note the effect of sound change on the numbers: ã, ďũ, ďĩ, par, pã, sos, hep, žoc, nev, dec. In combination forms par > pa, e.g. decpá 14.

The number ďĩ ‘3’ is no longer declined.

In modern life, there are IDs and telephone numbers and other things which are treated as strings of digits rather than integers. E.g. if your telephone number is V55-4701, you say this out loud as voy pã pã (kešaš) par ep niš ã.

However, two-digit strings are treated as integers: if you just wanted to refer to your local exchange V55, it’s voy padecpã. (50 is padec; it won’t be confused for 40 because that’s čedec.)

In EMV, “in the year X” was expressed im zonán X. You can now leave out zonán. Writers are often told to put in z (z) or ZE “for clarity”.


Ȟo… nũ is rarely used for ‘no longer’, perhaps because is now used for the completive. Instead you can use ȟo… õ.


As in Basfahe, you can ask questions by preposing ji, or by using eto as a tag question.
Ji elcari epu notã?
Q elcar-pl can-3p swim-inf
Can elcari swim?

Ö cõ ktuvoce, eto?
be.3p like ktuvok-pl / that
They’re like ktuvoks, right?
In writing, some insist on spelling these out as e dy and e eto.

In speech, these are used in preference to the older esce or the older tag questions.

If you want to question a particular constituent, you use Clefting or Constituent Dislocation rather than esce:

E vede poln ket tenu ktuvoce?
be.3s green-m skin who-acc have-3p ktuvok-pl

Vede poln, ji ktuvoce ilet tenu?
green-m skin / sub ktuvok-pl 3sm have-3p
Is it green skin that ktuvoks have?


Colloquially, the plural interrogative kaë > has been replaced by the singular ke. However, if you know that the referent is plural, you still use plural verbs:
Ke ö ci-žele?
who be-3p this-radical-pl
Who are these radicals?
In subject position, ke ‘who’ and ko ‘what’ are still usually distinguished. However, the accusative and dative forms of ke are colloquially used for everything.
Vulu crežã ket ila creže.
want-1s eat-inf who-acc 3sf eat-3s
I want what she’s having.
Although the acc/dat distinction is healthy for ke (ket/kẽ), it’s common to still use ad kẽ for ‘to whom/what’:
Ad kẽ e ctodicel?
to who-acc be.2s allergic
What are you allergic to?


Sentential subjects

It’s still possible to use a ji clause as a subject:
Ji nirome esmu ȟovine epe.
sub robot-pl be-fut--3p disloyal can-3s
It could be that robots will be disobedient.
However, such sentences do create the possibility of a garden path— Ji nirome esmu ȟovine could be the question “Will robots be disobedient?” So careful writers prefer to front epe, avoiding any misinterpretation.
Epe ji nirome esmu ȟovine.
can-3s sub robot-pl be-fut-3p disloyal
It could be that robots will be disobedient.


Using esce as a subordinator is old-fashioned; use ji instead.
Ȟo šrifáw ji ci-šapisá e mimu.
not know-1s sub this-e.mail be-3s scam
I don’t know if this e-mail is a scam.

Relative clauses

It’s common, but not mandatory, that complex relative clauses use a resumptive pronoun:
Ji ci-fako elnora suzane so vrake ket Abẽd šrifce ji devõ deno cã brigã?
Q this-party still remember-3s the enemy-pl who-acc Abend know-past-3s dub must-1p habitual 3p-acc fight-inf
Does this party still remember the enemies which Abend knew we must constantly fight?
By contrast so vrake ket brigã ‘the enemies we fight’ doesn’t need the pronoun.

As noted above, ke now usually does duty for both plurals and inanimates.

In EMV, you could not relativize a headless relative like ke presrete ‘(the one) who asks’ if the corresponding slot in the main sentence was dative. But this is fine in MV:

Voytu leďa ad ke preste.
send-fut-1s sample-acc to who-nom ask-fut-3s
I will send a sample to whoever asks.

Nonrestrictive clauses

It’s no longer acceptable to mark a nonrestrictive relative clause by preceding it with er ‘and’, probably because it has merged phonetically with e ‘is’.


The rules in EMV— realis in the condition if it’s relatively likely, irrealis if it’s unlikely— can still be followed. But colloquially, it’s common to use the irrealis in both clauses.
Esli so žele izovcelu, ešelã otré Ahonáy.
if the radical-pl win-irr-3p / be-irr-1p another-f Xurno
If the radicals win, we will be another Xurno.
On the other hand, grammarians insisting on the realis made their point too well, so some speakers concluded that both clauses should be realis:
Esli so žele izovtu, esmã otré Ahonáy.
if the radical-pl win-fut-3p / be-fut-1p another-f Xurno
If the radicals win, we will be another Xurno.


In EMV, esan had two past forms— fue etc. for predicates, esne etc. for existentials. This continues to be true of formal language.

In colloquial speech, however, you always use fue/fueu, now pronounced fo/fö. E.g.:

Pyeru, crežnáy sĩ ciröle ke fö ĩ fronirũ.
regret-1s / eat-past-1s plum-pl.acc who be.past-3s in refrigerator
I’m sorry, I ate the plums which were in the refrigerator.
Colloquially, existentials and clefts often use the verb ladã ‘go’:
Ladã acule ĩ befelorã lë.
go.3p bug-pl in program-dat 2s-gen
There are bugs in your code.
EMV e dy <S> was used as a form of distancing, which evolved into the question formation ji <S>. If you’re not asking a question, you can use either ji or e ji, or even lade ji. The implication is that you are not entirely standing behind the statement.
(E) ji so mönát e váreme.
be.3s sub the disease be.3s dangerous
Seems the disease is serious.

Constituent dislocation

A constituent can be fronted or backed, leaving behind a pronoun. Accusative constituents revert to nominative. However, dative expressions remain prepositional phrases.
Ihano pitre so šerá ne prusĩ.
Ihano drink-past-3s the beer.acc at inn-dat

> Ne prusĩ, ilat pitre cečel, Ihano, so šeré.
at inn-dat / 3sf.acc drink-past-3s there / Ihano / the beer
The inn, he drank there, Ihano, the beer.

Pragmatic particles

Several new particles have been innovated. Öȟ marks disgust, disagreement, or dismissal.
Öȟ, é še ivrec ce-šanáẽ õ.
pt / be.2s at read-inf that-website again
Ugh, you’ve been reading that website again.
expresses approval, or tries to initiate an agreement. It originates in toh-ë, i.e. TE = TE, for tot e ‘it’s that’. It can be written either as TE or as .
—Epceláy crežã Ismá.
can-irr-1s eat-inf Ismaîn-acc
I could eat Ismaîn.

—Të. Ládã ad Alerihé.
OK / go-1p to Alerih-gen
Fine, let’s go to Alerih’s.
A variant is oyé from OE (OE) from the common orest e ‘it’s true’. Oyé is more likely to be used when affirming something in the face of doubt.
Oyé, tot ivricáw ĩ higečẽ!
pt / that read-past-1s in internet-dat
Really! I read it on the Internet.
Oru suggests that someone’s just said something completely idiotic. The first usages are written or…u (or---u), suggesting that the speaker wants to say orto > oto ‘idiot’ but changes it at the last moment to oru ‘I pray’.
Oru, šris tot prokena ivricö ĩ šanaẽ.
pray-1s / know-1s that because read-past-2s in
Right. You know it because you read it on a web page.
Rara is mostly used in writing, in the form RR (RR), from ridi ak rakanĩ ‘laughs against the roaches’, the Verdurian equivalent of LOL. (Besides the alliteration, the joke is that loud noises scare the roaches.)
Ji õžané ad ižeďẽ lë rara?
sub return-2s to former-f.s.dat 2s-gen LOL
LOL, you’re getting back with your ex?
Ara is just ‘yes’ reduplicated. It expresses a somewhat exasperated agreement, or a desire to move on.
Ara, ã õ nočula.
yes-yes / be.1p again together
Yeah yeah, we’re together again.
Niš and ča are still seen, but are old-fashioned. can be used for both.

Modern diction


How do you write like a 37th century Verdurian? Or alternatively, what makes a 35th century style seem outmoded?

A generation’s own style doesn’t seem outmoded to itself, of course. To a foreigner, it’s all going to seem abstract anyway. We haven’t grown up rolling our eyes at the hopelessly uncool 3410s, or 3610s, or smirking at the hillbilly speech of Vimínia. But it is possible to come to recognize and even imitate the stylistic quirks of a particular age.

This is most easily appreciated by seeing the same text written in two different periods. We can never quite find two sufficiently comparable authors; but fortunately the market has given us just what we need— translations of the same work two centuries apart.

I’ve chosen a work already showcased in Almeology— the play Lhumudrel by Benhêk of Barakhina; the original is of course Barakhinei and dates to 3463. As the play is comic and popular, producers generally want it to sound colloquial and up to date, and are not particularly interested in pleasing Barakhinei pedants; thus it has been translated many times and outmoded constructions are avoided.

The text in black is from the first Verdurian translation, in 3475. The text in green is a modern translation from 3681. Note that this is written Verdurian, so it uses the old spelling. For comparison with the rest of this document, I’ve also include the spoken version, also in green, next to the English.

PIRO. Dičy esë, com šrifeo, redelcë deve divrec so curesát. Devum röman and emelin lë.
father / sweet 1s-gen/ as know-2s / woman must-3s learn the-s.m.acc responsibility / must-1p calculate-inf for purchase-pl.dat 2s-gen
PIRO. Luana ’së, šrifeo, faye dy řédë e čerenë cum kunan. Devum ašir soi emeli lë.
father / babe 1s-gen / know-2s / necessary-3s sub woman be.3s prudent-f with money-acc / must-1p consider-inf purchase-pl.acc 2s-gen
Lana še, šrifö, faye ji ȟeje e čereyé cũ kunã. Devũ aši so emeli lë.
FATHER. My dear, as you know, a woman must learn to be responsible. We must go over your purchases.
LUMUDRE. Miyirece, piro sen.
of.course / father 1s-dat
LUMUDREL. Ai volemë, piro esë.
be-1s willing-f / father 1s-gen
Ay voleyé, piro še.
LHUMUDREL. Of course, father.
P. Len donru decpar hurini ižeďen iliažyošán, meca esë. Kiel cam donreu?
2s.dat give-past-1s ten-four khurind-pl.acc previous-m.s.dat month-s.dat / daughter 1s-gen / how 3p-acc give-past-2s
P. Donru decpár žentem ad len ne otren iliažyošán, meca ’së. Ke fue žüngî lë?
give-past-1s ten-four silver-pl.acc to 2s.dat at other-m.s.dat month-s.dat / daughter 1s-gen / who be.past.3s expense-pl 2s-gen
Dõru decpá žẽtẽ ad lẽ ne otrẽ ilyažyošã́, meca še. Ke fo žũge lë?
F. I gave you fourteen gold pieces last month, daughter. How did you spend them?
L. Et mifanei suzanen. Platru nev hurini pro kyolen—
1s.acc allow-imper-2s remember-inf / pay-past-1s nine khurind-pl.acc for dress-dat
P. Ut beže soa čumesa. Emtao kyola ab nev ženten—
may move-3s the.f brain / buy-past-1s dress-acc with nine silver-pl.dat
Ut beže sa čumesa. Ẽtáw kyola ab nev žẽtẽ—
L. Let's see if I remember. I spent 9 khurin on a dress--
P. Nev hurinî, kyole.
nine khurind-pl / dress
P. Nev žentî, ama kyole.
nine silver-pl / one-f dress
Nev žẽte, ama kyole.
F. 9 khurin , dress.
L. Ďini hurini pro curedonyošán u nosán Alodelei. khurind-pl for candlestick-dat at wedding-dat Alodel-gen
L. Ab ďin ženten, curedonyoš pro Alodelán, so nos ilë.
with three silver-pl.dat / candlestick for Alodel-dat / the wedding 3s-gen
Ab ďĩ žẽtẽ, curedoyoš pro Alodelã́, so nos ilë.
L. 3 khurin on a candlestick for Alôdel's wedding.
P. Ďinî hurinî, curedonyoš.
three-pl khurind-pl / candlestick
P. Ďin žentî, am curedonyoš.
three silver-pl / one candlestick
Ďĩ žẽte, ã curedoyoš.
F. 3 khurin, candlestick.
L. Er ďuni ořeki pro ivron.
and two-pl ôkhek-pl for book-dat
L. Er ivram ab ďunen ženten.
and book-acc with silver-pl.dat
E ivrã ab ďunẽ žẽtẽ.
L. And 2 ôkhek on a book.
P. Ďunî ořekî, ivro. ôkhek-pl / book
P. Ďunî žentî, am ivro. silver-pl / one book
Ďune žẽtẽ, ã ivro.
F. 2 ôkhek, book.
L. Soa kyole fue azurë lanë cum flaven borden, er lyö šöna, vuleu ilat lelen?
the-f dress be.past.3s blue-f linen with yellow-f.s.dat edge-s.dat / and very pretty-f / want-2s 3sf-acc see-inf
L. Soa kyole, fue lanë oralëi syel cum borden maíz, tot e isu dičy— dy vuleu ilat pilaven?
the-f dress / be.past.3s linen color-gen sky with edge-s.dat maize / all be.3s very sweet / sub want-2s 3sf-acc glance-inf
Soa kyole, fo layé oralë šel cũ bodẽ mayz, tot e isu diči— ji vulö ilat pilavẽ?
L. The dress was blue linen with a yellow border, and very pretty, do you want to see it?
P. Kiom mizeo eta ivro? Kî kest ivrei e? E malmesë ridibode, eššane, řo ešele što darove kio dobläde redelcen, com so elir nëronei.
what-acc say-2s about book / which type book-gen be.3s / be.3s frivolous-f comedy / probably / not be-irr-3s something healthy what improve-3s woman-pl.dat / like the life saint-gen
P. Öř, ci-ivro, kiel fasseu cečel? So kest ilë, ke e? Glupy ridibode, sen mizao, er su-šoz ke sumercele žina, leďad racont eta elir nëronei.
ugh / this-book / how do.that-2s there / the type 3s-gen / who be.3s / stupid-f comedy / 1s-dat say-1s / and none-thing who educate-irr-3s girl / for.example story about life saint-gen
Öȟ, ci-ivro, kël fasö cečel? So kest ilue, ke e? Glupi ridibode, sẽ mizáw, e sü-šoz ke sumecele žina, leďad racõt eta eli yëroné.
F. What's this about a book? What sort of a book is it? Some silly comedy, I suppose, and not something edifying and suitable for women, like a saint's life.
L. E ivro Žendromei.
be-3s book Genremos-gen
L. Ivro, e Žendromei.
book / be-3s Genremos-gen
Ivro, e Žẽdromé.
L. It's a book by Genremos.
P. Ivro kë mizeo?
book who-gen say-2s
P. Öř, ket mizeo?
ugh / who-acc say-2s
Öȟ, ket mizö?
F. A book by who?
L. Žendromei, so riprirodom.
Genremos-gen / the-m philosopher
L. Žendrom, so riprirodom caďin.
Genremos / the-m philosopher Caďinorian-m
Žẽdrõ, so riprirodõ caďĩ.
L. Genremos, the philosopher.
P. Kedimo zonin zet impuyu riprirodomî im Barahinein?
how.many year-pl.dat refl-acc print-3p philosopher-pl in Barakhinei-dat
P. Dy žen impuye riprirodomi im Barahinein? Coprós kiam?
sub people print-3s philosopher-pl.acc in Barakhinei-dat / since when
Ji žẽ ĩpuye riprirodomi ĩ Barahinẽ? Coprós kiã?
F. Since when are they printing philosophers in Barakhinei?
L. Ä e im caďinon, piro sen. Šrifceu dy Žendrom nesne im Barahinán? Ce-zonin fue soa fetöra i Sua, miyirece.
oh be.3s in Caďinor-dat / father 1s-dat / know-2s sub Genremos be.born-past-3s in Barakhún-dat / that-year-pl.dat be.past.3s the-f province of Sūās / of.course
L. Ara piro, e caďino. Žendrom, nesne im Barahinán, dy šrifceu? Ne ce-dënin, im fetöran i Sua, prenam.
yes-yes father / be.3s Caďinor / Genremos / be.born-past-3s in Barakhún-dat / sub know-2s / at that-day-pl.dat / in province-dat of Sūās / get-1p
Ara piro, e caďino. Žẽdrõ, nesne ĩ Barahinã́, ji šrifcö? Ne ce-jenĩ, ĩ fetörã i Sua, prenã.
L. Oh, it's in Caďinor, father. Did you know Genremos was born in Barakhún? In those days it was the province of Su:as, of course.
P. Im caďinon! Řo sen mizeceo dy epei ivrec so caďinam!
in Caďinor-dat / not 1s-gen say-imper-2s sub can-2s read the-m.acc Caďinor-acc P. Caďino! Řo racontei ad sen dy ivreo caďinam!
Caďinor / no tell-2s to 1s-gen sub read-2s Caďinor-acc
Caďino! Ȟo racõté ad sẽ ji ivrö caďinõ!
F. In Caďinor! Don't tell me you can read Caďinor!
L. Řo sul pavece. So cliďu et colapre ilet bruven.
not only little-adv / the-m priest 1s-acc help-3s 3sm-acc solve-inf L. Ay, řo epai ger. So cliďu et appuye u dosán.
ah / not can-1s hardly / the priest 1s-acc push-3s near back-dat
Ay, ȟo epáy ger. So cliďu et apuye u dosã́.
L. Only a little. The priest helps me work it out.
P. Řo šatu eto řóece! E isu durnë dy frälina plate soa kuna pro ivroin, ac kiom mizte maris lë?
P. Eto, řo raspuyai cäsel! Žina ke leče so denk zië pro ivroin… řo dobre, er uestu žanmei, ilun esme cupáš!
that / not lean-1s piece / girl who fling-3s the-m.acc cash-acc refl-gen for book-pl.dat / not good / and man future-gen / 3sm-dat be-fut-3s shock
Eto, ȟo raspuyáy casel! Žina ke leče so dẽk pro ivrĩ́… ȟo dobre, e ostu žãmé, ilũ esme cupáš!
F. I don't like this at all. For a young woman to be spending money on books is bad enough-- what is your husband going to say?
Mizao, eseyer divrec so caďinam, com sefon! Kio suvme? Permizao dy crešretü pilkî er revolu!
say-1s / try-inf learn-inf the-m.acc Caďinor-acc / like boy-dat / what follow-fut-3s / suppose-1s sub grow-fut-3p ball-pl and beard
Ac orest e, visaneu caďinam com ešelei suleom! E zaftra ke? Sen mizao dy vuleu tenec češem er revolum!
but truth be.3s / study-2s Caďinor-acc as be-irr-2s youth / and tomorrow who / 1s-dat say-1s sub want-2s have-inf shell-pl.acc and beard-acc
Ac orest e, visanö caďinõ cõ ešelé suleõ! E zafra ke? Sẽ mizáw ji vulö tenec česẽ e revolũ!
But to be trying to learn Caďinor, as if you were a boy! What next? I suppose you're going to grow balls and a beard!
L. Uy, piro, řo esanei řopeil. Řo e sul rizesa pro plendënin iverë, kiam řo eu so šadu er so šišát er so žen řo že pasetir…
oh / father / not be-imper-2s upset-m / not be-3s only amusement for afternoon-pl.dat winter-gen / when not be-3p the riding and the archery and the people not come-3s visit-inf
A piryo, řo zen atikei. Santélece zovao tidimo ne soin plendënin im iverin, kiam řo lädu so šadu er šisát, er nikto řo eu še voitec…
oh daddy / not refl-dat sting-2s / merely play-1s somewhat at afternoon-pl.dat in winter-dat . when not go-3p the riding and shooting / and nobody not be-3p at enter-inf
A piryo, ȟo zẽ atiké. Sãtelec zováw tidimo ne sĩ plẽjenĩ ĩ iverĩ, kiã ȟo ladu so šadu e šisát, e nikto ȟo ö še voytec…
L. Oh father, don't be upset. It's only a diversion for the winter afternoons, when there's no riding or shooting and people don't come visiting...
P. Ča, řo iler ferimai. Ašu dy e lukulát esë— řo len faitnai marian.
well / not 3sn-acc bear-fut-1s / think-1s sub be-3s fault 1s-gen – not 2s.dat make-past-1s marry
P. Öř, ci-pityo, řo ilet trogai. Šrifao dy e ďam esë… řo celftennai marisa lë.
ugh / this-drink / not 3sm-dat touch-1s / know-1s sub be-3s fault 1s-gen / not arrange-past-1s marriage 2s-gen
Öȟ, ci-pičo, ȟo ilet trogáy. Šrifáw ji e ďam še… ȟo celftenáy marisa lë.
F. Well, I won't have it. It's my fault, I suppose-- I haven't married you off.
Ei immëria miran len, et colaprei cum soán römatán. Zetmecî ta!
be-3s encouragement mother-dat 2s-dat / 1s-acc help-2s with the-m.s.dat accounting-s.dat / selfish-pl 1p-nom
Ei tekeca ad miran lë, er et colaprei cum soin hicetin. Fuam zet-zet.
be-3s stander-f to mother-dat 2s-getn / and 1s-acc help-2s with number-pl.dat / be.past-1p selfish
E tekeca ad mirã lë, e et colapré cũ sĩ hicetĩ. Fuã zet-zet.
You're a comfort to your mother, you help me with the accounts. Selfish of us.
Mornai tro lengece. Zaftra apelumai vlaim len so cliďu, er suy otre dën řo gasfretum.
delay-past-1s too long-adv / tomorrrow call-fut-1s uncle-acc 2s-dat the priest / and none other-m-acc day-acc not waste-fut-1p
Šesnai cipan tro. Šapisadai zaftra vlaín lë, so cliďu, vulu trogan so kadul ad prošen šualán.
cause-past-1s boil too / e.mail-1s tomorrow uncle-dat 2s-gen / the priest / want-1s touch-inf the-m.s.acc ass-s.acc to next-m.s.dat horse-s.dat
Šesnáy cipã tro. Šapisadáy zafra vlaĩ́ lë, so cliďu, vulu trogã so kadu ad prošẽ šalã́.
Put it off too long. Tomorrow I'll send for your uncle the priest, and we'll make up for lost time.
L. Urave, piro sen, řo tibao marian!
please / father 1s-dat / not hurry-1s marry-in
L. Ä urave, piryo! Řo ďiecu ad cliďun.
oh please / daddy / not race-1s to priest-dat
A urave, piryo! Ȟo ďecu ad cliďũ.
L. Please, father, I'm not in any hurry to get married.
P. Ya mornai tro lengece. Řo etertotmai. Riprirodomî! (Fäse.)
already delay-past-1s too long-adv / not argue-fut-1s / philosopher-pl / leave-3s
P. Ya cipne tro, orest e! Řo vulu pabatan on. Ripriroda! (Fäse.)
perf boil-past-3s too / truth be.3s / not want-1s prattle-inf again / philosophy / leave-3s
Ya cipne tro, orest e! Ȟo vulu pabatã õ. Ripriroda! (Fase.)
F. I've put it off too long indeed. I won't discuss it. Philosophers!(Leaves.)
L. Samiosë Bunori! Prokena pavetnai so nom Žendromei?
merciless-f Bunori / why mention-past-1s the.m.s.acc name-acc Genremos-gen
L. Eleď řezy! Prokena mižu ce-nom, Žendrom?
Eleď eternal / why say.past-1s that-name-acc / Genremos
Eleď ȟezi! Prokena mižu ce-nom, Žẽdrõ?
L. Oh, cruel fate! Why did I mention the name of Genremos?
Esli nomnai ti-crivece ridibodëi, com… com Benëcan, santelece et ascele.
if name-past-1s some-writer-f.acc comedy-gen / like like Benhêk / merely 1s-acc scold-irr-3s Esli miželao nëctam, criveca ridibodië… eššane Benëc— řo žancele sul calžole.
if say-irr-1s someone-acc / writer-f comedy-pl.gen / maybe Benhêk / not come-irr-3s only hot.time
Esli miželáw yectã, criveca ridibodë… ešane Benëc— ȟo žãcele su calžole.
If I had named some writer of comedies, like—like Benhêk, I would have just received a scolding.
Nun tu sen dome otál maris!
now impers 2s-dat give-fut-3s also husband-acc Nun vulü otál sen dan uestum!
now want-3p also 2s-dat give-inf man-acc
Nũ vulü otál sẽ dã ostũ!
Now I am to receive a husband as well!
Er tu et nasitme ti-řükán ktë řo otermai nikto, er ke šri ktë, eššane otál ret im parnem dy řo šrifcu nikagdá kio e ivro iy ralinë, im caďinon iy nibán otren řonán!
and impers 1s.acc carry-fut-3s some-castle-dat where no know-fut-1s nobody / and who know-3s where / maybe also far in mountain-pl.dat sub not know-3p never what be-3s book or play / in Caďinor or any-m.s.dat other-m.s.dat language-s.dat
Er et isceldmu ad ti-řükán ktë řo oterai nikto… er ke šri so čel, epe esan ret im soen parnen dy nikto šri ke e, ivro iy ralinë, im caďinon iy im nibkion!
and 1s-acc export-fut-3s to some-castle-dat where not know-1s nobody / and who know-3s the place / can-3s be-inf far in the-pl.dat mountain-pl.dat sub nobody know-3s who be.3s / book or play / in Caďinor-dat or in anything-dat
E et isceldimu ad ti-ȟükã́ kče ȟo oteráy nikto… er ke šri so čel, epe esã ret ĩ sĩ panẽ ji nikto šri ke e, ivro i raliyé, ĩ caďinõ i ĩ nibkiõ!
And be carted off to some castle where I don't know anyone, and who knows where, perhaps so far up in the mountains they've never heard of a book or a play, in Caďinor or any other language!
Tu zet ditave dy soa ripriroda tun uve so razum, ac le, Žendrom, ya et cüzre im áiočak!
impers refl-acc prefer-3s sub the-f philosophy impers-dat open-3s the reason / but 2s-nom / Generemos / compl 1s-acc close-past-3s in trap-acc
Mizu dy soa ripriroda onte so razum ad fsyan, ac Žendrom, le nun deďanreu im fakon!
say-3s sub the philosophy show-3s the reason to everyone-dat / but Genremos / 2s-nom now trick-past-2s in box-dat
Mizu ji sa ripriroda õte so razũ ad fšã, ac Žẽdrõ, le nũ deďãrö ĩ fakõ!
Philosophy is supposed to open the mind, but you, Genremos, you have closed me up in a trap!


For obvious reasons, I’ve focused on listing the differences from EMV. After all, we can’t grasp what MV is without knowing what those differences are. But at this point, it’s worth restoring some balance, and looking at formal writing, which has changed less— and which thanks to scholarship, government, and business makes up the bulk of writing.

As an illustration, I’ll use part of a journalistic history of the soft drink Konaci, which I’ve already paraphrased for the Almea+400 project.

Im z 3588 Azave Deburuma, meclivisanoma kebrena, fue še bežir ontecem cum kopin řosešuen.
in (year) 3588 Azave Deburum / chemist-f Kebreni-f / be.past-3s at run experiment-pl.acc with kopi-dat not-dense-f.s.dat
In 3588 Azave Deburum, a Kebreni chemist, was experimenting with low-potency kopi.

Še memán, kopi řo tene ger gust, acřó ti-egreca. Bengî fascomî surmetnu gusti koupei.
being same-dat / kopi not have-3s hardly taste-acc / except some-acidity-acc / manufacturer-pl add-past-3s taste-pl.acc fruit-gen
Kopi by itself was nearly flavorless, except for some acidity. Most manufacturers added some fruit flavors
Ac soa nassa fleadië? Fue adecan ke faye, tróune; debutne ilat žusir im soan susarén zië, cum tornen abbosatán.
but the-f nassa flaid-pl.gen / be.past.3s just what be.necessary-3s / find-past-3s / begin-past-3s 3sf-acc sell in the-f.s.dat shop-s.dat refl-gen / with mild-m.s.dat success-s.dat
But what about the flaidish nassa? It was just the thing, she found; she began selling it in her shop, with moderate success.

Im z 360t, žen fueu še raspuyan ad pityoin cipulen.
in (year) 360X / people 3s.past-3p at lean-inf to drink-pl.dat
In the 360X, carbonated beverages became popular.

Deburuma nu bruhne soa steriam ad kopin gustulan, er so lagu zië zet lialne.
Deburum now use-past-3s the-f.s.acc process-s.acc to kopi-s.dat flavored-f.s.acc / and the income refl-gen refl-acc rise-past-3s
Deburum applied the process to her flavored kopi, and sales took off.

So lebe pityo silorne nom; cometne <kopi>, <nassa>, er <cipulë> pro fassec <Konaci>.
the new drink need-past-3s name-acc / combine-past-3s kopi nassa and cipulë to make Konaci
The new drink needed a name; she combined kopi, nassa, cipulë to create the name Konaci.

Iž muaten scaďore, Konaci fue soa muďe žensatë is pityoin Ereláei, er so cumbutát Azave fue ardënda im pityoin, nuržatán, prorivatán, er kešaratán.
before half-f.s.dat century-s.dat / Konaci be.past-3s the-f most popular-f out.of drink-pl.dat Ereláe-gen / and the company Azave be.past-3s monument in drink-pl.dat alimentation-dat advertising-dat and logistics-dat
Within half a century Konaci was Ereláe’s most popular beverage, and the Azave corporation was a giant in beverages, food, advertising, and logistics.
The changes from EMV are small enough to list:
  • New words, both obvious ones like kopi and subtler ones like nuržát ‘food industry’.
  • z to represent the missing zonán.
  • Use of the new progressive (esan še + inf.) and the new completive nu
  • še memán ‘in itself’ would be com zen in EMV
  • ke faye would have been kio fayne
  • use of so within a prepositional phrase
  • use of žen as an impersonal pronoun
  • raspuyan, zet lialan, ardënda are colloquial and woudn’t be used in EMV
  • in EMV you’d say cometne soi loži ‘combined the words…’


This section should be taken as a first draft. Some of the words or definitions may change, and more will be added later.

Unsurprisingly, the most noticeable changes from EMV are in the lexicon— especially slang terms.

Words are listed here in their spoken form. For convenience, deleted final consonants that reappear during declension are given in parentheses.

First, I’ll list some promotions— words that were slang or colloquial in EMV, and are unremarkable in MV, generally replacing an older term. There’s often a new slang term for these.

word meaning replaces
acã scold, reprimand acceoren
ali deal with, take care of agolec
goma stomach magen
deďani trick, steal tromir
fazis deadbeat, idler cämec
grogec annoy, irritate agasan
ȟeje woman redelcë
isu very lyö
kičosa whatsit kîšoz
labi kiss levatir
lana dear, baby, cutie esyule
maco weakling, loser cišitë
pabatã chatter, talk a lot tatatir
pav child imfát
sö, söl drunk ošte
trogã affect, concern imprenan
žẽte silver piece fale, aržentei
Next, here are terms that were current in Basfahe, and can still be used. Obscene words tend to have high longevity, and also stay potent. Outside that set, these words can be considered mild.

See the Basfahe page for etymology. A few of these have changed meaning.

baco vagina
bopu(l) drunk or high
bowa mark, victim
bumuše dumb, idiotic
clačir break (as a witness)
čuto cop
čekizã bore, be tedious
čume witty; smart-ass
čuza shit
foré anus, asshole
futaš fuck
zet desizi have a drink
gara breast
gobu(l) penis
kadu(l) ass
kasčal monster
kebrẽ́ gibberish
klušã piss; waste
kroďi damn!
mimu scam, gaffed object
nižny wiped, exhausted
oto dummy, fool
prozec penis
raše frigging
prenã agree
skiči shut up
suyã speak up
In general, if a slang term is listed in the Basfahe chapter or the Verdurian lexicon and isn’t listed above, it’s hopelessly outmoded, even if it’s still understandable.

And here is some slang current in the last half of the 3600s.

word meaning literally...
aďdabec preacher god-babbler
akfsya reactionary against everything
alati fash; Altašei lark (pun)
alatas Altašei party grammar (pun)
ardënda huge, a big thing monument
ãta homey, pal, partner (Trêng)
atavel terrible, a bummer catastrophe
zet atikã get mad or upset sting oneself
awisa beauty, hottie (Šɯk ‘nymph statue’)
azise pregnant fat
baču(l) scared (Wesaitan)
badnó con man, operator coyote
bani leave venture
bekame tasty, delicious comfortable
betra slut, easy girl female dog
bežé movie, film (abbr.)
bokrače unlucky (Wesaitan)
bresulã squeal, spill tape-record
calona dyke, butch a literary character
calžole hard time, scolding hot dry weather
cijã shop, browse (Wesaitan)
cobeži dance move in sync
cono young man, boyfriend dog + dim.
cuya pretty girl, woman swan
čala homosexual, gay (Šɯk)
čem credit card card
češa testicle shell
čuce menstruation (pl.) spots
čũko commie, lefty stinky
dabã chatter, babble (imitative)
dedĩ nerd, geek quantum
dẽk money, cash abbr. ‘paper money’
zet dekaši get naked reveal oneself
eȟre you (from 2s.acc)
eko nuke (abbr. KO)
etpe me (from 1s.acc)
faba breast (Šɯk)
flawc idiot, dummy; mark flauk
flad private eye flaid (via detective stories)
frify scared (frifi)
fronu fridge, cooler (abbr.)
futašã screw; mess with; annoy (from interj.)
zet futašã fuck up, mess up
iča trouble, chaos (Wesaitan)
ĩfroni ghost, cut off, blow off in the fridge
isnasitã vomit or poop unload cargo
glara shit, crap (Wesaitan)
glaz head light bulb
göl penis (Šɯk)
ipači suck, give head down
hiprizi vagina lower smile
ȟeje wife woman
ȟodeše addict can’t stop
ȟusi thug; pimp muscle
ȟuy vagina (Šɯk)
iba girl, chick (from ibu)
ibu guy, dude owl
imazipã impregnate fatten
zet ĩmeyã get drunk immerse oneself
ipu subway (abbr.)
iresã deal with, fix, arrange control
irév nerve, chutzpah moustache
isceldã get rid of, fire, lose export
islavec kill, knock off wash away
ĩšati get dressed into šati
zet ježã masturbate pull oneself
jos quick, lickety-split (Flaidish)
jute naked (Wesaitan)
kač ass, butt kasčal (pun)
kači have anal sex
köbni bitch Köbuneon, a comics villain
köti clitoris squirrel
kũgu tycoon, capitalist money (Sfapa)
kũpu(l) wiped, exhausted stamped
lajãko big boss, tyrant Lajaŋkhrit + dim.
lapye girl, girlfriend rabbit + dim.
lobi head; dummy lorbil (Wesaitan)
luwa her (Cf. luwe)
luwe him (from ilu)
lyalã ejaculate lift off
lyalu(l) sperm
lësã have sex (Šɯk)
mafoš drugs opium
marã dig, get it (Wesaitan)
mãši steal; cheat manipulate
mẽkna big brain brain + dim.
mižiko paparazzo camera guy
mitra friend, pal (Wesaitan)
motã idiot, fool (Wesaitan)
mútany troll (Internet) múrtany
napa scum, rabble dregs
nata boss (Nrínë)
naȟ town, burg (Šɯk)
naražã have sex (be a) bullet train
nemima sibling same mom
neteȟ Verdurian (Šɯk)
ni vagina (Šɯk)
nis car, auto (abbr.)
nömu Etanëist, commie Nöla (Sfapa)
õfasec bombard with words, ads, etc. machine gun
ološã sleep pillow
ostu husband man
õtawi gamble system
õtec expecting, pregnant showing
õtegöl blowhard, showoff show-dick
pauto belly, gut (abbr.)
pautopiďa big belly coat baby
peré great, cool (first half of 3600s) entire
piza child, kid pixie
prabi old lady (Wesaitan)
prame great, neat; fine first-rank
raspuyã like, appreciate lean on
razi have sex shave (pun)
ripulã pass out drunk or high upside down
röni computer (abbr.)
roče easy, piece of cake icy
sablači rib, tease throw sand
samo unemployed person (abbr.)
sašáy prostitute (Šɯk)
sisnu(l) nasty, mean gravelly
šana the Web (abbr.)
šati clothes, threads (Wesaitan)
šepõ Eretaldan (Šɯk)
šcono boyfriend alongside-guy
šcoye girlfriend alongside-gal
šida mark, victim, john guy
šnin needle; fix pin
šninã inject drugs pierce
šũ(m) crime boss god Šum
tavana smarts, gumption (Wesaitan)
tõpë awesome, cool has a beat
vagec homeless wanderer
vaye face cheek
vežé alcoholic drink sap
voitec visit, come by enter
wets nerd, geek Xurnese wec
yadači rattle; dash off (writing); annoy sound like a typewriter
yadõ(m) journalist, writer typewriter man
yanã too much, in excess (Wesaitan)
yatã boyfriend, lover (Wesaitan)
yati girlfriend, lover (Wesaitan)
so yolóy (romantic) crush the knees
zet-zet selfish (invar.) self-self
zuča crap (taboo-def.)
žežo Ženië, socialist jelly (pun)
You’ll notice a fair number of Šɯk and Wesaitan terms. These are of course taken from Šočyan, the dialect of that colony. It’s fair to say that they are more used in Šočya than in Eretald, but by the 3600s Šočya was an important region and there were plenty of Šočyans visiting or living in Eretald, and their brash speech influenced the old country. Their influence on the above list is not restricted to borrowings from Lebiscuri languages. (In the chapter on Šočyan I’ll list characteristic words that didn’t spread to Eretald.)

The Šɯk and Wesaitan terms date back to the first period of settlement, a time when settlers might learn the local language or pidgin, particularly some of its more pungent expressions. The expressions persisted in Šočyan, long past the time when Šočyans were really interested in native languages. Verdurians were always willing to let natives enter their society— but the price was speaking Verdurian, and in the late 3600s the native languages were almost extinct. Ironically, Šočyan scholarship had advanced to the point where scholars were eager to document them.



Virtual Verduria