Grammatical sketch by Mark Rosenfelder as of 12 Mar 2013
This document is an overview of Sehimu Thinara (aka ST). It’s not a set of lessons, but I’ve tried to explain things starting with the basics, leaving ‘stuff you don’t need at first’ for the later sections. If you’ve never read something like this, take your time. You may have the experience that it all makes sense and you think you’re remembering it all, and then suddenly it becomes baffling. At that point, take a break, or re-read the earlier sections.
ST is not difficult, but it is a different language with its own logic, and it takes time to learn a new language. It also helps if you try out the language! Read it out loud. Share it with other players. The ST forums can be used to practice.
Here are the consonants of Sehimu Thinara in the phonological grid used by linguists.
|stops||p b||t d||k g|
|fricatives||f v||th s z||sh zh||kh||h|
Almost all of these sounds are pronounced as they are in English. The laws of magick are not picky about precise places of articulation, so long as the sounds are kept distinct.
The only unfamiliarities may be:
• Zh, the sound of s in measure, or the French j in bonjour.
• Kh, the sound of ch in German Bach or Scots loch. If you have trouble, place your tongue in the position to pronounce k and breathe out hard; this raspy sound is kh.
Some warnings, though:
• G is always hard, as in get; it never has a j sound as in germ.
• Th is always unvoiced, as in thin, never voiced as in this.
• Likewise, S is always unvoiced, as in boss, never voiced as in rose. The voiced sound is always written z.
• Very occasionally the sounds s and h adjoin. This produces no confusion in the ST alphabet, but in romanization it looks like sh. To prevent mispronunciation, we insert a hyphen, as in as-ham ‘cruel’. This is pronounced as-ham, not ash-am.
• H can end a syllable, as in sahme ‘fail’. We’re not used to this in English, but it’s not hard to say at all— try it! If you know Spanish, this is like the word reloj ‘clock’.
The vowels have the continental values found in Spanish, Italian, or Japanese:
|a||like a in father, taco, small— never as in mate|
|e||like e in bet|
|i||like i in machine, Akiko, macaroni— never as in mite|
|o||like o in hotel, taco, piano— not as in hot|
|u||like u in haiku, tiramisù— not as in mutt|
They retain their values in diphthongs: ay sounds like our word I; aw sounds like the vowel in house.
Two vowels in a row should be pronounced as separate syllables: khaif ‘die’ is pronounced kha-eef.
A vowel can be lengthened, as in na-th ‘weave’. Pronounce this simply by lengthening the vowel: na-ath. The – symbol imitates the symbol used in the ST alphabet.
English speakers are notorious for their muddied vowels. We’re always adding a w or y sound to vowels or reducing them to shwa (the weak uh sound at the end of China). Try to avoid this in ST! Pronounce vowels with a clear, pure sound, especially at the ends of words. Thinara ‘knowledge’ is pronounced thee-NAH-rah, not thuh-NARR-ruh.
The laws of magick do not care much about stress, but ST scholars prefer to stress the next-to-last syllable.
Thus sehimu thinara ‘hidden knowledge’ is pronounced se-HI-mu thi-NA-ra.
Recall that two vowels in a row are separate syllables; so yauna ‘five’ is pronounced ya-U-na.
Try to end syllables with a vowel: say thi-NA-ra, not thin-AR-a.
The apostrophe isn’t a sound, but a separator. A word like ya’me-sa ‘show’ is pronounced exactly as if it were written yame-sa. However, the apostrophe tells you that it’s made of two parts, the prefix ya and the root me-sa. So you would look for it in the lexicon under me-sa.
As we’ll see, ST verbs can have multiple prefixes— e.g. ur’va’ya’me-sa ‘not going to show’. This would be much more difficult and confusing if we wrote urvayame-sa!
Prefixes don’t count as separate words for the purpose of stress. Ur’va’ya’me-sa just has one accented syllable (me). However, Magi may put a light secondary stress on the first syllable.
The majority of the vocabulary is organized by roots, each of which is a combination of three letters which usually belong to the same sphere.
The word for these spheres in ST is zokrul, which you’ll notice has one sound from each of the six spheres (and also has the meaning ‘six’). There are roots that belong to multiple spheres; these generally have less magickal power.
Given a root CCC, there will be four basic words formed with different vowel patterns:
Basic root CvCvC
Short root CvvC
Alt 1 CCvC
Alt 2 CvCC
These words will all be related in meaning, though the connections may be subtle or metaphorical. The basic root is the closest to a common meaning for the root. The short root uses only two of the three consonants. In compensation it has two vowels. It’s generally a common, simple term.
Here’s some examples using the roots Kh F R, Y G T, and P Z V:
|Basic root||khafur decay||yegot protect||pazev make|
|Short root||khaif die||yaug build||ziva part|
|Alt 1||okhfor dissolve||aygit defense||apzev abyss|
|Alt 2||khufra rot||yegtu field||pazvu spike|
A basic feature of the roots is that reversing them changes to an opposite meaning, or at least a complementary one. Some examples:
|ketig fire||gitek ice|
|devop acid||poved base|
|fekhar woman||rakhef man|
|sauhu war||uhuas peace|
|inith create||thini destroy|
|zhowa circle||awozh point|
|pivda easy||avdip difficult|
We’ll see the same principle used in other areas, such as numbers and locators.
ST has a rich system for creating related words from a root.
Part of speech change
The easiest English gloss for an ST root may be a noun or a verb. But it may be best to think of the roots as verbs— in particular, imperatives. That’s why they work as spells: they are instructions to the laws of magick.
To form an abstract noun, add –a, or if the root ends in a vowel, –ra.
|agyek shatter||agyeka shattering|
|gayit move||gayita motion|
|shurkhe adapt||shurkhera adaptation|
|viaz serve||viaza service|
|thina know||thinara knowledge|
|bazhew attune||bazhewa attunement|
To form an adjective, add –i, or after a vowel, –li.
|bawazh time||bawazhi temporal|
|fekhar woman||fekhari womanly, feminine|
|gitek ice||giteki icy|
|taug star||taugi stellar|
|nautho universe||nautholi cosmic, universal|
|eline spirit||elineli spiritual|
For verbs, the –i form has an active meaning:
|sahme fail||sahmeli failing, unsuccessful|
|ketig fire||ketigi burning, on fire|
|shakher gestate||shakheri gestating, pregnant|
|sehim hide||sehimi hiding, deceptive|
An alternative adjective –u has a passive meaning:
|sahme fail||sahmelu failed|
|ketig fire||ketigu burnt|
|shakher gestate||shakheru being gestated, fetal|
|sehim hide||sehimu hidden|
The prefix ya forms a causative:
|me-sa see||ya’me-sa show|
|dauv pure||ya’dauv purify|
|vaped weak||ya’vaped weaken|
Lin ‘more’ and nil ‘less’ form comparatives with adjectives, and with verbs, a form of causative specifying relative quantity:
|ketig fire||lin’ketig increase the fire|
|nil’ketig lessen the fire|
|vi-r young||lin’vi-r younger|
A diminutive can be formed by replacing one or more vowels with i:
|fekhar woman||fikhir girl|
|gitek ice||gitik frost|
|devop acidic||divip sour|
|aktaug sun||aktig moon|
|ketig fire||kitig flame|
|bewa minute||biwa second|
Likewise, an augmentative is formed by replacing the main vowel with au (to reinforce this, another vowel may change to o):
|renakhaf father||reunakhof grandfather|
|rafash sickness||rafaush contagion|
|sahu combat||sauhu war|
|vidza steam||vaudza smoke|
An intensive can be formed by repeating the middle consonant at the end.
|ze-d noise||ze-dad cacophony|
|aygat throw||aygatag fling|
|hadamu take||hadamud grasp|
|semaha forget||semaham amnesia|
The prefix ur is something like our –less: it specifies a lack of the action or object in question.
|roshakh blood||ur’roshakh anemia|
|za-d water||ur’za-d dehydrate|
|fa-r sex||ur’fa-r chastity|
|vedaz air||ur’vedaz asphyxiate|
There are a number of short roots than can act as prefixes. Often the resulting combination is somewhat simplified.
|za-d water||+ ranfash parasite||= zadrafash leech|
|za-d water||+ khaif die||= zakhaif drown|
|ra(khef) male||+ ri-kh sibling||= rari-kh brother|
|ra(khef) male||+ fior child||= rafior son|
|zho: again||+ fi-kh born||= zhofi-kh reborn|
|rug down||+ zhew press||= ruzhew pull|
For any word formed with the above rules, variations can be formed by adding another syllable, normally after the first consonant. The syllables themselves belong to a sphere, with the following meanings:
|da object||fikhir girl||fidakhir breast|
|gayit move||gadayit vehicle|
|du substance||taug star||taudug hydrogen|
|shufekh alert||shedufekh adrenaline|
|na person||rakhef man||renakhaf father|
|shakher gestate||shanakher mother|
|bo-w cast (a spell)||bonaw Magi|
|bo place||ketig fire||kebotig hell|
|ketga nuclear force||kebotga nucleus|
|to object||shakher gestate||shatokher cocoon|
|na-th weave||na-toth loom|
|ke force||usam touch||ukesam shock|
|vedaz air||vekedaz radiate|
|r biological||vepaz guard||vrepaz pet|
|vedaz air||vredaz oxygen|
|so speech||sehme rage||sesohme scream|
|inith create||sinith speak|
|hu emotion||thelna good||thehulna happy|
|yegot protect||yehugot care for|
Note that derived words can be modified in turn:
|shanakher mother||-i||shanakheri motherly|
|vedaz air||+ ke||vedekaz radiate|
|ukesam shock||dimin.||ukisim spark|
|renakhaf father||augm.||reunakhof grandfather|
|shubofekh brain||+ ur||ur’shubofekh lobotomy|
Categories in ST
A root in ST often covers a wide range of words in English. Sometimes this is due to the tendency of English to borrow indiscriminately— e.g. we have ‘solitary’ and ‘alone’, both of which can be expressed by masu; or ‘sickness, illness, disease’, all of which are expressed as rafash.
But often it’s because ST is not designed for humans, and thus doesn’t have separate roots for distinctions that humans find important. E.g. shifra, which you’ll see in many of my examples as the word for ‘dog’, really means any canine animal, including wolves, foxes, jackals, and coyotes.
If you need to be more specific, there are often conventional adjectives— e.g. dogs as opposed to other canines are ur’sha-ri shifra, literally un-wild canines.
Basic command syntax
ST is optimized for spellcasting; the simplest sentence is thus an imperative addressed to the laws of magick.
Any root alone forms a command, which is why it can be used as a spell.
Such commands can be understood as having default role assignments:
• The subject is the Magi (spellcaster).
• The object is ‘you’, the victim of the spell— normally, whatever the Magi is concentrating on.
Some roots are inherently reflexive— they act on the Magi.
• The default time is immediately; the default duration depends on the semantics of the root but is normally short.
If the root is inherently nominal, the implication is “use the thing in the normal way”. Examples:
|afkher dwarf||make smaller|
This varies by root, and it’s idiomatic. The default action is of course whatever is described on the associated card.
The English gloss for some roots is an adjective, e.g. ge-k ‘cold’ or su-ho ‘empty’. As spells these mean ‘be cold’, ‘be empty’.
The aspect particle bab may be used to specify the duration of a spell. The word itself is modified to indicate the precise timing:
|bab||default duration (useful for cancelling a previous spell)|
|ba||start the action and don’t stop|
|ab||stop the action|
|baba||repeat the action at intervals|
(This is the intention of the Magi; whether they have the power to do it is another question. E.g. you may not be able to put another person on fire permanently using ba ketig ‘fire’.)
The duration can be affected by changing the vowel:
|bib||shorter than usual|
|ba-b||longer than usual|
|baub||quite a bit longer than usual|
As we’ve seen, ab can be used to stop a spell. To prevent it from being cast, use kas, which can be translated ‘do not’.
Thus a basic protection against fire is.
(Note that kas combines the ideas of force k and mind s.)
If another Magi has begun a spell, you can use wo-b (the opposite of bo-w ‘cast’) to counter it.
If they’ve already cast the spell, you must recognize what it is, and explicitly end it or dispel it; e.g.
[using the ‘ending’ aspect particle]
[using the verb ‘dispel’]
One or more objects can be specified before the verb.
We’ll see below how noun phrases work; for now we’ll just focus on definite nouns— which happen to be bare roots. For instance:
This sentence assumes that the laws of magick can easily identify which dwarf and which dog are meant. There may be only one of each in the vicinity, or the Magi has already specified which ones are meant.
Don’t leave out the conjunction lo, because then the object would be afkher shifra— which means a dwarf dog, perhaps a chihuahua.
You can use the conjunction utan ‘or’, but the laws of magick will then make a random choice.
Let’s talk more about noun phrases.
For spellcasting, noun phrases are used to specify a precise referent. Consider the laws of physics to be pedantic and unimaginative: you must apply the rules precisely.
ST is consistently head-final. That is, for any type of phrase, the modifiers come first, then the thing modified. For a noun phrase, that means the noun comes last.
(It normally does in English, but there are exceptions.)
An indefinite (descriptive) noun phrase has the following order:
The simplest locators are just demonstratives. There is a three-way distinction:
nis these (near the Magi)
nes those (close by)
naut those (farther away)
You can also read these as “here”, “there”, and “yonder”.
If there are three dogs in the area, you can distinguish them by distance:
nis shifra this dog
nes shifra that (nearish) dog
naut shifra that dog (way over there)
These can also refer to clumps of dogs. So if there are two dogs near you and five dogs farther off, nis shifra means ‘these dogs’.
Quantifiers specify how many things to operate on. The ordinary quantifiers are:
Numerals (e.g. sar ‘one’, yezh ‘two’, vis ‘three’) are also quantifiers, and are more useful in spellcasting.
ST doesn’t have plurals— if you need to specify that you’re referring to more than one of a thing, you use a quantifier.
Hur always means ‘more than one’. If you mean some part of something, use ziva ‘part’ instead— e.g. ziva shifra ‘part of the dog’.
Quantifiers can be used in two ways:
• To help specify which group you mean. Suppose again that there are various clumps of dogs in the area. Just using demonstratives isn’t clear enough, but expressions like these are precise:
nis sar shifra this one dog
nes vis shifra those two dogs not far away
naut yezh shifra those three dogs farther off
• To specify a choice among referents. If there are three dogs nearby, then nis sar shifra means ‘one of the dogs near me’.
The laws of magick will randomly choose according to your quantifier. You could also say just vis shifra to mean that two of the dogs in the area are to be affected, or hur shifra ‘some dogs’ to refer to an unspecified number.
The default quantifier is saukh ‘all’ (which means it can be left out in imperatives).
In non-imperative statements, quantifiers are used as in English— i.e., you might say that hur shifra ‘some of the dogs’ were barking.
Adjectives can be used to pick out more precise referents:
zhowali yaubog a circular building
khaifi fekhar a dead woman
za-di shifra a wet dog
Using a noun alone indicates that the listener— whether it’s a person or the laws of magick— can identify which one you mean. That is, a bare noun is equivalent to using the definite article ‘the’.
Thus shifra ketig means ‘set the dog on fire.’
A longer, descriptive noun phrase is used when you are specifying or introducing a referent. This corresponds to using the indefinite article ‘a(n)’. So you might have a command like
If you want to do something else to them, the root is enough:
You can also use a pronoun. There are six basic pronouns, one for each sphere:
|soul (including people)||el|
The general rule is, whatever word you’re thinking of, you use the pronoun belonging to its sphere.
For instance, shifra ‘dog’ is biological, so its pronoun is er. So you can also cast the above spell as
The pronoun el can be used for any sentient being— humans and up— even if you originally referred to them with a word from another sphere, like sanahu ‘soldier’.
If a root doesn’t belong to a sphere (e.g. imito ‘box’), use ez. (Except for people, who are always el.)
There’s also a second person pronoun esa. This should never be used when casting a spell, because you’re not addressing a person, but the laws of magick.
When a Magi is giving commands, he is of course the subject— there is normally no need to refer to himself, and thus there is no first person pronoun. Bonaw ‘the Magi’ takes the place of ‘I/me’ in narrative.
If a spell is normally offensive, you need a special instruction if you want to apply it reflexively, to yourself. For this you can use the argument ezhow ‘self’:
None of these pronouns have plural forms.
Indefinite pronouns can be formed using the quantifiers plus once of the sphere syllables, which we also met in derivational morphology:
|da object, thing||saukhda everything|
|na person||hizhna no one|
|bo place||sarbo in one place|
|to manner, tool||hurto in some way|
|ba time||kaushba at many times|
Here’s the full set:
|na||hizhna no one|
|to||hizhto no way|
|da||sarda one thing|
|na||sarna one person|
|bo||sarbo in one place|
|to||sarto in one way|
|da||kaushda many things|
|na||kaushna many people|
|bo||kaushbo in many places|
|to||kaushto in many ways|
|ba||kaushba at many times|
|to||saukhto in every way|
Although ST is designed for casting spells, it can be used like any language, to describe events, tell stories, ask questions, write manuals, gossip, etc.
Elements common to imperatives are the same, but we’ll need some extra concepts.
It would be embarrassing to be talking about the dog and accidentally set it on fire. The most important thing in using ST narratively is to tell the laws of magick that you’re not giving a command.
This is done with a verbal prefix that also indicates tense and mood.
|Actual events (realis)|
|Possible events (irrealis)|
|yau’||present or future|
(Use me’ before a consonant and meh’ before a vowel.)
The imperfect is used like the English progressive, to indicate that an action was in progress.
There’s no present progressive— u’go-t means both ‘falls’ and ‘is falling’.
The irrealis is used when the event is doubtful or hypothetical. Note that fewer distinctions are made in the irrealis.
(If these terms seem difficult, just focus on the ‘real’ part. Use the realis when the even really happened. Use the irrealis when there’s something unreal about it— you’re not sure it happened, or it’s a supposition or a counterfactual.)
|Shifra u’ketig.||The dog is on fire.|
|Shifra me’go-t.||The dog fell.|
|Fior is’go-t.||The child was falling.|
|Rari-kh va’ketig.||(My) brother will be on fire.|
|Shifra yau’ketig.||The dog may be on fire.|
|Shifra nai’go-t.||The dog might have fallen.|
You can add the aspect particle bab as well, in all its variants:
The tense particles may be used with the adjective endings (active –i, passive –u). Compare:
|el ez me’hamsa||he wrote it|
|ez meh’okhfor||it dissolved|
|el ez u’hamsa||he is writing it|
These adjectivizations can be used as more precise participles.
The prefix ur’ negates a verb:
To specify that an object was not involved, use the quantifier hizh ‘none’:
In negative sentences, the realis is used for relative certainty: you’re quite sure that the dog isn’t on fire. The irrealis suggests that you don’t know:
Subjects and objects
A descriptive sentence, unlike a command, can have multiple arguments.
A transitive sentence ideally follows this form:
subject an’object verb
The particle an separates subject and object. It’s attached to the first word of the object NP. If you just said shifra ashfer this would be interpreted as a single object— a doglike cat.
A pronoun replaces an entire NP, so it’s always clear that it’s not connected to the previous NP. Thus an is optional with pronouns:
Verbs with a single argument are a little trickier, but the default interpretation is that it’s the object that’s given, just as in a command. Compare:
If you only want to give the subject, you can use a dummy object like hurda ‘something’:
The general word for ‘be’ is abu. For instance:
In commands, including spells, you use the raw adjective, not abu:
To say that something exists, use rinith ‘live’ for living beings, or ibanith ‘exist’ generally:
As shown, these verbs should be used when we’d say “There is…”
The suffix (s)um (related to umi ‘false) can be used to question an element within a sentence:
To question the whole sentence, append haisum (literally ‘true-false’), and use the irrealis since the action is in doubt:
The answer is hais ‘yes, true’ or umi ‘no, false’.
This can be combined with the negation prefix ur:
Interrogative pronouns are formed like indefinite pronouns, using the special root tu:
|tuda what (object)?|
In English we move the interrogative to the beginning of the sentence, but this isn’t done in ST. Examples:
All these examples use the realis, meaning that we assume the event really happened and we are just probing for details. If you use the irrealis, you doubt the event in some way:
Just by using the irrealis, the last example turns into an insult (you may have not learned magic at all).
As subjects are normally optional, first and second person pronouns aren’t usually necessary. However, use esa ‘you’ as necessary:
Usually you can just leave out any reference to ‘I, me’, as it’ll be obvious:
If there’s confusion (e.g. you’ve been using other pronouns), you can use bonaw ‘the Magi’ or ezhow ‘self’. Or even nis ezhow ‘this self’, which can’t be confused with anything else.
Adepts in ST say that one should never say ‘we’, as the referent is unclear: your school, your family, the two of us, or what? To say ‘you and I’ you can use the explicit bonaw lo esa, which has a conventional abbreviation lwesa.
It’s sometimes useful to refer to the opposite of ‘you’— ase ‘everyone but you’.
The locative particles can be used as prefixes to a single noun:
The whole expression may be used to modify either a verb or another noun:
Nouns always live at the end of a noun phrase in ST. In English we put the locative phrase after the noun; in ST it comes before it.You can’t apply the locators as prefixes to a multi-word construction (a noun phrase). Instead, you must use the head-final construction with the locator at the end:
Linguists call these postpositions, as opposed to Englishs’ preprepositions that go before their NP. I’ve used locator as a friendlier term.A list of all the locators:
Each of the locators can be formed into a verb of motion using the suffix gi (related to gayit ‘move’). E.g.:
In addition, the suffix –wo turns them into verbs of placement:PossessivesThe locator shen can be used to indicate possession:
Rather than say shen’esa ‘your’, you can use the abbreviated form shes:
There is special form net for ‘my’:
Possessives should only be used only for clarity. In general, don’t use them for body parts, kin, or objects you’re holding. If you want to make your foot invulnerable, the spell is khaush ur’vaped; you don’t have to say net khaush ur’vaped. Similarly, if you’re talking about your father, renakhef ‘father’ will be taken as meaning ‘my father’.Verbs of givingVerbs of giving have an extra argument, the beneficiary or indirect object. This is expressed using the possessive locator before the verb. E.g.:
Note the order of the arguments in ST: the object given (the bone) comes first.The English sentence looks like it has two objects (the dog, the bone), but only the indirect object can appear with to: I gave a bone to the dog. In ST, the beneficiary must use a form of shen.The abbreviations shes and net come in very handy with these verbs:
AdverbsIf an adjective appears before the verb in a sentence, it modifies the verb— that is, it acts as an adverb.
If the root is defined in the lexicon using an adjective, e.g. thelna ‘be good’, it still needs the adjectival ending when it’s modifying another verb:
The locator slotWe’ve now accumulated enough features that the full formula for sentences can be appreciated. It has just one more slot:subject an’object verb-modifiers verb Examples of various verb modifiers:Non-magical commandsSometimes it’s convenient to have another person do something, rather than the laws of magick. You want to preserve your Resonance, after all.The full form is to refer to the person directly, either with esa ‘you’ or a noun, using the prefix sum’:
For brevity, you can leave out the reference and add sum directly to the verb:
NumbersMathematics has a close relation to the laws of physics, and ST is well suited to talking about mathematics.The numbers from zero to twelve:
Note that zokrul, the number of the spheres, has one letter from each sphere, as does the number 12.The ordinal numbers (first, second, third…) are formed with the ordinary adjectival ending –i: thus sari, yezhi, visi…Reciprocals are formed as antonyms. Thus:
(Can you divide 1 / 0 to form zhih? You can, in fact; that’s the name for aleph null, the cardinality of the set of whole numbers.)
Higher numbers are named very simply— by reading the digits from largest to smallest. Thus:
Negative numbers begin with ur:
The basic operations of arithmetic are represented X OP Y where the operators are one of
Lo ‘and’ can be used as an alternative for yokte.This also gives us a quick way to represent powers of ten (or of any other number):
The first two of these have abbreviated forms: mishezh ‘hundred’, mishis ‘thousand’.Numbers are divided into two orthogonal sets, known as yogrug ‘vertical’ and zayazh ‘horizontal’. The vertical set is our complex numbers; they can be named with the abbreviated prefix yo. So yo’sar is i, the square root of -1. A complex number such as 5 + 4i can thus be expressed yauna lo yo’thiks.A note on glossesThe sample sentences are starting to get more complicated. To help the learning process, I’ll supply a literal gloss immediately after the ST.Like this:
The glosses allow you to see the structure of the sentence before you’ve memorized the whole vocabulary. Here, you can see that the sentence consists of the root dog plus a question particle, then the root fire with the present tense prefix.Capitalized elements are grammatical particles or affixes.Sentences as argumentsOften the argument of a verb is an entire sentence. In this case we mark the subordinated sentence with un.Let’s look at an example. Start with a simple object:
The underlined portion is the object, what I want— in this case, a pet. Now suppose that what I want is that you get out of here. I’d say:
Again, the underlined portion is what I want: you leaving. You can see that it’s formed from the standalone sentence
(Yau marks the irrealis. A desire is for a hypotethical situation— I don’t know if you will really leave or not! So desires should always use the irrealis.)The un tells us that the argument is an entire sentence, to avoid confusion.Here’s another example:
(The dog really died, so the subordinated clause uses the realis prefix me.)Sentential arguments are a bit unwieldy, so some convenient variations are permitted. You can simply reverse the arguments:
If it’s obvious who did the wanting or saying, the subject can be left out:
Finally, you can move the reported speech after the main sentence; this is expecially useful when the speech is long.
(The un signals that we’re beginning a stretch of reported speech. Without it, everything is in the narrator’s voice: The scribe talked. The dog had been sick…)Modal verbs work like verbs of desire. Compare:
Hakemu ‘can’ is derived from hamu ‘want’— wanting plus the power ke to achieve it = ability!Relative clausesA sentence can also be subordinated to a noun.In many cases you can get by with the adjective forms of the verb— active –i and passive –u.
You can even state an argument for the subordinated verb, using the possessive. Compare:
I’ve underlined the relative clauses. Note the different position from English. They come before the noun in ST, because ST is consistently head-final.Don’t forget the special possessives net ‘my’ and shes ‘your’:
Rather than the dative + participle construction, you can relativize an entire sentence. You’ll have to do so, in fact, if the relative clause contains a complex noun phrase, or verb modifiers.If you want to use a full sentence, use the particle suya:
The structure of the sentence is exactly the same as
We’ve simply modified it with an entire sentence (underlined above):
ComparativesAs we’ve seen, simple comparatives are formed with lin ‘more’ and nil ‘less’: lin’vi-r rikhif a younger girl
nil’za-di shifra a less wet dogA comparison class is given using the postposition hol:
The superlative is formed with partial reduplication: lilin ‘most’, ninil ‘least’.ConjunctionsA list of conjunctions:
These can be used between any constituents of the same type:
ConditionalsConditional statements use the conjunction vaun ‘therefore’. If the condition is doubted or unreal, use the irrealis:
If the condition is known to be true, use the realis:
|zhab’za-d||from the water|
|imi’yegtu||in the field|
|zash’shifra||next to the dog|
|dul’aktig||on the moon|
|shen’ashfer||of the cat|
|zema’ur’fa-nar||like a virgin|
|zay||to the left of|
|yazh||to the right of|
|zhab||from, out, outside of|
|pethgi||go up, climb|
|imigi||go in, penetrate|
|khedgi||go near, approach|
|zhabgi||go out, leave|
|dulwo||put on top of|
|Adverbs||Shifra ebya u-ketig.The dog is still on fire.|
|Ri-nav zhwabali me’khaushgi.The old person walked slowly.|
|Locations||El imi’adavaizu me’khedgi.He/she ran into the city.|
|El tubo me’khedgi?Where did he run?|
|Times||Na-th saukhba u’susam.The Weave is always listening.|
|Ezhow imi’zhowaba is’thanalan.I studied for a year.|
|Beneficiaries||Renakher an’bitozho net me’madahu.My father gave me a sword.|
|7094||khor hizh ozhya thiks|
|177th||sar khor khori|
|5 * 3||yauna o-zhbe vis|
|2 + 2 = 4||yezh yokte yezh abu thiks|
|10^2||min shaukh yezh|
|10^3||min shaukh vis|
|10^4||min shaukh thiks|
|10^78||min shaukh khor irim|
|10^10^2||min shaukh min shaukh yezh|