Sehimu Thinara: Basics

The language of magick is called sehimu Tinara or, written in Roman characters, Sehimu Thinara. The name means hidden knowledge.

This document gives a very brief introduction to the language. It doesn’t explain everything you need to know to speak or write Sehimu Thinara; for that, see the Language of ST – Advanced. Or you may want the complete alphabet and mathematical notation.


Sehimu Thinara is optimized for spell casting; the simplest sentence is thus an imperative addressed to the laws of magick.

Any simple root forms a command, which is why it can be used as a spell. For instance, the word ketig ketig means ‘be on fire; burn’. As a spell, it means ‘put this thing on fire!’

If no object is supplied, it’s taken as the thing the Magi is concentrating on. Or you can specify the object or victim of the spell, by placing it before the verb.

afKer ketig.
Afkher ketig.
dwarf fire
Set the dwarf on fire.

There’s no word for the.  If it’s not obvious what is the object, use a description, as in these examples:

naut afKer ketig.
Naut afkher ketig.
that_far dwarf fire
Set that dwarf over there on fire.
yeZ gi Sifra ketig.
Yezh gi shifra ketig.
two little dog fire
Set two small dogs on fire.
Sifra lo afKer ketig.
Shifra lo afkher ketig.
dog and dwarf fire
Set the dog and the dwarf on fire.


To prevent a spell from being cast, use the particle kas.  For instance, kas ketig kas ketig is a basic protection against fire.
If another Magi has begun casting a spell, you can use wo-b wo:b ‘uncast’ to counter it.

If they’ve already cast the spell, you must recognize what it is, and explicitly end it—

ab ketig.
Ab ketig.
ASPECT.stop fire
Stop the fire.

or dispel it:

ketig Tolon.
Ketig tholon.
fire dispel
Ketig tholon.

Word formation

Most of the words you’ll use in spellcasting belong to a particular sphere.  Each sphere has four sounds that belong to it, and the words in that sphere will use those sounds:

Bio rufekh   f   kh   r   sh
Forces geytu   g   k   t   y
Matter dapvo   d   p   v   z
Mind he’sos   h   m   s   u
Quantum bowazh   b   o   w   zh
Soul eline   i   l   n   th


The word ketig ‘fire’ belongs to the Forces sphere; shifra ‘dog’ belongs to the Bio sphere.

Regular variations

The basic roots of Sehimu Thinara are usually verbs. These can be turned into nouns by adding –a, or –ra after a vowel:

thina know thinara knowledge
ketig be on fire ketiga fire


And they can be turned into adjectives by adding –i, or –li after a vowel:

ketig be on fire ketigi fiery
fekhar woman fekhari female


You may notice some other regular patterns on the cards.

•      ya forms a causativeme-sa ‘see’, ya’me-sa ‘show’
•      Replacing vowels with i creates a diminutive, referring to something smaller or less powerful: gitik ‘frost’, kitig ‘small fire, flame’
•      ur commands the absence or lack of something: vedaz ‘air’, ur’vedaz ‘asphyxiate’.

One thing you won’t see is plurals.  Sehimu Thinara words don’t have plurals.  If you need to indicate a quantity, you can use numbers, or a quantifier like saukh ‘all’.


Very often reversing the sounds of the word produces an opposite or complementary meaning:

ketig fire gitek ice
fekhar woman rakhef man
sauhu war uhuas peace
inith create thini destroy
thep below peth above


Sphere-letter derivations

A related word may be formed by adding a syllable within the word, a process known as infixing.  The added syllables belong to a particular sphere, which provides a clue to the meaning.

Some examples:

  Syllable Examples  
Bio r r biological vedaz air vredaz oxygen
Forces ke ke force usam touch ukesam shock
  to to object na:th weave na:toth loom
Matter da da object shoir heal shodair medicine
  du du substance taug star taudug hydrogen
Mind so so speech sehme rage sesohme scream
  hu hu emotion thelna good thehulna happy
Quantum bo bo place ketig fire kebotig hell
Soul na na person shakher gestate shanakher mother



A root in Sehimu Thinara 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 Sehimu Thinara is not designed for humans, and thus doesn’t have separate roots for distinctions that humans find important.  E.g. shifra, which we’ve seen 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.  (If you’re casting a spell, this would only matter if for some reason you’re surrounded by both dogs and other canines and need to distinguish them.)

Narrative sentences

Declarative sentences are a little more complex than spells. Here’s a very simple sentence, about as simple as a declarative sentence can get:

Sifra u’KafuS
Shifra u’khafush.
dog PRES.sleep
The dog is sleeping.

Compare the spell:

Sifra KafuS.
Shifra khafush.
dog sleep
Make the dog sleep.

The prefix u’ on the verb is very important— it tells the laws of magick that we’re describing an event, not casting a spell!


U also gives the tense.  The basic tenses are these:

u’ present
me(h)’ past
va’ future

Use meh’ before a consonant, me’ before a vowel.

Sifra me’KafuS.
Shifra me’khafush.
dog PAST.sleep
The dog slept.

The prefix is’ replaces me(h)‘ if the event was in progress, or never completed.  Contrast:

Sifra is’KafuS.
Shifra is’khafush
dog IMPERF.sleep
The dog was sleeping.

This distinction isn’t made in the present or future— Sehimu Thinara doesn’t distinguish between The dog sleeps and The dog is sleeping.

The use of the apostrophe (called the Aza in ST) identifies the use of these prefixes. This can be important when looking at words like Mehusam (Awaken / Become Enlightened) and a prefix + word combo like Meh’usam (touched, past perfective).



Doubtful events

If the event is uncertain or hypothetical, different prefixes are used:

yau’ present or future
nai’ past

In a declarative sentence, using these prefixes means you’re not sure if the event happened or not:

Sifra yau’ketig.
Shifra yau’ketig.
The dog may (or may not) be on fire.


Another case of uncertainty is if you want to ask a question.  Use the uncertainty prefixes, and append haisum at the end of the sentence:

Sifra yau’ketig haisum?
Shifra yau’ketig haisum?
dog true_false
Is the dog on fire?

The answer is hais ‘yes, true’ or umi ‘no, false’.  Think of haisum as meaning ‘true or false?’

Wh-questions use these special interrogatives:

tuda what (object)?
tuna who?
tubo where?
tuto how?
tuba when?
tuda yau’ketig?
Tuda yau’ketig?
What is on fire?


The prefix ur’ negates a verb.

Sifra ur’u’ketig.
Shifra ur’u’ketig.
The dog isn’t on fire.

Subjects and objects

Transitive sentences have both a subject and object.  The general formula is:
subject an’object verb

For instance:

afKer an’Sifra me’ketig.
Afkher an’shifra me’ketig.
The dwarf burned the dog.

The prefix an’ separates the subject and object.  Don’t forget it; without it, the two words afkher shifra would be interpreted as a compound—  ‘a dwarf dog’.

To be

The general word for ‘be’ is abu.  For instance:

esa Sifra u’abu.
Esa shifra u’abu.
you dog
You are a dog.
Sifra an’Safa u’abu.
Shifra an’shafar u’abu.
dog SEP.animal
A dog is an animal.

Note the use of an’ to separate shifra and shafar.

Noun phrases

Most the subjects and objects we’ve seen so far have been single words.   Of course, either can be more complex. The formula for a noun phrase is

demonstrative | quantifier | adjective(s) | noun

Sehimu Thinara has three levels of demonstratives:

nis this/these (near the Magi)
nes that/those (close by)
naut that/those (farther away)

Quantifiers specify how many things to operate on:

hizh none
hur some
kaush many
saukh all

The numbers from zero to ten are specialized quantifiers:

hizh zero
sar one
yezh two
vis three
thiks four
yauna five
zokrul six
khor seven
irim eight
ozhya nine
min ten

Some adjectives are simple roots (like gi ‘small’ or ge-k ‘cold’); others are formed using the suffix –(l)i (like ketigi ‘fiery’ or shifrali ‘doglike’).

Here are some examples of noun phrases:

nis Sifra
nis shifra
this dog
this dog
sauK Sifra
saukh shifra
all dog
all of the dogs
nes vis gi Sifra
nes vis gi shifra
that_near three small dog
those three small dogs nearby
Kor gi lo Sifrali Safar
khor gi lo shifrali shafar
seven small and dog.ADJ animal
seven small and doglike animals

Personal pronouns

You can also use a pronoun. Well, there isn’t really a pronoun for ‘I, me’.  To refer to yourself, you use the word bonaw ‘the Magi’, or ezhow ‘the self’.

eZow is’KafuS.
Ezhow is’khafush.
magi IMPERF.sleep
I was sleeping.

For second person ‘you’, use esa.

For third person, where we use ‘he, she, it, they’, you use one of these six pronouns:

er Bio
ek Forces
ez Matter
em Mind
ezh Quantum
el Soul (including people)

You choose the pronoun according to the sphere the object belongs to.  For instance, shifra ‘dog’ is biological, so its pronoun is er. Humans and other sentient beings all use el.

ez u’ketig.
Ez u’ketig.
It (something material) is on fire.


The aspect particle bab may be used, in various forms, to specify the duration and precise timing of a spell or other action:

bab default duration
ba start the action and don’t stop
ab stop the action
baba repeat the action at intervals

Thus ba ketig means Start a fire on this thing.  (That’s the Magi’s intention, at least… whether you actually have the magickal power to keep the fire going is another question.)

Ab ketig means Stop the fire; as noted above this is useful in countering spells.

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


The prefix shen’ indicates possession:

Sen’fior Sifra
shen’fior shifra
OF.child dog
the child’s dog

Rather than say shen’esa ‘your’, you can use the abbreviated form shes’:

your dog

There is special form net’ for ‘my’:

my child

Personal imperatives

Spells are a sort of imperative addressed to the laws of magick.  However, you can give commands to humans, too. To do this, include the person addressed, with the prefix sum’:

sum’afKer hamsa!
Sum’afkher hamsa!
COMMAND.dwarf write
You, dwarf, write!

If the person commanded is esa ‘you’, you can leave them out and add sum’ directly to the verb:


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