Virtual Verduria

The Kebreni Language

Unlike Verdurian, whose grammar is not too far from European models, Kebreni has a grammar which deviates any way it can from English. I'm particularly proud of the verbal system.

You can decipher the map names using the lexicon.
--Mark Rosenfelder

     Verbs * Pronouns * Numbers * Derivational morphology
     Parameter order * Noun phrases * Adjectives * Conjunctions * Locative verbs * Questions * Complex sentences
Sound changes

Context [To Top]

The Monkhayic family of languages, though now restricted to Kebri and the southwestern corner of Dhekhnam, was once spoken throughout the Plain, and indeed has left its linguistic traces heavily on the map of the Plain. The Mishicama ocean, the Ctelm mountains, the Svetla, Menla, Vesi, Meuna, and Efrat rivers, the nations of Ismahi, Azgami, Koto, Melináe, and Érenat, lake Como, the Arosd delta, and the cities of Kebropol, Lädau, Avéla, Ydamai, Raizumi, Nuveta, Kereta, Mituré, Gödo, Mogör, Melahdo, Trezhda, Mabola, and Pelym all have Monkhayic names.

The first states of men in the Plain were Monkhayic: Como and Methaiu on the upper Svetla, established about Z.E. -1150. By the time they appeared, men had lived in the Plain for twenty thousand years, and the Monkhayic peoples were divided into dozens of mutually incompatible languages.

Civilization and trade spread the prestigious dialects of the cities, and just before the Eastern invasion we are aware of three major speech varieties: that of Okiami and Methaiu in the south, that of Davur along the lower Svetla, and that of Agimbea and Newor along the Serea and the Mishicama littoral.

The Easterners pushed the Monkhayic peoples (those who were not absorbed) north and east (-375). Refugees from Davur established the kingdom of Davrio on Kebri.

Most of these lands were conquered by Munkhâsh (440), except for the littoral (reorganized as Leziunea) and Kebri.

The continental Monkhayic peoples (and, for about two centuries, even Kebri) were incorporated into the Cadhinorian empire as it pushed back and ultimately destroyed Munkhâsh (1667), and though the Monkhayic languages persisted throughout the entire classical area, colonization and Cadhinorization eventually replaced Monkhayic languages everywhere except two areas, Kebri (plus some regions of Érenat and, till recently, the island of Koto) and Monkhay, the mountainous southwestern corner of Dhekhnam.

The relationship between Kebreni and Monkhayu (both the languages and the peoples) has been obscured by long isolation. In addition, Kebreni has been highly influenced by Cadhinor, Ismaîn, and Verdurian, and has borrowed from languages further afield, the Kebreni being great seafarers; while Monkhayu is heavily influenced by Dhekhnami, Caizuran, and Sarroc.

"Monkhayu", which has given its name to the language family, simply means "the people"; compare Kebreni neh'ada.

Methaiun [To Top]

This grammatical sketch concentrates on Kebreni, but also relates what is known of its ancestor, the Monkhayic language of the littoral.

Following Verdurian scholars, we will call it Methaiun, after the state of Methaiu-- although the language of pre-invasion Methaiu was actually a southern Monkhayic language.

This is certainly the most rickety of the ancient languages presented in this volume, not excluding proto-Eastern. To begin with, there are no direct ancient attestations; the Monkhayic peoples were illiterate, and remained so till the Cadhinorians conquered them. The problem is compounded by the extreme distance between Monkhayu and Kebreni; only a few hundred cognates can be identified.

Our sources for Methaiun are as follows:

Note that reconstruction based on Kebreni and Monkhayu gives not Methaiun but proto-Monkhayic, which predates it by two milennia or more.

Methaiun may be taken as an idealized form of the Monkhayic language of Kebri and the littoral, some time before the Munkhâshi invasion. I say 'idealized' because none of our sources are completely satisfactory. The Cadhinorians were not linguists, and adapted the Monkhayic words to the sounds of Cadhinor in order to write them down; while the reconstructions are biased toward the eastern area. Still, the overlap of the two methods is large and reassuring, and where divergences are systematic they can be taken as belonging to western and eastern dialects of Methaiun.

Phonology [To Top]

The sounds of modern standard Kebreni are as follows.
labial dental palatal velar glottal vowels
stops p t c k i y u
b d g
fricatives f th s h' s' h e o
v z z'
nasals m n ng a
liquids l r

Kebreni is written using the Verdurian alphabet. The orthographic representations of the above sounds are as follows.

c is a true palatal stop /c/, and should not be confused with any sort of affricate.

s', though it's written using the Verdurian sh, is a dorso-prepalatal fricative [s;], the same as the Polish s' or Chinese x. One recipe for producing it is to start with a sh and adding more palatal friction to it-- say sh, think [ç]. z' is the voiced equivalent.

The h is pronounced as in English (and Old Verdurian), while h' is a palatal fricative /ç/, as in German ich.

k is pronounced like a Verdurian c /k/, not a k /q/. Kebreni has sensibly used Cadhinor's two back stop symbols for two points of articulation, but the points are moved up a stop.

ng, pronounced [ng], is a fairly marginal phoneme, occuring only between vowels. Some dialects lack it, saying [ngg] instead.

Long aa is often written ä, as in Verdurian.

Doubled consonants (as in linna 'lord') are drawn out, as in English pen knife, not penny.

Stress is placed on the last syllable if it ends in a consonant, otherwise on the second-to-last vowel: Kébri, Kebropól, pah'ár, Leléc, s'aída, nizy'ru, Raazám, my'gu, paús'te, kulséu, ingaréi. Since stress is completely predictable, it is never indicated orthographically.

Kebreni is a syllable-timed language-- one where each syllable takes up an equal amount of time-- rather than a stress-timed one like English, where stresses occur at roughly equal intervals. Unstressed syllables in Kebreni retain their clear vowel sounds.

The sounds of Methaiun are reconstructed as follows:
labial dental palatal velar vowels
stops p t k i u
b d g
fricatives f th s ch kh e o
v z j gh
nasals m n a
liquids l r
semivowel w

This schema should be viewed as our best guess; it is certainly wrong in spots, and phonetic interpretations are quite uncertain.

We really have no idea how ch was pronounced. The Kebreni reflex is s'. We use ch because this is its reflex in Verdurian names inherited from Methaiun. In Cadhinor it was usually written t, tr, or ts, suggesting a palatal stop or affricate.

Morphology [To Top]

Only verbs (including predicate adjectives) have a true inflectional morphology; nouns and attributive adjectives are not inflected, and the remnants of inflection among the pronouns are not synchronically salient. However, there is a productive derivational morphology.

Verbs [To Top]

Kebreni verb inflection is quite different from that of the Eastern languages such as Verdurian. Verbs are not inflected for person, number, or tense. Rather, the chief categories of inflection are aspect, politeness, volition, and effect.

In addition, inflection is accomplished by vowel interchange, vowel change, and infixing, not by affixation.

Aspect (imperfective and perfective)

The citation form of the verb is the imperfective:

kanu I see, you see, he was seeing...
diru I work, you work, he was working...
sudy I am called, you are called...

The final -u is not part of the root; it's a grammatical ending. It dissimilates to -y when the last vowel of the root is u, as in sudy.

To form the perfective you switch the last two vowels. (This relationship holds for all the other forms described below, as well.)

kuna I have seen, I saw...
duri I have worked, you worked...
sydu I was once called...

Perfective forms are used for completed actions, no matter what time they occur. Thus you'd use the imperfect diru for "I was working", because you weren't done yet; and the perfective kuna for "I will read it", if you mean you'll read it and finish.

An explicit time may always be indicated with adverbs:

Pah'ar kanu pol.
Tomorrow you will see the city.
Pah'ar kuna pol.
Tomorrow you will have seen (everything in) the city.

Note that Kebreni transitive or ditransitive verbs, used with one less noun phrase, express a passive meaning. Thus

Melah' kuna neku.
The king saw the cat.
Neku kuna.
The cat was seen.

Nyne h'ouz'i aisel. The girl lost the key.
Aisel h'ouzi. The key is lost.

Gymu sudy kulseu 'H'ulo'.
We call the commander 'Idiot'.
Kulseu sudy 'H'ulo'.
The commander is called 'Idiot'.


NP Vo NP = S V O
NP Vo = O V
NP Voo NP NP = S V O O
NP Voo NP = O V O

Some English verbs work this way as well; but all Kebreni verbs do.

Falte s'enen trus'e lyh'. Your boy broke the window.
Lyh' trus'e. The window broke.


To form the volitional, add an initial e, voice the initial consonant (if any), then switch the first two vowels (that is, the added e- plus what was the first vowel of the root). A final -y returns to -u.

agenu I intend to see, I will see, see! (volitional, uncompleted action)
agune I intended to see, I will have seen (volitional, completed action)

ideru I intend to work, I will see, work!
idure I intended to work, I will have worked...

uzedu I intend to call, I intend to be called...
uzude I intended to call / no longer be called...

The volitional forms emphasize that the agent consciously intends the action (imperfective) or the result (perfective).

Pucso mabu.
I kicked the dog (perhaps accidentally).
Obucse mabu.
I kicked the dog (on purpose).

It is frequently used for a future event (lahu 'come' --> alehu 'I will come'), and by extension as an imperative: alehu 'come!' Neither of these extensions is permitted with nonhuman subjects.

There is no word for 'want' as an independent lexical item; some volitional expression must be substituted. Often in fact this is agenu 'want to see', but other verbs are used as appropriate:

Impuz'eu agenu bonnezi!
The publisher wants (lit. wants-to-see) the story!

Linna ezeh'epu gembadi?
Does His Lordship want (lit. want-to-eat) breakfast?

If the verb begins with a vowel, insert an h before the vowel switch: adnedu 'I added it' --> ahednedu 'I added it on purpose'. (Es'u 'to not be', discussed later, inserts v instead, for historical reasons.)
Polite forms
karynu I see, you see, he sees (uncompleted action)
kurina I have seen, you've seen, he's seen (completed action)

agerynu I intend to see, I will see, see! (volitional, uncompleted action)
agurine I intended to see, I will have seen (volitional, completed action)

Polite forms express deference toward a superior, or politeness to an equal. They are used with nobles and royalty, employers, military superiors, parents, in-laws, teachers, and so on. In addition the middle and upper classes use it with each other; but man and wife, siblings or cousins, or very close friends do not.

H'em cyryru? Do I know you, sir?
Alerihu! Please come!

Note that the politeness applies to the listener, not to the referent.

Kulseu, falaute mabu furina; neh'at obucrise.
Commander, your dog is dead; a man kicked (it).

Polite forms are made by inserting -ri- within the verb root, before the last consonant; -ry- if the vowel in the next syllable is a u. The infix may divide a consonant cluster: kulsu 'command' --> kulrysu.

In addition there are a few suppletive forms; e.g. badu 'eat' has the polite form sehepu; tasu 'do' has the polite form soru, and so on. (Do not add -ri- to the suppletive forms; they are already polite.)

Positive effect

The benefactive implies that the given action benefits the speaker in some way:

keni someone sees, to my benefit
deri someone works for me
sidi someone is called, and it helps or flatters me
sythi someone provides to me

It is formed by fronting the stem vowel (a --> e, o -->e; u --> y, y --> i, i --> e, e unchanged) and changing the final -u to -i. The perfective, volitional, and polite forms are formed according to the usual rules.

The stem vowel is the last vowel of the root; e.g. pansyru 'someone kisses' --> pansiri 'someone kisses me'. (Verbs with stem y, like this one, have identical perfective and imperfective.)

To indicate that the action was performed for the benefit of the listener, the infix -ni- is added before the final consonant of the root:

kenini someone sees, to your benefit
deniri someone works for you


H'azum diru keda. Hazum is working on the house.
H'azum deri keda. Hazum is working on my house.
H'azum deniri keda. Hazum is working on your house.

Kulseu nuzi melah'. The commander spoke to the King. (from nizu, speak)
Kulseu nize melah'. The commander spoke to the King on my behalf.
Kulseu ninize melah'. The commander spoke to the King on your behalf.

Negative effect

The antibenefactive implies that the given action harmed the speaker in some way. It's very common in the mouths of Kebrenis and essential for mastering colloquial speech.

kona someone sees, to my loss
dyra someone works against me
soda someone is called, and it harms or insults me
sutha someone provides at my expense

kano someone saw, has seen, to my loss
dary someone worked against me

adery someone purposely worked against me
oseda they purposely call him that to spite me

loriha someone is coming to harm me (polite form)

It is formed by backing the stem vowel (a --> o, e --> o, i --> y; y --> u, u --> o, o unchanged) and changing the final -u to -a. The perfective, volitional, and polite forms are formed according to the usual rules.

Mabu fano. The dog went and died on me.
H'em dyra. I'm killing myself by working.
Kona hem. He watched me (in order to hurt me); he's spied on me.
Obeka. Oh, fuck me.

Again, -ni- can be infixed to indicate that the action was performed to the harm of the listener.

Kulseu nyniza. The commander is speaking against you.
Lelec pocnisa? Is Lelec kicking you?
Subordinating form

The subordinating form is used when there is another verb in the sentence. It's formed by moving the final vowel of the verb before the final consonant and adding -te. A labial stop becomes dental and a voiced stop becomes unvoiced before the -te (so m --> n, p/b/d --> t, g --> c, z --> s, etc.).

kanu 'say' --> kaunte 'saying'
diru 'work' --> diurte 'working'
kulsy 'command' --> kulyste 'commanding'
mimu 'deal' --> miunte 'dealing'
cih'cu 'praise' --> cih'ucte 'praising'

This form has several uses. One is with auxiliary verbs, or any verb which takes another verb as a possible object. The -te form appears before the main verb, and after its objects:

Melah' kaunte elecu. The king is able to see you.
Kulseu gorkreha kaunte maru. The commander is probably reading the ledger.

Tarautte hilu? Do you like to dance?
H'em diurte luha. I came (in order) to work.

The negative in Kebreni is an auxiliary verb, es'u (polite natu):

H'em H'azum cyurte es'u.
I don't know Hazum.

H'azum kulseu kriuh'te us'e.
Hazum won't kill the commander tomorrow.

Pah'ar lauhte natu?
Aren't you coming tomorrow? (polite)

Note that volitional, politeness, and aspect inflections normally apply only to the main verb. One can make such finicky distinctions as the following--

diurte lahu was/is coming to be working
diurte luha came to be working
duirte lahu was/is coming to work (and finish)
duirte luha came to work (and finish)
diurte alehu is intending to come to work
iderute lahu is coming intending to work

--but these are rare even in writing; normally only the base form (i.e. diurte) is used, and inflections are applied only to the auxiliary. Semantically, they are considered to apply to the auxiliary + verb combination-- e.g. for diurte alehu the intention is taken to apply to both the coming and the working; while for diurte luha the entire action-- coming to work-- is taken as being completed.

Another usage of the -te form is as a gerund or modifier. The subordinated verb suggests the manner in which the main action was performed, or simply names a following or resulting action.

Kulseu kaunte nuzi.
The commander spoke watchfully (or, while watching).

Nyne pabautte taradu.
The girl was laughing and dancing.

Thazu mabu krih'ute pucso.
They kicked the dog to death.

H'ulo cih'ucte diurte es'u.
The fool works without praising (God).

Finally -te is used to form relative clauses. In this usage volitional, aspect, and effect inflections (but not politeness infixes) can be applied to the subordinating form. Note that the clause precedes the modified noun.

Neh'at duri keda.
The man worked on the house -->
[Diurte keda] neh'at alehu pahar.
[work-SUB house] man come-VOL tomorrow
The man [who worked on the house] will come tomorrow.

Kulseu nazy neh'at.
The commander spoke against me to the man -->
[Kulseu nayste] neh'at sudy Kalum.
[commander spoke-ANTIB-SUB] man name Kalum
The man [the commander spoke to against me] is named Kalum.

Melah' baku nyne.
The king is fucking the girl -->
[Melah' baukte] nyne h'ilu h'ente mabu.
[king fuck-SUB] girl likes my dog
The girl [the king is fucking] is fond of my dog.

There is no relativizing pronoun. Note that if the subordinated verb is preceded by a subject, as in the last two sentences, the head of the clause must be taken as a direct or indirect object; if the verb begins the clause, as in the first example, the head must be the subject of the clause. Schematically:

NP Vte NP = [S V] O
Vte NP NP = [V O] S

If the head noun refers to a place or time, the phrase is equivalent to a when or where clause in English-- again, these pronouns do not appear in Kebreni:

[vaac mygu moiutte] hah'c
the valley [where the blue ox was found]

[pocuste melah'] re
the day [when I kicked the King]

Conjugation table
For complex forms, form the (anti)benefactive first, then the volitional, then the perfective, then the listener suffix -ni, then (if there's no suppletive form) the polite -ri-, then the subordinating -te.

Ellipses indicate that variations (the imperfective and the two volitional forms) are being left out.
'see' 'work' 'call' 'laugh' 'kick' 'command' 'not'
Neutral imperfective kanu diru sudy pabadu pocsu kulsy es'u
perfective kuna duri sydu pabuda pucso kylsu us'e
volitional imp. agenu ideru uzedu abebadu obecsu ugelsu eves'u
volitional perf. agune idure uzude abebuda obucse ugulse evus'e
polite imp. karynu diryru suridy pabarydu pocrysu kulrisy natu
polite perf. kurina duriri syrydu paburida pucriso kylrysu nuta
vol. pol. imp. agerynu ideryru uzerydu abebarydu obecrysu ugelrysu anetu
vol. pol. perf. agurine idurire uzuride abeburida obucrise ugulrise anute
Benef. benef. imp. keni deri sydi pabedi pecsi kylsi es'i
benef. perf. kine dire sidy pabide picse kilsy is'e
vol. ben. imp. egeni ederi yzedi abebedi ebecsi ygelsi eves'i
vol. ben. perf. egine edire yzide abebide ebicse ygilse evis'e
benef. polite kerini... deriri... syridi... paberidi... pecrisi... kylrisi... neti...
benef. 'you' kenini... deniri... synidi... pabenidi... pecnisi... kylnisi... enis'i...
Antib. antib. imp. kona dyra soda paboda pocsa kolsa os'a
antib. perf. kano dary sado pabado pacso kalso as'o
vol. antib. imp. ogena ydera ozeda abeboda obecsa ogelsa oves'a
vol. antib. perf. ogane ydare ozade abebado obacse ogalse ovas'e
antib. politekorina... dyrira... sorida... paborida... pocrisa... kolrisa... nota...
Subord. subordinating kaunte diurte suytte pabautte pocuste kulyste eus'te
subord. perf. kuante duirte syutte pabuatte pucoste kyluste ues'te
sub. vol. imp. ageunte ideurte uzeytte abebautte obecuste ugeluste eveus'te
sub. vol. perf. aguente iduerte uzyette abebuatte obuceste uguleste evues'te
Deriv. one who does kaneu direu sudeu pabadeu pocseu kulseu
'participle' kaina diera suida pabaida pocisa kulisa
action kani deri sodi pabadi pacsi kolsi

Pronouns [To Top]

person sing plural sing plural sing plural
1 (I, we) cin z'um h'em gymu
2 (you)
3 (he, she, it, they)
thah' thaza vep vybu

There are three sets of pronouns in Kebreni, which imply contempt, neutrality, or deference toward the referent.

The pejorative first person forms (cin, z'um) are humilifics, used to refer to oneself when speaking with a superior; the remaining pejorative forms (kuh' and vuh'-- one does not bother with any number distinction) are used to refer to those of lower classes (or, of course, to insult someone by referring to them as inferiors).

The deferential second person form falau is an honorific, used to refer to a listener or listeners who are social superiors; its use roughly correlates with the use of the polite forms of verbs. Note that the third person forms (vep, vybu) express deference to the person referred to, not (unlike polite verbs) to the listener. There are no deferential first-person pronouns.

For all of these pronouns, possessive forms can be made by adding -te (which forces a preceding labial stop to assimilate): h'ente 'my (ordinary)', falaute 'your (deferential)', vuh'te 'his/her/its/theirs (pejorative)'.

It must be emphasized that pronouns are optional, and indeed to be avoided, in Kebreni. They are used only when necessary for clarity. For direct address, in fact, it's preferable to use honorifics and titles:

Linna, agenu gembadi?
Lord, [do you] want [your] breakfast?

'This' and 'that', as adjectives, are gem and kuri (the relation to 'one' and 'two' is obvious, but the direction of semantic borrowing is not!): gem nyne 'this woman', kuri palaz'nu 'that thorn-bush'.

As standalone pronouns these become gente 'this one' and kurite 'that one'. (This is actually a standard nominalizing use of the clitic -te with adjectives.)

Myra 'here', tomo 'there', z'ada 'now' and bada 'then' function as adverbs.

Interrogative pronouns

The standard interrogative anaphora are:

s'ava who, what
s'ete which (of what quality)
as'eve why (a volitional form of s'ava: i.e., 'wanting what?')
ciz'e how, in what way
s'anu where (locative verb)
s'ere when
bigynte how much, how many

Unlike in English, the interrogative anaphora cannot be used in relative clauses. Subordinated clauses usually have no explicit subordinator at all. See Complex sentences below for examples.

Quantifiers and indefinite pronouns

Quantifiers are ordinary adjectives, and like any adjectives are nominalized with -te.

fyn none
fynte nothing, no one
biha some, any
bihate something, someone, anything, anyone
kum many, much
kunte many things, many people
orat all, every
oratte everything, everyone

There are no words meaning "everywhere", "sometime", and so on; instead one uses expressions like biha re 'some day', orat hami 'every land', fyn hah'cte zani 'in every valley', etc.

Numbers [To Top]

The Methaiun counting system was based on counting on fingers and toes-- the 10 fingers and 8 toes of an Almean.

1 grem (related to 'this')
2 kuri (related to 'that')
3 dama
4 ghakakh ('almost (a hand)')
5 amua ('hand')
6 migrem amua ('with-one hand')...
9 ghakakh kuri ('almost two (hands)')
10 kuramua ('two hands')
11 poc pinakh ('down to the feet')
12 mikuri kuramua ('two hands with two')
14 mipoc kuramua ('two hands with a foot')
15 migrem mipoc kuramua ('two hands with a foot with one')
18 oranda nekhad ('entire man')
324 dikumi (related to kumi 'many')
5832 theleth

Under the influence of Cuêzi and Cadhinor, a decimal system was adopted; but the Kebreni numbers from 1 to 19 still show their origins in the Methaiun system:

1 gem 11 pinah'
2 kur 12 migram
3 dam 13 midakram
4 hak 14 mipoc
5 amma 15 mipokemai
6 migem 16 mipokurai
7 migur 17 hakraida
8 midam 18 raida
9 hakur 19 raigemai
10 kram 20 kur kram
The numbers from 21 to 99 are formed on the model [tens] kram [digits]-ai: 21 = kur kram gemai, 37 = dam kram migurai. In fast counting, kram is omitted.

It's still possible to count by 18s: raida, kuraida, dam raida...

dygum (from dikumi) has become the word for 100, while myga '1000' was borrowed from Cuêzi. The same basic model is followed: 487 = hak dygum midam kram migurai, 3480 = dam myga hak dygum midam kramai.

There are two ways of numbering noun phrases: by inserting the number before the noun, or by subordinating the noun and following it with the number:

dam kyr lah' or kyr lah'te dam
three green fields

The subordinated form is more formal, and is preferred in writing, or with very long numbers.

The suffix -eh' (-h' after vowel) forms ordinal numbers: gemeh' 'first', raidah' 'eighteenth'.

Derivational morphology [To Top]


With adjectives, nominalizations with -gu name the abstract quality; with nouns and verbs, they generally name a countable action, result, or associated entity.

kanu 'see' --> kangu 'vista'
bothynu 'fight' --> bothengu 'battle'
syh 'strong' --> sygu 'strength'
s'en 'honorable' --> s'engu 'honor'

With nouns and verbs, -au (Meth. -adio) is an abstract nominalizer, comparable to our -tion; with adjectives it names an object with the given quality.

adnedu 'add' --> adnedau 'addition'
kanu 'see' --> kanau 'vision'
maru 'be probable' --> marau 'probability'
melah' 'king' --> melah'au 'royalty, kingship'
ty 'round' --> tyau 'tube, pipe'

For simple actions, a name for an instance of the action can be formed by lowering the last root vowel (i, y --> e; e, o --> a; u --> o, a unchanged) and adding -i:

rih'u 'count' --> reh'i 'count, counting'
pocsu 'kick' --> pacsi'kick'
taradu 'dance' --> taradi 'dance'
z'ynu 'go' --> z'eni 'departure'
kulsy 'command' --> kolsi 'command'

The suffix -nu, usually accompanied by raising of the last root vowel (a --> e, e --> i, o --> u, others unchanged) names a concrete thing related to the root object or action.

gyru (Meth. ger-) 'rise' --> hernu (Meth. gerno) 'stair'
kam 'oak' --> kamnu 'acorn'
muk 'new' --> muhnu 'news'

To pluralize a noun, you follow the formula (X)V1C(V2) --> (X)V1C[+vcd]V1. The status of pluralization in Kebreni is quite different from languages such as Verdurian and English, where it is obligatory and grammaticalized. It is an optional derivation in Kebreni; it can be thought of as forming a collective noun-- 'a unit formed by more than one X.'

hami 'land' --> hama 'lands, large area, nation'
neh'at 'man' --> neh'ada 'people'
cai (Meth. kiodi) 'mountain' --> cadu (Meth. kiodo) 'mountain range'
bez' 'grape' --> bez'e 'bunch of grapes'
lore 'horse' --> loro 'team of horses'

-na is an augmentative; -ih' is a diminutive.

h'ir 'long' --> h'irna 'very long'
siva 'sand' --> sivana 'desert'
lezu 'forest' --> Lezyna 'Leziunea = big forest'

zeveu 'friend' --> zevih' 'little friend'
tada 'father' --> tadih' 'dad'
nyne 'maiden' --> nynih' 'little girl'

-eu names a person who does the action, comes from a place, or has a certain quality:

kulsy 'command' --> kulseu 'commander'
taradu 'dance' --> taradeu 'dancer'
Verdura 'Verduria' --> Verdureu 'Verdurian'
zev 'loyal' --> zeveu 'friend'

The Methaiun equivalent was formed by replacing the final root vowel of the verb with -u- and suffixing -i. This formation is found in a few old words:

ghis- 'cure' --> ghusi (hus) 'doctor'
brin- 'watch' --> bruni (brun) 'shepherd'

-ec has about the same meaning, but specifically names a feminine referent. Kebreni is usually not concerned to do so (e.g. melah' means both king and queen), but may use -ec in a few cases where the occupation is chiefly female (e.g. mah'ec 'prostitute') or where it's desired to refer to a couple without awkwardness-- e.g. a dance manual describing a duet may refer to the taradeu and taradec. The suffix is most commonly used to form girls' names.

lele 'cute, pretty' --> Lelec
lezu 'forest' --> Lezec

Methaiun -(gh)umi, whose Kebreni reflex is -um, named someone who lives in a particular place; it's related to ghami 'land': thus limighumi 'highlander'. As a productive prefix, it has been replaced by -eu in Kebreni; but -um is still found in personal names and in inhabitant-names of very old cities:

kal 'bee' --> Kalum
'ridge' --> S'ogum
--> Laadum 'person from Laadau'
Kathinah' 'Cadhinas' --> Kathynum 'Cadhinorian'

A manufacturer of something is named with -teu (a reduced form of taseu 'maker'):

nabira 'ship' --> nabirateu 'shipwright'

Given a verbal root CVXn, the formula VC[+vcd]VXne names a tool which accomplishes the action, or a substance which exemplifies it (contrast -eu, which is always a person):

paz'u 'cut' --> abaz'e 'knife'
thanu 'harm' --> athane 'weapon'
treh' 'black' --> etreh'e 'ink'

The suffix -es'a creates a concrete nominalization of an adjective: an object having the quality named by the adjective:

gem 'one' --> genes'a 'primacy (among interested parties), lien'
h'ir 'long' --> h'ires'a 'street'

-arei names a place:

suthy 'provide' --> sutharei 'store'
lore 'horse' --> lodarei 'stable' (with dissimilation)
nizu 'speak' --> nizarei 'forum'

The proprietor or manager of such a place is named with the suffix -areu (unless there already exists a simple form with -eu, e.g. sutheu 'provider, storekeeper'):

ingarei 'tavern' --> ingareu 'tavernkeeper'

From toponyms and nobles' names we learn of a vowel-harmonizing honorific prefix me- in Methaiun: Monkhado (Monkhayu), Michiaghama (Mishicama), meNeula (Menla), melekh 'king', myvun 'leader'. It's also seen in Methaiu, Meuna, Mevost, Meto:re. The prefix is not seen in modern Kebreni, and usually disappears in cognates: S'ahama 'Mishicama', neh'ada 'the people'.


The subordinator -te, attached to a single word, in effect turns it into an adjective.

keda 'house' --> kedate 'domestic'
neh'ada 'people' --> neh'adate 'popular'
diru 'work' --> dirte 'relating to work'

Attached to expressions referring to people, including pronouns, it serves as a genitive:

falau 'you' --> falaute 'your'
nyne 'maiden' --> nynete 'maiden's'
Verdureu 'Verdurian' --> Verdureute 'Verdurian's'

An adjective related to a geographic expression is formed with -en:

Kebri 'Kebreni' --> kebren 'Kebreni'
Ernaituh' 'Érenat' --> ernaituhen 'Érenati'

The infix -n- + final -(y)r gives an adjective meaning 'having the quality of X' or 'liable to X':

boh'tu 'water' --> bontur 'wet'
men 'hill' --> mennyr 'hilly'
h'ulo 'idiot' --> h'unlor 'idiotic'
zeveu 'friend' --> zevenur 'friendly'
krih'u 'kill' --> krinh'yr 'murderous'
pabadu 'laugh' --> pabandyr 'amusing'

The infix -su- gives an adjective meaning 'made of X':

siva 'sand' --> sisuva 'sandy'
h'eda 'stone' --> h'esuda 'stony'
kam 'oak' --> kasum 'oaken'

The meaning of an adjective may be intensified by infixing -u- before the last consonant, or diminished by infixing -i-:

h'ir 'long' --> h'iur 'very long', h'iir 'not long'
s'aida 'beautiful' --> s'aiuda 'breathtakingly beautiful'
s'e 'small' --> s'ei 'tiny'

A similar process can be seen in Meth. nauni 'young man', niune 'young woman' (but it's obscured by sound change in Kebreni: nen, nyne).

-iCa where -C is the final consonant of the root, or -eCa after -i-, means 'that has been Xed'. This sounds like a past participle, but it is never a verbal form, nor can it even be used predicatively; it can only be used to modify a noun, or as a nominalization.

nizu 'say' --> nieza 'spoken'
suthy 'provide' --> suitha 'provisions'
kulsy 'command' --> kulisa 'what is commanded', lexicalized as 'fleet'
nabru 'sail' --> nabira 'what is sailed', i.e. a ship

The suffix -lecsu (from lecu 'can'), added to a verb, means equally 'that can be verbed' or 'that can verb'; context generally indicates which.

badu 'eat' --> badlecsu 'edible'
z'aiz'igu 'marry' --> z'aiz'iglecsu 'marriageable, nubile'
tres'u 'break' --> tres'lecsu 'breakable'

The infix -at-, used to produce antonyms in Methaiun, is no longer productive:

zewi 'loyal' --> zatewi 'disloyal, treasonous'
chiam- 'aproach' --> chatiam- 'move away from'

An adjective can be negated with bu- (borrowed from Cadhinor):

doh't 'correct' --> budoh't 'incorrect'
gauryr 'pure' --> bugauryr 'impure'

Nouns can be fairly freely converted into verbs by adding -u (replacing a final vowel):

dyrh'i 'credit (entry)' --> dyrh'u '(enter as a) credit'
nabra 'sail' --> nabru 'sail'
alat 'silver coin' --> aladu 'spend money'

A syntactic alternative, to use the verb tasu 'do', is extremely productive, especially for vague nonce forms:

sutharei 'store' --> sutharei tasu 'shop'
zeveu 'friend' --> zeveu tasu 'be friendly'
thiron 'market' --> thiron tasu 'go to market'

The suffix -s- forms verbs with the meaning 'to use X (in the obvious way)' or 'to act like X':

poc 'foot' --> pocsu 'kick'
bry 'eye' --> brysu 'keep an eye on'
s'emu 'fish' --> s'emsu 'swim'
mygu 'ox' --> mycsu 'haul'

The infix -ma- means 'to make X' or 'to acquire X':

syl 'dark' --> symalu 'darken'
hazik 'proud' --> hazimaku 'make proud'
kur 'two' --> kumaru 'split'
s'emu 'fish' --> s'emamu 'fish'
alat 'silver' --> alamatu 'scrounge up cash'

Locative verbs can be prefixed to verbs, often with the effect of specifying a direction or purpose for the action. Often an abbreviated form of the locative is used.

ebu 'be away from' + diru 'work' --> ebdiru 'take off work'
dynu 'be above' + rih'u 'count' --> dyrh'u 'count as a credit'

These expressions derive from a subordinated verb: eupte diru --> ebdiru.

Syntax [To Top]

Parameter order [To Top]

Kebreni, lacking case marking or articles to signal case relationships, uses word order instead. The basic word order is SVO:

Linna Kalum, gente botheneu az'eiz'irygu falaute nynih'.
Lord Kalum, this soldier wants to marry your daughter.

H'azum, linna agenu hus.
H'azum, the Lord needs a doctor.

To mark focus, a constituent is moved to the front of the sentence. With compound sentences, the constituent in focus may serve as subject and object both in the the sentence; context usually serves to keep the meaning clear, without any unusual syntax or the insertion of pronouns.

Muk botheneu sudy Kamum, eh'c kulseu h'ilu.
The young soldier, [he] is named Kamum, and the commander likes [him].

Linnate nyne gegeu miz'ynu gembadu.
As for the lord's daughter, the servants are bringing breakfast [to her].

Note that when there are two noun phrases before the verb and no object after it, the first must be the object. If there's just one noun phrase before the verb, it's both subject and focus.

Hus nynete baba agenu z'e.
As for the doctor, the girl's mother wants to see him too.

Nynete baba agenu hus z'e.
As for the girl's mother, she wants to see the doctor too.

Neh'at guma mabu.
Man bites dog. (focus unmarked or on 'man')

Mabu guma neh'at.
Dog bites man. (focus unmarked or on 'dog')

Neh'at mabu guma.
As for the man, the dog bit him. (focus on 'man')

Mabu neh'at guma.
As for the dog, the man bit him. (focus on 'dog')


NP V = S V
V NP = V O
Indirect objects

Kebreni makes no morphological distinction between direct and indirect objects. One or both can appear after the verb, or be fronted for emphasis. The indirect object follows the direct object if both are given.

Kulseu h'uvy vez'a taradeu.
The commander gave the bottle to the dancer.
Nyne mugeu h'uvy s'emu.
The girl was given a fish by the young man.

S'emu nyne muh'a.
As for the fish, the girl sold it.

Another way of putting this is that verbs like h'yvu 'give' are ditransitive in Kebreni, like sudy 'call (someone) (something)'.


Verbs of movement

The destination of a verb of movement is not morphologically marked in Kebreni; it's treated as a second object.

Linna, z'yrynu Laadau.
Lord, we're going to Laadau.
Kuri thanih'te neh'at lahu z'umte keda?
Is that annoying man coming to our house?

Imez'ynu s'emu tada.
Bring a fish to your father.

However, the source of a movement is indicated using a locative verb (discussed below):

Laaven eupte lahu eh'c bohru.
They're coming from Laaven and they stink.

Noun phrases [To Index]


Modifiers-- including adjectives, numbers, relative clauses and locative expressions-- always precede the noun:

kur mabu two dogs
gem s'aida hazigai nyne that beautiful and proud maiden
thanih'te neh'at an annoying man
kaunte melah' mabu a dog that looks at a king
sivana s'aunte turgul the battalion near the desert

Kebreni's strong modifier-modified order would lead a linguist to suspect that it was once an OV language, which has changed, perhaps, under the influence of Verdurian. The evidence is equivocal; we do not have many actual texts in Methaiun. However, they do seem to be predominantly SOV.

The -te relativizer

The root meaning of -te is to reduce an expression to an attribute. It reduces a noun or noun phrase to an adjectival expression, a verbal expression to a subordinate clause.

With a single noun (or pronoun), a -te expression has an adjectival or possessive quality:

falaute gem one of you
tadate zevu father's friend
neh'adate nizarei the people's forum
kedate zivan the inside of the house (lit. the house's inside)

The same can be said of longer expressions that are themselves -te expressions:

falaute gente mygu the ox belonging to one of you
Kalunte tadate zevu Kalum's father's friend
neh'adate nizareite dirau the work of the people's forum

With more complex expressions -te functions like a relative clause:

dama rete ebdiru a three-day holiday; a holiday that's three days long
h'ulo tauste melah' a king who acts like an idiot
keda ziunte te mygu the ox that's in the house

Finally, a -te clause can stand on its own, meaning 'the one(s) which...':

Fal buda Kazumte bez'e eh'c h'em buda Lelecte.
You ate Kazum's grapes and I ate Lelec's.

Ruh'i Avelah' eupte lauhte? Thah' miry.
Did you count the one who comes from Avéla? He's rich.

Existence and equivalence

There is no verb 'to be' in Kebreni; the closest equivalent is zaru 'exist, be there'.

Dama gegeu zaru, eh'c dama vez'a zaurte es'u.
(Lit.) Three servants exist, and three bottles do not exist.
There's three servants and three missing bottles.

Bothengu ziunte cih'ica ingarei zura.
In Boggola there used to be a praiseworthy tavern.

There is no verb 'have' either; zaru with effect inflections serves for this.

Keda, kur gegeu, eh'c s'emu zeri.
I have a house, two servants, and a fish. (Lit, they exist for my benefit.)

Lelena lelena nyne zeniri.
You have a very, very cute daughter. (Lit., she exists for your benefit.)

Negative effect inflections are used when the possession is disadvantageous.

Keda eupte symanlur kangu zora.
I have a boring view from my house.

Paru ziunte cuka zonira.
You have a pimple on your lip.

Third-person possession can only be indicated by possessive expressions, e.g.:

Kulseute pabandyr lore zaru.
(Lit.) The commander's amusing horse exists.
The commander has an amusing horse.

There is no attributive 'be' at all; to say that X is Y you normally simply adjoin the two noun phrases.

H'ente tada bez'arei eh'c baba taradeu.
My father is a vintner and my mother is a dancer.

To say that X belongs to the class Y, you can use sudy 'be called':

Ebrankrah' sudy krah'.
Cinnabar is (lit. is called) a mineral.

To reveal that X is actually Y, one can use the expression X Yai gensu 'X and Y are one'; the opposite can be indicated with kursu 'be two, differ':

Linna, krih'u loreai genrysu.
My lords, the killer is-- the horse. (Lit., the killer and the horse are one.)

Falte tada eh'c taradeu kursu.
Your father is no dancer. (Lit., your father and a dancer differ.)

Adjectives [To Index]


Adjectives used attributively appear before the noun, without modification: s'aida seth 'a beautiful jewel'; thanih'te z'em h'ulo 'an annoying old idiot'.


As predicates they are a bit more complicated; in effect they are partially converted into verbs. No copula is used. In the simplest form, the adjective simply appears after the noun, in verbal position:

Krih'eu z'em. The killer is old.

The politeness infix -ri- must be used in the same situations it would be used on a verb:

Falte nyne s'aida.
Your daughter is beautiful. (ordinary)

Falaute nyne s'airida.
Your daughter is beautiful. (polite)

The predication is negated using the auxiliary es'u and the subordinator -te, as with verbs, and other auxiliaries may be used as well:

Gem mabu z'ente es'u.
This dog is not old.

Melah' miryte maru.
The king is probably rich.

Adjectives which already end in -te do not add it again:

Falau thanih'te erys'u!
You are not annoying, sir!

A perfective can be formed by appending -u (replacing a final vowel if any) and interchanging it with the previous vowel. Use -y instead if the latter is also a -u-.

Krih'eu s'audi.
The killer is no longer beautiful. (Cf. s'aida 'beautiful')

Falte nyne mycu.
Your daughter is no longer young. (Cf. muc 'young']

Predicate adjectives are not inflected for volition or effect.


An adjective can be used as a substantive by suffixing -te: syhte 'the strong (ones)', kyrte 'the green (ones).'

The subordinated form may also appear attributively; in this form and position it can be interpreted as a one-word relative clause.

Note the difference between:

nyyl nabira a slow ship
nyylte nabira a ship that is slow
nyylte a slow one


There is no morphological comparative. A comparative "X is more Q than Y" is formed using an expression that literally means "As opposed to Y, X is very Q."

Cadec ceuste polte nyne leule.
hill-girl opposing city-SUB girl cute-AUG
A city girl is cuter than a hillbilly girl.

Bodu ceuste s'emu bontuurte es'u.
frog opposing fish wet-AUG-SUB not
A fish is not wetter than a frog.

Instead of bontuurte es'u 'not very wet' we could say bontuir 'little wet'; but the negative expression is preferred in speech, where the difference from bontuur 'very wet' is not marked.

Note that where we use comparative forms Kebreni often uses the augmentative or diminutive forms: nyul lore 'slower horses', literally 'very slow horses'. Reduplication is also found, especially in speech: kasus kasus re 'a windy, windy day'.


Before a verb, the -te form of an adjective serves as an adverb:

Nyne nyylte taradu. The girl was dancing slowly.
Linna hazikte nuzi. The lord spoke proudly.

This form can follow the verb if it would not be confused with an object: nuzi hazikte is all right, but taradu nyylte would mean 'danced a slow one'. It can be fronted for emphasis, but only by placing it in its own subclause with tasu/soru 'do':

Hazikte tauste linna nuzi.
Proudly the lord spoke. (Lit., Doing proudly, the lord spoke.)

Conjunctions [To Index]

Kebreni has two ways of saying and, with slightly different meanings: eh'c, which appears between the conjoined constituents, and -ai, which attaches to the second constituent, voicing a final consonant and replacing the final vowel of a diphthong.

Applied to two (or more) modifiers, -ai forms an intersection, eh'c a union, of the meaning of the modifiers. For instance, muk syhai neh'at and muk eh'c syh neh'at both mean "the young and strong men"; but muk syhai neh'at means the men who are both young and strong (the intersection of 'young men' and 'strong men'), while muk eh'c syh neh'at means the young men and the strong men (the union of 'young men' with 'strong men').

The third logical possibility is a disjunction-- the men that are young or strong but not both-- and this corresponds to ga 'or': muk ga syh neh'at 'the old or the young men (but not both)'.

Similarly, applied to separate words, -ai implies that both conjoints describe the same referent(s) or action, eh'c that they are separate, and ga that only one applies:

H'em falaai inezu.
You and I (as a unit or team) will speak.

(Here the referents are not the same. When the conjoints are obviously distinct, the meaning is that they form an indissoluble team, acting together.)

H'em eh'c falau inezu.
You will speak, and I will speak.
H'em ga falau inezu.
Either you will speak, or I will speak.

nyne taradeai
the girl and the dancer (who are the same), the girl dancer
nyne eh'c taradeu
the girl and the dancer (who are two separate people)
nyne ga taradeu
the girl or the dancer (but not both)

Palec symalu thanih'uai.
Palec bores and she annoys (all at once, simultaneously).
Palec symalu eh'c thanih'u.
Palec bores and she also annoys (two different attributes).
Palec symalu ga thanih'u.
Either Palec bores, or she annoys (not at the same time).

Ga is thus an exclusive or. There is no conjunction that has the meaning of inclusive or (X or Y or both, X and/or Y), but, as in English, one can add the 'and' case explicitly:

Melah' pabadu ga fanu ga kur soru.
The king will laugh or die or both (lit. "or do the two (of them)").

There is no conjunction 'but'-- which, linguistically, is an 'and' with a built-in implication of surprise or contrast. These connotations must be explicitly indicated in Kebreni.

Locative verbs [To Index]

What we would express with prepositions is expressed using locative verbs in Kebreni, such as zinu 'be in or on', nevu 'be in the middle of'. These can be used as regular verbs:

Mygu zinu keda!
The ox is inside the house!

Raazam neryvu hah'c.
Raizumi is in the middle of the valley (polite).

Most of them in fact are regular verbs-- e.g. foru 'follow', used as a locative verb with the meaning 'be behind', mitu 'use' or 'be with'. The others were also once regular verbs, but are no longer used in their original meanings.

More frequently a locative expression is used as a modifier or an adverbial; these are subordinate clauses in Kebreni. The locative verb conventionally ends the expression, although its parameter is technically a direct object (more evidence, perhaps, for Methaiun's OV nature):

ingarei ziunte inside the tavern
re neuvte in the middle of the day

[h'ir zeveu eupte] lyr muhnu
sad news [from an old friend]
[lim men fourte] keda
the high hill [in back of the house]

[melah' miutte] linna
the lords who support the king
[[kaldu ziunte] gem bakte kal ] h'ulo
an idiot [without one fucking bee [in his hive]]

These expressions are so frequent that they are phonetically degraded. The -u- is often lost, or combines with a preceding -i- or -e- to form -y-, and the final -e may be lost as well, yielding such forms as zynt' 'inside' or fort' 'in back of'.

English has at least one verb that acts like a locative verb-- 'contain'. Kebreni locative verbs all act like 'contain'. Compare:

Kona zinu cih'ta cih'ta ziunte
The money is in the box in the box
Cih'ta zadinu kona kona zadiunte
The box contains money containing money

The most common locative verbs, and the abbreviations used in derivations from them, are shown below, with some examples:
brynu bry facing, before, about keda bryunte 'in front of the house', kriidi bryunte about books'
dynu dy up, on top of, over cadu dyunte 'over the mountains'
ebu eb out (of), off, (away) from Kebri eupte 'outside Kebri'
cezu cez against, despite z'aiz'ega ceuste 'against the marriage'
foru for behind, in back of keda fourte 'behind the house'
fuzu fu without s'emu fuuste 'without a fish'
mitu mi with, using; supporting abaz'e miutte 'with a knife'
nevu ne in the middle of, among, through, during nabira neufte 'in the middle of the ship', mur neufte 'for an hour'
ponu po below, under broga pounte 'under the table'
s'adamu s'ada far (from) pol s'adaunte 'far from the city'
s'amu s'a around, surrounding, near turgul s'aunte 'surrounding the battalion'
vekru vek as, like gauryr vekurte 'like a virgin'
zinu zi in, inside, at, on(general locative) lah' ziunte 'in the field', men ziunte 'on top of the hill', thiron ziunte 'at market'
zadinu zadi containing, including seth zadiunte 'containing a jewel'
Time metaphorically flows not forward but downward in Kebreni:

mur dyunte an hour ago (lit., up an hour)
mur pounte an hour later, after one hour (lit., down an hour)

One can flow with a river or against it; expressions of support work the same way.

Tama miutte with (down) the Serea
Tama ceuste against (up) the Serea
melah' miutte/ceuste for/against the king

Finally, note that interrogative 'where' is a locative verb:

Syna s'anu?
Where is the waterfall?

Questions [To Index]

Yes-no questions

Yes-no questions are indicated with intonation alone:

Lahu? Are you coming?
H'ulo, miz'yunte h'ithane es'u?
Idiot, you didn't bring your sword?

A positive question is answered by repeating the verb or by contradicting it with the negative auxiliary es'u; there are no words for 'yes' or 'no'.

Lahu. Yes, I'm coming.
Es'u. No, I'm not coming.

To agree with a negative question, you again repeat the verb, which of course is the negative auxiliary es'u; to disagree with it you use the main verb:

Es'u. Yes, I didn't bring it.
Miz'ynu. No, I did bring it.

Tag-questions are formed with es'u (polite natu), without subordinating the main verb:

Laadum s'emuste lecu, es'u?
Someone from Laadau knows how to swim, doesn't he?

Melah' karynu h'em, natu?
The King will see me, won't he?

It should come as no surprise that a negative tag-question is formed by appending the non-negative main verb:

Fal fuuste kona es'u, fuzu?
You don't have any money, do you?

Question words

Unlike in English, question words are not fronted; they remain in the syntactically appropriate spot:

Fal cyru s'ava?
Who do you know? (Lit., you know who?)

Mah'u s'ava loreai?
You sold the horse and what else? (Lit., you sold what and the horse?)

Oteurte lore zeveu s'anu?
Where's this friend of yours who wants a horse?

Kuna s'ete s'emu?
What kind of a fish did you see? (Lit., you saw what-kind-of fish?)

Kylsu bigynte ladu?
How many olives did you order?

Complex sentences [To Index]

See also the section on Subordinating form under Verbs.
Sentences as objects

Verbs such as say or know can take sentences as objects. If the object is in its usual place, after the verb, no special syntactic marking is employed:

Cyru [Verdureu ameh'u baba].
We know [that Verdurians would sell their mothers.]

Kulseu nizu [turgul zinu kuri s'ogu].
The commander says [the battalion is on that ridge.]

If it's desired to front the sentential object, it should be followed by gente 'this one' or kurite 'that one':

[Verdureu ameh'u baba] gente cyru?
[Verdurian sell-VOL mother] this-one know?
That Verdurians would sell their mothers, do we know this?

Adverbial conjunctions

The conjunctions eh'c and ga can be used for entire sentences:

Melah' zinu ingarei eh'c ingareu zinu h'yr.
The king is in the tavern, and the tavernkeeper is in the castle.

H'ilu inga ga ingarei ziunte s'aida nyne diru.
Either he likes the wine, or a beautiful girl works in the tavern.

Other relations between sentences are expressed by more specialized conjunctions. These are often expressed by adverbial clauses in English. Thus English adverb X (adverb) Y becomes X (conj) Y in Kebreni:

Melah' kaaryru pema falau yh'eryvu h'ithane.
When the king returns, you will give him your sword.

Melah' kaurte natu hez' falau oteryru h'iitiru.
If the king does not return, (then) you will take his sash.

H'em h'ouz'i kriida immi konarei mengu.
Because I lost the mortgage document, the bank is whining.

The conjunction is considered to modify the first (X) clause. To second clause can however be fronted if a demonstrative is left in its place:

Konarei mengu, h'em h'ouz'i gemes'ate kriida immi kurite.
The bank is whining, because I lost the mortgage document.

"To do X in order to Y" is expressed by placing X in the volitional and subordinating Y:

Alamaute aeladu.
get-money-SUB spend-money-VOL
In order to get money, you must spend money.

Z'yunte Kebropol h'em oteru lore.
go-SUB Kebropol I acquire-VOL horse
I want to get a horse in order to get to Kebropol.

Relative clauses

As noted under Pronouns, interrogative pronouns cannot be used as relative clauses (that is, to form subordinate clauses).

Where English would use 'what', 'who' 'where', or 'when', Kebreni uses the subordinating form of the verb:

[Z'aiz'iute kulseu] taradeu h'iulte es'u.
The dancer [who married a commander] doesn't like him.

[Cuka miute] gente eves'u.
I don't want to see the one [who has a pimple].

Yz'enu [hamaida nyne tarautte] ingarei.
I want to go to the tavern where the naked girls dance.

An English sentence with relative 'why' will be expressed using immi 'because' in Kebreni:

[Z'yunte Laadau immi] cyurte es'u.
I don't know [why he's going to Laadau].
(Lit., I don't know because he's going to Laadau.)

Example [To Index]

This selection, from a newspaper article by S'enum Polyr, shows the typical romantic, slightly defensive Kebreni patriotism. It is given in transliteration with an interlinear translation, then in a free English translation.

In the interlinear translation, for brevity, I've used the English possessive or gerundive to represent subordinating forms of nouns and verbs, respectively. However, I've used verbal forms to translate locative verbs; prepositions would misrepresent the structure of Kebreni.

Writing addressed to the world in general (stories, essays, textbooks, news articles) generally does not use the polite forms. When the writer has a specific audience in mind (speeches, petitions, personal letters, sermons), polite forms are used. They are not used in religious language or in legal documents--not signs of disrespect for gods or negotiation partners, but of the age of such language, predating the grammaticalization of politeness.

Zivan eh'c eban

Uneitsu Kebri. Nuutsi s'ava?
think-VOL Kebri. think-PERF what?

Hah'c ziunte sylgu, luda kuguynte men, boh'tunate geira thaupte yvyre.
valley being-in shadow, olive-tree filling hill, sea's sound lapping boats.

Nuitu ziunte kanu hazik pol, nabirateu eh'c konarei eh'c ingarei miutte,
mind being-in see proud city, shipbuilder and bank and tavern using,

geru kebrite ceirate lyyr zauguai, ansu s'aida kebren nynete h'ir mova,
hear kebri's song's sadness glory-and, feel beautiful kebreni girl's long hair,

debru falte hah'c ga falte noh'a ziunte tauste iz'ele, Kebri ziunte dynyr.
taste your valley or your island being-in making cheese, kebri being-in top.

Fal kebren immi nuitsu orat kurite.
you kebreni because think all that-NOM.

Verdureu nuitsu, kebri zikanu gente: ingu, ladute gezu, nabira eh'c zateuguai.
verdurian think, kebri mean this-NOM: wine, olive's oil, ship, and enmity.

Gymu h'ih'unte Ruh'tyrte rema hami, toryuvte Theh'nam hami, moreo as'caite melah' bryunte ledeu.
we burning arcaln's bridge land, trading dhekhnam land, moreo ashcai's king facing rival.

Oratte ceuste, nana miutte, tasu oradam ziunte dynyr ingu,
all-NOM opposing, methods using, make world being-in top wine,

Kelenor Luis'orai ceuste h'auv miuryai.
celenor luyshor-and opposing good-AUG rich-AUG-and.

Gensi eh'c gennisi. Kanu gymu oradam vekurte:
same-for-me and same-to-you. see us world seeming:

bucuelecsu cynaute kumbehsu meclau.
irreducible experience's miscellaneous mixture.

Ebaneu kanu bemas' miutte-- gente ceuste, gymu kaunte eus'te z'aite thaza kanu.
outsider see caricature with-- this-NOM opposing, we seeing not-SUB things they see.

Bobabeu nuituste es'u h'ymu kunnar.
drunkard thinking not-PRES drinks too-much.

Kanarei gemeh' doh'tte es'u, kureh' doh'tte es'u:
viewpoint first right-SUB not, second right-SUB not-PRES :

neh'atte z'aite miutte, nenkanyr kanarei zaurte es'u.
man's thing having, objective viewpoint existing not.

Inside and outside

Think of Kebri. What do you think of? You think of the shadows on the valleys, the hills carpeted by olive trees, the sound of the sea lapping against boats. You see in your mind the proud cities, with their shipbuilders and banks and taverns, hear the sadness and glory of Kebreni songs, feel the long hair of beautiful Kebreni girls, taste the particular cheese made in your own valley or island--the best on Kebri. You think all this because you are Kebreni.

To the Verdurians, Kebri means these things: wine, olive oil, ships-- and enmity. We are the land which burned the Arcaln Bridge, the land that trades with Dhekhnam, the rival before the king of Moreo Ashcai. And at the same time, somehow, we make the finest wine in the world, better and richer than that that of Célenor or Luyshor.

It is the same way with each one of us. We see ourselves as a world-- a jumbled mixture of irreducible experience. Outsiders see us in caricature-- but may also see what we do not see: the drunkard never thinks he drinks too much. Neither point of view is the correct one; with human things, there is no objective viewpoint.

Sound changes [To Top]

The following sound changes can be postulated between Methaiun and Kebreni.
C = any consonant
F = front vowel
CC --> C treggeur --> treh'yr
[+fric] --> [-fric] / _[+liquid] Davrio --> Dabru, khras --> krah'
e --> y / C,#_Cu keruna --> kyruna
i --> y / C,#_Cnu kijur --> kyz'ur
g --> x / _F geilas --> h'ilah'
g --> gh / _C mogdo --> moghdo --> mohdu
r --> i / g_ grem --> giem --> gem
s, z --> [+velar] / _[+stop], _# ghask --> hah'c, girilas --> h'irilah'
k --> c / _i vaiki --> vaac, kiodi --> cai
ai --> aa Laita --> Lädau
oi --> e Awoilas --> Avelah'
au --> e saumi --> sem
Fu --> y briu --> bry, neuli --> nyl
io --> a / _C kiodi --> cai
o --> u / _(Cn)# mog --> muk, arosd --> ruh't
w --> v Newor --> Nevur, Awoilas --> Avelah'
kh --> h' kham --> h'am
[+vcd+stop] --> 0 / V_F kiodi --> cai, Dobauron --> Doerun
i --> 0 / _V lesio --> lezu
[-vcd+obs] --> [+vcd] / V_V sifa --> siva, Gutein --> Gudin, Laita --> Lädau
e --> 0 / _ i, a geilas --> h'ilah', Leziunea --> Lezyna
i --> 0 / C_# raisi --> raas
r --> 0 / C_# godri --> godr --> god --> got
ch --> s' Chengo --> S'engu
j --> z' /_ jindor --> z'indur
gh -->h ghask --> hah'c, mogdo --> moghdo --> mohdu
k --> c / by x, s' ghask --> hah'k --> hah'c
n --> i / _[+dental] chanda --> s'aida
m --> n / by [+dental] admettan --> adnedan, khamsifa --> h'ansiva
h --> 0 / _x moggeur --> moghxyr --> mohxyr --> moxyr
n --> 0 / _s tanso --> tasu
[+stop] --> [-vcd] / _# vaiki --> vaaci --> vaac, mog --> muk
Curiously, the voicing of medial consonants (e.g. demettan --> demedu) seems to be an areal feature, shared with Ismaîn and the Avélan dialect of Verdurian.

Lexicon [To Top]

The first column gives the Kebreni word; the second is the Methaiun equivalent, if any.

Kebreni and its ancestor Methaiun have been in close contact with Cuêzi and the Cadhinorian languages for close to four milennia, and there has been extensive borrowing in both directions.

Methaiun borrowings into Cuêzi include geo:re 'castle', nîdo 'wheel', nêsei 'parley', auo:ni 'treaty', navera 'sail', ancua 'sea serpent', girin 'ibis', sêori 'octopus', crinu 'papyrus', execu 'lentil', ladu 'olive', mexera 'type of herb', cioti:ro 'type of flower', tala:uas 'orange', xariu 'luck', trîgo 'soot'.

Methaiun borrowings from Cuêzi include aviza 'university', numygur 'hermit', kriida 'paper', eri 'map', ris 'pen', gunah' 'hero', eklura 'sensual abandon, kelun 'bronze', mardah' 'iron', lidah' 'steel', fadora 'fountain', myga 'thousand', pery 'flaid', yra 'type of flower'

Methaiun borrowings into Cadhinor include Agireis 'the sea goddess', evrankhras 'realgar', khamsifa 'sulfur', laitondos 'brass', patheta 'calomine', baita 'barrel', cora 'riverboat', tindigeda 'anchor', theiba 'bow', pinda 'stern', siobostos 'brine', burasos'sponge', dauris 'seagull', akulua 'shark', raikh 'crab', moreia 'tuna', nothonis 'salmon', busmitrio 'pearl', citro 'lemon', bidno 'grapevine', vinos 'wine', palaznos 'gorse', setha 'silk', vidhora 'type of flower', mapola 'poppy', suber 'cork', peida 'type of vine', kariu 'happiness', and dozens of toponyms.

Methaiun borrowings from Cadhinor include adnedu 'add', demedu 'subtract', bina 'list', lerah' 'understanding', aken 'clear', h'iitiru 'sash', aladah' 'grammar', preh'tura 'history', kaadau 'magic', ygunit 'knights-and-kings', kraze 'rose', kridu 'write', ledu 'compete', lureh' 'beautiful', lyh' 'glass', cih'ta 'box'.

Kebreni borrowings into Verdurian include

Kebreni borrowings from Verdurian include

There are also many calques (loan-translations) from Cadhinor or Verdurian, such as babate namar for 'galena', from mira plomei 'mother of lead'; or zibis'u for 'entail', from imfayir, both formed from 'in' + 'be necessary'; or miebeu for 'disciple', 'one who leaves in support of (his beliefs)', based on profäsec; or mitecau for 'company', based on cumbutát 'those with a common goal'.

For borrowings into Ismaîn see the Ismaîn lexicon.
-bu -bo n water (in toponyms)
-du -do n town (in toponyms)
abaz'e apache n knife ['cutter']
adnedau n addition; profit
adnedu v add [Cadh. admettan]
Ah'imba Agibna n an ancient kingdom centered on the lower Serea; V. Azhimbea. [the name of the Methaiun sea goddess; with augm. -na; cf. Cadh. calque Agireis]
ah'nu asnun donkey, ass
aisel n key [Verd. ansel]
aken akni a clear, evident [Cadh. iacnis]
akluva akluwa n shark
aladah' n grammar [Cadh. aluatas]
aladu v spend money
alamatu v scrounge up cash, get a little money
alathalathin a silver coin [Cadh. alathis]
amma amua n hand; num five
anah' anas n duck
angen a eastern
angu angu n east
ankuva ankuva n sea snake, eel
ansu ams- v touch or feel (with the hands) ['hand' + -s-]
as'eve pron why, what for [volitional form of s'ava 'what': thus 'wanting what?']
athana athana n army [collective of 'weapon']
athane athane n weapon ['harmer']
Avelah' Awoilas n An ancient kingdom opposite Kebri; also its capital, the modern Avéla ['treaty field']
aviza avisa(r) n university, academy [Cuêzi avissa:r]
avon awoni n agreement, treaty
avunu awun- v agree
az'cita n monastery [Ver. azhcita]
baada baita n barrel
babababa n mother
badabata adv then, at that time
badi n meal
badu bat- v eat (polite = seh'epu)
badlecsu a edible
bakte a fucking
baku v fuck
bal bal n fox
batronau n relaxation
batronu batron- v relax [ant. of bronu 'tire']
beh n essence; (alchemy) spirit [Old Verd. beh']
bemas' n caricature, cartoon [Verd. bemásh]
bez'arei n vineyards, wine maker
bez' bej n grape
bez'e beje n bunch of grapes
biha beikha a some, few, any
bihate pron something, someone, anything, anyone
bigynte beihakumi pron how many, how much
biisu bins- v list, register, record
bis'u bich- v (with sub. verb) must, have to; (alone) be necessary
bina bina n list, register, record [Cadh. bineia]
biz'nu bijnon grapevine ['grape' + nom.]
bobabeu n drunkard
bobabu v wobble, stagger [synaesthetic]
bodu bodo n frog
boguida bokunda a tomb [from bokud- 'bury']
bogudu bokud- v bury
bohru bogr- v stink
boh'tu bosto n water
boh'tum bostumi n iliu ['sea-inhabitant']
boh'tuna n sea ['great water']
bomiz'irubostomichiron pearl ['water silver', or perhaps 'iliu silver']
bongryr a stinking, stinky
bonnezi n story ['thing-say']
bontur a wet
bonu bono n thing, object
botheneu n soldier
bothengu bothengo n battle
bothynu bothen- n fight
broga broca n table
broida bronda n storm [imitative]
bronu bron<- v tire, fatigue; be tired
brun bruni n shepherd ['watcher']
bry briu n eye
brynu brinu v look at, watch; face; loc v facing, in front of, before, about
brynizu v describe, talk about [bryunte 'about' + nizu 'speak']
bryniunte [nezi] adjective
brysu v (slang) eye, keep an eye on
bucuelecsu a irreducible, unalloyed, essential [cf. cuelu]
bucy bukiu a nasty, horrible ['vomitous']
budoh't dokhti a wrong, incorrect
bugauryr a impure, no longer virginal
buk buk n vomit
cadeu n mountain man, hillbilly
cadu kiodo n mountain range
cai kiodi n mountain
caiz'iru kiodichiro n a type of flower ['mountain-white']
ceh'nu kiesn- v defend [formation from kies- 'oppose']
ceira n song
ceirau n music
celu n tea [from Belesaowa chae lu 'tea beverage', chae from Uytain tsai]
ceru kiaur- v sing
cezu kies- v oppose; loc v be against, despite
kurite ceuste despite that; however, but
cih'cukisk- v praise
cih'takista n small box [Cadh. cista 'box, trunk']
cin pron I, me (humble) [weakening of h'em?]
ciru kir- v stand
cirnu n platform, deck ['thing for standing on']
citru kitro n lemon
ciz'e kiche pron how
cuelu v (chem.) calcine; reduce to its elements [Verd. chuelan]
cuka n dot (esp. on clothing); pimple [Verd. chuca 'spot']
cynau n experience, perception
cynu kin- v feel, perceive, experience [from kanu 'see']
cyru kiur- v know (person, thing, or fact)
Dabru Davrio n the ancient name for Kebri [from Davr]
daga daga n north
dah'en a northern
dam dama num three
das'i n fall, drop
demedau n subtraction; loss
demedu v subtract [Cadh. demettan]
debru devr- v taste
der dauri n seagull
dih' deis n snow
dih'das'i n snowfall
dirau n work
diru deir- v work
Doerun Dobauron n founder of Methaiu, the first kingdom of the Plain. [meaning unknown, and suspiciously Cadhinor in form.]
doh't dosti a right, correct
dos'u doch- v fall, drop
duh'tu dust- v fear
dygum dikumi num hundred (in Methaiun, 324 = 18 * 18)
dynu diun- loc v be up, on top of, over
dynyr a upper; the best or finest
dyrih'a n asset, advantage ['what is credited']
dyrh'i n credit ['up-count']
dyrh'u v count as a credit, add to the credit ledger
dyvan diuwan n top, upper part
eban epwan n outside, outer part
ebaneu n outsider, foreigner
Ebdicai n a city on Kernoia ['off Snow Mountain']
ebdirau n holiday
ebdiru v leave off working, take a holiday ['off work']
ebra evra a red
ebrankrah' evrankhras n cinnabar ['red mineral', which is the meaning in Meth.]
ebu ep- v leave, avoid; loc v be out (of), off, (away) from
eda eta n leaf
edar a leafy
eh'c esk conj and
eklura ekhlura n perversion, sensual abandon, hedonism [Cuêzi exlûra 'sin'-- a preoccupation of Cuzeians outside their country]
eklurei n place of sensual pleasures (wine, food, plays, music, nude dancing, gambling, etc.)
Ektezivun Ektesifon n Ctésifon, Zhésifo [Cadh.]
eri aurisonda n map [Cuêzi]
erizondau n cartography
Erivilah' n Ervëa, Cadhinorian emperor [Cadh Aerivileas]
Ernaituh' Erenantos n Érenat [Cadh.]
Ernaituh'en a of Érenat
es'u wech- v to not be (negative auxiliary verb; polite form is natu)
etreh'e etrege n ink ['blackening tool']
fadora fatora n fountain [Cuêzi fato:urrâ]
fah't fasti a dry
fal fal pron you
falau pron you (deferential) [fal + nominalizer]
fanu fanu v die
faus'u v cram (for a test) [Ver. fálshuec]
fes'u n soirée, fancy party [Ver. fësho 'ball']
firu feiro n bathfiru tasu take a bath
foru foru v follow; loc v be behind or in back of
fudu fut- v boil
fuga fukai a deep
Fugaaz'i Fukai khaichei n Fugäzhi lake in Kebri ['deep lake']
fuzu fus- v lack, miss; loc v be without
fyn funi a no, none
fynte pron nothing, no one
fyru feuro n baths; spa, resort; also a city in Kebri [augmentive of feiro]
ga grau conj or
gamu gam- v bite
gar gari a clean
gauryr a pure; virginal; n virgin [intensive of 'clean' + adjectivizer]
gegeu n servant
gegu graug- v serve
Egenirigi! At your service!
geira n sound ['(something) heard']
gem grem num one; pron this (needs following noun)
gembadi n breakfast ['first meal']
gemeh' gremekh a first
gemes'a n lien; primacy among heirs or interested parties
gente pron this one
gensu gremsu v be united; be one; be the same, not differ
geru gaur- v hear, listen
geth gauth n dawn
Gethmene Gauthmene n the Ctelm mountains ['hills of dawn']
gezu gauso n oil
gonarei n habitation, settlement, colony
gonu gonu v cultivate; settle, inhabit
gorkreha n weighing; balance sheet ['heavy-test']
gorkrege n ledger, accounts book [plural of gorkreha]
got godri a thick, dense [alteration of gori]
Gudin Gutein n the greatest of the kings of ancient Davr (c. -600)
guh gogh n fire
gunah' ekunas n hero [Cuêzi ecu:nas]
gur gori a heavy
gymu gemu pron we, us
gyru ger- v raise, rise
habut ghabuti n bear ['honey-eater']
hada ghata n skin
hadar ghatari a unlucky
hadargu ghatarigo n bad luck
hah'c ghask n valley
haiknu num one fourth, a quarter
hak ghakakh num four ['almost (a hand)']
hakraida ghakakh oranda num seventeen ['almost the whole (man)']
hakte adv almost, nearly
hakur ghakakh kuri num nine ['almost two (hands)']
hamadu v strip (clothes, bark, husks, peels); to be bare
hamaida a stripped, peeled; naked
hamauda a barren [intensive of hamaida]
hami ghami n land
har ghari a lucky
hargu gharigo n luck
hat ghati n honey
Hazigami Ghasikami n Azgami ['land of the proud']
hazik ghasik a proud
hez' ghauchi conj X hez' Y = if X, then Y
hus ghusi n doctor ['healer']
hyzu ghis- v heal, cure
h'aaz'i khaichei n lake
h'am kham n hot springs, baths
h'amavau n blessing
h'amavu v bless ['make good']
h'ansiva khamsifa n sulfur ['spring-sand']
h'av khawi a good
h'avigu khawigo n goodness, virtue
H'azum Khaskumi n Kebreni name ['valley-man']
h'eda geda n stone
h'em gem pron I, me
h'erne gerne n staircase
h'ernu gerno n stair
h'esuda a stony
h'ih'nu gisn- v burn
h'iitiru gintiro n sash (esp. as emblem of legitimacy) [Cadh. guintro]
h'ilu kheilu v like, be fond of (the archaic meaning is 'desire')
h'ir giri a long, longstanding
H'irem Mikhirem a the planet Khírumor [Elkarîl Ñokhrem, with the initial syllable reinterpreted as the honorific]
h'irin girein n ibis ['longish']
H'iraaz'i Giri khaichei n Hiräzhi lake in Kebri ['long lake']
h'ires'a n street
h'ithane girathane n sword ['long weapon']
h'oizu khonj- v lose, be lost
h'ulo n idiot
h'unlor n idiotic
h'ygu ekheku n lentil
h'ymu khem- v drink
h'ymvur a generous ['giving']
h'yr geur n castle
h'yvu khuw- v give
ibih'ten bed ['sleeper']
immi inwei conj because; the reason why
impuz'eu n printer, publisher
impuz'u v print [Verdurian impuyan]
ingarei n tavern
ingareu n tavernkeeper
ingu ingo n wine
iz'ele ichaule n cheese [related to chiul 'milk' either by an obscure derivational process, or by borrowing from another dialect]
iz'icse n cushion (used in place of chairs in traditional Kebreni culture) [nominalization of sit]
kaadau n magic [Cadh. aletes caedel 'high discipline']
kaam kaimi n spirit, godling [dim. of kaumi 'god']
kaaru kair- v return, come back
kadrigu kadrigo n happiness
Kum kadrigu A general salutation
kahaba n coffee [Moreo Ashcai kahawa]
kahabarei n coffeehouse, café
kal kal n bee
kaldu kaledo n hive ['bee town']
Kalum Kalumi n Kebreni name ['bee-lander']
kam kam n oak
kamnu kamno n acorn
kanarei n viewpoint; watchtower ['see-place']
kanau kanadio n vision, observation
kangu kango n vista, view; a reading (of a book)
kanu kan- v see, watch, read
kas kazi n wind, breeze
kasum a oaken; also a Kebreni personal name
kasus a windy
kat kadri a happy
Kathinah' Kathinas n Cadhinas; the Cadhinorian empire [Cadh.]
kathynum kathinumi n Cadhinorian (person)
kathynyr a Cadhinorian
kau koadun riverboat ['fast thing']
ke koin fast
kebren a Kebreni
kebren nizgu the Kebreni language
kebrente nizu to speak Kebreni
Kebri Kevrei n Kebri
Kebropol n the capital of Kebri ['Kebri metropolis']
keda keta n house
kedate a domestic
kelunkelon n bronze [Cuêzi celôn]
kem kaumi n god
kemu kaumu n the gods; the Divine, God
kemute a divine
KemucaiKaumu kiodi n the highest mountain on Kebri ['gods mountain']
kente a holy, sacred
Kernoh'a Kernogha n the island of Kernoia west of Kebri, and its main city. (The Verdurian name derives from Cadh. Kernokha, from the Methaiun.) ['green island']
kethnai n factory [Ver. kedhnáe]
kodu koto n snail; Koto island
kima n madness ['godded', i.e. possession by a god]
kimate a crazy, mad; (slang) cool
kolsi n command
Komuh Komugh n lake Como in Svetla [prob. 'god-place' in a southern Monkhayic language; cf. kem]
kona n money [Old Verd. konna]
konarei n bank ['money place']
krah' khras n mineral
kram kuramua num ten ['two hands']
kramah' n mine [back-formation from kramah'u]
kramah'eu n miner
kramah'u v mine, seek minerals ['acquire minerals']
kraze krase n rose [Cadh.]
kreha khregha n test
krih'u kreikh- v kill
kriida krinda n paper, document [Cuêzi crindas, from crinu 'papyrus, from Meth.]
kriidi n book [plural of 'paper']
kridnu n desk ['writing object']
kridu kriv- v write [Cadh crivan; but Keb. altered to match kriidi]
krynu krinu n papyrus plant
kugumy kukum- v fill, throng(out); loc v throughout, everywhere within [reduplication of 'many']
kuirnu num one half
kuirnu suithum a coin worth 1/2 suithum
kuirnu (alath) a coin worth 12 alath
kuh' kokh pron you (pejorative)
kulisa n fleet ['what is commanded']
kulseu n commander of a fleet
kulsy v command; order
kum kumi a many, much
kumaru v split ['make two']
kumbehsu a miscellaneous, compound ['made of many essences']
kun kun a hawk, falcon (Ver. sokol)
kunnar adv too much ['much' + augmentative + -yr]
kunte pron many things or people
kur kuri num two
kuraida kurioranda num thirty-six ['two eighteens']
kuraiyr n logic; essay, treatment [Ver. curayora]
kursu kursu v differ, not be the same
kuri kuridi pron that (must be followed by a noun)
kurite pron that one
kusi kusi a merry, joyful
Kuveza Kuwezea n Cuzei [Cuêzi Cuêzaye]
kuvezum kuwezigo n Cuzeian [Cuêzi Cuêzigo]
kuvezyr a Cuzeian
kyr keru a green
Laadau Laita n city in Kebri
Laadum Laitumi n person from Laadau
Laaven Laiwen n a town in Kebri (a city in ancient times)
ladu ladu n olive
lahau n arrival, coming
lahgu n income [concrete nominalization of 'come']
lahu lagh- v come
lah' las n field
lazum lasghumi n farmer
lecu leki- v can, is able to, knows how to
ledeu n rival, competitor
ledu laut- v compete with [Cadh. lautan]
leidi n lens; glasses
leita lenta n wood
leisuta a woody, wooden
lele laule a cute (Meth. 'pretty')
Lelec Lauleki n Kebreni woman's name ['pretty' + fem.]
lerah' lerias n understanding, perception [Cadh. lerias]
lerah'u v understand, perceive
Lezec Lesieki n Kebreni woman's name ['forest' + fem.]
lezu lesio n forest
Lezyna Lesiunea n an ancient kingdom in the littoral ['big forest']
lic n lawsuit, trial [Ver. lichy]
lidah' lidas n steel [Cuêzi ulidas]
lim limi a high
linna limina n lord, lady ['high' + augmentative]
linnar a noble, lordly
lodarei n stable
lore lorade n horse
lorez'ir lorajeiri n a mythological horse with wings and eagle's head; later extended to other monsters ['horse-eagle']
lorez'irte a monstrous
loro n team of horses
loz'u loj- v walk
luda luda n olive tree
luva luwa n deer
lureh' a fair, attractive (of things) [Cadh. lures 'beautiful']
luvih' n fawn
lyh' n glass, window [Cadh. leus]
lyr liur a sad, nsadness
maboda mapota n poppy
mabu mabo n dog
mah'ec mageki n prostitute
mah'i n sale
mah'u mag- v sell
mamu mam- v suckle, give suck [interpretation of baby talk]
marau n probability
mardah' mavardas n iron [Cuêzi mavordas]
Mardah'yr n Kebreni king of 20th century; chased out Cadhinorians ['ironish']
maru mar- v be probable, be likely
maz'eu n trustee, steward; (grammar) pronoun
maz'gu n trust, responsibility
maz'u mach- v trust, count on
meclau n mixture
meclu v mix [Verd. meclir]
Megemeh' Megemekh n the first man; the mythical founder of the Methaiun people [hon. + 'first']
mehru megr- v lean, totter
mehurte [nezi] relativizer (Cadh. grammatical term for numbers, conjunctions, locatives)
meika n school (of artists), genre [Ver. menca]
melah'au melahadio n royalty, kingship
melah' melakh n king (or queen)
melah'te a royal
memu meim- v nourish, grow [dim. of mamu 'suckle']
melim meilim a nourishing; fertile; also Kebri's principal river [from meim-]
men men n hill
mengu v whine
mennyr n hilly
mera meghra n merha, a slightly bitter herb
Methaahu Methaigho n Methaiu, the first kingdom of the Plain. Cadh. Methaiu (V. Metau) probably comes from a southern language which had lost the gh. [Of unknown meaning, except that the me- is an honorific.]
Metheru Methauro n Lake Bérunor [honorific + 'gold']
Mez'ena Mechena n a personal name (and an ancient king) [hon. + 'honor']
miebeu n disciple ['leaves in support'; calque on Ver. profäsec]
midam midama amua num eight ['hand with three']
midakram midama kuramua num thirteen ['two hands with three']
migem migrem amua num six ['hand with one']
migram mikuri kuramua num twelve ['two hands with two']
migur mikuri amua num seven ['hand with two']
mimaru v make rich, become rich [miry + -ma-]
mimu mim- v make a deal, find a way out or around an obstacle
Minyne Miniune n the first woman, the wife of Megemeh' [hon. + 'maiden']
mipoc mipoc kuramua num fourteen ['two hands with a foot']
mipokemai num fifteen ['fourteen and one']
mipokurai num sixteen ['fourteen and two']
mirigu mirigo n riches, wealth
miry miriu a rich, prosperous
mitecau n company, corporation [calque on Ver. cumbutát]
mitu meit- v use; loc v with, using, having
miz'iru michiro n silver [hon. + 'white']
miz'iruna n platinum ['silver' + augm.]
miz'ynu meijen- v bring, take (with) ['go with']
moh'ca moska n clam
moitu mont- v find, be found
Monkhado n the Monkhayic people. A southern dialect form Monkharo was borrowed into Cadhinor as Mokhnaru (V. muhnar), and itself became modern Monkhayu.
mora morea n tuna
mova mowa n hair
mugeu n young man
muh'u mug- v buy [rel. to mah'u 'sell']
muhnu mogno n news, tidings ['new thing']
muk mog a new, young
Munh'as' Munkhach n Munkhâsh [Munkhâshi]
mur mor n hour
myga mekua num thousand [Cuêzi me:cua]
mygu meuko n ox
myra meura adv here
mycsu v lug, haul
myvun meuwuni n leader, governor [from 'lead', with honorific]
nabira n ship ['what is sailed']
nabirateu n shipbuilder ['ship-maker']
nabreu n ship captain
nabra navra n sail
nabru v sail
nahra nagra n shrine, holy place
nan nani n path, way
nana n route, method(s), procedure [collective of nan 'path']
nana miutte somehow or another
nadani natani n obstacle [antonym of 'path']
namar namari n lead (metal)
babate namar galena ['mother of lead'; calque from Ver.]
natu v negative auxiliary (polite)
nega nauka n ancient times
negi nauki n pioneer, ancient (person)
neisi nensei n council, delegation; ancient meaning 'parley' [from nis-]
neh'at nekhad n man, person
neh'ada nekhada n people [cf. Monkhayu, which adds the honorific, and suggests that the -e- here is epenthetic]
neh'adate n popular, people's
neku neko n cat
nem naum a clear
nemanec n homosexual ['acquirer of boys']
nen nauni n young man [cf. nyne, related by vowel alternation]
nengar a ancient [from neka]
nenkanyr a objective ['clear-seeing']
nenyne a lesbian ['boy-maiden']
nieron a holy, sainted (in Eledhe contexts). Often spelled nëron, Verdurian style. Before women's names, nierona or nërona. [Verd. nëron]
neva newa n middle, center
nevu new- loc v be in the middle of, be among [from neva]
Nevur Newor n an ancient country which once occupied the Mishicama littoral; Cadh/V Neuor. ['middlish']
nevurum Neworghumi n an inhabitant of Neuor
nezi n word; phrase, expression, saying [nom. of nizgu 'speech']
e-nezi, i-nezi, a-nezi, ri-nezi, ni-nezi, te-nezi the volitional, benefactive, antibenefactive, polite forms, listener forms, subordinators, in general
nitnu nidnon wheel ['roll-thing']
nizarei n forum
nizgu nisgo n speech, language
nizu nis- v say, speak
Forms of this verb are also used to name verb forms; e.g. nuzi 'perfective', nyriza 'polite antibenefactive'
nuzu the perfective in general
Nirize! Thank you (for your words)!
noh'a nogha n island
nori n cleaning, washing
nothon nothoni n salmon
nuitu nunto n mind, brain
nuitsu nunts- v think
nuitukanu nuntokan- v imagine ['mind-see']
numygur numikuri n hermit; schismatic, usually isolated religious fanatic [Cuêzi numi:curas 'prophet'; this was Meth. meaning too]
nuru nur- v wash, clean
nydu nid-n roll
nyneniune n maiden, girl, young woman; daughter [cf. nen]
nynih' n young girl; (young) daughter
nyvu nuw-n throw, toss; (slang) fire
nyyl neuli a slow
onaa onai n sister
oradam orandami n world; Almea ['all-land']
orat orand a entire, whole, all, every
oratte a everything, everyone
otedit n pocket watch [Ver. ontedidha]
ozur osuri n sun
pabadu papat- v laugh
pabandyr a funny
pacsu n kick
pah'ar pakhar adv tomorrow
palaz'nu palajno n thorn-bush
Palec Paleki n Kebreni woman's name
parsu v kiss
pansyr a dear, lovable
pansyru v love
paru pioro n lip
patheda patheta n calamine, zinc carbonate, used in making brass
paz'u pach- v cut
pemapauma conj when, while, during
pery pauriu n flaid [Cuêzi]
pida peida n a vine whose flowers yield a bitter oil used to flavor beer
pih'tu peist- v sleep
piit pindi n tail
pinah' poc pinakh num eleven ['down to the feet']
poc poki n foot
pocsu v kick
pol poli n city, metropolis
ponu pon- loc v be below, under, or on the bottom of
ponyr a lower; the worst or shoddiest
porye n liability, disadvantage
porh'i n debit ['down-count']
povan powan n bottom, lower part
preh'tura prestura n history [Cadh. plestura]
pris preisi a healthy, good for you
pruso n inn, guest-house; resort [Verd. 'inn']
raas raisi n pine tree
raah' raikh n crab
Raazam Raisami n Raizumi, capital of Ismahi ['pine land']
rah'ta riosta n a type of flower (with small, blue petals)
raida oranda nekhad num eighteen ['entire man']
raigemai num nineteen ['eighteen and one']
raline n play, drama [Ver. ralinë]
razum n mind [Ver.]
rih'i n a counting or reckoning
rih'gu n cost, price
ripriroda n philosophy, science
riz'a rija n eel
re ribe n day
rema rema n bridge
ric reiki a cold
rih'u rikh- n count, reckon
riuh'te [nezi] number, numeral
ris risi n pen [Cuêzi]
ruh't arosd n river delta [cf. Arosd, ancient name of Eärdur delta]
Ruh'tyr n Arcaln, Verduria's fortress ['Arosd castle']
sa sio n salt
saabau n justice, jurisdiction
saabeu n judge
saabi n judgment, sentence; punishment
saabu saib- v judge; (archaic) decide
sabarei n court; also, name of a town in Kebri ['judgment place']
saboh'tu siobosto n brine; (figuratively) the sea ['salt water']
seh'epu v eat (polite)
seheu n apprentice sailor ['(rope) climber']
sehu segh- v climb
seth sithi n jewel
setha setha n silk
sisuva a sandy
siva sifa n sand
sivana sifana n desert
skalea n gas [Ver. scaleia]
sobu sop- v extend, stretch, reach
soru sor- v do, make, become (polite)
Sire! Thank you (for your actions)!
sovun sowon n night
sudy suti- v name, be named
suh sogh n priest, monk
suir suber n cork (tree or substance)
suitha n provisions
suithum n a gold coin ['provider', a king's name]
supnu n point (of land), cape [nominalization of sobu]
sutharei n grocery store
sutharei tasu go shopping
sutheu n storekeeper
suthy suth- v provide, furnish
sutnu sutno n name; noun [nominalization of sudy]
syh'ku siusk- v twist, turn
syh'kur a twisty, crooked
sygu seugo n strength
syh seugh a strong
syl siul a dark
sylgu sylgo n shadow
symalu v darken; bore
symanlur a boring
syna seuna n waterfall
s'adamu chatiam- v retreat; loc v be far (from) ['approach' + ant. infix]
S'ahama Michiaghama n the Mishicama ocean ['around the lands']
s'aida chanda a beautiful
s'amu chiam- v approach; loc v be around, surrounding; be near
s'ansi n swim
s'anu loc v to be where (anaphor)
s'ar chior a brown
s'ava chawa pron who, what
s'e chau a small
s'eks'e n cocoa [Ver. shekshek]
s'en cheni a honorable, noble, praiseworthy
s'enen n boy ['small young-man']
s'emamu v fish
s'emu chaumo n fish
s'ensu v swim
s'engu chengo n honor ['honor']
s'ere chawa ribe pron when, at what time
s'ete pron which, of what quality [s'ava + -te]
s'eveh'ka n stockings, leggings [Ver. shevesca]
s'in chini n woman
s'iru chiro a white
s'ogu choko n ridge
s'iste n guitar [Ismaîn çiste]
S'ogum Chokumi n Kebreni name ['ridgelander']
s'yl chiul n milk
s'ylnu ciulno n breast ['milk' + -nu nominalizer]
tada tata n father
tale talaw n orange
Tama (Me)tama n the Serea river. In Kebreni also called the Sera. [from tamu 'open': i.e. the wide(-open) river]
tamu tam- v open
taradi n dance
taradu tarat- v dance
tasu tans- v do, make, become (polite = soru)
tazgu n act, action
tazugte [nezi] verb
tec teki n target, goal
temnu temno n door; port, harbor ['opening']
tere taure n south
teren a southern
tiidu tind- v stop, stay
tiih'eda tindigeda n anchor ['stay-stone']
tiga tika n spike, thorn
tiges'a n cactus
tiva teiva n west
tiven a western
tomo tomon adv there
toru tor- v take (into one's possession), acquire
toryvau n trade, commerce
toryvu torkhuw- v trade ['get-give']
treh' tregi a black
tres'u trech- v break
tres'lecsu a breakable, fragile
trihnu trigno n soot ['black object']
tuh'u tukho n fate, destiny
tur turi n brother
turgul n battalion
tuta n newspaper [Ver. tutanél]
ty tiu a round
tyau n tube, pipe ['round thing']
tynu tinu n berry
thah' thas pron he, she, him, her, it
thanih'te a annoying
thanih'u v annoy, bother ['harm' + dim.]
thanu than- v hurt, harm
thap n lap, plop [imitative]
thaza thasa pron they, them
theleth theleth num (rare) 5832 (= 183)
theru thauro n gold
thesuru a golden, made of gold
thiba theiba n head; bow (of ship)
thiron theiron n market
thyr theuri n octopus
uvere -n fashionable outfit; fashion [Ver. uverë 'clothes']
uveira -a fashionable, dressy [from uvere]
vaac vaiki a blue; n the name of the Vesi river (Cadh. Vaecis)
Vaacaz'i Vaiki khaichei n Väcazhi, a lake in Kebri ['blue lake']
vaar waari n edge, coast [dim. of 'end']
vaaren a coastal
vanu wan- v lead, rule, govern
vari n end
varu war- v end, finish
varyr a last, final, ending
vekru vekhr- v seem, appear to be; loc v as, like
vep web pron he, she, it (deferential)
Verdura Verduria n Verduria [Cadh.]
verduren a Verdurian
verduren nizgu the Verdurian language
verdureu n Verdurian
veru waur- v fly [extended form of wur- 'flow']
vethe wethe n beard
vez'a waucha n bottle
vithoda vithota n type of flower
voimatu v deceive, fool ['make blind']
voit vondi a blind
voiteu n blind person
vuh' pron he, she, it, they (pejorative)
vuh't vosd a flat; n plain
vucemu n flounder ['flat fish']
vunau n civilization [from vunu, on the model of Verd. rhusulát]
vunaute a civilized
vunu wunu n government, leadership [collective of 'leader']
vur wuri n river ['flower']
vuru wur- v flow
vybu webu pron they (deferential)
vyreu n sailor ['boat man']
vyru wir- v float [from wur- 'flow']
ygunit ekunit n game of knights-and-kings [Cadh., from Cuêzi]
yra iura n type of flower [Cuêzi yoreta]
yvyre n boat ['floater']
zadinu zatein- v contain, include, comprise; loc v containing, including [zein- + antonymous infix]
zaru zioru v exist; (with effect inflections) is owned
zateugu n enmity, disloyalty, rebelliousness
zatev zatewi a disloyal, rebellious [zev + antonymous infix]
zateveu n enemy; rebel
zaugu n glory
zauv a glorious [augmentative of 'shiny']
zav zavi a shiny, bright
zavu v shine, be bright
zeugu n loyalty
zev zewi a loyal
zevau n friendship
zevenur a friendly
zeveu n friend
zibis'u n entail ['in' + 'be necessary'; calque on Ver. imfayir]
zikanu v mean, imply ['say inside']
zinu zein- loc v be in, inside, at, on (general locative)
zivan zeiwan n inside, inner part
z'ada jata adv now
z'adana adv already, yet [augmentive of 'now']
z'aite jante n thing; subject
z'aiz'ega jianjeka n marriage
z'aiz'igu jianjik- v marry
z'aiz'iglecsu a marriageable, nubile
z'an jian n family
z'e je adv too, also
z'ega jeka n knot; tie, link
z'ehu jegh- v ride
z'em jaumi a old
z'emeu n old man
z'eni n departure
z'igu jik- v link, knot, combine
z'ihnu n wagon, carriage [from 'ride']
z'iman jiman n ground, soil; floor
z'ir jeiri n eagle
z'um pron we, us (humble) [weakening of gymu]
z'us'ni n lace [Ver. zhusni]
z'ycsu jiks- v sit
z'ynau n departure, going
z'yngu n expenses, expenditures [concrete nominalization of 'go']
z'ynu jen- v go

© 1998 by Mark Rosenfelder
Virtual Verduria