Virtual Verduria

Sarroc Sarroc

Introduction - People - History - Linguistics - Dialects
Phonology - Consonants - Vowels - Vowel change - Stress - Orthography
Morphology - Nouns - Adjectives - Pronouns - Verbs - Numbers - Derivational
Syntax - Sentence order - Articles - Respect - Irrealis - Negation - Auxiliaries - Aspect - Reflexives - Benefactive - Yes/no questions - NP order - Case usage - To be - Conjunctions - Prepositions - Interrogatives - Subordinate - Relatives - Conditionals - Passive - Comparatives - Time/place - Dynamic - Nominalizations
Semantic fields - Greetings - Names - Nicknames - Titles - Day - Calendar
Examples - Newspaper article - The haircut - Liturgy

© 2022 by Mark Rosenfelder


The people

Sarroc is the language of Sarnáe, the country east of Eretald across the Ctelm mountains, encompassing the Soandor (Shkónoro) valley. It’s the local derivative of Caďinor, thus a sister to Verdurian, Ismaîn, and Barakhinei.
Notes: The map is labeled in Sarroc. It shows the boundaries after the Second Dhekhnami War.

Sarroc Sarroc is the native term, also used in Verdurian. The native name of the country is Sarnawe Sarnawe. Sarnáe is Verdurian; both derive from Caď. SARNAURE ‘Eastland’.

This grammatical sketch is written from the perspective of Z.E. 3650.

Caďinor terms are written in CAPITALS.



Sarnáe was originally peopled by Eynleyni (Enlieni) and Monkhayu (Mouȟayoi); Caďinorian settlement began after the conquest of the ktuvok empire of Munkhâsh in the 1600s under the emperor Ervëa (Aivrewa). The capital was a new city, Iďanieȟa (ILĎANEAS), named for Ervëa’s son. Ervëa encouraged Caďinorization in order to permanently reduce the power of the ktuvoks; Eynleyni culture, religion, and language were viewed as threats. Gelalhát was outlawed, and speaking Eynleyni languages was discouraged. These measures were, as policies go, very successful: Sarnáe remained largely independent for a millennium and a half, and to this day its day-to-day language is Sarroc.

Dark Years

In 2107 the empire was taken over by an oligarchic conspiracy, the Red Cabal (Claituira Ruizya), which proceeded to undermine Caďinorian institutions while maintaining its own power with totalitarian methods. The nomadic Coruo took over Aránicer in 2145, and there were rebellions in the Eärdur and Verduria in the 2190s; the Cabal dealt with these by recalling troops from the east, which meant control over the ktuvoks in the Elmunkhâshi Marshes (Etwegasdaȟ) was lost. Though Irun restored the empire in 2220, Visecra (Visiecla), just east of Sarnáe, drifted away by 2295.

Sarnáe, like Eretald, was hard hit by nomadic invasions: the Coruo and Sainor occupied the southern mountainous zone. When the Bešbalicu conquered Žésifo in 2435, imperial authority in Sarnáe collapsed, and the local nobles and burghers organized their own kingdom, Sarnawe. However, the coast organized the republic of Mitigaoma.

Sarnáe pushed back the Coruo, but it was entirely conquered, along with Mitigaoma, by the Gelyet (2536–2600). The word glieta ‘despoil’, from Gelyet, hints at the destruction wrought by these nomads.

The arts of civilization were hit hard by the Dark Years. The economy reverted to local subsistence farming and herding; trade dried up to a trickle; towns were abandoned, devastated by barbarians and civil wars. There was little learning; what little there was took place in Caďinor, mostly in the Caďinorian seminaries. Courts ceased to function; the only authorities were the barons (aefari). The king (daolo) was elective and could only rule the country in wartime— naturally this inclined him to keep wars going.

Dhekhnam (Ďieȟnam) was organized in 2537, consisting of Tyellakh (Tyelag) plus the western ktuvoks; they conquered Visecra in 2550. The new ktuvok empire became more formidable when it merged with Demóshimor (Demóťimor) in 2712.

By the 2800s Dhekhnami incursions were becoming more frequent, and there were calls to shore up the country’s defenses. At the same time, there was ill feeling in the south (Iosoandor, the upper Shkónoro), which resented the northern control of trade and its monopoly on the kingship— a southern king had not been elected since 2650. King Zoul promised that the next king would come from the south; but on his death another northerner, Caolonawe, was elected. Worse yet, his first act was to impose a feudal levy creating a standing army. The southern aefari rebelled, electing their own king, Giesfaondo.

Dhekhnami rule

In 2822 Dhekhnam— unasked— announced its support for Iosoandor, and invaded with 90,000 men and ktuvoks— dwarfing the armies involved in the civil war. They advanced slowly through Sarnáe, which was reduced to a sliver of the mountains by 2990.

However, when they finally conquered that sliver in 3044, Estdorot (Iesdouroť) of Verduria (Vreduirya) counter-invaded, at the age of 76, pushing the Dhekhnami back to the Dagêsh mountains. What he could not do was re-establish unity; he left the country divided in three: Mitigaoma, Sarnáe, and Iosoandor.

The Dhekhnami conquered the first two in 3160-72, and Iosoandor in 3280. Their policies were the mirror image of Ervëa’s, though implemented with greater brutality: they persecuted Caďinorian paganism and outlawed Eleďát, brought in many Eynleyni settlers, outlawed the Caďinorian alphabet, and attempted to conduct all official business only in Dhekhnami. However, these oppressive practices eased up in the 3400s.

Modern times

The First Dhekhnami War (3499–3512) was largely fought in Ismahi and northern Sarnáe. It resulted in the independence of the northern third of the country, as Mitigaoma, minus its largest city, Govanro (Gopaondo). Note that this country was far larger than historical Mitigaoma.

The new country was effectively a client state of Kebri, which maintained troops there to defend against Dhekhnam. Its government was modeled on that of Kebri, which was an oligarchy where nobles, town burghers, admirals, and the clergy were the key holders of power. The problem in imitating the Kebreni system was that Sarnáe had no elite— no nobles or urban notables.

On the other hand, the countryside was divided into ladieȟai (villages), each with a laťouryo (chief); the Kebreni simply treated these as the leaders and rulers, and only these could vote. In the cities, votes were tied to property ownership. The country had a legislature (neisina) and prime minister (mitano piero) on the Kebreni model.

Mitigaoma developed quickly, though it lagged far behind Kebri and Verduria, or even Svetla, in prosperity. A railroad linked the new capital, Sarvenceo (Sarvensieyo), to Eretald. Gelalhát was discouraged though not prohibited, and Eretaldan religions favored.

Due to quarrels with Verduria, Kebri removed its troops in 3578. There seemed to be no immediate reaction from Dhekhnam; indeed, its top human envoy to the west, Khuvna, was friendly with the Mitigaoman prime minister Gieso Veťuirad, and assured him that there was “no reason for war.” But then the Verdurian prime minister Freďal Lureš took over Kebri’s position in Mitigaoma— sending in far more troops than Kebri ever had.

The Second Dhekhnami War (3588–96) was devastating for Mitigaoma, whose territory was the site of most of the fighting, and carved up for miles on end into trenches, which the two sides traded back and forth in bloody attacks.

The war was ended when half the western ktuvoks defected— accepting Verdurian rule and helping to massacre the half that was loyal to Dhekhnam. Mitigaoma was now administered by Érenat, and northern Visecra by Kebri; the remaining territory was directly ruled by Verduria. The ktuvoks remained in control of their swamp— and ruled the adjoining humans in southern Visecra.

Sarnáe participated in the general prosperity of the postwar decades. Life improved for everyone, the cities grew dense, and modern technology proliferated. The region did not catch up with Eretald; but it was always possible to move there, or to the Eretaldan colonies in the rest of the world.

Linguistic situation

Old Sarroc

Even in imperial times Caďinorians complained that Caďinor was spoken badly in Sarnáe. The Eynleyni of course learned it as a second language, and that left an impact on the language. Settlers picked up the local speech. Nonetheless the eastern dialect remained intelligible with the speech of Eretald.

Very little was written during the Dark Years, and for this classical Caďinor was used. During the time of independent Sarnáe (2600–3000) the language of government, religion, and culture was Caďinor. The language of the people was Old Sarroc, which is directly attested only in a few folk songs and citations from the uneducated. However, when people spoke Caďinor out loud, they used Sarroc pronunciations— e.g. DALU ‘king’ was pronounced daolo, GRILU ‘wheat’ was gyiolo. Thus both people and elite considered that they were speaking Caďionor.

There were already three dialects, corresponding to the nations of Mitigaoma (the coast), Sarnáe, and Visecra.

Dhekhnami influence

Dhekhnam ruled parts of Sarnáe for 774 years, and the bulk of the country for about four centuries. The ktuvoks directly suppressed the Sarnáean elite— its nobles and clerics— and forbade any writing in the Caďinor alphabet. The new elite learned Dhekhnami, and almost all writing was in that language. If Sarroc was written at all, it was in the Dhekhnami alphabet.

Naturally, Sarroc is heavily influenced by Dhekhnami. Terms for government, religion, metallurgy, and even clothing are generally borrowed from Dhekhnami. Even the verbal system has been remodelled to mark rank, like Dhekhnami, rather than person and number. (This change actually began far earlier, when Munkhâshi-speaking Eynleyni were learning to speak Caďinor, and reinterpreted the plural as an honorific.)

Very often Sarroc and Dhekhnami have the same grammar, word for word, just different lexemes:

Souwa goural, dyon au cadieyo a tai voulon.
Souwa goutal, dyon au cadieyo a tai voulon.
Kshêç godat, nadhewaç at gnêmwo çir khuba khyith.
mention ktuvok give-past.sub one order to us want-sub
As for the ktuvok, he wanted to give us an order.
Not every sentence will work like this, but this is fairly typical.

Such syntactic merging, with separate lexicons, is fairly common in bilingual communities. As ever, I recommend Thomason & Kaufman’s Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics for the wide range of behaviors in language contact. The case of Kupwar in India is widely cited: Urdu, Marathi, and Kannada are all spoken there with identical syntax. The advantages for speakers should be obvious: there is less to remember.

In Sarnáe, this situation developed over millennia of close contact: first Caďinor and Munkhâshi, then Sarroc and Dhekhnami. Not everyone knew the imperial language— mostly this would be the tyem (ktuvok estate) leaders and the people in the major towns; but these were precisely the people whose language became the standard. And there was no alternative source of prestige. By the 3400s, even remote rural areas where Dhekhnami was unknown spoke Sarroc the same way. At the same time, there was trade with Kebri and Érenat, and trade goods were often given names borrowed from Kebreni or Verdurian.

Eretaldan influence

In modern times the language has been deeply influenced by Kebreni and Verdurian. Modern terms are taken from these languages, and much more than that, as it’s prestigious to use as many Eretaldan terms as possible. The verbal system has been reinterpreted once more, and there are some syntactic influences (e.g. the use of the reflexive as a quick passive).

The change in regimes has given Sarroc a number of doublets:

Dh/Mun Verd etc. gloss
Deneťno Ilyaoza the moon Iliažë
bwitwo vanao government
goutal ȟuvuoc ktuvok
Gelat Aondor Gelálh
tlubuvno kolberda railroad
omieȟa culseo commander
sudzos cuirya court
sudzosno amaremno lawyer
somaovno savakno spy
Tliegas Mitigaoma Mišicama ocean
lindieȟno aiglioťo priest
tsenat aiďnawe temple
tlepwo megua division of an hour
tiesir zenuira alphabet
giega bacoa fuck
sobuila pero flaid
As a corollary, if you’re looking up a word in the lexicon— especially one relating to government, religion, or technology— keep looking in case there are doublets.


Sarroc proper can be divided into two dialects: Lower Sarroc (Sarroc baosa) in the north, and Upper Sarroc (Sarroc aolet) in the south. This division is ancient; it existed long before its political realization in the rebellion of Iosoandor (3280).

The standard language is that of the capital, Iďanieȟa, the largest city outside Govanro. This is the variety described in this grammar.

Upper Sarroc was not conquered till 3280, so it retained more Caďinor vocabulary. This in turn was raided by lexicographers when Mitigaoma became independent (3512). (Thus, the actual vocabulary in lower Sarnáe under the occupation contained even more Dhekhnami, but reliable sources are scanty.)

The language of the coast, including Govanro, was once at least as divergent as Upper Sarroc, and is sometimes called Mitigaomad. The disruptions of two major wars, as well as the movement of populations, largely eliminated Mitigaomad. However, Govanro has a distinct way of speaking, and its size and economic importance allow it to resist and even influence the standard language. Naturally the speech of Govanro (Gopaondoȟ) has even more Kebreni and Verdurian influence. It is by no means a continuation of Mitigaomad.

Visecran has gone its own way since the 2200s, and is best considered as a separate language, though it does share some features with Sarroc as contrasted with the Eretaldan descendants of Caďinor.



The consonants of Sarroc are as follows:
labial dental alveolar palatal velar uvular
stops p t c k
b d g
fricatives f ť s ȟ
v ď z
nasals m n
liquids w l r y
During the occupation, s z were dental, as in Dhekhnami; their place of articulation is now alveolar, as in Verdurian.

A characteristic of Govanro dialect is to move the c/k distinction forward— palatal vs. velar, as in Kebreni, rather than velar vs. uvular. Uvular k was lost in many words, but restored from Upper Sarroc in modern times.

The sounds ts dz tl are sometimes considered phonemic. Note that ts dz are alveolar, like s z. (This was true even under the occupation.)

ȟ may be palato-alveolar [ç] after a front vowel, as in Ďieȟnam. In Govanro, all ȟ becomes [ç].

Dhekhami sh zh and Verdurian š ž are normally borrowed as s z or ts dz, but some speakers use the original pronunciation.


The vowels are i e a o u. These are pronounced like the IPA symbols, except that e is [ɛ]. Sarroc has many two-vowel combinations. In rural areas, these are still pronounced as separate vowels— daolo ‘king’ really is [da o lo]. In Iďanieȟa and Govanro, they have diphthongized: There’s an orthographic contrast between i and y (also u and w)— cf. tiena ‘has’ vs. tyena ‘meal’. The y variants are palatalized in Iďanieȟa, thus [tjɛna] vs. [tjɛna]. In Govanro, Kebreni scholars claim that y is a very short [y], thus [tɥɛna]. Others say that i and y have merged there.

Morphology can produce doubled vowels— e.g. niiobro ‘doesn’t read’. These are not pronounced long; this word is pronounced as if it were niobro. The same is true for consonants: Sarroc is [sa rok].

Vowel demotion and promotion

One of the most striking sound changes in Sarroc is the breaking of stressed vowels, thus:
Caď. Sarroc
A ao, au
E ie
I io
O oi, ou
U ui
E.g. CASOS > caoso, KEDA > kieda, KRITOS > cyoto, DOTIS > doiti, LURES > luira. Unstressed vowels are not affected (except sometimes by morphophonemic analogy).

(The au/ou variants are due to conditional sound changes.)

In morphology, the stress may change, and the original vowel may reappear; following Sarroc grammarians I will call this demotion. E.g. the present tense inferior form rioȟa ‘looks at’ becomes dynamic riȟievo, irrealis riȟiema. We also see this in derivational morphology: glioni ‘long’ > glinuira‘length’.

If the root has any other vowel combination (e.g. caisa, fuoco), or uses y/w (e.g. tyawir, bwoga), it is not regularly demoted.


The stress is almost always the same as in the Caďinor etymon. This is admittedly of little help if your Caďinor is rusty (but you’ll find it in the lexicon).

Most words are stressed on the penult: SARroc, sarNAwe, FYUwa, goPAONdo, IOlo, LIEsa, etc.

If the word is stressed on the antepenult, this syllable will usually contain a digraph. Thus GUOmina, aRAWnicro, SŤIEsifo, AOlasar, MIEwonda. This rule even applies to Munkhâshi/Dhekhnami borrowings. e.g. LIOCťani ‘barbarian’, TSAInapa ‘capital’. Not infrequently a syllable has been lost, so the penult rule works anyway: PROSIMA > PWOIsim, SCONORO > SOANdor.

A few words are stressed on the last syllable. The same digraph trick applies: tuRIEL, ESPUEL > esWIEL.

A very few words have unexpected stress. I’ve indicated this with an acute accent: ralinaré ‘theater’, Demóťimor. But the orthography does not mark stress: ralinare, Demo†imor.


The official orthography uses the Verdurian alphabet (zenuira), as follows:
labial dental alveolar palatal velar uvular
stops p p t t c c k k
b b d d g g
fricatives f f ť s s h ȟ
v v ď z z
nasals m m n n
liquids w w l l r r y y
front mid back
vowels i i u u
e e o o
a a
Verdurian and Dhekhnami borrowings are approximated to Sarroc phonology. However, Verdurian, Ismaîn, and Kebreni proper names (except for those that have traditional Sarroc equivalents, mostly countries and rivers) are cited in their original orthography— e.g. Žoscöra Čuneya and Ḣazum Kyźureu are referred to as ¸oscöra Çuneya and Úazum Ky#ureu.

During the occupation, writing in Sarroc was highly discouraged. All official communication was in Dhekhnami, and very rarely was permission granted to publish anything in Sarroc. But Sarroc could be quoted in a Dhekhnami text, and grammars of the language were published, with examples. These used the Demoshi alphabet (tiesir). The adaptation was straightforward, with these modifications:



As there is neither adjective nor pronoun agreement, Sarroc can be said to have lost gender, though the Caďinor genders are still seen in the patterning of nominal declensions. Because the ‘gender’ determines the endings, I’ve indicated masculine/neuter/feminine nouns (nm nn nf) in the lexicon.

Early on, sound change merged the dative and accusative; the resulting form was more often than not identical to the nominative, and the exceptions were soon lost. Later on the ablative took over the functions of the genitive, leaving just two cases in the modern language.

m ‘life’ ‘honor’ ‘summer’
s nom ielir loundo aisťa
s abl ielirȟ loundoȟ aisťaȟ
pl nom ieliri loindi aisťai
pl abl ieliriȟ loindiȟ aisťaiȟ
n ‘heat’ ‘darkness’ ‘night’ ‘hand’
s nom caolo swouro noisťi mauno
s abl caoloȟ swouroȟ noisťiȟ maunoȟ
pl nom caoloi swouroi noucťoi maunoi
pl abl caoloiȟ swouroiȟ noucťoiȟ maunoiȟ
f ‘wife’ ‘place’ ‘field’ ‘twin’
s nom siora nawe miesťi ziemin
s abl siorad nawed miesťid ziemind
pl nom siorai nawei miesťya ziemini
pl abl sioreid naweid miesťyad zieminid
The plural is formed by adding -i, with these exceptions:


Adjectives are invariable. Already in ancient times Eynleyni learning Caďinor had trouble with adjective agreement, and by the time we have examples of vernacular Old Sarroc, in the Dark Years, agreement is fitful to nonexistent.

(Verdurians often assume that the Dhekhnami occupation is to blame— but the same lack of agreement is found in Ismaîn.)

Adjectives can be used as noun phrases, but then they are inflected like nouns. Use the m or f declensions, whichever fits the form of the word. Thus au miri ‘a rich one’, au mirya ‘rich ones’, au lieret ‘a devious one’, au liereti ‘devious ones’, piero ‘the first one’, pieri ‘the first ones’, etc.

Adverbs are formed with the particle mieli, thus mieli ruiȟi ‘quickly’, mieli taile ‘bravely’. These can be combined: mieli ruiȟi ir taile ‘quickly and bravely’.


The accusative survives in the personal pronouns.
I you s. he she s refl
s nom sio liet tout touta
s acc ieť iek zieť
s abl ied lieť toutoť toutad ziewoȟ
poss ieri lieri tuiri tuiri zieri
we you pl. they pl refl
pl nom tai muiȟ cai
pl acc taim muim caim zaowa
pl abl tad muioȟ caiť zaowaȟ
poss taonda muinda cairi
Caď. TU ‘he/she’ has been replaced by gender-specific forms from the Caď. deictics. Gender is always semantic, not lexical: use touta for a single female referent. Inanimates use tout. Indefinite references (like we do, you know?) generally use muiȟ ‘you’.

Possession is always expressed using the possessive adjectives, not the ablative: doumo lieri ‘your house’. As the dative has disappeared, the ‘polite possessive’ of Caďinor has as well: miedro ieri ‘my lord’.

Among the interrogatives, only kai ‘who’ retains an accusative:

who what where when
s nom kai kieto kedyoi kieda
s acc kaiť
s abl kaiť kietoȟ kedyoiȟ
The deictic adjectives are ailo ‘this’ and iolo ‘that’. Like ordinary adjectives, they are invariable.

The deictics act like neuter nouns:

this one that one these ones those ones
nom aito touto aitoi toutoi
abl aitoȟ toutoȟ aitoiȟ toutoiȟ
The indefinite pronouns have ablative forms, with some irregularities.
person thing place time
every sioat sioi suida suikieda
abl sioad sioiȟ suidad
some nioi ťiosyo ťikuida ťikieda
abl nioiȟ ťiosyaȟ ťikuidad
no nioȟto niosyo nikuida nikieda
abl nioȟtaȟ niosyaȟ nikuidad


There are five conjugations in Caďinor. These are mostly distinguished in the infinitive: For the rest of verbal morphology, however, there are just two conjugations: -a(c) and -r.

Present and past

Sarroc inherited a verbal system from Caďinor that distinguished person and number. This seems to have greatly confused Munkhâshi speakers whose verbal system was based on rank, so that even before the Dhekhnami conquest the plural forms had been reinterpreted as marking respect. After the conquest the system was further simplified, approximating the three-valued Dhekhnami sytem: The rules can be complicated, and change in modern life, so I will describe this in the Syntax section.
‘look at’
inf liora rioȟa mioďa biesťi claoza
resp lioro rioȟo mioďo biecťo claogo
sub lioron rioȟon mioďon biesťin claogon
inf liorai rioȟai mioďai biecťai claozai
resp lioroi rioȟoi mioďoi biesťa claozoi
sub lioryon rioȟyon mioďyon biesťyen claozyen
In the present tense, In the past tense, Note the root change in claozar; these are indicated in the lexicon, and affect any of the forms shown in blue. (The conditioning factor is a front vowel in the Caď. ending.)

Dynamic forms

Sarroc and Visecran are the only Caďinorian languages to retain the dynamic tenses (though Verdurian has lexicalized many dynamic forms as separate verbs). The meaning is either causative, or a change in state. The forms are the same for all conjugations, shown here for rioȟa ‘cause to look at = show’:
present past
inf riȟievo riȟievai
resp riȟievi riȟievoi
sub riȟievin riȟievyon
The vowel in the root is demoted.

The inherited forms were easily confused with the simple past/present (e.g. RIȞUS and RIȞUT both > rioȟo), so in Old Sarroc only the past forms were used. To distinguish the past again, the normal past tense endings were applied.


Like Ismaîn and Barakhinei, Sarroc retains the Caďinor remote tenses; these are always used for hypothetical, unreal, or future events, so I will call these forms irrealis.

These are formed with a suffix, which is different for verbs in -a(c) (the Caď. -C and -N conjugations) and in -r (< -R), and for past vs. present.

rioȟa ’look at’ claozar ‘whip’
present past present past
inf riȟiema riȟiona clazieti claziori
resp riȟiemo riȟiono clazieto clazioro
sub riȟiemon riȟionon clazieton clazioron
Note the vowel demotion in the root.


There are four ways of forming imperatives. The four-way distinction imitates Dhekhnami. Since liberation the second category is used far more generally. On the other hand, the Caďinor imperative may be generalized by those who use the respect forms mutually.


‘look at’
present liriola rioȟac mioďac biesťic claozac
past liorol rioȟol mioďol biesťil claozal

Irregular verbs - Past/Present

The following verbs have irregular forms (boldfaced).
biesa ‘not be’ present past
inf bie
resp bieso
sub bieson
caoďir ‘order’
inf caodi
resp caoďo
sub caodin
cťauna ‘come’
inf sťiet
resp cťauno
sub cťaunon
fawsir ‘leave’
inf feot
resp fawco
sub fawsin
iesa ‘be’ present past
inf ie fwai
resp ieso fuio
sub ieson fuin
kieťa ‘bear’
inf kieťa kiwai
resp kieťo kieťoi
sub kien kieťyon
ne ‘be born’
inf niot nai
resp niesa nieso
sub nien nion
oyir ‘hear’
inf wit
resp ouwo
sub ouwon
piesa ‘can’
inf iepa iepai
resp iepo iepoi
sub iepon iepyon
swofac ‘know’
inf swot
resp swofo
sub swofon
voilir ‘want’
inf vuit
resp voulo
sub voulon

Irregular verbs - Irrealis

These verbs have a different irrealis stem. E.g. the remote irrealis inf. of bwoga ‘fight’ is not *bwogiema but bwouza; cuirac ‘hold’ is not *curieti but coursi.
biesa not be biesť-
bwoga fight bwouz-
cuirac hold cours-
diesya stop dies-
feri carry fiers-
iesa be iesť-
kieťa bear kouť-
lawda go loud-
liega lie louz-
liela see liels-
lieswa sell lies-
mierir measure miers-
mieta put mies-
nouar rain nous-
nuirir nurture nours-
puiwa push pouw-
saotlar jump siels-
sťierar tend sťiers-
suibra follow soubr-
vaotlar claim viels-
yuisir provide yous-


During the occupation, the numeral system was essentially octal. Sarroc numbers were used only for everyday life— any serious mathematics was done in Dhekhnami.
x 8x xth
1   au yoisi piero
2 ďu ďubaz twoura
3 di dibaz miera
4 pawor paorbaz tyetna
5 panť pambaz paonda
6 sieȟ sieȟbaz siesťa
7 ȟaip ȟaibaz ȟaipe
8 yoisi tleȟ yoicli
Names for multiples of 8 consist of the Sarroc digit plus baz < Dh. bazh.

Names for two-digit numbers are calqued on Dhekhnami:

To say two owls, you say ioboi ďu. This is also used with tleȟ ‘64’, e.g. tleȟi panť ‘5 x 64 = 320’. If you really needed higher numbers you would use Dhekhnami.

The octal system is still used informally; many things are sold or arranged in packs of eight. After liberation, under Kebreni influence, a decimal system was adopted.

x 10x xth 1/x
1   au deť piero au
2 ďu twedeť twoura mietoi
3 di miedeť miera genoȟ
4 pawor tyedeť tyetna tsoȟya
5 panť pandeť paonda ospanť
6 sieȟ sieȟdeť siesťa osieȟ
7 ȟaip ȟaindeť ȟaipe osȟaip
8 yoisi yoideť yoicli osyoisi
9 niebri niedeť nieri osniebri
10 deť siecaȟ diesťi osdeť
Names for 20—40, 100, 1000 (miol) had persisted dialectally, and were made standard. Pieron ‘million’ and twouron ‘blllion’ were modeled on Verdurian.

Two-digit numbers are formed with ir, e.g. miedeť ir yoisi 48. Higher numbers are formed like this:

ȟaindeť panť miol niebri siecaȟ sieȟdeť ir ďu
seven-ten four thousand nine hundred seven-ten and two
The fraction ½ is from Caďinor; 1/3 and ¼ are from Dhekhnami; others are formed with os- from Dhekhnami osh-. Negative numbers are formed with buisa ‘without’: buisa panť = -5.

Mathematical notation follows Kebreni and Verdurian. Simple expressions are read as follows; note that the argument order follows the notation, not ordinary sentences.

2 + 2 = 4    2 + 2 = 4    ďu ir ďu ie pawor
two and two be.inf four
5 – 2 = 3 5 – 2 = 3 panť buisa ďu ie di
five without two be.inf three
2 ° 4 = 8 2 x 4 = 8 twoura pawor ie yoisi
second four be.inf eight
10 ‡ 5 = 2 10 / 5 = 2 diesťi ospanť ie ďu
tenth 1/5 be.inf two

Derivational morphology

Some endings appear etymologically (e.g. oura) but are unproductive and rare, and these are not listed here.

Null derivation is fairly common: apiela/apielo name; cuilpa/cuilpir guilt, miebra, miebro act(ion).

There is some tendency to modify Caďinor words with Caďinor affixes, and Dhekhnami with Dhekhnami, but only because the related words were borrowed together; there are mixtures, e.g. gainwo ‘oppression’, gozieca ‘wimpiness’.


affix gender source meaning example
eȟa f EIA general sieȟa being
eyo n EIO general cizieyo eating
wo n Dh. wo general liťdecwo sacrifice
ieca f ECA action, process lelieca vision
aondo m ANTOS art, state raulando cooking
iola f ILE object miďiola celebration
al m EL result liezal lie
uira f URA action, object nasituira cargo
ya f IA regions lourya kingdom
no m Dh. no person, male liesno vendor
sa f Dh. so female liesa female vendor
o, a m, f O, A m/f kin kounso, kounsa cousin
wi- Dh. wi- diminutive wizio little boy
so- Dh. she- augmentative sozio big boy


affix source meaning example
ni- NIS not niďaowa wrong
iosa ISES from noun ďomiosa stony
ra RES from noun zounra yearly
na NES quality ťuourna partial
iezma ESMES somewhat gariezma sensible


affix source meaning example
nda NDEN act with miewonda plow
bra BREN make, do sletaobra light up
aotir ATIR use body; become pilaotir blink
ni- NIS not nilyuba doesn’t love
wi- Dh. wi- diminutive witsasa cry a little
so- Dh. she- augmentative sotsasa cry a lot
me- Dh. me- inceptive metsasa start crying


Sentence order

Matching Munkhâshi and Dhekhnami, basic word order is VSO.
Dioso tahno liebno.
Dioso taȟno liebno.
hate-resp boss new-m
The boss hates the newbie.
You can topicalize an argument with souwa ‘mention’, a calque on Dhekhnami kshêç.
Souwa liebno, dioso tahno.
Souwa liebno, dioso taȟno.
mention new-m / hate-resp boss
As for the newbie, the boss hates him.

Souwa tahno, dioso liebno.
Souwa taȟno, dioso liebno.
mention boss / hate-resp new-m
As for the boss, he hates the newbie.

There is no explicit marking of whether the topic is subject or object, though in the example this is made clear by the respect inflection.


There is no definite article, but au ‘one’ is used as an indefinite article. This is not used if you’re merely mentioning something:
Lyubo sio swerieva.
Lyubo sio swerieva.
love-resp 1s beer
I like beer.
But it’s required if you’re going to keep talking about the referent:
Tielnoi sio au tiopal. Ie tiopal rihoindi.
Tielnoi sio au tiopal. Ie tiopal riȟoindi.
find-past.resp 1s one horse / be-inf horse marvelous
I found a horse. The horse is amazing.
In English, when we pluralize ‘a horse’ we leave out the article. But au should also be used for indefinite plurals: au tiopali ‘horses’.

Respect forms

Verbs are declined according to the subject’s rank.

During the occupation, you used the inferior form when the subject was an inferior, the respect form when the subject was a superior. For far superiors— gods, ktuvoks, humans in charge of an institution— you used the submission form. This precisely matched the Dhekhnami rank forms (E, D, B respectively).

Thus The man is building a machine is said differently depending on who the man is, in relation to the speaker:

The rules apply to first and second person. A corollary is that almost always people in a conversation use different forms. E.g. you might say to a fellow worker who’s below you:
Bie†o sio iek, ir bie†i liet ie†.
Bieťo sio iek, ir bieťi liet ieť.
watch-sup 1s.nom 2s.acc / and watch-inf 2s-nom 1s-acc
I’m watching you, and you’re watching me.
And he could respond
Bie†i sio iek, ir bie†o liet ie†.
Bieťi sio iek, ir bieťo liet ieť.
watch-inf 1s.nom 2s.acc / and watch-sup 2s-nom 1s-acc
I’m watching you, and you’re watching me.
In a ktuvok empire there are no true equals. Even among children, or among fellow workers (or villagers or students), there is a hierarchy and use of the wrong forms is punished.

There are two situations where two people might use the same form:

Unlike many terrestrial politeness systems, there is never a polite ascription of higher status to others, even if you like them.

The rules have changed, or been reinterpreted, in liberated Sarnáe. In rank situations (child/parent, student/teacher, worker/boss, or in the army or temples), the inferior and respect forms are used as above.

But they can also be used mutually:

The system thus resembles T/V systems in modern European languages— but a century or so back, before the egalitarian usage of T forms among young people. The Sarnáeans took their model from Kebreni, which uses its politeness forms in much this way.

The submission form is used for gods, monarchs, and the highest person in a hierarchy (e.g. a general, prime minister, or chief priest). It is strongly discouraged to use it for ktuvoks. (Ktuvoks are not supposed to enter Sarnáe proper, so the situation doesn’t come up much.)

In the old or new system, animals and inanimate objects rank below all humans, so as subjects they take the inferior forms. Body parts and things held in the hand (like swords) have the same rank as their owner, but no other possessions do.

Rural areas are likely to be more hierarchical and resist these egalitarian innnovations.

In (say) a novel or a newspaper article, the rules are these:

For out-of-context sample sentences— as in this grammar— the safest form to use is the respect form. But be aware that in any actual utterance the respect inflection may be different.

The irrealis

The irrealis is used for hypothetical or uncertain events and states. Used alone, it conveys that the event may or may not be happening:
Imbriema virah in nawe is†iosa.
Imbriema viraȟ in nawe isťiosa.
enter-irr-inf enemy in city yesterday
The enemy might have entered the city yesterday.
Or that the speaker would like it to; this can be reinforced with sier ‘good’:
Pugiema (sier) ailo dieno.
Pugiema (sier) ailo dieno!
end-irr-inf (good) this day
If only this day would end!
As noted above, the irrealis forms an imperative, but only for inferiors:
Miyoriema ailo touno.
Miyoriema ailo touno!
clean-irr-inf this room
Clean this room!
A simple statement about the future occurs in the irrealis:
C†anionon miedro a doumo lieri zietwer.
Cťanionon miedro a doumo lieri zietwer.
come-irr-sup noble to house your tomorrow
The noble will come to your house tomorrow.
It’s also used in conditionals, and sometimes in relative clauses; see below.


A verb is negated using the prefix ni-.
Nilyubo sio swerieva.
Nilyubo sio swerieva.
not-love-resp 1s beer
I don’t like beer.
This is still required when negative pronouns are present:
Nilyubo sio swerieva.
Nilyubo sio swerieva nikieda.
not-love-resp 1s beer never
I never liked beer.
Denying that an event occurred, you use the realis. If you use the irrealis, you are suggesting that it didn’t happen, but you aren’t sure:
Nilebatiori caolen tuiri.
Nilebatiori caolen tuiri.
not-renew-irr-inf castle 3s-adj
I don’t think his castle has been renovated.
To put it another way, if you have both negative and irrealis, the doubtfulness applies to both. Because of this, if you want to make a definite statement that something won’t happen in the future, you should use an auxiliary (see below).

An argument is negated using the pronoun sui. You negate the verb unless ‘not X’ is contrasted with ‘some Y’.

Niiobroi uclietla sui iobro.
Niiobroi uclietla sui iobroi.
not-read-past.resp chief none book-pl
The village chief has read no books.

Lyubo uclietla plaondi ir sui iobroi.
Lyubo uclietla plaondi ir sui iobroi.
love-resp chief coin-pl and none book-pl
The village chief likes coins and not books.


Sarroc imitates Dhekhnami in having a wide range of auxiliaries, and in conjugating both the main verb and the auxiliary.
voilir want
nyuimi afraid to
swofac know (how to)
piesa can
diebrir must
sumpoula must not
laotoa should
suima should not
namaira intend to
lapra keep doing
maolda do badly
piotsa is allowed to
The auxiliary appears at the end of the sentence. Examples:
Laubroso sio swofo!
Laubroso sio swofo!
dance-resp 1s know-resp
I can dance!

Laubrosa liet maolda.
Laubrosa liet maolda.
dance-inf 2s do.badly-inf
You dance badly.

Vouco sio vyouc†a namairo.
Vouco sio au vyoucťa namairo.
invoke-resp 1s one spirit intend-resp
I intend to invoke a Power.

Suibroi demo†i bieglo dienoi.
Suibroi demoťi bieglo dienoi.
support-past.resp Demoshi-pl war continue-past.resp
The Demoshi kept supporting the war.

You must be careful when applying negative ni-; when applied to the auxiliary, it negates only the auxiliary. There isn’t a big logical gap between “I (don’t want) to go” (Lawso sio nivoulo) and “I want to (not go)” (Nilawso sio voulo), but you have to say which you mean— unlike English where both thoughts are likely to be expressed “I don’t want to go.”

The semantic gap is more important with verbs of obligation and permission— especially in a society where these concepts are taken very seriously. That may be why there are doublets with positive and negative meanings: diebrir/sumpoula ‘must (not)’, laotoa/suima ‘should (not)’.

Note that nidiebrir denies that something is an obligation; sumpoula means that it’s an obligation not to do something. Compare:

Iemo liet lindiehno sumpoulo.
Iemo liet lindieȟno sumpoulo.
talk-resp 2s priest mustn’t-resp
You mustn’t talk to the priest.

Iemo liet lindiehno nidiebro.
Iemo liet lindieȟno nidiebro.
talk-resp 2s priest not-must-resp
It’s not mandatory to talk to the priest.

Many of the auxiliaries refer to hypothetical events, but the auxiliary itself conveys this— you don’t also put the verbs in the irrealis. However, you can place the auxiliary (not the main verb) in the irrealis to express doubt or futurity:
Nouto sio swofiemo.
Nouto sio swofiemo.
swim-resp 1s know-irr-resp
I don’t know if I can swim.


Verbal inflections are limited to tense and irrealis. However, there are ways to convey aspect.

First, the prefix me- (borrowed from Dhekhnami) is used as an inceptive:

Merawla rai∂o.
Merawla raiďo.
incep-cook-inf servant
The servant has begun cooking.
As in Dhekhnami, negating the inceptive produces a terminative or completive:
Nimerawla rai∂o.
Nimerawla raiďo.
not-incep-cook-inf servant
The servant has finished cooking.
That is, “not-begin-cook” is interpreted as “began to not cook”, i.e. “finish cooking”. If you really want a negative inceptive, use ni yat ‘not already’:
Merawla rai∂o.
Merawla raiďo ni yat.
incep-cook-inf servant not already
The servant has not yet begun cooking.
The auxiliary lapra is used to emphasize that an action is ongoing; it’s similar to the English progressive (“he was talking”) or the French imperfect (il parlait).
Bemo†a davano evede lapro.
Bemoťa davano evede lapro.
fix-resp engineer train keep.going-resp
The engineer is still fixing the train.
Lapra is never mandatory— the same sentence without it (Bemoťa davano evede) does not imply that the engineer is done.


Unsurprisingly, the reflexive is used when the object is the same as the subject.
Nilaovo au uclietla zie†!
Nilaovo au uclietla zieť!
not-wash-resp one chief refl-acc
A chief doesn’t wash himself!
This includes objects of prepositions:
Doi uclietla au tiopal a zie†.
Doi uclietla au tiopal a zieť.
give-past.resp chief one horse to refl-acc
The chief gave himself a horse.
A direct object can make the object of a preposition reflexive:
Telniemo tai melyuirsa in touno zieri.
Telniemo tai melyuirsa in touno zieri.
find-past.resp 1p visitor-f in room refl-poss
We found the visitor in her room.
If the subject was third person, touno zieri ‘their room’ would be ambiguous; normally the subject takes precedence.

In the plural, the reflexive is ambiguous between each person acting on himself or herself, and persons acting on each other. E.g. lyubo dzaȟni zieť = ‘the soldiers each love themselves’ or ‘the soldiers love one another.’ The latter meaning can be forced by using a zieť instead. The only way to force the direct reflexive meaning is to recast the sentence in the singular:

Lyubo tiol dzahno zie†.
Lyubo tiol dzaȟno nzieť.
love-resp each soldier refl-acc
Each soldier loves himself.
The reflexive can be used as a passive; see below.


Since liberation, under Kebreni influence, adding a semantically anomalous pronoun is a way of creating a benefactive:
Po-c†auna ie†.
Po-cťauna ieť.
imper-come 1s-acc
Come here (for me).
This can be used with transitive verbs too— the benefactive follows the direct object:
Riohoi culseo iolo daini iek.
Rioȟoi culseo iolo daini iek.
look-past.resp commander that document-pl 2s-acc
The commander looked over those documents for you.
If the commander did it for himself, use the reflexive:
Riohoi culseo iolo dainoi zie†.
Rioȟoi culseo iolo daini zieť.
look-past.resp commander that document-pl 2s-acc
The commander looked over those documents for himself.
The same construction can be used as an antibenefactive— perhaps more frequently, in fact. The circumstances of the utterance, and tone of voice, should make the meaning clear.
Noua taim!
Noua taim!
rain-inf 1p-acc
It’s raining (on. us)!
This usage is still colloquial; the grammars tell you to use e.g. a sio ‘for me’, though only for animate subjects (so, not the rain). Under the occupation things were more direct— you were told to do things siev X— ‘on X’s orders.’

Yes/no questions

There are several ways to ask a question. One is by intonation alone:
Merawla rai∂o?
Merawla raiďo?
incep-cook-inf servant
The servant has begun cooking?
This suggests that the speaker expects the answer is yes, but wants confirmation. If you’re genuinely uncertain, you can use the irrealis—
Merawla rai∂o?
Merawliema raiďo?
incep-cook-irr-inf servant
Has the servant begun cooking?
or the question particle fait:
Fait merawla rai∂o?
Fait merawla raiďo?
Q incep-cook-inf servant
Has the servant begun cooking?
Fait derives from FAET ‘does’, and is a calque on Munkhâshi pol. However, it has lost its verb— it is only a question particle in Sarroc, not a form of ‘do’.

You answer with oura ‘yes’ or nios ‘no’, or of course something more informative (saocťa ‘soon’, ni yat ‘not yet’, etc.).

The statement can be negative, which implies that the speaker expects the event has not happened. It would be rare to use the irrealis in that case.

Fait nimerawla rai∂o?
Fait nimerawla raiďo?
Q not-incep-cook-inf servant
The servant hasn’t begun cooking, have they?
Answering a negative question, both oura and nios agree with the questioner that the event didn’t happen. To assert that it indeed did, you respond yat, lit. ‘even (so)’.

NP order

Unmarked NP order is
deictic quantifier noun numeral ablative adjectives PPs relative-clauses
aito diri this company
aito muiswa dirya many of these companies
dirya ďu two companies
diri au one company
au diri a company
aito dirya ďu these two companies
iolo dirya ďu bougla those two big companies
au diri demoťiȟ a Demoshi company
ťios dirya demoťiȟ encaile some horrible Demoshi companies
au diri giesra ir miri a rich and powerful company
au diri buisa kouna a company without money
diri bougla iesac moaȟai the big company that failed
Au follows the noun as a number, but as an article precedes it.

A complication: under Verdurian influence, it’s becoming more common to place numbers and single adjectives before the noun (ďu dirya ‘two companies’; au bougla diri ‘a big company’).

In general two nouns can’t be combined— the second should be in the ablative (plaondo ďaoraťiȟ ‘coin of silver’) or replaced by an adjective (plaondo ďaoraťna). But see Titles, below.

Case usage

The nominative or unmarked case is used for sentence arguments, and after prepositions (iosťa surieda ‘before afternoon’).

Pronouns alone have an accusative, which is used for direct objects: Lielo sio iek ‘I see you’. The ablative is used for possession: doumo laťouryoȟ ‘the elder’s house’. For pronouns, use the pronominal adjectives instead: doumo lieri ‘your (s.) house’.

It’s used with geographical names to label things that come from there, e.g. mlousyo Loadroȟ ‘honey from Loadro’. This is sometimes lexicalized— e.g. Mitigaomad is the dialect of Mitigaoma. If there is a geographical adjective, use that rather than the ablative: mlousyo vreduiri ‘Verdurian honey’.

It’s also used for the source of a movement or transfer:

Lawdoi mieȟa Gopaondoh.
Lawdoi mieȟa Gopaondoȟ.
go-past.resp division Govanro-abl
The division walked from Govanro.

Ouwoi tai cadieyoi uiolnoh.
Ouwoi tai cadieyoi uiolnoȟ.
hear-past-resp 1p order-pl old-m-abl
We received the orders from the old man.
The ablative can be used for position in time: oinderiȟ ‘in the morning’, ibrierid ‘during winter’.

The ablative is also used in conditionals; see below.

There is no dative; instead you use the preposition a (before vowels, ad).

Loudo dzahni ad Ierendo.
Loudo dzaȟni ad Ierendo.
go-irr-resp soldier-pl to Erenat
The soldiers will march to Erenat.

Dyon mivuno tiopal a sio.
Dyon mivuno tiopal a sio.
give-past.sub governor horse to 1s
The governor gave me a horse.
With pronouns, the accusative can substitute for a dative expression if no explicit object is present:
Dyon mivuno ie†!
Dyon mivuno ieť!
give-past.sub governor 1s.acc
The governor gave (it) to me!

To be

The predicative copula is the irregular iesa. If used with an adjective or participle, it appears after the subject:
Aito sahute ie rihoindi.
Aito saȟute ie riȟoindi.
this movie be-inf marvelous
This film is marvelous.

Bie†ni ie erdiotlol.
Bieťni fwai erdiotlol.
watcher-pl be-past.inf enchant-past.part
The audience was entranced.
However, if the predicate is a noun phrase, the sentence is VSO as with other verbs:
Ie raline au irhuipa.
Ie raline au irȟuipa.
be-inf plot one absurdity
The plot is an absurdity.
The negative uses the verb biesa, which derives from Caď. BU fused to iesa.
Pieroso bieso iliura.
Pieroso bieso iliura.
star-f not-be-resp pretty
The main actress is not pretty.
However, biesa has no past tense forms— you use ni- plus the past tense of iesa.
Ralinare nifwai miyora.
Ralinaré nifwai miyora.
theater not-be.past-inf clean
The theater wasn’t clean.
Existential ‘be’ uses the verb tyouwa.
Tyouwa tioron in siolva.
Tyouwa au tioron in siolva.
exist-inf one monster in forest
There is a monster in the forest.
There is no clefting transformation in Sarroc (“It’s the monster that I don’t like”).

Topicalization can be used as an equivalent.

Souwa tioron, nilyubo sio.
Souwa tioron, nilyubo sio.
mention monster / not-love-resp 1s
The monster, I don’t like.


Any constituents can be conjoined with ir ‘and’, iol ‘or’: suilnoi ir zionai ‘men and women’; sier iol duirze ‘good or bad’. Ir becomes r before a vowel: aolil r iondo ‘garlic and pepper’.

Sentences can also be conjoined with these:

dioa so, then
duiwa therefore
pioȟo but, however


The most common prepositions are these:
a(d) to, for
against; after, since
air south of
buisa without
cail between
ȟuipa below,under
ieta about
in in, inside, into
ior above, over
iosťa before, until
nau north of
nies like, as
oyo away from, off of
penať using, via, by, with
po in return for; because, in order to
pwed in front of
pwoisi next to
sa through
saor east of
siev by order of, according to
suiar on, onto
tiel west of
tya across, behind
These take the unmarked (nominative) form of the noun or pronoun: in paoreni ‘in the mountains’, ȟuipa medet ‘under the table’, po kouna ‘for money’, pwoisi au aorso ‘next to a bear’, siev cai ‘according to them’, aȟ sio ‘against me’. The most general locative is in, thus in Gopaondo ‘in/at Govanro’, in Lamieȟa ‘in/on Almea’, in swoftanawe ‘at college’.

The geographical prepositions imitate Dhekhnami: saor nawe ‘south of the city’. Compare nawe saor ‘the southern city’.

Future events use iosťa, which has no spatial meaning: iosťa pwaondo ‘before dinner, until dinner’. Past events use : aȟ aisťa ‘after summer, since summer’. Placement in a time period can be expressed with in (in noisťi ‘at night’) or with the ablative (noisťiȟ).

A preposition can be used with infinitive, e.g. buita laova ‘without washing’, po doirmir ‘in order to rest’, penať inswaoȟa ‘by thinking’. Don’t use a participle or gerund as in English; but of course a nominalization is fine: aȟ cizieyo ‘after eating’.

It can also govern an entire sentence, which should be fully conjugated:

Ah iobroi dainopiero, secooi huvuoc amaremno zieri.
Aȟ iobroi dainopiero, secooi ȟuvuoc amaremno zieri.
after read-past.resp manuscript / call-past.resp ktuvok lawyer refl-poss
After he read the manuscript, the ktuvok called his lawyer.


Interrogatives are fronted:
Kai ie tioron?
Kai ie tioron?
who be.inf monster
Who is the monster?

Kieto swaohai tioron.
Kieto swaoȟai tioron?
what say-past.inf monster
What did the monster say?

Kedyoi tyouwa siora tioronih.
Kedyoi tyouwa siora tioroniȟ?
where exist-inf wife monster-abl
Where is the monster’s wife?
The interrogative pronouns are not used for relative clauses.

Subordinate clauses

A sentential argument is formed with the pattern
<report of thinking> dya, <the thought>
Like Dhekhnami nikla, it can occur either before or after the main clause. Note that the main/subordinate relationship is opposite that in English— the structure is not e.g. I think that S, it’s more like S, (that’s) what I think.
Cyiedo sio dya, ai∂ivaozai kiebrino taim.
Cyiedo sio dya, aiďivaozai kiebrino taim.
believe-resp 1s sub / betray-past.inf Kebreni 1p.acc

Ai∂ivaozai kiebrino taim cyiedo sio dya.
Aiďivaozai kiebrino taim, cyiedo sio dya.
betray-past.inf Kebreni 1p.acc / believe-resp 1s sub
I believe the Kebreni has betrayed us.

If the main clause is doubtful, in the future, or merely desired, it should appear in the irrealis.
Telniema liet culseo in Gopaondo, voulo sio dya.
Telniema liet culseo in Gopaondo, voulo sio dya.
find-irr-inf 2s commander in Govanro / want-resp 1s sub
I want you to find the commander in Govanro.
You can also subordinate an adjective with dya, which makes a comment on the sentence. Don’t add a dummy subject and copula as we do in English with it’s.
Bwesiosa dya, bies†in tliesa goutalh.
Bwesiosa dya, biesťin tliesa goutalȟ.
eerie sub / move-sub head.frill ktuvok-abl
It’s eerie how the ktuvok’s tendrils move.

Relative clauses

As in Dhekhnami, an alternative to using a relative clause is to use the participles. The present participle is taken as active, the past participle as passive. No direct indication of time or rank is possible.
Lyubo huvuoci iolo badare.
Lyubo ȟuvuoci iolo badaré.
love-resp ktuvok-pl that restaurant
The ktuvoks love that restaurant.

> huvuoci lubiola iolo badare
> ȟuvuoci lubiola iolo badaré
ktuvok-pl loving that restaurant
the ktuvoks that love that restaurant.

> iolo badare lyubol huvuoci
> iolo badaré lyubol ȟuvuoci
that restaurant loved ktuvok-pl
the restaurant that the ktuvoks love
The other method is to subordinate a clause with iesac ‘being’.
Tyoimai ries†o siora.
Tyoimai riesťo siora zieri.
trick-past.inf man wife refl.poss
The man cheated on his wife.

> Dioson ai∂i au ries†o iesac tyoimai siora zieri.
> Dioson aiďi au riesťo iesac tyoimai siora zieri.
hate-sub god-pl one man being trick-past.inf wife refl.poss
The gods despise a man who cheated on his wife.

> Diero amaremno siora iesac tyoimai au ries†o touta.
> Diero amaremno siora iesac tyoimai au riesťo touta.
help-sub lawyer wife being trick-past.inf one man 3sf
The lawyer is helping the wife who was cheated on by the man.
In the second example, note the resumptive pronoun touta ‘she/her’ which clarifies that the woman was the one cheated on, not the one cheating.

If the description is hypothetical, use the irrealis. E.g. below, changing to the irrealis implies that the man doesn’t exist (or isn’t known to be a spy):

Ioswo tai au ries†o iesac ie somaovno ďiehnamna.
Ioswo tai au riesťo iesac ie au somaovno ďieȟnamna.
seek-resp 1p on man being be.inf one spy Dhekhnami
We’re looking for a man who is a Dhekhnami spy.

Ioswo tai au ries†o iesac ies†a somaovno ďiehnamna.
Ioswo tai au riesťo iesac iesťa au somaovno ďieȟnamna.
seek-resp 1p on man being be.irr-inf one spy Dhekhnami
We’re looking for a man who may be a Dhekhnami spy.


Sarroc retains Caďinor’s ablative conditional:
Siebracih liet tout, c†auniemo cai.
Siebraciȟ liet tout, cťauniemo cai.
building-abl 2s 3sm / come-irr-resp they
If you build it [lit. you building it], they will come.
The ablative of course has no way of marking tense, so this must be done with the main verb:
Siebracih liet tout, c†auniono cai.
Siebraciȟ liet tout, cťauniono cai.
building-abl 2s 3sm / come-irr-past.resp they
If you had built it, they would have come.
If the condition is in the future, dubious, hypothetical, or absurd— as it usually is— you use the irrealis. With the realis, the construction’s meaning is “X being the case, Y must be so”:
Siebracih liet tout, c†auniemo cai.
Taocaciȟ kiebrino, ie daini ďaowa.
leading-abl Kebreni-m / be.inf document-pl correct
With a Kebreni in charge, the documents will be in order.


The passive is formed with the verb baoťir ‘hit’, like Dhekhnami gwôth. It’s technically an auxiliary, but it’s fronted along with the promoted subject:
Lyuba demo†i ai∂i sieh.
Lyuba demoťi aiďi sieȟ.
love-inf Demoshi-pl god-pl six
The Demoshi love the Six Gods.

> Lyuba ai∂i sieh demo†i.
> Baoťin aiďi sieȟ lyuba demoťi.
hit-sub god-pl six love-inf Demoshi-pl
The Six Gods are loved by the Demoshi.
Baoťir must be inflected, and its rank reflects the promoted subject (here, the gods), while the previous verb (here ‘love’) is left as is.

This can be viewed as a form of topicalization, but unlike the topicalizer souwa, the fronted argument is always a direct object.

The baoťir construction requires the original subject to be stated. If you want to omit it, use the participle instead; in this case the original subject must be omitted.

Lyubol ieson ai∂i sieh.
Lyubol ieson aiďi sieȟ.
love-past.part be-sub god-pl six
The Six Gods are loved.
Under the influence of Verdurian, it’s now common to use the reflexive with a passive meaning:
Iobra ailo aladah zie† suida.
Iobra ailo aladaȟ zieť suida.
read-inf this grammar refl-acc everywhere
This grammar is read all over.


Comparatives use the verbs tyaobra ‘be more’ and ieswir ‘fall short’:
Nicunziesna tyaobra ismaino bauriolo.
Nicunziesna tyaobra ismaino bauriolo.
not-trustworthy exceed-inf Ismahi-person coyote
An Ismaîn is more untrustworthy than a coyote.

Osposna ieswi swaoha baiso.
Osposna ieswi swaoȟa baiso.
convincing less-inf speaking gold.coin
A speech is less persuasive than a gold coin.
If the second argument is a pronoun, it appears in the accusative: luira tyaobro touta ieť ‘She is more beautiful than me.’

With no comparison object, the sentence can be interpreted as a superlative:

Nicunziesna tyaobra izmaini.
Nicunziesna tyaobra izmaini.
not-trustworthy exceed-inf Ismahi-m-pl
The Ismaîn are the most untrustworthy.

Time and place

Time and place adverbs and adverbials normally follow all other arguments:
Caorpoi vreduirni mac†auna (ludienoh / zounoh isťiosa / ah ciefo).
Caorpoi vreduirni macťauna (ludienoȟ / zounoȟ isťiosa / aȟ ciefo).
seize-past.resp Verdurian-pl city (today / year-abl last / after sunset)
The Verdurians seized the city (today / last year / after sunset).

Mio∂o aiglio†oi (ais†a / in ai∂nawe).
Mioďo aiglioťoi (aisťa / in aiďnawe).
celebrate-resp Caď.priest-pl (here / in temple).
The Caďinorian priests are celebrating (here / in the temple).
These terms can be fronted as well, with a somewhat emphatic meaning:
Ludienoh, caorpoi vreduirni mac†auna.
Ludienoȟ caorpoi vreduirni macťauna.
today seize-past.resp Verdurian-pl city
The Verdurians seized the city today.
Don’t use the interrogatives to introduce a time or place clause. Instead, use an appropriate preposition:
Ah bie†a sahute, loucoi sio suirna.
Aȟ bieťa saȟute, loucoi sio suirna.
after watch-past.resp movie / become-past.resp 1s hungry
While watching the movie, I got hungry.

Dynamic forms

For action verbs, the dynamic forms are used to form a causative. With transitive verbs, the original subject becomes a prepositional phrase with a and is backed.
Beni†o dzahso au tiopal.
Beniťo dzaȟsa au tiopal.
buy-past.resp soldier-f one horse
The soldier (f.) bought a horse.

> Beni†ievoi culseo au tiopal a dzahso.
> Beniťievoi culseo au tiopal a dzaȟsa.
buy-dyn-past.resp commander one horse to soldier-f
The commander made the soldier buy a horse.
With intransitive verbs, the original subject simply becomes the direct object:
Laubroso ziona.
Laubroso ziona.
dance-resp maiden
The girl is dancing.

> Laubrosievi dzahsa ziona.
> Laubrosievi dzaȟsa ziona.
dance-dyn-resp soldier-f maiden
The soldier is making the maiden dance.
For verbs that record a state (e.g. know, sit, be, need, trust, must, doubt, bloom, rain, boil), the dynamic forms report a change of state. Compare:
Noua. / Nouievo.
Noua. / Nouievo.
rain-inf / rain-dyn-inf.
It’s raining. / It’s just begun to rain.

Swofo tai dya, liet ie savakno.
Swofo tai dya, liet ie savakno.
know-resp 1p sub / 2s be.inf spy
We know you are a spy.

Swofievi tai dya, liet ie savakno.
Swofievi tai dya, liet ie savakno.
know-dyn-resp 1p sub / 2s be.inf spy
We have learned you are a spy.
Sometimes these categories overlap; in that case the argument structure should make the meaning clear. E.g. this sentence must contain a causative, since ‘rain’ normally has no argument:
Nouievyon ai∂i.
Nouievyon aiďi.
rain-dyn-sub.past god-pl
The gods made it rain.
There are no dynamic irrealis forms. For sentences that would require the irrealis, just use the appropriate dynamic form. If you want to emphasize the uncertainty, use an auxiliary like laotoa ‘should’ or namaira ‘intend’:
Lawdievi liet lioc†ani laotoo.
Lawdievi liet liocťani laotoo.
go-dyn-resp 2s barbarian should-resp
You should make the barbarian leave.

Nominalized phrases

When a sentence is nominalized, the subject is turned into an ablative, and the object is preceded with a.
Dioso tahno liebno. > dios tahnoh a liebo
Dioso taȟno liebno. > dios taȟnoȟ a liebo
hate-resp boss new-m hatred boss-abl to new-m
The boss hates the newbie. the boss’s hatred of the newbie

Semantic fields

Greetings and farewells

Under the occupation, a conversation usually began like this:
Tyouwa ais†a liet.
Tyouwa aisťa liet.
exist-inf here 2s
Superior: You are here.

Oura piodor, tyouwa sio.
Oura piodor, tyouwa sio.
yes father / exist-inf 1s
Inferior: yes, I am.
Piodor ‘father’ (or miodra ‘mother’) could be used with anyone of the appropriate age, but of course you used the most accurate title you could.

All this is a direct calque on Dhekhnami, and if you knew how to, you’d say these two lines in Dhekhnami, albeit in a Sarroc accent: Dzaw bigosio tside. / Setsu dzaw bigo.

On leaving, the final exchange would look like this:

Lawdo sio. Mieli sier po-mouna.
Lawdo sio. Mieli sier po-mouna.
go-resp 1s / way good imper-work
Superior: I’m going. Work well.

Sier liet. Lawda sio.
Sier liet. Lawda sio.
good 2s / go-inf 1s
Inferior: You are kind. I’m going.
This too is calqued on Dhekhnami, and may be stated in that language. The superior’s admonition or blessing varies according to the situation.

Sier liet is the general equivalent of ‘thank you’.

With very close friends or family, you could get by with Aodando (‘greeting’) and Lawdo (‘Going’).

After liberation, neither pattern seemed acceptable, and several alternatives were tried. Some liked the Verdurian-style Oinder sier ‘good morning’, etc. Some tried to revive the Caďinor Loundo iek iemo ‘I speak honor to you’.

What won out, curiously, was Meldelét, a version of Flaidish Mell dellaten ‘good afternoon’. This was borrowed from flaidish troops in the First Dhekhnami War— they were only a minority of the allied troops in the country, but they were by far the friendliest to the natives. The informal Opo (ʔopo) was also borrowed.

You could also use meldelét as a farewell, but here dieno sier ‘good day’ or vyietlo sier ‘good evening’ were more popular. The ancient bieneti ‘blessings’ has also returned. Gelalhists often retain the old greetings as a marker of difference. For everyone else, lawdo can be used as an insulting dismissal— “I’m out of here.”


Sarroc, like Verdurian, retains the two-part names (noumi) of Caďinor, formed of a restricted array of name elements. Only a very few Dhekhnami words (marked in blue) have entered this set.

The elements can be combined in any order: Aiďozoul ‘strong god’, Zoulaiďo; Saorsaia ‘east girl’, Saiasaor. You can add an epenthetic o to break up a consonant cluster: Ďuikosieťa ‘smooth silk’. Sarnáeans pay more attention than Verdurians to the meaning— no Ruizyanieisťe ‘red snow’ here. A name like Zoulblaoca ‘strong sword’ is more likely for a boy, and Mieluira ‘water-beautiful’ for a girl, but this is not an absolute, as children may be named for an ancestor of either sex.

In standard Sarroc there is secondary stress on the first name. In Govanro there isn’t, so you say (but don’t write) Aďozoul, Zolaiďo, Sarsaia, Saisaor.

aiďo god fyeȟa faith sanso beautiful
aifar baron glaobro sword saor east
ailoť modesty glioni long sier pure
air south gieso power sierto luck
aisťa summer ȟiotlo dexterity sieťa silk
aola earthly ȟousťo bone sioco willow
aondor mighty ielil lively sioďri snake
aunor elder ielir life siolva forest
baiso hero ionza kind siosťa box
bauno way kaoryo luck suila young
bieglo war kliola steel swen fresh
bier mist koulpo fruit swoul robust
bierac glory lierpa petal taile brave
blaoca sword loundo honor tiel west
boaro puzzle luira beautiful tiomo friend
caolo heat mie water tun oak
cliel sky mieli way ťioȟi quiet
cuidro heart myera fire ťuili breeze
cuima hearth nau north uita star
cuirya court naoi moon wieron eagle
cyensi holy nawe place vieyen deer
cyiena flint nieisťe snow viezi plant
dieno day nieca daughter viorni loyal
doimer sturdy nieso birth ye eye
doumo house nouira rain yourta flower
douroť sign ouȟ gold yuiba crest
duil given ounto purity yuili way
duir hard piero first zieno clan
ďuik smooth pouta deep ziero flatbread
ďomiola stone pwora real ziona maiden
faondo ghost rioso seed ziova merry
fioli fern ruiȟi fast zoul strong
faolil white ruizya red zouno year
foiri fertile saia woman zuila joy
fuili leaf saonca pine zye sea
You can also raid the lexicon for single-morpheme names: Cuinga ‘swan’, Ďaorať ‘silver’, Eruoda ‘cinnabar’, Guirya ‘lion’, Iluira ‘lovely’, Ilyaoza ‘moon Iliažë’, Kaoriosa ‘lucky’, Meriezma ‘even-tempered’, Miedro ‘noble’, Oinder ‘morning’, Riȟoindi ‘amazing’, Taoro ‘spark’, Yaondar ‘amber’, etc.

The Dhekhnami discouraged names of Caďinorian gods, and these are still avoided. But not a few Verdurians and Kebreni who were notable in the wars have been turned into names: Abend, Tilye, Zauvum, Erditsi, Lures, Miri, Ȟeznan.

Eleďát was strongly persecuted during the occupation, and giving children Eleďe names was inadvisable. The church grew after the occupation; ironically, the monotheistic Gelalhists found it more comfortable than Caďinorian polytheism. Eleďe names were adopted in Kebreni or Verdurian forms— e.g Miel, Iano, Tomao; Elena, Prisa, Vyenica. As these are all modern borrowings, they do not have the typical Sarroc diphthongs.

Dhekhnami names were common during the occupation. These are now avoided, but a few are not perceived as borrowing, and are still used. A sampling:

Blicra dream Genir gold Seȟi fighter
Clioso quiet Geďa raven Siovi singer
Denacra sunset Iereť river Tadzi deer
Ďaras silver Maoďe oak Tlieso sea girl
Duinwo luck Saobla jewel Tsama night
Sarnáeans, like Caďinorians and Dhekhnami, generally had just one name. You were not supposed to have the same name as someone else in your tyem. If you went elsewhere, you would be identified by the name of your tyem or that of your ktuvok, in the ablative.

In the cities, Dhekhnami were given two names, and urban Sarnáeans did the same— often a Sarroc first name and a Dhekhnami second one.

After liberation, the government of Mitigaoma required citizens to have family names (cumuirad), which could not be the tyem or clan (zieno) name. People usually chose something natural or auspicious, and put it in the ablative: Aiderad ‘ivy’, Bielad ‘cloudy’, Cairȟ ‘port’, Taileȟ ‘bold’, Kauriosad ‘lucky’, Mirid ‘rich’, Veťuirad ‘travel’, etc.

Nicknames and pejoratives

If you know someone well, you can use just the first part of a name: Aiďozoul > Aiďo, Saorsaia > Saor. Or abbreviate the second part after the first vowel: Aiďozo, Saorsa. Conversely, you can insult them by using just the last part (Zoul, Saia). Young children are often addressed by abbreviating both parts (Aizo, Sasa), and this becomes insulting when used for an adult. Dhekhnami speakers liked nothing more than creating insulting or sarcastic nicknames or slang. This practice spread to Sarroc, though with less wit.
uclietla ‘village chief’ > uswoca ‘shout’
Kiebri ‘Kebri’ > kuiebi ‘cruel’
Cuinga ‘swan’ > cuilda ‘elbow’
Aiďozoul ‘strong god’ > Aiďoguos ‘weak god’
A more sophisticated amusement, because it required knowledge of Dhekhnami, was to make the joke in that language:
uclietla ‘village chief’ > uççigêghno ‘ass-fucker’ > Uȟigeȟno
Kiebri ‘Kebri’ > kimbe ‘ear’
Cuinga ‘swan’ > wisibla ‘birdie’
Aiďozoul ‘strong god’ > Dhôkso ‘pair of women’ > Ďoksa
You can form an innocuous nickname with the diminutive wi- or augmentative so-: Saor > Wisaor, Sosaor. For more punch, you use the Dhekhnami perjoratives -gen and wom-: Aiďo > Aiďogen, Womaiďo; Saor > Saorgen, Womsaor.

The major expletives are tuiza ‘shit’, geȟi ‘fucker’, and kaoko ‘ass’; blaoť ‘shit’ and cťim ‘piss’ are fairly strong borrowings from Dhekhnami. The word giega ‘fuck’ is so overused that it doesn’t pack much of a punch; Kebreni bacoa is more pungent. An essential word is sioma ‘to be shitty’, with its participle siomac ‘shitty’.


Titles precede the name: Mitano Mirad ‘minister Mirad’; uclietla Duinwo ‘village chief Duinwo.’ Note that the most important positions (this correlates with the use of the submission inflection) are referred to with their family name, others with their first name.

In Verdurian territory it’s common to refer to kings in Verdurian order: Ȟeznan daolo ‘king Řeznan’. But in Mitigaoma you’d still say Daolo Ȟeznan.

Geographical names also place the generic name first: cliera Soandor ‘the Shkónoro river’; paoreni Paďe ‘the Ctelm mountains’. Modern brand names work this way too: diri Konaci ‘the Konaci company’.

Attributes of a place are expressed in the ablative: scriola Sarnawed ‘the people of Sarnáe’; louc Vreduiryad ‘the language of Verduria’.

The day

During the occupation, the day (dieno) was divided into 32 hours (ȟourai), following Dhekhnami practice. After liberation the Verdurian 24-hour day was adopted. In cases of confusion you can distinguish ȟoura uiol ‘old hour’ and ȟoura lieba ‘new hour’.

The day is divided into four overall periods:

Dh. hours Ver. hours beginning gloss name gloss
0–8 0—6 medieno sunrise oinder morning
8—16 6—12 yoisi noon surieda afternoon
16—24 12—18 ciefo sunset vyietlo evening
24—32 18—24 ielnoisťi midnight noisťi night
The Dhekhnami hour was divided into 64 tlepwoi, and each tleopwo into 64 ostleȟi. The Verdurian hour is divided into 12 meguai, each megua into 100 piyai.

Dhekhnam grouped days into eightdays (neletsoi), which were simply numbered: (dieno) piero ‘first (day)’, (dieno) twoura, etc.

With liberation, the Kebreni week was borrowed, still called a neletso though it’s just seven days.

Sarroc Kebreni Verdurian
amare hamare scúreden
tsimure cymure širden
sovudre sovundre fidren
ozure ozurre calten
boȟture boḣture zëden
ťiron ťiron néronden
seȟepre seḣepre ceďnare

The calendar

The Dhekhnami year (zouno) was divided into five seasons (tleȟi) of 64 days (eight neletsoi): demietla spring, aisťa summer, reswulya harvest, scatwo fall, ibrieri winter. This left an eightday at the end of the year called neletso siero ‘loose week’.

After liberation, the Kebreni months (naoya) were used, calqued rather than transliterated.

Sarroc Kebreni Verdurian gloss
naoilieba muccymu olašu new month
rieslya śonsi reli sowing
miďiola seḣtapna cuéndimar celebration
veȟaorya aḣimba Vlerëi planet Vlerëi
caolo geḣgu calo heat
reswulya ede recoltë harvest
yaogo forzynau yag hunt
glieȟa ḣela želea calm
iswora zavec išire planet Išire
swouro sylgo šoru darkness
fyouwa rikas froďac cold
puzieyo varu bešana ending
Under the occupation years were reckoned from the incorporation of Demóshimor into Dhekhnam in 2712. After liberation Eretald’s reckoning (zonî Erei, zouni airȟ) was adopted.


Newspaper article

The following article was published in the Scaťoura Sarvensieyoȟ (Sarvenceo Epoch) in 3583. The Verdurian deployment is one of the events which led to the Second Dhekhnami War (3588–96).
In Sarvensieyo, dienoh 12 caolo, ZA 3583.
In Sarvensieyo, dienoȟ 12 caolo, Z.A. 3583.
in Sarvensieyo / day-abl 12 caolo, Z.E. 3583
Sarvenceo, 12 calo Z.E. 3583.

Souwa mitano piero Mitigaomad Gieso Ve†uirad ir mitano piero vreduiri Fre∂al Lureß, ludienoh huipacyovyon avon po yuisin c†ourya caoroh Mitigaomad.
Souwa mitano piero Mitigaomad Gieso Veťuirad ir mitano piero vreduiri Freďal Lureš, ludienoȟ ȟuipacyovyon avon po yuisin cťourya caoroȟ Mitigaomad.
mention minister first Mitigaoma-abl Gieso Veťuirad and minister first Verdurian Freďal Lureš / today sign-past.sub agreement for maintain-sub security territory-abl Mitigaoma-abl
Today the Prime Minister of Mitigaoma, Gieso Veťuirad, signed an agreement in principle with the prime minister of Verduria, Freďal Lureš, to maintain the security of Mitigaoman territory.

s= Swofo ibriolai taonda poilez sicuirih ah puigoi Kiebri yuica flaona ah zouni pan†.
Swofo ibriolai taonda poilez sicuiriȟ aȟ puigoi Kiebri yuica flaona aȟ zouni panť.
know-resp reader-pl 1p-poss position country-abl against end-past.resp Kebri role military against year-pl five
Our readers know the situation of the country since Kebri ended its military mission five years ago.

Zoul tyaobro paihno saorh taim, ir yuisin tai hyiuira taonda niiepon buisa deriolai.
Zoul tyaobro paiȟno saorȟ taim, ir yuisin tai ȟyiuira taonda niiepon buisa deriolai.
strong be.more-resp neighbor east-abl 1p-acc / and maintain-resp 1p freedom 1p-poss not-can-resp without ally-pl
Our neighbor in the east is far stronger than we are, and we cannot maintain our freedom without allies.

Siev avon, hiezyieto Vreduirya c†ourya ir pieho gyaondoh, in yuili Kiebrid in zouni siehdeť ir sieeh.
Siev avon, ȟezyieto Vreduirya cťourya ir pieȟo gyaondoȟ, in yuili Kiebrid in zouni sieȟdeť ir sieȟ.
according agreement / protect-irr-resp Verduria safety and peace border-abl / in way Kebri-abl in year-pl sixty six
Under the agreement, Verduria will guarantee the safety and peace of the border, as Kebri did for 66 years.

Tyouwiemo dzahni vreduiri pwoisi gyaondo, pioho niiombriemo Sarvensieyo iol nawei atle.
Tyouwiemo dzaȟni vreduiri pwoisi gyaondo, pioȟo niiombriemo Sarvensieyo iol nawei atle.
exist-irr-resp soldier-pl Verdurian near border / but not-enter-irr-resp Sarvenceo or town-pl other
Verdurian soldiers will be present at the border, but will not occupy Sarvenceo or other cities.

Pienieto Mitigaoma hyiuira zieri ir pesuira miebra in cou†i swiei.
Penieto Mitigaoma ȟyiuira zieri ir pesuira miebra in couťi swiei.
keep-irr-resp Mitigaoma freedom refl-poss and ability act in side-pl every
Mitigaoma retains its independence and its freedom of action in all respects.

Niuiriemo sui sani iol dzahni Mitigaomad a sui vreduirno, ir bao†ieto avon puigiemo piesiemo pena† au dibro neisinad Mitigaomad iol vreduiri.
Niuriemo sui sani iol dzaȟni Mitigaomad a sui vreduirno, ir baťieto avon pugiemo pesiemo penať au dibro neisinad Mitigaomad iol vreduiri.
not-serve-irr-resp none official-pl or soldier-pl Mitigaoma-abl to none Verdurian / and hit-irr-resp agreement end-irr-resp can-irr-resp with one vote legislature-abl Mitigaoma-abl or Verdurian
No Mitigaoman officials or troops will report to Verdurians, and the agreement can be ended at any time by a vote of the Mitigaoman or Verdurian legislature.

Niioswiemo ir nipouwo avon bieglo, pioho hiezyiemo pieho pena† demieto luikad.
Niioswiemo ir nipouwo avon bieglo, pioȟo ȟezyiemo pieȟo penať demieto luikad.
not-seek-irr-resp and not-promote-irr-resp agreement war / but protect-irr-resp peace via subtraction inclination-abl
The agreement does not seek or promote war, but protects peace by removing temptation.

Nityouwa sui clie†woi dya, tiondoi vanao ∂iexnamna a bieglo.
Nityouwa sui clieťwoi dya, tiondoi vanao ďieȟnamna a bieglo.
not-exist-inf none report-pl sub / move-past-irr-resp government Dhekhnami to war
There are no reports that the government of Dhekhnam has taken steps toward war.

Wivoulo vanao Mitigaomad po tiomaondo pwoisi Vreduirya ir pwoisi ƒiehnam ios†a zounde†i muiswa.
Wivoulo vanao Mitigaomad po tiomaondo pwoisi Vreduirya ir pwoisi Ďieȟnam iosťa zoundeťi muiswa.
hope-irr-resp government Mitigaoma-abl for friendship near Verduria and with Dhekhnam before decade-pl many
The government of Mitigaoma hopes for friendship with both Verduria and Dhekhnam for decades to come.

The haircut

One of the most popular television (sacaina) shows of the 3640s was Siev Yaogoȟ (According to Yaogoȟ). It centered on the lower class Yaogoȟ family of Coicas, in Upper Sarnáe. The main character is the father, Pwourataile or Pwoura, who works as a handyman. He is old-fashioned, highly bigoted, irascible, and full of schemes that always go wrong— a source of exasperation for his wife Miri and his best friend Oarso, who despite his name (‘bear’) is mousy and always helps Pwoura with his schemes, though he worries (correctly) that they will fail. Oarso is married to Naoi, and both couples have children (who were allowed to grow from babies into adolescents over the show’s run).

Sarnéans loved Pwoura, laughing at his foolishness but admiring his scrappiness and his rants against anything new or foreign. (Oarso’s nickname for him was Bwiona ‘grouchy’.) It helped that the actor, Nauȟi Zuilad, was an accomplished actor, known for physical comedy and a mastery of facial expression.

This extract is from an episode (#214, 14 reswulya 3642) where Pwoura, having heard that barbers make more money than handymen, convinces Oarso that they should get into the business. Pwoura grandly offers to let Oarso start with him.

For clarity I’ve colored Oarso’s lines in blue, Naoi’s in green.

Pwoura: Po-debuita, wioarso. Po-da au tyaonsa ir raodya a sio.
Pwoura: Po-debuita, wioarso. Po-da au tyaonsa ir raodya a sio.
Pwoura: imper-begin dim-bear / imper-give one haircut and shave to 1s
Pwoura: Go ahead, little bear. Give me a haircut and shave.

Oarso: Tyaonso sio sweviei niswofp.
Oarso: Tyaonso sio sweviei niswofo.
Oarso: cut-resp 1s hair not-know-resp
Oarso: I don’t know how to cut hair.

Swofo, †iot! Pokieto siolo tai, inswaoho dya?
P: Swofo, ťiot! Pokieto siolo tai, inswaoȟo dya?
know-resp / idiot / why practice-resp 1p / think-resp 2s sub
A characteristic of colloquial speech is leaving out pronouns when they’re obvious.
P: I know, you idiot, why do you think we’re practicing?

Ciensa debuito?
O: Ciensa debuito?
how start-resp
O: What do I do?

Fait buruiho liet hinkai∂u mieli is†ie∂a, oura?
P: Fait buruiȟo liet ȟinkaiďu mieli isťieďa, oura?
Q use-resp 2s scissors way previous yes
P: You’ve used a scissors before, right?

Tyaonso Naoi sweviei bweveid.
O: Tyaonso Naoi sweviei bweveid.
cut-resp Naoi hair short-pl-abl
O: Naoi cuts the kids’ hair.

Mieli tuiri, mieli lieri.
P: Mieli tuiri, mieli lieri.
way 3s-poss / way 2s-pos
P: Do it the same way. (Lit., her way, your way.)

Lawdo po cyoto namairo.
O: Lawdo po cyoto namairo.
go-resp 1s for bowl intend-resp
O: Let me get a bowl.

Ni nios, tyouwa touto po bwevai. Biburuiho tai cyoto po haotlai. Swaonzo sio au cyouha nivoulo
P: Ni nios, tyouwa touto po bwevai. Biburuiȟo tai cyoto po ȟaotlai. Swaonzo sio au cyouȟa nivoulo.
not no / exist-inf for kid-pl / not-use-resp 1p bowl for adult-pl / seem-resp 1s one clown not-want-resp
P: No no, that’s for kids. You don’t use a bowl for grownups. I don’t want to look like a clown.

Ciensa dioa tyaonso sio swofiemo?
O: Ciensa dioa tyaonso sio swofiemo?
how therefore cut-resp 1s know-irr-resp
O: How do I know how to cut it then?

(sao†a in mauno): Rihiemo, ie glinuira wimeyni pan†. Po-tyaonsa wimeyn au
P (saoťa in mauno): Riȟiemo, ie glinuira wimeyni panť. Po-tyaonsa wimeyn au.
(strand in hand): look-irr-resp / be-inf length meynis-pl five / imper-cut meynis one
Sarnáe now uses the Xurnese measurement system. One meynis is 7.6 mm, about a quarter inch.
P (a strand of hair in his hand): Look, it’s about 5 meynis. Cut off one meynis.

Oyo bourdo kieri?
O: Oyo bourdo kieri?
O: from edge which
O: From which end?

Oyo ireha! Suida souwa causel swiei swevieih, po-tyaonso ospan†.
P: Oyo ireȟa! Suida souwa causel swiei swevieiȟ, po-tyaonso ospanť.
from top / everywhere / mention bit every hair-abl / imper-cut one-fifth
P: From the top! All over, each bit of hair, cut off one fifth.

(Mecuiro sau†a): Ospan†. (Tyaonso.) Mna.
O (Mecuiro sauťa): Ospanť. (Tyaonso.) Mna.
O (begin-hold-resp strand): one-fifth / (cut-resp) / (intj)
O (takes a strand of hair): One fifth. (Cuts.) Uh oh.

Kieto iombrai?
P: Kieto iombrai?
P: what enter-past.inf
P: What happened?

Tyaonsoi nitouswa.
O: Tyaonsoi nitouswa.
O: cut-past-resp not-enough
O: I didn’t cut enough.

Ao †iotno, ie kaoryo! Tyaobra touswa iorna, oura? Po-renlawda
P: Ao ťiotno, ie kaoryo! Tyaobra touswa iorna, oura? Po-renlawda.
oh idiot / be.inf luck / exceed-inf much little yes / imper-return
P: Well, idiot, that’s fine! Better than too little, right? Try again.

Pioho swaoȟoi liet ospan†. Niswofo dya, kieri diomo tyaonsa.
O: Pioȟo swaoȟoi liet ospanť. Niswofo dya, kieri diomo tyaonsa.
but say-past.resp 2s one-fifth / not-know-resp 1s sub / which amount cut
O: But you said a fifth. Now I don’t know how much more to cut.

(swaoho mieli taorda): Pan† buisa au ie pawor. Twaosiemo liet ios†a tieka wimeyni pawor
P (swaoȟo mieli taorda): Panť buisa au ie pawor. Twaosiemo liet iosťa tieka wimeyni pawor.
(speak-resp way slow): five without one be.inf four / cut-irr-resp 2s before remain-inf meynis four
P (speaking slowly): Five minus one is four. You cut till four meynis are left.

Oi rieis†a. (Tyaonso.) Mna.
Oi rieisťa. (Tyaonso.) Mna.
oh truth / cut-inf / aoh
O: Oh right. (Cuts.). Uh oh.

Kieto siotla?
P: Kieto siotla?
what now
P: Now what?

Tyaonsoi iorna.
O: Tyaonsoi iorna.
cut-past-resp 1s too
I cut too much.

(swalieho): Po-mecuirac sau†a atle ir ailo dio†ad po-mouna mieli ∂aowa
P (swalieȟo): Po-mecuirac sauťa atle ir ailo dioťad po-mouna mieli ďaowa.
(sigh-resp): imper-incep-hold strand another and this time-abl imper-work way right
P (sighs): Take another strand and do it right this time.

Po-ninyuima. (Laozo manuira swevieeh.)
Po-ninyuima. (Laozo manuira swevieiȟ.)
imper-not-fear / grab-resp hand big hair-abl
O: No worries. (Grabs a handful of hair.)

Naoi (insaotlac): Opo suilni!
Naoi (insaotlac): Opo suilni!
Naoi (in-jumping): hi boy-pl
Naoi (bursting in): Hello boys!

(Hyui, tyaonso mieli hyi; ryoutobra zie†) Ia!
O (ȟyui, tyaonso mieli ȟyi; ryoutobra zieť) Ia!
(confused / cut-resp way wild / freeze-resp refl-acc) ay
O (startled, cuts wildly, freezes) Ay!

Kieto ∂iowa, wicuidro?
N: Kieto ďiowa, wicuidro?
What be.inf / little-heart
N: What are you doing, dearest?

Tyaonso tout sweviei ieri, Naoi.
P: Tyaonso tout sweviei ieri, Naoi.
cut-resp 3sm hair 1s-poss / Naoi
P: He’s cutting my hair, Naoi.

Diomo iolo?
N: Diomo iolo?
amount that
N: That much?

(Rioho in liew) Tyuima catsugi! Ciensa ∂aomai?
(Rioȟo in liew) Tyuima catsugi! Ciensa ďaomai?
P: (look-resp in glass) plague mammal / how mess-past.inf
You couldn’t say tuiza ‘shit’ on television.
P (looks in mirror): Dammit beast! What did you do?
Oarso turns out not to have a natural talent for cutting hair. Naoi gives it a try, but Pwoura says it looks too feminine. Finally he tries it himself. In the end there’s nothing to do to save his haircut but to shave his head bald. Now there’s just the shave to do. But this time Pwoura decides it’s his turn to practice, on Oarso….


This is the same ritual text given in the Dhekhnami and Munkhâshi grammars. However, it’s been modified under Verdurian rule to eliminate references to the ktuvoks; these are replaced with “our elders”. References to the Six Gods are retained out of liturgical conservatism— modern Gelalhát worships Gelálh alone.
Stiet tai ais†a po tsoťa tai ai∂i sieh dya.
Sťiet tai aisťa po tsoťa tai aiďi sieȟ dya.
come-inf 1p here for worship-inf 1p god-pl six sub
We come here to worship the Six Gods.

Dekaoswa aunori taonda noumi cairi ir clio†o a tai suikieda.
Dekaoswa aunori taonda noumi cairi ir clioťo a tai suikieda.
teach-past.resp elder-pl 1p-poss name-pl 3p-poss and pray-resp to 1p always
Our elders taught us their names and constantly intercede for us.

Souwa Aondor, ieson ai∂o taonda ah dio†a uilah lapro
Souwa Aondor, ieson aiďo taonda aȟ dioťa uilaȟ lapro.
mention Aondor / be.sub god 1p-poss against time ancient keep.going-resp
The Mighty One has been our god since ancient times.

Tyouwon Gelat Aondor ior sioi; lielacih ries†o tout, nilioriema.
Tyouwon Gelat Aondor ior sioi; lielaciȟ riesťo tout, niliriema.
exist-sub Gelálh Aondor above everything / seeing-abl man 3sm / not-live-irr.inf
Above all is Gelálh the mighty; a human who sees him will not live.

Tyouwon Soigat pwoisi tout, iesac kietyon ai∂i atle huipa zye.
Tyouwon Soigat pwoisi tout, iesac kieťyon aiďi atle ȟuipa zye.
exist-sub Tsôkálh 3sm / being bear-past.sub god-pl other under sea
At his side is Tsôkálh who bore the other gods under the sea.

Oigas ieson swoho taokenih ir tsoumwoh, Coicas ieson caidelno swofiola.
Oigas ieson swoȟo taokeniȟ ir tsoumwoȟ, Coicas ieson caidelno swofiola.
Ulgâsh be.sub lord war-abl and destruction-abl / Korkâsh be.sub craftsman clever
Ulgâsh is the lord of war and destruction, Korkâsh the crafty creator.

Tienon Cuinah sounso foiri; tienon Tsahwasi Tliegas uilah
Tienon Cuinaȟ sounso foiri; tienon Tsaȟwasi Tliegas uilaȟ.
own-sub Kumnatnâk soil fertile / own-sub Chakprashi Tliegas ancient
The fertile soil belongs to Kumnatnâk, the primeval Mišicama to Chakprashi.

Plierwat li†decwoi taonda muim; plierwat clc†iolai aunorih taonda muim.
Plierwát liťdecwoi taonda muim; plierwát cliťiolai aunoriȟ taonda muim.
please-imper sacrifice-pl 1p-poss 2p-acc / please-imper prayer-pl elder-pl-abl 1p-poss 2p-acc
May our sacrifices please you; may the prayers of our elders please you.

Hiezwat taim ir nitsoumwat; ieswa cťoudo muinda
Ȟiezwát taim ir nitsoumwát; ieswá cťoudo muinda.
protect-imper 1p-acc and not-destroy-imper / lessen-imper anger 2p-poss
May you protect us and not destroy us; may your anger abate.

Luika tai a bwo†wo suikieda, iesac tai ie catsugoi guos
Luika tai a bwoťwo suikieda, iesac tai ie catsugoi guos.
bend-inf 1p to sin always / being 1p be-inf animal-pl weak
We are prone to sin, being weak animals.

Uira tai aunori taonda laotoa po rihiemon ai∂i taim pena† ionzaondo dya
Uira tai aunori taonda laotoa po riȟiemon aiďi taim penať ionzaondo dya.
serve-inf 1p elder-pl 1p-poss should-inf / for god-pl 1p-acc using kindness sub
May we be fitting servants of our elders so the gods look kindly on us.


Over here!