Virtual Verduria


Introduction Types of Tžuro

Phonology ConsonantsVowelsStress


Morphology VerbsProgressiveImperativeParticiplesTo beNounsPronounsNumbersDerivations

Syntax Sentence orderErgativityConjugationPrefixesTo beParticiplesNP orderYes/no questionsNegativesAdverbsExistentialsPossessionIndirect objects ConjunctionsPrepositionsInterrogativesAuxiliariesValence changeRelative clausesSentential argumentsPlace and timeConditionalComparative

Semantic fields NamesTitlesKinshipGreetingsHorses

Sample texts BaburkunimBook of the EmperorWho is the Emperor?



This document describes the Classical Tžuro language, the language of Babur (d. 1520) and the Kurundasti Tej which, alongside Ervëa, conquered Munkhâsh in the 1600s, and then conquered the Šinour valley, now the state of Šura.

Language map of eastern Ereláe. (Borders as of 3480.)

The Lenani-Littoral language family is divided into three branches:

The entire family is related to the Wede:i and Mei families; the superfamily is Southern.

Types of Tžuro

Šura or Skouras was once occupied by the skouranda (the speakers of Old Skourene), who created a raucous maritime-based civilization there, divided into eternally warring city-states. Around 1700 it was conquered by nomadic Tžuro, fired up by a new monotheistic religion, Jippirasti, literally ‘I have listened to Jippir’.

Its followers, Jippirasutum, study the words of the prophet Babur, the Baburkunim (‘Babur spoke to us’). The very words of the book are holy, and thus define the Classical Tžuro language (CT). The modern Tžuro languages can all be taken as deriving from CT.

More precisely, CT is the language of classical scholarship, especially the Čelepa s Atej (Emperor’s Book), completed in 2391 under the Anajati Tej. The Baburkunim is published with spellings ‘corrected’ to Anajati norms, but contains lexical and morphological archaisms.

CT remains the standard literary language of Šura, and one of the three major working languages of the Democratic Union (DU), along with Mei and Lenani. But this statement requires many hedges.

Spoken Šureni (SŠ) has of course changed significantly in the 1300 years since the Anajati, and the 2000 year since Babur. This mostly affects the phonology, but in predictable ways: you can generally deduce the modern pronunciation from the written form, though not vice versa. There are also morphosyntactic changes, and of course many lexical changes.

Literary Šureni (LŠ) is what people write in the 3600s. This in turn has several registers. A preacher or theologican may attempt as close an imitation of CT as they can manage. The language of a journalist or novelist is much more influenced by SŠ norms, and freely uses modern terminology and slang. Informal communications may be almost pure SŠ.

There are finer nuances still. The preacher is not free from modern influences, and “modern CT” is easily distinguished from ancient literature— for instance, by the frequency and meaning of various verb forms. At the same time, the popular writer will make use of CT quotations, or use CT syntax for rhetorical effect.

All this will be familiar to students of Latin, Arabic, or Chinese. Medieval Europeans, or modern Arabs, wrote in a literary language standardized more than a millennium before— but Isaac Newton does not write like Cicero, nor a modern Cairo newspaper like Muħammad.

For ease of exposition, this grammar covers CT only. A separate page will cover LŠ and SŠ. Admittedly this will be awkward if you are chiefly interested in the modern language, but it saves writing a very confusing discussion of changes and exceptions in every section of the grammar. For what it’s worth, knowing CT is excellent preparation for learning LŠ or SŠ; going the other way is far more difficult.

—Mark Rosenfelder, December 2022


The Tžuro were very concerned with correct pronunciation of the Baburkunim and wrote detailed manuals on this. These are clear enough that we have a good idea of CT phonology, confirmed by borrowing into other languages. Jippirasutum still make an effort to recite the Baburkunim in the ancient way.


The consonantal system of CT:
labial lab-dent dental palatal velar
stops p t č k
b d j g
fricatives f s š h
v z ž
nasals m n ŋ
liquids l y
As a first approximation, consonants can be taken as their IPA values, except that č j š ž are /tʃ dʒ ʃ ʒ/.

Tžuro usually borrowed OS dental stops with their own (e.g. dleda > drida, Kolatimand > Kulatiman), and OS retroflexes with their palatals (seṭṭeş > sačaš), which suggests that t d s etc. were indeed dentals and not alveolars. The recitation manuals confirm that these consonants (except r) were pronounced with the tongue against the teeth.

Evidence is unclear on whether r was an alveolar tap [ɾ] or a retroflex [ɽ]. OS r was borrowed as r, but there was no other alternative. SŠ has [ɾ].

Like French, voicing begins early in the voiced consonants; to outsiders, a word like Babur sounds almost like Mbabur. The cluster thus contrasts with both č (which is unvoiced throughout) and j (which is voiced throughout).

An h at the end of a syllable must be pronounced.

Doubled consonants should be pronounced longer.


The vowel system of CT is quite simple:
front back
high i u
mid e o

SŠ is characterized by diphthongization of stressed vowels and reduction of all others. The manuals do not mention any of this, and it’s likely that these changes postdate CT. There is weak evidence that the mid vowels were laxed in closed syllables, thus kome = [kome] but johdeg = [dʒɔh dɛg].


The overall rule is to stress the last full syllable of the root: maJAM, kaČAR, leNAN, šiNOUR.

If the last syllable ends in a vowel, don’t stress it: FSAva, TŽUro, KRUna, MAli, KOme, maRAmu.

Don’t stress morphological prefixes or suffixes: aTEJ, MOLon, JIPpir, JEŋum. The place suffix (v)ali is an exception: duVAli. Naturally you will have to learn what these affixes are to recognize them!

Compounds have secondary stress on the first compound: Jippir-asti – JIPpir Asti, Fanal-nak = FAnaNAK, Babur+kanum = baBUR KUnim.


Tžuro is written using a syllabary devised by Babur, called tettir. More precisely, it’s an abugida, like Devanāgarī. A single letter is a tatit. Thus, there are base glyphs for each initial consonant, plus one for syllables beginning with a vowel:

Then, each of these is modified to show the following vowel (here shown with initial p):
There are also ways to represent certain initial consonants (here shown on base glyph pa):

The ppa diacritic is used for a preceding geminated consonant. (I.e. applied to tu it produces ttu.)

Finally there are diacritics for final consonants, generally related to the base letterforms:

There is a special diacritic for final nd, shown above. Other final clusters are written by stacking up diacritics either downward or left to right.

Here’s an example putting all these things together:

It’s preferred to write syllables within a word with CV and CCV signs, when available. Thus you write Jippirasti as ji-ppi-ra-sti, not jip-pir-as-ti or other possibilities.

There are no spaces between words, but it’s preferred to begin a word with a new tatit. Thus you don’t write the above sentence as …mu la ma sti.

A consonant letter can be used on its own if needed for an unsupported initial cluster, as in jreta or švari. These are quite rare, however.

The above letterforms are prototypical, but there are variants where each CV syllable can be written in one stroke, and where syllables can be connected. For instance, here’s a more calligraphic version of the above sentences:


As in most of my grammars, I’ve tried to keep the Morphology section slim, so it can serve as a quick reference. Usage notes and examples are given in the Syntax section.

Tžuro orthography does not have anything corresponding to our hyphens or even our spaces— though stress is marked. We could write (say) karaklujur ‘those wars’ equally as karak-luj-u-r or karakluju-r. I’ve preferred not to use hyphens, simply because that will make discussion of LŠ changes easier.

Verbal morphology


The past tense is used for events that are both past and completed.

The citation form for verbs is the 1s absolutive, e.g. kini = “I was spoken to.” The verb agrees with both agent (using the ergative infixes) and experiencer or patient (using the absolutive endings).

Absolutive Ergative Reciprocal
I mali mil mili
you mala mal mala
he/she malu mul mulu
we two malis mzil miliš
you two malas mzal malaš
they maluz mzul muluš
we malim mail mailin
you all malah mol molon
they malum maul maulan
Mnemonics: If a verb is more than one syllable, whether simple or compound, morphological changes apply only to the last syllable. E.g. yamali ‘persuade’ > yamilu ‘I persuaded him’, yamzalis ‘the two of you persuaded the two of us’.


In CT the past contrasts with the progressive tense, which is used for a present and/or ongoing action. The root meaning is non-completive, though for past events there is no assertion that the action was not completed later.

It’s formed with an infix, most often r, but this can vary by verb (and often exposes a pre-Tžuro form of the root). The lexicon gives irregular active participles, which will have the same infix as the progressive. If a root has three consonants, the middle one becomes the infix: hasti > hisit ‘I am reading’, traki > tirik ‘I am dropping’.

Absolutive Ergative Reciprocal
I mrali miril mirili
you mrala maral marala
he/she mralu murul murulu
we two mralis midil midiliš
you two mralas madal madalaš
they mraluz mudul muduluš
we mralim maril marilin
you all mralah marol marolah
they mralum marul marulan
Mnemonics: If you’re marking both absolutive and ergative, note that what you want is infix -r- and the suffix, thus mririlum ‘I am saying them’.


The imperative is formed from the citation form by removing the final vowel: mal! ‘speak!’ A third person jussive is formed by replacing the vowel with u: mul! ‘let him/her speak!’ If you want a pronominal object, use the future instead: usrarati! ‘listen to me!’


There are a number of prefixes which modify the verb’s meaning:


Given a verb XCi (where C is the final consonant and X is whatever comes before it), a passive participle has the form XCuCu: jiŋi eat > jiŋuŋu eaten; kini ‘speak’ > kinunu ‘spoken’, nebi ‘teach’ > nebubu ‘taught’.

If the C is an affricate, the second C will be the corresponding stop: sači ‘be correct’ > sačutu ‘correct’; nuji ‘know’ > nujutu ‘known’. If the C is ŋ, the second C is g: moŋugu ‘afraid’.

Occasionally the participle is simplified: soti ‘clean’ > *sotutu > stutu, draji ‘divide’ > drajju ‘divided’.

Stress falls on the penult: saČUtu, STUtu

An active participle is formed like the progressive, with the infix -VRa-, with the V being the vowel of the citation form of the verb, and R being the infix used for the ergative progressive. Thus jiraŋ ‘eating’, kišan ‘speaking’, nebat ‘teaching’, tezat ‘cutting’, sorat ‘cleaning’, daraj ‘dividing’.

If the verb ends in a double consonant -DC, R will be D: naŋgi ‘trick’ > naŋag; sarni ‘cook’ > saran.

Irregular participles are given in the lexicon. (E.g. sizi ‘advise’ > sinas not *siraz, tezi ‘cut’ > tensu.)

The participles can take prefixes: ujiŋugu ‘eaten in the future’, pastutu ‘unable to be cleaned’, nikišan ‘able to speak’.

To be

The verb ši ‘be’ is a simplified version of sači ‘be correct’; compare sači ‘I was correct’, sičiš ‘I am being correct.’ (In the Baburkunim, sači is used directly as ‘be’, and intermediate forms are also found.)
Past Progressive
I ši sič
you ša sač
he/she šu suč
you + I sris sid
you two sras sad
they sruz sud
we srim siš
you all srah soš
they srum suš

Nominal morphology

Plural: If the stem ends in a consonant, add a copy of the previous vowel:
ajjos > ajjoso kings
atej > ateje emperors
čal > čala seas
If it ends in vowels a/e/i, add -u:
fsava > fsavau clans
mahi > mahiu wheats
If it ends in vowels o/u, or in ei, add -m:
jeŋu > jeŋum gods
sovei > soveim aunts
There are some irregular plurals as well, noted in the lexicon.

A genitive is formed with -i, for either singular or plural:

ajjos > ajjosi king’s, kings’
atej > ateji emperor’s, emperors’
fsava > fsavai clan’s, clans’
mahi > mahii wheat’s
jeŋu > jeŋui god’s, gods’
The demonstrative ending r and the possessive suffixes also apply to nouns; see below.


Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns are not usually needed, as verbs are marked by person. However, they can be used for emphasis, precision, within conjunctions, etc.
s pl poss
I min mini -li
you teŋ teŋe -la
he/it so sono -su
she soŋ -suŋ
Min and teŋ come from the words for ‘under’ and ‘over’. Their plurals are regular.

There is a gender distinction only in the 3s— sono pluralizes both.

The pronoun zal (from ‘mighty’) is used for kings, gods, and nobles, by everyone present. So e.g. Jippir calls himself zal, and he is addressed zal in prayer, and referred to as zal. However, only one person in a conversation can use zal— the highest ranking one. Thus a noble talking to a king cannot use zal for himself, only for the king.

The possessive suffixes are added to nouns: ajorli my lord, grejali my house, grejala your house, tejsu his emperor, jejitsuŋ her child. These serve for plurals as well— grejali could also be ‘our house’. There is no suffix for zal.

With -su(ŋ), after š ž, z, s > š (teššu ‘his leather’), and after č j you just prolong the final stop (ločču ‘his park’, phonetically lotču.)


CT has only one demonstrative, the clitic –ur: atejur ‘that emperor’, maranur ‘that mother’. It’s just -r after a vowel: komer ‘that world’, čelepar ‘that book’. It’s added after a plural: atejer ‘those emperors’, čelepaur ‘those books’.

“That man, that place, that day” have all fused, producing mar ‘that (one)’, čer ‘there’, ner ‘then’.

These words in turn can be used with the possessive suffixes: marli ‘this one by me’, marla ‘that one by you’, marsu ‘that one by him.’

Interrogatives and relativizers

The basic interrogatives are all derivations of au ‘which one’:
which au
who ava
where avali
when aunem
how audeg
why avar
how much aumerg
Here and with the quantifiers, persons and things are not distinguished: ava is ‘who’ or ‘what’. These terms are only used for questions. The relativizers are jo ‘that’, nejo ‘when’, čeŋo ‘where’, explained in the Syntax section.


The basic quantifiers form an array of pronouns, much as the demonstrative does. A mixture of derivational methods is evident; the Baburkunim sometimes preservers alternate forms (e.g. čekkuš ‘in many places’).
adjective noun place time
none let lettir čelet nelet
one mo mot čemmo nemmo
other gok gokkir gokali neŋgok
some/any biva bivat bivali nembiv
many/much kuš kuššir kušali neŋkuš
all/every an anat čegan neman
In English ‘other’ and ‘many’ are considered ordinary adjectives, but gok and kuš fit in with this system of pronouns and have noun/place/time derivations.

The ‘one’ row can usually be taken literally— e.g. if you say you have mo jejit it means you have just one child. But sometimes it’s used for ‘one or more’, or simply means an indefinite references (‘a child’). Pragmatically, biva is used for ‘two or more, but a small number.’


The primeval Tžuro numeric system was base 6; under OS influence it was extended into a duodecimal system.
unit x6 x12 nth 1/n
1 mo mah mog ništi
2 ŋok mog madala lešpi drajutu
3 dej madej dah lendi neja
4 dala madala mogdala jreta
5 biŋ mabiŋ mogbiŋ joma
6 mah dah mogmah
7 momah mogmomah
8 dag mogdag
9 dejmah mogdejmah
10 pis mogpis
11 bimah mogbimah
12 mog ged
In the primitive system, numbers up to 36 were formed with the formula U a-ma-P where U is the units and P the power of 6; thus 22 = 346 = dala amadej. 36 (1006) had its own root, dah. The numbers 7, 9, and 11 are worn down slightly, e.g. momah < mo a-mah (which in fact is attested). The numbers 8 dag, 10 pis, 12 mog were borrowed from OS darg, pisan, morg.

Numbers above 36 are formed with the OS-based formula mog-T a-U where T is the power of 12; thus 70 = 5T12 = mogbiŋ apis. The powers and units thus switch positions after 36.

Higher powers of 12 are borrowed from OS (ged 144, ruŋ 1728, demun 20,736).

Ordinals beyond ‘3rd’ are formed like the genitive: dalai ‘fourth’, dagi ‘eighth’, etc.

Fractions beyond 1/5 are formed with the orginal plus drag ‘part’: mahi drag ‘1/6’, mogi drag ‘1/12’.

Basic arithmetic:

ŋok a dala suruj mah two and four touch six 2 + 4 = 6
dag let dej suruj biŋ eight not three touch five 8 – 3 = 5
ŋok tot dala suruj dag two with four touch eight 2 x 4 = 8
mah draga ŋok suruj dej six parts two touch three 6 / 2 = 3



Generally the verb is basic in Tžuro, though to a lesser extent than in Old Skourene. For these derivations CVC refers to the verb root (i.e., the citation form minus its final -i). Sometimes a derivation starts with the triliteral CVRVC, often though not always the same as the active participle.

Process: iCVCa

galni > igalna confusion
State: CVCat
čuk empty > čukat emptiness
Actor: aCVC
depi judge > adep judge
tej empire > atej emperor
Feminine: ŋ-; before a consonant, eŋ-
asev uncle > ŋasev aunt
adim lover > ŋadim female lover
muka deer > eŋmuka doe
Definite person: CVCCir
teŋ over > teŋŋir saint
jipi demand > Jippir name of God
Person with a quality: CVCei
Attafei all-mighty-one
Janei northern-one
Device: CeC
časki stab > česk rapier
gaji lie down > gej bed
Object: CaRaC
braji put, set > baraj buttocks
kanki divide > kanak wall
sizi advise > sanas council
Place: CVCali
depi judge > depali court
duvi cross > duvali crossing
Passive participle or adjectivization: 3s + reduplicated final syllable:
mefi ‘think’ > mefufu ‘thinking’
soti ‘clean’ > stutu ‘clean’
City: -im
Jippir God > Jippirim
jand north > Jandim
Diminutive: -it
dega dress > degit skirt
hol horse > holit foal, small horse
Augmentative: -luj
karak fight > karakluj war
suk nose > sukluj big nose, angry man
Study: -nuja
šej animal > šejnuja zoology
nehi move > nehnuja physics


The most common adjectivization is -i, which derives from the genitive
man nation > mani national
Gučidak Gurdago > gučidaki Gurdagor
Sometimes -ndi:
nata leaf > natandi leafy
pašma despot > pašmandi despotic
Quality: often -ig:
bandi wonder > bandig wonderful
got command > gotig demanding
lon water > lonig watery
Ability: ni + active participle
jiši see > nijišat visible; able to see
Inability: pa + active participle
jiši see > pajišat invisible; blind
Likeness: genitive + -deg
maran mother > marandeg motherly
Negative: -ja
stutu clean > stuja unclean
mefi reason > mefija irrational


Undo or go against: go-
baŋi harm > gobaŋi alleviate suffering
jipi order > gojipi countermand
muli say > gomuli deny
Causative ye-
ham black > yehami blacken
jaki be born > yejaki bear a child

Sentence derivations

OS is notable for naming people and things using sentences— e.g. Nuiktui ‘he will win many times’, or gairoukum ‘we cyclically sprinkle it’ = ‘cumin’. CT could do this as well, but more rarely. Some examples:
Jippirasti I listened to Jippir
Baburkunim Babur he spoke to us
dugmuju it goes, it twists itself = snake
turuk it makes it fall = arrow for felling horses
See also the section on Names.


Sentence order

Tžuro grammarians like to say that CT has free word order, largely on the basis that both subject and object are marked on the verb. Thus, all possible orders of the following sentence are possible:
Kurund akaraka kunum.
Kurund fighter-pl speak-3s>3p
Kurund spoke to the soldiers.

Akaraka Kurund kunum.
Akaraka kunum Kurund.
Kurund kunum akaraka.
Kunum Kurund akaraka.
Kunum akaraka Kurund.

But this is cheating a little, as one argument is singular and one is plural. Kurund Kutaj kunu ‘Kurund spoke to Kutaj’ and its variants would be ambiguous.

(In the gloss, 3s>3p should be understood ‘third person singular acting on third person plural.’)

Let’s back up a bit. Kina is a complete sentence in itself, and needs no arguments: I spoke to you. Likewise Kani you spoke to me, kinu I spoke to him/her, kzilas the two of us spoke to the two of you, kauna they spoke to you.

With third person arguments, you will want to give the referent at some point. However, where you put it has a pragmatic meaning. In general you introduce arguments by placing them after the verb, while existing arguments appear before it. Thus:

Kištu paran.
kill.1s>3s male
I killed a man.

Paran kištu.
male kill.1s>3s
I killed the man.

This is roughly how we use the definite article, and I’ve translated accordingly. But there are nuances.

One, the argument precedes the verb if it’s being mentioned incidentally:

Dega ŋiršu.
dress buy.1s>3s
I bought a dress.
The speaker is just saying what she was doing; there is no intention to focus on the dress or talk about it further.

Two, there is no need to introduce things that are always there: cities, the sun, the sea, God, etc. Thus these normally appear first:

Jippir kunu.
God speak.1s>3s
Jippir spoke to him.
If we reversed this (Kunu Jippir) the implication is that it is news that Jippir spoke.

A corollary of these two rules is that when a scene is introduced, things that normally belong to that scene can be taken as existing. E.g. here a city scene is evoked; streets are part of a city and thus are treated as existing background:

Degi rut im. Lujaliu čuku.
go.>1s to city / street-pl empty.>3s
I went to the city. The streets were empty.
If there are 1st or 2nd person arguments, or arguments are understood from context, there will be one argument at most. But of course two arguments are possible. From the above rules, we expect that an existing referent will precede the verb, a new one will follow it:
Ŋamaššu yejuku sadat.
woman-3sm.poss bear-3s>3s boy
His wife bore him a son.
This sentence is felicitous if the speaker is introducing the son, and has mentioned the wife (or the husband) previously.

If we’re introducing two referents at once, both appear after the verb, and the agent comes first:

Kunu Helu Janei.
speak-3s>3s Helu Janei
Helu spoke to Janei.
If we’re already talking about both parties, both could appear before the verb; but now the agent comes last. It may be less confusing to recall that the agent is closer to the verb.
Janei Helu kunu.
Janei Helu speak-3s>3s
Helu spoke to Janei.
Is this what the grammarians meant by free word order? (You could invent a context for each of the six possible orderings.) Not precisely, because we can also speak of rhetoric and poetic license. In everyday speech the above rules would suffice, but in elevated contexts one might pursue surprise, or emphasis, or momentary confusion— or a particular ordering might fit the meter better. I can’t advise that foreign learners play with such things, but I don’t want you to be confounded by unexpected word order in texts.

Basic ergativity

CT is partially ergative (where OS is fully ergative). If you know what ergativity is, skip this section. We can divide up verbs by valence, the number of arguments. For our purposes, that only includes arguments expressed on the verb; it doesn’t mean the number of NPs.

A verb with just one argument has a valence of 1; we call it intransitive. The argument is called an experiencer.

Examples: The king walked; I slept; the shoe dropped; you died.
A verb with two arguments has a valence of 2; it’s transitive. The more active argument, the one doing the action, is the agent; the one acted upon is the patient.
Examples: the king hates his minister; I love my wife; you read this book; she fired the cannon.
For case systems or verbal agreement, we can group these in several ways, but these two are common. (If it’s not clear, I colored the cases by combining colors: blue + red > purple, blue + green > cyan. And the role colors are meant to be mnemonic: the hot color red is for agents, green is its opposite, and blue is neutral.)

Ergativity in CT

The past tense sentences in CT we’ve been looking at have ergative alignment. Compare English and Tžuro in these related sentences:
Sadata bauču tasat.
boy-pl break.3p>3s window
The boys broke a window.

Tasat baču.
window break.3s
The window broke.
English doesn’t have morphological case on nouns, but it has syntactic case: nominatives precede the noun. That’s the boys in the first sentence, the window in the second, despite their different semantic roles. Pronominal case is also nominative/accusative, and only the nominative controls verb agreement.

In CT, the window has the same case in both sentences, absolutive. It’s marked on the verb with the -u suffix. The ergative is restricted to the agent, the boys. It’s marked on the verb with the au infix.

Often Tžuro has one verb where English has two. Compare:

Atej kuštu kuliggir.
emperor die.3s>3s ktuvok
The emperor killed a ktuvok.

Kuliggir kaštu.
ktuvok die.3s
The ktuvok died.
That is, one word kašti serves for both ‘die’ and ‘kill’. In Tžuro these work just like ‘break’: the ktuvok does the same thing in both sentences (it dies), so it’s expressed the same way. Traki ‘fall/drop’ works the same way. As English speakers are not used to thinking this way, I’ve marked the ‘special active meaning’, used with the ergative, as (e) in the lexicon.

Be careful with agentive intransitives like gaju ‘he slept’, čigu ‘it was located’, degu ‘he walked’, fsaku ‘it ran out’. Because we’re so used to these being subjects, you may be tempted to use the ergative (e.g. *guj). I’ve marked these vi (intransitive verb) in the lexicon, while vt marks transitive verbs.

The conjugation paradigm

Verbs have two morphological paradigms, which I’ve called past and progressive. They are supplemented by prefixed forms. All this can be grouped together as the conjugation paradigm, which contrasts with the participle paradigm.


The past tense is more properly called past completive. That is, it asserts not only that the action occurred in the past, but that it was finished.
Atej hustu čelepa.
emperor read.3s>3s book
The emperor read a book.

Minnir jaddegu.
minister enter.>3s
The minister entered.
These sentences imply that the emperor finished the book, and that the minister finished entering. (To save space I don’t gloss these verbs as past. If it’s not marked prog, it’s past tense. The gloss >3s on jaddegu clarifies that the agreement is absolutive, not ergative.)

Performatives also use the past, probably because this is the strongest way of stating that an action is complete:

Gojida rut tej.
expel.1s>2s out realm
I expel you from the realm.


The progressive can be used for anything that’s not past completive. For instance, it could be past, but not complete.
Atej husutu čelepa.
emperor read.prog.3s>3s book
The emperor was reading a book.
That is, the action was underway, but there is no assertion that the emperor finished the book. As such this form is used for an action that was underway when another one occurred:
Atej husutu čelepa nejo minnir jaddegu.
emperor read.prog.3s>3s book when minister enter.3s
The emperor was reading a book when the minister entered.
It can also be used for an event that’s not past— that is, it’s happening right now.
Atej husutu čelepa.
emperor read.prog.3s>3s book
The emperor is reading a book.
This is of course identical to the earlier sentence— it doesn’t tell us that the event is past or present. But context usually tells us. If we’re talking about past events in general, an instance of the progressive is probably also past.

As an extension of this, you can use it as a near-future promise:

Hisitu čelepar kuligi!
read.prog.1s>3s book-that Kulig-gen
I’ll read that damn book!
The progressive can also be used as a habitual:
Atej husutu čelepa jir nemmoro.
emperor read.prog.3s>3s book at morning-pl
In the mornings, the emperor would read a book.
Finally, the progressive can indicate permission or capability, as in this Baburkunim quote:
Vurum avam, jušug arjal, nuvut anint.
watch.prog.3s herdsman / plow.prog.3s farmer / hunt.prog.3s hunter
The herdsman knows herding, the farmer knows plowing, the hunter knows hunting.
This last usage is rather formal. It probably dates to a time when the modal resources of the language were scant, but it sounds august and reminds people of scripture and law.

Prefixed verbs

Statements about the future use the prefix u:
Čelepa ŋatej uhusutu.
book empress fut-read.prog.3s>3s
The empress will read the book.
The base is usually the progressive. In CT the past specially marks that the action will be completed, but in the Baburkunim the nuance seems to be that the event is more certain, more abrupt, or done only once. Ability or permission are expressed with the prefix ni; its opposite is pa.
Čadimiu nidraud.
Skourene-pl can-bargain.3p
The Skourenes knew how to negotiate.

Čadimiu pakarauk.
Skourene-pl can’t-fight.3p
The Skourenes didn’t know how to fight.
Obligation, weak or strong, is expressed with jo.
Anat josiktum.
evryone must-tax.>3p
Everyone had to pay taxes.
With the modal prefixes, the past is used for statements about the past, the progressive for statements about the future. Compare:
Čadimiu nidarud.
Skourene-pl can-bargain.prog.3p
The Skourenes know how to negotiate.

Anat josriktum.
evryone must-tax.prog.>3p
Everyone must pay taxes.

To be

Ši ‘be’ is highly irregular (it’s a very worn-down derivation of sači ‘be correct’). The progressive forms are simply used as a present tense.
Babur šu astir.
Babur be.3s prophet
Babur was the prophet.

Kurund suč atej.
Kurund be.prog.3s emperor
Kurund is the emperor.

Agiš ši, aneb sič.
thief be.1s / teacher be.prog.1s
I was a thief, (now) I am a cleric.

Berruja sač!
sane-not be.prog.2s
You are insane!
Though ši can be negated normally (see below), it’s also common to use gohi ‘be wrong’. In this sense, like ši, the progressive serves as the present.
Atej gohu pameraf.
emperor be.3s idiot
The emperor wasn’t an idiot.

Merg girih, ŋečuja sič.
number wrong.prog.1s / free be.prog.1s
I am not a number, I am a free man.

The participle paradigm

With some languages the English speaker must be cautioned not to use the participles too freely, as verbal rather than adjectival elements. Not with CT! The participles form a separate, very rich verbal system, and in fact have largely taken over in LŠ.

The passive participle works much like our past participle. Tense is indicated by the verb ši ‘be’.

Čelepa hastutu šu.
book read-pass.part be.3s
The book was read.

Čelepa hastutu suč.
book read-pass.part be.prog.3s
The book is being read.
Our present participle implies progressive aspect, but the CT active participle simply makes the sentence active.
Aneb hasat šu čelepa.
teacher read-act.part be.3s book
The cleric read the book.

Aneb hasat suč čelepa.
teacher read-act.part be.prog.3s book
The cleric is reading the book.
For intransitive verbs, we use the active participle:
Aneb garaj šu/suč.
teacher sleep-act.part be.(prog).3s
The cleric was (is) sleeping.
If you put this all together, you’ll see that the participle conjugation is not ergative, but nominative. Experiencers are treated like agents. Also note that the verb (ši) agrees only with the nominative subject; there is no object agreement.

You can use the verbal prefixes with the participles:

Čadimiu nidirad suš.
Skourene-pl can-bargain.act.part be.prog.3p
The Skourenes know how to negotiate.
What if you want to use participles but get a progressive meaning? You simply leave out ši:
Atej hasat čelepa, jir minnir jaderag šuč.
emperor read.act.part book when minister enter.act.part be.3s
The emperor was reading a book when the minister entered.

NP order

The recommended order for NPs:
number quantifier adjective possessor noun adjectives PP
naraš girl
narašur that girl
narašli my girl
biva naraša some girls
an narašar all those girls
anebi narašar the teacher’s girls
an biva narašar some of those girls
biŋ naraša five girls
an kuš naraša one of many girls
nidiram naraš a beautiful girl
naraša nidiram beautiful girls
an anebi narašar nidiram all of the teacher’s beautiful girls
narašar rut Pelihi those girls from Pelihi
ŋok narašar nidiram a nimeraf     those two beautiful and smart girls
If you have have both a number # and a quantifier Q, the meaning is “# of Q nouns”; similar story with a number/quantifier plus the demonstrative.

It’s likely that Tžuro NPs were once consistently head-first, like OS. Derivations are often head-first, like čegan ‘place-all = everywhere’ or sukluj ‘big nose’. Number and quantifiers often follow the noun in the Baburkunim (jeŋu mo ‘one god’); this is rarely done in the Čelepa s Atej except when quoting the Baburkunim. But when that source is quoted daily, its constructions can seem august and even numinous, and they were readily imitated.

With adjectives, some rules emerged:

That is, išogandi eŋjippirimiu is ‘the Jippirim women who are stylish’, while eŋjippirimiu išogandi is ‘Jippirim women, who all happen to be stylish.’ It’s the same distinction as between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses.

(I should note that the latter expression is not meant and should not be taken pedantically— it is not a literal claim that every single eŋjippirimi is stylish, any more than saying “birds have feathers” commits one to denying the existence of plucked chickens.)

Yes/no questions

If a sentence uses the conjugated paradigm, you turn it into a question by adding šu ‘was’. This word never changes in person, number, or tense.
Šu Kurund akaraka kunum?
be.3s Kurund fighter-pl speak-3s>3p
Did Kurund speak to the soldiers?

Šu gohi?
be.3s err.>1s
Did I err?
In the participle paradigm, you front the form of ši. This differs from the conjugated paradigm in that you’re moving an existing verb rather than adding one, and that the form of ši is inflected by person and tense.
Šu aneb hasat šu čelepa?
be.3s teacher read-act.part book
Did the cleric read the book?

Ši hasat čelepa?
be.1s read-act.part book
Did I read the book?
Unsurprisingly, this is also how you question copular sentences:
Sač berruja?
be.prog.2 sane-not s
Are you insane?
The answer is saču ‘that is correct’ or gohu ‘that is wrong’.

The Baburkunim uses saču rather than šu in asking questions.

A colloquial way to ask a question is to use ye ‘or’:

Kurund akaraka kunum ye?
Kurund fighter-pl speak-3s>3p or
Kurund spoke to the soldiers, right?


To negate a verb, -ga is suffixed to the verb. Note s > z, š > ž, č > j, n/m > ŋ before -ga.
Kurund akaraka kunuŋga.
Kurund fighter-pl speak-3s>3p-not
Kurund didn’t speak to the soldiers.

Čelepa hastutu šuga.
book read-pass.part be.3s-not
The book wasn’t read.

Berruja sajga.
sane-not be.prog.2s-not
You are not insane.
If you’re negating a question, note that added šu doesn’t get the -ga, but fronted ši does:
Šu Kurund akaraka kunuŋga?
be.3s Kurund fighter-pl speak-3s>3p
Didn’t Kurund speak to the soldiers?

Šuga aneb hasat šu čelepa?
be.3s teacher read-act.part book
Didn’t the cleric read the book?
Here saču agrees with the negative— indeed, Kurund didn’t speak, the cleric didn’t read the book.

Negative pronouns do not take -ga:

Čelepali hust lettir!
book-1 read-3s nobody
Nobody read my book!

Jatnem degim čelet.
today go->1p nowhere
Today we went nowhere.
To negate an adjective, use -ja: gač ‘happy’ > gačja ‘unhappy.’

If you want to negate an NP, use the modifying pronoun let ‘no’, and don’t negate the verb:

Kutaj kunum let akaraka.
Kurund speak-3s>3p none fighter-pl
Kutaj spoke to no soldiers.


There is no class of adverbs; instead, place the adjective just before the verb:
Paran pažih degu rut berruja.
male slow walk.>3s from madman
The man walked slowly away from the madman.
You might wonder if this could be interpreted as “A slow man walked…” If the adjective is descriptive, this could happen; but note that the meaning isn’t really different.

However, it’s also possible to turn the adjective into a full argument by adding deg ‘way’. This has the advantage that the new NP can be moved elsewhere in the sentence:

Paran degu rut berruja pažih deg.
male walk.>3s from madman slow way
The man walked slowly away from the madman.


Existentials do not use ši but čigi, literally ‘stand’, with the thing existing in the absolutive. The progressive indicates the present time.
Čralu čadimi tarat jed.
stand-prog.>3s Skourene before door
There’s a Skourene at the door.

Čigum čadimiu čer, hiŋ fsakum.
stand->3p Skourene-pl there / but lack.>3p
There were Skourenes there, but they went away.
An existential proper introduces the subject, so it follows the verb. Before the verb it’s just a locative:
Čadimi čralu jiri tarat jed.
Skourene stand-prog.>3s still before door
The Skourene is still standing at the door.
The same verb can be used as a cleft construction, emphasizing which entity was involved in an action. Note that the former main verb changes to a participle.
Jippir krurunu amef.
God speak-prog.3s>3s soul
Jippir speaks to the soul.
> Čralu Jippir kiran amef.
stand-prog.>3s God speaking soul
It’s Jippir that speaks to the soul.

> Čralu amef Jippir kiran.
stand-prog.>3s soul God speaking
It’s the soul that Jippir speaks to.
This can of course be negated:
Čraluga časak Jippir kiran.
stand-prog.>3s-not penis God speaking
It’s not the penis that Jippir speaks to.
If you use degi ‘go’ instead of čigi, the implication is that the subject just arrived:
Degu čadimi tarat jed.
go-prog.>3s Skourene before door
A Skourene came to the door.


CT has a perfectly normal verb for ‘have’, nirn-:
Fsava nrurunu luj greja.
clan have-prog.3s>3s big house
The clan owns a large house.
Rather than negating it, you usually substitute fsaki ‘lack’:
Fsava frusukum holo.
clan lack-prog.3s>3p big horse-pl
The clan lacks horses.
The Baburkunim prefers to use existential čigi plus a possessed noun, and this is imitated if you want to sound like the Baburkunim.
Čadimiu čralum imisu, hiŋ teŋe čralu Jippirsu.
Skourene-pl stand.prog.>3p city-pl-3 / but you-pl stand-prog.>3s God-3
The Skourenes have cities, but you have Jippir.
Literally: The Skourenes, their cities exist; but you, your God exists.

Recall that the thing existing is in the absolutive— there is really no semantic role left for the possessor, so it’s just stated as a topic, and isn’t marked on the verb.

Possession within an NP (X’s Y) is indicated two ways: Y si X, or X-gen Y. Si > s before a vowel.

hol s atej
horse of emperor
the emperor’s horse

ateji hol
emperor-gen horse
the emperor’s horse
The si form must be used if the NP is more than two words.
hol s atejli zal a jeŋusarak jat Jippirim
horse of emperor-1 mighty and god-loving in Jippirim
the horse of our mighty and pious emperor in Jippirim
If the possessor is a pronoun, use the pronominal forms instead: holsu ‘his horse’, atejli ‘my emperor’.

Indirect objects

Ditransitives, verbs with three arguments, are tricky for a morphology that only marks two. With braji ‘give’, the giver takes the ergative and the giftee the absolutive. The absolutive is not marked on the verb, but is linked to its new possessor with a pronominal suffix.
Atej čelepasur apiči brujum.
emperor book-3-this follower-pl give.past-3s>3p
The emperor gave this book to his followers.

Patali braji. Ižraŋala brija.
year-pl-1 give.past-2s>1s / honor-2 give.past-1s>2s
You gave me life. I gave you honor.
If the giftee is omitted, the gift is promoted to direct object:
An pat biriju kuš biga.
every year give.prog-1s>3s much coin
Every year I give away much money.
Verbs of permission like nisaji ‘allow’ work the same way. p>Valati ‘name’ simply throws in the name as an argument, without any verb marking or agreement.
Atredesu sadat valautu Jippirprurundis.
parent-pl-3 boy name-3p>3s Jippir-bless.prog.3s>1d
His parents named the boy Jippir-blesses-us.

Valiriti Anint.
name-prog-1s.refl hunter
I am called Anint.
For speaking, note the distinction between kini ‘speak to somone’ and mali ‘speak things’. If you really need all three arguments, use kini plus the instrumental tot.
Jippir kunim. Isača mulu.
Jippir speak-3s>1p / truth speak-3s>3s
Jippir spoke to us. He spoke the truth.

Jippir kunim tot isača.
Jippir speak-3s>1p using truth
Jippir spoke the truth to us.


Conjunctions include:
am and (before a consonant, a)
ye or
hiŋ but
zun therefore
kor because
ret then, next
taj besides, in addition
yana moreover, even more so
soga except, unless
jo relativizer; explained below
As in English, the first three can be used to join any constituents: Janei a Helu ‘Janei and Helu’; zal hiŋ pameraf ‘mighty but stupid’, jat jala ye jat čal ‘in the rivers or in the sea’.
Jippir mul am asti.
Jippir speak-3s and hear-1s
Jippir spoke and I listened/obeyed.
It’s common, though a bit formal, to include the conjunction between each conjoint: Dusilim a Jippirim a Pajimi.

Kor ‘because’ and taj ‘besides’ can also be prepositions (kor ikaštasu ‘because of his death’).

In the following conjoined sentences, who left?

Ŋamaššu atej mulu ret sevu.
wife-3m emperor speak-3s>3s and leave-3s
The emperor spoke to his wife, then ?? left.
The case roles win: the same person is assumed to take the absolutive role in both sentences, so sevu here means the wife left.

If you want the emperor to leave, the first sentence can be placed in the antipassive, which places the emperor in the absolutive:

Atej omalu tot ŋamaššu ret sevu.
emperor antipass-speak-3s with wife-3m and leave-3s
The emperor spoke to his wife, then he left.


The main prepositions:
duki on top of
in compared to
jat in, inside; to, toward
jir at (a time)
kor because of
min under, below
pit after (in time), since
rut out of, outside; from (a place)
si of (before a vowel, s)
taj next to, near, alongside, with (accompanying)
tarat in front of
teŋ above, over
tot using, with (instrumental)
tret before (in time), until
yav for, because of, in order to
OS has no prepositions, and it’s worth noting that all of these derive from something else: e.g. jat < jadi ‘be inside’; tot < tor+t ‘with the hand’.

In the Baburkunim, the genitive is often used as a locative: imi ‘in the city’, savai ‘in the mountains’, čali ‘at sea’. This is archaic, but again you can’t go wrong borrowing from that book.

Interrogative questions

An interrogative is normally backed, which makes sense if you consider that the known parts of the sentence come first. Ava ‘who’ is 3s, even if multiple persons are known to have been involved.
Kaštu a yetuja ava?
die.3s and crown.3s>2s who
Who died and made you emperor?

Čralu kešp avali?
stand-prog.>3s spittoon where
Where is the spittoon?

Babur ŋullaur mulum avar?
Babur word-pl-that speak-3s>3p why
Why did Babur speak these words?
An expression like Amin kuštu ava? is ambiguous between Who did the servant kill and Who killed the servant? Context will usually make this clear; if not, recall that an ergative-absolutive sentence can be split into two sentences:
Amin kaštu; kušt ava?
servant die.>3s / die.3s who
The servant died— who killed him?

Amin kušt; kaštu ava?
servant die.3s / die.>3s who
The servant killed someone— who was it?
The interrogatives are not used for relative clauses, as explained below.


Sometimes we want one verb to apply to another. CT does not have an infinitive; instead you can use the active participle, in transitive sentences:
Minnir iruruvu kišan atej.
minister wish-prog-3s>3s speaking emperor
The minister wants to speak to the emperor.
The absolutive argument jumps to the auxiliary. That is: yevi ‘want’ normally agrees with the wanter (ergative) and the thing wanted (absolutive); but here the absolutive agreement is with the person spoken to, borrowed from kisan ‘speaking’. To reinforce this, note
Minnir iruruvi kišan.
minister wish-prog-3s>1s speaking
The minister wants to speak to me.
Normally iruruvi would be ‘he wants me’!

If there’s no absolutive argument, use the passive participle instead:

You are afraid.
> Grorahu moŋugu.
wrong-prog-2s fear-pass.part
You are wrong to be afraid.

Valence changers

CT does not have or need a passive, since you can simply leave out the ergative argument (and not mark it on the verb):
Atej hustu čelepa.
emperor read.3s>3s book
The emperor read a book.

> Hastu čelepa.
read.>3s book
The book was read.
If you want to make the book the focus, or if you want to keep the emperor in the sentence, you simply front it:
Čelepa hustu atej.
book read.3s>3s emperor
The book was read by the emperor.
(See the Sentence order section for more on where arguments go and why.) The antipassive (the prefix o-) changes the absolutive argument to an ergative, and demotes the former absolutive argument if any to a prepositional phrase:
Atej okaštu tot amin.
emperor antipass-kill.>3s with servant
The emperor killed a servant.
On its own, the effect is a demotion of the actor’s agency— it was something happening to him, or perhaps it was done absently or accidentally. The translation above is too direct; the pragmatic effect is like The emperor by his actions allowed the servant to die.

But it’s also useful in conjunctions, as it allows the subject of both sentences to be the same:

Atej omalu tot amin, ret ŋalsu.
emperor antipass-speak.>3s with servnt then dine.>3s
The emperor talked to a servant, then ate dinner.
Without the antipassive it would be the servant who ate the dinner.

The causative (the prefix ye-) raises the valence. With intransitives, the causative simply adds a new ergative argument, the causer:

I slept.
> Ažanak yeguji.
magician caus-sleep.3s>1s
The magician made me sleep.
With transitives, the former ergative becomes an absolutive, and the former absolute simply floats in the sentence without verb agreement.
I loved you.
> Ažanak yedumi teŋ.
magician caus-love.3s>1s 2s
The magician made me love you.
Because yedumi does not mark the person loved at all, an explicit pronoun teŋ must be used. Compare:
Atej yekuštu minnirsu amin.
emperor antipass-kill.3s>3s minister-3m servant
The emperor made his minister kill the servant.
Since case is not marked on the verb, the above sentence could technically also be The emperor made the servant kill his minister. But the more active argument is usually placed closer to the verb.

For adjectives, the derived form is transitive. Compare the absolutive yešaju ‘it became red’with the ergative yešuju ‘he/she made it red’.

Relative clauses

You form a restrictive relative clause with the conjunction jo.
Atej kaštu minnir, jo goduršu.
emperor kill.3s>3s minister / sub betray.3s>3s
The emperor killed the minister who betrayed him.

Hast čelepar, jo patali yeguku.
read book-that / sub life-1 change-3s>3s
Read this book, which changed my life.

Degu nem, jo fsiku anat.
go->3s day / sub lack.1s>3s all
There came the day when I lost everything.
A jo clause in effect modifies the entire sentence, not an NP. The first sentence could therefore also be interpreted The emperor who betrayed him killed the minister. This could be handled by our old friend context; but also by the general rule that you attach a jo clause to the closest NP. So the traitorous emperor would have to be expressed thus:
Minnir kaštu atej, jo goduršu.
minister kill.3s>3s emperor / sub betray.3s>3s
The minister was killed by the emperor who betrayed him.
Or even this, though this is rather literary:
Jo goduršu, atej kaštu minnir.
sub betray.3s>3s / emperor kill.3s>3s minister
The emperor, who betrayed him, killed the minister.
You can also skip over NPs that don’t make sense semantically:
Atej hustu Baburkunim, jo sukum čelepau.
emperor read.3s>3s Baburkunim / sub like-3s>3s book-pl
The emperor who loved books read the Baburkunim.
A non-restrictive clause must be marked explicitly. The easiest way is to add another conjunction:
Paranur yedumi teŋ, a jo suč ažanak.
man-that caus-love.3s>1s 2s, and sub be.prog.3s magician
That man, who is a magician, made me love you.
Or you can use the conjunction taj ‘besides’:
Aŋat nuŋgi, taj šu čadimi.
trader cheat-3s>1s / besides be.3s Skourene
I was cheated by the trader, who was a Skourene.

Sentential arguments

Sometimes an argument is itself a sentence. It’s grammatical, though awkward, to express this as a separate sentence, with a pronoun.
Čralum kuš jeŋum. So guruh.
stand-prog->3p many god-pl / 3s false-prog-3s
There are many gods. (This is) false.
In the Baburkunim, reported speech works this way, though there is an orthographic way of marking it:
—Čralu mo jeŋu; zal sič— Jippir mul.
stand-prog->3s one god / I be.prog.1s / Jippir say.3s
“There is one god; I am he,” said Jippir.
In CT you keep the sentential argument as it is, and use the participle paradigm for the main clause:
Čralum kuš jeŋum gorah suč.
stand-prog->3p many god-pl false-act.part be.prog.3s
It’s not true that there are many gods.
You can back the sentential argument, but then you must use the conjunction jo.
Gorah suč, jo čralum kuš jeŋum.
false-act.part be.prog.3s sub stand-prog->3p many god-pl
It’s not true that there are many gods.
In popular speech you could simplify further:
Gorah čralum kuš jeŋum.
false-act.part stand-prog->3p many god-pl
It’s not true that there are many gods.
The CT grammarians warn against this, but it was predominant by 3000 at least.

Place and time expressions

The default location for time and place expressions is at the end of the sentence. One-word expressions (e.g. ner ‘then’, nelet ‘never’, nempit ‘tomorrow’, nentret ‘yesterday’) can be placed just about anywhere.

Many time and place expressions are prepositional phrases. CT, like OS, does not use the TIME IS SPACE metaphor for these, but uses separate prepositions for time and space.

Fronting the expression, as in English, topicalizes it.

Udregim jat Pajimi jir sakluj.
fut-walk.prog.>1p in Pajimi during winter
We will go to Pajimi in the winter.

Jir sakluj Udregim jat Pajimi.
during winter fut-walk.prog.>1p in Pajimi
In the winter, we will go to Pajimi.

Jat Pajimi udregim jir sakluj.
in Pajimi fut-walk.prog.>1p at winter
As for Pajimi, we will go there in the winter.
Unlike English, you can’t omit the preposition:
Jir atenluju pačragim jat Jippirim.
during summer-pl live.prog.>1p in Jippirim
Summers, we live in Jippirim.
You can use a place or time word as an anchor for a relative clause:
Deguga nem, jo sdati rut karak.
go->3s-not day / sub run.prog.1s out fight
This is not the day when I run from a fight.
That was all Babur had to work with, but after him nem jo > nejo ‘when’, čeg jo > čeŋo ‘where’. These are subordinators, not interrogatives.
Fsava ufsaku nejo ukšati.
clan fut-die.prog.>3s when fut-die.prog.>1s
The clan will fail when I die.

Čralu jeŋali čeŋo Babur jaku.
stand-prog.>3s shrine where Babur born.>3s
There is a shrine where Babur was born.


The simplest conditional simply conjoins two sentences, without a conjunction:
Uhasatu čelepar, ujnasa.
fut-read.prog.2s>3s book-that / fut-rich.prog.>2s
If you read this book, you’ll get rich.
More formally, you can use the construction jo X, ret Y. (This looks like a relative clause, and historically it was one. However, it need not refer to any argument in the consequence.)
Jo kačar kanju, ret nrarinu.
sub gold hide-2s>3s / then possess.prog.1p>3s
If you had hidden the gold, we would still have it.

Jo srača, ret kšatim.
sub right-prog.>2s / then die-prog.>1p
If you are right, we will die.

Jo jeja sčuju, ret jogosrotu.
sub person sin-prog.>3s / then must-expiate-prog.>3s
If a person sins, they must make expiation.
CT has no irrealis, nor the sort of tense changing that happens in English conditionals. You use the same tenses you’d used in declarative statements (cf. Kačar kanju ‘you hid the gold’, Nrarinu ‘we have it’.)

If you’re not contemplating a counterfactual or a future possibility, but stating a logical connection, you can use the construction Nejo X, zun Y (that is, “when X, then Y”).

Nejo tašla suč toš, zun sač čailan.
when skin-2 be.prog.3s blue / therefore be.prog.2s iliu
If your skin is blue, you are an iliu.


The preposition in is used for comparisons:
Atej prurujum meddejjiri in koriŋ.
emperor defeat-prog.3s>3p enemey-pl like lion
The emperor defeats his enemies like a lion.

Girekur suč mineraf in žoh.
pig-that be.prog.3s smart like dog
This pig is as smart as a dog.
If instead you use ten ‘above’ or min ‘under’, you have a comparative:
Johli suč mineraf teŋ žoh.
brother-1 be.prog.3s smart over dog
My brother is smarter than a dog.

Johli mineraf min zeŋke.
brother-1 be.prog.3s smart under bear
My brother isn’t as smart as a bear.
There is no superlative, though you can express the idea by using an ‘all’ in the comparison class:
Metli suč nidiram teŋ an naraša.
sister-1 be.prog.3s beautiful over all girl-pl
My sister is more beautiful than all (other) girls.
These constructions do not give you an adjective that can be used as a simple modifier, like ‘smarter’. But the augmentative -luj is often used in the same way: nakluj ‘very new’ often means ‘newer’; balarluj is often ‘better’.

Semantic fields


Common sources of names: There is a small store of names whose meaning has been lost: Babur, Kutaj, Barutra, etc.

It was once common to form names using a conjugated verb or even a whole sentence:

Pundis he (God) blessed us two
Upuruj he/she will conquer
Yepuču he (God) strengthened him/her
Ujunus he/she will be rich
Atejnuruj the emperor knows
Babursut he/she obeys Babur
Tajjaburuš he/she travels far
In early times, people usually went by one name. If that wasn’t enough, you could be identified by the name of your fsava (Jarah si Jalluj), or your town (Holit Jandimi), or even a nickname (Lonti Morit).

In modern Šura, these have developed into family names. See the Šureni grammar for how modern families (sigrejau) relate to the fsavau.


Babur spoke of the equality of all believers under Jippir, and he deplored excessive deference. This had an effect: it became common to address anyone from servants to elders to generals to Jippir simply by their name.

By the time of CT, titles had reappeared, but were supposed to be limited to a single word: e.g. asev ‘head of the clan’, ŋajjos ‘queen’, atej ‘emperor’, aneb ‘cleric’, teŋŋir ‘saint’. That is, you can call the emperor Barutra or atej, but not both at once. There were no terms like ‘your majesty’.

Later yet you could add a title to a name: Barutra atej, Janei ŋajjos, Ajažril aneb, Fisei teŋŋir. It was still considered tacky to add more (e.g. the name of their fsava or their realm, or words of praise).

Only in modern times can you add a title to an individual + family name, and only on first reference. Thus if Agrid Jideburi becomes Trustee, he is called Agrid Jideburi ažraŋ.

Kinship terms

The basis of traditional nomadic Tžuro culture, underlying the Baburkunim and the conquest of Skouras, is the fsava or clan, cognate to OS bsepa. The fsava is matrilineal and matrilocal, but male-led. It contains 50 to 150 people.

This structure reflects a world where women stay at home while men roam widely to take care of herds, hunt, go on raids, or trade with the settled states. The men were simply not at home much of the time. This in turn meant:

To put it another way, the clan was structured not on the husband-wife bond, but the brother-sister bond.

A fsava kept horses, cattle, and sheep or goats. To keep from overgrazing, these were grazed in smaller groups: the base camp was generally where the largest group of cattle was, and the women stayed there. Some fsavau grew crops, and naturally stayed by the fields. But even these moved after a year— if nothing else, this cut down on cleaning.

Daughters stayed with their fsava, slowly rising in prestige as she had children. She could be considered an elder once she had daughters, as she had contributed to preserving the fsava into the next generation.

Sons had a more complicated life. To win a bride, they had to win not only her support but her fsava’s; this usually meant spending a year or more living with and working for her clan. After the marriage, he could spend his camp time either in his own or his wife’s fsava and usually spent time in both, The leaders of the clan were male— all brothers of one of the female members. The highest authority was the oldest male, the asev. The eldest female, the ŋasev, was in charge when the asev was absent, and was not to be crossed lightly even if he wasn’t.

The animals, except for horses, belonged to the clan and stayed with it. An individual, male or female, owned several horses. These, and treasures like gold or weapons, were inherited not by a man’s children but by his sister’s.

Young men had little authority or property, and spent most of their camp time with their wife. As he grew older, however, a man spent more time in his own fsava. He could hunt with his wife’s clan, but raid only with his own. (If a clan was lacking in males, it might adopt one. This was often a son-in-law, but the actual adoption was as brother or nephew to an elder female.)

The most important kinship terms were these. The order is important: within each generation group, a person gets the highest possible name. E.g. the same person might be your sovei ‘elder’ and ŋasev ‘aunt’, but you would use the highest-ranked term for her, ŋasev.

asev the eldest male in the fsava, the ultimate decision maker
ŋasev the eldest female
maran mother
aŋesum mother’s husband
sovei aunt— any female in the previous generation or before
nujat uncle— any male in the previous generation or before
met sister
joh brother
tajei cousin— anyone else in your own generation
fsevvu heir— prototypically your eldest sister’s eldest son
mori niece— any sister’s daughter
meti nephew— any sister’s son
sadat son
maral daughter
tajjeg anyone else (child of a tajei)
For ego’s generation and those following, the suffixes -luj and -it could be used to indicate relative age. E.g. metluj is an older sister, metit a younger one.

This system of course belongs to the nomadic past. It fits the world of the Baburkunim, but after the conquest few Tžuro lived as herdsmen— all the more so once the conquered Skourenes adopted Jippirasti and learned Tžuro. Clans grew smaller and came to resemble the Skourene bsepa; increasingly couples lived together, apart from either fsava; city goods were inherited by children. Nonetheless the kinship terms, and thinking about families in general, were still based on the nomadic system.

One consequence: ‘love’ is divided between feelings for one’s wife or sex parter (idima) and those for one’s family (ipanda). Love between humans and God is ipanda, not idima… though the Fanpita was known (and somewhat disparaged) for using the language of adima with God.

One of the more charming corollaries is biviti, a holiday devoted to the brother-sister bond. Even today, brothers and sisters visit and exchange small gifts.


Our sources on courtesy in the CT era are literary, and probably embellished. But it seems that Tžuro speakers enjoyed flowery greetings.

Imagine this scenario: A group of men, tired and hungry from a long day’s riding, come to the camp of a fsava, currently occupied only by women and old men. This was a fraught moment, if they did not know each other; if all went well, it was an opportunity for dinner, companionship, and possibly sex. But a visit was not always welcome, if the men were rivals to the fsava, or were impolite, or if the camp was low on food. If it came to it, the women were expert archers and horse riders themselves, and could easily chase the tired men off. On the other hand, nomadic life depended on such exchanges, and hospitality was a virtue. The introductory exchange might go like this:

Balar: Kor Jippiri iyeva, istikig degi, taj biva joholi, jat lonalila palati a lonti.
because Jippir-gen desire / insignificant walk.1s / alongside few brother-pl-1 / in oasis-2 kindness-gen and peace-gen
Balar: By Jippir’s will, I have arrived, insignificant, with my few brothers, to your oasis of kindness and peace.

Valatli suč Balar, nujudja fsavali suč Holičal; yiriv modeg lon.
name-1 be.prog-3s / unknown clan-1 be.prog-3s Holičal / want.prog.1s only water
My name is Balar; my unfamed clan is Holičal; I desire only water.

Tihilon: Jippir pundim tot ibišala jim a gačterad.
Jippir bless.3s>1p using journey-2 long and good-omen
Tihilon: Jippir blessed us with your long and fortunate journey.

Nraronum ŋanak am ijiŋa a gej, kor šuga abiši kaŋ suč lami?
have.prog.2p>3p wine and food and bed / because be.3s-not visitor-gen foot be.prog.3s godling-gen
You will have wine, and meat, and a bed, for is not the foot of a visitor the foot of a godling?

Valatli suč Tihilon; fsavali čuk suč Nirššu. Avank asevi žono ubralug kor fasakla, hiŋ gač jo sraroku ivankala.
name-1 be.prog.3s Tihilon / clan-1 barren be.prog.3s Nirššu / Avank uncle-gen bone-pl fut-hurt.prog.>3p because absence-2 / but happy sub enjoy-2p>3s stay-2
My name is Tihilon; our miserable clan is the Nirššu. Our leader Avank will regret missing you, but will be happy if your stay was pleasant.
At this point the ŋasev will indeed bring refreshments, and the conversation will continue, mostly mutual probing to see if the clans have any relations or common friends, however remote, what trade goods each side possesses, and what news the travelers bring.

Before the Tej, the early mention of Jippir was itself a sign of peace, as Jippirasti was supposed to unite the Tžuro and forbid all wars and raids between fsavau. Non-Jippirasti would instead mention their own gods (each clan had one male and one female god).

Here, as usually, each side refers to itself with extreme humility and to the other with great praise. It was unwise to take these poses too seriously. Other approaches were possible: e.g. a group of men could come in with boasting and braggadocio. This was risky, but could be pulled off with a certain jocular playfulness. It often meant that the visitors had had a successful hunt, thus meat to share.

In the worst case— before the Jippirasti truce— a group of raiders had already vanquished the clan’s warriors. The encounter would be extremely polite and businesslike: proofs would be required, and straggling survivors given time to return. Both sides would exchange presents. Sex was off the table, since widows normally abstained for six months, and it was not yet known which women were widows. Naturally urban customs differed; they were a mixture of Tžuro and Skourene traditions. They are better described in the grammar of Šureni.


As nomads, the Tžuro were involved with horses (hol) almost from birth. Everyone, male and female, owned several horses. Naturally there was a wide variety of terms related to horses; this is only a sampling. (English, of course, has quite a few horse terms as well!)
hol horse
eŋgal mare, adult female horse, not yet bred
kirz mare, adult female horse who has been bred
holit foal, young male horse
mosto filly, young female horse
sanit yearling
ačasak stallion, uncastrated male horse
tensu gelding, castrated herd animal
pabakas wild, untamed horse
buka clan’s sacred horse, ridden once a year by the asev
jinjapa a very fine quality horse
šundo a mediocre or disappointing horse
soŋka a stout horse, suitable for heavy riders but not for war
kodali an old or worn-out horse
huval reddish-brown (these color terms are used only for horses)
yehi creamy or golden
naj dull yellow
mulk black or deep brown
šaj maroon
talka speckled
sarak blaze, a stripe on the face
majint starry mark on the face
taraj sock, lighter color on the lower leg
ferd saddle
makaš saddlebag
hina saddle cloth
čarag stirrup
taraš bridle
dusi reins
nerm lasso
neče spurs
japa mane
vauka tail (of horse only)
kruŋ hoof
sukmin fetlock, protuberant part just above hoof
degi walk (slowest gait)
goropi trot
sati canter
nefti gallop (fastest gait)
kui command to turn right
hau command to turn left
žegi startle at something (while being ridden)
dokodi balk, be stubborn, refuse to obey
nehehi neigh
yendi break, accustom an untrained horse to handling
keri train a horse (dressage)
dibi charge— run towards an enemy
čam slack, loose reins
kušpi fire arrows while retreating
turuk special arrow for shooting an enemy’s horse
ativa stable
roma mare’s milk
zai kumiss, fermented mare’s milk
čočo horse manure
yesa horse blood (esp. as an emergency drink)
teš mange (lit. ‘leather’, as the disease cause hair loss)

Sample texts

The Baburkunim

Babur kunim is a sentence: “Babur spoke to us.” The implicature is also “…and we obeyed”; the convention is that important people need only speak and their will is done.

The standard edition of the Baburkunim dates to 1810. The book theoretically defines CT and LŠ, but contains multiple archaisms… yet these are so familiar to Jippirasutum that they are available in formal registers. Think of 19th century writers who imitate the KJV when they want a tone of august or antique solemnity. At the same time writers at least till the 3500s convinced themselves that they were not merely influenced by the Baburkunim but writing in the exact same way. This is not really true of CT and even less so of LŠ.

At the same time the text is relatively simple, often epigrammatic. This was a point of pride for believers, who considered that all other religions were full of additions (ijeba) and confusion (igalna) added by humans, causing Jippir to speak to Babur “clearly and thoroughly” (nijištu a teŋku). The book is divided into 71 asutum ‘speeches’; this text is from number 17, concerned with issues of competing authorities. For the original audience, the problem was acute, as the clan might not have converted to Jippirasti.

This passage relies heavily on the kinship terms defined above.

It refers to the atej, but there was no atej until Kurund, in 1593. However, Babur referred frequently to the tej, the unified realm that Jippirasti would bestow on all the Tžuro. It was natural to imagine an atej in charge. It’s also possible that the text was altered once the atej existed. (The atej could speak for Jippir, and if anyone could alter the words of the Baburkunim it was Kurund.)

Krušuna maranla, šaču saratga? Yana krušuna asevla? Yana krušuna lam? Yana krušuna jeŋu? Usrarati.
speak-prog-3s>2s mother-2 / stand.>3s listen-prog-3s-not / speak-prog-3s>2s uncle-2 / speak-prog-3s>2s angel / speak-prog-3s>2s god / fut-listen-2s>1s
When your mother speaks, do you not listen and obey? How much more if your uncle speaks? How much more if a lam speaks? How much more if God speaks? Hear and obey Me.
Asti means both ‘hear’ and ‘obey’.
In CT the ‘when’ clause would be expressed with nejo, and saču would be šu.
Atej sučus fsevvuli and manli yetiju. Usraratu, soga ŋullausu gomruruli.
emperor stand.prog.3s heir-1 and people-1 caus-rule.1s>3s / fut-listen-2s>3s / except word-pl-3 deny.prog.3s>1s
The atej is My nephew and I have placed him to rule My people; obey him, unless his words go against Mine.

Nujatala a johlujula sačus fsavai žono. Usraratum, soga ŋullausu gomrurulim zal ye atej.
uncle-pl-2 and brother-big-pl-2 stand.prog.3p clan-gen bone-pl / fut-listen-2s>3p / except word-pl-3 deny.prog.3s>1p I or atej
Your uncles and your elder brothers are the spirit of your fsava; obey them, unless their words go against Mine or the atej’s.

The core of something is its žono ‘bones’; its vigor or potency is its šaj ‘blood’. These might be ‘heart’ / ‘guts’ in English. When contrasted with žono, mej ‘body’ means ‘flesh’, what fills the thing out and what is visible to others.
Fsavala gožraruŋum moŋi am ikulkina a čraytafat; nujataisono ješe gosruduka.
clan-2 dishonor-prog.3p>3s fear and lies and arrogance / male.elder-pl-gen-3p eye-pl dismay-prog-2s>3d
Cowardice, falseness, and arrogance dishonor your fsava and disappoints your elders’ eyes.
It’s so common for the Baburkunim to give lists of three things that commentators noticed and gave additional rules, noting that such a list should not be taken as exhaustive, but also if three items were given, they each must refer to different things. The last word shows dual agreement, as the object is (pairs of) eyes.
Fsavaila mej sačus maranla am metela am soveimla. Usraratum, soga ŋullausu gomrurulim zal ye atej ye nujatala.
clan-gen-2 body stand.prog.3p mother-2 and sister-pl-2 and aunt-pl-2 / fut-listen-2s>3p / except word-pl-3 deny.prog.3s>3p of me or atej or uncle-pl-2
Your mothers, your sisters, and your aunt’s daughters are the body of your fsava; hear and obey them, unless their words go against Mine, or the atej’s, or your elders’.

Maranla gožraruŋum pašanakat am igiša a paljat, jo yejuka baŋag
mother dishonor-prog.3p>3s idleness and theft and viciousness / sub bear.3s>2s hurting
Idleness, theft, and viciousness dishonor the mother who in pain bore you.

Šajla gožraruŋu, čukati ye karkigati ye igišai sučus metela.
blood-2 dishonor-prog.3s>3s poverty-gen or violence-gen or theft-gen stand.prog.3p sister-pl-2
To leave your sisters to poverty, violence, or theft dishonors your blood.
In CT these would be prepositional phrasess jat X.
Ijiŋala braju ŋamašla a geji yedagu; gožraruŋum paljat ye istuja ye ikanjudimi, am teŋ a fsavala uyebzaŋu moŋkosuŋ.
food-2 give-3s>2s wife-2 / and tent-gen invite-3s>2s / dishonor-prog-3p>3s rudeness or uncleanness or / and you and clan-2 fut-hurt.prog.3d>3p ear-pl-3sf
Your wife gave you food, and took you into her tent; to be rude, unclean, or sexually indecent dishonors her, and will make you and your fsava an evil noise in her ears.
Gej is both tent and bed, so inviting you there implies sex. “To harm the ears” is an idiom for eliciting disdain.
Valatli sučus Jippir. Jo upiča so mala a pičaga, ret legdi čig papiti.
name-1 stand.prog.3s demanding-one / sub fut-follow-1s>2s 3s say-2s and follow-prog-2s-not / then first stand pagan
My name is Demanding. If you say you will follow, and you do not, it were better that you remain a pagan.

The Book of the Emperor

The Kurundasti had conquered almost all the Skourenes by 1725. They prided themselves on never forcing conversion, but this only masked a greater cruelty, as pagans (papitiu) could be freely and repeatedly looted, forced into slavery, and killed if they rebelled. The atej who reversed this policy was Gešulam (acc. 1749), who favored merchants and protected pagans, though he also encouraged them to convert and learn Tžuro— and more importantly, encouraged the Tžuro to welcome them.

Clerics sifted through the Baburkunim— addressed to steppe nomads— to provide a principled basis for ruling an urban civilization based on trade and agriculture. This process was rocky, and impeded by the decline of the Kurundasti.

When the more vigorous and less fundamentalist Anajati came to power (2375), it was time to codify the consensus, and settle any remaining disputes. The result was the Čelepa s Atej (Book of the Emperor), completed in 2391, under the second atej, Gotandi. As its preface modestly tells us, the atej wished to “settle all uncertainies for all time.”

The book is four times longer than the Baburkunim, and far drier; it’s organized into 1,243 yaumalau ‘questions’. Almost always these begin with a quotation from the Baburkunim and pose one or more questions of interpretation. Often various authorities are quoted, then a final decisive answer from the emperor, who was also the ultimate religious authority. (The book makes it sound like these authorities were talking to each other, but this is an editorial illusion— they are quotations from the previous five hundred years of moral disputation.)

This raised the question, what is the status of the rejected answers? This had to be answered by later writings: they are authoritative only when they do not contradict the emperor’s answer; even when they do, they are valuable for providing context and pointing out naïve errors.

The book is foundational to the Sačutu (Orthodox) and Fanpita (Feidal) pitau— the Tžuro-speaking ones. It and other Anajati writings define proper Classical Tžuro, more so than the Baburkunim itself (almost 600 years old by this point).

—Igejruda suč stuja.— Jippir mul am asti.
rape be.prog.3s unclean / Jippir speak.3s and hear-1s
Babur told us, rape is sin. Jippir spoke and I obeyed.
Even a minimal quotation from the Baburkunim is followed by the statement Jippir mul am asti. As in the first sample text, asti refers to hearing but implies obedience.
Ŋullar prušupu gej, hiŋ an anebe šarup, greja jrišatu gej.
word-that mark-prog-3s>3s / but all cleric-pl agree-prog-3p / house see.prog.>3s tent
This word refers to the tent, but all clerics agree that a house is considered a tent.
The previous sentence exemplifies the old form of reported speech, used in the Baburkunim (and still used to report dialogs). This one exemplifes the CT way, using the participle paradigm.
Mefajag mul, stuja suč adima rut gej, mot pašriripu jat daldeg, ye jat gokkiri greja.
Mefajag speak.3s / unclean be.prog.3s sex outside tent / one.thing point.prog.1s>3s in garden / or in house
Mefajag said, it is sin to make love outside the tent, for instance, in a garden, or in someone else’s house.

Namauni mul, nisagu, soga nujatuga mirjat, kor tžekat suč stuja čeŋo nijišatu.
Namauni speak.3s / allow.prog.>3s / unless know.prog.>3s-not privacy / because nudity be.prog.3s unclean when can-see.prog.>3s
Namauni said, this is allowed, unless privacy is not assured, because nudity is sin when it can be seen.

Ipanda mul, žono si gej suč inisaja, kor suč ijora si ŋamaš. Zun ŋamaš šurup, čraluga istuja.
Ipanda speak.3s / bone-pl of tent be.prog.3s permission / because be.prog.3s domain of woman / therefore woman agree.prog.3s / stand-prog.>3s-not sin
Ipanda said, the essence of a tent is permission, because it is the domain of the woman. Therefore there is no sin if the woman consents.

Atej mul, malulu sruruju inisaja, hiŋ Jippir iruruvu yejeraŋ ŋamaš; a soŋ yejruruŋu gejsuŋ, jo suč ijorasuŋ.
emperor speak.3s / text touch.prog.3s>3s permission / but wish-prog-3s>3s sanctifying woman /and she sanctify-prog-3s>3s tent-3sf / sub be-prog.3s domain-3sf
The emperor says, the text is about permission, but also the intent of Jippir is to make the woman sacred, and she makes her tent sacred, it is her domain.

Yezulis mul, nimurul paran, yedigu, hiŋ ŋamaš murul, yedugiga. Isača nrurunu ava?
Yezulis speak.3s / can-say.prog.3s male / invite-3s>1s / but woman say.porg.3s / invite-1s>3s-not/ truth have.prog.3s>3s who
Yezulis said, a man may say he was invited, but the woman says he was not invited. Who is right?

Avam mul, jo sajuga jat gej, ret nijištu suč igejruda. Jo saju jat gej, šu yeduguga?
Avam speak.3s / sub act-3s-not in tent / then clear be.prog.3s rape / sub act-3s in tent / be.3s invite-3s>3s-not
Avam said, if the act did not occur in a tent, it is clearly rape. If it was in a tent, did she not invite him in?

Ugačim mul, jo paran karkig jaddugu gej, yedeguga a gokšatu.
Ugačim speak.3s / sub male violent enter.3s>3s tent / invite.>3s-not and must-kill->3s
Ugačim said, if a man forced his way into a tent, he was not invited and he must be executed.

Atej mul, Fsavaila mej sačus maranla am metela am soveimla. Usraratum, soga ŋullausu gomrurulim zal ye atej ye nujatala. Jippir mul am asti.
This is a quotation from the previous sample text; see the gloss there.
The emperor says, Your mothers, your sisters, and your aunt’s daughters are the body of your fsava; hear and obey them, unless their words go against Mine, or the atej’s, or your elders’. Jippir spoke and I obeyed.

Šu paran kunu Jippir ye zal ye nujata, deg jat gejsuŋ? Gohu, pič ŋullar si ŋamaš.
be.3s male address-3s>3s Jippir or I or elder-pl / go in tent-3sf / wrong.>3s / follow word-pl of woman
Did Jippir, or myself, or the elders tell the man to go into her tent? No, believe the words of the woman.
This passage should be read carefully with respect to argument order, as it demonstrates how often it’s topic-first. We’re talking about the man, so he comes first, and the possible speakers last. Kunu agrees only with the first conjoint. But if two or more third-person referents are conjoined, the verb is plural.

Who is the Emperor?

This text come from a booklet provided for laymen at a Pajimi jenčimali (meeting hall). The author is given as Kačri Majaŋi, and the date is 3411, more than a thousand years after the above text. It's thus intended for ordinary people, yet is written in pure CT. See the page on Literary Šureni [upcoming] for more on how the contemporary language is commonly written.

I’ve removed some lines to keep the text manageable. Aneb Majaŋi would not want you to think he had not addressed many pedantic objections. In a scholarly work, of course, he would have considered the question in far more detail, with scholarly citations all at least 500 years old.

The most striking grammatical difference here is the greater use of the participle paradigm.

Atej suč ava, nejo atej čraluga?
emperor be.prog.3s who / when emperor stand-prog.>3s-not
Who is the emperor, when there is no emperor?

Yaumalar suč ništig tarat an Jippirasutum, kor ŋok yara. (Gok nideraga atej nrurunum, hiŋ nižraraŋum.)
question-this be.prog.3s important in.front all Jippir-ist-pl, because.of two reason-pl / other power-pl emperor have-prog-3s>3p / but can-entrust-.>3p
This question is important for all followers of Jippirasti, for two reasons. (The emperor has other powers, but those can be delegated.)
The parenthetical is an old legal maxim and thus uses the conjugation paradigm. The major entrustable powers are judge, general, and legislator.
Ništi, atej suč itikiluj adep teŋ igošapau si jeŋu, soga gomaral suč jeŋui ŋullar, ŋullausu suč itiki.
first / emperor be.prog.3s final-big judge over dispute-pl of divinity / except denying be.prog.3s god-gen word-pl, word-3sm be.prog.3s final
First, the emperor is the ultimate judge over religious disputes. Unless he contradicts scripture, his word is final.

Lešpi, saččeg si ijora fasav suč atej.
second / authority of government descending be.prog.3s emperor
Second, the authority of the government derives from that of the emperor.

Nujatala a johlujula sačus fsavai žono. Usraratum, soga ŋullausu gomrurulim zal ye atej. JM&A.
Your uncles and your elder brothers are the spirit of your fsava; obey them, unless their words go against Mine or the atej’s. JM&A.
This is a quotation from the first sample text; see the gloss there. It’s now accepted to abbreviate Jippir mul am asti.
Atej fasak, šu modeg Jippir a nujata sat josiš?
emperor lacked / be.3s only Jippir and uncle-pl obeying must-be-prog-1p
In the absence of the emperor, are only Jippir and clan leaders to be obeyed?
The first phrase would be Atej fasak šuč in proper CT, unless the aspect was emphasized: “if the emperor just disappeared.” But in LŠ omitting suč forms an adverbial: “the emperor being gone…”
Gomeraf suč; jatnemi ijora niran josuč saččeg teŋ man, yana nejo jat tappa man derap suč ijora jo sarak sono.
absurd be.prog.3s / modern government having must-be-prog-3sauthority over people / moreover when in democracy people choosing be.prog.3s government / sub pleasing them
That is absurd; a modern state must have authority over the people— even if, as in a democracy, the people choose the government that pleases them.

Yana gomeraf, nejo Jippiri man niran suš kuš teje, hiŋ mot valat suč atej.
also absurd / when God-gen people having be.prog.3p many realm-pl / but one.thing naming be.prog.3s emperor
It is also absurd when the people of God have multiple realms, yet one of them calls itself an emperor.

Jarap jat Sačutu suč, ajjos pašap suč atej jat saččeg hiŋ lettir jat jeŋu.
rule in Sačutu be.prog.3s / king pointing be.prog.3s emperor in authority but nothing in religion
The ruling in Sačutu is that the king stands for the emperor in authority, but not in religion.

Čraluga minan jat jarapa ye jat isota yav igomala si saččeg si ijora, kor čraluga atej.
stand-prog.3s-not foundation in rule-pl or in morality for denial of authority of government / because stand-prog.>3s-not emperor
There is no basis in law or morality for anyone to deny the authority of the government, on the basis that there is no emperor.

Čraluga ajjos jat Šura; šu atej ye ažraŋ ye andraga mafali ye jurudeg man?
stand-prog.3s-not king in Šura / be.3s emperor trustee or whole Senate or self-rule people
We do not have a king in Šura. Is the Emperor the Trustee, or the entire Senate, or the sovereign people?

Jarap jat Sačutu suč, ijora pašap suč atej.
rule in Sačutu be.prog.3s / government pointing be.prog.3s emperor
The ruling in Sačutu is that the government itself stands for the emperor.

Jat saččeg si jeŋu audeg?
in authority of divinity how
What of the ultimate religious authority?

Jat Sačutu pit siš pač išapa / ŋok in dej an anebe šarap suš, zun mor suč jarap.
in Sačutu believing be.prog-1p strong agreement / two of three all teacher-pl agreeing be.prog-3p / therefore be-prog.3s rule
In Sačutu we believe in strong consensus. If two thirds of the teachers agree, then that is the ruling.
in is used as in comparatives: ‘two, compared to three’. Stacked quantifiers X Y are interpreted X of Y, thus ‘two-of-three of all teachers’.
Jat Fanpita modeg teŋŋir aminkiran suč Jippir. Jat čelepau, mo teŋŋir aminkiran.
in Fanpita only saint speaking.for be.prog-3s Jippir / in book-pl / one saint speaking.for
In Fanpita, only a saint can speak for Jippir. In theory any saint can do so.
Our “theory vs. practice” becomes CT “books vs. hands”.
Jat toro, jarap suč, mo teŋŋir nisuč isača, soga an gok gomrarulu.
in hand-pl / rule be.prog.3s / one saint can-be.prog.3s truth / except all other deny.prog.3p>3s
In practice the ruling is “Though one saint is truth, this is not so if he is opposed by all others.”