Conlang Relay 17/Skerre

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A tsiitsiqueyir quara

Watarikin a Tsiqueyir ye Riyos ona, sawa tsiyok, kayaninas tsa Riyos. Eseran a itor te sihara ya queri-haas. Te sihara, eskeʼatin a Tsiqueyir ir esworin toni sata a terek ne haat i tsiqueyir. Eyan, estsitan-ti ye Riyos. Esanquenas-ti ir waquee-ti estakenas. Estsosin-ti a Riyos sata.

Smooth English Translation

The Bad Little Deer

Little Deer was friends with Person but, truthfully, Person annoyed him. The animal began a fight with the biped. During the fighting, Little Deer screamed and a thousand and half little deer quickly came there. Then, they chased after Person. They caught him and bit him numerous times. They killed Person there.

Translation Notes (from Rejistanian to Skerre)

The use of the diminutive on 'deer' was suggested by the translation of Rejistanian vudux as 'pudú', a small deer species. The use of the diminutive could be interpreted as treating the deer as an endearing, sympathetic character, but given what actually happens in the story, the pure size-related interpretation is probably more reasonable.

The Skerre translator took the part of the Rejistanian sentence dealing with the stomach quite metaphorically, taking this to be more about hidden emotions rather than anything literal (this was suggested by the Mechthild's notes, but taken to a greater extreme in the translation).

The Skerre translator thought that a scream seemed more reasonable for calling an army than a mere shout.

The Skerre have no higher order numbers, so the original 1,728 was converted in this expression that literally means 'a myriad and more'. That's still a lot of deer.

Several phrases were added by the Skerre translator to ensure a comprehensible story.

Grammatical Notes

Morphological Constructions

Redup[CV:] + N-stem 'Ns' (plural)
wa-/wat- + N-stem 'have N' (verbalizer)
N-stem + -ir       'N-ette, N-let' (diminutive)
N1-stem + N2-stem   ----- (compound noun)
  • The one compound noun here is a bahuvrihi compound, so it means something like 'having the property of the application of N2 to N1'
si + V-stem 'Ving, Vation' ('action' nominalizer)
V-stem + -(i)n VFIN (finite verb)
  • If the vowel in the syllable preceding the affix would otherwise be long, it appears in this context as short
  • Without a TAM prefix, the VFIN form has a stative aspectual interpretation
  • Without a person-marking suffix, the VFIN form is interpreted as having a 3SG subject
es- + VFIN 'Ved' (perfective aspect)
ka- + VFIN 'be Ving' (progressive aspect)
VFIN + -as 'V him/her' (3SG.OBJ)
ADV/VFIN  + -ti 'they V' (3PL.SUBJ)


  • Head-initial: heads precede both their arguments and their modifiers
  • In a clause, the subject marking is found suffixed to either the clause-initial verb or to the first of any number of adverbials preceding the first verb of the clause
  • The 'with' preposition is used as a coordinator with nominal phrases
  • Skerre has ergative alignment with "full NPs", but accusative alignment with pronominal affixes
  • Skerre verbs are known for their "quirky" case assignment. There is some "quirkiness" here, so you might find that a Skerre preposition seems superfluous (from the standpoint of the English translation) or should be translated in a way that appears to contradict the vocabulary list gloss.
  • See my website at for an additional and/or supplementary. In cases where the website and these notes disagree, take the notes here as correct.


Skerre English
a (absolutive marker)
anque capture, catch
arik friend
era begin
eyan and then
haas two
haat   more
hara   fight (v)
i     of (takes proper name or generic noun)
ir     and
itor   animal
keʼat scream
ne     with the
ona   but
quara bad
queri leg
riyos being, person
sata   there
sawa   from the
take   bite
te     at/in/on the
terek myriad
toni   be fast (v or adv)
tsa   (ergative marker)
tsique deer
tsita chase
tsiyok truth
tsoos kill
waquee many times
woor come (perfective stem)
ya   to the
yani annoy
ye   to (takes proper name or generic noun)

terek ne haat is a slightly idiomatic extension of terek. The intended meaning isn't too far from the literal meaning of the components