Conlang Relay 18/Skerre

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The Skerre Text

Se’eran a sakar riitoso a roohina. Riiheran a kihan e tswanet wateson. Risan a rohas e quenos sawa kihan. Keeriihaton a eson, ire te hasin hiyos. Hantsarin tsa sakar a tsahi ye teen ir keeriiwatayonin a sisa-sa. Ona sekeeyowarin a eson sawa sii’erek ne tintsaka i yiket. Keeriiheran sawa tinkotsiyok ir kiyes ka’antanen, yaatse sesiisan a sakar ye teen.

Grammatical Notes

Morphological Constructions

Form English gloss Grammatical Term
tin- + N-stem 'Ns, collection of Ns' (collective plural)
wa-/wat- + N-stem 'have N' (verbalizer)
N-word + -sa       'his, her, its N' (3sg possessor)
sii- + V-stem   'Ving, Vation' ('action' nominalizer)
ts- + V-stem  'thing that Vs' ('patient' nominalizer)
  • A stem-initial s- or h- is absorbed into the -s- of this prefix
rii- + V-stem 'make V, cause to V' (causative)
kee- + V-stem 'get V'd, V oneself' (anticausative)
  • This turns an externally-caused event into an internally-caused one
V-stem + -(i)n  VFIN form (finite verb)
  •  If the vowel in the syllable preceding the affix would otherwise be long, it is short before this suffix
  • Without a prefix signifying tense, aspect, or mood, the VFIN form has a general aspectual interpretation (somewhat similar to the English present tense)
  • Without a person-marking suffix, the VFIN form is interpreted as having a 3SG subject
se- + VFIN form 'Ved' (perfective aspect)
ka- + VFIN form  'be Ving' (progressive aspect)


  • Head-initial: verbs, nouns, prepositions all precede their arguments.
    • Most modifiers are also after verbs, nouns, etc. but some are before
    • Sentential connectives (coordinators, subordinators) all precede the sentence they go with
  • If subject marking is found in a clause, it will be 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, so you might find that a Skerre preposition may seem superfluous (from the standpoint of the English translation) or should be translated in a way that appears to contradict the glossary translation.
  • See my website for additional and/or supplementary information. In cases where the website and these notes disagree, take the notes here as correct.


  • a - absolutive preposition
  • aka - do
  • antane - disappear, be gone
  • ayon - red
  • e - of the
  • era - begin, start, commence
  • erek - be proud
  • eson - spirit, demon
  • hantsar - serve, give food to, give drink to
  • hasin - surface, slab, tabletop
  • hato - be visible
  • hera - move, go
  • hiyos - white
  • i - of
  • ir - and
  • ire - sit
  • kihan - arm
  • kiyes - while, when
  • kotsiyok - untruth
  • ne - with the
  • ona - but
  • quenos - smoke
  • risa - spew, spurt
  • rohas - cloud, plume, billow
  • roohina - shrine, temple, area of religious significance
  • sahi - drink
  • sakar - child
  • sawa - from the
  • sisa - face
  • te - at the, in the, on the
  • teen - him, her, it (general use 3SG independent pronoun)
  • toso - wake up, rise (from sleep)
  • tsa - ergative preposition
  • wanet - worship, idolize (has negative connotations)
  • yaatse - only, just
  • ye - to, towards, into
  • yiket - all, everyone
  • yowar - forget

Smooth English Translation

The child began to awaken the shrine. S/he moved the arm of the spirit-idol. A cloud of smoke billowed from the arm. A spirit appeared, sitting on a white slab. The child served a drink to it and its face turned red. But the spirit had been forgotten due to everyone's pride and habits. It was removed by [these] falsehoods and, when it disappeared, the child only smiled at it.