Conlang Relay 23/łaá siri

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łaá siri

«su’laár sa’luula ‘atłararalá ‘ii’ursała si’ saaraa’su’ii’ sí’ saałuurraasaliya laayiyár, rá tłariyasasaá raaraałałuu’ ’á’ saałurraaxatła yaá.»

– rutła’a’si

saliyaá’ sa’luula sí’ lir lu’ii’saá łaaraa’tła’ar, saá łalurtła’rá lirsa łaałałuú’ sa. laya łá tła’a’aár sa’luula rasaliyá sí’ sa’ ‘ii’ła la’á łaraatłará. rá ‘ii’ursała ‘a’ rarsiyałurú, sa’luula raraasiyasaliya sa.

Quick Morphosyntax

  1. Nouns are all suffixing.
  2. Verbs are all prefixing.
  3. Relative clauses come after nouns.
  4. Postpositions come after noun or verb phrases.
  5. Underlying syntax is SOV, and is almost always SOV. But syntax is dependent on the following animacy hierarchy: sentient > animate > inanimate > abstract Something higher on the scale (sentient being the highest) will appear first in the clause. There are only two exceptions to this in the text.
  6. Noun morphology is like this: ( FUNCTIONAL PROCLITIC =)noun- ANIMACY
  7. Animacy is like a mixture of grammatical gender and noun classes. As stated in (4) above, there are 4 degrees of animacy represented on nouns. The sentient animacy is shown by ablaut to –aá- of the final syllable’s nucleus. (lar > laár, la > laá).
  8. Noun phrase syntax is like this (where PP is postpositional phrase) [ PP [ NP [Noun+Suffix][ NP [Relative Clause, verbs, etc.]][Postposition]]]
  9. A limited set of monosyllabic verbs can be used prenominally as adjectives.10. Verb morphology is like this (where italics are optional): deixis(S)-deixis(O)-valence-mood-aspect-evidentiality-adverbial-root

Important Details

  1. łaá siri does not mark or distinguish person. Instead, it distinguishes deixis. There are 5 degrees of deixis: immediate – near – distant – absent – abstract These values indicate how near or far the agent/patient or subject/object are from the speaker. It’s a little different in written texts because there’s no speaker or deictic space, so instead, the postposition lir is used to mark the deictic center for the text. Then the values are relative to the new center.
  2. łaá siri has an important and highly productive pitch accent system. Vowels with H pitch are shown with an accute accent (á, í, ú). This is particularly important for the inflection of verbs (see below).
  3. In addition to the hearsay and inferential evidentials, there is another one (very frequent) called the DIRECT evidential. It is used for (1) events which are known or assumed by the speaker to have occurred (2) as an “anaphoric evidential,” that is, as having the same default interpretation as a verb earlier in the clause. For instance, if a verb is REPORTATIVE and then the following verb is DIRECT , the latter may be interpreted as REPORTATIVE also, without repeating the REPORTATIVE evidential. The direct evidentiality is shown by a suprasegmental morpheme called a “pitch toggle.” It changes the underlying pitch structure of the verb, indicated by the lack/presence of an accute morpheme over the last mora of the last syllable (laa > laá, saá > saa). If theverb has no accute to begin with, it will get one, and vice versa if the underlying verb doesn’t have one. (That’s the simple explanation!)
  4. Rules for agentive and patientive verb nominalization (both of which are inflected for animacy): agentive: verb-‘- ANIMACY (la > la-‘- ANIMACY ) If the verb has a closed syllable, then the glottal stop suffix metathesizes with the syllable coda. (lar > la-‘- ANIMACY -r) Note that the sentient ablaut will change the surface form of derived agentive/patientive nominals. (lala > lal{aá}-’ ) patientive: verb-rV- ANIMACY Where V represents a vowel identical to the vowel of the preceding syllable. (la > la-ra- ANIMACY , LU > lu-ru- ANIMACY )
  5. Deictic postpositions (deic.pp in the lexicon) express (1) possession; (2) oblique case; (3) relativization. Deictic postpositions can either behave like defunct verbs (only taking S/O deixis prefixes) or as adjuncts to the noun phrase, in which case they get a glottal stop suffix. They can be used to mark the patient of derived agentives or the agent of derived patientives, wherein the syntax is: agentive patient OBL patientive agent OBL

Morphological Lexicon

-' vt > n. A suffix which is affixed to verbs in deriving agentive nouns. e.g. «saliyaá-'» (Free translation: ‘person who is eating/drinking, consumer’).

-' A suffix which is affixed to functional adjuncts (deictic postpositions, quantifiers) in the nominal domain. e.g. «’ursa-ła ‘á-‘ » (Free translation: ‘regarding dogs’).

'a= /ʔa/ A functional clitic which may be procliticized to a nominalized (patientive) verb when the agent follows in an oblique phrase (+si). e.g. «'a=saliya-ra-la 'araá si-'» (Free translation: ‘the thing eaten by the woman’).

a- Absent deixis for object.

aa- Abstract deixis for object.

l- (1) near deixis for subject (2) abstract deixis for subject.

l- Potential mood, for possibilities and potentialities.

-la(yaa) /la.jaa/ n. Inanimate animacy.

ł- Immediate deixis for subject.

ł- Conditional mood, for events conditioned on each other (because, if, since, when, etc.) [Note: Both the protasis and apodosis are marked with this mood when used.]

-ła /ɬa/ n. Animate animacy.

łaa- /ɬaa/ v. Verbal affix expressing inferential evidentiality, also used for negative epistemic assertions. (Note: speaker feels the statement is probably untrue or unlikely.)

r- Absent deixis for subject.

r- Inverse. Indicates that a noun of lower status on the animacy hierarchy is the agent and a noun higher on the animacy hierarchy is the patient. Order of the noun phrases makes this unclear because the patient must appear first due to constraints from the animacy hierarchy.

raa- /ɹaa/ v. Verbal affix expressing inferential evidentiality, also used for positive epistemic assertions and for irrealis clauses.

raa'- /ɹaaʔ/ v. Verbal affix expressing reportative evidentiality (hearsay, sounds, etc.).-rV Derives a patientive noun from a verb, e.g. ‘the thing that is x-ed’ [Note: the vowel is harmonious with the preceding syllable’s vowel.]

saa- Occupies the morphological slot for both S and O deixes, indicating non-referentiality (the S/O are not specific referents, but general ones) or gnomic truths, e.g. ‘The sun rises.’ or ‘Dogs bark.’

-saá /saá/ n. Abstract animacy.

siya- Collective/plural adverbial which expresses that there are multiple subjects or the subject is a group.

ur- Inchoative/inceptive aspect, for the initiation of or entrance into an event or state.

uur- Terminative aspect, for the end or conclusion of an event, and also to express telic completion or attainment of the action’s goal.

Root Lexicon (s = sentient, an = animate, in = inanimate, ab = abstract)

'á /ʔá/ deic.pp. (1) Used for expressing alienable possession in which the possessum is not really the possessor's (borrowed, stolen, etc.). e.g. «'ar-la ł-u-'á» (Free translation: ‘my car (rented, e.g.)’) «'isilisi-la li-' (sałaa') l-i-'á yaá!» (Free translation: ‘That book there is not yours!’)

«satłi-la 'á-'» (Free translation: ‘borrowed things’). (2) (Idiomatic) Used as an oblique postposition marking the beneficiary of transitive verbs. e.g. «sayuu l-i-'á salar-layaa ł-u-raa-'ir sa.» (Free translation: ‘I'll cut this fruit here for Sayuu.’) «salaár 'á-' la' ł-aa-saliyatłií'.» (Free translation: ‘I feed (things) to babies.’). (3) (Idiomatic) Used as an oblique postposition marking the topic of speech verbs. e.g. «sayuu l-a-'á l-aa-raa'-sii.» (Free translation: ‘I can hear them talking about Sayuu.’) «łasa-łá 'á-' l-aa-raa'-'isii yaá.» (Free translation: ‘They're presenting about birds.’).

'a' /ʔaʔ/ (1) prt. (Presentential) tomorrow, a day after tomorrow. e.g. «'a' silii'i-la tłasa ł-a-raa- tłili sa.» (Free translation: ‘Tomorrow I'm going to the city.’) «'a' ri!» (Free translation: ‘Bye!’). (2) adv. (Preverbal) an emphatic marker of the future or unrealized states. e.g. «łá la' 'a' ł-aa- raa-yiru yaá.» (Free translation: ‘Later I will cook (something).’). (3) det. (Postnominal) Temporal particle of things as they will be in the future. e.g. «lisa-saá 'a' łi'á r-u-ya'li'aar='a.» (Free translation: ‘Come here tomorrow night.’) «saá 'a' łá l-u-si l-aa-łaa-sa'ra.» (Free translation: ‘Future people are probably not like us.’).

'atła /ʔá.t ɬa/ vt. (1) to wish or hope for something to occur (lirsa). e.g. «si'luya l-u-yasaa lirsa ł- aa-'atłá.» (Free translation: ‘I hope that our biosphere is protected.’). (2) to dream of/about something or someone. e.g. «ri sayuu lila r-a-raa'-'atła yaá.» (Free translation: ‘I heard that Sayuu dreamt about Lila yesterday.’). (3) to imagine something. e.g. «satłi-saá l-aa-raa-'atła?» (Free translation: ‘What are you imagining?’).

'ii'ursa /ʔií.ʔuɹ.sa/ (an) n. general term for those of the genus Vulpes, FOX.

laya /lá.ja/ (Pre-sentential) then, thus, so.

laayiyár /laa.ji.jáɹ/ adv. Used to show the cause of a conditioned event, BECAUSE, SINCE.

lir /liɹ/ pp. Postposition used to show detachment of deixis from speaker to another entity.

lirsa /líɹ.sa/ pp. Nonveridical complementizer used for subordinating clausal arguments whose truth-conditions are neither true or false. [Note: Verbs in a lirsa phrase do not have to be marked for evidentiality because they have not occurred.]

lu'ii' /lú.ʔiiʔ/ n. (1) (ab) knowledge which brings about understanding or awareness, EXPLANATION, BREAKTHROUGH. (2) (ab) answers to a complex situation, usually about the origin or reasoning for its inception.

łá pn. Deictic pronoun for an IMMEDIATE , SENTIENT antecedent.

łałuu' /ɬá.ɬuuʔ/ vt. (1) to control, administrate or manage something. (2) to rule over somebody or some domain. (3) to administer or declare something official.

łuru /ɬú.ɹu/ (1) vns. to feel a sense of guilt or shame, TO FEEL GUILTY. (2) vt. to punish someone.

rá /ɹá/ pn. Deictic pronoun for an ABSENT , SENTIENT antecedent. rutła’a’si /ɹú.t ɬa.ʔáʔ.si/ A name of a king created for this text.

sa /sa/ prt. Clause-final particle which asserts a point, declaration, or observation with emphasis.

sá /sá/ n. (1) (s, an) a living being, something which is animate and possesses life-force. (2) (in) corpse.

sa' /saʔ/ v. (1) to be many, multiple. (2) to be clustered, to concentrate a group of something into one area. (3) to be diverse. [Note: Can be used as an adjective.]

sa'luu /sáʔ.luu/ n. (1) (an) the root of a plant (generically or when alive). (2) (in) the root of a plant (when dried and used for food or medicinally). (3) (ab) the crux of an issue or a point. saliya /sá.li.ja/ v. to eat, drink, or consume something (physical or abstract).

si /si/ deic.pp. (1) Used primarily to show inalienable possession between the whole and its parts or the origin and its product. e.g. «yasaa'-łá lar-ła tł-ii-si» (Free translation: ‘that tree's branch’) «lar-ła yasaa'-łá si-'» (Free translation: ‘branches of trees, tree branches’) «yayaa-ła yaa-ła tł-ii-si» (Free translation: ‘(that animal's) spit’). (2) (Idiomatic) Oblique postposition which marks an argument of certain verbs which cannot take an object directly. e.g. «sayuu raayar-la yir'u-lá l-a-si r-a-raa'-'iłaa yaá!» (Free translation: ‘I heard that Sayuu turned some dirt into gold!’) «'u-łá si-' l-i-'aa'-la'ri sa.» (Free translation: ‘You look like a turtle.’).

sí /sí/ deic.pp. (1) Used for expressing inalienable relationships between an object and one of its qualities, such as a person and their name, or an object and its size. e.g. «sayuu yaraá r-aa-sí yuusa sa.» (Free translation: ‘Sayuu's nickname is Yuusa.’) «yali-ła liya-layaa tł-u-r-sí» (Freetranslation: ‘the smell of the food over there’) «yala'ilaá' riyaár sí-'» (Free translation: ‘the appearance of the younger brother (when in water)’). (2) Used as a relativizer for clauses which modify a head noun, like English "that" or "which". e.g. «yaá tł-ii-'aár l-ii-sí 'ursa-ła tł-ii-r- 'aa'-yár.» (Free translation: ‘I saw the man who is walking over there get bitten by that dog.’) «'arusasaá raár saa-l-i-raa-tłatłii' sí-' saa-sár sa.» (Free translation: ‘Mothers who often hug (their) children are good.’).

su'ii' /sú.ʔiiʔ/ (1) vns. to be especially meaningful, especially of objects which are purported to possess mystical or magical qualities, TO BE ENCHANTED. e.g. «sisi'lu l-u-'aa'-su'ii' sa.» (Free translation: ‘[I can tell] the Earth is enchanted.’). (2) vt. to imbue something with special meaning, TO ENCHANT.

su'lar /súʔ.laɹ/ n. (1) (s) a leader who is admired. (2) (an) (Mythological) dragon or other large reptile, DINOSAUR. (3) (in, ab) an object which is beautiful (cannot be used in reference to animate things). (4) (ab) beauty.

tła'ar /t ɬá.ʔaɹ/ v. (1) to find something by accident, TO DISCOVER. (2) to uncover something that was hidden, TO REVEAL.

tła'rá /t ɬaʔ.rá/ vt. to fight.

tłará /t ɬa.ɹá/ vd. to physically give an item to someone as a gift with no malicious intent.

tłariyasa /t ɬá.ɹi.já.sa/ n. (1) (s, an) leader of a large community, PRESIDENT, KING, MONARCH, CHAIRMAN, CHIEF, PRIME MINISTER, ALPHA. (2) (in, ab) the physical foundation of something (e.g., a building), or on analogy, the basis of some abstract notion. (3) (ab) rules, process, and structure of an organization or entity, MAKEUP, COMPOSITION; also the ruling body of a nation, GOVERNMENT.

yaá /jaá/ prt. Clause-final particle used when letting the hearer know something that they didn't know prior but should, usually with the intent of spurring them into action or clarifying some point without being forceful.


1. «su’laár sa’luu-la ‘a=tłara-ra-lá ‘ii’ursa-ła si-’

SENT\king root-INAN LK=give-PAT-INAN fox-ANIM OBL

saa-raa’-su’ii’ sí-’

GNO-RPRT-be.magic REL

2. saa-ł-uur-raa-saliya laayiyár, rá tłariyasa-saá

GNO-COND-TERM-INFR-eat because SENT:ABS government-ABST

3. r-aa-raa-łałuu’ ’á-’ saa-ł-ur-raa’-‘atła yaá.» – rutła’a’si


‘They say when a king eats the enchanted root that is given (to him) by the fox, he will start dreaming of declaring his reign.’

“A king thinks of his declaration of authority as the result of eating the root of knowledge given (to him) by the furry creatures (> foxes).”

4. saliyaá-’ sa’luu-la sí-’ lir lu’ii’-saá ł-aa-raa’-tła’ar,

\SENT-eat-AGT root-INAN OBL DETACH enlight.-ABST IMM-ABST-RPRT-discover

saá ł-a-l-ur-tła’rá lirsa ł-aa-łałuú’ sa.

SENT\living.thing IMM-ABS-POT-INC-fight COMP IMM-ABST-DIR\declare PRT

‘They say those who eat the root will find enlightenment, and declare the start of a fight on humans.’

“Those who eat the magical root of knowledge are enlightened and declare war on the people.”

5. laya łá tła’a’aár sa’luu-la r-a-saliyá

then SENT:IMM SENT\discover:AGT root-INAN ABS-ABS-DIR\eat

sí-’ sa’ ‘ii’ursa-ła l-a-’á ł-a-raa-tłará.


‘So I will give an enlightened one who has eaten the root to the foxes.’

“Therefore, I will give the group of furries someone who has be given complete knowledge by eating the magical root .”

6. rá ‘ii’ursa-ła ‘a’ r-a-r-siya-łurú, sa’luu-la


r-a-łaa-siya-saliya sa.


‘All the foxes will punish him and perhaps even eat the root.’

“The foxes will punish him and maybe they will eat the root.”


A king thinks of his declaration of authority as the result of eating the root of knowledge given (to him) by the furry creatures (> foxes).

Those who eat the magical root of knowledge are enlightened and declare war on the people.

Therefore, I will give the group of furries someone who has be given complete knowledge by eating the magical root.

The foxes will punish him and maybe they will eat the root.