Old Kasshian

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Old Kasshian is the ancestor of the Kasshian branch of the Taremba language family. It was descended from Proto-Taremba, to which it remained quite similar. This page will focus on Late Old Kasshian, at the stage where it began to break up into the Kasshian languages.


Bilabial Labiodental Dental Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stop Voiced b d g
Voiceless p t k q
Nasal m n
Fricative Voiced v z
Voiceless f s
Aproximates w r y
Laterals l

The phoneme /h/ had been lost entirely by Old Kasshian. /r/ was lost word-finally and /l/ was lost intervocalically and the prenasalized stops had become voiced stops. Otherwise, the consonant inventory was the same as in Proto-Tareba, though northern dialects had introduced a nasal allophone of /g/

Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e ə o
Low a

Vowels could be long or short. Long vowels were less common than in Classical Kasshian, the only long vowels existing being descended from sequences of like vowels.


Permitted syllables were broader than in either Proto-Tareba or Classical Kasshian. Syllables could begin with

  • Any consonant
  • Any vowel
  • Any consonant followed by an l, r, w, or y

Syllables could end with any consonant


Stressed remained variable in Old Kasshian.



The classifiers of Proto-Tareba were in the process of developing into a true gender system in Old Kasshian. In the earliest stages, agreement was only in predicates, and not obligatory even there. By Late Old Kasshian, agreement was obligatory in predicates and optional in attributive adjectives, obligatory when the adjective preceded the noun, as still sometimes happened in Old Kasshian.

In the earliest recorded form of Old Kasshian, there were 11 genders, genders I, II, and IV-XII, which subsequently increased to 12 with the acquisition of gender III. The genders were similar to those of Classical Kasshian, except for XI and XII

  • Gender I was for female humans
  • Gender II was for male humans
  • Gender III was for epicene and androgynes. This was a development of Late Old Kasshian, and had different forms in northern and southern dialects
  • Gender IV was for domestic animals and culturally-significant animals, as well as infants
  • Gender V was for other animals
  • Gender VI was for liquids, fire, wind, and other moving inanimates, as well as plants
  • Gender VII was for most inanimates
  • Gender VIII was for instruments, tools, language, beliefs, and other cultural abstractions
  • Gender IX was for gods, weather phenomena, stars, etc.
  • Gender X was for sacred items
  • Gender XI was for groups of humans, towns, cities, political units, etc.
  • Gender XII was for birds

Genders IX and X were already beginning to be confused by the Late Old Kasshian stage, with nouns moving back and forth between them. Gender XII was vestigial in all dialects, while gender XI was beginning to disappear as well.

Body parts were mixed in their assignment. Some were placed into specific genders, genders VIII and VI being common, while others were assigned according to their owner. The earliest stages of Old Kasshian show the most variability in assignment. By Late Old Kasshian, there was more stability in their assignment, though differing between dialects.


Gender-prefixes had slight variations in form according to the noun or adjective they were attached to. There were three sets of prefixes, one for "hard" consonants (consonants other than l, r, w, or y), one for "soft" consonants (l, r, w, y), and one for vowels. Genders III, V, VI, and IX had dialectal variants. In the case of gender III, the variants derive from different sources, while genders V, VI and IX had the same Proto-Taremba origin.

Gender Hard consonants Soft consonants Vowels
Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural Singular Dual Plural
I te tel tef t tel tef t(y) tl tef
II na nal naf n nal naf n nl naf
III Northern do dol dof d dol dof d(w) dl dof
Southern so sol sof s sol sof s(w) sl sof
IV ki kil kif k kil kif k(y) kl kif
V Variant I rəl rəf r[1] rəl rəf r rəf
Variant II pa pal paf p pal paf p pl paf
VI Variant I wa wal waf wa wal waf w waf
Variant II kwa kwal kwaf kwa kwal kwaf kw kwaf
VII pi pil pif p pil pif p(y) pl pif
VIII on ol of n l[2] f n l f
IX Variant I ton tonli tonna ton tonli tonna tonk tonny tonn
Variant II tok tonkli tonka tonk tonkli tonk tonkl tonk
Variant III tokəl tokən tok tokl[3] tok tokl
X la lal laf l[4] lal laf l laf
XI kla klal klaf kla klal klaf kl klaf
XII ka kal kaf k kal kaf k kl kaf


Number was marked for dual and plural

  • Dual: After vowels, -i was used; with consonant-final nouns, some nouns used -li, other nouns added -l- before the final consonant and -i after it[5]
  • Plural: -f after vowels, -əf after consonants

In Late Old Kassan, the distinction between the dual and plural suffixes had weakened, and some dialects tended to use one or the other for both dual and plural.


There were just four cases in Old Kasshian

  • Absolutive: None
  • Ergative: -(a)r
  • Genitive: -(a)f
  • Dative: -(a)z

Case-like postpositions

There were several enclitic postpositions with case-like function, added to noun phrases placed in various cases. In the earliest stages of Old Kassan, they were placed at the end of the entire noun phrase, but by Late Old Kasshian, they'd migrated to the head noun.

  • Absolutive
    • Instrumental: li
    • Benefactive: na
    • Commitative: ran
    • Locative: qav
    • Inessive: ka
    • Circumlocative: de
    • Perlative: ne
  • Genitive
    • Ablative: ta
    • Ellative: tu
    • Circumablative: kos
  • Dative
    • Allative: zə
    • Illative: ba
    • Perillative: baba
    • Circumallative: ma
    • Circumperlative: mama


Person and aspect

Person and aspect were indicated by an inflected auxiliary. Typically, the verb itself, with optional prefixes, occurred at the beginning of the sentence while the auxiliary was at the end. By the Late Old Kasshian period, however, a tendency had developed to attach the auxiliary as a clitic to the end of the verb. Person was marked by a prefix on the auxiliary

Singular Dual Paucal Plural
1st qo- lof- taqe- ne-
2nd fen- feni- fen(ə)f- fana-
3rd sapient tas- te- tan-
3rd non-sapient lə- li- ləna-

Aspects in Late Old Kasshian were

  • Inceptive: tu(n)
  • Progressive: qe
  • Habitual: va(n) (sometimes -v after vowels)
  • Cessative: ra (sometimes -r after vowels)
  • Retrospective: nok
  • Perfective: ∅

Verbal prefixes


  • Reflexive: ko-/kw-
  • Dative: pə-/p-
  • Antipassive: so-


  • Past: fa-
  • Future: naqe-


  • If: ve-
  • Contrafactual: kwa-
  • Then: os-

Verbal suffixes

Mood was marked by a suffix

  • Indicative: -Ø
  • Irrealis: -ko
  • Imperative/hortative: -kə
  • Prohibitive: -ral



The simple pronouns were used primarily for clarity, and were typically unstressed

1st person 2nd person
Singular Dual Paucal Plural Singular Dual Paucal Plural
qo sa na ti gil dre gif gilna

The gender prefixes (of the set used before consonants) were also used as 3rd person pronouns.

Case was marked with the suffixes:

  • Nominative: Ø or -ka
  • Accusative: -e
  • Genitive: -wa
  • Dative: -tu


There were two sets of emphatic pronouns, the "ordinary" set, used with standard case-suffixes, and the postpositional set, used with case-like postpositions.

Singular Dual Paucal Plural
1st person Ordinary Qódeg Sádeg Nádeg Tídeg
Postpositional Sándeg Nándeg Tíndeg
2nd person Ordinary Gíldeg Drédeg Gífdeg Gílnadeg
Postpositional Gíndeg Dréndeg Gífindeg Gílnandeg

Case was marked by the same cases as simple pronouns.


Word order was flexible in Old Kasshian. In the earliest stages, the verb was usually at the end of the sentence. In later stages, the verb's position became more variable, with a tendency towards the beginning of the sentence. Over the Old Kasshian period, adjective placement gradually became more consistently post-nominal.


  1. rə- before r or l
  2. ol- before l or r
  3. tok before l or r
  4. la- before l or r
  5. This is the origin of the geminating and non-geminating paradigms in Classical Kasshian