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Spoken in: Central Europe ca. 4000 BC
Conworld: League of Lost Languages
Total speakers: extinct
Genealogical classification: Macro-Indo-European
Basic word order: SOV
Morphological type: agglutinating
Morphosyntactic alignment: active-stative
Created by:
Jörg Rhiemeier 2018

Proto-Hesperic is a Macro-Indo-European diachronic conlang by Jörg Rhiemeier that is currently under construction, and represents the reconstructed common ancestor of the Hesperic language family. It is a lostlang and forms a part of the League of Lost Languages. Proto-Hesperic is a head-final agglutinating active-stative language related to Proto-Indo-European, assumed to have been spoken in Central Europe around 4000 BC; it also resembles Proto-Uralic in its morphology, and seems to form a kind of "missing link" between the two families. The vocabulary is in part based on Proto-Indo-European, in part on words with uncertain etymologies in Celtic and Germanic that may be loanwords from lost substratum languages; there are also some original creations in the vocabulary and a few words from argots such as Shelta or Rotwelsch.




  Labial Coronal Palatal Velar
Aspirated stops *ph *th   *kh
Neutral stops (*p) *t   *k
Voiced stops *b *d   *g
Fricatives   *s   *x
Nasals *m *n    
Liquids   *l *r    
Semivowels *w   *j  


  • All phonemes can be assumed to have the IPA values. The most uncertainty is with *x, which could have been anything from velar to glottal; however, it probably was not simply /h/, as stops followed by *x show different developments than aspirated stops (see Drummond's Law on this matter).
  • The phoneme *p (neutral labial stop) is marginal and may not have existed. All Hesperic words with this sound have limited distribution and may have been borrowed.
  • Aspirated and voiced stops do not co-occur in a true Proto-Hesperic root; exceptions occur only in a few words with limited distribution that probably were borrowed from other languages. Neutral stops may co-occur with either.
  • No two neutral stops may occur in the same Proto-Hesperic root, and they do not occur in affixes. Again, exceptions have limited distribution and are probably borrowed.
  • Because of these constraints, it has been suggested that the neutral stops once were ejectives (compare the glottalic theory in Indo-European), but as no Hesperic language actually shows such ejectives, this is doubtful. It should also be considered that in the Kartvelian languages often cited by supporters of the glottalic theory, no such constraints exist (e.g., Georgian k'op'e 'ladle' has two ejectives in the root, one of them labial). The constraints postulated by the glottalists do exist, however, in Akkadian, which disallows two "emphatic" consonants in a root and also lacks a labial "emphatic" stop (see Geers' Law). Yet, it may indeed be the case that the neutral stops evolved from some highly marked type of articulation, but it is pretty certain that at the time of breakup, they just were ordinary stops that were neither voiced nor aspirated.


  Front Central Back
High *i   *u
Low   *a  


  • The diphthongs *ai and *au exist, but are perhaps better considered vowel-semivowel groups *aj and *aw instead, as they show the same distribution as vowel-liquid groups.
  • The high vowels *i and *u do not occur in roots or affixes in which a nasal, liquid or semivowel follows the vowel (across morpheme boundaries, such combinations may exist). Exceptions may occur in words of limited distribution that are probably borrowed from non-Hesperic languages.
  • There are no vowel-initial lexical roots; all roots begin with a consonant. The demonstrative *a (source of the West Hesperic definite article) is an exception.


The maximal syllable structure is sCRVRC, wherein C is any consonant and R a nasal, liquid or semivowel.


Accent in Proto-Hesperic appears to have been non-distinctive. Evidence from some daughter languages indicate a stress accent on the penultimate syllable.


Proto-Hesperic shows an agglutinating morphology. The language is mostly suffixing.


Nouns fall into two classes: animate and inanimate. The animate class consists of words for people, animals, plants, social groups, supernatural entities, natural forces and a few others. All other nouns are inanimate. Animate nouns are inflected for three numbers (singular, dual, plural) and five cases (agentive, objective, genitive, partitive, dative). The number markers have two allomorphs each: *-x and *-s in final position, and *-w and *-j before a case ending. The objective case is ecpressed by *-m in the singular; in the non-singular numbers, the number marker follows this ending, which is unexpected in an agglutinating paradigm. This is perhaps best explained thus that the ending *-m originally was an "animacy-neutralizing" derivative suffix.

Inanimate nouns are indeclinable; their single form is syntactically objective singular.

There is no distinction between masculine or feminine genders, but animate nouns referring to single persons or animals may receive the suffixes *-wa 'male' or *-ja 'female'.

Declension of an animate noun

Example: *xnara 'man'

Case Singular Dual Plural
Agentive *xnara *xnarax *xnaras
Objective *xnaram *xnaramax *xnaramas
Genitive *xnarasa *xnarawsa *xnarajsa
Partitive *xnarala *xnarawla *xnarajla
Dative *xnarana *xnarawna *xnarajna

When the noun ends in the vowel *-i or *-u, this is changed into *-a before the *-w and *-j allomorphs of the dual and plural markers as well as before the objective case marker *-m, partitive *-l and dative *-n. Example (*disi 'wife'):

Case Singular Dual Plural
Agentive *disi *disix *disis
Objective *disam *disamax *disamas
Genitive *disisa *disawsa *disajsa
Partitive *disala *disawla *disajla
Dative *disana *disawna *disajna


Adjectives inflect similarly to nouns if the noun they modify is animate; however, the dual marker is always *-w and the plural marker always *-j, even if no case ending follows. This is certainly due to the adjective forming a close phonological unit with the following noun, as in *makxaj xnaras 'great men (agt./obj.)'.

If the adjective is used as a head of an animate noun phrase, it is inflected like a noun.

Degrees of comparison are marked by suffixes:

  • Comparative *-isa
  • Superlative *-istha
  • Equative *-iskha

In these suffixes, the *i replaces the final vowel of the adjective, e.g. *makxa 'great' → *makxisa 'greater'.

Adverbs are derived from adjectives by suffixing *-s.


Pronouns exist in animate and inanimate forms (except, of course, 1st and 2nd person); they inflect like nouns.

Personal pronouns

The personal pronouns are inflected for number and case like animate noun, but the declension is somewhat different from the nominal declension:

  • The dual and plural markers are always *-w and *-j, even in the agentive case, due to the proclitic properties of the pronouns.
  • The objective case suffix is *-ma, and is also used in the dual and plural, e.g. *majma 'us'.

The pronouns in their agentive forms are:

  • 1st person (exclusive): singular *mi, dual *maw, plural *maj
  • 1st person (inclusive): dual *waw, plural *waj
  • 2nd person: singular *thi, dual *thaw, plural *thaj
  • 3rd person: singular *sa, dual *saw, plural *saj

To these forms, case markers are added as appropriate.

The inanimate pronoun is *thatha.

Reflexive pronouns

These are derived from the above by suffixing *-wa (before the number suffix). The *i in the 1st and 2nd person singular forms changes into *a; e.g. *mawa 'myself'.

Demonstrative pronouns

There are three degrees of deixis:

  • Proximal (near speaker): *xa
  • Medial (near hearer): *thxa
  • Distal (far from both): *a

Interrogative pronouns

  • Animate *khwa
  • Inanimate *mana


Verbs inflect for tense, mood and the person and number of the subject and, if transitive, the direct object.

There are two main classes of verbs: active verbs, which denote actions performed by the subject and may be transitive or intransitive; and stative verbs, which denote states or events happening to the non-acting subject and are always intransitive. These two classes use different personal suffixes, and mark their subjects with different cases. Active verbs require an animate subject in the agentive case; stative verbs require an animate subject in the objective case or an inanimate subject.

Tense and mood

The tense and mood suffixes are:

  • Past *-na
  • Future *-wa
  • Subjunctive *-ja

The present indicative is unmarked. These suffixes are placed immediately after the verb stem and precede the personal suffixes. The subjunctive mood is not compatible with past and future tenses.

Personal suffixes

There are two sets of personal suffixes. The agentive suffixes are used for subjects of active verbs; the objective suffixes are used for direct objects of transitive verbs and for subjects of stative verbs. In a transitive verb, the objective suffix precedes the agentive suffix, e.g. *wali-tha-ma 'I love you'.

Agentive Singular Dual Plural
1st person *-ma *-max *-mas
2nd person *-tha *-thax *-thas
3rd person *-sa *-sax *-sas
Objective Singular Dual Plural
1st person *-xa *-xax *-xas
2nd person *-thxa *-thxax *-thxas
3rd person *-a *-ax *-as

A 3rd person objective suffix agrees with the number of the respective argument only if the argument is animate. With inanimate arguments, the 3rd person singular form *-a is always used.

When an agentive suffix follows an objective dual or plural suffix, the dual marker in the objective suffix changes from *-x to *-w and the plural marker from *-s to *-j. Example: *walithxajma 'I love you all'.


(to be done)

Developments in daughter languages

The two main branches of Hesperic are characterized by shared developments.

West Hesperic

The West Hesperic languages underwent three characteristic changes:

Furthermore, all West Hesperic languages except Albic merge all three word-final nasals as *-n (possibly nasalization of the final vowel). This change led to the merger of the old objective and dative cases, and the old partitive case became a new dative.

East Hesperic

The East Hesperic languages underwent three characteristic changes:

  • Palatalization of stops before *i and *j: velars become postalveolar affricates, dentals become alveolar afficates.
  • Stop+stop clusters are simplified by dropping the first stop.
  • Semivowels are lost after consonants.



  • adj. adjective.
  • adv. adverb.
  • na. animate noun.
  • ni. inanimate noun.
  • va. active verb.
  • vf. fluid verb.
  • vi. inactive verb.
  • vt. transitive verb.
  • (EH) East Hesperic.
  • (WH) West Hesperic.

The Physical World


  • *dgama na. earth.
  • *dwana ni. hill, mountain.
  • *xarba (WH) ni. mountain.
  • *landa ni. plain.
  • *phalasa ni. lowland.
  • *khara ni. stone.
  • *xarna ni. flint; (WH) metal.
  • *drisa ni. dirt.


  • *saiwa na. sea.
  • *watana ni. liquid.
  • *xakwa na. river.
  • *xala na. water.

Air and sky

  • *lupha na. air.
  • *thala na. wind.
  • *nabasa ni. cloud.
  • *xara na. sun.
  • *sani na. moon.
  • *xasi na. star.


  • *phawa na. fire.
  • *xaska ni. ashes.
  • *xara vi. to burn.



  • *bauma na. tree.
  • *chaltu ni. wood.

Other plants

  • *kruda na. herb.


  • *xabala ni. apple.
  • *khrana ni. grain.


Bugs and worms

  • *wali na. fly.
  • *spina na. spider.
  • *wrigi na. worm.
  • *kraba na. crab.


  • *phiska na. fish.
  • *khwala na. a large fish.

Amphibians and reptiles

  • *snaka na. snake.
  • *xaika na. lizard.
  • *phraka na. frog.


  • *phukla na. bird.
  • *gansa na. (wild?) goose.
  • *xwarna na. eagle.
  • *phanki na. finch.
  • *masla na. blackbird.
  • *kharkha na. raven.
  • *xulu na. owl.


  • *gwara na. animal.
  • *kwawa n. cattle.
  • *markha na. (WH) horse.
  • *skapha na. sheep.
  • *khasa na. hare.


Body parts

  • *gwama ni. body.
  • *gabla na. head.
  • *xantha na. face.
  • *salima na. eye.
  • *xnasa na. nose.
  • *muntha na. mouth.
  • *dangwa na. tongue.
  • *xatithala ni. tooth.
  • *sranka na. arm.
  • *phankwa na. hand.
  • *baina na. leg.
  • *thala na. foot.
  • *khalsa ni. neck.
  • *phalta ni. hair.
  • *drata ni. a single hair.
  • *barda ni. beard.

Internal organs

  • *braina na. brain.
  • *gutta ni. throat.
  • *phanta ni. stomach.
  • *darma ni. gut.
  • *thulma ni. lung.
  • *kharda na. heart.
  • *xardu ni. blood.

Body functions

  • *kwaja va. to be alive.
  • *mata vt. to eat.
  • *dranka vt. to drink.
  • *chala adj. healthy.
  • *saika adj. sick.
  • *xaru ni. wound.
  • *narda adj. strong.
  • *sanda adj. weak.
  • *mara to die.


  • *kana na. family.
  • *ndara na. man.
  • *sara na. woman.
  • *jana na. child.
  • *brata vt. to marry.
  • *guma na. husband.
  • *disi na. wife.
  • *xata na. father.
  • *xama na. mother.
  • *xuxa na. grandfather.
  • *bara na. son.
  • *srali na. daughter.
  • *braxa na. brother.
  • *swasa na. sister.
  • *swakri adj. in-law.

House and settlement

  • *katha ni. house.
  • *garda ni. enclosure.
  • *xwasa va. to dwell.
  • *wikha na. village, settlement.
  • *xmara na. settlement.
  • *luka ni. door.
  • *wanda ni. wall.
  • *xangi na. hearth.
  • *thaka ni. roof.

Material culture


  • *wasa vt. to wear (clothes).
  • *phana ni. cloth.
  • *laina ni. linen.
  • *wlana ni. wool.
  • *xwabi vt. to weave.
  • *snara vt. to sew.
  • *chamsa ni. shirt.
  • *braka ni. (pair of) trousers.
  • *kautha ni. coat.


  • *matala ni. food.
  • *phakhwa vt. to cook.
  • *baka vt. to bake.
  • *khlaiba ni. bread.
  • *makala ni. meat.
  • *krustha ni. crust.
  • *xmasa ni. soft interior of food.
  • *mlaka ni. milk.
  • *mala ni. honey.
  • *drankala ni. drink.
  • *kidi ni. to ferment.


  • *matha ni. hoe.
  • *xarxa ni. plough.
  • *xraka ni. rake.
  • *sikli ni. sickle.
  • *xadsa ni. axe.
  • *tamba ni. hammer.

War and weapons

  • *braga va. to fight.
  • *bragatala ni. war.
  • *wraka vt. to destroy.
  • *kwara ni. spear.
  • *khalthra ni. (WH) sowrd.
  • *skaldi ni. shield.


Social structure

  • *kwathasa na. person.
  • *xludi adj. free.
  • *kwanda na. tribe.
  • *phrauja na. master, leader.


  • *dara vt. to give.
  • *nara vt. to take.

Space and Time


  • *la adv. here.
  • *srauma ni. space.

Positions and directions

  • *xantha ni. front.
  • *xrugu ni. back.
  • *xana ni. interior.
  • *xutu ni. exterior.
  • *xara ni. top.
  • *thala ni. bottom.
  • *narda ni. right.
  • *sanda ni. left.


  • *phala adj. flat.
  • *kugla adj. round.
  • *sphiti adj. pointed.


  • *nu adj. now.
  • *dara ni. day.
  • *xnamu ni. night.
  • *sanjara ni. month.
  • *jara ni. year.

Numbers and Quantities


  • *mana na. 1.
  • *tawax na. 2.
  • *tharas na. 3.
  • *khwathas na. 4.
  • *phankhwas na. 5.
  • *khwathadas na. (WH) 6.
  • *tharadas na. (WH) 7.
  • *tawadas na. (WH) 8.
  • *manadas na. (WH) 9.
  • *takhas na. 10.

Other quantities

  • *phlathas na. many.
  • *lintis na. few.


  • *makxa adj. great.
  • *phikha adj. small.
  • *bruku adj. heavy.
  • *linti adj. light.

Knowledge, thought and senses

Knowledge and thought

  • *knaxwa vt. to know.
  • *mana va. to think.
  • *chrada vt. to believe.
  • *salida va. to dream.


  • *sali vt. to see.
  • *luka vt. to observe.
  • *lukha ni. light.
  • *maura ni. shadow.
  • '*salbi vi. to shine.


  • *sphriti vt. to paint.
  • *dwara adj. black.
  • *xalba adj. white.
  • *krasa adj. red.
  • *gali adj. yellow.
  • *griwi adj. green.
  • *xalbu adj. bright blue.
  • '*balu adj. dark blue.


  • *khlawa vt. to hear.
  • *xluda adj. loud.

Smell and taste

  • *xriki vt. to smell.
  • *smaka vt. to taste.


  • *takha vt. to touch.

Joy and Pain

  • *guda adj. good.
  • *gaxu ni. joy.
  • *mirthi vt. to please.
  • *kurkha adj. bad.
  • *smara ni. pain.
  • *pharkha vt. to fear.

Love and Hate

  • *wala vt. to love.
  • *gruta vt. to hate.

Miscellaneous qualities

  • *kwari adj. warm.
  • *krusi adj. cold.
  • *sausa adj. dry.
  • *sulda adj. wet.

Speech and Sound

  • *kwatha va. to speak.
  • *kala vt. to say.
  • *sangwa vt. to recite.
  • *lara va. to sing.
  • *babla va. to babble.



  • *sa vi. to be, exist.
  • *tha vi. to be (in a state).
  • *da va. to do.
  • *ga vf. to go.
  • *maga vi. to be able.
  • *khwara vt. to make.


  • *xara vt. to set in motion.
  • *waga vt. to carry.
  • *warpha vt. to throw.
  • *naga vf. to come.
  • *daga vf. to go away.
  • *drama vf. to run.
  • *sphrangi vf. to jump.
  • *swimi vf. to swim.

Rotary motion

  • *khwala vf. to rotate.
  • *wanda vf. to turn.
  • *wala vt. to twist.

Lateral motion

  • *skhaka vt. to shake.

Pouring and Flowing

  • *giti vt. to pour.
  • *xala vi. to flow.


  • *banda vt. to bind.
  • *gada vt. to join.

Bending and pressing

  • *bugu vt. to bend.
  • *druku vt. to push, to press.

Stretching and inflating

  • *thanxa vt. to stretch.
  • *trakha vt. to pull.
  • *blasa va. to blow.
  • *blasu vt. to inflate.

Reductive activities

  • *briti vt. to break.
  • *saka vt. to cut.
  • *sphliti vt. to split.
  • *digi vt. to dig.
  • *drali vt. to bore, to drill.
  • *sphiti vt. to pierce.