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Pronounced: ['ʃ]
Timeline and Universe: Earth Jungle Lord (EJL)
Species: Martian Hominin
Spoken: Mars
Total speakers: 19,000,000
Writing system: Native Syllabary
Genealogy: Tide
Morphology: Agglutinative
Morphosyntax: Split Ergative
Word order: SOV
Creator: Linguarum Magister
Created: 2012


Siye is one of the two major languages, along with Ulok, of the Martian Equator, It is spoken by nineteen million people in the Valley of the River. The Guild of Scholars estimates that there are twenty million speakers, but the Terrestrial conservative estimate separates one million speakers whose inclusion within the Simakim is more political than linguistic.

'Simakim', a key concept in linguistic and political thought, means 'area where the Siye language is spoken.' The Simakim is defined by the presence of a Siye-speaker with immovable property. If the Simayam (Siye speaker) is bilingual, the Siye portion is dominant under Siye law.

The Valley is a federation of city states and autonomous regions whose only unifying government is the Guild of Scholars, a body of grammarians based in the Central Province which regulates the grammar of Siye and therefore the validity of contracts. The Valley is divided into provinces, but unless there is need for military action, provinces are more geographical descriptions than political unities. The only permanent militia is maintained by the Far Western Province, which borders the Ulok-speaking Kingdom of Nesa.

Phonology and Orthography

Types of Orthography

The native Siye orthography, Keno Siye, is an abugida with ninety basic characters (the superimposed nasal coda is not counted), the Modern Basic Syllabary, in which all series, except the w-series and the s-series distinguish initial and medial (non-initial) characters. The Archaic Syllabary was not originally organized, but later the antecedents of the Guild of Scholars organized the characters in a matrix and modified some homographs. The change from Tide to Tiye to Siye required a reorganization of the matrix, which is now known as the Modern Basic Syllabary. There are no spaces in the script.

After the effects of vowel contraction or vowel dominance, there are additional characters modified from the basic characters to indicate grammatical suffixes, distinguish cases hidden by vowel dominance, and adjectival derivation, as well as an "alphabet" that allows for corrections, foreign pronunciations, and coda consonants. The positional suffix < na > is a basic character, but the perfective positive realis suffix < na >, adjacent to the positional suffix < na >, is the basic character < ne > modified by < a >. A noun such as < wino > is pronounced identically in the absolutive and vocative, but the second character of the vocative, < no > is the absolutive < no > modified by < i >. The orthography's ability to represent foreign pronunciation is important to missionary work. Superscript consonants and vowels indicate a correction. Subscript consonants indicate codas. Subscript vowels indicate the second part of diphthongs. The subscript coda consonants, in particular, are important for an accurate transcription of Ulok in Keno Siye.

In theory, a character is composed of a "mother", the principal skeleton, and a "daughter", the smaller detached parts. Exceptions are < To > (capitalization indicates an initial syllable) and < no >, which only have "daughters". The medial characters derive from prenasalized characters in earlier stages of the language, for which reason so many of them have the nasal dash. < Ta > and <na> differ only in the presence of the nasal dash. The mother is shared wit < Ta >, < na >, < ti >, and < Li >. The daughter is shared with < Ta >, < na >, < Te >, < ne >, < Ti >, < ni >, < To >, and < no >. This daughter is a mother in < Tu > and < nu >, while < na > uses this mother and the nasal dash. As stated above, the nasal dash occurs only in medial syllables, 35 of the total 90. The orphan daughters < To > and < no > have daughters of their own. Some half-size characters, such as < ya > and < Tu >, expand to full height, but < Yo > and < Ma > remain at half-height.

There are various Romanization schemes. The principal one (Standard), the one used in this document, hews close to the phonemic scheme of the native orthography. A Practical Orthography uses phonetics as its guiding principle. This system is rarer, but still common. Cyrillic and Hebrew orthographies also exist.

Standard Practical

pi çi, schi, shchi

pu fu

ki chi

ku hu

tu tsu

si shi

Vm Vng


m /m/

[m] > [ⁿ]/V_#, V_C

n /n/ [n]

p /p/

[p]> [pʰ]/#_, [ɸ]/_u, [ç]/_i

Outside the City, [ç] merges with [ʃ].

t /t/

[t] > [tʰ]/#_, [ts]/_u, [ʦʰ]/#_u

k /k/

[k] > [kʰ]/#_, [x]/_u, [ʧ]/_i, [ʧʰ]/#_i

s [s] /s/

[s] > [ʃ]/_i

w [ʋ]

y [j]

l [l]

h [0] placeholder after /m/ [ⁿ] and intervocalically

i [i] im [ɪⁿ]

e [e] em [ɛⁿ]

a [ə] [a] in free variation; am [æⁿ]

o [o] om [ɔⁿ]

u [u] um [ʊⁿ] [ʌⁿ] in free variation

Initial aspiration of plosives and affricates is far less common outside the City.

Nasalization and Advanced Tongue Root

In Standard Siye, the nasal vowels share the feature retracted tongue root (RTR), while the oral vowels share the feature advanced tongue root (ATR). In studies of Siye, the feature is defined as +ATR and -ATR. Standard Siye has the typologically rare 10-vowel ATR. The Near and Mid Provinces reduce the ATR system by removing [ə] in favor of a generalized [a].

/i/ [i] /im/ [ɪⁿ]

/e/ [e] /em/ [ɛⁿ]

/a/ [a] /am/ [aⁿ]

/o/ [o] /om/ [ɔⁿ]

/u/ [u] /um/ [ʊⁿ]

The Far Western Province uses a seven-vowel system:

/i/ [i] /im/ [ɪⁿ]

/e/ [ɛ] /em/ [ɛⁿ]

/a/ [a] /am/ [aⁿ]

/o/ [ɔ] /om/ [ɔⁿ]

/u/ [u] /um/ [ʊⁿ]

The Far Eastern Province and the Lake have a slightly different seven-vowel system:

/i/ [i] /im/ [iⁿ]

/e/ [e] /em/ [ɛⁿ]

/a/ [a] /am/ [aⁿ]

/o/ [o] /om/ [ɔⁿ]

/u/ [u] /um/ [ʊⁿ]

Vowel Dominance

Standard Siye vowels have a dominance system whereby one vowel eliminates an adjacent vowel rather than creating a long vowel or diphthong. Earlier Siye lacked this feature. The impact of vowel dominance in Siye is extensive, but many exceptions exist where the meaning would have become ambiguous. The dominance pattern follows a V-shape, starting in the high back, descending to low central, and ascending to high front. Thus the dominance hierarchy is as follows: /u/ > /o/ > /a/ > /e/ > /i/.

Examples of the effects of vowel dominance include the creation of the zero-marked subject prefix of the transitive verb, the existence of the ya-conjugation, and the differentiation, or lack thereof, of the nominative and accusative cases of nouns; the development of adjectives ending in -e. Exceptions include vowel-initial verb roots with weak initial vowels, word-initial high vowels (including subject and object prefixes).

Stress Placement

Stress in Siye is is trochaic-dactylic. Polysyllabic affixes can only receive stress on the initial syllable. The combination of the preceding rules creates a complex primary-secondary stress pattern. Some regualarly trisyllabic suffixes, such as /-muluyam/, have bisyllabic allomorphs to conform to this pattern.

A Siye verb receives primary stress on the first syllable of the verb root; thus the verb /pelekopuyammu/ and /lekunasonima/ receive primary stresses on /ko/ and /ku/.

The secondary stresses are distributed according to the following rules:

Firstly, there is a minimum of one and maximum of two unstressed syllables between stressed syllable

Secondly, only the first syllable of a root or suffix can be stressed.

Thirdly, the sequence of preferred placements of secondary stresses are as follows: directional suffix; causative suffix; converbal suffix; number suffix; PAM (polarity-aspect-mood suffix.


The Valley in which Siye is spoken stretches halfway across the Martian equator, so there are variations in speech along its length. The primary isogloss is the boundary line between nouns that use the Nominative and Accusative and those that use the Ergative and Absolutive. In Standard Siye, the dialect of the City in the Central Province and the variety on which this article is based, only pronouns and personal names can use Nominative and Accusative forms. As one travels east the range of the Nominative decreases; as one travels west towards the Mountain, the opposite occurs. Thus, all varieties of Siye use /le, la/ for the first person pronouns. All but the Far Eastern Province and the Lake use /pe, sa/ for the second person pronoun. The Mid-Eastern Province and points west place all pronouns, regardless of number, in the Nominative category. Standard Siye, from the Central Province, adds personal names to the Nominative category. The Near Western Province requires that nouns denoting humans must be in the Nominative category, reducing the number of complex cases in the spoken version of the western dialects. The Mid-Western Province treats all animate nouns as Nominative, and the Far Western Province is full nominative under the "contamination" of Ulok.


Siye (Susu)

The dialect of Siye dismissively known as Susu has as its principal feature the collapse of the affricates into the fricatives. This creates surprisingly few problems, so much so that some broad-minded Simayamka consider Susu 'barely a dialect'. The main grammatical feature of Susu is the replacement of the directional suffix /tu/ [su], now homophonous with the directional suffix /su/ [su], with [sa].

tʃ > ʃ

ts > s

tç > ç

Siye (Tsishi)

The Tsishi dialect features the coalenscence of the high vowels and the creation of new phonemes from allophones.

l > ʎ/_i

n > ɲ/_i

u > i


Ye has two variations, rural and urban. Urban Ye has restored the Standard Siye vowels, but Rural Ye has kept the original vowel changes.

Urban Ye

s, ɸ, ʃ > h

tʃ > ʃ

ts > s

tç > ç

w, j > 0

h > 0

ʃ > s

s > θ

ç > x

Rural Ye

ɛ◌̴ > æ◌̴

ɑ > ɔ

æ◌̴ > ɪɘ◌̴

Cæ◌̴ > Cjɘ◌̴

ɔ◌̴ > ɒ◌̴

u > y

ʌ◌̴ > ɛ◌̴

Siye Nominal Morphology

Siye Nominal Morphology

Siye Verbal Morphology

Siye Verbal Morphology

Siye Syntax

Siye Syntax

Siye Texts

Siye Texts

Siye Thematic Vocabulary

Siye Thematic Vocabulary