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Kélanìas tyéñalī
Timeline/Universe: (not yet named)
Total speakers: none
Genealogical Classification: Kelanian

 Western Kelanian  Eastern Kelanian

Basic word order: OSV
Morphological type: fusional
Morphosyntactic alignment: fluid-S
Created by:
Andrew 2007

Kelanian (native name Kélanìas tyéñalī, lit. "Kelanian speech") was the original language spoken by all people. It was how the first men interpreted the speech of the Kélanui (sg. Kélanū), or "holy ones," who shaped the earth, govern its existance, and guided men in their earliest days. In truth, the actual speech of the Kelanui is more complex than Kelanian, with each Kelanu having his or her own slightly different version, but the two were close enough to be mutually intelligible.



Kelanian contains 21 consonantal phonemes. The majority, 13, of these are stops. It has labial, dental and velar aspirated and unaspirated stops, both voiced and unvoiced, as well as the glottal stop q /?/, as in "uh-oh". There is only 1 fricative, s /s/. The remaining 7 are sonorants. It has three nasals, m /m/, n /n/, and ñ /N/. Each nasal is inherently linked to a certain group of stops- m with the labials, n with the dentals, and ñ with the velars. There are two liquids, l /l/ and r /r/, and two semivowels w /w/ and y /j/.

Labial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Stops, unaspirated p b t d k g q
Stops, aspirated ph bh th dh kh gh
Fricatives s
Nasals m n ñ
Liquids l r
Semivowels w y


r is realized as [4] (an alveolar flap) when not initial or geminated.

Before or after voiced stops, s is realized as [z].


There are 5 vowels, a, e, i, o, and u, which can all be short or long. Long vowels are written with a macron, ā, ē, ī, ō, ū. The two mid vowels, e and o, are tense when they are long, /e: o:/ and lax when they are short /E O/.

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

There are also 8 diphthongs, essentially treated as long vowels. They are formed when i follows a, e, o, or u and when u follows a, e, o, or i. The first element becomes long (the macron isn't written), and the second becomes a semivowel, ai ei oi ui au eu ou iu are /a:j e:j o:j u:j a:w e:w o:w i:w/.


Consonants and consonant clusters are always viewed as syllable onsets. There may only be a coda on a final syllable. Word initial or medial syllables are of the form (C)(C)(w,y)V, though there are very strict rules for what clusters can be formed (see below). Final syllables are of the form (C)(C)(w,y)V(sonorant, fricative). Only a vowel or diphthong is required to form a syllable.

Consonant Clusters

There are rules for what consonant combinations form permissable clusters. All of the clusters formed by the following rules may be medial, but not all may be initial. The ones that can are marked so.

Note: q is a stop, but cannot be used to make clusters. All of the rules that refer to "stops" do not apply to q.

Liquids can precede nasals and stops.

Anything but stops can be geminated.

s can precede or follow stops. (can be initial)

Stops can follow their matching nasals. (can be initial)

The semivowels w and y can follow a consonant or cluster. (allowed initial clusters followed by w and y are also allowed initially)


In Kelanian, the accent is always found on the word's root vowel. For words that have two or more syllables after the root vowel, every second vowel from the root vowel gets a secondary accent.

Words that don't have analysable roots, e.g. pronouns, prepositions, &c., are always three or less syllables, and are accented on the first. The addition of derivational prefixes and suffixes, like the comparative or superlative, do not move the stress to earlier or later in the word; it is completely fixed.

A long accented vowel is written with a circumflex, a short accented vowel with an acute. A secondary accent is written with a grave.


If one word ends with a vowel and the next begins with one, the first vowel is dropped in speech if it is short. If the first vowel is long and the second vowel is short and unaccented, the second one is dropped. If both are long, neither is dropped.

There is one notable instance when elision doesn't occur—the formation of verbs. This lack of elision is emphasized in writing by using a hyphen, e.g. tséraye-éni. In this case, the first vowel simply flows into the second.


Word Derivation

Primitive Root Structure

The roots of Kelanian are of the structure (C)(C)(w,y)VCV. The initial cluster may only be one of the clusters outlined above as permissible initially. Other than this, there is only one rule concerning the consonants in a root: there must be one between the vowels.

There are two vowels in every root. The second is called the "determining vowel" of the root, because it determines what the first vowel, the "root vowel," will be. (It is not very common for two roots to differ only by the determining vowel.) If the determining vowel is e or i, the root vowel is e. If it is o or u, the root vowel is o, and if the determining vowel is a, in the majority of cases the root vowel will be e, though it may be o if the initial consonant cluster contains a w. The root vowel, as mentioned above, is the vowel that is accented in all words derived from a certain root.

Lexeme Formation

Lexeme derivation from primitive roots is accomplished through the addition of suffixes, though sometimes the root vowel is also lengthened. The suffixes are of the form (C)(C)V, though few suffixes consist of just a vowel. For example, by using the suffix -nū, the root ETA gives étanū man/person.

When nouns are derived, the form produced is the absolutive singular. When modifiers are derived, the form produced is the imperfective active.

Word Formation

Lexemes themselves are words, though there are a variety of words that can be derived from them, as well as many inflections that can be added. To derive totally new words from lexemes, the final vowel is dropped and suffixes are added. These suffixes are of the form (V)VC(V). For example, étanū gives étanothē, a host of men by dropping the final vowel and adding the suffix -othē.

The various inflections that can be added onto a lexeme or a new derived word include suffixes and prefixes of many different forms. They are clearly marked throughout the rest of this article.


Nouns are split into 5 declensions and are marked for 3 numbers and 8 cases.


Nouns fall into three main categories: animate nouns, a small group of abstract nouns, and inanimate nouns.

Animate nouns include people, animals, and anything else that was seen as having a will of its own. This includes some things that, to us, are inanimate, but were perceived as being conscious, such as the sun and the moon. The reason for this is mythological.

The abstract class of nouns is not found in anything but the singular, since they are intangible concepts and cannot logically be pluralized.

The class of inanimate nouns consists of anything non-living (besides abstract nouns). Since they are not seen as having a will of their own, the inanimate nouns are not found in the nominative case, which shows intent and thoughtful purpose. Some inanimate nouns, the so-called "mass nouns," (e.g. water, knowledge, information, &c.) can also not be pluralized.

Based on these distinctions, nouns are split into 5 declensions, each with its own characteristic vowel. The 1st (u declension) and 2nd (o declension) include the animates, the 3rd (a declension) and 4th (e declension) the inanimates, and the 5th (i declension) is for the abstracts. For proper nouns, these distinctions are not maintained-names may fall into any declension.


Kelanian nouns are marked for three numbers: singular, paucal and plural. Singular refers to a single object. Paucal refers to a small, usually countable, number of something. For certain nouns (e.g. ears, eyes, hands, &c.) it refers to exactly two of something (dual). The paucal is formed by adding the prefix e- to the singular form of the noun. Plural refers to a large, usually uncountable, number of something. It is formed by adding the suffix -i after the stem, before the case ending. When a specific number of something is referenced, the adjectival number is applied to the singular form.


Kelanian nouns are marked for 8 cases: nominative (agentive), absolutive (patientive), ergative, dative, genitive, comitative, locative/temporal, and essive. Cases mark the semantic function of a noun only. Syntactic functions are indicated by other means. (see Syntax)

The nominative marks the agent of an active verb when it is the subject or the willing experiencer of an eventive verb. Inanimate nouns cannot have a will and, therefore, cannot be in the nominative.

The absolutive marks the patient of an active verb or the unwilling experiencer of an eventive verb.

The ergative marks the agent of an active verb when it is not the subject. In these cases, the absolutive patient is the subject. It is the only case that inanimate nouns can take to be an agent. When a nominative noun is also present, the ergative functions as an instrumental case. It cannot be used as the subject of an intransitive verb.

The dative marks the indirect object of verbs of giving or transferring. It also marks alienable possessions or qualities, purpose, or something/someone with a vested interest in the action (benefactive). It can also have an allative meaning.

The genitive marks the literal or figurative source of something, and inalienable possessions or qualities (as opposed to the dative). It can also have an ablative meaning.

The comitative marks the company an action or event is done with.

The locative/temporal marks the location or time at which an action was done or a state was experienced. With prepositions it marks a referential location or time.

The essive marks a temporary state or being, usually the same as the English "like/as a...".

The genitive, comitative, locative/temportal, essive and, in some usages, the ergative and dative all change nouns into modifiers.



1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Nom déranul rémadhol léranal¹ sénesel¹ mbênalìle
Abs déranū rémadhō léranā sénesē mbênalī
Erg déranòtye rémadhòtye léranètye sénesètye mbênalìtye
Dat déranur rémadhor léranar séneser mbênalìre
Gen déranòbhō rémadhòbhō léranèbhō sénesèbhō mbênalìbhō
Com déranum rémadhom léranam sénesem mbênalim
Loc déranu rémadho léranan sénesen mbênali
Ess déranuis rémadhois léranais séneseis mbênalīs


The paucal is not included, as it is identical to the singular except for a prefixed e-.


1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Nom déranuil rémadhoil léranail¹ séneseil¹ no plural
Abs déranui rémadhoi léranai sénesei no plural
Erg déranòitye rémadhòitye léranèitye sénesèitye no plural
Dat déranùire rémadhòire léranàire sénesèire no plural
Gen déranòibhō rémadhòibhō léranèibhō sénesèibhō no plural
Com déranuim rémadhoim léranaim séneseim no plural
Loc déranui rémadhoi léranain sénesein no plural
Ess déranīs rémadhīs léranīs sénesīs no plural

¹ Even though inanimate nouns cannot be in the nominative, a nominative form is given anyway for the 3rd and 4th declension, for the case of proper nouns.


Pronouns are stand-ins for nouns. Like nouns, they are also marked for case and number. Because of how they’re formed, all pronouns except for the 1st and 2nd person personals, come in pairs—one animate, used for nouns that can be in the nominative, and one inanimate, used for nouns that cannot be in the nominative. There are three types of pronouns: personal, demonstrative, and interrogative.


Personal pronouns substitute directly for a noun or a name. They come in all three persons. The first and second persons do not differentiate animacy, but the third person pronoun does. There are also both inclusive and exclusive first person plural pronouns, indicating whether or not the person being spoken to is included.

1st Person

Singular Plural-Inclusive Plural-Exclusive
Nom bhál bháril bhálil
Abs bhâ bhárī bhálī
Erg bhátye bháritye bhálitye
Dat bháre bhárire bhálire
Gen bhábhō bhárbhō bhálbhō
Com bhám bhárim bhálim
Loc bhá bhárei bhálei
Ess bhâis bhárīs bhálīs

2nd Person

Singular Plural
Nom lénal lénil
Abs lénā lénī
Erg lénatye lénitye
Dat lénare lénire
Gen lénabhō lénibhō
Com lénam lénim
Loc na léni
Ess lénais lénīs

3rd Person

Animate Inanimate
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nom ñgwól ñgwíl
Abs ñgwô ñgwî dyê dyî
Erg ñgwótye ñgwítye dyétye dyítye
Dat ñgwóre ñgwíre dyére dyíre
Gen ñgwóbhō ñgwíbhō dyébhō dyíbhō
Com ñgwóm ñgwím dyém dyím
Loc ñgwó ñgwí dyén dyín
Ess ñgwôis ñgwîs dyêis dyîs


Demonstrative pronouns substitute for a specific noun with reference to its proximity to the speaker, be it physical or abstract. They should not be confused with demonstrative modifiers (see below):

Pronoun: I like this.

Modifier: I like this car.

The demonstrative pronouns are the substantive (see Modifiers:Substantives) forms of the demonstrative modifiers dhê, this and dhâ, that. These modifiers are unanalyzable, and inflections described under Modifiers below cannot be applied, with the exceptions of the comparative and superlative. The comparative and superlative are used to emphasize exactly how close or far something is. For instance, the superlative-distal modifier ksēdhâ would mean "that thing, way over there."


Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions. Similar to the demonstrative pronouns, they are the substantive forms of the interrogative modifier ûtse, which. When used with a noun, the interrogative modifier asks for indication of a specific example of that noun. When used with a verb, it forms a yes or no question, with word order indicating with constituent is being questioned. Like the demonstrative modifiers, the interrogative modifier is also unanalyzable, and cannot be inflected except for the comparative and superlative. Many of the various question words found in most languages are the declined forms of the two pronouns "who" and "which."

"Who?" "Which?"
Nom Who?
Abs Whom? Which?, What?
Erg By whom? With what?, How?
Dat For whom? For what?, Why?
Gen Whose? Of what?
Com With whom? (Along) with what?
Loc At whose location? At what?, Where?, When?
Ess Like whom? Like what?


Prepositions are used just about as frequently as in English, with some exceptions. The use of “from” or its temporal equivalent “after” is taken over by the genitive, “to” or “towards” or its temporal equivalent “until” by the dative and “at,” “in,” or “on” by the locative.


Kelanian modifiers include everything in English that would be classified as an adjective, adverb or participle, as well as derived modifiers formed by applying oblique cases to nouns and pronouns.

Adjectives vs. Adverbs

There is no morphological difference between the use of modifiers as adjectives, participles, or adverbs, implying that meaning is entirely dependent on context: when used with a noun it is an adjective or participle, and when used with a verb it is an adverb. In both cases, modifiers precede what they modify. Because modifiers can be used as adjectives, participles or adverbs, they are not marked for case and number to agree with the nouns they modify like in other languages.

Dynamic and Static Modifiers

There originally were two types of modifiers that could be derived from each root, based on some object's or some person's relation to a state of being and whether the state is fixed or changing. Dynamic modifiers were used to show changing states and static modifiers were used to show fixed states. Furthermore, there were transitive and intransitive versions of each of these categories, indicating whether the state or change of state was being felt by or being caused by the noun being modified.

Static to Perfect

The dynamic-static and transitive-intransitive distinctions split modifiers into four categories (dynamic-transitive, dynamic-intransitive, static-transitive and static-intransitive) though this four-way split was not maintained for long. By the time of the form of Kelanian being described here, the static modifiers became viewed simply as the perfect aspect of dynamic modifiers. (This has some weird implications. What would normally be considered plain adjectives, such as red or big, are now the perfect form of verbs such as to become red and to become big.)


The collapse of the dynamic-static distinction, described above, simplified the modifier system to a simple two-way split (ignoring aspect) based on transitivity—the source of Kelanian's two "voices": the active and the eventive. The active "voice" is transitive and marks actions done by the modified noun, i.e. the change in state being described is being caused by the modified noun. The eventive "voice" is intransitive and, in a similarly obvious fashion, marks events occuring to the modified noun, i.e. the change in state being described is being felt by the modified noun.


The original dynamic modifiers (see above) were capable of being marked for three aspects: the imperfective, the habitual and the aorist. With the collapse of the static modifiers into the dynamic modifiers, another aspect, the perfect, was created.

The imperfective is used for events or actions that are happening at the time specified. It conveys the meanings of the progressive and simple participles.

The habitual is used for events or actions that happen on a regular basis at the time specified. It conveys the meaning of the relative clause "who/what regularly [verbs]."

The perfect is used for events or actions that are completed, resulting in a current state.

The aorist isn't really an aspect, as much as a combination of the perfective aspect and past tense. It conveys the meaning of the relative clause "who/what once [verbed]".


Active Eventive
Imperfective tséraye moitséraye
Habitual tséraya moitséraya
Perfect¹ tatsêrawe tsêrawe
Aorist² atsér- mòiatsér-

¹ As can be seen, the perfect is formed quite differently from the other modifiers. There are different markers for the two voices, the root vowel is lengthened, and there is the suffix -we.

² The aorist forms given are the eventive and active stems instead of modifiers. See Verb:Morphology:The Aorist below for more information.

Modifiers from Oblique Nominal Cases

It was said in the Nouns section that applying oblique nominal cases form modifiers from nouns and pronouns. The form given by such derivations is equivalent to the eventive-perfect. These newly-formed modifiers can be made into any other normal modifier form by simply adding the proper suffixes and prefixes. They always form weak aorist stems.

These modifiers are very useful, and eliminate the need in Kelanian for the verbs "to give," "to receive," "to go to [a place]," "to come from [a place]," "to have," and others. For instance, the way to say "I am going home" would literally be translated as "I am becoming at home," in the sense that the speaker's state is changing into one of being "at home." This would be the verb formed with imperfective-active form of the noun "home" in the locative case.


Modifiers can be marked for both the comparative and the superlative. (The unmarked form is called the positive.) In the perfect aspect, the comparative and superlative have their normal "more-most" meanings. But in other aspects, the comparative and superlative show increasing degrees of intensity for the action or event, not usually comparable to any construction in English.

The comparative is formed by adding the prefix rā-, and the superlative by adding ksē-.


When a modifier is used with one of the third person personal pronouns, it becomes a noun meaning an animate being (with ñgwô) or inanimate object (with dyê) having that trait.

The Copula

The copula is a heavily inflected word used to relate nouns to other nouns or to modifiers. Its most common use is to relate a noun to a modifier to create a verbal phrase. It is inflected for mood and tense.


There are 6 moods: the indicative, subjunctive, potential, hortative, imperative, and optative. The indicative marks statements that the speaker intends to be understood as true. The subjunctive marks statements that are logically possible and have some probability of being true. The potential marks that the subject has some capability. The hortative marks an insistance that the statement come to be true. It is a "polite imperative" in the second person. The imperative marks an order or command. It is only found in the second person. The optative marks a wish or desire for the statement to be true.


There are three tenses: past, present and future. The only one of any real value discussing is the future, since the past and present speak for themselves. The future is used only for things that are certain to be true or that the speaker is intent on seeing completed, and therefore is found only in the indicative.


Indicative Subjunctive Potential Hortative Imperative Optative
Past énai éntai éndai énau élnai
Present éni énti éndi énu énō élni
Future énoi


The term "verb" refers to a verbal phrase created with the copula and a predicate modifier. Active verbs are formed with modifiers in the active voice, and eventive verbs from modifiers in the eventive voice. Since a verb is formed from a modifier and the copula, it is marked for voice, aspect, tense and mood. For a full description of each of these, see the so-named sections under Modifiers and The Copula, above. There is also an optional set of pronominal suffixes that agree with the syntactic subject.

Alignment and Core Arguments

Transitive verbs show a split alignment for animate agents. For inanimate agents, animate agents with no volition, or agents that are less notable than the patient, the alignment is ergative. The patient is most likely the subject and is in the absolutive, and the agent is in the ergative. When an animate agent is volitional, the alignment is accuative. The agent is in the nominative and is most likely the subject. The patient is in the abolutive. If just one argument is expressed with a transitive verb, then an ambiguous argument can be supplied in translation to fill the spot of the other (i.e. "something" or "someone").

Eventive verbs are all perfectly fluid-S, meaning that their subject can be marked as the same as either the agent or patient of a trainsitive verb (nominative or absolutive) based on its percieved level of control over the change in state. Inanimate objects cannot have this control, so they cannot be put into the nominative.


In the section Modifiers:Transitivity, the word "voice" is put into quotation marks because the active and eventive are not really voices, since they do not indicate which nominal constituent of a sentence is the subject. (See the section directly above and the Syntax section below for more about this.) The active and eventive are really just the terms used to denote transitive and intransitive.

Aspect-Mood Interaction

Aspect and mood have some unpredictable interaction. They are shown here with the active verb "to lift [something]" with a first person agent (if possible).

Indicative Subjunctive Potential Hortative Imperative³ Optative
Imperfective I am lifting. I might be lifting. I can be lifting. I should be lifting. Lift! Would that I be lifting.
Habitual I do lift. I might lift.¹ I can lift. I should lift. Lift! Would that I lift.
Perfect² I've lifted. I might've lifted. I could've lifted. I should've lifted. Be lifted! Would that I had lifted.
Aorist I lifted. Maybe I lifted. I could lift. I had to lift. (does not exist) (does not exist)

¹ A more accurate translation is "I might be the one who lifts," since the way it is written here implies a future possibility, which is the meaning of the imperfective subjunctive.

² "Have" has been contracted to "'ve" to save space.

³ The two forms of the imperative have different meanings that aren't clear here. The imperfective is an order to do something immediately, while the habitual is an order to acquire a future behavior. The imperative also is only found in the second person.

It might not be clear here, but the potential, hortative and optative are all contrafactual in the perfect. In the aorist, the potential and hortative give no indication of whether they are factual or not, which explains why the optative is not found in the aorist-it is inherently contrafactual.

The Aorist

As mentioned under Modifiers:Aspects, the aorist is a combination of the perfective (not perfect) aspect and past tense. It refers to a past action viewed as a single whole. In English the equivalent form is the simple past, the preterate in Spanish and in ancient Greek a tense of the same name. Unlike the perfect, there are no implied effects on the present when using the aorist.

The aorist is not formed with a modifier and the copula like the other verb forms, meaning that voice and mood are marked differently——aspect and tense are, by nature, fixed. Even though the aorist isn’t formed with aorist modifiers, aorist participles can still be derived, hence its inclusion on the modifier charts. The copula, however, is not used at all in constructing the aorist.

There is more than one way to form it, so the aorist form generally must be learned along with each modifier. To form all the aorist's inflections, including its verbal moods and its modifier, various affixes are added into the aorist stem.

There are 2 ways to form the aorist stem:

The first method, called the strong aorist, was usually, but not exclusively, used for words with an initial cluster. From an imperfective-active modifier, the final -ye is dropped and the characteristic vowel is prefixed and dropped. E.g. tsérayeatsér-

The second method is called the weak aorist. The imperfective-active modifier is taken, the final -ye is dropped, and -ts is added after. E.g. dérayedérats-

While which method used to form the aorist stem isn’t completely predicatable, the formation of the indicative, subjunctive, potential, hortative and modifier from this stem is highly regular.

Indicative Subjunctive Potential Hortative Modifier
atsérī atséron(e) atsérom(e) atsérau atsére

Verbal Nouns

Each modifier can form two verbal nouns: one from the active voice and another from the eventive voice. They roughly correspond to active and passive infinitives. For the modifier "sending," the active verbal nouns would mean "the act of sending [something]" while the eventive would mean "being sent."

The verbal nouns are formed by taking the perfect form of an active or eventive modifier, dropping the final -we, and adding . Verbal nouns belong to the fifth declension. E.g. tsêrawe → tsêrarī, tatsêrawe → tatsêrarī


From each verbal noun, a gerundive may also be formed. The gerundive is a modifier showing that the modified noun is supposed to either perform an action or undergo an event. For the modifier sending," the active gerundive would mean "supposed to send [something]" while the eventive would mean "supposed to be sent" or "for sending."

The gerundive is formed by contracting the dative form of the verbal noun so that the word ends in -rre instead of -rire. E.g. tsêrarrī, tatsêrarrī


Phrase Structure

Phrases are groups of words that funtion as a single constituent. Every phrase has a head, a central word which determines what type of phrase it is. For example, a nouns in core cases are the heads of a nominal phrases and verbs comprised of a modifier and copula are the heads of a verbal phrases. Nouns in oblique cases are the heads of adjectival phrases. The only exception to this rather simple rule is prepositional phrases, which require a noun in the locative as well as a preposition. Prepositional phrases are bounded by the preposition at the beginning and the locative noun at the end.

The rest of the phrase is made of modifiers added onto the head and each other. Phrases are left-branching, meaning that all modifiers, including nouns in oblique cases, are put before the head in order of descriptiveness, with the most descriptive modifier coming directly before the head.

Clause Structure

Word Order

Since the head of each phrase in the language is marked, the order of these phrases could be rather flexibile. But because word order is linked to the syntactic roles of the constituents, there is a set of standard word orders for different types of sentences. For transitive phrases with a nominative subject, word order is PAV. For transitives without a nominative subject, i.e. the absolutive patient is the subject and there is no expressed agent or there is an agent in the ergative, word order is (A)PV. In other words, the standard word order is OSV. The consitituent nearer to the verb is the subject, regardless of whether it is the agent or the patient. For intransitive verbs, the one constituent is the subject, and word order is SV. The general rule is that the constituent immediately preceding the verb is the subject in all instances, including simple statements, questions, exclamations, &c., as well as for sub-clauses.

These rules are almost always followed in prose and speech, with some special exceptions. To topicalize or especially emphasise a word, it may be positioned at the beginning of the sentence. This isn’t very common with verbs. Word order conventions are not followed very strictly in poetry.

Independent Clauses

Active, Passive and Weather Constructions

For intransitive verbs, the single nominal constituent is always the subject, but if it is omitted, the verb becomes a "weather" verb.

For transitive verbs, if the patient is the subject, the verb is the equivalent of a passive. If the agent is the subject, the verb is the equivalent of an active. If either constituent is omitted, then a general noun like "someone" or "something" is understood to be the second constituent.

Copulaic Clauses

The copula can be used to show that a noun belongs to a class defined by another noun, e.g. "He is a king." In these situations, since they are always simple statements of fact, no indication of voice or aspect is needed. The argument referring to class is put into the absolutive, and the other's case is determined the same was as it would be for an eventive verb. In the above example, a king would be in the absolutive, and he could be either nominative or absolutive, depending on whether "he" wants to be a king or not.

To form a sentence with a noun and a predicate adjective, then the perfect-eventive modifier is used with the copula to construct an eventive verb.

Dependent Clauses

Relative Clauses

Since there are no relative pronouns, there are no relative clauses like there are in many languages. The equivalent is formed by treating a would-be relative clause like a long string of adjectives or by using a coordinated clause (see Coordinated Propositions below). The first method is usually used for short relative clauses, where the verb is indicative. If the verb is supposed to be in other moods, the second method must be used.

For example, the sentence "The man, who we saw on TV, is over there," could be formed as something along the lines of "The seen-by-us-on-TV man is over there," or by adding another whole proposition. This second way is roughly equivalent to saying, "The man is over there, seen by us on TV," with "seen" agreeing with "the man," or "The man we saw, over there," with "to be over there" agreeing with "the man".

But in the sentence "The guy, who you might have met before, is coming today" the verb of the relative clause "might have met" has to be in the subjunctive, so it can't be formed by modifiers alone. The correct way to form this would be along the lines of "You might have met the guy before, coming today," with "coming" agreeing with "the guy."

Declarative Clauses

The term "declarative clause", aka indirect statement, refers to an independent clause becoming lowered to a dependent clause, and being used as one of the consituents of a higher clause. In the sentence "you said that he fell," "that he fell" is an example of an indirect statement. It would be formed by saying something along the lines of "you spoke of his falling," using the verbal noun of the verb in the indirect statement as the object of the main clauses' verb. The agent in the indirect statement is put into the genitive if it has will and into the dative if it doesn't have will, the same way the nominative or absolutive can be used for eventive verbs.

Subject-Verb Agreement

As was mentioned above under Verbs, an optional pronominal suffix may be added onto a verb that agrees with the syntactic subject in person, number and case (either nominative or absolutive). So, while word order is the main method used to identify the subject, the agreement of the pronominal suffix with the subject may also be used. This is most common when the OSV word order is broken to topicalize a constituent by moving it to the beginning of the sentence, or when forming coordinated propositions.

Coordinated Propositions

Explicitly marking the subject of a verb is necessary when forming coordinated propositions, where the constituent of the first verb acting as the subject of the second isn't repeated and therefore can't be determined by word order. For example, in the sentence "Étanui déranul déraya-éni, qêñiwe-éni," the agent "déranul" happens to be the subject of the first verb "déraya-eni" because of word order, so the first part of the sentence means The king leads the people. But the subject of the second verb "qêñiwe-eni," to be happy is undeterminable since no suffix is given, so it is unclear whether the king or the people are happy. If there were a nominative, third person, singular suffix, the subject would be the king, and if there were an absolutive, third person, plural suffix, the subject would be the people. If the suffix were something else, it would either not make sense or be referring to another constituent from a previous sentence, perhaps the topic of the conversation.

Sample Sentences

  • Formal Greeting:

Lénā tanêserī ksēmbênawe-éni.

Lénā-Ø ta-nêse-rī-Ø ksē-mbêna-we éni.


Literally: "Seeing/meeting/visiting you is wonderful."

  • Informal Greeting:


From: "Mbênawe tanêserī," Good seeing (you).

  • "I spoke to him, but he doesn't want to live with us."

Ñgwóre bhál tyéñatsī, ka ñgwól mâi-bhárim moidélaya-élni.


Literally: "To him I spoke, but he not with us wants to reside."

  • "This house is his."

Dhê mégalā ñgwóbhō-éni.

Dhê mégalā-Ø ñgwó-bhō éni.


  • "I am going home."

Bhál moimégalàrye-éni.

Bhá-l moi-mégala-r-ye éni.


  • "I am being taken home."

Bhā moimégalàrye-éni.

Bhā-Ø moi-mégala-r-ye éni.



Kelanian can be written with two scripts. The first to develop was a logographic script called Tsêrilī, but it was complex, like the Ancient Egyptian writing system. When the demand for a simpler writing system grew large enough, a phonemic script was developed to be easier to write by hand, called the Êlewe Tsêrilī, or "fast writing". The older script became used mainly for monuments, stone inscriptions, and some holy texts, while the 'fast writing' was used to write just about everything else.

The Êlewe Tsêrilī



Kelanian script sample.jpg