Section IV: True-Verbs

Section IV: True-Verbs

Author: Madeline Palmer

MS Date: 05-26-2012

FL Date: 06-01-2012

FL Number: FL-000009-00

Citation: Palmer, Madeline. 2012. Section IV: True-Verbs.

In Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred:
A Grammar and Lexicon of the Northern
Latitudinal Dialect of the Dragon Tongue.
FL-000009-00, Fiat Lingua, . Web. 01 Jun. 2012.

Copyright: © 2012 Madeline Palmer. This work is licensed

under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Fiat Lingua is produced and maintained by the Language Creation Society (LCS). For more information
about the LCS, visit

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
Table of Contents
Section IV

Section IV: True-Verbs………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..2
4.1. Verb Overview…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….2
§4.1.1. Srínawésin’s Ergativity…………………………………………………………………………………………..2
4.2. Verb Morphology………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..7
4.2.1. Reflexive Verb………………………………………………………………………………………………………..8
4.2.2. Intransitive Verb…………………………………………………………………………………………………….9
4.2.3. Transitive Verb with Explicit Object………………………………………………………………………10
4.2.4. Transitive Verb with Implicit Object……………………………………………………………………..12
4.3. Draconic Tenses………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….13
4.4. Aspect Prefixes…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..14
4.5. Subject and Object Affixes…………………………………………………………………………………………………..15
4.5.1. Introduction to Draconic “Person”………………………………………………………………………….18
4.5.2. Draconic Number………………………………………………………………………………………………….19
4.5.3. 1st Person Affixes……………………………………………………………………………………………………21
4.5.4. Non-1st Person Affixes………………………………………………………………………………….……….22
4.5.5. Verbal Classes……………………………………………………………………………………………………….23 Mixed Verbal Classes………………………………………………………………………………..29
4.5.6. Inherent Verbal Objects and Subjects……………………………………………………………………..30
4.6. Voice: Intentional vs. Unintentional……………………………………………………………………………………..31
4.7. Dragon Names……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………35
4.8. Command Forms and Imperatives of True-Verbs………………………………………………………………..36

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
Section IV:

4.1. Verb Overview
Although this section has the greatest amount of information on the Dragon Tongue it is also, by
far, the most useful as even a passing knowledge of the information here will allow a listener to have a basic
understanding of most draconic sentences. The reason for this is, as noted above, almost all words in the
draconic tongue are essentially verbs, and they can all take verbal affixes and endings, all can be used as
true-verbs and are conceived of as verbs by the Shúna. Thus, while trying to teach another her language a
human might point to her eye and say ‘eye’ (or llygad, acs, kañ or whatever) then the sun and say ‘sun,’ the
moon and say ‘moon’ and so forth, a dragon would point at his eye and say –šáwáqx or ‘it-sees,’ the sun and
say –tsitsír ‘it-shines’ and the moon and say –qsánir ‘it-changes.’1 Šáwáqx’s root is šáwá- which means ‘to
see’ and that is the function of the eye. Therefore a “noun” is defined by what it does not what it is.

The reason for this is manifold, the main one being that when a human says ‘stone’ and a dragon
says –šawaha, the human is saying ‘it is a stone’ while the dragon is saying ‘it is being a stone right now.’
Although this might seem to be a fine distinction, it is in fact an extremely large one in terms of how the
two speakers seem conceptualize the words they use. Human languages define nouns by what it is; it is a
‘stone’ as the object one is speaking about matches some Platonic ideal form which is called ‘stone.’
Although stones are all different to one another, they all fall beneath the ideal form and general idea upon
which we all agree of as a ‘stone’ and thus are all defined as a ‘stone.’

The Shúna seem to see the world in an extremely different way, due primarily to their extremely
long lifespan. When one of the Kindred looks at a stone, it sees something that is temporary and short-
lived because in a few short thousand years that stone will be eroded away into dirt which will be eaten by a
worm, which will then be eaten by a bird, then a hawk and so on, probably ending up in the dragon’s
stomach along the way. The concept of defining it as ‘a stone’ seems as silly to the Sihá as looking at a
human who is running and saying she is ‘a running.’ Both the action of the human and the state of the
‘stone’ as a ‘stone’ are both temporary and will change “quickly”—in their view. Thus, –šawaha, literally
translated, is ‘it is being a stone,’ the emphasis is on the action the referent is undergoing and not on some
Platonic ideal form to which it corresponds. All words are actions as all things are constantly changing and
we mortals live such short lives we do not see the world like the Shúna do. Thus, the root šawa- means
‘being stony, being hard’ and can be used as a noun-verb –šawaha ‘it is being a stone’ or as a true-verb
Tsišawéš nin! ‘You’re being a fool!’ (like a rock). It is essential to keep in mind the verbality of almost every
word, the few exceptions being disjunctives, conjunctives and the like.

§4.1.1. Srínawésin’s Ergativity
All known languages have a variety of constituents from which they are constructed; nouns,
verbs, adjectives and the like and all known languages also arrange how they treat the relationships
between these constituents in different ways. One of the main distinctions is in how a language
relates the action constituents (verbs) to the actors which perform the action (subjects and agents) and
the items upon which the action is preformed (objects). In English the concept can be illustrated
with the following sentences:

The boy runs

In this example ‘the boy’ is the subject of the sentence (the one who performs the action)

while ‘run’ is the verb (the action) of the sentence. Therefore this sentence can be diagrammed as:

1 Words which are not yet complete grammatical thoughts and which require additional prefixes in order to be complete are
proceeded by a hyphen such as in the cases of the words –šáwáqx, –tsitsír and –qsánir.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The boy


This is an example of an Intransitive verb, one in which has a subject but no object. ‘The boy’
performs the action ‘to run’ and no further information is required to define the action, although
additional information such as time, place and so forth may be added. Contrast this with:

The boy throws the stone

In this example ‘the boy’ is the agent of the sentence (the one who performs the action),
‘throws’ is the verb (once again the action of the sentence) while ‘the stone’ is the object of the action
(the participant upon which the action is being preformed). This can be diagrammed as:

The boy


the stone

This is a Transitive verb, one in which has both a performer and an object upon which the
action is performed. In transitive cases the agent is the one who does the action and is thus similar to
the subject of an intransitive sentence, but agents are considered to be the actors of transitive verbs
while subjects are the actors of intransitive verbs. This is important because while all languages I am
aware of have these distinctions, not all languages treat the relationship between objects, subjects
and agents in the same way. There are three main ways in which all known languages treat these
three items; Nominative-Accusative, Ergative-Absolutive and Ergative-Accusative (or Tripartite).
In Nominative-Accusative languages, such as English, Latin, Old Irish, Welsh, German, Russian
and most other Indo-European languages both the subjects of intransitive verbs and the agents of
transitive verbs are treated virtually identically and are both placed in the nominative case to indicate
they are the actors of the verb. For example, in Old Irish:

Reithid in macc
Do·léicid in macc in cloich

The boy runs
The boy throws the stone

In both of these cases in macc ‘the boy’ is in the nominative case even though in the first
instance it is the subject of an intransitive verb and in the second the agent of a transitive verb. In
cloich ‘the stone’ is the accusative form of the noun in chloch ‘the stone’ and indicates that it is the
object of the verb do·léicid ‘to throw, to cast.’ In Old Irish, the accusative case is indicated not only by
a change in the noun’s form: cloch (cid:108) cloich but also due to the way the language mutates the initial
sound of a word in certain grammatical instances (such as in the accusative feminine case here) to
indicate case, in cloich being pronounced as /in gloχj/ although this is not realized in the
orthography. These sentences can be diagrammed as (as noted above, case marking in Old Irish is
indicated in several ways but not all of which are indicated in the orthography so the phonetic
transcription is given for clarity’s sake):


in macc
/in mak/
the boyNOM

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred


in macc
/in mak/
the boyNOM

in cloich
/in gloχj/
the stoneACC

If the situation was reversed, i.e. ‘the stone threw the boy’ the case of the words would

change as well:


in chloch
in mmacc
/in χloχj/
/in mak/
the stoneNOM the boyACC


In the reversed case, in mmacc is mutated according to the rules of Old Irish (just as in in
cloich this is a Nasal Mutation to indicate it is in the accusative case) and although there is no
difference in pronunciation, mutation is sometimes represented in the orthography.2 Old Irish uses
both morphological indicators (changes in the form of the words and mutation) as well as syntactic
processes (word order) in order to express the case of the constituent nouns within its sentences, in
contrast to modern Welsh (another Celtic language) which uses only word order to indicate the case
of nouns (although it is also a Nominative-Accusative language):


the boy

[Auxiliary] (Subject)

yn taflu’r

the ball

If the reverse is expressed in modern Welsh there is no alteration to the form of the words,

only their location within the sentence:


the stone
[Auxiliary] (Subject)

yn taflu’r

the boy

Nominative-Accusative forms are by far the most common throughout all human languages
although several languages have an Ergative-Absolutive alignment. These languages treat the subject
of an intransitive verb in the same manner as they treat the object of a transitive verb, either by placing
them in a particular case or with a particular syntactic form. They treat the agent completely
differently, again with a different case or syntactic form. Although I have no experience with
ergative languages (other then theoretically) the following is an example of an ergative Australian
language Dyirbal4:

Ŋuma banaganyu
Yabu ŋumaŋgu buŗan

Father returned
Father saw mother

2 I find it mildly amusing that mutations which are pronounced and essential for meaning are not represented in the orthography
of Old Irish but ones which are not pronounced are written in the orthography. As you can tell, I am slightly bitter after hours of
late nights wrestling with this feature of the language.
3 The true forms of the nouns are yr bachgen and yr garreg respectively but the definite article yr contracts to ‘r when preceded by a
vowel. Additionally the root form ‘stone’ is carreg but as this word is feminine it mutates to garreg when preceded by the article
4 Derived from the Wikipedia entry on Dyirbal.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

In these cases the verb banaganyu ‘to return’ is intransitive and Ŋuma ‘father’ is the subject of
this verb while buŗan ‘see, saw’ is a transitive verb and ŋumaŋgu ‘father’ serves as its agent. While in
English and other Nominative-Accusative languages
‘father’ would be in the same case
(nominative) in both of these sentences but in Dyirbal ŋuma is in the absolutive case of ‘father’
indicating it is the subject of an intransitive verb and in the second sentence ŋumaŋgu is in the
ergative case (indicated by the suffix -ŋgu) which shows it is the agent of a transitive verb. Yabu
‘mother’ is the object of the second sentence but it is in the same case (absolutive) as the subject of the
first sentence! This is an example of ergativity and can be diagrammed as:






Ergative-Absolutive languages are much rarer then Nominative-Accusative ones and the
main examples of these types of languages are Basque, most Australian Aboriginal languages,
Mayan, Tibetan, Chibchan, Chinook languages, Iñuit and Aleut languages, Mixe-Zoque and
Sumerian. The third—and by far the rarest of linguistic alignments—are Ergative-Accusative or
Tripartite languages. These languages treat (either morphologically or syntactically) subjects,
objects and agents each with an entirely different case, i.e. in the nominative, accusative and
ergative cases respectively. These languages are extremely rare the most prominent example being
Warlpiri, a central Australian language. The differences between Nominative-Accusative, Ergative-
Absolutive and Tripartite languages can be diagrammed as below (syntactic or morphological
equivalency is indicated by a circle or a box):




Few languages are exclusively one type or the other; many are predominately aligned in one
fashion but have exceptions in certain cases but all known human languages (and presumably
others) generally fall into one of these classes.

All known human languages fall into one of these classes but Srínawésin is most certainly not
a human language so it takes a unique tack to ergativity and this is the heart of the draconic concept
of voice given below in 4.5. Voice: Intentional vs. Unintentional. Simply put, the draconic languages
shares features of all three types in a systemic way, rather then being predominately one type or
another with particular exceptions, as most human languages are. Srínawésin treats both the
subjects of intransitive verbs and agents of transitive verbs in the same way—i.e. in the same case
with the same prefix (although it does not treat what can be a subject or agent equally, see 4.5. Voice:
Intentional vs. Unintentional below)—and so appears to be in-line with a Nominative-Accusative
alignment—but it has a tripartite system in how it treats the possible participants of a verb so appears

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

to be more like an Ergative-Accusative language (this is not as contradictory as it sounds as will be
shown shortly). Additionally, as shown in 7.2. Word Order, it has a definite tendency towards
being verb-initial (most ergative languages are either verb-initial or verb-final, but not all verb-final
or –initial languages are ergative) and so has at least one ergative characteristic to it and is therefore
difficult to class in this way.

Srínawésin’s difficulty in classification is in that it does possess a tripartite system of
classification but not in the same manner that any human language I am aware of does. The draconic
language recognizes subjects, agents and objects but possesses an additional category in
grammatically reflexive objects—in other words where the subject of a transitive verb is the same as the
object of the verb. This type of category is similar to the English sentence:

The boy


(Reflexive Object)

The verb ‘to hit’ is the action, but ‘the boy’ is both the agent of the verb as well as the object
(“X is doing Y to X” instead of “X is doing Y to Z”) and this type of construction is essential to the
way in which the Dragon Tongue operates and so possesses its own grammatical category in addition
to that of subject, object and agent. Because of this, Davis classified Srínawésin as a Quadpartite
language, differentiating in case between agents (ergative), subjects (nominative), objects
(accusative) and reflexive objects (a case he called Ergo-Accusative!) which would diagram as:

Davis’ “Quadpartite” Classification

I disagree with this classification as both the agents and subjects of all Srínawésin sentences
are treated identically with the same system of case-markers i-/a-/u- so I do not believe that it is an
example of a Quadpartite language—and I am not even sure if such a thing is possible. Although his
work is usually so professional and precise, I believe that Davis began to get caught up in the foreign
nature of the Dragon Tongue and so was willing to classify anything that seemed strange as a
wholly new system not found in any human language. Additionally, he never mentions Ergative-
Accusative languages and I am not sure that he was even aware of their existence (most Australian
languages were not well documented and available to academia in the early 3o’s) so that might have
lead him in the direction of “Quadpartite” classification. Instead, I believe that Srínawésin is an
example of a tripartite language but it arranges its structure in the following way as opposed to the
traditional schema:

Srínawésin’s Tripartite Structure

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

This, I believe, is a better solution to the problem. It does not recourse to a totally foreign
and unknown structure but it does not attempt to impress the language’s real nature into an artificial
category. Although I believe that Srínawésin is tripartite, as far as I am aware this type of tripartite
structure has never been attested to in any known human language, and is therefore completely
unique. I have no way of speaking with any of Davis’ sources (if they in fact exist and he did not
make the entire thing up) so I have no way of determining what the correct schema is and the notes
to which I have access to simply do not provide enough information one way or the other. I am
relatively conservative in nature,5 so I would tend to posit the Tripartite Structure given above
rather then the Quadpartite structure as I believe that in the absence of better information the
conservative course is the best. The way the language’s tripartite structure is expressed, how it used
and why these distinctions are so important are given below in 4.5. Voice: Intentional vs.

4.2. Verb Morphology
Although all draconic words are built of one or more affixes attached to a root, the “true-verb” is
usually more complex then the standard word as it requires additional affixes not only to fully explain the
meaning of the word but also to differentiate it from the other “verbs” in the utterance. I write “true” verb
as although all draconic words are inherently verbal usually only one word within a sentence carries a full
verbal meaning, i.e. other words needed to fully explain its meaning (subjects and objects for instance) as
well as marking for aspect as well as tense. Thus, a verb is a “true” verb if it requires a subject outside of
itself as well as an aspectual indicator while other verbal roots function as nouns etc., when they are the subject
of their own verbal unit and are not marked for aspect. Therefore the two bold words below are both verbs:

Saensneyéts annéxésihéš aSłá sa Snaréš’n

He/she is a dragon (to himself/herself)
Bloody Face marked out his territory from the (other)
dragon’s way over there

The first example is a verb-root unto itself; it requires no further explanation and can serve as a
noun-verb in a larger utterance, as in the second example when it is the object of the true-verb saensneyéts.
However, since all words are verbal the exact form of the verb is important to determine meaning and the
form of the verb—and the affixes which give it that form—are determined whether a true-verb is transitive,
intransitive, reflexive and so on. Although the exact form of a true-verb is determined primarily by its
form, the “ideal form” of true-verbs can be imagined as:

(Aspect + Object + ROOT + Subject)TRUE-VERB

Thus the following sentence with its verb can be analyzed:

Tsahawaqsuwéwír axíyewíł na
(tsa+hawa+QSUWÉ+wír) (a+XÍYE+wé+ił) (na)
(Incomplete past+goat+TO HUNT+Plural+Class II Subj.) (Subject+WOLF+plural+II Reflex. Subj.)

(certainty past tense)

The wolves were hunting the goats

From the above example the root qsuwé- ‘to hunt’ serves as the center of the verbal construction and
from there it is bracketed by the subject suffix –wír and the object infix –hawa-. Then the entire
construction is then placed into an aspectual tense with the addition of the prefix tsa-, which then

5 Not including the fact that I’ve written a paper on a language spoken by “mythical” creatures.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
constitutes and entire verb. Although the natures of the subject and object forms are slightly more
complicated then it is shown in the example above (see 4.5 Subject and Object Affixes below) the basic
form of verbs can be idealized as above.

4.2.1. Reflexive Verb
The reflexive verb—one in which the subject and the object is the same actor i.e. “I hit
myself”—is one of the hardest working verb forms in Srínawésin and is also a convenient way of
introducing the basic verb forms. The reason that reflexive verbs are so ubiquitous is that they are
used to represent “nouns,” as in a speaker says –šawaha ‘it is being a stone to itself’ to say what a
human would call a stone (see section 4.1. Verb Overview above and 5.3. Noun-verb Morphology
below). Since in reflexive verbs the subject and object of the verb is the same actor, these types of
verbs could very easily be difficult to understand who exactly is doing what to whom. For example,
the two English sentences below:

The fish bit it
The fish bit itself

These sentences are differentiated by the use of the word itself to indicate that the second
sentence is reflexive, i.e. object and the subject are the same actor, while in the first sentence the
object (it) is something other then the subject (the fish) and could be a rock, another fish, a stick, a
bug and so on. Srínawésin differentiates between reflexive and non-reflexive forms as well,
although in a slightly different way, the two English sentences above would be translated as:

Sánúrisáqs ahínin na
Sarisin shahínin na

In the first sentence there is an object and a subject affix, `–nú- and –áqs- respectively,
denoting a subject and an object, both of which are aquatic animals and the subject suffix agreeing
with the subject ahínin ‘fish.’ The second sentence is reflexive as the object infix is left out
completely and a reflexive suffix is attached to the main verb, -in. The reason why the object infix is
left out is that it is completely redundant as the reflexive suffix already specifies the subject and the
object being the same actor, i.e. ‘the fish.’ This reflexive suffix agrees with the stated subject
shahínin ‘fish’ (which, as noted above is a verb in-and-of-itself saying ‘it is being a fish to itself’) and
reflexivity is additionally shown by a reflexive subject prefix marker sha- to reinforce this meaning
(the use of reflexive subject and subject prefixes will be addressed in 5.4.2. True-Verb Object, Subject
and Reflexive Prefixes). Note additionally that throughout the sentence, the various affixes are
inflected for the past tense: Sarisin shahínin na.

From the example above the reflexive verb form can be established as:

(Aspect + ROOT + Reflexive Subject Class Marker)REFLEXIVE VERB

And the examples below all falling into that pattern:

Tsiháqsá qsírxítsasu ni
Tsitsárán qsér!

Xaxúna na

I am shading myself beneath a tree
I am your neighbor, fool! (I am
your neighbor to myself)
I was habitually scratching myself

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Tsašáwáwéx shaqxnéhiwéx naháxusu natsú sasínxałná nin!

The humans were busy looking at
in the water so I
attacked them!

And so on. Thus, a reflexive verb is one that uses a reflexive subject suffix (and no object
marker, as it is implied by the reflexive) with reflexive subject prefixes, which will be touched on the
section on Noun-verbs. Speakers may leave the subject unspoken if it has already been referred to
or otherwise is understood through context. Thus the dialogue below with the relevant parts of
speech in bold:

Huqsetsúhúr uqsánir xu?
Hutsitsítsúhúr nu

What does the moon sometimes darken?
It sometimes darkens the sun (an eclipse)

The subject suffix must still agree with the implicit or unspoken object of the sentence (see
4.5. Subject and Object Affixes below) and this form may be used with reflexive and transitive verb

4.2.2. Intransitive Verb
The intransitive verb (one which does not have an object such as ‘I ran,’ ‘I slept’ and so on) is
almost identical to the reflexive verbal form due to the lack of any object. Unlike the reflexive
verbal forms however, intransitive verbs do not have reflexive subject suffixes but have simple
subject suffixes which denote the subject of the verb and therefore the sentence. For example:

Tsiháxusu iłarisu’n

the willow tree is laying down (fallen)

The verb tsiháxusu can be analyzed as:

(Incomplete present + TO LAY DOWN ON THE GROUND + Class IX Subject Suffix)

Thus, the basic form for all intransitive verbs can be represented as:

(Aspect + ROOT + Subject Class Marker)INTRANSITIVE VERB

Intransitive verbs all fall within this pattern, making their use fairly easy. It is important to
note however, that the various phonological changes still apply which can sometimes obfuscate the
original verbal root and therefore the meaning (for instance in the phrase Sarathéth áxéxwíšéth “It
was (just) one dead owl over there” the root of the word sarathéth is ratha- not *rathé- but since the
Class XI Dead suffix –éth is appended to the end of the root it alters form according to the
phonological rules of vowel assimilation. The same is true of the word áxéxwíšéth whose root is
xwíša- not *xwíšé- but with the addition of –éth it changes for the same reason). As noted in 4.6.
Voice: Intentional vs. Unintentional below the Dragon Tongue does not treat all actors as equal
participants in possible intransitive verb-forms and these types of utterances can only be used with
unintentional subjects.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

4.2.3. Transitive Verb with Explicit Object
Transitive verbs (one with both a subject and an object) are slightly more complex then
reflexive and intransitive forms for a variety of reasons although it is useful to treat all transitive
verbs with the “ideal” form noted above in 4.2. Verb Morphology:

(Aspect + Object + ROOT + Subject Class Marker)TRANSITIVE VERB

Although all transitive verbs use this basic form, the complexity derives from the
differentiation between transitive verbs with explicit objects or implicit objects. An explicit object is one
which is specifically named or stated such as in the English sentence:

I saw the horse

In this case the horse is the explicit object of the sentence as the object is specifically named as

the horse. In contrast to:

I saw it

The pronoun ‘it’ is an implicit object, being included because English requires something to
fill the place of the object but it refers to something else such as the horse or something else entirely.
Srínawésin maintains a similar distinction between explicit and implicit objects of a transitive verb
but when explicit objects are used, instead of having the object appear later on in the sentence the
entire object is infixed into the true-verb. This new construction of object+verb forms a type of compound
verb whereby the two elements (object+verb) combine in meaning and are then inflected for aspect
and for the subject of the sentence. For example the simple sentence below can be analyzed as:

Hiháqsaqsáthír ixíyił ni
(Hi+háqsa-QSÁTHI+ír) (i+XÍYE+ił) (ni)
(Periodic present aspect+female deer+TO EAT+Class II Subject) (Pres. Subj.+WOLF+Class II)

(certainty evidential)

“Female-deer-eating-periodically the wolf” (Literally)
The wolf sometimes kills and eats female deer

In the example above the root of the true-verb is qsáthi- ‘to kill and eat’ to which the subject
of the sentence háqsa- ‘female deer’ is infixed creating a compound verb –háqsaqsáthi- or ‘to female
deer-kill and eat.’ This compound verb is then inflected by an aspect prefix, in this case hi-
‘haphazardly/periodically present,’ and with a subject suffix –ír which agrees with the subject of the
sentence ixíyił ‘wolf, dog, dingo,’ thus forming the full sentence. Whenever an explicit object is used
it is virtually always incorporated into the verb through infixation as shown above, although there
are a few exceptions (see 4.2.4. Transitive Verb with Implicit Object below). Thus, whenever the
object of a sentence is spoken of explicitly it is infixed into the verb. Although this is almost always
true, the exact form of the infixed object does vary somewhat, as well as what can be infixed into a
true-verb. If the object is a noun infixed into the verb through compounding it still retains its plural
suffix (if any) but not any class endings.

Xíhawawéqsáthiwéx iqxnéwéx’łá

I’ve heard that humans often eat goats

In the example above the object hawa- ‘goat(s)’ is pluralized by the infix –wé- and is thus

understood as being plural. The verb would therefore be analyzed as:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

(habitual aspect+(goat+plural)+TO EAT+plural+Class IV Subject)
They (small prey animals) often like to eat goats

However, you would never find the infixed object to occur with a class marker:

*Xíhawaxqsáthiwéx iqxnéwéx’łá

*I hear that humans often like to eat a goat


*Xíhawawéxqsáthiwéx iqxnéwéx’łá

*I hear that humans often like to eat goats

The problem with these cases is not the plurality or singularity of the infixed object, but
rather the inclusion of the Class IV Small Prey Animal suffix –áx appended to the object, which
cannot occur. If the class status of the object is under some question or if the speaker needs to be
more precise and accurate then another form is used (see 4.2.4. Transitive Verb with Implicit Object
below), however generally the class of the object can and is inferred from context or from common
sense depending on the general force and intention of the sentence.

Also, if the object of the sentence is a proper noun-verb such as the name of an individual or
so forth, it is infixed into the verb just as any other object would be, although without any attending
suffixes indicating class, much like in the basically “singular” object form discussed above:

TsaSłáya sa Snaresanúts háła

I hear that you/she/he was looking for Bloody Face

There is a certain limit to how complex an infixed object to a verb may be. The language
seems to disallow overly complex forms which would make it difficult to tell exactly what one is
talking about when it is infixed into a verb. The concept of proximal infixes will be dealt with in
5.4.7. Proximals, but it seems that the limit to the complexity of infixed forms is:

{(Proximal)(NOUN-ROOT+plural)}INFIXED OBJECT

Which is then plugged into the object slot of the verb:

[(Aspect){(Proximal)(NOUN-ROOT+plural)}INFIXED OBJ.(VERB-ROOT+Subject Class Marker]TV

Thus rendering a form such as:

Tsíqxítsáqxúwéšáwéts ríth!
(tsi+(qxí+tsáqxú+wé)+ŠÁWÁ+ets) (ríth)
(aspect+(right here+male seal+plural)+TO LOOK/SEE+Class I Subject) (optative)
Would that (you) look at those male seals right here! (Literal)
Would you look at those male seals!

Proximal infixes may be used with infixed objects, as can plural suffixes but it appears that
more complex forms must be removed from the verb, which will be described in the next subject. A
noun-verb which is modified by an adjective can likewise never be infixed into a verb to prevent
confusion. This will be detailed in greater length in section 6.3. Adjectives below.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

4.2.4. Transitive Verb with Implicit Object
As noted above in 4.2.3. there is a difference in the Dragon Tongue between verb
constructions which have explicit vs. implicit objects. While you will generally not find either of
these forms used more then the other, each has its own grammatical place in the language and
knowledge of both is absolutely vital to the understanding of any extended dialogue. The exact
semantic and “social” usages between explicit and implicit objects are discussed in Section VII:
Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns below, however they also have different grammatical usages
as well.

The basic form of transitive verbs with implicit objects is generally identical to the explicit


(Aspect + Object Class Marker + ROOT + Subject Class Marker)TRANSITIVE VERB

However, it is important to note that although the basic form of the verb remains the same,
instead of the object being infixed into the verb to form a compound verb, the explicit object is
removed and replaced with a profix which agrees with the now implicit object in class. The subject of
verbal classes and the ways profixes must agree with the noun-verbs they replace is dealt with in 4.5.
Subject and Object Affixes below but for now it is important to understand that this “profix” acts
much like a pronoun does in English, it replaces the explicit object and agrees with the replaced object.
The profix occupies the same space within the morphological structure of the verb and in all other
ways acts as a stand in for the Noun-verb which is the object. Thus the sentence below:

Tsasanu sa Słáya sa Snareháhíts aQsánir sa Qxéyéš wáx
Perhaps Moonchild was looking to mate with Bloody Face

Can be turned into the following sentence by removing the object Bloody Face and replacing it

with the appropriate class profix (Class I: the Kindred) to form:

Tsasanu sa enháhíts aQsánir sa Qxéyéš wáx
Perhaps Moonchild was hunting (looking to mate with) him

Just as the subject suffix attached to the verb must agree with the spoken subject of the
sentence, the object profix must agree with the implicit object of the sentence. These implicit forms
with profixes are used in a variety of ways, some of which are determined by grammar and others
determined by speech patterns and “societal” norms of the Kindred. The biggest use of implicit
objects is when the object is obvious through context or has already been referred to, thus does not
really need to be stated again until a new object or subject is introduced. Another use is when there
is some question of what the object is or if the speaker wants to emphasize the object for some
reason (such as to answer a question or to preempt a question by being specific). This form is
identical to the implicit object form above, but the object of the sentence is not removed from the
sentence entirely, but pulled out of the verb and placed elsewhere in the sentence with an object
prefix marking it and in the place of the object a profix which agrees with the emphasized object is
then placed in the transitive verb as normal:

Iš! Tsitsunqsáthi íqxra!
Tsiqxúqxúwéqsáthits íqxrax?
Qsi, inneqsáqsáwéshá tsitsunqsáthi íqxrahú! No, I don’t want to eat the crows!

Ugh! I don’t want to eat those!
You don’t want to eat the iguanas?

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

These are the two main grammatical reasons for the implicit object use of the transitive verb,
although several “social” determinatives are discussed below in VII Sentence Structure and Speech
Patterns below. Objects, both infixed nouns and the profixes, may also occur with the proximal
forms detailed in 5.4.7. Proximals below.

(tsa+(nan+THÚTSI)OBJECT+(SHASU+wé+ír)) (+’n)
(Incomplete Aspect+(over

there+SOW (F.))OBJECT+(TO-CHASE+Plural+Class II Subj.))


They (predator animals) were-chasing that female pig/sow over there
They were chasing that female pig over there

(tsa+(nan+ix)OBJECT+(SHASU+wé+ír)) (+’n)
(Incomplete Aspect+(over

there+Class III)OBJECT+(TO-CHASE+Plural+Class II Subj.))


They (predator animals) were-chasing those-prey-animals-over-there
They were chasing those large prey animals over there

4.3. Draconic Tenses
Although it has already been noted that tense is marked throughout a draconic sentence by the
inflection of the various affixes, the way that tense is actually inflected must be approached before we can
begin with the various morphemic parts of the draconic verb, aspect, subject and object markers and so
forth. In many ways Srínawésin’s tense structure is not actually that different from many better
documented languages in that it has a system of three tenses, two of which are not that different from
human languages. The three tenses in Srínawésin are the Past Tense, the Non-Past Tense and the Cyclical

The Past Tense refers to any events, actions and other situations which, obviously, happened in the
past rather then in the present. Dragons do not have a very complex understanding of what ‘the past’ is,
events happening hundreds of thousands of years prior (or even earlier then that) being referred to in the
Past Tense just as things that happened as recently as a moon, a day or even several minutes ago. Davis
remarks that “for the most part, if it is out of sensory range (cannot still be seen or heard); it is in the past
tense.” This makes sense because even if an event was happening “at the same time” (a distinction the
Shúna do not apparently recognize) if they could not see or hear it when it happened they would either
have to be told about it or find it after the fact, which would put it in the past tense anyway. The Past
Tense is represented by the vowels ‘a’ and ‘á’ when inflecting the various tense-inflected affixes:

Tsasłełéqsuwéwír tsantsúhúr aqxuyewíł na
The bats were hunting mosquitoes (last) night

The Non-Past Tense on the other hand refers to anything which is not in the past, things which are
happening in the present as well as things which will happen in the future. The Shúna do not tend to think of
the future very much (at as much as the Qxnéréx do) so their language does not reflect a large concern with
the future, lumping it in with the present simply as things which are not yet in the past. The Non-Past
Tense is inflected by the vowels ‘i’ and ‘í’ and along with the Past Tense these two tenses are generally the
most common tenses used in everyday speech. The Non-Past version of the above sentence would be:

Tsisłełéqsuwéwír tsintsúhúr iqxuyewíł ni
The bats are/will be hunting mosquitoes tonight

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The final tense used in the Dragon Tongue is the Cyclical Tense, which is a slightly inaccurate way
of referring to the concepts inherent in this tense but since I cannot think of a more accurate term, it will
have to do. The Cyclical Tense is expressed by the vowels ‘u’ and ‘ú’ and refers to things which are
considered to have always been and will always be, irrespective of whether the specific event occurs in the
past, present or in the future. It is important to note that the Cyclical Tense does not carry an unchanging,
static or inert meaning to it, as if the event referred to in this tense is some monolithic object which has
never altered itself and never will. Instead, the Cyclical Tense refers to a state of cyclical events which cycle
back as far as anyone can remember and which most likely will continue on forever. For instance, the cycle
of the darkness of night followed by the brightness of the day (again followed by darkness) falls within this
tense, as does the changing of the seasons, the mating of animals in spring, the changing of the moon from
dark to full and back to darkness again, the periodic hibernation of the draconic species, mass extinctions
which strike the earth and so on. The Cyclical Tense inherently involves a processional and cyclical
mentality, referring to the entire cycle stretching backwards into the past and forward into the future:

Tsutsúhúr shuqsánir nu
The moon wanes/grows dark (as it always does and always will)

As with the other tenses, the Cyclical Tense must be consistent throughout a clause but may take

place in longer sentences which are inflected for either of the other two tenses:

Sawqsqxítsúts annesa tsuxesir shutsitsír nusa aSłáya sa Snaréš sráhasa’n
Bloody Face told me that the sun is rising

The Cyclical Tense also can express that the event or quality referred to in this tense is the speaker

believes is an inherent aspect, characteristic or part of the actors of the sentence, such as saying:

Xúqseqsuwéwéts ushúnéš nu
Dragons hunt things

This has the meaning that not only have dragons hunted and hunt right now and most likely always
will, but that the very statement that ‘Dragons hunt things’ is an inherent quality and defining
characteristic of dragons, a timeless cycle of hunger, hunt and food stretching in all temporal directions,
past, present and future. The Cyclical Tense can usually be translated as ‘always’ or ‘always and always
will,’ although the latter translation can be slightly unwieldy and neither of these translations properly
capture the mentality expressed by this tense—so says Bloody Face anyway. Luckily, for those of us who
have difficulty trying to understand the philosophical concepts of this linguistic usage, the Sihá do not use
the Cyclical Tense very often in everyday speech, and it has a fairly limited usage.

4.4. Aspect Prefixes
Aspect refers to the state of completion in which the action the verb is referring to, i.e. if it is
completed, incomplete, habitual and so forth. Aspect is quite a separate concept then tense as a verb can be
referring to an action which was incomplete at the time the speaker is talking about, but is also in the past,
as in the English sentence:

I was watching the crows fly

The Dragon Tongue has many of the same general aspects as the languages of the Younger Races
and a few of which are particular to the predatory mindset of the Shúna as well as their extremely long

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
lifespan. Aspects, although different then tense, are inflected for tense and the following forms show the
Non-Past, Past and Cyclical tenses respectively:


tsi-/tsa-/tsu- This aspect refers to actions which are incomplete or in the process of being completed at the time
the speaker is referring to. This aspect is common for usages in the present tense and is one
of the most common aspects used commonly by the Shúna.
This aspect is attached to verbs where the action is just beginning at the time the speaker is
referring to. This can be roughly translated as “just starting to…” or “beginning to…”
This aspect is used with actions which are completed or have just been completed as the speaker is
talking and as noted above are extremely common. They are often used for past tense
descriptions, stories and suchlike, things which are certainly completed, although they are
still inflected for tense and the use of the complete aspect does not denote past tense in and of


xí-/xá-/xú- This aspect refers to habitual actions, things that typically happen under certain
circumstances and can be counted on to repeat themselves with some regularity. This aspect
is not the same as the Cyclical Tense and can be thought of as usually, tends to or generally vs.

ní-/ná-/nú- This aspect has the meaning of a sudden, startling or surprising event which happens very
quickly with little warning and is usually over after fairly brief moment of time. Generally
speaking, this aspect is most often used when referring to a predatory attack such as diving on
a cow from the sky, swiftly striking at group of deer or other surprise attacks or other
startling or unexpected actions.

syi-/sya-/syu- This aspect is used when speaking about long, slow, geologic changes such as the slow march
of the continents as they drift apart and together, the precession of the sun against the Zodiac
in its 26,000 year cycle, the rising of mountains and other processes which unfold over a very
long time (even to dragons). This aspect is not commonly heard, as Bloody Face said once
“why talk about things that everyone can see is happening?”—after several thousand years,
that is.

wi-/wa-/wu- In Davis’ notes he indicates that these aspectual prefixes mean more or less the same thing as
the geologic aspect prefixes above syi-/sya-/syu- and the Shúna seem to use these two sets of
prefixes interchangeably. However, as noted in 2.6.1. Consonant Assimilation above the
Kindred who speak the Northern Latitudinal Dialect have a definite dislike the sound wu so
these prefixes seem to be falling out of use slowly (even in draconic terms). Davis
hypothesized that even though today these two sets of prefixes are interchangeable they are
one point were used in two entirely different instances and over time grew closer
semantically. Howard believed that wi-/wa-/wu- referred to truly huge geologic amounts of
time spanning many draconic generations but since this type of aspect simply isn’t that
useful it gradually coalesced with syi-/sya-/syu-. This is all hypothetical of course, but what
is important is that they can be used interchangeably although there is a preference toward
using syi-/sya-/syu- to mark a geologic aspect.

hi-/ha-/hu- The final draconic tense refers to events or actions which are haphazard in nature and cannot
be relied on to happen very often or which can be predicted all that well. The coming of
comets, the eruption of volcanoes, the coming of diseases which kill prey animals and other
events or actions which are difficult to predict are all used with this aspect.

4.5. Subject and Object Affixes
Subject and object affixes are without a doubt probably the most important single system within the
Dragon Tongue in general and in the verbal structure in particular. The reason for this is that these affixes
tie the entire structure of the language together and if someone has a good understanding of this system and

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
is presented with a sentence replete with new or unknown vocabulary they will still be able to determine
roughly what the participants are merely by listening to the classes of the subject affixes in the sentence. For instance,
if one was to hear the word –wášárér it would be relatively easy to separate it into its constituent parts; the
root being wášá- while the morpheme -ré- indicates an innumerable number as opposed to the singular or
simple plural (see section 4.5.2. Draconic Number below) and the subject suffix –(a)r indicates the word is
reflexive and dealing with a celestial body and is therefore being used as a noun-verb rather then a true-
verb. Although the root wášá- might be unknown, a remarkable amount of information is available simply
from the knowledge of the base morphology of the word and a guess may be hazarded to its probable
meaning, innumerable celestial bodies probably are a reference to stars. Davis notes that this certainly
sounds easier then it is in practice, particularly if the sentence is being spoken by an irate and impatient
dragon that does not have time to waste explaining itself.

The reason for the ubiquity and usefulness of these affixes is that they are required verbal structures
and since virtually all words in Srínawésin are verbal it follows that almost all verb roots in the Dragon Tongue
must have these affixes attached to them to one degree or another, whether they are true-verbs or noun-verbs.
Although there are a select few cases where a root may appear without a subject affix (see sections 6.2.
Adverbs and 6.3. Adjectives below) for the most part verbs must have a subject affix, whether a verbal-noun,
reflexive verb, transitive, intransitive or such forth. This both complicates and simplifies matters to some
degree as, as mentioned above these affixes can elucidate the general actors of a sentence even if the specific
vocabulary is unknown, it can often be difficult to remember the fine ways which these affixes are used and
to what they refer to and it certainly takes a great deal of practice to correctly associate the correct words
with the correct affix forms in order to make or understand a proper sentence.

Subject (both reflexive and simple subject) affixes are required for almost all words, no matter if
they are true-verbs, noun-verbs or so forth as all these forms require a subject in order to form a complete
thought. For instance the root sihá- ‘to be alike’ forms the bases of all the noun-verbs below although the
precise expression of meaning differs depending on the subject affix attached to the root form:

Sihéš (sihá+éš)
Siháwíł (sihá+wé+ił)
Sihín (sihá+in)
Sihár (sihá+ar)

a dragon (one who is alike me)
a pack of predators (a group of predators which are alike)
an aquatic animal (like one previously mentioned)
a celestial object (like one previously mentioned)

As you can tell from these examples, although the root is identical in all the words above the
required subject affix radically changes the meaning of the verbal-nouns according to the expression of the
subject. This is similar to the English examples:

I run
You run
She runs
They ran
The running man
The runner

(1st Person Singular Present Verb)
(2nd Person Singular Present Verb)
(3rd Person Singular Present Verb)
(3rd Person Plural Past Verb)
(Agentive Noun)

The English root ‘run’ differs in the examples above according to its usage, whether it is used as a
verb (and in English the verb changes to ‘ran’ in the past tense), as an adjective modifying a noun, or as an
agentive noun itself. Although the above draconic examples would be used as “nouns” they are in fact
verbal expressions just as in the English examples and must be understood as such. While subject and
reflexive subject affixes are required in almost all words, object affixes are only used in transitive true-verbs,
i.e. verbs which require an object (the object being marked by being bold):

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Nítsíšutsáhíts łi!
(Ní+tsíšu+TSÁHÍ+ets) (łi)
(Sudden/violent aspect+male horse+TO PULL OFF SCALES/SKIN+Class I Subj. Marker) (Command)
Sharply-male-horse-pull off skin do-it! (literally)
Just pull the skin off that male horse!

In the above example the transitive verb tsáhí- “to pull scales or skin off” is used with an explicit
object, i.e. tsíšu- “horse” as noted in 4.2.3 Transitive Verb with Explicit Object above. However, if the
context allows this, the verbal form may be turned into a transitive verb with an implicit object by replacing
the explicit object tsíšu- “male horse” with the appropriate object infix which agrees with the class of the
object, in this case forming:

Nýuxtsáhíts łi!
(Ní+úx+TSÁHÍ+ets) (łi)
(Sudden/violent aspect+Class XI Obj. Marker+TO PULL OFF SKIN+Class I Subj. Marker)


Sharply-it (dead animal)-pull off skin do-it (literal)
Just pull the skin off it!

This is an important point when it comes to both subject and object affixes because in many ways

they are similar to they way pronouns are used in English. For example:

I ate the meat
I ate the male horse’s meat
I ate the male horse’s meat I found down in the tundra
I ate it

All these examples are roughly equivalent to one another although they all differ to the amount of
information they give about the object (in bold) but the object of the verb eat is still the meat. However
complex the object of the verb is it can still be replaced by the pronoun ‘it’ as in the last example. This is
the function of a pronoun; it replaces a noun, even a complex one. In Srínawésin subject and object affixes
serve the same function, making them a form of pro-fix, a simple morpheme which replaces another
whether complex or simple. The draconic translations of the above English examples would thus be:

I ate the meat

Sáwxqsáthi annetsíšúth násuhawáth’n
I ate the dead male horse’s meat

Sáwxqsáthi annesa sáwšanu annetsíšúth násuhawáth náqswátsaha nasa’n
I ate the dead male horse’s meat I found down in the tundra

I ate it

In English a pronoun must agree with the noun it replaces in several aspects usually in person and in
number. For instance, the following sentence and its replacement of a noun with a pronoun are incorrect in

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

He ate the horse’s meat
*He ate us

The reason for this is that the pronoun ‘us’ does not agree with the object which it replaces in either
number (it is plural rather then singular) or in person (it is in the 1st Person rather then the 3rd as in the
original sentence). The same is true for the Dragon Tongue, the pro-fixes which replace the explicit subject
or objected of a sentence must agree with their original forms, although in Srínawésin what aspects they must
agree with are far different then in English.

4.5.1. Introduction to Draconic “Person”
One extreme difference between the languages of the Qxnéréx and the language of the Shúna
is that of “person.” Although there are differences in the way languages split up the concept of
person with regards to singular/dual/trial/plural (I, we, it, them), and formal/informal usages (Du,
Sie, you, thou), every single one of the Younger Races’ languages I am aware of divides its person in
roughly the same way: 1st, 2nd and 3rd person (I/we, you, him/her/it/them). There are variations but
this method of viewing the world seems to be inherent to our ways of thinking and the social ways
in which our languages are used. These distinctions stem from the very social outlook and goal of
our languages; we need a way to easily and efficiently differentiate between the speaker (1st person),
the listener (2nd person) and another party (3rd Person) as we are so group-oriented this type of
situation is almost always relevant. It is because of the inherent sociality of our languages that
determine this kind of structure.

As noted previously, dragons are extremely solitary and this conditions the way they view the
world as much as it does ours. Seeing more then one dragon at any one time is rare but seeing more
then two is even rarer, to the point of being almost unheard of. This is because the Shúna simply
cannot congregate in large groups (read as more then two) for long periods of time as it would
devastate their ability to support themselves through hunting. Thus, “groups” as we know them
simply don’t happen, and therefore the way the Shúna divide up their world is similarly solitary in
nature as opposed to group-oriented. Thus, while humans generally have 1st, 2nd and 3rd persons to
coordinate their social groups, the Kindred have only two persons: 1st person “me” and “everything
else” represented as Non-1st Person. This might seem unduly simple, but this is largely the way the
language works, dragons use it to separate one another and define boundaries, not coordinate
activities, so they have little or no need for greater specificity in their language. Although they do
not actually possess the sense of person that the languages of humans do, they have a fully
developed system of person which allows them to communicate completely effectively, although in
a slightly indirect way.

The biggest problem for a human in learning the draconic language is the lack of the 2nd
Person “you.” It is such a vital part of our thinking and language that it is almost impossible to do
without it. I should note that Davis says on several occasions it is equally difficult for the Shúna to
understand why we need such a needlessly specific language that separates the world into so many
groupings which should be obvious from context. Ash Tongue once told Howard (in one of his
slightly more social moods) “Why do you need to say you if it’s obvious who I am speaking to?”
Sarcasm aside, this sums up the general viewpoint of the Shúna as they believe that our languages
are unnecessarily complicated and specific. The irony of this viewpoint should be obvious to
anyone reading any of the grammatical points above.

Despite the utter lack of the 2nd Person in their language, this does not limit them and their
ability to express themselves in any way as they have various strategies to make their meaning clear
if they have a “2nd Person intent” to what they say. Although this seems overly complex to a
human’s way of thinking, the lack of a 2nd Person is more then made up for by the specificity of the

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Non-1st Person and the classes which divide it up, detailed below in section 4.5.4. Non-1st Person
Affixes. Although the way which person and number are classified in the draconic mind is very
different then human languages, the Dragon Tongue is similar in that agreement between forms
revolves around the same two concepts; number and person.

4.5.2. Draconic Number
In comparison to many of the other grammatical concepts in Srínawésin, the concept of
number is actually quite simple. Number is simply that the number of objects being referred to. In
English there are two basic numbers, singular and plural, for instance the cat and the cats. In other
languages, such as Old Irish and Iñupiaq, this is extended to three numbers, singular, dual and plural:

The cat
The two cats
The cats (more then two)

Old Irish
in catt
in dá chatt
in chaitt


There are other human languages which are further complicated in that they add a trial
number, indicating three cats as opposed to one, two or more then two. Luckily, Srínawésin has only
three numbers, which are generally fairly simple to understand. The three draconic numbers are
singular, plural and innumerable.



This number is fairly explanatory; it refers to a single object and not more. Groups
which are regarded as a unit are also referred to in the singular as well (sometimes
water falls into this category and sometimes it does not depending upon the speaker’s
intention). Generally the singular in draconic is identical to the singular in English.
The singular number is left unmarked and has no morphological or phonological
This number refers to more then one object; two, three, twenty or more. However,
there is a limit to this, essentially if there is an observable amount or everything which
is a part of the group can be seen all at once then it may be placed within this class.
Also some things which seem patently plural to us such as days, years, moons and other
time-like terms are not referred to as plural in Srínawésin because they cannot be seen
all at once or placed next to one another and observed. The plural number is indicated
by the morpheme –wé- although there are several verb roots which have a wholly
different plural root (see below).

Innumerable: The innumerable number is a special kind of plural which covers everything which
cannot be counted or seen all at once. Thus, the stars are usually referred to in this
number, as would a huge herd of bison which extend in all directions and whose end
cannot be seen. This number also includes masses of objects which cannot be counted
out, such as water, wind, stones, and the like. The general concept is that of a number
of objects which is vast, large, impossible to see all at once or to count (although see
section 7.8.3. Numerals on the draconic thinking on “counting”). Sometimes this
infix has a derivative meaning or it changes one word into another. For instance the
word –xítsasu means ‘tree’ but –xítsarésu means ‘forest’ (or innumerable trees). The
innumerable number is indicated by the morpheme –ré-. The main component of
meaning for this number appears to be whether the items in question can be seen all

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

at once, if they cannot, they are in the innumerable number, if they can they are
simply plural.6

These numbers are morphologically expressed within both the object and the subject forms.
The object infixes have separate forms for all three numbers as indicated in 4.5.4. Non-1st Person
Affixes below. The subject suffixes are slightly more morphologically complex taking the form:


As noted above, the singular number is left unmarked, so this type of subject ending would

be analyzed as:

-Singular null marker+Class III Subject Marker

Which would then be attached to a verb root forming the true-verb:

Xíháqsaqsuwír iyúšił’qs
(that single) female bear doesn’t usually eat female deer

In the same manner, the plural subject suffix below may be analyzed as:

-Plural Marker+Class III Subject Marker

This complex suffix is then attached to a verb root:

Xíháqsaqsuwéwír iyúšewíł’qs
Typically female bear don’t eat female deer

And finally the innumerable number would be analyzed as:

-Innumerable Plural Marker+Class V Subject Marker

Which would then be attached to the verb root as in the previous two cases forming:

I’ve heard that innumerable numbers of them (aquatic) eat those (innumerable other aquatic


6 There is one interesting exception to this however. The word Srínawésin seems anomalous because it implies with the plural
suffix –wé- that the entire language can be viewed as a whole and in it’s entirely, which is obviously impossible. *Srínarésin
would seem to be a more logical way of referring to the draconic language but this form is never found in all of Davis’ notes. My
guess would be that “Srínawésin” is an archaic form from a time when there were only two types of number, singular and plural,
which has been preserved from the simple reason that the word is used so often it simply never changed. This is a guess and I
have no evidence for this, but it seems logical.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

It is important to note that while there are three essential numbers in Srínawésin, not all
objects can be placed into all three categories. The cases of days, years and moons are one example
of items which cannot be placed in the simple plural but would only be placed in the innumerable
number. However since dragons rarely appear in groups of more then two they simply are never
referred to in the innumerable number, because it simply doesn’t happen. There are other cases, but it
is important to simply remember that there are three numbers and not all things can be placed in all
these categories. Instances of this may simply be memorized. Additionally, certain specific verbal
roots have anomalous plural forms and thus cannot occur with the usual plural affixes –wé- and –ré-.
To make things even more difficult, there are verbal roots which have anomalous plural forms but
which still occur with the plural affixes. And finally, there are extremely rare groups of roots which
have an entirely separate root for each of the numbers, singular, plural and innumerable! This will be
treated in greater detail in 5.3.1. Anomalous Plural Forms in the next section but it is important to
remember that distinctions such as the example below exist:


‘a dragon’




These instances seem to have no pattern or structure and must be memorized individually.
These anomalous plural forms do not just affect noun-verbs but they also impact the usage of true-
verbs as well. The reason for this can be shown below:

Xúwíra sa tsitsesłéxusiháx unanrihu sa hesrux nun!
That little puppy over there is trying to be like his/her mother!

This sentence is fairly straightforward, the possessed noun-verb -tsitsesłéxu- ‘his/her mother’
is the object of the true-verb sihá- ‘to be alike, to be the same’ while the noun-verb unanrihu sa hesrux
‘that little puppy over there’ is the subject. However, if the subject of the sentence was plural and
not singular, the root of the true-verb must change as well:

Xúwíra sa tsitsesłéxushúnáx unanrihu sa hesruwéx nun!
Those little puppies over there are trying to be like their mother!

The reason for this is that because the subject is now plural the root sihá- would have to be
attached with a plural subject marker, something which it does not allow because it is inherently
singular so it must be used with the plural form shúna- instead of sihá-. If the normal method was
applied in this way the result would be ungrammatical:

*Xúwíra sa tsitsesłéxusiháwéx unanrihu sa hesruwéx nun!
*Those little puppies are trying to be like their mother!

Thus, whenever one of these roots is used as a verb they still must obey their inherent plurality
or singularity and must agree with the subject of the root if it is either plural or singular. However, as
noted in 5.3.1. Anomalous Plural Forms below there are rare roots which have a singular and a plural
form but the plural form does take plural markers. These roots are used as above (plural forms being
used with plural subjects, singular forms with singular subjects) but when used as a true-verb the
plural form is used with the plural subject markers:

Hanantséwíšnayiš aqxarínshá na
Hanantséwísyeriš aqsánłashá na

Sometimes that ant would climb up that cliff
Sometimes those ants would climb up that cliff

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Hanantséwísyeriš aqsánłashá na

Sometimes those (innumerable) ants would climb
up that cliff

These forms extends to the extremely rare forms which have three roots, each representing

the referent in each of the three numbers, singular, plural and innumerable:

Šasithqsériš asłełéshá nanhú!
Šasithsłátsíš asłełéwéshá nanhú!
Šasithqxuhaniš asłełéréshá nanhú!

That mosquito just started buzzing around me!
Those mosquitoes just started buzzing around me!
Those innumerable mosquitoes just started buzzing
around me!

Luckily, these forms of anomalous plural forms are fairly rare and not used very often. Roots
which have a wholly different singular or plural root are marked with ‘◊’ while those which have a
singular and plural form which does take the plural suffixes is marked as (◊) and those which have
three separate roots for each of the numbers is marked ◊◊◊.

4.5.3. 1st Person Affixes
The first person that must be considered is simply that: the 1st Person. There are several
reasons for this, for one it is the logical place to start and because the 1st Person seems to be
considered to be the “standard” person in the draconic language. In many human languages the 3rd
Person singular is considered to be “standard” in that it the most often person which is unmarked,
i.e. there are no affixes attached to a verb to indicate person and are therefore considered to be the
“default” number and person. In the draconic languages the reverse is true, the 1st Person is
considered to be the default person and unless other subject affixes are attached to indicate its Non-
1st Person status it is considered to be in the 1st Person. Thus the following sentence may be
analyzed as:

Nánútháhé na
(ná+nú+THÁHÉ+Ø) (na)
(Sudden/violent aspect+Class V Obj.+ATTACK+Ø (1st Person Subj.)) (Certainty Evidential)
Violently-aquatic animal-attacked-I definitely (literal)
I pounced on the aquatic animal (fish)

The verb tháhé- would normally have a subject suffix attached to it as shown in section 4.2
Verb Morphology above but it is left unmarked (indicated by the -Ø) and thus is in the 1st person.
This is opposed to:

Nánútháhíł na
(ná+nú+tháhé+ił) (na)
(Sudden/violent aspect+Class V Obj.+ATTACK+Class II Subj.) (Certainty Evidential)
Violently-aquatic animal-attacked-predatory animal definitely (literal)
A predator pounced on the fish

However, the first person being unmarked holds true only if it is the subject of a verb, not the

object. Thus:

Násiththáhéts aSníša sa Shányéš nan!
Glacier Dipper suddenly pounced on me!

The 1st Person subject-object paradigm is described in the following chart:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

1st Person Affixes

Object Infix Subject Suffix Reflexive Suffix


1st Person








There are several caveats to this chart. Firstly, the simple subject and reflexive subject
markers are almost without exception simply left off, i.e. realized as -Ø in Davis’s dialogues.
However, extremely old dragons (very, very, very, very old Sihá) appear to retain 1st Person subject
and reflexive subject endings –hí and –rú respectively. These forms are almost never used by the
“common” draconic population and are extremely archaic, much like saying “Thou art but a
blackguard!” to English speakers. Only the sea dragon Wave of the Sea appeared to use them with
any regularity and that was because she spoke only rarely with land dragons and seemed to know an
older form of Northern Latitudinal Srínawésin. There seem to be two separate 1st Person Object
Infixes, the –sith- and the –xán- noted above. I could discern no appreciable difference between the
usages of these two infixes other then by far –sith- is more common and Davis never makes note of
a difference either (a rare omission in his usually obsessively complete notes). The fact that the
infix –xán- and the Non-1st Person Class I object infix –xén- are so close to one another should be
noted, however, and without additional information I would speculate that –xán- derived from –xén-
and that perhaps the language at one point had only a Non-1st Person, essentially referring to everything
(even “I”) in the human conception of the “3rd Person.” As I said, this is speculation however and
barring more information, that is all it will ever be. The plural forms given above are also almost
never used and they are only used when speaking about oneself and one’s mate or children. Under no
conditions did any of the dragons use plural 1st person markers when discussing actions taken by
more then one dragon unless it was their mate or children. The notation ‘`’ before the plural infix –
yeyá indicates that this morpheme is anomalous and causes voicing to the syllable before it. Thus:

Šáyeyásúhuts aŠátha sa Qxúhusu tsansa tsawárárú qsártsitsír qsárhansásin nasa nin, xisyanúš!
Black Honey had just dove out of the sun at us while we were lying out beneath clear blue

skies and sunning ourselves, the impatient fool!

4.5.4. Non-1st Person Affixes
While the 1st Person is fairly simple, the Non-1st Person is different because it needs to
shoulder a much larger linguistic burden because it describes everything else which isn’t the 1st
Person. Although this might simplistic to divide the world up into “me” and “everything else” the
“everything else” part of the world is in fact extremely specific, far more so then the 3rd Person of
many human languages. While everything which is not “me” is considered to be one category, the
Non-1st Person is divided up into thirteen subcategories or classes of meaning which denote precisely what
the speaker is referring to according to class divisions. Thus, the English example:

I saw it

Is in fact an extremely ambiguous statement although generally it is only used when the ‘it’
has been defined earlier in the conversation. The same is not true of the Dragon Tongue and it is in
fact impossible to translate the above English sentence into Srínawésin! The reason for this is
because the object ‘it’ must be further defined in terms of the class of the object. Thus, there are in fact
eleven different ways of translating the English example into draconic:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred


I saw it (a predator)
I saw it (a large prey animal)
I saw it (a small prey animal)
I saw it (an aquatic animal)
I saw it (an inedible animal)
I saw it (a celestial object)
I saw it (an aerial object or phenomena)
I saw it (an animate object)
I saw it (a solid, inanimate object)
I saw it (an object which was once alive but is now dead)
I saw it (a smaller part of a whole)

Although there are eleven ways to translate this sentence into draconic but there are thirteen
classes, the reason for this disparity is that two of the classes (Class I the Kindred and Class XIII
Varia/Unknown) would not translate properly into ‘it’:


I saw him/her (another dragon)
I saw what?/I saw something (?)

Thus, while the Non-1st Person is a rather large person it is precisely defined and fairly
unambiguous in terms of how it refers to the items placed within its broad definition. The Non-1st
Person’s specificity is largely due to how broad of a category it is and the thirteen classes within it
cover much of the semantic meaning of the language and serve not only to disambiguate utterances,
but to make them highly specific and meaningful. So, while there are only two persons in
Srínawésin the Non-1st Person is highly specific in terms of classes and a pro-fix must agree with the
item it replaces not only in person but in number and class. Thus,

Xánárinwéqsuwéwéx aqxnéhiwéx narúnáha’łá
I’ve heard that humans tend to hunt down female reindeer (Class III plural) in the


Cannot be replaced with the following sentence:

*Xáwqxqsuwéwéx aqxnéhiwéx narúnáha’łá
*I’ve heard that humans tend to hunt down them (Class VII singular) in the mountains

Not only is this sentence patently nonsensical but the object infix -uqx- does not match the
original object noun nárinwé- “female reindeer” in either class or in number. The original referent
was Class III Large Prey and plural while the infix –uqx- is Class VII Celestial and singular. Instead
the first sentence would have to take the following form if the object was left implicit:

Xayxíqsuwéwéx aqxnéhiwéx narúnáha’łá
I’ve heard that humans tend to hunt them (Class III plural) down in the mountains

The infix –ixí- matches the original referent, i.e. it is Class III and plural. The agreement of
infixes to their referents in both class and number is a vital aspect of the Dragon Tongue, probably
one of the most important in order to make any sort of sense or to form correct sentences and cannot
be ignored. Assuming you don’t want to see what an angry dragon looks like, that is.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

4.5.5. Verbal Classes
As noted above there are thirteen classes of verbs to which all verbs must fall when they are
used in their noun-verb form. Generally speaking the classes are extremely stable in form and there
is rarely any disagreement as to what ought to be in which class, although there are several
exceptions, the primary one being the classification of humans. The various types of classes are
interesting in that they all revolve around one of the most defining characteristics of all Shúna:
hunting. The prime definition of any object is whether it is edible or not and whether it can satisfy
a dragon’s hunger with one meal or whether many must be killed in order to satiate a dragon’s
hunger. The draconic mind is centered on the hunt and all its aspects and this is the way they
classify the world around them. The draconic mind sees the world in terms of the hunt and survival
in a way that even the most traditional hunter-gather cannot possibly imagine, and this is expressed
linguistically through the classification system of verb classes.

As strange as it sounds, verbal classes are subject to change—within some strictures. For
instance, the verbal class of humans and other speaking (not all of which are intelligent) creatures is
a matter yet to be resolved within the draconic community. They have only had several hundred
thousand years to consider it after all. Many Shúna refer to the Younger Races in the Class IV—or
as “small prey creatures of which several have to be eaten in order to satisfy a dragon’s hunger.”
Davis notes with some humor that for a long time Moonchild tended to refer to humans in the Class
XIII, or as “Varia/Unknown” creatures. After a particularly good day of instruction where he
finally nailed down some difficult pronunciation features, she suddenly switched, referring to him
(and only him) as Class I, or as one of the Kindred! Davis was extremely honored by this, although
Moonchild often switched back and forth, depending on how well Davis was speaking that day.
Sometimes he was a “Varia/Unknown” and when she wanted to be particularly insulting or—had a
bad day—she referred to Howard as a small prey animal or even as an “inedible” creature, a grave
insult indeed! Davis notes that he once managed to hold the Class I for an entire moon, although
Moonchild absentmindedly began to refer to him under the Class IV Small Prey Animals once
again (although Howard gives her the benefit of the doubt and said that this might have been
because she was particularly hungry at the time). Personally, I think that would have made me
more then a little nervous.

Indeed, the fact that on rare occasions Qxnéréx actually managed to kill one of the Shúna (a
prey animal killing a predator!?) is one of the reasons that our linguistic status is somewhat in doubt
amongst the Kindred. We obviously have the ability to kill the Kindred (which would place us not
in a prey but in a wholly new category) but we are often preyed on by the Kindred, placing us firmly
in the class of smaller prey-animals. To make things even more difficult, we have the ability to
speak which could technically place in Class I but we are still not dragons, which is a defining
feature of Class I. Despite this disparity, Howard says that Tear of the Sun said that there has been
some stabilization of terminology over the past 100,000 years or so. There are many Sihá who still
refer to the Younger Races with a different class but the large majority of Northern Latitudinal
Dialect speakers have settled on referring to us in Class IV or “small prey animals.” Hardly
endearing them to any humans they might come across while hungry, I assume.

It is also important to note that the thirteen classes presented below are relevant only to the
Northern Latitudinal Dialect. Stargazer told Howard that the same basic classes are still adhered to
amongst most land dragons but the various Oceanic Dialects have radically different classification
structures. He informed Davis that the Pacific Oceanic has as many as twenty classes while Deep
Draconic (of which very little is known even amongst the Shúna) has as few as three. These classes
are primarily relevant in the Northern Latitudinal Dialect but all draconic languages share a system
of classes as well as a preoccupation with defining things according to the hunt and everything
which pertains to it.

The classes and their affixes are delineated below:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Class I ‘Kindred’

This class includes all the Shúna and individual Sihá as well as all relationship
terminology that
involves dragons, familial, antagonistic, friendly or
otherwise. It often includes various draconic products, urine, feces, shed
scales, blood and other materials, but generally Class I deals solely with living
dragons and draconic relationships. This class cannot be used in the
Innumerable Number and is often used to indicate a “2nd Person intention” in

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Reflexive Suffix



Innumerable Singular


Innumerable Singular Plural




Class II Predators

This class includes any predatory creature which is not one of the Sihá, whose
primary or only means of obtaining food is hunting, killing and then eating its
prey. Thus, this class does not include scavengers or any type of animal which
does not hunt then eat meat. Predatory animals are sometimes eaten, but this
class refers to their habits and the possibility of competition with the Shúna.
This class may take the innumerable number and some dragons place the
Younger Races in this class although many do not, arguing that we do not
primarily hunt then eat our food, making us scavengers at best.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Reflexive Suffix



Innumerable Singular Plural



Innumerable Singular Plural





Class III Large Prey

There are two defining characteristics of this class; that a member is a creature
to be hunted and eaten and that killing and eating a single individual will satiate
a dragon’s hunger. This includes deer, horses, cattle, moose, hippopotamus,
elephant and so forth. Also, this class excludes large creatures which may be
hunted on occasion and which would satisfy a dragon’s hunger but which is a
predator, placing it in Class II instead of III. This class may occur with the
Innumerable Number.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Reflexive Suffix

Singular Plural

Innumerable Singular



Innumerable Singular





Class IV Small Prey

This class includes all prey animals of which several must be killed and
consumed in order to satisfy a dragon’s hunger. This usually includes the
Younger Races, various smaller mammals, squirrels, badgers, rabbits, rodents
and so forth. This class often occurs in the Innumerable Number.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Reflexive Suffix

Singular Plural

Innumerable Singular



Innumerable Singular





Class V Aquatic

Class V includes all aquatic animals, irrespective of whether they are edible or
not, or whether they are typically hunted or not. This class usually has
creatures which are solely aquatic; amphibians and the like do not usually count
although there is some variation to the usage of this class depending on the
preference of the speaker. This class often comes in the Innumerable Number.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Reflexive Suffix

`-nú-7 -aqs-

Innumerable Singular



Innumerable Singular






Class VI Inedible

This class is a particularly interesting one. It has all creatures which are
considered to be inedible, disgusting, nasty or otherwise unpleasant. This
includes worms, most types of birds (excluding ostriches which are considered
to be particularly tasty), bugs, ants, bees and spiders. Lizards are usually
included in this class although dragons such as Rainbow Wing or Under the
Claw (both of whom lived in desert locales) ate snakes, scorpions and lizards
so did not refer to them in this way but instead as Class IV Small Prey. Also
this class includes insulting terms and other less-then-pleasant terminology,
the implication that the speaker wouldn’t deign to eat you even if she killed
you. This class often includes the Innumerable Number.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Reflexive Suffix



Innumerable Singular Plural



Innumerable Singular





Class VII Celestial

“Celestial” objects have a simple defining characteristic: they cannot be flown
to or reached in any way. This includes the sun, the moon, stars, Milky Way,
shooting stars, comets and other such phenomena. This class is fairly small
and has an extremely stable membership. Words for this class almost never
change because there is no real reason to rename its members, so maintains
extremely archaic forms. The Innumerable Number usually only applies to

7 This infix has an anomalous form and causes voicing to the preceding vowel.

Object Infix

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
Subject Suffix

Reflexive Suffix



Innumerable Singular Plural



Innumerable Singular Plural





Class VIII Aerial

This class includes all types of aerial phenomena, one which is different from
Class VII Celestial in that a flying dragon can all reach these phenomena and
often fly over them. This includes storms, rain, wind, hurricanes, tornados,
weather and flying animals such as birds (who are in a state of flying at the
time vs. on the ground or in the water). This class often occurs in the
Innumerable Number.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Singular Plural

Innumerable Singular





Class IX Animate

The “Animate” Class includes many things which most humans would not
call animate. The defining characteristic of this class is that its members are
moving, changing, flowing, altering and alterable extremely quickly from a
dragon’s point of view, not merely alive in some objective sense. This includes
fire, water (on the ground vs. in the air), wind (again near the ground), plants,
snow (on the ground), ice, rivers and so forth. This class is often in the
Innumerable Number.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Singular Plural

Innumerable Singular






Class X Inanimate

“Inanimate” objects are usually one of a geologic nature, stones, rocks,
mountains, volcanoes, geographic areas, continents, islands, hills and locations
in general. This class is largely viewed as things which change, but do so
extremely slowly.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix



Innumerable Singular





Class XI Dead

Class XI includes all things that were once alive but are now dead. Fallen
leaves, dead trees, bones, blood, meat (all from a distinctly dead animal),
corpses and the like are all included in this class. Interestingly, this class is
different from the various animal classes and Class XII below in that in the
case of an animal, it must be found dead and was not slain within the sight of

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

the speaker or was slain by him or her, which would take the classes II through
VI in this case. This therefore defines primarily carrion, dead meat which was
found in its state vs. that of a living animal or one which was just slain and is
about to be consumed. If a dragon were to leave a meal and then come after a
short time the animal in question would most likely revert back to this class!
This class does include the Innumerable Class.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix



Innumerable Singular





Class XII Components

This class’ main feature is that of parts of a larger whole, such as body parts,
sections of trees, and other pieces of other larger objects. Words are
sometimes placed in this class as they are portions of the larger Dragon
Tongue and thoughts, conceptions and the like are also commonly placed in
Class XII. Things of this nature are only referred to in this class if they are
generic or the speaker wishes to specify the component-of-a-whole aspect of
the object on which they are commenting. Often body-parts will be placed
into the class of the animal which owns them, rather then in this class, but the
usage seems to depend on the speaker as well as cultural aspects of the Kindred
rather then specific methodology. This class commonly includes the
Innumerable Number.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Singular Plural

Innumerable Singular





Class XIII Varia/Unknown Class XIII or the “Varia/Unknown” class does not have any permanent
concepts or words but is most commonly used to express concepts such as
“who” and “what” and other such unknowns. Also if a thing is unknown to
the speaker they will often refer to it with the closest familiar word but place it
into Class XIII to show they are unsure of its definition. See Mixed
Verbal Classes below regarding this class. Humans and the Younger Races are
sometimes referred to in this class unless the speaker has decided they more
appropriately belong to another class. This class often occurs in the
Innumerable Number.

Object Infix

Subject Suffix

Reflexive Suffix



Innumerable Singular



Innumerable Singular



A summary of verbal class markers is provided below:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Object Infix

Subject Suffix





Class I Kindred
Class II Predators
Class III Large Prey
Class IV Small Prey
Class V Aquatic
Class VI Inedible
Class VII Celestial
Class VIII Aerial
Class IX Animate
Class X Inanimate
Class XI Dead
Class XII Components
Class XIII

Singular Plural


Innumerable Singular







Reflexive Suffix






-rísu- Mixed Verbal Classes
Although it appears to happen rarely, sometimes a speaker must refer to either objects
or subjects which have a mixed nature according to the class strictures of Srínawésin. For
instance how would a dragon speak the following sentence?

The flood suddenly overwhelmed all the trees and the large prey beneath the mountains!

In this case there are two objects for the verb overwhelm the trees (Class IX) and the
large prey (Class III) so how would these object be treated within the verb? The draconic
translation would be:

Qsárrúnáwéha náqxétháhésu annesánu sa xítsarésu annesihárén ashaxúnsu nahú!

Although there are other components, the words which are of particular interest in

this section are:


it (Subj. Class IX) suddenly and violently overwhelmed all
them (Obj. Class XIII)

Annesánu sa xítsarésu all the innumerable trees (Obj. Class IX)

innumerable groups of prey animals (Obj. Class III)
the flood (Subj. Class IX)

The way in which the subject suffix and object infix agrees with their reference would


………………….náqxétháhésu annesánu sa xítsarésu annesihárén………………………


As can been seen from this example, Srínawésin’s answer to the issue of the class of
mixed subject or objects infixes is quite simple, whenever this is the case the combined mixed-

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

class group is placed in Class XIII Varia/Unknown class regardless of the constituent classes therein.
This applies equally to the verbal subject suffixes as to the verbal object infixes:

ASewe sa Swéhésin aqxnéwéx saHathá sa Snarełášáwéhen xix??
Frost Song and the humans killed Angry Face??

In this case the first subject Sewe sa Swéhésin ‘Frost Song’ is in Class I Kindred (see
4.7. Dragon Names below regarding this) and the second Qxnéréx ‘the humans’ is in Class IV
Small Prey animals but when combined they agree with the Class XIII Varia/Unknown subject
suffix attached to the verb –wéhen. This type of construction occurs whenever the referents
of an affix or pronoun are of mixed verbal class.

4.5.6. Inherent Verbal Objects and Subjects
Certain transitive verbs in Srínawésin have what Davis calls inherent objects and subjects.

These verbs inherently contain a particular object or class of object as part of their definition and thus—
although they are transitive verbs—do not require object infixes as other transitive verbs do. For

Sasíhá na

I made him my mate

This is a perfectly grammatical sentence despite the fact that the root síhá- is transitive but
does not have an object infix. The reason is that síhá- inherently means ‘to make (a male dragon)
my mate’ and therefore simply does not need the usually required infix. This phrase would be
analyzed as:

Sasíhá na
(sa+Ø+SÍHÁ+Ø) (na)
(complete aspect+inherent. obj.+TO MAKE A MALE DRAGON INTO A MATE+1st Person Subject)


My-male-mate-made I certainly (lit.)
I made him into my mate

Not only does it not require the infix, if it is included Davis specifically states that this would

be ungrammatical:

*Saensíhá na

*I made him my mate

There is one exception he notes to this rule however. Firstly, if the object is explicitly stated

then it is infixed as usual into the true-verb:

SaSłáya sa Snaresíhá na

I made Bloody Face my mate

The only rule in this case is that the explicitly stated object must agree to the inherent object
which is part of the verb definition, in this case one of the Kindred which Bloody Face is a member.
If the object of such a form is complex, i.e. it is an adjective-modified noun or a dependent clause, the
object occurs elsewhere in the sentence as usual and must still agree with the inherent object in the
verb definition, but still no infix occurs:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

SaSłáya sa Snaresáhích?8
Qsahú! Annéxéhaséš saqsi! Sasíhá annesa tsisráhets níxérúnáwéha nisa’n. Xýáłsháthunets išíxéhaséš

inneHathá sa Snaréš’n.

You made Bloody Face your mate?
Certainly not! Not him! I made the one who lives way up in the mountains my mate. He

calls himself Angry Face.

Davis occasionally notes that inherent subjects also occur, although these appear to be much
rarer. The root síhá- is an example of this as it means something like ‘I made (a male dragon) my
mate’ so it has both an inherent subject and object! As noted, inherent subjects are much rarer and
usually restrict only the class or gender of their subject, as in the case of the root wéhu- ‘for a female to
urinate upon.’ This root restricts the subject to females only as this is an inherent definition of the
verb. Davis never remarks if these verbs may be intentionally misused in order to be insulting,
although I doubt that highly, being called a female is not insulting to a male dragon according to
Davis’ notes. In the lexicon of verb roots below, all verbs which have either an inherent subject or
object are marked with ‘•.’ It should be noted however, that subject suffixes are still required on
these forms such as in the sentence Hawehúts axánanxítsasu’łá “she urinated next to that tree over
there”. The root wehú- means “for a female to urinate upon” and although it does not require an
object infix it still requires the subject suffix –ets to indicate the agent of the action.

This sort of thing is similar to the English form:

It is raining

What exactly is raining? It could hypothetically be ‘the weather’ or ‘the clouds’ but the

following sentences do not quite sound right:

The weather is raining
The clouds are raining

Although this is a somewhat forced analogy to the concept of inherent subjects and objects in

Srínawésin there is a general similarity I find this is the best way to think of these forms.

4.6. Voice: Intentional vs. Unintentional
You may have noticed that not all of the classes above have the whole range of possible suffixes,
namely Classes VIII-XII do not have any sort of reflexive subject suffixes like classes I-VII and XIII do.
The reason for this is the vital concept of Voice in the draconic language, which determines what may have
a reflexive ending and what may not. For most languages Voice refers to whether an utterance is Active or
Passive, as in the English examples below:

The human saw the dragon
The dragon was seen by the human


In most human languages the concept of the voice of a verb typically involves the relationship
between the subject and the object. The active voice is usually a typical utterance with both a subject and an
object, while a passive utterance focuses primarily on the object as in the last example above. In English

8 The root sáhi- ‘(your) male mate’ is used rather then síhá- ‘(my) male mate’ because the speaker is asking a question of another

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
passive constructions often involve the original object becoming the subject while the original subject
becomes the agent of the new sentence, often specified by the word ‘by,’ in English. In fact in the passive
voice the subject of the sentence can be left out completely even when the sentence involves a transitive verb,
i.e. one which requires a subject as in:

The dragon was seen

(passive without a subject)

Similar examples can be found in modern Welsh:

Gafodd y ty ei godi
Ges i nharo

The house was built (passive without a subject)
I was hit


Although these forms of constructions often are varied across the broad span of human languages,
these distinctions are not really important in the Dragon Tongue. Since Srínawésin is explicit in its forms
of person, subjects are often left out completely while the proper corresponding subject class markers are
left on, giving a “passive” kind of meaning although this does not really carry the full force of true passive
constructions as in other languages:

Sasihášáwáx aqxnéx na
Sasihášáwáx na

The human saw the dragon
The dragon was seen (by a small prey animal)

(passive w/o subject)

While these form of passive constructions are not a real factor in the draconic language (at least in
the Latitudinal Dialects) Srínawésin does possess a sort of a voice distinction although its conceptual basis
is very different then that of English. The primary voice distinction of the draconic language is based on
the concept of Intentional vs. Unintentional subjects. Intentional subjects are those which are considered to be
thoughtful and able to think and capable of planning, desire or other wish to accomplish what it is they are
doing, i.e. capable of intent. Unintentional subjects are obviously the reverse; their actions are not performed
with any sort of plan or desire, they merely happen either through outside influence or just through
happenstance. The division of Intentional and Unintentional subjects might seem rather arbitrary to non-
Sihá, often things which we could classify as decidedly unintentional are regarded as things with desires
and plans (and otherwise animate and “living”). For instance, the moon, the sun and most other celestial
bodies are all viewed as Intentional in their actions; they do what they do because they want to do it. Plants
are often viewed as Unintentional subjects despite they are what most humans would consider to be “alive”
and therefore capable of some desire or wish to do what they do to stay alive but to the Sihá they are classed
as being incapable of this.

The concept of intentional vs. unintentional follows a definite logic and a pattern but it is not
always easy to see what this pattern is. The Kindred have a very different concept of what is “alive,” what
is “animate,” and what is capable of “intention,” meanings which do not always apply to the same object.
The concept of “animate” has been explained in further detail above in 4.5.5. Verbal Classes but for now it
is important to understand that “alive,” “animate” and “intentional” are not synonymous even through
many humans might think of them in this way. As noted below things such as the sun and the moon are
thought to be capable of intention and being able to plan but are not considered to be “alive”—at least in the
same way as a plant might be considered alive. On the other hand, trees and plants are considered to be
“animate” in that they grow, move and die, but are not capable of intention. Water, fire, snow on the
ground and ice are also considered to be “animate” as they move, flow and “grow” but are not any more
“alive” then a plant is to the Kindred. The way dragons seem to divide up the world into these two classes
can be broadly defined as:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Intentional Beings
Animals (prey, predator, aquatic and inedible)
Celestial objects (sun, moon, stars)

Unintentional Items
Rivers, water, ice
Mountains, hills, the earth
Locations, places

These classes are broadly similar to the modern human concept of what is “alive” and what is not,
with the obvious exceptions of celestial objects and plants. The reader will also notice that Davis arranged
the numbering of his verbal classes so that Classes I-VII’s items are all considered to be Intentional by nature
while Classes VIII-XII’s items are all considered to be Unintentional by nature. Class XIII Varia/Unknown is
a special case, capable of being both. Despite this general correspondence, the Shúna concept of what
occupies the Intentional category and what occupies the Unintentional category and thus the relation
between both class structure and the voicing system of Srínawésin have a connection this cannot always be
relied upon to determine which object is in fact considered capable of intention and which is not.

Although these considerations might seem strange and unnecessary to an English speaker the
draconic concept of Voice is one of the central distinctions of Srínawésin and is absolutely vital to
understanding the language as well as speaking it. The reason for this is the draconic language’s tripartite
structure (as gone over in §§4.1.1. Srínawésin’s Ergativity above), in that it although it has transitive and
intransitive verbs what can be the subject of a transitive or intransitive verb is determined by whether it is an
intentional actor or not. Srínawésin’s tripartite structure has three groupings; Agents/Subjects which are the
principle actors of intransitive and transitive verbs, Objects which are the direct objects of transitive verbs
and finally Reflexive Actors, in which the subject and the object of a transitive verb is the same. In English
they would be represented by the following examples:

The tide


The dragon


the man

The man


(Reflexive Object)

The Dragon Tongue makes much more use of the reflexive forms then English does, which employs

these types of constructions only in certain instances. Consider the two examples in Srínawésin below:

Tsihaxúwésin tsinnansánhíha išathawésin’
Tsihaxúš tsinnansánhíha shisihéš’n

the mists are lying in the depression over there
the dragon is lying in the depression over there

In the first example the true-verb is haxú- ‘to lay along/on the ground’ while the subject is the root
šatha- ‘mist, fog, clouds,’ indicated by the prefix i-, which will be covered in section 5.4.2. True-Verb Object,
Subject and Reflexive Prefixes. However, notice that the suffix attached to the true-verb is a subject ending,
i.e. –wésin (-wé+sin). In the second example the true-verb is again haxú- ‘to lie along/on the ground’ while
the subject in this case is sihá- ‘dragon, Kindred.’ In the second case the suffix attached to both the true-
verb is the reflexive ending –éš (vowel conditions turning it into -úš) and not the Class I Kindred subject ending
–ets, which would usually occupy this place and the proposed “subject” does not have the subject prefix i-
but rather a reflexive prefix in shi-! The second sentence is therefore reflexive and would be more properly
translated as:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Tsihaxúš tsinnansánhíha shisihéš’n

The dragon is lying herself in the depression over there

This is a vital point to understanding both the tripartite structure of Srínawésin, the nature of
intransitive vs. reflexive forms as well as intentional subjects vs. unintentional ones. In English, the
following sentence is an intransitive one:

The dragon

is lying

in the depression over there

While in Srínawésin it would be reflexive as the actor (the dragon) is intentional:

The dragon

is lying

(Refl. Object)

in the depression over there

The reason for this is that in Srínawésin an Intentional being can never be the subject of an intransitive
verb without exception. Only Unintentional beings (such as ‘mists, clouds’ above) may be the subjects of
intransitive verbs. Thus, the following sentence would be entirely ungrammatical:

*Tsihaxúts tsinnansánhíha isihéš’n

*the dragon is lying in the depression over there

Diagrammed as:


in the depression over there

the dragon

Therefore, not only can an Intentional being not agree with the subject ending of an intransitive verb
but it may not carry the subject prefix when attached to an intransitive verb. When an Intentional being is
spoken of being in a state or doing an action which would be intransitive in English, it is placed in the
reflexive form (shi-, sha-, shu-) indicating that the intentional being is doing X action to itself. This is the heart
of the intentional vs. unintentional concept in Srínawésin and must be understood properly to have an
understanding of the language. Davis devotes at least twelve pages of notes to these concepts, citing
numerous examples and repeatedly asked his sources questions so he could pin down the exact function as
well as the concepts underlying why dragons speak in this fashion. Luckily these pages were included in
the notes I found, otherwise it is unlikely I would have ever been able to understand the differences
between reflexive-intentional vs. intransitive-unintentional forms.

Davis noted a hypothesis (one in which I agree) on the reasons for this split in voicing. He
hypothesized that Intentional beings are thought to be actively creating any state that they occupy, doing
whatever they are doing to themselves. Thus, an intentional being isn’t ‘lying on the ground’ it is ‘lying itself
on the ground.’ However, Unintentional beings are considered to be passive or non-acting participants in the
states they occupy being in X state rather then participating in the action. Thus, an unintentional being is
simply ‘lying on the ground’ almost as if the action is being done to it rather then it doing the laying. This
system of thought is extremely similar to that of Ergative languages discussed above although Srínawésin
holds the additional distinction of adding reflexive forms to this process. These differences only apply to the
subjects/agents/reflexive actors of verbs and not to objects, which do not participate in this distinction. Just
as an Intentional being cannot be the subject of an intransitive verb, so to an Unintentional being cannot be
the Reflexive Subject of a transitive verb. This is because an Unintentional being is not considered capable of

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
doing an action to itself and therefore the two categories are mutually exclusive. The way Intentional vs.
Unintentional Subjects are used with verbs may be diagrammed as:

Intransitive Verb
Transitive Verb
Reflexive Verb


Unintentional Only

Reflexive Subject

Intentional Only

This diagram simply shows that Unintentional beings can only be the subject of an intransitive verb
as well as both the object and the subject of a transitive verb and cannot participate in reflexive functions
whatsoever. Intentional beings cannot in any way be the subjects of intransitive verbs but may be both the
subject and the object of transitive verbs and are the only things which may participate in reflexive
constructions. These distinctions are wide ranging determining not only distinctions such as these but also
which type of affixes may be attached to noun-verbs (section 5.4.2. True-Verb Object, Subject and
Reflexive Prefixes), the type of affixes (and thus the participants) in transitive/intransitive/reflexive verbs
(4.5. Subject and Object Affixes above) as well as the forms of noun-verbs (section 5.3. Noun-verb
Morphology). Intentional vs. Unintentional distinctions touch virtually every aspect of Srínawésin and
not only are a vital part of the language but simply cannot be ignored if any sort of fluency is the goal of a

4.7. Dragon Names
Although I have already covered the social aspects of the way the Kindred construct their names and
given some examples, their names present a unique exception from the class structures presented above.
For instance, take the two names:

Słáya sa Snaréš
Sewe sa Swéhésin

Bloody Face
Frost Song

If we examine the endings of the two names we find that the first is Class I Kindred while the
second is Class VIII Aerial. This does not mean that the dragon whose name is Frost Song is an aerial
phenomenon which would be included in this class, such as clouds, rain, thunderstorms, hail and the like.
The Class VIII ending in fact is attached to the word –swéhé ‘song, to sing, crooning,’ and indicates that the
final word, not the entire name, is that of an aerial nature (which is the proper class for the noun-verb
swéhésin ‘song’). This presents a problem because two subject endings can never occur on the same verb:

*Sewe sa Swéhésinéš

(the dragon named) Frost Song

So how are draconic names included within the class structure if they would otherwise require two
different class endings to make sense? The answer is never given explicitly in Davis’ notes which I have,
but is found throughout all the dialogues and his many example sentences in an implicit form: They simply
aren’t. Essentially, it appears as if draconic names are the single exception to the requirement for the
various morphological endings to agree with one another as although draconic names have endings from
many different classes the name itself is always considered to be Class I Kindred, regardless of circumstance or the
endings attached to it. This is because the referent, the dragon itself, is of the 1st Class. Obviously only a
dragon would require a draconic name, thus regardless of the ending on the name, it is implicitly of Class I
Kindred. This makes statements such as the following one grammatical even though it would not usually
be due to the fact that there is no explicit agreement between the verb affixes and the subjects and objects
they refer to:

Tsyenrisets inneSewe sa Swéhésin iTsitsír sa Šłisiš ísyán!
Tear of the Sun certainly would like to kill Frost Song with her teeth!

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Sewe sa Swéhésin ‘Frost Song’ has the Class VIII Aerial ending –sin but despite this still agrees with
the verbal object infix –en- because the name is Class I Kindred. Likewise Tsitsír sa Šłisiš ‘Tear of the Sun’
has the Class IX Animate ending –iš but also agrees with the verbal subject suffix –ets for the same reasons.
On the other hand, Słáya sa Snaréš ‘Bloody Face’ retains the Class I Kindred suffix because the final root
word of the name –snare ‘face’ refers to a draconic face, therefore the name means literally a ‘bloody dragon’s
face,’ i.e. Bloody Face’s own face. This seems to be the sole exception to agreement between classes for all
the various affixes in Srínawésin, but one which is always followed to retain true semantic meaning.
However, there are two exceptions which occur to this pattern of draconic name-agreement. One is the
way in which a dragon will say “My name is…” which seems to be a rather formulaic and formal utterance
as virtually all of Davis’ subjects tended to say it the same way. This formula is:

Xwałsháthunwéts tsnuhasa unne-…

This phrase literally means ‘They (other dragons) name to me…’ and the name is filled in, as in:

Xwałsháthunwéts tsnuhasa unneXúqxátsitsútsets
My name is Bone Digger

The interesting aspect of this is that the direct object of the true-verb sháthun- is the name of the
individual not the individual themselves, therefore the direct object infix is –ał-, the Class VIII Aerial
infix. This is because the name is an aerial-thing, so no matter what the various endings on the actual name
the name itself agrees with this class. The second exception is Howard Davis’ name, Xútsithí sa Qxéxúnáx or
‘Always Scratching at Something,’ which in all his dialogues and notes agrees with whatever class the
speaker considered Davis to be (usually IV Small Prey) although sometimes other forms appear.

4.8. Command Forms and Imperatives of True-Verbs
Command forms of verbs are usually used in languages to give commands, express desires or to
request actions. For instance, modern Welsh form imperatives in a variety of ways, usually with the
addition of the suffix –a or –wch (singular and plural forms respectively) to a verb stem:

Aros- (to wait)

arhosa! (wait!)

arhoswch! (you all wait!)

Languages all have imperatives although they express them in different ways and they often carry
slightly different imperative stresses, ranging from direct commands to requests. Srínawésin possesses
imperative forms but instead of altering the verb in any way, commands and imperative meanings are
almost entirely carried by the various evidential enclitics required of every sentence. These enclitics will be
covered below in section 7.3. Evidential Sentence Enclitics but for now it is important to know that
commands are formed by the addition of ‘command words’ which transform a statement or question into a
command or request. The imperative usages of verbs require the usual affixes (subject, object and aspect)
of verbs, although the subjects of these forms (those being ordered) and almost always Class I Kindred for no
other reason then a dragon would have little reason to speak to, much less command anything else! There
are two stresses of imperatives, commands, which are indicated by the evidential łi and which are considered
insulting and only used towards younger dragons and hatchlings, and optatives which are formed of the
evidential ríth/ráth/rúth and translate better to “would you…”, “would that…” or “I wish you to…”
Optative imperatives are much more polite and will not start a fight like łi will:

Nínłášéts łi!
Nínłášéts ríth!

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Just kill it (small prey animal)!
Would you please kill it (small prey animal)?

Both forms also have negative forms, which request or command the verb not to happen:

Nínłášéts łiqs!
Nínłášéts rísí!

Don’t kill it (small prey animal)!
Would you please not kill it (small prey animal)!

The specifics of these forms will be covered in greater detail below. Because of Srínawésin’s
reliance on evidential enclitics to express imperative forms and not on specific verb-forms, dragons will
often leave true-verbs entirely out of imperative forms when the meaning is obvious or can be determined
from context:

Sríhasa ríth!

Would you (give) it to me!

Literally this phrase means ‘would-that to-me!’ and the idea of ‘giving or passing’ is understood
because sríhasa means ‘to/towards me.’ Usually these forms seem to be used when there is direction,
motion or benefit involved in the request which can be expressed with a prefix in some manner:

Xyihaséš ríth?

Would you do it for him?

Command/optative evidentials may also appear by themselves, their precise meaning usually given

by context surrounding the utterance:


Would that you not (do X)!
Do it!Section IV: True-Verbs image
Section IV: True-Verbs image
Section IV: True-Verbs image
Section IV: True-Verbs image
Section IV: True-Verbs image
Section IV: True-Verbs image

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