Section VI: Verbal Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives and

Section VI: Verbal Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives and

Possessive Forms

Author: Madeline Palmer

MS Date: 10-22-2012

FL Date: 11-01-2012

FL Number: FL-00000E-00

Citation: Palmer, Madeline. 2012. Section VI: Verbal

Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives an
Possessive Forms. In Srínawésin: The
Language of the Kindred: A Grammar and
Lexicon of the Northern Latitudinal Dialect of
the Dragon Tongue. FL-00000E-00, Fiat
Lingua, . Web. 01 Nov.

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 VI

Section VI: Verbal Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives and Possessive Forms………………………………………………..1
6.1. Overview……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1
6.2. Adverbs………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………4
6.2.1. Adverbial Morphology…………………………………………………………………………………………….4
6.2.2. Adverbial Usage……………………………………………………………………………………………………..7
6.3. Adjectives……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………8
6.3.1. Adjectival Morphology: Stative………………………………………………………………………………..9
6.3.2. Adjectival Morphology: Passive………………………………………………………………………………10
6.3.3. Adjectival Morphology: Active………………………………………………………………………………..11
6.3.4. Adjectival Morphology: Implied……………………………………………………………………………..12
6.3.5. Multiple Adjectives………………………………………………………………………………………………..13
6.3.6. Adjectival Adverbs………………………………………………………………………………………………..14
6.3.7. Adjectival Semantic Distribution……………………………………………………………………………16
6.4. Possessive Forms………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..23
6.4.1. Inalienable vs. Alienable Possession………………………………………………………………………..23
6.4.2. Inalienable Possession……………………………………………………………………………………………24
6.4.3. Alienable Possession……………………………………………………………………………………………..30
6.4.4. Adverbial Possession……………………………………………………………………………………………..31
§6.5. Differentiating Verb Modifiers………………………………………………………………………………………….32


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
Section VI:
Verbal Modifiers
Adverbs, Adjectives and Possessive Forms

6.1. Overview
Modifiers are words and grammatical structures which modify other words in some fashion,
expressing further detail about other words, adding additional information or descriptions, specifying
certain eccentricities, defining meanings and so on. The two main forms of modifiers are adverbs, which
modify verbs and adjectives, which modify nouns. In most known languages, adjectives and adverbs are
generally regarded as two separate grammatical categories and thus are expressed in specific and different
ways, both grammatically, morphologically and so on. Derivations between adjectival forms and adverbial
forms are expressed in specific ways in order to denote when one is using a word to describe or modify an
action (adverbial) or a noun (adjectival).

Examples in English would be:

The quick boy ran down the street
The boy quickly ran down the street


In both of these cases the root is quick and in the first example is adjectival in nature as it modifies
the noun boy and in the second case, adverbial in nature as it modifies the verb ran. Additionally, in English
the adjective quick is derived into an adverbial form by the addition of the suffix –ly, i.e. quick+ly becomes
quickly. Thus the difference between the two usages are syntactic (the modifying word comes before the
word it modifies in both cases) as well as morphological (the addition or absence of the suffix –ly). English is
the example given above but these types of paradigms hold true in most human languages.

However, since all words in the draconic language are, at their root, verbal in nature this means that
the distinctions drawn between adjectives and adverbs in the languages of the qxnéréx do not really apply
because, in essence, modifiers of this type can all be considered adverbial in nature because they modify verbs, the
only true type of words in the Dragon Tongue. The grammatical forms and conceptions underlying all
modifiers in Srínawésin are inherently alike in nature because they all perform one action: they modify
verbal roots in some fashion. Thus, it might seem strange to include such disparate categories as adverbs,
adjectives and possessive forms within a single system (they would usually be treated differently in most
grammars); in the draconic mindset and grammatical system they are all essentially identical in nature.

This does not mean, however that what we might call “adverbs” or “adjectives” are expressed in
identical ways, because although all words are verbal in nature in the Dragon Tongue, they are often used in
noun-like ways. These noun-verbs have their own grammatical structures, limitations, strictures and forms
treated in Section V and thus there are differences between the modifiers which have a relationship
between true-verbs and those which have noun-like qualities. Additionally, possessive forms (grammatical
constructions which indicate ownership or possession of another noun in some fashion) fall into this same
category in Srínawésin, not only in how they are expressed, but also in how they are conceived of by the
Kindred. Thus, while modifiers can be generally classed as adjectival, adverbial or possessive in nature and
correspond in many ways to what the Younger Races mean when they use such terminology, they are, in
fact, slightly different ways of expressing only one type of relationship in the Dragon Tongue, in other words
modification of verb-roots. Luckily, although all these constructions have generally similar forms—most of
which use the prolific particle sa—there are specific clues used to differentiate them from one another and
thus keep ambiguity at a minimum.

One inherent quality of all of these modifier forms, however, is that upon their addition and
modification of another word, regardless of grammatical type, they thereupon form a coherent phrase with the
modified word, becoming a single grammatical unit. This is a vital point as once one of these modifiers is
incorporated into such a construction it is grammatically tied to the modified word and any and all affixes


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
which are attached to this new phrase by definition effect and apply to everything within the phrase. For

-słáya sa hawán
-((słáya) (sa) (HAWÁ+an)N)NP
-((bloody) (particle) (IT-IS-MEAT+Class III)N)NP
Bloody meat (of an animal someone slew and did not come upon already dead)

This adjectival phrase is comprised of three distinct parts, two verbal roots słáya- and hawán and a
particle sa. Although there are three distinct pieces of information they are a single indivisible grammatical
unit and thus if placed within a sentence it remains a single unit of meaning:

Tsixqsáthits innesłáya sa hawán iQsánir sa Qxéyéš’n
Moonchild is eating the bloody meat (of the animal she slew)

Although the Non-Past Explicit Object Prefix inne- is attached to the word słáya- ‘bloody’ it modifies
the entire phrase –słáya sa hawán and not słáya alone. Any attempt to separate a modified verbal unit,
whether a true-verb or noun-verb, will lead not only to logical and grammatical confusion, but in the case
of speaking with one of the Kindred, most likely anger and a swift death. It is therefore vital to remember
that although these constructions might be comprised of separate words they are in fact single units of
meaning and are treated as such grammatically as well as ontologically by the Shúna.

There is often a difference between the way a linguist attempts to describe a language’s grammar
and the way a native speaker might do so. Ideally, there would be no great difference between the two, but
factually this is almost never the case. Davis’ tended to approach these forms in a particular way, one
which was probably quite accurate given the information he was getting from his sources. He wrote such
structures not as –słáya sa hawán (as I have chosen to do) but rather as –słáyasahawán, which is probably a
more accurate representation, as the Shúna seem to regard this as a single word rather then as three separate
words as I have written. However, in the interest of clarity, I have chosen to represent verbal modifier
forms –słáya sa hawán rather then –słáyasahawán. Although it would be more accurate to represent this
phrase as a single word, in the interest of visual clarity I have chosen to separate the separate units of
meaning in order to avoid incredibly long (and difficult to parse) phrase such as:

The bloody deer-meat here right next to me (object of a sentence)

This phrase is not that impossibly long in terms of morphology, other languages such as Iñuit and
Turkish commonly have such long words, however since Srínawésin is already difficult in terms of
pronunciation, underlying concepts and with a grammatical structure foreign to most of those who might
want to learn it, I have chosen to render the phrase above into separate groupings:

Inneháqsan sa nášuhusłáya sa hawán

Both versions have various pros and cons, the first example being more true to the way the phrase is
considered by the Kindred, the second example is at least slightly easier to understand for someone
attempting to learn the Dragon Tongue. Therefore I have chosen to represent all these types of
grammatical forms as above, a linguistic compromise between accuracy and ease of learning.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

6.2. Adverbs
As noted above, adverbs are words in which modify verbs, although this general definition is
inadequate in terms of the draconic language. In terms of the language of the Kindred, adverbs are
grammatical constructions which modify and define true-verbs only and are therefore different then adjectives
which modify noun-verbs. An example of an adverbial phrase is analyzed below:

Tsaháxu sa tséyan ašiwáráha na
((Tsa+háxu) (sa) (TSÉYA+an)V)VP (aši+WÁRÁ+ha) (na)
((Incomplete+lethargicly)(particle)(TO SLEEP+Class


III Subj.)V)VP

(on+GROUND+Class X)

Was-lethargic(ly)-sleeping-large prey animal on-ground definitely (literal)
It (large prey) was sleeping lethargically on the ground

In this example the word háxu ‘lethargic’ modifies the true-verb of the sentence tséya- ‘to sleep’ thus

it is an adverb. This is not true of the root –háxu being used in an adjectival sense:

Tsatséyan shaháxu sa háqsan ašiwáráha na
(tsa+TSÉYA+an) ((sha+háxu)(sa)(HÁQSA+an)N)NP (aši+WÁRÁ+ha) (na)
(Incomp.+TO SLEEP+Class III Subj.) ((reflex. subj.+lethargic)(particle)(FEMALE DEER+Class III)N)NP

(on+GROUND+Class X) (Certainty)

It (large prey)-was-sleeping lethargic-female-deer on-ground definitely (literal)
The lethargic female deer was sleeping on the ground

Although the root háxu forms the center of both these constructions, it is used in different ways and
thus has different grammatical and morphological expressions. While adjectival forms will be treated in
section 6.3. Adjectives below, this section treats adverbial constructions specifically. It is important to
maintain these distinctions while remembering that they are expressed differently, they are essentially thought of by
the Shúna as the same in nature.

6.2.1. Adverbial Morphology
As mentioned in 6.1. Overview, the adverbial example above would more accurately be
represented as Tsaháxusatséyan but I have chosen to separate the adverbial construction slightly in
order to make it easier to see its main parts: tsaháxu sa tséyan.1 Despite this, it is important to note
that although I separate the adverb slightly from the verb, they are for all intents and purposes a single
word, therefore the modification of a verb by an adverb is inherently morphological in nature rather
then syntactic. The sentence below shows a simple, unmodified draconic sentence:

Šasrasín qsanséyusu na
I was just starting to dive into the water

However if the speaker wanted to modify the true-verb šasrasín ‘I was just starting to dive’

with the adverb –xína ‘screaming, barreling, charging,’ it would appear and be analyzed as:

Šaxína sa srasín qsanséyusu na
((ša+xína) (sa) (SRASÍN+Ø)V)VP (qsan+SÉYU+su) (na)
((Beginning+charging-ly) (particle) (TO-DIVE/SUBMERGE+1st Person)V)VP

(into+WATER+Class IX) (certainty)

1 Srínawésin is difficult enough, why add to it?


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Beginning-charging-to dive-I into-water definitely (literal)
I was just beginning to make a charging dive down into the water

In this case the adverb –xína is infixed into the true-verbal construction, almost as if it was the
direct object of the sentence but this is not the case, as can be shown by the modification of a
transitive true-verb, which already has a direct object, with the same adverb:

Saxína sa enwała nan
((Sa+xína)(sa)(en+WAŁA+Ø)V)VP (nan)
((Comp.+charging) (particle) (Class I Obj.+TO POUNCE+1st Person Null Subj.)V)VP


Did-charging-on him (dragon)-pounce-upon most-certainly!
I made a charging leap upon him/her/you!

So the adverb obviously does not replace the object of a transitive verb but it is still infixed
into the verb almost as if it was one. However, the biggest difference between the two
constructions—other then obvious semantic ones—is the particle sa, which is at the heart of almost all
modifying constructions. This particle appears to have no true semantic meaning and does not have a
corresponding meaning in English or in any Indo-European language I am aware of. Although sa
defies easy translation, its meaning is in fact extremely simple and works almost as if it was a
mathematical operation or a cupola indicating a connection:

(Part 1) sa (Part 2)
(Part 1) a relationship with (Part 2)

This notation indicates that sa works as a relating word, indicating some relationship between
the two words which it comes between. Sa does not however mean an equal symbol, equating the two
words, but rather indicates some sort of relation, one which is specified by further affixes as well as the
semantic meaning of the words themselves and if they are adverbial, adjectival or nouns. This creates a
morphological structure which simplified would be written as:

Saxína sa enwała nan!
((Sa+xína)(sa)(en+WAŁA+Ø)V)VP (nan)!
((Comp.+charging) (+RELATIONSHIP+) (Class I Obj.+TO POUNCE+1st Person Subj.)V)VP


Did-charging-on him (dragon)-leap-on most-certainly!
I made a charging leap upon him/her/you!

Therefore, the particle sa is the central unit of grammatical meaning in an adverbial
construction, one which ties the adverb itself in a relationship with the complex true-verbal root to
which it is attached to, and one which is absolutely necessary to make sense. However, the
adverbial construction +sa is obviously considered to be grammatically closer to the true-verb and
logically prior to the aspect prefix, which is attached to the verb root+adverb, thereby making it a
true-verb as opposed to another form. The morphological form of an adverbial construction is

[(Aspect+(Adverb) (sa)) ((Obj.)VERB ROOT(Subj.))V]ADVERB-MODIFIED VERB PHRASE


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Therefore, to form an adverb-modified verb from an original true-verb, the adverb plus the
particle sa is inserted between the true-verb (which retains all of its original subject and object
affixes) and the aspect prefix, which by definition comes at the beginning of the true-verb. Thus
the aspect is moved forward to accommodate the adverb +sa. It is vital to remember the particle sa
as it is the heart of the construction, indicating a relationship between the adverb and the complex
verb-root to which it is applied. It seems that in the morphological steps which build up a true-verb
are applied in a particular order:


Subject Added
Object Added
Adverb +sa Added
Aspect Added

-qxéha sa háqsaQSÁTHits
náqxéha sa háqsaQSÁTHits

Once the proper sentence enclitics (covered in section 7.3. Evidential Sentence Enclitics) are
added the grammatical utterance Náqxéha sa háqsaqsáthits’n ‘he/she fiercely killed and ate the deer.’
Although there are several interesting exceptions and grammatical points regarding adverbial
constructions in the Dragon Tongue, this is the essence of all of these forms.

One interesting aspect of how adverbs are used in the Dragon Tongue is how they are
derived from the original verbal root from which they come. As noted in 3.3. Derivational Structure
above, roots form the bases of a large variety of other words, all of which share a basic type of
meaning inherent to the meaning of the root but whose exact meanings depend on whether they are
being used as a verb, noun, adjective, adverb and so forth. Usually the root’s usage in the sentence
depends on the affixes attached to it:

Saxíyewéqxéhets na
Tsasithxínawésu aqxéhawésu’n

He/she breathed fire at the wolves
The fire swept towards me


In these two examples the root –qxéha involves the concept of ‘fire’ but it is verbal in the first
case because true-verbal affixes are attached to it (aspect, direct object) and a noun in the second
because noun affixes are attached to it (subject prefix, plural markers etc.). However, in the adverbial
case below:

Náqxéha sa háqsaqsáthits’n

He/she fiercely killed and are the female deer


There are no true affixes attached to the adverbial usage of –qxéha. The particle sa is not an affix
as it occurs in other non-adverbial usages as well as it does not ever inflect for tense and so forth, so
adverbs are marked by having no affixes (apart from the aspect prefix which modifies the entire
construction rather then the adverb alone), one of the few instances in which a root may legitimately
appear without some form of affix to show which part of speech it occupies. Thus, the morphology
of adverbs is in fact extremely simple in that they have no complex morphological structure but
only occur within the morphology of the true-verb.

Sometimes multiple adverbs are used to modify a single verb. An example of this would be

in the English sentence:

Swiftly and silently I ran through the woods

In English, this is achieved by the simple addition of and between the adverbs while
Srínawésin does not even bother with such explicit forms. Usually, multiple adverbs are created by


treating an adverbially modified verb-phrase as a single unit to which another adverb may be

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Saxúhú sa sułúth sa shasú xánxítsarésu na
Swiftly and silently I ran through the woods

Essentially, the true-verb in this sentence would be diagrammed as:

Saxúhú sa sułúth sa shasú ………(na)
(past completive aspect+swiftly +(silently +(TO CHASE/RUN+1st Person Reflexive Subj.)))
Swiftly and silently I ran

6.2.2. Adverbial Usage
In the example above, Náqxéha sa háqsaqsáthits’n, the adverb in question is formed of the root
–qxéha whose main meaning is ‘fire, fiery, flaming, burning, to burn, to kill with fire, hot, searing’
and so on. This sentence can be translated in two ways, both of which are legitimate and the
speaker would resolve any ambiguity by further definition if desired:

Náqxéha sa háqsaqsáthits’n
He/she/you fiercely killed and ate the deer
Breathing fire he/she/you killed and ate the deer

These two possible translations are possible because of the adverbial use of the root –qxéha
which indicates both meanings. Since Srínawésin’s derivational structure is such that virtually any
word may be used as a true-verb, noun, adjective or adverb it is possible to legitimately use a word in
an adverbial sense which seems odd at best and downright bizarre to human speakers:

Tsiqsusé sa qsáqsáréshá shithešáréshá’łá
I hear that the birds are flocking together as thick as raindrops

This translation would be more accurately rendered as ‘I hear that the birds are flocking rain-
ily’ which of course makes little sense in English. The root –qsusé means ‘rain, falling water, falling
as rain or rain-like in nature,’ and the true-verb’s root qsáqsá- means ‘to flock together like crows, to
flock, to group, and crows.’ Although the root –qsusé ‘rain, falling water’ used as an adverb sounds
strange to us, it is very logical to dragons as (combined with the use of the innumerable number of
the subjects) it indicates a mass, a group, a thick cloud and other meanings that accurately describe a
large grouping of birds flying together like raindrops falling. The way adverbs are used might seem
strange to the Qxnéréx, but it allows a speaker of Srínawésin to give all sorts of descriptive overtones
to their descriptions of actions and happenings which aren’t impossible for other languages but seem
extremely stilted and strange to English speakers. Essentially these kinds of adverbial usages can be
thought of as “like” in English.

For instance:

Sahexá thítsurésu xántsúhúr awášárésu na, saxítsaqxéharésu wáxqsi
The embers drift like leaves through the night, perhaps not lighting the trees afire.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The root of the adverb translated as ‘like leaves’ is –hexá ‘leaf, leafy, in a leaf-like way,’ and
would be more properly translated as ‘leaf-ily,’ implying the embers are drifting haphazardly in the
wind like leaves as they fly through the night. This expressive quality of adverbs is often used in
Xániwésin or a draconic form of poetry which is replete with such descriptive terms and adverbial
usage. Additionally, many types of meaning are expressed in Srínawésin through the use of
“adverbials” such as this, although they are created in English in very different ways:

Níyátháqx sa xathéréqx tsixinix sa qsenqséru inneširawín innesriyun ni
I can smell the scent of both otters and a male elk on the innumerable rounded stones along

the edge of the bend in the river

In English can ‘the ability to, capacity to do’ is an auxiliary verb while in Srínawésin it is
used as an adverb by the use of the root –xinix. Srínawésin relies on adverbial such as this in almost
all cases where in English an auxiliary verb is required or in other cases in which the verb must be
modified in some fashion, making it a particularly productive grammatical form.

6.3. Adjectives
Adjectives are words which describe nouns in various ways; size, color, shape and so forth. English

examples would be:

The hot fire
I saw a swift river
Beautiful mountain

And so forth. In each of the above cases the nouns in question (fire, river, mountain) are described
by their adjectives (hot, swift, beautiful), thus adjectives inherently describe nouns just as adverbs inherently
describe verbs. However, since in Srínawésin all words are inherently verbal in nature, the distinction
between adjectives and adverbs is not as sharply defined as in English. In fact, it would be better to say that
there is virtually no real distinction between the two. While there is “virtually” no distinction between the two
constructions, there is several ways in which adjectives are ascribed to noun-verbs in the Dragon Tongue,
not only morphologically but also in the unique way in which the Kindred do not apply verbal voice to true-
verbs but rather to adjectives. There are essentially four different types of Adjectival Voice in the draconic
language, Passive, Active, Stative and Implied. Each of these types has a unique morphological structure as
well as a specific type of usage in speech.

It should be noted that none of the four adjectival voices may be infixed into a transitive true-verb. The
reason for this is that because of the similarity between adjectival and adverbial constructions, it would be
too difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate the already blurred line between where an adverb began or
stopped or where the adjective began or stopped! For instance, the sentence below:

Tsasyáhu sa qsánišáwá na

Fully/roundly I was gazing upon the moon.

This is because the root syáhu- would be understood as modifying the true-verb (making it an
adverb) rather then modifying the direct object, qsáni- ‘moon.’ The root –syáhu means ‘full, round, circular’
but in this case it does not function as an adjective, but rather as an adverb. Therefore, it would be translated
as above, not as:

*Tsasyáhu sa qsánišáwá na

*I was gazing upon the full/round moon.


In order to say ‘I was gazing upon the full/round moon,’ the object would have to be removed from

the true-verb and occupy a separate existence in the sentence:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Tsawqšáwá annesyáhu sa qsánir na

I was gazing upon the full/round moon.

The types of adjectival modifiers will be dealt with below, but it is important to remember they

cannot be infixed into verbs for any reason.

6.3.1. Adjectival Morphology: Stative
The stative adjectival voice is the simplest of the adjectival forms and the one which is the
easiest to use and recognize. Stative forms are used to simply state a condition of something, for
instance in an answer to a question or to correct another’s statement. The stative voice is most
commonly used to answer a question such as “Which one is it?” and similar uses and in English
translations usually involve the world “is.” The reason why the stative is such an easy construction
is that in a way it is not an adjectival construction at all, but a verbal one with an adjectival sense to it. For
instance, compare the three sentences below:

Sahúnqsuwéwír aqxuyewíł’n
Saqsáqsáwír shaqxuyewíł’n
Sašáthawír shaqxuyewíł’n

The bats had hunted them (innumerable insects)
The bats had flown in a group
The bats were black

In the first example the verb in the sentence sahúnqsuwéwír is a true-verb, it has a non-
reflexive subject ending -wír as well as a direct object –hún-. In the second example the verb is a
reflexive true-verb which describes the action of the reflexive subject (literally ‘the bats had flown
themselves in a group’). Although the subject ending is in this case reflexive, it is in fact a true-verb.
The third example on the other hand is a case of a stative adjectival verb, or a verb which describes an
adjectival state of its subject, in this case that “the bats were black.” The forms of the verbs in the last
two examples are identical, they are both reflexive and so forth but the first is truly verbal and
second is adjectival.

The differences between reflexive true-verbs and adjectival verbs are difficult to separate,
simply because the differences are so minor. Unfortunately, as with most things in Srínawésin, the
relationships of Intentional/Unintentional alter the minor differences between adjectives and true-
verbs in a subtle, but important way. For Intentional referents a reflexive true-verb is essentially
adjectival in sense and adjectival verbs are essentially reflexive true-verbs by definition. Thus, the
following two examples are different to English speakers:

Tsaxúnéš narúsa satsáhíréth athéhayátsínréth nansa’łá, xishasayéš!
I heard that you scratched yourself until all your dead scales fell out!

Ítsishususin tsiháxúš, xiQsírwanéš xi?
Are you lazy because the weather is cold, Under the Claw?

Because the first is a reflexive construction in English and the second is adjectival (although in
English this is not quite so simple). However, in Srínawésin, both are reflexive because both deal
with an Intentional actor (You in the first case, indicated by the utterance xishasayéš ‘O Friend!’,2
and Under the Claw in the second) and therefore they must both be reflexive, although the second

2 This is one of the rare times two noun prefixes may attach to a noun-verb at the same time, as noted in 5.4.6. Vocative Prefix. In
this case it is the vocative prefix xi- and the past-tense reflexive prefix sha-, indicating that the root –sayéš is both being addressed
and is the reflexive subject of the true-verb tsaxúnéš ‘scratched yourself.’


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

carries an adjectival meaning and the first has a true-verbal meaning. However, for Unintentional
actors, intransitive verbs are also adjectival in sense, and adjectival constructions which refer to
unintentional subjects are intransitive in sense, such as the two examples below:

Tsisráhá išawaha nirúrúnáha nixaháthaha’n
The stone rolls down the side of the mountain

Ixínanrúnáha sa hurúha tsixyétsuréha išawaréha’x?
Are the innumerable stones along the left side of the mountain blue?

In the two sets of examples above, the first sentences have true-verbs as their main
arguments, although in the first instance tsaxúnéš is reflexive and in the second tsisráhá (a contraction
if tsisráhaha) is intransitive because the actors are Intentional in the first and Unintentional in the
second. In the second sentences, however, they are adjectival in meaning even though tsiháxúš is
reflexive again and tsiyétsuréha is intransitive for the same reasons. Additionally, in both the
Intentional instances, the reflexive subjects of the sentences would have the proper reflexive subject
prefixes sha- and shi- if they were stated explicitly, while in both Unintentional instances they cannot
appear with the reflexive subject prefixes but rather with the simple subject prefix i-. The important
aspect of these examples is to show that stative adjectival structures are made with true-verbs and
the appropriate (to their state of intention or un-intention) subject prefixes. Thus, the
morphological structure of the stative adjectival voice is:

[True-Verb with Adjectival Sense]VERB [(Subject or Reflexive Prefix)(Noun-Verb)]NOUN

These differentiations are slight but important for meaning, especially during poetical

phrases and other language-subtleties the Kindred enjoy using.

6.3.2. Adjectival Morphology: Passive
Passive voicing indicates that the fact that the noun-verb is in the state that the adjective
describes is not a vital or essential argument to the statement, merely additional information. This might
seem like an unnecessary distinction to draw, but it does allow quite interesting types of expression
in speech, allowing the speaker to differentiate quickly and easily whether he/she believes the
adjectival state of the noun-verb is vital to its understanding and to indicate importance. For
instance a Sihá might say:

Sanewá sa uqšáwá annesyáhu sa qsánir qsantsúhú sa xítsarésu’n
I watched the bright/full moon dip down into the dark forest

In this case annesyáhu sa qsánir ‘the bright/full moon’ is in the passive adjectival voice,
indicating the speaker’s main intent is not to tell the listener that the moon is full, but rather that it was
setting behind the forest. Additionally, qsantsúhú sa xítsarésu ‘down into the dark forest’ is also in the
passive voice, so both of the adjectival constructions in this sentence are ‘non-essential’ and merely
additional information, the main intent to signify movement rather then the phase of the moon or the
darkness of the forest.

The morphology of a passive construction is virtually identical to that of an adverb attached

to a true-verb:

[(Noun Prefix+(Adjective) (sa)) (ROOT+Reflex. or Simple Subj.)N]ADJECTIVE-MODIFIED NOUN PHRASE


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The sa particle shows up again in this form and in the same relation between the adjective
and noun as between the adverb and the verb. The only difference between the two is that the
modified word is a noun-verb (with the necessary reflexive or simple subject ending (depending on
whether it is intentional or unintentional), lack of objects and so forth) rather then a true-verb. Just
like in the adverbial constructions, the new adjectival noun phrase is treated just like a noun,
requiring the proper noun prefixes and so forth because it is a single grammatical unit. The
sentence above could be analyzed as:

Annesyáhu sa qsánir
[(Past Obj. Prefix+full) (particle) (MOON+Reflexive Subj.)N] ADJECTIVE-MODIFIED NOUN PHRASE
It-was-full-moon (literal)
The full moon (object of a sentence)

The adjective root –syáhu itself has no affixes attached to it, just as in adverbial forms,
although the presence of the cupola particle sa is still required. Therefore main difference between
adjectival and adverbial constructions is the presence of affixes. Noun-affixes indicate the modifier is
attached to a noun-verb (and is therefore an adjective), and verbal affixes indicate the modifier is
attached to a true-verb (and is an adverb).

6.3.3. Adjectival Morphology: Active
The active adjectival voice is the reverse of the passive, namely that the adjectivally modified
condition of the noun is essential to the meaning of the sentence, is integral to the argument of the sentence
and is the main point to be conveyed. Often this type is used in order to answer a question or to correct
another’s statement, but it is also used in common speech when the speaker wishes to indicate the
adjectival condition of the noun is important. Thus, the previous example when placed in the active
voice would appear as:

Sanewá sa uqšáwá anneqsánisyáhur qsantsúhú sa xítsarésu’n
I watched the bright/full moon dip down into the dark forest

The English translation remains the same because English does not possess this sort of
distinction in its arguments. The above example indicates that the state of the moon (being full or
bright) is the main point the speaker wishes to convey not the lack of light in the forest. If the
speaker wished to stress both conditions, both adjectival constructions would appear in the active

Sanewá sa uqšáwá anneqsánisyáhur qsanxítsatsúhúrésu’n
I watched the bright/full moon dip down into the dark forest

As is obvious from the above examples the active adjectival voice does not use the cupola
particle sa but instead it is achieved by essentially using the adjective as a transitive verb, the modified
noun being the explicitly stated object. A semi-verbal state is then achieved by adding a reflexive or
simple subject marker to the semi-verb, turning it back into a verb, albeit a strangely put-together
one. As if that was not complicated enough, the verb is then re-derived back into a noun by the addition
of a noun-prefix! This is probably one of the most complex morphological and derivational processes
in the entire Dragon Language and one which takes some mastering. This process would be
analyzed as:


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

[Past Obj. Prefix+(‘MOON’ Expl. Obj. (TO BE FULL+Refl. Subj.)V)]ADJECTIVE-MODIFIED NOUN PHRASE
The moon-that-was-full-to-itself (literal)
The full moon (object of a sentence)

It is important to keep in mind that these types of phrases are nouns, they have noun-prefixes
and are translated as nouns, but they have explicit object transitive forms, the explicit object being the
modified noun and the reflexive or intransitive verb serving as the adjective. Also, the entire
construction must agree with itself in terms of number, class and person, i.e. if the subject of the
active adjectival phrase (which is realized as the object) is Non-1st Person, Class XII and singular
then the reflexive endings must also be Non-1st Person, Class XII and singular:

(My) tooth hurts

Conversely, if the subject is plural then the reflexive subject ending must also be plural:

(My) teeth hurt

6.3.4. Adjectival Morphology: Implied
The draconic concept of implied adjectival meaning is similar to that of Implied Possession,
covered in section 6.4.2. Inalienable Possession below. The differences between this type of
adjectival construction and the stative, passive and active voices can be illustrated by the use of the
root raha- ‘very, much, large, extremely, big,’ which can be used in any of the adjectival ways
covered above:

Tsirahin shiyasín’łá
Sayxqsuwé inneraha sa yasín’ I hunted a huge female walrus
Ayasúrahin saešishasúqs nihú! That huge female walrus chased that predator away

I heard that female walrus is very big


(and it ran away because she was so big)!

Compare these usages to the use of raha- with various Implied Adjectival usages:


O huge Kindred!
A huge celestial object (object of a true-verb)!
I heard it was always at the large (mountain, island?)

Implied Adjectival usage is therefore a simple matter of taking a root such as raha- and
attaching a subject ending to it (reflexive for intentional subjects and simple for unintentional
subjects) giving it a meaning of ‘A (Class ?) which is X.’ There is a limitation to this form as it can
only convey the class of the adjectival subject (Kindred, predator, animate object etc.) and is
therefore usually used when what the speaker is describing is obvious either through body language,
the subject has already been mentioned previously and the speaker would like to specify its qualities
or the speaker is being deliberately obscure. The root raha- is inherently adjectival, and is ideal to
illustrate the Implied Adjectival voice, although it can also be used in true-verbal constructions such


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Xáshahúwérahath áwíháqsan’

That female deer over there made (her) baby deer get

And just like a mostly adjectival root such as raha- can be used to create a true-verb or stative,

passive or stative adjectival voices, non-adjectival roots may also be used with this voice:

Ís, innesłanéth nin!

Oh, I (smell, see?) succulent dead flesh/meat!

6.3.5. Multiple Adjectives
One last aspect of adjectival forms is when multiple adjectives are attached and modify a

single noun, as in the English sentence:

I didn’t eat those rotten, inedible fish I caught in the deep lake

The two adjectives in this case are rotten and inedible and in English they are simply attached

to the head of the noun in a long string for as many adjectives the speaker would care to say:

I didn’t eat those rotten, nasty, dirty, slimy inedible fish I caught in the deep lake

The situation is slightly more complex in Srínawésin as the Dragon Tongue has a variety of
voices which adjectives appear in although luckily the way in which the language treats multiple
adjectives is not too complicated. In the stative voice, one of the adjectives forms the root of the
adjectival verb while additional adjectives appear as adverbs and follow the same rules as multiple

Tsishana sa xyátse sa washí sa xaruwéshá shíqxíhínewéshá’n!
Those inedible fish are bad, rancid, sharp-tasting and rotten to themselves! (literal)
Those fish are nasty, rotten, sharp-tasting and inedible!

In this case the additional meaning of “inedible” is conveyed by the Class VI Inedible suffix
–shá. In the passive voice, adjectives follow the same basic rules as multiple adverbs, i.e. they are
simply added to the modified adjectival noun phrase by adding the adjective(s) + sa:

Satsunqsáthi annesa satsunwána nahunhasu anneshana sa xyátse sa washí sa xaru sa qxíhínewéshá


I didn’t eat those rotten, nasty, inedible, sharp-tasting fish that I caught in the deep lake!

Again, “inedibility” is also conveyed by the –shá suffix.
In the active voice the situation is slightly different but the same basic format is followed.
One of the adjectives takes the active adjectival form as outlined above and it forms the “main”
adjective while the additional adjectives are attached to this form in the passive voice, i.e. with the
adjective + sa. It seems that even if the additional adjectives are conceived of in the active voice,
they still appear in a passive form:

Satsunqsáthi annesa satsunwána nahunhasu anneshana sa xyátse sa washí sa qxíhínexaruwéshá


I didn’t eat those rotten, nasty, sharp-tasting inedible fish that I caught in the deep lake!


As noted, these additional adjectives may be considered to be in the active voice or in the

passive, but they must appear in the passive voice, most likely to reduce confusion of verb-forms.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

6.3.6. Adjectival Adverbs
The blurred line between adverbs and adjectives can be obscured even further in Srínawésin
through the process of forming adjectival adverbs. This phenomenon is—to my admittedly
incomplete knowledge—unique to Srínawésin and is another case where the inherent verbality of all
draconic roots once again rears its horned head. The artificial (human) line between adverbs and
adjectives is blurred to the point of being virtually meaningless in these constructions because, to the
Shúna and their language, it is meaningless. Adjectival adverbs (or adverbial adjectives, whichever
you prefer) allow for the remarkably expressive and connotative quality to the draconic tongue
which is unique to all the languages which I have studied.

For example, take the sentence:

Hišerná sa nunarésin tsínqxítsúhúr’n

This sentence has two equally valid English translations depending on whether the root

šerná- ‘strong, powerful’ is being translated into an adverb or an adjective:

Hišerná sa nunarésin tsínqxítsúhúr’n
Strongly the innumerable winds are gusting (periodically) on this night


Hišerná sa nunarésin tsínqxítsúhúr’n
The strong innumerable winds are gusting (periodically) on this night

There are two valid translations for this sentence because in English there is a differentiation
between adverbs (strongly in the first translation) and adjectives (strong in the second translation)
while in the Dragon Tongue the differences is entirely artificial and inconsequential. In fact, in
Srínawésin both are accurate because the root šerná- is acting both as an adverb and adjective in this
case. This is opposed to the way English operates (with separate nouns and verbs and thus separate
adjectives and adverbs) as illustrated in the sentences below:

The swift female rabbit fled from the fox
The female rabbit fled swiftly from the fox


In terms of semantic meaning there is little difference between the two sentences, they both
describe the female rabbit as being ‘swift’ and fleeing from the fox, although in the first sentence the
focus is on ‘swift’ being a quality of the female rabbit herself and in the second the focus is on the
quality of the action the female rabbit is performing. Translating these English sentences into
Srínawésin would render the sentences:

Nášathíx shasułúth sa swéthax rałúqseharił’n
Násułúth sa šathíx shaswéthax rałúqseharił’n


The root sułúth- ‘swiftly, dartingly’ (which is further reinforced by the addition of the past
tense aspect verbal prefix ná- ‘suddenly, explosively’) functions grammatically as an adjective in the
first instance (it modifies the noun-verb –swéthax) and an adverb in the second (it modifies the true-


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

verb –šathíx) but although it functions differently grammatically there appears to be no difference in
the mind of the Shúna between the two and they can freely be interchanged without any loss (or
addition) of semantic meaning and appear to be totally equivalent in every way. The logic behind
this semantic equivalence but grammatical disparity appears to go: the adverbial use of sułúth-
modifies the female rabbit’s performance of the action, therefore if the female rabbit performs the act
of fleeing ‘swiftly’ (adverbially), the female rabbit is also ‘swift’ (adjectivally) so a swiftly moving
rabbit is inherently quick and a quick rabbit is inherently swiftly moving unless specified otherwise.
Therefore, the adjective –sułúth in the following sentence:

Nášathíx shasułúth sa swéthax rałúqseharił’n
The swift female rabbit fled from the fox

Can be removed from its adjectival place and turned into an adverb both morphologically

and syntactically yet still remain semantically an adjective:

Násułúth sa šathíx sha(cid:70)swéthax rałúqseharił’n

This type of construction can be understood to mean either of the English versions of the
sentence above and appears to be understood that way by the Shúna despite the grammatical
differences between the two. Thus, there are in fact three ways to understand the Srínawésin
sentences presented above:

Nášathíx shasułúth sa swéthax rałúqseharił’n
Násułúth sa šathíx shaswéthax rałúqseharił’n
Násułúth sa šathíx shaswéthax rałúqseharił’n

(Adj. acting as an Adv.)

Although the differentiation between pure adjectives and adverbs and adjectival adverbs does
not appear that strange in the sentences above, the strangeness of these constructions is apparent
when the “adverb” appears to contradict the nature of the verb it is modifying or otherwise appears
to be incongruent with the rest of the sentence. For instance:

Tsushusu sá yeyátsitsír uhánusyáhur tsunsa tsisyéthuya xirwarsúsu nisa’n3
The cold bright golden one (sun) warms us as we are flying over the inland sea

Even allowing for poetic license and metaphor, it seems incongruent to say that the sun
(which is usually spoken of as –tsitsír ‘the warm celestial thing’) can coldly warm something but this
sentence makes more sense when the way the Shúna refer to the sun depending on the season is taken
into account. The sun is typically called –tsitsír ‘the warm celestial thing’ in the springtime but is
addressed as –shusur ‘the cool celestial thing’ in the fall and winter and –qxéhar ‘hot/burning celestial
thing’ in the summertime so when the dragon who spoke the above sentence used the root shusu- as
an adjectival adverb in this sentence she was, in fact, making an understated reference to the sun as
the ‘cool celestial thing’ and therefore the time of year!

3 This sentence is interesting in several ways. Firstly, the word uhánusyáhur ‘bright golden one’ is in the active adjectival voice,
implying that its action of warming is a central feature of the sentence and secondly the very rare 1st Person Plural affixes -yeyá-
and –ya are employed, indicating that the speaker is speaking to a family member about what his happening around them at the
moment. Also, the central clause of the sentence is in the Cyclical Tense, indicating that the sun shining coldly down on them is
something which happens cyclically and repetitively.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
It is important to note that adjectival adverbs can only be used in three instances:

1) Reflexive true-verbs (modifying the reflexive subject of the verb)
2) Intransitive true-verbs (modifying the inanimate subject of the intransitive verb)
3) Transitive true-verbs (modifying the agent of the verb)

They cannot be used in transitive cases to modify the direct object of the true-verb. If the
direct object of a transitive verb needs to be specified by an adjective, it must be removed from the
infixed position of the verb as noted in 4.2.3. Transitive Verb with Explicit Object above. Each of
the three adjectival adverb forms is given in examples below (all with the adjectival adverb –tháhé

1) Nátháhé sa háxéš sha Šnúthe sa Wašinsin xyáséhasa nahú! (Reflexive)
Violent Twisted Smoke suddenly puffed herself up at me!

2) Nátháhé sa shaxúnrésu asułúth sa huxrírésu ašihuxniyaha háłahú! (Intransitive)
I heard that the swift and violent salt water suddenly flooded over this land!

3) Nátháhé sa yashaxúnrésu ahuxrírésu annesešewésu sráyathísu’n (Transitive)
The violent salt water suddenly flooded over the copse of alder trees

6.3.7. Adjectival Semantic Distribution
One final aspect which must be treated in a discussion of Srínawésin’s system of adjectives is
that of the semantic distribution of those adjectives. In human languages there is often very little
thought given to the way our senses condition the adjectives that we use. After all, humans all have
the same basic senses which adjectives describe (with the obvious exceptions of the blind, the deaf
and so forth). For the most part, we all see the same visible spectrum of light, we all have the same
basic range of hearing and ability (or lack of ability) to sense odors and we all have the capacity to
distinguish minute differences in texture due to the high concentration of nerves located particularly
in our fingertips. The Shúna, on the other hand, have a similar set of senses as humans (hearing,
sight, smell/taste and touch) but a completely different range and sensitivity then we do. The
average dragon’s senses are remarkably superior to any human’s, capable of perceiving a greater
range of sound, a greater range of the spectrum and a sense of smell which would put even a prize
bloodhound to shame and these abilities condition how they perceived the world around them and
therefore the adjectives they use.

For instance, not all human languages classify colors as English does (examples being the
relatively common inclusion of both green and blue as a single color) and although we all see the
same visual spectrum—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and shades thereof—different people
perceive and classify them in different ways. So imagine the difficulty of trying to describe a
language whose speakers not only classify the visual spectrum differently, but who are capable of
perceiving colors which a human is incapable of seeing. This would be similar to a dog trying to
understand our color schema despite only being able to see the visual spectrum in terms of grayscale.
Although problematic, Davis kindly provided ample notes which describe the Kindred’s remarkable
senses and how they view, perceive and classify the world according to those senses and the
adjectives they use to make those classifications.

Before delving into the ways the Shúna perceive the world around them, it is instructive to
compare the extent they rely on their senses and the way which their language describes those
perceptions to the ways humans and other species do or might do if they were speaking creatures.
Humans are extremely visual creatures; our biology and the way we have evolved have conditioned


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

this, and out languages reflect this basic human fact with the large number of visual adjectives such
as shades of color, body-language descriptors, distance indicators, emotional appearances and so
forth. The ubiquity of the word ‘look’ in English in phrases such as those below exemplify our
visual natures:

It looks like he’s mad
It looks like its going to rain
This looks like it’s going to be a problem
Looks dangerous

Humans do not rely on our olfactory or auditory senses very much at all (at least in
comparison to animals which live mostly or entirely by hearing or smell such as bloodhounds, owls,
moles, whales, nocturnal animals and the like) and if these creatures have their own languages I
would suspect that they would have a large number of auditory and olfactory-based adjectives and
few—if any—visually based adjectives. A graph of comparative semantic fields of adjectives
between various species would, I believe, look something as the graphs below (the relative size of
the field indicates a greater number of adjectives describing that field and vise versa):

These graphs are comparative in nature, human languages might have a large number of
olfactory adjectives for instance but nothing compared to the range a bloodhound’s language might
employ and so forth. The human semantic distribution relies primarily, but not exclusively, on
visual descriptions and to a lesser extent tactile and auditory adjectives while virtually nothing in
the olfactory/taste range because we have such a terrible sense of smell. Compare this to a mole
who lives their lives underground or only comes out at night and who would find visual descriptors
to be virtually meaningless compared to the tactile and auditory realms. A bloodhound relies on
sight and tactile senses to some degree but by far they rely on the auditory and olfactory senses to
track their prey and the sense of sight usually comes into play only at a latter stage. Compare these
graphs to Davis’ description of what the Shúna’s adjectival semantic distribution might appear as:


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The visual, auditory and olfactory senses are by far the largest and almost equal in size (with
a slight preference to the olfactory) while the tactile descriptors are tacked on almost as an
afterthought and barely represented. This makes a great deal of sense based on Davis’ descriptions
of dragons’ razor-sharp senses (particularly their eyesight) and due to other physiological features
inherent to dragonhood. The various senses of dragons and the way that these perceptions influence
their language and the adjectives used by the Shúna are delineated below according to sensory
system (note that olfactory and taste are included as the same “sense” because, as with humans, they
are virtually indistinguishable from one another):

The Shúna’s auditory sensory realm is very, very impressive. Their hearing is apparently
nothing short of remarkable as they are able to achieve such feats as discerning the heartbeat and
breath of a deer from many hundreds of yards away even through the forest on a fairly windy day,
hearing voices from almost several miles away and being able to distinguish those voiced at about
the distance of a mile. This ability gives rise to terms such as siní- or ‘hunting by hearing alone’ and
sínqsa- ‘far distant voice (which I cannot distinguish)’ Howard notes the disconcerting fact that on
several occasions Born of Fire was easily able to follow a conversation between Davis and Stargazer
despite being almost several hundred yards away at the time. Although I suspect that Born of Fire
was downwind of the pair (sound follows the wind so it would be easier to listen to a conversation
upwind then one downwind) and might have been trying to impress Howard, it is obvious that the
Shúna’s sense of hearing is incredibly sharp. Davis notes that Moonchild in particular was very
adept at telling if he was lying and he guessed that it was a combination of olfactory clues and that
she could actually hear the minute changes in his heartbeat if he was less then truthful.4 Although
he could only guess at his informants’ range of hearing (in terms of pitches of sound they could
distinguish), Howard believed that the Shúna have approximately the same range of hearing as a
dog and are capable of discerning sounds much higher and lower then a human, leading to such
draconic terms as šíší- ‘very, very high pitched noise’ and hałún- ‘deep, baritone sound,’ both of
which appear to describe sounds beyond the range of human hearing.

4 Davis rarely lied to dragons, not only because he had little to hide from his sources but because he rapidly learned that it could
be an extremely perilous endeavor. Usually when Davis said “lying” to a Sihá it meant he was telling less then the whole truth
or simply leaving out fact which might anger or annoy the dragon (which was the same thing).


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Visual & Heat
As noted above, the visual acuity of the Shúna serves as the basis of the English word dragon
(see note in §1.3.1. Physical Characteristics) and although I am not sure of how factual any of this is,
Davis describes their visual sense as almost supernatural in ability. He makes several vague
references to draconic eyesight being able to see flawlessly through illusions, glamours, invisibility
and other “færie-tricks” as well as being able to look right into the spirit world, seeing ghosts and
spirits even if they wish to remain hidden.5 If this is in fact the case and dragons can do these
things, I would imagine that those slitted eyes see an entirely different world then ours. It would be
a world where the stars are always out (since they can see through the glare of the sun), where the
planets invisible to the naked human eye can be made out, where the details of a rock-face on a
mountain twenty miles distant can be seen with ease and where one would be able to look down at a
lake from a great height and be able to pick out fish through the reflective glare of the water. The
only thing which seems to be able to really affect draconic eyesight is clouds and mist for even if
they can see through illusions and glamours they cannot see through actual physical objects such as
suspended water particles in the air. Draconic eyesight also seems to be totally unaffected by
darkness of any kind and Davis notes on several occasions that the Shúna appear to have the ability
to see in total darkness as if it was the middle of a sunny day. Interestingly, Srínawésin has no
metaphors equating darkness with mystery or fear as human languages do, although this makes
sense in light of dragons’ visual abilities. Instead of darkness indicating mystery or secrecy, mist and
clouds have this quality to the Shúna and many metaphors and aphorisms about difficulty and
obscurity use atmospheric terms.

Apart from their incredibly sharp eyesight, the Kindred also have two features which set
their visual acuity apart from humans. They apparently have the ability to see deeper into both the
ultraviolet and infrared spectrums then the human eye and (if Davis is accurate) they have the
ability to see heat emanations, much like a snake can do while hunting a mouse. The draconic eye
seems to be able to see deeper into the infrared spectrum then it can the ultraviolet, which I suspect
might have an influence on their ability to “see” heat and—much like many modern military night-
vision equipment use infrared light to penetrate the darkness—these features along with the extreme
visual acuity of a draconic eye and their incredible senses of hearing and smell would do a great deal
to helping them operate in darkness equally well as in light. These visual abilities combine to make
the Kindred’s eyesight probably the most remarkable of any creature on the Back of the Earth
Father, as they would say. One of the results of these incredible powers of sight is a whole group of
adjectival descriptions completely missing in any human language simply because no human is
capable of seeing the same colors the Shúna are.

The Kindred are able to see the spectrum which we Qxnéhiréx call the “visible” spectrum and
although they divide up the colors of that spectrum in a slightly different way then English speakers
do, their adjectival descriptions of the visible spectrum are not that different from many human
linguistic groups across the world either. Their colors for red, blue, green and purple appear to roughly
align with those of an English speaker and the biggest difference between Srínawésin and English—
as far as color schema go—is the inclusion of orange and yellow into one overarching color, qsíhí-
which describes both. The way the Shúna divide up both their color adjectives is depicted on the
chart below, although I would add that Howard was not kind enough to provide a chart such as this

5 Again, I make not claims to the existence of færies, ghosts and other supernatural creatures. Howard’s references to them in his
notes are offhand and rare so I cannot determine what he really believed in or what he in fact saw. The only remark that he
makes which specifically states the existence of other “supernatural” creatures other then dragons is several vague references
about the generally tense relations between the Shúna and giants and that he supposedly met a tribe of giants on at least one
occasion. Whatever my issues with these Howard’s beliefs, I suppose if I am willing to entertain the possibility of the existence
of dragons it is a small step to believing in færies, ghosts, spirits, ghouls and giants.


in any of his notes. This is my extrapolation and hopefully it is accurate to the real color schema of
Srínawésin (if such a thing actually exists) and how they view the world.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The chart above has several interesting features. The rainbow area raised up from the other
areas is the region of the spectrum which humans call the “visible spectrum,” running from red to
deep violet. As noted above, dragons divide this section up in roughly the same way humans do,
although the colors swehí- ‘red’ and haqxí- ‘purple’ seem to extend slightly into the infrared and
ultraviolet spectrums respectively. Additionally, various colors seem to be represented by several
separate adjectival roots, such as swehí- and słáya- both meaning ‘red,’ qsíhí-, xnaya- and xanxí-
meaning ‘orange-yellow’ and syétsu- and (y)úrun- meaning ‘blue.’ The reason for this seems to be
based on the descriptive nature of Srínawésin, the various different color terms coming from natural
archetypes which represent a particular color:

swehí- (abstract color)

qsíhí- (abstract color)

słáya- (bloody, bloody red) xnaya- (leaves during the fall)

xanxí- (the yellowish color of Saturn?)

syétsu- (abstract color or

turquoise stone)

(y)úrun (blue sky)

Therefore, one can describe blood as the color swehí- ‘red’ or simply as słáya- ‘bloody.’
Similarly, the terms for orange-yellow can be described in terms of various things which are
archetypal representatives of that color, such as falling leaves or the orange-yellow color of the
planet Saturn (as visible from the Shúna’s eyes). And that is just in the visible spectrum. The
Kindred’s color terms for the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums are represented in the chart to the
left and right respectively and there is no color depiction for those terms because we simple cannot
see those colors. As noted, dragons seem to be able to see deeper into the infrared spectrum then the
ultraviolet and therefore Srínawésin possesses two terms describing this area of the spectrum, słíhí-
and tsíhan- (which I can only describe as ‘light infrared color’ and ‘deep infrared color’) while only
possessing one for the ultraviolet spectrum, swathí- ‘ultraviolet.’


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Below the visible and invisible spectrum of light I have also included the heat/cold spectra
which are a visible sense to the Shúna. It moves from réha- ‘burning, flaming’ (and apparently
appears to be a brilliant white to draconic eyes) to a neutral temperature natsa- (a forest green color)
and then to the wonderfully named temperature adjective słíqsa- ‘freezing cold’ (deep purple). Just
like adjectives describing the visual spectrum, several of the visual temperature terms stem from
archetypal forms such as qxéha- ‘fiery’ and rúrín- ‘icy.’ The term for ‘hot’ in Davis notes appears in
two different forms, sara- and shara- and I am not sure if this is evidence of truly different terms in
the language or if it was a mistake on Howard’s part. The similarity of the terms would lead me to
guess the latter (possibly sara-/shara- was a spelling mistake and both only occur once in the notes
so it is impossible to differentiate) although it could also be evidence of a change in pronunciation
by the Kindred themselves. Davis never mentions how dragons are capable of differentiating
temperature colors from those of their visual spectrum although I would guess that if you have lived
with those abilities all one’s (incredibly long) life, it would be as easy as differentiating the sense of
seeing a tree from listening to its leaves rustle in the wind.

Colors which do not fit into the spectrum of visible light, such as brown, black and so on
share similar features with the terms above and they are often represented by words which reference
archetypal objects which exemplify those colors and so forth:



húqsa- (white ash)
rasa- (grayish, darker colored ash)
našin- (fur, animal fur?)
xniya- (earth, dirt)
šátha- (charred wood, coal)

As if the incredible auditory and visual senses of the Shúna were not enough, the olfactory
senses of the Kindred are just as remarkable. A dragon can track a deer over wet, stony terrain
several days after the animal has passed by and can even tell the gender and relative health of an
animal by its odor as well as other feats of olfactory acuity that I do not believe any human is
capable of appreciating simply because it is a sense we hardly use and do not understand very well.
Their ability to detect smells seems to extend several miles and I would guess that it easily rivals the
olfactory abilities of dogs, sharks and wild turkeys (which have one of the best senses of smell of
any animal living). These abilities give Srínawésin terminology which no human language possess
simply because we do not rely on our sense of smell virtually at all (in comparison to many animals)
and cannot smell even remotely as well as dragons. Some interesting adjectives used to describe the
olfactory world of the Kindred are:





smell with no discernable source (blown about by various winds so it cannot
be tracked and is as synonymous with mysterious and strange as terms for mist
and clouds)
smell blown from far away by the wind
smell coming from upwind
smell propagating up from downwind (a rare event and this term is
synonymous with rarity, uniqueness or strangeness)
print, track, mark left in the ground by a foot but without any trackable smells left
by the animal which left it (plural form is háší-)
print, track, mark left by an animal’s foot in the ground but which has a
trackable smell left by the animal on it





Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

a olfactory trail where an animal tried to lose its trail by crossing a river or
stream to disrupt the smell (possibly successfully and possibly not)
damp rain which washes away scents
broken branch or twig left by an animal’s passing but without any trackable
smells left on it
broken branch or twig left by an animal’s passing but which has a trackable
smell on it from the animal

One interesting fact about the descriptive nature of Srínawésin vs. English is the derivation
of nouns into adjectives. For instance, in English we can take a noun such as deer and turn it into an
adjective by adding –like such as deer-like. For most English speakers this would describe whatever
is being called deer-like in visual or behavioral terms (fidgety, timid and so on) but this is explicitly
not the case in Srínawésin. A dragon using the same term –háqsa as an adjective (or ‘(female) deer-
like’) he or she is referring to the odor of the object in question, not in visual or behavioral terms.

Thus, the sentence:

Šásešuritsłásu sasráhá iháqsa sa šawaha axánanraha sa sríłasu xix?
The (female) deer-like stone was next to that big hawthorn bush over there by the nearby

stream, wasn’t it?

Would probably be better translated as:

The stone with the female deerish smell on it was next to that big hawthorn bush over there

by the nearby stream, wasn’t it?

Therefore, in Srínawésin, any adjectival use of a root which is commonly used to describe an
animal or creature does not describe visual or behavioral tendencies, but describes its odor or smell
instead. While this is an interesting feature of the language and one which is obviously conditioned
by the smell-oriented nature of the Shúna, this tendency can be a little difficult for us creatures
“inflicted with such miserable senses of smell” as Tear of the Sun once described qxnéhiréshá.

The final sense which must be treated is that of the tactile senses. Simply put, dragons have
little to no sense of touch and therefore have very few adjectives which describe this semantic field.
The reason for this relative lack of description is obvious: dragons are covered with scales. Since the
diamond-hard scales coating their body effectively make it impossible to feel objects in the same way
that the Younger Races do, they almost never describe objects in terms of how it feels in a tactile
sense.6 The Kindred do possess the ability to feel textures and consistency in a very, very general
sense and can feel the relative difference between the rough bark of an oak and that of the smoother
bark or a birch tree but beyond that they have virtually no ability to distinguish texture. To a
dragon smooth silk and rough burlap feels exactly the same (if one would even care to make the
attempt). Other textural terms such as shahí- ‘smooth, rounded’ generally describe the way an object
or thing appears visually, not how it feels.

6 There is one set of terms which seem to be an exception, but are in fact not. As noted above temperature terms are visual
descriptors to the Shúna, not ones of touch. And since dragons are (for the most part) equally comfortable in the freezing arctic
as they are in the “wonderful” heat of an active volcano, they have little need to describe temperature in environmental and
survival terms.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

These remarkable sensory powers evidenced by Davis’ notes go a long way to explaining the
deadly efficiency of the Kindred, particularly while hunting. They can see the eye color of their
prey from twenty miles away and can pick out heat sources of prey beneath the leaves of a forest
from thousands of feet in the air. They can track equally well by hearing, smell or sight and seem to
be virtually impossible to trick or throw off the track because the combination of these senses makes
it possible for them to rely on the others if one or more of their senses is somehow hampered. The
only thing which seems to truly cause difficulties for a dragon is mist or fog as they cannot see
through it, the humidity in the air dampens the smell of their prey and refracts sounds randomly
and makes it hard to pinpoint. Howard notes that mist and fog make it difficult for dragons to hunt
but not impossible (he would not recommend trying to hide from a dragon simply by moving into
fog). One particular hunting trick he saw both Afraid-of-Butterflies and Blue Tongue use on several
occasions (and is used by other dragons as well) is while hunting prey in the mist to let out a
tremendous roar which spooks the animal into running or otherwise making a sound (and possibly
chasing it out of the fog) which the dragon can then pursue.

Death follows swiftly.

6.4. Possessive Forms
Possessives are words such as in English mine, your, their, and phrases such as the top of the house, the
cat’s claws, John’s car, and she has a watch, all of which indicate a possessive quality to them, whereby one
actor is the possessor the other the possessed. This should more accurately be called the genitive case vs. a
possessive one as it indicates a relationship between two nouns, not one which is by necessity possessive. An
example of this would be the name Isidore of Seville, whereby ‘Isidore’ and the town ‘Seville’ have some sort
of relationship, albeit not one where ‘Seville’ owns ‘Isidore.’ Whether these grammatical relationships are
called genitive or possessive, the Kindred are often viewed by humans as being stingy, grasping, greedy,
hoarding and other pejoratives which basically indicate dragons are avaricious in the extreme. Davis
repeatedly notes that this is an amusing idea to the Shúna, who note that the Younger Races do all these
things as a matter of course, to dominate others with their wealth, while the Sihá gather objects to
appreciate their beauty and because they simply enjoy it. The Kindred do not treat all forms of
“possession” equally, either epistemologically or grammatically, and in this they do not greatly differ from
various languages of the Younger Races, which have similar distinctions. Possession falls into main
categories in Srínawésin, inalienable possession and alienable possession, although there are a variety of ways
which each category is expressed.

6.4.1. Inalienable vs. Alienable Possession
The difference between the two main types of possession in the draconic language, inalienable
and alienable possession, revolves around the relationship between the possessor and the object or
object possessed. In the utterance “my hand” there is a definite relationship between “me,” the
possessor, and “hand,” the item possessed, just as there is between the elements in “Bloody Face’s
claw,” “Jill’s ball,” “his cave” or any other possessive construction. The exact relationship between
these elements—other then being possessive in nature—in a language depends on what distinctions
seem important to the language’s speakers, which in turn are dependent on the philosophical way
those speakers “construct” the world around them.

The dividing line between alienable and inalienable possession in Srínawésin are dependent
on the way the Shúna see the world. Dragons view certain objects as truly belonging to another,
either as a literal physical part of another such as a body part (head, tail, claw, wing, scales, skin etc.)
or bodily by-product (urine, feces, shed skin and so forth), or as “belonging” to one another as in the
sense of a familial group or as a pair of lifelong mates. Relationships which fall into this category
are classed as inalienably possessed as the relationship is inherent to the objects and one cannot be
alienated from the other. Although you can cut the head off a deer, that head will always belong to


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

that deer because to have that head makes the deer a deer and that head is only a head in that it
belongs to a deer. The same is true between familial groups which might move away and never see
one another again but a hatch-mate is always one’s hatch-mate as this is an inherent quality of both

Alienable relationships are those which are temporary, fleeting or are not an inherent quality
of the two subjects. These include the cave one lives in, one’s hunting territory, one’s possessions
(in terms of material items and so forth) as well as relationships between Sihá which are not
permanent familial relations (mated couples are considered to form a new family as this is a
permanent bond not a fleeting alliance). No matter how long two dragons might be friends and
allies, if they are unmated their relationship is always considered to be alienable in nature and likely
to change depending on the circumstances, even if it lasts until one or both of the Sihá die.

Thus in the English sentence:

The wolf bit my hand

The elements in the possessive construction would be treated in an identical grammatical

manner as in the sentence,

The wolf bit my friend

The same is not true of Srínawésin, as the elements in the first utterance would be classed as
inalienable in nature in the draconic tongue and alienable in the second. However, in the phrase “the
wolf bit my mother,” my mother would be inalienably possessed because the relationship of the female
in question as being my mother is inherent. This distinction is important because these differences in
possessive classification are treated in two separate ways in terms of how they are expressed
grammatically. These forms will be discussed below.

6.4.2. Inalienable Possession
There are three ways in which inalienable relationships are represented in Srínawésin and
although they all indicate this type of relationship they are not all treated the same grammatically.
The three main types are Inherent, Implicit and Explicit Inalienable Possession. Inherent Inalienable
Possession is the same basic process presented above in 4.5.6. Inherent Verbal Objects and Subjects,
whereby a verbal root is defined as being possessed in some way, and this definition is integral to the
word’s meaning and cannot be separated from it. An example of this would be the two words síhá-
‘(my) mate (m.)’ and sáhi- ‘(your) mate (m.).’ Both of these words define a ‘mate which is male’ but
síhá- may only be used in reference to ‘my male mate’ while sáhi- may only be used in reference to ‘your
male mate.’ These words are defined as pertaining to a particular possessive form and the possessive
cannot be separated from the definition in noun-verbs just as the inherent object of the root cannot
be separated from the true-verb form. These types of words are relatively rare and almost always
involve draconic relationships such as mates, children, parents and the like (all of which are
inalienable) and so form a somewhat restricted class. Not all draconic words referring to
relationships are inherently possessed, the undifferentiated form of ‘mate (m.)’ is xrasún- which has
no direct concept of ownership.

Implied Inalienable Possession is used in much the same way as Explicit ownership but it
works in much more subtle way, more by implication of possession. The difference between Explicit
and Implied possession can be shown in the sentence below:

Tsýúxqséru innehasan násusréhúth ni
I smell its (large prey such as deer or elk) feces


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The form presented above is an explicit form of inalienable possession and although the
example given immediately above is grammatical it sounds stilted and strange to the Sihá because it
has a great deal of information which is not really necessary. The pronoun above –hasan indicates a
large prey animal (Class III) but so does the possessive prefix násu-, so it would be more natural for a
dragon to say simply:

Tsýúxqséru innenásusréhúth ni
I smell its (large prey animal) feces

The possessor does not need to be further specified because the possessive prefix násu-
already does this job. However, this is still considered to be needless information because inalienable
possession may simply be implied with the proper noun-verb suffix:

Tsixqséru innesréhun ni
I smell its (large prey animal) feces

In the original example the object of the sentence innenásusréhúth can be analyzed as:

(Present Object+Class III Poss. Prefix+(+Class XI Reflexive)V)N

The root of the word is –sréhu ‘shit, feces’ but the Class XI Dead subject suffix -éth is
attached and the result, -sréhúth ‘(dead) feces’ is then turned into a noun-verb by the addition of the
possessive and object prefixes –násu- and inne-. Thus, the more appropriate translation would be:

Tsýúxqséru innenásusréhúth ni
I smell its dead/old feces

Násu- still indicates that the possessor is a large prey animal (Class III) but indicates that the
feces the speaker is smelling is a “dead” or old. However, possession may be implied by removing
the possessive prefix –násu- entirely and attaching the matching Class III Reflexive Subject ending to
the root indicating that the root is of or from a large prey animal, in other words implies possession
between the two. Usually the root –sréhun (sréhu+an) would indicate that the Class III animal is
somehow feces or shit but this is not the meaning of this word rather that the feces is of or from a
Class III animal. These types of constructions are extremely subtle and pose a great deal of
difficultly if the speaker is not careful, but is very much in line with the Kindred’s’ desire to
dispense with obvious (and therefore unneeded) information with a desire to be concise.

The final form of inalienable possession has been touched on in the previous example by the
inclusion of the possessive affix –násu-, that of Explicit Inalienable Possession. This form of
construction has two main forms which are grammatically similar although one is considered to be
the more “polite” form (i.e. you don’t want to start a fight). As noted above, the basic
morphological structure of a draconic noun-verb is:

(Noun Prefix + (Proximal) + (Inalienable Possessive) + [ROOT


All nouns require a noun prefix of some type to denote their noun-verb status within the
sentence, while both proximal and inalienable possessive affixes are optional and are not always


found on a noun-verb. However, while possessives are not required they are still often found, thus
the utterance:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred


May be analyzed in the following manner:

(Present object+1st Person Possessive+(IT-BITES)V)N
My tooth (explicit object of a verb)

As noted in the morphology above this utterance could further be combined with a proximal

form, further specifying the location of the possessed noun-verb:

(Present object+general vicinity proximal+1st Person Possessive+(IT-BITES)V)N
My tooth over there (on the ground) (object of a verb)

Either of these utterances could be used to answer a question such as “what did she knock off
you?” Although Explicit Inalienable Possessive affixes always occur within the morphological
structure given above, this relatively simple form is, of course, more complicated then simple
morphology. The reason for this is that in the languages of the Younger Races possession is
determined by person as well as number such as in the instances:

My tooth
His tooth
A dét (her tooth)
Ar ndét (our tooth)

1st Person Singular (English)
3rd Person Singular (English)
3rd Person Singular (Old Irish)
1st Person Plural (Old Irish)

Explicit Inalienable Possession in Srínawésin is also determined by person and number
although in a particularly draconic way due to the structure of these systems in the Dragon Tongue.
This type of structure is divided up into two main categories due to the personal structure of the
language, 1st Person and Non-1st Person, the second category being a complex one as the possession
affixes reflects the Class of the possessor just as in the system of verb inflection. Thus the utterance
below could be translated:


its (single predator’s) teeth (past tense subject of a verb)

Versus another possession affix which is technically Non-1st Person but which represents

another class:


its (single or plural dead animal’s) teeth (past tense subject)

Number is also reflected in the possession system of Srínawésin although it is slightly simpler
then they way it is realized in verbal inflectional systems. Possessive affixes have only two forms;
singular and plural as opposed to the three number system of singular, plural and innumerable in verbal
inflection. In the history of the language the plural and innumerable numbers seem to have collapsed


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

together into a single plural number so in cases when the number of the possessor is innumerable it
has a simple plural possessive affix (although it retains the innumerable number in its class suffix)!
Bloody Face apparently told Davis that the Elder dragons continue to use a truly ancient variation
whereby they preserve the innumerable number even in possessive affixes although it has been so long
since he heard their usage he could not give Howard any information on them.

The 1st Person Possessive Affixes are given below:

1st Person



Thus the utterance below can be analyzed as:

(Present Subj.+1st Person possessive+(IT-BLOWS)V)N (present certainty evidential)
(it-is)my breath (literal)
My breath (subj. of a sentence)

Versus the much rarer plural 1st Person possessive utterance:

(Present Subj.+1st Person Plural Possessive+(IT-BLOWS)V)N (present certainty evidential)
(it-is)our breath (literal)
Our breath (subj. of a sentence)

As noted above, all possessive affixes are differentiated by both their person and number (the
innumerable and plural numbers both being included within the plural possessive infix) and in the case
of Non-1st Person Possessives by their class as well:

Non-1st Person
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 Stable
Class XI Dead
Class XII Parts
Class XIII Varia/Unknown



7 As noted in section 4.5.3. 1st Person Affixes the plural forms of the 1st person are rarely found, usually only when being
condescending, insulting, specific or in the speech of the Elder Dragons, who use archaic forms, or when discussing familial


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The difference between the singular and the plural/innumerable possessive prefixes is
interesting to say the least. Several groups have no difference between the prefixes (-tsetse-/-tsetse-,
-yaqsu-/-yaqsu- and -wíša-/-wíša-) while others show a minimal difference between voiced and
unvoiced vowels ( such as -súła- and -súłá). Others show differences only in particular consonants
(such as -qxewá- and -qxeya-) or even changes in vowels themselves (-híłe-/-híłí-). The most
common difference is the inclusion or exclusion of an ‘n’ in the plural form and Davis scribbled a
note in the margins of one of his notes hypothesizing that there was an ‘n’ in Old Latitudinal
Srínawésin which differentiated the plural and innumerable numbers from each other which
subsequently dropped off. Howard theorized that when this happened it collapsed the two
inalienably possessed prefix numbers together and caused other sound changes to the vowels and
consonants. He (and I) would have liked to speak to dragons who spoke the subterranean variety of
Srínawésin to compare the possessive prefixes and see if they maintained a difference between the
plural and innumerable numbers. It is important to note, however, the various types of inalienable
possession are mutually exclusive and cannot occur on the same word and remain grammatical. For
instance, the 1st Person possessive affix -síwa- cannot occur in conjunction with a word such as tsúhu-
‘(my) neighbor’s neighbor’:


*O, my (my) neighbor’s neighbor(?)

This is because the root tsúhu- is already inherently possessed in the 1st Person so it is both
redundant and ungrammatical to include the 1st Person possessive affix –síwa- with it. Additionally,
other prefixes in other persons and number cannot occur with such an inherently possessed form for
the same reason:


*O his/her/your (my) neighbor’s neighbor(??)
*O its (celestial object) (my) neighbor’s neighbor(???)

However, there is an exception to this basic rule. If the Possessor is the same referent as the
inherent possessor of the root, then the appropriate possessive affix can be placed in conjunction with
the word. For instance:

Qsánir sa Qxéyéš théhaxéšéš
(Qsánir sa Qxéyéš) (théha+(XÉŠE+éš)V)N
(Moonchild) (Class I Singular Possessive Prefix((YOUR) HATCH-SISTER)V)N

This phrase appears on the surface to be nonsensical in that the root xéše- ‘(your) hatch-
sister’ is possessed by the proper noun Qsánir sa Qxéyéš ‘Moonchild.’ Ordinarily this would be true
but if the speaker is addressing Moonchild the phrase carries the intention of both naming her as well
as implying ‘(your) hatch-sister’ and so would be grammatical. This phrase could roughly be
translated into English as:

Your hatch-sister, Moonchild

Although in Srínawésin it occurs in a different form and is only grammatical if the speaker is
addressing Moonchild (so that the possessor is the same referent as the inherent possessor of the verb-
root). It is imperative to use the proper possessive which agrees with the class of the possessor.

Thus the possessor below:

Tsáwthšáwéts aSłáya sa Snaréš anneqsánir xaháyanawér’n


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
Bloody Face was watching the moonlight (light of the moon)

Cannot be replaced with a possessive affix of another class and be equivalent in meaning:

*Tsáwthšáwéts aSłáya sa Snaréš anneqsánir słíyanawér’n
*Bloody Face was looking at the moonlight

The sentence “tsáwthšáwéts aSłáya sa Snaréš anneqsánir słíyanawér” is grammatical if it was
inneqxéhasu słíyanawér as in the direct object in the sentence ‘Bloody Face was watching its light
(from a fire)’ although it is not grammatical as a replacement for the Class VII Celestial object –qsánir
‘the moon.’ If the possessor of the sentence has already been mentioned and (for polite reasons)
does not need to be explicitly stated again, it may be replaced by the appropriate pronoun (covered
above in section 5.5. “Pronouns”), agreeing with the original noun in number, class and so forth and
which takes the place of the original explicit possessor:

Hatsaqsuwéts aWátsí sa Qxítsúqx anneSewe sa Swéhésin théhaxnúyaqx’łá
I heard that Ash Tongue sometimes hunted for Frost Song’s sleeping place8


Hatsaqsuwéts aWátsí sa Qxítsúqx annehaséš théhaxnúyaqx’łá
I heard that Ash Tongue sometimes hunted for her sleeping place

But compare to:

Hatsaqsuwéts aWátsí sa Qxítsúqx annethéhaxnúyaqx’łá
I heard that Ash Tongue sometimes hunted for his sleeping place

In this example the possessive affix –théha- implies that the possessor is also the subject of
the sentence, i.e. ‘(Ash Tongue)’s sleeping place.’ In the previous example the inclusion of the
pronoun –haséš implies that the possessor is not the same as the subject of the sentence and therefore
would make more sense in relation to replacing the referent Frost Song. In either case, the pronoun
merely stands in for the originally specified noun-verb although the possessed object still must occur
with the appropriate possessive prefix and the pronoun itself must agree with the original referent in
number, class and person.

Possession in Srínawésin, both inalienable and alienable, has both a morphological and a
syntactic component, namely the order in which the possessor and the possessed occur in relation to
one another, if both are explicitly stated. Although the basic morphological form of any possessed
noun-verb is as shown above, if the possessor is explicitly mentioned, it always occurs before the
possessed object. Thus, the syntactic rule of possession is:

[(Possessor)VN ((Poss. Prefix)Possessed)VN]VNP

Thus the possessor comes before the possessed object upon which is attached the proper
possessive prefix which agrees with the Verbal Class of the possessor. The possessive phrase below
would therefore be analyzed as:

8 Xnúya- ‘sleeping place’ is defined as being inalienably possessed by its possessor as the ‘sleeping place’ (or an area flattened down
and made into a ‘sleeping place’) would not exist without the possessor so they are inexorably linked.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Wahínar xaháxéryúqx

Jupiter’s trail (hunting track)

This can be analyzed as:


(it’s) trailPOSSESSED

This construction thereby becomes a noun-verb phrase, or a single grammatical component
within the sentence which cannot be broken up, separated or otherwise treated as anything other
then a single unit of meaning. Since the possessor-possessed group is a single unit of meaning
prefixes may be attached to the head of the phrase (the possessor) but affect the entire noun-verb phrase as a

UxúWahínar xaháxéryúqx xunihú!

It’s always along Jupiter’s path in the sky!

If a possessed form is the answer to a question or forms a statement in-and-of itself and is
not part of a larger clause or sentence then it will usually take either a reflexive or intransitive form,
whereby the true-verb is the possessed:

Tsinanhasahen xi?

Who is that way over there?
He’s my mate!



He is her mate

Alternatively, as noted above, a true-verb does not necessarily need to be a part of an

utterance as all words are inherently verbal in nature:

What is that celestial thing up there?
Xúxéxúhár xu?
NúxéWahínar xaháxéryúqx? Up there on Jupiter’s path in the sky?
Well, it’s Jupiter of course!
Íš, Wahínar qsér!

6.4.3. Alienable Possession
In contrast to the other types of possession alienable possession is remarkably simple in form
because it indicates that the relationship between the possessor and possessed object is distant and
not an inherent aspect to either. There are two ways of indicating this type of possession, with the
particle sa and with a special series of possessive true-verbs. The cupola particle sa is the usual
indicator of this type of possession, specifying a relationship but not one which is considered to be

Tsasyéthu qxaQsánir sa Qxéyéš sa łišáha’n
I was flying towards Moonchild’s hunting territory

In this case Qsánir sa Qxéyéš ‘Moonchild’ is the possessor, –łišáha ‘hunting territory’ is the
possessed and the particle sa indicates a possessive relationship between the two. Additionally, there
is an alienable possessive form in Qsánir sa Qxéyéš, whereby –qsánir ‘moon’ is the possessor, –qxéyéš


‘child, hatchling’ is the possessed and the particle sa indicates possession, i.e. ‘Child of the moon.’
Therefore the syntactic form of alienable possession is:

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

(Possessor)NOUN sa (Possessed)NOUN

The new possessive form is then treated as if it was a single grammatical unit, as in other types
of verb modification, but in the alienable possessive sense possession is indicated solely by the use of
the cupola particle sa not by any additional possessive prefixes of any type. This type of construction is
extremely common in the way the names of the Sihá are formed and other usages. As in other
possessive forms, if the possessor does not need to be mentioned, it may be replaced with the
appropriate pronoun, agreeing in number, class and so forth:

Tsasyéthu qxahaséš sa łišáha’n
I was flying towards her (dragon’s) hunting territory

A Sihá’s use of the sa particle is by far the most common form of alienable possession and
occurs quite frequently although Srínawésin also possesses a second system of indicating alienable
possession by means of a series of special true-verb roots. The most common form is the root shałe-
‘to own, to possess, to have,’ and is often used in questions as well as statements of owning which
involve alienable possession:

Tsyeheshałe innehítsá sa huwášáha wíx!

What do you have there (in the claw or mouth)?
Well, I might have a beautiful gemstone here!

Shałe- is a transitive true-verb where the possessed is the direct object and the possessor is the
subject of the verb. It is important to note that in the above example the sa particle is not being used
in a possessive way but rather demonstrates a relation between hítsá- ‘beautiful, pretty, good’ and
huwášáha ‘gemstone, glittering thing right here.’

6.4.4. Adverbial Possession
As noted in 5.2. “Is” and Noun-Verb Verbality above, the way in which roots are derived
into a noun-verb form then back into a true-verb form with “noun” meanings lends an aspect of
complexity to the simple divide between “nouns” and “verbs” in Srínawésin. Because of this lack of
a definite divide and because all forms of verbal modifiers have similar forms, there is another type
of possession, that of Adverbial Possession. The closest way to understand how this works would be
the ungrammatical English sentence:

*His-ly it is a hunting territory

Although this sentence is ungrammatical in English, this is approximately the way that
Srínawésin treats Adverbial Possession. These types of possessive forms occur only when a noun-
verb is stative, i.e. it indicates that ‘it is a…’ or otherwise stating the condition of the noun-verb’s
existence. Since the noun-verb is being used in a verbal way, any modifier to it is therefore an
adverb even though it is a noun-verb, creating the adverbial possessive form. For example:

TsiQsánir sa Qxéyéš sa xinawéha’n

They are the lands of my ally, Moonchild
(Moonchild-ly they are my ally’s lands)


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The root here is xina- ‘(my) ally’s land’ to which the subject endings –wéha are appended as it
is an unintentional being and incapable of desire or intention, creating –xinawéha. However, Qsánir
sa Qxéyéš ‘Moonchild’ possesses these lands, so her name is inserted as is usual in inalienable
possessive forms: –Qsánir sa Qxéyéš sa xinawéha. This would be a normal inalienable possessive
form if any of the noun prefixes were attached:

NiQsánir sa Qxéyéš sa xinawéha’łá

I heard it was at my ally, Moonchild’s land

But since this entire form is stative and a verbal aspect prefix is attached to it, the possessive

form appears to be adverbial (and is in fact adverbial, albeit in a strange way):

TsiQsánir sa Qxéyéš sa xinawéha’n

They are the lands of my ally, Moonchild
(Moonchild-ly they are my ally’s lands)

Adverbial possession can take place in both alienable and inalienable possessive cases, the
latter appearing without the cupola particle sa but still remaining “adverbial” as the entire (Possessor)
+ (Possessed) form the basis for a highly complex verb-form to which the aspect (and therefore true
verbality) is attached:

Qsiwíx. Shíwísihéš tsiWátsí sa Qxítsúqx théhaxałiréš wíx, shiRíhán sa Wanáqx
Probably not. That dragon over there is probably Ash Tongue’s father, Obsidian Claw

The true-verb of this sentence can be analyzed as:

TsiWátsí sa Qxítsúqx théhaxałiréš
((aspect+Ash Tongue) (Class I Possessive(HE-IS-A-FATHER)V)PN)ADVERBIALLY. MOD. POSSESSIVE VERB
Is-being-Ash Tonguely-his-father (lit.)
He is Ash Tongue’s Father

However, the referent of the Inherent Possession must agree with the stated possessor just as
in all other cases of Inherent Possession. These types of possessives are thankfully rather rare, only
occurring when statives are expressed but illustrate the interesting way in which Srínawésin
approaches what humans consider to be “obvious,” the separation of nouns and verbs as well as the
separation between the modifiers which attach to nouns and verbs.

§6.5. Differentiating Verb Modifiers
Differentiating between all these forms can be difficult as they are often extremely similar, using
the particle sa as well as having similar syntactic forms. Adding to this difficulty is the similarity between
many of the noun-verb and true-verbal prefixes, which can unfortunately obscure the issue even more. The
reason for this is although in the languages of the Younger Races we have categories of verbs and nouns
and unique ways of modifying them, adverbs modify verbs, adjectives modify nouns, possessives are nouns
which modify nouns, these categories do not really exist for the Kindred as everything is basically a verb.
Therefore they see very little difference between any of these modifiers as they all modify a verb of some type,
thus they are extremely close to one another in form and usage. However, there are differences between
the various modifiers, although they are subtle and often difficult to see. The easiest differentiation
between these modifier types is recognizing whether the main subject of the phrase is a true-verb or a noun-
verb and the modifier is then likely to be an adverb in the first instance or an adjective or possessive noun


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
in the second. The example below will serve as a way of differentiating all the modifiers as it has all of
them included within it:

Haqsáthi sa huxéqsuwéts tsanSłáya sa Snaréš sa łišáwáráha’n
He/she periodically secretly hunted male deer in Bloody Face’s large hunting territory

Therefore root of the phrase haqsáthi sa huxéqsuwéts is a true-verb because:


It has a non-reflexive subject ending –ets
It has a direct object in –huxé- ‘male deer’
It has the periodic past tense aspect marker ha- attached to the head of the phrase

On the other hand the root –qsáthi:


It has no subject endings
The cupola particle sa follows it
It is attached to a true-verb

Therefore it must be an adverb modifying the true-verb. Haqsáthi sa huxéqsuwéts translates to the
adverbial phrase ‘he/she periodically secretly hunted male deer.’ The root of the phrase –łišáwáráha is a
Noun + Adjective in the active adjectival voice as:


It has the Class X Stable subject ending –ha suffixed to it
Łišá- ‘hunting territory’ serves as the noun as it is the direct object of the adjective –wárá
–Wárá ‘large, expansive’ has a direct object in łišá- so is an active adjective

Therefore this construction must be an active adjective modifying a noun-verb and translates to ‘large/flat
hunting territory.’ Since this is an active adjectival form it implies that the fact that the hunting territory is,
in fact, large that this has something to do with the fact that the other dragon secretly and periodically
hunts within it, i.e. it is easy to get away with because it is so large. On the other hand the phrase which
modifies –łišáwáráha, or tsanSłáya sa Snaréš sa- is a possessive as:


The entire phrase is modified by the locative tsan- which only occurs on noun-verbs
The cupola particle sa occurs between a (Noun + Noun) indicating a possessive meaning
in an alienable sense

Thus, this is a possessive construction indicating that Bloody Face is the owner (alienably) of the

large hunting territory. In the end the sentence can be more accurately be translated as:

Haqsáthi sa huxéqsuwéts tsanSłáya sa Snaréš sa łišáwáráha’n
He/she periodically secretly hunted male deer in Bloody Face’s large hunting territory because it

was in fact so large and easy to get away with.

The key differentiation is what the two component parts are:

Noun + Noun
Modifier + Noun
Modifier + Verb


33Section VI: Verbal Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives and image
Section VI: Verbal Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives and image
Section VI: Verbal Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives and image
Section VI: Verbal Modifiers, Adverbs, Adjectives and image

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