Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns

Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns

Author: Madeline Palmer

MS Date: 01-18-2013

FL Date: 03-01-2013

FL Number: FL-000012-00

Citation: Palmer, Madeline. 2013. Section VII: Sentence

Structure and Speech Patterns. In
Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred: A
Grammar and Lexicon of the Northern
Latitudinal Dialect of the Dragon Tongue.
FL-000012-00, Fiat Lingua, . Web. 01 Mar. 2013.

Copyright: © 2013 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
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Table of Contents
Section VII

Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns……………………………………………………………………………..1
7.1. Overview……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1
7.2. Word Order…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………1
7.3. Evidential Sentence Enclitics………………………………………………………………………………………………..4
7.3.1. Evidential Sentence Enclitics, Aspect Markers and Adverbs………………………………..…….8
7.4. Conjunctive, Disjunctive, and Conditional Words between Sentences……………………………………11
7.5. Conjunctive and Disjunctive Words within a Clause or Sentence………………………………………….12
7.6. Clauses………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………14
7.6.1. Quotations and Reporting Speech……………………………………………………………………………17
7.7. Question Words…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………17
§7.8. Speech Patterns, Euphemisms and Figures of Speech …………………………….………………….………..18
§7.8.1. Directions and Navigation……………………………………………………………………………………22
§7.8.2. Lunar and Seasonal Names…………………………………………………………………………………..25
§7.8.3. Numerals…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….28
§7.8.4. Constellations and Skywatching…………………………………………………………………………..29
§7.8.5. Borrowed Words………………………………………………………………………………………………….38
§7.8.6. Euphemisms, Figures of Speech, Curses and Swearwords………………………………………39
§7.10. Xániwésin Poetry and Poetical Forms………………………………………………………………………………..42
§7.11. Non-Verbal Communication……………………………………………………………………………………………47

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
Section VII:
Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns

7.1. Overview
Until now the focus of this paper has been essentially how to create words, nouns, adjectives, verbs
and so forth and the various methods in which they are generated and what subtleties in meaning can be
created by the morphological combinations of Srínawésin’s infixes and roots. In section VI Verb
Modifiers, the beginnings of how various words are combined in order to create phrases such as adverbial,
adjectival and possessive forms were introduced but until now the way full draconic sentences are actually
constructed has not been treated. Although examples of real draconic utterances have been used to
illustrate points, this section will cover the ways complete sentences are generated, how clauses and
dependent clauses are generated and inserted into larger sentences and how actual utterances are used by
the Kindred with conjunctive words, disjunctive words and the like.

Although it has been mentioned before that a single word in Srínawésin can, and often are, used as
an entire sentence by dragons, a language made up in this way would be incapable of true and complex
expressions necessary for any intelligent speaker. Although the Kindred prefer to keep their words short
and to the point (which is why there are so many layers of important meaning attached to the various
affixes placed on a single word), especially in the presence of those they do not trust, they relish the use of
their language and enjoy creating complex and layered sentences as much as any human or other race does
(although they prefer to do it in a different way and with different intentions). While humans seem to
enjoy saying five words when two will do—or as Tear of the Sun once said “qxnéhiréshá1 will say five words
when none will do”—a Sihá prefers to indicate meaning in slightly different ways. It is considered a mark
of verbal skill to say what one means with as few as possible words, creating words which are layered with
various grammatical and semantic meanings which are as rich and meaningful as long sentences. Despite
this tendency, the Kindred often do make use of sentences just as complex as any of the Younger Races and
the methods which they use to build these sentences will be treated in this section.

7.2. Word Order
Word order is one of those fancy linguistic terms which is really not all that fancy at all because it
means exactly what is says: it is the means in which a language orders its words within a sentence. Many
languages have different ways of arranging words within an utterance, some are extremely strict in their
rules on the subject, and others pay virtually no attention to it whatsoever. The subject of word order is
often vitally important to meaning, a speaker will either not make sense or say the absolutely wrong thing
if he or she ignores these types of rules.

For example, in a selection of sentences in human languages:

Fégaid in macc in cú
Otokonoko wa inu o mimasu
Der Junge sieht den Hund

Old Irish

All of these sentences mean “The boy sees the dog.” However the order in which they arrange the

parts of speech (verbs, nouns and subjects, objects and verbs) vary greatly. In Old Irish:


in macc
the boy

in cú
the dog

1 Note that Tear of the Sun refers to humans as inedible creatures so either she was simply attempting to be extra insulting or she
just didn’t like the way humans tasted.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Like all Celtic languages, Old Irish is a verb initial language, the verb fégaid ‘he sees,’ coming at the
beginning of the sentence with the subject and object coming afterwards. In this sentence in macc ‘the boy’
is the subject of the verb while in cú ‘the dog’ is the object of the verb. The subject and the object are
differentiated by the use of what is called mutation in Celtic languages, or the altering of the pronunciation
of the initial sound of a word to indicate if it is genitive, nominative, accusative or prepositional (in this
case [in cú] would be pronounced /in gu:/ to indicate that it is the object of the verb). Old Irish can be
classified as placing the verb first, the subject second and the object of the sentence last, commonly notated
as a VSO (Verb-Subject-Object) language. However, in Japanese:

Otokonoko wa

inu o
the dog


In this case Japanese is a verb final language as otokonoko wa ‘the boy’ is the subject of the sentence

while inu ga ‘dog’ is the object and the verb mimasu ‘to see’ comes finally. Thus Japanese is a SOV language.

In German:

Der Junge
The boy


den Hund
the dog

German and English are related to one another and both are verb medial languages, i.e. the verb sieht
‘see’ comes in between the subject, der Junge ‘the boy,’ and the object den Hund ‘the dog’ making them SVO
languages. Sentences are usually not as short as those above but the rules for these languages specify the
order in which the subject, object and verbs come within a sentence, and with few exceptions to this rule
(italics = Subject, bold = Verb, underlined = Object):

I threw the rock for my dog, Vander
I couldn’t see whether he caught it or not
But my sister said that he caught it in mid-air

English follows this example because it is vital to the meaning of the sentence, change the order of

the words and a different meaning ensues:

The boy sees the dog
The dog sees the boy

These two English sentence mean two very different things because the subjects and objects have
been switched, rendering totally different meanings with this simple action. Although most languages
have other ways of indicating which words are the subjects, objects and so on of their sentences, many have
rather strict rules in the order in which they are placed into a sentence. Many other languages have no real
word order because they rely on other factors such as suffixes or prefixes, inflection (such as Latin),
particles (Japanese)2 and other morphological indicators to specify the parts of speech of a sentence.
Generally speaking a language either indicates these meanings due to the order in which the words come in a
sentence or there is no specific order words must come it but meaning is shown with morphological indicators
such as suffixes and so forth.

2 Although Japanese relies on word order to some extent as well.

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

As you can assume from the previous sections of this paper the Dragon Tongue prefers to use
morphological indicators (affixes) for virtually everything and therefore it could be assumed that the word
order of Srínawésin is extremely fluid and comes with no real order. This is both true and not true. The
word order of Srínawésin can in fact be of any order whatsoever with almost no restrictions in how words
are placed in relation to one another and the verb as meaning is carried almost exclusively with morphology
rather then syntactic order. However, there is a strong tendency in all of the sentences recorded by Davis
towards a certain type of word order which I assume is “normal” and without emphasis being placed on any
one word. I would call these tendencies rather then definite rules but they seem to be followed both by
Davis and his draconic subjects fairly regularly. Without the recourse of actually speaking to a native
speaker of Srínawésin, and without further information I cannot be sure of calling these patterns anything
other then tendencies.

The typical order of draconic sentences in Davis’ notes is VOS or Verb-Object-Subject such as in

the closest draconic translation to the example sentences above:


the dog

the human-youngling

(Evidential Enclitic)

This word order is fairly common amongst human languages although as always with the Dragon
Tongue this is a simplification of how the language really works. The true-verb is tsínšáwáx, however the
object infix –ín- as well as the subject suffix –áx must agree with the corresponding object and subject. This
methodology is true in many languages of the Younger Races but Srínawésin possesses the additional
hurdle in that although the sentence above is grammatical it would not be the preferred way of actually
speaking. The reason is that the language prefers object infixation into the verb unless the object is complex
(such as an adjectival phrase, possessive phrase or so forth) or unless there is a reason to emphasize the
object. Thus, the preferred draconic sentence would be:


the human-youngling

(Evidential Enclitic)

So, more properly Srínawésin should be categorized as a language with a tendency towards a word

order of:


However, as I noted above, this is a tendency only and a speaker may organize the sentence in any
way he or she sees fit in order to emphasize particular aspects of the sentence. The initial words are
typically the ones which are emphasized although there are additional ways a speaker may indicate
emphasis if they choose to. Thus, a speaker could easily say any of the following and make complete sense:

Iqxnéhiqxéyéx tsixíyešáwáx ni
Innexíyex tsínšáwáx iqxnéhiqxéyéx ni
Iqxnéhiqxéyéx innexíyex tsínšáwáx ni
Innexíyex iqxnéhiqxéyéx tsínšáwáx ni

Although all of these sentences are grammatical, they do not mean the exact same thing but emphasize

the actors and actions in the sentence slightly differently. Approximate translations would be:


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

It is the boy who sees the dog (as opposed to Bloody Face)
It is the dog which is seen by the boy (as opposed to that other dog over there)
It is the boy and the dog (the boy looking at the dog but the action of looking de-emphasized)
It is the dog which the boy is looking at (action de-emphasized but the dog as opposed to the boy


Srínawésin is capable of all the subtleties of human speech in emphasizing certain actions and actors
over others merely by arranging them in a particular way as opposed to another. However, words cannot
appear in any order whatsoever, so although there is fluidity in order there are three main exceptions to this
rule. 1) as noted in the sections above, the various verbal modifiers such as adverbs, adjectives and
possessive forms must be in particular relations to the words they modify in order to make sense. The rules
differ slightly in each case on how exactly the modifiers and modified must relate to one another, but they
must be in a proper syntactic relation. 2) clauses must always occur within the particles sa and the proper
object/subject/locatives etc. must be attached to the sa particles (this will be treated in 7.6. Clauses below)
and finally 3) clauses (and sentences) must always end with the proper evidential sentence enclitic, which
serves as a spoken end to a thought (this will be dealt with in 7.3. Evidential Sentence Enclitics below).

All of these exceptions are applied without fail to all of Davis’ draconic sentences, both those which
he speaks himself as well as those of his sources so I consider these to be absolute rules in the word order of
Srínawésin. In all of the examples given in the previous sections I have retained the tendency towards
(O+V)S (or VOS for simplicities’ sake) but from now on it is important to remember within certain
contexts fluidity of order is the norm rather then strict word order as we are used to in English.

7.3. Evidential Sentence Enclitics
Srínawésin possesses an interesting array of evidential enclitics which always occur at the end of an
utterance, clause or sentence to express the degree in which the speaker has confidence in what he or she is saying
as well as positive and negative meanings as well as tense and other semantic determinatives. Although
this is hardly a unique feature of the Dragon Tongue (I believe that Turkish possesses similar distinctions)
to my knowledge the Kindred rely on these enclitics to a degree unknown in other languages of the
Younger Races. The reason for this is that—as with everything else in the draconic mindset—these
enclitics appear to possess essentially verbal qualities and serve as a sort of sentential verb which modifies
the entire sentence according to various rules and conditions. These enclitics carry a variety of meanings
which are vital to expression and must always occur at the end of an utterance, it is important to note that
the Dragon Tongue has no other way to express these various meanings, such as negative statements, questions,
requests, commands and so forth without these enclitics. To my knowledge no other language of the Younger
Races relies on enclitics to such a degree as the language of the Shúna and understanding of their use is

For instance:

Tsiserawéshá ríhawúth shixánrawéshá ni
The maggots are crawling through the carrion

The enclitic ni indicates that the sentence is a positive one, i.e. one that means exactly what it is
saying, and it indicates that the speaker has direct knowledge of the sentence and has seen it for himself or
herself. However if a different enclitic is used:

Tsiserawéshá ríhawúth shixánrawéshá qsi
The maggots are not crawling through the carrion


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The enclitic qsi alters the statement into a negative one, as opposed to the positive statement enclitic
ni. Qsi also indicates that the speaker has definite knowledge of the event not transpiring i.e. saw that it did
not actually happen. Interrogative statements can be formed by the use of a specialized “question particle”
which turns any statement to which it is attached into a question:

Tsiserawéshá ríhawúth shexánrawéshá xi?
Are the maggots crawling through the carrion?

It is interesting to note the follow example however:

Tsaserawéshá ráhawúth shaxánrawéshá na
The maggots were crawling through the carrion

This sentence has been placed into the Past Tense and just as all the various affixes are inflected for
tense the enclitic is also inflected for tense, which is why both Davis and I consider these enclitics to carry a
verbal meaning to them. Often enclitics are reduced or contracted in form, especially the three commonly
occurring ones ni/na/nu, qsi/qsa/qsu and xi/xa/xu. In this paper I follow Davis’ rather haphazard
methodology and show these contracted forms as ‘n, ‘qs and ‘x respectively. The lack of tense inflection on
these contracted forms of enclitics does not really matter as the rest of the sentence is inflected for tense.
The contracted form of the above example (in positive, negative and interrogative forms) would therefore

Tsiserawéshá ríhawúth shixánrawéshá’n
Tsiserawéshá ríhawúth shixánrawésha’qs
Tsiserawéshá ríhawúth shixánrawéshá’x?

The maggots are crawling through the carrion
The maggots are not crawling through the carrion
Are the maggots crawling through the carrion?

The proper use of these enclitics is vital for speech and being understood, the wrong enclitic can
vastly change meaning so careful attention must be paid to these simple words. The various enclitics and
their usages are given below inflected in the three tenses in the normal format (Non-Past, Past and Cyclical





This positive enclitic indicates the speaker has actually seen, heard, smelled etc. the
event themselves and are certain that it transpired as they are speaking. As noted it is
often contracted to –’n in all the tenses.
This emphatic enclitic is used much like a spoken exclamation mark, emphasizing the
statement in its certainty. Sometimes an alternate form of nin!/nan!/nun! appears in
casual speech.
The casual or slang form of nihú!/nahú!/nuhú! The process of forming these slang
terms are detailed below.
This enclitic is the reverse if ni, in other words it negativizes the statement it attached
to and implies the speaker has seen, heard, smelled the event not happening with
certainty. This form is often contracted to –’qs in all tenses.

qsihú!/qsahú!/qsuhú! This is a negative emphatic enclitic and is used much like nin! except it negativizes the

statement with emphasis.

qsiqs!/qsaqs!/qsuqs! Slang or casual form of qsihú!/qsahú!/qsuhú!

This enclitic transforms the statement into a question and functions much like a
spoken question mark. This enclitic often occurs contracted into –’x.

xihú?/xahú?/xuhú? This is the emphatic form of xi? asking a question in a highly emphatic way.

The casual form of xihú?/xahú?/xuhú?










Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

This form indicates the speaker believes the statement to be true but has no certain
knowledge of it and is often used to indicate a “future tense” meaning. This translates
approximately into possibly or probably in English.
This is a hearsay particle, indicating that the speaker has heard or been told of the event
happening but has not seen it themselves. This form’s contracted form is anomalous as
the voicing of the inflected vowel bleeds over into the non-voiced final vowel to
render the contracted form –’łá in all tenses.
This interesting word is not inflected for tense and can be translated approximately into
the English word obviously but it implies the speaker believes the listener is a fool for
needing this information and carries a highly insulting tone. Davis’ notes translate
qser as: “A spoken combination of rolling the eyes, scoffing, sneering and turning
away in utter disgust while muttering something about the listener’s mother.” The
use of this enclitic can start a fight almost instantly.
This enclitic is much like qser in that it does not carry inflection for tense and is used
to transform a statement into a command much like saying ‘do it!’ in English. This
enclitic is usually used on younglings and hatchlings and implies the speaker has
some sort of command over the listener. To use it against an adult is highly insulting
and can also start a fight. To make a request the Optative Enclitic treated below would
be used.
This form is used to express desire or a wish to do the statement being uttered. This
desire is usually attached to the subject of the sentence although with the addition of
the beneficial prefix xyí-/xyá-/xyú- this desire can be transferred to the prefixed noun.
This evidential can also be translated as likes to or enjoys to do X.
This enclitic expresses the reverse of ísyá above, in other words that there is a desire
not to do or a wish not to have happen on the statement to which it is attached.
Otherwise it is used just as ísyá/ásyá/úsyá.
This optative form is used to make requests which are polite (as opposed to łi! above)
and can be translated as would that X do Y. This form is only used to make requests of
adult Sihá and is “polite” to use.
This is a negative optative form, the reverse of ríth above. It indicates would that X not
do Y and is also polite in form. This enclitic is unique as tense inflection occurs in
both of the syllables within the enclitic rather then in just one as in all the other
enclitics. I would surmise that perhaps this is just one of those strange exceptions
that happen in all natural languages or that this single enclitic used to be comprised of
two separate enclitics which became merged over time but retained their tense
inflections. Often it is contracted but its form is anomalous in that it retains
inflection even through contracted. It appears in these anomalous forms as –’sí, –’sá
and –’sú respectively (another hint that it was originally two enclitics in the past).

These enclitic forms can occur in conjunction with on another to make combinations of meanings in
the statements they modify. For instance, xi? and qsi may be combined into qsix? to indicate a negative

NáSewe sa Swéhéłášéts aWátsí sa Qxítsúqx qsax?
Didn’t Ash Tongue kill Frost Song?

3 This enclitic rarely occurs for both logical and phonological reasons.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Only two of these enclitics may be combined in this way and the final vowel of the following
enclitic is almost always dropped, creating a single-syllable word. The slang or casual forms of several of
the evidentials are formed in this way, such as nin replacing nihú with the logic of ni+ni (cid:108) nin! Davis never
defines the suffix –hú, although it appears several times in conjunction with the various evidentials. –Hú
appears to be a “formal” or older form of emphatic suffix when attached to an evidential. The evidentials
with the –hú emphatic suffix seem to slowly being replaced by the more “casual” forms detailed above,
although when Davis writes “slowly being replaced” I am not sure that means in the last two or three
draconic generations or the last million years. –Hú can also be attached to noun-verbs (usually when they
are used vocatively) in order to add emphasis such as XiXútsitsíwánets’hú ‘O Sun Catcher!’ Additionally,
when the evidential xi?, xa? or xu? follows the –ts sound in the previous word, it is often contracted to the
sound –ch, which seems to be the only way this sound appears in Srínawésin:

Náénłášéts xa? (cid:108) Náénłášéch?
He/her killed him/her?

Rarely, if the previous word ends with the subject ending –ets, the evidentials xi/xa/xu or
xihú/xahú/xuhú are “contracted” along with the rest of the word and the sound changes from ts+x to ch but
the vowel remains, giving the form –chi/–cha/–chu or –chihú. Evidentials may be used to form entire
statements without the need of an attached sentence and express the same meanings by themselves as they
do along with sentences:

Aqxehín saenhíšáth xa?

Did the male reindeer hear you?
No…probably not…(qsawáx is the negative qsa + wáx)


SaQxítsúš sa Wátsíqxítsú na. Saensaya’n.


I have spoken with Ash Tongue. We are allies now (Lit.
We have become allies).
What (did you say/do)?

As shown above, these enclitics are used in normal speech in the same way “yes” and “no” could be
used in English, but they possess a greater degree of meaning to exactly how sure the speaker is of his/her
statement. Additionally, since these statements retain tense marking, three units of meaning are expressed
in a single word; positive or negative, degree of certainty and tense:

Saxráxéts xánwánharésu tsansa tsasráhets sráthútsin nasa’x? When you came up to the female pig were
you making sounds as you moved through
the fireweeds?
I was
emphatically certain and past tense)




Evidentials which are used to stand for entire sentences or utterances must always agree with their
referent in tense, although in certain cases a difference of tense may appear in order to indicate something
was one way but is not now or is now but was not then:

Saxáłir xyáhaséš xa?
Íš, nin!

Were you afraid of him?
Well, I am now!


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

7.3.1. Evidential Sentence Enclitics, Aspect Markers and Adverbs
Howard himself believed that since every sentence or clause in the Dragon Tongue requires
an evidential sentence enclitic to truly function, the enclitic is in fact the heart of all draconic
utterances with the true-verbs, subjects, objects, locations and other words simply modifying the
enclitic rather then the other way around. He believed that the general condition of the sentence
(positive, negative, interrogative, conditional, optative, hearsay or combinations thereof) was the
logical prerequisite of the rest of the sentence as it was always required even when various aspects of
the sentence were removed in order to create truncated utterances.

For instance the sentence below:

AHúqsa sa Šáwéqx nášasrawésínets xánnanraha sa tsehenrésu axáxétséwíha’łá
I heard that White Eye suddenly chased the male caribou into a dead end without escape

through that big birch forest over there by the cliff

As will be shown in §7.8. Speech Patterns, Euphemisms and Figures of Speech, this sentence
can be shorn of various aspects such as the subject, objects and locatives if they have already been
specified earlier in the dialogue or can simply be understood from context. If the maximum
extension of this process was applied to the sentence above (and most of the aspects of the sentence
were previously mentioned or identified) it could be reduced to:

I heard that (he/she/you) suddenly chased them (large-prey) into a dead end without escape

The true-verb sína- ‘to chase into a dead end without escape’ could even be removed and

replaced with a general true-verb such as šáhín- ‘to do’:

I heard that (he/she/you) suddenly did (that) to them

Or it could even be reduced to simply:

I heard that…

But in all cases of reduced sentences the hearsay enclitic háła or -’łá must always occur so
Davis considered these enclitics to be the “heart” of any draconic utterance. I do not know if the
evidence I have found in his notes warrants this sort of conclusion but I am quite sure that 1) I do
not possess all of his notes and 2) that if he was telling the truth at all, I have never spoken to any
dragon before so it is quite possible that he possessed information which I do not so he might have
had more reasons to believe this. One thing his notes explicitly mention is that evidential enclitics
may be used with aspect markers, just as if they were a true verb. In fact, along with the draconic
linguistic tendency to use everything as a verb, the (aspect + evidential) morphology is one of the
greatest reasons that both Davis and I believe that these evidentials are in fact a form of true-verb.

Therefore, the sentence above could maximally be reduced to:

I heard that X suddenly did Y


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

In this case the aspect marker ná- “suddenly, swiftly, violently” is attached to the hearsay
evidential –híła to form the above utterance, which may be used as an entire “sentence” in-and-of
itself. Interestingly, one would think that since the evidential is usually inflected for tense it would
continue to be even when it had an aspect marker attached to it and appear as:

I heard that X suddenly did Y

But this is not the case. It seems that the Non-Past Tense is considered to be the “base” or
“natural” tense and so all evidentials which have aspect markers attached to them are always in the Non-
Past tense as the “tense” appears to be borne solely by the aspect marker. The morphology of this
usage is quite simple although with the caveat that the evidential is not inflected for tense and
remains in the Non-Past Tense base-form:

[(Aspect Marker+Tense Inflection) + (Evidential in Non-Past Tense)]ASPECT+EVIDENTIAL

This could form such words as:

(incomplete past tense aspect + NEGATIVE + INTERROGATIVE)
Was X not happening?/Was not doing X (to Y)?/Was X not doing Y to Z?4

(haphazard cyclical tense aspect + HEARSAY)
I heard that X sometimes and cyclically happens (to Y)/I heard that X sometimes and

cyclically happens to Y/I heard that X sometimes and cyclically does Y to Z5

(“Just Beginning To” Non-Past tense aspect + POSSIBLY + NEGATIVE)
It is possible that X isn’t just starting to happen (to Y)

Since no true-verbs appear in the phrases above it is impossible to know if the sentence thus
replaced originally had a transitive, intransitive or reflexive true-verb without further context,
which normally would be supplied through the previous dialogue. These (aspect+enclitics) do not
have to appear in isolation but can come with other sentential specifiers such as objects, subjects,
locatives and so forth but not with a true-verb which would lead to two aspect markers in a single

Anneháqsrúth xáýsyá
(I) usually wanted to do X (eat, chew, gnaw upon) to the dead bone-marrow

4 Because these collapsed forms have multiple possible meanings they usually have multiple possible and equally likely
translations. Any confusion about what someone means when they use one of these shortened forms would doubtlessly be
understood from context and body language.
5 These readings are similar to the note 4.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Axúhísu xáýsax?
Who habitually wanted to do X?

Šárúnáwéha náhíła
I heard that X suddenly Y’ed (rushed?) past the mountains

And so forth. One last fascinating aspect of these forms and the evidentials is that they may
take adverbs just as if they were functioning true-verbs. This is another major reason to consider the
evidentials to be true-verbs. These forms have the following morphological structure:

[(Aspect Marker+Tense






(Evidential Non-Past

Therefore forms such as this occur:

Šahaxłá sa nihú!
X had just begun to wearingly do Y (to Z?)!6

Essentially in these cases the true-verb’s root is removed from the “true-verb” and replaced
with the evidential (in the Non-Past Tense) which then forms the new root of the modified true-verb.
The evidential “root” does not take the usual subject endings that the original root possessed, the
evidential “root” appears to replace not only the original root but also the subject endings as a whole.
In this manner the following sentence:

Šixrari sa ranets qsiwix
I have no trouble not starting to believe that (lit. probably isn’t) he/she is dead


Šixrari sa qsiwix
I have no trouble not starting to believe that (lit. probably isn’t) he/she/you are X

If the previous sentence was placed in the past tense it would appear as:

Šaxrari sa qsiwix
I didn’t have any trouble not starting to believe that (lit. probably isn’t) he/she/you are X

In all the cases above you will note that there are no evidentials attached to the evidential
“root” true-verb sentences. Obviously this is not required as the evidentials are now included in the
true-verb of the utterance otherwise illogical forms such as the one below would occur:

*Šixrari sa qsiwix qsiwix
*It probably isn’t that he/she/you are X probably isn’t

Unfortunately, Davis never specifies whether a transitive verb-root my be replaced by an
evidential in this manner, all the examples he gives are of intransitive forms and a transitive-enclitic

6 “Wearingly” in this case implies grinding, eroding or the like and while this utterance does not make a very good English
sentence, it makes a perfectly useable Srínawésin sentence.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

replacement never occurs in any of the dialogues I have. There are several possible reasons for this;
1) transitive verb-roots may not be replaced by enclitics, 2) they may be replaced but they don’t occur
that often so don’t appear in Howard’s notes and 3) they do appear but they are simply in notes
which I don’t have. I would imagine that they do actually appear but for reasons 2) and 3) above I
simply don’t have any evidence for them. My guess would be, following the logic that if enclitics
replace both an intransitive verb-root as well as the subject endings, that if transitive roots can be
replaced the enclitic would replace the object, the root and the ending. Thus the sentence below:

Hahahínwéhanríts aSníša sa Shányéš’łá
I hear that Glacier Dipper periodically check up on the boundary markers (of her territory)

Could be replaced with:

*ASníša sa Shányéš hahíła
*I hear that Glacier Dipper does X to Y

The sentence above is marked with a ‘*’ because I have no evidence that this usage occurs but
I believe it is a logical assumption given other Srínawésin examples. One last caveat of these aspect
and adverbial functions with enclitics is that since enclitics always occur at the end of a sentence any
true-verb which has an enclitic incorporated into it must also be at the end of the sentence or clause. This is
an exception to the general habit of placing the verb in the initial position and occurs without
exception throughout all of Davis’ notes and he mentions it explicitly several times. Forms such as:

*Hahíła aSníša sa Shányéš
*I hear that Glacier Dipper does X to Y

Do not occur not only because this violates the rule that verb-enclitics must appear at the end
of a sentence but also as the above utterance would require an enclitic to end it, making two enclitics
appear in the same clause, which is also impossible:

*Hahíła aSníša sa Shányéš’łá
*I hear that Glacier Dipper does X to Y I hear that

7.4. Conjunctive, Disjunctive, and Conditional Words between Sentences
Evidential enclitics such as those treated in 7.3. always appear at the ends of sentences or clauses,

however consider the following example:

ATsitsír sa Šłiséš xásłénéš xyáhéyawén tsanséšiwésu sráhíšrísu ísyáwx tsyenyárú innesa sayxíłášéts wáxrúsa


As for Tear of the Sun, she usually liked crouching in the hunting cover of the pine trees for the

female moose but I have not heard or know if she has killed any of them

This fairly complex draconic sentence has several concepts yet to be introduced, including
dependent clauses, but the important thing to note in this sentence is the word ísyáwx which is formed from
a combination of two separate words, in this case the evidential sentence enclitic ísya which expresses “desire
or preference” and hux ‘but/although,’ and can be translated roughly as ‘enjoys to do X but…’ This is a case
of combining enclitics with conjunctive words such as and, but, or and if, which commonly occurs in the speech
of the Kindred. Conjunctive and disjunctive words such as those given above and which occur in between two
different sentences or clauses have two separate forms in Srínawésin; singular and conjoined. The following


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
section, 7.5. Conjunctive and Disjunctive Word within a Clause or Sentence discusses the ways in which
the Shúna use these types of words within a clause or sentence but this section deals only with those words
which connect two complete together. Singular conjunctives and disjunctives usually appear at the
beginning of a statement such as:

Reyá tsisráhawén srísnérísu ixuhunwén ixínanxnahuwéha wíx!
Or the female caribou could be going into the snow-covered forest along the hills over there!

But when they follow an evidential sentence enclitic (and thereby combine two complete thoughts) they

are conjoined with the enclitic forming a single complex word:

Tsisráhawén ixuhunwén sríxułyáha wíxyá srísnérísu ixínanxnahuwéha wíx!
The female caribou could be going to the drinking holes or towards the snow-covered forest along

the hills over there!

In this case the word reyá ‘or’ is combined with the possibility evidential wíx to form the conjoined
word wíxyá ‘possibly or…’ Throughout all of Davis’ notes whenever a conjunctive/disjunctive word such
as reyá follows an evidential it is altered into a conjoined form, so I assume that this is always the case and is
thus required without exception, however I can not state this unequivocally. The various conjunctive,
disjunctive and conditional words are given in their singular and conjoined forms below:

Then (If/then)
Therefore/because hán




Generally the conjoined forms are simply a shortened form of the singular word, although
anomalous voicing occurs in the case of słástu/-tsú. These words may be spoken without an attaching
sentence (usually at the beginning of a sentence or utterance in order to indicate an alteration of meaning
with earlier dialogue) and when they do so they appear in they appear in the singular forms.

7.5. Conjunctive and Disjunctive Words within a Clause or Sentence
The section above treated the way the various conjunctive and disjunctive words are combined with

previously occurring evidential enclitics, however, consider the two English sentences below:

I heard that Tear of the Sun wounded my far-distant-neighbor and almost killed him
I heard that Tear of the Sun and Black Honey wounded my far-distant-neighbor

In the first sentence the ‘and’ conjoins two entire thoughts: ‘I heard that Tear of the Sun wounded
my far-distant-neighbor’ (and) then ‘she almost killed him.’ Each of these thoughts can stand alone and
although the second sentence shares the same subject and object as the first and relies upon this information
to be meaningful, both are true, independent sentences. The second example on the other hand is different,
the ‘and’ indicates that both Tear of the Sun as well as Black Honey are the subjects of the verb, acting on the
object, my far-distant-neighbor. ‘And’ in this case conjoins two nouns rather then two sentences and makes
them act in tandem as the subject. Srínawésin has two ways of indicating the second type of meaning, one
of which can be shown with the translation of the second example into the Dragon Tongue:


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Annesírtséš aTsitsír sa Šłiséš aŠátha sa Qxúhusu saensłáyawéts’łá
I heard that Tear of the Sun and Black Honey wounded my far-distant-neighbor

This example shows the Kindred’s’ elegant way of indicating ‘and’ without having to say it
explicitly. If there are two different explicit subjects mentioned they simply both are assigned the appropriate
subject prefix indicating both are the subject of the verb and no explicit “and” need ever occur because it is
obvious from the grammatical clues. This applies to any types of prefix, multiple words can have identical
prefixes attached to them to indicate explicit pluralization of various types:

Annesírtséš aTsitsír sa Šłiséš aŠátha sa Qxúhusu aHathá sa Snaréš aSłáya sa Snaréš saensłáyawéts’ła
I heard that Tear of the Sun, Black Honey, Angry Face and Bloody Face (all) wounded my far-



Hasułúth sa qsúła qxasraníwén narátharéha xánthawéwésin xánqsuséwésin na
Sometimes I would swiftly fly towards the male moose trail through the low-hanging clouds and

the rain

It is important to note, however, that in the cases above the subject ending of the verb must still agree
with its subjects, which in the prior case are pluralized (two named dragons) and thus the verb has the plural
infix –wé- attached to it forming saensłáyawéts and not the singular form *saensłáyets (this is ungrammatical
only if *saensłáyets was to agree with multiple Class I subjects). This type of form can occur not only in
between nouns but also between verbs as well:

Sahuxéłášéts saháqsasłáyech?

Did he/she/you kill that male deer (and) wound the
female deer?

This type of double-verb may also occur if the object is the same in both cases:

Sahuxéšáwéts sayxłášéch?

Did he/she/you see the male deer (and) then did you kill

Double verbs have only one evidential enclitic as they are considered to be one thought and
inherently linked but both must generally agree in tense and so on. This way of expressing ‘and’ is by far
the most common although the Kindred possess separate particles which can also indicate and as well as or
when conjoining or disjoining two nouns (but these words are not used between clauses or sentences).

These words are:

And, as well as, also
Or, either


The word shán ‘and’ or the simple addition of identical affixes may be employed to indicate ‘and’:

Tsašathíréshá xánsešerésu shatsuwéréshá shaqsaqxeréshá rałúhasa nan!
Tsašathíréshá xánsešerésu shatsuwéréshá shán shaqsaqxeréshá rałúhasa nan!
The innumerable geese and heron were fleeing from me through the alder forest!


if shán

However, even

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
‘and’ all the nouns still require the proper
subject/object/reflexive object (or other) prefixes. Since even with the explicit form of shán all the nouns must
have the same prefixes, this renders shán redundant and is thus not usually used unless the speaker wishes
to be very clear and precise (although this might possibly offend the listener see §7.8. Speech Patterns,
Euphemisms and Figures of Speech below) or emphasis is required. However ‘or’ cannot be expressed in
any other way then by explicitly stating the ‘or’ word rášye:

is used to

Annesírtséš aTsitsír sa Šłiséš rášye aŠátha sa Qxúhúsu saensłáyawéch?
Did Tear of the Sun or Black Honey wound my far-distant-neighbor?

Both subjects in this case must still have the proper noun prefixes, in this case the past tense subject
prefix a-, but to indicate ‘or’ rášye must be explicitly used. Rášye is often used with a question but it can
easily come within a statement as well, usually translated into English as ‘either’:

Tsiqxníłéš ríth! Annesírtséš aTsitsír sa Šłiséš rášye aŠátha sa Qxúhusu saensłáyets nan! Ahasawéš qsaqs!
Please wait a moment! Either Tear of the Sun or Black Honey wounded my far-distant-neighbor!

Not both of them!

It is important to note that both shán and rášye are essentially particles and therefore are never
inflected for number, person or tense in any way and in all of Davis’ notes and dialogues are always found
in these forms and do not appear to have alternate forms.

7.6. Clauses
Clauses are complete thoughts in and of themselves, capable of indicating meaning without further

information if needed. However, examine the following example:

Sasínhíšá annesa ašiháxusu tsašánuwéshá shaswiriwéshá shaheshíwéshá nasa’n
I heard the seabirds and swans swimming on the lake

The phrase ‘the seabirds and swans swim on the lake’ is a sentence and a complete thought however
in the above example the entire sentence serves as the direct object of the verb ‘to hear’ and is thus a dependent
clause or a clause (sentence) which is subsumed in a larger sentence. Thus, the sum total of the information
in the clause ‘the male and female swans swim on the lake’ in its entirety serves at the object of what was
heard forming a complex thought or a dependent clause within a larger sentence. In English we show that
this kind of transformation (independent to dependent clause) has taken place by changing the phrase:

The seabirds and swans swim on the lake


The male and female swans swimming on the lake

Although English has a variety of other ways to indicate depended clauses in this case once this
transformation has occurred it may then be subsumed within the larger sentence and serve as the direct
object of the verb ‘to hear.’ It does not have to be only the direct object, but could be the subject, indirect
object or even a locative form in English:

I heard the seabirds and swans swimming on the lake
The seabirds and swans swimming on the lake heard me



I gave the bread to the seabirds and swans swimming on the lake
I was traveling towards the seabirds and swans swimming on the lake

(Indirect Obj.)

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

All known languages have the capacity to make these forms of elaborations upon the various actors
within a sentence (these types of clauses supply additional information about their constituents) and
Srínawésin is no exception to this, although its solution to how to form dependent clauses is extremely
elegant and remarkably simple. The example above illustrates the way in which the Shúna generate
dependent clauses admirably:

Satsunhíšá annesa ašiháxusu tsašánuwéshá shaswiriwéshá shaheshíwéshá nasa’n
I heard the seabirds and swans swimming on the lake

In this case ašiháxusu tsašánuwéshá shaswiriwéshá shaheshíwéshá na translates to ‘the seabirds and
swans were swimming on the lake’ and is thus the dependent clause of the greater sentence. In order to
make this a dependent clause Srínawésin brackets the clause within two particles (sa) forming a sort of spoken
beginning and ending of the clause. Thus, the previously independent sentence:

Ašiháxusu tsašánuwéshá shaswiriwéshá shaheshíwéshá na

Becomes a dependent clause:

–sa ašiháxusu tsašánuwéshá shaswiriwéshá shaheshíwéshá nasa

Davis always combines the evidentials with the final sa particle, forming in this case nasa (na+sa) in
his examples and this appears to be the standard form. This new dependent clause is then treated as if it
was a single thought or complex noun-verb and is assigned the proper noun-verb prefix to indicate how it
participates in the sentence, in this case as the direct object along with the prefix anne-:

Annesa ašiháxusu tsašánuwéshá shaswiriwéshá shaheshíwéshá nasa

And it is then placed within the larger sentence:

Satsunhíšá annesa ašiháxusu tsašánuwéshá shaswiriwéshá shaheshíwéshá nasa’n
I heard the seabirds and swans swimming on the lake (Obj.)

It is important to note that the direct object of the verb ‘to hear’ still must be represented by an infix
which agrees with the object. However, since the direct object in this case is an entire dependent clause, the
object infix agrees with the reflexive subject of the dependent clause, in this case ‘the seabirds and swans.’ Thus,
in the example above the verb –híšá has the object infix –tsun- which is Class VI Inedible plural, which
agrees in number, class and person with the reflexive subjects of the dependent clause shaswiriwéshá
shaheshíwéshá ‘male and female swans.’ Just as in English and other languages, these dependent clauses may
be subjects, objects, locatives and so forth of the main verb of the sentence:

Sasithhíšáwíš asa ašiháxusu tsašánuwéshá shaswiriwéshá shaheshíwéshá nasa’n
The seabirds and swans swimming on the lake heard me

In this case the dependent clause if prefixed with the subject prefix a- indicating it is the subject of
the true-verb –híšá and the proper subject suffix –wéshá (-wé+shá) agrees with the subject of the dependent


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
clause ‘the seabirds and swans.’ These concepts are vital to speaking and understanding Srínawésin as they
are often found in complex sentences. Their construction can therefore be diagrammed as a series of steps:

1) Bracket the sentence to serve as the dependent clause with the particles sa (sa CLAUSE sa)
2) The final sa particle becomes one word with the final evidential of the clause (ni+sa for example)
3) The proper noun-verb prefix is attached to the initial sa particle and now the dependent clause is

treated as a single unit of meaning (as object, subject and so forth) (a+sa for example)

4) If the dependent clause is the subject or object of the main true-verb of the sentence the
matching affix attached to the true-verb agrees with in number, class and person with the subject
or reflexive subject of the dependent clause.

More then one dependent clause may appear in a single sentence and when this occurs the normal
rules applying to multiple subjects, objects and so forth apply (i.e. the use of identical prefixes or the
particles shán or rášye and so forth):

Asa tsyałsháthunya inneTswensłéxusu Uqxéhasu tsnisihéš nisa asa tsisráhets iširúnáwéha ixíxútsusin sa

hurúsin išuthéš híłasa sahínxátsuwéts annesa tsasráharéx aqxnéhiréx ašíxéxnahuwéha nasa’łá

I heard that the dragon we call Born of Fire and that unknown stranger who I have heard lives in
the mountains to the north killed but did not eat the innumerable humans which lived on the
hills way over there.

In this instance the first clause reads literally ‘the Kindred who we have named Born of Fire’ using
the particularly rare 1st Person Plural subject suffix –ya in the true-verb ‘we name’ while the second clause is
literally ‘(and) the unknown stranger who I have heard moves upon the mountains on the left side of the
dawn (north).’ The final clause is reads literally as ‘(I heard that) the innumerable Chatterers (humans)
who move upon the hills way over there.’ Broken down it reads as:

Clause 1:

Clause 2:


Clause 3:

Asa tsyałsháthunya inneTswensłéxusu Uqxéhasu tsnisihéš nisa
The Kindred we have named as Born of Fire (Subject 1)
asa tsisráhets iširúnáwéha ixíxútsusin sa hurúsin išuthéš híłasa
The unknown stranger I have heard moves (lives) upon the mountains to the
left side of the dawn (Subject 2)
They killed but did not eat (the innumerable small prey animals)
annesa tsasráharéx aqxnéhiréx ašíxéxnahuwéha nasa’łá
The innumerable Chatters who move upon the hills way over there I have
heard (Object of the verb)

Although this process seems daunting at first, it is in fact a fairly straightforward, if rather complex
process because the clauses always appear between the particles sa with the proper prefixes and so forth
attached to indicate how they act within the sentence. All dependent clauses are formed in this manner and
once their internal meaning is understood the rest of the sentence seems to fall into place, and is not, in fact
as complex a process for forming dependent clauses as some other languages. One important aspect to keep
in mind in this process is the fact that because every word within an utterance or clause in Srínawésin is
inflected for tense and that all the words within a clause must agree with one another tenses cannot switch
within a clause but may change tenses between clauses. For instance:

Innehusa tsaswéhéš shaQxéhawésu sráŁałinsu waša tsyałxrarits qsix, xisłinéš?
You do not (currently) believe that that sound was Fire Blossom singing?


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Qsi, Innesa tsaswéhéshá sharínáshá łanananhusúqx waša’n
No, I think it was a female giant singing (playing) on one of those whistling-things.7

The fact that clauses are inflected for tense helps to differentiate the various main and dependent
clauses from one another and generally aids in understanding, although I would imagine that a speaker new
to the language would not think so!

7.6.1. Quotations and Reporting Speech
Beyond the formation of dependent clauses as outlined in the section above, the use of the sa
particles in bracketing other statements is most often used as a form of a spoken quotation mark in
the various dialogues in Davis’ notes. Essentially the way all these examples are formed is identical
to the way the sa+CLAUSE+sa constructions are used with two important differences: the true-verb of
the larger sentence is always some variation of ‘said, spoke, told, reported, mentioned,’ and so forth
and the dependent clause (as outlined by the sa particles) is what the subject of the true-verb of the main
sentence said, reported, mentioned, etc. For instance:

Xwáłqxítsúts xúnhasa unnesa rú xátséyets qsatsú xátsaqsáthits annehítsá sa hawáqx nan, xisáhunéš sa

usłéxúš nun!

My mother is always saying to me “If you didn’t sleep all the time then you’d eat so much


In this case the phrase annesa rú xátséyets qsatsú xátsaqsáthits annehítsá sa hawáqx nan, xisáhunéš
is both a dependent clause, the object of the verb qxítsú- ‘to speak, to say’ and the quotation “If you
didn’t sleep all the time, you’d eat so much better!” which the speaker’s mother (the subject) is
speaking. In this instance the word xúnhasa translates as ‘towards me’ (hasa- being a pronoun for
“me” as it has no classification markers as discussed above as discussed in 5.5. “Pronouns”) and
serves as a sort of indirect object of the true-verb of the sentence.

Literally this sentence means:

Habitually and cyclically (my) mother is always speaking towards me “if you didn’t habitually sleep

then you would eat better meat, my child!”

7.7. Question Words
The primary way in Srínawésin for asking a question is the simple inclusion of one of the
questioning enclitics such as xi? or qsix? to ask a negative question. However the language does appear to
possess a very interesting form which makes use of the root xúhá- ‘does-what?’ This interesting root forms
the basis for almost all question words such as “who, what, when, where, why, with who, for what reason,
how” and so on. Used in a verbal form it questions what precisely was being done although this is directed
primarily at the verb itself and the subjects and objects might already be known to the speaker:

Tsáwíxúxúhéts aTswensłéxusu Uqxéhasu’x? Born of Fire did what to those dead things?

Although this root may not only question the action but also the participants in the action:

7 This exchange came from a discussion that Davis had with a very unpleasant Artic dragon named Rotten Teeth who lived in
northern Canada. From what Rotten Teeth told Howard female giants in particular enjoyed playing –husúqx or ‘whistling-
things’ which Davis surmised was some sort of flute or woodwind instrument. These ‘whistling-things’ were one of the only
reasons that the old, crabby, gray Artic dragon suffered to have any giant tribes near his hunting territory.


Tsiqxéxúháhen nínanxnahuwéha’x?

Who is doing what to whom on those hills over there?

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

This root may also form the basis of noun-verbs, forming words which would be translated as “who,

what, where” and so forth:

Níxúháhá xihú?
Axúhéš xa?
Słáhaxúháx qsix?

Where exactly?
Who (dragon) did it?
With what small prey animal didn’t (go, do etc.)?

This root is extremely productive and is often found in situations when a true-verb is not stated
(which could otherwise carry the question-meaning by the affixation of Class XIII Varia/Unknown
affixes) although true-verb or noun-verb forms of question words are apparently used interchangeably:

Saenšáwá na!
Saqsešáwéch?/Annexúhéš xa?

I saw him/her!
Who did you see?

–Xúhá also may be used in an adverbial form in this case indicating ‘why, for what reason (is X being


Saxúhá sa sithrisech?

Why’d you bite me?

§7.8. Speech Patterns, Euphemisms and Figures of Speech
Normally concepts such as speech patterns are relevant to the description of a language, but not
always vital to the understanding of that language (unless one wants to be truly fluent in the language in
question) therefore they are not always included in grammars and papers on the grammar of languages. By
“speech patterns” I mean not what a speaker is saying or the grammatical way in which they are saying it,
but the non-grammatical ways in which they are speaking. The difference between grammar and speech
patterns is similar to the difference between the mechanical functioning of a car engine and the way in which
a driver drives that car. Two different drivers driving the same car at two different times are all making use
of the exact same mechanical processes which operates the engine but one might be a terrible driver, such as
myself, or an expert stunt-driver who executes incredible pyrotechnic and mechanical acrobatics for
movies. The same mechanics, a greatly different result.

Grammar is the mechanics of the language; speech patterning is the way in which an individual
speaker (or “driver”) handles the language. Howard Davis writes extensive notes on how his discussions in
Srínawésin with his subjects were often difficult and full of misunderstandings because while his sentences
were perfectly accurate in terms of grammar he was speaking the wrong way. This trend continued until
Bloody Face apparently hissed angrily at him: “It’s not what you say; it’s what you don’t say that matters!”
He reports he went over his notes and recordings and began to understand what Bloody Face was saying to
him as he was speaking Srínawésin but with English speech patterns, which was considered extremely rude
by his Sihá subjects. Luckily, he had time to go over his notes and figure out what he was doing, both
Bloody Face and Moonchild refused to see him for almost three whole moons (their version of counting to
10, I suppose). He was a trained linguist but had not done very much in the way of field work until this
singular project presented itself to him so he can be forgiven for not paying attention to what any
anthropological linguist would have done in the beginning: listen not only to the rules of the language, but
the way it is used. Luckily, his initial subjects were kind enough (or felt that he was just a qxnéx so how
could one expect him to get something as beautiful as Srínawésin right?) not to kill him for his rudeness,
although only Bloody Face had the wherewithal to express what all the other Sihá were thinking. Although
the speech patterns of the Kindred can be extracted from all of Davis’ dialogues and notes, he was kind


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
enough to record his general observations on how dragons spoke to one another and what he had been doing
wrong up until that time and how he began to correct it.

The biggest single difference between English and Srínawésin’s speech patterns can be summed up
with a single sentence: If the speaker assumes that something is obvious, they simply won’t say it, a far cry from
most English speakers. This thought lies at the core of what kind a speech a Sihá will consider to be
“polite” or “impolite” (with some very bloody consequences in the second case). Essentially, the logic of
this idea as explained by Davis is this: not saying what is “obvious” is a sign of respect from the speaker to
the listener, assuming they understand what is “obviously” there so it does not need to be said. Conversely,
if a speaker explains every single detail explicitly, this implies that the speaker thinks the listener is a fool
and cannot grasp the subtleties of their speech; therefore the speaker needs to spell out everything for the
listener. The closest thing I can relate this to, would be the way “check” is used in a modern Chess match.
Among beginners it is standard to say “check” when one checks the other player’s king, it is simply
something you say. On the other hand, in a professional Chess championship, saying “check” is rude and
annoying, implying that the other player cannot see the obvious threat.

The dragons in Davis’ notes are, without exception, experts at interpreting their world and
understanding the meanings of what is around them. They live solely by their ability to read trails, the
smallest twitch or reaction of a deer or elk and are all masters at hunting. They are extremely interested and
aware of their surroundings at all times and they never listen to another speaker idly (even if they appear to
be disinterested or not paying attention) so they carefully listen to what a speaker is saying and watch how
the speaker is saying even more intently. Therefore, there is often very little reason to spell out precisely
what one is saying at all times, as a dragon will understand the subtext and context of what the speaker is
saying, the body language with which they say it, the smells they convey while they’re speaking and a host
of other factors that amply supply much of the context of any sentence. That is why it is extremely rude to
say precisely what one means and spell out every little piece of information, it implies the listener is not
really listening (and therefore is a fool) or is incapable of reading the context (also implying the listener is a
fool) and doing this will often end extremely messily.

This is expressed in actual speech in several ways:

1) Once a subject, object, location or other action is stated, it will simply be left out from every
further utterance, until a new subject, object, location etc. appears. This includes pronouns as well,
these are simply assumed from context (and it is easy to guess from the subject/object affixes
in the sentence), as well as verbs in many cases.
If something is “obvious” (an extremely fluid concept to be sure) it simply isn’t said.

3) Asking repeated questions is a sign of inattention—which is rude—or foolishness which will

invite an attack just as quickly as being rude.

4) Rhetorical questions are considered to be extremely rude and pretentious.

If someone asks a question and the target of the question does not reply in any way it is
understood to be a positive answer. A Sihá will usually only respond to a question if the question
is wrong and needs to be corrected.

6) A speaker will often look directly at what it is they are talking about or to whom they are
speaking to, making this a sort of “unspoken grammatical marker” to indicate how the sentence
should be understood.

7) A Sihá will often use body language such as looking in a particular direction, gesturing with

their head or making other movements without speaking (especially while hunting)

Many of these draconic inclinations are very similar with how the Shúna express body language, the
“Unspoken Rules” and Body Language forming a continuum of how they speak. Draconic body language is
detailed in 7.10. Non-Verbal Communication below. However, Davis notes that exchanges as the one


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
given below are common in Srínawésin, and serve to illustrate how the Shúna imply most of their meanings
from context:

Iš, annesa saSewe sa Swéhésheyets aWátsí sa Qxítsúqx nasa átsiXíyanawášéts’ła, xiSłáya sa Snaréš.
So, I heard from Scatterlight that Ash Tongue slew Frost Song, Bloody Face.

Íš! Ašawaxráxéš saensheyechihú!?
Ha! That foolish idiot killed her!?

The second sentence assumes several things. Literally it means “Ha! That stone-who-moves-itself-
through-the-brush-while-making-sounds slew him/her/you?” The verb saensheyechihú is problematic as
both the subject and the object of the verb are both Class I Kindred, but it is not reflexive (it is a contraction
of saensheyets xihú!?). However, in the context of the above exchange it is merely understood that the object
is Frost Song and this does not need to be stated explicitly again, and the subject is Ash Tongue (and that the
term ašawasráxéš ‘that foolish idiot’ which is also the subject of the sentence) refers back to him:

Annesrałatsithíš’n, xúxi?
(Yes, he did.) She was always such a troublesome one, wasn’t she?

Naxúháhá’x? Nathéhałišáha rášye naqxewáxúháhá’x?
(Yes.) Where did he kill her? His hunting territory or another’s?

Again, there are several assumptions here. Firstly, in the translation (Yes, he did) is considered to
be understood as the speaker does not correct the questioner’s question so the answer is therefore positive.
The first part of the spoken sentence has the object prefix anne- prefixed to the adjectival form –srałatsithíš’n
‘always such a troublesome dragon’ which means it refers back to the object of the previous sentences, i.e.
to Frost Song therefore means ‘her’ rather then ‘him’ or ‘you,’ and in an Active Adjectival Voice, indicating
that the statement is integral to the argument the speaker wishes to put forth. Therefore, the fact that she
was always so troublesome is the primary reason which she is now dead. As if this was not enough, the
first sentence has two tenses in it, the Past throughout most of the sentence and the Cyclical Tense in the
question enclitic xúxi? implying that Frost Song was habitually troublesome and that is why she was slain
by Ash Tongue. The second sentence begins with an unspoken answer (yes) while the word nuxúháhá’x
means simply ‘at where?’ and (did he kill her) is unspoken and understood. The second part of the second
sentence translates literally to ‘at his/hers/your hunting territory or at the other’s-where-place?’

The conversation continues:

I don’t know (where he killed her.)

Tsisráhéš xi?
Is he alive then?

In the first sentence here the object infix is –qse- the Class XIII Varia/Unknown object infix, which
refers back to the original question posed “Where did he kill her?” and although it is not spoken, it is
assumed to be a part of the response. The second sentence is a little more understandable, since Frost Song
is “obviously” dead and the speaker hasn’t asked the listener if they are sure the fact that Frost Song is dead
is agreed upon or at least assumed so the rather ambiguous Class I Kindred subject ending –éš does not refer
back to her and it is unlikely that it would refer to the other speaker, so it is “obviously” regarding Ash


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
Tongue once again and would thus be understood as ‘is he alive then,’ rather then the other possible

As can be seen in conversation, Srínawésin discussions appear much like inverted pyramids in terms
of content. Once the general location, actors and conditions of the sentence are established, they are simply
left out, and slowly the number of words reduces, as they are simply understood and assumed. This is of
course a simplistic picture of how the language actually works; new ideas, new actors, qualifications and
other factors are constantly introduced by both speakers and therefore only in ideal situations will
conversations appear in this fashion, but it is a good way of picturing the mentality behind the language’s

The inclination towards leaving out unnecessary information extends to all areas of Srínawésin,
noun-verbs, true-verbs and so on. One example is the removal of a true-verb entirely from the sentence
when its meaning can be understood. True-verbs are often left out of command and imperative forms as
partially covered in section 4.8. Command Forms and Imperatives of True-Verbs, but they are often left out
when body language can supply their meaning or if the verb has been previously stated and there is little need to
repeat it. For instance, a speaker may say:


This utterance is difficult to translate properly as the speaker would be relying on previous context
or body language to explain their meaning. This example literally means ‘(Doing something) to the
pheasant?’ and it is the object of a non-existent true-verb by the inclusion of the object prefix inne-. This
makes a great deal more sense then it appears, the speaker is generally asking if the listener is doing
something to the pheasant, seeing, hearing, smelling, eating or otherwise, and usually the exact meaning can
be interpreted from context. The speaker may also specify the meaning they intend by pricking up the ears
and saying Inneqsnaníshá’x? and a watchful listener (which all dragons are or they simply would not be alive
anymore) will understand that this means ‘are you listening to a pheasant?/can you hear the pheasant?’

Another aspect which illustrates the importance of context in Srínawésin is the fact that, like all
languages, the Dragon Tongue can have a single spoken utterance which can mean more then one thing,
i.e. one string of phonetic sounds has more then one possible semantic or grammatical meaning. This is
similar to the English utterance (rendered phonetically):

/Өer kars/

This spoken string of sounds can be interpreted as any of the following:

“Their cars.”
“They’re cars.”
“There, cars.”

While the final example is admittedly ungrammatical, but it is within the scope of the spoken
language as spoken by some dialects of English. The phonetic representation /ther kars/ can be interpreted
in any of these ways, and it is incumbent upon the listener to determine the speaker’s meaning from
context. The same is true in Srínawésin, particularly in the instance of 1st Person utterances such as:


This utterance can be interpreted in two ways:

Tsitséya’n (tsi+tséya+Ø+’n)

I am sleeping


Tsitséyan’ (tsi+tséya+an+’n)

The large prey animal is sleeping

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Both of these interpretations are perfectly legitimate ways of understanding the phonetic utterance
above and although they can be differentiated in writing, due to clues provided in the orthography much
like in English’s Their, They’re and There, phonetically there is nothing to tell them apart. Additional
problems arise in an utterance such as:


This utterance also has two possible interpretations:

Tsitséya’x? (tsi+tséya+Ø+’x)
Tsitséyax’? (tsi+tséya+ax+’x)

Am I sleeping?
Is the small prey animal sleeping?

In all of the examples above, context is of vital importance between differentiating what the speaker
intends to say. If a large prey animal has been mentioned before or there is one in the vicinity which can be
smelled, seen or heard, then tsitséyan’ ‘the large prey animal is sleeping’ is a perfectly reasonable
interpretation of /tsitseyan/ but tsitséya’n ‘I am sleeping’ is most likely not. The reverse is also true. And if
a small prey animal has been discussed before, the speaker has sent out the listener to see the conditions of a
small prey animal or other reasons tsitséyax’? ‘is the large prey animal sleeping’ would be a fine translation
of /tsitseya∫/. Context is vitally important in these cases and the speaker’s intention must simply be
assumed according to the situation, just as in English or any other human language.

Exchanges of this type are common throughout all of Davis’ notes and it is fascinating how the
Shúna make use of these small subtleties of speech in order to fully express themselves although they do
not have concepts which are “obviously” (to a human) required, such as the 2nd Person and other forms.
Srínawésin’s speech patterns are therefore a balancing act, a speaker and listener balancing what each
believes to be “obvious” while not wanting to appear foolish to the other by asking a question which the
other thought was “obvious.” Davis believed this, along with their predatory natures, makes them just
about the most intent listeners he had ever seen and not only could they easily guess what he was about to
say, he found it virtually impossible to lie to them.

§7.8.1. Directions and Navigation
Srínawésin possesses a unique three-dimensional approach to the concept of direction, a
quality that Davis attributes to the fact that many—if not most of the Kindred—are capable of flight
and therefore think in decidedly three-dimensional ways. Even a Sihá which is incapable of flight
often enjoy swimming in deep waters (or that is their natural habitat) and in these situations they
also require this form of directional delineation. Davis notes several conversations with a sea
dragon named Wave on the Sea, and although these discussions were all in the Northern Latitudinal
dialect (which both knew) Wave on the Sea did discuss a little of how the various Oceanic dialects
function. Davis noted that while the Oceanic language spoken by Wave on the Sea did have class
systems like other dialects it did not rely on them to the same extent but instead required specification
of any noun-verb in terms of distance, relative depth and orientation with regards to the speaker, an
interesting form of thinking to say the least.

Draconic concepts of direction include not only “simple” terms which most English speakers
tend to think in; up, back, forward, down, right, left, which are used mostly due to our inability to
fly and “two-dimensional” natures. Draconic concepts include xnáła- ‘upper left front’ and súthun-
‘upper right back’ and other such three-dimensional terminology. Note that while we can refer to
such directions in English by specifying it with several words, Srínawésin and the Sihá can merely
say Xirtsathásin ni! ‘it is flying across the lower left front side!’ (the root being tsathá- ‘lower left


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

front’). These directions appear in a variety of classes depending upon whether the direction is in
the air (used in Class VIII Aerial as in the case above), in the water (Class IX Animate and not
Class V Aquatic as this class refers only to aquatic animals) or along the ground or within the earth
(Class X). Directions also can appear in Class XII Components if the speaker does not wish to
further identify the direction and the aerial/aquatic/or ground quality of the direction.
Directional terms are given both below in diagram form and in the lexicon:

In addition to directional terms such as this, the Sihá have a complete system of cardinal
directions in which to tell others how to navigate, roughly analogous to North, South, East and
West in many human languages. Although dragons are fully capable of describing locations in this
manner, the way in which these terms are expressed are uniquely draconic and do not exist in any
language I am aware of. Simply put, Srínawésin has no terms for the cardinal directions in terms of
North, South, East and West. Instead they have a system in which they refer to directions depending
on the location of the sun using terms such as nítsitsír sa hurúsin ‘at the left of the sun’ and nísárhásin
sa xłísasin ‘at the behind during dusk.’ What is interesting about this system is that both these terms
refer to the direction of East because dragons’ cardinal sense is determined by where the sun is but the
sun moves throughout the day, thus altering the relative relationships between the sun and the directions. As
noted, the Shúna do not pay much attention to the sun in terms of a timekeeper, but their sense of
the sun is intimately connected to their sense of location, thus the sun is more a moving compass in
the sky then a clock delineating “useless” hours.

Therefore, although dragons do understand and use cardinal directions the words they use to
express these directions depends on the relative position of the sun and thus the time of the day.
When a dragon uses a term such as sríxútsuha ‘towards the dawn along the ground’ they are not only
referring to the direction and location of movement but the time of the day as well as the location
‘towards the dawn’ is only used during dawn or the early morning to indicate “East.” During the
middle of the day, when the sun is to the South and high in the sky “East” is called ‘left of the sun.’
Therefore, the Sihá think of time more as a specification of direction rather then the passage of some
mysterious force and whenever a dragon uses terms to navigate themselves or another across any
distance they are also referring to the time of day in which they are speaking. As I noted, this


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

methodology is unique to any language I am aware of, although this does not mean it does not exist

Draconic terminology for the cardinal directions is given below, determined by the time of
day (locations are left without directional prefixes which would usually appear or class markers to
delineate location in the air, ground, and water):







-qsánir xaháxútsu-
-qsánir xahásárhá-
-qsánir sa xłísa-

-xútsusin sa xáha-
-xútsusin sa xłísa-
-xútsusin sa hurú

-tsitsír sa hurú-
-tsitsír sa xáha-
-tsitsír sa xłísa-



-sárhásin sa xłísa-
-sárhásin sa hurú-
-sárhásin sa xáha-

the moon’s dawn
the moon’s dusk
the back of the moon

the dawn
the right of the dawn
behind the dawn
the left of the dawn

the left of the sun
towards the sun
right of the sun
the back of the sun

behind the dusk
the left of dusk
the dusk
right of dusk

These directions can be thought of in an extremely general sense not the precise cardinal
directions humans think of for two reasons, one of which is that precise directions are not really
needed for navigating when one flies, from a high enough vantage point it is easy to see mountains,
rivers and so forth and so only general directions are needed for the most part. The second (and
more subtle) reason is that both the sun and the moon’s apparent “dawning” and “dusking” change
throughout the course the year, a fact I was not aware of until I began to read Davis’ papers (and
subsequently did some research on the subject on my own). This motion is shown in the following
diagram (note that the apparent positions are identical on the western horizon as well):


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Before learning a little bit more about celestial mechanics, I believed the commonly known
truism that the sun rose in the east and set in the west. This is generally true but it is also incorrect
as the sun will only rise due east only two days in the year, namely the Vernal and Autumnal
Equinoxes. Because of the tilt of the Earth and its rotation, the sun rises slightly to the north of due
east from around March 21st to September 21st (from the Vernal to Autumnal Equinoxes) and
slightly south of due east from September 21st to March 21st (from the Autumnal to Vernal
Equinoxes). This seems to be a relatively minor concern to us indoor-dwelling city folk whose only
outside experiences involve walking to and from the car but to all ancient cultures, people who are
outdoors for long periods of time and the Shúna, this fact is so apparent and obvious there is almost
no need to mention it (a dragon with the very descriptive name of Slit Belly found the need to
explain this fact to Howard to be extremely amusing and mercilessly teased him about it so much
that Howard simply stopped visiting him, writing in his notes that “apparently even dragons can be

This fact might seem interesting or just plain useless but this factor must be taken into
consideration when attempting to understand Srínawésin and the directionality of the Kindred
when they speak. “East” as an absolute direction (as most humans tend to think of it) simply does
not exist to the Shúna because direction is tied to the location of the sun and moon when they rise
and these locations change through the year! Therefore any attempt to assign absolute directionality
to a draconic mindset is doomed to fail from the start and it is vital to understand that when a
dragon says what is translated into English as “east,” he or she is very likely to mean something
entirely different then what a modern human might consider to be “east.” Additionally, the motion
of the sun is much more regular and predictable then the apparent rising and setting of the moon
against the horizon as the moon is inclined 5° from the plane of the Ecliptic and therefore can rise
much farther northward or southward in relation to the sun throughout the year and this relation
slowly changes over a cycle of nineteen or so years (known as the Metonic Cycle).8 This means
that if a dragon gave directions to a particular locale from another location at two different times of
the year the directional adjectives the Sihá used would subtly change simply because the locations of
the moon and the sun changes during the intervening time!

§7.8.2. Lunar and Seasonal Names
As noted previously the draconic conception of “time” is extremely different then that of a
human’s but despite this they do recognize two major types of change and use them if needed. The
first major cycle of change is that of the moon from month to month. The lunar names which occur
in Davis’ notes are:

No moon

Tsutsúhúr shuqsánir/tsutséyar shuqsánir
-tséya sa qsánir, tsuqsánitséyar

New moon
Waxing Half Moon Tsuhuxér shuqsánir
Waxing Gibbous
Full Moon

Tsuxahínar shuqsánir
Tsusyáhur shuqsánir, Tsuxúxur,
Tsusnaresyáhur, Tsusnarehúqsar
Waning Gibbous
Tsusłáyar shuqsánir
Waning Half Moon Tsuhuxér shuqsánir
Waning Crescent Tsuhíntser

the Moon is dark to itself, the
Sleeping Moon, the Sleepy Moon
the Hook, the Claw
the Split Moon
the Growing Moon
the Round Moon, the Celestial Egg
The Bright Face, Ash-White Face
the Bleeding Moon
the Split Moon
the Celestial Broken Egg

8 For specific information on these process see: Penprase, Bryan E., The Power of Stars: How Celestial Observations Have Shaped
Civilization, pages 9 & 14.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The lunar phases can be depicted in a more dynamic form (which is closer to the way the
moon actually moves around the earth and how the Shúna conceive of its movement then a simple
list of names) with the following diagram:

Lunar and seasonal phases are recognized more for the effect they have on the timing of
various prey animals, how and when they mate, when they have children, when they hibernate,
when they migrate, and other such concerns, not really for “telling time” in the human sense. These
phases are considered to be more a part of the environment or the prevailing conditions just like
mentioning a location, the weather, temperature or the like.

The second major grouping of “time periods” the Shúna recognize is the concept of wáłe-.
There seems to be no precise translation of wáłe- as Davis gives it several translations but the
overarching meaning of this term is that of “season, time period, or a section of environmental
conditions.” Wáłe- includes a vast array of human concepts including seasons (fall, winter, spring
and summer), epochs of celestial events, and the cycles of rutting and birth of the various prey
animals, the annual fishruns, migrations of birds and animals and even the vast stretches of time
which continents drift across the face of the Earth Father. This term includes all of these concepts
but does not mean any one of them in particular at the same time, the precise meaning of this
general term being determined by the class which the speaker places it in. The various uses and
translations of this term I have found in Davis’ notes are:








Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

celestial season (epoch, 26,000 year period of the precession of the
weather season (temperature and weather conditions (detailed further
draconic “season” or a lifetime of a Sihá (usually several wáłer)
large prey cycles of change (rutting, pregnancy, birth, and migrations,
dependent on the species)
small prey cycles of change (generally similar to those of large prey but
dependent on the species involved)
aquatic animal cycles (fishruns, spawning etc.)
insect/bird migration cycles (dependent on what type of species one is
referring to)
earth “season” (continents drifting, geological change, ice ages)
“how many seasons?” or “seasons of what type?”
smaller period of time (generally used to mean “day” or “little period of
time (not really worth counting)”)

Not all of these cycles are used all of the time or if they are used they are not all equally
common in everyday speech. The three main uses of the root wáłe- are –wáłesin “weather changes”
and –wáłen/–wáłex “prey animal cycles.” –Wáłin “aquatic animal cycles” is also used by Sihá who
live near to and depend on rivers and seas and the fish which live in them. These larger sections of
time are each broken down into smaller units, describing the state of the weather, the behavior of
the animals and so forth:

–Wáłesin “Weather Cycles”
Srínawésin Term
–shusu sa wáłesin
(–tséya sa xítsarésu)
–šerá sa wáłesin
–qxéha/tsitsí sa wáłesin

Cold Time
(Sleeping Trees)
Budding Time
Hot/Warm Time

–Wáłen/Wáłex “Prey Animal Cycles”
Srínawésin Term
–xerya sa wáłen/wáłex
–šura/tséya sa wáłen/wáłex Lean/Sleeping Time
–qxéyé sa wáłen/wáłex
–wanał sa wáłen/wáłex

Birthing Time
Good Hunting Time

Rutting Time

Approximate Human Equivalent
Beginning of November to March
(Beginning of November to March)
March to June
June to November

Approximate Human Equivalent
October to November
Late November to late February
Late February to July
July to October

–Wáłin “Aquatic Animal Cycles”
Srínawésin Term
–nara sa wáłin
–wanał sa wáłin
–thanrá sa wáłin
`–séwanał sa wáłin

Fishrun Time
Many-Fish Time
Fish Spawning Time
Without Fish Time

Approximate Human Equivalent
Dependent on species and location
Dependent on species and location
Dependent on species and location
Dependent on species and location

There are several caveats about the above charts. Firstly the approximate human equivalents
are just that, approximate. Dragons do not conceive of either weather or their prey as obeying strict
constraints or actions which they “should” or “ought” to be doing at a specific time. These terms
are descriptive not proscriptive and merely describe what is happening at the moment or what probably


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

will be happening at a certain date. Therefore, the “Cold Time” does not begin on a certain date but
rather whenever it actually becomes cold. The Fishrun Time does not begin at a particular time, but
whenever the fish actually begin to swim upstream to their spawning grounds. Also, many of these
terms will change slightly depending upon what sort of species the Kindred is speaking about as
animals will begin rutting, giving birth and so on at different times. These periods of time generally
correspond but do not always occur at the same time. Lastly, these terms are those used by the
Northern Latitudinal dragons so they refer to environmental and predatory conditions which they
see at their latitudes but these terms would not be universal to all the Shúna. A Tropical Latitudinal
speaker in Australia will obviously use different types of terminology not only because he or she
speaks an entirely different dialect but also because they see entirely different weather conditions,
hunt different animals and so forth. These draconic “seasons” revolve entirely upon actual
conditions and situations, not according to proscribed future conditions as modern humans tend to
think of them as. Therefore there are no “late” winters or “early” summers in the draconic mindset,
only cold or warm periods that last slightly shorter or longer then others in past –tsitsíwésin “years.”
One final characteristic on how the Kindred denote seasonal changes through the course of
the year is the changing names used to refer to “the sun” during its yearly path, names which
specify its characteristics during those periods. Although the root –tsitsír ‘warm celestial thing’ is by
far the most common term used to describe “the sun,” a dragon can refer to a season or time simply
by mentioning which sun was or is in the sky at the moment he or she is talking about. Davis
recorded seven commonly used terms in his notes and also observed that these phrases tended to be
used more by dragons who lived in a more northern clime (who spoke either Northern Latitudinal
or Artic Srínawésin) then those in the south.
The seven common terms are:

Srínawésin Term Translation
–hasar tsintsínáqx
–réha sa syáhur

“Cool Celestial Thing”
“Celestial Thing on the Horizon” Depth of Winter
Winter to Spring
“Cold Celestial Thing”
Winter to Spring
“Low-in-the-Sky Thing”
Generally Spring to Midsummer
“Warm Celestial Thing”
Middle of Summertime
“Burning Celestial Thing”
“Blazing Bright Celestial Thing” Middle of Summertime

Corresponding Seasonal Period
Autumn to early Winter

In this way a dragon can say things such as:

Sahuhéyatsúłá tsnasánu sa qswátséth9 qsárréha sa syáhur nán šayxwána šayxsnahé narúnásuranáqx


I tracked that female moose across the entire tundra that hot summer day (Lit. under the
Blazing Bright Celestial Thing) and finally caught her, sank my teeth into her and shook
her until she was dead!

§7.8.3. Numerals
As strange as it seems the Kindred appear to possess no numerals in their language whatsoever. If
they do exist, I have yet to find an instance of them in any of Davis’ notes, although there is a
possibility that they appear but either he did not ever record them or none of his subjects ever used
them in his presence. Although this might seem bizarre to a modern human, it makes a great deal of

9 The use of the root qswátsa- ‘tundra, cold empty land’ with the Class XI Dead suffix –éth in this context implies that the land
was quiet and still because it was so hot during the summertime rather then because it was cold and icy.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

sense in retrospect. Humanity is extremely concerned with counting, enumerating and calculating
virtually everything we can get out hands on, but this habit comes primarily from the desire to
count time, days, months, years and seasons. It is believed that the nightly passage of the moon
overhead and the monthly change in its phases was one of the primary ways in which ancient
humans counted nights and seasons and thus what food they were likely to find, whether they
should prepare for winter, what animals they might hunt and so forth. Because we have taken the
concept of counting and numerals into virtually every conceivable aspect of our lives, it is difficult
to imagine why a race would have no need for counting.

The Shúna, in comparison, do not farm or forage for plants, and their senses are so incredibly
sharp that they can much more easily determine what animals are nearby to hunt simply by
listening, smelling and looking rather then counting out moons and nights to hypothesize when
caribou will be migrating. None of Davis’ sources ever talks about counting in any of his notes and
he appears to have never asked about the issue of counting, but I would not be at all surprised if the
Shúna have no numbers whatsoever as they are almost completely irrelevant to them and their lives.
Although specific numerals never occur in any of Davis’ notes on several occasions, the Kindred do
appear to possess some extremely general ways of referring to numbers, the most notable is the root
heshú- or ‘a clawful’ referring to the approximate number of small stones required to fill up the
forepaw of the speaker. This is not in any way exact, but seems to indicate between 50 to 100 of
whatever the speaker is talking about.

Another word in Davis’ notes is the root susa- ‘double, twin, two’ which can be used to
describe any pair of objects and “the number two” in certain instances, although these are rare.
Other then general numerical classifiers such as that, it appears as if dragons have no expression in
their language to speak about specific numbers, although this might be a case more of missing
evidence then actual fact.

§7.8.4. Constellations and Skywatching
Constellations, asterisms and ‘pictures in the sky’ are common features in all human societies
across the world. There is no human society which does not look up at the night sky and arrange
the stars into meaningful pictures and images. This, of course, applies to humans and as with all
things the way in which we look at the night sky is conditioned by our natures. And since our
nature is extremely social, our brains are physically built to find meaningful and ‘human-like’
shapes in random patterns and thereby assign social meanings to these patterns about which we can
weave stories, draw conclusions, illustrate moral points and other socially-oriented ways in which
human societies have traditionally participated in the sky.10

By this time I doubt I have to say that the Shúna are extremely different from we qxnéhiréx and
so the way they look at the sky is very different then ours. Dragons have an extremely close nature
with the sky and the stars. It is a constant feature in their worlds not only because of the ability of
many dragons to fly but also because they can see the stars through the glare of the sun during full
daylight, so the stars are ‘always out’ for the Shúna. Many individual stars have specific names and
are recognized instantly by the Shúna, day or night, and are used in navigation and orientation.
Although dragons have a close connection to the stars they both do and do not habitually pick out
shapes in the stars above and form them into meaningful patterns.

Davis believed that the primary reason for this was that constellations are not the immutable
pictures in the sky to the Kindred that they are to humans because the Kindred live so long they can
actually see the stars slowly shift and their positions change relative to the earth as well as one

10 Due to my lack of knowledge about stars in general and astronomy in particular, most of the following star-maps and other
non-Shúna-related information in this section is based on two books; The Power of Stars: How Celestial Observations Have Shaped
Civilization by Bryan E. Penprase, and The Constellations: An Enthusiast’s Guide to the Night Sky by Lloyd Motz and Carol
Nathanson. Both these texts are referenced in the Bibliography.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

another. Although this process takes an exceedingly long time (for a human) it appears to happen
fairly “quickly” to the Shúna, therefore there is little reason to assign definite meaning or shapes to
the stars. This is similar to the fact that humans do not “name” cloud formations, which are subject
to rapid change throughout the day so it would be ridiculous to expect us to name a cloud “The Dog”
and expect to look back in a short while and find that cloud at all, much less in the same shape. This
is the same for the Shúna and star-shapes for in a “short while” they will change so why have a
particular name for them? This is approximately how the Kindred view their relationship with the
stars, although it is not a perfect analogy. Stars move much slower in relation to the lives of dragons
then clouds do to a human’s life, it will typically take about 10,000 years before stars will alter their
positions enough to render asterisms no longer recognizable and while this is relatively “quick” to a
species which will live probably 100,000 years, it is not as quick as clouds will change to a human’s

Although Davis never mentions this, I would guess that another reason that dragons do not
have the types of constellations which humans have is because since they are not as inherently social
as humans, their brains are not built to recognize shapes in the same manner as people. The human
brain is structured in such a way that it is always looking for socially important shapes relevant to our
lives, faces, human forms and the like. This is why it is so easy to see faces in cliff sides, human
forms in mountains or clouds, or a pair of eyes looking at us from the random pattern of the weave
of a carpet, our brains are always looking for those shapes. Humans have also lived throughout
most of our evolution as a prey species for large cats, snakes and eagles, so we also have evolved to
constantly see the shapes of predatory eyes in the world around us, it was a simple matter of
survival for our ancestors. I would hypothesize that dragons—which are not social at all and have
never been hunted for their meat—have brains which operate extremely differently and thus do not
“look out” for those sorts of shapes which appear so readily to human sight. Also, a significant
portion of the draconic population lives underwater or beneath the earth and their contact with the
stars in general is limited so they have little reason to look at them to see interesting shapes in the
night sky.

The Kindred do see shapes in the sky above them, although they are extremely different in
nature and quality then human constellations. Essentially, there is only one “constellation” which is
recognized throughout the entire draconic species, even though most humans would not consider it a
“constellation” per se. The only pan-dragon asterism is Tsúhúr xaháSłéxur ‘The Night Mother’ or the
glittering span of the Milky Way galaxy as it arches above the night sky. As noted in the
cosmology section above, this glittering road is viewed as the ancestral spirit of the Night Mother
wrapping around the Earth Father, the Great Fiery Egg and all life which lives in and on the Earth
Father, (most importantly the Kindred themselves and only slightly less important the prey animals
which feed the Shúna). This view was encountered in every dragon which Davis asked, including
Wave of the Sea, the sea drake who said that all sea dragons which she knew of saw their ancestor
curling around them in the sky.

Although the Night Mother is the only pan-draconic “constellation” Davis could find, he did
note that the Kindred enjoy playing similar games with the stars that humans like doing with the
clouds (particularly on sunny summer days while lying lazily on a grassy hill). Dragons often look
up at the sky and try and find interesting shapes and images in the stars and sometimes these shapes
and names “stick” eventually becoming a common name for that grouping of stars for a mated pair
of dragons as well as their offspring. These “names” will sometimes spread to other dragons and if
it is a particularly good one will become a “common name” for a group of Sihá, typically in a
“small” geographic area (from the Shúna’s point of view). These constellations are not the “names”
of star-groupings, at least not for all the Shúna. Davis noted that a dragon in one area will often see
a totally different configuration in the same group of stars, despite living nearby to another Kindred
who will call those same stars according to the “common name” of the dragons in the area.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Most of the constellations that Davis noted were described to him by Bloody Face and
Moonchild, although they seemed to be fairly common to most of the dragons he spoke to in the
British Isles although neither he or I can guarantee they will be recognized by all of the Shúna in
that area. The constellations generally recognized by the British Shúna are shown on the following
page (with a secondary map showing the modern human constellations on the page after that for


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

1. Shátsár “Bunch of Celestial Eggs” (Pleiades)
2. Słáyar/Hushír “The Bloody/The Wound”


3. Łasur “Herd of Celestial Prey Animals”
4. Shuxur “The Spitter” (Regulus)
5. Hútsur “The Skull”
6. Nahunar “Blue-then-White” (Spica)
7. Sruthar “Male Rabbit”
8. Swehí sa Úrun sa Wášáwér “The Red and Blue

Stars” (Antares)

9. Hanrár “The Yawning Mouth” (of the Night


10. Słáya sa Húráwér “Blood Dribbles”
11. Xnúyar “Celestial Sleeping Place”
12. Súhur “Diving Celestial Hawk”

13. Słáya sa Šanir “Blood Spot”
14. Xiyer “The Wolf”
15. Šúrir/Tsúhúr

Span/The Night Mother”

“The Glittering

16. Rárar “The Ribcage”
17. Séyur “Celestial River”
18. Xéłárar “The Butterfly”
19. Qxútsúwéth wísaNałír/Wášáwér sa Sihéš “Pearl

String/The Celestial Star Dragon”
20. Tsutháhér shuSriyur “The Charging Elk”
21. Šátha sa Łusar “The Black Place”
22. Xúšéhawér shuWášáwér “The Always Circling


23. Xéryur “Hunting Track of the Sky”


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

1. Ursa Minor (Little Bear)
2. Draco (The Dragon)
3. Ursa Major (Greater Bear)
4. Cepheus (The King)
5. Cassiopeia (The Queen)
6. Corona Borealis (Northern Crown)
7. Hercules
8. Boötes
9. Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs)
10. Lynx
11. Perseus
12. Andromeda Galaxy
13. Triangulum (The Triangle)
14. Pegasus and Andromeda
15. Cygnus (The Swan)
16. Aquila (The Eagle)
17. Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer)

18. Scorpio (The Scorpion)
19. Sagittarius (The Archer)
20. Capricorn (The Sea-Goat)
21. Aquarius (The Water Bearer)
22. Pisces (The Fish)
23. Aries (The Ram)
24. Taurus (The Bull)
25. Auriga (The Chariot)
26. Gemini (The Twins)
27. Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog)
28. Cancer (The Crab)
29. Leo (The Lion)
30. Virgo (The Maiden)
31. Libra (The Scales)
32. Pleiades (The Seven Sisters)
33. Dephinus (The Dolphin)
34. Lyra (The Harp)


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Many of these “constellations” have a story or at least a rationale behind their naming, much like
the legends humans give to their constellations. The dragon name is given first, followed by the human
astronomical equivalent then a description as well as any legends or stories which the name derives from.

Shátsár (Pleiades star cluster): The “Bunch of Celestial Eggs” this constellation refers to is
the legendary first clutch of eggs of the Night Mother and Earth Father which birthed
the first dragons. The Night Mother swallowed the broken eggs along with the dead
eggs of the Sun and the Moon and they continue to move through her body and can
be seen in the sky above.

Słáyar/Hushír (Aldebaran in Taurus): In modern human astronomy this star forms the eye
of the Bull of Taurus but to the dragons it is named Słáyar ‘Bloody’ or sometimes
Hushír or ‘The Wound,’ both of which refer to the star’s bloody red color. Davis
records a legend that this is a bloody wound in the side of the Night Mother caused
laying the eggs which the Shúna and their siblings were born from.

Łasur (Hyades cluster in Taurus): The draconic name means “Herd of Celestial Prey
Animals” and refers to the grouping (or “herd”) of stars which make up the Hyades
cluster. This name does not seem to come from any story or legend (which was
recorded in Davis’ notes anyway) and appears to come primarily from their

Shuxur (Regulus in Leo): This bright star is found in the human constellation of Leo and the
draconic term Shuxur means simply ‘The Spitter.’ Davis believed this was because
every summer the Leonid Meteor Shower appears to come from Leo in general and
Regulus in particular and the name refers to the star ‘spitting out’ the meteors.
Hútsur (parts of Leo): The “Skull” is formed out of most of the stars which make up the
human constellation of Leo except for Regulus. Davis records no legend or story
about this asterism and I believe that it simply refers to the (very) general outline of a
horned dragon skull they appear to form.

Nahunar (Spica in Virgo): The draconic name for this star seems to have the connotation of
‘blue-white’ or possibly ‘blue-then-white.’ This seems to be a reference to the either
the star’s color or perhaps that it is a binary star.

Sruthar (parts of Libra and Serpens?): The “Male Rabbit” is a dim constellation to human
eyes and has not stories or legends. This constellation was pointed out by Bloody
Face alone, but Moonchild didn’t think that these stars looked like anything, much
less a male rabbit. I’m inclined to agree with Moonchild.

Swehí sa Úrun sa Wášáwér (Antares in Scorpio): The draconic name for this star translates to
‘Red and Blue Stars.’ This is a fitting name as what appears to be a single bloody red
star to human eyes is actually a reddish star with a small blue companion to a
dragon’s eyes or to a human with a telescope.

Hanrár (the dark space in the Milky Way between Sagittarius and Ophiuchus): This
“constellation” isn’t a star-grouping per se but a dark space that appears to divide the
Milky Way into two parts much like a mouth, which gives this asterism its name
“The Yawning Mouth” of the Night Mother. To draconic eyes the Milky Way is the
span of the Night Mother arching overhead (see Šúrir/Tsúhúr xaháSłéxur below) and
this section is her mouth opening wide. Interestingly, at this current age the Sun is in
this area of the sky during the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year and the
Night Mother appears to “swallow” the Sun, making it dark. This effect has occurred
for the last several thousand years and is therefore a “transitory” but interesting
conjunction to the Shúna.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Słáya sa Húráwér (parts of Scorpio and Ophiuchus): The “Blood Dribbles” are the stars
which appear to dribble down from the Night Mother’s mouth like blood, giving them
their name. Not all the Kindred Davis spoke with referred to these stars as Słáya sa
Húráwér, so this might be a name only Bloody Face uses.

Xnúyar (dark space between Aquarius and Pisces): This is also not a “constellation” but a
dark space in the sky which forms the “Celestial Sleeping Place.” According to
Davis’ conversations with Moonchild, this refers back to either the Shátsár “Bunch of
Celestial Eggs” or the Sun. The idea is that the Sun in particular makes a journey
across the sky (and through the stars of the Zodiac) every year and this is the “empty
place” where the Sun sleeps for a moment in its journey. During the current age this
is where the sun is during the Spring Equinox so this story might refer back to when,
due to precession, the Winter Solstice was here.

Súhur (parts of Aries, Triangulum and Perseus): The “Celestial Diving Hawk” does not
appear to have any stories or legends but is just an interesting shape Moonchild
pointed out to Davis.

Słáya sa Šanir (Andromeda Galaxy): The “Blood Spot” is the name of the Andromeda
Galaxy which lies near the band of the Milky Way and seems to be part of the
“bloody” complex of designations generally assigned to the Night Mother.

Xiyer (parts of Pegasus and Aquarius): This grouping is not a very widely recognized
asterism, in fact only Black Honey mentioned it to Howard. She named this group
after a particularly fearsome wolf which one bad winter refused to let her drive it off
its kill and she had to kill it. Black Honey named these stars in honor of this
tenacious (or foolish) wolf.

Šúrir/Tsúhúr xaháSłéxur (the Milky Way): This asterism is the only Shúna-wide
constellation as it is named after “the Night Mother,” the ancestral progenitor of the
dragons. It is also described as “The Glittering Span” which is also a name for the
Night Mother. The entire Milky Way is seen as this great being arching overhead in
the night sky, the stars are her glittering scales as she winds around the world.
Rárar (Cassiopeia, Cepheus and Perseus): The “Ribcage” has no stories or legends, but is a
widely recognized constellation among many northern dragons. Bloody Face told
Davis that he originally heard the name from a dragon in Norway and the name is
recognized across Scandinavia, Siberia and even North America.

Séyur (parts of Ursa Major and Draco): Interestingly, the Shúna do not see a draconic shape
in the stars humans call “The Dragon” but instead see “The Celestial River” due to
their winding shape as they twist through the sky overhead. This name does not
appear to refer to any stories.

Xéłárar (portions of Ursa Major, Boötes and Canes Venatici): The “Butterfly” seems to be at
odds with the generally bloody and hunting-oriented nature of the draconic sky, but
there it is nonetheless. This constellation is one which Moonchild picked out for
Howard but Bloody Face and several of the others apparently did not see or recognize.
Qxútsúwéth wísaNałír/Wášáwér sa Sihéš (Ursa Major, the Corona Borealis and Hercules):
There are two different names for this same group of stars, the “Celestial Pearl
String” and “The Celestial Star-Dragon.” The first name is simply descriptive of
how these stars appear, as a string of bright pearls, but the second name seems to refer
to a well-known and extremely ancient story about a dragon named Sun Catcher, who
was curious about what lay “beyond the –hashasin (observable atmosphere).” She
constantly flew higher and higher, attempting to see what was “up there” until one
day she simply wasn’t seen again. The theories vary from she simply flew too high
and died, the Night Mother was offended by her and slew her, she got lost in the


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

darkness above the sky, or she found out there was nothing out there and flew to a
far-away land in shame after boasting she would catch the sun if she needed to (thus
her name). Another theory (held by several British dragons) was she flew higher and
higher and got lost among the stars and eventually appeared among them, forming the
Celestial Star Dragon.

Tsutháhér shuSriyur (portions of Cygnus, Aquila, Hercules, Ophiuchus, Lyra, and Draco):
This sprawling constellation covers a section of sky which encompasses six human
constellations. “The Charging Elk” appears as a huge star-made elk with its horns
lowered and seems to be charging across the sky and is a very impressive constellation
(and to me at least it looks more like what the Kindred say it is then the
corresponding human constellations do).

Šátha sa Łusar (the dark patch of sky between Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia and Draco): The
“Black Place” is another of the “constellations without stars” which the Shúna seem
to enjoy. It has no story or legend and seems to be merely a descriptive title for this
dark, relatively starless portion of the sky.

Xúšéhawér shuWášáwér (the various circumpolar stars): This area of the sky is called “the
Always Circling Stars” or the “Always Encircling Stars” Davis believed that this
name does not refer to the fact that these stars appear to circle around the star we
humans call Polaris (which is a cycle way to short for dragons to really take note of),
but in fact refer to the fact that these stars slowly ‘wobble’ across the sky due to
precession and make a massive circuit around the sky over the 26,000 year
precessional period. This circuit makes various stars “the pole star” throughout the
cycle, turning across vast stretches of time and slowly alternating the appearance of
the sky itself.

Xéryur (the Zodiac): The “Hunting Track of the Sky” is the name the Kindred give the stars
of the Zodiac, in reference to the way the Sun and Moon move through these stars
throughout a year and month respectively. “The Zodiac” is not a stable thing to
draconic eyes as the sun’s movements change throughout a precession period but also
because the stars that are in this area slowly change. Therefore the Xéryur is simply
the area which the Sun and Moon pass, regardless of what stars are in that path.

Although the “Constellation Game” is fairly common throughout all land-dwelling Shúna,
most dragons within a linguistic group will call specific stars, nebulæ and planets certain names and
often these particular names will have stories and tales attributed to them much like constellations
do for the qxnéhiréx. Particularly named celestial objects which are either not on the above map at all
or move through it so quickly that they cannot be accurately depicted are indicated below along with
the human constellation they appear in, the reasons Davis recorded for their particular names and
any stories or legends about them:

Asteroids (invisible to the naked human eye): There are several asteroids which are clearly
visible to draconic eyes, most notably Ceres and Juno, the two largest asteroids in the
solar system. There appears to be no name for specific asteroids and any visible rocky
celestial bodies seem to be simply called Rihu sa Wášáwér ‘Small Stars’ or Wáhín sa
Wášáwér ‘Wandering Stars.’

Betelgeuse (in Orion): Commonly called Łałin sa Wášár the ‘Rosy’ or ‘Flowery Star’ due to

its slight reddish coloring.

Comets (periodic and haphazard): Comets have many names in Srínawésin, most of which
focus on their physical appearance and unusually haphazard nature. The most
common term for a comet is –hašwar which seems to have no other meaning then


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

‘comet.’ Other terms include Šłisa sa Wášár ‘Weeping Star,’ Shuxu sa Wášár ‘Spitting
Star,’ Šatha sa Wášár ‘Misty Star’ and Wáhín sa Wášár ‘Traveling Star’ (not to be
confused with the term the identical term above or Wahínar below).

Jupiter (planet): Jupiter’s Srínawésin name is Wahínar which Davis glosses as ‘Gorged’ or
‘Distended Stomach,’ obviously a reference to the huge size of the planet which must
be clearly visible to the Kindred’s eyes.

Mars (planet): This planet is usually named either Syehúr ‘The Looper’ or Słáya sa Swehír
‘Bloody Red.’ The first name appears to refer to the enormous retrograde loops this
planet undergoes while Earth is passing it by in their respective orbits of the Sun,
making it look like the planet makes a gigantic hoop in the sky. The second obviously
refers to the planet’s reddish color.

Mercury (planet): Mercury’s draconic name is Thratsúr which means ‘Darting’ or ‘There-
and-Gone,’ an appropriate name due to Mercury’s high speed around the Sun and that
it moves quickly across the sky.

Moon: The moon is a very important body to the Shúna for a variety of reasons and this can
be seen by the large number of terms that are used to describe this silvery body as it
waxes and wanes throughout its monthly cycle. Only the sun’s various names come
close to the number of terms used to describe the moon, most of which have already
been discussed in §7.8.2. Lunar and Seasonal Names above but the prototypical name
for this celestial body is –qsánir which means ‘Celestial Changer’ (referring to its
constantly altering shape). Additional names include Rúrín sa Xúxur or ‘Icy Celestial
Egg’ and Shusu sa Xúxur ‘Cold Celestial Egg,’ both of which refer to the draconic
creation story described in §1.1. How Dragons Came to Be above.

Neptune (planet): The planet Neptune was only recently discovered by humans for the
simple fact that it is too far away to be seen by the naked human eye. The Shúna, on
the other hand are barely able to pick this planet’s faint bluish glow out from the stars
around it and only on extremely clear nights. The Shúna call this planet Shuru sa
Sułúthar or ‘The Far Away Planet’ which is a fair description of it. They also appear
to call it Shusu sa Sułúthar ‘Cold Planet’ as well as Tséya sa Sułúthar ‘Sleeping Planet’
because it moves so slowly.

Orion’s Belt (in Orion): These three stars were called Xłítsar by Bloody Face and Xłétsar by
several other dragons Davis talked with. The word seems to derive from an extremely
ancient (as in multiple draconic generational) way of saying ‘three, tripartite’ although
this rare numerical reference seems to appear only in reference to these stars and not
in common speech any more.

Orion Nebula (in Orion): This nebula is typically called Šáqxér which appears to have no
particular meaning beyond the name of the celestial body itself. Davis still believed it
meant something, but none of his sources ever mentioned knowing what it was.
Rigel (in Orion): This bright star is called Susar or ‘The Pair’ because this is actually two

bright stars, which draconic eyes can separate out on clear nights.

Saturn (planet): This slowly moving planet was universally called Xanxír or ‘Yellowish’ by
all of Davis’ sources. Apparently the heightened eyesight of the Shúna can pick out
the yellowish color of the planet on clear nights, which leads to this name. Shínyí sa
Sułúthar ‘Hooked Planet’ occurred on several occasions and this term seems to refer to
the Saturn’s rings which are partially visible to the Shúna on a clear night and appear
like little hooks on either side of the planet.

Sirius (Canis Major): The Shúna call this star Słáhínar which means ‘alternating colors.’ I
believe this a reference to the fact that the star is a binary system and that to the


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Kindred’s eyes it seems to alternate both in its brightness as well as in its colors due to
the smaller star passing in front of the larger.

Sun: Off all the celestial bodies in the sky only the sun has as many terms used to describe it
as the moon, most of which have been discussed above in §7.8.2. Lunar and Seasonal
Names but the main root used to describe the sun is –tsitsír or ‘Warm Celestial
Thing.’ Other names include Qxéha sa Xúxur ‘Fiery Egg’ and Réha sa Xúxur ‘Flaming
Egg’ both of which stem from the draconic creation story above. Davis notes that
Qxéha sa Wášár ‘Fiery Ember’ occurs on several occasions (particularly by Artic
Srínawésin-speaking dragons who called it Qšéha sa Wáçár in their dialect)11 and a
mostly nocturnal dragon named Owl Claw called it Sánsár ‘Annoying Celestial
Thing’ at least once.

Uranus (planet): This distant planet is named Harir by the Shúna, a name which appears to
have no translation or referent other then the planet itself. Just like Neptune, this
planet has only recently been discovered by humans while the Shúna can see it quite
clearly in the sky and with much greater ease then they can see Neptune. At least one
dragon referred to Uranus as Narha sa Syéstu sa Sułúthar ‘the Green and Blue Planet,’
describing its watery green coloration.

Venus (planet): Venus’ draconic name is Wahałar which seems to have no meaning beyond
the name of the planet itself. I would hypothesize it means something akin to ‘Bright’
due to the fact Venus is the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon,
but I have no evidence to back that up and Davis does not note a gloss for the root

These are all of the star names Davis noted, although there are sure to be others, particularly
in the Southern Hemisphere, which is not visible from the areas which Northern Latitudinal
Srínawésin is spoken.

§7.8.5. Borrowed Words
Srínawésin rarely borrows words from other languages primarily because throughout most of
its history there haven’t been any other languages from which it can borrow from. Secondly,
dragons tend to describe things in terms of what they do and since there is usually a draconic word for
such things there is little reason to borrow a term from another species. Davis writes that both
Black Honey and Born of Fire called planes –raruwésin or ‘metal sky-things’ while Bloody Face
called almost any metallic object Howard had as simply –raruqx ‘metal-thing,’ regardless of its
function, whether it was a lighter, a knife, a can of gas or a metallic camping cup. Since most of
these objects have absolutely no use to a dragon it is unlikely they would create a more specific word
for them even if they wanted to.

One exception to this tendency was a rather humorous episode when Davis introduced beer
to Tear of the Sun. She instantly declared it to be wonderful and asked what it was called to which
he said “beer.” Tear of the Sun didn’t speak English and had never really attempted to learn any
languages of the qxnéréx so she did her best and called it hírsu which is made up of the closest sound
she could make of its English name (hír-) and the Class IX Animate suffix –su indicating it was a
liquid or animate. The news of the wonderful liquid rapidly spread and within a few moons other
Sihá were asking him for it.12 Several other names were attempted such as –łayú sa haxúsu ‘bitter
water’ or –washí sa haxúsu ‘sharp water,’ but eventually all the British dragons were calling it simply

11 Note the symbol ‘ç’ represents the strange ‘rolled s’ sound maintained in the Artic variety of Srínawésin but lost in the
Northern Latitudinal dialect.
12 He notes that his already stretched student budget was almost broken by the amount of money he spent on buying beer to give
to dragons to make them more “cooperative.” As an ex-college student I can sympathize although I wasn’t giving it to dragons!

Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

–hírsu ‘beer.’ Not only did Davis introduce what is most likely the first borrowed word into
Srínawésin from human languages but he stumbled upon something which might have made
draconic-human relations a little easier if someone had attempted it a long time ago!

§7.8.6. Euphemisms, Figures of Speech, Curses and Swearwords
All languages include euphemisms and figures of speech which often mean something
entirely different then the literal meaning of the words which the phrases are made up of. Examples
in English would be ‘you’re pulling my leg’ or ‘he has a silver tongue.’ In the first case it means
simply ‘you’re joking’ or ‘you’re kidding me’ and has nothing to do with you actually physically
pulling on my leg. ‘A silver tongue’ does not mean the subject literally has a silver-plated tongue in
his or her mouth only that they are loquacious, endearing and charismatic. This section covers not
only the way dragon’s use similar euphemisms in their own language but also how they use
insulting terminology, which often is the same thing.

The Kindred’s euphemisms are, rather predictably, usually about hunting, stalking, killing,
natural processes and other aspects of their world which they use to refer to other subjects much like
the human examples above. A full list of any language’s euphemisms would be entirely impossible
but there is a surprising number in Davis’ notes, so the Shúna obviously quite enjoy using them.
The draconic euphemisms I have gleaned from Davis’ papers are below, all of which are presented
in terms of speaking to or about another dragon:

Tsisrínawéxánits ni
“Twisting words up”
This indicates that the subject is joking, kidding, playing around and/or possibly lying.

Tsisruthawéqsuwéts tsinwáłetséyax ni/tsiswéthawéqsuwéts tsinwáłetséyax ni
“Hunting for rabbit in the lean season”

This phrase is used to indicate someone who is doing something in bad or poor
conditions, either because they are a fool, don’t know any better or they are simply desperate.
It also apparently has the connotation that even though a lot of work is going into
something, there will be little reward for it.

Tsisrínawéreshuts ni
“Stirring/mixing words up”

An interesting phrase which means that one is thinking about what to say next, mulling
over the best way to say something or otherwise thinking how to say something. It has a
very interesting visual, similar to the English expression “turning it over in my mind.”

Tsišatharéqsuwéts ni
“Hunting for mist”

This term means that someone is doing something useless, foolish or which is essentially

impossible to do, much like trying to hunt or grab the mist.

Tsiqseqsuwéts tsinšatharésin ni
“Hunting for something in the mist”

This phrase refers to the difficulty the Kindred sometimes have when it is misty and is
related to the euphemism immediately above. The mist obscures the smells and sounds of
possible prey and even impedes the incredibly acute draconic eyesight. This does not make it
impossible to hunt but it makes it significantly more difficult and this phrase essentially
means the same thing, something which is hard but not necessarily impossible or foolish.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Tsitsashałets innethéhayánášnúthéqx ni
“Has a twisted mouth/lip”

A joker, a kidder, someone who makes puns and enjoys telling jokes.

Tsitsashałéqx ithéhayánáqx innehášrúrésu ni
“His/her/your mouth has brambles”

This refers to someone with a sharp, cruel way of talking and is usually used towards a
dragon the speaker has felt wronged by or otherwise insulted. It also can refer to someone
who tells lies (which aren’t automatically looked down upon by the Shúna, but if someone
says this that means they know it’s a lie and that’s a problem!)

Xíshuxúš qsinsíwayánáqx rísí!/Xíshuxúš qsinsíwayánáqx łiqs!
“Stop spitting into my mouth!”

I have never heard such a descriptive way of telling someone ‘stop telling lies!’ as this
quaint little draconic saying which seems to imply something like ‘stop making me swallow
your lies!’

Náwaxłáqsíhúx áqxíhasax qxahasa nan!
“That prey-thing suddenly threw an iron-thing at me through the air!”

This phrase is one which is relatively recent and seems to be localized in Scandinavia,
Europe, Britain and Russia. It is derived from a humorous story one Sihá was telling another
about when she happened upon a group of humans. The Sihá in question—a female named
Dawnglow—had just woken up from a long slumber and had not seen humans before and so
was curious about what these little things were and what they were doing and her curiosity
was understandably unwelcome. So they either threw a spear or axe or shot an arrow at her
(she didn’t know what it was exactly other then it was a -waxłáqx or ‘iron thing’). She found
this extremely funny (I doubt the humans did) and exclaimed the above phrase both when it
happened and while relating the story. This phrase has since become a humorous way of
saying someone did something surprising or unexpected (and usually futile as well!)

Tsiqxítsúqsáthits ríth/ Tsiqxítsúqsáthits łi!
“Swallow (your) tongue!”

This phrase essentially means to shut up or be silent. Note the first usage can be used
jokingly with a friend; the second is highly insulting and should never be used unless you
believe you can take on an offended dragon in a fight to the death.

Tsiqxarínsihéts sríhaséš nisíwatsáhíwéqx nin!
“You’re being like an ant in my scales!”

This means that the subject is being annoying, difficult or otherwise causing a problem to

the speaker.

Xúxansírésunriwésu ułałinwésu nu…
“Flowers usually lure bees…”

This means someone is using something to their advantage or using a natural advantage
for their own purposes. It can also be used to suggest that someone do something in this
way. This phrase seems basically like the infamous honey vs. vinegar luring bees parable
that my grandmother is so fond of telling me.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Xíhašéš rałúhasa’qs/xíhaše rałuhaséš’qs
“He/she/you won’t turn away from me/I won’t turn away from him/her/you”

This phrase refers to a dragon who will not present his or her side towards the speaker,
indicating a lack of trust and is used to mean “he/she/you don’t trust me” or “I don’t trust
you” in the second case.

Tsixłísarisets ni
“Biting at the tail.”

This simply means something or someone is being annoying, troublesome or otherwise
difficult. It can also be used as Tsisíwaxłísarisa’n “I’m biting at my own tail” to mean that
one is doing thing in a way which are causing trouble to oneself or otherwise not very good.

Tsixánuwéx shiwéyásusawéx ni/tsixánuwéx shisáhesusawéx ni
“There are two female badgers fighting each other, there are two male badgers fighting each

This rather humorous phrase is used to refer to something which is better left alone or
avoided. The various badger-related phrases which crop up in Davis’ notes indicates that the
Shúna seem to have a very healthy respect for badgers, a remarkable feat, even for such
tenacious and vicious little mammals.

The final element of this section is that of swearwords and cursing. There appears to be no
such thing as what an English speaker understands as a “swearword” in Srínawésin, at least not
which I have been able to determine from Howard’s copious notes. Terms such as –sréhúš ‘shit,
feces’ or –hanéš ‘penis, male sexual organs’ simply do not have any sort of inherent negative, socially
unacceptable or pejorative meaning to them any more then –šawaha ‘stone,’ –háxusu ‘puddle, pond’ or
–xniyaha ‘dirt’ does to the Kindred. And there is a total lack of anything like English’s fuck you,
asshole, go fuck yourself or Welsh’s twll dy din or other types of curses or swearwords.

The Kindred do have a fully developed system of insulting and discourteous terminology, it
is simply different then the examples presented above. As written earlier in this paper, extremely
explicit or over explained sentences are considered to be extremely rude and can be thought of the
Srínawésin equivalent to lacing one’s sentences with swearwords among polite company. Certain
terms such as qsér and łi have an extremely condescending and insulting connotation to them which
are thought of by the Kindred much like curse words and will illicit anger and deadly violence
almost instantly (unless the speaker is much more powerful and dangerous then the listener).
Additionally, an indirect way of insulting a Sihá (or now I suppose a human if they were to speak
Srínawésin) is to refer to them as Class VI Inedible, indicating the speaker would not even deign to
eat the listener, which is extremely insulting. For instance the exchange below:

Íš! Qsér qsahú!
Ššš! Tsiqxítsúqsáthíš łi!

Did (you) eat it (a dead thing)?
Ugh! Obviously I didn’t!
Oh, shut up!

In the second sentence the speaker uses the highly insulting qsér enclitic while in the third
sentence the speaker uses not only the insulting łi enclitic but also refers to the listener as an inedible
thing and is an extremely insulting reply. I created these sentences, but if Davis’ notes are based on
reality a response like this would usually provoke a vicious and possibly lethal fight or at least be
cause for not speaking to one another for a decade or two. Dragons for the most part prefer a little
bit of creativity in their insults and are typically very inventive not only in their terminology but
also in their complexity of insulting terms. Using an offensive term more then once in an exchange


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

is considered to be “lazy” and the mark of a fool (which is probably why they do not have such a
thing as a set of specific swearwords) while interesting, insightful, cruel and complex insults are
thought to be the mark of an intelligent individual and even an attractive feature in a mate.
Dragons also appear to enjoy using poetical and lyrical forms in their offensive language (see section
§7.10. Xániwésin Poetry and Poetical Forms immediately below) and—as counter-intuitive as it
might be to a human—an insult which is vicious, lyrical, has poetic elements, is clever and complex
can actually stop a fight as the speaker is obviously an intelligent individual and intelligent dragons
are not something to be taken lightly, even by other dragons.

Davis’ notes include such exchanges as the following insults, which were spoken by Ash
Tongue and Frost Song before their fight to the death which Howard was unlucky enough to

Frost Song:

Ash Tongue:

Ítsisa xíraha sa washíqx ítsisa xíłayuyánéts nihúsa ithéhaqxítsúqx nisa tsixinix sa
théhasrínawéhíšá qsihú!
I can’t hear your words because your tongue is so swollen with the poison, you
drink! (in other words I cannot hear you because you’re such a filthy liar)

Anneshátsáxaruwéth’łá! Annesrušaréshá annesrušaréth’łá! Tsýúxrána
innethéhahawáxaruth nitsúsa tsutséyar shutsitsír nusa nin!
I hear that (you lay) rotten-eggs! I hear that (you eat) inedible and dead
things! I will urinate upon your rotten corpse before the sun sleeps!

The latter insult is particularly interesting from a poetical standpoint. Dragon poetics will be
discussed in the following section but Ash Tongue’s reply makes repeated use of the anne- past-tense
object marker to give the utterance a repetitive, lyrical quality to it and there is a repetition of the r
and ha sounds several times, which is one of the ways the Kindred prefer to make poetic forms
(repeated h and ts sounds are non-italicized, repeated r sounds are in bold and repeated x sounds are

Tsýúxrána innethéhahawáxaruth nitsúsa tsutséyar shutsitsír nusa nin!

Ash Tongue ended up slaying Frost Song after a lengthy duel of almost an hour which was as

Howard dryly put it “one of the most memorable and terrible things I have ever seen.”

§7.10. Xániwésin Poetry and Poetical Forms
“Poetry” and “songs” are two words that are least likely to come to mind to the average human
when asked to think about dragons. In fact, if I asked the average person to make a list of one hundred
words they think of when they describe dragons, I would be very surprised if either “poetry” or “songs”
occurred to anyone. So, to my mind, either Howard Davis was very unusual in how he portrayed his
fictional dragons or this is one of the best single pieces of evidence he gives that might make me consider
the Shúna might actually exist. The draconic concept of Xániwésin is a difficult one, starting with the
definition of the root xáni-. The term encompasses meanings such as ‘poetry, a pun, a joke, a turn of phrase,
a wise saying, a play on words, words which say one thing but mean something else,’ as well as others.
Unfortunately, Davis’ notes on Xániwésin are not very complete, I get the feeling that he was either not
very interested or he was not yet able to understand the complexities of draconic poetry during the time he
took those notes.

Unfortunately I am even less able to understand how draconic poetry is formed, I neither have had
the experience with the Shúna themselves or the ability to get further information on this subject (or, I
simply do not have the imagination of Davis, take your pick), so this section, by necessity will be


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
incomplete and rather general. Davis recorded several draconic poems and songs but he rarely provided a
translation so untangling how they work has been extremely difficult and at times impossible. The best
information I have on draconic poetic forms is a single paper within Davis’ notes when he jots down a basic
description of the various verse-forms used in Srínawésin and two songs he learned how to sing composed
by Scatterlight (see 8.3. The Song of the Moon by Scatterlight and 8.9. O Little Deerling, by Dawnglow below).
From that single fortuitous page Davis left behind, I have been able to gain a very basic overview of the
way the Kindred compose poetry.

The most basic form of verse the Shúna seem to employ is alliteration, repeated sounds within a
single sentence to create a repetitious, flowing sound. For instance, Icelandic Skáldic poetry used these
forms (alliterating forms in bold):13

Stinn sár thróask stórum,
Sterk egg frömum seggium
Hvast skerr hlífar traustar.
Hár gramr lifir framla.

Severe wounds increase greatly,
Strong edge cuts sharply
Trusty shields for bold men.
The high prince lives honorably.

Hrein sverd litar harda
Hverr drengr. Göfugr thengill
(ítr rönd furask undrum)
Unir biartr snöru hiarta.

Each warrior dyes clean
Swords mightily. The noble ruler, bright,
Rejoices in a bold heat.
The fine shield is furrowed amazingly.

The famous poem Beowulf, the first written instance of English in history, employs similar poetical
forms, which were common throughout Germanic societies in Northern Europe (again, alliterating forms
in bold):14

Oft Scyld Scēfing sceaþena þrēatum,
Monegum mægþum meodo-setla oftēah
Egsode Eorle, syððan ærest wearð
Fēasceaft funden; hē þæs frōfre gebād:
Wēox under wolcnum, weorð-myndum þāh,
Oðþæt him æghwylc þāra ymb-sittendra
Ofer hron-rāde hyran scolde,
Gomban gyldan; þæt wæs gōd cyning!

There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,
A wrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes.
This terror of the hall-troops had come far.
A founding to start with, he would flourish later on
As his powers waxed and his worth was proved.
In the end each clan on the outlying coasts
Beyond the whale-road had to yield to him
And begin to pay tribute. That was a good king!

Besides the very Viking-sounding subject matter of both of these poems, Germanic and Skáldic
poetry like that above made use of initial-alliteration primarily, i.e. rhyming between the initial sounds of
word. Germanic-Skáldic poetry followed system of particular patterns which were variations on a theme:
each line usually had four stressed words which were divided into two couplets with two stressed words in
each. The stressed words in the first couplet both had to begin with the same sound (either a consonant, a
consonant cluster such as sc above, or any vowel, which all alliterated with one another) as the first stressed
word in the second couplet forming a pattern of a minimum of three alliterating sounds within a line. This
can be illustrated by the very first line in the Beowulf example above:15


Scyld Scēfing

sceaþena þrēatum,

13 Sturluson, Snorri, Edda, North Clarendon, Vermont, Tuttle Publishing, 2002, p. 168-169
14 Heaney, Seamus, Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, New York, New York, W.W. Norton Company Inc., 2000, p. 2-3
15 Additional information on Old English metrical systems in poetry, as well as Germanic poetry can be found in Robert E.
Diamond’s Old English: Grammar and Reader, Michigan, Detroit, Wayne State University Press, 1970, p. 46-67


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

This system is opposed to the more common form in “Western” society, end-rhyme, such as a

famous song:

T he Minstrel Boy to the war has gone,
In the ranks of death you will find him.
His father’s sword he has girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him!

“O Land of Song,” said the Warrior-Bard,
“Though all the world betrays thee!
One sword at least thy rights shall guard!
One harp at least will praise thee!”

The Minstrel fell, but the foemen’s chains,
Could not lay his proud soul under!
The harp he loved ne’er spoke again,
He tore its cords asunder.

And said “No chain will sully thee,
Thy soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were meant for the pure and free,
And shall never sound in slavery!”

This type of rhyming is common in many Latin-influenced societies (Roman poetry used end-
rhyme poetry often), a category which most of Europe certainly falls. Srínawésin seems to use a type of
alliteration but prefers to rhyme most in the initial forms, although it seems to also make use of word-medial
rhyming, which is uncommon in European poetic forms for the most part (although see below for a similar
Welsh example). An example of a single line from a draconic poem (which I am able to decipher) is:

Tsixéšé sa qxítsúwésu tsinseša sa xítsawésu išerná sa nunarésin nirúnáha nixahurúha’n.
The many strong winds whisperingly speak within the waving trees on the left side of the mountain.

This line exemplifies many of the concepts of “poetry” for the Shúna, at least as I can understand it.

The first section of the line repeats certain sounds, many in the same places within the words:

Tsixéšé sa qxítsúwésu tsinseša sa xítsawésu
The many strong winds whisperingly speak

Additionally, the root sounds qxítsú- ‘to speak’ and xítsa- ‘tree’ also sound somewhat similar, and
could possibly included in this rhyming scheme. The second half of the line shows the same pattern, only
with differing sounds:

išerná sa nunarésin nirúnáha nixahurúha’n

Also, all of the adjectives are in the passive adjectival voice, giving repeated sounds in the sa particle!
This type of poetry seems to be fairly basic, repetition of sounds in certain orders, although there does not
appear to be any sort of stress pattern or syllable-count that I could discern in any of Davis’ recorded poems
or songs. Interestingly, this poem seems to show a similarity to certain Welsh poetic forms, specifically a
verse form called cynghanedd.

An example of cynghanedd can be found in the famous Welsh Poet Dafydd ap Gwilym:16

Am aur o ddýn marw ydd wýf
Hudólion a’i hadéiws


16 Loomis, Richard Morgan (translator and commentary), Dafydd ap Gwilym: The Poems, Binghamton, New York, Center for
Medieval & Early Renaissance Studies, 1982, p. 22-23


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

Y bu’r bái wb o’r býwyd
Llawn o húd, llun ehédfaen

Both these examples are the Cynghanedd Groes form of cynghanedd, whereby consonants in the initial
part of a line alliterate with those in the second half. I am almost tempted to think that these Welsh verse-
forms might have been influenced by Srínawésin in some way, after all Bloody Face often claimed he had
had many dealings with the qxnéhiréx of Britain. Unfortunately there are several problems with this
hypothesis. Firstly, it requires dragons to exist, and I am by far not quite in that camp yet. Secondly, the
way Welsh verse-forms have evolved is not really understood, but it hardly requires recourse to borrowing
from Srínawésin to Welsh. Thirdly, I am aware that my particular interest in Celtic languages in general
and Welsh in particular makes it likely that there is a matter of bias in my interpretation. Fourthly, there
is simply no enough information to make an informed judgment in either direction.

Although poetics seem removed from everyday life, one aspect of draconic poetic sensibilities which
is used every day is the way in which dragons name themselves. As covered in § Draconic Names
above, draconic names are highly personal and specific things, revolving around particular characteristics or
actions of a particular Sihá, which differentiates him or her from all others. Names—according to the
Shúna—should be interesting, specific, representative and above all else beautiful. The beauty in a draconic
name involves two main factors; the semantic element and the lyrical element. Although names like Bloody
Face, Slit Belly, Tornheart, Rotten Teeth and Strips-Flesh-from-the-Bone might not seem to be very “beautiful”
names in terms of subject matter to a human, these are beautiful terms and concepts to a very predatory and
violent species (to whom the blood of another animal is life itself). Draconic names often involve very
violent and vicious imagery because they live in a very vicious world but many Shúna have wonderful
names such as Smoke Flower, Tear of the Sun, Ghost Song, and Suncatcher. The ideal Shúna name must not
only be beautiful in terms of imagery but also should obey the lyrical and poetic sensibilities of the draconic
mind as detailed above, usually involving repeated sounds and syllables which give the name a chant-like or
songlike quality to it when spoken in its true form (in Srínawésin). One particular lyrical name that Davis
mentioned in his notes was the wonderful name “Afraid-of-Butterflies,” which in Srínawésin is:

Xwenxáłirwíš uXéłárwéshá (literally translated: “Butterflies always scare him”)

I have no idea how or why this particular dragon got his name (I’m fairly sure it is embarrassing and
I’m not sure I want to know an embarrassing story about a dragon!) but it is not only beautiful in terms of
its imagery and humorous in content, but it also obeys the poetic quality of the draconic mindset, with
repeated uses of similar sounds, in particular the roots xáłir- ‘to cause fear’ and xéłár- ‘butterfly’ which are
almost identical:

Xwenxáłirwíš uXéłárwéshá

Other lyrical names in Davis’ notes include (with alike lyrical elements in bold or underlined):

Xútsusin šánSnáhusin
Słáya sa Wanawéqx
Sewe sa Swéhésin

Bone Digger
Bloody Claws
Frost Song
Blood Drinker

Although there is bound to be some amount of repetition of sound and syllable in any series of
words in any natural language, when a dragon takes or is given a name about a particular distinguishing


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred
feature or action he or she will reword or reorganize it so it will conform to these poetic elements and ideals
as much as possible, leading to a name which is unique, interesting and lyrically pleasing.

Another way which the Kindred seem to form their poems is that of elaborate puns and verbal jokes,
based on not only similar sounds but the way in which words are derived in the language (deriving a single
word multiple ways, i.e. as a verb, adjective, nouns etc, within a single sentence) as well as synonymous
words, affixes which sound identical or similar and other sound and word-plays.

An example of these forms was given above in 5.1. Overview:

(moving past a location present tense+THIN CLOUDS+Class VIII Subject)
Went past thin clouds in the air

(beginning action aspect present tense+THIN CLOUDS+Class VIII Subject)
They are just beginning to be thin clouds (Lit.)
The thin clouds are just beginning to form

These two phrases are pronounced in nearly identical ways (as /s:ihaqsasin/) but they can be
understood in two ways, depending on context. In poems and poetic wordplays the Shúna seem to enjoy
using such phrases repeatedly within several lines of the poem, each of which is identical but is understood
differently depending on the context of the line, i.e. the other words in the line. One type of verbal pun used
by dragons amongst each other takes advantage of the fact that sometimes the object infixes attached to
true-verbs are sometimes pronounced identically with infixed verb roots and therefore can legitimately be
understood both ways, leading to humorous results such as the question below:

Tsahutsaqséruts xax?

This question can be interpreted in two ways:

Tsa+hu+tsa+qséru+ets xax?
Were you smelling that part of something else?17


Tsa+hutsa+qséru+ets xax?
Were you smelling the honeysuckle?

One last interesting note on draconic poetics and usage is that they have developed a very specific
set of technical terminology to describe their poetic forms in a very succinct and specific manner,
something that all Shúna prize greatly. The root xáni- seems to be a general and all-purpose term used to
describe any sort of lyrical or poetic speaking without regard to its specific style, shape or realization. More
specific terms describe certain ways in which a song or poem is recited such as:


lullaby (soft, crooning song designed to be lulling and calming)
poem (without a tune and simply spoken)

17 Possibly a sexual reference?




Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

chant (similar to wánsa- but with a pulsing rhythm or cadence similar to a heartbeat)18
a song with a set of traditional and specific lyrics but whose tune changes (sometimes
mid-song) depending on the singer’s mood, inclination or interpretation of the song
generic term for any song (but requires a definite melody versus wánsa- and shéqxu-)
similar to a słiši- but in this case there is a specific and traditional melody and the lyrics
change depending on the singer and what they want to sing about

Unfortunately, this is what little information I am able to present on Xániwésin although if I ever

gain more information I would like to write a paper solely on this interesting aspect of the language.

§7.11. Non-Verbal Communication
All languages make use of non-verbal communication in various ways, some of which are fairly
universal (to humans anyway) and others which are culture-specific. Americans famously prefer to be at
arms’ reach when speaking to others and typically only touch one another twice during a conversation:
shake hands once when you meet and once when you part. In many Arabic countries, the speaking
distance is much closer and both men and women kiss on each cheek upon meeting one another. Other
things such as the sign for ‘crazy’ in American culture (pointing at the head with the index finger and
twirling it around) means ‘I will call you’ in British culture. To humans certain actions, such as nodding
and shaking the head, are fairly universal, I am not aware of any human culture that does not understand
these motions. Smiling, glaring, laughing, hostility and other facial expressions are universal as well, even
chimpanzees and canines recognize these expressions because they all come from a common mammalian

The Shúna, who do not have a common ancestor with mammals, therefore their understanding of
body language is extremely different then that of humans’. One thing that Davis notes specifically is how
incredibly in-tune dragons are to one another’s body language and the body language of everything around
them. Not only do they use non-verbal communication to “speak” to one another, but they are very adept
at reading the body language of other animals with frightening ease. Their incredible senses assist them in
this, they can smell fear, joy, excitement and concern as easily as if a big sign was written on someone’s
forehead, they can hear the changes an animal’s heartbeat, feel the way they shift their weight and even see
tiny reactions in their skin and muscle flinches. They do not just look at the other beings around them; they
study them intently and can read them like a book. Not only does this make it nearly impossible to lie to a
Sihá (Davis notes several times that he did not tell Black Honey the total truth and she spotted it instantly)
but they use this ability in the hunt; they almost read the minds of their prey and can predict when they
might run, where they might run to, whether they might freeze or when they cannot detect the presence of
the Sihá (which usually leads to a quick death for the unfortunate animal). Non-verbal communication is a
matter of life-or-death to the Shúna and they are masters of its use among themselves and anything which
they might want to eat—which is most anything.

Davis notes several types of specific body language the Kindred use amongst their own kind,

motions and movements similar to a human nod, shrug or facial expressions. These include:

1) Flexing one’s scales from head-to-tail is an affirmative expression, similar to a nod.
2) Flexing only the scales along the back in either direction is a negative expression, similar to

shaking the head.

3) Repeatedly flicking the tongue out to taste the air is a sign of intense interest or concern.
4) Staring intently at another dragon is not seen as hostile or intrusive, but a polite gesture which
indicates one is paying close attention to everything the other is saying (and indicating through
body language). Sustained eye contact is a typical mannerism amongst the Kindred because they

18 Black Honey’s own words


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

use fluctuations in pupil dilation, eye movement and other signs to get a “read” on who and what
they are looking at. Howard notes that this tendency can be quite disconcerting as every Shúna
he met always looked at him like a piece of meat. Sometimes a little too literally.

5) Never presenting the side or back to another and always keeping one’s front facing another is a

sign of distrust (by not showing a side “open to attack”).

6) The reverse is also true; by showing the rear or sides of ones’ body this indicates trust and


7) Although acting as 6) above can also indicate contempt as if the dragon in question does not care

if the other attacks.

8) A snort is a sign of both derision and a signal that one has heard the other.
9) Closing the eyes, laying down and “tsuru-ing” ‘pretending to sleep but really awake and
listening’ is extremely rude and implies contempt and disinterest even though they are certainly
still listening intently.

10) Davis notes that the “typical” conversation distance for a pair of Sihá is about one hundred yards
or so, far enough so neither can attack without warning and close the distance before the other
can somewhat ready themselves but close enough to smell and hear each other.

11) He also notes that the closer two dragons are when they are speaking indicates the level of trust
and friendship they have with one another. The above distance is for strangers and enemies,
several hundred feet closer and they are most likely allies while family members and mates in
particular virtually wrap around one another and coil together while they are talking, enjoying
each other’s body heat and their company, albeit for brief periods of time.

12) Attempting to give another a meal is terribly rude; it implies a lack of confidence in their ability
to hunt. Only a mate will feed another dragon and then only in extreme circumstances and only
as a last resort, even children will not feed their parents if they are sick or wounded in an effort
not to insult them.

13) The Shúna bare the teeth out of anger or fear, and this is an extremely hostile sign, as is raising
the tail and the wings to appear larger and digging one’s feet into the ground (to prepare to
charge or take to the air).

Davis notes that dragons as a rule will not laugh; a draconic “laugh” is usually a huff or snort
accompanied by a flexing of the scales. Neither will dragons smile, amusement can be inferred from a
slight “sneering expression” (his words, not mine) as well as certain scents extruded by the body which
humans appear unable to detect. Bloody Face—who had spend much time around the qxnéréx—could
change his body language if he so desired, adapting “human” gestures such as smiling, narrowing the eyes,
nodding and shrugging as easily as a human might take off a coat and put on another. Howard noted on
several occasions how disturbing this could be as the big red dragon would laugh, shrug and roll his eyes
and then when something caught his attention he would in an instant switch back to very Sihá-like
behavior and then back again with hardly a pause. Due to their intent attention on those around them,
even dragons who have not had dealings with the younger races will rapidly pick up their gestures and
adopt them while speaking with them—if that is, they do not intend to kill them and eat them regardless of
what they say.

At one point in his notes, Howard relates a particularly illuminating story which I always think of
when I am attempting to understand the body language as well as the speech patterns of the Shúna. Davis
seemed to be a fairly avid hunter and at one point he went hunting with Bloody Face and Moonchild. I do
not know what he meant when he wrote “Yesterday, October 31st, I went hunting with my friends in the
woods for deer,” I doubt he was going to leap on a deer and tear it to shreds like the other two and the two
Sihá would probably not like the sound of a gunshot scaring away other prey, but regardless, he observed
the pair hunting and recorded the following story.


Srínawésin: The Language of the Kindred

The two tracked a herd of deer by scent alone (usually they would do this from the air but they
stayed on the ground for Howard’s benefit, something they enjoyed for the challenge) for several miles,
easily keeping track of them from a distance of a mile or two. They constantly watched the way the wind
blew and how it was directing the scents in the air and were just as cautious to keep downwind of their
quarry as they were to move silently through the brush, which they both did surprisingly well for their
immense size. The trio moved through the woods in utter silence, Bloody Face and Moonchild periodically
looking at each other when the wind shifted and “discussing” the movement of the scents on the air by
pointing at possible routes which would keep them downwind with their heads, directing each other’s
attention by pointing their ears and other non-verbal clues. Howard for the most part did not really
understand these “discussions” but merely followed the other two until they came across the animals’ trail
and the droppings they had left. Moonchild came up to the trail first and looked down at it and then back
at the other two, and Bloody Face moved up and examined the feces with a quick glance and a sniff.

Howard came up and looked at the deer scat and looked up at the other two:

“Iháqsan násusréhúth rásye ihuxén násusréhúth xi?” (Is it female deer feces or male?)

The two dragons looked down at him angrily for not only he had asked his question aloud, but he
asked a question which should have been obvious “simply by smelling it.” Dragons apparently cannot
fathom how terrible our sense of smell is and asking a question which was so blaringly obvious would be
like walking outside and asking one’s friends if it was night or day. Bloody Face later told him a Sihá can
not only tell the species and gender of an animal’s droppings with but a smell, but can tell if they are sick or
healthy, wounded, pregnant and where they have most likely eaten the food they left as their droppings.

Later, he repeated the mistake by asking the pair:

“Tsiháqsawén tsihuxéwén rásye tsiháqsarén tsihuxérén’x?” (Are there a few female and male deer or

many female and male deer?)

This question could have been easily answered (so thought Moonchild, who said so later) by simply
looking at the ground and the tracks the deer had left, answering the question with a look rather then
disturbing the dragons’ thésúwanúsin ‘hunting silence!’ All these aspects of the Kindred and how they deal
with each other is at least as important as all the grammar of Srínawésin, not only do dragons use it
constantly amongst themselves and particularly while they are hunting, but as Howard notes at one point:

“November 19th, I am lucky I spent so much time around Bloody Face and Moonchild
before looking to speak with other Shúna. I hadn’t realized how much I had come to
understand their body language until speaking with Obsidian Claw for several minutes. I
could tell in a glance I should leave, he didn’t like me and if I stayed I would most likely end
up being his next meal.”

49Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns image
Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns image
Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns image
Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns image
Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns image
Section VII: Sentence Structure and Speech Patterns image

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