Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang

Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang

Author: Barry J. Garcia

MS Date: 03-03-2020

FL Date: 06-01-2020

FL Number: FL-000069-00

Citation: Garcia, Barry J. 2020. «Setvayajan: An

Abandoned Conlang.» FL-000069-00, Fiat
Lingua, . Web. 01 June
2020.

Copyright: © 2020 Barry J. Garcia. This work is licensed

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

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

Fiat Lingua is produced and maintained by the Language Creation Society (LCS). For more information
about the LCS, visit http://www.conlang.org/

SETVAYAJAN
An Abandoned Conlang

Barry J. Garcia

March 2020

2

Contents

1 Why I Abandoned Setvayajan

2 Phonetics

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2.1 Phonology . . . . . . . . .
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2.1.1 Orthography . . .
2.1.2 Consonants . . . .
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2.1.3 Vowels . . . . . . . .
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2.2 Syllable Stress . . . . . . .
2.2.1 Word Stress . . . .

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3 Nouns

3.1 Nouns

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3.1.1 Direct and Indirect Object Marking .
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3.1.2 Determiners . . . .
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3.1.3 Possession . . . . .
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3.1.4 Plurals . . . . . . . .
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3.1.5 Noun Derivation .

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4 Pronouns

4.1 Personal Pronouns

4.2 Demonstrative Pronouns .

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4.1.1 Non-Gendered Pronouns .
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4.2.1 Demonstrative Adjectives .
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Indefinite Pronouns . . . .
4.3.1 Existentials as Indefinite Pronoun Replacements .
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Interrogative Pronouns . .
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4.5 Subject Dropping . . . . .

4.3

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5 Modifiers

5.1 Modifier Placement . . . .
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5.2 Modifier Formation and Derivation .
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5.2.1 Other Derivational Affixes .

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3

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4

6 Verbs

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6.2 Tense and Aspect

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6.3 Applicatives . . . . . . . .
6.4 Causatives . . . . . . . . .
6.4.1 Direct Causative .
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6.1.1 Gerund . . . . . . .
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Imperative . . . . .
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6.2.1 Tenses . . . . . . .
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6.2.2 Aspects . . . . . . . .
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6.5 Grammatical Mood . . . .
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6.6 Participles . . . . . . . . .
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6.7 Ditransitive Verbs . . . . .
6.8 Passive Voice And Intransitive Verb Conversion .
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6.8.1 Passive Voice . . .
6.9 Reflexive Constructions
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6.10 Verb Intensification . . . .
6.11 Verb Derivation . . . . . .
6.11.1 Affixation XXX . .
6.11.2 Compounding . . .

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7 Prepositions

8 Conjunctions

8.1 Conjunctions . . . . . . . .

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8.1.1 Coordinating Conjunctions .
Subordinating Conjunctions .
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9 Negation XXX

10 Subordinate Clauses

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10.1 Relative Clauses . . . . . .

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10.1.1 Direct And Indirect Objects In Relative Clauses
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10.1.2 Adjectives As Subordinate Clauses .
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10.3 Adjective Clauses . . . . .
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10.4 Sentences with Multiple Subordinate Clauses .

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11 Topicalization

12 Existentials

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12.1 Ko – Existential . . . . . . .
12.2 ¯Az – Non-Existential
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CONTENTS

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37
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CONTENTS

13 Numbers

13.0.1 Cardinal Numbers .
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13.0.2 Ordinal Numbers .

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14 Language and Culture

14.1 Sentence Final Discourse Particles .
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14.2 Interjections . . . . . . . .
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14.2.1 Main Interjections
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14.3 Addressing People . . . .
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14.4 Greetings and Farewells .
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14.4.1 Standard Greetings .
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14.4.3 Formal Greetings .
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14.4.4 Farewells . . . . . .
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14.5.1 Family Name . . .
14.5.2 Given Name . . . .
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14.5.3 Hazum – House Name .
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14.5.4 Name Format . . .
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14.6 Apologizing . . . . . . . .

14.5 Setvai Names

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15 Setvayajan Sound Changes

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15.0.1 First period (1,500 – 1,000 years ago)
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15.0.2 Second period (1,000 – 650 years ago)
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15.0.3 Third period, modern Setvayajan (650 – 345 years ago) .
15.0.4 Vowel and diphthong changes that happened consistently over all
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15.1 Modern Sound Change Processes .
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15.1.1 Phonotactics . . . .

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5

61
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63
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73
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6

CONTENTS

Chapter 1

Why I Abandoned Setvayajan

The following document is Setvayajan as it stands at the point I decided to abandon the
project to work on a better, more systematic, and more cleanly designed version. I had
started the project in 2014, though put it down in a formal manner in 2015. At the time I
hadn’t really considered Setvayajan being entirely naturalistic, more of a Philippine and
Hindustani sounding artlang. David J. Peterson’s advocating for the naturalistic style of
conlanging struck a chord with me, and I decided halfway through to try to get Setvayajan
to that state while keeping what I’d already done.

Bad move. Because I hadn’t started off with a solid proto language first, I was working with
what was already there, and trying to retcon what was there into a naturalistic conlang.
There was also a strong drive to get words in modern Setvayajan that ”sounded right”,
and so I’d started off with the modern version in mind and worked backwards to a ”proto”
form to get what I wanted. This is fine for easter eggs, but for a lot of the words, it just
resulted in a total mess. What also really didn’t help was the list of sound changes were
largely ad-hoc (and some pushing into ”Hmm… I’m not so sure” territory), added on the
fly and poorly explained, so months later I’d look at them and then forget why a particular
rule was written as it was or get confused because I hadn’t been careful.

Grammarwise, all of it, and I do mean all of it was based on the modern form of Setvayajan,
not working from a proto language (because well, like I said, there was none). I actually
like much of the grammar (and I really don’t hate it), but it lacks the interplay that sound
changes and the proto language’s grammar can create to produce the modern language.
To sum it all up, a lack of good planning and the lack of a proto grammar ended up with
me in a constant cycle for years trying to clean up a total mess that could have been avoided
if I’d planned out the proto form first and then worked from there.

Read on to see the lurching, hulking, shambling mess that Setvayajan turned out to be.

7

8

CHAPTER 1. WHY I ABANDONED SETVAYAJAN

Chapter 2

Phonetics

9

10

2.1 Phonology

CHAPTER 2. PHONETICS

Setvayajan’s sound inventory consists of twenty three consonants, and seven vowels. All
consonants and five vowels are represented in the Latin orthography and native writ-
ing system. Two vowels are not represented by their own characters, being allophones.
The basic syllable structure is vowel, consonant-vowel, vowel-consonant, and consonant-
vowel-consonant.

2.1.1 Orthography

Orthography is the way a language is written. Here, what is meant by orthography is
the method in which Setvayajan is written in Latin letters. Setvayajan does have its own
writing system called Ranj¯al, which will be explained in its own chapter, but this section
explains how to write Setvayajan in our writing system.

The Latin orthography for Setvayajan is largely based on English spelling conventions for
the consonants, and M¯aori’s system of using macrons for writing long vowels. The use of
macrons (the long bar above the vowel) is simply an aesthetic and space saving method.
While the standard orthography calls for writing long vowels with a macron over the
vowel, the long vowels can also be written as doubled letters, but this is only used when
writing letters with macrons would not be possible (as in web addresses, for instance). I
find this to be unattractive, and it also leads English speakers to perceive certain doubled
vowels as entirely different sounds than intended. For example, English speakers see ee
as /i/, and oo as /u/).

Below is the Latin orthography for Setvayajan. An explanation of the various sounds rep-
resented by these letters and digraphs is given in the sections on the consonants and vow-
els:

(cid:15) Consonants: b, d, f, g, h, ch, j, k, kh, l, m, n, ng, p, r, s, sh, t, th, v, y, z, zh

(cid:15) Vowels: a, ¯a, e, ¯e, i, ¯ı, o, ¯o, u, ¯u

The six digraphs ch, kh, ng, sh, th, and zh are explained below. Two digraphs, ch and sh,
are pronounced as they typically are in English, but the others may not be as obvious to
an English speaker:

(cid:15) ch – /(cid:217)/: This represents the same sound as in chime, but never to represent /S/ (as

in chef ). This is the only time the letter c is used in this orthography.

(cid:15) kh – /x/: This is the same sound as ch in the Scottish word loch , or the German word

nacht.

(cid:15) ng – /N/. This is the consonant sound at the end of sing. It is never followed by a

/g/ as in singer.

(cid:15) sh – /S/. Pronounced the same as in shine.

2.1. PHONOLOGY

11

(cid:15) th – /T/. Pronounced as the th in thing but never as in this

(cid:15) zh – /Z/. This is the sound represented by z in azure.

Few orthographies are perfect, and this system can be a bit troublesome, particularly with
regard to kh, sh, th and zh. Normally, a following h is pronounced separately, but here,
they represent four particular sounds; /x/, /S/, /T/, and /Z/. In order to represent two
separate consonants, an apostrophe is inserted:

(cid:15) k’h – /kh/

(cid:15) s’h – /sh/

(cid:15) t’h – /th/

(cid:15) z’h – /zh/

These four examples are the only instances in the Latin orthography when the apostrophe
is used in this manner. The apostrophe is never used for ”effect” as is so often seen in
western works of fantasy or sci-fi where it is a meaningless, and often excessively overused
decorative mark intended to make a word look ”exotic” or ”alien”. In Ranj¯al, this is not a
problem as it has very clear ways of distinguishing between these consonant sounds and
consonant clusters.

Diacritic Marking

In addition to the macron, Setvayajan’s orthography and uses an acute accent mark. The
acute accent mark is used to denote words where the syllable stress falls on a syllable
where it would not normally be expected. In Setvayajan, it generally appears in borrowed
words where the original stress is preserved, or in affixed words which do not result in
new, derived words.

12

2.1.2 Consonants

CHAPTER 2. PHONETICS

Below is the consonant chart for Setvayajan. The twenty two phonemic consonants are
laid out in the chart based upon point of articulation (where the sound is produced in the
mouth) along the top row, with the manner of articulation (how the sound is produced in
the mouth) along the left most column.

Figure 2.1: Setvayajan Consonant Inventory

Where a two different sounds are separated by a comma, the left sound is unvoiced while
the right one is voiced. Letters that are bolded are the phonetic characters, while letters in
parentheses are the written representation of the sounds the phonetic letters represent.

Consonant Allophones

Setvayajan has few consonant allophones, and they are not indicated in writing. Their
appearance is regular and predictable:

(cid:15) /p/, /t/, and /k/ can become aspirated if they are part of a stressed, closed syllable.

(cid:15) In many dialects of Setvayajan, /k/ tends to become /x/ at the beginning of a stressed

syllable if it is intervocalic. This is not universal for all speakers.

(cid:15) /r/ is an allophone of /R/ and appears at the beginnings and ends of words.

2.1. PHONOLOGY

2.1.3 Vowels

13

The vowels are illustrated in the chart below. There are five vowels, and these are split
between short variants and long variants.

Figure 2.2: Setvayajan Vowel Inventory

For an English speaker, vowel length may seem like an exotic thing, but vowel length
does appear in English. Long vowels are allophones of short vowels in English, and most
English speakers don’t notice them. In Setvayajan on the other hand, vowel length is dis-
tinctive and differentiates the meaning between two otherwise identical words:

(cid:15) an – uncertainty particle

(cid:15) ¯an – hard, durable, tough

For an average English speaker unfamiliar with languages that distinguish between long
and short vowels to differentiate between otherwise similar words, the two words would
sound the same. Some listeners might notice the length difference, but would typically
not understand that the vowel length makes a difference in determining the meaning of
the word.

Vowel Allophones

There are only a handful of vowel allophones, which are not distinguished in writing in
Setvayajan. Not all dialects share the same allophonic rules for the vowels, and Setvayajan
spoken by speakers of dialects without these allophonic rules may sound odd to a non-
native speaker who is used to the standard dialect:

(cid:15) /e/ and /i/ are allophones of /E/ and /I/ which always appear in closed syllables

in the standard. Some dialects lack /E/ and /I/ entirely.

(cid:15) /a/ and /e/ often reduce to /@/ in unstressed syllables.

(cid:15) Stressed short /a/, /e/, and /i/ tend to be pronounced as /æ/, /E/, and /I/.

14

CHAPTER 2. PHONETICS

2.2 Syllable Stress

Setvayajan marks stress in a word based on syllable weight. This means that the heaviest
syllable will always take the stress in a word. The weight of a syllable is one of three types:
heavy, medium, and light. This weight is determined based upon the following factors:

(cid:15) Heavy syllables always end in unvoiced stops, geminate consonants, or they contain

long vowels.

(cid:15) Medium syllables end in consonants other than the unvoiced stops, or in a diph-

thong.

(cid:15) Light syllables are always open and always end in short vowels.

2.2.1 Word Stress

Stress marking is predictable in Setvayajan. For a Setvayajan speaker, assigning stress is
largely natural, and this pattern tends to be followed with non native languages for Set-
vayajan speakers. But for a learner of Setvayajan, the process may not be as transparent.
To keep it simple for the sake of explanation, the following pertains to words of no more
than three syllables:

(cid:15) If all syllables are of equal weight, the second to last (penultimate) syllable will take

the stress

(cid:15) If a word contains light syllables and at least one medium or heavy syllable, the

heaviest syllable will take the stress.

(cid:15) If a word contains at least two heavy syllables, or two medium syllables, the first

heavy or medium syllable will take the stress.

(cid:15) If there is at least one long vowel in the word, it will take the stress regardless of

whether another heavy syllable comes before it.

With longer words, the stress marking is more complex, but primary stress always falls on
the heaviest syllable in a word, or the penultimate syllable if all syllables are of the same
weight. Secondary stress is distributed to every other syllable out from the syllable with
primary stress.

Chapter 3

Nouns

3.1 Nouns

In Setvayajan, nouns may be derived from roots, from affixed roots, or compounded words.
Basic nouns tend to be roots while compounding and affixing are highly productive meth-
ods of deriving new words. Setvayajan tends to coin new words rather than borrow them.
Unlike English, nouns are marked for case, but rather than as an affix as in Latin, two case
marking particles are used.

3.1.1 Direct and Indirect Object Marking

Setvayajan marks direct and indirect objects using two marking particles. These particles
are placed before the nouns they mark. In addition to marking nouns for the direct and
indirect objects in a sentence, they can also act as a sort of generalized preposition. When
used in this way, context needs to be clear to ensure that the meaning of the sentence is
understood:

(cid:15) Kahinno kau tsaya ni tsuo. – I hit him on the head

In the above example, the marking particle ni is standing in for the preposition ran, which
in this case means on. Use of these particles to stand in for prepositions happens far more
with indirect objects because the choice of verb will often imply what preposition would
normally be used with the indirect object. If a preposition is used with the noun, the
particle is omitted:

(cid:15) Kahinno kau tsaya ran tsuo. – I hit him on the head

In this example, ran (meaning on) takes the place of the indirect marking particle ni. In
very colloquial varieties of Setvayajan, the word marking particles get dropped, and word
order becomes strictly fixed. When the direct and indirect object marking particles are
omitted, the word order becomes a strict verb-subject-object-indirect object word order. How-
ever, pronouns will still be used in their direct and indirect object forms.

(cid:15) Kahinno saro to isan vo sho. – The man hit the house with a rock.

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16

CHAPTER 3. NOUNS

(cid:15) Kahinno saro isan sho. – The man hit the house with a rock.

The first example above is the standard form, while the second example is the colloquial
form with marking particles dropped. Most Setvayajan speakers consider this form of
object marker dropping to be incorrect at best, and a sign of poor education at word.

Direct Objects

When a direct object appears in a sentence, it is marked by the direct object marker to unless
the direct object is preceded by a preposition. When preceded by a preposition, the direct
object marker is dropped. When a preposition is not used, the to marker is always placed
immediately before the direct object. If the direct object is preceded by a modifier, the to
marker is placed before the modifier.

(cid:15) Miraino kau to isan. – I saw the house.

(cid:15) Miraino kau to mur gi isan. – I saw the red house.

Indirect Objects

Like direct objects, unless a preposition is used, indirect objects are preceded by the marker
ni. This marker gets used more often than the direct object marker as a stand-in for prepo-
sitions, but at the same time requires clear context for this purpose. In the same way as
for the to marker, if a modifier is used with the noun, ni is moved before the modifier.

(cid:15) Kahinno kau to atnal ni sho. – I hit the door with a rock.

(cid:15) Kahinno kau to skoi gi atnal vo sho. – I hit the tall door with a rock.

3.1.2 Determiners

Determiners help to determine what the noun or noun phrase is referring to. These include
articles, demonstratives, and interrogative determiners. Here, only the articles, quanti-
fiers, and the interrogative determiners will be discussed. Other determiners have their
own sections. In Setvayajan, they work like adjectives do, and come before the nouns they
determine.

Definite And Indefinite

By default, all nouns in Setvayajan can be either definite or indefinite, and definiteness or
indefiniteness is translated depending upon context. However, when a Setvayajan speaker
feels the need to specify something in particular, the demonstrative pronouns are used as
modifiers:

(cid:15) ban gi ts¯an – this tree

(cid:15) ras gi ts¯an – that tree

3.1. NOUNS

(cid:15) maz gi ts¯an – that tree there

17

In a similar way, if a Setvayajan speaker needs to specify indefiniteness, it uses the number
kal, meaning one:

(cid:15) kal gi ts¯an – a tree

(cid:15) kal gi isan – a house

(cid:15) kal gi saro – a man

Quantifiers

Quantifiers determine the amount of something. There are just four in Setvayajan:

(cid:15) sir – all, every

(cid:15) nith – many, much

(cid:15) siman – some

(cid:15) ¯al – litte, few

Siman can be used to mark indefiniteness, though this is used more specifically to indicate
an indefinite group of something:

(cid:15) siman gi ts¯an – some trees/trees

(cid:15) siman gi isan – some houses/houses

(cid:15) siman gi saro – some men/men

Interrogative Determiners

Interrogative determiners are used to ask questions. In English they are often called wh-
questions because all except how begin with wh-.In Setvayajan, they are all distinct and don’t
share a similar form:

(cid:15) mai – what, which

(cid:15) ao – when

(cid:15) n¯o – where

(cid:15) gyo – how

18

3.1.3 Possession

CHAPTER 3. NOUNS

Possession in Setvayajan was formed originally by the suffix -han. Over time, this suffix
expanded into three forms due to sound changes in the language, and the form used de-
pends on the final sound of the word it is suffixed to. While the possessive suffix comes
in three forms, the rules for which form to use are based around sound change rules for
/h/, and application to the noun is simple. In terms of word order for possessed nouns, the
possessed noun always precedes the possessor, and both are preceded by the direct and
indirect case markers when used.

(cid:15) Possession suffix rules:

– -han/-an/-yan

(cid:3) -han: follows any word ending in a vowel
(cid:3) -an: follows any word ending in voiceless stops
(cid:3) -yan: follows any word ending in consonants other than voiceless stop.

(cid:15) Examples:

– Isanyan saro. – The man’s house.

– Amuhan khakyath. – The khakyath’s meat.

– Kahinno h¯an to tsuohan saro. – The woman hit the man’s head.

– Ilevyan j¯al. – The town’s marsh.

– Byanyan s¯ath. – A person’s self.

Use of Possessives in Sentences

When used in complex sentences where case marking particles are used, the possessed
noun must follow the appropriate case markers, or take the type of case marker indicated
by the pronoun if followed by one:

(cid:15) Miraiyo kau to isanyan tsula. – I look at your house.

(cid:15) Makono kau to sengyan saro. – I cooked the man’s food.

3.1.4 Plurals

Setvayajan has a couple of pluralizing methods. The most basic is a plural like the En-
glish plural, a simple suffix added to the ends of nouns. Plurals of this type are the most
frequently encountered plural in the language.
It takes different forms depending on
whether the root word ends in a vowel, diphthong or consonant:

(cid:15) Root ending in a vowel or -au: -yu

– banta – boat > bantayu – boats

3.1. NOUNS

19

– ilau – flame > ilauyu – flames
– sori – star > soriyu – stars

(cid:15) Root ending in a consonant or diphthong (except -au): -u

– ¯asei – ice > ¯aseiu – ices
– h¯an – woman > h¯anu – women
– d¯ath – hill > d¯athu – hills

As a straightforward way to say ”two of something”, the dual number is largely restricted
to things perceived by the Setvai to come in pairs naturally, such as eyes. However, it is
on occasion used as a derivational affix, in which case it can create an unexpected change
in meaning from what is expected based on the root noun. When used for things that
the Setvai perceive as coming in pairs, it is not considered a derivational affix, taking two
forms depending upon whether the noun begins in a consonant or a vowel or diphthong:

(cid:15) ¯o-: for words beginning in consonants

(cid:15) ¯oy-: for words beginning in vowels or diphthongs

The form ¯oy- is used to prevent altering the initial vowel or diphthong of the noun. Be-
cause of the phonetic rules governing long vowels, if root contains a long vowel in the first
syllable, this long vowel is lost.

(cid:15) With nouns perceived as coming in pairs:

– ¯otana – hands

– ¯oyori – eyes

– ¯ocho – feet

(cid:15) With other nouns (and also modifiers), the affix used to derive new words:

– ¯o + ¯ınausu (child) > ¯oinausu – twin (hypercorrected to ¯oinausuyu to mean twins)
– ¯o + sitau (knife) > ¯ostau – a knife with two cutting edges, a kind of dagger
– ¯o + zhukh (ugly) > ¯ozhukh – horrendously ugly

(cid:15) With names or words referring to people, the implied meaning is ”that person and
their counterpart”, referring to someone in a relationship of some sort as the person
. This use is very colloquial and slangy use, however.

– ¯osaro – man and his spouse

– ¯oyata – animal and its mate

– ¯oy¯ınausu – child and their parent

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CHAPTER 3. NOUNS

3.1.5 Noun Derivation

Setvayajan creates new nouns by two processes: compounding and affixing. While words
do get borrowed, Setvayajan speakers will more often coin a new word based on the mean-
ing of the original word, or create one by forming a compound. If a word is not easily
coined, created via compounding, or it’s shorter and simpler, then a Setvayajan speaker
may borrow the word instead. Borrowing is more prevalent if the word comes from a lan-
guage with status, such as Vos¯ath.

Compounding is probably the simplest of the two derivational methods. The base noun
is preceded by a word that modifies the base noun, whether it is another noun, modifier,
or verb root. New compounds often escape the initial effects of Setvayajan phonotactics,
but after a short period of time, the compound is perceived as a single word and regular
phonotactic processes begin to change the word.

Setvayajan is quite rich in affixes to derive new nouns. Most are suffixes, but there are a
handful of prefixes, and some infixes (affixes with go within the root word). Because af-
fixes create new words, the original root words can be obscured by phonotactic processes,
hiding the etymology. In the following list, if there are multiple versions of the affix, it
means the specific form is used depending on a preceding consonant or vowel. The first
version is the primary form, followed by possible changes due to phonotactics. See the
section on phonotactics for reference.

(cid:15) Place:

– Place described by the root, place of: -har, -yar (after consonants)

– Originating from (also used for abstract ideas of a similar vein): gau-, go-

– Where something happens regularly: -ten, -den

– Place intended for something: -ky¯o

– Something done at a specific place: -es

– Settlment, town: -j¯a

– Country name: -toza, -doza, -tsa, -dza

(cid:15) Time:

– Time something happens: -azin, -zin

– Time in which something is done: -ran, -dan

– Season something happens: -ivas, -vas

– Occurrence/event of something: -on

– Rite, ritual, ceremony: -tava, -tva

– An organized event based on the root: -rendan, -dendan

3.1. NOUNS

(cid:15) Role:

21

– Someone or something who does something as a role: -tan, -dan

– Someone or something that acts as or does something: -ho

– Someone who does something as a profession: -sin, -zin

– Someone or something associated with the root (inherent): -su

– Someone or something that uses the root in some way: -reyo, -deyo, -jo

– Someone or something that causes the root to happen or something to become

the root: te-, ch-

– Someone or something that replaces or imitates the root: -kren

(cid:15) Tool:

– Something used to perform an action: -ith

– Something used to measure or contain what’s referenced by the root: -nan

(cid:15) Result:

– An object or result of the root: -al

– Something made into what the root describes: -mur

– XXX something made out of what the root describes: -soi, -zoi

– Something in the form of or derived from the root: -v¯a

(cid:15) State:

– The state, quality or condition of something: -ro, -do

(cid:15) Act/Process or Verb based nouns:

– Based on verbal roots, can be translated to ”act of” though not always. Tends
to describe the process indicated by the root, but also used for simple verbal
nouns: -ram, -dam

(cid:15) Relationships:

– Persons or things in a relationship expressed by the root: -sem, -zem

– A reciprocal relationship based on the root: -um

(cid:15) Abstract nouns:

– Nouns based on an abstract idea or quality: -ar

Note: -ar is the preferred form for abstract ideas or qualities as nouns, rather
than the plain root.

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CHAPTER 3. NOUNS

(cid:15) Collectives and Measurement:

– A group of things referenced by the root: -bara, -bra, -para, -pra, -vara, -vra

– A large number of things, generally uncountable: -ika

– A measured quantity of something: -shor, -zhor

(cid:15) Perjorative:

– Simple pejorative (often productive for insults): -rakh, -dakh

– Diminutive pejorative (implying a lesser version/quality): -dir, -tir, -zir

– Used with moods, feelings, and emotions to denote the negative opposite: kyo-

(cid:15) Miscellaneous Suffixed Affixes:

– Something done excessively or repeatedly: -bos, -pos, -vos

– Something done for the benefit of someone or something: -is

– Something incomplete, broken or not quite right: -maka, -ngka

– Doctrine or theory of something: -eth, -jeth

– Originating from, pertaining to: -ajan

– Honorific used at the end of given names: -le

(cid:15) Miscellaneous Prefixed Affixes

– Augmentative (a larger version): si-, sh-

– Without: iras-, irash-

– Someone or something that is: ya-

– Someone or something that is not: van-

– Two of something in a pair: ¯o-

– Resembles/similar to/like: ar-

(cid:3) Becomes infixed if the root begins in a consonant: kar ¯on – ”grasslike” (from

k¯on – ”grass”)

Chapter 4

Pronouns

Setvayajan pronouns are divided into personal, demonstrative, indefinite and interrog-
ative pronouns. There are forms for subject, direct object and indirect object pronouns.
Originally, these were all the same in form but marked with the to and ni markers. Over
time, the direct and indirect object markers became prefixed to them, often changing their
origin.

Originally, only the singular personal pronouns had polite forms. Later, politeness was
extended to all pronouns referring to people using the -le politeness suffix which was
originally used only with names when addressing people (it still keeps this function).
Formation was originally regular, but sound changes have caused changes in form, and
the origin of some of the polite pronouns is obscurred. Others are obvious by a final -l.
Sound changes also caused a few familiar and polite forms of the demonstrative pronouns
to merge, and to correct this, Setvayajan speakers added the -le politeness suffix to these
again (which whittled down to -l due to sound changes), creating regular polite forms.

4.1 Personal Pronouns

The personal pronouns in Setvayajan are more complex than they are in English, as in some
instances there is no one to one correlation between Setvayajan and English pronouns.
Setvayajan pronouns also take into account politeness, requiring a specific pronoun based
upon the relative difference in social status between the speaker and the listener or those
the speaker is discussing.

Aside from the polite forms, you’ll notice some differences from what English has. There
is a first person dual form, which includes just the speaker and the listener but no one else.
This form is usually used in cases where the action happens simultaneously to both the
speaker and the listener, a shared experience. It is also used when the action is reciprocal
between the two.

The other major difference are the two forms of first person plural pronouns that are in-
clusive and exclusive. These forms are used to established who did what with the speaker.

23

24

CHAPTER 4. PRONOUNS

Figure 4.1: Setvayajan Personal Pronouns

The inclusive form is used to discuss things that the speaker and others did that also in-
clude the listener. The exclusive form is used to speak about things that the speaker and
others did, but not the listener.

The polite forms are numerous, and aside from the first person singular, there are polite
forms to match the familiar. These polite forms are used based upon the relative distance
socially between the speaker and those they are discussing. Politeness levels are not quite
as complex as they are in languages like Japanese or Javanese (there are no special word
forms aside from the pronouns for marking polite speech), but one must take into account
where they stand compared to where others stand. Usage of the familiar and polite pro-
nouns is explained below:

(cid:15) Familiar forms:

– Used by adults to speak to children

– Used among friends

– Used with those of equal social status

– Older people to younger people

4.1. PERSONAL PRONOUNS

25

– Superiors to subordinates

(cid:15) Polite forms

– Used by children to speak to adults

– Used among younger peer groups to older peer groups

– Used with those of unequal social status but not always one where the differ-
ence is great, such as classmates in more junior levels to more senior levels

– Among colleagues at work unless they have become friends or have equal status

– Younger people to older people

– Subordinates to superiors

– Between strangers (of about equal or older age)

– Non-native speakers to native Setvayajan speakers (non-native speakers are ad-

vised to use these forms)

4.1.1 Non-Gendered Pronouns

Setvayajan pronouns are genderless, which is why sei and isu are translated as he/she. These
pronouns say nothing about the gender of the person they are being used for other than
that one is speaking about a person. Without there being a gender distinction, it might
sound like these pronouns can be used for talking about things, where we would use it in
English. This is not permitted as these pronouns are used strictly for discussing people.

How does Setvayajan discuss things without having to name them all of the time if there
is no pronoun for it? It resorts to using demonstrative pronoun:

(cid:15) Suvaru kau tofan. – I’m eating it (this)

(cid:15) Suvaru kau chas. – I’m eating it (that)

(cid:15) Suvaru kau tomaz. – I’m eating it (that there)

A more formal way of using the demonstratives sees them used as demonstrative adjec-
tives linked to the noun kor, meaning thing. For this construction, the direct object marker
to is omitted because the demonstrative adjectives are used in their direct or indirect object
forms and so to is unnecessary:

(cid:15) Suvaru kau tofan gi kor. – I’m eating it (this thing)

(cid:15) Suvaru kau chas gi kor. – I’m eating it (that thing away from me)

(cid:15) Suvaru kau tomaz gi kor. – I’m eating it (that thing out of reach from me)

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CHAPTER 4. PRONOUNS

4.2 Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstratives are words which ”point out” what someone is referring to based upon the
distance between the speaker relative to the listener and whatever they are discussing.

Figure 4.2: Setvayajan Demonstratives

Setvayajan’s demonstratives are split three ways; near, away, and distant. English has a two
way distinction which is why the translation of maz and maj is that there, though translating
them as just that suffices. When to use maz and maj depends upon how far away something
is from the speaker. Generally speaking, if the object requires getting up or travel, then
maz and maj are used. There aren’t guidelines as to when to use which, and usage can even
vary between two speakers next to each other and their estimation of how near the object
is. There are also plural forms for the regular plural, and also for items that come in pairs
(dual). The dual is used much less often than the plural, but it is important to know the
forms for it. In addition there are direct and indirect object forms which are irregular and
must also be learned as well.

4.2. DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS

27

4.2.1 Demonstrative Adjectives

Like the interrogative pronouns, the demonstrative pronouns can also be used as adjec-
tives. Like other adjectives, they are linked to their following noun or pronoun with the
gi linking particle:

(cid:15) Ban gi ts¯an. – This tree.

(cid:15) Ras gi sho. – That rock.

(cid:15) Maz gi isan. – That house (there).

When used as modifiers, they don’t take the sa- derivatonal affix, but they must be followed
by the linking particle gin. Also, when the noun they modify is the object or indirect object
of the sentence, the demonstratives take their direct or indirect object forms instead of the
subject form being preceded by the direct or indirect object particles:

(cid:15) Miraino kau chas gi isan. – I saw that house.

(cid:15) Suvano kau to seng maz gi isan. – I ate food at that house (there).

However, when a preposition is used, the subject form is used instead:

(cid:15) Suvano kau to seng de maz gi isan. – I ate food at that house.

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CHAPTER 4. PRONOUNS

4.3 Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns refer to non-specific things, beings, and places. Setvayajan’s indefinite
pronouns started out quite regular but over time, they experienced phonetic changes that
helped to reduce their length and obscure their origin. These changes were not at all
regular across all of the indefinite pronouns, as some of them were altered to level out with
similar indefinite pronouns or two indefinite pronouns from becoming the same word.

Figure 4.3: Setvayajan Indefinite Pronouns

4.3.1 Existentials as Indefinite Pronoun Replacements

Setvayajan allows the positive and negative existentials ko and ¯az to act as pseudo-indefinite
pronouns. This use is contextual based upon the verb and the agent of the verb. Even so,
at times the meaning can be ambiguous, though context of the conversation should still
clarify what is meant. For these, they are placed before the conjugated verb:

(cid:15) Ko suvano kau. – I ate something.

(cid:15) ¯Az rahano kau. – I cut nothing/no one.

If the statement is to be made negative, then the verb must have the negating prefix va-
added:

4.4. INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS

29

(cid:15) Ko vasuvano kau. – I didn’t eat anything.

(cid:15) ¯Az varahano kau. – I didn’t cut anything/anyone.

The previous examples would require a preceding statement in order to give proper con-
text for their use (unless the speaker was intentionally trying to be as ambiguous as pos-
sible). Here’s a more proper example:

(cid:15) Ko liha gi seng, ko suvano kau. – There was a lot of food, I ate everything.

For more on the existentials, please see section 8.7.

4.4 Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions. In English, these are usually called wh-
words, however in Setvayajan, they do not share a common initial sound as they do in
English. Setvayajan’s interrogative pronouns are a bit different than English in that there
are familiar and polite forms. Another difference between Setvayajan and English is that
the interrogative pronouns are not used as relative pronouns.

Figure 4.4: Setvayajan Interrogative Pronouns

The three basic interrogatives have polite forms in addition to their basic forms. These
forms are used when talking about not only people of a higher status than the speaker,
but for what and which objects which are held in high esteem:

(cid:15) Suvano ei to seng? – Who ate the food? (familiar)

(cid:15) Suvano el to seng? – Who ate the food? (polite)

(cid:15) Suvano hoi to seng? – What ate the food? (familiar)

(cid:15) Suvano hil to seng? – What ate the food? (polite)

(cid:15) Suvano ur to seng? – Which ate the food? (familiar)

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CHAPTER 4. PRONOUNS

(cid:15) Suvano uz to seng? – Which ate the food? (polite)

When the interrogative pronouns are used, they are treated in the same manner as per-
sonal pronouns, following the normal placement of subjects, objects, and indirect objects:

(cid:15) Suvayo ei chas? – Who is eating that?

(cid:15) K¯amano sei gau tohoyu? – What did he talk about?

(cid:15) Tadavathyo sei t¯or? – Which will she sell?

4.4.1 Interrogative Adjectives

The interrogatives can also be used as adjectives as they are in English. They are linked to
their nouns in the same way as any other adjective:

(cid:15) Hoi gi isan? – What house?

(cid:15) Uzu gi ts¯anyu? – Which trees?

– Alternately, the plural ending -yu can be omitted from ts¯an, as plurality is stated

by uzu:

(cid:3) Uzu gi ts¯an? – Which trees?

(cid:15) Ei gi maz? – Who’s that over there?

Notice that in English, the interrogative pronoun normally comes at the very beginning of
the sentence (though, English isn’t absolutely strict about this). In Setvayajan, the normal
way of using them is as was explained to treat them as the personal pronouns are treated.
However, if the interrogative pronoun is intended to be emphasized, they will always come
before the verb, but the translation can change:

(cid:15) Ei suvayo t¯am? – Who is eating that?

(cid:15) Gau tohoyu k¯amano sei? – Of what did he speak?

(cid:15) T ¯or tadavathyo sei? – Which will she sell?

4.5 Subject Dropping

Subject dropping refers to the practice of omitting already established subjects of sen-
tences. Because direct and indirect objects are always marked, either through the direct
and indirect object particles or by prepositions, this allows the subject pronouns which
are not marked, to be omitted. Subject dropping is standard practice and for Setvayajan
speakers it feels odd to hear an already established subject to be mentioned in every sen-
tence while the subject is the topic of conversation. In fact, Setvayajan speakers introduce
a new topic by introducing a subject after the verb in a new sentence.

4.5. SUBJECT DROPPING

31

(cid:15) Makono saro to ama, suvano (sei) chas. – The man cooked the meat, (he) ate it.

(cid:15) Miraino kali to saro, miraino (sei) de tsaya. – The woman saw the man, (she) looked at

him.

(cid:15) Usavno ata de svati, demo, (ora) skara t¯or usavno. – The animal walked to the river, (it)

walked along it later.

In the above examples, the subject pronouns (in italics) have all been dropped. They’ve
been established in the first part of each sentence and so there is no need to mention them
again in the second part of each sentence. In very colloquial Setvayajan, if a following
clause or sentence is talking about the previous clause or sentence, the subject, direct ob-
ject, and indirect object can be dropped, leaving a bare verb and sometimes a following
preposition. This construction can be very vague and confusing and is considered im-
proper. It is avoided in all but the most informal of situations:

(cid:15) Makono saro to ama, suvano (sei t ¯or). – The man cooked the meat, (he) ate (it).

(cid:15) Miraino kali to saro, miraino (sei) de (tsaya). – The woman saw the man, (she) looked

at (him).

(cid:15) Usavno ata de svati, usavno (ora) skara (t ¯or) demo. – The animal walked to the river,

later, (it) walked along (it).

The interesting thing about this construction is that Setvayajan permits prepositions to
remain without standing before nouns or pronouns. Of course, as explained, this is very
colloquial and is not permitted in standard or even normal Setvayajan conversation. Keep
in mind that in standard sentences, prepositions cannot sit at the end of sentences because
they will always be required to precede a noun or pronoun.

32

CHAPTER 4. PRONOUNS

Chapter 5

Modifiers

Setvayajan doesn’t make a distinction in a formal sense between adjectives and adverbs
and in fact, there isn’t a suffix that generally marks adverbs. Because there isn’t a real
distinction between adjective and adverb except by the word being modified, it is more
accurate to call all describing words modifiers instead. However, to simplify things in this
document where appropriate, adjective and adverb will be used to clarify when necessary.
Modifiers can come from a variety of sources; roots, nouns, compound words, or affixes.
WWhat signifies that a modifier is being used is the linking particle gi, which is placed
between the modifier and the modified word.

(cid:15) Mur gi isan. – The red house.

(cid:15) Suvano gi reko kau. – I ate quickly.

5.1 Modifier Placement

There are certain standard rules for modifier placement. Typically, in a verbless sentence,
adjectives normally come before nouns and pronouns. When used in a sentence with
verbs, adjectives tend to come after the noun or pronoun except in certain set phrases or
names for things. With adverbs, things are a little bit trickier. Most commonly, the adverb
comes after the verb and before the subject, object, or indirect object. When an auxiliary
verb is used, adverbs sit between the infinitive and the conjugated verb, linked to the
infinitive. However, if the speaker wants to emphasize the adverb, most commonly done
with adverbs of time, the adverb is placed before the verb:

(cid:15) Mur gi isan. – The red house.

(cid:15) Miraino kau to isan gi Mur. – I saw the red house.

(cid:15) Suvaru gi reko kau. – I eat quickly.

(cid:15) Suvath gi reko metaru kau. – I want to eat quickly.

(cid:15) Demo gi tasuvaru kau. – Later, I’ll eat.

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CHAPTER 5. MODIFIERS

While the placement described is standard, Stevayjan allows some leeway, especially for
poetic purposes, but also if the speaker thinks it sounds better, and only if the meaning is
clear. It’s not uncommon for a sentence like Suvaru gi reko kau to be rearranged as Suvaru
kau gi reko, but this works only because reko in the context of that sentence means quickly.

5.2 Modifier Formation and Derivation

While roots that aren’t modifiers can be turned into modifiers by the linking particle, the
standard way to indicate that a non-modifier root is being used as a modifer is to use the
prefix sa-, s-. This prefix takes two forms depending upon the initial sound of the root.
For roots that begin in consonants, it takes the form sa-. If the root begins in vowels or
diphthongs, it becomes s-.

(cid:15) sa- + k¯on (grass): sak¯on – grassy

(cid:15) sa- + dal (strength): sadal – powerful

(cid:15) sa- + hing (spice): sahing – spiced, seasoned

The sa-, s- prefix is a newer method of forming modifiers. An older, alternate method used
the existential ko (there is, there are) as a prefix, ko-. As the prefix sa-, s- increased in use,
modifiers using ko- were reduced to a handful of modifiers with different meanings than
what they originally had. Originally it had stopped being a productive affix except with
roots that begin with sa- or s¯a-, although it is seeing a resurgence in colloquial speech:

(cid:15) Old ko- modifiers:

– ko + unai (joy): k¯onai – joyful > excited

– ko + inom (rest): kinom – rested > unconscious

– ko + k¯on (grass): kok¯on – grassy > overgrown

(cid:15) Sa roots with ko-:

– ko- + sato (to be acquainted): kosato – acquainted with, known to someone

– ko- + saka (cycle): kosaka – cycled, completed

– ko- + s¯ath (person, being): kos¯ath – human

5.2.1 Other Derivational Affixes

There are a number of affixes used to derive modifiers aside from the sa/s- affix. These
affixes sometimes can be used to form nouns in addition to being used to create modifiers.

(cid:15) -ajan, -jan: Originating from, pertaining to: setvayajan – of the Setvai, relating to the

Setvai

5.2. MODIFIER FORMATION AND DERIVATION

35

(cid:15) san-: having a large quantity of the root: sanvisai – gorgeous

(cid:15) -soi, -zoi: made of: kalisoi – golden

(cid:15) gaw-, go-: originating from: gojin – from mountains

(cid:15) sa-, s-: abundance, fullness: sunai – joyful

(cid:15) dil-, ju-: likeness, similarity to: jujin – mountain-like

(cid:15) va-, v-: not, similar to ”un/in” in English: vaksai – unholy

(cid:15) ras-, raz-, rash-: lacking, without: razdal – weak

(cid:15) -y¯a. -ya: shaped, shaped like: talay¯a – crystal shaped

36

CHAPTER 5. MODIFIERS

Chapter 6

Verbs

Setvayajan verbs are the first part of the sentence unless negated, preceded by adverbs or
if a noun or pronoun is topicalized. They are formed from roots and conjugated through
affixes. These affixes are applied in a regular order, which is the easy part of verb con-
jugation in Setvayajan. On the other hand, knowing which affix to use is often the most
difficult part.

(cid:15) The order of affixes on the verb root is applicative – causative – verb root – aspect –

tense

Setvayajan doesn’t allow for shifting these elements around, but their use is straightfor-
ward. Although it is theoretically possible to have every single category applied to a verb
root, it is unlikely to be encountered frequently. The most commonly encountered combi-
nations are root – tense, or root – aspect – tense.

6.1 The Infinitive

The infinitive in Setvayajan developed originally as a nominalization of the verb root.
While the infinitive in Setvayajan is used to form the dictionary form of the verb (the base
form), in addition it is also used to form the gerund, the imperative, and to allow verbal
roots to stand on their own as finite verbs. Setvayajan also uses the infinitive to form verb
phrases consisting of the infinitive followed by an auxiliary verbs.

In Setvayajan, the infinitive, gerund and the imperative all share the same suffix, -soi. It’s
important to note that words ending in -soi

(cid:15) Infinitive: k¯amasoi – to speak

(cid:15) Gerund: am k¯amasoi – the speaking

(cid:15) Imperative: K¯amasoi sula! – Speak!

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6.1.1 Gerund

CHAPTER 6. VERBS

Gerunds in Setvayajan are verbal nouns that name the action, rather than the result of
the action. They describe the verb as a noun. In translation into English, they would be
translated with the -ing suffix. In form, they take the same ending as the infinitive, -soi.
These are then treated as a noun, and can take other affixes as necessary:

(cid:15) Ezosoyan kau. – My thinking.

(cid:15) Am rahasoi. – The cutting.

As with any noun, they also take the direct and indirect object markers if they take that
role within a sentence:

(cid:15) Sanasoyan tokau. – I have my dreaming.

While they are a type of verbal noun, they’re different from basic verbal nouns in that they
can also act in a verbal way:

(cid:15) Rahasoi to kari kai tsaya. – Cutting fruit for him/her.

6.1.2 Imperative

In short, imperatives are commands. In forming the most basic imperative, it can appear
as the infinitive as they share the same form, but intonation and context clarifies that what
is said is in fact the imperative and not the infinitive. As the imperative can only be a
command from a speaker to the listener or listeners, the firse person singular pronouns
cannot be used, but because the first person plural pronouns also include listeners, they
are used with the imperative. Second person familiar pronouns are not usually used if it is
understood that the imperative is being used, but when using the imperative with people
of higher social status, the polite pronouns must always be used.

While the familiar form of the pronoun is usually omitted, they can be added if the intent
may be unclear, or if the speaker believes the imperative may be mistaken for the infinitive
or the gerund. When the second person familiar pronouns are used, they emphasize that
the speaker is talking to the listener, and are always placed before the verb. The second
person polite pronouns are never put before the verb as this is seen as rude):

(cid:15) Sul suvasoi! – You eat!

(cid:15) Suvasoi ram! – You eat! (polite)

When the first person plural pronouns are being used with the imperative, a slight change
in translation happens. Because they include the speaker, the meaning changes to some-
thing more like ”let’s…”, but the meaning can also be a more literal ”We…”

(cid:15) Suvasoiru pan. – Let’s eat. or ”We eat.”

6.2. TENSE AND ASPECT

6.2 Tense and Aspect

39

Tense and aspect describe the timeline upon which the verb happens. Tense tells when
the action occurred, while aspect tells how the action relates to the flow of time. Aspect
is not the same as tense in that the aspects can happen at any point on the timeline: past,
present, and future.

6.2.1 Tenses

Setvayajan has three tenses: past, present and future. While the three tenses are formed
by suffixes, Setvayajan speakers will often omit the present tense suffix if context allows
and if the verb is obvious. Many times, the present tense suffix is used to mean right now.

(cid:15) Past: -no: suvano – ate

(cid:15) Present: -ru: suvaru – eat

(cid:15) Future: ta- -ru: tasuvaru – will eat

All three tenses can appear in more than one form due to sound changes involving /R/
when it comes into contact with a preceding consonant. These forms can appear to be
irregular, though with an understanding of the sound changes, they are actually quite
regular.

Past Tense:

The past tense takes the suffix -no:

(cid:15) aten + -no: atenno – opened

(cid:15) saka + no: sakano – cycled

(cid:15) uram + no: uramno – touched

Present Tense:

The present tense takes the suffix -ru/-du/-tu depending upon the final sound of the verb
root. The rule for determining this is:

(cid:15) Any word ending in a vowel or diphthong use -ru

(cid:15) When /R/ follows /s/ and /S/, -ru becomes -tu

(cid:15) When /R/ follows /l/, /n/, /z/ and /Z/, -ru becomes -du

(cid:15) If the previous syllable contains /R/, -ru becomes -du

Examples:

40

CHAPTER 6. VERBS

(cid:15) ato + -ru: atoru – resting

(cid:15) h¯aros + -ru: h¯arostu – honoring, celebrating

(cid:15) sanan + -ru: sanandu – shaking, trembling

(cid:15) vora + -ru: voradu – sending, transmitting

Future Tense:

The future tense is unique in that it is a circumfix (it surrounds the root), and it is thought to
have the same origin as the verb root etam (go, going), reduced to ta-. As with the present
tense suffix, -ru in the future tense also experiences changes depending upon the final
sound or syllable of the root word.

(cid:15) ta + ato + -ru: t¯atoru – will rest

(cid:15) ta + h¯aros + -ru: tah¯arostu – will honor/celebrate

(cid:15) ta + sanan + -ru: tasanandu – will shake/tremble

(cid:15) ta + vora + -ru: tavoradu – will send/transmit

6.2.2 Aspects

The aspects in Setvayajan are six in number: cessative, continuous, habitual, inceptive,
inchoative, and perfective. They originated from auxiliary verbs which eventually became
reduced and then affixed to the root verb. XXX These aspects clarify how the verb relates
to the flow of time, giving a little more information about the state of the action of the
verb.

(cid:15) Cessative: -kar – The cessative indicates that the action has stopped/finished hap-

pening. It can be used for both dynamic actions and those that relate to states.

(cid:15) Continuous: -ne – The continuous indicates that an action is ongoing. When trans-
lating verbs marked by the continuous with a tense suffix, the sense is progressive,
though when used with the past tense it can also mean a habitual action.

(cid:15) Habitual: -ri – The habitual indicates that an action is performed by the agent rou-

tinely. When used with the past tense affix, it translates to ”used to”

(cid:15) Inceptive: -sa – The inceptive indicates that a dynamic action is starting to happen.

It is not used for actions that describe a state, or those which are ongoing.

(cid:15) Inchoative: -to – The inchoative on the other hand is used to indicate that a state has

begun to happen to something.

(cid:15) Perfective: -li – The perfective indicates that he action has completed at some point
in time. When translating verbs marked by the perfective with tense suffix, the sense
is ”had/have/will have”

6.3. APPLICATIVES

6.3 Applicatives

41

The applicatives were derived from prepositions and work to move an indirect object
into direct object position. The original direct object (if there was one) is usually deleted,
though it can still be added to the sentence in order to clarify context if needed. The ap-
plicatives are most useful with intransitive verbs, because they can turn the verb transitive.
However, when used with transitive verbs, the original direct object can be dropped in fa-
vor of the indirect object, or the verb then takes two direct objects becoming ditransitive.

Because of the way applicatives work, they can replace some prepositions, as long as the
context is clear. They also have had a history of being used to create new verbs, though
these have been worn down over time phonologically, creating a ”double applicative”, in
a sense.

For example, the verb root jokas means stare. While not apparent, this root contains the
de- applicative and the root okas (observe/watch). The original meaning would have been
observe/watch toward something. In modern Setvayajan, jokas can take the de- applicative,
creating dejokas – stare at.

(cid:15) Locative (happens at a place): ran- – The indirect object is a location

(cid:15) Directional (happens toward something): de-, dey- – The indirect object is where the

action is directed.

(cid:15) Benefactive (happens for someone or something): kai-, kay- – The indirect object has

something done for or on its behalf

(cid:15) Instrumental/Comitative (happens with a tool or with someone): vo- – The indirect

object is a tool used or is someone the action happens with.

6.4 Causatives

Causatives are used to indicate that the direct object has undergone some sort of action
caused by someone or something else. Like the applicative, it can change an intransitive
verb into a transitive verb because it requires a direct object to be added, but in this case,
the meaning changes. Affected verbs remain semantically related to the original verb.

Setvayajan has two different types of causatives; direct causatives and indirect causatives.
The direct causative is used when the subject consciously makes the direct object perform
some sort of action. The indirect causative is used when the subject doesn’t directly act to
make the direct object do something, but the action happens because of the action of the
subject.

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CHAPTER 6. VERBS

6.4.1 Direct Causative

The direct causative is formed by prefixing ma- (before verbs beginning in consonants), or
m- (before verbs beginning in vowels) to the main verb. This prefix is the root word for
”cause, make happen”. Verbs prefixed by ma-, m- are treated as new verbs:

(cid:15) nirath – to sleep > manirath – to put to bed

(cid:15) usafath – to walk > musafath – to lead someone (by walking)

The direct causative has the sense of the causer intentionally making the object experience
an action. In the above example, manir¯ath is used when someone takes someone to their
bedroom to put them to bed. The subject is making the direct object experience the action.

While the origin of this prefix is the root word for force, compel (malekh), It is important to
remember that the meaning behind this causative is that it is not necessarily suggesting
force or coercion in all instances, but one of direct action. Context is important here. For
instance, the verb manir¯ath would not be used to mean that the person was forcibly put
into a bed or sedated. On the other hand, a verb like mef¯ath does imply force as it means
to cause to be held or to restrain.

6.4.2

Indirect Causative

The indirect causative is formed by prefixing az- (if the verb begins in a vowel, or dipthong),
or infixing -az- (if the root begins in a consonant). Causatives formed with az are treated
like new verbs in the same fashion as verbs prefixed by ma-, m-:

(cid:15) az¯asoi – to conceal > azz¯asoi – to obscure

(cid:15) miraisoi – to see, look > mazirasoi – to glance

The indirect causative means that the action was performed on the direct object, but the
direct object wasn’t made by the subject to perform it. So for example, azaz¯asoi has the
sense of the direct object being hidden by something or someone in an incidental fashion,
but not deliberately. So it takes the sense of being obscured. Likewise with maziraisoi,
the look toward the object is unintenional. This look is indirectly caused by someone or
something and so means to glance.

6.5 Grammatical Mood

Setvayajan expresses grammatical mood through a number of auxiliary verbs. Unlike En-
glish which puts the infinitive after the conjugated auxiliary verb, Setvayajan puts the
conjugated main verb after the infinitive. In addition, when adverbs are used, they are
linked to the infinitive and come before the main verb:

(cid:15) meta – want, desire, need

(cid:15) – feel

6.5. GRAMMATICAL MOOD

43

(cid:15) – hope

(cid:15) – must, should

(cid:15) – would

(cid:15) – could

(cid:15) – begin/start

(cid:15) – continue

(cid:15) – stop/cease

(cid:15) – seem, appear

(cid:15) – assume, suppose

(cid:15) – dislike, hate

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6.6 Participles

CHAPTER 6. VERBS

The past and present participles originated from a compound of the original participle
suffix -i, combined with either the past or present tense suffixes to create the past participle
ending -ino, and the present particple ending -iru. Depending on the root’s ending, the
/i/ sound either converted to the glide /j/, or remained /i/. These endings are regular
except if the root ends in /i/, /i:/, or dipthongs ending in /j/, in which case an epenthetic
/h/ is inserted between the root and the participle ending.

(cid:15) Past Participle: -i + -no: -ino, -hino

– suvaino – ”eaten”

– usavino – ”walked”

– benihino – ”wound, twisted”

(cid:15) Present Participle: -i + -ru: -iru, -hiru

– suvairu – ”eating”

– usaviru – ”walking”

– benihiru – ”winding”

Participles in Setvayajan are not used in compound verbs to form the progressive aspect
as they are in English, but rather as adjectives and adverbs. In use, they always precede
the words they modify, linked to them with the linking particle gin

6.7 Ditransitive Verbs

Ditransitive verbs are verbs that allow two direct objects to be used with a verb where
normally only one direct object would be allowed. In Setvayajan, these are formed by use
of the applicatives:

(cid:15) Normal Transitive: Suvano sei to seng nikau. – He cooked food for me.

(cid:15) Transitive to ditransitive: Kaisuvano sei tokau to seng. – He cooked me food

When a transitive is turned into a ditransitive through use of the applicative, the promoted
indirect object is moved between the subject and the original direct object because it has
gained a higher level of importance. This promoted indirect object is marked as a direct
object to signal that it has been promoted from indirect object to direct object. Any indirect
object that is not promoted follows the direct objects as normal and is marked by the ni
marker or a preposition:

(cid:15) Kai suvano sei tokau to seng ni isan. – He cooked me food at home.

(cid:15) Kai suvano sei tokau to seng so isan. – He cooked me food at home.

6.8. PASSIVE VOICE AND INTRANSITIVE VERB CONVERSION

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6.8 Passive Voice And Intransitive Verb Conversion

6.8.1 Passive Voice

In an active sentence, the subject is played by the agent (the one who does the action), and
the direct object by the patient (the one who experiences the action). The passive voice on
the other hand, is used to turn the patient from the direct object into the subject and the
agent into the indirect object, turning a transitive verb into an intransitive. Because the
agent is moved out of subject position, it cannot be turned into a direct object as the action
of the verb is not happening to it and so it must either be marked by ni or by a preposition.
At the same time, moving the former direct object into subject position without some way
of indicating this change can cause confusion, and so the direct object turned into the new
subject is marked by the marker nga.

(cid:15) Active: Takaino saro to seng. – The man burned the food.

(cid:15) Passive: Takaino nga seng ni saro. – The food was burned by the man.

Setvayajan also allows the agent to be dropped:

(cid:15) Takaino nga seng. – The food was burned.

(cid:15) Raharu nga k¯on – The grass was cut.

Conversion of Intransitives

Because of the way intransitives work, intransitives cannot be used in passive construc-
tions as they can only take subjects, not objects. In order to use the verb in passive con-
structions, they have to be converted into transitives by way of the causatives. In addition
to permitting them to take objects, it also causes a change in meaning of the verb, though
the new meaning is semantically related to the original verb:

(cid:15) Direct causative: ma- + sanasoi (sleep) > masanasoi – to put someone to bed

(cid:15) Indirect causative: -az- + sanasoi (sleep) > sazanasoi – to make someone fall asleep

As you can see, with the addition of the direct and indirect causative affixes to san¯ath,
they have created new verbs. These new verbs keep the same semantic sense as san¯ath,
but unlike san¯ath which can only be intransitive, they can now take direct objects. After
the addition of the causative, the verb can then be used in a passive construction:

(cid:15) Direct Causative: ma-

– Active: Masanano kau tsaya. – I put him/her to bed.

– Passive: Masanano sula nikau. – He/she was put to bed by me.

(cid:15) Indirect Causative: az-/-az-

– Active: Sazanano kau tsaya. – I made him/her fall asleep.

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CHAPTER 6. VERBS

– Passive: Sazanano nga sula nikau. – He/she was made to fall asleep by me.

The addition of the causative alone doesn’t create a passive because the causative can be
used with both transitive and intransitive verbs. Rather, the causative allows verbs that
are intransitive to be able to take objects, with a change to their meaning.

6.9 Reflexive Constructions

Setvayajan doesn’t have reflexive pronouns as English does. Instead it uses the noun for
self, byan as the direct object.

(cid:15) Rahano kau to byan. – I cut myself.

(cid:15) Takairu kau to byan. – I’ll burn myself.

(cid:15) Mirairu kau to byan. – I see myself.

Note that byan doesn’t need to be made into a fully possessed noun. While technically
gramatically correct, the use of byan by itself already implies that it is both the object of
the sentence and refers to the subject as well.

6.10 Verb Intensification

To intensify a verb, the augmentative prefix si- is prefixed to the verb.

(cid:15) si + raha – cut: sirahasoi – To cut deeply, to gouge

(cid:15) si + beni – wind, twist: sibenisoi – to twist something into knots

(cid:15) si + iyo – ooze, drip: s¯ıyosoi – to squirt

6.11 Verb Derivation

Verbs can be derived in Setvayajan through the use of compounding or affixation. These
methods allow Setvayajan to take basic verbs and expand them to new, more nuanced or
precise verbs.

6.11.1 Affixation XXX

There are a few affixes used to create new verbs. In older words, these derivational affxes
may be obscured by sound changes and so may not be apparent without understanding
the word’s etymology.

(cid:15) Prefixes:

6.11. VERB DERIVATION

47

– rai-: ”out, out of, from”

– sai-: ”beyond, across, over”

– man-: ”under, lesser”

– tan-: ”more, over”

6.11.2 Compounding

Compounding is the most common way to form new and more complex cerbs. Com-
pounds can be formed by combining verbs with any number of other word categories:
prepositions, nouns, modifiers, and other verbs. New compounds tend to have very trans-
parent origins and often avoid phonotactic processes at first, but over time they may be
eroded down to the point that their origin is not immediately obvious. The order of com-
pounding depends on the modifying word.

(cid:15) Preposition + Verb root / Verb root + Preposition:

– de (to, toward) + manu (turn, revolve): demanu – ”turn toward, face”

– raha (gouge, cut) + sai (across, past): r¯asai – ”write, draw, mark with lines”

– kagama (talk, speak) + dan (against, opposite): k¯andan – ”dispute”

(cid:15) Noun + Verb root / Verb root + Noun:

– apo (cut through) + tesagan (tree): aps¯an – ”cut down a tree” (referring to religious

tree cutting)

– budo (pound, smash) + hing (spice, seasoning): bujing – ”pound or grind spices

or seasonings into powder”

– han (wood) + kawa (split, divide): hangva – ”split apart using wood” (this refers to
a rock spliting technique using dry wood pegs hydrated with water for splitting
stone)

(cid:15) Modifier + Verb root / Verb root + Modifier:

– raiko (quick) + hama (pinch): rekyama – ”pluck”

– kagam (talk, speak) + hada (flat, level): k¯amyaza – ”speak in a monotone”

– mali (pure) + edo (think, conceive): mazhezo – ”think in a proper manner”

(cid:15) Verb root + Verb root:

– imeras (prepare, plan) + mahakam (attack, assault): ¯ızmakan – ”plan an attack”

– daisona (require, demand) + rawi (offer, sacrifice): dzonvi – ”expect a favor”

– tesoi (put, place) + kiyogo (enclose): tsiky¯o – ”mark a sacred boundary”

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CHAPTER 6. VERBS

Chapter 7

Prepositions

Prepositions mark spatial relationships but they can also mark the semantic role of a word
within a sentence. When used in Setvayajan, they replace the direct and indirect object
marking particles. The exception to this is when they are used with the direct and indirect
object pronouns, as the direect and indirect object particles fused with the base pronouns.
When used with pronouns, they are used with the appropriate direct or indirect object
forms.

(cid:15) Place:

– across, beyond, past: sai

– after: hari

– against, opposite: dan

– along, alongside: skar

– around, near, close to: kar

– at (direction), to, toward: de

– away, away from: kyo

– behind: mas

– before, in front of: tva

– between: aroi

– in, into: so

– of, from: gau

– on, over, above, at (location): ran

– out, out of: rai

– through, during: av

– under, underneath, below: man

– within: daso

– without: dandai

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CHAPTER 7. PREPOSITIONS

50

(cid:15) Time:

– about, near, around, close to: kar

– at, by, in, on: ran

– before, until: tva

– during, through: av

– past: sai

(cid:15) Syntactic:

– by: ti

– for: kai

– from, of: gau

– with: som

Chapter 8

Conjunctions

8.1 Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words or even phrases which tie together words, other phrases or sen-
tences, expressing a relationship between them.

8.1.1 Coordinating Conjunctions

(cid:15) and: ka

(cid:15) as: ris

(cid:15) because: g¯or

(cid:15) but, except, however: rau

(cid:15) neither: var¯a

(cid:15) either: r¯a

(cid:15) nor: v¯a

(cid:15) or: krau

(cid:15) then: asar

(cid:15) yet, still, however, nevertheless: ¯u

8.1.2 Subordinating Conjunctions

(REWORK THESE)

(cid:15) after: hari

(cid:15) although, though: ur

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52

CHAPTER 8. CONJUNCTIONS

(cid:15) as: ris

(cid:15) because: tehan

(cid:15) before: sa

(cid:15) even if: rezan

(cid:15) even though: urzan

(cid:15) how (that): ran

(cid:15) if: roi

(cid:15) in order that: norzan

(cid:15) lest (situation that): mazastan

(cid:15) now that: ran

(cid:15) provided (that):

(cid:15) since: kser

(cid:15) so that: norzan

(cid:15) then: ran

(cid:15) that: ran

(cid:15) though: ur

(cid:15) until: diri

(cid:15) unless: vandoi

(cid:15) when: vis

(cid:15) whenever: vistan

(cid:15) where: rin

(cid:15) wherever: rindan

(cid:15) while: michas

Chapter 9

Negation XXX

Setvayajan has a couple of strategies for negating nouns, modifiers, verbs, and phrases.
The choice depends upon whether it is simple negation, or to describe the opposite of
something. Simple negation is formed by placing the word for no, van in front of the word
or phrase:

(cid:15) van mur – not red

(cid:15) van k¯on – not grass

(cid:15) Van suvaru kau to seng.

– I’m not eating food.

To indicate the opposite of something, van is prefixed in its short form, va-. Not all words
are prefixed this way, especially many modifiers which often have different words for the
negative forms. This affix tends to be derivational rather than creating a purely opposite
form of the root.

(cid:15) vasaro – not masculine in a traditional sense, but sitting outside of the other genders

as well.

(cid:15) vak¯on – open ground (”ungrassed”, an area without grass growing)

(cid:15) vasuvasoi – uneaten

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CHAPTER 9. NEGATION XXX

Chapter 10

Subordinate Clauses

Subordinate clauses are clauses that are considered secondary to a main clause. They may
or may not be phrases that can stand on their own as complete sentences. Their role is to
provide more information about the main clause. Despite describing the main clause,
they come after it because they are phrases and statements that provide more information
about the main clause.

10.1 Relative Clauses

Unlike English, Setvayajan does not use relative pronouns for forming relative clauses.
Instead, it uses a particle (relativizer): hai. Though, like English, the relative clause follows
the main clause:

(cid:15) Suvano saro to kari. – The man ate the fruit

(cid:15) Saro hai suvano to kari. – The man that ate the fruit

When a direct object or indirect object is used in the main clause, the subordinate clause
creates a passive sentence and nga is not required to be used:

(cid:15) Kari hai suvano ni saro. – The fruit that was eaten by the man.

(cid:15) De isan hai suvano to kari ni saro. – At the house where the fruit was eaten by the man.

10.1.1 Direct And Indirect Objects In Relative Clauses

Direct and indirect objects can be the subject of the main clause as well:

(cid:15) Direct object: Kari hai suvano saro. – The fruit that the man ate.

(cid:15) Indirect object: Kai saro hai manino kau to kari – The man who I washed the fruit for.

Direct and indirect objects drop the case marking particles, but they do not drop preposi-
tions. While colloquial English permits prepositions to stand without their complements,
this is not possible in Setvayajan.

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CHAPTER 10. SUBORDINATE CLAUSES

10.1.2 Adjectives As Subordinate Clauses

When adjectives are used in constructions like the house that is red or the man who is tall, the
pattern is the same as for longer subordinate clauses. Instead of using the linking particle
gi, the relativizer hai is used:

(cid:15) Isan hai mura. – The house that is red.

(cid:15) Saro hai skoi. – The man who is tall.

10.2 Noun Clauses

Noun clauses are clauses that can act as subject or objects of the verb in the main clause.

10.3 Adjective Clauses

Adjective clausdes are clauses that act as adjectives, describing the noun or pronoun in
the main clause.

10.4 Sentences with Multiple Subordinate Clauses

At times, a speaker may need or want to chain a couple of relative clauses together. The
compostion of these chains follows the same format as a main clause followed by a relative
clause, each clause linked to the next by the hai particle.

(cid:15) Saro hai makono to seng hai suvasoi metaru kau. – The man who cooked the food that I

want to eat.

Chapter 11

Topicalization

In normal active sentences, the topic is the agent, played by the subject. When the direct or
indirect object is made into the topic, this is called topicalization. Setvayajan achieves this
by moving the direct or indirect object before the verb, preceded by their direct or indirect
object markers or preposition. Sentence structure for sentences with non-relative clauses
is the same as for those with relative clauses.

(cid:15) Suvano kau t¯or gi seng. – I ate that food

(cid:15) T¯or gi seng suvano kau. – That food, I ate (it).

(cid:15) So isan suvano kau t¯or seng. – In the house, I ate that food.

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CHAPTER 11. TOPICALIZATION

Chapter 12

Existentials

Existentials tell about the existence or presence of something. Setvayajan doesnt use verbs
or a copula for this, but instead uses two words which are treated as modifiers: ko and ¯az.
While there is a verb in Setvayajan for ”to have”; nah¯ath, this verb is used only to indicate
the kind of possession in which someone or something is holding onto something.

12.1 Ko – Existential

Ko indicates that something exists or is present. It is used for phrases such as there are,
there is, have, etc.

(cid:15) Ko seng kau. – I have food.
(cid:15) Ko seng. – There is food.
(cid:15) Ko isan kau. – I have (own) a house.

12.2

¯Az – Non-Existential

¯Az indicates that something does not exist or is not present. Its literal meaning is none. It
is used for phrases such as there are no…, there is no…, have not/have no…, etc.

(cid:15) ¯Az seng kau. – I have no food.
(cid:15) ¯Az seng. – There is no food.
(cid:15) ¯Az isan kau. – I have no house.

Because these existentials lack tense, they rely on the context of what the speaker is dis-
cussing to clarify what is meant, but if this is not enough, adverbs of time can be put at
the beginning of the sentence before the existentials:
(cid:15) Demo gi ko seng kau. – I will have food later.
(cid:15) Demo gi ko seng. – There will be food later.
(cid:15) Astam gi ¯az seng kau. – I didnt have food yesterday.

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CHAPTER 12. EXISTENTIALS

12.3 Existentials For ”It is” Constructions

Where English would use the construction it is, it isn’t, it’s, ’it’s not, Setvayajan uses the
existentials instead. The literal translation is of course there is/there isn’t, but for weather
phenomena, the translation is it’s/it isn’t/it’s not.

(cid:15) Ko teva. – It’s raining.

(cid:15) ¯Az teva. – It isn’t raining.

(cid:15) Ko baji. – It’s cold (outside).

(cid:15) ¯Az baji. – It isn’t cold (outside).

Chapter 13

Numbers

Setvayajan distinguishes cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers. Cardinal numbers are
used to count out something. Ordinal numbers are used to count out the rank or order of
something. As with English, Setvayajan numbers are base ten.

13.0.1 Cardinal Numbers

(cid:15) 0 – 19:

– 0 – uri

– 1 – kal

– 2 – ngan

– 3 – goi

– 4 – sin

– 5 – el

– 6 – rong

– 7 – san

– 8 – doi

– 9 – (yo) zho

– 10 – me

– 11 – mekal

– 12 – mengan

– 13 – myoi

– 14 – mesin

– 15 – m¯el

– 16 – merong

– 17 – mesan

– 18 – medoi

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62

CHAPTER 13. NUMBERS

– 19 – meyo

(cid:15) 20 – 30:

– 20 – nanme

– 21 – nanmekal

– 22 – nanmengan

– 23 – nanmyoi

– 24 – nanmesin

– 25 – nanm¯el

– 26 – nanmerong

– 27 – nanmesan

– 28 – nanmedoi

– 29 – nanmezho

– 30 – gim

– 40 – sinme

– 50 – elme

– 60 – rongme

– 70 – sanme

– 80 – dim

– 90 – zhom

13.0.2 Ordinal Numbers

To create ordinals, the suffix -tan, -dan is added to the final number in the sequence, similar
to the way English uses -st, -th. On all numbers from smallest to largest, it is always suffixed
to the very last number in the sequence:

Chapter 14

Language and Culture

This chapter discusses the use of language in Setvai culture. This is not a comprehensive
chapter about it, but will introduce you to important parts of Setvayajan that are important
culturally rather than grammatically.

14.1 Sentence Final Discourse Particles

14.2 Interjections

Interjections are those words which express emotion. In some ways they are similar to
a number of the discourse particles, but these are always placed at the beginning of the
sentence rather than at the end. They also do not fine tune the intent of the sentence but
instead express the emotion of the speaker toward whatever is being said.

Along with words which express emotions like disgust, happiness, surprise, greetings are
also included in this category. The interjections are largely meaningless on their own, in a
way similar to words in English like shh!, ouch!, or ugh!. Some, like the greeting kotan have
meanings.

14.2.1 Main Interjections

These interjections express emotions or feelings. This is not an exhaustive list, but include
the most common ones encountered in Setvayajan.

(cid:15) Surprise or Excitement: Y¯as!, ¯A! – similar in use to Wow! or Oh!. ¯A tends to be used
with surprise more while y¯as tends to be used more with excitement. The two are
interchangeable though.

(cid:15) Error or Mistake: Pun!, Jekh! – similar in use to Oops! or Uh oh!. Pun is the milder
socially acceptable way of expressing an error or mistake. Jekh on the other hand is
a very strong, very rude word, similar to saying Shit! It is not used in polite society.

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CHAPTER 14. LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

(cid:15) Hushing or Quieting: Sus!, S ¯u… – similar in use to Shh!. Sus tends to be used when
people or groups of people are being very loud. It lacks the soothing tone that s ¯u
does, which is repeated multiple times to soothe someone upset.

(cid:15) Disgust: Ng¯a! or Ekh! – similar in use to Ugh! or Ew!. Ng¯a is an interesting case of
initial /N/ used in Setvayajan. It is said to represent the throaty gag of someone dis-
gusted with something. The long vowel in ng¯a is often drawn out quite long to em-
phasize how disgusting something is. Ekh tends to be used more whe the speaker is
surprised by how disgusting something is, such as suddenly stepping in something
disgusting. Frequently, speakers may follow one with the other: Ng¯a…ekh! or Ekh!
Ng¯a…

(cid:15) Disdain or Contempt: Ts!, S! – similar in use to Tsk!. Both of these are improper to
use with anyone above one’s social status. They are very rude when said to people of
higher social standing. Their most frequent use is by parents to get their children’s
attention.

(cid:15) Dismissal: ¯Us! or Svekh! – Similarly to Ts! and S!, these are considered improper to

use with anyone above one’s social standing. Svekh! translates to Enough!

14.3. ADDRESSING PEOPLE

(cid:15) Disappointment:

65

(cid:15) Shock or displeasure: Jekh! – similar in use to Shit!, which is why it’s also used for
expressing an error or mistake was made. Jekh is also an expletive on the same level
as shit in English. It doesn’t have a meaning of its own, but is quite frequently heard
in informal situations.

(cid:15) Pain: Ay¯a!. The long vowel of ay¯a is usually drawn out.

(cid:15) Disbelief: Tal¯a? – similar in use to What?. Tal¯a has the meaning of Really? or Truly?

(cid:15) Filler: S¯a… – similar in use to um… or uh… This interjection originates from the

linking particle sa

For those interjections that end in vowels, the final vowel can be drawn out quite long for
emphasis, even if the vowel is not an actual long vowel.

14.3 Addressing People

The Setvai consider it to be crass to offensively rude to address someone by first name
alone unless they are in a close, intimate relationship with the speaker. Outside of a close
intimate relationship, displeasure, disrespect, or anger are usually signaled by use of the
given name alone, although foreigners are usually forgiven for forgetting the rules of ad-
dressing people. There are several levels of address particles suffixed onto names:

(cid:15) Informal – There are several particles used for this purpose, from all around stan-
dard informal particles used among people who are of the same status level, people
familiar to the speaker, and for people of an inferior status level. Informal standard
is used with people one knows, but are not in an intimate relationship with, such as
coworkers, shop keeps, teachers:

– Informal standard: -min
– Familiar intimate: -si
– Inferior: -ikh

(cid:15) Formal: -dul – The standard formal particle is used with anyone in a position of
superiority such as one’s boss, community leaders, people in authority. However,
at work it is more typical to use job titles instead. This particle is also used with
strangers.

(cid:15) High formal: -seno – This suffix is the most formal suffix used and is almost only
used when addressing royals, which for most Setvai is uncommon. Colloquially it’s
used as an offensive and mocking way to address someone.

The Setvai consider it proper to drop address particles only among immediate family
members (except when addressing one’s grandparents or elders within the family who
are always addressed with -dul), and sometimes lovers. However, lovers generally use the
familiar intimate particle between each other.

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CHAPTER 14. LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

14.4 Greetings and Farewells

Setvayajan like other languages has a variety of greetings and farewells depending upon
the situation and the people with whom they are used.

14.4.1 Standard Greetings

The most standard greeting is kotan, which is derived from the words kalai (open, re-
vealed), and tana (hand), which was originally an announcement that the approaching
party was coming without weapons in hand. This was accompanied by a particular ma-
neuver called vayuranyu (great touching of hands) where the greeter would approach the
person being greeted with palms up. The person being greeted would extend both hands
out palms up as well. Once in range, the person greeting would place their hands under
the hands of the person being greeted and then turn their palms downward, touching the
backs of their hands to the backs of the hands of the person being greeted, ending it by
pulling their hands back, sliding them along the backs of the hands of the person being
greeted.

Vayuranyu is still practiced when meeting with anyone from the innermost royal family,
but for day to day greetings, a simpler greeting called uranyu is performed. To perform
it, both people extend hands out as we do when shaking hands, but instead of touching
palms, the backs of the wrists are touched instead and both people retract their hands
towards themselves, sliding the backs of their hands from where they touched the other
person’s wrist and across their hand.

Time Based Greetings

These are the greetings one makes depending upon the time of day. While the translation
into English uses ”good”, the actual adjective is the word azai – ”clear”.

(cid:15) azai horan – good morning

(cid:15) azai ikas – good day

(cid:15) azai anjan – good night

14.4.2 Informal Greetings

Setvayajan has a number of informal greetings used among people of the same or lower
social status. These are not used with people of higher social status or generally in formal
situations. When greeting someone who is very close or of a lower status level than one’s
self informally, uranyu is generally skipped, much as English speakers will tend to skip
handshakes in informal situations.

14.4. GREETINGS AND FAREWELLS

67

Je and Lau

Two sentence final discorse particles are used as greetings, je and lau je signifying frustra-
tion or annoyance, and lau used to soften questions or statements. When used alone to
address people, they become informal greetings equivalent to saying ”hey” or ”hi”.

(cid:15) je – Normally used to express annoyance or frustration when it is used at the end of
a sentence. When used as a greeting, its use is restricted to close friends and known
people of lower status. When it is used with people of lower status that the speaker
doesn’t know, it is considered to be somewhat crass and disrespectful. It is never,
ever used with older family members, and especially not people of higher status or
strangers. In fact, using it with strangers is considered to be a good way to pick a
fight.

(cid:15) lau – Normally used to soften requests, commands, and statements when it is used at
the end of a sentence. When it is used as a greeting, it’s an informal way of address-
ing people. It is never used with unrelated people of a higher status when used as a
greeting, but is permissible to use when addressing one’s parents and grandparents,
as well as strangers.

Other Informal Greetings

(cid:15) Ko kamai? – Is there peace? This is loosely translated as asking What’s up? or hello but

not quite as informal as je and lau.

(cid:15) Atensoi. – Enter. or Come inside, though a command, it is also understood as a greeting

when welcoming guests into a house or building.

(cid:15) Kapalno. – You arrived. It’s similar to saying You’re here.

(cid:15) Etonyo haryum? – Does your haryum remain? The essence of this greeting is similar
to How’s your family? in English. The literal translation is actually Haryum remains?,
but your is implied when used as a greeting.

14.4.3 Formal Greetings

Formal greetings are not commonly used except in certain circumstances, such as religious
ceremonies, or formal events. Originally, for day to day greetings between persons of a
lower status to those of a higher status, the phrase kotan vai was used, however, over time
the two words were compounded and became kotanvai, accompanied with uranyu.

Most Formal

The most formal greeting is essentially a statement of submission to the person being
greeted. For this, the phrase Yusamyo kau man tauhan sula – I submit to your blade, accompa-
nied by the use of vayuranyu. This is a very rarely used greeting and is typically reserved

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CHAPTER 14. LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

for greeting the top level of royalty in Setvai society; members of the immediate royal fam-
ily. The significance of this phrase is that as one approaching someone of a higher status,
you were submitting to their mercy, allowing them to take your life if you committed a
transgression. This phrase is symbolic in modern Setvai society, and it is never used out-
side of greeting the royal family.

Formal

For the standard formal greeting, the phrase Kapalyo kau som sakalai ¯otana – I come with
open hands is used, accompanied by uranyu. This phrase is not used in daily interactions
between people of different social levels, but it is required for any event or situation that
is considered formal, typically religious ceremonies.

14.4.4 Farewells

Formal Farewells

Informal Farewells

The standard informal farewell is doyo, which is the equivalent of bye bye in English. Orig-
inally, it was only used among people of the same status or lower than one’s self, but
aside from the most formal of circumstances, or when someone is of a very high status
from one’s self, it is used among everyone, even between strangers. A similar farewell is
demondai, which means see later. While similar in use to doyo, it tends to feel more thought-
ful than doyo.

Another farewell is Tamiraiyo kavi. This is similar to ”see you later”, though it means We
will see each other

14.5 Setvai Names

The Setvai use three names, the family name, given name, and house name. In modern
Setvai society, the house name is not generally given upon meeting someone, instead the
family and given names are used. On official documents, or in formal situations, intro-
ductions always include the house name.

Historically, the family name is a relatively recent innovation, appearing within the past
300 years of Setvai history. Historic names consisted of the given name followed by the
house name, with both names separated by the conjunction gau (of). The given name and
house name are still connected with gau.

14.5.1 Family Name

Family names are a recent development in Setvai culture, and the oldest family names are
no older than 300 years. They developed as the population of Setvai people increased as
a way to further distinguish individuals within Setvai society. Family names come from a

14.5. SETVAI NAMES

69

multitude of sources, from plant names to locations, to something the original bearer was
known for. However, the most common sources are locations and occupations. Because
of the varied sources of family names, there are a large number of family names in use
among the Setvai. The only real prohibitions in regard to family names is that none of the
house names could be used as a family name, and obscene or offensive words cannot be
taken either.

Family names do not necessarily mean that one family is related to another family with
the same family name. When the system initially began, Setvai would often change family
names upon establishing a new household, or upon entering a new phase in life. However,
for at least 100 years, family names have been passed down from mother to child in the
same way that house names are.

(cid:15) Common Family Names:

– Myosvati – Black River

– S¯ıraskar – Dry Land

– Savjatnal – River Gate

– Shiman – Rock Path

– Avdeskan – Blue Tree

– Musvaz – Long Valley

– Myoms¯ar – Black Land

– Mar ¯usa – Three Fields

– Nyoisan – Grain House

– Emizu – Middle island

14.5.2 Given Name

Setvai given names are assigned by parents during the naming ritual after the thirteenth
day after the child is born. This ritual is called jimarutanikastva, literally thirteenth day rit-
ual. It is a private affair, attended only by the parents who decide on a name for the child
in private, recording the name in the family records. Later, the name of the child is an-
nounced to the family and community.

Given names are generally not strictly gendered, but until the child is old enough to ex-
press whether they identify as saro, h¯an, acch¯an, ajjaro, or ajisu, the parents decide based
upon the biological sex of the child. Still, there is still bias in Setvai society to see people
as leaning toward saro (male), or h¯an (female), despite the establishment of ajisu as an es-
tablished gender identity.

Given names are generally composed of an adjective and noun compounded together, less
commonly encountered are names composed of two adjectives or two nouns. Some of the
oldest names are old compounds that became popular and were worn down by sound

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CHAPTER 14. LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

changes. Most Setvai given names are easily understood as to their component parts. It’s
also common to find given names using a single noun or adjective. When choosing names,
the Setvai prefer to assign them based upon positive or auspicious associations. However,
anything that seems boastful, haughty, or arrogant is avoided, as it is thought that it can
bring not only misfortune, but is also thought to reflect poorly upon the character of the
parents giving the name, or the person choosing a new name for themselves.

Given names can be changed later in life, especially when an individual settles on their
gender identity. Traditionally, there was not a particular ceremony for this, though a more
recent ceremony called s ¯utva (name ceremony) has come to be established in Setvai society.

(cid:15) Common Given Names:

– Kosoifal – ”Golden Flower”
– ¯Ashajin – ”Iron Mountain”
– Tala – ”Jewel”

– Vaiseto – ”Great Sky”

– Mozakoru – ”Illuminated Moon”

– Muraikas – ”Red Sun”

– Ijanikas – ”White Day”

– Kamaitvai – ”Calm Sea”

– Izanteva – ”New Rain”

– Miro – ”Water”

– Ilautala – ”Flame Jewel”

– Mirokoru – ”Water Moon”

– Sivamali – ”Precious Pure”
– ¯Uyathreko – ”Tall Quick”

14.5.3 Hazum – House Name

Hazum, or house names are said to originate with the names of historic Setvai villages
which were in turn named after a feature or particular plant found at the location of the
original village site. When children are born, they are assigned to the hazum of their
mother and most Setvai typically remain counted within their mother’s hazum line. How-
ever, any time after the coming of age ceremony, they can also chose to switch their hazum
to their father’s hazum, falling under their paternal grandmother’s hazum. In Setvai so-
ciety it is considered taboo to marry anyone in either their father or mother’s hazum line,
and so families keep records of which hazum each parent originates from.

(cid:15) Recognized hazum:

– S¯ıdath – Stone Hill

14.5. SETVAI NAMES

71

– Motsvati – Broad River

– Kal¯ındus – Long Beach

– Avjin – Blue Mountain

– K¯ondath – Grassy Hill

– S¯ıtso – Dry Lake

– Muts¯ambara – Red Forest

– N ¯ufasa – Grain Field

– Jinatnal – Mountain Gate

– Ar¯ojlafakh – Narrow Gorge

– Memfasa – Black Field

– Maksvati – Sand River

– Kalky¯otvai – Wide Bay

– Sorenj¯a – Border Settlement

– Maks¯ath – Sand Hill

– M¯otso – Smoking Lake

– Seschan – Iron Quarry

– Uz¯anda – Blood Root

– G¯okri – Bitter Fruit

– Ksemizu – Holy Island

– Seky¯atnal – High Gate

– Murasvati – Red River

– Nokaps¯ar – Cloven Earth

– Tofanju – Sulphur Springs

– Saks¯ar – Flood Land

Foreigners who become Bes¯aru citizens are not given one of the Setvai hazum names, but
generally their country or city of origin in their homelands are used in place of a Setvai
hazum, which is fitting considering the origin of the Setvai hazum names.

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14.5.4 Name Format

The formal way to format a person’s name is standard for all Setvai, and foreign names are
written in Setvayajan literature and documents in the same fashion. Originally, the name
format was given name connected to the house name by the preposition gau (of). Modern
name formatting is as follows:

(cid:15) Family Name – Given Name – House Name

Gau was dropped from formal names about a century ago, and some Setvai like to add it
to their formal names. Most Setvai see this as an affectation and a sign of snobbery. The
practice is unpopular, though not uncommonly encountered. An example name:

(cid:15) Mar ¯usa Vaiseto K¯ondath

These days, Setvai typically use just their family and given names, as the importance of
one’s house has largely fallen out of importance in day to day Setvai society. The Setvai
still take pride in their houses, but using them in daily social interactions feels archaic to
most Setvai. Foreign names are also formatted in the same way.

(cid:15) Mar ¯usa Vaiseto

14.6 Apologizing

The Setvai don’t have an equivalent to ”I’m sorry”. For the Setvai, making amends is
shown, not told. However, they do have a way to acknowledge that someone us upset or
offended, and for this they say Dvanaru kau ko chando – I understand there is offense. To us, it
may seem uneccessarily cold to say that, but for the Setvai the followup is action and not
just speech. Of course if one is insincere it will show by not following up Dvanaru kau ko
chando with an appropriate action to make amends (and sometimes, this is intentional).

Chapter 15

Setvayajan Sound Changes

15.0.1 First period (1,500 – 1,000 years ago)

(cid:15) Any borrowed words have sounds unfamiliar to the Setvai converted into close enough

equivalents.

(cid:15) Initial stops in closed syllables ending in stops experienced the following changes:

– /p/ > /ph/
– /b/ > /B/
– /t/ > /th/
– /d/ > /D/
– /k/ > /kh/
– /g/ > /G/

(cid:15) These sounds then underwent further changes:

– /ph/ > /F/ > /f/
– /B/ > /f/
– /th/ > /T/ > /S/
– /D/ > /z/
– /kh/ > /x/ > /h/
– /G/ > /P/ > 0

(cid:3) if the following vowel is /e/ or /i/, it becomes /j/

15.0.2 Second period (1,000 – 650 years ago)

(cid:15) In words of two syllables:

– Final /e/ and /a/ always drop

– final /i/, /o/, and /u/ never drop

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(cid:15) In words of three or more syllables:

– Vowels in syllables next to the stressed syllable drop, especially /e/ and /a/.
However, if a three consonant cluster or word final cluster would result, the
vowel is kept.

– /a/ and /e/ will drop before /i/, /o/, and /u/

(cid:15) /j/ before /i/ and /e/ became /Z/

(cid:15) diphthongs /aj/, /au, /ei/, and /oj/ monopthongize to /e/, /o/, /e/ and /i/ if

they precede consonants

(cid:15) In unstressed syllables, /e/ dropped, except where /e/ was derived from a diph-

thong and where it would produce an unpermitted consonant cluster.

(cid:15) The loss of unstressed /e/ caused fricatives to appear when the following /j/ be-

came part of a consonant cluster with certain consonants:

– /dej/ > /dj/ > /ˆ/

– /sej/ > /sj/ > /S/

– /tej/ > /tj/ > /(cid:217)/

– /zej/ > /zj/ > /Z/

(cid:15) When final unstressed /e/ dropped, existing and now final voiced consonants ex-

perienced the following changes:

– /g/ > /G/ > /j/

– /d/ > /D/ > /z/

– /b/ > /B/ > /v/

(cid:15) /l/ sees several changes depending upon whether it precedes or follows other con-

sonants:

– /l/ before other consonants became /u/, except before /j/ where it palatalizes

to /L/

– /l/ following other consonants becomes /j/, except after /n/ where it remains

– When following an initial /t/ or /d/, it sees these changes:

(cid:3) /tl/ becomes /t(cid:236)/
(cid:3) /dl/ becomes /l/

(cid:15) /kl/ and /gl/ become /L/

(cid:15) All instances of /lj/ become /L/

(cid:15) /dR/, /sR/ and /tR/ become palatalized:

75

– /dj/
– /sj/
– /tj/

(cid:15) /L/ becomes /j/ when following another consoant

15.0.3 Third period, modern Setvayajan (650 – 345 years ago)

(cid:15) Voiced stops which were intervocalic changed to the following:

– b > /B/ > /f/
– d > /D/ > /z/
– g(a, o, u) > /G/ > 0
– g(e, i) > /j/

(cid:15) In initial syllables of words, if /g/ was lost between /u/ and another vowel, /u/

could remain or become /w/, depending on the initial consonant:

– If /u/ followed /l/, /m/, /n, /N/, /R/, or /v/, it was retained as /u/, and an

epenthetic /h/ inserted between /u/ and the following vowel.

– In the case of /p/ and /b/, /w/ was lost and caused rounding: /pw/ > /pw/,/bw/

> /bw/

– For all other consonants, /u/ became /w/

(cid:15) /h/ sees two developments:

– When following stops, it drops

– When following other consonants, it becomes /j/

(cid:15) /n/ before /l/, /L/, /s/, /S/, /j/, /Z/, or /z/ drops, lengthening the preceding

vowel.

– Word initial /n/ before /j/ causes /j/ to drop, especially if the following vowel

is long

(cid:15) Initial /R/ becomes /d/ when following a syllable with an initial /r/: /RiRi/ > /Ridi/

(cid:15) /pw/ and /bw/ become /f/

(cid:15) Voiced stops before other consonants see these changes:

– /b/ > /B/
– /d/ > /D/
– /g/ > /G/

(cid:15) /w/ was affected in two ways:

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CHAPTER 15. SETVAYAJAN SOUND CHANGES

– Initial and intervocalic /w/ became /v/
– /w/ became /v/ if following consonants other than /b/, /m/, /n, /N/, /p/,

or /v/.

(cid:15) /Rj/ becomes /z/

(cid:15) /L/ beccomes /Z/

(cid:15) /t(cid:236)/ becomes /x/

(cid:15) /ji/ and /je/ become /ˆi/ and /ˆe/

(cid:15) Final unvoiced stops fricativize

– /k/ > /x/
– /p/ > /f/
– /t/ > /T/

(cid:15) The first unvoiced stop in a three consonant cluster drops

(cid:15) /dj/, /sj/ and /tj/ become fricatives:

– /dj/ > /ˆ/
– /sj/ > /S/
– /tj/ > /(cid:217)/

15.0.4 Vowel and diphthong changes that happened consistently over

all periods:

Historically, Setvayajan has either combined two of the same vowels into a long vowel,
or reduced vowels in hiatus to a limited number of diphthongs. Here, these changes are
explained.

(cid:15) When two vowels of the same type came together, they became long:

– /aa/ > /a:/
– /ee/ > /e:/
– /ii/ > /i:/
– /oo/ > /o:/
– /uu/ > /u:/

(cid:15) when the following vowels come together, they experience the following changes:

– /ae/ /aj/
– /ai/ > /aj/

15.1. MODERN SOUND CHANGE PROCESSES

77

– /ao/ > /au/

– /au/ > /au/

– /ea/ > /ia/ > /ja/

– /eo/ > /io/ > /jo/

– /eu/ > /iu/ > /ju/

– /ia/ > /ja/

– /ie/ > /je/

– /io/ > /jo/

– /iu/ > /ju/

– /oa/ > /wa/

– /oe/ > /oj/

– /oi/ > /oj/

– /ou/ > /o:/

– /ua/ > /wa/

– /ue/ > /we/

– /ui/ > /wi/

– /uo/ > /wo/

15.1 Modern Sound Change Processes

15.1.1 Phonotactics

Phonotactics refers to what happens when sounds interact with one another in a language.
These are the rules that govern permissible sound changes and interactions that happen
in a language.

The phonotactic rules here concern compounding and affixation. Setvayajan tends to use
compounding frequently to create new words, and for a while these compounds often
escape the typical phonotactic effects until the compound moves beyond being heard by
Setvayajan speakers as a combination of two words to a single word. Affixed words tend
to be affected by these rules much faster because Setvayajan speakers hear affixed words
as one word, rather than a root and its affix. However, some affixes do not create a new
word, and so the original sounds tend to be preserved. A typical example of this is the
adverbial suffix -zan, which does not cause a preceding /n/ to drop as it normally would,
because -zan does not create a new word, but indicates the word it is attached to is now an
adverb.

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CHAPTER 15. SETVAYAJAN SOUND CHANGES

Consonant Clusters

Setvayajan permits consonant clusters, but largely avoids clusters of more than two con-
sonants. It is much more hostile to initial clusters than word medial clusters, and does
not permit them at the ends of words. While word interior clusters are given broader al-
lowance in Setvayajan, the rules are still specific about what is allowed and what is not.

A strong agent of change within consonant clusters is triggered by the presence of voiced
consonants as the first consonant of the cluster. Voiced consonants tend to cause unvoiced
consonants following them to become voiced. Because of the extent of compounding and
affixing in Setvayajan to form new words, these new words are quickly affected by these
phonotactic processes.

When the preceding consonant affects the following consonant:

(cid:15) Voiced stops cause following unvoiced consonants to become voiced.

(cid:15) Unvoiced stops generally do not cause voiced stops to devoice, but they do cause

other voiced consonants to lose their voicing.

(cid:15) Voiced and unvoiced consonants of the same type or similar articulation will coalesce

into a long consonant, depending on the first consonant in the cluster:

– /kg/ > /k:/ – kk
– /gk/ > /g:/ – gg
– /pb/ > /p:/ – pp
– /bp/ > /b:/ – bb
– /td/ > /t:/ – tt
– /dt/ > /d:/ – dd
– /dˆ/ > /ˆ:/ – jj
– /pf/ > /f:/ – ff
– /sz/ > /z:/ – zz
– /tSS/ > /tS:/ – cch
– /sS/ > /S:/ – ssh
– /SZ/ > /S:/ – ssh
– /zs/ > /s:/ – ss
– /zS/ > /Z:/ – zzh
– /sZ/ > /Z:/ – zzh

(cid:15) When /ˆ/, /(cid:217)/, and /T/ come before /s/, /z/, /S/, and /Z/, each cluster experi-

ences the following changes:

– /ˆs/ > /ˆ:/ – jj

15.1. MODERN SOUND CHANGE PROCESSES

79

– /(cid:217)s/ > /ts/ – ts

– /Ts/ > /s:/ – ss

– /ˆz/ > /Z:/ – zzh

– /(cid:217)z/ > /dz/ – dz

– /Tz/ > /z:/ – zz

– /ˆS/ > /(cid:217):/ – cch

– /(cid:217)S/ > /(cid:217)/ – ch

– /TS/ > /S:/ – ssh

– /ˆZ/ > /ˆ:/ – jj

– /(cid:217)Z/ > /ˆ/ – j

– /TZ/ > /Z:/ – zzh

(cid:15) Voiced and unvoiced stops cause following sibiliant fricatives to lose or gain voicing

depending on the stop and the following sibiliant fricative:

– /p/ + /z/ > /ps/ – ps

– /p/ + /Z/ > /pS/ – psh

– /b/ + /s/ > /bz/ – bz

– /b/ + /S > /bZ/ – bzh

– /t/ + /S/ > /tS/ – sh

– /t/ + /z/ > /ts/ – ts

– /d/ + /s/ > /dz/ – dz

– /d/ + /S/ > /ˆ/ – j

– /d/ + /Z/ > /ˆ/ – j

– /k/ + /z/ > /ks/ – ks

– /k/ + /Z/ > /kS/ – ksh

(cid:15) Two consonants of the same type are pronounced as a a long/geminated consonant.

In other cases, the following consonant affects the preceding consonant:

(cid:15) Voiced consonants that are not stops are devoiced by following unvoiced stops.

(cid:15) Unvoiced consonants that are not stops are voiced by following voiced stops.

(cid:15) /x/ defricativizes and becomes /k/ before other consonants.

(cid:15) Berfore other consonants, the following Voiced fricatives change in these ways:

– /B/ > /v/

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CHAPTER 15. SETVAYAJAN SOUND CHANGES

– /D/ > /j/

– /G/ > /j/

(cid:15) Influenced by changes to the voiced fricatives /B/, /D/, and /G/, before other con-
sonants, the following voiced stops reflect the same changes as their fricative coun-
terparts:

– /b/ > /v/

– /d/ > /j/

– /g/ > /j/

(cid:15) The initial consonant of a stressed syllable voices or devoices a consonant preceding

it.

(cid:15) The consonant clusters /kt/, and /ks/ become /t:/ tt and /ts/ ts

(cid:15) Geminate consonants simplify to non-geminates when part of a three consonant

cluster

(cid:15) Nasals before other consonants are strongly affected by following consonants:

– The nasals /m/, /n/ and /N/ will change their point of articulation to match

that of a following stop, otherwise they are pronounced as is.

– The nasal /n/ weakens and drops before /l/, /s/, /S/, /z/ and /Z/, causing
any preceding vowels to lengthen unless there is an existing long vowel in the
word, in which case the vowel preceding the /n/ is kept as a short vowel.

– Nasals before other nasals assimilate to the following nasal, becoming a gemi-

nate.

(cid:15) In word initial consonant clusters, if a nasal vowel is the second vowel, it disappears.

(cid:15) Before /w/, the phonemes /b/ and /p/ combine with /w/

(cid:15) The phonemes /t/, /d/, /s/, and /z/ combine with /j/ to form /tS/, /ˆ/, /S/, and

/Z/

(cid:15) The consonant /l/ experiences several changes

– /l/ assimilates into /j/, causing it to geminate when it precedes it: lila + hat >

lilhat > lilyat > liyyat

– /l/ becomes /u/ before other consonants

(cid:15) when /R/ precedes unvoiced consonants, it causes them to become voiced.

(cid:15) The consonant /R/ is prone to a few changes:

– When /R/ precedes /d/, /d/ becomes /z/

15.1. MODERN SOUND CHANGE PROCESSES

81

– When /R/ follows /s/ and /S/, it becomes /t/

– When /R/ follows /l/, /n/, /z/ and /Z/, it becomes /d/

– When /R/ precedes /l/, /n/, /z/ and /Z/, it disappears and lengthens the
vowel preceding it, unless there is an existing long vowel in a syllable preceding
the new long vowel.

– If two consecutive syllables contain /R/, the second will become /d/

Three Consonant Clusters

Historically, Setvayajan has only permitted consonant clusters of up to two consonants,
tending to reduce them to two consonant clusters over time. However, in modern Setvaya-
jan and only between vowels within words does Setvayajan permit clusters of up to three
consonants. These generally arise in the modern language from compound words. Not
every consonant sequence is permitted for these clusters. The most stable are sequences
that start at the back of the mouth and move forward, or start at the front of the mouth and
move backward. However, if there is a fricative or affricate consonant somewhere within
the cluster, this order of pronunciation is generally ignored.

Despite allowing consonant clusters of three consonants word internally, they tend not to
be stable over time. Sound changes that cause consonant clusters to reduce can trigger,
depending on the consonants involved. This can reduce a potential three consonant clus-
ter to a two consonant cluster, or even a single consonant.

A good example of this is what happens when a three consonant cluster contains two con-
sonants articulated in the same or close to the same part of the mouth while the other
consonant is pronounced further away. The two consonants may merge, or the consonant
furthest away may disappear. Usually, the middle consonant will drop, especially if the
middle consonant is a nasal, or if the first two consonants are stops.

(cid:15) /ndg/ > /Ng/ – ngg

(cid:15) /stk/ > /sk/ – sk

(cid:15) /pts/ > /ps – ps

(cid:15) /Rbd/ > /Rd/ – rd

(cid:15) /Rst/ > /st/ – st

(cid:15) /RNk/ > /Rg/ – rg

If a sequence of three consonants is not permitted, an epenthetic /a/ is inserted between
words in compounds.

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Instability of /h/

The sound /h/ is somewhat unstable in Setvayajan. The sound changes that it experiences
are not always consistent and can be irregular when they occur. Generally, they are as
follows:

(cid:15) Intervocalic /h/ can disappear between vowels, especially within long words, but
particularly if it begins a syllable following the stressed syllable of the word. How-
ever, if it is the initial consonant in a stressed syllable, it is usually retained (not
always, it can be erratic), though long or commonly used words often sees it drop.

(cid:15) After all stops, /h/ tends to drop.

(cid:15) When /h/ follows other consonants, a glide forms in place of /h/. However, if the

vowel following /h/ is /i/ or /i:/, then /h/ drops.

(cid:15) Within a word, when /h/ comes before another consonant, it drops, but causes the
preceding vowel to lengthen, unless there is already a pre-existing long vowel in the
word already.

(cid:15) Final /h/ disappears at the ends of words. If the syllable containing the lost /h/ is
stressed and contains a short syllable, the syllable retains the stress (unless a long
vowel appears in the word). If the syllable falls outside of normal stress assignment,
it is marked with an acute accent

Reduction of Long Vowels

Setvayajan only permits one long vowel in words of two and three syallables, and prohibits
two long vowels from appearing in adjacent syllables for longer words, reducing any long
vowel that is not primarily stressed to a short vowel. Words of four or more syllables may
permit more than one long vowel. As the first long vowel in a word is always stressed, any
subsequent long vowel will be reduced to a short vowel. If a compound word is formed
from two words with long vowels each, the first word retains its long vowel, and the sec-
ond word’s long vowel is shortened.

Some of the phonotactic rules create long vowels when they occur, which may be short-
ened instead if the word in which they occur already has an existing long vowel.

Vowel Clusters and Diphthongs

Unlike the consonants which have constraints on which consonants can come together and
which ones cannot, Setvayajan permits any vowels to come together. However, depending
upon the vowels, their quality, and their length, they may remain in hiatus (pronounced
separately), diphthongize, or merge into a single vowel.

(cid:15) Short ai and au are prone to monophthongization, but always in the following in-

stances:

15.1. MODERN SOUND CHANGE PROCESSES

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– /ai/ before /j/ > /e/ – e

– /au/ before /v/ > /o/ – o

(cid:15) If the vowels are both the same, they become a long vowel:

– /aa/ > /a:/ – ¯a

– /ee/ > /e:/ – ¯e

– /ii/ > /i:/ – ¯ı

– /oo/ > /o:/ – ¯o

– /uu/ > /u:/ – ¯u

(cid:15) If the first vowel is stressed, the following changes occur:

– /ae/ > /aj/ – ai

– /ai/ > /aj/ – ai

– /ao/ > /au/ – au

– /au/ > /au/ – au

– /ea/ > /ea/ – ea

– /ei/ > /ej/ – ei

– /eo/ > /eo/ – eo

– /eu/ > /eu/ – eu

– /ia/ > /ia/ – ia

– /ie/ > /ie/ – ie

– /io/ > /io/ – io

– /iu/ > /iu/ – iu

– /oa/ > /oa/ – oa

– /oe/ > /oj/ – oe

– /oi/ > /oj/ – oi

– /ou/ > /o:/ – ou

– /ua/ > /uwa/ – ua

– /ue/ > /uwe/ – ue

– /ui/ > /uwi/ – ui

– /uo/ > /uwo/ – uo

(cid:15) If the second vowel is stressed, the cluster may become a long vowel, a glide may
be inserted, or it may diphthongize. Orthographically, the second vowel is marked
with an acute accent:

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CHAPTER 15. SETVAYAJAN SOUND CHANGES

– /ae/ > /aje/ – a´e

– /ai/ > /ai/ – a´ı

– /ao/ > /awo/ – a´o

– /au/ > /awu/ – a ´u

– /ea/ > /ja/ – e´a

– /ei/ > /i:/ – e´ı

– /eo/ > /jo/ – e´o

– /eu/ > /ju/ – e ´u

– /ia/ > /ja/ – i´a

– /ie/ > /je/ – i´e

– /io/ > /jo/ – i´o

– /iu/ > /ju/ – i ´u

– /oa/ > /owa/ – o´a

– /oe/ > /owe/ – o´e

– /oi/ > /owi/ – o´ı

– /ou/ > /u:/ – o ´u

– /ua/ > /uwa/ – u´a

– /ue/ > /uwe/ – u´e

– /ui/ > /uwi/ – u´ı

– /uo/ > /uwo/ – u´o

(cid:15) If neither vowel is stressed, the cluster sees the following changes:

– /ae/ > /aj/ – ae

– /ai/ > /aj/ – ai

– /ao/ > /au/ – ao

– /au/ > /au/ – au

– /ea/ > /ja/ – ea

– /ei/ > /ej/ – ei

– /eo/ > /jo/ – eo

– /eu/ > /ju/ – eu

– /ia/ > /ja/ – ia

– /ie/ > /je/ – ie

– /io/ > /jo/ – io

– /iu/ > /ju/ – iu

15.1. MODERN SOUND CHANGE PROCESSES

85

– /oa/ > /wa/ – oa
– /oe/ > /oj/ – oe
– /oi/ > /oj/ – oi
– /ou/ > /o:/ – ou
– /ua/ > /wa/ – ua
– /ue/ > /we/ – ue
– /ui/ > /wi/ – ui
– /uo/ > /wo/ – uo

(cid:15) For diphthongs beginning with /j/, if they follow the consonants /t/, /d/, /s/,
and /z/, these consonants become palatalized, changing to /tS/, /ˆ/, /S/, and /Z/.
However, they are not altered to their proper equivalents (th, j, sh, zh) in the written
form:

– /tia/ > /(cid:217)ja/ – tia
– /dia/ > /ˆja/ – dia
– /sia/ > /Sja/ – sia
– /zia/ > /Zja/ – zia

(cid:15) If they precede a vowel, the diphthongs /aj/, /ej/, and /oj/ are written with /j/ as

y:

– /aj/ > /aj/ – ay
– /ei/ > /ej/ – ey
– /oi/ > /oj/ – oy

(cid:15) With a following vowel, the diphthong /au/ is different in that does not see an or-

thographic change, as /w/ is represented by the glyph for u in ranj¯al:

– aua – /awa/

– aue – /awe/

– aui – /awi/

– auo – /awo/

Because they appeared in Setvayajan relatively late, long vowels have different sound
changes than short vowels in hiatus and short diphthongs. The type of changes that hap-
pen depends upon whether the first or second vowel is long:

(cid:15) With long or short /a/, at the beginning of words, depending upon whether the first

or second vowels are long, the clusters are treated differently:

– If /a/ is long, the cluster may either reduce to long /a/, remain in hiatus, or

dipthongize:

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CHAPTER 15. SETVAYAJAN SOUND CHANGES

(cid:3) /a:a/ > /a:/ – ¯a
(cid:3) /a:e/ > /a:e/ – ¯ae
(cid:3) /a:i/ > /a:j/ – ¯ai
(cid:3) /a:o/ > /a:o/ – ¯ao
(cid:3) /a:u/ > /a:u/ – ¯au

– If the second vowel is long, the cluster can reduce to a long /a/, or /j/ is inserted
between the short vowel and a long /e/ or /i/. If the long vowel is /o/ or /u/,
then an /h/ is inserted:
(cid:3) /aa:/ > /a:/ – ¯a
(cid:3) /ae:/ > /aje:/ – ay¯e
(cid:3) /ai:/ > /aji:/ – ay¯ı
(cid:3) /ao:/ > /aho:/ – ah¯o
(cid:3) /au:/ > /ahu:/ – ah ¯u

(cid:15) Depending upon whether the first or second vowels are long, initial /e/ and /i/ are

affected differently:

– If the first vowels are /e:/ and /i:/, they do not become glides, though a glide
appears between the vowels, excluding /e:e/ and /i:i/. This glide is not indi-
cated in writing, and careful speech eliminates it:

(cid:3) /e:a/ > /e:ja/ – ¯ea
(cid:3) /e:e/ > /e:/ – ¯e
(cid:3) /e:i/ > /e:j/ – ¯ei
(cid:3) /e:o/ > /e:jo/ – ¯eo
(cid:3) /e:u/ > /e:ju/ – ¯eu
(cid:3) /i:a/ > /i:ja/ – ¯ıa
(cid:3) /i:e/ > /i:je/ – ¯ıe
(cid:3) /i:i/ > /i:/ – ¯ı
(cid:3) /i:o/ > /i:jo/ – ¯ıo
(cid:3) /i:u/ > /i:ju/ – ¯ıu

– If the second vowel is long, /e/ and /i/ become the glide /j/, except in the case

of /ee:/, /ei:/, and /ii:/ :
(cid:3) /ea:/ > /ja:/ – e¯a
(cid:3) /ee:/ > /e:/ – ¯e
(cid:3) /ei:/ > /i:/ – e¯ı
(cid:3) /eo:/ > /jo:/ – e¯o
(cid:3) /eu:/ > /ju:/ – e ¯u
(cid:3) /ia:/ > /ja:/ – i¯a
(cid:3) /ie:/ > /je:/ – i¯e

15.1. MODERN SOUND CHANGE PROCESSES

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(cid:3) /ii:/ > /i:/ – ¯ı
(cid:3) /io:/ > /jo:/ – i¯o
(cid:3) /iu:/ > /ju:/ – i ¯u

(cid:15) Depending upon whether the first or second vowels are long, initial /o/ and /u/

are affected differently:

– If /o/ or /u/ are long, the cluster may become a simple long vowel, a diph-

thong, or /w/ is inserted between the vowels:

(cid:3) /o:a/ > /o:wa/ – ¯oa
(cid:3) /o:e/ > /o:we/ – ¯oe
(cid:3) /o:i/ > /o:i/ – ¯oi
(cid:3) /o:o/ > /o:/ – ¯o
(cid:3) /o:u/ > /o:wu/ – ¯o
(cid:3) /u:a/ > /u:wa/ – ¯ua
(cid:3) /u:e/ > /u:we/ – ¯ue
(cid:3) /u:i/ > /u:wi/ – ¯ui
(cid:3) /u:o/ > /u:wo/ – ¯uo
(cid:3) /u:u/ > /u:/ – ¯u

– If the second vowel is long, the cluster may become a simple long vowel, or the
glide /w/ is inserted between the vowels, though not indicated orthographi-
cally:

(cid:3) /oa:/ > /owa:/ – o¯a
(cid:3) /oe:/ > /owe:/ – o¯e
(cid:3) /oi:/ > /owi:/ – o¯ı
(cid:3) /oo:/ > /o:/ – ¯o
(cid:3) /ou:/ > /u:/ – ¯u
(cid:3) /ua:/ > /uwa:/ – u¯a
(cid:3) /ue:/ > /uwe:/ – u¯e
(cid:3) /ui:/ > /uwi:/ – u¯ı
(cid:3) /uo:/ > /uwo:/ – u¯o
(cid:3) /uu:/ > /u:/ – ¯u

(cid:15) For diphthongs beginning with /j/, if they follow the consonants /t/, /d/, /s/,
and /z/, these consonants become palatalized, changing to /tS/, /ˆ/, /S/, and /Z/.
However, they are not altered to their standard orthographic forms (th, j, sh, zh):

– /tia/ > /(cid:217)ja/ – tia
– /dia/ > /ˆja/ – dia
– /sia/ > /Sja/ – sia

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CHAPTER 15. SETVAYAJAN SOUND CHANGES

– /zia/ > /Zja/ – zia

(cid:15) Any long vowels following /j/ remain long vowels:

– /tia:/ > /(cid:217)ja:/ – ti¯a
– /dia/ > /ˆja:/ – di¯a
– /sia/ > /Sja:/ – si¯a
– /zia/ > /Zja:/ – zi¯a

Additional Sound Changes

There are a few additional sound changes that occur throughout the history of Setvayajan:

(cid:15) /ij/ before consonants or word finally always becomes /i:/

(cid:15) In words longer than three syllables, there tends to be a loss of vowels in syllables
preceding or following the stressed syllable. This loss depends on whether the con-
sonant cluster that results is permitted or not.

(cid:15) If more than one long vowel appears in a word, the unstressed long vowels reduce

to short vowels.

(cid:15) Haplology (deletion) of repeated or similar syllables. Affixed words tend to expe-
rience it quite fast as most affixes create new words. Compound words are more
resistant until they begin to be understood as a single word rather than a combina-
tion of two words.Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang image
Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang image
Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang image
Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang image
Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang image
Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang image
Setvayajan: An Abandoned Conlang image

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