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Lilitika Grammar
Lilitika Grammar III
Describing the Ketalán Lilitika dialect.
Lilitika Ketalán, or Nomad's Lilitika, was the standard dialect in the Lilitic fleet during 830-1050 lilpo. Like Illeran, its inflections were constructed speculatively by linguists concerned with balancing poetic and everyday utility. This differs markedly from earlier dialects such as Sarasí (a natural condensation of the Venrafivíai) and Zeyetaní (an apology for the original Íomanazinení design) which were about compromising synthetic forms in favour of everyday use.

The Illeran mode had proven quite successful, but because of the painful memories associated with it, few were interested in continuing to use it unmodified. Were it not for the plague, it is likely that it would have displaced Sarasí as the standard fleet dialect within a century and remained largely stagnant thereafter. The primary concern for the designers of Ketalán, then, was not actually to invent a new template, but to refine and replace Illeran without making too many direct allusions. Many older forms were borrowed from Sarasí, Venrafivíai, and Zeyetaní, and suppleted with altered Illeran forms.

Note: "ø" in transcriptions in this article indicates the gender of the noun in question, unstressed (a, e, o); if in an adjective, then of the parent noun; if in a verbal adverb, then the subject. Capital "Ø" indicates the stressed form (á, é, ó). When "Ø" appears in headings, it refers to the neutral case.

Phonology and orthography

Ketalán contains the following minor differences from Sarasí, building on the Illeran values:

  • All final vowels are strong (i.e. tense), even when not accented (note that Illeran allows terminal /ɛ/, unlike all other forms of Lilitika)
  • Strong vowels not normally accented (o and a) can be accented to indicate priority in placing stress
  • <à> or <ò> represents a stressed <ô> (['ɑ])
  • <è> represents a stressed <ê> (['ø] or ['y]); note that this represented ['ɛ] in Illeran
  • <ù> represents a stressed <û> (['ɔ])
  • Stress falls on the first accented vowel at or after the antepenult if present
  • Stress falls on the first strong vowel at or after the antepenult if present (but no accents)
  • Stress falls on the antepenult if no accents or strong vowels are available
  • Stress falls on the first syllable in a two-syllable unstressed verb with no strong vowels
  • <ý> is used only in poetry and indicates a <i> or <í> elided to [j] for metrical reasons
  • <q> or <qr> is preferred orthographically over <gh> for [ɣ]/[ʁ] to emphasize that the phoneme was reinvented, even though they are both represented with ghedo in Títina

  • Declension

    Ketalán retains the case system of Illeran, but with more distinctive gender variants, as well as several unique inflection patterns for certain word-final vowel combinations.

  • azhoi adzhrekía (uncomplicated feminine) corresponds to the Sarasí/Illeran feminine -a ending. It is used for female people and animals, personified deities, feminine objects (e.g. statues or women's clothing), and neuter objects that are possessed by females.
  • adzhri zellikanía (feminine cosmic) is also known as the supernatural feminine and corresponds to the neuter -a ending. It is used for natural phenomena and entities such as weather, emotions, plants, neuter animals, and concepts.
  • turellí adzhrekía (wild feminine) corresponds to the feminine -e ending. It is used primarily for names and diminutive forms of address.
  • (azhoi) lútsinía (uncomplicated basic) is the true neuter and corresponds to the neuter -e or -ú ending. It is used primarily for artificial creations and concepts, except those made by the Ksreskézai. Many things may vary between genders depending on the speaker or context in which they are being discussed.
  • sarekía (constructed) is the masculine neuter and corresponds to the neuter -o ending. It is usually used for Ksreskézaian creations, but can also include weapons, masculine objects (e.g. statues or men's clothing), and neuter objects that are possessed by males. There are a small number of irregular words in this category such as etesso which have mostly ended up there due to shortening and poetic stereotyping.
  • zelli odzhrekía (true masculine) corresponds to the masculine -o ending. It was historically a closed set containing only Ksreskézai, although at times conservatives such as the Mitradzhethíasa also employed this form to describe themselves. Later, it was expanded to include all males, personified male deities, and certain social forces.
  • The mekhuría cases are variants of the azhoí/zellí cases that are invoked when a noun has <í> before the ending. Some purists only invoke some of these rules when the word was derived from an adjective.
  • matenei zellikanía (combining cosmic) is a small set of neuter -a nouns (-oa nouns) which historically pertained to the interface between Ksreskézaians and their environment, such as dreams, lunar bodies, and musical instruments.
  • stilli kílosa (divine name) is a small set of -a nouns (-éa nouns) which are agentive nouns of verbs. Many personal names fall under this pattern. Nouns ending in -éa which are not agentive should not be governed by this pattern, e.g. saitshéa or reflovéu.
  • haíti adzhrekía (possessed feminine) is a small set of -a nouns (-ha nouns) which are derived from adjectives (as -íha) or passive verbs (originally as -aha, often with the first "a" dropped). These are almost all names, such as Múrekíha or Ithovíha.
  • matenei adzhrekía (combining feminine) is a small set of -o nouns which are feminine despite appearing masculine in form. These are predominantly loanwords from later stages of Lilitika (such as "Sappho"), although the Mitradzhethíasa, pre-awakening egrekeloi, and múnildai often took names of this form as well.

  • Mixed plurals: Lútsinía is the proper form to use when describing a group of people of mixed gender, with two exceptions:

  • some purists will still prefer the azhoí adzhrekía form, especially if the group contains at least one Lilitu.
  • if the group contains Ksreskézaians, then zellí odzhrekía must be used instead.

  • Genitives: in previous dialects, genitives were formed exclusively using -øní endings (extending to include -ølí endings in Sarasí and -øn in Illeran.) Ketalán's system superficially resembles that of Illeran, but with one critical difference: the forms given are postmodifiers, as are standard -ø adjectives (see below). If genitive appears before a noun, then it is probably a subjective or objective genitive (see example at veshé.) See the adnominals section below for information on forming genitives in other positions.

    Major declension patterns

    Ø f-n n v ac g in ab l d e tmp trm
    azhoi adzhrekía a éve a é (a)rha án we úa assa alla úta (i)ta (i)kha
    ai évei ai éai (a)dti áin wi úai assi alli úti (i)ti (i)khi
    adzhri zellikanía a (i)fé a éa (a)qra eyi we úe essa ella úte elta (i)khéa
    ai (i)fí ai éai (a)ki iyi wi úi essi elli úti elti (i)khi
    turelli adzhrekía é (i)vo é è (a)rhe en úe ésse élle úte (i)te (i)khe
    éi (i)ví éi í (a)dti in úi éssi élli úti (i)ti (i)khi
    (azhoi) lútsinía e (i)pho ú úe éne eye we úe esse elle úte (i)te (i)khe
    ei (i)phí ei í éni eyi wi úi essi elli úti (i)ti (i)khi
    sarekía o ívo o ohe óno àyo we úo esso àllo úto (i)to (i)kho
    ei íví ei óhi óni àyi wi úi essi àlli úti (i)ti (i)khi
    zelli odzhrekía o ova o ó óno ón wo úo os ôllo úto (i)to (i)kho
    oi oví oi ohi óni óin woi úoi oís ôlli úti (i)ti (i)khi


    Ø f-n n v ac g in ab l d e tmp trm
    adzhri mekhuría ía áfia ía íe írha íen íwe úa ís íllaúta íta íkha
    íai áfi íai íai ídti in áwi úai íssi ílliúti íti íkhi
    azhoi mekhuría íe ífe íe íúe éne íen íwe úe ís ílle úte íte íkhe
    íei ífi íei í éni in éwi úi íssi ílli úti íti íkhi
    odzhri mekhuría ío ípho ío ío iôno íôn íwo úo ís ílloúto íto íkho
    íoi óphi íoi íoi íôni in ówi úoi íssi ílliúti íti íkhi
    matenei zellikanía oa eva oa é óqra óan óe oéa ossa ollaúotaota ôkha
    oai eví oai éai óki óainóï ówi ossi olliúotioti ôkhi

    Special name-only forms

    Ø f-n n v ac g in ab l d e tmp trm
    stilli kílosa* éa éfa éa éa eqra en úa éssa éllaúta elta ékha
    haíti adzhrekía* ha (i)pha ha (i)rha hán wa úa hásse hallaúatahata kha
    matení adzhrekía o (i)va o é (a)rho án úô esso àlloúataota ôkha
    ai (i)ví ai éai (a)dti áin wi úi essi àlliúatioti ôkhi

    * Common nouns obey azhoi adzhrekía or adzhri zellikanía

    The cases

  • The neutral case, Ø, is a generic oblique case that appears when a paragrammatical remark is being made, such as in an FPIC construction, or when the gender is carried by an inflected preposition. Nouns marked with the neutral case have no role in the sentence other than forming restrictive criteria, e.g. how "dúste" is used in zo dzhemeno il ze dúste dúpatái, "the wall of the building has fallen." It is also the standard dictionary form given (unless the noun can be any gender). It is unchanged from Sarasí and Illeran.

  • The nominative case and the variant f-nominative forms are used when a noun is the agent of the sentence, or when the noun is the patient of the sentence and the verb is passive (i.e. experiential.) The f-nominative forms must be used when the noun participates in an FPIC construction to clearly demarcate them as non-neutral.

  • The accusative case is used when the noun is the patient of the sentence, or when the verb is passive/experiential, the noun is the agent.

  • The vocative case is used strictly when addressing people. In early Archaic Lilitika, the presence of a vocative was the sole necessary to form an imperative, and this is still occasionally seen in verse.

  • The genitive case describes possession. Grammatically it functions in two roles; as a postfix adjective (e.g. amelía rán, "your heart") or as a nominal genitive, in which case the noun is placed in a position where it can have no compatible antecedents, such as at the start of the sentence or after a verb. Nominal genitives are used to indicate inspirations and objectives other than concrete locations, sources or recipients, e.g. ri amán moihòsaia saka, "I benefit of your love." It can also be used to show descent from a less literal source, e.g. motúkwinán trúekhaki maráse, "I bring pictures from the artists." Contrast this last form to trúekhaki motúkwinán maráse, "I bring pictures of the artists," and the equivalent trúekhaki hedi motúkwinán maráse, "I bring pictures about the artists."

  • The instrumental case describes a tool, mindset, or approach used to accomplish the action. Collaborators should be chained as co-agents using híé and the neutral case.

  • The ablative case describes the origin (physical location, emotional, or conceptual) of an action, or occasionally someone giving something. In Ketalán, motivating circumstances and creations are more often stated using a nominal genitive.

  • The locative case describes the location (physical, emotional, or conceptual) of an action.

  • The dative-allative case describes the recipient, the destination, or the objective of an action. Certain historical dative uses are replaced with nominal genitives in Ketalán.

  • The egressive case describes the time of initiation. It must be used with a preposition such as wes or des.

  • The temporal case describes the time of occurrence. It must be used with a preposition such as wes or des.

  • The terminative case describes the time of conclusion. It must be used with a preposition such as wes or des.

  • Conjugation

  • The "fourth person" is the "distant second" person of earlier dialects and functions similarly.
  • The tenses are deep past, past, present liquid, future, liquid imperative, future imperative, aorist, optative-jussive, and prophetic, as in Sarasí and (especially) Illeran.

  • Sarenei tshúdai: -é
    dp ésre édte étdte ézze esrin edtin etdtin ezzes
    ps ése ére éste élle essin erin estin eles
    pr áse áre áste á ássi ári ásti áli
    li ísa íta ísta íza ísya ídya ítya ízya
    fu ílsa íldta ílta ílla ílísa ílída ílíta ílya
    im asmé anré atmé amé asmí andí atmí amí
    fi asmá anrá atmá amá azyá adyá atyá alyá
    ao òsa òra òta óe òsya òrya òtya óes
    oj énta énra énwa ízoe eníta enídta eníwa ízoes
    pr òsse òke òkwe òhoe òssi òki òkwi òhí

    Haitenei tshúdai: -ahé, -eshé
    dp ásare ádadte átadte álaze ásarin ádarin átarin álazes
    ps ásye áríse ásíte álíe ássin árísen ásíten áles
    pr áise áidte áiste ái áissi áidi áisti áili
    li áisa áidta áista áiza áisya áidya áitya áizya
    fu álísa álídta álíta álla álísya álídya álítya álya
    im aismé airé aitamé aimé aismí airí aitamí amí
    fi aismá aidá aitamá aimá aizyá aidyá aityá ailá
    ao òsaia òraia òtaia òlla òsi òri òti ózi
    oj ánta ánra ánwa áize áníta ánídta áníwa áizi
    pr òsye òkye òkawe òlye òsaya òkya òkwa òya

    Aspect Infixes

    These are largely identical to the Illeran aspect infixes:

    én x is ~ing
    et x has ~ed
    ent x x has been ~ing
    ep x starts to ~
    ek x finishes ~ing
    ev x x starts to be ~ed
    eg x x finishes being ~ed
    esp x x has started to ~
    esk x x has finished ~ing
    eps x x x has started to be ~ed
    eks x x x has finished being ~ed

    Note that inchoative and terminative cannot co-exist in a single form (meaning "starts to finish ~" or "finishes starting to ~"); these would be formulated with an auxiliary verb and a gerund in the accusative.

    Modal Clitics and Particles

    Core verb inflection permits incorporation of indicative, imperative, and optative-jussive moods. This leaves many moods to be expressed through external markers. Ketalán's system for this is very similar to that of Illeran, though notably it includes some changes to particles that had not changed since Oksí.

    dasentence-final particleinterrogative(question marker)
    encliticdestinate(reverses the meaning of the ablative and dative cases)
    níyeencliticreciprocal locomotive(indicates motion between two places, with the dative marking the initial destination and the ablative marking the initial source)
    neencliticmiddle voice(indicates mixed or ambiguous involvement between agent and patient)
    sôkaencliticgnomic"generally" (indicates the sentence is a general statement about the way the world works)
    sokaencliticgnomicvariant of sôka (used esp. after the -óe 3.SG.AOR ending and other o-heavy endings)
    sakaencliticgnomicvariant of sôka
    sentence-final particledeductive"It would appear..."
    sentence-final particleinferential renarrative"I hear that..."
    lískasentence-final particlecausative interrogative"why"/"how" (asks for an explanation of the facts stated in the sentence; see grammar in dictionary at kwedzin)
    nad(o)procliticreversal"undoes the ~ing"
    al(é)procliticnegative"does not ~"
    procliticrequirement"must ~" (for any reason)
    íféprocliticdesiderative"wants to ~"
    procliticsocial requirement"must ~" (by law or agreement)
    essíprocliticnatural requirement"must ~" (by nature)

    Non-realis moods (gnomic, requirement, desiderative) are used with the aorist unless tense provides additional useful information, such as ífégisa, "I want to leave [presently]."

    As in Sarasí, the proclitics can be stacked, and ordering affects meaning, e.g. alérímaratàé, "I am not required to come" (the requirement is negated) vs. ríalémaratàé, "I am forbidden to come" (the negation is required.)


    There are four different positions for an adjective in Ketalán:

  • Before a noun, use -i; this is called a head adjective
  • After a noun, where previously -is would have been used, use the null case ending (a, é, e, or o) of the noun being modified; this is called a tail adjective
  • Tail and head adjectives can have -í leading adjectives modifying them; previously this would be done with -ya adverbs
  • Tail and head adjectives can also be followed by -is trailing adjectives; previously this would have been done with -adis adverbs
  • If the result is too hard to decipher, unroll any compacted inflectional suffices such as -urí or -uví, taking care to replace the -í with the appropriate inflectional form if necessary
  • If the result is still too hard to decipher, avoid using tail adjectives

  • Non-standard genitives

    Genitives in Ketalán are habitually postfix, i.e. they follow the noun phrase they modify. However, as this has limited utility, they can be coerced into the other adjectival roles using suffixes after removing any present final vowel: -í for leading, -is for trailing, -i for head. If the tail form already ends in -i, restore -ni or -ní when forming a head or leading adjective, e.g. sithekini mota, "sounds' aesthetics."


    There are three different positions for an adverb in Ketalán:

  • Before a verb, use -Øya where Ø is the stressed null case ending (á, é, or ó) of the subject (replacing -ya)
  • After a verb, use -Ødis where Ø is as above (replacing -adis)
  • For sentential adverbs, use -yú (replacing -éú)

  • Root changes

  • arlé becomes aré in all verbs, e.g. kazaré
  • tu becomes túu
  • tsilu becomes súnu
  • tsu becomes éha (following the adzhrí zellikanía a-neuter pattern), which can be abbreviated to just é- (with the leading vowel of the suffix removed, e.g. éqra = éhaqra)

  • Definite articles

    The system of definite articles in Ketalán is somewhat different from previous dialects. It does not mark for plurals, and every article has a leading consonant. Also, instead of a linking -n to handle words that start with a vowel, the article is followed by the unusual h' particle. In Titína, this is simply written as a kelsithipta mark with no morphological boundary indicated.

    feminine (-a or -o)tata sta
    neuter (-e or -a)tete h'adía
    feminine neuter (-é)té kariné
    artificial (-o)zeze dústo
    masculine (-o)zozo h'okso