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Comparative Grammar of the Argeyazic Languages
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This public article was written by Yrieix Groulx, and last updated on 9 Apr 2020, 03:41. Editing of this article is shared with Argeyaz Bay.

[comments] [history] Menu 1. Morphology and Phonology 2. Word Order 3. Nouns 4. Pronouns 5. Verbs 6. Adjectives and Adverbs 7. Particles and Conjunctions 8. Adpositions
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.

[top]Morphology and Phonology

Proto-Argeyazic was a nominative-accusative agglutinative language characterized by a strong preference for suffixing. However, some inflections, such as the thematic vowels that mark gender in nominal suffixes or the repetition of the vowel in the verb tense suffix to mark imperfectivity, suggest prior systems of ablaut and reduplication. Both verbs and nouns inflect for multiple categories, while other parts of speech—affixes, adjectives, particles, etc.—have little or no inflection. Algaz and Hemeshi both share these general traits, though to a much weaker degree, with Algaz especially having a greater tendency towards fusion.

Grammatical and morphological suffixes typically varied little in form, with the exception of thematic or repeated vowels. Consonant clusters not otherwise allowed could occur at morpheme boundaries, though vowel hiatus remained disallowed, requiring the insertion of a glottal stop /ʔ/ between vowels at morpheme boundaries.

Stress in Proto-Argeyazic was most likely consistently stem-final. Both of its living descendents maintain regular stress, albeit with different placement: on final syllables in Algaz and on penultimate syllables in Hemeshi.

[top]Word Order

Proto-Argeyazic presumably had a SOV word order, which has remained the norm for the family as a whole. Direct and indirect objects, marked by the accusative and dative cases, could appear in either order in the object position, as in Hemeshi; this is no longer the case in Algaz, however, which relies heavily on word order to distinguish the direct object and subject. Head directionality in Proto-Argeyazic is typically reconstructed as being predominantly head-initial, with verbs being head-final. Adpositions, then, take the form of postpositions when modifying a verb and prepositions elsewhere. Algaz has become much more strongly head-initial, with phrases characterized by the use of prepositions or genitive or locative markers. Hemeshi, by contrast, (does something else).


Proto-Argeyazic nouns were marked for five cases, two numbers, and six genders.

The gender system consisted of a two-way contrast between masculine, feminine, or neuter and physical or nonphysical. These were indicated by thematic vowels that appeared in case and number suffixes, though nominative singular was typically unmarked. These vowels are as follows:

This contrast was largely preserved in Hemeshi; the development of vowel harmony in Old Hemeshi, however, caused the loss of the neuter genders, which merged with masculine physical and feminine nonphysical. The loss of the central vowel also caused the erosion of the feminine physical; it lacks a marking vowel, with case and number suffixes being appended directly to the noun stem, often replacing final consonants (eg. aswit "language", aswin "languages"). The gender vowels in Hemeshi are as follows:

Classical Algaz, by contrast, saw the merger of the masculine and feminine physical genders into a single common gender. This common-neuter-nonphysical system was evidently reanalyzed over the course of the Hafsighi period into an animacy-based one contrasting animate, inanimate, and abstract nouns, possibly as a result of Adzamic influence. Texts from the late Hafsighi period often show reassignment of words' gender or incorrect inflection based on meaning, particularly with regards to animate and inanimate nouns. The boundary between inanimate and abstract nouns was far less clear, however, and semantic drift has caused these two categories in modern Algaz to seem somewhat arbitrary at times. Algaz gender markers are as follows:

In Proto-Argeyazic, the plural suffix *-n precedes case suffixes; both are preceded by the vowel for the noun's gender (represented by V in the table below), though vowels between the plural and case suffixes appear to have been frequently elided. The reconstructed forms are as follows, though the reconstruction of the genitive suffix as *-Vë remains controversial.

Hemeshi largely preserves the Proto-Argeyazic cases, with the notable exception of the genitive (replaced by locative constructions). Case endings have simplified, however, and the accusative and dative plurals have merged.

The use of the accusative for definite direct objects led to the eventual conversion of the nominative and accusative forms into indefinite forms in modern Algaz. The definiteness, number, and gender suffixes have also undergone some degree of fusion, likely driven by elision of earlier vowels. Additionally, a negative number developed from the earlier negative particle *aq. Other cases (including the instrumental case derived from the adverbial marker *-ets) are then appended onto this "base" suffix; they are not themselves marked for number, although most remain marked for gender.

Noun Formation


Personal Pronouns
Proto-Argeyazic personal pronouns were likely declined in roughly the same manner as singular nouns, albeit without marking for gender. The reconstructed forms are as follows:
Case1st Person2nd Person3rd Person

In Hemeshi, the reflexes of these pronouns remain in use, and maintain mostly regular cases:
Case1st Person2nd Person3rd Person

Algaz also largely preserves this system, despite the conversion of nominative and accusative cases into indefinite and definite forms for regular nouns.
Case1st Person2nd Person3rd Person

Demonstratives, Determiners, and Indefinite Pronouns

Only two demonstratives have been reconstructed for Proto-Argeyazic: *Ɂi “this/that” and *ti “here/there,” as well as an additional interrogative *eh (likely related to the particle *ef).

In Algaz, a distal/proximal contrast was created through reuse of the earlier adposition *yor “far from” to mean “there” and subsequent compounding with *Ɂi, yielding si “this” and yarı “that.” These function both adjectivally and nominally, with the locative used to express “here” and “there” The reflex of *Ɂi, i, is used as an inanimate personal pronoun. It also enjoyed some use as a definite article in Classical and Middle Algaz, but is now largely obsolete and appears only in proper names. Additionally, determiners (including the particles used as such) have been nominalized with the addition of gender suffixes to create indefinite pronouns. Demonstratives, determiners, and indefinite pronouns in Algaz are as follows:
Determinereysi *ti + *ʔiyarı Proto-Argeyazic *yor "far from" + *ʔiakivum
Personya ey + animate suffixsiyayaraakaivauma
Thing (inanimate)eysiyeyareakeiveume
Thing (abstract)siyiyariakiiviumi
Time (discrete)yuli yu "where" + li "then" (Classical Algaz "at (time), when")
yarvifrom yarı avi, lit. "that time"
akvifrom ak avi, lit. "no time"ivwifrom iv avi, "some times"umwifrom um avi, "every time, all times"
Time (continuous)hawmfrom Classical Algaz hūm, "soon"lifrom Proto-Argeyazic *le, "at (time), when"ashkarfrom Classical Algaz ak tsī ak yar, "neither now nor then"shivarfrom Classical Algaz ev tsī ev yar, "maybe now, maybe then"sinyarfrom Classical Algaz um tsī, um yar, "always now, always then"
Placeyu *eh + locativesu *ti + locativeyar Proto-Argeyazic *yor "far from"aku *aq + locativeivu *ef + locativeum *um + locative
Reasoneydh *eh + dative
ij *ʔi + dative
Mannereys *eh + instrumental
yes *ʔi + instrumental

In Hemeshi, these demonstratives have been repurposed as relative pronouns i “that, who, which,” and ti “where, in which, that.” The former, which is also still in use as a demonstrative and indefinite pronoun, is used when the modified noun is the agent of the relative clause (including copular verbs and verbalized adjectives), while the latter is used when the noun is a patient or the object of an adposition within the clause (eg. kuɁ i pázuɁáráh “the woman who gave birth” vs wákweh ti pázuɁáráh “the baby she gave birth to”). Ete, ele, and oz also serve as relative pronouns or conjunctions, meaning "where," "when," and "of which," respectively.

efzenfrom Proto-Argeyazic *sern, "whole, entire"
Personyon e + on
i on
áon + on on from Proto-Argeyazic *hoṃ "person"omon um + on
i, i tem
átem + tem temfrom Proto-Argeyazic *tyemiy, "thing"ontem um + tem
Timelefrom Proto-Argeyazic *le, "at (time), when"tilifrom Proto-Argeyazic *tile, "during,"ikwifrom Proto-Argeyazic *ekle, "before"; used for events in the past or previously in a narrative or sequenceolifrom Proto-Argeyazic *amle, "after"; used for events in the future or later in a narrative or sequenceatʔi + *ti ule ef + le zenle zen + le
Placeete e + *ti titu *ti + tu
tu *ti + locative
ále + le ule ef + *ti zinti zen + *ti
Quantityyoz e + oz
ozfrom Proto-Argeyazic *ols, "such, so (many/much), X many/much"
Qualityyum e + um
umfrom Proto-Argeyazic *hulm, "near, close to, like"



All three voices remain in use in both Algaz and Hemeshi, with passive and reflexive suffixes descended from those in Proto-Argeyazic. Hemeshi, however, has causative voice marked with -uʔ-, from the earlier transitive verbalizer -ilq.


The original perfective/imperfective contrast was lost in Hemeshi as a result of sound changes, but imperfective aspect reemerged through reduplication of the initial syllable of the verb. An inchoative aspect, marked with -ot-/-ut-, also developed from the earlier intransitive verbalizer -ont.

Verb Formation and Transitivity
While there was no substantial transitivity distinction in Proto-Argeyazic, both a transitive (-ilq) and an intransitive (-ont) verbalizer have been reconstructed. These suffixes may have had additional uses, expressing repetition or impersonality. While both suffixes remain productive derivational morphemes in Algaz (as -ik and -ut), in Hemeshi their roles have shifted to the grammatical (see above). Verbs in Hemeshi are therefore typically created by simply appending the relevant conjugations directly to the root, with transitivity determined by context or convention:
woj n. “house” → woj v. “inhabit, live in/at”
Woj iju tu “My house is here” → Tu/tir wojitim “I live here”

[top]Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives in Proto-Argeyazic were relatively unmarked, lacking no agreement with the nouns they modified. They could, however, be marked with the diminutive and augmentative suffixes *-sih “slightly, kind of” and *-kun “very” to indicate more or less intensity. These were reduplicated to create the comparative suffixes *-sisih “less” and *-kukun “more, -er.”
Some words could function as adjectives or adverbs, while others were exclusively one or the other. Adverbs could be derived from adjectives of this type with the suffix *-ets, which would later become the Algaz instrumental suffix -is.

In Proto-Argeyazic, genitive nouns functioned as normal adjectives, despite marking number and gender. The Hemeshi locative, which is used to indicate possession due to the loss of the genitive, is treated similarly. In Algaz, however, genitive nouns have developed agreement in number, gender, and definiteness with their head noun, possibly due to a superficial resemblance to gender and number endings in Classical Algaz. The result is a system of partial suffixaufnahme in which genitive nouns (except for the indefinite singular) bear two sets of gender, number, and definiteness markers, both for the noun itself and for its head, rather than an explicit genitive marker. This remains the case when genitives are embedded, eg. bedher hadumaner Eninen, (house-INInanimate (gender/class)
for non-living things
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
friend-ANAnimate (gender/class)
alive, moving
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
a nonspecific referent
-INInanimate (gender/class)
for non-living things
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
Enin-ANAnimate (gender/class)
alive, moving
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
a nonspecific referent
) "Enin's friends' house," where haduman is marked with an inanimate singular definite ending -er to agree with bedher and Enin is marked with the animate plural indefinite ending -en to agree with haduman. Additionally, a genitive's head noun can be definite or indefinite, each carrying a different implication, eg. taksha kira "your child-INDEFIndefinite
a nonspecific referent
(one of several or an unknown quantity)" vs. takshar kirar "your child-DEFDefinite
(your only child, or the one already specified)". Genitives/denominal adjectives can also be considered a separate class of "noun-like" adjectives, in contrast to a class of unmarked adjectives inherited from Proto-Argeyazic or borrowed from other languages.

[top]Particles and Conjunctions

The particles *aq and *ef expressed negativity and uncertainty, respectively, and had a number of uses. Most notably, they were used before verbs to indicate these negativity and potentiality/uncertainty, and as the coordinating conjunctions “(and/but) not” and “or.” They may also have been used to refer to quantities “none” and “some,” as evidenced by the use of a grammatical number to indicate negativity in Algaz. This negative number is marked with the suffix –k, derived from *aq. In Hemeshi, both particles survive as prefixes indicating negative (aʔ-/äʔ-) and potential (ef-/if-/u-) moods. Both languages also use conjunctions descended from these particles: ak and iv in Algaz and e in Hemeshi.


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Edit history
on 09/04/20 03:41+8528Yrieix GroulxAdded demonstrative/indefinite pronouns
on 29/12/19 01:31+1652Yrieix GroulxHemeshi noun cases, Algaz genitives
on 06/10/19 01:22+4607Yrieix Groulxtables
on 14/09/19 23:34+2520Yrieix Groulxadded word order, adjectives + adverbs, and demonstratives
on 24/08/19 02:560avaupdating tags
on 01/07/19 01:27-195Yrieix Groulx....
on 01/07/19 01:26+317Yrieix Groulx...
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