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RGLH, Part II: Orthography, Phonology, Morphology
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The alphabet, rules of sandhi, forms, and more.
This public article was written by EllaHansen, and last updated on 23 Aug 2020, 22:36.

[comments] Menu A. Orthography & Phonology B. Morphology: Verbs ⁠— 1. Regular Verbs ⁠— 2. Cluster-Stem Verbs ⁠— 3. Defective Verbs C. Morphology: Nouns ⁠— 1. Weak Declension ⁠— 2. Verbal & Deverbal Nouns ⁠— 3. Feminine-n Nouns & Diminutives ⁠— 4. Strong Nouns D. Morphology: Demonstratives & Numbers E. Morphology: Adverbs Etc. F. Morphology: Derivation
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.

[top]A. Orthography & Phonology

Heláin's only native writing-system consists of a few hundred logographs, still in use for shipping labels, road signs, and the like. By Tersas's day, however, they had developed Ceivicitien, a phonetic script based on the Kheroic alphabet. The many swashes and tails of handwritten Ceivicitien interfere with efficient typesetting, so a blockier script developed with the rise of printing. Heláin materials on CWS (including this grammar) use the monospace block script preferred by the Guild of Physicians.

In Ceivicitien, consonants are represented by letters (ceivyora ‘slashes’) and vowels by diacritics (citora ‘specks’) over the consonants that follow them. The alphabet has a canonical six diacritics and eighteen letters, as well as three diacritics for diphthongs and sixteen letters for doubled consonants (distinguished from single consonants by an added line or dot; historical sound changes mean that a 'doubled' plosive or fricative is not in fact doubled, but preceded by its homorganic nasal). The following tables give the extended alphabet in order by its traditional divisions, along with letter-names, romanisation, and pronunciation; diacritics are shown on the null-letter h.

1aha (a-cit)a/ä/
2oho (o-cit)o/ɞ/
3uhu (u-cit)u/u͍/1
6yhyey, ye, ie/j/, /jε/3

1 /u͍/ = compressed /u/.
2 Short fronts e and i are /ε ɪ/ before consonants and word-finally (bec /bεk/, teige /t̪e:gɛ/) but /e i/ before vowels (clea /kleä/); ei is the doubled form of either one.
3 Ye is /j/ (romanised as y: arYh /äɾjä/ arya) before vowels but /jε/ (romanised as ye word-initially and -finally and after ai and elsewhere as ie: Ahyh /ɒjjɛ/ aiye, aryn /äɾjεn̪/ arien) in all other positions.

Assorted Consonants
8whwahw, w5/ʍ~w/

4 Levea 'breath' is pronounced only initially to distinguish similar words (e.g., har ‘excel’ from ar ‘be known’). It occurs medially as a null-letter to carry diacritics (ligatures are common), or finally without a diacritic to mark a stressed ultima: calah cala, clEah clea, erUn eréin', sEaq seád. [NB: The last two conscript forms are displaying incorrectly.]
5 Hwa is romanised as hw initially or between vowels (where it counts as a double consonant for stress, e.g., etegíhwe), and as w after t, c, and g (in the word gwir only). Elsewhere, it became u in Archaic Heláin.

Tente (te twa)nt/n̪t̪/
Dende (de twa)nd/n̪d̪/
Jentha (eth twa)nth/n̪θ/
Qendha (edha twa)ndh/n̪ð/

Ceŋce (ce twa)ŋc/ŋk/
Geŋge (ge twa)ŋg/ŋg/

Pempe (pe twa)mp/mp/
Bembe (be twa)mb/mb/
Femfa (ef twa)mf/mɸ~mf/
Vemva (eva twa)mv/mβ~mv/


Punctuation: A single dot • separates clauses, though not usually bridged clauses or relative clauses. A double dot •• separates sentences, like the English full stop. Brackets ⌠⌡ can mark names (but are optional). The symbol &, a ligature for & fi ‘and’, can be used by itself like an ampersand, or word-initially before a vowel (&er = &er fier 'who, which', &ah = &ah fia 'thing'). [NB: currently displaying the ligature only. I'll try to fix eventually.]

Permitted syllables and clusters: A syllable consists of one vowel or semivowel-vowel pair, which may be preceded by one consonant or a stop and a liquid, or followed by one consonant, or both, that is, [C/PL][y/w]V[C]. A final syllable may be followed by a pair of consonants. E.g.: el, is-twin, am-bont, cen-de-ra, bre-nas-the-noi, linn.

Besides the diphthongs ai, ei, and ye, the only vowel clusters always permitted are a diphthong (ai, ei, ye, or oi where allowed) or e or i before a, o, or u, or aiye /ɒjjε/; oi is permitted only in utensils. No cluster of three or more consonants is always permitted. Of the 256 possible consonant pairs, the following 78 are permitted:

  • initially, a plosive or (non-sibilant) fricative plus a liquid;
  • finally, a homorganic nasal before a plosive, a doubled nasal or liquid, and a liquid plus a plosive or fricative;
  • medially, a homorganic nasal before a non-sibilant fricative, an s on either side of a liquid or unvoiced plosive or fricative (including ss), and all pairs allowed initially and finally.

Sandhi: The following sound- and spelling-changes are applied to compounds and inflections to resolve prohibited clusters into permitted ones.

  1. Of three consecutive consonants, the middle drops out and sandhi applies to the first and last: ist-dar > is-dar > istar. (But some three-consonant clusters of the form n/s + t/d + r are permitted: astre, astrian, intrul, veriendra, twendre, cwendre, iandre; also isclea.)
  2. A plosive, nasal, or (non-sibilant) fricative assimilates to a following plosive, nasal, or fricative; but a double plosive or fricative is pronounced and romanised as a homorganic nasal-plosive or nasal-fricative cluster: ec-tea > entea eT/eH; hiv-bar > himbar HiB/aR; ad-far > amfar aF/aR; un-main > ummain uM/aiN.
  3. Before or after an s, a voiced plosive or fricative becomes unvoiced, and a nasal becomes another s: hiv-sar > hifsar; in-sal > issal.
  4. An l assimilates to an adjacent r: cor-lin > corrin. Otherwise, a liquid or nasal assimilates to a following liquid or nasal: min-lin > millin. An r separated from an rr by an unstressed vowel becomes l: cor-urrún > colurrún.
  5. An h disappears between vowels, and sandhi applies to the vowels: he-hellen > *he-ellen > heillen.
  6. The diphthongs ai, oi are analysed as vowel pairs a-i, o-i for sandhi: celoi-el > celoeil; fai-i > faei. (But ai-e-n[a] and ai-i-n[a] are regularised to ai-en, as in the name Faien.)
  7. Two consecutive front vowels (e, i, ei) or an adjacent ei and y(e) contract to ei: hioni-el > hioneil; mei-es > meis; mei-ya > meia. (But *andari-el > andariel, fi-er > fier.) A y(e) absorbs an adjacent short front (e, i): se-yen > sien.
  8. Two consecutive central/back vowels (a, o, u) contract to the second: tu-ora > tora. (But nöa.)
  9. An a plus a short front contract to ai; o or u absorbs a following short front: anda-elan > Andailan; tu-ian > *tuan > tan. (But -oi remains in utensils.)
  10. A front vowel plus a central/back vowel do not contract: clea, eollin, fiuna.

Fronting: When a verb whose stem vowel (the last vowel in the stem) is a, o, or u and follows at least one consonant is attached to a suffix or other word so that a single consonant divides the stem vowel from a front vowel or oi, the stem vowel is fronted, that is, it becomes the nearest short front: tag-ena > tegena; e-cor-ihwe > eceríhwe or eciríhwe; ŋun-ir > ŋinir; ord-ena (two intervening consonants); hion-ena, an-i (no consonant before the stem vowel).

Elision: Where a word ends in a vowel before a word beginning with the same vowel (conflating e and i), the first vowel is omitted in speech and often either omitted or replaced with h in Ceivicitien (romanised as an apostrophe). The exceptions are the singular absolutive demonstrative e or i, which is never elided; and the conjunction fi, the relative article ever, the possessive prefixes se-/me-/lle-, and the particles ic or il with fie dha or fiel, whose short front vowels elide to any adjacent vowel.

  • te’ alleon avai (elided, for tea alleon)
  • adannen av e istenitha (e never elided)
  • aistwín f’annún (fi elided to any vowel)
  • ecfinena’l sevennen i fiel erintea (il with fiel elided to any vowel)

Stress: A syllable is long if it contains a short front vowel (e, i) followed by two consonants, another vowel followed by one consonant, or a diphthong. In most words, stress falls on the penult if it is long, or else on the antepenult: adáia, adhóna, elésta, céndera, brenásthenoi. Exceptions, usually caused by loss of a final syllable, are marked with an acute accent on the stressed vowel in romanisation, or with a final (often superscript) levea in Ceivicitien: istenéin, iSTeNeiNH. Secondary stress can fall two syllables before the primary stress, if it is long, or else three.

The main stresses of a sentence fall in its verbs and nouns, especially the ‘head’ nouns of noun-containing phrases, unless another word is to be stressed for emphasis. When a monosyllabic word follows a word stressed on the antepenult, the ultimate syllable of the longer word tends to have secondary stress. Natural pauses, such as would be indicated by commas, separate clauses. E.g., hárren álle, mélas séillen i’cianas, séillen av f’unèinthenéisf’ e isténitha. (Note that one does not draw attention to the demonstrative pair i’cianas.)

[top]B. Morphology: Verbs

[top]⁠— 1. Regular Verbs

On a regular Heláin verb, the past tense is marked by initial reduplication with e, that is, the first consonant (if any) plus e is added to the beginning of the verb. The non-past tense is unmarked.

callen ‘are washed’
taŋgen ‘are arranged’
sarren ‘are made’
thessen ‘lie’
trullen ‘are born’
annen ‘go’
ecannen ‘go out’
hellen ‘are taken’
cecallen ‘were washed’
tetaŋgen ‘were arranged’
sesarren ‘were made’
thethessen ‘lay’
tetrullen ‘were born’
eannen ‘went’
e-ecannen > eicannen ‘went out’
he-hellen > heillen ‘were taken’

Heláin verbs are not conjugated for person and number; instead, nine aspects or moods are indicated with prefixes, suffixes, and minor alterations of the stem, especially fronting. (The native term for such an aspect or mood is thenna, pl. thennora, 'stance' or 'hour'; hereafter thenna will be rendered simply 'aspect', even when it refers to a mood.

The four most common aspects have no prefixes. In most regular verbs, where the stem ends in a single consonant, they are formed as follows:
  1. The aorist doubles the final consonant and adds -en.
  2. The perfect unvoices a final plosive, or adds the homorganic unvoiced plosive to a final nasal, c to a final liquid, or t to a final fricative.
  3. The imperfect, when the stem vowel is a, o, or u, adds e and a copy of the final consonant, and (if that consonant is a plosive or non-sibilant fricative) reduces the now-penultimate consonant to its homorganic nasal (tag --> *tageg --> taŋeg); and otherwise doubles the stem vowel (if a short front) and the final consonant (het --> heint; main --> mainn).
  4. The imperative (non-past only) is the bare stem, often ultimately stressed.

Of the other six aspects, four add prefixes (non-past only); three show fronting; and all add suffixes. Stress cannot fall on a prefix. (The inchoative prefix is an- before a central/back vowel and otherwise a-, and the suffix is often omitted.)

FREQFrequentative (aspect)
repeated or customary action
INCHInchoative (aspect)
'beginning, becoming'
a(n)- (-a)
POTPotential (mood)
likely events, ability
CFACContrafactual (mood/evidential)
untrue, events that have not occurred
e- -uŋye
OPTOptative (mood)
'wish, hope'

Three verbal nouns (all weak) are formed by adding a nominal ending to the verbal stem. The infinitive shows fronting only before front endings; the participles show fronting in all forms.

VOCVocative (case)
'O [addressee]'
GDGender (gender/class)
gender, in general
Infinitive-aFFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
Active PTCPParticiple
adjectival form of a verb
-irMMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
Passive PTCPParticiple
adjectival form of a verb
-ithaMMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male

A regular verb tag ‘be arranged’: [Table on separate page.]

The otherwise-regular verb neic ‘be remembered’ has nenei (perhaps from a *nēhw or *nēǩ) in the non-past aorist, nenún (*ne-nēhwn) in the past aorist, and neicá (*nēǩá) in the imperative.

[top]⁠— 2. Cluster-Stem Verbs

Verbs derived from nouns whose stems end in a consonant cluster (not a double letter) vary slightly from the regular pattern. In the perfect and imperfect aspects, and sometimes in the aorist, the consonant cluster is split by the noun’s absolutive ending (-e or -i); more often, the aorist uses the cluster in place of a doubled consonant. The imperative ends in (cf. neic and defective verbs). The inchoative suffix always appears, and the cluster prevents all fronting. E.g., esl ‘be weighed down’ (< esla MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
‘lead’): AORAorist (tense/aspect)
usually the simple past
eslen or esellen, PERFPerfect (aspect/tense)
have verb-ed
eselc, IPRFImperfect (aspect/tense)
was verb-ing
eseill, INCHInchoative (aspect)
'beginning, becoming'
anesla, IMPImperative (mood)

The consonant cluster in ast ‘be loved’ (and adast ‘receive devotion’) is never split. The verb has the aorist form asten and the perfect and imperative ast; the imperfect form is nominally ast as well, but the frequentative astena is used instead.

[top]⁠— 3. Defective Verbs

The three defective verbs aia ‘speak’, tea ‘be’, and nöa ‘be wielded’ (and their derivatives) appear only in an unmarked non-past form (glossed as aorist), the past aorist, and the imperative; if another form is required, a different verb must be used. The past aorist adds the suffix -n and moves the stress to the ultimate syllable, and the imperative is the ultimately-stressed stem. The active participle of aia is aiar, pl. aiora etc., and its rare infinitive is aiya.

NPSTNon-past (tense)
present, continuous and future
PASTPast tense (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
.AORAorist (tense/aspect)
usually the simple past
IPRFImperfect (aspect/tense)
was verb-ing

[top]C. Morphology: Nouns

Heláin nouns (feionora ‘thing names’) can be declinable for case and number/gender, or indeclinable. The latter are called in Heláin adonora 'strong names/nouns' after the indeclinable noun ad 'strong'; for neatness, declinable nouns (incirthora ‘inflected things’) are in English called 'weak'.

Variations on normal weak-noun declension include infinitives, active participles, utensils in -oi, feminine-n nouns, and diminutives in -ya.

[top]⁠— 1. Weak Declension

The regular weak-noun declension is as follows. The vocative masculine or feminine (singular) is identical to the citation form (below). Whether -e- appears in the reflexive depends chiefly on the writer’s preference.

MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
VOCVocative (case)
'O [addressee]'
ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
REFLReflexive (valency)
argument acts on itself
GENGenitive (case)
OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object

Stems & citation forms: If a weak noun’s citation form (VOCVocative (case)
'O [addressee]'
MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
/FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
) ends in a vowel, the stem can be found by removing the last vowel (splitting the diphthong ai or oi if necessary); otherwise, the citation form is itself the stem. Weak-noun citation forms fall into five general patterns:

  1. Those ending in -a, comprising all infinitives and passive participles, as well as all weak nouns excluded by the other four patterns, and benna and deta.
  2. Those identical to the stem, comprising nouns whose stems end in a short vowel and unvoiced plosive (bec; deta is an exception, as are all infinitives) or, if masculine, in a short vowel and -l (mel); all active participles; unpredictably, some nouns whose stems end in -r or -s; and rond.
  3. Those identical to the absolutive, comprising nouns whose stems end in a back/central vowel (adhai, but usually not benna(i)), including all utensils, as well as curi, tindi, and teige.
  4. Those ending in -éid, -éin, or -éiv, which have -i- rather than -ei- in their stem.
  5. Truly irregular forms: al, stem all- (cf. strong nouns ar, el, PLPlural (number)
    more than one/few
    arra, ella,); su, stem sum-; and vagu, stem vag-.

An alternate genitive ending -osa (or -asa on a feminine noun) can itself be declined, usually as a weak noun, e.g.: serasa ‘the maid’s [possession]’, serasis im ‘with the maid’s [possession]’. The vocative feminine form is often -osian (-asian); there is no form for use on a plural noun (e.g., *-orasa). As a suffix, it is always productive and can even be added to strong nouns (e.g., norosa ‘the man’s’).

[top]⁠— 2. Verbal & Deverbal Nouns

The infinitive of a normal verb declines weakly, as above, except that that it shows fronting before front endings; the refl. f. is always fronted, even when the -e- is omitted. The infinitive of tag ‘be arranged’: [Table on separate page.]

The participles of a normal verb decline weakly with fronting in all forms. The passive participle is entirely regular. The active participle always omits -e- in the reflexive, and its plural forms with -or- omit -ir-; when the fronted stem of its root verb ends in -er or -ir, its absolutive can contract to have -rr- (e.g., amberire > amberre). The active participle of tag ‘be arranged’: [Table on separate page.]

The utensil preserves the diphthong oi in all forms, with the sg. refl. -oion and pl. -oira, etc.: ŋinoi ‘gift’, refl. ŋinoion, pl. ŋinoira ‘gifts’ (not ŋinora ‘givers’).

[top]⁠— 3. Feminine-n Nouns & Diminutives

A handful of feminine weak nouns ending in -n (bren, benn, finn, linn, cusen, sen(n), tahwén, isthén, and weak nouns ending in -ien) have a slightly irregular declension: the singular absolutive is identical to the citation form, and the syllable -or- is missing from plural endings (or sometimes replaced by an extra -n-). This declension also has a dual, used for natural pairs only and formed by adding -th- before plural endings in every case but oblique, which adds -th- before the singular ending. The genitive or the voc./abs. plural is often used in compounds (brenasthenoi; finnamori). The declension of bren ‘hand’: [Table on separate page.]

The diminutive ending -ya has its own declension, with similarities both to regular weak nouns and to feminine -n nouns. A productive suffix, it can be added to any strong noun (rian 'woman' > rianya 'girl') or the stem of any weak noun or fronted infinitive (fila 'large cloth, sheet' > filya 'small cloth, handkerchief', lima 'branching out' > limya 'twig'; but daya 'lamb, kid' takes it on the citation form of the weak noun da 'sheep, goat'). It is feminine except when referring to a man or male animal. Some diminutives have idiomatic senses (aŋcya 'small bow [the weapon]' = 'lip', emya 'small thumb' = 'toe').

FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
VOCVocative (case)
'O [addressee]'
ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
REFLReflexive (valency)
argument acts on itself
GENGenitive (case)
OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object

[top]⁠— 4. Strong Nouns

Prototypical strong nouns (adonora) have a single form each: ad ‘strong’ (MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
/FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
), aistwín ‘sunrise’ (MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
), annún ‘sunset’ (MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
), beth ‘human’ (MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
), teiglad ‘the sky’ (MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
), and teiglen ‘the world’ (FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
). Compounds with ad (besides teiglad) decline their first element weakly and add -ad to it, e.g., valad, abs. valiad.

The allunnorrian are strong nouns showing singular, plural, dual, trial, and collective forms, with no quite regular pattern. Compounds with allún and urrún are also allunnorrian. Compounds with nor have neráin in the voc., abs., and refl. pl., but otherwise decline weakly; compounds with rian are either normal or n-declension weak nouns.

MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
/FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
DUDual (number)
TRTransitive (valency)
has two arguments
COLCollective (number)
'group or mass entity'
allúnallúnanthallunaananthallunaaianeluna‘day’ (MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
urrúnurrúnurthallunaanurthallunaurianeluna‘night’ (FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
norneráínnovraannovrateinnovra‘man’ (MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
rianriannidhinovrianannovrianriannidhián‘woman’ (FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female

The andallarasti are feminine strong nouns that (with some exceptions) have regular singular, plural, and collective forms. The plural is identical to the singular if that ends in a vowel, or else doubles a final consonant and adds -a; the collective adds -(i)án. Only asti has a dual.

FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
DUDual (number)
COLCollective (number)
'group or mass entity'
andaandaandarián< *andari‘earth’

[top]D. Morphology: Demonstratives & Numbers

The demonstrative er ‘one’ is declined for ten cases and number/gender (masculine and feminine singular and common plural, dual, and collective). Its declension is as follows: [Table on separate page.]

Variations on er, found chiefly in authors other than Tersas, include initial aspiration (her, hian, etc.); missing short fronts in the reflexive and possessive singular (on/an, os/as) or raised short fronts in the feminine (ian, ias); and feminine locative, allative, and ablative forms identical to the masculine ones.

Demonstratives other than cardinal numbers decline on the pattern of er, as do the first- and second-person pronouns (with a few irregularities). seir, tur, cur, sor, mur are contractions of se-er, tu-er etc., but in fier two short fronts contract to ie instead of ei. Many demonstratives use their collective forms only with venián ‘time’ (e.g., venián unián ‘no time’), and only the first-person pronoun sor has an attested dual.

The first- and second-person pronouns sor and mur and the interrogative fier differ from the pattern of er in the following ways:
  • In the vocative, absolutive, reflexive, and possessive cases, collective forms are used for feminine.
  • In the locative, allative, and ablative cases, the personal pronouns use masculine forms for feminine and plural, and these forms do not contract. The interrogative uses masculine forms for feminine but has normal plurals. (This same exception appears to affect the comitative and instrumental cases as well, but their forms can occur under normal rules.)
  • In the personal pronouns, the reflexive plural ends with its first consonant rather than with -n.

The first- and second-person possessives also appear as the prefixes se- and me-, which are typically singular but can be plural by context. (The third-person possessive prefix lle- is not derived from a demonstrative.)

A complete list of demonstratives:

▼ [List here]

Heláin has a senary (base-six) number system. Its cardinals are as follows.

60 61 62 63 64 65 66
1 × er ser camma iŋca ámiŋca háriŋca verien
2 × twer tweser twecamma tweiŋca twámiŋca twáriŋca verien twa
3 × cwer cweser cwecamma cweiŋca cwámiŋca cwáriŋca verien cwa
4 × bresei bresser brescamma brésiŋca brémmiŋca bérriŋca etc.
5 × taŋgei tasser taŋcamma táŋiŋca támmiŋca tárriŋca

The main cardinals with their ordinals, multiples, and fractions are as follows. Other numbers can be formed on the same pattern, e.g., taŋcammera 1/180. For zero, uŋcit ‘nothing’ is used.

1, 2, 3, etc
1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.
two-fold, three-fold, etc.
a half, a third, a quarter, etc.
1 er teler era erin
2 twer tur twa twerin, fleina
3 cwer cur cwa cwerin, aina
4 bresei bresthentha bresera bresin, twacréid
5 taŋgei tanthentha taŋgera taŋgin
6 ser sethentha sera serin
62 camma cammithentha cammera cammerin
63 iŋca iŋcithentha iŋcera iŋcerin
66 verien verientha veriendra veriendrin

The numbers twer ‘two’, cwer ‘three’, and ser ‘six’ decline irregularly; only the absolutive distinguishes between genders.

VOCVocative (case)
'O [addressee]'
twer cwer ser
ABSAbsolutive (case)
TRANS object, INTR argument
twere/i cwere/i sere/i
REFLReflexive (valency)
argument acts on itself
twaran cwaran saran
GENGenitive (case)
twaras cwaras saras
OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object
twendre cwendre sendre

The cardinals er, twer, cwer, ser and the ordinals teler, tur, cur are demonstratives; other cardinals and ordinals are feminine weak nouns, as are the fractions fleina, aina (DUDual (number)
aintwa), and twacréid. All other multiples and fractions are free adverbs.

Digits can be joined by fi, smallest to greatest, except that er often comes second. E.g.:

  • twer fi ser ‘two and six’, ‘eight’ (12)
  • bresera fi taŋgera f’iŋcera ‘two hundred fifty times’ (1054)
  • ser f’er ‘seven’ (11)
  • cammerin f’erin f’iŋcerin ‘one two-hundred-fifty-third’ (1/1101)

In compounds and when er would be ambiguous, seir ‘only’ is used instead; it has no plural forms (which could be confused with the adverb seora ‘likewise’). Of the fractions, twerin and cwerin are preferred in academic mathematics, and fleina and aina in liturgy and other literature and in everyday speech (such as trade and grammar-school); twacréid is colloquial.

[top]E. Morphology: Adverbs Etc.

Heláin adverbs are not inflected and cannot regularly be formed from nouns. The two classes of adverbs are fixed adverbs, which appear only as prefixes on verbs (or the conjunction av), and free adverbs, which most often appear independently but can also be used as prefixes. One verb can carry more than one adverb or kind of adverb.

A fixed adverb is most often attached to the bare verbal stem before it is put into its proper tense and aspect (teteigannen ‘went around’, not *teigeannen); the resulting verb is usually idiomatic. For a productive, unidiomatic sense, a fixed adverb can be attached to an inflected verb (isteanihwe ‘may go up’ instead of eistenihwe ‘may worship’). The fourteen fixed adverbs are as follows.

▼ [List here]

A prefixed free adverb is attached to the inflected verb (twaiannen ‘went twice’, not *tetwannen), nearly always productively. Four adverbs have fixed forms that differ slightly from their free forms: ama, am- ‘much, often’; era, er- ‘once’; ila, il- ‘little, seldom’; and una, un- ‘no, not’; and, though most often a noun, fleina ‘half’ has a fixed adverbial form flein-. All others have identical free and fixed forms. Common free adverbs include ordinals tela, tura, cura; multiples above era (twa, cwa, etc.); fractions ending in -in (erin, twerin, cwerin, etc.); amfiera ‘otherwise’, corila/corra ‘less’, dha ‘so, thus’, erinien ‘each’, fiera ‘how? why?’, ‘now’, ista ‘again’, miniŋ ‘soon’, seira ‘only, just’, sien ‘always’, seu ‘also, even’, talama ‘more’, yen ‘altogether’, and fiuna and fiunora .

Interjections (often classified as adverbs) and conjunctions are not inflected.

[top]F. Morphology: Derivation

Most of Heláin’s vocabulary consists of regular derivatives from roots, although many such derivatives have idiomatic senses. For verbs with prefixed adverbs, see II§E above.

Denominal verbs: A verb can be formed from a weak noun whose stem ends in a consonant simply by adopting the noun stem as the verb stem; a double consonant is reduced to its single form, but any other consonant cluster is preserved, making a cluster-stem verb.

  • mora ‘river, rush’ > mor ‘rush’
    meica ‘bird’ > meic ‘chirp’
    bonta ‘drum’ (= *botta) > bot ‘be tapped’ (not *bont)
    esla ‘weight’ (MMasculine gender (gender)
    masculine or male
    ) > esl ‘be weighed’, perf. eselc
    elfa ‘kind, sort’ (FFeminine gender (gender)
    feminine or female
    ) > elf ‘be related, be sorted’, perf. *elift > elint

Deverbal nouns: For infinitives and regular participles, see Verbal Morphology above. The unique suffix -oi can be productively attached to a fronted verb stem to form the utensil (isseroi), a weak noun denoting a tool or concrete object or substance by which the verb's action is accomplished.

  • asp 'spin' > aspoi 'spindle'
    talath 'be enriched' > talethoi 'fertiliser'
    cros 'think' > cresoi 'mind'

(The few abstract utensils seem once to have been considered somehow physical: cresoi 'mind', emmeroi 'sense; nerve', iŋcitoi 'numeral', neicoi 'memory, mind'.)

The ‘third participle’ is a weak noun unproductively formed by doubling a verb’s last consonant and adding -a; it tends to cover somewhat different lexical ground from an active or passive participle. Throughout this grammar and the related dictionary, it is treated as a derived noun in its own right, rather than a true participle.

  • bel ‘be blessed’ > bella ‘happy’ (cf. PP belitha ‘blessed’)
    dar 'give' > darra 'gift' (cf. AP derir 'giver', PP deritha 'receiver')
    tag ‘be arranged; signify’ > taŋga 'sign, symbol' (cf. AP tegir 'arranging', PP tegitha 'arranged')
    sum 'flow' > summa 'weft' (cf. AP simir 'that which flows, flowing')
    av ‘shine’ (< *ava1) > *avva > ava2 ‘sun’
    ben ‘suck’ > benna ‘nurse; aunt’
    clar ‘be born’ > clarra ‘mother’
    suc ‘be butchered’ > suŋca ‘flesh’

Nominalising suffixes: For possessives (-osa) and diminutives (-ya), see Nominal Morphology above. Three more productive suffixes -- -éid, -éin, -éiv -- can be attached to the stem of a weak noun to form another weak noun; the original noun can be a fronted infinitive, for a quasi-deverbal strategy (especially common with -éin).

  • -éid (FFeminine gender (gender)
    feminine or female
    ) shows the product of a substance, tool, or process, or the child or native of a person or place:
    fia 'thing, object' > feid 'matter, substance'
    fahwa 'flax' > fahwéid 'linen'
    petha 'ash' > pethéid 'lye'
    cet 'crochet hook' > cetéid 'stocking'
    taga 'arrange.INFInfinitive (TAM)
    non-tensed verb
    , arrangement' > tegéid 'system'
    sumpith 'urinate' > sumpithéid 'urine'
    suda* 'female kinship' > sidréid 'sister's child'
    benn 'breast' > bennéid 'nursing child'
    hwelis 'forest' > hweliséid 'wild animal'
    anda[ri] 'land' > andaréid 'landowner'
    bren 'hand' > brenéid 'man's brother' (cf. the English idiom 'right-hand man')
    faina 'troop, army' > fainéid 'ant' (the child or native of an ant army)

  • -éin (FFeminine gender (gender)
    feminine or female
    ) shows a location in which an action typically takes place or an object or person is typically found, or (rarely) a season:
    mund (of food) 'be served' > mundéin 'inn'
    lind 'graze' > lindéin 'meadow'
    talel 'be covered' (e.g. with a roof) > *taleléin > teléin 'house'
    huna 'snout' (a mountain) > hunéin 'north'
    ecet 'be dry' > ecetéin 'summer'
    celoi 'rain' > celoéin 'winter'

  • -éiv (MMasculine gender (gender)
    masculine or male
    ) indicates similarity; the resulting noun is usually translated with an English adjective:
    mora 'river, rush(ing)' > moréiv 'rushing, swift'
    petha 'ash' > pethéiv 'ashen, grey'
    ava 'sun' + su 'water' > avesúv 'clear'

The suffix -ien (derived from the collective ending -ián) on a weak noun stem or a strong noun forms a feminine-n noun for a group of many or all of something, or its abstract quality; it is only doubtfully productive.

  • *lis 'plant' > lisien 'plant-life, flora'
    allún > allunien 'daytime'
    ar 'knowledge' > arien 'understanding'
    el 'shade; covering' > elien 'modesty; headcovering'
    teléin 'house' > telinien 'town'
    rian 'woman' > riannidhian 'womanhood, womankind'

The suffix -en on a (fronted) verbal stem formed a feminine-n noun similar in function to the utensil; no longer productive, it survives only on four nouns for paired body parts, all affected by δ4. (cusen ‘heart’ may be a fifth, but unpaired and from a noun, cus ‘sack’.)

  • bar ‘be held’ > *beren > bren ‘hand’
    ben ‘be suckled’ > *benen > benn ‘breast’
    fin ‘be seen’ > *finen > finn ‘eye’
    lin ‘be heard’ > *linen > linn ‘ear’

Compounds: Compound verbs, nouns, and demonstratives are formed productively by attaching the combining form of the modifying word as a prefix to the main word. Usually the combining form is the absolutive singular of a noun or demonstrative, or the abs. fem. infinitive of a verb. Feminine-n nouns, however, use the genitive feminine or the voc./abs. plural; three compounds with su also use the genitive (calassu, forossu, cusessu > calás, forós, cusés); most nouns ending in -ea use the citation form before central/back vowels (freannor) and *na (Frean); and strong nouns sometimes use a plural form or a combining form in -e or -i to avoid consonantal sandhi.

  • brec 'fruit' + hwelis 'woods' = breciwhélis 'orchard'
    brec 'fruit' + clarir 'bearer, bearing' = breciclarir 'fruit-bearing' (a notable tongue-twister)
    el 'shadow' + tec 'frame' = ellatec 'sundial'
    fora 'sea' + dha 'money' = foredha 'import tax'
    hella 'self' + tea 'be' = hellitea 'be identical to'
    fila 'sheet' + dhol 'beat' = filidhol 'wash laundry'
    cam 'live' + vella 'necessary' = cemivella 'necessary for life'

Some common compounds with metir 'lacking' and sereis 'work.OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object
' are equivalent to English prepositional phrases: fanimetir 'without a sail', cresimetir 'without thinking', arresereis 'by the lord's doing' (functionally a causative).

Many compound verbs involve copulae, dictives, or verbs of wanting, seeming, needing, stopping, and the like, all of which carry complementary infinitives; whether the tense and aspect of the compound belong to the base verb or to the infinitive depends on context. Sometimes the base verb loses an initial short front vowel (e.g., feri-elsallen > feri’lsallen rather than fereilsallen). [Examples??? ara 'know.INF' + aia 'say' = ariaia 'say that one knows']

A knight's ceremonial name (nöona) is a compound of his weapon's name with the weak noun *na 'master, wielder' (used only in compounds). On given names, it is shortened to *n; many common given names are formed on this pattern.

  • Ambar ‘Fight’ > Ambarina (Elcapúr, a commander of Naven City)
    Cora ‘Beryl’ > Corena > Coren (Adeléin of Terallen)
    Faien ‘master of the spear’
    Frean ‘master of the fyrd or of duty’
    Noren ‘master of men’

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