5. łaá siri


su’aa’ír yisasaá si ‘itłii’saá

tłii’ łi yií lulaá ła’la tłasa tłaa’ya’li’aár. tłii’ ya’araá sasatła liyaá’ latłalurraatłili, ‘arłałá sisí tłasila liyaá’ yar’aa’layaá tłasa ralurraaya’li’aar. łaa’atłii’saá ‘i’aa ri liłúr, tłasilaya’ ‘itłii’saá liyiya łuri’uyá. si ‘aa! łałirasu’larła ‘i’aa liriłurraasii, sii’urłaya’ lisár satłisaá ri sałaa’ liyiya latłatłará lirsa łutłalir’á. sii’urła tłasila tła’i ‘arła lirliłaalaryir, ‘arłaya’ sii’urła tła’aa’atłasaá lirliłaa’uya. liłasaá’ sisí salarlayaa yarlayaasayi ra’aa’ya’. yarlayaasayi sasatła rałali’aár. ła’ii’ła ri li rala’ú salarlayaa ri li lariisaliyá sa! salarlayaa ri tłasilaya’i ła’ii’ła ‘u’saá lir’uyá! si ‘aa! la’aa’yaa’si’yi sisí salarlayaa si luu’ła lasaa. sałaa’ lalirłuursaliya sa! salarlayaa ri tłatła’aá. tła’aalasaá sa! tłasila, tłasila tła’i ‘arła, ya’araá sisí łarritłaa’í si ra’iłaá litła’aá. ri łi, sayali laa’la’ú lilisisi, la’aa’yaa’si’yi sisí salarlayaa ‘i’aa sayali lalirsaliyá, łi tłasila liyiya łuritła’arra łuritłaár. tłii’ łi yií lulaá, laa’ya’ura: tłayir ra’aa’yaa’si’yi sisí salarlayaa ‘i’aa latłatłuurraasaliya, łuritłaá lilisisi. ri liyalisár sisí salarlayaa lalirsaliyá sa! sarlayaa li’isaá ‘i’aa raliya’tłii’, satłaá liyiya lilirsaliyá! lisaryalí! liyaá’, liyaá’ tłii’ łi yií lulaá, ‘arłałá sisí tłasila li laya’li’aár, tłasila sułaa’ła si lila’rí sisí yasaá li layara ‘aa!

English Translation

Father’s Lesson

My child, come to me. Today you will go away from your family, on horseback you will now go to a mountain. Since the journey is nearing, to you I will bestow this lesson. Alas! If a dragon should begin speaking to you, then you should not give good things to it. It probably will not set your horse ablaze or frighten the horse. I’ve seen that there is an orange fruit under ground. It goes up from beneath the ground. Eat only that fruit only while the full moon can be seen. The full moon will give that fruit and you strength. Beware! There is a purple fruit of a plant. Don’t dare eat that! This fruit is evil. It’s evilness! It makes you, your horse, and the family spirits be evil. Me, you’ve seen me once, if you eat the purple fruit once, then I will find and kill you. My child, listen to me: if you eat the purple fruit at all, I will destroy you completely. Only eat the fruit which tastes sweet! Even if it is may be dry, anyone can still eat it. It is good tasting. Now, now my child, go on horseback while making a sound which resembles that of a goat!

Grammar and Vocabulary



łaá siri is a personal artlang, completely a priori. Its phoneme inventory consists of /ɬ tɬ l s ɹ j ʔ a i y/, all romanized as one would expect. Syllables are CV1 (V1 ){ɹ, ʔ}. Pitch accent is productive, grammatical, and marked with an acute accent over the final syllable of a word. If a root is defined in the glossary with an acute accent, keep in mind that that accent will move downwards during inflection so that it always appears on the last syllable (e.g., layalaálayalaayá‘). Syntax is basically SOV.

All noun/verb roots are bound morphemes.

Nominal Morphology

Nouns inflect only for animacy, a semantic extension of the root meaning. Inflection occurs on noun roots via suffixation:

sentient (human): noun’s final NUCLEUS undergoes ablaut to -aá- (e.g., yi→yaá, yir → yaár)
animate: -ła
inanimate: -layaa
abstract: -saá

Sometimes the animacy is arbitrary, sometimes it can physically distinguish what you’re talking about (something, satłi- can be “some animal,” “some object,” “something abstract,” or “someone” just based on animacy). Keep in mind that for the SENT animacy the entire nucleus is replaced, so I might define something as luu’- in the glossary, and it would appear as laá’ in the text if inflected for SENT. If a root changes its meaning dramatically depending on the animacy, this will be noted in the glossary. I recommend watching out for any final syllables occuring with –aá-, though not all of them are inflections.

Nouns also can take enclitics to show spatial relation (“in,” “up,” “below”) and conjunction (“and”). They come after inflection for animacy. The enclitics used in this text are:

=’i placed on last item in list to indicate conjunction between all preceding constituents; “and”
=ya’ to be at
be on, be over, be above, be up
=sayi to be under, beneath, down, below

Verbal Morphology

Is unfortunately extremely complicated. It’s highly agglutinating, following the following paradigm:


Proximity refers to the phenomena in łaá siri in which verbs conjugate for the spatial relation between the subject and object, relative to the speaker. There are five degrees of spatial deixis recognized: immediate (“here”), near (“right there”), distal (“over there”), absent (“not here”), and abstract (“somewhere”). The subject is always required, but the object is not. It depends on the argument structure of the verb. Some verbs also have a constituent in the syntactic position of the object, but are not treated as such in the verbal morphology. Subject/object morphemes differ:

Subject Morpheme Object Morpheme Contraction Proximity
łu- -‘aa- immediate
la- -ri- la+’aa = laa’- near
tła- -rii- tła+’aa = tłaa’- distant
ra- -lir- absent
li- -tła- li+ri = lir- abstract

Contractions listed above occur as short forms when the two indicated proximity morphemes are used in conjunction. Those above do occur in the text, and encompass the meaning of their parts. Note also that this conjugational paradigm is also very important for shifting focus (nearer proximities = higher focal status) and for indicating those things that English accomplishes using “this,” “that,” “here,” etc.

Because of the nature of this conjugation, the morphemes often stand in for completely elided subjects/objects, making łaá siri heavily pro-drop and heavily “argument” dropping. Sometimes one or no arguments will be overtly stated, but this is disambiguated by the corresponding conjugation for proximity.

Mode and Aspect are used ONLY in conjunction with one another. The morphemes which occur in the text are:

Mode Aspect
conditional ł- inchoative/inceptive -ur-
terminative -uur-
potential l- habitual -i-
inchoative/inceptive -ur-
deontic ł- terminative -uur-

The conditional is not only used for “if” statements. It is also used when an event is conditioned on some circumstance. The potential, if used with an inferential evidential, indicates that the speaker feels that the event is likely to occur; otherwise, it is a simple dummy modal which marks the indicative and carries an aspectual morpheme. The deontic is a mood used only for pejorative statements in which the speaker is fearful of the event, its outcome, or does not find it desireable.

The inchoative/inceptive indicate the inception of an event or state. The habitual indicates repetitive, habitual action, or a commonly occuring state. The terminative indicates termination or end of an event or state, but can also show completion or telicity of an action (the difference between “eat” and “finish eating” or “eating completely”).

Evidentiality is probably the most structurally integrated part of verbal morphology and is extremely important for understanding the text. Overt evidential morphemes used are:

Morpheme Evidentiality
-‘aa’- learned from sight of non-sentient source (VISUAL)
-raa- assumed, inferred, speculative, believed to be true (INFERENTIAL)
-łaa- same as above, but believed to be unlikely or false as opposed to true (INFERENTIAL)

The first is truly evidential, the last to are more like epistemic modals. Unfortunately, there are complications.

The process for marking direct knowledge (or assumed fact) evidentiality (the most common) is to change the pitch accent of the underlying verb root from high (á) or neutral (a) based on its initial pitch-accent (marked with a grave accent). Here’s an example with a nonsense verb: , if this verb were in the direct knowledge evidentiality, it’d show up as ya (notice the change in pitch), not . Furthermore, if it were in the inferential evidentiality it’d be raayá.

IMPORTANT: A root is negated when there is no evidential marking of any sort listed above. Following the above example, the nonsense root would be negated if it has no other evidential accompanying it.

Possessives & Complementization

sisí complementizes a noun and a verb phrase to mean, “the noun that verbs” using the syntax VERB PHRASE sisí HEAD (relevant to descriptive verb roots like adjectives in the text) Also, possessive structure mirrors this, with POSSESSOR postposition POSSESSUM.

Verb Modifiers

Some lexemes in the glossary are marked as “verb modifiers.” This means they modify the verb and only occur immediately before the verb.


Postpositions are used for indicating possession and such, as shown above. Additionally, tłasa and sasatła occur as postpositions and respectively mean “to” and “from,” as in English. Additionally, in sentences indicating movement (“go,” “come,” etc.), tłasa marks the entity around which the movement is occuring.

Fixed Phrases

Here are some fixed sentence patterns or phrases which might not be clear.

  1. ri and liyaá are focus markers. The latter focuses the tense to mean “now, “at the present time,” etc. They focus the constituent immediately following them.
  2. sa is a sentence-final particle affirming a declaration or strengthening an imperative. It’s firm and intense.
  3. ‘aa is a sentence final emphatic.
  4. When two phrases occur successively and both have the verbal modifiers li…li, it means that the two clauses are occuring simultaneously.
  5. …lirsa łutłalir’á means that the clause occuring before it is a recommendation or optative clause, like “should.” lirsa is like the subordinator “that” in English (this phrase literally means “I wish that…” if that helps conceptualize the meaning).
  6. Depending on the evidentials, the verbal modifiers ‘i’aa…liyiya, when consecutive, mean “if…then” or “since…then”
  7. li’isaá…liyiya is a verbal modifier structure which means “even though…still” or “despite…still” and occurs in the first clause of the condition. The second clause indicates the surprising outcome.
  8. Ditransitive structure is different from normal structure. It is basically RECIPIENT – DONOR – THEME – VERB (OSV), and the recipient is treated morphologically as the direct object. The recipient is also marked with the enclitic =ya’.
  9. si ‘aa means something like “alas” or “oh my gosh.”

A million apologies in advance.


‘ar- /ʔɑ˞/ n.root an animal which one rides, HORSE
-‘iłaa /ꜛʔi.ɬɑɑ/ v.root 1: to make one substance become another; 2: to make smth/smb do smth; 3: to transform, to transmute; 4: to create, to make defs. 1-3 complements take si postpositional phrase
‘itłii’- /ꜛʔi.tɬiiʔ/ n.root 1: a lesson or teaching given via spoken word; 2: forgetfulness ‘i- -tłii’
łaa’atłii’- /ꜛɬɑɑ.ʔɑ.tɬiiʔ/ n.root 1: movement across changing terrain, JOURNEY; łaa’- -atłii’ ABSTR/INAN: def1
ła’ii’- /ꜛɬɑ.ʔiiʔ/ n.root full moon -łatłaa ‘ii’- ANIM/ABSTR
ła’la /ꜛɬɑʔ.lɑ/ pn. 1SG.ABS./OBJ., me pronominal ergative-absolutive system, used only for the subject of i.v. and obj. of t.v.; used also as obj. of postposition
łałirasu’lar- /ꜛɬɑ.ɬi.ɹɑ.ˌsyʔ.lɑ˞/ n.root 1: a leader whose subjects admire her/him, KING, CHIEF; 2: dragon, serpent SENT: def 1; ANIM: def 2
-la’ri /ꜛlɑʔ.ri/ v.root 1: to resemble smth/smn; 2: to look alike; 3: to feel (emotionally) la’- -ri object of def. 1/2 takes postpositional phrase with si
łarritłí- /ɬɑ˞.ɹi.ꜛt ɬi/ n.root 1: mist; 2: cloud; 3: spirit, ghost, angel łá- INAN: def1; ANIM: def2; SENT: def3
-laryir /ꜛlɑ˞.ji˞/ v.root 1: to set (smth) ablaze; 2: to start an uncontrolled fire lar- yir-
-łasaa’ /ꜛɬɑ.sɑɑ/ desc.v.root to be red generally encompasses colors which English speakers classify as red/orange
-la’u /ꜛlɑ.ʔy/ v.root 1: to see; 2: to look at smth purposefully la’- -‘u
łi /ɬi/ pn. 1SG.ERG./SUBJ., I pronominal ergative-absolutive system, used only for the agent of a transitive verb
-lisisí /li.si.ꜛsi/ v.root 1: to complete, to finish; 2: to attain an achievement or accolade, WIN; 3: to receive an award; 4: to end a process
liyaá’ /li.ꜛjɑɑ ʔ/ particle now, today, at this moment
lulu- /ꜛly.ly/ n.root a root endearingly used to mean “baby, child, kid”
-łur /ɬy˞/ v.root & n.enclitic to be (very) nearby
luu’- /lyyʔ/ n.root a generic term for plants, trees, or vegetation typically ANIM
-saá /sɑꜛɑ/ desc.v.root 1: to be real, in existence; 2: to be true
sałaa’ /ꜛsɑ.ɬɑɑʔ/ particle/verbal modifier forms the prohibitive mood see grammar for correct usage
salar- /ꜛsɑ.lɑ˞/ n.root fruit, vegetable
-saliya /ꜛsɑ.li.jɑ/ v.root to eat smth
-sar /sɑ˞/ desc.v.root 1: to be good, well; 2: well done action, satisfactory
-saryali /ꜛsɑ˞.jɑ.li/ desc.v.root to be good tasting -sar yali-
sasatła /ꜛsɑ.sɑ.tɬɑ/ postposition 1: used to indicate origin, FROM
satłi- /ꜛsɑ.tɬi/ n.root distinguishes an unspecified entity, SOMETHING/ANYTHING inflection for animacy determines meaning, e.g., “something,” “someone,” etc.
sayali /ꜛsɑ.jɑ.li/ verbal modifier once, one time saya- li-
si /si/ postposition 1: possessive postposition used for inalienable things like body parts, ideas, or feelings; 2: used to mark the patient of certain verbs
-sii /sii/ v.root 1: to speak to smn./about smth; 2: to say; 3: to converse
sii’ur- /ꜛsii.ʔy˞/ pn.root 1: a pronoun treated as a noun, used to refer anaphorically to an established agent or subject;
sisí /si.ꜛsi / postposition 1: possessive postposition used for qualities that define oneself or for objects that have a special quality, e.g., “my red book” ; 2: complimentizer see grammar for
su’aa’ír /sy.ʔɑɑ.ꜛʔi˞/ referential honorific references someone who is exalted, legendary, trustworthy
sułaa’- /ꜛsy.ɬɑɑʔ/ n.root 1: goat; 2: horn(s) łaa’- ANIM: def1; INAN: def2
tła’aa- /ꜛtɬɑ.ʔɑɑ/ adj.root evil, bad, demonic, vile
tła’aa’atła- /ꜛtɬɑ.ʔɑɑ.ꜛʔɑ.tɬɑ/ n.root 1: something scary; 2: fear SENT/ANIM/INAN: DEF1; ABSTR: DEF2
tła’aala- /ꜛtɬɑ.ʔɑɑ.lɑ/ n.root 1: evil, badness; 2: demon, evil spirit, devil ABSTR: def1; ANIM: def2
-tłaar /tɬɑɑ˞/ v.root to decimate, to destroy, to kill smb
-tła’arra /ꜛtɬɑ.ʔɑ˞.ɹɑ/ v.root to find
tła’i /ꜛtɬɑ.ʔi/ postposition 1: possessive postposition used for disposable objects or things of relatively little significance; 2: can be used to mark the existence of an item or person at a specific place
-tłará /tɬɑ.ꜛɹɑ/ dt.v.root 1: to physically give smth to smb; 2: to give without malintent; 3: to give a gift to smb uses ditransitive structure, see grammar
tłasa /ꜛtɬɑ.sɑ/ postposition 1: used to indicate direction, TO, TOWARDS; 2: used to mark an entity which an agent is moving relatively to
tłasila /ꜛtɬɑ.si.lɑ/ pn. 2SG.ABS./OBJ., you pronominal ergative-absolutive system, used only for the subject of i.v. and obj. of t.v.; used also as obj. of postposition
tłayir /ꜛtɬɑ.ji˞/ pn. 2SG.ERG./SUBJ., you pronominal ergative-absolutive system, used only for the agent of a transitive verb
tłii’ /tɬiiʔ/ addressee honorific references someone who is younger, trustworthy, respected
-tłili /ꜛtɬi.li/ v.root 1: expresses movement away, to go (away); 2: to leave smw
‘u’- /ʔyʔ/ n.root strength, power
-‘uya /ꜛʔy.jɑ/ dt.v.root 1: to bestow; 2: to give smth to smb metaphorically, not physically uses ditransitive structure, see grammar;
ya- /jɑ/ n.root 1: mouth, see also: yayaa-; 2: sounds from the mouth, VOICE ya-
-ya’ /jɑʔ/ v.root & n.enclitic to be located at
ya’aru- /ꜛjɑ.ʔɑ.ɹy/ n.root 1: one’s family members, RELATIVES; 2: close friends
-yaa’si’yi /ꜛjɑɑ.siʔ.ji/ desc.v.root to be purple, dark blue -yaa’ -si’yi
-ya’li’aar v.root to go to, go away from
-yalisar /ꜛjɑ.li.sɑ˞/ desc.v.root to be sweet, savory yali- -sar
-yará /jɑꜛɹɑ / v.root 1: to speak, to talk; 2: to whisper; 3: to make a noise ya- -rá
yar’aá’- /jɑ˞.ꜛʔɑɑʔ/ n.root mountain, mountain range yar-
-ya’tłii’ /ꜛjɑʔ t ɬiiʔ/ desc.v.root & v.root 1: to be dry; 2: to experience a drought, to dry out ya’- -tłii’
ya’urá /jɑ.ʔy.ꜛɹɑ/ v.root to listen ya- -‘u
yií /jii/ postposition possessive postposition used for family members or personal things that one lives with for an impermanent but long time
yisasa- /ꜛji.sɑ.sɑ/ n.root father yi- -sasa