Flag of Gxambfan: three white circles of decreasing diameter arranged vertically in the center of a black field.
Type Analytic
Alignment Direct-Inverse
Head direction Head-Final
Tonal No
Declensions Yes
Conjugations Yes
Genders None
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect
Progress 73%
Nouns 95%
Verbs 88%
Adjectives 94%
Syntax 28%
Words 700 of 2500
Creator Eçeþesi

Edebro ([ˌɛdɛˈbro̞], lit. "clear tongue," and sometimes spelled Ede Bro in English) is the national and official language of Gxambfan, a nation located on the southwestern corner of Kadsrasan, the northeastern continent of the planet Aysling.

Classification and Dialects[]

Edebro is a well-known language isolate, although research is ongoing regarding possible affiliations with other languages. Despite the lack of confirmed relatives, however, Edebro does have some dialectal variation of its own. A slightly modified version of the dialect of Arsingxara, the capital of Gxambfan, is taken as the standard form of the language; this standard is the form reflected in this article unless otherwise noted.



Edebro has a fairly average-sized consonant inventory, with 19 total consonant phonemes. Its inventory is fairly typical in its contents as well, with four places of articulation, and five manners of articulation. The most notable features are its series of palatalized coronals, and the phonemes which are realized in most dialects—including the standard—as affricates, of which /p͡f/ and /k͡x/ are unusual.

Bilabial Alveolar Post-alveolar Velar
Nasal m n nʲ
Plosive p pʰ t tʰ tʲ tʲʰ k kʰ
Fricative s ʃ
Affricate p͡f t͡s t͡ʃ k͡x
Trill r rʲ

In the actual dialect of Arsingxara, the bilabial and velar affricates are reduced to fricatives, however this is a shift unreflected in the standard form of the language.

Consonant Allophony[]

The most apparent example of consonantal allophony in Edebro is voicing of non-aspirated obstruents, including affricates. This voicing occurs intervocallically, as well as in clusters with voiced consonants (i.e. sonorants). The sibilants /s/ and /ʃ/ may also voice to [z] and [ʒ], respectively, when in a coda preceding a nasal stop in the following onset.

Additional allophonic variation includes the liquid /rʲ/ possibly being realized as [j] in consonant clusters or in coda. This pattern occurs in the standard dialect, while in some non-standard dialects it may be realized as such in all positions, leaving [rʲ] and [j] to be in free variation in such dialects. Similarly, /nʲ/ may be realized as [ɲ] in coda position in some dialects, or in all positions in others; however unlike /rʲ/ this variation is not typically seen in speakers of the standard dialect.


Even more average than Edebro's consonants are its vowels, which form the common five vowel system.

Front Central Back
High i u
Low a

While the dialect of Arsingxara, and the standard form, lack diphthongs, some dialects retain diphthongs from older forms of the language. Such diphthongs include /ai/, /au/, /ei/, /ou/, /ia/ and /ua/; these have been monophthongized to /e/, /o/, /i/, /u/, /a/, and /a/, respectively, in the varieties that lack them.

Vowel Allophony[]

Despite the fairly small inventory, Edebro vowels exhibit only moderate allophony: The low vowel /a/ is realized as a schwa [ə] in all unstressed positions. In unstressed syllables, the mid vowels /e̞/ and /o̞/ lower to [ɛ] and [ɔ], respectively, before phonetically voiced consonants—this includes voiceless stops which have been intervocalically voiced, such as in sobfe 'craft (n.),' which is phonemically /so̞ˈp͡fe̞/ but realized as [sɔˈb͡ve̞]. And the high vowels /i/ and /u/ become [ɪ] and [ʊ], respectively, when preceding nasal stops in unstressed syllables. In stressed syllables, all vowels maintain their cardinal realizations.

Additionally, words which begin with a vowel receive epenthetic glides when the preceding word also ends in a vowel. For words beginning in /e̞/ or /i/, this glide is [j]; for words beginning in /o̞/ or /u/, the glide is [w]; and for words in /a/, the glide is [ɦ]. This same pattern of glide epenthesis is also seen when an onset-less syllable is reduplicated, such as in aanjasj 'dogs,' which is underlyingly /aaˈnʲaʃ/ but realized as [əɦəˈnʲaʃ].


Edebro's syllables may consist of a maximum of CCVC. Syllable onsets may consist of any lone consonant or a cluster of a plosive or nasal with a liquid. A nucleus, of course, may be any vowel.  Syllable codas in Edebro may only be a sibilant fricative or sonorant.


Stress in Edebro is contrastive, and plays a key role in distinguishing nouns from verbs. Nouns are typically marked with word-final stress, while verbs are usually marked with penultimate stress. 

Writing System[]

For the purposes of this article, Edebro will be transcribed in a version of the Latin script. The character-to-sound correspondences of this system are displayed in the chart below:

Letter Mm Nn Nj nj Bb Pp Dd Tt Dj dj Tj tj Gg Kk BF bf
Sound /m/ /n/ /nʲ/ /p/ /pʰ/ /t/ /tʰ/ /tʲ/ /tʲʰ/ /k/ /kʰ/ /pɸ/
Letter DS ds DSj dsj GX gx Ss Sj sj Rr Rj rj A a E e I i O o U u
Sound /ts/ /tʃ/ /kx/ /s/ /ʃ/ /r/ /rʲ/ /a/ /e/ /i/ /o/ /u/

Stress may optionally be indicated with an acute on the stressed vowel; this is typically done in dictionaries, but otherwise omitted from writing. Digraphs, besides those involving <j>, ought to have both elements capitalized when capitalized, but this is often neglected.




Edebro nouns are morphologically quite simple. They do not inflect for case or definiteness, although they do decline according to number. While singular nouns remain unmarked, plural nouns are marked through reduplication, of the first CV pair in consonant-initial nouns, and of the first vowel with an epenthetic glide in vowel-initial nouns. An example of both is demonstrated in the following table:

Singular Plural
flower bfumí [p͡fʊˈmi] bfubfumí [ˌp͡fub͡vʊˈmi]
dog anjásj [əˈnʲaʃ] aanjásj [ˌəɦəˈnʲaʃ]

In front vowels, the epenthetic glide is [j]; in back vowels, it is [w]; and in the low vowel /a/, it is [ɦ] as seen above.

Nouns also do not have gender, although they do have an inherent animacy level. This animacy level is not marked explicitly on the noun itself, but will be relevant later for verbal conjugation.


Personal Pronouns[]

Edebro has a set of 14 personal pronouns, which contrast three persons, two numbers, a T-V distinction in the second person, and animacy and proximity/obviation in the third person.

Sg Pl
1st da mes
2nd Informal kas osi
Formal ne gon
3rd Animate.Proximal ke keke
Animate.Distal dsjas dsjadsjas
Inanimate.Proximal ru ruru
Inanimate.Distal dsa dsadsa

The third person pronouns are adopted from the demonstratives, which in their singular form they are identical to. When used as a standalone pronoun, these demonstrative-pronouns have an optional plural form formed via reduplication. These plural forms are typically only used when the context would otherwise leave ambiguity.

Personal pronouns do not vary in form for case, and do not have distinct possessive forms. Possession by pronoun is instead constructed the same way as possession by a regular noun.


In Edebro, all clauses (with one exception, which will be covered later) require two parts to express the function of a verb: a lexical verb and an auxiliary verb.

Lexical Verbs[]

The first element of an Edebro verb is the lexical component. Lexical verbs are an open class, and they convey the semantic content of the action or state the clause is describing. The lexical verb does not inflect for grammatical categories such as tense, aspect, mood, or voice. The only inflection the lexical verb may undergo is partial reduplication, identical to that which nouns undergo for plural marking, which can have two meanings depending on the type of verb. For active-type verbs, reduplication marks telicity (an unmarked verb indicates an incomplete action, whereas a reduplicated verb indicates an action whose goal has been met); for stative-type verbs, reduplication marks intensiveness (similar to the English word 'very'). The below table provides examples of reduplication in both types of lexical verb.

Verb Unmarked Reduplicated
burn rarj
'burn (incompletely)'
'burn (completely, to ash)'
teach opan
'teach (but the students may not have understood)'
'teach (and the students all learned)'
smart karji
'very smart'
small ara
'very small, tiny'

Some verbs may potentially use reduplication for both of these meanings, as some verbs may behave as either active or stative depending on the auxiliary verb they are paired with. An example of this is benke 'white':

Da no kukudse bebenke o.











Da no ku~kudse be~benke o.

1S POS PL~tooth INT~white COP.PRS

'My teeth are very white.'

Da no kukudse bebenke mas.











Da no ku~kudse be~benke mas.

1S POS PL~tooth TEL~whiten TR.PST

'I whitened my teeth (completely).'

Auxiliary Verbs[]

In contrast with the lexical verb, which does not inflect for almost any grammatical information itself, the auxiliary verb inflects for the categories of transitivity, inverseness, voice, tense, and mood, but does not bear any other semantic content. The forms of the auxiliary verbs appear in the chart below.

copular unergative intransitive unaccusative intransitive direct transitive inverse intransitive passive antipassive proverb
affirmative present o ni njre ma mre dsu ro pe
past os nis nire mas mare dsus ros pes
future a nje njere me mere dso ra pi
pres. irrealis osja nisja nisjre masja masjre dsusja rosja pesja
past irrealis osasj nisasj nisasjre masasj masasjre dsusasj rosasj pesasj
fut. irrealis asja njesja njesjre mesja mesjre dsosja rasja pisja
negative present on nin njren man mren dsun ron pen
past osen nisen niren masen maren dsusen rosen pesen
future an njen njeren men meren dson ran pin
pres. irr. osjan nisjan nisjren masjan masjren dsusjan rosjan pesjan
past irr. osasjen nisasjen nisasjren masasjen masasjren dsusasjen rosasjen pesasjen
fut. irr. asjan njesjan njesjren mesjan mesjren dsosjan rasjan pisjan

Lexical verbs may be either active or stative. While stative verbs will typically take the copular auxiliary, active verbs may take the intransitive, direct or inverse, and some active verbs, such as verbs of movement, may also take the copular auxiliary.

As Edebro is a direct-inverse language, the auxiliary verb makes a distinction in inversivity in transitive clauses. The direct form of the auxiliary verb is used in clauses in which the more animate noun is taking the role of the agent, while the inverse form is used when the less animate noun is the agent. Therefore, a sentence like sjúrjo anjásj tjo mas translates to "a man saw a dog," while the same sentence but replacing mas with mare results in a translation as "a dog saw a man."


Edebro is a head-final language with a mandatory auxiliary verb. As such, its underlying default word order is SOVA (subject, object, verb, auxiliary). However, as Edebro is topic-prominent, this is often not the order that actually surfaces. Both topic and focus are mandatory in all transitive matrix clauses, except when both arguments are pronouns, as pronouns cannot be focused. Topics are fronted to the beginning of the clause, and focuses immediately precede the auxiliary verb. The auxiliary verb always appears at the end of a clause, apart from any complementizer that may be present.

Because there is no morphological case marking on nouns, and word order is complicated by the topic-comment structure, Edebro has no morphosyntactic case. Instead, to indicate the roles of arguments in transitive clauses, nouns are inherently ranked on an animacy hierarchy; nouns higher on the hierarchy are the agent by default. In cases where the lower animacy argument is the agent, the auxiliary verb is marked with an inverse marker, -re, which indicates that the arguments' roles are reversed. This system is known as direct-inverse alignment.

Additionally, as there is no agreement marking on verbs, Edebro is not pro-drop; pronouns must always be explicit. Furthermore, there are no articles such as 'a' or 'the', but Edebro does have a set of demonstratives, ru 'this (inan.)', dsa 'that (inan.)', ke 'this (anim.)', and dsjas 'that (anim.)'; which also function as the third person pronouns. These words reduplicate for plurality when functioning as pronouns, but not when determiners.

Edebro employs serial verb constructions, often for expressions that would be conveyed in English using adverbs. In these constructions, the clause has two or more lexical verbs, but only one agent and one auxiliary verb; there may be more than one patient, however. In cases with multiple patients, patients may intercede the lexical verbs, but only one may be focused. Other uses for serial verb constructions in Edebro are to express causally or temporally linked actions, or actions/events with more than two arguments.

Edebro has no true adjectives, but rather stative verbs that must occur alongside the copular auxiliary o. When modifying a noun, these stative verbs occur within a relative clause. Relative clauses are constructed using a gapped construction with a relativizer particle, which appears as the clitic =m(i). Relative clauses, in accordance with head-final tendencies, precede their heads.

Edebro indicates possession via a locative construction, and makes a distinction between alienable and inalienable possession. Alienable possession is expressed with the postposition e 'at', while inalienable possession is indicated with the postposition no 'on'. In possessive clauses, the possessor is expressed as an argument, and the possessee as an adpositional phrase, linked by the copular auxiliary o.

Simple polar questions are formed by the addition of the question particle, sje, to the end of the clause, following the auxiliary verb. Content questions are formed using interrogative pronouns, which are always placed in the focused position, preceding the auxiliary verb.

Imperatives are formed by omitting the auxiliary verb (or in other analyses, by use of a zero auxiliary), and in those cases directed towards a second person singular, the subject. In the latter cases, the lexical verb may appear alone, or followed by objects or adpositional phrases. In second person plural or first person plural imperatives, the pronoun always occurs before the verb (effectively in the topic position).


Example text[]

Edebro Da njebi ne e imben ma gxo, dsa ge djo dan e mo bro o rja.
English I love your silence, for in it are all languages at once.
IPA [ˈta ˈnʲe̞bi ˈne̞ je̞ jɪmˈbe̞n ˈma k͡xo̞ ˈt͡sa ke̞ tʲo̞ ˈtan e̞ mo̞ ˈbro̞ ˈwo̞ rʲa]
Gloss 1S love 2S at silence TR.PRS so, DIST in one time at all tongue COP.PRS for

Schleicher's Fable[]

Edebro Niba no, na mruma nre bfar sjurjo gagandsen mas: brima gaban os mi rjombfe mas mi djo r, goro ko os mi moge mas mi djo r, tidsji goro tjo mas mi djo. Bfar gagandsen dsji era: « Da no njona baru sjurjo tirjo gagandsen ma m tjo ki mre, » mas. Gagandsen era: « Nagom, bfar, mes no njonjona baru ni sese mes sjurjo ru: tjo, dsa odorgxom, asji o m diturj bfar no mruma du som dsa dsjam sum ma di. Bfar no mruma on gxo. » Bfar susos ru ki du tosjobfa rjakintam so nis.
English On a hill, a sheep that had no wool saw horses, one of them pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses." The horses said: "Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool." Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.
IPA [niˈba no̞ nə mrʊˈma nre̞ ˈp͡far ˈʃurʲo̞ ˌkəgənˈd͡ze̞n ˈmas | ˈbrimə ˈkabən ˈo̞zmi rʲɔmˈb͡ve̞ ˈmazmi ˈtʲo̞r ˈko̞ro̞ ˈkʰo̞ ˈwo̞zmi mɔˈge̞ ˈmazmi ˈtʲo̞r ˈtʰid͡ʒi ˈko̞ro̞ ˈtʲʰo̞ ˈmazmi ˈtʲo̞ | p͡far kəgənˈd͡ze̞n t͡ʃi ˈje̞rə | ˈta no̞ nʲɔˈna ˈparu ˈʃurʲo̞ ˈtʰirʲo̞ kəgənˈd͡ze̞n ˈmam ˈtʲʰo̞ ˈkʰi ˈmre̞ | ˈmas | kəgənˈd͡ze̞n ˈe̞ra | ˈnakɔm ˈp͡far ˈme̞s no̞ ˌnʲɔnʲɔˈna ˈparu ˈni sɛˈze̞ ˈme̞s ˈʃurʲo̞ ˈru | ˈtʲʰo̞ t͡sə ˌwɔdɔrˈg͡ɣo̞m ˈaʒi ˈwo̞m tiˈtʰuj ˈp͡far no̞ mrʊˈma tu ˈso̞m t͡sə ˈt͡ʃam sʊm ˈmadi | ˈp͡far no̞ mrʊˈma ˈwo̞n k͡xo̞ | ˈp͡far ˈsuzo̞s ˈru ˈkʰi tu ˈtʰo̞ʒɔb͡və ˌrʲəkʰɪnˈtʰam so̞ ˈnis]
Gloss hill on, no wool with sheep see PL~horse TR.PST | pull heavy COP.PST=REL wagon TR.PST=REL one=and, carry big COP.PST=REL load TR.PST=REL one=and, fast carry man TR.PST=REL one | sheep PL~horse to say | 1S on heart hurt see drive PL~horse TR.PRS=REL man INF TR.PRS.INV | TR.PST | PL~horse say | listen, sheep, 1P on PL~heart hurt when 1P see PROX | man, DIST master, warm COP.PRS=REL garment sheep on wool from make DIST same for TR.PRS=SR | sheep on wool COP.PRS-NEG so | sheep hear PROX INF from flee plain into INTR.PST

Avatar: The Last Airbender Intro[]

Edebro Sju. Dasj. Kedsi. Adse. Danke sor, ridsu kendso anga nis rjungi r penjtisj sin os. Ben, dendo osdjon dsus sinj Kedsi as Kendso sjigxe ros. Gami Abfatar, nus mo ridsu misgxas as tugano o, dsjadsjas menj trus masasj. Kom, dsjemri ke kim resa mare sinj, ke ikrasj nis. Resge nrobfe nosjge nis, aro da no gasi r da mirj isbo o m Abfatar mas, nus tadsebfentu Enj igimi dsu m o m. Aro ke no adsebfentu as rjirjimbi basjo o ande, ke kim dsinja krjun ma gri ke rondsa tosu ugim ki sum asja. Kom da rjunja Enj emis tosu dsjemri ma di ma.
English Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years passed, and my brother and I discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang. And although his airbending skills are great, he has a lot to learn before he's ready to save anyone. But I believe Aang can save the world.
IPA [ʃu | taʃ | kʰɛˈd͡zi | əˈd͡ze̞ | təŋˈkʰe̞ so̞r riˈd͡zu kʰɛnˈd͡zo̞ ˈaŋgə ˈnis ˈrʲuŋgir pʰɛnʲˈtʰiʃ sɪn ˈo̞s | pɛn tɛnˈdo̞ ˈo̞stʲɔn ˈt͡sus sɪnʲ kʰɛˈd͡zi ɦəs kʰɛnˈd͡zo̞ ˈʃig͡ɣe̞ ˈro̞s | kəˈmi əb͡vəˈtʰar nus mo̞ riˈd͡zu misˈk͡xas əs tʰugəˈno̞ ˈwo̞ t͡ʃəˈd͡ʒas ˈe̞mis ˈtʰr̥us ˈmazəʃ | kʰɔm t͡ʃɛˈmri ˈkʰe̞ ˈkʰim ˈre̞zə ˈmare̞ sɪnʲ ˈkʰe̞ ˈjikʰr̥əʃ ˈnis | re̞sˈke̞ nrɔˈb͡ve̞ ˈno̞ʃke̞ ˈnis əro̞ ˈta no̞ kəˈzir ˈta ˈmij ˈispo̞ ˈwo̞m əb͡vəˈtʰar ˈmas nus tʰəˌd͡zɛb͡vɛnˈtʰu ˈje̞nʲ iˈgimi ˈt͡sum ˈo̞m | əro̞ ˈkʰe̞ no̞ ɦəˌd͡zɛb͡vɛnˈtʰu ɦəs rʲirʲɪmˈbi ˈpaʒo̞ ˈwo̞ ɦənde̞ ˈkʰe̞ ˈkʰim ˈt͡sinʲə ˈkʰj̊un ˈma gri ˈkʰe̞ ˈro̞nd͡zə ˈtʰo̞zu wuˈgim kʰi sʊm ˈaʒə | kʰo̞m ˈta ˈrʲunʲə ˈe̞nʲ ˈe̞mis ˈtʰo̞zu t͡ʃɛˈmri ˈmadi ˈma]
Gloss water | earth | fire | air | time-AUG ago four nation live INTR.PST together=and harmony in COP.TR | then everything change PASS.PST when fire of nation attack ANTIP.PST | only Avatar who all four element of master COP.PRS PL~DIST.AN able stop TR.PST-IRR | but world PROX.AN need most TR.PST.INV when PROX.AN vanish INTR.PST | gross year pass INTR.PST and 1S on brother=and 1S find new COP.PRS=REL Avatar TR.PST who AGNZ-air-wield Aang name PASS.PRS=REL COP.PRS=REL | and PROX.AN on air-wield of PL~skill great COP.PRS although PROX.AN need learn much TR.PRS before PROX.AN ready save anyone | but 1S believe Aang able save world TR.PRS=COMP TR.PRS

See Also[]