Ankawidano Šib (Sun of the Ankawidan) often used as a symbol of Nolikan culture and language.

Nolikan language (native name: Noliki carag) is a group of related dialects of the Khacheric family. The language discussed here is the classical language of the Ankawidan empire (called Ankawidani, hereafter anglicized as Ankawidanian). Since modern dialects are very divergent (the speech of Shilkarya and the Delta are as different as English and Dutch on ancient Terra), the speakers use classical Nolikan as a standard. It is also the language of the Achobisak[1], the holy book of the Esakhidan religion.



The vowel system is very simple. Nolikan is a syllable-timed language, so there is no reduction of unstressed vowels. Stressed vowels are long in the open syllables: ļir ['ɬir], ļirak ['ɬi:rak]

Front Back
Closed i [i] u [u]
Mid e [e̞] o [o̞]
Open a [ä]


Bilabial Coronal Postalveolar Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p [p] t [t] c [ʧ] k [k] [ʔ]
voiced b[b] d [d] j [ʤ] g [g]
Fricative voiceless s [s]
ļ [ɬ]
š [ʃ] x [x] h [h]
voiced z [z] ģ [ɣ]
Nasal m [m] n [n] (n [ŋ])
Liquid l [l]
r [ɾ]
Glide w [w] y [j]

The table cannot present the Nolikan consonant system in full detail:

  1. A glottal stop occurs predictably before an initial vowel, e.g. anka 'pure' ['ʔaŋka]. It may be considered phonemic or not.
  2. /t d n/ are dental, /l r s z ɬ/ are laminal alveolars
  3. /ɬ/ is affricated to [t͡ɬ] after /r l n/ or a fricative, even across word boundaries: haxļa 'cow' ['haxt͡ɬa]
  4. /n/ assimilates to a following postalveolar or velar stop
  5. voiced obstruents are devoiced before a voiceless one. Ajtam 'in the country is pronounced [aʧ'tam] However, there is no anticipatory voicing: eļga 'rib' is pronounced ['ʔeɬga]
  6. /ld/ is often pronounced /ll/.


When a word ends in a consonant, the last syllable is stressed; otherwise - the penultimate. The exceptions occur in some inflexional forms and are always marked in this grammar.


Primary syllable structure of Nolikan is CV(C), where /p w/ do not occur in coda position (at least in native vocabulary) and /j/ only in muyga 'mumble, jabber'.


Nouns are inflected for case and number. Plurals almost always end in -ak

Nolikan has 5 cases: ergative, absolutive, dative, genitive and locative. There is also a vocative particle ya, as in ya Esax 'O God'.

There is no morphological distinction between nouns and adjectives. Nouns used as modifiers are always in absolutive singular, as in mal karzusa 'sweet kiss', ergative: mal karzusal, genitive plural: mal karzusane.


Declension I – nouns ending in -a - cida 'day'

case singular
absolutive cida cidák
ergative cidal cidóļ
genitive cidaha cidane
dative cidaš cidace
ablative cidaxi cidaxak
locative cidum cidakam

Declension II – nouns ending in a consonant - ļir 'dream'

case singular
absolutive ļir ļírak
ergative ļíril ļíroļ
genitive ļiro ļirne
dative ļíriš ļirce
ablative ļirex ļiréxak
locative ļiram ļirkam

In genitive plural, nouns ending in n receive -de and ones ending in l receive -le: baģunde 'valleys, sulle 'sad ones

Nouns that end in a stop have -še in dative plural and -ekam in locative plural: hob 'thing' yields hobše and hobekam. If tš dš clusters arise, they are simplified to c j: ubad 'horse' yields ubaje.

Nouns ending in s have an assimilation in the dative: Kutas 'Satan' yields Kutasis in dat. sing.

Same nouns have syncope in the locative: ajat 'country, ajtam 'in the country'.

There are two groups of so called peculiar nouns in this declension:

  • nouns that ended in clusters in the proto-language - tolok 'tree':
case singular
absolutive tolok tólkak
ergative tólkil tólkoļ
genitive tolko tolokne
dative tólkiš tolokše
ablative tólkex tolkéxak
locative tolkam tolkekam

Me 'leg' and gi 'tooth' belong here. Wherever a hiatus could occur, an intrusive w appears: mewak, giwo.

  • nouns with biconsonantal stems - han 'flower'
case singular
absolutive han handak
ergative hándil hándoļ
genitive hando hándine
dative hándiš hándice
ablative handex handéxak
locative handam handekam

declension III – nouns in vowels other than /a/ - mabu 'grandmother'

case singular
absolutive mabu mábuwak
ergative mabul mábuwoļ
genitive mabuha mabune
dative mabuš mabuce
ablative mabuxi mabúxak
locative mabuwam mabukam

The noun mek 'people' has its own declension. It occurs in the plural only.

case plural
absolutive mek
ergative mékel
genitive meke
dative mékiš
ablative méxak
locative mekam

Case usage[]

The absolutive marks subject of an intransitive sentence or the patient in a transitive sentence, as well as subject of a sentence in the middle or reciprocal voice:

  • Axcin menduha gulam arģa 'A boy sits in front of the house'
  • Dixkimek mospata 'The pagans were defeated'
  • Zaxum si zaxod ris karazo 'Husband and wife are kissing'

The ergative marks the agent in a transitive sentence. It is also used for causes of states and events:

  • ahmeha jahrisal sul 'Sad because of a friend's death

With verbs of perception, the roles are reversed:

  • Binat cumanil linate 'The girl saw a barbarian' (he caused her to see him)

The genitive marks possessor:

  • axcino sabax 'the boy's dog'

It is also used before relational nouns:

  • tolokne niram 'above the trees'

The dative marks indirect objects, as well as a superior in a relationship:

  • Xasibil Isoliš yag kenate 'Khasib gave the knife to Isol'
  • axcince menor 'the boys' father'
  • Esaxiš jimran 'I worship God'

Subjects of modal verbs and verbs of knowledge and perception are in the dative:

  • Lamiš salawam colasa pirnat 'Noone is allowed to run naked'
  • Neš kur la sulpat 'I don't know this'

It marks also the goal of motion:

  • Ļimsariš dode 'the road to Tlimsar'

The ablative marks origin or source of motion:

  • Acwirex zelanda 'I went from the city (by foot)'
  • Bine carag Esaxex kenate 'Our language is a gift from God'

This case is regularly used only in the Achobisak. In the classical language, which is around 200 years younger, it is replaced by the genitive except of personal pronouns.

The locative marks location or path:

  • acwiram mek 'the people in the city'
  • dodayam zela 'he is going down the road'

It is the case in which the relational nouns are used:

  • biškaha niram 'above the belly'

The locative has also an adverbial and comparative function:

  • cetikam tol zalat 'She sings freely' (sc. as she wants to)
  • horbiļam ruz 'evil as a demon'

Most verbs have an ergative-absolutive allignment, but some have different. As seen above, jimra 'to worship, pray' has absolutive-dative, as do some other verbs, e.g. šarbe 'love'.

Relational nouns[]

Relational nouns are normal nouns gramatically, but they are distinguished by their meanings. Generally, they denote spatial relations. For example, nir means 'up', 'the upper part of something'. Relational nouns in the locative, genetive and dative are equivalents of Indo-European prepositions. Therefore, niram means 'above' or 'about', niro or nirex means 'from above' and niriš 'up (as a direction)'. Similarly, ļub means 'lack (of something)' but ļubam is 'without'.


Personal pronouns[]

absolutive ergative genitive dative ablative locative
singular 1. en nal ne neš nexi nam
2. ceb cal ce šec cexi cam
tawa tol to tawiš toxi tum
sawa sol so sawiš soxi sum
plural 1.
bik biļ bine bice bexak bekam
lunak lunoļ lunde luce luxak lukam
2. wanak wanoļ wande wace waxak wakam
tak taļ tene tece texak tekam
sak saļ sene sece sexak sekam

Among personal pronouns remains ģin, having the meaning of 'one's own'. Cf.

  • Mehendimil ģin rahib pezalata 'Warrior picked up his sword' (his own)
  • Mehendimil to rahib pezalata 'Warrior picked up his sword' (e.g. his enemy's)

Demonstrative pronouns[]

There are three basic ones: kad 'so', kur 'this' and haģe 'that'. They are the basis of all demonstrative expressions:

  • kadi 'such', derived from kad using the standard nominalizing morpheme -i.
  • kuram 'here' and hayam 'there' (both are locative cases, the latter was shortened from haģayam)
  • kum < *kur xazum 'now' and hazum < *haģe xazum 'then'

Interrogative and negative pronouns[]

Interrogative pronouns include:

  • kam 'who'
  • kaļ 'what'
  • kali 'why'
  • koc 'which'
  • nok 'how'
  • nadi 'where'
  • nax 'when'

Negative pronouns are formed by prefixing la 'no' before a demonstrative or interrogative pronoun, or a noun:

  • lakad 'no way'
  • laxzum 'never' <la xazum 'in no time'
  • lam 'nobody' <la kam
  • laļ 'nothing' <la kaļ
  • landi 'nowhere' <la nadi

Nolikan has no wh-movement, unlike English:

  • Šarbidan kaļ? 'What is love?'
  • Šarnaxil kam mandate? 'Whom has the sharnakh eaten?'

Yes/no questions are formed by placing ma before the sentence:

  • Ma šec sawa line? 'Do you see it'

Any word can be negated by using la (al before vowels). To negate a sentence, one adds it before the entire VP:

  • Tawa al Esaxiš zibat. 'She does not believe in God'

Another negative particle, bano, implies that the information negated used to be true:

  • Bano en wimaj. 'I am no longer strong'

Indefinite pronoun[]

Nolikan uses one indefinite pronoun, in. It is juxtaposed with a noun to produce the meaning desired, e.g.

  • in hob 'anything'
  • in mij 'any man', 'anyone'
  • in xazum 'anytime'


Verbs agree with the absolutive argument of the sentence. There is no infinitive; the quotation form is the 3rd person present tense. Note that in the 3rd person there is no difference between numbers.

Nolikan is pro-drop, but when absolutive personal pronouns are used for emphatic purposes, the verb is used in the 3rd person (better described as unmarked). Cf. jolun 'I'm alive' vs. en jolo 'I am alive'

The verbs presented are representative of the three regular conjugations. They mean 'lead, drink, hurt'. Obviously, there are irregularities within these paradigms. There are also four so-called zero-stem verbs: ja 'do', xot 'make', pol 'to be possible' and tis (existential verb). Every of them has its peculiarities, but ja was used as a representative.


1sg tiban mahen jegun jan
1in tibabak mahebak jegobak jabak
1ex tibaļun mahiļun jeguļun jaļun
2sg tibaš mahiš jeguš jaš
2pl tibawan mahiwan jeguwan jawan
3 tiba mahe jego ja


1sg tibaten mahiten jeguten jaten
1in tibateb mahiteb jeguteb jateb
1ex tibateļun mahiteļun jeguteļun jateļun
2sg tibatiš mahitiš jegutiš jatiš
2pl tibatwan mahitwan jegutwan jawan
3 tibat mahit jegut jate

The aorist is used to express things true regardless of time; much like English Present Simple.


1sg tibanda mahande jegando janda
1in tibama mahame jegamo jamo
1ex tibaļuna mahaļune jegaļuno jaļuno
2sg tibaca mahace jegaco jaca
2pl tibawana mahawane jegawano jawano
3 tibata mahate jegato jana

If the stem contains already a c or j, the second person singular has št instead of c: eja 'to become' yields ejašta 'you became'.


1sg tibaren maheren jegoren jaren
1in tibarub maherub jegorub jarub
1ex tibarļun maherļun jegorļun jarļun
2sg tibariš maheriš jegoriš jariš
2pl tibarwan maherwan jegorwan jarwan
3 tibare mahere jegore jaru

The future, apart from its obvious function, expresses impossible things:

  • Takšahiš dode nadi decore? 'Where is (literally: will be found) the road to Texas?' (Texas was on another planet and there is no road there)


The imperative has two inflexional forms:

2nd person tibá mahí jegú jaha
1st person in. tibali mahili jeguli jali

The imperatives work as in a nominative-accusative language, with object in the absolutive put after them (this is the only exception from the verb-final word order):

  • Mandi wed! 'Eat bread'

Optative is formed using the particle du after the verb in any tense:

  • Nal kur solkel la mahate du. 'I wish I hadn't drunk that wine'
  • Lemyadan cal decore du. 'May you find happiness'


There are two voices apart from the active: middle, formed by the particle ra and reciprocal by ris:

  • jegut 'they are hurt'
    • ra jegut 'they hurt themselves'
    • ris jegut 'they hurt one another/each other'

These particles occur typically after the subject, but not necessarily.


Digit Cardinal Ordinal
1 ļak ok
2 po poni
3 maxke maxkeni
4 bir beri
5 ama amani
6 sun sundi
7 haje hajeni
8 pex pexi
9 tahi tahini
10 šod šodi
100 tagni tagnini
1000 tehir teheri
10000 pocod pocodi
100000 pottagni pottagnini
1000000 pottehir potteheri

Other numbers are formed in a completely regular way, by summing the multiples of powers of ten: 2744 is po tehirak haje tagniyak bir šodak bir.

Fractions are formed with the denominator in ablative plural: maxke pexexak '3/8'. 

Derivational morphology[]

Suffixation is the most common derivational process. Most common suffixes are given below:

  • -m – added to a verbal stem to form name of an agent
    • kumle 'to listen' →kumlim 'listener'
  • -sa (assimilated to ša if there is a š in the root) to form nomina actionis:
    • karazo 'to kiss' →karzusa 'a kiss'
    • takše 'to roam' → takšiša 'rage'
  • or -g (archaic) –forms names of patients:
    • juke 'to hunt' →jukeļ 'game animal'
    • iboka 'to fantasize' → ibokaļ 'story'
    • cara 'to speak' → carag 'language'
  • -dan (with -tan and -an as variants) form abstract nouns:
    • bar 'precious' →bardan 'price'
    • toš 'equal' →toštan 'equality'
    • wimaj 'strong' →wimajan 'strength'
  • -kar for place names
    • nuda 'to wash' →nudakar 'bathroom'
    • han/ hand- 'flower' →handikar 'garden'
  • -i (-ni after a vowel) forms names of inhabitants and languages:
    • Yoket →Yoketi 'a Yoketian' or 'Yoketian language'
    • Šilkarya →Šilkaryani 'a Shilkaryani' or 'Shilkaryani dialect'
  • the same suffix forms names of members of collectives:
    • cuma 'horde' →cumani 'barbarian, vandal'
  • -za for qualities, especially colors:
    • mahnu 'fur' →mahnuza 'brown'
  • -cin for diminutives and -mu for augmentatives:
    • pilac 'heart' →pilaccin 'little heart'
    • korta 'head' →kortamu 'pumpkin'
  • -hob (in itself meaning 'thing') for inanimate objects:
    • šil 'beautiful' →šilhob 'ornament'
    • ziwale 'to play' →ziwalihob 'toy'
  • -waš forms names of people according to their affinities:
    • jego 'hurt' →jegwaš 'cruel'

There are two affixes used to form verbs from nouns:

  • -e - 'to perform an action'
    • xur 'breath' → xure 'to breathe'
  • -no - 'to imitate someone or something'
    • sabax 'dog' → sabaxno 'to follow'

Periphrastic constructions are often employed instead, e.g. anka eja 'to be purified', literally 'to become pure'.

The most unusual part of the Nolikan derivational system are infixes, used to form verbs from verbs. They are usually placed before the last consonant of the root:

  • ⟨tu⟩ - causative (used only with intransitive verbs)
    • jolo 'to live' →jotulo 'to conceive', 'to beget'
  • ⟨xa⟩ - trying to achieve the meaning of the main verb
    • pela 'to hold' →pexala 'to desire'
  • ⟨za⟩ - inchoative
    • xirpe 'to sleep' →xirzape 'to fall asleep'
  • ⟨li⟩ - strengthening the meaning of the main verb
    • cola 'to run' → colila 'to flee'
  • ⟨ni⟩ - end of an action
    • jolo 'to live' →jonilo 'to die of natural causes'

Prefixes are rarer, but not unheard of:

  • ku-, adding a sinister aspect to the meaning:
    • kel 'water' →kukel 'flood'
    • šub 'fast' →kušub 'mad, insane'
  • so- 'a piece of'
    • mal 'pleasant' → somal 'caress'
    • riģ 'iridium' → soriģ 'Ankawidanian iridium coin'

Nolikan has also many compound words, especially tatpurusas, cf. duštisabax 'dachshund' (literally: hole-dog). Compounds with verbs (cf. zaljun < zala-jun 'sing-woman', 'songstress') and relational nouns (cf. korta-ļub 'headless') are also common. Sometimes sandhi occurs, since the Nolikans found hiatus cacophonous:

  • jerga 'dawn' + inam 'daughter' → jergenam 'nymph'


Nolikan uses typically SOV word order and is consistently head-final. As in any fusional language, the word order is more free than in English.

Equative sentences[]

Nolikan has no copula. The meaning is achieved by combining two nouns in the absolutive:

  • Ankawidan karu 'Land of the Pure is rich'
  • Kur mij gilbad 'This man is a chieftain'

There is also an emphatic construction with the noun toš 'equal':

  • Hejamo Warestan huje lemyadano toš 'The Golden Order is (equal to) happiness for all'

Expressing possession[]

There is no verb meaning 'to have'. Two constructions, both using the dative, can be used to replace it:

  • Joniš yag kenate. 'The woman as a knife', literally: 'A knife has been given to the woman'
  • Joniš yag tiste. Literally, 'woman's knife exists'.

The construction with the existential verb tis in the aorist is obligatory when talking about inalienable entities:

  • Tawiš šil xorak tiste 'She has beautiful eyes'


Comparisons are done using the relational noun pan 'beyond':

  • Isol Xasibo panam wimaj. 'Isol is stronger than Khasib' (literally: strong beyond Khasib)

Superlative is replaced by the word hupan, etymologically hud-pan 'beyond all':

  • Hupan perdu 'the ugliest'
  • Hupan yatwe 'the wisest'

Before non-adjectival nouns, hupan acquires the meaning of 'having the most typical qualities of an X' or 'superior as an X':

  • Hupan kuwid 'the greatest despot'
  • Hupan binat 'the most girly girl'

Relative clauses[]

There is a relativizer, dar, used to form all relative clauses:

  • Mijil solkel mahe 'Man drinks wine'
    • mijil mahe dar solkel 'the wine drunk by the man'
    • tol solkel mahe dar mij 'the man that drinks wine'
  • Axcin arģa 'Boy sits'
    • Arģa dar axcin 'the boy that sits'
  • Haģe hobne ļubam joludan saļub 'Without those things life is worthless'
    • So ļubam joludan saļub dar hobak 'Things, without which life is worthless'

Pronouns in the absolutive are absorbed by the relativizer; those in other cases are not.

Dar is also used in temporal and locative phrases:

  • Handak tiste, dar šundam bice xirpisa korja. 'We want to sleep where there are flowers'
  • Cumanil zalata, dar xazum likšanda. 'I cried, when the barbarian sung'

However, one can also use nominalization:

  • Cumanil zalsaha xazum likšanda. 'I cried during the barbarian's singing'


Among most popular ones are:

  • ahno 'so': Mij jahreļ, ahno la zahlare 'The man is dead, so he won't answer'
  • aštu 'in order to', 'so that': Mek mulut aštu taļ mandit. 'People work in order to eat'
  • bil 'because': Meljandiyak ruzak bil šarnaxce jimrat 'The Meljanese are evil, because they worship sharnakhs'
  • sax 'but': Kur la nokri, sax arzu 'It's no hawk, it's an eagle'
  • si 'and': axcin si binat 'Boy and girl'
  • ter 'if': Ter šec la mulusa korja, la mandi 'If you don't want to work, don't eat'
  • ul 'or': cetik ul jahreļ 'Free or dead'

Unlike English, Nolikan does not permit connecting sentences without conjunctions.


Nolikan does not use indirect speech. The sentence quoted is incorporated into the main one as the pronoun kur and then pronounced verbatim:

  • Botil kur carata, ģitoļ zalat, literally 'The old man said this, the stars sing'.

Personal names[]

A Nolikan has two names: childhood name given by the mother after birth, and adult name given by a priest on the 12th birthday (equivalent to 15 in Earth years).

Masculine names are either references to martial (Ahmelati 'Friendly Arm') or moral (Dixkiļub 'Without Frivolity') virtues or to animals admired for their strength and virility (Takšim 'Tiger').

Girls can have names of moral virtues too (Ankadan 'Purity'), but more often their names allude to beauty (Barhejam 'Precious Gold') or pleasure (Maldan 'delight').

It is characteristic of the Nolikans to use negated names of vices (Alikril 'Not Vain'), in line with the Achobisak commandment to express contempt for Kutas.

Use of compound nouns as names is considered aristocratic.

The name of the prophet, Nurxasib (literally, 'Virtue-Peace') is not given to any other man, but various phonetically similar names are common. Titles such as "the absolute role-model" (Wastatin Jextibar) and "the happiness of the universe" (Hutistano Lemyadan) can also be alluded to, giving seemingly nonsensical names like Wastibar, Hulem or Nurab.

Writing system[]

Name: Nolikan

Type: Fusional

Alignment: Ergative

Head Direction: Final

Number of genders: no

Declensions: Yes

Conjugations: Yes

Nouns declined
according to
Case Number
Definitiveness Gender
Verbs conjugated
according to
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect

Nolikan has its own syllabary, based on the Yoketian syllabary, which was created from earlier ideograms. For example the syllable <ya> is written using a descendant of ancient Yoketian hieroglyph for ram (ya'ak). Each CV syllable has its own unique glyph. More complex syllables are written using combinations of two or three glyphs, as in maxke, written <ma-xa-ke>.

Schleicher's fable[]

Nolikan version[]

Ecanam, tawiš la kumaļ tis dar jiyaš ubadak linate: ļakil šuhad ohruhob ohrato si ļakil pod šuhadan apato si ļakil mij šubam apato. Jiyal ubaje kur carata: „Ne pilac jego, ter mijil ubadak osturo dar neš line.” Ubadoļ haģe zahlata: „Kumli, ya jiya, lunde pilacak jego, ter kur luce line: podwidam mijil kumaļo ģin lumre uxtelax xot. Si jiyaš la kumaļ tis.” Jiyaš kur kumlate, ahno tawa šolmiš colilato.


Hill-LOC, 3sg.DAT no wool exist.PRS.3 REL sheep-DAT horse-PL see-PST.3: one-ERG heavy wagon pull-PST.3 and one-ERG big load carry-PST.3 and one-ERG man fast-LOC carry-PST.3. Sheep-ERG horse-DAT.PL this speak-PST.3: "my heart hurt.PRS.3, when man-ERG horse-PL drive.PRS.3 REL 1sg.DAT see.PRS.3." Horse.ERG.PL that answer.PST.3: "Listen-IMP, VOC sheep, 1pl.EXCL.GEN heart.PL hurt.PRS.3, when this 1pl.EXCL.DAT see.PRS.3: lord-LOC man-ERG wool-GEN own warm clothing make.PRS.3. And sheep-DAT no wool exist.PRS.3" Sheep.DAT this hear.PST.3, so 3sg plain-DAT flee-PST.3

Literal translation[]

On a hill, a sheep which had no wool saw horses: one was pulling a heavy wagon, one was carrying a big load and one was carrying fast a man. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart hurts when I see man driving horses". The horses answered: "Listen, sheep, our hearts hurt when we see this: man, the lord, makes his warm clothes from wool. And sheep has no wool". Sheep heard this so she fled for a plain"

See also[]

  1. Spelling of names and titles is anglicized within English sentences - the standard romanization in Acobisak