Type Fusional
Alignment Split-Ergative
Head direction Head-Initial
Tonal No
Declensions Yes
Conjugations No
Genders Common (Animate/Masc./Fem.), Neuter (Inanimate)
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect
Progress 0%
Nouns 0%
Verbs 0%
Adjectives 0%
Syntax 0%
Words of 1500
Creator Zmvboi


Ornu is a Fusional naturalistic conlang featuring a Split-Ergativity morpho-syntactical alignment and is mostly Head-Initial. Syntax generally follows a SVO pattern; however, the language is Topic Prominent.

Ornu has been in development on and off since May 2020 and has maintained some parity (at least syntactically and grammatically) to its older iterations. The original core idea was to make a relatively naturalistic conlang with only a two main cases, the locative and lative, and to test/teach myself Topics and Comments, and Ergativity.

(DISCLAIMER: This conlang is absolutely all over the place, please be patient)

(NOTICE: As of 3/11/24, this page MAY NOT see much change, I am writing the grammar in more detail elsewhere but will update here when I can :D)



Lab. Cor. Dor. Lar.
Nasal m n
Stop For.
Len. b(ˠ) d(ˠ) g (ɣ)
Lab. kʷʰ gʷ
Fricative Plain s ħ~h
Approx. l w
Trill r ʀ


Light Heavy Long
Front Back Front Back Front Back
High i y ʊ y: u: (ʏ::) (ʊ::)
Mid e ø ɔ ø: o:
Low a ɑ: (ɐ̞::)


Letter m n p t k b d g kw
Sound /m/ /n/ /pʰ/ /tʰ/ /kʰ/ /b/ /d/ /g/ /kʷʰ/
Letter gw hw w l r s h ĥ
Sound /gʷ/ /hʷ/ /w/ /l/ /r/ /s/ /h/ /ʀ/
Letter y u e â a
Sound /i/ /y/ /ʊ/ /e/ /ø/ /ɔ/ /a/
Letter ȳ ū ē ā̂ ā
Sound /y:/ /u:/ /ø:/ /o:/ /ɑ:/
Letter ū́ ā́
Sound (ʏ::) (ʊ::) (ɐ̞::)

*A small aside; many of the romanizations are this way because of past versions of the conlang and I am too familiar with them to change them so cope

Parts of Speech[]


Ornu quite often employs the use of Determiners that also operate as Pronouns and Demonstratives. Below are the most common determiners.

Definitive Determiners
Case Singular Plural Ambig.
Common Neuter Common Neuter
Masc Fem Masc Fem Def. Indef.
Nom. hūs hās hu hūn hān hu hūt hy
Acc. hūm hām hum hūnum hānum hum

These determiners operate just like "this/that" in English. These also operate as Definite Articles on most nouns.

Qualitative Determiners
Case Singular Plural Ambig.
Common Neuter Common Neuter
Masc Fem Masc Fem Def. Indef.
Nom. mūs mās mu mūn mān mu mūt my
Acc. mūm mām mum mūnum mānum mum

These determiners have a meaning akin to "such" or "such a kind" in English; these are often used to signify titles or specificity.

Quantitative Determiners
Case Singular Plural Ambig.
Common Neuter Common Neuter
Masc Fem Masc Fem Def. Indef.
Nom. nūs nās nu nūn nān nu nūt ny
Acc. nūm nām num nūnum nānum num

While these have more complex usage in other Ornu dialects, in Wyd, they are mostly assigned the meaning of "some" when with plural nouns. However; if used with a singular noun, it may operate as a Partitive. The neuter 'nu' sees limited, if any, use as the neuter typically is not quantitated.


Typically 'hy' is always in reference to the speaker or current subject, yet the old 1st person plural 'ēky' remains in use. There is also the addressing pronoun 'hla' which functions exactly as a 2nd person pronoun.

Case Plur
Nom. ēky
Acc. ēkum
Case Sing Dual Plur
Nom. hla ēla hlalu
Acc. hlam ēlam hlalum


Nouns will fall into an Animacy hierarchy being either Inanimate or Animate. They may decline for case being Ergative, Absolutive, Locative/Dative, Lative/Accusative, as well as declining for Singular, Plural, or Dual.


Animacy is reserved to nouns in order of: gods, pronouns, people, professions, anthropomorphic spirits, dogs, most tools, some common household items, and currents (not bodies) of water.

We label Animate nouns under the Common Gender. The Common Gender allows gods, pronouns, people, and professions to be either Masculine or Feminine; with gods and pronouns being or having an Ambiguous option. All other animate nouns are labeled as Masculine or just referred to as Common. The Common gender is also applied to the imperfective verb stem to form verbal nouns; a function of the Gerund form.

There also exists a class of Animate nouns which will always be ergative, these end in ''.

Below are the declension patterns for Animate nouns.

'-ūs' Patterns (masc)[]
Ø/Erg. Loc. Lat.
Sing. -ūs -ūsys -ūsum
Dual ēk- ēk- -ūsys ēk- -ūsum
Plur. -ūn -ūnnys -ūnnym
'-ās' Patterns (fem)[]
Ø/Erg. Loc. Lat.
Sing. -ās -āsys -āsum
Dual ēk- ēk- -āsys ēk- -āsum
Plur. -ān -ānnys -ānnym
'-ēs' Patterns (masc/fem)[]
Ø/Erg. Loc. Lat.
Sing. -ēs -ēsys -ēsum
Dual ēk- ēk- -ēsys ēk- -ēsum
Plur. -ēsny -ēsnys -ēsnym
'-s' Patterns[]
Ø/Erg. Loc. Lat.
Sing. -s -s -m
Dual ēk- ēk- -s ēk- -m
Plur. -sny -snys -snym
'-â' Patterns (ambig.)[]

This ending does not take any sort of declension; however it can still be be modified by adpositions. It also does not even have plural forms.

Ø/Erg. Loc. Lat.


Inanimacy basically falls on anything not mentioned in the Animacy category. The Neuter Gender falls on all inanimate nouns and Stative Nouns. *Note I will make a more indepth look at Animacy and Inanimacy and how it plays into discourse and pragmatics a little bit later on.

Should an Inanimate noun be the agent, it takes the ergative marker '-nâ'

All Inanimate/Neuter nouns end in '-u' if not a stative.



The Ergative case is defaultly assigned to animate/common nouns and is shown by an affix for inanimate/neuter nouns.

This case indicates the agent of a transitive verb in Ergative-Absolutive sentences.

getūs kūmtaku hā̂u [Agent:Animate]

"The warrior wielded the sword"

kyrunâ wā̂ku ges nȳpu ūmraum [Agent:Inanimate]

"The fires have turned the forest into darkness"


The Absolutive case is an unmarked case on both animate/common nouns and inanimate/neuter nouns.

This case indicates the patient of a transitive verb OR the subject of an intransitive verb in Ergative-Absolutive sentences; in Nominative-Accusative sentences, it marks the Nominative case.

getūs kūmtaku hā̂u [Patient]

"The warrior wielded the sword"

râsu pykwār [Subject]

"The hole was being dug"

hūs kerar ges dâm [Nominative]

"He burns (his) hands


The Locative case is used in two main ways: the Locative and the Oblique.

The Locative case is used to show location at, in, or on by default and meaning can be further refined by adpositions that trigger this case. Default meaning is more up to semantics whether something is at, in, or on.

The Oblique case is used in the Anti-Passive voice to change an animate noun into the patient of an inanimate agent and to mark the indirect object; Dative.

hla (nâg) bârâsus [Locative]

"You [are] (in) the field"

brā̂nu drūpek âd dâs [Anti-Passive]

"The harness squeezed the hand" or lit. "The harness squeezed at the hand"

nehretūsys hūs hu ēĥu dek [Dative]

"To no man did he give those ashes"


The Lative case has three uses: the Lative, the Accusative, and the Genitive.

The Lative case is used to show direction or movement to, at, from, or around something by default and meaning can be further refined by adpositions that trigger this case or context.

The Accusative case is used to show the object of a transitive verb in Nominative-Accusative sentences and for the object forms of all pronouns; regardless of Syntactical Alignment; that is to say, pronouns always follow Nom-Acc alignment even in Erg-Abs alignment.

The Genitive case is used to show possession by marking the possessor noun which is placed immediately following the possessed noun.

hūn âdhânku bân bâmum [Lative]

"They stopped before tree"

hām bewny bewu [Accusative]

"The shield was blocking the sword" *note this is a bad translation but grammatical, it would be better to passivize this since hās is animate [hās bewny ūl bewum] "The sword was being blocked by the shield" or one could do it in an antipassivization [âd hās bewny bewu] "The shield was blocking at the sword"

ēky âsēk ēwuswâ hretūm [Genitive]

"We boiled the man's eggs" *note the partitive is used to show that some of the eggs were boiled but have not all been boiled


The Essive case has several uses: indicating capacities, distances, and time, it also functions as an Equative case, and as a Partitive case.

The Equative case is used to show comparisons in stative phrases or to indicate professions.

This case may also operate as a Partitive case on neuter/inanimate nouns.

hūt mewku hān lūkwenuswâ [Essive:Time]

"It is that they have cultivated throughout the season" or "Cultivation is what they have done through the season"

ēky sâges basāsswâ [Essive:Distance]

"We go as far as the river (goes)"

hrāsūs lâĥes gūluswâ [Essive:Capacity]

"Belly full of rocks"

getūsswâ hrâtes [Equative]

"Living like a warrior"

yk trākuswâ hy hwânku [Partitive]

"I had heard one of the calls"


Being fairly simple with only 2 declining endings, Ornu's adjectives agree with their nouns in gender/animacy, case, and plurality. Below are tables with the declension patterns.

'-ty' Patterns[]

Adjectives ending in '-ty' define an adjective with a qualitative or attributive sense.

Common Neuter Ambig.
Gender Masc Fem
Nom./Abs. -tū -tā -tu -ty
Acc./Lat. -tūm -tām -tum
Obl./Loc. -tūs -tās -tus
Erg. -tūn -tān --
'-ūt' Patterns[]

Adjectives ending in '-ūt' define an adjective with 'respect to', 'with', or sometimes 'appearing'; this adjective pattern is also able to form types of pronouns.

Common Neuter Ambig.
Gender Masc Fem
Nom./Abs. -ūt -āt -ut -ūt
Acc./Lat. -ūtum -ātum -utum
Obl./Loc. -ūtis -ātis -utus
Erg. -ūt -āt --
Other Patterns[]

There are other adjective endings; however, the patterns still apply to similar endings or there is no declension.


Verbs only conjugate for Aspect. They may be Imperfective or Perfective. The Stative aspect shows that something is in a state of being; it is better to understand it more as an adjective/adverb which can be used as a noun or an intransitive experiential verb.


There are two Tenses; there is the Past and Non-past. The past is not marked or a part of a Periphrastic construction whereas the non-past is made in such a way. The Non-past places the stative verb "ges" after the main verb.

hretūs mâkar [Past]

"A man was eating"

hretūs mâkar ges [Non-Past]

"A man is eating"


The Perfective is used to show if an action of a transitive or intransitive verb was completed; it also triggers Ergative-Absolutive alignment.

The Imperfective is used to show an ongoing or incomplete action of a transitive or intransitive verb.

The Stative aspect marks that something is in a state or condition; it will always be intransitive.

Imperfective: -ny, -(a)r
Perfective: -ku, -(e)k
Stative: -(e)s


Ornu has 2 marked moods: Negative and Irrealis, . And 1 unmarked mood: Realis. The marked moods simply use a double particle and both of them can be combined in use. The marked moods can work together in different ways to allow different Modality and phrasing. *Note these particles fall under a type of word class or stem class that has zero additional morphology, they are one-off words that have a variety of uses.

Realis Mood[]

This mood indicates that something IS real and has happened or IS a known fact. This mood uses no particle.

hūt pūr ges dūs prau

"It seems to rain today" or "It looks like it will rain today"

Irrealis Mood[]

This mood indicated that something is NOT real or has not happened or is NOT a known fact. This mood uses the final particle 'de' which can be doubled. The second particle placement isn't strict, but typically occurs after a verb and its coverbs/adverbs. *Note that when doubled this can translate as a future which I discuss under the Misc. Grammar section

hūt pūr ges dūs (de) prau de

"Maybe it is seeming to rain today"

Negative Mood[]

This mood simply shows the negative variation of the statement using 'ne'; except it is not that simple when you combine it with the Irrealis which frequently happens, unfortunately. This particle can also be doubled in the same way. *Note that in longer discourse the particle is typically doubled where in shorter sentences doubling implies a stronger negative connotation.

hūt pūr ges dūs prau ne [Single]

"It does not seem to rain today"

hūt pūr ges dūs ne prau ne [Double]

"It definitely does not seem to rain today"

hūt pūr ges dūs ne prau de [Negative-Irrealis]


Avalency can be shown by using a dummy subject 'hūt'. This can also be used to raise the verb to being a topic. This essentially can make the verb a Focus point of the sentence since the verb cannot be moved into first position.

Neutral: Hy ĥapar bân dâs 

"I was spitting in (my) hand"

Topic: Hūt ĥapar hy bân dâs 

"Spitting is what I was doing in (my) hand"

Dummy: Hūt pūr rāmty tēru 

"It was looking red in the east"


Ornu has ways of showing Voice in phrases by syntax and noun marking rather than using verbal morphology or dedicated affixes.

*note I included this here for the sake of having it for reference for times when you need to know how to translate "was the ice cream eaten by a large spoon?"


The Active Voice is the 'default' voicing that occurs.

There is no special construction at play here

dâs ebar ges mywum nâlâĥes

"The hand takes as many seeds as it can carry" or lit. "The hand takes seeds to capacity"


The Passive Voice is used to make the agent the patient.

The adposition 'ūl' is placed before the Passive Agent or Instrument

hām bewny bewu [Active]
hās bewny ūl bewum [Passive]

"The sword was being blocked by the shield"


The Antipassive Voice takes a transitive statement and turns it into an intransitive one. In the case of Ornu, this voicing is used make the Agent into the Subject by marking it as such and placing the Patient into the Locative Case and using a preposition.

âd hās bewny bewu 

"The shield was blocking at the sword"


The Mediopassive Voice shows that the Agent is the doer and receiver of a transitive verb; e.g "the door opens". In Ornu, the mediopassive is translatable from Passive and Antipassive constructions, as well as from Ergative phrases where there is no patient.


Roots and Stems[]

All words come from or contain a Root that has undergone affixation or some change to form into a usable Stem. The type of root a stem may come from can be based on the Class of root.

Root Classes[]

Roots fall into 3 Root Classes based on how stems are derived from them.

There is the 1st Class which undergo NO inherent change to the root aside from affixation to form stems.

There is the 2nd Class which can be a featural class meaning that while there isn't a whole constructable root, stems with a common meaning have common features; these can sometimes be constructed as consonants for their root form and can be called Consonantal Roots at times.

There is the 3rd Class which are roots that undergo Ablaut as well as affixation to form a variety of stems.



The Gerund is simply a form of the verb that is Non-Finite; however, its form may appear as a finite verb when used in certain ways.

Verbal Nouns are the main use of the Gerund. They are created by suffixing the Common Gender '-ūs' ending to the imperfective stem (dropping the '-ar' or '-y').

Two Converb constructions exist: The First which marks the verb as an adverbial meaning 'when' or 'while'. The Second which creates a Coverb out of a stative; this Coverb construction also forms the non-past by use of 'ges'.

Verbal Noun[]

Simply a nominalization of a verb stem.

trākūs brā̂lâĥ

"Talkative shouting"


Taking the form of the Verbal Noun, this operates completely adverbially.

ēky pykwār kwūkūs segrâsum [Imperfective]

"We were digging the chute while singing"

ēkhratās pykwek kwūkūs segrâsum [Perfective]

"The two women had dug the chute when singing"


Essentially the same as the Converb except it is a stative verb. These can be analyzed as forming certain moods with the Coverb being a Modal Particle. Stacking of these Coverbs is NOT allowed and only one may follow the verb, any Stacked Coverbs must come at the end of the sentence. *Note a lot of these carry specific semantics that will be touched on later

ēky pykwār ges segrâsum [Non-past]

"We are digging the chute"

ēky pykwār lâĥes segrâsum [Coverb]

"We were digging the chute completely"

ēky pykwār ges segrâsum lâĥes [Stacked]

"We are digging the chute completely"

Misc. Grammar (IDK WHERE ELSE TO PUT)[]


Imperfectives Cont.[]

Imperfectives in the non-past can indicate Habitual relationships or Gnomic statements.

hās gytar ūmras [Habitual]

"She fights until dark" *note that 'ūmras' is acting as a coverb meaning "until dark"; using the noun 'ūmrau' would mean "at night" or "at darkness"

brās brūnny brā̂um [Gnomic]

"Language carries the truth"

The Future (Kinda)[]

There is somewhat of an in-development of a future prefix on verbs 'se-' which comes from a prefix 'se(g)-' meaning "drive, lead, carry, cause". It cannot occur on every verb, but it does on a few and has uses more as a future form of the verb. It also is accompanies by the Irrealis.

hy tesek trāku

"I made a call"

hy de setesek trāku de

"I will have made a call" or lit. "I bring-about a call"

*Note I will include a more extensive list of these verbs at some point.


Clause of Response (Hūt... swâ)[]

This subordinate clause formation shows the response to the action in the main clause. It places the the verb into focus position and uses the adverb 'swâ'; note that the focused verb agrees in aspect with the main clause verb.

nehretūsys hūs hu ēĥu dek, hūt kūmtaku swâ getūs hās

"To no man had he given the ashes, so the warrior drew his sword"


Word Order[]

The typical word order, or Neutral Order, is SVO (Subject, Verb, Object); however, the word order can change its structure based on a sentence's Topics and Comments. A topic is what is being talked about and comments can be made upon that topic. There also comes a different structure if something is the Focus in the sentence.

In Neutral Order, the topic is also the subject; however, different parts of the sentence can also be placed first for emphasis or stress.

In Topic Order, the topic comes first.

In Focus order, the focus comes first then everything else follows with the verb in final position. The Topic will proceed the Focus in order, then any other comments; comment placement is determined by their Animacy.

Ornu is a primarily V2 Word Order language meaning the verb MUST come second in the sentence (at least in Neutral Order).

This whole system of topics and comments and focus is based on syntax alone rather than by any sort of morphology; therefore, it is integral to understand how a sentence is laid out to fully understand its meaning.

Where this can be a little tricky is when a Focus order appears and a subordinate clause is embedded within it.

Head Direction[]

Most phrases use a Head-Initial order, this means that the head will come first in a phrase.

Adjective Order[]

Adposition Order[]

Non-Finite Constructions and Clauses[]

Final Clause[]

Relative Clauses[]

Subject Relative Clause[]

Object Relative Clause[]


Example text[]