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Proto Csillan
Head direction
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect

General information[]

Proto-Csillan is the ancestor of language family spoken by the Čis ('tʃis)- a humanoid blue-skinned race inhabiting the planet in the Unknown Regions- the most famous of which is Grand Admiral Ťran (θran). Proto-Csillan was spoken circa 24,000 BBY, waaaay before the Čis developed spaceflight technology. Note Zahn used spellings Cheunh, Chiss and Thrawn in place of Csillan, Čis and Ťran. In-world linguists cannot even begin to hope to reconstruct as far as this language (imagine, like, 10,000 years before PIE, so it spawned a super-family, not just a family), I'm just using this as a base to derive the descendants (which will equate more or less to PIE and will be reconstructed.)

In case you're wandering what various Star Wars authors have developed for Cheunh, here's what Wookieepedia has on it:

Cheunh was the official language of the Chiss. It was adopted across Csilla early in Chiss history. Cheunh was a complex, dense tongue that used comparatively few core words and an involved syntax to express ideas; more complicated ideas were expressed by combining related words into a larger whole.

The written form of Cheunh was represented ideographically, and the agglutinative features of the spoken language were reflected in the written form, which combined simpler ideograms to present more complex ideas. The Chiss found the complex nature of their tongue to be a source of pride.

As Humans did not share the same vocal abilities as the Chiss, it was difficult for other species to pronounce it correctly, even after long periods of study. It followed a logical pattern, though, and could be understood after some study.

The Chiss also used Minnisiat as a lingua franca to trade in the space around their frontiers.

Known Words/Roots

  • Ch'tra - Go
  • Crahsystor - Commander
  • K'rell - Corellia (Note: It is highly probable that this and the word below are simply the pronunciations used by Mitth'raw'nuruodo in 27 BBY due to his unfamiliarity at the time with Basic, and not actual Cheunh words.)
  • K'rell'n - Corellian (See above)
  • Ktah - A curse word
  • Pohskapforian (aspirated p in second syllable) - Merchant trader
  • Pohskapforian (unaspirated p in second syllable) - Fishing boat
  • Stae - Near (pronounced: "stee")
  • Visvia - Unit of measurement (Visvia:kilometer ratio around 5:8)

In other words, this should have been a candidate for Blob's recent worst conlang contest. Let's count up some of the worst sins they've committed: throwing about random apostrophes, post-vocalic aitches, defined as being "alien" and "unpronounceable" while having no phonetic features you couldn't find in any terrestrial language, and overall anglicized pronunciation. I won't even mention just how stupid the pohskaphforian/pohskapforian distinction is. Yes, languages do tend to have some quirky words like that, but they're never going to be five syllables long!

Since the Čis my favorite species from Star Wars (and Ťran my favorite overall character) I decided to do them some justice by giving them realistic languages (since saying that one language is uniformly spoken over several light years and has remained unchanged over several millenia is

OK, back to the language itself. Proto-Csillan is a dominantly fusional nominative-accusative, featuring vowel-ablaut and consonant gradation (both of which were written by bats, just look at the charts) in addition to prefixes and suffixes.



Labial Labio-Velar Dental-Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m


ɲ -ŋ (ŋ)


p, b t, d


Affricate ps, bz ts, dz ks, gz
Fricative f s, z ɣ-ɰ (ɣ)
Glide w j
Lateral l


Front Near-front Near-back Back
High i/ɪ/ɨ o/ɔ/u ɯ/ɤ
Mid e/ɛ
Low a/ä/ɑ

The slashes show possible variation among the phonetic values of the vowels over the various dialects.

The acceptable diphthongs include aj, ej, oj, uj, iw, ew, uw and aw. Vowels can also be lengthened, though length did not effect quality at this point in history.


Vowel ablaut was a significant feature in Proto-Csillan. Each vowel had five grades, basic, high, open, consonant and zero.

Basic a e i o u
High e i ej u uj
Open aw a e a o
C ŋ l j w ɣ
Cl k t n f gz
C(l)w +w N/A +w
C(l)j +j N/A +j
Zero Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø

The Cl grade is for whenever the base vowel is long (whereas a normal C is used whenever the vowel is short), and Cw and Cj grades are added on to the C and Cl grades whenever the vowel is in a diphthong with w and j respectively.

Consonant Mutation[]

Consonant mutation is almost as important as vowel ablaut in morphology. There are three grades, basic, lenis/fortis, and syllabic.

Basic Lenis/Fortis Syllabic
m p 'm
p b ō
b p o
ps p ōj
bz b oj
f p ō
w f o
n l 'n
t d ē
d t e
ts t ēj
dz d ej
s t ī
z d i
l j 'l
j l i
ŋ ɣ
k ɣ ū
ɣ gz u
ks k ūj
gz ɣ uj


Roots follow a very simple phonology of C1VC2S, where C1 is any consonant, V is any short or long vowel or diphthong, C2 is any consonant other than an affricate, and S is any short vowel (not a diphthong). Derived forms of the root often produce consonant clusters, see the adjectives section for more details.



Nouns decline to case (nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, locative and allative) and number (singular, paucal and plural).

Ɣeta-, ɣetu-, ɣetaw- (man) the three words are the basic, high and open grade forms of the noun (which are sometimes necessary to be listed in the lexicon since sound changes in pre-proto-Csillan made some of the forms irregular, e.g the high-grade form of *loɣe is *loji, and the open-grade form of *koje is *koɣa.)

Singular Paucal Plural
Nom ɣet ɣets ɣetaw
Acc ɣeta ɣetas
Dat ɣetan ɣetsan ɣetawn
Gen ɣetu ɣetuj ɣetāw
Loc ɣetuz ɣetuzi ɣetawz
All ɣetul ɣetuli ɣetawl

The pattern for declension can be better explained with the following chart (note B, H, O & Z stand for basic, high, open and zero grade.)

Singular Paucal Plural
Nom Z Z-s O
Acc B B-s
Dat B-n Z-s(basic vowel)n O-n
Gen H H-j O-:
Loc H-z H-zi O-z
All H-l H-li O-l

Some consonant mutations to note:

  • The paucal morpheme -s changes to -z after b, d, z and ɣ.
  • F, s, z, and ɣ turn into p, t, d and g when -s/z is added
  • When -j is added to i, it becomes -ej


Two systems of pronouns have been reconstructed. The most accepted theory is that one was emphatic and the other unstressed, though the descendants often used them as suppletive forms, e.g. emphatic in nominative, genitive and locative, unstressed in all others.

The emphatic pronouns are maɣe, telo, and psiku for I, you and he/she/it respectively. They decline like average nouns.

The unstressed pronouns are tak, kos, and zem. They decline irregularly.

Singular Paucal Plural
Nom tak taks tawk
Acc take takse tawke
Dat taken taksen tawken
Gen ēka ēkaj ēkaw
Loc ēkaz ēkazi ēkawz
All ēkal ēkali ēkawl
Singular Paucal Plural
Nom kos kots kas
Acc kose kotse kase
Dat kosen kotsen kasen
Gen ūse ūsej ūsa
Loc ūsez ūsezi ūsaz
All ūsel ūseli ūsal
Singular Paucal Plural
Nom zem zems zam
Acc zemi zemsi zami
Dat zemin zemsin zamin
Gen imi imej ime
Loc imiz imizi imez
All imil imili imel

In addition to the personal pronouns their is also the distal demonstrative *ksino and medial demonstrative *ŋalu. There were also the adverb *kje (there) and fim (here), from whence several pronouns were derived in the descendant languages. Interrogative pronouns only included *naku (what, who), which was the source of all other interrogative phrases (i.e. ŋo nakuj? (for what?) is the source for why? in most languages.) The pronoun *jālo served as the relative pronoun.


Adjectives and verbs derive from a special stem form of the noun: the first consonant becomes its syllabic counterpart and the first vowel becomes its consonant counterpart. If the vowel is a long vowel, However, if the syllabic counterpart of the consonant is 'm, 'n, 'ŋ or 'l, then it and the consonant derived from the vowel metathesize (niɣe (dog) > j'nɣe (of dogs, canine), not 'njɣe). This stem is referred to as the N-stem, originally because of some guy who discovered whose name was Nulca. However, that story was scrapped when I decided to nostralicize the language-now it's called n-stem because why not.

If the result of the Nulca stem should be an illegal cluster such as ow, ij, l'l, m'm, n'n, or ŋ'ŋ, it dissimilates to ej, aw, el, om, in and aŋ respectively.

Thus the previously encountered *ɣeta-, *ɣetu-, *ɣetaw- becomes *ūlta-, *ūltu-, *ūltaw-. Basic adjectives take this form, and there are some adjectives that lack a nominal "root" (such as *ewɣu-, *ewɣuj-, *ewwo- green) and, as far as we know, are actually adjectival roots.

Adjectives decline much differently than nouns, as demonstrated below.

Singular Paucal Plural
Nom ewɣu ewɣuj ewfuj
Acc ewɣuŋ ewɣujŋ ewfujŋ
Dat ewɣun ewɣujn ewfujn
Gen ewɣū ewwo ewfo
Loc ewɣūz ewwoz ewfoz
All ewɣūl ewwol ewfol

No morphological comparative or superlative can be reconstructed. Most languages attest some form of the word *gziŋe (greatest amount, most) plus the genitive for the superlative degree. The comparative similarly was *wuzo (more) plus the genitive.


Verbs are formed by adding certain prefixes to the N-stem, derived from basic nouns.

  • *won- (from *wona, an action), meaning "do X" thus *teko (food) > *elko (culinary) > *wonelko (eat)
  • *kuz- (from *kuzi, a recipient), meaning "be X'ed" thus gzelu (strike, wound) > ūllu (striking, wounding) > kuzūllu (be struck)
  • *lēn- (from *lēnu, a being), meaning "be X" thus *ojɣe (tall) > *nelojɣe
  • *ɣuwt- (from *ɣuwte, entitlement), meaning "have X" thus *lota (knowledge) > *w'lta (wise, smart) > *ɣuwtw'lta (understand)
  • *jiwz (from *jiwzu, demand, impetus), meaning "cause OBJ to do X" kawo (life) > aŋwo (alive) > jiwzaŋwo (give birth)


Most likely, Proto Csillan verbs did not conjugate for person or number, however most descendants did develop such a distinction. In Proto Csillan, the pronoun was required to distinguish who does the action. However, verbs do conjugate to number based on how their n-stem adjective declines.


The perfective aspect (single or complete action) is the basic form. The progressive (ongoing or habitual action) aspect was formed by changing the first consonant of the verb's prefix to its lenis/fortis form and adding -z at the end of the verb (note the similarity to the locative case ending, which also comes from the postposition *uz, at, in, on or among.)


The future tense is formed by giving the allative form of the n-stem, and the past tense with the genitive.


The indicative mood is the basic form of the word. The subjunctive (used in counterfactuals, abilitives, and possibly indirect phrases, as well as polite commands) was formed by giving the zero grade of the vowel/diphthong and prefixing *wa- (from *waɣu, chance). The volitional mood (used for desired events, hortatives, and more assertive commands) was formed with open grade of the vowel in the prefix.

Non-Finite Forms[]

Gerunds and Infinitives[]

In order to make a verb into its nominal equivalent, the suffix -suw is added to the verb. Semantically, this filled the role of both a gerund and an infinitive. Adding the voiced suffix -zuw to the progressive stem gave the newly formed noun the meaning "habitual doer of X." Thus wonōka (walk) becomes fonōkazɣu (walker, hiker, nomad, traveler.)


Though normal adjectives were far more common, participles could be used in order to express a more verbal meaning. Two suffixes could be added on to the same stem as the gerund/infinitive, -lko for an active meaning and -nta for a passive meaning. For the progressive aspect, add the suffixes -ɣo and -da, worn down versions of each previous ending respectively.


Proto Csillan/Lexicon