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Shabkiuza is a synthetic language with minimal agreement features. It is notable for its mandatory use of subject pronouns and an extensive system of adpositions, which can optionally raise to preverbal position for emphasis. Distinction is made in discourse between in-group and out-group, and also between intentions of praise and insult. It also employs an optional but robust system of evidentials and modals to indicate the source of the speaker's knowledge, as well as his or her opinions on the information conveyed.

Progress 85%

Name: Shabkiuza

Type: Synthetic

Alignment: Nominative-accusative

Head Direction: Head-initial

Number of genders: 5

Declensions: Yes

Conjugations: Yes

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


Shabkiuza is the name of the High Speech. It is spoken as a first language by the upper classes, and as a second language among a few of the middling, who themselves use the common speech (represented by English within the story.) The highborn are also expected to be fluent in the common speech, as indeed they must in order to interact with the middling.

This language has high prestige, and is carefully maintained by a language academy. They are responsible for maintaining the purity of the language, and removing any influence of the common speech in vocabulary or grammar. However, the two languages share very similar phonological features, and as a result, the high speech can be learned by one of the Middling with very little in the way of a "foreign" accent.

Most notable in the culture of the highborn is the frequent use of praise and insult, which are applied both to the self or others. Praise and insult are applied to pronouns by use of suffixes, and although they are always option (except in certain frozen expressions), it is rare not to hear them in normal speech.

In this setting, class distinction is paramount. Demonstratives, which take the form of prefixes applied to pronouns, indicate not only physical location relative to the speaker, but also group membership. The contrasts are between the in-group and out-group, where both members are of the high, and the high versus all others.

Subtlety and the ability to be ambiguous is prized among the highborn, and this is reflected in the language. A sentence consists of, at minimum, a pronoun and a predicate. All other information, including tense, mood, evidentiality, definiteness, etc., can be added optionally. However, these items are often left out if already supplied by the context, or if the speaker wishes to be truthful while attempting to deceive the listener.



Bilabial Labiode. Dental Alveol. Postalve. Retrofl. Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyn. Epiglot. Glottal


b k g
Fricatives f v s z ʃ ʒ x h
Lateral Fricatives
Lateral Affricates
Nasals m n ŋ
Flaps / taps r
Glides Approxim. j w
Lateral Appr. l
Co-art. approx.


Front Near front Central Near back Back
Close i ɪ u ʊ
Mid e ɛ ə o ɔ
Open a: a


Shabkiuza has relatively free syllable structure, maximally CCVCC. Consonant length is phonemic, and indicated in the orthography by a doubled consonant. (The digraph [hh] is an exception, indicating /x/. The sequence /xx/ does not appear.)

Common complex initials are C + /r/, C + /l/, and /s/ + C (voiced). /z/ + C, /ʃ/ +C, and /ʒ/ + C appear, but rarely.

Syllable finals are usally simpler, with /r/ + plosive and /l/ + plosive the most common. Although /m/ and /n/ are phonemic, /ŋ/ is not; syllable final /n/ assimilates to the point of articulation of the following consonant.

The glides /j/ and /w/ appear only immediately before the vowel.

Words are always stressed on the first syllable of the stem. Any prefixes added to the beginning of the word do not change its stress.

Syllables can be either open or closed. Open syllables do not have a final consonant; closed syllables do.

There are five vowels in open, stressed syllables, /a:/, /e/, /i/, /o/, and /u/. Closed, stressed syllables use /a/, /ɛ/, /ɪ/, /ɔ/, and /ʊ/. Unstressed syllables are typically /ə/, although the actual vowel may be closer to the stressed version, depending on the word and the speaker.


In using the Roman alphabet, Shabkiuza is written using typical, continental values.

  • A
  • B
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • G (always hard G)
  • H
  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • M
  • N
  • O
  • P
  • R
  • S
  • T
  • U
  • V
  • W (represents /w/ only when it is alone in the syllable initial; otherwise represented by [u])
  • X
  • Y
  • Z

There are also several digraphs. These are not treated separately for collation purposes.

  • Ch
  • Sh
  • Hh (to represent /x/)
  • Zh

There are no diacritic marks, but an apostrophe (') is used to separate prefixes ending in a vowel with stems beginning with a vowel. It is also used to separate s'h and z'h when they are not intended to represent the above digraphs. It is not used for ch, since the letter [c] does not appear in any other context, or with [hh], since syllable ending /h/ and syllable beginning /h/ do combine to form the sound indicated by [hh].



The basic sentence structure is SVO. Every sentence minimally consists of a pronoun followed by a verb (or non-verbal predicate.)


The pronoun system in Shabkiuza is particularly important, since every independent clause must begin with a pronoun. Pronouns are inflected for person and number. Pronouns do not change in form, although they do require a prefix when appearing outside of the subject position. These prefixes will be covered in the section entitled Demonstrative Prefixes.

There are three numbers in Shabkiuza. Singular refers to a single individual; dual refers to two individuals, but only when they belong to the same group. (See In Groups and Out Groups, below.) The Dual can also be used in writing to refer to the writer and the reader--this is typically done using ge. The plural is used to refer to more than one individual, whenever the dual is not appropriate.

There are four persons The first person is distinguished between inclusive and exclusive in both the dual and plural. Inclusive we refers to both the speaker and the addressee; the exclusive we specifically excludes the addressee. Such exclusion is not necessarily insulting--for example, a husband might refer to his activities with his wife by using "go," thereby including an individual who may not be present, but excluding the addressee.

The third person is divided into five genders. Masculine and feminine refer only to natural gender except in a few frozen cases (such as in English, where a ship is referred to as "she") or when anthropomorphizing. The inanimate refers both to inorganic things (such as "rock"), and to ideas (such as "truth"). It is also used to refer to verbal nouns. Hha refers to organic, inanimate things such as fruit, wood, or a corpse. Fa refers to animate non-humans, such as plants and animals.

The Academy makes every effort to keep pronoun referents in tune with current knowledge. For example, seashells used to be referred to as sha, but when it was discovered that they are the byproduct of an animal, the correct pronoun was changed to hha.

In general, a change of state can act to remove animacy. A tree is animate; wood is formerly animate; and ashes (the result of burning wood) are inanimate. Borderline cases are decided by the Academy, and must be learned by rote.

Some nouns can refer to a thing without defining its material. For example, a bead can be made out of stone or wood. In these cases, it is typically decided that the change of state is sufficient to remove the latent animacy.

It is a matter of current debate whether viruses, which show aspects of both living and non-living creatures, should be referred to as sha, hha, or fa. Proposals to create a new pronoun specifically for such questionable cases have not been well received.

The third person dual and plural do not make distinctions for gender or animacy. When these distinctions are required, the group members can be spelled out with individual pronouns separated by conjunctions. (See Conjunctions below.) Note that dual and plural referrents are almost always in the same group; when contrasting between in and out groups, they are almost always named by separate pronouns. (This is more convention than grammar.)

The fourth person refers to a place. It is divided from the 3rd person because it takes different verbal morphology. Historically, chu was back-derived from dichu, dechu, and dachu. ("Here, there, yonder.") The verbal morphology was itself a relic of a discarded series of endings which showed verbal agreement for animacy.

It is important to note that the same noun might mean something different when referred to by chu. For example, embagon, "arena," means the physical structure when referred to by sha, but means a location if indicated by chu. For example:

(1) Chu le'embagon granta. "The arena is large." (It is a big place.)

(2) Sha le'embagon granta. "The arena is large." (It is a big building.)

One could imagine a context in which the arena covers a small area, but is a very tall structure.

Singular Dual Plural
1st exclusive eb go bo
inclusive ge be
2nd ma mana mahha
3rd masculine ja sona sohha
feminine zha
inanimate sha
formerly animate hha
animate fa
4th (place) chu

Intransitive Verbs[]

Intransitive verbs in Shabkiuza function much as they do in English. Word order is SV.

  • traba to walk
  • jarba to arrive

appa to go

All regular verbs have a bare form ending in a vowel. There are irregular verbs, and these will be discussed separately. The table below shows the verbal morphology for regular verbs.

Singular Dual Plural
1st -t -ta -tat
2nd -v -ve -vev
3rd -sh -sha -shash
4th -rt -rt -rt

Example Sentences

Eb trabat. "I walk./I am walking."

Zha jarbash. "She arrives./She is arriving."

Ma appav. "You go./You are going."

Non-verbal Predicates[]

Not all predicates are verbal. Any noun or adjective can serve as a predicate. It might be more accurate to say that non-verbal predicates can serve as nouns or adjectives. In fact, the categories "noun" and "adjective" are purely semantic in Shabkiuza, since they are grammatically identical.

  • granta large, big, tall
  • kinid small, short
  • gaja green
  • midian man
  • halian woman
  • forgo fruit
  • kahhal knife

The biggest difference between verbs and non-verbal predicates is that the latter are invariant.

Eb granta. "I am tall." Zha halian. "She is a woman."

Mahha kinid. "You all are short."

Chu granta. "This place is big."

Hha forgo. "It is a fruit." Some adjectives have intransitive verbal equivalents, which carry the meaning "to become x." Words ending in a vowel lose that vowel, double the final consonant and add a; words ending in a consonant double that consonant and add a.

  • grantta (v.) - to enlargen, grow
  • gajja (v.) - to become green
  • forggo (v.) - to bear fruit
  • kinidda (v.) - to become smaller, shrink
  • midianna (v.) - to mature into a man, to grow manly
  • halianna (v.) - to mature into a woman, to become womanly

Note that this is productive only for intransitive verbs. For example, there is no word *kahhalla, with a meaning of "to cut" or "to knife" someone. That verb is gamma. As such, the bulk of intransitive verbs formed in this way are formed from adjectives, not nouns. Midian and halian are exceptions, used both literally to discuss puberty, and figuratively for rites of passage. The use of "fruit" as an intransitive verb is also done in English.

The Academy typically does not list verbs formed in this way in the dictionary unless their meaning is not readily apparent from the root word. (For our purposes, we will list them where a distinct Engilsh word exists, as an aid to translation.)

Note the pairs below.

Eb granta. "I am tall."

Eb granttat. "I am growing."

Ja midian. "He is a man."

Ja midiannash. "He is becoming a man."

A note on plurality: A bare noun can be singular, dual, or plural. To specify which, a pronoun is used. This construction will be shown later. Most common, however, a bare noun means singular unless otherwise specified by the context.

A note on definiteness: A bare noun can either be definite or indefinite. Definiteness is almost always indicated by the context. There are mechanisms to specify definiteness, for the purpose of contrast ("I don't just want a fruit, I want the fruit!") or disambiguation. This construction will be discussed in a later section.

Transitive Verbs[]

Sample Verbs:

  • gamma - to cut
  • henna - to do
  • vesha - to want
  • pere - to bake
  • mankra - to eat
  • hronto - to fight

The direct object of a transitive verb is indicated with the direct object marker tal. The word tal can function either as a preposition or as a prefix, depending on its position in the sentence. It is part of a whole class of case markers that function in the same way. For the remainder of this grammar, we will refer to this class as markers.

Note the sample sentences below.

Eb gammat tal forgo. "I am cutting the fruit."

Ma veshav tal kahhal. "You want the knife."

Zha mankra tal forgo. "She is eating the fruit."

Ge hrontota tal midian. "We two are fighting the man."

In these cases, the marker functions as a prepositional phrase. More specifically, tal indicates in what way the object is related to the verb. Only the subject position can have a bare noun without a marker. Any other type of object must be indicated by a marker.

In this position, the marker receives full stress. If the following syllable is also stressed, there will often be a brief pause before the next word is pronounced, so that both can be given full weight.

The marker can optionally raise to prefix to the verb. In this position, it does not have stress. Moreover, the final consonant will sometimes change to match the first letter of the verb.

Eb talgammat forgo. "I am cutting the fruit." (It is the fruit I am cutting.)

Ma talveshav kahhal. "You want the knife." (It is the knife you want.)

Ge tahhrontota midian."We two are fighting the man." (It is the man we two are fighting.)

tal + h = tahh

tal + r = tarr

Note the translations. When the marker is prefixed to the verb, the associated object (which must immediately follow the verb) gains emphasis. This construction is often used when the object is an answer to a question. ("What are you cutting? It is the fruit I am cutting.)

Other Marker Phrases[]

Marker phrases are part of a broad category, with the prepositional phrases used in English representing only a small part. In general, and modification of the verb other than person, number, negation, questions, or past vs. non-past tense is mediated by a marker phrase. Examples include:

  • Progressive, continuative, habitual moods
  • Commands
  • Adverbs
  • Time
  • Direct and indirect objects
  • Prepositional phrases

Markers are a closed class, but a large one. As the Academy regularized the language, many markers that duplicated the meaning of other, more popular markers were declared archaic, and are no longer used. In recent years, some have been resurrected with alternative meanings to fill newfound semantic gaps. As a result, it can be difficult to read archaic texts, since the markers used may have drifted radically in meaning.

The list below gives some of the markers which closely resemble prepositions in English. Other markers, such as those that have a verbal or adverbial function, will be presented in later sections.

  • vek - with (an instrument)
  • mal - with (a person)
  • enda - at (a time)
  • tig - in, inside (a place or thing)
  • fana - outside of
  • por - carrying, wearing
  • himi - into (movement inside)
  • pob - out of (movement to the outside)
  • ho - to (movement to a place)
  • he - to (transfer of something to a person, indirect object)
  • nor - from (movement from a place)
  • nera - from (from a person, opposite of he)
  • nech - by (meaning through the action of someone or something, not location)
  • chan - movement or passage through a place

Eb gammat tal midian vek kahhal. "I cut the man with a knife."

Eb gammat tal midian tig embagon. "I cut the man in the arena."

bleka - to give

Eb blekat tal kahhal he midian. "I give the knife to the man."

Eb trabat por kahhal nor embagon. "I walk carrying a knife out of the arena."

The actual order of the marker phrases does not matter, although there are more common and less common arrangements. Direct and indirect objects tend to be closer to the verb than other marker phrases. Whenever there is movement from a place to a place, or transfer of something from someone to someone else, the from almost always comes before the to. Alternate orders are permissible, however, and often found in song or poetry in order to maintain meter.

In all of these cases, it is possible to prefix a marker to the verb in order to emphasize that object. Only one such marker can be prefixed at a time.

Eb talgammat midian vek kahhal. "It was the man whom I cut with a knife."

Eb vekgammat kahhal tal midian. "It was with a knife that I cut the man."

Note that when a marker is prefixed to the verb, the object must immediately follow the verb.

There is no theoretical upper limit to the number of marker phrases that a verb can take. In practice, if the sentence starts getting too long, it will be rephrased into multiple sentences for easier comprehension.

Subordinate Clauses[]

Subordinate clauses are extensively used in Shabkiuza, much more so than in English. They are used when a noun serves as the subject of the sentence and when an adjective modifies a noun. They are also used for noun and adverbial clauses.

Noun subjects[]

In order to use a noun in subject position, it must be used in a relative clause attached to a pronoun.

Ja granta. "He is tall."

Ja lemidian granta. "The man is tall." (Literally, "He that is a man is tall.")

Note the prefix le that appears in front of the word for man, midian. This is the marker for the subject position; however, it only ever appears as a prefix. In a dependent clause, the prefixed pronoun indicates which element in the dependent clause refers to the element it modifies.

Other Clause Modifiers[]

Here is another example:

"The man who I cut is tall."

In this case, who is part of the dependent clause who I cut, or in typical SVO word order, I cut who. The "missing" piece is the direct object. So in Shabkiuza, the missing element would be indicated by raising the direct object marker tal to prefix to the verb in the dependent clause.

Ja lemidian a eb talgammat, granta.

Note the extra particle a. This particle appears whenever the missing element is not the subject, to divide the subordinate clause from the rest of the sentence. Also, it is customary to use a comma to separate long subjects from the predicate, and this also models the prosody of the language.

Here are some more examples:

Hha leforgo legaja, kinid. "The green fruit is small."

Sha lekahhal a deb veggammat tal forgo, gaja. "The knife with which I cut the fruit is green." (eb becomes deb in non-initial position; see the section on Demonstratives)

Ja lemidian letrabash chan embagon, gammash tal forgo vek kahhal. "The man who is walking through the arena cuts the fruit with a knife."

Note from the above examples that verbs in dependent clauses are still conjugated. When the subject is missing, it takes its morphology from the person and number of the subject to which it refers. Also, notice that verbs in subordinate clauses can take other marker phrases as in an independent clause.

Zha appash ho embagon. "She goes to the arena."

Chu le'embagon a zha ho'appash, granta. "The arena to which she goes is big."

Note that apostrophes separate the elements in le'embagon and ho'appash. This indicates that the vowels are to be pronounced in hiatus, i.e., separately. Although not strictly necessary in these cases, if the marker ended in an i or u, then the orthography would be ambiguous between the hiatus and diphthongs.

Noun Clause[]

Noun clauses are simple in Shabkiuza. They simply use a pronoun to which a subordinate clause attaches as normal.

Ja letrabash chan embagon, midian. "Whoever walks through the arena is a man."


Tense is remarkably straightforward in Shabkiuza. It is distinguished only between past and non-past. The bare form of the verb plus agreement results in the non-past, as we have seen until now. Likewise, non-verbal predicates such as nouns and adjectives are in the non-past


Past tense on verbs is indicated by the infix -na-. This infix appears after the verb root, before the aggreement ending.


Eb trabat. "I am walking."

Eb trabanat. "I was walking."

Ja lemidian appash chan embagon. "The man is walking through the arena."

Ja lemidian appanash chan embagon. "The man was walking through the arena."

Nouns and Adjectives[]

The situation is slightly more complicated with non-verbal predicates. These do not take morphology, and thus cannot show tense. Tense appears on a helping verb that follows the predicate, an.

Hha leforgo gaja. "The fruit is green."

Hha leforgo gaja annash. "The fruit was green."

Eb gammaza. "I am a soldier."

Eb gammaza annat. "I was a soldier."

Note that the helping verb takes not only the past tense ending -na-, but also receives person and number agreement.

An is regular in the past tense. It has irregular forms in the present, which we will see in the next section.

Verbal Adjective[]

The verbal adjective is formed by adding -d to the verb stem. The resulting meaning is a predicate describing the action of the verb in a state of completion.

mankra - to eat

mankrad - eaten

appa - to go

appad - gone

Note that the verbal adjective can take the same types of objects that it could as a full verb. The result of this is that a verbal adjective based on a transitive verb modifies it differently than adjectives

Hha leforgo talmankrad, gaja. "The eaten fruit is green."

Since the fruit is receiving the action of eating, it is actually in the object position, and requires the object marker. However, intransitive verbs use le- as normal.

Ja lemidian le'appad, granta annash. "The gone man (the man who is gone) was tall."

Other uses of an[]

{C}The helping verb an- is essentially a copula. It has two main uses--to moderate between a subject and a marker phrase without an intervening verb, or to show agreement and tense morphology on a lexical item that cannot be conjugated.

Conjugation in the Present Tense[]

In the present tense, an- is conjugated irregularly in the 2nd and 4th persons. In the second person, the -e- is added to break up the -nv- cluster, which is otherwise not permissible. Likewise, -nrt reduces to -nt.

Singular Dual Plural
1st ant anta antat
2nd anev aneve anevev
3rd ansh ansha anshash
4th art art art

Subject-Object Phrases[]

Sometimes, we want to connect a subject directly to a marker phrase. We do this by using an as the helping verb.

Eb ant tig embagon. "I am in the arena."

Hha leforgo ansh nera halian. "The fruit is from the woman."

This construction is most important to express the English verb "to have." There is no verb in Shabkiuza meaning "to have." Instead, an is used along with the marker por. Typically, this marker means "carrying" or "wearing", in reference to clothes or something worn about the person. When used with an, it means "to have."

Ja lemidian ansh por kahhal. "The man has a knife."

In a subordinate clause, it functions the same as any other verb.

Hha leforgo a deb porant, gaja. "The fruit that I have is green."

The above sentence is one way to indicate possession. There is another, more common way, which will be discussed in the section on possessives.

Post Predicate Position[]

An can also appear in post-predicate position. We have already seen one use of this position, in adding past tense morphology to nouns and adjectives. It can also appear in the present tense. When this happens, it indicates emphasis on that predicate.

Eb midian. "I am a man."

Eb midian ant. "I am a man."

This verb can also be used with other verbs. When this happens, all verbal morphology is stripped from the verb, and moves to an. If the final vowel of the verb is a, then the final vowel is stripped from the verb. Regardless, the verb is written, followed by an apostrophe and an, as one word. The stress moves from the verb as well, falling on an. (Stress is indicated below with bold type.)

Eb gammat tal forgo. "I am cutting the fruit."

Eb gamm'ant tal forgo. "I am cutting the fruit."

Zha hrontonash tal midian. "She was fighting the man."

Zha hronto'annash tal midian. "She was fighting the man."

It is also possible to topicalize the past tense marker using this construction. This is done by stressing the verb as normal, but also the na marker attached to an.

Zha hronto'annash tal midian. "She was fighting the man. (but isn't anymore)"

Past tense can also be emphasized in another way, as we will learn in the forthcoming section.

Other Tenses Not Indicated By Morphology[]

Although the tense system is divided between past and non-past, it is certainly possible to specify whether an action is completed or still in progress, or if it happens in the present or future. These meanings, as well as many other moods and aspects, are indicated by marker phrases.

Past and Future[]

The marker used to introduce a time is enda. It can be used for telling time (e.g., "at noon") or for introducing a day or month (e.g., "on Tuesday", "in December").

Moreover, it is used to introduce two special objects, go and cha. They are difficult to translate directly into English, but go refers to the future and cha to the past. Enda go is used to indicate that the action of the predicate takes place in the future, and enda cha, in the past.

Eb appat ho joku. "I am going home."

Eb appat ho joku enda go. "I will go home."

It is important to note that enda go is not required to give the meaning of future; it simply disambiguates. Of the following sentences, only the last is ungrammatical.

Eb appat enda hiransha. I am going tomorrow.

Eb appat enda dansha. I am going today.

Eb appat enda doga. I am going now.

Eb appanat enda baransha. I went yesterday.

(*)Eb appat enda baransha. *I am going yesterday.

When paired with one of the time words shown above, enda go is not used. It is meant simply to specify future time.

By the same token, enda cha is not used to add an additional level of past tense, but rather to emphasize the tense that is already there. In actuality, it serves to emphasize a completed, simple past tense, as opposed to the progressive meaning.

Eb appanat ho joku enda cha. "I went home."

Prefixing the marker adds even greater emphasis to the past tense nature. This construction would only really be used if the speaker had not been heard properly, and wanted to put special emphasis.

Eb end'appanat cha ho joku. "I WENT home."


The progressive is formed with the marker phrase go tantos. This phrase does double duty, serving as both the progressive marker and the meaning "often."

Eb appat ho joku go tantos. "I am going home." / "I go home often."

Eb appanat ho joku go tantos. "I was going home." / "I went home often."

In the non-past, these two meanings are only distinguishable from context. In the past, they can be distingushed by also using enda cha. The enda cha, as noted above, forces a simple past reading. Go tantos can only contribute the habitual meaning, and not the progressive.

Eb appanat ho joku enda cha go tantos. "I went home often."


In English, the perfect tense is constructed with "to have" plus the past participle. In Shabkiuza, the an por construction takes the place of "to have," and the verbal adjective takes the place of the past participle.

Eb mankrat. "I eat / I am eating."

Eb ant por mankrad. "I have eaten."

Eb porant mankrad. "I have eaten." (As opposed to other activities.)

Eb mankrat tal forgo. "I am eating fruit."

Eb ant por mankrad tal forgo. "I have eaten fruit. / I have eaten the fruit."

When the verbal adjective takes an object, that marker can raise to prefix either to the main verb, or to the verbal adjective.

Eb talant por mankrad forgo. "I have eaten the fruit."

Eb ant por talmankrad forgo. "I have eaten the fruit."

It is possible to raise both markers to their nearest verb. The result is to topicalize both elements. For example, if asked "You did what to what?", this would be a suitable reply.

Eb porant talmankrad forgo. "I have eaten the fruit."

The pluperfect is created by setting an in the past tense.

Eb annat por trabad. "I had walked."

This can also be made progressive. Go tantos must appear after the verbal adjective.

Eb annat por trabad 'go tantos. "I had been walking."

(*)Eb annat' 'go tantos' por trabad'. "I was having walked." (Ungrammatical)

The future perfect is made with enda go. This phrase must go immediately after an.

Eb ant enda go por trabad. "I will have walked."

And of course, you can also make a future perfect progressive.

Eb ant enda go por trabad go tantos. "I will have been walking."

Possibility: Can, be able to[]

The English word "can" or phrase "be able to" is translated using an + amu + predicate.

Hha leforgo ansh amu gaja. "Fruit can be green."

When applying to a verb, the bare form of the verb is used.

Sha lekahhal l'asir, ansh amu gamma. "A sharp knife can cut."

The English suffix "-able" can also be translated by amu. It precedes the verbal adjective.

tuavva - to agree

Eb tuavvat. I agree

Ja ansh amu tuavvad. "He is agreeable."

If the bare form of the verb were used instead, the meaning would change.

Ja ansh amu tuavva. "He can agree."

Transitive verbs require the prefix tal in front of the verbal adjective.

Hha leforgo ansh amu talgammad. "The fruit is cuttable."

Passive Voice[]

The passive voice is formed using tal plus the verbal adjective.

Eb mankrat tal forgo. "I eat fruit."

Hha leforgo talmankrad. "The fruit is eaten."

In the past tense, the helping verb an carries tense and agreement. The agreement matches the subject of the predicate.

Hha leforgo talmankrad annash. "The fruit was eaten."

To specify the agent of the action, the marker nech is used.

Hha leforgo talmankrad annash nech deb. "The fruit was eaten by me."


Possession can be indicated in one of two ways: through a possessive pronoun, or by a genitive phrase.

Possessive pronouns are formed by prefixing i- to a pronoun. For eb, the irregular ideb is used.

Sha lekahhal: the knife

Sha lekahhal ideb: my knife

Alternative, one can use the genitive marker i along with a noun.

Sha lekahhal i midian. The man's knife

It is possible to topicalize the possessive only when it appears in non subject position.

Ja gammanash tal iforgo halian. "He cut the woman's fruit."

It is also possible to separate the possessive pronoun in this case.

Ja gammanash tal iforgo deb. "He cut my fruit."


In Shabkiuza, quantification is done by means of a quantifier followed by a genitive phrase. Plural quantifiers take a plural pronoun.

Sohha letantos i midian granta. Many men are tall.

Singular quantifiers, such as niewe "any" take a singular pronoun. The animacy of the pronoun comes, not from the quantifier, but from the object of the genitive phrase.

Sha leniewe i kahhal asir. "Any knife is sharp."

Hha leniewe i forgo ansh amu gaja. "Any fruit can be green."


Numbers can be different from other quantifiers. Take for example the following sentences:

Ja lemidian aut apa, granta. "One man is tall."

Ja l'apa i midian granta. "One of the men is tall."

In the first, we have a single, definite man. This is indicated by using the marker au(t). (The t appears before numbers that start with a vowel.) In the second, "one" is being applied to a subset of many men.

In the first, the numeral is used for a count. In the second, it is used as a quantifier.

Sonna le midian aut abi gammanasha tal forgo. "The two men cut the fruit."

Sonna l'abi i midian gammanasha tal forgo. "Two of the men cut the fruit."

Other quantifiers include osa "more" and ore "most". These words are used only as quantifiers, and not as comparatives or superlatives. Comparative forms are shown in the next section.


The comparative is formed using os ("more") and una ("than"). These take the form of markers, not the quantifiers used above.

This knife is sharper than that one/knife (is)

Disha lekahhal ansh os asir una desha (lekahhal) (ansh).

For the superlative, we have or.

Sha lekahhal i'ore, asir. Disha lekahhal ansh or asir. "Most knives are sharp. This knife is the sharpest."

For equivalence, use lil and fral.

This knife is as sharp as that one/knife (is).

Disha lekahhal ansh lil asir fral desha (lekahhal) (ansh).

The word lil is also used to mean "so." Note that the word "that" is translated by a, and that the pronoun must take the object form.

The knife is so sharp that it cut the fruit easily.

Sha lekahhal ansh lil asir a disha gammanash tal forgo go sini.


Word Formation[]

Shabkiuza has a large number of compound verbs. These typically begin as separate verbs conjoined with mara.

Eb appanat mara nornanat tal midian. "I went and met the man."

Eb appranormanat tal midian. "I went and met the man."

appranorma: to go meet

This is more of a historical process than an currently productive one. The forms of the compounds are not formed regularly, and sometimes the resulting verb has driften in meaning from its component parts. For example ammu, "to keep", and wacha, "to count" together form amrawacha, meaning "to perform the work of an accountant." (c.f. amrawachazno, "the accounting profession" and amrawachaza, "an accountant.")

In words made in this way, stress always falls on the first syllable of both verbal components.

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