The Pencil Language
Type Agglutinative
Alignment Nominative-Accusative
Head direction Normally head-final, also head-initial in certain circumstances
Tonal No
Declensions Yes
Conjugations Yes
Genders No
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 ICantEdit

The Pencil Language, sometimes referred to as Awefian (natively wakabewafow or Awefnawop ewafow) and sometimes abbreviated as TPL, was the lingua franca of Awefian regions of space, and, especially after the discovery of the faster-than-light travel in -363 LPT, the language spoken in the regions under the control of the Empire of Yagēb.

Classification and Dialects[]

The Pencil Language has extremely strong agglutinative traits (with traces of polysynthesis), and uses the nominative-accusative alignment. The Pencil Language is strictly head-final, although it handles adjectives derived from verbs very differently.


TPL has a relatively small consonant inventory, at just 13 phonemic consonants and 5 additional allophones.


Bilabial Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal n
Plosive p t <d> k

(g) <g>

(ʔ) <'>
Fricative ɸ <f>

β ~ b <b>

s ʃ <c> ʝ ~ j <y> x <h>

ɣ ~ w <w/g>

Tap/flap ɾ <r>
Approximant (j) (w)
Lateral app. l

/w/ used to be


Front Back
Close i u ~ ɯ
Near-close ɛ ɛː ɑ ~ ɒ ɑː ~ ɒ
Open a


The syllable structure is (C)(C)V(C)(C)(C). The only vowel that can come word-finally is /a/.

Allowed Consonant Clusters[]

Writing System[]

By -300 LPT, two main scripts for writing The Pencil Language emerged: ewowapuluw ("that which is straight"), the standard writing system without curves, and ewocusuluw ("that which stacks itself"), the main cursive form.



Nouns have no gender. Only the definite article yeb is marked. Nouns decline according to two numbers: singular and plural, and seven cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, locative, instrumental, and benefactive.

  • The nominative case is optionally used to mark the subject, and always used in copular constructions or with the copula fen.
  • The accusative case is optionally used to mark the object, and always used in copular constructions or with the copula fen. It is always used to mark the indirect object if there is one.
  • The genitive case is used like the English 's or of.
  • The dative case is used like the English for or sometimes to (in regards to, for the sake of).
  • The locative case is used in conjunction with postpositions indicating location or direction of movement.
  • The instrumental case marks the thing with which one is performing an action.
  • The benefactive case is mostly obselete, although it is in archaic TPL used to mark the indirect object or of certain verbs like adaw "to give" and the direct objects of other ones like waf "to say/tell/talk/speak".

Noun Inflectors[]

Here are the noun inflections when a word ends with a consonant, with bayak ("computer") as an example:

bayak - "computer" Singular Plural
Definite Indefinite Definite Indefinite
Nominative yeb bayak-ek bayak-ek yeb bayak-na-wek bayak-na-wek
Accusative yeb bayak-afef bayak-afef yeb bayak-na-fef bayak-na-fef
Genitive/Locative* yeb bayak-op bayak-op yeb bayak-na-wop bayak-na-wop
Instrumental yeb bayak-ol bayak-ol yeb bayak-na-wol bayak-na-wol
Dative yeb bayak-ef bayak-ef yeb bayak-na-w/bef** bayak-na-w/bef**
Benefactive yeb bayak-of bayak-of yeb bayak-na-wof bayak-na-wof

Here are how cases behave when a word ends with a vowel, with dca ("planet") as an example:

dca - "planet" Singular Plural
Definite Indefinite Definite Indefinite
Nominative yeb dca-wek dca-wek yeb dca-na-wek dca-na-wek
Accusative yeb dca-fef dca-fef yeb dca-na-fef dca-na-fef
Genitive/Locative* yeb dca-wop dca-wop yeb dca-na-wop dca-na-wop
Instrumental yeb dca-wol dca-wol yeb dca-na-wol dca-na-wol
Dative yeb dca-wef dca-wef yeb dca-na-w/bef** dca-na-w/bef**
Benefactive yeb dca-wof dca-wof yeb dca-na-wof dca-na-wof

*The genitive and locative cases are distinguished by the inflected noun's position relative to the head. If the noun comes before the head, the case is genitive, and if the noun comes after the head, the case is locative.

**The ending -bef, in contrast to -wef, is considerably more archaic.

The accusative case -(a)fef has two special contracted forms: -pfef and -pfē-. The former occurs after VC[+labial], and the latter occurs as -VC-afef-e, where V and C are any vowel and consonant respectively.


Pronouns take the same case marking as other nouns.

These are the set of the main pronouns:

Singular Plural
1p ad adna
2p ab abna
3p feab feabna

There is no distinction in gender in the language.

These are the set of the main interrogative pronouns:

Interrogative pronouns
who what when where why how how much/many which
lod bed fefn cud cefn yof kleb baf

Interrogative pronouns, if present in a sentence, are always placed at the end (with the exception of kleb and baf, which either directly proceed or follow the words they are describing). With the interrogative pronouns, it is considered incorrect to use them with joiners. For example, pag lod (lit. work who), meaning "who works", would be considered correct, while *lodopag would not. Note that if there are interrogative pronouns in a sentence, the interrogative particle fep is absent.

The negative interrogative pronouns are formed by adding a- to the beginning of the interrogative pronouns. TPL does not have double negation.

These are the set of the main indefinite pronouns. Generally, they are formed by appending -(a)n to the end of the corresponding interrogative pronoun (with the exception of abk).

Indefinite pronouns
who what when where why how how much/many which
lodn/abk bedn/abk fefnan cudn cefnan yofn klebn bafn
someone something at some time somewhere for some reason somehow some amount some kind of, any one of, someone of

There is a special 3rd person pronoun, abk, which roughly corresponds to English "someone" or "something".


Verbs conjugate according to two tenses: past and future (present tense is default unmarked); five moods: indicative, imperative, conditional, potential, and jussive; and two voices: active and passive.

Here is a table of inflected verb forms, with the default present tense verb kan ("see") as an example:

kan - "see"

(present tense)

Past tense Future tense
Active Passive Active Passive
Patient stated Patient not stated Agent stated Agent not stated Patient stated Patient not stated Agent stated Agent not stated
Indicative do-kan-∅ do-kan-∅-uw do-kan-∅-ow do-kan-∅-ow-uw da-kan-∅ da-kan-∅-uw da-kan-∅-ow da-kan-∅-ow-uw
Imperative wa-do-kan wa-do-kan-uw wa-do-kan-ow wa-do-kan-ow-uw wa-da-kan wa-da-kan-uw wa-da-kan-ow wa-da-kan-ow-uw
Conditional do-kan-uc- do-kan-uw-uc- do-kan-ow-uc- do-kan-ow-uw-uc- da-kan-uc- da-kan-uw-uc- da-kan-ow-uc- da-kan-ow-uw-uc-
Potential do-kan-an do-kan-an-uw do-kan-an-ow do-kan-an-ow-uw da-kan-an da-kan-an-uw da-kan-an-ow da-kan-an-ow-uw
Jussive do-kan-c do-kan-∅-c do-kan-∅-ow-c do-kan-∅-ow-uw-c da-kan-∅-c da-kan-∅-uw-c da-kan-∅-ow-c da-kan-∅-ow-uw-c
  • The indicative mood is unmarked; it used to refer to statements of fact.
  • The imperative mood is used to signal commands and requests, and can sometimes be equivalent to "should", "must", or "have".
  • The conditional mood establishes a causal relationship between one event which is not certain to (have) happen(ed) and its effect.
  • The potential mood is used to express the capability of performing an action.
  • The jussive mood in function is similar to the imperative, although it is not used for direct commands (i.e. "Do [something]!"). The imperative and jussive can be combined to emphasize the urgency of an action.

All the moods can be compounded onto each other. For example, wa-kan-an-c-uw, conjugated for the imperative and potential mood, would mean "[noun] should be able to see", or, going with a slightly cumbersome more literal translation, "be able to see!".


TPL has two special "joiners", -e- and -o-, which join together a noun and a verb. Both of them can take on a variety of meanings depending on the context and their role in the sentence.

-e- joiner[]

The joiner -e- generally refers to a habitual action carried out many times, and is often used to express relative clauses (glossed as REL). For example, prowekanuw (thing-REL-see-NSPC) would mean "a thing that sees".

In more formal and high-style TPL, adjectives are almost never placed before nouns, and are instead glued to the noun via the -e- joiner and the -uluw reflexive ending (in certain cases, the adjective is detached from the noun, but retains the joiner and the reflexive suffix). This applies even to numerals. For example, kefnawebaduluw would mean "the four creatures" (without case marking). Occasionally, the form -ewo-, combining both joiners, can be used (giving kefnawewobaduluw). The -ewo- joiner plus the -uluw suffix is usually used to join adjectives with nouns in the past or future tense. For example, payapkefolakop hōnak'ekewodokor'ekuluw "The Industrial Revolution was disastrous", where -ewodokor'ekuluw would mean "was disastrous".

This appending of adjectives can create theoretically infinitely long words, although at a certain point the conjunction siy ("and") will be used to separate the word, or the various adjectives will be detached from the noun. For example, proweyececubeskopewopubewodeduluw ("a good old real early red thing") can be broken up into proweyececubeskopuluw (siy) ewopubewodeduluw. Note that the -uluw ending is suffixed to both of the words.

-o- joiner[]

The -o- joiner refers more to causality. -o- is very often used to denote an action that was completed or done a single time (similar to a perfective aspect). However, the -o- joiner can be used to express an action carried out at the present moment, but not necessarily implying habituality as the -e- joiner would.

When using the -o- joiner, the noun usually does not take case marking. For example, "I do not understand" would be adowapgon (1sg-o-NEG-understand), and not *adekowapgon (1sg-NOM-o-NEG-understand). The only time this is not adhered to is when either the verbs dafen or dofen are used (since they are technically copulas).

When the -o- joiner is used, case is optional for the object (if the object is a pronoun, it is usually necessary), and never used for the subject (except in copular constructions with the verb fen). For example, *adekokan kefafef ("I see the person") is not considered correct, while adokan kefafef/kef is.

The demonstratives yob and yoy cannot be used with the -o- joiner, although they can be used with the combined -ewo- joiners.

Passive Voice[]

The passive voice is expressed via the suffix -ow. The agent of the clause (the noun after the -ow) can take the accusative/instrumental case or no case marking at all. If an agent is not mentioned or implied in the discourse, the suffix -uw can be added. For example, adodokanowuw ("I was seen"), while adodokanow ("[it, they, he, she, something etc.] saw me").

-uw Suffix[]

This suffix has multiple meanings depending on context. Usually, it is used to denote the absence of an argument in a clause (with a few caveats). It is not used with verbs that are intransitive. For example, adek pag / adopag ("I work", 1sg-NOM work / 1sg-o-work) does not use the -uw suffix, despite the absence of any other argument. However, adek kanuw / adokanuw ("I see", 1sg-NOM see-uw / 1sg-o-see-uw) does, because there is an implied argument that is missing.

The -uw suffix is not used if there is a subordinate clause that follows the verb. For example, adodowapgil feabnawek ... ("I did not know that they ..." 1sg-o-PST-NEG-know 3pl-NOM). If a subordinate clause or word is implied through context and not stated, the -uw suffix still does not appear. Thus, adowapgil would roughly translate as "I do not know (that/this/that...)". Adding the -uw suffix would imply a more general idea, so adowapgiluw would roughly mean "I don't know (anything)". Essentially, the use of -uw with the negative affix -ap- implies meanings similar to "nothing" or "nobody" in English.


By the time of the modern language the original reflexive suffix -ul had been conflated with the suffix -uluw which was originally used only for adjectival constructions. This led to the former being replaced by the latter. For example, ab-o-kan-uluw "you see yourself" 2sg-o-see-REFL.

Verb Nominalization[]

Verbs or entire verb phrases can be turned into nouns via the use of the nominalizers -ak/-af (although -ak is often preferred).

To illustrate, the construction "when/during (...)", using the word desiy, combines the entire following noun and verb phrase with the -o- joiner, with one of the nominalizers suffixed onto the resulting word. For example, desiy spacodofenuluwak (when day-IND-PST-COP-REFL-NMLZ) would mean "when it was [still] day", with the word spacodofenuluw meaning "it was day".

Sometimes, the phrase following the conjunction hac "because" is nominalized.


Although the suffix -na is generally reserved for nouns and is used to mark plural number, it can be appended to the verb along with -uw to form the suffix -uwna, which adds a reciprocal meaning to the verb. There needs to be at least 2 arguments or at least one plural argument. For example, feabnawodobuwna (3pl-IND-fight-RECP) would mean "they fight (each other)".

-uco- Verb Construction[]

Regarding the conditional mood, there is a specific construction used to express it. The cause ("if...") is expressed with a noun and verb with a joiner inbetween, and the effect ("then...") is appended to the verb via -uco-. For example, adodawapayuwucodapaycef ab would mean "if I don't do anything, you will die" (1sg-o-FUT-NEG-do-uw-COND-o-FUT-die 2sg).


The Pencil Language utilizes a copula in certain constructions. To express equivalence of two nouns [noun] is [noun], nouns take person marking and there is no copula. For example "it is a creature" would be feabek kepfef (creature-ACC 3sg-NOM). However, in negative utterances, the copula is necessary while the -o- joiner is not. For example, "it is not a creature" would be feabek apfen kepfef or feabekowapfen kepfef.

The copula may be optionally used to express "there is...". For example, "there is a computer" may be expressed as simply coc/cac bayak (here/there computer) or bayako/efenuluw (computer-o/e-COP-REFL-uw). To express the past tense and future tense, the -o- construction is necessary. The past tense and future tense prefixes do- and da- are placed after the -o- joiner before fen.


In the Pencil Language, adjectives generally do not take person marking, except in the very archaic language such as on historical artifacts such as the Eyofuw inscription, where adjective agreement features prominently. Adjectives can either stand alone without additional marking (the "base" adjectives) or have the optional -e- joiner and -uluw suffix appended to it (the "extended" adjectives). This can lead to there being the base adjective yec "good" and the extended one eyeculuw, which have functionally the same meaning (although the latter is preferred in more formal writing).

In archaic TPL, the adjective agreement suffixes were:

Nominative Accusative Oblique (for all other cases)
yecek yecaf yecef

As The Pencil Language is generally head-final, base adjectives come before the thing they're describing, except for the extended adjectives,which are derived using the e/o-[verb]-uluw construction and glued to nouns via the relativizer. For example, to get an adjective like "countless", you take the word for "count" (paholk), negate the word using a(p)-, (producing "apaholk"; "not count"), switch it to passive voice using -owuw (producing "apaholkowuw"; "not counted"), glue it to the head via -e(w)- (producing "ewapaholkowuw"; "which is not counted"), and finally add -(a)n to it to signify that the action cannot be done (producing "ewapaholknowuw"; "which cannot be counted"). Although the process is relatively complex, the system is extremely flexible. Due to this, this is also a useful derivational tool.

Comparative Affixes[]

There are two prefixes that show comparativity:

Yi(w)- = comparative marker

Yo(y)- = superlative marker

If you were to say something like "i am better than you", you say "yiyecosga ab ad" (COMP-good-LAT 2sg 1sg), literally meaning "I am better to you".

[COMP/SUP]-[adjective]-osga [2] [1]

For superlatives, the same construction is used, except -uw is suffixed to yo[word]osga, and only one noun is used.

Note that if one were to say simply "better things", the adjective has to be affixed onto the noun using the -e- joiner (but the -uluw suffix will be absent). The translation would be prownaweyiyecosgawuw thing-PL=REL-COMP-good-than-NSPC.

None of the words that are compared with each other get any person marking.


The tag-question particle, fep, comes at the end of the clause to signify that the clause is a question. When interrogative pronouns are in a clause, fep is not used. For example, pag lod "who [is] work[ing]" (work who) would be correct, and not *pag lod fep.

Time Expressions[]

Time expressions in TPL are relatively simple. The postposition kop (used with nouns in the nominative) roughly corresponds to "for". For example, kwefref kop (short_time for) would mean "for a short time". In some cases, where English does not use a preposition, kop is used as well. For example, yob syob kop (this instance for) would mean "this time" or "in this time".

The postposition payda means "from/since [some moment]", and the postposition payd means "after [some moment]" or "in" (as in "in five minutes").


The language has a general SVO word order, with other word orders being exceedingly rare if case markers are not deliberately used. The reason for this strict order, despite the extensive case system, is that the joiners plus the passive voice markers are extensively used, oftentimes significantly reducing the scope of case. This leaves the main cases in use involving indirect objects and copular constructions, or in other special cases.

Example text[]

The Odokanekuluw, a poem wafeswefuluw from the Empire of Yagēb, circa -310 LPT

Cagaknawodofenekuluw fek .

The stars have always greatly existed,


Odopaydedek frobop kop bosōp fek .

Shining forever and ever in the void,

IND-PST-shine-AUG void-LOC in always EMPH

Bokakeswefekuluwodokanow kwōwop kop .

[And I] have seen [their] great dance across space-time.

move-NMLZ-REL-variegated-AUG-REFL-IND-PST-see-PASS spacetime-LOC in

Obokek siy owapbokek fek .

Moving yet unmoving,

IND-move-AUG and IND-NEG-move-AUG EMPH

Siy opaydedek bosōp fek .

Yet forever shining greatly,

and IND-shine-AUG always EMPH

Okanek awefnawafef fek .

[The stars] watch over the Awefians.


Okanek wucekewakfawekuluwafef .

Watching the great sky white [with starlight],

IND-watch-AUG sky-AUG-REL-white-AUG-REFL-ACC

Opalekek lakekafef .

Controlling [my] great voidship,

IND-control.vehicle-AUG voidship-AUG-ACC

Okanekuluw benōp op fek .

Oh, how [I] notice myself high above!