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 (natively Wakabewafow [//] and sometimes abbreviated as TPL) is a very widespread language used by countless civilizations within the Pencilcosmos, the world that it exists in. In setting, the language was created by the civilization of Awef.

Classification and Dialects[edit | edit source]

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

The Pencil Language, in its setting, has 2 major dialects: the Awefian dialects and the Central dialects. The Awefian dialects have had significantly less sound changes than the Central dialects due to most of the civilizations speaking the dialect heavily regulating the language and almost all aspects of it, including the grammar.

Phonology[edit | edit source]

Consonants[edit | edit source]

*all consonants with an asterisk next to them only exist within the Central dialects

(note that the bilabials or other sounds are NOT "human bilabials", as the language is spoken by aliens in setting, the actual sounds are impossible to be spoken by humans)

Bilabial Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal /n/
Plosive /p/, /b/ /t/ ~ /d/ /k/, /g/ /ʔ/
Fricative /ɸ/ /s/ /ʃ/ /ʝ/ /x/ ~ /h/,


Tap/flap /ɾ/
Approximant /w/*
Lateral app. /l/ ~ /ɫ/

*/w/ is only used in loanwords in some parts of the TPL speaking regions.

Vowels[edit | edit source]

Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close /i/ /u/
Open-mid /ɛ/ /ɔ/
Open /a/ /ɒ/

Phonotactics[edit | edit source]

The syllable structure is ((F)(C)V

  • Voiced consonants generally make the consonants that comes right after it (if there is any) in a word voiced.
  • /b/ becomes unvoiced if it comes before /ɸ/.
  • If /h/ is at the end of a word, it either goes unpronounced or turns into /x/.
  • Consonants usually become voiced if they come before a nasal.
  • /β/, [ɲ], [ʒ], [ʔ], [h], [w], and [z] (as the sounds) are not permitted as codas.
  • /ʝ/ usually shifts to /k/, /x/, or /ʃ/ at the end of a word.

Allowed onset sounds/clusters: /b/, /d/, /ɸ/, /g/, /h/, /k/, /n/, /p/, /ɾ/, /s/, /w/, /j/, /ʃ/, /gɾ/, /kɾ/, /kl/, /pɾ/, /ʃɾ/, /sk/, a, e, i, o, u

Allowed coda sounds/clusters: /b/, /d/, /ɸ/, /g/, /h/, /ħ/, /k/, /n/, /p/, /ɾ/, /s/, /w/, /j/, /ʃ/, /ɸn/, /kn/, /pk/, /pn/, /snɸ/, /nb/, /nd/, /sk/, /a/, /ɑ/ (in some dialects), /oʊ/

Allowed Consonant Clusters[edit | edit source]

The Pencil Language allows a variety of consonant clusters, although it prohibits CCC consonant clusters for all but coda positions.


fn (cannot serve as the onset of a word)

pk (cannot serve as the onset of a word)

snf (cannot serve as the onset of a word)

fk (cannot serve as the onset of a word; only used in loanwords)

pf (cannot serve as the onset of a word)

sg (cannot serve as the onset or coda of a word)

n(C) (cannot serve as the onset of a word)

(C)r (nr, dr, br, hr, lr, sr, wr, and yr not allowed)

l(C) (cannot serve as the onset of a word)

(C)n (cannot serve as onset of word)

*/w/ itself cannot be in coda position, although it can still serve as the coda but just silent or turn into another sound.

Stress[edit | edit source]

Stress is usually on the first syllable but is usually on the second syllable if the word starts with e, i, o, or u, or if the word starts with /j/.

Romanization[edit | edit source]

/oʊ/ is spelled as ow, /il/ is spelled as iw, /ɑl/ is spelled as aw, and /ul/ is spelled as uw/ul

/ɸ/ is spelled as f and /β/ is spelled as v

/ʒ/ is spelled as zh and /ʃ/ is spelled as sh

/j/ is spelled as y and /ɾ/ is spelled as r

/ɲ/ is spelled as ny, /ʔ/ is spelled as ', and /ħ/ is spelled as h.

Every other consonant is spelled via their IPA equivalent.

/ɛ/ is spelled as e, /ɒ/ is spelled as o, and /ɑ/ is spelled as a.

Every other vowel is spelled via their IPA equivalent.

Sound Changes[edit | edit source]

  • /l/ mostly disappeared when following a consonant
  • /ɒ/ usually became /ɑ/ which sometimes became /a/
  • /b/ became /p/ when before /ɸ/
  • Usually unvoiced consonants became voiced when next to voiced ones

Writing System[edit | edit source]

The Pencil Language, over its extremely long history, has had many writing systems, a fair amount of them adopted from other languages and modified. The current and most widely used one is shown below:


The glottal stop is usually not shown, although if it is, it is shown with a dash.

Grammar[edit | edit source]

Nouns[edit | edit source]

Nouns decline according to number and case. Nouns have no gender. The definite article is expressed through the word "yeb", which proceeds the word. The indefinite article is unmarked, so a noun can either mean just that noun or "a [noun]".

Noun Inflectors[edit | edit source]

-(w)ek = nominative case, -(a)fef = accusative case, and -(')ef = case given to all the dative objects in a clause/(basically just dative case). Dative objects generally come before the accusative object.

Person marking will be only be marked on nouns if a subject and an object exist within the clause/sentence, and person marking on a noun is usually removed if those nouns get genitive/locative/instrumental marking.

-(w)op = genitive/locative case (sound changes caused the genitive and locative to fuse together, although the location of the possessor/locator relative to the thing being possessed/located determines what case it is. If the thing that is possessed/located comes after the possessor/locator, the case marker takes the genitive form, and if it comes before the possessor/locator, the case marker takes the locative form).

-(')ol = instrumental case (can also be applied to verbs).

There are two grammatical numbers: singular (which is unmarked), and plural (which is marked with the suffix -na, which changes to -a if the noun it is inflecting ends with /n/).

Here are all the inflected forms of the word "prow"; thing:

Singular Plural
Definite Indefinite Definite Indefinite
Nominative yeb prowek prowek yeb prowekna prowekna
Accusative yeb prowafef prowafef yeb prowafefna prowafefna
Genitive/Locative yeb prowop prowop yeb prowopna prowopna
Instrumental yeb prowol prowol yeb prowolna prowolna
Dative yeb prowbef prowbef yeb prowbefna prowbefna

Verbs[edit | edit source]

Verbs conjugate according to tense, aspect, mood, and voice. Verbs generally fall into two categories: instantaneous and non-instantaneous/durative. Each of the two verb classes are inflected differently.

Verb Inflectors[edit | edit source]

do(l)- = perfective case for durative verbs

wu(l)- = perfective case for instantaneous verbs

apwu(l)- = imperfective case for durative verbs

wulapwu(l)- = imperfective case for instantaneous verbs

da(l)- = future tense

-(w)uw = intransitive marker (if there is no object in the sentence while there is a verb, the verb will take this marker, and the marker will be removed once an object is added)

-(w)of = benefactive case (used to also be the dative case), can also be added onto nouns as a way of saying "[noun] is for [noun 2]".

-(')ow = passive voice

-(n)osga = lative case, also indicates a change of state from the subject to the object

wa(') = imperative mood

-(w)ush = subjunctive mood

-(a)n = ability to perform the verb (potential)

swe(')- = signifies that the action happens accidentally

-(h)a/(g)af = used to form gerunds

-uwna (means something similar to "each other")

Instantaneous and Durative Classes[edit | edit source]

Although each category of verb have their own inflectors, adding inflectors meant for one category onto a verb of another category is indeed grammatical and will alter the meaning. Even though "kan" (see) is a durative verb and thus should get the 'do-' marker if inflected for perfective aspect, prefixing 'wul-' onto it turns the verb into the instantaneous category, turning the meaning into something along the lines of "barely saw". On the other hand, prefixing 'do-' onto an instantaneous verb such as "shef" (die) will imply that the action has happened many times, so "doshef" would mean "died many times".

Different meanings verbs can take based on this, demonstrated using the instantaneous verb "shefuw/oshef" (kill) and the durative verb "fesnf" (listen/to pay attention to):

Shefuw/oshef (kill)
Instaneous Perfective (wu-) Instantaneous Imperfective (wulapwu-) Durative Perfective (do-) Durative Imperfective (apwu-)
wushefuw, "killed" wulapwushefuw, "has not stopped killing"/"is killing" doshefuw, "killed many times" apwushefuw, "has not stopped constantly killing"/"is constantly killing"
Fesnf (listen/to pay attention to)
Durative Perfective (do-) Durative Imperfective (apwu-) Instantaneous Perfective (wu-) Instantaneous Imperfective (wulapwu-)
dofesnf, "listened" apwufesnf, "is listening" wufesnf, "barely listened" wulapwufesnf "is barely hearing"

More affixes can be added to the conjugated verb to produce very specific meanings; e.g. the word "dalapwulshefowuwof", meaning "will constantly be killed for".

If you want to say something like "is barely [instantaneous verb]" or "is constantly [durative verb]"/"[durative verb] many times", you can use -'ef and -'ek respectively (so "barely kill" would be shef'ef and "constantly hear" would be fesnf'ek).

Relative Clauses and Causality[edit | edit source]

In ancient Pencil Language, nouns and verbs were joined together (with noun coming first) via a vowel to produce a relative clause, and as the language developed, this vowel was set to 'e'. All relative clauses follow this template (slots that are italicized are optional; if there is no object the verb gets the intransitive marker):

[subject noun(s)]e[verb(s)] [object(s)] [method in which the verb is carried out]ol

Now, let's fill in the slots with placeholder words, with the subject, object, and method in which the verb is carried out being "prow" (thing) and the verb being "pay" (do).

"prowepay prow prowol" (thing that does to a thing via a thing"

thing-REL-do thing thing-INSTRUM

All the components of the relative clause do not take person marking, and if there are two discrete subjects performing the verb or if there are two discrete objects being affected, a conjunction word, "siy" (and), is inserted between them. If there are two discrete methods in which the verb is performed, siy is once again inserted between the two words and both words are marked with the instrumental case.

Causality is expressed in roughly the same way, although instead of using 'e', you use 'o'. If the verb is left unmarked, the verb will be interpreted as perfective and sometimes indirect. However, unlike the relativizer, the causality marker follows a different template:

[verb(s)/noun(s)]o[verb] [object(s)] [method in which the verb is carried out]ol

Both nouns and verbs can be inserted into the first slot. If a verb is inserted, the verb does not act as the doer of the action, instead being inferred to lead, directly or indirectly, to the action happening to the object. In the case that there is an object and an indirect object and the first slot is a filled with a verb (as in "...see the sunset, causing them to go back home.") In this case, the template is modified to look something like this:

[verb(s)/noun(s)]o[verb] [object(s)] [indirect object(s)/method in which the verb is carried out]ol

Zero-Copula[edit | edit source]

The Pencil Language lacks a copula. Although in Ancient Pencil Language there was a copula ("fen"), it has long since gone unused and almost all traces of it are gone. Descriptive nouns are treated as adjectives but as they also technically are nouns, get person marking (e.g. "it is a [living] creature" would be "kefafef feabek" [creature-ACC 3sg-NOM]).

Adjectives[edit | edit source]

Adjectives take very little marking, and agree with nouns on person ("adjectives" here also include descriptive nouns). For example, with the word "yesh" (good):

Nominative Accusative Indirect Object
yeshek yeshaf yeshef

As The Pencil Language is very head-final, adjectives come before the thing they're describing, except for adjectives derived from nouns, which are converted into their verb form 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[edit | edit source]

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 "yiyeshosga ab ad" (COMP-good-LAT 2sg 1sg), literally meaning "I am better to you".

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

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

Syntax[edit | edit source]

The default sentence structure is VOS, although originally it was SVO. The Pencil Language is always head-final for words that only serve as adjectives but is head-initial for adjectives derived from verbs.

Lexicon[edit | edit source]

(as The Pencil Language is spoken by aliens in setting, it will be missing large amounts of vocabulary common among natural languages)

Nouns[edit | edit source]

Ad(ek) = I, Ab(ek) = you (nominative), Feab(ek) = 3rd person singular pronoun (nominative)

Afef = me, Apfef = you (accusative), Feapfef = 3rd person singular pronoun (accusative

Kef = creature, Norp = god, Kefeef = government, Kefeefek = civilization/nation, Kefeefef = group/species

Eef = place/location, Prob = -verse, Frob = void, Shrob = dimension, Asyob = realm

Example text[edit | edit source]


Apkelon wulosgaskeb'ef yeb boosaf dofnekafef Freeglek, dopayosgayashoshyf krek dofnek epepka Yeb "Palk-kadafk-skasal" Freeglol Freeglek suy dolanpepk Yeb Akaf Asyopfef Freeglek. Dalanpayosgayash esholg Yeb Akaf Asyopfef Freeglol goprapeepkek Freeglek.


"Although Freegl had barely won the first war, its failed attempts at controlling The Plkcxadafgzkasl would spark another large conflict, causing Freegl to lose its control over The White Realm. Freegl, demoralized and defeated, would not try to invade The White Realm again."


Though PFV-win-minor DEF first-ACC war-ACC Freegl-NOM, PFV-try-cause-create big war REL-control-GER DEF Plkcxadafgzkasl Freegl-INSTR Freegl-NOM and PFV-NEG-control DEF white-ACC realm-ACC Freegl-NOM. PFV-NEG-try REL-invade DEF white-ACC realm-ACC Freegl-INSTR demoralized Freegl-NOM.

IPA transcription:

/apkɛlɒn wulɒsgaskɛbʔɛɸ jɛb bɒːsaɸ dɒɸnɛkaɸɛɸ ɸɾɛːglɛk, dɒpajɒsgajaʃɒʃiɸ kɾɛk dɒɸnɛk ɛpɛpka jɛb palk-kadaɸk-skasal ɸɾɛːglɒl ɸɾɛːglɛk sɒ dɒlanpɛpk jɛb akaɸ asjɒpɸɛɸ ɸɾɛːglɛk. dalanpajɒsgajaʃ ɛʃɒlg jɛb akaɸ asjɒpɸɛɸ ɸɾɛːglɒl gɒpɾapɛːpkɛk ɸɾɛːglɛk./

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