Roman Rausch

last change: August 31, 2012




Talmit is an agglutinating, strictly head-final constructed language with a structure similar to Japanese or Korean. However, Talmit has syntactic categories that are somewhat different from the conventional classification – instead of nouns, adjectives and verbs, there are nouns of various kind of measurability, states and perfective verbs. It thus behaves similarly to an active-stative (as opposed to nominative-accusative or ergative-absolutive), split-S language, rigorously distinguishing events/actions and states, although the subject is never marked like the object (see 2.2.3).

Overview of the parts of speech:

Venn diagram of states/nouns/verbs

1  Phonology

1.1  Synchronic view

1.1.1  Consonant inventory

These are the consonants of Talmit:

 labial & c.dental & c.velar & c.glottal
plosivep, b [p, b]t, d [t, d]k, g [k, g] 
affricate θ, tl, dl [ʧ, t͡ɬ, d͡l]  
fricativeϕ [f]s, z, hj [s, z, ç]χ [x]h [h]
nasalm [m]n [n]n [ŋ] 
liquid l, r, hl, hr [l, ɾ, ɬ, r̥]  
approximantw, hw [w, ʍ]j [j]  


In final position, only the dentals r, l, s, n, t are permitted (similar to Finnish, Ancient Greek and Quenya).

Talmic scholars distinguish three types of sounds: obstruents, sonorants and vowels. Obstruents are called baχómnemit, lit. ’pillar-sounds’, while sonorants are called kwepleχómnemit ’twine-sounds’ for their ability to easily combine with the former. To the baχómnemit belong the stops and fricatives p, t, k, b, d, g, ϕ, θ, χ. To the kwepleχómnemit belong l, r, w, j, s. The sounds z, m have a dual role and belong to both groups.

1.1.2  Vowel inventory

Talmit has five to six vowel phonemes and seven to nine quantities. There are no long vowels.

i [i] ι [ɨ] u [u]
 e [ε, æ] o [ɔ] 
  a [a] 

More properly, e is halfway between [ε] and [e], and o is halfway between [ɔ] and [o] (as in Spanish). The realization of e as [æ] only appears in the combinations ae, ea [aæ, æa].
For many speakers, stressed e and o are more closed, thus tébne ’theory, concept’ tends towards [’tebnε] rather than [’tεbnε] and kódro ’wheel’ tends towards [’kodrɔ] rather than [’kɔdrɔ].

The vowel ι should perhaps not be counted as a separate phoneme, as it appears as modification of either i or u, especially in jι, wι for *ji, *wu. A common phenomenon across languages is the palatalization of consonants before [i] or [j] – Japanese /si/ and /ti/ are for instance realized as [ɕi], [tɕi], not to mention what Polish and Czech do to /r/ before /i/. Talmit speakers take a completely different approach here and just change the vowel to ι [ɨ], so that only sι, zι and are permitted (which is reflected in the transcription unless I forget about it). Some dialects go all the way, and pronounce [i] as [ɨ] after velars as well (kι, gι, χι), simultaneously fronting *kj, *gj, *khj > [ʦ, z, ʧ] and thereby eliminating any palatalized allophones.

The diphthongs are:

 ιu, ιi ui
  au, ai 

Some speakers distingush iu from ιu, but this has become very archaic.

1.1.3  Vowel mutations

In verbal conjugations and word derivation, several vowel-altering processes are employed: i-infixion, u-infixion and a-infixion. They change the vowels in the following fashion:


where eo, ea, ae, ao are dissyllabic. Colloquially, ae is often pronounced as ai or metathesized to ea, but educated speakers influenced by the spelling prescribe ae as the ”correct” sound.

When appending some endings containing e, one finds e-umlaut which changes high and low vowels to mid:


The historical process is called evening-out, see 1.2.3.

1.1.4  Stress

Stress generally remains on the root syllable in Talmit, but can shift to the penultimate in long words. Details are too boring to present; it suffices to say that it is explicitly marked on every polysyllabic word by an acute (unless I forget about it).

1.2  Diachronic view

1.2.1  Consonants and general root structure

Talmit preserves the ancient Proto-Tallic phonotactics almost completely intact. If one abbreviates

then the possible Proto-Tallic root types are (all monosyllabic):

The only phonotactic restriction is that Si and Sf/Ss have to be different, thus no **√grar or **√glal. The plosives can be identical, and often are, as e.g. √paps ’bake’, √tatn ’take, seize’, √kekr ’wine’.
Very rarely, m is observed instead of an initial plosive (√me ’human being’), s as an initial sonorant (√ksatr ’fly’, √psar ’rub’), w, j as final sonorants (√dew ’advice’). The breaking of the otherwise strict pattern suggests an ancient loaning.

Talmit preserves the initial clusters almost without change. The most apparent one is that aspirated stops become spirants: *ph, *th, *kh > ϕ, θ, χ.
Also notable is the unusual shift *pw, *bw, *phw > *pw̃, *bw̃, *ϕ > pn, bn, ϕn where the w was pronounced nasalized in order to dissimilate the homorganic compound. It probably first happened in *mw > *mw̃ > mn, resulting in a u̯|n alternation as táuma ’shield’ and támne ’protection’ (*tawma, *tamwə < √tamw). Compare also the alternation -wa|-ma ’-hued’ (the former after vowels, the latter after consonants), both regular reflexes of *-ŋwa (in Kymna -ngva).
In dialects, one observes *phw > [f] or [p͡f] (an affricate as German pf); *bw > [v] or [b͡v].
In addition, tl, dl have naturally merged into affricates, and khl, khr, khw, khj yielded voiceless hr, hl, hw, hj respectively. Palatalized dentals changed to affricates: *tj > θ and *dj > *[ʣ] > z:

+ rprtrkrbrdrgrϕrθrhr
+ lpltlklbldlglϕlθlhl
+ wpntwkwbndwgwϕnθwhw
+ jpjθkjbjzgjϕjθjhj
+ spssks

In combination with the secondary sonorants n, s, the clusters *tn, *dn became *[ʦn], *[ʣn] > zn; and ts became ss – the standard dialect shows a dislike for the affricate [ʦ]. But of course, where θ is realized as [ʦ], θn merges with the result of *tn.
The fricative [s] is naturally voiced in contact with voiced stops. Note also that x just represents /ks/ as the Romans intended it to.

+ npnznknbnzngnϕnθnχn
+ spsssxbzdzgzϕsθsχs

Final plosives + secondary sonorants did not change, except for *mw > mn. Instead of *zs one always finds ss and is doubtful whether something as awkward as *zs actually existed:

+ rmrzr
+ lmlzl
+ wmnzw
+ jmjzj
+ smzss
+ nmnzn

The phoneme *Q is, similarly to the Indo-European laryngeals, one of unknown realization which disappeared in all Tallic languages. It was in any case a velar, uvular or a pharyngeal sound – perhaps a voiced velar fricative [γ], a uvual trill [ʀ] or a glottal stop [ʔ] – but more probably various sounds in allophonic variation which is now beyond recovery. In Talmit, *Q becomes a copy of the following voiceless sound (similar to the Japanese bound moraic phoneme spelled with a subscript tsu), changes to g before nasals and z; to k or χ before other sonorants, and becomes -t finally (probably via *-k):

The development probably went *Qn, *Qm > *ŋn, *ŋm > gn, gm, as Talmit dislikes the velar nasal (similar to the Slavic languages except Polish) and eliminates it whenever possible. For the same reason, *ŋχ, *ŋχw, *ŋχr, *ŋχl generally experience metathesis to χn, χm, χn, χn; only ŋk, ŋg are stable in Talmit.

If the word already contains k, *Q dissimilates to p|b. If a labial is appended, it dissimilates to t|d, hence krat ’mountain’ (< *kraQ), krápjo ’few mountains, a couple of mountains’, krádmi ’many mountains’.

1.2.2  Sonorants in contact

Talmit avoids clusters of sonorants and converts them into geminates. They assimilate according to the sonortiy hierarchy

so that *nr > rr, *nl, *rl > ll.

On the other hand, s simply becomes voiced and leads to nz/zn, rz/zr, lz/zl, zm/mz which are permitted. In combination with m one finds that rm/mr, lm/ml and mn are permitted; and *nm usually becomes mm. If more nasals are present, *nm changes to rm or lm instead: *dilon-men > dilórmen ’long/deep sleep’ (cf. Latin germen < *gen-mṇ, carmen < *can-mṇ). In a number of cases, *nm can also experience metathesis to mn.

Where clusters like ln appear in the language, they are simplified from *lmn and the like.

There is evidence that Proto-Tallic additionally had a second rhotic phoneme *R as a rare sonorant (perhaps the flap [ɺ]). It usually became r in Talmit, but dissimilated to l in presence of another r, and to n in presence of both r and l.
In very ancient times, this sound might have been just a splitting consonant inserted between two vowels, as it only appears before suffixes and after prefixes. For example, the conculsive verbal ending -un becomes -nun after vowels, as in gánun < √ga, which may be explained by *ga-R-un with assimilation to the following nasal (contrast: gárun < √gar). The causative prefix has the form sar-/sal-/san- which might be the result of *saR before vowels, later generalized to all positions by analogy.

The development of vowels is best discussed in light of word derivation. The Proto-Tallic roots could take several grades which are presented below.

1.2.3  E-grade

The e-grade was originally formed by appending the schwa ə to the root. For verbal roots, it conveyed the notion of an organized way of doing an action, or of an associated abstract noun.

In Talmit, the schwa changed and affected the preceding vowel in a process which can be termed evening-out and is close to the Germanic and Welsh a-umlaut. Namely, preceding high vowels i, u were lowered to e, o accompanied by ə > e. But unlike a-umlaut, preceding e, o could also be lowered to a accompanied by ə > a. Preceding a, on the other hand, could be raised to e (with ə > e), but quite often it was the schwa which simply changed to a. Thus the vowels were evened out in height, the resulting combinations being o-e, e-e, a-a, and rarely o-o:

This process was usually resisted by u when near labials (pu, ub, um etc.), and by a when near velars (ga, ka, aχ etc.):

From here, and from the very common -e after o, e, the ending -e was usually substituted by analogy for a-a in other cases as well, hence e.g. táple instead of *tápla.
In a few cases, the various results of the e-grade were subject to selection by different contexts. For example, from the root √tatn ’take, seize’ one has the back-formation tázne which has retained the meaning ’taking, seizure’ while the umlauted form tézne has acquired the meaning ’reading, counting’ and is by analogy treated as if it was from a root *√tezn, hence tézne ’reading, counting’, ténza ’an event of reading or counting’.

Further examples of e-grade nouns:

1.2.4  Zero grade

The zero grade was formed by the bare root alone. It could only be formed from ”heavy” roots with a final sonorant, the sonorant thereby becoming syllabic. It denoted the instrument, tool or appartus needed to perform an action (in particular the senses, for which see 3.4.2). Talmit always merges agents with instruments:

As it can be seen, syllabic sonorants broke into combinations ’vowel + sonorant’, where the inserted vowel tended to be of the same height, but was very often a before r, and i before l. There is considerable dialectal variation here: tébin, gwímur, tápal and héker can also be found, for example.

An invention of Talmit was the extension of the zero grade to ”light” roots. They appended a vowel + -s by analogy to ”heavy” roots with s:

Note that there are three different words for ’mouth’ in Talmit: bno is used for the physical organ only; tápil ’mouth, sayer’ and aχágas ’mouth, eater’ can be used in this sense as well, but in different contexts – tápil might be used in the sense ’shut your mouth = stop talking’, aχágas in the sense ’shut your mouth = stop champing’. Unlike bno, however, they also denote agents, as in ’truth-sayer’ and ’man-eater’. Compare English ’foul mouth’, ’a mouth to feed’.

Monoplosive verbal roots do not have a zero grade, but they can be easily compounded, e.g. √thol ’serve’: θólda ’servant’ (-da ’intelligent being’), √gi ’see’: gipnós ’sense of sight’ (pnos ’sense, emotion’).

1.2.5  Fortified grade

The fortified grade is sparsingly used for ”light” biplosive roots with a sense similar to the zero grade, but with an augmentative shade of meaning. The root-final consonant is geminated, -e < *-ə is suffixed (no word can end in a plosive) causing evening-out (1.2.3), and b, d, g, z are are devoiced in the gemination to pp, tt, kk, ss.

1.2.6  We-grade

The noun *wə simply meant ’place’, but was grammaticalized in Proto-Tallic. On the one hand, it became the nominative marker for the durative aspect (its reflex is T. wa, the nominative marker for verbal predicates 2.2.3), on the other hand it was agglutinated to nouns as a locative case.
However, the two often collided, e.g. √ka ’earth, ground’: *ka-wə=wə ’ground-on=nom’ (i.e. ’the one on the ground [did somethig]’). In these cases, the agglutinated *wə instead jumped as an infix into the root itself in the inverted form *əw1. This had iconic significance – how to better indicate that an object is inside something than by an infix? Hence: *kəwa-wə.
This process ceased to be productive in Talmit and was lexicalized only in a couple of words.

In ”heavy” roots, *wə remained a suffix, but was appended to a metathesized root form (itself hailing from ancient and not recoverable sound changes), e.g. √podj ’flowing water’: *poj(ə)d-wə ’river-in’ > T. páidwa ’gone, vanished, dissolved state’, as in the saying ples-páidwa lit. ’a drop in the river’ = ’gone without trace, vanished from the face of the earth’.

Some common we-grade words are:

1.2.7  A-grade

Proto-Tallic has always been a ”nominophile” language, preferring nouns over verbs (e.g. ’happiness’ instead of ’be happy’; a simplex meaning ’sitting’ instead of ’to sit’ etc.). But no judgement – even if you are verbophile yourself, probably some of your best friends are nominophiles, right? In any case, at an even earlier stage the language must have been like Japanese or Korean with regard to nouns – they had no plural and were basically all mass nouns. The distinction between tangible or discrete objects (like ’cloud’) and abstract notions (like ’cover’) was very much smeared out.
However, Proto-Tallic started to form a singulative from these nouns (cf. Welsh adar ’birds’, sing. aderyn ’bird’) simply by agglutinating the numeral *aQ ’one’ in the reverse form *Qa1. It assumed the same infixed position as the we-grade in the case of monoplosive roots. Intervocalic *Q became weakened to *h and ultimately disappeared, so that the typical development was:

The resulting contact aa was altered to [æa], spelled ea:

Thus arose an apparent a-infixion pattern (see 1.1.3).

For ”heavy” biplosive roots, *Qa was appended to the metathesized variant, later simplified to -a:

The primitive a-grades must have had an inserted schwa to confirm to the open-syllable rule of Proto-Tallic, hence the syllable division *ka-wə-tQa. The schwa disappeared in Talmit and Kymna, but was retained in another Tallic language Hadam where it generally became i, as evidenced by H. kabit ’tree’ < kawət-, pl. kavtam (root √katw).

Note also that *Q was regarded as a sonorant, and in fact as a consonant corresponding to a, in symmetry to j, w:


The a-grade was also applied to verbal roots where it denoted a count noun associated with the action. This was often just ’the act of doing’ or a decomposed part of the action, but could also be the object of a transitive verb, a thing produced by the action, and so on:

Finally, for biplosive ”light” roots, *Qa was also simply appended, but it diphthongized with the preceding vowel:

The same diphthongization happened to j and w in medial position as well (cf. the Greek i-metathesis *pheresi > φέρεις ’you carry’ and the Welsh plurals):

This might account for the origin of the metathesized roots.

1.2.8  I- and u-infixed forms

The Proto-Tallic language had corresponding i- and u- dipthongs for all five vowels: *ai, *oi, *ei, *əi, *ui and *au, *ou, *eu, *iu, *əu where i and u became ə to avoid the awkward ii̯, uu̯. They were mostly used to mark evidentiality on verbs, but came to denote tense in Talmit. It largely preserves this system, but changes:

These changes are marked by the very same evening-out rule as before (1.2.3), except for ai, au, oi which are permitted. Again, some dialects are more radical here and only allow diphthongs of the same height, changing the others: *ai > [æ], *au > [ɔ], *oi > [œ].

2  Grammar

2.1  Nouns and states

2.1.1  Number, intensity, size, duraton

Count nouns can be quantified by the following suffixes:

The paucal denotes a few things (or ’some, a couple of things’) while the greater plural denotes many things, e.g. táljo ’few words, a couple of words’, tálmi ’many words’. Pluralia tantum or commonly pluralized words like ’mountains’ normally use either of these two in Talmit:

The suffix -mai denotes a group or collection of count nouns:

Compared to the words derived with -mi above, these are used to mark a contrast to another group, cf. English people vs. a/the people; or German Berge vs. collective Gebirge. For man-made objects, they also suggest a purposeful arrangement, hence dágmai, dáχtamai ’wall’ from dat, dáχta ’stone’, while dágmi is just ’many stones’.

There are analagous endings for mass nouns, but the term ’plural’ cannot be applied here, therefore I use:

The mollitive denotes a small volume, the suffective a sufficient volume, while the intensive denotes a large volume. In addition, the mollitve suffix causes e-umlaut (1.1.3):

The following sound changes in combination with -mne are found:

States can be measured on a continuous scale as well, their scale is just not limited to volume. Therefore they take the same suffixes as mass nouns. The mollitive denotes a small value on the given scale, the suffective a sufficient value, while the intensive denotes a large value, e.g.:

The final unstressed -e of the endings -we, -mne was at some point lax in pronunciation, merging with . It then caused the evening-out of vowels (1.2.3), affecting preceding a, i > e and u > o. Hence one would expect to find both tréwe, trémne < *trawə, *tramnə. However, in the standard dialect, the original vowels were restored by analogy to the unsuffixed words, except for the mollitive form. The reason for that has probably to be sought in the sound-symbolic association of i with higher intensity and of a with larger size (see sound-symbolism: http://sindanoorie.net/glp/phonosymb.php).

The notion of an extreme quantity is expressed by adding -t to -mne and -we, e.g.:

With count nouns, this forms a collective plural, denoting all things of a kind in existence, or just in a specific context, e.g. médamit ’human beings as a species’. Hence also the name of the language: tálmit means ’all the words and labels’, colloquially ’language’.

A further emphasis can be given by repeating the suffix as a prefix, e.g.:

Note that a separate word ’very’ is not required in Talmit. With the collective plural, reduplication further emphasizes the completeness:

Size is a natural quantity of any existing object, and separate endings are found for it:

They are frequently used in word derivation, e.g.:

Colloquially, there is some confusion of the endings, so that -we and -mne are used instead, clearly by influence from the mass nouns (hence dékwe ’pebble’, dágne ’boulder’), but this should be strictly avoided if one wants to get an official proficiency certificate in Talmit (not that there is one).

For all non-permanent states, the natural quantity is duration, and so the same endings refer to time:

Zero quantity can be expressed by prefixing mul- (mu- before roots containing l) to both states and nouns, e.g.:

2.1.2  Noun classes

Note that words may belong to both count and mass noun categories, e.g. kju ’part, division’ as a count noun kjúmi ’many parts’, kjúmit ’all parts, the whole’; but as a mass noun: kjúmne ’large part’, kjúmnet ’majority’, kjówet ’minority’. Some words may even be regared either as states or as nouns, e.g. pal as a count noun: ’body/fixed volume of water’ (pálmi, páljo), as a mass noun: ’water as a substance’ (pálne, pélwe) and as a state: ’liquid state’ (immeasurable).

To specify which one is meant, it is common to affix enclitic ta (count noun), ha (mass noun), pa (state):

Tat ’point in time’ becomes táχta ’time in counting (German mal, French fois)’, hence tágmi, táχtami ’many time points’, tágmi-nóllo, táχtami-nóllo ’often’ tákjo, táχtajo ’few time points’, tákjo-nóllo, táχtajo-nóllo ’seldom’. Or it becomes táppa, now grammaticalized as the temporal conjunction ’when, as’:

Note that stone, for example, can be perceived to exist in discrete packages (like stones by the wayside) or as a continuous mass of varying volume (like mountains) and therefore the word dat will be used to describe both. But if one takes something like fruit (kwásta < √kwats), it is only perceived to exist in countable units. In English, ’fruit’ can be a mass noun: ’there is some fruit on the table’, but never so in Talmit – one would simply use paucal kwástajo instead.

Another enclitic modifier is da essentially meaning ’intelligent being’. The commonest usage is its combination with the root √me ’human’ to derive the proper word méda ’human being’ (médata ’individual’, médapa ’state of being human’). Otherwise it can be used in a religious context for the means of personification: kázda and pálda would be ’fire spirit’ and ’water spirit’ respectively, for example.

Finally, professions may be either regarded as states, or may denote people practicing them. The difference can be again made apparent by using -pa or -ta, e.g. pérax, péraxpa ’state of being king’, pérax, péraxta ’a person who is king’.

2.1.3  Signum and doublet nouns

As mentioned in the introduction, states may have signum, i.e. a positive and a negative part. The former is usually expressed by the vowel a and the latter by i (ι before w, j), more rarely by o and u respectively (mostly for assimilative/dissimilative reasons). With PSV(S) roots, this is usually an infix, e.g. dlon > dalón ’awake state’, dilón ’asleep state’. With PV(S) roots, a prefix is mostly found, e.g. aχál ’alive state’, iχál ’dead state’; although suffixed -a, -i and other idiosyncracies occasionally occur, as okára ’state of good luck’, ikáru ’state of bad luck’ < √kar.
For PSVS-roots compound forms according to the pattern dallo-, dillo- < *dalno-, *dilno-, parzu-, pirzu- < *parsu-, *pirsu- (shifted to Pa/iSSV-), e.g. dillogús ’dream’ are common.

The positive state is, if possible, chosen to be the one beneficial with respect to the speaker; the negative state as harmful, e.g. apéa ’good, proper state’, ipéa ’bad, improper state’, halán ’(morally) good state’, hurán ’bad, evil state’ (for the alternation l|r see 2.6). Therefore, the latter can be often translated by a negative prefix ’un-, in-, dis-’. But often enough, the distribution between a- and i- is purely idiomatic and conventional.

Many states are measured with a signum and vary on a scale on top of it. For instance, vertical position can be measured above or below the speaker (or some point of reference). The positive state is again expressed by a or o in form of a prefix, infix or suffix; and the negative state by i or u. It can be combined with -mne and -we:

Note that mutlé in the latter case would be ’neither cold nor warm’, i.e. ’room temperature’ in the case of weather, which is zero on this given scale; and similarly muϕál ’twilight state’, mulpéa ’neither good nor bad, average/neutral state’ (mulpéa-epéamis-nójo ’comme ci, comme ça’).

2.1.4  Relative scale, comparison

All the mentioned states were used on an absolute scale, given by the context. To compare two states, one has to go to a relative scale. It can be done by using e in the same way one uses signum markers (2.1.3) which are not required anymore. Hence perús ’relative vertical position’, telé ’relative temperature’, eϕál ’relative brightness’. The comparative is then expressed by using the postposition láha of the comparative case (2.2) and -mne/-we, which now express the idea of larger/smaller:

Emphasis can be added by reduplicating -mne/-we: A-jar B-láha emneϕálne-nójo ’A is much brighter than B’.

To say that the two values are equal, one uses the suffix -mis (originally meaning ’average value’, etymologically ’middle’) or -nes (an ancient element meaning ’copy’ for nouns, ’repetition’ for verbs) on the relative scale:

In particular, ϕe ’degree of similarity’ is always used on a relative scale (eϕéwe ’dissimilar state’, eϕémis ’same, equal state’) to express an unspecific comparison. Obviously, eϕémne makes no sense, unless one wants to say something like:

2.1.5  Plural and intervals

An interval or difference between two values on the scale of states can be expressed by prefixing an- or na- (or on-, no-). Sometimes, the interval is also measured with signum (2.1.3) and the negative state is then formed by in-, ni- (or un-, nu-). For example, while prus means ’vertical position’, amprús or naprús means ’difference between two points on the vertical axis’ or simply ’height’. Accordingly, imprús or niprús means ’depth’, measured below the reference point of the speaker.

This was originally formed with the Proto-Tallic element *ṇ- which conveyed the idea of extension in space or time in Proto-Tallic (hence *ṇprus without signum). It was later broken to am-|an-, na- or im-|in-, ni- due to influence of the a/i-classification of the signum states. Forms like *mprus still appear medially in compounds, e.g. kaontát ’year, full cycle’ < káo ’cycle, period’ + *ntat ’time span’.

Intervals of states are still continuous states and can therefore be qualified by -we and -mne, e.g. amprúzne ’great height’, amprózwe ’small height’, imprózwe ’small depth’, imprúzne ’great depth’; or used on a relative scale: amperús ’relative height’, imperús ’relative depth’. But they can also be treated as count nouns, e.g. antát ’time interval, period’, antákjo ’few periods’, antágmi ’many periods’.

An interval of count nouns is the ordinary plural, e.g. antál, natál ’words’, amméda, naméda ’human beings’ and so on. However, it is used much less than in English – it might be translated with ’some, an amount of’ and is mostly used in contexts where the speaker cannot vouch for the amount of the mentioned things (almost like evidentiality). Generalized statements like ’Sheep eat flowers with thorns’ prefer the singular instead – ’Sheep eats flower with thorn’.
In Proto-Tallic, the ordinary plural was actually formed by *-mi, which has since then shifted its meaning to the greater plural (2.1.1) in Talmit, but remains so in Kymna.

Note that before hV- a metathesis *ŋχ > χn takes place, hence héper ’animal’, pl. aχnéper. The variants with an open syllable na-/no-, ni-/nu- are preferred before hS-.

Intervals as count nouns take the prefix anna-/anni- when put into the plural, e.g. annatát ’time intervals, periods’.

Prefixing en- or ne- to count nouns marks a relative scale where amounts can be compared. ’More’ is then expressed by -mi, ’fewer’ by -jo and ’as many as’ by -mis, e.g. emmédami ’more people’, empekwórjo ’fewer flowers’, enkaontágmis ’as many years as’.

2.1.6  Dual and reduplication

Count nouns with signum (2.1.3) are mostly the dual body parts where the right or upper side is positive, e.g.:

The dual is formed by superposing both vowels into a diphthong (a crasis of sorts):

For states this similarly forms a dvandva compound:

Aiχál would theoretically mean ’both dead and alive’ which might be useful in limited contexts...

Schroedinger's cat

... but not in too many, so that in such a case the meaning shifts to a disjunction: aiχál ’dead or alive’.

A reduplication of the whole word forms a greater plural for count nouns (similar to Japanese) and carries the additional shade of meaning ’various sorts of’:

Polysyllables reduplicate just the first syllable without its sonant:

Initial spirants of polysyllables turn into unvoiced stops by dissimilation: paϕámreta = ϕamretámi ’many clouds’ (cf. Grassmann’s law in Greek, e.g. perfect active φεύγω> πέφευγα). By analogy this has led to a spirantization of initial stops, so that

are alternative forms.

For states, reduplication conveys the idea of a reserved judgement, the signum marker is used only once:

Some reduplicated words are colloquial names for plants and animals (or used by children), e.g. anderdergáme ’elephant’ (’long-nose’), kinkinkátu ’oak’ (’hard-tree’).

Reduplication of the numeral at, a ’one’ gives *aQa(Q) > áha(t), éa(t) ’pair, both’. This is also used as a prefix ’bi-, di-’, e.g. ahambá, ahabá, eabá, eambá ’biped’. Reduplications of other numerals also appear:

They are usually used where two groups of two/three/four are denoted, e.g.:

A threefold repetition of at gives *aQ(a)Qa(Q) > χχa(t), éahat ’many, a large amount’, an archaic/poetic equivalent to dámme < dan ’number’.

2.1.7  Numerals

Apart from duality, another important symmetry in Talmit is pentality, that is a grouping in sets of five. It manifests itself in five initial consonant series, five root-final sonorants (at least by a naive analysis) and five vowels. Originally, the numerals themselves seem to have been a quinary, i.e. a base-5 system, and were formed with the five vowels and root-final sonorants:

This system was at some time expanded to a biquinary one, with the numerals 6-10 formed by: modified vowel + nasal n/m + numeral 1-5; and stress on the ultimate syllable:

The initial vowel was originally , later assimilating to the following one according to the evening-out rule (1.2.3). However, unún is probably a reduplicated dual form. Colloquial variants are mat, nil, mes, nor/mor, mun.

Higher numerals are formed by combination: unún es ’13’, enór unún at ’91’ and so on. Alternatively enclitic -mun can be used as a decimal suffix: ágmun ’10’ (rare), ı́lmun ’20’, ézmun ’30’, órmun ’40’, úmmun ’50’, amágmun ’60’, ιnı́lmun ’70’, enórmun ’90’.

Furthermore, augmentative -men appended to ’5’ yields úrmen ’25’ which is archaic; and appended to ’10’ it yields unúrmen ’100’ (cf. French million < mille ’1000’).

A special case outside these patterns is mut ’0’, a variant of the root √mul∼√muj∼√muq ’nothing’.

Numerals precede nouns without any particles and the monosyllabic ones up to five are compounded. The singular is used with all numbers: agméda ’one person’, ilméda ’two persons’, ezméda ’three persons’ and so on.
Cardinals are formed with ordinal + dan ’number, amount’ + gen. mo: aχdán-mo ’1st’ (Jap. ichiban no), ildán-mo ’2nd’ and so on.

Even though natural numbers are discrete, there is an associated scale, and so dan is a mass noun when varying on it: dámme/dénwe ’a large/small number, high/small amount’; otherwise: dámmi/dánjo ’many/few numbers’.

Finally, one can combine numerals with the greater plural -mi (often in form -mni after n by influence of the intensive 2.1.1) and the paucal -jo to express a judgement as to whether this quantity is large or small, e.g. unúrmemni ’100 which is a lot’, unúrmenjo ’just 100’. Hence for example the saying agmédajo, ilmédami ’one-person-pau, two-person-gpl’ meaning that two people can accomplish much more than one.

Small fractions are formed from the root √iq, literally meaning ’cut’, high fractions with the suffix -ki attached to the numeral:

Compare the verb íxun ’cut in two equal parts’, ipíxun ’cut in three equal parts’. Analogy to the latter word explains ípit instead of expected *íkit. It is unclear whether the suffix -ki comes from √iq in the reversed form *√qi, or is a reduced form of kju ’part’.

While iQ- as a prefix means ’half the amount of what is expected’, e.g. ίize-láha tárme-ippá-nójo ’I’m half the man I used to be’ (lit. ’Compared to my past state, [I’m] in a half-man state’), as a suffix it means ’one half out of two’ and has thus naturally come to mean ’(an)other’, e.g. méhit, médahit ’another person’, tá(h)it, táχta(h)it ’another point in time’ and so on.

2.1.8  Indefiniteness

To emphasize indefiniteness many languages use a construction involving the numeral ’one’, and of course, the indefinite article is very often derived from it. Talmit, although it uses grammaticalized numerals in various constructions, shows no such tendency. The indefiniteness of an object can be stressed by using the attribute agó-mo, lit. ’of existence’ (e.g. agó-mo médata ’a certain individual’), the indefiniteness of a point in time can be stressed by using tát-mo, lit. ’of time’ (e.g. tat-mo aϕéx-nóllo ’on a certain day, once upon a time’).

2.2  Cases/postpositions

2.2.1  Overview

There are several postpositions in Talmit that can be classified as cases:

short (for nouns)long or modified (for states)
 basiciambic basicshortiambic
 jaejácomitativejésse-jse, -jesejsé
   locativenótto (arch. nóho)-nto, -not
accusativenuonútemporalnóllo-llo, -nol
   stativenójo-njo, -nojanjó
genitivemoamóorigativemóno, mána-mno, -monamnó
dativemaemádestinativemére-mre, -meremré
instrumentalzoazómutativeméza (arch. zána)-mze, -mesemzá
themativelaelácomparativeláha-lka, -latelká
vocative-le (suffix)    

This juxtposition shows that there once were six original cases, namely nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, instrumental and themative (the latter answering to ’about what?’). The modified postpositions were likely formed by agglutination with other elements.

In any case, comitative jésse is most certainly formed from *jasə, with the general linking/conjunctional element *sə; and regular gemination of s after the stressed vowel.
Locative nóho was originally formed with *wə ’place’ (also the source of nominative wa), the historical form nówo then losing w between a vowel and o, with the general hiatus-breaker h (cf. 1.2.7) substituted: *nowə > *nowo > *noo > noho. However, nótto was ultimately substituted by analogy to temporal nóllo where l was regularly geminated after the stressed vowel. Similarly, méza was an invention in analogy to móno/mána, mére replacing earlier zána.
Stative nójo most likely contains nominative *jə or *ja.
The other modified postpositions seem to derive from *monə, *maRə, zanə, *laQə with evening-out (1.2.3) of the vowels and second elements of uncertain origin. It might also be that móno, mána, mére and zána are actually results produced by a single suffix appended to the short postpositions, with *R inserted as a hiatus-breaker (see 1.2.2) and later becoming r/l/n from which the particular forms above were selected in the later course of the language.

The iambic postpositions are used after a stressed ultimate syllable, e.g. méda-jar, but kas-ejár. The hyphen is written purely for aesthetic reasons – to indicate that the words are postpositions and modify the preceding word. The first variant of the short postpositions is used after vowels, the second after consonants: méda-njo, but kas-noj.

There are some simplifications in contact with nasals: ma, mo dissimilate to na, no after m; and the commonly appearing -mne-nójo is usually shortened to -m-nójo. For euphonic reasons, iambic azó is used after -s irresepective of stress, hence kas-azó instead of **kas-zo

2.2.2  Stative, origative, destinative and mutative

The stative postposition nójo is used to indicate that something is in a certain state, e.g. aϕálne-nójo ’in a state of high light intensity = bright’, twı́mne-nójo ’in a state of great speed = fast’. This also includes deverbal states describing ongoing action and may compared to the Welsh mae yn construction, e.g. Mae’r blodyn yn coch = Pekwór-ejár kawá-nójo ’The flower is red’, Mae’r adar yn canu = Antóspa-ja glánon-nójo ’The birds are singing’.
Nójo is also used in the sense ’in the capacity of’ after professions, e.g. hékar-nójo ’as a writer, in the capacity of a writer’, lit. ’in the state of a writer’.

Origative móno/mána, mutative méza and destinative mére (dial. méle) are used when a change of state is described. The original state is marked by móno/mána, the final state by mére, while méza describes how the change happened, the intermediate state: Bánat-wa aϕálne-mére twı́mne-méza ’The sun started to shine quickly’, lit. ’The sun changed into a shining state, changing quickly’ or Túlba-méza atálet-mére (péinun) ’It suddenly became summer’ (túlba ’a jump’, túblun ’to jump’ < √tubl).
No verb is required, although

can be added. Hence for example: pirús-mére gárun ’to fall down’, pirús-mére ϕéllun ’to lie down’.
Since changes of states are actions or events, they can also be expressed by verbs. However, when using verbs, the action is volitional; and when using states it is outside one’s control, hence spirússun ’to descend’ (with a destative verb, see 2.4.8).

Thus méza corresponds to an adverbial marker if the predicate expresses real change (’suddenly became’), while nójo may correspond to an adverb of a stative verb (’shine bright(ly)’).

2.2.3  Nominative

There are three kinds of sentences in Talmit:

  1. equations (’A is B’) where e plays the role of the copula:
  2. stative expressions (’A is in B’) where the subject is marked by ja (often shortened to j’ before vowels):
  3. actions/events (perfective in past & future, habitual in present) where the subject is marked by wa (often shortened to w’ before vowels):

2.2.4  Temporal and locative

Temporal nóllo is used with points of time, e.g. multát-nóllo ’now’, just like locative nótto is used with places, e.g. pelestámi-nótto ’in the town’ – not much surprise here (cf. the Hungarian temporal case -kor). Locative states can receive either nótto or nójo:

2.2.5  Themative and vocative

The themative case denotes the topic of a discourse, e.g. bamnekár-la juttaplendé ’talk about the weather’. When the topic is a whole clause or a direct quotation, it is framed by al …la, e.g. al bamnekár-j’apéa-nójo-la juttaplendé ’discuss whether the weather shall be good’.

Vocative -le is a suffix and thus leads to changes of final consonants: téat téakle!, téaχle! ’father!’, téhil téhille! ’mother!’.

2.2.6  Topic marking

Every prepositional phrase can be made topic by the addition of -r. Topic marking works just as in Japanese or Korean and is often similar to the usage definite/indefinite articles in order to separate known information from new.

Mére + topic marker becomes méler < *maRər.

2.2.7  Compounded and reduplicated postpositions

Talmit loves to compound postpositions among themselves and with states, up to the point that they actually remain an open class. It is a sign of eloquence to use diverse positpositions and to even invent some of one’s own. The commonest are:

The Proto-Tallic element ṇ- (= T. ni-) prefixed to postpositions expresses the permanentness of a state, or the extension in time and space:

The compound of (ni)nójo and genitive mo yields (ni)nóimo which can be used whenever a state is attributive:

Reduplication of some postpositions forms a couple of interjections (sometimes used adverbially):

2.2.8  Possession

Possession is expressed in many ways in Talmit, according to the animacy scale. The possessor is usually left out, if clear from the context:

  1. inanimate objects: with agó ’state of existence’
  2. animals: with aχál ’state of being alive’
  3. property: with tan, támpa, táχna ’(state of being) possessed’
  4. body parts: with the locative nótto
  5. other human beings: with comitative jésse

The first three constructions mark the possessor by nóima, a compounded postposition of stative nójo and dative ma (dialectal nóila with themative la is also found) which can be translated as ’with respect to, pertaining to’.

2.3  Pronouns

Proto-Tallic had numerous roots for personal pronouns of which the only ones surviving in Talmit are:


They are properly states rather than pronouns and can also take tense: ίize ’my past state’, éoze ’my future state’, áima ’your past state’, áuma ’your future state’. In the past & future plural, one uses compounds with pa ’state’.
To express ’I ain’t like that anymore’5, one would say ίize-láha eϕéwe-nójo ’[My present state is] dissimilar from my past state’.

There are no true pronouns for the 3rd person, demonstratives are used instead. Their roots are as follows:

here (by speaker)ben >ben-
there (by listener)phron >ϕron-
over there (away from speaker and listener, or in future)ter >ter-
back there (something previously mentioned, or in past)ther >θer-

Possessives are formed by compounds, or with the genitive mo (the latter as in Japanese), but most forms are contracted:

Locations are denoted by a compound with we, hwe ’place’ (hwe properly means ’direction’) or archaically by the simple we-grade 1.2.6:

The word kos, literally meaning ’kin, family’ or ’group of associates’ is commonly used as an exclusive pronoun when possession is shared (cf. Jap. uchi). For example, one would use kózmo in phrases like ’my/our child’, ’our soldiers’ or ’my heavy metal band’ when talking to outsiders. It would be absurd to say ?éze-mo pan ’my child’ in Talmit, as it would imply that the speaker has begotten and given birth to it all by himself without a second person involved (I suppose it would be suitable for Dr. Frankenstein or Dr. Noonian Soong).

The word ta ’count noun’ can serve as a general pronoun equivalent to English ’one’, e.g. kawá-nóimo ta ’the red one’, bémo ta ’this one’ etc.

The interrogative pronoun is nwa(n)- for inanimates and ma- (< *ŋwa-) for animates:

One can use these or nwa(n)/ma with postpositions, e.g. máda-mo? ’whose?’, nwa-mo? ’of what?’, ma-la? ’about whom?’, nwa-la? ’about what?’, nwan-zo? ’how?, by what means?’ and so on.

Their partial reduplications nánwa and mánwa mean ’something’ and ’somebody’ respectively.

2.4  Verbs and states

2.4.1  Overview

Verbs in Talmit have the following principal endings (either timeless or in the present) which are explained further below:

2.4.2  Attributive

The attributive form is used to qualify count nouns or states and is the counterpart to relative clauses or participles in Indo-European:

2.4.3  Conjunctive

The conjunctive form is very similar to the te-form of Japanese. It is time- and aspectless and signals addition – another sentence or just another verb may follow. The described processes may take place simultaneously or consecutively, according to the context. The last verb is in the conclusive form. For example:

Repeating the same verb denotes a prolonged action, e.g.:

2.4.4  Compound

The compound form is used in verb-verb or verb-noun compounds, for example:

In terms of verb framing, verb-verb compounds indicate the manner of movement (e.g. bárun ’feel with feet’, gánun ’to go’ → báren-gánun ’to walk’); while prefixes indicate the path (táru ’inside’ → báren-tarugánun ’walk inside, enter walking’).

2.4.5  Verbal state, negative verbal state, and negative adverbial

Continuously doing something is a state, for which the verbal state is used:

Another possibility, which also allows tense, is a compound with de ’action, state of doing something’ (see 2.5.1).

Not doing something is also a state and is expressed by the negative verbal state, usually combined with pa ’state’. For example:

Finally, the negative adverbial form expresses that an action was carried out without doing something else before (Jap. -zu):

Historically, this is a compound of -in with one of the many variants of √mul∼√muj∼√muq ’nothing’, with metathesis *-in-mui > -ímnui.

2.4.6  Eventive state

The eventive is formed by the a-grade of the verbal state ending -on > -a(h)on (where h can be inserted for the ease of pronunciation). It describes an event which has a fixed duration in time, with a clear beginning and end. Hence:

It is close in meaning to the e-grade (1.2.3), but properly describes an uncontrolled, chaotic action (in particular forces of nature), while the e-grade stands for a deliberate, ordered process. Hence:

2.4.7  Signum of verbs

Verbs can have signum, but rather than being associated with a scale, it marks the direction of an action, if such is understood. There are two major groups:

  1. verbs of movement:
  2. verbs of ingestion/egestion (or acquiring/losing) in a very broad sense:

In terms of aspect, signum-verbs are semelfactive (expressing a single action). Superposition of the signum markers conveys the idea that an action has been carried out once in one direction and than immediately in reverse, hence:

Iterated action is expressed by reduplication:

2.4.8  Formation and classes

One can divide verbs in Talmit into the following classes:

  1. Root verbs add -(n)un in the conclusive form (-nun after a vowel) and change the ending according to the list in 2.4.1. The consonants l and s geminate after a stressed vowel.


    ”Light” roots ending in a vowel may also append -un, -una directly to the stem which then causes u-mutation 1.1.3:

  2. Associated verbs are derived from nouns or states and have a new, impredictable meaning. They add -(a)run in the conclusive form (dissimilated -(a)lun if the root has r). If required, the intensive can be expressed with -(e)mun and the mollitive with -urun/-ulun (forming a diphthong with the preceding vowel). The e-umlaut of the mollitive form is preserved by analogy. The ending is then changed just as above.


    Root verbs denote the action ’as such’. Associated verbs derived from the corresponding a-grade, on the other hand, describe a semelfactive action, or a telic action involving the achievement of a goal, so e.g.:

  3. Destative verbs are extensively used whenever a process is characterized by the change of one state on its scale. When the subject itself changes its state, s- is prefixed to the root (z- before voiced stops) and -(n)un is appended. When the change is enforced upon an object (causative verb), sar-/sal-/san- (< *saR-) is prefixed and -(n)un affixed. Intensive/mollitive states are again distinguished by using -(e)mun and -urun/-ulun.


    One can also form an indirect causative with the help of the reduplicated prefix sassar-. It denotes that something was not directly manipulated, but caused indirectly, hence for example sassarιχállun ’get someone killed’. It can also be used in the sense ’allow so. to do sth.’, e.g. sassalparússun ’allow to rise’.

  4. Activity verbs are regarded as intermediary between states and events/actions. They are formed by a compound of a state of activity and the verb sun ’to do, carry out’ (cf. Jap. suru-verbs):

There is a slight difference between spirússuin ’descended’ (past tense, see below) and pirús-mére ’changed into a state of being positioned below’ – a destative verb is preferred when the action is volitional or at least in some way controlled, the construction with mére for natural happenstances. Hence pirús-mére might be rather translated by ’came down, fell, collapsed’, mulprús-mére ’fell to the ground’. Similarly zdilóinun ’went to sleep’, dilón-mére ’fell asleep’.
This distinction does not exist in the present and is just a tendency rather than a general rule, motivated by a desire to dissociate overlapping forms (like English heaven acquiring a different meaning from sky). The state of doing something has the form spirússon, zdilónon both for volitional and non-volitional actions.

2.4.9  Past and future tense

There are three tenses of verbs and states in Talmit: present (rather ’habitual’ for verbs), past and future.

If there is a consonant cluster after the root vowel, the verb or state is weak. For verbs, the past and future are formed by altering the suffix -un. For states, one forms a compound with the general word pa ’state’. The past tense is formed by i-infixion and the future tense by u-infixion (1.1.3):

Thus for example tébnun ’to think’, trámne ’state of large size’:

If there is only a single consonant after the root vowel, the verb or state is strong, so that the past and future tense are formed by i- or u-infixion into the root itself. For example, gánun ’to go’, kas ’burning state’:

Words geminating l and s in the present are also strong, as gemination does not appear after a diphthong:

Associated and destative verbs are weak when derived with -emun, -arun, -urun/-ulun (the root syllable is antepenultimate or has a diphthong), but strong when derived with -mun, run/-lun, -un e.g.:

If the predicate involves a verb as well as a state, both are put into the past or future, e.g. pirúis-mére péinun ’changed into a past state of being positioned below’.

The i- and u-infixions originally denoted evidentiality in Proto-Tallic, whereby i-infixed forms stood for ascertained events and u-infixed ones for uncertain. But since the former tend to occur in the past, while the latter tend to occur in future, this simple evidentiality pattern became a marking of tense. In Hadam, on the other hand, i-infixed forms became the first person singular inflection, as personal experiences are more certain than those of other people; and u-infixion correspondingly became the third person inflection. Verbal inflections for person did not appear in Proto-Tallic and neither do they in Talmit and Kymna.

2.4.10  Imperative

The imperative for verbs is formed with -ere attached to the present stem. A polite imperative was originally formed by attaching -ere to the future tense, but the ending of weak verbs, -ίunere, was later substituted for both classes:

For states, the imperative is expressed on the postposition:

The variants with a single initial consonant are used after final consonants, those with an initial cluster after vowels: halán-nóire! ’be good!’, twímne-mzére! ’[do it] quickly!’. Used with the future tense of a state, one can express a more polite request, as in the greeting halíos-nóire! ’rejoice!’ (cf. Greek χαῖρε, χαίρετε) (< halís ’state of happiness’ < √khlis).

The corresponing cohortative form is -ίire, for verbs and postpositions alike:

2.4.11  Passive

The passive is formed by -ússun replacing -un. Passive verbs are always weak:

2.4.12  Reduplicated verbs, quantified action

Reduplication is applied to semelfactive verbs to express that an action is iterative, i.e. carried out multiple times one after another. The rules of reduplication are the same as for states and nouns (2.1.6): The first syllable is repeated with the root vowel. Spirants are reduplicated as stops while stops may become spirantized medially.

Hence kórdalun means ’move once in a circle’ and its reduplication kokórdalun, koχórdalun means ’revolve, rotate, move many times in a circle’. Témbarun ’to think once’ describes a single thought or idea popping into one’s mind while an active thought process over some problem would be described by tetémbarun, teθémbarun.

Other examples:

Another possibility to express iterated action is the prefixing the greater plural marker mi- or the paucal marker jo- (2.1.1). Hence:

Similarly, one can prefix mne- to describe a forceful action and we- (with e-umlaut 1.1.3 of the following vowel) for an unforceful one:

and so on.

2.5  Auxiliaries and particles

2.5.1  Auxiliaries

Auxiliary states are used for various purposes in Talmit – to act as modals, to express evidentiality or the aspect of an action.

  1. Some auxiliaries grammatically behave like states. They can receive stative nójo and a preceding verb either takes the compound or attributive form:

    These states form the head of the corresponding phrase and take tense endings. In particular, de is commonly used to express the present/past/future progressive tense (or imperfective aspect):

    Hence Aχagendίi-nójo ’[I] was eating’ and so on.

    Déo (the future of de) with the destinative mére is used to express aim or purpose:

  2. Auxiliary states behaving like sentence-ending particles are understood to modify a whole sentence rather than a verb or a state. They do not take nójo and the preceding verb is in the conclusive form. They often denote evidentiality:

2.5.2  Conjunctions

Some conjunctions are states grammaticalized into sentence-ending particles:

Others are actual particles or suffixes:

If the suffix -(s)se is attached to the postpositions jésse, nótto, nóllo, nójo, móno/mána, mére, méza, láha it leads to jesésse, nóxe, nólze, nójse, mónze/mánze, mérze, mésse, láxe.

Conditional sentences use angá as a sentence-ending particle in the protasis, and a new numerical particle for each apodosis: ilgá, ezgá, orgá etc., which is transparently ’step one’, ’step two’ and so on (√ga ’to go, move’, at ’1’, il ’2’, es ’3’, or ’4’). One would have expected *gáhat, *ga(h)il, but the order is probably reversed to have an open final vowel, which is often prolonged in casual speech when someone needs more time to think about the apodosis. The protasis can be framed by an initial particle éo, e.g.:

2.6  Discourse, interjections

A question is indicated in Talmit by (a)só? or emphasized (a)ssó? at the end of a sentence (equivalent to Japanese ka, Chinese ma). It can be framed by the reverse form os at the beginning of a sentence. Just using os without (a)só is possible, but not common. Similarly, a positive statement can be emphasized by (a)ló, (a)lló and a negative by (a)ró, (a)rró.

The sound-symbolic association of l with pleasantness and r with unpleasantness was so strong that it affected the roots √pla ’state of liking/disliking’, √khran ’(morally) good/bad state’, √khlis ’state of happiness/unhappiness’ so that they use l for the positive signum (2.1.3) and r for the negative:

Hence: Palá-nójo lo! ’I like it!’, Purá-nójo ro! ’I don’t like it!’.

Doubt can be expressed by (a)nó?, (a)nnó? (Jap. deshō, darō).

All these particles are also used as interjections: aló ’wow!, hey!’ (positive surprise, praise, amazement), arró! ’ugh!’ (disgust, disliking), anó?! ’really?!’ (surprise, questioning a statement).

Answering with ’yes’ or ’no’ depends on the question. If it ends with a verb, one repeats the verb to agree or puts it into the negative state to disagree. If the question ends with a state marked by a postposition, one repeats the postposition, e.g.:

To negate, one uses mulpá ’no, it isn’t’, which is short for θerpá-ejár mulpá-nójo ’This is not the case’.
In agreement to a proposition one can also say palá! ’I like it!’.

3  Vocabulary

3.1  Thematic interconnections of roots

3.1.1  Flora, fauna and earth

Words associated with flora often share initial k-, and w as the first or second sonorant:

Words associated with life and existence often share initial h-:

Words associated with earth and soil often share initial k-:

It has been therefore suggested that the words for earth and soil are the more basic ones and set the frame for further modifications, with k > kw denoting things that grow on the ground, and k > kh > h|χ denoting beings that live on the ground. Note especially:

This appears to be a double-modification, since leaves and flowers also pass through a life cycle.

The word ka can also be used in the sense of ’base, substratum’, describing the idea of something stretched out lying and supporting from below. In this usage it is a mass noun or a state and the conjuction kimmeká ’because’ (lit. ’solid ground’) is derived from it. In a compound with ba ’leg, pillar’, kabá, kásseba becomes a general word ’foundation, fundament, grounds, reason’ (see 3.5).

3.1.2  Sky, wind and directions

Words associated with wind or air often share initial ϕ-:

As do words associated with light or vision:

Words for spatial position share initial p- or b- and a liquid:

They all have signum (2.1.3):

The corresponding directions lack the final sonorant and may additionally show a-infixion (1.1.3):

Words associated with the sky share initial b-:

The cardinal directions are:

The word for ’weather’ is bamnekár, lit. ’sky-luck’, with bamnokára ’good weather’, bamnikáru ’bad weather’.

3.1.3  Water

There are three different roots for ’water’ in Talmit: √pal denoting water as a substance, √plakh standing for cold/warm water (pláχu/pláχa) and √podj denoting running water. In general, water-related roots have p- initially (but never ϕ- or b-) and often share l or j as one of the sonants:

Possibly related is √pobl, the root for speech in the sense of a flow of words rather than transmitting information (which is √tal or √tapl). Hence póble may mean ’speech, way of talking, articulation’ depending on the context, pobletetébne ’phonology’, pólba ’spoken word’, pólbamai ’sentence, phrase’, but táple ’tale, report’, tal ’word as a name, description, label’, tálpa is a sentence-ending particle expressing hearsay (2.5.1).

Another thematic sound combination associated with water is m-l and an initial velar:

The latter looks suspiciously close to hlúmi ’salt’ (√khlu). In any case it is apparent that the pl-roots stand for fresh, clear water and the ml-roots for salty or impure water, water as an instrument. Compare also pallúmas ’lake’. A word which is in between these classifications, seems to be plúima ’tear’.

3.2  Shapes and geometry

Talmit distinguishes kan denoting the shape of a 3-dimensional body and ki denoting a 2-dimensional, often drawn shape. So for example, √ko ’round appearance’ leads to kokán ’sphere’ (cf. √kodr > kódro ’wheel’, kódralun ’move once in a circle’) and kokí ’circle’. The compound of both, kankí, means ’picture’, a 2-dimensional shape of a 3-dimensional object, talkí is a ’letter, character’.
A shape existing in mind and imagination only is called gus. This forms dillogús ’dream (in sleeping)’, kangús ’vision of a real object, artistic plan’, degús ’plan (of action), intention’.

Position on a line (spatial or temporal) is denoted by the root √der:

Interior/exterior position is denoted by trun, the root for the corresponding direction is tru:

One notices that there is a difference between tarúmmet and muldér – the former can be used for the center of an area or volume, e.g. pelestámi-no tarúmmet ’center of a town’; the latter only for linearly extended objects (also in an abstract sense), e.g. gépre-mo muldér ’middle of the way’, antát-mo muldér ’middle of a time period’.

English makes a consistent distinction regarding the size of one- and three-dimensional objects – long describes the former and big the latter. Properly, the word large is used for areas, i.e. two dimensions, but has by now extended its meaning to three dimensions as well. Talmit makes a rigorous distinction in all three dimensions: andérne ’long’ (1dim), antrúmme ’large’ (2dim) and trámne ’big’ (3dim). On the other hand, it makes no distinction regarding the particular shape of the described object, so that tra is both ’size’ and ’volume’.

3.3  p-t-k iconism

Comparing 3.1.1, 3.1.2 and 3.2, a notable iconic tendency can be found:

The most ancient and very productive triplet of roots is √pru ’up’, √tru ’inwards’ (see http://sindanoorie.net/glp/historical002.html), √ka ’ground’.

3.4  Parts of the body

3.4.1  List of words

3.4.2  Senses

Talmit distinguishes only three senses. Two of them share a thematic initial g-:

However, there is also the word gwímrun which lexcially combines ’see and hear’. It is often used in the sense ’to meet’. The corresponding sense – ’sense of sight and hearing’ just means ’attention’:

’Taste’ can be expressed by tlirχézlun ’feel with tongue’ (tlir ’tongue’, tliraχézle ’good taste’, tlirιχézle ’bad taste’), although simply hézlun is enough. The word used for ’smell’ is ϕawínun ’inhale’. Therefore, the expression aχál-mo ϕnipnósse iχál-mo hézιl can equally mean ’the smell of life and the taste of death’ as well as ’the air of life and the touch of death’.

In addition, it is possible to form associated words from the parts of the body (3.4.1) to derive volitional sensorial actions:

3.5  Phrasal compounds

A special kind of words in Talmit are compounds of two ”light” roots with one of the original monosyllabic particle in between.

  1. In se-compounds the two words are joined by se ’and’ (geminized to sse after a stressed single vowel). They are similar to dvandva compounds, but acquire new, abstract meanings. In many cases they denote the interaction between the two nouns:

    In particular, se-compounds of numerals are distributive:

  2. Nu-compounds contain accusative nu and a verbal root. Note that √ga ’go, move’ means ’enter’ when combined with the accusative (3.6.5):
  3. Ma-compounds use dative ma:
  4. Mo-compounds use genitive mo. A particularly common formation is a compound with ka ’soil, ground’ which describes a flat area usually attached to a landmark:
  5. Zo-compounds use instrumental zoza:

The appearance of the ”heavy” root √gam in these ”light” root compounds with monosyllabic derivatives suggests an ancient loan *gam before it was reshaped to gáme.

3.6  Some peculiar conceptions

3.6.1  (Ir)reversibility

The doublet darót/dirót means ’degree of reversibility/irreversibility of an action’ (cf. Jap. shimau), in full conjugation:

So for example one would say:

Also cf. diroχdilón ’irreversible sleep state’, i.e. ’deep sleep state’.

3.6.2  Order

The word kras means ’degree of order’, with karás ’ordered, symmetrical state’, but kirás means something like ’anti-ordered, anti-symmetrical state, opposition’, where elements are repeated in reverse; and mulkrás ’disordered, chaotic state’ (a formal word, colloquially jerίjre, see sound-symbolism: http://sindanoorie.net/glp/phonosymb.php).

Hence karaskí ’pattern’, kiraspá ’duality, doublet state’. Kairás, kairázmai can be used to describe a particular pattern with repeated and inversely repeated elements, or the ’universe’ in general (in the latter case also kairázmen with augmentative -men), which is thought to consist out of elements in repetition/collaboration on the one hand, and elements of adversity/opposition on the other (cf. Greek κόσμος).

3.6.3  Prefix war- 

The prefix war-/wal-/wan- indicates something which is subordinate, a smaller or weaker version, or has not yet achieved its full proportions. It is combined with the diminutive endings -win, -lin for short words:

This prefix is probably a blend of the sound-symbolic roots √w-l ’be soft, pliant and weak’ and √w-r ’false, fake, lie’ (see sound-symbolism: http://sindanoorie.net/glp/phonosymb.php).

3.6.4  Animal sounds

English has various verbs describing the sounds of animals, like ’bark’, ’twitter’, ’bleat’, ’meow’ or ’buzz’. Japanese, on the other hand, uses naku for any of them (for human beings, it means ’to cry’). Talmit is a compromise in between the two, and distinguishes:

3.6.5  Paths and language

In many languages, direct objects of verbs of motion are paths, as English ’to walk a road’. In Talmit, however, they are always destinations:

One can also explicitly use the postposition tarúma ’into’. The expression gépre-nu gánun, lit. ’go a way’ actually means ’finish going a way, go all way until the end’. Otherwise, the image schema of a road is the one of a surface: gépre-nópparus gánun ’go on a way’.

Curiously, the image schema for speaking a language is also the one of the surface of a path, while the destination (usually with explicit tarúma) is proficiency:

4  Texts

4.1  Abbreviations

4.1.1  standard

cjprtconjunctive particle
<fut>future (always infix)
irecpindirect reciprocal (’to each other’)
mpmodal particle
prttpartitive genitive
<pst>past (always infix)
quotquoting particle
temptemporal (case)

4.1.2  as in Japanese

attattributive (verb)
icclconnective/inconclusive (verb)
cmpdcompound (verb)

4.1.3  peculiar to Talmit

extextension in time/space
gplgreater plural
extrextreme value
nom.actnominative of a verbal predicate
nom.statnominative of a stative predicate
rlscrelative scale
vr.stverbalizer indicating change of state

4.2  The Crow and the Fox (Kárkase Hjélpa)

One day, a fox saw a crow with a piece of cheese in her beak sitting on a branch of a tree.
Tat-mo aϕéx-nóllo, hjélpa-wa bno-nótto tlúrdata-ja agó-nójse katuplézne-nópparus θróde-nóimo kárka-nu gίinun.
time=gen  day-temp,  fox=nom.act  mouth=loc  cheese-count.noun=nom.stat-and  tree-hand=upon  sitting.state=stat-gen  crow=acc  see<pst>

He thought ’Let me get that cheese for myself’ and walked up to the foot of the tree.
Al ”Térmo tlúrda-nu éze-ma ataznίire” la tebnénze, kátu-mo búkne-nógma gánen-smuldίirun.
quot  that-gen  cheese=acc  me-dat  take-coh  quot  think-iccl,  tree-gen  stalk-all  go-cmpd-stop<pst>

’Good day, oh crow!’, he said,
Al ”Ne, halíos-nójre, kárkale!” la taplénze,
quot  voc,  happiness<fut>=stat-imp,  crow-voc  quot  say-iccl,

’How well you are looking today!
al ”Benaϕéx-nol apéa-kampá-nójo lo!
quot  this-day-temp  good.state-appearence=stat  mp.delight

How shining are your eyes,
Φaujál-ejár amneϕálne-nójo lo!
eye<du>=nom.stat-top  int-brightness-int=stat  mp.delight

how glossy are your feathers!
Hwílmi-jar mnetlependé-nójo lo!
feather-gpl=nom.stat  int-shine-state=stat  mp.delight

Your voice must surely surpass the voices of other birds, just like your form does’
Ámo kánta-ja tóspamit-láha etémme-nójo kimmeká, prau-jásse emnetémme-nójo pakjúmne alló!
you-gen  shape-stat  bird-gpl-extr=than  rlsc-value-int=stat  because,  human.voice=nom.stat-and  rlsc-int-value-int=stat  ptcl.supposition  mp.delight

(In his flattery, the fox uses prau ’human voice’, not hau or bae ’animal voice’, and does not hold back on the intensifying affix mne.)

Oh crow, could you sing me a song so that I can call you the queen of birds!’
Ne, kárkale, éze-ma glanentá-nu glanίunere, tóspamit-nímo impérax-lámo tal-nu ámma sartánuna adéχse-mére!”
voc  crow-voc,  me-dat  sing-cmpd-count.noun=acc  sing<fut>-imp,  bird-gpl-extr=prtt  queen=thm-gen  name-acc  you-dat  caus-possession-att  possible.state=dst

The crow lifted her head in order to sing, but as she opened her beak, the cheese fell down and was taken by the fox.
Kárka-war glanendéo-mére parúx-nu salparússuin assé, bno-nu samϕrίjlun etáppawet, tlúrdata-ewár mulprús-mére penénze, hjélpa-zo dirógnet-mére ataznússuin.
crow=nom.act-top  sing-cmpd-state<fut>=dst  head=acc  caus-above-vr<pst>  cjprt,  mouth=acc  caus-open.state<pst>-vr  same.relative.time,  cheese-count.noun=nom.act  ground=dst  change-iccl,  fox-inst  irreversibility-int-extr=dst  take-pass<pst>

’That’s right, that’s what I wanted’, said the fox,
Al ”Palá-nójo lo! Bempá ané éze-mo deguis.” la hjélpa-war taplúin,
quot  good.state=stat  mp.delight!  this-state  cop  me-gen  action-shape<pst>  quot  fox=nom.act-top  say<pst>,

’In exchange for the cheese I shall give you a piece of advice for the future:
al ”Tlúrda-la kirassartanénze adéota-nu atát-nima táplιun:
quot  cheese-thm  exchange-iccl  advice-count.noun=acc  future.point=ext-dat  say<fut>:

Do not trust flatteres.’
Glichitápil-ja idóbne-nójre.”
sweet-sayer-nom.stat  distrust=stat-imp

4.3  The Babel text (Genesis 11:1-9)

1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.
Káhat-ninóttor at póblese astán-mo tálmit-ja agói-nójo.
world=ext.loc-top  one  speech-and  common.state=gen  word=gpl-extr=nom.stat  existence<pst>=stat

2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
Amméda-war paruϕjómne-nógma ganénze, Sχínar-nótto hammebjó-nu hloϕrénze smultwínen-zdróχsuin.
pl-human-nom.act  east-all  go-iccl,  Shinar-loc  plain-acc  find-iccl  stop-cmpd-vr.st-living-vr<pst>

3 They said to each other, ”Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.”
Al ganίire, kjubetámi-nu saragonénze apéa-méza papsίire-la juttápluin.
quot  go-coh,  brick-gpl=acc  caus-existence-iccl  good.state=mut  bake=coh=quot  irecp-say<pst>

They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.
Kjubetámi-zor dáχχa-nu pinimpái-mésse, kax-azór pelθármi-nu pinimpái-méza dwógruin.
brick-gpl=inst-top  stone-substance-acc  use-neg-state<pst>=mut-and,  tar=inst-top  building.grain-gpl=acc  use-neg-state<pst>=mut  work<pst>

4 Then they said, ”Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
Θerpámon, al ganίire, ézra-ma tal-nu saragonénze, káhat-mo péχu-ninótto zdrosulimpá-mélze
then  quot  go-coh,  we=dat  name=acc  caus-existence-iccl,  earth=gen  horizontal.surface-ext.loc  vr.st-coherence-neg-state=dst-and

bámne-ninógma parúzba-ja agó-nóimo pelestámi-nu sarpelίire-la tápluin.
sky=ext.all  tower=nom.stat  existence-stat-gen  roof-gpl=acc  caus-building-coh=quot  say<pst>

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.
Ána Pruχsemendá-ewar sarpelussendίi-nójo pelestámise parúzba-nu ginendéo-mére spirússuin.
but  lord-nom.act-top  caus-building-pass-cmpd-state<pst>  roof-gpl-and tower-acc  see-cmpd-state<fut>=dst  vr.st-position.below-vr<pst>

6 The Lord said, ”If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.
Al eϕémis-mo tálmit-mo agmédamai-nójo sιdéremuin angá, térmo amméda-mo degúsmit-nímo multá-ja idéχse-nιun ilgá.
quot  rlsc-similarity-eqt  word-gpl-extr=gen  one-human-coll=stat  vr.st-beginning-int-vr<pst>  if,  that-gen  pl-human=gen  action-shape-gpl-extr=prtt  nothing-nom.stat  impossible.state=potential.stat  then

7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
Ganίire, spirusénze térmo tálmit-nu togimpá-mére sarϕeolίire-la Pruχsemendá-ewár tápluin.
go-coh,  vr.st-down-iccl  that-gen  word-gpl-extr=acc  understand-neg-state=dst  caus-similarity-mol-coh=quot  lord=nom.act-top say<pst>

8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
Θerpézan, Pruχsemendá-ewár θérmo amméda-nu káhat-ninótto saldrússuluin assé, pelestámi-nu sarpéllen-smuldίirun.
thereby,  lord=nom.act-top  that-gen  pl-human=acc  world-ext-loc  caus-coherence-mol-vr<pst>  cjprt,  roof-gpl=acc  caus-building-cmpd-stop<pst>

9 That is why it was called Babel – because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.
Pruχsemendá-ewár káhat-ninótto-mo tálmit-nu sarϕéoluin kimmeká, θertá ané Bábel-lámo ta.
lord=nom.act-top  world-ext-loc=gen  word-gpl-extr=acc  caus-similarity--mol-vr<pst>  because,  that  cop  Babel=thm-gen  count.noun

From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
Θérmo amméda-nur Pruχsemendá-wa θérχwe-nógno káhat-ninótto dirógnet-mére saldrússuluin.
That-gen  pl-human-acc  lord=nom.act  that-place=abl  world-ext-loc  irreversibility-int-extr=dst  caus-coherence-mol-vr<pst>

4.4  The North Wind and the Sun

The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when
Paranweϕósse Bánat-ja, al nwára-ja gerózne-mo báχas-nójo-la juttaplendίi-nójo táppa,
north.wind.and  sun=nom.stat,  quot  which=nom.stat  strength<rlsc>-int=gen  force=stat=quot  irecp-say-action.state<pst>=stat  when,

a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak.
taléwe-mo hábe-zo skalúinuna gepreganendá-wa pranganendé-agáinun.
warmth-mol=gen  cloak=inst  vr.st-clothed.state-vr<pst>  traveler=nom.act  pass-cmpd-action.state<pst>

They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveler take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other.
Al gepreganendá-mo hábe-nu tewímne-méza sarkilίununa ta-ejár gerózne-mo báχas-nójo-la aspógnuin.
quot  traveler=gen  cloak=acc  speed<rlsc>-int=mut  caus-unclothed.state-att  count.noun=nom.stat-top  strength<rlsc>-int=gen force=stat=quot  agree<pst>

Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew the more closely did the traveler fold his cloak around him;
Paranweϕós-ewár gróznet-ϕninénze-ϕnίinon-mére assé, gepreganendá-mo hábe-zo sϕámremon-ja etennespái-nójo.
north.wind=nom.act-top  strength-int-extr-blow-iccl-blow.state=dst  cjprt,  traveler=gen  cloak=inst  vr.st-covering.state=nom.stat  rlsc-value-eqt-state<pst>=stat

and at last the North Wind gave up the attempt.
Deadérnet, paranweϕós-ewár dwógren-smuldίirun.
at.last  north.wind-nom.act-top  work-cmpd-stop<pst>

Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveler took off his cloak.
Θerpámon, Bánat-war sartalenénze saϕálemuin assé, gepreganendá-wa hábe-nu sarkilúinun muletáppa.
then  sun-nom.act-top  caus-warmth-int-iccl  vr.st-brightness-int.vr<pst>  cjprt  traveler-nom.act  cloak-acc  caus-clothed.state<pst>   same.time

And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.
Θerpézan, al Bánat-ja gerózne-mo báχas-nójo-lar paranweϕós-wa taplenθίisuna tóide-mer pίinun.
hereby  quot  sun-nom.stat  strength<rlsc>-int=gen  force=stat=quot-top  north.wind-nom.act  say-cmpd-show<pst>-att  obligation<pst>-dst   change<pst>


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Many of the so-called Proto-Tallic free morphemes of the SV-type also appear in the inverted VS-form (S – sonorant, V – vowel), as *ar/ra, *os/so, *mi/im, *aQ/Qa.
La luna es un Banco de metáforas arruinado (greguería by Ramón Gómez de la Serna)
ume no hana / akai wa akai wa / akai wa na (comic haiku by Hirose Izen)
from The Little Prince
from Unforgiven
from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
from Alice in Wonderland
in full: hatarakedo / hatarakedo nao waga kurashi raku ni narazari / jitto te wo miru ’I keep on working / and keep on working, but still my life gets no easier / Blankly I stare at my hands’ (by Ishikawa Takuboku)

This document was translated from LATEX by HEVEA.