Unsurprisingly, tahori have a variety of words involving change, the most obvious being their own species name. Ho is the root that means change, which at its basest level means one thing ceasing to be A and starting to be B. There is no implication of the time it takes to change or the permanence or impermanence of the change, only that something changes. Hori, the verb “to change,” is such a broad sweeping verb as to be almost useless, even for tahori who are very fond of wide meanings. Ta-, then, is a prefix that indicates the outer covering of a living thing: skin, hide, fur, pelt, even scaled or feathered skins. (Anatomically, this frequently includes the outermost layer of fat and sometimes even surface musculature, plus claws, teeth, lips, eyes, ears, etc.)
You may notice that tahori have named themselves with a verb. This is largely due to the fact that they never stop changing, so they felt it fitting to be verbs instead of static nouns. Tahoku, a skin-change, is the word they use to mark their transitions between taku, their three “skins” or distinct body-shapes.
There are plenty of other words that branch from the root ho. Nenhoku, for example, a person-change; a change in personality and/or behaviors stark enough that the person may as well be someone else. Relatedly, nenhori is to change one’s own character, usually used in positive terms of self-improvement, often associated with the acquisition of new skillsets. Shuth-hori is the verb for seasons changing. Tihch-hori (day) and rhahori (night) are the verbs for the day becoming night and vice versa, so tihch-hoku is sunset and rhahoku is sunrise.
Zech-hoku is a change in a battle or other physical conflict, a turning of the tide. Mulhoku is the moment when understanding dawns, or when it leaves and is replaced by confusion. Gumhori is the change of an individual into a parent. Rahori is the changing of a mood, with rahoku being the emotional shift itself. And so it goes.
Inlanlu tahori are deeply social creatures, and their emotions are powerful and play a large role in forming and maintaining their vital social bonds, so the concept of love is multifaceted and explicit.
A quick note before we get into the fun stuff: you’ll see four common modifiers throughout this post. -ku is a suffix that turns a root into a noun; -ri is a suffix that turns a root into a verb. -sho is a suffix that turns a root into an active person (e.g. trainer), and -sug is a suffix that turns a root into a passive person (e.g. trainee). A speaker can refer to itself with either form, depending on whom they consider to have the “active” and “passive” roles.
We have two “love” words for romantic relationships as human know them:
Root: rhom. Noun is rhomku, the relationship of lovers/consorts. Verb is rhomri, “to court” or “to consort with” in a romantic and/or sexual fashion. Person-words are rhomsho, a consort/lover (can add -am to make rhomsho-am for “girlfriend” or -chu for boyfriend, but tahori don’t use gender modifiers like that; humans would), and rhomsug (one’s consort).
Root: san. Noun is sanku, the relationship of mates. Verb is sanri, to declare mateship with (humans would say “to marry”) or to be mated to. Person-words are sansho and sansug (likewise, can add -am to feminize or -chu to masculinize, e.g. sansugchu).
And we have four “love” words for emotional love/affection/attachment:
Root: lin, the form of affection one feels towards a person who is deeply admirable and respected and well-liked, but too distant to love with any emotional intimacy. Can be nouned (linku, the emotion of respect-love) or verbed (linri, to respect-love). Humans understand this kind of love to be similar to unexcessive hero-worship, or the kind of semi-impersonal love they might feel towards great figures in history, politics, science, or art. Person-words are linsho and linsug, though linsho is almost never used, as the object of respect-love is usually of far greater importance than one of many people who linri it.
Root: dol, platonic or familial love; it is strong and intimate, non-exclusive, and frequently felt widely, towards packmates, blood-family, and friends. Can be nouned (dolku, the emotion of platonic love) or verbed (dolri, to platonically love). Humans know this when they tell their friends or extended family “I love you.” Tahori say “duku undolri” (yourself I-love). Person-words are dolsho and dolsug; a variation on “I love you” is “dolsug a-un,” or “my love” (love of mine).
Root: adh, deep adoration and 100% emotional devotion; it is felt between mates, between parent and child, and sometimes between extremely close friends. Can be nouned (adhku, the emotion of perfect love) or verbed (adhri, to deeply love). Humans think of this kind of love as “true love,” but it lacks the sexual aspect that humans associate with “true love.” This is the only form of emotional love that is almost always mutual and rarely spoken if it isn’t. Person-words are adhsho and adhsug.
Root: si, sexual desire/lust; felt between consorts and mates, or felt one-sidedly towards a physically attractive individual. Can be nouned (siku, the emotion/feeling of desire) or verbed (siri, to lust or be attracted to). There is no shame or social pressure associated with this word; it’s usually used as a matter-of-fact statement or as a compliment to someone who is a sisug (the object of desire). Humans put a lot more baggage into this concept than tahori do.
There you have it! Six words of love. Nen-na dudolri? (Who do you love?)
The word zinena-un is actually two words: zinen a-un. (Pronounce zee-NAYN-ah-OON.) It has, however, become such a common and meaningful phrase that it is now frequently considered a word unto itself. Let’s examine its constituent parts.
Nen is a person (a thinking, living creature). The prefix zi- indicates “that” or “this”, instead of “the” or “a” (which has no prefix and is the default/understood form of most nouns). Un means I or me, and a- is a prefix that indicates possession. Literally translated, zinena-un is “this person belonging to me.”
Historically, the declaration of zinena-un was made in verb form: Zinen unari. (lit. “that-person I own”, roughly “I claim that person as mine.” Ari as a verb, roughly translated as “claims,” “owns,” or “take possession of,” has the pronoun of self as the subject, which is the reverse of what we’d say in English: “That belongs to me.”) Over time, the word zinena-un began to hold such weight in tahori culture that the verb was no longer necessary, much as we in English might stop saying “I own this!” and simply state “Mine.”
Having never had slaves or servants in their cultural history, tahori have a very special emphasis on the statement that a given person is “theirs.” To claim a person is to declare a relationship, with or without that person’s prior knowledge or any established or expected mutual agreement. It establishes a social structure between the tahori and zinen, that person, and as intensely social people, that is very important to inlanlu tahori.
Declaring someone zinena-un has saved many lives; the statement of social bond indicates that a tahori will defend their person, violently if necessary. The word is rarely used in situations with romantic or sexual implications; stronger and more explicit words are used for courtship and one’s chosen mate. In terms of physical and emotional protection, however, zinena-un indicates a tahori’s willingness to intervene and to side with their person.
“Do you know this person?”
“This person is mine.”
The Uhjayi root gek is an old and oft-used one; its general meaning derives from the sound produced when a prey animal is seized in inlanlu jaws and shaken, with the intent of breaking its bones. There is a strong connotation of helplessness and involuntary victimhood to the word; the very sound evokes the kind of sound a dying creature might emit in the teeth of a predator.
The closest single-word English translation is “mangle.”
Gek has a full range of uses: As a noun, gek-ku, it is the event of the attack or the incident that causes the mangling. As a verb, gekri, its most original use, it is to make the attack: Ungekri, I mangle, is a hunting phrase and can be used with or without a specified object. Indeed, it is so commonplace that its objectless form has become synonymous with I hunt.
Tahori, however, are not invulnerable to the world, and so they have adapted this root to include the feeling of being picked up by the fangs of circumstance and shaken to the point of breaking, or perhaps just past. Ungekra, simply translated, means I feel mangled, with heavy undertones of non-consent and battering. It is almost never used in regards to a physical attack by another person, and only rarely in regards to a physical accident or injury; the implications are emotional and mental. Tahori are pragmatic; it’s redundant to speak of feeling mangled when physical evidence of the mangling is present and perceptible.
the sky spreads above
the earth spreads below
the wolf is held between
the heart of the wolf
touches the heart of the sky
touches the heart of the earth
all hearts are one
all hearts beat together
all hearts are one
all hearts beat together
above-wards sky spreads
below-wards land spreads
wolf the-between holds
selfness belongingto-wolf touches
all-hearts are oneness
with all-hearts all-hearts go
all-hearts are oneness
with all-hearts all-hearts go
shiksha zuhr yanri
khuhdsha inku yanri
inlanlu vyvku chuthri
usku a-inlanlu meri
la-usku huri adku
lash la-usku la-usku zyri
la-usku huri adku
lash la-usku la-usku zyri
~ inku (een-koo) – noun, root in – soil, land, ground (the element or manifestation of earth; does not indicate a planet/world)
~ yanri (yahn-ree) – verb, root yan – spreads, stretches, reaches, expands, grows
~ khuhdsha – direction, root khuhd – below, beneath, underneath
~ vyvku – noun, root vyv – between, betwixt
~ chuthri – verb, root chuth – holds, embraces, envelops, hugs, wraps around
~ usku (oos-koo) – noun, root us – selfness, personhood (humans would say “heart” or “soul” or “spirit”; tahori have a different word for their physical heart)
~ meri (may-ree) – verb, root me – touches (physically)
~ la – prefix, modifier – all (used like ha-)
~ lash – conjunction, bridge – with
“Hey! That’s mine!”
“What? No it’s not. It’s mine.”
“Stern! That-thing belongingto-me is!”
“Question? No, that-thing belongingto-you no-is. That-thing belongingto-me is.”
“Nog! Zi-omku a-un huri!”
“Na? Su, zi-omku adu urhuri. Zi-omku a-un huri.”
~ Nog is a social indicator that can also be used as an exclamation, much like we’d say “hey!” or “yo!” to get someone’s attention.
~ The words for “my” (a-un, “belonging to me”) or “your” (adu, “belonging to you”), follow the noun they modify (in this case, zi-omku, “that thing”).
~ Zi- is a prefix that roughly transforms a word from “the ___” to “that ___.” Commonly used when pointing out a particular thing/person in a group/crowd. Zinen (“that-person”) is frequently heard.
- Uhjayi is built around roots and modifiers, most of which are prefixes and suffixes, but some of which are standalone words that come before or after the root.
- Uhjayi has a loose OSV (object subject verb) pattern, which can be modified to indicate importance of concept/person. More important things come first in the sentence.
- Uhjayi roots can be a single vowel, a consonant-vowel pair, or a consonant-vowel-consonant syllable. Any vowel paired with an H (IH, EH, UH) is considered a single vowel. Similarly, any consonant paired with H (CH, DH, JH, KH, RH, SH, TH) is considered a single consonant; H is only its own consonant when it stands alone, and it never ends a root. For example, guh is a consonant-vowel root, while hes is a consonant-vowel-consonant root, and ih is a single-vowel root. Only pronounce H when it stands alone.
- Written Uhjayi doesn’t use any form of hyphen. When writing Uhjayi in the English alphabet, hyphens are used to clarify separate vowels and cases of identical consonants being together. For example, dach-cho is not written as dachcho so that the speaker pronounces both CH sounds; likewise, du-omnara is not written duomnara to ensure the speaker pronounces both U and O separately. Also, a word like guh-om will use a hyphen, since UH is considered a single vowel; this will help you distinguish H as part of a vowel from H as a consonant (as seen in kiham).
- Uhjayi commonly uses social indicators to convey the speaker’s intention at the beginning of a sentence. (In complicated conversations with several participants, the social indicators preface their subjects.)
- Some roots, like tihch (day), do not need -ku as a modifier if they can only be used as nouns.
- -ku turns a root into a noun.
- -ri turns a root into a verb.
- -vo comes after -ri to indicate future tense.
- -vut comes after -ri to indicate past tense.
- -ky comes after -ri to indicate infinite tense (something that is unending; past-present-future all in one).
- -ra turns a root into a verb that expresses feeling. (“I feel ___.” = “un___ra”) -ri and -ra are never used in the same word.
- -sha indicates direction, as in eastwards. -ku would be used to say “the east” instead of “eastwards.”
- ur- negates a word and prefaces the verb; if there is a pronoun, -ur- comes between the pronoun and the verb.
- na is a question indicator. It follows a phrase, or can be said alone like “huh?” to express confusion. -na is a suffix for question words like what (omna), who (nen-na), when (fotna), where (dachna), how (vazna), and why (shyna) – it does not need to be added to the end of the sentence when any of those words are used.
- ki means yes.
- su means no.
- -te means good/well.
- -no means poor/bad.
- es means for, as in “this present is for you.”
- sag means to, as in “from me to you.”
- sy- means very.
- dek means and.
- -tho is a modifier that attaches to colors; it roughly means “-colored.” Colors are not modifiers that attach to their objects; they stand alone with -tho.
- -sho means -er, as in “fighter,” “runner,” etc. -sho is an active person (one who acts).
- -sug means -ee (“employee,” “trainee,” etc). -sug is a passive person (one who is acted upon).
- jodh yidh is a respectful, neutral greeting commonly used between strangers or equals.
- lih shehth is a warm, welcoming greeting often used between friends or as a reassurance that the speaker is approachable and peaceable.
- nog prefaces a sentence to indicate a stern or commanding tone.
- heth prefaces a sentence to indicate humility or deference.
- kor prefaces a sentence to indicate a parental attitude or kindness in response to deference.
- Pronouns are prefixes to verbs, but nouns are not directly attached to the verb. If a pronoun stands alone, as in “myself” versus “I”, add -ku to make it a noun.
- Basic pronoun list: un- is I, du- is you (singular), rhi- is you (plural), kuh- is it (third person singular), fu- is they (third person plural).
- -am indicates femaleness (usually on a third-person pronoun where necessary to distinguish sex).
- -chu indicates maleness (usually on a third-person pronoun where necessary to distinguish sex).
- -kum indicates a combination of maleness and femaleness (whether literal or apparent).
- -dhok indicates genderlessness or sexlessness (whether literal or apparent).
- -tuh indicates a gender that is not male or female (or both or neither).
- a- means belonging to and is usually a prefix for pronouns.
You can find definitions of all vocabulary that has been featured in the lessons up to this point right here for easy reference. Use CTRL + F (or CMD + F for Macs) to search the page.
Numbers & Quantity
- ha- pluralizes a noun.
- shuh means “few” and is a stand-alone modifier that follows its object; never used with ha- (due to redundancy).
- shudh means “lots” or “plenty” and is a stand-alone modifier that follows its object; never used with ha- (due to redundancy).
- While the numbering system is base ten, double- and triple-digit numbers count in “tens” (ov) and “twenties” or “scores” (uv). One says “one ten and three” for 13 or “two twenties and five” for 45. (The word “and” is not actually used in Uhjayi in numbers; I use it here in English to clarify.) Numbers come after the noun to which they refer and always start with a vowel, and the number of tens or twenties is a prefix to the -ov or -uv, while the “singles” comes after as a stand-alone word. Example: aduv ad is 21; one-twenty one.
- ad means 1.
- os means 2.
- yf means 3.
- uhsh means 4.
- ul means 5.
- ehth means 6.
- esh means 7.
- af means 8.
- yv means 9.
- ehz means hundred. Used like ov (tens).
- im means two hundred. Used like uv (twenties).
Quiz: Lessons 1-5
Please refer to the appropriate lessons for help and hints. This is an open-blog test.
- How would you say 235?
- Conjugate (list all the basic pronoun forms of) the verb huri, “to be.”
- How would you say “she exists infinitely”? Hint: “infinitely” is a modifier, not a stand-alone word. Hint #2: You’ll need a hyphen.
- How would you say “I felt terrible”? Hint: “Terrible” means “very bad.”
- As a human greeting a tahori, which greeting would you use?
- How would you say 720?
- How would you say “I will welcome this person”? Use the vocabulary list.
- If a tahori says “Du-omnara?” (“How are you?”), what are they really asking? (Bonus: Write a one-line response in Uhjayi.)
- If you were being humble, how would you say “My name is ___”? (Fill in your own name and refer to Lesson 4.)
- Using the vocabulary list, come up with your best insult in Uhjayi… and your best compliment. Bonus points for creativity!
When you’re done writing your answers down and posting them in the comments, click here for the answer key!
Inlanlu: “Look up at the sky.”
Human: “The sunset is very pretty, but the red clouds are even prettier.”
I: “A thunderstorm speeds towards us.”
H: “Hm? I hadn’t noticed.”
I: “Do you know where your child is?”
H: “Oh! No. I must find him.”
I: “Be quick.”
“Respect, up-wards at sky you-look.”
“Beauty sunset has, but beauty-more plural-cloud red-colored have.”
“To this-place storm-water goes-quick.”
“Where child belongingto-you is you-know?”
“Oh! No. It-male find I-must.”
“Jodh shiksha sag zuhr dunadri.”
“Dasku najhku fari fam daskuyad hakhizku rhystho fari.”
“Sag zidach hychkukihn zyriles.”
“Dachna zen adu huri dudari?”
“O! Su. Kuhchu luhsri unjhiri.”
~ Uhjayi commonly uses social indicators to convey the speaker’s intention at the beginning of a sentence. (In complicated conversations with several participants, the social indicators preface their subjects.) In the past lessons, you’ve seen the difference in the human’s usual greeting (jodh yidh) and the inlanlu’s greeting (lih shehth). Jodh indicates respect between equals or strangers, while lih indicates friendliness; nog, as seen here, indicates a stern or commanding attitude, often used when giving urgent orders or when a superior speaks to someone under its command. Note: Jodh and lih are the indicators; yidh (“peace”) and shehth (“welcome”) are conceptual roots that complete the greetings. Lih shehth in particular is often used to set someone at ease and reassure them that the speaker is not only peaceable, but amiable as well.
~ -tho is a modifier that attaches to colors; it roughly means “-colored.” Colors are not modifiers that attach to their objects; they stand alone with -tho.
~ Shiksha is “upwards,” and shik-ku would be “the above.” Up, down, left, right, behind, ahead, etc are all modified by -sha, just like east, west, north, and south. (Remember, you only need hyphens in Uhjayi to separate two vowels or two similar-sounding or identical consonants.)
~ The word for “storm,” hychku, is modified by a suffix indicating whether it’s a thunderstorm or rainstorm (-kihn, “water”), a sandstorm, a snowstorm, a duststorm, etc.
~ This conversation is another good example of cultural differences and harmless ignorance. A human passing by might make small-talk about the weather before moving on and think nothing of it; tahori don’t so much make small-talk as point out important observations that probably require some kind of action or awareness. The human assumes the tahori is just chatting, while the tahori is trying to convey that bad weather is coming, so the human should find his son before it hits. This fits with the tahori use of “how are you?” to discern intentions, rather than verbally state that which is already knowable or known. Tahori rarely say pointless things.
~ Based on all lessons so far, how would you greet a tahori whom you’d seen but never met? How would you greet a friend? Hint: each answer has two words, not just one.
~ If hychkukihn zyriles is “storm-water goes-quick,” how would you say “the storm had gone” (storm-water goes-pasttense)? Referring to Lesson 3, how would you say “the storm will go”?
~ How would you tell someone in a commanding manner to look upwards quickly? Hint: you don’t need to say “at sky” (sag zuhr).
Dakaya: “Hello. I acknowledge your power.”
Kada: “I acknowledge your power. My name is Kada.”
Dakaya: “My name is Dakaya. I have twenty-one warriors.”
Kada: “I have thirty-four warriors. Do you accept my challenge for this land?”
Dakaya: “No. I cede this land to you.”
“Very-respect, strength belongingto-you I-know.”
“Strength belongingto-you I-know. Kada me you-name.”
“Me you-name Dakaya. Plural-fight-person one-score one I-have.
“Plural-fight-person three-tens four I-have. For this-territory-part you I-challenge. What you-respond?”
“Peace, this-territory-part to you I-surrender.”
“Syjodh jhedh adu undari.”
“Jhedh adu undari. Kada unku dugodri.”
“Unku dugodri Dakaya. Hazechsho aduv ad unfari.”
“Hazechsho yfov uhsh unfari. Es zirinkufyth duku unkhiri. Omna duvadri?”
“Yidh zirinkufyth sag duku unthuhthri.”
~ The tahori numbering system, although base ten, uses tens and twenties as different units. In the conversation above, you see 21 as “one twenty and one” and 34 as “three tens and four.” Likewise, 45 would be “two twenties and five” and 77 would be “seven tens and seven.” You won’t see 75 as “three twenties, one ten, and five.” (All of this applies to hundreds as well. Tahori do not count into the thousands.) Numbers come after the noun to which they refer and always start with a vowel: aduv above is [ad][uv] (“one twenty”) and yfov is [yf][ov]. Also, keep in mind that “and” is never present in numbers; I use it here only in English to clarify.
~ Godri is the verb “to name” or “to label.” Tahori don’t give their names casually, and many will give a word or a shortened name that others may call them, hence the phrase “you can call me ___” as seen above. Godku is “word (for)” or “name (of)”.
~ Ha- is the standard pluralizer . It’s a prefix, while the other two common pluralization modifiers (shuh, “few” and shudh, “lots” or “plenty”) are stand-alone modifiers that follow their objects. If shuh or shudh is present, ha- is not used.
~ -sho is a modifier roughly meaning -er, as in “fighter,” “runner,” “hunter,” etc. It does not literally translate to “person” (that’s nen). -sug is -sho’s partner, loosely equivalent to -ee (“employee,” “trainee,” et~; -sho is an active person (one who acts), while -sug is a passive person (one who is acted upon).
~ Word order beyond the basic OSV (object subject verb) structure is fairly loose. Important modifiers preface their objects, while modifying terms usually follow their objects; this tendency applies to structure, as well. One who is important will say “Joe me you-name,” while one who is being respectful will say “me Joe you-name,” and one who is being humble, modest, or submissive will can “me you-name Joe.” Similarly, other parts of the above conversation could be “to you this-territory-part I-surrender,” “this-territory-part to you I-surrender,” or “this-territory-part I-surrender to you,” depending on the importance the speaker places on “to you” versus “surrender” as the verb and “this-territory-part” as the prize.
~ Based on this and previous lessons, what is the word for “to”? (As in “to you” or “to me.”) What about the modifier for “belonging to”? Hint: it’s only one letter.
~ Based on the conversation and the first note, how would you say 13? Hint: always say “one ten” or “one twenty,” never just “ten” or “twenty.”
~ Remembering that giku means “song” and giri means “sing,” how would you say “singer”? If unlomri is “I give,” how would you say “recipient” (give-ee)? Hint: you’ll only need the roots.
Inlanlu: “Hello. How are you?”
H: “I’m curious. Do you know where Kyiere is?”
I: “Is that the nearby town?”
H: “Yes. I’m lost.”
I: “Go east for a few hours. You’ll find it.”
H: “Thank you very much.”
“Friendly greetings. You-what-feel?”
“Respect, I-curious-feel. Where Kyiere-is you-know?”
“That town-nearby is?”
“Friendly, east-wards you-go for day-part-small. There you-are-futuretense.”
“Gratitude lots to you I-give.”
“Lih shehth. Du-omnara?”
“Jodh unjehnra. Dachna Kyiere huri dudari?”
“Choku kholkudhid huri na?”
“Lih yihs-sha duzyri es tihchfythkit. Dach-cho duhurivo.”
“Rujhku shudh sag duku unlomri.”
Kyiere is a human name, not pronounced as one would in Uhjayi. kee-AIR-ay
~ Verb tense is attached to the end of the verb, after the -ri. Duhuri means “you are,” while duhurivo means “you will be.” -vo does not literally mean “will” – it is merely an indicator of future tense.
~ When a noun instead of a pronoun is the subject, it is not directly attached to the verb. Dugiri is “you sing” – nenam giri is “woman sings.”
~ Yihs-sha is a compound word: yihs is “east” and -sha is a modifier indicating direction, roughly equivalent to saying “eastwards” in English. When talking about “the east,” one would say yihsku. Remember, the hyphen is only used to ensure the speaker pronounces both S and SH sounds.
~ Notice the difference in Lesson 1‘s fythkukit (“a little bit”) and today’s tihchfythkit (“a small part of the day”). Fyth, “part,” is a modifier to “day” instead of its own noun, so -ku is not present in tihchfythkit. Some roots, like tihch (“day”), do not need -ku as a modifier if they can only be used as nouns.
~ Tahori don’t have concepts of minutes and hours; they have small/large day-parts and moments. Saying a small day-part could be anywhere from an hour to four hours, roughly.
~ Thyl is the root for “west.” How would you say “westwards” and “the west”? Hint: you won’t need a hyphen.
~ Based off the first and second notes above, how would you say “you will sing”?
~ Based off the fourth note above, what is the root that means “small” or “little”? If that root is always a suffix and “khol” is the root indicating a settlement, how would you say “a small town”? Hint: you’ll need -ku in there. Look at the conversation for help.