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Nominative w/ syntactical ergativity
Head direction
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect

General InformationEdit

Bäladiri is a Westerlander language of the central lowlands. Despite its general genetic affiliation with other Westerlander languages, it is part of the lowlands Sprachbund, having come under the influence of several dragon herder languages.

Bäladiri is, generally speaking, an agglutinative language that features prominent consonant gradation patterns triggered by stress shifts and certain types of affixes. It features marginally distinctive stress that tends to be either penultimate or antepenultimate. It has some partially opaque and obscured stem alternations deriving from earlier gradation and contraction rules.

Bäladiri is natively written in a Westerlander abugida, with a Dragon Imperial implementation used among certain communities.


/pp p b tt t d kk k g ʔ/ <pp p b tt t d kk k g x>
/f v vv θ ð s z ʂ ʐ x γ/ <f v vv θ ð s z š ž h gh>
/mm m ɳɳ ɳ ɲɲ ɲ ŋŋ ŋ/ <mm m nn n nnj nj nng ng>
/rr r ll l jj j/ <rr r ll l jj j>
/ts tts dz ddz tʂ ttʂ dʐ ddʐ/ <ts tts dz ddz tš ttš dž ddž>

/i i: y y: ɨ ɯ ɯ: u u:/ <i ī y ȳ ï o ō u ū>
/ɛ ɛ: ø ø: ɜ ɜ:/ <e ē ø ø̄ ë eu>
/ɐ ɑ ɑ:/ <ä a ā>
/ɑi ɑu iɑ ɛɑ ɛi/ <ai au ia ea ei>

Bäladiri features marginally distinctive stress in a few loanwords and the occasional native relic or remnant. As its stress falls almost exclusively on the penultimate syllable, it isn't considered salient enough a feature to be marked in common usage; stress is indicated only in linguistic descriptions.

Consonant GradationEdit

Bäladiri features prominent consonant mutation that takes the form of gradation: its gradation is a lenition system that weakens consonants in certain morphological environments.

Most consonants are considered to lie somewhere on an axis, moving down it when specific types of lenition are triggered. As a result of several phonemic merges and multiple consonant shifts, many consonants have multiple lenited forms. The consonantal axes are:

Lenition Grades
Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
Plosives pp p m Ø
b v
tt t d ð
kk k g gh
x v
Affricates tts ts z ð Ø
ddz dz
ttš ž Ø
Nasals b m v
d n gh
g ng
nnj nj j
Approximants jj
rr r gh Ø
ll l
Fricatives θ ð Ø

s z
vv v
h gh


Bäladiri generally divides its words into nine classes, based on how they behave morphologically and syntactically:

  • Mutable
    • Nouns & Pronouns
    • Verbs & Proverbs
    • Adjectives
    • Adverbs
    • Metamodifiers
  • Immutable
    • Conjunctions
    • Adpositions
    • Particles
    • Interjections

The dichotomy between mutable and immutable words is based on their morphological properties: mutable words can be inflected to agree or show some morphological category, whereas immutable words overwhelmingly do not change their shape and are instead fixed in morphological and sytactic meaning.


Bäladiri nouns generally fit into only one declension: they all take the same set of suffixes (though their nominative singulars might be unique), but are characterised by the presence of two stems; this phenomenon derives from earlier stress alternations that then caused consonant lenition and vowel reduction.

They inflect for five cases (nominative, accusative, ergative, vocative and oblique), and two numbers (singular and plural); the singular is generally characterised by an etymological nasal in the accusative and ergative, and the plural by a dental in all cases. Some Bäladiri nouns preserve a more ancient dual, which is characterised by the presence of a labial obstruent.

 >>   Example nouns   <<

         SG         PL
 NOM   mávës      máutis        ["friend"; *mȧva-s]
 ACC   máunas     máutas
 ERG   máuna      máuta
 VOC   máve       máutë
 OBL   mávë       mávët
         SG         PL
 NOM   máθïl      máultis       ["olive"; *mȧθul-Ø] 
 ACC   máulnas    máultas
 ERG   máulna     máulta
 VOC   máule/máθe máultë 
 OBL   máθï(l)    máθï(l)t
 [sáppïs,   samúnas]  ["kinsman" *sȧppu-s]
 [úkät,     ughónas]  ["happiness" *u̇ko-t]
 [súngë,      sûnas]  ["brother" *su̇ŋa < *su̇ŋa-s]
 [básïs,     báunas]  ["stench" *bȧsus]
 [gháprï, ghavrínas]  ["pigeon" *ḡȧpri]
 [móšpï,   možvúnas]  ["wealth" *mȯčpu]
 [káumën,   kāmánas]  ["moron" *kȧwaman]
 [fólpïn,  folvínas]  ["cause" *folpin (loanword)]
 [párpï,   parvínas]  ["bottom" *pȧrpi (loanword)]
 [ärkádžï, ärkáunas]  ["leader" *ärka-džu (loanword)]
 [ilúnnë, ilughánas]  ["ally" *i-lu̇na]


Bäladiri adjectives come in two classes: one class of nominal adjectives that stand with nouns and modify them directly, and one class of verbal adjectives that conjugate and are usually used as predicates and can govern sentences. Most verbs belong to both classes: a single root most often produces both a verbal and a nominal adjective, though some exist only in one category.

Nominal adjectives generally follow a similar inflectional pattern as nouns, save for their lack of the nasal demi-morpheme in the singular. An example nominal adjective and its inflection:

‹ägúrrë› [independent]
Case Sing. Plur.
nom ägúrrë ägughátis
acc ägúrrās ägughátas
erg ägúrrā ägugháta
voc ägúrre ägughátë
obl ägúrrë ägúrrët

Many vowel-final nominal adjectives have a straightforward verbal adjective that corresponds to the final vowel; ägúrrë [*o:kụrra] has a respective earthy verb:

Conj. of ‹ägúrral› [be independent]
infi Sing. Dual Plur.
nom ägughádē ägugháitis
acc ägugháinas ägugháitas
erg ägugháina ägugháita
voc ägughádē ägugháitë
obl ägugháde ägughádet
pres.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägúrōn ägúrrār ägúrrais
2nd ägúrral ägughále ägughíli
3rd ägúram ägugháse ägúrraus
pres.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägughádōn ägughátār ägughátais
2nd ägughátal ägughðále ägughðíli
3rd ägughádam ägughðáse ägughátaus
immi.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägúrrōn ägúrrār ägúrrais
2nd ägúrral ägughrále ägughríli
3rd ägúrram ägughráse ägúrraus
immi.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägughrádōn ägughrátār ägughrátais
2nd ägughrátal ägughðrále ägughðríli
3rd ägughrádam ägughðráse ägughrátaus
past.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägúrrai ägugháitä ägúrrail
2nd ägúrrä ägughátä ägúrral
3rd ägúrrain ägugháindä ägúrraunn
past.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägughátai ägughðáitä ägughátail
2nd ägughátä ägughðátä ägughátal
3rd ägughátain ägughðáindä ägughátaunn


Bäladiri adverbs are considered a subtype, or just an inflection, of the nominal adjective: there is no morphological distinction between adjectives and adverbs, and they are distinguished only by merit of the adjective being used to describe nouns and demonstratives and the adverb used to further specify a verb — adverbs in Bäladiri aren't used to further specify other adjectives or adverbs; this is done via metamodifiers.

Morphologically speaking, adjectives in the oblique singular can be used as adverbs. Some adjectives have an irregular adverb form; this is indicated in the dictionary on a per-adjective basis.


Bäladiri verbs have a complex conjugation: they agree in number and person to their primary argument, and further conjugate for tense and aspect. Unlike nominals, Bäladiri verbs have a dual in addition to a singular and plural. They distinguish between the present, imminent (essentially a prospective present and future) and past tenses, and the momentane and continuous aspects.

Bäladiri verbs also have an infinitive that acts as both a verbal complement to light verbs, and as general abstract verbal nouns of the verbs. The verbal infinitive features case and number inflection identical to that of regular nouns.


Bäladiri verbs are directly conjugated by attaching a suffix or a blend of suffixes onto a stem. The stem may often change, most frequently in predictable ways and under the influence of stress shifts.

Verbs in Bäladiri come in three productive conjugational classes based on thematic vowels in earlier stages of the language. Even as sound changes have obscured a lot of the more transparent inflections, the conjugations of such verbs still remain readily apparent throughout their paradigms. The three classes, in traditional terminology, are:

  • Lunar verbs (those with a thematic in suffixes)
  • Solar verbs (those with a thematic in suffixes)
  • Earthy verbs (those with a thematic in suffixes)

Two more classes are recognised, even though they have since mostly fallen out of use:

  • Mortal or Weak verbs (those with a thematic short { *a *i *u }; mostly reanalysed as one of the three productive classes)
  • Muddy verbs (those with a thematic syllabic nasal { *m *n }; irregular, preserved in relics)

The assignment of verbs to conjugational classes goes back to a verb classification system once operational in proto-North-Westerlander but defunct long before Bäladiri times. Some verbs that share conjugational class might also have morphosyntactic or semantic similarities, though the system has truly been irregularised due to class reassignments and semantic shifts.

The muddy verbs have lost their nasal component in core Bäladiri (though some dialects do retain a nasal or nasal vowel) but are reanalysed as verbs of other classes based on the consonant that preceded the former nasal:

  • Verbs that used to have a thematic *n are lunar after labials, and earthy otherwise
  • Verbs that used to have a thematic *m are earthy after palatals, and lunar otherwise

Bäladiri verbs are cited in three forms, representing the three lenition grades a regular verb stem has:

  • Strongest, unlenited — second person singular, present momentane
  • Medium — first person singular, present momentane
  • Weakest, most lenited — infinitive nominative singular

Even though the stems can be predicted for most verbs from just one form, all verbs are cited in three parts because of lenition and vowel contraction irregularities or omissions extant in the system.

Example conjugation of a lunar verb:

Conj. of ‹kótsul› [pick, choose, elect]
infi Sing. Dual Plur.
nom koðúdē koðúitis
acc koðúinas koðúitas
erg koðúina koðúita
voc koðúdē koðúitë
obl koðúde koðúdet
pres.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st kózūn kótsōr kótsuis
2nd kótsul koðúle koðúli
3rd kózum koðúse kótsūs
pres.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st koðúdūn koðútōr koðútuis
2nd koðútul koðuðúle koðuðúli
3rd koðúdum koðuðúse koðútūs
immi.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st kózrūn kótsrōr kótsruis
2nd kótsrul koðrúle koðrúli
3rd kózrum koðrúse kótrsūs
immi.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st koðúrdūn koðúrtōr koðúrtuis
2nd koðúrtul koðuðrúle koðuðrúli
3rd koðúrdum koðuðrúse koðúrtūs
past.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st kótsui koðúitä kótsuil
2nd kótsä koðútä kótsul
3rd kózuin koðúindä kózūnn
past.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st koðútui koðuðúitä koðútuil
2nd koðútä koðuðútä koðútul
3rd koðútuin koðuðúindä koðútūnn

Example conjugation of a solar verb:

Conj. of ‹ysámil› [brew, cook, ferment]
infi Sing. Dual Plur.
nom ysáidē ysáitis
acc ysáinas ysáitas
erg ysáina ysáita
voc ysáidē ysáitë
obl ysáide ysáidet
pres.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysávø̄n ysámēr ysámīs
2nd ysámil ysáile ysáili
3rd ysávim ysáise ysámius
pres.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysáidø̄n ysáitēr ysáitīs
2nd ysáitil ysaiðále ysaiðíli
3rd ysáidim ysaiðáse ysáitius
immi.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysávrø̄n ysámrēr ysámrīs
2nd ysámril ysáille ysáilli
3rd ysávrim ysáisse ysámrius
immi.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysáirdø̄n ysáirtēr ysáirtīs
2nd ysáirtil ysaiðrále ysaiðríli
3rd ysáirdim ysaiðráse ysáirtaus
past.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysámī ysáitä ysámīl
2nd ysámä ysáitä ysámil
3rd ysávīn ysáindä ysáviunn
past.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysáitī ysaiðáitä ysáitīl
2nd ysáitä ysaiðátä ysáitil
3rd ysáitīn ysaiðáindä ysáitiunn

Example conjugation of an earthy verb:

Conj. of ‹ákal› [see sth.]
infi Sing. Dual Plur.
nom aghádē agháitis
acc agháinas agháitas
erg agháina agháita
voc aghádē agháitë
obl agháde aghádet
pres.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ágōn ákār ákais
2nd ákal aghále aghíli
3rd ágam agháse ákaus
pres.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st aghádōn aghátār aghátais
2nd aghátal aghðále aghðíli
3rd aghádam aghðáse aghátaus
immi.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ágrōn ákrār ákrais
2nd ákral aghrále aghríli
3rd ágram aghráse ákraus
immi.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st aghrádōn aghrátār aghrátais
2nd aghrátal aghðrále aghðríli
3rd aghrádam aghðráse aghrátaus
past.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ákai agháitä ákail
2nd ákä aghátä ákal
3rd ágain agháindä ágaunn
past.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st aghátai aghðáitä aghátail
2nd aghátä aghðátä aghátal
3rd aghátain aghðáindä aghátaunn

Verb CliticsEdit

Aside from straightforward inflection, Bäladiri verbs may additionally be modified by attaching verbal clitics, which act similarly to affixes but differ in four vital points:

  • They do not cause stress shifts or phonological alteration of any inflected verb form
  • They often have multiple ambiguous meanings outside of context and without further pragmatic specification
  • They are frequently employed to encode both modal, directional and polar specification
  • They are somewhat flexibly ordered and are not fixed in placement or position

Furthermore, verb clitics interact with light verbs in several interesting ways:

  • Verb clitics attach to the whole light verb phrase — if the light verb has a postfixed oblique compliment, the clitic attaches to it even as it is a nominal
  • Light verbs may take on redundant verb clitics, and are more prone to taking on clitics than full verbs
  • Some light verbs have very specific interactions with clitics, sometimes requiring some and forbidding others, and at others changing the meanings of the clitics — or even their own meanings — based on the clitic attached

Only infrequently stressed, many of the clitics are subject to significant phonetic degradation, and certain prominent combinations of them have fused into a single multi-faceted morpheme (uncharacteristic of Bäladiri).

Bäladiri verb clitics are divided into four large fuzzy classes:

  • Modal clitics
  • Directional clitics and cliticised particles
  • Subordinators
  • Fossilised clitics (unproductive, lexically conditioned)
Modal CliticsEdit

Bäladiri modal clitics make up a large, multi-segment category of verb clitics that facilitate multiple diverse functions. They do not consistently distinguish between modal information based on whether it is realis, irrealis or an evidential. The modal clitics are very sensitive to sociolinguistic context.

The most basic modals are those that encode polarity. Bäladiri has three 'plain realis' modals: an indicative negative modal, an emphatic positive and an emphatic negative modal. There is no positive indicative modal — a lack of polar specification on a verb implies a positive, indicative modality (alternatively, it can be analysed as a zero morpheme).

The indicative (or, rather, plain) modals are used for factual, declarative and gnomic statements, whereas their emphatic counterparts are used only as answers to yes/no questions and to contrast statements: questions must be answered with an emphatic polar verb, and statements of a certain polarity can be refuted with an emphatic verb of the opposite polarity.

Each of the polar modals has a short and long form — the long forms are generally avoided in daily speech, and are used only in very polite speech and in poetry.

A tabular overview of the polar modals:

Polar Modals
ind emp
pos Ø jän

The potential modal ‹inkä› marks several different things:

  1. In most contexts it is used as a kind of hypothetical that marks the verb as something that, while not true, easily can be or could have been; inversely, its negative form marks the verb as something that, while true, could easily not be, stop being or not have been.
  2. It can, based on pragmatics and context, be used as a true potential that doesn't assert the truthfulness of the verb but states that it might, or might not, happen; it subtly implies a personal opinion and may be confused with the deductive.

The potential modal can be negated both indirectly (analytically) and directly (fusionally), and may modify both a positive and negative verb. The fusional forms of the potential are:

Potential Modal & Polarity
ind emp
pos  ínkä  jánkä
neg lánkä lánkä

The abilitative modal ‹ippä› normally marks for only one set of related things, but is subject to infrequent misuse:

  1. It normatively marks the primary argument of the verb as having the ability to participate (intransitive agents for ability to perform the action and transitive patients for the ability to have the action performed unto them)
  2. A more unorthodox use of the abilitative is as a potential modal, occasionally used instead where ‹inkä› should.

The abilitative modal can be negated both indirectly (analytically) and directly (fusionally), and may modify both a positive and negative verb. The fusional forms of the abilitative are:

Abilitative Modal & Polarity
ind emp
pos  íppä  jámpä
neg láppä lámpä

There exists a special potential abilitative modal, ‹mókkït› that combines the functions of the abilitative and the potential, marking the verb's primary argument as possibly/uncertainly having the ability to participate in the action. It has an equivalent, a potential debilitativeláulä› that marks the verb's primary argument as possibly/uncertainly lacking the ability to participate in the action. Both the modals are suppletive replacements of a sequence of an abilitative and potential, though the modals may also be used individually without being replaced.

Neither the potential abilitative and debilitative has a fusional form with a polar modal: they are negated and emphasised only through analytic means.


General Word OrderEdit



Verb AgreementEdit

Relative ClausesEdit


Barring syntactical and lexicomorphological oddities, Bäladiri has fairly flexible ways of assigning morphological marking and tying semantic and pragmatic information to it: each morpheme carries some sort of semantic and pragmatic meaning, aside from agreement.

Case MarkingEdit

Case marking in Bäladiri is generally straightforward. Aside from the adpositions that require a specific case nearly at random, the language assigns cases fairly logically:

  • The Nominative marks the subjects and agents of active sentences, and the patient role in a passive sentence
  • The Accusative marks the patient role of active sentences
  • The Ergative marks the agent role of a passive sentence (a former demoted nominative)
  • The Vocative marks an addressed party
  • The Oblique marks secondary arguments; almost never occurs without an adposition

Tense AssignmentEdit

While the present and past tenses carry an absolute meaning (indicating an absolute present and past, relative from the speaker's timeframe). The imminent 'tense' is more akin to a prospective: from the present timeframe, it acts as a future tense, whereas in a past frame it works as a future-in-the-past. It is quite common in both direct discourse and renarration.

See AlsoEdit

-- History of Bäladiri
-- Lexicon

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