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Gender Cases Numbers Tenses Persons Moods Voices Aspects
Verb No No No No No Yes No Yes
Nouns Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Adjectives Yes No No No No No No No
Numbers No No No No No No No No
Participles No No No No No No No No
Adverb No No No No No No No No
Pronouns No No No No No No No No
Adpositions No No No No No No No No
Article No No No No No No No No
Particle No No No No No No No No

Sebufi /sebufi/, is a conlang.

Name: Sebufi

Type: Agglutinative

Alignment: Nominative-Accusative

Head Direction: Mixed

Number of genders: 2

Declensions: Yes

Conjugations: Yes

Nouns declined
according to
Case Number
Definitiveness Gender
Verbs conjugated
according to
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect

General Information Edit

Sebufi is an agglutinative and partially synthetic language. In many cases grammatical inflection is optional. The standard word order is SOV, which does not require case specifications for nouns. Several other word orders can be achieved if noun case is marked. The language uses mostly postfixes and postpositions, although there are a very limited number of prefixes, most notably the negation prefix <ne>. Stress is on the first syllable of every word. Pronouns and optionally, nouns, have an animate-inanimate gender distinction, which even applies to the first person pronoun.

The goal of this project is to create a conlang that emphasizes both ease of learning and literary/poetic expressiveness.

The name Sebufi consists of morphemes "sebu", meaning language, and "fi", an adverbial suffix meaning "the closest", "permanent", or the "here-est of heres" .

Phonology Edit

Sebufi has a moderately small phoneme inventory, consisting of 17 consonants and 5 vowels.

Sebufi Consonants
Labial Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive p, b t, d k, g
Fricative f, v s, z ʃ, ʒ h
Liquid l r j
Sebufi Vowels
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

Phonotactics Edit

The syllable structure for Sebufi is CV. Both an initial consonant and a vowel are required for all words except for interjections or onomatopoeia.

Stress, Intonation, and Prosody Edit

Each word receives primary stress on the first syllable, and secondary stress on every other syllable beginning with the third. In most cases, stress results in a higher pitch than unstressed syllables. This, along with the syllable-timed rhythm of the language, results in a language full of syncopation; in fact syncopation is one of the key features of Sebufi poetry.

The intonation of interrogative sentences depends on the number of syllables in the last word.

  • One syllable: the normal primary stress on the first syllable is dropped and the secondary stress pattern from the previous word influences the stress of the last word.
  • Two syllables: The normal primary stress is replaced with a variation in which the syllable is pronounced lower than the rest of the sentence. The second syllable is unstressed.
  • Three or more syllables: The first syllable is pronounced as above. However, each remaining syllable will increase in pitch from the initial low point, until the last syllable, which is pronounced as a normal unstressed tone.

Grammar Edit

Word Order Edit

The most common word order is SOV. This is the simplest word order to use because it does not require case markings (see section on case). Other commonly used word orders include OSV and SVO.

If a phrase contains an indirect object, it usually goes after the verb, resulting in SODVOI or ODSVOI. Only one noun phrase is allowed after the verb, which prohibits word order such as SVODOI.

Adjectives and standalone qualifiers nearly always come before nouns. However, there are markers that act like noun modifiers, and those are attached as suffixes, like most markers in Sebufi. Adverbs come directly before verbs.

Pronouns Edit

The simple pronouns are as follows:

Animate Inaminate Notes
First person sa (I) sahu Sahu is the standard way for a computer to refer to itself.
Second person na (you) nahu Nahu is used to address inanimate objects.
Third person da (he/she/they) dahu (it) Dahu is also the root word for these/those.
Interrogative ka (who) kahu (what)
Interrogative kago (which peole) kagohu (which) The morpheme -go- narrows the set of possible answers.

Gender Edit

Sebufi uses an animate-inanimate gender system. Inanimate pronouns always end in -hu. Unmarked pronouns are always animate; unmarked nouns are simply unspecified. The suffix -hu for inaminate and -ha for animate are used to mark nouns for gender; e.g. the word for "Earth" is "dala", but a speaker who wanted to emphasize the severity of environmental destruction may refer to the future of Earth as "dalahu", indicating that the Earth will be barren.

Adjectives must match their respective nouns for gender only, using the same suffixes -hu and -ha. If a noun is unmarked then the adjective must be unmarked as well.

Number Edit

The plural marker is -va, which goes after any gender marker if it exists. -va applies to both pronouns and nouns, is one of few morphemes that are required in general.

Case Edit

Case markers are not required for sentences in SOV word order, or more generally SODVOI, where OD is the direct object and OI is the indirect object. However, using a different word order will require using the case marker -ma for the subject and -mi for the direct object. The indirect object is never marked. Only one noun phrase is allowed after the verb, which prohibits word order such as SVODOI.

An example using various possible word orders, is "I give this (it) to you," shown below.

English I this give to you
Sebufi Sa dahu dame na
English This I give to you
Sebufi dahumi sama dame na
English To you this give I
Sebufi na dahumi dame sama

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