Head direction
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect

General InformationEdit

Senzengish (natively Sensohnger /sénsəŋ̊əɾ̥/)



bilabial alveolar palatal velar
nasal m̥ m n̥ n (ŋ̊) ŋ
stop p b b̤ t d d̤ k g g̤
fricative s (z) x
approximant l̥ l j w w̤
flap ɾ̥ ɾ
  • /ŋ̊/ is not a separate phoneme in all but the carefullest of speech.
  • A preceding consonant (except for /s/ and /ɾ/) causes /j/ to match in voicing and manner of articulation and to be coarticulated with it. ex. Hratjek /ɾ̥ɐtjék/ [ɾ̥ɐˈtcek] "Rachek province"
  • Syllable-initial /s/ matches the voicing of a preceding consonant. ex. Sensohnger /sénsəŋ̊əɾ̥/ [ˈseˑnzŋ̩ŋɹ̩ɾ̥]


Front Central Back
High i ɪ̈ u
Mid e ə o
Low ɐ ɑ
  • The central vowels are so-called reduced vowels. They can only appear in unstressed syllables and "full" vowels tend not to appear in unstressed syllables except in compound words. An example of a full vowel in an unstressed syllable would be ko-, the abessive case marker, always has the full /o/ and is never stressed. ex. kosiwhelma /kosɪ̈wʰélmɐ/ [kosʊˈw̤eˑlmɐ] "without insects"
  • The correspondance between full and reduced vowel is not always clear or depends on the speaker or dialect.
  • The reduced vowels merge into [m̩] before /m/ and /m̥/, [n̩] before /n/ and /n̥/, [ŋ̩] before /ŋ/ and /ŋ̊/, [l̩] before /l/ and /l̥/, [ɪ] before /j/, [ʊ] before /w/ and /wʰ/, and [ɹ̩] before /ɾ/ and /ɾ̥/. ex. ambher /ɑ́mbʰəɾ̥/ [ˈʔɑˑm̤b̤ɹ̩ɾ̥] "cold"


(C)V(m, n, ŋ, p, bʰ, t, dʰ, k, gʰ, s, l, j, w, ɾ)

  • Syllable-final consonants match a following consonant in voicing. ex. rasgho /ɾɑ́z̤g̤ə/ "the ground" vs. paldin /pɑ́ldɪ̈n̥/ "a house"
  • Word-final consonants are voiceless except for semivowels. ex. moar /móɐɾ̥/
  • Syllable-final breathy-voiced consonants introduce breathy-voice on the preceding vowel or vowel cluster. ex. ungwadh /ɪ̈ŋwɑ́dʰ/ [ŋ̩ˈgwɑ̤ˑt] "using the letter w"
  • An epenthetic glottal stop is appended onto the beginning of a full vowel if the full vowel begins a word or is directly after a vowel. ex. Ungwadh /úŋwɐdʰ/ [ˈʔuˑŋgwɐ̤d̤], koajsin /koɑ́jsɪ̈n̥/ [koˈʔɑˑjzn̩n̥] "spineless"
  • An epenthetic homorganic voiced stop is inserted between a nasal and approximants or flaps. ex. Henras /xénɾɐs/ [ˈxeˑndɾɐs] "(a name)"


Stress is typically placed on the first syllable of the root, but it occasionally occurs elsewhere. It is unmarked and is not distinguished in writing. Stressed vowels are longer than unstressed vowels.



  • The following consonants are written identically to their IPA symbols: m, n, p, b, t, d, k, g, s, l, j, and w.
  • /ŋ/ is written ng, /x/ is written h, and /ɾ/ is written r.
  • Voiceless nasals, approximant, and flap are written with a preceding h: hm, hn, hng, hl, and hr. In the syllable coda, they are written as voiced, without the h.
  • Murmured consonants are represented by a following h: bh, dh, gh, and wh.
  • In the syllable coda, the non-murmured stops are written according to etymology, despite the fact that they neutralize in that position.
  • Full vowels are a, e, i, o, and u. Reduced vowels /ɪ̈/, /ə/, and /ɐ/ are written i or u, e or o, and a respectively


Nouns decline according to case and definiteness. Case is shown by prefixes and definiteness is shown by irregular suffixes or consonant change.


Absolutive, Ergative, Genitive, Dative, Adessive, Inessive, Elative, Illative, Instrumental, Intrative-Comitative, Abessive, Adverbial-Temporal, Equative

case prefix example meaning
Absolutive 0- paldin a house
Ergative e(h)- epaldin a house
Instrumental ung- umpaldin using a house
Genitive e(r)- epaldin of/from a house, a house's
Dative il- ilpaldin for/toward a house
Adessive raw- rawpaldin at/on a house
Inessive ba- bapaldin in a house
Illative ilu(w)- ilupaldin into a house
Intrative-Comitative sen- sempaldin between/among/with a house
Abessive ko- kopaldin without a house, homeless
Adverbial-Temporal ghaj- ghajpaldin as a house, at a house's time
Equative hno- hnopaldin like a house


Indefiniteness is signified by -(s)in, and definiteness is signified by -o/a, -r/s, -adh, or no suffix at all. The definite is the dictionary form.


sg du pl


Articles, demonstratives, quantifiers, possessives, numerals decline according to number (sg, du, pl) and appear after the noun.




sg du pl


No. 12+No. No.*12
0 rewbi naol rewbi
1 pe pena naol
2 pos daswos naolos
3 sir sirna sirnaolu
4 daw jobhos dawnaolu
5 ghime ghimena ghimnaolu
6 insi insina insinaolu
7 daswu daswuna daswunaolu
8 jobh jobhna jobhnaolu
9 belol belolna belolnaolu
10 wili wilina wilinaolu
11 gulep gulepna gulepnaolu
12 naol naolos naolnaolu


Undeclined, prefix a /ɐ/ for the adjacent adjective (written separate), between noun and determiner.


Verbs are conjugated according to aspect, verbal number, voice, tense, and polarity.

Affix orderEdit


Aspect Edit

Verbs typically have an inherent verbal aspect of either perfective or imperfective. There are several prefixes to turn verbs perfective (ot-) or imperfective (pi-, de-), some of which have distinct derivational meaning. For example, perfective rek- signifies the end of events (rekhidh "stop eating"), and imperfective so- signifies the beginning of actions (sohidh "be starting to eat").

Pluractionality Edit

Pluractionality or verbal number in Senzengish is the state of the action of a verb is plural, because is is preformed several separate times on or by several absolutive arguments. It is signified by a doubled stem.

Voice Edit

There are many grammatical voices in Senzengish.

  • Causative: the causative affix is -wha-, which can be a prefix or suffix (so "feed" can be translated as hidhwha or whahidh) always adjacent to the stem. It can be combined with other voices.
  • Active: no suffix
  • Passive: suffix -or- (hidhor "be eaten")
  • Middle: the middle voice is principally used to indicate reciprocality and reflexivity. The suffix is -une- (rasghune "knock each other down").
  • Applicatives: intransitive verbs can take the nominal case prefixes as voice suffixes, promoting an oblique argument to direct object. ex. moasin hidhhno "eat like an idiot"

Tense Edit

Past -(u)m, Future -(i)s


Verbs are negated with an invariant suffix -sebh which goes after any other suffix.

Syntax Edit

Overall word order Edit


Noun phrases Edit


Verb phrases Edit


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