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

General InformationEdit

Senzengish (native Daylos Èsensohnger or Sensohnger /sénsəŋ̊əɾ̥/) is a language spoken as the language of prestige and cross-cultural communication across a gigantic religious empire on the moon Chesnon (Ìman). The intelligent species native to the moon are also called Chesnon in English (Tensas in Senzengish).



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 manner of articulation. ex. Hratjék /ɾ̥ɐtjék/ [ɾ̥ɐdˈɟeˑk] "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 (such as numbers like dàswunáolu /dɑswɪ̈nɑ́əlɪ̈/ "seven dozen") and in some affixes (such as kò-, the abessive case marker, in kòsiwhélma /kosɪ̈wʰélmɐ/).
  • The correspondance between full and reduced vowel is not always clear and 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 /w̤/, and [ɹ̩] before /ɾ/ and /ɾ̥/. ex. ambher /ɑ́mb̤əɾ̥/ [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 [ˈɾɑˑz̤g̤ə] "the ground" vs. paldin [ˈpɑˑldn̩n̥] "a house"
  • Word-final consonants are voiceless except for semivowels. ex. moar /móɐɾ̥/ "the idiot"
  • Syllable-final breathy-voiced consonants introduce breathy-voice on the preceding vowel or vowel cluster. ex. duwégh /dɪ̈wégʰ/ [dʊˈwe̤ˑg̤] "the emperor"
  • 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] "(a name)", kòajsin /koɑ́jsɪ̈n̥/ [koˈʔɑˑjzn̩n̥] "spineless"
  • An epenthetic homorganic voiced stop is inserted between a nasal and approximants or flaps. ex. Henras /xénɾɐs/ [ˈxeˑndɾɐs] "(a name)"

Prosody Edit

Stress Edit

Stress is typically placed on the first syllable of the root, but it occasionally occurs elsewhere. Stressed vowels are longer than unstressed vowels. Stressed vowels always start just noticeably higher in pitch than the surrounding vowels and tend to move higher or lower in pitch depending on the dialect.

Isochrony Edit

Isochrony is how a language breaks up speech into equally-timed intervals. Senzengish is a stress-timed language, meaning that the intervals between stressed syllables are equal.

Orthography Edit


  • 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.
  • Stress is marked on polysyllabic words with an acute accent if it is not on the first syllable of the root nor in the second syllable directly after a first-syllable with a grave-accented vowel, and unstressed full vowels are marked with a grave accent.


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


case prefix example meaning
Absolutive 0- paldin a house
Ergative e(h)-1 epáldin a house
Instrumental ung-2 umpáldin using a house
Genitive è(r)-1,3 èpaldin of/from a house, a house's
Adessive raw- rawpáldin at/on a house
Allative il- ilpáldin onto a house
Inessive ba- bapáldin in a house
Illative ilu(w)-1 ilupáldin into a house
Intrative-Comitative sen-2 sempáldin between/among/with a house
Abessive kò- kòpaldin without a house, homeless
Adverbial-Temporal ghaj- ghajpáldin as a house, at a house's time
Equative hno- hnopáldin like a house
  1. The ergative, genitive, and illative prefixes lose their final consonant before another consonant.
  2. The instrumental and intrative-comitative prefixes final nasals merge in place of articulation with a following consonant.
  3. The genitive and abessive prefixes are the only ones with full vowels.


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

def ndef Example
-a -in palda paldin "house"
-o rasgho rasghin "ground"
-adh jukadh jukin "meeting"
-C1 lisal lisalin "time"
-r -rin moar moarin "idiot"
-s daylos daylorin "language"
  1. Any coda nasal, stop, or approximant.

Noun derivations Edit

  • -ma: past agent, ex. arewma "former speaker"
  • -òrma: past patient, ex. hmiagòrma "abandoned path"
  • -ka: present agent, instrument, ex. arewka "orator"
  • -òrka: present patient, ex. hmiagòrka "path"
  • -sa: future agent, ex. nasemsa "future leader"
  • -òrsa: future patient, ex. whenòrsa "unpublished/unfinished book"
  • -egh: noun describing an action, ex. hmiagegh "travelling"
  • -jal: in instance of an action, ex. hidhjal "meal"
  • -gòhng: place, ex. sukéeghgòhng "kitchen"
  • -pàlda: house, ex. hrostipàlda "boathouse"
  • -lo-: diminutive, ex. hilodhjal "small meal"
  • -ru-: augmentative, ex. hirudhjal "feast"


Personal pronouns Edit

Personal pronouns use the same case prefixes as regular nouns, except they cannot be in the ergative case. Usually, the passive voice is used to insure that pronouns always take the absolutive role.

sg du pl
1 ra perá bhot
2 ing peíng hraon
3 at peát daj

Demonstrative pronouns Edit

proximal hmaruj
distal bidbuj

Quantifying pronouns Edit

none sebuj
minority gauj
major minority hluruj
majority whiguj
all hratuj

Relative pronoun Edit



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

Demonstrative determinersEdit

sg du pl
proximal hmas hmaros hmaru
distal bid bidbos bidbu


none seb/sebos/sebu
minority ga
major minority hlus
majority whigu
all hratu


sg du pl
1s re ros ru
1d peré perós perú
1p bhot bhotos bhotu
2s ing ingos ingu
2d peíng peíngos peíngu
2p hrae hraos hrau
3s áe áos áu
3d peát peátos peátu
3p daj dajos daju

ex. Palda peát uhláhijga lor. "Those two's house is beautiful."


No. 12+No. No.*12
0 rewbi naol rewbi
1 pe pena naol
2 pos daswos naolos
3 sir sirna sìrnáolu
4 daw jobhos dàwnáolu
5 ghime ghimena ghìmnáolu
6 insi insina ìnsináolu
7 daswu daswuna dàswunáolu
8 jobh jobhna jòbhnáolu
9 belól belólna belòlnáolu
10 wili wilina wìlnáolu
11 gulép gulépna gulèpnáolu
12 naol naolos nàolnáolu


Undeclined, prefix a /ɐ/ for the adjacent adjective (written separate), between noun and determiner. ex. Ing ngostik a ten lor. "You are a good person."


Verbs (Adhwhin) are conjugated according to aspect, voice, tense, and polarity.

Affix orderEdit


Aspect Stem Voice Tense Polarity
ot- árew -òr- -um -sebh
Otárewòrumsebh. "It was not said"

At nasemkin a ten lorum met bajúkadh otárewòrumsebh. "It wasn't said at the meeting that he was a good leader."

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-, dè-), some of which have distinct derivational meaning. For example, perfective rek- signifies the end of events (rekhídh "stop eating"), and imperfective so- signifies the beginning of actions (sohídh "be starting to eat").

Voice Edit

There are many grammatical voices in Senzengish.

  • Active: no suffix
  • Passive: suffix -òr- (hidhòr "be eaten")
  • Middle: the middle voice is principally used to indicate reciprocality and reflexivity. The suffix is -une- (rasghune "knock each other down").
  • Causative: the causative affix is -wha-, which can be a prefix or suffix (so "feed" can be translated as hidhwha or whahídh) always adjacent to the stem. It can be combined with the passive and middle voices.

Applicatives Edit

Any verb can take these voice suffixes, promoting an oblique argument to the absolutive case, and demoting the original absolutive to the ergative case.

Applicative suffix
Instrumental -ung /ɪ̈ŋ/
Genitive -rè /ɾe/
Locative -ba /bɐ/
Lative -iluw /ɪ̈lɪ̈w/
Intrative-Comitative -sen /sən/
Abessive -kò /ko/
Adverbial-Temporal -ghaj /g̤ɐj/
Equative -hno /n̥ə/
  • Engóstik hmas moasin dèhidhhno. "That person eats 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.

Examples Edit

Regular verbs Edit

hidh "eat" (perf), dèhidh "be eating" (imperf)

active passive middle
present pos hidh hidhòr hidhune
neg hidhsebh hidhòrsebh hidhunesebh
past pos hidhum hidhòrum hidhunem
neg hidhumsebh hidhòrumsebh hidhunemsebh
future pos hidhis hidhòris hidhunes
neg hidhissebh hidhòrissebh hidhunessebh

arew "speak" (imperf), otárew "say" (perf)

active passive middle
present pos arew arewòr arewune
neg arewsebh arewòrsebh arewunesebh
past pos arewum arewòrum arewunem
neg arewumsebh arewòrumsebh arewunemsebh
future pos arewis arewòris arewunes
neg arewissebh arewòrissebh arewunessebh

Irregular verbs Edit

Lor "be" is irregular in that it has no active forms. The passive forms behave as active. It is also irregular in that the usually reduced vowels of the middle voice and vowel-initial applicative voice suffixes are stressed, so they become full vowels. Consonant-initial applicative voice suffixes are preceded by a stressed e, ex. Ngostik bid Kanwaj lerè. "That person is from Kanduai."

active/passive middle
present pos lor lune
neg lorsebh lunesebh
past pos lorum lunem
neg lorumsebh lunemsebh
future pos loris lunes
neg lorissebh lunessebh

Wes "go" (perf) is irregular due to its multiple roots. In the present active, all applicatives, and causative (only when the causative affix is placed after the root) the root is wes-. In the passive and middle voices the root is we-. In the past active and future active the root is waj-. The verb's imperfective counterpart piden is regular.

active passive middle
present pos wes weòr weune
neg wessebh weòrsebh weunesebh
past pos wajum weòrum weunem
neg wajumsebh weòrumsebh weunemsebh
future pos wajis weòris weunes
neg wajissebh weòrissebh weunessebh

Non-finite forms Edit

Participles Edit

definite past present future
active -ma -ka -sa
passive -òrma -òrka -òrsa

Gerund Edit


  • arewegh "the act of speaking"

Supine Edit


  • arewduga "in order to speak"

Syntax Edit

Overall word order Edit


  • Ra ghajbídbuj wajum. "I then left."

Noun phrases Edit


Vocabulary Edit

dhenso /d̤énsə/ [ˈd̤eˑnzə] "place"

ngetjupsih /ŋétjɪ̈psɪ̈x/ [ˈŋeˑdɟɪ̈psɪ̈x] "disgusted"