Proto-Tshyak is the parent language of Old Tshyak. Note that I am not, strictly speaking, reconstructing Proto-Tshyak from Old Tshyak but rather creating a new language which will become, as one descendent, Old Tshyak. This means that there are phonemic distinctions which are lost going from Proto-Tshyak to Old Tshyak which would not be, strictly speaking, reconstructable.


Proto-Tshyak has the following consonant phonemes:

Nasals: /m n ŋ/ m n ŋ
Voiced stops: /b d g/ b d g
Voiceless stops: /p t k ʔ/ p t k ʔ
Voiced affricates: /dz dʑ/ dz dź
Voiceless affricates: /ts tɕ/ ts tś
Voiced fricatives: /z ʑ/ z ź
Voiceless fricatives: /s ɕ h/ s ś h
Liquids: /ɻ l/ r l
Semivowels: /w j/ w y

Proto-Tshyak has the following vowel phonemes:

Close: /i ɯ u/ i u ú
Mid-close: /e ɤ o/ e o ó
Mid: /ə/ ə
Mid-open: /ɛ ʌ ɔ/ è ò ô
Open: /a/ a

Syllable Structure

The basic syllable structure is C({ɻ l})({w j})V({m n ŋ p t k ʔ s ɕ h ɻ l w j}({ʔ s})).

Note that syllable-initial /ɻ l/ cannot be followed by /ɻ l/ and initial /w j/ can only be followed by a vowel. Also, syllable-final /ʔ/ cannot follow a stop and syllable final /s/ cannot follow a fricative.

Root syllables can also be preceded by zero or more prefixes, which take the form of /m n ŋ b d g p t k ʔ z ʑ s ɕ h ɻ l/ followed by /ə/.

Unlike Old Tshyak, there only restrictions upon what syllable-initial consonant can be followed by which of /ɻ l w j/ are that /l/ cannot follow coronal plosives and /w/ cannot follow labials.

Syntax and Morphology

Proto-Tshyak is isolating, with much of Old Tshyak's verbal morphology being described from pronominal and adverbial elements that became attached to the verb stem. However, it has case particles.

Case, Number, and Animacy

There are a range of particles that are placed after nouns marking case, number, and animacy:

ergative, singular, animate: li
ergative, dual, animate: sətet
ergative, plural, animate: śi
ergative, inanimate: ʔah
absolutive, singular, animate: ∅
absolutive, dual, animate: səkap
absolutive, plural, animate: ya
absolutive, inanimate: ∅

Verb Syntax and Morphology

The following particles can precede verbs to modify them in some fashion:

verbal noun ʔò
agent noun ti
patient noun
antipassive voice si
reflexive voice
reciprocal voice bu
causative voice (pfv.) / (ipfv.)
resultative la (pfv.) / le (ipfv.)

Causative voice is unmarked for transitive verbs derived from intransitive verbs.

The resultative marker marks telicity when used with perfective verbs.

Passivization is indicated by using a transitive verb as intransitive without marking antipassive voice. All passives are static and thus imperfective, and passives derived from perfective verbs mark the resulting state while passives derived from imperfective verbs mark undergoing the process indicated by the imperfective verb.

The following particles, adverbs, and other markers are placed after verbs:

direct knowledge źe / deductive ka / reportative / assumption / dubitative ra
mirative te
optative gye
1st ʔam / 1st + 2nd / 2nd ʔak
dual SAP ku / plural SAP mi
imperative 2nd du. la
imperative 2nd pl. yi

It should be noted that only one dependent pronoun can be placed after a verb. When both verb arguments are SAPs, the absolutive argument gets placed after the verb as a dependent pronoun, and the ergative argument is specified as an independent pronoun with an ergative marker.



1st ʔam
1st + 2nd
2nd ʔak
3rd sa

These are used to mark verb arguments and for inalienable possession; note that sa is only used for inalienable possession.



1st singular may
1st dual/plural
1st + 2nd dual/plural de
2nd singular niŋ
2nd dual/plural lo
3rd singular
3rd dual/plural ga

Full Forms

1st singular may li (ergative) / may (absolutive)
1st dual rú ku sətet (ergative) / rú ku (absolutive)
1st plural rú mi śi (ergative) / rú mi (absolutive)
1st + 2nd dual de ku sətet (ergative) / de ku (absolutive)
1st + 2nd plural de mi śi (ergative) / de mi (absolutive)
2nd singular niŋ li (ergative) / niŋ (absolutive)
2nd dual lo ku sətet (ergative) / lo ku (absolutive)
2nd plural lo mi śi (ergative) / lo mi (absolutive)
3rd singular animate yó li (ergative) / (absolutive)
3rd singular inanimate yó ʔah (ergative) / (absolutive)
3rd dual animate ga sətet (ergative) / ga səkap (absolutive)
3rd plural animate ga śi (ergative) / ga ya (absolutive)
3rd dual/plural inanimate ga ʔah (ergative) / ga (absolutive)

negative: hey
interrogative: tsey
proximal demonstrative: leŋ
medial demonstrative: ʔryan
distal demonstrative: bla

These are used for emphatic pronouns, resumptive pronouns, and emphatic inalienable possession. Note that 3rd singular and 3rd dual/plural ga (without qualification) are used as resumptive pronouns with multiple relative clauses, whereas otherwise the full independent pronouns are used for resumptive pronouns elsewhere. Also note that when used for inalienable possession the stems ma, , de, ni, lo, , and ga are used with the dual marker ŋi and the plural marker hu rather than with ku, mi, sətet/səkap, or śi/ya.


There are the following determiners:

negative determiner: hey
proximal determiner: leŋ
medial determiner: ʔryan
distal determiner: bla
interrogative determiner: tsey

Modal Verbs

Modal verbs are placed before the main verb in clauses. They agree with the subject of the clause but not any objects; the main verb agrees in turn with only its object. They are inherently imperfective, and can inflect for tense and mood; the main verbs used with them in turn are marked for perfectivity but unmarked for tense or mood.

shall: tyô (ipfv.)
can, be able to: wi (ipfv.)
must, have to: kye (ipfv.)
need to: lyú (ipfv.)
want: śətrwè (ipfv.) (Note that this can also be used as a non-modal verb.)


and: ʔin
or: dźe
but: tu


Inalienable attributive possession is expressed with a pronominal clitic placed after the possessee and its relative clauses and, optionally, a possessor and its relative clauses placed after the posessee and its relative clauses.

Dual inalienable attributive possession with a pronominal clitic or independent pronoun stem is expressed with ŋi placed after the pronominal clitic or independent pronoun stem. Plural inalienable attributive possession with a pronominal clitic or independent pronoun stem is expressed with hu placed after the pronominal clitic or independent pronoun stem.

Alienable attributive possession is expressed with the verb hətsa in a relative clause.

Predicative possession is expressed with that possessed as a subject for the existential verb gèy (pfv.) / goy (ipfv.) combined with either the benefactive ŋədźaʔ (pfv.) / ŋədźuʔ (ipfv.), to express "have" possession, tsay (pfv.) / tsuy (ipfv.) "lie", to express "own" possession, or the comitative law (ipfv.), to express "have on" possession, with the possessor as an object thereof.


The following marker is placed at the end of clauses marking yes/no questions:

The word order of wh-questions does not change from normal statements.

interrogative: ha






Go back to the conlanging page.

Go back to the main page.