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Written by Dewrad.


Adāta is the majority language of the numerous city-states of the Rathedān Highlands, inhabited by the Dāiadak ethnic group. Over the past century, the Dāiadak have been growing in power and influence and as such Adāta has great cultural prestige as the lingua franca of the upper valley of the Eigə and the lands to the south.

Adāta is a language of the Edastean family, descended from the southwestern dialects of Proto-Edak, and so is related to the languages of Kasca, Axôltseubeu and the powerful nation of Huyfárah to the north.

The form of the language presented below is the dialect of Athalē which, while not the largest of the Dāiadak city-states, is the most prestigious as Athalē was the birthplace of the prophet Zārakātias.


The consonant inventory of Adāta is as follows:

labial dental alveolar velar glottal
stops p t k
b d g
ph th kh
fricatives s x h
nasals m n
liquids l r
semivowels j

The stops ph th kh are aspirated voiceless stops. Orthographically, all consonants have their IPA values, save that /j/ is represented by i.

The vocalic inventory is as follows:

front central back
close i · iː u · uː
mid e · eː o · oː
open a · aː

The mid vowels have a fairly wide spread, and a realisation of e o as either [ɛ ɔ] or [e o] is not incorrect.

Orthographically, long vowels are represented by a macron: ā ē ī ō ū. Permitted dipthongs are ai ei oi au eu and their long counterparts āi ēi ōi āu ēu. All dipthongs are falling, comprised of a simple vowel and either a /-j/ or /-w/ off-glide. It should perhaps be noted that short dipthongs are considerably more common than their long counterparts.

Word stress is somewhat irregular, falling either on the initial syllable of the word or on a non-initial long vowel. As it is not predictable from a word's form, an underline will be used to mark the stressed syllable where this is deemed relevant, e.g. Adāta, Rathedān.

There are no restrictions on what consonants or vowels may occur initially, and broadly speaking the only restriction on word-final sounds is that /m/ may not occur word-finally. Adāta does not permit consonant clusters anywhere in a word.


Verbal Morphology

The Adāta verb distinguishes modality, aspect, number and valency- it does not however mark tense or person. There is only one wholly irregular verb- athe "to be"; there are, however, certain stem alternations and a series of deponent verbs. Generally, the citation form of a verb is the indicative singular active habitual, which was seen as the least marked of the forms. Following English convention, however, we will translate these citation forms as "to sing" etc. rather than "he normally sings".

The Stem

The inflections for number, aspect and valency are built on the verb stem, which is not entirely predictable from the citation form. As such, the stem will be given with all cited verbs, for example the stem of zin "to live" is zim-.

Valency, Number and Aspect

Verbs are marked for three aspects- habitual, perfective and imperfective, two voices- active and passive and two numbers- singular and plural. Below are given sample conjugations for two verbs- abize "to sing" and zin "to live":

abize "to sing", stem abize-
active passive
singular plural singular plural
habitual abize abizethi abizel abizēthi
perfective abizen abizebe abizēna abizēbe
imperfective abizesi abizē abizēsi abizēa
zin "to live", stem zim-
active passive
singular plural singular plural
habitual zin zimathi zimal zimāthi
perfective ziman zimabe zimāna zimābe
imperfective zimasi zimā zimāsi zimāa


Adāta indicates seven moods- the indicative (which is the unmarked form), the imperative, the optative, the benefactive, the the obligative, the futilitive and the conditional. The moods are indicated by prefixes which are added to the verb stem. There are two paralell sets- one set used with affirmative verbs and the other used with negative verbs. In addition, several prefixes have different forms depending on whether the verb stem begins with a vowel or not. A table outlining these prefixes follows:

affirmative negative
indicative - - a- m-
imperative ī- ī- mī- mī-
optative ū- uk- mū- muk-
benefactive za- z- aza- az-
obligative so- s aso- as-
futilitive īra- īr- mīra- mīr-
conditional pū- paz- apū- apaz-

Where prefixes appear in pairs, the one to the right is the form found before verbs beginning with a vowel.

There are a few irregular formations- for example, adding the imperative prefix to verbs beginning in t- causes this t- to become s-, e.g.: tūsi "eats" > isūsi "eat!".


The deponent class is not particularly widespread, however it does contain certain extremely common verbs: hab (haba-) "to drink", tu "to eat", pāphu "to fear", "to grow", rathel (rathela-) "to encourage", hapaba "to lift", ina "to see", dupho "to smell", alen (alena-) "to divide", īza "to use", sān (sēia-) "to wash".

When used in a transitive sense, deponent verbs inflect like normal active verbs. However, when used intransitively or reflexively, verbs of the deponent class take passive inflections to indicate an active meaning. For example:

Dizaka ro sēiasi xan.
The emperor is washing the knife.
Dizaka ro sēiāsi.
The emperor is washing [himself].

The Verbal Noun

The verb-noun is formed by means of adding the suffix -eien to the stem of the verb, which displaces any final vowel. Its functions are something of a combination of English's participles and infinitive.

The Copula

The copula athe "to be" is rather irregular. Its complete inflection is given below:

singular plural
habitual athe adi
perfective a be
imperfective si athē
singular plural
habitual ī īadi
perfective īa ībe
imperfective isi is
singular plural
habitual uk ūthi
perfective uka ūbe
imperfective ūsi ūs
singular plural
habitual za zathi
perfective zan zabe
imperfective zasi
singular plural
habitual so sothi
perfective son sobe
imperfective sosi
singular plural
habitual īr īrathi
perfective īra īrabe
imperfective īrasi īrā
singular plural
habitual pūthi
perfective pūn pūbe
imperfective pūsi pūs

Note that the negative of non-indicative forms is formed by prefixing either m- or a- to those beginning with a vowel or a consonant respectively.

Nominal Morphology

Adāta nouns are largely lacking in any grammatical morphology, and have a rather limited derivational morphology. As such, case is not overtly marked, plural marking on nouns is optional and hardly productive- context, pronouns, determiners and number-marking verbs serve to disambiguate.


Determiners (i.e. demonstratives and quantifiers) uniformly precede their nouns. A list of the most common follows:

pha few
name some
opha many
mi none
eze all
or each


The demonstratives exhibit a three-way deixis: "here" (by the speaker), "there" (near the listener) and "there" (far from either). Demonstratives, unlike quantifiers, may optionally inflect for number:

   this here, pl. zāk
xa that there, pl. xak
si that yonder, pl. sik.


Plural nouns are formed by the prefix ā-: dizaka "king" > ādizaka "kings, a group of kings". Like the imperative prefix ī-, the pluralising prefix causes an initial t- to become s-: ; "lake" > āsō. Several such plural formations have been lexicalised and are treated as grammatical singulars, e.g. tikhō "stone" > āsikhō "testicles".

Plurals formed in such a way are more akin to collective nouns in languages such as Welsh or Breton- and indeed singutive forms can be derived from them by means of the suffix -su: thanu "pine-tree(s)" > āthanu "a group of pine trees" > āthanusu "a single pine tree".


Adjectives, like nouns, do not inflect for case. In fact, adjectives do not inflect at all. A comparative is formed by use of the adverb neze, which follows the adjective: naphan "small" > naphan neze "smaller". Superlatives are indicated by a form of paraphrase, e.g. mēia naphan ax naphan "the smallest cow" is literally "the small cow of smallness".


Personal Pronouns

Unlike nouns, personal pronouns still exhibit some vestiges of case-marking, with separate forms for direct, oblique and possessive:

direct oblique possessive
   1 i in ai
2 do don ādo
3 a an aka
1 ik ī aik
2 lākhok lākhō ālāu
3 ak ā akā

The direct is used to indicate the subject of a verb, the oblique is used to indicate both the direct and indirect objects (and as reflexive forms). The possessive pronoun always follows the noun it qualifies, in the same way as adjectives do.

Correlative Pronouns

Following is a cute Zamenhof-style table of correlatives:

query this that yonder some no every
adjective iza xa si name ma eze
person/thing xeza zēie xaxe seie naphe maxe exe
place mala zēlul xalul silul nālul malul elul
time sola zēso sisō naphō masō esō
way ipa sip namip ezip
reason aduza sithu naphu mathu


Prepositions, as the name suggests, come before their nouns. Some vestige of case-governance occurs when prepositions precede pronouns, but this is recessive and generally all prepositions govern the oblique case. Those marked with an asterisk in the list below govern the direct case in more archaic usage.

al without, except
ate* using, with
atha into
ax* of, belonging to
axērit as far as, up to, until
ha out of, from
īla to, towards
iu* as
in, inside, among
ob near to, by
pen* with (in a comitative sense)
raphe along, via, during
un* made of
zō* intended for, concerning


Verb Usage


The moods of Adāta have the following meanings and usages:

The indicative marks the factuality of a given statement.
Damō aik ro thekimasi pen Kasali.
Our city-state trades with the Xšali.

The imperative mood indicates that the action of the verb is a command, or a request.

Īzekhor naka, apūnin!
Worship the gods, heretic!

The optative mood indicates a wish or a desire that the action denoted by the verb comes about.

Apelo ro ukethusi atha ārania ax Mezaras!
May rain fall upon the fields of Mezaras!

The benefactive mood indicates that the action of the verb is in some way of benefit to either the speaker or the subject of the sentence (which can lead to some ambiguity). It is also used as a polite imperative.

A ro baren xan, dal i ro zekhun an.
He had a knife, but luckily I killed him.

The obligative mood indicates that in the speaker's opinion the action indicated by the verb either must or should come about.

Asonānon a xak ulio.
He must not cut those vines.

The futilitive is the most complex of Adāta's moods. It mainly indicates that the action harms the speaker in some way, or that the speaker is of the opinion that the action indicated by the verb is unlikely to happen.

Dizaka ro īruphapēn lasakātia.
Typical! The king's gone and raised the taxes.

The conditional mood indicates that the speaker is of the opinion that the action indicated by the verb would come about if the action in the complementary clause is true.

A ro pazatāxeul xak adūnā, a ro zin nē tus akā.
He'd always be raping those girls if he lived in their house.


Use of the aspects is pretty much as one would expect- the habitual aspect indicates a habitual action, the perfective aspect indicates a completed action and the imperfective indicates an ongoing or incomplete action.

Preverbal Particles

Adāta makes use of two preverbal particles, and ro- the quotative particle and the affirmative particle.

The quotative particle introduces a an indirect quotation: i ro abin 'i ro haban zān' "I said 'I drank the wine'" becomes i ro abin rē haban i zān "I said that I drank the wine"- note how the particle causes the inversion of the subject and verb.

The affirmative particle ro universally precedes all other finite non-negated verbs- one cannot say *i abizesi "I'm singing", rather one must say i ro abizesi.

Noun Phrases

The canonical order of elements in the Adāta noun phrase is determiner - head noun - adjective - adverb - possessives/genitive phrases - prepositional phrases - relative clauses:

Eze apūnin abūr neze ādo ha Hazīli ate zekhoreien akā ānaka humo
All heretics short COMP your from Huyfárah who worship false gods.
All of your shorter heretics from Huyfárah who worship false gods.


cardinal ordinal x10
1 ke luke ro
2 ia luia iaro
3 luzō zōro
4 bu lubu buro
5 ludō dōro
6 es luzes ēro
7 man luman māro
8 huda lūda hudaro
9 nil lunil nīro
10 ro luro iphi

Numerals in Adāta are considered to be adjectives, and so follow their head noun: omō ia "two sisters".

Numbers such as 17 and 22 are formed by lengthening the final -o of tens and adding the unit- rōman "17" and iarōia "22". Note, however, that -ro + es becomes -roles, not *-rōes, and likewise -ro + huda becomes -roluda.

It should be fairly clear that ordinal numbers are formed by prefixing lu-, with a few irregularities. Thus, "42nd" is luburōia, and "69th" is luzērōnil. It should be noted that except in the case of lūda, stress never falls on the prefix lu-.

Word Order

Main Clauses

Constituent word order in affirmative main clauses is SVO:

Nērē ro ethurasi nitha.
The woman is baking the bread.

While word order in negative main clauses is VSO:

Methurasi nērē nitha.
The woman didn't bake the bread.

Adpositional Phrases

Generally, adpositional phrases are ordered time - manner - place:

I nonan kapa ate nalaror īla Nitazē.
I went to Nitazē by horse last year.

Relative Clauses

Relative clauses, embedded sentences which modify a noun or a phrase, are formed in Adāta by nominal constructions using the verbal noun.

To make a main clause into a relative clause, replace the verb with its verbal noun (appropriately inflected for mood), make the subject into a possessive phrase and place it after the verbal noun. Aspect is indicated by means of preceding the verbal noun with one of three prepositions: ate "with" indicates the habitual, uza "after" indicates the perfective and iu "as" indicates the imperfective. If the noun to be relativised is a direct object, the appropriate objective pronoun must be used. Thus I loved the girl. I raped the girl. becomes I loved the girl after my raping her. (for "I loved the girl I raped"):

I ro rōlan adūnā. I ro atāxeulan adūnā.
I AFF love-PERF girl. I AFF rape-PERF girl
I loved the girl. I raped the girl.
I ro rōlan adūna uza atāxeuleien ai an.
I AFF love-PERF girl after rape-VN my her.
I loved the girl who I raped.


An Inscription

The following is a translation into Adāta of an inscription found on a monumental stele some three miles outside the Kasdgan city of Momuva'e, the old capital of the Edak Empire. It recounts the deeds of the great Emperor Sinakan:

Sinakan, dizaka xezor, dizaka ax las ax Kāxad, mēkat ax Zama on ax Thālo, ro abise sip:
īlanu i ro ape ob ōpākātia ax meze ai, eze dizakalas rūlas ro īr hēkon īla in. Dizakalas rūlas kasus ro abin sip: "Meze aka ro a dizaka perā. A ro īrahophian ādizakalas akāran. On a ro tan iu naka. Dal a apeien aka ob ōpākātia ax meze aka ro zasi iu dephi."
Hola i, mēkat ox Zama on ax Thālo, ro ape ob ōpākātia ax meze ai, īlanu i ro nonan atha dizakalas rūlas atheien akā hēkon īla in, i ro zanonan īla zāti ax Ophai. I ro zamizākon ā on i ro habapan ton ai īla mina mala. I ro abin sip: "edaki ai, khēnu ax āzē, dizakalas kasus papazeien akā īla in iu dephi ro uphōnaphanan in. On ak sāten paso ax kālas ax las dōtin ādo, edaki ai! īēnazapa adōtin!"
Ophai ro rathon lezē ax maba ai. A ro ulan in on a ro saphin baphor īla itian ai. I ro pethan ā ate lād kero mūkeien akā in. I ro pethan ā. I ro abuien āiātī, bū on xāra on i ro pilān las Kāxad.

Sinakan, the great king, the king of the land of Kāxad, brother of the sun and the moon, spoke thus:
Before I sat on the throne of my father, alas! all the foreign countries were hostile towards me. The nearby foreign countries spoke thus: "His father was a brave king. Alas! he conquered many enemy countries. And he became a god. But luckily, he who sits on the throne of his father is a child."
When I, brother of the sun and moon, sat on the throne of my father, before I went to the foreign countries which were being hostile towards me, happily I went to the feasts of Ophai. I celebrated them to my benefit, and I rose my hand to the shining mother. I spoke thus: "My mistress, light of the stars, the nearby countries who name me a child belittle me. And they begin to attack the border of your holy land, my mistress! Strike the heathens down!"
Ophai heard the words of my mouth. She rose me up and she gave strength to my arm. I conquered those who rose against me in ten years. I conquered them. I captured many prisoners, oxen and sheep, and I sent them back to the land of Kāxad.


Adāta was originally created, along with the whole world of Akana, for a reconstruction challenge on the ZBB. The idea was that one team would create a family of languages derived from a single (originally unpublished) protolanguage and another team would attempt to reconstruct the protolanguage from the daughter languages. There was a strict time constraint for the daughter languages to be created- about two weeks. As a result, Adāta was somewhat rushed and the documentation of the language above is highly scanty in places.

Rather later, another ZBB game was devised- a "Historical Relay", in which Adāta became the mother to a whole host of daughterlanguages. As Adāta "as she is" has been the basis for a number of daughter languages, I've resisted any temptations to revise the language (not that there have been many- I've largely ignored it since I created it). In recoding this page after changing my webhosting providers, I've simply limited myself to correcting a couple of infelicities in the text.

However, there are some rather uncomfortable lacunae in the language's description, which the completionist in me abhors. In this section, I've taken the oppurtunity to clear a few of these (primarily syntax-related) issues up. Nothing is being changed, simply added to. Those who have already derived a language from Adāta are free to ignore or incorporate these notes as they see fit.


Due to the time constraints when creating the language, I relied rather heavily on natlang precedents to create the syntax of the language. Ndak Ta was a VSO language, so in spite of the Greekish-inspired "look and feel" of the language, much of the syntax is inspired by developments in the Celtic languages. As such, a lot of the unaddressed issues in Adāta syntax can be answered by analogy with what happens in Celtic languages (particularly Breton and Cornish).

Nothing has been written about question formation in Adāta. Given the language's historical typology (which is still underlyingly VSO), there are certain tendencies that we can confidently predict. Questions formed using interrogatives exhibit wh-movement:

Zakhēro ro zukun kōabu.
priest AFF blame-PERF foreign.priest
The priest blamed the native priest.
Xeza zakhēro ro zukun?
who priest AFF blame-PERF
Whom did the priest blame?

I'm not willing to start tinkering too much with the syntax, so I'll say that the most common method of forming questions not involving interrogatives was simply intonation, possibly reinforced with a tag question such as mathe? "isn't [it]?". I'll go out on a limb and say that Adāta lacked words for "yes" and "no", like the modern Celtic languages. Instead the verb was repeated (without the affirmative particle), negated or otherwise as appropriate:

Do ro ōnonan nē āia?
you AFF defecate-PERF in hole
Did you crap in the hole?
Ōnonan / Mōnonan
defecate-PERF / NEG-defecate-PERF
Yes / No

Derivational Morphology

Another notable lacuna in the description of Adāta is in derivational morphology, for which I have been unfairly upbraided >:|

Apologia pro conlingua sua.

When writing the first version of this grammar, I consciously decided not to include a discussion of derivational morphology, for two reasons. Firstly, because I hadn't thought about it a great deal and secondly because I thought it would make the Reconstruction Game too easy. I wanted people to puzzle over presumed cognates and analyse words into their individual morphemes without any undue hand-holding: thus obfustication was the name of the game (in retrospect, it is possibly this common theme of obfustication, most notably taken to extremes with Qedik, that made the Reconstruction Game fall flat on its face). Additionally, having a large or even an expandible vocabulary was never an aim of the project- when the language was created I never anticipated there being daughter languages in the future. However, semantic condoms do not work and like an ill-timed pregnancy I suddenly had people clamoring for moar vocabz liek now plzkthx, which I tried my hardest to ignore. Nevertheless, in order to fuel my god-complex, I have decided to offer some tools in order to help those who help themselves.

Adāta's parent language was rather deficient in derivational morphology, making use of four suffixes, one particle and a whole lot of zero-morpheme derivation. As one of the suffixes was basically unproductive and the particle was reanalysed as a verb, this left Adāta with a parlous lack of tools for the creation of new vocabulary. The language remedied this by borrowing (both lexical items and derivational morphology) and compounding. In my initial conception of the language no new derivational suffixes were created from former independent morphemes, but we might as well look at that again.

In total, the lexicon so far makes use of eleven derivational affixes, of which four are of Ndak Ta vintage. To these one more has been added, and if anyone thinks there should be more, suggestions are solicited.

The suffix -ia is a locative suffix, indicating "place or location". It can be freely added to nouns, adjectives or verbs. It causes deletion of any final consonant (with concomitant compensatory lengthening), and becomes -za after an original final vowel. Derived from the Gezoro *-ja.
Another locative suffix, - is inherited from the Ndak Ta -lau and has ceased to be productive in Adāta, and in some cases has even been replaced by the Gezoro suffix (e.g. ēkīnaza < "Vulgar Rathedanian NT" *eskidna-ja < NT eskidnalau). However, there's no real reason why it can't be used for derivational purposes in the Relay.
Yet another locative suffix, -las, derived from the NT free morpheme lats "land", indicates larger regions rather than places or locations. With the benefit of hindsight, this suffix irritates me. NT nominal compounds were head-initial (c.f. Latsomo, from lats "land" and omo "mother"), which is typologically consistent with VO languages. There appears to be no motivation of a switch in this order in Adāta, save that I based compounding patterns on those in Cornish and Breton, where the compounding pattern is not representative of VO langauges but an inheritance of the languages' OV past. Oh well, a īrasi iu atheien aka.
Moving away from locative suffixes, we have the collective suffix -ra, which deletes any final consonant. Derived from Gezoro *-ra, this suffix indicates collections or groups taken as a whole. Frequently, this entails a fairly radical change in meaning (e.g. zed "son" > zēra "family"), and as such can be termed a collective-abstract suffix. This differs from the morphological plural/collective suffix described above in that it is less concrete- āzed simply means "a group of brothers". Additionally, -ra can be applied to any part of speech, while ā- can only be applied to nouns.
The honorific suffix -du indicates a "special" or respected version of the base noun or adjective. It cannot be applied to other parts of speech.
The suffix -bu simply derives a gender-neutral nomen agentis, which can be either animate or inanimate (i.e. it can be a tool or a person), much like English -er. It can only be applied to verbs.
This suffix indicates men. It derives a noun indicating an associated male person from any part of speech. It is derived from the Gezoro word *rau "man", which was also borrowed as an independent morpheme to become the Adāta word for "penis". The suffix causes deletion of any root-final consonant.
Another Gezoro-derived suffix, this is the female equivalent of -.
This suffix derives feminine forms from masculine root nouns, the equivalent of English -ess. It differs from -ā in that it is only added to root nouns which indicate males.
This is simply an all-purpose adjectivaliser, which can be added to any part of speech.
Another adjectival suffix, this one indicates privation (i.e. lack of something).
Replacing the NT prefix umbom- (the outcome of which I really dislike), this derives causative verbs.

As for compounding, you might really just do as you please. Older compounds are likely to be head-initial, while more recent ones will be head-final. Compounds with verbs will have the verb as the final element.