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Period c. 4500 YP
Spoken in unknown
Total speakers unknown
Writing system unknown
Classification Edastean
  Northern Dāiadak
Basic word order VSO
Morphology fusional
Alignment ABS-ERG
Created by Nuntar
Arie is Nuntar's contribution to the Edastean languages, a language family created in collaboration by members of the ZBB by each person making a descendant of an existing language in the family. Arie is descended from TzirTzi's Aríe (note the acute accent).


Notes on the evolution of Arie

The most obvious changes from Aríe to Arie are shifts in which features are considered phonemic; aspiration on consonants is no longer phonemic, but vowel roundedness is. The first change arises from a weakening of intervocalic unaspirated stops to the glottal stop, which in turn lost its phonemicity in favour of the system of creaky-voiced vowels.

An equally significant change was the loss of most intervocalic semivowels, creating a large system of diphthongs. Many of these simplified and merged, leading to a more stable vowel system in which rounded and unrounded vowels have to be considered phonemic, as rounded vowels can follow non-labialised consonants and vice versa. (However, vowels still follow the correct type of consonant more often than not.)

The vowel changes in particular have had drastic effects on Arie's morphology, with the mergers and analogical rearranging conspiring to reduce ten forms of the noun to four – or for some nouns only three.



Arie has the following consonant phonemes (X-SAMPA and orthography):

Plosives /p t k p_w t_w k_w/ <p t k pw tw kw>
Affricates /ts ts_w tK/ <z zw tl>
Nasals /m n N m_w n_w N_w/ <m n ŋ mw nw ŋw>
Fricatives /f s S x s_w S_w x_w/ <f s sh x sw shw xw>
Laterals /l K\ l_w/ <l lh lw>
Approximants /r\ r\_w r\_j j w/ <r rw rj j w>

Note that labialisation is distinctive on all consonants except /j/ and /w/; however, the former phonemes /tK_w f_w K\_w/ have respectively merged with /t_w x_w l_w/. Labialised consonants may be realised with a slight labial off-glide.


Arie has a large vowel system, with /i y I Y 1 M u e 2 E 7 o O A/ as distinct phonemes, represented orthographically as <i y ih yh y u u e e eh uh o oh a>. (But the <h> that distinguishes /i/ from /I/ etc. is not written when the vowel is unstressed or creaky-voiced; see below.) Note that the pairs /1 y/, /e 2/ and /u M/ are not distinguished orthographically; these are recent splits, since vowel roundedness was merely allophonic in Aríe. (However, for the purposes of this grammar, I have used <ÿ ë ü> for /y 2 M/, reserving the unmarked <y e u> for /1 e u/.) There are in addition five diphthong phonemes: /7i e7 oi Ai A7/, written as <ui eu oi ai au>.

The system of unstressed vowels is simpler, with only six vowel qualities being distinguished: /I Y E 7 O A/, written as <i y e u o a>. (That is, when stressed <i> or <ih> becomes unstressed by addition of a prefix, it becomes /I/ and is written <i>, and the same with the other vowels.) All five diphthongs may occur in unstressed positions.

Arie also has a system of creaky-voiced vowels, indicated with a grave accent. Creaky-voiced vowels have merged into the same smaller system of phonemes as unstressed vowels. There are only three creaky-voiced diphthongs, /Ai E7 7i/, each written with a grave accent on its first vowel. (No, I haven't made a typo; the "normal" diphthong is /e7/, its creaky-voiced equivalent is /E7_k/.)


All plosives, plus /ts/ but not including /tK/, are aspirated in the syllable onset (in other words, whenever they come before a vowel).

Fricatives are voiced intervocalically.

/x/ becomes [C] before front vowels, again with the voiced allophone [j\] intervocalically. Word-final unstressed vowels are tensed: /I Y E O/ become [i y e o].

/r\/ and /r\_w/ become [r] and [r_w] at the start of a word. /K\/ devoices to [K] in word-final position. (These two rules are carried over from Aríe.)


Polysyllabic words regularly stress the first syllable.


Arie is an entirely CV(C) language, and syllable-final consonants are only permitted at the end of a word. Sometimes two vowels come together orthographically; where this happens, phonetically they will be separated by the appropriate glide. Thus the name of the language is pronounced [?Ar\Ije] with a [j] glide (for the glottal stop, see below).

Creaky-voiced vowels are separated from a following vowel with a glottal stop rather than a glide: tèe "crown (absolutive possessed case)" is pronounced [t_hE_k?e]. Glottal stop also occurs before a word-initial orthographic vowel.

/j/, /w/ and /r_j/ cannot occur word-finally; there are no other prohibitions on initial or final consonants. When a labialised consonant occurs word-finally, it is followed by a short schwa.

Nominal morphology

Arie distinguishes four cases: ergative non-possessed (ENP), ergative possessed (EP), absolutive non-possessed (ANP) and absolutive possessed (AP). The ergative and absolutive obey the standard distinction: ergative is used for the subject of a transitive verb, absolutive for the object of a transitive or the argument of an intransitive. The possessed forms are used to mark one noun as possessed by another:

rwaurin shihe miru nirwoi yn
love dog-EP father-ENP horse-AP heretic-ANP
the father's dog loves the heretic's horse

Nouns decline differently depending on whether the stem ends in a vowel or a consonant:

(1) Consonant stem

There are two consonantal declensions, depending on whether the final consonant is labialised:

Non-Lab. Lab.
AP -ai -oi
ENP -u -u
EP -e -y

In addition, if the final consonant is a fricative (not counting /K\/), this becomes labialised in the ENP form (remember that the labialised version of /f/ is /x_w/), and becomes the corresponding plosive in the two possessed forms: /f s x/ become /p t k/ respectively. (This leaves out /S/, which is not found as a stem ending.)

Stems ending in creaky-voiced vowels also take the consonant stem endings, as do some nouns ending in normal vowels. Note that in both cases, the endings are placed after the final vowel; they do not replace it like the true vowel stems (see below).

(2) Vowel stems

Vowel stems form the ENP by replacing the final vowel by <uh> (<u> if unstressed) and the EP by replacing the final vowel by <e>. There are eleven groups of vowel stems, each forming the AP in a different way:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
ANP a ih eh eu oh ih y ui a a uh
AP ai ih ai eue oi ai y ui ui oi uh

(Again, in the vowel + <h> stems, the <h> is only written if the vowel is stressed. Note that some of the stem groups have the same form for two of the cases, and the last (uh) group has the same form for three.)

If the stem has only one syllable, the vowel is replaced in the AP, but the ENP and EP are formed by suffixing -u and -e.


The plural is formed with a prefix, wo- before consonants and wop- before vowels. However, nouns beginning with /a/ take the wo- prefix and drop the /a/.

Stems beginning with certain consonants undergo lenition as follows:

Consonant Lenites to
s r\
s_w r\_w
p_w, k_w x_w
t_w s_w

In stems beginning with /f/, /x/, /x_w/ or a semivowel, these drop out altogether, and the following vowel merges with the /o/ of the prefix as follows:

Vowel Becomes
a, o, oh o (exception: /o/ after /w/ becomes /u/)
other back vowel u
front vowel oi
au au
oi, ui ui


The comparative prefix is re- before a consonant, rep- before a vowel. Consonant lenitions after this prefix are the same as those following the plural prefix.


Quantifiers are also prefixes on the noun.

ihru- all of (takes the lenited stem)
auru- all, every (takes the lenited stem)
na- some, a little
nena- many

Except in the case of na-, these prefixes drop their final vowel if the stem begins with a vowel; na- becomes nap-.


First Second Third  
Masc. Fem.
Abs. Sing. are arwon ehn ihn
Abs. Pl. join rweu wehn wihn
Erg. Sing. rer rwary ehr y
Erg. Pl. rihry rwÿry ehrwa ihrwo


1 ari
2 ih
3 rworo
4 ai
5 lwon
6 is
7 mehn
8 xy
9 ŋy
10 rwo

Higher numbers are formed by concatenation: ari-rwo 11, ih-rwo 12, rwo-ih 20, ari-rwo-ih 21, etc.

Ordinal numbers are formed with a prefix lheh-, with the following being irregular:

1st lhehynw
2nd lhehri
3rd lhehruro
5th lhehlun
8th lhera

Verbal morphology

Arie verbs do not inflect for person, but only for tense, aspect and mood, which are marked as prefixes. The sixteen forms of the Aríe verb have been reduced to nine:

Present Pres.Prog. Past Future Perfect
Indicative sì- wë- lheh- kehna-
Subjunctive ehre- ehre- woire- wote- kwure-

The two-syllable prefixes lose their second vowel before a stem beginning with a vowel; wë- and lheh- become wù- and lhè-.

Certain verbs form the subjunctive by ablaut of the first vowel rather than using the separate set of prefixes; the most common vowel changes are <au> to either <o> or <ÿ>, <o> to <a> and <oi> to <ai>. (Just one verb, , shows an <è> to <ì> change.) These changes are indicated in the dictionary entries.

There are no participles or infinitives; the bare stem is used as an infinitive with auxiliary verbs, and pihn "with" can be used to give the meaning of a participle: nehraf pihn pu "the growing animal".

To be is irregular (and does not have a progressive form):

Present Past Future Perfect
Indicative wehŋ lhehŋ kaŋin
Subjunctive rere wuhŋ wauteŋ xwauŋin


Basic word order is VSO. In transitive clauses, the subject is ergative, the object absolutive. To be and to become take two absolutive arguments.

rwaurin shihu nirw
love dog-ENP horse-ANP
the dog loves the horse

Adjectives (including numbers) and possessors come after the noun. Adverbs come after the verb. Prepositions precede the nouns they modify, which take the absolutive case, and the prepositional phrase as a whole comes after the noun or verb it relates to.

Auxiliaries precede the main verb. Negation is expressed with the auxiliary ihn:

ihn rwaurin shihu nirw
NEG love dog-ENP horse-ANP
the dog doesn't love the horse

Relative clauses are formed with the relative pronoun tihn; their structure is like that of relative clauses in English, except that the verb comes next after the relative pronoun, with any other arguments coming after it.

shih tihn rwaurin nirw
dog-ANP that love horse-ANP
the dog that loves the horse

shih tihn rwaurin nirwu
dog-ANP that love horse-ENP
the dog that the horse loves


For all nouns ending in vowels, the final vowel of the ANP form is given in brackets. The mark (C) denotes that a noun ending in a vowel nonetheless takes the consonant stem endings.

For all verbs with an ablaut subjunctive, the first vowel of the subjunctive is given in brackets.

Abbreviations used:

adj. adjective
adv. adverb
con. conjunction
int. interjection
n. noun
prep. preposition
sub. subordinating conjunction (requires verb to be in the subjunctive)
v. verb

Arie Class English
aiŋin v. to cry
airjin v. to make
aires adj. (of weather) cold, chilly
airin v. to be cold, to freeze
aixwu adj. beautiful, attractive
amazilh v. to shine, glow
arazwyn adj. strong
are prep. as, like, in the manner of
areky (C) n. priest
arekira (ai) n. priestess
arem n. (1) neighbour; (2) sun
arerui (ui) n. annoyance, irritation
ari (i) n. uncle
arif n. child
ariran n. pig
arirù n. (1) king; (2) kingdom
ariruka (ai) n. queen
arje (ai) n. goddess
arwairai (C) n. prisoner; victim; sacrifice
arwolhin adj. holy, sacred
arwora adj. white
arworui adj. old
arwaunalhe (ai) n. tradition; ritual (mildly pejorative)
ary con. but
ary (C) n. scribe
atw sub. where, in the place that
aushe (ai) n. chair, stool
ax adv. really (adds emphasis)
è prep. of, belonging to
è n. cloth
eh prep. against
eh (C) n. enemy; foe
ehkin v. to do
ehlharin v. to have sex
ehnaren v. to damage, to hurt
ehra (ai) n. fish
ehtw v. to begin, to start
ehx int. alas!
en v. (1) to say; (2) to rest
èna (ai) n. lovely girl; (slang) whore
eŋurin v. to befriend; (slang) to have an affair with
eu (eue) n. ox
eum n. woman
eunari (ai) n. heretic; traitor
n. clay
v. to kill
fehtle (ai) n. honey
fehzù n. luck
feŋ n. year
fu v. to come
fy adj. generous, selfless (or wishing to appear so)
fy (y) n. homosexual man
i (i) n. man, male person
ih (ih) n. snow
ihkalh v. to clear a path through snow
ihlhi v. to read
ihrain n. arm
ilhan n. penis
ìn prep. without
irira (ai) n. sanctuary, place of safety
irw n. rain
irwù n. mistress, kept woman
ix n. cat
ji adv. last year
jürun adj. powerful; in authority
jürus adj. nearby
kamari v. to vomit
keh (ai) n. road, path
ken v. to mock; to belittle
keretl n. throne
kihn n. (wise) old man; mentor
kiù n. chicken
kùs n. flea
kwo adv. apparently (expresses surprise)
kwù n. star
lhehrjin v. to become
lhihpam adj. large
lhùf n. blood
lwara (ui) n. name, title
lwihn v. to drink
lwuin sub. in order to, with the intention of
lwaurjin (o) v. to want
lÿ (C) n. tree
men n. mother
mèu adj. brave
mi (C) n. door
mihrarjin v. to celebrate; (slang) to be naked
mihù n. brother
mihùi n. goat
mineu (eue) n. flower
miran n. frost
mirin v. to flow
mwoi (C) n. person
mwaurjin (o) v. to protest; (slang) to be loud when having sex
my (y) n. father
my adj. shining
mÿn n. baker
mỳrax n. snake
ne (ai) n. god
nehnalwa (oi) n. wind
nehraf n. animal
nehrjin v. to pray
nemura adj. dirty, unclean
nih prep. in
nìnwo (oi) n. prophet, holy man
nirw n. horse
nwauŋin (o) v. to go
nwaurjin (o) v. to die
nyn adj. red
ŋaren v. to dishonour, bring shame on
ŋihù n. water
ŋwoswui (ui) n. finger
pihn prep. together with
pu v. to grow
pwaulhas (ÿ) v. to take, to remove
pỳ n. mouth
v. to be
rehpin v. to give
rehrjin v. (1) to hear; (2) to send
rèn v. to curse
rih (ih) n. fox
ris n. land
rjihn v. to pull
rjihxwu v. to worship
rui (ui) v. breath, vitality
rwauŋaka (ai) n. charlatan, deceiver
rwaurai n. foreign
rwaurin (o) v. to love
rworjin (a) v. to create, to start
rworu (u) n. religion
rÿ (ÿ) n. squirrel
rÿrin v. to heat
n. time
saurui (ui) n. year
sharà n. wine
shih (ih) n. dog
shüxi (i) n. trade, commerce
shwamex n. hand
shwo adj. orange
si con. and so, thus
n. girl
swoirjin (ai) v. to burn
swotlis adj. yellow
talwùin v. to sit
tam n. fire
taratl v. to sting
n. crown
tehmàiru (u) n. nobleman
ten v. to err
tez v. to capture
tÿrin v. to lust after
twalwò adj. wet
twan n. ice
twà n. moon
ui (ui) n. prostitute (more formal than èna)
uin v. (1) to drink; (2) to raise, lift, wake up
üpin v. to defeat, to conquer
ürin v. to marry
adv. now
waf n. country-dweller; farmer
wau adj. black
waum adj. bright
waurorjin (o) v. to forget
wehn prep. made of
wehrjin v. (1) to attack; (2) to name
wëlhin n. to stand
wo int. gosh!
woh (oi) n. friend
woi adj. happy
woi prep. on
wominin v. to rape
won con. and
wore (C) n. word
woroi adj. cold
worolh n. feast, holiday
wurui (ui) n. border
xan n. light
xe prep. out of
xeh (ai) n. mouse
xeue (ai) n. drum
xihreu adj. hostile
xihun adj. evil
xihurje adj. blue or green
xiwo (oi) n. rabbit
xwoh n. sheep (irregular plural: wuh)
xwoh sub. when; at the time that
xy adj. clumsy, heavy
y prep. to, towards
ynw prep. in front of, before
zeh (ai) n. hill
zehs n. hair
zè (ì) v. to laugh
zwarai adj. brown
zwÿ (ÿ) n. temple

Sample text

The legend of Emperor Shehŋan

Wùen Shehŋan arirù jurun, arirùai Kwohlh, mihùai arem won twà:
PAST-speak Shehŋan-ANP(1) king-ANP mighty king-AP Kwohlh-ANP brother-AP sun-ANP and moon-ANP
Shehŋan, the mighty king, king of Kwohlh, brother of the sun and moon, said:

“ynw wetalwùin are woi keretl è my are, ehx! Wehŋ ihrarirù rwaurai xihreu y are.
before PAST-sit I-ABS on throne-ANP of father-AP I-ABS, alas! PAST-be all-king-ANP foreign hostile to I-ABS
“Before I sat on the throne of(2) my father, alas! All the foreign kings(3) were hostile to me.

“Wùen worirù rwaurai jurus:
PAST-speak PL-king-ANP foreign nearby
“The nearby foreign kings said:

“‘Wehŋ my ehn arirù mèu. Ehx! wùupin ehr nenarirùai wùe
PAST-be father-AP he-ABS king-ANP brave. Alas! PAST-conquer he-ERG many-king-AP PL-enemy-ANP
“‘His father was a brave king. Alas! he conquered many enemy kings

“‘won welherjin ehn ne
and PAST-become he-ABS god-ANP
“‘and he became a god

“‘ary pihn fehzù rè ehr tihn talwùin woi keretl è my ehr arif.’
but with luck-ANP be he-ABS that sit on throne-ANP of father-AP he-ABS child-ANP
“‘but luckily he that sits on the throne of his father is a child.’

“Xwoh, ynw wenwauŋin are y worirù xihreu y are,
when before PAST-go I-ABS to PL-king-ANP hostile to I-ABS
“When, before I went to the kingdoms hostile to me,

“wenwauŋin are tihn rè mihùai arem won twar pihn woi y Wò
PAST-go I-ABS that be brother-AP sun-ANP and moon-ANP with happiness(4) to Wò
“I, who am brother of the sun and moon, went with happiness to Wò [name of a goddess]

“wemirarjin y are
PAST-celebrate to I-ABS(5)
I celebrated for myself

“won wùuin rer shwamekai are y Men My.
and PAST-raise I-ERG hand-AP I-ABS to mother-ANP shining
“and I raised my hand to the Shining Mother.

“Wùen are:
PAST-speak I-ABS
“I said:

“‘Arjai are tihn rè xanai woxwù,
goddess-AP I-ABS that be light-AP PL-star-ANP
“‘My goddess, who is the light of the stars,

“‘ken worirùu jurus tihn wehrjin are arif are
belittle PL-king-ENP nearby that name I-ABS child-ANP I-ABS
“‘the nearby kings who name me a child belittle me

“‘won ehtw wehrjin ehrwa wurui ritai arwolhin rweu.
and begin attack they-ERG border-AP land-AP holy you[PL]-ABS
“‘and they begin to attack the borders of your holy land.

“‘Fè wopeunari!’
kill PL-heathen
“‘Kill the heathens!’

“Wererjin Wò wureai pỳai are.
PAST-hear Wò PL-word-AP mouth-AP I-ABS
“Wò heard the words of my mouth.

“Wùuin y are won werepin y arazwyn y ihrainai are
PAST-raise she-ERG I-ABS and PAST-give she-ERG(6) strength-ANP to arm-AP I-ABS
“She raised me and she gave strength to my arm

“won nih woiŋ rwa wùupin rer wehn tihn wemwaurjin eh are
and in PL-year-ANP ten PAST-conquer I-ERG they-ABS that PAST-protest against I-ABS
“and in ten years I conquered they that protested against me

“won wetez rer nenarwairai won neneu won nenaxwo
and PAST-capture I-ERG many-prisoner-ANP and many-ox-ANP and many-sheep-ANP
“and I captured many prisoners and oxen and sheep

“won wererjin rer wihn y Khwolh.”
and PAST-send I-ERG they-ABS to Khwolh-ANP
“and I sent them to Khwolh.”


1. Shehŋan is absolutive here because to speak is treated as intransitive.

2. Of can be translated either with è or with a possessed noun. Use of è is restricted to ownership of physical objects (so here it is appropriate for "the throne of my father"), and is not used when the possessor is a personal pronoun.

3. Arirù can mean either "king" or "kingdom". I give what seems to be the more appropriate translation each time.

4. All adjectives can be used as abstract nouns; thus here woi "happy" is used for "happiness" (and arazwyn "strong" for "strength" later on). This can be combined with pihn "with" to give the adverbial meaning "happily".

5. Notice how putting y "to" before the intransitive subject makes the verb into a sort of reflexive.

6. Note that y "she" must be repeated; when one argument is dropped from conjoined clauses, it can only be the absolutive.