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Shtasa/Štoso The greatest extent of the Anheshnalaks c.-420 YP
Period c. -600 YP to -300 YP
Spoken in Tjakori and Northern Xšalad
Total speakers unknown
Writing system Variant of the Xšali script
Classification Western languages
 Lake languages (Wañelinic)
Basic word order SVO
Morphology Agglutinating
Alignment ERG-ABS
Created by Arzena


Štoso, Štåså or Anješnaloksaby moš is a descendant of Çetázó in the Western language family (the etymology of Štoso is Çetázó). It was spoken by the Anheshnalak tribes who descended from the original speakers of Çetázó. For uncertain reasons, the Anheshnalaks migrated eastward, away from the homeland of the Wañelinic peoples: Haišin (Çet. Γañeɬina). The tribes dithered around the highlands and the steppes of western Peilaš for a few centuries. The Anheshnalaks fell into repute as mercenaries - deadly on horseback - traders, hardy folk: the kind content to sleep with nothing but a saddle, a blanket, and the stars overhead. During this time they came to learn of the existence of a mighty, wealthy empire, just over the horizon, decadent, and prime for the taking...

The epic songs tell us that this empire held the epithet "Sunrise", hinting at the realm of the Ndak. However, the Anheshnalak tribes never got close to Lasomo and the Ndak heartland, invading Tjakori (Cakonj) by -900 YP. To the nomads, the Tjakori and the Gezoro - with their smithies, mountain redoubts, and urban life - must have seemed an empire. The invasion of Tjakori displacd the Westerners already inhabiting the region, the Tjakori and Gezoro people (Sht. Gesolo) who did not fall to enslavement under the Ndak emperors. During these years, the Gezoro language left a deep impression on Shtasa. Both belonged to the same language family, and after the initial rush of conquest, Anheshnalak and Gezoro intermarried. The newcomers assumed mastery of the plains around Lake Tjakori and the north-south trade routes between the Rathedan and the south; the Gezoro tended to their mines and mountain-hugging gardens. A state of bilinguality emerged (though with Shtasa as the dominant partner).

Indeed, by -750 YP, the Xšali histories indicate that a group of nomadic peoples had moved south from the mountains and settled in the periphery regions of northern Xšalad. The reports we have tell us that these people were partially settled and partially nomadic herders. The few farmers were consentrated along the main north-south trade routes from Xšalad to the Rathedān.

The Anheshnalaks and the Empire of Xšalad (Cikšaljo) have an antagonistic history. The Westerners arrived during one of the intermediate periods of civil war and turmoil that rocked the Empire once every three centuries. The imperial house held figurative authority beyond the walls of Haisdeya, its capital (Sht. 'Great-City'), deferring to rival princelings and warlords who were more like to fight one another than administer the realm. In this context, the Anheshnalaks first offered their services as mercenaries, only to turn on their employers when payment (read, booty) was not forthcoming. By -600 YP, the date of this grammar, the Anheshnalaks had established a sizable domain along the imperial frontier due to domestic turmoil in Xšalad.

The Anheshnalaks could out-maneuver the Xšali with their archery and horsemanship. They used this skill to pillage, burn, and rape, but that was the extent of the mercenaries-turned-rulers. Holding territory and extracting tribute on the sparsely populated frontier was one thing, the management of agricultural society was another. Furthermore, superior numbers of the Xšali and a hot, unpleasant climate prevented the Anheshnalaks from advancing any further into southern Xšalad. So the Westerners carved out their stomping grounds along the borders of the Empire on the Yima, from where they mounted raids into the lands of the agriculturalists. The zenith of Anheshnalak strength was during the 5th century before the death of the Prophet Zārakātias. Over and beyond the eastern bank of the Yima River, that was nomad country... This time saw the capture of the holy city of Tetsikå (-471 YP), and the conquests of Habvanðyhanj (Habvam the Great or Hawansihan the Butcher to the Xšali) from -435 YP to his death in -420 YP.


The word Štoso is simply the continuation of the word Çetázó.

The other phrase to name the language is Anješnaloksaby moš, which means 'language of the Anheshnalaks'.

The word Anješnaloks, which designates the ethnic group that speaks Štoso, is composed of the word Anješnalo and the collective suffix -ks.

For ease of typing and suggesting proper pronunciation in English (and due to our earliest attestation of the word in English as such), the singular of Anješnalo will be transcribed as Anheshnalak with the regular plural of Anheshnalaks. For meta-discussion of the language in Akaran discourse, Shtasa is the preferred term.


Phonemic Inventory

Shtåså has 24 consonantal phonemes

labial dental sibilant alveolar palatal velar glottal
voiceless stops p t k
voiced stops b d g
voiceless fricatives f θ s ʃ h
voiced fricatives v ð
nasals m n     ɲ
laterals l   ʎ
approximants   j w
  • /θ ð tθ dð tʃ ʃ j ɲ ʎ/ will be transcribed as <þ ð tþ dð c š j nj lj>, older sources have <th, dh, tth, ddh, č, sj/sh, j, ñ/nh, lh>. For a transcription using only ASCII characters, <tz, dz, ttz, ddz, x> transcribe /θ ð tθ dð ʃ/.

A broad analysis of Shtasa's vowels yields 8 phonemes:

Front Central Back
High i ɨ ʉ u
Mid e o
Low a ɒ
  • /ɨ, ʉ, ɒ/ are written <y, uy, o>.

The distinction between /ɨ/ and /ʉ/ is a marginal one. The latter barely occurs in native roots; it is encountered most frequently in morphologically-triggered vowel shifts of /ɨ/ next to labial consonants and within frequent morphemes like the past tense prefix /sʉ/ and the noun class marker /hʉ/, plural /kʉ/. Some analyses of Shtasa treat /ʉ/ as a allophone of /ɨ/.

Most speakers merge /o/ with /ɒ/ due to the former's rare occurrence in native roots. In response /a/ shifts towards [æ]. When a distinction between the two vowels is absolutely necessary, lexologists indicate /o/ with <ô> or <oo> in word lists.

A narrower analysis yields the following, revised vowel chart:

Front Central Back
High i ɨ ʉ u
Mid e
Low æ ɒ

Syllable Structure

For a Western language, Shtasa tolerates large clusters of obstruents. Its maximal syllable structure is (C)(C)(C)(C)V(C)(C)(C).

Examples: /æb/ 'rain'; /ʃeln/ 'horn'; /ʃɲæθ/ 'to build'; /ʃtʃɨts/ 'to leave', /jɨstsvn̩/ 'coming'

  • /n/ and /v/ can become a syllabic consonants, most visibly in the experiential evidential /v/ and the verbal noun suffix realized as /vn̩/ or /v̩n/ depending on context.

Shtasa as a language tends towards monosyllables of (C)V(C) or disyllabic (C)VCV(C) words in its native roots. Loanwords into the language often collapse three syllable words to two: eg. Adata dizhaka 'ruler' > Sht. dišak


Sound change and analogy from Çetázó has moved the stress to the penultimate syllable


A sequence of consecutive vowels is realized as [VʔV].

šeo 'star' ['ʃe.ʔɒː]

hemeoi 'bad-NC1-ERG' ['ʔɒː.ʔi]

If, in combing morphemes, there is a cluster of voiced and unvoiced stops and/or fricatives, the voiced one becomes voiceless.

  • i.e. acbanašd 'fear-EVID2-2sg.ERG-NC2' /atʃ.ba.naʃd/>>[atʃ.pa.r̃aʃt]

/ŋ/ only occurs before a velar, and so should be considered an allophone of /n/.

Intervocalic /n/ is realized as a nasalized trill [r̃]

/s/ assimilates to [ʃ] when it is next to /ʃ/ as a result of verb morphology and in quick speech, when a final /s/ is followed by an initial /ʃ/.

  • ciwejsšo
  • /tʃi.wejs.ʃɒː/
  • [cwejʃ.ʃɒː]
  • Kill him.

Some speakers fortify /tʃ/ to [c] (hence the transcription <c>)

  • /tʃi/ 'want' > [ci]

Unstressed /i/ drops when it does not come word-finally, especially when preceded by a palatal consonant. This is most noticeable with the imperative prefix /tʃi-/.

Sound Changes from Çetázó

The following sound changes are believed to have taken place berween Çetázó (-2000 YP) and Shtasa (-600 YP)

C=any consonant F=i e First Stage

  • Pitch accent becomes fixed stress
  • Unstressed /a o/>[ə]: /mo.dza/>[mo.dzə]
  • Unstressed /i e/ palatalize preceding consonant: /ba.xe/>[baxʲ], /da.dɬe/>[dadɬʲ]
  • /æ/>[e] open syllable; >[a] closed syllable: /ɬæ.nji/>[ɬenʲ], /næl.çi/>[nalsʲ]
    • CCʲ, CʲC> CʲCʲ: /dadɬʲ/>[dadʲɬʲ], /nælçi/>[nalsʲ/>[nalʲsʲ]
  • Unstressed /u/>[ɨ], [ʉ] next to labials or labiovelars: /kwu.'ɬu/>[kwʉ.ɬu], /u.'>[ɨ.da.spə]
    • /iw uj/>[ʉ]: /çiw.ka/>[sʲʉ.kə]
  • /ç/>[sʲ]: /nælçi/>[nalʲsʲ], /çe.ta:zo:/>[sʲtʲa:zo:]

Second Stage

  • /c ɟ/>[tʃ dʒ]: /ɟøm.ɬi/>[dʒwemʲ.sʲ]
  • /tɬ dɬ ɬ/>[ts dz s]: /dɬun/>[dzun], /o.ɬu/>[o.sɨ], /tɬufj/>[tsufʲ] > *[tsujf > tsʉf]
  • /ø y/>[we wi]: /ɟøm.ɬi/>[dʒwemʲsʲ], />[tʃwifj]
  • /a: o:/>[ɑ ɒ]: sʲtʲa:zo:/>[sʲtʲɑ.zɒ]
  • /e: i:/>[i:]: /sʲelne:/>[sʲ], /dzʲe:/>[dzʲi]
  • /aw awa/>[ɒ]: /la.wa/>[lɒ], /tsu.wa/>['tsu.wə]
  • /jF-stress/>[j]: /'a.jen/>[ajn]
  • /ŋ/>[ŋk] V_V: /mo.ŋu/>[moŋ.kɨ]
  • /nn/>[nd] /θu.nən/>/θunn/>[θund]
  • /bj tj dj kj gj hj mj nj lj/>[v tʃ tʃ h h ʃ ɲ ɲ ʎ]:
  • All labiovelars except /w/ shift to labials: /kw.aðu/>[pa.ðɨ], /xa.xwa/>[xa.fə], /γwi.da/>[vi.də]
  • /ə/ is dropped: /tudzə/>[tudz], /ksamə/>[ksam]
  • /w/ > [ɣ] _# /u.wə/ > /uw/ > [uɣ]
  • velar fricatives become [h]: /xa.fə/>[haf], /uɣ] > /uh/

Third Stage This stage of sound changes separates the standardized form of Shtåså from its dialects: cf. Standard tudð vs Eastern tud and Southern tuz. After the labiovelar shift and the great palatalization in the ending stages of phase 2, and throughout stage 3, loanwords from Gezoro begin to enter Shtasa.

  • Vowel quality dropping: /i/, /u/, /e/ drop to [e], [o], [æ] in the form /$Vzd_(Vzd)$/
  • /ts dz/>[tθ dð]: /tsa/>[tθa], /tudz/>[todð]
    • >/tʃ/ _F: /dzʲi/>[tʃe]
  • /z/>[s]
  • /dʒ/>[tʃ]: /dʒwemʲsʲ/ > [tʃwæɲʃ]
  • /sʲ/>[ʃ]
  • /sʲtʲ/>[ʃt]: /sjtjɑ.zɒ/>[ʃtɒ.sɒ]
  • any unstressed vowel in a syllable that ends in a nasal consonant becomes a syllabic nasal: /ji.stsvn/ > [ji.stsvnˌ]
  • /ɲ/ > [j] _C /'haɲ.ʃin/ > ['haj.ʃnˌ]
  • /ʎ/>[j] _C: /naʎʃ/>[najʃ]
    • /ʎ/>[j] /V_'V/: /a.'ʎɒ.nə/>[a.jæwn]
  • /ɑ ɒ/>[ɒ:]: /sʲtʲɑ.zɒ/>[ʃtɒ.sɒ]
  • /w/ > [null] _ɒ; /'gwɒ.nɒ.ðen/ > [gɒ.næw.ðnˌ]
  • /w/ > [null] /$tʃ_V/: /tʃweɲʃ/ > [tʃæjʃ]; /tʃwifj/ > [tʃifj]
  • /ɒ/>[æw] in non-final stressed syllables: Gez. /xeːsɔzɔ/ > /he.'sɒ.ðə/ > [he.sæwð] but /'ʃtɒ.sɒ/ > ['ʃtɒ.sɒ]
  • /o/ > [ɒ]
  • /i/ > [ɨ] C_C#: /fiθ/ > [fɨθ]; /fis/ > [fɨs]
  • /a/ > /ɒ/ _(k, g)#
  • /$ʉCɨ_$/ > [$ʉCʉ_$]: /pʉ.sɨ/ > [pʉ.sʉ]
  • /oi/ > [ʉ]: /ˈjɒ.moi/ > [ˈjæw.mʉ]


Noun Classes

Shtåså has inherited seven noun classes from Çetázó. Some changes that have occurred since Çetázó are:

  • Regular plural equivalents of the singular noun class suffixes.
  • The fifth noun class (NC) marks collective groupings. i.e. seeds, families, tribes, leafs, herds, forests, etc.
  • The third NC has taken all inedible objects, solid or otherwise
  • Edible fluids moved to noun class two
  • NC7 took the role of NC8
  • NC7, being the noun class for intangible things, is used to create abstract words by verbal cross-referencing. I.e. fire>hope, eyes>sight etc.
  • Fire has moved to NC2, because of its relation to cooking food
  • NC4 contains weapons, sharp sticks or rocks and by metaphoric extension things that cause trouble or difficulty

The noun classes are used as markers on adjectives and as absolutive markers in the third person on verbs.

The noun classes with their characteristic suffix are listed below:

Noun class Contains Singular suffix Plural suffix
I Humans/Spirits -o -ko
II Animals, fire, food, drink -d -kt
III Inedible solids - -
IV Sharp long objects -hyn -kyn
V Collective groupings -s -ks
VI tangible fluids -huy -kuy
VII Intangible concepts -š -


Shtasa, like its sister-language Šetâmol, relies on heavy inflection of nouns like its parent language. Shtasa has preserved the seven original cases of Çetázó. It lost the dual number except for naturally occurring pairs and in poetic language.

Sound change and analogy have produced four noun declensions in Shtasa. That terminology, though, is quite loose because the variations between the declensions are small, only found in the final root vowel and stem changes triggered by the ergative case. An important note: a root vowel of u is centralized outside of the absolutive and case. The third declension noun pusy is a good example of this.

As a further note, many first declension nouns have an irregular ergative in the singular due to palatalization caused by the ergative morphene -i. A rule of thumb is that nasals>nj, -l to -lj, -s to -š, and stops to their corresponding fricative. The alveolar series shifts to /tš/. Examples: *tþubi 'fruit' > tþuv, *lai>lji, *weni>wenj, *tabdi > tabc and *plami>planj.

  • The first noun declension ends consonants except for the 'palatal' ones: c,š,nj,j, and lj
  • The second noun declension ends in palatal consonents, historically palatalized consonants, and front vowels
  • The third noun declension ends in -y
  • The fourth noun declension is reserved for nouns ending in any vowel other than -y.


singular 1st
absolutive šeln cwifj puysuy þuo
ergative šeiñ cwifi puysu þyoy
oblique šelno cwifio puysuo þyo
instrumental šelnonk cwifink puysunk þyonk
locative šelnom cwifim puysum þyom
allative šelnoc cwific puysuc þyoc
ablative šelnos cwifis puysus þyos


The dual has been relegated to nouns that come in natural pairs and poetic language

dual 1st
absolutive šelnos cwifes pusys þuos
ergative šelnoš cwifeš pysuš þyoš
oblique šelnosy cwifesy pysusy þyosy
instrumental šelnosunk cwifšunk pysysunk þyosunk
locative šelnosum cwifšum pysysum þyosum
allative šelnosuch cwifšuc pysysuc þyosuc
ablative šelnosus cwifšus pysysus þyosus


plural 1st
absolutive šelnok cwifik puysuyk þuok
ergative šelnav cwifiv puysuv þyov
oblique šelnaby cwifiby puysuby þyoby
instrumental šelnabunk cwifibunk puysuybunk þyobunk
locative šelnabum cwifibum puysubym þyobum
allative šelnabuc cwifibuc puysuybuc þyobuc
ablative šelnabus cwifibus puysuybus þyobus


Shtoso has lost the alienable vs. inalienable distinction of its ancestor. The oblique case now handles all possession.

  • No senj '1sg.OBL horse' My horse
  • Vej so tudð? 'Q 1pl.OBL house' Is that our house?
  • To þuo ašahuy cig '2sg.OBL blood COPULA-NC6 yellow' Your blood is cowardly

Shtoso also has verbalized the postposition am to fill the semantic space for 'to have' The possessum is the subject in the absolutive case; the possessor is in the locative case.

  • Senj amd nom.
  • horse.ABS with-NC2 1sg.LOC
  • A horse is with me ~ I have a horse

The negative of am is jim *Cetazo jéma<<je ama

  • Haša jimš nom
  • fire.ABS NEG.with-NC7 1sg.LOC
  • I have no fire (i.e. hope).


Within the Western languages, it has always been better to consider nominals that modify other nominals as 'prenominals' that modify a nominal. The prenominal often takes markers for the class, number, and case of its head nominal. In Shtasa we see the Western system at place for most prenominals. However, for a closed class of prenominals - prototypically in relation to physical attributes like size, color, quantity or shape - the prenominal modifies its head noun without class, case, number or case attribution. This practice may be attributed to contact with Gezoro, a fellow Western language that similarly contains a category of prenominals that does not inflect.

A nominal transforms into a prenominal in one of several ways:

  • Through a null derivation: šyps- 'dry (NOM) -> šyps- 'dry PreNOM
  • Through derivation via suffix: tuc 'house' -> tuclanj 'safe, reliable, comfortable'; hok 'stone' -> hakam 'hard, difficult, stoney'

Adjective case suffixes, which follow the noun class are ABS: -Ø ERG: -i OBL: -y INST: -unk LOC: -um ALL: -uc ABL: -us

First declension adjectives end in any consonant except palatal ones. An emphatic vowel -[@] is added before any noun class suffixes except NC1.

  • Ja šypsadðus cys / ja xypsaddzus cys
  • ja šypsa-dð-us ci-s
  • 3sg.ABS dry-NC3-ABL land-ABL
  • He is from a dry land

Second declension adjectives end in -j -nj -c -lj or -sj. They add an emphatic -i- before any suffix

  • To nacio tþemf jeþaþamo no dða, Habvam / to nacio ttzemf jetzatzamo no ddza, Habvamno
  • to naci-o tþemf je-þaþam-o no dða, Habvam
  • 2sg.OBL tame-NC1(ABS) daughter not-useful-NC1 1sg.OBL DAT Habvam
  • Your unexciting daughter is useless to me, Habvam

Third declension adjectives end in -y. No emphatic vowels are added

  • So vegyd senj syþamyd damyhym šinom / so vegyd senj sytzamuyd damuyhuym xinom
  • so vegy-d senj sy-þamy-d damy-hy-m šin-om
  • 1pl.OBL quick-NC2 horse.ABS PAST-fall-NC2 thick-NC6-LOC lake-LOC
  • Our quick horse fell in the deep lake.

Adjectives proceed their head and agree in number, case, and noun class.

  • Cenjelakþ plamak dušamakþ / cenjelaktz plamak duxamaktz
  • ce-njela-kþ plam-ak dušam-akþ
  • null
  • These pale flowers are blue.

Adjectives can also follow their heads. This produces a more figurative meaning.

  • No bonj sunoi cikwejsgad hug / no bonj sunoi cikwejsgad hug
  • no bom-i sun-o-i cik-wejs-ga-d hug
  • 1sg.OBL brother-ERG green-NC1-ERG PROG-kill-3ERG-NC2 pig.ABS
  • My young brother is killing the pig
  • To sþob dðamaš sojbanš / to stzob ddzamax sojbanx
  • to sþob dðam-aš sojb-an-š
  • 2sg.OBL love red-NC7 PAST-die-EVD3-NC7
  • It's said your passionate love has died.

Deixis and Articles

The four-way demonstrative adjectives of Çetázó has been simplified to:

  • 'proximal'
  • þa 'distal'

Dialects of Shtasa that came into the least amount with Gezoro preserved ce, another of Çetázó's deictic particles to produce the following system:

  • ce proximal'
  • da 'midal'
  • þa 'distal'

(Note that da has not merged with ce in this system under influence of Gezoro -.)

A definite article has developed in Shtasa using the construction ce dô-:

  • ce dô-duh fuðok andok 'the good foreign chiefs'

They are prefixed directly onto their head element of the noun phrase, cliticizing to any prenominal or quantifier ahead of the head noun:

  • þa-jas gonicnyd that tasty meat
  • dô-ils this hand


Shtåså uses a base octal system much like its ancestor Çetázó.

Decimal Octal Cardinal Ordinal
1 1 tab tabðy
2 2 ši šiðy
3 3 nasty nastuðy
4 4 njedð njedðy
5 5 us ysþy
6 6 mec mecþy
7 7 naiš naišþy
8 10 njab njabðy
64 100 mol molðy
512 1000 hammol hammolðy

Numerals no longer inflect for number or case but still mark noun class.

Special numbers

  • njojaum, 16, from dialectal Gezoro *njo:silo:m 'second eight'

In addition numerals are placed directly before the noun phrase.

I cooked
the meat
with five
I cooked the meat with five red berries

Multiples of 8, 64 and 512 are expressed by combining the ordinal of the multiple with the cardinal of the power of 8, e.g. šimol '200'.


Shtåså has pronouns for the first, second, and third person in singular, dual, and plural numbers.

The third person pronoun ja comes from the anaphoric pronoun.

singular 1sg 2sg 3sg 1du 2du 3du 1pl 2pl 3pl
absolutive na ta ja nas tas jas sak tak jak
ergative nji ci ji nesj tesj jesj sji tev jev
oblique no to jo nasy tasy jasy so taby jaby
instrumental nonk tonk jonk nasunk tasunk jasunk sabunk tabunk jabunk
locative nom tom jom nasum tasum jasum sabum tabum jabum
allative noc toc joc nasuc tasuc jasuc sabuc tabuc jabuc
ablative nos tos jos nasus tasus jasus sabus tabus jabus


The Shtasa verb expands upon the aggluntive verb complex of its ancestor; the verb complex indicates mood, aspect, tense, evidentiality, and it indicates the subject and the object of a transitive sentence.


The verbal agreement markers operate ergatively: the marker for the intransitive subject is the same as the one for the transitive object. The markers are suffixed to the verb in the order VERB ROOT-ERG-ABS. Since the days of Cetazo, the third person ergative marker now distinguishes number. The appropriate noun class marker is still used for the third person absolutive. Dual forms are referenced by the singular. The first and third person singulars lose the final vowel of the suffix in the absence of any other suffix.

Ergative Absolutive
1sg/du -nj(e) -an [ar̃]
2sg/du -š -tz
3sg/du -g(a) noun class
1pl -anjen -and [ar̃d]
2pl -ašn -atzn
3pl -gav noun class plural


The present tense is unmarked. The past and future tenses are marked with suy- and syl- respectively. A widespread feature of more colloquial language is the new future suffix fen- (pronounced always as [fn_] and derived from fan 'then'). Younger speakers are also inclined to omit ergative markers on the verb, substituting instead the verbal noun marker -vn after the appropriate noun class.

  • Oc kyt sylckjegynjed of.
  • oc kyt syl-cik-jegy-nje-d of
  • day.after.tomorrow NARR FUT-PROG-eat-1ERG-NC2 bean(ABS)
  • I will be eating the beans, like, the day after tomorrow.
  • Jo jegydvn dôsenj
  • jo jegy-d-vn dô-senj
  • 3sg.ERG eat-NC2-VNoun PROX-horse
  • He's eating the horse
  • Tzynjonj suyvivgaš jesusa.
  • tzynjonj sy-viv-ga-š jesusa
  • uncle.ERG PAST-drink-3ERG-NC7 love.ABS
  • Uncle lived for love.
  • Kšaljiv sa fenvjeacgavand.
  • kšaljiv sa fen-vje-ac-gav-and
  • Xšali-ERGpl. 1pl.ABS
  • The Xšali will begin to fear us.


Shtasa has developed an imperative mood by prefixing ci- (derived of 'want') to other verbs; it reduces to c- in front of vowel initial stems. The appropriate absolutive suffix is added to the verb.

  • Cihafan!
  • ci-haf-an
  • IMP-laugh-1sg.ABS
  • Let me laugh!

  • Dô centz no'ddz.
  • dô c-en-tz no ddza
  • PROX.ABS IMP-give-2sg.ABS 1sg.OBL DAT
  • Give that to me.

Commands can be made more polite by putting the verb in the future tense.

  • Je sylcijegytz no ktzalo.
  • je syl-jegy-tz no ktzalo
  • NEG FUT-eat-2sg.ABS 1sg.OBL brother.OBL
  • Please don't eat my brother.

Verbs are negated by adding the particle je before the verb.

  • Senjoks je ašaks jehinošam.
  • senj-oks je aša-ks jehinošam
  • horse-NC5 not COPULA-NC5 cowardly
  • Horses are not cowardly animals.


Progressive forms of each tense can be created with the addition of cik- before the verb root. This suffix reduces to -ck- after the past and future prefixes. Reductions of verbs of motion - vje- from veje 'to go'; jis- from jists 'come'; štos- 'leave'; šig- 'stand' from šign - are prefixed before the verb root to indicate inchoative, habitual and other aspects.

My horse is going to come, eventually


Evidentiality marking is optional in Shtåså. It serves as a way for a speaker to encode more information about an action. They are placed after the stem, before the agreement markers. More than one can be used to add subtleties to meaning; however, it is considered bad style to use both š and byn simultaneously; v should be used instead.

Suffix Meaning
-š- Audio/visual experience
-byn- Taste/smell experience
-ban- Hearsay
-lu- Emphatic
-y- General knowledge
-v- Past experience

This are glossed as EVD1, EVD2, etc.

EVD1 š has the allomorph t after /s/ or /S/

Sentence Particles

The following particles affect the entire clause as a whole. The negative and interrogative particles are placed before the verb, but can be placed at the end of a sentence, too.

  ej if
  je negative  
  vej, guyl interrogative 
  ttzos 'also' 
  ddzan 'but' 
  ddzel 'because'  
  duk 'therefore' 
  ttza 'and' 
  fan 'then' 
  hec 'instead'
  cet 'however'
  kyt 'narrative particle', frequent near-excessive use


Shtåså's syntax is largely head final: in the noun phrase, modifiers precede the head noun, adpositions follow the NP. Basic word order in Shtåså is SVO.

Noun Phrase

The noun phrase consists of a noun preceded by zero or more modifiers (adjectives, genitives, nouns in apposition, relative clauses). Example:

  • No bonj suylapgad damecio ddzamakt ksamak.
  • No bom-i suy-lap-ga-d da-mec-io dðama-kt ksam-ak.
  • 1sg.OBL brother-ERG PAST-steal-3ERG-NC2 bear-OBL berries-(ABS)
  • My brother stole that bear's red berries.

Postpositions follow the NP and govern the oblique case.

  • ddzunado jeho njeln
  • ddzyna-d-o jeh-o njeln
  • long-NC2-OBL river-OBL along
  • along the long river

Intransitive clauses

An intransitive clause has a subject in the absolutive case. Adverbial clauses precede the verb.

  • Monv no tyddzam kydvnd.
  • monv nå tudð-am kud-vn-d
  • puppy 1sg.OBL house-LOC sleep-NV-NC2
  • The puppy is sleeping in my house.

Transitive clauses

A transitive clause has two arguments: subject and object. The subject is in the ergative case and the object is in the absolutive case. The object usually follows the verb

  • Pusy ddzunado jeho njeln sylpadygad ksefn.
  • pusy ddzyna-d-o jeh-o njeln syl-pad-y-ga-d ksefn
  • wolf-ERG long-NC2-OBL river-OBL along FUT-find-EVD5-3sg.ERG-NC2 animal.ABS
  • The wolf will find its prey along the long river.

Indirect objects are marked in the oblique case by the postpositional marker ddza (elided to [dð] after a vowel).

  • Hašo sab tzatzaš to'dð.
  • hašo sab tza-tzaš to dða
  • fire-OBL near yonder-milk 2sg.OBL DAT
  • That milk over there near the fire is for you

Nominal Predicates

The third basic type of clause does not contain a verb; instead, it has a nominal predicate. In the present tense, the predicate is a noun or adjective in the absolutive case. The subject is also in the absolutive case and precedes the predicate.

  • Na to tzund.
  • na to thund
  • 1sg.ABS 2sg.OBL father
  • I am your father.

Predicate adjectives take a class marker

  • Nom to tzjalok tzanakš.
  • nom to tzjalo-k tzana-kš
  • 1sg.LOC 2sg.OBL secret-(ABS).pl
  • Your secrets are safe with me.

For the past and future tenses, Shtåså has developed a copula verb aša from Cetazo's -aja suffix. It takes the class marker of the subject; the predicate adjective is unmarked for noun class.

  • Cekšaljio ašaluo jehinošam kyt, je cwejso.
  • ce-kšalj-io aša-lu-o jehinošam kyt je ci-wejs-o
  • this-Xšali COPULA-EMPH-NC1 spineless NARR not IMP-kill-2sg.ERG-NC1(ABS)
  • This Xšali was really spineless, don't kill him.

Complex clauses

Complement clauses

Clauses may be used as arguments of verbs. A complement clause consists of a clause followed by the particle ješ.

  • Syceldasand ješ syjistsþ
  • sy-celdas-and ješ sy-jists-þ
  • PAST-think-1pl.ABS SUB PAST-come-2sg.ABS
  • We thought that you were coming

Relative Clauses

A relative clause modifies a noun. The clause precedes the head noun - which is marked by the particle fi- with the head noun's associated noun class - when it is a subject and follows it when the head noun is an object:

  • Fio suyojbano ajnin to mina.
  • fi-o suy-oj-ban-o ajnin to mina
  • REL-NC1 PAST-die-EVID2-NC1 woman 2sg.OBL mother
  • The woman who died is your mother

  • Fastgavddz tuddz fidz tuddzispan.
  • fas-š-gav-ddz tuddz fi-dz tuddzisp-an
  • mock-EVD1-3pl.ERG-NC3 house.ABS REL-NC3 reside-1sg.ABS
  • They are mocking the house where I live.

Adverbial Clause

Shtåså continues Çetázó's formation of adverbial clauses with the verbal noun suffix -vn glossed as VN. The core arguments are in the absolutive case.

  • To jistsvn fenjisyand.
  • to jists-vn fen-jisy-and
  • 2sg.OBJ come-VN FUT-leave-1pl.ABS
  • We will leave when you will arrive.
  • To ajukovn suyolddznjetz.
  • to ajuko-vn suy-olddz-nje-tz
  • 2sg.OBJ PAST-deceive-VN PAST-hit-1sg.ERG-2sg.ABS
  • After your deceiving, I hit you.

Coordinating Clauses

Clauses can be coordinated with ttza 'and' and so 'or'. Coordinated verbs are moved to the end of the phrase.

N ttza N ttza, where N is a noun, is glossed as: both N and N.

Similarly, N so N so is glossed: either N or N.

  • Bonj mec suyhulpgad ttza suywejsgad.
  • bom-i mec sy-hulp-ga-d ttza sy-wejs-ga-d
  • brother.ERG bear.ABS PAST-hunt-3sg.ERG-NC2 and PAST-kill-3sg.ERG-NC2

Brother hunted the bear and killed it.

Similarly, noun phrases can be coordinated. In analogy to coordinated verbs, coordinated noun phrases are moved to the end of the phrase.

  • suyšnjatzgaddz tuddz ttza šešasyn ttza.
  • suy-šnjatz-y-ga-ddza tuddh ttza šešasyn ttza
  • PAST-build-EVID5-3.ERG-NC3 house.ABS and wall.ABS and
  • He built both the house and the wall.

If the noun classes conflict, the resulting noun class is NC7:

  • Suypadbangaš cnih so plamak.
  • suy-pad-ban-ga-š cnih so plam-ak
  • PAST-find-EVD3-3ERG-NC7 honey.ABS or
  • He may have found honey or flowers.


To deemphasize a topical element, speakers move the lexeme to the end of the utterance and suffix it with -je 'not'. The transformed element retains case markings from the previous utterance. This functions akin to passive voice constructions in other languages:

  • Pysu suytzatzudgo la.
  • pys-u sy-tzatzud-ga-o la
  • wolf-ERG PAST-bite-3ERG-NC1 man
  • The wolf bit the man


  • suytzatzudgo la pysuje
  • suy-tzatzud-ga-o la pysu-je
  • PAST-bite-3ERG-NC1 man pysu.ERG-not
  • the man was not bitten by a wolf.

Another way is to omit the agent

  • Kšaljiv olddzlugavko so bontzuomak!
  • kšalj-iv olddz-lu-gav-ko so bonþuom-ak
  • Xš 1pl.OBL
  • The Xšali attack our brothers!

becomes this; the result is an indefinite subject.

  • Olddzlugavko so bonþuomak!
  • olddz-lu-gav-ko so bonþuom-ak
  • 1pl.OBL
  • Someone attacks our brothers!


Fronting clauses and rearranging word order is one means of topicalization:

  • Cecek je jegygako jo minak
  • ce-cek je jegy-ga-ko jo minak
  • PRX-tribe NEG
  • We do not eat our mothers in this tribe.


  • Jo minak cecek je jegygako
  • jo min-ak ce-cek je jegy-ga-ko jo minak
  • PRX-tribe NEG
  • We do not eat our mothers in this tribe!

Suffixing of the emphatic evidential -lu can be used to topicalize any nominal.

  • cijnješ inj-lu!
  • cij-nje-š inj-lu
  • want-1ERG-NC7 name-EMPH
  • I want a name for myself!



Sample Texts

Writings in the Shtåså language