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LotM - Jul 15: Tirina
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Tirina is our LotM winner for July - an agglutinating, a priori language spoken by a population that lives forever. Sort of.
This public article was written by Admin Sheep, and last updated on 31 Jul 2015, 17:28.

[comments] Menu
1. Phonology
2. Nouns
3. Pronouns
4. Adjectives
5. Adverbs
6. Verbs
7. Intensifiers
8. More on Tirina
9. A Note on LotM

A hearty congratulations to @alynnidalar and  Tirina, a language spoken by some non-humans that live forever (ok, they have 500-year lifespans if they're not killed) - the dalar.

I would also like to announce a little expansion to the LotM team, a big welcome to @phi2dao! This is their first installment of LotM.


Tirina has a decently-sized phonology, with /m/, /n/, /p/, /t/, /k/, /ʔ/, /f/, /s/, /h/, /l/, /r/, /j/, and /w/. Interestingly, Tirina also has /d/, but no other voiced stops or fricatives. Both /t/ and /d/ are dental and there's some allophony in reasonable places.

Tirina has six vowels: /i/, /e/, /a/, /o/, /u/ and /ɪ/. Almost a standard five vowel system, but not quite. There aren't any diphthongs. /ɪ/ is interesting in that is almost never stressed; of Tirina's over 3000 documented words, only 10 are monosyllabic with /ɪ/ as the syllabic nucleus.

Tirina allows a small number of consonant clusters, all involving /r/. Onset clusters can be any bilabial + /r/, and coda clusters can only be /rn/.


Nouns are quite simple in Tirina. They can be made plural with a suffix -il and can be fused with intensifiers, and that's it. Intensifiers are really cool, so I'll cover them on their own later.


Tirina has a fair handful of pronouns. There are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th person pronouns, as well ass four genders: masculine, feminine, animate, and inanimate. Tirina is a non-human conlang, and masculine and feminine are used primarily to refer to dalar, the race that speaks Tirina. Humans are commonly referred to with animate pronouns, though that appears to be changing. Each person has a singular and plural form, for a grand total of 32 pronouns.

Except not, because some slots aren't filled. In particular, 4th person (an indefinite pronouns sort of like "someone/something") doesn't have masculine or feminine forms. Similarly, 1st person doesn't have any inanimate forms. These pronouns serve as subjects, objects, and possessors. There is a special set of pronouns that serve as datives/indirect objects, but they're fairly regularly derived from the "regular" pronouns.


Adjectives can be inflected for gender and number; both agreeing with the noun they modify. Tirina's genders are masculine, feminine, animate, and inanimate. Adjectives follow the noun they modify. There are some allophony rules involving adjectives which seem to be distinct from those governing verbs.


Adverbs are mostly uninfected adjectives. Adverbs agree with the verb or adjective they modify for number, but are never inflected for gender. The adverb plural suffix -en is different from the adjective plural suffix -ir and the verb plural suffix -mir. Adverbs seem to come at the very end of the clause; not next to the verb.


Verbs are agglutinative and inflect for gender, mood, tense, habituallity, number, negation, and location. Gender and mood are marked with prefixes, tense, habituallity, number, and location with suffixes, and negation with a particle. Location marking is archaic and not used in the modern language. Verbs use the same genders as adjectives, but have different prefixes, and there is some allophony in the gender prefix system.

Tirina has four moods, two forms of interrogative, one imperative, and an unmarked indicative. Tirina used to have a causative mood, but it's archaic and only exists in a handful of fossilized words. These words can't take other mood prefixes and rely on adverbs to mark interrogation and imperativeness.

Tirina has a simple tense system with past, present (unmarked), and future tense prefixes and four aspects (not including habitual, which behaves differently). These aspects are perfect, progressive, perfect-progressive, and intentional. Perfect indicates completed actions, progressive indicates ongoing actions, perfect-progressive indicates ongoing actions that began earlier (and have now been completed?), and intentional indicates intentional actions.

There is not, however, a simple 3x4 system of tense-aspect suffixes. There are a handful of gaps, for a total of 8 tense-aspect suffixes.

The habitual suffix -lin can combine with any of the other mood suffixes. Habituallity indicates a habitual or general/ordinary action. The negation of a habitual verb negates the habitability, not the action itself.

Singular is unmarked and plural is marked with the suffix -mir. Very simple.

Negation is marked with the prepositional particle ton.

Location had a local versus remote distinction, with local being unmarked and remote marked with the suffix -imen, which came between the habitual suffix and the number suffix.


Tirina has a really cool system of intensifiers. There are four: tal, anar, muran, and ato. Tal is a strong de-intensifier, anar a weak one, muran a weak intensifier, and ato a strong one. These intensifiers can modify basically any part of speech. Fused with a noun (as a suffix), intensifiers indicate age or intensity. The examples given are cat+tal = "kitten" and stream+ato = "large river".

Intensifiers can also modify nouns by pretending to be adjectives, in which case they take adjectival morphology. When used like this, they indicate size. They can even be used as determiners, in which case they indicate quantity.

When fused with adjectives (as a suffix), intensifiers indicate the intensity of the adjective.

Intensifiers can modify verbs by pretending to be adverbs. When doing so, they take adverb morphology and indicate either intensity or the... quantity of the action. An example is walk+tal = "walk a little bit" or "walk slowly". Tal and ato used to be fusable with verbs (likely as a suffix), but are archaic and only exist in fossilized verbs.

[top]More on Tirina

Want some more Tirina fun? Check out the copious amount of articles written, its namebase, couple of grammar tables, or translations (with some sound samples!).

[top]A Note on LotM

Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Tirina that wasn't covered and you wish it had been? Hate my guts and want to tell me? Feel free to shoot me (argyle) or me (phi2dao) a PM with your thoughts, suggestions, and hate mail. Also feel free to drop by the LotM clan if you have other feedback, want to join in the voting process, or nominate a language!
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