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Created byBenJamin P. Johnson,

creator of:

curator of:

SettingPlanet Aterra

Ashian is the native language of the people who live on the central continent of Aterra. While a priori, it has millennia-old influences from Old Norse via a space-faring demi-god species.



Ashian is known for its robust palatal series.

  Labial Dental Coronal Palatal Dorsal
Stop p · b
p · b
t · d
t̪ · d̪
  č · ǯ
c · ɟ
k · g
k · ɡ
Fricative f · v
ɸ · β
þ · ð
θ · ð
s · z
s · z
š · ž
ɕ · ʑ
ĸ · ɢ
x · ɣ
Trill     r
Nasal m
Approximant w
Lateral   l


Ashian vowels may be short or long, and there are a number of diphthongs. Short vowels are generally pronounced lax, while long vowels are tense.

Short Vowels   Long Vowels   Diphthongs
Front Back Front Back Front Back
High     í · ý
iː · yː
· uː
Mid-High i · y
ɪ · ʏ
· u
· ʊ
Mid     é · œ́
e̞ː · ø̞ː
· ó
· o̞ː
Mid-Low e · œ
ɛ · œ
· o
· ɔ
Low a ·
· a
    á ·
ɑː ·

Orthography & Romanization

Rom1 Rom2 IPA Comp
p p p Like ⟨p⟩ in pike.
t t t Like ⟨t⟩ in top.
č kj c~ʨ Like ⟨ch⟩ in chair.
k k k Like ⟨c⟩ in cape.
b b b Like ⟨b⟩ in boat.
d d d Like ⟨d⟩ in dog.
ǯ gj ɟ~ʥ Like ⟨j⟩ in joke.
g g ɡ Like ⟨g⟩ in goat.
f f ɸ Like ⟨f⟩ in foot.
þ th θ Like ⟨th⟩ in think.
s s s Like ⟨s⟩ in soap.
š sj ʃ~ɕ Like ⟨sh⟩ in shoe.
ĸ kh x Like ⟨j⟩ in Spanish rojo.
v v β Like ⟨b⟩ in Spanish bosca.
ð dh ð Like ⟨th⟩ in these.
z z z Like ⟨z⟩ in zig-zag.
ž zj ʒ~ʑ Like ⟨si⟩ in vision.
ɢ gh ɣ Like ⟨g⟩ in Spanish amigo.
r r r~ɾ Like ⟨rr⟩ in Spanish perro.
ř rj Like ⟨ř⟩ in Czech Dvořak.
ʀ rh ʀ Like ⟨r⟩ in French rien.
m m m Like ⟨m⟩ in man.
n n n Like ⟨n⟩ in no.
ň nj ɲ Like ⟨ñ⟩ in Spanish año.
ɴ ng ŋ Like ⟨ng⟩ in singing.
l l l Like ⟨l⟩ in Spanish solo.
ʌ̌ lj ʎ Like ⟨gl⟩ in Italian glielo.
w w ʋ Like ⟨w⟩ in went.
ǰ j j Like ⟨y⟩ in yes.
ʜ h h Like ⟨h⟩ in house.
i i ɪ Like ⟨i⟩ in inch.
y y ʏ Like ⟨ü⟩ in German Hütte.
u u ʊ Like ⟨oo⟩ in good.
e e ɛ Like ⟨e⟩ in empty.
œ ø œ Like ⟨eu⟩ in French peu.
o o ɔ Like ⟨a⟩ in all.
a a a~ä Like ⟨a⟩ in Spanish allí.
í í Like ⟨ee⟩ in see.
ý ý Like ⟨u⟩ in French lu.
ú ú Like ⟨oo⟩ in food.
é é e̞ː Like ⟨é⟩ in French allé.
œ́ ǿ ø̞ː Like ⟨eu⟩ in French creuse.
ó ó o̞ː Like ⟨o⟩ in hope.
á á ɑː Like ⟨a⟩ in father.
au au aʊ̯ Like ⟨ou⟩ in loud.
ai ai aɪ̯ Like ⟨igh⟩ in sigh.
eu eu ɛʊ̯ Like ⟨eu⟩ in Spanish neutro.
iu iu ɪʊ̯ Like ⟨ieuw⟩ in Dutch nieuw.
ui ui ʊɪ̯ Like ⟨uy⟩ in Spanish muy.




Nouns are classified as masculine, feminine, or neuter. Verbs in the third person inflect for animate (masculine and feminine) and inanimate (neuter).


Nouns and pronouns may be singular or plural. Number is marked on nouns and pronouns.


The Ashian language has five grammatical cases, and these are reflected in all nouns and pronouns. The cases are: Nominative (subject), Genitive (possessive, ‘of’, ‘from’), Dative (Indirect Object, ‘for’, ‘to’), Instrumental (‘by means of’, ‘using’), and Accusative (direct object). Not every sentence needs to contain all of the cases; indeed, most sentences contain only the nominative and accusative. When prepositions are used, however, a case is required. Most prepositions take the dative or instrumental; some take the genitive or accusative; a select few take the nominative. See Adpositions for guidance on which prepositions are governed by various cases. Below I will describe some of the cases in more detail with the use of glosses.


The nominative case is simply the subject of a sentence. It is the “default” form of the word, and the noun in the sentence which is doing the action in the verb. In the sentence “I read the book,” the word “I” is in the nominative.

The nominative case is also used in copular sentences. In the sentence “I am an author,” both “I” and “author” are in the nominative case.

Though nouns and articles no longer have case in English, the pronouns do: The pronouns “I,” “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” “you,” “they” and “who” are all nominative (though “it” and “you” are the same in other cases as well). The archaic prepositions “thou” and “ye” are also nominative. (Modern “you” is from the accusative form of “ye”.)


In the ancient neo-grammarian tradition of describing cases in grammars, the accusative normally comes fourth or fifth in the list of cases, but I mention it here in second place because this is the most direct contrast to the nominative, and sometimes the most difficult to grasp for the student who is new to grammatical cases.

The accusative case is used for the noun or pronoun which fills the role of direct object in a sentence. In our previous sentence, “I read the book,” “the book” is the direct element and would be in the accusative case.

As aforementioned, English does retain the accusative case in its pronouns: “me,” “him,” “her,” “it,” “us,” “you,” “them” and “whom” are the accusative pronouns in English, though “whom” is falling out of use now.


The dative case, again out of the traditional order, is not as frequently used as the accusative, but it is still quite common. The dative describes the indirect object of the sentence, usually in relation to the accusative (direct object), or used with a preposition to establish location or direction. The dative pronouns in English have long since melded with the accusative, but it is often replaced with phrases using the preposition “to” or “for.” In the sentence “I gave the book to him,” “to him” is the dative element – it is the indirect object of “give,” while “the book” is the direct object” – that which is being given.

You might be tempted to ask, “What if I were to say, ‘I gave him the book’?” This changes some syntax rules, but it does not actually change the cases of the objects: “the book” is still what is being given (accusative), and “him” is still what the direct object is being given to (dative).

Dative/Accusative Alternation

Certain prepositions in Ashian, such as suk ‘with’ and íš ‘out of’ are always followed by the dative case, though other prepositions may take different cases depending on other factors such as motion or change of state. Particularly “locative” prepositions which describe where something is tend to take the dative case when something is stationary and the accusative when it is moving. This is a feature that is believed to be inherited from the Orka language, which in turn inherited it from Germanic. For example, in the sentence “The book is on the table,” “on” is your dative preposition and “the table” is in the dative case, because the book (the subject) is not in motion.

However, in the sentence “Put the book on the table,” the book is no longer stationary; it is the direct object of the imperative verb “put,” and “on the table” slips into the accusative case as well to reflect that there is motion involved.

There are some subtleties, but generally the rule is: If the subject is moving, accusative; otherwise, dative.

As the dative began to vanish from English, we compensated for this by changing some of the actual prepositions themselves, though others just collapsed together. For example, the prepositions in and on got fused with the “accusative to” and became “into” and “onto” to replace the dative/accusative distinction when it was lost.


The genitive case is fairly simple but is sometimes hard for English speakers to grasp because we actually have two genitive cases, and only one of them is really still a case. The true genitive case in English is the possessive “–’s” ending which indicates possession, though the secondary genitive is the preposition of. In any case, it is a single case in Ashian: the genitive. In Ashian it also encompasses the possessive pronouns, such as “my” or “their.” Sticking with our examples, in the sentence “Your book is dedicated to the memory of John’s brother,” there are actually three genitive clauses floating around, all different in English:

Here the possessive adjective “your” is the genitive of “you,” “John’s” is a true genitive retaining it’s “-’s,” and finally “of (the) brother,” though this is broken up by the second genitive. Sometimes it can be helpful in phrases like these to reword sentences using “of” to target the genitives, e.g. “The book [GEN: of yours] is dedicated [DAT: to the memory] [GEN: of the brother] [GEN: of John].


The instrumental is a simple case that is more rarely used than the others, but it simply means “by means of,” “with the use of,” or “via.”


For inalienable possession such as body parts or family members, the genitive is used (e.g. rú flek ‘my hand’, windu má ‘our mother’). The genitive expression in this case precedes the possessed noun.

Alienable possession instead follows the noun, and is constructed from the phrase ek fleki “at hand,” e.g. ʌ̌af ek fleki rú ‘my book’ would literally translate to ‘the book at my hand’. Here the genitive (rú) follows the dative expression.


Personal pronouns in Ashian inflect for number (singular and plural) and gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter). The first and second person pronouns do not inflect for gender. Pronouns do not inflect for clusivity.

Demonstratives, Articles, & Other Determiners

Ashian has two levels of deixis in its demonstratives (this/here versus that/there). The demonstratives are affixed to the nouns they modify.

The demonstratives decline as the pronouns.






Inflection / Conjugation



Basic Word Order & Alignments


Morphosyntactic Alignment

Noun Phrases

Adjective Phrases

Verb Phrases