Far East Semitic

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Inspiration: Old Chinese, Heleasic, Akkadian, Amharic

In Irta, Far East Semitic is one of the major branches of Semitic.

Loans from Old Chinese and Sino-IE in addition to the usual SEA families (except Austronesian)


Verner's law in random words? plax "to open" <- *pdax <- *phthax

lhor "king", mələkh "prince"?

(ğurayb >) qraib "crow, raven"

hlān 'language'

nəphəs "soul"

nəphle "to fall"

bəihl "egg"

qe "egg" in Hmooblang (from a substrate)

Lots of dvandvas

bayth X = expert in X

šmay 2ərətlh: world

Gmad = to resist

Gəmed = to support (same sense as Arabic 3amada)

yiθ = there is, liθ = there is not (yiθ becomes 'have' in later languages: *nā yiθ phkar 'I have cows')

Gabəd 'slave'

laqhəm 'fish' (< 'food')

t=ār 'bird'

ts⁼pʰur 'bird'

Family tree

  • Proto-Far East Semitic (~ 500 AD)
    • Far East Semitic/Tonal Semitic: A language with two tones from the register split and lots of preinitials. Irta's only tonal Semlang.
    • hyperconservative Far East Semitic

Far East Semitic is phonologically one of the more conservative branches of Semitic, with different reflexes for almost all the consonants of Proto-Semitic. Morphologically, though, it is the exact opposite -- it is a rather typical Southeast Asian sprachbund language even in the proto-stage.



  • p b t ṭ d k q g ħ ʕ -> ph b th t d kh k g x ɣ~ɢ
  • m n l r w y -> m n l ɹ w j
  • θ θ̣ ð s ṣ z ś ṣ́ š x ɣ h -> θ θ ð s ts z~dz l̥ tl̥~ts (from koineization) š qʰ q h

Vowels: i ɨ u e ə o a ā

p and ŋ show up by assimilation or in loanwords from Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan languages.

ɣašt, θian, l̥āθ, ɚbaɣ, qhamš, šɨš, šbaɣ, šmān, dɨšq, l̥ər

11: l̥ər had, 12: l̥ər θian, etc.

θina, l̥əθa, ɚbɣa, qhəmša, šɨša, šbəɣa, šməna, dɨšqa, mə'a ələp 100,000: ləkəš 100,00,000: kot


Most Far East Semitic languages are written with an abugida inspired aesthetically by Ahom. The consonant letters are based on the Proto-Sinaitic abjad.


Far East Semitic is only vestigially triconsonantal.


Far East Semitic has noun classifiers but no grammatical gender. Noun classifiers are also used as definite articles though ðə is also commonly used, especially in the literary language.

ah - classifier for people, from the feminine form of numbers in PSem

mušab - classifier for places

Animate plurals are marked with postposed wɨl (which is more of an associative marker).


Singulatives are formed with bɨn-.

kʰətʰāb: agentive


As in English, Far East Semitic verbs are analytic with some vestigial ablaut; participial (with m-) and verbnoun (with t- and other grammaticalized noun derivations) forms are common, as in modern Aramaic dialects. It's relatively unpredictable which Semitic verb root was assigned to which pattern (but it should correlate with the semantics of the noun patterns before they turned into verbs, e.g. agency)


Morphology that corresponds to binyanim in other Semitic languages are more concatenative and are used as triggers:

  • G-stem: xtab, xtob, xtib (agent trigger)
    • D-stem: kʰətʰVb as opposed to xtVb should become an iterative?
  • N-stem: nə·xtVb (patient trigger stem)
  • S-stem: šə·xtVb (instrument/cause trigger)
  • t-stems: tə·xtVb (reciprocal)
  • locative trigger: θə(m)-xtVb (from *þamma 'there', cf. Gàidhlig ann when fronting an adjunct)

the pa'al / pi'el distinction surfaces as initial clusters vs minor syllables

mə- prefix for derived nouns

Some former VN patterns (also noun patterns)

  • kʰətʰıb
  • xteb, xtib
  • xtub, xtib for adjectives
  • tə·xtVb
  • kʰətʰib, kʰətʰub, kʰətʰāb


particles for aspects like Wdm (mɨn for perfect tense etc)

bə xtib nākʰ = I write

min xtib nākʰ = I wrote

l̥aʔ xtib nākʰ = I will write


  • 1sg ~nākʰ~ni
  • 2sg əntu~kʰmu

Plural pronouns were formed with the associative marker wɨl (< *wa-illu 'and these') or kʰol (from *kullu 'all'):

  • 1pl: nākʰ wɨl~nākʰol
  • 2pl kʰmu wɨl~kʰmu kʰol~kʰmɨl

Largely replaced with kinship terms and rank pronouns in descendants in non-intimate speech except in the hyperconservative FES language, where directional adverbs are sometimes used instead of pronouns



Proto-Far East Semitic syntax is close to Tagalog. It's a VSO language. Modern Far East Semitic languages have a much more similar syntax to Thai, Vietnamese, Modern Hebrew or Arabic.