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A Basic Grammar of Thosk

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2.1. Script
2.2. Phonemes
2.2.1. Consonants
2.2.2. Vowels
2.2.3. Diphthongs
2.2.4. Phonemic Distribution
2.2.5. Stress
2.2.6. Sound Changes
2.3. Dialects
2.4. “False Friends” in Thosk
3.1. Simple Nouns
3.2. Derived Nouns
3.3. Compound Nouns
3.4. Definiteness/Indefiniteness of Nouns
3.5. Plural of Nouns in -e
4.1. Personal
4.2. Possessive
4.3. Demonstrative
4.4. Interrogative
5.1. Simple Adjectives
5.2. Derived Adjectives in -i and -vag
5.3. Comparison of Adjectives

7.1. Adverbs
7.1.1. Simple Adverbs
7.1.2. Phrasal Adverbs
7.2. Conjunctions
8.1. Tenses
8.1.1. Present Tense in -e 8.1.2. Past Tense in -ev
8.2. Participles
8.2.1. Past Passive Participle in -un
8.2.2. Past Active Participle in -viz
8.2.3. Present Active Participle in -end
8.3. Causative verbs in -ak
8.4. Intransitive/inchoative Verbs in -ne
8.5. The Indefinite
9.1. Verbless Sentences
9.2. Yes/No questions and the verb bu
9.3. Possession with bu be- + noun
9.4. WH-questions
9.5. Word Order
9.6. Direct Object with tha-
9.7. Indirect Object with be/dil-
9.8. Gerunds in -d/t
9.9. Clauses
9.10. Genitives with go- + noun

11.1. Numbers
11.2. Numbers with Quantities

13.1 Family Names
13.3 Full Names
13.4 Place Names
13.5 Countries, Languages and Peoples
13.6 Parts of the Body
13.7 Miscellaneous
13.8 Abbreviations
13.9 Phrases and Idioms
13.10 Directions


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This Thosk grammar is intended to provide an overview of the language for English speakers and more generally for speakers of western European languages. Typically, learners of Thosk are heartened by the fact that its grammar is quite regular, its spelling and pronunciation are straightforward, its transparent derivations allow for reasonable acquisition of a solid reading vocabulary, and its speakers are almost always wonderfully welcoming and supportive of beginning speakers.

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2. THE SOUNDS of THOSK [top]

2.1. Script

Thosk is most commonly written in the Roman alphabet, though it has also been rendered in a modified Cyrillic script. During the early years of the Thosk revival, some alternative scripts were proposed, but the survival of Thosk, given the limited means available, clearly necessitated a Roman orthography readily adaptable to existing European typewriters, and later, computer keyboards. The wisdom of this choice is reflected in the fact that the Thosk community, once widely scattered and isolated, today is in part an electronic one, and Thosk thrives by email. As the script is largely phonemic -- there is almost a one-to-one correspondence between sound and symbol -- the spelling of Thosk words is generally quite straightforward.

2.2. Phonemes

Thosk has 17 consonants and 5 vowels -- a total of 22 phonemes. Most of the phonemes, and the permissible consonant clusters, will be familiar to a speaker of English. A few of the latter, such as /zd/ and /gv/, are typically intervocalic (i.e., between vowels) and therefore usually do not cause significant difficulty. While learners of Thosk should of course strive to pronounce Thosk well, Thoskije (speakers of Thosk) are generally quite tolerant of an accent, in part because many younger speakers are learners of Thosk as a second language, and typically they enthusiastically welcome anyone who makes the effort to speak even basic Thosk.

2.2.1. Consonants

The 17 phonemes are /b, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, th (= θ), v, z/. The Thosk script is thus almost completely phonemic, and there are no silent letters.

• g is always a voiced velar stop, a hard g as in get, never as in general, rouge or stage

• h is a voiceless velar fricative, the final sound in Bach, Loch, etc.  Note that h never occurs finally in native Thosk words.

• j is a palatal glide, the “y” in English “yes.”

• th, a voiceless interdental fricative, the initial sound in “thick,” “thin,” is written as digraph th. It occurs only as a morpheme-initial. In one dialect of Thosk, this phoneme is an affricate /ts/.

• s is always a voiceless dental (alveolar under English influence) fricative, as in English “hiss,” never voiced as in English “rose, wise.”

• f and v are properly labial fricatives in the speech of older speakers, but often labiodental with younger speakers, under influence from English.

• the entire dental series (t, d, n, s, z, l) is often alveolar with younger speakers, again under influence from English.

• z occurs in native Thosk words only as a medial/final and before a voiced consonant, as in mezg (MEHZG) “brain,” huzd (HOOZD) “treasury,” etc.  Fergunin’s manuscripts inconsistently use both s and z where this text employs z.  (There continues to be scholarly discussion about whether there are in fact only 16 Thosk consonants, with s and z in complementary distribution.)

• the digraphs sj and zj represent the sounds in “fish” and “azure,” and occur only in foreign loanwords:

sjofer (SHOH-fehr; stressed on the first syllable, like all Thosk nouns) “chauffeur”
masjin (MAH-sheen) “machine”
zjurnal (ZHOOR-nahl) “magazine”
enzjenir (EHN-zheh-neer) “engineer.”

2.2.2. Vowels

Thosk has five vowels, often called the “cardinal” vowels: a, e, i, o, u. Unlike their English counterparts, however, they do not have off-glides, but are “pure,” single vowels.  (English know, for example, does not end in o but in a w or u.  You can see this by watching your lips in a mirror as you pronounce the word.  Many speakers of Irish and Scots English, however, do use pure vowels – this is one of the characteristic qualities of the Irish English “accent.”)

The approximate English equivalents of the five Thosk vowels a, e, i, o, u are father, get, machine, close, food.  The “imitated pronunciation” supplied in parentheses after Thosk words in the first several sections of the text below follows these spellings:

a as in father:  ba (BAH) “yes”
e as in get:  ne (NEH) “no”
i as in machine:  mir (MEER) “good”
o as in close:  o (OH) “he, she, it”
u as in food:  kurne (KOOR-neh) “thanks”

2.2.3 Diphthongs

In most dialects of Thosk there are 7 diphthongs, /aj, ej, oj, uj, au, eu, iu/, which are combinations of the five vowels and an off-glide, either j or u. Some analyses, however, list only two diphthongs, au and eu, regarding aj, ej, oj, uj, and iu (= ju) as vowel + consonant (or consonant plus vowel in the case of ju).

2.2.4 Phonemic Distribution

  Initial Medial Final
a aban after had desire ba yes
b ba yes aban after rob good
d deze put, place badal story did perception
e even air deze put, place ne no, not
f fir around theft warmth --
g gelen green igun liver kurag hungry
h hever north noht night --
i iven young gim winter neri male, manly
j jedel spear annujake renew uj egg
k kume come oken fire Thosk Thosk
l liti playful milast mildness migel mist
m mir good kumake bring gim winter
n ner man kind birth dezun placed, put
o ot smell holan hill no in
p pal strong elpe kiss --
r rot heart kurne thanks tever brother-in-law
s sez six bast appearance bas bus
sj sjok shock masjin machine --
t ta give uten water rust freezing
th thu you -- --
u uten water huzd treasure, store hutu when
v vrite laugh even air erev evening
z/zj zjurnal journal ezen autumn boz naked, bare
2.2.5. Stress

Stress in Thosk is word-initial, whether on single words or compounds. In the imitated pronunciation, stressed syllables are capitalized.  Thus, tingu (TEEN-goo), Gimboli (GEEM-boh-lee), etc.  In prepositional phrases, the noun or pronoun is always stressed, even if the preposition is written with the pronoun to form a single “word” (a style called in Thosk honjuhti or honskrifti).
ro gurmod or rogurmod (roh GOOR-mohd) “before summer”
be men
or bemen (beh MEHN) “to me”
dil tho
or diltho (deel THOH) “for you”
Stress in Thosk is phonemic; it distinguishes a phrase such as ro kud (roh KOOD) “before a speech” from a noun like rokud (ROH-kood) “preface, preamble.”

2.2.6. Sound Changes

Thosk evinces several largely predictable sound changes, focusing around prepositions, formation of gerunds and dialect. Prepositions

Prepositions ending a vowel typically insert a consonant before a following word which begins with a vowel. 

be “to”;  be men “to me”; bev o “to him”
tha direct object marker; tha men “me”; than o or thav o“him, her, it”
go “of”; go men “of me”; gon o “of him, her, it” Gerunds

Because of inherited sounds changes from Indo-European, Thosk gerunds formed from verbs ending in e + a sonorant (r, l, m, n) typically change the root vowel e to i. 

o mene “she thinks”; mind “thought, thinking”
thu bere
“you carry”; bird “portage, carrying”
But gerunds formed from non-sonorant verb stems remained unchanged.
vaz deze “you place, set”; dest “placing, setting”

2.3. Dialectal Variation

The standard on which this grammar and accompanying dictionary are based is that of Gimboli speakers. A second dialect is reported to exist which is not well documented. It apparently palatalizes some pronunciations of velars (k, g, h) in the environment of front vowels, such as Gimboli hi (hee) “who” > shi (shee), kikne (KEEK-neh) “know” > chikne (CHEEK-neh).  Also, th > ts/s: thu > tsu “you,” thir > tsir “three.”

2.4. “False Friends” in Thosk

A number of Thosk words can initially mislead the speaker of English, because they are spelled the same as English words but have wholly distinct meanings.  Here is a partial list of some 65 of the most frequent.  Distinguish them carefully by giving them their Thosk pronunciations.

age: (AH-geh) fear i: (EE) and
and: (AHND) breath ire: (EE-reh) rise
are: (AH-reh) plow is: (EES) out of, away from
bad: (BAHD) speaking jest: (YEHST) fermentation
bag: (BAHG) arm junk: (YOONK) join, unite
ban: (BAHN) word kind: (KEEND) birth
base: (BAH-se) kiss men: (MEHN) I, me
begun: (BEH-goon) attack, offense mere: (MEH-reh) die
best: (BEHST) touching mind: (MEEND) thought
bide: (BEE-deh) believe nest: (NEHST) return, restoration
bird: (BEERD) carrying, portage no: (NOH) in
bug: (BOOG) bend, bow never: (NEH-vehr) kidney
bust: (BOOST) waking nut: (NOOT) with
did: (DEED) perception one: (OH-neh) they
dove: (DOH-veh) choke, die pal: (PAHL) strong
dune: (DOO-neh) sound red: (REHD) against
even: (EH-vehn) air reddest: (REHD-dehst) opposition
fast: (FAHST) fixed rim: (REEM) number
fed: (FEHD) flight rind: (REEND) buying
fold: (FOHLD) coat rod: (ROHD) wheel
for: (FOHR) crossing rot: (ROHT) heart
form: (FOHRM) first rung: (ROONG) back, ridge
fun: (FOON) pure rust: (ROOST) freezing
go: (GOH) of sad: (SAHD) satisfied, full
gut: (GOOT) pour sake: (SAH-keh) try, attempt
ham: (HAHM) desire snub: (SNOOB) marry
hand: (HAHND) song spar: (SPAHR) roomy
held: (HEHLD) completion, end theft: (THEHFT) warmth
left: (LEHFT) stealing, theft thud: (THOOD) people
lend: (LEHND) soft to: (TOH) two
like: (LEE-keh) bind, tie van: (VAHN) empty, weak
list: (LEEST) border, band vast: (VAHST) desert, tundra
live: (LEE-veh) remain vest: (VEHST) clothing

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3. NOUNS [top]

Nouns in Thosk can be simple, derived or compound.

3.1. Simple Nouns

Simple nouns exist as integral units, and cannot be broken into smaller roots or affixes.

kun (koon) “woman,” ner (nehr) “man,” oken (OH-ken) “fire,” erev (EH-rev) “evening.”

3.2. Derived Nouns

Derived nouns, consisting of at least two parts, are formed by the addition of an affix to a root and sometimes by a change in the form of the root.

und (oond) “desire” [ven/un + -d]
(KOH-rah-gahst) “hunger” [korag + -ast]
(smeerd) “memory” [smer + -d]

3.3. Compound Nouns

Nouns may combine with other nouns to form compound nouns.

gim “winter” + boli “flower” > gimboli (GEEM-boh-lee) “winter flower”
(BAHN-hoozd) “word treasury, dictionary”
“desire” + rud “collapse” --> hadrud (HAHD-rood) “disappointment.”

3.4. Specificity

Thosk has no indefinite article corresponding to English “a/an.”

Ner giz kumev be thok. (NEHR gheez KOO-mehv beh THOHK) “(A) man came to (the) house yesterday.”

If number is important, however, en “one, (a) single” is used.

Bu be men en brad. (BOO beh-MEHN ehn BRAHD) “I have one/a single brother.”

NOTE:  The demonstrative adjectives o and e assume many of the roles of English articles.

3.5. Plural of Nouns in -e

Nouns in Thosk regularly form their plurals in -e
ner (NEHR) “man,” nere (NEH-reh) “men”
(SMEERD) “memory,” smirde (SMEER-deh)“memories”
After numbers (and in colloquial speech), however, the singular form of a noun often appears instead of the expected plural.
Ta be men tha fengi kilo rov. (TAH beh MEHN thah FEN-gee KEE-loh ROHV) Lit., “Give me five kilo meat.”
When an adjective is used as a noun, it may be pluralized like a noun.
Tige be men tha brune. (TEE-geh beh MEHN thah BROO-neh) “Show me the brown ones.”
Nouns ending in –i (and adjectives ending in –i functioning as nouns) form their plurals in –ije.
bastmindije (BAHST-meen-dee-yeh) “self-conscious ones”
vi, vije
(VEE, VEE-yeh) “power, powers”

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4. PRONOUNS [top]

Pronouns in Thosk are relatively straightforward for speakers of English.  The one exception is the Thosk equivalent of the English relative pronoun introducing a relative clause.  For more information, see 9.9. Clauses.

4.1. Personal (subject/object)

Thosk pronouns are invariant* – they do not change form, whether they are subjects or objects.
Singular Plural
men I naz we
thu* you (sing) vaz you (pl)
o** he/she/it/that one they; that
Men giz tergev tha tho*. (MEHN geez TEHR-gehv thah THOH) “I saw you yesterday.” Bev o to brade. (behv OH to BRAH-deh) “He has two brothers.” Lit., “To him [are] two brothers.”
*Thu has what appears to be a dialectal alternative for its object (suffixed) form: -tho. Both forms are prevalent in speech; -tho seems preferred in older writing, but thu is always correct.
**E this & ene these are also occasionally used as 3rd person pronouns.
E bu hun or?  (EH boo hoon OHR) “What time is it [lit., this]?”
With the direct object particle tha- or a preposition, these pronouns form oblique cases:
Tige than o be thev ate. (TEE-geh thah NOH beh thehv AH-teh) “Show it to your father.”

Naz giz tergev tha tho. (Nahz gheez TEHR-ghehv thah THOH) “We saw you yesterday.”

4.2. Possessives

mev(e) my nazi our
thev(e) your (sing) vazi your (pl)
sov(e) his, her, its sov(e) their
The forms in -e may optionally occur when the following word begins with a consonant; they are also more frequent in the speech of older Thoskije.

4.3. Demonstratives

Thosk uses the third person pronouns e(ne) and o(ne) as demonstrative adjectives and pronouns.
O ner bu meve doktor. (Oh nehr boo MEH-veh DOHK-tohr) “That man is my doctor.”
E bu meve kun.
(Eh boo MEH-veh koon) “This is my wife.”
Ene smirde entu go vedz ankume. 
(EH-neh SMEER-deh EHN-too goh-VEHDZ AHN-koo-meh) “These memories return once a year.”

4.4. Interrogatives

Hi “who” and hun “what” are the principal interrogative pronouns.  Note that their presence does not trigger a change in word order as it does in English and other European languages.  That is, in Thosk, the interrogative usually occupies the same position as the answer in a declarative sentence.
Thu bu hi?  (Thoo boo HEE) “Who are you?” Lit., “you are who?”
E bu hun?
  (Eh boo HOON) “What is this?”  Lit., “this is what?”
Like other pronouns, they take the prefix tha- when functioning as direct objects.
O ha tha hun? (Oh hah thah-HOON) “What does he want?” Lit., “He wants what?”
Vaz tergev tha hi?
  (Vahz TEHR-gehv thah-HEE) “Whom did you see?”  Lit., “You saw whom?”
Also like the demonstratives, the interrogatives may function as adjectives:
Sot bu hun tilgod?      (SOHT boo hoon TEEL-gohd) “How long is the trip?” Lit., “Journey is what length?”

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Thosk has both simple and derived adjectives.

5.1. Simple Adjectives

Simple adjectives are without affixes that specifically identify them as adjectives.
ri friendly
5.2. Derived Adjectives
Thosk adjectives are often derived from nouns by the addition of suffixes.
mind “thought” + -i“possessing, characterized by”:  mindi “thoughtful, conscious of”
“worship, reverence” + -ibalsti “worshipful, reverent, pious”
“breath” + -vag “lacking, without”:  andvag “breathless”
“heart” + -vag:  rotvag “cruel, heartless”
“touch, contact” + -duj“subject to, tending to”:  bezduj “tangible”
5.3. Comparison of Adjectives

To express the comparative degree, moi “more, -er” precedes the adjective, and fo “from” precedes the noun which is the base of comparison.

O (bu) moi megel fo men. “He (is) bigger than me.”
To express similarity, sem “like, as” precedes the noun which is the base of comparison.
Thu bu arkendmin sem o. “You are as rich as he.”
A less common, more formal alternative uses the noun form of the adjective of comparison.
Thu bu senegThu (bu) go som senegast be men. “You are old.  You are as old as I.” Literally, “you (are) of like age to me.”
Another related expression also uses sem:
Bev o meglast sem be men. “I am as big as he.” Literally, “To him is size as to me.”

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The following approximately 30 prepositions and adverbs are in common use: a, aban, an, be(v), dil, ed, fi(j), fi tilht, fir, fo(v), gir, go(n), hom, is, medeg, neden, no, nut, red, ro, sem, sevend, som, thereg, tun, tuz, u(v), umedgi, ur, ut, vi(j).  Many of these prepositions and adverbs also serve as derivational prefixes on verbs and nouns.  The direct object marker tha (than, thav) may be included among the prepositions because, although of course it never serves as a derivational prefix, syntactically it functions as other prepositions do.

a: vocative particle, called bekovend a in Thosk, and treated as a preposition in most Thosk grammars, since it patterns with the other prepositions.
Prep: A Mihel. Hey, Michael.  Av Elbaker kun.  Hey, Miss Elbaker.

: after
Prep: Aban third or o kumev. “After the third hour he came.”
Adv:  O menev aban. “He thought afterwards.” More commonly: abanmene.
Pfx: abanmind “afterthought”

: again
Adv: Kov an tha bane. “Say the words again.”  More commonly: ankove
Pfx: angund “return”

: to(ward)
Prep: Bu be men to brade. “I have two brothers.”
Pfx: betug “attraction”

: for; in order to
Prep: Bu to histe dil tho. “There are two boxes for you.”
Pfx: dilkud “advocacy, support”

: beyond, ultra, over-
Prep: ed theve moht.  “Beyond your power/ability.”
Pfx: edmed “excess”

: on
Prep: fi thok.  "On the roof."

fi tilht(e)
: along, while, during
Prep: fi tilhte noht “during the night”

: through
Prep:  snad fir uten  “swimming through the water”
Pfx: firbast “transparency”

: off, away, from
Prep: fo theve tom.  "Away from your house."
Pfx: foskid “separation”

: without, unless
Prep: gir arkend.  "Without money."
Pfx:  girnomi “nameless”

: of
Prep: go vedz “of a year; yearly”
Adv: --
Pfx: --

: together, with
Pfx: honkud “conversation”

: out of
Pfx: istuht “extraction”

: between. See u.
Prep: medeg men i thu.  "Between you and I"
Pfx:  medegvil  “interim, meanwhile”

: under, beneath
Prep: neden fot “under foot”
Pfx: nedenstad  “substructure, foundation”

: in
Prep: Men ta tha moi urht bev ahi jen o sumbe no klas.  “I give more work to anyone sleeping in class.”
Pfx: nospog “insight”

: with, using
Prep: nut brist “with speed, quickly”
Adv: --
Pfx: --

: against
Prep: Fransage gunev red Doitsage tun ani Gumal Gund.  “The French fought against the Germans in the second World War.”
Adv: --
Pfx: retkud “opposition”

: before
Prep: ro fordbaj “before dawn”
Adv: --
Pfx: rotirht “foresight”

: as, like
Prep: rimvag sem steren “countless as stars”
Adv: --
Conj: skuni sem naz hurev than one “beautiful as we made them”

(tha-): according to, following
Prep: sevend tha tevi bane “according to the divine words”
Pfx: --

: like, equal(ly)
Prep: --
Adv: One urkev som dil hold tha stok.  “They worked equally in order to finish the roof.”
Pfx:  sommedri “commensurate, equal”

: across
Prep: thereg fole “across fields”
Pfx: theregmorki “transnational”

: during, for (a time)
Prep: Uten thorzne tun tin.  “The water dried up during the day.”

: ill-, badly
Adv: O skrivev tuz.  "He wrote badly."
Pfx: tuznut “misuse”

: near, by, at
Prep: u mor “by the sea”
Pfx: ustad “proximity”

: among
Prep: umedgi ludje "among people"

: (1) over, above (2) wide
Pfx: urdeze “superpose, stack”

: up
Prep: ut holan “up the mountain”
Pfx: utstaje “get up, rise”

: dis-, un-
Pfx: vismird “forgetting, oblivion”

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7.1.1. Simple Adverbs

Here is a partial list of some temporal adverbs. Note the -tu suffix characteristic of many temporals.

mengetu “often”; fevtu “rarely, sometimes”; netu “never”; moz “soon”; giz “yesterday”; nuk “now”; entu “once”; rotu “formerly”; totu “twice”; abantu “subsequently, afterward”

7.1.2. Phrasal Adverbs

Many Thosk adverbs are expressed phrasally -- i.e., as prepositional phrases.

nut brist “quickly, with speed”
go vedz “of a year; yearly”

7.2. Conjunctions

Many of the most common Thosk conjunctions are phrasal, formed of a preposition followed by the relative particle je.

aban je “after”; i “and”; iri je “because”; meg “but”; ro je “before”; tajun je  “although” lit., “that given”; tun je “while.”

* * * * * * * * * *

8. VERBS [top]

The simple verb in Thosk is often distinguished from its related noun only by the presence of tense suffixes and its use in the sentence: kove “speak,” kov “speech.”  The form of the Thosk finite verb does not distinguish either person or number.

8.1. Tenses

Thosk has two morphological tenses, present and past, and other tenses formed by various grammatical and syntactic means.  Occasionally the old future in -iz may be heard among the speech of older speakers, usually in fixed expression such as proverbs.

8.1.1. Present tense: -e

Most verbs end in -e in present tense, which does not change for person or number. However, in rapid speech, this -e is often elided, especially if the following word begins with a vowel. A few verbs ending in a vowel or glide use as their standard present tense a somewhat irregular, colloquial form without the -e ending. The older forms in parentheses are typical of more formal speech.

ta: give (taje)
ej: go (eje)
bu: is (buje)

8.1.2. Past tense: -ev

Past tense is formed by adding the suffix -ev to the verb root (without present tense -e).

O buje. O bujev. “He/she/it is/exists. He/she/it was/existed.”
O deze. O dezev tha fodel.
“He placed the cup.”

As with the present tense, a few common verbs form their past tense somewhat irregularly. The forms in parentheses are typical of formal speech.

tav: give (tajev)
jev, iv
: go (ejev)
: is (bujev)

8.2. Participles

Thosk has three participles, all in active use: the past passive, corresponding largely with the English past participle; the past active, similar to “having + past participle” in English, and the present active, similar to the English present participle.

8.2.1. Past Passive Participle: -un

The Thosk past passive participle, corresponding most closely with the English past participle in -ed/en, is formed by suffixing -un to the verb root.

terge “see”; tergev “saw”; tergun “seen”

As in English, this participle can function as an adjective modifying a noun:

Netergun vi bez tha nazi kivode. “An unseen power touches our lives.”

8.2.2. Past Active Participle: -viz

The past active participle, usually equivalent to English “having + past participle,” is formed by suffixing -viz to the verb root:

ete “eat”; etviz “having eaten”

This -viz participle may function as an adjective modifying a noun, in which case it often corresponds to a relative clause in English:

Etviz kun izejev. “The woman who had eaten left.”

The –viz participle may also take a direct object:

etviz tha lef “having eaten bread”

When a -viz participle and its object modify a noun, they follow the noun -- the phrase is treated as a reduced clause rather than merely an adjective phrase.

Ner tergviz thav o kun ne un tha suft. “A man who has seen that woman doesn’t desire sleep.”

8.2.3. Present Active Participle: -end

Thosk forms the present (active) participle by suffixing -end to the verb root.

            foje, fojend “drink, drinking”; et, etend “eat, eating”

As in English, active participles may take direct objects, indicated in Thosk with the object marker tha-.

kiknend tha nom “knowing a name”

Unlike English, Thosk does not form continuous tenses with the –end participle.  Instead, Thosk would typically use a simple tense. As with the –viz participle, when an –end participle and its object modify a noun, they often follow the noun.

Men ta tha moi urht bev ahi sumbend no klas.  “I give more work to anyone sleeping in class.”

8.3. Causative Verbs: -ak

Causative verbs in Thosk are regularly formed with the suffix -ak. The addition of the causative suffix also serves to change intransitive verbs (verbs which do not take a direct object) and adjectives into transitive verbs (verbs taking a direct object).

Men bu korag. “I am hungry.”
Urht koragake tha men.
“Work makes me hungry.”
O berev tha hagel.
“She carried the stone.”
Thu berakev thav o nut hagel.
“You made her carry the stone/You burdened her with a stone.”
Verbs derived from adjectives in -u form a causative in -uvak or -vak.  Likewise, verbs derived from adjectives in –i form a causative in -ijak or -jak.

8.4. Intransitive/inchoative Verbs: -ne

Thosk forms intransitive verbs (principally from adjectives) with the intransitive/inceptive suffix -ne.

Sup bangune. “The soup thickens (intransitive)/becomes thick.”

Compare the corresponding transitive causative verb:

O banguvak tha sup. “He thickens the soup.”

8.5. The Indefinite

To express an unknown subject, and most of the senses covered by the English passive voice, Thosk generally uses a sentence with an indefinite pronominal subject. Note that no passive exists in modern Thosk.

Ahi giz tergev tha tho. “You were seen yesterday.” Lit., “Someone saw you yesterday.”

Another alternative to the English passive is a Thosk absolutive phrase with the past active participle:

men tergviz than o “with me having seen it.”  Lit., “I having seen it.”
Bur eredvihurviz tha nav, o thehtev than ani
.  Lit., “(A) storm having half destroyed [his] boat, he built another.”

* * * * * * * * * *

9. SYNTAX [top]

9.1. Verbless Sentences

Grammatically complete sentences in Thosk may consist of a noun or pronoun followed by an adjective, or by a prepositional phrase (a preposition and a noun).

Men korag.  “I’m hungry.”
Thu u skol?  “Are you (sing.) at school?”

9.2. Yes/No Questions and the verb bu

Yes/no questions are distinguished from statements by rising intonation in speech and by the question mark in writing.

O bu seneg ner? “Is he an old man?”
Thu moge kov tha Thosk?
  “Can you speak Thosk?”

9.3. Possession with bu be- + noun

Thosk expresses possession through the “bu be- + noun” construction. The possessor is expressed by a prepositional phrase, typically with be “to.” The possessed thing is the grammatical subject of the verb bu “be, exist.” In colloquial speech bu is often omitted.

Bu be men to duktere. “I have two daughters.” Lit., “Is to me two daughters.”
Bu suzast/koragast be/no men
. “I'm thirsty/hungry.” Lit., “Is a thirst/hunger to/in me.”
Bev o surt ev.
“He has a black horse.” Lit., “To him black horse.”

9.4. WH-questions

Word order in Thosk does not normally change for WH-questions. The interrogative is placed in the same syntactic space as the answer.

Etin bu hun? “What day is this?” (Lit., This day is what?)
Etin bu Hedurtin
.  “Today is Thursday.”

Thu vez u huz? “Where do you live?” (Lit., You live at where?)
Men vez u Nuj Jork
.  “I live in New York.”

9.5. Word Order

In general, Thosk word order is subject-verb-object. Adjectives precede nouns, and adverbs precede verbs.  Word order does not change for questions, but is indicated in speech by intonation.

9.6. Direct Object: tha-

The direct object is prefixed with the particle tha which, like the prepositions, may be written separately from or conjoined to the following object noun or pronoun. Note that stress is never placed on the particle, but on the object.

Ta tha fadal be men. “Give me the cup.”
Tha takes the form thav or than before a word beginning with a vowel:
Men terge thav o/than o. “I see him/her/it.”
Because the present participle is active, it takes a direct object with tha-:
Fadakend tha dur, o vitev tha nehun. “Opening the door, he saw no one.”
The active past participle in Thosk may also take a direct object with tha-:
Berviz tha hagele, o buv lat. “Having carried the stones, he was tired.”

9.7. Indirect Object: be-

We have already encountered the indirect object in the bu be- construction for expressing possession.  Like tha, be takes the form bev or ben before a vowel.

Thu deze tha nom bev o dil tho. “You name it for you(rself).” Thu deze tha theve nom bev o. “You give it your (own) name.”

9.8. Gerunds: -d/t

Thosk forms from verbs a regular gerund in -t/-d, which can be used in many ways like the English infinitive. The Thosk gerund, like its English counterpart, may take an object.  Regular sounds changes occur in roots with sonorant stem endings.  See section 2.2.6.

Men smerev tha nome.  “I remembered the names.”
Smird tha nome bu vihti
. “Remembering names is important.”
It may also take a possessive pronoun.
O folev tha kar.  “He bought a car.”
Sove fold tha kar buv therzakend
.  His buying a car was wonderful.

9.9. Clauses

Thosk forms clauses using the particle je.  This clause marker signals the beginning of a new clause, which typically ends with a resumptive pronoun or adverb.  When the subject of the relative clause is the relative pronoun in English, the structure is similar to English.

O ner jen o bu meve doktor giz snubev.  (Oh NEHR jeh-NOH boo MEH-veh DOHK-tohr gheez SNOO-behv) Lit., “The man that he is my doctor got married yesterday.”
Note however that the particle je (jen before vowels) indicates merely the beginning of the clause, and is only a subordinator.  If the relative pronoun in English would appear in any other case, then in Thosk a resumptive pronoun must appear later in the sentence, with the appropriate preposition.
O bu ner je men giz tergev thav o. “He is the man whom I saw yesterday.” (Literally) “He is man that I yesterday saw him.”
Ev je men folev thav o bu surt.  (EHV jeh-MEHN FOH-lehv thah-VOH boo SOORT) Lit., “The horse that I bought it is black.”
Thok je thu kenev nov o bu meglakun.
  (THOHK jeh-THOO KEH-nehv noh-VOH boo MEH-glah-koon) Lit., “The house that you lived in it has been enlarged.”

In some cases, the subject pronoun may be repeated after the dependent clause:

Ner jen o i sove kun snubev o giz kumev. Lit., “The man that he and his wife got married [he] came yesterday.”
Drajev thereg fole jen o est vezev kun je men lubev thav o.
“I ran through the fields where the woman lived whom I loved.” [Drajev thereg fole je kun je men lubev thav o est vezev.]
E bu thok je men est vezev
. “This is the house where I lived.”
E bu marak je nehi est ne mere
. “This is the country where no one dies.”
Temporal and causal clauses function in straightforward ways.
Tun je men etev, thu sumbev.  “While I ate, you slept.”
Ro je thu kenev, thev ate ugev tha gurvist u Morgi Megel Skol
.  “Before you were born, you father studied biology at the National University.”

9.10. Genitives: go + noun

The particle go is often expresses the partitive genitive -- a part of a whole.

Rim go sterene enoht bu megel. “There are a lot of stars tonight.”  Lit., “The number of stars tonight is great.”
However, the incidence of go-genitives is lessened due to a tendency toward noun-compounding, as this alternative shows:
Sterenrim enoht bu megel.

* * * * * * * * * *


Thosk derivation and word formation are active processes in the modern language.

10.1. Prefixes

The following prefixes are in active use:

aban "after" > abanmind “afterthought”
"to(ward)" > betug “attraction”
"for" > dilkud “advocacy”
"with; together" > homurht “cooperation”
"out of" > istuht “extraction”
"before" > roknod “foreknowledge”
"with" > senkud “conversation, dialog, colloquium”

10.2. Suffixes

The following suffixes are in common use.

-ag: agent noun
: causative verb
: abstract noun
: noun/gerund (-od)
: “-able”
: noun plural
: present tense
: pres. part act.
: past tense
: adjective
: inchoative
: past passive participle
: lacking, less
: past active participle.  Variant form: --ju

* * * * * * * * * *

11. NUMBERS and COUNTING [top]

The Thosk numbers are cognate with their English equivalents and should not pose especial problems for English speakers to learn.

11.1. Numbers

1 en; 1st fird/rom
2 to[v]; 2nd tod, ani
3 thir; 3rd third
4 hedur, hudur; 4th hedurd
5 fengi; 5th fengid
6 ses; 6th sest
7 seft; 7th seftind
8 oht; 8th ohtod, ohtov
9 emven; 9th emvend
10 teg; 10th tegind

The “teens” are formed by joining teg “ten” and the appropriate number.

11 tegen; 11th tegrom, tegfird
12 tegto; 12th tegtod, tegani

13 tegthir (tekthir)
14 tegedur
15 tegfengi
16 tegsez
17 tegseft
18 tegoht
19 tegemven

The multiples of ten are formed by joining the multiplier to teg “ten.”

20 toteg
30 thirteg

40 hedurteg

50 fengiteg

60 sesteg

70 seftteg

80 ohtteg

90 emventeg

100 hind; 100th hindod
1000 gezel; 1000th gezeld

11.2. Numbers with Quantities

In Thosk the number, together with a measure, if any, directly precedes the noun without the equivalent of English “of.”

Ta be men tha fengi kilo rov. “Give me five kilos of meat.”

* * * * * * * * * *


Competence in common phrases and question-and-answer structure is key to mastering basic Thosk.

Mir(e) ejen. “Good morning.”
Mir(e) tin
. “Hello. Good day. Goodbye.”
Mir(e) erev
. “Good evening.”
Mir(e) noht
. “Good night.”
. “Thanks.”
Megel kurne
. “Thank you very much.”
Anze be men
. “Please”  Lit., “Favor me.”
Is thev anst
. “Please”  Lit., “From your favor.”
Seve tha thirft
. “Suit yourself.” Lit., “follow pleasure.”
Vituz (tha men)
. “Pardon (me). Excuse/forgive (me).”
E/o bu hun?
“What is this/that?”
E bu hun ora? “What time (hour) is it (now)?”
Thu bere tha hun nom?
“What’s your name?/What name do you carry?”
(Bu) be thu hun nom?
“What’s your name?”
(Bu) be men nom Mihel.
“My name is Michael.”
Thu bu korag?
“Are you hungry?”
 (Thu) ha ete than ermiz? “Do you want to eat breakfast?”
Theve brat (bu) u huz?
“Where is your brother?”
Thu beke dil hun?
“Why are you running?”
Thu kum is huz?
“Where do you come from? Lit., “You come from where?”
O (ei) be huz?
“Where is he (she/it) going?”
Tinmiz bu hutu?
“When is dinner?”
Sot bu hun tilgod?
“How long is the trip?” Lit., “Trip is what length?”

* * * * * * * * * *

13. NAMES [top]

When two Thoskije meet, they often offer their family names first in conversation – Thosk speakers like to begin by placing a person if possible in a community of families.  With the smallness of the Thosk community, the chances are good that each knows or at least has heard of the other’s family, and so both people already share a connection that they can subsequently build upon in conversation.

13.1. Family Names

Albaker: Whitefield Kuthird: Oxford
Bard: beard Lavaz: doorman
Bardholen: Beard(’s) Hill Livuten: blue water
Bremi: border. Ubrem Medgen: Middle-
Brun: Brown Merek: land
Danthird: Riverford Mihelbir: Michaelson
Eger: Lake Morbrem: Lakeshore
Eguner: Horseman Navag: boatman
Evgenbir: Eugene’s son Ost: bone
Evthird, Eguthird: “Horseford” Oznaker: Ash field
Fergunin: mountain Rohori: Scout
Fevel: cook, baker Rovag: butcher
Foviz: cook Ruder: Red
Gelen: Green Rudraker: Redfield
Gelendan: Green River Selez: Swamp
Hed: Wood Stefanbir: Stevenson
Hedner: Woodman Surt: black
Hever: North. Hur Surtaker: Blackfield
Hevraker: Northfield. Huraker Suthird: Swineford
Hevruten: Northwater. Huruten Thehtag: builder, Carpenter
Hobuk: Hawk Theven: Servant
Holen: Hill Third: Ford
Holnaker: Hillfield Udan: by-river
Huglag: Wheeler Uten: Water
Huraker: Northfield Utenner: Waterman. Utner
Hurhed: Northwood Vad: poet, mad
Huruten: Northwater Vognag: cartwright
Hureger: Northlake Vozaker: eastfield
Jedelbir: “Spear’s son” Vozmor: Eastlake
Jovanbir: Johnson Vozhed: Eastwood

13.2. Given Names

Aleks: M Alex

Ane: F Ann

Anid: F flower

Bete: F Betty, Elizabeth

Boli: F flower

Dal: F flower

Eliz: F Elsie, Elizabeth

Evgen: M Eugene

Filip: M Phillip

Hiv: MF gray

Jakob: M

Jedel: M Spear

Jermi: M Jeremiah

Josef: M Joseph

Jovan: M John

Katrin: F Catherine

Kristof: M Christopher

Lubun: MF dear, beloved


Marje: F Mary

Martin: M

Matei: M Matthew

Mele: F sweet

Mihel: Michael

Mihele: F

Mite: F

Ove: F bird

Roze: F Rosa

Sander: M (Ale)xander

Sandre: F

Sara: F Sarah

Stefan: M Crown

Surtan: MF “Blackie”

Theven:  MF servant

Thor:  M bull

Tomas: Thomas


13.3.  Some Full Names

Roze Gelen; Mihel Fergunin; Mite Bremi; Surtan Oznaker; Tomas Eger; Aleks Huglan; Sara Danthird; Jakob Hiv; Ove Thehtaz

13.4.  Place Names

Albaker: “whitefield”

Bizdan: “sand river”

Gimboli: Winterflower (city name)

Herugil: “deer canyon” [lit., chasm]

Hevervoz: northeast.  Hurvoz

Rudeger: red lake

Ugermerek: westmark

Ulgdan: wolf river

13.5.  Countries, languages and peoples


Frans/Fransag/Franstingu: France, French person, French language

Doitsland/Doitslandag/Doitstingu: Germany

Espanja/Espanjag/Espanjatingu:  Spain

Rusja/Rusjag/Rustingu:  Russia

Engelmerek/Engelag/Engeltingu:  England

Danmark/Danmarkag/Dansktingu:  Denmark

Sverige/Sverigag/Svensktingu:  Sweden

Portugal/Portugalag/Portugaltingu:  Portugal

Turkije/Turkijag/Turktingu:  Turkey

Sjin/Sjinag/Sjintingu:  China

Nihon/Nihonag/Nihontingu:  Japan

13.6.  Parts of the Body

bolg: stomach, bag

ferzen: heel

fot: foot

gizel: vein

hereg: head

hurb: body

jukem: joint

mezg: marrow, brain

miz/rov: flesh, meat

naz: nose

negur: kidney

nogl: claw, nail

ogi: eye

ombel: navel

omez: arm, shoulder

org: testicle

orz: back, buttock

ost: bone

oz: mouth

rot: heart

rung: back

rungost: spine

sem: seed, semen

terzen: face

tind: tooth

tingu: tongue

uj: egg

uz: ear

vel: tail

vem: lung

13.7  Miscellaneous

Janki Luka: Saint Luke

Janki Matei: Saint Matthew

Janki Jovan: Saint John

Janki Markos: Saint Mark

Kinema Rospog “Kiros”:  Movie Preview (a periodical)

Erev Skudel: Evening News

Morki Demokratja Enakej “Mordemen”:  National Democratic Union  MDE  “mordemeni”  member of the MDE

Nospog, Notirht:  Insight

Morki Notirht:  National Insight (periodical)

13.8  Abbreviations

ai. (ahi): someone

an. (ahun): something

az. (ahuz): somewhere

au. (ahutu): sometime

k. (kuni): female, feminine

n. (neri): male, masculine

t. (terge): see

ia.: and others, etc.

urs (u rovrejun stad): in the forementioned place

13.9  Phrases and Idioms

fo buden be hir: top to bottom, thoroughly

fo fot be hereg: from head to foot

fo hend be held: from beginning to end

foje/fije tha dum: smoke (cigarettes, etc.)

hend sem hagal, held sem holan: small beginnings, great ends

rimvag sem steren: countless as stars


thene tha-hurb: stretch (the body)

dez tha-oken (be/fi) : set fire (to)     dez tha-nom: give a name

okendest      nomdest

nom go ner:  name of the man    roi go sumiz: price of pork

13.10  Cardinal Directions

hever [hur]: north
uger: west
voz: east
tejzen/tesken: south

* * * * * * * * * *


1. Voiceless stops become fricatives in Thosk, except when preceded by /s/ or another stop.
*t > θ, k > h [x], p > f
*tu > thu “you.”  But *sta- > staje “stand, remain”
*kom > hon “with, together.”  But *skeir > skir “clear, distinct, sharp”
*potlom > fodel “cup.”  But *spek > spege “look, see”
*okt- > oht “eight”
*tepti- >  theft “warmth”
*weid + ti > vist “knowledge, science”
2. Original voiced stops become voiceless stops in Thosk.
*b > p, *d > t, *g > k
boli- > pal “strong”
*dekm > tegem “ten”
*gow- > kove “speak”
*ag- > ake “cause, do”
*od- > ot “smell, scent”
*weid- > vit “see, know”
3. Voiced aspirates become voiced stops in Thosk.
*bh > b, *dh > d, *gh > g
*bher > bere “carry”
*webh > vebe “weave”
*dhe-s- >deze “put, place”
*ghim > gim “winter”
4. Voiced velar fricatives may become /w/ or /v/ before nasals and some consonants.
*teknos > theven “servant”
*dhugater, dhukter > duvder “daughter”
5. Intervocalic labiovelars (*kw, *gw and *ghw) and some velars become /v/ or /u/.
*dhegwh > deve “burn”
*dhegwhr > dever “ash(es)”
*pekw  > feft “cooking”
*penkwe > fengi “five”
*perkwunjom > fergun “mountain”
*pekw > feve “cook, bake”
*kwekwlom > hugel “wheel, circle”
*kwer > hure “make, do”
*gwor  > kurag “hungry”
*gwel > kule “throw”
*sekw > seve “follow”
*bhargw > barve “cram, stuff, fill”
6. Intervocalic fricatives become voiced and, except /s/, then become stops in Thosk.
*spek > spex > speγ > spege “look, see”
*stati > staθi > stað(i) > stad “place, position”
*tep- > θef > θeβ > thebe “be warm””
*dhe-s- >deze “put, place”
*swesor > suzer “sister”
7. /w/ becomes /v/ (or occasionally /u/, mostly adjacent to vowels).
*webh > vebe “weave”
*gow > kove “speak”
*deiwos > tev “god”
*nowjo > nuj “new”
*swesor > suzer “sister”

* * * * * * * * * *
15. OLD THOSK [top]

Thosk Old Thosk
past tense kiknev kinkeua
one en uen
gerund -d/t smird smirdi
noun -ast valnast ualnasta
ro roknod, rokond hroknodi, hrokondi
future tense -- -iz
3rd person o; one on; one
possessives nazi; vazi nazje; uazje
adjective -i vristi uristige
Old Thosk Verbs
kiknu “I know” kiknem “we know”
kiknez “you know” kikned(e) “you know”
kikne “s/he knows” kiknundi “they know”

kiknune: “known”; past passive participle
kikneuiz: “having known”; past active participle
kiknende: “knowing”; present participle

Verb Tenses
On kiknev: “s/he knew”; past tense
Naz kiknem: “we know”; present tense
(Men) kiknizu: “I will know”; future tense
en "one" < uen
"two" < tou
"three" < tsire, thire
"four" < hudure
"five" < hemvi
"six" < sez
"seven" < seften
"eight" < ohtu
"nine" < emuen
"ten" < tegen

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