Tydotsuy nouns

Word order

The elements of a noun phrase, if present, go in the following order:

  1. Focus particle (aa, pu, sa, pys, elh, spis)
  2. Article, question word, partitive, or toddyy ("all")
  3. Demonstratives and first– and second-person pronouns
  4. Ordinal numbers
  5. Cardinal numbers and other expressions of quantity
  6. Restrictive genitives and verbal adjectives
  7. Simple adjectives
  8. The noun itself (marks for number)
  9. Non-restrictive genitives and verbal adjectives
  10. Exceptions
  11. Case marking
  12. And-conjunctions


Most noun phrases except for pronouns and proper nouns starts with an article. The article marks for definiteness and whether the noun phrase is modifying another noun phrase (e.g., in genitives).

The normal articles:

Definite de= ne=
Indefinite a= ha=

De=ne= contracts into ne=, and de=ha contracts into tha=.

The definite articles refer to things where the speaker expects the listener to know what they're talking about; indefinite articles are used to introduce new things into the conversation. Proper nouns and pronouns usually do not use an article; however, demonstratives and possessives are used with an article (the article comes first). Possessives do not require the article to be definite; an indefinite article with a possessive roughly translates to "one of (person)'s", except that it can also be used if one doesn't know that the person has more than one. When talking about generalizations rather than specific objects, the article is omitted, and the noun is not marked for plural.

Other indefinites

These have meanings that are covered in English by "any" and "some", and replace the article (or they could be analyzed as articles themselves):

(h)a=hee, (h)a=el
Indicates that the identity of the object/person is unknown to the speaker (but it's a specific object/person). This could be someone not seen ("someone broke in last night, but I don't know who"), or someone seen but where it's particularly surprising that they weren't familiar. Hee ("what") is used for objects, and el ("who") for people.
Negative indefinite: indicates that there isn't any of the specified thing, at least not that's relevant to the sentence. Used with a negative verb; similar to English "any" in negative sentences (or to English "no", if you don't care about double negation). The noun is not plural. In sentence fragments and lists of items, this article by itself conveys negativity.
Polar question indefinite: used when asking if any of the specified thing exists. The noun is usually singular. Also used in conditions.
Refers to something that might not exist. The statement applies if the thing does exist.
ai, hai
Used for other meanings of "any". Hai is used when this noun phrase modifies another noun.
Not an article, but a pronoun. Means "something" or "someone", and implies that what or who this is is not important.


Also: question words, indefinite pronoun

First– and second-person

First person singular (I/me)
First person inclusive plural (me and you, and possibly some other people)
First person exclusive plural (us, not including you)
Second person singular (you)
Second person plural (y'all?)

These pronouns may also precede a name, or be used after an article like demonstratives. There are politeness-related restrictions regarding volition markers with second-person pronouns.


Proximate (this), particularly things that are in the same room or visible from where the person is talking/listening. Also can refer to things that were just mentioned.
Distal (that), for things inland from the speaker (closer to land if the speaker is on the ocean)
Distal (that), for things towards the sea from the speaker (farther from land if the speaker is on the ocean)
Refers to things which will be mentioned later in the sentence. Used similarly to "the following" in English; also used in a number of grammatical constructions, including as the subject of verbs whose only argument follows the verb, in relative clauses, and in certain types of focus-related constructions.
Refers back to the subject of the sentence. There are other ways to do this in certain cases.

The pronouns above can also be used directly after articles.


Each noun has a pronoun based on its classifier. This pronoun is used for the singular; for liquids, waa is used; for the plural, lof (the classifier for groups of people and herds of animals) is used for people and animals, and byt (the classifier for piles) is used for everything else. Plural pronouns are also used for mass/uncountable nouns. Water (when it's not using a singular pronoun) takes the pronoun byt, despite being considered animate for the purpose of case marking.

The pronoun fuu can be used to refer to earlier sentences (as in, refer to the sentence itself, or the proposition expressed by the sentence).



There is a small closed class of true adjectives, which can only be used attributively and restrictively. (TODO list them here when I make all of them.) Other adjectives are formed by adding –s to a stative verb; if the verb ends in a consonant, the consonant is deleted, and if the verb ends in a long vowel, it's changed to a short vowel. For statives that take objects, the objects precede the stative, and any direct or indirect objects do not get case endings. This ending can also be added to active verbs, in which case the habitual aspect is assumed for that verb.

Restrictive adjectives—those that specify which object one is talking about—go before the noun, whereas nonrestrictive adjectives—those that merely add extra information—go after the noun. If the indefinite article ((h)a=) is used, all adjectives are treated as nonrestrictive; this does not apply if the indefinite article is used because of a focus particle.

Genitive constructions

(Note: In this grammar, I'm considering genitive to refer to all noun phrases that modify other noun phrases, and possessive to refer just to relationships specified with =snet, which translates most closely to the English possessive.)

Nouns in certain cases can modify other nouns:

=snet (possessive/of)
Expresses that the modifying noun owns the head noun (thu=snut laftyy = my books). Predicate: altha.
Expresses that the head noun owns the modifying noun (ne=laftyy=snut nwil = the books' owner, the person with the books). Predicate: atlaha.
Expresses that the head noun is a part of the modifying noun (du=hu=snut peiniþ = my eyes).
Expresses that the modifying noun is a part of the head noun (ne=peiniþ=þnet nwil = the person with the eyes).
When the noun expresses a relation, indicates the relation (du=hu=snut miipii = my mother).
=i (originative/from)
Indicates where something or someone originated; for people, indicates their birthplace or where they currently live
Indicates who an item was received from
Indicates the material an item was made from
Indicates what an item or person used to be. Predicate: la'eif
When used restrictively with a proper noun, indicates a person's birth-city and birth-date, as part of their full name
=stes (causative/by)
Indicates who performed an action
Indicates who created a thing
=et (benefactive/for)
Indicates who someone intends for the item to benefit
=spi (comitative/with)
Indicates who someone is with
When used restrictively (often before proper names), disambiguates between two people with the same name using the name of someone the listener is likely to associate with the person (friend, family member, coworker, etc.). (Alice=spi Bob could mean "Alice's friend Bob", "Alice's son Bob", "Alice's husband, Bob", etc.)
=sie (locative/at)
Indicates where a person or thing is. Predicate: see locations.

These can be headless (i.e., only the genitive construction is used, not a noun) when the meaning is unambiguous. In that case, the genitive construction is restrictive. When used with proper place names, –i acts more like a suffix than a clitic, and can have irregular forms.

Restrictive genitives go before a noun, and nonrestrictive genitives go after, following the same rule as adjectives.

Relative clauses

Tydotsuy does not allow ordinary relative clauses within a sentence; instead, one could use:


A noun phrase may be followed by a prepositional phrase starting with lhi'= to indicate nouns that otherwise would be included in the noun phrase aren't.

Noun-phrase conjunctions


The conjunction ef separates two noun phrases referring to the same thing. The second noun phrase does not need its own article, but may get an article if it's different from the first noun phrase. The case marking applies to the entire noun phrase, not to each phrase individually.


To say the equivalent of x and y, say the first noun phrase, then its case marking. After the case marking, say the second noun phrase, but use the case marking =spi instead of the normal case marking.

Other conjunctions

baa "or"
Separates possibilities where the speaker does not know which is true. If used to modify noun phrases, generally each noun phrase in the conjunction gets its own case marking. The word baa can also be used before the first noun phrase (like "either"... TODO do I actually like this?).
spuo "nor"
Separates things where the speaker knows none of them are true. If the second noun phrase would have had the article puo, this article is omitted. The first noun phrase should have some indication of negativity (the discourse particle pu or the article puo or the preposition lhi'= or a negative verb).

A conjunction must go between each item in the list ("x or y or z", not "x, y, or z").

Nouns formed from verbs

The prefix fe– (derived from the classifier fuu) can be used to form an abstract noun from a verb (similar to English –ness). Such a noun is always singular, can't be used with a number. Words formed this way use the pronoun fuu.

The prefix teh– can be used to make nouns indicating an instance of the verb happening (similar to English flight from fly). In this case, they get the classifier tuh. Words formed this way use the pronoun tuh for singular and byt for plural. Nouns formed this way can't be used without an article; the fe– form is used in that case.


There are three different animacy distinctions:

Animacy marking

Because the same pronouns can be used for both humans and inanimate objects, if the head of a noun phrase is a singular classifier-like pronoun, and the referrent of the noun is volition-animate, the pronoun gets volition marking:

Case markers

The usage of these case markers is described in more detail in other sections. These are clitics, and therefore take the vowel roundedness of the last word in the noun phrase.

high-volition subject, causative: subject
low-volition subject: subject, animacy marker
dative, vocative: object
genitive: noun modifier
benefactive: noun modifier, adverbial
with, and: noun modifier, adverbial
originative: noun modifier
locative (also used for times): noun modifier, object; when this is not a noun modifier, if the noun is inherently locative, this ending is not used
causitive: noun modifier, adverbial
speaker: fixed position in sentences, adverbial
middle: subject
autobenefactive: subject