Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Time particle: ni

Tulvan makes employ of different particles to convey the same meaning as some of our prepositions. For the meaning "in a particular moment" one uses in Tulvan not a postposition but a particle, namely "ni" which has the approximate meaning "in, at" but it's used only for time notions. This means the particle will be used at any time preceding a period of time or a time related word, so, for example when saying goodnight Tulvan says:

trum ni nari

You might remember this expression from before, particularly this post: here. Its actual meaning is "well-ness in the night", remember Tulvan has no proper adjective "good" but uses the adjective affix with the noun. So in this instance "well-ness" or "well-being in the night" means "good night" or at least the salute, and one would never say "itrum nari" which would mean "this is a well-behaved night", or "an useful night", or even "a morally good night".

Interesting to note, however, that Tulvan will use this same particle as classifying one every time a specific moment is mentioned. So for instance:

ni nari gim ni wen cum
from night to day

Direction specifications might be used when the meaning is not clear, but commonly are left out when it's pretty clear the relative position in time or the phrase is self-explanatory. For all this the particle's main meaning might be said as being "in, at".

Kalev vu kwam mem ni oren yulen
I haven't seen you in a thousand years!

Saturday, 21 July 2012


IPA: [mar]
n. blood. The red fluid that flows through the human veins.

A pretty simple word today. Its use is mainly in medicine, but some ancient Tulvan poetry hints to a very dark past and usage for this most sacred fluid. Some other derivates may also include utimmar meaning 'sap', although this is a more "poetical" resource for naming it.

Example: Cur goiven umar crumen gim.
The gods desire the blood of men.
(From a very ancient codex)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Conditional construction

In previous posts we learnt the conditional conjugation of the verb. This conjugation is used primarily to form the conditional construction, the kind of construction in such English sentences as "If I were you I wouldn't do that". Tulvan construction is very similar to that of English, albeit with some few differences.

Conditional I

This is the predictive conditional, indicating that it is possible to fulfil a condition which is given in the if-clause. To introduce the if-clause Tulvan employs the particle "ti" which has to come before and after the clause. So we have;

ti tulv kwam ti kuëvud kem.
If I think, I will know.

ti ëv kem ipoilu ti kuprim kwam urëlik ikem.
If I'm logical, I will protect my mind.

Conditional II

This would be the speculative conditional, implying it is theoretically possible to fulfil a condition which is given in the if-clause. In this case we use the subjunctive coupled with the conditional tense.

ti ëvpuaki meme ukem ti kyatumil mem.
If you listened, you would learn.

This is the same that you could use in the construction "If I were you".

ti ävi kem mem ti kyasut vu kwam.
If I were you, I wouldn't do it.

More about the Conditional constructions for coming posts.

Friday, 18 May 2012


IPA: [kʰep]
vb. to speak, to talk, to say.

In people so fond of talking as are the Tulvans this word has a lot of uses, derivations and combinations. The word in itself is quite regular, but can undergo several changes and affixations.  So for instance we have ikkep 'to converse' (ik, between), which means to maintain a dialogue. You also have cikep 'to speak on behalf of' (ci, for, by), cumkep 'to speak for someone, on his defense or to speak well of someone' (cum, for), sivkep 'to speak thoroughly, to speak from beginning to end, to give a dissertation' (siv, through), and also migkep 'to speak at a party' (mig, around). This last one is the most interesting to my mind, it means that at social gatherings it is expected that you speak to all guests around you and partake in their conversations. One of many Tulvan codes of etiquette.

Another derivation is cnarakep (cnara, black) which means 'to curse', it is akin to the idea of a 'foulmouth' or, in this case, a 'blackmouth'. So for example a common warning to children is cnarakepi vu! 'Don't curse!'.

Example: Caur kep tote utimu, mas ikkep utimen usim vithi.
He wanted to talk to a tree, and trees only speak with each other.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Tulvan is 2 years old!

Today Tulvan celebrates its second anniversary! A humble project has now began its third year of existence and I hope it continues to grow and endure for a long time yet.

Here's to Tulvan! Cheers! Trum Tulvan cum!

Thursday, 10 May 2012


IPA: [trum]
n. goodness, thing that is good or beneficial.

This word has a trick. In the Tulvan language there is no actual word for 'good' as an adjective, you only have this noun which represents a similar concept. To use it in sentences you would normally use an adjective you have to use the attributive i- prefix, as has been seen before. So for example the word koimutrum 'goodness-of-earth' actually is a metaphor for vegetables, the goods that the Earth has to offer. If you want to use it as an adjective you would get; itrum crum 'the good man', itrum roth 'the good woman'.

Example: Ëvpak itrum crum, tumil ipoilu crum.
A good man listens, a logical man learns.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Enunciation of verbs

This question just occurred to me once. How would you enunciate verbs in the Tulvan language? For example, if you had a Tulvan language dictionary, how would verbs appear there? As it happens I do have a Tulvan language dictionary, hehe, which I use for myself and I thought this would be something interesting to post, since it refreshes the notion of verbal morphology in Tulvan.

So how do you do it? First of all there are 4 paradigms to have in mind when talking about Tulvan verbs. The first one is the normal present tense paradigm, the form of the verb with no changes at all. The second one is the past tense, with the infixation seen in past posts. The third is the infixed perfective participle as explained above. And finally we have the infinitive with the defusing.

So for instance a verb like lev, should be included in the dictionary in this way:

lev. luev, leyv, leu. [leʋ] vb. to see, to look.

Some other examples of how to enunciate verbs are:

tulv. taulv, tuylv, tulu. [tulʋ] vb. to think, to ponder.
cur. caur, cuyr, cur. [kur] vb. to want.
thark. thuark, thayrk, tharz. [θarkʰ] vb. to use, to employ.

Finally we have an irregular verb, the verb ëv 'to be':

ëv. äv, ëü, eu. [jeʋ] vb. to be, to exist.

This last verb uses an irregular contraction to form the past and perfective paradigms. This verb further changes when weak tense prefixes are applied. So, for instance, you get këv, käv, kaëv, kuëv, kyav, for the different weak tenses and their prefixes.

From these forms the different tenses can be easily made out. So, to make the Strong Tenses: The Present Tense is the basic form, then the past is also part of the paradigms, the perfective participle as well, finally the imperative uses the basic form plus an -i suffix and the subjunctive does the same from the form of the Past Tense. The Weak Tenses use the prefix ki- plus the present and past tense forms, and then we have the Perfect, Future and Conditional that each use a prefix, namely; ka-, ku- and kya- respectively.

For further information see the post for Strong Tenses and Weak Tenses.

Friday, 4 May 2012


IPA: ['u·tim]
n. tree. Any kind of great arborescence from which wood can be used.

The utilitarian perspective in the Tulvan definition of tree is patent. Any tree from which I can take wood to make a ship or any kind of wood artifact is therefore a tree. Eons ago Tulvans were great seafarers and this is still remembered in the words. A healthier approach to animal and vegetal life is being encouraged in recent years. In the many derivations ütim 'tree-like' is used to mean 'dull, slow of mind'. This word has since fallen into disuse as it is highly demoting to tree life in general, specially for botanics.

Example: Crumen cum grev goiven uzim icrum, utimen cum ütim.
For men gods have human form, for trees tree form.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


IPA: [sut]
vb. to do, to make, to cause.

Quite a simple word for quite a simple verb. This verb is used very widely as it is in many languages. It may take prefixes to denote certain constructions not unlike the use of prepositions, so for instance, adding the prefix ik 'between', we get iksut 'to make rashly and awkwardly'. Also we have on the other end of the spectrum from siv 'through', sivsut 'to make wholly, from beginning to end, to make thoroughly'. This is the same siv used in the title of the blog.

So to give an example;
ti tig vu mem sivsut ti iksuti vu mem!
If you can't do it well, then don't do it lamely

Monday, 9 April 2012


IPA: ['θajʋ]
n. fire. The chemical reaction producing flames and heat.

The opposite of the previous post. In fact fire was very respected in ancient Tulvan culture, its influence is shown in that the word means "active" in grammar as opposed to koinu being "passive". Also it is used in several philosophical systems in Tulvan.

Only one phrase to make from it:

balum koinu mas thaiv gim. A Song of Ice and Fire.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


IPA: ['kʰoj·nʉ]
n. ice. The solid state of frozen water or any other liquid.

This word is pretty simple and it's much too similar to its English equivalent. As a Tulvan word it can be used with the adjective affix but in the sense "ice-like" not only implying cold but the solidification of it being frozen. As for example:

mar ikoinu. Icy blood.

The meaning here would be a block of frozen blood, as opposed to koinu imar bloody ice, which would imply some blood staining an ice block. To say that a man has "icy blood" would be an impossibility since that blood would not be able to be pumped.