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◀ Special classes Grammar of Tovasala:
Precision ▶


Key: S = Subject, V = Verb, PV = Passive Verb, PPV = Past Participle Verb, I = Indirect Object, O = Object, A = Appositive Phrase, Agt = Agent, AdvP = Adverbial Phrase

Constituent order


Tovasala's default constituent order, like that of English, is Subject–verb–object (SVO). This sentence is typical of the SVO structure:

SamoS mankluratV flanjuyènes.O (Sam ate oranges.)


Many natural languages possess a Subject–object–verb (SOV) order; in Tovasala, this leads to something like

SamoS flanjuyènesO manklurat.V

which appears illogical and confusing to some in-universe; some may assume it was Sam's oranges who did all the eating, not Sam himself. To resolve this, the ergative marker -ieb- is employed between the root and the end marker, resulting in:

SamieboS flanjuyènesO manklurat.V

Owing to Tovasala's synthetic tendencies, the last two words can resolve into a compound verb that translates into "orange-eating". In the first two examples, manklurat is a transitive verb; here, the resulting form is intransitive since no object follows it.

SamoS flanjuyenmanklurat.V

In this case, the subject is an absolutive proper noun that retains its original form.


Another constituent order, Object–subject–verb (OSV), is associated with Yoda of the Star Wars saga; otherwise, this is extremely rare in natural languages as a default order. Nonetheless, English uses it from time to time, as can Tovasala in certain situations like this one:

FlanjuyènesO SamoS manklurat.V (Oranges Sam ate.)

OSV sentences can also utilise the -lé/-lo/-la and -uno/-una/-une suffixes:

LivrileO l'aumbraS lezzurat.V (The book, the woman once read.)
NeuYoarke,O toalvouhaumim.SV (New York, I always visit.)


English employs a similar pattern, Verb–object–subject (VOS), in various humorous expressions. Tovasala also accommodates it in certain cases, such as:

SkribatV livrune,O l'aumbredo.S (Wrote a book, the boy.)

or even more accessibly:

SkribatV livrune,O ńesan'aumbredo.S (Wrote a book, that boy.)

Tovasala requires a comma plus an article, determiner, or demonstrative (esin/esan) before the subject in VOS statements, or else they could appear rather unnatural as well.

MankantV flanjuyènes,O esane Samo.S (He's eating oranges, that Sam.) (Note that esane does not decline into esano, as the subject's identity is not yet immediately known.)


The regular subject and object can be reversed, leading to an Object–verb–subject (OVS) setup like:

FlanjuyènesO mankluratV Samo.S (Oranges ate Sam.)

Unmarked for case, this reads like an excerpt from a science-fiction story. Again, -ieb- must be used to distinguish the subject, as in:

FlanjuyènesO mankluratV Samiebo.S

which is equivalent to the passive statement "Oranges were eaten by Sam." Pronouns ending in -io/-ia/-ié are exempt from this rule, as demonstrated in the next section.


Borrowing a trait from French, the uncommon Verb–subject–object (VSO) is used to form yes-no question statements in Tovasala; the target conjugation ends with one of several question termisons modelled after and based on Aromanian tser (to ask).

ManklurattserV SamoS flaujuyènes?O (Did Sam eat lemons?) (-tser is the language's yes-no particle.)

If pronouns are involved, then -tser goes after the conjugation:

ToalvlurittserVS mio?O (Did you visit me?) (Toalvlur- is the past-tense stem of toalv-, "visit", and -it is the second-person familiar singular indicative.)

If the object begins with a vowel and/or the question verb exhibits gender, then ń- is added for elision purposes.

ToalvlurattseraVS ńustiés?O (Did she visit you guys?)
ManklurattserV SamoS ńesomes?O (Did Sam eat fruits?)

VSO is also found in optative statements, using imperative marker -ait; the subjects' indicatives are absent. A hyphen between the verb and the subject is mandatory. (This is one of the few times where full nominative pronouns are allowed in Tovasala.)

Hildait-lumésVS joali hildile.O (May they fight the good fight.)
Samelait-DiēvoVS malaigiēnesanes.O (May God forgive those who have committed sin.)
Tenait-joamlaprenlaVS tayelstasen'odrés.O (May the expectant rabbit have well-behaved kits.)
Vevait-toVS ńuskem seiśtrige. (May you live to be 103.)

VSO (without the object) also occurs in "There is/was/were" statements, such as:

HanadduratV doarmanti nâyunoS ńaibũrproximi...AdvP (There was a sleeping dog next to the tree...)
Note Note:
This section's title is taken from Olawsky (2006):652.

Advanced structure

With subjects and objects

Pronouns only

Standard Tovasala nouns and pronouns are unchanged in the nominative and absolutive forms. The accusative is only used in pronouns, as seen in the following variations of the simple sentence "She loves him [platonically]". (Again, the ń- is placed on vowel-initial words if vowel termisons follow them.)

AimataSV lumio.O
LumoO ńaimata.SV (= Him she loves; literally "He is loved by her".)
LumaO ńaimato.SV (= Her he loves; literally "She is loved by him".)
AimatoSV lumia.O (= He loves her.)
AimattseraVS lumio?O (Does she love him?)

Subject pronoun, object noun

If the subject remains a pronoun but the object is a noun, the ergative marker is not needed. Here, "She loves him" becomes "She loves the man", and luma is the same as before:

AimataSV l'aumbro.O
L'aumbroO ńaimata.SV (= The man she loves.)
AimattseraVS l'aumbro?O (Does she love the man?)

Subject noun, object pronoun

The reverse occurs in sentences such as "The lady loves him"; here, lumio is clearly distinguished as the accusative.

L'aumbraS ńaimatV lumio.O
L'aumbraS lumioO ńaimat.V (= The lady him loves.)
L'aumbraO lumoS ńaimat.V (= The lady is loved by him.)
LumioO l'aumbraS ńaimat.V (= Him the lady loves.)
LumioO ńaimatV l'aumbra.S (= Him loves the lady.)
AimatV lumio,O l'aumbra.S (= Loves him, the lady.)
AimattserV l'aumbraS lumio?O (Does the lady love him? = Loves the lady him?)

When nominative lumo is used instead, this results in:

L'aumbraO ńaimato.SV (= The woman is loved by him.)
L'aumbraO ńaimattsero?SV (= Is the woman loved by him?)

Nouns only

Tovasala exhibits split-ergative capabilities when both a sentence's subject and object are standard nouns, thus demanding the ergative marker when necessary. (See also the examples involving "Sam ate oranges" above.)

L'aumbraS ńaimatV l'aumbro.O (The woman loves the man.)
AumbrieblaS l'aumbroO ńaimat.V (= The woman the man loves.)
L'aumbroO ńaimatV l'aumbrieba.S (The man is loved by the woman./The woman loves the man.)
AimattserV l'aumbraS l'aumbro?O (Does the woman love the man?)
L'aumbroS ńaimatV l'aumbra.O (The man loves the woman.)
AumbriebloS l'aumbraO ńaimat.V (= The man the woman loves.)
L'aumbraO ńaimatV l'aumbriebo.S (The woman is loved by the man./The man loves the woman.)
AimattserV l'aumbroS l'aumbra?O (Does the man love the woman?)

With indirect objects

Below is another example of SVO in Tovasala:

AnyaS proadatV faloave/faloavlé.O (Anne sells [the] bread.) (As in English, use of le [the] before the object is optional.)

When indirect objects are involved, -ad is placed in the word referring to the receiver:

AnyaS ńobratV l'aumbrédadoI faloave/faloavlé.O (Anne gives the boy [the] bread.)
AnyaS ńobratV nekadileI mubrol(lé).O (Anne gives the cat [the] milk.)

If the object precedes the indirect, then either -ad is used standalone:

AnyaS ńobratV faloave/faloavléO ńad l'edo.I (Anne gives [the] bread to the boy.)
AnyaS ńobratV mubrol(lé)O ńad neklé.I (Anne gives [the] milk to the cat.)

or the case-converted word becomes an adverbial phrase:

AnyaS ńobratV faloave/faloavléO eduomadu.AdvP (Anne gives [the] bread to the boy.) (The -u precedes the gender marker in masculine or feminine dative nouns.)
AnyaS ńobratV mubrol(lé)O nekadu.AdvP (Anne gives [the] milk to the cat.)

With appositive phrases

Apposition involves the use of two phrases, one of which serves to identify the other. For example:

Montserrat,S a volcanic island in the Caribbean...A

Here, Montserrat is the antecedent subject, and volcanic island... is the appositive phrase describing it. In Tovasala, the suffix -erij-, which stands in for jesen- (which/that) and jiēn- (who), marks the noun in the appositive:

Maunzerạte,S vaulkenif'ansulunerije ńad Karibinile...A

When the appositive phrase refers to an occupation or role, -erij- is still used:

Riāntaunimo:S JoalerijoA (My Father the Hero, title of a 1991 French comedy and its 1994 U.S. remake)

This example is similar to those in the previous section:

Anyieba,S siblaunimerija,A bleyatV faloave/faloavlé.O (Anne, my sister, buys [the] bread.)

This sentence makes use of both apposition and indirect objects; tauwa is inserted here for translation correspondence.

Tauwa,S trumeni lapredunerija,A obruldatV rīantaunealbadaI zanaurunes.O (She, a kind rabbit girl, gave her mother some carrots.)

When the appositive phrase describes the object, -erij- marks the appositive's noun:

ToalglurataSV rīantaunealba,O fami giesmiēngunerija.A (She met her [own] mother, a famous singer.)

This rule also takes effect in questions such as:

TuivelittserVS mia,O joalausomi krikitiēnlerija yorbu?A (Are you doubting me, the best cricket player around?)

In certain sentences with at least two subjects or objects, one must apply -erij- to tell the apposition apart from other subjects. In an English sentence such as:

She, the queen, and several others were going.

it is hard to tell whether "she" refers to the queen or someone else. In Tovasala, this resolves to:

Tauwa, kualdla, nend otriplũrịme vantturisat.

At face value, the "tauwa" refers to someone else who is not the queen. If she really is the queen, one can prevent ambiguity by saying:

Kualderija nend otriplũrịme vantturisat. (= She [identified as the queen] and several others were going.)

This is helpful in more complex scenarios, such as:

Tauwo, toujiēnguneriji, nend tauwa, duerskribiēnguneriji, fraulaijjurat. (He, an adventurer, and she, a romance writer, were about to marry.)

-erij also translates English of, and French/Spanish de, when they stand for "also known/named as/called":

L'ouremardeS Chikagerijo...A (The city of Chicago...)
Vaulkenif'ansulléS Maunzerạterije...A (The volcanic island of Montserrat...)
Note Note:
An example of appositives in conlangs can be found in the grammar of Nåmúþ, a fictional constructed language constituting part of the Akana universe. Among natural languages, Basque provides some specimens involving the ergative case; see Hualde and de Urbina (2003):804.
See also the notes on apposition in Rick Harrison's grammar of constructed language Vorlin (2006 revision).

With relative clauses

-erij- becomes indicative -eaj in the target verbs of relative clauses:

Puerchedlo, ńaulmadeaj vuoli straudetile, ńäuvvant toargenile. (The little pig who lives down the lane is going to market.)
Veyyurim plovardla, resttureaj eskellés Kastriezi nënzzol pauzavlurat aurd un'abuaizaubré tuaviāndi. (I saw the ship, which was docked in Castries harbour and had stopped for a fresh supply of livestock.) (Note the zol after nend; otherwise, the speaker is assumed to go for the livestock, not the ship. Zol's role is discussed in the Suffixaufnahme section.)
Voanealdile chaulflureaj intaup ouremetinsime serolprev sieze tezaumnanderivaidant. (The plane that crashed into our town six weeks ago is quickly being cleared away.)
Tiōlinimato duereaj siblinimieba. (He is my friend whom my sister loves.) (The last two words literally mean "who is loved by my sister"; note the ergative -ieb.)
Sibloanimata ńaubimausmeaj mikuemuo. (She is my sister, who is smaller than me.)

Unlike personal and interrogative forms, relative conjugations are never used at the start of a Tovasala sentence, as shown in this syntax test:

...troaveanj yelbenadu (...who works at the store.) (*Troaveanj yelbenadu is ungrammatical; only the interrogative counterpart Troaveank yelbenadu? [Who works at the store?] is valid.)
Troavim yelbenadu. (I work at the store.) (The first-person singular termison substitutes -eank/-eanj.)
Troavim aurd lumo yelbenadu. (I work for him at the store.) (Here, a prepositional phrase is introduced; lumo is the complement.)
Troavim aurd Mafeulo yelbenadu. (I work for Matthew at the store.) (A given name replaces the pronoun.)
Troavim aurd kiène yelbenadu? (I work for whom at the store?) (An interrogative pronoun replaces the given name.)
...troavim aurd jiène yelbenadu (...whom I work for at the store.) (The relative counterpart turns the sentence back into a phrase.)
Mafeulo, troavim aurd jiène yelbenadu... (Matthew, whom I work for at the store...) (The given name returns at the start of the phrase to agree with jiène. The middle three words can combine synthetically, leading to Mafeulo, jiēnäurttroavim yelbenadu...)
Mafeulato, troavim aurd jiène yelbenadu. (He is Matthew, whom I work for at the store.) (Mafeulo becomes a stative third-person singular verb denoting identity. This can also be written as Mafeulato, jiēnäurttroavim yelbenadu.)

Following this method, Tovasala can render "She is my sister, whom I am smaller than" into:

Sibloanimata, ńaubimausmim jiēnkuemu. (Here, jiēn- agrees with -ata.)
Note Note:

This was inspired by the examples in "TL", a Latin-based conlang by Redditor "cyprinus_carpio" (May 2018 thread).

With passive voice

While various languages can handle passive statements such as "The biscuit is eaten by Anne", Tovasala has no exact equivalent for the word by in this context. OVS order (and -ieb- for the ergative subject) must be used, resulting in:

Guispellé O mankatV Anyieba.S (Anne eats the biscuit.)

As passive voice is generally discouraged in some circles, the same sentence can be simply written as Anya mankat guispellé.

Below are another two sentences in the passive voice:

GuispellésO bleyatV Anyieba.S (The biscuits are bought by Anne.)
GuispellésO yelbatV lẽrmmbiēnieblas.S (The biscuits are sold by the girl students.)

When the past participle form of a verb is also a stem, an OVS variant—OV(I)S—also applies:

GuispellésO obraidatV Anyada.I (The biscuits are received by Anne.) (obr-aid literally means "be given", and the dative -ad- indicates whom it was given to. One can further use something like ...noageliēniebla [...through the lady swimmer] to ergatively indicate the giver.)

With past participles

This example from a late 19th-century edition of McGuffey's Reader demonstrates the use of the past participle:

NẹdoS manbravatPPV vuontla.O (Ned has fed the hen.)[1]

With adjectives as object complements

In the English sentence "The cards painted the roses red", the adjective "red" is the object complement, and assumes the translative case in its Tovasala counterpart:

KerdileS sivellurisatV roazilesO roubizu.AdvP


These three versions of a sentence from the same volume, "The cat is on the mat"[2] (with an indirect object, but none direct), demonstrate Tovasala's syntactic flexibility:

  1. Neklé ńiākat woadile. (Slightly agglutinating, 9 morphemes / 3 per word)
  2. Neklé woadiākat. (Agglutinating, 6 morphemes / 3 per word)
  3. Woadïannèke. (Highly agglutinating, 4 morphemes in a single word)

Emphasis increases as more affixes combine to modify the root. The first two forms are more or less written as in English, and the third approaches levels seen in Hungarian, Turkish, and Finnish among others. In all three, the emphasis is placed on woad- and its location thereof.

The last structure is typical of many an indigenous language of the Americas (such as Greenlandic and Central Alaskan Yup'ik in the Eskimo-Aleut family). Here, the focus shifts to nèke, the subject of the original English sentence. As glossed, it essentially translates to "mat-on_surface-cat-n" (woad-iāk-nek-e).


According to this aspect's Wikipedia article:

Agreement or concord (abbreviated agr) happens when a word changes form depending on the other words to which it relates. It is an instance of inflection, and usually involves making the value of some grammatical category (such as gender or person) "agree" between varied words or parts of the sentence.


In Tovasala, whenever a noun follows any numeral except touve (2), the noun is not marked as a plural (as in much of Indo-European) but becomes an adjective instead:

suode mobili (one car), trigo kualdi (three kings), deya daukteri (ten lady doctors).

When the noun is vowel-initial, elision occurs with the number (as a determiner) and the noun receives its gender marker:

nev'uslena (nine maids), hogel'aumbro (twenty men).

To make statements about two items, -ous- (contracted from tousène, "pair") is placed after native nouns or combined with definite -l- before imported terms. This is never used before the indefinite -un- clitic.

houbenouse (two highways), sibandriāborouslo (the two raccoon cousins—Sam and Alfred of Unspooled), ekuindousla (the two fillies), louso Jake (The Two Jakes).

For internationalisms with underdots, the numeral keeps the neuter -e before them (noalte tortilạ = eight tortillas); standalone touve (as in touve toamậtọ, "two tomatoes"; also rendered as toamậtouso) is allowed.

When two or more subjects are stated in a Tovasala sentence, conjugation is singular if referring to a group, or dual/plural if a task is done individually:

Riklo nend Nanzla vuelat eskolaupu diēmaivadu. (Both Rick and Nancy run to school every day.) (They are running together to the same school, either as friends or siblings.)
Riklo nend Nanzla vuelisivat eskolaupu diēmaivadu. (Rick and Nancy run to school every day.) (They are running separately, either to different schools or along different paths.)
Viktoro, Louīza, nend Alfredo prenddurisat triemes esil zanaurtuorte. (Victor, Louise, and Alfred took pieces of the carrot cake.) (The raccoon family from this author's forthcoming Unspooled is doing this task individually, not together, leading to the plural form.)
Jauno, Paulyo, Jaurjo, nend Ringo ńadvenat Vespule wob 1964. (John, Paul, George, and Ringo came to the States in 1964.) (As they were a musical group playing together, the singular form applies.)


Case agreement largely occurs with verbs ending with -obrar (give), which always govern the dative:

Hîdrolobruldato pliemadiles. (He watered the plants; literally, "He gave water to the plants". Hîdrolobr- is a typical example of noun incorporation in Tovasala.)



A special intrafix in Tovasala, -eun- (from Korean eun [은]), serves the same function as the English phrases "speaking of", "as for", "on the subject of", and "when it comes to". In a sentence such as:

Mariya ńaimat riāntaunealba. (Mary loves her mother.)

the subject can be converted into a topic, resulting in:

Mariyeuna ńaimat riāntaunealba. (As for Mary, she loves her mother.)

-eun- is also employed when the second half of certain sentences discusses an aspect of the first, as shown in:

Stuveuno Hopps sujat houlaumi zanaurtuafiēnguno ńodroaneaja vouloudrat polieziēnguna. (Speaking of Stu Hopps, he's a prosperous carrot farmer whose daughter wants to be a police officer.)
Janoldesingeunu, lẽrmmbiēnile fahaumisat. (Speaking of this class, the students are smart.)

The intrafix is also seen in cleft sentences, such that the first example can be interpreted in English as "It is Mary who loves her mother". In these translations of samples from the Wikipedia article linked to in this paragraph, the object or focus verb is tagged regardless of word order:

  • Joêyeuno lorgantisim. (OSV)/Lorgantisim Joêyeuno. (SVO) (It's Joey [whom] we're looking for.)
  • Dinereune ńaimim. (OSV)/Aimim dinereune. (SVO) (It's money that I love.)
  • Esil Jaungeuno fuostturata nivaides./Fuostturata nivaides esil Jaungeuno. (It was from John that she heard the news.)
  • Vouŕbleyyurato Fiāteungune. (What he wanted to buy was a Fiat.)
  • Seulu jaurad advengeunnurisim hotellé, toalglurisim lumia. (It wasn't until we arrived at the hotel that we met her.)

-eun is also used for gnomic statements and proverbs:

  • Soleune premat eastadu, nend fuindat westadu. (The sun rises in the east, and sets in the west.)
  • Dinereune naŕkrezat aibũriāku. (Money doesn't grow on trees.)
  • Diēveuno ńauxilat esane sebhaiōtiseaj. (Heaven helps those who help themselves.)


This sentence is a normal example of a negative statement in Tovasala:

Naläuvvlurim plajile. (I didn't go to the beach.)

The nal- negator can also be placed before the subject or object for emphatic focus, resulting in:

Naluj äuvvlurim plajile. (I didn't go to the beach [but someone else did].) (-uj is contracted from -iruj, discussed in the next section.)
Äuvvlurim nal plajile. (I didn't go to the beach [but somewhere else].)


Another special intrafix, -iruj-, is used in questions for emphasis on the topic or action. -iruj- is borrowed from the Austronesian Marshallese language, and functions similarly to Bulgarian li (ли). For these variants of the statement Äuvvlurittser plajile? (Did you go to the beach?), the focus in the English equivalent is underlined.

Äuvvirujjurittser plajile? (Did you go to the beach?) (The respondee may have done something else there, or just stopped over.)
Äuvvluritirujjiser plajile? (Did you go to the beach?) (Some friend of the respondee may have visited instead of them.)
Äuvvlurittser plajiliruje? (Did you go to the beach?) (The respondee may have visited a different beach.)
Äuvvlurittser plajirujile? (Did you go to the beach?) (The asker expected the respondee to be there, but the latter may have decided to call it off or change plans.)

Self-interrogation is accomplished with -odiv-, which carries the same meaning as Finnish han/hän ("I wonder if...") and is found mainly in verbs:

Äuvvirujodivanttsera Guadloupe? (I wonder if she's really going to Guadeloupe?)
Hodiezodiveak hanadu? (Hmmm...what's going on over there?)
Tortougesano vuelaijodivat nouradu; vinklirgirujim selbio! (Beats me if that tortoise is gonna run now...I'll beat him for sure!)
Note Note:
These usage examples were inspired by:


Tovasala has six standalone evidentiality particles used in verbs: -zeg, -zefem, -zem, -zeng, -zepeng, and -zev. Unique for any language, they all correspond to the five senses. A seventh particle, -zegesel, is a compound variant of the first one.

This table, based on w:Eastern Pomo language#Evidentials, serves as an introduction to their functions:

Variant Evidentiality type Meaning
flâmdostat Regular (Unmarked) burned
flâmdostoṛzegat Quotative/Reportative burned, they say
flâmdostoṛzegeselat Hearsay I hear talk it burned
flâmdostoṛzefemat Gustatory burned [overcooked food was tasted]
flâmdostoṛzemat Visual burned [speaker saw the flames]
flâmdostoṛzengat Sensory burned [speaker felt the sensation]
flâmdostoṛzepengat Olfactory burned [speaker smelled the flames]
flâmdostoṛzevat Auditory burned [speaker heard the flames]


-zeg denotes reported statements in sentences. This counterpart to dez- (say) is borrowed from Dutch, and is equivalent to English "they say/it is said (that...)".

  • Lezzirzeglurealbo livrile. (He said he will read the book. [Differentiated from indirect-speech counterpart, Dezzurato, «Lezzirim livrile.» ("He said, I'll read the book.")])
  • Yelbune premzegat nodemadu. (They say a sale will begin today [literally, "A sale is said to begin today"].)


-zegesel, the variant used for hearsay, combines Hungarian-based esel (probably/maybe).

  • Fraulzegesellirato suidemwobu. (Word has it he's getting married tomorrow.)
  • Episoadaubrune manäirzegeselluripat. (I hear talk a new episode just came out.)


-zefem, based on the Vietnamese sự thèm ăn (appetite) and corresponding to baunz- (taste), indicates an item was tasted by a speaker.

  • Loistaumzefemat. (It's delicious.) (Loistaumi means "excellent".)
  • Loistịmzefemat. (How disgusting!) (Loistịmi means "low-quality".)


-zem, derived from the Hungarian szem (eye) and corresponding to vey- (see), denotes visual evidence by the speaker.

  • Ède lugzemisant plajadu. (I see kids playing on the beach.)
  • Loaklo vuelzemmurat bankintaupu. (The madman was seen running into the bank.)


-zeng, a portmanteau of the French and Ket words for "feel", corresponds to trilv(aid)- (touch[ed]) as the sensory evidence marker.

  • Vepịmzengat. (Feels cold.)
  • Humindile ziginzenglurat. (The ground shook [I felt it].)


-zepeng, a portmanteau of -zeng and pomar (to smell), denotes olfactory evidence by the speaker.

  • Nâylé morandesilausikzepengat. (That dog smells like it came from the sea.)
  • Chuzzepengit. (I can smell your cooking [from the kitchen].)


-zev, based on the Tamil/Telugu/Malayalam cevi (ear), corresponds to fuaist- (hear) and marks auditory evidence.

  • Nâylé woufzevlurisat tugadu. (I heard the dogs barking outside.)
  • Sîgloandile proximäuzzevant miés. (Hear those winds? That hurricane's coming closer to us.)


Tovasala employs six morphemes to express alienable and inalienable possession. Alienable items are likely to part from their possessor at any time, while inalienable items are inseparable from them.

Possession type Morpheme type
Genitive suffixoid Proprietive suffixoid Particle
Inalienable -oz -zol der
Alienable -orz -ten den

In Tovasala, English -'s is represented by two genitive adjective roots, inalienable -oz and alienable -orz. (With masculine and feminine subjects, it becomes -(p)uo(r)z and -(p)ua(r)z.[3]) -oz and -orz inflect for number and gender as shown below:

Number Alienability
Inalienable Alienable
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Singular -(p)uoz -(p)uaz -oz -(p)uorz -(p)uarz -orz
Dual -(p)uovoz -(p)uavoz -öuboz -(p)uorvoz -(p)uarvoz -öuborz
Plural -(p)uorroz -(p)uarroz -(p)üeboz -(p)uorgorz -(p)uargorz -(p)üeborz

Either root is always placed between the stem and termison in nouns, as in:

koarauntoze (a chorister, i.e. someone who is part of a choir);
studiōlorzi dinère (the studio's money, i.e. what they are going to spend on a film or show);
budenöubozi (of the two team members);
kelenpüebozi (belonging to the governors).

If the possessor's gender is stated, then -oz and -orz transform into one of several complex variations:

livresane daukterpuazi (that book of the lady doctor's);
chapoulesine lapreduozi (this hat of the boy rabbit);
Jainpuazi vaulde (Jane's ball, i.e. the one she owns);
julguazi livrés (the judge's books, i.e. those she needs for her job);
Jaurjuozi veyeande (George's glasses, i.e. what he borrowed from a friend).

As stated earlier on, Tovasala boasts 156 possessive suffixoids, all of which are also adjectives by default. Examples of their use include:

eandoaniles (his tools), festaunsime (our party; of female speakers), mobilingite (the car you're renting), esin'obenginime (this house of mine).

Whereas Romance languages use phrases such as la maison de mon oncle (French)/la casa de mi tío (Spanish), Tovasala uses either

l'obène der riābŕaunilo (the house of her uncle)


riābŕaunilpuoz'obène (her uncle's house)

where a genitive suffixoid states whom the house belongs to. This and the next two examples represent cases where a genitive and possessive morpheme are found in the same word:

riāntoanimpuorz'ansule (my father's island, i.e. the place he calls home). (Oanim- is the masculine first-person singular possessive [showing that the boy's relative is the father], and puorz- is the masculine alienable genitive form after l/m/n/r/w/x/y [the island is associated with the boy's father].)
riāntaunimpuozi haurealde (my father's clock, i.e. his heirloom). (Aunim- is the feminine first-person singular possessive [the speaker's relative is the father], and puoz- is the masculine inalienable genitive form after l/m/n/r/w/x/y [the clock is owned by her father].)

In certain complex cases, the standalone der/den is employed:

Int ouramune der La Mancha, naumineaje naŕvoulverchemblirim... (In a village of La Mancha whose name I hardly wish to recall...)
L'otrizaine der livré... (The declension of the word livré [book]...)
Lofardile den Noāho... (The mountain of Noah [Mount Ararat])

Tovasala also utilises the rare proprietive case through another two suffixoids, -ten (indicating alienable possession or bodily/emotional conditions) and -zol (indicating ownership). The proprietive denotes an item owned or held by a sentence's referent, and is virtually nonexistent in natural languages outside several indigenous ones from Australia (including Martuthunira and Kayardild).

Toalglurim l'aumbra mobilärnzoli. (I met the lady with the big car.)
Tuivelittser mio, ńaumbrunerijo validdhenasiemi? (Are you doubting me, a man of such worth?)


At least eight morphemes in Tovasala—-ieb-, -oz-, -ten-, -zol-, -ad-, -emek-, -aseb-, and -auvek—exhibit traits of the linguistic phenomenon known as Suffixaufnahme, German for "case stacking".


-ieb- helps distinguish the agent of a sentence in complex OSV/SOV sentences.

NekuneO shouliebi tuebuniebeS mankat.V (A white mouse eats a cat.) (For more examples, see Grammar: Precision § Cat and mouse.)

In passive-voice sentences, only the noun is tagged:

Dourchile manklurat shouli tuebliebe. (The sweet was eaten by the white mouse.)


When two or more subjects are associated with an entity, -oz- tags all of them as "joint possessives" or "compound possessives". If the subjects share the same entity, then the comitative aseb conjunction precedes the last subject:

Jaunpuozi ńaseb Mariypuazi tuorte (John and Mary's cake)
Jaunpuozi, Mariypuazi, ńaseb Josefuozi tuorte (John, Mary, and Joseph's cake)

If the subjects have at least one of the entities described, then nend is used instead; the entity noun must be pluralised.

Jaunpuozi nend Mariypuazi tuortes (John's and Mary's cakes)
Jaunpuozi, Mariypuazi, nend Josefuozi tuortes (John's, Mary's, and Joseph's cakes)

A similar situation happens with -ten- and -zol-:

Toalglurata zouvauteruna, Saint-Îvesenäuvvänzzoli sepnekzoli mobiŕzolinti. (She met a lady veterinarian, bound for St. Ives with seven cats in her own car.)
Taumazo ńauxillurat l'eda nâyteni ńobententugi. (Thomas helped the girl who had the dog outside her [relatives'] house.) (The girl is both outside the home and accompanied by the dog.)


In addition to its normal function as an indirect/dative marker, -ad- can also tag attributes associated with the indirect object of a sentence.

Obruldim l'aumbrado Bilbaōnesiladi dreƒfuaimearendaunime. (I gave my xylophone to the man from Bilbao.)
Obruldim l'aumbrado nouŕchapouŕzoladi väurtteniēraunile. (I gave the man with the black hat her suitcase.)


This example replicates a specimen found in Double Case: Agreement by Suffixaufnahme (Plank (1995):400):

Shoublurim vuemiles siblurrozemeku reshilemeku. (I caught the fish with the brother's net.)


As with the instrumental, the comitative also tags associated genitives.

Vurim pastorpüontasebu ńodramasebu. (I went along with the pastor's daughter.)

Below is another example, based on Plank (1995):84; here the last complex plural agrees with the first modifier.

Veyyurisim elda ńotropüetasebi guertesilpüetasebi. (We saw a/the old woman with other people from the garden.)


The conjunctive particle -auvek behaves the same way as -aseb:

Tanulisat Baibullé Diēɗdiēmaivadu Jaunpuozauveku tirombainauveku. (They study the Bible every Sunday as part of John's congregation.)
Note Note:
The above examples were inspired by this reply by "Valdeut" (from a March 2016 discussion entitled "Basque's Surdéclinaison") at the zompist bboard.

Quotations and punctuation

Tovasala is written similarly to English; its quotation marks («», wilemètes) are borrowed from French.

«Sujeak?» dezzurat l'aumbreldieba.
«Mio, Robairto,» verjautturat odraunealbiebo.
"Who is it?" said the old lady.
"It's me, Robert," replied her son.
«Naŕkroyabillurim lumé jauradu julgo dezzurat, ‹Naule pointes!›» dezzurat l'ediebo.
"I couldn't believe it when the judge said, 'Nul points!'" said the boy.

Otherwise, its punctuation system remains unchanged.

Zẽrdeblo ńäggaundat trig'eldausmi sibla—süottemla toutrazu triesti, touƒtemla frolouhaumi, nend l'aulttema duimetanti.
The fennec kit has three older sisters—one forever sad, another occasionally happy, and the last a slight bore.
Nalaiglurima lumié, shũrim; otrune haizzurat!
I didn't do it, I swear; someone else did!
Hanaddurat seultauwuna fiedeŕabillurimoń: Eldoudranti nẽrliēngoanimiruja.
There was only one person I could trust: My own aging teacher.
Esane droalat... Mobilesine masremmurat madés suodard'iroave (€1,000,000)?!
That's funny... This car cost us a million Euros (€1,000,000)?!


  1. ^ McGuffey (1896):13.
  2. ^ McGuffey (1896):8.
  3. ^ "(p)" becomes "(op)" after ch and h.
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