Ring E: 5/22: Teonaht

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I. Rin tezzekran kwa mehdom kwecyrem

Gnadol toil zoyzod esy reffodma:

  • ömharodnad
  • secelnarböv
  • pövöbor
  • tönöhemlykan

[Syl refod esy harym krespr: ______________________]**

Toil kraiman, aibban esy uen: feftkryem, memwa, eylya, noyril-jo.

Toil zoyzod nadolihs, aibban esy uen: syl gnadol tsobreffodma uo temna kwecyb, glenvro, eylya moyl, noyril, imffipryokryeem laz, niffarantönö, kömin, ömhhsara ilid melssryka-jo. Poto tritib.

[?Nirrefod ouar to nilirity pom 'r sed? Esy harym krespr: _____________________]**

Li kraiman: rin anekin toil kraiman mrelmarem; rin mabbamban minka ev syl namo hadharem; rinad ta korin myeer ta syl uennamo hdo mohs nisimrem.

Li zoyzod nadolihs: rin anekin nadolihs cely rekod nakuorem (ary emy doribint); rin öndyk ömzzoyzod cely taso korin kraimanihs nakuorem; rinil hrenin ilid kraiman to taiso somarem uo ad mrelmöfmarem.

Ad. cely kesrol tsobeylyama, send celyil vwarik esy nakuo ary orwemaht twav. To enyverem temna lal!

Smooth Translation

“How to Cook Tezzekran (meat or vegetable pasties)”

Choose your meat:

  • rabbit
  • blue snail
  • smoke mushroom
  • chestnut

[Write your choice here: ________________________]**

For the dough, take the following: flour, water, oil, and sea salt.

For the meat stew, take the following: your meat selected and already cooked, onion, olive oil, sea salt, powdered white pepper, farranty seeds, cumin, and lemon juice. All cut up.

[Do you have other spices? Write here: ____________________]**

The dough: combine the ingredients for the dough, make little balls with your hand; press them into thin disks as big as your palm.

The meat stew: place the meat ingredients in a saucepan (until almost hot); put a spoonful of the stew into every dough disk; gather up the edges of the dough of each [disk] and pinch them together.

Put them in a greased casserole, and place them in the oven until they are golden. Then are they ready to eat!

** About the bracketed sentences: in transmitting this text to the next participant in the Relay, I suggested to Jonathan that he may translate what he had chosen for a meat, or offer similar choices of a meat or spices, or those of his own creation. Of course no one should really try any of this at home, or if one does, have some discretion about the amounts!

Translation from Khangaþyagon

“How to cook meat pasties (or meat pies, or pizza)”

Make dough out of white flour, oil, salt, and water. Put it aside. (lit. place the things elsewhere)

Cut cooked meat and onion, spices, and a small quantity of salt into small pieces.

Make the dough into balls the size of a nut. [so not one big pizza]

Flatten the balls so they become round [circular?] and are the size of your hand.

Put balls [of the?] meat mixture into contact with [-ebgriamar?] all the round things.

Put a round thing [sg] into contact with [-ebgriamar] all the round things, putting them together.

[i.e., put caps of dough on the pressed containers of meat-filled dough, making a pasty?]

Put the things into an oven and cook them until they are golden brown.

At that moment they will be ready to eat.


Doubled letters are not whimsical flourishes, but represent stressed syllables when the stress is atypical. ö represents /u/ rather than /o/; I'd love to give pronunciation, but there is no time or necessity.


This is a relatively easy text, just long, so not much needs to be said about Teonaht grammar.


Its syntax is OSV; where there are oblique objects (requiring prepositions), those go between the object and the subject usually. Teonaht makes a distinction between volitional and non-volitional subjects and verbs; you will find only volitional subjects and verbs here, so it's not important to go into this, except to say that a few of the items have the non-volitional definite article on account


Nouns have several ways of expressing plurality, by a variety of suffixes and prefixes. These are given in the glossary.

Some of the nouns have different initial sounds, such as gnadol, depending on what precedes them. These are pointed out.

Adjectives and articles

Adjectives follow nouns, adverbs precede the verb, which is always in final position in a main clause.

There are no indefinite articles, usually. Teonaht at one time put indefinite articles at the end of a noun, but that use is considered archaic, or only employed when it's important to know the volitional status of an indefinite subject.

Equatives: equatives are expressed in the following manner with a ta…hdo construction, which usually reverses the order that we find in English. “As red as an apple” becomes “like an apple as red.”


Teonaht is zero-copula.

The tense and aspect of all other verbs are expressed in the form of particles prefixed to the pronoun. Where there is a proper noun, you will usually find a pronoun used anyway.

Polite imperatives are expressed by the future tense: “you will (do, make, build, climb, etc.).

Since this text is laden with imperatives, note the following exception: the Teonim sometimes just list the verbal noun (something between an infinitive and a gerund) in a series of directions. However, the object it governs must be prefaced by an object particle, rin--you'll find it in the glossary. Since object and verb are separated by the peculiar syntax, be on the lookout for it at the beginning of sentences.

Inalienable possession is expressed in two ways in Teonaht, one of which you'll find here: a thing is “with” a person if he or she has it lying around, or has borrowed it.

The “passive gerundive” is a use of the verbal noun as adjective, in this case as a deed already done, or “under doing.” It's preceded by the particle tsob-, “under.” Teonaht does not have “voice” as we know it.


Interrogatives: the interrogative particle hdar directly precedes the verb and is sometimes abbreviated. You'll find that information in the glossary.

The relative/interrogative pronoun is expressed by kwa (S) kwe (O). You'll find the first here. In combination with certain nouns it becomes an adverb: as in kwa hsan, “what reason” (i..e., “why”); kwa tobre, “what thing,” etc., and modifies a verb, as in the title of this text. With an interrogative particle it becomes an interrogative pronoun: kwa hdar tobre “what”? But you will see little of that here.

Ta is an all purpose word that can be confusing. Here it is used in the equative, as described above, and it can function as a resultative: Ol ta hsoryt elo wyhsta, “me for deaf he shouted,” he shouted me [such that I became] deaf.” It's used with verbs that turn something into something else, make something become something else; you get the picture.


I haven't separated the glossary into roots and affixes; I find that arrangement confusing. Everything you need will be here, everything is alphabetized. Compound forms are broken up, though, leaving you to be the judge of a word's meaning. I indicate that something is a prefix or a suffix with a “dash”: -like, un-.

ad pron. 3rd pers. obj. pl.
-aht adj. suffix. Turns noun into adjective.
aibban pl. dem. pron. these
ain pron. third person singular neuter object pronoun.
anek n. part
anekin n. anek + -in
ary mot. prep. to, towards; until
-b old pass. suffix. Confers passivity on a verb.
cel stat.prep. in
celnar n. snail
celnarböv n. celnar + böv
cely mot. prep. into
celyil   cely + il
doribint adj. hot
emy adv. almost, just about
ev prep. by, by means of, through
enyverem verb. n. eat
eylya n. oil
eylyama vt. from eylyamarem, oil, grease
es-   futuric particle
esy   es + sy
farranty n. a plant whose bitter seeds inspire erotic memories
feft n. wheat
fipryo n. pepper
glenvro n. onion
gnadol n. flesh, meat
gnadolihs adj. gnadol + -ihs
hadharem verb. n. create, make, build
harym adv. here, at this point in space
harod n. rabbit (see 1 on final page)
hdar   interrogative particle.
hdo conj. as, like
hemlykkan n. half-brain, one hemisphere of the brain
hman n. bread
hren n. ridge, edge, brink, margin
hrenin   hren + -in
hsara n. juice
-id   possessive particle.
-ihs   adjectival suffix. Turns noun into adjective.
il def. obj. art.
ilid   il + -id
im- prep. of, from, from out of
imffipryokryeem n. im-+ fipryo + kryem (see 2 on final page)
-in   plural suffix
-jo coord.conj. and; usually placed postpositionally after a series
kesrol n. ceramic or glass baking dish
kömin n. cumin, or a similar pungeant spice
kor n. discus, disk, circle
korin n.pl. kor + in
krai adj. raw, beginning, uncooked
kraiman n. krai + hman. You must guess at this word
kraimanihs adj. kraiman + -ihs
krespr vt. from kresprem, write
kryem n. powder, dust
kwa rel.interr. subj. pron. that (see grammar)
kwecy vt. cook
kwecyb pass. kwecy + -b
kwecyrem verb.n. cook
kwecywyf n. kwecy + wyf
li art. nv def. subj. art
lal adv. then, at that time
laz adj. white
lirity n. spice
-ma vt. make, from marem, makes a verb out of a noun, suggests performance of noun
mabbamba n. ball
mabbamban n.pl. mabbamba + -n
mehdom n. manner, way, custom
melssryka n. lemon
memwa n. water
minka adj. small, little, diminutive
mohs adj. big, great, large
moyl n./adj. olive, of an olive
mrelmarem verbal noun. mix together
mrelmöfmarem verbal noun. pinch together
myeer adj. slender, thin
-n plural suffix
-nad n. meat to be eaten, made from an animal (or sometimes other--see 3)
nadolihs n. see gnadolihs
nakuorem verbal noun. put, place, set
namo n. hand
ni- plural prefix
niffarantönö n.pl. ni- + farranty + tönö (see 4 on final page)
nilirity n. ni- + lirity
nisimrem verbal noun. push, press
noyril n. sea salt
nirrefod n. ni- + refod
nisstylo   ni- + stylo
öbor n. mushroom.
öm, prep. of, from, from out of
ömharodnad n. öm + harod + -nad
ömhhsara n. öm + hsara
ömzoyzod n. öm + zoyzod
öndyk n. spoon
orwem n. gold
orwemaht   orwem + aht
ouar adj. other, different
pom prep. with
poto adj. adv. n. all
pöv n. smoke, destruction
pövöbor n. pöv + öbor. (see 5 on final page)
‘r abbrev. see hdar. (see grammar)
refod n. choice, selection, vote
reffodma vt. refod + -ma
rekod n. pot, pan, saucepan.
rin prep. concerning, about; particle used to connect verbal noun to its object
rinad compound. rin + ad
rinil compound. rin + il
se-   plural prefix for Nenddeylyt nouns
secelnarböv n. se- + celnar + böv; (see 6 on final page)
sed pron. second person singular formal
send conj. and (joins clauses)
somarem verbal noun. gather
sy pron. second person singular formal
syl poss. pron. second person singular formal
ta adv.conj. that, so that, such that, as, to, for; into
ta…dho   See grammar
taso adj. each, every
taiso pron. each one, every one
temna adj. ready, ripe, already
to prep. for, on behalf of
toil   to + il
tönö n. seed, nut
tönöhemlykan n. tönö + hemlykkan; (see 7 on final page)
tezzekra   The meaning of this word is to be guessed at from context.
tezzekran   tezzekra + -n
tsob-   participial prefix, under; confers passive voice on a verb
tsobeylyaama   tsob + eylyama
tritarem verb.n. cut up into tiny parts
tritib   trita + -b
twav pron.3rd pers. subj. pl.
uen v. from uenrem. take, select
uennamo n. palm of hand
uo conj. and
vwarik n. furnace, oven, kiln
-wyf n. suffix. system of doing something
zoyzod n. stew, or any combination of vegetables or meats.


adj. adjective
adv. adverb
art. article
conj. conjunction
def. definite
mot. prep. motive preposition; i.e., a preposition used to express motion.
n. noun
nv. non-volitional
obj. object
pers. person
pl. plural
prep. preposition.
pron. pronoun
rel. relative
stat. prep. stative preposition; i.e., a preposition used to express stasis.
subj. subject
verb. n. verbal noun; a gerund or a kind of infinitive.
vt. volitional transitive verb.


Well I had to go and complicate, things, didn't I? It was smooth sailing in K. until I hit the part about how the meat and the dough were supposed to go together. K. is an agglutinative language with strings of suffixes that, combined, have idiomatic meanings that were not explained, unfortunately, in Peter's presentation to me. So I assumed that

-ebgriamar had something to do with connecting one thing to another. I know the British meat pasties are a little bit like dough pots with lids on them, containing the meat mixture inside, but to simplify things I made them more like pierogis. And then I forgot the well-worn cooking expression “set it aside.” You're always making something and then setting it aside while you make something else. And then I forgot that the balls of dough were supposed to be the size of a NUT (nuts come in a variety of sizes and shapes). And then, to complicate things, because I'm an obsessive cook, I felt it necessary to add that the pasties go in a greased casserole (so they won't burn they're little bottoms), and then, for further complication, I decided to offer the next player a variety of special “meats” for the pasty. “Meat” seemed a little general. And then, adding to the spices… well, we'll see what concoction this turns into. Not for the weak of stomach!


About Teonaht Cuisine

Since the Teonim travel regularly back and forth between this and their world, they bring distinctive foods to the table. Other conlang cultures may have their own distinctive cuisine, so I'm interested in seeing whether the ingredients will change in the transmission of this text. Here, however, is a sense of what some of these foods from Teon are:

1) Harod. The Teonim edible rabbit is raised, grazed, and allowed to feed on a variety of vegetables that give it its distinctive flavor. Rabbit meat in a tezzekra often consists of the heart and liver chopped up as well, both of these organs large and tender. The edible harod is usually the size of a Pomeranian, and has short ears, large dark eyes, and golden fur (but no curly tail!). They have a ferocious nature which makes them poor pets--probably a good thing. The name is taken from the English “hare,” which in Teonaht covers all rabbits.

2) Fipryokryeem laz is the pulverized seed of the white peppercorn, prized for its heat and subtle flavor. You find it in English cooking, usually on a fried egg in the morning. The Teonim have borrowed this food as well.

3) The Teonim are a little generous in their notion of what gnadol is, and often extend it to mushrooms (which seem fleshy and alive to them) and some nuts.

4) Niffarantönö are the bitter seeds made from the farranty plant, which enhance memory; the memories that diners say are enhanced are usually sexual, but that may be the combination of the seeds and the wine. The “bitterness” of the seeds are likened to that of bitter chocolate, with a hint of charcoal.

5) Nipövöbor are called “smoke mushrooms” because of their distinctively smoky flavor, and they have the added quality of enhancing smell and taste, but unlike MSG they have no unpleasant side-effects. They are a favorite at dinner parties.

6) The blue land snails of Menarila are quite large, and everything about them is blue, including their flesh, which is quite dark. The shells are prized for their blue and purple streaks. The flesh is more flavorful than most escargot, having a sweeter taste to it that has been compared to lobster.

7) Tönöhemlykan. This is the common chestnut, which resembles one half of the brain to the Teonim, and are considered intelligence-enhancing. The fleshy nature of this nut makes it a “meat” for them, as well as its resemblance to half a brain (when peeled), and they are often included in tezzekran and other mixtures.

In general, though, Teonaht cooking draws from Europe and Asia, and from their native land; but since we can't get those items, we try to recreate Teonaht cooking by using lemon or lime in just about EVERYTHING, including zested lemon and lime and orange peel, and of course lemongrass; favoring cilantro, nutmeg, and cumin as spices and coconut milk in sauces; using powdered white pepper as a seasoning because it adds gentle heat with gentle taste--occasionally chipotle or green chili; and making very small servings frequently served, which is why this recipe is so perfect. The Teonim have their version of tapas or hors d'oeuvres (called nisytamarp) especially between 10am and 2pm. The tezzekra is one of them, which they call a selib (“filling”). Other fillings are avocado skins with avocado salads in them; potato skins with potato salads in them; papaya, orange, and grapefruit skins with fruit salads in them; deviled eggs of COURSE (including duck, goose, and ostrich egg); stuffed peppers a la Teonaht, etc.

An in-progress recipe page can be found at:


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June 14th, 2005
Comments? Suggestions? Corrections? You can drop me a line.