Tirkunan: A Romance Language

[ Static Lexicon | Scripted Lexicon ]

Inside this orange box I am writing as a conlanger. A blue box will be used when our hobby linguist from this universe reports on what information was sent from there about Tirkunan. If there is no special markup, you are reading the original text that the Institute for Parallel Histories (IPH) sent from there. The IPH themselves use light grey boxes to clarify language history in more detail.


Tirkunan is a Romance conlang derived from Vulgar Latin that I modelled to look like what I felt was a nice Romance language, whatever 'nice' may mean.

Due to my tendency to produce highly regular engelangs, simplicity and regularity is one design goal, but Tirkunan is not an engelang, and does not feature a full reconstruction of grammatical properties, but only a creole-like reduction of morphology embedded into a (hopefully) Romance feel.

Another goal was to have a fully elaborated Grand Master Plan (which you can play with interactively) for the sound shifts instead of making up words in an ad-hoc manner. This will help me prevent inconsistencies.

The nouns, adjectives and verbs will be derived with a semi-automated set of rules from Vulgar Latin words, but some manual adjustments will be made if it feels more plausible that way. The sets of rules will try to produce something that looks plausibly Romance, without making the conhistorical development explicit. The conhistory is currently not my primary goal as long as the result looks plausibly Romance at first and hopefully second glance.

Further, I wanted a conlang that allows me to write texts myself without the help of a computer-aided grammar system.

Tirkunan's location in the multiverse is in the parallel universe of Þrjótrunn somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula. The details are still missing from the IPH.

In summary, the design goals were the following.

  • Very simple morphology.
  • Plausibly a Romance language.
  • Isolating morphology, and isolating or agglutinative derivation.
  • A plausible phonological history of the language, i.e., a grand master plan by which words are regularly derived from Vulgar Latin.
  • An interesting vowel system. This was the initial momentum starting this conlang.
  • No palatalisation, except for very few examples.
  • Flavours of Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Sardinian, Sicilian.
  • Should not sound like French, Portuguese, or Romanian.
  • If Afrikaans can through away all(/most) morphology, so can Tirkunan.


To get the right sound I had in mind, I considered the following.

Like Logudorese (Sardinian), Tirkunan did not palatalise /k ɡ/ (nor other consonants) before [e i]. This is the reason why I chose to use 'k' instead of 'c': it is naturally pronounced [k] before [e i] even when thinking Romance (the choice of orthography is a bit unstable in my head, because it looks non-Romance, but at least Walloon and Judeo-Espanyol do use 'k').

Like Sicilian, Calabrese and other Italian languages, Tirkunan drops some initial unstressed vowels, most frequently /i/, e.g. mpiri < impērivm 'empire' (compare Sicilian/Calabrese 'mperu').

Like Catalan, Tirkunan does not fear consonantal endings on words, especially on nouns and particles. E.g. kiutat [kjuˈtat] < civitātem 'town' (compare Catalan 'ciutat'), kel [kɛl] < caelvm 'sky; heaven'.

Like Catalan, Portuguese, and some Southern Italian dialects like Sicilian/Calabrese, reduces unstressed vowels into a three-vowel system /a i u/, e.g. the participle of solu [ˈsolʊ] is sulut [sʊˈlʊt].

Like Spanish, Tirkunan has five phonemic vowels: /i e a o u/. Some words show similar sound shifts: ombra < hominem 'man' (compare Spanish 'hombre').

Like Italian (and French), Tirkunan has quite a lot of elided vowels and consonants, and many words end in a vowel.

Like in Modern Tuscan (and other languages), the '-re' on verbs is dropped.

Similar to Sicilian (and to a more limited degree Catalan and Portuguese), many prepositions often drop their final consonants and even vowels, e.g. pi < per can become p' and kun < cvm can become ku'.

Like some Catalan dialects, the preposition di to form the genitive is often dropped.

Unlike French, there are no nasal vowels, and no [y ø ʒ ʃ ɥ].

Unlike Portuguese, there are no nasal vowels and no [l] > [u] shift, although I like it very much and it was tempting to include it.

Unlike most Romance languages, there is almost no palatalisation, so no [ɲ ʎ ʃ ʒ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ]. Instead, Tirkunan retains the [i] and [u] glides, e.g. ali < alivm and koru < corvvs.

Unlike all Romance languages, Tirkunan has lost gender completely. Still, I do not think it is inconceivable in Romance, because Germanic has done it, and Romance and Germanic come from the same source. While Romance is relatively homogeneous, in Germanic, the completely different handling of gender (and case) between Icelandic and Afrikaans is estonishing, so why should there not be a hidden Romance language that lost gender altogether? Plus, it lost neuter for the most part.

Further, especially the verbal system is untypically analytical for Romance languages, although all the principles and forms are taken from existing Romance languages so none of the isolated verb forms should not appear out of place. I found that when Afrikaans can go so far in Germanic, then so can a Romance language.

I am positively surprised about how making Tirkunan isolating could be done by using selected features from existing Romance languages: analytic verb forms using auxiliaries, dropped endings in Catalan and Tuscan, ordinals in Sardinian, replacement of possessive adjectives by 'di+X' in Balearic Catalan. Sometimes, I found the existing languages with the simplified features only after accidentally doing it in a very similar way. E.g. the singular pronouns of Ligurian, plural marking in French, analytic possessives of Asturian.


Structurally, Tirkunan is more French than I had planned. Some problems were elegantly solved that way, and some things probably just happend by chance:

  • Plural is shown on articles, not on nouns: kiutat 'city/cities': li kiutat 'the city' vs. lis kiutat 'the cities'.
  • Some vocab does sounds very French, but even more Catalan in most cases: Lak Liman 'Lake Geneva'.
  • Drop of vowels, very short verb forms, qv>k: l'ariva 'he arives', ti kit 'you leave'.

False Friends

In Tirkunan, 'Sa va!' means 'Let's go'. It sounds exactly like 'Ça va?' in French which means 'How are you?'


The name 'Tirkunan' means 'Tarragonian', i.e. 'language of (the city of) Tarragona'. This town is called 'Trakunis' in Modern Tirkunan and was the capital of the Roman province of Hispānia Tarracōnēnsis for several centuries. Today, it is the second largest city (~2.100.000 inhabitans) of Lustany (or 'Lustani' in Tirkunan).[1] In text written before the unified orthography was introduced, Tirkunan is also frequently referred to as 'Trakunan', 'Tracunan', 'Terkunan', 'Tercunan', or 'Tircunan'. Further, some dialects have metathesis (or used to have, as by the influence of the standard language is is no longer the case), in analogy with other words, so we also find 'Trikunan', etc.

Derived regularly from the Latin word, the city is called Trakunis. For the language, the ending -an was eventually preferred for adjectives instead of -is as the latter was more and more interpreted as a locative, today often found in city names.

The vowel change in the language name was either by influence of another language, or maybe because it was taken to be related to ter 'earth'. We don't know the exact reason. Historical documents merely show that the name changed around four-three hundred years ago, and there are various inconsistent spellings in older texts.




The following consonants exist:

b /b/ [b]
d /d/ [d]
f /f/ [f]
g /ɡ/ [ɡ]
k /k/ [k]
l /l/ [l]
m /m/ [m ɱ]
n /n/ [n ŋ m ɱ]
p /p/ [p]
r /r/ [r]
s /s/ [s]
t /t/ [t]
v /v/ [v]

/n/ is [ŋ] before [k ɡ] and [m] before [b p]. /n m/ are both [ɱ] before [v f].

h is used to mark hiatus between vowels, i.e., a syllable break between two vowels. This mainly occurs in names (e.g. Iuhan [juˑ.ˈan] 'John') and foreign words (e.g. kahos [kaˑ.ˈɔs] 'chaos').

The language allows the following initial consonants or clusters:

b bl br mb mbl mbr
p pl pr mp mpl mpr sp spl spr nsp nspl nspr
d - dr nd - ndr
t - tr nt - ntr st - str nst - nstr
g gl gr ng ngl ngr
k kl kr nk nkl nkr sk skl skr nsk nskl nskr
f fl fr mf mfl mfr
s - - ns
v - - mv

The prenasalised consonants are pronounced as a separate syllable when a consonant precedes. If a vowel precedes, the nasal is pronounced as part of the previous syllable, which is thus considered closed.

mpiri [m̩.ˈpeˑ.riˑ] empire
ni mpiri [nɪm.ˈpeˑ.riˑ] in an/the empire
fimbra [ˈfɪm.braˑ] woman


Tirkunan has the following vowels and diphtongs, which are pronounced slightly differently in different phonological context, determined by length and stress:

spelling phoneme
a /a/ [] [a] [ɐ]
e /e/ [] [ɛ] [ɪ]
i /i/ [] [ɪ] [ɪ]
o /o/ [] [ɔ] [ʊ]
u /u/ [] [ʊ] [ʊ]
au /a͡u/ [a͡ʊ̯] [a͡ʊ̯] [ɐ͡ʊ̯]
ai /a͡i/ [a͡ɪ̯] [a͡ɪ̯] [ɐ͡ɪ̯]
ia /i͡a/ [jaˑ] [ja] []
ie /i͡e/ [jeˑ] [] [ɪ]
io /i͡o/ [joˑ] [] []
iu /i͡u/ [juˑ] [] []

Length is not phonemic.

Note the collapse of e with i and o with u. ie [je] is also pronounced [ɪ] in unstressed syllables (e.g. in the name Iron < *Ieron < Hieronymvs).

Some dialects do not distinguish between [a] and [ɐ], but only use [a].

The falling /a͡u a͡i/ are always long, while the rising diphthongs may be long or short.


In stressed, open syllables, a vowel is long. Otherwise, it is short. The quantity changes only slightly, so we do not indicate it in this document except for stressing the slight difference. The quality, however, changes as the above table shows.

Syllable breaks are as follows: V-V, V-CV, VC-CV, VC-CCV..., i.e., a single consonant belongs to the next syllable, while of a sequence of at least two consonants, the first one closes the previous syllable. There is one exception: stop + r,l behaves like one consonant.

Further note that 'h' is only used to separate vowels. It is mute and not considered a consonant.

pan [pan] bread
fimbra [ˈfɪm.brɐ] woman
matra [ˈmaˑ.trɐ] mother
ringla [ˈrɪŋ.ɡlɐ] kingdom
fili [ˈfiˑ.lɪ] son; daughter


Words are stressed

on the penultimate syllable if the word ends in a vowel
on the last syllable otherwise

Exceptionally, some (frequent) words keep their stress on the last syllable even if they drop a consonant. This is marked by a final apostrophe.

Some examples:

mpiri /m̩ˈperi/ empire
mpirian /m̩piˈrjan/ imperial
mpir /m̩ˈper/ to rule, to command
mpiratur /m̩piraˈtur/ emperor
rakun /raˈkun/ some(one)
raku' /raˈku/ some(one) (before consonant)

Vowel Development

Vowel Shift Overview This figure shows an overview of what happened to the vowels from Classical Latin to Modern Tirkunan.

Vowel phones shown in the same colour are allophones of the same phoneme.

In detail, the following is shown. The Classical Latin vowel system had ten phonemic vowels, five long ones and five short ones, /iː i eː e aː a oː o uː u/ which were probably pronounced [iː ɪ eː ɛ aː a oː ɔ uː ʊ].

In Vulgar Latin, phonemic length was lost, but the quality of the vowels was retained, with three mergers: /aː a/ > /a/, /eː ɪ/ > /e/, and /oː ʊ/ > /o/. The result is a seven vowel system in Proto-Romance: /i e ɛ a u o ɔ/.

The vowels in Proto-Romance then came to be pronounced long and short again, depending on whether a syllable was open or closed: open syllables had long vowels, closed syllables short vowels. This is shown by the split of all vowels in the middle of the figure.

Tirkunan developed differently from this point than many other Romance languages. It collapsed the seven vowels with phonetic length into a five vowel system with phonetic length by four mergers: [e i] > [ɪ], [eː ɛː] > [], [o u] > [ʊ], and [oː ɔː] > [].

S25 Vowel Shift This figure shows the final vowel shift that reduced the four vowel heights of Proto-Romance to the three heights of Tirkunan.

The phones of modern Tirkunan are not lengthened much, so the modern phones can be given as [iˑ ɪ eˑ ɛ aˑ a uˑ ʊ oˑ ɔ]. In stressed syllables, the lengthening is slightly stronger.

Note that in this document, vowel length is usually not indicated for Tirkunan pronunciation, even in phonetic descriptions, since the differences are rather small.


The morphology has greatly simplified. Tirkunan is grammatically isolating with agglutinative derivation.

The derivational system of Tirkunan is quite productive. Stems never change when affixes are added. When Latin allows several ways to form a word, often only one has survived and was generalised to be used in many more cases. As an example, from the verb am 'to love', we can derive amabri 'lovable', amatur 'lover', amur 'love'.

The verb is usually quite complex morphologically in Romance languages. It is undeclinable in Tirkunan. All tenses, aspects, and moods are formed analytically with auxiliaries. The constructions are quite typical for Romance, however, but the analytical forms have completely replaced the old system.

Tirkunan has dropped all grammatical gender distinctions.

There is no trace of Latin case. This is just like in many Romance languages. Tirkunan has dropped case from pronouns, too.

The pronouns were regularised so that the plural is formed with -s.


For most words, Old Tirkunan drops a final vowel if the preceding consonant was -l, -r, -n, -s, -t, -k or -p (voiceless plosives or alveolar sonorants or sibilants), and if there was no final cluster except -(n,m,r,l,s)(p,t,k), and -rn. Final vowels that are not dropped collapse into -a (earlier [ə]). Nouns ending in rising diphthongs behaved similarly, dropping the main vowel, leaving the plain glide. This [j] or [w] glide becomes syllabic again and shows up as a final -i or -u in the corresponding words, e.g. glori < glōria, mpiri < impērivm, koru < corvvm.


sg. pl.
1. m(i) nos
2.informal t(u) tus
2.formal vo vos
2.representative tro tros
3. l(e) les
reflexive s(e)
relative k(e)


The pronouns nos and vos show a slightly irregular derivation: the regular derivation would be *nus and *vus.[2]

Note that pronouns are not mandatory. This can lead to ambiguities that have to be resolved by context, because the verb does not carry any information about person either.

Note that how le behaves differently after a vowel than the article: e.g. di + le (pronoun) is di le while di + li (article) is di'l.

The pronoun tro/tros is used in conversations, often formal, to refer to the organisation, company, or group the interlocutor is part of, often in order to avoid direct addressing of the interlocutor. It derives from tva horda 'your gang'. The plural is used when talking to a group of representatives.

The 3rd person non-reflexive pronoun has no special, prefixed possessive form, so di le has to be used. The 3rd person pronoun se is strictly reflexive. This pronoun is only used to refer to a 3rd person, i.e., reflexive 1st and 2nd persons are referred to using 1st and 2nd person pronouns, resp.

Mi va ni mi gradin. I (am) walk(ing) in my garden.
Vo va'n vo gradin. You (are) walk(ing) in your garden.
Le va'n se gradin. He/She (is) walk(ing) in his (own) garden.
Le va'n gradin di se. He/She (is) walk(ing) in his (own) garden.
Le va'n gradin di le. He/She (is) walk(ing) in his (someone else's) garden.


Possessives follow the noun and are formed with d(i) + noun/pronoun:

patra di fimbra father of a/the woman
patra d'ombra father of a/the man
patra di l'ombra father of the man

All pronouns but le also form a short possessive by being prefixed to the modified phrase. The construction with di is evenly acceptable.[3]

patra di mi mi patra my father
patra di nos nos patra our father
patra di ti ti patra your father
se patra his/her father
patra di se his/her (refl.) father
patra di le his/her (non-refl.) father
li patra the father

Determiners and Indefinite Pronouns

li, l', 'l < ille, illa determiner the (singular) reduces to l' before vowels and, otherwise, to 'l after vowels
lis < illas, illos determiner the (plural)
un, u' < vna, vnv(m) determiner a, an coincides with number 1
nus < vnos determiner some plural indefinite article
kul < eccv(m) ille determiner, pronoun this; that; this one; that one
tut < tōtv(m)? determiner, pronoun every, all
katun, katu' < *cata vnvm determiner, pronoun each, each one, everyone
rakun, raku' < aliqv(is) vn(vm) determiner, pronoun some(one), some(thing), any(one), any(thing) {singular}
rakus < aliqv(is) vnos determiner, pronoun some {plural}
nisun, nisu' < ne ipsv(m) vn(vm) determiner, pronoun no-one

The article is always optional.

un, katun, rakun and nisun drop the final n to become u', katu', raku', and nisu' before consonants except plosives.

Although totally regular, please note again how the article un is pronounced before [b p m f v k ɡ] and before vowel.

un bar [ʊm bar] a bar
un kafi [ʊŋ ˈkafɪ] a cafe; a coffee
un ombra [u ˈnɔmbrɐ] a man
u'fimbra [ʊˈfɪmbrɐ] a woman
u'mpiri [ʊmˈpirɪ] an empire


Nouns have only one form. Plural is indicated on the article.

Adjective and nouns are quite similar in usage. Whether something is an apposition or an attributive adjective construction isn't always clear. It does not matter, really. Maybe that's just the same.


The declension system of Latin was dropped quickly in Tirkunan. More quickly than in other Romance languages. The accusative singular form, pronounced without -m in Vulgar Latin, was the only form that was left over. Most vowels in endings collapsed to only a /ə/ very quickly. In some cases, the thematic vowel of the declension was mistaken to be part of the stem, so some traces of the old -u- declension are still visible today.


To model the history of nouns, I use the following simulation. It takes care of the collapse of declension classes and deterioration of endings.

Nouns are based on the accusative singular form, but a general /-əm/ ending is assumed instead of the original ending, because declensions are assumed to having vanished greatly in late Vulgar Latin and so 1st (-a-), 2nd (-o-), 3rd (mixed), and 5th (-e) declensions are basically treated the same.

However, as some (very few) -i- declension nouns and some -u- (4th) declension nouns retained the -i-/-u- in the form of a final stem glide., assumed /jəm/ and /wəm/ endings are used. (In the alternate timeline, Þrjótrunn also retained the 4th declension for some words, so the Vulgar Latin there may be a little different from ours.)

Adjectives are derived in the same way, starting with the f.acc.sg. form (there should be no difference when starting with other genders' acc.sg. form).

Note that since the GMP is made for shifting words that resemble the Classical Latin written form to make life easier (it is the look of those classical forms the author is more familiar with), input is reconstructed to a classical form, and thus we use the /m/ ending although it is dropped by the GMP and does not cause any change the result. This is just a technical cheat for making it look like an accusative – this conlang is based on Vulgar Latin nevertheless. The GMP handles Vulgar forms, too.

You can experiment with these rules here.

Input for GMP
Tirkunan Pronunciation
porta 1st (-a-) port-a-m *port-əm port [pɔrt]
hortvs 2nd (-o-) hort-v-m *hort-əm hort [ɔrt]
corvvs 2nd (-o-) corv-v-m *corv-əm koru [ˈkorʊ]
imperivm 2nd (-o-) imperi-v-m *imperi-əm mpiri [m̩ˈpirɪ]
bonvs,-a,-vm 1st, 2nd (-a-, -o-) bon-a-m *bon-əm bon [bɔn]
nox 3rd (consonantal) noct--em *noct-əm not [nɔt]
tvrris 3rd (-i-) tvrr-i-m *tvrr-jəm tori [ˈtorɪ]
fēlīx 3rd (consonantal) fēlīc-e-m *fēlīc-əm filik [fɪˈlɪk]
portvs 4th (-u-) port-v-m *port-wəm portu [ˈpɔrtʊ]
dīēs 5th (-e-) dī-e-m *di-əm di [di]

There are some exceptions from this construction rule, especially for very short words, e.g. dehu < dēvs.


Attributive adjectives always follow the noun they modify.

The comparative and superlative is formed with pru(s). 'less' is min. The superlative is formed by using the definite article:

li kiutat gran the large town
li kiutat pru gran the larger town
li kiutat li pru gran the largest town
li kiutat min gran the smaller town
li kiutat li min gran the smallest town

Also compare the usage gran 'big/famous one' and san 'saint' with the use of adjectives. These are usually used in names as in the following appositional constructions:

Gran Karla Charlemagne
San Kikeli Saint Cecily


Many lexicalised adverbs end in -u, which is dropped before vowels unles it is part of a falling diphthong (e.g. -au). Not all lexicalised adverbs end in -u.

sut(u) < svbitō 'suddenly'
kom(u) < qvōmodo < *qvō modō 'how'
tau < tanqvam 'so'
krau < crās 'tomorrow'
esku < *est eccv̄ illvm qvī Y/N question marker
odi(u) < hōdie 'today'
er(u) < herī 'yesterday'
akur < hāc hōra 'now'


The -u ending is a remnant of Latin like in svbitō, which was generalised to mark adverbs. Sometimes the -u spread to other word classes, too, e.g. in kandu 'when' and loku 'hence', maybe because locō had an , too. Hence, this -u is essentially now a marker for 'small words'.


Adjectives can be converted into adverbs by adding the suffix -(a)ment. After vowel and -l (but not after -r), the -a- is dropped. If the adjective ends in a weak l, i.e., if that -l drops before consonants, then neither l nor a surface.

A few adjectives have irregular adverbs.

kustant 'constant' > kustantament 'constantly'
kar 'dear' > karament 'dearly'
grav(a) 'serious' > gravament 'seriously'
runali 'ordinary' > runaliment 'ordinarily'
ipal 'equal' > ipalment 'equally'
so(l) 'single' > sument 'alone'
bon 'good' > bin 'well'
sut 'sudden' > sutu 'suddenly'


i(d) and
u(d) or
ka because, since (reason), as (reason)
pi ka because
ke that
kand(u) when
lok(u) hence

i,id and o,od

i and o differ slightly from what would be expected by normal sound shifts ('t' instead of 'd'). This is probably due to their frequency and lack of stress inside a phrase. Some dialects pronounce o(d) like u(d), because it is usually unstressed.


ku(n) with
si(n) without
a(d) at; to; for
di, d' of; off; from
pi, p' for; by; towards
ni, n', 'n in; into, to
ntr(a) between
kontr(a) against
sopr(a) over, about

The 'weak' n will surface before vowels and stops. The other 'weak' consonansts will surface only before vowels:

ku lat with milk
kun kran with meat
kun ap with water
a lat to milk
a kran to meat
ad ap to water

Tirkunan has a tendency in many dialects to drop the di preposition entirely when expressing a genetive construction or in ordinals, particularly in lexicalised and very common phrases. di is never dropped with pronouns (e.g. in di le 'his').

mbrikat di pruk mbrikat pruk flea market
Pul Iuhan Di Du Pul Iuhan Du John Paul the Second

Fusion, Elision, Sandhi

Tirkunan has quite complex fusion rules: many words have alternative forms, depending on the preceding or following word. The most common form of elision is dropping the last consonant or vowel. The following list shows the main rules, roughly from most widespread rule to most restricted/special.

Final 'a' is dropped before vowels all words
Final vowel is dropped before vowels some words, see lexicon
Final vowel is dropped before vowels and plosives some words, see lexicon
Final n is dropped before consonant except plosives some words, see lexicon
Final other consonant is dropped before consonant some words, see lexicon
Final vowel is dropped after vowel special words, see below
Initial 'a' is dropped after vowel all endings
Initial cons./vowels are dropped special circumstances derivation only, see lexicon

The most complex rules are those of ni and li which drop the final vowel not only if a vowel follows, but also when a vowel precedes the word. Additionally, ni drops the vowel if a plosive follows.

The interaction between preposition, article, and pronouns is special. The fusion of preposition and article is preferred over fusion with surrounding words: va ni'l gradin 'walk in the garden' instead of *va'n li gradin. Pronouns after prepositions never fuse with the next word: Ku ti es bon 'with you it's good' instead of *Ku t'es bon. But articles do: n'u'mpiri 'in the empire'.

Consonants dropped from prepositions and conjunctions are not indicated: ku ti 'with you' instead of *ku' ti and kat i kan 'cat and dog' instead of *kat i'kan.

Otherwise, dropped consonants and vowels are indicated by an apostrophe on the side that causes the drop (i.e., not the side that drops the letter): raku' kan 'some dog' and andra'n ringla 'travel in the kingdom'. If both sides could trigger the drop, the left side carries the apostrophe (andra n'umbra 'travel in shadow' instead of *andra'n umbra). If only a single letter remains in the word that dropped a letter, no whitespace is used between the apostrophe and the adjacent words (u'ringla instead of *u' ringla), otherwise, normal whitespace is used (raku' ringla instead of *raku'ringla).

Some derivational endings work differently, e.g., -ament drops the initial a also after l and the abstraction ending -ati sometimes reduces to i like in visi 'vision'. The lexicon lists this in detail case-by-case.

The drop of consonants at the end does not change stress. Since dropped consonants usually affect monosyllabic words, there is no special change, but for katu', raku', and nisu', the apostrophe at the end also indicates that stress is still on the last syllable.

Taken these special words into account, elision can be progressive or regressive. In most cases, it is regressive, meaning a following word determines which form of the previous word to use. However, the above special cases have also progressive shifts.

The following table shows many elision phenomena for prepositions, articles, and verbs:

ni ringla [ni ˈrɪŋɡlɐ] in a/the kingdom
andra'n ringla [ɐnˈdran ˈrɪŋɡlɐ] travel in a/the kingdom
n'u'ringla [nʊˈrɪŋɡlɐ] in a kingdom
andra n'u'ringla [ˈandrɐ nʊˈrɪŋɡlɐ] travel in a kingdom
ni'l ringla [nɪl ˈrɪŋɡlɐ] in the kingdom
andra ni'l ringla [ˈandrɐ nɪl ˈrɪŋɡlɐ] travel in the kingdom
n'gradin [ŋ̩ɡrɐˈdɪn] in a/the garden
andra n'gradin [ˈandrɐŋ ɡrɐˈdɪn] travel in a/the garden
kan n'gradin [kan ŋ̩ɡrɐˈdɪn] a/the dog in a/the garden
n'un gradin [nʊŋ ɡrɐˈdɪn] in a garden
andra n'un gradin [ˈandrɐ nʊŋ ɡrɐˈdɪn] travel in a garden
kan n'un gradin [kan nʊŋ ɡrɐˈdɪn] a/the dog in a garden
kan ni'l gradin [kan nɪl ɡrɐˈdɪn] a/the dog in the garden
ni'l gradin [nɪl ɡrɐˈdɪn] in the garden
es ni'l gradin [ɛs nɪl ɡrɐˈdɪn] be in the garden
andra ni'l gradin [ˈandrɐ nɪl ɡrɐˈdɪn] travel in the garden
kan ni mpiri [kan nɪm ˈpirɪ] a/the dog in a/the empire
ni mpiri [nɪm ˈpirɪ] in a/the empire
andra ni mpiri [ˈandrɐ nɪm ˈpirɪ] travel in a/the empire
n'u'mpiri [nʊmˈpirɪ] in an empire
andra n'u'mpiri [ˈandrɐ nʊmˈpirɪ] travel in an empire
ni'l mpiri [nɪl m̩ˈpirɪ] in the empire
andra ni'l mpiri [ˈandrɐ nɪl m̩ˈpirɪ] travel in the empire
n' umbra [ˈnʊmbrɐ] in a/the shadow
andra'n umbra [ɐnˈdra ˈnʊmbrɐ] travel in a/the shadow
n'un umbra [nu ˈnʊmbrɐ] in a shadow
andra n'un umbra [ˈandrɐ nu ˈnʊmbrɐ] travel in a shadow
ni'l umbra [ni ˈlʊmbrɐ] in the shadow
andra ni'l umbra [ˈandrɐ ni ˈlʊmbrɐ] travel in the shadow
ku ringla [ku ˈrɪŋɡlɐ] with a/the kingdom
kun gradin [kʊŋ ɡrɐˈdɪn] with a/the garden
kun un gradin [ku nʊŋ ɡrɐˈdɪn] with a garden
ku'l gradin [kʊl ɡrɐˈdɪn] with the garden
ku mpiri [kʊm ˈpirɪ] with a/the empire
kun u'mpiri [ku nʊmˈpirɪ] with an empire
ku'l mpiri [kʊl m̩ˈpirɪ] with the empire
kun ombra [ku ˈnɔmbrɐ] with a/the man
kun un ombra [ku nu ˈnɔmbrɐ] with a man
ku'l ombra [ku ˈlɔmbrɐ] with the man
L'es n'gradin. [lɛs ŋ̩ɡrɐˈdɪn] He/She is in a/the garden.
L'es n'un gradin. [lɛs nʊŋ ɡrɐˈdɪn] He/She is in a garden.
L'es ni'l gradin. [lɛs nɪl ɡrɐˈdɪn] He/She is in the garden.



The basic digits 0,..,9, as well as 20,..,90 and the larger numbers 100, 200, 1000, 2000, etc., are typical for a Romance language.

In contrast to other Romance language, Tirkunan has very simply constructed numbers for 11,..,19, by using dek+1,...,9. Other Romance language have reversed or even fused forms, usually up to around 16.

0 nul
1 un 11 dek id un 10 dek
2 du 12 dek i du 20 vint
3 tre 13 dek i tre 30 trint
4 katr(a) 14 dek i katr(a) 40 katrint
5 kimp 15 dek i kimp 50 kimpint
6 ses 16 dek i ses 60 sisint
7 set 17 dek i set 70 sitint
8 ot 18 dek id ot 80 utint
9 nov(a) 19 dek i nov(a) 90 nuvint
21 vint id un 32 trint i du 43 katrint i tre
100 kent 200 du kent 120 kent i vint
1000 mil 2000 du mil
1000000 milion

As you can see, i can be used to string together the numbers. i is not necessary, however, and often left out. It is most frequently left out before a vowel, i.e., dek un '11', vint ot '28', etc. i.e., instead of using id.


Ordinal numbers are formed analytically by using di + cardinal.[4]

ombra di dek a/the tenth man
l'ombra di dek the tenth man
un ombra di dek a tenth man
Pap Iuhan Pul Di Du Pope John Paul the Second
Pap Bindit Di Dek Ses Pope Benedict the Sixteenth


A possible final -a of regular verbs is dropped before a vowel.

When endings are added, that final -a also drops if the endings starts with a vowel. Likewise, an initial a- of endings drops after a stem vowel.

Verbs in Tirkunan only have one morphological form, i.e., they are not inflected, but some derivational forms exist, most notably -at and -an adjectives/nouns, which originally correspond to past passive and present active participles, respectively.


Participles are adjectives that derive from a verb. They can be used as nouns in Tirkunan with the meaning 'the ... one'. The verb es 'to be' has no participles. All other verbs regularly form the participles as follows.

dun 'to give' lava 'to wash' solu 'to solve' odi 'to hear'
present active participle -(a)n dunan 'giving' lavan 'washing' sulun 'solving' udin 'hearing'
past passive participle -(a)t dunat 'given' lavat 'loved' sulut 'solved' udit 'heard'

Tirkunan likes to replace short ke relative clauses (typically V or V+Obj) by participle constructions. (Note that if ke is used as a conjunction, it cannot be replaced by a participle construction.)

The participle present has merged with the historic gerund, so in modern Tirkunan, the participle present can also refer to the action of a verb: Mankan es bon pi ti. 'Eating is good for you.'

Analytical Forms

The following table lists the verb forms of Tirkunan.

Plain Mi mank. I eat.
Past av(a) + verb+(a)t M'ava mankat. I ate. / I have eaten. (Lit. 'I have eaten.')
Future veni + verb Mi veni mank. I will eat. (Lit. 'I come eat.')
Mi veni veni. I will come.
Negation no(n) + verb Mi no mank. I don't eat.
Present Passive es + verb+(a)t M'es mankat. I am eaten.
Past Passive fu + verb+(a)t Mi fu mankat. I was eaten.
Future Passive eri + verb+(a)t M'eri mankat. I will be eaten.
Progressive sta + verb Mi sta mank. I am eating. (Lit. 'I stand to eat.')
Interrogative esku + phrase Esku ti mank? Do you eat.
Esk' kul es ombr' aman ti? Is this the man who loves you? (Lit. 'loving you?')
Optative 'to be' sa Mar sa krada. Let the ocean be warm.
Optative Active sa + verb Ap sa koka. May the water cook.
Sa va. Let's go!
Optative Passive sa + verb+(a)t Luk sa fikat. Let there be light.
Imperative va + verb Vo va am mi! Love me! (formal)
Va mank pan! Eat the bread!
Vo va mank! Eat! (formal)
drop S and O Mank! Eat!

Esku is a contraction of es kul ke, and esk'kul of esku kul, pronounced like eskul.

The optative forms are somewhat formal and rare in the spoken language, except for some frequent idioms like sa va.

For formal address, however, the optative is prefered over the imperative, as it is felt less direct and less rude. E.g., instead of Vo va mank!, the optative Vo sa mank! is used. Usually, the formal, polite phrases tend to be longer anyway: Vo sa mank pan, pi prak! 'Please, try the bread.'

A corollary is that the passive imperative cannot be formed with a non-empty subject, because the passive never has an object. Passive imperatives seem to have limited usefulness anyway.

Some analytical forms can be combined into longer forms. The following is a selection.

Past Progressive M'ava stat mank. I was eating. / I have been eating.
Future Progressive Mi veni sta mank. I will be eating. (Lit. 'I come stand eating.')
Interrogative Future Progressive Esku mi veni sta mank? Will I be eating?
Optative Past Ombra sa ava mankat. May the man have eaten.
Negation + Anything Mi no sta mank. I am not eating.
Mi no ava mankat. I did not eat. / I have not eaten.
Esku mi no veni sta mank? Will I not be eating?
No mank! Don't eat (that)!

The general order of the combined forms is [Negation] + [Other Auxiliaries] + [Past/Future marker] + [Progressive marker] + [Passive Marker] + [Verb].

Combining of analytical forms is somewhat limited when the forms get longer. Especially spoken language does not like that.

Also, the combination sta sta is usually not used. This will probably not hurt, because sta, as a stative verb, cannot really form the progressive (there is no progress while standing).

Note that no participles of es or ava are necessary for any verb forms. The irregular verb es and all its irregular derivatives (fu, eri, sa) have no participles.

Irregular Forms

The following irregular synthetic verb forms exist of the verb es 'to be'. They are used instead of the regular forms.

sa optative auxiliary (derives from es)
*sa es sa optative passive auxiliary
*ava isat fu was, were (past of es)
*veni es eri will be (future of es)

Some Verbs and Auxiliaries

es to be M'es ombra. I am a man.
fu was, were Les fu ombra. They were men.
es, fu, eri, sa form passive + ppp Tu fu amat. You were loved.
sa forms optative + verb Ap sa koka. Let the water cook.
ava forms past tense + ppp M'ava vinat. I came.
veni forms future tense Mi veni va. I will go.
va forms imperatives Va mank pan! Eat (the) bread!
pos be able to Mi pos mank. I can eat.
vul to want to + verb Mi vul am ti. I want to love you.
vul to want to Mi vul umbra. I want (some) shadow.
sava to know how to + verb
sava to know
mank to eat
am to love
ten to hold, to have
fik to make, to create; to do; forms causative
va to go
veni to come
dik to say
deva to owe, to be in debt, must
ariva to manage to do s.t. M'ariva veni. I manage to come.
ariva to arrive at M'ariva Tali. I arrive in Italy.

Note that tense and aspect are not mandatory categories. They are often derived from context. This is especially true in narratives, which generally use the plain verb instead of ava+VERB-at. An exceptional verb is fu, the only synthetical past tense, which is used in narratives frequently.


From the verbs we see today in Tirkunan, it appears that Old Tirkunan often used frequentative verbs instead of the original Classical Latin verbs, e.g. we have vis, probably from vīsāre instead of *vid from vidēre.[5] Many Latin verbs have not survived into Tirkunan, often only the compound verbs survived. Probably for this reason, Tirkunan has a tendency to preserve the compound stem of verbs rather than the original stem.[6] From the compound forms, the isolated verb was often reconstructed by analogy (e.g. *ficere instead of facere), so we even find many original compound stem in isolated verbs in Tirkunan.


To model what has happend during the history of Tirkunan, I use the following simulation in the hope that the result is a plausible selection of verbs. The model has to select verb stems, apply the sound changes and do simplifications of the morphological endings.

Verbs usually derive from either the present stem or the frequentative, so we compare the present stem and the frequentative stem (which is formed by -(i)tāre and often is equal to the supine stem: c.f. vidēre, vīsvm&mdashvīsāre but agere, āctvmagitāre). Deponent verbs always derive from the supine stem (from the perfect passive participle).

The construction here gives that seem to yield a set of verbs that looks plausible. The history of Tirkunan verbs should currently be treated like a black box: there is no internal explanation (yet) which verbs derive from the frequentative and which from the original, plain present tense. Maybe it was chaotic in conhistory. The set of rules is used by me, the conlanger, to have an automated method to produce a nice-looking result. For now, let the history of the language be accidentally such that this construction and the historical language development yield the same results. The construction is meant to produce a plausible set of verbs, so if you think the resulting set of verbs looks implausible, please tell me.

Now for the constuction: first of all, very short verbs and very irregular verbs will need manual care. By 'short' I mean verbs whose stem does not end in a consonant like stāre, etc. Often, the plain stem can be used for sound shifting (e.g. to produce sta). The irregular verbs to be handled manually would be esse, ferre, velle, īre, fieri and all compounds thereof. Manual care may also mean that it is decided that the verb did not survive.

For the remaining verbs, if the frequentative verb is a regular extension (+ optional vowel + t) of the original stem, neglecting a possible stem vowel change and neglecting a possible drop of stem-final glides, and if no consonants fuse (for vidēre, use vis-, not vid-), then the original present stem is used including a potential vocalic/glide ending.

Otherwise, the frequentative stem is used. Sometimes, the regular -t ending (if still present and not fused) is stripped off together with a possible vowel in front of it. (This rule is still experimental – a close look at the results will be taken for evaluation.)

Further, we assumed a tendency to reconstruct the isolated verbs from compounds by analogy. So as the stem vowel, the reduced vowel from compound stems is usually used to derive the forms in Tirkunan (for facere, use fic-, not fac-), but we're free to decide that this would be quite implausible. To find a good choice, other Romance languages will have to be checked.

To the resulting stub, an /-iə/ is added for the i-conjugation, and an // otherwise, assuming a 3sg.pres.ind.act. form that dropped its -t -- the vowel is insignificant and will be reduced to schwa anyway, so equally well, the thematic vowel could be used. This is then sound-shifted with the GMP. A possible glide before that eding vowel will surface as /-u/ or /-i/, and a thematic /-i/ will be retained also. Some consonantal endings will retain the schwa, which will surface as /-a/. In total, this will produce many recognisable base forms and lead to the perfect participle often having the same vowel as the stem ending in Latin and so to 'sound right' (the simplification will take its toll, though).

Often, prefixes are sound-shifted separately so that compound verbs are compounded in Tirkunan, too, if it is plausible that it was clear to the speaker of (Old) Tirkunan that the prefix was indeed a prefix not part of the stem. Such prefixes are regularised by analogy with other verbs.

You can experiment with these rules here.

Some examples:

present stem Tirkunan
infinitive isolated compound supine stem input for GMP base part.perf.pass.
amāre am am-āt *am-ə am amat
solvere solv sol-v̄t *solv-ə solu sulut
avdīre avd avd-īt *avd-iə odi udit
avdēre avd avs *avs-ə os usat
vidēre vid vīs *vīs-ə vis visat
facere fac fic fec-t *fic-ə fik fikat
discvtere qvat cvt cvss *cvss-ə diskus diskusat
inqvirere qvaer qvir qvis-it *qvis-ə nkis nkisat


Derivation in Tirkunan is a regular agglutination process. The following is an overview of derivational suffixes.

noun > adj. -an krisi church > krisian ecclisial
adj. > emphatic -isma gran large > granisma huge
adj. > abstraction -(i)tat pusabri posible > pusabritat posibility
verb > agent -(a)tur am to love > amatur lover
verb > patient -(a)t am to love > amat loved
verb > abstraction -((a)t)i vis to see > visi vision
verb > state -ur am to love > amur love
verb > progress -(a)n am to love > aman loving
verb > event -i kumint to begin > kuminti beginning
verb > ability -abri pos be able > pusabri possibly

-a is dropped before adding a vocalic ending.

-(i)tat drops the (i) after -i, -u, -l, -r.

Here, -(at)i drops the (at) after single -s (not in clusters).

Initial a of verb endings drops after -u and -i, e.g. solu+at > sulut, udi+at > udit.

Some endings are often used in city, country, mountain, river, etc. names:

noun > noun -is often found in cities Tirkunis Tarragona

Note that final -a is dropped when adding a vocalic ending, but final -i or -u are not. However, two identical vowels are collapsed into one. Some endings drop the initial vowel after -i and -u.

istra > istran insular
mpiri > mpirian imperial
os > usat dared
odi > udit heard; listened
solu > sulut solved
solu > suluti solution
solu > sulutur solver


Tirkunan is mainly SVO. The indirect object may be before or after the direct object with the tendency of fronting light phrases, particularly those with pronouns.

Most modifiers follow the noun: prepositional constructions: mpiri'n Lustani, adjectives: mpiri gran, participles: pan mankat, and relative clauses: mpiri k'es ni Lustani. Pronomial possessives precede the noun: mi patra, unless they are prepositional: patra di mi.

Auxilaries precede the verb: Mi vul mank.

Adverbs are usually at the beginning of a phrase: Odiu mi va pi Lustani 'Today, we go to Lustany'.


Generally, whitespace is inserted after . ! ? , ; :, but not before.

For whitespace around apostrophes, please refer to the elision rules.

One Letter Words

This section lists some words that reduce to only one letter in some phonological contexts.

a ad
d di
i id
k ke
l le, le
m mi
n ni
p pe
s se
t ti
u ud, un


Pater Noster

Nos Patra [nɔs ˈpatrɐ]
Nos patra, k'es n'kel, [nɔs ˈpatrɐ kɛs ŋ̩kɛl]
Sa bindikat ti numbra. [sa bɪndɪˈkat ti ˈnʊmbrɐ]
Sa veni ti ringla. [sa ˈvenɪ ti ˈrɪŋɡlɐ]
Sa fikat ti vulat, [sa fɪˈkat ti vʊˈlat]
Komu'n kel tau'n ter. [kʊˈmʊŋ kɛl ta͡ʊ̯n tɛr]
Nkodu dun a nos li nos pan pi katun di. [ŋ̩ˈkodʊ du na nɔs li nɔs pam pi kɐˈtʊn di]
I pidun a nos lis nos divat, [i pɪˈdu na nɔs lɪs nɔs dɪˈvat]
Tau komu nos pidun les a nos divatur. [ta͡ʊ̯ ˈkomʊ nɔs pɪˈdʊn le sa nɔs dɪvɐˈtʊr]
I no nduk nos n'tintati, [i nɔn dʊk nɔs n̩tɪnˈtatɪ]
Ma libra nos di mal. [ma ˈlibrɐ nɔs di mal]
Ka di ti es ringla i pot i glori, [ka di ti ɛs ˈrɪŋɡlɐ i po ti ˈɡlorɪ]
N'itren, [nɪˈtrɛn]
Amin. [ɐˈmɪn]


M'am ti. [man ti] I love you.
Ma t'am le. [ma tam le] But you love him/her.
Sa va! [sa va] Let's go!
Bon matin! [bɔn mɐˈtɪn] Good morning!
Bon di! [bɔn di] Good afternoon!
Bon not! [bɔn nɔt] Good night!

The Northwind and the Sun

Vent Bural i Sul [vɛnt bʊˈra li sʊl]
Un di, vent bural i sul diskus sopra ke di les du es li pru frot, kandu 'n kul mument, viakatur pas mbrutat n'krada mantil. [ʊn di vɛnt bʊˈra li sʊl dɪsˈkʊs ˈsoprɐ ke di lɛs du ɛs li pru frɔt ˈkandʊŋ kʊl mʊˈmɛnt vjɐkɐˈtʊr pas m̩brʊˈtat ŋ̩ˈkradɐ mɐnˈtɪl]
Les kuven ke li kul eri kusidrat li pru frot k'ariva fik viakatur kit se mantil. [lɛs kʊˈvɛŋ ke li ku ˈlerɪ kʊsɪˈdrat li pru frɔt kɐˈrivɐ fɪk vjɐkɐˈtʊr kɪt se mɐnˈtɪl]
Tau, vent bural kumint sufla ku tut se pot, ma pru le sufla, pru viakatur string' in se mantil, i 'n fin, vent bural deva risingra. [ta͡ʊ̯ vɛnt bʊˈral kʊˈmɪnt ˈsuflɐ ku tʊt se pɔt ma pru le ˈsuflɐ pru vjɐkɐˈtʊr strɪŋ ɡɪn se mɐnˈtɪl ɪɱ fɪn vɛnt bʊˈral ˈdevɐ rɪˈsɪŋɡrɐ]
Tau, sul kumint bril n'kel, i sutu viakatur kit se mantil. [ta͡ʊ̯ sʊl kʊˈmɪnt brɪl ŋ̩kɛl i ˈsutʊ vjɐkɐˈtʊr kɪt se mɐnˈtɪl]
Akur, vent bural deva rikungros supriltat di sul. [ɐˈkʊr vɛnt bʊˈral ˈdevɐ rɪkʊŋˈɡrɔs sʊprɪlˈtat di sʊl]

Iuhan 1:1

Iuhan [jʊˈan]
N' prinkepi fu parul, i parul fu ku Dehu, i parul fu Dehu. [m̩prɪŋˈkepɪ fu pɐˈrʊl i pɐˈrʊl fu ku ˈdeʊ i pɐˈrʊl fu ˈdeʊ]
Le fu, n'prinkepi, ku Dehu. [le fu m̩prɪŋˈkepɪ ku ˈdeʊ]
Tot es fikat pi le, i si le, nisun es fikat k'es fikat. [to tɛs fɪˈkat pi le i si le nɪˈsu nɛs fɪˈkat kɛs fɪˈkat]
Vit fu ni le, i vit fu luk d'ombra. [vɪt fu ni le i vɪt fu lʊk ˈdɔmbrɐ]
Luk bril n'tembra, i tembra no kupren le. [lʊk brɪl n̩ˈtɛmbrɐ i ˈtɛmbrɐ no kʊˈprɛn le]
Ombra fu mandat pi Dehu, se numbra fu Iuhan. [ˈɔmbrɐ fu mɐnˈdat pi ˈdeʊ se ˈnʊmbrɐ fu jʊˈan]


Gines [ɡɪˈnɛs]
N' prinkepi, Dehu fik kel i ter. [m̩prɪŋˈkepɪ ˈdeʊ fɪk ke li tɛr]
Ter fu si from i vak, i tembra fu sopra faki d'avis i sprit di Dehu mova sopr' ap. [tɛr fu si fro mi vak i ˈtɛmbrɐ fu ˈsoprɐ ˈfakɪ dɐˈvi sɪs prɪt di ˈdeʊ ˈmovɐ sɔp rap]
Dehu dik: luk sa fikat! I luk fu fikat. [ˈdeʊ dɪk lʊk sa fɪˈkat i lʊk fu fɪˈkat]
Dehu vis ke luk fu bon i sipar luk di tembra. [ˈdeʊ vɪs ke lʊk fu bo ni sɪˈpar lʊk di ˈtɛmbrɐ]
Dehu kram luk «di» i tembra «not». [ˈdeʊ kram lʊk di i ˈtɛmbrɐ nɔt]
I fu ser i fu matin: di d'un. [i fu se ri fu mɐˈtɪn di dʊn]

Golden Rule

Regla d'Or [ˈreɡlɐ dɔr]
Ke no vul fikat a ti, no fik a rakun! [ke no vʊl fɪˈka ta ti no fi ka rɐˈkʊn]

'What you don't want done to yourself, don't do to anyone.'


'Once upon a time, all earth had a single language and the same word.'

Babil [bɐˈbɪl]
Un temp, tut ter ten so limba id ipal parul. [ʊn tɛmp tʊt tɛr tɛn so ˈlɪmbɐ i dɪˈpal pɐˈrʊl]


Given Names

Aemilia Imeli
Alexandra, Alexander Lisandra
Aloysius Alesi
Ambrosius Mbrosi
Antonia, Antonius Ntoni
Arturius Ratul
Benedicta, Benedictus Bindit
Caesar Kisar
Caietana, Caietanus Kaitan
Cecilia Kikeli
Christina Kristin
Christus Krist
Claudia, Claudius Krodi
Clemens Kriment
Dulcia Droki
Felix Filik
Flora Flur
Francisca, Franciscus Frankiska
Gaia, Gaius Gai
Hadriana, Hadrianus Drihan
Helena Ren
Henrik Indrik
Hieronyma, Hieronymus Iron
Isabella Savel
John Iuhan
Jake Iakova
Jesus Isu
Julia, Julius Ioli
Judia Iodi
Clara Klar
Laura Lur
Marcus Mbrak
Marcella, Marcellus Mbrakel
Maria, Marius Mari
Martina, Martinus Mbratin
Maximilianum Masimbrihan
Michaela, Michael Mikel
Paula, Paulus Pul
Philippa, Philippus Filip
Richarda, Richardus Rikrada
Sibylla Sivil
Stephana, Stephanus Stifan
Suetonius Svitoni
Theophila, Theophilus Siufil
Tulia, Tulius Toli
Victoria, Victorius Vitori
Vincentius Vinkenti
Walter Galteri
Werhard Girardi
Wernhard Grinaldi


Surnames in Tirkunan are often combinations of a verb and an object or adject. Like in other romance languages, such nouns have a typical verb-noun form: Mumbrukan 'volcano mounter, lit. mount-volcano' (compare French cassegrain 'graincracker').

Often the fused proper noun will show additional elision or fusion or morpheme/word variants, like Umimpreti from Umint+preti or Saltinlak from salt+ni+lak. The fused proper noun will bear only one stress at the end (last or penultimate syllabel), resulting in all vowesl before that to collapse to a i u as for any unstressed syllables, like Numampan from no+mank+pan.

Other typical surname formations derive from nouns using -us to express 'the one who is like...'.

Further, -ari to express 'the one who believes in/practices/works with/deals with/likes...'. Apart from names, this ending is often used for the dealer of the suffixed thing. Accordingly, any profession or generic agent may be a surname, too. These often end in the same -ari, or in the simple agent ending -atur. These verb based forms carrying a nominaliser cannot incorporate any object or adject -- only the non-suffixed verbs can do that.

Adjectives may be used as is for surnames. Also for adjectives, a -us ending, which may seem redundant, is frequent.

Tirkunan surnames are often very colourful, even borderline ridiculous to speakers of other languages.

Ritrunatur returner
Divatur who had to
Sukrikatur who searched alone
Naskrutatur who does not listen
Umimpreti who raised the price
Sulutot solve-everything
Mumbrukan who mounts the volcano
Numampan doesn't eat bread
Udinisun who heard no-one
Avamar who went to the ocean
Saltinlak who jumped into the lake
Nukuntan not telling
Iakatinlak thrown into the lake
Sukrikat the only one who was searched
Suprapasat surpassed
Pridat lost
Nupanus like there is no bread
Fokus like fire
Mirakus like an illusion
Ambilus like an eel
Kavalus like a horse
Kavalinus like a small horse
Kentanus like a hundred years old
Rakunus like someone
Marelus yellowish
Mitisalikari self-salter
Istatari liking the summer
Frumakari liking/dealing with yoghurt
Vekrivisari liking/dealing with old beer
Kipulinari liking/dealing with small onions
Kasiari cheese monger
Balatur dancer

Christmas Card Exchange 2009

The foreside reads 'Hjalri Nátli eð þælkt nó önn', which is Þrjótrunn, meaning 'Merry Christmas and a happy new year'. Our family is on holiday in Þrjótur, sending a card back to their friends at home in Tarragona, Lusitania.

Modern Version

Salu kar ... [ˈsalʊ kar]
Natal Filik id an nova pruspla di nort frida, [nɐˈtal fɪˈli ki dan ˈnovɐ ˈprʊsplɐ di nɔrt ˈfridɐ]
di Friglater, ova nos kilebra Natal. Ka nivik [di frɪɡlɐˈtɛr ˈovɐ nɔs kɪˈlebrɐ nɐˈtal ka nɪˈvɪk]
kustantament i tut kiutat es prin d'Aret Sulan [kʊstɐntɐˈmɛn ti tʊt kjʊˈta tɛs prɪn dɐˈrɛt sʊˈlan]
i di nfant ku frok. Fin akur, pi frutun, vis [i dɪɱ fant ku frɔk fi nɐˈkʊr pi frʊˈtʊn vɪs]
nisu' lisi. Pi kilibrati se mank pisk [nɪˈsu ˈlisɪ pi kɪlɪˈbratɪ se maŋk pɪsk]
apistan. [ɐpɪsˈtan]
A pru trada, [a pru ˈtradɐ]
Oda & Indrik [ˈodɐ ɪnˈdrɪk]

Original Version

The language has changed since 2009. The original Version was as follows:
Salu kar ... [ˈsalʊ kar]
Natal Filik id an nova pruspla di nort frida, [nɐˈtal fɪˈli ki dan ˈnovɐ ˈprʊsplɐ di nɔrt ˈfridɐ]
di Friglater, ova nos kilebra Natal. Ka nivik [di frɪɡlɐˈtɛr ˈovɐ nɔs kɪˈlebrɐ nɐˈtal ka nɪˈvɪk]
kustantament i tot kiutat es prin d'Aret Sular [kʊstɐntɐˈmɛn ti tɔt kjʊˈta tɛs prɪn dɐˈrɛt sʊˈlar]
i di nfant ku frok. Fin akur, pi frutun, vis [i dɪɱ fant ku frɔk fi nɐˈkʊr pi frʊˈtʊn vɪs]
nisu' lisiun. Pi kilibratiun se manga pisk [nɪˈsu lɪˈsjʊn pi kɪlɪbrɐˈtjʊn se ˈmaŋɡɐ pɪsk]
apistan. [ɐpɪsˈtan]
A pru trada, [a pru ˈtradɐ]
Oda & Indrik [ˈodɐ ɪnˈdrɪk]

Hjalri Nátli! There are some minor variations to the text sometimes -- I wrote it by hand and sometimes changed a few words slightly (e.g. no vis raku' lisiun ('we did not see any injury') instead of vis nisu' lisiun ('we saw no injury')).

When addressing a group of people (e.g., a family), I used Salu lis ..., where lis is the definite article in plural, which is used for vocatives (as in French usage).

Hello Dear ...
Merry Christmas and a happy new year from the cold north,
from Þrjótur, where we are celebrating Christmas. Here, it is snowing
constantly, and the whole city is full of Sun Rams
and of children with scissors. Up to now, fortunately, we saw
no injury. For the celebration, people eat stinking fish.
Uta & Henrik
Hallo liebe(r) ...
Frohe Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr aus dem kalten Norden,
aus Þrjótur, wo wir Weihnachten feiern. Hier schneit es
die ganze Zeit, und die ganze Stadt ist voller Sonnenwidder
und voller Kinder mit Scheren. Bisher haben wir glücklicherweise noch
keine Verletzungen gesehen. Zum Fest ißt man stinkenden Fisch.
Bis dann,
Uta & Henrik



Obviously from Latin Lv̄sitānia, which was in the area of today's Portugal in Roman times. Some things seem to have gone differently, since 'Tarragona' is not in Portugal here, but in Spain, in Catalonia. Also, obviously neither 'Portugal' nor 'Spain' is named after the Latin Lv̄sitānia, but 'Lustani' seems to be a country there. And also, the city seems to be larger than here, provided that 'Tirkunis' is really our 'Tarragona', i.e. Tarracō in Roman times.
The strong simplifications of pronouns and case system of Tirkunan can be observed in other Romance languages, too. E.g. the collapse of cases in pronouns into the accusative in ego, tv can be found in Ligurian, Piemontese, Venetian, and Lombard, which have 'mi, ti', and to a lesser degree and into the nominative in Catalan, which has 'jo, tu' (and also 'mi' in some contexts); accidentally, Ligurian singular pronouns are virtually identical to Tirkunan: 'mi, ti, lê' vs. 'mi, ti, le'.
Similar to Asturian.
Like in Sardinian.
Compare Italian 'acquistare', 'conquistare', 'diventare', 'voltare', and Catalan 'gausar', French 'oser', Portuguese 'ousar', Spanish 'osar', Italian: 'osare' < avdēre, avsvm. If Tirkunan has creole-like traces, English verbs might also be relevant for comparison as many are loaned from the Latin supine stem: 'discuss', 'prevent'.
Compare Romance here: Qvatere has not survived, but discvtere has survived in Italian 'discùtere' and Spanish 'discutir'


May 14th, 2019
Comments? Suggestions? Corrections? You can drop me a line.