A.M.D.G hello.jpg The Pjaggbah Languages


The Pjaggbah language family, in the usual orthography *Pȧgg·bâh, also variously romanised as Pyaggbah, Piàg-bá, Pıagba, etc. comprises the languages spoken by the Pjaggbah peoples on the eastern shore of the Inner Ocean. It has no identifiable affinity with any of the Shapgapsh languages, but a few Proto-Pjaggbah-Natural forms can be reconstructed.

The Pjaggbah zone is bounded on a river by Natural speakers in the north, by Easterners to the east, by the Tethys Ocean in the southeast and on a mountain range by Metallic speakers in the southwest. The zone spreads over four rivers, each river valley giving rise distinct Pjaggbah varieties. In clockwise order, these are:

An enigmatic but divergent variety of *Di·swumm was spoken by the shore of the Tethys Ocean

The *Gⱡolh languages are spoken only on the eastern bank of the *Gⱡolh river, as well as across the gulf. The area to the west is in the Natural zone.

The Pjaggbah languages are all extinct, surviving only until around the time of the Shapgapsh expansion, wherein the northern part of the zone was conquered by peoples who became the Religious, and the southern part of the zone a little later integrated into the Metallic zone. The best surviving evidence of the Pjaggbah languages is therefore found in the southern zones, away from the conflagrations of *Gⱡolh and *Swa. This necessarily leads to a southern bias in reconstruction -- in particular, no lengthy texts of the *Swa were known until recently, and none are still recovered from the Mȯm. This misfortune has made reconstructing further affinities between the Pjaggbah and the Naturals a little difficult. The standard reconstruction is very much a Proto-*Di·swumm-Gⱡolh.

The Pjaggbah give their name to the pre-Shapgapsh period of antiquity as they appear to have had quite a distinct and advanced civilization, making use of both riverine and marine travel to coordinate communication between the four valleys. The capital zone was around the *Gⱡolh river valley, in which a monarch ruled over the three subsidiary kings of the valleys and where he contended with his cousins in the west. This is despite, or possibly because of, the fact that the *Gⱡolh is by far the shortest of the four Pjaggbah rivers, with the rivals *Swa and *Di·swumm being the most productive regions in the zone. The *Mȯm is significantly longer than all the other rivers, but the Pjaggbah appeared to have great difficulty projecting power very far upstream, and it was not until the Religious invasion that the whole river was unified and turned into a central power base.

In this text, where we use the name "Pjaggbah" in any definite linguistic context, it is used to refer to the reconstructed ancestral form of the Pjaggbah languages, which perhaps could better be called "Proto-Pjaggbah". Henceforth the use of asterisks to denote reconstructed forms will be suppressed, or in clearly-marked non-Pjaggbah examples. Instead, the asterisk is used to mark non-attested examples of the descendant Pjaggbah varieties, and the double asterisk to mark examples that are both ungrammatical and unattested.

There is also no lexical item corresponding unambiguously to the Pjaggbah language, rather than the cultural group. The speech of the Pjaggbah is referred to, adjectivally, as being Pȧgg·bâh', but more commonly we find the language referred to as being of one of the four kingdoms.

Historical Sketch

Sketch map of the kingdoms of the Pjaggbah

The origins of the Pjaggbah are very obscure. They burst into the historical scene almost fully formed, knowing how to navigate the seas, to ride, to drive, to write and to rule. It would seem they arrived in the Middle East by sea, and won kingdoms for themselves there.

They appear to be of a Natural stock, though Pjaggbah cannot be placed in relation to the known Natural languages, and were most likely displaced by quarrels far to the west, although where they obtained the art of writing is mysterious, as no evidence of Natural writing has ever been found, and Naturals are not famed mariners.

The quadripartite division is ancient and may correspond to the settling of different tribes, or ethnicities that formed a coalition during their initial invasions. What is certain is that the royal family of each region traced its origins and justified its rule by being descended from one of the original warlords.

The fortunes of the four kingdoms soon began to diverge -- whereas the *Swa (b in the map) and *Di·swumm (e in the map) either inherited, or developed prosperous river-valley kingdoms, the *Mȯm (c in the map) failed to project their power and remained pressed between the two rival kings, the barbarians in the east and the cunning *Gⱡolh (a in the map).

The *Gⱡolh outright lacked an extensive valley to even aspire to dominate and were checked to the north and west by their Natural cousins. Consequently, the policy of the *Gⱡolh was to play the three other kings against each other. This policy was successful, as the kings of the *Gⱡolh achieved hegemonic status and became monarchs of the Pjaggbah, compelling the other kingdoms to submit to them. It is impossible to tell whether the claims of the *Gⱡolh kings to have descended from the commander of the Pjaggbah invasions has any historical basis, or was invented to provide legitimacy to their hegemony. It would seem unusual for the leader of a force so clearly intending to stay to choose so unpromising a seat for his kingdom.

Capitalising on the weakness of the *Mȯm, and stimulated by intermittent attempts of the *Swa to break them, the *Gⱡolh developed the southwestern patch of the *Mȯm across from the gulf into a secondary centre of *Gⱡolh power (d in the map). This ensured that traffic in and out of the gulf was controlled by the *Gⱡolh, with only the *Di·swumm having the privilege of free access to the sea.

At their height, the Pjaggbah were the light of civilisation in the East, and it is perhaps at their height, or only a little past, that they were torn apart by the ravages of the Shapgapsh expansion in the north, first breaking the *Gⱡolh entirely, sweeping southwards even to the east of the *Mȯm, and meeting the Metallics who picked up the *Di·swumm in the chaos, there to begin the great clash of civilisations that has characterised the Middle East ever since.

Between the two conquests, the Age of the Pjaggbah lasted a little longer than a millennium, and between the barbarians, the Monarchy of the Pjaggbah stretched over a little less than 5 million square kilometers.

How did the Metallics end up taking the Swa?

Outline of the Grammar

The present Grammar is primarily a comparative grammar of the classical forms of the Gⱡolh and Di·swumm languages, but written in the philological context of a) reconstucted Pjaggbah and b) post-classical understanding, including of the minor Pjaggbah varieties.

After a brief initial section, including this Outline, treating with the Pjaggbah languages as a whole, the Grammar will proceed to treat Gⱡolh and Di·swumm in parallel. In some sections, such as those comparing lexical items, the study is in very close parallel, but in others such as the sections on phonological development, the structure necessarily becomes more serial.

Wherever possible, examples in multiple languages are given to demonstrate points common to both languages, ideally but by no means always, from attested texts.

How do we differentiate between Pjaggbah and the varieties in writing? - colour, punctuation etc. What about diachronic differences, and source citation?

When do we use phonetic notation and when native orthography?

How do we decide what variety to name things in?


The Pjaggbah languages are all corpus languages, with no descendants surviving very far into the Age of the Shapgapsh, and so our knowledge of Pjaggbah grammar and lexicon is extremely circumscribed by the poverty of the available data. In total about 10,000 known texts have been collected and analysed. At the lower end are epigrams on ready-to-hand items, mostly a source of proper names and the names of artifacts. At the upper end are the four treasures of Pjaggbahistics:

The Classical Corpus

Adding together the total word counts of all the classical corpus of Pjaggbah -- including fragments in texts written primarily in other languages and preserved orally -- the total classical corpus size amounts to little more than 110,000 words. Of these, there are approximately 4,500 unique words, including names and proper nouns.

The corpus is divided almost evenly between Di·swumm and Gⱡolh forms. Philologists have identified a Swa substratum in certain of the texts of the Moekko, with, mostly, the confirmation of modern archaeology. The language of Mȯm remained very dark until philological teasing apart of "corrupt" fragments in the Lesser Tig Tenh and Religious texts -- the Mȯm became, after all, the central zone of the Religious -- revealed areal features, decisively proven by the discovery of inscriptions in the modern age. it is safe to say that the central varieties remain enigmatic, and in the absence of any lengthy texts comparable to the classical sources will continue to do so.

Some statistics for context:

The classical corpus is a little less than the corpus of Koiné Greek present in the New Testament.

The total number of valid sinh and glûh syllables not counting tones in our reconstructed proto-Pjaggbah is approximately 3500, and the number of ḅblo is very much larger.

The proportion of ḅblo roots in the lexical corpus of the Moekko is about 20%. In the Greater Tig Tenh it is is only 5%, but in the Middle and Lesser Tig Tenh it is also approximately 20%.

The Modern Corpus

While the Moekko and the Tig Tenh have been known since antiquity, the other two treasures lay hidden until modern times, and were between them morally responsible for the revival of Pjaggbahistics. The approximately 1,000 classical inscriptions (a figure achieved by taking the two classical treasures apart into sections) have been augmented with many thousands more, albeit smaller, more repetitive and more mundane, epigraphic artifacts. Each of these is a treasure, but for reasons of symmetry, two in particular are considered the modern equivalents of the two classical treasures:

Add a second modern treasure - a diary of some kind with calendar and some business notes.


Problematising the neat division of the corpus into Classical and Modern is the phenomenon of Neo-Gⱡolh, dating from the middle ages and whose origin appears to have been in the Martial Islands. There is one reference to an archipelago in classical Pjaggbah texts that may or may not refer to these islands, but a magician from there rose to prominence, holding that the identification was certain. She claimed to have obtained esoteric knowledge of Gⱡolh from communication with Pjaggbah spirits and produced new Tig Tenh for her own purposes.

It would be easy to dismiss the whole incident as mere enthusiasm were it not for two things, the second more uncanny than the first:

Firstly, her Tig Tenh were so in sympathy with the spritual mood of her time and place, that they have been popularly confused with the authentic Tig Tenh, and indeed some of the most popular quotations of "the Wisdom of the Tig Tenh" take their origin from them.

Secondly, the magician clearly had linguistic gifts from some source, since where she could not find any suitable existing words, she invented new "Gⱡolh" words and deployed them in a convincing Lesser Tig Tenh manner. Although some of them are plainly corruptions of Universalic or Majoritic words, some appear to be quite philologically valid cognates of words only attested in Di·swumm. This could easily be put down to there being, within the rough of her enthusiasm, adamant philological sense, but some of the nonsense words not easily classifiable as being Shapshirruck loans or wildly-guessed cognates have since been discovered on finds in the Modern Corpus. Reactions to this vary from vindicated wonder on the part of her modern disciples, to violent and statistically minded scepticism from the usual parties.

This Grammar sidesteps the whole issue by making no further mention of the matter and using no Neo-Gⱡolh evidence. It includes this brief section if only because no text treating with Gⱡolh at any length can afford not to.

A Poet's Caution

As a general comment, it is worth stressing that we have no examples of lengthy prose, or naturalistic dialogue, in any Pjaggbah language. All of our major sources are written in clearly poetic genres, and our understanding of Pjaggbah is distorted by this, perhaps heavily. As well as lacking examples of everyday usage, we are also lacking in examples of language writen without whatever linguistic licence or special aesthetic qualities were granted to poets, ritual specialists and epigraphists.

As our evidence is so coloured by this fact, it is appropriate to summarise the structures of the Moekko and Tig Ten to foreground their special linguistic qualities.

The Structure of the Moekko


The structure of the Tig Tenh is that of the cosmology of the Pjaggbah. The Moekko is no less structured, but in a more mundane, geographical manner.

The Moekko Proper

Approximately the first half of the Moekko are the Ṁgȯ·dô Moekko Proper, a selection of 336 short, lyrical poems, and likely songs, with a provenance divided up among twelve different named regions:

Di·swumm Mȯm Swa Gⱡolh
Swîhh·sill Blạn·ah·ninh Łann Gagh·ⱡahh
Pâm·dọgg Sạh·cọhh Dinh·blwugg Dlwọh'·samm
Gạg·bɫọ' Ⱡụh Bnạlh·bọg

Presented above in tabular form for convenience, and not to burden the reader with strange names in fast sequence, the order of the sections is read from top to bottom, left to right, thus the first moekko from Blạn·ah·ninh from the Kingdom of Mȯm comes after the last of the moekko of the Di·swumm, from Dọh·pi

It is reasonable to presume, as most Pjaggbahists do, that the label of each section corresponds to the location where the compiler collected the songs, and there is some internal evidence to support this, although from such a remove, it is difficult to tell apart authentic local colour from a stagey false authenticity. Generally, the Moekko seem to have been selected and valued for their general wit, feeling, and beauty, rather than as a record of local situations. Perhaps it is out of recognition of these qualities that, despite the great diversity in place names, the linguistic variety of the Moekko is remarkably uniform and distinctly Swîhh·sill throughout.

Some of these names are more familiar than others: Gagh·ⱡahh of course is the City of the Monarchs and these moekko do have a distinctly urban feel in contrast to the pastoral content of most of the Moekko. Swîhh·sill and Łann likewise are the royal cities of their respective kingdoms, but the choice of the locations associated by the compiler for Mȯm is a puzzle. Blạn·ah·ninh and Sạh·cọhh are familiar locations, both became important Religious cities, and both make as much sense as the other locations as being likely provincial gathering-places for moekko, but the royal city of Mȯm was Rôm. There is no strong evidence to support the hypothesis that the "Moekko of Rôm" were lost at all, let alone lost with another "wandering Moekko" to bring the total number up to a round Pjaggbah fourteen, and all claims to have discovered these have been proven spurious.

The King Moekko

Where the Moekko Proper are geographical, the Ṁgȯ·rȧgg King Moekko are historical. These are fourteen epic moekko concerning fourteen significant pȧgg monarchs and rȧgg kings of the Pjaggbah. These are regular in structure, written in a strict divided fourteen-syllable line with rhyming couplets. Together, they comprise the third quarter of the Moekko.

The language of the King Moekko, although most certainly Di·swumm, has distinct grammatical features and vocabulary from the Moekko Proper, and tradition ascribes it to the Swa. Since the discovery of Swa inscriptions in the post-classical era, most Pjaggbahists now recognise many distinct Swaicisms in the King Moekko.

List the relevant kings here and outline the story of the epic.

Barbarian Moekko

The final quarter of the Moekko are the Ṁgȯ·swogh Barbarian Moekko. These are a diverse miscellany of moekko, ascribed, in the subsection labels to the Swogh·di Northern Barbarians (Naturals), Swogh·nag Southern Barbarians(Metallics), Cȧgh·Cagh Devils (Easterners) and Lwunh Animals.

The first two appear to be more or less accurate renditions of folk tales and songs found among these people, certainly in the case of the Ṁgȯ·Swogh·nag, which are revered by the Metallics as a recording of their own ancient folk songs. The ascriptions to the Devils and Animals are less literal, as would be expected from their ascription to unsinging beings. The Devil Moekko are warlike songs written from the imagined perspective of Easterners, whereas the Animal Moekko are charming animal fables.

The Structure of the Tig Tenh


To understand the structure of the Tig Tenh it is important to understand the Pjaggbah cosmos as, to a significant extent, the two are one and the same. The Pjaggbah zone is at the southern limb of Here, but is still sufficiently boreal, with the cultural centre of gravity of the Pjahhbah lying around the 50th degree of latitude, especially considering that the Urheimat of the Pjaggbah could very well be considerably higher, given how wide-ranging the Naturals appear to have been, that those astronomical conditions which prevail at high latitudes obtain strongly in the world-picture of the Pjaggbah.

The cosmos of the Pjaggbah is quadripartite, with the cosmos being composed, travelling upwards and outwards, of the Mâmm·dlwọgh Milk-World, the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh Inhabited World or Œcumene, the Tig·nah Planetary Way and the Rwôn Stars or Starlands.

The Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh is a large and breast-like dome, with the Dlwọgh·linh World-Nipple present at the north pole. Dlwọgh·linh is, in fact, the common Pjaggbah name for this geographical feature, and is the etymology of the Universalic name for the poles of the globe.

Underneath the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh is the Mâmm·dlwọgh. As well as being the source of living life, and the original home of the races of the world, and of the Gmụ Milk-Elves, the Dlwọgh·linh, which is a sort of growth of the Mâmm·dlwọgh through the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh, provides milk for the Tig planets, for reasons which will shortly become apparent.

By a remarkable astronomical coincidence absent in our time, the path of the ecliptic and the path of the Galaxy (Better to say Tig·nah and have a care to divest the Galaxy of all its lactic connotations, which would seem topsy-turvy to the Pjaggbah mentality) are almost coincident, and so the Tig·nah, which can be translated as both Galaxy and ecliptic, stretches from the East to the West. A clearer delineation of the two planes, which is, in the mythos of the Universalic Scientists seeking to find precursors to their own astronomical discoveries, the great astronomical insight that the Pjaggbah astrologers encoded in the two-part division of the heavens, shows that the the inclination of the ecliptic is such that it diverts to the south near the Galactic Centre and, more noticeably, to the north near the Galactic rim. This fact is significant.

The Tig·nah then is that zone of the heavens where the Tig live, with the Rwôn being defined by exclusion.

Essentially, the Pjaggbah view is that the Tig are good, but the Rwôn are evil. It would be a great blasphemy for anyone to confuse the two categories, although not for any reasons a Scientific astronomer would recognise. The Tig and Rwôn are the same sort of being, though the Tig are very much more powerful and more strongly inclined to be beneficial to the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh.

The Origins of the Tig

This distinction is caused by the presence of the Dlwọgh·linh and is explained in the following myth:

Long ago, there was a great war among the Rwôn, a time of darkness in which the races of the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh suffered terribly. A band of seven stellar warriors, not famous among the Rwôn in any way, somehow ended up near the Dlwọgh·linh and, thirsty, drank from it. Although the whole Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh at first trembled to see Rwôn come so near, in drinking, the seven Rwôn were transformed into the Tig.

Bnọn Sun was the leader of the band, the first to drink, and the greatest drinker, and so he became the most brilliant of the Tig. Łi Venus, his wife (or sometimes concubine), was the second to drink, and she also shone brightly and kindly. Łilh Mercury, Bnọn's concubine (or sometimes catamite), tried to drink, but the mentally unstable and jealous Dmeg Moon frightened Łilh away before they could drink more than a taste. The three thanes of the Bnọn: Sûh Mars, Sônn Jupiter and Sâll Saturn pushed Dmeg out of the way, lined up and also drank, but by the time it was Sâll's turn, the Dlwọgh·linh had run dry, and this is why he is the darkest of all the Tig.

Dmeg was suspicious and would not take part in either the drinking party or, in the erotic version, the orgy that ensued from the new strength and beauty of the Tig. In the clean version, Dmeg simply lies down on some milk that was spilt in the original excitement, but the reason for his lying down is given as him wishing to masturbate in a comfortable position viewing the orgy of the Tig. Regardless of the reason, Dmeg ended up absorbing a large quantity of milk, more than any of the Tig bar the Bnọn, though only on his backside, and for this reason Dmeg is the second brightest of the Tig, but only on one side.

It is common for the kings, and later monarchs, of the Gⱡolh to be identified with Bnọn, and the kings of the other three kingdoms to be identified with the three Thane-Tig. The identities are not entirely consistent, although generally it falls to the king of the Mȯm to be Sâll. The kings of the Swa and Di·swumm tend to be Sûh and Sônn, respectively.

The Conquest of the Rwôn

The seven Tig are known by name, but the Rwôn are either nameless, or have abominable names (with a few exceptions). When they are referred to individually, it is by means of often quite poetic circumlocutions, although we must remember the nature of the corpus before coming to any conclusions about Pjaggbah starlore.

The great exception to the rule that the Rwôn are evil are the two polar stars. Alone of the Rwôn, their two names are mentioned in the Tig Tenh (and the Moekko, and elsewhere): Lân and Lôn. The two reasons given for this are that, firstly, Lân and Lôn are the mother and father of the Tig, and they were persuaded by the Tig on their homecoming after their transformation to show favour to the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh. The second myth is that they have taken their station in the north, under the influence of the Tig, right above the Dlwọgh·linh, and so they are constantly bathed in the thin trickle of milk that extends directly out, giving them the virtues of the Tig in milder form. This identification is such that among the other epithets of the pole stars, we find them called Bnọn·rwôn and Łi·rwôn.

The remnant of the Rwôn are responsible for all the evils in the world. Seeing this, the Tig made war on them. They established the Tig·nah, and divided the Rwôn up into Poh constellations, taking a divide et impera policy towards them. There are, of course, many stars within the Tig·nah, but they have been rendered more innocuous, or even servile by the wars of the Tig, and therefore bring a mixture of banes and boons. This is the basis of Pjaggbah astrology. The motions and positions of the Tig indicate the overall disposition of the Rwôn.

The Poh are fourteen divisions of the sky in a broad band of either side of the Tig·nah, celestial lands on whom the Tig declared war:

List the constellations here.

The Rwôn in the north of the sky are, in principle, under the dominion of Lân and Lôn, though they lack the power of their children and so the Rwôn there remain relatively free to cause evil. They are responsible for those evils of the world that can never be avoided and in which astrology can offer no help. The only recourse is prayer to Lân and Lôn.

The stars far to the south of the Tig·nah, beyond the Poh are the most malevolent of Rwôn since the rule of the Tig does not extend that far, and nor is there a counterpart in the south to Lân and Lôn to govern them be it ever so feebly. The mitigation is that whereas the Rwôn of Lân and Lôn include the circumpolar stars, whose influence is ever felt, the stars of the south appear and disappear and never culminate, and so their evil arises and falls. They are responsible for wars, plagues and other dramatic evils, against which there is no sure recourse.

Tig Tenh

This is sufficient cosmic background to understand the structure of the Tig Tenh. If the reader desires more background, then your attention is kindly drawn to the Appendix in which further detail is given about the Tig Tenh, regardless, the reader will now understand what is meant by saying that the 28 divisions of the Greater Tig Tenh are subdivided into fourteen paired sections, named after each of the Poh, in which stories of the Tig in relation to that Poh are collected. Typically one portion of each section tells of events that take place among the Rwôn, and the second tells of related events in the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh.

The general pattern of events in each division is that there is some evil in the world, which the Tig seek to right and usually do so by the end of the portion, for which they are praised and glorified. Sometimes the instigating incident of the portion happens down in the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh, leading to action among the Rwôn but sometimes it is a perfidious action of the Rwôn that begins the section, requiring salvation in the second portion. Sometimes the battle appears to happen simultaneously in both parts of the cosmos, or it is not clear where exactly events are happening. It is as often the case that men are taken up into the Tig·nah as that the Tig descend to the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh, and both worlds are described as having similar geographical features.

Each portion and sub-portion begins and ends with variations on formulae in which we find nonsensical and unglossed groups of syllables that may have been -- and certainly have since been appropriated as -- sacred utterances akin to mantras, or magic words.

The Greater Tig Tenh is light on dialogue -- although characters certainly do have speaking roles, they seldom speak more than a few sentences at a time and when they do speak, their words are full of meaning and portent. Perhaps to compensate for this, the liturgical narrator gives a copious running commentary on what is happening, being sure to issue praise, blame, shame, and glory where it is appropriate.

The Greater Tig Tenh is written in varied and loose verse. Generally, the line is of 14 syllables in two sections of seven syllables, though not all lines fit this pattern. Stanza length varies, and distinct sections can be identified as having, or not having, rhyming final syllables, or distinct tone patterns. Since we have very little evidence for how the Greater Tig Tenh was used liturgically, or devotionally, the significance of this heterogeneity is unclear.

In principle, each Tig is the ruler of two Poh. In astrological practice, and in the later parts of the Tig Tenh these correspondences are more rigid, but the authors, or compilers, of the Greater Tig Tenh are more flexible in their ascription of Tig to the appropriate Poh-divisions and appear to have fit stories to places where they make better narrative or liturgical sense than astrological.

The Middle Tig Tenh can be read as a commentary on the Greater Tig Tenh, or as a companion. It is split into about a dozen subdivisions, with no overall scheme, of one or a few paragraphs long, discussing a mixture of events in the Greater Tig Tenh and briefly summarising or mentioning other people, events, artifacts and places related to them. Pjaggbahists usually attribute the Middle Tig Tenh to a single scholarly author owing to its singularity of voice and purpose, but it is unclear whether this author was aware of the precise structure of the Greater Tig Tenh. He does not make use of the sections of the Greater Tig Tenh, either to arrange his material or in explicit reference, although he does make use of the same Poh as a way to refer to events by their place. The Middle Tig Tenh is a mixture of verse and prose: in some places the commenter is adding material in a Greater Tig Tenh style verse, but most of it is fragmentary prose sections, and for this reason, the Middle Tig Tenh is our most important source for Pjaggbah prose style.

Even more than the Middle Tig Tenh, the Lesser Tig Tenh defies schematisation. The 140 sections are very short, averaging a couple of dozen syllables, written in a corrupt, or very late Gⱡolh. Some of them are lists of appellations of Tig or Rwôn, some are proverbs, some appear to be fragments of lengthier passages similar to those found in the Greater Tig Tenh, some are worshipful descriptions of the Tig and other holy people, some passages are interpretable as advice to astrologers, but some passages remain entirely enigmatic, containing seemingly nonsensical syllables. The author, or more likely compiler, of the Lesser Tig Tenh appears to have made very little attempt to impose order onto their material. In some places the compiler exhorts the reader to see what is present -- a trope appearing also in the Middle Tig Tenh. It is not clear whether this is rhetoric, or if the original manuscript, now lost, was richly illustrated. This is the view of the majority of Pjaggbahists, although opinion has varied greatly over time, especially due to the recurrence every few centuries of forged, or inspired, "Pjaggbah Images". None have been found ultimately to be of any Pjaggbahistic merit, and so we are obliged to take the Tig Tenh, along with the accompanying secondary and tertiary scholarship of the centuries, as it is.

Pjaggbah Orthography

Etic Orthographies

The orthography used in this grammar to write Pjaggbah is based on the standard Metallic orthography used by most Pjaggbahists. Metallic scholars trace an unbroken civilisational chain back to the Old East Metallic peoples of the Age of the Pjaggbah. This political claim of antiquity, and the lead that Metallic-speaking scholars have taken in postclassical Pjaggbahistics has led to the favoured use of a Di·swumm-based phonology in writing Pjaggbah.

Di·swumm, also, is written also in a romanisation based on the traditional Metallic, and works on a similar principle to that for the reconstructed Pjaggbah: tones are marked with (silent) tone letters at the end of syllables. Pjaggbah contains many more, and different, diphthongs than Di·swumm, and these are marked up by the addition of diacritics which are represented in the romanisation as dots.

However, this grammar uses the traditional Universalic-based orthography to write Gⱡolh, partly to more clearly differentiate Gⱡolh and Di·swumm examples, partly also to show some of the international flavour of Pjaggbahistics, but also for historical reasons. Whereas the Moekko are appreciated throughout the world for their literary and historical qualities, there has never been any serious, mainstream interest in the Tig Tenh in the Metallic lands, but the text has had many periods of, often intense, interest in the Shapshirruckish-speaking lands.

There do exist Universalic-based orthographies for writing Pjaggbah, and Metallic orthographies for writing Gⱡolh, but as, for the purposes of this grammar, we only require romanisations, they are of little interest to us.

Principles of Ⱡo·mon

The native Pjaggbah script, Ⱡo·mon exists in several different forms, most notably a monumental form for carving in stone, some technically post-Pjaggbah Religious scribal hands, and a more demotic script found on potsherds and other ready-to-hand artifacts. The ready-to-hand form appears to have been quite widely used by the merchants who traded between the Pjaggbah valleys, as well as by the monarchy's bureaucrats, and developed independently of the hand used by later Religious scribes.

Certain of the letter-forms and the general aesthetic of monumental ⱡo·mon had a profound influence on early Religious aesthetic culture, and some of the technical terms used to describe features of Ⱡo·mon derive from their later adaption into Religious architecture and design.

The atomic unit of all styles of Ⱡo·mon is the glyph. Essentially the same set of glyphs is used in all the different forms of Ⱡo·mon and, indeed, throughout the whole Pjaggbah zone. Pjaggbah glyphs are assembled into syllable blocks, which are the molecular units of Ⱡo·mon.

Viewed from this molecular viewpoint, Ⱡo·mon is a sort of logo-semi-syllabic script. Each syllable block contains, at minimum, a logographic element, and usually also -- certainly in demotic but not always in monumental Ⱡo·mon, one, two, sometimes three and rarely four, phonetic components. When a syllable block contains both a logographic element and phonetic components, the logographic element is called the determinative.

The two most commonly used phonetic components correspond to the onset and the rime of the syllable being written, and the typical arrangement is for the onset-glyph to be found on the left of the determinative and the rime glyph underneath these two. A third phonetic component is found in sesquisyllables, and here the two onset glyphs are found next to one another on the left.

A third phonetic component is sometimes found to the right of the determinative. There appear to be multiple reasons for this. Sometimes it correlates with a particular phonological shift found in dialects -- for instance, over time, there is a merger of syllables ending in -n and -l. Sometimes, but not always, this distinction is maintained in writing the rime glyph, even when it has been lost in speech, but the scribe adds a supernumerary phonetic "n" to the right of the determinative to make the pronunciation clear.

One special difficulty involves tones. Tones, generally, are encoded in the rime glyph, but it seems that supernumerary phonetics were sometimes used to mark local variations. Some epigraphs even show supernumerary rime glyphs, which prove difficult to interpret. Some inscriptions prove so impossible to interpret, that some scholars reconstruct unattested "ghost" syllables to explain how a particular "clarification" could possibly help to clarify the scribe's intent!

Scribes do not always write all the phonetic components of a syllable that one might hope for: sometimes, especially with syllables containing low-frequency determinatives in an uncertain hand, or heavily grammaticalised syllables, or in certain archaising examples where a phonetic glyph is being used with logographic sense, if one does not find a pure logogram, one might find a single phonetic component only. But despite this, the set of glyphs used is remarkably consistent over the great span of the Pjaggbah zone. The same basic set, with minor modifications to adapt to local, or indeed alien, conditions, are used consistently, providing a great help to latter-day Pjaggbahists. Postclassical archaeological findings often show new, sometimes enigmatic, determinatives (especially in onomastic syllables), but by and large, it has been possible to fit all revelations into the overall Ⱡo·mon scheme thanks to this consistent use of phonetic components.

Fortunately, when it comes to the two Classical Treasures of Pjaggbahistics, we are provided with thorough glosses into Old Eastern Metallic and Religious, which provide an invaluable outside view when interpreting Ⱡo·mon. A script derived from Demotic Ⱡo·mon was used in early Religious texts before the introduction of the Universalic script, and it is still studied as part of Religious religion. This, along with the absorption of some Ⱡo·mon ideographs, and indeed phonetic glyphs, into the iconography of the Religious aesthetic, to say nothing of the work of various Pjaggbah revivals, has given Ⱡo·mon a sort of enduring life, or at least afterlife.

Demotic Ⱡo·mon

The ten strokes used in writing Demotic Ⱡo·mon

Ten strokes are used to write Demotic Ⱡo·mon, pictured above. The most commonly used are the eight long strokes, all of which have one curved end which is drawn fluidly as an integral part of the stroke. The distinctive aesthetic of Demotic is in no small part created by there being no long, straight strokes used in writing, and no diagonal strokes employed at all.

The only straight stroke employed is the short, horizontal stroke, which forms an integral part of some glyphs, and is often used to form variant forms of glyphs for the reasons outlined above.

The circle is the least commonly found stroke. It is an integral part of a few glyphs, but is more frequently used to form variants, or out of horror vacui.

It is an almost-perfect rule (subject of course to exceptions) that every glyph in Demotic is written as one connected glyph.

The syllables 'bⱡȯh', 'mânn' and 'swigg' written in Demotic Ⱡo·mon with analysis

Pictured above are three syllables bⱡȯh to live (in), mânn male person and swigg (to be) white written out in Demotic, above the romanisation in a more naïve hand, and below in the elegant, horizontally elongated hand favoured by bureaucrats, and this grammar. The analysis of the glyphs is given in the naive form as these show the underlying forms more clearly.

What is made clear by the above examples is that the basic strokes can be transformed substantially, shortened or elongated in both directions, so that the same stroke can be written as an almost-straight horizonal line imperceptibly curving upwards towards the end, or as a very sharp bend upwards: the two forms of the sw- phonetic provide a particularly striking example.

The "person" determinative, here written in mânn, is exceptional in that the leftmost stroke is a single meandering curve. This is not typical, and most scribes will prefer to break such a curve into two components. The "person" determinative is a very common exception to this rule.

The circular strokes in the bureaucratic hand, in these cases, are simply to fill gaps created by the conventions of the hand -- notice their absence in the naïve hand.

The naïve swigg syllable is a type of hand more commonly found in the eastern kingdoms, in which downstrokes smoothly curve downwards rather than proceeding straight. This is particularly clear in the form of the "pour" determinative, but it is also shown in the sw- initial glyph.

Demotic syllable blocks are written into columns from top to bottom, and these columns written from left to right. The overall effect in fully phonetic Ⱡo·mon is that text is read semisyllabically reading downwards, alternating between initial and rime glyphs with determinatives placed off to the right, adding context.

Pjaggbah Phonology

Pjaggbah Consonants

The consonant inventory of Pjaggbah can be quite uncontroversially reconstructed as containing two series of stops /p t k/, with a voicing distinction /b d g/, a glottal stop /ʔ/ and two nasals /m n/. There appear to be four distinct series of liquids, three lateral, written as unbarred, singly and doubly barred l, of an increasingly dark quality, alongside a rhotic liquid. A single sibilant consonant can also be reconstructed, as well as contrasting labialised forms of all five oral sonorants.

p t c (k) ʔ
b d g
m n
l (l̪) ɫ (ɫ) (ʎ, ʟ) r s
lw (l̪ʷ) ɫw (ɫʷ) ⱡw (ʎʷ, ʟʷ) rw (rʷ) sw (sʷ)

With the exception of the glottal stop, all consonants are written phonemically in the standard orthography used here.

The glottal stop is sometimes predictable -- initially, where no other initial consonant in present, and finally, in an open syllable with a nucleus composed of a pure vowel or an overdot-diphthong (see below). These stops are not usually marked orthographically, except in cases of ambiguity.

The glottal stop cannot reliably be predicted in open consonants in which the nucleus is an underdot diphthong, and in these cases, at least in descriptive grammars, it is marked with some means, typically an apostrophe '.

Note that the half-syllable in a sesquisyllable (see below) is not counted as open for purposes of glottal-stop insertion, and so no glottal stop is to be inserted in this location, although one may be present where the full syllable of the sesquisyllable has no initial consonant. In these cases, the glottal stop is usually also marked.

Pjaggbah Vowels

Pjaggbah Vowel Inventory

Five vowel qualities can be reconstructed -- almost a typical five vowel with length contrast Romance system, except /e/ is reconstructed as heavily reduced in most environments. Chiefly this is due to its invariable use as the nucleus of the half-syllable in sesquisyllabic roots. Along with the absence of any corresponding long */eː/, it appears to have had no colouring qualities in any sound changes, and so a reduced form, if any vowel at all, is reconstructed:

i iː u uː
ə o oː
a aː

These are written:

i î u û
e* o ô
a â

*Note that in the half-syllable of sesquisyllabic roots, e is often left implied, except in cases where an ambiguity is possible between a monosyllable and a sesquisyllable. Often, including in this grammar, the nucleus of a half-syllable is also marked with a jot either above or below.

Pjaggbah Diphthongs

Six diphthongs are reconstructed, in two series, with a central vowel like a, o or u, depending on whether the central vowel has an onglide or an onglide. In all six cases the glide is reconstructed as a /j/ or /i/-like sound. These diphthongs are written with a jot above or below the vowel:
onglide offglide

Pjaggbah Tonality

Pjaggbah is reconstructed as having largely monosyllabic roots, with lexical tonal contrast at the syllable level. The half-syllable of sesquisyllabic word is neutral in reconstructed proto-forms, although not usually in derived languages.

Three tones: high, mid, and low, can be reconstructed as simple register tones, with no contours. No special phonation distinctions can be reconstructed for these three tones.

The tonality of a syllable is now usually written with variant forms of the coda. This is explained at greater length in the section on syllable structure.

Pjaggbah Syllables

The majority of roots in Pjaggbah are mono- or sesqui-syllabic. In fact, three classes of syllable, and with them probable lexical strata can be discerned, of increasing complexity:

Simplest are the first class, or sinh roots: These have a simple (C)V(Cf) structure and they are named after their prototype sinh to give. The consonants that can be found at the coda of a syllable are strictly limited to /m n g/ and a single lateral, probably /ɫ/. This is, in fact, true of all three classes of root. Any phonemic consonant may be found in the onset, and any vowel in the nucleus.

Roots of the second, or glûh class have a C1C2V(Cf) structure. Two kinds of clusters are found in the onset: voiced stop + lateral consonant, or heterorganic voiced stop + nasal consonant clusters. Thus the following are all found:

bl bⱡ
dl dⱡ
gl gⱡ
blw bɫw bⱡw
dlw dɫw dⱡw
glw gɫw gⱡw
gm gn

Strictly speaking, words of the glûh class must have a complex onset, as this was the defining trait of the class, however theorists have also placed words with simple onsets in this class on various grounds.

Words of the third, or ḅblo class are (almost) unmistakable due to their sesquisyllabic structure: CseC1C2V(Cf). These appear to be a sort of elaborated glûh class, with an additional half-syllable composed of any phonemic consonant plus an invariable, reduced e vowel. It is extremely rare to find a labalised consonant in the Cs position, but not unknown.

Some ambiguity exists, but it would appear that, e.g. dmolh ridge and ḍmolh to attack are not homophonous and so care should be taken to mark the word as glûh or ḅblo accordingly whenever there is ambiguity.

The tonality of a syllable is expressed in the choice of graphemes used to write Cf. Generally, a middle tone is written with no sophistication, a low tone with a silent h, and a high tone is written double. Thus systematically:

High Mid Low
/0/ -h -hh
/g/ -gg -g -gh
/ɫ/ -ll -l -lh
/m/ -mm -m -mh
/n/ -nn -n -nh

The only case to take special care in is that of open syllables, where there is liable to be confusion between words of high and low tonality.

There is a distinction made between serial and compound words in the orthography used. Serial phrases, especially of verbs, are very common, and these can be interpreted as compound words. But in some cases, particularly in proper nouns, we find the words written without any word spacing. In these cases, compound words are marked with an interpunct jot, as in the name of the southmost of the Pjaggbah kingdoms: Di·swumm.

Note, therefore, that the jot is used as a diacritic in three separate places: to mark a half-syllable nucleus as an overdot; to mark a diphthong either with an overdot or an underdot; or as an interpunct to mark a compound word.

A fossilised jot is also present in i but this is merely a feature of the Roman script. An alternative, and traditional, romanisation, from Baïda, marks the short i vowel as ı, reserving i for what is here written î, but that is not the usage preferred in this grammar.

Note that as the central unit of analysis in Pjaggbah is the syllable, in this grammar we will often equivocate between a whole syllable, and a particular feature of the syllable: we will, for example, call a syllable "long" when we mean to say that the nucleus of the syllable is a long vowel. Usually it is clear from context when equivocation of this kind is happening, but clarification is given from time to time.

Di·swumm Phonology

Outline of Di·swumm

In contrast to the Tig Tenh, the Moekko is a disappointment to philologists, as we are presented with a much more polished text, written in a uniform Di·swumm variety. This is especially disappointing as the labels of the sections profess the Moekko to be a compilation of songs (or, more specifically, ṁgȯ, a more general term including several poetic genres) from across the whole Pjaggbah zone, and stretching back into an antiquity respectable by Pjaggbah standards. If these attestations are authentic, we are evidently dealing with heavily standardised versions of the songs.

Several hypotheses are current as to the reason for this, differing mostly as to when the standardisation took place. The dispute is over whether the standardisation happened early or late:

The former theory is favoured by those who see the Di·swumm as having a strong literary culture of their own, rivalling, or more than rivalling, that of the north and, therefore, either having its own recension of the Moekko, or perhaps even taking the lead in composing it.

The latter theory is that the standardisation took place quite late, under the influence of Metallic conquerors in a similar manner to that hypothesised in the survival of the Tig Tenh. In this case, rather than being a mark of a strong Di·swumm literary culture, the uniformity is a sign of a weak literary culture, with the Moekko perhaps even being primarily an oral, or reoralised, text, given structure by Metallic scribes. In this connection, it is noteworthy that one of the sections of the text is labelled as being Ṁgȯ·swogh·nag - the Songs of the Southern Barbarians, identified with the Metallic peoples, and that they appear to be versions of well-attested Metallic texts, and recognised as such in Metallic commentary.

Diachronic Di·swumm Phonology

In the development of Di·swumm we find a great awareness of the moraic structure of the Pjaggbah syllable, and many of the exceptions to the sound changes leading to Di·swumm are motivated by a consciousness that the unmarked form of the rule would lead to an overlong syllable. The Di·swumm ideal is tri- or quadri-moraic.

The various poetic forms we find in the Moekko are all mora-based. We are free to conclude that this is a feature of the whole language, or only of Di·swumm poetics, but it is indubitable that many of the phonetic correspondences only make sense when considered moraically.

Metathesis of Initial Clusters

One of the earliest changes, perhaps even present at the time of the conquest, is metathesis in some, but not all, open glûh syllables. All the nasal clusters undergo this, but it is noteworthy that of the lateral clusters, only those reconstructed with an ł undergo metathesis, and this is the chief reason that the lateral final is reconstructed as in Pjaggbah.

Where the initial lateral cluster was labialised, this feature remains in the initial, and so we find labial forms bw, dw and gw, with distinct reflexes in Di·swumm.

This change renders the sinh/glûh terminology a little problematic. In some cases, a root appears to be a sinh and it is only through reconstructive work that its origin as a glûh is evident. This is evident when a syllable has, as its initial, one of the reflexes of *bw, *dw or *gw, but it can be opaque. For the purposes of this grammar, a sinh syllable is one with a simple initial.

Shift of Initial Clusters

We also find that the lateral clusters which remain undergo the following shift:

bl dl gl bl dl gl
br dr gr
bⱡ dⱡ gⱡ pr tr kr

Vowel Lengthening in Simple Open Syllables

We also find the moraically-motivated lengthening of short vowels in all sinh syllables -- moraically-motivated as only sinh have a unimoraic initial. This change makes all bimoraic syllables trimoraic, and unimoraic syllables at least bimoraic. trimoraic syllables with clustered initials are unaffected.

The exception is when o is found before labial initials (b-/p-/m-): this goes to uo, not ô.

Gemination-Smoothing in Overdotted Syllables

The moraic ideal is also strained by the simultaneous gemination of labialised consonants and smoothing of the overdotted vowels. Again, only in sinh do we find the neat correspondence:

xv̇ → xːv

The sinh/glûh terminology is further problematised here by the fact that glûh and geminated sinh (sometimes "ssinh") begin to pattern together. We will continue to use "long" and "short" to refer to a syllable with a long vowel or diphthong in the nucleus, and will call a syllable "light" if its initial is a simple, short consonant, and "heavy" if its initial is a cluster, or a simple, geminated consonant.

In "ultra-light" syllables, i.e. ones with a null initial, we find reflexes beginning with a consonantal y and, in open syllables, a long vowel or, in closed syllables, a short vowel.

In heavy syllables, we find no change in the initial and, almost invariably, a short vowel.

Formation of the Unsteady Tones

Di·swumm distinguishes between six tone classes, divided into "steady" and "unsteady". The three unsteady tones are "rising","wavering" and "falling" and derive from the high, mid and low tones respectively.

The condition for the formation of the unsteady tones is that the syllable is labialised, i.e. the initial is labialised.

The unsteady tones are written with letters in this way:

High Mid Low Rising Wavering Falling
/0/ -h -hh -hj -hz -ht
/g/ -gg -g -gh -gj -gz -gt

As well as the obvious acoustic qualities implied by the names given to them, one reason for this terminology may be a significant dialectal variation in the realisation of these tones. The evidence for this lies in the Moekko Proper. One feature of some moekko is the poetic form of the ȧnn. A ȧnn is something like a melody, or a Chinese píng. We find that in certain regions, words of an apparently incorrect tone, going from the evidence of the more courtly sections, are found -- most obvious are places where we might, expect to find a falling tone at the end of a song, where we instead find another of the two unsteady tones. This phenomenon admits of many explanations, but the most commonly believed one is that these reflect variations in the pronunciations of the tones, and so the apparent errors are reflections of dialectal variation that made it past the editor. Perhaps the editor did not wish to edit the poems so extensively as to fix the melodic problems, perhaps the reader mentally fixed the tones themselves while reading, or perhaps the editor was ignorant of any considerations of this nature.

We similarly find, but far more extensively, outside the regional songs, an ambiguity between the mid and wavering tones. In many of the songs, there appears to be no distinction made at all between them, and the same word is written as having either tone. This is most clearly evident in the dramatic rhyming couplet sections of the historical songs.

Underdotted Syllable Smoothing

It will be recalled by the reader that "open" syllables with underdotted nuclei have unpredictable glottal finals in Pjaggbah. This fact is important in the following description of the fate of the underdotted vowels that follows.

Nucleus Open Closed ḅblo
Light Heavy
-∅ -g/-m -n/-l
ɛ: ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ
ɔ: ɔ ɔ ɔ ɔ ɔ
î i u u i i/u*

*When the nucleus of the full syllable of a ḅblo is , the rules for a sinh/glûh syllable are followed. This means that a long vowel resolution is possible only with ḅblo syllables with a nucleus. This is important later as these syllables undergo a reanalysis.

Note that in "ultra-light" syllables, closed or open, the null initial is replaced with a w and so the forms that develop are wî-, wi- or wu-

Resolution of liquids

The regular reflexes of Pjaggbah ł and are r: and j.

Light and heavy /ⱡ ⱡ:/ usually map unproblematically onto /j j:/ but as the regular reflex of light ł is a heavy r: there are moraic complications.

Generally, ł goes to r:, but note:

In some short syllables a special kind of nucleus is innovated as a result of this change: All short, backed nuclei (i.e. -u-, -o-, -ɔ-) change to a rhotic nucleus -r- after an initial {ł.ł:,łw,łw:}, and in a light syllable, the ensuing initial r(w)- is light, otherwise a heavy syllable remains heavy. These triple-rhotic r(w):r- syllables invariably fall into the "wavering" tone class, no matter their origin.

In short, unbacked syllables, the nucleus remains vocalic, but the initial r(w):- is always heavy.

In long syllables, the resolution is more complex and depends on whether it is unsteady/labialised, open, and the quality of the nucleus.

fill this out

do some tonal stuff

Note that as Pjaggbah bł- dł- gł long before this shifted to br- dr- gr-, the reflexes of these Pjaggbah syllables do not undergo this change.

All the above holds for unlabialised syllables. The labialised syllables are much more regular, and the regular reflexes of rw, łw and ⱡw are all w.

The only feature to note is that all syllables beginning with łw are lengthened, if they are not already long.

Although not a liquid, this is an appropriate place to mention the resolution of sw-:

The regular reflex is a long s: except in a closed long syllable where it becomes a short s

Stop shifts

It is clear from loan-words and external evidence that the Di·swumm stops corresponding to the original two Pjaggbah stop series in Di·Swumm do not contrast in voicing, but in aspiration. There is, however, a defective series of short stops in Di·swumm derived from the labialised stops, creating a three-way contrast of voiced, aspirated and unaspirated stops. The origins of these are:

p- ph- t- th- c- kh-
b- p- d- t- g- k-
bw- (f-) dw- d- gw- g-

There are three observations to be made at this point:

Firstly, the voiced series are clearly defective, as the reflex of early Di·swumm bw- is a fricative f, perhaps passing rapidly through some intermediate form.

Secondly, the regular reflex of bwo- is not *fo, but fuo.

Thirdly, the voiced series are only found in that subset of glûh syllables which underwent metathesis. It is this quality which led to the identification of glûh roots as a distinct category.

We also find that the Pjaggbah final -g has changed to -k in Di·swumm.

Miscellaneous correspondences

The -l and -n finals merge, leaving the valid finals as -0, -m, -n, -k.

The sesquisyllable in ḅblo is written out and, apparently, also pronounced as a light, short consonant with the quality of the vowel being taken via umlaut from the full syllable. For poetic purposes, however, the sesquisyllable is unimoraic and not bimoraic.

This short vowel is sometimes written with an extra e, thus the Di·Swumm form of ḅblo is poplo or poeplo. This is the origin of the Anglicised name for the Ṁgȯ: the Moekko.

The regular reflex of Pjaggbah e is a, except before -k finals, where it is lowered to ɔ

Can we get e e: from somewhere? - tonal conditioning

Gⱡolh Phonology

Outline of Gⱡolh

The Gⱡolh described in this text is essentially that of the classical grammar of the Tig Tenh, as studied and analysed by Pjaggbahists for centuries. As, however, the language developed significantly between the three parts, there is much of diachronic interest to say. Extra-Tig Tenh sources, such as onomastics and the use of Religious and Metallic commentaries have been integrated into classical Pjaggbahistics but this is treated in a separate section about this, also including discoveries informing post-classical interpretations of Gⱡolh.

The three parts of the Tig Tenh correspond to the three stages of the language identified and used by Pjaggbahists, with the adjectives of the parts carrying through to the stages. Thus, the language of the Greater Tig Tenh is Greater Gⱡolh, passing through Middle Gⱡolh through to Lesser Gⱡolh. Often, instead of the geographical term, especially by classical authorities, the language is called Tig Tenh, though this is old-fashioned due to the geographical turn in post-classical Pjaggbahistics, and interest in the Pjaggbah varieties of Mȯm and Swa.

Diachronic Gⱡolh Phonology to Greater Gⱡolh

Loss of Vowel Length

Already evident in Greater Gⱡolh is the development of the five-vowel and two-lengths system of Pjajjbah into a six vowel system with no distinction made between vowels:

i u
e ə o

The general pattern is for the vowels to collapse according to this scheme:

Pj. Gⱡ.
â e
a a
e ə
î i
i ə
ô o
o u
û u
u o

Reinterpretation of Diphthongs and Triphthongs

It also appears that by this time, the labialised consonants in the initials of syllables began to be reinterpreted as part of a diphthong or triphthong in the nucleus of the syllable, and possibly as part of a rime. Apart from the subsequent changes that ensue in Middle Gⱡolh, there is textual evidence in the form of phrases that appear to be intended to alliterate, but in which Pjaggbah s- and sw- roots are fungible.

Nucleic Developments and Mergers

The beginnings of the simplification of the 36 rime classes -- a rime class being defined at this stage purely by the nucleus -- created by this, a process complete in Middle Gⱡolh, and developing through Late Gⱡolh, are evident in the collapse of the unwieldy rime classes

The following table is a table of all valid nuclei in early Greater Gⱡolh:

v a e ə i o u
ia io iu
ṿ ai oi ui
xwv ua ue ui uo u
xwv̇ uia iu iu
xwṿ uai uoi ui

Between this stage and the form of Greater Gⱡolh attested in the Tig Tenh the following changes are also observed:

Nucleic Inventory of Greater Gⱡolh

These result in the following Gⱡolh scheme, with merged forms deleted, and the coda left implicit:

α a e ə i o u
β ua ue ui uo
γ ia iu
δ ai əi
ε uiə uoi

This is the traditional Religious linguistic classification of the nuclei, indexed in Religious letters (here represented in Greek) of: simple rimes, labial rimes, palatal rimes, rising rimes, and three-rimes.

Note on Codas

However, as has been previously intimated, by Middle Gⱡolh, it is better to speak of rimes rather than nuclei, as several interactions took place resulting in the formation of distinct rime classes depending on the nature of the coda in Greater Gⱡolh.

It is just about possible to ignore these developments in reading the Greater Tig Tenh, but it is essential to note that coda -g is written as -ng. It is not clear whether this coda was actually pronounced as /ŋ/ at this stage, but most manuscripts agree in writing it as -ng and not -g. The merger of codas -l and -n had not yet happened, but there is considerable scribal confusion of these two codas between manuscripts, and much philological work has taken place to unpick these. This grammar uses the philologically reconstructed forms, but some doubt remains in a few roots where we lack evidence to check.

Tonality in Greater Gⱡolh

Metallic scribal practice is different from Religious, in that they make use of diacritics rather than tone letters to denote tone. It is the Religious practice that has been adopted by historical Pjaggbahists, but Gⱡolh is usually written in the Metallic manner.

The usual practice is that mid-syllables are unmarked, but high and low syllables contain a mark either to the top right or bottom right of the syllable, thus we find a three-way contrast:


The interpunct · is still used in writing compounds where the first syllable is mid-tone, thus: Bing·te. a name.

Instead of using a full-stop . to mark the end of a sentence, we adopt the use of |, and : in place of the comma ,.

Developments in Gⱡolh Initials

The two overarching themes in the development of Gⱡolh initials are the simplification of consonants and the collapse of the laterals, a collapse leading to the loss even of l- in some cases.

Resolution of Labials

In Greater Gⱡolh we already find the two unconditional correspondences:

{ɫ, } → {x,ʃ}

The quality of these sounds is necessarily uncertain, but the glyphs used to represent them in Religious represents unvoiced fricatives.

Cluster Simplification

We also begin to see the simplification of clusters, with the following correspondences in initial clusters:

bl bⱡ ḅn ḅx
dl dⱡ n ʧ ʧ
gl gⱡ n|l x

There are some comments to be made here:

Several of the shifts involve the formation of ḅblo-like initials, but some form true clusters. This distinction, although not critical in Greater Gⱡolh, becomes of crucial importance in later Gⱡolh where ḅblo, or ḅblo-like roots undergo radical and unpredictable simplification.

The unconditional shift from dl- to n- would appear to be the beginning of a series of changes increasing the frequency of n in initials. n- is comparatively rare as a Pjaggbah initial -- perhaps a third as rare as m- and it is likely that this influenced this shift.

This simplification spread to gl- but evidently lost a little steam as only ~60% of affected initials moved to n-, the majority of the remainder reducing to l-. There are also a couple of sporadic ġl- roots

We may speculate about intermediaries, but the merge between and dⱡ has already happened by Greater Gⱡolh. It is unclear whether changes in the clusters led to the simple laterals changing under their influence, or whether changes in the simple laterals fed through into the clusters, but archaeological evidence favours the former.

The nasal clusters remain unaltered at this stage.

Sporadic Nasalisation of /l/

We also find the following important, but extremely sporadic, change:


in about 15% of roots, clustered in certain semantic ranges. It is clear that this is the sound-law breaking and ceasing to go any further.

Consonant Inventory of Greater Gⱡolh

These result in the following consonant inventory for Greater Gⱡolh:

p t k(k) ʔ
b d g
m n ng(ŋ)
l r
s sh(ʃ) ch(ʧ) kh(x)

The above includes ng which is not found initially.

The complement of clusters is reduced to:

gn gm

Diachronic Middle and Lesser Gⱡolh Phonology

Add coda-conditioned rime classes here. I want the overall diversity to be in the order of -0 > -n > -m > -ŋ

-n and -l merge to form -n by M.T.T. resulting in complex -n rime-class as -l syllables do not undergo changes conditioned by nasal coda

Two moderate vowel system shifts - between TT stages: M.T.T.: shake things about a bit; L.T.T.: let's go english and move dipthongs around a lot

Developments in tonality

  • Later T.T.:
  • TENTATIVE: bS and gS form a voiced version of tS
  • Process completed by reinterpretation as sesquisyllables
  • bVn (incl. <-bl) -> b | n -- Nasal clusters reinterpreted as ḅblo by later T.T. (see below) -- they only form 5% of syllables
  • Remember gl -> gVl -> g|l or n if it went the sporadic change
  • Initial clusters are all simplified - partially in G.T.T, completely in later T.T.

    Loss of sesquisyllables:

    Sound Correspondences

    To bring a "synchronic" view to the previous sections on diachronic phonology, in this section we will consider the regular correspondences to be found between Di·swumm and the various Gⱡolh forms.


    Personal Pronouns

    Only first and second person pronouns can be reconstructed, which inflect for singular and plural:

    sg pl
    1 dmâm gnûgg
    2 onn pon

    In all daughter languages, the pronominal third person is expressed by means derived from a demonstrative pronoun, which see below.

    These pronouns are really only widely used in Gⱡolh, which is held up as the more primitive of the two classical daughters. In Di·swumm we find a much more complex system of pronouns, depending on a mixed system of family relations and social rank: naturally there is more evidence of the former in the Moekko Proper, and of the latter in the King Moekko. The only surviving forms are the singular forms, used as part of pronominal constructions.

    1s and ⱡûhh small are common elements in Tissum. SISTER = sister, SISTER BE-little = fictive kinship sister/cousin. "little" spreads out and is grammaticalised into being a genitive marker used only with animates - default genitive construction is null or w/ demonstrative.

    Personal pronouns act in a possessive capacity when placed after a noun.

    Demonstrative Pronouns

    The Pristine Pjaggbah Demonstrative

    Six distinct forms are reconstructed in Pjaggbah, with a three-way proximal (prox) / medial (medl) / distal (dist) distinction, and a sensory (sens) /mental (ment) distinction that relates to the evidential system:

    prox medl dist
    sens sul (gul) dlul
    ment sûh gûh dlûh

    The medial sensory form is not found in its simple form in any daughter languages, and is invaribly found suffixed as either gul·nih up by you or gul·gog down by you. Nih and gog are lexical go-verbs meaning to go up and to go down respectively.

    The pristine system is not found in any daughters. In Di·swumm and the Lesser Gⱡolh we find only a three-way contrast:

    Four stages of development are hypothesised to explain the development of demonstratives in Pjaggbah. The first stage is this pristine Pjaggbah system, with the following three additional stages:

    Formation of Third Person Pronoun

    In Greater Gⱡolh dlûh dist-ment is used as a standard third person pronoun, alongside the now-defective demonstrative forms. It is supposed that this, perhaps the most "out-there", form was used in a respectful sense, likening the one spoken about to an astral being. We must be mindful here of the theological nature of the Tig Tenh, but mere mortals are also referred to as dlûh.

    There is evidence that something similar happened in early Di·swumm as some of the pronouns used for high-status people contain a descendant of the same dlûh.

    Merge of sens forms

    Perhaps destabilised by the loss of the dist form, and alongside the transformation of the MAE verb, in Middle Gⱡolh we find that the descendant of sûh is used to cover both prox- and medl- ment demonstratives -- it is as though "mentality" is its own place, where numinous and abstract things are to be found.

    There is no direct evidence for a similar merger in Ti·swumm but there is strong indirect evidence that the reflex of gûh was similarly lost.

    Parallel Formation of Three-Term Demonstrative

    The extant forms in Di·swumm and the Lesser Gⱡolh then are:

    prox medl dist
    sens sul, sul ∅, gul gul, sûh
    ment sûh, ∅

    The two parallel developments that explain this pattern are:

    put all this section into the daughters.

    The Noun (ɫîgh)

    Pjaggbah nouns are mostly monosyllabic, with the most common exceptions coming from derivational processes such as reduplication and compounding. In Di·swumm they do not inflect at all, and only in late Gⱡolh do we see anything that looks like inflection.

    There are four types of noun identified by classical Pjaggbahists. In their schema, ɫîgh nouns (Lit: things) are either lwen·mânn attached to a person, lwen·ɫîgh attached to a thing (or noun), lwen·bûnn attached to themselves, or ȯh·lwen unattached.

    Lwen·mânn corresponds nicely to the English concept of proper nouns. They are the names of people and have a generally reduced capacity, but also a few special features. Despite the native name, they really are proper nouns, and so are not restricted to the names of people: the names of settlements, animals and anything animate enough to merit a special name is named with a proper noun. There are surprises, however: although peoples full names, praenomina and regnal names are proper nouns, when used by themselves, nicknames and nobiliary names are not. There is also a remarkable flexibility with the names of Tig in Gⱡolh.

    Ȯh·lwen is similarly easy to translate as count nouns. Unlike proper nouns they can be quantified, and there are no restrictions on which co-verbs can apply to them.

    The difference between ɫîgh·lwen·ɫîgh and ɫîgh·lwen·bûnn is problematic: we lack an explanation of this difference from the Age of the Pjaggbah and know for certain only that the distinction was made by the compiler of the Tig Tenh who draws attention to some supposed solecisms in contemporary Gⱡolh and that, from this, a classical interpretation arose.

    Compound Nouns

    Compound nouns typically have two components, but there are some triple and complex forms that seem to be more than poetic kennings.

    Noun+noun compounds exist, but are rare outside of proper nouns:

    The majority of compound nouns are noun+verb, whether the verb is a common verb or coverb:

    There are a few verb+noun compounds:


    Reduplication of nouns is quite common. There are several prototypical examples that have been extended into general strategies, or are otherwise central examples of that strategy:

    Simple Reduplication

    Do·dôgg Reduplication

    Megg·Begg Reduplication

    Megg, as well as meaning thing is used as a placeholder name, especially for people, and also a nominaliser of be-verbs. In these second two capacities, it is sometimes found reduplicated as megg·begg with an augmentative sense.

    This idea of a centralised reduplicated syllable is also used to denote a vague but slightly augmentative -- as though seeing a large object hazy in the distance -- modifier of nouns generally. The initial consonant is usually the same as the original syllable, except when the syllable begins with a nasal, in which case the reduplicated syllable begins with an oralised b- or d-, as in the paradigm case. This also applies to nasal clusters:

    Chiming reduplication

    four part nonsensical reduplication - more common in verbs but some noun examples

    The Verb (cu)

    Common Verbs

    There is a large open class of common verbs (cu). They are invariant, and do not inflect at all. The verb typically comes after the subject and, for transitive verbs, before the object: the unmarked word order of all Pjaggbah varieties is SVO.

    Some constructs that can be employed using only common verbs are:

    Simple Transitive Clauses

    Verbs can be used simply in transitive expressions:

    Dmâm tâ blwigg dlûh.

    1s pfv-heard hit 3

    I hit him.

    Dlûh tâ blwigg dmâm.

    3 pfv-heard hit 1s

    He hit me.

    In the above examples, alongside the verb blwigg to hit (with a fist), to punch, we find the coverb . This is an auxilliary verb, mandatory before all verb phrases in most Pjaggbah varieties and contexts, which indicates perfective aspect and heard evidential status -- that is, that no special claim is being made about the temporal structure of the verb phrase, and that it is being reported as matter-of-fact. Further information on this is given below, but all examples until then will use this form of the MAE verb, and glosses will be written accordingly.

    Copula Clauses

    The verb nil to be can be used to indicate that two noun phrases refer to the same referent:

    Nouns can be identified:

    Rȧgg nil lo.

    king cop woman

    The king is a woman.

    As can noun phrases:

    Ⱡwomh onn nil megg·begg dah·deh.

    brother 2s cop nom-redup be-big-redup

    Your brother is a bigshot.

    The above is an example of the use of the noun megg, here a grammaticalised nominaliser of the be-verb dah

    In the next example we see one way to indicate the name of a thing in Pjaggbah:

    Rȧgg nil bɫimm dô En·lo·mem·pal.

    king cop named-thing be-pertain-to Enlomempal

    The king is called "Ellomempa". (Lit: The king is a named thing pertaining to Ellomempa.)

    Simple Intransitive Clauses

    Most verbs cannot be used simply in intransitive clauses -- they require a co-verb (which see below). There are a few exceptions, most of which relate to the carrying out of basic bodily functions and actions e.g.:

    Lo tâ mem.

    woman pfv-heard give-birth

    The woman gave birth.

    Ⱡwomh onn tâ mu̇gh.

    brother 1pl pfv-heard laugh

    Our brother laughed.

    But not:

    **Mimm·blômm tâ tenh.

    wizard pfv-heard prophecy

    **The wizard prophesied.

    Tenh prophesying is considered too involved an action for a simple intransitive clause, and requires a go-coverb (which see below) such as demh to sing:

    Mimm·blômm tâ demh tenh.

    wizard pfv-heard go-sing prophecy

    The wizard prophesied.

    The use of demh as a go-coverb is quite common for orotund acts. Ponn to talk is more common for everyday speech acts.

    Mânn nȯh swen tâ ponn gall

    people be-in village pfv-heard go-talk quarrel

    The villagers quarrelled.

    Whereas the previous sentence failed because, despite being performed by an animate being, it was too complex, the following sentence fails because the subject is inanimate:

    **Nọnh tâ ṛbonn.

    nail pfv-heard rust

    **The knife has rusted.

    The attested expression from which this example has been adapted does not use a go-coverb, but a be-coverb (which see below), and so it could be interpreted not as an intransitive clause, but as being predicative:

    Nọnh tâ ogg ṛbonn.

    nail pfv-heard be-red rust

    The knife has rusted. / The knife is rusty. / The knife is red with rust.

    The word ṛbonn to rust is not attested often enough to know whether this use of ogg to be red is usual as a co-verb for it, or whether it is a poetic expression, and so three translations are offered.

    Go- and Be- Verbs

    Pjaggbah has a special class of verbs -- two special classes, even -- referred to as coverbs or, separately as go-verbs and be-verbs. The two are quite distinct, but their grammatical roles are similar and so they are often considered together.

    One feature of the sprachbund of the Pjaggbah Age is to have two distinct adjective classes -- one open and usually verblike, and another that is smaller, closed and less verblike. See, as an example the "little adjectives" and "big adjectives" in Shapshirruckish, but they are also present in the Natural languages and to a lesser extent in the Lovely languages.

    Although the be-verbs certainly correspond to the smaller class of adjectives, it is not possible to say that the go-verbs correspond to the other class, as verbs we might consider patently adjectival, such as nanh to be likely or dlâh to be different are common verbs, alongside go-verbs such as nag to go south, be southern and nih to go high, to be up high somewhere

    Inventory of Be-verbs

    The complete, as far as the corpus allows -- and it is generally believed that this is, dialectal variations notwithstanding, to completion -- list of be-verbs is as follows:


    The colour inventory of be-verbs is reconstructed as a Berlin and Kay Stage IV system, with the following terms:

    Pjaggbah English
    swûmh black/blue
    swigg white
    ogg red
    pal yellow
    ⱡan green

    For further discourse on colour terms in Pjaggbah, refer to the "Colours" subsection of the section on the Pjaggbah lexicon.

    Summary of Functions of Coverbs

    Coverbs are used in the following situations:

    Coverbs as Verbs in Their Own Right

    Both kinds of coverb can be used as verbs in their own right, perhaps with a rather wide or vague meaning.

    Coverbs as Prepositions

    Most Pjaggbah prepositions (and postpositions) are best analysed as coverbs

    Coverbs as Compounds

    A major compounding strategy in the Pjaggbah languages is coverb-verb and coverb-coverb compounding to create lexical items, particularly adjectives.

    Coverbs in serial verbs

    Coverbs are a mandatory element in any serial verb construction. Typically a serial verb construction is headed by a go-verb or a be-verb, or both. A purely go-headed serial construction,. one with a go-verb at the head, is very dynamic. The verbs that will follow will tend to be dynamic verbs, and be describing a series of events that happened in, perhaps, quick succession. A be-headed serial construction will probably be stative and be more likely to be a description of a train of thought, or of successive nontranslational changes to an object or situation. When a serial verb construction is co-headed, and so active and stative qualities are combined under a single serial verb, word order encodes features such as causality,

    Mood-Aspect-Evidential (MAE) Verb

    A semi-mandatory component of any non-reduced Pjaggbah sentence is the Mood-Aspect-Evidential Verb, or MAE verb. In the Religious grammatical tradition these are called Sọmh·gâm·tâ·cu after the first line of the paradigm to be remembered.

    The MAE verb is almost always found in Di·swumm, which retains a robust evidential system, but is more often dropped in Gⱡolh where evidentiality is lost over time.

    The MAE verb is always found at the head of the verb phrase and is fusional, marking both the evidentiality of the statement and its aspect in a single syllable. There is an extensive system of aspect marking, and a somewhat less extensive system of evidentiality marking outside of the MAE verb, but the obligatory presence of the MAE verb results in its bearing much meaning all by itself, and it is frequently used without further modification.

    Three degrees of evidentiality can be reconstructed in the Pjaggbah system:

    Three aspects are found in the Pjaggbah AE verb and indeed in its descendants:

    The reconstructed paradigm is:

    mot ipfv pfv
    heard sọmh gâm
    seen rolh głîh
    nonself mihh (swạ) gni

    There is difficulty reconstructing the nonself-ipev form, but postclassical evidence favours swạ

    It is not so easy to reconstruct the various adverbial modifiers used, and these are treated serially below in subsections on the descendant languages.

    develop modifiers in daughters

    MAE verbs in Di·swumm

    In Di·swumm we find a system with four degrees of evidentiality. The heard and seen forms remain intact, albeit with a sharpening of meaning towards being more purely the evidence of the appropriate sense, but the nonself form splits up into hearsay and reckon forms.

    The reckon series retains the same root form as the Pjaggbah nonself series, and we find a clearly apophonic derived version of these in the hearsay series:

    mot ipfv pfv
    heard sọmh gâm
    seen rolh głîh
    reckon mihh swin gni
    hearsay mâhh swân gnâ

    TODO: put into Tissun

    Note that the reckon-ipev we find in Di·swumm derives regularly from the reconstructed root swin. The alternation in the nucleus can be explained through analogy by the other two nonself forms, but the origin of coda -n remains unclear.

    add some other relics of this n-mobile

    Regardless of origin, Di·swumm has developed a neat four term evidentiality system:

    Auditory Visual
    Self heard seen
    Non-Self hearsay reckon

    There is a clear distinction made between the Self and Non-Self forms: even in the most romantic and descriptive of the Moekko we never find a lover describing the distant beloved in seen terms without a clear sense that they are speaking of events that truly happened. The Self forms are clearly valued for the sense of authenticity (real or feigned) they give.

    The forms of the inchoative and terminative particles are conn and tu̇g, corresponding to Gⱡolh cognates conn begin and tu̇g finish. Both particles come after the MAE verb, thus:

    Cô mâhh sọmh ȧhh. Sûh rolh tu̇g ponn dma mu̇gh.

    she mot-heard inch cry. dem-ment mot-seen term go-speak enjoy laugh.

    I heard her begin to cry. The thought made me stop joking around.

    Note that the second statement is in the seen evidential, even though the speaker is reporting internal experience. If he were speaking of somebody else growing serious, he would use the reckon evidential, though since the subject is himself, and this is a matter of affect rather than word, he makes the choice to use the seen evidential. If he had used sọmh the connotation of his using the heard evidential would be that he were quasi-objectively reporting on his own actions, perhaps to a superior.

    If he had missed out the MAE verbs entirely, this would be considered evasive, and the more careful his speech, the more wilful the evasion would be perceived to be.

    put this into Tissun

    These terms appear to be purely grammaticalised in Di·swumm, and the lexical items corresponding to them are ṛse to begin and ṛgnȯll to complete

    MAE verbs in Gⱡolh

    Contrarily, in Gⱡolh we see a development over time away from evidentials and towards mood, for which reason we call them "MAE verbs" and not simply "AE verbs".

    In Greater Gⱡolh the MAE system appears much as reconstructed for Pjaggbah, with emotional overtones colouring a basically evidential system, but by the time of Middle Gⱡolh, the nonself forms have a definite irrealis sense, to the extent that we find the compiler of the Middle Tig Tenh denying and casting doubt on sensual evidence with this form. There is still a tendency for seen and heard forms to be used with the appropriate sensory modality, but more invariably they connote indicative and energetic moods respectively.

    In the Lesser Tig Tenh material, the seen forms are not found at all, and all that remains is a realis v. irrealis distinction, derived ultimately from the heard and nonself forms.

    The forms of the inchoative and terminative particles are mon and rwûgg. Mon precedes the MAE verb, and is of unclear origin, but rwûgg comes after. Rwûgg is a lexical noun simply meaning consequence.

    The Di·swumm sentence in the previous section, if turned into Greater Gⱡolh might go:

    Dlûh mon sọmh ȧhh. Gûh rolh rwûgg ponn dma mu̇gh.

    3 inch mot-heard cry. dem-medl-ment term mot-seen term go-speak enjoy laugh.

    I heard her begin to cry. The thought made me stop joking around.

    The speaker's choice of evidentials is more or less forced by the evidentiality of the situation as given -- a woman is crying, he has heard it, and he is reporting on his response, as he has seen himself. Not employing MAE verbs would, similar to Di·swumm be perceived as evasive.

    In Middle Gⱡolh the speaker would have more options, and might cast one or both sentences in the seen or heard evidential, depending on the sense of pathos he wished to evoke -- to one unfamiliar with archaic forms, the Greater Gⱡolh version might carry connotations that the speaker was not so sympathetic to the crying woman. Not using a MAE verb would be perceived as vague, but not evasive.

    In Lesser Gⱡolh both sentences would use the sọmh heard evidential, and the second sentence would be plainly archaic. If a MAE verb were used at all, that is. Especially where one might expect an imperfective or perfective form, one often finds a null MAE in Lesser Gⱡolh, although motive forms seem to be more common.

    put this into Zhon




    The numbers 1 to 10 are reconstructed as:

    1 ȯgg
    2 tan
    3 tell
    4 (ṭblin)
    5 sâhh
    6 pih
    7 panh
    8 glọ
    9 bnann
    10 râmm

    Bûm can be reconstructed for the special number 14. There is a famous line in the Tig Tenh:

    Bûm tâ dô Rwôn, râmm·tan mâhh.

    fourteen PFV-HEARD pertain-to stars twelve be-human

    Fourteen is sidereal, but twelve is humane.

    put this into zhon

    Apart from this quirk, all the Pjaggbah numeral systems found to be in use are simply decimal. This line also illustrates the simple, concatenative way that larger numbers are formed, and it is common to all Pjaggbah languages:

    11 râmm·ȯgg
    12 râmm·tan
    13 râmm·tell
    20 ṭan·râmm
    21 tan·râmm·ȯgg
    23 tan·râmm·tell
    78 panh·râmm·glọ

    The only higher term that can be reconstructed back to Pjaggbah is dann which corresponds to hundred in Di·swumm and thousand in Gⱡolh

    A full table of the numerals known to us, then, is:

    Numeral Di·swumm Gⱡolh
    100 dann soll (dann·ⱡûhh)
    1 000 glụ dann
    10 000 (ɫi) nȯmh
    100 000 '' dọh
    1 000 000 '' gagg

    We might suppose the Zhon have more need of precision in large numbers. Tissun can be vaguer because it is simpler, less theological poetry, and it could be an affectation in the Mgo proper that simple country people do not need any word higher than "dann", with the two higher terms representing 'a large amount' and 'a vast amount' -- which is what ɫi really means

    There are also expressions in bûm -- a bûm·nȯmh is not 140,000, but 14,000. This is the usual way of enumerating large numbers in the Rwôn, but not on earth, in the Tig Ten. M or L (probably L) T.T. comment explains this

    Numerals 1-10

    The numerals 1 to 10 in demotic Pjaggbah and Religious

    There are four systems for writing numerals in Pjaggbah:

    Numerals 11-99

    Some examples of numbers written in demotic Pjaggbah and Religious

    Above we see some examples of slightly larger numbers written out in four different styles.

    The leftmost column in each case is close to the standard form, possibly taught in scribal or commercial academies during the golden period of the Pjaggbah. We find the glyph for râmm ten written out in full, separate from, and to the right of the numeral it is being multiplied by. The short form of the râmm in the form for nineteen is quite usual for "-teens".

    The second column shows common abbreviations in use. The râmm is dropped entirely in all the forms, and is reduced to a single stroke attached to the right of the symbol for 9 in the form for nineteen. This is quite a common way of writing "-teens", especially the numbers 16-19, when a scribe is leaving an implicit râmm in the tens-place, and so no confusion between e.g. 19 and 90 obtains. The form for 55 is included as an example of other abbreviations sometimes found.

    The third and fourth columns are examples of Religious numerals. The rightmost column is very similar to the fully developed place notation used in Universalic, but in early Religious usage we sometimes find the numerals formed into blocks in imitation of Pjaggbah usage. The form for 32 has an implicit râmm which is made explicit in both Religious examples of "84", and in the pseudo-Pjaggbah form for "55", perhaps to avoid confusion with a simple number 5.

    Larger numerals

    Write this up. The higher numerals are almost always written phonetically and so have their own blocks even in simple demotic

    3496 and 3491 written out as comb numbers, with Religious comparisons

    We sometimes find larger numbers written out in tall single blocks when an abbreviated demotic style is being used by the author. Above are two examples of numbers 3496 and 3491 written out in this "comb" style. Not only the râmm but also the higher numbers are left implicit, making it an unusual example of a purely place-notational style, with Religious place-notational numerals written to the right in comparison.

    Nota bene the simplification of the stem and its extension over the whole block in the example for 2496.


    Common to all Pjaggbah languages are descendants of the five basic colour terms.

    In both Di·swumm and Gⱡolh we find the forms swûmh·tônn and swûmh·son, literally night black and day black, used to refer to items that in English would be described as being black or blue -- most obviously the colour of the sky, almost certainly the source of this distinction.

    In Gⱡolh this concept has been extended to include two intermediate terms in -·pȧ morning and -·nall evening. Unlike tônn and son these two modifiers are nouns, but the collocations are treated similarly. What is more, these collocations have been extended into a paradigm covering all five colour terms and even in a few cases non-be-verb colour phrases.

    Swûmh remains the paradigm case for the meaning of these expressions:

    It is easy to see how this paradigm of shaded, tinted, bright and toned-down colours can be extended to ogg, pal and ⱡan so that, for example ogg·pȧ is a (dare one say "rosy fingered"?) pink, pal·nall a sort of straw-yellow and ⱡan·tônn a forest green, but the modified forms of swigg have provided a scholarly puzzle, and the source of the proverbial "Pjaggbah White Night", derived from the famous refrain of the Tig Tenh:

    Pon mon sọmh dmû gnîhh swigg·tônn.

    3pl inch mot-heard go-far go-into land be-white be-night

    They set off to the Night-White Land.

    Certain syllables also referring to minerals, rocks and gemstones are used as colour terms, extending the colour series out to completion. Especially common are the two jewel-tones:

    And three other mineral terms, more common in the Tig Tenh to refer to stars:

    In Gⱡolh these, like all mineral names, are nouns, but it seems that the cognate terms in Di·swumm, are all verbs, modifying a noun such as tâgh stone. This is the case for most mineral names in Di·swumm except for foreign loans.

    To denote the colour of an object generally, or derive a colour term from it, the noun ⱡu colour, the be-verb pin to resemble, or both are used. To use both is more characteristic of Di·swumm.

    There is no general term corresponding to English "orange" or "brown". Instead either dlô or lụl must be used, perhaps with a collocation as above.

    Personal Names

    Pjaggbah people typically had between one and four names. Those of the lowest status, it seems, had one personal name and where differentiation was required, a system of patronymics, matronymics and toponymics, depending on location and period, were customary. Most of these names remain stable throughout the whole Age of the Pjaggbah, and a few survive even to later ages, though there are subtleties of distribution. This conservatism and the general quality of the names -- many of them are apotropaic names and therefore at some point evidently the name of a baby or child -- leads to the conclusion they were given at birth, or at least in childhood.

    Among the middling sort, it seems common to have two names -- a name like the lower sort of people, but also a nickname. This nickname appears to have been chosen by its owner at a late stage. Calling it a 'nickname' is misleading, as it seems this name stuck with the owner for life and was used in official correspondence. These names more often refer to appearance, propensity, locality or industry.

    Nobles appear also to have this custom, although their nicknames appear more standardised and inherited. Nobles also appear to be the only class bearing anything resembling a family or clan name, as opposed to patronymic or toponymic designations. This family name is invariably separated from the first two names by the nobiliary phrase lo·mem (Lit. Woman gives birth to)

    On top of this, certain people are known by a fourth name, most notably monarchs and kings. In the case of monarchs and kings this fourth name is a regnal name, but there are several examples of non-royal personages with fourth names.

    For example, a peasant might be known as Pî·rah (Etymology unknown, but why not "Peter"?), or perhaps Pî·rah bam Bȯm·bulh Peter of Bjombull after the village of his birth, should anyone take notice of him.

    If he went on to live an illustrious life, and he proved to be a sensitive sort, he might become known as Ȧhh·Pî·rah Crying Peter

    Perhaps it transpired that Peter was a foundling of noble blood, of the house Gon·Blol Multiple virtues, then he would be Ȧhh·Pî·rah·lo·mem·gon·blol Crying Peter de Polyaretes.

    And if he were not only secretly noble, but also royal, then he might also adopt the regnal name Swamh be tranquil, be serene, and rejoice in the name of Ȧhh·Pî·rah·swamh·lo·mem·gon·blol Crying Peter, the Serene, de Polyaretes as, in fact, King Swallomegblob II, king of the Di·swumm did, following this trajectory!


    Fill in

    Typical Pjaggbah weather expressions involve meterological subject nouns, and not pronouns or null subjects. The two most commonly found meteorological nouns are bnọn sun, dȧn sky, rain and typical expressions are:

    Bnọn expressions

    Dȧn expressions

    Monsoon weather

    When it is specifically monsoon weather that is being talked about, we find special terms replacing dȧn. The reduplicated form dȧnden monsoon sky, monsoon rains in both, but in Di·swumm we frequently find the terms dlwahh and ċnumh used:

    Appendix A: Abbreviations Used in Glosses

    1, 2, 3 First, second and third persons
    s Singular
    pl Plural
    inch Inchoative particle
    term Terminative particle
    mot Motive aspect
    ipfv Imperfective aspect
    pfv Perfective aspect
    prox Proximal demonstrative
    medl Medial demonstrative
    dist Distal demonstrative
    sens Sensory demonstrative
    ment Mental demonstrative
    be Be-verb
    go Go-verb
    cop Copula
    redup Reduplicated form

    Appendix B: Epitome of the Tig Tenh

    One diagram of the Rwôn

    The above is a version of a Pjaggbah illustration, one might even say map, of the Rwôn that has become intimately associated with the Tig Tenh. It depicts the fourteen Poh in a curious and not at all astronomically-correct manner. On the right we see a highly decorated square and on the left we see a sort of fylfot or swastika -- which is certainly not a "sun-cross", or even a "good luck charm" to the Pjaggbah, since it is one of the usual symbols to denote a rwôn -- curiously divided into eight right-triangles and five squares.

    If you add up the numbers of squares and triangles, you will obtain a total of fourteen, the number of the Rwôn, and it is evident that each square or right-triangle is meant to represent one of the Poh.

    Those familiar with Pjaggbah iconography will recognise that the bisected circle in the four peripheral squares of the fylfot is the other mostly commonly used symbol for the Rwôn, and that the two semicircles in the central circle represent Lân and Lôn, the Northern Star Parents. Realising this, it becomes clear that the Tig Tenh diagram gives us a different view of the Poh from that assumed by the structure of the text -- the domain of Lân and Lôn is not called a Poh there, but it stands in for one here.

    The square to the right, separated from the other thirteen, is the only Poh that we can explicitly identify. The seven semicircular figures inside represent the Tig -- Sônn and Sûh on the top, Bnọn shining in the middle, with Łi and Łilh by his side, and half-black Dmeg and shaded Sâll taking posts opposite from Sônn and Sûh. This must be an illustration of Łimm the Castle, the first of the Poh, the seldom-visited home of the Tig and the subject matter of the first section of the Tig Tenh:

    Łimm: The Castle


    After a section opening up the whole Tig Tenh and some formulae, the narrative of the Tig Tenh begins, in media res, with the Tig visiting the court of their parents Lân and Lôn. The initial section is primarily a dialogue between Bnọn and Lôn in which Lôn praises his children for their beauty and complains of his decrepitude, and recommends the inhabitants of Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh as being worthy of their attention -- Lân and Lôn had long looked down in helpless pity, which unrwônlike behaviour was inspired by the constant breathing in of the highest vapour of the Dlwọgh·linh -- and they express the hope that the Tig will make something of them.

    Before they depart, Lân has a separate conversation with Bnọn and Łi. Before moving to the north pole, the family once had a great house in that patch of the sky, and their cousins had moved in. The last that she had heard, the cousins were dead, so perhaps they should have a look too? Łi convinces Bnọn to stop off there before beginning their mission below.

    When they arrive, the six-walled house lies in ruins. Bnọn stations his retainers around and enters through one, entirely fallen, wall. As soon as he does, he is ambushed by the cousins, who are still alive. His cousins remark what an unpleasantly luminous sight the Tig make, and how drunken they must be to have fallen for a simple false-murder trick.

    The Tig are, however, as strong as they are beautiful, and dispatch their cousins in short order, though not without the loss of one of Bnọn's (four) arms. Looking down at the bodies of their cousins, they realise that their cousins were not entirely wrong, and that the race of rwôn are very foul to behold. Sônn remarks, with a shock, how their love for their parents prevented them from noticing this and half-shining Dmeg cries that the Tig themselves, for all their new splendour, still appear monstrous.

    Bnọn notices that the loss of one of his arms was an improvement and immediately cuts off the matching arm on the other side, leaving him with only two -- a beautiful form! The other Tig follow him and throw their own supernumerary arms into a pile.

    The Tig begin to take stock of the great house they have taken, and begin to put it in order, but two events happen. While Dmeg is on watch, he once again, sneaks around, and this time takes one of the fourteen stellar fragments from the pile and makes for himself a second eye -- Dmeg is a cyclops. While he is busy with this, Bîhh a great Beast comes and steals away one of the arms.

    Dmeg comes crying to the Tig that Bîhh has come and stolen away someone's arm. It's immediately apparent that he had also stolen one arm for himself. There is general confusion, and the Tig rebuke Dmeg for taking one of the arms that they were going to give to the inhabitants of the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh as a boon. Bnọn decides that there is no hurry -- once they have visited Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh and distributed the twelve remaining arms, they will hunt Bîhh down and recover the arm.


    Two examples of the Rwôn·bnọn·Tig·bnọn motif

    A section of the Middle Tig Tenh explains how this myth of the Beautification of the Sun is demonstrated in two ways -- anthropomorphically by means of depictions of the above story, examples of which the writer criticises, but also in the depiction of two aspects of the sun/Bnọn, as malevolent fourteen-rayed Rwôn·bnọn or as benevolent and twelve-rayed Tig·bnọn. These suns are pictured above in two styles -- on the top row, a calligraphically informed depiction and, on the bottom, a clearer geometric interpretation.

    The Tig Tenh does not comment, but classical Pjagbahists do, on two other features of this story:

    Firstly, the story of Dmeg as a cyclops corresponds to a representation of lunar deities among the Naturals as being a cyclops -- indeed among the Naturals, the moon frequently is a single eye, whose waxing and waning is its opening and shutting. It is likely that this is a survival of an ancestral Natural mythology, integrated into Pjaggbah religion.

    Secondly, the motif that the severed limbs of the Tig are the prime sources of the virtues of the world appears to be an authentically Pjaggbah one, though it is only in the Tig Tenh that they are standardised as all being arms. Variants are recorded where the virtues derive from eyes, hearts, penises and other divine fragments which were, presumably, in some degree monstrous.


    The Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh part of Łimm is not so narrative as the Rwôn part and is mostly a list of virtues, an introduction to the king, and their origins as fragments of the Tig.

    The story, such as it is, is of the Tig descending to the north pole of the Bⱡȯh·dlwọgh and meeting there a king. The king is terrified, and his warriors move to protect him, but Sûh explains that the Tig have drunk from the milk of the Mâmm·dlwọgh, even as the king himself evidently has, and they have come to give boons to the world, not strife.

    At first, Bnọn throws all the arms towards a retainer of the king, who is burnt up entirely and ascends to the Tig·nah as a cloud. The king cries that such splendour is too much for mortals to take, and the Tig must be more careful.

    At this point, twelve verses are sung about the particular virtues imparted, which Tig they came from and from which side.

    Two virtues are missing -- the Tig will go and recover one, but the second is now embodied in Dmeg, and so the peoples of the world must look to the moon for that virtue.