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7. Naisek by Jeffrey Jones

Texts | Grammar | Lexicon | Abbreviations
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"Rusek Kalboki"

Jilu dofsulu bahai, saka natok cima loftem.
Donkoku rusek kam forkepe,
xarsaki lo ota arkokta kono
"Cau, tesi ga grataki!"
Markaka hi rusek pone campaka kono
"Ce rusekor xoltor kalbax?"

Ebarkata kono
"He, rusekor xoltor kalbax, haitki!"

Nepo campaka kono
"Ce hoxni arkax ki hi arkai nam sunim holgim?"

Ebarkata kono
"Ce molduni lo hoxni lexarsax ti?
Osga kono `He' os surka arkax ni."

Ebarkata tingo riskixxak;
santsaka hi rusek demaix him loftem.
Jilu xatsulu ti ga mentaki.
  Smooth English

"A Talking Rock"

Many years ago, I was walking along the edge of a lake.
Hitting a rock with my foot,
I heard someone say,
"Hey, I didn't like that!"
I picked up the rock and asked,
"Can rocks talk?"

It answered,
"Yes, rocks can talk, as I recall!"

Then I asked it,
"Do you want to tell me your entire life story?"

It answered,
"Are you sure you want to listen to it?
If you were to answer 'Yes', I would tell you."

It answered in such a way that I became angry,
I threw the rock into the lake.
For many months, I didn't see it again.




Nouns are inflected for number and case and are classified as either vowel-stems or consonant-stems. The core cases (absolutive, dative, and ergative) indicate role groups:

  • Ergative = donor, agent, actor
  • Dative = recipient, perceiver
  • Absolutive = thing given, patient, intransitive subject, clarifier

The temporal case is used for time expressions, such as time-when, duration, and number of times.

Objects of prepositions take the genitive case. In some cases, the object without genitive ending can be prefixed to the preposition.

Adjectives are inflected for gender as well as number and case and agree with their nouns. The inanimate gender is formed by adding -i. These modified stems then take the same number and case endings as vowel-stem nouns.

Adverbs are formed by adding -u instead of the gender suffix. This suffix may also occur on participles.

The noun and adjective suffixes for the number and cases occurring are:

  • Singular Absolutive -
  • Singular Ergative -r, -a
  • Plural Ergative -la, -or
  • Singular Genitive -m, -um
  • Singular Instrumental -pe
  • Plural Temporal -lu

Where two endings are given, the first is for vowel stems and the second for consonant stems.

Verbs are inflected for mood, tense, person, number, and subject case. A limited number of combinations occur in the text. Aspect is either implied by the tense and mood (perfective or imperfective), or is specified using some periphrastic construction.

The past tense (indicative mood) is formed by adding -a to the stem.

The contrafactual aspect is formed by adding -ur.

The infinitive is formed by adding -ax. This future participle is the the same but used with the copula in forming the prospective aspect (specifying a state from which an action will emerge).

The progressive participle and the cotemporal mood are both formed by adding -ok; these are distinguished by the fact that participles used as adjectives take adjective endings, while the cotemporal mood takes verb endings. The progressive participle is also used with the copula informing the progressive aspect.

The cotemporal mood is like the indicative mood, but with relative tense.

A limited number of person, number, and subject case combinations occur in the text. These are:

  • -ka 1st person singular, ergative-subject verbs
  • -ki 1st person singular, dative-subject verbs
  • -k 1st person singular, absolutive-subject verbs
  • -ni 2nd person singular, dative-subject verbs
  • -ta 3rd person singular, ergative-subject verbs
  • -tor 3rd person plural, ergative-subject verbs

The order of words in a phrase is (usually):

  • determiner quantifier noun adjectives relative clause

The order of phrases in a clause is somewhat pragmatically determined.



Stems are given for verbs and adjectives.

* = new

ark- V say/tell
* arkai N story (of)
* ba N now
camp- V ask
* cau I
ce O (Interrogative)
* cima N edge
demaix P into
dofsu N year
* donk- V hit
* ebark- V answer
* forke N foot
ga O (Negative), no
grat- V like
h- D (Definite article, declined like adjective)
* hai P before (temporal)
hait- V remember
he O (Affirmative), yes
* holgi N life
hox- V want
-ixx O suffix meaning to become
j- Q many (declined like plural adjective)
* kalb- V speak
kam % my
ki % me (dative)
kono C (introduces direct quotation)
le O (prefix changing subject's case from dative to ergative)
lo C (introduces subordinate clause)
* lofte N lake
mark- V raise
ment- V see
* mold- V be sure of
nam % your (singular)
* nat- V walk (object is route)
nepo C then (conjunction)
ni % you (dative singular)
o(t) D something, someone
pone C and
* risk A angry
* rusek N rock
s- V (copula)
* sants- V throw
sun- A entire
tes- D that (like adjective)
ti % it (absolutive)
tingo O in such a manner
xars- V hear
xatsu N month
xol- V can



A Adjective
C Conjunction
D Determiner or pronoun
I Interjection
N Noun
O Other
P Preposition
Q Quantifier
V Verb
% inflected form

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