La-usku, an Uhjayi song

the sky spreads above
the earth spreads below
the wolf is held between

the heart of the wolf
touches the heart of the sky
touches the heart of the earth

all hearts are one
all hearts beat together

all hearts are one
all hearts beat together

above-wards sky spreads
below-wards land spreads
wolf the-between holds

selfness belongingto-sky
selfness belongingto-land
selfness belongingto-wolf touches

all-hearts are oneness
with all-hearts all-hearts go

all-hearts are oneness
with all-hearts all-hearts go

shiksha zuhr yanri
khuhdsha inku yanri
inlanlu vyvku chuthri

usku azuhr
usku a-inku
usku a-inlanlu meri

la-usku huri adku
lash la-usku la-usku zyri

la-usku huri adku
lash la-usku la-usku zyri

New Vocabulary
~ inku (een-koo) – noun, root in – soil, land, ground (the element or manifestation of earth; does not indicate a planet/world)
~ yanri (yahn-ree) – verb, root yan – spreads, stretches, reaches, expands, grows
~ khuhdsha – direction, root khuhd – below, beneath, underneath
~ vyvku – noun, root vyv – between, betwixt
~ chuthri – verb, root chuth – holds, embraces, envelops, hugs, wraps around
~ usku (oos-koo) – noun, root us – selfness, personhood (humans would say “heart” or “soul” or “spirit”; tahori have a different word for their physical heart)
~ meri (may-ree) – verb, root me – touches (physically)
~ la – prefix, modifier – all (used like ha-)
~ lash – conjunction, bridge – with

an entertaining interlude

“Hey! That’s mine!”
“What? No it’s not. It’s mine.”
“Is not!”
“Is too!”

“Stern! That-thing belongingto-me is!”
“Question? No, that-thing belongingto-you no-is. That-thing belongingto-me is.”

“Nog! Zi-omku a-un huri!”
“Na? Su, zi-omku adu urhuri. Zi-omku a-un huri.”

~ Nog is a social indicator that can also be used as an exclamation, much like we’d say “hey!” or “yo!” to get someone’s attention.
~ The words for “my” (a-un, “belonging to me”) or “your” (adu, “belonging to you”), follow the noun they modify (in this case, zi-omku, “that thing”).
~ Zi- is a prefix that roughly transforms a word from “the ___” to “that ___.” Commonly used when pointing out a particular thing/person in a group/crowd. Zinen (“that-person”) is frequently heard.

Review & Quiz: Lessons 1-5

Concept Review

  • Uhjayi is built around roots and modifiers, most of which are prefixes and suffixes, but some of which are standalone words that come before or after the root.
  • Uhjayi has a loose OSV (object subject verb) pattern, which can be modified to indicate importance of concept/person. More important things come first in the sentence.
  • Uhjayi roots can be a single vowel, a consonant-vowel pair, or a consonant-vowel-consonant syllable. Any vowel paired with an H (IH, EH, UH) is considered a single vowel. Similarly, any consonant paired with H (CH, DH, JH, KH, RH, SH, TH) is considered a single consonant; H is only its own consonant when it stands alone, and it never ends a root. For example, guh is a consonant-vowel root, while hes is a consonant-vowel-consonant root, and ih is a single-vowel root. Only pronounce H when it stands alone.
  • Written Uhjayi doesn’t use any form of hyphen. When writing Uhjayi in the English alphabet, hyphens are used to clarify separate vowels and cases of identical consonants being together. For example, dach-cho is not written as dachcho so that the speaker pronounces both CH sounds; likewise, du-omnara is not written duomnara to ensure the speaker pronounces both U and O separately. Also, a word like guh-om will use a hyphen, since UH is considered a single vowel; this will help you distinguish H as part of a vowel from H as a consonant (as seen in kiham).
  • Uhjayi commonly uses social indicators to convey the speaker’s intention at the beginning of a sentence. (In complicated conversations with several participants, the social indicators preface their subjects.)
  • Some roots, like tihch (day), do not need -ku as a modifier if they can only be used as nouns.

Core Vocabulary

  • -ku turns a root into a noun.
  • -ri turns a root into a verb.
  • -vo comes after -ri to indicate future tense.
  • -vut comes after -ri to indicate past tense.
  • -ky comes after -ri to indicate infinite tense (something that is unending; past-present-future all in one).
  • -ra turns a root into a verb that expresses feeling. (“I feel ___.” = “un___ra”) -ri and -ra are never used in the same word.
  • -sha indicates direction, as in eastwards. -ku would be used to say “the east” instead of “eastwards.”
  • ur- negates a word and prefaces the verb; if there is a pronoun, -ur- comes between the pronoun and the verb.
  • na is a question indicator. It follows a phrase, or can be said alone like “huh?” to express confusion. -na is a suffix for question words like what (omna), who (nen-na), when (fotna), where (dachna), how (vazna), and why (shyna) – it does not need to be added to the end of the sentence when any of those words are used.
  • ki means yes.
  • su means no.
  • -te means good/well.
  • -no means poor/bad.
  • es means for, as in “this present is for you.”
  • sag means to, as in “from me to you.”
  • sy- means very.
  • dek means and.
  • -tho is a modifier that attaches to colors; it roughly means “-colored.” Colors are not modifiers that attach to their objects; they stand alone with -tho.
  • -sho means -er, as in “fighter,” “runner,” etc. -sho is an active person (one who acts).
  • -sug means -ee (“employee,” “trainee,” etc). -sug is a passive person (one who is acted upon).
  • jodh yidh is a respectful, neutral greeting commonly used between strangers or equals.
  • lih shehth is a warm, welcoming greeting often used between friends or as a reassurance that the speaker is approachable and peaceable.
  • nog prefaces a sentence to indicate a stern or commanding tone.
  • heth prefaces a sentence to indicate humility or deference.
  • kor prefaces a sentence to indicate a parental attitude or kindness in response to deference.


  • Pronouns are prefixes to verbs, but nouns are not directly attached to the verb. If a pronoun stands alone, as in “myself” versus “I”, add -ku to make it a noun.
  • Basic pronoun list: un- is I, du- is you (singular), rhi- is you (plural), kuh- is it (third person singular), fu- is they (third person plural).
  • -am indicates femaleness (usually on a third-person pronoun where necessary to distinguish sex).
  • -chu indicates maleness (usually on a third-person pronoun where necessary to distinguish sex).
  • -kum indicates a combination of maleness and femaleness (whether literal or apparent).
  • -dhok indicates genderlessness or sexlessness (whether literal or apparent).
  • -tuh indicates a gender that is not male or female (or both or neither).
  • a- means belonging to and is usually a prefix for pronouns.

You can find definitions of all vocabulary that has been featured in the lessons up to this point right here for easy reference. Use CTRL + F (or CMD + F for Macs) to search the page.

Numbers & Quantity

  • ha- pluralizes a noun.
  • shuh means “few” and is a stand-alone modifier that follows its object; never used with ha- (due to redundancy).
  • shudh means “lots” or “plenty” and is a stand-alone modifier that follows its object; never used with ha- (due to redundancy).
  • While the numbering system is base ten, double- and triple-digit numbers count in “tens” (ov) and “twenties” or “scores” (uv). One says “one ten and three” for 13 or “two twenties and five” for 45. (The word “and” is not actually used in Uhjayi in numbers; I use it here in English to clarify.) Numbers come after the noun to which they refer and always start with a vowel, and the number of tens or twenties is a prefix to the -ov or -uv, while the “singles” comes after as a stand-alone word. Example: aduv ad is 21; one-twenty one.
  • ad means 1.
  • os means 2.
  • yf means 3.
  • uhsh means 4.
  • ul means 5.
  • ehth means 6.
  • esh means 7.
  • af means 8.
  • yv means 9.
  • ehz means hundred. Used like ov (tens).
  • im means two hundred. Used like uv (twenties).

Quiz: Lessons 1-5

Please refer to the appropriate lessons for help and hints. This is an open-blog test. ;)

  1. How would you say 235?
  2. Conjugate (list all the basic pronoun forms of) the verb huri, “to be.”
  3. How would you say “she exists infinitely”? Hint: “infinitely” is a modifier, not a stand-alone word. Hint #2: You’ll need a hyphen.
  4. How would you say “I felt terrible”? Hint: “Terrible” means “very bad.”
  5. As a human greeting a tahori, which greeting would you use?
  6. How would you say 720?
  7. How would you say “I will welcome this person”? Use the vocabulary list.
  8. If a tahori says “Du-omnara?” (“How are you?”), what are they really asking? (Bonus: Write a one-line response in Uhjayi.)
  9. If you were being humble, how would you say “My name is ___”? (Fill in your own name and refer to Lesson 4.)
  10. Using the vocabulary list, come up with your best insult in Uhjayi… and your best compliment. Bonus points for creativity!

When you’re done writing your answers down and posting them in the comments, click here for the answer key!

Lesson Five

One late evening on Sige, an inlanlu tahori approaches a human working in a garden.

English Translation
Inlanlu: “Look up at the sky.”
Human: “The sunset is very pretty, but the red clouds are even prettier.”
I: “A thunderstorm speeds towards us.”
H: “Hm? I hadn’t noticed.”
I: “Do you know where your child is?”
H: “Oh! No. I must find him.”
I: “Be quick.”

Literal Translation
“Respect, up-wards at sky you-look.”
“Beauty sunset has, but beauty-more plural-cloud red-colored have.”
“To this-place storm-water goes-quick.”
“Question? I-no-notice-pasttense.”
“Where child belongingto-you is you-know?”
“Oh! No. It-male find I-must.”
“Stern, you-find-quick.”

Uhjayi Conversation
“Jodh shiksha sag zuhr dunadri.”
“Dasku najhku fari fam daskuyad hakhizku rhystho fari.”
“Sag zidach hychkukihn zyriles.”
“Na? Unuryimrivut.”
“Dachna zen adu huri dudari?”
“O! Su. Kuhchu luhsri unjhiri.”
“Nog duluhsriles.”

Audio: Introduction

Audio: Lesson Five

~ Uhjayi commonly uses social indicators to convey the speaker’s intention at the beginning of a sentence. (In complicated conversations with several participants, the social indicators preface their subjects.) In the past lessons, you’ve seen the difference in the human’s usual greeting (jodh yidh) and the inlanlu’s greeting (lih shehth). Jodh indicates respect between equals or strangers, while lih indicates friendliness; nog, as seen here, indicates a stern or commanding attitude, often used when giving urgent orders or when a superior speaks to someone under its command. Note: Jodh and lih are the indicators; yidh (“peace”) and shehth (“welcome”) are conceptual roots that complete the greetings. Lih shehth in particular is often used to set someone at ease and reassure them that the speaker is not only peaceable, but amiable as well.
~ -tho is a modifier that attaches to colors; it roughly means “-colored.” Colors are not modifiers that attach to their objects; they stand alone with -tho.
~ Shiksha is “upwards,” and shik-ku would be “the above.” Up, down, left, right, behind, ahead, etc are all modified by -sha, just like east, west, north, and south. (Remember, you only need hyphens in Uhjayi to separate two vowels or two similar-sounding or identical consonants.)
~ The word for “storm,” hychku, is modified by a suffix indicating whether it’s a thunderstorm or rainstorm (-kihn, “water”), a sandstorm, a snowstorm, a duststorm, etc.
~ This conversation is another good example of cultural differences and harmless ignorance. A human passing by might make small-talk about the weather before moving on and think nothing of it; tahori don’t so much make small-talk as point out important observations that probably require some kind of action or awareness. The human assumes the tahori is just chatting, while the tahori is trying to convey that bad weather is coming, so the human should find his son before it hits. This fits with the tahori use of “how are you?” to discern intentions, rather than verbally state that which is already knowable or known. Tahori rarely say pointless things.

Extra Credit
~ Based on all lessons so far, how would you greet a tahori whom you’d seen but never met? How would you greet a friend? Hint: each answer has two words, not just one.
~ If hychkukihn zyriles is “storm-water goes-quick,” how would you say “the storm had gone” (storm-water goes-pasttense)? Referring to Lesson 3, how would you say “the storm will go”?
~ How would you tell someone in a commanding manner to look upwards quickly? Hint: you don’t need to say “at sky” (sag zuhr).

Lesson Four

On Alasa Ka, the tahori home world, one inlanlu leader approaches another to discuss a proposed contest of territory. They are very formal.

English Translation
Dakaya: “Hello. I acknowledge your power.”
Kada: “I acknowledge your power. My name is Kada.”
Dakaya: “My name is Dakaya. I have twenty-one warriors.”
Kada: “I have thirty-four warriors. Do you accept my challenge for this land?”
Dakaya: “No. I cede this land to you.”

Literal Translation
“Very-respect, strength belongingto-you I-know.”
“Strength belongingto-you I-know. Kada me you-name.”
“Me you-name Dakaya. Plural-fight-person one-score one I-have.
“Plural-fight-person three-tens four I-have. For this-territory-part you I-challenge. What you-respond?”
“Peace, this-territory-part to you I-surrender.”

Uhjayi Conversation
“Syjodh jhedh adu undari.”
“Jhedh adu undari. Kada unku dugodri.”
“Unku dugodri Dakaya. Hazechsho aduv ad unfari.”
“Hazechsho yfov uhsh unfari. Es zirinkufyth duku unkhiri. Omna duvadri?”
“Yidh zirinkufyth sag duku unthuhthri.”

Audio: Introduction

Audio: Lesson Four

~ The tahori numbering system, although base ten, uses tens and twenties as different units. In the conversation above, you see 21 as “one twenty and one” and 34 as “three tens and four.” Likewise, 45 would be “two twenties and five” and 77 would be “seven tens and seven.” You won’t see 75 as “three twenties, one ten, and five.” (All of this applies to hundreds as well. Tahori do not count into the thousands.) Numbers come after the noun to which they refer and always start with a vowel: aduv above is [ad][uv] (“one twenty”) and yfov is [yf][ov]. Also, keep in mind that “and” is never present in numbers; I use it here only in English to clarify.
~ Godri is the verb “to name” or “to label.” Tahori don’t give their names casually, and many will give a word or a shortened name that others may call them, hence the phrase “you can call me ___” as seen above. Godku is “word (for)” or “name (of)”.
~ Ha- is the standard pluralizer . It’s a prefix, while the other two common pluralization modifiers (shuh, “few” and shudh, “lots” or “plenty”) are stand-alone modifiers that follow their objects. If shuh or shudh is present, ha- is not used.
~ -sho is a modifier roughly meaning -er, as in “fighter,” “runner,” “hunter,” etc. It does not literally translate to “person” (that’s nen). -sug is -sho’s partner, loosely equivalent to -ee (“employee,” “trainee,” et~; -sho is an active person (one who acts), while -sug is a passive person (one who is acted upon).
~ Word order beyond the basic OSV (object subject verb) structure is fairly loose. Important modifiers preface their objects, while modifying terms usually follow their objects; this tendency applies to structure, as well. One who is important will say “Joe me you-name,” while one who is being respectful will say “me Joe you-name,” and one who is being humble, modest, or submissive will can “me you-name Joe.” Similarly, other parts of the above conversation could be “to you this-territory-part I-surrender,” “this-territory-part to you I-surrender,” or “this-territory-part I-surrender to you,” depending on the importance the speaker places on “to you” versus “surrender” as the verb and “this-territory-part” as the prize.

Extra Credit
~ Based on this and previous lessons, what is the word for “to”? (As in “to you” or “to me.”) What about the modifier for “belonging to”? Hint: it’s only one letter.
~ Based on the conversation and the first note, how would you say 13? Hint: always say “one ten” or “one twenty,” never just “ten” or “twenty.”
~ Remembering that giku means “song” and giri means “sing,” how would you say “singer”? If unlomri is “I give,” how would you say “recipient” (give-ee)? Hint: you’ll only need the roots.