Derivative words

How do words look like?

There is a question that quickly arises to mind when dealing with any language: are there any rules that identify the type of a word (noun, verb, adjective) based only on its morphology? There are a few rules of thumb that we can use in Unahoban for this.

Nouns and adjectives of animated things (i.e., animals and persons) tend to end in "-n", though the masculine singular adjectives (ended in -uru) are a big exception. Plurals preserve this, with their -on and similar endings. Names of inanimated things tend to end in other consonants.

Verbs in infinitive usually end in vowel, mostly "a" and "u".

Common sufixes and prefixes

There are a few particles that are usually added to nouns, verbs or adjectives and that have a particular meaning:

  • -tun, used to form adjectives from nouns. It's something very similar to a genitive case, and denotes relationship to the term it goes after. It's used for inanimate things, not persons or animals.

    Example: if ciun means "lord", ciuntun would mean "lordly, proper of lords" (it has grown to mean "well-behaved" or "cultivated", but in some dialects it's more like "spoiled"; be very careful when you call this to someone!). From ana ("west") would come anatun ("western").

  • -sin, used to form adjectives from nouns. It can be considered the equivalent of -tun, but for persons.

    Using the previous examples, we'll have ciunsin (someone that works for a lord, usually as part of its army) and anasin ("westerner"). This is very used also with personal or family names, implying a relationship with that person or family: work, political alignment, etc. So, a Samushurosin would be the enemy of a Lhabennasin.

  • ael-, negating the following term.

    Using the previous example, we'll have aelciuntun as "unlordly", or simply "bad-mannered" (or "unspoiled", i.e., lacking prejudices when choosing work, food, etc.).

    Not surprisingly, ael is also how to say "no" in Unahoban.

  • -ten, used with verbs to form the participle of regular verbs.

    Example: used with gash ("swallow"), gashten would mean "swallowed".

  • FIXME, used with verbs to form the "present participle" of regular verbs (alike to english "-ing").

  • FIXME, used with verbs to form a special form of the verbs that means "inmediate action", "about to". I.e., "about to eat", "about to run", etc.

  • do-, used with verbs to mean "the ability of (verb)", equivalent to the english "-able".

    Example: using the previous example, gash, something "swallowable" would be dogash; something "unswallowable" would be aeldogash. Using huba ("eat"), something "good enough to eat" would be dohuba.

    Again, not surprisingly, you say do when you want to say "yes".

Forming adjectives

There are a few suffixes that are used to form adjectives. If we have a noun, we can form an adjective by simply using the same proccess used when modifying adjectives to reflect number and gender. The resulting adjective would mean "brings or resembles the qualities" of the noun.


  • Neshuru, Nîshan, Nish Mortal (from Nish, "death")
  • Hoepuru, Hopaen, Hope Joyful (from Hope, "joy")

We can also build adjectives from verbs, using -ten (-aten after consonant), being this the participles of the verbs:

  • Beshengeten Bound, tied (from Beshenge)
  • Muhataten Inhabited, populated (from Muhat, "populate" or "inhabit")
  • Voholaten Doomed (from Vohol, "doom")

When we want to denote "person or thing that (verb)", we use -i. This works as a syllabe in the root of the verb, so it gets inflected when applying the adjectival rules:

  • Haogeru, Haogîn, Haogi Worker (masculine, feminine, neuter)
  • Vosheteru, Voshetîn, Vosheti Eater
  • Etaneru, Etanîn, Etani Ruler

There's also the ael- prefix. This prefix negates the adjective following it, so aelnish would mean in-mortal, and aelmeiten would mean un-ending (from mei, end, and then meiten, ending).

Forming nouns

We can form nouns from adjectives. It's the case with "sad" and "sadness", for example. The resulting noun will mean "the quality of being (adjective)". Unahoban does this through the addition of a suffix to the neuter form of the adjective. This suffix is -rne (-urne after consonant). Also, the accent is displaced to the first syllabe before the last. Some examples:

  • Cumúrne Darkness
  • Iranírne Happiness (from Irani)
  • Gugonúrne Sadness (from Gugon)
  • Mavúrne Cold (to be precise, "coldness"; from
  • Nariganúrne Honor (from Narigan, "Honorable")

We can also form nouns from verbs, and they will mean "action of (noun)". To do this, we use the suffix -nia.

  • Etannia Ruling, Legislation

Forming verbs

There are several ways to form verbs, depending on the word used. There is the suffix -rum (-irum after consonant), that means "to become (adjective or noun)". So, nishirum would mean "to die" ("to become dead").