Relay 10/R

List of translations

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amma, ammae n. "mother"
a conj. "and"
ajle conj. "if"
bla prep. "for, for the sake of, for the benefit of"
caj- v. "do * [to +], make [for +, with/out of *]"
cenje, cene n. "alone, single, only"
cewo n. "drug, elixir, medicine"
cosse- v. "flee from +, run away, escape"
dajne n. "cycle; year"
dajwa- v. "return [to +]"
das prep. "around, near"
demwe adv. "again"
dew- v. "search, seek, look out for"
dobi n. "story, tale"
dobja- v. "tell [* to +], narrate"
dri prep. "after [spat. & temp.]"
dzha prep. "before [spat. & temp.]"
fjaso n. "performance, effectiveness, effort"
frosse- v. "set fire to, incite, burn"
galimo- v. "be happy, rejoice [about *]"
goj n. "strong, powerful"
goja n. "strength, power, might"
gorvoje n. "disappointment, depression, loss"
gy prep. instrumental, "with, by, using"
i prep. directive case
jae pron. 3rd person animate
je inflected form of jae (directive case)
jem inflected form of jae (possessive)
jende- v. "cleanse, purify + [of *]"
joq conj. "but, however"
josaj n. "tribesman, savage; outdoorsman, ranger"
jub- v. "run quickly"
jumwe adv. "loudly"
kace n. "ritual, ceremony, tradition"
kacenje n. "ritual, ceremonial, traditional"
ki prep. "to, up to"
kwo-, kow- v. "want; LIQ: Lust haben auf"
kyva- v. "argue [about *], debate [* with +], discuss"
laq prep. comitative, "with, together with"
leva- v. "try, attempt"
lizni n. "brief, short [temp.]"
lom adv. "then, after that, consequently"
makra n. "angry; anger, ire, wrath"
me inflected form of mo-
miv- v. "come, move close [to]"
mo- v.irr. "to be"
na, nae pron. "collective, all together"
nagwa- v. "lead +, guide + [through *]"
naja n. "society; clan; team; group"
nejce, nice n. "all; whole, total"
noffe- v. "prove * to +, verify, establish"
palle- v. "raise, tend to, nurse"
pjori n. "miracle, wonder; trick, fraud, charlatanerie"
prymmo- v. "give birth to, bring to life"
punce n. "many, much"
pwes- v. "bite"
rictes n. "evil, malign, despicable"
ta- pref. negative, "not, un-"
tco- v. "stand"
ti pron. 1st person demonstrative, "this here"
toc- v. "must, have to *, be obliged to + [to do *]"
torva n. "adult man"
tozza- v. "suffice; fulfill"
tozze inflected form of toc-... though it's homonymous with a form of tozza-, as I just noticed. =P
tsanne- v. "teach * to +, instruct, train"
tse conj. generic subclause initiator, "that"
tsemmaj n. "teacher"
tsug- v. "kill (through violence)"
-tsu suff. diminutive
u prep. predicative case
wujka n. "demon, devilish creature"
zicce- v. "assure * to +, make sure that *, look to *"
zin- v. "talk to + [about *], tell * [to +], speak"
zun n. "child"
zuntsu see zun, -tsu
zynze inflected form of zin-

Obrenje (*)

Christian Thalmann

Ring B

Tsannu tsemmaj pjori josaj u kace jendem u wujka gy dobjae u ti dobi rictes:

Dzha punce dajne, prymmut zuntsu, a dewuq ammae i torva bla je pallee. Ziccee kowu u tse me torav u goj.

Dri lizni, goja noffee levu torva gy juba a kace cewo caja. Joq tatozzu jem fjasoe, a tcu nice naja das je laq gorvoje, a jumwe kyvuna. Nagwu makar i wujka ki najae. Pwosu i torav goj, tsugu i ammae, lom cossew i najae.

Galimu najae u cossee wujak. Joq je zynze cene: "Tsuga tozze nae i torav gy frossee kacenje, ajle takwoze tse dajwe wujak."

Lom, tademwe myv wujak.

A savage shaman taught a demon-cleansing ritual by telling this evil story:

Many years ago, a little child was born, and the mother was looking for a man to raise it. She wanted to make sure the man would be strong.

Soon, a man tried to prove his strength by running and performing drug rituals. But his performance was not good enough, and the whole clan stood around the man in disappointment, and argued loudly. The anger led a demon to the clan. It bit the strong man, killed the mother, and then fled from the clan.

The clan was glad about the demon's retreat. But I myself said: "We must burn the man ritually, if we don't want the demon to return."

After that, the demon didn't come again.


"Miracle teacher": priest, in particular of a non-Obrenje religion. Somewhat pejorative... the closest approximations to priests in the native culture are thinkers and counselors.

Grammar sketch

This is a really skeletal compactification of Obrenje grammar... if you have the time and leisure, check out the grammar webpage at

  • The most basic word order is VSO(O). The verb usually comes first, then the subject, then the object(s).
  • The subject is unmarked, while the objects are tagged with prepositions. Even the grammatical object cases of Obrenje (predicative, directive) are marked with prepositions: i for directive and u for predicative. Only personal pronouns can exhibit through inflected forms rather than prepositions.
  • Sometimes an object is placed *before* the verb in the sentence: OVS(O). In this situation, an unmarked object (no preposition) is taken to be in the predicative case. In other words, if you place the predicative object before the verb, you can drop the preposition u. Even though unmarked, it cannot be confounded with the subject, since that must always come *after* the verb. Example: Tog ny warve u sawne and Sawne tog ny warve both mean the same, "dogs in general eat meat (sawne)".
  • For the roles of the two unconventional cases "predicative" and "directive", please consult It's explained in few words and some pictures. =P
  • There is no special construction for modal verbs. They are simply verbs which take the gerunds of other verbs as predicative objects: Moze u torva "I am a grown man", Kwoze u moa u torva "I want being a grown man" = "I want to be a grown man". The OVS syntax mentioned above is often employed here for its brevity: Kwoze u moa u torva means the same thing as Torva moa kwoze.
  • For verb conjugations, check out the following page (especially the tables): Don't despair, you'll only need a few of all those verb forms. Some of the stranger forms are even linked to their base forms in the vocab list. ;-)
  • In case you wonder why there are always two 3rd person forms for verbs... 3e stands for "3rd person, explicit subject" and 3i for "3rd person, implicit subject". You use the 3i form when the subject is not explicitly mentioned in this sentence, but appeared in an earlier sentence. It replaces the 3rd person subject pronouns of English. Compare: Lonne tin "a man sings" versus Lonna "he sings".
  • Note that there are two conjugation tables, one for vocalic verbs (whose stems end in a vowel, e.g. lonna-) and one for consonantic verbs (e.g. jor-). Also, a verb's last vowel will shift in the past and future tenses! Jor means "travels", but jur is "traveled" and jer "will travel".
  • Nouns do not inflect for number (singular/plural), but they do inflect for definiteness... for example, tin means "man, men" while tine means "the man, the men". The inflection rules are quite simple: In general, the inflection is done by adding -e or metathesing the final vowel and consonant (e.g. warve ['warv@] -> warev [wa'rEv]).

Smooth translation of the text received

A savage shaman taught exorcism doctrines by telling the following despicable story:

In the year when the midwife delivered a little baby boy, the mother was choosing a man to raise the little baby. She knew as a fact that the man would [have to] be strong.

In that year, a strong man ran to prove his strength and performed a drug-induced ritual. But his performance was not good enough, and the clan stood undecided all around the man, and argued loudly. The fighting attracted demons to the clan, one of which bit the strong man, killed the mother, and then fled from the clan.

The clan was happy about the retreat of the demons. I said to them: 'We must burn him at the stake in sacrifice, if we wish to keep the demons from returning.'

Now, the demons no longer appear.

© Jan van Steenbergen, Christian Thalmann, 19 Sept. 2004