Modern Urianian syntax, regular expressions, examples

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1. General sentence structure

As the various parts of the Urianian sentence are well marked for their roles, they are free to move about quite a bit. However, there are some tendencies, and a few rules.

The regular sentence structure is subject-object-verb (SOV). Example: Gorg mer iba - the soldier rides the horse. Deviations from this are usually made for the purpose of emphasis, often accompanied with a demonstrative, such as in Gi iba mer gorg - this horse the soldier rides.

However, there are many regular sentences where the verb is placed at the end. In simple stative sentences using a copula, the 3rd person plural copula is regularly placed at the end, as in Midigli baju sin - the petty bourgeouis are evil. Also, if the sentence does not contain a subject other than what is defined in the copula, the copula is placed at the end, examples: Mikuzt em - I am the greatest; Zini sint - we are finished.

Urianian does not have a word meaning “have” denoting possession. Instead possession, including the declaration of many states, is expressed with the copula and the possessor, often represented with a pronoun, in the genitive case. Examples: Ekar ni e ma - I don’t have a car, Ild e ma - I am hungry, literally hunger is mine; Garm e jan - they are sad, literally sorrow is theirs; Fel na e Ermanja e - Erman has a new friend, more literally: a new friend is Erman’s.

2. Uses of the various cases

The nominative

The nominative is used for the subject of a regular sentence. Examples: Merg cim - the bull is coming; Toni vutzan - the towns are growing.

The accusative

The accusative is used for direct objects and the destinations of movements. Examples: Merde mi betze - the girl is mowing the grass, Bin cul bidrat - the bird is shedding feathers. If the direct object is not named, but represented only with a pronoun, the accusative pronoun will normally precede the verb. Examples: Merde mi cim - the girl is coming to me. However, if neither the subject nor the direct object are named, the accusative pronoun normally is final: Kas ut - she loves you(pl.)

The dative

The dative is used for the indirect object, and to denote intent or precedence. When subject, direct and indirect objects all are named, the word order is arbitrary, but often you will find the indirect object last: Ma biri etra irminai - the boy vent to village for the peasant. If the indirect object is represented only with a pronoun, it will precede the direct object, if it’s present: Firsam du tazken - I’ll carry the bag for you.

The genitive

The genitive is used to mark the ownership of an object, the originator of a passive action and various other originative things. Again, a noun in the genitive can be placed anywhere in the sentence. Compound nouns, for example a name + a title or a first + a last name, will take the genitive marker only on their first member. The other members are unmarked. Examples: Da eld e fet - you look well (lit. your appearance is good), Dirjam ekret nadgan - I stole the cars of the teachers.

The locative

The locative is used to mark a static location, that is, not involving movement to or fro. It is found often in names. The word-order is free, but locatives tend to come late in the sentence. Examples: Mel e mi - There’s a mosquito on me; Bilgem tixa urzu - I turned to the right by the tower; Nigde zir e avei - there’s plenty of rubbish in the newspaper.

The ablative

The ablative is used to mark origins, particularly the origin of motion, antecedence, opposition and comparison. In comparison, the compared item is placed in the ablative. The ablative is found often in names, too. Like the locatives the ablatives tend to appear late in the sentence, though the word-order in principle is free. Examples: Ma fel cim Bergat - my friend comes from Berg; Ixi e gim birtunat - the letter has been (lit. is) here since Tuesday; Niski nit uriangamat - save us from the Urianians! Izla e kirget Zilet - Izla is older than Zile.

The instrumental

The instrumental is used to mark the means to an end, as well as many kinds of adverb or adverbial phrases, including those of time. The instrumental of means will tend to appear late in the sentence, like the above-mentioned cases, though the word-order is free and may be altered for emphasis. Adverbs will tend to follow the verbs. Examples: Edut batit - you may walk on your feet, more literally with your feet; Frangi si me taske - bring it to me in (with) the bag; Tabam ma gida bidrint - I am stuffing my bed with feathers; Firur feti - he behaves (lit. carries himself) well; Gleti em tamu - finally I am home; Sedi da eld e fedjat - you really look better; Birat tunit elni zirfa - I go to work every day; Juli jerit bidum mintui - he lived in the mountains for seven years.

The vocative

The vocative is used to address persons or other addressable entities. However, there are no vocative forms of the personal pronouns. In polite addressing, the plural forms of the 2nd person pronouns are used instead. Examples: Tutan Zilni - hello, Zilin; Izle, cimi! - come here, Izla!; Tibbi, ger urdi ju mik, ju tivat tebi elni - o Tibb, thou highly praised and great one, and all ye eternal gods; Bedre san julan gimnidan - our father who lives in the heaven. In the latter example, gimnidan is a poetic form of the masculine singular locative. See the nominal morphology page for more on this.

3. Adjectives

Adjectives may precede or follow the nouns. If they follow, they take the full inflection, and other words may be placed between them and the noun. If they precede, they cannot have any other words in-between, and they have no inflection, only the bare root is used. Compounds are often made from such a bare adjectival root + a noun. Examples: Lakti megi sin tamja - There are many windows in (lit. of) the house, Eiret Uriu geluzti sin - The dawns of Uria are the most beautiful, Trik merde seb - the lazy girl is sleeping.

4. Verbal syntax

The infinitive

The infinitive is a nominal form of the verb, used to treat the verb as an object. Dictionary lists of verbs always use the infinitive form. In a sentence it is used in general to discuss the action. Example: Si sem simfid - he likes to read (lit. to read pleases him). In Urianian the infinitive is not used to express intent. Instead a dative participle is used: Ciman minzedi urianga - they are coming to learn Urianian.

The future

Futures obviously are used for future actions. Examples: Zirfisam ma ardu - I will work in my garden, Mezisant urianga universitetu - we will study Urianian in the university.

The subjunctive

Subjunctives are used to make uncertain statements and statements depending on other statements, as in dependent clauses. Examples: Edvam brami - I could go home early; Tiljet mi vikfit iztuni - You told me that you were dancing yesterday; Syr me fu eng umi evrid - I think you should be ashamed of yourselves (lit: It seems to me that it is necessary for you to be ashamed).


Participles are widely used for subordinate action, replacing subordinate clauses. The actors of subordinate actions expressed with participles always take the genitive. They may be omitted, but this is not part of the standard language.

In the nominative, they are used to refer simply to the action, as in Edam birna mi seman - I’m going on a journey that I will enjoy. No future is used here, only the nominative of the participle. It can also be used for simple emphasis. For example, instead of writing Blegi mi - he hit me, you could write E se mi blegan - he is the one that hit me.

The accusative has a target function. Examples: Temisam da cimana - I will wait until you come; Aigam da firmina - I’m watching your behaviour.

The dative expresses precedence or effect: Zirfi ninsilu sa fanzirne - she worked in an office before marrying; Ulam osa birne - I want money for leaving.
The ablative expresses antecedence, cause: Zirfi tamu sa fanzirnat - she worked at home after marrying; Di kasem zut meg os da funat - I love you because you have so much money; Derek e min tribnat frikent sa niva - Derek is happy despite breaking his knee (lit. Derek is happy from the resistance of the breaking of his knee - two participles here, one in the ablative, the other in the genitive).
The instrumental expresses concurrence: Zijam sena ma birdi - I had an accident during my journey (lit. did an accident).
The locative is used for concurrent actions that have little or no duration: Dinjam virdi sa blegminu - I pulled back as he hit me.

5. Asking questions

To pose a question you may precede your sentence with an interrogativev pronoun or an interrogative particle, or append an assertive or negative question. If the interrogative particle is used, the main verb should take the subjunctive. When asking a question, you raise your tone towards the end of the sentence. Examples: Uf filvit mi nici? - Could you phone me this evening? Jun kirfit? - Who are you writing to? Jubli san cimsid - How many of you are coming (lit: will come)? Gatan ibet, nie? - They shoot horses, don’t they? Bil lazi gim tuni, ecat? - Many people here today, or what?

The interrogative particle may be omitted, in which case the rising tone is the only thing that identifies the statement as a question. Thus for example, Mi murnit? - Do you remember me? - is a valid question. The particle also may be placed elsewhere than the beginning of the sentence, especially in complex statements, where it is adjacent to the main verb instead, either before or after. Even the copula is often omitted, so the last sentence above is perfectly regular.

6. Idioms and common expressions


When Urianians meet, they often greet each other with tutan - honour the day, or, less formally, just tut. There are more formal greetings, too, of which ritti tuna - greet the day, is one of the commonest. At parting you can say birzu feti - literally travel well, to someone going away, and on all occasions metavant virdi - may we meet again, or less formally sersa - till we talk again, or even sus.


Urianian does not have the word ‘have’. Instead we have expressions with the copula and the possessive pronouns that are identical to the personal pronouns in the genitive. This type of expression also is used in place of many state verbs. Examples: Ma e na ekar - I have a new car; Nif limf i Marjet - Mary had a little lamb; Semun e da - you are sick (lit. sickness is yours).


Urianian does not have the word ‘must’ either. Instead we have expressions with eng - necessity + the unmarked copula (= the 3rd person singular) + dative. If a dative personal pronoun is used, the expression is contracted into one word: engeme, engedu, engesu, engenemi, engeumi, engemat in the present tense, and corresponding forms with engi- in the past tense. Examples: Engeme ussid - I have to pee; Engedu munrid da gume - You must obey your parents; Eng e jankant birde giva - Yankees must go home.

7. Some conversation

Ifinas ju rikis - The king and the queen

Jar e ifin?Where is the king?
Ifin e bicilu.The king is in the kitchen.
Bicilu? Jut zi dam?In the kitchen? What’s he doing there?
Zix idirna.He’s cooking breakfast.
Virsam mi lavit. Zix jai idirna?I think you’re kidding me. Who’s he cooking breakfast for?
Zix idirna rike.He’s cooking breakfast for the queen.
Kinam ne. Jar e da rike?I see. Where’s the queen then?
Rike e mitgadu.The queen is in the parlour.
Sede na? Jut zi mitgadu?Really, now? What’s she doing in the parlour?
Firdant ifnan irv pjana, nintaja. Jut virset?She’s playing piano for the children of the king, of course. What did you think?

Metri - meetings

Tut, Izle!Hi, Izla!
Tut, Derki, riti ma fel Ermana.Hello, Derek, say hello to my friend Erman
Tunzi di metid, Ermani.Pleasant to meet you, Erman.
Girmi, samas di.Thanks, same to you.
Zat, jue, sid megjat felant, ecat?So, what of it, are you more than friends, or what?
Ha ha, nie, sun feli.Ha ha, no, just friends.
Fet, uf usit tonidan, Ermani?Fine, are you staying in this town, Erman?
Zait, usam Otlu Uriania.Yes, I am staying in Hotel Uriania.
Sili mi sakzid, engeme birde.Please excuse me, I must go.
Sus Ermani, sus Izle!Bye, Erman, bye, Izla!