High Valyrian Grammar

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High Valyrian is a heavily inflected, mostly head-final, language. The word order is strongly verb-final (subject–object–verb). Nouns and adjectives are inflected for number, case and gender, and verbs for person, number, tense, voice, and mood.

Nouns belong to one of four genders (lunar, solar, terrestrial and aquatic), that have no relationship to sexual gender. Most humans are either of the lunar or solar gender, however they can be either feminine or masculine. E.g. vala "man" is of lunar gender, and ābra "woman" is too. They also can inflect for one of four grammatical numbers (singular, plural, collective and paucal). The collective number conveys the idea of totality, while the paucal conveys the idea of "some of a greater group".

As well as having gender and number, nouns, adjectives, and pronouns have forms with different endings according to their function in the sentence, for example, dārys "king" (subject), but dāri "king" (object). These different forms are called cases. Most nouns have eight cases: nominative (subject), accusative (direct object), genitive ("of"), dative (indirect object; "to" or "for"), locative ("in"), instrumental ("with" or "by"), comitative ("with" or "together with"), and vocative (used for addressing). Some noun declension classes merge two or more cases. Also, there is no definite or indefinite article in High Valyrian, so that dārys can mean "king", "a king", or "the king" according to context.

Adjectives must agree with nouns in gender, number and case, and have four degrees of comparison (positive, comparative, superlative and equative). Adjectives may precede or follow a noun, with the exception of certain determiners and demonstratives, which almost always precede. If such an adjective follows its noun, it gives it a more "official" feel. In some cases this might be done for simple emphasis. When an adjective is postpositive, that is, when it follows the noun it modifies, it has the complete set of endings. However, when it is prepositive, meaning it precedes the noun, the endings are shortened and more prone to fall together.

Verbs conjugate for seven tenses (present, aorist, future, imperfect, perfect, pluperfect and past habitual), two voices (active and passive) and three moods (indicative, subjunctive and imperative). Tenses in High Valyrian often convey information both about time and aspect. Finite verb forms agree with the subject in person and number. There are also non-finite verb forms (infinitives and participles), which do not. To show agreement, verbs can take various endings to indicate the person and number of the subject without the need of the use of an independent pronoun, not unlike in Latin and the Romance languages. So, for instance iksan means "I am", even without the independent personal pronoun nyke "I". High Valyrian usually omits these pronouns, except when emphasis on the subject is desired. A language with this characteristic is known as a pro-drop language. High Valyrian also employs a number of verbal prefixes called applicatives, which can change how verbal arguments (subject, object and so on) are encoded (in particular, which case is used for which role).

Vocabulary

Main article: High Valyrian Vocabulary
Main article: High Valyrian Dictionary
Main article: High Valyrian Word Groups

Phonology

Main article: High Valyrian Phonology

Consonants

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m [m] n [n] ñ [ɲ] (n [ŋ ~ ɴ])
Plosive voiceless p [p] t [t] k [k] q [q]
voiced b [b] d [d] g [g]
Fricative voiceless (th [θ]) s [s] (kh [x ~ χ]) h [h]
voiced v [v ~ w] z [z] j [d͡ʒ ~ ʒ ~ j] gh [ɣ ~ ʁ]
Approximant
Lateral l [l] lj [ʎ]
Rhotic voiceless rh [r̥]
voiced r [r ~ ɾ]

Notes:

  • In antiquity, /j/ could be pronounced [j] or [ɟ]: always [ɟ] before [i] or [y]; often before [e]; sometimes elsewhere. Modern speakers' pronunciation varies between [j], [ʒ] and [dʒ], depending largely on region, and native language.
  • [ŋ] and [ɴ] are in parentheses because they are not phonemes, but allophones of /n/. The phoneme /n/ assimilates to a following velar or uvular consonant, e.g. ēngos /ˈeːngos/ "tongue" is pronounced [ˈeːŋgos], valonqar /vaˈlonqar/ "little brother" is [vaˈloɴqar].
  • [θ] and [x ~ χ] are in parentheses because they occur only in words of foreign origin. As foreign sounds, they may not always be pronounced as they ideally should be. For instance, some speakers might pronounce Thoros as [ˈθoros], but others might just say [ˈtoros] or possibly even [ˈsoros]. Likewise, some might pronounce arakh [aˈɾax] or [aˈɾaχ], some [aˈɾah], some might even say [aˈɾaɣ] or [aˈɾaʁ].
  • /r/ is generally a trill ([r]), but is a tap ([ɾ]) when following a vowel medially.
  • In antiquity, /v/ could be pronounced [w] or [v]: always [v] before [u]; often before [o]; sometimes elsewhere. Modern speakers' pronunciation varies between [w], and [v], depending largely on region, and native language.

Vowels

High Valyrian has 6 phonetically distinct vowel qualities, each of which can be either long or short:

Short Long
Front Back Front Back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
Close i [i] y [y]* u [u] ī [iː] ȳ [yː]* ū [uː]
Mid e [e] o [o] ē [eː] ō [oː]
Open a [a] ā [aː]

* Many modern speakers do not distinguish y from i and pronounce both as [i].


Nouns

Nouns in High Valyrian decline for case and number, and are categorized into genders.

Gender

There are four genders in High Valyrian:

  1. Lunar (hūrenkon qogror)
  2. Solar (vēzenkon qogror)
  3. Terrestrial (tegōñor qogror)
  4. Aquatic (embōñor qogror)

As a general principle, most lunar nouns end in a vowel, most solar nouns in an -s, most terrestrials in -n, most aquatics in -r. But there are a significant number of exceptions to this guideline. In particular, all paucals end in -n and all collectives in -r, no matter what their gender.

There is no exact equivalence between the genders and semantic categories, but there are some general tendencies:

  • Lunar mostly words for humans vala "man," abra "woman," muña "mother,", nocturnal animals zokla "wolf", atroksia "owl," kēli "cat", military equipment gelte "helmet," korze "longsword," azandy "shortsword".
  • Solar is also mostly for humans quptys "heathen," zentys "guest,", diurnal animals gryves "bear," zaldrīzes "dragon," hobres "goat," names of occupations azantys "soldier," dārys "king," voktys "priest," loktys "sailor," and body parts deks "foot," kris "leg," relgos "mouth," pungos "nose".
  • Aquatic is mostly used for liquids and bodies of water iēdar "water," ānogar "blood," embar "sea," qelbar "river," they are also mostly the gender of various derivational suffixes.
  • Terrestrial is mostly used for foodstuffs havon "bread," parklon "meat", plants and metals āeksion "gold," gēlion "silver," brāedion "copper," korzion "steel."

Number

High Valyrian nouns have four grammatical numbers: singular, plural, collective, and paucal. Adjectives, verbs, and pronouns only recognize two numbers, with collectives being treated as singular, and paucals as plurals. "Singular" and "plural" are used in English, and most languages familiar to English-speakers, and so need very little elaboration. "Collective" and "paucal" will require some explanation.

Collective

Collectives end in r in the nominative. Despite this, they retain the same gender as their corresponding singular. In general they refer to a large group of something, or that thing as a whole. Words that refer to ordinary humans not associated with a profession usually mean "all" (e.g. valar "all men," ābrar "all women, all people"); those that do refer to a profession are more likely to refer to a group (e.g. azantyr "army.")

Collectives often acquire a special meaning (e.g. muña "mother" → muñar "parents.") Sometimes this results in them being reanalyzed into entirely new words, with their own plural (e.g. azantys pl. azantyssy "soldier" → azantyr pl. azantyri "army").

There seems to be a general tendency for the collective of a word referring to a female to refer to both genders, e.g. muña "mother" → muñar "parents;" ābra "woman" → ābrar "all people;" riña "girl," → riñar "children."

Note that while English does not have a collective number, it does have collective nouns (e.g. "humanity," "soldiery," and so on), and these can often, if not always, be used to get a better understanding of the corresponding HV word.

Paucal

Paucals end in n in the nominative. Despite this, they retain the same gender as their corresponding singular. In general they refer to a small group of something, and may be translated "a few" or "some."

Paucals often acquire a special meaning (e.g. tīkos pl. tīkossa "feather" → tīkun pl. tīkuni "wing.") Sometimes this results in them being reanalyzed into entirely new words, with their own plural (e.g. tīkuni "wings").

Case

Main article: High Valyrian Noun Cases

Nouns in High Valyrian have a series of different forms called cases, which indicate the role or function of the noun in the clause. These are generally indicated through the changing of the ending of the noun. For example, the word for "king" is in the nominative case, dārys, when it is the subject of a verb (nominative case), but when it is the object, it is rendered in the accusative case, dāri.

Nominative

The nominative case is used for the subject of an active or a passive verb:

Āeksio yne ilīritas = The Lord has smiled upon me

It is also used for the complement of a copula verb such as issa "he is":

Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor = A dragon is not a slave
Davido zaldrīzes aōhos zaldrīzose rovyktys issa = David’s dragon is bigger than your dragon

The nominative singular is the citation form for declinable words, and thus the form one normally uses when looking a word up in the dictionary.

Accusative

The accusative case is used for the object of a sentence:

Āeksia ossēnātās, menti ossēnātās! = Slay the masters, slay the soldiers!

The applied object of a verb containing the oblique applicatve prefix, i-, will be in the accusative. This will usually be a word one would otherwise expect to be in the dative:

Belmurtī ivestrās kesir pōnte jiōrinna = Tell the slavers I will receive them here

(If the verb had been vestrās, without the i-, we would have expected the dative *belmurtoti instead.)

In phrases that aren't complete sentences, words may be in the accusative, as if dependent on an unstated verb. This is called the "accusative of exclamation":

Biarior Arlior Jēdari! = Happy New Year!

Genitive

The genitive case is used for possessives, and in general anything that would be expressed with "of" in English:

Va oktio remȳti vale jikās = Send a man to the gates of the city

Note that personal pronouns generally do not use the genitive to express possession, instead they use their possessive adjective.

The "genitive of material" to indicate what something is made out of:

Āeksio ondos = Hand of gold

All postpositions take a genitive object:

Dāeri vali pōntālo syt gaomoti iderēbzi = Free men make choices for themselves

The applied object of a verb containing the locative applicatve prefix, u-, will be in the genitive if the verb in question begins with a consonant.

Jemēlo syt ziry mazemagon jemo bēvilza = It is incumbent on you to take it for yourselves

Dative

The dative case means "to" or "for". It is frequently used with verbs of saying or giving as an indirect object:

Voktys Eglie aōt gaomilaksir teptas = The High Priest gave you a mission

The applied object of a verb containing the locative applicatve prefix, u-, will be in the dative if the verb in question begins with a vowel. In addition, certain verbs may take a dative object for other reasons.

Keso glaesot iderēptōt daor = You did not choose this life

Two out of the three prepositions may take a dative case, depending on the meaning.

However, the dative is less common in High Valyrian than one might think since the oblique applicative turns many datives into accusatives.

Locative

The locative is basically used to indicate location:

Olvī voktī Rulloro Qelbriā ūndessun daor = I don’t see many priestesses of R’hllor in the Riverlands

This also includes time:

Kesy tubi jemot dāervī tepan = On this day I give you freedom

Additionally all three prepositions may take a locative object:

Va oktio remȳti vale jikās = Send a man to the city gates

Instrumental

The instrumental indicates the instrument or means (may be translated "by" or "with," but critically "with" in the sense of "by means of."):

Quptenkos Ēngoso ȳdrassis? = Do you speak the Common tongue? (i.e. literally "by means of the Common Tongue")

The instrumental is also used to form adverbs:

Mentyri idañe jevi ivestrilātās keskydoso gaomagon = You shall tell your fellow soldiers to do likewise
Aōhoso ziry rijībiā, se ñuhoso ziry rijībin = You worship Him your way, and I’ll worship Him mine

Certain verbs require this case, e.g. mijegon (probably an "instrumental of separation"):

Dōrior dārion udrirzi mijessis = No kingdom lacks a language

It is also used with comparative adjectives, to mean "than":

Davido zaldrīzes aōhos zaldrīzose rovyktys issa = David’s dragon is bigger than your dragon

Comitative

The comitative case mainly indicates accompaniment. May be translated "with" in the sense of "along with". It's worth noting that in some declension types the comitative merges with the instrumental.

Morghor zijomy amāzis = The dead come with it
Zaldrīzesse Daeneromy ēdrusi = The dragons are sleeping with Daenerys.

Vocative

The vocative is mainly used when addressing someone directly:

Dovaogēdys! Naejot memēbātās! = Unsullied! Forward march!
Muñus jorrāeliarzus = Dearest mother

It may also occur in adjectives being used predicatively to a vocative noun:

Jaehossas sȳris sātās = Gods be good!

Another particular use of the vocative in High Valyrian is with the infinitive to form a "third person command."

Dohaerirus māzigon! = May a slave come!

Noun Declension

Main article: High Valyrian Noun Declensions

Nouns are divided into different groups according to the patterns of their case endings. These different groups are known as "declensions". High Valyrian has six declension types, beginning with the first declension: "vala".

First declension

First declension nouns have the stem-vowel a. There are at least two types of first declension nouns, and at least one subtype:

  • Those that end in -a (e.g. vala "man"), mostly lunar.
    • A subtype that ends in -ia (e.g. dāria "queen.")
  • Those that end in -ar (e.g. embar "water"), mostly aquatic.

The first declension paradigm merges the genitive, dative, and locative plural (as do nearly all nouns), but distinguishes all other forms.

Lunar and Subtype -ia
Singular Plural Paucal Collective Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative vala vali valun valar dāria dārī dārȳn dāriar
Accusative vale valī valuni valari dārie dārȳni dāriari
Genitive valo valoti valuno valaro dārio dārȳti dārȳno dāriaro
Dative valot valunta valarta dāriot dārȳnta dāriarta
Locative valā valunna valarra dāriā dārȳnna dāriarra
Instrumental valosa valossi valussa valarza dārȳsa dārȳssi dārȳssa dāriarza
Comitative valoma valommi valumma valarma dārȳma dārȳmmi dārȳmma dāriarma
Vocative valus valis valussa valarza dārȳs dārīs dārȳssa dāriarza
Aquatic
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative embar embri embrun embrar
Accusative embri embrī embruni embrari
Genitive embro embroti embruno embraro
Dative embrot embrunta embrarta
Locative embār embrunna embrarra
Instrumental embrosa embrossi embrussa embrarza
Comitative embroma embrommi embrumma embrarma
Vocative embus embis embrussa embrarza


Second Declension

Second declension nouns have the stem-vowel y. There are two types of second declension nouns:

  • Those that end in -y (e.g. egry "knife"), mostly lunar.
  • Those that end in -ys (e.g. dārys "king"), mostly solar.

There are not terrestrial- or aquatic-types, so any word whose citation form ends in -yn or -yr can safely assumed to be reanalyzed paucals and collectives respectively.

The second declension merges the locative and instrumental singular; locative and instrumental plural; and the genitive and dative plural. Critically it distinguishes the locative plural from the genitive/dative, and is the only noun class in the language to do so.

Lunar
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative egry egri egryn egryr
Accusative egri egrī egryni egryri
Genitive egro egroti egryno egryro
Dative egrot egrynty egryrty
Locative egrȳ egrī egrynny egryrry
Instrumental egromy egrommi egryssy egryrzy
Comitative egrymmy egryrmy
Vocative egrys egrys egryssy egryrzy
Solar
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative dārys dāryssy dāryn dāryr
Accusative dāri dārī dāryni dāryri
Genitive dāro dāroti dāryno dāryro
Dative dārot dārynty dāryrty
Locative dārȳ dārī dārynny dāryrry
Instrumental dāromy dārommi dāryssy dāryrzy
Comitative dārymmy dāryrmy
Vocative dārys dāryssys dāryssy dāryrzy


Third Declension

Third declension nouns have the stem-vowel o. The third declension is very diverse: all four gender-types occur in the third declension, and several subtypes:

  • Those that end in -o (e.g. avero "grape"), mostly lunar.
    • A subtype that ends in -io (e.g. āeksio "master.")
  • Those that end in -os (e.g. ēngos "tongue"), mostly solar.
    • At least three subtypes, to accommodate such words as rūs "baby," deks "foot," and ȳs "art."
  • Those that end in -on (e.g. belmon "chain"), mostly terrestrial.
    • A subtype that ends in -ion (e.g. gēlion "silver.")
  • Those that end in -or (e.g. bēgor "trout"), mostly aquatic.
    • A subtype to accommodate Mȳr (and any other words that might be like it).

The third declension merges the nominative and accusative singular, dative and locative singular; the instrumental and comitative singular; the nominative and accusative plural, and the genitive, dative, and locative plural.

Lunar and Subtype -io
Singular Plural Paucal Collective Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative avero avera averun averor āeksio āeksia āeksȳn āeksior
Accusative averuni averori āeksȳni āeksȳri
Genitive averō averoti averuno averoro āeksiō āeksȳti āeksȳno āeksȳro
Dative averot averunto averorto āeksiot āeksȳnto āeksȳrto
Locative averunno averorro āeksȳnno āeksȳrro
Instrumental averoso averossi averusso averorzo āeksȳso āeksȳssi āeksȳsso āeksȳrzo
Comitative averummo averormo āeksȳmmo āeksȳrmo
Vocative averos averas averusso averorzo āeksios āeksīs āeksȳsso āeksȳrzo
Solar and Contracting subtype
Singular Plural Paucal Collective Singular Plural Paucal Collective Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative ēngos ēngossa ēngun ēngor jaos jaohossa jaohun jaohor deks dekossa dekun dekor
Accusative ēnguni ēngori jaohuni jaohori dekuni dekori
Genitive ēngo ēngoti ēnguno ēngoro jaoho jaohoti jaohuno jaohoro deko dekoti dekuno dekoro
Dative ēngot ēngunto ēngorto jaohot jaohunto jaohorto dekot dekunto dekorto
Locative ēngunno ēngorro jaohunno jaohorro dekunno dekorro
Instrumental ēngoso ēngossi ēngusso ēngorzo jaoso jaohossi jaohusso jaohorzo dekso dekossi dekusso dekorzo
Comitative ēngummo ēngormo jaohummo jaohormo dekummo dekormo
Vocative ēngos ēngossas ēngusso ēngorzo jaos jaohossas jaohusso jaohorzo deks dekossas dekusso dekorzo
Terrestrial
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative belmon belma belmun belmor
Accusative belmuni belmondi
Genitive belmo belmoti belmuno belmondo
Dative belmot belmunto
Locative belmunno belmorro
Instrumental belmoso belmossi belmusso belmorzo
Comitative belmummo belmormo
Vocative belmos belmas belmusso belmorzo
Subtype -ion
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative gēlion gēlia gēlȳn gēlior
Accusative gēlȳni gēlȳndi
Genitive gēlio gēlȳti gēlȳno gēlȳndo
Dative gēliot gēlȳnto
Locative gēlȳnno gēlȳrro
Instrumental gēlȳso gēlȳssi gēlȳsso gēlȳrzo
Comitative gēlȳmmo gēlȳrmo
Vocative gēlios gēlīs gēlȳsso gēlȳrzo


Aquatic and Mȳr Subtype
Singular Plural Paucal Collective Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative bēgor bēgra bēgrun bēgror Mȳr Mȳra Mȳryn Mȳror
Accusative bēgruni bēgrori Mȳryni Mȳrori
Genitive bēgro bēgroti bēgruno bēgroro Mȳro Mȳroti Mȳryno Mȳroro
Dative bēgrot bēgrunto bēgrorto Mȳrot Mȳrynto Mȳrorto
Locative bēgrunno bēgrorro Mȳrynno Mȳrorro
Instrumental bēgroso bēgrossi bēgrusso bēgrorzo Mȳroso Mȳrossi Mȳrysso Mȳrorzo
Comitative bēgrummo bēgrormo Mȳrymmo Mȳrormo
Vocative bēgos bēgas bēgrusso bēgrorzo Mȳs Mȳras Mȳrysso Mȳrorzo

Fourth Declension

Fourth declension nouns have the stem-vowel e. There are at least three types of fourth declension nouns:

  • Those that end in -e (e.g. gelte "helmet"), mostly lunar.
  • Those that end in -es (e.g. zaldrīzes "dragon"), mostly solar.
  • Those that end in -en (only known example at this time is Targārien "Targaryen"), mostly terrestrial.

No aquatic-type fourth declension nouns attested so far. The fourth declension does not appear to merge any cases, other than the usual genitive, dative, and locative plural.

Lunar
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative gelte gelti geltin gelter
Accusative geltī geltī geltini gelteri
Genitive gelto geltoti geltino geltero
Dative geltot geltinte gelterte
Locative geltē geltinne gelterre
Instrumental geltose geltossi geltisse gelterze
Comitative geltome geltommi geltimme gelterme
Vocative geltys geltīs geltisse gelterze
Solar
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative zaldrīzes zaldrīzesse zaldrīzin zaldrīzer
Accusative zaldrīzī zaldrīzī zaldrīzini zaldrīzeri
Genitive zaldrīzo zaldrīzoti zaldrīzino zaldrīzero
Dative zaldrīzot zaldrīzinte zaldrīzerte
Locative zaldrīzē zaldrīzinne zaldrīzerre
Instrumental zaldrīzose zaldrīzossi zaldrīzisse zaldrīzerze
Comitative zaldrīzome zaldrīzommi zaldrīzimme zaldrīzerme
Vocative zaldrīzys zaldrīzesses zaldrīzisse zaldrīzerze
Terrestrial
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative Targārien Targārī Targārȳn Targārior
Accusative Targārī Targārī Targārȳni Targārȳndi
Genitive Targārio Targārȳti Targārȳno Targārȳndo
Dative Targāriot Targārȳnte Targārȳnde
Locative Targāriēn Targārȳnne Targārȳrre
Instrumental Targārȳse Targārȳssi Targārȳsse Targārȳrze
Comitative Targārȳme Targārȳmmi Targārȳmme Targārȳrme
Vocative Targāries Targārīs Targārȳsse Targārȳrze

Fifth Declension

Fifth declension nouns have the stem-vowel i. There are at least two types of fifth declension nouns:

  • Those that end in -i (e.g. brōzi "name"), mostly lunar.
  • Those that end in -is (e.g. tubis "day"), mostly solar
  • Those that end in -ir (e.g. rōbir "fig"), mostly aquatic.

There does not appear to be a terrestrial (*-in) type.

It is known that the fifth declension merges the nominative and accusative singular; the nominative and accusative plural; and the usual genitive, dative, and locative plural.

Lunar
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative brōzi brōza brōzin brōzir
Accusative brōzini brōziri
Genitive brōzio brōzȳti brōzino brōziro
Dative brōziot brōzinti brōzirti
Locative brōzī brōzinni brōzirri
Instrumental brōzȳsi brōzȳssi brōzissi brōzirzi
Comitative brōzȳmi brōzȳmmi brōzimmi brōzirmi
Vocative brōzys brōzas brōzissi brōzirzi
Solar
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative tubis tubissa tubin tubir
Accusative tubini tubiri
Genitive tubio tubȳti tubino tubiro
Dative tubiot tubinti tubirti
Locative tubī tubinni tubirri
Instrumental tubȳsi tubȳssi tubissi tubirzi
Comitative tubȳmi tubȳmmi tubimmi tubirmi
Vocative tubys tubissas tubissi tubirzi
Aquatic
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative rōbir rōbra rōbrin rōbrir
Accusative rōbrini rōbriri
Genitive rōbrio rōbrȳti rōbrino rōbriro
Dative rōbriot rōbrinti rōbrirti
Locative rōbīr rōbrinni rōbrirri
Instrumental rōbrȳsi rōbrȳssi rōbrissi rōbrirzi
Comitative rōbrȳmi rōbrȳmmi rōbrimmi rōbrirmi
Vocative rōbys rōbas rōbrissi rōbrirzi
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative vestriarzir vestriarja vestriarjin vestriarjir
Accusative vestriarjini vestriarjiri
Genitive vestriarjio vestriarjȳti vestriarjino vestriarjiro
Dative vestriarjiot vestriarjinti vestriarjirti
Locative vestriarzīr vestriarjinni vestriarjirri
Instrumental vestriarjȳsi vestriarjȳssi vestriarjissi vestriarjirzi
Comitative vestriarjȳmi vestriarjȳmmi vestriarjimmi vestriarjirmi
Vocative vestriarzys vestriarzas vestriarjissi vestriarjirzi

Sixth Declension

The sixth declension is used for miscellaneous nouns. It includes borrowings such as foreign words especially those that have not been fully accepted into the language (e.g. buzdari), are mostly lumped into this paradigm. In the nominative singular the final -i is optional. It is mandatory in the accusative singular and plural forms.

If a borrowed word already ends in a vowel, it can still be borrowed into this declension by keeping the final vowel in the nominative singular, in place of the optional -i, but dropping it in favor of the case-endings elsewhere, e.g. nom.s. mhysa, acc.s. mhysi, voc.s. mhysis etc. There is also the possibility of adding -h- to the stem, analogously to the third declension contracting subtype: Yunkai, dat. Yunkaihot.

The accusative singular, nominative plural, and optionally the nominative singular of this paradigm all end in -i. It has the usual genitive, dative, locative plural merger. Other than that, all forms are distinct.

Borrowing Type
Singular Plural Paucal Collective
Nominative buzdari buzdari buzdarin buzdarir
Accusative buzdari buzdarī buzdarini buzdariri
Genitive buzdaro buzdaroti buzdarino buzdariro
Dative buzdarot buzdarinti buzdarirti
Locative buzdarī buzdarinni buzdarirri
Instrumental buzdarisi buzdarissi buzdarissi buzdarirzi
Comitative buzdarimi buzdarimmi buzdarimmi buzdarirmi
Vocative buzdaris buzdarissis buzdarissi buzdarirzi
Reanalyzed Collectives

Sometimes a collective acquires so specific a meaning that it begins to be thought of as a separate word (e.g. azantyr "army," originally the collective of azantys "soldier.") At this point, a way to pluralize them becomes necessary, which puts them into the sixth declension. Reanalyzed collectives retain the gender of the original word, and therefore can be any gender.

Reanalyzed collectives merge the instrumental and vocative singular; and the genitive, dative, and locative plural.

Here is all we know about the declension reanalyzed collectives:

  • The singular keeps its usual collective declension (e.g. azantyrmy "along with an army," udrirzi "in a language.")
  • The nominative plural ends in -i or -y, depending on vowel harmony (but the exact conditions are unclear.)
  • The plural declension is not identical to that of foreign words or reanalyzed paucals.
  • The plural merges no cases, except for the usual gen./dat./loc.pl.
  • If a reanalyzed collective were ever to be itself placed in the collective or paucal, the first declension paradigms (-ar, -un) would probably be used. However, it is uncertain that this ever happens.
Paucal Plural Collective Plural
Nominative valuni valari
Accusative valunī valarī
Genitive valunoti valaroti
Dative
Locative
Instrumental valussi valarzi
Comitative valummi valarmi
Vocative valussis valarzis
Reanalyzed Paucals

Sometimes a paucal acquires so specific a meaning that it begins to be thought of as a separate word (e.g. tīkun "wing," originally the paucal of tīkos "feather"). At this point, a way to pluralize them becomes necessary, which puts them into the sixth declension. Reanalyzed paucals retain the gender of the original word, and therefore can be any gender.

Reanalyzed paucals merge the instrumental and vocative singular; and the genitive, dative, and locative plural.

Here is all we know about the declension reanalyzed paucals:

  • The singular keeps its usual paucal declension (e.g. tīkusso "by wing.").
  • The nominative plural probably follows the same rule as reanalyzed collectives, e.g. tīkuni "wings." The accusative plural appears to be , as seen in gēlȳnī "debts."
  • The plural declension is not identical to that of foreign words or reanalyzed collectives.
  • The plural merges no cases, except for the usual gen./dat./loc.pl.
  • If a reanalyzed plural were ever to be itself placed in the paucal or collective, the first declension paradigms (-un, -ar) would probably be used. However, it is uncertain that this ever happens.
Paucal Plural Collective Plural
Nominative teguni tegori
Accusative tegunī tegorī
Genitive tegunoti tegoroti
Dative
Locative
Instrumental tegussi tegorzi
Comitative tegummi tegormi
Vocative tegussis tegorzis

Noun Derivation

Main article: High Valyrian Derivational Affixes

Derivational affixes are prefixes and suffixes used to form a new word, as opposed to inflectional affixes, which are used to inflect an existing word. In some cases it is debatable whether a particular affix is inflectional or derivational. High Valyrian shows the usage of several affixes for word formation, not unlike other flexive languages such as English, Latin or Greek.

A negative prefix takes the form do-, dor- used in a similar fashion to English un-:

zalty "burnt", Dorzalty "Unburnt".
vaogēdy "sullied", Dovaogēdy "Unsullied".

There's also another negative prefix nā-, which seems to be more derivational, being used to form the negative concept of the word it prefixes:

morghūlilaros "mortal", nāmorghūlilaros "immortal".
pāsiros "believer", nāpāsiros "nonbeliever, unbeliever".

Notice, however, that even when these seem to use the same in- or un- prefix in the translation, the meaning is "the contrary of", hence:

kostōba "strong", nākostōba "weak".

A very well-known suffix for nouns is the suffix -āzma, an augmentative:

brāedāzma "bronze", compare brāedion "copper".
jelmāzma "storm", compare jelmio "wind".

The suffix -ītsos is a diminutive:

riñītsos "little child, little girl", compare riña "child".
zoklītsos "little wolf", compare zokla "wolf".

And another very well-known one is the suffix -tys, especially frequent in the names of professions:

azan·tys "soldier"
lok·tys "sailer"
men·tys "soldier "
vok·tys "priest"

Pronouns

Main article: High Valyrian Pronouns

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns in High Valyrian exist for first, second and third person as well as in singular and plural forms. Third person pronouns have different forms for animate and inanimate referents. This is similar to English distinction "he/she" vs. "it". Personal pronouns inflect for all cases as follows:

Possessive Pronouns

When a possessive adjective needs to be nominalized, instead of the expected substantive forms in -y and -ir, a special form in -on is used, which declines as an ordinary 3ter. noun. Thus:

Adjectives

Main article: High Valyrian Adjectives

Adjectives agree with the nouns they modify in gender, number and case and decline accordingly. There are no separate paucal and collective forms of adjectives; paucal nouns take plural agreement and collective nouns singular agreement. Adjectives decline according to their declension class and can also be inflected for comparison. Adjectives most commonly precede the noun they modify, and in those cases take a prepositive form, although they may follow it, and then take a postpositive form.

Comparison

There are four degrees of comparison: positive, comparative, superlative and equative. For an adjective "X", the positive form is the bare (or dictionary) form, and conveys the basic meaning of the adjective. Below, the other degrees of comparison are detailed.

Comparative

The comparative form means "more X," or "X-er" and is a class I adjective formed with a suffix ending in -kta or similar. To say "more X than Y", the noun Y takes the instrumental case.

Superlative

The superlative form means "most X", or "X-est" and is a class II adjective formed with a suffix ending in -je.

Equative

The equative means "as X," or "equally X" and is a class I adjective formed with a suffix ending in -pa. To say "(as) X as Y", the noun Y takes the instrumental case.

Adjective Declension

Adjectives fall into one of three classes: class I (first declension class), class II (second declension class), and class III (third declension class). These should not be confused with the similarly named declension classes of nouns.

Class I

Main article: High Valyrian Adjectives § Class I
Generic type
Aquatic type
J-final subtype

Class II

Main article: High Valyrian Adjectives § Class II
Generic type
Palatal-final type
Sȳz type

Class III

Main article: High Valyrian Adjectives § Class III

Adverbs

Adverbs are regularly formed from adjectives with suffixes (equivalent to -ly in English): -irī/-rī for class I adjectives as well as equatives, comparatives and superlatives, and for class II and class III adjectives. Dative, locative and instrumental forms of nouns are also commonly used as adverbs.

Adpositions

Main article: High Valyrian Adpositions

Adposition is a general term to refer to both prepositions (which precede their object) and postpositions (which follow their object.) High Valyrian utilizes both kinds.

Prepositions

There are only three prepositions in the High Valyrian language. Hae only occurs with the locative, but hen and va can also take a dative.

hae (→loc.): as, like. (cf. Astapori Valyrian he)
hen (→loc.): from, of; (→dat.) out of, on account of, thanks to, because of, for. (cf. Astapori Valyrian hin)
va (→loc.): towards, at, near; (→dat.) to, all the way up to, into. (cf. Astapori Valyrian va)

Postpostions

All known postpositions take a genitive object. This makes sense, as they all seem to have evolved from nouns in the locative, dative, or instrumental case.

(→gen): on, on top of, upon; on (the subject of), about.
(→gen): under, beneath, below; before.
hēdrȳ (→gen): from amongst, from the midst of.
iemnȳ {→gen): within.
naejot (→gen): in front of. (cf. Astapori Valyrian nejo)
ondoso (→gen): by. (cf. Astapori Valyrian dos, which, however, means "with")
(→gen): between, through, across, throughout
syt (→gen): for. (cf. Astapori Valyrian zy)
toliot (→gen): over; after.
mijiot (→gen): without.

Verbs

Verbs conjugate according to tense, voice and mood. Finite verb forms agree with the subject in person and number.

Tense

High Valyrian has seven tenses: present, aorist, future, imperfect, perfect, pluperfect and past habitual.

Present

The present tense is used for events that are happening at the current moment, and can often be translated into English as "is X-ing".

Aorist

The aorist tense is used for statements about general truths or facts and events that usually or always occur.

Future

The future tense is used for things that will happen or are going to occur.

Imperfect

The imperfect tense is used to indicate events that were ongoing in the past, and can generally be translated by "was X-ing" in English.

Perfect

The perfect tense is used to discuss events completed prior to the present moment. It can be translated as either "has X-ed" or "X-ed" in English, depending on context.

Pluperfect

The pluperfect tense is used to talk about prior events from the perspective of a past point in time. In general, it can be translated as "had X-ed" in English.

Past Habitual

The past habitual tense is used for things that occured generally or repeatedly over some period in the past, and can often be translated as "used to X" in English.

Voice

There are two voices of transitive verbs in High Valyrian: active and passive.

Active

In the active voice, the subject of a transitive verb is the one acting upon the object (the agent), e.g. "The woman ate the apple". This is the unmarked of the two voices.

Passive

In the passive voice, the subject of a transitive verb is the one being acted upon (the patient). The agent (the "old" subject) can be left out ("The apple was eaten"). It can also be expressed with the genitive case or a prepositional phrase.

Mood

Main article: Subjunctive Mood and Infinitive Uses

High Valyrian has three verb moods: indicative, subjunctive and imperative.

Indicative

The indicative mood is used to for statements that are considered true, certain or factual, and is the unmarked mood.

Subjunctive

Main article: Uses of the Subjunctive

The subjunctive mood is used to speak about hypothetical, uncertain or otherwise non-real events. One of its most common uses is in negative statements using daor (not).

Imperative

The imperative mood is used for commands and instructions. It exists only in second-person forms, i.e. those which refer to the listener. Commands for other persons are formed through other constructions. They inflect for three tenses: present, aorist and future. The active imperatives have separate singular and plural forms, while the passive imperatives merge the two.

Non-finite Verb Forms

Non-finite verb forms are those that do not inflect for person or number of the subject. On their own, they lack a subject, and so cannot consititute a main clause on their own, but are instead used to complete the meaning of other clauses. However, if used together with pronouns in particular constructions, the infinitive can be used as the verb of a main clause.

Infinitive

Main article: Uses of the Infinitive

The infinitive form (specifically the present active infinitive) is the dictionary form in High Valyrian. It can be translated into English as "(to) X" or "X-ing". The infinitive can take the role of a noun, either as a complement or as the subject to another verb. Infinitives exist for several voice and tense combinations, although not all.

Participles

Participles are verb forms which are adjectives in form, and so modify nouns as part of a participial clause. Participles exist for several voice and tense combinations, although not all.

Verb Conjugation

Main article: Verb Conjugation, by Tense
Main article: Verb Tables, by Stem Type

Verb Derivation

Main article: Verbal Prefixes

Instrumental Passive

The instrumental passive form of a verb describe actions directed from inanimate grammatical subjects, such as instruments and inanimate objects. The instrumental passive promotes an instrument (a noun in the instrumental case) to the subject. For some (but not all) verbs, the instrumental passive form is also mandatory if the subject is inanimate, even if it is not, strictly, an instrument. It is formed with the prefixes a-, h-, s- and z-, depending on the phonological form of the word.

Oblique Applicative

The oblique applicative promotes an indirect object (a noun in the dative case) to the direct object (which takes the accusative). It is formed with the prefixes i- and j-, depending on the phonological form of the word. The prefixed form may take additional adpositional prefixes.

Locative Applicative

The locative applicative promotes the object of an adpositional phrase to a type of indirect object, which is in the dative case, or genitive if the noun is singular and the verb, which the noun must immediately precede, begins with a vowel. It is formed with the prefixes u- and v-, depending on the phonological form of the word. The prefixed form may take additional adpositional prefixes, which may alter the form of the applicative prefix (for example in hemb- and vao-).

Numerals

Main article: High Valyrian Number System
For grammatical number, see above.

Syntax

Word Order

High Valyrian is a strongly head-final language, and word order is subject–object–verb (SOV). Thus, in general, verbs follow their direct objects and adverbs which modify them; nouns follow the adjectives, demonstratives, adpositions and relative clauses which modify them; possessees follow possessors; adjectives follow the adverbs and adpositions which modify them; and most adpositions are postpositions, with only a few prepositions occuring.

Verb Phrases

Subjects precede their verb. Below is an example featuring an intransitive verb:

Riña ēdrus. — "The girl is sleeping."

In verb phrases with transitive verbs, the word order is SOV. For example:

Kepa gerpī ipradas. — "The father eats the fruits."

In verb phrases with ditransitive verbs, which take both a direct object and an indirect objects, the indirect object most commonly precedes the direct object, as in the example below:

Azantys taobot rūklon tepas. — "The knight is giving the boy a flower."

While less common, the indirect object may also follow the direct object:

Azantys rūklon taobot tepas. — "The knight is giving the boy a flower." / "The knight is giving a flower to the boy."
Subject Pronouns

High Valyrian is a pro-drop language; that is, subject pronouns are generally omitted, since the person and number of the subject are indicated through verbal morphology:

Gevī ȳdrā. — "You are speaking beautifully."

Including the subject pronoun places emphasis on the subject:

Ao gevī ȳdrā. — "You are speaking beautifully."

Relative Clauses

Main article: High Valyrian Pronouns § Relatives

Relative clauses are clauses which modify nouns or pronouns, and can often be translated as a phrase beginning with "who" or "that" in English. The noun which the relative clause modifies also has a role both in the relative clause and the matrix clause; it is shared. In High Valyrian, relative clauses are followed by a relative adjective (lua) or a relative pronoun ( or līr), which link the relative clause to the matrix (containing) clause. They precede the nouns they modify in the case of relative adjectives, while relative pronouns can stand on their own. They are generally gapped, that is, the noun shared between the relative and matrix clauses is left out in the relative clause, as in English:

Ābre ūndas lua vala raqiros issa. — "The man who saw the woman is a friend."

Furthermore, and unlike English, the relative adjective and pronoun take their case from the matrix clause. This can create ambiguous sentences, for example if the clause includes nouns of declensions which have merged the nominative and accusative cases:

Tyvaros ūndas lua vala raqiros issa. — "The man who saw the snake is a friend." / "The man who the snake saw is a friend."

However, in such cases where gapping creates ambiguity, a pronoun or prominominal adjective referring to the shared noun may be included in the relative clause for clarity (a resumptive pronoun):

Ziry tyvaros ūndas lua vala raqiros issa. — "The man who saw the snake is a friend."
Tyvaros ziry ūndas lua vala raqiros issa. — "The man who the snake saw is a friend."

Similarly to English, there are few restrictions on the syntactic role the shared noun can have in the relative clause. It can be the subject, a direct object, an indirect object, a locative argument, a comparand, or an adpositional phrase. In all cases, resumptive pronominal arguments may be used for clarity:

Role Standard phrasing Precise phrasing
Indirect object Ābra rūklon teptas lua vala raqiros issa.
("The man who the woman gave a flower is a friend.")
Ābra zijot rūklon teptas lua vala raqiros issa.
("The man who the woman gave him a flower is a friend")
The man (to) whom the woman gave a flower is a friend.
Possessor Ābra kepe rhēdes lua vala raqiros issa.
("The man who the woman knows the father is a friend.")
Ābra zȳhe kepe rhēdes lua vala raqiros issa.
("The man who the woman knows his father is a friend.")
The man whose father the woman knows is a friend.
Location Ābra morghūltas luon lenton pryjataks.
("The house that the woman died was destroyed.")
Ābra konīr morghūltas luon lenton pryjataks.
("The house that the woman died there was destroyed.")
The house where the woman died was destroyed.
Comparand Ābra kirinkte issa lua vala raqiros issa.
("The man who the woman is happier is a friend.")
Ābra zijosy kirinkte issa lua vala raqiros issa.
(The man who the woman is happier than him is a friend.)
The man who the woman is happier than is a friend.
Adposition Ābra dekurūptas lua vala raqiros issa.
("The man who the woman walked is a friend.")
Ābra va zijot dekurūptas lua vala raqiros issa.
("The man who the woman walked up to him is a friend.")
The man the woman walked up to is a friend.

Omission of the Copula

If the predicate of the relative clause is adjectival (e.g. "is green") or genitival e.g. "is a man's"), the copula (the verb "to be") is omitted, and the adjective or genitive modifies the pronoun or pronominal adjective directly, and adjectives agree with it in case and number. For example:

Ñuhor līr gūrēnna. — "I will take what is mine."

Questions

Yes–No Questions

Yes–no questions have the same word order as a declarative clause. The only difference is a that yes–no questions have a rising pitch toward the end:

Udrirzi Valyrio ȳdrā? — "Do you speak Valyrian?"

Compare:

Udrirzi Valyrio ȳdrā. — "You speak Valyrian."

Wh-questions

Wh-questions display wh-fronting, which means that the interrogative pronoun or adjective is moved to the front of the clause, similar to English and many other European languages:

Skorverdon jēdaro azantys ūndas? — "How old is the knight?"
(response): Azantys izule izulēpsā jēdari ūndas. — "The knight is forty-four years old."

Coordination

When coordinating two similar words in High Valyrian, e.g. two verbs, two adjectives or two nouns, the common way is not to use the conjunction se. Instead, the second word, which in English comes after "and", is modified. Its final vowel is lengthened and the word's stress shifts to the last syllable, in a process which can be termed conjunctive lengthening:

High Valyrian IPA English
No coordination vala ābra [ˈvala ˈaːbra] "the man the woman"
Coordination vala ābrā [ˈvala aːˈbraː] "the man and the woman"

For example:

Bisi ñuhor qȳbor ñuha velmā issi. — "These are my uncle and aunt."

Conjunctive lengthening can also be used when there are more than two words following one another. Similar to how, in English, "and" precedes the last word in the list, in High Valyrian, the last word is modified:

Vale ābre azantī ūndan. — "I saw a man, a woman and a knight."

Conjunctive lengthening is also used in compound numbers:

izula ampā "fourteen", literally "four and ten"
lanti lantēpsā vali "twenty-two men"

Coordination with se in cases where conjunctive lengthening is preferred is possible, but it is uncommon and considered formal. To express "both ... and ...", both strategies are used together: se + [first element] + [second element modified]:

Se vala ābrā sȳrī vāedis. — "Both the man and the woman sing well."

The change in stress is not indicated orthographically in the romanization, but the change in length is. However, if the last vowel in the final word is already long, there is no orthographic change.