Xanzite language

From Sajem Tan Wiki

The Xanzite language is the language spoken in Xanz of the Southern Isles. It provided Sajem Tan with many loanwords based on triconsonantal root patterns.



p~m̥ b~m t~n̥ d~n s~ɲ̊ ʤ~ɲ k g~ŋ ʔ
f θ x~h
w l j

The nasal varieties of stops surface after a nasal vowel.


i ɨ~ə u
ɛ ɔ

Each of these vowels have phonemic distinctions in nasality.

The following diphthongs are attested: eu, iu


p~mh b~m t~nh d~n s~ñh z~ñ k g~ng '
f th x
w l j
i í y ý u ú
e é o ó
a á

Acute accent indicates a nasal vowel when nasality is not clear from context. (e.g. in "xanz" it's clearly nasal from the n, but in "páxel" it wouldn't be clear)


Primary stress falls on the initial syllable and secondary stress on alternate syllables following. Unstressed e, y, and o delete in medial syllables (so, páxel + i → páxli).

Loanwords to Sajem Tan[edit]

Xanz -> ST:

  • m̥ n̥ ɲ̊ > fm fn sn
  • l > sl (actually the borrowing is before ST /l r/ become lateral fricatives)
  • eu > el, iu > ol


  • t_t_t > tetyt (king)
  • l_t_b > slitim (striped)


Stem Vowels[edit]

  • _á__(e) - agentive noun
  • _a_a_ - intensive
  • _á_e_ - passive voice
  • _a_i_ - habitual or stative verb
  • _e_á_ - perfective
  • _e_y_ - patient noun
  • _eu_eu_ - middle voice
  • _eu_éú_ - witnessive (usually either saw someone doing something or saw while doing something, depending on the verb)
  • _ó_a_ - instrument
  • _u_í_ - active voice
  • _y_o_ - causative

Nominal Affixes[edit]

-i gen
-en loc
e- away
á- towards

So for páxel "island"

páxel nom/acc
epáxel source, used for quotatives so ", said the island"
amháxel voc
páxli gen
epáxeli not sure yet, but at least used for transfers of ownership
amháxeli ^
páxlen loc
epáxelen away from
amháxelen toward, probably also dat

Verbal Affixes[edit]

Verbs agree with both subject and object. Intransitive verbs historically had their own prefixes, but these have merged with the 3rd person objects in most instances. (TODO: when don't they?)

subject V object → 1 2 3
1 ana- áthi-
anasusimh "I greet you" áthisusimh "I greet him"
2 is(e)-
issusimh "you greet him"
3 anim gy-
gyssimh "he greets her"
3 inanim le-

Tenses other than the present are normally formed by adding one of the following affixes between the person prefix and the stem:

  • ji - distant past (prior to yesterday)
  • ??? - recent past (earlier today or yesterday)
  • ti - intended future
  • wa - possible (all time frames)
  • zú - desired (usually future, but sometimes present or past)

However, there are some irregularities, so the full table is presented below

Subject 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 anim 3 anim 3 anim 3 inan 3 inan 3 inan
Object 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
far past áthji- gi-
near past
future anati- áthidi-
potential iswa- / isewa-
desired lezú

2/3 potential isn't entirely consistent as to whether following stress reduction treats it as underlyingly 2 syllables or 3. (TODO: what determines this then?)

If someone wants something to happen and there is a sufficient difference between the animacy of the desirer and the direct object of the subordinate clause, the clauses can be combined with the matrix subject being the subject and the subordinate subject being the object. Thus the verb susimh "greet" can be anazuñhusimh, which is either "I hope to greet you" or "I hope that you greet it".


Sentences are mostly SOV (TODO: check corpus again - there's a dearth of transitive verbs with overt arguments)


The general lexicon can be found at https://sajemtan.github.io/Xanz/lexicon.html


1 (< *díx/de') 2 3 anim 3 inan
nom di xow
nom-away eni exow
nom-toward ani
gen díxi xwi
gen-away edíxi
gen-toward aníxi
loc de'en
loc-away ed'en
loc-toward an'en


The following was copied from a 2020 lexember entry. (TODO: clean up)

Xanz Dec 22
b-d-th /b-d-θ/ 1, alone (banthe)
t-g-th /t-g-θ/ 2, repeat, recur (tegyth)
f-l-th /f-l-θ/ 3 (falith)
b-g-l /b-g-l/ 4 (bagil)
t-d-x /t-d-x/ 5 (tedyx)
j-f-' /j-f-ʔ/ 6 (jáfe')
k-g-w /k-g-w/ 12 (kagiw)
b-th-d /b-θ-d/ 144 (bathid)
-(e)k /(ɛ)k/ and (enclitic)

So yeah, base 6/12 with nothing terribly strange as yet. I think at least one more of the numbers besides 1 and 2 has a verbal meaning, but I'm not sure which one.

Numerals are nouns and enumerate objects appear in the genitive case:
páxli banthe - 1 island
páxli tegyth - 2 islands
páxli jáfi tegyth - 7 islands
páxli kagiwek falith - 15 islands

One of the derivative cases can be used to refer to a number of items out of a larger group:
amháxeli banthe - 1 of the islands
amháxeli tegyth - 2 of the islands

And using the other derivative case, ratios:
etedyxi amháxeli tegyth - 2 islands out of the 5
etedyxi tegyth - 2 out of 5, 2/5