Ankoseiwas /anko‘sewas/ “our language” is the literary dialect of the archipelago of Akotvyah, the Spice Islands (native Onkĩlemowas), somewhat south of Salvi.

The people who speak the language, the Keepers, are one of five races living in this archipelago. Their Gift is the ability to store inanimate objects within a space around their souls, a “hammer-space” if you will; their magic is the ability to clone themselves, and it is a skill few learn and fewer still ever master well enough to govern the islands to any degree. Those who maintain positions of power in multiple settlements thanks to their cloning are given the title of ahoyas or ‘clone-master’.

The other races are the Speakers, bound only to say true things; the Finders, who can locate people they’ve met over thousands of kilometres down to the millimetre; the Divers, whose ability to breathe underwater has seen them through the worst hurricanes ever to hit the archipelago; and the Clownfish People, whose ability to switch from male to female and back again as necessary has made them the butt of many a ribald joke, and whose ancient place on the islands has been slowly usurped by the other races over the past two thousand years.


Phonology is as follows:

  • Consonants: p b m w t d s n l j <y> k h
  • Vowels: i ĩ e <ei> ẽ <ẽi> Ɛɛ <e> ɛ̃ <ẽ> o∼u <o> õ∼ũ <o> a ã
  • Phonotactics: CV(s,n) (n shifts to m before p/b/m); nasal vowels occur where older Vs/Vn occurred next to a consonant that it couldn’t occur alongside (next to anything except a stop or a nasal); word length is 1-4 syllables, with 2-3 being the default

Nominal Declension

Proto-Empath, the language from which Salvian and Ankoseiwas are derived, is usually reconstructed with twelve noun classes, with categories for masculine/feminine/neuter and animate/inanimate/ethereal/miscellaneous. Classical Salvian has preserved these; however, through a number of sound changes over the centuries Ankoseiwas has winnowed the twelve forms down to a mere five, simply described as the I-Class, A-Classes 1 and 2, and O-Classes 1 and 2. They do not represent a particular gender; indeed, this is now conveyed entirely by the definite article (to be discussed later).
Ankoseiwas has three cases.
The absolutive case is the basic form of the word, used as the subject of intransitive sentences and the object of transitive sentences.
The ergative case is used for the subject of transitive sentences.
The instrumental case is used for indirect objects, or for certain prepositional constructions. It can also be used as a compound form.
Plurals in Ankoseiwas (as in all the Keeper languages) are generally formed by reduplication, which appears to have occurred somewhere along the path to Proto-Keeper, and through the loss of any remaining suffixes. The initial CV combination (or, if the word begins with a vowel, the initial C) is duplicated at the beginning of the word. Ankoseiwas, however, requires that no two syllables be the same (except nasals), and while the initial syllable is left unchanged the interior syllable is shifted, thus the word ahoyas ‘clonemaster’ becomes hasoya ‘clonemasters’.
The general drift is as follows: [pb]>w, w>p, [tdh]>s, [ksy]>h, l>y
(A general note: the citation forms of nouns are the absolutive singular and the instrumental plural.)

Table of Declensions

A-Class 1
A-Class 2
O-Class 1
O-Class 2

Verbal Conjugation

The verb in Ankoseiwas is far, far simpler than its counterpart in most of the other Empath languages, including the Quiramic and Salvian families, and is even (by comparison) simpler than in most other Keeper dialects. Thanks to a variety of sound changes and simplifications over the centuries, the Ankoseiwas verb has dropped from twenty-seven possible forms to eighteen, most of which are easy enough to remember. There are four conjugations, and a number of exceptional forms; fortunately, all one has to do is memorize the four base conjugations and the rest should follow easily.
The primary formation in Ankoseiwas is the past realis perfective, for example kota nao ‘I worshipped’. To this can be added various prefixes and suffixes to form different conjugations.

  • Inserting -n- or -m- after the final vowel in the root produces the non-past realis perfective, for example konta nao ‘I worshipped’.
  • Inserting -s- after the final vowel in the root produces the irrealis perfective for example kosta nao ‘I may worship’.
  • Duplicating the first CV combination in the root produces the imperfective forms, for example kokota nao ‘I was worshipping’, kokonta nao ‘I am worshipping’, kokosta nao ‘I may be worshipping’. Note that this would be the CV combination in the originalword, back in Proto-Telepath-Keeper, so there are some exceptions; the word nesa ‘to speak’, for example, has the imperfective form nonesa (nesa<nysɐ<*nuis-a, nonesa<nonysɐ<nu-nuisa).
  • Changing the final vowel of the verb changes whether or not the act was seen by the speaker as a good thing or a bad thing. A final -e produces the volitive, as in kokote nao ‘For some time I wanted to worship’, while a final -o produces the metuitive, as in konto nao ‘I have no desire to worship’.

Here is a complete table of the various forms:

“to worship”

A few grammatical notes:

  • The non-past realis volitional often serves as a future tense, for example bobõye nao ‘I wish to be crossing, I am going to cross’.
  • The imperfective is also used for habitual situations, for example tatãya nao ‘I swim a lot’.
  • The irrealis serves as an imperative, a jussive, or a conditional depending on the situation. It was originally the intentive in Proto-Keeper, having absorbed the function of the original irrealis when its forms became indistinguishable from those of the realis.
  • The other conjugations are relatively easy to work out. The First Conjugation discussed above is the default. The Second Conjugation, dealing with roots ending in -n, suffixes -t- and -s- to the non-past and irrealis forms respectively. The Third Conjugation, dealing with roots ending in -s, suffixes -t- and -y-. And the Fourth Conjugation, derived from the dissimulations of the very frequent consonant clusters in Proto-Keeper, nasalizes the root vowel for the non-past forms and infixes -s- between the root vowel and final consonant for the irrealis forms.


Ankoseiwas pronouns have five forms: absolutive, instrumental, ergative, genitive, and construct. The ergative and absolutive should need little explanation, the former referring to the subjects of transitive sentences and the latter to object of transitive and subject of intransitive sentences. The instrumental usually imparts means or manner, the genitive belonging or possession (usually emphatically). The construct form, derived from the genitive, is suffixed directly onto words; it is present, for example, in the word Ankoseiwas ‘our (exclusive) language’, from ankosein ‘language, speech’ + was (first person plural exclusive). (For those who don’t recognize it, ankosein is an irregular I-Class noun.)
Of the ten original pronouns of Proto-Telepath-Keeper, only seven remain–first, second, and third singular, second and third plural, and first plural exclusive and inclusive. Other pronouns have been added over the years to this lot:

  • Ikai (declined like an A1-Class noun) is a clone-specific pronoun, from ikayas, kikaya- “one used by another to see”.
  • Andei (declined like an I-Class noun) is actually fairly old, dating back to Proto-Keeper (where it was a variant of ɐmdihas “named individual”). Originally an honourific, it has since become somewhat mocking second person pronoun.
  • Ika (A1-Class) is an honourific specifically reserved for elders.
  • The original third person pronoun, te, is used informally or for unknown (or inanimate) referents. Each of the Five Races, in the meantime, is given its own pronoun: isei (I-Class, from iseyas) for the Keepers themselves, nai (A2-Class, from noyas “truth-teller”) for the Speakers, ite (I-Class, from itelas “swimmer”) for the Divers, oka (A2-Class, from okaya) for the Finders, and ka(A1-Class, from kamas “dirt-person”) for the Tiresians. (Because of the bad attitude the last engenders, being something of a slur, it is considered polite to use ika instead when talking to a Tiresian in Ankoseiwas–that is unless you have no qualms about being potentially brained in a ritual duel.)

(NOTE: the construct forms decline as A1, O1, and I-Class nouns respectively. Also, the multiple genitives are the last remainder of the old gender constructions in Proto-Keeper–the first for masculine or neuter referents and the second for feminine ones.)


<<Back to Languages

%d bloggers like this: