a bird's eye view

Writing systems

Taruven has several writing systems. Most systems combine an alphabetic system with a logographic system, with approximately the complexity of written Hittite. These pages use a transliteration to a latin script, set in bold. The transliteration is heavy on diacritics due to latin script being short on symbols.


Taruven is a strongly agglutinating language. It has many more suffixes than affixes, and a handful of infixes.

Word classes

Taruven has three open word classes: nouns, verbs and statives. Nouns come in two types: entities/animata (living things and thinking things) and items/inanimata (the rest). This is not noun gender as the differences only show up in syntax. Verbs also come in two types: regular verbs, which are either intransitive, transitive or ditransitive, and complemented verbs, which are rather strange. Statives does just about the same job has adjectives and adverbs in other languages. Nouns take one set of affixes, verbs another, and statives a third that is a mix of noun-affixes, verb-affixes and stative-only affixes, depending on what job the specific stative is doing at the time.

The remaining word classes are closed word classes: pronouns and demonstratives, which behave like nouns, numbers which behave like statives and frontwords and sentence-words, which behave like sentence adverbs and conjunctions.

Word order

There is no default word order in clauses unless the verb is a complemented verb, see axis words.

There is a default word order for noun phrases: the noun comes at the end. Any modifiers, like statives, that come before the noun is unmarked. The modifiers can be moved far away from the noun however, and then agrees in case.

In a relative clause, the verb comes first and the particle tal comes last, if necessary.

In a serial verb construction, the verbs are ordered by time: the verb that happens first goes first.

Axis words

Axis words split a clause or phrase in a right and a left. What's to one side cannot be intermingled with what's on the other side, but it generally doesn't matter which side something is on. Axis words are either complemented verbs or sentence-words. While all complemented verbs are axis-words that is not the case for sentence-words.

Serial verb constructions

Serial verb constructions (SVCs) are very common in Taruven. Many verbs that would be a single verb in English is a two-verb SVC in Taruven. SVCs get used a lot. All the verbs in an SVC have the same subject.

Noun incorporation

A Taruven verb can incorporate its object, it then goes to the right of the verb root.

Complemented verbs/subclauses

Non-relative subclauses precede or follow a complemented verb. There are thus basically no subordinators, complementizers, gerunds or participles. Any remaining arguments of the complemented verb go on the oppsite side of the subclause.