Highland Zēīn

Spoken in the foothills of the Čantai mountains, this is possibly the most divergent of the Zēīn languages. Many of the lexemes that are related in the other dialects are completely absent in here, reflecting the Fanai substratum influence extremely prevalent here. Highland has developed a Ergative-Nominative system of great interest.


Bilabial alveolar pal-alv velar uvular Glottal

Stop b t d č ĵ k g ?

Nasal m n ŋ

Fricative f v (s)(z) x r[1] h

Lateral - - l

Approximant - w




Further Phonetic information:

The palatals of Coastal Zēīn here are palato-alveolar opposititons [tS]:[tSS], [S]:[SS]:


[tS] vs. [tSS]:


'heavy rain'


[S] vs. [SS]:

oi 'cloud'

oi 'stormcloud'


Ergative: -b [vε] (marks transitive sujbect)

Nominative: -tl [tlε] (marks subject in intransitive sentences, object in transitive)

Absolutive: - (case taken by postpositions; a morpheme is needed here, because some end-of-word processes do not occur when a noun is in the Absolutive, e.g., tl# >l)

Dative: -γqχ [γεqχε] with the (from a spelling pronounciation of the old Objectivedat

RA-Gh) {note that the /-γ/ is increasingly not pronounced, giving /-qχ/}


Sound changes from Salanjan to Drēīn:

Intervocalic t > / if not part of a consonant cluster or after a nasal

The clusters /gl/, /kl/, /lg/, /lk/ >*// >/w/.

The clusters /gr/, /kr/, /rg/, /rk/, /qr/, /rq/ > *// > /r/ >/l/.

The clusters /tr/, /dr/, /rt/, /rd/ > /z/.

*r, *l collapse into *l, which affricates to tl.

the diphthong *eu, simplified into *, and then unrounded to ē.

SN- clusters (S:s:z:, N:m:n:ŋ) changed to Proto-Drēīn *-ze). This has the reflex zn in Highland Zēīn.


Salanjan -pt- clusters have changed to ud- -[Ud]-.The phonemes /q/, /qh/, /G/, and /Gh/ have merged with /k(h)/, /g/; however, /gh/ has become an uvular fricative [χ] which has not merged with [x], and occurs word-initially as /qχ-/ (even with prefixed articles and prepositions (postpositions in speech, prepositions in writing)). The *T:*s merging has here yielded a dental semi-affricate [ts] where PZ *T/*s occur.

tl- stems assimilate the initial consonant of a postposition, e.g.,

znēl cil ghottatlēl /tsiqqχtεtleitllεm/ 'out of the mouth'

the article cil- assimmilates to most consonants, ciC1-C1, and dissappears before vowels.

In spoken dialects of Highland Zēīn, the pronouns have lost their nominal/postpositional endings and basically now serve as person inflections: Written Standard /ktlεvε tsiwtatleil ikul vejγεqχε/

I spoke to you concerning someone. vs. Garon ko.cīwtatlεl.βē.īk [reversing the order of DO and IDO as βē- amd -īk]






Kotlaba sil wottatlel (kul iku) g vera.

/kotlb cīl wottatlēl (kul iku) gh vēγ /

[ktlεvε tsiwtatleil ikul vejγεqχε]

<I(Erg) in the past-speak(tr.) (someone (gen.abl)) you (dat)>

I spoke to you concerning someone.

(Sp. habl de alguin te)

Sel hotla'aba sitla hotla'el semel sil gttalel

/cel hotla?al citla hotla?ēl znēl cil ghottatlēl/

[tsehtlε?εtlε tsitltlε?el tsiqqχtεtleitllεm]

<the-falcon(Nom.) in the past-fly(intr.) the-mouth(abs)-out of>

The falcon flew out of the mouth.

alakantun sil Fontalalla

ĵlkntun cil fontlll

[dZεtlεxεntUm tsiffntεtlεtlε]

<horde(pl.) in the past-come


zanel laskalra


East-out of

sil lottalakalauel sel Ulaamun.

[tsilltεtlεxεtlεuel tsiutlεTTεmUm]

past-name/call the-Udra-themselves.>

The hordes who came out of the East called themselves Udra.



38 words.

nsal-move /getl-nsal/

znn8- heaven

tlēīn-the inhabitants of the Rheghil plain, descendents of the Salanjans



fontl-go, go into /getl-fontal/


gh-dative postposition /qχ/

hotl/- falcon

hotl/el-fly /getl-hotla/el/

iku- something/someone,



kol, (pl.) kotl, -Pron., I, we

kul-postp. genitive/ablative


kitlx-a boar-like creature which has a speckled body

lai-above (adv.)



netlāŋ, -a-leg(s)







samu-reflexive suff.

cil - the

cīl-adv., in the past (forms past tense in the Drēīn tounge)

tel, (pl.) -Pron., thou, you (also reflexive)


wottatlel-speak /gew#otatlel/

wottawatlauel-name /gew#otawatlauel/

wottatlū, -n-mouth


znel-prep. from, out of (Salanjan semel went to PH *z)el, which regularly changed to znel)

[1] The orthography used by Highland Zēīn writes R for [γ], because the Coastal phoneme /{/ is the closest sound to Highland /γ/.