lemÌc. Lemizh grammar and dictionary

Loanwords I. Hellenic

You’ll need to have this fish in your ear.

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A sketch of present-day languages and IE branches in Europe
(high-resolution version)
Writing systems are represented by the language names’ shading:


While the majority of words took a direct course from Proto-Lemizh or Ghean into Modern Lemizh, many others originated from neighbouring languages. The most important sources are the Hellenic, Waldaiic and Celtic branches of IE, but various Asian languages contributed as well, often via Old Troyan. A few words were borrowed from Uralic as well as from African, American, Austronesian, and Australian languages.

Because of its rigid word structure and unwillingness to pronounce alien sounds, Lemizh has always had difficulties incorporating foreign words in their original shape. Consequently, it has a strong tendency to assimilate words phonetically and grammatically, and in modern times frequently reduces the number of syllables via poststem formation:

Often, however, the issue is bypassed by forming calques (loan translations):


Hellenic is an Indo-European branch of languages classified as centum, meaning it (originally) preserved Proto-Indo-European labiovelar plosives, while the palatals merged with the ordinary velars.

Present-day Hellenic languages include Greek, Vitelian on the Apennine peninsula – producing great wines –, Sikelian on the island of Sicily, Notoslavan in the region of Illyria, Heptengian in Transylvania, and Troyan in Asia Minor. Brugian, spoken to the north of the Sea of Marmara, is descended from a language closely related to Proto-Hellenic and sometimes considered a branch of its own, mainly by Brugian linguists.

South Hellenic grc-x-sou

The first Hellenes arrived on the Balkans in the early or middle second millennium BCE. Early Hellenic loanwords in Old Lemizh stem from a southern dialect, a close relative (if not an ancestor) of Mycenaean Greek, and are mostly related to agriculture and stockbreeding.


The vowels *a *e *i *o *u and the diphthongs *ai *ei *oi *au *eu *ou all had short and long versions.

The consonants were:

Liquids*l, *r
Plosives*p • *b*t • *d*k • *g*q • *q̌
Fricatives*s • *z*h

*n was pronounced [ŋ] before velars.

Aspirates are plosives with an additional burst of air, as in English ‘pill, till, kill’ (as opposed to ‘spill, still, skill’). The glides *y and *w were nonsyllabic allophones (variants) of the vowels *i and *u, respectively. *l *m *n *r had syllabic allophones transcribed as *l̥ *m̥ *n̥ *r̥. Hellenic had a mobile pitch accent: as in PIE, the prominent syllable was distinguished by a higher pitch.

Diachronically, the Proto-Indo-European palatals merged with the velars (‘centum merger’); *bʰ *dʰ *gʰ *gʷʰ were devoiced; laryngeal consonants vanished while their vocalic allophones merged with *e *a *o, respectively; *s was weakened to *h in many environments; among other changes.


Verbal morphology is rather complex, having innovated a future tense and a passive voice (in addition to the PIE mediopassive, which became the middle voice) as well as a fair number of participles. We cite South Hellenic verbs in the first person singular present indicative active, as is custom (‑ō for thematic verbs, ‑mi for athematic ones, and ‑mai for deponents, i.e. verbs with middle/passive forms but active meaning).

Nouns and adjectives had singular, dual and plural forms. The number of cases has been reduced to five (or six if you count the locative). The citation form is the nominative singular. For thematic nouns, it mostly ended in ‑os, ‑ā, ‑on for masculine, feminine and neuter, respectively. Athematic nouns ended in ‑s (masculine, feminine) or were endingless (neuters and words which lost the ‑s due to sound change). Adjectives are cited in their masculine forms.

Further reading

Koine Greek grc-x-koi

The Koine (κοινή ‘common’) was a Hellenic language, and the language of the Hellenic empire from about 300 BCE to 300 CE. The heartland was of course the Greek peninsula, but Koine Greek was the lingua franca from central Europe and northern Africa to Persia.

Late Middle Lemizh borrowed Koine words relating to geometry, architecture, seafaring, poetry, and politics, among other topics. In modern times, scholars often derive technical terms from the Koine, much as we do from Latin (and also from Classical Greek).

Phonology and orthography

The Koine had the usual five vowels, written α ε ι ο υ in the Greek alphabet, with the long versions ᾱ η ῑ ω ῡ. (The macrons ¯ were not usually written down in Koine orthography.) υ came to be pronounced [y] in its short and long versions, and the old Hellenic diphthongs *ei *ou were monophthongised to η and ου [uː], respectively.

The consonants were as follows. The transcription that appears when you hover the mouse over Greek letters is unified for all languages using this alphabet; it does not necessarily reflect pronunciation.

Liquidsλ, ρ*
Nasalsμνγ† /ŋ/
Plosivesπ • βτ • δκ • γ
Fricativesφθσ (ς)χ/h/§
Plosive/sibilant combinationsψ /ps/ζ /zd/ξ /ks/

* ρ was spelled at the beginning of words, including the second components of compounds. This might have indicated aspiration or voiceless pronunciation.
γ was a nasal before κ γ χ ξ and a plosive elsewhere.
σ was written ς word-finally.
§ /h/ only occurred word-initially before a vowel. The symbol (dasia) was placed above the vowel: ἁ ἑ etc. Words beginning with a vowel were written with ᾿ (psili) above it: ἀ ἐ etc.

The Koine still had mobile pitch-accent.

Prominent developments from older stages of the language are: the labiovelars merged with the other plosives (with the alveolars before ε η, otherwise mostly becoming labials); the aspirates became voiceless fricatives; *y was eliminated; *s vanished when adjacent to liquids; and *h *w also tended to disappear.

The Greek alphabet, by the way, is used to write all Hellenic languages except Heptengian which is written in the Lemizh script, as well as the Sabellic languages, Danubian, and Albanian.


No major morphological changes had occurred since Proto-Hellenic. Koine verbs are also cited in the first person singular present (‑ω, ‑μι, ‑μαι), nouns in the nominative singular (‑ος, ‑ᾱ, ‑ον, ‑ς, ‑∅ as well as ‑η for feminine words due to sound change), and adjectives in the masculine.

Further reading

We know who invented Liebig’s meat extract – but who invented bread? Who invented firelighting? The art of weaving? Of forging iron? Who devised the plans for the pyramids, who composed the Iliad?

The greatest feats of the human spirit are without names.

— In the year 490 before Christ, the Persian Darius moved against the Athenians with 100 000 men. Miltiades, the victor of Marathon, only had 9000 men, as well as a battalion of Plataeans and a few companies of armed slaves. Miltiades fought – like Hindenburg – with strong wings: Athens at the right, Plataea at the left. The slaves at the centre.

The Persians broke through the centre. The Hindenburgian pincers closed and crushed the Persians. You see: tactics are a question of fashion – strategy has eternal laws.

— From the midst of the Athenians, a youg citizen came forth and ran two German miles to his father’s city.

He had escaped the frenzy of blood, the clash of battle, the jaws of death. As fast as his legs would carry him, he ran to Athens. Called out the joyful news with his last breath:

We have won!

and died.

Truly: that this man – his name is lost to history – that this Athenian, in all the excitement, danger and toil, despite the fear for his life and the closeness of death, conjugated the perfect of nikáo, nikân, first person plural, correctly by reduplication of the initial syllable: it is one of the greatest feats of the human spirit.

(Alexander Roda Roda. Die höchste Leistung des Geistes)

Old Troyan x-tro

Old Troyan is a Hellenic language that developed in parallel to mainland Greek on the other side of the Aegean, in Asia Minor. Not surprisingly, we find numerous Hittite loans in its lexicon, but also Lemizh and Waldaiic ones. Legend dates its beginning to the Troyan War in the 13th or 12th century BCE, but that would leave hardly enough time to explain the sound shifts and grammatical changes we see by around 900 BCE. Many people fail to see why anyone would want to be descended from the guys who fell for the horse trick.

Old Troyan loanwords in Middle Lemizh, often mediating Asian cultural influences and associated vocabulary, date from the centuries after the Ghean rule.

Phonology and orthography

The language was written in a version of the Greek alphabet. The vowels α ε ι ο υ and their long counterparts were usually pronounced as in Greek (υ retaining its old value of [u]), except for the vowel in the penultimate syllable which was pronounced [a͜u e͜a e͜i o͜u e͜u], respectively, unless long or followed by more than one consonant (including the ‘silent ϲ’): γυνun], γυνα [ˈɰe͜una], γυννα [ˈɰunna], γῡνα [ˈɰna], γυνϲα [ˈɰuna]. Additionally, the original six Greek ‘true’ diphthongs αι ει οι αυ ευ ου existed, albeit only in their short forms; and λ ρ had syllabic variants we will denote as λ̥ ρ̊. (Macrons and rings were not written in the original orthography.)

Here is the consonant inventory:

Liquidsλ, ρ
Nasalsμνγ /ŋ/
Plosivesππ /p/ • π* /b, p/ττ /t/ • τ* /d, t/κκ, ϙ /k/ • κ* /ɡ, k/
Fricativesφ /f/ • ϝ† /v/θ /θ/σ (ς) /s/χ /x/ϲ̣‡ /xʷ/?ϲ /h/
Approximantsβ /ʋ/δ /ð̞/γ /ɰ/
Plosive/sibilant combinationsψ /bz/ζ /dz/ξ /ɡz/

* Simple π τ κ were voiced except after μ ν γ /ŋ/; other voiceless plosives were written as double letters (except for ϙ /k/): ππ ττ κκ /p t k/.
ϝϝ was /ff/.
ϲ̣, also written as a ϲ with a vertical stroke through the bottom half, was a labiovelar [xʷ] or a labilalised glottal [hʷ] fricative.

Polysyllabic words had stress accent on the penultimate syllable throughout.

Apart from the diphthongisations described above, notable developments from Proto-Hellenic included loss of syllabic nasals (which turned into ε or ε plus nasal), loss of labiovelars apart from ϲ̣, and weakening of *s *w *y to ϲ in certain environments.


Old Troyan verbs were still heavily inflected, although the number of forms was reduced somewhat: the aorist was lost, the subjunctive and optative moods were merged, the mediopassive voice developed into a pure passive, and there was no dual. Verbs are cited in the infinitive, which generally ended in ‑αι.

Noun and adjective morphology stayed largely unchanged apart from the loss of the dual; common endings of the citation form, the nominative singular, were ‑ος, ‑α, ‑ον, ‑ς, ‑∅. The masculine of adjectives mostly ended in ‑ος, ‑ς.

Further reading

* This has to be a pseudonym, hasn’t it?

New Troyan x-tr

New Troyan (endonym Ηλψσό /l̩pˈsu/) is spoken in present-day Asia Minor. A number of sound shifts have rendered it virtually unrecognisable as a Hellenic language.

Modern Lemizh loans comprise mostly legal terms.

Phonology and orthography

The vowels α ε ι ο υ ω are pronounced /a e i u y o/ (disregarding allophones), and [a͜i i͜u e͜i o͜u e͜u uː] in diphthong position (see Old Troyan above). Otherwise there are no long vowels. Word-final η is silent but counts as a vowel for determining the diphthong position. The pronunciation of υ as [y] is probably influenced by Greek. Word-initial ηλ ηρ ημ ην ηγ are syllabic resonants.

The consonants are:

Liquidsλ, ρ
Nasalsμνγ* /ŋ/
Plosivesψ† /p/ • π /b/ζ† /t/ • τ /d/ξ† /k/ • κ /ɡ/
Fricativesφ /f/θ /θ/σ /s/ς /ʃ/χ /x/ϲ /h/
Approximantsβ /ʋ/δ /ð̞/γ* /ɰ/
Plosive/sibilant combinationsψ† /bz/ζ† /dz/ξ† /ɡz/

* γ is a nasal before ξ σ ς, when doubled, and as word-initial ηγ, and an approximant elsewhere.
ψ ζ ξ are /p t k/ in consonant clusters and /bz dz ɡz/ between vowels or between a vowel and a word boundary.

Accent falls on the penultimate or ultimate syllable.

Diachronically, the ultimate and antepenultimate vowels syncopated when short (the ultimate only if not preceded by a consonant cluster); long vowels were shortened (inserting silent ϲ if in diphthong position); diphthongs were shortened unless in diphthong position. Syncopation is the source of the syllabic resonants and of words accented on the ultimate syllable. Consonant clusters underwent complex – not to say quaternionic – shifts, which were elucidated by O. H. Fermi. Highlights include μρ > χ and νδρ > λζσ /lts/.


The Old Troyan infinitive ending ‑αι regularly developed into the present active indicative endings ‑ι and ‑α, which are used for all persons in singular and plural: for example φερ‑αι /ˈfe͜ara͜i/ ‘to bear’ > φερ‑ι /ˈfi͜uri/ ‘hold (up)’ and πᾱγμϝ‑αι /ˈbaːɰmva͜i/ ‘fasten, stiffen’ > παγςα /ˈbaŋʃa/ ‘tie up’.

Thematic nouns and adjectives go back to the Old Troyan genitive absolute: Proto-Hellenic *híqq‑os ‘horse’, genitive *hiqq‑osyo > Old Troyan genitive ϲιϙϙω /ˈhikkoː/ > New Troyan ϲιξξω /ˈhikko/ in all singular cases. Athematic words, by contrast, continue the nominative: Proto-Hellenic *hál‑s ‘salt’ > Old Troyan nominative and New Troyan ϲαλ /hal/.

Further reading

Under construction
Brugian is still under construction.
Please have patience!

Brugian x-bg

Brugian is the only present-day descendant of Ancient Phrygian. It is usually classified as a Hellenic language although it is more distantly related to Greek than Troyan, Notoslavan or Vitelian are.

Further reading