Semantics of gjâ-zym-byn

"To be"

Many Indo-European languages use a verb like English's "to be" to signify a variety of conditions and relationships. I want to avoid that polysemy here.


râm mĭ-i bĭŋ-van.
cat TOP-at existence-V.STATE
There is a cat.


râm gǒ.
cat behold
Look, a cat!

Description, state, situation:

twâ-cu mĭ-i pym-fwa ŋĭn-i
sentence-system DEM3 TOP-at amusement-CAUS CMT-at

That book is funny.

šĭm-tla jâ-i.
algorithm-professional state-at

I'm a programmer.

ĝor'ĝě-wam mĭ-i tĭn'ě'sij-wam ħ-i-n tyn-van.
Georgia-NAME.P TOP-at Tennessee-NAME.P south-at-contact place-V.STATE

Georgia is [directly] south of Tennessee.


Φě'ĥu-tôn muw-i lě'pâ mĭ-i.
elephant-GNR subset-in bat TOP-at

A bat is a mammal. / Bats are a subset of mammals.


ĉu pe ðy θe fy mĭ-i sâm-van.
2 plus 5 as 7 TOP-at same-V.STATE

2 + 5 = 7

Subjective qualities and mental states

gjâ-zym-byn has a fairly large set of specific words for mental states (emotions, etc.). Subjective qualities of things are not named in gzb by root words, but by adjectives derived from mindstate words with (usually) the causative suffix {-fwa}.

Core emotions:
huw happiness, contentment
pwĭ delight
ĥĭn disgust, revulsion
ĥul anger, fury, wrath
ĵyn intellectual pleasure; satisfied curiosity
cĭm care, worry, anxiety, emotional involvement
affection, love (of persons)
fjâw awe, wonder
wlâ shock, surprise, consternation
prym aesthetic pleasure, appreciation of beauty
pym amusement, hilarity
ħum fear
sjum thanks, gratefulness

Subjective quality terms derived from those:

ĥul-fwa infuriating
cĭm-fwa worrying
fjâw-fwa astonishing
prym-fwa beautiful
pym-fwa funny
pwĭ-fwa delightful
ĵyn-fwa interesting

Physical reactions:

unfocused pleasure; comfort
jyn sharply focused pleasure
jyn-lym enjoyment of pleasant tastes or smells
wĭn tickling sensation

Subjective quality terms derived from those:

dĭ-fwa comfortable
jyn-lym-fwa tasty, delicious
wĭn-fwa tickly

Some more complex states:

bě'lâm embarrassment (at violated privacy)
ķĭw guilt; shame at one's deeds
ķĭw-θô embarassment, shame
mwĭň embarrassment re: a topic one doesn't like to hear, talk, think about
blě'mĭm indecisive lethargy; feeling overwhelmed by the tasks before one; acedia
gwě'vu forgetting where one left off, what one was about to do
ħâl nervous fear prior to a difficult job
kě'pâ happy bewilderment
lâlŋ un-envy; wishing others could enjoy some good thing one is enjoying
lâlŋ-cô envy
rě'bĭn wanting not to know what time it is
moral approval
suw awwwwwwwwww! enjoyment of cuteness, silliness
wym eureka; joy of sudden comprehension
zĭm compassion, pity, empathy, mercy
žuln pleasure in good work with good results
źy dreaming, tripping, visions
lî'tuň confidence expressed in slackness of preparation
luŋ detachment; happy indifference

Quality terms derived from those:

sâ-fwa good (morally)
kě'pâ-fwa pleasantly enigmatic
suw-fwa cute, silly, charming
gwě'vu-fwa distracting
mwĭň-fwa embarrassing (of topics)
bě'lâm-fwa embarrassing (of situations)
zĭm-fwa pitiful, pathetic, distressing
źy-fwa psychedelic

There are more where those came from, in the lexicon.

Here are some sample sentences to help clarify the difference between some mindstate words of similar meaning:

ƥ-ĵĭn dâm-ř θuň -i mwĭň-van.
3-young authorship-from story TOP-at embarassment-V.STATE
She becomes embarassed if one talks about the stories she wrote when she was young.
bě'lâm-ƥ-van wǒj ƥ dâm-ř twâ-cu
embarrassment-3-V.STATE because 3 authorship-from sentence-system
gě'dĭm-ja -i lju- mje kuln-cô.
day-by ATT-at read-V.ACT past friend-OPP2
He is embarrassed because a stranger has read his diary.
bĭm-ĵwa ruŋ- ₣âl- kyn-ŝâm-ba, vĭj i
drained.container-place into go-V.ACT sudden-ADJ parent-womb-AMBIV time REL at
bĭm-pwĭm-daj šyj-Ќ-ca, nu-šar
drained.container-water-mass inside clean-1-V.REFL moment-CONJ
bě'lâm -o Ќ.
embarrassment state-to 1
Mom barged into the bathroom while I was in the bathtub, and I became embarrassed.

(Note the use of the ambivalent attitude suffix {-ba} on {kyn-ŝâm} in this context.)

źu-van, hǒŋ ķĭw-van palij-ram-ħa hǒŋ Ќ
hope-V.STATE that shame-V.STATE Polly-NAME-DISLIKE that 1
dâm-ř θuň čĭ-ř syj- lju-θaj- bâň-ta.
authorship-from story copy-from use-V.ACT read-OPP1-V.ACT permission-without
I hope Polly is ashamed of herself for copying my story without permission.

{fjâw}, {wlâ}, and {kě'pâ}:

fî'suň bij fu-cu pân-kwa -i
Earth north-of-near light-system everything-color ATT-at
fjâw-van ser'ě-ram.
awe-V.STATE Sarah-NAME

Sarah is in awe of the Aurora Borealis.

wlâ-fwa-van, ðǒŋ -ŝy lĭw-o
astonishment-CAUSE-V.STATE that.subj person-female 3DEM REL-to
rě'ĵy-θaj -o sun-saw-ŋa naj'ĝel-ram.
wife-OPP1 role-to end-ORD-SURPRISE Nigel-NAME
It's astonishing that Nigel finally married that woman.
ƥ-ŝy dâm-ř twâ-cu -₣um-da -i
3-female authorship-from sentence-system syllable-similar-full TOP-at
Her poem is pleasantly bewildering.

Words for a number of mental states are derived from the basic root {sru} "desire", and of course causative adjectives can be derived from those; for instance:

ĵyn intellectual pleasure
sru-ĵyn curiosity
sru-ĵyn-fwa intriguing
₣yw sexual pleasure
sru-₣yw arousal, horniness
sru-₣yw-fwa sexually attractive
źě'fy success, accomplishment
sru-źě'fy ambition
sru-źě'fy-fwa spurring to ambition

The suffixes {-faj} and {-gô} can also be used with mindstate roots, producing differently nuanced adjectives than those in {-fwa}:

huw-fwa good, causing happiness
huw-faj about which one could be happy
huw-gô about which one should be happy
huw-faj ŋĭn-i ƥ ĉi purj -i, mǒj huw-ƥ-van heŋ.
happy-ABLE CMT-at 3 surrounding environment TOP-at but happy-3-V.STATE not
His circumstances could (one might think) make him happy, but he is not.
ĝâ- -i ĥul- ŋĭn-i.
law-violation DEM1 TOP-at anger-worthy CMT-at
This crime is anger-worthy. == One ought to be angry about this crime.

The attempted-causative suffix {-hôw} can also of course be used with mindstate roots, usually to form verbs but sometimes for simple modifiers.

serě-ram ĥy-i -hôw- de tam-ram.
Tom is flirting with/seducing/trying to make friends with Sarah lately.
ť dâm-ř grâm źu-hôw gân-ř sjum-van.
2 authorship-from message hope-CAUS2 cause-from thankfulness-V.STATE
Thank you for [lit. I am thankful because of] your [trying-to-be-]encouraging note.

"To know" (to wit, to ken) / savoir, connaître / wissen, kennen / scii, koni, sperti ktp...

English tends to bundle these meanings together in one word of broad meaning. Esperanto follows other western European languages in distinguishing acquaintance with persons, etc., from knowledge of facts and sciences. gzb makes a different kind of distinction in its three main "know" verbs.

hyw-van dejv-ram kâ-i.
know.experience-V.STATE Dave-NAME ATT-at

I know (am well acquainted with) Dave.

kun-van tam-ram kâ-i.
know.indirectly-V.STATE Tom-NAME ATT-at

I've heard of (but haven't met, or if so only casually) Tom.

hyw-van źĭ-šĭm mĭ-i.
know.experience-V.STATE science-algorithm TOP-at

I know (have real working knowledge of) computer science.

kun-van ljâw-gjâ mĭ-i.
know.indirectly-V.STATE TOP-at

I know something about (but haven't practiced) field linguistics.

The difference in {hyw} vs. {kun} is directness or depth of knowledge.

I make a further distinction between {hyw} & {suŋ}, the latter implying more practical competence:

kun-van suomi-lam gjâ-i.
know.indirectly-V.STATE Finnish-NAME.L language-at

I've studied, but never much used, Finnish.

hyw-van fraňs-lam gjâ-i.
know.experience-V.STATE French-NAME.L language-at

I've studied & used (but am not perfectly fluent in) French.

suŋ-van esperanto-lam gjâ-i. Esperanto-NAME.L language-at

I know (am fluent in) Esperanto.

{hyw-van} can also mean "to remember", and {hyw-ŋĭw} means "experiential memory".

This is a convenient place to note how different senses of the English expression "in <language>" can be translated. If the language name is to modify a noun for some linguistic artifact — a book, song, or what have you — then the suffix {-na}, "made of [root]" is suffixed to the language name and it becomes an adjective, e.g.,

ŝrun-twâ mažar-lam-na ĉul-i katalin-ram-la.
music-saying Hungarian-NAME.L-made.of perform-at Katalin-NAME-ATD1
Katalin [sang] a song in Hungarian.

If it's modifying a speech-act verb, the language name is used with the postposition {syj-i}, "with, using"; such postpositional phrases, like most other complements, precede the verb (and perhaps the object as well):

ce ĉul-i hebre-lam syj-i twâ-Ќ-, nederlands-lam syj-i twâ-;
this perform-at Hebrew-NAME.L use-at say-1-V.ACT Dutch-NAME.L use-at say-V.ACT
dojĉ-lam pe helenike-lam syj-i twâ- mew.
German-NAME.L and Greek-NAME.L use-at say-V.ACT even
I said it in Hebrew — I said it in Dutch — I said it in German and Greek;
mǒj hyw-ĝâj-van hǒl (blâl-źa-pǒm) hǒŋ iŋglĭsh-lam ŝe syj-i gju-ť-.
but remember-decay-V.STATE whole frustration-AUG-EVD that English-NAME.L CONTRAST use-at speak-2-V.ACT
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much) that English is what you speak!

Buying, selling, lending, borrowing, other, commercial things

The main root words for this field are {ŝâj} (possession of goods), {wuŋ} (ownership), {kâj} (exchange), and {ƴâwn} (borrowing, credit). The verb {kâj-zô} by itself can mean "exchange, buy, sell"; context disambiguates whether it means selling or buying in a particular context, for instance the use of particular postpositional phrases:

kaĵ-zô twâ-cu-vuj ĥy-i Ќ ŝâj-o.
exchange-V.ACT sentence-system-concrete PAT-at 1 possession-to
I buy a book.
kâj-zô twâ-cu-vuj ĥy-i Ќ ŝâj-ř.
exchange-V.ACT sentence-system-concrete PAT-at 1 possession-from
I sell a book.
twâ-cu reŋ mĭ-i Ќ ŝâj-i.
sentence-system many TOP-at 1 possession-at
I have many books.

{wuŋ} is not often used except when it is in contrast to {ŝâj}, when someone owns something but doesn't have it in their possession:

kaj'sar-ķam ŝâj-o kaj'sar-ķam wuŋ-i ĥy-i ƴâwn-cô-zô mwe,
Caesar-NAME.T possession-to Caesar-NAME.T ownership-at thing PAT-at lend-OPP2-V.ACT IMP
kiň θě'ku ŝâj-o θě'ku wuŋ-i ĥy-i.
and God possession-to God ownership-at thing PAT-at

Repay to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.


Ќ wuŋ-ř ƴâ-ĉa ĥy-i ĝerěld-ram wuŋ-o kâj-.
1 ownership-from motion-tool PAT-at Gerald-NAME ownership-to exchange-V.ACT
I sold my car to Gerald.

If we added {ƥ tu-i} to the above sentence, it would mean "Gerald bought my car from me".

If of the two things exchanged, neither is money, both things are explicitly named as patients of the verb {kâj-zô}, which is thus tetratransitive.

Ќ ŝâj-ř ĥâ-ĉa ĥy-i kĭn-ram ŝâj-ř
1 possession-from cut-tool PAT-at Ken-NAME ownership-from
gî'târ ĥy-i kâj- Ќ-ƥ
guitar PAT-at exchange-V.ACT 1-3
Ken and I traded my sword for his guitar.


Note the ways the opposite suffixes {-cô} and {-θaj} are used with {ƴâwn}:

ƴâwn debt, owing; state of having borrowed something, or received something before paying for it
ƴâwn-zô to incur a debt, borrow something, buy something on promise to pay
ƴâwn-cô-zô to pay back, repay a debt; return something borrowed
ƴâwn-θaj-zô to lend, extend credit, provide goods/services without demanding immediate payment

Those terms are primarily used with commercial transactions involving money.

ƴâ-ĉa bâm- ĥy-i ƴâwn-ƥ-.
motion-tool new-ADJ PAT-at incur.debt-3-V.ACT
She bought a new car on credit.
ɱ wuŋ-i rî'mâ -i ƴâwn-źa-van cĭrĭl-ram.
3 ownership-at house TOP-at debt-AUG-V.STATE Cyril-NAME
Cyril is deeply in debt for his house.

More informal lending and borrowing, among friends and relations, is described with these terms derived from {bwĭl} "gift, giving":

bwĭl-syj-zô to lend (lit. "give the use of")
bwĭl-θaj-syj-van to borrow (lit. "receive the use of as a gift")
tâň-syj-zô to borrow (lit. "take the use of")

The distinction between the latter two forms for "borrow" arises when, on the one hand, a friend says "Here, read this, it's good," or on the other hand, one sees a book on a friend's shelf and says "May I borrow this?".

twâ-cu ĥy-i bwĭl-θaj-syj-van Ќ ʝâr-i luk-ram tu-i.
sentence-system DEM1 PAT-at give-OPP1-use-V.STATE 1 EXP-at Luke-NAME AGT-at
Luke loaned me this book / I borrowed this book from Luke at his suggestion.
twâ-cu ĥy-i tâň-syj- luk-ram ŝâj-ř. Ќ tu-i
sentence-system DEM1 PAT-at take-use-V.ACT Luke-NAME having-from 1 AGT-at
I borrowed this book from Luke (on my own initiative).

Note the way the stative verb suffix {-van} in the first sentence combines with the use of both experiencer and agent complements. The {ʝâr-i} experiencer complement fits more closely with the stative verb; the {tu-i} agent complement is more oblique, like a subjective genitive in some other languages (I think).

These forms for "borrow/lend" arose out of a discussion with Rex F. May about how to derive words for "rent", "borrow" and "lend" in Ceqli using existing root-stock. We came up with "zusel", use-sell, "zudon", use-give, and I calqued them for use in gzb, then formed other words by analogy on the same pattern.

{bwĭl-θaj-van} means "to receive as a gift". The other opposite suffix with the same root gives:

bwĭl-cô-zô to steal, thieve, rob
bwĭl-cô-tla thief, bandit, robber, burglar

Other commercial transactions:

kâj-syj-zô to rent
tâl deposit, bailment; entrusting someone with one's property
tâl-zô to deposit, leave in bailment
tâl-cô-zô to pick up, withdraw, retrieve something you've entrusted to someone else
tâl-θaj-zô to receive someone else's property in trust, in bail

{kâj-syj-zô} by itself is ambiguous between "rent to" and "rent from"; context, such as the postpositions {ŝâj-ř} and {ŝâj-o}, will usually disambiguate.

The various {tâl} terms are used to describe e.g. leaving film to be developed, depositing money in one's bank account, leaving one's car in valet parking, etc. They aren't necessarily for purely commercial use; they could refer to trusting a friend to take care of something for a while.

ɱ lĭw-i râm lĭm-ga ĥy-i vřgqĭl-ram ŝâj-ř tâl-θaj-Ќ-.
3 REL-at cat friend-METAPH PAT-at Virgil-NAME having-from deposit-OPP1-1-V.ACT
I'm taking care of Virgil's cat.

Finally some miscellaneous other commercial terms:

kâj-ĉadebit card
ƴâwn-ĉacredit card
grâm-kâj-ha check (form letter to disburse money)
ĵĭ kâj-hôw commercial advertisement
mrâ-kâj-ha account (abstract container of money)
pě'pâ-ƴâwn bill, invoice, debt document
rě'ju-kâj-zô to shop for
sâln ticket, admission, subscription, membership; right or permission to use a given service
twâ-cu-kâj commercial contract
kâj-tlasalesman, trader, sales-clerk
kâj-kôstore, market
ŝâj-o-zôto acquire
mrâ-kâj-ha ť ŝâj-ř grâm-kâj-ha ĥy-i tâl-Ќ- gwe.
container-exchange-stuff into 2 having-from message-exchange-stuff PAT-at deposit-1-V.ACT already
I've already deposited your check into my account.


"Maybe": še / be

Both these modifiers are glossed as "maybe". Their usage differs. {še} mainly relates to uncertainty in the speaker's knowledge. {be} focuses on uncertainty of one's plans and intentions.

ɱ-ĉu mĭ-i ĝĭ-źa-van še.
3-two TOP-at big-AUG-V.STATE maybe.fact

They might be giants.

ƥ mĭ-i ty i tyn-van še.
3 TOP-at home at place-V.STATE maybe.fact

Maybe he is at home.

kâj-kô o ruŋ-zô be.
exchange-place to go-V.ACT maybe.intention

I might go to the store.

New, Young and Old

Some languages (classical Greek, for instance) have a single word (e.g. "neos") corresponding to English "new" and "young", French "nouveau" and "jeune", etc. gjâ-zym-byn makes a distinction between {bâm-bô} "new" and {ĵĭn-bô} "young", but this is partly a difference in degree as well as a difference in the kind of object these adjectives are applied to and the way they are used in forming compound words.

twâ-cu bâm-bô a new book (newly written or published)
mâ-bâm embryo, fetus, newborn baby
mâ-ĵĭn child or young teenager
râm-bâm kitten
râm-ĵĭn a cat not yet full-grown
fĭm-hôw-tla ĵĭn-bô young doctor

{bâm} can refer to anything that is newly created, made, born, etc. {ĵĭn} refer to young living things, primarily to those who aren't yet full-grown, but in some contexts to those who, though full-grown, are younger than expected or younger than other living beings with whom the speaker is (perhaps implicitly) contrasting them. The use of these quality-roots as modifiers in compounds, or with {-bô} as stand-alone adjectives, is to some extent in free variation but can involve a difference in emphasis.

-bâm ĥy-i šyj- šu-tla ĵĭn-bô.
person-new PAT-at clean-V.ACT care-professional young-ADJ
The young nurse washes the baby.

gjâ-zym-byn also distinguishes several senses which English lumps together under the word "new".

bâm newly existent, recently made, born, created
šuŋ newly acquired; having recently acquired a certain trait
cĭln new to the speaker (or another salient person); not yet read, seen, heard (chiefly of books, music etc.)
mâ-šuŋ newcomer, neophyte, newbie
fĭm-hôw-tla šuŋ-bô new doctor (recently graduated and licensed to practice, however old they are)
twâ-cu šuŋ-bô newly acquired book (perhaps written/published long ago; perhaps one has previously read a borrowed copy of the same text)
gâm-ʝĭl cĭln-bô a movie one hasn't seen yet (not necessarily newly released)
-ĵĭn ĥy-i šyj- šu-tla šuŋ-bô.
person-young PAT-at clean-V.ACT care-professional new-ADJ
The recently graduated nurse washes the child.
twâ-cu cĭln-- srǒ ĥy-i Ќ ŝâj-o kâj-zô.
sentence-system new-OPP2-ADJ several PAT-at 1 possession-to exchange-V.ACT
I bought several books I had already read.
twâ-cu šuŋ- ĥy-i swyŋ-ʝa cu-ja tyn- θǒ.
sentence-system new-ADJ DEM1 PAT-at desk-ROT system-by into place-V.ACT immediate
I put these newly acquired books into the suitable shelves right away.

There are several words meaning "old" in gzb. {hân} signifies that something or someone has been around long enough to be proven good or improved or otherwise is highly esteemed because of its age. {pě'lâ} means that something has been around long enough to wear out, or that a more useful replacement has become available. It's most often used of electronics and reference books. A neutral term is {bâm-cô}, un-new. It's used only when you don't have an opinion about the quality of something old. Other related terms include:

ĵu mature, full-grown, adult
ĵĭn-cô old (of living creatures past their prime)
šuŋ-cô not of recent acquisition, already owned for some time; already in present state/role for some time
cĭln-cô already read, seen, heard, etc.

Words for past time: mje / šy / dân

All these refer to things past.

{mje} refers to a past aspect of something that may (or mayn't) still be around. Most often it forms a "past tense" for verbs. But it can clitic onto a (pro)noun & emphasize its past versions, as in

Ќ mjeme awhile ago
gjâ-kǒ mjean earlier form of this language

{šy} describes something formerly in some role or state, as in English "ex-wife", "former president".

{dân} describes something no longer existing or alive or effective. It's more polite (& terse) than {zuň-cô-bô}, "dead".

gym-tla-šyour former leader
gym-tla-dânour late leader
mâ-cu tyrn-šythe previous administration (the group of people formerly in power)
tyrn dân-bôl'ancien regime (the system of government that doesn't exist any more)

Sometimes all are appropriate to the same object, of course, but with different meanings.

rě'ĵy-šyex-wife (emphasis that she isn't your wife now)
rě'ĵy-dânlate wife (emphasis that she isn't alive now)
rě'ĵy mjewife awhile ago (the phase of her worldline when she was your wife)


There's no one root word (or single cusomary compound) corresponding to the English "prayer" (or E-o 'preĝi'). One can use the same root words and compounds that refer to talking with (or at) other physically present humans (etc.) to describle talking with God and the saints.

twâ-prym-zô praise, express appreciation of beauty
twâ-sâ-zô praise, express approval
*râm-tôn kyw-ža pen hǒ, pâŋ ŋâw-o twâ-prym-zô mwe.
cat-GNR lung-having all VOC lord call-to IMP

Everything that has breath, praise the Lord.


In {gzb} the directions are named by bound morphemes that occur only in postpositions (e.g. {bi, gi, ħi, źi}: north, east, south, west). One can't use these as nominals or adjectives to describe regions or people; one must explicitly state "region in the north of ~", "person from the south of ~", etc. E.g.,

ĝor'ĝě-wam b-i-ŋ šun
Georgia-NAME.P north-at-inside region

north Georgia

usa-wam gě-ħ-ř-ŋ
U.S.A.-NAME.P east-south-from-inside person

a Southerner

Other useful terms:

pwĭm-dajbody of water
river, creek
vlě'tâwater bounded by land: pond, lake, sea...
vlě'tâ-θaj land bounded by water: island, continent
mâ-ĵwacity, densely populated area

vlě'tâ-θaj-źa (continent) refers to continuous masses like Eurasia/Africa or America; vlě'tâ-θaj-źa fy-bô (seven continents) in gzb would probably refer to Eurasia/Africa, America, Antarctica, Australia, Greenand, New Guinea, and Borneo.

Kinship terms

Core kinship terms and derivations from them

There are four root words in gjâ-zym-byn from which all other kinship terms are derived:

kyn parent, father, mother
fru child, son, daughter
sibling, brother, sister
rě'ĵy wife

These can be modified by other root words in compounds, or by certain suffixes:

kyn-vĭ father
kyn-ŝy mother
fru-vĭ son
fru-ŝy daughter
tâ-vĭ brother
tâ-ŝy sister
tâ-hân older sibling
tâ-ĵĭn younger sibling

Twin siblings are described as:

tâ ŝâm-ŕŋ-sâm-bô sibling womb-out.of-same-ADJ: could be identical or fraternal twin(s)
tâ Φâ-sâm-bô sibling form-same-ADJ: identical twin(s)

With {-ma}, "meta":

kyn-ma grandparent
tâ-ma first cousin
fru-ma grandchild

{-ma} means a relationship is applied recursively. {kyn-ma} is plainly "parent's parent" and {fru-ma} "child's child"; {tâ-ma} may require more explanation. {tâ} refers to one's parent's children (zeroth cousins) other than oneself, and {tâ-ma} to one's grandparent's grandchildren other than those who are also one's parent's children.

Note how {-ma} works when applied more than once:

kyn-ma-ma great-great-grandparent
tâ-ma-ma third cousin
fru-ma-ma great-great-grandchild

Is something missing here? {kyn-ma-ma} of course means one's grandparent's grandparent, {tâ-ma-ma} one's grandparents' grandparents' grandchildren's grandchildren, etc. To fill in the gaps, I use the conjunction {me} "raised to the power" with appropriate numbers:

kyn-me-dâ great-grandparent (parent cubed)
tâ-me-dâ second cousin (sibling cubed)
fru-me-dâ great-grandchild (child cubed)
tâ-me-ðy fourth cousin (sibling to the fifth power)

...etc. (This gives an interesting synonym for {mym} "self": {tâ-me-bâ}, sibling to the zeroth power.)

The complement-opposite suffix {-θaj} is chiefly used in this system for {rě'ĵy-θaj}, "husband", but can also derive synonyms:

kyn-θaj child
fru-θaj parent

{-tôn}, the generalizer suffix, derives:

kyn-tôn ancestor
tâ-tôn relative
fru-tôn descendant
rě'ĵy-tôn spouse

[Aside: why is {rě'ĵy} "wife" the only kinship root in which an inherent gender distinction is made? — the only root in gzb with an inherent gender distinction besides {ŝy} "female" and {vĭ} "male", for that matter? Pure orneriness — I was amused at complaints about Esperanto deriving "edzino" (wife) from "edzo" (husband) {it's actually more complicated; "edzo" is etymologically a back-formation from "edzino", which comes (depending on who you believe) from German "Prinzessin" (princess) or Yiddish "Rabetsin" (rabbi's wife)} and I thought it would be fun to derive "husband" and "spouse" from "wife", rather than tamely derive "wife" and "husband" from "spouse" as the staider auxlangs and engelangs all seem to do nowadays.]

Diagonal relationships

Diagonal relationships use {tâ} with one of the other blood-kin root words:

tâ-kyn uncle or aunt (sibling of one's parent)
fru-tâ nephew or niece (child of one's sibling)
tâ-kyn-ma great-uncle or -aunt (sibling of one's grandparent)
fru-ma-tâ great-nephew or -niece (grandchild of one's sibling)
fru-tâ-ma first cousin once removed (child of one's first cousin)

Adoptive, half-, in-law and step-relationships

Adoptive relationships are denoted by the modifying use of the root {gu}, "choice, selection". It is of course applied somewhat polysemously:

fru-gu adoptive child (a child you chose)
kyn-gu adoptive parent (a parent who chose you)
tâ-gu adoptive sibling (one your parents chose)

{tâ-gu} can also apply to close friends who consider themselves as close as siblings, in which case {gu} signifies that they chose each other.

Half-siblings (sharing only one parent) and half-cousins (sharing only one grandparent) are denoted with basic kinship terms plus the fuzzy logic clitic {fjǒ}:

tâ fjǒ half-sibling
tâ-ma fjǒ half-cousin

gjâ-zym-byn derives words for in-law and step-relationships with two symmetrical suffixes:

-mla a spouse of one's relative
-tôl a relative of one's spouse

So the English "brother-in-law" or "sister-in-law" would be translated in at least two ways,

tâ-mla sibling's spouse
tâ-tôl spouse's sibling

In fact there is also

tâ-mla-tôl spouse's sibling's spouse
tâ-tôl-mla sibling's spouse's sibling

The first of these relationships English also describes as "brother-" or "sister-in-law" (at least in my dialect); as for the second, I'm not sure if English has a term for it.

tâ-ma-mla cousin-in-law (spouse of one's cousin)
tâ-ma-tôl cousin-in-law (one's spouse's cousin)

An interesting property of these suffixes is how they work with {kyn}, "parent", and {fru}, "child", in comparison to how English describes the same relationships:

kyn-mla stepmother, stepfather
kyn-tôl mother-in-law, father-in-law
fru-tôl stepson, stepdaughter
fru-mla son-in-law, daughter-in-law

English considers the more salient property of the relationship to be whether it involves a remarriage after death or divorce, while gzb considers the more salient property to be whether the person is related to you through your spouse or is a spouse of someone you're blood kin to. Or so it seems to me; alternate analyses welcome.

For "stepbrother/sister", a derivation similar to the terms for uncle/aunt is used:

fru-kyn-mla child of one's stepfather/stepmother

Relationship verbs and role markers

The genitive-of-relationship is expressed by the postposition {lĭw-i} (personal.relationship-at). So,

Ќ lĭw-i kyn-ma--ķa -i
1 relationship-at parent-meta-male-RESPECT TOP-at
trĭ-šun-tla šy- ŋĭn-i.
measure-region-professional former-ADJ CMT-at
My honored grandfather is a retired land surveyor.

Note too the use of the respectful attitudinal suffix {-ķa}. In actual usage, most family relationship terms are apt to be marked with one of the attitudinal suffixes.

Entering into a new relationship can be expressed with the the postpositions {lĭw-o} (relationship-to) and {jâ-o} (role-to):

ser'ě-ram lĭw-o rě'ĵy-θaj -o tam-ram.
Sarah-NAME relationship-to wife-OPP1 role-to Tom-NAME
Tom got married to Sarah (became a husband to her).

If you replace each {o} in the sentence above with {i}, it would mean "Tom is married to Sarah / is Sarah's husband".

Kinship terms can be used as stative verb roots, e.g

tam-ram lĭw-i rě'ĵy-van ser'ě-ram.
Tom-NAME relationship-at wife-V.STATE Sarah-NAME
Sarah is Tom's wife.

{lĭw} can also be used as a stative verb, in which case the more generic relationship postposition {ðĭ-i} marks its complement:

frejnk-ram stântn-šam ðĭ-i ru kwǒ i lĭw-Ќ-van kyn-ma--pôm.
Frank-NAME Stanton-NAME.F relationship-at manner some at family.relationship-1-V.STATE parent-meta-male-EVD
I'm kin to Frank Stanton somehow, according to my grandfather.

Love and Friendship

gzb makes more distinctions in this semantic field than English, with its polysemous "love", but fewer than Greek, with its storge, philia, eros and agape. The fundamental action and mindstate roots are:

gy love, charity, agape; willing and working for the good of the beloved
love, attachment, affection, friendship, eros

Most typically {gy} is used with the action verb suffix {-zô} and {fâ} with the stative verb suffix {-van}, but the reverse is possible for special emphasis, and the reflexive and reciprocal verb suffixes have potential uses with these roots as well.

ƥ- -i -van ƥ-ŝy.
3-male ATT-at love-V.STATE 3-female
She loves him [feels love toward him].
-môj ƥ-ĉu.
love-V.RECP 3-two
They love each other.
ɱ lĭw-i fru-ŝy ĥy-i - kyn-ŝâm.
3 relationship-at child-female PAT-at love-V.ACT parent-womb
The mother physically expresses love toward her daughter [hugs or caresses her, e.g.].
ɱ lĭw-i rě'ĵy ŋâw-o twâ--žu- hikaru-ram.
3 relationship-at wife call-to say-love-gentle-V.ACT Hikaru-NAME
Hikaru whispers sweet nothings to his wife.


ĉǒ gjâ -dal pe šî'fy-grâm-tla-dal syj-i gju-Ќ-zô,
if language human-origin and spirit-message-professional-origin use-at speak-1-V.ACT
mǒj gy ðĭ-i ŝu-van heŋ, ĥâl-sjân nĭŋ- rej kîm'bâl
but love relationship-at have.quality-V.STATE not copper-tin ring-ADJ or cymbal
ħâň- ₣um-i -o.
roar-ADJ similar-at state-to

If I speak in the languages of humans and of angels, but don't have love, I become like a ringing brass or a roaring cymbal.


- -i bâl-van, pen -i gy-van, ~~~
person zero-ADJ ATT-at hate-V.STATE person all ATT-at love-V.STATE ...
With malice toward none, with charity toward all...

{fâ} can be made more specific with adjectives or compounded root words.

fâ rě'ĵy-ja spousal love; eros, whether hot or warm
fâ-ĝân especially intense love
fâ-lĭm intimate friendship
fâ-kuln casual friendship
fâ-cĭm protective love
fâ-kyn love of parents for children
fâ-fru love of children for parents

etc. The "love" roots can be used with the core postposition {i} to form compound postpositions:

gy-i for the love of [charitable]
fâ-i for the love of [friendly, affectionate, etc.]
θě'ku gy-i kâj-ha-ta ĥy-i θĭ- de mje
God love-at person exchange-stuff-without PAT-at help-V.ACT HAB PAST
kolkata-wam im teresa-ram-ķa pî'hâ-bô.
Calcutta-NAME.P part.of Teresa-NAME-ATD4 holy-ADJ
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta served the poor for the love of God.

(Aside: "of" (or "de", "van", "von", etc.) in people's names and epithets is translated differently depending on whether it indicates where they were from or where they ended up being strongly associated with. In the former case it would be {ř}; with Teresa of Calcutta, it's clearly {im}. St. Therese de Liseux on the other hand would be {lizô-wam ř terez-ram-ķa pî'hâ-bô}.)

There are two basic words for "friend" or "acquaintance", gzb dividing the semantic space in a different place than does English; in addition there are words for "girlfriend/boyfriend" derived by diminution from the words for "wife/husband".

kuln friend, acquaintance; someone one enjoys being with
lĭm friend; someone one can talk about important things with, can trust with important matters
rě'ĵy-θô girlfriend
rě'ĵy-θaj-θô boyfriend
kuln reŋ gǒ, mǒj lĭm zen.
friend.casual many behold but friend.intimate few only
Acquaintances are many, friends are few.

Some people one would describe as "acquaintances" in English are not even {kuln} in gzb, those one knows but does not enjoy hanging out with. Such acquaintances one might describe with patient participles like {mâ ĥy-kun} or {mâ ĥy-hyw}.

The words for "friend" are also used with the metaphoric suffix {-ga} to derive words for "pet":

lĭm-ga a pet one treats more or less as a person and would weep hot tears over when it dies
kuln-ga a pet one enjoys having around and might or might not replace when it dies
!pî'vu- ĥy-i Φě'wâm-ť- žu- mwe.
peafowl-male this PAT-at taxidermy-2-V.ACT gentle-ADJ IMP
Ќ lĭw-i lĭm-ga-van ƥ-dân.
1 relationship-at friend-MET-V.STATE 3-no.more
Please stuff this peacock carefully; he was my cherished pet.

Objective and subjective time

The most basic time-morphemes are:

nu time, moment, occasion
vĭj time, duration, while, period
ƴu time-dimension, duration, length of time

{nu} is a much shorter period than {vĭj}, perhaps subjectively instantaneous. {vĭj} is a longer period, its exact length varying greatly according to context. It's used in verb compounding to indicate durative aspect, while {nu} is used to indicate punctual or semelfactive aspect.

te -i rĭm-nu-van.
3.INAN ATT-at see-moment-V.STATE
I saw it for only a moment.
te -i rĭm-vĭj-van.
3.INAN ATT-at see-period-V.STATE
I gazed at it for a while.

{ƴu} refers to time itself, the past/future time-dimension in contrast to spatial dimensions; thus:

ruŋ-ƴu-ĉa time machine

The adjective {ƴu-bô} means "long, lasting a long time", and its opposite {ƴu-cô-bô} "short". (There is also {lâŋ-bô} "taking a long time to read/experience" which is used for books and other media rather than for events like {ƴu-bô}.) The meaning-fields of {ƴu} and {vĭj} overlap a good deal at their edges.

In addition to words for objectively defined time-periods of more or less fixed length, such as:

fî'suň-bly Earth-orbit; year
měn'θu month (arbitrary period of 28-31 days by Julian/Gregorian calendar)
lyn-bly Moon orbit, lunar month
ĉě'θâ sidereal day, nycthemeron (24-hour cycle of Earth's rotation)
hyr hour
mî'nĭ minute
syň second

there is also a term for historical time periods of variable length:

ĥwĭl age, era; period of relative stability in world's history
pjylm-ĥwĭl epoch; moment of sudden change in world's history
θlu-ĥwĭl period of rapid change in world's history

{pjylm} is a sharp boundary; {θlu} a fuzzy, indistinct boundary. A {ĥwĭl} is the relatively stable period of history between two epochal events or periods of rapid change. The chronological acronyms "B.C." and "A.D." are rendered as {p,ĥ,j,ð,} and {p,ĥ,j,š,}: {pjylm-ĥwĭl jeŝua-ram-za ði} and {pjylm-ĥwĭl jeŝua-ram-za ši}.

Then there are three terms for subjectively defined time periods, and {θlu} and {pjylm} derivations from them as well:

gě'dĭm day (a being's sleep-wake cycle, from one waking to next)
θlu-gě'dĭm gradual waking up
pjylm-gě'dĭm abrupt waking up
drulm subjective time-period intermediate between {gě'dĭm} and {tâŋ}
tâŋ longish period of comparative stability in one's life
θlu-drulm a period of rapid small-scale change in one's life
θlu-tâŋ a period of rapid larger-scale change in one's life
pjylm-drulm a moment of rapid small-scale change in one's life
pjylm-tâŋ a moment of rapid larger-scale change in one's life

There can frequently be more than one {gě'dĭm} (subjective day) in a single {ĉě'θâ} (sidereal day), if one takes a nap in the afternoon or sleeps intermittently during the night. There are any number of {gě'dĭm} (perhaps in the range of 10-500) in one {drulm}, several or many {drulm} in one {tâŋ} and several or many {tâŋ} in a typical person's life.

Examples of {pjylm-tâŋ} might include changing jobs or especially careers, getting married, suffering a catastrophic injury, experiencing a religious conversion, leaving one's parents' house to live on one's own, or a close friend or relation dying. Examples of {θlu-tâŋ} might include learning to read, discovering conlanging, meeting and gradually getting to know an important friend, suffering a serious and psychologically influential illness, encountering new ideas and wrestling with them until they change your worldview. Moving from one lodging to another might be {pjylm-tâŋ} or {pjylm-drulm} depending on how long one was living at the previous place or is going to live at the next, how closely attached one is to the previous lodging, etc. There is generally a {θlu-tâŋ} leading up to or following most {pjylm-tâŋ}; sometimes the terms are semi-interchangeable depending on whether one wants to emphasize the abrupt or gradual aspects of a particular change.

Boundaries between {drulm} are less major; e.g., a typical {pjylm-drulm} might involve leaving for or returning from vacation, going into or being discharged from the hospital (if the illness is not major enough to be life-changing), finishing one project and embarking on another, discovering a new favorite author or musician, etc.

All these time-words are used in demonstrative-postpositional phrases, with greater or lesser frequency; e.g., objectively,

fî'suň-bly kǒ i this year
měn'θu kǒ i this month
ĉě'θâ kǒ i today

but also subjectively,

gě'dĭm kǒ i today
drulm kǒ i nowadays, lately
tâŋ kǒ i nowadays (a more extended period)

And similarly with relative time-ordinals in {-pa}:

měn'θu se-cĭ-pa i last month
ĉě'θâ ĉu-pa i two days hence
gě'dĭm se-cĭ-pa i "yesterday" (could be earlier "today" in objective terms)
drulm cĭ-pa i awhile hence, after I finish this project and start the next, perhaps
tâŋ se-dâ-pa i three personal eras ago; one would have to know the person's history to interpret this

The simplest spacetime postposition {i} is usually used with time-words, but {iŋ} (inside) and {im} (part of) and their early/late, before/after derivatives are also used, more or less disjointly. {iŋ} is used with objective periods, and {im} with subjective periods:

ĉě'θâ š-i-ŋ ĥun o ruŋ- mwe.
day DEM1 after-at-inside meeting to go-V.ACT IMP
I have to go to a meeting later today.
gě'dĭm ð-i-m źy -i hyw-van ver, mǒj nu i heŋ. DEM1 before-at-part.of dream ATT-at memory-V.STATE still but moment DEM1 at not
Earlier today I could remember (last night's) dream(s), but now I can't.

The more generic postposition {i} is also frequently used with both subjective and objective time-period words.

drulm i gjâ-krĭ -i mî'ħâ-van.
subjective.period DEM1 at/during language-creation DEM1 TOP-at obsession-V.STATE
I'm obsessed with this conlang lately.

{im} and its before/after derivatives are also used with words for processes or events, when one event is part of another more complex event; but if one event takes place during the time occupied by another event but isn't otherwise closely related to it, simple {i} is used.

pĭw ð-i-m du i ƥ ŝâj-i rě'ĵy-pâŋ ĥy-i tâň-Ќ-zô.
game before-at-part.of turn certain at 3 possession-at wife-lord PAT-at take-1-V.ACT
I captured his queen early in the game.
pĭw i ķun ĥy-i -- Ќ-ƥ.
game during salty.snack PAT-at digestion-into-V.ACT 1-3
We ate pretzels during the game / while we played.

In the phrase {pĭw ðim du}, {ðim} is used because the turn is part of the process of the game. Similarly with subjective time periods, events that personally affect one occurring during such a {gě'dĭm} or {drulm} or {tâŋ} are concieved of as part of said period; whereas with objective time periods, events are conceived of as contained in them, not part of them. Whether one refers to a {gě'dĭm} or {ĉě'θâ} in a particular context depends at least partly on whether the events denoted by a sentence are of personal significance or not:

ĉě'θâ i sakartvelo-wam ĥy-i sî'ðyr-gĭn- rus-wam-gôm.
day DEM1 at Georgia.(country)-NAME.P PAT-at fight-begin-V.ACT Russia-NAME.P-METONYM
Russia attacked Georgia today.
gě'dĭm i Ќ wuŋ-i ƴâ-ĉa ĥy-i ħulŋ- kwǒ.
wake-sleep-cycle DEM1 at 1 ownership-at go-tool PAT-at damage-V.ACT person some
Someone vandalized my car today.

Subjective time periods for the listener are indicated with the second-person demonstrative particle {tǒ}, but when a future or past {gě'dĭm} or {drulm} or {tâŋ} is indicated, along with a second-person topic or agent, {tǒ} isn't always necessary. For instance,

?--ť-van gě'dĭm i.
state-Q.WH-2-V.STATE day DEM2 at
How are you today?


?drulm se--pa i žuln-ť-van zǒn.
subjective.period minus-one-ORD at Q.YN
Were you pleased with your work in the last while?
tâŋ ler i ķĭm-ť- reŋ-sra mwe.
subjective.era FUT at exercise-2-V.ACT much-COMP IMP
In this next era of your life, you should exercise more.

Current subjective time periods for a third person may be indicated by {pǒ}, but {pǒ} is also used to refer to distal subjective time periods for the first and second persons. For instance, depending on context and thus the default subject, this sentence might mean:

gě'dĭm i mruň son ƴâ-.
day DEM3 at mountain onto move-V.ACT
I climbed a mountain that day. *or* He/she is climbing a mountain today.

In practice, I reckon I would probably express the latter meaning with the objective {ĉě'θâ} "24-hour day/night".

ĉě'θâ i mruň son ƴâ(ƥ)-.
day DEM1 at mountain onto move-(3)-V.ACT
He/she is climbing a mountain today.

Motion verbs

I know of three ways the semantics of motion verbs can break down in various languages. In English and other Germanic languages, motion verbs primarily express the manner of motion (direction being indicated by adverbs or prepositional phrases); in French and other Romance languages, they primarily express the direction of motion (manner being expressed by adverbs); in Navajo and other Athabaskan languages, they primarily express the shape of the moving or moved object. gzb is boringly similar to English in this respect, most of its core motion root words having manner of motion as part of their meaning.

The two most basic motion roots and the corresponding active verbs are:

ruŋ motion from place to place (locomotion)
ruŋ-zô to go, move, come
ʝĭl motion in place, change of orientation or position without change of location (simple motion)
ʝĭl-zô to move in place

More specific words for motion from place to place (hyponyms of {ruŋ}) include:

ƴâ motion with continuous adjustment, under one's own power
ƴâ-zô to walk, run, etc.
bly flying, falling, orbit (ballistic motion)
bly-zô to throw
bly-van to fall, orbit, be in freefall
bly-ca to jump
ly-zô to fly (under one's own power and control)
flu flowing, blowing, pouring
flu-van to flow, blow (of liquids and gases)
flu-zô to pour, cause to flow or blow
čâ-zô to swim
zyŋ-zô to crawl, creep
zyŋ-ʝa-zô to climb
fyn-zô to drive, pilot (any vehicle)
fyn-van to ride as a passenger in a vehicle
₣âl-tyn-zô teleport, apport; abrupt change of place
ŝum-van to float (on/in a liquid or gas denser than oneself)
tě'θru-van to fall, collapse, break down
ruŋ-źa-zô to travel, take a trip or journey
ƴâ-cjaj-zô to go for a walk (for its own sake, not to get somewhere)

Most of these are straightforward enough. {ƴâ} is a general term used for walking and running, as well as being a hypernym of {čâ}, {ly}, {zyŋ} and {zyŋ-ʝa}. Note how {zyŋ-ʝa} "climb" is derived from {zyŋ} "crawl" with the rotate-90-degrees suffix. {₣âl} signifies an abrupt, discontinuous change. (If one is teleported involuntarily one would describe it with {₣âl-tyn-van} of course.)

{ly-zô} is what both winged animals and airplanes typically do; I'm not sure yet if it applies to dirigibles or hang-gliders. What balloons do is {ŝum-van}; what passengers in airplanes (or riders on sufficiently powerful winged animals, perhaps) experience is {ly-van}.

{bly} refers to ballistic motion or free-fall (in some forms, with a nod at the force that impelled the motion in the first place, e.g. jumping or throwing); it doesn't imply a change in the falling entity's integrity or state, it only says it's moving under the influence of gravity and its own momentum. {tě'θru} implies something more chaotic is happening; it could refer to a cave-in, a landslide or avalanche, a collapsing building or part thereof, etc. If I were starting over I would probably derive the latter sense from the former somehow.

Also, the basic root word for "place", {tyn}, is the generic location verb in stative form, but a transitive motion verb in the other verb forms:

tyn-van to be located at
tyn-zô to put, move, put in place, to cause to be located
tyn-ca to place oneself, to get into or out of
tyn-môj ? unattested, but would mean "to cause each other to be located"

{tyn-ca} in particular is used in a couple of set phrases,

ƴâ-ĉa tyn-ca.
motion-tool into place-V.REFL
I get into the car. = I put myself into the car.
vlym tyn-ca.
clothing into place-V.REFL
I get dressed. = I put myself into clothes.

Artifact-words derived from the motion verbs include:

ƴâ-ĉa vehicle
fyn-ĉa steering wheel, gearshift, etc.; controls of vehicle
ly-ĉa wing (of airplane; maybe blade of helicopter?)
ƴâ-ly-ĉa airplane, helicopter etc.
ƴâ-ŝum-ĉa boat, ship
ŝum-ĉa raft, float
vlym-ŝum lifejacket

Body-part words derived from the motion verbs include:

čâ-ŋĭw flipper, fin
ƴâ-ŋĭw legs and feet
zyŋ-ŋĭw legs, feet, arms and hands
ly-ŋĭw wing (of bird, insect, etc.)

More specific words for simple motion (hyponyms of {ʝĭl}) include:

flâň tremor, trembling, quivering, shaking, shivering, vibration
flâň-zô to shake (something)
flâň-ca to (deliberately) shake
flâň-van to (involuntarily) shake, shiver
nî'kjâ twitching, jerking, jumping (in place)
mlĭr spinning, turning, rotating
mlĭr-van to rotate (e.g. of a planet, star, etc.)
mlĭr-ca to spin oneself deliberately, e.g. a child playing at dizziness
mlĭr-ʝa rolling, tumbling end over end
flĭŋ-zô to dance
ķĭ-zô to turn, change course
gru-van to twist
vun-van to stretch, extend, lengthen
vun-θaj-van to relax, contract in length
nĭrn-van to swell up, expand (tires, balloons, puffer fish, etc.)
nĭrn-θaj-van to contract in volume, shrink
gwâm-van to explode

I'm not yet sure how to express partial turning in place as opposed to continuous rotation; {mlĭr} could signify either depending on aspect, I reckon, but I'm not sure what's the best way to mark those two processes. {flâň} seems like an aspect variant of {nî'kjâ}; if I were starting over I would probably derive one from the other with the repetitive aspect suffix {-ra}, but they're both part of the language-in-my-brain by now and I'm not going to drop either.

Though the basic motion verbs express manner of motion, and direction is normally expressed with postpositional phrases (or more rarely with directional adverbs), the directional postpositions can be used as suffixes embedded in motion verbs, e.g.,

ruŋ-o-zô to arrive
ruŋ-oŋ-zô to enter
ruŋ-ř-zô to leave, go away
ruŋ-řŋ-zô to exit, go out of

or with motion roots and the nominalizer clitic {tǒj}, or the place-nominalizer suffix {-kô}:

ruŋ-oŋ-tǒj entrance, act of going in
ruŋ-oŋ-kô entrance, place to go in
ruŋ-řŋ-tǒj exit, act of going out
ruŋ-řŋ-kô exit, place to go out
bly-son-kô place where something falls to rest

It's important to note a difference between the argument structure of {fyn-zô} and all the other motion verbs. The others (the ones in {-zô}, anyway) take a {tu-i} agent argument and optional source and destination arguments (marked by spacetime postpositions built on {ř} and {o}). {fyn-zô} also takes a {ĥy-i} patient argument, which marks the passengers or cargo of one's vehicle. Both {fyn-zô} and the other motion verbs take an optional {syj-i} instrument argument, which marks the vehicle by which one travels.

kâj-kô o fyn-zô.
exchange-place to drive-V.ACT
I drive to the store.
kâj-kô o kyn-ŝy-ķa ĥy-i fyn-zô.
exchange-place to parent-female-RESP PAT-at drive-V.ACT
I drive [my] honored mother to the store.

{fyn-θaj-van}, the complement stative verb, means "to travel as a passenger in a vehicle."

kâj-kô o fru-la θĭ-ř fyn-θaj-van.
exchange-place to child-AFF help-from drive-OPP1-V.STATE
I ride to the store with the aid of [my] dear son/daughter.

Interaction of some spacetime postpositions with motion verbs

Here is a good place to say something about how the motion verbs interact with gjâ-zym-byn's spacetime postposition system and the way nouns as objects of those postpositions are conceptualized. In general, the precision of the postposition system allows and requires you to be more literal than English in describing motion relative to something, and encourages but doesn't require you to be more precise.

tĭw-mwĭl s-o-n zyŋ-zô.
chair-sleep above-to-contact crawl-V.ACT
I crawl into [lit. onto] bed.

Unless the bed is of the old-fashioned kind with a canopy and curtains, gzb normally conceptualizes it as a surface onto which one crawls or climbs, not a container into which, as in English. Substituting a simple {o} ("to") for {son} here would be acceptable, however.

(I suspect English conceptualizes the bed as a container rather than a surface partly because while lying "in" it one is typically under a sheet and perhaps blankets as well as on top of the mattress and lower sheet. Contrast "He's in bed" (implying he's lying down and under the covers) with "He's on the bed" (implying he's probably sitting and not under the covers.)

swyŋ v-o-j ruŋ- θaŋ-twâl-ca ler θǒ.
desk front-to-near go-V.ACT waist-angle-V.REFL FUT immediate
I'm fixing to go sit down at [lit. near in front of] the desk.

Again, a less precise {swyŋ o ruŋ-zô} would be acceptable.

Food, Cooking, and Eating

Several words for this semantic field derive from the basic root {vâ} "digestion, digestive system."

vâ-faj edible
vâ-ja nutritious
vâ-kar food, beverage
vâ-kar-ĵwa kitchen, pantry
kâj-kô vâ-kar-ĵwa grocery store
vaj-faj-fwa-zô to cook, to make ready to eat
vâ-oŋ-zô to eat, to drink (to (cause to be) inside-digestion)
vâ-oŋ-kô restaurant, cafeteria

gzb is lacking in verbs for specific types of cooking (baking, frying, broiling etc.). This isn't necessarily a deliberate design decision, just an area I haven't got around to working on yet (because it's rarely been relevant to specify the way I cook something when I talk about preparing food in my diary).

vâ-oŋ-kô i vâ-faj ƴeŋ ŋĭn-i
digestion-into-place that at digestion-able barely CMT-at
blâl-pôm vâ-kar mĭ-i.
frustration-EVD digestion-stuff TOP-at
Gah, the food at this restaurant is barely edible.

A few relevant terms are derived from {lym} "sense of taste/smell":

lym-van to taste (of a person; to sense the taste of something)
lym-θaj-van to taste (of food; to taste salty, bitter, etc.)
ħĭ to check, to test
ħĭ-lym-zô to taste (check food to see if it's finished cooking or if one likes it)
jyn pleasure
jyn-lym-van to enjoy the taste of, to get pleasure from tasting
prâr-lym flavor (from {prâr} "gestalt of sensory input")

There is also the root {mrân}, a leisurely informal meal, especially but not necessarily with good company, and its derivatives:

mrân-zô to eat slowly, esp. while chatting with friends
mrân-kar especially delicious food
mrân-kar kâ-i jyn-lym-van źe.
informal.meal-stuff this ATT-at pleasure-taste-V.STATE very
I'm really enjoying this yummmy food.

gzb has a fair number of words for food due to my habit for some years of writing grocery lists in the language.


bjyň grapefruit
bjyň-tôn fruit
bě'nân banana
bî'lym apple
cî'trun lemon
sî'nĭn orange
slĭn lentils
slĭn-tôn above-ground legumes and vegetables
fě'ʝâ beans
pî'sum peas
čěl'wân chickpeas, garbanzo beans
ĉî'hyln tomato
krě'lyw okra
šî'bym lettuce
kî'pĭ pepper (Capsicum; ground black pepper is {šul-pî'pru})
θĭl potato
θĭl-tôn root vegetables and edible corms
kî'ðu onion
bě'tâ beet
mě'zâ corn, maize
pul-mě'zâ cornmeal, corn flour
pul-žyj-cjaj wheat flour
rî'zĭ rice
rî'zĭ hǒl brown rice (whole rice)
rî'zĭ hǒl-cô white rice
mluŋ bread, cake, pastry, etc.; baked goods
žě'ĉym cheese
žĭlm butter

Note the use of {-tôn} to derive words for broader categories of food/plant parts. I generally try to derive {-tôn} words from monosyllabic roots, if possible, as well as considering the prototypicality of the root's referent. Words for types of flour are derived from {pul} "powder, dust" plus a word for the type of grain or other source of flour.

kâj-kô vâ-kar-ĵwa i mluŋ pe rî'zĭ hǒl
exchange-place digestion-stuff-place at bread and rice whole
pe kî'pĭ ĥy-i kâj-ť- mwe.
and peppers PAT-at exchange-2-V.ACT IMP
Be sure to buy bread, brown rice and peppers at the grocery store.

Prepared dishes:

sěm'su samosa, gyro, burrito, pie, etc.; any foodstuff with meat, fruit or vegetables enclosed in bread
tâwm grits
pě'cĭn pizza
θĭl-vâm mashed potatoes
mě'hu stew, soup; mixed food, typically cooked, that one probably eats with a spoon
mě'hu-cjaj chili
mě'hu-slĭn lentil soup
mě'hu-šî'bym salad
gî'sĭr spaghetti
gî'sĭr-tôn pasta
lîn'gwĭn linguini
vâ-kar-vyl sandwich; layered casserole
vâ-kar-kě'rĭ curry dish

Note that {kě'rĭ} by itself refers to a spice mix, not to both a type of dish and the spices used to prepare it, as in English. Nonce phrases for types of {mě'hu} can be formed with {-na} "made of" derived adjectives following {mě'hu}, e.g.:

mě'hu rî'zĭ-ke-fě'ʝâ-na ķĭn-o vâ-faj-fwa-zô ljâw-gjâ-tla.
stew rice-and-bean-made.of making-to digestion-able-CAUS-V.ACT science-language-professional
The linguist is cooking a rice and bean stew.

If you want to specify a longer ingredient list, and compounding the ingredients with {ke} (synergetic "and") would be too unwieldy, you can use the postposition {ŝĭw-i} "with" (used with materials that get used up by the action of the verb; {syj-i} is used for tools).

θĭl ke fě'ʝâ ke krě'lyw ke kî'ðu ke ĉî'hyln ke kî'pĭ ŝĭw-i
potato and bean and okra and onion and tomato and pepper substance-at
mě'hu ķĭn-o vâ-faj-fwa-zô mje de.
stew making-to digestion-able-CAUS-V.ACt PAST HAB
I used to make a stew out of potatoes, beans, okra, onions, tomatoes and peppers.

Words for types of meat are derived with {ķârn} "meat, muscle" plus the name of the animal.

ķârn ĉy-tan sausage
ķârn-byj beef, steak, veal
ķârn-pîr'ku pork, ham, bacon
kârn-gâl chicken

So far I don't have specific words for cuts or portions of meat, but one could describe them with part-whole postpositions and body part terms, something like:

gâl řm ķârn-θĭm ĥy-i sru-sra-ƥ-van vâ-oŋ-zô.
chicken from.part.of meat-thigh PAT-at desire-more-3-V.STATE digestion-into-V.ACT
She prefers to eat chicken thighs.

Snacks and desserts:

pwě'lâl ice cream, sherbet, yogurt
ķun saltines, similar crackers, nachos, corn chips, pretzels, popcorn, etc.; salty/savory snacks made of grain
ķun-cjaj pretzels
mě'zâ-gwâm popcorn
mluŋ-čĭm chocolate cookies, brownies
mluŋ-ĵâwm vanilla wafers

{mě'zâ-gwâm} glosses as "corn-explosion" or perhaps "exploded corn." Note that terms for sweet crackers and cookies are formed from {mluŋ}, baked goods.


sâŋ-bjyň grapefruit juice
sâŋ-bî'lym apple juice
cî'trun-gôm lemonade
lî'klâ milk
kě'kul cola; carbonated soda, esp. Coca-Cola & imitators, and root beer
lî'klâ-čĭm jâln-bô hot chocolate (milk-based; xref {pwĭm-čĭm jâln-bô})
těn'ju tea
kě'fâ coffee
bĭr beer, ale
vĭn wine
vĭn-tôn alcholic drinks
vĭn-tôn bî'lym-dal apple cider

Note that {sâŋ} refers to the juices or saps of plants as well as the blood of vertebrates and blood-like fluids in invertebrates, and it's used to derive the names of most fruit juices. Lemonade, on the other hand, is derived from {cî'trun} "lemon" with the metonymy suffix {-gôm} because it's got a slightly more complex recipe and a compound of all its ingredients would be rather long (especially since I don't have a conveniently short word for sucrose; see below).

sâŋ-krân ĥy-i sâŋ bjyň-tôn-ʝǒ-dal
juice-cranberry PAT-at juice grapefruit-GNR-other-origin
ŝĭw-i jĭm--fwa-Ł- de.
substance-at pure-OPP2-CAUS-3.GEN-V.ACT
One commonly mixes cranberry juice with juice from other fruits.

Sweeteners, flavorings, spices and sauces:

šul spice, sauce, condiment, seasoning; dip
šul-pî'mâr horseradish sauce
šul-pî'pru pepper (ground table condiment)
šul-kî'pĭ ground dried hot peppers, e.g. paprika or cayenne pepper
šul-zuj soy sauce
mjyl honey
mjyl-tôn syrup, honey, molasses, etc.
ĵâwm vanilla
čĭm chocolate
věj'kul butterscotch
pwě'tĭln jelly, jam; similar thick spreads like peanut butter
ĉâw chow-chow (spicy southern relish)
šul-brěj'sĭ sauerkraut
kě'rĭ curry (spice mix with which curry dishes are made)

See also below for a discussion of other sugars.

vâ-kar rî'zĭ-ža kwǒ son šul-zuj reŋ ĥy-i
digestion-stuff rice-having any onto sauce-soy much PAT-at
tyn-zô de dân-ram.
place-V.ACT HAB Dan-NAME
Dan slathers a lot of soy sauce onto any rice dish.


kyl-vâ-kar dish, plate, bowl, cup
vâ-oŋ-ĉa fork, spoon, chopsticks etc.
ĥâ-ĉa knife
kyl vâ-faj-fwa-ĉa cooking pot, saucepan, skillet, microwave-safe bowl

A relatively minimalist area compared to food types. {kyl} is a very broad word for rigid containers (boxes, bottles, jars, etc.).

mrân ši kyl-vâ-kar pe vâ-oŋ-ĉa
informal.meal after container-digestion-stuff and digestion-into-tool
ĥy-i šyj-zô twâ-pym- Ќ pe lĭm.
PAT-at clean-V.ACT say-amusement-ADJ 1 and friend
After the meal, me and my friends washed the dishes while telling jokes.


cî'trun-rô sour
gluj-tan sweet
mjyl-rô sweet
kě'fâ-rô bitter
sâl-tan salty
ķârn-rô umami (taste characteristic of high-protein foods)
žĭlm-rô buttery, fatty, oily
kî'pĭ-rô spicy
jyn-lym-fwa tasty, delicious

Note that most of the words for basic tastes are derived from a type of food or drink with {-rô} "characteristic quality of." The two synonyms for "sweet" are derived from {gluj} "glucose" and {mjyl} "honey;" further words for types of sugar are derived from {gluj} thus:

gluj-tôn sugars
gluj-tôn bě'tâ-dal sucrose
gluj-tôn bjyň-tôn-dal fructose
gluj-tôn lî'klâ-dal lactose

— with the {-dal} "originating from" suffix applied to words for "beet," "fruit," and "milk."

vâ-kar gluj-tan ðĭ-i --
digestion-stuff glucose-like relationship-at digestion-into-tending
ŋĭn-i ĝorĝ-ram.
CMT-at George-NAME
George has a sweet tooth (= tends to eat sweet foods).

These word lists are not exhaustive; there are many more food-related terms in the lexicon.

Main {gjâ-zym-byn} index
Derivational Morphology
Abbreviations used in the interlinear glosses
My conlang page
My home page

Last updated February 2022