Senyɑlesh Kapuyɑnei: A Guide to the StarReader language


"Senyɑlesh Kapuyɑnei" means "Star-Reader Language", and is poorly-known. Only a few codices representing older forms exist, and the culture is not well-remembered in its world. Very few people are aware of the language or the history of the StarReader people, and of those few who are, many consider it to be an elaborate hoax. There is virtually no academic recognition that Senyɑlesh Kapuyɑnei even exists.

A scholar from our world, if given access to a codex and some reliable means of translation, would note that it bears a strong similarity to many languages of the Paleo-Siberian group, though like all members of that class, the resemblance to other such languages is imperfect. It shares in common with those languages an ergative-absolutive noun case system, and a strong tendency towards polysynthesis, incorporation and agglutination. It is not phonetically dissimilar to Ainu, though its diphthongs more closely resemble Korean, and it has a somewhat wider range of consonants, almost none of them voiced.


Senyalesh Kapuyanei has complex rules for verb conjugation. It has no tenses per se, but numerous aspects and several distinct moods. Number and animacy are the same category, and there are four possible states. Which function the conjugation serves is contextual. Some of the aspects closely resemble Turkic-Siberian (i.e., Eveny/Tungus) evidential tenses in function, but are treated differently.

Verb Aspects:
Inferential future (assuming x, it will happen)
Near Probabilative (past, present AND future)
Distant Probabilative (future only)
Perfective (events distant in time and space, or simply unwitnessed, yet spoken of with sincerity)
Hypothetical (could by definition happen)
Past Iterative (has happened again and again)
Contact posterior (just about to happen, or on the cusp)

Optative (would like it to happen or consider it favorable)
Necessitative (is necessary or required, from an impersonal or universal perspective)
Debitive (is personally or subjectively obligated)
Mirative: Action or state turns out to be the case, contrary to expectations; also used for narrative twists
Mirative: Action or state turns out very well; also used to express admiration and compliments.
Admonitive: paired with second-person pronouns, a warning about the verbal action

An individual/least animacy
A group/little animacy
A multitude/much animacy
An abstraction/most animacy

Additional grammatical particles:
Interrogative (like "ma" in Mandarin; verbal question mark)
Optative (indicates hope or yearning)
Jussive (imploring)
Subjunctive: Indicates that the verb-argument pair is a consequence of counterfactual conditionals
Negative particle
Relativizer particle (mark the modified noun)

Noun case is limited to the ergative-absolutive dichotomy, and an additional ablative case signifying that the subject is going away or dying -- hence, while unfamiliar to English speakers, it is not especially difficult to learn.

Other grammar notes:

Word order is Subject-Object-Verb, though the language is not real strict about it. Adjectives act like verbs and modify the noun.


u as in "boo"
a as in "a-partment"
e as in "day"
ɑ as in "ah!"
o as in "go"
i as in "it"

y as in "yingguo"
w as in "wo"

ɑu as in "brown"
ou as in "doomo"
ea as in "yum"
oe as in "hui"
ui as in "wick"
ae as in "taekwondo"

t as "tree" (IPA t; voiceless alvaeolar stop)
k as in "keep" (IPA k; voiceless velar stop)
p as in "putty" (IPA p;' voiceless bilabial stop, aspirated)
ts as in "tsunami"; IPA t͡s voiceless alvaeolar affricate
ch as in "cha" (IPA tʃ, voiceless postalveolar affricate)
sh as in "sheep" (IPA ʃ; Voiceless postalveolar fricative)
f as in "Fukushima" (IPA ɸ; voiceless bilabial fricative but turns into "h" at the end of a syllable)
s as in "see" (IPA s; Voiceless alveolar fricative)
l as in "leek" (IPA l; Alveolar lateral approximant)
r as in "kokoro";  (IPA ɾ, alvaeolar tap)
n as in "now" (IPA n; alveolar nasal)

Syllables: Start with a leading sound, then select a trailing vowel/diphthing. Except for "ui", one can optionally add a follower consonant to end the syllable.

Leading sounds: t, k, p, ts, ch, sh, f, s, y, w, o, e, ɑ, u
Trailing: ɑ, e, o, u, a, ɑu, ae, oe, ou, ea, ui*, i
Follower: f, sh, k, p, i
Free-standing vowels: ɑ, e, o, u, wɑ, wo, ye, yɑ, yo, wu, yu

*Stop here

Multisyllable words: Two syllables without a Follower or not ending in -ui" can be compounded together with a joiner:
Syllable Joiners: l, r, n, f, w, y, ts, s, sh, wɑ, wo, ye, yɑ, yo, wu, yu

So, let's translate the phrase "StarReader Language"...

"Senyɑlesh Kapuyɑnei"

 [Person(abs.#4.formal)-read(intrans.] Star[abs.#4][formal] Speak[rel.]

Sa means "human being" in the ergative form
Se is the absolutive form

The -n confers animacy/number of 4 (abstraction)

-yɑ makes it formal

-lesh is the intransitive form of "Read"; it is "glued" to "Senya", and the agency is implied

Kapu- means "star"; literally, "Night People" (with "person" in the fourth animacy, making it abstract).

-yɑ indicates formality and respect. "Kapuya", lit., "Honored Star"

Ne- means "speech" and the -i marks it as a relative clause.