Láadan/Láadan Grammar Reference

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
< Láadan
Jump to: navigation, search

Letters in Láadan[edit]

Letter Pronunciation IPA
a father /ɑ/
e bell /ɛ/
i big /ɪ/
o hope /o/
u moon /u/
th think /θ/
zh pleasure /ʒ/
sh shine /ʃ/
lh - /ɬ/
b aback /b/
d dream /d/
h high /h/
l wealth /l/
m him /m/
n month /n/
r red /ɹ/
w weep /w/
y you /j/


A. Words cannot end with the letters "h", "w", or "y".

B. Split up double-consonants with the letter "e".

Example: hesh = grass, hoth = place, hesh+e+hoth = heshehoth = park.

C. Split up double-vowels with the same accents with the letter "h".

Example: ra = not, en = understand, ra+h+en = rahen = misunderstand

D. Two vowels next to each other are only allowed if one of them is accented.

Example: Láadan, Aáláan

Accented Vowels[edit]

A letter with an accent mark gets pronounced with a slightly higher pitch, and slightly more emphasis.

  • Low tone – Example, /lō/ or /lò/
  • High tone – Example, /ló/

With two vowels side-by-side, there can be an accent on the first vowel or the second vowel. These have different sounds:

  • Loó – /lǒː/
  • Lóo – /lôː/


Pronouns can be neutral, though if a gender is assumed it is generally feminine.

Voice Singular Plural, 2 to 5 Plural, 6 or more
First Person ("I") Le Lezh Len
Second Person ("You") Ne Nezh Nen
Third Person ("He", "She") Be Bezh Ben

Speech Act Morpheme[edit]

At the beginning of a phrase, a sentence marker is added to indicate what kind of sentence it is.

Speech Act Morpheme Description
Bíi Indicates a declarative sentence (usually optional)
Báa Indicates a question
Indicates a command; very rare, except to small children
Bóo Indicates a request; this is the usual imperative/”command” form
Indicates a promise
Bée Indicates a warning

Evidence Morpheme[edit]

An evidence marker is added to the end of a sentence. If there are several sentences strung together and context is clear, these can be omitted from additional sentences.

Evidence Morpheme Description
wa Known to speaker because perceived by speaker, externally or internally
wi Known to speaker because self-evident
we Perceived by speaker in a dream
wáa Assumed true by speaker because speaker trusts source
waá Assumed false by speaker because speaker distrusts source; if evil intent by the source is also assumed, the form is “waálh”
wo Imagined or invented by speaker, hypothetical
wóo Used to indicate that the speaker states a total lack of knowledge as to the validity of the matter

Content Words and Function Words[edit]

Láadan does not have traditional verbs, nouns, and adjectives, as in English. There are two types of words: Content words, and Function words.

Most content words can be used as both verbs and nouns. (“Dance”, “Dancing”, would both be “Amedara”).

Verbs and adjectives are the same class of words. (“Red”, “To be red”, would both be “Laya”).

Identifier Case[edit]

Láadan does not have a verb for “to be”, as in English. If you want to state [noun A] is [noun B], any verb will be left off and the subject and identifier will be used:

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi le with wa. I am a person. Bíi (I declare) le (I) with (person) wa (perceived by me).

Object Case[edit]

Use the “-th” suffix to mark the object in a sentence.

An object is an item being acted on. In the sentence “I ate rice.” – Rice is the object. In Esperanto, this would be “Mi manĝas rizon”, where rice (rizo) has an object marker -n.

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi ulanin le Láadaneth wa. I study Láadan. Bíi (I declare) ulanin (to study) le (I) Láadaneth (Láadan+object) wa (perceived by me).


  • If an act can only go one way (I can learn Láadan, but Láadan cannot learn me), the object marker is not necessary.
  • Remember that double-consonants get split up by an "e". (Láadan+e+th)


The prefix “me-” is used to indicate plural. However, it is used on the verb – not the noun.

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi áya with wa. The woman is beautiful (my perception). Bíi (I declare) áya (beautiful) with (person/woman) wa (perceived by me).
Bíi meháya with wa. The women are beautiful (my perception). Bíi (I declare) meháya (plural+beautiful) with (person/woman) wa (perceived by me).


To make a sentence negative, put “ra” immediately after the verb.

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi u áath wa. The door is open. Bíi (I declare) u (open) áath (door) wa (perceived by me).
Bíi u ra áath wa. The door is not open. Bíi (I declare) u (open) ra (not) áath (door) wa (perceived by me).

You can also negate other words by prefixing it with "ra". For instance:

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi rahu áath wa. The door is closed. Bíi (I declare) rahu (closed) áath (door) wa (perceived by me).


"i" is used for "and".

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi yod i rilin le wa. I eat and drink. Bíi (I declare) yod (eat) i (and) rilin (drink) le (I) wa (perceived by me).

"e" is used for "or".

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi néde le thuhaleth e thuzheth wa. I want candy or cake. Bíi (I declare) néde (want) le (I) thuhaleth (candy-object) e (or) thuzheth (cake-object) wa (perceived by me).

Yes/No Questions[edit]

When asking yes/no questions, the word order will be the same, but “Báa” (question type-of-sentence marker) will be used instead of “Bíi”, and you leave off the evidence marker.

Láadan English Breakdown
Báa thal ne? Are you good? Báa (Question) thal (good) ne (you)?

"Yes" is "Em".

"No" is "Ra".

Interrogative Questions[edit]

In English, we have words like who, what, when, where, why…

In Láadan, who/what/when/where questions still begin with “Báa”. The third person pronoun “be” is used in place for what is being asked about (or a plural form), and the suffix “–báa” to mark it as what we’re asking about.

Láadan English Breakdown
Báa áya bebáa? What is beautiful? Báa (Question) áya (beautiful) bebáa (they+question)?

Preposition-like Markers[edit]

In Láadan, there are no prepositions. Instead, there are suffixes added to the end of words.

Goal Marker: -di[edit]

This is similar to the “to” preposition. Append “-di” to the goal. (“I am going to the store” – store would be the goal).

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi aril sháad le anawehedi wa. I’ll go to the grocery store. Bíi (I declare) aril (later) sháad (come/go) le (I) anawehedi (grocery store+goal) wa (perceived by me).

Source Marker: -de[edit]

This is similar to the “from” preposition. Append “-de” to the source. (“I came from home” – home would be the source).

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi eril sháad le bethede wa. I came from home. Bíi (I declare) eril (earlier) sháad (come/go) le (I) bethede (home+source) wa (perceied by me).

Association Markers: -den, -dan[edit]

This is similar to “with”. There are two forms of with: “-den” (neutral), and “-dan” (with pleasure).

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi eril im le ruledan wa. I travelled with a cat. Bíi (I declare) eril (earlier) im (travel) le (I) ruledan (cat+with-pleasure) wa (perceived by me).

Instrument Marker: -nan[edit]

This is similar to “with” or “per”, denoting a tool being used to accomplish a task. The suffix is “-nan”.

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi eril yod le thuzheth bathanan wa. I ate cake with a spoon. Bíi (I declare) eril (earlier) yod (eat) le (I) thuzheth (cake+object) bathanan (sppon+with) wa (perceived by me).

Beneficiary Markers: -da, -dá, -dáa, -daá[edit]

This marker is for when you’re doing something “for” someone or something else. There are a few variations:

Suffix Meaning
-da voluntarily
-dá by force, against X’s will.
-dáa obligatorily, as by duty
-daá accidentally
Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi ril hal le hothuleda wa. I work for the grandmother. Bíi (I declare) ril (now) hal (work) le (I) hothuleda (grandmother+for-voluntary) wa (perceived by me).

Location Markers: -ha, -ya[edit]

This is similar to the preposition “at”. To denote location in space, use “-ha”. To denote location in time, use “-ya”.

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi eril hal le hohaleha wa. I worked at the office. Bíi (I declare) eril (earlier) hal (work) le (I) hohaleha (office+at) wa (perceived by me).
Bíi aril hal le háasháaleya wa. I will work at morning. Bíi (I declare) aril (later) hal (work) le (I) háasháaleya (morning+at) wa (percieved by me).

Manner Marker: -nal[edit]

To denote a manner with which something is done, use the marker “-nal”.

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi eril amedara le áyanal wa. I danced beautifully. Bíi (I declare) eril (earlier) amedara (dance) le (I) áyanal (beautiful+manner) wa (perceived by me).

Reason Marker: -wáan[edit]

To mark a reason, add the suffix “-wáan”.

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi eril yime be óowamidewáan wa. She ran because of the dragon. Bíi (I declare) eril (ealier) yime (run) be (she/he/it) óowamidewáan (dragon+reason) wa (perceived by me).

Purpose Marker: -wan[edit]

Mark the purpose with “-wan”.

Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi eril sháad be hohaledi halewan wa. She went to the office to work. Bíi (I declare) eril (earlier) sháad (come/go) be (she/he/it) hohaledi (office+goal) halewan (work+purpose) wa (perceived by me).

Possessive Marker: -tha, -thi, -the, -thu, -tho[edit]

There are several forms of the possessive marker:

Suffix Meaning
-tha by reason of birth
-thi by reason of chance
-the for unknown or unacknowledged reason
-thu the false (“partitive”) possessive, as in “a dress of velvet”
-tho other (purchase, gift, law, custom, et cetera)
Láadan English Breakdown
Bíi eril láad le shinehal nethoth oyinan wa. I saw your computer. Bíi (I declare) eril (earlier) láad (perceive) le (I) shinehal (computer) nethoth (you+object+possessive) oyinan (eye+with) wa (perceived by me).


In a sentence, you can add tenses like "ril" (now), "eril" (past), to clarify the time which the action happened. Here is a list of tenses:

Láadan English Sample Phrase Translation
eril past Báa eril yod ne? Did you eat?
aril future Báa aril yod ne? Are you going to eat?
ril present Báa ril yod ne? Are you eating (now)?
eríli far past Báa eríli yod ne? Did you eat long ago?
aríli far future Báa aríli yod ne? Will you eat, far in the future?
rilrili hypothetical Báa rilrili yod ne? Would you eat?