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Sanila Documentation

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Sanila is a personal constructed language I created, beginning development on January 11, 2018. The language employs a relatively simple grammar lacking any inflections and, along with the general semantics of words, was largely inspired by the conlangs of Jack Eisenmann. The vocabulary is mostly a priori (not based on any existing language).

This document describes Sanila phonology, orthography, and grammar. The official Sanila dictionary may be found here.

Takito seri

Sanila ba sani čunare nesenu ku la jema me, ku seli me loda kiki ofe11 to tolava ofe1 to rasona ofe2018. Sani li ura zegara beno hova so utare hino, e sani ti to Jack Eisenmann lecabu zegara e so konogu to hatese ni sani li. Masi hatese ba eča sa va sani iši.

Rosuvi di arisi hino e kaniru e zegara to Sanila. Rosuvi hatese agobi to Sanila ba seba.

Phonology & Orthography

Sanila is written entirely phonemically: one sound per letter, and one letter per sound. Sanila has 22 consonants and 5 vowels, yielding 27 phonemes in total. The language's orthography thus uses 27 letters to write these phonemes.

The consonants in Sanila are:

Sanila uses the same five vowels as in languages such as Spanish, Esperanto, and Toki Pona, which are not as easy to approximate in English:

Phoneme Chart for the Linguistically Inclined

Symbols in parentheses indicate how the phoneme preceding it is written, if it differs from the IPA.


Labial Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Dorsal
Nasal m n
Plosive p b t d ts (c) tʃ (č) k g
Fricative f v θ (þ) s z ʃ (š) ʒ (ž) h
Liquid w l ɾ (r) j


Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


All Sanila words are formed according to the following rules:

Words in Sanila's basic vocabulary contain anywhere from 1 to 3 syllables.


The stressed syllable of a word is always the second-to-last syllable. For example, "sipu" is pronounced "SI-pu", and "konogu" is pronounced "ko-NO-gu".

Alternative Orthography

Sanila uses 4 letters which are outside of the ASCII character set: 'č', 'š', 'ž', 'þ'. If the writer is either unable or unwilling to use these characters, they may be substituted with the digraphs 'ch', 'sh', 'zh', and 'th' respectively.

Letter Names

Letters in Sanila may be given names (usually in speech) via the following scheme: For vowel letters, the name is simply the vowel sound. For consonant letters, the name is the consonant sound followed by 'a'.

Letter Name Letter Name Letter Name
A a B ba C ca
Č ča D da E e
F fa G ga H ha
I i J ja K ka
L la M ma N na
O o P pa R ra
S s Š ša T ta
U u V va W wa
Z za Ž ža Þ þa

Sanila Alphabet

Sanila also has its own original alphabet, shown below. Note that this chart was created before the phoneme /ð/ (Ðð) was removed from the language and merged with /θ/, and I don't feel like updating it. Consider it a neat historical perspective, or something.


Words in Sanila may belong to the following parts of speech: noun, verb, modifier, preposition, particle, conjunction, and interjection. Most Sanila words belong to exactly one part of speech, however a few special words are able to act as more than one part of speech.

Nouns in Sanila also include what are pronouns in English, such as "I" and "you".

Modifiers are words which describe other words. They are equivalent to what are adjectives, adverbs, determiners, and intransitive verbs in English. They may modify nouns, verbs, other modifiers, prepositions, or interjections.

Sentence Structure

A sentence in Sanila may consist of a single verb phrase, without specifying any subject, object, or other information:

There is writing (happening).

The subject of a verb may be specified by placing a noun phrase before the verb:

La roču.
I write.
I write.

The object of a verb may be specified by placing a noun phrase after the verb:

La roču rosuvi.
I write document.
I write a document. / I write documents.

If a sentence contains an object but no subject, the resulting sentence functions much like a passive construction:

Roču rosuvi.
write document.
A document is written. / Documents are written.

The word 'ba' (to be) is a special verb which may be followed by a bare modifier phrase or prepositional phrase (or a noun phrase as usual):

La ba peda.
I be happy.
I am happy.

Oliba ba ni emeri.
book be in house
The book is in the house.

Tenole ba fura.
horse be animal.
A horse is an animal.

The particle 've' may precede a verb to reverse the roles of its subject and object, similar to the passive voice:

Rosuvi ve roču la.
document 've' write I.
A document is written by me.

Binu ve šigo nuduka di.
ball 've' move machine this
The ball is moved by this machine.

It is also acceptible for a sentence to consist of an interjection or a bare phrase on its own, especially in informal speech or as the answer to a question:

Ho! La vušana sini!
oh! I forget almost!
Oh! I almost forgot!

Semo haso!
good very!
Very good!

Du nivi kovu la? Osuko ru.
what eat bread me? dog you.
Who ate my bread? Your dog.

Oliba la ba ni du? Ni emeri la.
book me be in which? in house me.
Where is my book? In my house.


A modifier may follow a word to describe it:

Masiwa venu
city big
A big city

Multiple modifiers may stack onto the same word:

Delavo venu lamana
dress big beautiful
A big beautiful dress

In this case, the multiple modifers could be interpreted either as each modifying the word separately, or as modifying the other modifers in the phrase. For instance, the above phrase could also be interpreted as "a dress which is big in a beautiful way". If you want to specify that the modifers each modify the same word individually, you can optionally use the particle 'ri' to separate them:

Delavo venu ri lamana
dress big 'ri' beautiful
A dress which is big and beautiful (not a dress which is big in a beautiful way)


A preposition phrase consists of a preposition followed by a noun phrase:

Ni masiwa
in city
In a city

A preposition phrase may be placed after a noun to modify it:

Emeri livi ni masiwa venu
house blue in city big
A blue house in a big city

Or after a verb and its object, to modify the sentence as a whole:

La dašo nisalo ni emeri nivi.
I listen music in house blue
I listen to music in a blue house.

Or at the beginning of a sentence, to the same effect:

Ni emeri nivi, la dašo nisalo.
in house blue, I listen music.
In a blue house, I listen to music.

A preposition phrase may also have its following noun excluded:

Fura venu mošori sipu lanuri.
animal large shake ground beneath.
A large animal rattled the ground beneath.

Noun Grouping

Two nouns may be placed adjacent to each other, forming a construction which indicates that the first noun pertains to the second noun in some way.

Edetu liripu
program computer
Computer program

Emeri la
house me
My house

Verb Grouping

Two verbs may be placed adjacent to each other, in which each verb has the same subject. This forms a construction which is often translated using infinitives or auxilliary verbs in English.

La tuke deni ru.
I want help you.
I want to help you.

La vušana leši ke!
I forget do that!
I forgot to do that!

Relative Clauses

A relative clause is a clause which acts as a modifer, within which the relative pronoun 'me' refers to whatever the relative clause is modifying. A relative clause is initiated with the particle 'ku':

La uza mičuna jaþe ku ru datu me.
I see shirt green 'ku' you wear 'me'.
I saw the green shirt that you were wearing.

La aješi kiki ku ru datu mičuna jaþe ke loda me.
I remember day 'ku' you wear shirt green that 'lo' during 'me'.
I remember the day (during which) you wore that green shirt.

'ku' may be excluded when immediately preceding 'me':

Oda me jema sani di ba seba!
person 'me' create language this be here!
The person who created this language is here!


The particle 'so' may be placed before a word or a clause to make it function as a noun:

La aveše so semo ni dakuli di.
I find 'so' good in community this.
I am finding goodness in this community.

La degu so ru ba peda.
I know 'so' you be happy.
I know that you are happy.

There is also a completely optional particle 'ze' which may indicate the end of a nominalized sequence of words, to reduce ambiguity:

So la nivi kovu ze pane
'so' i eat bread 'ze' likely
The likely process of me eating bread

The particle 'mo' may precede a single verb or modifier to convert it into a noun which is the subject of the verb's action/relationship or has the modifier's quality:

Mo roču
'mo' write
Something/someone that writes; a writer

Mo naraþe
'mo' swim
Something/someone that swims; a swimmer

Mo čipedi
'mo' enough
Something which is enough; a sufficient thing

Similarly, the particle 'ko' may precede a verb to convert it into a noun which is the object of the verb's action/relationship:

Ko roču
'ko' write
Something which is written

Ko dalufi
'ko' purchase
Something which is purchased


Conjunctions may conjoin words, phrases, or entire clauses together.

La toša usedi o devile, udi la degu va čame su.
I hear lake or river, but i know not location it.
I hear a lake or a river, but I don't know its location.

Verbal Adjuncts

'lo' and 'no' are words which introduce a verbal adjunct into a sentence. A verbal adjunct is a word, phrase, or sentence which provides context, topic, or perspective to the sentence as a whole. Verbal adjuncts may be used in a wide variety of ways; if you are familiar with Toki Pona, they function similarly to 'la'. These two particles are distinguished by their positioning: with 'lo', the structure is "(sentence) lo (adjunct)", whereas with 'no', the structure is "(adjunct) no (sentence)".

Ru osu badoči semo bi la lo kusu.
you tell joke good to me 'lo' funny
You told me a good joke, which is funny. / The fact that you told me a good joke is funny.

Tiši no su ba ulege haso.
sun 'no' it be bright very.
Regarding the sun, it is very bright.

Semo no ru aveše la!
good 'no' you find me!
Good thing you found me!

A common use of 'lo' is with preposition phrases to reduce ambugity as to whether the preposition is modifying the direct object or the sentence as a whole:

La uza vanuse ni emeri la.
I see car in house me.
I see a car in my house. (Either the act of seeing takes place in the house, or the car is in the house)

La uza vanuse lo ni emeri la.
I see car 'lo' in house me.
I see a car in my house. (The car is not in my house)


A question with a yes/no answer is formed by placing the particle 'do' at the beginning of a sentence.

Do ru letu fetale oliba?
'do' you like read book?
Do you like to read books?

Other questions use the word 'du' (what/which), which can either be a standalone noun or a modifier:

Ru leši du ni emeri la?
you do what in house me?
What did you do in my house?

Ru uza viba du?
you see color which?
Which color do you see?


An imperative sentence (a sentence expressing a command, demand, or request) is formed with the particle 'te' at the beginning of a sentence.

Te oda initu dašo nisalo di!
'te' person cute listen music this!
Cute person, listen to this music!

If a subject in an imperative sentence is unspecified, it is usually implied to be the listener:

Te irebu saneze di!
'te' play game this!
Play this game!


Number words in Sanila behave as modifiers and use base 10. Numbers are expressed by saying the digits of a number in sequence, from most to least significant. The following words are used for numbers:

Di ba inoli þi.
this be bird three.
These are three birds.

La uza dosa tu lu.
I see building two six.
I see twenty six buildings.

Sata da fa ba roma.
circle one three-zeroes be real.
There are one thousand circles.

Sata da ca pi ba roma.
circle one point five be real.
There are 1.5 circles. / There are one and a half circles.

The modifier 'ofe' converts a number into an ordinal number:

Di ba emeri si ofe.
this be house nine ordinal
This is the ninth house.

There is another more commonly used way to express numbers in Sanila, which is to concatenate all the digits into a single word prefixed with 'ju-', or 'ofe-' for ordinal numbers:

Sata jukituhe ba roma.
circle 720 be real
There are 720 circles.

Jema sani di loda rasona ofetuhedata.
create language this during year ordinal-2018
This language was created in the year 2018.

In writing, digit words/syllables may be substituted with the standard numeral symbols [0123456789]:

Jema sani di loda rasona ofe2018.
create language this during year ordinal-2018
This language was created in the year 2018.

Proper Names

There is no single standard way to handle foreign names in Sanila, but generally there are 3 ways they can be handled that the speaker/writer can freely decide between.

The first way is to simply loan the name directly with no alteration to spelling or pronunciation:

Do ru irebu Minecraft?
'do' you play Minecraft?
Do you play Minecraft?

The second way is to adapt the name to Sanila's phonology, but without any regard for Sanila's phonotactics:

Iþkuil ve jema Džon Kihada.
Ithkuil 've' create John Quijada.
Ithkuil was created by John Quijada.

The third way is to adapt the name to comform both to Sanila's phonology as well as its phonotactics:

Capire di to la dene Fase.
friend this of me inhabit France.
This friend of mine lives in France.

Personally I rarely transcribe names this way, as it may often render them unrecognizable, so I usually tend to use the first two methods. I think it makes sense to embrace the foreignness of foreign words rather than try to adapt them into something that may end up less intellegible; if the speaker uses a phonotactically conformant loanword and the listener is unable to discern what the loadword is meant to refer to, the speaker may end up having to clarify by just directly spelling out the name anyways.

Names of places and languages should ideally be derived from endonyms, ie. what the inhabitants of a place call their own place, or what the speakers of a language call their own language. Names of languages should be prefixed with the word 'sani' (language).

Do avera ru ni Žongwo?
'do' birth you in China?
Were you born in China?

La osu þota va vi sani Doič.
I speak can not using language German.
I can't speak German.