Zolid Matters logoSevorian

Sievrøsku (Sevorian): a "North Slavic" constructed language

Sevorian, originally known as J2, was my second conlang, started in 1992. I tinkered with the language occasionally until late 1996, when I was contacted by Dutch conlanger Alexis Hansen, who offered to collaborate on the project. Thereafter it progressed rapidly until mid-1997 when I got sidetracked by a variety of other projects and crises, and eventually Sevorian became dormant once more. I think it's now a dead language, but nevertheless it had some cool features (or at least, I think they're cool) and is worthy of documentation. I've been putting this off for years, but now the Jameld dictionary's completed I have the time to finally do it justice.

What you read here is therefore the result of two minds. Alexis, if you're still out there and you find this, drop us an email. Hope you're well. Stroov!

Background (repeated from Zolid Matters Issue 11: "The Sevorian Special", 1997)

Unknown to most historians and philologists, a culture has survived hidden for centuries in the north somewhere. According to the traditional account passed on by word of mouth, rumour and hearsay, the Slavic people who were to become Sevorian sailed north from what we now know as the Polish coast, at a time when the Slavic languages were still mutually intelligible. They struck land and made their home on an island in the Baltic, close to but south of Gotland and Öland, an island they now call Sievrih (in English, Sevoria). Don't bother looking for it in your atlas, because due to a strange quirk of international conspiracy it won't be there. The world's finest cartographers have been so totally flummoxed by the topologically impossible coastline of the island, which cannot be correctly represented on paper (nor indeed in any less than five dimensions), that they have collectively refused to portray Sevoria at all on their work. Due to this remarkable boycott and a number of other bizarre coincidences, the Sevorian language (known to native speakers as Sievrøsku) has evolved almost completely isolated from other Slavic languages, with the Sevorians' main trading and cultural contact being with Scandinavian peoples. Hence, the basic vocabulary and grammar of Sevorian is Slavic (albeit mutated and twisted over time through Scandinavian influence), but the many new words required to express the events, activities and technologies of modern times have been borrowed, stolen and otherwise purloined from Swedish.

Editor's note

The information presented here has holes. Big wobbly ones. But Sevorian was never completed: this is a sketch, albeit a reasonably fleshed-out one, and this site contains just about all that ever was written about Sevorian.


Sevorian is written in a Latin alphabet, with a few diacritical marks:

a b d e f g h [hx] i k l m n o p r s sx t u v z zx ø

hx was present in early drafts of the language, but was never used and in 1997 was removed from the alphabet.
sx and zx are tricky to show on-screen, even with Unicode support (which includes dotted-z but not dotted-s). Therefore they are hereinafter represented by 'sx' and 'zx'.

There was also, in the early days of the project, an alternative Cyrillic representation of J2 (as the language was then known). Here is the alphabet:

Sevorian Cyrillic alphabet


a = [a]
b = [b]
d = [d]
e = [e]
f = [f]
g = [g]
h = [x] Scots 'loch', German 'machen' ([ç] (German 'ich') before e or i)
i = [i] ([j] (English 'y') before other vowels)
k = [k]
l = [l]
m = [m]
n = [n]
o = [o]
p = [p]
r = [r]
s = [s]
sx= [S] English 'sh'
t = [t]
u = [u]
v = [v]
z = [z]
zx= [Z] English 'measure', French 'je'
ø = [@] (schwa, e.g. English 'above')

Double vowels are long; consonants are not normally doubled in Sevorian, but are pronounced separately if doubled. Stress falls on the first syllable containing a vowel which is not ø, unless double vowels are present: double vowels are stressed.

In loanwords, qu/qv maps to Sevorian kf. In Swedish borrowings into Sevorian: NG->N; A->A; E->E, I->I, O->U, U->U, Å->O, Ä->E, Ö->Ø. Long vowels are doubled (cf. Swedish "förening"->føørenin).

Permitted initial consonant clusters (* loanwords only):
bl br
dr dv dz dzx
fl fn fr
gl gr gv
hl hr
kf* kl kn kr
pr ps* pv
sk sl sm sn sp sr st sv
sxk sxl sxm sxn sxp sxr sxt sxv
tr tv
zl zn zv
zxl zxn zxv


I. Nouns

Nouns always end in a consonant (which is necessary for suffixes), including names; this is forced by metathesis if necessary, or -h can be added to the end of a noun.
Examples: the month name maih and the native name for Sevoria, Sievrih.

Suffixes: up to three types of suffix can be appended to nouns:

Nouns and their suffixes are built up as follows: root-plural-article-preposition

Gender: There is no grammatical gender in Sevorian.

II. Prepositions/Cases

Prepositional suffixes are added to indirect objects. This list is incomplete, as not all prepositions have been assigned, and many cases are unnamed (or perhaps misnamed).
Yes, I know, they're not prepositions but postpositions. A bit late now, innit?

case name prep.   e.g.
nominative -- (uses subject prefix)
accusative -- (nothing: direct object)
dative -- (to/for: ??)
deëssive (?) øb* about, concerning N.B. about me øb min
postessive after after me: minøpø
selative -- along, across
essive -- as
locative øp at (position) it is (located) at/in Barinuh: istie Barinuhøp
antessive -- before, until
ultraessive zaa behind, beyond behind the cat kotatzaa
juxtessive øi by, near, alongside I am near you suu tvinøi
-- -- down
perlative -- during
-- dila for (intended for) this is for Alexis ist eta Aleksisdila
ablative øz from, out [of (place)] he is not from Sevoria ist nee Sievrihøz
coramessive pred    in front of is it in front of you? il ist tvinpred?
illative in, into (towards being in) the woodlouse went into it etløt ed-derevvusat anievø
inessive -- inside
genitive/partitive    øsx of, [written] by written by James piisnu Iakebøsx
adessive on, onto (towards being on) onto them aniinø
elative -- out of (towards being out)
superessive nød over, more than over twenty big sisters dvadesetnød siestørii vlisxu -- not sure about this one
superlative(?) -- over, above
translative -- through
superlative -- to the top of
allative to, towards, at she said to me skasløta minøkø
subessive pød under, underneath, below, less than woodlice underneath the wood derevvusii derevatpød
subillative -- 'underto' (towards being under)
dumessive until, up to until Sunday nezxelødø
-- -- up
comitative with (accompanying) will you go with me? il etdøsx minøsø
instrumental -- with, by means of
abessive biz without two weeks without wind dvaa tudienii vietørbiz
-- -- je (the Esperanto catch-all preposition)

If the preposition starts with a consonant, -ø- can be added between the noun and the preposition for euphony.

* N.B. øb (about, concerning) is an exception; it always stands as a separate word, and precedes the noun.

III. Adjectives

In Sevorian, adjectives end in -u. They follow the nouns to which they apply, and need not agree in number with the noun.

IV. Pronouns

No subject pronouns: implied in verb endings
Object pronouns: (Sing.) min, tvin, an/ana/anie; (Pl.) nan, vin, anii
Possessives: (Sing.) møi, tvøi, ansx/anasx/aniesx; (Pl.) nesx, vesx, aniisx
My sister siestør møi

V. Verbs

Verb infinitives end in -tø.

To form the present tense, remove the infinitive -tø ending and add a pronoun suffix:
I: -uu
Thou: -øsx
He/She/It: -øt (forms used where necessary to avoid confusion: He: -øti / She: -øta / It: -øtie)
We: -øm
You (pl.): -øtsx
They: -ut
I go etuu, we go etøm

If the verb root ends in a vowel, add -i- before the pronoun suffix.
I see videiuu, you see videiøtsx

Past tense: insert -l- before the pronoun suffix
He gave daarløt

Future tense: insert -d- before the pronoun suffix
He will give daardøt

Imperative: insert -zx- before the pronoun suffix
Eat! eszxøsx!

'To be' is irregular:
(Sing.) suu, isx, ist; (Pl.) isøm, isøtsx, sut
Past: buluu, buløsx, buløt; buløm, buløtsx, bulut
Future: buduu, budøsx, budøt; budøm, budøtsx, budut

I am a cat
Suu kot


Perfect: To start to do something, completed action (past, pres, fut), Non-habit (unusual event), Once-only action

Imperfect: Incomplete action, Action in progress, Habit, Repeated action, Stative (e.g. the book laid on the table)
Marked with -[o]v: Perfect esluu / Imperfect esovluu

Verbs and their suffixes are built up as follows: root-aspect-tense-pronoun

Part participle: -nu (-u after -n)

VI. Syntax etc

Word order VSO.

A subject marker is required to differentiate between, e.g.:

It's eating John
Esøt Ian

John is eating
Esøt et-Ian

et- becomes ed- before voiced consonants (maybe only d).
iet- (ied-) after vowels: Esøtie iet-pibat

VII. Adverbs

Remove -u from the adjective and replace with -o. Adverbs can take any position in sentence, before the significant word.

John always eats small fish.
Esøt et-Ian pibesx vøsektaa mliku (not larger ones)
Vøsektaa esøt et-Ian pibesx mliku (he always eats them)

VIII. Questions

Questions are introduced with the particle il.
Are you?
Il isx?

Sevorian has two interrogatives: keta where there is a choice of known possible answers, and seta otherwise.

What is your name?
What name-they you?
Seta (name)ut tvin?

How much is it?
What costs-it?
Seta (cost)øt?

How many are there?
What number-they?
Seta (number)ut?

When will he arrive?
What time arrive-will-he?
Seta (time) (arrive)døt?

Who is there?
What/which [person*] is-it there?    *optional
Seta (person) ist (there)?    If you have no idea
Keta ist (there)?    If you were expecting one of several known persons

Which book do you want? (given a choice of two)
Which want-you book?
Keta (want)øsx (book)?

How do you open it?
What way open-you it?
Seta (way) (open)øsx anie?

Why are we here?
What reason are-we here?
Seta pritsxin isøm (here)?

Where is it?
What place is-it?
Seta (place) ist?


For samples, please see Zolid Matters Issue 11: "The Sevorian Special".


English-Sevorian wordlist

about (concerning) = øb
after = pø
always = vøsektaa
and = ii
April = apriil
association = føørenin
at (position) = øp
at (towards) = kø
August = avgust
bald = lusxu
be = butø (irreg)
behind = zaa
below = pød
beyond = zaa
big = vlisxu
brother = bratør
but = nu
by (near) = øi
by (written by) = øsx
cat = kot
concerning = øb
cure = letsxtø
darling = dorøg
dear = dorgu
December = dekember
do = iøsxpeltø
eat = estø
eight = osøm
eighteen = osmødest
eighth = osmu
eighty = osømdeset
eleven = iednødest
England = anglih
English = anglisku
evening = vietsxør
February = febrar
fifteen = petnødest
fifth = petu
fifty = petdeset
first = prevu
fish = pib
five = pet
for (intended for) = dila
forty = sxtirdeset
four = sxøtir
fourteen = sxtirnødest
fourth = sxtiru
Friday = petik
from = øz
fulfill = iøsxpeltø
function = aarbtø
give = daartø
go = ettø
hair = vlois
have (vt) (comitative) = -sø
health = stroov
healthy = strovu
hello = stroov
her = ana
her (poss.) = anasx
him = an
his = ansx
hold = dørzxtø
hundred = sta
in = vø
in front of = pred
into = vø
it = anie
its = aniesx
Jameld = hiamelsku
January = ianvar
July = iul
June = iun
less than = pød
louse = vus
love = liib
love = liibtø
March = mart
May = maih
me = min
-ment = -nih
Monday = pønezxelik
more than = nød
my = møi
near = øi
-ness = -ost
new = novu
nine = devet
nineteen = devetnødest
ninety = devetdeset
ninth = devetu
no = ned
north = sievør
north(ern) = sievru
not = nee
November = november
number = tsxesøl
October = oktoober
of = øsx
on = nø
one = iedøn
our = nesx
out (of) = øz
over = nød
psalm = psaløm
reason = pritsxin
Saturday = sabat
say (vt) = skastø
second = dvahu
see = videtø
September = september
seven = sedøm
seventeen = sedmødest
seventh = sedmu
seventy = sedømdeset
Sevoria = sievrih
Sevorian = sievrøsku
sister = siestør
six = sxest
sixteen = sxestnødest
sixth = sxestu
sixty = sxestdeset
small = mliku
soon = voskar
speak (vt) = skastø
Sunday = nezxel
talk (vi) = gøvortø
teach = uutsxtø
ten = deset
tenth = desetu
that = eta
their = aniisx
them = anii
these = etii
third = tritu
thirteen = trinødest
thirty = trideset
this = eta
those = etii
thousand = tisøtsx
three = trii
Thursday = sxtirik
to (towards) = kø
towards = kø
treat = letsxtø
Tuesday = dvahik
twelve = dvanødest
twenty = dvadeset
two = dvaa
underneath = pød
until = dø
us = nan
Wednesday = sxreed
week = tudien
what = seta
whether = il
which = keta
why (with what) = pritsxin
will = vol
wind = vietør
windy = vietru
with = sø
without = biz
wood (material) = derev
woodlouse = derevvus
work = aarbtø
world = svit
write = piistø
yes = du
you (pl.) = vin
you (sing.) = tvin
your (pl.) = vesx
your (sing.) = tvøi

Sevorian-English word list

aarbtø = work
aarbtø = function
an = him
ana = her
anasx = her (poss.)
anglih = England
anglisku = English
anie = it
aniesx = its
anii = them
aniisx = their
ansx = his
apriil = April
avgust = August
biz = without
bratør = brother
butø = be
daartø = give
dekember = December
derev = wood (material)
derevvus = woodlouse
deset = ten
desetu = tenth
devet = nine
devetdeset = ninety
devetnødest = nineteen
devetu = ninth
dila = for (intended for)
dorgu = dear
dorøg = darling
du = yes
dvaa = two
dvadeset = twenty
dvahik = Tuesday
dvahu = second
dvanødest = twelve
dø = until
dørzxtø = hold
ed- = (subject marker)
estø = eat
et- = (subject marker)
eta = this
eta = that
etii = these
etii = those
ettø = go
febrar = February
føørenin = association
gøvortø = talk (vi)
hiamelsku = Jameld
ianvar = January
iednødest = eleven
iedøn = one
ii = and
il = whether
istø* = be* (see butø)
iul = July
iun = June
iøsxpeltø = do
iøsxpeltø = fulfill
keta = which
kot = cat
kø = to (towards)
kø = towards
kø = at (towards)
letsxtø = treat
letsxtø = cure
liib = love
liibtø = love
lusxu = bald
maih = May
mart = March
min = me
mliku = small
møi = my
nan = us
ned = no
nee = not
nesx = our
nezxel = Sunday
-nih = -ment
november = November
novu = new
nu = but
nø = on
nød = over
nød = more than
oktoober = October
osmu = eighth
osmødest = eighteen
-ost = -ness
osøm = eight
osømdeset = eighty
pet = five
petdeset = fifty
petik = friday
petnødest = fifteen
petu = fifth
pib = fish
piistø = write
pred = in front of
prevu = first
pritsxin = reason
pritsxin = why (with what)
psaløm = psalm
pø = after
pød = underneath
pød = below
pød = less than
pønezxelik = Monday
sabat = Saturday
sedmu = seventh
sedmødest = seventeen
sedøm = seven
sedømdeset = seventy
september = September
seta = what
siestør = sister
sievrih = Sevoria
sievru = north(ern)
sievrøsku = Sevorian
sievør = north
skastø = say (vt)
skastø = speak (vt)
sta = hundred
stroov = health
stroov = hello
strovu = healthy
stø* = be* (see butø)
svit = world
sø = with
-sø = have (vt) (comitative)
sxest = six
sxestdeset = sixty
sxestnødest = sixteen
sxestu = sixth
sxreed = Wednesday
sxtirdeset = forty
sxtirik = Thursday
sxtirnødest = fourteen
sxtiru = fourth
sxøtir = four
tisøtsx = thousand
trideset = thirty
trii = three
trinødest = thirteen
tritu = third
tsxesøl = number
tudien = week
tvin = you (sing.)
tvøi = your (sing.)
uutsxtø = teach
vesx = your (pl.)
videtø = see
vietru = windy
vietsxør = evening
vietør = wind
vin = you (pl.)
vlisxu = big
vlois = hair
vol = will
voskar = soon
vus = louse
vø = in
vø = into
vøsektaa = always
zaa = behind
zaa = beyond
øb = about (concerning)
øb = concerning
øi = by (near)
øi = near
øp = at (position)
øsx = of
øsx = by (written by)
øz = from
øz = out (of)

Concluding Blithery

According to my notes from 1997, "Sevorian should be noted for a remarkable lexical diversity for types of tropes, much used in Sevorian speech and literature." Yeah, right. Sevorian never got as far as having a near-usable vocabulary. It had some cool features though, I reckon.

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