Introduction Phonology Orthography Morphology Syntax Semantics


Underneath each grapheme is an example word beginning with the corresponding sound (except for ⟨ q ⟩, which can only appear in coda position).

Digraphs involving ⟨ h ⟩ are palatalized versions of the h-less forms.

The letter ⟨  ⟩ can alternatively be written ⟨ v ⟩ as an emergency replacement. Writing it ⟨ w ⟩ or ⟨ y ⟩ depending on where it appears (and thus, how it is pronounced) is another option, but it has the downside that it suggests that there exist two distinct words wa and ya, which is not the case. Also, there are environments where one is free to pronounce ⟨  ⟩ as either [w] or [j]. Spelling it ⟨ w ⟩ or ⟨ y ⟩ would obscure this fact.

The apostrophe ⟨ ' ⟩ is normally omitted word-initially (e.g. anı "sand"), but always explicit word-internally (e.g. hıu'eku "hippopotamus").

/i/ is written without a dot above: ⟨ ı ⟩. This increases the visual contrast between an unaccented ⟨ ı ⟩ and one which carries a tone diacritic (⟨ í ⟩, ⟨ ï ⟩, ⟨ î ⟩).

/m.m/ schwa insertion, which can occur at syllable boundaries, is not reflected in writing (e.g. ⟨ tam moı ⟩).

Tone marking

Falling tone
Rising tone
Low glottal tone
Rising-falling tone

Prefix-stem delineation

The stem of a word is separated from its prefixes by placing a dot under the final prefix:


The prefix-stem boundary may also be marked by a hyphen. In that case, the underdot becomes optional.

mụ-jaı ⟩ or ⟨ mu-jaı

Orthographic conventions

• The first word of every sentence is capitalized.
• Proper names, countries, languages, and cultures, are capitalized.
• Subordinate clauses are surrounded by commas.
• Non-interrogative sentences end with a period ⟨ . ⟩, while interrogative sentences end with a question mark ⟨ ? ⟩.

In informal, relaxed settings, these conventions need not apply.


Deranı (pronounced [ˈdɛːɾani]) is the native writing system of Toaq and the official script of Toaq Delta. It is written in a pink font throughout the website, while romanized words are written in light blue.

Deranı is an alphabet with a number of special symbols and markings for various grammar-related phenomena.

The Derani consonants

Syllable-final /m/ is written using the letter 󱚱.

The Derani vowels

The vowels use the same letters as five of the consonants. As consonants and vowels alternate in words, this creates no ambiguities in sequences of CV(Q) syllables. To keep strings involving VV and F unambiguous, double vowels are specially marked:

• The falling diphthongs (, ao, , ) a special mark is placed under these diphthongs: ◌󱛎◌

󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛎󱛃 󱛃󱛎󱚹 󱚴󱛎󱚹

• A hiatus mark is placed under non-falling VV sequences: ◌󱛍◌

For example:


Diphthong marking and hiatus marking also help increase readability.

• An explicit glottal stop 󱛅 is prepended to vowel-initial syllables whose second letter is one which has both a consonant and a vowel value:


The default assumption when reading Deranı words should be that they begin with a consonant. If the second letter is a consonant-only glyph, then the reader immediately knows that the first letter must be a vowel. With practice, this becomes automatic.

Tone marking

The falling tone is never marked.

The other tones are indicated as follows:

falling tone (unmarked)
rising tone
subordination tone
adjunct tone

Tone marks are placed on the first letter of a word, whether it is a consonant or a vowel.

! 'the flower'
! 'the sand'

Prefix-stem delineation

The stem of a word is separated from its prefixes by 󱛒

! 'unhappy'

Special symbols

Derani uses special symbols to indicate:

• quotations and proper names
• subordination
• the end of a sentence

󱛓 quotation mark
󱛔 subordination mark
󱛕 end declarative sentence
󱛖 end sentence that is neither declarative nor interrogative
󱛗 end interrogative sentence
words are separated by a space

Proper names and quoted material are enclosed in 󱛓

󱛀󱚲 󱛓󱚵󱚲󱛍󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛓
shu nuaı
*word* ‹nuaı›
! 'the word ‹nuaı›'

An increase or decrease in the clausal nesting level is indicated with  󱛔

󱚶󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚻󱚲󱛂󱛀󱚲󱛍󱚺 󱛕
Dua jí ꝡä ruqshua.
know *1s* *comp* rain
! 'I know that it's raining.'

Declarative sentences are closed off with 󱛕 (as in the example above), while interrogative sentences end with 󱛗

󱚰󱚺 󱚾󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚰󱛊󱛃󱛂 󱛗
Ma jaı súq móq?
*comp* happy *2s* *int*
! 'Are you happy?'

Marking of variables

Derani marks variables explicitly. "Variables" here are those verbs which anaphoric pronouns can refer to, such as the complement of a determiner.

To mark a variable, the word is wrapped in a cartouche-like enclosure. For example, this is what the word rua 'flower' looks like thus marked:


In-context examples:

󱛄󱚺󱛂󱚺󱚹 󱛘󱚴󱛊󱚼󱚲󱛙 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛕
Kaqsı élu jí. the-elephant *1s*
! 'The elephant looked at me.'
󱚳󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱛘󱚰󱛊󱚹 󱛓󱚺󱚺󱚻󱚺󱛓󱛙 󱛕
Paı mí Sara.
friend the-called Sara
! 'Sara is a friend.'

For DPs with null complements, the null variable is indicated by the following symbol:


Pronouns do not count as variables for the purpose of variable marking.

In serial verbs, only the head verb counts as the variable, and therefore only it gets marked.

Sample text

Below is a short sample text:

󱚾󱚺󱚶󱚹 󱛕 󱚵󱚺󱛎󱚹 󱚿󱚲󱚱 󱚵󱛃󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱚵󱛊󱚹 󱛘󱛄󱚺󱛎󱚹󱚺󱚴󱛙 󱛕 󱛁󱚺 󱚰󱚹 󱛓󱛆󱛃󱛍󱚴󱚰󱚺󱛎󱚹󱛓 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱚶󱚺 󱛕 󱚰󱚹󱛍󱚲 󱚾󱛊󱚹 󱛔 󱛁󱚺󱛋 󱚻󱚴󱛂 󱚶󱚴 󱚺󱛊󱚲󱛂 󱛕 󱛘󱚾󱛊󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛂󱛙 󱚵󱛋󱚺 󱚻󱚹󱛍󱚺󱛂 󱛆󱚺󱛒󱛃󱚹 󱛆󱛊󱛃󱚺 󱚲󱚺 󱛖

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Introduction Phonology Orthography Morphology Syntax Semantics