language of Spirits

On the following pages you will find a dictionary of what the shamanic tradition calls idioma de los Espíritus, or language of the Spirits.
It is the first time in the world that such a dictionary has been attempted, that this language has been transcribed and that this knowledge has been disseminated.
Until now, it has only ever been known to shamans, who passed it on to other shamans and who never – even if literate – took notes or wrote anything down in this language except short phrases in rare circumstances.
The reason for such secrecy is the extreme and dangerous power of the idiom de los Espíritus: perhaps you all remember ancient tales, even in the Bible, where characters pronounce certain phrases or words and what they say comes true.
E.g. Jacob obtains his father Isaac’s blessing by deception, pretending to be his brother Esau, whom his father preferred. Yet the blessing is effective and even when Isaac discovers the deception, he can no longer retract what he has said, as if the words uttered were weapons now launched and directed inexorably towards their target.
Today, words – except on very rare occasions – no longer have this power. But… did they ever have it?
Certainly yes, the shamans know it well. Such immense Power was possessed by the words and language spoken by very powerful Beings who came to Earth in very remote times, before any vestige of history has survived.
These Beings were called by various names, mostly Gods or Spirits. They gave us many gifts and taught us many things, most of which we have lost. A few we later found again.
We men, in that distant time, “copied”, imitated their language and that is how we learned to speak. Language then retained its power.
But the world-view of us men was quite different from that of the Gods; they saw a reality that rests behind the illusion of what we instead believe to be real. Thus the language of the spirits slowly changed to fit our worldview, and – depending on environment and experience – various daughter tongues were created. As these languages drifted away from the original language, the Power was gradually lost until it disappeared almost completely.

language of Spirits AGARRI LIM GU
How to consult the Dictionary

The terms used in linguistics are inadequate and often misleading for the language of spirits. However, we will use them for convenience and to help you get your bearings in the early days, as making the language your own is difficult enough. The key to the language is Power, or rather the flow of Power that flows through people, things etc., which only act as channels to transmit it.
Each flow of Power is a root that roughly resembles what we call verbs. Or, to be fair, it is what we have derived verbs from in our languages.
The channels through which Power flows resemble what we call nouns.
There are no conjugations, declensions or generally inflected forms, each verbal root is modified through prefixes and suffixes, often in large numbers. In this way, very fluid chains are formed that detail the flow of Power. Some of these affixes are the nouns themselves describing the channels, while others better specify how Power flows and thus modify the verb. Often the distinction between verb and noun is vague or null, and you pupils must bear this in mind, even though in the dictionary, for the usual didactic purposes, we distinguish quite clearly.

The language is ergative and not ‘nominative-accusative’ like ours. I found it completely unnecessary therefore to distinguish verbs between transitive and intrasitive and in the dictionary they are instead divided into ergative and absolutive verbs.
Roots, whether verbs or nouns, are ‘impenetrable’, i.e. they cannot be altered by e.g. changing the ending or inserting inflections. However, there are pre-roots, which we call radicals in the dictionary, from which verb roots or nouns are generated by agglutination. Radicals are given in the dictionary, but you must bear in mind that the formation of words from radicals can only be seen a posteriori: we cannot at will form a word by putting radicals together, this can only be done with the actual roots, which do indeed agglutinate. Radicals only serve to explain the etymology of words that we already know exist.

Of each ‘verb’, the perfective root is given in the dictionary. The imperfective root is created for weak verbs (or rather me verbs) with a suffix and therefore we do not report it. However, when the verb is ra (strong verb) and the imperfective is formed by doubling, the new root is reported. The same applies to very strong verbs (marru verbs) where the imperfective has an independent root.
The imperfective ra roots, however, do not have an entry of their own and the index refers you to the perfective entry, where the sense of the verb is described and the imperfective root is also reported.
I have instead tried to give the marru forms a separate entry to explain their etymology as well, since they are different roots from the perfective (e.g. the verb dug which in the imperfective becomes e).

In agarri lim gu there are no adjectives. Only participial verb forms have the value of adjectives and the meaning depends on their position in relation to the noun they modify.
Although these terms are improper, for convenience in the dictionary we will call the participles that precede the noun attributive and those that follow it predicative. All verbs can give rise to participial forms, but we will only indicate in the dictionary those that are most commonly used and have a standard meaning.
Some participles and nominal forms have a kind of adverbial value and are indicated as adverbs.

Many entries are homophones, i.e. they are identical in appearance, but have different meanings (e.g. there are as many as 8 different sense words that sound gu!). The different entries are distinguished by progressive numbers in subscript (e.g. gu₁, gu₂, gu₃…). Homophonies are also homographies, in other words, they are also spelled the same (the subscript is only for didactic purposes), or rather they are transliterated the same, since the true writing of spirits exists, but we will not deal with it for a long time yet.
The homophonies certainly make it more difficult to understand the meaning of what the pásuk say, but endure and you will be rewarded: we shall see that the existence of these many identical words has a profound significance on the relations between the two Realities and allows us to understand many things about how our material world is formed…

Of each entry I have endeavoured to reconstruct the etymology, which we shall see is important, and I quote it in square brackets. When it is not given it means that it is unknown to me or that it is a primary root.

language of Spirits AGARRI LIM GU
Legend of the Lexicon
  • v.e.: ergative verb
  • v.a.: absolutive verb
  • v.e.a.: ergative and absolutive verb
  • auxiliary: auxiliary
  • perfective: perfective
  • impf.: imperfective
  • participle: participle
  • s.: noun
  • mu: indicates that the word is a mu, i.e. a proper, personal, race or category name.
  • attr.: attributive
  • pred.: predicative
  • adverb: adverb
  • loc. adverbial: adverbial locution
  • cong.: conjunction
  • pronoun: pronoun
  • prefix: prefix
  • suffix: suffix
  • affix: affix. It is usually understood that it can be both prefix and suffix; in such cases it is indicated with a ~ preceding and following. E.g. ~ma~ is an affix that can appear as ma- (e.g. in mada) or as -ma (e.g. in suma)
  • rad.: radical
  • rad. pref.: prefix radical
  • rad. suff.: suffix radical
  • nom. prefix: nominal prefix (preposition)
  • modal prefix: modal prefix
  • con. prefix: conjugation prefix
  • conf. prefix: comparison or hierarchical prefix
  • prefix int.: intensity prefix
  • dim. prefix: dimensional prefix
  • prefix fl.: flow prefix
  • suff. fl.: flow suffix
  • erg.: ergative
  • abs.: absolutive
  • dat.: dative
  • term.: terminative
  • locative: locative
  • loc. term.: locative terminative
  • ablative: ablative
  • perl.: perlative
  • genitive: genitive
  • equit.: equitative
  • comit.: comitative
  • isp.: inspir.
  • relational: relational
  • poss.: possessive
  • reflexive: reflexive
  • q.c.: something
  • sb.: someone
  • radd.: doubling
  • →: indicates that the following meaning is derived from the preceding one
  • ext.: extensively; in an extended sense
  • partic.: particularly; in a restricted sense
  • concr.: concretely. Indicates a concrete manifestation of a Power.
  • acrt.: shortening
  • * : is placed before a root, radical or word whose existence is supposed but not ascertained
  • (?): after the translation of an entry, indicates that the reported meaning is not certain; if there are several meanings separated by the ; the question mark refers to all of them.
    After an etymology, it means that the etymology is doubtful.
language of Spirits AGARRI LIM GU

As students will learn, establishing an alphabet for agarri lim gu is not easy, as sounds are filtered through our human senses.
These are the sounds that I have isolated so far with most confidence and will consider:

  • Occlusives:
  • Deaf occlusive: t, p, k
  • Sound occlusives: d, b, g (hard)
  • Aspirated deaf occlusives: deaf occlusives appear to change to aspirated occlusives (e.g. a t followed by a slight aspiration, as in English top) when intervocalic and in tonic (accented) syllables. E.g. Ba-túm iri is read Ba-thúm iri. Unlike t, p and k also present this spiralisation at the beginning of a word if the syllable is accented. E.g. Kúm su is read Khúm su
  • Aspirated sound occlusives: sound occlusives take on an aspiration if in intervocalic position and tend more or less, depending on the word, to change as follows: b → sonorous bilabial fricative, similar to w (see below); d → monovibrational alveolar, similar to dr (see below) but “weaker”, close to tt in better especially in the case of tt. , close to tt in better, especially in American or Australian pronunciations; g → sound velar fricative, similar to ğ (V. below).
    Aspirates, deaf and sonorous, since they depend on position and accent, which may vary according to the sentence, are not indicated in the dictionary.
  • Ancestral occlusive: the language has an ancestral sound intermediate between d and r – found in very ancient languages – similar to a single tongue stroke of a trilled r (alveolar monovibrant), but ‘louder’ and closer to the d e that we denote with dr. Other particular variants absent from our modern languages are not listed here.
  • Affricate: the juxtaposition of d and sh (e.g. in adshu) reads as sweet g, as in ‘gesture’. In some ‘dialects’, however, sh is often read as dsh.
  • Deaf glottal occlusive: ‘We indicate it with an apostrophe (e.g. in ram’a), it is also called glottal stop and consists only of a rapid occlusion and release of the glottis, as in scanning two words, e.g. in German das Auto. The sound is, however, uncertain and seems to oscillate between a true glottal stop and a slightly aspirated h.
  • Sibilants: s (as in Italian suono), ts (z as in spazio), sh (sc as in scena)
  • Liquids: l, r
  • Nasals: m, n, ğ. The ğ has a sound ranging from the sound velar fricative (about like the g in Spanish agua) to the nasal velar ng of English ring
  • Bilabial fricative: w. The sound is intermediate between the consonantal v and u (as in egg) and can oscillate between the two extremes.
  • Deaf velar fricative: h. It has a sound similar to the ch in German nacht or the Spanish jota.
  • Vowels: a, i, e, u, â, î, ê, û. There is no o, but in some words the u can also be read as a closed o. In such cases we denote it as ů. However, it does not appear to be an independent sound.
    Many languages distinguish between closed and open vowels and/or between long and short. On the open side, it seems that e in most cases is closed. In the oldest roots, the e actually seems to be an intermediate sound between e and i.
    Vowels with circumflex accent are nasal. Moreover, although not indicated in the dictionary, the n and m nasalise the vowel that precedes it.
    More in-depth information on vowels will be given in the tutorials.

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