The Language of the Sylvan Gael

Laimm s'Gael na Tewara

The Sylvan Gael, or s'Gael na Tewara, is a non-denominational monastic order centered near Berkeley, California. Its members seek liberation from the English language and its associated culture, with the eventual aim of expanding their ways of thinking and doing beyond the confines of human language entirely. The ultimate goal is to live in harmony with nature, or the universal principle of becoming.

These lofty goals can't be achieved in one step. As one member put it, we don't know how to get there from here. Anainn na s'Gael na Tewara, the Gate of the Sylvan Gael, is a language designed as a base camp for further transcendence. The goal is simply to migrate away from English as expediently as possible. The reason is simple: English is a vehicle, and we are not driving it. We are not in control of where its culture goes and how it shapes our thoughts.

In the words of Terence McKenna, Language is not finished yet. Evidence from meditation and other altered mental states suggests the human mind contains possibilities we can barely glimpse, grasp, or guess at. Language is the prison door that bars us from these wonders. But it is also the key.

This is a draft.



  lab. cor. dor. glot.
nasal m n ñ
stop p b t d c g
fric. f v th s sh gh h
affr. ts ch j
apprx. w i


Qualities a, e, i, o, u, short and long. Long vowels are marked with an acute accent: á, é, í, ó, ú.


ae, ai, ei, oi, ui.

ae is an alternate spelling of ei.

Syntax Overview


  • S = sentence
  • PP = predicate phrase
  • NP = noun phrase


  • Nn = noun with n complements
  • Pn = predicate with n complements
  • DET = determiner
  • MOD = modal particle
  • CONJ = sentence-level conjunction
  • TOP = topicalizing particle
  • NOM = sentence-nominalizing particle


Operators in order of precedence:

expression meaning
(...) grouping
a? a or nothing
a{n} exactly n occurrences of a
a* zero or more as.
a b a followed by b
a / b either a or b
a -> b phrase type a is composed of b

Syntax Rules

PP -> Pn PP* NP{n}
NP -> DET? Nn PP* NP{n} / NOM S


Particle Part of speech Meaning
s' DET Definite article
a TOP Topic particle
ac CONJ And
egl CONJ Or
in NOM Sentence nominalizer
a MOD Imperative mood
ai MOD Imperative mood
ae MOD Imperative mood
ma MOD Interrogative mood

Derivational Morphology

Noun → Predicate

affix meaning examples
-ui, -en full of X bragui loud, celdui green, aleiren joyful, anaren sunny
-en, -ion made of X tewaren wooden, mallen golden, telpion silver
-el, -iel related to X bragel noise-related anariel solar

Predicate → Noun

affix meaning
-eth, -as, -ad act of X, X quality
-r, -dir, -tir Xer, agent of X
-eb Xee, patient of X

Predicate → Predicate

affix meaning
-u transitive to intransitive
-ta, -ya, -tha intransitive to transitive
-nna active to passive

Prepositional Predicates

Noun Phrases

  • Plurals are not marked morphologically. Instead, there are pluralizing predicates: rim, waith, (h)oth/ath, în, ad.
predicate meaning
rim many (things)
waith several or many (people)
ath, (h)oth a crowd, too many
în few, not enough
ad a pair, both
aen one


  • Many location-words are nouns, as in Japanese.
  • The line between verbs and prepositions is blurry (both are predicates).

Declarative Sentences

  • Declarative sentences have a zero modal particle (MOD in the syntax rules).

Imperative Sentences

  • Imperative sentences optionally use the modal particle a, ai, or ae.

Yes/No Questions

  • Yes/no questions use the modal particle ma.

Content Questions

  • Content questions do not use a modal particle. The interrogative pronoun is left in place, not fronted as it is in English.


Infinitives are nouns formed from verbs using the derivational affixes listed above. Like their verb forms, infinitives can take complements.


  • A is more P than B is phrased as P beyond B A.
  • an A more P than B is A P beyond B.

The word for beyond in these constructions is la.


  • A is the most P is phrased as P most A.
  • the most P A is phrased as the A P most.
  • the most P A of S (where S is some set) is the A P most regarding S

  • the words for most and regarding are mor and aph.


  • sentence-level conjunctions like while and because are real conjunctions.
  • noun phrases are conjoined using a preposition with.

A limitation: there is no way to say or in a noun phrase. You can have beer or milk has to be phrased You can have beer or you can have milk.


Apposition uses a predicate estanna called, named or the verb se to be.


  Person Place Thing Time Reason Method Condition Quality
What manen na van man lúva fu
Some aiquen aihad ainad ailu
None gú ben gú had gú nad


. Singular Plural


s'Laimm POS English
a TOP topic particle
a MOD imperative mood
ac CONJ and
ae MOD imperative mood
ai MOD imperative mood
anainn N gate
añgen P0 made of iron
bragui P0 noisy
celdui P0 green
aleiren P0 joyful
anaren P0 sunny
anarel P0 solar
egl CONJ or
in NOM sentence nominalizer
gael N group of people
laimm N language
mallen P0 golden, made of gold
na P1 of
nain N monk, nun
s' DET the
telpion P0 silver, made of silver
tewara N forest
tewaren P0 wooden, made of wood