Pifsh Language

The language born from dreams

An Introduction

The Pifsh Language stands as a product of the 256DREAM, a nationalist movement that took hold of the country and started around 205MO. While the movement is too expansive to cover in this document, the 256DREAM did play a key part in the creation of New Standardized Pift, known natively as Bihey Chuman Pifsh (Standard 256 Pifsh), and vice versa.

Before the 256DREAM, the Empire of Pift was quite broad in its language usage. There was a formal and official language used in certain documents, but there was a staggering amount of strongly differentiated dialects. Awyzul Chuman Pifsh - or noted in older documents as Bihey Pifsh - was not spoken as a living language by most citizens of Pift. The 256DREAM sought unification, as well as a peaceful separation from the Sponsored Powers: officials that were half-representing the interests of Pift, and half-representing the interests of their own country. And much of that separation did come in the form of New Standardized Pift.

The idea for a unified language had been in the minds of some beforehand, but few acted upon it, and fewer gained any traction as anything more than a cross-regional written auxiliary language. The translations technologies of the time made the small (in the broad scope of linguistics) differences between the different languages of Pift negligible. However, as the 256DREAM developed, the idea of it became more and more palatable to the broader population.

Cheb-Zihtsov - Netqineydnt Chuman by Aru Behdut-Uqawn, 205MO (The Hi-Manifesto - Dream of 256) was the document which kicked off the media frenzy that was the 256DREAM. In it, there was suggestion of a unified Pifsh language, but did note it to be low-priority at the time. Aru would later state that as misguided, and came to recognize the power that New Standardized had on the movement. There were many subsequent manifestos and pieces of media that sought to explore the idea of a liberated Pifsh, and some suggested some ideas for auxiliary languages. In hindsight, many only represented the larger languages of Pift, attempts to make Awyzul Chuman Pifsh sound cool and dreamy, or were utterly bizarre in concept. However, in Teyita kot Tinzesh Zushlchuman by Repktmit Zuvtseyb-Konlem, 208MO (Belief of Language in 256) suggested many concepts that would be used as the idea was further developed.

It was not long before a group centered around this potential unified language, some of the most active members included Aru Behdut-Uqawn, Repktmit Zuvtseyb-Konlem, Aslmev Qitskvur, Tsiljze Ronzept-Chorha, Riyots Boskveyz-Uktset, and zaykay. By the end of 209MO, a first draft had been finalized, and a tide of media using this new suggested language surged forth. Over the course of the next 4 years, revisions would be made quadrennially, and the 16th Revision became the standard, and still remains the dominant language of Pift as the New Standardized Pift.

It was some time before it became an actual standard, but those within the ever-growing 256DREAM movement were swift to adopt it. The script was familiar to those of previous languages, though it had a more stylistic approach. The grammar was fairly broadly easy to grasp for many, sharing features that were present in most all languages across Pift. The words, too, were very open - though it did away with many very obvious loanwords. As the 256DREAM movement spread further, and Pift became more of an autonomous entity, New Standardized became readily accessible to most all schools, and later became the standard within educational settings.

There are still some critiques to be made of New Standardized, and particularly in its implementation. It often stepped atop the feet of other regional languages, many of which have very few speakers now. While not quantifiable in its influence, it certainly contributed to the 256 Spirit-Stigma and 256CULTUREDEATH, and might have played role in the strong xenophobic sentiment which worms its way into many aspects of Pift’s systems today.



Pift holds 25 consonants, with three being particularly rare. Many of the bilabial and labiodental consonants are affected by the glottal and uvular sounds, and this is reflected in Pifsh’s spelling. /ɲ/, /ʔ/, and /r/ are not typically thought of as their own distinctive letters, but do still play a role in phonemic distinction.

Bihey Chuman Pifsh consonant inventory

Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Palato-alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop p b t d k g q ʔ
Affricate ʦ ʧ ʤ
Fricative f v s z ʃ h
Approximant j
Tap ɾ
Trill r
Lateral approximant l
Approximant w

Romanization Notes

Tinzesh: Bihey Jerntqaj, 282MO contains stylization guides to many scripts found across the world, as well as general stylization guides that we can adopt for the English language. It asks translators and transcribers to allow the larger consonant clusters, rather than breaking sounds like /ʃ/ down to ‘x,’ and so on. While it does admit that it simplifies the spelling (pg. 301), it states that their prompted stylization is more accurate to the feeling of speaking Pifsh. It also suggests to keep /j/ as ‘y’ and w as ‘w,’ even though many of the diphthongs share the ‘y’ or ‘w’ character in their romanization. This is because the line between /j/ and /w/, and vowels is often blurred even in the language. Sounds are orthographically represented by these symbols, except in the case of:

  • /j/ is ‘y’
  • /ʤ/ is ‘j’
  • /ɾ/ is ‘r’
  • /ʃ/ is ‘sh’
  • /ʦ/ is ‘ts’
  • /ʧ/ is ‘ch’
  • /ʔ/ is never marked.


Pift has 5 vowels, alongside 5 diphthongs.

Bihey Chuman Pifsh vowel inventory

Front Back
High i u
High-mid e
Low-mid ɔ
Low a
Diphthongs: /ai̯/ /au̯/ /ei̯/ /eu̯/ /iu̯/

Romanization Notes

Tinzesh: Bihey Jerntqaj, 282MO is a document that addresses stylization of Pifsh in other languages, and is frequently used as the main source of adapting Pifsh to other scripts. It suggests that the diphthongs of Pifsh are written not as with two vowels, or as vowels with diacritics, but rather as vowels alongside approximates. Many dialects of New Standardized Pifsh treat the approximates more as details of articulation for the previous letter, rather than their own independent consonant. Additionally, the latter half of the diphthongs have been associated with the two approximates of Pifsh, rather than with the underlying vowels present in them. Sounds are orthographically represented by these symbols, except in the case of:

  • /ɔ/ is ‘o’
  • /ai̯/ is ‘ay’
  • /au̯/ is ‘aw’
  • /ei̯/ is ‘ey’
  • /eu̯/ is ‘ew’
  • /iu̯’ is ‘iw’
  • Morphology

    Generally, Pifsh follows a (C)V(C)(C)(C) pattern in constructing syllables. However, there are certain restrictions on consonant clusters. Except for the case of ‘ff’ and ‘vv,’ a syllable cannot repeat the same letter twice in a row. Additionally, when followed by a /h/ or /q/ sound, /ʃ/ becomes /s/, /p/ becomes /t/, /b/ becomes /d/, /f/ becomes /ʦ/, and finally /v/ becomes /ɾ/ and the /h/ or /q/ sound is omitted. These are typically reflected in spelling alongside pronunciation, however some proper nouns or adapted words might not show it in spelling. Most native speakers will assume the sound change regardless, however.

    A /j/ sound can never follow a /*i̯/ diphthong, and a /w/ can never follow a /*u̯/ diphthong. The sounds /h/ and /q/ are omitted when placed before a /ɾ/ sound or at the end of words, and /ɾ/ is omitted after /l/. Before /e/, /s/ becomes /z/, and before /i/ it becomes /ts/. /gk/ and /kg/ clusters may not exist, though similar ones like /sz/ or /td/ can.

    Next, when a syllable has 3 ending consonants, restrictions apply to the clusters that can form. While the first of the three can be any consonant, the second must be /ʦ/, /s/, /z/, /n/, /m/, /k/, or /g/. The final consonant must then be /s/, /v/, /t/, /k/, or /p/.

    Finally, all the diphthongs and the two approximates in the language are lightly rarer or less used, typically seen more often in adapted regional words or in casual speech. These diphthongs are usually artifacts from a very brief consonant between the two, typically either a /ʔ̆/, /k̆/, or /kˀ/ sound, which can be heard in some dialects still. Likewise, the approximates are also partly an artifact from other important previous words. In most dialects, the difference between sounds like /ai̯/ and /aj/ are not noticed. Some dialects, primarily Ditsheimi Mektauseidnt Pifsh, outright remove the approximates, and typically only speak with their vowel counterparts of /i/ and /u/.


    Word Classes


    When distinguishing between plural or singular words, no affix is given for singular. When talking about something easily and readily countable, the suffix -uchv is used. When the noun is not easily countable, then it becomes the suffix -ishv. If the previous syllable ends with a vowel, the suffix replaces the vowel. Finally, when a noun is paired with a number, a plural affix is not necessary, but still may be used. The distinction between easily countable and not can also be used to express the idea of something being more than expected, typically on adjectives. In the example of “Akkusnet jaymzoli hovpewz hethosatg,” or “he bought an expensive sandwich,” we can modify ‘jaymzoli’ (expensive) to ‘jaymzolichv’ to mean ‘very expensive, but not extraordinarily so,’ or ‘jaymzolishv’ to mean ‘extremely expensive.’

    Nouns have five cases: ergative, absolutive, genitive, locative, and comitative case. Being an ergative language, the doer of an intransitive verb remains marked in the same way as the object of a transitive verb. All cases are either unmarked or are marked with a prefix, ensuring there is no conflict or confusion between the case and plurality.

    Bihey Chuman Pifsh noun cases
    Use Affix Example
    Ergative Subject of a transitive verb ak- Aksatsdewts yewzraw neychhay.
    ‘The knife cut the bread.’
    Absolutive Subject of an intransitive verb or an object of a transitive verb No affix Satsdewts neychhay.
    ‘The knife cut.’
    Akmewkmets satsdewts djayrnay
    ‘The carpenter grabbed the knife.’
    Genitive Possessor of a noun dhom- dhomMewkmets satsdewts
    ‘The carpenter’s knife’
    Locative A location/time zushl- Mewkmets toyropay zushlvestchayn .
    ‘The carpenter went to the store.’
    Comitative A noun accompanying another po- Mewkmets ufsu poritsfuchv
    ‘The carpenter returns with friends.’

    Gender is marked for pronouns of people or anthropomorphized concepts, or for the names of people in introduction. New Standardized Pifsh seeks to simplify the gender system of its parent language. In New Standardized Pifsh, there are no specified gendered affixes. Instead, it encourages communities and cities to standardize their own. This has lead to many different variations of the system, but most commonly the gender marker is added as prefix to the nonspecific pronoun 3rd person pronoun ‘et,’ or as a suffix to the common name of a person. Otherwise, pronouns function no differently in affixation than any other words.

    Proper nouns have a few distinctions to them. In the language itself, there is no distinction between uppercase or lowercase glyphs. However, underlining is commonly used in much the same way. In romanization of the language, capital letters are used in lieu of underlining, but some may stylistically opt to use underlining instead. While many things have little regard for how the adaptation of the underline is used, there are some who distinguish what they would want stylistically, so it would be wise to address the branding or design document provided by most things to be sure. The interpretation of these stylistic differences are often minor, and rely more so on the perceived perception of stylistic choice by those who prefer one over the other.

    People’s names and anthropomorphized concepts, and commonly organizations are uppercased. Cities, nations, and regions are also uppercased, but not typically with things like roads, railways, or paths of travel in general. This is true even if the path has a unique and distinctive name, or is named after someone else. Most abbreviations remain not capitalized, except in the case of organizations or a person’s initials. Even in this case, it is only the first letter which is marked. Should a noun have additional inflection or affixes, the capitalization applies only to the core noun, though ergative marking remains an exception. This still applies if an adjective is connected to it via a dash.

    Finally, there exists a distinction between proper nouns, and abundantly proper nouns. This is commonly used to refer to concepts or people of great respect, and one might commonly see Pift written as ‘PIFT’ within government documents. However, abundantly proper markings depend on writer to writer, and there is no standardization as to what receives it and what does not. It should be noted that in spoken Pift, there is no way to convey proper nouns or abundantly proper nouns.


    Verbs are marked as either present, past, or future tense. In addition, there is distinction between perfective and imperfective aspect, the latter using the particle word ‘petsnv’ to mark it prior to the main verb. Additionally, the verb agrees with the plurality of either the object of a transitive verb, or the subject of an intransitive. To mark plurality on the verb, a modified set of suffixes are used. If a verb ends with a vowel, and the suffix begins with a vowel, then the suffix replaces the vowel.

    Commonly, if a verb is intransitive, communicators of Pifsh will not mark the plurality of the subject noun. However, this is avoided in most formal writing.

    Bihey Chuman Pifsh verb tenses
    Singular Plural (Countable) Plural (Uncountable)
    Present No affix, or -reis for emphasis
    Ef bio. Ef bioreis.
    ‘You eat. You eat.’
    Efuchv bioruch.
    ‘You all eat.’
    Efishv biorish.
    ‘You all (many) eat.’
    Past -ay
    Ef biay.
    ‘You ate.’
    Efuchv biawch.
    ‘You all ate.’
    Efishv biash.
    ‘You all (many) ate.’
    Future -ler
    Ef bioler.
    ‘You will eat.’
    Efuchv bioluch.
    ‘You all will eat.’
    Efishv biolish.
    ‘You all (many) will eat.’

    Adjectives and Adverbs

    Adjectives and adverbs come before the word they are targeting. There is no separation between adjectives and adverbs in the language. However, if an adverb or adjective is modifying another, such as in the case ‘very green skirt,’ a particle word ‘saz’ is used to link ‘green’ to ‘very.’ The particle is placed after the target adjective/adverb, which is then followed by the modifier. So, it would be written as ‘nusunv saz zeyst beshjem,’ which could be seen as ‘green (and very) skirt.’

    In some cases, an adjective may be placed after a word it targets. This could happen in a few different ways. In the case of a verb being used as an adjective or adverb, it would be placed after the target it was modifying, and remains uninflected. It may also be done to describe something that influences other things. A wealthy person who keeps most of their money to themselves may be written as ‘buhkamd et,’ but one who shares their wealth or aids others in accumulation of wealth may be written as ‘et buhkamd.’

    If an adjective or adverb describes the function of a word, such as in the word ‘sleeping bag,’ the modifier would also follow after the target, and connected by the particle ‘saz.’ While the word sleeping bag in Pifsh does not have need for this distinction, the words broom and mop do. ‘Sohuf’ refers to a broom, whereas ‘sohuf saz echach,’ or broom of drying, refers to a mop designed to dry spills, and ‘sohuf saz uhst,’ or broom of washing, refers to a mop designed to clean floor messes best done with a wet mop.

    Sometimes two adjectives will be linked together with a dash, often to note a sort of whimsicality, humor, or kitsch in the sentence. It may also be used to note a hybrid of the two modifiers. An adjective may commonly have all but its first syllable removed, and prefixed with a dash to the noun to imply a sense of modernism, futurism, naivety, or romanticism. Uncommonly, some go further and reduce adjectives to only their first consonants or consonant and vowels, which implies a sense of mystique to it. Finally, one may remove all but the final syllable, and then suffix it to the target alongside a dash. This implies that the target embodies the modifier.

    Bihey Chuman Pifsh modifier position
    Standard Bochf beshjem
    A cute skirt.
    Influential Beshjem bochf
    A cute skirt which makes the rest of the outfit cute.
    Functional Beshjem saz bochf
    A specialized layered skirt used in a few fashion movements.
    Parental Bochf-bochf beshjem
    A cutesy, adorable skirt
    Modern bochf-Beshjem
    A cute skirt, presented as very fashionable and stylish.
    Mystical bo-Beshjem, b-Beshjem
    A cute skirt, potentially being cursed, haunted, stigmatized, glorified, or wielding of great cute-design knowledge.
    Essential Beshjem-bochf
    A skirt which is the epitome of cute.

    Sentence Structure

    Word Order

    Pifsh’s word order is typically subject object verb, with a postpositional phrase following it. This structure does not commonly change in conversation or typical communication, even among the different dialects of Pifsh. Adjectives and adverbs are placed before the noun or verb commonly, though this can vary depending on the tone or intended reading of the noun. It should be noted that in many pieces of media, particularly in the case of titles, word order and many other parts of grammar will be toyed with. In some cases, this can be attributed to trying to make a more eye-catching and memorable title, other cases might try to emulate the early stages of New Standardized Pifsh, which was a popular choice in media around 256MO.


    In the romanization of Pifsh, sentences are marked with a period, “.” However, some translators might use the more-accurate “ _” at the end of a sentence. Quotation marks are typically used in the romanization of Pifsh, but the more-accurate “~” mark might also be used. Finally, it is typical to use the standard comma, semicolon, and colon for their respective equivalents, as well as a double comma or double semicolon for timing and rhythm sensitive media that specifies it. It should be noted that some translators will use “.” for the comma equivalent, “..” for double comma, “,” for semicolon, “,,” for double semicolon, and “,~” for colon, as these are all more similar to their counterparts within Pifsh.

    Double commas and double semicolons are typically used within the poetry, music, and transcription communities of Pift. They all express some degree of timing, comma being the briefest pause, then double-comma, then semicolon and period, and finally double-semicolon.Typically, these have no added meaning outside of just timing the speech better.