The Sarbleski Language
Сарблески зык


Sarbleski is a personal language with a long and twisted history. The name "sarbleski" means "new secret writing", although it's now 14 years old, and I'm starting to use it more and more in speech as well. Sarbleski was never intended as a very serious language, and many of the words are obviously derived from English spelled backwards or similar sources. The most significant uses of the language have been grocery lists and cursing at traffic. Originally written in the Cyrillic alphabet, it went through a period of writing in the Roman alphabet (when it was simply called "Sar" or "Skasara"), and now it's back to using Cyrillic. Up to now, Sarbleski has been almost entirely undocumented, and it changes frequently. This is a snapshot of the current stage of the language. Many words once considered useful (specific names for different brands of soft drinks, restaurants and so on) have fallen out of use. Some older words have been abbreviated or modified with use. Some new words in this list may not have yet reached their final form. The language has never had a formalized grammar; both prepositions and postpositions are used, and modifiers may appear either before or after the word they modify.

Words of particular interest:


This is the Cyrillic alphabet used by Sarbleski, with the IPA equivalents in brackets. To see the Cyrillic and IPA characters, you will need a browser that is capable of displaying Unicode (such as recent versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer), and a font which contains the IPA characters (such as the free Thryomanes font).

а [a] б [b] в [v] г [ɡ] д [d] е [ɛ, jɛ] ж [ʒ] з [z] и [i] й [j] к [k] л [l] љ [ɬ] м [m] н [n] њ [ŋ] о [ɔ] п [p] р [ɹ] с [s] т [t] у [u] ў [w] ф [f] х [x, ɣ] ц [ts] ч [tʃ] џ [dʒ] ш [ʃ] ъ [ə] ы [ɨ] ь [ʲ] ю [ju] я [ja]

The letter "е" is pronounced [jɛ] after another vowel, and [ɛ] everywhere else. The letter "х" is pronounced [x] immediately before or after a voiceless consonant, and [ɣ] everywhere else.

Common Expressions

хайџа пуц! You stupid idiot (reckless driver)!
зъкь нямуц сы! This traffic is really bad. (literally, "the cars are crowded!")
маз нирг ўа! I really wish this light would turn green now. (literally, "hurry-up green-light now!")
вйехт нйех ны [зя] тха! Driving in the rain is [very] unpleasant.
њыс лъ крифа. That annoying person doesn't sing very well.
а поркюпайн! а поркюпаaaйн! Oh, no! It's another opera singer!
чъма сныфл! I don't care about football.
штора я на ждиръб. Watch for ice on bridge.
зянька клась ядо! The weather is nice today.
к и? к та? What is this? What is that?
и к оњ? What time is it? (said while looking at watch)
ъйх ма зўиџ! Weariness and bewilderment! (a very common expression, having a wider range of meaning than its literal translation suggests.)
яй сна. I want some popcorn.
яй де сна ўа. I don't want any popcorn right now.
и сы няме [лъ ниргит]! This [green tea] is delicious.
и сы няме зя де. This isn't very delicious.
и нами ло сы. This is good (fresh) water, isn't it? (said to gerbils)
ма дуф а ил хоти. And here's some food for the fish.
и заду ли сниски! You are such adorable little gerbils!


See how many of these words you can figure out. Some of them are more obvious than others ("nyame" from English "yummy", for instance). Some are easier to figure out from the original, longer version (given in parentheses). Others are so distorted that their original source is lost ("maz" for "hurry up", for instance). A few of the words in this list are forgotten words from the original Sarbleski word list (яргыз сарблески, written in 1987), which haven't been in active use for quite some time. These words are marked with an asterisk; some of them may eventually be reintroduced into the active vocabulary (although I don't think I need three different words for "calculus").

а (еяк*, кае*) [v] there is, there are.
ˈбана [n] banana.
бле [adj] secret, hidden
ˈвайкях* [n] calculus.
веш [n] paper towels.
вйехт [v] to drive.
вли [adj] blue.
ˈвуе [interj] goodbye!
въ [post] of
въˈны [n] hot dog buns.
вум* [adj] impatient.
ˈгари [adj] strange.
ˈгиња [n] ginger.
гињˈубя [n] ginger beer.
грин [adj] weird, green.
гъˈна [n] bologna.
гыз* [n] list.
да [post] at.
де [adv] not.
дор [n] road.
ˈдорай [n] hot dogs.
дуф [n] food.
дхиш [n] red, red light.
дях [adj] right (direction).
еˈлы [n] laundry detergent.
ˈждиръб [n] bridge.
жех [n] facial tissue.
жлоз* [n] boredom.
жна [v] to need.
жулˈдањ [n] french fries.
ˈзаду [adj] adorable.
зишт [n] cheese.
ˈзрота [n] elevator.
зўиџ [n] bewilderment.
зък [n] car.
зык [n] language.
зым [n] frozen dinner.
ˈзыхец* [interj?] ("unprintable" is the definition given in the word list; not clear if the word literally means "unprintable" or the meaning of the word is unprintable.)
зя (ˈўизя) [adv] very.
ˈзянька [adj] nice, pleasant.
зяш (ˈўизя ˈуш) [adj] extremely annoying.
и (ие*) [pron] this, here, now.
ил [prep] for.
ˈињваха [n] hamburger.
ˈиса [interj] hello!
иˈхяс [v] to dislike.
ˈишл* [n] mathematics.
ˈйеро [adj] yellow.
ˈйыра [n] ginger ale.
к [adj] what, which.
к* [interj] (general expression of disapproval or irritation).
ˈкажах* [n] calculus.
кар [adj] modern.
карк [adj] rock music.
ˈкарстон [n] modern music.
кирк [n] creek.
клась [n] weather.
ˈкомах* [n] calculus.
крад [adj] dark.
ˈкрифа [n] an annoying person.
ксып (лыкˈсып) [n] liquid soap.
кўим [n] milk.
ˈкызъм (киˈзум) [n] music.
ли [pron] you.
ло (хто) [n] water.
лъ [adj] that.
ља (гўъˈља) [n] cola.
љам [n] mall.
љпест [n] toothpaste.
љпыкс [n] toothpicks.
ма (а*) [conj] and.
маз [interj] hurry up!
мињ [n] mint.
миск* [adj] miscellaneous.
мўаш* [n] verb.
мъ [adj] a little bit.
на [prep] on.
ˈнаатрасоф* [n] nothing at all that resembles any sort of food (acronym).
ˈнайна (зњирˈнайна) [n] onion rings.
наˈми [adj] good.
наˈрини [adj] national.
наˈрини ˈњеўк [n] National Geographic (magazine).
ниакаˈя [n] powdered drink mix.
ˈнижа [n] raisins.
ˈника* [interj] Oh no, not again!
нирг [n] green light.
нирˈгит [n] green tea.
нйех (нйер*) [n] rain.
ны [post] in.
ˈныкл [n] antihistamine.
ˈняме [adj] delicious.
няˈмуц [adj] dense, crowded.
њеўк [n] geography.
њос [n] an unpleasant or annoying song.
ˈњъњл* [interj] (general negative word).
њыс [v] to sing badly.
о [prep] with.
ˈомаз [n] almonds.
оњ [n] time.
ˈпоркюпайн [n] opera singer.
пуц (дыˈпуц) [adj] stupid.
рел* [adj] official.
ˈрелгар* [n] tradition, religion.
ˈрелмискярь я яскинь* [n] Official Miscellaneous Words and Exclamations.
ˈрема [n] lemon, lemongrass.
ˈререч [n] pepper.
сар [adj] new.
сарˈблески [n] Sarbleski.
ски [v] to write.
сна [v] to want.
ˈснама [n] cinnamon.
ˈсниба [n] basketball.
ˈсниска [n] gerbil.
ˈсныфл [n] football.
ˈспаву* [interj] some people are very weird (acronym).
спис [n] spice.
ˈсрецл [n] pretzels.
стон [n] sound, noise.
суй [n] juice.
сълˈпа [n] apples.
сы [v] to be.
сып [n] soap.
та [pron] that, there, then.
тен [n] night.
тлын* [n] alphabet.
траˈсуй [n] frozen juice.
три [n] baked whole wheat wafers.
тфел [adj] left (direction).
тха [adj] unpleasant.
ˈубя [n] root beer.
ˈуках* [adv] (general word indicating uncertainty).
ˈукинач* [v] to include.
уш [adj] very annoying (emphatic form of "шу").
ўа (ўан) [adv] now.
ˈўака [n] beef.
фехт [n] traffic.
фуˈиц [v] to stop.
ха [v] to like.
хабуˈчи [n] herb tea.
хаз [v] to change.
ˈхайџа [n] idiot, reckless driver.
ˈхоти [n] fish.
ˈхубна [n] peanuts.
хуй [n] highway.
цытљ [n] popsicle.
чи [n] black tea.
чиск* [n] noun.
чимˈпю [n] shampoo.
чраш [n] garbage, junk.
ˈчуста [n] chewstuff (for gerbils to chew on).
ˈчъма [v] I don't care about it.
ˈџериб [n] bread.
ˈшая [n] dishwasher detergent.
шка (шкоњ) [n] chicken (meat).
ˈштора [v] to watch for.
шу [adj] annoying.
ъж* [interj] (general negative exclamation, worse than or "ык").
ъйз [n] more intense variation of "ъйх".
ъйх [n] weariness.
ыз* [interj] (general negative exclamation)
ык* [interj] (general negative word; "ick!")
ыˈси [n] toilet paper.
ют [n] place.
я [pron] I.
я [n] ice.
яˈдо [adv] today.
яй (рорсоˈяй) [n] popcorn.
яр* [n] word.
ˈяргыз* [n] word list, vocabulary.
ˈяскин* [n] exclamation.