Orthography * Flaidish vowel shift Pitfalls for English speakers Loanwords
Inflectional morphology * Verbs Nouns Adjectives Numbers
Derivational morphology * Nominalizers Adjectivizers Verbalizers
Pronouns * Base forms S-O pronouns Fourth person Required vs. optional Reflexives Interrogatives and demonstratives Indefinite
Verbal system * Definite and indefinite Ongoing Irrealis Habitual The infinitive The participle
Syntax * NP order Articles Measure words Sentence order Focus Conjunctions Relative clauses Sentential subjects Comparatives and superlatives Questions Imperatives
Directions * Basic prepositions The direction of time Separable verbs
References * Conventional expressions Time and the calendar Names
Example: Jeerio tries to find a job
Example 2: The ʔubeer
No other flaids are known on Almea, and Flaidish is an isolate, related to no other Almean language. It's been heavily influenced by Caďinor and Verdurian, which to a large extent supply its technical vocabulary, and by Kebreni. In modern times, as flaids have become a maritime trading nation, it has borrowed words from many human languages.
It is not a particularly alien language— indeed, having experienced something very like the Great Vowel Shift, its orthography and phonology strongly reminiscent of English— but it has some unusual features:
History: Our first historical references to the flaids date to over 3200 years ago, when we find them already living on Flora. Though friendly to humans, they have always discouraged any human settlement on their islands, and successfully resisted the few attempts (by Meťaiun, Caďinorians, and a few medieval kings) to conquer them.
Sometime around Z.E. 2500 they adopted the Caďinorian alphabet to write Old Flaidish, though we have very few texts that old. Texts become more abundant during the Middle Flaidish period, 400-600 years ago; this is also the time of the vowel shift. Some differences between Middle Flaidish and the contemporary language:
Dialects: The standard language described here is that of the capital, Syxesteer. The dialect of Ledley, on the southern coast, is distinctive; it's said to have a nasal twang. The dialect of the flaids of the smaller islands east of Flora (zermolaim, locally dzrmullein) is even more divergent.
Flaidish phonology, orthography, and phonological constraints are remarkably like those of English. The only Flaidish sound not present in standard English is the glottal stop ʔ. (It lacks several English sounds, however: the consonants th, sh, zh, ng as well as several vowels.)
Stops are aspirated at the beginning of words; f and v are labiodental; t and d are alveolar; r is a single-tap trill; l tends to be dark at the end of a syllable.
The vowels are identified by IPA symbol; transliteration will be discussed below.
Flaidish words cannot begin with a vowel. (Historically, this may not always have been true; it may have been that the initial glottal stop was a phonetic accompaniment to an initial vowel. It still frequently disappears in the morphology. However, the glottal stop can now occur medially or finally, and is best considered as a phoneme.)
Stress: Flaidish words are normally stressed on the first syllable. Separable verbs may be stressed on the root instead; and some flaids pronounce recent Verdurian loanwords with the Verdurian stress.
Flaidish uses three additional letters:
Spelling Sound Transliteration Spelling Sound Transliteration e aa = late æ a = ai = pat i ee = peer ɛ e = pet wI ii = quit I i = pit u oo = boot ɔ o = au = caught yu uu = pure ʋ u = cut
The long vowels tend to have lax offglides, especially in stressed syllables; thus aa = [eI], ee = [iI], oo = [uʋ].
The basic spelling rule is that vowels are
Doubled consonants (as in moss 'wash' = /mɔs/) are very common in Flaidish words, but though many of them were once phonetically doubled, they are no longer; instead they serve as an orthographic indicator that the preceding vowel is short. Thus nolleck = /nɔlɛk/; the spelling noleck would represent /nulɛk/.
Instead of writing (chch jj kk), flaids write (tch dj ck).
A doubled consonant, except for ck, is simplified before a suffix beginning with a consonant: e.g. nell 'sweet' > nelmod 'sweetness'.
A single vowel followed by a single consonant is
Orthographic doubling of consonants is common word-finally, though by this rule it's redundant: sam and samm would be pronounced alike. (But note that they'll differ in pronunciation if a suffix is added that begins with a vowel.)
For the purpose of counting consonants, x counts as single: buxel = /bjuksɛl/
The schwa /ə/ is represented (y), or, as just noted, with final -a. Note that schwa can receive the stress, as in Syxesteer /'səks ɛs tir/
The semivowel /j/ only occurs before a vowel (when it's written y) or as part of the long vowel u.
The major difference is in the high vowels. In English ū au (as in 'cow'), but the spelling system works like Flaidish: 'long u' is pronounced [ju], as in 'cute'. But Flaidish long ii becomes /wI/ and not /ay/ as in English. 'Twit' could be written (tiit) in Flaidish, or 'quit' as (kiit).
For both high vowels, the Flaidish rule is that the vowel acquired an initial glide of the opposite backness.
After r or l, long i is pronounced [əI]: riid 'fire' = [rəId], rather as in some Irish pronunciations of 'ride'; litor 'east of' = [ləItɔr]. (It's possible that this is not an innovation but a retention of an earlier stage of the Flaidish GVS. In the island dialects, [əI] for long i is found in most environments.)
This is good and bad news: there aren't many new rules to learn, but on the other hand the similarity is partial, and one can go wrong assuming that 'it's all like English'.
The oldest strata of borrowings participated in Flaidish's Great Vowel Shift:
berac 'glory' /bi ræk/
caimica 'unit of measure' /kæm wI kə/
corumaiʔa 'harmony' /kur ju mæ ʔə/
curenda 'festival' /kjur ɛn də/
kestora 'philosophy' /kɛs tur ə/
cammisidas 'orpiment' /kæm I swI dæs/
koodu 'riverboat' /ku dju/
lesteʔo 'restaurant' /lɛs ti ʔɔ/
murebuus 'fantastic' /mjur i bjus/
namary 'lead' /ne me rə/
plestura 'history' /plɛs tjur ə/
psuronda 'famine' /sju rɔn də/
scagantos 'vagina' /ske gæn tɔs/
tuma 'plague' /tju mə/
ʔaluatas 'grammar' /ʔe lju e tæs/
ʔeridas 'cinnabar' /ʔi rəI dæs/
More recent borrowings can be divided into ear and eye borrowings. The latter are borrowed with their original spelling, but pronounced by Flaidish rules:
chëno 'axis' /či nɔ/
chupse 'miserly' /čʋp si/
ʔery 'map' /ʔi rə/
gorkrege 'ledger' /gɔr kri gi/
jyngu 'expenditures' /džən gju/
lagu 'income' /le gju/
lujura 'affection' /lju džjur ə/
nëron 'holy' /ni rɔn/
përnapa 'saltpetre' /pɛr ne pə/
plasy 'nerve' /ple sə/
pretäro 'valet' /pri te rɔ/
razumbre 'intelligent' /re zʋm bri/
satre 'sovereign' /sæt ri/
tiplüba 'wig' /tIp lju bə/
traze 'fancy' /tre zi/
Verduria /vɛr dju rIə/
zondre 'annual' /zɔn dri/
ʔaviza 'university' /ʔe vwI zə/
ʔeklura 'hedonism' /ɛk lju rə/
ʔelryn 'Ismaîn king' /ɛl rən/
Generally, Verdurian š ž ř ď are borrowed as ch j r d respectively, the " mark is borrowed but ignored, h is dropped, c and k are retained but both pronounced /k/, and initial vowels are supplied with a ʔ.
Ear borrowings are borrowed by sound, with no attempt to retain the original spelling:
chaiʔ 'tea' /čæʔ/ ← V. čai
gettyt 'dice' /gɛt ət/ ← geteta
kaijena 'mistress' /kæ dži nə/ ← kažžina
nassechy 'pregnant' /næs i čə/ ← nasitse
pauna 'butch lesbian' /pɔ nə/ ← pona
sezzu 'dried meat' /sɛ zju/ ← sezu
tauken 'have sex' /tɔ kən/ ← tocen
tootannel 'newspaper /tu tæn ɛl/ ← tutanél
bauru 'stink' /bɔ rju/ ← Keb. bauru
cheernu 'deck' /čir nju/ ← cirnu
kolesa 'fleet' /ku li sə/ ← kulisa
lelly 'cute' /ləl ə/ ← lele
memu 'fix things up' /mi mju/ ← mimu
moonu 'news' /mu nju/ ←mohnu
nemannick 'homosexual' /ni mæn Ik/ ← nemanec
bauna 'beef' /bɔnə/ ←Is. bone /bɔnə/
cheesty 'Ismaîn guitar' /čis tə/ ← çis,te
sudaddy 'Ismaîn robe' /sju dæ də/ ← sudâde
chesse 'sugar cane' /čɛs i/ ← Nanese tsêsi
kim 'rice' /kIm/ ← kim
niira 'yam' /nwIr ə/ ← nyara
sidrau 'soy sauce' /sId rɔ/ ← sidrɔu
ʔerram 'jungle' /ʔɛr æm/ ← kheram
ʔugau 'coffee' /ʔju gɔ/ ←yugakhau
Whatever the age or source of the borrowing, the stress is placed on the first syllable.
There are ten inflected forms for each verb, divided into four definite and four indefinite forms, plus two combining forms. For instance, here is the complete conjugation for groopen 'watch':
Indefinite groop watched simple past gropse watch ongoing gropno may watch irrealis ʔengroop always watches habitual Definite gropt watched simple past gropte watch ongoing gropdo may watch irrealis ʔengropt always watches habitual Combining forms groppo watched participle groopen to watch infinitive
Further distinctions are made using auxiliary verbs.
Note that definite forms involve adding a -t- or -d-; this -t is etymologically the same as the objective case suffix.
The definite simple past is formed as follows:
meedet 'slept', munket 'worked', sachet 'ate', forvadjet 'oiled up'.
dobd 'threw', vrigd 'wounded
gropt 'watched', treckt 'awoke', ʔault 'dealt with'
medse, munkse, sachyse, dobse, forvadjyse, gropse, treckse, ʔaulse
The definite form is formed by adding instead -te, or -de after a voiced stop (b d g j). The last vowel of the root is shortened:
medde, munkte, sachte, dobde, forvajde, gropte, treckte, ʔaulte
A few verbs have irregular ongoing forms:
medno, munkno, sachno, dobno, forvajno, gropno, treckno, ʔaulno
The definite form is formed by adding instead -do. The last vowel of the root is shortened.
meddo, munkdo, sachdo, dobdo, forvajdo, gropdo, treckdo, ʔauldo
Definite: ʔemmeed, ʔemmunk, ʔensach, ʔendoob, ʔenforvadj, ʔengrop, ʔentreck, ʔenaull
Indefinite: ʔemmeedet, ʔemmunket, ʔensachet, ʔendobd, ʔenforvajd, ʔengropt, ʔentreckt, ʔenault
meeden, munken, sachen, dooben, forvadjen, groopen, trecken, ʔaullen
medbo, munkpo, sachpo, dobbo, forvajbo, groppo, treckpo, ʔaulpo
feejer heads, laumer dreams, leeber geese, ʔuuker holes
If the word already ends in -r, use -en instead.
booren wines, teeren cities, fivvoren brothers, gommeren stomachs
If it ends in a vowel, add -r:
Some other words (marked in the dictionary) also use -en, such as flaiden 'flaids'.
fivvort brother, ʔuukt hole, taut lake
If the word ends in a dental stop or affricate (t d ch j), or m, or in two dissimilar consonants, the suffix becomes -et:
feejet head, testet body, tolket oak, laimet tongue
It applies after the plural suffix, if any; but -en + -t → -et:
feejert heads, laumert dreams, ʔuukert holes
teeret cities, fivvoret brothers
fivvorys brother's, ʔe flaidys a flaid's
If the word ends in a vowel, the suffix is -m:
Jeeriom Jeerio's, Floram Flora's
The suffix can be added after the plural:
feejerys heads', fivvorenys brothers', flaidenys flaids'
The objective suffix can be added after the possessive; note that -m + -t = -nd:
fivvoryst brother's, flaidenyst flaids', Jeeriond Jeerio's
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 digit ʔy lin fell gory back liffel sam liggory ʔecker fiich tens fiich miffich reffich goreck baffich liffleck sammich liggoreck ʔeckbonner bonner ordinals morn lint felt goreet backet lifflet sammet liggoreet ʔeckret fichet
Three- and four-digit numbers follow the model hundreds bonner units:
123 bonner fellen miffich 497 gory bonner samen ʔeckbonner 1000 fiich bonner 2374 fellen miffich bonner goreen sammich 3480 goreen reffich bonner liggoreck
Six-digit numbers work the same way, using the word tragg '10,000':
512374 ʔeen baffich tragg fellen miffich bonner goreen sammich
The Verdurian borrowing perun '1,000,000' fits into this scheme; migga '1000', from Kebreni, is also sometimes used.
A number of the form 10X, 1000X, etc. places the units to the far left:
108 liggoreen bonner 10001 ʔeen tragg
To form ordinals for numbers higher than 10, add -et to the last number: linen miffichet '22nd'; fiich bonneret 'thousandth'. (If the number word ends in a digit, use that digit's ordinal form: 203rd = lin bonner felt.)
The suffix -em is used for fractions (fellem 1/3, samem 1/7, fiichem 1/10), with the exception of 1/2, which gets its own word, ʔobb. 1/4 has worn down to greem.
Negative numbers are formed with som 'without', also borrowed from Verdurian: som lin -2, som ʔeckeren goreck -49.
Mathematical notation is identical to Verdurian. In a sense it's read in Verdurian too, but rather indirectly. The Kebreni borrowed the arithmetic operations from Verdurian, translating the expressions literally. The flaids then borrowed them from Kebreni, borrowing the Kebreni words (in some cases, taking Kebreni case suffixes as the names of the operators).
Native Translation Addition 2 + 2 = 4 Verdurian ďun er ďun eu par. "two and two are four" Kebreni kur eh'c kur zaru hak "two and two exist four" Flaidish lin ʔej lin zaru gory "two plus two equals four" Subtraction 5 - 2 = 3 Verdurian pan sam ďunán eu ďin "five without two are three" Kebreni amma kur fuuste zaru dam "five without two are three" Flaidish back fuuste lin zaru fell "five minus two equals three" Multiplication 2 x 4 = 8 Verdurian ftore par e žoc "second four is eight" Kebreni kureh'te hak zaru midam "second four is eight" Flaidish lin ʔateʔ gory zaru liggory "two times four equals eight" Division 10 / 5 = 2 Verdurian decë panëe e ďun "tenth 1/5 is two" Kebreni krameh'te amimnu zaru kur "tenth 1/5 is two" Flaidish fiich ʔateʔ back nu zaru lin "ten times five reciprocal equals two"
sach eat → sachiʔ meal
taax meet → taaxiʔ meeting
bul share → buliʔ
An archaic nominalizer, no longer productive, is -z (which usually absorbs the last consonant of the root):
gaad hoard → gaaz wealth
geel wear → geez pants
prool feel → prooz emotion
neev name → neez guilt
-mot (from lexical moot 'way') names an abstract quality:
feck dark → feckmot darkness
kiss small → kissmot smallness
ʔy one → ʔymot unity
riil child → rilmot childhood
tood know → todmot knowledge
-chet (from cheet 'stuff') names substances:
sach eat → satchet food
maat sell → matchet wares
fool ear → foolchet earwax
yaich clench → yaitchet astringent
-att is found in many Verdurian borrowings, but also with native words:
cepple virginal → cepplatt virginity
yuun type → yunatt class
ʔirran Irrean → ʔirranatt Irreanism
-el is someone or something that does an action, or exemplifies an adjective. (Final t → ʔ.)
prid divide → priddel coin
sack bristle → sackel beard
ʔeldoob discard → ʔeldoobel garbage
lott idiotic → loʔʔel idiot
gaaz wealth → gaazel rich man, noble
-mo is used for an object exemplifying an action or quality:
mard stay → marmo pudding
zeer alone → zermo island
lin two → limmo pair
-ick can be used the same way, and is also used to name inhabitants of a place:
yatt fun → yattick game
choon float → chonick boat
noller huge → nollerick giant
Syxesteer → Syxesterick
Verduria → verdurick
ʔismaiʔi Ismahi → ʔismaiʔick
-mory is used for buildings:
koos drink → kosmory tavern
lilo spice → lilomory grocery
suut bake → sutmory bakery
ʔibro book → ʔibromory library, bookstore
-ril (from riil 'child') is used for offspring:
flaid → flaidril
luuk human → luukril human child
tem cow/bull → tembrick calf
-bit (from biit 'study') names a field of study (replacing -viso in Verdurian borrowings):
mell good → mellbit morality
-(i)o forms diminutives, and by extension personal names:
kess knife → kessio dagger
laum dream → laumo daydream
noov grow → novio fruit
jeer fat → Jeerio
bux wise → Buxo
-che forms nicknames for children as well as female personal names:
cheen beautiful → Cheenche
feck dark → Feckche
nell sweet → Nellche
flaid → flaidick flaidish
floom storm → floomick stormy
juur convention → jurick conventional
meed sleep → meedick sleepy
pich dirt → pichick dirty
The possessive case can also be used adjectivally: ʔanys mot 'a mother's love'.
A particular use of -ick is to form an adjective relating to a place (verdurick); we have already seen this usage as a nominalizer.
Other common adjectivizers are -eck and -it:
nool big → nolleck biggish
gen be true → geneck true
ʔev year → ʔeveck yearly
feck dark → feckit black
miif hunger → miffit hungry
nell sweet → nellit nice
-er is used as an intensifier:
nool big → noller enormous
lana girl → laner virginal
treck awaken → trecker alert
ʔell away → ʔeller far
ro- (Verdurian řo; but pronounced [ru]) is used with loanwords as a negative:
ledise → roledise abnormal
namerick → ronamerick unintentional
voleme → rovoleme unwilling
Reduplication with change of the initial consonant (usually to ch-, j- or g-) has a deprecative meaning:
traze fancy → traze-chaze rococo, outta control
jurick conventional → jurick-gurick square, uptight
laner maidenly → laner-janer princessy, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth
nëron holy → nëron-chëron sanctimonious, holier-than-thou
ʔulle friendly → ʔulle-gulle glad-handing, unctuous
biit study → biid
joot place → jood be located
mot love → mod
noof growth → noov grow
vrick wound → vrig
ʔuuk hole → ʔuug drill
Old Flaidish had a causative, formed by raising the root vowel and infixing -n- after it. It's no longer productive, but it's left a large number of doublets, some of them modified in meaning.
daat intend → dont decide
domm sit → dunn set, put
faach cling → fench tie
foot go → funt expel
geel wear → giln wrap
geet burn → gint kindle
kreck stand → krink excite
koon seek → kund send
koos drink → kunz water
laat fall → lent drop
lad see → lend show
mard remain → mend leave
moog yield → munk work
sach eat → sench corrode
seek lie → sink pack
tood know → tund proclaim
treck awaken → trink warn
toor bend → tunn crumple
vaur wait → veʔn delay
vooj be immersed → vunj submerge
yaul listen → yeln inform
yest rise → yint raise
zaat graze → zent drive
ʔoz get → ʔunz furnish
Another archaic verbalizer is -gim, applied to nouns, and meaning to use the object. It often absorbs the final consonant of the root.
fool ear → folgim heed
kess knife → keggim stab
koz brain → koggim figure out
laib foot → laggim walk
paix market → paggim shop
runn eye → rungim spot
zeem finger → zeggim point
See also the section on separable verbs.
sing pl 1 ʔok / va tack 2 se / ʔes seer 3 ne / ʔem yau 4 na / nar yet
The adult singular pronouns have separate object forms, as shown. The 4th person will be discussed below.
The possessive is formed using the suffix -ry in the singular and -(y)m in the plural:
sing pl 1 ʔokry takym 2 sery serym 3 nery yaum 4 nary yeʔm
The childhood pronouns are as follows. The plurals are formed by reduplication.
sing pl 1 fu fufu 2 ʔil ʔilil 3 le lele
The child forms do not have separate object or possessive forms.
Examples in this grammar use mostly adult pronouns; this is probably the best approach for the traveler or academic, but it should be noted that it's opposite the experience of the flaids themselves, who grow up using the child pronouns. Even adults sometimes use the child pronouns among themselves, in moments of deep emotion. Till flaids have children of their own, it can be said that they think of themselves with fu rather than ʔok.
Neva much. He/she kissed me.
Seʔem yeln. You told him/her.
Yautack modse. They love us.
Neʔes geetno. It might burn you.
ʔoxeer grop. I watched you all.
Seeryau kroog. You all broke them.
A medial ʔ drops out after a consonant: tackes lad 'we saw you'. Also note ʔok + seer = ʔoxeer.
When speaking to children, or when children speak, pronouns are not combined, and word order is usually SVO: Ne much va 'He/she kissed me'; ʔok lad ʔil 'I saw you!'
Combination forms with child pronouns can be found when adults are speaking among themselves: Leva much 'He/she (a child) kissed me (an adult)'.
Cheenche1 muchet Jijot2. ʔok jamse ty ne1nar2 techyse. Zeckno, na2 zys lelly.
Cheenche kissed Jijo. I think she likes him. Well, he is cute.
Lesteʔo1 ʔydmunk Jeeriot2, frett yoven ne1 ziitse ty na2 zys loost.
The restaurant hired Jeerio, but it will find that he is lazy.
There are no fourth person forms among the child pronouns.
Pronouns are 'reset' by explicitly stating a new topic. Compare two possible continuations of the last example. The first continues to use na for Jeerio; the second switches to ne for him because he has been restated as the topic.
Na ʔemprott munken. He hates to work.
Jeerio ne ʔemprott munken. Jeerio hates to work.
Jocularly, flaids sometimes use a third alternate form no; it's rather as if, in enumerating people, we said "Him, her, and— er, hum." It has no object or possessive form.
Deejo1, Jeerioʔen2 Cheenche3 yonse. Ne1 zys tuuch, na2 zys vecke, yoven no3 zys chuun.
Deejo, Jeerio, and Cheenche are coming. The first is sad, the second is thin, and the third is ugly.
ʔok modse ʔicetebitet. I love math.
ʔil zys miffit? You're hungry?
ʔokry ferick voss frintooden va. My wife doesn't understand me.
Third person pronouns are optional if the antecedent is present, required otherwise. Thus 'It burned' is Ne geet, while 'The fire burned' can be either Riidet geet or Riidet ne geet.
If just one 3p antecedent is present, one can either omit it, or use the S-O cluster anyway:
ʔok(em) passette ʔokry nellerick.
I'm visiting my sweetheart.
ʔokry ʔan neʔes voss techpo.
ʔokry ʔan voss techpo ʔes.
My mother doesn't like you.
Ne(nar) eldoobd smettet.
He threw out the trash.
When speaking to children, it's usual to include the third person pronouns no matter what.
sing pl 1 ʔokva tatack 2 seʔes seseer 3 neʔem yayau 4 nanar yeyet
Note the difference between:
Nenar moss. He washed him (someone else).
Neʔem moss. He washed himself .
The interrogatives are typically derivatives of mill 'who', the demonstratives, of neck 'this or that one'. The initial n- of the later is etymologically the same as that in the third person pronouns ne / na.
mill who, what neck this / that one millick which neckit this / that miikor when neckor then miinit how much nennit that much mildoz what extent neddoz that extent ʔool what direction ninx that direction ʔollyd where (at) ninxyd there (at) ʔolor where (to) ninxor there (to) yauj why sood because ʔoj how nemot in that way
The interrogative pronouns are used for questions only; relative clauses use the demonstratives instead. (See Syntax.)
The demonstratives are unmarked in meaning between 'this' and 'that', 'here' and 'there', 'now' and 'then', etc. Rather, the direction adverbs are used to clarify such relationships. Usually vick 'nearby' is used for 'this', ʔell 'away' for 'that'; but any of the directions can be used.
neck vick this one
neck ʔell that one
neck loll the one underneath
neck dor the one outside
ninx vick here
ninx ʔell there
neckit metch vick this country
neckit max ʔell that rabbit
neckit lana ʔut the girl right here (alongside)
neckit bin ʔatyd ʔes the creepy guy behind you
toob many, much
toober too many
vott neck no one, nothing
tim neck someone, something
chem neck another one
minden neck everyone, everything
vott ninx in no direction, nowhere
chem neckor some other time
naak neckor rarely, seldom
liss nennit any amount
tim nennoz to some extent
toob kor many times, often
However, there are separate lexemes for these time words:
ʔok much ʔy lanat. I kissed a girl.
ʔok muchet lanat. I kissed the girl.
Baub kroog ʔy chunt. The fool broke a bone.
Baub krogd ʔokry chuntet! The fool broke my bone!
First and second person objects take indefinite verbs: Neva much 'she kissed me', ʔokes lad 'I saw you'.
As a general rule, you should use the definite forms where we would use a definite article ('the mule'), a possesive ('my mule'), or a proper name: ʔok modet Syxesteert 'I love Syxesteer'.
The sure meaning of the past tense is that the action is no longer going on; auxiliaries are needed if it's desired to specify whether the event was completed.
Ne laum for chonicker.
He dreamed (or, was dreaming) about boats.
Sery fivvor meed ʔator dell.
Your brother slept until noon.
If an event started in the past and extends to the present, we usually use the past perfect, and Flaidish uses the simple past:
ʔok lack sittyd Syxesteer back ʔever.
I've lived in Syxesteer for five years.
Tack laumse. We are dreaming.
ʔokry lan ladmerse ʔy ʔibrot. My daughter is reading a book.
ʔok gropte Jeeriot. I'm watching Jeerio.
Ne ladmerte ʔibrot. She is reading the book.
ʔok zys meedick. I'm tired.
Neet zyt lana. This is the girl.
It's also used for basic statements about the future, including declarations of intent.
Tack fotse for Syxesteer. We're going to Syxesteer.
ʔok medse vur ʔatnap. I'm sleeping all day tomorrow.
Yau belopno geppt.
Perhaps they fixed (or, are fixing) a machine.
Yau belopdo geppt.
Perhaps they fixed (or, are fixing) the machine.
Yau zeno nollericken.
They might be giants.
Tootannel foryeffdo surdenart.
(I hear) the newspaper sniffed out the facts.
Mill todse neckor ty ne ʔyssno?
Who knows when it will rain?
A special usage is for examples or hypothetical instances:
Maichert ʔokyet voss techpo. ʔy maich riikno.
I don't like cats. A cat can scratch you.
Here the switch from the habitual to the irrealis indicates that the speaker is now imagining a specific but fictional instance of a cat scratching, as opposed to a general fact about cats (cf. maicher ʔenriik, cats scratch).
The irrealis is also used for wishes and desires. The conjunction ty introduces the clause (the desire or wish), unless the subjects are the same.
Ne meert ty seva ʔadno ʔy feej maxt.
he wanted that you-me give-IRR one head rabbit-ACC
He wanted you to give me a rabbit.
ʔok mertse ty seva ʔaddo maxt.
I want you to give me the rabbit.
ʔok dont taxno sery ʔant.
I've decided to meet your mother.
ʔok mertse treckno!
I want to wake up!
What one doesn't know uses the irrealis; what one does know uses the appropriate realis form.
ʔok voss todbo ty okry ferick zeno voleme.
I don't know if my wife is ready.
ʔok todse ty jenu zys voleme.
I know that the carriage is ready.
Flora ʔenze ʔy zermo.
Flora is an island.
ʔokry fivvor ʔensach.
My brother is always eating.
With verbs of attribution like ze 'be' or lach 'appear', the habitual describes an inherent state or permanent nature, while the past or ongoing tenses refer to temporary conditions; the distinction is similar to that between ser and estar in Spanish.
Habitual: Sery keem ʔenze borpo. Your friend is a drunkard (all the time).
Ongoing: Sery keem zys borpo. Your friend is drunk (now).
By extension, the habitual is used for repeated events and habits, even if the period of repetition isn't eternal. Again, we normally use our present tense for this.
ʔok ʔenladmert tootannelt.
I read the newspaper.
In a past narrative, the habitual implies that the event was repeated or generally true, even if it's not any longer.
Sery ʔott ʔemmod kerter.
Your father loved gardens.
Bin footet zecken ʔy tantelt.
creep go-DEF tell-INF a teacher-ACC
The creep went and told a teacher.
Beloopel yont beloopen triffmot.
repairman came-DEF fix-INF loom-ACC
The repairman came and fixed the loom.
In early Flaidish we see expressions like footent zeck. When the first verb was inflected, it was easier and just as proper to add the clitic to the second verb, e.g. irrealis footno zeckent. Till a few centuries ago either verb could receive the -en in the simple past; but now it's only correct to add it to the second verb.
The flaids have devised a large number of conjunctive verbs. First, here are some common expressions with the second element free (meemen 'do' stands for any verb).
foot meemen went and did did X (conveys firm intent, rashness, or regret) yon meemen came and did did X (for the speaker's benefit or at his/her place) kreck meemen stood and did did X (stubbornly, foolishly, or without compassion) mard meemen stayed and did did X (which took longer than expected) lad meemen saw and did did X (conveys clear understanding and resoluteness) siit meemen rushed and did did X (hurriedly or without preparation) vaav meemen jumped and did did X (immediately, without thinking) munk meemen worked and did did X (very thoroughly or laboriously), Xed out domm meemen sat and did was doing X, was in the process of doing X gedfoot meemen advanced and did kept on doing X ʔeem meemen finished and did finished doing X; did X completely keez meemen began and did started to do X proom meemen stopped and did stopped doing X mauk meemen could and did could do X, was able to X tood meemen knew and did knew how to do X tech meemen liked and did liked to X
ʔokry lan ʔeemt ladmeren ʔibrot.
my daughter finish-DEF read-INF book-ACC
My daughter read the book. (Perfective, emphasizing that she finished it.)
ʔy madder ʔemmauk naaven.
a bird can-HAB fly-INF
A bird can fly.
There are infinitive expressions with both verbs fixed, and an idiomatic meaning. Flaids are fond of combinations that will seem redundant to us, though at the very least there is an intensive effect.
If the first verb is inflected, the second is not:
yon vissen came and carried brought foot vissen went and carried took foot ʔozen went and got acquired (from elsewhere), fetched yon ʔozen came and got acquired (from here), took away fiit ʔozen paid and got bought kuld ʔozen sent and got sent away for yaul sittozen heard and accepted believed fost sachen cooked and ate consumed mer jamen considered and thought reflected a long time taat ladmeren opened and read read with great attention lop ʔozen stole and got shamelessly stole ʔoz tarten got and held took firm hold of, grabbed
yon vissen brought simple past yonse vissen is bringing ongoing yonno vissen may bring irrealis ʔenyon vissen always brings habitual yonpo vissen brought participle yonen vissen to bring infinitive
The negative auxiliary von is used to negate a sentence:
Riil von techpo toosert.
child not like-PART egg-PL-ACC
The child didn't like eggs.
Se vont mosspo sery crettert.
you not-DEF wash-PART your hand-PL-ACC
You didn't wash your hands.
If the negated verb was itself inflected, its inflections migrate to von:
ʔy zermo zys ʔy chonick. → ʔy zermo voss zepo ʔy chonick.
An island is (→ not) a boat.
ʔedolobit tromno tack. → ʔedolobit vonno trompo tack.
Geometry might (→ not) hurt us.
ʔokry fivvor ʔensach yart. → ʔokry fivvor ʔemvon sachpo yart.
My brother is (→ not) always eating fish.
Sentences with other negative words don't need von:
ʔok sauʔ jatet lanat.
I never touched the girl.
Vott flaid ʔenze ʔy zermo, frett yoven Flora ʔenze.
No flaid is an island, but Flora is.
Flaidish also has a positive auxiliary gen, whose usage is exactly parallel to von. It can be used to emphasize the truth of a sentence:
ʔice ʔengen zepo rogeddick!
math yes-HAB be-PART difficult
Math is hard!
Sery chonick gen lolvojpo.
Your boat did sink.
The passive auxiliary baaʔ (which is simply the verb 'suffer') works the same way. Note that the agent, if present, is expressed in the genitive.
Katch sachet beckat. → Becka baaʔ sachpo (katchys).Notice the double participle in a negative passive sentence:
duck ate-DEF frog-ACC → frog suffered eat-PART duck-GEN
The duck ate the frog. → The frog was eaten (by the duck).
Flaiden techyse sidraut. → Sidrau baʔse techpo (flaidenys).
Flaids like soy sauce. → Soy sauce is liked (by flaids).
ʔedolobit von baʔpo tantpo.
Geometry wasn't taught.
The verb ʔoz 'get' can replace baaʔ, for a more colloquial feel.
Loʔʔel ʔoz getpo.
The idiot got himself hurt.
Conditionals are expressed with an auxiliary verb, gaar, followed by the participle.
Se gaar fostpo garchet, ʔok fotse for ʔy lesteʔo.
you if cook-PART catfish-ACC I go-ONG toward a restaurant
If you cooked catfish, I'm going to a restaurant.
Be careful not to follow English tense usage here; our conditionals use tense in a very different way. A good rule of thumb is: use the tenses that would be appropriate if the verb were an assertion rather than a conditional— e.g., compare:
Se fost garchet, sooden ʔok fotse for ʔy lesteʔo.
You cooked catfish, so I'm going to a restaurant.
Here are some samples using various tenses:
Se garse kospo, se medse zeer.
you if-ONG drink-PART, you sleep-ONG alone
If you're drinking, you'll sleep alone. (ongoing)
Se ʔengaar techpo luckit satchet, Pickapo ninx ʔenjinn ʔy verdurick lesteʔo.
you if-HAB like-PART human food, Pickapo there have-HAB a Verdurian restaurant
If you like human food, there's a Verdurian restaurant in Pickapo. (habitual)
The irrealis is used when the consequent would be doubtful even if the condition were true:
Se garse raulmertpo ʔy porrt, se ʔozno ʔy nellericket.Another use of the participle is as a resultative. In this construction, the participle follows the object of the sentence and indicates its final state. Note the diversity in the English glosses:
you if-ONG wish-PART a cup-ACC, you get-IRR a sweetheart-ACC
If you wish upon a cup, you just might get a sweetheart. (irrealis)
Ne sitviitet lanat latpo.
s/he push-DEF girl-ACC fall-PART
He pushed the girl, who fell down.
Booz mard dor rontpo.
wheat stay out spoil-PART
The wheat stayed outside and spoiled.
Tack fostte veezt plorpo.
we heat-ONG water-ACC boil-PART
We're cooking the water to boiling.
Rusom veert mattrinelt bojbo.
thug beat-DEF shopkeeper-ACC kill-PART
The thug beat the shopkeeper to death.
In an extension of this construction, the object of the main verb can be the subject of the resultative, which has an object of its own. This pivot construction can be seen as a transformation which raises the subject and changes the tense of the verb in the subclause:
Leebche kundet [nery lan ʔozt grettet] → Leebche kundet nery lant ʔozpo grettet.
Leebche sent-DEF [her daughter get-DEF wood-ACC] → Leebche sent-DEF her daughter-ACC get-PART wood-ACC
Leebche sent [her daughter fetched wood] → Leebche sent her daughter to fetch wood.
The initial examples, in fact, can be seen as pivot constructions where the verb in the subclause has no underlying object.
Causative expressions work the same way:
Jijo ne dunnt [ʔok lentet yartet] → Jijo neva dunnt lentpo yartet!
Jijo he set-DEF [I drop-DEF fish-ACC] → Jijo he-me set-DEF drop-PART fish-ACC
Jijo made [I dropped the fish] → Jijo made me drop the fish!
If the subclause is intransitive, its subject can be raised instead:
Jijo ne dunnt [lanar kalt] → Jijo neyet dunnt kaltpo lanart!
Jijo he set-DEF [girl-PL cry] → Jijo he-them set-DEF cry-PART girl-PL-ACC
Jijo made [the girls cried] → Jijo made the girls cry.
Dative expressions are essentially resultatives in Flaidish. Where English uses a single verb with two objects ("give that man / a fish"), Flaidish uses two verbs, each with a single object ("give the fish, the man gets it").
Veen soon maat yartet ʔozpo ʔelfootelt.
old woman sold fish-ACC got-PART traveler-ACC
The old woman sold the traveler a fish.
Either object can cliticize with the subject pronoun, but not both; the excess pronoun follows the participle:
Jeerio neva ʔaad vedpo nar.
Jeerio he-me gave take-PART it-ACC
Jeerio nenar ʔaad vedpo va.
Jeerio he-it gave take-PART I-ACC
Jeerio gave it to me.
ʔy ferick a wife
lin fericker two wives
sery ferick your wife
ʔy veen ferick an old wife
vickelys ferick the neighbor's wife
ferick sittyd nery trin a wife in her house
ferick neck ʔok vautet the wife I married
This concept tends to be difficult for English (or Verdurian) speakers, so let's ease into it by considering expressions where English also requires a measure word:
lin porr kimys two cups of rice
lin maig kimys two grains of rice
lin meche kimys two bags of rice
You can never say just "*two rice" or *lin kim; you must insert a measure word so it's clear what you're counting.
In English, only mass nouns require measure words; count nouns do not. Mass nouns are, as the name implies, seen as an undifferentiated mass which can't be directly counted— it has to be divided into countable containers. The distinction seems obvious to us, but it can be confusing to a foreigner: why are "peas" countable while "corn" isn't?
Most animals are count nouns, but they can be treated as mass nouns as well:
lin feej temys two head of cattle
lin limmo temys two brace of oxen
lin nen baunam two pounds of beef
In Mandarin, almost all nouns are mass nouns. Even people must be counted with a measure word: liǎng ge lǎoshī 'two teachers.' Flaidish is in between: most physical objects are mass nouns which can only be counted with measure words. The best general description of this class is indeed 'merchandise': anything that can be bought or sold, from food to animals to manufactures. In more detail:
Mass nouns Count nouns Domestic and game animals, including fish Non-game animals (except honeybees) Manufactured objects Buildings, cities, canals, walls Parts, tools, components Features of a thing (e.g. 'scratch', 'protuberance', 'bottom') Paper, physical books, paintings, sculptures Ideas, titles, melodies, characters Real estate Geographic features Oil, wax, butter, wood, gems, liquids, and other natural or mined commodities Body parts, waste, garbage Astronomical bodies; aspects of weather People (flaids, other species, spiritual beings) Containers and measures
As the examples indicate, measurements like nen 'pound' or cremo 'hand', as well as containers like porr 'cup', meche 'bag', tarmo 'shelf', or kaux 'wagon', are valid measure words. Others depend on the type of object:
novel 'growth' entire plants novio 'plantlet' fruits, flowers neer 'berry' berries, nuts, beans, grapes, and fruits of a similar size maig 'grain' cereals, other items that come in small discrete units, like sand kriv 'bunch' grouped plants or vegetables (e.g. leeks, carrots, grapes); arrows vaal 'leaf' leaves (e.g of laurel); paper, documents valer 'folio' bunches of leaves; magazines, books tex 'trunk' beams, other large rod-like objects feej 'head' animals; large round vegetables saʔ 'mouth' jars, pots, cups, buckets, and other open containers test 'body' clothing, armor; meals, rooms, or other items sold per person; hides limmo 'pair' animals, shoes, candles, scissors, horns— anything that comes in pairs tarj 'object' boxes, or blocky objects in general semm 'cake' pastry, meat; cushions, pillows lammo 'flat' plates, tiles, planks, other flat thin things zuss 'blade' weapons flit 'stick' pens, reeds, needles, other small rod-like objects gepp 'machine' machines, instruments trock 'frame' doors, windows, furniture, vehicles lurmo 'coil' coils of rope or wire; rolls; wreaths tratt 'pile' anything that can be stacked
The same word will appear with multiple measure words. This is not really different from English; it's simply that there is a default measure in English— what we consider single items— while in Flaidish the measure must always be given:
lin neer bornerys two grapes
lin kriv bornerys two bunches of grapes
lin tarj bornerys two boxes of grapes
back vaal dainam five sheets of paper
back valer dainam five sheaves of paper
back lurmo dainam five rolls of paper
fell flit niilys three arrows
fell kriv niilys three quivers of arrows
gory lammo chenam four plates
gory test chenam four place settings
gory tratt chenam four stacks of plates
Neither the measure nor the merchandise is pluralized; and the merchandise appears in the genitive. Either can be modified:
lin nool semm legdalachte munizelys two large most elegant cakes
Measure words can be used with quantifiers, too. This usage is optional and difficult for outsiders to define; it's fair to say that it makes the expression more precise and more commercial-sounding. You definitely want to use the measure word if the quantifier is being used in lieu of a more precise count ("Some of the doors still need painting"); you don't need them if you're making a general statement and don't care about quantities ("Some doors lead to wonderful stories").
vott valer ʔibrom no books
tim zuss bellackys some swords
minden trock temmom all the windows
If the same type of object is referred to multiple times, it's the object rather than the measure word which is omitted:
ʔok mertse fell noviot loomam yoven Jeerio lin noviot.
I want-ONG three meas-ACC apple-GEN then-AND Jeerio two meas-ACC
I want three apples and Jeerio wants two.
Se ʔenmauk jinnen liffel noviot dretor ladick riigu.
you can-HAB have-INF six meas-ACC across same price
You can have six (apples) for the same price.
As seen here, the measure word and not the merchandise takes accusative endings.
Foreigners are not really expected to master the measure words; it's always safe to use feej 'head' for animals and tarj 'object' for everything else.
Riil leʔem doobd smettet ʔator frej.
The child threw the trash behind a bush.
→ Riil smettet leʔem doobd ʔator frej.
→ Smettet ʔator frej riil leʔem doobd.
→ Smettet leʔem doobd ʔator frej riil.
→ ʔator frej leʔem doobd riil smettet.
→ Leʔem doobd ʔator frej smettet riil.
The S-O pronoun leʔem is optional (since both referents are present), but if present must directly precede the verb. It's preferred not to begin a sentence with a verb, however, so the pronoun would almost always appear in the last variant above.
Jeerio muchet lanat. Jeerio kissed the girl. As for Jeerio, he kissed the girl.
Lanat muchet Jeerio. The girl was kissed by Jeerio. As for the girl, Jeerio kissed her.
Sittyd ʔerram ne medse teenys maum. In the jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.
The best way to grasp the feature may be to study a set of examples. Note that some of the English glosses work much like the Flaidish, simply stating the topic; but in other cases we use an introductory prepositional phrase or other syntactical construction.
Ledley ne zys nellit teer.
Ledley, it's a nice city.
ʔeedvocker ʔok ʔentech geddyd ty ʔenzoop grettet.
Winters, I like to buy wood rather than chop it.
Sooner se zys legcheen.
Among women, you are the most beautiful.
Limmo zeer yau keez muchen.
Once the couple were alone, they started kissing.
ʔuveremot ne geel ʔy dalachte sudaddy.
As for clothes, she wore an elegant Ismaîn dress.
Luckit teeren Verduria zys kematt nellit.
Among human cities, Verduria is pretty nice.
ʔokry datmot ʔimlelel mornzitdo ʔokry ʔibrot.
My aim is for a publisher to notice my book.
Teer vick tack meerse gedfotno laggimen.
The city being near, we want to keep walking.
For entire sentences, use yoven 'and then':
Jeerio konse ʔy munkmot, yoven ne zitno ʔy rocurat.
Jeerio is looking for a job, and he may find an adventure.
Verbs can be conjoined by adding -en to the second verb, with no other inflections: sachyse koosen 'eats and drinks', sachno koosen 'may eat and drink'. This can be seen, of course, as another use for the infinitive. Where the verbs are separated by objects, adverbs, or other material, however, it's best to use yoven instead: ne sachyse ʔuss yoven kosse boor 'he's eating meat and drinking beer'.
Add the adverb frett to convey the idea of 'but': meedicken frett deej 'tired but happy'.
An alternative X or Y is expressed zyn X zyn Y: zyn razumbre zyn cheen '(either) intelligent or beautiful'. With entire sentences, use zynen:
Se ʔenmauk koonen ʔy munkmot zynen se ʔenmauk koonen rocurart.
You can look for a job or you can look for adventures.
flaid neck lopt ʔokry ferickt
flaid the-one stole-DEF my wife-ACC
the flaid who stole my wife — (literally) the flaid, the one who stole...
bodde neck ʔokry ferick techte
the recipe my wife likes — (literally) the recipe, the one my wife likes
naap neckor caarau miip
the day (when) the music died — (lit.) the day, at that time the music...
teer ninxyd yatt sauʔ ʔemproom
the city where the fun never stops — (lit.) the city, there the fun...
These can be seen as deriving by a raising transformation:
bodde [ʔokry ferick techte boddet] → bodde neck ʔokry ferick techte
a recipe [my wife likes the recipe] → a recipe which my wife likes
This explains why the verb in the subclause is definite. Before the transformation the subclause has a definite direct object (since it's a repetition of the head noun, "recipe" in this case). The verb is therefore definite, and this doesn't change when the sentence becomes a relative clause.
Nonetheless, the head clause may be definite or indefinite within the main clause. For instance, the above phrase can be used, without change, in an indefinite and a definite sense:
ʔok ʔenkoon boddet [neck ʔokry ferick techte].Headless relative clauses are acceptable. Note that neckt is used when the headless clause serves as the object.
I'm always looking for a recipe [that my wife likes].
ʔok ʔenkont boddet [neck ʔokry ferick techte].
I'm always looking for the recipe [that my wife likes].
Tack voss todbo [neckt boj mattrinelt].
We don't know [who killed the shopkeeper.]
[Neck bitse ʔirranattet] ʔenze ʔy bux flaid.
[Who studies Irreanism] is a wise flaid. It's a wise flaid who studies Irreanism.
Since the indefinite pronouns are also based on the demonstratives, combinations of them would contain a repeated word. This is simply omitted; so "Someone who..." is tim neck..., not *tim neck neck; and "This one who..." is neck vick..., not *neck vick neck. (Another way of looking at these is that they are an extension of headless clauses.)
[Liss neck todse Jeeriot] zeckse ty ne ʔenze loost.
Anyone [who knows Jeerio] will say he is lazy.
ʔok gropse ladbo ty [se ʔenze syxesterick].
I watch-ONG see-PART that you be-HAB Syxesteer-ADJ
I perceive (that) [you are from Syxesteer].
Like Verdurian, Flaidish allows ty clauses to be subjects, too. In English we normally cleft these to the end of the sentence, leaving an empty pronoun behind; this is possible in Flaidish, but not at all required.
[Ty se ʔenze ʔy trazel] zys sooden ʔotinimache.
[That you are a fop] is therefore probable.
→ Ne zys sooden ʔotinimache [ty se ʔenze ʔy trazel].
→ It is therefore probable that [you are a fop].
If an entire sentence is the object of a preposition, ty is still required:
ʔok vautse lanat, chord ty seʔem ʔemprott.
I marry-ONG girl-ACC despite that you-her hate-HAB
I will marry the girl, although you hate her.
Se zys ʔabb pansyr ty ʔy dex krazerys.
you be-ONG more lovely that a field rose-PL-GEN
You are more lovely than a field of roses.
Sery ʔan zys soom ʔagasick ty ʔy trotmory gruʔerys.
Your mother is more annoying than a barnful of owls.
An equal comparison uses a relative clause with the demonstrative neddoz 'to that extent':
Yart zys mell neddoz zys ʔy lesteʔom
fish be-ONG good to-extent be-ONG a restaurant-GEN
The fish is as good as a restaurant's.
Ne voss zepo mell neddoz ʔok gedladse.
It isn't as good as I remember.
The comparison class of a superlative can be given in two ways:
Jaaʔ mellbit ʔenromifa seobojiʔt?Second, and more colloquially, the tag question zynen voss (literally 'or not') can be appended to the end of the sentence:
Does morality prohibit suicide?
Lesteʔo nivse Jeeriot, zynen voss?
Will the restaurant fire Jeerio?
Although this has become a fixed expression which can always be used as is, careful writers are aware of the literal meaning and match the tense with the main verb, or use zynen gess ('or yes') if the main verb is negative:
ʔubeer ze sittyd vickelit komm, zynen von?
Was the ʔubeer in the next room?
Lana voss zepo cepple, zynen gess?
The girl isn't a virgin, is she?
A yes/no question is answered gess 'it is' or voss 'it's not'. It's not necessary to reflect the tense of the main verb, but some writers choose to.
To question a particular component, make it the focus:
Jaaʔ sery ʔott ne techyse koosen ʔugaut ʔyd teen?
Q your father (T) he like-ONG drink-INF coffee-ACC at night
Is it your father who likes to drink coffee at night?
Jaaʔ ʔugaut naʔem techyse koosen sery ʔott?
Is it coffee your father likes to drink at night?
Jaaʔ ʔyd teen sery ʔott techyse koosen ʔugaut?
Is it at night that your father likes to drink coffee?
Neckit chendmorym fedjel zys mill?
this temple's chief be-ONG who
Who is the head priest in this temple?
Ninx jys ʔibror raulyd fold vicken yauj?
there be-ONG book-PL on-LOC floor near-EXT why
Why are there books all over the floor?
Luuker dorfotse miikor?
When will the humans leave?
Se ze ʔyd sammen fichet teen ʔollyd?
you be at seven-AND ten-ORD night where
Where were you on the night of the 17th?
Mill doesn't distinguish subject from object (you don't add the accusative -t). If another noun phrase is given, its case will make the role of the interrogative clear, even with different word orders— e.g. vajat below is in the accusative, so mill must be a subject.
Ne kost mull vajat mill? Who drank the last bottle?
→ Mull vajat kost mill?
Lott bin veed mill? The stupid creep took what?
When only pronouns are present, one must pay attention to the case forms. E.g. in the first example below, the S-O pronoun neʔes indicates a 3s subject. 2s object; since unknowns are always third person, mill is the subject. In the second example, seʔem is 2s subject, 3s object, so mill is the object.
Neller, neʔes modse mill? Who loves you, babe?
Neller, seʔem modse mill? Who do you love, babe?
Lentet bellackt! Drop the sword!
Viss ʔugaut kospo va. Bring me some coffee.
These sound rather peremptory to flaids. Flaidish offers a wide range of indirect imperatives, of varying degrees of politeness. One step above the ordinary imperative is to query about the possibility of an action:
Jaaʔ ʔok maukse ʔozen ʔy porrt chaiʔys?
Q I can-ONG get-AND one cup-ACC tea-GEN
Could I get a cup of tea?
Or the conditional is used, without a consequent:
ʔok garse jimpo lin soochiot chezmom.
I if-ONG have-PART two teaspoon-ACC sugar-GEN
If I could have two spoons of sugar.
Next, the irrealis can be used. On a literal level, one is merely stating a desire; one is pleasantly surprised if this is taken as a hint.
ʔok dordejno ʔy pridmot kaanys, ʔejme.
I enjoy-IRR one slice-ACC bread-GEN too
I might enjoy a slice of bread, too.
This by no means exhausts the possibilities; almost any indirect statement can hide a request.
ʔyd at for toward, about frind with, using, in favor of chord against, despite meet like, similar to som without
The locative/allative pair works like English on/onto, in/into, but in Flaidish this distinction is made for all locatives: you must distinguish between
foot ʔator ʔy frej 'go behind a bush' (motion implied → allative)
sneep ʔatyd ʔy frej 'hide behind a bush' (no motion → locative).
ʔatyd trin ʔaten behind the house and on back
sittyd groon sitten inside the forest and further in
geddyd teer ʔellen in front of the city, extending away from it
Direction Locative preposition Allative preposition ʔyd at for toward gedd forwards geddyd in front of geddor (moving) in front of ʔat backward ʔatyd behind, in back of ʔator to behind vuz back (returning) vuzor back to sitt inward, inside sittyd in, inside of sittor into dor outward, outside doryd outside of doror (moving) out of loll downward, underneath lollyd under, below lolor down into raul upward, up raulyd on, over raulor onto ʔut alongside ʔuttyd next to ʔutor (moving) next to dret across drettyd across, over dretor (moving) across vick nearby, close vickyd near, close to vickor (moving) near ʔell away ʔellyd away from ʔellor (moving) away from jirys centerward jirysyd in the center of jirysor to the center of fusys rightward fusysyd on the right of fusysor to the right of gerys leftward gerysyd on the left of gerysor to the left of baul north, left baulyd left or north of baulor to the north of tell south, right tellyd south or right of tellor to the south of liit east littyd east of litor to the east of mann west mannyd to the west of mannor to the west of
The prepositions used for time reflect this, and thus often seem opposite to ours: e.g. where we'd say 'after noon' the flaids say ʔatyd dell 'behind noon'.
'Predict' is ʔatlad 'see backward', since the future is behind us! Similarly 'remember' is gedlad 'see forward'. Compare also ʔatnap 'tomorrow' vs. gednap 'yesterday'.
Direction Locative preposition Allative preposition ʔyd at gedd earlier geddyd before, earlier than geddor since ʔat later ʔatyd after, later than ʔator until
ʔok zeck gedd. I was speaking earlier
Se treck ʔyd dell. You woke up at noon.
Jeerio treck ʔatyd dell. Jeerio woke up after noon.
ʔok sauʔ koos geddyd dell. I never drink before noon.
Jeerio meed ʔator dell. Jeerio slept until noon.
Ne kosse geddor ty ne treck. He's been drinking since he woke up.
ʔok voss kospo ʔatyd dell ʔaten. I won't drink from this noon onward
Mornsachiʔ ze geddyd dellsachiʔ. Breakfast was earlier than lunch.
foot go → gedfoot go forward, dorfoot leave, dretfoot cross, ʔelfoot go away, vuzfoot go back
yon come → sichon enter, lolyon come down, raulyon come up, vuzyon come back
doob throw → ʔeldoob discard, dretdoob throw across, vuzdoob throw back
vaav jump → sitvaav jump in, dorvaav jump out, vuzvaav jump back
dunn set → rauldunn set down
veed take → ʔutveed pick up, sitveed take in
If the adverb ends in a doubled consonant, it's reduced: ʔell + foot = ʔelfoot; sitt + vaav = sitvaav.
The habitual of these verbs follows the pattern adverb + en + root: sittenyon 'always enters'; ʔatenfoot 'always returns'; dorenvaav 'always jumps out'.
These verbs can be used as is; but the adverb can also be placed after the object, or even at the beginning or end of the sentence.
Ne sichon dorfooten. He came in and went out.Some adverbs have conventional metaphorical meanings, often seen using basic verbs like foot 'go', meem 'do', yon 'come', munk 'work', jam 'think'.
Neva dretdobd pulat. He threw the ball back to me.
Neva dobd pulat dret.
Dret neva dobd pulat.
dor 'out' implies doing something to completion or exhaustion:dorgeel 'wear out, use up', dorgeet 'burn up', dortaat 'throw open', dordeej 'really enjoy'dret 'across' suggests outdoing or outcompeting someone:dretsern 'outrun', dretkoos 'out-eat'raul 'up' suggests improvisation, lightness, or precipitation:rauljam 'think up', raullaum 'dream up', raulfoot 'up and leave'for 'toward' is used for causatives based on adjectives or nouns, or inceptive forms of verbs:forvadj 'oil up', forfeck 'darken', formunk 'hire'ʔell 'away' is the opposite of for, thus meaning 'undo' or 'de-'; it's also used (especially with verbs of motion or names of virtues) to imply corruption or leading astray:
fornack 'attack', forgonu 'move (one's abode)'ʔelpich 'wipe off', ʔelvadj 'degrease', ʔelgeel 'undress', ʔeltaat 'close'
ʔelzent 'lead astray', ʔelmunk 'slack off work', ʔelmod 'fall out of love'
ʔopo! Mell reʔl. Mell dellaten.
Hello! Good morning. Good afternoon.
Lin koren. Sichon. Yon dommen. ʔutoz ʔugaut.
two moment-PL. enter. come sit-AND. accept coffee-ACC.
Hold on. Come in. Sit down. Have some coffee!
yauʔes ʔachonse ʔok? Mellme. Yonse mill? Vott neck. ʔok ʔaullse.
they-you proceed-ONG how? well. come-ONG what? no thing. I deal-ONG.
How are you? Fine. What's happening? Nothing. I'm getting by.
Taaxiʔ lereje. Jaaʔ ʔokes maukse skeeten? ʔokes ʔenforsmeen.
meeting happy. Q I-you can-ONG help-AND. I-you serve-HAB
Pleased to meet you. Can I help you? I'm here to serve.
Prisick nap. Ne zys (toober) fur. Seenitme ninx jys tanick lutt.
pleasant day. it be-ONG (too-much) hot. fortunately here have-ONG sea-ish breeze.
Lovely day. It's (too) hot. At least there's a sea breeze.
Gess. Voss. Zymme. Voss todbo. Jaaʔ se maukse bekrejen?
is-true-ONG. not-ONG. maybe. Q you can-ONG re-ask-AND
Yes. No. Maybe. I don't know. Could you repeat the question?
ʔes precse. ʔokry kusmod. ʔes precse. ʔelneez va. ʔok ze borpo neckor vick.
you beg-ONG. my gratitude. you beg-ONG. excuse me. I was drink-PART then nearby
Please. Thank you. You're welcome. I'm sorry. I was drunk at the time.
Mell passet. Ne ze lerejan. ʔator yovy kor. Jaaʔ liss neck zys krogbo?
good visit. it was pleasure. until next time. Q any thing be-ONG break-PART
Goodbye. It's been a pleasure. Till next time. Is anything broken?
Sery neev mill? Se lack miinit? ʔok lack liggoren miffich ʔever.
your name what. you lived how-much? I lived eight-AND twenty year-PL.
What's your name? How old are you? I am 28 years old.
Se yon ʔell ʔolor? Neller, se zys naj lellche. ʔokes modse.
you came away where-TO. sweetie, you be-ONG very cute-DIM. I-you love-ONG.
Where are you from? Baby, you so fine. I love you.
Hours are numbered from naffest 'dawn', dell 'noon', nammed 'sunset', or jirten 'midnight':
lin mur naffestys two hours of dawn = 10 a.m.Times are written Verdurian style: e.g. 10h3 = 10h3 = 10 ʔobmur 3 megiiʔ = 4:15 p.m. (The Verdurian letter h is used; but it's simply taken as a conventional symbol, and pronounced ʔobmur.)
fell ʔobmur dellys three half-hours of noon = 3 p.m.
ʔy mur nammedys one hour of evening = 8 p.m.
Market day (paixnap) can vary by town, but usually it's every other greetnap.
It seems fairly clear that the flaids originally had no idea of months (vockiter), but only the four seasons (vocker)— and even these were not terribly important; Flora has about the climate of San Diego. The idea of dividing the seasons in threes was due to Caďinorian influence, and the usual pattern is to refer to the season— the month before fall starts is called 'before-fall', for instance.
season meaning month meaning Verdurian ʔysfock (spring) rain-time (spring) jirysfock mid-spring olašu ʔatysfock after-spring reli curenda festival cuéndimar furvock (summer) hot-time (summer) gromnap long-day vlerëi ʔatfurvock after-summer calo gedjosfock before-fall recoltë yosfock (fall) harvest-time (fall) jiryosfock mid-fall yag ʔachosfock after-fall ʔe;elea gedeedvock before-winter išire ʔedickvock (winter) cold-time (winter) fecknap dark-day šoru ʔateedvock late-winter froďac prommev end-year bešana
Many names are formed from adjectives or nouns by adding -(i)o for males and -che for females:
bux wise → Buxo, Buxche
cheen beautiful → Cheenio, Cheenche
deej happy → Deejio, Deedje
jeer fat → Jeerio, Jeerche
luur round → Luurio, Luurche
morn first → Mornio, Mornche
nell sweet → Nellio, Nellche
seen luck → Seenio, Seenche
sonn heart → Sonnio, Sonche
ʔaax blue → ʔaaxo, ʔaaxche
Adjectives formed from a suffix, one-who-does nominalizations, and participles are also a source of names. These can be used as either male or female names, though -che may be added to the names of girls or young boys.
Feckit blackFinally, names of natural things— weather, geographical features, plants and animals— can become names.
Kompo sought for
Mertpo wished for
Precpo begged for
Cheef windThese lists are not exhaustive; nonetheless, the stock of names is not that great. Flaids are usually named after a relative, and no one expects to have a unique name.
Most flaids don't have surnames; if there's a need to distinguish flaids with the same name, just about any nonce description will do: nicknames, personal characteristics, locatives, genitives. Some of these stick to the individual; others are devised when needed.
jeer Deejio fat Deejio
yog neck Deejio Deejio, the loud one
meezel Deejio Deejio the complainer
legfatt Deejio the youngest Deejio
brinys Deejio Deejio from the corner
Pickapom Nellche Nellche from Pickapo
Yadderys Nellche Nellche from the hills
Kresselys riil Nellche Nellche, Kressel's daughter
Floomys ferick Nellche Nellche, Floom's wife
Upper-crust flaids do have family names; often in origin they are just this sort of nonce description, but they are placed after the given name rather than before: e.g. Cenuel Maumys, Cenuel of the Maumys family. The family name is not used (unlike English or Verdurian) with titles, or for second references, only to refer to the family, or disambiguate given names. An exception is the Irreanist philosopher Saxys (whose given name was actually Mornio).
The full story is available here.
Jeerio seelese ziiten ʔy munkmot
—ʔelneez va, ʔok fotse— Jeerio keez.
excuse me, I go-ONG, Jeerio began —ʔaaʔ, ʔokes voss maukpo menden fotpo1— Myasocreje jirviit.2 —Ne zeno vurme chord Nollertiffmodys Mören!
oh, I-you not-ONG can-PART let-INF go-PART, Myasocreje interrupted. it be-IRR totally against dragonhood-GEN rule-PL —ʔok kellse footen— Jeerio ʔakmize. —Mell passet.— yoven ne laggim vodme gedd.
I must-ONG go-INF, Jeerio disagreed. nice visit. then-AND he walked bold-ADV forwards —Voss! — maleme Myasocreje, daaten verpo raulor Jeeriom lapp feej. —ʔok ʔenranet Dorgetnom3 rysmoryt, yoven ʔok jys naj naj tereme befelert ty ʔok ʔenvon mendbo zyn flaidet zyn luukt zyn naupelt, gess zyn yadj dretfotpo! 4 ʔok garse ʔelzichpo, ʔok ʔozse festpo ʔaax!
not-ONG, protested Myasocreje, aim-AND hit-PART onto Jeerio-GEN flat head. I guard-DEF Dorgetno-GEN castle-ACC, then-AND I have-ONG very very firm order-PL-ACC that I not-HAB let-PART nor flaid-ACC nor human-ACC nor iliu, yes nor ant cross-PART. I if-ONG disobey-PART, I get-ONG paint-PART blue —Le5 zys gozz mill for neck?— Tiin krej.
it be-ONG wrong what about that-one, Twain asked. —Jaaʔ ʔil techno ʔozen festpo ʔaax?6
Q you like-IRR get-INF paint-PART blue? —Pooro voss.
certainly no —Neckor vick ʔil todde ʔokry proozert— Myasocreje zeck firden.
then nearby you know-ONG my feeling-PL-ACC, Myasocreje said shudder-AND Jirzeckatt ninx jinn kechach. Vott von todbo neckt zeckpo.
conversation (T) there had pause. no-one not-PAST know-PART that-one-ACC say-PART
"Sorry to go," began Jeerio.
"Oh, I can't let you go," interrupted Carnivourous. "It would be totally against the rules of Dragonry!"
"I must go," objected Jeerio. "Cheerio." and he walked boldly forward.
"No!" protested Carnivourous, and he aimed a blow at Jeerio's flat head. "I guard Burntup's castle, and I am under very, very strict orders not to let a flaid, human, iliu, or even ant to cross! If I disobeyed, I'd be painted blue!"
"What's wrong with that?" asked Twain.
"Would you like to be painted blue?"
"Now you know how I feel," said Carnivourous, and shuddered.
There was a lull in the conversation. No one knew exactly what to say.
1 That's quite a verbal complex; let's examine it in more detail. To allow someone to do something is expressed as a resultative: in effect ʔok mendse [se fotse] 'I allow (you go)' → ʔokes mendse fotpo. Next we apply the 'can' transformation: mendse → maukse menden. Finally we apply the negative: maukse → voss maukpo.
2 The dragon's name is expressed in a slightly antique form, Myasocreje. This is difficult for Flaidish, which now spells it Masocreje. It's a borrowing from Verdurian myasocreže 'meat-eating'. I've translated it "Carnivourous" to give the same feeling.
3 Dorgetno, the wizard whose castle the dragon is guarding, has a name meaning "burned up"; I've translated it Burntup. It sounds just as silly in Flaidish.
4 Another resultative, complicated by a complicated object. Start with the resultative transformation ʔok ʔenmend [flaid dretfotse] 'I allow a flaid to cross' → ʔok ʔenmend flaidet dretfotpo. Apply the negative: ʔenmend → ʔenvon mendbo. The single object is replaced with a conjunction zyn X zyn Y zyn Z "X or Y or Z". Gess 'yes' before the last conjoint expresses surprise or emphasis: yes, even this.
5 Dogs, like children, use the child pronouns. The dragon addresses Twain using the child pronoun ʔil, too. I've anglicized the dog's name— Tiin 'loyal', pronounced 'twin'— as "Twain".
6 This could use some analysis too. Lele festno ʔil 'they may paint you' is passivized to ʔil ʔozno festpo 'you may get painted'. Then ʔozno 'may get' → techno ʔozen 'may like to get'.
Minden molnuxer1 ʔenze legsidiisick ʔubeer,
all monster-PL (T) be-HAB MOST-deceptive ʔubeer sood ty nenar ʔydenmunk2 vickelys chainesat:
because that 3sS-3sO3 don-HAB neighbor-PL-GEN appearance-ACC
ne ʔengaar gonupo4 jirysyd flaiden, meet ʔy flaid, jirysyd zyn luuker zyn sooreler, meet yau.
3sS if-HAB live-PART among flaid-PL (T) like a flaid, among or human-PL or elcar-PL like them Ne ʔenze linnar, ʔengeelen gaazelys ʔuveret, ʔenzecken frind prolesta rysmoten.
3sS be-HAB handsome wear-HAB-AND noble-GEN clothes-ACC speak-HAB-AND with charm force-AND
Of all monsters, the ʔubeer is the most deceptive, because it takes on the appearance of its neighbors: like a flaid if it lives among flaids, like a man or an elcar if it lives among those people. It is handsome, dresses like a nobleman, and speaks with charm and force.
Chor ty ubeer ʔenjinn chriftat frind bellacken kessio, ne mornentech ʔelzenten geddyd ty fornacken.
despite that ubeer have-HAB skill-ACC with sword-AND dagger 3sS prefer-HAB seduce-INF before that attack-INF Ne forgeeldo5 legchem yunaʔʔelys chainesat (chor ty ninx jys nemannick ʔubeeren), dommno zecken kenme forvadjicken.
3sS assume-IRR MOST-other gender-person-GEN appearance-ACC (despite that there be-HAB homosexual ubeer-PL), sit-IRR speak-INF light-ADV flattering-ADV-AND Nery datmot ʔy ʔopfë naʔem6 sitrexdo sittor nary kraichre kommer; ne munkno forgedjonen ty chemmer naʔem vonno groppo ladbo.ʔ
3s-GEN aim (T) a victim 4sS-3sO invite-IRR into 4s-GEN private lodging; 3sS work-IRR ensure-INF that person 4sS-them not-IRR look-PART see-PART Limmo zeer ʔopfë baaʔno geelpo ʔell, yoven tinkor buliʔ testerys gedjonno.
couple alone (T) victim suffer-IRR dress-PART off, then-AND sometimes sharing body-PL-GEN occur-IRR ʔopfëm cenumoter vurme bespo ʔubeer nenar muchdo, yoven sitviitdo nery rolediseme kroom laimet lolor ʔopfëm forgoom chuʔpo mippo.
victim-GEN defense-PL entirely lose-PART (T) ubeer 3sS-4sO kiss-IRR, then-AND push-IRR 3s-GEN abnormal-ADV long tongue down-to victim-GEN throat choke-PART die-PART Ne fotdo geelen nery laimet fuchpo ʔopfëm kozt8 neck zeerme ne sachdo.
3sS go-IRR use-INF its tongue suck-PART victim-GEN brain which alone-ADV 3sS eat-IRR
Though it is skilled with sword and dagger, it prefers to seduce rather than attack. It assumes the appearance of a member of the opposite sex (though there are homosexual ʔubeers), speaking lightly and flatteringly. Its aim is to be invited to the victim's private lodgings; it is careful that third parties do not observe them. Once alone, the victim is undressed, and sometimes sex occurs. When the victim's defenses are entirely lost, the ubeer gives them a kiss, and pushes its abnormally long tongue down the victim's throat, choking them to death. It then uses its tongue to suck out the victim's brain, which is all it consumes.
Ne snepno liss nery ʔutzemodys zendonick yoven ʔipme ʔelfotno— baʔpo ʔeltampo ʔopfëm bochy zemod.
3sS hide-IRR its any presence-GEN evidence then-AND silent-ADV leave-IRR, suffer-PART discover-INF victim-GEN horrible state Meregut tinkor nenar lopdo, sood ʔubeer neʔem ʔentech krecken gaazick loll9; frett yoven ne ʔenze sigi yoven ne sauʔ vedno liss neck chemmer maukdo chemoren vuzor ne.
wealth-ACC (T) sometimes 3sS-4sO steal-IRR, because ubeer 3sS-3sO like-HAB stand-INF rich-ADV inside but then-AND 3sS be-HAB discreet then-AND 3sS never take-IRR any that-one which people can-IRR trace-INF back-TO 3s
It hides any evidence of its presence, then leaves silently, leaving the horrible state of the victim to be discovered. Sometimes valuables are stolen, since the ubeer likes to live richly; but it is discreet, and never takes anything that can be traced back to it.
Nery nool jeckmod ʔenze10 veez, neck naʔem ʔengedjat meet riid natack.
its great weak-NOM be-HAB water, which 4sS3sO affect-HAB like fire 4sS-us ʔy bux flaid sooden ne sitrexno vott neck sittor nery kommer neckor nenar vondo ladpo koosen ʔy porrt veezys zynen mossno frind neck— veez nenar ʔaddo frind nery cretter, sood ʔubeeren tackyau ʔenlad vaumaten, ʔydjot yau ʔenkoos ʔutul boorsichunt.
a wise flaid (T) therefore he invite-HAB none to 3s-GEN lodging when 3sS4sO not-IRR see-PART drink-INF a glass water-GEN or wash with that - water (T) 3sS4sO give-IRR with 3s-GEN hand-PL, because ubeer-PL (T) we-them see-HAB fake-INF instead they-3sO drink-HAB pure alcohol-ACC
Its great weakness is water, which is like fire to you and me. A wise flaid, then, will invite no one to their lodgings without having seen them drink a glass of water, or wash with it— water given by one's own hands, since ubeers have been known to feign this, drinking pure alcohol instead.
ʔubeer ne ʔenvon mauken baʔpo bojpo frind niilen bellack; nery vricker lox forenvaar tim nennoz ʔeltaaten.
ʔubeer (T) 3sS not-HAB can-INF suffer-PART kill-PART with arrow-AND sword- its wound-PL only bleed-HAB some that-extent close-AND Yauʔem ʔengedjat sauʔ riid furmoden.
they-3sO affect-HAB never fire heat-AND Ne maukno baaʔen bojpo vunjiʔys sittyd taan, zynen seʔem bramno yaitchetet raulor nery jaddys ʔato forbufauʔpo yoven seʔem jordo nery testet frind chatchet.
3s can-IRR suffer-INF kill-PART drowning-GEN in-LOC ocean or you-3sO smear-IRR alum-ACC on-ALL its neck-GEN back for you-3sO immobilize then-AND you-3sO rub-IRR its body-ACC with lye Neckit juydoni naʔem vonno bojpo, frett yoven nery test dorgeetno begailnen ʔy pun testet lox sittyd ʔy ʔeller joot.
this procedure (T) 4sS-3sO not-IRR kill-PART but then-AND 3s-GEN body out-burn-IRR reconstitute-AND a new body only in-LOC far place
An ubeer can't be killed with arrow or sword: its wounds only bleed a little and then close. It is immune to fire and heat. It can be killed by drowning in the ocean; or smear alum on the back of its neck to immobilize it, and then rub its body with lye; this will not kill it, but its body will burn off and it will reconstitute a new one in a faraway place.
1 The domain of the superlative is given as a topic. Where a topic/comment construction is used, the gloss separates them with (T).
2 Most of this passage is in the habitual— the tense used for 'timeless' narratives, for which we use the present.
3 The formula 3sS-4sO in the glosses should be read "third person singular subject pronoun / fourth person singular object pronoun"; fourth person being the obviative (alternative) pronoun set. Simple English glosses would be misleading, as English indicates gender in the 3s and cannot express the fourth person.
4 An instance of Flaidish's unusual if verb. Instead of saying "If he lives...", flaids say "He ifs to live..."
5 For vividness, the writer switches from general facts about ʔubeers, using the habitual tense, to an imagined particular incident, using the irrealis.
6 Normally an explicit subject becomes third person ne; but ne was used for the ʔubeer in the topic. The introduced subject (ʔopfë 'the victim') therefore becomes fourth person na.
ʔ An example of a resultative idiom: groop 'look' is the basic action, ladbo 'seen' is the result— thus, 'look in order to see' = 'observe'.
8 A resultative with object: the syntax is that of the causative. "X uses Y to affect Z" can be seen as starting from "X uses [Y affects Z]", transforming it to "X uses Y-ACC affect-PART Z".
9 The separable verb lolkreck surrounds the object; compare English expressions like "look the word up".
10 The imagined incident is done, and we are talking in generalities again; the author therefore shifts back to the habitual.