Calénnawn Grammar

Basic punctuation

The onset, ', denotes the start of a paragraph or sentence (if it is the first one on a page, of a discourse, or the first one of a new speaker).

The full stop is used where a sentence ends.

The comma is used at a pause between two parts of a sentence, not implying any specific relationship between the two parts (these relationships should be expressed, if desired, using Discursives). For the usage of the various types of question marks (?1 ?2 ?3) and exclamation marks (!1 !2), see the sections on Questions: types and Exclamations for more details.

If different parts of a sentence are of a different type (statement, question type or exclamation type), the question or exclamation mark may be followed with a comma:

Hi útamo-qoy!1, máfo ze novésti!2Don't hesitate!, it is now possible!


Calénnawn articles can be veridical or not. Veridical articles can be definite or indefinite. Articles can be used as object, subject, or to mark a predicate. Subject articles are split into epistemic and deontic.


Plurals of substantives are formed by replacing the vowel in the last syllable with i (if the last vowel is i, with ii).

Anc še astóri ba-scúgi sto.Anc gave birth to three sons.
Bóbo drála s-ganúnii.Bobo meets the parents.
Tim panalúta viil mat.Tim knows four languages.

When used with numerals:

the singular is used after zero, one, fractions between zero and one, and qíði (how many?);

the plural is used with integer or fractional numbers greater than one.

Tim spir s-inárta hort.Tim knows no kings.
Tim or nalétuvra s-abéssi cúel.Tim has drunk half a beer.
Tim or nalétuvra s-abéssii el.Tim has drunk two beers.
Tim or nalétuvra s-abéssii cúel sto.Tim has drunk one and a half beer.

Personal pronouns

The first person singular personal pronoun, e, is usually prefixed to the predicate when it is the subject of the sentence.

When the predicate starts with a vowel, it is possible to avoid a vowel cluster by using the alternate form el, which is normally not used as proclitic.

Ésinco.I want
El ánna.I teach

Calénnawn makes a difference between the proximate and obviative forms with the personal pronouns fa and ray. Normally, fa refers to the more topical part of the previous sentence, ray to the less topical one, provided they themselves are not references.

Bóbo obóllo Anc. Ray obóllo.Bobo greets Anc. She greets.
Fa zéfnat drámor ray.He leaves with her.

Furthermore, there is a difference between the pronouns óssi, which includes the speaker/speakers, but not the listener (and is therefore proximal), and muy, which includes the listener and is therefore regarded as distal:

Óssi tána supé sónnti, áva inárta.We come to you, your majesty.
Muy bánxa-qoy.Let us speak.

See for some of the other personal pronouns also the section on Polite form, pejorative form, affectionate form, humble form.


The focus of the sentence is indicated by preceding it with mimá. In case the focus is a multi-word construct, it may optionally be terminated by mi.

Mimá o bába códdi.It is dad who decides.
Épanaleya zóno mimá sónnti orše hi fésnivra f-bórmo mi.I see that you didn't eat the fish.

The verb: tense

The tense in a sentence is conveyed by the words for "now", "in the past" and "in the future". The preferred location for these words is right in front of the predicate. Verbs are not conjugated for time.

Bóbo máfo snáfu.Bobo understands.
Bóbo še snáfu.Bobo understood.
Bóbo gla snáfu.Bobo will understand.

The particles may, however, also be used as affixes to the subject, even if it is a name:

Bóboše snáfu.Bobo understood.
Égla bríqata.I will sleep.

See also the sections on The verb: conjugation and Aspect.

Word order

The order of words in a sentence is relevant for its meaning. Basic simple word order is SVO, but the SOV variant is allowed as a creative or poetic variant, and is the preferred order in news announcements. Furthermore, higher educated class are inclined to use VOS order. Depending on the word order, ellipsis of the subject, object or both is possible.

SVO:Nolóti šánxa tof.The vacation pleases him.ellipsis of S and O possible
SOV:Nolóti tof šánxa.dittoonly ellipsis of O possible
VOS:Šánxa tof nolóti.dittoonly ellipsis of S possible

However, interrogatives as object may be copied to the first place in the sentence. See the section on Questions: forms for more details.

In the following examples, Ø means an interrogative pronoun used as object, $ means one used as subject; D means a duplicate of the interrogative pronoun.

SVØ:Pos palémo síxo?You need whom?
SØV:Pos síxo palémo?ditto
VØS:Palémo síxo pos?ditto

DSVØ:Síxo pos palémo síxo?You need whom?
DSØV:Síxo pos síxo palémo?ditto
DVØS:Síxo palémo síxo pos?ditto

$VO:Síxo palémo pos?Who needs you?
$OV:Síxo pos palémo?ditto
VO$:Palémo pos síxo?ditto

Other word orders (e.g. VSO, OVS, OSV) are not permitted.

Dropped subject or object are taken to be either unspecified or unknown to the listener.

Yúfe.Someone sings/Some people sing something.
Épanaleya baw.I see you.
Sónnti panaléya en.You see me.
Fa nalástu Rándo.His name is Rando.
Écennt fh ráca.I like raca.
Nolóti óssi šánxa.The vacation pleases us.

The verb: nominal predicates

There is no verb "to be". Identity is expressed by using the relevant noun or adjective as a predicate.

Sónnti résto.You are crazy.
Calénnawn vil.Calennawn is a language.

Names, however, may never be used as a predicate. This is a difference between names and nouns.

*Zévo vil Calénnawn.This language is Calénnawn.

use nalástu instead:

Zévo vil nalástu Calénnawn.This language is called Calénnawn.

If two names have to be stated equal, use an appositive link word (see the section on Linkage):

Mat-tage be Marcéllo.Mattage is Marcello.

When an adjective or a noun is used as a predicate, it cannot take an object:

*Sónnti pénta en.

use a preposition, link word or lo- construct (see below) instead:

Sónnti pénta cor e.You are a friend of mine.
Sónnti nolopénta en.You I have for a friend.

When an article is needed for such a noun, the predicate articles ðo, ðe, ðh and ðu are used. These are also used when such a noun is accompanied with a possessive pronoun:

Zévo folméllar ðon iw nolóti.This stay is my vacation.
Rándo ðe fánëu.Rando is a fool.
Ze ðh qúba.This is water.
Síxo ðu advégo cor uylíddu?1Who is the "president" of the meeting?
Épanaleya Rándo, pélo ðu šos.I see Rando, who is a "child".

Existential constructs are also formed using the predicate article:

Še ðo xort-tu.There was a bit of a brawl.
Ðo ðéysic o panéðu-peta.There is a house near the lake.

The ðu article is replaced by lu if the non-veridical meaning is needed for a real verb:

Rándo lu lésni.Rando "flies".
Bóbo advégo lu cénnt.Bobo "likes" the president.

Plain verbs can never be used as subject or object. However, see Derivation

In the following sentences, the predicate can be unambiguously determined because (a) a verb must function as predicate, and (b) a noun as predicate cannot be accompanied by a direct object.

noun - adjScawn qána.The human is big.
noun - nounScawn pénta.The human is a friend.
noun - verbPénta qúmpatme.The friend says something.
verb - nounNalétu ránti.Someone drinks a tea.

Ellipsis of nouns

Nouns may be left out, leaving just an adjective, possessive pronoun or article. In some cases, it is more comprehensible when the article is left in place. A "lone article" cannot be used directly before a predicate (whether verbal or nominal): use ze or a predicate article in such a case.

Épanaleya s-íhimu.I see the old one.
Éparatul so.I read it. ("it" = article)
Éparatul ze.I read it. ("it" = pronoun)
Épanaleya syo eróyddu.I see your dear one.
Édinoy syo.I request yours.
*O célof vássi.This is our house.
Ze célof vássi.This is our house.
O ðo célof vássi.This is our house.
Sónnti ðon iw eróyddu.You are my dear one.


The vocative ending is -o(l) (dropping a final vowel if present, which makes the l obligatory if that vowel was an o).

Tímo, Rándo zéfnates télboxo.Tim, Rando is leaving the building.
Rándol, sónntiše hi panaléya-na?1Rando, didn't you see that?
(Bibúlme hína se lúdi el?1You have two eyes, haven't you?)

If the plural form ends in -i, the vocative plural is -il. If the plural form ends in -ii, the vocative plural is -iil.

Some protocol words are colloquially used as suffixes (dropping a final vowel if present). This form is not used for the protocol words derived from e+verb.

Ancóllo!2Hi Anc! (colloquial form)
Bobéylo!2Bye Bobo! (colloquial)
Randáyvo.Welcome, Rando.

Polite form, pejorative form, affectionate form, humble form

Polite form
The "honorative" or polite form is constructed by suffixing -(a)va to the predicate of which the subject is to be referenced politely, or -(a)vo when it concerns the object. This form expresses the speaker's honor, admiration, esteem or respect for the referent. The ending is preceded with -a- when the predicate ends in a consonant.

Advégo páratulava.The president (polite) reads.
Pos panaléyava-na?1Do you (polite) see (it)?
O inárto bríqatava.His majesty the king is sleeping.
Qon sónnti qon síncova?1What do you (polite) want? (like: What does the lady want?)

Émoraniva.I (polite, like pl.maj.: we) thank you.
Émoranivo.I thank you (polite).

El uncánovo baw.I hear you (polite).
Fa cénntavo ray.He/she likes her/him (polite).
El or bánxadayvo baw.I am going to tell you (polite).
Bóboše orézuvo rèfni-inárta!2Bobo fled from her majesty the queen!

Scáwno, sónnti òfer-órrulamava fértirac.Human, you ride the arial bike well.
Sónnti or nalétudayva-na drámor e?1Will you drink with me?

If the referent (noun/name) to be honored is not the subject or object, then the referent is preceded with the word áva, usually affixed to the preposition (if present) and directly before the (possibly elided) article.

Obóllovo, áva bánol Mat-táge.Greetings, mr. Mattáge.
Áva advégol, énoloti-sìnco.Mr. president, I want a vacation.
Inártol, xegónnava-qoy!2Your majesty the king, look at this.
Éše babúpo táyva son inárta.I thought about the king.

Pejorative form
If a person or action is disliked or disrespected, the person, the verb, name, or pronoun may be prefixed with bir-.

E hi or báqindaday bir-báw!1I'm not going to apologize to you!
Sónnti bir-tredówc Pápinow.You "ruled" Pápinow. (You call this ruling?)

Affectionate form
When the sentence is addressed to a family member or close friend, the affection between the speaker and the listener is expressed by using a different personal pronoun: sóngo for people older than the speaker, sónna otherwise. Not using one of these forms to a family member is like saying, "You are no family of me". Furthermore, with seemingly incorrect use of sónna, age compliments can be made.

Re-ganúnol, ébibulme fénco. Sóngo or lúxciday-na fh baranúya?1Mother, I'm hungry. Will you give some bread?
Ba-rúnol, sónnagla xabásta-na drámor?1Cousin, will you come along?

Humble form
It is also possible to take on a humble position when speaking about oneself. For this purpose exists the word étu, etymologically the diminutive for e (see Comparisons below).

Étu obóllovo baw, bánol.I (humble) greet thee (polite), sir.
Hi rufóme-qoy éndatu!2Don't hit me (humble).

Compound words and compound predicates

Verbs, nouns and adjectives may be combined with hyphens to form compound words. They bear a strong resemblance to the Lojban tanru. The last part in the compound may also be a noun or an adjective, in which case the compound word is subject to the rules under The verb: nominal predicates.

Primary stress falls on the last compound element, except when the subject is prefixed 'é-', in which case the last compound element takes secondary stress. Secondary stress is indicated on the syllable where the compound element would normally get primary stress (nalètu-sínco).

The meaning of the compound word is taken to be that of the last part of the compound, modified by the first part, e.g.:

Bána abèssi-nalétu.The man drinks beer.
Éfesni-sìnco.I want to eat.


Auxiliaries are used by making compound predicates with the auxiliary as the second (modified) part. The object of the main verb may be used directly as the object of the verb-auxiliary compound.


Cas lènta-vésti pra.One can protect oneself.
Hi épanaluta zóno íhimu réfni ànna-gáwna en.I didn't know an old woman can teach me.

The inverse voice of such a compound predicate is marked on the main verb:

Nocuxàfe-gáwna zóno...It can be assumed that...

Ditransitive predicates

There are no ditransitive verbs in Calénnawn. However, when compound predicates are formed, it is possible that both elements of the compound predicate require a direct object. In such a case, both direct objects may occur in the sentence.

Note: The direct objects are normally put in the same order as the elements of the compound predicate.


O bána gowsuédu so ðáto.The man descends-into the pit.
Bóbo gowsuédu-ho so ðáto s-bána.Bobo lowers the man into the pit.
Bóbo so ðáto gowsuédu-ho s-bána.ditto
Gowsuédu-ho-qoy so ðáto s-bána!1Lower the man into the pit!

Bési válëe traq.They marry each other.
O gíxe válëe-ho traq biw.The priest makes them marry each other.

Compound words to indicate gender

In compounds of bána and réfni, these may be abbreviated to ba- and re-:

Bóbo cóweš s-re-ganúni.Bobo asks mother.
Fa ðo ra ba-scúge.He is her son.


If there are three or more elements in the compound, they are right-grouped:

Fa bèlon-šòs-ánnawna.(s)he is a small-(child-teacher).

The verb: imperative mood

The imperative is formed by making a compound verb with -qoy (do!) at the end. The primary stress does not shift. The imperative is used with an epistemic subject personal pronoun or epistemic subject article.

Sónnti nalétu-qoy!1Drink!
Pos yùfe-tána-qoy!1Come and sing!
Muy xabásta-qoy!1Let us go.
Ézefnat-qoy!1Let me leave.
Hi báqinda-qoy!1Don't apologize!
Hi qóy-qoy!1Don't do it!
Fa cúcoy-qoy!1Let him be quiet!
Muy fésni-qoy ze.Let's eat this.

qoy may, however, also be used as a regular verb:

Éqoy.I do.
Égla qoy.I will.

The verb: subjunctive mood

The subjunctive is formed by in the same way as the imperative: by making a compound verb with -qoy. However, the subjunctive is used with a deontic subject personal pronoun or deontic subject article.

Stu nalétu-qoy.May you drink.
Ímild xabásta-qoy.May we go.
Byu gowsulá-qoy.May he leave.

Subjunctive mood is also used after the conjunction úrne (so that).

Nalétu-qoy f-qúba, úrne oy syo ušúli csó-qoy.Drink water, so that your head cools down.
Stába-qoy éynu, úrne oy syo ušúli csó-qoy.Let the wind blow, so that your head cools down.

If the subject of the sentence following úrne is identical to the subject of the first sentence, the preposition xum with an action (fo(l)-) may be used instead:

Anc béltu s-bórmo xum fofésni spis. Anc buys a fish to eat it.

Numerals and plurals

(Cardinal) numerals are placed after the corresponding noun, e.g.

Fa nalétu s-abéssii sto.He drinks three beers.
Óssi cras.The five of us or: We are (with) five.
Óssi pénti el.We are two friends.
Fa sínco pénti tésma.He wants (more than one) friends.

The numeral system is base-6. Numbers are transcribed with a leading underscore. If the number starts with the digits '10', these may be replaced by a special digit, transcribed as '6'. In Calénnawn, this is called a 'big ten' (o qána xówa).

xoten_6 or _10
mátxo (pronounced as máxo)forty_40
crásxofifty _50

uqíttea hundred_60 or _100
éluqittetwo hundred_200
stóluqitte (irregular spelling)three hundred_300
mátuqittefour hundred_400
crásuqittefive hundred_500

panóya thousand_600 or _1000
élpanoytwo thousand_2000
stópanoythree thousand_3000
mátpanoyfour thousand_4000
cráspanoyfive thousand_5000

feférrten thousand_6000 or _10000

crásuqitte mátxo tesfive hundred and forty one_541

Fractions are made with the (accented) prefix cú-.

cúelone half
cúel stothree halves
sto cúxotes elthree and two sevenths

stóxo el cúeluqittematxomat cras20 5/100 (_32 _5/_244)
cúeluqittematxomat mátxo tes25/100 (_41/_244)

If tar is not attached to a numeral, put it after the article of the complement:

on éysiqe h tar qúba.the bottle of water.
xáytan o tar bormi.a crate of fish.

If tar is used as a preposition in this way, a direct object case may follow it:

Nalétuva-qoy vúce báytar fh qúba.Drink some of the water.

Sónnti orše zelévratt-na so máni sto cúel?3Have you written three and a half book?
drúðir el o tar ifúrtiTwo rooms full of people.

I have drunk two and 3/4 cups of milk.


Adjectives go before the noun and may be stacked. Note that an adjective must be compounded with a noun when the noun is used as a predicate.

Bóbo cóweš so résto bána.Bobo asks the crazy man.
Bóbo qàna-bána.Bobo is a large man.


Comparisons may be done by quantity or quality. The object being compared with is marked using the preposition sínu.

When the addition of a suffix would give rise to a new -tt- or -dd- combination, which could be pronounced wrongly, these combinations are broken with a hyphen.


Positive comparison is formed using -ro (as many as). Comparatives are formed using the affixes -mu (less) and -ma (more). Superlatives are formed with -sil (least) and -dac (most).


Positive comparison is formed using -uy (equally). Comparatives are formed using the affixes -tu (less) and -ta (more). Superlatives are formed with -tto (least) and -taš (most).


Óssi péntata.We are more of a friend/better friends.
Óssi péntama.We are more friends.

Énaletumu abéssi.I drink beer less often.
Énaletu abéssimu.I drink less beer.
Énaletutu abéssi.I'm a worse drinker of beer.
Énaletu abéssitu.I drink worse beer.

Sónnti panalúta ilódac.You know the most songs (e.g. from this book: the number of songs is compared).
Sónnti panalútadac iló sínu bési.You know the most songs (e.g. than somebody else: the knowing is compared).


Negation is expressed by hi, which can go at the beginning of the sentence or just before the predicate:

Hi ésinco fh xísta.I don't want trouble.
É hi sínco fh xísta.ditto

The opposite of hi is á, often accented to indicate its extra stress:

Fa á fèsni-sínco.He does want to eat.

A certain part of a sentence can be "ruled out" with hes, which states that the sentence is not true, but might have been true when the marked part would change:

E hes yùfe-sínco.I don't want to sing. (But I might want something else).
Rándo nalètu-sínco hes fh ránti.Rando wants to drink no tea.
Rándo hi nalètu-sínco fh ránti.Rando does not want to drink tea.

When a question cannot correctly be answered with either "yes" or "no", because the question is based on an incorrect assumption, the question may be answered with lëu:

Sónntiše páratuvral-na?1Did you stop reading?
Lëu.(Wrong assumption), i.e. "I was not reading at
all, I did not even start."

Questions: forms

Questions can have either of three forms:

Questions: types

Questions can have either of three intentions described below. These intentions are conveyed using three different intonations, denoted by three different question marks.


Calénnawn distinguishes between two types of exclamations.

Since type 2 exclamations convey an emotion, as they are induced by emotion, there is no special intonation or stress pattern required to distinguish between the two types. The two exclamation marks are merely a method of conveying the intonation that has risen from the emotional origin of the sentence itself.


In Calénnawn, the so-called "link words" are used to link sentences together like the conjunction "and", and denote which parts of the composing sentences overlap. Link words can be either:

Sentences which do not take place during the same time may still be linked.

Syo ðówba še áduxan ba bána or órcevran.Your dog died; a man has kicked (it).
Feše sáfoley be trázoc.He woke up and yawned.

All link words have a systematic classifier of the form [letter(s)|letter(s)] . These will be specified in the explanatory text below.

When compounding link words with prepositions, postpositions (like -i, -pe, and -umper) are treated as prepositions.

1. Appositive

2a. Restrictive


Sónnti cennt vóy-i évoyude.You like where I live in.
You like the house, which is where i live.

2b. Incidental

3. Abstraction

4. Indirect questions


The aspect of a sentence denotes the characteristics of the time-interval in which the action takes place.

When the verb stem ends in a consonant other than -l or -r, the endings -s and -c are suffixed as -es and -ec. The endings -day, -vra and -pru are infixed just before the last consonant, e.g. lórivral.

The word ólpo means that the action is not taking place continuously, but irregularly instead. It may be combined with any of the above mentioned aspects except the semelfactive. There is no preference as to where it should go in the sentence.

Rándo ózayše páratulday ólpo mána sto áwn-umper élxo el. Rando has been reading three books in _22 days.

Aspect negation and expectation

pla and derivatives are used to describe that a process was expected to have started/ended, but that this is not actually the case. The affirmative derivatives are used when the process is going on at the referenced time, the negated derivatives, like hépla, otherwise.

E hépla panaléyaday baw.I don't see you yet.
E pla panaléyaday baw.I see you already.
E pla panaléyavra baw.I only just stopped seeing you.
E hépla panaléyavra baw.I don't see you any more.

E herópla panaléyaday baw.I only just started seeing you.
E ózaypla panaléyaday baw.I started seeing you already.
E ólaypla panaléyavra baw.I see you still.
E herópla panaléyavra baw.I stopped seeing you already.

Negatives of the donecative and dumitive are not used.

Compare aspect negation with regular negation:

E hi panaléyaday baw.I don't begin seeing you.
E hépla panaléyaday baw.I don't see you yet.

E hi panaléyavra baw.I haven't stopped seeing you.
E ólaypla panaléyavra baw.I am still seeing you.
E hépla panaléyavra baw.I don't see you any more.


There are five types of conditionals. All of these are characterized by the conditional ending -li on the verb in the conditional clause.

The five types will be explained by comparing them to conditionals in English:

The verb: conjugation

Mainstream Calénnawn has lost most of its verb conjugations. Verb conjugation is nowadays only used in the districts Bóroq and the southern parts of Pápinow, and by the educated class in all districts. In mainstream use, the different forms used for proximal and distal are discarded and replaced by the ones used for central.

The suffixes to a predicate or compound predicate are normally applied in the following order:

  1.  conjugation suffix
  2.  aspect suffix
  3.  honorative suffix
  4.  imperative suffix

Conjugation of xabásta (go) as an example of a verb with vowel ending and órrulam ('betravel') as one with a consonant ending:

pronoun group:centralproximaldistal
e(l), étusónnti, sónna, sóngofa, ray, ze
óssimuy, posbési

normal form, vowel ending:
semelfactivexabástacxabástancxabástacc (1)
init./inch.xabástadayxabástadayn (2)xabástadayt (2)
cess./perf.xabástavraxabástavran (2)xabástavrat (2)
habituativexabástamoxabástamon (2)xabástamot (2)
semperativexabástapruxabástaprun (2)xabástaprut (2)

honorative form, vowel ending:
semelfactivexabástacavoxabástancavaxabástaccava (1)
init./inch.xabástadayvoxabástadaynava (2)xabástadaytava (2)
cess./perf.xabástavravoxabástavranava (2)xabástavratava (2)
habituativexabástamovoxabástamonava (2)xabástamotava (2)
semperativexabástapruvoxabástaprunava (2)xabástaprutava (2)

normal form, consonant ending:
init./inch.órruladaym (3)órrulamidayórrulamaday
cess./perf.órrulavram (3)órrulamivraórrulamavra
habituativeórrulamom (3)órrulamimoórrulamamo
semperativeórrulaprum (3)órrulamipruórrulamapru

honorative form, consonant ending:
init./inch.órruladaymavo (3)órrulamidayvaórrulamadayva
cess./perf.órrulavramavo (3)órrulamivravaórrulamavrava
habituativeórrulamomavo (3)órrulamimovaórrulamamova
semperativeórrulaprumavo (3)órrulamipruvaórrulamapruva


(2)infix before conjugation suffix
(3)infix in stem

State (under construction)

State is indicated by a compound verb or one of the special prepositions ttif or útay. There is no explicit way of indicating the distinction between having and entering a state. This difference must then be concluded from the meaning of the verb itself.


This paragraph is under construction

fol-act of ..
foláduxanact of dying
folsémuract of being careful
folfésnithe eating
folzéfnatthe leave

vi(n)-subject of ..
fésnito eat

-xoobject of ..
télboto build
télboxoa building

Inverse voice

The inverse voice of a verb is constructed using the prefix no(r)-. Just as with verbs in the active voice, stating the object or subject of the inverse voice is not required.

Rándo nopeybúco so šos.Rando is listened to by the child.
Advégo nopanaléya.The president is seen.
Qo sónnti nonalástu?1What is your name?


As a rule, prepositions are placed in front of the noun construct. However, the prepositions for "at" (pe), "in" (i) and "during" (úmper) are enclitics, and are coupled to the referent using a hyphen.

Some prepositions may be compounded (see below). The compounding elements are joined without a hyphen. Compound prepositions take stress on the last part (last preposition compound element). Compounds of pe, i and úmper are not enclitics any more, but instead regular prepositions.

Some prepositions may be modified using the degree markers -mu, -ma, -sil and -dac (see below). Modifying a preposition in this way does not change whether the preposition is used as an enclitic or not.

Prepositions are divided into three categories: those pertaining to time, to space and those having an abstract meaning.

It is allowed to elide the preposition object. The preposition then functions like an adverb.

Bóbo xérder drámor Rándo.Bobo walks with Rando.
Bóbo xérder drámor.Bobo walks along.
Bóbo xegónna suí o télboxo.Bobo looks into the building.
Bóbo xegónna suí.Bobo looks inside.
Résto bána voyúdes zíri.There are crazy men living to the east.

Some conjunctions

There are two words for translating "also". pey references the part of speech immediately preceding it, ówco always references the subject:

Rándoše pey sobésse.Rando laughed too (i.e. someone else laughed too).
Rándoše sobésse pey.Rando also laughed (i.e. he did something else too).
Rándoše rufóme en pey.Rando hit me too (i.e. he hit someone else too).

Rándoše sobésse ówco.Rando laughed too (i.e. someone else did, too).
Rándoše rufóme en ówco.Rando hit me too (i.e. someone else did, too).

pey is also used as a conjunction "and" between noun phrases:

Égla gowsupé s-cétiwm s-vassi pey.I will go to the market and home.
E Rándo pey gowsupé s-vássi.I and Rando go home.
E pey Rándo pey gowsupé s-vássi.Both me and Rando go home.
E pey gowsupé s-vássi.I, too, go home.

However, for sentences, sno is used:

Égowsupe s-vássi sno sónnti panaléya Anc.I go home and you see Anc.

Translating the verb "to have"

The verb "to have" can be translated in either of four ways:


Modals express aspects like probability, necessity and obligation. Modals are divided in two categories: epistemic and deontic modals. Modals can be modified according to grade.

Epistemic modalities express an impersonal judgement of a real situation. Deontic modalities express an impersonal judgement of a hypothetical situation.

When a deontic modality is used, the deontic version of the subject personal pronoun or the deontic version of the subject article must be used.

Epistemic probability:

Fáše áma tána.He certainly came. (emphatic)(100%)
Fáše á tána.He did come. (emphatic)(100%)
Fáše tána.He came.(100%)
Fáše ámu tánavra.He must have come.(high)
Fáše ónddima tána.He probably came.(mid-high)
Fáše ónddi tána.Maybe he came.(middle)
Fáše ónddimu tána.He may have come.(mid-low)
Fáše hímu tána.He probably didn't come.(low)
Fáše hi tána.He didn't come.(0%)
Fáše híma tána.He certainly didn't come. (emphatic)(0%)
Fáše tána-na?1Did he come?(question)

Epistemic acceptability:

Fáše fésni-meyma.It is definitely acceptible that he ate.(100%)
Fáše fésni-mey.It is okay/welcome that he ate.(high)
Fáše fésni-meymu.It is tolerable/barely acceptible that he ate.(low)
Fáše fésni-hesmey.It is unacceptible that he ate.(0%)

Epistemic evidentiality:

Fáše tána-scama.It is obvious that he came.(100%)
Fáše tána-sca.It looks like he came.(high)
Fáše tána-scamu.There's little reason to believe he came.(low)
Fáše tána-hessca.He cannot possibly have come.(0%)
Fáše tána-...It is unclear whether he came.(unknown)
Fáše tána-sca..?1What reason is there to believe he came?1(question)

Deontic obligation:

Ímild fésni-dalma ze.We have to eat this.(100%)
Ímild hi fésni-dalma ze.We must not eat this.(100%)
Ímild fésni-dal ze.We should/ought to eat this.(high)
Ímild fésni-dalmu ze.We should probably eat this.(low)
Ímild fésni-hesdal ze.We don't have to eat this.(0%)
Ímild fésni-dalna ze?1Do we have to eat this?(question)

Deontic necessity:

Ímild fésni-bencoma ze.It is essential that we eat this.(100%)
Ímild fésni-benco ze.We need to eat this.(high)
Ímild fésni-bencomu ze.We need to eat this.(low)
Ímild fésni-hesbenco ze.It is unnecessary that we eat this.(0%)

Ílmon bànxa-bénco tof.I need to talk to him. 

See also The verb: subjunctive mood and The verb: imperative mood.

Author: René Uittenbogaard. The deontic/epistemic distinction, was taken from The Lexical Semantics of a Machine Translation Interlingua by Richard Morneau. The chapter on modals was inspired by the same source.

Conversion date: 2008-05-17

Back to the index.