SECTION I: GLOSSARY


Ia – Notation

Now that browsers are reliably Unicode‐capable these pages use square brackets [like this] to indicate IPA pronunciation guides and angle‐brackets like this to indicate samples of the language itself in the standard spelling (though those angles won't be visible if your browser is ignoring my CSS).

“The standard spelling” in this case means a transcription in the Roman alphabet.  For the further convenience of learners, raised dots are inserted to help keep prefixes and suffixes visually distinct, as in man·ulasu·ap “I don't know”.  Remember, though: dividing the words up like this is a feature of this guide, not part of the “real‐life” writing system that would be used in a translated text.

The language doesn't have an alphabet of its own – I produced a fantasy writing system to go with it, but since it was only “suggested” rather than a definite part of the package, and since in retrospect the particular letter‐forms I used weren't terribly exciting, I'll leave it out here.  Suffice it to say that it was a Devanagari‐style syllable‐based script, where squiggle‐with‐accent means ki, squiggle‐without‐accent means ka, and squiggle‐with‐dot means a k with no following vowel.


Ib – Terminology

For those of you with a hazy understanding of all this stuff about prenounial verbundives, here's a very basic quick‐reference guide, incorporating a key to the abbreviations used in sections XII (the lexicon) and XIII (the reverse lexicon).

A
the marker used in the lexicons to label Adjectives (see Va)
ADJECTIVE
“describing words” like “quick” or “red”
ADJUNCT
a cover‐term for adjectives and adverbs (the “Adjuncts” section also covers postpositions and possessives)
ADVERB
“modifying words” like “quickly”, “soon”, or “hardly” (not a separate category in this language)
ASPECT
a feature of verbs – obscure, but vaguely like tense (see VIIc)
C
the marker used in the lexicons to label Coordinating conjunctions (see IXb)
CASE
“roles” in a sentence – the difference between “I” and “me” (see IVb)
CLAUSE
a phrase that includes a verb (see VIII)
CONJUNCTION
a “joining word” like “and”, “but”, “if”, or “because”
CONSONANT
a “hard sound” like “K”, “N”, “TH” (compare “vowel”, below)
COORDINATING
simply tacking clauses together – “and he ran and he ran”; compare Subordinating
D
the marker used in the lexicons to label Demonstrative words (see VIb)
DEMONSTRATIVE
“pointing words” like “this”, “those”
DIPHTHONG
a combination of vowel sounds strung together in one syllable
E
the marker used in the lexicons to label Epicene nouns/pronouns (see IVa)
EPICENE
a particular gender category in this language
F
the marker used in the lexicons to label Formulaic interjections (see XIVb)
FORMULAIC
words like “hello”, “thankyou”, which form part of a conventional social interaction.
FIRST‐EXCLUSIVE
a particular person category in this language
FIRST‐INCLUSIVE
a particular person category in this language
GENDER
the difference betwen “he‐or‐she” and “it” (see IVa)
I
the marker used in the lexicons to label Intransitive verbs (see VIIIb)
IMPERFECTIVE
a particular aspect category in this language
INFINITIVE
equivalent of English “to” verbs – “to be”, “to see”
INTERJECTION
an expressive (quasi‐)word that stands outside the normal grammatical system, like “oops!” or “sorry!” (see XIVb)
INTRANSITIVE
verbs with no object, like “die”, “wait”, etc.
L
the marker used in the lexicons to label Linking verbs (see VIIIc)
LINKING
verbs that can introduce descriptions, like “be”, “seem”, etc.
M
the marker used in the lexicons to label Modifiers (see Vb)
MODIFIER
a catch‐all term for adverbs and miscellaneous words like “too”, “not”
N
the marker used in the lexicons to label Neuter nouns (see IVa)
NEUTER
a particular gender category in this language
NOUN
“naming words” like “king”, “horses”, “hunger”
NUMBER
the difference between singular and plural (see IIIa)
OBJECT
a (noun in a) particular case category in this language
OBLIQUE
a (noun in a) particular case category in this language
P
the marker used in the lexicons to label Postpositions (see Vc)
PASSIVE
the “be done by” form of a verb – see reflexive
PERFECTIVE
a particular aspect category in this language
PERSON
the difference between “we”, “you”, and “they” (see IIIb)
PHRASE
any number of words acting as a grammatical unit
PLURAL
a special form for more‐than‐one in English grammar
POSSESSIVE
phrases like “the man's hat” or “the hat of the man”
POSTPOSITION
this language's backwards alternative to prepositions
PREFIX
something stuck on the front – e.g. “un‑” (or “pre‑”)
PREPOSITION
words like “before” (“before a noun”), normally expressing location or direction
PRONOUN
“we”, “it”, etc., stand‐ins for specific nouns or names
R
the marker used in the lexicons to label Reflexivising verbs (see VIIId)
REFLEXIVE
verbs of “doing something to oneself” (or “to each other”)
REFLEXIVISING
verbs in this language that have a transitive form and a reflexive form
RELATIVE
a rather tricky clause type (which this is an example of)
S
the marker used in the lexicons to label Subordinating conjunctions (see IXb)
SECOND‐FAMILIAR
a particular person category in this language
SECOND‐POLITE
a particular person category in this language
SENTENCE
a complete utterance, from capital letter to full stop
SUBJECT
a (noun in a) particular case category in this language
SUBJUNCTIVE
a verb‐form with emotive or hypothetical overtones
SUBORDINATING
nesting clauses inside others – “someone (who knows (what it is))”; compare Coordinating
SUFFIX
a stuck‐on ending (opposite of “prefix”)
SYLLABLE
a breath‐unit (“syll‐a‐ble”), most obvious in singing where each syllable is a beat
T
the marker used in the lexicons to label Transitive verbs (see VIIIb)
TENSE
in English grammar, marking on a verb to indicate when it happens
THIRD‐EPICENE
a particular person category in this language
THIRD‐NEUTER
a particular person category in this language
TRANSITIVE
verbs requiring an object, like “slay”, “await”, etc.
VERB
“doing words” like “be”, “sang”, “eats”
VOWEL
a non‐consonant sound, like “AH”, “EE”, “U”

Ic – Classification

On the other hand, for those of you with a clear and precise understanding of all this stuff about prenounial verbundives, here's the entry that a language like this one might receive (if any such thing existed) in one of the web's publicly browsable global typological catalogues (if any such thing existed).

Language Name(s): unknown
ISO 639‐1/2/3 Code: unregistered
Type: vocal language
Ethnicity Name: unknown
Distribution: unknown
Family: unknown (presumed isolate)
Speakers: 0 (condition stable)
Standards/Dialects: unknown
Lexical Sources: unknown
Writing System: unknown (unconfirmed abugida)
Bible Translation: 0.02 % complete (stalled)
Phonemic Inventory: small (16C, 5V, lexical stress)
Syllabic Complexity: medium‐low (CV(C))
Morphology: concatenative (inflections mainly suffixing)
Groundplan: weak agglutinative (low exponence, low fusion)
Constituent Order: strongly head‑final (SOV, premodifying, postpositional)
Marking Locus: mixed (dependent‐marking APs, head‑marking possessives, double‑marking clauses)
Alignment: nominative–accusative (null‑subject)
Nominal Cases: 3 (some syncretism)
Verbal T/A/M/E: privative A/M marking (imperfective, subjunctive)