Kenraí-A Constructed Language
|From:||Daniel ODowd <thepresidentofsornia@...>|
|Date:||Monday, January 30, 2006, 18:08|
Alectú tonrouxmudate! Semnaami keízaan Dan O'Dowd, pú bataír'aami dóðlinkanaúx
Kenraí, geckle þer'enin pradyval keízabaí. Posaamidtö podonc Kenraícin
aglar'e, alkta gralooðínúlçabaí, igzokanaúx kopr'acedtúlça
çeíðïbaí. Haanecooðínöt tec Kenraí gugym IF, pú arana
ooðínöt conditional tense-bipharópe keízate zacla. Levecoplaart
pradyvalapeï Kenraí; megcí haanecöt jaftelbidrilaxovratulin gugymðax,
pú amnak Aðadtaúx Ðaknete Corníaan Eshizlet Þileï; eshöt How to
Tell if Youre a Sornian, pú ceðyrvaranaami kokareví Búsna
Greetings to everybody! I'm Dan O'Dowd, and I'm writing to promote Kenraí, my
first conlang. I've attached below the Kenraí grammar, despite it not being
complete, in order to further understanding for everyone. In Kenraí, there is
no conditional mood or word for if, which is interesting IMO. I'm quite happy
with Kenraí, which already has a 1300+ word vocabulary, a Sornian culture
test, and an ongoing translation of an episode of Coronation Street.
Any comments, questions, criticisms or ephemera on this subject would be
gratefully received. If you want the pronunciations of my words then I can give
this as well; but i warn you-I am not yet familiar with IPA conventions in
full, so have my own ways of describing some sounds lol. I have other
constructed languages to divulge, but being as how they are woefully
incomplete, I will wait until they are further along. I will say that I'm
working on an entirely agglutinative (entirely!) language with one vowel
(one!!), a language for lizards without lips, and a language for time
travelling hedgehogs who pride themselves on being modelled on Ancient Greek
civilisation. Thanks for your time.
The Grammar of Kenraí-The Language of Sornia
New thing; to shorten, conjugation on its own can indicate the same verb as
last time, so I am (eshaami) being used as the consequent verb (I am from
Esnel. I am a Sornian) you (rarely though, its for longer sentences) just say
aami in the next bit (Eshaami Esnelapeï. Amnak aami Corníaan).
NB I havent fully updated this yet for a few months; there are some
indescript things or stuff missing so please bear with me :)
Kenraí is a case language. This means that nouns, in some cases, inflect and
have endings added to them to indicate additional information. Kenraí contains
the following cases:
Dative (To something, or sometimes the indirect object)
Instrumental (the way something is done; with x)
Introductive (To specify which of something you want)
These are all available in single and plural forms. Nominative plurals are split
into four types depending on the status of the noun involved. Some nouns can be
classified under more than one section depending on their possible uses. These
often have to be learned, because much of the time the designation isnt quite
as obvious as you think.
Type 1: Animate Tangible. This is for humans and animals, and non-carbon
sentients (this is for planets). It is also used for titles and otherwise which
represent real humans, so things like secretary, staff etc.
Type 2: Animate Intangible. This is where the complications begin. This is
generally for things like music, which you cant physically touch. Because it
can inspire dancing and requires movement to be made/sung, it is considered
animate though. Its also used with switched on radios, and electronic things
that you need to move to interact with so telephones. Also notably the brain
and other parts of the body (bones/muscles), which are considered necessary for
animate humanity, but which we dont yet fully understand (else be t1).
Type 3: Inanimate Tangible. This is used for the majority of objects, books, boxes, clothes etc.
Type 4: Inanimate Intangible. This is a large complexity. Things that are
partly conceptual, such as time and space, are always in this category since
you cant touch time, and per se, it doesnt move. Consider the sentence I
work for a company which makes comics. This is a confirmative statement, and
therefore the comics which are being made definitely exist. However, in the
sentence, In the future, I want to make a company which makes comics, the
subject (making a company which makes comics) is in the future, which does not
yet exist. Therefore nor do the comics, and as such are in the class of
concept. (NB neither does the company yet exist.) This sentence uses class 4
ending on comics therefore. The distinction is between definite and indefinite
objects. (NB: Also realise, that saying I want to work for a company that makes
comics means the company exists. Whether this goes into t4 or not I havent
yet decided. NB: what is that about? If you want to work for a comp!
company which makes comics, you dont necessarily know if this exists, though
it is likely.) If youre wondering what I was going on about before, saying
real humans, this means that sometimes if youre using a word that maps to a
human (secretary for example), but youre not talking about someone specific,
only the idea of a secretary or such, then it is pluralised as type 4.
There are already a few cases in English which we simply dont realise, so dont be put off.
The Genitive case is used in Kenraí to indicate possession of something, or
doing something as a favour to someone. Example: MY book the word my is the
possessive of I. In Kenraí the word order is reversed, and becomes ñeerba
keízaBAÍ to indicate it is the book OF ME. Aí is added, but if the noun ends
in a vowel it becomes baí.
In the plural instance, the noun being changed remains in the singular, that
is you dont pluralize it because adding a gen plural ending indicates this
itself. In A lot of frogs, frogs would be inflected to the genitive plural.
The endings are eñse or if the noun ends in a vowel, çeñse. Thus a lot of
frogs becomes gamnan bliriçeñse, not bliriþeñse. This distinction
becomes important when talking about something that we or I own. Its very
confusing so Ill do it later.
Now for the bit I said above that would come later. When I own something,
its Q keízabaí, and if I own two things its Q(þ) keízabaí, because I
am still singular. If we own something its Q keízïbaí, two things Q(þ)
keízïbaí. Ive made a bit of a mess here actually, without realising it.
The word for we is unchanging keízï. Keízaçeñse would mean a lot of mes,
a lot of the person me, just as keízïçeñse means a lot of uses. Useful
The Dative case is used when talking about doing something to something else.
Its complex because this used to be an Accusative, but I didnt like using
it on every object under the sun. I will have to rewrite all the dialogues
soon. Some verbs take the Dative therefore, for example biting something
inflicts the Dative on its object noun. Singular nouns add te or ate, and so I
bit the sandwich becomes Moridaamidtö xónaalTE. Dative plural nouns add
vïd or ivïd, and as with the Genitive and other cases, there is no need for
any plural noun marker. I bit the sandwiches, therefore is moridaamidtö
The Instrumental case is used for talking about doing something with someone
or by means of something, and for all you other Russianists is also used a lot
of the time in place of the prepositional (not always though, for example in
Kenraí, berela about inflicts a genitive). The endings are apeï in singular
(always remove any final vowel before adding this), and eðin for plural, again
removing any final vowel. Again, no need to pluralize the noun in this case.
Example: I am from Esnel. Eshaami EsnelAPEÏ. Plural; (a rare case ending) I
won by 10 points; adhafaamidtö eílyma magtraçEÐIN. NB: Numbers never
decline in cases.
Now comes the tricky one. The Introductive is one of the hardest things to get
through when learning Kenraí. I never created definition of what it was until
this document. This will take a while to explain. Consider the word that.
When were talking about specifying which of a group of things you want,
youll likely point and say that one. That as a noun pointer is
unqualified in English without such additions; it could mean that horse, that
banana or that tasty vodka, unless its referring to the previous sentences,
as in Japanese and other languages. In French, the situation is the same.
Saying plain old ça wont get the point across; its celui-ci, celui-là ,
ceci and all those. Now, consider the phrase In a turnaround of fortune,
Kelly has gone from being the strongest link in the last round, to the weakest
IN THIS ONE. This one specifically refers back to the word round whilst
avoiding repetition. Now, to say I like that (and pointing at it) you say
But to be more specific you could say that one (for example if the products
you were ogling in the shop window were all the same thing and you prefer one
of them), and this is one of the points of the introductive case. Its mostly
used for avoiding constant repetition of the noun youre talking about. Its
used with taþecla/geckle, and also adjectives (the big one, the small one). It
can also be used in plural; so those ones, or these big ones. I understand you
more and more each day is also an introductive statement, because with each day
that comes you introduce more understanding. (NB How is this done? Ive never
Singular: aan after consonants or a (only 2 as remember), or zan after another vowel.
Eshöt taþecla gesíuna. Thats a banana.
Eshöt taþeclaan gesíuna. Its that banana, (that one there). NB This can
be also used for people and such.
Gobocoñe (veknaúx) gesíunakïnhegaan? Which banana do you want (to eat)?
Gecklezan-gamnan kemíelaami ðeenclogíópejom. This one-I prefer greener ones.
Eshötmi gecklex ðiñcikðaxsek? What are these things? (NB New thing;
geckle/taþecla change as the noun: taþeclax is just as valid as taþeclï,
depending on what youre talking about)
Eshötmi gecklejom cpocí. These things are bones. (NB: saying eshötmi
gecklejom ðiñcikðax cpocí would infer youre about to use a relative
Gúnadoñe ivíkadem? Do you like any of the cars?
Avloí; gendzilópezan. Yes; the dark blue one.
Stress in Kenraí is rather complex.
1) Long vowels tend to take a natural stress, so eshÖTmi. The order of stress
priority is ï/ö, aa, ü, ii/oo/yy, uu/ee generally. Or we could say that
ðeen never takes stress.
The word order of Kenraí is strictly VSO-meaning Verb Subject Object. In more
complex sentences this is aV/sA:V/ioA:V/sV/ioV/dO/S/iO or something like
that-Ill do this later.
Time words that arent copulan (where the subject is the same thing or
equivalent to the object; ie I am David; tomorrow is Monday) come directly
after verbs, and then come location words.
Relative clauses put verbal constructions backwards and to the end, so that if
you had Ixrópíçe çañaami agzñag, in an rc this would be agzñag
cañaami ixrópíçe. Other exceptions:
Verb conjugation is simpler than in other languages in many ways. There is one
type of verb, and its infinitive (to do) always ends in aúx. Most of the time
we conjugate verbs for humanity and it, but in fact there are 3 separate
classes of conjugation depending on whether the subject is human, animal, or
abstract. To conjugate a verb, remove the infinitive ending aúx, leaving a
stem. Add the ending required.
Verbs in Kenraí conjugate in tense and mood. Instead of adding isolated words to
the construction, Kenraí uses particles to add everything into one word, which
can result in some pretty succinct sentences, although does leave some long
words meaning very little. Take veknaúx, to eat. Removing the infinitive
particle aúx gives vekn, to which conjugation and other particles of time can
be added. Lets go through them one by one. First of all, the present tense in
Kenraí means only I do. There is a separate way of saying I am eating (present
continuous), and to say I do (regularly) also has a separate particle. There
are conjugation particles for humans, animals, and abstract objects (for
example you might want to talk about donkeys eating, or power tools overloading
the socket), which is also useful philosophically if you want to imagine
yourself as an animal or do the same to someone else.
I do aami
You do oñe
He does eï
She does íü
? does izlet
It does eer
Add a particle to the stem to say who is eating. Izlet is used for when the
sex of the subject is unknown, and eer is used for non-human sentients
(planets). To pluralise any of these, add taþ to the end of the conjugation.
The other 2 conjugations will be given later.
You pl eat-veknoñetaþ
Lets put the future in now. This always means I will do, without any
implication of regularity or continuity-these have separate ways for being
said. Again take the stem vekn. To use future tense, you place the future
particle okana (which is shortened to kana if the stem ends in
V(ct/ (tc/kc/lc/nc/ñc/mc (Cc??)))))))) after the stem before conjugation,
leaving us with veknokana as the future stem.
I will eat-veknokanaami
He will eat-veknokanaeï, where the eï is pronounced with glottal stop, since
no two different accented vowels are run-on. (NB: You can tell if someone is
ethnic Kenraí or Sornian by the way they pronounce such words; in Sornians the
glottal stop is lazier and in their speech patterns it is fading out)
Now we come to the past. This always means a completed action; equivalent of
the perfect I have done, and also preterite I did. Past tense always comes
after any conjugations, so we could now make the future past; I will have done.
Add dtö after the conjugation, or if theres already a d/t/þ, change it to
ðtö. The past stem is vekn~dtö.
I will have eaten-veknokanaamidtö.
We will have eaten-veknokanaamiðtö.
(NB: Some Sornians will still use the old form adtö if a dtþ is present:
Veknaamitaþadtö is just as correct. BE CAREFUL-this may confuse plurals
sometimes. See the dog ate the bone.)
Instead of using the past, sometimes we need to put our actions further back,
and this is where the pluperfect comes in. It means I had done. Instead of
dtö, we add detalenoï, again replacing d with ð if necessary.
I had eaten-veknaamidetalenoï.
If were talking about doing an action right now, then we need to change the
verb into a noun with the gerundive. To do this, add úlça to the stem, which
makes a noun, and then add the relevant conjugation of varanaúx in front to
so that the sentence makes sense.
What are you doing? Im eating.
Varanoñesek? Varanaami veknúlça.
If you want to talk about something having something else done to it, you need
the Passive Mood. It takes ultimate priority in coming straight in front of the
stem. Add azep to the stem and conjugate as necessary, but remember that this
changes the way you say things:
In the sentence The dog ate the bone, dog is the subject, who performs the
action, and the bone is the object, so we would say Vekneþik ehlan cpoc.
HOWEVER, to say this in the passive in English means the sentence changes to
The bone was eaten by the dog, in which the bone becomes the subject and
the dog becomes an object placed in the instrumental because it is through the
dog that the bone comes to be eaten. The verb must also be used in the past.
The bone was eaten by the dog=Veknazepöðtö cpoc ehlanapeï.
You might want to negate any one of the above. The negative is always the
second thing to come after the stem; after the passive if theres a queue. Add
(c)ooðín to the stem, and conjugate as above.
I dont eat. Veknooðínaami.
Now weve done those we can move back to the tenses. If we want to talk about
an incomplete action we use the Imperfect tense. This is slightly more complex
in Kenraí than other tenses. Imperfect means incomplete, so using the Kenraí
definition of the past tense, you havent done it (fully) even though you may
have started. You therefore change the auxiliary varanaúx into the negative
past, and add the gerund of the object verb.
I was eating=Varanooðínaamidtö veknúlça.
You might wish to command a bunch of people or a person to do something. This
means the Imperative is needed. This always comes directly before the
conjugation and therefore last of the stem particles. You add amadí. There is
one more thing to remember with the Imperative, in that it changes the word
order of the clause to SOV.
You; eat! Veknamadíoñe!
Everybody; lets eat this food! Okjanuxmud; geckle ídymaan veknamadíaamitaþ!
The most complex sentence that can be made using the particles shown above and
nothing more is a useful reminder of which order they all come in.
Do not get eaten!
While were here lets look at the suggestive and the interrogative as well.
If you say veknaami, it means I eat. To suggest this (I do dont I?) add a d
between the last two letters of the conjugation. Veknaamdi means I eat dont
I. Veknoñde you eat dont you. This is also usable with adjectives. To ask a
question without an explicit question word, you add an l between the last two
letters, again usable with adjectives. Veknaamli adcajeñ? Do I eat every day?
Zilóple? Is it blue? But perhaps the most important inflective in the language
so far is the direct object marker. Instead of saying something long-winded
such as veknaami taþecla for I eat it, you can add an n or yn for plurals
after the conjugation to mean it. Veknaamin=I eat it. Varanoñlen veknúlça?
Are you eating it? Xïcíblaamlitaþyndtö? Did we create it? Of course this
means the language becomes further simplified in cases where you need to
shorten the written form.
There are a couple of rules regarding exceptions to word order. As has already
been said, any imperative verb becomes final. Two more exceptions come with the
Laws of Multiple Subjects and Objects.
The Law Of Multiple Subjects
If, in a sentence, you are the subject of a verb, but the action you perform
involves someone else, then if both people are doing the action they are
considered joint subjects of the verb, and accordingly must both come directly
after the verb.
Example: Yesterday, I played chess with my sister.
I would normally be the subject alone in English, but the sister is considered
to be a chessplayer too, and so goes into the subject part, chess being the
Translation: Çañaamidtö bakcajeñ eserapeï agzñag.
Also note here, that members of the family, and many other things, are
considered to be ones own unless specified otherwise, hence the lack of a
qualifying keízabaí after eserapeï here. This is the equivalent of saying
My sister and I played chess in English, and is the only way you will be
understood in Sornia.
The Law Of Multiple Objects, and Letting
Consider the sentence Dont let the concrete sea pervade your soul. (If
you want to know why its this sentence were considering, CLICK HERE.) The
first thing to do in translations is to change the words to Kenraí word order
as far as you know. Dont let is an imperative, and must therefore come last.
But what of the rest? This is where the complex Law of Multiple Objects comes
in. Even though this is an imperative, the main subject is you. The fact that
this is a let clause makes it more complex.
When dealing with to let, we must remember to split the sentence into two
parts. Lets take the sentence I let David go to the cinema. Here, the two
parts are I let David and David (go) to the cinema. David is repeated
here, because in one part he is the direct object, and in the other the
subject. VSO word order means these parts come out as Let I David go to the
cinema, but since David is doubled, and since verbs always come first, it
changes to Let I to go David to the cinema. Analysing the way this is handled
gives us the ultimate syntax of Kenraí:
1. Verb of the first subject
2. Verb of the indirect object
3. Direct Object (NMB: This is also treated as the Subject of the Verb of the Indirect Object)
5 Indirect Object.
Back to the law of multiple objects.
From our Dont let the concrete sea pervade your soul, we can now split
it into two bits and analyse them both.
(You,) Dont let the concrete sea
The concrete sea pervade your soul.
Concrete sea being repeated comes immediately after both verbs, so the order stands at:
Dont let to pervade the concrete sea your soul
But this is an imperative, so the let bit goes to the end to produce:
To pervade the concrete sea your soul dont let.
Svaínapraúx lðhigitetne yrmíarthateñse kúpaíra çeíðabaí þeponooðínamadíoñe.
In sentences where the first subject isnt explicit from the verb
conjugation, since verbs always come before all subjects, it is preferred to
keep the middle verb and subject together, and simply shift the main subject
towards the end of the sentence, or rather after the secondary subject.
Example: David doesnt help Andrew to do his homework. He thinks Andrew ought to do it alone.
Split the sentence into two.
David doesnt help Andrew.
Andrew to do his homework.
Andrew being doubled comes after both verbs.
Doesnt help/to do/Andrew/David/his homework(Andrew).
Igzooðíneï varanaúx Andrú David bohuzel. Ðömuñdeï þunge mek
þeren varananúx hevneíeï.
Complex, but its best to get it out of the way.
Another complexity is adjectives. Normal English adjectives are closer to
nouns than verbs. Kenraí adjectives function more like Japanese ones though,
and are closer to verbs in their nuances. There are two types of adjective in
Kenraí; Temporary and Permanent. These two have the same type of meaning, and
can be used in tense etc. Permanent state adjectives always end in ópe. Their
translation is usually it is ~. Permanent adjectives are those to which the
attribute they describe is usually invariable in the object. However it is
better to consider the things that are temporary first as this gives a better
idea of the distinction. Temporary adjectives always begin with o, and their
translation is the same, but they tend towards more abstract and variable
descriptors, such as emotion, weather and such. All adjectives also function as
verbals, meaning they can be a sentence on their own. Here it is very important
to note that Kenraí has no word for if, and so no conditiona!
Therefore all statements made, unless questions, are considered definite if
using permanent adjectives.
Dealing with if
When you want to say something involving if in English in Kenraí, there is a
way to change the sentence to make sense. Take the example:
If youre interested in finding out more about Sornia, then go to the website www.sornia.com
Split the people into those who are interested and those who arent. We can
ignore those who arent because it doesnt say anything specific about them,
but those who are can go to the website. So in Kenraí, we say Those people
who are interested in finding out more about Sornia can go to the website
www.sornia.com. Translated this becomes Ezhenizletaþ uxmudaþ ðaknetete
bipharópe ðeenaðadtokanaúx berela Cornía degnaúx grovoc Orogdíbaí
www.sornia.com. (Note that w is pronounced vade in Sornia.) Note
the doubled dative form in ðaknetete, the first denoting the relative who as
opposed to the interrogative, the second making the people the indirect object
to make translation easier. If there is also a clause for those who do not fit
the positive side of the sentence, then after the main clause, put egsilaa
otherwise, then the next bit.
If you want to go on holiday to Egypt, then come in. If you dont, then please leave.
Ezhenizletaþ uxmudaþ ðaknete pinikó Saarekulte aredaúx gobocizletaþ
gidraúx, egsilaa igcoro ednonamadí.
However, states like happiness, which despite our wishes arent permanent,
cant be negated or used in a definite verbal statement, hence the temporary
type of adjective. The Permanent adjectives take verbal affixes and suffixes,
but the temporaries have a separate set of their own.
Ixrópe, with a core permanent meaning of good, can mean I am good, you are
good, etc. Oplaart (I am happy/you are happy etc) is a temporary verbal.
Ixrópedtö would mean it was good usually, but to say I was happy, you must
use a different particle. The past tense adds oblara instead of o on the
front. Oblaraplaart=I was happy. The future adds vele after the o:
oveleplaart=I will be happy. Negation adds preñ in front of the o.
Preñoplaart=I am not happy. To say very, add jebú(l) in front of this.
Jebúpreñoblaraplaart=I was not very happy. To use the comparative (goodè
better) add glin in front of this. Glinjebúpreñoblaraplaart=I wasnt
much happier. As you can see it is possible to make rather complex sentences
from adjectives alone! Of course permanent adjectives can use the normal verb
rules, such that çelixrópecooðíndetalenoï would be used to mean I had
not been very good perhaps. To stress who it is who is being good or whatever,
you can use the conjugations,!
the personal reference term afterwards.
Ixrópecooðínaamidtö=ixrópecooðíndtö keíza=I wasnt good.
Adverbs in permanent state are formed by changing the ending ópe into
ópíçe. Adverbs go before the verb in normal clauses, and afterwards in
Temporary adverbs simply change the o in front to ofa. Ofaplaart=Happily.
I do ~leve
You do ~riktó
He does ~iñde
She does ~alyt
It does ~um
NB? Does ~eþik
Plural marker: ~pyyn
I do ~eprel
You do ~odlec
He does ~aínt
She does ~aúg
It does ~öt
? Does ~ektet
Plural marker: ~mi
I have decided today, for the sake of brevity to include infixes to verbs as
clitic pronouns, almost like French but a step further. So its k for keíza,
ç for çeíða, etc. and keþ/çeþ etc for plurals. So gúnadaúx is to like;
gúnadaçúx would be to like you, gúnadakeþúx to like us
To help you stay safe and secure online, we've developed the all new Yahoo! Security Centre.