Sketch: Tatari Faran
|From:||H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, October 12, 2004, 19:50|
Thanks to people on #conlang who gave me good ideas, I've now named my
new conlang Tatari Faran, the language of Fara, the volcanic plain.
Here's a brief sketch of what I've worked out so far (warning: this is
a bit long):
The left column lists the phonemes, the right column lists the
r [d] (only word-initial)
r  (medial)
Notes: /r/ is realized as [d] when word-initial, and  when medial.
In the Roman orthography, I decided to write initial /r/ as /d/
instead, to emphasize this difference in pronunciation. Glottal stop
is written as /'/ ala Hawaiian when medial, omitted when word-initial.
o [o] or [u]
... (may be a couple more)
Syllabic structure is essentially CV(C). The only consonant clusters
are nasal + non-nasal. There are probably other constraints, which
I've yet to work out.
Adjectives follow the noun they modify, and appear *between* the head
noun and its trailing case marker. Adjectives do not inflect.
Case system: Tatari Faran's core case system is essentially reduced
Ebisédian. There are 3 cases: originative, conveyant, receptive.
Besides these core cases, there are the secondary cases: the vocative
and the genitive. There is also a special case, tentatively called the
absolutive, which is unmarked.
The core cases are marked by a postposition which occurs after any
adjectives or modifiers. These case markers are inflected for gender.
The following table shows the 9 core case markers:
originative conveyant receptive
masculine ka sa na
feminine kei sei nei
neut/epicene ko so no
Vocatives are marked by modifying the noun with the 2nd person
pronoun, _tse_ [ts&]. For example, _diru_ [di4u] is "girl" or
"maiden". The originative would be _diru kei_, the conveyant _diru
sei_, etc., and the vocative is _diru tse_.
Genitives are formed by suffixing -n or -an to the noun, depending on
whether it ends with a vowel or a consonant, respectively. E.g., the
genitive of _diru_ is _dirun_. As with other noun modifiers, genitives
appear between the head noun and the head noun's case marker. For
sura dirun kei - the girl's dress.
(Note: _sura_ itself is a feminine noun. Grammatical gender in Tatari
Faran is more-or-less arbitrary outside of basic words such as man,
woman, etc.. The gender on the case particle agrees with the
(implicit) gender on the head noun, not the modifier.)
The unmarked absolutive case is used in relation to the state of
being. E.g., in answering the question "what is that?", one uses the
absolutive case. The absolutive case is also used in subject headings,
Nouns have two numbers: singular and plural. The singular is unmarked;
the plural is marked by prefixing he- to the noun. E.g.:
All verbs in Tatari Faran come with a "complement". The complement is
a word synonymous with the verb which is appended to the end of the
sentence in the indicative mood. It serves no other purpose than to
reaffirm the main verb, although some verbs have more than one
possible complement, and can achieve different shades of meaning
depending on which complement is used.
A (very crude) approximation of this feature in English is in such
phrases as "shut him up" where "up" serves an analogous role as Tatari
Faran's verb complement, or "send him away", where "away" plays that
role. However, unlike in English, the Tatari Faran complement has no
independent meaning and can't be used as a preposition like "up" can.
Arthaey A. suggested translating the complement as "you do" or "he/she
tse na dutan suna sei inin.
you RCP hear music CVY hear-COMPL
"You hear music, you do."
diru sei tapa itsan nu bata.
girl CVY walk cinder-cone RCP treading-COMPL
"The girl walked to the cinder cone, she did."
This is a nice way to translate it, although it doesn't quite capture
the fact that different verbs take different complements.
The complement is only present in the indicative, and drops out in the
interrogative and the subjunctive.
Another interesting feature of Tatari Faran is in using word order to
indicate verbal mood. (Altho Mike Ellis aka DrLurk tells me that it's
a case of anadewism, since Finnish apparently does this too. In fact,
one can probably argue English does it too.) The first NP in a
sentence is always the "subject" [*], and following NP's are
[*] I put "subject" in quotes because Tatari Faran uses a reduced
Ebisédian case system, and as such doesn't have the same concept of
"subject" as English or other accusative langs do. As far as Tatari
Faran's core cases are concerned, subjectiveness is orthogonal to the
case marking, which is semantically chosen ala Ebisédian.
The different word orders are:
Indicative: tse na dutan haara sa inin.
"You hear a loud noise (you do)."
Interrogative: tsa na haara sa dutan?
"Do you hear a loud noise?"
Subjunctive: tapa tse sa itsan no, tse na dutan haara sa inin.
"If you walk to the cinder cone, you will indeed hear
a loud noise."
(The subjunctive is used in constructing conditional statements. The
first clause is in the subjunctive, and the second is in the
indicative. Notice how the verb complement re-emphasizes the
indicative mood: if X, you *will* hear a loud noise, indeed.)
Forms of address
The second person pronoun _tse_ is quite flexible. Besides being a
second person pronoun, it is also used as a vocative marker (as
already described), for example:
san tse! "Hey, you man over there!"
It can also be used as a form of address:
san tse ka hamra huu na aram.
man you ORG see I RCP see-COMPL
"I see you, man."
_san tse_ is considered more formal and polite than simply _tse_,
although the English translation seems to have it the other way round.
In this sense, Tatari Faran is a bit like Japanese: where a title is
available, one would use it. Albeit in Tatari Faran, the 2nd person
pronoun is attached as well. E.g.:
san tse "Sir" or "Ma'am". Lit. "you, man"
diru tse "Miss". Lit. "you, girl"
bata' tse "Sir", "Chief". Lit. "you, boss"
Tatari Faran is spoken in an enclosed, isolated plain called Fara
(meaning "the Plain") which is highly volcanic. Volcanism is frequent
and widespread, as well as associated earthquakes. Hence, the
vocabulary of Tatari Faran has many words for lava, volcanoes, and
earthquakes. Here's a brief sampling of the words for volcanoes:
fifi [fifi] geyser
itsan [itsan] small to medium-sized volcano, or cinder cone
buara [bwa4a] large explosive volcano
hirana [hi4ana] giant stratovolcano (or any volcanic mountain
reaching to the clouds)
Finally, the name Tatari Faran means "speech of the Plain":
tatari neut. n., "speech", "language"
fara neut. n., "plain", or "the plain" (they only know of
_faran_ is the genitive of _fara_.
Hope you enjoyed this (gasp) on-topic post, in the spirit of the good
ole CONLANG days when people communicated in grammar sketches. ;-)
Comments, questions, debates, flames, fan-mail, all welcome.
Life is complex. It consists of real and imaginary parts. -- YHL