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Tárnerdàzh Phonology and Grammar (long)

From:Etak <tarnagona@...>
Date:Sunday, February 1, 2004, 23:24
   I've just completed a basic grammar of my language
and would like to know what you think.  I hope I've
got the various linguistic terms right. :)  The
grammar still needs work as it can't handle more
complex things yet.  And I'm planning on throwing some
irregular nouns and verbs into the mix to make things
   So, for your entertainment and amusement, comments
and critique:

-----Tárnerdàzh Phonology-----

   Sounds appear with Tárnerdàzh romanization first
and CXS phonetic transcriptions in slashes when it is


p, b, t, d, k, g

m, n, ng  /N/

f, v, th  /T/, dh  /D/, s, z, sh  /S/, zh  /Z/

Lateral Approximant:

   Voiceless plosives and fricatives only come at the
beginning of words, and voiced ones only come in the
middle or at the ends of words.


R's are not pronounced, much like some British
dialects of English.  Instead the r is stopped just
before it is spoken.  The other vowels are pronounced
like English vowels except 'ay', 'ey', and 'iy' are
pronounced like 'ae', 'ee', and 'ie' in English.  'uw'
and 'uy' are pronounced like 'ow' and 'oy' but back
more (I think).  Soon I'll learn which IPA vowels are
which and I'll be able to explain better. :)

a, ar, aw, ay
e, er, ew, ey
i, ir, iw, iy,
o, or, ow, oy
u, ur, uw, uy


   Basic syllable structure is vowel (nasal)
consonant.  Words can begin with a consonant or end
with a vowel but there are no consonant vowel
syllables except in one syllable words.  I'm working
on a Tárnerdázh syllabary in which there are no
consonant vowel pairs (but I've since realized that I
have one syllable words that end in a vowel).


   Tárnerdàzh has three tones: rising, falling, and
level.  Tones are primarily grammatical rather than
phonetic.  A rising tone is indicated by an acute
accent over the vowel (e.g. á).  A falling tone is
indicated by a grave accent (e.g. à).  A level tone is
indicated by the vowel without an accent.
   A tone cannot follow another of the same kind.  One
has to change.  Grammatical tones (tones on prefixes
and suffixes) take precedence over phonetic ones.
When two rising tones follow each other, the phonetic
tone changes to a level tone unless there is a level
tone beside it.  Then it will change to a falling
tone.  If two falling tones follow each other, the
phonetic tone changes to a level tone unless there is
a level tone beside it.  Then it changes to a rising
tone.  If two level tones follow each other, the
phonetic one changes to a rising tone unless there is
one beside.  Then it changes to a falling tone.

-----Tárnerdàzh Grammar-----

   This is a very basic grammar of Tárnerdàzh.  It
covers only nouns, adjectives, verbs, and pronouns.  I
haven't figured out the more complex stuff yet.  Word
order is subject, object, verb.  Tárnerdàzh is spoken
on a con-island where magic is commonplace and a
goodly percentage of the population are magicians of
one kind or another.  It seems only natural the
language would evolve to describe magic as well as
more ordinary things.


   Noun classes say something about the noun and can
also by used to indicate social standing.  Using the
magical endings indicates the most respect for
something while using the unnatural endings indicates
that something is so lowly that it shouldn't really
There are five classes of nouns:

   Tárnerdàzh has an ergative/absolutive system.
There are seven cases:
Ergative    -  indicating the subject of a transitive
Absolutive  -  indicating the subject of an
intransitive or the direct object of a transitive verb

Dative      -  indicating the indirect object of a
Genitive    -  indicating possession
Locative    -  indicating location or place where
Temporal    -  indicating time when
Vocative    -  indicating personal address

-Case Endings-
Magical:               Living:
Ergative    -iyv       Ergative    -erg
Absolutive  -iwl       Absolutive  -el
Dative      -ig        Dative      -ewd
Genitive    -irz       Genitive    -ez
Locative    -izh       Locative    -eb
Temporal    -iyd       Temporal    -erdh
Vocative    -iy        Vocative    -ew

Natural:               Man-made:
Ergative    -azh       Ergative    -uwd
Absolutive  -awg       Absolutive  -uv
Dative      -ab        Dative      -uzh
Genitive    -av        Genitive    -url
Locative    -al        Locative    -uyd
Temporal    -awz       Temporal    -ub
Vocative    -ar        Vocative    -udh

Ergative    -ol
Absolutive  -owv
Dative      -og
Genitive    -oyd
Locative    -ozh
Temporal    -ordh
Vocative    -oy

Singular - falling tone
Plural  -  rising tone
Multal  -  level tone
   The singular is used when talking about only one of
   The plural is used when talking about more than one
of something, but only when the number is twenty or
less or is already known.
   The multal is used when talking about mass nouns,
an unknown number of something, or an uncountable
number of something.

   Adjectives agree in number and case with the noun
they modify, but class endings may be different.
Class is a part of the descriptiveness of the
adjective.  For example, the word "loud" might have
the unnatural ending although "child" which it
modifies would have the living ending.  This would
describe an unnaturally loud child.
   Pluralizing adjectives works the same as
pluralizing nouns.

   Pronouns pluralize by tone like nouns and
adjectives do.
The personal pronouns are-
First Person:     Second Person:      Third Person:
Ergative   -ada   Ergative   -idiy    Ergative   -odor
Absolutive -ala   Absolutive -iliy    Absolutive -olor
Dative     -aba   Dative     -ibiy    Dative     -obor
Genitive   -azha  Genitive   -izhiy   Genitive
Locative   -ama   Locative   -imiy    Locative   -omor
Temporal   -adha  Temporal   -idhiy   Temporal
Vocative   -anga  Vocative   -ingiy   Vocative

   Possessive pronouns are the genitive form of the
personal pronouns.  Reflexation is shown by using the
absolutive of the personal pronouns.

   There are three conjugations.  (Can anyone think of
better names?  "body, mind, spirit" sounds very
metaphysical or something, and I'm talking about
verbs, not the workings of the universe.  Or maybe
it's the fact that they don't have fancy Latin-derived
names that bugs me. :))
In the infinitive:
Body   -íloy
Mind   -ílew
Spirit -íla

Verbs of body   - action verbs
e.g. running, walking, jumping, etc.
Verbs of mind   - using the brain primarily
e.g. reading, writing, talking, etc.
Verbs of spirit - using only the mind, states of being
e.g. thinking, meditating, understanding, etc.

   The tone markings on personal endings are
redundant.  Either they are a holdover from Ancient
Tárnerdàzh, or something just emerging because nouns
are all pluralized by tone.

-To Conjugate-
In the indicative--
Body             Mind              Spirit
Singular:        Singular:         Singular:
1p  -òg          1p  -èyd          1p  -àrb
2p  -òwd         2p  -èb           2p  -àg
3p  -òrb         3p  -èrg          3p  -àwd
Plural:          Plural:           Plural:
1p  -ówzh        1p  -édh          1p  -áyv
2p  -óz          2p  -éyv          2p  -áwzh
3p  -órdh        3p  -érzh         3p  -áz
Multal:          Multal:           Multal:
1p  -oy          1p  -ew           1p  -a
2p  -or          2p  -ey           2p  -aw
3p  -ow          3p  -er           3p  -ay

   Tense is marked with a prefix.  The indicative is
the default tense and so does not need a prefix.
Tense prefixes work like this:
Rising tone  - past tense
Falling tone - future tense
Level tone   - present
Some tense prefixes are:
Normal past - tá
Recent past - sí
Imperfect   - sháw
Imperative  - ko
Future      - lùw
The interrogative is formed by using the question
marker 'sézhin' at the beginning or end of a sentence,
rather than by a tense marker on the verb.


   The negative is formed using two words.  One word
goes just after the subject and the other goes just
before the verb.  The first word indicates what kind
of negative it is, e.g. not, never, not anymore, etc.
The second word actually negates the verb.  'tól' is
the word that comes before the verb and negates it.
It can be combined with:
mála  - not
théma - never
kóna  - not anymore

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