Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

News about my New Personal Language

From:Christophe Grandsire <grandsir@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 25, 1999, 13:07
Hello! Is anybody here?

        The list seems to have fallen again in a silent mood (13 messages
today, that's not bad, but only six yesterday!). Is it because Irina and
Boudewijn are in holidays? :)

        OK, to wake you up, I decided to tell you about what I decided for the
adjectives in my New Personal Language (after boring you with my
questions about my "intensive" and "absolute", it is normal that you be
rewarded by a look at what it has become in my language :) ). This is
going to be a long post, but I hope not a boring one. So here is the
morphology of the adjectives, and of the adverbs derived from


        The adjectives are divided into three groups, according to their
behaviour in attribute position. Inside one group, adjectives have the
same behaviour, but it can be differently marked morphologically
speaking. This post will deal only with the most common forms they take
(which are hence called "regular"). The three groups of adjectives are:
- the adjectives agreeing in gender, or AR- adjectives,
- the adjectives agreeing in construction, or -EUTH adjectives,
- the invariable adjectives, or nominal adjectives.


        In attribute position, the AR- adjectives agree in gender with the noun
they modify. Those adjectives are mostly adjectives of colour and
quantity, plus some others. Their positive, intensive and absolute forms
are regularly formed as follows:

positive:       inanimate: stem alone
                animate: prefix AR- + stem

intensive:      inanimate: stem alone followed by adverb firaem /PiR'ajm/
                animate: prefix AEM- + stem

absolute:       inanimate: stem alone followed by adverb eret /eR'Et/
                animate: prefix ET- + stem

        Adverbs derived from those adjectives are formed simply by putting the
animate prefix as a suffix at the end of the stem. In this case, the
suffix attracts the stress. The intensive and absolute forms of the
adverb are formed simply by using the intensive and absolute forms of
the animate prefix as suffix.

        Here is an example of AR- adjective (unfortunately an irregular one,
but very important to know):

cuun /g'un/, arcuun /aRg'un/: much, many, a lot of

        corresponding adverb: cuunar /gun'aR/: much

fira /PiR'a/, aemfira /ajmP@R'a/: really, very, more, too much, too
many, etc...
        corresponding adverb: firaem /PiR'ajm/: really, more, too much, most,

eriu /eR'Ew/, eteriu /etR'Ew/: enough, simply, as much, as many, etc...

        corresponding adverb: eret /eR'Et/: enough, as, as much, etc...

NOTE: this language is head-first (the determiner follows the
determinee). So the adverb always follows the adjective it modifies.

NOTE 2: fira and eriu are used with nouns much like more, the
comparative of much and many, is used in English. Of course, their
meaning is different and reflects the nature of the intensive and


        In attribute position, the -EUTH adjectives agree in construction with
the noun they modify. Those adjectives are mainly adjectives of quality
(most adjectives in fact, like good, bad, beautiful, etc...), of
identity (nation, language, etc...) and of resemblance (like most
adjectives in -ish in English, like childish, etc...). The regular ones
are formed as follows:

positive:       normal state: stem + suffix -EUTH
                construct state: stem + suffix -A"E"VI

intensive:      normal state: stem + suffix -I"DHOE
                construct state: stem + suffix -U"VI

absolute:       normal state: stem + suffix -AOH
                construct state: stem + suffix -UUS

        Their corresponding derived adverbs are formed simply by omitting the
suffix. The intensive and absolute forms of the adverb are hence formed
by following it by firaem or eret.

        Here is an example of -EUTH adjective. It's chasmeuth /tSasm'9T/: good,
that has the particularity of being totally regular:

chasmeuth /tSas'9T/, chasma"e"vi /tSasm'ajv@/: good

        corresponding adverb: chasm /tS'asm/: well

chasmi"dhoe /tSasm'iD@j/, chasmu"vi /tSasm'yv@/: really good, very good,
better, the best, etc...
        corresponding adverb: chasm firaem: very well, better, best, etc...

chasmaoh /tSasm'awtS/, chasmuus /tSasm'us/: good enough, as good, simply
good, etc...
        corresponding adverb: chasm eret: well enough, as well, etc...

NOTE: beware of the possible changes in orthography when the vowel of
the suffix is a u-letter or a non-u-letter.

NOTE 2: the umlaut serves to show the stressed syllable when it is not
the last one, and is put on both vowels of a digraph.


        In attribute position, the nominal adjectives are invariable. Those
adjectives are simply nouns used adjectivally. They are mostly
adjectives of colour (like English orange from the noun "orange") and of
material (like English plastic). As they come from nouns without change,
they have a certain noun flavour, so that they are modified by
adjectives, not by adverbs. Thus, their degrees are formed as follows:

positive: adjective alone

intensive: adjective followed by adjective fira

absolutive: adjective followed by adjective eriu

        You can't derive adverbs from these adjectives. Instead, you have to
use nouns phrases using the corresponding noun (I still have to explore
this region :) ).

        Many of these adjectives are borrowings from other languages, like
ara"nchu /aR'andZ@/: orange. They often have correspondings -EUTH
adjectives. The nominal adjectives then often mean that the object is
made of a certain material, whereas the -EUTH adjectives mean that the
object seems to be made of this material. For example, with roesa
/ROjs'a/: wood, you can have the adjectives roesa: wood, in wood or
roeszeuth /ROjs'9T/: wood-like, woodish, in an imitation of wood.


        With the presentation of the different groups of adjectives, we also
saw how they behaved in attribute position. Now we can see how they
behave as epithets.

        The first thing to remember is that this language is normally
head-first, so the adjective must follow the noun, as the adverb must
follow the adjective. But as things are never so perfect, adjectives can
preceed the noun, where they get a more intrinsic meaning, more bounded
to the meaning of the noun. This use is mostly idiomatic. In any case,
the adverb must follow the adjective. I have yet to explore how we can
have more than one adjective modifying the same noun.

        The epithet adjective behaves mostly like the attribute. So the AR-
adjectives still agree in gender with the noun and the -EUTH adjectives
still agree in construction with the noun. The nominal adjectives stay
invariable of course. What changes is when you have to add the prefixed
or suffixed article e or o. The group adjective+noun is considered
bounded, so that the article must be affixed around the whole group. So,
with the group "chasmeuth pecar": good dog (putting the adjective before
the noun here gives it the meaning of "kind" as well as "good"):

chasmeuth pecar /tSasm'9T pek'aR/: (some) good dogs

ochasmeuth pecar /otS@sm'9T pek'aR/: a good dog

chasmeuth peca"ro /tSasm'9T pek'aR@/: the good dog, good dogs (in

ochasmeuth peca"ro /otS@sm'9T pek'aR@/: the good dogs

        The article behaves with the adjective like with the noun concerning
the phonological changes due to vowels near it (even with the prefixes
of the AR- adjectives). The existence of an adverb following the
adjective doesn't change anything in this scheme. If the adjective is
put after the noun, the adverb will appear after it but the suffixed
article will still be at the end of the adjective. If the adjective is
put before the noun, the adverb will appear between them, but the
prefixed article will still be on the adjective, and the suffixed
article on the noun. In that case, the adverb can even be put after the
noun, as adverbs never complete nouns. However, this is done only when
both the noun and the adjective are shorter than the adverb, which is
rare enough.

NOTE: the adjectives that already carry a plural meaning (like cuun:
many, much) trigger a special behaviour to the nouns they complete. The
first thing to know is that contrary to English, countable and
uncountable nouns use the same adjectives of quantity (cuun means "many"
as well as "much"). With uncountable nouns, there is no problem as those
nouns don't have the notion of plural. So:

tarol cuun /taR'Ol g'un/: much sugar, a lot of sugar

tarol cu"u"ne /taR'Ol g'un@/: lots of sugar (in general, like in: "Do
you put lots of sugar in your tea?")

With countable nouns, this is more tricky (but not so much). The
adjectives of quantity forbid the use of the prefixed article, but still
give a meaning of plurality. Thus:

smar cuun /sm'aR g'un/: many books

smar cu"u"ne /sm'aR g'un@/: the many books, many books (in general)

So with adjectives of quantity, countable and uncountable nouns behave
nearly exactly in the same way, but giving different meanings.

        Wow! I think I told you everything about the morphology of adjectives
in my New Personal Language. If you think I forgot something, just tell
me. And of course, all comments are welcome. So, did I manage to wake
you up, or did I put you in hibernation? :)

        Christophe Grandsire

        Philips Research Laboratories --  Building WB 145
        Prof. Holstlaan 4
        5656 AA Eindhoven
        The Netherlands

        Phone:  +31-40-27-45006