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Request for feedback on the Vilani verb

From:Robert Eaglestone <downport@...>
Date:Thursday, March 18, 2004, 21:01
Four years ago, Kenji Schwarz built a Vilani grammar
from his clever brain.  I was a cowardly bystander
to the process.  Too bad!  But I've recently decided
to dust it off and see what's there.

One of his good ideas was to get some feedback from
other clever language enthusiasts out there -- namely,
members of CONLANG.  I would like to do that too,
since it looks like Vilani may need polishing as well
as dusting.  I expect to kill two birds with one
stone by also learning a little more about Vilani
grammar along the way.

So I'll start right in on the verb, and see if anyone
shows any interest.

A draft of Vilani Grammar, reasonably current, is at

Vilani Verbs for Dummies Like Me

A lot of stuff happens on the verb: agent/subject and
patient references are prefixed onto it, and dative/
benefactive "directionals" (sort of like
prepositions?) are tacked to the end.  Plus there are
other goodies as well.  Verb roots are one or two
syllables; constructed 'stems' can be up to five
syllables, and a whole verb can be up to eleven
syllables long.  Thankfully that doesn't appear to
happen much.

The verb normally is the first word in a sentence.
If you put the agent, patient, or subject in front of
the verb, you've topicalized it -- the equivalent of
using a definite article on it.

Okay, so we want to build a sentence using a
transitive verb.  Say, someone saw something at a
location: "Eneri saw the Emperor at market."  The
sentence is built up like so:

 object_p + agent_p + SEE + directional
 Eneri + agent_m
 relational + MARKET

 The object_p prefix is human and proximate,
 yielding /a-/.

 The agent_p prefix is also human, yielding /k/
 (or /kh/ before a vowel).

 "To see someone" is /girma/ for simple present
 and past.

 After a vowel, the directional "at" is /ni/.

 The marker for agent nouns is /gim/.

 "Emperor" is /Karun/.

 The relational marker is always /ka/.

 Market is /duraag/.

So, the sentence is

   Akgirmani Enerigim Karun kaduraag.

Which would likely adjust itself to:

   Aggirmani Enerigim Karun kaduraag.

That's the verb in a nutshell.  There are verb
prefixes based on the agent/patient relationship,
mode, negation, aspect or trajectory, whether it
was changed from eventive to stative or vice versa,
and a bunch of subordinators for using verbs inside