'ižiitsigh is created by tvk. It grammaticalizes many constructions, using affixes where English and many other languages would require additional words or phrases. It is agglutinating with some inflecting characteristics. It is designed to be expressive and "attractively ugly" (muxši).
The look, feel, and sound of the language were inspired ultimately by Turkish, with significant influence from Nahuatl and Klingon. tvk was inspired to make a muxši language after watching the Turkish film Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam.
Vowels are /a E i u U/, represented by <a e i u eu> Consonants: The basic stops are unvoiced /t c ?/ and voiced /b d J\/. These are represented by <t k ' b d g>. There are many fricatives: /s z s_j z_j S Z C j\/ <s z š ž sj zj x gh>. Note that the <j> grapheme doesn't mark palatalization, but a different point of articulation. This is because historically <š> and <ž> were /s`/ and /z`/, and <sj> and <zj> were palatalized alveolar fricatives. The affricates are /dZ/ and /tS/, represented by <dj and tj>. These are descended from palatalized stops and are considered monophonemic, although there are many other possible affricates that are considered consonant clusters. There is also a palatalized stop /k_j/ <kj>. There are two flaps /4 4_0/ <r ř> and two laterals, /l K/ <l lh>. The cluster /tK/ is considered one phoneme and written <tlh>. The nasals are /n m J/ <n m n>. The latter can only occur before another palatal consonant. There is one approximant, /h/ <h>.
Word-finally, /4/ and /4_0/ are respectively [r\] and [z`].
In clusters, /C/ becomes [j\] before a voiced consonant, and /l/ becomes [K] after an unvoiced consonant. /n/ becomes [m] or [J] after a labial or palatal consonant, respectively.
A very short glottal pause may be inserted between other clustered consonants with different voicing.
Syllable structure is CV(V)(C). Clusters cannot occur word-finally, and the set of consonants that can occur word-finally is limited to the following:
<t b d k g tj dj x gh z ž zj š sj r ř n m l lh tlh '>
Consonants that can be the first element of a cluster are: <t d b g k x>. Consonants that can be the second element of a cluster are <l n r ř s š sj z ž zj>.
There is one allowable diphthong, /aU/, written <au>. There are also long forms of each vowel, written by doubling the vowel (except in the case of <eu>, the long form of which is written <euu>.
The vocabulary is a priori. There are two open classes, nouns ('idi'itjun) and verbs ('ixa'autjim). All other morphemes fall into the class of 'izje'ekrel or affixes. The category for all morphemes, including root words, is ižiitsigh.
Nouns fall into one of 8 classes. The first two, called 'iřuušidjim and 'ibuubedjim correspond to masculine and feminine. Nouns are assigned to the classes according to form, function, or association. All noun roots end in a consonant.
The suffix -djim makes an intransitive stative verb into a noun. Y = X-djim means Y is characterized by being or doing X.
The prefix 'eu- makes a noun root into an intransitive stative verb. 'eu-X means "X exists" or "there is X". Verbs of this type are (redundantly) inflected to agree with the class of the root noun. This prefix is fully productive to the point that it might be considered syntactical; it can even be applied to plural nouns or nouns derived from verbs.
Syntax and Grammar
Nouns usually take a vowel suffix to indicate their gender. The suffixes are as follows:
- Class 1: -a
- Class 2: -i
- Class 3: -i
- Class 4: -u
- Class 5: -e
- Class 6: -a
- Class 7: -e
- Class 8: -e
The gender suffix changes under certain conditions. If the noun is within a relative clause or is an argument of a gerund, the suffix is applied after case marking, not before. In addition, any gender suffix can be replaced by the pejorative ending -eu or the diminutive ending -ii.
Nouns have two plural forms, partitive and non-partitive. In the partitive form, the individuals are emphasized; in the non-partitive form, the group is emphasized. This is analogous to the distinction between "persons" and "people" in English; "persons" is the partitive form. Both plurals are formed by prefixing 'i to the stem and doubling the first vowel of the stem. However, in the partitive form, a glottal stop is inserted between the double vowels. The partitive plural of nouns whose first root vowel is eu is irregular: the vowel becomes e'eu rather than eu'eu. For example, the partitive plural of řeu'ad "forked tree branch" is 'iře'eu'ad.
'Iri'ixlu'e sjautžinab zjatlhabiitjatlh. "The people threw the javelin." (i.e. they each threw it in turn, individually.)
'Iriixlu'a sjautžinab zjatlhabiigzjatlh. "The people threw the javelin." (i.e. they all picked it up together and threw it.)
Despite these forms, the concept of pluralization in 'ižiitsigh varies somewhat from that of English. There are no agreement markers for plural forms, and the non-partitive form is quite similar in use to the phrase "a group of [plural noun]" in English. It could be argued that the plural forms are actually derivational. This is supported by the fact that some nouns actually change gender class when they are pluralized, as rixlu "person" does above. In the singular and partitive plural, it is in Class 5, which it shares with rugs and trees; in the non-partitive plural, it is a Class 6 noun, in the same category as words, water, and lizards.
'ižiitsigh is an ergative language; the agent of an intransitive verb and the patient of a transitive verb take the same case. However, nouns in the subject role of many transitive verbs take a third "passive" case. In addition, there are oblique (indirect object or recipient) and instrumental cases. For nouns that are arguments of a verb phrase at the head of a sentence, the case inflections are as follows:
- absolutive -0
- ergative -b
- passive -x
- benefactive -lh
- instrumental -k
- inessive -sj
- allative -m
- ablative -gh
Use of the Passive Case
The passive case is used for nouns representing things that are an active force in creating the action described by the verb, but do not act under their own volition. For example, in the sentence 'ire'ezjedjax 'euzjeutraza'atlh "Arrows have hit him", 'ire'ezedj "arrows" is in the passive case. The passive is also used with intransitives, as in tegšerex 'ezjegheuzi'utj "The rug slipped". As a general rule, use the passive case whenever the subject of a sentence is inanimate.
Nouns Modifying Nouns
Whereas English and most other languages have just a few ways of expressing the possessive or genitive, 'ižiitsigh has many noun cases for such ideas that express the precise relationship between the things involved.
- zjumige Biteuras "Peter's picture" (he owns it)
- zjumige Biteuran "Peter's picture" (he drew it)
- zjumige Biteuradj "Peter's picture" (the picture is of Peter)
- zjumige Biteunar "Peter's picture" (he has it, but doesn't own it)
- meuřauši Biteurau "Peter's mother" (he calls her "mother")
- meuřauši Biteuzir "Peter's mother" (she gave birth to him)
- tegnige Biteurasj "Peter's arm" (the arm is part of him)
- tegnige Biteuzanir "Peter's arm" (a metaphorical reference to something that serves Peter as though it were his arm, but is not an arm or part of him)
In addition to the noun-modifying forms, there are pronominal affixes that allow the expression of possession by first, second, or third persons.
- 1st person singular -ni-
- 1st person plural -nsi-
- 2nd person singular -ri-
- 2nd person plural -lsi
- 3rd person Class 1 -tlhi-
- 3rd person Class 2 -sji-
- 3rd person Class 3 -bli-
- 3rd person Class 4 -hi-
- 3rd person Class 5 -tji-
- 3rd person Class 6 -gzji-
- 3rd person Class 7 -di-
- 3rd person Class 8 -gi-
These endings are applied to the noun root first; then the possessive/genitive endings are applied. Infixes are applied before the pronominal ending. The ending -au replaces the final vowel of the pronominal affix.
- zjumigenis "my picture" (I own it)
- zjumigenin "my picture" (I drew it)
- zjumigenidj "my picture" (the picture is of me)
- zjumigenani "my picture" (I have it)
- meuřaušinau "my mother" (I call her "mother")
- meuřaušizini "my mother" (she gave birjith to me)
- tegnigenisj "my arm"
- zjumigeris "your picture"
- zjumigenari "your picture"
- zjumigelsis "your (pl) picture"
- zjumigenalsi "your (pl) picture"
- zjumigetlhis "his picture"
- zjumigesjis "her picture"
- zjumigeblis "its picture"
- zjumigehis "its picture"
- zjumigetjis "its picture"
- zjumigegzjis "its picture"
- zjumigedis "its picture"
- zjumigegis "its picture"
Words in possessive phrases can of course be plural, for example ite'egnige Biteurasj "Peter's arms", izju'umigetlhidj "his picture".
Verbs in 'ižiitsigh cover approximately the same semantic space as verbs and adjectives in English. Verb roots take many affixes to inflect for tense, aspect, mood, evidentiality, gender of agent and patient, and the speaker's attitude toward the action under discussion.
Tense, Mood, and Aspect
The tense/aspect system works somewhat differently from that in English. The two tenses, narrative and present, indicate a "reference point". Aspects such as perfect/imperfect, inchoative, cessative, etc. delineate the time at which the action occurs in more detail. The present perfect has a wider use than in English, covering most uses of the preterit (except when the action in question is incomplete). The narrative tense puts the reference point in the past, enabling one to say things like "he had not yet gone" or "he was going to go".
Inflecting for Tense, Mood, and Aspect
Without further ado, here are the affixes for all the tenses and aspects in 'ižiitsigh. Tense suffixes are applied immediately after the stem; aspect affixes are prefixed to the stem.
- Present Indicative -z-
- Narrative Indicative -b-
- Present Subjunctive -zj-
- Narrative Subjunctive -g-
- Imperative -m
The aspectual system is more complicated, because aspects can be combined. (SV) below indicates reduplication of the first vowel of the verb stem.
- Simple Perfect: (SV)-
- Perfect Inchoative ha- "started"
- Perfect Cessative keu- "stopped"
- Perfect Desiderative 'ah(SV)- "wanted to"
- Perfect Inchoative Inchoative 'iga- "was about to"
- Perfect Inchoative Cessative nau- "was about to stop"
- Perfect Inchoative Desiderative gh(SV)- "began to want"
- Perfect Cessative Cessative tji- "finished"
- Perfect Cessative Desiderative ši- "stopped wanting"
- Perfect Desiderative Inchoative 'ahu- "wanted to start"
- Perfect Desiderative Cessative 'ab(SV) "wanted to stop"
- Perfect Desiderative Desiderative 'eumi- "wanted to want"
- Simple Imperfect: (no prefix)
- Imperfect Inchoative ki- "starts"
- Imperfect Cessative n(SV)- "stops"
- Imperfect Desiderative mau- "wants to"
- Imperfect Inchoative Inchoative tlha- "is about to"
- Imperfect Inchoative Cessative 'ina- "is about to stop"
- Imperfect Inchoative Desiderative ghi- "begins to want"
- Imperfect Cessative Cessative di- "finishes"
- Imperfect Cessative Desiderative 'iš(SV)- "stops wanting"
- Imperfect Desiderative Inchoative xa- "wants to start"
- Imperfect Desiderative Cessative dja- "wants to stop"
- Imperfect Desiderative Desiderative mi- "wants to want"
There are several other aspects that can be applied as prefixes. Each affix modifies the whole word including any affixes that follow it before the root, so the order in which they are applied is important.
- Habilitative xi- indicates that the action is possible, equivalent to English constructions with "can".
- Benefactive kje- indicates that the action is beneficial to society.
- Punctual dji- indicates that an action occurs suddenly or instantaneously.
- Excessive sja- indicates that an action is performed "too much"; also used with static verbs.
- Habitual 'aa- indicates that the statement is generally true.
- Iterative 'an(a)- indicates that the action is performed repeatedly.
- -i- The event or state is common knowledge
- -a- The speaker knows about the event from another, identifiable source
- -aa- The speaker directly experienced this event
- -au- The speaker heard about the event from another source but cannot verify its validity (IIRC in chatspeak)
- -u- The truth of the event is subject to opinion (IMO in chatspeak)
- -e- The speaker merely hypothesizes that the event occurs.
Inflecting for person and attitude
Predicates are inflected for the plurality, and person or gender, of two arguments. Exactly which two is somewhat complicated. The following rules apply:
- The agent of an intransitive verb takes the first agreement slot. In the sentence "he runs", the verb "to run" would agree with "he".
- The agent and patient of a transitive verb take the first and second slots, respectively. In the sentence "I eat it", the verb "to eat" would agree with "I" and "it".
- If the verb's subject is in the passive case, and there is no agent or patient, the first slot takes the -'- unspecified agreement affix and the second agrees with the noun in passive case. In the sentence "The rocks rolled down the hill", the verb "to roll" would agree with "rocks".
- If the verb has a patient specified but no agent or passive argument, the first slot takes -'- and the second slot agrees with the patient.
- If there is an agent and a passive argument, but no patient, the agent takes the first agreement slot and the passive the second. In "He shot the arrow", the verb "to shoot" would agree with "he" and "arrow".
- If there is a passive argument and a patient, but no agent, the passive takes the first agreement slot and the patient takes the second. In "The arrow hit him", the verb would agree with "arrow" and "him".
- If there is an agent, a patient, and a passive argument, the verb agrees with the agent and patient only, in that order. In "She gives it to him", the verb would agree with "she" and "it", but not "him".
- Verbs never agree with any arguments that are not in one of the cases above.
The personal affixes are as follows. When two affixes are listed, the first one is used word-medially, the second is used word-finally.
- 1st person singular -n-
- 1st person plural -ns-, -nsi' (the final variant is often shortened to -ns in speech, but is pronounced as -nz)
- 2nd person singular -r-
- 2nd person plural -ls-, -lsi'
- 3rd person Class 1 -tlh-
- 3rd person Class 2 -š-
- 3rd person Class 3 -m-
- 3rd person Class 4 -h-, -x
- 3rd person Class 5 -tj-
- 3rd person Class 6 -gzj
- 3rd person Class 7 -d
- 3rd person Class 8 -gh
- No agreement -'-
An attitudinal affix is inserted between the agreement affixes to express the speaker's opinion of the situation. They are as follows:
- Neutral -a-
- Uncertain -e-
- Satisfaction -i-
- Joy -ii-
- Horror, Disgust, Anger -eu-
- Disappointment -u-
- Sorrow -uu-
A special affix -eke- prompts the listener to respond with his opinion on the situation. It can be combined with other attitudinals by inserting it after the other affix, using a glottal stop to separate them.
"He began to want to benefit society by scaring us away."
"My mother woke us up."
"In my opinion, there are too many rugs"