- See also:
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Phonology
- 3 Word Order
- 4 Nouns
- 5 Prepositions
- 6 Conjunctions
- 7 Adjectives
- 8 Numbers
- 9 Questions
- 10 Verbal Morphology
- 11 Copular Verbs
- 12 resources
|Plosives||p b||t d||k g||ʔ (q)|
|Fricatives||s||ʃ (sh)||x (h)|
Note: The glottal stop /ʔ/ q, is used as a "buffer" to keep vowels apart when adding suffixes. /x/ and /h/ are actually allophonic.
The vowels can be marked with an acute accent — á, é, í, ú — for two purposes: to mark stress if it does not follow the most common pattern, or to differentiate words that are otherwise spelled identically.
- ai - /a͡ɪ/ (this is the only diphthong in Amal)
- o - /o/ is very rare
The only syllable pattern allowed is CVC (where V includes long vowels and diphthongs), however, the q /ʔ/ is dropped unless buffering between non-diphthongized vowels. This means that the de facto syllable structure is (C)V(C) .
Initial consonant clusters are prohibited, and the final consonant, if any, cannot be p, g, q, w, or y. Syllables cannot begin with wu or wo.
Clusters do occur medially, but are most often separated by /ɛ/.
All syllables should be emphatically pronounced, with a slight stress on the first syllable of a word (but on the second, if the word begins with a vowel).
Sentences generally take the form: (subject(s)) (object(s)) verb. For example, the following sentence literally means the woman the book read:
|The woman read the book.|
This word order is not obligatory. You can alter the word order to emphasize a particular element. The most stressed element in a sentence is the element which is nearest to the verb. If you want to stress the verb, you put it at the beginning of the sentence. If you want to stress that it is the woman who read the book, you change the word order. This can also be done to emphasize negation of the verb.
Forming nouns from roots
Roots are used to form all parts of speech in Amal. Nouns tend to follow predictable patterns based on phonemic composition, most importantly, the vowel. The typical noun is formed by doubling the stem's vowel before the initial consonant, i.e. CVC = root > VCVC = noun. Example: yem - eating; food; sustenance > eyem - food
However, there are exceptions, most of which are immediately recognizable, others require memorization. What follows are a few examples of both regularly and irregularly formed nouns. If the stem final consonant is p, g, q, w, or y, the noun will always be formed irregularly.
Amal nouns can be singular, dual, or plural.
- kup-a - dog >> kup-ik - (two) dogs >> kup-im - dogs
- na- - collection of things
- heti (tree) >> nahet (forest)
- kupa (dog) >> nakupa (dog pack) >> nakupik (two packs of dogs)
Mass nouns include liquids, powders, and substances, such as ura (water), ugum (sand), and heti (wood). They do not normally require determiners or the plural. However, one may add these to indicate specific examples or different types:
- buqura — this water (e.g. in the cup)
- hetim — woods (e.g. various kinds)
Amal distinguishes animate-inanimate gender in 3rd person pronominal suffixes. -u and -um are used for animate singular and plural respectively, whereas -a and -am are used for inanimate. -il is neuter singular and can refer to either animate or inanimate, as well as obviative. Animacy depends on whether the referent is living, or able to move independently. The case endings are not effected by animacy. Nouns can typically be ranked by animacy on a continuum from most animate (a human) to least animate (an abstraction) :
- Human > Child > Animal >> Natural Force > Object > Abstraction
Amal does not have a masculine–feminine gender based distinctions.
However, where desired, masculine individuals may be distinguished by the suffix -ul, and feminine ones by -en.
- dashin - "sibling" >> dashul - "brother" >> dashen "sister"
The basic form of each noun, and the one cited in dictionaries, is the nominative singular. All the other forms can be derived from it. Most nouns are formed from a basic root along with one of several nominalizer affixes.
- The accusative case (-wa / -ú) marks the direct object of a verb. When marked as accusative, nouns will often drop the nominalizer affix.
- The genitive case (-ya / -ai) is used to show possession and is placed immediately after the first member of a genitive construction.
- The dative (bi-) for the beneficiary of an action, indirect object, or motion towards. Unlike other case endings, it has morphed to being a prefix and has only one form, used in all instances. The exception to this is the form used with pronouns, ib-.
- The locative case (-da) indicates the place or time at which something happens. Its meaning can be translated by the English prepositions 'to', 'at', 'on', 'in' etc.
- The ablative case (-sha) carries the meaning "from, off of" and shows separation away from an object. It is also used in comparisons and in this case translates as "than".
- The instrumental/comitative case (-ha / -ak) denotes accompaniment. It is translated as "with", "together with", "by", "with" or "through". An important use of the instrumental is as an adverbial, since Amal lacks a morphological adverb.
|Nominative||-||eqesh||the house (subject)|
|Accusative||-wa / -ú||eshwa||the house (object)|
|Dative||bi-||biqesh||for, to, on behalf of the house|
|Ablative||-sha||essha||from the house|
|Genitive||-ya / -ai||eshai||of the house|
|Locative||-da||eshda||at, in, on the house|
|Instrumental/Comitative||-ha / -ak||eshak||using/with the house|
Pronouns in Amal are marked for number, person, and case. There are three persons. The stand-alone personal pronouns are not used widely as the person is evident from the personal verb ending. They are used for emphasis only in their simple form as the verb form itself already points to the person. This is similar to Spanish where a person will say comprendo - "I understand" instead of Yo comprendo - "I understand".
|2s||-ti / -e||ti||you; thou|
|3s.ANIM||-u / -il||il||she; he; it|
|2pl||-ut / -í||tum||you (all)|
|2s||-ti / -e||eti / eye||tai||ibti||akti|
|3s||-u / -il||eyu||lai||ilib *||ilak|
|2p||-ut / -í||eyut||ai||ibut||utak|
- imbu and ilib are results of metathesis, a common occurrence in Amal.
direct object incorporation
Direct object pronouns are incorporated to the verb inflection. So, instead of eyu aryeshan (I saw her), aryeshanu is grammatical. The DO pronouns are not used when the object is specified. So, instead of kawalu aryeshanu (I saw (it) the horse), kawalu aryeshan is grammatical.
|verb||tense / aspect / mood||subject||object|
|I saw her.|
These are suffixes that cannot stand alone but are attached to the end of a verb, used to identify subject and object.
|you||-ti / -e||-eyan||-||-eyu||-eyuk||-eyut *||-eyum|
|he/she/it||-u / -il||-ilan||-ile / -uti||-ilu||-iluk||-ilut||-ilum|
|you (pl)||-ut / -í||-utan||-||-utu||-utuk||-||-utum|
If no subject suffix is given anywhere in the sentence, third person can be assumed.
There are a limited number of deictics and quantifiers:
Unlike most modifiers, these appear before the noun: bumul (this man); irha tashida (at each city).
There are not, strictly speaking, any indefinite pronouns; but there are indefinite expressions, built from the above modifiers plus words like na (thing), eqin (person), eren (hour), guna (day). Expressions like irha eqin (every person) may be taken as equivalent to “everyone, everybody”. Time expressions are no exception: ‘now’ corresponds to expressions like bara (this time); or beren (this hour); irha guna (every day; always); wera (sometimes) etc. Choose the time period according to the meaning: you may swat flies away “every minute”, but kingdoms rise and fall “every age”.
Amal lacks a morphological preposition. To express locative concepts in Amal one mostly make use of one of the following case suffixes:
Amal uses nouns to express more complex spatial relationships (these words are adverbs in English) this means that for example the word tumda should be interpreted as something like the everwhere place or all places. And a phase like tumda aryanti (meaning I see you everywhere) is literally I see you in all places. Likewise aryanti uyushda nai (meaning I see you to my left) is literally I see you in my left area.
Coordinate clauses can be formed with a number of conjunctions, which describe the relationship between the clauses:
- ta - also; and
- ila - but; however
- ye - or; either; whichever
- yela - neither; nor
- hata - so that; in order to/that
- hema - both
- ki - if; whether
- pa - then; consequently; so
- shun - reason; cause; because
The first four of the above conjunctions can also be used to connect noun phrases or modifiers.
Amal does not have adjectives as a distinct part of speech. Instead, many intransitive verbs can be used as adjectives, in which case they follow the noun they modify.
A few adjectivizing suffixes:
- -eshb(a) - past participle (e.g. biseshba ‘trusted’)
- -ya / -ai - genitive (kawalya ‘horse’s)
- -iy(a) - adjectivization (dishiya ‘foreign’)
- -da - locative (bagada ‘in the garden’)
- -ha / -ak - possessing; instrumental (kawalha ‘having/using a horse’)
- -úl - without (eshúl ‘without a house’, ‘homeless’) [abessive]
- ne- - negative (nebiseshba ‘untrustworthy’)
The causative -ed can be applied to attributive verbs: niwed ‘whiten’, sared ‘quicken’.
Adjectives normally follow the noun.
|ush||3||three||nen||9||nine||sadesh||105||(one) hundred thousand|
|kish||5||five||sada||100||(one) hundred||ulun||109||(one) billion|
Forming Larger Numbers
- dawa - eleven / 11
- nida - twenty / 20
- sadaseb - one hundred seven / 107
- ushadanidasha - three hundred twenty six / 326
- shaheshnidaha - six thousand and twenty four / 6024
Other Number Forms
|kishdaha||54||fifty four|| emkishdaha
a fifty fourth
|sadasha||106||one hundred (and) six|| emsadasha
|sebhesh||7000||seven thousand|| emsebhesh
There are a number of interrogative words that are used to introduce questions:
- mara yemuruk? - when eat-TENT-1pl - When might we eat?
- shum kaye buda? - why be-2s here - Why are you here?
Any statement can become a polar question by adding the interrogative suffix -em to the verb construction.
- yashemu? - be.wet-INT-3s - Is it wet?
- shabemumti? - know-INT-3pl-2s - Do they know you?
The verbal inflection of Amal is quite simple. There are only two tenses, non-past, and past (present corresponds to the imperfective aspect, and past tense could also be analyzed as the perfective aspect), each marked for person and number. There are three aspects (inceptive, repetitive, and durative) as well as various moods and voices that are also marked on the verb (usually between the verb root and the person).
|Passive Participle||-eshb||yemeshbu||/ˈjɛmɛʃbu/||eat-PPP-3s|| It was eaten.|
|Past Tense||-esh||yemeshan||/jɛmˈeʃan/||eat-PST-1s||I ate.|
|Reportative||-un||yemunum||/ˈjɛmunum/||eat-REP-3pl||They are said to be eating.|
|Desiderative||-ash||yemashut||/ˈjɛmaʃʊt/||eat-DES-2pl||You (all) want to eat|
|Interrogative||-em||yememti||/ˈjɛmemti/||eat-Q-2s||Are you eating?|
|Negative||-la||yemukla||/ˈjɛmuklɑ/||eat-1pl-NEG||We do not eat|
|Obligative||-id||yemidum||/ˈjɛmidum/||eat-OBL-3pl||They are obliged to eat.|
|Tentative||-ur||yemuru||/ˈjɛmuɾu/||eat-TENT-3s||She may (be) eat(ing)|
|Durative||-ab||yemeshabu||/ˈjɛmeʃabu/||eat-PST-DUR-3s||He was eating|
|Inceptive||-ud||yemudeshuk||/jɛmˈudeʃuk/||eat-INC-PST-1pl||We began to eat|
|Repetitive||-al||yemalu||/ˈjɛmalu/||eat-REP-3s||She keeps (on) eating|
|Causative||-ed||yemedanu||/ˈjɛmedanu/||eat-CAUS-1s-3s||I feed him.|
|Passive||-eb||tawi yemebu||/tawi ˈjɛmedanu/||chicken eat-PASS-3s||The chicken is eaten.|
|Reflexive||-eg||aryegum||/arʲˈegum/||see_REFL-3pl||They see each other|
The only marked tense being the past tense, the suffix -esh appears between the verb root and the subject-object construction.
There is a set of modal suffixes, similar to our auxiliary verbs:
- The tentative -ur (sometimes called suggestive, future, probable future, or presumptive) indicates that an action is possible or uncertain, or even that it is unsuccessful: haleshuru He tried to walk
- The desiderative -ash expresses that the action is desired by someone -- usually the subject (halashan I want to go), but sometimes the speaker or a third party (halashile it’s desirable that you go)
There is also a set of aspect suffixes, which give details about the action’s placement in time:
- The inceptive -ud signals the beginning of an action
- The repetitive -al indicates that the action was repeated or habitual
- The durative -ab, like our progressive, indicates that the action was or is in progress
The various voices are sometimes combined with other verb modifiers.
There are two copular verbs, both of which can be dropped in most cases. They differ in use based on permanence, hara (which is irregular) being permanent or essential, and kayek being temporary, or fleeting.
Here are a few examples of their uses: