Amal

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Introduction

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Phonology

consonants
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labiovelar Glottal
Plosives p   b t   d k   g ʔ (q)
Nasals m n
Fricatives s ʃ (sh) x (h)
Approximants l j (y) w h
Trill r

Note: The glottal stop /ʔ/ q, is used as a "buffer" to keep vowels apart when adding suffixes. /x/ and /h/ are actually allophonic.

vowels
Front Central Back
Close i~ɪ u~ʊ
Mid e~ɛ o
Open a~ə

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

Phonotactics

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).

Word Order

Sentences generally take the form: (subject(s)) (object(s)) verb. For example, the following sentence literally means the woman the book read:

subject object verb
shen-a kam.at-ú kan-esh-u
woman.NOM book-ACC read-PST-3s.ANIM
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.

object subject verb
kam.at-ú shen-a kan-esh-u
book.ACC woman.NOM read-PST-3s.ANIM
The woman read the book.
negation verb subject object
ne kan-esh-u shen-a kam.at-ú
NEG read-PST-3s.ANIM woman.NOM book.ACC
The woman did not read the book.


subject object verb
kup-a ur-wa ish-u
dog.NOM water.ACC drink-3s.ANIM
(The) dog (the) water is drinking.
subject direct object indirect object verb
edesh gumb-ú bi-kupa shamk-esh-u
boy ball.ACC DAT-dog throw-PST-3s.ANIM
The boy threw the ball to the dog.
NOTE: shamkek means to throw towards a precise point


Nouns

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.

a stems

Regular:

  • abar (bar) - n - rain
barek (bar) - v - rain
  • amak (mak) - n - hand
  • ashab (ʃab) - n - knowledge; understanding

Irregular:

  • arya (raj) - n - eye; iris
  • kape (kap) - n - cage, pen, coop; container
  • lani (lan) - n - work; labor; task

e/i stems

Regular:

  • eneb (neb) - n - name; title
  • eqesh (ʔeʃ) - n - house; building; apartment
  • eyem (jem) - n - food; sustenance
yemek (jem) - v - eat; consume

Irregular:

  • agi (giʔ) - n - tool, instrument
gira (giʔ) - v - use a tool
  • irha (rih) - n - every; each
  • menshi (menʃ) - n - beginning; initiation; start

u stems

Regular:

  • ugum (gum) - n - sand
  • umur (mur) - n - doom; death
murra (mur) - v - die; perish; pass away
  • uyush (juʃ) - n - left [side]

Irregular:

  • guna (gun) - n - day; 24 hours
  • ura (ʔur) - n - water; liquid
  • urru (rur) - n - repercussion; reaction; echo; reverberation


Number

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)

Gender

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"

Case

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 / ) 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.
Grammatical Cases
Name Suffix Example English Gloss
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

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".

suffix independant English
1s -an ana I
2s -ti / -e ti you; thou
3s.ANIM -u / -il il she; he; it
3s.INAN -a il it
1pl -uk nuk we
2pl -ut / -í tum you (all)
3pl.ANIM -um hum they
3pl.INAN -am hum they

case

nominative accusative genitive dative comitative
1s -an eyan nai iban anak
2s -ti / -e eti / eye tai ibti akti
3s -u / -il eyu lai ilib * ilak
1p -uk eyuk kai ibuk ukha
2p -ut / eyut ai ibut utak
3p -um eyum mai imbu * umak
  • 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
ary -esh -an -u
see simple past 1s 3s.ANIM
aryeshanu
/ˈaɾʲɛʃɑnu/
I saw her.

pronominal suffixes

These are suffixes that cannot stand alone but are attached to the end of a verb, used to identify subject and object.

S/O none me you him/her/it us you (pl) them
I -an - -anti -anu -anuk * -anut -anum
you -ti / -e -eyan - -eyu -eyuk -eyut * -eyum
he/she/it -u / -il -ilan -ile / -uti -ilu -iluk -ilut -ilum
we -uk - -ukti -uku - -ukut -ukum
you (pl) -ut / -utan - -utu -utuk - -utum
they -um -uman -umti -umu -umuk -umut -

If no subject suffix is given anywhere in the sentence, third person can be assumed.

Determiners

There are a limited number of deictics and quantifiers:

  • bu- / be- - this (these)
  • shu- / she- - that (those)
  • daha - more
  • hiwa - less; fewer
  • irha - every; each
  • iyin - same
  • kesh - few; a little
  • mu- – other; another
  • ne - none
  • shuk - many; much
  • tun - all
  • we- – some; any


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”.

Prepositions

Amal lacks a morphological preposition. To express locative concepts in Amal one mostly make use of one of the following case suffixes:

  • -da - locative (in, at, on)
  • kayan eshda nai
COP-1s house-LOC 1s.GEN
I'm in my house. / I'm at home.
  • -sha - ablative (from, away from)
  • halum essha mai
walk-3pl house-ABL 3pl.GEN
They're going away from their home.


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.

Conjunctions

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.

Adjectives

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.

  • dishkata yasha
/dɪʃkata jaʃa/
coat be.wet-3s
The coat is wet. [The wet coat.]
  • pila kita
/pila kita/
elephant be.old-3s
The elephant is old. [The old elephant.]


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.

Numbers

Cardinal

Amal number English Amal number English Amal number English
nul 0 zero sha 6 six kishada 500 five hundred
wa 1 one seb 7 seven hesha 103 (one) thousand
ni 2 two eta
(sometimes pu)
8 eight dahesh 104 ten thousand
ush 3 three nen 9 nine sadesh 105 (one) hundred thousand
ha 4 four da 10 ten uhun 106 (one) million
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

Amal number English ordinal multiple fractional
wa 1 one emwa
first
gawa
once
-
dani 12 twelve emdani
twelfth
gadani
twelve times
daniya
a twelfth
kishdaha 54 fifty four emkishdaha
fifty fourth
gakishdaha
54 times
kishdahaya
a fifty fourth
sadasha 106 one hundred (and) six emsadasha
106th
gasadasha
106 times
sadashaya
a 106th
sebhesh 7000 seven thousand emsebhesh
seven thousandth
gasebhesh
7000 times
sebheshai
1/7000

Questions

There are a number of interrogative words that are used to introduce questions:

  • ma - what; which
  • man - who; whom
  • manai - whose; of whom
  • mara - when
  • mada - where
  • mawa - how
  • mabak - how much/many
  • shum(a) - why


  • 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?

Verbal Morphology

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).

form suffix verb IPA gloss English
Infinitive -ek yemek /ˈjɛmek/ eat-INF to eat
Passive Participle -eshb yemeshbu /ˈjɛmɛʃbu/ eat-PPP-3s It was eaten.
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
Indicative - yeman /ˈjɛman/ eat-1s I 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

Tense

The only marked tense being the past tense, the suffix -esh appears between the verb root and the subject-object construction.

Mood

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)

Aspect

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

Voice

The various voices are sometimes combined with other verb modifiers.

  • tawi yemeshu
fowl eat-PST-3s
The chicken ate. / The chicken has eaten.
  • tawi yemebu
fowl eat-PASS-3s
The chicken is eaten.
  • tawi yemeshbu
fowl eat-PPP-3s
The chicken was eaten.


Copular Verbs

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:

  • ilha tulak ta nasak
3s-COP tall-COM and thin-COM
He is tall and thin.
  • han Yuhanu
COP-1s John
I am John.
  • kayeshuk serada
COP-PST-1pl seat-LOC
We were in the seat(s). / We were seated.
  • kayum tanyeraminim
COP-3pl dish-wash-AG-PL
They are dishwasher(s).


resources

  • ahdictionary.com/word/indoeurop.html
  • en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Turkish/Cases
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantean_language
  • en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:Hungarian_morphemes
  • hungarianreference.com
  • imp.lss.wisc.edu/~jrvalent/ais301/Grammar/InflMorphology/nouns001.htm
  • jimhenry.conlang.org/gzb/deriv.htm
  • jimhenry.conlang.org/gzb/nxcgtx.htm
  • lrc.la.utexas.edu/lex/semantic
  • zompist.com/wedei.html
  • fluentinturkish.com/grammar/grammatical-cases
  • cromwell-intl.com/turkish/