Classical Arithide grammar

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The grammar of Classical Arithide is characterised by a degree of inflection unseen in most modern tongues, and notably absent from its own modern descendant. Due to this inflectionary tendency, Classical Arithide possesses considerably free word order, especially in poetry, but syntax commonly and usually retains the traditional order of Subject Object Verb. Classical Arithide is a topic-prominent language, left-branching, prepositional (on the rare occasions where prepositions are employed), verb-framed, pro-drop and lexically-classed; it does not use articles. While some of these characteristics, such as its pro-drop and genderless character, simplify the learning process, the task is invariably complicated by the complexity of the language's inflection.

The Classical Arithide inflection system involves 5 declension classes of nouns, each inflected for 11 cases and two numbers; two classes of verbs, each conjugated in five voices, three aspects, five derivative aspects, seven moods and one tense, and which each produce an assortment of various derivative forms; two classes of adjectives, the nominal behaving like regular nouns, and the verbal behaving like regular verbs; adverbs, the most common of which are generally indeclinable but most of which are derivations of adjectives and hence declined as per their class. Such ambivalence in the language's adjectives and adverbs led classical scholars and grammarians to overlay a dichotomous Nominal-Verbal differentiation on the language; in modern times, however, this traditional Arithide grammar has been replaced by a semantically-based part-of-speech grammar system not unlike the Indo-European.


Main article: Classical Arithide declension

The use in Classical Arithide of lexical classing in nouns means that each declension class represents a broad group of nouns that share a certain characteristic. Owing to the language's inflectionary nature, Classical Arithide nouns, pronouns and certain of its adjectives must be declined (i.e. inflected) to provide grammatical meaning. A group of words that decline in the same way is known as a "declension class". There are 5 declension classes for nouns and the same for adjectives; pronouns are generally irregular.

Nouns in Classical Arithide are classed into different declensions based on their semantic meaning. This lexically based categorisation means that each declension class represents a broad group of nouns that share a certain characteristic. Traditional grammatical analysis takes the number of declension classes in Classical Arithide to be five, on top of which are various subgroups that decline in slightly different ways from the parent class.

Declension I, with the characteristic nominative singular ending -os, is the most productive declension class of all. It is associated with morally and emotionally neutral abstractions: states (valonos "peace"), qualities (fyginthos "dangerousness"), acts (leatos "act of worship") as well as other types of concepts (sonos "daily life"). As may be noted the supine verbal noun (i.e. "the act of doing something") also falls under this declension.

Declension II nouns take the ending -as and refer to places: kitaras "hall", sivas "town", leatas "place of worship. The verbal noun of location (i.e. "the place where something is done") falls under declension II.

Declension III nouns take the ending -ir, and can be differentiated into classes III-a with simple -ir, and III-b with -rir. This declension comprises nouns with negative moral or emotional denotations or connotations: vokir "evil", kirir "faux pas", kreisantir "grief of bereavement".

Declension IV is the most general declension class. Its nouns have no characteristic nominative singular ending but instead shares it with declension V (-a), and its lexical scope is practically unlimited; Class-IV nouns can refer to items, animals, plants or any other non-human, non-divine object. E.g. arotha "carpet", hegra "vine", izia "coin".

Declension V comprises nouns referring to the human, the divine or the socio-cultural aspect of life: thelera "neighbour", venera "deity", kunera "currency". Complex historical reasons have given Class V nouns the double nominative ending of -era, the final part of which (-a) is shared with Class IV. There is a subgroup, V-b, whose nominative singulars end in -on but otherwise decline identically with regular Class-V nouns: these are the special agentive nouns (see next section), generally formed from verbs but occasionally found fossilised elsewhere in words belonging to other parts of speech.

These five declension classes can be broadly classified into two categories: concrete nouns (IV, V) and abstract nouns (I, II, III).

The 11 noun cases of Classical Arithide are:

  • Nominative, which marks the subject of a verb
  • Topical, which marks the topic of a sentence
  • Accusative, which marks the object of a verb
  • Genitive, which marks possession by
  • Dative, which marks motion towards, and by extension benefaction to etc.
  • Locative, which marks location (with places) or indicates shift of grammatical focus (with objects and people)
  • Ablative, which marks motion away or existence apart, and by extension is used with prepositions such as parō "about, regarding" or etel "by (agentive)"
  • Instrumental, which marks instruments, and by extension accompaniment, using the preposition syn "with"
  • Vocative, which marks direct address
  • Connective, which is an open-ended stem form to which certain affixes or other nouns are appended, e.g. salumos "heaven" + innos "top" > saluminnum "in heaven" (lit. "on heaven"; innos is in the locative) and allas "city" + dolō "around" (from dolos "surroundings") > alladolō "around the city" 1
  • Essive, which marks existence as


Alladolō (connective + appendent adposition) must be distinguished from the similar dolō allior (prep. + ablative); while both might be translated as "around the city", the former refers to the areas outside and surrounding a certain city, while the latter refers to places all around within the city: alladolō siethē sena "there are flowers around the city" vs. dolō allior siethē sena "there are flowers all about the city".

Of these cases, the connective and essive in all nouns are identical, resulting in 10 effective cases.


Main article: Classical Arithide adpositions

Due to the extensive inflectionary marking in Classical Arithide, the number of adpositions in common use is very few, although for purposes of scansion, some archaic ones can still be seen in poetry, sometimes in redundancy; the adpositions were revived, however, in Modern Arithide, as postpositions. Most adpositions govern a designated case or several designated cases; the latter situation indicates multiple, usually related, meanings canvassed under the adposition concerned.

Besides the standalone adpositions, more common are the appendent adpositions (or postpositions), so called because they are appended to the connective case of nouns, most of the time forming a separate noun on their own, carrying a specific positional or lative meaning.


Main article: Classical Arithide conjugation

Classical Arithide verbs are divided into eight conjugation patterns based on whether their stems end in any of the six vowels or a consonant; a small group of consonant-stem verbs that take the vowel-stem verb endings make up the last, mixed conjugation.

Verbs in each class are conjugated for five voices, three basic aspects, four derivative aspects, seven moods and one tense:

  • Voices: active/transitive, middle/intransitive, passive, causative, potentive
  • Aspects: imperfective, perfective, perfect, habitual/generic, inceptive, frequentative, protractive
  • Moods: indicative, subjunctive, optative/desiderative, jussive, imperative, cohortative, negative (also the interrogative)
  • Tenses: future


  1. There is no progressive/continuous tense as the tense overlaps semantically with the imperfective aspect, which is used instead.
  2. The interrogative mood is marked with the auxiliary particle da.
  3. Verbs are conjugated on a cascading hierarchy as above, i.e. to the root form of the verb would first be appended affixes indicating voice, followed by aspect, then mood and subsequently tense.

Verbs can also form a large array of other derivatives, which can turn the verb into practically any part of speech: adjective and adverb, via the aspectual participles; noun, via various suffixes indicating agency, instrument or the supine, etc.; another verb, via the processes of compounding, modification etc.


Main article: Classical Arithide adjectives

Classical Arithide had two classes of word, of roughly equal ubiquity, that qualified as adjectives: the nominal adjectives and the verbal adjectives, which, as their names indicate, either decline as do nouns, or conjugate as do verbs.

Nominal class

The nominal class of adjectives, as befits its name, behaves like nouns. Each adjective has a fixed declension class according to which it is declined for case and number; certain are of a variable declension class, i.e. they adopt the declension class of the particular noun they are modifying at the time, and decline accordingly. The nominal class adjectives are listed in dictionaries by their nominative singular, the variable-declension adjectives in the first declension nominative singular.

Many adjectives in the nominal class tend to be concerned with appearance, e.g. oluros "ugly, out-of-shape", vobulos "pitch-dark", nassos "deepest, ulterior, core". Exceptions include all the adjectives of colour, which are morphologically derived from the names of the individual colours by affixing the general-purpose adjectivaliser -nai, and are hence verbal in nature.

Nominal-class adjectives, when used predicatively, usually take the copula ; in certain not-very-common cases, the adjective suffixes -nai.

Verbal class

The predicative use of such verbs as adjectives is expected, but the attributive use grew out of a grammatical device, now largely disused, of making verbs into modifiers by displacing them to the front of nouns rather than behind them, as is the usual SOV order.

Verbal-class or verbal adjectives, owing to their nature as stative verbs, behave like verbs, and may thus conjugate in two tenses, present and past, denoting the present and past states of the noun modified:

  • Viringa nissa. vs. Viringa nistēn.
    The car (sedan) is fast. vs. The car was fast.
  • Nīstena viringa vs. Nistena viringa
    The fast car vs. The car that was fast (i.e. used to be but no longer)

The future tense is not used with adjectives. Rather, to describe "a car that will be black", the adjective is compounded with the verb hallān "to become", which semi-cliticises to give -allān, giving egnallī viringa, for example.

When attributively used, all adjectives are, like nouns, declined, in order to avoid ambiguity arising from the liberal word order of the language; adjectives take the declension of the noun they modify.


Invariable adverbs

As with every language, there are certain adverbs that are always invariable, e.g. lum "now".

Determiners & pro-forms

Main article: Classical Arithide determiners
Main article: Classical Arithide pro-forms

Classical Arithide determiners and pro-forms can be separated into two distinct types: the declined and the indeclinable. To the former group belong words with declinable antecedents: personal pronouns (des "I"), demonstrative pronouns (sitetis "with that"), relative pronouns (zōos "that which"), pro-adjectives, pro-sentences, as well as interrogative words (andae "to whom"). To the latter group belong words with indeclinable antecedents: pro-verbs (which are verbs and hence conjugated instead), pro-adverbs ( "like that") and demonstrative adjectives (ok ither "this person"). Of these, demonstrative adjectives are always placed directly before their referents.

Numerals & measure words

Main article: Classical Arithide numerals

See also