Conlang Relay 15/Naisek
by Jeff Jones
Lementaxna hal dispino. Mitwe gauti minde. Stor pehin gautim musikam josku narbelum fam. Stor lentsep gauti dispaixofkap.
Nage xoltor laihax supokmi natkun ehoxoki wix supim jaiksem ehoxokim. Stor laihin dispai lanhossi tep swala joufala. Emi gautal dispino xenglossal tep besal. Stor reldin pone stor wasgin. Jadi ir mitwe kwa denje. Ementi ir juku holaipti tali.
Ga rampki ir xolto tesuren launtax tesuren pikipe merflape. Lo poupo stor laihin hifil natkuno ga si.
It's a Paradox!
Please look at the dancers. They have no plan. They use no music but their own voices. They haven't learned any choreography.
But they can perform any kind of step desired in any direction desired. They perform a more precise dance than all others. There are no dancers more agile than these. They turn and move. It seems they have one mind. It appears to be very easy for them.
I don't believe they can be so beautiful with such a small amount of effort. It isn't that they merely perform the same steps.
Note: Although I use ergative-type terminology in the grammar, Naisek is more of a direct role alignment language (i.e. the case of an argument doesn't change when the verb becomes passive) with some fluid-S behavior.
Naisek is an agglutinative language with some incipient fusion, and is mostly suffixing.
The order of phrases within a clause is determined pragmatically. The word order within phrases (when all types appear) is:
determiner, quantifier, noun, adjective.
Nouns have implicit gender (animate and inanimate) and are marked for number (singular and plural) and case (only the absolutive, ergative, dative, genitive, and instrumental occur here). The partly fused suffixes are given below. There are different suffixes for vowel stems and consonant stems.
Adjectives, demonstratives, and the definite article h- agree with the noun in gender, number, and case. For all of these, the gender suffix (consistently -a for animate and -i for inanimate) comes first. The number and case suffixes are the same as those for vowel-stem nouns.
The only other declined forms occuring here are given in the vocabulary section.
The number and case suffixes occurring here are as follows, with the vowel-stem suffixes given first (if both occur in the text).
- Absolutive Singular
- (no suffix)
- Absolutive Plural
- -l, -o
- Genitive Singular
- Genitive Plural
- Ergative Plural
- Instrumental Singular
Phrases in the genitive case are used as either possessors, objects of prepositions, or objects of verbal nouns and follow their heads except in cases that don't apply here.
Phrases in the instrumental case specify the means or instrument.
Class 5I verbs are regularly derived from adjectives using the suffix -t. The only other relevent adjective suffix is -oss, which forms the comparative stem.
The relevent finite verb stems are:
- basic stem (meaning depends on verb class)
- subjunctive (and polite command) stem
Finite verb forms end in subject agreement suffixes. These distinguish (redundantly) the subject's case as well as its person and number. The forms occurring are:
- 1st person singular dative
- 2nd person singular ergative
- 3rd person singular absolutive (basic stem)
- -i (-0 after a vowel)
- 3rd person plural ergative
- 3rd person plural dative
- 3rd person plural absolutive
The non-finite verb forms are the participles, infinitives, and verbal nouns. Each of these may occur in a compound tense (with no further suffixing) following the copula. The verbal nouns specify habitual participation. The verbal nouns may also be used as inflected nouns and the participles as inflected adjectives. The relevent suffixes are:
- progressive participle
- retrospective participle
- verbal noun
Grammatical voice marking (which changes the verb's argument structure) is accomplished using prefixes for both finite and non-finite forms. The prefixes occurring are:
- turns dative argument into ergative argument (becomes class 2 and the TAM class becomes P)
- adds dative argument (becomes class 3)
- deletes dative argument (becomes class 5)
Compounds have the form modifier-head.
The complementizer ir is used with deductive complements; lo is used for all others.
Only the bare stems of inflected forms are given. Verbs, adjectives, and determiners always take some non-zero suffix (see grammar). A couple of inflected forms have been included.
- conjunction or particle
- determiner or pronoun
- noun, animate
- noun, inanimate
- preposition or adverb
- quantifier or number
- verb, where # = argument structure class and $ = TAM class.
The argument structure classes are:
- Ergative subject, Absolutive object
- Dative subject, Absolutive object
- Ergative or Absolutive subject
- Absolutive subject
- auxiliary; subject agrees according to the content verb
- Absolutive subject, Absolutive complement (which immediately follows the verb)
The TAM classes are:
- basic stem represents imperative
- basic stem represents present imperfective indicative
- basic stem represents present imperfective indicative
Words and Stems
- (D) this/these, here
- (NA) mind
- (V4P) dance
- (NI) dance (in the sense of ballet number)
- (D) (reflexive pronoun, genitive)
- (C) not (precedes what it negates)
- (D) negative determiner (declined like adjective)
- (D) the (definite article)
- (A) the same, identical
- (V3M) want, wish, desire
- (C) (complementizer, indirect)
- (V8I) seem
- (NI) direction (spatial)
- (P) except
- (A) other
- (Adv) very
- (Q) one (declined like singular adjective)
- (V2P) perform
- (A) easy
- (A) precise, accurate
- (A) beautiful
- (V2M) learn
- (C) (complementizer, direct)
- (V3M) see (le --> look at, e --> appear)
- (NI) work, effort
- (V3M) have (e --> exist, "there is")
- (NI) plan
- (NI) music
- (C) but (connects clauses and sentences)
- (NI) voice
- (NI) step
- (NI) paradox, contradiction
- (V2P) use
- (A) little (+ mass noun; declined like singular noun)
- (C) and (connects clauses)
- (Adv) only, merely, insignificantly
- (V3I) believe
- (V4P) turn
- (V8M) be (copula)
- (Q) any (declined like singular adjective)
- (Q) all (declined like plural adjective)
- (D) (3rd person pronoun, dative plural)
- (C) than, as (comparisons)
- (Adv) to that degree
- (V4P) move, gesture
- (P) to (spatial)
- (A) nimble, agile
- (NI) written record
- (V6I) can, be able to
- (D) kind (of); added to pronominal/determiner stems