Conlang Relay 15/Rhean
by Mike Ellis
Dornikin miryat kraza. Tizem hatuka mu anče. Čavuna waki egva sangira mu anče. Dorozagaca naprov deǧez. Hošazna idir taujasu, hošazna idir pšokto sacek rez. Po dla ǩokira paiyem točiksoi doro saciz. Dla tori viticyan dornikira mu anče. Magrudin saciz, dižnin saciz. Nisra du tizem datu diin anče. Nisra du tizem šaasai če. ¿Arduyoka ebie košom kunie enie nora ček rez? Du datu pšoktoin saciz zar deǧe.
It’s a paradox:
Please regard the dancers. They have no plan. They have no music except their own voices. They have been taught no choreography. They make any kind of step in any direction they wish. But they do a dance more graceful than all others. There are no dancers more agile than these. They make their turns, they make their motions. It looks like they have a single mind It looks very easy for them. How can they be so beautiful with so little effort? It is not just that they make the same steps.
- (v) exist, be, “there is”
- (n) work, effort, force
- (n) self
- (v) be
- (aj) same
- (v) not be
- (n) mind
- (n) movement, motion
- (pr) than, more than ...
- (v) dance
- (n) dancer
- (n) dance
- (n) choreography
- (cj) that, the fact that ...
- (av) that much, as much as that
- (av) except, other than ... (follows the noun or verb)
- (av) that way, like that
- (n) plan, program, system
- (v) want, wish, desire
- (aj) any, any kind of
- (av) please (marks requests)
- (n) little, not much
- (av) how?
- (n) other, the other one
- (n) turn
- (v) see, look at
- (av) not (negates a verb)
- (v) learn
- (v) appear, seem
- (aj) beautiful
- (av) all, all of them
- (cj) but
- (n) step
- (v) can, able to
- (v) do, make, perform
- (n) music
- (aj) easy
- (n) direction
- (n) paradox, contradiction
- (pn) 3rs person plural pronoun, instrumental case
- (aj) precise, perfect, controlled
- (pn) these
- (aj) nimble, agile
- (n) voice
- (av) only, merely, just (follows noun or verb)
- zero ending; nominative case
- zero ending; accusative case (for some nouns)
- genitive case (for nouns ending in a consonant)
- third person singular present tense (-ak verbs)
- very ..., muchly ...
- third person plural present tense (-ak verbs)
- third person singular present tense (-ek verbs)
- third person plural present tense (for some semi-regular –ek verbs)
- plural suffix (replaces final –a of some nouns)
- plural accusative
- plural genitive
- third person plural present tense (for regular –ek verbs)
- accusative case (for most nouns ending in a vowel)
- turns a verb into a relative clause
- instrumental case (for nouns ending in a consonant)
- past active participle (-ak verbs); “having done...”
- genitive case (for nouns ending in a vowel)
- dative case (for most inanimates ending in a vowel)
- comparative suffix; “-er”
- second person singular imperative (-ek verbs)
This text turned out to be pretty simple for grammar. There is a Rhean grammar page online at http://suzsoiz.free.fr/rhean but some inflections are different in the more recent “version” of the language. You won’t have to use the site; I’ll give you all you need here:
Rhean is an inflected language with a Subject-Object-Verb word order. Anything that modifies a noun usually comes before it, whether that’s an adjective or an entire relative clause. Prepositions didn’t appear in this text.
Verbs come in two conjugations, depending on whether the infinitive ends in –ak or –ek. The infinitive ending is replaced by the various person/tense endings. The infinitive itself can also be the complement of another verb, especially an auxiliary: mirek mu rez “they cannot see”.
The verb ček means “to be” but it is never negated with mu. There is a special verb deǧek meaning “not be”, which is used for the negative of ček. The verb anček means “to exist” and is commonly used in “there is, there are” sentences. But it is also used for possession, because Rhean doesn’t use a verb for “to have” the same way English does. The structure for “X has Y” is X-(instrumental case) Y-(nominative case) anče, or “there is Y with X”.
The only participle that appears here was the past active, which means someone has completed doing something. It is usually used with ček (or deǧek): tafa ‘he eats’ --> tafov če ‘ he has eaten’ (literally “he-is having-eaten”).
Nouns inflect for five cases, all of which appeared in this text. The nominative case is used for the subject of a verb, and for noun predicates The accusative case is used (among other things) for the object of a verb The genitive case requires some special attention in this text. This case often works like the English possessive, showing that one thing belongs to another. But when the object or the subject of a verb appears in the genitive case, it means “some, any” or with a negative “none, no, none of”. The dative case shows the recipient of something, but with inanimate nouns it is often a destination or a direction of motion. All verbs that indicate heading towards something take objects in the dative. The instrumental case does a lot of work in Rhean. Its main use is to show the means by which something was done: čekicom “with a hammer”, aftom “by car”, pešim “on foot”. It is also a locative case, showing where something is or happens. As shown above, it also indicates who a possessed thing is “with”.