Conlang Relay 22/Malinini

From FrathWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Maliníni Text

Upasaipíle Kopicíle Cvotxánim

Ptužestíjomni kopícam pripáizd-ux-ánsat. Ózližm-tjanutátĩ kolkjíjom najedáizd. Kolkjíovfi gáržji najedáizd megánĩ, kanžlmã détam prijáip-u-spáikat. Xlodíjom déta nactáip-u-hánat, komíjov nejotáivl úo íla domíovfi tamáip úo. Domíovfi káni tamáisl úo, sjémi dje-pozvoláib úe. Kánji déta továib-u-vétjat, úa xli cvetkébulimz vjazáip. Íla kolkjivfĩ gáržji kopíci vjazáizd, tofletvĩ várfkji dje-hanáip úe. Várfkji tolkáisl úo, kaníjo kopíci uzxíosvaip úo, káni nactáizd-u-pžat uá. Zdátxí nactáizd-ux-ánsat uá, kopícji továib-u-hurúkžat. Kánji kláisl uó kopíci katjiváip úa ozlji kaníle géfki pugkáip-u-pžat. Xla kopicíle gáržile ozli kláip úa, cvetkabúlivfi íla zgatjkáip úa, íla nactáip-ux-uzxíovfat he!

Smooth translation

A Poem of the Merchant’s Fall

A merchant was preparing to go on a journey. He was loading a wagon pulled by a donkey. While he was putting the cargo into the wagon, A boy came by with a dog and watched. After a while the child became hungry, So he went into his house to get something to eat. But the boy’s family refused to allow the dog into the house. So the child had the dog sit and tied him to a bush. The merchant was tying down the load in his wagon, But he didn’t have enough rope. The merchant untied the dog so he could use the rope. The dog began to run around and make trouble, causing the merchant to panic. The merchant swung to hit the dog, whose yelp spooked the donkey into a run. The wagon with the merchant’s cargo hit him, and he leapt to be entangled in the bush.

Malinini – Grammar Guide to Relay 22 Torch

Word Order

Word order is typically O-S-V. However, since Malinini is highly inflected, word order is relatively free. Putting a word to the front of a clause will emphasize it. Otherwise, imperative verbs almost always start a clause, and questions invert the standard order. This is more common in written language, whereas spoken employs pitch contouring for questions.

Adjectives generally come before the nouns they modify and adverbs tend to follow the verb. However, some other factors of word order in the sentence may preclude this arrangement, so it is not uncommon for modifiers to switch position without any change in meaning.


Gender/Class- word classes and register

There are three classes/genders, each with a set of related thematic vowels. Class I and II are for animate nouns. Certain kinds of nouns considered inanimate in English are considered animate in Malinini - they belong to either Class I or II for certain reasons. Class I is roughly equivalent to masculine and Class II is roughly equivalent to feminine, and grammatical gender aligns with natural gender when it is known or applicable. Neuter is used for all (otherwise) inanimate nouns, or animate nouns where gender is unknown or unimportant.

In formal Malinini, word class is more a matter of language register, but this is not germaine to the Relay sample.

The thematic vowels for each class are charted below. You will note in the reference material that Vt is the symbol for this thematic vowel, which plays a part in noun-modifier and subject-verb agreement. It is a kind of vowel harmony. As the Relay sample doesn’t include much that provides any reason to use anything other than Class III (with one exception), only that Class will be detailed, but the following chart is given for comparison:

Classes and Thematic Vowels in the Singular and Plural:

Singular Plural
Class I a/ai (in 3rd person s verbs) au
Class II e
Class III i u

Articles, definiteness, number

There are no articles. Nouns are explicitly marked for definiteness. Definite nouns can be singular or plural, with a vestigial dual which remains in some set expressions. Indifinite nouns can be singular or plural.


There are eight cases: nominative, dative, accusative, genitive, instrumental, ablative, partitive, and vocative. The nominative, dative, accusative cases behave generally as they do in languages that mark these cases in respect to the verb (with the exception of a possibly “ergative” subjunctive construction). The genitive is used in possessive constructions. The vocative is a truncated form without the thematic vowel. The first five cases are used in prepositional phrases, where a single posposition may combine with each case with various shades of meaning. The ablative can be used creatively in this way, but not in standard language, it is generally a way of making participles. The partitive is used almost exclusively with numbers and expressions of quantity and duration.

Class III (Neuter gender) noun endings

Definite Indefinite
Case Singular Dual Plural Singular Plural
NOM -i -c -u -im -íf
DAT -ío -cío -ijo -íjom -íov
ACC -ji/xi -ci -ju/xu -jem/xem -jiv/xiv
GEN -íl(e) -cíl(e) -ulméi -ílme -ílev
INS -žli -cix -žlu -žlm -žlv
ABL -sji -cish -sju -sjim -sjif
PART -is -cis -us -mis -ísev
VOC 0 -c -u - -


Personal Pronouns

Malinini is pro-drop as a reduced form of the nominative personal pronoun is used as an infix for conjugation. Class III is represented here fully declined, for reference. Note that when a direct and indirect object are both referred by a pronoun in the same clause, they are combined in one word.

There are three persons; first, two second persons, and third. The second person can be proximal or distal, which roughly corresponds to the tu/vous distinction in Romance languages, with some subtle differences. There are generally only singular and plural forms, although some archaic set expressions with the dual do exist. In colloquial speech, one usually refers to one’s own natural gender when speaking in the first person. Using the first person neuter tends to infer the “fourth person”, “one” or “they” as in “One should always want to...” or “They say that...”

Class III (Neuter gender) personal pronouns

NOM 1 (m)ji (m)ju
2 dist (s)aji (s)aju
2 prox (ts)uji (ts)uju
3 (h)i(‘) (h)u
DAT 1 ‘in ‘un
2 dist sin/’izn sun/’uzn
2 prox tin/’int tun/’unt
3 xi’ xu
ACC 1 mi mu
2 dist sji sju
2 prox tji tju
3 xli xlu
GEN 1 mili milu
2 dist sili silu
2 prox cli clu
3 ili ilu
INS 1 miliž miluž
2 dist saliž saluž
2 prox tuliž tuluž
3 žli žlu
ABL 1 ijmi ujmu
2 dist ijsi ujsu
2 prox ijci ujcu
3 ijx ujx
VOC 1 om aumo
2 dist svo sauvo
2 prox hvo hauvo
3 ho hoi

Relative Pronouns and Demonstrative Adjectives

There are three levels of locative reference in Malinini – proximal (here near me), semidistal (here near you), and distal (far away). In general these align with three prefixes: št/žd-, kt/gd-, and at-. The first of the pairs is used with class I, the latter with class II and III nouns. Unlike in English, there is no distinction for the animacy of the referent – there is no difference between a “who” and a “what.” When used as a noun (thematic vowel is oral), it is a relative pronoun and will decline in a similar manner to pronouns. When the final vowel is nasalized, it is used as a demonstrative adjective.

these (items or topics mentioned in the last sentence)
them (accusative case)
Štã mutja, gdẽ mutje, atĩ mutji
This man, that woman, that person over


Adjectives and Adverbs


Adjectives generally precede the nouns they modify, and agree with the noun in number and class, but do not mark for case or definiteness. Adjective endings are always characteristically a nasal version of the noun’s thematic vowel. . Adjectives are often derived from nouns by switching between the oral and nasal version of the final thematic vowel.

alékjĩ káni
the white dog
alékjũ kánu
the white dogs
plóšã mútxam
a large (stature) man (direct object)
plóšaũ mútxav
some large men (d.o.)

When an adjective precedes a noun beginning with a vowel or a semivowel, the ending is pronounced with a more distinct –ng sound, and often with a hard final “g” in careful pronunciation.

klstĩ(ng) astji
the bright star


Adverbs always follow the verb they modify, and agree with the subject in number and class, but do not mark otherwise. Like adjectives, adverbs can be formed from nouns by adding –žl(Vt), where the thematic vowel switches from oral to nasal, although occasionally the –žl can be omitted. This process is generally free but most modifiers derived from nouns are acceptable, whereas reversing the process does not always yield results held as proper in common usage.

In a sense, modifiers are adverbs when they follow the verb, but can be adjectives if they precede a noun. Most adverbs in common useage have the –žl-, but often in colloquial speech this is dropped if the meaning is clear due to syntax:

Mldnĩ káni támit mldnížlĩ. or Mldnĩ káni támit mldnĩ
The slow dog goes slowly.

Verbs – Verbal Copula

If the order of a noun and a modifying adjective is reversed, the utterance is a simple statement.

ástja klstã
the star is bright

In writing and in formal speech, this is not considered a complete sentence without the verbal copula, which for the third person is essentially the subject’s thematic vowel +tj. It may often be written but dropped in speech.

ástja klstã’aitj.
The star is bright.
óxri nárĩ’itj.
The night is dark.

As this copula is a verb, it may be used as a stative verbal predicate and conjugated for tense as such.

Óxri nárĩ’ib.
The night was dark.
Pújka fbánã’aimd.
The boy will be misbehaved.

Negation always precedes the verb.

Óxri nárĩ dje’ib
The night was not dark.
Pújka fbánã dje’aimd
The boy will not be misbehaved



Conjugated verbs are marked for tense, aspect, person, and some moods. Person markers respond to the class and number of the subject. The dictionary citation form of the verb is the infinitive or “-at” form. E.g.: dat - to give. Although the typical third person singular masculine thematic vowel is “a”, in verb conjugations, it is “ai” – “a” is in the infinitive only.

To conjugate any verb: root-[at]+[person marker]+[class/number marker (Vt)]+[tensemarker]. Thus in the present stative:

[root]+j(‘)+Vt+[tense marker]
2nd proximal
[root]+áj+Vt+[tense marker]
2nd distal
[root]+új+Vt+[tense marker]
[root]+Vt+[tense marker]

Examples: Present stative of kétatj “to stay” in Class I (masculine) and Class III (neuter) ketjátj, ketájatj, ketújatj, kétaitj ketjítj, ketájitj, ketújitj, kétitj

If the root ends in –j, the root changes to –ž in the first person and –x in all others. layat “to read”

lajat: lažjátj, laxájatj, laxújatj, láxaitj

In roots with palatized consonants there is a consonant change which generally involves the oppositely voiced consonant. For example:

sítjat: sidtjátj, sidtájatj, sidtújatj, sidtáitj

In zero-form roots (that have single syllable infinitives) with palatized consonants, Vt - is added before the stem: tjat: adtjátj, adtájatj, adtújatj, adtáitj


There are three tenses that are contrasted by aspect. Conditional/subjunctive mood is also explicitly marked. See below for imperatives.

Tense endings

Active Stative
Infinitive (d)t tj
Past p b
Present t tj
Future nt md
Past zd zr
Present pt tjr
Future ft r
Past sl dl
Present (p)tl tjl
Future tsl vl
Double Verb Predicate: Va (t/tj)-u-(x)-Vb Form

In predicates where two verbs act together, the particle -u- intercedes between them (- ux- if the second verb begins with a vowel). If there is a single subject, and the Va is active, only the first verb conjugates.

Xli mútje nactép-ux-ánsat. The woman began to do/make it.
Désjatj-u-tamat. I want to go.
Désjab-u-tamat. I wanted to go.

Verb pairs can have two subjects when the Va is a stative verb of causality or permission:

Tji djitrío tovjátj-u-dáit. I make him give you the water.

(I cause that he gives you water)

Pozvolújtj-ux-objatj. Let me explain.
Komédu, pozvolújtj-u-ma’amoistrjátj. Please allow me to introduce myself.

VI Verbs – Imperatives, participles, objects, Passives/reflexives


There are two methods of forming the imperative – proximal (informal) and distal (formal). For the informal remove the –tj of the infinitive and add –ž in the case of stative verbs and –š for active verbs.


For the distal, conjugate for the 2nd person distal, but omit the thematic vowel:


Tamujt! Go!


A common method for forming participles is to add a thematic vowel to a conjugated verb. Which thematic vowel can be used depends on the class of the resultant noun, which must be learned in many cases (it is governed by usage). In general, participles tend to be class II or III nouns, but class III is a safe default when in doubt. In common usage, these participles are used grammatically as adjectives, so the final thematic vowel must agree, and is nasalized as usual. These phrases may be translated as relative clauses in English. Tamaípã mutja The man who left.


Indirect objects tend to precede direct objects. This can be more flexible when both objects are nouns, but when both of the objects are pronouns, they are combined. NB second person dative pronouns have an alternate form for these contracted object phrases. Mútja ósfji kanío dait. The man gives the bone to the dog. Xli’ent djat I give it to you.

Reflexives and passives

Both reflexive and passive predicates have the same construction. It is a prefix to the verb in the form of m(Vt)’ (Vt)-. Whether the interpretation is reflexive or passive depends on context and the rest of the sentence.

Komédu, pozvolújtj-u-ma’amoistrjátj. Please allow me to introduce myself. Ma’amoistrjáb. I introduced myself. –or- I was introduced. Xle ma’amoistrjáb. I was introduced by her.

As in English, passives are generally frowned upon but do have their uses.

VII– Postpositions – postpositional phrases

Postpositions are enclitic, and fall into two classes: static and dynamic. Static postpositions generally involve the use of the date or nominative, are formed with consonant-final endings, and deal with spatiotemporal location, position, or sequence. Dynamic postpositions are found to be used with many different cases, are formed by a postposition kernel with a final thematic vowel, and indicate or imply motion often spatially or temporally.

The basic set of static postpositions is given below. There are differening meanings depending on whether the subject of the postposition is in the nominative or the dative case. Dynamic postpositions may or may not be used with some cases. Static Postposition Nominative Subject Gloss Dative Subject Gloss Related Dynamic Posposition -f at the time of in -vf(Vt) -ns according to on -mn(Vt) -z Against, at beyond, behind -sv(Vt) -ptj along under -bp(Vt) -d in front of before in sequence -dt(Vt) -pos thanks to, because of after -pozv(Vt) -lt for the sake of over -ledt(Vt) -sek about, concerning near -segk(Vt) -serk approximately around -vš(Vt) -nt between - -nt(Vt) -mes in the middle of - -sm(Vt) Examples: mútjins according to the person kaníofserk around some dogs kánud in front of the dogs oxríod before night strupjíoserk óski the river around the island kánijomfšu mútja tamáit the man goes around the dogsš [AROUND]+plural class III thematic vowel Because dynamic postpositions end in a thematic vowel, they can be used as nouns – this is one method of creating abstract nouns. These nouns can, in turn, be turned into adjectives by nasalizing the thematic vowel: zvjáxi tie, connection zvjáxledti connectedness, interconnectedness zvjáxledtĩ connected, interconnected zvjaxlédtedni the Internet

VIII - Vocabulary


-(‘)atj vs0
stative copula, “be” a thing
ánsat va0
to do, to make
ántjat va0
to begin
ázklatj vs0
to forbid, deny


cát va0
to eat
cvetkébuli ns3
cvotxáni ns3


dje part
negative verbal prefix. Also pronounced djei-, dja, and alone djai is

the interjection “no!”

dnímatj va0
to get up
dómi ns3
dušévnatj vs0
to feel


-edni spatiotemporal suffix
at a time, place
gárži ns3
géfkat va0
to yelp, cry
hánat va0
to have
he exclamation
hey or hmm
hurúkžat va0
to panic


káni ns3
katjívat va0
to swing
kétat va0
stay, remain
klát va0
to hit
kólkji ns3
komédi ns3
apology, pardon, politeness; komédu is commonly used for “please” especially when it is used to mean “excuse me.”
kómi ns3
kopíci ns3


ližtámat va0
to accompany, go along with
ljútjat va0
to receive
lukatámat va0
to lie down
m(Vt)’- verbal pref
reflexive, also changes a noun marked as an object the subject/agent – before a verb beginning with a consonant, m(Vt)’ (Vt)-
megánĩ adv
while, at the same time, meanwhile


náctat va0
to start to, to begin to
najédat va0
to load, fill up
násjat va0
to carry, bring, wear
nexótatj vs0
find, discern, choose
niktpálat va0
to lie, deceive
ózli ns1


pozvólatj vs0
to allow to do; to grant a face-saving opportunity
príjat va0
to come
prípat va0
to prepare
prítjnji ns3
reason for doing something
ptužésti ns3
púgkat va0
to scare, to spook
pžát va0
to run


-sek posp loc
w/ acc: near, close to, approximately; w/ dat: about, concerning
sjémi ns3
spáikat va0
to watch


támat va0
go; with an object in the instrumental case: go along, follow
tjanútat va0
to pull
tofletvóvatj vs0
to be enough, to suffice
tóvatj vs0
to cause to do, to force to do


and, also
but, on the contrary to the expected
thus, so: when used after a clause in the future conditional, it can mean “so that, in order to”
upásat va0
to fall
úzxi ns3
uzxíosvat va0
uzxíovfat va0
várfkji ns3
vétjat va0
to sit
-vf(Vt) posp active
vjázat va0
to tie


xlódi ns3
zdátji ns3
zgátjkat va0
to leap
zgramóxat va0
to obstruct, get in the way

IX- Phonology


As in English:

m, n, b, p, d, t, k, g, f, v, s, z, h, sh (š), l, dz (as in adze)

Approximate to English, different spelling:

ch as in chew = tj j as in judge = dj r as in cart or butter = r; Syllable final r is fairly rare, but after the vowel of the syllable, it is never rolled. Otherwise, it always is, even as part of a(n initial) consonant cluster. ‘ = glottal stop, which is not necessarily spelled in English. Fairly rare, but sometimes found in clusters of vowels in careful speech. s in measure = ž: sh and ž may also be spelled with the consonant plus a hacek. ts as in rats = c

Different from/not found in English:

x = similar to ch in loch or challah m, n, v, f, s, z, w, r, and l may all be syllabic, although only vocalic l occurs with great frequency in syllable final consonant clusters, most notably pl and tl.


For the most part, vowels follow the cardinal values as in Spanish:

a, e, i, o, u

However, in uncareful or colloquial speech, a and e in unstressed, non-word-final positions tend to drop and become ǝ and ɛ, respectively. Final vowels of modifiers (adjectives and adverbs) are nasal. This is a remnant of a historic adjective-marking post position which is no longer fully pronounced. This nasal vowel is typically indicated by a tilde over the vowel (ã), or followed by an ñ or ng, depending on the typesetting abilities. All five vowels in this position can be nasalized, but nasals in other positions are extremely rare. Diphthongs and triphthongs do exist in various combinations, but the most common are combinations of a vowel plus i, o, or u. Whether they come before or after another vowel, i can generally be thought to be thought of as j, and likewise u and w are interchangeable.

ua/wa, ui/wi, ue/we, etc.; ia/ja, ie/je, etc...

However, o remains distinct – in careful speech ‘ comes between it and other vowels and in very formal (often, overly formal or trite speech) situations, h or x may intercede to insure no such sloppy pronunciation such as “oi” in “boy”, which would be pronounced bo’i or bohi.

ao, a’o, aho; oe, e’o, eho; oi, o’i, ohi


For the purpose of the relay, you can largely ignore the stress accent markers, this is an aspect I am studying but should not impact your translation. Stress is dynamic (volume) as in English, and so far not contrastive. Stress typically falls on the penultimate syllable, but shifts do occur in circumstances of morphological changes, and sometimes cause pronunciation irregularities, especially in case endings which have changed over time.

← iljenaConlang Relay 22Ilaini →
Exolangs Ring General Ring Poetry Ring
Pete Bleackley — iljenatorch
What is a relay?list of relays and participantsedit the TOC aboveedit this template