Fith

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Fith
Spoken in: Planet Fithia
Conworld:
Total speakers:
Genealogical classification: Fithian
Fith
Basic word order: stack-based
Morphological type: isolating
Morphosyntactic alignment:
Created by:
Jeffrey Henning 1997-2005

Fith is a stack-based alien language invented by Jeffrey Henning. It is spoken by centauroid sapient marsupials on the planet Fithia.

LIFO Grammar

The grammar of Fith is based on a stack, which operates by the LIFO principle: last in, first out. Like, for instance, a stack of cards on which you can put a card on the top, or remove a card from the top.

Consider the sentence zhong hong lin lo rumn shkrung e 'The loyal man of the nation deactivates the robot'. The first word, the noun zhong, is pushed onto the stack:

zhong 'nation'

The second is also a noun which is likewise pushed onto the stack:

hong 'man'
zhong 'nation'

The next word, lin, is an adjective. This results in the top item being modified:

hong lin 'loyal man'
zhong 'nation'

The fourth word, lo 'of', is a postposition which pops the two top elements from the stack and pushes a modified noun phrase onto it:

zhong hong lin lo 'loyal man of the nation'

The next word is a noun which is pushed onto the stack:

rumn 'robot'
zhong hong lin lo 'loyal man of the nation'

This is followed by a verb, in this case a transitive one, which takes two arguments and combines them into a clause that is placed on the stack:

zhong hong lin lo rumn shkrung 'The loyal man of the nation deactivates the robot'

Finally, the stack conjunction e finishes the sentence and pops it from the stack. As long as the e is not uttered, the sentence is still "under construction".

Stack conjunctions

But that is not all. There are numerous stack conjunctions by which a Fith speaker can manipulate the stack.

Form Meaning
nyun Placeholder, used with several stack conjunctions.
drumh Combines everything above the last nyun into an 'and' series ('X, Y, and Z').
tuumnh Combines everything above the last nyun into an 'either-or' series ('one of X, Y, and Z').
dwoumnh Combines everything above the last nyun into an 'neither-nor' series ('none of X, Y, and Z').
du Duplicates the top stack item.
kuu Duplicates the top two stack items.
voi Copies the second-from-top stack item to the top.
dzhi Copies the stack item above nyun to the top of the stack.
shen Swaps the top two stack items.
ronh Rotates the top three stack items, with the third-from-top item moving to the top.
lonh Rotates the top three stack items in the opposite direction.
frong Drops the top stack item.
bom Removes the second-from-top stack item.
skuunh Clears the whole stack.
e Removes the top item as a sentence.
i Removes the top item as a sentence introducing detail (':').
o Removes the top item as a question.
u Removes the top item as an exclamation.
strunh Reminds the listener of how deep his stack should be. (The top item must be a numeral.)

Lingering

A common rhetoric device in Fith is lingering. Items are placed on the stack and not used until much later. It is, for instance, possible to utter sentences in reverse order, or to duplicate a noun phrase and return to it after uttering many sentences in which it is not used.

Shallow Fith

Shallow Fith is a human-usable proper subset of Fith which eliminates most stack conjunctions and disallows lingering. It was created by Jörg Rhiemeier.

External link

Fith: The Alien Language With A LIFO Grammar (archived)