I invented Gaaziketti for the fun of it. I wanted it - among other things - to have a grammar which parses unambiguously, i.e. so that you always know what qualifies what in a sentence, and furthermore so that (even ignoring the written spaces between words) it is always possible to figure out where the boundaries between morphemes are (say if you are a computer). (Basically, i, a and u occur as single vowels only in the second and subsequent syllables of a morpheme, and no other vowel can occur in such a syllable.) I also wanted the grammar to be flexible and uniform, i.e. to be very general, with few or no exceptions and few "sub-rules". Also it had to be reasonably concise, but while being fairly easily pronounceable, having few consonant clusters, few vowels and diphthongs, and few rare consonants. Also, I wanted to minimise the number of pairs of words in the lexicon that differed only slightly, i.e. I built redundancy into it, as in real languages (although the way I built it in was somewhat artificial and "automatic"). Also I wanted to respect as far as possible the language "universals" that are true of most natural languages. And I wanted easily to be able to make new words by just conjoining two existing ones. On the other hand, I didn't care about resemblance between the Gaaziketti lexicon and that of natural languages.
Trying to reconcile all these goals was something of a challenge, but I think I've got something I'm reasonably happy with.
There is a bit more to it than what is above, incl. a (lazily auto-generated) provisional vocab of 1600 words. But I've yet to finalise a lot of the "small" words like personal pronouns, postpositions, conjunctions, tense-markers and so forth.
I am also (extremely slowly) developing a language called Taaluketti, which shares similar goals as the above, but with a different underlying grammar.
- 1 Pronunciation and orthography
- 2 Sample lexicon
- 3 Grammar
- 3.1 Basic syntax
- 3.2 Noun phrases
- 3.3 Verbal endings
- 3.4 Pronouns
- 3.5 Demonstratives
- 3.6 Postpositions
- 3.7 Some illustrative sentences
- 4 Lexicon
- 5 See also
Pronunciation and orthography
The following Roman letters are used.
a b c d e g h i k l m n o p q r s t u v z
The vowels are read approximately as in Spanish. But double vowels are pronounced long. Double consonants are pronounced double. Like Finnish.
q is pronounced like the 'ni' in 'onion'.
c is pronounced like the 'ch' is 'chair'.
n when at the end of a word (or medially immediately before 'g' or 'k') is pronounced like the 'ng' is 'song', or else is assimilated to the following consonant, as in Japanese. Elsewhere, it is pronounced like the 'n' in 'sonnet'.
r is rolled
ng is pronounced as in 'finger', not as in 'singer'.
ai is pronounced like 'eye' in 'eye'.
au is pronounced like the 'ow' in 'cow'.
Other sounds are pretty much pronounced as one would expect. But unvoiced stops are not aspirated. E.g. p is pronounced always as in 'spot', never as in 'pack'.
In a word with more than one syllable, the first syllable takes the stress.
I have arbitrarily picked the following words for the purposes of illustrating grammar. See Gaaziketti: Lexicon for more words.
nauzu to be original
raazu to criticise
cooqi to be silent
paa to be (only for linking noun phrases)
In Gaaziketti, just about any kind of word can modify (qualify) just about any other kind of word. Verbs, nouns and adjectives fall into essentially a single part of speech.
For example, kossakaidu means 'jeweller' -- if thought of as a noun.
But consider this one-word sentence: Kossakaidu.
Here kossakaidu acts as a verb, meaning: 'There is/are a jeweller/ some jewellers.'
Kossakaidu le raazu. means 'The jeweller criticises (something).'
But raazu, thought of as a noun, means 'criticising' (n.) or 'criticism'.
Thus " Kossakaidu le raazu. " can be read as 'There is criticising by the jeweller.'
Adjectives are generally treated as verbs. E.g. cooqi: to be silent. For such an "adjective" (which is really a verb), if you want to treat it as an attributive adjective, e.g. as in 'the silent movie', then you put it like this: 'the movie which is silent'. This isn't particularly unwieldy in Gaaziketti, because there is a concise relative pronoun (d). Thus cooqi de haiga le means 'the movie which is silent'/ 'the silent movie'.
The syntax tends to be agglutinative.
These markers indicate exactly what qualifies what. One must compulsorily be tacked onto the end of any morpheme ending in a vowel (or diphthong) (noting that one of these parsing markers is a null).
Gather one element, modify next element (nil)
Gather one element, do not modify next element -s
Gather two elements, modify next element -n
Gather two elements, do not modify next element -k
These markers work in the following way. If you've got a noun phrase, say, and it's modifying the next phrase to appear in the sentence, and its the only phrase modifying that next phrase, then you don't need to tack on any parsing marker at all - its gets the (nil) marker. But say you want noun phrase X not to modify the very next phrase in the sentence. Then you generally would tack on -s. (Although is some situations, as will be described shortly, you would tack on -k.) Now, suppose the order of phrases is XYZ. Say you want X to modify Z and you want Y to modify Z. This occurs, for example, when Z is appearing as a verb, and X and Y are its subject and object respectively. Then X gets -s and Y gets -n. The -s stops X from modifying Y; and the -n gathers two elements, viz. X and Y, and indicates that each of these gathered elements modifies the next element, Z. Suppose you've got WXYZ. You want W, X and Y each to modify Z. Then W gets -s, X gets -k (which serves to "gather" W and X into a unit containing two phrases, both of which will end up modifying the same unit, without modifying the very next unit), and Y gets -n. Note that Z gets no marker in any of these examples, because it appears at the end of a sentence. Since there is no "next" element that Z could modify, there is no need to append -s to Z (and indeed it would be incorrect to do so).
In general, a modifier precedes what it modifies.
These follow the noun and are, in general, compulsory, for any phrase intended to function as a noun phrase. But pronouns, of course, do not need articles.
(Syntactically speaking, the noun is thought of as "modifying" its article, even though semantically speaking, it seems to be the other way round. This is why the article comes at the end of the noun phrase.)
Articles receive compulsory case endings. (See below.) Nouns aren't inflected at all as such: articles indicate number and case for noun phrases.
Sing. def. l
Pl. def. k
Sing. indef. s
Pl. indef. m
accusative/ genitive -o
Note that these are added to articles and pronouns, but not to nouns, and not to demonstratives.
Verbal endings indicate aspect, tense and mood. But there is no passive voice as such; and verbs are not altered for number or person.
These come last of all.
Indicative “there is” (nil)
Imperative (short form) -p
Imperative (long form) (see below) -vaa
The short form of the imperative corresponds to the familiar English imperative. Raazup! means simply "Criticise!" The long form, however, is better translated as "make there be..." or "let there be...". Thus Raazuvaa! means "let there be criticising!" It does not imply that the person the speaker is addressing is being commanded to do the criticising themselves. They are being commanded to cause that there is criticising performed by someone.
In fact, the short imperative Raazup can be regarded as concise form of Ve raazuvaa. i.e. "Let there be criticising by you."
These come just before the mood marker.
Present (usually ommitted) -nee-
Past (sometimes ommitted if context allows) -co-
These come just before the tense marker.
future -tau- (same as tense)
raazuhaaco, had criticised
raazutauce, to be going to criticise (in the future)
raazutauco, was going to criticise
raazubaaco, used to criticise
For demonstratives, see the next section.
These are listed below in order of nom., acc., dat. forms. Possessive (genitive) forms, as attributive, precede the noun phrase, and the noun must still take the article, e.g.: qo haiga le, my movie; hos nauzun mennu ke, their original names.
1st person singular: qe, qo, qai; plural goqe, goqo, goqai.
2nd person singular: ve, vo, vai; plural: gove, govo, govai.
3rd person animate singular: te, to, tai; plural: he, ho, hai.
3rd person inanim. singular: ze, zo, zai; plural: he, ho, hai.
These are quite frequently used. The relative clause precedes the modified noun.
There are two relative pronouns. There is a concise one, which cannot handle more complicated types of construction; and there is a less concise one, which can handle complex constructions.
The concise option: d-
Declined according to the modified noun's case with respect to the verb in the relative clause.
Placed directly after the relative clause's verb. The relative clause's verb is in the indicative.
The flexible option: siim-
Declined according to case within relative clause.
Placed within the relative clause itself, i.e. somewhere before the relative clause's verb.
The relative clause's verb is in put into the infinitive.
These can serve as adjectives or as pronouns. As an (attributive) adjective, the order is: noun-demonstrative-article. The article is compulsory. As a pronoun, the construction is demonstrative-article. Again the article is compulsory.
taa that, those
nii this, these
E.g.: kooba taa le, that jacket (nominative); nii lo, this (as pronoun, accusative); taa kai, those (dative); Kooba nii se, one of these jackets (nom.).
These come after the article, which must be in the genitive/accusative case. See Gaaziketti: Lexicon for more postpositions.
baa with, using, via, by means of.
Some illustrative sentences
Kuubu lo deelu les cecca sen paa. The slave’s enemy is a soldier.
Kossakaidu les haiga lo mennu lon raazu. The jeweller criticises the movie’s name.
Kossakaidu les siimo mennu lon raazuce haiga le nauzu. The movie whose name the jeweller criticised is original.
Haiga lo mennu lo raazu de kossakaidu le cooqi. The jeweller who criticises the movie’s name is silent.
Cooqi de kossakaidu les haiga lon raazu. The silent jeweller critises the movie.
Kossakaidu les haiga lok cooqi den raazu. The jeweller criticises the movie silently. (Can be read as: "There is some criticising, which is (a) by the jeweller, (b) of the movie, and (c) silent.".)