The Kala conlang...
- 1 Introduction (soka)
- 2 Orthography (moya)
- 3 Phonology (otonaho)
- 4 Morphology (umpu)
- 4.1 Nouns (noma)
- 4.2 Pronouns (nkalo)
- 4.3 Verbs (uati)
- 4.4 Adjectives (keyo)
- 4.5 Adverbs (pusa)
- 4.6 Prepositions (tatse)
- 4.7 Particles (peya)
- 5 Derivational morphology (umpuyota)
- 6 Syntax (teyeto)
- 7 Numbers (uku)
Kala is a personal conlang (actually more of an artlang), based on my aesthetic preferences, not attached to any conworld or conculture. This language draws on natlangs (natural language), other conlangs, and of course imagination. Kala was started in late 2009. The phonemic inventory is based on Classical Nahuatl while the syllable structure and vowels are based on the strict (C)V structure of Japanese, and the presence of prenasalized stops is influenced by Bantu languages. Kala’s grammar was initially based on Japanese but has changed based on influence from several natural and constructed languages. Many – if not most – of Kala lexemes are derived from or inspired by natural languages. A few have been taken from previous projects or constructed languages such as Ajara (a cipherlang from my youth) and Qatama (a conlang that I abandoned several years ago).
Kala has two parts of speech. Nouns and verbs are content words, while particles (and others) tend to be only functional. Many content words can be used as both nouns and verbs. The best and most common example would be ina /iːˈna/ "food; to eat". Kala is a context-oriented language. In most cases, the more important elements of a phrase are clustered toward the end of the sentence (e.g. verbs and their modifiers). The less important an element is to the understanding of a sentence, the more likely it is to be dropped. Consequently, many Kala sentences end-up consisting solely of a verb (or adjectival verb); more so in conversation than in written Kala, these short phrases are grammatically correct and natural. Here are some examples:
- muya ka - /muːja gaː/ - do Q - (What are you) doing?
- ina - /iːna/ - eat - (I am) eating.
- tamatse - /tamaːˌt͡ʃɛ/ - good-seem - (That looks) good.
- ueha ka - /weːɦa kaː/ - want Q - (Do you) want (some)?
- nyasak - /ɲaːʃak/ - thank-NEG - No, thank (you).
Notice that none of the above contains any pronouns, or nouns. Any contextually understood elements may be omitted unless indispensable. There can be considerable divergence from what is grammatical, and what is acceptably idiomatic. The spectrum of formality and grammatical to idiomatic can be seen in the example below:
- na’etla muyaye – 1s-P.4s do-PST – I did it. > [grammatical, formal]
- etla muyaye – P.4s do-PST – (I) did it. >> It was done. > [grammatical, formal, passive]
- na muyaye – 1s do-PST – I did (it). > [grammatical, informal]
- muyaye – do-PST – (I) did (it). > [semi-grammatical, idiomatic]
- muyye – /muːɟɛ/ – do-PST – (I) did (it). > [ungrammatical, idiomatic]
- See also: Kala etymology
Kala borrows extensively from various natural languages. This is a very small sample of borrowings:
- pato – duck (Anatidae); from Spanish pato
- kala – to speak, talk, converse; from Arabic takallama
- myonta – to allow, permit; from Finnish myöntää
- na – I, me; from Arabic ʾanā
- tsenka – orange; from Chinese chéng
- uasi – to take, get, acquire; from Lakota wasichu
- a – to be, exist, yes; from Japanese aru
So, some phrases can contain words from multiple natlangs:
- ta ke inu uasiye ka
- 2s O drink take-PST Q
- Did you take the drink?
- Kala conscripts are many and varied. Rather than multiple pages explaining each of them, this page serves as a working list with a consistent example across each script. The most commonly used script is the Hangul adaptation for Kala.
Han Moya is an adaptation of Hangul for writing Kala. It is written horizontally, in lines running from left to right. It can also be written vertically in columns.
- k nk n t nt l m p mp s ns a ts nts ts` k` tl p` h
- /k~g ᵑk~ⁿg n t~d ⁿt~ⁿd l~ɾ m p~b ᵐp~ᵐb s~ʃ ⁿs~ⁿʃ - ts~t͡ʃ ⁿts~ⁿt͡ʃ tsʰ~t͡ʃʰ kʰ t͡ɬ~tl pʰ h~ɦ/
The adaptations of doubled consonants are used word initially to indicate prenasalization. Medial occurrences of nasalized syllables are written across syllables.
- ㅏ ᅶ ㅐ ㅑ ᅸ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ ㅛ ㅜ ㅟ ㅠ ㅡ ㅣ
- a ao ai ya yao e ye o ao yo ua uai ue u i
- /a~a: aʊ̯ aɪ̯ ja~ʲa: jaʊ̯~ʲaʊ̯ e~ɛ je~ʲɛ o~o: jo~ʲo: wa~ʷa: waɪ̯~ʷaɪ̯ we~ʷe: u~u: i~ɪ/
- ㅘ This is pronounced /wa/ in Korean because of the order of the vowels; however, because obsolete jamo are difficult to type and look junky as images, in Kala, this is used for /aʊ̯/ when typing. It is rarely seen due to the diphthong itself being uncommon.
- Where ~ appears, it indicates free variation between phonemes.
|Nasal||m (m)||n (n)||ɲ (ny)|
|Plosive||p~b (p)||t~d (t)||k~g (g)||ʔ ( ' )|
|Affricate||ts~t͡ʃ (ts)||t͡ɬ~tl (tl)|
|Continuant||s~ʃ (s)||l~ɾ (l)||h~ɦ (h)|
|Semivowel||j (y)||w (u)|
The glottal stop is not phonemic but is included in the chart above for completeness. It is only ever intervocalic, meaning it is pronounced between two vowels and/or diphthongs. Where ~ appears, it indicates free variation between phonemes. However, certain sounds change in a predictable way. For example, /h/ becomes [ɦ] when preceded or followed by a front vowel, including when labialized or palatalized. The alveolar affricates are most often /t͡ʃ/ and /t͡ɬ/. The “s” is almost always /ʃ/ unless preceded or followed by a syllable with the onset /t͡ʃ/, in which case “s” becomes /s/. So, sama (sun; star; solar) is /ˈʃaːma/ where sitsa (heat; hot) is /ˈsiːt͡ʃa/ and tsisi (embroider; embroidery) is /t͡ʃiːsi/.
- Prenasalized: /ᵐp ⁿt ᵑk/
- Labialized:/pʷ kʷ mʷ nʷ ʃʷ hʷ t͡ʃʷ/
- Palatalized: /pʲ kʲ mʲ hʲ/
Note: Because of its small phoneme inventory, Kala allows for quite a lot of allophonic variation. For example, /p t k/ may be pronounced [b d ɡ] as well as [p t k], /s l h/ as [ʃ ɾ ɦ], and /t͡s t͡ɬ/ as [t͡ʃ t͡l]; also, vowels may be either long or short.
|Close||i~ɪ (i)||u~u: (u)|
|Mid||e~ɛ (e)||o~o: (o)|
Kala has five vowels /i/, /e/, /a/, /o/ and /u/. Each occurs in both stressed and unstressed syllables. Phonetic nasalization occurs for vowels occurring between nasal consonants or when preceding a syllable-final nasal, e.g. tsunka [ˈt͡ʃũᵑka] ('bug').
Phonetically, Kala has only two diphthongs, both falling; [aɪ̯] and [aʊ̯], but there are five syllables that can be analyzed as rising diphthongs; [wa], [we], [ja], [je], and [jo]. The two triphthongs [waɪ̯] and [jaʊ̯] are very rare but should be noted as possible.
Kala words are typically made up of open syllables of the type CV (consonant-vowel) with most words having syllables exclusively of this type. There is a limited set of syllables allowed by Kala phonotactics, similar to Japanese or Chinese.
- /l/ cannot occur word initially (except in loanwords and toponyms):
- lupunan = Lebanon
- lupusu = Lupus
Syllable structure in Kala is typically made up of open syllables of the type CV (consonant-vowel) with most lexemes having syllables exclusively of this type. The exception to this rule are the endings –m (indicating general plural), -n (indicating adverbial or adjectival use), and –k (indicating negative mood). These endings all are word final. In detail a Kala syllable can be analyzed thusly: (N)(C)(u, y)V(a, i) where (N) indicates nasalization, and u and y indicate labialization and palatalization respectively.
Syllable Chart (ualitloko)
Syllables such as nsa, ntla, or ntsa can occur but usually only in place names or loanwords. The red syllables above occur infrequently and most often as the final syllable of a word.
Collating Order (pataka)
The collating sequence (alphabetical order) is based on the order established in the Naua script.
Based on this order, ma would come before ha, etc. Prenasalized syllables are ordered after their non-prenasalized counterparts, i.e. mpa comes after pyo but before ta. To see the collating sequence in action, look through the lexicon.
Stress generally falls on the penultimate syllable, which means that stress is de facto initial in most lemma given that stems are most often (CVCV). Monosyllabic words are not stressed. So;
- masa - /ˈmaːsa/ >> masako - /maːˈsako/
- tliyama - /tɬiːˈjama/ >> tliyamalo - /tɬiːjaˈmalo/
- kam - /kaːm/ >> kamyo - /ˈkaːmʲo/
Kala is a mostly agglutinative language that makes extensive use of compounding, incorporation and derivation. That is, it can add many different prefixes and suffixes to a root until very long words are formed, and a single word can sometimes constitute an entire sentence.
Nouns in Kala are inflected only for number. Other relevant distinctions are animacy and possession, but these are not marked on the noun itself. Animacy plays a role both for pronoun choice and for the validity of some syntactic constructions.
In general the plural suffix is not used when the plurality of the noun is clear from context. For example, while the English sentence "there are three dogs" would use the plural "dogs" instead of the singular "dog", the Kala sentence mita ha'o a "dog three exist" keeps the word mita "dog" in its unmarked form, as the numeral makes the plural marker redundant.
Nouns are marked for number; plural and collective:
- mita - dog - a dog
- mitam - dog-PL - dogs
- tlimita - COL-dog - a dog pack / a pack of dogs
- tlimitam - COL-dog-PL - dog packs / packs of dogs
When the final syllable of a word contains an m, mp, and sometimes a p the plural marking changes to -lo.
- yama - mountain - a mountain
- yamalo - mountain-PL - mountains
- tliyama - COL-mountain - a mountain range / range of mountains
- tliyamalo - COL-mountain-PL - mountain ranges / ranges of mountains
The collective plural is marked by tli-, derived from tatli, meaning "group; collection; gathering". It is mainly used to indicate collectives of animals, but can also indicate groups of flora, geographic features, and various other groupings. This is called the collective plural (COL).
Gender is not normally marked but can be with the endings -na and -ta to mark the feminine and masculine, respectively or nouns such as naka, tlaka, nahi, or tahi (the woman, the man, the girl, the boy), etc. A gender neutral suffix, -nta may be used when the gender is unknown or ambiguous.
- uma - horse - a horse
- umana - horse-FEM - mare
- umata - horse-MASC - stallion
Kala agent pronouns are often omitted when the person is obvious from context. There are four persons in Kala. The 4th being inanimate, or indefinite. The pronoun na'am is used as the 1st person plural exclusive, meaning "We, but not you." The 3rd person plural is irregular, all other pronoun decline regularly. Pronouns do not inflect for gender; if gender is significant, one can use words like naka, tlaka, nahi, tahi (the woman, the man, the girl, the boy), etc.
Other pronouns include:
Reflexives and Reciprocals (ki ma anku)
Kala has reflexive and reciprocal pronoun forms.
Determiners & Demostratives (milahani)
The demonstratives can be prefixed to any noun to show deixis. Kala makes a three-way distinction. Typically there is a distinction between proximal or first person (objects near to the speaker), medial or second person (objects near to the addressee), and distal or third person (objects far from both).
Quantifiers follow the noun that modify.
now, at present
then; at that time
no kind (at all)
thus; like this; this way
Kala relies on analytic serial verb constructions, and can therefore get by with very little verbal morphology. Each verb has at most two possible forms: the active and the stative. Passivity is marked on the subject thus verbs are unmarked and must be analyzed based on surrounding morphology. Active verbs solely denote actions and occurrences and never states in Kala. Stative verbs are the words that modify nouns in an attributive and often adjectival way. They often express a state like a quality or result. Verbs can be marked with several suffixes to add or change meaning. The modals and tense affixes can be added in different order to a verb to create a new meaning; their placement is not always fixed. The negative, adverbial, and plural endings are always final, while other affixes can be varied, but in general they should be ordered:
- na empahipankoyek
- 1SG run-DIM-able-PROG-PST-NEG
- I was not able to keep jogging.
Kala has three simple tenses; past, present, and future. Present tense is unmarked. However, past (-ye) and future (-tli) tenses can be modified to include immediate future ("is about to..."), distant future ("will...in a long while"), recent past ("just ..."), and remote past ("...a long while ago"). These distinctions are made with the augmentative and diminutive endings -ha and -hi.
|remote past||kamahi hinayeha||town-DIM be.here-REM|| There was a village here (long ago).|
(before the lifetime of the speaker)
|past||naka mita anyaye||woman dog see-PST||The woman saw the dog.|
|recent past|| ota namyo akyayehi
|father 1pl.GEN wake-REC|| Our father just woke.|
(action just finished)
|present||mita tahi yatsi||dog boy bite||The dog bites the boy.|
|future||naka tahi tlepatli||woman boy teach-FUT||The woman will teach the boy.|
|immediate future|| na tlelatlihi
|1s bathe-FUT|| I'll bathe soon.|
(within the day)
|distant future||panam opuatliha||rain-PL end-FUT|| The rains will end.|
(months from now)
- The present tense can show immediacy by using the adverb ima, "now; at this time":
- ima mita ina - now dog eat - The dog is eating right now.
- If a temporal adverb is used, the tense suffix may be omitted:
- yomaye nam ina - yesterday 1pl eat - We ate yesterday.
There are four aspects in Kala. The progressive, also called the continuous [CONT], this is used to express an incomplete action or state in progress at a specific time. It is marked with -nko, from nkoso - "to continue; proceed; progress". The perfective aspect indicates that an action is completed [PFV]. It is often translated by the English present perfect (have done some-thing). It is marked with -pua, from opua - "to end; finish; complete". The inchoative aspect refers to the beginning of a state [INCH]. It is marked with -mu, from mula - "to begin; start; initiate". The frequentative aspect refers to a repeated action [FREQ]. It is marked with -nua, from nua - "frequent; often; regular".
|Continuous||na ke niye pukunko||1s O undergarment wear-CONT||I am wearing underclothes.|
|Frequentative||tlaka ke apua tlatonua||man O song recite-FREQ||The man recites the song repetitively.|
|Inchoative||nahi yotimu||girl play-INCH||The girl begins to play.|
|Perfective||kam inapua||3pl eat-PFV||They have eaten.|
Besides various aspects, Kala also marks moods other than realis: irrealis, imperative, hortative, and negative. These are also expressed by suffixes on the verb and typically follow aspectual marking where it is expressed by a suffix. As is common throughout natural and constructed languages, the indicative mood is unmarked. Subjunctive, conditional, and imperative moods are marked lexically, by various particles, and as such are covered in detail in the “particles” of this grammar.
|Abilitative||na mokuyepak||1s sleep-PST-ABIL-NEG||I was unable to sleep.|
|Assumptive||naka hinaho||woamn be.here-ASS||The woman must be here. (I assume) (also used as "assertive")|
|Attemptative||neko ke panya matapya||cat O mouse kill-ATT||The cat is trying to kill the mouse.|
|Dubitative||ha tsakahueke||3s home-LOC-DUB||I guess he is at home. lit: He is at home, supposedly.|
|Necessitative||mita inahe||dog eat-NEC||The dog needs to eat.|
|Negative||naku nayo hinak||sister 1s-GEN be.here-NEG||My sister is not here.|
|Permissive||ta ke hina simamyok||2s O here sit-PERM-NEG||You are not allowed to sit here.|
|Precative||ke asi yetate||O salt give-PREC||Will you please pass me the salt?|
|Preparative||tahi mokusue||boy sleep-PREP||The boy is ready to sleep.|
|Propositive||ta mokune||2s sleep-PROP||You should sleep.|
|Volitive||otsokai ka'e moli yalaue||wolf-red toward forest go-VOL||Redwolf wants/intends to go to the forest.|
The negative mood (always marked finally) is indicated by the suffix –k or –nke (when the last syllable contains /k/).
- mita inayek - dog eat-PST-NEG - The dog did not eat.
- mita mokunke - dog sleep-NEG - The dog does not sleep.
Kala does not have morphologically distinct adjectives. Stative verbs are the words that modify nouns in an predicative and often adjectival way. They often express a state like a quality or result. In the simplest form, the adjective simply appears after the noun, in verbal position. Many statements that would be phrased as adjectival predicates in English are preferably expressed with stative intransitive verbs in Kala, requiring no copula. (For simplicity, such verbs are glossed without “be”.) This leaves open to interpretation many phrases.
In Kala the concepts of comparative and superlative degree of an predicative adjective (verb) are merged into a single form, the elative. How this form is understood or translated depends upon context and definiteness. In the absence of comparison, the elative conveys the notion of “greatest”, “supreme.” The comparative is made by using the augmentative or diminutive ending on the verb.
Equivalence is indicated with either kue (as, like), or mya (as...as).
Like verbs, adjectives can be used as nouns. For example, aya means "beautiful", but ayako means "a beautiful one" or "a beauty." An adjective can be made into an abstract noun by adding -n (-ity, -ness, -ship, -hood). In this way aya becomes ayan, meaning "beauty". This can also be used with nouns: ona (mother) becomes onan (motherhood).
In a relative clause, the verb has the suffix -tle (or -le if the final syllable contains /tl/) added to it. The order of the words in relative clauses remains the same as in regular clauses. The use of participles in Kala is rather different than in English and at first sight is difficult to understand. This is mainly due to the fact that the relative pronouns who, what, which, where are not used in Kala as in English.
- yalapa - to be able to walk produces: yalapatle - who/which/that can walk
- yalapak - to not be able to walk produces: yalapanketle - who/which/that can't walk
This nominalizes the verb in some cases, and makes it possible for it to be either the subject or the object.
The relative suffix is most often in the final position. In some cases, it may be followed by the negative -k.
Adverbs tell us when, how, why or where the action happens. They modify a verb, a noun, an adjective, another adverb or a complete sentence. They also can provide us information about manner, quantity, frequency, time, or place. Kala does not have morphologically distinct adverbs. Adverbs can be formed from all adjectives (or stative verbs) by adding -n to the root. Since this rule is regular, it is not generally indicated in grammatical examples or in the lexicon.
- aya - beautiful >> ayan - beautifully
- tama - good >> taman - well
- poyo - rich >> poyon - richly
- tsipue - slow >> tsipuen - slowly (this can also be marked on the main verb with -tsue)
- tlaki - fluent >> tlakin - fluently
Many adverbs (mostly temporal) do not derive from verbs:
- yomaye - yesterday
- iyoma - today
- yomali - every day
- kuama - always
- ima - now
Temporal adverbs always precede the phrase they modify.
- yomuali na ka'e hakyo yala
- morning-each 1s to school go
- I go to school every morning.
Other adverbials can be marked on the verb.
- ona kamyo ma'a siku kupayetsua
- mother 3pl.GEN with accident die-PST-almost
- Their mother almost died in the accident.
Kala does not have prepositions (or postpositions) as a distinct part of speech. Instead, many locative verbs can be used as adpositionals, in which case they precede the noun they modify. There is one general locative (-hue) which is affixed to nouns (and occasionally verbs) to indicate the sense of “at; in; on”. Here are some common verbs used as adpositions:
- na ke ito yamahue anyapa
- 1sg O tree hill-LOC see-ABIL
- I can see a tree on the hill.
- ntahim nyaue tsaka yoti
- child-PL outside.of house play
- The children are playing outside of the house.
Many of these take the motive suffix -la.
- mita ke tsaka nahelaye
- dog O house go.into-PST
- The dog went into the house.
- taku nayo ke ito ua'ela
- brother 1s.GEN O tree go.up
- My brother is climbing the tree.
Words and phrases may be coordinated in Kala with the following words:
There are a few particles, usually appearing at the beginning of the sentence, with a pragmatic meaning. These typically precede phrases they modify.
|a||acknowledgement, agreement, or that one is listening||yes; hm mm; yeah|| a ta inaue|
Mm hmm...You want to eat.
|e||filler or pause during conversation||uh, er, well|| e na uamek|
Well, I'm not sure.
|yali||excuses jostling or interruptions||excuse me|| yali itla tayo ka|
Excuse me, is this yours?
Derivational morphology (umpuyota)
Because Kala has only two main parts of speech (content and functional words), new words formed by derivation should be analyzed based on context. Functional words can rarely be used to form new words, but this is typically to form extensions of functions, or new functions.
New nouns are usually created through head-initial compounding, using both nominal and verbal stems as the second, dependent element of the compound. The resulting lexical entries usually behave as single phonological words, which, however, have four full syllables: kuatlatloha "grass snake". Compounding of more than two elements is not common.
- kayapusu - "earthquake" > kaya - earth + pusu - vibrate
- asuaseka - "leather" > asua - skin + seka - dry
There are also numerous affixes used to form new meanings. A few examples are;
- tiyasu - "bakery" > tiya - bread + -su - market; shop
- onyomo - "school" > onyo - learn + -mo - place; location
- kuhasa - "kitchen" > kuha - cook + -sa - room; chamber
- pyetampu - "egg-shaped" > pyeta - egg + -mpu - shape; form
Causative verbs (as well as achievement verbs) can be formed from other verbs by adding -mya (from muya - "do, make, cause") or -la (from ela - "become; change into; turn into"). This type of derivation is fairly common; however, verbs created in this way are syntactically defective and tend to appear only in serial verb constructions.
- tinamya - "bend" < tina - be bent
- pitamya - "hollow out" < pita - be hollow; void
- enomya - "annoy, bother" < eno - be angry
- tsipuela - "slow down" < tsipue - be slow
- kyolola - "speed up" < kyolo - be quick
- ketsahu - "dismiss, reject, repudiate" < ketsa - doubt
- amyampa - "fall in love with" < amya - be fond of; like; prefer (of people)
- timan - "be cruel, be bloody" < tima - blood
- amyan - "be welcoming, be hospitable" < amya - be fond of
Nouns referring to a human subject of a verb (usually in a habitual sense) can be formed with the agentive suffix -ko (from ko - "individual; person"). This suffix changes to -tlo when a velar stop is present in the preceding syllable.
- kitlako - "craftsman" < kitla - create; invent; make-up
- sutako - "inhabitant (of)" < suta - live; reside; dwell; inhabit; settle
- yekatlo - "unmarried young adult" < yeka - be separate, be on one's own
- makatlo - "musician" < maka - music; play ~; tune
- tsaniko - "storyteller" < tsani - recite, tell (a story)
- hitanyo - "atlatl (spear-thrower)" < hita - throw; cast; expel
- amonyo - "handle (for carrying)" < amo - transport; carry
- kusunyo - "clasp, brooch, fibula" < kusu - squeeze
- toponyo - "lock" < topo - door; gate
Locative (mo / hue)
Location nouns can be formed from both nouns and verbs by several suffixes. These indicate specific places where either something happens, or something resides there are a few affixes which modify both verbs and nouns.
- tanamo - "battlefield; boxing ring; wrestling mat, etc." < tana - fight; combat
- uelomo - "bicycle-place; bike path; bike rack, etc." < uelo - bicycle; bike
- inamo - "eat-place; dining room; restaurant" [This can also mean food-place; pantry, etc.] < ina - food; eat
- onyomo - "learn-place; school" < onyo - learn; study
- tiyasu - "bread-shop; bakery" < tiya - bread
- inasu - "food-market; grocery store; restaurant" < ina - food; eat
- uelosu - "bicycle-shop" < uelo - bicycle; bike
- tanakyo - "dojo; martial arts training academy; etc." < tana - fight; combat
- kuhakyo - "culinary-school; chef’s academy" < kuha - cook; prepare food
- tsiyakyo - "liberalism" < tsiya - freedom; liberty
- ya'akyo - "medical-school" < ya'a - medicine; drug; cure
- kuhasa - "cook-room; kitchen" < kuha - cook; prepare food
- mokusa - "sleep-room; bedroom" < moku - sleep; rest
- inasa - "eat-room; dining room" < ina - food; eat
- onyosa - "learn-room; classroom" < onyo - learn; study
- mukuhi - "blade" < muku - knife
- umahi - "foal" < uma - horse; equine
- mitahi - "puppy" < mita - dog; canine
- ohuaki - "indulgence" < ohua - luxurious; extravagant
- kamaha - "city" < kama - village; town
- ohaka - "dislocate one's jaw" < oha - yawn; open one's mouth
- mosaha - "epic; novel" < mosa - book; letter; scroll
- tiniha - "hurricane" < tini - spiral; whorl
Honorific nouns can be formed from other nouns by prefixing o-.
- omasa - "stag" < masa - deer; cervine
- okama - "capital" < kama - town; village
Kala has an extremely regular grammar, with very few exceptions to its rules. Sentences are made up of one or more phrases. Each phrase consists of a verb (optionally followed by modifying particles) and a subject (optionally followed by modifying particles). The subject, if understood, can be omitted at the end of an utterance: pana ("It is raining.") pana! ("Rain!") An utterance can be anything from an interjection to a story.
The basic structure of a Kala sentence is: AGENT--PATIENT--VERB (or SOV)
The agent is the person or thing doing the action described by the verb; The patient is the recipient of that action. The importance of word order can be seen by comparing the following sentences:
In both sentences, the words are identical, the only way to know who is seeing whom is by the order of the words in the sentence.
The use of the object marker ke indicates the recipient of the action.
- naka ke mita itsa
- woman O dog love
- The woman loves the dog.
Kala lacks morphological adjectives and instead uses predicative verbs.
- ke tsaka taha
- O house be.big
- The big house / The house is big
Kala lacks morphological adverbs, verbs modified with the adverbial ending -n tend to precede the verb phrase they modify.
- tsumun nam yokone
- cautious-ADV 1pl swim-SUG
- We should swim cautiously.
Kala lacks morphological prepositions and instead uses locational and relational verbs.
- mita ke yempa tahe
- dog O table be.under
- The dog is under the table.
Relative clauses (or adjective clauses) function like adjectives. Relative clauses follow the noun or noun phrase that they modify:
- naka ke na itsatle te ameyo
- woman O 1s love-REL from America
- The woman (that) I love comes from America.
- mayo ke na kitlayetle muyak
- tool O 1s create-PST-REL do-NEG
- The tool (that) I built doesn't function.
- na ke ta yani unyak / na ke yani tayo unyak
- 1s O 2s mean know-NEG / 1s O meaning 2s.GEN know-NEG
- I don't understand what you mean.
Subordinate clauses rely on conjunctions and other particles.
- eya ta ke mpeka inaye yatli ta pasala
- maybe 2s O toad eat-PST therefore 2s nauseous-become
- If you ate the toad (which you might have), you might get sick.
- naye na tasa ke masa okyohue anyaye
- while 1s hunt O deer clearing-LOC see-PST
- While hunting, I saw a deer in a clearing.
There are two types of questions: Polar, those which may be answered "yes" or "no," and those which require explanations as answers.
Polar Questions (pa'ekanyo)
Any statement can become a polar question by adding the interrogative particle ka at the end of the sentence.
Content questions (no-kanyo)
Questions that give a list of possible answers are formed like polar questions, with the conjunction ue ‘or’ introducing each alternative (which must appear in the form of a noun phrase).
Open content questions are most easily formed with the correlatives, such as ko ‘person’, mo ‘place’, to ‘manner’, etc. These correlatives always appear clause-initially:
The other type contains a question word and is followed by ka:
|object||ke mita ina ka||O dog eat Q||What does the dog eat?|
|person||ko ina ka||person eat Q||Who eats?|
|possession||koyo mita ina ka||person-POSS dog eat Q||Whose dog eats?|
|manner||to mita ina ka||manner dog eat Q||How does the dog eat?|
|place||mo mita ina ka||place dog eat Q||Where does the dog eat?|
|reason||nye mita ina ka||reason dog eat Q||Why does the dog eat?|
|time||ama mita ina ka||time dog eat Q||When does the dog eat?|
|amount||uku mita ina ka||amount dog eat Q||How much/many does the dog eat?|
|which||ula mita ina ka||any dog eat Q||Which dog eats?|
Kala uses a base 10 number system. The basic numbers are as follows:
|ha'o||3||three||sa'o||9||nine||kye'o||105||(one) hundred thousand|
|ya'o||5||five||nye'o||100||(one) hundred||hue'o||109||(one) billion|
Forming Larger Numbers
- uena'o - eleven / 11
- taue'o - twenty / 20
- nyeka'o - one hundred seven / 107
- hanyetauetsa'o (long form) / hatatsa'o (short form) - three hundred twenty six / 326
- tsatletauema'o - six thousand and twenty four / 6024
Long form numbers are used in formal situations, including financial transactions, especially involving large sums. Short form numbers are used in everyday speech and when calculating basic math.
Other Number Forms
|54||fifty four|| kiyama'o
a fifty fourth
|nyetsa'o||106||one hundred (and) six|| kinyetsa'o
|katle'o||7000||seven thousand|| kikatle'o
Math Operations (kuto)
Kala math is fairly basic and relies on particles and verbs to express functions.
Addition uses ma (and; also). There is no specific order to the numbers in the phrase/equation.
- ha'o ma ya'o ke pa'o a
- 3 and 5 O 8 COP
- Three plus five is eight.
Subtraction uses ma (and; also) and a negative form of the smaller integer. There is no specific order to the numbers in the phrase/equation.
- tsa'o ma ya'ok ke na'o a
- 6 and 5-NEG O 1 COP
- Six and five-less is one.
Multiplication uses ma (and; also) and a multiple form of one of the integers. There is no specific order to the numbers in the phrase/equation.
- ha'o ma tima'o ke ueta'o a
- 3 and multiple-4 O 12 COP
- Three times four is twelve.
Division uses yeka (divide; separate; partition), or ma (and; also) and a multiple-negative form of one of the integers. There is no specific order to the numbers in the phrase/equation.
- tama'o ma ha'o ke pa'o yeka
- 24 and 3 O 8 division
- Twenty-four divided by three is eight.