Síntári developed due to inspiration from both Finnish and Basque. It shares characteristics of both languages, such a system of vowel harmony and polypersonal verb conjugation; it is, however, ultimately an a priori conlang. In addition, Síntári sometimes synthesizes features of both Finnish and Basque, as in its tripartite morphosyntactic alignment. Like the languages that inspired it, Síntári is a highly agglutinative. It also tends toward polysynthesis.
- 1 Phonology
- 2 Romanization and Native Script
- 3 Nouns
|Plosive||p b||t d||k g|
|Affricate||ʦ ʣ||ʨ ʥ|
|Fricative||f v||θ ð||s z||ɕ ʑ||x ɣ||h|
|Short Front||Long Front||Short Back||Long Back|
|Close||i y||iː yː||ɯ u||ɯː uː|
|Close Mid||e ø||eː øː||ɤ o||ɤː oː|
Consonants, as well as vowels, have long forms. Geminate consonants are written by doubling the letter, while long vowels are written with an acute accent over them. In each case, Síntári contrasts the meaning of long and short vowels and consonants. Being that they are phonemic, there is a difference in meaning between the words halla and hala, which mean fish and air, respectively.
Síntári is capable of building fairly complex consonant clusters. There can be at most four consonants in the onset, but this does not occur frequently and is limited to /vstr/. The syllable nucleus must be a vowel sound; Síntári does not allow syllabic nasals or liquids to occur. The coda usually ends in a single consonant, as any other consonants accompanying it will be moved to the onset of the following syllable. Exceptions can occur, however, as in a word like roumna, forest, where the [mn] occupies the same syllable.
Síntári divides open syllables into [CV.CV]. As mentioned above, a coda with two consonant sounds will likely be divided. For example, halla divides as [CVC.CV] as would similarly built words like halta, halda, or halka. Syllables that have a cluster of three consonants, such as ístve, love (n.) keep that cluster as the onset of a new syllable. Illustrated, it looks like [V.CCCV].
Stress and Intonation
Síntári regularly stresses the penultimate, or next-to-last, syllable of a word. Since all of the above words have two syllables, the first syllable would be stressed; it would predictably move one syllable to the right if the word took on an extra syllable, perhaps due to it being inflected. Since Síntári is an agglutinative language, words have a tendency to be rather long. In such cases, the primary stress will always fall on the penultimate syllable; a secondary stress will fall every third syllable from the primary stress.
Compound words function slightly differently. The first segment of the compound maintains a regular, primary stress on the penultimate syllable, but the second segment of the compound has a secondary stress on its penult.
Intonation works much the same way in Síntári as it does in English. Declarative sentences and questions formed with a question word have a falling intonation; questions and declarative sentences formed like questions have a rising intonation.
Síntári has a system of vowel harmony in which front vowels and back vowels may not occur within a word boundary. Because of this feature, the vowels Æ, Ø, and Y may not occur in the same word as A, O, Õ, U, and Ũ. It is not difficult to choose the appropriate harmonic suffix. If the stem contains Æ, Ø, or Y, then front vowel suffix forms are necessary. If it has A, O, Õ, U, or Ũ, then back vowel forms are necessary. If a stem has only E or I, it will take front vowel forms. E and I are neutral and can exist in a stem with either set of vowels; however, if a suffix has an Ũ or an Õ in its back vowel form, then an I or an E will oppose it in its front vowel form. For example, Síntári has the optional gender suffix -ũros/-irøs which signifies that the stem the suffix attaches to is a male person. Because the suffix has an Ũ in it, an I needs to oppose it, otherwise the system of vowel harmony would not work.
Romanization and Native Script
Síntári considers all Latin characters with a diacritic to be independent letters, and are so listed here. The only exception is long vowels, because they continue a sound rather than denote a new, derived sound. Síntári marks a long vowel with an acute accent; in the case of Õ and Ũ, a double acute is used, which creates Ő and Ű.
Síntári has a tripartite morphosyntactic alignment; that is, it treats the subject, the agent, and the patient of a sentence distinctly. The subject always carries out the action of an intransitive verb, and therefore it takes the basic, uninflected intransitive case. The subject becomes the agent of a transitive verb when the sentence contains a transitive verb with a patient, also frequently called a direct object. The agent of a transitive verb takes the ergative case. The patient, or direct object, is the person or thing that experiences the verb's action. The patient takes the accusative case.
Unlike Latin or Russian, Síntári's method of declension is agglutinative. This means that each suffix is also its own morpheme; Síntári does not fuse several meanings into its suffixes. Instead of having a suffix like -ārum, for example, which denotes "first declension feminine genitive plural," a speaker of Síntári would use (-eus)-ai-s. This string of suffixes carries across the same meaning: the optional gender suffix -eusa- denotes that the person is a woman, the -ai- marks pluralization, and the -s denotes the genitive case.
Any Síntári nominal that ends in a vowel can be declined directly in the singular. The only thing that needs to be done is to add the necessary case suffix. In the dual and plural, the vowel that ends the nominal drops off the word to make room for the number suffix.
A Síntári nominal can end in any almost any dental or alveolar consonant. The only exception to this are the dental fricatives Þ and Ð, which means that there are words ending in -c, -d, -l, -ł, -n, -r, -s, -t, -z, and -dz. Although Síntári allows nominals to end in ten different consonants, there are only four groups of sound changes that happen to reveal the stem.
The first is the most common and it involves all nominals ending in -d, -l, -n, -t, -z, and -dz. The stems of these words end in -i, which has the effect of palatalizing the previous consonants. Because of this effect, the stems will end in -dži-, -ľi-, -ňi-, -ši-, -ži-, and -dži-, respectively. So, for example, the nouns karvad (coniferous forest) and vaen (rock) have stems in karvadži- and vaeňi-.
The second group of consonant stems end in -c and -ł. The stems of these words break down the final sound into -t- and -l-, respectively, so that kárác (steam) and tainał (door) become kárát- and tainal-. The third group concerns words ending in -r. In this group, the final -r changes to -z-. The word hraltar (foot) displays this change, having a stem in hraltaz-.
The fourth group has two varieties, both ending in -s. The change that occurs depends on the vowel immediately preceding the -s. If that vowel is an E, I, or Y, the -s drops to reveal a -ð-. If, however, the preceding vowel is a back vowel, the stem reveals -tt-. The words rýves (bird) has a stem of rýveð-, while vorras (fruit) has a stem of vorratt-.
Number and Case
A speaker can inflect any Síntári noun into one of three grammatical numbers and one of twenty-three grammatical cases. Síntári possesses a singular, a dual, and a plural number. The dual and plural forms are marked with suffixes, while the singular, being the basic form, is denoted by the lack of any number suffix.
The singular functions in Síntári the same way it does in English, with a single exception. Where English would use the plural to express zero of some object, Síntári always uses the singular. The dual always refers to a set of two objects, and unlike in some languages, Síntári's dual forms are not restricted to body parts that come in pairs. The dual also extends to pronominal forms and verb conjugations. Finally, the plural refers to a set of three or more objects.
Síntári's case system employs twenty-three different suffixes to express quite a range of grammatical concepts. These twenty-three cases are divided into groups: the syntactic cases, the locative cases, the temporal cases, and the transitional cases. The intransitive, ergative, accusative, dative, genitive, instrumental, and abessive cases make up the syntactic group. The inessive, illative, elative, lative, adessive, allative, ablative, perlative, subessive, and superessive form the locative group of cases. The temporal class includes the distributive-temporal, antessive, and postessive; the remaining transitional cases include the essive, exessive, and translative.
The majority of the syntactic cases mark grammatical relationships. The following table defines how each case is used.
|Intransitive||Marks the subject of an intransitive verb.||A vowel or any alveolar consonant|
|Ergative||Marks the agent of a transitive verb.||-rsa, -rse|
|Accusative||Marks the patient of a transitive verb.||-n|
|Dative||Marks the indirect object.||-saë, -seë|
|Genitive||Marks possession and has partitive characteristics.||-s|
|Instrumental||Marks the instrument with which something is done.||-naë, -neë|
|Abessive||Marks a lack of something.||-nta, -nte|
The locative cases, as the name suggests, show various kinds of location and movement.
|Inessive||Marks location in.||-sva, -sve|
|Elative||Marks movement from and out of.||-svad, -svæd|
|Illative||Marks movement into.||-svaë, -sveë|
|Adessive||Marks location on.||-rra, -rre|
|Ablative||Marks movement away from.||-rtan, -rtæn|
|Allative||Marks movement onto.||-rta, -rte|
|Lative||Marks movement to.||-rva, -rve|
|Perlative||Marks movement across and through.||-rvas, -rvæs|
|Subessive||Marks location and movement under and below.||-lta, -lte|
|Superessive||Marks location and movement over and above.||-ltar, -ltær|
The temporal cases express relations in time. Some dialects of Síntári use the antessive and postessive cases in both a temporal and a spatial sense.
|Distributive-Temporal||Marks a time on or when.||-vra, -vre|
|Antessive||Marks a time before.||-vras, -vræs|
|Postessive||Marks a time after.||-vrai, -vræi|
The transitional cases are similar to the inessive, elative, and illative cases, but they denote states of being rather than physical locations.
|Essive||Marks a state of being.||-sþa, -sþe|
|Exessive||Marks the transition out of a state of being.||-sþar, -sþær|
|Translative||Marks the transition into a state of being.||-sþaë, -sþeë|
Síntári has optional gender suffixes, as mentioned above. They do not reflect a person's biological sex, but rather the gender they assign to themselves. As such, gender in Síntári is neither grammatical nor inherent to a word or person. Three suffixes exist to describe gender: masculine, feminine, and non-binary.