Conlang Relay 15/Vetela
I mikova talezo zenmeune. Eki teulautama kuta zenimante.
Zama ta zenimai! Kai nyu nakuvu talezai - kiulanui ny loitunui aaku lyilai. Teulo enkostama ita saunuve nau, i talezama teulai yinavi teumeazama volne. Teulama, talezo menea, kasinua lestozalve.
Kilkotoo exku, talezuama nyn lexyma mete, nyuma leisa zeneine, nyn esela levynala na zenmeke. Valalto i talezo mea nylekialve?
Teulo enkostama, i talezo muila zenalve nau, tyn leisi vona saunalvuve.
This scene seems to be a dance. All of mankind must watch it.
Look at it! Let us two not only dance, but also take pleasure in the music and the songs. Though most people don't understand it, this dance gives people inner strength of character. When people dance, they can make those around them happy.
After a short while, the dancers touch our emotions, we start to see the truth, and we observe that our spirit has been nourished. How can we acquire the nature of this dance?
Most people can see the motions of this dance, but they cannot understand its true purpose.
Vetela is head-final / left-branching, so:
- adjectives precede nouns
- adverbs and objects precede verbs
- postpositions, not prepositions
- the verb is the final word in any clause
Vetela is also an ergative language these days, so the patient of a transitive verb and the subject of an intransitive verb are treated in the same way (both take the absolutive case, unmarked), while the agent (subject) of a transitive verb is treated differently (it takes the ergative case, marked with -ma). Since the basic word order is SOV, in transitive verb constructions the agent generally comes before the patient.
If a verb with a fundamentally intransitive meaning is used transitively, this expresses causativity (e.g. "lesta" means "be happy" when used intransitively, and "to cause to be happy" when used transitively). The presence of an agent in ergative case is sufficient to implicitly transitivise a verb.
However, ambiguity can arise when applying verb-modifying affixes to a verb thus transitivised: for example, applying the potential infix ("-alv-") to the verb "to see" ("zena"), we get "zenalva", meaning "to be able to see"; but when used transitively, does this mean "to be able to cause to see" or "to cause to be able to see"? In order to resolve this ambiguity, there exists an explicit transitivising infix, "-oz-". To continue with the same example, "zenozalva" would be "to be able to cause to see", while "zenalvoza" would be "to cause to be able to see".
A verbal noun in the allative case acts as an imperative. Both 1st and 2nd person imperatives exist in the text.
Nouns (and pronouns) are not marked for definiteness or number, though number may be made explicit by (among other means) simply placing a number before a noun or pronoun.
Compound nouns are common; like everything else they work in a left-branching way (i.e. the last element in the compound is what the word actually /is/, the previous ones qualify it in some way). To give an example using words from the text, "talezakiula" would be "dance-music".
Postpositions generally take their arguments in the genitive case; additionally, some verbs take some of their arguments in specific cases too. Where this differs from what would be intuitive, the required case is noted in the vocab list: e.g. "to enjoy [ablative]" means that the object (the thing enjoyed) takes the ablative case.
The demonstrative particles "i" ("this") and "ku" ("that") can join with the 3rd-person pronoun "ta" to form pronouns which act in specific directions. "Ita" is used cataphorically (to refer forward to a referent that appears after the pronoun), while "kuta" is used anaphorically (to refer backward to a previous referent).
I've simplified things for this vocab section. Word classes such as "noun", "verb" and "adjective" don't exist as such, but I've pretended that they do, listing forms as they appear in the text and labelling them appropriately.
The verbs in the list are shown in their dictionary form, i.e. a verbal noun in "-a" (this may be thought of as an infinitive). In the text, however, they appear in various inflected forms, especially the present tense "-e" (see list of affixes below).
All nouns and verbs drop their final -a before appending suffixes.
- adv. also
- adj. all (of)
- n. majority, most part
- n. spirit
- postp. after
- part. demonstrative "this"
- pron. 3rd-person directional (see notes above)
- the number two
- n. that which is nearby
- n. short period of time
- n. music
- pron. 3rd-person directional (see notes above)
- n. truth
- adj. true
- v. receive, acquire, obtain
- v. be happy
- v. be nourished
- n. emotion
- n. song
- v. enjoy, derive pleasure from [ablative]
- n. nature, quality
- n. time
- v. touch
- n. scene, spectacle
- n. movement
- part. nominalises the preceding verb phrase for use as an argument to another verb; may be thought of as equivalent to English "that" in e.g. "I know that it's true"
- adv. not only
- conj. although, but
- conj. and
- clitic encoding the same meaning as "nyuma" ("inclusive we" in the ergative case), which attaches to the verb; e.g. "nyuma ta zene" and "ta nyzene" are equivalent, both meaning "we see it"
- (genitive of "nyu")
- pron. inclusive "we" (1st and 2nd persons)
- v. understand
- pron. 3rd person, number unspecified
- n. dance, the act of dancing
- v. to dance
- n. dancer, one who dances
- n. person
- n. humanity, mankind
- n. personality
- (gen. of "ta")
- how? (lit. "by doing what?")
- v. pass, give
- n. reason, purpose
- adj. interior, inner
- pron. 2nd person (number unspecified)
- n. power, strength
- v. to see
- v. to look at (actively, intentionally)
- v. to notice, observe
- v. to resemble, to look like [genitive]
- absolutive (unmarked)
- genitive (of X)
- allative (to/towards X)
- ablative (away from X)
- adessive (at/around X)
- negative (not)
- necessitative (to have to)
- potential (to be able to)
- inceptive (to begin to)
- past (perfect or imperfect)