Conlang Relay 22/sodemadu

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Tene vo Tasuvɛlɛ

Tena aktɛ tasuvɛlɛ eyaŋe anad mohili dɛddɛŋɛ. Ma adda sodda oŋŋe pɛŋi tut na sodda tɛndɛ hontohonto na ma tasuvaŋɨdiya mɛttɨŋena omesya.

Aktɛ hɨse nɛn adodo sɛmba etɨŋe mava doŋidoŋi. Ma oŋetone kɨŋi vokyeya goga ɨdeba. Nɛnsi hɨse eyoŋŋe ko tut ma kye ono goga. Sɛmba vaŋe ko deyideyi. Nɛnsi ma sɛmba oŋŋe mɛdɛ tut ha tɛndɛ hontohonto.

Na tasuvɛlɛ tasuvaŋɨdiya daɬena omesya pɛŋi hontohonto na ma sɛdo nɛn kyune lɨssi badi. Nɛnsi tasuvɛlɛ eyoŋŋe sɛmbava tut ma kyunɨdɛn pɛsi ohava noya. Sɛmba taɬasoneya evo ibibi ladi tasuvɛlɛ danono lutulutu. Ma sɨteya oŋŋe sɛmbava todanya kyune. Ha duleya otave ladi sodda dantɨŋe tandatanda ladi pɛŋi tasuvaŋɨdiya mɛhoŋŋe noya ladi dɨdiya tasuvɛlɛ mɛhoŋŋe obɛnya mɛdɛ taɬataɬa.


Story about a merchant

A merchant was preparing for a journey. He brought an ox to a cart so that it would stay hitched while he loaded merchandise onto the cart.

A child and his pet monkey came to watch. Some time later she felt a desire for food. So she went home in order to eat some food. The monkey was not allowed in the house. So she led the monkey to a bush in order to tie it up.

The merchant was laying merchandise into the cart all tied up, but he had insufficient rope. So, the merchant went to the monkey in order to take the rope away. The monkey spread confusion around and then the merchant felt panicked. He gave the monkey a hit with the rope. The monkey let out a scream and the ox went along running and the merchandise came out of the wagon and sent the merchant all entangled into the bush.


In sodemadu the X is a journey metaphor reigns supreme and so all verbs describe journeys or the lack thereof. Nouns are inflected for motility and number. And the adjective and adverb classes are the same.

Word order matters! The word order for every clause is: [CONJUNCTION] [SOURCE] SUBJECT VERB [DESTINATION] [OTHER STUFF] MOOD

Generally, the source is a noun phrase that causes (if motile) or is otherwise the purpose or origin (if sessile) of the journey described by the verb. The destination is the benefactor or the end-point of the journey. The subject is the noun phrase that is journeying, and is therefore motile. Other stuff includes prepositional phrases, adjectives, and subordinate clauses. The mood markers are all zero for indicative in this text.

Verbs are complex. There are only a limited number of them. They all express motion or the lack thereof. Verbs inflect for aspect and evidentiality. Aspects are imperfect, perfect, and iterative and for this story all evidentiality is either reported (in main clauses) or zero (in subordinate clauses). See sodemadu verbs for full verb paradigms.

Of the verbs, tɨŋi is the most basic, describing a journey with a source and a destination. The source is often causative. It is glossed as → (an arrow pointing to the right). It can be translated as 'go', 'send', 'go along', 'go about', 'follow', 'seek', or anything really that can be imagined as a (possibly metaphorical) journey.

Aŋi is a variation of tɨŋi with an amorphous or abstract destination. It also implies that the journey continues through the destination. A possible translation is "go about in".

Pɛsi can be thought of as a special form of tɨŋi with a required source and an unexpressed destination "away".

Ono reverses the journey so that the Destination is coming towards the Subject or the Source by means of the Subject. So it is glossed as ← (an arrow pointing to the left).

Evi means to go out in all directions. This is generally what sounds do, but can also refer to the spreading about of something more abstract.

Finally daɬa, sɛdɛ, and tɛndɛ are copular verbs, so "be" is the best translation usually. Subjects of copular verbs appear in their base motility, so class 3 and 4 nouns are sessile even as subjects. Which one is used depends on the shape or stance of the subject. Daɬa is for horizontal things or things that are lying down. Sɛdɛ is for vertical things or things that are standing up. Tɛndɛ is for everything else.

iterative and reported of daɬa
imperfect and zero of ono, with the dan- prefix removing an overt source and destination. Often used for expressing a feeling
imperfect and reported of tɨŋi, with the dan- prefix removing an overt source and destination. Often used to express motion where a path is not important
imperfect and reported of tɨŋi, with the e- prefix removing an overt source
imperfect and reported of evi
imperfect and reported of aŋi, with the e- prefix removing an overt source
perfect and reported of tɨŋi, with the e- prefix removing an overt source
perfect and reported of tɨŋi, with the mɛh- prefix removing an overt destination
iterative and reported of tɨŋi, with the mɛh- prefix removing an overt destination
imperfect and zero of ono
perfect and reported of ono, with the e- prefix removing an overt source
perfect and reported of tɨŋi
perfect and reported of evi
imperfect and zero of pɛsi
imperfect and reported of sɛdɛ
imperfect and zero of tɛndɛ
negative of the imperfect and reported of aŋi

Nouns inflect for number and motility. Number is singular and plural. Motility is motile and sessile. Nouns in classes 1 and 2 are naturally motile and appear in the dictionary in the motile singular. Nouns in classes 3 and 4 are naturally sessile and appear in the dictionary as sessile singular.


Noun class 1 - -na -ava -navi
Noun class 2 - -na -ava -navi
Noun class 3 -ɨdɛn -ɨdiya - -i
Noun class 4 -eya -ɨdiya - -i

a subset of class 1 nouns uses different inflections.

class four noun meaning "preparation(s)".
class four noun meaning "journey".
class four noun meaning "a cry or shout, a yelp"
class four noun meaning "food"
class one noun meaning "child"
class four noun meaning "want, need, desire"
class three noun meaning "home"
class two noun meaning "belly"
class three noun meaning "a length of rope"
class three noun meaning "tree, bush, bushy tree"
class three noun meaning "cart, wagon"
class two noun referring to a small domesticatable but unruly animal
class four noun meaning "a hit, strike, or blow"
class two noun referring to a large, lumbering animal sometimes used as a draft animal
class four noun meaning "confusion, chaos"
class one noun meaning "one who is associated with the marketplace, merchant"
class three noun meaning "things that are associated with the marketplace, trade good, something for sale"
class four noun meaning "story, tale"

Pronouns act like nouns, except for the indeclinable ones.

motile plural pronoun for class three or four nouns
motile singular pronoun for a class two noun
sessile singular pronoun for a class two noun
motile singular 3rd person class one pronoun
sessile singular 3rd person class one pronoun

Adjectives do not inflect. Some adjectives, especially reduplicating adjectives which indicate maintaining a state over time, are what in English would be adverbs. Adjectives generally follow the noun they modify. If in the OTHER slot, they generally modify the subject or the whole clause.

adjective/adverb indicating an unexpected situation
adjective/adverb indicating the subject has permission or is allowed to do something.
adjective/adverb meaning "while looking or watching, in order to look or see or watch"
: adjective/adverb meaning "tied or fastened to something, while tied up, in order to be tied up or fastened"
adjective/adverb for a very short time later, or for a sudden circumstance
adjective/adverb for some time later or after something
adjective/adverb meaning "insufficient, not enough"
adjective/adverb meaning "panicked, while in a panic"
adjective/adverb meaning "off of, out of, away from"
adjective/adverb meaning "topsy-turvy, while tangled up and struggling, chaotic, confused"
adjective/adverb meaning "quickly, while being quick"

Prepositions come before a noun. Some prepositions are simply followed by a noun. But the preposition o- and other prepositions that end in -o are suffixed by either a pronoun or a classifier. While o- always takes a sessile object, others might not. Prepositions preceding a motile object do not take a classifier. Classifiers can act as pronouns in their own right, so that a preposition plus classifier combination does not have to be followed by the noun that is its object. Determiners also precede a noun, and some are also suffixed by classifiers (not quite the same set, though). Classifiers are an experimental feature of this version of sodemadu. Enjoy.

indefinite article/determiner and the number 'one'. Often used to highlight a new participant in a story.
preposition meaning "on behalf of, for, to about"
unsuffixable preposition meaning "with, accompanied by"
generic locative preposition meaning "at, on, in"
instrumental preposition "by means of, with"
preposition denoting the composition of something "made of, made from, containing, composed of"; with kɨŋi "for" is a better interpretation and with tene, "about"
classifier for branches, bushy plants
classifier used for something long and/or horizontal
classifier for animate beings
classifier for pets
classifier for time periods or expanses of space or for events
classifier for people
classifier for a part or portion of something, a basketful or boxful of something, also used for things no other classifier quite


classifier for flat things or the flat part of things

Conjunctions appear between the things conjoined.

clausal conjunction meaning "and then"
clausal conjunction for clauses that are occuring together or if not at the same time in very short succession
clausal conjunction meaning "so, therefore"
a subordinating clausal conjunction expressing a purpose or reason


an introductory clausal particle signalling a story
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