- 1 Sounds
- 2 Grammar
- 3 Writing System
Mabri has five phonemic vowels, transcribed as <a>, <e>, <i>, <o>, and <u>. In an unstressed position, their phonetic realizations are respectively [ɐ], [e], [i], [o] and [u]. When stressed, at the end of verbs, they are nasalized: [ɐ̃], [ẽ], [ĩ], [õ] and [ũ]. When stressed, elsewhere, they are pronounced as follows: [a], [ɛ], [i], [ɔ] and [u].
|Phoneme||Stressed (non-V)||Unstressed||Stressed (V)|
This is the consonantal system of mabri.
|Plosive||p b||t d||k g|
|Fricative||f v||s z||x, j||h|
The syllable structure in Mabri is (C)(C)V. Syllables like a, re and pwi are valid. Syllables have phonemically no coda, although a written "n" appears at the end of verbs. This final "n" indicates that the previous vowel is nasal and is not always pronounced. An epenthetic [m], [n], [ɱ] or [ŋ] will appear, however, if the next word begins with b/p, d/t/z/s/dj/tx/j/x, v/f and g/k, respectively.
Kaze txin ha. ['kaze tʃĩ ha]
Mu men taze. ['kaze mẽn 'taze]
Mya kon frugyo. [mja kõɱ 'fɾugjo]
Fa gran bla. [fa gɾɐ̃m bla]
Ladjo yan katxi. ['ladʒo jɐ̃ŋ 'katʃi]
- Monosyllabic prepositions, such as ga and po, are unstressed. Their pronunciations are therefore [gɐ] and [po] (and not [ga] or [pɔ]).
- All the other monosyllabic words are stressed: ka, lo, ban, de ([ka], [lɔ], [bɐ̃], [dɛ]).
- Disyllabic verbs are stressed on the last syllable: latxin, kyofan, broton ([lɐ'tʃĩ], [kjo'fɐ̃], [bɾo'tõ]).
- All the other disyllabic words are stressed on the first syllable: latxi, kyofa, broto (['latʃi], ['kjɔfɐ], ['bɾɔto]).
- That includes disyllabic prepositions: potxi, gale, polye (['pɔtʃi], ['gale], ['pɔlje]).
- Larger words (hyphenated words) are multiply stressed, each part according to the rules above.
Words in Mabri can be roughly divided in 4 main groups: verbs, nouns, adjectives and prepositions. Mabri is a pro-drop language.
Mabri is a SVO (subject verb object) language, as English. Other arrangements are possible but marked through special constructions. Sentence-modifying adverbs are placed either before or after the sentence, never in the middle. Examples:
xewan. (It rains.)
lafa nun. (She is sleeping.)
lafa kon fruno. (She is eating an apple.)
kon fruno polye lafa. (Eating an apple she is.)
podo grihe kadjo yan si. (Yesterday we went to the city.)
kadjo yan si podo grihe. (We went to the city yesterday.)
As to noun phrases, mabri is head-final, as Spanish. Adjective-modifying adverbs are placed after the adjective. Intensifiers are placed before the adjectives. Counters come before the nouns. Examples:
mwakwi du ba (big cat)
mwakwi du ba gapo ku kii (unexpectedly big cat)
mwakwi du jaja ga ba (very big cat)
natxa ga mwakwi (two cats)
- Nouns have no inflection at all.
- There is no grammatical number (exceptions for "pronouns"; see table below). Number is indicated by means of counters (below).
- There is no grammatical gender (exceptions for "pronouns"; see table below). Biological gender is represented through periphrasis.
- There is no declension; the role of the noun phrases is determined by word order.
- There are no true pronouns; instead, there are nouns that can be translated in English as nouns. Below are some of these nouns:
|sing. pronoun||kaze (I)||taze (you)||laze (that person)|
|sing. masc. pronoun||kato (I)||tato (you)||lato (he)|
|sing. fem. pronoun||kafa (I)||tafa (you)||lafa (she)|
|plural pronoun||kadjo (we)||tadjo (you)||ladjo (they)|
|time||kado (this moment)||tado||lado (that moment)|
|place||katxi (this place)||tatxi (place near you)||latxi (place over there)|
|reason||kari (this reason)||tari (reason of yours)||lari (that reason)|
Counters have two main purposes: numbering nouns and as intensifiers. They are followed by the preposition ga.
- Numbers always start with the prefix na. Mabri uses a decimal system. The vowel of each syllable determines the order of magnitude. The consonant determines the digit.
15 persons: na-txu-fa ga ze
38 computers: na-bu-ra ga chu
462: na-u-i-la ga
ni ga: every, all
sha ga: none
ja ga: so many
jaja ga: many, much
jaku ga: few, little
plu ga: more
pluni ga: most
pluku ga: less, fewer
pluku-ni ga: least, fewest
Subject and object clauses
The prefix "ju"
The writing system of mabri is logosyllabic (i. e., it is both logographic and syllabic). Each syllable represents a distinct morpheme and is uniquely written with a grapheme.
The transcription into the Latin alphabet is straightforward. The phonemes are generally transcribed as pronounced. The exceptions are <j>, <x> and <y>, which correspond to /ʒ/, /ʃ/ and /j/, respectively. The letter <r> is usually pronounced as a tap [ɾ].
Recently, the transcription system has gone through a minor reform. Former <sh> is now written <x> and former <ch> is now written <tx>.
The <n> at the end of the words marks that the previous vowel is nasal, as explained in Phonotactics.