- Main article: Novelatine
Novelatine has retained a large part of the vast Latin syntax, while has created some new innovations, some of them shared with other Romance languages, while some other under the influence of the surrounding Italian language.
- 1 Constituent order
- 2 Nominal syntax
- 3 Verbal syntax
- 4 Subordinative syntax
Novelatine is a typical SOV language. It retained the ancient Latin word order, in which the verb usually comes at the end of the sentence. As it still make a large of use of its case, the constituent order can be considered as free, but the position of the various parts of the sentences is ruled by semantic, more than syntactic, rules.
- Marce (subject) Siwvyô (object) vid (verb): Marce sees Siwvya
The position of the indirect object (marked with D) is not compulsorily fixed, like the other parts of the sentence, but it usually tends to respect these rules:
- it usually comes before the direct object (O):
- Marce (S) azô docêtê (D) sô libelô si (O) dedyit: Marce gave the teacher his own book
- if the indirect object is a pronoun, it moves immediately before the verb:
- Marce (S) sô libelô si (O) luy (D) dedyit: Marce gave him his own book
but if the object (or another part) of the sentence is followed by an identical dative possessive pronoun, it moves back before the object:
- Marce (S) luy (D) sô libelô luy (O) dedyit: Marce gave him his book
if the possessive pronoun is different the pronoun remains in the position before the verb:
- Marce (S) sô libelô luy (O) mi (D) dedyit: Marce gave me his book
If there is an imperative form, the verb usually comes first in the sentence:
- Dimi (V) (D) sô veritadê (O): Tell me the truth
Negation and question
An entire sentence is negated by inserting nô (non before a vowel), before the conjugated verb:
- Azô mar vasyerôt: They went to the beach → Azô mar nô vasyerôt: They didn't go to the beach
- Eo ses parvowes ti êtêde: I understand your words → Eo ses parvowes ti non êtêde: I don't understand your words
There is no particular way to express a question. Words do not change their order, nor a specific particle or auxiliary verb (like English do) is added; only the pitch (usually rising towards the end of the question) can express the question, or the question mark (?) in written text:
- Sô novô awtomobilê mi vyidyerôt?: Did they see my new car? / Sô novô awtomobilê mi vyidyerôt: They saw my new car
Novelatine nouns do decline, i.e. they change themselves (in this case they change their own endings), to show their syntactic role in the sentence.
If a noun has the role of the subject (Marce ôvi pwelô am, Mark loves that girl) it will show a definite ending, different from those used for other roles (Avi pwela Marcô am, That girl loves Mark; Eo sa pwela Marcyi sô, I am the girl of Mark).
Novelatine has three cases: Nominative, Genitive and Accusative
The nominative case has the only but very important role of representing the sentence's subject. As it plays this primary role, it is the form we always find in dictionaries.
Contrary to English, the verb eser (to be) has no direct object, but its possible object is treated like an adjective to the subject, and it is declined in the nominative case:
- Eo se nove docês vob sô: I am your new teacher
The accusative case has the primary role of representing the sentence's direct object.
- Sô novô docêtê nô vyidyist?: Didn't you see the new teacher?
It is also used with various prepositions:
- circô: around (indicating motion)
- côtre: against
- ê: in, into (indicating motion)
- être/êfre: among, between (indicating motion)
With the preposition ad it plays two roles:
- the indirect object
- the preposition to, into (indicating motion)
- Azô novô docêtê sô libelô mi dedyi: I gave the new teacher my book/I gave my book to the new teacher.
The genitive case has the primary role of representing possession.
- Se lewcyons sies novyi docêz facils sô: The lessons of the new teacher are easy
It is also used with many prepositions:
- circô: around (indicating state)
- cô: with
- ad: in, into (indicating state)
- ê: in, into (indicating state)
- être/êfre: among, between (indicating state)
With the preposition de it plays two roles:
- the preposition from (indicating motion)
- the preposition by (agent of the sentence)
A particular use of the genitive case is the absolute genitive. The absolute genitive is a syntactic construct which consists of a noun or pronoun and either a past participle, a present participle, an adjective, or an appositive noun, all in the genitive.
The genitive absolute indicates the time, condition, or attending circumstances of an action being described in the main sentence. It takes the place of, and translates, many phrases that would require a subordinate clause in English. However, the noun in the genitive case cannot recur in the same sentence, hence the name absolute, which means not related, not linked.
This construction is built with both present and past particles of every verb, even if the past participle of some intransitive verbs cannot be used. The present particle is used when the action is contemporary to the main clause, while the past participle is used when the action is in the past of the main clause:
- Sies sols oryêz, adiyim: We left, when the sun was rising/We left at sunrise
- Syor documêterô vyiserô, avyim decret: After we saw the documents/As we saw the documents/Having seen the documents, we made a decision
The dative case has completely disappeared from the modern language, being replaced by the construction of the preposition ad + accusative case, for its main role of representing the indirect object:
- Ad madrê mi ses cwaves dedyi: I gave the keys to my mother
Nonetheless the personal pronouns still retain independent dative forms:
- La ses cwaves mi dedyit: She gave me the keys
In some remote villages of the Eastern valley the nouns, the adjectives and the article still retain their dative forms, but these forms are gradually disappearing:
- pwela → sing. pwele, plur. pwels
- vyice → sing. vyico, plur. vyics
- pader → sing. padryi, plur. padribe
- dome → sing. domwi, plur. domwibe
- se → sing. syi, plur. syis
- ivi → sing. masc. fem. neu. yivi, plur. masc. fem. neu. yisvi
- ste → sing. masc. fem. neu. styi, plur. masc. fem. neu. styis
- bone → sing. bono, bone, bono, plur. masc. fem. neu. bons
- fewi → sing. masc. fem. neu. fewicyi, plur. masc. fem. neu. fewicibe
Novelatine nouns can belong to three genders: Masculine, Feminine and Neuter. Gender is a typical feature of Romance languages, which usually lost the neuter gender, except for Romanian which has a few neuter nouns, and some very scant traces in Italian. It is usually not a problem for speakers of German and of Slavic languages. Also Scandinavian languages still have gender. Some European languages with no gender are Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian and, obviously, English.
English has lost all signs of gender for its nouns and adjectives, but it still retains a small trace in the third singular person pronouns, he usually refers to male people, she refers to female people, and it to abstract or concrete things.
Novelatine nouns can belong to each gender: Usually nouns which refer to male people are masculine (pader, vyiwter), while nouns which refer to female people are feminine (mader, vyiwtri), as they belong to their "logical" gender.
On the contrary of English, nouns of things, action, ideas, and other non-living nouns can belong to each gender rather arbitrarily. There is no real logical motivation, which explain why acwa, water, is feminine, while foce, fire, is masculine and pomô, apple, is neuter.
Usually it is a matter of endings and declension patterns:
- Nouns ending in -a, at the nominative case, are usually feminine (except for a small number of masculine nouns like poeta and artista)
- Nouns ending in -e, at the nominative case, are usually masculine in the second and in the forth conjugation, but can be feminine or neuter in the third.
- Nouns ending in -ô in the second declension, -ê, and the few nouns in -o, at the nominative case, are neuter, while nouns ending in -ô in the third conjugation are predominantly feminine, but they can also be masculine.
- Nouns ending in other vowels or consonant, at the nominative case, can belong to any gender, and their gender should be learnt together with the word itself.
One use to be noted is that if we want to indicate a group of humans of mixed sex, we have to use the masculine plural forms:
- Ed syi viwters sôt..: And the winners are...
- Syi amicyi mi fesyi sôt: My friends are tired
These sentences could refer both to groups of only males or of mixed sex. Only the context could account for the right meaning.
The feminine plural forms can refer only to a group of only females:
- Se amice mi fese sôt: My (female) friends are tired
The main feature of the gender is agreement: it means that words, which are linked with a noun, like articles, adjectives, pronouns, and verbal forms like the participles, must agree with their noun. In Novelatine these words agree with their nouns in number and case, as well as gender:
- Unô bonô côsilyô, a good advice: the noun is neuter, and so we have to use the neuter forms of the article and of the adjective.
- Syi documêtyi lewtyi fuyerôt, the documents were read: the nouns is masculine plural, and so we have to use the masculine plural forms of the article and of the past participle.
The agreements works this way obviously also when the endings are not the same, or the nouns belongs to an apparently "wrong" gender:
- Se bone artista: the good artist
- Syi poete bonyi sôt: the poets are good
The personal pronouns are usually used to express possession, having replaced the original possessive pronouns of Latin.
The possession is expressed by placing the personal pronoun, declined in the dative case, after the possessed noun:
- Eo son amicô ti vidye: I see your friend
The dative forms do not agree with the possessed noun, only with the gender and the number of the possessor(s).
- Eo son amicô lyis vidye: I see their friend
- Eo ses amices ti vidye: I see your friends
The genitive forms are used instead of the possessive pronouns, or when the adjectives would be used as object in the sentence.
- Ste can mey e: This dog is mine
- Styi cans mey sôt: These dogs are mine
The reflexive pronoun
The reflexive pronoun is a pronoun which links its meaning with the subject of the sentence. As it is strictly related to the subject, it cannot replace the subject itself and it does not have a subject form. Its nearest English counterpart is the pronoun self, but it has a different and more widespread role.
It is used to show that the action of the verb directly involves the subject:
- Eo se lave: I wash myself
- Lyi se spewtayerôt: They watched themselves
It is also used, as other personal pronouns in dative case, to express that something is owned only by the subject of the sentence (but only for third persons):
- La ses cwaves sies awtomobils si mi dedyit: She gave me the keys of her (own) car
- La ses cwaves sies awtomobils luy mi dedyit: She gave me the keys of her (someone else's) car
- La dic co ste cwavs suy sôt: She says these keys are hers
This rule is strictly followed, as it avoids confusion in the possession. It would be a mistake the use of the reflexive possessive pronouns with another person.
Novelatine verbs do conjugate, i.e. they change themselves (in this case they change their own endings), to show their agreement with their subject in number and gender, and according to the mood and tense of the action or status they represent.
The infinitive form is the basic form of every verb, the form enlisted in dictionaries. It covers most of the roles of English infinitive form:
It is used with modal verbs:
- Venyir nô posô: I cannot come
- Cwo facer volyivs?: What did you want to do?
It is used in the same way with verbs of motion:
- Sô panê emer vade: I'm going to buy some bread
- Tecô studer venye: I'm coming to study with you
The present tense conveys an action which takes place in the moment during which the sentence is created. In this case it covers also the role of English present progressive:
- Syi pweryi cô syor parêtyô lyis locwôt: The boys talk with their parents/The boys are talking with their parents
- Esede: I am eating/I eat
- Fese sô: I am tired
It also conveys actions which are always present, recurring or continuous:
- Sa Tera circô sô Solê movyiter: The Earth moves around the Sun
The imperfect tense conveys an action which takes place before the moment during which the sentence is created, i.e. in its past; this tense refers to actions during their implementation, or status during their development. In this case it covers also the role of English past progressive:
- Syi pweryi cô syor parêtyô lyis locwivêt: The boys were talking with their parents
- Esedyivô: I was eating/I ate
- Fese erô: I was tired
It also conveys actions which are recurring in the past, covering also the role of English form used to..
- Syi pweryi cô syor parêtyô lyis onyê diê locwivêt: The boys used to talk with their parents every day
- Todes ses dies sô panê emyivô: I used to buy the bread every day
The perfect tense conveys an action which takes place before the moment during which the sentence is created, i.e. in its past; this tense simply refers to past actions without referement to their implementation, or development (instead, it implies that the action had an end). It covers the role of English simple past:
- Syi pweryi cô syor parêtyô lyis locuyerôt: The boys talked with their parents
- Esedyi: I ate
- Fese fuyi: I was tired
The plusquamperfect tense conveys an action which takes place before the moment during which the sentence is created, i.e. in its past; this tense simply refers to actions happened before another past action. It covers the role of English past perfect:
- Syi pweryi cô syor parêtyô lyis locuyerêt: The boys had talked with their parents
- Esedyerô: I had eaten
- Fese fuyerô: I had been tired
The future tense conveys an action which takes place after the moment during which the sentence is created, i.e. in its future. It covers the role of English future and future continous:
- Syi pweryi cô syor parêtyô lyis ôt locwer: The boys will be talking with their parents
- Ao eseder: I'm going to eat
- Fese ao eser: I will be tired
Primarily subjunctive mood is used in dependent clauses, as it is linked with most conjunctions. Nonetheless it can be found also in main clauses:
It is used, with present tense forms, as an exhortatory imperative, mainly in the first and third persons (it should be noted that, since the imperative mood has only the 2nd person forms, this is the only way to give a direct, informal or unkind order to somebody for these persons:
- Vadyem!: Let's go!
- Stô paginô legêt!: Let them read this page!
It is also used, with all person (except, obviously, the first singular one), to give negative orders (negative imperative forms do not exist!):
- Nô me tawtis!: Don't touch me!
- Ad domô nô vadyez!: Don't go home! (to many people)
- Stô paginô nô legêt!: Don't let them read this page!
The conjunction comud opens a dependent clause, with the meaning of because, since, as. It is built using all tenses of the subjunctive mood:
- Comud lô nô yuvis, le a decret co.., As you don't help him, he has decided that..
- Comud lô nô nôcwô yuvarers, le decreyit co.., As you never used to help him, he decided that..
- Comud lô nô yuvayeris, le decreyit co.., As you didn't help him, he decided that..
- Comud lô nô yuvayisis, le decreyer co.., As you hadn't helped him, he had decided that..
- Comud lô non abyes yuvar, le a decret co.., As you won't help him, he has decided that..
The conjunction perud opens a dependent clause, with the meaning of in order to. It is built using only three tenses of the subjunctive mood:
With the imperfect tense, when speaking in the past:
- Lo fecyi, perud lô yuvarê, I did it, in order to help him
- Lo fecyerô, perud lô yuvarê, I had done it, in order to help him
- Lo ao fawt, perud lô yuvarê, I've just done it, in order to help him
With the present tense, when speaking in the present:
- Lo facye, perud lô yuvê, I do it, in order to help him
With the future tense, when speaking in the future:
- Lo ao facer, perud lon abyô yuvar, I'll do it, in order to help him
Conditional sentences are opened by the conjunction si, with the meaning of if. It is built, using many moods and tenses, depending on their meaning:
Conditional sentences are divided in three types: certain, possible and impossible:
Certain or implicative conditional sentences indicate that both facts are certain, or simply logical but sure deductions. These sentences are built using the indicative mood in the dependent clause and with the indicative or the imperative mood in the main clause:
- Si pluy, nô venye, If it rains, I don't come (and I'm sure it will rain)
- Si lo noscis, dic mi lo!, If you know, tell me about it!
- Si sô portô nô clawsyist, syi ladrons ê domô êgredyir posôt: If you didn't close the door, thiefs may come inside home
- Si pluy/a pluyer, syi fôgi ôt nasceri, if it rains, mushrooms will grow
Possible or predictive conditional sentences indicate that a situation is dependent of an hypothetical but possible fact. These sentences are built using the subjunctive mood in the dependent clause and with the indicative or the conditional mood in the main clause:
The present subjunctive is used for present possible conditions, the future subjunctive is used for future possible conditions, and the perfect subjunctive is used for the (rare) past possible conditions.
In the main sentences indicative tenses (mainly present and future tense) are used, but if the condition is future also the conditional present can be used, expecially if the possibility is not great.
- Si abye pluyer, non ao venyir, If it rains, I won't come (but I'm not sure if it will rain)
- Si abye pluyer, non avyi venyir, If it rains, I won't come (I'm not sure if it will rain, but I think it will do)
Impossible or counterfactual conditional sentences indicate that a situation is dependent of an hypothetical but impossible, unlikely or certainly false fact. These sentences are built using the subjunctive mood in the dependent clause and with the conditional mood in the main clause:
The imperfect subjunctive is used for future impossible conditions, the plusquamperfect subjunctive is used for past impossible conditions.
In the main sentences both 'present conditional is used for future impossible conditions, the past conditional is used for past impossible conditions.
- Si pluyer, non avyi venyir, If it rained, I wouldn't come (I think it is impossible that it will rain while I'm coming)
- Si pluyise, non avyerô venyir, If it had rained, I wouldn't have come (I think of something, that could have happened while I was coming)