Teycil (pronunciation: [ˈtejʧil]) is a constructed fantasy language.
- 1 Phonology
- 2 Orthography
- 3 Morphology
- 3.1 Substantives
- 3.2 Adjectives
- 3.3 Pronouns
- 3.4 Numbers
- 3.5 Verbs
- 4 Syntax
- 5 Lexicon
- 6 Sample texts
- [ɱ]1 and [ŋ]2 are considered allophones of the normal nasal phonemes in front of [f]/[v] and [k]/[g] respectively.
In Teycil studies, the vowels are grouped in three sets:
- Long vowels [aː], [ɛː], [iː], [ɔː], [uː] are called strong vowels
- Short vowels [ɑ], [e], [i], [o], [u] are called normal vowels
- Some vowels, usually born by some kind of reduction of ancient vowels or diphtongs, [æ], [ɪ], [ɶ], [ʊ], are called weak vowels
As these names are more practical, we will keep on using them while speaking about vowels in this description.
While the strong vowels are thought to be only the long counterparts of normal (short) vowels, the difference is also in quality for three of them.
Teycil is full of diphtongs. Nonetheless the only diphtong pattern allowed is Vj or Vw. While Vw-type diphtongs can be found in every position inside a word, Vj-type diphtongs can be found only inside a stressed syllable.
As the stress can move on every syllable of the word as it undergoes morphological changes, the Vj-type diphtongs can undergo something like a reduction process, turning into the so-called weak vowels:
- [ɑj] ai → [æ] æ
- [oj] oi → [œ] œ
- [uj] ui → [ʊ] ů
- [ej] ei → [ɪ] î
- Paic [ˈpɑik] → pæca [pæˈkɑ]
- Glayc [ˈglɑiʧ] → glæjcīne [glæˈʧiːne]
Diphtongs with long vowel (V:j) are very rare. When unstressed they simply get shorter.
Teycil uses the Latin alphabet to be written. Consonants are written with all available letters (except for w, which is not used); as the number of consonantal phonemes is higher than the letters, some digraphs are used (but they are not taken as single letters).
Vowels are more complicated. Long vowels are marked with a makron (¯) over the corresponding letter. Other types of letters are used to mark the weak vowels.
Simple letters are used to mark these consonants, except for j, which is always part of a digraph, and y, which can represent the semivowel [j], but only as part of a digraph:
|IPA||[b]||[k]||[d]||[f]||[g]||[x]|| no IPA
There are some phonemes which are expressed by some digraphs:
When these digraphs are used after a Vj-type diphtong, where the semivowel is marked by i, the sequence V + i + j + C is reduced to V + y + C. Some examples:
- Paic [ˈpɑjk] river
- Pajc [ˈpɑʧ] street
- Payc [ˈpɑjʧ] father
Vowels and semivowels
Vowels and semivowels are expressed by the same letters.
Teycil is a language halfway between an agglutinative and a fusive language. Nominal declension is more agglutinative, as declension is expressed by adding different endings. There are only a few irregular nouns, which have an alternative root form. Verbal conjugation is more fusive, as it involves changes in vowel verbal endings and frequent alternative root forms. Adjectives do not exist, adjectival meanings are expressed by verbs.
Teycil is a language which make use of cases to express syntactic roles of the elements of its sentences. There are three cases: Absolutive, Ergative and Oblique.
English (and usually other European languages, except for Basque language), is a nominative-accusative language. I.e. it means that, even if it do not express its syntactic roles with cases anymore, every subject in a sentence is in nominative case, while every object is in accusative case.
In Teycil (as in Basque language), the use of cases is also ruled by the verb. In an ergative-absolutive language, as Teycil is, the difference lies between intransitive (i.e. actions which cannot have a direct object, like to come, to go, to breathe), and transitive verbs (i.e. actions which can have a direct object, like to see, to bring, to lose).
The subject of a transitive verb is expressed by ergative case, while its object is expressed by absolutive case. However the subject of an intransitive verb is marked by the absolutive case.
There can be no confusion at all, because an intransitive verb can have no direct object.
- mayxe-aika (ABS) gnojsœih jrofāl (ERG): cat-that[DET-ABS] bite[PERF] dog-my[DET-ERG]: my dog bit that cat
- jraivo jrofel (ABS): be-fast[IMP] dog-my[DET-ABS]: my dog is fast
Teycil nouns always end in a consonant at the absolutive singular indefinite form (usually used as citation form).
Teycil nouns do decline (i.e. modify themselves in order to fit their syntactic roles), by adding some endings, which vary according to number, case and definiteness.
Substantives can be singular and plural, even if some nouns have irregular plural endings, which could be traced back to an earlier dual form (i.e. a special number used to mark couples of objects).
Substantives can also be indefinite or definite. Definiteness of a nouns is similar to the use of the definite article the in English. There is no article in Teycil, as its role is taken by the definite noun endings.
Here are the endings:
The endings marked by * are always stressed. This can trigger some vowel changes in short diphtongs, which can exist only if stressed, and in long diphtongs, which should be shortened if unstressed. A declension example:
|Payc - father|
In Teycil studies these two different root forms are called stressed and unstressed roots.
Some nouns (most of all monosyllabic nouns) undergo an irregolar mutation of the root vowel when the stressed endings are added (i.e. they have an irregular stressed root). Some examples:
- mir mother → mɶra
- qaz chief, leader → qosa
- Bul Sun → Boula
- Rījs Moon → Reysa
- krol woman → krůla
- nen brother → næna
Some nouns, which usually exist in pairs, have an irregular plural form, marked by different endings, and, in most cases, by a change in the root form. These irregular endings are thought to point back to an earlier dual number.
|Plural irregular form|
|Jxuyg - hand|
Various types of suffixes can be added to Teycil nouns, to express different meanings, which are usually expressed in English (and other languages) by adjectives.
By adding the following suffixes, you can mark the possession of the suffixed noun:
|he, she, it, they||-[i]k|
The [i] is added when the noun ends with a consonant.
These suffixes make no difference between singular and plural. The someone else's ending indicates that the suffixed noun belongs to another person, different from the already mentioned person:
- puidek mula Reica: son-her[SING-DEF-ABS] love[IMPF] Reic[ERG]: Reic loves her (own) son
- puidejs mula Reica: son-someone else-[SING-DEF-ABS] love[IMPF] Reic[ERG]: Reic loves her (of someone else) son
By adding the following suffixes, you can indicate the (real or imaginary) proximity of the suffixed noun:
These suffixes are added only to the definite forms of the substantives.
They are written separately from their nouns, with a hyphen ( - ) between them:
- uīsole-aika uējsaih zekā: letter-that[SING-DEF-ABS] write[PERF] man[SING-DEF-ABS], the man wrote that letter
- laile-ajga donu mœrāl: city-this[SING-DEF-ABS] like[IMPF] mother-my[SING-DEF-ABS], my mother likes this city
By adding the following suffixes, you can indicate the indefinite quantity of the suffixed noun:
|-ojzu||all single units||every|
|-uqi||a certain quantity||some, any|
These suffixes are added only to the indefinite forms of the substantives.
They are written separately from their nouns, with a hyphen ( - ) between them:
- uīsol-eto uējsaih lā: letter-no[SING-INDF-ABS] write[PERF] I[ERG], I wrote no letter, I didn't write any letter
- glaycu-uqi lenuih puidā-aika: key-some[PLUR-INDF-ABS] find[PERF] boy-that[SING-DEF-ERG], that boy have found some keys
By adding these suffixes to certain nouns, we can form something similar to our indefinite pronouns:
- mur: place →
- mur-ojzu: everywhere
- mur-avjsi: in all places
- mur-uqi: somewhere
- mur-eto: nowhere
- sayc: person, human being, one
- sayc-ojzu: everyone, everybody
- sayc-avjsi: all people
- sayc-uqi: someone, somebody
- sayc-eto: no one, nobody
- jgojs: thing, object
- jgojs-ojzu: everythuing
- jgojs-avjsi: all things
- jgojs-uqi: something
- jgojs-eto: nothing
Teycil does not have a word class similar to our adjectives. The adjectival meaning is expressed by a verbal form. Examples:
- bailo: to be red
- jzino: to be free
Teycil owns only the personal pronouns, and an isolated indicative pronoun:
Teycil personal pronouns make a distinction between a singular (væ) and a plural (ve) form for the second person.
Teycil has a single indicative pronoun, whose meaning is similar to the pronoun that, that one, this one, but also it can translate it in simple sentences. In broad outline, it usually points to something already know, or already aforementioned. These are its forms:
- jro lîpoih lā: that-one[ABS] see[PERF] I[ERG], I saw it.
The Teycil number system is duodecimal, or base-12:
|Digit||Unit||x 12||Ordinal verb|
We have to notice that nouns remain in the singular form when a number is added:
- hroun kaiku māk sæjca, house[SING-ABS] build[IMPF] five man[SING-ERG], five men build a house
Compound numbers (higher than 12) are formed by putting together the forms, without any conjunctions:
- œleipavjs dær: 87 [12x7 + 3]
- jzōbavjs moleip: 140 [12x11 + 8]
Teycil verbs show no agreement with their subject nor their object. They usually have a bisyllabic or trisyllabic form, and always end with a vowel in their base form, the imperfective positive non-volitive main form.
In Teycil studies, we speak of verbal forms instead of verbal conjugation, as verbs do not change according to their person or according to tense. They have different forms according to their:
- aspect: The verbal forms can be imperfective or perfective: Imperfective forms indicate ongoing, repetitive or continuous actions, while perfective forms mark completed, finished or non-repetitive actions. Imperfective forms are usually used for present actions, but can also indicate other tense, in a continuous meaning; other imperfective tenses are usually marked by temporal adverbs. Perfective forms can never indicate present actions, since they cannot mark ongoing actions. They are usually used for past completed actions, but with temporal adverbs they can indicate future actions.
- negativity: the verbal forms can be positive or negative. Negative forms have distinct endings from the positive (or normal) forms.
- volition: the verbal forms can be non-volitive or volitive. Volitive forms mark the intention of the subject to carry out the action of the verb. It translate the meaning of the verb to want. These forms are usually used also to mark future actions.
- subordination: the verbal forms can be main or subordinate. Subordinate forms are used only to create subordinate clauses. Thus we usually do not need any subordinating conjunctions.
The basic verbal distinction is between imperfective and perfective forms. All others distinctive forms have two aspectual variants. Here we will analyse the basic forms:
The imperfective basic form of a verb typically end in a vowel and usually has two or three syllables (more syllables are allowed but very rare).
- Leni: to hope
- Leipa: to see
The perfective forms are formed by adding the -ih ending and changing the final vowel, according to the pattern:
The ei diphtong merges with the perfective ending and forms the unique -eīh ending.
The ending usually calls the stress over the changing vowel. Any previous stressed diphtong undergoes the typical diphtong → weak vowel changes.
- Leni → lenuih, to hope
- Leipa → lîpoih, to see
There are various irregolar verbs, which have an irregular perfective form; examples are:
- Rōnda → rodoih, to run
- Uyso → uējsaih, to write
Another basic verbal distinction is between positive and negative forms. All others distinctive forms have two positive-negative variants. Here we will analyse the basic forms:
The negative of the imperfective forms are marked by the ending -t.
The negative of the perfective forms are formed by changing the -ih positive ending in -yc and changing the final vowel, according to the pattern previously explained:
- Leni → impf. lenit, perf. lenuyc, to hope
- Leipa → impf. leipat, perf. lîpoyc to see
The changing is only about endings, it does not affect the verbal root, neither the irregular verbal forms; examples:
- Rōnda → rodoyc, didn't run
- Uyso → uējsayc, didn't write
Another verbal distinction is between volitive and non-volitive forms. All these forms have imperfective/perfective and positive/negative variants.
The volitive imperfective positive form is marked by the ending -m, and its negative form is -nt.
The perfective forms are formed by changing the -ih positive ending in -ink and changing the final vowel, according to the pattern previously explained. The negative counterpart is marked by the ending - injc.
- Leni → impf. lenim, want to hope; neg. lenint, don't want to hope; perf. lenuink, have wanted to hope, neg. lenuinjc, didn't want to hope/haven't wanted to hope
- Leipa → impf. leipam, want to see; neg. leipant, don't want to see; perf. lîpoink have wanted to see; neg. lîpoinjc, didn't want to see/havent' wanted to see
The changing is only about endings, it does not affect the verbal root, neither the irregular verbal perfective forms; examples:
- Rōnda → rodoink, wanted to run
- Uyso → uējsainjc, didn't want to write
Another verbal distinction is between main and subordinate forms. All these forms have imperfective/perfective, positive/negative and volitive/non-volitive variants.
The perfective forms are formed by adding the subordinating endings and changing the final vowel, according to the pattern:
The ending usually calls the stress over the changing vowel. Any previous stressed diphtong undergoes the typical diphtong → weak vowel changes.
There is a different subordinating ending for every subordinate form, but all endings are marked by a recurring -r consonant which distinguishes subordinate forms from the main ones. These are the forms:
|Sub. (non volitive positive) imperfective||→||-r|
|Sub. (non volitive) negative imperfective||→||-rt|
|Sub. (non volitive positive) perfective||→||-rīh|
|Sub. (non volitive) negative perfective||→||-ryc|
|Sub. volitive (positive) imperfective||→||-rîm|
|Sub. volitive negative imperfective||→||-růnt|
|Sub. volitive (positive) perfective||→||-rînk|
|Sub. volitive negative perfective||→||-růnjc|
- Leni → impf. lenoir, that do hope; neg. perf. lenoiryc, that didn't hope; impf. vol. lenoirîm, that do want to hope, perf. neg. vol. lenoirůnjc, that didn't want to hope
- Leipa → impf. lîpær, that do see; neg. perf. lîpæryc, that didn't see; impf. vol. lîpærîm that do want to see; perf. neg. vol. lîpærůnjc, that didn't want to see.
Some verbs have an irregular subordinate root, which may coincide with the perfective root, or it may be entirely different:
- Uyso to write → uējsour, that writes
- Luga to think → lougoih, did think; lůgær, that thinks
Word order and typological analysis
Teycil is a head-final language, i.e. the head tends to be at the end of its phrase.
Teycil works in the exactly opposite way of English (and most European languages); the already known information is to be found at the end of the phrase, while the new information comes first.
As an head-final languages, Teycil is a typical OV language, with these features:
- OVS main word order
- In nominal phrases:
- Genitive-Noun (the owner comes before the owned)
- Noun-Demonstrative (demonstrative adjectives are expressed by suffixes added to the noun) (this is the only feature which does not follow the main rule)
- Numeral-Noun (numbers are found before their nouns)
- Relative sentence-Noun (the relative sentences come before the nouns they are bound to) (this rule covers also the syntactic field of adjectives, which are expressed by verbs)
- In morphology there is a limited use of suffixes but no prefixes.
The main word order for Teycil is OVS (Object-Verb-Subject). While the language makes use of cases, word order is usually not so free, as other languages with a case system. The head of the sentence, or topic, tends to be always placed at the end of the sentence. The comment tends to be at the beginning of the sentence. Thus, we can say that in Teycil the new information is listed before the already know information.
The position of other constituents can be different, according to their role in the semantic meaning of the sentence. Other constituents are usually part of the new information, and they are placed at the beginning of the sentence, usually before the object. These constituents, nevertheless, can be placed after if they are part of the topic:
- nænīnel jsu hrounajs vaimu læ: I go home with my brother.
- hrounajs vaimu læ nænīnel jsu: (It is) with my brother (that) I go home.
On the basis of the same principle, we can move the object at the end of the sentence, if we want to emphasize its role. That process creates an VSO order, with a semantic meaning similar to the passive verbs, which do not exist in Teycil.
- mirel mula sæjcā-aika: that man loves my mother
- mula sæjcā-aika mirel: it's my mother whom that man loves → my mother is loved by that man
Teycil nouns do decline, i.e. they change their forms according to their syntactic role in the sentence.
Many languages of the world still use this morphological process to mark the syntactic role of the constituents of their sentences. English is a major exception, with French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and various other language. Among the languages which make use of cases, we can find German, almost all Slavic languages (Russian, Polish,..), Greek, ancient Latin, Finnish, Arabic, Turkish, etc.
English still uses something like cases in its pronominal system:
- I see them: in this sentence I is the subject (or nominative case) and him is the object (or accusative case). If we want to express the opposite meaning, we should not only switch the pronouns' position, but also change their form: They see me. These different forms are relics of the ancient case system.
Teycil does use three cases: Ergative, Absolutive and Oblique.
Teycil is an ergative-absolutive language. This means that it uses a case system, which is different from most major languages. The only European exception is Basque, whose speakers will not need any explanation.
English, as most of the European languages, is a nominative-accusative language. In such languages the nominative case marks the subject of the sentence, while the accusative case marks the (possible) object. We say possible, because not all sentences have an object: intransitive verbs do not imply an object.
- Mark (Nom) watches his son (Acc).
- Mark (Nom) arrives.
Ergative-absolutive languages makes a different distinction. In such languages the major player is the verb. Verbs can be transitive (with a subject and an object, they express an action which have a result over another object or person, different from the subject) and intransitive (only with a subject, they express statuses or actions, which have a result over the same subject).
In these languages the ergative case marks the subject of the transitive verbs, while the absolutive case marks both the object of the transitive verbs and the subject of intransitive verbs.
- Puidek (Abs) leipa Marka (Erg): Mark watches his son
- Noyca Mark (Abs): Mark arrives
There can be no confusion at all, since intransitive verbs can have no object, and with such verbs, a noun in absolutive case can be only subject.
Teycil verbs show no agreement with their subject nor their object.
- jrofe leipa mæjxā: the cat watches the dog
- jrofū leipa mæjxā: the cat watches the dogs
- jrofe leipa mæjxūe: the cats watch the dog
- jrofū leipa mæjxūe: the cats watch the dogs
There is only a single form for every person (singular or plural), similar (but not equal) to English, but different from most languages.
As there is no agreement, we usually speak of verbal forms instead of verbal conjugation. Verbal forms are distinguished according to four parameters: aspect, negativity, volition and subordination.
Tense is not important in Teycil verbs, and it is indicated mainly by temporal adverbs, or by the combination among temporal adverbs and verbal forms:
- uīsol uējsaih kā: letter[ABS-INDEF] write[PERF] he[ERG]: he wrote a letter
- nau uīsol uējsaih kā: [FUTURE ADVB] letter[ABS-INDEF] write[PERF] he[ERG]: he's going to write a letter
- (nau) uīsol uysom kā: ([FUTURE ADVB]) letter[ABS-INDEF] write[VOL] he[ERG]; he wants to write a letter → he has the intention to write a letter in the future → he will write a letter.
The different use of the various verbal forms to express our meaning of tense will be discussed in each respective chapter.
The basic distinction among the verbal forms is according to aspect. Each verbal form can be either imperfective or perfective.
Aspect is a verbal feature which describes the completeness/incompleteness of the expressed action. As an action can be either only complete or incomplete, a verbal form cannot be both aspects.
- The imperfective forms mark only ongoing, incomplete, habitual or repeated actions:
- hrounajs vaimu læ, sea[LOC] go[IMPF] I[ABS]: I go home/I'm going home
- kinig oyce kā molfojc, book[ABS-INDEF] read[IMPF] he[ERG] yesterday: Yesterday he read a book (but he hasn't finished it yet)
- jqūjs mol-ojzu rōnda læ, [DISTANT PAST] day-every run[IMPF] I[ABS]: I used to run everyday
- Bule drum buro Ehrene, Sun[ABS-DEF] around revolve[IMPF] Earth[ABS-DEF]: The Earth revolves around the Sun/The Earth orbits the Sun
- Main article: Teycil-English dictionary
The Lord's Prayer
|The Lord's Prayer|
|Teycil version||IPA||Analysis||English version|
| Paycil, jsomnajs hœjcoir væ
zulev jsuveno lea
ga ayro bolmadanev
malev nā lea
jsomnajs me ehrenajs
moljga luie molojzunour mujxel ga beih
me jqœnūl ga gjrebeih
polajs-ajga jqœnosæcūl gjrebō lea
me pîrojgīne xo le ga doikot vā
tu jræsīne jcon le ga jzineih vā
| [ˈpɑjʧil ʃomˈnɑʃ xɶˈʧojr ˈvæ]
[ˈzulev ʃuˈveno ˈleɑ]
[gɑ ˈɑjʁo bolˈmɑnɑdev]
[ˈmɑlev naː ˈleɑ]
[ʃomˈnɑʃ me exreˈnɑʃ]
[ˈmolʤɑ luje moloˈʒunowr ˈmuçel gɑ bejx]
[me ʝɶˈnuːl gɑ gʁeˈbejx]
[ˈpolɑʃˌɑʤɑ ʝɶˈnosækuːl gʁeˈbɔː ˈleɑ]
[me pɪroˈʤiːne qo le gɑ ˈdojkot vaː]
[tu ʁæˈsiːne ʧon le gɑ ˈʒinejh vaː]
| Father-my, sky[LOC] be-situated[SUB-IMPF] you[ABS]
name-your[ABS] be-saint[IMPF] we[ERG]
[IMPER] come[IMPF] kingdom[ABS]
will-your[ABS] do[IMPF] we[ERG]
sky[LOC] and earth[LOC]
today we[OBL] be-daily[SUB-IMPF] bread-my[ABS] [IMPER] give[IMPF-PERF]
and sin-my[PLUR-ABS] [IMPER] forgive[PERF]
way[LOC]-this sinner-my[PLUR-ABS] forgive[IMPF] we[ERG]
and temptation[OBL-DET] towards we[ABS] [IMPER] lead[IMPF-NEG] you[ERG]
but evil[OBL-DET] from we[ABS] [IMPER] be-free[PERF] you[ERG]
| Our Father in heaven|
hallowed be your name
your kingdom come
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
- Ehrenajs-avjsi teico œpenour teice me morimo rœlū-jstux ām.
- Jgum frœmeyge zār æjrůr ke, Jsinear mœdajs kæloreyc pîleih ke me jcū bīseih.
- Earth[LOC]-all speak[IMPF] be-single[SUB-IMPF] language[ABS-DEF] and use[IMPF] word[PLUR-DEF-ABS]-same [REMOTE PAST]
- While east[ABS-DEF] from come[SUB-IMPF] they[ABS], Jsinear land[LOC] plane[ABS-INDEF] find[PERF] they[ABS] and here stop[PERF]
- On all Earth a single language was spoken and the same words were used.
- While they were coming from east, they found a plane in the land of Shinear and halted here.