Nominative w/ syntactical ergativity
Head direction
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect

General Information[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri is a Westerlander language of the central lowlands. Despite its general genetic affiliation with other Westerlander languages, it is part of the lowlands Sprachbund, having come under the influence of several dragon herder languages.

Bäladiri is, generally speaking, an agglutinative language that features prominent consonant gradation patterns triggered by stress shifts and certain types of affixes. It features marginally distinctive stress that tends to be either penultimate or antepenultimate. It has some partially opaque and obscured stem alternations deriving from earlier gradation and contraction rules.

Bäladiri is natively written in a Westerlander abugida, with a Dragon Imperial implementation used among certain communities.

Phonology[edit | edit source]

/pp p b tt t d kk k g ʔ/ <pp p b tt t d kk k g x>
/f v vv θ ð s z ʂ ʐ x γ/ <f v vv θ ð s z š ž h gh>
/mm m ɳɳ ɳ ɲɲ ɲ ŋŋ ŋ/ <mm m nn n nnj nj nng ng>
/rr r ll l jj j/ <rr r ll l jj j>
/ts tts dz ddz tʂ ttʂ dʐ ddʐ/ <ts tts dz ddz tš (č) ttš (čč) dž ddž>

/i i: y y: ɨ ɯ ɯ: u u:/ <i ī y ȳ ï o ō u ū>
/ɛ ɛ: ø ø: ɜ ɜ:/ <e ē ø ø̄ ë eu>
/ɐ ɑ ɑ:/ <ä a ā>
/ɑi ɑu iɑ ɛɑ ɛi/ <ai au ia ea ei>

Bäladiri features marginally distinctive stress in a few loanwords and the occasional native relic or remnant. As its stress falls almost exclusively on the penultimate syllable, it isn't considered salient enough a feature to be marked in common usage; stress is indicated only in linguistic descriptions.

Phonetic prosodic units are made up of an inflected stem and its clitics: these are often written as a single word.

Clusters harmonise for the voice of the rightmost element. Clusters also harmonise for retroflexion: all retroflexable elements turn retroflex when a single retroflex element is introduced. This includes the nasal <n>.

Consonant Gradation[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri features prominent consonant mutation that takes the form of gradation: its gradation is a lenition system that weakens consonants in certain morphological environments.

Most consonants are considered to lie somewhere on an axis, moving down it when specific types of lenition are triggered. As a result of several phonemic merges and multiple consonant shifts, many consonants have multiple lenited forms. The consonantal axes are:

Lenition Grades
Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
Plosives pp p m Ø
b v
tt t d ð
kk k g gh
x v
Affricates tts ts z ð Ø
ddz dz
ttš ž Ø
Nasals b m v
d n gh
g ng
nnj nj j
Approximants jj
rr r gh Ø
ll l
Fricatives θ ð Ø

s z
vv v
h gh

Generally speaking, stress shifts trigger twofold lenition, while the presence of a nasal in the following syllable causes a single lenitive iteration.

Morphology[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri generally divides its words into nine classes, based on how they behave morphologically and syntactically:

  • Mutable
    • Nouns & Pronouns
    • Verbs & Proverbs
    • Adjectives
    • Adverbs
    • Metamodifiers
  • Immutable
    • Conjunctions
    • Adpositions
    • Particles
    • Interjections

The dichotomy between mutable and immutable words is based on their morphological properties: mutable words can be inflected to agree or show some morphological category, whereas immutable words overwhelmingly do not change their shape and are instead fixed in morphological and sytactic meaning.

Nouns[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri nouns generally fit into only one declension: they all take the same set of suffixes (though their nominative singulars might be unique), but are characterised by the presence of two stems; this phenomenon derives from earlier stress alternations that then caused consonant lenition and vowel reduction.

They inflect for five cases (nominative, accusative, ergative, vocative and oblique), and two numbers (singular and plural); the singular is generally characterised by an etymological nasal in the accusative and ergative, and the plural by a dental in all cases. Some Bäladiri nouns preserve a more ancient dual, which is characterised by the presence of a labial obstruent.

 >>   Example nouns   <<

         SG         PL
 NOM   mávës      máutis        ["friend"; *mȧva-s]
 ACC   máunas     máutas
 ERG   máuna      máuta
 VOC   máve       máutë
 OBL   mávë       mávët
         SG         PL
 NOM   máθïl      máultis       ["olive"; *mȧθul-Ø] 
 ACC   máulnas    máultas
 ERG   máulna     máulta
 VOC   máule/máθe máultë 
 OBL   máθï(l)    máθï(l)t
 [sáppïs,   samúnas]  ["kinsman" *sȧppu-s]
 [úkät,     ughónas]  ["happiness" *u̇ko-t]
 [súngë,      sûnas]  ["brother" *su̇ŋa < *su̇ŋa-s]
 [básïs,     báunas]  ["stench" *bȧsus]
 [gháprï, ghavrínas]  ["pigeon" *ḡȧpri]
 [móšpï,   možvúnas]  ["wealth" *mȯčpu]
 [káumën,   kāmánas]  ["moron" *kȧwaman]
 [fólpïn,  folvínas]  ["cause" *folpin (loanword)]
 [párpï,   parvínas]  ["bottom" *pȧrpi (loanword)]
 [ärkádžï, ärkáunas]  ["leader" *ärka-džu (loanword)]
 [ilúnnë, ilughánas]  ["ally" *i-lu̇na]

Pronouns[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri has a set of personal pronouns that decline for case and number. As Bäladiri is a pro-drop language, the pronouns, especially the core argument ones, are used only when context is insufficient to extract argument person and number.

Earlier stages of Bäladiri had two sets of pronouns: they had a tonic pronoun, emphatic in nature, and an atonic, clitic pronoun. These two sets have, due to changes in Bäladiri related to accent placement, diverged considerably. The pronouns are:

 >>   Tonic Pronouns   <<---->>  Atonic Pronouns  <<

 ------------------------ || ------------------------
 1ST     SG         PL    ||  1ST     SG         PL   
 NOM    kánï      sátïs   ||  NOM   gënï/gï    sëtï/sï
 ACC    kánïs     sátas   ||  ACC     gïs        sïs
 ERG    kána      sáta    ||  ERG     gï         sï
 VOC    ----      ----    ||  VOC    ----       ----
 OBL    ïgáš      ïðáč    ||  OBL    ïghï        ïðï
 ------------------------ || ------------------------
 2ND     SG         PL    ||  2ND     SG         PL   
 NOM    térï      pítïs   ||  NOM    ghdï      bïtï/bï      
 ACC    térïs     pítas   ||  ACC    ghdïs       bïs
 ERG    téra      píta    ||  ERG    ghdï        bï
 VOC    tême      pîme    ||  VOC    ----       ----
 OBL    ïdíš      ïbíč    ||  OBL    ïssï        ïmï
 ------------------------ || ------------------------
 PRX     SG         PL    ||  PRX     SG         PL   
 NOM    jálën     jáltïs  ||  NOM     lë         lët        
 ACC    jálas     jáltas  ||  ACC     lës        lat
 ERG    jála      jálta   ||  ERG     lë         la
 VOC    ----      ----    ||  VOC    ----       ----
 OBL    jálë      jálët   ||  OBL  (ï)lë      (ï)lët
 ------------------------ || ------------------------
 OBV     SG         PL    ||  OBV     SG         PL   
 NOM    kósën     kóstïs  ||  NOM     së         sët        
 ACC    kós(t)as  kóstas  ||  ACC     sës        sat
 ERG    kós(t)a   kósta   ||  ERG     së         sa
 VOC    ----      ----    ||  VOC    ----       ----
 OBL    kósë      kósët   ||  OBL  (ï)së      (ï)sët

Possessive Particles[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri features a class of particles that syntactically act as adjectives and are used strictly as modifiers. They are formed from prefixed postpositions onto pronominal clitics.

1st 2nd 3rd
Prox. Obv.
já- SG jághï jássï jálë jásë
PL jáðï jámï jálët jásët
sánt- SG sánngï sántsï sállë sátsë
PL sánðï sámmï sállët sátsët

Adjectives[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri adjectives come in two classes: one class of nominal adjectives that stand with nouns and modify them directly, and one class of verbal adjectives that conjugate and are usually used as predicates and can govern sentences. Most verbs belong to both classes: a single root most often produces both a verbal and a nominal adjective, though some exist only in one category.

Nominal adjectives generally follow a similar inflectional pattern as nouns, save for their lack of the nasal demi-morpheme in the singular, which entails an absence of a stress shift in some forms. An example nominal adjective and its inflection:

‹ägúrrë› [independent]
Case Sing. Plur.
nom ägúrrë ägughátis
acc ägúrrās ägughátas
erg ägúrrā ägugháta
voc ägúrre ägughátë
obl ägúrrë ägúrrët

Many vowel-final nominal adjectives have a straightforward verbal adjective that corresponds to the final vowel; ägúrrë [*o:kụrra] has a respective earthy verb:

Conj. of ‹ägúrral› [be independent]
infi Sing. Dual Plur.
nom ägughádē ägugháitis
acc ägugháinas ägugháitas
erg ägugháina ägugháita
voc ägughádē ägugháitë
obl ägugháde ägughádet
pres.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägúrōn ägúrrār ägúrrais
2nd ägúrral ägughále ägughíli
3rd ägúram ägugháse ägúrraus
pres.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägughádōn ägughátār ägughátais
2nd ägughátal ägughðále ägughðíli
3rd ägughádam ägughðáse ägughátaus
immi.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägúrrōn ägúrrār ägúrrais
2nd ägúrral ägughrále ägughríli
3rd ägúrram ägughráse ägúrraus
immi.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägughrádōn ägughrátār ägughrátais
2nd ägughrátal ägughðrále ägughðríli
3rd ägughrádam ägughðráse ägughrátaus
past.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägúrrai ägugháitä ägúrrail
2nd ägúrrä ägughátä ägúrral
3rd ägúrrain ägugháindä ägúrraunn
past.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ägughátai ägughðáitä ägughátail
2nd ägughátä ägughðátä ägughátal
3rd ägughátain ägughðáindä ägughátaunn

Bäladiri adjectives do not inflect to show degree of comparison: comparison is handled by a special phrasal construction.

Adverbs[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri adverbs are considered a subtype, or just an inflection, of the nominal adjective: there is no morphological distinction between adjectives and adverbs, and they are distinguished only by merit of the adjective being used to describe nouns and demonstratives and the adverb used to further specify a verb — adverbs in Bäladiri aren't used to further specify other adjectives or adverbs; this is done via metamodifiers.

Morphologically speaking, adjectives in the oblique singular can be used as adverbs. Some adjectives have an irregular adverb form; this is indicated in the dictionary on a per-adjective basis.

Metamodifiers[edit | edit source]

As Bäladiri adverbs do not in and of themselves modify anything other than verbs, modifications of other adverbs, as well as of adjectives, is carried out through the use of a class of metamodifying words.

Verbs[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri verbs have a complex conjugation: they agree in number and person to their primary argument, and further conjugate for tense and aspect. Unlike nominals, Bäladiri verbs have a dual in addition to a singular and plural. They distinguish between the present, imminent (essentially a prospective present and future) and past tenses, and the momentane and continuous aspects.

Bäladiri verbs also have an infinitive that acts as both a verbal complement to light verbs, and as general abstract verbal nouns of the verbs. The verbal infinitive features case and number inflection identical to that of regular nouns.

Conjugation[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri verbs are directly conjugated by attaching a suffix or a blend of suffixes onto a stem. The stem may often change, most frequently in predictable ways and under the influence of stress shifts.

Verbs in Bäladiri come in three productive conjugational classes based on thematic vowels in earlier stages of the language. Even as sound changes have obscured a lot of the more transparent inflections, the conjugations of such verbs still remain readily apparent throughout their paradigms. The three classes, in traditional terminology, are:

  • Lunar verbs (those with a thematic in suffixes)
  • Solar verbs (those with a thematic in suffixes)
  • Earthy verbs (those with a thematic in suffixes)

Two more classes are recognised, even though they have since mostly fallen out of use:

  • Mortal or Weak verbs (those with a thematic short { *a *i *u }; mostly reanalysed as one of the three productive classes)
  • Muddy verbs (those with a thematic syllabic nasal { *m *n }; irregular, preserved in relics)

The assignment of verbs to conjugational classes goes back to a verb classification system once operational in proto-North-Westerlander but defunct long before Bäladiri times. Some verbs that share conjugational class might also have morphosyntactic or semantic similarities, though the system has truly been irregularised due to class reassignments and semantic shifts.

The muddy verbs have lost their nasal component in core Bäladiri (though some dialects do retain a nasal or nasal vowel) but are reanalysed as verbs of other classes based on the consonant that preceded the former nasal:

  • Verbs that used to have a thematic *n are lunar after labials, and earthy otherwise
  • Verbs that used to have a thematic *m are earthy after palatals, and lunar otherwise

Bäladiri verbs are cited in three forms, representing the three lenition grades a regular verb stem has:

  • Strongest, unlenited — second person singular, present momentane
  • Medium — first person singular, present momentane
  • Weakest, most lenited — infinitive nominative singular

Even though the stems can be predicted for most verbs from just one form, all verbs are cited in three parts because of lenition and vowel contraction irregularities or omissions extant in the system.

Example conjugation of a lunar verb:

Conj. of ‹kótsul› [pick, choose, elect]
infi Sing. Dual Plur.
nom koðúdē koðúitis
acc koðúinas koðúitas
erg koðúina koðúita
voc koðúdē koðúitë
obl koðúde koðúdet
pres.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st kózūn kótsōr kótsuis
2nd kótsul koðúle koðúli
3rd kózum koðúse kótsūs
pres.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st koðúdūn koðútōr koðútuis
2nd koðútul koðuðúle koðuðúli
3rd koðúdum koðuðúse koðútūs
immi.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st kózrūn kótsrōr kótsruis
2nd kótsrul koðrúle koðrúli
3rd kózrum koðrúse kótrsūs
immi.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st koðúrdūn koðúrtōr koðúrtuis
2nd koðúrtul koðuðrúle koðuðrúli
3rd koðúrdum koðuðrúse koðúrtūs
past.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st kótsui koðúitä kótsuil
2nd kótsä koðútä kótsul
3rd kózuin koðúindä kózūnn
past.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st koðútui koðuðúitä koðútuil
2nd koðútä koðuðútä koðútul
3rd koðúduin koðuðúindä koðúdūnn

Example conjugation of a solar verb:

Conj. of ‹ysámil› [brew, cook, ferment]
infi Sing. Dual Plur.
nom ysáidē ysáitis
acc ysáinas ysáitas
erg ysáina ysáita
voc ysáidē ysáitë
obl ysáide ysáidet
pres.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysávø̄n ysámēr ysámīs
2nd ysámil ysáile ysáili
3rd ysávim ysáise ysámius
pres.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysáidø̄n ysáitēr ysáitīs
2nd ysáitil ysaiðále ysaiðíli
3rd ysáidim ysaiðáse ysáitius
immi.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysávrø̄n ysámrēr ysámrīs
2nd ysámril ysáille ysáilli
3rd ysávrim ysáisse ysámrius
immi.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysáirdø̄n ysáirtēr ysáirtīs
2nd ysáirtil ysaiðrále ysaiðríli
3rd ysáirdim ysaiðráse ysáirtaus
past.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysámī ysáitä ysámīl
2nd ysámä ysáitä ysámil
3rd ysávīn ysáindä ysáviunn
past.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ysáitī ysaiðáitä ysáitīl
2nd ysáitä ysaiðátä ysáitil
3rd ysáidīn ysaiðáindä ysáidiunn

Example conjugation of an earthy verb:

Conj. of ‹ákal› [see sth.]
infi Sing. Dual Plur.
nom aghádē agháitis
acc agháinas agháitas
erg agháina agháita
voc aghádē agháitë
obl agháde aghádet
pres.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ágōn ákār ákais
2nd ákal aghále aghíli
3rd ágam agháse ákaus
pres.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st aghádōn aghátār aghátais
2nd aghátal aghðále aghðíli
3rd aghádam aghðáse aghátaus
immi.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ágrōn ákrār ákrais
2nd ákral aghrále aghríli
3rd ágram aghráse ákraus
immi.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st aghrádōn aghrátār aghrátais
2nd aghrátal aghðrále aghðríli
3rd aghrádam aghðráse aghrátaus
past.momn Sing. Dual Plur.
1st ákai agháitä ákail
2nd ákä aghátä ákal
3rd ágain agháindä ágaunn
past.cont Sing. Dual Plur.
1st aghátai aghðáitä aghátail
2nd aghátä aghðátä aghátal
3rd aghádain aghðáindä aghádaunn

Intransitive verbs generally do not lenite their past continuous third person forms, and ambitransitive verbs tend to show mixed lenition: some speakers distinguish transitivity in such ambitransitive third person forms through the presence or absence of lenition, whereas others use them interchangeably. Some confusion does come about at times.

Verb Clitics[edit | edit source]

Aside from straightforward inflection, Bäladiri verbs may additionally be modified by attaching verbal clitics, which act similarly to affixes but differ in four vital points:

  • They do not cause stress shifts or phonological alteration of any inflected verb form
  • They often have multiple ambiguous meanings outside of context and without further pragmatic specification
  • They are frequently employed to encode both modal, directional and polar specification
  • They are somewhat flexibly ordered and are not fixed in placement or position

Furthermore, verb clitics interact with light verbs in several interesting ways:

  • Verb clitics attach to the whole light verb phrase — if the light verb has a postfixed oblique compliment, the clitic attaches to it even as it is a nominal
  • Light verbs may take on redundant verb clitics, and are more prone to taking on clitics than full verbs
  • Some light verbs have very specific interactions with clitics, sometimes requiring some and forbidding others, and at others changing the meanings of the clitics — or even their own meanings — based on the clitic attached

Only infrequently stressed, many of the clitics are subject to significant phonetic degradation, and certain prominent combinations of them have fused into a single multi-faceted morpheme (uncharacteristic of Bäladiri).

A lot of the clitics derive from pre-Bäladiri adverbs that underwent broad grammaticalisation; conversely, some come from detached verbal suffixes that once formed a more core component of the verb inflection system.

Bäladiri verb clitics are divided into four large fuzzy classes:

  • Modal clitics
  • Directional clitics and cliticised particles
  • Subordinators
  • Fossilised clitics (unproductive, lexically conditioned)
Modal Clitics[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri modal clitics make up a large, multi-segment category of verb clitics that facilitate multiple diverse functions. They do not consistently distinguish between modal information based on whether it is realis, irrealis or an evidential. The modal clitics are very sensitive to sociolinguistic context.

The most basic modals are those that encode polarity. Bäladiri has three 'plain realis' modals: an indicative negative modal, an emphatic positive and an emphatic negative modal. There is no positive indicative modal — a lack of polar specification on a verb implies a positive, indicative modality (alternatively, it can be analysed as a zero morpheme).

The indicative (or, rather, plain) modals are used for factual, declarative and gnomic statements, whereas their emphatic counterparts are used only as answers to yes/no questions and to contrast statements: questions must be answered with an emphatic polar verb, and statements of a certain polarity can be refuted with an emphatic verb of the opposite polarity.

Each of the polar modals has a short and long form — the long forms are generally avoided in daily speech, and are used only in very polite speech and in poetry.

A tabular overview of the polar modals:

Polar Modals
ind emp
pos Ø jän

The emphatic polar modals can be used as pseudo-copulas for all numbers and persons when pro-dropping occurs; this is fairly rare and is considered rather marked.

The potential modal ‹inkä› marks several different things:

  1. In most contexts it is used as a kind of hypothetical that marks the verb as something that, while not true, easily can be or could have been; inversely, its negative form marks the verb as something that, while true, could easily not be, stop being or not have been.
  2. It can, based on pragmatics and context, be used as a true potential that doesn't assert the truthfulness of the verb but states that it might, or might not, happen; it subtly implies a personal opinion and may be confused with the deductive.

The potential modal can be negated both indirectly (analytically) and directly (fusionally), and may modify both a positive and negative verb. The fusional forms of the potential are:

Potential Modal & Polarity
ind emp
pos  ínkä  jánkä
neg lánkä lánkä

The abilitative modal ‹ippä› normally marks for only one set of related things, but is subject to infrequent misuse:

  1. It normatively marks the primary argument of the verb as having the ability to participate (intransitive agents for ability to perform the action and transitive patients for the ability to have the action performed unto them)
  2. A more unorthodox use of the abilitative is as a potential modal, occasionally used instead where ‹inkä› should.

The abilitative modal can be negated both indirectly (analytically) and directly (fusionally), and may modify both a positive and negative verb. The fusional forms of the abilitative are:

Abilitative Modal & Polarity
ind emp
pos  íppä  jámpä
neg láppä lámpä

There exists a special potential abilitative modal, ‹mókkït› that combines the functions of the abilitative and the potential, marking the verb's primary argument as possibly/uncertainly having the ability to participate in the action. It has an equivalent, a potential debilitativeláulä› that marks the verb's primary argument as possibly/uncertainly lacking the ability to participate in the action. Both the modals are suppletive replacements of a sequence of an abilitative and potential, though the modals may also be used individually without being replaced.

Neither the potential abilitative and debilitative has a fusional form with a polar modal: they are negated and emphasised only through analytic means.

The deductive modal <mirï> states personal opinion on the veracity of some truth based on some facts available to the speaker, who then renarrates his opinion in tentative terms. The deductive can be negated both indirectly and directly, and may modify both a positive and negative verb. The deductive modal:

Deductive Modal & Polarity
ind emp
pos mirï mījän
neg millä meullä

The primary renarrative modal <sïmï> marks information for hearsay and/or second-handedness. Such information isn't gleamed from sensory input, but is rather general or said by a non-specified 'someone else'. The secondary renarrative <ghmädžä> marks information for third-handedness, where the source of the second-hand information is marked as hearing it from yet another source. The renarrative modals can be negated both indirectly and directly, and may modify both a positive and negative verb. The fusional forms of the renarrative are:

Renarrative Modals & Polarity
prr scr
pos sïmï
neg sïmïl

Bäladiri has a pair of suggestive and obligative modals; the negated forms of these are the dissuasive and prohibitative. They mark for pleas and orders relating to an action and/or its completion. The obligative and prohibitative can serve as positive and negative pseudoimperatives in addition to their normal morphosemantics. They can be directly negated and may modify both positive and negative verbs. The modals are:

Suggestive & Obligative Modals
sug obg
pos vänä väkrä
neg välän

Bäladiri has a series of interrogative clitics that introduce polar questions. The clitic ‹nëg› introduces a simple interrogative that doesn't assert anything further; its emphatic counterpart ‹ënnëg› expresses the speaker's intent and great desire for hearing the answer, possibly having some prior assumptions that haven't either been clearly acknowledged or debunked.
The refutative clitic pair ‹jäg› and ‹ëssäg› functions as a sort of a question-tag marker, introducing a statement whose truth value has already been assumed and asking for refutation.
The clitic pair ‹nëgël› and ‹ënnëgël› works just like the normal interrogative clitic pair, except it implies the answer is expected to be negative or refutative. The corresponding positive expectation is only occasionally signified using ‹jäkkänëg›, which is a very marked clitic not employed for unemphatic and uncertain questions. These can be charted as:

Interrogative Modals
dir tag
ind emp ind emp
nëg ënnëg jäg ëssäg
pos nëgël ënnëgël
neg jäkkälëg

Bäladiri has a set of subjective clitics that introduce the speaker's subjective judgement about the action in various ways. The surprised modals, ‹gërï› and ‹gëmïl›, indicate the speaker's expectations were countered and that what happened was not what was planned. Their polar opposites are the obvious modals, indicating the speaker's plain foreknowledge of the result (wuth a hint of smug mocking). The scornful modals do not encode expectation but rather translate the speaker's negative attitude; the positive scornful modal ‹íšmï› is a plain indicative, whereas the negative scornful modal ‹léušmï› is a direct (fusional) negation of the scornful modal.

Subjective Modals
pos neg
srp gërï gëmïl
ovs ušï jolšï
scf íšmï léušmï
Directional Clitics[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri directional clitics are predominanly cliticised remnants of older prepositions in Bäladiri. Many encode specific spatial direction, but can mark metaphorical and/or temporal direction, as well as be part of semantically opaque constructions fixed to their verbs.

Subordinators[edit | edit source]

As most subordination in Bäladiri is carried out using verbal clitics attached to verbs, the language has a wide variety of subordinating clitics that reflect nuances in semantics and register. Some subordinators reflect fused conjunctions, whereas others are more opaque, archaic retentions.

The renarrative subordinator binds a simple verb to a superordinated narrative verb; verbs of speech, writing or other such means of conveying information have to bind subordinate verbs using the renarrative subordinator. The informative subordinator binds a simple verb to a superordinated verb in such a way that it expresses its context or informative content without implying direct and willing transmission of information. The concurrent subordinator marks the superordinated action happening at the same moment of time as the subordinated one. All these subordinators have a direct and emphatic form:

ind emp
rnr ïš árïš
inm äč ághäč
cnc ïšë jášpëš

Conditional subordinators form a small clitic family. The preconditional clitic marks the action performed as something that enabled another, superordinated action to happen; it doesn't imply causation, only ability. The causative conditional clitic marks the action performed as the direct cause of its superordinated action. The postconditional marks the action as the reason why the superordinated action is performed. A fourth clitic, phonetically unlike the three, is often grouped with them on basis of meaning: the resultative clitic marks the action performed as the direct consequence of its superordinated action. Only the resultative has an emphatic form:

ind emp
prc gëtën
cau gëghä
pcd geullä
res jër jáðër

Bäladiri relativisers are a specific set of otherwise both structurally and functionally related subordinating clitics. There are two main relativisers: the primary (or, core argument) relativiser, and the secondary (or, active) relativiser. Both relativisers have a generically indicative and an emphatic form.

Relative Modals
ind emp
rp äθ áðäθ
rs mëngï mángï

The morphosyntactic behaviour of the relativiser is extremely specific and not found in any of the other subordinating clitics.

The primary relativiser is applied to verbs of either valency. It relativises the nominative argument of intransitive verbs, not changing the clause semantics. The relativised nominative has the same morphosyntactic function and marking in the relativised clause, being another nominative of equal meaning and value. In more formal terms, the S of the superordinated clause transforms into an equipotent S of the relativised clause. An example:

kúlam súngë-jághï "my brother is running"
gǿndain súngë-jághï kúlam-äθ "my brother, who is running, has had his hair turn grey"

Since relative clauses are introduced by verbs, they do not necessitate a particle or conjunction introducer. As the relative clause acts as an NP modifier, the S argument of the relative clause made out of an intransitive verb introduced by the primary relativiser shall necessarily be the NP it modifies.

When relativising a transitive clause, it specifically relativises only the O argument (in the accusative). The relative clause that results thus takes the NP that it modifies as its O argument. An example:

nápum bighénas súngë-jághï "my brother reins a cow"
kúlam birmë nápum-äθ súngë-jághï "the cow, whom my brother is reining, is running"

The primary relativiser cannot, in most Bäladiri dialects, relativise the A argument of the verb.

The secondary relativiser can only be used on transitive verbs, relativising only their A argument much like how the primary relativiser relativises the A argument. An example, parallel to the previous one:

nápum bighénas súngë-jághï "my brother reins a cow"
kúlam súngë-jághï nápum-së-mëngï bighénas "my brother, who-he is reining a cow, is running"

It requires that the verb take an obviate pronoun if the relativised A is a third person argument. The verb agrees with its accusative P as usual. This derivational tactic, using <mëngï>, is fairly unfrequent and avoided: relativising a direct A argument is generally not employed (though understood by all speakers).

Syntax[edit | edit source]

Phrase Syntax[edit | edit source]

The most elementary unit of Bäladiri syntax is the phrase. Types of phrases are defined generally by the kinds of words that make them up. Each phrase is made up of a head and one or more dependent elements. A generic, type-agnostic phrase can be represented as XP, where the element "X" changes based on the makeup of the phrase. While most phrases have a single head, Bäladiri allows for certain phrases to have more than one coordinated head. Such phrases are generally, for brevity, called ambicapital (if two-headed) or polycapital (if bearing three or more heads); conversely, single-headed phrases are called monocapital.

Bäladiri phrases are generally head-final, even as the language itself strongly tends to be verb-initial. This is thought to be a remnant of a verb-final earlier configuration out of which Bäladiri hasn't yet fully shifted.

Postpositional Phrase[edit | edit source]

Postpositional phrases, abbreviated to PP, are exclusively head-final, and are rigid in structure. They are made up of a single postpositional head that governs a NP complement that agrees in case with the postposition. Though they allow a plethora of different NPs as complements, they are non-recursive and have no optional element.

A formal representation of the PP phrase structure is: PP → NP Postp.

Noun Phrase[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri noun phrases, abbreviated to NP, tend to generally be head-final, though they allow a head-initial configuration without much additional markedness implied. They are made up of at least one head — which can be a noun, a nominalised adjective, or an NP — and can optionally either take more heads (of the same syntactic makeup) generally joined with conjunctions, and modifiers — which can be APs or PPs; bare NPs cannot be used to directly modify other NPs.

A more formal, generative representation of the NP phrase structure is: NP → {NP N Adj.>N.} ({AP PP}).

Bäladiri NPs can be deeply recursive, and can self-reference. Even as any well-formed NP is decently parsable and allowed by the rules of Bäladiri syntax, extremely deep NPs are avoided due to pragmatic and communicative issues.

Clause Syntax[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri is generally verb-initial, though allows for other configurations with leniency. Due to widespread argument marking, it doesn't condition the order of subject and object; the order of the two is such that the most animate of the two tends to come first.

Morphological Marking[edit | edit source]

Barring syntactical and lexicomorphological oddities, Bäladiri has fairly flexible ways of assigning morphological marking and tying semantic and pragmatic information to it: each morpheme carries some sort of semantic and pragmatic meaning, aside from agreement.

Case Marking[edit | edit source]

Case marking in Bäladiri is generally straightforward. Aside from the adpositions that require a specific case nearly at random, the language assigns cases fairly logically:

  • The Nominative marks the subjects and agents of active sentences, and the patient role in a passive sentence
  • The Accusative marks the patient role of active sentences
  • The Ergative marks the agent role of a passive sentence (a former demoted nominative)
  • The Vocative marks an addressed party
  • The Oblique marks secondary arguments; almost never occurs without an adposition

Tense Assignment[edit | edit source]

While the present and past tenses carry an absolute meaning (indicating an absolute present and past, relative from the speaker's timeframe). The imminent 'tense' is more akin to a prospective: from the present timeframe, it acts as a future tense, whereas in a past frame it works as a future-in-the-past. It is quite common in both direct discourse and renarration.

Agreement[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri verbs generally agree in a syntactically ergative fashion: in intransitive clauses, they agree with the nominative argument, while in transitive clauses they agree with the accusative.

Passivisation[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri doesn't employ verb inflection as a signal for passivisation: in Bäladiri, verbs do not inflect for voice. Instead, passivisation is marked via argument replacement. Regular Bäladiri active transitive verbs agree with the accusative argument in person and number, and due to this peculiarity, passivised transitive verbs are functionally identical to regular intransitive verbs; when a transitive verb is passivised, its accusative argument is promoted to the nominative, and verb inflection follows to agree with it. The old nominative, replaced by the promoted accusative, may be recovered by placing it in the ergative case. Thus, passivisation in Bäladiri is a function of argument rotation.

Adjective Comparison[edit | edit source]

As Bäladiri doesn't use morphological markers to indicate degrees of comparison in its adjectives, it delegates this to a morphosyntactic construction specialised for this. Adjective comparison essentially employs a unique variant of a passive: the adjective, which must be a verb, takes the higher-degree term of comparison as its core argument, and the lower degree term is placed in the oblique (not the ergative, as would happen in a regular passive).

Semantics, Derivational Morphology and Addenda[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri is a highly inflected language that has employed various methods of semantic extension through derivational morphology and inflection reanalysis. A great deal of Bäladiri's semantical space is specialised either through productive suffixes, or fossilised remnant derivations. This is most apparent on nouns and adjectives, which preserve a more archaic set of affixes, than on verbs that are relatively "clean" from a good part of this morpho-semantic baggage.

Verb Morphology[edit | edit source]

Bäladiri verbs have a productive, inflectable infinitive that can act both as a complement to certain weak verbs, and as a gerund-like noun. As every Bäladiri verb has a regular infinitive that conveniently shows the stem's weakest grade, each verb is listed with its infinitive as the third citation form.

The infinitive nominative singular is formed by suffixing <-V́dē> to a verb, applying lenition under a stress shift, and from there inflecting the infinitive as a regular noun. The underspecified theme <V> is the theme of the rest of the verb's paradigm; for example, lunar verbs form their infinitives using the suffix allomorph <-údē>. The semantics of such infinitives are straightforward:

  • húmmal "be rotten" → humádē "to fester, festering"
  • sárrul "fracture, crack" → saghúdē "to crack, cracking; fracture"
  • ysámil "cook, boil" → ysáide "to cook, to boil, boiling; boil (of a liquid)"

When inflected for case, the infinitive functions strictly as the abstract verbal noun of its respective verb and may take the same markers a noun takes:

  • brasseghúdē "cultivation" > brasseghúde sū "regarding cultivation"

A notable phenomenon in derivational morphology is that of coordinate cognates: nouns that ended in one of { *-as *-is *-us } in pre-Bäladiri, also known as sigmatic nouns, will most frequently have a verb formed directly from the same root that is respectively either earthy, solar or lunar. This is visible in coordinated pairs such as:

  • náppës "fetters" → náppal "to bind"
  • gáirïs "river" → gáirul "to flow"

Verbs thus derived are usually intransitive (though náppal is a notable counterexample), and semantically close to the noun from which they stem.

An older layer of verbs that stem from nominal roots correspond with asigmatic nouns that feature ablaut as an archaic, unproductive derivational process. There are several such ablaut mechanisms, and a common alternation is that of <a ~ u> (noun-to-verb), as with:

  • bárë "incision" → búrul "draw, etch"
  • gájtë "ancestor" → gújtul "be descended from"
  • fárghë "canvas" → fúrghul "to pay (in money)"
  • sáččät "boulder" → súččul "block (the flow/path of) a river"

These verbs are usually semantically quite close to their nouns, though they are most frequently transitive syntactically. Most such verbs are lunar, and some are also solar or earthy; the class of these verbs doesn't correlate with the shape of the nominative of their corresponding noun.

See Also[edit | edit source]

-- History of Bäladiri
-- Lexicon
-- Bäladiri/GSFA
-- Bäladiri/Phrases
-- Bäladiri/Odyssey

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