Head Direction: Final
Number of genders: 3
Gïsal (IPA: /kɪ.'sɑl/) is a language initially conceived and created by KedaseDerragar in Fall 2009 for a college course in constructing languages. Not all information about the language is yet on this page; it will be added as soon as possible. This language is being actively developed as of July 2013.
Gïsal was not originally associated with any specific setting or purpose; it was created for the purpose of learning how to construct a language. However, it is now being developed as the primary language of a fictional city-state by the name of Fasaj.
|Flaps / taps||ɾ|
Gïsal has nine vowels; of these, six (i, e, à, a, o, and u) are considered strong and three (ï, ü, and ö) are considered weak. Weak vowels almost never appear in a word-final position (generally only in certain verb forms). This distinction also plays a part in determining word stress.
There are six acceptable vowel diphthongs that can occupy the space of one vowel: /eu/, /æi/, /æu/, /ɑi/, /ɑu/, and /oi/.
It is interesting to note that the list of acceptable diphthongs was once much broader, only collapsing into the current six a few hundred years ago. Prior to that, vowels . As the language evolved to disallow glides between vowels, most clusters had /ʔ/ inserted between them, but /i/ and /u/ underwent a kind of "weakening" that caused them mutate into /j/ and /w/ after another vowel, and the clusters /ei/ and /ou/ collapsed completely into /e/ and /o/. This had ramifications on the gender of many words, as explained further below, and can still be seen in the spelling of the language.
Stress in Gïsal is based on the concept of heavy and light syllables. Word-final syllables are always light, as are syllables containing a weak vowel. All other syllables are heavy. Stress always falls on the rightmost heavy syllable; if there is no heavy syllable in the word, stress falls on the ultimate syllable.
Gïsal has a native abugida script, written from right to left and from top to bottom. Symbols for consonants consist of flowing lines and curves similar to Arabic script, and vowels are indicated by distinct diacritic marks. Gïsal's abugida has a one-to-one sound-to-symbol ratio (with a few exceptions due to recent evolution, as explained under Phonotactics above).
Gïsal can be Romanized in two distinct ways. One (the Direct Romanization) preserves the one-to-one ratio of symbols to sounds of the native Gesali script using diacritic marks, while the other (Simple Romanization) uses geminated letters to represent some sounds. Simple Romanization also portrays the four affricates with two characters each, rather than the one used in Direct Romanization. Unless otherwise noted, this page will use Direct Romanization.
|/cç/||q||gx||/w/||w, u||w, uu|
|/j/||y, i||y, ii||/ɾ/||r||r|
|/ɪ/||ï||i||/e/||e, ei||e, eii|
|/o/||o, ou||o, ouu||/u/||u||uu|
Gesali nouns and pronouns may be one of three genders: masculine (nouns ending in consonants or vowel diphthongs), feminine (nouns ending in the back vowels u, o, and a), or neuter/indeterminate (nouns ending in the front vowels i, e, and à). Nouns ending in two vowels were once historically either feminine (ending in /u/) or neuter (ending in /i/), but as those vowels changed to become /j/ and /w/ after other vowels, they began to be treated as masculine.
As numbers are the only class of words which agree with it, gender in Gïsal is largely inconsequential, and aside from human nouns there is little to no relation between a word's gender and the concept it represents.
Gïsal only distinguishes between single objects and multiples. Plural nouns are created with the suffix -l.
- do > dol
- woman > women
Most masculine nouns undergo a transposition of their final vowel and consonant when this suffix is added. If this would form a consonantal cluster that violates the Sonority Sequencing Principle (or SSP), further transposition may occur.
- kàń > *kàńl > kńàl
- man > men
- fedmàg > *fedmàgl > *fedmgàl > fedgmàl
- candle > candles
In the case of masculine nouns ending in diphthongs, however, transposition will never occur because the SSP will never be violated.
- mŕài > mŕàil
- work > works
Similarly, if the noun ends with a consonant that succeeds a diphthong, the diphthong remains intact after transposition.
- heun > *heunl > hneul
- skin > skins
Single-syllable masculine nouns beginning with affricates must drop a phoneme in order to satisfy the SSP, and thus have irregular (but predictable) plurals. The initial sound of the affricate is replaced by the singular form's final consonant.
- zig > *zigl > gsil
- foot > feet
Mass nouns in Gïsal are unique: their dictionary forms appear plural, but adjectives, verbs, and other words that agree with them as if they were singular. The singular forms of these nouns are used to refer to specific instances of these nouns (which may be specified or inferred from context), and plurals of these instances are treated as plural by other words.
- zohi weyril
- white-SNG light-PLU
- white light
- zohi weyir
- white-SNG light
- a white light
- zohai weyril
- white-PLU light-PLU
- white lights
Because of the plural transposition in masculine nouns, it is impossible to tell from the plural dictionary form if a noun is masculine or feminine/neuter; for this reason, the Gesali dictionary explicitly marks gender.
Gïsal has a very basic system of three cases. The first case (called the natural case) is unmarked and nearly always used regardless of a noun's relation to the overall phrase, clause, or sentence. The other two cases can both be considered subdivisions of a larger genitive case, roughly approximate to the English construction 's. The possessive case (prefix we-) is used when the target noun is actually possessed by or is intrinsically part of the modified noun.
- wekàń klel
- POS-man house-PLU
- the man's houses (the houses owned by the man)
- wewońe gàmet
- POS-dog tail
- the dog's tail
- weproi pari
- POS-sky blue
- sky blue
The associative case (prefix wi-) is used to indicate origin, social relationships, and any other genitive functions not covered by the possessive case.
- wi‘àmerïga keńel
- ASC-America person-PLU
- American people
- wido rifel
- ASC-woman child-PLU
- the woman's children
- wiproiyir dalta
- ASC-lightning bolt
- a bolt of lightning
If both the modified and target nouns represent persons, the associative case is nearly always used. While the possessive case could be used in a positive manner for emphasis in the correct context (e.g. between lovers with the connotation of being intrinsically part of each other), the potential negative connotations (slavery, etc.) must also be kept in mind. The distinctions between these two cases are often vague, but when in doubt, one should use the associative case (wi-).
Gesali pronouns are similar to those of other languages, and decline for case, gender, and number much like nouns do. One key distinction between English and Gesali pronouns is the fact that Gïsal's neuter third-person singular pronoun (gi) may be used in place of person nouns, while English's ("it") may not.
Gesali possessive pronouns are formed by simply declining pronouns in the associative or possessive case. These forms are also used as possessive adjectives.
|1st||wisï, wesï||wisïl, wesïl|
|2nd||wipà, wepà||wipàl, wepàl|
|3rd||wigi, wegi||wigun, wegun||wigu, wegu||wigul, wegul|
Gesali verbs have a complex fusional morphology. There are three different classes of verbs (corresponding to the endings -od, -ed, and -ad), each possessing different conjugations for every combination of tense, person, number, and aspect. The system is generally regular and predictable. Only two verbs, sed ("be") and rad ("do"), conjugate irregularly. The "dictionary form" of all verbs corresponds to the third-person indicative singular conjugation. The "conjunctive" or "root" form refers to a form of the verb that lacks the final d, which usually (but not always) corresponds to the first-person indicative singular conjugation.
The full complement of conjugation charts can be found here.
Verbs are negated by the word sày, which occurs after the verb.
- Màcned sày gu ĺańmi.
- eat-3SG.PRS.CON NEG she lettuce
- She doesn't eat lettuce.
- Tiyomà be rad sày yüme püŕi.
- today on be-3SG.PRS.SIM NEG store open
- The store isn't open today.
Agent nouns are usually formed in Gïsal by affixing the suffix -ji to the conjunctive form of the verb.
- gesad > gesaji
- speak > speaker
- denjŕemod > denjŕemoji
- calculate > calculator
Nouns formed in this way are always of neuter gender. However, if the agent noun represents a person or animal, feminine (-ju) or masculine (-jim) gender forms of the suffix may also be used. Note, however, that this usage is often considered dated or even offensive, in the same way that women-specific words such as "actress" are falling out of favor in English.
Gesali adjectives appear before the nouns they modify, and are simple compared to the verbs and nouns of the language in that they only agree with one factor: the number of the noun. Normal adjectives modifying singular nouns end in -i, and those modifying plural nouns end in -ai. The -i ending is the dictionary form.
- pari laĺe
- blue-SNG bird
- blue bird
- parai laĺel
- blue-PLU bird-PLU
- blue birds
Copulas: sed vs. rad
Gïsal has two different expressions that are equivalent to the English verb "to be". The first is a simple copula, sed, which implies a permanent or intrinsic state (similar to spanish ser). This construction rarely conjugates in the simple aspect.
- Sned dàbi do fdo.
- be-3SG.PRS.CON that-SNG woman mother
- That woman is a mother.
- Sïdeŕ dàbai kibkmel sïntàl.
- be-3PL.PST.CON that-PLU noise-PLU thunder
- Those noises were thunderclaps.
When the object of the verb is an adjective, sed behaves differently. It becomes a suffix (-sed) which affixes to the end of the adjective, essentially turning the adjective into an intransitive verb. (The adjective still agrees in number with the noun it modifies.)
- Parisned laĺe.
- blue-SNG be-3SG.PRS.CON bird
- The bird is blue.
- Süŕemaisteŕ gul.
- angry-PLU be-3PL.PST.CON they
- They were angry [people].
The third, rad (which normally means "do"), is used in this case with all subjects to imply a temporary state (similar to Spanish estar). This construction rarely uses the simple aspect.
- Rä wesï salba fŕi.
- be-1SG.PST.SIM my face red-SNG
- My face was red.
- Hüŕeyïs be rud yüme püŕi.
- tomorrow on be-3SG.FUT.SIM store open
- The store will be open tomorrow.
The negative form of an adjective can be formed by replacing the -i suffix with -esi. Negative plural adjectives can likewise be formed with the suffix -esai instead of -ai. These suffixes are roughly analogous to the English prefix "un-", but it can be used with any adjective.
Note: In general, when creating the construction "[noun] is not [adjective]", the negated verb should be used instead.
- gocki > gockesi
- lucky > unlucky
Comparatives and Superlatives
|comparative (more/less than)||dàha...ke||joha...ke|
|null comparative (more/less)||dàge||joge|
- Dàha yolisdeŕ ke syahin di bela.
- COMP.POSI long+be-3SG.PST.CON than first-NOMINAL that book
- That book was longer than the first one.
- Tiyomà be xibte joge laĺel.
- today on sing-3PL.PST.SIM COMP.NEG.NUL bird-PL
- Fewer birds sang today.
- Dra yalbahi wesïntàl qàk dàhaze caisgi.
- be-3SG.PST.SIM fourth POS-thunder clap SUP.POSI loud
- The fourth thunderclap was the loudest.
Gïsal uses a basic VSO word order. Adjectives, adverbs, postpositional phrases, and genitive nouns precede the words or phrases they modify.
- Nayod fŕi laĺe.
- fly-3SG.PRS.SIM red bird
- The red bird is flying.
- Syäwer be hilkoned gu wiju‘a lalep.
- morning in drink-3SG.PRS.CON she ASC-orange juice
- She drinks orange juice in the morning.
- Seńud kàń zimtel gwe bela.
- read-3SG.FUT.SIM man king-PL about book
- The man will read a book about kings.