|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
I'tslmaw [i:t͡sɬma] is an synthetic-aggultinative language. It has a close class of verbs but an open class of cases with heavy use of declension to derive meaning.
Word order is SOV in non-future sentences and SVO in future sentences, with no morphological tense. There are two verbs, "i'ts" and "tlih", which roughly mean 'produce' and 'consume' respectively. Nouns decline for case.
|Nasal||m||n /n̪/||nn /ŋ/|
|Stop||p, b||d /d̪/||t||k, g|
|Affricate||pf /p͡ɸ/, bv /b͡β/||tth /t̪͡θ/, ddh /d̪͡ð/||ts /t͡s/, dz /d͡z/||kx|
|Fricative||f /ɸ/, v /β/||th /θ/, dh /ð/||s z||x|
|Lateral||l /ɬ/, ll /ɮ/|
/ʙ/ is excedingly rare.
Vowel length is contrastive. All front vowels except for /ɛ/ can be long.
Verbs form a closed class, with only two proper verbs, "i'ts" which means consume and "tlih" which means produce. The use of noun declension heavily influences the meaning of the verb. For example, "life-self-acc produce" means "I live" but "life-self-acc consume" means "I kill myself". "mouth-self-inst obj-acc consume" means eat but "mouth-self-inst obj-acc consume" means vomit. Verbs do not inflect for tense, but instead helper words affect the tense of the sentence.
Nouns in I'tslmaw can take up to four optional suffixes: possesive pronoun, gender marker, telicity marker, and case marker. Additionally, a noun changes number through a system of ablaut. A single noun can therefore have up to five morphemes. If the case maker is omitted, the noun is assumed to be accusative. An example of a trimorphemic nouns is "pfihawnn" /p͡ɸɪaŋ/ mouth-1sg-INST which means "with my mouth".
There are five lexical genders: spring, summer, fall, winter, and neuter. There is no system of agreement between nouns and any other aspect of I'tslmaw. All nouns have an inherent ggender. Nouns that change with the seasons (trees, weather, animals, etc.) have one of the four genders associated with a season. Nouns that do not change with the seasons (rocks, emotions, etc.) are neuter. All nouns can take an optional affix that marks them as a different season.
There are four numbers in I'tslmaw: zero, singular, paucal, and plural. The plurality of a nouns is changed thorugh a system of cyclical ablaut defined as follows: i→ih→e→o→u→aw→a→y→i...
To form the paucal from of a noun, the stressed vowel of the noun is shifted one down this cyclical list of vowels from its singular form. To form the zero form, the vowel is shifted one back from the singular form. To form the plural form, the vowel is shifted four down. For example: pfih = a mouth, pfe = no mouths, pfi = a few mouths, pfaw = mouths
There are twelve pronouns:
Cases form an open class, with new cases easily created as they are need by the speakers. Some examples of existing cases are:
English: Father will drink milk.
Text: Pine' tlih pfihnn etth-yn
Gloss: father consume mouth-INST milk-ACC