|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Mjegún /mjʁũ:/ is a semi-engineered artlang. While I intend for it to be usable and aesthetically pleasing, I am also using it to try out many experimental grammar forms. The phonology and phonotactics were inspired by Sanskrit and the Bantu and Semitic languages, the alphabet was inspired by Nepalese, and the grammar was inspired by my own deviling purism when it comes to agglutination - I wanted the ability to use any noun root as a measure word or classifier, and the specific meaning root to be analogous to an adjective. I also began with a complex system for case-marking and relative clauses, we'll see how that turns out.
In parentheses are the letter or digraph which represents the sound in standard romanization.
|Nasal||m (m)||n (n)||
c (tj, t)
ch (thj, th)
c' (ttj, tt)
ɟ (dj, d)
|s (s)||ʂ (c, sj, hj)||x (k)||ʁ (g)||h (h)|
|Approximant||w (v)||ʋ (v)||j (j)|
|Flap or tap||ɾ (r)|
|Lateral app.||l (l)|
|Close||i: (ī)*||ɨ (i)||u: (ū)*|
|Close-mid||e: (ē)*||o (u)|
|Open-mid||ɛ (e)||ə (a)||ʌ (a)|
- Vowels with macrons are intended to represent any long form of that vowel. In reality, the vowel would either have an acute or grave accent, depending on pitch accent.
Syllable structure is C(G)V(F). Dental consonants (t th d n s) become palatal before j, i, or e. Unaspirated plosives (p b t d k g) become the corresponding fricatives intervocalically. /tl/ and /dl/ lenite to /tɫ/ or /ɫ/ and /dɮ/ or /ɮ/, respectively. Vowels may be short, tending to have more central or lax pronunciations, or long. Long vowels either have high or low pitch accent, indicated by acute accent (é) or grave accent (è), respectively. High pitch accent has longer duration and high-flat pitch, similar to French stress, while low pitch accent has longer duration and low-falling pitch. Tone sandhi rules are as follows: épé>>épe, épè>>épe, èpé>>eppé, èpè>>èpe. There are no diphthongs in basic roots, though falling diphthongs may be created by assimilation when two vowels are adjacent. The final N is a nasal consonant which when followed by another consonant, even across word boundaries, and occurs at the same place of articulation. Before a vowel, it is articulated /n/. Otherwise, it nasalizes the previous vowel. The final Q is a geminate seed. Before most consonants, it geminates that consonant. Before an unaspirated plosive, it makes the consonant ejective. Between vowels, it is a glottal stop. Word-finally, it is not pronounced.
The letters with their romanizations are as follows:
p ph b m
t th d n
k kh g ng
s c h
j v l r
a u e i
The alphabet is an abugida that functions similar to Nepalese. Consonant initials are written in the center, left to right, with glides on top and vowels below. 'e' is the default vowel, and a consonant without a diacritic below is assumed to be followed by 'e'. Length and accent are not marked in writing, and must be inferred.
When writing the romanized form, N is written as m, n, or ng, depending on actual pronunciation, and Q is always written by doubling the following consonant.
Basic word order is flexible due to noun marking and is often determined by topicality. Default word order is subject before object and V2, where the tense indicator word is regarded as the primary verb. This means that a simple sentence would be SVO but the introduction of a prepositional or temporal phrase at the beginning of the sentence would change order to PVSO. Additionally, noun phrases may be promoted to the beginning of the sentence to indicate topicality or indefiniteness. A topic without a direct grammatical role results in TVSO, but if the object is promoted to topic, instead of OVS, OSV is preferred.
nùce káke gví - "The man eats the fruit"
láceta káke nùce gví - "The man eats the fruit in the eating-place."
gví nùce káke - "The man eats a fruit."
Modifiers, including nouns with respect to classifiers, come strictly after heads. Stative verbs always come directly before the noun that performs them.
Nouns are largely compounds, with a classifier head, comparable to a class marker in Swahili or a measure word in Mandarin or Malay, and a specific final. Any root may be made a classifier, though there are a handful of common classifiers.
|Classifier Meaning||Root||Root Meaning|
|long, thin object||gì||long, tall|
|wide, flat object||blà||flat|
|manufactured object||bé||do, make|
|occurence, phenomenon, gerund||thé||move, go|
Nouns follow an ergative-absolutive case system, with suffixes to indicate case, number, and postpositions.
Ergative - used for the subject of a transitive verb
Genitive/Associative - used to indicate possession of or association with another noun
Instrumental - used to indicate being used as a tool or method
Inessive - used to indicate nearness, involvement, or circumstance
Causal/Benefactive - used to indicate that the verb is being done because of the actions or needs of the noun
Allative - used to indicate motion toward
Locative - used to indicate nearness or location
Ablative - used for motion away from
Every sentence contains a verbal word which is formed by one or two tense roots with fusional modal and conjugational suffixes. This indicates the time of the primary predicate, the verb associated with the subject of the sentence. The main verb can either be associated with the subject by affixing or by conjugation. Other verbs are considered stative verbs, and may be affixed to a noun as a participle or conjugated for the noun. Stative verbs must be intransitive; a new clause must be formed to express a second transitive verb. One tense root in the verbal word is most common, and indicates either simple past, present, or future. Adding a second tense root, which is always a short vowel, adds a meaning depending on the root: present adds a continuous aspect, past adds a perfect aspect, and future conveys that a verb occurs at some time after the primary tense (essentially the opposite of perfect.) Tense indicator words and stative verbs conjugate according to the same paradigm:
Pronouns are formed from roots are treated like normal classifier roots, declined like normal nouns, and are derived from other sematic roots.
|1st person formal||1st person informal, this||2nd person formal||2nd person||3rd person formal||3rd person informal, that||what|
|nutté, nùkva||kvà||nùlu||nù, vè||nupphá||phá||kè|
kèNote that formal pronouns begin with nù-, the person classifier, which by itself functions as a very informal second person pronoun. The other roots can also be affixed to classifiers, most commonly to lá-, the place classifier, to get meanings such as "here," "there," and "where." In addition, first and second person pronouns are combined to mark clusivity, giving the form kvàlu, "we (including you)." Note that a plural of this form would be identical, so there is no way to distinguish "you and I" from "all of us (including you)." Formal pronouns should be used in writing and formal speech, regardless of stance, and are not honorifics. Respectful forms include the 1st person pronoun sépe and the 2nd person pronoun nùba, though these are rarely used.
Adjectives are take either the form of a nominal modifying affix, where doing so would not cause ambiguity or confusion and especially where it signified a semantic compound, or a stative verb, where the adjective cannot be unambiguously affixed to the noun or where a sense of distance or transitivity is desired.
gvimú - a blueberry
múke gví - a fruit which is blue