Type: Synthetic (Analytic for verbs)
Head Direction: Final
Number of genders: 2
Vakhai is a relatively simple language spoken by the people of Vakhaia. It holds very strong influences from French, Spanish, and Arabic.
The Vakhai alphabet can be categorized into three forms. These three forms are the Elkhabiza (modern) alphabet, the Akasia (classical) alphabet, and the Musa (artistic) alphabet. The Akasia and Musa alphabet are discontinued in use, and were replaced by the Elkhabiza alphabet through mixing of the language with external speakers.
The main difference between the Elkabiza and Akasia is that the former does not have any diacritics, and certain letters may have different sounds, whereas the latter has a letter for every sound, and has diacritics. The Akasia alphabet, for instance, does not contain a letter for the sound [ f ], instead using the letter ť, which makes the sound [ θ ].
The Musa alphabet is identical to the Akasia alphabet in terms of sound, but is not in the Latin alphabet; it is used principally for artistic purposes. The Musa alphabet was predominant when there was division among Arabic-dominated areas versus those using the Latin alphabet. Many letters in the Musa alphabet are relatively close to their Arabic counterparts, and at one point the Musa alphabet was so accurately transliterated from Vakhai that an Arabic reader could read Musa-written Vakhai and be understood by natives.
The Elkhabiza alphabet and the corresponding sounds to each letter are shown in the chart below.
|IPA||ɑː, æ||b||d||ɛ, iː||f||g, dʒ||h||ɪ||dʒ||k||l||m||n||uː, oʊ||p||r||s||t||juː, ʌ||v||w||ks||iː, iːʌ||z|
The Akasia and Musa alphabets, and associated sounds, are shown in the table below.
|Plosives||p (p)||b (b)||t (t)||d (d)||k (k)||g (g)|
|Fricatives||f (f)||v (v)||θ (th)||s (s)||z (z)||ʃ (sh)||ʒ (zh)||χ (kh)||h (h)|
|Nasals||m (m)||n (n)||ŋ (ng)|
|Flaps / taps|
|Glides||Approxim.||j (u)*||w (w)|
|Lateral Appr.||l (l)|
* The letter u can be pronounced as [ ju ].
(Note: Both IPA and Vakhai representations of sounds are shown, with the latter in parentheses. Not all sounds are individual letters; the [ χ ] sound is represented as kh.)
|Front||Near front||Central||Near back||Back|
|Close||i (e)||u (o)|
|Near-close||ɪ (i)||ʊ (o)*|
|Open-mid||ɛ (e)||ʌ (u)|
* The letter o can be pronounced as [ oʊ ].
As with any other language, Vakhai has grammar rules to adhere to. All parts of sentence are effectively the same in any situation, with the only exceptions being to verbs and pronouns.
All sentences follow the Subject-Verb-Object format. This applies even to questions (whereas, in English, questions are generally in the Verb-Subject-Object format) and commands.
Every verb is used in what is referred to as a "verb group". A verb group consists of five "elements", which specify the person, tense, and action described. A verb group is set up as follows:
|"Sif" (Conditional)||"Oai" (1st Sing.)||"Paia" (Past)||"Tin" (Progressive)||Verb|
|"Oais" (1st Plu.)|
|"Tu" (2nd Sing.)||"Maia" (Present)|
|∅ (Not Conditional)||"Tus" (2nd Plu.)||∅ (Not Progressive)|
|"Il" (3rd Sing.)||"Faia" (Future)|
|"Ils" (3rd Plu.)|
Here's an explanation of what each of these elements mean.
- Conditionality - This is used in sentences where something that is known to have not occured is described. However, the usage of "Sif" is limited only to the "if" clause of a conditional sentence. For instance, consider the sentence, "If I had been happy, I would have smiled." In Vakhai, only the first part of the sentence, "If I had been happy," would have "Sif." The other part of the sentence would not use the conditionality element whatsoever.
- Person - This is used to clarify who is doing the action described. Note that "Il" and "Ils" can be replaced with the noun it would otherwise refer to.
- Tense - This is used to clarify when the action described occurred.
- Progressivity - This is used in sentences where the action described is still occurring. In English, progressive verbs end in "-ing".
- Verb - The action. Note that all verbs end in the suffix "-zh".
Here are the verb groups in action. Note that irzh is the verb "to go", al is "to", berga is "park", and vezh is the verb "to see". All other Vakhai vocabulary used is in the table above.
|I go to the park.||Oai maia irzh al berga.|
|I went to the park.||Oai paia irzh al berga.|
|I will go to the park.||Oai faia irzh al berga.|
|I am going to the park.||Oai maia tin irzh al berga.|
|I was going to the park.||Oai paia tin irzh al berga.|
|If I had gone to the park, I would have seen you.||Sif oai paia irzh al berga, oai paia vezh tu.|
|If I were going to the park, I would have seen you.||Sif oai paia tin irzh al berga, oai paia vezh tu.|
|If I go to the park, I will see you.||Sif oai faia irzh al berga, oai faia vezh tu.|
Suffixes and prefixes play a large role in Vakhai, as they serve as a way of distinguishing what part of a sentence a word is, or otherwise describe its meaning relative to its base. The affixes in Vakhai are as follows:
|-zh||Verb||Atakh||"an attack"||Atakhzh||"to attack"|
|nai- (-)*||Its opposite||Fitch||"finite"||Nai-fitch||"infinite"|
* All words with the prefix "nai-" keep the hyphen between the prefix and itself.
** If a word is feminine, possessing something, or plural (or any combination of these), then the suffixes are added in the order, "-ul", "-s", "j".
The pronouns in Vakhai are the same as the words used in the "Person" element in a verb group. These are "oai" (me), "oais" (us), "tu" (you), "tus" (you/y'all), "il" (him/her/it), "ils" (them).
Nouns decline (agree to) gender and number in Vakhai. If a noun is feminine (i.e. a female animal), then the suffix "-ul" is attached to it. Similarly, if a noun is plural, then the suffix "-s" is added. For a more in-depth description of affixes in Vakhai, see this.
The number system in Vakhai is relatively unique compared to other cultures. Though most modern mathematics in Vakhaia are now taught in the modern system, many people can still understand the Vakhai math system, called the "Vanzhera" (mathematic) system.
The Vanzhera system has no ordinal numbers; if something came in first, then it is said to have "terzh fiy ai [number]"; "(to) finish the [number]".
The Vakhai numbers used were not influenced by outside cultures, therefore making them difficult to place into the Latin alphabet. The solution to this problem was to represent each letter as its closest Cyrillic counterpart (in terms of appearance), therefore avoiding confusion between letters and numbers. Numbers in the Vanzhera system are as follows (note that Vakhai and Vanzhera represent written-out ("one") and numeral ("1") representations, respectively):
As shown above, the Vakhai manner of counting is in base 5 (rather than the common base 10, which has 10 numerals).