Well, I think I've come up with an analysis of Prof. Fromkin's vampire dialogue that I can live with. Arriving at this analysis involved some fudging (readjustment of word boundaries, liberal rehearing of some sounds, etc.), but at least I've achieved a certain amount of internal consistency, and come up with a syntactic structure which is somewhat appealing to my personal aesthetic. For the curious, I'll give the lines again, with morpheme-by-morpheme glosses and comments: (1) Krat pruchiri busistampol protolukchano, Frost. "You are a disgrace to the vampire nation, Frost." kra-t p-ruchir-i busistampol proto-lukch-an-o, Frost you-Erg Stat-bring-Pst disgrace collectivity-vampire-Pl-Obl Frost I've decided that Vampiric is a split-ergative language of the Georgian/Hindi type: It has ergative/absolutive marking in past tense sentences and nominative/accusative marking in present and future tense sentences. Since this sentence is past tense, the word for "you" is marked with the ergative suffix _-t_ (this particular word for "you", _kra_, is used by a social superior to address a social inferior, the Vampiric equivalent of Romance "tu"). The verb in this sentence is _ruchira_ "bring (forth)". The suffix _-i_ marks past tense, while the prefix _p-_ is a stative marker, used to derive adjectives and perfective verbs: kra ruchira "you bring, you are bringing" krat ruchiri "you brought, you were bringing" krat pruchira "(it) is brought by you" krat pruchiri "(it) was brought by you, you have brought" The word _busistampol_ "disgrace" is probably complex, but I'm not sure how to analyse it. The noun _protolukchan_ is marked with the oblique (genitive/dative) case suffix _-o_. _Lukcha_ means "vampire", and the plural is _lukchan_. The element _proto_ means something like "collectivity"; prefixing it to a plural noun forms a noun referring to a group of individuals acting together. Thus, _protolukchan_ can mean a house or coven of vampires--or by extension, the supreme house/coven, vampiredom, which in the movie is translated as "vampire nation". (2) Yachtu spuli litwa, ochach planika dura saazdo ... "If we break the treaty, if we gather in numbers ..." yachtu s-pul-i litw-a, ochach p-lani-ka dura saazd-o if Nzn-agree-Nom break-Fut 1incl Stat-together-Fut many number-Obl There are two words for "if", _yachtu_ and _chaaz_, which are perhaps historically related. The former is used to form conditionals (denoting events which might come to pass), and takes verbs in the future tense. The latter is used to form counterfactuals (denoting events which might have come to pass but didn't), and takes verbs in the subjunctive. The root _pul_ means "agree"; adding the nominalising prefix _s-_ gives _spul_ "agreement, compact, treaty". _Ochach_ is the nominative/absolutive form of the first person inclusive pronoun. The word _lani_ means "together" or "assembled". Adding the stative prefix _p-_ gives a verbal form meaning "be together, be in a group". The suffix _-ka_ (or _-a_ in some cases) marks future tense. (3) Mabochachi ma taihoranta orastupraka ritsa! "The human politicians will make our lives very difficult!" mab-ochach-i ma tiahor-an-ta orastu-pra-ka ritsa life-1incl-Nom from politician-Pl-Erg difficult-make-Fut truly Possession is indicated by suffixing a person/number marker in between the stem and the case marker (if any; the nominative/absolutive is sometimes unmarked, depending on the noun declension): maba "life" mab-ochach-i "our life" mab-ochach-o "to/of our life" Note that _maba_ means "life" in the sense of "way of life". _Mabi lukcho_ "the vampire way of life" is a common euphemism for the Thirst, the need for vampires to feed on human blood. The ablative preposition _ma_, which takes a noun phrase in the ergative case, marks indirect causation, among other things. The word _tiahora_, translated as "human politician", really means something like "authority figure who colludes with vampires to keep their secret hidden, in exchange for money/favours". It is mildly perjorative. I suspect it is a borrowed word, although I have yet to identify the language it comes from. The word _orastu_ "difficult" is formed from _orast_ "difficulty" plus an adjectival suffix _-u_ (also found in _siznu_ "awake"). Adding the suffix _-pra_ forms a causative verb _orastupra_ "make things difficult". (4) Umfalat poskani krat ko dobranko, chaaz kalinka paskolzo. "You would understand this, if your blood were pure." um-fal-at p-osk-an-i kra-t ko dobra-nk-o well-hold-Cond Stat-speak-Pl-Nom you-Erg in heart-2s-Obl chaaz kali-nka pa-skolz-o if blood-2s Stat-pure-Subjunct The speaker of this sentence is an old vampire chastising the villian for transgressing the vampire code. He employs the demeaning second person pronoun _kra_ (used by a superior to address an inferior--e.g., a servant, vampire child, or potential victim). He further seeks to humiliate the younger vampire by employing an archaic idiom for "understand", namely _umfala ko dobro_ "hold fast in one's heart". The sentence is thus literally "These words would be held fast by thee in thy heart, if thy blood were pure". The root of _umfalat_ is _fal_, meaning "hold". Adding the emphatic prefix _um-_ gives _umfala_ "hold fast, hold tightly". The suffix _-at_ forms the conditional ("would hold fast"). The verb _osk_ means "speak". Adding the stative prefix _p-_ forms a participle "spoken", which is then nominalised to give "that which is spoken" (i.e. "word, utterance"). The plural nominative form is _poskani_ "words, pronouncement(s)". Notice the second person singular possessive suffix _-nk(a)_, used twice in this sentence. (5) Sika-lu pala tat kapro Blade? "Don't we have enough trouble with Blade?" sika-lu p-ala ta-t kapro Blade? trouble-Qu.Neg Stat-suffice 1incl-Erg on.account.of Blade The particle _lu_, which attaches as a clitic after the first phrase in the clause, marks the sentence as a negative question. _Tat_ is the ergative form of _ochach_, the first person inclusive pronoun. Note that there is no word for "have" in Vampiric; instead, possession is marked with ergative case. Thus _sika pala tat_ is literally something like "trouble is sufficient by us". The preposition _kapro_ normally takes a noun phrase in the oblique case (e.g., _kapro lukchano_ "on account of the vampires"). However, foreign names are exempt from this rule, hence the absence of an oblique suffix on _Blade_. (6) Redani protowuchano siznupraka umportaa, umpanuwa "The spirits of the twelve will awaken La Magra, the Blood God" red-an-i proto-wuch-an-o siznu-pra-ka umporta-a spirit-Pl-Nom collective-twelve-Pl-Obl awake-make-Fut La Magra-Acc umpanu-wa Blood God-Acc Notice the element _proto_ "collectivity" from the first sentence repeated here. _Wuch_ means "twelve", so _protowuchan_ is a group of twelve individuals acting together. Since this sentence is in future tense, the subject is marked with nominative case (rather than ergative case) and the object is marked with accusative case (rather than nominative). The accusative suffix for animate nouns is _-a_, which becomes _-wa_ when attached to a noun ending in a rounded vowel. Well, that's about it. Comments welcome! Matt.