Alectú tonrouxmudate! Semnaami keízaan Dan O'Dowd, pú bataír'aami dóðlinkanaúx Kenraí, geckle þer'enin pradyval keízabaí. Posaamidtö podonc Kenraícin aglar'e, alkta gralooðínúlçabaí, igzokanaúx kopr'acedtúlça çeíðïbaí. Haanecooðínöt tec Kenraí gugym ‘IF’, pú ar’ana ooðínöt ‘conditional tense’-bipharópe keízate zacla. Levecoplaart pradyvalapeï Kenraí; megcí haanecöt jaftelbidr’ilaxovr’atulin gugymðax, pú amnak ‘Aðadtaúx Ðaknete Corníaan Eshizlet Þileï’; eshöt ‘How to Tell if You’re a Sornian’, pú ceðyrvar’anaami kokar’eví ‘Búsna Elzaven’in nenmet.
Greetings to everybody! I'm Dan O'Dowd, and I'm writing to promote Kenraí, my first conlang. I've attached below the
Kenraí grammar, despite it not being complete, in order to further understanding for everyone. In Kenraí, there is no conditional mood or word for if, which is interesting IMO. I'm quite happy with Kenraí, which already has a 1300+ word vocabulary, a Sornian culture test, and an ongoing translation of an episode of Coronation Street.
Any comments, questions, criticisms or ephemera on this subject would be gratefully received. If you want the pronunciations of my words then I can give this as well; but i warn you-I am not yet familiar with IPA conventions in full, so have my own ways of describing some sounds lol. I have other constructed languages to divulge, but being as how they are woefully incomplete, I will wait until they are further along. I will say that I'm working on an entirely agglutinative (entirely!) language with one vowel (one!!), a language for lizards without lips, and a language for time travelling hedgehogs who
pride themselves on being modelled on Ancient Greek civilisation. Thanks for your time.
The Grammar of Kenraí-The Language of Sornia
New thing; to shorten, conjugation on its own can indicate the same verb as last time, so I am (eshaami) being used as the consequent verb (I am from Esnel. I am a Sornian) you (rarely though, it’s for longer sentences) just say aami in the next bit (Eshaami Esnelapeï. Amnak aami Corníaan).
NB I haven’t fully updated this yet for a few months; there are some indescript things or stuff missing so please bear with me :)
Kenraí is a case language. This means that nouns, in some cases, inflect and have endings
added to them to indicate additional information. Kenraí contains the following cases:
Dative (To something, or sometimes the indirect object)
Instrumental (the way something is done; with x)
Introductive (To specify which of something you want)
These are all available in single and plural forms. Nominative plurals are split into four types depending on the status of the noun involved. Some nouns can be classified under more than one section depending on their possible uses. These often have to be learned, because much of the time the designation isn’t quite as obvious as you think.
Type 1: Animate Tangible. This is for humans and animals, and non-carbon sentients (this is for planets). It
is also used for titles and otherwise which represent real humans, so things like secretary, staff etc.
Type 2: Animate Intangible. This is where the complications begin. This is generally for things like music, which you can’t physically touch. Because it can inspire dancing and requires movement to be made/sung, it is considered animate though. It’s also used with switched on radios, and electronic things that you need to move to interact with so telephones. Also notably the brain and other parts of the body (bones/muscles), which are considered necessary for animate humanity, but which we don’t yet fully understand (else be t1).
Type 3: Inanimate Tangible. This is used for the majority of objects, books, boxes, clothes etc.
Type 4: Inanimate Intangible. This is a large complexity. Things that are partly conceptual, such as time and space, are always in this category since you can’t touch time, and per se, it doesn’t move. Consider the sentence “I work for a company which makes comics”. This is a confirmative statement, and therefore the comics which are being made definitely exist. However, in the sentence, “In the future, I want to make a company which makes comics”, the subject (making a company which makes comics) is in the future, which does not yet exist. Therefore nor do the comics, and as such are in the class of concept. (NB neither does the company yet exist.) This sentence uses class 4 ending on comics therefore. The distinction is between definite and indefinite objects. (NB: Also realise, that saying I want to work for a company that makes comics means the company exists. Whether this goes into t4 or not I haven’t yet decided. NB: what is that about? If you want to work for a
company, any company which makes comics, you don’t necessarily know if this exists, though it is likely.) If you’re wondering what I was going on about before, saying real humans, this means that sometimes if you’re using a word that maps to a human (secretary for example), but you’re not talking about someone specific, only the idea of a secretary or such, then it is pluralised as type 4.
There are already a few cases in English which we simply don’t realise, so don’t be put off.
The Genitive case is used in Kenraí to indicate possession of something, or doing something as a favour to someone. Example: “MY book” the word my is the possessive of I. In Kenraí the word order is reversed, and becomes ñeerba keízaBAÍ to indicate it is the book OF ME. Aí is added, but if the noun ends in a vowel it becomes baí.
In the plural
instance, the noun being changed remains in the singular, that is you don’t pluralize it because adding a gen plural ending indicates this itself. In “A lot of frogs”, frogs would be inflected to the genitive plural. The endings are eñse or if the noun ends in a vowel, çeñse. Thus a lot of frogs becomes gamnan blir’içeñse, not blir’iþeñse. This distinction becomes important when talking about something that we or I own. It’s very confusing so I’ll do it later.
Now for the bit I said above that would come later. When I own something, it’s Q keízabaí, and if I own two things it’s Q(þ) keízabaí, because I am still singular. If we own something it’s Q keízïbaí, two things Q(þ) keízïbaí. I’ve made a bit of a mess here actually, without realising it. The word for we is unchanging keízï. Keízaçeñse would mean a
lot of me’s, a lot of the person me, just as keízïçeñse means a lot of ‘us’es. Useful for Sliders!
The Dative case is used when talking about doing something to something else. It’s complex because this used to be an Accusative, but I didn’t like using it on every object under the sun. I will have to rewrite all the dialogues soon. Some verbs take the Dative therefore, for example biting something inflicts the Dative on its object noun. Singular nouns add te or ate, and so I bit the sandwich becomes Mor’idaamidtö xónaalTE. Dative plural nouns add vïd or ivïd, and as with the Genitive and other cases, there is no need for any plural noun marker. I bit the sandwiches, therefore is mor’idaamidtö xónaalivïd.
The Instrumental case is used for talking about doing something with someone or by means of something, and
for all you other Russianists is also used a lot of the time in place of the prepositional (not always though, for example in Kenraí, ber’ela about inflicts a genitive). The endings are apeï in singular (always remove any final vowel before adding this), and eðin for plural, again removing any final vowel. Again, no need to pluralize the noun in this case. Example: I am from Esnel. Eshaami EsnelAPEÏ. Plural; (a rare case ending) I won by 10 points; adhafaamidtö eílyma magtraçEÐIN. NB: Numbers never decline in cases.
Now comes the tricky one. The Introductive is one of the hardest things to get through when learning Kenraí. I never created definition of what it was until this document. This will take a while to explain. Consider the word “that”. When we’re talking about specifying which of a group of things you want,
you’ll likely point and say “that one”. That as a noun pointer is unqualified in English without such additions; it could mean that horse, that banana or that tasty vodka, unless it’s referring to the previous sentences, as in Japanese and other languages. In French, the situation is the same. Saying plain old ça won’t get the point across; it’s celui-ci, celui-là , ceci and all those. Now, consider the phrase “In a turnaround of fortune, Kelly has gone from being the strongest link in the last round, to the weakest IN THIS ONE”. This one specifically refers back to the word round whilst avoiding repetition. Now, to say I like that (and pointing at it) you say gúnadaami taþecla. But to be more specific you could say that one (for example if the products you were ogling in the shop window were all the same thing and you prefer one of them), and this is one of the points of the introductive case. It’s mostly used for avoiding constant repetition of the noun you’re talking
about. It’s used with taþecla/geckle, and also adjectives (the big one, the small one). It can also be used in plural; so those ones, or these big ones. I understand you more and more each day is also an introductive statement, because with each day that comes you introduce more understanding. (NB How is this done? I’ve never explained it.)
Singular: aan after consonants or a (only 2 a’s remember), or zan after another vowel.
Eshöt taþecla gesíuna. That’s a banana.
Eshöt taþeclaan gesíuna. It’s that banana, (that one there). NB This can be also used for people and such.
Gobocoñe (veknaúx) gesíunakïnhegaan? Which banana do you want (to eat)?
Gecklezan-gamnan kemíelaami ðeenclogíópejom. This one-I prefer greener
Eshötmi gecklex ðiñcikðaxsek? What are these things? (NB New thing; geckle/taþecla change as the noun: taþeclax is just as valid as taþeclï, depending on what you’re talking about)
Eshötmi gecklejom cpocí. These things are bones. (NB: saying eshötmi gecklejom ðiñcikðax cpocí would infer you’re about to use a relative clause.)
Gúnadoñe ivíkadem? Do you like any of the cars?
Avloí; gendzilópezan. Yes; the dark blue one.
Stress in Kenraí is rather complex.
1) Long vowels tend to take a natural stress, so eshÖTmi. The order of stress priority is ï/ö, aa, ü, ii/oo/yy, uu/ee generally. Or we could say that ðeen never takes stress.
The word order of Kenraí is strictly VSO-meaning Verb Subject Object. In more complex sentences
this is aV/sA:V/ioA:V/sV/ioV/dO/S/iO or something like that-I’ll do this later.
Time words that aren’t copulan (where the subject is the same thing or equivalent to the object; ie I am David; tomorrow is Monday) come directly after verbs, and then come location words.
Relative clauses put verbal constructions backwards and to the end, so that if you had Ixr’ópíçe çañaami agzñag, in an rc this would be agzñag cañaami ixr’ópíçe. Other exceptions:
Verb conjugation is simpler than in other languages in many ways. There is one type of verb, and its infinitive (to do) always ends in aúx. Most of the time we conjugate verbs for humanity and it, but in fact there are 3 separate classes of conjugation depending on whether the subject is human, animal, or abstract. To conjugate a verb, remove the infinitive ending aúx, leaving a stem. Add the ending required.
Verbs in Kenraí
conjugate in tense and mood. Instead of adding isolated words to the construction, Kenraí uses particles to add everything into one word, which can result in some pretty succinct sentences, although does leave some long words meaning very little. Take veknaúx, to eat. Removing the infinitive particle aúx gives vekn, to which conjugation and other particles of time can be added. Let’s go through them one by one. First of all, the present tense in Kenraí means only I do. There is a separate way of saying I am eating (present continuous), and to say I do (regularly) also has a separate particle. There are conjugation particles for humans, animals, and abstract objects (for example you might want to talk about donkeys eating, or power tools overloading the socket), which is also useful philosophically if you want to imagine yourself as an animal or do the same to someone else.
I do aami
He does eï
She does íü
? does izlet
It does eer
Add a particle to the stem to say who is eating. Izlet is used for when the sex of the subject is unknown, and eer is used for non-human sentients (planets). To pluralise any of these, add taþ to the end of the conjugation. The other 2 conjugations will be given later.
You pl eat-veknoñetaþ
Let’s put the future in now. This always means I will do, without any implication of regularity or continuity-these have separate ways for being said. Again take the stem vekn. To use future tense, you place the future particle okana (which is
shortened to kana if the stem ends in (V)(n/ñ/m/r/r’/d/z/j/f/v/c/ç/l
V(ct/ (tc/kc/lc/nc/ñc/mc (Cc??)))))))) after the stem before conjugation, leaving us with veknokana as the future stem.
I will eat-veknokanaami
He will eat-veknokanaeï, where the eï is pronounced with glottal stop, since no two different accented vowels are run-on. (NB: You can tell if someone is ethnic Kenraí or Sornian by the way they pronounce such words; in Sornians the glottal stop is lazier and in their speech patterns it is fading out)
Now we come to the past. This always means a completed action; equivalent of the perfect I have done, and also preterite I did. Past tense always comes after any conjugations, so we could now make the future past; I will have done. Add dtö after the conjugation, or if there’s already a d/t/þ, change it to
ðtö. The past stem is vekn~dtö.
I will have eaten-veknokanaamidtö.
We will have eaten-veknokanaamiðtö.
(NB: Some Sornians will still use the old form adtö if a dtþ is present: Veknaamitaþadtö is just as correct. BE CAREFUL-this may confuse plurals sometimes. See the dog ate the bone.)
Instead of using the past, sometimes we need to put our actions further back, and this is where the pluperfect comes in. It means I had done. Instead of dtö, we add detalenoï, again replacing d with ð if necessary.
I had eaten-veknaamidetalenoï.
If we’re talking about doing an action right now, then we need to change the verb into a noun with
the gerundive. To do this, add úlça to the stem, which makes a noun, and then add the relevant conjugation of var’anaúx in front to so that the sentence makes sense.
What are you doing? I’m eating.
Var’anoñesek? Var’anaami veknúlça.
If you want to talk about something having something else done to it, you need the Passive Mood. It takes ultimate priority in coming straight in front of the stem. Add azep to the stem and conjugate as necessary, but remember that this changes the way you say things:
In the sentence ‘The dog ate the bone’, dog is the subject, who performs the action, and the bone is the object, so we would say Vekneþik ehlan cpoc. HOWEVER, to say this in the passive in English means the sentence changes to “The bone was eaten by the dog”, in which the bone becomes the subject and the dog
becomes an object placed in the instrumental because it is through the dog that the bone comes to be eaten. The verb must also be used in the past. “The bone was eaten by the dog”=Veknazepöðtö cpoc ehlanapeï.
You might want to negate any one of the above. The negative is always the second thing to come after the stem; after the passive if there’s a queue. Add (c)ooðín to the stem, and conjugate as above.
I don’t eat. Veknooðínaami.
Now we’ve done those we can move back to the tenses. If we want to talk about an incomplete action we use the Imperfect tense. This is slightly more complex in Kenraí than other tenses. Imperfect means incomplete, so using the Kenraí definition of the past tense, you haven’t done it (fully) even though you may have started. You therefore change the auxiliary var’anaúx into the negative past, and add the gerund of the
I was eating=Var’anooðínaamidtö veknúlça.
You might wish to command a bunch of people or a person to do something. This means the Imperative is needed. This always comes directly before the conjugation and therefore last of the stem particles. You add amadí. There is one more thing to remember with the Imperative, in that it changes the word order of the clause to SOV.
You; eat! Veknamadíoñe!
Everybody; let’s eat this food! Okjanuxmud; geckle ídymaan veknamadíaamitaþ!
The most complex sentence that can be made using the particles shown above and nothing more is a useful reminder of which order they all come in.
Do not get eaten!
While we’re here let’s look at the suggestive and the interrogative as well. If you say veknaami, it means I eat. To suggest this (I do don’t I?) add a d between the last two letters of the conjugation. Veknaamdi means I eat don’t I. Veknoñde you eat don’t you. This is also usable with adjectives. To ask a question without an explicit question word, you add an l between the last two letters, again usable with adjectives. Veknaamli adcajeñ? Do I eat every day? Zilóple? Is it blue? But perhaps the most important inflective in the language so far is the direct object marker. Instead of saying something long-winded such as veknaami taþecla for I eat it, you can add an n or yn for plurals after the conjugation to mean it. Veknaamin=I eat it. Var’anoñlen veknúlça? Are you eating it? Xïcíblaamlitaþyndtö? Did we create it? Of course this means the language becomes further simplified in cases where you need to shorten the written form.
There are a couple of rules regarding exceptions to word order. As has already been said, any imperative verb becomes final. Two more exceptions come with the Laws of Multiple Subjects and Objects.
The Law Of Multiple Subjects
If, in a sentence, you are the subject of a verb, but the action you perform involves someone else, then if both people are doing the action they are considered joint subjects of the verb, and accordingly must both come directly after the verb.
Example: Yesterday, I played chess with my sister.
I would normally be the subject alone in English, but the sister is considered to be a chessplayer too, and so goes into the subject part, chess being the lone object.
Translation: Çañaamidtö bakcajeñ eser’apeï agzñag.
Also note here, that members of the family, and many other things, are considered to be one’s own unless
specified otherwise, hence the lack of a qualifying keízabaí after eser’apeï here. This is the equivalent of saying My sister and I played chess in English, and is the only way you will be understood in Sornia.
The Law Of Multiple Objects, and Letting
Consider the sentence “Don’t let the concrete sea pervade your soul”. (If you want to know why it’s this sentence we’re considering, CLICK HERE.) The first thing to do in translations is to change the words to Kenraí word order as far as you know. Don’t let is an imperative, and must therefore come last. But what of the rest? This is where the complex Law of Multiple Objects comes in. Even though this is an imperative, the main subject is you. The fact that this is a let clause makes it more complex.
When dealing with to let, we must remember to split the sentence into
two parts. Let’s take the sentence “I let David go to the cinema”. Here, the two parts are “I let David” and “David (go) to the cinema”. David is repeated here, because in one part he is the direct object, and in the other the subject. VSO word order means these parts come out as Let I David go to the cinema, but since David is doubled, and since verbs always come first, it changes to Let I to go David to the cinema. Analysing the way this is handled gives us the ultimate syntax of Kenraí:
1. Verb of the first subject
2. Verb of the indirect object
3. Direct Object (NMB: This is also treated as the Subject of the Verb of the Indirect Object)
5 Indirect Object.
Back to the law of multiple objects.
From our “Don’t let the concrete sea pervade your soul”, we can now split it into two bits and analyse them both.
(You,) Don’t let the concrete sea
The concrete sea pervade your soul.
Concrete sea being repeated comes immediately after both verbs, so the order stands at:
Don’t let to pervade the concrete sea your soul
But this is an imperative, so the let bit goes to the end to produce:
“To pervade the concrete sea your soul don’t let”.
Svaínapr’aúx lðhigitetne yrmíarthateñse kúpaíra çeíðabaí þeponooðínamadíoñe.
In sentences where the first subject isn’t explicit from the verb conjugation, since verbs always come before all subjects, it is preferred to keep the middle verb and subject together, and simply shift the main
subject towards the end of the sentence, or rather after the secondary subject.
Example: David doesn’t help Andrew to do his homework. He thinks Andrew ought to do it alone.
Split the sentence into two.
David doesn’t help Andrew.
Andrew to do his homework.
Andrew being doubled comes after both verbs.
Doesn’t help/to do/Andrew/David/his homework(Andrew).
Igzooðíneï var’anaúx Andr’ú David bohuzel. Ðömuñdeï þunge mek þer’en var’ananúx hevneíeï.
Complex, but it’s best to get it out of the way.
Another complexity is adjectives. Normal English adjectives are closer to nouns than verbs. Kenraí adjectives function more like Japanese ones though, and are closer to verbs in their nuances. There are two
types of adjective in Kenraí; Temporary and Permanent. These two have the same type of meaning, and can be used in tense etc. Permanent state adjectives always end in ópe. Their translation is usually “it is ~”. Permanent adjectives are those to which the attribute they describe is usually invariable in the object. However it is better to consider the things that are temporary first as this gives a better idea of the distinction. Temporary adjectives always begin with o, and their translation is the same, but they tend towards more abstract and variable descriptors, such as emotion, weather and such. All adjectives also function as verbals, meaning they can be a sentence on their own. Here it is very important to note that Kenraí has no word for if, and so no conditional tense. Therefore all statements made, unless questions, are considered definite if using permanent adjectives.
When you want to say something involving if in English in Kenraí, there is a way to change the sentence to make sense. Take the example:
“If you’re interested in finding out more about Sornia, then go to the website www.sornia.com”
Split the people into those who are interested and those who aren’t. We can ignore those who aren’t because it doesn’t say anything specific about them, but those who are can go to the website. So in Kenraí, we say “Those people who are interested in finding out more about Sornia can go to the website www.sornia.com”. Translated this becomes “Ezhenizletaþ uxmudaþ ðaknetete bipharópe ðeenaðadtokanaúx ber’ela Cornía degnaúx gr’ovoc Or’ogdíbaí ‘www.sornia.com’.” (Note that ‘w’ is pronounced ‘vade’ in Sornia.) Note the doubled dative form in ðaknetete, the first denoting the relative who as opposed to the interrogative, the second making the
people the indirect object to make translation easier. If there is also a clause for those who do not fit the positive side of the sentence, then after the main clause, put egsilaa otherwise, then the next bit.
“If you want to go on holiday to Egypt, then come in. If you don’t, then please leave.”
“Ezhenizletaþ uxmudaþ ðaknete pinikó Saarekulte ar’edaúx gobocizletaþ gidraúx, egsilaa igcor’o ednonamadí.”
However, states like happiness, which despite our wishes aren’t permanent, can’t be negated or used in a definite verbal statement, hence the temporary type of adjective. The Permanent adjectives take verbal affixes and suffixes, but the temporaries have a separate set of their own.
Ixr’ópe, with a core permanent meaning of good, can mean I am good, you are good, etc. Oplaart (I am happy/you are happy etc) is a temporary verbal.
Ix’rópedtö would mean it was good usually, but to say I was happy, you must use a different particle. The past tense adds oblar’a instead of o on the front. Oblar’aplaart=I was happy. The future adds vele after the o: oveleplaart=I will be happy. Negation adds pr’eñ in front of the o. Pr’eñoplaart=I am not happy. To say very, add jebú(l) in front of this. Jebúpr’eñoblar’aplaart=I was not very happy. To use the comparative (goodè better) add glin in front of this. Glinjebúpr’eñoblar’aplaart=I wasn’t much happier. As you can see it is possible to make rather complex sentences from adjectives alone! Of course permanent adjectives can use the normal verb rules, such that çelixr’ópecooðíndetalenoï would be used to mean I had not been very good perhaps. To stress who it is who is being good or whatever, you can use the conjugations, or add the personal reference term afterwards. Ixr’ópecooðínaamidtö=ixr’ópecooðíndtö keíza=I wasn’t
Adverbs in permanent state are formed by changing the ending ópe into ópíçe. Adverbs go before the verb in normal clauses, and afterwards in relative clauses.
Temporary adverbs simply change the o in front to ofa. Ofaplaart=Happily.
I do ~leve
You do ~riktó
He does ~iñde
She does ~alyt
It does ~um
NB? Does ~eþik
Plural marker: ~pyyn
I do ~eprel
You do ~odlec
He does ~aínt
She does ~aúg
It does ~öt
? Does ~ektet
Plural marker: ~mi
I have decided today, for the sake of brevity to include infixes to verbs as clitic pronouns, almost like French but a step further. So it’s k for keíza, ç for çeíða, etc. and keþ/çeþ etc for plurals. So gúnadaúx is to like; gúnadaçúx would be to like you, gúnadakeþúx to like us
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