is-CEJNDIJTUNGIS it-LAGIÞ

(The Grammar of the Ceindian Language)


de-Jan Havlix ha Dafnej Lagliss ha Evan Gajxfriþde gorin

(produced by Jan Havliš, Daphne Lawless and Evan Gallagher)


CURRENT UPDATE: March 8, 2001




     BASIC PRINCIPLES

     Cejndijtung (in abbrev. Cytung, language of beauty) is a constructed language. What we have worked on so far is a language whose phonology is mostly Icelandic, whose syntax and grammar seems strongly Japanese, and whose vocabulary borrows heavily from both these languages as well as Irish and Welsh. Below are set out the basic rules so far, at this early stage. Morphology is aggluntative - words are created by piecing together suffixes which themselves can act as lesser words. It is hoped that by this method we can emulatenatural languages, by achieving a very large vocabulary by the combination of prefixes and suffixes with a relatively small number of root words.  This grammar can be considered 80% complete; the vocabulary is still under severe construction.
 

     PHONOLOGY

     Cytung is written in a modified Roman alphabet thus: A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P R S T Þ U V W X Y Z

      "a","e","i","o" and "u" are short pure vowels as in most languages - the closest English equivalents are, in order: the "u" of "cut", the "e" of "men", the "i" of "pin", the "o" of "gone" and the "oo" of "book". All vowels are pronounced short unless followed by a semivowel, eg. "aw", "ej", "ij", "ow", "uw", or are in a monosyllable. "y" is the neutral "schwa" sound, as in Welsh, but can often be ommitted if the pronunciation of the resulting consonant cluster is not too difficult, and is assimilated before a vowel. The long "a" sound of "father" never features in Ceindian.

      "c" is always pronounced hard, as in "cat". "j" is like an English "y", as in Icelandic. "x" is pronounced as "sh" in "shoe". "tx" is the "ch" in "cheese"; "dx" the "j" of "join". "þ" is the "th" of "thick". Words rarely end in vowels, although dipthongs with "j" or "w" are common.

      Accent is on the last syllable before the final to precede a consonant cluster or contain a dipthong (vowel + "j" or "w"), or failing any the first, not counting particles. Particles are never accented.

      "K" may be used interchangeably with "C", if personal taste so dictates.

      Identical vowels in apposition which are not diphthongs are separated by "j" if "e" or "i", "w" if "o" or "u", "h" if "a".

     GRAMMAR

       Cytung has a particle-based grammar, like Japanese. Nouns are preceded and/or followed (depending on questions of euphony and practicality) by particles showing their grammatical place in the sentence. Current particles are:

"(h)a" - person being addressed

"(w)o" - subjective: agent of transitive verb or argument of intransitive

"(j)e" - objective: patient of transitive verb

"(j)is" - possession (note: this particle may be ommitted in chains of genitives)

"(h)at" - locative; shows position

"(h)in" - movement towards; indirect object of verb

"(w)ov" -  movement away from

"(h)av" - "concerning..."; equivalent of Latin "dative of advantage"

"de" - instrumentive; shows manner or means of action. Also functions in sense of Latin "ablative absolute". "de-Callagis Cojnintimde" - "by means of Callag's Royal time", i.e. "when Callag was/is King", "in the Royal rule of Callag"

"fyr" - purposive; reason or purpose

"ha" - conjunctive, "with".

"na" - partitive, "member of" (distinct from possession)

"jix" - attributive, like English "-ish". Turns a noun into an adjective - also achievable by simple apposition.

     Particles preceding a noun are joined by a hyphen to the noun, and aspirate initial vowels - so, the addressive form of the name "Ejne" is "a-hEjneha". Particles are never capitalised. Particles are nested logically according to meaning; for example, "my destiny" in the objective form is "eis-meis dowme". When the meaning is totally unambiguous, either initial or final, but not both, particles may possibly be omitted.

     The principle of Cytung vocabulary is that a word should be as multipurpose as possible - that is, by addition of appropriate particles and/or affixes, it can become any part of speech.

     Usual word order is SOV, as in Latin or Japanese. Adjectives precede the noun, except in poetic speech, and particles occur at the beginning and end of noun phrases. So, the objective form of the phrase "Free Ceindia" (Frija Cejnd-gulad) is "o-Frija Cejnd-gulado". Adverbs are formed by suffixing "-lij", and are hyphenated to the verb. YES: Ja. NO: Na.

     COMPARATIVE DEGREES: "white", "hwit". "As white", "morwhit". "Whiter", "hwitra". "Whitest", "hwityst".

     Nouns form their plural in "-iþ", occuring at the end of the noun before the particle. There is no grammatical gender, and the plural suffix can be omitted if the meaning is clear or generic.

     Verbs occur at the end of the sentence. They only inflect for tense, not person or number, and inflect by regularly suffixing the verb stem. Tense suffixes for verbs are: (transitive) "-ir" (present), "-di" (past), "-vil" (future). "I understand". (intransitive/passive) "-ot" (present), "-in" (past), "-enij" (future).

     Negation is formed by adding "na" after the tense suffix; reflexivity by the suffix "sej", and interrogation by the suffix "ca". ("Ca" can be attached to the part of speech which is under question - thus, "did Ejne say this?" - "o-hEjneho e-hise hanasdica?" "did Ejne say this?" - "o-hEjneho e-hiseca hanasdi?") Perfection is signalled by the infinitive followed by verb "pennejd" (complete, finish) with the appropriate tense suffix. (The default past tense is the imperfect.)

     I take - o-Meo rojir. I was taking: o-Meo rojdi. I will take: o-Meo rojvil.
     I have taken: o-Meo latra-rojir. (lit. "I am after finishing."), etc.
     I am taken: o-Meo rojot. I was taken: o-Meo rojic. I will be taken: o-Meo rojenij.
     I have been taken: o-Meo latra-rojot. etc.

     The subjunctive mood is signalled by the word "vismaj" at the beginning of the clause.

     Participles and gerundives are formed by adding the adjective-suffix "-jix" to the appropriate form of the verb. Gerunds are formed with the suffix "-hejd".

     The infinitive (verb without any affixes) is used for the intangible quality of an action, especially in prepositional phrases. "The person you love to hate" - "oit-Txino sem o-juo e-varue xinhuir". (lit: the person as you the hating love.)

     Conjunctions are attached by hyphens between the words they qualify. Two or more words or phrases joined by conjunctions are considered to be one word and thus may (although this is not mandatory) have only one terminal particle. When phrases are joined with a conjunction, no hyphen is used.

     There is no verb in noun-complement phrases, such as "John is big" or "Ceindia is the greatest nation on earth". The former tense by the intransitive/passive verb-tense suffix added to the adjective; the second case, by insertion of the cupola "sem". "o-Dxono mawrot"; "it-Cejnd-gulad sem in it-Bijdin dxujonyst it-gulad."

     There is no single verb "to have" - this construction is expressed by the conjunctive, or locative, or possessive particle with "sem". Thus, "Ejrik has strange taste in languages" - "o-hEjrico sem fyr-tungiþ ha-gajx hofha".

     There is no indefinite article. The definite article is "it-", prefixed to the noun in the phrase. So, "citizens" is "Trevoriþ"; "the citizens" is "it-Trevoriþ"; "the citizens of Ceindia" is "is-Cejndijs it-Trevoriþ"; the objective form is "eit-Trevoriþe". (Note the epithet for Cytung, "the beautiful language" - cejndij it-tung. The objective form is e-cejndij it-tunge.) When the definite article covers a phrase, "it" may be repeated at the end of the phrase to avoid ambiguity.

     The relative clause marker is "sem", which also serves as the "cupola" or "identity marker" in subject/complement constructions, and the "as" in comparative sentences - eg. "sem snaw morwhit", as white as snow. Subordinate clauses are preceded by the particle for the part of speech to which they refer and the marker "sem", and suffixed with the particle, if necessary. Thus: "I want", "o-Meo vilir"; "(the thing) that I want", "it-hun e-sem o-Meo vilir", "you know what I want", "o-þuo e-sem o-Meo vilire canir."

     NUMBERS: 1 þuw; 2 zal; 3 cij; 4 sa; 5 mah; 6 huþ; 7 semf; 8 cesp; 9 nurf; 10 xar.  (Stolen straight out of Etruscan, if you're interested. Well, the Etruscans aren't complaining.)

     PERSONAL PRONOUNS: 1. me, 2. þu, 3. hir. Note that there are no distinctions for gender or familiarity. Distinctions for plural can be made to the second and third persons by adding "-iþ", in situations where this is necessary.

     There are four ways of forming the first-person plural: "meiþ" (we people talking, solely); "mehaþu", (you and I, we two); "mehahir" (I and he/she/it/they); "wi" (inclusive: all of us involved in the conversation). "wi" can also be used as the indefinite pronoun (cf. French "on").
 

     COMMON CEINDIAN PHRASES:
 


o-Frija Cejnd-gulad Liv!

o-Meo e-sem o-Þuo hanasdije wacarirna.

o-Wio fyr-honfyr e-xin gejre rajdvil.

 de-Hwejde o-þuo wendot? 

 (o-Þuo) de-welde wend. 

 o-Meo nu rowþot! 

 e-Meje cynoj, a-þu tuwpdxina!

 a-Hanasdxina, ois-meis fojdiþo brennot. 

Long Live Free Ceindia! 

I don't understand what you said. 

We'll need a new word for this.. 

How are you (going)? 

Fare (thee) well. 

I am angry now! 

Bite me, you moron! 

Preacher, my legs are on fire.

     SAMPLE TEXT: the first two paragraphs of the Agreement of the People (Ceindia's Constitution)

is-Dxiniþis dxujonyst-ha-haþalyst it-catis, sem ois-dxiniþis gulado fyr de-cunhajojisc txigawiþde cunlivfyr; hon sem, de-Frija Hejbonguladde. in is-Frija hejbonguladis cuntejmlawcatin it-dijpystcatiþ, sem  it-penilmeþulcatiþ Frijahejd, Txigawhejd, de-Cuntejmlawde Xuhejd.

avis-Frijadxinis Hejbonguladav, fyr nacunpenlij ois-hiris dxiniþis frijahejdo caduwfyr, de-narowþisc lagde o-xuhejdo dylejot. o-Hono jojystlij gorot de-nacuntomerisc gweldde avis-igijd guladdxiniþis dylejcatiþav, fyr vismai o-his dylejcatiþo liv-ha-jawnot, ha rijnlijot av-igijdav; ha natacxilij de-lawischejdde galuwot, ga igijdtimlij friþ-ha-lawrojot, de-dxujonde av o-sem e-hiris sejisc dylejcatiþe friþ-canirnajav fyr.
 

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