Jan03 –  A Constructed Language

Jan03 Morphology

Word Classes

For the most part, I'm treating clitics as affixes here, including them in morphology rather than in syntax.

The main word classes are nouns, verbs, and quantity words. Nouns represent entities while verbs represent resulting states, originating states, and current states or actions. There are also pronouns, conjunctions, and other particles.

A noun is either animate or inanimate and either obligatorily possessed or optionally possessed. Some inanimate nouns are mass nouns rather than count nouns. There are also proper nouns.

A verb is either static or dynamic and either univalent or bivalent.

Noun Inflection

Case Prefixes

Nouns and pronouns are inflected for case. The 0-marked case is the absolutive, used for patients, copatients, subjects, and predicate nominals.

Prefix Tag Name Usage
ni- Erg- ergative cause
go- Gen- genitive possessor
o- Voc- vocative addressee
ben- Ben- benefactive beneficiary
mal- Mal- malefactive maleficiary


Determiners are appended to the noun. Definite and specific indefinite nouns are unmarked. A possessive personal pronoun (covered later) may be appended instead of the determiner.

Suffix Tag Description
-ho -NR non-referential
-ča -CQ content question
-kue -Prox proximal demonstrative
-pio -Medi medial demonstrative
-ta -Dist distal demonstrative
-pao -Uni universal quantifier
-qou -Exi existential quantifier
-jou -Nul nullar quantifier


0-derivation occurs when a prefix belonging to one class is applied to a word of another class; otherwise, derivation uses explicit prefixes.

Noun-to-verb derivations include dy-, which refers to the location of the entity, and na-, which derives bivalent verbs from body part terms and other obligatorily possessed nouns. It also derives univalent verbs from optionally possessed nouns.

There's also the prefix ba-, which derives bivalent verbs from certain prefixes and particles.

Verb-to-noun derivations include the nominalizer šo-, which produces action nominals, the clause complementizer žu-, and the superlative prefixes wes- (animate) and wen- (inanimate). The prefixes wes- and wen- also derive the ordinal numbers from the corresponding cardinal numbers. There are also a few participant nominalizers; these tend to be lexicalized:

Prefix Gender Participant
hi- animate patient
po- inanimate patient
ga- animate copatient
li- inanimate copatient
sy- animate agent (ergative-instrumental)
fe- inanimate intrument (ergative-instrumental)

Compounds are Head-Modifier.

Verb Inflection

Some Verb Prefixes

Verb prefixes go in 1 of 5 slots, slot 4 being closest to the root. If none of the following appear, the verb represents a current state, current action, or partial result.

Slot Prefix Tag Description
1 jan- Not- outside (not in) state
1 dyf- Aft- no longer in state
1 lou- Bef- not yet in state
2 ki- Aor- moment of completion
2 ze- Prf- completed result
2 nun- Con- attempted result
2 dox- Fal- failed result
3 bi- Inc- transition to state
3 du- Ori- originating state


Participles are formed using the prefix mo- (Att-), which appears in slot 0.

Modal Auxiliaries

There are 5 pairs of modal auxiliaries: epistemic, social, volitive, deontic, and natural. The members of each pair are necessity and possibility. The epistemic auxiliaries are particles preceding the verb (covered later), while the others are prefixes appearing in slot 2. Only one modal may appear per verb.

Modality Necessity Possibility
Morph Tag Gloss Morph Tag Gloss
Social xuei- SN- supposed to dur- SP- ?
Volitive xou- VN- want to bioš- VP- willing to
Deontic piat- DN- required to zar- DP- permitted to
Natural hys- NN- ? čou- NP- able to

Adjectival Degree Prefixes

These prefixes apply to adjectival verbs. They all appear in slot 4.

Prefix Tag Description
tas- Max- high degree
fiq- Min- low degree
bor- GT- greater degree
xin- LT- lesser degree
gal- Eq- equal degree
zao- Sat- satisfactive degree

Pronominal Morphology

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns may act as possessors in which case, they're appended to the noun without any genitive case marker. Personal pronouns acting as patients of univalent verbs and copatients of bivalent verbs are appended to the verb. Personal pronouns acting as patients of bivalent verbs may be appended following an appended copatient; otherwise, they're independent. Personal pronouns are always independent when used as predicates, subjects of definition and identity clauses, or when ergative, benefactive, or malefactive.

Pron. Tag Description
mi 1S 1st person singular
ma 1P 1st person plural
ko 2 2nd person
ti Rfx reflexive (any person)
tu 3P 3rd person most recent patient
ce 3A 3rd person animate
ne 3I 3rd person inanimate
la R relative pronoun
ha U unspecified

The reflexive pronoun coreferences an ergative or genitive phrase or pronoun in the same clause. The most recent patient pronoun coreferences the patient argument of the host, matrix, or preceding clause.

Other Pronouns

The other pronouns are the demonstratives and the content question pronouns. As with nouns, number is optional and not marked morphologically.

Anim. Inan. Description
čas čan content question
kues kuen proximal demonstrative
pios pion medial demonstrative
tas tan distal demonstrative


"for your father"

"You're not permitted to run."

page started: 2014.Jan.04 Sat
current date: 2014.Jan.19 Sun
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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