Yes, I haven’t managed to finish most of the prompts for this round yet. I was too busy with another project that had a much stricter deadline, so…sorry.
Day 11: Fauna
Well, since I don’t really have enough material for this prompt and the next one to need two days, I’ll be describing them both on day 12 and continuing the one from last time.
Last time, we discussed Nimesilai, the common language of Larezzia, and its alphabet. Now it’s time to learn about the grammar. I will be using transliterations of the letters rather than the actual alphabet, since of course, the latter would require a custom font. (See the prompt from day 10 for a transliteration chart.)
For starters, Nimesilai is significantly more agglutinative and synthetic than English; i.e., it has a higher tendency to string together words and parts of words to make longer words, and it often uses affixes to convey grammatical meaning. For instance, the phrase “science fiction movie fan” could be a single word in Nimesilai, and the verb form “I will run” always is (unless modified for emphasis or something similar). It also has a more complex case system than English, with 4 different cases for nouns and adjectives and remnants of a fifth for some words (particularly pronouns). (English, in comparison, has but a single noun case, or arguably two counting the possessive, and only two or three for pronouns.) This means that in Nimesilai, the word “house” in the sentences “The house stands on the hill”, “The roof of the house needs fixing”, “We will see the new house today”, and “My sister went back to the house” would actually have a different suffix in each case (no pun intended), though the root word would be the same. On the other hand, since Nimesilai does not use articles or mark nouns for definiteness, there would be no difference between “the house” and “a house”.
Nimesilai has 6 different declensions for nouns (and pronouns). It could also be construed as having 4 declensions for adjectives, but since the only difference between them is the ending vowel, there are no adjectives that are contrasted purely by ending vowel, and the forms are nearly identical anyway, they are often simply grouped as a single declension with slight variants. The declensions for nouns are as follows:
First declension: -is (example: aimis, meaning “person”)
|Nominative singular||-is||aimis||“(a/the) person (subject)”|
|Nominative plural||-issa||aimissa||“(a/the) people (subject)”|
|Genitive singular||-ia||aimia||“of (a/the) person”|
|Genitive plural||-eia||aimeia||“of (a/the) people”|
|Accusative singular||-os||aimos||“(a/the) person (object)”|
|Accusative plural||-usa||aimusa||“(a/the) people (object)”|
|Dative singular||-es||aimes||“to (a/the) person”|
|Dative plural||-essa||aimessa||“to (a/the) people”|
Second declension: -an (example: zifan, meaning “fire”)
|Nominative singular||-an||zifan||“(a/the) fire (subject)”|
|Nominative plural||-ina||zifina||“(a/the) fires (subject)”|
|Genitive singular||-ansa||zifansa||“of (a/the) fire”|
|Genitive plural||-ansai||zifansai||“of (a/the) fires”|
|Accusative singular||-inis||zifinis||“(a/the) fire (object)”|
|Accusative plural||-ineis||zifineis||“(a/the) fires (object)”|
|Dative singular||-aine||zifaine||“to (a/the) fire”|
|Dative plural||-ainei||zifainei||“to (a/the) fires”|
Third declension: -al (example: shamal, meaning “forest”)
|Nominative singular||-al||shamal||“(a/the) forest (subject)”|
|Nominative plural||-ala||shamala||“(a/the) forests (subject)”|
|Genitive singular||-alsa||shamalsa||“of (a/the) forest”|
|Genitive plural||-alsai||shamalsai||“of (a/the) forests”|
|Accusative singular||-ili||shamili||“(a/the) forest (object)”|
|Accusative plural||-ilis||shamilis||“(a/the) forests (object)”|
|Dative singular||-aile||shamaile||“to (a/the) forest”|
|Dative plural||-ailei||shamailei||“to (a/the) forests”|
Fourth declension: -ad (example: kaimad, meaning “wall”)
|Nominative singular||-ad||kaimad||“(a/the) wall (subject)”|
|Nominative plural||-ida||kaimida||“(a/the) walls (subject)”|
|Genitive singular||-era||kaimera||“of (a/the) wall”|
|Genitive plural||-ereia||kaimereia||“of (a/the) walls”|
|Accusative singular||-ides||kaimides||“(a/the) wall (object)”|
|Accusative plural||-ideia||kaimideia||“(a/the) walls (object)”|
|Dative singular||-eida||kaimeida||“to (a/the) wall”|
|Dative plural||-eidai||kaimeidai||“to (a/the) walls”|
Fifth declension: -ys (example: kithys, meaning “language”)
|Nominative singular||-ys||kithys||“(a/the) language (subject)”|
|Nominative plural||-ysti||kithysti||“(a/the) languages (subject)”|
|Genitive singular||-ysa||kithysa||“of (a/the) language”|
|Genitive plural||-ysai||kithysai||“of (a/the) languages”|
|Accusative singular||-esi||kithesi||“(a/the) language (object)”|
|Accusative plural||-esai||kithesai||“(a/the) languages (object)”|
|Dative singular||-elisa||kithelisa||“to (a/the) language”|
|Dative plural||-eleisa||kitheleisa||“to (a/the) languages”|
Sixth declension: -ai (example: nirai, meaning “day”)
|Nominative singular||-ai||nirai||“(a/the) day (subject)”|
|Nominative plural||-aia||niraia||“(a/the) days (subject)”|
|Genitive singular||-aisa||niraisa||“of (a/the) day”|
|Genitive plural||-aisara||niraisara||“of (a/the) days”|
|Accusative singular||-ei||nirei||“(a/the) day (object)”|
|Accusative plural||-eisa||nireisa||“(a/the) days (object)”|
|Dative singular||-itha||niritha||“to (a/the) day”|
|Dative plural||-itheia||niritheia||“to (a/the) days”|
There are actually a few minor variants; the base vowels for declensions 2, 3, and 4 can differ, and some fourth-declension nouns can also end in -r rather than -d, but we will leave it at this for the sake of simplicity. Note that the accusative forms are used for direct objects, while the dative forms are used for indirect objects and the genitive is the equivalent of the possessive. The declensions are arranged roughly in order of frequency for common nouns, though the last two are actually quite common among proper nouns and pronouns.
For adjectives, the following forms apply, where “B” is the base vowel (a, e, i, or ai):
Example: kitsa, meaning “cold”
Adjectives in Nimesilai nearly always follow the noun and must agree in case and number with the noun they modify, as in shamailei kitsaira (“to the cold forests”). It is also possible to form substantive adjectives, or adjectives used as nouns. (We do this in English on occasion, as in “the rich” and “the elderly”, though it is more common in Nimesilai.) Substantive adjectives are always treated as sixth-declension nouns, so kitsai (yes, it resembles the normal plural form of the adjective, one of the few cases where one word form in Nimesilai could be confused for another, though context usually makes it clear which is being used) could be used as a noun meaning “a cold thing”. Do not, however, confuse it with kitsys, which is also a noun that means “cold” but refers to “cold” as a concept or attribute in itself (as in “the cold never bothered me anyway”). Many other adjectives follow the same pattern.
Adverbs are declined the same way as adjectives. To form adverbs from adjectives in Nimesilai, one must add the infix –ysh– before the ending vowel of an adverb; for instance, mosa, “slow”, becomes mosysha, “slowly”. Note, however, that there are a few adverbs that do not follow this pattern, mostly ones that do not have a corresponding adjective, such as adverbs of time. These always end in -i, -ai, or -ei.
Day 12: Flora
Well, since I still have a decent amount to say about Nimesilai, let’s do a third day discussing the language! It seems we’re still stuck on the nineteenth story.
This time, let’s talk about pronouns. Some pronouns in Nimesilai are declined the same way as nouns, but the basic personal pronoun is not. This pronoun, the equivalent of “I”/”me”/”you”/”they”/etc., changes according to case, number, and person, and unlike nouns and most other pronouns, it actually has five cases, including a prepositional case, which tends to be used in relation to most prepositions such as “with” and “by”. (Depending on context, it may even be possible to leave the preposition out entirely and still convey the intended meaning with the prepositional case.) The basic pronoun is declined as follows (rows for case, columns for person and number):
At this point, you may be wondering where the markers for gender are. Nimesilai actually uses an infix to mark gender for both pronouns and nouns (so one can distinguish between, for instance, a stallion, a mare, and just a generic horse), and it has 5 potential genders for both: common, masculine, feminine, neuter, and dual-gender. Common gender is the default form, the one without an affix that encompasses all others and can be used when the gender of the noun or pronoun is not important or not disclosed. The masculine and feminine forms are exactly what they sound like, used to mark something as male or female. (These are almost exclusively used with living creatures; about the only times when they would be used with inanimate objects are as terms of endearment [as in “You like my new shotgun? I call her “Alice”.] or for comedy [as in “The bad news is, it’s a girl nickel!”].) To specify the gender of nouns and pronouns, one adds “r” preceded by the appropriate vowel: -e for masculine, -a for feminine, -i for neuter, and -ai for dual-gender. (For instance, the word for “she”, as in third-person plural feminine, is karai in the nominative.) In practice, however, the common-gender forms are generally used unless specified otherwise, and when referring to people, the best gender to use is whichever that person uses (since NImesilai, unlike English, has gendered first- and second-person pronouns).
There are also relative pronouns, emai, irai, and eilai, which mean “who”/”whom”, “that”, and “where” respectively. The interrogative forms add th- to the beginning (compare “a person who loved me” to “Who is it?” – the latter would be themai rather than emai). Nimesilai also has indefinite and reciprocal pronouns, though I don’t have those down yet. Finally, there is a reflexive pronoun, lai, which is the equivalent of “myself”/”yourself”/etc. It has only three forms: lai in the accusative, lei in the dative, and laisa in the genitive. It is never used in the nominative or prepositional case, and it does not show person or number. When used with a simple verb form, it is often attached to the verb (e.g. kharasa “I wash” -> lai kharasa or kharasalai “I wash myself”).
Now we shall discuss verbs. All verbs in Nimesilai end in a vowel plus -mi in the present active infinitive, considered their base form (either -ami, -emi, -imi, -aimi, -eimi, -ymi, or -aemi [note that the “ae” is a transliteration of a single letter, not an “a” followed by an “e]), though all of them are conjugated the same way. There is always the root of the verb followed by the base vowel, then an infix of one or more letters depending on tense, aspect, and mood, then a personal ending. These can be summed up as follows:
|7||symaemi||to surrender, give in|
Tense, aspect, and mood infixes:
*Only the indicative mood has unique forms for the perfect and progressive aspects. For the other moods, add the infix -shai- for the perfect tenses or -nai- for the progressive tenses to the stem and use the regular endings (use the imperfect ending for the past tenses).
There are also emphatic and passive forms, which require infixes as well. All emphatic forms are created by adding -thei- after the base vowel (e.g. lesetheisi – “I do see”), and all passive forms are created by adding -tsi- (e.g. mairitsila – “it was written”). These can also stack, in which case the emphatic infix precedes the passive infix. There are also a few special forms that do not follow the normal patterns. The endings needed for these (added to the base vowel and any extra infixes) are as follows:
|Imperative, singular (polite)||-ba|
|Imperative, plural (polite)||-bi|
|Infinitive, simple active||-mi|
|Infinitive, simple passive||-mai|
|Infinitive, perfect active||-mei|
|Infinitive, perfect passive||-miri|
|Infinitive, progressive active||-mansi|
|Infinitive, progressive passive||-mizari|
|Participle, present active*||-menai|
|Participle, past active||-mikai|
|Participle, future active||-malai|
|Participle, perfect active||-mysai|
|Participle, pluperfect active||-mothai|
|Participle, future perfect active||-muvai|
– The passive participles are formed by adding -ar- before the ending -ai.
– The imperative is always in the second-person present indicative, and it does not have aspect. (The subjunctive is used for first- and third-person “imperatives”.)
– When a participle is used as an adjective or adverb (as in “frozen fruit” and “tired parent”), its base form will be treated as a fourth-declension adjective, which also means that it can be treated as a substantive adjective.
– When an infinitive is used as an noun (as in “To love truly is the greatest thing”), the ending -lai is added, and the result is treated as a sixth-declension noun. When one is used as an adjective or adverb, it takes the same ending and inflects like a fourth-declension adjective/adverb.
If Nimesilai verbs seem too complicated to learn, keep in mind that the simplest, most pattern-based forms tend to be the most commonly used; the complex forms with multiple affixes are usually very rare.
With that, I’ve probably said more than enough about Nimesilai. There are a few details I could have touched on but didn’t for want of time.
Day 13: Food
*to be filled in*
Day 14: Technology
*to be filled in*
Day 15: Magic
*to be filled in*