Virtual Verduria

Flaidish /

Orthography * Flaidish vowel shift Pitfalls for English speakers Loanwords
Inflectional morphology * Verbs Nouns Adjectives Numbers
Derivational morphology * Nominalizers Adjectivizers Verbalizers
Pronouns * Base forms S-O pronouns Fourth person Required vs. optional Reflexives Interrogatives and demonstratives Indefinite
Verbal system * Definite and indefinite Ongoing Irrealis Habitual The infinitive The participle
Syntax * NP order Articles Measure words Sentence order Focus Conjunctions Relative clauses Sentential subjects Comparatives and superlatives Questions Imperatives
Directions * Basic prepositions The direction of time Separable verbs
References * Conventional expressions Time and the calendar Names
Example: Jeerio tries to find a job
Example 2: The ʔubeer

Introduction [To Index]

Flaidish (flaidyx) is the language of the flaids, a Thinking Kind of obscure origins, occupying the island of Flora and neighboring islands, in the Mišicama Ocean north of Verduria.

No other flaids are known on Almea, and Flaidish is an isolate, related to no other Almean language. It's been heavily influenced by Caďinor and Verdurian, which to a large extent supply its technical vocabulary, and by Kebreni. In modern times, as flaids have become a maritime trading nation, it has borrowed words from many human languages.

It is not a particularly alien language— indeed, having experienced something very like the Great Vowel Shift, its orthography and phonology strongly reminiscent of English— but it has some unusual features:

History: Our first historical references to the flaids date to over 3200 years ago, when we find them already living on Flora. Though friendly to humans, they have always discouraged any human settlement on their islands, and successfully resisted the few attempts (by Meťaiun, Caďinorians, and a few medieval kings) to conquer them.

Sometime around Z.E. 2500 they adopted the Caďinorian alphabet to write Old Flaidish, though we have very few texts that old. Texts become more abundant during the Middle Flaidish period, 400-600 years ago; this is also the time of the vowel shift. Some differences between Middle Flaidish and the contemporary language:

Dialects: The standard language described here is that of the capital, Syxesteer. The dialect of Ledley, on the southern coast, is distinctive; it's said to have a nasal twang. The dialect of the flaids of the smaller islands east of Flora (zermolaim, locally dzrmullein) is even more divergent.

Phonology [To Index]

Flaidish phonology, orthography, and phonological constraints are remarkably like those of English. The only Flaidish sound not present in standard English is the glottal stop ʔ. (It lacks several English sounds, however: the consonants th, sh, zh, ng as well as several vowels.)

Stops are aspirated at the beginning of words; f and v are labiodental; t and d are alveolar; r is a single-tap trill; l tends to be dark at the end of a syllable.

In the diagram, the consonants are identified by their transliterations (identical to IPA except of course for ch j y, which have their English values).

The vowels are identified by IPA symbol; transliteration will be discussed below.

Flaidish words cannot begin with a vowel. (Historically, this may not always have been true; it may have been that the initial glottal stop was a phonetic accompaniment to an initial vowel. It still frequently disappears in the morphology. However, the glottal stop can now occur medially or finally, and is best considered as a phoneme.)

Stress: Flaidish words are normally stressed on the first syllable. Separable verbs may be stressed on the root instead; and some flaids pronounce recent Verdurian loanwords with the Verdurian stress.

Orthography [To Index]

Consonants [To Index]

Flaidish uses the Caďinorian alphabet; the consonants are shown in red in the chart above.

Flaidish uses three additional letters:

In contexts where Unicode is not available, the glottal stop ʔ may be written 7.

Vowels [To Index]

The vowel system is best understood as containing five long and five short vowels, plus schwa.
Spelling Sound Transliteration Spelling Sound Transliteration
e aa = late
æ a = ai = pat
i ee = peer ɛ e = pet
wI ii = quit I i = pit
u oo = boot
ɔ o = au = caught
yu uu = pure ʋ u = cut

The long vowels tend to have lax offglides, especially in stressed syllables; thus aa = [eI], ee = [iI], oo = [uʋ].

The basic spelling rule is that vowels are

A single vowel followed by a single consonant is

Final vowels are limited to:

The schwa /ə/ is represented (y), or, as just noted, with final -a. Note that schwa can receive the stress, as in Syxesteer /'səks əs tir/

The semivowel /j/ only occurs before a vowel (when it's written y) or as part of the long vowel u.

The Flaidish vowel shift [To Index]

Based on the values of the Caďinorian letters, we can see that since the alphabet was adopted, the long vowels have all raised (except for the high vowels, which couldn't shift any higher and acquired an initial glide)— a movement very much like the English Great Vowel Shift.

The major difference is in the high vowels. In English ū au (as in 'cow'), but the spelling system works like Flaidish: 'long u' is pronounced [ju], as in 'cute'. But Flaidish long ii becomes /wI/ and not /ay/ as in English. 'Twit' could be written (tiit) in Flaidish, or 'quit' as (kiit).

For both high vowels, the Flaidish rule is that the vowel acquired an initial glide of the opposite backness.

After r or l, long i is pronounced [əI]: riid 'fire' = [rəId], rather as in some Irish pronunciations of 'ride'; litor 'east of' = [ləItɔr]. (It's possible that this is not an innovation but a retention of an earlier stage of the Flaidish GVS. In the island dialects, [əI] for long i is found in most environments.)

Good and bad news for English speakers [To Index]

As a result of these processes, most native Flaidish words can be transliterated and read off as if they were English. Indeed, many Flaidish words look and sound exactly like English words, though the meanings are different— e.g. back, boor, dell, felt, jeer, kiss, lad, met, morn, moss, much, neck, sam, seer, tell, test.

This is good and bad news: there aren't many new rules to learn, but on the other hand the similarity is partial, and one can go wrong assuming that 'it's all like English'.

Loanwords [To Index]

The flaids are great borrowers, and over half the lexicon is borrowed from Verdurian, Caďinor, Kebreni, Ismaîn, or other languages.

The oldest strata of borrowings participated in Flaidish's Great Vowel Shift:

berac 'glory' /bi ræk/
caimica 'unit of measure' /kæm wI kə/
corumaiʔa 'harmony' /kur ju mæ ʔə/
curenda 'festival' /kjur ɛn də/
kestora 'philosophy' /kɛs tur ə/
cammisidas 'orpiment' /kæm I swI dæs/
koodu 'riverboat' /ku dju/
lesteʔo 'restaurant' /lɛs ti ʔɔ/
murebuus 'fantastic' /mjur i bjus/
namary 'lead' /ne me rə/
plestura 'history' /plɛs tjur ə/
psuronda 'famine' /sju rɔn də/
scagantos 'vagina' /ske gæn tɔs/
tuma 'plague' /tju mə/
ʔaluatas 'grammar' /ʔe lju e tæs/
ʔeridas 'cinnabar' /ʔi rəI dæs/

More recent borrowings can be divided into ear and eye borrowings. The latter are borrowed with their original spelling, but pronounced by Flaidish rules:

chëno 'axis' /či nɔ/
chupse 'miserly' /čʋp si/
ʔery 'map' /ʔi rə/
gorkrege 'ledger' /gɔr kri gi/
jyngu 'expenditures' /džən gju/
lagu 'income' /le gju/
lujura 'affection' /lju džjur ə/
nëron 'holy' /ni rɔn/
përnapa 'saltpetre' /pɛr ne pə/
plasy 'nerve' /ple sə/
pretäro 'valet' /pri te rɔ/
razumbre 'intelligent' /re zʋm bri/
satre 'sovereign' /sæt ri/
tiplüba 'wig' /tIp lju bə/
traze 'fancy' /tre zi/
Verduria /vɛr dju rIə/
zondre 'annual' /zɔn dri/
ʔaviza 'university' /ʔe vwI zə/
ʔeklura 'hedonism' /ɛk lju rə/
ʔelryn 'Ismaîn king' /ɛl rən/

Generally, Verdurian š ž ř ď are borrowed as ch j r d respectively, the " mark is borrowed but ignored, h is dropped, c and k are retained but both pronounced /k/, and initial vowels are supplied with a ʔ.

Ear borrowings are borrowed by sound, with no attempt to retain the original spelling:

chaiʔ 'tea' /čæʔ/ ← V. čai
gettyt 'dice' /gɛt ət/ ← geteta
kaijena 'mistress' /kæ dži nə/ ← kažžina
nassechy 'pregnant' /næs i čə/ ← nasitse
pauna 'butch lesbian' /pɔ nə/ ← pona
sezzu 'dried meat' /sɛ zju/ ← sezu
tauken 'have sex' /tɔ kən/ ← tocen
tootannel 'newspaper /tu tæn ɛl/ ← tutanél

bauru 'stink' /bɔ rju/ ← Keb. bauru
cheernu 'deck' /čir nju/ ← cirnu
kolesa 'fleet' /ku li sə/ ← kulisa
lelly 'cute' /ləl ə/ ← lele
memu 'fix things up' /mi mju/ ← mimu
moonu 'news' /mu nju/ ←mohnu
nemannick 'homosexual' /ni mæn Ik/ ← nemanec

bauna 'beef' /bɔnə/ ←Is. bone /bɔnə/
cheesty 'Ismaîn guitar' /čis tə/ ← çis,te
sudaddy 'Ismaîn robe' /sju dæ də/ ← sudâde

chesse 'sugar cane' /čɛs i/ ← Nanese tsêsi
kim 'rice' /kIm/ ← kim
niira 'yam' /nwIr ə/ ← nyara
sidrau 'soy sauce' /sId rɔ/ ← sidrɔu
ʔerram 'jungle' /ʔɛr æm/ ← kheram
ʔugau 'coffee' /ʔju gɔ/ ←yugakhau

Whatever the age or source of the borrowing, the stress is placed on the first syllable.

Inflectional morphology [To Index]

Flaidish inflectional morphology is fairly simple; the usage is more difficult. For ease of exposition, I've discussed the forms only; the usage will be discussed below.

Verbs [To Index]

Verbs are not conjugated for person, number, or age; these things are expressed using pronouns.

There are ten inflected forms for each verb, divided into four definite and four indefinite forms, plus two combining forms. For instance, here is the complete conjugation for groopen 'watch':

groop watched simple past
gropse watch ongoing
gropno may watch irrealis
ʔengroop always watches habitual
gropt watched simple past
gropte watch ongoing
gropdo may watch irrealis
ʔengropt always watches habitual
Combining forms
groppo watched participle
groopen to watch infinitive

Further distinctions are made using auxiliary verbs.

Note that definite forms involve adding a -t- or -d-; this -t is etymologically the same as the objective case suffix.

Simple past
The root form of the verb is the indefinite simple past.

The definite simple past is formed as follows:

The indefinite ongoing tense is formed by adding -se (or -yse after ch or j). The last vowel of the root is shortened:
medse, munkse, sachyse, dobse, forvadjyse, gropse, treckse, ʔaulse

The definite form is formed by adding instead -te, or -de after a voiced stop (b d g j). The last vowel of the root is shortened:

medde, munkte, sachte, dobde, forvajde, gropte, treckte, ʔaulte

A few verbs have irregular ongoing forms:

The indefinite irrealis is formed by adding -no. The last vowel of the root is shortened.
medno, munkno, sachno, dobno, forvajno, gropno, treckno, ʔaulno

The definite form is formed by adding instead -do. The last vowel of the root is shortened.

meddo, munkdo, sachdo, dobdo, forvajdo, gropdo, treckdo, ʔauldo
The habitual is formed by adding the prefix ʔen- to the simple past forms. Before a labial (p b m f v), add ʔem-).
Definite: ʔemmeed, ʔemmunk, ʔensach, ʔendoob, ʔenforvadj, ʔengrop, ʔentreck, ʔenaull

Indefinite: ʔemmeedet, ʔemmunket, ʔensachet, ʔendobd, ʔenforvajd, ʔengropt, ʔentreckt, ʔenault

The infinitive (which doesn't have separate definite and indefinite forms) is formed by adding -en:
meeden, munken, sachen, dooben, forvadjen, groopen, trecken, ʔaullen
The participle (which doesn't have separate definite and indefinite forms) is formed by adding -po, or -bo after voiced b d g j; it also shortens the last syllable of the verb.
medbo, munkpo, sachpo, dobbo, forvajbo, groppo, treckpo, ʔaulpo

Nouns [To Index]

Nouns are inflected by number (singular and plural) and case (subject, object, and possessive).
The normal plural is -er:
feejer heads, laumer dreams, leeber geese, ʔuuker holes

If the word already ends in -r, use -en instead.

booren wines, teeren cities, fivvoren brothers, gommeren stomachs

If it ends in a vowel, add -r:

surdenar facts

Some other words (marked in the dictionary) also use -en, such as flaiden 'flaids'.

The objective or accusative case is formed with the suffix -t:
fivvort brother, ʔuukt hole, taut lake

If the word ends in a dental stop or affricate (t d ch j), or m, or in two dissimilar consonants, the suffix becomes -et:

feejet head, testet body, tolket oak, laimet tongue

It applies after the plural suffix, if any; but -en + -t → -et:

feejert heads, laumert dreams, ʔuukert holes
teeret cities, fivvoret brothers
The possessive or genitive case is formed with -ys:
fivvorys brother's, ʔe flaidys a flaid's

If the word ends in a vowel, the suffix is -m:

Jeeriom Jeerio's, Floram Flora's

The suffix can be added after the plural:

feejerys heads', fivvorenys brothers', flaidenys flaids'

The objective suffix can be added after the possessive; note that -m + -t = -nd:

fivvoryst brother's, flaidenyst flaids', Jeeriond Jeerio's

Adjectives [To Index]

Adjectives have two inflected forms:

Numbers [To Index]

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
digit ʔy lin fell gory back liffel sam liggory ʔecker fiich
tens fiich miffich reffich goreck baffich liffleck sammich liggoreck ʔeckbonner bonner
ordinals morn lint felt goreet backet lifflet sammet liggoreet ʔeckret fichet

Two-digit numbers are formed on the model unit-en tens: 23 = fellen miffich, 74 = goreen sammich, 96 = liffelen ʔeckbonner. The first two teens are worn down: 11 = ʔymfich, 12 = limfich.

Three- and four-digit numbers follow the model hundreds bonner units:

123 bonner fellen miffich
497 gory bonner samen ʔeckbonner
1000 fiich bonner
2374 fellen miffich bonner goreen sammich
3480 goreen reffich bonner liggoreck

Six-digit numbers work the same way, using the word tragg '10,000':

512374 ʔeen baffich tragg fellen miffich bonner goreen sammich

The Verdurian borrowing perun '1,000,000' fits into this scheme; migga '1000', from Kebreni, is also sometimes used.

A number of the form 10X, 1000X, etc. places the units to the far left:

108 liggoreen bonner
10001 ʔeen tragg

To form ordinals for numbers higher than 10, add -et to the last number: linen miffichet '22nd'; fiich bonneret 'thousandth'. (If the number word ends in a digit, use that digit's ordinal form: 203rd = lin bonner felt.)

The suffix -em is used for fractions (fellem 1/3, samem 1/7, fiichem 1/10), with the exception of 1/2, which gets its own word, ʔobb. 1/4 has worn down to greem.

Negative numbers are formed with som 'without', also borrowed from Verdurian: som lin -2, som ʔeckeren goreck -49.

Mathematical notation is identical to Verdurian. In a sense it's read in Verdurian too, but rather indirectly. The Kebreni borrowed the arithmetic operations from Verdurian, translating the expressions literally. The flaids then borrowed them from Kebreni, borrowing the Kebreni words (in some cases, taking Kebreni case suffixes as the names of the operators).

Native Translation
Addition 2 + 2 = 4
Verdurian ďun er ďun eu par. "two and two are four"
Kebreni kur eh'c kur zaru hak "two and two exist four"
Flaidish lin ʔej lin zaru gory "two plus two equals four"
Subtraction 5 - 2 = 3
Verdurian pan sam ďunán eu ďin "five without two are three"
Kebreni amma kur fuuste zaru dam "five without two are three"
Flaidish back fuuste lin zaru fell "five minus two equals three"
Multiplication 2 x 4 = 8
Verdurian ftore par e žoc "second four is eight"
Kebreni kureh'te hak zaru midam "second four is eight"
Flaidish lin ʔateʔ gory zaru liggory "two times four equals eight"
Division 10 / 5 = 2
Verdurian decë panëe e ďun "tenth 1/5 is two"
Kebreni krameh'te amimnu zaru kur "tenth 1/5 is two"
Flaidish fiich ʔateʔ back nu zaru lin "ten times five reciprocal equals two"

Derivational morphology [To Index]

Suffixes often shorten the root vowel.

Nominalizers [To Index]

-iʔ nominalizes many simple verbs:
sach eat → sachiʔ meal
taax meet → taaxiʔ meeting
bul share → buliʔ

An archaic nominalizer, no longer productive, is -z (which usually absorbs the last consonant of the root):

gaad hoard → gaaz wealth
geel wear → geez pants
feel → prooz emotion
neev name → neez guilt

-mot (from lexical moot 'way') names an abstract quality:

feck dark → feckmot darkness
kiss small → kissmot smallness
ʔy one → ʔymot unity

riil child → rilmot childhood
tood know → todmot knowledge

-chet (from cheet 'stuff') names substances:

sach eat → satchet food
maat sell → matchet wares
fool ear → foolchet earwax
yaich clench → yaitchet astringent

-att is found in many Verdurian borrowings, but also with native words:

cepple virginal → cepplatt virginity
yuun type → yunatt class
ʔirran Irrean → ʔirranatt Irreanism

-el is someone or something that does an action, or exemplifies an adjective. (Final t → ʔ.)

prid divide → priddel coin
sack bristle → sackel beard
ʔeldoob discard → ʔeldoobel garbage

lott idiotic → loʔʔel idiot
gaaz wealth → gaazel rich man, noble

-mo is used for an object exemplifying an action or quality:

mard stay → marmo pudding
zeer alone → zermo island
lin two → limmo pair

-ick can be used the same way, and is also used to name inhabitants of a place:

yatt fun → yattick game
choon float → chonick boat
noller huge → nollerick giant

Syxesteer → Syxesterick
Ismahi → ʔismaiʔick

-mory is used for buildings:

koos drink → kosmory tavern
lilo spice → lilomory grocery
suut bake → sutmory bakery
ʔibro book → ʔibromory library, bookstore

-ril (from riil 'child') is used for offspring:

flaid → flaidril
human → luukril human child
tem cow/bull → tembrick calf

-bit (from biit 'study') names a field of study (replacing -viso in Verdurian borrowings):

mell good → mellbit morality
meclibit chemistry
ʔedolobit geometry

-(i)o forms diminutives, and by extension personal names:

kess knife → kessio dagger
laum dream → laumo daydream
noov grow → novio fruit

jeer fat → Jeerio
wise → Buxo

-che forms nicknames for children as well as female personal names:

cheen beautiful → Cheenche
dark → Feckche
nell sweet → Nellche

Adjectivizers [To Index]

The most common adjectivizer is -ick:
flaid → flaidick flaidish
storm → floomick stormy
juur convention → jurick conventional
meed sleep → meedick sleepy
pich dirt → pichick dirty

The possessive case can also be used adjectivally: ʔanys mot 'a mother's love'.

A particular use of -ick is to form an adjective relating to a place (verdurick); we have already seen this usage as a nominalizer.

Other common adjectivizers are -eck and -it:

nool big → nolleck biggish
gen be true → geneck true
ʔev year → ʔeveck yearly

feck dark → feckit black
miif hunger → miffit hungry
nell sweet → nellit nice

-er is used as an intensifier:

nool big → noller enormous
lana girl → laner virginal
treck awaken → trecker alert
ʔell away → ʔeller far

ro- (Verdurian řo; but pronounced [ru]) is used with loanwords as a negative:

lediseroledise abnormal
namerickronamerick unintentional
volemerovoleme unwilling

Reduplication with change of the initial consonant (usually to ch-, j- or g-) has a deprecative meaning:

traze fancy → traze-chaze rococo, outta control
jurick conventional → jurick-gurick square, uptight
laner maidenly → laner-janer princessy, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth
nëron holy → nëron-chëron sanctimonious, holier-than-thou
ʔulle friendly → ʔulle-gulle glad-handing, unctuous

Verbalizers [To Index]

There are many doublets of words, where the noun has a voiceless final and the verb a voiced one. This process is no longer productive.
biit study → biid
joot place → jood be located
mot love → mod
noof growth → noov grow
vrick wound → vrig
hole → ʔuug drill

Old Flaidish had a causative, formed by raising the root vowel and infixing -n- after it. It's no longer productive, but it's left a large number of doublets, some of them modified in meaning.

daat intend → dont decide
sit → dunn set, put
faach cling → fench tie
foot go → funt expel
geel wear → giln wrap
geet burn → gint kindle
kreck stand → krink excite
koon seek → kund send
koos drink → kunz water
laat fall → lent drop
lad see → lend show
mard remain → mend leave
moog yield → munk work
sach eat → sench corrode
seek lie → sink pack
tood know → tund proclaim
treck awaken → trink warn
toor bend → tunn crumple
vaur wait → veʔn delay
vooj be immersed → vunj submerge
yaul listen → yeln inform
yest rise → yint raise
zaat graze → zent drive
ʔoz get → ʔunz furnish

Another archaic verbalizer is -gim, applied to nouns, and meaning to use the object. It often absorbs the final consonant of the root.

fool ear → folgim heed
knife → keggim stab
brain → koggim figure out
foot → laggim walk
paix market → paggim shop
runn eye → rungim spot
zeem finger → zeggim point

See also the section on separable verbs.

Pronouns [To Index]

Flaidish personal pronouns are notable for being marked not by gender but by age. There are separate forms to use for persons before and after the coming of age (vurickmod)— normally 23, but in (rare) cases where a flaid marries or inherits a title early, the adult pronouns are used.

Base forms [To Index]

The adult pronouns are as follows:
sing pl
1 ʔok / va tack
2 se / ʔes seer
3 ne / ʔem yau
4 na / nar yet

The adult singular pronouns have separate object forms, as shown. The 4th person will be discussed below.

The possessive is formed using the suffix -ry in the singular and -(y)m in the plural:

sing pl
1 ʔokry takym
2 sery serym
3 nery yaum
4 nary yeʔm

The childhood pronouns are as follows. The plurals are formed by reduplication.

sing pl
1 fu fufu
2 ʔil ʔilil
3 le lele

The child forms do not have separate object or possessive forms.

Examples in this grammar use mostly adult pronouns; this is probably the best approach for the traveler or academic, but it should be noted that it's opposite the experience of the flaids themselves, who grow up using the child pronouns. Even adults sometimes use the child pronouns among themselves, in moments of deep emotion. Till flaids have children of their own, it can be said that they think of themselves with fu rather than ʔok.

S-O pronouns [To Index]

In adult speech, if there's a subject and object pronoun, the latter cliticizes to the former. This is an exception to the normal SVO order of Flaidish. The S-O cluster precedes the verb (and indeed, generally nothing else can be inserted between the pronouns and the verb).
Neva much. He/she kissed me.
Seʔem yeln. You told him/her.
Yautack modse. They love us.
Neʔes geetno. It might burn you.
ʔoxeer grop. I watched you all.
Seeryau kroog. You all broke them.

A medial ʔ drops out after a consonant: tackes lad 'we saw you'. Also note ʔok + seer = ʔoxeer.

When speaking to children, or when children speak, pronouns are not combined, and word order is usually SVO: Ne much va 'He/she kissed me'; ʔok lad ʔil 'I saw you!'

Combination forms with child pronouns can be found when adults are speaking among themselves: Leva much 'He/she (a child) kissed me (an adult)'.

Fourth person [To Index]

The 'fourth person' in the tables provides an alternate pronoun for use when there is more than one third-person referent. Typically ne / yau are used for the first person or thing referred to, na / yet for the second.
Cheenche1 muchet Jijot2. ʔok jamse ty ne1nar2 techyse. Zeckno, na2 zys lelly.
Cheenche kissed Jijo. I think she likes him. Well, he is cute.

Lesteʔo1 ʔydmunk Jeeriot2, frett yoven ne1 ziitse ty na2 zys loost.
The restaurant hired Jeerio, but it will find that he is lazy.

There are no fourth person forms among the child pronouns.

Pronouns are 'reset' by explicitly stating a new topic. Compare two possible continuations of the last example. The first continues to use na for Jeerio; the second switches to ne for him because he has been restated as the topic.

Na ʔemprott munken. He hates to work.
Jeerio ne ʔemprott munken. Jeerio hates to work.

Jocularly, flaids sometimes use a third alternate form no; it's rather as if, in enumerating people, we said "Him, her, and— er, hum." It has no object or possessive form.

Deejo1, Jeerioʔen2 Cheenche3 yonse. Ne1 zys tuuch, na2 zys vecke, yoven no3 zys chuun.
Deejo, Jeerio, and Cheenche are coming. The first is sad, the second is thin, and the third is ugly.

Required and optional pronouns [To Index]

First and second person pronouns are always required:
ʔok modse ʔicetebitet. I love math.
ʔil zys miffit? You're hungry?
ʔokry ferick voss frintooden va. My wife doesn't understand me.

Third person pronouns are optional if the antecedent is present, required otherwise. Thus 'It burned' is Ne geet, while 'The fire burned' can be either Riidet geet or Riidet ne geet.

If just one 3p antecedent is present, one can either omit it, or use the S-O cluster anyway:

ʔok(em) passette ʔokry nellerick.
I'm visiting my sweetheart.

ʔokry ʔan neʔes voss techpo.
ʔokry ʔan voss techpo ʔes.

My mother doesn't like you.

Ne(nar) eldoobd smettet.
He threw out the trash.

When speaking to children, it's usual to include the third person pronouns no matter what.

Reflexives [To Index]

Flaidish doesn't have a reflexive pronoun; instead it simply combines the corresponding subject and object pronouns. The plural forms lose their final consonant.
sing pl
1 ʔokva tatack
2 seʔes seseer
3 neʔem yayau
4 nanar yeyet

Note the difference between:

Nenar moss. He washed him (someone else).
Neʔem moss. He washed himself .

Interrogative and demonstrative pronouns [To Index]

mill who, what neck this / that one
millick which neckit this / that
miikor when neckor then
miinit how much nennit that much
mildoz what extent neddoz that extent
ʔool what direction ninx that direction
ʔollyd where (at) ninxyd there (at)
ʔolor where (to) ninxor there (to)
yauj why sood because
ʔoj how nemot in that way
The interrogatives are typically derivatives of mill 'who', the demonstratives, of neck 'this or that one'. The initial n- of the later is etymologically the same as that in the third person pronouns ne / na.

The interrogative pronouns are used for questions only; relative clauses use the demonstratives instead. (See Syntax.)

The demonstratives are unmarked in meaning between 'this' and 'that', 'here' and 'there', 'now' and 'then', etc. Rather, the direction adverbs are used to clarify such relationships. Usually vick 'nearby' is used for 'this', ʔell 'away' for 'that'; but any of the directions can be used.

neck vick this one
neck ʔell that one
neck loll the one underneath
neck dor the one outside

ninx vick here
ninx ʔell there
neckit metch vick this country
neckit max ʔell that rabbit
neckit lana ʔut the girl right here (alongside)
neckit bin ʔatyd ʔes the creepy guy behind you

Indefinite pronouns [To Index]

Indefinite pronouns are synthetic constructions in Flaidish, formed from a quantifier plus a demonstrative:
vott none
naak rare
tim some
liss any
toob many, much
toober too many
chem other
minden all

vott neck no one, nothing
tim neck
someone, something
chem neck another one
minden neck everyone, everything

vott ninx in no direction, nowhere
chem neckor some other time
naak neckor rarely, seldom
liss nennit any amount
tim nennoz to some extent
toob kor many times, often

However, there are separate lexemes for these time words:

tinkor sometimes
sauʔ never
mingor always

Verbal system [To Index]

Definite and indefinite forms [To Index]

The definite forms are used when the verb has a definite third-person object. That is, where English establishes the definiteness of an object via the article 'the', Flaidish uses a different verb form:
ʔok much ʔy lanat. I kissed a girl.
ʔok muchet lanat. I kissed the girl.
Baub kroog ʔy chunt. The fool broke a bone.
Baub krogd ʔokry chuntet! The fool broke my bone!

First and second person objects take indefinite verbs: Neva much 'she kissed me', ʔokes lad 'I saw you'.

As a general rule, you should use the definite forms where we would use a definite article ('the mule'), a possesive ('my mule'), or a proper name: ʔok modet Syxesteert 'I love Syxesteer'.

Simple past [To Index]

The unmarked form of the verb (and the citation form in the lexicon) is the past tense (scrifel); the flaids explain that the most frequent communicative act is to report that something has occurred. They also consider past actions to be the surest: the future is unknown, and the present is confused and in process— who knows how it will turn out?

The sure meaning of the past tense is that the action is no longer going on; auxiliaries are needed if it's desired to specify whether the event was completed.

Ne laum for chonicker.
He dreamed (or, was dreaming) about boats.

Sery fivvor meed ʔator dell.
Your brother slept until noon.

If an event started in the past and extends to the present, we usually use the past perfect, and Flaidish uses the simple past:

ʔok lack sittyd Syxesteer back ʔever.
I've lived in Syxesteer for five years.

Ongoing [To Index]

Flaids call this the nonpast tense (roscrifel); it's used for either present or future events. It normally corresponds to our present progressive.
Tack laumse. We are dreaming.
ʔokry lan ladmerse ʔy ʔibrot. My daughter is reading a book.
ʔok gropte Jeeriot. I'm watching Jeerio.
Ne ladmerte ʔibrot. She is reading the book.
ʔok zys meedick. I'm tired.
Neet zyt lana. This is the girl.

It's also used for basic statements about the future, including declarations of intent.

Tack fotse for Syxesteer. We're going to Syxesteer.
ʔok medse vur ʔatnap. I'm sleeping all day tomorrow.

Irrealis [To Index]

The basic meaning of the irrealis tense (epesec) is uncertainty, and its simplest use is for present or past events the speaker cannot vouch for.
Yau belopno geppt.
Perhaps they fixed (or, are fixing) a machine.

Yau belopdo geppt.
Perhaps they fixed (or, are fixing) the machine.

Yau zeno nollericken.
They might be giants.

Tootannel foryeffdo surdenart.
(I hear) the newspaper sniffed out the facts.

Mill todse neckor ty ne ʔyssno?
Who knows when it will rain?

A special usage is for examples or hypothetical instances:

Maichert ʔokyet voss techpo. ʔy maich riikno.
I don't like cats. A cat can scratch you.

Here the switch from the habitual to the irrealis indicates that the speaker is now imagining a specific but fictional instance of a cat scratching, as opposed to a general fact about cats (cf. maicher ʔenriik, cats scratch).

The irrealis is also used for wishes and desires. The conjunction ty introduces the clause (the desire or wish), unless the subjects are the same.

Ne meert ty seva ʔadno ʔy feej maxt.
he wanted that you-me give-IRR one head rabbit-ACC
He wanted you to give me a rabbit.

ʔok mertse ty seva ʔaddo maxt.
I want you to give me the rabbit.

ʔok dont taxno sery ʔant.
I've decided to meet your mother.

ʔok mertse treckno!
I want to wake up!

What one doesn't know uses the irrealis; what one does know uses the appropriate realis form.

ʔok voss todbo ty okry ferick zeno voleme.
I don't know if my wife is ready.

ʔok todse ty jenu zys voleme.
I know that the carriage is ready.

Habitual [To Index]

The basic implication of the habitual tense (mingrick) is that a situation is always the case. It is thus appropriate for 'timeless' things that are always true, for which we'd generally use the present tense.
Flora ʔenze ʔy zermo.
Flora is an island.

ʔokry fivvor ʔensach.
My brother is always eating.

With verbs of attribution like ze 'be' or lach 'appear', the habitual describes an inherent state or permanent nature, while the past or ongoing tenses refer to temporary conditions; the distinction is similar to that between ser and estar in Spanish.

Habitual: Sery keem ʔenze borpo. Your friend is a drunkard (all the time).

Ongoing: Sery keem zys borpo. Your friend is drunk (now).

By extension, the habitual is used for repeated events and habits, even if the period of repetition isn't eternal. Again, we normally use our present tense for this.

ʔok ʔenladmert tootannelt.
I read the newspaper.

In a past narrative, the habitual implies that the event was repeated or generally true, even if it's not any longer.

Sery ʔott ʔemmod kerter.
Your father loved gardens.

The infinitive [To Index]

The infinitive (ʔislaunë) looks suspiciously like the conjunction -en, and historically that's what it is. The development is clearest if we look at expressions like these, which have parallels in English:
Bin footet zecken ʔy tantelt.
creep go-DEF tell-INF a teacher-ACC
The creep went and told a teacher.

Beloopel yont beloopen triffmot.
repairman came-DEF fix-INF loom-ACC
The repairman came and fixed the loom.

In early Flaidish we see expressions like footent zeck. When the first verb was inflected, it was easier and just as proper to add the clitic to the second verb, e.g. irrealis footno zeckent. Till a few centuries ago either verb could receive the -en in the simple past; but now it's only correct to add it to the second verb.

The flaids have devised a large number of conjunctive verbs. First, here are some common expressions with the second element free (meemen 'do' stands for any verb).

foot meemen went and did did X (conveys firm intent, rashness, or regret)
yon meemen came and did did X (for the speaker's benefit or at his/her place)
kreck meemen stood and did did X (stubbornly, foolishly, or without compassion)
mard meemen stayed and did did X (which took longer than expected)
lad meemen saw and did did X (conveys clear understanding and resoluteness)
siit meemen rushed and did did X (hurriedly or without preparation)
vaav meemen jumped and did did X (immediately, without thinking)
munk meemen worked and did did X (very thoroughly or laboriously), Xed out
domm meemen sat and did was doing X, was in the process of doing X
gedfoot meemen   advanced and did   kept on doing X
ʔeem meemen finished and did finished doing X; did X completely
keez meemen began and did started to do X
proom meemen stopped and did stopped doing X
mauk meemen could and did could do X, was able to X
tood meemen knew and did knew how to do X
tech meemen liked and did liked to X

Some examples:

ʔokry lan ʔeemt ladmeren ʔibrot.
my daughter finish-DEF read-INF book-ACC
My daughter read the book. (Perfective, emphasizing that she finished it.)

ʔy madder ʔemmauk naaven.
a bird can-HAB fly-INF
A bird can fly.

There are infinitive expressions with both verbs fixed, and an idiomatic meaning. Flaids are fond of combinations that will seem redundant to us, though at the very least there is an intensive effect.

yon vissen came and carried brought
foot vissen went and carried took
foot ʔozen went and got acquired (from elsewhere), fetched
yon ʔozen came and got acquired (from here), took away
fiit ʔozen paid and got bought
kuld ʔozen sent and got sent away for
yaul sittozen heard and accepted believed
fost sachen cooked and ate consumed
mer jamen considered and thought   reflected a long time
taat ladmeren   opened and read read with great attention
lop ʔozen stole and got shamelessly stole
ʔoz tarten got and held took firm hold of, grabbed
If the first verb is inflected, the second is not:
yon vissen brought simple past
yonse vissen is bringing ongoing
yonno vissen may bring irrealis
ʔenyon vissen   always brings   habitual
yonpo vissen brought participle
yonen vissen to bring infinitive

The participle [To Index]

The participle (mevdonec) is used after the negative and passive auxiliaries.

The negative auxiliary von is used to negate a sentence:

Riil von techpo toosert.
child not like-PART egg-PL-ACC
The child didn't like eggs.

Se vont mosspo sery crettert.
you not-DEF wash-PART your hand-PL-ACC
You didn't wash your hands.

If the negated verb was itself inflected, its inflections migrate to von:

ʔy zermo zys ʔy chonick. → ʔy zermo voss zepo ʔy chonick.
An island is (→ not) a boat.

ʔedolobit tromno tack. → ʔedolobit vonno trompo tack.
Geometry might (→ not) hurt us.

ʔokry fivvor ʔensach yart. → ʔokry fivvor ʔemvon sachpo yart.
My brother is (→ not) always eating fish.

Sentences with other negative words don't need von:

ʔok sauʔ jatet lanat.
I never touched the girl.

Vott flaid ʔenze ʔy zermo, frett yoven Flora ʔenze.
No flaid is an island, but Flora is.

Flaidish also has a positive auxiliary gen, whose usage is exactly parallel to von. It can be used to emphasize the truth of a sentence:

ʔice ʔengen zepo rogeddick!
math yes-HAB be-PART difficult
Math is hard!

Sery chonick gen lolvojpo.
Your boat did sink.

The passive auxiliary baaʔ (which is simply the verb 'suffer') works the same way. Note that the agent, if present, is expressed in the genitive.

Katch sachet beckat. → Becka baaʔ sachpo (katchys).
duck ate-DEF frog-ACC → frog suffered eat-PART duck-GEN
The duck ate the frog. → The frog was eaten (by the duck).

Flaiden techyse sidrau. → Sidrau baʔse techpo (flaidenys).
Flaids like soy sauce. → Soy sauce is liked (by flaids).

Notice the double participle in a negative passive sentence:
ʔedolobit von baʔpo tantpo.
Geometry wasn't taught.

The verb ʔoz 'get' can replace baaʔ, for a more colloquial feel.

Loʔʔel ʔoz getpo.
The idiot got himself hurt.

Conditionals are expressed with an auxiliary verb, gaar, followed by the participle.

Se gaar fostpo garchet, ʔok fotse for ʔy lesteʔo.
you if cook-PART catfish-ACC I go-ONG toward a restaurant
If you cooked catfish, I'm going to a restaurant.

Be careful not to follow English tense usage here; our conditionals use tense in a very different way. A good rule of thumb is: use the tenses that would be appropriate if the verb were an assertion rather than a conditional— e.g., compare:

Se fost garchet, sooden ʔok fotse for ʔy lesteʔo.
You cooked catfish, so I'm going to a restaurant.

Here are some samples using various tenses:

Se garse kospo, se medse zeer.
you if-ONG drink-PART, you sleep-ONG alone
If you're drinking, you'll sleep alone. (ongoing)

Se ʔengaar techpo luckit satchet, Pickapo ninx ʔenjinn ʔy verdurick lesteʔo.
you if-HAB like-PART human food, Pickapo there have-HAB a Verdurian restaurant
If you like human food, there's a Verdurian restaurant in Pickapo. (habitual)

The irrealis is used when the consequent would be doubtful even if the condition were true:

Se garse raulmertpo ʔy porrt, se ʔozno ʔy nellericket.
you if-ONG wish-PART a cup-ACC, you get-IRR a sweetheart-ACC
If you wish upon a cup, you just might get a sweetheart. (irrealis)
Another use of the participle is as a resultative. In this construction, the participle follows the object of the sentence and indicates its final state. Note the diversity in the English glosses:
Ne sitviitet lanat latpo.
s/he push-DEF girl-ACC fall-PART
He pushed the girl, who fell down.

Booz mard dor rontpo.
wheat stay out spoil-PART
The wheat stayed outside and spoiled.

Tack fostte veezt plorpo.
we heat-ONG water-ACC boil-PART
We're cooking the water to boiling.

Rusom veert mattrinelt bojbo.
thug beat-DEF shopkeeper-ACC kill-PART
The thug beat the shopkeeper to death.

In an extension of this construction, the object of the main verb can be the subject of the resultative, which has an object of its own. This pivot construction can be seen as a transformation which raises the subject and changes the tense of the verb in the subclause:

Leebche kundet [nery lan ʔozt grettet] → Leebche kundet nery lant ʔozpo grettet.
Leebche sent-DEF [her daughter get-DEF wood-ACC] → Leebche sent-DEF her daughter-ACC get-PART wood-ACC
Leebche sent [her daughter fetched wood] → Leebche sent her daughter to fetch wood.

The initial examples, in fact, can be seen as pivot constructions where the verb in the subclause has no underlying object.

Causative expressions work the same way:

Jijo ne dunnt [ʔok lentet yartet] → Jijo neva dunnt lentpo yartet!
Jijo he set-DEF [I drop-DEF fish-ACC] → Jijo he-me set-DEF drop-PART fish-ACC
Jijo made [I dropped the fish] → Jijo made me drop the fish!

If the subclause is intransitive, its subject can be raised instead:

Jijo ne dunnt [lanar kalt] → Jijo neyet dunnt kaltpo lanart!
Jijo he set-DEF [girl-PL cry] → Jijo he-them set-DEF cry-PART girl-PL-ACC
Jijo made [the girls cried] → Jijo made the girls cry.

Dative expressions are essentially resultatives in Flaidish. Where English uses a single verb with two objects ("give that man / a fish"), Flaidish uses two verbs, each with a single object ("give the fish, the man gets it").

Veen soon maat yartet ʔozpo ʔelfootelt.
old woman sold fish-ACC got-PART traveler-ACC
The old woman sold the traveler a fish.

Either object can cliticize with the subject pronoun, but not both; the excess pronoun follows the participle:

Jeerio neva ʔaad vedpo nar.
Jeerio he-me gave take-PART it-ACC

Jeerio nenar ʔaad vedpo va.
Jeerio he-it gave take-PART I-ACC
Jeerio gave it to me.

Syntax [To Index]

Noun phrase order [To Index]

Noun phrases work rather like English: numbers and articles first, then adjectives or genitives, then nouns, then prepositional phrases and relative clauses.
ʔy ferick a wife
lin fericker two wives
sery ferick your wife
ʔy veen ferick an old wife
vickelys ferick the neighbor's wife
ferick sittyd nery trin a wife in her house
ferick neck ʔok vautet the wife I married

Articles [To Index]

An indefinite form (required only in the singular) is formed with ʔy: ʔy fivvor 'a brother', ʔy ʔuuk 'a hole', ʔy tau 'a lake'.

Measure words [To Index]

With what we might call 'merchandise'— exchangeable physical objects or animals— numbers cannot be used directly, but must be used with a measure word.

This concept tends to be difficult for English (or Verdurian) speakers, so let's ease into it by considering expressions where English also requires a measure word:

lin porr kimys two cups of rice
lin maig kimys two grains of rice
lin meche kimys two bags of rice

You can never say just "*two rice" or *lin kim; you must insert a measure word so it's clear what you're counting.

In English, only mass nouns require measure words; count nouns do not. Mass nouns are, as the name implies, seen as an undifferentiated mass which can't be directly counted— it has to be divided into countable containers. The distinction seems obvious to us, but it can be confusing to a foreigner: why are "peas" countable while "corn" isn't?

Most animals are count nouns, but they can be treated as mass nouns as well:

lin feej temys two head of cattle
lin limmo temys two brace of oxen
lin nen baunam two pounds of beef

In Mandarin, almost all nouns are mass nouns. Even people must be counted with a measure word: liǎng ge lǎoshī 'two teachers.' Flaidish is in between: most physical objects are mass nouns which can only be counted with measure words. The best general description of this class is indeed 'merchandise': anything that can be bought or sold, from food to animals to manufactures. In more detail:

Mass nouns Count nouns
Domestic and game animals, including fish Non-game animals (except honeybees)
Manufactured objects Buildings, cities, canals, walls
Parts, tools, components Features of a thing (e.g. 'scratch', 'protuberance', 'bottom')
Paper, physical books, paintings, sculptures Ideas, titles, melodies, characters
Real estate Geographic features
Oil, wax, butter, wood, gems, liquids, and other natural or mined commodities Body parts, waste, garbage
Astronomical bodies; aspects of weather
People (flaids, other species, spiritual beings)
Containers and measures

As the examples indicate, measurements like nen 'pound' or cremo 'hand', as well as containers like porr 'cup', meche 'bag', tarmo 'shelf', or kaux 'wagon', are valid measure words. Others depend on the type of object:

novel 'growth' entire plants
novio 'plantlet' fruits, flowers
neer 'berry' berries, nuts, beans, grapes, and fruits of a similar size
maig 'grain' cereals, other items that come in small discrete units, like sand
kriv 'bunch' grouped plants or vegetables (e.g. leeks, carrots, grapes); arrows
vaal 'leaf' leaves (e.g of laurel); paper, documents
valer 'folio' bunches of leaves; magazines, books
tex 'trunk' beams, other large rod-like objects
feej 'head' animals; large round vegetables
saʔ 'mouth' jars, pots, cups, buckets, and other open containers
test 'body' clothing, armor; meals, rooms, or other items sold per person; hides
limmo 'pair' animals, shoes, candles, scissors, horns— anything that comes in pairs
tarj 'object' boxes, or blocky objects in general
semm 'cake' pastry, meat; cushions, pillows
lammo   'flat' plates, tiles, planks, other flat thin things
zuss 'blade' weapons
flit 'stick' pens, reeds, needles, other small rod-like objects
gepp 'machine'   machines, instruments
trock 'frame' doors, windows, furniture, vehicles
lurmo 'coil' coils of rope or wire; rolls; wreaths
tratt 'pile' anything that can be stacked

The same word will appear with multiple measure words. This is not really different from English; it's simply that there is a default measure in English— what we consider single items— while in Flaidish the measure must always be given:

lin neer bornerys two grapes
lin kriv bornerys two bunches of grapes
lin tarj bornerys two boxes of grapes

back vaal dainam five sheets of paper
back valer dainam five sheaves of paper
back lurmo dainam five rolls of paper

fell flit niilys three arrows
fell kriv niilys three quivers of arrows

gory lammo chenam four plates
gory test chenam four place settings
gory tratt chenam four stacks of plates

Neither the measure nor the merchandise is pluralized; and the merchandise appears in the genitive. Either can be modified:

lin nool semm legdalachte munizelys two large most elegant cakes

Measure words can be used with quantifiers, too. This usage is optional and difficult for outsiders to define; it's fair to say that it makes the expression more precise and more commercial-sounding. You definitely want to use the measure word if the quantifier is being used in lieu of a more precise count ("Some of the doors still need painting"); you don't need them if you're making a general statement and don't care about quantities ("Some doors lead to wonderful stories").

vott valer ʔibrom no books
tim zuss bellackys some swords
minden trock temmom all the windows

If the same type of object is referred to multiple times, it's the object rather than the measure word which is omitted:

ʔok mertse fell noviot loomam yoven Jeerio lin noviot.
I want-ONG three meas-ACC apple-GEN then-AND Jeerio two meas-ACC
I want three apples and Jeerio wants two.

Se ʔenmauk jinnen liffel noviot dretor ladick riigu.
you can-HAB have-INF six meas-ACC across same price
You can have six (apples) for the same price.

As seen here, the measure word and not the merchandise takes accusative endings.

Foreigners are not really expected to master the measure words; it's always safe to use feej 'head' for animals and tarj 'object' for everything else.

Sentence order [To Index]

Unmarked sentence order is SVO; but the S-O pronouns and explicit accusative allow for almost any order.
Riil leʔem doobd smettet ʔator frej.
The child threw the trash behind a bush.

→ Riil smettet leʔem doobd ʔator frej.
→ Smettet ʔator frej riil leʔem doobd.
→ Smettet leʔem doobd ʔator frej riil.
→ ʔator frej leʔem doobd riil smettet.
→ Leʔem doobd ʔator frej smettet riil.

The S-O pronoun leʔem is optional (since both referents are present), but if present must directly precede the verb. It's preferred not to begin a sentence with a verb, however, so the pronoun would almost always appear in the last variant above.

Focus [To Index]

A better way to describe Flaidish sentence order, however, is Topic Verb Comment. That is, the topic (the known information, what you're talking about) comes first, followed by the verbal complex (including SO pronouns and infinitive or participle constructions), followed by the comment (the new information). The topic need not be a constituent of the sentence at all. In such cases it can be taken as locating the following statement in space or time, or limiting its applicability, or simply setting the scene.

The best way to grasp the feature may be to study a set of examples. Note that some of the English glosses work much like the Flaidish, simply stating the topic; but in other cases we use an introductory prepositional phrase or other syntactical construction.

Ledley ne zys nellit teer.
Ledley, it's a nice city.

ʔeedvocker ʔok ʔentech geddyd ty ʔenzoop grettet.
Winters, I like to buy wood rather than chop it.

Sooner se zys legcheen.
Among women, you are the most beautiful.

Limmo zeer yau keez muchen.
Once the couple were alone, they started kissing.

ʔuveremot ne geel ʔy dalachte sudaddy.
As for clothes, she wore an elegant Ismaîn dress.

Luckit teeren Verduria zys kematt nellit.
Among human cities, Verduria is pretty nice.

ʔokry datmot ʔimlelel mornzitdo ʔokry ʔibrot.
My aim is for a publisher to notice my book.

Teer vick tack meerse gedfotno laggimen.
The city being near, we want to keep walking.

Conjunctions [To Index]

Conjunctions use the clitic -en: feejen creter 'head and hands'; fecken floomick 'dark and stormy'. It can be added to either conjoint; the examples could equally be feej creteren and feck floomicken.

For entire sentences, use yoven 'and then':

Jeerio konse ʔy munkmot, yoven ne zitno ʔy rocurat.
Jeerio is looking for a job, and he may find an adventure.

Verbs can be conjoined by adding -en to the second verb, with no other inflections: sachyse koosen 'eats and drinks', sachno koosen 'may eat and drink'. This can be seen, of course, as another use for the infinitive. Where the verbs are separated by objects, adverbs, or other material, however, it's best to use yoven instead: ne sachyse ʔuss yoven kosse boor 'he's eating meat and drinking beer'.

Add the adverb frett to convey the idea of 'but': meedicken frett deej 'tired but happy'.

An alternative X or Y is expressed zyn X zyn Y: zyn razumbre zyn cheen '(either) intelligent or beautiful'. With entire sentences, use zynen:

Se ʔenmauk koonen ʔy munkmot zynen se ʔenmauk koonen rocurart.
You can look for a job or you can look for adventures.

Relative clauses [To Index]

Relative clauses use the demonstrative pronouns, not the interrogatives.
flaid neck lopt ʔokry ferickt
flaid the-one stole-DEF my wife-ACC
the flaid who stole my wife — (literally) the flaid, the one who stole...

bodde neck ʔokry ferick techte
the recipe my wife likes — (literally) the recipe, the one my wife likes

naap neckor caarau miip
the day (when) the music died — (lit.) the day, at that time the music...

teer ninxyd yatt sauʔ ʔemproom
the city where the fun never stops — (lit.) the city, there the fun...

These can be seen as deriving by a raising transformation:

bodde [ʔokry ferick techte boddet] → bodde neck ʔokry ferick techte
a recipe [my wife likes the recipe] → a recipe which my wife likes

This explains why the verb in the subclause is definite. Before the transformation the subclause has a definite direct object (since it's a repetition of the head noun, "recipe" in this case). The verb is therefore definite, and this doesn't change when the sentence becomes a relative clause.

Nonetheless, the head clause may be definite or indefinite within the main clause. For instance, the above phrase can be used, without change, in an indefinite and a definite sense:

ʔok ʔenkoon boddet [neck ʔokry ferick techte].
I'm always looking for a recipe [that my wife likes].

ʔok ʔenkont boddet [neck ʔokry ferick techte].
I'm always looking for the recipe [that my wife likes].

Headless relative clauses are acceptable. Note that neckt is used when the headless clause serves as the object.
Tack voss todbo [neckt boj mattrinelt].
We don't know [who killed the shopkeeper.]

[Neck bitse ʔirranattet] ʔenze ʔy bux flaid.
[Who studies Irreanism] is a wise flaid. It's a wise flaid who studies Irreanism.

Since the indefinite pronouns are also based on the demonstratives, combinations of them would contain a repeated word. This is simply omitted; so "Someone who..." is tim neck..., not *tim neck neck; and "This one who..." is neck vick..., not *neck vick neck. (Another way of looking at these is that they are an extension of headless clauses.)

[Liss neck todse Jeeriot] zeckse ty ne ʔenze loost.
Anyone [who knows Jeerio] will say he is lazy.

Sentences as subjects or objects [To Index]

If an entire sentence is the object of a verb, it's preceded by ty 'that'. (English allows this conjunction to be omitted, but Flaidish does not.)
ʔok gropse ladbo ty [se ʔenze syxesterick].
I watch-ONG see-PART that you be-HAB Syxesteer-ADJ
I perceive (that) [you are from Syxesteer].

Like Verdurian, Flaidish allows ty clauses to be subjects, too. In English we normally cleft these to the end of the sentence, leaving an empty pronoun behind; this is possible in Flaidish, but not at all required.

[Ty se ʔenze ʔy trazel] zys sooden ʔotinimache.
[That you are a fop] is therefore probable.

→ Ne zys sooden ʔotinimache [ty se ʔenze ʔy trazel].
→ It is therefore probable that [you are a fop].

If an entire sentence is the object of a preposition, ty is still required:

ʔok vautse lanat, chord ty seʔem ʔemprott.
I marry-ONG girl-ACC despite that you-her hate-HAB
I will marry the girl, although you hate her.

Comparatives and superlatives [To Index]

A 'more than' comparison uses formula ʔabb (adj) ty (comparand), while 'less than' uses soom.
Se zys ʔabb pansyr ty ʔy dex krazerys.
you be-ONG more lovely that a field rose-PL-GEN
You are more lovely than a field of roses.

Sery ʔan zys soom ʔagasick ty ʔy trotmory gruʔerys.
Your mother is more annoying than a barnful of owls.

An equal comparison uses a relative clause with the demonstrative neddoz 'to that extent':

Yart zys mell neddoz zys ʔy lesteʔom
fish be-ONG good to-extent be-ONG a restaurant-GEN
The fish is as good as a restaurant's.

Ne voss zepo mell neddoz ʔok gedladse.
It isn't as good as I remember.

The comparison class of a superlative can be given in two ways:

Questions [To Index]

Yes/no questions
Yes/no questions are formed in two ways. First, the sentence may begin with the interrogative particle jaaʔ:
Jaaʔ mellbit ʔenromifa seobojiʔt?
Does morality prohibit suicide?
Second, and more colloquially, the tag question zynen voss (literally 'or not') can be appended to the end of the sentence:
Lesteʔo nivse Jeeriot, zynen voss?
Will the restaurant fire Jeerio?

Although this has become a fixed expression which can always be used as is, careful writers are aware of the literal meaning and match the tense with the main verb, or use zynen gess ('or yes') if the main verb is negative:

ʔubeer ze sittyd vickelit komm, zynen von? Was the ʔubeer in the next room?

Lana voss zepo cepple, zynen gess?
The girl isn't a virgin, is she?

A yes/no question is answered gess 'it is' or voss 'it's not'. It's not necessary to reflect the tense of the main verb, but some writers choose to.

To question a particular component, make it the focus:

Jaaʔ sery ʔott ne techyse koosen ʔugaut ʔyd teen?
Q your father (T) he like-ONG drink-INF coffee-ACC at night
Is it your father who likes to drink coffee at night?

Jaaʔ ʔugaut naʔem techyse koosen sery ʔott?
Is it coffee your father likes to drink coffee at night?

Jaaʔ ʔyd teen sery ʔott techyse koosen ʔugaut?
Is it at night that your father likes to drink coffee?

Other questions
The interrogative particles tend to occur at the end of the sentence, since Flaidish sentences start with the topic, and the questioned element is by definition not known information.
Neckit chendmorym fedjel zys mill?
this temple's chief be-ONG who
Who is the head priest in this temple?

Ninx jys ʔibror raulyd fold vicken yauj?
there be-ONG book-PL on-LOC floor near-EXT why
Why are there books all over the floor?

Luuker dorfotse miikor?
When will the humans leave?

Se ze ʔyd sammen fichet teen ʔollyd?
you be at seven-AND ten-ORD night where
Where were you on the night of the 1ʔth?

Mill doesn't distinguish subject from object (you don't add the accusative -t). If another noun phrase is given, its case will make the role of the interrogative clear, even with different word orders— e.g. vajat below is in the accusative, so mill must be a subject.

Ne kost mull vajat mill? Who drank the last bottle?
Mull vajat kost mill?
Lott bin veed mill? The stupid creep took what?

When only pronouns are present, one must pay attention to the case forms. E.g. in the first example below, the S-O pronoun neʔes indicates a 3s subject. 2s object; since unknowns are always third person, mill is the subject. In the second example, seʔem is 2s subject, 3s object, so mill is the object.

Neller, neʔes modse mill? Who loves you, babe?
Neller, seʔem modse mill? Who do you love, babe?

Imperatives [To Index]

The simple past, probably because it is the shortest verb form, doubles as an imperative. The definite or indefinite form is used, as appropriate. These are about the only sentences in Flaidish without an explicit subject.
Lentet bellackt! Drop the sword!
Viss ʔugaut kospo va. Bring me some coffee.

These sound rather peremptory to flaids. Flaidish offers a wide range of indirect imperatives, of varying degrees of politeness. One step above the ordinary imperative is to query about the possibility of an action:

Jaaʔ ʔok maukse ʔozen ʔy porrt chaiʔys?
Q I can-ONG get-AND one cup-ACC tea-GEN
Could I get a cup of tea?

Or the conditional is used, without a consequent:

ʔok garse jimpo lin soochiot chezmom.
I if-ONG have-PART two teaspoon-ACC sugar-GEN
If I could have two spoons of sugar.

Next, the irrealis can be used. On a literal level, one is merely stating a desire; one is pleasantly surprised if this is taken as a hint.

ʔok dordejno ʔy pridmot kaanys, ʔejme.
I enjoy-IRR one slice-ACC bread-GEN too
I might enjoy a slice of bread, too.

This by no means exhausts the possibilities; almost any indirect statement can hide a request.

Directions and prepositions [To Index]

Location, movement, and direction are expressed in Flaidish with a set of particles, which also are the basis of the prepositions.

Basic prepositions [To Index]

For reference, the basic (underived) prepositions are these:
ʔyd at
for toward, about
frind with, using, in favor of
chord  against, despite
meet like, similar to
som without

Adverb [To Index]

The unmarked form is an adverb, and can express either direction (sitt 'inward', raul 'upward', gedd 'forward') or a general location ('inside', 'on top', 'in front').

Locative [To Index]

The suffix -yd (from ʔyd 'at') forms a locative preposition: sittyd podj 'in bed'; raulyd sery feej 'on your head', geddyd trin 'in front of the house'. The adverb/locative pair can be compared to English pairs like outside / outside of, or French hors / hors de.

Allative [To Index]

The suffix -or (from for 'toward') forms an allative preposition, expressing movement in the indicated direction, stopping at the position indicated by the locative: sittor podj 'into bed'; raulor sery feej 'onto your head'; geddor trint 'up to the house'.

The locative/allative pair works like English on/onto, in/into, but in Flaidish this distinction is made for all locatives: you must distinguish between

foot ʔator ʔy frej 'go behind a bush' (motion implied → allative)
sneep ʔatyd ʔy frej 'hide behind a bush' (no motion → locative).

Extensive [To Index]

The suffix -en is used to form an extensive adverb, which can be glossed 'and further on in that direction'. Thus sitten 'further in', raulen 'farther upward', etc. This is often used with a locative phrase:
ʔatyd trin ʔaten behind the house and on back
sittyd groon sitten inside the forest and further in
geddyd teer ʔellen in front of the city, extending away from it

Ablative [To Index]

Finally, (direction) ʔellor forms an ablative preposition, expressing movement away from the position indicated by the locative: sitt ʔellor podj 'from inside the bed'; raul ʔellor sery feej 'from on top of your head', 'off your head'; dret ʔellor teer 'from beyond the city'.

List [To Index]

Here's a list of the directions and associated locative and allative prepositions, with English equivalents.
Direction Locative preposition Allative preposition
ʔyd at for toward
gedd forwards geddyd in front of geddor (moving) in front of
ʔat backward ʔatyd behind, in back of ʔator to behind
vuz back (returning) vuzor back to
sitt inward, inside sittyd in, inside of sittor into
dor outward, outside doryd outside of doror (moving) out of
loll downward, underneath lollyd under, below lolor down into
raul upward, up raulyd on, over raulor onto
ʔut alongside ʔuttyd next to ʔutor (moving) next to
dret across drettyd across, over dretor (moving) across
vick nearby, close vickyd near, close to vickor (moving) near
ʔell away ʔellyd away from ʔellor (moving) away from
jirys centerward jirysyd in the center of jirysor to the center of
fusys rightward fusysyd on the right of fusysor to the right of
gerys leftward gerysyd on the left of gerysor to the left of
baul north, left baulyd left or north of baulor to the north of
tell south, right tellyd south or right of tellor to the south of
liit east littyd east of litor to the east of
mann west mannyd to the west of mannor to the west of

The direction of time [To Index]

The Flaidish metaphor for time is opposite ours. For the flaids, the past is forward; the future is behind. They explain this the same way they explain the unmarked past tense: the events we understand best and are most certain about are in the past; in effect we are always looking at them, facing them. And of course the future is behind us; it's unknown to us, we can't see it!

The prepositions used for time reflect this, and thus often seem opposite to ours: e.g. where we'd say 'after noon' the flaids say ʔatyd dell 'behind noon'.

'Predict' is ʔatlad 'see backward', since the future is behind us! Similarly 'remember' is gedlad 'see forward'. Compare also ʔatnap 'tomorrow' vs. gednap 'yesterday'.

Direction Locative preposition Allative preposition
ʔyd at
gedd earlier geddyd before, earlier than geddor since
ʔat later ʔatyd after, later than ʔator until


ʔok zeck gedd. I was speaking earlier
Se treck ʔyd dell. You woke up at noon.

Jeerio treck ʔatyd dell. Jeerio woke up after noon.
ʔok sauʔ koos geddyd dell. I never drink before noon.
Jeerio meed ʔator dell. Jeerio slept until noon.
Ne kosse geddor ty ne treck. He's been drinking since he woke up.

ʔok voss kospo ʔatyd dell ʔaten. I won't drink from this noon onward
Mornsachiʔ ze geddyd dellsachiʔ. Breakfast was earlier than lunch.

Separable verbs [To Index]

The direction adverbs can be used to form verbs:
foot go → gedfoot go forward, dorfoot leave, dretfoot cross, ʔelfoot go away, vuzfoot go back
yon come → sichon enter, lolyon come down, raulyon come up, vuzyon come back
doob throw → ʔeldoob discard, dretdoob throw across, vuzdoob throw back
vaav jump → sitvaav jump in, dorvaav jump out, vuzvaav jump back
dunn set → rauldunn set down
veed take → ʔutveed pick up, sitveed take in

If the adverb ends in a doubled consonant, it's reduced: ʔell + foot = ʔelfoot; sitt + vaav = sitvaav.

The habitual of these verbs follows the pattern adverb + en + root: sittenyon 'always enters'; ʔatenfoot 'always returns'; dorenvaav 'always jumps out'.

These verbs can be used as is; but the adverb can also be placed after the object, or even at the beginning or end of the sentence.

Ne sichon dorfooten. He came in and went out.

Neva dretdobd pulat. He threw the ball back to me.
Neva dobd pulat dret.
Dret neva dobd pulat.

Some adverbs have conventional metaphorical meanings, often seen using basic verbs like foot 'go', meem 'do', yon 'come', munk 'work', jam 'think'.

dor 'out' implies doing something to completion or exhaustion:

dorgeel 'wear out, use up', dorgeet 'burn up', dortaat 'throw open', dordeej 'really enjoy'
dret 'across' suggests outdoing or outcompeting someone:
dretsern 'outrun', dretkoos 'out-eat'
raul 'up' suggests improvisation, lightness, or precipitation:
rauljam 'think up', raullaum 'dream up', raulfoot 'up and leave'
for 'toward' is used for causatives based on adjectives or nouns, or inceptive forms of verbs:
forvadj 'oil up', forfeck 'darken', formunk 'hire'
fornack 'attack', forgonu 'move (one's abode)'
ʔell 'away' is the opposite of for, thus meaning 'undo' or 'de-'; it's also used (especially with verbs of motion or names of virtues) to imply corruption or leading astray:
ʔelpich 'wipe off', ʔelvadj 'degrease', ʔelgeel 'undress', ʔeltaat 'close'
ʔelzent 'lead astray', ʔelmunk 'slack off work', ʔelmod 'fall out of love'

References [To Index]

Conventional expressions [To Index]

ʔopo! Mell reʔl. Mell dellaten.
Hello! Good morning. Good afternoon.

Lin koren. Sichon. Yon dommen. ʔutoz ʔugaut.
two moment-PL. enter. come sit-AND. accept coffee-ACC.
Hold on. Come in. Sit down. Have some coffee!

yauʔes ʔachonse ʔok? Mellme. Yonse mill? Vott neck. ʔok ʔaullse.
they-you proceed-ONG how? well. come-ONG what? no thing. I deal-ONG.
How are you? Fine. What's happening? Nothing. I'm getting by.

Taaxiʔ lereje. Jaaʔ ʔokes maukse skeeten? ʔokes ʔenforsmeen.
meeting happy. Q I-you can-ONG help-AND. I-you serve-HAB
Pleased to meet you. Can I help you? I'm here to serve.

Prisick nap. Ne zys (toober) fur. Seenitme ninx jys tanick lutt.
pleasant day. it be-ONG (too-much) hot. fortunately here have-ONG sea-ish breeze.
Lovely day. It's (too) hot. At least there's a sea breeze.

Gess. Voss. Zymme. Voss todbo. Jaaʔ se maukse bekrejen?
is-true-ONG. not-ONG. maybe. Q you can-ONG re-ask-AND
Yes. No. Maybe. I don't know. Could you repeat the question?

ʔes precse. ʔokry kusmod. ʔes precse. ʔelneez va. ʔok ze borpo neckor vick.
you beg-ONG. my gratitude. you beg-ONG. excuse me. I was drink-PART then nearby
Please. Thank you. You're welcome. I'm sorry. I was drunk at the time.

Mell passet. Ne ze lerejan. ʔator yovy kor. Jaaʔ liss neck zys krogbo?
good visit. it was pleasure. until next time. Q any thing be-ONG break-PART
Goodbye. It's been a pleasure. Till next time. Is anything broken?

Sery neev mill? Se lack miinit? ʔok lack liggoren miffich ʔever.
your name what. you lived how-much? I lived eight-AND twenty year-PL.
What's your name? How old are you? I am 28 years old.

Se yon ʔell ʔolor? Neller, se zys naj lellche. ʔokes modse.
you came away where-TO. sweetie, you be-ONG very cute-DIM. I-you love-ONG.
Where are you from? Baby, you so fine. I love you.

Time and the calendar [To Index]

Flaids borrowed the hour (mur) from the Kebreni, but found dividing the day into 24 segments too picky; they took it as 1/12 of a day instead. When increasing trade made it useful to have an equivalent to the Verdurian hour, they called it ʔobmur 'half-hour'; half of this is a greemur. Navigation and science finally made it necessary to borrow the Verdurian megua (megiiʔ— 1/12 of an hour, or 5 minutes) and piya (1/100 megua, or 3 seconds).

Hours are numbered from naffest 'dawn', dell 'noon', nammed 'sunset', or jirten 'midnight':

lin mur naffestys two hours of dawn = 10 a.m.
fell ʔobmur dellys three half-hours of noon = 3 p.m.
ʔy mur nammedys one hour of evening = 8 p.m.
Times are written Verdurian style: e.g. 10h3 = 10h3 = 10 ʔobmur 3 megiiʔ = 4:15 p.m. (The Verdurian letter h is used; but it's simply taken as a conventional symbol, and pronounced ʔobmur.)
Calendar [To Index]
Flaids follow a five-day week (backmo)— they find the seven-day Caďinorian week tiresome. The first four days of the week are simply numbered (mornap, litnap, fetnap, greetnap); the fifth, pinnap, means 'rest day', and indeed, a flaid finds the idea of working on pinnap quite scandalous. (Entertainers and restaurants work that day, and take off the next.)

Market day (paixnap) can vary by town, but usually it's every other greetnap.

It seems fairly clear that the flaids originally had no idea of months (vockiter), but only the four seasons (vocker)— and even these were not terribly important; Flora has about the climate of San Diego. The idea of dividing the seasons in threes was due to Caďinorian influence, and the usual pattern is to refer to the season— the month before fall starts is called 'before-fall', for instance.

season meaning month meaning Verdurian
ʔysfock (spring) rain-time (spring) jirysfock mid-spring olašu
ʔatysfock after-spring reli
curenda festival cuéndimar
furvock (summer) hot-time (summer) gromnap long-day vlerëi
ʔatfurvock after-summer calo
gedjosfock before-fall recoltë
yosfock (fall) harvest-time (fall) jiryosfock mid-fall yag
ʔachosfock after-fall ʔe;elea
gedeedvock before-winter išire
ʔedickvock (winter) cold-time (winter) fecknap dark-day šoru
ʔateedvock late-winter froďac
prommev end-year bešana

Names [To Index]

Flaids do not use Caďinorian or Eleďe names; they have their own stock of names, almost entirely drawn from the native vocabulary.

Many names are formed from adjectives or nouns by adding -(i)o for males and -che for females:

bux wise → Buxo, Buxche
beautiful → Cheenio, Cheenche
deej happy → Deejio, Deedje
jeer fat → Jeerio, Jeerche
round → Luurio, Luurche
morn first → Mornio, Mornche
nell sweet → Nellio, Nellche
luck → Seenio, Seenche
sonn heart → Sonnio, Sonche
blue → ʔaaxo, ʔaaxche

Adjectives formed from a suffix, one-who-does nominalizations, and participles are also a source of names. These can be used as either male or female names, though -che may be added to the names of girls or young boys.

Feckit black
Floomick stormy
Geddick straightforward
Prisick agreeable

Cenuel defender
Kressel hunter

Kompo sought for
Mertpo wished for
Modpo loved
Precpo begged for
Smempo vowed

Finally, names of natural things— weather, geographical features, plants and animals— can become names.
Cheef wind
Fax wolf
Floom storm
Frebb sparrow
Freff cloud
Gallam dove
Koʔ rock
Maich cat
Max rabbit
Mez honey
Perner raspberry
Rook fox
Sax hawk
Secku carnation
Tolk oak
ʔaxner blueberry
ʔyss rain
These lists are not exhaustive; nonetheless, the stock of names is not that great. Flaids are usually named after a relative, and no one expects to have a unique name.

Most flaids don't have surnames; if there's a need to distinguish flaids with the same name, just about any nonce description will do: nicknames, personal characteristics, locatives, genitives. Some of these stick to the individual; others are devised when needed.

jeer Deejio fat Deejio
yog neck Deejio Deejio, the loud one
meezel Deejio Deejio the complainer
legfatt Deejio the youngest Deejio
brinys Deejio Deejio from the corner
Pickapom Nellche Nellche from Pickapo
Yadderys Nellche Nellche from the hills
Kresselys riil Nellche Nellche, Kressel's daughter
Floomys ferick Nellche Nellche, Floom's wife

Upper-crust flaids do have family names; often in origin they are just this sort of nonce description, but they are placed after the given name rather than before: e.g. Cenuel Maumys, Cenuel of the Maumys family. The family name is not used (unlike English or Verdurian) with titles, or for second references, only to refer to the family, or disambiguate given names. An exception is the Irreanist philosopher Saxys (whose given name was actually Mornio).

Example: Jeerio tries to find a job [To Index]

This is a short extract from my first story about the flaids, written when I was in fifth grade. Jeerio— pushed by his mother, who's sick of him sleeping all day at home— ventures forth with his dog Twain to find adventure, or a job, whichever comes first. He encounters a dragon (the fragment below is part of his conversation with the monster), walks to Syxesteer, and takes a boat; but he ends up piloting it in a circle and returning to Syxesteer. Depressed by this, Jeerio and Twain return to Pickapo, where he finds a job in a restaurant four blocks from home.

The full story is available here.

Jeerio seelese ziiten ʔy munkmot

—ʔelneez va, ʔok fotse— Jeerio keez.
excuse me, I go-ONG, Jeerio began

—ʔaaʔ, ʔokes voss maukpo menden fotpo1— Myasocreje jirviit.2 —Ne zeno vurme chord Nollertiffmodys Mören!
oh, I-you not-ONG can-PART let-INF go-PART, Myasocreje interrupted. it be-IRR totally against dragonhood-GEN rule-PL

—ʔok kellse footen— Jeerio ʔakmize. —Mell passet.— yoven ne laggim vodme gedd.
I must-ONG go-INF, Jeerio disagreed. nice visit. then-AND he walked bold-ADV forwards

Voss! — maleme Myasocreje, daaten verpo raulor Jeeriom lapp feej. —ʔok ʔenranet Dorgetnom3 rysmoryt, yoven ʔok jys naj naj tereme befelert ty ʔok ʔenvon mendbo zyn flaidet zyn luukt zyn naupelt, gess zyn yadj dretfotpo! 4 ʔok garse ʔelzichpo, ʔok ʔozse festpo ʔaax!
not-ONG, protested Myasocreje, aim-AND hit-PART onto Jeerio-GEN flat head. I guard-DEF Dorgetno-GEN castle-ACC, then-AND I have-ONG very very firm order-PL-ACC that I not-HAB let-PART nor flaid-ACC nor human-ACC nor iliu, yes nor ant cross-PART. I if-ONG disobey-PART, I get-ONG paint-PART blue

—Le5 zys gozz mill for neck?— Tiin krej.
it be-ONG wrong what about that-one, Twain asked.

—Jaaʔ ʔil techno ʔozen festpo ʔaax?6
Q you like-IRR get-INF paint-PART blue?

—Pooro voss.
certainly no

—Neckor vick ʔil todde ʔokry proozert— Myasocreje zeck firden.
then nearby you know-ONG my feeling-PL-ACC, Myasocreje said shudder-AND

Jirzeckatt ninx jinn kechach. Vott von todbo neckt zeckpo.
conversation (T) there had pause. no-one not-PAST know-PART that-one-ACC say-PART

"Sorry to go," began Jeerio.

"Oh, I can't let you go," interrupted Carnivourous. "It would be totally against the rules of Dragonry!"

"I must go," objected Jeerio. "Cheerio." and he walked boldly forward.

"No!" protested Carnivourous, and he aimed a blow at Jeerio's flat head. "I guard Burntup's castle, and I am under very, very strict orders not to let a flaid, human, iliu, or even ant to cross! If I disobeyed, I'd be painted blue!"

"What's wrong with that?" asked Twain.

"Would you like to be painted blue?"

"Definitely not."

"Now you know how I feel," said Carnivourous, and shuddered.

There was a lull in the conversation. No one knew exactly what to say.


1 That's quite a verbal complex; let's examine it in more detail. To allow someone to do something is expressed as a resultative: in effect ʔok mendse [se fotse] 'I allow (you go)' → ʔokes mendse fotpo. Next we apply the 'can' transformation: mendsemaukse menden. Finally we apply the negative: mauksevoss maukpo.

2 The dragon's name is expressed in a slightly antique form, Myasocreje. This is difficult for Flaidish, which now spells it Masocreje. It's a borrowing from Verdurian myasocreže 'meat-eating'. I've translated it "Carnivourous" to give the same feeling.

3 Dorgetno, the wizard whose castle the dragon is guarding, has a name meaning "burned up"; I've translated it Burntup. It sounds just as silly in Flaidish.

4 Another resultative, complicated by a complicated object. Start with the resultative transformation ʔok ʔenmend [flaid dretfotse] 'I allow a flaid to cross' → ʔok ʔenmend flaidet dretfotpo. Apply the negative: ʔenmendʔenvon mendbo. The single object is replaced with a conjunction zyn X zyn Y zyn Z "X or Y or Z". Gess 'yes' before the last conjoint expresses surprise or emphasis: yes, even this.

5 Dogs, like children, use the child pronouns. The dragon addresses Twain using the child pronoun ʔil, too. I've anglicized the dog's name— Tiin 'loyal', pronounced 'twin'— as "Twain".

6 This could use some analysis too. Lele festno ʔil 'they may paint you' is passivized to ʔil ʔozno festpo 'you may get painted'. Then ʔozno 'may get' → techno ʔozen 'may like to get'.

Example 2: The ʔubeer [To Index]

The ʔubeer is a monster from flaidish folklore; the description is taken from a bestiary written by Zaulio of Ledley.


Minden molnuxer1 ʔenze legsidiisick ʔubeer,
all monster-PL (T) be-HAB MOST-deceptive ʔubeer

sood ty nenar ʔydenmunk2 vickelys chainesat:
because that 3sS-3sO3 don-HAB neighbor-PL-GEN appearance-ACC

ne ʔengaar gonupo4 jirysyd flaiden, meet ʔy flaid, jirysyd zyn luuker zyn sooreler, meet yau.
3sS if-HAB live-PART among flaid-PL (T) like a flaid, among or human-PL or elcar-PL like them

Ne ʔenze linnar, ʔengeelen gaazelys ʔuveret, ʔenzecken frind prolesta rysmoten.
3sS be-HAB handsome wear-HAB-AND noble-GEN clothes-ACC speak-HAB-AND with charm force-AND

Of all monsters, the ʔubeer is the most deceptive, because it takes on the appearance of its neighbors: like a flaid if it lives among flaids, like a man or an elcar if it lives among those people. It is handsome, dresses like a nobleman, and speaks with charm and force.

Chor ty ubeer ʔenjinn chriftat frind bellacken kessio, ne mornentech ʔelzenten geddyd ty fornacken.
despite that ubeer have-HAB skill-ACC with sword-AND dagger 3sS prefer-HAB seduce-INF before that attack-INF

Ne forgeeldo5 legchem yunaʔʔelys chainesat (chor ty ninx jys nemannick ʔubeeren), dommno zecken kenme forvadjicken.
3sS assume-IRR MOST-other gender-person-GEN appearance-ACC (despite that there be-HAB homosexual ubeer-PL), sit-IRR speak-INF light-ADV flattering-ADV-AND

Nery datmot ʔy ʔopfë naʔem6 sitrexdo sittor nary kraichre kommer; ne munkno forgedjonen ty chemmer naʔem vonno groppo ladbo.ʔ
3s-GEN aim (T) a victim 4sS-3sO invite-IRR into 4s-GEN private lodging; 3sS work-IRR ensure-INF that person 4sS-them not-IRR look-PART see-PART

Limmo zeer ʔopfë baaʔno geelpo ʔell, yoven tinkor buliʔ testerys gedjonno.
couple alone (T) victim suffer-IRR dress-PART off, then-AND sometimes sharing body-PL-GEN occur-IRR

ʔopfëm cenumoter vurme bespo ʔubeer nenar muchdo, yoven sitviitdo nery rolediseme kroom laimet lolor ʔopfëm forgoom chuʔpo mippo.
victim-GEN defense-PL entirely lose-PART (T) ubeer 3sS-4sO kiss-IRR, then-AND push-IRR 3s-GEN abnormal-ADV long tongue down-to victim-GEN throat choke-PART die-PART

Ne fotdo geelen nery laimet fuchpo ʔopfëm kozt8 neck zeerme ne sachdo.
3sS go-IRR use-INF its tongue suck-PART victim-GEN brain which alone-ADV 3sS eat-IRR

Though it is skilled with sword and dagger, it prefers to seduce rather than attack. It assumes the appearance of a member of the opposite sex (though there are homosexual ʔubeers), speaking lightly and flatteringly. Its aim is to be invited to the victim's private lodgings; it is careful that third parties do not observe them. Once alone, the victim is undressed, and sometimes sex occurs. When the victim's defenses are entirely lost, the ubeer gives them a kiss, and pushes its abnormally long tongue down the victim's throat, choking them to death. It then uses its tongue to suck out the victim's brain, which is all it consumes.

Ne snepno liss nery ʔutzemodys zendonick yoven ʔipme ʔelfotno— baʔpo ʔeltampo ʔopfëm bochy zemod.
3sS hide-IRR its any presence-GEN evidence then-AND silent-ADV leave-IRR, suffer-PART discover-INF victim-GEN horrible state

Meregut tinkor nenar lopdo, sood ʔubeer neʔem ʔentech krecken gaazick loll9; frett yoven ne ʔenze sigi yoven ne sauʔ vedno liss neck chemmer maukdo chemoren vuzor ne.
wealth-ACC (T) sometimes 3sS-4sO steal-IRR, because ubeer 3sS-3sO like-HAB stand-INF rich-ADV inside but then-AND 3sS be-HAB discreet then-AND 3sS never take-IRR any that-one which people can-IRR trace-INF back-TO 3s

It hides any evidence of its presence, then leaves silently, leaving the horrible state of the victim to be discovered. Sometimes valuables are stolen, since the ubeer likes to live richly; but it is discreet, and never takes anything that can be traced back to it.

Nery nool jeckmod ʔenze10 veez, neck naʔem ʔengedjat meet riid natack.
its great weak-NOM be-HAB water, which 4sS3sO affect-HAB like fire 4sS-us

ʔy bux flaid sooden ne sitrexno vott neck sittor nery kommer neckor nenar vondo ladpo koosen ʔy porrt veezys zynen mossno frind neck— veez nenar ʔaddo frind nery cretter, sood ʔubeeren tackyau ʔenlad vaumaten, ʔydjot yau ʔenkoos ʔutul boorsichunt.
a wise flaid (T) therefore he invite-HAB none to 3s-GEN lodging when 3sS4sO not-IRR see-PART drink-INF a glass water-GEN or wash with that - water (T) 3sS4sO give-IRR with 3s-GEN hand-PL, because ubeer-PL (T) we-them see-HAB fake-INF instead they-3sO drink-HAB pure alcohol-ACC

Its great weakness is water, which is like fire to you and me. A wise flaid, then, will invite no one to their lodgings without having seen them drink a glass of water, or wash with it— water given by one's own hands, since ubeers have been known to feign this, drinking pure alcohol instead.

ʔubeer ne ʔenvon mauken baʔpo bojpo frind niilen bellack; nery vricker lox forenvaar tim nennoz ʔeltaaten.
ʔubeer (T) 3sS not-HAB can-INF suffer-PART kill-PART with arrow-AND sword- its wound-PL only bleed-HAB some that-extent close-AND

Yauʔem ʔengedjat sauʔ riid furmoden.
they-3sO affect-HAB never fire heat-AND

Ne maukno baaʔen bojpo vunjiʔys sittyd taan, zynen seʔem bramno yaitchetet raulor nery jaddys ʔato forbufauʔpo yoven seʔem jordo nery testet frind chatchet.
3s can-IRR suffer-INF kill-PART drowning-GEN in-LOC ocean or you-3sO smear-IRR alum-ACC on-ALL its neck-GEN back for you-3sO immobilize then-AND you-3sO rub-IRR its body-ACC with lye

Neckit juydoni naʔem vonno bojpo, frett yoven nery test dorgeetno begailnen ʔy pun testet lox sittyd ʔy ʔeller joot.
this procedure (T) 4sS-3sO not-IRR kill-PART but then-AND 3s-GEN body out-burn-IRR reconstitute-AND a new body only in-LOC far place

An ubeer can't be killed with arrow or sword: its wounds only bleed a little and then close. It is immune to fire and heat. It can be killed by drowning in the ocean; or smear alum on the back of its neck to immobilize it, and then rub its body with lye; this will not kill it, but its body will burn off and it will reconstitute a new one in a faraway place.


1 The domain of the superlative is given as a topic. Where a topic/comment construction is used, the gloss separates them with (T).

2 Most of this passage is in the habitual— the tense used for 'timeless' narratives, for which we use the present.

3 The formula 3sS-4sO in the glosses should be read "third person singular subject pronoun / fourth person singular object pronoun"; fourth person being the obviative (alternative) pronoun set. Simple English glosses would be misleading, as English indicates gender in the 3s and cannot express the fourth person.

4 An instance of Flaidish's unusual if verb. Instead of saying "If he lives...", flaids say "He ifs to live..."

5 For vividness, the writer switches from general facts about ʔubeers, using the habitual tense, to an imagined particular incident, using the irrealis.

6 Normally an explicit subject becomes third person ne; but ne was used for the ʔubeer in the topic. The introduced subject (ʔopfë 'the victim') therefore becomes fourth person na.

ʔ An example of a resultative idiom: groop 'look' is the basic action, ladbo 'seen' is the result— thus, 'look in order to see' = 'observe'.

8 A resultative with object: the syntax is that of the causative. "X uses Y to affect Z" can be seen as starting from "X uses [Y affects Z]", transforming it to "X uses Y-ACC affect-PART Z".

9 The separable verb lolkreck surrounds the object; compare English expressions like "look the word up".

10 The imagined incident is done, and we are talking in generalities again; the author therefore shifts back to the habitual.

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