Saturday, February 12, 2005

Lán: Verbs

About time, I think. Had another lovely weekend brunch today; they actually gave us protein today, unfortunately it was tofu and burned bacon. My sister called me today, giving me a random incentive to update - and now I've located all the notes I had on verb conjugation, and so I might as well add something about that.

Also, I finished Kadish today, and discovered that it was actually pronounced Kay-dish. Yeesh, D'ni seems to have spelling conventions that rival English ones in terms of lack of logic. Anyway, it was a good age, right up there with Amateria. On to language stuff....

As with the nouns, here's an order for the various morphemes that go into making a verb in Lán:

tense + root + person + number


Verb roots can be related to noun roots, but in terms of their structure, they're pretty different. Noun roots can't ever begin with a vowel, since beginning vowels indicate gender - verb roots always begin with a vowel, except for the verb "to be" but that's pretty universally an exception to most rules, so we'll ignore that for now.

Some verb roots:

ýðr (from ðrý)
étél (live)
éxén (know)

I've got a ton more, but I'm on the wrong operating system and can't open the file now. Will get back to that later.

Anyway, roots don't have to begin with a long vowel, just the ones I can remember right off the top of my head all do. As with ýðr, you can see that if you want to change a noun root into a verb root, you just move the main vowel in the root onto the front of it, and remove any final vowels. In this case, the final vowel was the main root vowel as well. Verb roots can't end with vowels. If a noun root has more than one vowel because of suffixes, the operative vowel here is the first one.


Tense in Lán is a funny beast. Normally, you'd expect there to be a past, a present, a future, some subjunctive tenses, some perfect tenses, etc. But in Lán, there are exactly three tenses, no subjective mood, or perfect system. Why? Because when I was inventing this, I was only just jumping headfirst into learning Latin verb tenses, and I swore a blood feud against verb tenses for the rest of eternity. Perhaps sometime I'll make a language with proper tenses, but for the meantime I am going to revel in my almost-tenseless verb system.

Three tenses, you say? She must mean the past, the present, and the future. Oh ho, oh no. I'm probably diving into the Sapir-Whorf camp pretty heavily here, but the tenses in Lán are actually:

1. Now.
2. Not now, but relevant.
3. Irrelevant.

Basically, it's like this. If you want to say, I am going to the store right now, as we speak, that is tense #1. If you say, I went to the store yesterday (and therefore there is milk in the fridge today), or I will go to the store tomorrow (and there will be milk tomorrow), than that is tense #2 - not immediately relevant, but relevant in some way to the present time. If you were telling a story, the date of which you have forgotten, or imagining a hypothetical occurance, or telling an urban legend or a wives tale, you would use tense #3 - it has no relevance at all to the present time.

Simple, right? No need to worry about mood, or completion, or whether constructions like "I am going to" are present or future - just those three degrees of relevancy.

To make it even more simple, the verb "to be" (root x) does not even have a tense at all. If you are something, you are something forever. Well.... not quite. But I will get into the philosophy and constructions regarding that in a bit (not in this post though).

The actual way to form these tenses is like so - attach the following to the front of the verb:

1. av-
2. eš-
3. yx-


Person and Number

Verbs have morphemes for person, but not gender. The person morpheme is affixed after the root, are are as follows:

First: -ek
Second: -yt
Third: -aš

As you might expect from the plural nouns, the plurals of these are the same, with the final vowel fricativized:

First: -ex
Second: -yð
Third: -až

This leaves us with:

And then there's the conjugation of "to be". Like I said, it doesn't change for tense, only for person and number. So it's pretty easy to remember:

I am: xek
You are: xyt
He is: xaš
We are: xex
Y'all are: xyð
They are: xaž

That's about what there is for verbs right now. I like it generally at the moment, but I think I am going to have to add a lot of idioms and metaphors to deal with the lack of tense, mood, and aspect - on the other hand, that should be fun. And now verb conjugation is easy peasy.


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