Grammar, Syntax, Boring Stuff

Language

10/1/15 As you’ve noticed, this project has taken a serious backseat.  Since the Tohaa book rewrite was announced earlier this year, I decided to hold off development of this language, as I’d like it to be as in-sync as possible with whatever Tohaa tidbits Corvus Belli shares.

General syntax is essentially Latin-based:

SUBJECT • VERB • ADVERB • ADJECTIVE(S) • DIRECT OBJECT

A subject or direct object is capitalized.  Direct objects are never capitalized, unless it is a proper name or a important concept.

For example, “you stab me” is written, «Vol wohear Maa».  But “you stab me with a trident” is written, «Vol wohear Maa ilos aoo waarsoon».

 

―NOUNS & ADJECTIVES

Nouns and descriptive nouns follow a semi-Germanic structure.  A noun is (usually) preceded by its modifiers of adjectives, nouns or other words.  If transliterated to English, the subject “a red apple” would be therefore be written “a Redapple”.  The Haavaars word for “homeland”, therefore would be «Aronrun», «aron» (home) + «run» (land).

A maximum of two modifiers may attach to a parent noun.  Additional modifiers may be attached, but are always separated by an apostrophe.  For example, “beautiful, majestic, wild horse” would be written «noh’holdlulharaal».  This apostrophe is generally not pronounced except in the case of a glottal stop (see below).

Generally, the more important a modifier is to its parent noun, the closer it is written or spoken by that noun.  If a boy was gushing in front of a pretty girl, he might stammer that she’s smart, before getting to his real point―that she’s pretty.  “Smart pretty girl”, in this case, would be written «nanokeael».

 

A plural noun is as simple as adding «-m» or «-iem» to the end of any noun.  If the noun ends in a vowel, add «-m» to the end.  If the noun ends in a consonant, add «-iem» to the end.  For example, the plural of “animal”, «ecluu», is «ecluum».  The plural of “person”, «tokal», is «tokaliem».

A noun can also be created from a verb, by adding the suffix «-ul».  This suffix attaches directly to the end of the infinitive form, and replaces the «-r» at the end of the verb.  For exapmle, ““I have a dream” could be written, «Maa acluor aoloul”, where «aolor» + «-ul» becomes «aoloul».

A adjective can also be created from a verb, by adding the suffix «-rom».  For example, “You are murderous” could be written, «Vol ar wohrom».

 

―ADVERBS

An adverb (a word to modify a verb, how quickly or slowly or anything-ly the subject is doing a thing) is created simply by adding the suffix «-ree» to the end of an adjective.  For example, “slowly” is written «desuuree», «desuu» + «-ree».

An adverb that is modifying a verb is always the first word to follow that verb in a sentence.  For example, “I actually trust him” is written «Vol dadar corahree rol».

A few irregular adverbs exist, noted in the vocabulary list below.

 

―PRESENT TENSE

The present tense is the most common tense in Haavaars, as most of the time that Tohaa are speaking Haavaars, it is about a present subject.

Gerunds―that is, words that end in “-ing” like “fighting” and “rolling”, are actually well-loved in English, but not as common in other languages.  In Haavaars, they’re nonexistent, or perhaps everywhere.  Everything in the present tense functions as present progressive:  This is to say, everything is talked about so quickly that any verb in the present tense is presumed to be a gerund.

If someone called you up in Haavaars to ask you where you were, and you responded, “I drive”, they’d understand that you’re driving right now.

 

―IMPERATIVE TENSE

The imperative tense is used to say that a thing must be done.  In English, saying “Someone must take out the trash” is declarative―that’s to say, you are simply stating what you know or observe.  The imperative tense tells the subject that they must do it, and looks like this:  “Take out the trash!”

In Haavaars, the imperative tense can only be directed to the self, to you, to y’all, or to we.  To create the imperative tense, connect the subject pronoun to the verb, and drop the «-r» (if any) at the end of the verb.  For example, telling someone “play with me” would be written «Voldada ilos Maa».

The stress of the pronunciation always falls on the second syllable of the word, or the first syllable of the parent verb:  The emphasis in the pronunciation of «voldada» falls on the middle syllable, «-da-», which is the first syllable of the verb «dadar», “play”.

 

―PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

The present perfect tense reflects an action, instant or event that that has been recently completed, and is otherwise ceased but has continuing relevance.  It is the “have verbed” tense of Haavaars.  The present perfect is used to say, “I have eaten”, instead of “I’m eating”, which reflects a current state; or “I ate”, which reflects more passed time.

To create the present perfect tense, add the word already («ia») and to be («ar») after the verb.  For example, saying “You fought me” would be written «Vol ocar ia ar Maa».

Pronouncing this quickly is not uncommon, and the Haavaars present perfect tense often comes out sounding like “yar”.

 

―PAST PROGRESSIVE TENSE

The past progressive tense refers to an action that was continuing to happen, but that that action occurred before the time being considered.  Instead of “I am helping,” the past progressive says, “I was helping”.

To create the past progressive tense, end the verb with «-elar». If the verb is a regular verb ending in «-ar», «-ir», or «-or», delete the «-r» and replace with «-elar».  For example, the sentence “She was working” would be written «Ael croloelar».

If the verb is an irregular verb, which does not end in «-ar», «-ir», or «-or», add «-ielar».  For example, the sentence “She was asking”  would be written «Ael zahielar», «zah» + «-iel».

In Haavaars, the past progressive may also reflect an imperfect tense, where «Ael croloelar» says both “She was working” and “She used to work.”

 

―PAST PERFECT TENSE

The pluperfect, or past perfect, tense refers to an action completed .  While the past progressieve tense says, “I was helping”, the past progressive says, “I had helped”.

To create the past perfect tense, add the word already («ia») and was/were («ael») after the verb.  For example, the sentence “He was asking you” would be written «Rol ia ael zoh vol».

Similar to the present perfect, pronouncing this quickly is not uncommon, and the Haavaars past perfect tense often comes out sounding like “yale”.

 

―PRETERITE TENSE

The preterite tense is the general default tense of a past action that.  Instead of saying “I used to help,” “I was helping” or “I’d helped,” the preterite tense simply expresses, “I helped.”

To create the present tense, end the verb with «-el» or «-iel».  If the verb is a regular verb ending in «-ar», «-ir», or «-or», delete the «-r» and replace with «-el».  For example, the sentence “I played” would be written «Maa dadael», «dadar» – «-r» + «-el».

If the verb is an irregular verb that does not end in «-ar», «-ir», or «-or», add «-iel».  For example, the sentence “It existed” would be written «Kal tohiel», «toh» + «-iel».

 

―ORTHOGRAPHY

  • Double letters are never allowed except in the case of vowels.  If a word is combined such that two consonants abut, omit the extra consonant.  For example, “handsome man” would be written «noharol»; «noh» + «harol».
  • If any combined word is colliding consonants, such that it might change how the consonants are pronounced, add an apostrophe.  For example, “stupid man” would be written «goos’harol»; «goos» + «harol».  This apostrophe is for the convenience of a Western reader, and is neither pronounced nor written in the Havaars script.
  • If any combined word is colliding vowels, especially such that it might change how it is pronounced, add an apostrophe.  This apostrophe creates what is called a glottal stop, and should be pronounced.  A glottal stop is a sort of not-sound you can hear when a cockney person says “li’ol”, instead of “little”, or the way Americans often say “at”, as in “Where you a’!”.

 

As far as a complete pronunciation guide goes, I haven’t really worked one out yet.  Both a and aa seem to be pronounced the same way, although I like the idea that it might be the difference might be in the neighborhood of the difference between “toll” and “talk”.  E should be pronounced like a Spanish e, like “ay” or “ey”, but lightly, as in “fillet”.  R, when sandwiched between vowels, should have a very slight trill, pronounced with the soft d sound, as in “attic” but softer.  H should be pronounced somewhere between an English h and a German kh, or like the Spanish j.  H should sound forcefully airy, like a jet sound, but not hard, scratchy or gargly.  A solitary u seems like it might be pronounced like a schwa or “uh” sound, as in “under” or “button”.  Uu and oo are pronounced the same, and if a u should certainly be pronounced like that I will note it with a diaeresis, like so:  ü

Whether by Corahtaa, or Haavaars, Tohaa love to talk, and will do so until becomes inappropriate or until they run out of things to talk about.  There are no periods, only commas.

 

«Maa aolo dae Vol saipai ivee»

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