The Pages of The Gray Wizard


ámman îar
Littlest Conlanger

forendar - an early sketch


forendar is descended from the same protolanguage (vulanayal) as amman iar.

forendar will be basically agglutinative like amman iar, but unlike amman iar almost exclusively suffixing. The unmarked word order will continue to be SV/AOV, but considerable deviation will be possible in forendar. There will be clearly defined classes of noun, adjective, locational and temporal qualifiers, speech-act pronouns, deictic, verb, adverb, particle and interjection. Definite deictics which also will have some of the functions of 3rd person pronouns, will not vary for number but will involve a 3-term spatial system, proximal, distal and indefinite.

There will be 9 cases for nouns, adjectives, pronouns and deictics (absolutive, ergative, instrumental, dative, purposive, causal, locative, allative, and ablative).  Locational and temporal qualifiers will take a limited subset of these. There will be a number of pre-inflectional affixes that can precede case inflections with nouns and adjectives; these will include genitive and comitative.

Pronouns will inflect in an accusative paradigm, deictics with human referents will have a trilateral inflection, nouns will show an ergative pattern. There will also be a semantic continuum from human nouns, through animates to inanimates that will condition some as yet to be defined grammatical choices.

Verbs will show a 2-term tense system (past vs non-past). There will be 2 conjugations, characterized by linking morphemes between the verb stem and the affix. Subclasses of transitive and intransitive verbs will correlate with these conjugations, but there will be exceptions.

There will be 3 types of subordinate clause, each marked with a verbal inflection, that correspond to the 3 kinds of peripheral syntactic NP (dative, purposive and causal), which in turn parallel the 3 kinds of locative NP (locative, allative and ablative).

Sentence modification will be achieved partly through a set of non-inflecting particles (marking negation, completion, reflexive, etc.) and partly through post-inflectional affixes that can be added to any word class with meanings like 'now', 'still', etc.

Nominal morphology

A nominal word in forendar must involve a root and a case inflection. Between the root and the inflection can come one or more derivational affixes (including genitive, comitative, privative, et. al. More about these later.) Finally a word can be augmented by one of a set of post-inflectional affixes (more about these later as well).

Case inflections

Inflections on nominals in forendar can be divided into local cases (those that indicate position or motion) and syntactic cases. The latter can be split into core cases (inflections on the obligatory arguments of the predicate) and oblique cases (marking optional non-local arguments).

The full set of cases is as follows:

core syntactic  
absolutive -
ergative -r
oblique syntactic local
instrumental -l    
dative -nd locative -l
purposive -g allative -l
causal -m ablative -m

Note that instrumental, locative and allative fall together as do causal and ablative. There are however separate stems for locational qualifiers and/or deictics for these cases providing morphological justification for the distinctions.

The table of cases is organized as above with oblique and seemingly corresponding local cases because of semantic correspondences that I will explore later.

Absolutive - marks S- and P-function arguments;

The Absolutive case is used for nouns in S-function to an intransitive predicate.

Ergative - marks A-function arguments (with a human, animate or inanimate agent);

Instrumental - refers to an instrument with which an action is performed; refers to the material out of which something is made;

Dative - marks the IO of a intransitive; marks syntactic extensions to transitive and intransitive predicates;

Purposive - marks a syntactic extension, but whereas dative marks a passive involvement with the predicate, purposive implies that the referent will take an active role in the ensuing discourse;

Causal - marks some person or thing which is the cause of a state or action referred to by the predicate;

Locative - indicates a position of rest; can be used to mark an underlying inanimate P-function argument in a derived antipassive;

Allative - indicate motion towards some place or thing;

Ablative - indicates motion from a place or object;

Derivational Affixes

forendar has several essentially derivational affixes that take the full set of case inflections. Each nominal must involve a root and a case ending.  Between the root and the inflection we can have any of the derivational affixes described below.

Genitive -no The genitive affix forms a stem that functions as an adjective and must agree with the head noun which it qualifies.

  This dog belongs to my wife.
     nedh huna vestileno
nedh -0   huna -0   vestile -no  -0  .
this -ABS dog  -ABS wife    -GEN -ABS.
  [My] wife's dog bit me.
     hunar vestilenor nei camasses
huna -r   vestile -no  -r   ne -i   camass -es  .
dog  :ERG wife    :GEN :ERG me :ACC bite   :PAST.

Comitative -sa Like the genitive, the comitative affix forms a stem that functions as an adjective and must agree with the head noun which it qualifies.

  The woman with the dog saw me.
     medhar analer hunasar nei henes
medh -r   anale -r   huna -sa    -r   ne -i   hen -es  .
that :ERG woman :ERG dog  :COMIT :ERG me :ACC see :PAST.

Privative -lu

  The man who has no dog hit me.
     nei adhnar hunalur bannes
ne -i   adhna -r   huna -lu   -r   bann -es  .
me :ACC man   :ERG dog  :PRIV :ERG hit  :PAST.

??? -li [Note: I do not currently have a good name for this affix. It essentially means "with a lot of...".]

  This place has a lot of dogs.
     nedh hadha hunanli
nedh -0   hadha -0   huna -n    -li     -0  .
this :ABS place :ABS dog  :PLUR :LOT-OF :ABS.

??? -ha [Note: I do not currently have a good name for this affix. It essentially means "pertaining to or belonging to...".]

  The three people from that place are going.
     medhalha nelde nor
medh  -l   -ha     -0   nelde -0   nor -0   .
there :LOC :BELONG :ABS three :ABS go  :PRES.

??? -nu [Note: I do not currently have a good name for this affix. It essentially means "only, all...".]

  All (Only) the women are eating rice.
     analennur silmilni mass
anale -n    -nu       -r   silmilni -0   mass -0   .
woman :PLUR :ALL/ONLY :ERG rice     :ABS eat  :PRES.

??? -ta [Note: I do not currently have a good name for this affix. It essentially means "another...".]

 I saw another dog.
ne hunata henes
ne -0   huna -ta      -0   hen -es  .
I  :NOM dog  :ANOTHER :ABS see :PAST.

Genitive, comitative and privative can mark a complete NP. In such cases the complete NP functions very much like an adjective.

  This dog belongs to the old man.
     nedh huna adhnano onesseno
nedh -0   huna -0   adhna -no  -0   onesse -no  -0  .
this :ABS dog  :ABS man   :GEN :ABS old    :GEN :ABS.
 I am going with three dogs.
 ne hunansi neldesi nor
ne -0   huna -n    -si    -0   nelde -si    -0   nor -0   .
I  :ABS dog  :PLUR :COMIT :ABS three :COMIT :ABS go  :PRES.

Genitive can be followed be a comitative.

  That child is coming with the woman's dog.
     medh nesse zul hunasi analenosi
medh -0   nesse -o   zul  -0    huna -si    -0   anale -no  -si    -0  .
that :ABS child :ABS come :PRES dof  :COMIT :ABS woman :GEN :COMIT :ABS.

I have not yet explored the semantic possibility of other combinations.


Plurals are formed in forendar with the suffix -n which immediately follows the root.

  These dogs belong to my wives.
     nedh hunan vestilenno
nedh -0   huna -n   -0   vestile -n   -no  -0  .
this -ABS dog  -PLU -ABS wife    -PLU -GEN -ABS.
  [My] wive's dogs bit me.
     hunanir vestilennor nei camasses
huna -n    -r   vestile -n    -no  -r   ne -i   camass -es  .
dog  :PLUR :ERG wife    :PLUR :GEN :ERG me :ACC bite   :PAST.