Hara Grammar

$Revision: 1.1 $

The original motivations for Hara were some of the sound changes Vulgar Latin went through to become Occitan and the combined grammars of Chinese and various Creoles. As always, the result isn't quite what I expected. For example, some of the derivational processes were inspired by Georgian of all things...

Phonology and Phonotactics

The sound inventory of Hara is fairly simple (second column in X-SAMPA):

p    b    f    v    m         w         p b f v m    w
t    d              n   l               t d     n  l
k    g                     h            k g         h
s    z    x    j        r     y         s z S Z    r j

The consonants are all pronounced in the continental fashion (unaspirated stops, truly dental t, d, n and l). The vowel system is a bit more complex. The first group is in Hara orthography, the second in X-SAMPA:

 ú u    a     i í         u: U    a     I i:
    ó o   e é                o: O   E e:
    ao     ae                aw       aj
    eo     oe                Ew       Oj

Though the so-called long and short varieties of the vowels do differ by quality, the quantity does matter. Pronounce the long vowels long.

Word construction constraints:

Phonotactics and Stem Forms.

The biggest change that occurs is in stems that end in -k, -t and -p. No word is allowed to end in a voiceless stop that way, so these all resolve to vowel sounds, or s, in various situations:

The situation for -t will always be quite simple, but the y and w of the other two present themselves in different guises depending on the preceding stem vowel (where '#' means "end of the word"):

The Short Stem. The stem form that results from these changes is known as the short stem, which acts as the default non-modified form of the verb, as well as the verbal noun. The short stem changes occur word finally, too. For example, lat- to hear, occurs as las in short stem form, in such statements as né las I hear or las rí sao hearing is knowledge.

Word stems that are phonetically legal in their base form do not have a separate short stem.

The -tú Stem. The short stem form is also the base from which the so-called -tú form is created. Sometimes the ending is actually -sú or even -yao, but these are all added to the short-stem. The -tú form produces the object adjective, or passive participle, of a verb form: lat- + -tú > lastú, heard. If the stem ends in -m, that will turn into an -n before the suffix: kem- + tú > kentú

The -sú version is used when the stem already contains a dental stop, t or d. So, tak- + -tú > taesú.

The -yao version occurs when the short stem form ends in or . So, gop- > gú > gúyao.

The Stem. This form is has several uses. Formation of it is a bit odd, since Hara allows both consonant and vowel final root stems. There are a number of irregular stem forms, but the default rules cover most cases:

Exceptions. Here's the list of stems with anomalous stem forms.

Stem Short stem stem -tú stem
sae sae - -

Elision of il/in and is. The negative particle il/in and the 3.sg.m. pronoun is will lose the initial i- when following a vowel. The remaining consonant, however, becomes syllablic to compensate. For example, *né il sao I don't know will be written né'l sao and pronounced thus (where l represents syllablic 'l'): ne:l saw. Another example: *ae is sao does he know is written ae's sao and is pronounces rather like ajss saw, where the syllabic s may sound more like a geminate.

Dissimilation of il. The negative particle il becomes in before words starting with l and r. The elision of the initial vowel remains the same, so né'n lal sapí I didn't know.

Grammar Overview

While there has already been some talk of verbs and nouns, in reality the difference between word types in Hara is quite minimal, and many words readily shift type - if they can really be said to have any type at all. Many words will be given conventionally as infinitives, and these are indeed most often found used as verbs. But don't let that mislead you.

In general, syntactic relationships are indicated by various particles rather than case markings. Word order handles some of that, too. Topic-comment construction is frequent, sometimes with anaphora. The verb is modified by helping pre-verbs, though the verb form itself is subject to several changes in form depending on context. There is a modest classifier system. Derivation is generally handled by compounding, but there is a small set of infixes for certain basic derivations as well.

Nouns and Pronouns

The form of nouns is invariant. The plural can be indicated with the particle ni before the noun, but this is rarely used.


When counted or made definite, nouns must be indexed with a classifier particle, which will be suffixed to the counting or deictic word, generally sounded unaccented even if long.

For example,


Notice that the classifier is written with a hyphen suffixed to the number in this case. With a demonstrative, such as ón that/those, the same thing happens:


Finally, the classifier is used on its own after transitive verbs to indicate a definite direct object, like the English word "the:"

Iseea man

compared with this...


See the syntax section for further examples, and for details on classifier omission.

Pronouns. The standard set:

Singlular Plural
1. naol
2. ende sanel
he is yeris
she pa pal
s/he beze erbel
it ke ni ke

The epicene pronoun, beze, is used whenever the gender is unknown or specifically irrelevant. Otherwise the he, she, it distinction is often much as in English. There are, however, a number of features of the natural world, mostly landscape, which take a particular gender. These will be noted as necessary.

Grammatically, the pronouns are treated the same as nouns. As a consequence other words regularly grammaticalize into pronouns, leaving a hefty set of polite, intimate, rude and respectful pronouns to choose from. Most of these are 1.sg. and mixed 2.sg and 3.sg.. There is often a lot of fuzziness about the latter bunch, and most of these can be used as either second or third person. Only context will tell which meaning is preferred.

Verbs and Adjectives

Though there is a lot of flexibility in the actual type of any given root, once it starts acting as a verb it is subject to various stem modifications.

The form of the main verb is used whenever the verb is modified by what was originally another verb. This includes tense and aspect markers and some adverbs of quantity. It is also used to form the imperative.

Pro-verbs. Hara tense is indicated by using a set of particles in front of the main verb. These were all originally verbs themselves once, so these are all followed by the form of the main verb. Here are the tense markers:

Notice that there is no indication of the present tense. This is the default, and the short stem is used for that. Some examples:

né sao I know
né ú sapí I knew
né sae takí I am seeing

The progressive marker, sae, may be used with other tenses particles. It will not change form: né ú sae takí I was seeing. That is, these particles do not themselves have separate forms. Only the main verb will be so marked.

Modals. The various modal verbs also cause the main verb to take the while they, as a rule, do not when modifying another verb. When used alone, they will take the form.

So compare pa sim vakí she wants to go with pa yú sim vakí she wanted to go. Or, this small dialog (note the forms):

Is ú gú vakí sír ilí. He had to go (to) home.
Is vade'l ú simí. He really didn't want (to).
(Is) ú gopí de. Well, he had to.

In the first sentence, since the modified verb is present, the modal occurs in the short stem form, , even though it itself follows a tense pre-verb. In the second sentence, the modified verb is omitted, so the form which the past marker requires moves back to the modal, leaving simí. In the final sentence, once again, the modal is left without an explicit verb, so we're left with gopí followed by the assertive particle de.

Perfect. The perfect is indicated with the particle bae (short form of bak- arrive) which follows the main verb in the form. So, pa takí bae's she has seen him; né vo vakí bae I will have gone.

Stating State. Words of state, adjectives, locations, etc. require the pro-verb sae (notice the same word indicates the progressive). Thus, *karim akén is not the correct way to say (the) book is blue, rather say karim sae akén.

Similarly, the object or passive adjective form of verbs, the -tú for also requires sae, as in for example, karim sae taesú the book is seen.

Comparative and superlative are both indicated by adverbs preceding the adjective they go with, nem more and dya most. The comparator is introduced with ara: so, is sae nem lax ara né he is more strong than I; or is ú sae dya lax he was strongest. The negative comparisons, fao less and dya fao least work the same: né sae dya fao lax I am least strong.

Sae is also used to indicate location, both as the locative preposition (see below) but also to make simple statements, such as pa yú sae ilí she was at home.

Identity. The copula verb is . It is used only to express identity, such as is rí vonye he is (a/my) friend. The copula is also used in a particular emphatic construction, explained at [ADD LINK].


There are two basic classes of particles: those that go with noun phrases, and those that go with entire clauses. Many precede the phrase they go with, but some follow.

Noun Phrase Particles. These are the particles that link nouns with other nouns or which indicate the syntactic role of a noun phrase.

Clause Particles. These modify or alter the grammar of entire phrases. Some are a little tricky, leaving the full explanation for the syntax section. Here is the list, though:


There are three parts to a prepositional phrase in Hara, though sometimes the last one may drop. The noun or adverb is preceded by a directional word, either sae (location at), sír (motion to) and ara (motion from). Sometimes this is sufficient. To specify the actual location more precisely the noun or adverb will be followed by a location word, listed below.

So, for example:

ara ilí fan from inside the house
sae né haon (at) above me
is arú sae ilí he sleeps at home

Notice in the last sentence that the location word is omitted, since context makes the meaning clear.


There are three vocabulary producing processes in Hara. The most common approach is by compounding. Phonetic reduction occurs in some cases, so that mae person is reduced to me when used used in compounds, arúme sleeper. The second derivation process is by infixes. There is a fairly small set of these, though they are common. Finally, some words are borrowed into Hara from Vaior, though with changes in phonology. For example, Vaior carme book becomes karim in Hara.

Infixes. All infixes occur after the first vowel of the stem.

Finally, three are a few derivations which combine a prefix or suffix with an infix:

Note the distinction between the negating and the opposite affixes:

fente to be fresh
omfelinte to be stale
felenterin to be unfresh

Common Compounding Clements. In the list below, S stands for the short form of a verb stem.

The Vaior Element. The phonological systems of these two languages don't exactly match, so Vaior words undergo various changes when imported into Hara.


The basic word order of Hara is SVO, with modifiers preceding modified. Here are some formulas:

The subject pronoun is very often omitted when it can be inferred. If someone asks a question, a simple, il sao is usually sufficient when you don't know the answer.


ad : for (benefactive, purposive)
 adbe - why (precedes verb chain)
 ady - therefore (precedes verb chain)
ajan : south
ara : from (preposition); than (comparisons); by (passive agent)
ar : to sleep (arw)
akn : (to be) blue
babe : dad
bahem : father
bak- : arrive (follows verb in - form to indicate perfect)
b : what
biya : who
das : north
de : (sentence final, assertive, assentive, mild emphatic)
des : below
e : (generic classifier; 'we' after vowels)
dam- : to know (a person)
edé : (fruit and nut bearing plant classifier)
g : that/those (near you)
ende : you (standard level)
erbel : they (m.+f.)
éx : (insect classifier)
fae : s/he (sub)
fan : in, inside
fao : less
far : do, make
fax : east
fente : fresh
gende : to lock
gí : (no-food producing tree and woody shrub classifier)
gop- : (gú, gopí) must, have to 
haon : above
h : also (identifies additional member of a set; ofte reduces to
     unaccented '' after a consonant)
hiyu : more
h : (generic human classifier)
il : no, not (becomes 'l after vowel)
il : home, house
m : this/these (near me, us)
in : (dissimilation form of il before l, r)
is : he (general; becomes 's after vowel, though not always)
jae : (respectful human classifier)
jó : fire
lat- : to hear
lax : strong 
lús : (historical past)
kala : 
karim : book
kaodu : much, a lot, very
ke : it
kem : to hit, strike
k : three
kipi : (classifier for non-starchy vegetables)
koya : (general animal, spider, wasp classifier)
kyar : healthy, in good spirits/health (Ae kyar... how are you?)
mahem : mother
mak- : to give
mame : mom
mar : there
me : (indirect object preposition)
mae : person; human
naol : we
n : I (standard level)
nej : (classifier, domesticated, non-food animals)
ni : (plural prefix)
oe : one
oge : also, furthermore, additionally
ke : outside, out
n : that/those (near 3rd party)
pa : she (standard level)
pal : they (f.)
pes : (bird and bat classifier)
pyar : woman
r : to be (copula; identity)
sae : to be (location, state; progressive proverb; no separate - form)
sl : where
seo : (scholar/-ship classifier)
sam : (body of water classifier)
sanel : you.pl.
sap- : know (facts, knowledge)
sey : man
sidil : to be slow
sim : to want
sr : toward, to
soe : thing, matter, affair
tak- : see
ts : to be fast
toe : west
vade : true/real; to be true/real
vak- : to go
veo-/vow : say
veos : fish
v : (topic particle)
vo : (future preverb)
vonye : friend
wa : (verbal) "with; and", accompanying
we : (generic classifier; 'e' after consonants)
wel : (classifier for starchy vegetables, legumes, grain; breads)
xar : (classifier for domesticated food animal)
xíme : wind
xin : (building classifier)
yam : mountain
yal : sun
yeris : they (m.)
yl : here

NOTES on vocabulary.

* h vs. oge.
  * Use 'h' when the subject is being added to a list.
  * Use 'oge' when additional information is being stated.