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Vaior Grammar - Algia Vaiori

This is the first language I have created that began its life in an electronic format. My normal habit, starting in the 5th grade and lasting until quite recently, was to devote a notebook to collecting my thoughts on a new language. Using a computer is, not surprisingly, rather an easier way to go about doing this. One side effect appears to be that I'm more willing to decorate a language with irregularities when they can be added, not with a mess of crossed out sections and arrows on a page, but liberal use of the delete key.

The original goal was a smooth, light and somewhat over-refined phonology to match the similarly over-refined nature how I expect the language to be used. I'm all for decadent, effete art. :) What has resulted is a little different than intended or expected, and to me seems like some bizarre phonetic creole of Latin, Elvish-clones and maybe some obscure, dead Turkish dialect, with a grammar pilfered from Inuit (yes, it's in there), Finnish (a deep esthetic appeal) and Classical Greek (also a deep love of mine).

Phonology

Consonants
p       b       f       v       m
t       d       th              n       l
c       g       ch                              h
s               rh                      r

Th is as in English or Arabic. Ch is like the German ach-laut, never the ich-laut. A single r is a rather retroflex flap; written double, rr, it is rolled. C is hard (/k/ as in "king") always. Rh can be pronounced as a voiceless version of r at the beginning of a word, but is generally pronounced like a deeply retroflex English sh.

Prevocalic i is a /j/ (Eng. 'y') and prevocalic u is a /w/. Both are somewhat more affricate than in English, such that between two vowels, i in, for example, eien, borders on the sound of a 'j' in French (as in meaSure), or how a Costa Rican speaker of Spanish pronounces 'll.'

When you get a cluster of vowels with i and u both occurring next to each other, work backwards to dermine whether you should interpret them as vowels or semivowels. So, luio is pronounced /'lu:-jo/.


Vowels



         i       a       u
             e       o
            ai       au

Since i and u are used to represent a palatal and a labial glide respectively, these may both be written with an accent to inhibit that interpretation. See the notes in the Morphophonemics section.


Morphophonemics and Word Construction



The unit of word construction is the syllable. So, any legal syllable may follow any other legal syllables. Legal syllables:

Notes:

Rules of accent:

/'li:-e/ is written líe and /lje/ is lie. Be careful to correctly accent words like oríAuo, which is /o-ri:-'ja-wo/ and not /o-'ri:-ja-wo/ (*oríauo). The accent marker indicates a change in pronunciation, not the movement of the actual word accent/stress. [It is entirely possible that this notation is a mistake, and I should have used a dieresis and spelled líe as *lië but I didn't because whenever I see ü I want to pronounce it as in German, and I'm not going to change it now.]

If for some reason accent markers aren't available, í and ú may be written as ii and uu respectively. So, liie for líe and uueriiu for úeríu.

Illegal vowel clusters are generally broken with an h though some morphemes may have other preferred ways of doing that. The vowel clusters ao, oa (oai, oau), oe, ea (eai, eau) and, more rarely, ae may all occur without an intervening h. Different speakers have different preferences, however, and many will not tolerate *ae, using ahe as expected. Note, though, that oa is never turned into *oha, though at morpheme boundries ohai and ohau may occur. In writing spell the form you would speak. This is the only spelling creativity Vaior allows.

Illegal consonant clusters are generally broken with a, though a few morphemes have unique remedies which will be noted as necessary (v. formation of the plural in a consonant stem).

Since ei is not technically a diphthong, a word ending in -ei accents the -ei.

Adjective/Stative Verb Stem modifications. There are a number of stative verb stems which can be used as adjectives but which violate the world-ending rules of Vaior. Various changes may take place when the stem is used as a modifier. Stems ending in two consonants will in general suffix an -a. Stems ending in -c will change that to -ch, those in -p become -f. Stems in -t may become either -th or -n. Stems ending in single voiced consonants are fairly rare, but -b becomes -f, -d becomes -n, or sometimes -a is added, and final -g disappears altogether, the only example of which is SIUG (siu) yellow. These stem changes will be noted in the vocabularies as necessary:

CULD (culda)
v.st. heavy
RAC (rach)
v.st. low

Note, though, that these altered forms only occur in the nominative singular. All other forms will involve the addition of a vowel which will allow the original form of the stem to be used. So, for a somewhat odd example: ilo nal rach there is the/a low stone, but tuaro va nalan racan I see the low stone.


Stress Accent and Sentence Pitch



As implied in the section above, Vaior uses stress rather than pitch accent. However, using the correct pitch contour of a sentence is important to sounding more fluent in the language.

Unemphatic statements follow a basic pitch curve starting neutral, rising slightly to an important word near the middle to end of the statement, then dropping back to the neutral pitch.

             ......
.........---/      \....

Tharo na nume eien orian.

A superordinate clause will follow the standard pitch curve, but will raise the pitch even further before the subordninate clause, which will start the standard curve over. Very often the accented syllable of last word of the superordinate clause will take the entire glide up to the new pitch, especially when that word is a pronoun:

      /         ....
...../   ....../    \....

orai na, ar lu paio tanna.

Questions which use the correlative question words (tha, thare, wh- words, in English) do not alter the standard pitch curve of a sentence.

Yes-no questions, introduced by han take the standard pitch curve, but han itself is pronounced with a high to netral glide, often quite pronounced if the speaker is agitated.

Emphasized words, whether moved to the head of a phrase or not, in addition to having the stressed syllable pronounced louder, have a high-dropping tone, just like han. This may sound alarming to American speakers of English, who might also find it a bit rude.

Morphology

Roots



The primitive roots of the language are mono- and disyllabic words. They fall into two general classes, nominal and verbal roots. This last class includes a great many stative verbs which generate most adjectives.

There are a few basic derivational suffixes which it's appropriate to mention here. First, to turn a noun root into and adjective, suffix -o. So nal (rock) gives nalo, rocky, rocklike. To turn an adjective into a noun (-ness, the quality of X), suffix -is: CIR (red) becomes ciris redness. This suffix can also be added to nouns with the same significance, so nalis, rockiness.

There are many ways to make nouns from a verb root, but the two most common are -e which represents the act or activity of the verb (TUAR - see, tuare - sight, seeing) and -ia which is the result of the verb, or the thing most commonly the object of the verb (tuaria - a sight, sights).

Finally, note that some roots may, by themselves, break the phonemic rules of the language. For example, the dictionary form of the verb to smell is PAND. However, since this word never occurs without some suffix, generally starting with a vowel, e.g., pando - present tense or pandia - odor, there is no violation of those rules.


Nouns and Adjectives



Nouns and adjectives agree in number and case, which will account for the sometimes surprising distance a noun-adjective pair sometimes have between them in elevated speech.

Plural The plural is indicated by suffixing -r to vowel stems and -ir to consonant stems. The declension is attached after the plural marker is added.

Cases. Keeping in mind that illegal consonant clusters are broken with a, the declension for all nouns and adjectives is quite regular:

Case Ending
Nominatve -
Accusative -n
Genitive -i
Dative -ste
Locative -ss(e)
Ablative -ll(e)
Benefactive -nte
Instrumental-ul, but -vul for vowel stems

Notes:

Consonant stems, such as nal rock take a nominative plural like nalir. When, however, a case marker is added, the -i- disappears and the case marker is added, using the euphonic -a- as necessary. So, the gen.pl is nalri, not *naliri; similarly, the locative plural is nalrasse.

The locative and ablative forms generally drop the final vowel if the following word begins in with a vowel, but may do so anyway when the next word starts with a consonant, too. Note that the accent stays put when the final -e drops since all these endings are double consonants. They get their full form at the end of an utterance.

Since ei is not technically a diphthong, a word like tuarei will sound /twa-'rej/, with the accent seeming to be final. Technically, it is tua-RE-i, but the e and i glide together very easily.

For the genitive, words ending in -u are written thus: lartúi /lar-'tu-i/ not *lartui /'lar-twi/. Words ending in -i in the genitive are written thus: . This pulls the accent to the end of the word, as noted in the rules of accent listed in the phonology section. If the word ends in -o, the genitive becomes -hi, aldovei ulmaithohi of an inhuman house.

In a number of idioms and set, stereotyped phrases the euphonic vowel for the accusative (-n), the ablative (-lle) and the benefactive (-nte) is not -a- but instead -e-. So, latiaren for thank you is really the acc.pl. of latia.

For many speakers the helping vowel for the accusative, ablative and benefective is always -e- after dentals, liquids, nasals - t, th, d, l, r, m, n - and the semivowels u, i. So, enen for the more correct enan, nante rhonente for nante rhonante.


Pronouns



Personal pronouns are declined like nouns.

va - I
au inna, uinna I (formal, abstract)
mir - we (excl.)
vachir - we (incl.)
sa - you
essa - you (intim.)
sir - you
na - s/he
etta - s/he (intim.)
nir - they (animate)
en - it ir - they (inanimate)
inna - one, nonspecific 3rd person pronoun

Notes:

The 3rd person forms are also used as weak demonstrative or emphatic definite article:

en nal this stone
nir rhonir the very men

It is also used as a nominalizer of attribute words and phrases. See here

Using essa with someone is the pronomial equivalent of proposing marriage. It is not used in public except when with close friends in an informal setting. One may use etta more freely of someone you would refer to as essa directly. Both are a bit old-fashioned and overuse, especially in public, might be considered sarcastic.

inna is used as a generic pronoun for making generalizations, much like English one in sentences such as one does not spit on the floor. Take care to distinguish this use, where in modern American English you're likely to say "you don't spit on the floor", from a sentence like one believes so in which the pronoun one is acting rather like a distant or formal first person pronoun. In these cases au inna, uinna (this one) is used: laurho uinna víal one believes so.

The adjective tanna same is used in subordinate and primary clauses to refer to a third person subject of the sentence: tuaro na tannan he sees himself. (See also, though, the reflexive marker in the section on verb voice: tuareio na he sees himself).

There are no separate possesive forms (my, your, etc.). Genitives are used instead:

nal vai my stone
carme siri your(pl) book
aldoverasse niri in their houses
Piono na carmen tannai he reads his (own) book
Piono na carmen nai s/he reads his/her (someone else's) book

If the possessor may be inferred from context, then there is no need to include it explicitly: anlerai mir enan aldoven we entered the/our house.

As in many languages, the personal pronouns are not generally stressed in normal speech. Subject pronouns following verbs, especially, are generally pronounced with no stress accent. Not surprisingly, accenting a subject pronoun as a separate word gives it emphasis.

Pronomial Adjectives. In addition to the pronouns above, and the correlatives in the next section, there are a few adjectives which may also stand alone and act as pronouns. Like the correlatives, they generally precede the nouns they modify and are very often used with the specifying na/en. When used with other pronouns they follow (i.e., sa nume - you alone, only you).

Note the somewhat irregular adverbial forms.

Examples:

Piono va naien carmen landu. I never read such a book.
Tamir rhonir! So many men!
So au thaie maith? What sort of person is this?
Tharo na nume eien orian. He alone understands this language.
Ilo carmer tamir airu, pionu va tamran. As many books as there are now, so many shall I read.



Correlatives



These are mostly regular, but not entirely. Those which deviate from the regular pattern are italicized.


person thing place time manner, degree reason
this au ie viare vildu víal viuhen
that (mid) asu ase hare - - -
that (dist) nu, annu ne, enne nare naldu níal niuhen
that (out of sight) erda eren
that (beyond some barrier) olna olen
which (question) tha the thare thaldu thíal thiuhen
which (relative) thía thíe thire thildu thíal thiuhen
any, some aitha aithe aithare aithaldu aithíal aithiuhen
all, every cúa cúe cure culdu cíal cuhen
no lul, lula, *la líe lure laldu, landu líal luhen

Notes:

The h- form, or middle, demonstratives refer to things near the person spoken to, or at a medium distance. The n- forms are for distant objects.

The "any, some" forms are simply the question forms prefixed with ai-.

The landu form of "never" is strongly prefered to laldu which is used mostly by the same sort of people who decide "often" is pronounced "off-ten" once they see how it's spelled.

The old negative form *la is almost never seen any longer. The longer forms lul and lula are less likely to be mistaken for na.

The location forms (viare, hare, etc.) may take the three case endings used to indicate motion, so viaren - hither (to here), viarelle - hence (from here). In general the simple form does duty for the locative, though you can say viaresse for emphasis. (See the syntax section for more detail on this use of the cases.)

The longer forms, annu and enne are originally slightly stronger forms of those demonstratives, used when it was necessary to distinguish them from the pronoun usage of na and en, which were originally the shorter form. These have subsequently developed into the independent forms nu and ne, leaving na/en to act as pronouns and the weak demonstratives/definite articles. Nu is more commonly used but since ne is easily confused with en, the longer form enne is more often used.

The additional demonstratives, erda/eren and olna/olen are typically used for emphasis. Talking about something beyond a wall does not require the use of olen unless the speaker wishes to emphasize the distance, which may well be metaphorical rather than spatial.

The declension of au is a touch irregular:

au, a auir
an, aien auran
ai auri
auste auraste
ausse aurasse
aulle, aielle auralle
aunte, aiente aurante
avul aurul

The au form of the nominative singular is preferred before words beginning with a vowel and a before words beginning with a consonant. The au form is also used when for the independent pronoun: so au rhon this is a man.

The aie- forms of the singular accusative, ablative and benefactive are equally common as the shorter forms; in some speakers they are the preferred form. In analogy with these forms, there are a few alternate forms of the demonstrative ie:

ie ier, eier
ien, eien ieran
iei ieri
ieste ieraste
iesse ierasse
ielle, eielle ieralle
iente, eiente ierante
ievul ierul

Speakers prone to using aien will also prefer eien to ien. Note that there is also an alternative nominative plural form here, eier.

Dialect Note: Some people (mostly urban) have started to take the base stem of ie to be eie-, and the base of au to be aie-. This innovation is increasingly popular. The forms above are most correct, but the eie-/aie- forms are now acceptable in even most formal settings.

Anaphora and Cataphora. Any correlative may be made anaphoric, that is, made to refer to something previously mentioned, by prefixing it with i-, or í- before vowels. So, ina tath (that/the woman, the one we're talking about), or more definitely, íannu tath. Note that í- + ie becomes simply íe. To refer specifically to something not yet mentioned, typically something about to be, prefix the correlative with alti-, or altí before vowels (again, altí- + ie is altíe):

Ach evarai na altivíal, "lu leru va aithu." And he said thus (this way), "I will not go away."

So, i- points back and alti- points forward. There is no need to use these if the context doesn't require such precision, but the alti- form is fairly common in reporting speech or narrating a sequence of events.

Please see also Binding Ambiguity and Anaphora.


Numerals, Date & Time



Numbers. Vaior numerals are a simple base-ten system. There are a few peculiarities in the teens, and in the formation of a few of the ordinals.

cardinal, ordinal
0 - sifar
1 - har, hatto (hatt- in compounds)
2 - tin, rhattinn (rhatt- in compunds)
3 - san, sanio
4 - al, alio
5 - ser, serio
6 - pam, pamio
7 - cen, cenio
8 - fur, furio
9 - rith, ri occasionally, in counting; rio
10 - auta, autio
11 - atarr, atario
12 - atinn, atinio
13 - aussann, aussanio
14 - atall, atalio
15 - auta-ser (accent like autAser); auta-serio
16 - auta-pam, auta-pamio, etc.,
20 - tinde, tindeio
21 - tinde har, tinde hatto
25 - tinde ser, tinde serio
30 - sande, sandeio
40 - alde, aldeio
50 - serde, serdeio
60 - pambe, pambeio
70 - cende, cendeio
80 - furde, furdeio
90 - rinde, rindeio
100 - main, mainio
200 - tin main
273 - tin main cende san
1000 - piul
2000 - tin piulir
10000 - auta piulir
100000 - main piulir
1000000 - aio
2000000 - tin aior

Notes:

First, 10-14 are irregular.

Cardinal numerals do not agree in number with the noun they modify, ordinals do. Both agree in case.

Fractions are formed by suffixing -sin to the cardinal number, except half is rhassin and sixth is, by assimilation, pansin. So, sansin a third, alsin a fourth. In compounds, -har is -hassin, so tinde hassin a twentyfirst.

Calendar. Early Vaior is full of calendrical considerations. Several calendars were used, often all at the same time, and new calendars were adopted regularly with people publishing list upon list of calculations relating one calendar system to another, often in quite fantastic ways. The calendrical fad eventually settled down, and while the standard European system is generally used now for most purposes, some people like to keep track of dates according to some other calendar systems that appeal to them, the tindarinn, discussed below, being by far the most common date cycle still in regular use.

Several of the Vaior month names break the phonological rules of the language, since they are borrowed. The calendar they come from is actually a Julian variety, but it now follows the standard C.E. system we're all familiar with. There are also month names related to the Latin calendar now common all over the world.

January Tobi Ianuarr
February Mechir Faurarr
March Baramhath Marse
April Baramuda Aurill
May Pachon Mai, gen. Maiei
June Paoni Iuni
July Epef Iuli
August Mesori Auste
September Thut Setemre
October Paopi Otomre
November Athor Novemre
December Choiach Decemre

When giving a specific day of the month, give the month name in the genitive followed by the ordinal number day: Baramudai serio April fifth.

The days of the week are simply numbers with the suffix -din (from sun), with monday the start of the week: monday is hardin, tindin is tuesday, and sunday is cendin. Note that saturday is pandin not *pamdin.

"Weekday" and "weekend" don't have exact translations into Vaior, with dalvidin work day dalviardin workless day (anomalous derivation) doing basically the same job.

Time. Except for some of the day cycles, the vocabulary is about what you'd expect:

Ages are typically marked by compounding an ordinal stem with a time word, with the genitive of the thing being aged: serdininne vini the fifth year of the child, hattadininne nei carmei the first year of that book.

When stating an age of a person there are two idioms, both using RETH to have with the number of years:

Retho va dininniren sande tin I am 32 years, I have 32 years.
Retho va sande tin ol I am 32.

The ideas of "next" and "last" are indicated with simple prefixes meaning "coming" and "gone." The unit before and the unit after also have prefixes. Laid out with an example, as well as the words related to "day" which are a bit irregular:

-2 rhasler- rhaslermahinn month before last rhaslervinu day before yesterday
-1 ler- lermahinn last month lervinu yesterday
0 - ie mahinn this month avinu, apinu today
+1 tal- talmahinn next month tavinu tomorrow
+2 hontal- hontalmahinn month after next hontavinu day after tomorrow

For the non-day words, of course use the correct case to mark the nature of the time relationship.

Clock time. True to its suffix-adoring nature, Vaior times are formed by suffixes to the appropriate numbers. The hour suffix, -raiu, is clearly related from raide, but the one for minutes, -fu, is of obscure ancestry. Both of these suffixes refuse the euphonic -a-, which means that some of the number words are abbreviated to give legal Vaior words. Here is the list of the first 14 hours and minutes to show the irregularities (Vaior perfers a 24hr clock):

  1. harraiu, harfu
  2. tinraiu, tinfu
  3. sanraiu; sanfu, samfu
  4. alraiu, alfu
  5. serraiu, serfu
  6. pamraiu, pamfu
  7. cenraiu, cenfu
  8. furraiu, furfu
  9. rithraiu, rifu/rithfu
  10. autaraiu, autafu
  11. atarraiu, atarfu
  12. atinraiu, atinfu
  13. aussanraiu, aussanfu
  14. atalraiu, atalfu

The Tindarinn Cycle. This is the oldest of the linked day-cycle systems that have nothing whatsoever to do with lunar or yearly cycles. Originally a liturgical cycle, the ancient form fell out of use when the standard week of seven days was adopted. It was originally regarded as three linked day cycles, one of 3, one of 7 and one of 5 days. Once the seven day week was adopted from another calendar, the inner cycle of seven days dropped out, leaving a cycle of 15 days in each tindarinn.

Etymologically, tindarinn is almost certainly derived from the word number 21, tinde har, the number of days in the original inner two cycles. Each day of the three day cycle, the sumbe (< sum - ambe ?*), has its own name: ich, niei and sum. The days of five day cycle, the aunge, are simply numbered, except for the fifth day, which is also called aunge. Here are the days of a single tindarinn cycle, with a few historical and cultural notes:

  1. Har Ich - a bad day to start something new
  2. Tin Niei
  3. San Sum - regarded generally as a very auspcious day
  4. Al Ich
  5. Aunge Niei
  6. Har Sum
  7. Tin Ich
  8. San Niei - used to be a fast day (no meat, no alcohol, no fish and no smoking); better restaurants will still observe this, more as a testament to culinary skill than to piety
  9. Al Sum
  10. Aunge Ich
  11. Har Niei - a day balanced between auspicious and inauspicious influences
  12. Tin Sum
  13. San Ich
  14. Al Niei - regarded generally as a very inauspcious day
  15. Aunge Sum - but this day is an excellent day to start things

September 17th, 2001 is a Har Ich day.

The tindarinn days are commonly abbreviated with the aunge digit, or A. for the fifth day, followed by the first letter of the sumbe. So, the first five days of the tindarinn are 1.i., 2.n., 3.s., 4.i., A.n.

Each of the days of the 7 day cycle of the original tindarinn had its own name. Some people still name the days of the week after them (starting on monday), but mostly these are used instead of "A, B, C" for naming groups, teams, elevator shafts, etc. As is common, the name of the last day in the cycle, aiminiu, is also the name of the full cycle.

  1. disiu
  2. miniu
  3. perhu
  4. limmu
  5. silgu
  6. chasiu
  7. aiminiu

In addition to the tindarinn, there are several other cycles in use, some with their own day names and some simply named by number, most mixing numbers and names for particular days, like the aunge. A complete catalog of such cycles covering the history and cultural significance of each cycle, as well as each cycle day, would take several volumes, and that would only include the cycles publicly available. A great many organizations may operate by private or even secret calendar systems. Most of these other cycles are typically used with either the full tindarinn, the sumbe or, occasionally, the aunge cycle.

Writing out a full date may get fairly complex. For example, September 24, 2001 is Setemrei 24io, 4.s. 2m. 8m/s. 4L-ri.

Please see this page to look up the current date in various cycles.


Adverbs and Prepositions



Adverbs. Derived adverbs are simply formed: lop off any vowels and add -íal. Some primitive adverbs will similarly end in -l, and there are also a number which end take a final -u, such as andu (very) and síu (a bit), though both síal and andíal may be found in some poetry. A few stems mostly related to time may take both -u and -íal, and will have slightly different meanings, for example, lailu - at night and lailíal - nightly, night after night.

In multi-syllabic adverbs which end in -u it is not uncommon for a final -l to be suffixed at the end of phrases or before a word starting with a vowel. Some words do this more frequently, though, and are marked with '(l)' at the end in the lists below.

Prepositions. Prepositions involving movement generally govern the accusative to indicate motion toward, locative for location and the ablative for motion away from or out of. Everything else will typically take the genitive, but see the syntax section for more precise details.

Note that many of the adverbial forms of the prepositions (e.g. lerai va aith aldovei I went away from the house, compared to lerai va aithu I went away) are often somewhat irregular.

When used in compounds the prepositions take abbreviated forms of the adverbs where those exist. Basically, chop of the final -u and one of the doubled consonants if there are any. So, nurru- becomes nur- in compounds; cerru becomes cer-, as in ceralia tetrachord (through four). However, aithu is just aith-, as auvu is just auv-.

If a derivational marker is attached directly to a preposition - a fairly rare practice - again the adverbial form is used, this time by simply removing the final -u. So, lerromo lofty, very far up.

The adverbial forms ending in -u may also be used as nouns, with generally obvious meanings. These are almost always used with genitive nouns in relationship to the preposition being so used: lerru lasi top of a tree, achurru palnali proximity of the traveller. Normally these noun forms are used when the noun they refer to is omitted. Cinai va lasan. Auchai lerrusse I climbed a tree. It was cold up there (in-the-above). Note, though, that you would never say, *auchai lerrusse lasi but instead use the preposition normally, auchai les lasasse.

In older documents one may find a number of the prepositions with a suffixed -ri. In this case the word may be used either as a preposition or as an adverb:

anri aldovomen into the great house
anri lerai na he went in

Attested forms: anri, olri/orri, *auri (uncertain), urri, aithri, nurri, cerri, lorri, imri. It's not clear what, if any, difference in meaning there is between the suffixed and unsuffixed forms. More often than not, the -ri forms seem merely to scan better, though these forms are also quite common when setting up a contrast: lerai na anri aldoven, astia ta lerai aithri she went into the house but (her) friend went away.

Compound Conjunctions. Some of these prepositions combine with forms of ie to create a few temporal and logical compund conjunctions. In these situations ie will be found either in the accusative or the genitive case, with the latter more old-fashioned, the former more common:

ur iei leru va aithu after that I'll go away
ur eien leru va aithu after that I'll go away
auvi eien paiai va líen before this I knew nothing

These phrases often take ta. Here are some common compound conjunctions and connecting phrases:

Pseudo-prepositions. This is a class of words which act sort of like prepositions, but aren't really. They are not used to form compounds, for example, and nearly all require a syntax which differs sharply from that of the prepositions proper: nearly all govern the genitive, and they all follow the word they go with.

And, in a final twist, a number of the pseudo-prepositions are simply the adverbial form of the standard ones. For example, vai lennu means "up to me."

Note that some of these pseudo-prepositions are simply nouns made to look like they are primitive adverbs with the -u or -iu suffix.


Verbs



Verbs are built from verb stems. Though some verb stems have an intrinsically intransitive meaning, by far the majority have a transitive significance in their simplest form. Vaior is rich in verbal voice forms available: active, middle, passive, anti-passive, and inverse are all available.

Verb stems generally end in a consonant, but there are a substantial number which end in , which introduces a few vowel cluster problems in the future tense, but nothing too shocking.

The tense system is fairly simple, though there are a few peculiarities in some of the formations of the past (OR - speak, talk):

indicative imperative subjunctive optative participle infinitive
present or-o or-i or-orrh or-imm or-oth or-ol
past or-ai or-ati or-airrh or-atimm or-aith or-ail
future or-u or-úi or-urrh or-úimm or-uth or-ul

As noted in the morphophonemics section, when ú runs into certain vowels it undergo some changes. Here is the conjugation for deny for comparison. Changes from the paradigm of OR are emphasized:

indicative imperative subjunctive optative participle infinitive
present lú-o lú-i lú-orrh lú-imm lú-oth lú-ol
past lú-ai lú-ati lú-airrh lú-atimm lú-aith lú-ail
future lu-hu lu-húi lu-hurrh lu-húimm lu-huth lu-hul

Finally, derived adjectives ending in -o are actually stative verbs. This blends with the present conjugation pulling the accent to the end of the word for the present indicative only. So laso + o > lasó. For all other pairings, such as with the infinitive, use -h- as normal: lasohol.

Notes:

The participle form is at its most basic an adjective. It can be nominalized, though, with the use of na or en:

na oroth vaste - the one/man/woman talking to me

The infinitive is essentially an adverbial form which can be nominalized in some contexts. It is not generally inflected, but is in certain idioms found in a pseudo-ablative form -lle, notably in a usage similar to the (quite rare) Latin supine: vorh evarolle strange to say.

Evidence markers. In addition to the subjunctive and optative moods there are a few suffixes which may be attached to an indicative verb form to modify the speaker's feelings about the reality of the statement.

The use of these is not required. They are most frequent in more formal contexts, but are by no means rare in any context. In contexts where evidence integrity is particularly relevent (law, arguments of fact, arguments about evidence itself, scientific contexts, including logic and mathematics) it would be marked not to use these. It would be construed as either deliberately obstructionist or perhaps a little otherworldly. Overuse of -ch and -cha is rude or comical depending on the situation, but using them in a sentence where the subject is a first or second person pronoun is potentially incredibly rude, and non-native speakers should not use it without extensive experience with Vaior. Avoid -ch / -cha in formal speech.

The evidence markers are generally not used in translations from other languages into Vaior, with the regular exception of -rirh and sometimes -ch/-cha.

When a speaker wishes to make a shift into the formal mode of speach clear, she need merely start using the evidence markers in every available statement. Since the formal mode is most evident in greetings and leave-taking, this sudden increased use of the evidence markers is the most convenient way to shift to a formal mode mid-conversation.

Voice. There are five voices available in Vaior with two additional voice-like modifications of the stem. All but one are formed by simple suffixes to the base stem. To highlight the differences between consonant and stems, an example of each is given for each voice.

Active - or- lú-
Middle -i- ori- lui-
Reflexive/intransitive -ei- orei- lúei-
Passive -au- orau- lúau-
Anti-passive atha- athahor- athalú-
Inverse -ers- orers- lúers-
Obviative -íau- oríau- lúíau-

Notes:

A form like lúíauo is pronounced like /lu:-wi:-'ja-wo/ (loo-wee-YAH-wo).

All of these voice forms may be further modified by the various derivational suffixes. Thus it is possible to have a causative of both an active and a passive stem: tuarnin- (cause to see) and tuaraunin- (cause to be seen). See the section on derivational suffixes for more details.

The voice marker suffixes which end in a vowel will sometimes result in illegal vowel clusters. The future passive of the indicative, for example: *tuarauu. In these cases use h to avoid illegal clusters: tuarauhu.

Object adjective. In common usage, the passive, middle and obviative stem forms may take the participle and, rather more rarely, the infinitive endings directly to create tenseless but voiced words. So, las haudauth the bent tree, ie carme hienauth this purchased book, etc.


Particles



In some ways many of these particles act as adverbs. For example, they often follow the word or phrase to be emphasized. However, none of these show any derivation from other lexical items and rarely display the morphology associated with adverbs.

Notes: Sentences in which thach occur often end in úai to moderate the tone. By itself thach could be considered rude when speaking to any but close friends or colleagues with an informal working relationship.


Derivation and Compounds



Derivation. Vaior has a fairly complex set of derivational affixes. Not only does it have the full compliment of tools for turning nouns into adjectives, and for describing collections of objects (collectives), intrinsically large objects (augmentive), and so forth, but it also has a set of attitudinal markers, typically prefixes, which alter the meaning in subtle ways. For example, evaria is a "saying" but achrevaria is a saying such as bit of folk wisdom or a proverb. However, the implication of commonality achr- carries is tinged with a somewhat pejorative air. These attitudinal markers are quite frequent, and indeed the standard term for "proverb" is achrevaria but you should be aware of the additional implications these carry.

Many of these derivational suffixes will change the fundamental class of the word. For example, -radi-, "the study of," is basically a noun-producing affix. Something like -om-, the augmentive suffix, though, can sensibly be attached to many kinds of words, so has no effect on the word class. So, there are four basic kinds of suffixes:

In addition to these classes, any suffix may be listed as "final." This means it admits no further suffixing. For example, -ia is a final, substantive suffix.

The most imporant thing to keep in mind with these different kinds of suffixes is that they form nouns differently. With a verbal stem, you will almost always form the noun by suffixing -ia, but with a substantive stem you use -e. With a stem that is verbal either by nature or by suffix, the -e has a very specific meaning, namely "the act of doing the verb."

aldove + -om- > aldovome
TUAR + -om- > tuaromia means "a great sight" but...
tuarome is "a great seeing."

The transparent affixes don't change the class of the word it is attached to. So, a transparent affix attached to a verbal stem results in a verbal word.

Remember that a is used to break up illegal consonant clusters and that h breaks difficult vowel clusters.

The prefixes bind most tightly, and in general do not accumulate. Suffixes apply their meaning to the meaning of all preceding elements combined. The various verb voices also may be involved in a derivational process.

If one wishes to discuss the base meaning of one of these derivations, for example, -lande skill, you use the neutral stem as- to hold the suffix. Thus, aslande skill, asne female, assittal- to suddenly start. These forms aren't particularly common. However, taking one of these and then marking it with the generalizing suffix -ai- is used when discussing the suffixes in grammatical contexts. So, as-ne-haie the suffix -ne, and as-ilar-aie the suffix -ilar. A speaker will typically emphasize the suffix part of such a word, rather than the usual penulitmate accent.

A number of nouns end in a purely euphonic -e, such as mave door. In these cases the stem for any further changes is simply mav-. So, mavo would be doorlike not *maveho.

Lexical Derivation

Attitudinal Derivation

There are a few derivational suffixes whose meaning is quite primitive and which cannot really be considered productive any longer. That is, you'll see them in dictionary entries, but you can't use them yourself to create new words. These are used to make (generally subtle) alterations in the meaning of a stem, and to produce some nouns.

Vaior retains several derivational markers relating to matters of aristocracy and of the supernatural. Using these is always charged, and likely to cause problems if you over-use them.

Compounds. Due to the rich derivational morphology and syntax available, compounding of substantives is more restrained than in some languages. However, prepositions are quite often prefixed to verb stems, most frequently those having to do with motion, e.g., cerler- between-go, aithpaln- away-wander. The resulting verbs will govern objects in the appropriate cases for motion (accusative, locative or ablative) as though the preposition were governing the noun (or adverb) directly: anlerai na tath naren the woman entered (into) there.

Compounds have the base meaning of the word as the final element with the modifier the first element: chulnale black-stone (coal).

As usual, illegal consonant clusters are broken with a euphonic -a- except when the first element of the compound is a transitive, active verb, in which case -i- will be used: penthimile sleep-room; bedroom. This -i- is the most correct usage; it's slipping away in favor of always using -a-.

If a verb is the first element of the compound, it should take the appropriate voice markings if necessary: faunaumavo shut-door (this refers to obstructionist civil servants who are high-enough up to have doors to shut you out).

Form the base meaning of compound first with simple roots (or the correct verb form for the first element if appropriate) then apply the correct nominal, verbal or adjective suffixes. Compounds do not honor the basic type of the head of the compound. So, even though mil room is at its basic meaning a noun, when in compounds it must still be marked with a final -e when used as a noun, so penthimile. Derived words ending in -inn will not, however, take this -e. So, iasimhamrinn.

Just as you would not use nalatie just to refer to small stones, but instead pebbles, do not use compounds except to describe intrinsic relationships between the parts of the compounds: chulnale is not merely a black stone, but coal.

Compounds which describe a particular kind of thing or action (chulnale coal, a very particular type of rock) or which together describe something (faunaumavo a particular kind of person though that isn't in the compound itself, i.e. bahuvrihi compounds) are allowed in Vaior.

For the most part, other sorts of compounds (such as dvandva parent-teacher conference) are infrequent. The main exception are dvandvas which are sometimes used to cluster together related ideas. For example, nolgamundia generalizes sexual attraction, and súinlidia peace. These are fairly rare.

Some common compounding prefixes:

Existence Markers. Vaior has a set of prefixes which designate the existence or non-existence of of an object under consideration. These prefixes are ultimately derived from IL and NUCHAL so fairly sophisticated tense considerations come into play. There are two sets of prefixes, one set refering to existence relative to the speaker's present time and one set which refer to the time relative to the tense of the primary clause. Different prefixes are used for aninmate and inanimate nouns.

Relative to the speaker's current time:

Animate Inanimate
existence non-existence existence non-existence
past ili- (an)chali- ili- nuchi-
present ilio- (an)chalio- ilio- nuchio-
future iliu- (an)chaliu- iliu- nuchiu-

The animante non-existence forms may be either full, anchalio- or abbreviated chalio- as the speaker sees fit, with a slight preference for the full form:

Pionai va eien nuchiucarmen. I read this book (which will not exist).
Pionai va eien nuchiocarmen. I read this book (which does not exist).

Relative to the tense of the primary clause:

Animate Inanimate
existence non-existence existence non-existence
past uili- onchali- uili- onchi-
present uilio- onchalio- uilio- onchio-
future uiliu- onchaliu- uiliu- onchiu-
Pionai va eien onchiucarmen. I read this book (which would not exist).
* Pionai va eien onchiocarmen. I read this book (which did not exist at the time of reading - a strange thing to say).
Pionai va eien onchicarmen. I read this book (which did not exist prior to then).

Since all of the existence markers end in vowel, there is a strong preference to use a euphonic -h- before words beginning in a vowel: iliuhinthal a singer who will exist.

These prefixes merely situate an object under consideration in time. These do not change the meaning of the word in any other way, so don't use them to try to derive the word "adult" from "child:" iliuvin means "a child which will exist some point in the future" and nothing more.

Syntax

Base word order. The fundamental, basic word order in Vaior is Verb - Subject - Object(s). However, this should be considered a strong principal of word order, not a rule. Give the clear case endings, there is considerable flexibility in word order.

In general, modifiers follow the thing modified:

A word or phrase may be moved to the head of the sentence for emphasis, and to avoid binding ambiguity.

While in general adverbs follow verbs there is a strong preference to avoid separating a verb and its subject pronoun, especially with negation, so you would never say *oro lamíal va (I speak well), but instead oro va lamíal. However, oro lamíal tath (the woman speaks well) is just fine. In the case of negation you can say paio va lu (I don't know) but generally the negative adverb will precede the sentence, lu paio va. This tendency to avoid separating verb and subject is followed with subject nouns rather less frequently, but is especially common with negation.

Adverb groups. Adverbs and prepositional phrases may modify a sentence by specifying the manner, time or place something is happening. When several of these occur together in a sentence there is a prefered word order. For example, in English place generally precedes time, so "I went to the store yesterday" is fine but *"I went yesterday to the store" sounds a bit off, though you can also say "yesterday I went to the store." In Vaior, the preferred order is Manner - Time - Place/Direction. You can also move the time to the head of the sentence, but unlike English, this requires some extra syntax in Vaior. So:

Talu va alailu viaren. I will come here tonight

To move the time adverbial or prepositional phrase to the head of the sentence, move the phrase but put the conjunction ar before the sentence:

Alailu ar talu va viaren. I will come here tonight

This usage derives from an emphatic usage (i.e., "(it is) tonight (that) I will come") but is no longer emphatic in any way due to abbreviation. This form is never used in a dependent clause introduced by ar or one of its compounds.

Negation. Normally the negation lu not will follow the word to be emphasized. The most important exception to this is when negating an entire sentence, when, as mentioned earlier, lu will generally lead the sentence. Finding lu not at the head of the sentence emphasizes the negation of a particular word or phrase:

  1. lu lairho va niren I don't know them
  2. lairho va lu niren I don't know them
  3. lairho va niren lu I don't know them
  4. *lairho lu va niren I don't know them

Sentence (4) is a bit unusual since it separates the verb and the subject pronoun, which is normally avoided in Vaior. This strong verbal emphasis is the only time it's allowed.

Vaior negation words do not negate other negation words. That is, "I know nothing" can be lu paio va líen as well as the shorter paio va líen. You can even say lu paio va líen landu with the basic meaning "I never know anything." The change is in emphasis, so the simplest form, with a single negative, is most common in normal speech.


Attribution and Adjectives



There are several ways to specify an object's attributes. In Indo-european languages this is generally accomplished with relative clauses and adjectives. Vaior is much the same but the use of adjectives is a little unusual.

Base Adjectives. Adjectives are simply stative verbs. When modifying a noun in a noun phrase the stem can simply be treated as a traditional I-E adjective which must agree in number and case with the object it describes, so nalir chulir - black stones. (In reality, this is just a sort of sharply abbreviated relative clause.) However, in an attributive statement (The stone is black) the adjective reverts to the verbal form. So, chulo nal, never *so nal chul. In this attributive statement there is a tendency for the noun to head the sentence, nal chulo, though this order is never used when the subject is a pronoun.

Derived Adjectives. Derived adjectives are treated just as base adjectives. Note that those which end in vowels will insert an -h- before conjugations, except that the o + o combination becomes : ulpaió va rul ievul I'm ingorant about this; but ulpaiohu na he will be ingorant. Keep in mind the phonetic rules about the -oa- combination, though, for the past: ulpaioai is perfectly acceptable, as is ulpaiohai.

Comparatives and Superlatives. For simple nouns being compared, the ablative is used with the thing compared to: piono sa mielamíal valle you read better than I (do). When sentences or verbs are compared, olta introduces the thing compared to: oro na mielamíal, olta ercorho tanna he speaks better than he listens. The speaker may introduce a note of irritation or sarcasm by casting the olta clause in the subjunctive.

To state equality of quality, "as ADJ as X", use this: ADJ .. tamíal tul X-i. This phrase means basically "ADJ as-greatly like X." Note that the thing being equated to is in the genitive, since it follows tul: lamo ie carme tamíal tul asei this book is as good as that (one).

When comparing verb phrases or adverbs, the format is basically the same: ADV tul ar VERB. The only difference is that tamíal tul has been replaced with the phrase tul ar: rhithai ta Saival Auhal faríal tul ar aspovo then the North Wind blew as strongly as it could.

See this for using adjectives as commands.

Attributive Prepositional Phrases. Like English, Vaior allows you to use short prepositional phrases in the attributive position to modify a noun: rhon mus lasasse a man under a tree, cam len rauathasse a cup on a table. If you have adjectives modifying the noun, then that will go to the front of the noun: ie tais cam len rauathasse this small cup on the table.

Nominalization with en and na. These third person pronouns, in singular and plural, can be used with attributive words and phrases, omitting the noun. For example, maithir an adimasse people in the desert can be shortened to simply ir an adimasse those in the desert. This same construction can be used with attributive adjectives and genitives: so ie en vai this is mine; corhai va niran orsadiran I heard the drunk ones.


Uses of the Cases



Nominative. The nominative is the subject of sentences. It is also used after the vocative particle e in direct address.

Accusative. The accusative is used as the direct object of many verbs. It is also used to specify or focus the meaning of a descriptive word, usually an adjective. This is often best thought of in translationese as "with respect to:" a rhon fin urtheren this man fast (with respect to) feet. One can also say fido a rhon urtheren. This construction is sometimes called the "accusative of respect."

If the accusative is the direct object of a verb, then the accusative is used as the object of any of the noun forms. In most European languages this is done in the genitive (in English, "of", "'s"). For example in "the killing of deer is illegal" the object of the nominalized verb is "of deer" which acts as the genitive in English. In Vaior, you would instead simply say lu ceivinnó ramche lautan killing a deer is not legal.

Dative. The dative is used for the indirect object of verbs. It is used after the vocative particle e in letter salutations, and in swearing by gods.

Objects. The object of a verb may take a number of cases. In the most common situation, it will simply take the accusative for the direct object. However, an originally accusative direct object may be expressed in the instrumental, in which case the object is despecified a bit, and takes on an indefinite meaning:

Tuaro va nalan - I see a/the rock.
Tuaro va nalul - I see some rock.

If it is necessary to specify an instrument and an indefinite object, the instrument will come after the object or directly before or after the verb (generally before it if the subject is a pronoun, since separating the verb and subject pronoun is strongly avoided):

Tuaro va nalan autevul - I see a/the rock by eye.
Tuaro va nalul autevul - I see some rock by eye.
Autevul tuaro va nalul - By eye I see some rock. but...
Tuaro autevul rhon nalul - By eye a man sees some rock.

You may of course also say, tuaro va aithen nalan but in this case that it's a rock I'm seeing is still important, though I have unspecified which rock. In tuaro va nalul that I'm seeing is more important than the rock, though I'd still like to get the rock into the picture.

Motion without a Preposition. Although in indicating motion the accusative, locative and ablative are often used with prepositions, a word may stand in these cases ungoverned by a preposition when the meaning is clear:

Piono va aldovesse. I am reading (at) home.
Lerai na narelle He came from there..
Han talu sa viaren? Will you come (to) here?

Time. The accusative indicates the time at which something happened (lailan at/during the night) and the ablative indicates a duration, time within which (pinrall alalle for four days). The time since which something has happened is indicated with the preposition ol with the genitive for nouns: ol pinri ali since four days (ago). With adverbs, such as lervinu, there is no case marking: ol lervinu since yesterday. Time until something happens is indicated with an plus the accusative, an lailan until the evening. Again, no case marking for an adverb: an alailu until this evening. Time within which something happens is usually indicated with the ablative, but can be emphasized with ol with the ablative.

Approximate times are indicated with achur with the same case indications as above.

Prepositions. In prepositions of motion the accusative case indicates motion towards, the ablative motion from and the locative location:

Silhai na an aldovesse - He stood in the house.
Talo na ol aldovelle - He comes out of the house.
Leru sa an aldoven - You will go into the house.

Most other prepositions take the genitive, but a few take the instrumental, notably rul, regarding. Prepositions which take the genitive may sometimes take the instrumental when the speaker wishes to emphasize the prepositional relationship or the agency of the subject of the sentence, so lerai na aith aldovevul (she went away from the house) implies that the person leaving did so with intent or deliberation, but lerai na aith aldovei is simply a statement that she left.

Normally a preposition will precede the noun phrase it goes with. Rarely does a preposition follow, except in poetry, though imhi and cervi quite often follow even in prose and everyday speech. If, however, the noun phrase has two substantive elements (noun + adjective), then it's quite common for the preposition to go between: aldoven an achinan into an old house. In elevated language this can also happen with demonstratives: iess an suepiaresse in this shop.


Verbal Syntax



Tense. In primary clauses the use of the tenses corrosponds to actual time. Note that you say I'm going tomorrow always as leru va tavinu, never *lero va tavinu. If refering to the future, use the future tense.

In subordinate clauses the tense used is relative to the tense of the primary clause, where the past is used for things before, the future for things after and the present for things happening at the same time as the event in the superordinate clause.

Aspect. There are several ways to modify the aspect of a verb. First, there are a large set of derivational affixes which operate on aspect, such as -ittal- begin, etc. Temporal adverbs may modify the aspect in subtle ways. Finally, there are several particles which modify aspect. There are several sets of these which differ in their syntax. First, let's look at those which must immediately precede the verb:

The only time these do not directly precede the verb is when the clause is connected with ta, in which case the order is aspect particle + ta + verb.

The perfect indicates that the action was completed and that this completed state is still the case at the time indicated by the verb tense. So, the present perfect (ro fauno va maven) simply indicates I have closed the door without reference to when that happened, merely that the door is still closed at the moment. Ro faunai va maven means I had closed the door and depending on context may well mean "but it isn't closed now."

Finally, the experiential states that at the time indicated by the tense of the verb you have had the experience of doing the verb. So, Han ce piono sa eien carmen? means Have you read this book? but the emphasis is not on the completion of the action (English uses the perfect for this experiential meaning, too). A better example is Han ce tuaro sa carmen vai?, Have you seen my book? with the implication that it's being looked for. This might best be translated into English by putting "ever" before the verb, so, "have you ever seen my book?" although this forces a past implication in English which is not present in the Vaior sentence.

Both ro and ce may go with participles and infinitives.

In addition to moderating the tone of commands, the sentence particle úai can be used with a prospective meaning, "about to," pentho na úai she is about to sleep; lerai va aithu úai I was about to go away.. The future prospective is generally only used to describe something a speaker is trying to do but cannot due to repeated interruptions, and indicates frustration: Ravu va eien vendian úai! I was about to answer this question!. Often úai will move to the head of the sentence when marking the prospective.

The prospective is only used in main or independent clauses. Use the simple future in subordinate clauses, or use a future participle.

Voice. The several voices Vaior offers are not terribly complex. The active and passive work as in most languages: tuaro va I see, tuarauo va I am seen. The agent of the passive, if expressed, is in the ablative case: tuarauai va salle I was seen by you.

In the middle, the original object becomes the subject, like in the passive. Unlike the passive, the original subject is not ever mentioned, and is in fact irrelevant: tuario va *I see/am seen.

The reflexive simply marks the subject as also being the object of the verb. This is often used to make a transitive verb intransitive. Take care to distinguish this from the middle. For example:

Parvo va carmen. I move a book.
Parvio carme. A book moves.
Parveio va. I move (myself).
Parvio va. I move (by what agency isn't stated).

The reflexive is also used with transitive verbs, sometimes with pleonastic objects: ertuareiai nir ereldun they looked-at-each-other at each other. In theory, ertuareiai nir is sufficient and probably best. This usage appears to have developed out of some reflexives which take additional complementary or focusing objects. For example, ihinneio na she washes (herself) is quite frequently followed by more specific objects: ihinneio na hauran she washes (herself) her face.

Although the middle is generally only applied to transitive verb stems, there are a few intransitives which sometimes appear in the middle, generally in impersonal idioms which have no stated subject.

In the anti-passive the original subject is made much more important, and the original object may not be mentioned at all. If the original object is needed, it usually goes into the instrumental if it was originally in the accusative. So, compare: pionai va eien carmen I read this book to athapionai va ievul carmevul *it is I who read this book. This is case switch is related to the despecifying use of the instrumental in simple active sentences.

The anti-passive prefix with passive, middle or reflexive suffixes are found from time to time, forming anti-anti-passives, emphatic middles and emphatic reflexives: athapionauo ie carme it is this book which is read. This is fairly rare except for a few middle and reflexive forms which have become lexicalized, such as inlei-, for example.

The inverse simply switches the subject and object, so that the previous subject is now the object, the previous object now the subject: pionersai carme van the book is-read-by me (with no passive significance in Vaior). This is rarely used without both subject and object expressed, if only by implication.

Finally, the obviative is used where English often simply uses an intransitive form, to express how an object is being perceived, "I smell the flower" is a normal active verb, but in "the flower smells awful" the verb "smell" is an obviative: pando va eien I smell this and pandíauo ie valdíal this smells good. Where English uses an adjective, Vaior uses an adverb to qualify an obviative verb. Use of the obviative form is limited to verbs of perception: "see, hear, smell, touch, taste" and similar words. It can also be used with words like CIAM experience in ciamíauai ne rombia urvíal *"that party experienced badly."

Mood. The indicative mood is used in simple statements and questions. The imperative is used in giving or reporting commands. The subjunctive indicated various flavors of unreality, supposition or possibility, with the future subjuntive acting much like the conditional in English. The use of the subjuntive and optative is more restrained than in the classical languages (Latin and Greek).

Indicative. This is the mood used for simple statements and questions both direct and indirect. It is used in conditional sentences for generalizations and for conditionals when the reality of both clauses is known.

Imperative. In independent sentences the imperative is used only when giving commands in the second person: leri aithu! Go away!. If a command is given to several, include the pronoun sir: aithu leri sir! you all go away!. In indirect speech the imperative is used to report commands, regardless of person: evarai na niraste/vaste, ar leri aithu she told them/me to go away. If the person/people being commanded are stated in the primary clause there is no need to reiterate that in the indirect command. However, it is possible to recast the statement above as evarai na, ar leri nir/va aithu without changing the meaning.

Normally the imperative is used in the present form. However, in mixed conditions and in reports of commands, the other tenses of the imperative are used.

Subjunctive. This is used primarily in conditional sentences which are contrary to fact or which are supposition/hypothetical. In independent statements the subjunctive is used to indicate possibility: anthorrh ie this may be true. Finally, the subjunctive is sometimes used in deliberative questions and indect questions, making the question rhetorical or hypothtical: han anthorrh ie? might this be true? Or in, lu paio va, han anthorrh íe I don't know if this (just mentioned) might be true.

Optative. In independent sentences this is used to express a wish: anthimm ie May this be true. It is otherwise found in dependent purpose clauses, which will be explained in the section on complex sentences. Given the basic meaning of this mood, it will sometimes crop up in dependent clauses after statements of wish, desire, hope and anticipation: asaulo va, ar talúimm na apinu I hope that he will come today.

The Infinitive. The base significance of the infinitive is adverbial: it modifies the meaning of another verb. It is occasionally used to specify the meaning of an adjective, too: lam orol good at speaking. This specified usage is only used when the adjective is acting as a substantive modifier: corho va rhonan laman orol I hear the man good at speaking. He is good at speaking is simply oro na lamíal he speaks well.

The infinitive is sometimes found in a pseudo-ablative form which acts much like the Latin supine. It is only found with adjectives with the significance "ADJ to V" and acts as an adverbial phrase within a larger clause: varh evarolle, lu paio na eien strange to say, he doesn't understand this.

The Participle. The participle in Vaior is much more widely used than in English. Though perhaps not quite so frequently used as in classical Greek or Latin, it is widely used where other languages would use a relative clause: tuarai va rhonan pionothan carmen I saw the man reading a book.

In addition to the relative use of the participle, there are two main uses for it: temporal ("when; before; after") and concessive ("although").

Examples wanting.

Please see also Binding Ambiguity and Anaphora.

The participle is also quite frequently found in the instrumental absolute.

Anaphoric verb. The anaphoric verb AS- is only used otherwise as a neutral place-holder for discussing the grammar of Vaior. It is used when you wish to refer to a verb in answering a question, adding new information, etc. For example:

Han ce piono sa eien carmen? Have you read this book?
Seri, ce aso va. Yes, I have.

Paio va, tíar dauchandavauai en carme I understand that the book was found.
Seri, asai na lervinu Yes, it was yesterday.

Note that the tense, aspect markers and mood are inherited from the antecedent verb, but nothing else (derivational suffixes, voice) is.


Simple Sentences



Simple statements are discussed at the beginning of the syntax section.

Most sentences will have subjects. Those relating to weather and climate, however, do not: uto airu it's raining now.

Questions. A simple statement is made a question by prefixing the statement with han. There is no expectation about what the answer will be. Somewhat informally, han may be at the end of a sentence in which case a positive answer is exepected: ro fauno sa maven, han? you've shut the door, right? An expectation of a negative answer uses han lu at the end of a statement.

Question words do not necessarily alter the word order of a sentence. So, what are you doing will be iso sa then? though of course the question may be emphasized by bringing the to the head of the sentence with the particle ta: then ta iso sa? There is no need for han in a sentence which already has a question word. You may, however, load down a sentence with several question words: isai na then thaldu? what did she do when?

Commands. A simple command is simply given by using the imperative mood. A bare imperative, however, is fairly abrupt and will generally be moderated by using the particle úai or by adding a parenthetic mido va I request to the statement, or even both: silhi úai, mido va please remain (I request).

When giving commands of the 'be X' sort, the stative verb (adjective) generally takes the -an- become X affix. So, lu demani don't be(come) proud; or fadani úai be silent.

Requests. A polite request is typically stated in the optative with the particle úai, which may occur early in the sentence near the verb or after the subject, or may be the last word in the sentence: lerimm va úai I would like to go. You could translate this also as, "May I go?" but in Vaior such a request is not really a question but a statement of intent with an opening for comment by someone who might object.

Suggestions and Wishes. In English we use the conditional to express wishes, "I would like some coffee." In Vaior, this can either be cast as a request following the formula mentioned in the previous paragraph, but a past subjunctive, rarely with úai, can also be used: cauan conairrh va. This is used for polite suggestions as well, aithlerairrh vachir we should leave.


Complex Sentences



Conjunctions. Vaior has the standard complement of conjunctions. It also has a number of enclitic conjunctions to which it is quite partial. Enclitics are quite frequently the second element in a clause, but easily move to follow whatever word they logically go with. In connected Vaior very few sentences are not connected in some way to the preceding one. Especially for words such as ta, uri and min, it is often best not to translate them into English at all.

The use of uri... ta... requires some comment. By itself, ta is the standard word for a contrasting conjunction, "but." However, it's used more widely where an English speaker would use "and." It is often used to join sentences in a narrative. Both uri and ta are enclitic, that is, they have no accent of their own. They never begin a sentence, but typically follow the first word in a clause. Note particularly that the strong aversion to separating a verb and its subject pronoun is ignored with both: evarai ta nir líen (but they said nothing). If you wish to emphasize the subject pronoun, then this is acceptable: nir ta evarai líen (but they said nothing). It is, however, quite common to simply follow the words you are contrasting with uri/ta regardless of where they fall in the sentence: tuarai va uri nan, lerai sa ta aithu I saw him, but you had gone away. Often uri/ta will come between a demonstrative and the noun it modifies:

eien uri carmen pionai sa, ennen ta carmen aune vai You read this book but my sister (read) that book.

When a word or phrase is broken out of the normal word order and moved to the head of the sentence for emphasis, it is quite common for that word or phrase to take ta without necessarily implying a strong contrast. So, eien ta lu paio va I don't understand this.

The adverb me also, too behaves similarly to ta. It is not accented. It follows the word it modifies, and often the word or phrase it modifies is moved to the head of the sentence for a slight emphasis: va me ce piono eien carmen I too have read this book, or, eien me carmen ce piono va I have read this book also. Of course, you may also simply say ce piono va me eien carmen I also have read this book..

The meaning of the combination ta me contrasts slightly with either ta or me. In English, the word "also" really has two uses: 1) to add something to a list, "he went; I also went" or 2) to add futher information, "he went; he also went to the store." By itself, me usually refers to the first usage, but can be used for the second. However, ta me always has the sense of adding additional information:

lu paio va; lu na me paio I don't know; she also doesn't know
lu paio va; lu ta me paituvo va I don't know; I also don't want to know

Ri. In poetic language only there is another construction used to set up contrasts. It involves the use of the demonstrative pronouns followed particle ri in successive clauses. Basically, replacing both uri and ta with ri whenever demonstratives - and en/na - are used will give you the structure. So, rephrasing the sentence from the discussion on uri/ta above:

eien ri carmen pionai sa, ennen ri carmen aune vai

This particle will, again in poetic text, often replace the ta of the compound conjunctions, so auvi ri eien paiai va síen before this I knew little.

Ach. This conjunction is used primarily to connect lists of non-contrasting things: ilo ach lune ach lef there is both soup and bread. You could have something like ilo lune, lef ta me which means something like there's soup, but also bread. Ach is rarely used to connect sentences, but may be used when listing a collection of actions that happen to be going on and are somewhat independent: piono mama, ach pentho papa ach mado aune mom's reading, dad's sleeping and (my) sister's painting.. When the details of what is going on are important, you'll use something more like this: piono uri mama, pentho ta papa, mado ta aune..

The simplest complex sentences are simply complete and largely independent statements connected by the conjunctions ach, ta, ei/eia, etc. In these all the tenses of the clauses are relative to current time.

Tanna. In subordinate clauses, when a third person subject is the same as in the main clause use tanna to refer to the subject pronoun. Once a third person subject is introduced, tanna in all subordinate clauses refers to that subject. If there is no change in subject, the subject may be omitted from subordinate clauses: Pionai na eien carmen, ar paihimm lamíal He read this book in order that (he) might better understand. More examples:

Tuarai na tannan. She saw herself.
Tuarai na nan. She saw him.
Pionu na carmen tannai. He will read his (own) book.
Pionu na carmen nai. He will read her book.
Evarai na, tíar lu paio. He said (he himself) doesn't know.
Evarai na, tíar lu paio tanna. He said he (himself) doesn't know.
Evarai na, tíar lu paio na. She said he doesn't know.

Sequence of Tenses. There is one vitally important rule for the use of tenses complex sentences:

Once a tense is established in the primary clause, all other verb tenses are in realtion to that tense.

This use of tenses relative the tense of the main clause applies to all types of complex sentences, as well as particles and complement infinitives. This relative tense usage isn't terribly odd, really, but may be surprising to native speakers of English and a few other modern Indo-European languages.

Mood in subordinate clauses. The specific details of which mood to use in a subordinate clause are discussed in the sections below on the various clause types. Typically, though, the indicative is used to refer to real events, the subjunctive to refer to hypothetical situations and the optative in statements of desire, will or intent.

At various times stylists have played around with using the evidence markers in subordinate clauses, but these introduce numerous complications, especially in determining to whom the evidence marker actually refers. With little effort one can produce complex sentences which hover at the edge of the sort of total semantic breakdown that makes post-structuralists giddy. If you're trying to communcate actual information, rather than making some ironic comment on the limitations of language, it's best to avoid evidence markers in subordinate clauses in your own speech and writing.

Conditional Sentences. There are several sorts of conditional sentences. All of them use on at the beginning of the condition clause and aron at the beginning of the consequent. If the condition is in any mood but the indicative on may be omitted; aron is required.

Several of the conditional sentence types come in two flavors: general and hypothetical. The hypothetical versions may be considered "what-if" conditions in which the speaker is posing a situation for consideration, but isn't committing to the reality of either the condition or the consequent.

General Conditions. These are simple statements of cause and effect or habitual activities. Both clauses are in the indicative, past or present: on tisai, aron anlerai mir aldoven if it rained we entered our house. A hypothetical general condition takes the subjunctive in both clauses, which will be of the same tense.

Future Conditions. These come in two varieties: general and hypothetical. The general future condition is a simple statement of what will happen after some precondition is met, and both clauses are in the future indicative: on pionu sa eien carmen, aron paiu sa lamíal If you (will) read this book, then you will understand better. The general future condition may be considered an extension of the meaning of the general conditions discussed above. For the future hypothetical, the future subjunctive is used in both clauses: on pionurrh sa eien carmen, aron paiurrh sa lamíal If you were to read this book, you would understand better.

Past/Contrary to Fact Conditions. These are used when the condition was not fulfilled. So, "If you had read this, you would understand better." These have the unfulfilled condition in the past indicative (not necessarily the past perfect, as in English) and the consequent is in the present or future subjunctive: on pionai sa eien carmen, aron paiorrh lamíal If you had read this you would have understood better (then) versus on pionai sa eien carmen, aron paiurrh lamíal If you had read this you would understand better. Again, a condition may be made hypothetical by putting the condition clause into the past subjunctive.

Mixed Conditions. From time to time conditional types will be mixed, often to lend vividness to a discussion. However the most common sort of mixed condition is one where the antecedent is normal but the consequent is an imperative command, on mindu íe, aron telefonathúi vaste úai if this happens, telephone me. This is by far the commonest use of the future imperative form.

Relative clauses. These are essentially extended adjectives, and take the indicative: tuarai va rhonan, thía piono carmen I saw the man who was reading a book. Note that in the sentence above the relative heads the clause, with the verb immediately following. This word order is by no means required, and tuarai va rhonan, piono thía carmen is quite acceptable, too.

In fact, it is quite common to find the relative pronoun being used in a somewhat anaphoric sense refering to a matter in a previous sentence:

A: Han tuaro sa annun rhonan? Do you see that man?
B: Lu lairho va thían. I don't know him.

This use is most common when commenting on something and a contrast is necessary or if further description is required. If in the dialog above if A had asked B instead, han lairho sa annun rhonan the correct response would be either a simple lo or lu lairho va nan. In the dialog above, B is essentially saying "you mean that man I don't know?"

The usage for the relative forms of the other correlatives are used the same: lu uto, thiren lerai na it isn't raining where he went may be found also as lu uto, lerai na thiren.

Please see also Binding Ambiguity and Anaphora.

Relative Negative and "Every-" Correlatives. In addition to the relative pronouns and adverbs, the negative and universal correlatives may also act as relative pronouns in many situations. In reality, these are simply slight abbreviations of the fuller relative forms. When more complex relationships arise, the full forms are used. For example, the full form:

Tuaro va cúen, thíen na tuaro. I see everything which he sees.

In this sentence both cúe and thíe are in the same case. Since no confusion can arise here, the relative may be dropped, giving this:

Tuaro va cúen na tuaro. I see everything he sees.

This same process works with the negative pronouns:

Lu tharai va líen, thíen evaro na. I understood nothing which he was saying.
Lu tharai va líen evaro na. I understood nothing he was saying.

If, however, the case changes between the object pronoun and the relative the fuller form should be used:

Lu tharai va líen, rul thíevul evaro na. I understood nothing he was talking about.

An English sentence like "I see everyone singing" has a slight ambiguity. I could mean "I see everyone who is singing, but no one else" or it could mean "I see that everyone is singing." In the first case in Vaior you should always use a relative clause:

Tuaro va cúan, thía intho. I see everyone (who is) singing

In the second situation you're observing everyone engaged in a particular activity, and the participle is most used here:

Tuaro va cúan inthothan. I see everyone singing

Purpose clauses. In English, purpose clauses are often introduced with the phrase "in order to/that." In Vaior the conjunction ar is used followed by the optative mood: Pionai na eien carmen, ar paihimm tanna lamíal He read this book in order that he might better understand. If the speaker wishes to emphasis that the action in the purpose clause was actually accomplished, the conjection arta followed by indicative may be used: Pionai na eien carmen, arta paio tanna lamíal He read this book in order to better under stand (and he did so).

Result clauses. The basic meaning of result sentences is "A happened, with the result that B." For example, "he spoke so skillfully that everyone listened to him." Result clauses are indicated by ar followed by the indicative, so the sentence above in Vaior is orai na lamíal, ar ercorho cúa tannan spoke he skillfully, (so) that listen all (to) him.

Verbs of command and permission typically take result clauses if the order or prohibition were obeyed. Otherwise they take report clauses.

Report clauses. After verbs of showing, saying, believing, agreeing, perceiving, ordering and forbidding, use tíar + indicative (reminder: in informal language this may be shortened to just ti):

It is in report clauses that Vaior speakers are most tempted to use the evidence markers in a subordinate clause. This sort of thing is frowned on in modern usage, however. If the speaker wishes to distance himself from the reported statement, then the subjunctive may be used in the subordinate clause: corhai va, tíar pionairrh ennen carmen I heard that he had read that book..

Verbs of command, permission and prohibition will take report clauses in present and future tense. In the past, an order that wasn't followed will be cast in the subjunctive.

Thionu arseine tíar duerceio nir. The general will order that they stop (at the same time as the order).
Thiono arseine tíar duerceio nir. The general orders that they stop (now).
Thiono arseine tíar duerceiu nir. The general orders that they stop (soon).
Thionai arseine tíar duerceio nir. The general ordered that they stop (then). No idea of the command was followed.
Thionai arseine tíar duerceiorrh nir. The general ordered that they stop (then). The command was not followed.
Thionai arseine tíar duerceiurrh nir. The general ordered that they stop (soon). The command was not followed.
Thionai arseine ar duerceio nir. The general ordered that they stop (then). They did.

Some speakers, when talking about their own commands and prohibitions, will use will/desire clauses with the optative.

Statements of opinion and belief may take either the indicative or the subjunctive as the speaker sees fit. Negative statements of opinion very often take the subjunctive, however:

Durbo va tíar so na tethtuhe. I believe he is a twit
Lu durbo va tíar sorrh na tethtuhe I don't believe he's a twit.

Indirect questions are much like report clauses, and can use the indicative: lu paio va, tharen lerai na I don't know where she went. The subjunctive may be used to intensify the uncertainty of the question: lu paio va, tharen lerairrh na. Also, sottai va han anthorrh ie I wondered if this were true.

Will/desire clauses. There are two types of these clauses, one where the subject of the desire is the same as the subject of the action desired (I want to go) and one where the subjects of the two clauses are different (I want you to go). In the first case, simply use the infinitive, tuvo va lerol, or the derived verb, lertuvo va. In the second, use ar + indicative or optative. Using the optative is more emphatic, but adds a faint sense that the desire is likely to be unfulfilled: asaulo va, ar talúimm na alailu I hope that he will come tonight.

Consession clauses. These clauses are introduced with ollar and may take either the indicative, the subjunctive or even the optative as the sense requires, with the optative indicating a desire that the speaker wishes the consession would happen or had happened. Ulpaioho na ais rul ievul, ollar pionai tanna eien carmen sai he is still ignorant regarding this, although he read this book of yours.

Impersonal Clauses. There is a small group of impersonal verbs in regular use in Vaior. Most of these are formed with a single, particular word, often an adverbial form of some verb, embedded generally in a clause using the indicative. Sometimes the subjunctive is used. Often the clause lacks an explicit subject, which implies generality.

Several of these impersonals have meanings similar to some of the derivational affixes. These impersonal expressions typically imply a generality of application, cuadúal piono it is permitted to read. One could of course say, cuadúal piono va I am permitted to read, but normally in this case one would rather say pionthoro va. Which is used is a matter of personal style.

Note the several forms in -úal. This is a reduced form of a passive formation, -auíal.

These impersonal forms typically come at the head of the clause, or after the subject if expressed, but of course there is great flexibility:

ulsaufo tuaro enen it is impossible to see it
piníal olhauo neido it is necessary to meditate daily
ro darso na evarauo it is said that he has died
han cuadúal pentho viare? is it permitted to sleep here?

It is best not to mix the impersonals with the evidence markers.

Instrumental Absolute. Two statements in relationship may also be expressed using the instrumental absolute construction. In English this is usually represented with gerund expressions such as, "the boat having sunk, the travelers swam to shore." Note that the exact relationship between the two clauses is not precisely unspecified, and must not have the same subject.

The instrumental abosulute phrase must have at least the subject of the clause and a participle of the appropriate relative tense in the instrumental: rhonul parveiolul the man having moved. The clause may additionally have a complement of some sort: either a direct object of the verb in the normal case, or some simple preposisional or adverbial phrase specifying the meaning a bit. Absolute clauses are not typically more complex than this.

Take care to distinguish the absolute constrution -- where the subjects of the clauses must be different -- from a simple participle phrase modifying the subject:

lerai aithu rhon oraith eien - having said this, the man went away
oraithul eien navul vinnevul, lerai aithu rhon - the/his daugher having said this, the man went away

Binding Ambiguity and Anaphora. The use of embedded phrases (relative clauses, participles, etc.) can lead to certain ambiguities. For example, the word aldoven can logically go with either lero or daipoth in the sentence lero tath daipoth fidíal aldoven.. That is, the woman walking quickly is going home or the woman walking quickly home is going. In this case, the first meaning seems most logical, but grammatically, the statement in Vaior presents some possible confusion.

In these situations there are two remedies. One is to simply move complex, wordy or ambiguously bound expressions (linguists call the wordy ones "heavy") that goes with the head verb (lero, here) out in front of it: aldoven lero tath daipoth fidíal or even tath daipoth fidíal lero aldoven. This is an elegant solution, and by far the most common approach to the problem, even if it does break the most common word order, Verb-Subect-Object.

Another possibility is to use something like "clefting." Use an anaphoric pronoun referencing the head of the ambiguity-causing phrase to signify the resumption of the main clause: lero tath daipoth fidíal na aldoven. This pronoun must agree in case and number. So, cathai va carmeran thíeran piono va naste could be I gave the books which I read to him or I gave him the books which I read. The second interpretation can be assured by phrasing it thus: cathai va carmeran thíeran piono va iran naste. Of course, naste could also be moved to the head of the sentence.

Finally, the anaphoric pronoun may be used with the anaphoric verb, AS, to completely disambiguate what is going on:

lero na tath daipoth fidíal aso na aldoven.

This is a little more common than the pronoun alone, especially in spoken Vaior. Avoid it in writing.


Notes on derivational syntax



The derivation system of Vaior is fairly complex, and many of the suffixes themselves entail a certain amount of syntax or cause case changes which are not necessarily obvious. Further, as mentioned in the section on derivational morphology, a great many of the derivational markers come loaded with additional significance beyond the merely lexical, and the use of a marker such as -autu- is a potential source of embarrassing social blunders.

Also, many of the modal suffixes (want, hope, etc) get tricky once your hopes and wants involve other people as the subject of a clause. Thus, there is both a suffix and a separate verb stem for "want." It is important to choose the correct form.

This section has a description of all the relevent case and syntax alterations which crop up when using the derivational affixes.

Some comments on adverbs. The flexibility of Vaior's derivation system also brings with it some subtle binding difficulties. For example, take a sentence like pionninai va naste lamíal I caused him to read well. The tricky problem here is determining what exactly lamíal is modifying, pion- or -nin, that is, "I caused him to read well" or "I well caused him to read." This problem also crops up for basic adverbs, and potentially with lu.

In the simplest cases, if you put the adverb at the head of the sentence it modifies the last affix in the word, that is, then entire word's meaning. So, lamíal pionninai va naste means "I well caused him to read."

If the adverb is placed elsewhere in the statement, generally after the subject, possibly at the end of the rest of the sentence, the modifier goes with the base stem. So, notice the distinctions:

  1. paituvo va eien andul I want to understand this very much
  2. andu paituvo va eien I very much want to understand this

If you have multiple affixes involved, there are no options for modifying the meaning of those internal affixes. Only the base stem and the final affix can be modified in this way. If it is really necessary to modify an internal affix it will be necessary to break out the word via paraphrasis, a process which will be described next.

Periphrasis. Once you start to involve negation and other adverbial modifiers in the meaning of a complex statement, the use of the derivational affixes can get quite muddled up. In fact, some things are impossible to say using only normal syntax and the affixes. For example, "I caused him not to go." cannot be stated simply:

  1. lerninai va nan I caused him to go
  2. lu lerninai va nan I didn't cause him to go.
  3. lerninai va nan lu I didn't cause him to go.
  4. lerninai va lu nan I didn't cause him to go.
  5. lerninai lu va nan I didn't cause him to go.

Thus, it is necessary to break apart the affixed word and resort to more complex syntax. For the causative, it turns out there is a special independent verb form available, NIEN. For most affixes, though, you have to craft the forms with AS, the carrier verb stem.

Most periphrastic forms are cast as result clauses. Thus:

  1. nienai va ar lu lero na I caused that he not go, I caused him not to go.
  2. asittalu va ar lu tharo (va) I will begin that (I) not understand, I will begin to not understand.
  3. tuvo nu rhon ar lu leru vin aithu That man wants that the child will not go away. or...
  4. lu tuvo nu rhon ar leru vin aithu That man does not want that the child will go away.

A punctuation note: normally you'd use a comma before a conjunction like ar, but in these periphrastic phrases the relationship is quite tight, so the tendency is to not use the comma, though of course it is not a mistake to use it.

When the subject of the main verb matches that of the modifying verbs, you use infinitive complements rather than result clauses. For example:

  1. lertuvo va I want to go.
  2. lu lertuvo va I don't want to go.
  3. tuvo va lerol lu or tuvo va lu lerol I want to not go

Note, though, that while a statement like tuvo va lerol is grammatically correct, it's a bit odd to avoid the affix form of TUV when there's no need.

The Causative. With intransitive verbs, especially the stative variety, using the causative is fairly straightforward, nal chulo The stone is black becomes, chulninai va eien nalan I blackened this stone. Note that the object in this case is in the accusative.

With transitive verbs, however, there is possible confusion since you now have two objects to account for. For example, pionu na carmen he will read a book could be made causative in English as "I will cause him to read a book." The syntax of English doesn't result in any ambiguity here, so using two direct objects is no problem. In Vaior, the direct object of the non-causative form retains its original case, leaving the question of what to do with the subject of the original statement. In Vaior, that goes into the dative. So "I will cause him to read a book" is in Vaior, pionninu va naste carmen.

Emotional -ia. The significance of -ia has been discussed elsewhere. There is, however, one odd use of the suffix which needs to be explained. In a number of stems of emotion, especially friendly ones such as AST, the -ia form refers to the person toward whom the emotion is felt, astia friend, rather than the expected meaning friendship. It turns out that the latter meaning was once primary, and these words are still sometimes used this way (from a Stoic text):

Lu dauchi astian, arta macúimm sa pemvian, arta tei san cuesninúimm en.
"Do not seek friend(ship) in order to get benefit, but rather in order for it to make you virtuous."

It is clear from this example that there is a comfortable ambiguity between the words "friend" and "friendship." The sentence makes sense either way, and indeed it isn't clear that the meaning "friendship" is intended until we reach the very end of the sentence and counter en rather than na. So, a once somewhat poetic tendency to refer not to a friend, but to define one's friend as friendship itself, weakened the originally abstract meaning of the -ia form of some of these words.

To compensate for this loss, pleonastic forms in -isia are used: astisia, merisia, etc. (however, AUHIS does not receive such treatment). These will be noted in the dictionary as necessary.


Addressing people; formality and register



When addressing someone by name or title use the vocative particle e before the name, title or, most often, the honorific.

Honorifics and Titles. These may precede or follow a person's name, but most commonly follow.

Formality and Register. It is very important to distinguish formality and register in Vaior. It is perfectly common for friends to use an elevated mode of speach among themselves without this necessarily being formal or distancing.

Standard Register. The form of the language employed in this grammar is the best example of the standard register. It is the default in most documentation and day-to-day conversation.

The use of eie-/aie- for ie/au is most common in this register, and are rarely used in the elevated register.

Elevated. The highest register of Vaior language is represented primarily syntactically. The formal forms of greeting and leave-taking are generally used in this register. Other notable features:

  • The use of elevated words is more common. These are marked in the dictionary as elevated. For example, the stem CATH is normally used for "give" but DíECHT is used in elevated contexts.
  • The use of participial constructions is much more frequent.
  • Stative verbs acting as modifiers may be cast as modifying participles, or may be found quite far from the noun they go with.
  • Adverbs are used with considerable enthusiasm, especially where one might expect adjectives to be used. [examples]
  • Precise shades of meaning are expressed with a free use of the derivational suffixes.
  • The uinna form of the first person pronoun is quite common, but most especially when understatement -- not infrequently ironic -- is intended.
  • The definite article use of en and na is rather less frequent, and may disappear altogether in the most elevated language, and often in poetry regardless of register.
  • The standard word order is freely ignored for the sake of style.

Formal Elevated. In addition to the features mentioned above, the evidence markers to the verbs are used quite regularly in this register in formal contexts. This does not mean the evidence markers are exactly infrequent in normal contexts, however, merely that their use is more carefully considered in formal, elevated speech. Sentence-spanning parallelism and chiasmus of evidence markers is highly regarded in this situation, though tricky for the inexperienced.

Additionally, there are a few words for which there are formal equivalents. Once again, CATH is the basic word for "to give" and DíECHT is the elevated form. There exists another form of the word, LORHM, which is used only in the formal register.

When making requests in the formal langauge transitive verbs not already marked with the causative marker will take the form X-aunin-. That is, rather than asking someone to do something, you are asking him to cause it to be done (implying an army of servants, originally). So, instead of mido va, faunimm sa carmen úai Please, close the book, it would be mido uinna, faunauninimm sa carmen úai.

Poetic. This isn't quite a register. Poetic language has a parallel vocabulary for quite a number of common words. Some poets eschew these words as old-fashioned and stilted, but others are quite fond of them. Using "give" again as the example, NAURH is the poetic form of that (yes, that's four ways to say "give" in Vaior). Mostly, though, noun differences form the main body of poetic vocabulary, where sailone, the moon, is somehow more dignified or romantic than the common mahe, and rhiamade, the sun, shines more brightly than the everyday din.

Do note that the verb ILIM is the poetic equivalent of S-, to be. It is quite common, and is often found in the middle with no apparent change in meaning.

Poetic vocabulary is quite common in religous language, as well as in highly romantic language, which is logical given the most popular subjects for poetry.

Some branches of artistic prose, meditations, certain kinds of short stories, etc. will employ poetic diction from time to time. It's a bit old fashioned, so it can be used to give the patina of age.

Normally it's considered incredibly tacky and pretentious to use poetic words in ordinary public speaking, unless quoting something. In private it can be an effective tool of seduction. And, as always, some pull out poetic vocabulary for humorous overstatement.

See this for a list of poetic words to watch for.

Register Shift. The course of a single, short conversation may involve several shifts of register and possibly formality. These shifts are a sort of running commentary by the speaker(s) on the topic. Keeping in mind that a speaker may shift to the highest register to be sarcastic or ironic, the elevated register is typically used:

Finally, keep in mind that in simpler utterances it will not necessarily be possible to mark register. Longer sentences are required when you wish to make the register shift perfectly clear.

A shift in formality is most often a distancing mechanism. A shift to formal mode will be most evident by the sudden, regular use of the evidence markers. Some uses:

Of course, if the person you're talking to apologizes for the cause of your shift to formality, you should shift back into a regular mode.


Idioms and Set Phrases



durbíal
"in my opinion," but durbialle vai can be used, too
durbialle aithai
in someone's opinion - replace aithai with the appropriate noun or pronoun in the genitive to specify whose opinion
durbo va tíar seri, durbo va ti seri,
I think so. Similarly, durbo va tíar lu is I don't think so. Often simply durbo va and lu durbo va are sufficient.
erdul íe, e.í.
"That is," i.e.
ir ta silhothir, i.t.s.
"and the rest," etc.
níal X-ste
"so much for X". This is a bit informal, taul, níal enneste Well, so much for that.
rul íevul, altíe, r.í.a.
"for example," e.g.
thaie ciamia ar...
"what's it like to (that);" Thaie ciamia ar saitai sa aicen? What was it like (that you ate) to eat goat? Just the question, "how was it" would be "ciamíauai en thíal?"

Inhaling Bark. Speakers of Vaior spend a lot of time tiarhol breathing their moods and emotions, either by experiencing them by breathing them in (antiarhol) or influencing their surroundings by breathing them out (oltiarhol) into the world.

Um, yeah... well. There are a few of these in Vaior, too:

Notable features to keep in mind when encountering Vaior text:




The vocabulary list has been removed from this document. Please consult the dictionary for word definitions.