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|Native speakers||29,200,000 (7th 641)|
Official language in
|Empire of Sceptre|
Coast of Temples, Negovia
|Regulated by||Tsagadhet Keping Batom Lushan|
(Bureau of the Purity of the Sceptrian Language)
Speakers of Sceptrian and its dialects
Sceptrian (batop lushan [ˈbäˑtəp luˈʃãˑ] or simply lusha) is an a priori artistic language created for the fantasy world Akekata by juhhmi. Sceptrian language, named after the Sceptre peninsula, derives from Lutian language used in the Empire of Western Sceptre. With 29 million native speakers, Sceptrians outnumber those speaking Khattish and Guddean, the other two main West-Herookuan languages.
- 1 Phonology
- 2 Phonotactics
- 3 Suprasegmentals
- 4 Morphophonology
- 5 Orthography
- 6 Morphology
- 6.1 Pronouns
- 6.2 Table of correlatives
- 6.3 Nouns
- 6.4 Adpositions
- 6.5 Derivational Morphology
- 6.6 Adjectives
- 6.7 Adverbs
- 6.8 Verbs
- 6.9 Numerals
- 7 Syntax
- 8 Register
- 9 Lexicon
Sceptrian and its dialects feature 51 phonetic consonants, some of them with interesting lateral features. The language also has 25 phonetic vowels: twelve short, nine long and four diphthongs. Nasalization, rhotacization and breathy voice are used phonemically.
If the romanization symbol is the same as in IPA, it is not duplicated. Not bolded romanization indicates that the sound appears as a vernacular or dialectal version.
|Nasal||m||[ɱ]||n (ń) [n]||ng [ŋ]|
|Fricative||Voiceless||ph [ɸ]||f||th [θ]||s||sh [ʃ]||h [ç]||kh h [x]||qh [χ]||h|
|Voiced||w bh [β]||v||dh [ð]||z||zh [ʒ]||gh [ɣ]||h [ɦ]|
|Affricate||Voiceless||ts [t͡s]||tsh [t͡ʃ]|
|Lateral||l [l] [l̥]|
|Trill||pr [ʙ]||r (ŕ) [r] [r̥]|
The liquids r and l can appear as syllabic consonants: tlsl /tˡl̩ɬ/ (shallow), prk /pr̩k/ (wagon) and trs /tr̩s/ (smith)
- Vernacularly, both syllabic and obstruent-following alveolar trill r and lateral approximant l are pronounced as voiceless [r̩̊], [r̥], [l̩̊] and [l̥] when in contact with only voiceless consonants: trs [tr̩̊s] (smith) contrasting with trls [tr̩s] (while standard /trəls/) (smiths); gatl [gɑtl̥] (houses) whose pronunciation approaches [gɑtɬ].
- Meslatu Hirke made his disputed suggestion in 7:693 that a similar process had led to the birth of sl as plural indicator, when original plural l turned first into voiceless and then into sl after a word-final glottal stop, which has disappeared entirely.
- In eastern dialects, pr is realized as [ʙ] and tr, tsr and trs often as [r̝]. In the dialects, aspirated plosives have been fully spirantized into their fricative counterparts, e.g. [tʰ]>[θ].
- Fricatives show properties of syllabic consonants word-initially and word-finally.
Nasal [ɱ] only appears as an allophone of nasals with labio-dental sounds /f/ and /v/. Before velar sounds (e.g. /k/) nasals turn similarly into [ŋ].
Letter h has four allophones: initial is always [h] despite frontness, [ç] appears elsewhere with front vowels, [x] appears word-finally and [h~ɦ] word-medially with back vowels tihtóhnah [tiçˈtɔɦ.näx] (assassinator). It's also used after consonants to indicate breathy voice.
All the nine main vowel sounds (bolded) have long versions as separate phonemes.
Schwa o is used as an epenthetic vowel (anaptyxis). When it is used to break consonant clusters (not indicated in native script) it is the simple schwa /ə/: *dŧ → doth /dəθ/ (man). When stressed, it is vernacularly realized as [ɘ], and in western dialects more clearly as [ɤ]: *dŧs → dothos [dəˈθɘˑs]
Vowel a is [ɑ] after voiced consonants. Vowel æ is often more open [a], though, in Western dialects, it has merged with é.
In Sceptrian, there are only closing diphthongs which go up in the vowel chart:
- Back: ou /ɔʊ̯/
- Front: ai /äɪ̯/, ei /ei̯/, oi /œi̯/
If the syllable border (glottal stop) is between vowels and they don't form a diphthong, apostrophe is used: tai (for long) vs. ta'i (past)
- In native script, separate graphemes for diphthongs exist and glottal stop is not marked.
If diphthongs are followed by vowels, they are separated by a glottal stop in formal register.
- In casual speech, ouV becomes owV and ViV VjV: oua→ówa and aia→aja. If the following vowel is the same, a glottal stop breaks the former diphthong and the ending vowel is lengthened: ai'i→a'ii
Basic syllabic structure is CV, where the onset (beginning) consonant can be of any type.
- It is possible to use liquids and approximants as glides (CLV) between the onset and the rime (ending).
- Up to two consonants with same voicing may appear in the onset (CCV), especially fricative-plosive combinations, but never two plosives: stak (fence), fkot (nest), ksaru (guard). Affricate ts takes may be accompanied only by w, j, n or m: tsma (doubt). Combination /sl/ has turned into /ɬ/.
- Lateralization and aspiration may never appear together, and nasalized rhoticization is only found in Fanish dialect.
The nucleus can be either a vowel or a liquid, thus CVC and CLC are also possible syllables.
- Vowels (diphthongs included) may exist as a stand-alone nucleic syllable (V), mostly in the beginning or at the end of a word.
- If nucleus is a liquid, plosives appear in codas only word-finally: dldlp /dˡl̩ˈdˡl̩p/ (bubble)
The coda (final) may consist of up to three consonants with possible structures: N, P, F, L; NP, FP, LP; NF, PF, LF; NPF, FPF, LFP, LPF (Nasal, Plosive, Fricative, Liquid).
- Final liquids appear as syllabic consonants
- Approximants j, w and plain voiced plosives never appear as coda (final) even though they may be written that way (no written schwa): nad /nä.də/ (stainy). Voiced fricatives may appear as coda.
- In coda, plosives with lateral release, however, will reflect the voicing of the onset: gatl [gädˡl̩] (houses) vs. katl [kätˡl̩] (knobs). Vernacularly, the lateral approximant weakens into a voiceless variant [l̥] when in contact with voiceless consonants: gatl [gätl̥].
Closed syllables, i.e. those ending in coda, are not as common word-medially as open syllables (ending in nucleus) are. When words are inflected, parts of codas tend to become onsets of the following syllable, if possible. Especially three-consonant clusters are rare word-medially and receive a schwa after a non-lateral stop: kamps /kämps/ (marsh) → kampsku → kamposku /ˈkäm.pəs.ku/ (at marsh)
- Voicing status must be the same for consonants touching at syllable boundaries and the voiced one reduces into voiceless: *katbas→katpas /kätˈpäs/ (fern) vs. oist baku /œi̯st(h) bä.ku/ (under a table)
Primary stress in a word is most often on the second syllable, and when there are four or five syllables, secondary stress is placed onto the final syllable. When there are more syllables, minor stress is placed on even-numbered syllables.
- If the to-be-stressed syllable contains the schwa o /ə/ or a syllabic consonant, the preceding syllable is stressed in two-syllable words and the following in words with more than three syllables.
- In uninflected words, syllable with nuclear o is only stressed when it comes second and the preceding syllable has also o as nucleus. Then the stressed nucleus appears as [ɘ]. Contrast between stressed and non-stressed syllabic consonants may occur as voicing and devoicing respectively.
- A non-final syllable with a long vowel or a diphthong is always stressed and steals the stress from its neighboring syllable. This also moves the secondary stress from final to penultimate syllable, if primary stress falls on first syllable.
Inflected and affixed word forms have almost always the same stress as the base word (even monosyllabic with schwa): doth (man) → dothku [ˈdɘθ.ku] (near the man).
- Vocative and ergative cases as well as inflections with long vowels make an exception: dothee /dəˈθe:/ (by the man), dothé /dəˈθɛ/ (O man), gatóo /gɑˈtɔ:/ (to the house)
Interrogatives are formed by changing the primary stress onto the first syllable and adding a rising or dipping pitch. This is indicated with ¿: ¿Eikepoi? [ˈei̯˧˦ˈke˩.pœi̯˨˦] (Did you wash it?)
There are five ways of sound altering which may be used for grammatical purposes (mainly number, genitive case and imperfective aspect). In the native script the following are marked on the vowel.
- Lengthening: paata /pä:tä/ (separation), ée [ɛ:]~[ɛe̯], óo /ɔ:/
- Lateral (release): pló /pˡɔ/ (opposite to), tlaf /tˡäf/ (sprig)
- Western dialects keep the tongue on the alveolar ridge during vowel pronunciation so that the vowels have a distinct l-sound. Historically, this may have lead to the syllabic l.
- Aspiration/breathy voice: phó [pʰɔ]~[ɸɔ] (along), kébhar [kɛˈbʱɑ˞]~[kɛˈβɑ˞] (I will wash), tha [tʰä]~[θä] (abstract "it"), dhaka [dʱɑkä]~[ðɑkä] (abstract "that").
- Aspirated plosives of unstressed, schwa-syllables turn into the corresponding fricatives. In casual register, this happens with all unstressed syllables. dhoku /ðəˈkuˑ/ (head)
- Nasalization: on [ə̃]~[ɘ̃]~[NC] (compare oń /ən/) when n in coda
- Vernacularly, nasalized schwa appears as a short syllabic nasal consonant of the same place as the directly preceding or following consonant
- Close-to-mid vowels (e, i, u, o, and ó) are always nasalized between two nasals, and all vowels are after short ng: mónge /mɔ̃ŋẽ/ (indeed). Nasalization does not occur with open vowels (a and é) between nasals or with any vowel after a long ńg: dothé naańgé /dəˈθɛˑ nä:ŋ:ɛˑ/ (O sweaty man!).
- Rhotacization: or /ɚ/, ar /ä˞/ (compare oŕ [ər]~[r̩] and aŕ /är/)
- Nasalization does not occur simultaneously with rhoticization, except in Fanish dialect (near the border of Negovia): karon → karn [kæ̃˞:] (soup)
- s and z turn into sl and zh respectively
- f & v → fl & w
- l & r are geminated
- m & n → ng and ng → ńg
- s and z turn into sh and zh
- f & v are geminated
- l & r → lh and rh
- Voicing and aspiration
- r → qh, l → ldh, v → w
Apophony in the stressed syllable is used for example to express adjective gender and to create different verb forms.
- When the stressed root syllable has vowel ee, ó, aa, uu, ii or óo as nucleus, the apophony is only partial. joqódh>joqødh (disgusting)
- With é, ø, æ, i, ei or oi as root vowels, all forms are the same, e.g. luwidh (beautiful). Only formal register uses ée as the second apophony of é.
The Sceptrian alphabet script was derived from the ancient temple marks as were the Aoman and Northern (Latin) scripts. The modern alphabet is called Tsoklóp Lushan.
Diacritics on vowels mark different sounds. The diacritics may be used with consonants as well, especially in the plural forms of consonant-ending nouns: gat̆ (gatl "houses"), doŧ̆ (dolth "men"). With the diacritics, letter ts can be lateralized into tsl or aspirated into tsh.
The native Sceptrian script has a long history of being unicameral, not distinguishing between the upper and lower case. Only during the sixth era under the Tyranny of West, the flow of refugees from the Coast of Temples encouraged the introduction of case separation. In the developed fonts, capital letters were derived from the traditional Toneka and small letters from the cursive Tsrnet.
(g using nose)
- Letter r is used with consonants for /r̩/ and between vowels for /r/, but after vowels in the end of syllables for rhoticization or /ɚ/. Letter ŕ is used to emphasize the use of /r/ after vowels oŕ /ər/.
- Similarly letter n can appear syllable-finally with nasalization but ń always as /n/: an /ã/ vs. ań /an/.
- With ng /ŋ/, the accent signals lengthening nańgo /näŋ:ə/ or naŋŋo (sweaty).
- Labialization of plosives is indicated by PuV (V is any vowel except u) or with w.
- Breathry voice is indicated with an h straight after a plosive. The h is also used for corresponding fricatives which occur word-finally. This risk of confuse is one of the downsides of the simplified modern system: nath /näθ/ "a beggar" or /nätʰ/ "with stains".
The old romanization system (or part of it) was used until western regions of Eastern Sceptre were joined with the Western Sceptre empire in 7th era 161, during the war against Empress Renula of Golden Islet. A revision was needed when both Sceptrian and Aoma were used in the same printing press and texts had to be distributed to westlang-using communities. Peter Martyea suggested in 7:189 that the payment according to number of pages may have favoured quick adaptation as the non-diacritic system induced much longer texts (see the comparison example).
- Nasal: ŋ ng /ŋ/
- Texts from the first century of the seventh era use ǥ for word-initial /ŋ/.
- Fricative: ŧ th /θ/, đ dh /ð/, ś sh /ʃ/, ź zh /ʒ/, ħ qh /χ/
- Affricate: c ts /t͡s/, č tsh /t͡ʃ/
- Lateral: š sl /ɬ/, ǩ kl /kˡ/, ǧ gl /gˡ/
Compact equivalents of sound altering:
- Lengthening with a bar: ṓ /ɔ:/ and ō /ə:/
- Lateral release with a breve diacritic: tŏ /tˡə/
- Nasalization with a tilde: õ /ə̃/, on /ən/
- Rhotacization with a diaeresis: ö /ɚ/, or /ər/
- Aspiration with a grave accent: pò /pʰə/, pô /pʰɔ/
Comparison between the systems:
- Old: Ǧëǩ śošēŧã
- Modern: Glerkl shosleethan (maces of a knight)
The most complete study of the structure of pre-modern Sceptrian words was done by Porutingatu of Jerzónó in year 362 of the seventh era. She collected, grouped and analyzed the fusional morphemes and listed the new rules to replace the outdated writings from the sixth era. By 370, her work had led to a new interest in linguistics and ultimately to the founding of Tsagadhet Keping Batom Lushan (Bureau of the Purity of the Sceptrian Language) which has been unifying and regulating the language along with its orthography since then.
Pronouns are used to refer to e.g. people or things in sentences instead of using the original nouns. In Sceptrian, they exist in two numbers and are inflected according to six cases.
Second person includes polite versions as well which were adapted by Aoma-sperkers. Third person singular makes distinction between abstract (Ab), animate (An) and inanimate (In) pronouns while plural only between Ab-An and In.
- Comitative case is used to indicate company: Mo slosh arakha. (We were with them yesterday.)
- Causal describes the cause of an action or origin of something: Aitesosai næ su fope (I saw him because of (/thanks to) you), Hi supe foki. (It (is) from him to you.)
3rd person abstract pronoun is used in the formal register when introducing or referring to a person of higher status.
Self-pronoun ru for reflexive and reciprocal: tesosón ru (they are watching themself), ónlatepón ru (he is dancing by himself, alone) vs. ónlatepón su (he is dancing with him); sónkephón ru (they are washing each other) vs. sónkephón sloslo slo/soutu (they are washing them)
- reflexive is easier with others: anlatepan (I'm dancing by myself); ankepan (I'm washing myself) vs. ankep ("I'm washing it"), kepan (I'm being washed)
- As a determiner, the demonstrative follows its head and other adjectives: Bouson qot ka. (This rock is falling.) Anzaitlon qoth rkildh kla. (I'm lifting these brown rocks.)
- For inanimate class, the pronoun is the same as the demonstrative word: Qot ka. (This is a rock.) Rkidh qot ka. (This rock is brown.) Qoth rkildh klo. (Those are brown rocks.)
- The determiner may precede its head and is then followed by a short pause. In this case, the head acts more like a specifying comment on the true sentence subject: Bouson ko qot. (That's falling, the rock, I mean.)
See also the table of correlatives.
Table of correlatives
Determiners follow their heads and agree in number and with the cases mentioned above in the table, where DAT & LAT, COM & LOC, CAU & ABL and ABS & VOC are corresponding. Words follow the declension shown above or paradigms similar to noun cases.
|jofa (some)||ota (any)||orka (every, all)||ze (no)||so (another)|
|Out of two||¿tso||tsaka||tsoko||zho||tsoto||tsorko||tseso||tso|
|Out of many||¿tsolo||tsalka||tsolko||zolo||tsolto||tsongko||tsleso||tsolo|
|What kind of||shodh||kadh||kodh||jodhi||othi||ordhi||zodhi||sothi|
- Negative determiner ze has no plural form. Neither have pronouns "Out of two".
- Demonstratives are used when referring to listed items of equal animacy: proximal with the former and distal with the latter: Aitesoshóji math kuthos. Óomidh soutu. (I saw a cat and a dog. The latter was large.)
- Locative pro-adverb can be conjugated with lative, locative and ablative.
Nouns in Sceptrian form the basis of derivational morphology and even the cases are utilized when forming new words. They are declined according to two numbers and nine cases, and the seven declensions are grouped in three genders which affect the verb conjugation and adjective agreement.
There are three grammatical genders or classes, abstract, animate and inanimate, which can be fully recognized from their singular dative form endings, k, i and ei. The seven declensional patterns or simply declensions, which are determined by their absolutive ending, are distributed among these classes.
- Abstract (Ab) class contains concepts, emotions, divine and magical subjects, verb forms etc., and they end in vowels a, æ, o, ó, ø and i.
- Animate (An) class is preserved for nouns related to living things, e.g. people, animals, body parts, plants and comestibles, whose ending is either a fricative (f, th, s, sh, h, same voiced and affricates), nasal (m, n, ng) or vowel u. Mass nouns, such as meat, milk and food, have nasal endings.
- Inanimate (In) class has nouns such as objects, places and natural formations whose endings are either plosives (p, t, k) or consonant l. Inanimate mass nouns, e.g. sand, salt and water, appear in the l-ending group.
In official language, animate gender doesn't draw a distinction between masculine and feminine so that ras (horse) can stand for both "stallion" and "mare". If one wishes to emphasize the gender on a binary scale, clitics -duus and -tu may be added: gutsduus (bull). Some archaic words remain in dialects and in poetic use.
There are two numbers, singular and plural, but abstract i-nouns and inanimate l-nouns are always singular. The declension according to number is complicated and fused with the class/case system explained and tabulated below.
- Absolutive (ABS): Unmarked base form for subjects of intransitive and objects of transitive verbs
- Ergative (ERG): Agents of transitive verbs
- Dative (DAT): Indirect object; alienable possession gat dothi (a house of (lit. "for") the man); comparison (with ADJ comparative)
- Possessive (POS): Inalienable possession dhoku dothor (the man's head)
- Instrumental-comitative (INS): Using something; "with someone", replaces "and" as Latin -que; in antipassive constructions
- Lative (LAT): Movement to; with adpositions
- Locative-temporal (LOC-TEMP): Place; time; with adpositions
- Ablative (ABL): Movement from (+delative); causal
- Vocative (VOC): addressing (people, gods); interjections Alæ! (Hello! lit. "Day!")
- A: vowels a, æ, o, ó and ø
- Ae: ae = æ, æe = ææ, oe=é, óe = ø & øe = øø
- F: fricatives f, th, s, sh and h; voiced counterparts and affricates ts, tsl and tsh are followed by o before plosive endings.
- N: nasals n, m and ng
- P: plosives p, t, k and q
- POS q→ng
- INS ending Ph marks breathy voice and may turn the plosive into corresponding fricative /ɸ, θ, x, χ/ if followed by a plosive.
- - indicates that the original ending is replaced with the following: tup → tum (stick → stick's)
Different possessive forms and interpretations:
- Dativus possessivus (alienable): gat dothi "the house which the man has temporarily settled in, i.e. rented"
- Comitative case with alienable possessive suffix: doth gathos "man with his house which he has purchased"
- Inalienable possessive suffix alters the meaning: doth gathozh "man and his birthplace"
- Possessive case (almost inalienable): gat dothor "the house which was inherited and is now owned by the man".
The noun in possessive case is not inflected further. With dative case, inflection may be utilized in order to distinguish the dativus possessivus from the indirect object or benefactive: Onzaiton pof tuph dothish slokli. "The feather is being lifted with a man's stick for them." (Related to the feather ceremony when welcoming upper class members to a household.)
Possessive affixes, as shown in examples above, draw a distinction between alienable and inalienable possession: Óntesoson dothee gats/vakuhoz. (A man is watching his house/ his own hand.) With the basic suffixes, the root is inflected first and then suffixed.
- Irregular: Only VOC+possessive with 1SG: Posné! (My servant!), Polsmé! (Our servants!)
2nd person polite suffixes are added to absolutive base and the endings are then declined according to abstract gender:
- Singular: (a)tha, (a)tazha
- Plural: (a)dhó, (a)dózhó
- Example: gatathapa (from Your house)
Adpositions are used with inflected nouns to add information about its location or relation to other nouns. Some Sceptrian adpositions can be used as stand-alone adverbs which may be conjugated according to noun declensions.
Prepositions are used with lative (to, towards), locative (at, near) and ablative (from) cases to alter the meaning.
- voi (in) forms illative, inessive, elative
- loi (out) for "out of", "outside" and "from outside"
- soi (on) to emphasize the surface aspect
- oist(i) (under) for movement under something
- roi (above) similarly to oist
- boi (down) for "down (a surface / to)", "down in (somewhere)" and "from down"; as an adverb as well
- zoi (up) used like boi
- moi (touching, around) with lative for terminative, locative for pertingent and ablative for initiative
- oil(i) (as) forms translative, essive, exessive
- koi (per) distribution: "for each", "every" (temporal), "from each"
- jon (... between)
- poi (... the middle of, among)
- tsoi (... front of; preceding)
- with time nouns in locative = before
- hoi (... behind; following)
- with time nouns in locative = after
- mots(i) (... on side)
- combined with postpositional dei (right) or lai (left)
- with time nouns in locative = ago
Postpositions appear with various cases and often come in groups.
- pón (through) with lative
- phó (along) with lative
- pló (opposite to, across) with locative
- sós (with) with comitative to express a greater degree of endowment (ornative); with ablative to indicate "without"; with lative for "in addition to"
- óp (about, concerning) with genitive; with ablative for "according to"
- ól (like) with genitive; as an adverb "similarly"
- jak (away, despite) with ablative; as an adverb as well
- mai (excluding) with ablative
- mak (except) with ablative
- mats (instead of) with ablative
- sai (including) with comitative
- sak (concerning, regarding) with comitative; with ablative to emphasize the causal aspect (due to, because of, thanks to)
- phe (for the sake of) with lative
When used with pronouns, separate adpositions only come with dative forms to indicate lative. Otherwise adpositions take possessive suffixes, inalienable for locative and alienable for ablative: voi nai (into me), voinga (inside me), voiń (from inside me)
Of the polite possessive suffixes, alienable is added onto the adposition and then the entire compound is conjugated for lative, locative or ablative: voitha (in You; attributive), voithaga (into You), voithakha (inside You; predicative), voithapa (from inside You)
Verbs and adjectives are derived from nouns by adding suffixes and in some cases prefixes as well.
Many nouns share same origins and these endings are the most common forms of derivation:
- Suffixing verbs with once established ending vowels or consonant appropriate for the noun class.
- place, region, nearby area: abstract with LOC with sk-ending; fricative and u-ending ABS.PL with final t; nasal ABS.PL with final ku; plosive ABS.PL and l-declension receive an s-suffix
- collection, group: ABS.PL receives óf in animate, óp in inanimate class; mulfóf (school of fish)
- Archaic forms also add the prefix kl
- being, person, creature: ABS with (o)s: trs (smith; compare trk "smithy")
- doer, agent: ERG with tu: kepeetu (washer)
- experiencer, patient: ABS with (k)ois or (k)oit depending on animacy: kepois (person being washed)
- origin: ABL with (o)su: ukopposu (person from north)
- characteristic (from abstract quality): INS with final duplicated vowel and tu: luwishitu (beauty)
- material: ABS with (o)n (AN) or (o)l (INAN): koson (wood), qotol (stone)
- diminutive: reduplication of final sound with t between vowels and i between consonants: kosis (small tree)
- augmentative: reduplication of final sound with g between vowels and a between consonants: kosas (great tree)
- apotheosis: augmentative with a-ending: kosonana (godwood)
- abstract quality, feature: ABS suffixed with (k)oti: dothoti (manliness)
- gerund (act of doing): via derivated verb suffixed with (o)pi: glerkurpi (mace-battering)
Different cases and affixes are used for the derivation:
- similarity, having something: dh suffix to abstract gender and animate u-ending; voicing of fricatives (h→qh, no change with affricates); nasals "lateralized" + o; voicing of plosives + o (q→g); l-declension as in INS-COM: evadh (bright), dodh (masculine)
- full of, having something: previous suffixed with ol: mel muvol (waters full of fish)
- material: ABS with (o)p: kosonop (wooden)
- origin, relation: ABL form with a final ó added or replacing the original ending vowel: kusupó (friendly)
- absence, without: ti suffixed to VOC form: evæti (lightless=dark)
- doing: on added after INS case: kephon (washing)
- who did: INS with ompu: kephompu (who washed = pessyt in Finnish)
- done by: INS with empo and possibly inalienable possessive suffix: kephemponga (washed by me)
- not done: LAT suffixed with tip: kepóotip (unwashed)
- experiencing: LAT suffixed with p: kepóop (being washed)
- result (wanted): LAT suffixed with pi: kepóopi (washed=clean)
- if unwanted: LAT suffixed with pot: vangostóopot (drunk)
- possible: POS with ta: kenta (washable)
- requiring: LOC with rt: kepurt (needs to be washed)
- opposite, negation: VOC with tot
Notice that plural forms of adjectives may be derived from plural nouns: dolth kepson (men who are washing)
A declined core noun receives an ending which describes how the verb reflects the noun:
- In some cases, the vowel ending of nouns may simply be removed or the absolutive of a consonant-ending noun may also serve as a verb.
- ABS = "happens, is": kep (is washed)
- COM = "using": tuph (is poked with a stick), glerkh (is hit with a mace)
- POS + k = "similarity": melonk (is wet)
- DAT + k = "making/becoming" (no k with Abstract): zurmu → zurmjik (strong person → is strengthened), zurp → zurpeik (strong, durable object → hardens) & zurma → zurmak (strength → intensifies)
- LAT + t = "movement, quasi-inceptive": glerkóot (swings a mace, INTR), melot (flows), latepóot (is persuaded to dance, INTR; begins a dance with, TR), lehkot (runs)
- LOC + r = "frequentative": glerkur (is battered with a mace), melur (rains; drips)
- VOC + k = "momentane": glerkék (is hit once with a mace), melék (splashes once)
- POS + (o)v = "consider, feel": vongv (is considered strange = oudoksutaan in Finnish)
- Several endings can be stacked on verbs without turning it into a noun in between: melurék (shower of rain falls), tup(o)hkur (is often poked with a stick). When deriving, the r-ending are declined according to the l-paradigm.
Adjectives in Sceptrian agree with the gender, number and cases of their head. When an adjective is used as a predicative, it comes before its head, but when as an attributive, it comes after. Adjective declension follows approximately the same rules as noun declension. In the common dh-ending F-declension, o is added between dh and case-endings with consonants. Changes in both casual and poetic speech include mirroring onset into coda: dothklu jadaadhulk (near nice men)
Apophony in the stressed syllable is used to indicate the gender: base for inanimate, first apophony with animate and second with abstract gender: eja jadædh, doth jadaadh, latep jadadh
Polite adjectives are formed from the abstract form with predicative prefix nga and attributive suffix æ: ngaluwidh Nith (You are beautiful), shosleetha luwidhæ (a beautiful knight)
Positive of an adjective is the base form.
- When two nouns are found equal in comparison, ii begins the clause, positive is placed before the primary noun (focus) in dative case and preposition oil (as) with final secondary noun in causative-ablative case (forming exessive): Ii luwidh foki oil supe. ("Same beautiful for you from the state of being her." You are as beautiful as she is.)
- Negating happens with ze being joined to the ii particle.
- When comparing amounts, fadh (many, much) and fidh (few, little) are used in place of the adjective and inflected according to their head, the primary noun is now in absolutive plural, no preposition is used and the secondary noun is in comitative: Ii faaldh dolth lutush. (As many men as women.)
Comparative (more than) is identical to the vocative of positive adjective: luwidhé (more beautiful). Suffixed with ti, the comparative gains a meaning of "less": luwidhéti (less beautiful).
- Manner quatifiers orkai, jofai and zei can be used to indicate the degree: luwidhé orkai (much more beautiful), luwidhé jofai (slightly more beautiful), luwidhé zei (not more beautiful)
- When comparing two nouns adjective comes first (predicative comparative), the standard acquires the dative case, and comparative forms agree with their head in gender and number: luwildhé po swi (you all are more beautiful than he is)
- Pronoun comparison is also possible to construct with alienable possessional suffixes: luwildhév swi (you all are more beautiful than he is)
- When adjective comparative is not included, postpositional fadhé (more) or føødhi (less) can be used with noun plurals: dolth faldhé lutwi (more men than women)
Superlative is similar to noun apotheosis: the ending is reduplicated with é between consonants and j between vowels, and an a added to the end: luwidhédha (most beautiful). Similarly to comparative, ti gives the meaning of "least": luwidhédhati (least beautiful).
Adverbs are derived from adjectives through second apophony of the singular vocative form: zaivia jadædhé (I sing pleasantly)
Placed after adjectives and verbs: luwidh óomidhé (very beautiful < "largely")
Comparative adverb is formed by changing the vocative ending é into ei: zaivió jadædhei (she sings more pleasantly)
Superlative adverb is similar to adjective superlative in its reduplication but with an æ-ending: zaivie jadædhédhæ (you sing most pleasantly)
- "to be": apposition trs doth (a man is a smith) vs. doth trs (the smith-man, the smith (who) is a man) and Berats trs (Berats, the smith, ...) vs. trs Berats (Berats is a smith); predicative before luwidh doth (a man is beautiful) vs. attributive after doth luwidh (a beautiful man)
- Emphasizing ma: trs dothma (it is the man who is a smith)
- Showing tense-aspect:
- temporal adverbs, such as ta'ikhi (in the past)
- subject person and tense verb conjugation on adjective
- momentane verb derived from an adjective in past or future tense
- "become" verb derivation -> "will be"
- Vernacularly, proximal demonstrative pronouns are used as copulae with corresponding grammatical gender: Trs saitu Berats. ("Smith this Berats." Berats is a smith.)
- "to have": various possessive forms, e.g. soput trsor dothi ("profession of a smith for the man")
In Sceptrian, primary conjugation of verbs indicates person, number and tense-aspect, and it includes affixation and apophony. Conjugation for different moods is slightly more complex.
Verbs are given in their 3SG.INAN GNO form which is used to form all of the third person forms. With first and second person subjects, the first apophony is used in indicative inceptive and future. Polite second person forms use the second apophony
Fusional conjugation affixes convey the person, number, tense and aspect (and honorific). Subject and object suffixes are almost always used with verbs, the antipassive being the only exception. Agent prefixes aren't often used in the casual register, mostly to form the reflexive, but they have to be used in the formal register.
- initial l in endings is for lateralization of the final plosive
- initial h is for aspiration of the final plosive or simply h after a vowel
- if the final plosive is already breathy, o is added after it
- + indicates voicing of the final consonant together with aspiration
- simple h becomes qh
- Formal register draws a distinction between abstract and animate genders by adding wa directly after the ó of animate and removing the j from past perfective. Same can be done with agent prefixes. Glerkøtówajin shosleetha. (A knight was swinging a mace.) Note the second apophony due to the abstract gender.
- Affixes may be separated from border vowels of verbs with a glottal stop or reduplicated initial consonant (unless risk of confusion with subjunctive): Ai(v)eva(v)oi. (I illuminated it.)
Examples: Ónbouson dothee pof. (A man (ERG) is lifting a feather (ABS).), Bousón doth. (The man falls.) Bouson pof. (The feather (ABS) falls.).
In Sceptrian, verbs are conjugated for three tenses: past, present and future. These tenses describe when an action took place relative to current moment as their names indicate.
Gnomic-static aspect is used to indicate general truths Zaitó Hala. (sun rises) and static situations Mépa lusha. (I can speak Sceptrian). It can be used with expressions of time to specify when something was static Petsipha kas arakha. (dress-STAT.1SG this.COM yesterday.TEMP "I was dressed in these clothes yesterday (as well).")
Present progressive describes dynamic actions Anbaplóph lusha kha. (I'm reading Sceptrian at the moment). Present inceptive is used when an action is about to begin or someone is starting to do something.
- Inceptive is only used once: Subject inceptive with intransitive and mostly agent inceptive with translative verbs. Object ending is either PRES.PROG, when something was begun only a moment ago, or FUT, when something is about to begin.
- Translative object inceptive if the object caused the initialization: Órlateepast. (He is about to take me to dancing through my initiative.)
Past imperfective is used with continuous activities which were happening before the present. The contrasting perfective aspect describes the event as a whole and having an endpoint in the past.
In future tense, no aspects are distinguished, but rather non-finite forms are used.
Endings with different tenses and aspects may be mixed in some cases:
- PRES retrospective: PST.PFV+verb+STAT: ai-tesos-Ø næ ka (I've seen this), ai-latep-a næ (I've taken myself dancing)
- PRES prospective: PRES.INCEP+verb(+FUT): tsa-lateep(-ar) (I'm starting to dance (and I'll be doing it for a while))
Moods express speaker's attitude towards the subject or their knowledge of it. They are divided into realis and irrealis moods: the former expresses factual statements while the latter indicates that an event hasn't taken place or the speaker is uncertain of a situation.
Gnomic-static verb form can be considered representing gnomic mood since it can't be used with other moods: Zaitó Hala urakha. (Sun rises tomorrow as well)
Indicative is the basic mood which is used for supposedly factual statements: Latepar urakha. (I'll dance tomorrow.)
Interrogative is not conjugated, but indicated through rising pitch and changing primary stress onto the first syllable. Formal register uses the particle shóo which is placed after the verb: ¿Rotlast shóo? (Shall we go?)
- The change in stress does not affect the apophony.
Imperative is the first apophony of base form (3SG.INAN GNO). It is used for commanding and may be accompanied by vocatives: Rót posné! (Go, O servant of mine!)
- The softer imperative is derived from the base with an r being added before present inceptive conjugated for person and number: Rótrest fo. (You should leave.). It is used as a hortative as well: Rótrlast! (Let's go!)
- Alternatively, the r may be added after the inceptive agent prefix.
Subjunctive is formed through initial left-to-right reduplication and with second apophony in the original stressed syllable: if consonant-initial, CV body is duplicated, but if vowel-initial, VC part of the first and second syllable is duplicated: lalatép (may dance), akaktæsos (may hear), rorøt (may go)
- The first reduplicated syllable undergoes independent apophony depending on the subject.
- The mood is used when something is uncertain, doubted or wished
Particles are placed after a verb to alter or to specify its meaning.
- pai mirative (with soft imperative in present): Rótóji pai! (He went!?)
- with adjectives or as an adverb: Luwi pai! (How beautiful!)
Evidentials (with causatives)
- atasi hearsay: Rotóji tasi fope. (I heard from you that he went.)
- tesei visual: Rótoutóji tesei nape. (I didn't see him go.)
- norka dubitative (with subjunctive): Rorøtóji norka. (I doubt he went.)
- gana volitive (with future subjunctive): Lalatépar gana. (I wish I could dance.)
Conditional (with subjunctive)
- ta apodosis: Arziizeither ta (I will raise you...)
- -ti- infixed between reduplicated form for protasis: boutiboisen (if you fall)
Hortatives (with soft imperative which itself works as an adhortative or dehortative with negation (unwillingness))
- Cohortative: Latéprlast kha! (Let's dance now!), Rótrlastonget khugu. (Let's not go there.)
- jokæ exhortative (inhortative through negation): Rótrest jokæ. (You really should go.)
Formal register differences:
- aktasosai (hears) conjugated for hearsay: Røtathi aiaktasosóji. (I heard from her that you left.)
- tesos (sees) conjugated for visual evidentiality: Rotóji tesosai. (I saw her go.)
- tsmaadhoré (doubtfully) used for dubitative
- tutaadhoré (wishfully) used for volitive
- alké permissive with dative: Rótest alké foki. (You may leave.)
- prohibitive with negated (inability) imperative infinitive: Rótrostodi alké foki. (You aren't allowed to leave.)
- both conditional particles are used separately and they are prefixed with the subjunctive reduplication: Arziizeither zaita bouboisen bouti. (I will raise you if you fall.)
In literature to express the peaking pitch of ironical statements and lowered pitch of sarcastic expressions:
- jø verbal irony: Jótesosoi melurpi, jóbatophoi "Luwidh jø hi loi khu". (He saw the rain and said: "Beautiful day out there")
- gæ sarcasm: Uu, eiluwikoi gæ pai. (Oh, how beautiful you made it.)
|Form→||2nd apophony +infix
infix (after agent-prefix)
Examples: Ailatépoutóji. (I couldn't dance with him), ¿Tsefolateephar? (You don't want to begin dancing with me?)
Honoring negation for 2nd person polite forms consists of (second person) negation affixes with root second apophony and saal-particle placed after the verb: Képozathar saal. (You'll be unable to wash Yourself, unfortunately.)
Second apophony of negation affixes with subjunctive mood: Rorøthórnørt. (He may not be willing to go.)
- Base nouns or their abstract variants may serve as gerunds, which describe the action of doing, but otherwise they are created with the suffix (o)pi added to a verb root. The suffic also helps to distinguish the forms.
- PRES -odi, PST -oudi, FUT ordi
- used with modal verbs
- subjunctive form created with duplication
Sceptrian participles work as adjectives. Following table shows which "case" and suffix the verb base (or gerund in formal register) takes.
- Also the "requiring" (FUT) form LOC+rt and "possible" (GNO) POS+ta
- Past forms are created by adding i to the end: kephoni (was being washed)
- Future forms with or: kephonor (will be washed)
- Examples shown already in derivations
In Sceptrian, auxiliary verbs are conjugated only for subject which may act as the agent of the clause. The verbs can either precede (dynamic, deontic) or come after (epistemic) different verb infinitives. Since regular object-patient conjugation can't be used, objects have to be written (no pro-drop) and they are declined into instrumental-comitative case.
- tut "want" (from tuta "craving, wish"): Tutajin kepoudi his. (I wanted to wash it.)
- infinitive in lative case for "want something to be done": Tutan kepordiki his. (I want it to be washed.)
- "be going to" (FUT): Tuutar latepordi. (I'm going to dance.)
- "wish" (SBJV) mostly as the subjunctive of the absent to be-verb: Tutitan khau fos. (I wish you were here)
- mép "can, know how to" (dynamic) (from mépi "skill"): Mépa latepodi ("I can dance"; notice gnomic-static mood)
- kuut "can, may" (deontic / epistemic) (from kuutó "possibility"): Kuutest rotordi. (You may leave.), Fendógópot kuutó pai. (He may unexpectedly be dead.)
- particle nor added after the verb for lower possibility i.e. "could, might": Fendógópi kuut nor. (It might be dead.)
- particle ga added for "should, must": Fendógópi kuut ga. (It should be dead, as we wanted.)
- khet "must" (deontic) (from kheti "necessity"): Khetan rotodi. (I must go now), Kheetar rotordi. (I must go soon)
- khurd "dare" (from khurdi "daring"): ¿Khurde glerkékodi nas? (Do you dare hit me with a mace?)
- Tutitai latepordi. SBJV.want-PST.PFV.1SG dance-INF.FUT "I would've wanted to dance"
Sceptrian distinguishes between two voices, active and antipassive. Passive is very similar to active since Sceptrian is absolutive-ergative, and thus isn't considered a true change in voice. Antipassive is used to reduce the valency of the verbs by removing the object of a transitive clause.
Active construction: verb-agent-object and verb-object-agent are used so that a comment (rheme) precedes the topic (theme). Emphasizing clitics are used to mark the topic.
- Ónzaiton dothee pof.
/ɔ̃zaɪ̯tə̃ dəθe: pəf/
ón-zait-on doth-ee pof-Ø
3SG.AN.PRES.IPFV-lift-3SG.INAN.PRES.IPFV man-ERG feather-ABS
A man is lifting a feather.
Passive construction: To demote the agent (ERG), it's either removed or inflected into causal ablative (ABL). Verb is only conjugated for the object.
- Zaiton pof (dothpo).
/zaɪ̯tə̃ pəf (dəθpə)/
zait-on pof-Ø (doth-po)
lift-3SG.INAN.PRES.IPFV feather-ABS (man-ABL)
A feather is being lifted (by a man).
Antipassive construction: Agent (ERG) transforms into subject (ABS) and object (ABS) takes the instrumental-comitative (INS) case. Word order becomes SV(O), and the verb is conjugated according to the agent only and the stressed syllable undergoes second apophony. The verb is also suffixed with the emphasizing clitic ma in the formal register.
- Doth ónzeit(ma) (pofos).
/dəθ ɔ̃zei̯t(mä) (pəfəs)/
doth-Ø ón-zeit-Ø(or =ma) (pof-os)
man-ABS ANTIP\3SG.AN.PRES.IPFV-lift-ANTIP(or =ANTIP.FORM) (feather-INS)
The man is lifting (a feather).
Instrument and turning it into an agent:
- Ónzaiton dothee pof vakuhosozh. (...with his own hand...)
- Ónzaiton pof vakuhp dothir. (the feather is raised by the man's hand)
- Onzaiton pof tuph dothish slokli. (The feather is being lifted with a man's stick for them.) Inanimate agent conjugation, and dative of possession is inflected to avoid misinterpretation!
- Vakuh ónzeit pofos. (The hand lifts something, which happens to be a feather)/(someone intentionally lifts a feather with their hand) Notice animate conjugation!
- Tup onzeit dothpo pofos. (The stick, which is being held by a man, lifts something, which happens to be a feather) ABL as causative since inanimate tup.
Decimal base was adopted due to commerce, but traces of the former octal base remain.
Numerals are placed before their head. Last part of a cardinal determiner agrees with case through matching declension: opl tupl (two sticks)
|Number||Number||Cardinal||Ordinal||Fractional||Multiplicative adverb||Multiplicative adjective||Group||Polygon|
|Zero||ozi||oz||ozhi||-||zeng (never)||-||ze (no)||-|
|One||ipi||ip||iphi||liku (whole)||ohu (once)||ipitse (onefold)||ipisi (singular)||ipirt (dot)|
|Two||opi||op||ophi||lopu (half)||ophu (twice)||opitse (twofold)||opisi (pair)||opart (line)|
|One hundred||One hundred
|Two hundred||Thousand||Three thousand
|Ten thousand||Hundred thousand||Million||Billion|
- Multiplicative adverb form is used in front of the powers of ten (tens, hundreds, ...)
- Digits are annexed into the tens by using the cardinal or determiner form depending whether the digit begins with a vowel or not.
- Fractions are constructed by placing the l(o)-prefixed form after the multiplicative number: okhu lóppu ("thrice one quarter" = three quarters). The noun is in ablative case and only the fraction is inflected: lopuji tuppo (for one half of a stick)
- Large numbers (from hundred) are written separately from smaller, but in formal register s-letter is added between each power of ten.
- VAO usually, VOA also very common, SV(O) in antipassive
- often a comment precedes the topic
- numerals precede nouns
- possessives follow nouns
- predicative adjectives precede and attributive ones come after nouns
- demonstratives come last
Suffixes ma (for ABS) and noh (for ERG) are used to emphasize either the object or the agent: Ónzaiton pof dotheenoh. (It is the man who's lifting the feather) vs. Ónzaiton dothee pofma. (It is the feather that the man is lifting.). They are also used in nominalized relative clauses and with verbs in antipassive constructions.
When both are used, information conveyed by the verb becomes veritable: Józaitoi dotheenoh pofma. (I can swear that the man lifted the feather.)
The suffixes are also used with alienable possessive forms to separate the possessor from indirect objects. Chosen depending on the ergativity of the possessum: Jóvakuhoi suu pof swima swi. (He gave her feather to him.)
Independent clauses make sense by themselves so that they may form their own sentence.
In Sceptrian, the subject is not necessarily a separate word since the verb can convey both the agent and the object. Thus a single verb can be a complete sentence: Ainamoi. (It was eaten by me.) However, a full clause may a verbless one as well when the gnomic-static aspect is used or because the languages lacks the verbs "to be" and "to have": Ksaru lutu(ma). (The woman is a guard.), Lutugu ksarushos. (Lady has their own guards.)
Traditional Sceptrian language theorists have used the term qópó (act) when referring to the verb phrase: the main verb, its auxiliaries and particles which wouldn't appear without the verb. It may also refer to the predicative determiners of a verbless clause subject (possibly bearing the emphasizing clitic): e.g. ksaru (guard) is qópó hetson ("still" act) of the above example Ksaru lutu.. This may be called predicate in Westlang grammar.
Betsloi'ó (affectee), that is, the absolutive subject-object may be:
- Noun: Lehkotón kuth. (A dog is running.)
- Pronoun: Aiteshóji slo. (They were seen by me.)
- Gerund: Apekingvó lateppi. (I enjoy dancing.)
- Another clause: Aitésoutóji, skugu rorøtóji. (I couldn't see, where he went.)
- Note that the main verb conjugation is for the abstract subject. In the indirect question, the verb is in subjunctive.
Betslaató (affecter) refers to the agent which is declined into the ergative case.
- A gerung will be declined if necessary, but an entire clause remains the same.
Interrogative clauses begin with either the verb or the interrogative. Interrogative mood is indicated by the moving the primary stress onto the first syllable and adding a rising or dipping pitch. Questions are placed between question marks "¿" and "?". See below in the noun clauses for more of indirect questions.
- In written language, requests often use only the final question mark: Tsemaakor nai? (Will you give it to me?)
coordinating, correlative (and subordinate?)
- and, but, for, so, or
Demonstratives will take the case ending, if the entire
WIP ... to be redone
- Infinitive.tense + ... + causatives: Tesosan kepó vakuhos supe. (I see that he washes his hands) vs. Onluvakan kepóo vakuhos supe. (The washing of his hands brings me pleasure.)
Nominalizing relative clauses with participles is common.
Using an emphasizing clitic to mark the antecedent for the class-appropriate proximal demonstrative pronoun (thaka/saitu/ka declined for number) which works as a relative pronoun - case chosen according to the embedded clause:
- Rotóji dothma saituh latepai. (leave-PST.PFV.3SG man.ABS-EMPH.ABS P.PROX.AN-COM dance-PST.PFV.1SG "The man, with whom I danced, left.")
- Tsóvangosor sahul dothelenos saitush latepai. (AGENT.PRES.INCEP.3PL.AN-is_drunk-FUT.3SG.INAN beer.ABS man-PL.ERG-EMPH.ERG P.PROX.AN-PL.COM dance-PST.PFV.1SG "The men with whom I danced are starting to drink beer.")
- Tsóvangosor sahulma dothele ka tutitai vangosordi. (AGENT.PRES.INCEP.3PL.AN-is_drunk-FUT.3SG.INAN beer.ABS-EMPH.ABS man-PL.ERG P.PROX.INAN SBJV-want-PST.PFV.1SG drink-INF.FUT "Men are starting to drink the beer which I would've wanted to drink."
non-finite forms + possessive suffixes to indicate subject
subjunctive as explained in verb particle section
Different endings which reflect the conversation situation: speakers, familiarity, formality, location...
Agent prefixes aren't used. No t in inceptive. Due to apophony, subject suffix can be dropped from FUT/INCEP if 1st or 2nd person distinction is clear.
In casual register, verb forms are chosen differently when the subject is agent-like (he dances) or patient-like (he fell): latepóji (he danced AN) vs. bousoi (he fell INAN)
Mandatory use of pronouns and agent prefixes.
One may use inanimate verb forms as anti-honorific? Ondakon næ ka Nithki. (I humbly offer this to You)
Apophony of basic prepositions with root oi: Oisti Hala, óosti vakuhanga, ousti qorel (under the Sun, under my hand, under the earth)
In formal register, it is preferred to use only animate nouns as agents while abstract and inanimate are as antipassive subjects: luwi... nas ("beauty-of.yours it-un-eye-ful-makes me-with", your beauty makes me blind) vs. en fø na (you are making me blind)
Distinction between abstract and animate in some categories, such as verb conjugation (wa)
Can people with higher status be abstract or do they occupy a special animate category? (æ inside?)
See the dictionary page.