Grammar:Morphology

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◀ Graphemics Grammar of Tovasala:
Morphology
Word formation ▶

({{{s}}}) Tovasala consists of several hundred base morphemes, all of which are either free (capable of standing alone) or bound (only found in derivations and inflections).[1] Depending on their function and position in a word, they can either serve as roots (capable of standing alone semantically) or affixes (capable of inflecting a root).

Roots

Source languages

See also: Voablivrile:Dashboard/Entries/Breakdown#Source language

Roots comprise the vast majority of Tovasala's base morphemes; all of them end with a consonant (save for s) and vary in length. Many are borrowed from earlier and more modern varieties of English, as well as the Romance languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, &c.) and their ancestor, Latin. Other sources include:

Lengths

Four standalone uniliteral roots, all part of the Core (Jurèke) group, are the shortest in Tovasala:

  • l- (def — the art def)
  • m- (1 — 1st person; I/me/my; we/us/our prn)
  • t- (2.fam — 2nd person, familiar; you[r] prn)
  • v- (go v)

There are several two-letter morphemes, including:

  • -ad (loc/dat — at/to adp)
  • -av (perf — perfect verb [has/have done])
  • -et- (dim — diminutive suff)
  • -id (state/quality of being nns)
  • -if- (characterised by suff)
  • -oz (gen — genitive/possession marker; belonging to a)
  • -un- (indf — a[n]/some art indf)

Most basic roots contain 3-5 letters, with some bearing six or seven; beyond this limit, relatively few are longer. The longest official prime Core roots are all phonetic renditions of their original etymons:

Nonsentient nouns
  • 14-letter aurandismaunt- (from French arrondissement, a type of political subdivision)
  • 12-letter koronavîrauz- (from English coronavirus [COVID-19])
  • 12-letter Mendeleaviōm- (mendelevium/Md) and Rufẽrfordiōm- (rutherfordium/Rf), chemical elements named after scientists
Adjective
  • 12-letter estroadinair-, from English extraordinary.

Affixes

Affixes in Tovasala are either inflectional/derivational markers, or normal roots modifying the meaning of a preceding stem. As in the Romance languages and English, they are either prefixes (at the start of words) or suffixes (at the end). Many in the latter group represent various word classes as Termisons (or Fuindättriemes), so called because of their purpose and position.

Nouns, pronouns, and articles

Tovasala reserves three vowels to mark gender at the end of all words except imperatives, standalone adpositions, conjunctions, and interjections:

  • -o (masc — male)
  • -a (fem — female)
  • -e (n — neuter/unspecified/pan-gender; only in nouns, pronouns, and articles)

In counpounds, masculine and feminine forms/words change their respective -o and -a into -(p)uom and -(p)uam, which becomes -irom/-iram after ch:

  • Paipuomadi (at the Pope's; Apostolic Palace)
  • plovuamiāku (on the ship)
  • sibandüoffrolide (raccoon boar's happiness)[2]
  • boavuomasebu (with the bull)
  • puerchiromzole (boar owner)
  • boavuamzole (cow owner)

Dual forms

Tovasala uses the dual number through the -ous- mesoclitic, a reduced form of tousen- (pair; from touve, two + esène, thing): houbenouse (two highways), gumẽrkouse (two tickets), aumbrouslo (the two men), boavousla (the two cows), kloaspoṛsibliyoafousla (the two attractive skunk sisters—Stacey and Tracey of Sabrina Online).

In complex neuter/masculine/feminine forms, it becomes -ouz/-(p)uovem/-(p)uavem:

  • kamiāunouzzole (owner of the two trucks)
  • livrouśteni (with two books)
  • laprenpuovemprini (about two rabbit bucks)
  • vaulpuavadi (at the two vixens')

Plurals

As in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, plural forms are denoted with an -s at the end of nouns, pronouns, and articles, as well as any adjectives preceding nouns. This is the final possible slot in a Tovasala noun; aside from verbs, the remaining parts of speech are never pluralised.

  • -os (masc-pl — male plural)
  • -as (fem-pl — female plural)
  • -es (n-pl — neuter plural)

In complex formations, -*s (as applies to nouns) becomes -(p)uez before the focus root, as in the locative verb kastaurpuezadar (to be at the beavers'), and the case-inflected edüebomistu (for the kids' sake) and nekuezadi (at the cats' home).

Masculine and feminine subjects use -uosem/-uasem (or -oasem/-ausem after ch):

  • ekuindpuosemteni (with male horses, i.e. stallions)
  • kayakuaseminti (in the kayaks)
  • kloaspuasem (Skunks' Day Out)

Adjectives

All adjectives and adjectival phrases (adj) end in -i, and are derivational. Comparatives are formed by suffixing -ausm after the root, and superlatives with -ausom; the same applies for adverbs. (The corresponding inverse suffixoids are -eusm and -eusom.)

Adverbs

Adverbs and adverbial phrases (adv) end in -u, and are also derivational. -u is equivalent to English -ly, French -ment, and Spanish -mente in most given cases.

Verbs

See also: Grammar:Word classes

Conjugation of Tovasala verbs is straightforward, and involves the -ar termison for infinitives; -ait for the imperative; -ant for the progressive aspect (present participle); -aik for the subjunctive/conditional moods; -aid for past participles; various pronoun-based clitics for the indicative; and so forth. An -av between the root and select verbal suffixes gives variants in the perfect aspect.

Of Tovasala's seven tenses, only the present is unmarked. The rest are handled by six suffixes: -lurip (recent past), -lur (simple past), -lurel (discontinuous past), -lureng (distant past), -lir (future), and -luvir (future in the past). All of these change their first letter after select consonants via a special form of "rendaku".

Nal- signifies negation, and occupies a word's leftmost possible slot.

Interjections

Interjections either assume their unmarked root forms, or end with -(a)t.

Adpositions and conjunctions

Adpositions and conjunctions always assume their root forms, and take no termisons.

Affix charts

Non-termison

Stem Meaning Type
Prefixes
nal- ~ naŕ- predicate/complement negation marker Free
nem- not among, non-, un- Bound
rel- re-, repeated, again, anew Free
ver- back(wards), reverse, inverted, un-, dis-, in-, im- Free
vuiz- before (in sequence) Free
suiv- after (in sequence) Free
saub- sub- Bound
supẽr- super- Free
hîpẽr- hyper- Free
Affixoids
-ad- to (of indirect objects); at (of places) Free
-aup- to(wards) (a location or thing) Free
-int- in (a place or thing) Free
-tranz- through (a place or object) Free
-tug- out of, outside (a place or thing) Free
-tüvv- out of (a place or thing, in departure) Free
-weg- off the surface of (an object of origin) Free
-proxim- near, next to, close by (a location or thing); nearly/almost # Free
-aseb- with, accompanied by (someone/something) Free
-auvek- with, accompanied by (as part of a group) Free
-aurd- for (a place or thing, in designation) Free
-emek- with (an instrument/tool/device) Free
-prev- before; pre- Free
-aprev- after; post- Free
-aivad- per object; by the... Free
Suffixes
-ouz complex dual Bound
-uez complex plural Bound
-av perfect aspect; has/have done Free
-aij prospective aspect; is going/about to... Bound
-aid past participle; is done Bound
-lurip recent past tense; just, recently Bound
-lur simple past tense; was, were, did Bound
-lurel discontinuous past tense (used to); former(ly), ex- Bound
-lureng distant past Bound
-lir future tense; "-to-be" Bound
-luvir future-in-the-past tense (would) Bound
-ieb done by; ergative marker (chiefly used for passive statements in OVS) Bound
-eun topic marker (cf. English "speaking of/as for sbj") Bound
-erij appositive marker (only in certain sentence orders; see Syntax) Bound
-iruj emphasis marker Bound
-oz 's, belonging to; inalienable genitive marker (in nouns) Free
-orz 's, belonging to; alienable genitive marker (in nouns) Free
-zol proprietive marker (in complements associated with a referent; see Syntax#Possessives) Free
-ten with, having Free
-et small (in size), miniature, brief (in time) Bound
-eb baby/newborn (of animals), seedling/sapling/sprout (of plants) Free
-ed young in age Free
-eld old in age, senior, elder Free
-aubr new in time Free
-ead medium-sized (chiefly in clothing/footwear terms) Bound
-ard 1,000,000x (one million [of], in numbers); augmentative suffix (for other words) Bound
-raz times #, #-fold; multiple of x (with numbers) Free
-puem divided by # (with numbers) Free
-tam about/approximately/roughly # (only with numbers) Free
-tem #st/nd/rd/th (only in ordinal numbers) Bound
-triem x/# (in fractions); a small piece/portion/segment (of inanimate subjects) Free
-tuim #-plet (when referring to twins) Free
-esil (originating) from a place, person, or thing Free
-iāk on (the surface of) Free
-uskem up to the point of (a place), until Free
-äffuind ending up at (a place) Free
-omist for/(dedicated) to (in media); for the benefit/sake of Free
-opoam against, opposing, anti- Free
-anfel prone/susceptible/liable to (something) Free
-oajem brief(ly), in a flash; momentane aspect Free
-ouhim seldom, rarely Free
-ouhaum frequent(ly), often, occasional(ly) (of an action or state) Free
-oguil sometimes, part-time Free
-iām already Free
-esel maybe, probably, perhaps Free
-upot almost, nearly (also in numbers) Free
-abil able to; can Free
-aisom completive aspect; accomplished/achieved Free
-aubil inchoative aspect; starting to... Free
-aubel cessative aspect; no more, no longer Free
-ain the result of an action or state Bound
-euz full of... Bound
-ond without, -less Free
-seul -only, exclusively, exclusive to Free
-oid like, resembling; -oid/-ine (of animals) Free
-ausik similar to, acting/behaving like Free
-kuem more than/much as/less than (an object) (after plain adjectives, and comparatives formed with -ausm/-eusm) Free
-ubel bad, poor, shoddy, inferior Free
-uvam excellent Free
-truz set or group of... Free
-mult collection of... Free
-budin team of... (only with animate subjects) Free
-esaim swarm, crowd; collective suffixoid Free
-tanul the study/field of... Free
-ail of or pertaining to a place, person, or thing Bound
-iēn someone who is (from a place), comes from/lives in/resides in (a place), does (an action), plays (a game/sport), specialises in Bound
-iēr something that does... (with action verbs) Bound
-uvel step-(relative); ersatz/mock (before other roots) Free
-uveng expert Free
-uzaum poor (little)/pitiful... Free
-iōm -ium (in chemistry); element Free
-ausm more...; comparative (cf. English -er) Free
-ausom most...; superlative (cf. English -est) Free
-eusm less... Free
-eusom least... Free
-ẽrgim because (of), thanks to Free
-inz causative verb marker (to cause/make...) Free
-iz the act of turning/transforming into/converting to... Bound
-id the quality or state of being... Free
-if the nature of (being)/characterised by... (adjectives and adverbs) Bound
-aig the use/action of... Free
-(b)uit strengthens meaning Bound
-trusil (#) of Free
-zeg quotative/indirect speech marker Free
-zem visual evidence marker Free
-zeng sensory evidence marker Free
-zev auditory evidence marker Free
-odiv "I wonder if..."; cf. Finnish han/hän Free

Termison

Suffix Class Function
-e Noun Neuter
-o Masculine
-a Feminine
-i Adjective/Adjectival phrase
-u Adverb/Adverbial phrase
-s Plural
-ar Verb Infinitive
Various Indicative
Various Interrogative
-aik Conditional/Subjunctive
-ait Imperative
-ant Progressive
-asant Continuative
-Ø/(a)t Interjections
Adpositions
Conjunctions

Morphological processes

Morphological processes in Tovasala
[After Epo (2014):13]
Process Examples
Prefixation nalintar (to be not inside) (nal- [not] + int + -ar)
nemvoardi (untrue, unofficial) (nem- [not among] + voard [true/real/authentic] + -i)
rëmmandaidi (resent) (rel- [re-] + mand + -aid + -i)
saubtrieme (subsection) (saub- [sub-] + triem + -e)
verjautaine (answer) (ver- [reverse] + jaut [ask] + -ain [rslt] + -e)
Suffixation riānttures (ancestors) (riānt [parent] + -lur [pst] + -e + -s)
hodiezzire (upcoming event) (hodiez + -lir + -e)
vanzzuvirat (...that sbj would win) (vanz + -luvir [fut.pst] + -at)
neuvière (reference work) (neuv [show the way (to)/advise] + -iēr [something that...] + -e)
seuddeziène (liar) (seud [false] + dez [say] + -iēn [someone who...] + -e)
nekède (kitten) (nek [cat] + -ed [youngster] + -e)
ekuindozi (horse's) (ekuind + -oz [gen] + -i)
Nazaulproximtugu (outside Nassau's vicinity) (Nazaul + -proxim [nearby] + -tug [outside] + -u)
veyar (to see) (vey + -ar)
imajinat (sbj imagines) (imajin + -at)
veselant (sbj is probably going) (v + -esel + -ant)
noagelouhaumaik (sbj ought to swim often) (nougel + -ouhaum + -aik)
fraulaija (bride) (fraul [spouse] + -aij [prsp] + -a)
Iteration touɗdèye-touɗdèye (the year 2020) ((touv [2] + dey [10] + -e)2)
Reduplication vuivuivuipey! (hip-hip-hooray!) (vui3pey [yippee!])

buãnbuãng (sound made by a gong) (buãn2g)

Compounding nâyobène (doghouse) (nây [dog] + oben [house] + -e)
dinerludar (to gamble) (diner [money] + lug [play] + -ar)
sulittoaké (audition) (sulit [test] + toak [perform] + -e)
tuenzièle (universe) (tuen [whole/full/entire] + ziēl [sky] + -e)
Fusion veyrupe (eye) (vey [see] + urup [body organ] + -e)
astranule (astronomy) (astrel [star] + tanul [study] + -e)
astreganule (astrology) (astrel [star] + tegin [sign] = astregin [star sign] + tanul [study] + -e)
doamaube (bed) (doarm [sleep] + aurd [for the purpose of] + meubl [furniture] + -e)
kualtaudra (princess) (kuald [monarch] + taudr [child] + -a)
moarzar (to kill) (moart [die] + iz [caus] + -ar)
riāblo (uncle) (riānt [parent] + sibl [sibling] + -o)
Zero modification All standalone adpositions/conjunctions, and most interjections; der and den are Tovasala's only invariable roots

Inflectional categories

Inflectional categories in Tovasala
[Modelled after Conklin (1949):10 (quoted in Epo (2014):14)]
Category Types Productive in
# Label
Case 80+ See Case handbook and Word formation#oben Nouns
Pronouns
Adjectives
Adverbs
Verbs
Number 5 Singular (-Ø)
Dual (-ous-)
Plural (-s)
Nouns
Pronouns
Adjectives
Verbs
Complex Dual (-ouz)
Complex Plural (-uez)
Nouns
Pronouns
Adjectives
Adverbs
Verbs
Gender 4 Sentient (-e/-o/-a)
Nonsentient (-e)
Masculine (-o)
Feminine (-a)
Nouns
Pronouns
Adjectives
Verbs
Adpositions
Tense 7 Present (-Ø)
Recent Past (-lurip)
Simple Past (-lur)
Discontinuous Past (-lurel)
Distant Past (-lureng)
Future (-lir)
Future in the Past (-luvir)
Nouns
Pronouns
Adjectives
Adverbs
Verbs
Adpositions
Aspect 4 Progressive (-ant)
Continuative (-asant)
Perfect (-av)
Prospective (-aij)
Nouns
Pronouns
Adjectives
Verbs
Adpositions
Mood 34 Indicative ( 32)
Conditional/Subjunctive (-aik)
Imperative (-ait)
Nouns
Adjectives
Verbs
Comparisonal 4 Comparative (-ausm)
Superlative (-ausom)
Negative Comparative (-eusm)
Negative Superlative (-eusom)
Adjectives
Adverbs
Evidential 6 Quotative (-zeg)
Visual (-zem)
Sensory (-zeng)
Auditory (-zev)
Olfactory (-zepeng
Gustatory (-zefem)
Nouns
Pronouns
Adjectives
Adverbs
Verbs

Split ergativity

A feature of Tovasala is its split ergativity, whereby pronouns and determiners utilise a nominative–accusative system, but passive-voice sentences using only nouns follow an ergative–absolutive pattern.[3] Ergative nouns and nominative pronouns indicate the subject/agent of a transitive verb, while absolutive nouns denote the subject of an intransitive verb or the object/patient of a transitive, and accusative pronouns a transitive's object/patient.

Below is a comparison involving the nonsentient noun livré (book); the sentient feminine noun laprena (rabbit doe); and the third-person masculine pronoun lumo.

Case Word
livré laprena lumo
Ergative livriebe laprenieba lumo
Nominative livré laprena
Absolutive
Accusative lumio

The split-ergativity approach is therefore demonstrated in these example sentences:

  • Livré prinat laprena. (The book is about a rabbit lady.) (Livriebe prinat laprena is technically grammatical, but the ergative -ieb is officially left out in accordance with Tovasala's standard SVO order.)
  • Livré viegaumat. (The book is heavy.) (With an intransitive adjectival conjugation, livré is absolutive.)
  • Laprena veyat lumio. (The rabbit lady sees him.) (Laprena is nominative; lumio is accusative.)
  • Laprena veyat lumo. (The rabbit lady is seen by him.) (Passive-voice statement; lumo is ergative.)
  • Paulime veyat lumio. (Many see him.) (Paulime, a pronoun, is the nominative subject/agent, and lumio is the accusative patient.)
  • Paulimie veyat lumo. (Many are seen by him.) (Passive-voice statement; lumo is nominative, and paulimie accusative.)
  • Paulime lezat livré. (Many read the book.) (Paulime is ergative; livré is the unmarked absolutive/accusative object/patient.)
  • Paulime nẽrlat laprena. (Many teach the rabbit lady.) (Laprena is the accusative/absolutive.)
  • Paulimie nẽrlat laprena. (Many are taught by the rabbit lady.) (Passive-voice statement; paulimie is the accusative, and laprena the nominative.)
  • Paulime vant. (Many are going.) (Paulime is nominative.)
  • Lumio suavat laprena. (He is kissed by the rabbit lady.) (Laprena is the nominative; lumio is the accusative.)
  • Suavato laprena. (He kisses the rabbit lady.) (Suavato is a third-person null-subject conjugation.)
  • Suavato laprenieba. (He is kissed by the rabbit lady.) (The ergative laprenieba is used in this passive-voice statement.)

Gender alignment

Key: M = Masculine/Male; F = Feminine/Female; N = Neuter; C = Common

Tovasala has four grammatical genders: Sentient (Rashumi), Nonsentient (Verrashumi), Masculine (Sugomi), and Feminine (Sugami). The last two are inquorate, i.e. unproductive; only a few proper nouns (i.e. terms for religious figures such as Paipo [Pope]) are Masculine, while the Feminine (per English tradition) almost exclusively denotes terms for otherwise Nonsentient water transportation.

Grammatical gender Natural gender termison(s)
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Sentient -o -a -e
Nonsentient -e
Masculine -o
Feminine -a
Type Gender Termison(s)
Gramm. Nat.
Animate masculine creatures in kingdom Animalia S/M M -o
Animate feminine creatures in kingdom Animalia S/F F -a
Animate creatures in Animalia, whose gender is unknown/undetermined/irrelevant S C -e
Groups of animate masculine members from Animalia S/M M -o(s)
Groups of animate feminine members from Animalia S/F F -a(s)
Groups consisting of both masculine and feminine creatures from Animalia S C -e(s)
Animate beings in non-animal kingdoms (such as Plantae and Fungi) NS C -e(s)
Inanimate material objects (except water transportation) NS N -e(s)
-ọ(s)
-ạ(s)[4]
Water transportation F N -a(s)
Given names (all stems unisex) S M -o/-a
Names of fields, specialties, movements, events, and seasons NS N -e
Names of places (continents; bodies of water — oceans, seas, bays, straits, gulfs; countries; subdivisions — states, provinces, districts, parishes, prefectures, counties, communes; cities and towns; villages and hamlets) and languages NS N -o
-a
-e[5]

Compounds

As in various agglutinative languages and the already established Esperanto (also a constructed language itself), new words in Tovasala can be formed out of existing base roots and affixes (as will be seen in the next segment of the grammar, Word formation). As shown earlier on, certain combinations with difficult consonant clusters utilise an epenthetic -oṛ- interfix depending on the first vowel of the next morpheme: plaj + tug = plajoṛtug (outside the beach); lof + kuem = lofoṛkuem (...as/-er than the hill).

Notes

  1. ^ A morpheme (or voabtrieme in Tovasala) is the smallest unit of language; the study of morphemes is called morphology (voabtriemtanule).
  2. ^ Using a mutated form of -uoz, the genitive variant. The feminine counterpart, sibandüaffrolide, uses -uaz.
  3. ^ This pattern also occurs in Pitjantjatjara, a dialect of the Aboriginal Western Desert language of Australia.
  4. ^ Several neuter nouns in Tovasala inherit the last -o/-a of their original etymons; the resulting termison is underdotted.
  5. ^ Taking a cue from Ido (an Esperanto spinoff), some Tovasala place and language names (its own included) inherit the last -o/-a/-e of their original etymons; otherwise, -e follows the root in question.
◀ Graphemics Grammar of Tovasala:
Morphology
Word formation ▶

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