Sagavi Language and Grammar

The language of Sagavia is central to its culture, and all Sagavis, particularly the educated, are proud of the beauty and richness of meaning that it can offer. They claim that, of all human languages, theirs comes closest to giving all things their proper name, a statement which seems odd to Western ears, but has a quasi-religious ring for a Sagavi.

Sagavi is not known to be related to any other living language. Some comparative linguists have postulated that it is an “Altaic” language, sharing some distant common ancestor with the Turkic, Finno-Ugric, Samoyedic, possibly even Korean or Japanese language families. Evidence for this claim, however, is flimsy at best. It is certainly true, however, that Sagavi is dramatically different from its Indo-European, Turkic, and Finno-Ugric neighbors, though its agglutinative structure makes it slightly more similar to the latter two, at least in grammatical terms.

The Sagavi language has shown a surprisingly high level of continuity over time. Though no original copies of written records have survived from before the foundation of the Republic of Taralia in 625 AD, a modern Sagavi can still read and pronounce documents from that time in essentially the same manner that their ancient writers did. There are what purport to be fragmentary copies of documents written in Old Sagavi; these indicate that there have been some phonological and orthographic changes since the Years of the Ancient Kings. However, given that, in the same time period, Vulgar Latin gave birth to the modern Romance languages, and Old Slavonic evolved into such languages as Russian and Czech, the changes that took place in Sagavi were, at most, minor.

Despite this continuity, however, Sagavi also contains significant variety. The language discussed in this article is standard Sagavi, a “prestige dialect” based on the formal speech of Taralia and the written works composed therein. The other cultural regions of Sagavia have their own dialects, many of which differ significantly from the standard. These are covered in other articles. Throughout this document, the term “Sagavi” refers specifically to the formal Taralian dialect.


PHONOLOGY

The Sagavi language offers some difficulty to the English-speaker who wishes to pronounce it correctly. Vowels are fairly easy: all Sagavi vowels have equivalents in English, the main differences being the greater clearness, purity, and forcefulness of their Sagavi enunciations. In fact, English has many vowels that the Sagavi language lacks. With consonants, however, this situation is reversed. While all the consonants of English have approximate equivalents in Sagavi, there are many Sagavi consonants that have no counterparts in English, or in other modern European languages. Such are the voiced velar fricative [Q] /ɣ/, the voiceless laryngeal fricative [Ħ] /ħ/, and the voiced alveolar affricate [Ʒ] /dz/. These have their most familiar equivalents in Arabic and Vietnamese, but are not typically encountered by English-speakers.

Overall, the Sagavi language has perhaps 40 phonemes, eight or nine of them being vowels. Based on the available evidence, this represents a decrease from Old Sagavi, which probably had about 48 phonemes, ten of which were vowels.



STRESS OR EMPHASIS

There are three broad ways in which linguists generally describe the use of intra-word “stress” in various languages. In a tone-accented language, such as Cantonese, the pitch at which a mora is articulated may be thought of as phonemic. That is, two otherwise phonetically identical morae are distinguished (in meaning, etc.) by pitch, or changes in pitch, during their articulation. In a language with a pitch accent, such as Japanese, two otherwise phonetically identical words are distinguished by the presence or absence of changes in pitch during their pronunciation.

In contrast to either of these types, Sagavi is a strongly stress-accented language. Emphasis is tonic – that is, it is apportioned between the syllables of any multisyllabic word – but pitch is not the most salient way in which the speaker applies this emphasis. Dynamic (loudness) and quantitative (duration) factors are far more important, though in some dialects, stressed syllables also drop in pitch.

(This is not to say, however, that variations in pitch do not play a role in the spoken language. Within Sagavi phrases and sentences, patterns of pitch are used, in conjunction with word order, to distinguish questions from statements, statements from commands, etc., as well as to indicate the most important component of a given utterance. These patterns are known linguistically as “intonation.”)

Basic words in spoken Sagavi have four or fewer syllables; in such words, only one syllable receives the emphasis. This is generally determined by vowel (or diphthong) precedence, according to the order shown below. As is true through this document, Latin letters are used for the reader’s convenience.

A / AY / AW

E / EY / EW / I

Ø / ØY / OW / U / O / OY

J

Ə / ƏI

If two syllables contain the same vowel, the one nearer the end of the word receives emphasis. A list of examples follows; the syllable in bold type is the stressed one.

kuteþ

nanak

zahale

kutəs

nanum

zahaleləs

kutak

nanaro

zahalagens

kutefnj

olbeš

mjlak

dalete

olbešec

mjlešen

kutatis

olbešəs

mjləs

The agglutinative grammar of Sagavi (see below) means that words with four or more syllables are common. In most such cases, two syllables within the word both receive emphasis. For this purpose, the word may be conceived as being “divided” into two parts, its semantic stem and its grammatical suffixes. Stress within either part is then determined in accordance with the normal rules. However, if the second part contains only vowels low on the order of precedence, or if its stressed syllable would be adjacent to the stressed syllable of the first part, it usually does not receive any stress at all. Another table of examples follows; the syllables in bold type are the stressed ones.

amusak

megestracak

Sabadrac

amuselak

megestracəs

Sabadracəs

amuseləs

megestrac

Sabadracaro

amuseleš

megestracešəs

Sabadracelešəs

amuselešəs

megestracešagens


amuselešaro

megestracuben


It should be noted that, while all this sounds complex, most words contain one of the top two vowels, so the “decision” as to stress is easily (indeed, unconciously) made. Also, in informal speech, the order of precedence is sometimes violated, especially in words which lack “strongly contrasting” vowels, such as smøtuðy. While this word should technically be pronounced smøtuðy, many speakers will casually pronounce it smøtuðy, since the vowels are adjacent in the perceived order of precedence, and there is a bias in favor of stressing nearer the end of a word. Finally, in long words, most reasonable attempts to follow the primary-secondary stress rules will “sound right” to a native speaker.

Stress “errors” can also be the product of habit. As an example, the accusative suffix, -əs, is almost never stressed, since its vowel falls last in the order of precedence, e.g., safəs, skeyəs, ayšəs, etc. This leads many Sagavi speakers to pronounce the accusative form of “dust,” čəyəs, as čəyəs, although it is “properly” yəs, since the second occurence of the same vowel in a word receives the stress. However, this sounds so unnatural that only educated individuals making an effort to speak “correctly” will actually pronounce it that way.

Finally, certain affixes are exempted from these rules, most notably the suffixes denoting modifiers (such as adjectives) and the comparative prefixes. These are not stressed.


ORTHOGRAPHY

The guiding principle of Sagavi orthography is that each phoneme is represented by one symbol, and that words are written by transcribing their phonemes in order. Thus there are no “silent” symbols with only orthographic or archaic significance in the standard language. When writing in a higher register, speakers of the various dialects will make orthographic distinctions that they do not pronounce when reading the text, but informal writing usually spells in accordance with dialectical pronunciation.

To a Westerner, one of the most distinctive features of Sagavi orthography is its use of two different alphabets: brangol and karoc. The latter is believed to be the older of the two, is perceived as less formal than its counterpart, and is much more commonly used. The vast majority of printed matter, signs, handwriting, etc.—writing in any situation in which clarity and / or ease are more important than aesthetic considerations—is in karoc.

As its appearance demonstrates, karoc is outwardly similar to modern European alphabets; its letters are not linked, and many of the same shapes are used. The historical development of the karoc script is somewhat of a mystery. Though it is believed to be older than brangol, its informal usage has left it less well attested than that alphabet: none of the preserved writings from before the Years of Migration are written in karoc. Some modern karoc symbols were clearly adopted from other writing systems, such Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew, but it is unclear when this occurred. Letters such as T or N appear similar to foreign symbols, but represent unrelated phonemes, probably meaning that they were probably developed independently. Barring any further archaeological discoveries, a clear picture of the history of karoc may never be attained.

In contrast, brangol is clearly a descendant, through the Gupta imperial script, of the ancient Brahmic writing system of the Indian subcontinent. It was apparently spread to the Sagavis in the period of Aryan-Vedic cultural influence in the Years of the Ancient Kings, before their long westward migration brought them to their current homeland. To someone who cannot read either script, brangol looks broadly similar to Bangali-Nagari, the primary writing system now used for languages such as Sanskrit and Hindi. However, though the ancient Sagavis apparently adopted many of the forms of the old Gupta writing, they extensively adapted them for their own purposes, and their own language. In consequence, in most cases, the phonemes represented by a given letter of brangol bear no relation to the phonemes represented by the similar letter in Bangali-Nagari.

As mentioned above, brangol is used for “elevated” purposes, such as calligraphy. Business logos or ornate signs are also lettered in brangol, though they often have karoc captions. Printed books usually use brangol on the cover for the title and the author’s name, and perhaps for chapter titles or headings inside; only sacred books are written entirely in brangol. Similarly, brangol is rarely used in newspapers and magazines, at least outside of mastheads or covers. It is, however, used for decorative purposes far more frequently than is the Latin alphabet: handcrafts, jewelry, clothing, knick-knacks, and even furniture and walls are often adorned with one of the many calligraphic styles of brangol. Texts in brangol calligraphy are frequently used as wall hangings. It should be noted that Sagavis are not traditionally taught to read and write brangol until adolescence; due to the greater religious significance of this alphabet, learning it constitutes a ritual of initiation into the mysteries of the Oramian faith. In reality, though, many bright Sagavi children are able to puzzle it out on their own. They are generally discouraged from making this obvious in social situations, and there is still a taboo against children writing in brangol.


TRANSLITERATION

In the Fragmented Period (for Westerners, the eleventh through the sixteenth centuries), Sagavi scholars first became aware of the novel requirement of explaining their culture, language, and history to Christians and Muslims. Over time, two standard methods of transliteration, one based on the Latin alphabet and the other on the Arabic, were developed. Like the native alphabets, golac latini and golac arəbi contain one symbol per phoneme. Phonemes found in Sagavi which are absent in Western or Arabic languages are represented by embellishing existing letters with diacritic marks; for example, golac arəbi represent both long and short vowels (the latter typically not written in Arabic) by placing dots or hamza above or below the letters alif and waaw.

In recent years, the growing Sagavi technological and political influence in East Asia has led to the creation of many different systems of transliteration, most based either on Japanese katakana or Chinese bopomofo. However, as yet, none of these has gained wide acceptance as the standard system.


LEXICON

Though Sagavi is unrelated to any other known language, it has, like almost all languages, absorbed a fair portion of its vocabulary from other cultures with which it came in contact. In the Years of the Ancient Kings, the Sagavis interacted with the Vedic, Hellenistic, and Persian cultures, as well as that of classical China. Greek influence was only increased when, after years of wandering, the Sagavis established their first Republics on the northern border of the Eastern Roman Empire. During this amazingly fruitful period of contact with the declining Classical, and the emerging Christian, elements of Mediterranean civilization, terms from Greek, Latin, and Hebrew were incorporated into Sagavi literature quite freely. In addition, as the Sagavi settlers absorbed the Slavic inhabitants of their new homelands, they gained some of their vocabulary. In later years, raiding by Turkic and Mongol raiders from the steppes, as well as conflict with the Arab and Turkish Muslim Empires, introduced further vocabulary from those languages.


GRAMMATICAL OVERVIEW

This section is best begun by a brief introduction to some technical linguistic terms. A lexeme may be thought of as the fundamental unit of meaning, independent of any inflection, while a lemma is the “citation form” of the lexeme. For example, “to run” might be considered the lemma for the lexeme which incorporates the forms run, runs, ran, will run, had run, running, etc. Morphemes are grammatical particles, often prefixes or suffixes, which are attached to a lexeme to alter its meaning: the plural –s which changes one book to many books, or the verb suffixes which change ongoing looking to already-completed looked. Finally, languages are generically classified as being generally analytic or synthetic. Analytic languages manifest little inflection; rather, their speakers convey different meanings through the use of word order and separate lexemes. Synthetic languages are highly inflected, conveying most nuances of meaning through the inflection of the various lexemes. Modern English, as an example, is a primarily analytic language, while Russian and Latin are much more synthetic.

Linguists classify synthetic languages as either fusional or agglutinative. Indo-European and Semitic languages are generally fusional; that is, one morpheme simultaneously indicates several grammatical functions: the ending of the Russian word ots-am signifies masculine gender, plural number, and dative case. In agglutinative languages, on the other hand, separate morphemes are attached sequentially, with each morpheme having a separate function.

Sagavi is an extremely agglutinative synthetic language. Almost all its lexemes are stems, root words that are inflected to indicate their grammatical roles. In a manner which is highly unusual to a speaker of English, these stems are not divided into nouns and verbs, or any other categories. Rather, their “part of speech,” like other grammatical information, is indicated by the attachment of various morphemes. Where English has several different lexemes (the thought, thoughtful, thoughtfully, to think) for one essential concept, each with different processes of inflection, Sagavi has a single stem (nur).

There are also about two dozen Sagavi particles. These lexemes add to the tone of a statement or express a specific meaning or relationship; certain particles are also used much like English adverbs or adjectives. Particles are sometimes not inflected, and their placement does matter; these facts make them the only analytic component of the Sagavi language.


NOMINAL INFLECTION

Stems inflected to represent objects, situations, statuses, or concepts are referred to as nominals, and their role is roughly equivalent to that of English nouns. Sagavi nominals lack grammatical gender.

They may take a prefix and four types of suffix, often taking more than one “case suffix.” Nominal morphology general adheres to the following model:

{specificity} - {comparison} - + [stem] + {reference} + {number} + [case] + {case + case ...}


Specificities

Comparisons

[-]

hon-

løn-

hyl-

wil-

kaj-

høj-

nej-

general

a / some / any (indefinite / indf)

which one / what kind (inquisitive / inqt)

this (proximate demonstrative / pdem)

other / another (anti-demonstrative / adem)

higher status (high)

equal status (eq)

lower status (low)

[-]

-ǯo-

-ni-


neutral

positive comparative (pcom)

negative comparative (ncom)


References

Numbers

[-]

-ar-

-el-

-id-

-øt-

-or-

concept as object or situation

concept as transitive action

performer of concept as transitive action

target of concept as transitive action

concept as intransitive action

performer of concept as intransitive action

[-]

-eš-

-os-

-on-

-uz-

-øl-

singular (sing)

discrete plural (plur)

collective or general plural (coll)

partitive (part)

distributive (dist)

null (null)


Structural Cases

Directional Cases

-ak

[-] / -ə

-əs

active subject (ergative / erg)

inactive subject (absolutive / abs)

passive object (accusative / acc)

-en

-ago

towards / preceding in time (allative / all)

out from, away from / since (ablative / abl)


Semantic Cases

-ot

-ikə

-ec

-in

-um

-om

-øj

-anə

-avə

-agens

-atru

-enkə

-ah/-hah

as, in the role of (appositive / app)

similar to, like, resembling (semblative / sem)

of, belonging to, possessed by, part of (genetive / gen)

incorporating, encompassing, containing, made of (compositive /com)

for, to, for the sake of, intended for (dative / dat)

with, using, by means of (instrumental / ins)

together with, accompanied by (concomitative / con)

due to, because of, caused by (causitive / cau)

made possible by, enabled by (potentive / pot)

concerning, describing, dealing with (descriptive / des)

against, opposed to, in contrast with (oppositional / opp)

contingent on, depending on (dependent / dep)

vocative (voc)


Locational Cases

Temporal Cases

-it

-eþ

-eðə

-efny

-yls

-ety

-irə

-insə

-ift

-ejx

-auħ

-eç

in, inside (inessive / ine)

at, on (locative / loc)

among, between (entretive / ent)

along (perlative / per)

through, across (prolative / pro)

near, beside (adessive / ade)

far from (fugitive / fug)

beyond, outside (exclusive / exc)

in front of (antessive / ant)

behind, past (postessive / pos)

above (superessive / sup)

below (subessive / sub)

-ət

-uþ

-uðy

-ufnə

-əls

-utə

-øry

-ønsy

-øft

-ux

-oħ

-uç

exactly simultaneous with

exactly contemporaneous with

occuring during

ongoing during

starting before and ending after

occurring around the time of

remote in time from

not-during

before

after

older than

newer than


PRONOMINALS

Sagavi pronominals are analogous to pronouns in English. They are treated as stems, and take the nominal inflections, with the exception of the ergative case marker, which is assumed to be present in the absence of any other. Otherwise, they are inflected like other nominals. The table below shows the pronominal “stems.”

Persons

Singular Forms

Plural Forms

first person

ej

ejš

exclusive plural variant

-

mej

second person

tij

tiš

third person

haj

hajš

fourth person

[-]

[-]

reflexive (all persons)

seb, awd

seb, awd

reciprocal (all persons)

çez

çez

Note that Sagavi is a generally “pro-drop” language; if the sense of a verbial can be inferred from context without the use of a pronoun, as it usually can, the pronoun is most often omitted.


VERBIAL INFLECTION

tripartite or ergative-absolutive-accusative morphosyntactic alignment

Stems inflected to represent occurrences of actions or events are referred to as verbials, and their role is roughly equivalent to that of English verbs. Sagavi verbials are inflected for at least person and tense, and may also be inflected for aspect, and mood. Unlike those in most Indo-European languages, verbials in Sagavi are not inflected for number. Their morphology generally adheres to the following model:

[stem] + [subject person] + [status] + [transitivity] + [object person] + [tense] + {aspect} + {deixis} + {mood}

Status

Trans

Persons

Tenses

[-]

-w-

-ħ-

neutral

lower

higher

-t-

-n-

trans.

intrans.

-e-

-i-

-a-

-ø-

first

second

third

fourth

-f

-s*

-nd

-nt

-ns

past

present*

future

future

future


Aspects

Deixes

Moods

[-]

-øn/-nø

-ot/-to

-əþ/-þə

general

perfective

imperfectivehabitual

[-]

-et

-ojn

none

past

future

[-]

-uš

-oç

-ym

-ynə

is or isn’t true (indicative)

wished / commanded (optative / imperative)

potentially true, certainly false (hypothetical)

potentially true, probably false (dubitative)

potentially true, probably true (inferential)


How vaxanasuš, nu moj qrejtanas. = May he hate (I hope so), if he does fear (though I'm uncertain).

Moj vaxanasynə, how so qrejtanas. = If he hates, then indeed he fears.

Moj vaxanasoç, how qrejtanasynə. If he were to hate (though he doesn't), then he might well fear.

Moj vaxanasoç, how qrejtanasym. If he were to hate, then he might fear (but I doubt it).

Moj vaxanasoç, how qrejtanasuš. If he were to hate, then I hope he would fear.

Status-neutral verbials are not marked with an infix, while lower- or higher-status verbials exhibit infixes.

Note that, with the first person, the present-tense morpheme is elided, unless another suffix follows it. However, in informal or ungrammatical speech, the suffix is sometimes elided even then.

The use of the full intransitive ending is nowadays a mark of formal speech; in everyday conversation, it is most typically contracted, so that bulanas becomes bulas, ucavenend becomes ucavend, and so on.

An interesting feature of Sagavi is its total lack of modal verb constructions, such as “can do,” “have done,” “will do,” etc. These relationships are instead expressed with relative and dependent clauses.

Languages employ copulae are used for identity, class membership, predication, auxiliary verb forms, existence, and location. Sagavi does have a copula, but it is used much less frequently than in English. The “stem,” s- is used for identity, class membership, and predication; the two joined elements are both in absolutive case. Its forms are:



past

present

future

1st

sef

se

ses

send

sent

2nd

sif

si

sis

sind

sint

3rd

saf

sa

sas

sand

sant

4th

søf

søs

sønd

sønt


VERBIALS OF MOTION

Sagavi has a number of generic words of motion roughly equivalent to "go," as well as an extensive derivational process for such words.

At- is general "going"; that is, voluntary directional movement. Ep is such movement on the ground, ov on or in the water, in or through the air. The suffixation of -u- to these stems specifies mounted and vehicular movement. When transitive verbial forms of these stems are used, the nominative is the mover, the accusative is the medium or space of movement, and the locational reference is in an oblique case.

Atetaf vajəs ejmen. I traveled (lit. "went") the road towards the town.

Ovatand rausəs Dojšenyþ. He will swim the river into Germany.

For verbials of motion only, the intransitive form implies a habitual action, like the suffix -þə.


Atenef ejmen. I used to go into town.

Ovinis memyþ. You swim in the ocean (all the time).


Each of these verbials of motion may be prefixed with a morpheme which would normally serve as the first syllable of a directional or locative case ending. If this is done, then the transitive form has the mover as the nominative and the locational reference as the accusative. The verbial's meaning contains both the type of movement and the fact that it is directed at the location implied by the prefixed morpheme. Note that the following transformations of morphemes take place: (-eðə > yð-), (-efny > fyn-), (-yls > lys-), (-ety > tyh-), (-ire > ir-), (-insə > ins-).

Enatitaf ejməs vajefny. You approached the town along the road.

Yþatitaf ejməs vajefny. You went to enter town along the road.

Yþatitafto ejməs vajefny. You were entering town along the road (but may never have arrived).

Yþatitafnø ejməs vajefny. You entered town along the road (and arrived).

Lysuǯatand meməs. They will fly across the ocean (in an aircraft).

Fynovwitaf rawsəs. You sailed along the river (in a watercraft).

More specific types of motion, as well as involuntary motion, whether directionless or not, do not follow these special rules. For example:

Prajanaf vajefny ejmen soldateš. The soldiers walked along the road toward town.

Prajetaf vajefny ejmen soldatešəs. I walked the soldiers along the road into town (I forced or caused them to walk).


MODIFIER INFLECTION

Stems inflected to represent the traits of other inflected stems are referred to as modifiers. Sagavi adjectivals modify nominals, Sagavi adverbials modify verbials, and admodifiers modify adjectivals and adverbials. The inflectional suffixes indicating modifiers are never stressed, regardless of the other vowels in the word.

Modifiers

-i / -hi

adjectival

-wə / -hwə

adverbial

admodifier

For an adjectival, the /h/ is interposed if the suffix follows a vowel or /j/.

For an adverbial, the /h/ is interposed if the suffix follows /u/. If the suffix follows /w/, then the /ww/ sequence becomes /v/. In informal or dialectical speech, both of these rules are often violated, particularly the latter.

stul rupejhi silver chair

pideþ sabadi in/at the mountainous land

polacagens pøri about the weak state

Neretasoç wil-miþəs madø-møci. I would enjoy that sadly absent wine.

In informal speech, the adjectival form of a pronoun is used like the "possessive pronouns" in English.

tom ejhi my book; dialectically this is ejji or ehi

ǯuþeya tijhi your braided hair

kožit sebi in his own pot

Less familiarly to the English speaker, the adverbial form of a pronoun is frequently used in situations in which we might say "like me" or "like him."

Garuš ejwə! Read like me! read like I'm doing it!

Skejanasəþ tijwə. He talks like you.

Pramatand çezwə hil-siðəs. They will judge this situation in the same way (that is, like each other, emphasizing their uniformity).



PARTICLES

repetition is used to intensify particle meanings

Affirmation, Negation, Intensity

so, sø, su, o, əjwə

yes, also emphatic

pa, pah, ba, bah, pe, peh, be, beh, e, eh

no

ku

[interrogative]

ho

[topical]

sla

very

nys

anti-very

žma

only, merely, just

fe

too, overly

nu

well [hesitancy, emphasis]

The particles meaning “yes” and “no” are used not only to respond to questions, but to affirm or negate occurrences of verbials or identifications of nominals. The interrogative particle indicates that an utterance is a question, and is often found with the subjunctive mood of a verbial. The other particles act as modifiers.


Interrogative / Relative

ka

what, that, which


This particle, and the clauses that it governs, is used far more extensively in spoken Sagavi than is the case in English. When ka is used in relative clauses, it is declined; when they are used to mark a dependent clause, they are not. See the section on sentence structure for more details.

Conjunctions

u

and / as well as / also

o

and (mild contrast)

uju

et cetera

qe / qeh

but / however

ap

inclusive or (and / or)

qøj

exclusive or (either... or)

moj... həw

if … then


WORD ORDER

Because of the highly inflected quality of Sagavi, there are no very strict rules concerning word order. Inflected nominals and relative clauses are almost always placed after the nominal or verbial that they modify; similarly, modifiers are usually placed before the lexeme that they modify. The basic sentence structure, used when young children are first learning to talk, or when adults wish to make a very clear statement, is the somewhat unusual VSO (verbial-subject-object).

Našataf haj røfəs.

Naš.a.t.a.f

haj

røf.əs.

killing.[v3p].[trans].[v3p].[past]

it

dog.[nom-acc]

It killed the dog.


Gametas ej ka ejəs safitefnø tij.

Gam.e.t.a.s

ej

ka

ej.əs

saf.i.t.e.f.nø

tij.

knowledge.[v1p].[trans].[v3p].[pres]

I

that

I.[acc]

sight.[v2p].[trans].[v1p].[past].[perf]

you.

I know that you saw me.


As mentioned above, the particle ka has a variety of uses. The most similar to English is the interrogative employment:


Kas ku dalatas haj?

Ka.s

ku

dal.a.t.a.s

haj?

what.[acc]

interrogative

deed.[v3p].[trans].[v3p].[pres]

it

What’s it doing? or What does it do?


Skejininsto ejum kagens ku tij?

Skej.i.n.i.ns.to

ej.um

k.agens

ku

tij?

speech.[v2p].[intrans].[v2p].[fut].[cont]

I.[dat]

that.[des]

interrogative

you

What will you be talking to me about?

These examples also demonstrate that Sagavi, like many other languages, also tends to mark interrogatives by inverting the normal word order, so that the subject of the question is placed first in the sentence. This is, however, not a requirement.

The use of these particles to mark dependent clauses is similar to the use of that or who/whom in English. In general, the particle is inflected to indicate the grammatical function of the entire clause. There is one major exception to this rule: if the clause itself is the direct object of a verbial, then the particle does not take the nominal accusative ending –əs, instead remaining uninflected.


Kutetas ej ka daletas hajəs.

Kut.e.t.as

ej

ka

dal.e.t.a.s

haj.əs

Ability.[v1p].[trans].

[v3p].[pres]

I

that.{acc}

deed.[v1p].[trans].

[v3p].[pres]

it.[acc]

I can do it.


Talatand haj ka sebum čaranand hajš.

Tal.a.t.a.nd

haj

ka

seb.um

car.a.n.a.nd

hajš.

Coercion.[v3p].[trans].[v3p].[fut]

he

that

self.[dat]

help.[v3p].[intrans].[v3p].[fut]

they

He will force them to help him.


Maðenef kawðy safetaf.

Mað.e.n.e.f

ka.uðy

saf.e.t.a.f

Sorrow.[v1].[intrans].[v1p].[past]

that.[during]

sight.[v1p].[trans].[v3p].[past]

I was sad when I saw it.


Egelanafto ralølwə kawə safym bod.

Egel.an.a.f.to

ral.øl.wə

ka.wə

s.a.f.ym

bod.

seat.[v3p].[intrans].[past].[cont]

motion.

[null].[adv]

that.[adv]

copula.[v3p].[past].[dubi]

stone.{abs}

It sat motionlessly, as if it were a stone.

Perhaps most difficult for the English-speaker is the antecedent-referent construction. In our spoken language, the structure “that, which” is rarely used. Even in writing, it is considered formal: “I know that of which you speak.” It is far more typical to use a dependent clause headed by an interrogative pronoun: “I know what you’re talking about.” In Sagavi, with its strong system of inflection, this is never done. Rather, two particles linked by a hyphen (ka-ka or ca-ca) connect the independent clause to the dependent relative one, and both are inflected according to their role in their respective clauses.

Oretasto kas-kagens skejanafto.

Or.e.t.a.s.to

ka.s-

k.agens

skej.a.n.a.f.to

[Understanding].[v1p].[trans].[v3p].[pres].[cont.]

that.[acc]

which.[about]

speech.[v3p].[intrans].[v3p].[past].[cont]

I am understanding what he was talking about.


Gamatas kas-kas nanatas.

Gam.a.t.a.s


ka.s-

ka.s

nan.a.t.a.s


[Knowledge].[v3p].[pres]


who.[nom-acc]

who.[nom-acc]

love.[v3p].[pres]


He knows whom he loves.

The topic is indicated primarily by non-standard word order (topic first), then by preceding the topic with a particle (particularly so), then by intonation. Našataf lenak røfəs