A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

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A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by shanoxilt » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 01:17

In celebration of our third anniversary of the creation of Sajem Tan, I will be posting from our Reference Grammar PDF for those of you who do not click links.

Introduction

This book provides a detailed grammatical description of Sajem Tan (most commonly translated as "Common Honey" in English), an invented language that was started by nine members of the Conlang Listserv in November of 2015.

From the nine original tribemembers, the language has continued to grow, picking up new members and gaining new unique features the longer people worked on it.

Sajem Tan would be described in the invented language community as a collaborative language, in this case the community being the whole Common Honey tribe.

History

On November 29, 2015 at 11:34 PM UTC, Shanoxilt Cizypij sent a message to the Conlang Listserv asking if anyone would be interested in actually implementing an idea that had been suggested there roughly 6 and a half years earlier. (The initial email can be found here.) The idea was to create a collaborative constructed language with each contributor being given a particular role which would be responsible for a particular section of the language.

The roles he suggested were Thunder, Rain, Spider, Flower, River, Stone, Bee, Bear, and Bird and he called the language Common Honey.

Within 2 days of that initial message all the roles had been filled except Bear. Within a few months, the tribe had its 9 roles filled and the phonology and phonotactics decided upon. At this point most of the tribe began gathering weekly on Skype to discuss, use, and expand the language. Its progress was documented on FrathWiki.

Later, after the Great Porn Fire (The less said, the better.), the tribe switched to Discord and decided that Sajem Tan discussion should take place whenever there was time available instead of only on Saturdays. This led to greater tribe activity – Sajem Tan discussion takes place nearly every day.

Throughout the entire process there was turnover in the tribe’s membership as new members joined (such as Dust, Star, and Wind) and old ones departed for various reasons. Of the original 9 members, only Bird, Stone, and Thunder are still active in the tribe, but even with these losses, the tribe still have nearly a dozen active members engaging in a variety activities aimed at expanding the language.

This Book

The making of the book was triggered by a growing dissatisfaction among some of the members of the community, most notably Mazem, with the lack of a detailed and centralized description for Sajem Tan. Most of the original tribemembers didn’t see this as an issue, since they had seen the language grow and develop, and therefore knew how to express things.

Newer tribemebers such as Mazem, however, did not have this benefit. The source of anything related to Sajem Tan was the FrathWiki page and the Discord server.

The main problem with the FrathWiki page wasn’t that it was not extensive – it wasn’t meant to be – but that it was incomplete and left a multitude of things unanswered. The problem with Discord was it seemed like no one knew the exact way to express things. This is thus meant to be a more complete and full description of the language, ultimately meant for future reference and studying purposes for anyone wanting to learn Sajem Tan or to join the tribe.
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by shanoxilt » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 01:30

The Culture and its Speakers

Culture

Sajem Tannic culture is quite complex. Each contributor chooses a name, which is typically a natural thing or concept. Speakers use different pronouns based on whether their associated object or concept is animate, vegetal, inanimate, or neutral.

Additionally, animate tribe members must refer to themselves in the third person, vegetal members must refer to themselves in the second person, and inanimate roles can refer to themselves in the first person, as is normal for non-Sajem Tan speakers. As a result, there are many more inanimate and neutral speakers than animate or vegetal ones.

The Mythology

Sajem Tan’s culture can be told through myths. These myths describe the beliefs of the Sajem Tan people.

The Language Creation Myth

The tribe’s creation myth as taught to us by Bird in the early days of the tribe runs thus:

Snymmêt kê lnûm znökâ sno let kemfê düc Divöm. Kem žasikžê
metfê düc Divömvmê dönâ kê roâkâm Tërnön. Znim Tërnönvâ gülimumsun
Jidök kê jëkžutumsun šëšën. Rovmê zathëndin navnyc,
Jidök kê Thefam šömak, Tërnön znöcfê Zathën. Valnümfê Tërnön kê
simemžutfêsun Divöm züt, Jidökvmê žetam znöcfê Kižüt. žûžûmfê
Kižüt rovmê kižütdin sën dêâvmê Sajem Tan fmyvûkfêjâk. Kižütdin
dathnycfê Thefnöm. Dêâvmê Sajem Tan žejünmunfê Thefnöm tyk
zo vesnenêt ro šašöcfê fnit xyt duâkâm. "Kasynšo sin duâ Sajem Tan
šašöcum xyt dêâvmê möm taznön" tanrücfê xyt duâ düdötfê Thefam
navnyc Vithit.

Which is in English traditionally rendered:

So very long ago, during gray and overcast days past, Thunder
rumbled. From the shaken sky tumbled Thunder’s noises and with
them, Rain. By the fallen Rain, Flower was nourished and River
was filled. Upon its web, between Flower and Stone, Spider gathered
Rain. When Rain ceased and Thunder silenced, Bee gathered
Flower’s pollen. Bee then flew away to its hive to make our Common
Honey. Upon the hive came Bear who so loved our Common Honey
that it shared with all who would sample. Witnessing all this, from
atop Stone, Bird declared, "May this recur until all our tribe partakes
of Common Honey."


The Coming of Wind (Thethatvmê saficthnu)

This myth describes how Tribemember Wind was brought into the tribe, according to Sajem Tannic belief.

Dûtšo düc Sajem Tan jo möm šyn [Sajem Tanvmê fmyvûkthnužê
jiküfinšo] jam möšnem sacetum düc duâ jo Vithitkâm tanfê düc duâ.
Mömvmê xexen xifemfê düc Vithit smâ femekfê mût. Žûžûmfê düc
Vithit žo zyšenumjâk. Rovmê röfitâ navnycukmun Thethat Vithit
sežüfendâ. [Sajem Tanvmê madam düdötšo] düm fûdet zanfê düc.
Thethatvmê xidat navnyc [Madamvmê cesikâ zanfê düc] Divömvmê
dönâ Vithit vöjamfê düc. Femekšo düc Thethat jo möm javem Thethat
zenfê düc Vithit. Vûxümfê süt Thethat. Jiküfinšo düc zo Sajem Tanvmê
fmyvûkthnužê. Madamfê süt Sajem Tan.

In English, this is translated as:

As Common Honey was becoming bigger, the tribe decided they
needed a new tribemember to keep track of it all; therefore, they
called upon Bird. Bird contemplated this for a while but thought
of no solutions. He decided that flying would help him. As he was
flying, Bird noticed Wind, an ancient force who had watched our
Common Honey’s creation, beneath his wings. Upon Wind’s flowing
trail, Thunder’s echoes, the words of the past, were heard. Bird
invited him to the tribe because he new much. Wind set to work immediately,
keeping a record of how Common Honey was created.
Our Common Honey finally had a history!

Fictional creatures

The most significant of the Sajem Tannic are the Tetanâ, small snail-like creatures with mohawks, laser vision, and the ability to fly. They travel the universe repairing rips in the space-time continuum by singing songs in Sajem Tan.

The Tythemekâ were once a part of the Tetanâ tribe, but due to a series of unfortunate events, they were expelled and became centipedes with a hand on each leg. Their name is now synonymous with "bad idea" and they are widely hated and feared as terrible monsters. They live now in šitukmunfemek Xataxym (The Pit of Bad Ideas).

There are also the Cömekâ, bonsai trees that receive wisdom from Zëvet (Star) and pass it on to other terrestrial beings by means of telepathy and their root systems (a concept they may have invented to simplify communication).

Roles
At the founding of the tribe, there were 9 roles. The holder of each role had final say in all matters in their domain.

Divöm (Thunder) had charge of Phonology,
Tërnön (Rain) was given the domain of Morphology,
Zathën (Spider) had Syntax,
Jidök (Flower) was semantics,
Thefam (Stone) did Orthography,
šëšën (River) had Pragmatics,
Kižüt (Bee) kept track of the Corpus,
Thefnöm (Bear) did Pedagogy,
and Vithit (Bird) supervised the whole process.

As time progressed, more roles were added, beginning with the Cüljimâ (Ants) which is currently the only group role and consists of those who find Sajem Tan interesting but do not have the time or inclination to participate extensively.

Thethat (Wind) deals with Etymology and trying to explain various oddities in our lexicon.
Zëvet (Star) is the creator and explainer of idioms.
Tezet (Lightning) is the tribe’s musician.
Milek (Fern) is the resident mathematician.

The original tribe members each took one of the 9 roles and the role’s name became their name. When new roles were created, they were named after the tribemembers who held them. But over time some tribemembers departed with the task of their role incomplete.

The solution the tribe adopted was to allow members to take on multiple roles. Thus Thefam is now also Thefnöm and Zëvet is also Zathën.

Goals

The goal of the Sajem Tan project is to produce an interesting and semantically nuanced language, along with a community of people who speak it and enjoy using it. As a result, our efforts are often more focused on producing something learnable or amusing, rather than what one might find in a "good" constructed language.

We also often make efforts to give words meanings that don’t seem like they should go together, such as "vmëfëc", which means both "wisdom" and "silliness".

The primary intended usage of such semantics is to make interesting and flowery poetry. In addition, there have been a number of occasions when we have decided that a particular English word will never have a direct translation, most notably "person".

Contact

The tribe’s Dicord server can be found at https://discord.gg/KNMWNYh.
Any comments, questions, observations, suggestions, or other feedback can also be directed to awesomeevildudes+ST@gmail.com.
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by shanoxilt » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 01:39

Phonology

Sajem Tan phonology consists of eighteen consonants and twelve vowels, including several fairly rare ones. The phonology was selected by Samantha Tarnowski, whose tribal name is Divöm(Thunder) and who is one of the original members of the tribe.

The phonology that is described here is actually not the phonology Thunder selected in the beginning. The one she chose was deemed extremely difficult to pronounce and was revised somewhat in the Age of Great Reforms. The previous iteration can be found in Original Phonology section. The phonology displayed here is a revised version of the original phonology called the "Reformed Phonology". It was created in January 2017 by ¸Stefan Alecu (Mazem/Kummaline), Reuben Staley (Thethat/Wind), Malimacx (Milek/Fern), and Dave Hayes (Zëvet/Star).

Some of the distinguishing features of the phonology are its inclusion of the voiced and voiceless alveolar lateral fricatives /ì Ð/, the lack of the alveolar lateral approximant /l/, the lack of any rhotics, its unusually large vowel system which includes three front rounded vowels, /y ø œ/.

Consonants

The following is a chart of all eighteen of the consonant sounds in the Sajem Tan language:
Image

Vowels

There are 12 vowels, listed in this chart:

Image
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by Iyionaku » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 11:07

I personally love reference grammars. It's so rare to get one to read from a fully-fleshed out conlang. However, this does not seem to be the rule (the time I used to post reference grammars, I didn't get much attention, or at least way less than when I posted step by step), so you'll propably be better off if you keep on posting.

Note: ʃ ʒ are normally considered to be postalveolar consonants, not palatals. Their palatal equivalents are ç ʝ.
Heaven and Earth, but I feel the color of the cake when you keep the Victoria.
I had a mantra on the moss and I had to go to bed.


Oh, and there is a [ɕ] in my name!
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by Reyzadren » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:40

Yes pls, more people should publish their conlang as a readable document/reference.

+1 to not marking tense [:3]
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by gestaltist » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:43

I have been reading your reference grammar and I'm loving it! Such a unique project.

BTW: the original orthography was much better than the reformed one.
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by Salmoneus » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:47

No offence, but the blackface (redface?) is kind of repulsive. I'd be more likely to be interested in the language if it weren't nested inside a blackface-LARP.
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by Ahzoh » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 14:20

Salmoneus wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:47
No offence, but the blackface (redface?) is kind of repulsive. I'd be more likely to be interested in the language if it weren't nested inside a blackface-LARP.
Where are you seeing that?
Image Ӯсцӣ (Onschen) [ CWS ]
Image ʾEšd Yatvṛḵažaẇ (Vrkhazhian) [ WIKI | CWS ]
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by DesEsseintes » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 14:21

Ahzoh wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 14:20
Salmoneus wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:47
No offence, but the blackface (redface?) is kind of repulsive. I'd be more likely to be interested in the language if it weren't nested inside a blackface-LARP.
Where are you seeing that?
[+1]

The creation myths?
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by gestaltist » Thu 07 Dec 2017, 15:48

Salmoneus wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:47
No offence, but the blackface (redface?) is kind of repulsive. I'd be more likely to be interested in the language if it weren't nested inside a blackface-LARP.
I’m not seeing that.
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by shanoxilt » Fri 08 Dec 2017, 01:22

Romanization

There are two different orthographies for Sajem Tan – the Original Orthography, created at the very beginning of the project, and the reformed orthography, created during the Age of Great Reforms.

While both orthographies are acceptable in normal use, a substantial portion of the tribe strongly prefers the reformed version, which has been used consistently throughout this document.

The Reformed Orthography

The Reformed Orthography is the one most commonly used. It was created in January of 2017 along with the other reforms of that period. Kummaline and Fern were the first to object to the original orthography and they proposed this a replacement.

Transcription table

In Sajem Tan alphabetical order, the orthography is described as such:

<d> /d/
<g> /g/
<x> /x/
<j> /j/
<f> /f/
<v> /v/
<ț> /θ/
<s> /s/
<z> /z/
<š> /ʃ/
<ž> /ʒ/
<l> /ɬ/
<r> /ɮ/
<m> /m/
<n> /n/
<a> æ
<ë> œ
<e> /e/
<ö> /ø/
<i> /i/
<y> /y/
<û> /ʌ/
<ü> /ʊ/
<c> /ts/
<t> /t/
<k> /k/
<â> /ɑ/
<ê> /ɛ/
<o> /o/
<u> /u/

Consonants

Each of the Reformed Orthography consonants are listed below in an IPA table layout.
Image

Vowels
Every vowel is displayed in an IPA-style chart below:
Image
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by shanoxilt » Fri 08 Dec 2017, 01:33

The Original Orthography

The Original Orthography was created in November 2015 by Stone and remains widely used by several members of the tribe. It was created specifically be very digraph-heavy because American trimemembers wanted to avoid typing diacritics, or any kind of special character not found on the US English keyboard.

The reason <h> and <l>were used as diacritics is because they were not used elsewhere on their own as single characters. This removed any and all ambiguity while typing.

Image

Image

Phonotactics

Sajem Tan’s phonotactics distinguish 2 types of morphemes: roots and particles.

Roots are composed of any number of open syllables containing the vowels ö, e, ë, i, a, ü, û, and y.
The onset of these syllables may be any consonant or any fricative followed by m or n.
The final syllable of the root must of the same form but with a coda of t, k, c, m, or n.

Particles, on the other hand, use the vowels o, â, ê, and u.
They are always monosyllabic.
The onset and coda are both optional, but they follow the same rules as those of roots if they are present.
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by CodeTriangle » Fri 08 Dec 2017, 07:10

Heyo. I'm Thethat (or Wind) from the Sajem Tan Tribe. I made an account to discuss this post. Let's go ahead and read through this.

IMPORTANT: It should also be noted that some of the information in the version of the grammar posted is inaccurate. A more correct version is at this updated reference grammar PDF.
Iyionaku wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 11:07
Note: ʃ ʒ are normally considered to be postalveolar consonants, not palatals. Their palatal equivalents are ç ʝ.
We are aware. This consonant chart wasn't meant to be 100% accurate. Otherwise it would look something like this:

Code: Select all

|              | Bilabial | Labiodental | Dental | Alveolar | Postalveolar | Palatal | Velar |
|--------------|----------|-------------|--------|----------|--------------|---------|-------|
| Nasal        | m        |             |        | n        |              |         |       |
| Stop         |          |             |        | t d      |              |         | k g   |
| Affricate    |          |             |        | ts       |              |         |       |
| Fricative    |          | f v         | θ      | s z      | ʃ ʒ          |         | x     |
| L. Fricative |          |             |        | ɬ ɮ      |              |         |       |
| Approximant  |          |             |        |          |              | j       |       |
It was condensed because that thing looks super ugly and would be too wide for our LaTeX template. Probably a more accurate title for the column in question would be "Dorsal" or something like that.
gestaltist wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:43
I have been reading your reference grammar and I'm loving it! Such a unique project.
Thanks. You can join if you want: https://discord.gg/KNMWNYh.
gestaltist wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:43
BTW: the original orthography was much better than the reformed one.
Well, both are used regularly. The reformed orthography was created because people really didn't like <h> and <l> only being used as digraphs. Namely, Mazem, who is gone now.
Salmoneus wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:47
No offence, but the blackface (redface?) is kind of repulsive. I'd be more likely to be interested in the language if it weren't nested inside a blackface-LARP.
Are you referring to us calling the community a "tribe"? This project is not intended at all to mock, offend, imitate, deface, or otherwise insult any nationality, be it Africans, Native Americans, or anyone else. It's simply a name for our community.

I hope that I addressed all the concerns that were brought up and wasn't too controversial with that last bit.
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by Iyionaku » Fri 08 Dec 2017, 07:44

CodeTriangle wrote:
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 07:10

Are you referring to us calling the community a "tribe"? This project is not intended at all to mock, offend, imitate, deface, or otherwise insult any nationality, be it Africans, Native Americans, or anyone else. It's simply a name for our community.

I hope that I addressed all the concerns that were brought up and wasn't too controversial with that last bit.
Note: What Salmoneus was not blackface as in blackened face (to mock people with dark skin). "Blackface" just means an overly bold font. (I don't see that either, by the way)
Heaven and Earth, but I feel the color of the cake when you keep the Victoria.
I had a mantra on the moss and I had to go to bed.


Oh, and there is a [ɕ] in my name!
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by DesEsseintes » Fri 08 Dec 2017, 08:17

Iyionaku wrote:
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 07:44
CodeTriangle wrote:
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 07:10
Salmoneus wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:47
No offence, but the blackface (redface?) is kind of repulsive. I'd be more likely to be interested in the language if it weren't nested inside a blackface-LARP.
Are you referring to us calling the community a "tribe"? e
Note: What Salmoneus was not blackface as in blackened face (to mock people with dark skin). "Blackface" just means an overly bold font. (I don't see that either, by the way)
Why don’t we just wait for Salmoneus to explain what he meant? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t find a font choice “repulsive” and I don’t think font choices are related to Live Action Role-Playing (yes I googled that), but I might be mistaken. [:)]
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by Iyionaku » Fri 08 Dec 2017, 08:26

DesEsseintes wrote:
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 08:17
Iyionaku wrote:
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 07:44
CodeTriangle wrote:
Fri 08 Dec 2017, 07:10
Salmoneus wrote:
Thu 07 Dec 2017, 12:47
No offence, but the blackface (redface?) is kind of repulsive. I'd be more likely to be interested in the language if it weren't nested inside a blackface-LARP.
Are you referring to us calling the community a "tribe"? e
Note: What Salmoneus was not blackface as in blackened face (to mock people with dark skin). "Blackface" just means an overly bold font. (I don't see that either, by the way)
Why don’t we just wait for Salmoneus to explain what he meant? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t find a font choice “repulsive” and I don’t think font choices are related to Live Action Role-Playing (yes I googled that), but I might be mistaken. [:)]
Huh. That didn't even come to my mind. In the end I might be the fool. :mrgreen:
Heaven and Earth, but I feel the color of the cake when you keep the Victoria.
I had a mantra on the moss and I had to go to bed.


Oh, and there is a [ɕ] in my name!
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by shanoxilt » Sat 09 Dec 2017, 18:39

I have posted the following message in our Polling section of the chat room.
There have been some complaints that the language creation myth and the tribal structure are examples of redface. Personally, he believes that there is some merit to these accusations, so we'll need to discuss ways to restructure our project and its customs.

In this age of rising white nationalism, he does not want to contribute to any further racial oppression.

This will give us an opportunity to have a new reformation so you won't need to be bound by our established history. The language and its culture can be more fully yours.
For any specific requests or suggestions, reply to this message so they can be relayed to the collaborators.
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by shanoxilt » Sat 09 Dec 2017, 19:34

Noun Phrases

A noun phrase consists of a noun, preceded by any number of possessors, relative clauses, postpositional phrases, and describers, typically in that order. Nouns are only required to conjugate for case.

Case

Cases are marked using suffixes, which always appear as the final morpheme of the noun. The nominative, accusative, and the complement of a postposition are all unmarked. Certain verbs require their objects to be marked for a certain case. This in indicated in their entries in the Lexicon.


Core Cases

Causative case is marked with -tê and indicates that a noun is the cause of the action.

(1) tërnönfê möt žujotvmê tünâ.
tërnön-fê möt žu-jot-vmê tün-â
rain DUR not 2S=ANIM FUT GEN eye PL

"You’re never gonna cry."

(2) sêtê tërnönfê möt žujotvmê tünâ.
sê-tê tërnön-fê möt žu-jot-vmê tün-â
1S=ANIM CAUS rain DUR not 2S=ANIM FUT GEN eye PL

"I’m never gonna make you cry."

The only difference between these is the addition of "sêtê"

Comitative case is marked by -kâm, and can generally be translated to English as "with". It is used to express a person with whom the action is being done.

(3) cejynmunžutkâm tanfê dac dê.
cejyn-mun-žut-kâm tan-fê dac dê
sound very cause-to-be COM speak DUR IND=midPST 1S=NEUT

"I spoke with the megaphone." (I had a conversation with an anthropomorphic megaphone.)

Which should not be confused with

(4) cejynmunžutgu tanfê dac dê.
cejyn-mun-žut-gu tan-fê dac dê
sound very cause-to-be INSTR speak DUR IND=midPST 1S=NEUT

"I spoke using the megaphone." (I was addressing a crowd and used a megaphone to be heard.)

Dative case is marked with -¸tot and indicates the recipient of verbs like give, sell, and send. The most common translation is the preposition "to".

(5) dasnanțot decek snamfê thê.
dasnan-țot decek snam-fê thê
universe DAT chicken give DUR 1S=INAN

"I gave a chicken to the Universe."

It can also be used to vaguely indicate destination in the absence of an appropriate postposition.

(6) dințot xinemfê dê.
din-țot xinem-fê dê
home DAT teleport DUR 1S=NEUT

"I teleported home."

Genitive case means much the same thing it does in English. It is marked with the suffix -vmê and expresses general possession. "my chicken" is "dêvmê decek", "my birth" is "dêvmê te¸tnym", and "my flipper" is "dêvmê gigim". This applies both to the flipper you were born with if you are a sea creature, or the flipper you forcibly amputated from some other sea creature and now keep in your sock drawer.

Comparison

The comparative case, marked by -vê, mark the object in comparative statements that in English are often rendered "is more ___ than".

The suffix -tu is the comparative, attaching it to a describer creates a verb meaning "to be more ___ than", such as "dûttu", "to be larger than". Typically the subject would be considered an experiencer,
but on occasion it is treated like an agent, hence "The dinosaur is bigger than the chicken." would frequently be rendered "decekvê dûttuum tivût." rather than the arguably more accurate "decekvê tivût dûttuum." (Unless you are talking about mad scientist activities, such as a dinosaur transforming itself into something larger, in which case "decekvê dûttufê tivût." is a quite accurate phrasing.)

Applying the suffix twice forms the superlative, which can be used either intransitively, as in "tivût dûttutuum." ("The dinosaur is the largest.") or transitively, with a group as the object, as in "tivûtâvê du dûttutuum." ("That is the largest of the dinosaurs.").

Topic or Focus

The case -žê is typically translated with the prepositions "about" and "from". It marks the topic being spoken or thought about.

(8) decekâžê tanfê dêâ.
decek-â-žê tan-fê dê-â.
chicken PL FOC speak DUR 1S=NEUT PL

"We spoke about chickens."

It can also mark the source of a verb like "to give".
(9) kecycžê decek dê snamfêsun.
kecyc-žê decek dê snam-fê-sun.
internet FOC chicken 1S=NEUT give DUR PASS

"I was given a chicken by the Internet."
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by shanoxilt » Sun 10 Dec 2017, 20:08

Other Inflections

All other noun inflections are officially derivational suffixes, and can be found at the beginning of the Lexicon. However, a few are used extremely frequently and are worth mentioning here.

"-Jot" indicates the future state of something, and is the easiest way to mark the future tense. The word "ţefamjot" could be translated as "the future state of the rock" or "the rock in the future". A statement involving -jot could be translated using one of those phrases, or it could rendered in the future tense. Thus "decek kygykšo ţêjot." could be rendered as either "My future self is eating a chicken." or "I will be
eating a chicken.".

"-So" is generally glossed "having one", as in "žimanso" – "one who has feathers". Apart from the genitive case, this is the most common method of expressing possession. It is sometimes distinguished from
the other possessives as indicating some degree of inalienability, such as of body parts or items significant to one’s identity.

"-â" is probably the most commonly used suffix on nouns, and serves as the default plural marker, as in "decekâ" – "chickens". However, there are several other plural markers, and further detail can be found in Derivational Suffixes.

Describers

The part of speech called describers covers both of what in English would be adjectives and adverbs. When used to modify nouns they are generally the last thing before the noun. They do not conjugate.

Relative Clauses
Relative clauses take the form of ordinary verb phrases delimited by "mu" and "om", which may be written as "mu" and "om", but is more commonly written with square brackets, thus both of the
following are equally correct.

(10) mu decek kygykfê ro om tivût
mu decek kygyk-fê ro om tivût
REL chicken eat DUR 3S=ANIM CONJ dinosaur

"the dinosaur that ate the chicken"

(11) [decek kygykfê ro] tivût
[ decek kygyk-fê ro ] tivût
REL chicken eat DUR 3S=ANIM CONJ dinosaur

"the dinosaur that ate the chicken"

Pronouns are never dropped, unlike in English.

(12) [tanrücdu ţekfê zo] ţefam
[ tanrüc-du ţek-fê zo ] ţefam
REL sentence-this write DUR 3S=INAN CONJ rock

"the stone who wrote this sentence"

Never

(13) [tanrücdu ţekfê] ţefam
[ tanrüc-du ţekfê ] ţefam
REL sentence-this write DUR CONJ rock

"the stone who wrote this sentence"

In written Sajem Tan, relative clauses are typically placed before the head noun. In speech, on the other hand, it is common to find them after their heads.

Postpositional Phrases

A postpositional phrases simply consists of a noun phrase in the unmarked case followed by a postposition. For example, "upon the rock" is "ţefam navnyc". When modifying a noun, the postpositional phrase always precedes it. So, " ţefam navnyc viţit" ("the bird upon the rock"), never *"viţit ţefam navnyc".

These phrases typically mark relations that English would mark with prepostions, but sometimes they cover things typically done with verbs. For example, the word "tan", when used as a postposition indicates the speaker of something. So far, such phrases have typically modified whole sentences.

(14) zê tan decek kygykfê tivût.
zê tan decek kygyk-fê tivût.
3S=VEG say chicken eat DUR dinosaur

"He said that the dinosaur ate the chicken."

Although they can also sometimes be applied to individual noun phrases.
(15) ţê tan tanrüc
1S=INAN say sentence

"the sentence that I said"

Normally verbal uses include most common ways of expressing speech, knowledge, and possession of qualities. The general form of all of them is that what would in English be the subject of the main verb becomes instead the object of the postposition and the verb in the dependent clause becomes the main verb instead.
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Re: A Reference Grammar of Sajem Tan

Post by shanoxilt » Sun 10 Dec 2017, 20:33

Pronouns

Sajem Tan has pronouns for first, second, and third person. Pronouns are also separated by animacy into animate, vegetal, and inanimate.

The animate pronouns are used for anything that would generally be considered a living animal (including humans). Vegetal covers all other living things, including plants, fungi, and bacteria. Inanimate is used for everything else. There is also a set of neutral pronouns which can be used to refer to groups of mixed animacy or to entities whose animacy is unknown or irrelevant. (If this book was written in Sajem
Tan, we’d be using neutral pronouns because assuming animacy is a serious crime.)

Tribal tradition dictates that entities who are inanimate talk in the first person, entities who are vegetal talk in the second person, and entities who are animate talk in the third person. See the culture section for more on this.

Pronouns are conjugated in the same manner as nouns.

Image

The Reflexive Pronoun

The pronoun žo refers to the subject the sentence.
(16) žo zê sežüfenfê dac.
žo zê sežüfen-fê dac.
REF 3S=VEG find DUR IND-midPST

"He found himself." (used, for instance, of a fern who had a life-altering experience.)

When used inside a relative clause, it refers to the subject of the sentence, rather than the head noun or the subject of the clause it’s in.

Demonstratives

Demonstrative forms of nouns are constructed by placing a pronoun of corresponding animacy directly after the noun in question.

There are three demonstrative forms, one for each pronoun person. First person pronouns mean "this", second person pronouns mean "that", and third person pronouns mean something like "yonder".

For example

(17) gamykzêţot žanvu fmamegyndâ dac deceksê
gamyk-zê-ţot žan-vu fmamegyn-dâ dac decek-sê
tree DEM3 DAT knife DEM2 throw PFV IND-midPST chicken DEM1

"This chicken threw that knife at yonder tree."
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