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Kali-sise (Pitakesulina)


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Grammar   Advanced

The core vocabulary of Kali-sise consists of 400 root nouns, 2 pronouns, 1 verbal marker (se), 6 case markers, 1 comparative marker (pa) and 1 clause marker (ka).  New words can be only combined from these roots.  With the occasional exception of names, words are never borrowed from other languages into Kali-sise.

Case Markers
Kali-sise has six root case markers:

Case Marker

Most of the Kali-sise vocabulary is derived from prominent natural languages (e.g., luna, "moon", from Latin).  The primary exception is that the six case markers form a mnemonic derived from the language's nickname, Pitakesulina, a word coined to show all the sounds in the language (pitakesulina is also the Kali-sise word for "alphabet").

The cases:
The nominative specifies the agent (the actor) who performs the verb.
The genitive indicates possession as well as number (e.g., sese ta sili, "six birds" vs. sese sili, "the sixth bird").
The accusative specifies the patient.
The dative provides the focus or referent of the action expressed by the verb.
The locative is used to locate actions in time as well as place (e.g., sula li, "in an hour").
The ablative acts as a "catch-all" case; it can often be translated into English as "in a ____ manner".

Other notes:
The case markers can be modified to indicate more precise semantic roles (e.g., kasu-na, "because of").
When the case markers aren't proceeded by noun phrases, they are often translated with third-person pronouns (e.g., pi kunune se, "they communicate"). An empty noun phrase has the same referent (antecedent) as the previous instance of that case phrase in the same sentence.
The stock order pi su is often used for reflexive actions (e.g., pi su kunune se, "they talk to each other").

The language does not have any definite or indefinite articles.

le - first-person pronoun
ne - second-person pronoun

Possessive pronouns are formed by using the particle ta.  Demonstratives "this" and "that" are formed from the pronouns (think of them as meaning "this thing near me" and "that thing near you").  Thus le ta kanisa means "my shirt" (or "our shirt") and le kanisa means "this shirt".

Any noun can be converted to a verb by following it with se (e.g., pusi se ["usage {verb}"], "use"; kunune se ["communication {verb}"], "communicate").

If no verb is present, the copula ("to be") is intended and each element of the copula is expressed using the nominative:  Le pi kapiti pi, "I am a leader"; Le pi nape pi nike pi, "I am a parent and a worker".

Serial verbs are ambiguous and can either mean:
1. Two separate actions (e.g., Pi su kunune se nune sunu-senuse se, "They speak and do not hear each other").
2. The first verb affects the second (e.g., Pi pinise se pepe se, "They finished creating").

An empty verb phrase (se) is only used in a question.

Clause Markers
Clauses begin and end with ka.  Some writers spell the first occurrence -ka and the last occurrence ka-.
For relative clauses, a postposition indicates the role the noun would play:  ka pe pi pepe se ke ka pine-tuna, "people making [ke] tower", "tower people were making".  In this fragment, ke indicates the role the modified noun plays (in this instance, the object being made).  Relative clauses cannot be nested.
Subordinate clauses typically leave no phrase unspecified:  Le pi kunune se -ka le pi ne ta nape-kasese pi ka- ke, "I said, 'I am your father'."
Other clause markers can be coined.  For instance, long quotations begin and end with kalane-ka, "quote/unquote"; kasu-ka is used for "because".
As with Japanese, compound Kali-sise sentences require the dependent clauses to precede the independent clause.  Unlike Japanese clauses, Kali-sise dependent clauses are terminated by a modified clause marker, which specifies the relation of the dependent clause to the independent clause.  For instance, to translate, "I went to lunch early, because I had skipped breakfast" you would have to rephrase it "I pi past skip se breakfast ke cause-clause-marker I pi early movement se lunch li."  An empty dependent clause can be interpreted as referring to the previous sentence.  For instance, a sentence beginning with Nune-kasu-ka would be interpreted as "Not-caused-by-that" (literally) or "Despite that" (figuratively).

The particle pa is used for comparisons.  It can be modified to indicate the nature of the comparison.  It can also be used as an analogue to prepositional phrases.
Pa lepeti pi.  "There is a greater reptile."
Sili pa lepeti pi. "The reptile is greater than the bird."
Sili tuna-pa lepeti pi. "The reptile is bigger than the bird." (Literally: "The reptile is big in comparison to the bird".)
Sili lete-pa lepeti pi.  "The reptile is smaller than the bird."  (Literally: "The reptile is little in comparison to the bird".)
Sili tupe-pa lepeti pi.  "The reptile is atop the bird." (Literally: "The reptile is top in comparison to the bird".)

Kali-sise lacks prepositions or (if it emulated Japanese on this vector) postpositions.  The case marker alone specifies the relation.  So for something like setina-kene li you have to use your judgment to determine if that should be translated "to the window", "out the window", "in the window", "through the window"  or "at the window".

Modifiers precede the words that they modify.  Even relative clauses precede the words they modify.
Whether a word is modifying the word immediately after it or the noun before the particle is ambiguous.
The language defaults to SVO but any order is possible thanks to the case markers and verb marker.

The language lacks exclamatory particles.  Exclamations are typically terminated with !.  Some writers also begin exclamations with ¡.

The language lacks interrogative particles.  Questions must be determined from context.  
Questions are typically terminated with ?; emphatic questions are terminated with ?!.  Some writers also begin questions with ¿.
An empty phrase (only have a case marker or verbal marker) often indicates what is being asked for.  Ne pi se?  "You did what? What should you do?"  The verb isn't specified and is therefore being asked for.  "What action did/should you take?"  Na ta nunene pi pi?  "What is your name?"
Some expressions of the pattern "What type of...?" in English are expressed used a phrase that is empty except for a relative clause. Ne pi kapita se ka nilite ka ke? "What army do you lead?"
If every phrase is specified, it is probably a yes/no question.  Na pi nupili pi?  "Are you a noble?"

Kali-sise has a system for creating acronyms.  Such acronyms are used more like abbreviations in English, and may have many different meanings;  the language lacks permanent acronyms of the NASA, radar, sonar type in English.  As a result, these acronyms are not used within formal writing.  Acronyms are frequent in colloquial writing and in Internet chats, postings, e-mail, IM conversations, etc.

Acronyms are formed by taking the CV- from the beginning of each word in the acronym:  The word putuse-sukala [future+thanks] "TIA [Thanks In Advance]" becomes PUSU, and putuse-kunune [future+communication] "TTYL [Talk To You Later]" becomes PUKU.

Sample Sentences
Kelu supaka-sunu ke sese kane ke Kali-sise pi nalike se.
four vowel(opening+sound) {accusative} six opposite {accusative} possession {verb}.
"Four vowels and six consonants Kalisise has."

Nasala-tepuse li Kali pi, Kali pi Tesu ta sasape pi, Kali pi se Tesu pi.
beginning(origin+time) {locative} Word {nominative}, Word {nominative} God {genitive} companion {nominative}, Word {nominative} {verb} God {nominative}.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was the companion of God, and the Word was God."  John 1:1

nasala-tepuse [origin+time] beginning

Ka pi sisi se nunete ke ka lele pi kune-pinise se sisi se lete luka ke.
RELATIVE-CLAUSE NOMINATIVE movement VERB mountain ACCUSATIVE RELATIVE-CLAUSE male NOMINATIVE beginning(opposite-end) VERB movement VERB little-thing rock ACCUSATIVE.
"The man who moves a mountain begins by moving small stones."

Le pi sisi se lunene-katipa ke li.  
"I passed the torch to him."

Conlang Profiles at © 1996-2005 Jeffrey Henning.

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