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~ F r a n k e n L a n g u a g e ~

Many languages have a kind of morphology we can call verb inflection or conjugation. An effective way to convey what verb inflection a.k.a conjugation is, for people whose mother tongue is not especially rich in it — because they speak English, for example — is to break down phrases and translate them into a sort of impromptu ad hoc hypothetical language that's easy-to-swallow. You really don't even have to understand what I just said, you know, because I am about to show you; and a demonstration is worth a thousand words…

Let us first take this phrase: I speak. In our hypothetical language — which I shall hereby christen Frankenlanguage — this one phrase with two words translates into one word with two morphemes. So, instead of working on the phrasal level, we do our business here on the word level. The first and main part of the word is its verbal base loku “speak/say”. The second part takes the place of the pronoun I (which as a word stands for the first person singular). So right after verbal base loku comes a morpheme that stands for the first person: m. In Frankenlanguage we do not need an additional morpheme to specify that this is first person singular (as opposed to first person plural) because if the number is unmarked, then by default it is singular (so it is for this language, that is — not universally for all languages necessarily).

lokum “I speak/say”

NOTE: the pronunciation of lo- is more or less like the English word “low”, and kin like the word “kin”. The stress is on lo-.
Now let us go further. In English we express what are termed aspects. Here are some examples of aspects which Frankenlanguage express, too:
I am speaking/saying progressive
I have spoken/said perfect
I have been speaking/saying perfect progressive
I speak/say simple*

* or “generic” or “unmarked” or whatever you want to call it
In Frankenlanguage, we have seen that to express the “simple” aspect form we don't do anything to the base loku…

loku- “simple” aspect stem

But to express the progressive aspect, the final k and u coalesce to make a sort of “flowy“ sound que, phonosymbolic of the “flowyness“ of the current present moment happening right as you speak like the current of a river at your feet:

loque- progressive aspect stem

To indicate the perfect aspect, a morpheme n is inserted into the base: n is an infix:

lonku- perfect aspect stem

Then there is the compound aspect perfect progressive which, logically enough, is formed by making use of both the progressive and perfect morphological processes at once:

lonque- perfect progressive aspect stem

NOTE: With the stress for these stems on the first syllable, and using a period to mark off a syllabic division, and with using the phonetic spelling from our Phonology sections (which are very common conventions), the pronunciations are as follows for lok(u)-, loqu(e)-, lonk(u)-, lonqu(e) respecitively (spelled phonotically): lo.ku, lo.qwe, lɔŋ.ku, lɔ.ŋqwe.
We can take any of the stem forms, and add the ending m to make the subject be what in English is expressed with the pronoun “I”. Also, we can take any of the stem forms and use them as is, and that would mean the subject of the sentence is third person singular — that is, a singular noun or in lieu of the English pronouns “he” or “she” or “it”. Or we can add a voiceless interdental fricative as the ending (we can spell it as in English with th), to indicate the second person (which is what the pronoun “you” stands for in English).
3rd person singular forms:
      loku, loque, lonku, lonque

1st person singular forms:
      lokum, loquem, lonkum, lonquem

2nd person singular forms:
      lokuth, loqueth, lonkuth, lonqueth

NOTE: The second person singular is used when by “you” is meant one person. There is a second person plural as well, and that is when by “you” is meant more than one person.

NOTE: u and e are tense (see Phonology sections) in open syllables, and lax in closed syllables. So, when u or e end the word, they are pronounced more or less like “oo” in “drool” and “ay” in “say” respectively. When in forms -uth and -eth, for instance, u is like “oo” in “book” and e like “e” is “Beth”.
To make any of these forms plural, we add the plural-marking morpheme ha before the person-marking morphemes:
3rd person plural forms:
      lokuha, loqueha, lonkuha, lonqueha

1st person plural forms:
      lokuham, loqueham, lonkuham, lonqueham

2nd person plural forms:
      lokuhath, loquehath, lonkuhath, lonquehath

NOTE: 3rd person plural is used when the subject is a plural noun, or more than one noun make up the subject, or in lieu of the pronoun “they”.

NOTE: In words with que that are more than two syllables long, the primary stress is on the syllable with que.

NOTE: the a is pronounced as in phonetic symbol [α] (see Phonology sections), somewhat leaning towards [ʌ] when unstressed (especially in closed syllables).
Frankenlanguage has tenses, too. The forms we have gone over are for the present tense. To make a tense other than the present, first pick a present form with the aspect you want to express, and before adding any number or person ending either add da to indicate the past, or add va to indicate the future.
Morphosyntax of Frankenlanguage Verb


*verb stem “flexed” for aspect

NOTE: present is the default tense, and so it takes no special form.

NOTE: singular is the default number, and so it takes no special form.

EXAMPLE: First Person Past Paradigm

      lokudam I spoke/said
      lokudaham we spoke/said
      loquedam I was speaking/saying
      loquedaham we were speaking/saying
      lonkudam I had spoken/said
      lonkudaham we have spoken/said
Perfect Progressive:  
      lonquedam I have been speaking/saying
      lonquedaham we have been speaking/saying
In the morphosyntactic slot labeled above as TENSE, a morpheme indicating mood could be put there instead. The mood would be that of the subjunctive — which in English we typically express with the helping verb “would”, such as in the subjunctive sentence “He would speak (had he only a tongue…)” But keep in mind that in Frankenlanguage, if you are going to express the subjunctive mood, then you do so by putting a morpheme that takes up the spot that could otherwise be used to express tense. So, for the tense slot there are the following options:
nothing for present

-da- for past

-vo- for future

-bi- for subjunctive
You either express the subjunctive, or you do not, but you cannot express either the past or future tense while expressing the subjunctive — no, not in Frankenlanguage. Every language has its idiosyncracies. Getting to know them is part of what morphology is about! Also note: even though present tense is considered the default, and so not in need of marking, by putting bi in the tense slot does not mean the present tense is necessarily the tense of the verb. The subjunctive is the subjunctive, period.
Verb Morphosyntax expanded


*verb stem “flexed” for aspect

NOTE: present is the default tense form, and so it takes no special form; and this goes for the third person, too; and the indicative mood (the normal non-subjunctive) is the default, so only the subjunctive mood has an actual form.
You now know enough to make out all the finite verb forms for the verb loku.

Instead of wrestling to pin down the definition of finite verb forms, just keep in mind the forms you just went over, and compare them to the following forms, which are the non-finite forms. Afterwards, you can form definitions for yourself, or be right-minded and have an impression of or feel for them instead of anything verbal. Frankly, any definition is bound to be bound up in theory, and so quite possibly controversial, so why get so bound up and buried?

Now here are the non-finite forms…

Non-Finite Forms of loku

      present active progressive participle
      means: “speaking/saying”
      stress on quen
      phonetic lo.kwεn.tso
      ts is an affricate

NOTE: e in closed syllable goes lax, as well as do o and i, so: e, o, i → ε, ɔ, ɪ /closed syllable (slash = convention standing for “in the environment of”)

      past perfect passive participle
      means: “spoken/said”
      primary stress on lon,
      secondary on last syllable,
      prefix y' altogether stressless
      phonetic jə.lɔŋ.ku.dʊn


      “to speak/say”
      secondary stress on lo,
      primary stress on
      phonetic lo.ku.rē
      r is an alveolar trill, as in Scottish or Polish

      “to be speaking/saying”
      secondary stress on lo
      primary stress on
      phonetic lo.que.rē

      “to have spoken/said”
      secondary stress on lon,
      primary stress on
      phonetic lɔŋ.ku.rē

      “to have been speaking/saying”
      secondary stress on lon,
      primary stress on
      phonetic lɔŋ.kwe.rē
There is one more form, the IMPERATIVE, which is the form when you are telling someone to do something, as in “Speak!”

Lokai! “Speak!”

stress on lo,
ai is a diphthong,
sounds more or less like “eye” or “aye”
phonetic lo.kaj


Part of being a good morphologist is to be able to put together whole paradigms from the pieces. That is why now you should be able to take a quiz on all the thirty-two (32!) finite forms of loku, and get all of them correct. You wouldn't need to memorize every single form, just the morphemes, syntax and any phonological processes: a small set of things compared to all the many, many words derived from them. You can also go to actual living languages and try your best to break down paradigms into components on the bases of what you identify as possible morphemes, the syntax, and processes of phonological transformations which may account for appararent exceptions.

More verbs!

Choose a verb…
NOTE: Keep in mind the verbal syntax is [STEM with ASPECT] + [either TENSE or MOOD] + [NUMBER] + [PERSON].

verbal root √ÉO “going”

éo- simple stem

éoyo- progressive stem
éo- reduplicates to éoéo, but for euphony adjusting to éoyo-.

éo pronounced much like yo, é being a glide of vowel e just like y is a glide of vowel i.

With progressive stem éoyo-, primary stress falls on éo with yo unstressed if there are no more than two syllables; otherwise primary stress falls on yo and éo is unstressed.
Pefect-marking morpheme n infixes into the verbal root.
éonyo- perfect progressive stem
ny pronounced more or less as a single nasal with a palatal lilt as in Spanish ñ

Stress rules for éonyo- are the same as with éoyo-. ny does not divide, meaning the first syllable is éo and the second nyo, not ever ***éon|yo.
The tense/mood, number and person suffixes, and phonology concerning them, are the same as with √LOKU above.

éom I go
éoth you(sg.) go
éo (he or she or it) goes
éoham we go
éohath you(pl.) go
éoha (they) go
éoyom I am going
énom I have gone
éonyom I have been going
éodaha we went
éoyodaham we were going
énodaham we had gone
éonyodaham we had been going

verbal root ING “being”

NOTE: this is an irregular verb. The copula, that is, the verb for being, is often irregular in the languages of the world.

ingV- present stem
V stands for a vowel, which is i for the singular, and a for the plural.
angV- past stem

engV- simple subjunctive stem
Simple subjunctive stem engV- derived from simple past stem angV- by means of umlaut, that is, vowel fronting: back low vowel a came to be pronounced as front and more or less low vowel e.
ungV- perfect stem

üngV- perfect subjunctive stem
ü pronounced as in German, that is, you make the “eee” sound but with lips rounded.
éongV- future stem
éongV- derived from fusion of roots √ÉO and √ING in early primal stage of language when latter was simply lone velar nasal NG.

ng always pronounced just like ng in English “sing”, g never pronounced like g in English “gem”.
The respective progressive forms: inguV- anguV-, enguV-, unguV-, ünguV-, éonguV-
Primary stress always on first syllable, except in the case of progressive -nguV- forms, for which the same rules apply as with the progressive forms in the verbs above.

-ngue- is pronounced like a voiced nasalized version of the -que- in √LOKU above, i.e, something more or less like “ngwV”.

On analogy to regular verbs, the following forms have developed naturally through time…

ungVda- past perfect
unguVda- past perfect progressive
ungVvo- future perfect
unguVvo- future perfect progressive

Person endings are regular…

ingim I am.
ingith you(sg.) are
ingi (he or she or it) is
ingam we are
ingath you(pl.) are
inga (they) are
Really, the same rules of stress apply as with the forms above.

Morguéntzo Sôwilo âg'ro,

Éoda Hélyo na nákta hó!

Wûdu na morgu hela Luinyas naga

nagéoda Hélyo rûnium héli anharé…

You may translate and send me your results.

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