Ancient Kartara (or, more properly, Ancient Kart́ara) is the oldest known ancestor of the human language families on the island of Kartara. It appears to have had some influence on the modern Karalome language, but does not show signs of being influenced in return. Its most direct daughter language is Eastern Kartara. Influence from the nearby Reems helped mold its other main daughter, Western Kartara.
- 1 Phonology
- 2 Morphology
- 3 Derivational Morphology
- 4 Syntax
- 5 Semantic Fields and Pragmatics
- 6 Writing System
- 7 Examples
- 8 Lexicon
|Extensive verb morphology|
|Irregular word forms|
|Simple and complex translations|
Syllables can be generalized to be a vowel, optionally preceded and/or followed by a consonant. Words can only begin with a vowel, a stop, or a fricative. Only verbs may end in a consonant, and even then it must not be an approximant. All other words end in vowels, and even verbs usually end up inflected into a vowel-final form.
Typical Kartara does not use voiced stops or fricatives. However, stops in the middle of words often take on partial voicing when they are preceded by an approximant. For instance: kart́ara is has been interpreted by continentals to be "kardara".
Stops do not typically have aspiration, but when two stops occur next to each other, the first stop is usually aspirated before moving on to the second. For instance: pat́ka is pronounced [paʈʰka].
Glottal stops are not written, but they always happen between equal vowels (Ex: iipke [iʔipʰke̞]). They often occur between any two vowels if both are unstressed, and after a stressed vowel before an unstressed i.
The sound r can fall under the alveolar or retroflex category, or somewhere in between, depending on the word being used. It is written as one symbol and is thought of as one sound, similar to how English has two ways of presenting it's L sound: clear in 'lake' vs. dark (velarized) in 'cool'. Kartara speakers do not register a difference. (Incidentally, l and ĺ are always 'clear'.)
The sound h does not sound like English h. It is the same as the 'ch' in the Scottish word 'loch' or the German name 'Bach'. It only occurs at the beginning of a word, or at the start or end of a stressed syllable.
Kartara f sounds similar to English f, but is made only with the lips.
Front vowels are unrounded, while back vowels are rounded. The vowel sound ĭ is used to form dipthongs, which gives Kartara the following nine vowels: a, e, i, o, u, aĭ, eĭ, oĭ, and uĭ. In IPA, therefore, the vowels are represented as [a], [e̞], [i], [o], [u], [aɪ̆], [e̞ɪ̆], [oɪ̆], and [uɪ̆]. Each vowel has its own separate notation.
For non-verbs, the next-to-last syllable of the root word receives stress. If the root word has only one syllable, then the stress falls on it. Verbs are stressed on the final syllable of their root. A secondary stress may be added to any important affix to denote importance.
1 These forms are made with the standard suffixes. Therefore, stress always falls on the syllables ka, po and so.
Kartara has four classes of grammatical number. Singular refers to one and dual refers to two. Paucal is relative, generally denoting 3-10, while plural denotes a quantity greater than that.
The paucal/plural marking can also be used to denote distinctions between parts of a whole. The plural is used to describe the entirety, while the paucal is used to denote a division of it, even if the division is more than ten or fewer than three. This generally happens when using uncountable nouns (sand, wind, etc) or large groups of people or flocks of animals.
For example, one may spill water (plural), and note that some water (paucal) got on the floor, some (paucal) on the drapes, and some (paucal) remained in the cup. Or, one may refer to the two Senators from Ohio (paucal) as opposed to all Senators in DC (plural).
This latter usage can be seen as more poetic, fanciful, or flamboyant if used for trivial distinctions, if not used to compare and contrast, or when it's just plain overused. Comparison: Sarcasm and irony in the English language.
Verbs are inflected for person, tense, number, formality and animacy. 1st and 2nd person are assumed to be animate, so only 3rd person has an inanimate inflection. The formal register is only inflected in the 2nd person.
The participle form of the verb is the standard, but for simplicity's sake, the citation form used here is the bare verb without any endings applied. Verbs are grouped into three or four categories based on their final consonant.
- Group 1 consists of verbs ending with the labial consonants p, m and f.
- Group 2 consists of the dental and retroflex consonants, but is split into two series.
- Series 2a contains s, t and n.
- Series 2b contains ś, t́ and ń.
- Group 3 consists of the velar consonants h and k.
Here are the verb inflections for the present tense.
Animation is used to cycle through the various final consonants. Note that certain 1st-person and singular forms use the final consonant twice!
Dual and paucal forms merge in the 2nd and 3rd persons. Formal/informal distinctions merge in the 3rd person; formality can be noted on the noun with the prefix es-.
Groups 2a and 2b merge together in other tenses, and almost completely merge in the 3rd person above.
The participle form is the standard citation form. It is used where English would typically use an infinitive, gerund or participle.
|G1 and G3||paĭa|
|G2a and G2b||soĭa|
See the Verbs subpage for the past and future tenses.
Nouns may be inflected with prefixes or suffixes. Prefixes generally denote the uses of nouns, while suffixes generally denote qualities of nouns, with the glaring exception of number inflections.
An uninflected noun is considered singular and definite. Marking the noun for number is obligatory, except for generic nouns (see below).
- Pei kihiso.
The dog worries.
- Peiki kihisore.
Both dogs worry.
- Peiru kihisore.
The dogs worry.
The indefinite inflection is used to specify a noun that hasn't been previously identified (a thing instead of the thing) or is otherwise unknown. It can also be used when talking about a generic example of a noun, though it's optional when the genericness is implied by a quantity word. In either case, the noun takes no other number marker (dual, paucal or plural), but the verb is inflected with the plural number.
- Pei kihiso.
The dog worries.
- Peipu kihiso.
A dog worries.
- Peipu kihisole.
- Uso pei kihisore.
Some dogs worry.
Simple movement is indicated by inflecting the noun being used as a reference point. Most of the time, the verb puf is used to indicate a change of location. However, it is usually omitted in the present tense. (Note that an initial h is always dropped before applying a prefix.)
- Aulno pufio fiofpaĭa.
The cow came from the island.
- Aulno fiofpaĭa.
The cow comes from the island.
- Iomana pufiu saĭtatoimo.
The husband will go in the box.
- Umu foĭatofańa.
The cat goes along the tree branches.
Typically, 'into', 'out of' and 'along' are the primary meanings. Other verbs, usually fin, are used when context alone doesn't convey the full meaning intended.
- Iomana finepe saĭtatoimo.
The husband will go to [the location of] the box.
- Umu uiso foĭatofańa.
The cat falls through the tree branches.
sol- is used for what in English would normally be called the indirect object of a sentence. Specifically, it indicates the noun that is the recipient of the action. Typically, it follows the patient (direct object) of the sentence, but it may precede it for emphasis.
- Ketee opusa iruo solkaĭfohepe.
I gave the demon my soul.
- Ketee solkaĭfohepe opusa iruo.
I gave the demon my soul (not you, Bob!)
oĭl- is used to indicate where or when the action is taking place. aĭk- marks a noun (almost always animate) that is accompanying the agent in the action. When the noun isn't a participant in the action, use the preposition si.
- Aulno futo oĭluĭlno si toa.
The cow plays in the rain with happiness.
- Aulno aĭktisite futore.
The cow and the pig play.
umu- is used when the noun marked is the instrument by which the action is accomplished. It follows either the patient of the sentence, or the verb if no patient is present. The final u in umu- is omitted when the noun it attaches to starts with a vowel.
- Torteno tufio umutiaĭ.
The guest stabbed with the knife.
- Aorma tatosoe torteno umauśa!
The mother hit the guest with the bed!
Prefixes of movement are also used with timeframes. However, the metaphor they utilize is different from the one used by most peoples.
In English, for example, time is thought of as static while you physically move through it. Therefore, the future is "ahead" of you and you leave your past "behind".
In Kartara, time is like a wind blowing from behind you while you stand still. The past is "in front" of you, where you can see and remember it, but the future is "behind" and unknown. This is most clear in the use of the lative and ablative, below.
The locative indicates that the action occurs at some point during or around the timeframe indicated, while the perlative indicates the action happens for the entire duration of the timeframe.
- Fiaĭneke oĭlastoku.
I will dance (at some point) tomorrow.
- Aulno futoe aĭktisite oĭltisia.
The cow played with the pig at noon.
- Fiaĭneke foĭastoku.
I will dance (all day) tomorrow.
Depending on the tense of the verb, the lative and ablative indicate the action extends from now until the indicated timeframe, or from that timeframe on.
- Elekoke fiastoku.
I will run until tomorrow.
- Kihiseke saĭastoku.
I will worry starting tomorrow.
- Oĭsienee fitisia.
I was digging since noon.
- Iahii fipei osanae.
I laughed until the dog sat down.
(Note how the prefix attaches to the head of the noun phrase.)
When the time being referenced isn't the boundary of the event, use fiti (behind) or sopio (ahead), bearing in mind the wind metaphor and the tense of the action being used.
- Elekoke sopio astoku.
I will run (at some point) before tomorrow.
Kihiseke fiti astoku.
I will worry (at some point) after tomorrow.
- Tomorrow is behind you, so something after tomorrow is behind it, while something happening before tomorrow would be ahead of it, reaching you first.
- Fiaĭnee sopio apopo.
I cried (at some point) before yesterday.
Kulo hafio fiti taĭefee tahi.
The boy lied (at some point) after I found him.
- Yesterday and all past events are ahead of you, so something before that event is even farther ahead, while something since that event is behind that event, still closer to you.
Adjectives and adverbs are interchangeable in Kartaran. They are inflected with suffixes.
|Diminutive||to a lesser degree||-li|
|Augmentative||to a greater degree||-lo|
- Umili pufi tiaseli.
The kitten is a little sad.
- T́ei pufi iatalo.
The mouse is very smart.
|Superlative||to the highest degree||-maĭ|
- Eli ipanoe ufamoĭli upeĭka a santupire?
Do you like the prison or the schoolhouse less well?
- Portomaĭ peĭka kepisoe haeĭńa paĭ t́aśeĭ.
The most boring prisoner wanted eggs for breakfast.
- Pufe t́aśkamoĭlo aheupu si foĭsu kaleĭlo.
I'm angrier than a crow with an ugly boyfriend.
- Tafeme huĭumoĭlo eĭa t́aśka.
I'm more embarrassed than angry.
There are many situations where the formal register is used. Here are a few:
- Many religious services.
- Certain deities prefer not using the formal register.
- Addressing the nobility.
- Addressing one's superior, especially in the army and aboard ships.
- For children: addressing one's teacher or parent.
- Referring to older, wiser people.
- Referring to the deceased.
- Between guest and host, merchant and customer, business equals, etc.
Using the formal register denotes that the speaker has respect for the person being referred to. Mostly, it is confined to separate verb conjugations in the second person, but it also includes second and third-person pronouns and a benefactive inflection es-.
- Espufeke eloĭ fiśi.
For your benefit, I will leave here.
I will be happy to go.
- Seĭońe asaufofe husaso oesoĭa eloĭ aĭsta.
Please (sir) allow me to eat this bread.
- Tasaru pakhaĭtire ańe sia.
They commanded many ships.
The benefactive has some use outside the formal register. It can attach to nouns to indicate who the action is for. That noun may either precede the subject or follow the patient.
- Eskusa aki, pameke usolo aĭsta.
For the little girl, I will get more bread.
- Panee eĭna tośiśamomo toaĭ eskaleĭsa.
I killed that fat tavern keeper for my girlfriend.
Unlike inflections, derivations do change the stress of the word after affixes are applied. For example, inflecting eme (child) with the dual number (emeki) doesn't move the stress from "em", but deriving emekopa (childish) moves the stress to "ko".
Also note that, because the stress is changing, hs on a formerly stressed syllable are dropped. For instance, kaĭfohepe (demon) becomes adjectivized as kaĭfoepekoe (demonic). Unaccented hs at the beginning of a word are unaffected (huĭsenafo, via huĭsen).
|The final vowel of the root is replaced by the vowel(s) in the braces, unless this would cause a diphthong to be followed by i, in which case the vowel(s) in the braces is/are omitted.|
|If the root starts with a vowel/consonant, the vowel/consonant in the bracket is omitted.|
|G1 and G3 verbs use aĭ while G2 verbs use oĭ.|
|The final consonant in the verb is replaced with the consonant in the braces.|
-es has few uses, mostly confined to the effects of magic.
- Uĭte tososamomo.
The water froze.
- Taamomo tososameso opusa uĭte!
The wizard froze my water!
Fo[a]- typically only attaches to derived adjectives, but occasionally attaches to emotional states to indicate a lack of that emotion (as unhappy can be used in English).
Typical word order is Agent-Verb-Patient (transitive) or Subject-Verb (intransitive).
Typical noun phrase order is Determiner, Quantity, Value/Opinion, Purpose/Qualifier, Noun, Material, Color, Shape, Age, Temperature, Size, Origin. For instance, "my two overrated tiny new sleek red Italian sports cars" could be rendered as "my two overrated sports cars red sleek new tiny Italian".