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Dingwa Grammar

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1. Introduction
2. Phonology and Morphology

3. Nouns

4. Adjectives

5. Verbs

6. Pronouns

7. Adverbs

8. Prepositions

9. Conjunctions

10. Syntax

11. Word Formation

12. Texts

13. Lexicon

1. Introduction [Back]

The following is an introduction to Dingwa, a constructed language or conlang. Also called "model languages," conlangs are created primarily for fun. Nevertheless, as linguistic experiments, some have attempted to explore or address serious problems of communication, logic, philosophy, efficiency, redundancy, etc. (The Dnghu Association promotes a reconstructed language it calls "Modern Indo-European" as an interlanguage for Europe with its numerous languages.)

Dingwa is a simplified and regularized form of Indo-European (IE), the ancestral language of English and the other IE languages of Europe, West Asia and India, comprising over 100 languages. The name Dingwa (IE *dnghu, *dnghwa) is cognate with the English word tongue, Latin lingua “language” and also means “tongue” or “language.” The simplifications Dingwa exhibits consist of the following:

(1) reductions in the phonemic inventory, (a) conflating the voiced aspirates (*bh, *dh, *gh, *ghw) of IE with their unaspirated forms, as occurred historically in several IE language families (Slavic, Germanic, etc.), (b) reducing the number of vowels to five (the "standard average European" vowels), and (c) introducing several consonant phonemes used in modern European languages to spell loanwords (see entries under 2. Phonology and Morphology for f, sj, zj).

(2) elimination of the original IE ablaut series of vowel gradations (still present in English sing, sang, sung; song; foot, feet; etc. ), leaving a single form of the word root.

(3) unification of multiple conjugations and declensions into a single paradigm for each.

(4) regularization of word stress (from the mobile system of IE to a system similar to the stress accent of Latin) to make it wholly predictable according to syllable structure.

(5) logical extension of original word derivations to create new lexical items, with some borrowing of internationally recognized lexemes (hotel-a, taksij-a, musik-a, komik-a, sinfonj-a).

(6) deployment of consistent part-of-speech endings on words (for noun, verb, adjective and adverb) so that grammatical relationships are maximally explicit and transparent.

(7) use of a phonemic orthography that is “generically European” in pronunciation to maximize symbol-sound correspondence.

2. Phonology and Morphology [Back]

2.1 Phonemes and Alphabet

The Dingwa alphabet includes 23 phonemes -- 18 consonants and 5 vowels: /a, b, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, š, t, u, w, z, ž/. Two of the phonemes (š and ž) may alternatively be represented by the digraphs sj and zj (or sh and zh) respectively. As internet and keyboard standards improve, this system can be updated to use the single-character phonemes to avoid confusion with the (admittedly rare) two-phoneme sequence of /s/ and /h/.

a as in “father.” EX: albei [AHL-bay] “white”
b as in “baby.” EX: bolja [BOH-lyah] “flower”
d as in “dog.” EX: doma [DOH-mah] “house”
e as in “edge.” EX: ejo [EH-yoh] “I go”
f as in “fox.” EX: filosofja [fee-loh-SOH-fyah] “philosophy.” NOTE: This letter represents the first of three non-native Dingwa sounds, and appears in loanwords.
g as in “get” EX: gima [GEE-mah] “winter”
h as in “hot” EX: hotela [HOH-teh-lah] “hotel”
i as in “machine.” EX: interesentei [een-teh-reh-SEHN-tay] “interesting”
j as in “yet,” German ja. EX: junei [YOO-nay] “young”
k as in “kick.” EX: kolna [KOHL-nah] “mountain”
l as in “leap.” EX: lubo [LOO-boh] “I like, love”
m as in “mother.” EX: matra [MAH-trah] “mother”
n as in “night.” EX: nokta [NOHK-tah] “night”
o as in “post.” EX: okta [OHK-tah] “eight”
p as in “people.” EX: putla [POO-tlah] “child”
r as in “red.” EX: rudrei [ROO-dray] “red”
s as in “six.” EX: seksa [SEHK-sah] “six”
š as in “sheriff.” EX: sjofera [SHOH-feh-rah] “chauffeur.” NOTE: This digraph represents a single sound, the 2nd of three non-native Dingwa sounds, and appears in loanwords.
t as in “tree.” EX: trija [TREE-yah] “three”
u as in “soon.” EX: ukwo [OO-kwoh] “I say, I speak”
w as in “wise.” EX: werga [WEHR-gah] “work, job”
z as in “zoo.” EX: mezgit [MEHZ-geet] “dips.” This sound appears adjacent to other voiced sounds like b, d, g (and hence is in complimentary distribution with s). It also appears in a few loanwords.
ž as in “vision.” EX: zjanra [ZHAHN-rah] “genre.” NOTE: This digraph represents a single sound, the 3rd of three non-native Dingwa sounds, and appears in loanwords.

2.2 Syllable Division

A Dingwa syllable consists minimally of a vowel, and usually also of one or more consonants. Words with consonant clusters generally split the consonants between the syllables.

trija “three” = tri + ja [TREE-yah]
luda “person” = lu + da [LOO-dah]
seksa “six” = sek + sa [SEHK-sah]
mezgit “dips” = mez + git [MEHZ-geet]
ardwosta “straightness” ar + dwos + ta [ahr-DWOHS-tah]
ukwe “speak” u + kwe [OO-kweh]

However, consonants followed by the sonorant consonants (r, l, m, n, j, w) form part of the following syllable:

pu-tla: child [POO-tlah]
: mother [MAH-trah]
: symphony [seem-FOH-nyah]

2.3 Word Stress

The stress in Dingwa words is regular and completely predictable. It always occurs either on the third syllable from the end (the default stressed syllable), or the next to last syllable if it contains either a double vowel or a consonant cluster. Two-syllable words are thus always stressed on the first syllable. In the examples below, the stressed syllables are capitalized:

DO-ma: house [DOH-mah]
KOL-na: mountain [KOHL-nah]
PU-tla: child [POO-tlah]
a-ME-ri-ka: America [ah-MEH-ree-kah]
A-ru-ka: plowman [AH-roo-kah]
MU-si-ka: music (no consonant cluster) [MOO-see-kah]
sim-FO-nja: symphony (consonant cluster nj moves stress forward) [seem-FOH-nyah]
da-NEN-tei: giving (consonant cluster nt moves stress forward) [dah-NEHN-tay]
gur-MOS-ta: heat (consonant cluster st moves stress forward) [goor-MOHS-tah]
al-BAA-git: s/he whitens (double vowel aa moves stress forward) [ahl-BAH-geet]

2.4 Sentence Stress

The subject typically is followed by a slight pause, especially if it is short and is followed by a long object in the predicate. The vertical line | indicates where the pause occurs:

Eja | mewei matra esit. This is my mother.

2.5 Word Structure

All words in Dingwa are composed of at least two parts, a stem and a part-of-speech ending, neither of which can stand alone. Only together do they form a complete word. Because of this ending, every Dingwa word can be clearly and unambiguously identified as a noun, verb, etc.

Many Dingwa words are composed of a root, to which one or more affixes are added, forming a stem. To this stem the part-of-speech ending is then added to form a word. In some cases, stem and root are identical.

root [+ affix(es) = stem] + ending = word

ner- “man” + -a (noun ending) = nera “a man”
dan- “give” + -aaw- “past tense” + -it (verb ending) = danaawit “s/he gave”
bres- “quick” + -ost- “abstract” + -a (noun ending) = bresosta “quickness”
werg- “work” + -ont- “participle” + -ei (adjective ending) = wergontei “working”
ku- “what” + -st- “place” + -u (adverb ending) = kustu “where?”

2.6 Optional Contractions

Dingwa allows optional contractions, especially in speech. Often the contractions arise because of unstressed syllables or the juxtaposition of two vowels. Below are the four most common:

a) The verb es- "be, exist" may be shortened to -'s. EX: Nera esit --> Nera 'sit.

b) The past participle suffix -enei may be shortened after vowel and single-consonant verb stems to -nei. EX: kludenei --> kludnei.

c) The interrogatives kuja "who" and kuwa "what" may be shortened to kja and kwa.

d) The relative pronouns jewa, jeja may be shortened to ja.

3. Nouns [Back]

3.1 Formation of Nouns

3.1.1 The Invariable Noun Ending

All singular nouns in Dingwa are formed from a root and the noun suffix or ending --a. There are no exceptions to this rule.

[Etymology Note (EN): IE *-os/a/om; Latin -us/a/um; Greek -os/e/on; Germanic -az/o/am, etc. The vowel -a was chosen both in light of IE forms and because it will almost always appear in unstressed syllables, and will more easily resist raising or lowering if it is already a low back vowel.]

bresosta: quickness, speed
memsa: food
dina: day nera : man
dingwa: language nokta : night
doma: house putla : child
guna : woman udra : water
lida : game, play werga : work
luda : person nera : man

3.1.2 Plural Nouns

Nouns form plurals with the invariant plural suffix -i. There are no exceptions to this rule.

[EN: The plural in –s dates from Proto Indo-European (PIE), and survives in English as well as many other descendant languages. Likewise some irregular English plurals like oxen and children date from morphological processes at work in PIE times. A few daughter languages abandoned the –s plural: Latin, Greek and Slavic all use –i to form plurals for at least some classes of nouns.]

dina “day”; dinai “days”
doma “house”; domai “houses”
gunai “women”
ludai “people”
memsai “foods”
nerai “men”
noktai “nights”

3.1.3 Abstract Nouns from Adjectives

Adjectives form abstract nouns with the abstract suffix -ost- and the noun ending -a.

[EN: IE has a reconstructed noun suffix *-st-]

albei > albosta: whiteness
bresei > bresosta: speed, quickness
gelnei > gelnosta: greenness
golei > golosta: coolness, cold (n)
gurmei > gurmosta: heat
junei > junosta: youth, youngness
newei > newosta: newness, novelty
rudrei > rudrosta: redness
senekei > senekosta: oldness, age
skunei > skunosta: beauty, handsomeness
surdei > surdosta: blackness

3.1.4 Nouns from Verbs

Dingwa verbs may be changed to nouns by removing the verb ending and adding the noun ending -a to the stem.

berit: carries bera: carrying, portage
budit: wakes buda: waking
danit: gives dana: giving, gift
gumit: comes guma: coming, advent
swopit: sleeps swopa: sleep
ukwit: says, speaks ukwa: speech, talk
sedaagit: seats s.o. sedaaga: seating

3.1.5 Instrument Nouns from Verbs

The suffix -etra attached to verb stems derives the noun means or instrument by which one does the action of a verb.

[EN: the IE suffix *-tr- forms agent and instrument nouns.]

anaagit “makes breathe”; anaagetra “respirator”
arit “plows”; aretra “plow”
bergit “protects”; bergetra “shield, guard, protector”
budaagit “wakes”; budaagetra “alarm clock”
gurmaagit “warms, heats”; gurmaagetra “heater”
krijit “strains, sifts”; krijetra “sieve”
swopaagit “puts to sleep”; swopaagetra “soporific, sedative, tranquilizer”

3.1.6 Actor/agent Nouns

The suffix --uka attached to verb stems allows the formation of an agent noun, one who performs the action of the verb.

[EN: Some IE languages form substantives/nouns with a -ko/ka- suffix: Latin amicus "friend"; Serbian darbuka "drum"; Sanskrit dipika "lamp."]

ukwit: s/he speaks ukwuka: speaker
berit: s/he carries beruka: porter

3.2 Declension

Dingwa marks its nouns (and pronouns) for nine unvarying case endings, as follows:

--: nominative
-m: accusative
-s: genitive
-ge: dative
-bi: instrumental
-den: ablative
-do: allative
-kom: comitative
-su: locative

3.2.1 Nominative

The Nominative serves as the subject of most verbs and as the subject complement of the copula bu-.

3.2.2 Accusative

The accusative or direct object is formed with the suffix --m.

Nerai udram pojen. Men drink water.
Onai putlam widen. They see the child.
Ludai memsam eden. (The) people eat food.
Udram dano. I give water.
Putlam berit. S/he carries the child.
Nokta swopam danit. Night gives sleep.
Putla gunaim prokit. The child asks the women.

3.2.3 Genitive

To show possession, the suffix -s is attached to a noun, either singular or plural.

Menas guna putlam ne widit. My wife doesn’t see the child.
Tuwas patra senekei esit. Your father is old.
Wesais gunei putla ne swopit. Your girl/daughter isn’t sleeping.
Tuwei patras senosta kuwa esit? What is your father’s age? How old is your father?
Putlas nomena Rudra esit. The child’s name is Rudra.

3.2.4 Dative

The suffix -ge expresses the indirect object and functions otherwise like the dative.

O mege udram danaawit. S/he gave me water.
Skutlam naige ukwe! Tell us a story!

3.2.5 Instrumental

The instrumental suffix -bi on nouns indicates “by means of” the noun, or “using” the noun.

Ognabi swam gurmaagaawit. S/he warmed himself with fire.

3.2.6 Ablative

The ablative suffix –den attached to a noun indicates movement away from the noun.

Poljaden gumaawit. S/he came from the city.
It is also used in comparisons.
Oden menegu junotrei 'so. I am much younger than he.

3.2.7 Allative

The allative suffix -do on nouns indicates motion toward the noun.

poljado: toward the city
kerdado: to the heart
Poljas kerdado ejwaames. We went to the center (“heart”) of the city.

3.2.8 Comitative

The case suffix -kom attached to nouns expresses accompaniment and can be translated “with.”

Putlaikom lidaawit. S/he played with the children.
Senekei neraikom wergaawo. I worked with the old men.

3.2.9 Locative

The locative suffix -su on nouns indicates location as well as “time within which.”

konasu: in the beginning, at first, for a start
trijei dinaisu: in three days

Trijei dinaisu anugumiso. I will return in three days.

3.3.1 Numbers

The Dingwa number may be noun or adjective, depending on whether it is used alone as a substantive or whether it modifies another noun. (For adverbial usage, see 7.4 Adverbial Numbers.)

[EN: Clearly recognizable forms of IE roots for the numbers appear in Dingwa. *oinos, *dwou, *trejes, *kwetwores, *penkwe, *sweks, *septm, *oktow, *nowm, *dekm.]

oina, oinei: one
dwa, dwei: two
trija, trijei: three
kwetura, kweturei: four
penkwa, penkwei: five
seksa, seksei: six
septa, septei: seven
okta, oktei: eight
nowa, nowei: nine
deka, dekei: ten
Note the distinctions in usage:

penkwa: five (noun) penkwei: five (adjective)
nerais penkwa: five of the men
penkwei nerai: five men

Penkwam gambo. I hold/have five.

Its adjective form modifies a noun:

Penkwei owjai petaawen. Five birds flew.

Another alternative is to use the partitive:

Dwa nerais preken. Two of the men are asking.

3.3.2 Ordinals

The suffix –im- is the ordinalizing suffix, making ordinals from cardinal number stems.

trija: three; tri(ji)ma: third
ketura: four; keturima: fourth
kenta: hundred; kentima: hundredth
NOTE: The noun kentima "hundredth" is used to express percentages. Oinei kentima is "one percent"; that is, "one hundredth." Dekima "tenth" is used for the American dime. Finally, dekimei punkta means "decimal point."

3.4 Nominal Present Participles

The participle stem may also take the noun suffix –a to indicate someone characterized by the action of the participle.

Kanonta naim menegu terpaawit. The singer pleased us greatly.
Pedontai lukas kambam menaawen. The pedestrians waited for the light to change. (The walking ones awaited the light’s change.)

4. Adjectives [Back]

4.1 Formation of Adjectives

All adjectives end in the adjective ending -ei. There are no exceptions to this rule.

[EN: -i and iy-os/a are common adjectival endings in IE]

albei: white
bresei: quick, fast, rapid
gelnei: green
golei: cool, cold
gurmei: hot
junei: young
kludenei: closed
newei: new
rudrei: red
senekei: old
skunei: beautiful, handsome
surdei: black

4.2 Deriving Adjectives from Nouns

Noun stems may form related adjectives by adding the adjective ending --ei.

nera: man > nerei: male, manly, virile
guna: woman > gunei: female, feminine, womanly
dingwa: language > dingwei: linguistic, language-
doma: house > domei: domestic, house-
dina: day > dinei: day-, daily

dinei memsa: daily food
noktei werga: night work
dingwei gigna: linguistic knowledge, language knowledge
putlei dingwa: child language
nerei putla: male child; boy
Ewei dwora kludenei esit. This door is closed.
Tuwei doma kuwei worna esit? What color is your house?

4.3 Comparative and Superlative

The comparative form of the adjective ("more ___; ___ -er") may be expressed with the suffix -otr-ei. The superlative suffix ("most ___; ___ -est") is -ist-ei. The basis of comparison or the thing being compared to is expressed with the ablative suffix -den on the noun.

[EN: IE comparative and superlative suffixes take various forms; among the more common are those in -ter/tor- and -(i)st-/-(t)mos- respectively.]

albotrei: whiter
skunistei: most beautiful

snigwaden albotrei: whiter than snow
Ewei egera towaden dubotrei ’sit. This lake is deeper than that one.
Dirwistei ner jam gigno esit. He is the most intelligent man I know.

4.4 Ordinals

The suffix –im- is the ordinalizing suffix, making ordinal adjectives from cardinal number stems.

trija: three; tri(ji)mei: third
ketura: four; keturimei: fourth
kenta: hundred; kentimei: hundredth

4.5 Adjectives of Tendency

The suffix -iklei makes adjectives from verb roots to show tendency or likelihood. Thus,

ukwit “speaks”; ukwiklei “tending to talk, loquacious”
gwonit “fights”; gwoniklei “tending to fight, pugnacious, feisty”

4.6 Adjectives of Ability

The suffix --otw and the adjective ending -ei make adjectives from verb roots showing capacity or susceptibility. In some cases it is similar to the English suffix --able/-ible.

widotwei: visible
ukwotwei: sayable, speakable

5. Verbs [Back]

5.1.1 Formation of Verbs – Personal Endings

[EN: The verb endings of Dingwa are recognizably drawn from IE: -o/mi; -es(i); -et(i); -omes; -ete; -ent(i)]

Here are the personal suffixes for verbs, using the verb es-. These endings are invariant for all Dingwa verbs. There are no exceptions.

eso: I am; esomes: we are
esis: you are; esete: you are (plural)
esit: s/he is; esen: they are

5.1.2 Nouns as First- and Second-person Subjects

When the subject of a first- or second person verb is an explicit noun rather than an inherent or explicit pronoun, the meaning may be expressed in English in a couple of ways.

Najuka gumo. I come (as) a helper. I come to help. [NAH-yoo-kah GOO-moh]
Gwononta mam sekwaawis. You followed me as a fighter. [Gwoh-NOHN-tah mehm seh-KWAH-wees]

5.1.3 Both First and Second Person Subjects

When the subjects are both first and second person, note the following usage:

Twa i mena menomes. You and I [we] remain.

5.2.1 The Verb es-

The verb es- means both “exist” and “be”:

Nera esit. There is a man. A man exists. It’s a man.
Doma esit. There is a house. A house exists. It’s a house.
Dina esit. It’s day. (A) day exists.

5.2.2 The Contracted Form of es-

Often in speech this verb stem is contracted to ’s-:

Nera ’sit. It’s a man. [NE-rah seet]
Doma ’sit. There’s a house. [DOH-mah seet]
Dina ’sit. It’s day. [DEE-nah seet]
Kja ’sis? Who are you? [KYAH sees]
Golei ’so. I’m cold. [GOH-lay soh]

5.3 Causative Verbs

Many related verbs can be regularly formed from adjectives with the causative verb suffix --aag-. The verb endings are then added as usual.

albei “white” > albaagit: “makes white”; whitens
golei “cool, cold” > golaagit: “makes cold”; cools, chills
gurmei “hot” > gurmaagit: “makes hot”; heats
rudrei “red” > rudraagit: “makes red”; reddens
senekei “old” > senekaagit: “makes old”; ages
skunei: “beautiful” > skunaagit: “makes beautiful”; beautifies
surdei “black” > surdaagit: “makes black”; blackens
patei “open” > pataagit: “makes open”; opens

Dwora patei esit. The door is open.
Ona dworam pataagit. S/he opened the door.
Snigwa albei banit. Snow appears white.
Snigwa kolnaim albaagit. Snow whitens the mountains.
Udra golei esit. The water is cold.
Pruswa udram golaagit. Ice cools the water.

5.4 Tenses

Dingwa verbs exhibit three main verb tenses: present, past and future.

5.4.1 Present

The present tense is the default stem of the verb and has no further suffix. It is formed by attaching the personal endings directly to the verb stem, as in 5.1.1.

5.4.2 Past

The past tense of all verbs is formed by attaching the verb tense suffix --aaw- to the verb stem. The personal endings then follow the tense suffix.

Udram pojaawo. I drank the water. Literally, “water-object drink-past-I.”
Ne swopaawis. You didn’t sleep.
Dina gumaawit. Day came.
Memsam beraawen. They carried the food.
Ludai ne wergaawen. The people didn’t work.

5.4.3 Future

Verbs form the future tense with the suffix --is.

Udram pojiso. I will drink the water.
Ne swopisis. You won’t sleep.
Dina gumisit. Day will come.
Memsam berisen. They will carry the food.
Ludai ne wergisen. The people will not work.

5.5 Participles

Dingwa has four participles in regular use: present active, past active, present passive and past passive.

5.5.1 Present Active

The present active participle, corresponding to the English verb+-ing (walking, running, etc.), is formed with the participle suffix -ont- and the adjective suffix -ei.

Wergontei nera junei nesit. The working man isn’t young.
Gumontei neraim widaawo. I watched the coming/arriving men.

See 7. Adverbs for adverbial usage of the present participle to show manner.

5.5.2 Past Active Participle

The past active participle is formed with the suffix -us- and the adjective ending -ei. Generally it can express the equivalent of English “having verb+ed” or “after verb+ing.”

edusei: having eaten
Memsam edusei swopaawit. Having eaten (the) food, s/he slept.
Dun menegei orai swopusei, putlaikom dolgu lidaawit. Having slept for many hours, s/he played with the children for a long time.

5.5.3 Present Passive Participle

The present passive participle is formed with the suffix --omn- and the adjective ending --ei.

widomnei: being seen
neprokomnei: not being asked

5.5.4 Past Passive Participle

The past passive participle is formed from verbs with the suffix --en- and the adjective ending --ei.

kludit: s/he closes kludenei: closed
skunaagit: s/he beautifies skunaagenei: beautified
widit: s/he sees widenei: seen

Particularly in speech, short forms of this participle exist. Verb roots which end in a single consonant often elide the e of the suffix --en-:

kludit: s/he closes kludnei: closed
skunaagit: s/he beautifies skunaagnei: beautified
widit: s/he sees widnei: seen

But note ansit: favor, esteem; ansenei: favored, esteemed
bergit: protect, defend; bergenei: protected, defended

5.6 Imperatives

5.6.1 Singular Imperative

The singular imperative ending for all verbs is -e. The singular imperative expresses a command to one person.

Dingwam ukwe! Speak Dingwa!
Dworam ne kludaage. Don’t close the door.

5.6.2 Plural Imperative

The plural imperative ending is the same as the second person plural suffix -ete. It expresses a command to more than one person.

Dingwam ukwete! Speak Dingwa!
Dworam ne kludaagete. Don’t close the door.

5.6.3 First Person Plural Imperative

The first person plural may be used as a kind of imperative expressing the rough equivalent of the English "let's."

Edomes. "Let's eat."
Dingwam ukwomes. "Let's speak Dingwa."

6. Pronouns [Back]

6.1 Formation of Pronouns

Singular pronouns, like nouns, also end in the suffix -a.

mena: I
tuwa: you
ona: he, she, it
ewa: this
towa: that
kuja, kja: who?
kuwa, kwa: what??

6.2 Plurals

Pronouns, like nouns, also form their plural with the suffix -i.

nai: we
wai: you
onai: they

ewai: these
towai: those

6.3 Demonstrative Pronouns and Adjectives

ewa: this
towa: that

Ewa mewei matra esit. This is my mother.
Towa mewei patra esit. That is my father.

Ewei guna mewei matra esit. This woman is my mother.
Towei nera patra esit. That man is (my) father.

6.4 Possessive Pronouns

menas: my nais: our
tuwas: your (sing) wais: your (plural)
onas: his, her, its onais: their

kjas: whose kjais: whose (plural)

6.5 Reflexive Pronouns

The noun swa “self” is used to express the reflexive. Note that as a reflexive it can never be the subject of a sentence.

Swam widaawo. I saw myself.
<> swage ukwaawo. Interesting, I said to myself.

If swa does appear as the subject, it is therefore not reflexive in meaning:

Swa nedu ne genit i nedu ne mortit. The self is never born and never dies.

6.6 Emphatic Pronouns

Because the verb always shows the person, pronouns are used mostly for emphasis.

Domam demaawo. I built the house.
Mena domam demaawo. I (myself) built the house.

6.7 Short Forms

The personal pronouns have short forms which occur frequently in conversation:

Ona luda esit -- > A luda 'sit. S/he is a person.
Tuwa guna esis -- > Twa guna 'sis. You are a woman.
Mena putla eso -- > Ma putla 'so. I am a child.

7. Adverbs [Back]

7.1 Formation of Adverbs

Adverbs end in the suffix -u. They indicate location, time, manner, degree, etc.

todu: then
gisu: yesterday
edinu: today
noktu: at night, nights (e.g., "He works nights.")
moksu: soon
newu: newly, "just." Newu gumaawit. S/he just arrived. (literally, S/he newly came.)
mengodu: often
nedu: never. Kweila nedu swopit. Time never sleeps.
pewodu: rarely
solwodu: always
menotu: monthly
bresu: quickly. Bresu wergaawis. You worked quickly
stanontu: while standing. Stanontu edaawit. S/he ate (while) standing.
gurdwu: slowly
silaru: happily
swopiklu: sleepily

7.2 Adverbial Present Participles

Sometimes the participle functions adverbially rather than adjectivally, and shows how the action of the verb is performed. In such cases it then takes the adverb suffix -u:

Drajontu gumaawit. S/he came running.
Stajontu edaawen. They ate standing.

7.3.1 The Negative

The adverb ne “no, not” is the principal negater, most often appearing before verbs.

Udram ne pojen. They don’t drink water.
Putla memsam ne widit. The child doesn’t see the food.
Ludai ne gumen. The people don’t come.
Nera putlam ne berit. The man doesn’t carry the child.

Ne may also be attached to adjectives to form negative adjectives similar to those in English.

newidenei: unseen
nebregotwei: unbreakable

7.3.2 Double Negatives

While the double negative is considered substandard or poor grammar in English, it is alive and well in English dialect, and in many other languages, where it is perfectly grammatical, as it is in Dingwa. It functions merely an emphatic variant.

Putla newam ne ukwaawit. The child didn’t say anything. The child said nothing. Lit., “The child didn’t say nothing.”
Noinei luda estu nesit. There is no person here. There’s nobody here. Lit., “No person isn’t here.”

7.4 Adverbial Numbers

Numbers as adverbs most frequently modify verbs:

Oinu gumaawit. S/he arrived alone.
Oinimu gumaawit. S/he arrived first.
Note the difference in meaning between the above and the following:
Oina gumaawit. One arrived.
Oinima gumaawit. The first arrived.

8. Prepositions [Back]

8. Prepositions

The prepositions in Dingwa may govern or require certain noun cases, as do their equivalents in other older IE languages.

[EN: all the prepositions have been adapted from extant IE forms of adverbs and prepositions.]

be: to
do: to
en: in
eti: beyond
is: out of
ni: down
niden: under
peri: around
pos: after
pro: before
tere: across
torku: through
u dolga + gen: along
u medja + gen: amid, among, between
u stata + gen: in stead of, in place of
u: by, at, near
ud: up
upra: above, over

9. Conjunctions [Back]

The principal conjunctions in Dingwa are the following:
i: and
danei: given (that); although; while
we: or
-kwe: and (clitic – suffixed to each word in series)
ma: but

10. Syntax [Back]

10.1 Simple Sentences

Simple sentences in Dingwa may consist solely of a verb with its implied subject, or of a noun and a predicate, such as an adjective, verb or another noun (with the copula implied).

Ukwit. S/he talks/speaks.
Guna edit. (The) woman eats. (A) woman is eating.
Putla swopit. The child sleeps.
Nera ukwit. The man speaks.
Nokta gumit. Night comes.
Udra esit. Water exists. There is water.
Luda wergit. A person works.
Nera sedit. The man sits.

10.2 Word Order

The word order of a simple sentence generally places the subject first and the verb last. Thus, if there is an object, it appears before the verb, not after it as in English.

Onai putlam widen. They see the child.
Ludai memsam eden. (The) people eat food.

10.3.1 Yes-No Questions

There are several kinds of questions. One is the yes-no question, which is indicated in Dingwa speech by a rising intonation, as in English.

Ne swopaawis. You didn’t sleep.
Ne swopaawis? You didn’t sleep? Didn’t you sleep?

10.3.2 Choice Questions

A second kind of question is the choice question, which presents the possible alternatives as part of the question. This formation is more common in speech, less in writing.

Dwora patei 'sit kludnei? Is the door open or closed?
Dwora patei kludnei 'sit?

10.3.3 Informational/WH-Questions

Yet another kind of question is called the “wh-question” in English, because so many of the question words in this type of question begin with wh: who, what, when, where, why, which, whose, etc. In Dingwa, many question words begin with ku. This kind of question asks for information rather than a yes/no answer.

kuja: who?
Kuja esis? [Kja 'sis?] Who are you?
Kja memsam edaawit? Who ate the food?
Kjam widaawis? Whom did you see?
Kujas: whose? (shortened kjas)
Twa kjas udram pojaawis? Whose water did you drink?
Twa onas udram pojaawis. You drank his water.

kuwa: what?
Kuwam edaawit? What did s/he eat? (shortened kwam
A kwam berit? What is /she carrying?
Kwa 'sit? What is it?
Kwei ora 'sit? What time is it?
Kwa ora 'sit? What is the hour?

10.3.4 Tag Questions

Ne “no, not” and nesit (ne esit) “isn’t” can serve as a question tag following questions, similar to French n’est-ce pas and German nicht wahr, both meaning “isn’t it, not true?” etc. Note that, unlike the English tag question, the Dingwa tag is invariable, having only one form.

O gumit, ne? He’s coming, isn’t it (true)? He’s coming, right?
Ewei udram pojaawis, nesit? You drank that water, didn’t you?

10.3.5 Word Order of Questions

Note the word order. The question word appears where the answer to the question appears in a statement.
For instance:

Kuwam widis? What do you see?
Egeram wido. I see a lake.
Putla kuwam pojaawit? What did the child drink?
Putla udram pojaawit. The child drank water.

10.4 The System of Pronouns, Adjectives and Adverbs

Many Dingwa pronouns, adjectives and adverbs form a regular integrated system.

  Interrog Relative Demonstr. 1 Demonstr. 2 Negative Indefinite Inclusive
  ku- je- e- to- ne- a- solu-
Person -ja




that one

no one
Thing -wa kuwa
Time -du kudu
this time
Place -stu kustu
Kind -lkei kulkei
wh kind?
wh kind
this kind
that kind
no kind
some kind
every kind
Reason -ra kura
wh reason
this reason
that reason
no reason
some reason
every reason
Way -nsu kunsu
this way
that way
no way
every way

Kulkei memsam edis? What kind of food are you eating?
Doma jewam demaawis skunei esit. The house that you built is beautiful.
Skola jestu unkaagis apostanentei esit. The school where you teach is distant.
Kustu bowis gigno. I know where you live.
Aja ukwaawit. Someone spoke.
Nedu tostu ne wikaawo. I never lived there.

10.5 Word Sets of Adjective, Noun and Adverb

In Dingwa, several sets of related words function as adjectives, nouns or adverbs in similar sentences, depending on their endings and functions.

amb- “both” can be an adjective, noun and adverb.
O ambu gumit i ejit. He both comes and goes.
Ambei prijai skutlam gignen. Both friends know the story.
Ambai gignen. Both know. [Note that ambai is plural]

meneg-: “many, much, a lot.” With plural nouns, menegei can usually be translated “many.” With singular nouns, it is better rendered as “much.” As an adverb, it means “considerably, much.” Finally, as a noun it means “a great deal, a lot, much.”
Menegei ludai gumaawen. Many people came.
Aisatwora menegei gurmostam prokit. Metalworking requires much heat.
Oden menegu junotrei eso. I am much younger than he is.
Ludai menegam smeraawen. People have forgotten much/a lot.

minw-: “few, little, less.”
Minwei ludai gisu gumaawen. Few people came yesterday.
Minwu gurmei edinu esit. It’s less hot today.
Skutlam klujusei, o minwam smoraawit. Hearing the story, he remembered little.

solw-: with singular nouns, solwei means “whole, entire.” With plural nouns, it is translated as “all, every.” As an adverb, it means “entirely, wholly.”
Solwa mirei esit. Everything is good.
O solwu patnei esit. It is entirely open.
Solwei skolukai skolam umnen. All students attend school.
Mirei unkaaguka solwei skolukam unkaagit. A good teacher teaches the whole student.

noin-: “no, none.”
Noinei luda estu (ne) esit. No one is here.
Noinam (ne) wido. I don’t see anything. I see nothing.

11. Word Formation [Back]

11.1 Compounding

Vowel Deletion:
Optional deletion of final vowel (FV) when FV meets initial vowel (IV)
FV ? 0/__#IV
aljo + ukwit ? aljukwit: translate
gima + andesa ? gimandesa: winter flower

Compound Connector: +o
penkwa + dina = penkwodina “Friday”

11.2 Diminutive

The suffix -its-, attached to adjective, noun and verb stems, allows the formation of a diminutive. Thus:

dankit: bites dankitsit: nips
kolna: mountain kolnitsa: hill, rise, hillock
gurmei: hot gurmitsei: lukewarm

11.3 Time Expressions

The days of the week are formed by compounding the first seven numbers with dina, "day."

Gisu gumaawo. I came yesterday
Gisa penkwodina buwit. Yesterday was Thursday.

oinodina: Monday
dwodina: Tuesday
trijodina: Wednesday
keturodina: Thursday
penkwodina: Friday
seksodina: Saturday
septodina: Sunday

12. Texts [Back]

[Genesis 1:1-3 The Creation]

Konasu deiwa nebesam degmenamkwe kuraawit tworewneikwe degmena waneikwe esaawit uperkwe dubas derksnasu regwesa. Deiwaskwe dusa uper udnais derksnasu agmenaawit. Deiwakwe ukwaawit "louka ese" loukakwe esaawit.

13. Lexicon [Back]

The Dingwa Lexicon includes a list of abbreviations, affixes, and approximately 3500 entries identified by part of speech.

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