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As of now, Brefic is a sketch of a language, primarily an experiment in grammar design. I wanted to see if it was possible to design a language in which nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and even prepositions are merged into a single part of speech, without requiring any sort of part-of-speech markers (as in Esperanto) or otherwise seeming too artificial. Perhaps one day it will grow into a full language.
The grammar of Brefic is designed to minimize "grammaticalization." As many concepts as possible are included in the category of content words, and the small set of particles serves only to make the connections between them clearer. This maximizes the freedom to combine concepts with other concepts, and the freedom to include or omit concepts as desired.
Parts of SpeechEdit
Content Words - All words which carry any sort of semantic content whatsoever. This includes nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and even post-positions. Brefic content words can move between these functions without any sort of modification, though the meaning of using, say, a "nounish" word as a "verb" or vice-versa is well-defined. It is possible to express entire sentences using nothing but content words (and not just tiny sentences, either.)
Particles - Words which do not carry any semantic meaning at all, but mark the relationships between the content words to help reduce ambiguity in parsing the sentence. The aforementioned all-content-word sentences can become very ambiguous, especially as they grow longer. Therefore Brefic contains a small word-class of particles to make them more precise when needed. Brefic's set of particles is small and bounded.
Interjections - These are words like "Hey" that are used to express an emotion (as opposed to naming an emotion, such as the noun "anger.") I won't define specific interjections or rules for using them - my focus is on content words and particles.
Modes of GrammarEdit
Brefic contains a wide range of possible ways to express sentences, ranging between two main "poles."
Leftward mode - This is the mode of quick yet ambiguous sentences. It is based off of the long strings of nouns that can appear in Germanic languages (though many languages have something similar, but in the opposite word order.) This mode requires no particles (except the occasional conjunction like "and" or "or") but as a consequence, it isn't always clear exactly what modifies what. The only general dis-ambiguating rule is that modifiers come before the words they modify. Thus the word orders in the leftward mode are:
- Subject-Object-Verb - ex: Jo das wid = "I that see" = "I see that"
- Subject-Verb-Object is possible in a sense, though it would translate literally to "There is/are <object> which is/are <verbed> by <subject.>"
- Adjective-Noun - ex: rux haus = "red house". Contrast haus rux = "redness of the house"
- Genitive-Noun - ex: jo haus = "I house" = "my house",
- Noun-Postposition - ex: haus-in = "in the house"
- Number-Noun - ex: tri haus = "three houses"
- Adverb-Verb - ex: rapid cur = "fast run" = "run fast" (This is actually quite flexible, since there's no distinction between adjectives and verbs - the adverb can be used as a modal verb, and thus appear after the main verb without any sort of particle ex: Jo cur rapid, "I am fast at running")
- Verb-Modal Verb - ex: ed deb = "eat must" = "must eat"
- Relative Clause-Noun - ex: apl ed hom = "apple-eating person" = "person who eats apples"
Rightward mode - This is the mode of unambiguous yet somewhat longer sentences. Brefic contains particles which are analogous to "parentheses" and "commas" to show exactly what modifies what. These particles also reverse the word order of the quick mode - the open-parenthesis particle, de, also functions as Brefic's only preposition, with which adjectives can appear after nouns, objects (and even subjects) can appear after verbs, and so on.
To illustrate the difference between these two polar extremes, consider an example in which letters represent content words and parentheses & commas represent particles:
- A B C - the leftward mode, with no particles. We know that B modifies C, but A might modify either B or C. A longer string of content words would have even more permutations as to what modifies what.
The rightward mode can distinguish the two:
- C(B, A) - C is modified by B and A (spoken as C de B fo A )
- C(B(A)) - C is modified by B, which is modified by A (spoken as C de B de A )
And of course, it's possible to mix the leftward and rightward modes:
- A C(B) - A and B modify C (equivalent to C(B, A) above).
- B C(A) - same as above
- B(A) C - equivalent to C(B(A)) above
- C(A B) - also equivalent to C(B(A))
Content Words Edit
To understand Brefic content words, it helps to think of them all as nouns. This isn't the only way to describe them - they can also be described as all verbs - but I'll stick with the noun-based explanation for now.
Content words corresponding to English verbs are nouns meaning <verb>-ing (i.e. the gerund, or action-noun.)
Content words corresponding to English adjectives are nouns meaning <adjective>-ness or -ity.
Brefic's postpositions (not prepositions) are a mixed bag of nouns such as "interior," "exterior," "place," "time," "destination," "purpose," etc. Some of them translate to action-nouns from verbs, such as "using," "doing," "undergoing," etc.
When a content word is used as a simple verb with no subjects, objects, etc., it means "There is/are <noun>." The sentence Storm, for example, means "There is a storm" or "There are storms," and roughly corresponds to the statement "It is storming." Subjects, objects, adverbs, etc. are all considered modifiers to the noun that is being used as a verb. Jo un naranx ed, for example, can be translated as "There is an eating of an orange by me." It can also be translated as "I eat an orange."
When content words are used as modifiers, the meaning is very similar to the English use of nouns as adjectives by putting them in front of other nouns. "A B", for example, means "a kind of B which is associated with A in the most direct way that makes sense." Postpositions are a case of modifiers with modifiers. The phrase haus in hom, for example, literally means "house interior person," (i.e. "the person of the interior of the house") or more loosely, "the person in the house."
Compounds in Brefic mean exactly what they would mean if they had spaces separating their roots - compounds and strings of roots are interchangeable. Thus, the same left-branching rules apply to compounds - the root at the end is the "kind" of thing the compound refers to. It's possible to turn postpositions into case suffixes, and auxiliary verbs into tense suffixes, merely by compounding them. It's theoretically possible to express an entire sentence as a single, giant compound, but that wouldn't be too easy on the eyes.
Particles in Brefic are designed to help resolve ambiguities and free up the word order. Particles follow special rules different from the general rules that Content Words follow, and for this reason I intend to keep the number of particles in Brefic down to a small size.
de - roughly "of" (though it can also mean "which is," "who," or "that,") this is the only "preposition" in Brefic. It is used to indicate that the word before it is modified by a word or phrase appearing after it. For example, hom de gref is equivalent to gref hom, angry person, and Jo wid de un arbor is equivalent to Jo un arbor wid. This particle fills the dual role of freeing up the word order and splitting sentences up into smaller phrases to reduce ambiguity.
ut - a kind of "close-parenthesis" for a phrase beginning with de. For example, Un hom de gref un arbor wid would mean "There is a person who angrily sees a tree." However, Un hom de gref ut un arbor wid would mean "a person, who is angry, sees a tree." The ut blocks the de from "capturing" the words after it. This particle is not necessary if the de-phrase terminates at the end of the sentence (as the first example shows.) A well-ordered sentence can take advantage of this rule to have several de's and fo's and yet no ut's at all.
fo - roughly "and of", this indicates that a phrase modifies the same thing as a previous de-phrase. Example: hom de werd fo gref means "a green, angry person," whereas hom de werd de gref would mean "a person of green anger." A single ut particle acts as the close-parenthesis for all the fo particles associated with the de particle it complements. If de and ut can be visualized as parentheses, then fo can be visualized as a comma. For example, "A de B fo C fo D de E fo F ut fo G" can be visualized as A(B, C, D(E, F), G). I believe that parentheses and commas like these show with complete unambiguity what modifies what (i.e. A is modified by B, C, D, and G, and D is modified by E and F), so the particles that translate to these symbols should create complete unambiguity as well.
da - similar to de, but differs in its relation to ut and fo. The differences are:
- It takes no fos - encountering a fo is equivalent to encountering the end of a sentence. Ex: A de B da C fo D = A(B(C), D)
- A single ut will complement every da to its left between it and the nearest de (or the beginning of the sentence, if there is no de to its left.) Ex: A da B da C da D ut E = A(B(C(D))) E.
fa - similar to fo, but with the same "last-modifier" properties as da. Example: A de B de C fo D fa E fo F = A(B(C, D, E), F)
daut - a kind of ut that closes all parentheses that need to be closed.
Particle Suffix -n Edit
The four particles above which end in vowels (de, da, fo, fa) can take the suffix -n to indicate that the modifier is non-restrictive. Example:
- John haus de rux - John's red house (implying that John has other houses which are not red)
- John haus den rux - John's house, which is red ("red" merely provides information about John's house)
Modifiers which precede their head do not make this distinction.
Logical particles: Edit
Logical particles are considered a separate class from the above grammatical particles. They include conjunctions such as "and" and "or," and the negation particle "not."
ei - means "and." For numbers, this means "plus."
mei - means "except" or "but." For numbers, this means "minus."
ou - means "or"
ar - exclusive or
na - means "not." Na appears immediately after the word it negates. Ex: arbor-na = not a tree / not trees
nei - "nand," i.e. "not both"
nou - "neither...nor"
nar - "both or neither"
A quick yet ambiguous way to use ei, ou, etc. is to simply put them between the two things they are coordinating, ex: Jo apl ei naranx ed - "I eat apples and oranges." However, this could also mean things like "My apples exist and the eating of oranges happens," since the reach of the ei conjunction is not clear. Therefore, Brefic allows these logical conjunctions to be combined with the de...fo...ut constructions described above. Examples:
- Jo ed eide apl fo naranx fo pitsa fo tart. - "I eat apples and oranges and pizza and pies." [I eat and(apple, orange, pizza, pie.)] (If this began with de rather than eide, it would mean that I eat these things all at once.)
- Can oude caid fo cuc fo brul fo ed ut de apl mo. = "Apples can be cut or cooked or burned or eaten." [Can or(cut, cook, burn, eat)(apple undergo)] - See the section on "Compound De-Phrases" to understand how this works.
- Arde rexnan fo rexfem ut go did? - Was it the king or the queen who did it? [exclusive-or(king, queen) do past-event?]
- Noude rexnan fo rexfem fo ridaxist ut go did. - Neither the king nor the queen nor the jester did it. [Neither(king, queen, jester) do past-event.]
Tense markers in Brefic are nouns meaning things like "future event," "past event," etc. They can appear either as modal verbs modified by the main verb or as adverbs modifying the main verb. Some important tense words are:
- wil = "future event," the future-tense marker.
- did = "past event," the past-tense marker.
- nau = "current event," the present-tense marker.
Examples of use:
- Jo ed wil = "There is a future event of eating done by me" = "I will eat."
- Jo wil ed = "There is an act of eating which is a future event done by me" = "I will eat."
- Wil jo ed = "There is an act of eating done by me which is a future event" = "I will eat."
Tense markers can be modified by words such as prox and tel (meaning "near" and "far," respectively) to indicate their temporal distance from the present. Ex:
- Jo ed prox wil - "I'm about to eat."
- Jo ed prox did - "I just ate."
- Jo ed tel wil - "I'll eventually eat."
- Jo ed tel did - "I ate a long time ago."
Aspect markers behave similarly. Some important aspect markers are:
- ing = the non-punctual aspect marker, means the "middle" of an action or event (not the chronological half-way point, but more broadly "neither the start nor the end.")
- oft = the frequentative, means "frequent" or "often"
- hei = past event which is still directly relevant in the time being talked about
- blinc = an event that occurs very quickly, the duration of which is comparable to the blinking of an eye
However, the verbs called "modal verbs" are different - they can't convey their meaning as an adverb, so they must be modified by the main verb. Example: Jo ed can = "I eat-can" = "I can eat" (The phrase ed can can be translated as "ability to eat.")
Brefic has two comparison words - plu and min ("more" and "less", respectively.) These can modify words just like any other modifier:
- plu werd = "more green"
- min acwa = "less water"
Brefic's equivalent of "than" is to simply modify the comparison word. For example:
- foil-plu werd = "greener than a leaf" (lit. "leaf-more green")
- litr-min acwa = "less water than a litre" (lit. "litre-less water")
(The hyphens are optional. I tend to use them as markers of unusual word order.)
Comparisons of equivalence or similarity are accomplished other ways. The simplest way is to directly modify a property word:
- sang-rux = "blood-red" (="redness of blood")
- mont-alt = "as high as a mountain" (lit. "mountain-height" or "mountain-high")
- tu-haf-cwant = "as much as you have" (lit. "you-have-amount.")
- ster-cal = "as hot as a star" (lit. "star-hot")
- haus-grand = "as big as a house" (lit. "house-big" or "house-size")
Another way is to use the word leic, meaning "like," "similarity," etc.
- acwa-leic cem = "water-like substance"
The superlatives are perplu and permin, meaning "most" and "least," but translate more literally to "completely more" and "completely less."
Brefic has optional postpositions to mark the subject and object. They are:
- go - the subject postposition, means "done-by," "to do," "to cause." It refers to the cause of an action, state, event, etc. who also experiences some aspect of it as well. The similar root caus refers to causes in general.
- mo - the direct-object postposition, means "done-to," "to undergo," or the noun "undergoing."
- es - literally "to be," this is often used as a case marker in sentences that state the properties of something.
- haf - literally "to have," this is also used as a case marker in property-naming constructions.
- ir - means "effect," this can be used to mark the result of an event or action. Can act as a "case-marker for case-markers," when go and mo are being used as a verb, to indicate what is being done/undergone rather than (or alongside) what is doing/undergoing. This can also be used as a suffix on the verb to mean "-ize."
None of these markers are obligatory. When neither subject nor object is marked, the case is either deduced from whether the nouns can act as subjects/objects/something else for the action-word they modify (e.g. "apple" is very rarely the subject of "eat"). When this doesn't make the case obvious (ex: Jo un cwan wid - "I a dog see") we follow the convention that the implied order is subject (go) first, object(mo) next.
Examples of use:
- Jo-go un apl-mo ed = "I eat an apple"
- Un apl-mo jo-go ed = "An apple, I eat"
- Jo-go ed de un apl-mo = "I eat an apple" (Notice the particle de - it keeps the verb ed the head of the sentence.)
- Jo-go ed un apl-mo = "An apple undergoes an act of eating done by me" = "I eat an apple." (This construction is allowed, but hinges on the assumption that the main verb ["ed" in this case] is another modifier to the case-marker ["mo" in this case], rather than a modifier to something else.)
There are more "cases" beyond these. They are represented by other postpositions, such as ad, us, in, fro, loc, etc. The simplest postpositions can be optionally dropped just like the postpositions above, making sentences such as Disdei jo un apl ed wil, "Today I will eat an apple," possible.
Example of case marking with es and haf:
- Jo haf frix = "I am cold" (though the shorter unmarked version, Jo frix, is enough to convey this meaning)
- Ta haf Bob es nom = "His name is Bob." (lit. There is a name which is Bob and which he has.)
It is important to remember that none of these case-markers are particles. They are all content words in their own right, and they can be used for things other than case-marking. For example, Jo go means "I do." Likewise, common "verbs" often overlap with case markers, such as us ("use,") and some verbs can be used as hyper-specialized case markers for certain verbs (ex: "take" and "put" are used as case markers for "replace.")
A relative clause in Brefic is simply a "verb" that modifies a "noun." For example:
- ed hom = "a person who eats."
- hom de ed = same as above.
This does not mean that every time a verb modifies a noun, the noun is the verb's subject or agent - rather, like all modifiers, the connection between them is "the most direct relationship that makes sense, given the context." For example:
- ed haus = "restaurant" (eating-house, i.e. a building for eating)
- ed apl = "eaten apple"
However, the relationship can be clarified by inserting a content word between the verb and noun:
- ed por haus = "house of the purpose of eating"
- ed mo apl = "apple of undergoing eating" (i.e. eaten apple.)
- ed go hom = "person of doing eating" (i.e. person who eats.)
Note that the words mo and go are not acting as case-markers for ed in the above examples (i.e. they're not rendering "eating" in the nominative or accusative case.) Rather, they are modifying apl and hom to indicate that they undergo or perform something, respectively. Less ambiguous versions would be ed ir mo apl, ed ir go hom.
The verb can acquire subjects, objects, adverbs, postpostional phrases, etc. the same way as any other verb does - by adding them as modifiers. For example:
- apl ed hom = "person who eats apples"
- apl mo ed hom = "person who eats apples" (clearer)
- apl mo haus in ed hom = "person who eats apples in houses"
To put the relative clause after the noun, simply use the particle d.
- hom de apl-mo ed
- hom de ed de apl
With relative clauses that appear after the nouns they modify, it's possible to use third-person pronouns to refer back to the noun that is modified. Example:
- haus de ta-in pitsa-mo ed = "house of eating pizza in it" = "house in which pizza is eaten"
However, this only works if the relative clause appears after the noun it modifies, since pronouns can only refer to something mentioned earlier. If one were to say ta-in pitsa-mo ed haus, the pronoun ta would refer to something mentioned earlier, not haus.
Subject-Verb-Object (and Object-Verb-Subject) without ParticlesEdit
In a Brefic sentence with no particles, the "head" of the sentence is always the last word. That is, X Y Z is a "kind of Z", and saying X Y Z as a declarative sentence means that kind of Z exists/happens. Particles can create equivalent sentences, such as X Z de Y, which is still a "kind of Z" because the particle de subordinated the Y to Z. But a sentence X Z Y is something different - a "kind of Y."
In Brefic, it is possible to "imitate" Subject-Verb-Object word order by saying the equivalent of "There is <object> which is <verbed> by <subject>." Likewise for Object-Verb-Subject - "there is <subject> which <verbs> <object>." This works for many sentences, and produces something often functionally identical to the SOV equivalent - but there is an important limitation. As soon as the universal quantifier "all" gets involved, the meanings of these seemingly similar constructions begin to diverge.
Consider an example:
- Jo wid omni cos - "Everything that I see exists."
- Jo omni cos wid - "I see everything."
The meanings can also diverge in other instances. Example:
- Jo cred-na corncabal - "There exist unicorn(s) that I do not believe in." - This is crazy-talk, since the speaker is asserting the existence of unicorns while describing them as something he doesn't believe in.
- Jo corncabal cred-na - "There exists my nonbelief in unicorns" = "I don't believe in unicorns."
There are two ways to avoid this:
- Use the particle de to create a legitimate right branch from the verb. Example: Jo wid de omni cos - "I see everything"
- Use a case marker at the end of the sentence, and hope that it's understood that the verb modifies that case marker rather than the object noun. Ex: Jo wid omni cos mo.
Generally, the first option is preferable because it doesn't add any ambiguity (in fact, it reduces it.)
Since Brefic does not distinguish between clauses and noun phrases, a subordinate clause is simply an entire clause that is attached as a modifier to something (e.g. a verb.) For example:
- Jo cred de jo ta cop can = "I believe that I can buy it." (="There exists my belief of my it-buy ability")
- Jo ta cop can jo cred = "I believe that I can buy it." (same as above, but with different word order because of the absence of a de particle.)
To indicate that two events share a place, time, manner, etc., one would use the nouns for "place," "time," "manner," etc. Examples:
- Jo did wid de ta fo cron de tu ta wend. = "I saw it when you sold it." (="I saw it of [i.e. at] the time of you selling it.")
- Tu ta wend cron jo did ta wid. = same as above.
Notice that cron in the above example is both a modifier to the verb wid and modified by the clause tu ta wend. Substituting other nouns in place of cron will create different "conjunctions."
- Jo did wid de ta fo loc de tu ta wend. = "I saw it where you sold it." (="I saw it of [i.e. at] the place of you selling it.")
- Jo did wid de ta fo caus de tu ta wend. = "I saw it because you sold it." (="I saw it of the cause of [i.e. which is] you selling it.")
- Jo did wid de ta fo por de tu ta wend. = "I saw it in order for you to sell it." (="I saw it of[i.e. for] the purpose of you selling it.")
Unless particles are used, Brefic verbs concatenate in the opposite order of English verbs. Consider the English sentence "I want to be able to stop eating pies!" A Brefic equivalent would be:
- Jo tart ed halt can wol! (lit. "I pie eat stop can want!")
Other word orders:
- Jo wol de can de halt de ed de tart. (an imitation of English-style concatenative verbs, where de roughly fills the role of English "to"+verb.)
- Jo wol de tart ed halt can.
- Tart ed halt can jo wol.
Brefic compound postpositions follow the same internal order as English compound prepositions such as "into" and "onto." "Onto," for example, is epad. As a noun, it would translate to "surface-destination." "Onto the moon" would be luna epad, or "moon-surface-destination." Some more examples of compound postpositions:
- Inwers - "inwards," "interior-direction."
- Exfro - "from outside," "exterior origin"
- Supertra - "through the space over something"
- Epsub - "under the surface of something"
- Epprox - "near the surface of something"
- Interxirc - "around the region between two or more things"
- Weisujet - "about the ways/methods/manners of something"
When a second de-phrase immediately follows an ut terminating a previous de-phrase, the constituents of the second de-phrase all modify each constituent of the first de-phrase. Example:
- xambr de sedax fo tapis fo dormax ut de blu fo mol fo flamabl-na fo Bob port = room of chairs, rugs, and beds which are all blue, soft, nonflammable, and Bob brought them. [ room(chair,rug,bed)(blue,soft,nonflammable, Bob bring) ]
Trades and "Super-Verbs"Edit
In Brefic, the word troc, "to trade" is a good example of a "super-verb." To fully describe an exchange, one must name two traders and two traded items, and somehow indicate which item is going to whom. To say "You and I trade apples and oranges" is not enough, because it isn't clear who is getting what. And piling up postpositions is no solution, because both traders are playing the same semantic role (i.e. it is innacurate to say that one trader "causes" the trade while the other is a passive bystander, and naming both as the agents would leave the first problem remaining.) In Brefic, a good way to describe a trade is as follows:
- Troc de jo un apl don fo tu un naranx don. - roughly, "There is an exchange in which I give an apple and you give an orange."
In this, the verb troc outsources its burden to two dons. The dons link each item to the trader who gives it to the other trader. A simpler outsourcing is used for the concept of "replace."
- Jo go insted de sedax prend fo caix pon. - "I replace the chair with the box." lit. "I do substitute(chair take, box put)."
While we're on the subject of exchanges, Brefic has separate vocabulary words for "buy," "sell," and "pay" for the convenience of being able to say short things such as "I bought an apple" etc.
Where more than one sound is indicated, the pronunciation of the letter is the free choice of the speaker.
- A = [a, ɑ] as in father
- E = [e, ɛ] as in great or set
- I = [i, ɪ] as in machine or sit
- O = [o, ɔ] as in so or sore
- U = [u, ʊ] as in rude or push
Brefic has an unwritten schwa sound - see below.
Diphthongs: ai, au, ei, eu, oi, ou, ui, iu. The diphthongs ei and ou should be pronounced [ɛi] and [ɔu], respectively, to avoid sounding too similar to [e] and [o].
- B = [b]
- C = [k]
- D = [d]
- F = [f, v]
- G = [g]
- H = [h, x] ([x] is not in English)
- J = [j] like y in yes
- L = [l]
- M = [m]
- N = [n] ([ŋ] before c or g)
- P = [p]
- R = [r] (any "r-like" sound)
- S = [s, z]
- T = [t]
- W = [w, ʋ] ([ʋ] is not in English)
- X = [ʃ, ʒ] like sh in show or z in azure
Every consonant carries an optional, unwritten schwa after it if it appears without a following vowel. For example, a string of consonants such as "csrlpctrx" is pronounceable as /kəsərələpəkətərəʃə/, or any variant with some of those schwas removed (e.g. /kəsrəlpəktərʃ/.) Many Brefic words contain consonant clusters that appear in European languages, but pronouncing them as a cluster is not obligatory. Stret, for example, can be [sətərɛtə] as well as [strɛt] and any intermediate form, such as [sətrɛt].
Main article: Brefic Dictionary
- Jo = I, me, my
- Tu = you (singular)
- Ta = he, she, it, they(singular)
- Sel = oneself (which can mean "myself" "yourself" "themselves" etc.)
- Wos = you (plural)
- Tem = they, them
- Nus = we
- Ses = each other
- Dis = this
- Das = that
- Dise = these
- Dase = those
- Cwe = what, which
- 0 = nul,
- 1 = un,
- 2 = du,
- 3 = tri,
- 4 = cwar,
- 5 = cwin,
- 6 = six,
- 7 = set,
- 8 = oit,
- 9 = nof
les = "more than one," a plural quantifier which can be used as a digit in its own right. Ex:
les haus = houses
lesmil = thousands
Powers of Ten:Edit
- dec = 10
- cent = 100
- mil = 1000
- wan = 10000
- -one = ^2 ex: milone = million
- -jard = ^3
- -lacx = 100,000^N (only applies to one digit) ex: unlacx = 10^5, dulacx = 10^10, cwinlacx = 10^25
- -jem = ordinal, ex: dujem = second, cwarjem = fourth, etc
Brefic fractional numbers are formed around the content-word part. The shorter construction, which involves two number phrases separated only by part, is denominator-first, rather than numerator-first. Examples:
- tri-part-un = 1/3 (lit. "three-part-one," meaning "one of three parts")
- cwarone-part-tri = 3/16
The numerator-first construction takes a different, slightly longer form:
- Tri de cwarone part (ut) = 3/16 (lit. "Three of sixteen parts")
- Un de tri part (ut) = 1/3
For most number roots, compounding indicates multiplication. Ex:
- dusix - twelve (can also be called cwartri, tricwar, sixdu)
- dudec - 20
- triset - 21
The exception is un, which means "1+" when compounded with other numbers. Ex:
- undec - 11
- undusix - 13
When un appears at the beginning of a compound number, it applies to the whole number. When it appears in the middle, it applies to the result of all the multiplications of the numbers after it - the result of that is multiplied with the previous number root. Examples:
- untridec - 31
- triundec - 33
Other additions are expressed using the conjunction ei, meaning "and." Example:
- milone ei dec = a million and ten
The particles de and ut can act as parentheses to disambiguate longer number chains. Ex:
- tri de milone ei dec ut = 3(1,000,000 + 10)
Note that, unlike typical mathematical parentheses, Brefic's de must appear after something, so de milion ei dec ut tri is not allowed (or would attach to some word before the number rather than multiply with the tri.)
- Jupiter grand de omni otr Sol xircwad planet plu. - Jupiter is bigger than all the other planets that circle the Sun.
- Xel werd cron jo saf de celc mal. - When the sky is green, I know something is wrong.
- Jo canna de das mo cop de tri mil dalr pei. - I cannot buy that for three thousand dollars.
- Did cop de jo fo das tart fo dujem deimidpost hor fo ed por. - I bought the pie at 2 P.M. to eat.
- Bon de tu das rapid lex can. - It is good that you can read that fast.
Translation of the first paragraph on this page:
Discron, Brefic es de un per-na lingwa fo primwei un parlleificprob. Un lingwa de nomword fo goword fo cwalword fo weiword fo preponword ut de un mono parlpart grupirmo da nul sort oude (Esperantoleic) parlpartsigor us fa otrwei tro naturleic-na sembl ut fic can wer wid jo wol did. Xans de telwil ta grandir de plen lingwa ir.