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The Buthrotan language has a relatively European-sounding phonology, comprised of six basic vowel sounds and twenty-six different consonant sounds (although some other consonants appear in allophonic positions), and many regular consonants also appear as allophones of others.
As said previously, Buthrotan has six vowels - ones that are often found in typical European languages.
The Buthrotan vowel system is unusual as it contains no basic vowel /a/, instead it contains the open back vowel /ɑ/ (like the pronunciation of English "ah!") and the near-open front vowel /æ/ (like the pronunciation of English "cat"). In word-final position, all non-close vowels /ɛ/, /æ/, /ɑ/ and /ɒ/ become a reduced central schwa sound [ə], so the word "burovo" sounds as if it is written "burova". In contrast, the close vowels /i/, /y/ and /u/ all become their longer counterparts /iː/, /yː/ and /uː/.
Buthrotan does not employ any aspect of vowel harmony or distinguishing vowel length, although vowel length can be allophonic (as mentioned above). In stressed syllables, vowels usually become allophonically lengthened in speech, although this is neither crucial nor phonemic.
Buthrotan has no diphthongs. It historically did have one /oʊ/ (like "oh!" in some dialects of English), but this later merged with /u/ (although it is still orthographically represented by the letter "ou").
Where symbols for consonants appear in pairs, the one to the left represents a voiceless consonant, whereas the one on the right represents a voiced consonant.
|/p/ /b/||-||/t/ /d/||-||/c/||/k/ /g/||-|
|/f/ /v/||/θ/||/s/ /z/||/ʃ/ /ʒ/||/ç/||-||/h/|
The consonant /h/ can become the glide [j] or [w] when found in an intervocalic position. So for example lhuha is pronounced [ɮuwə].
Buthrotan permits several consonant clusters, although many of the ones containing alveolar consonants have been simplified (see the section postalveolar assimilation). The majority of them are voiceless, and as such are easily pronounced by native English speakers. There are however some that are unusual, such as [pt] (represented by "bt"), for example btahs "god" and [ɮt] (represented by "lht"), for example lhtu "cup", whose word-initial locations can be difficult for speakers of English.
The consonant /h/ is dropped in many cases. It becomes the glides [j] and [w] between vowels, or is deleted altogether. For example, slrohoumb becomes pronounced as [ʃɹo.umb] - as if it was spelt šroümb.
Both alveolar and palatal consonants become postalvelar (like the sounds in "cheese", "shop" and "judge") through reaction with other postalveolar consonants and the r sound.
The languages only rhotic consonant /ɾ/ becomes the alveolar approximant [ɹ] (the "r" sound in English) in consonant clusters. In consonant clusters involving alveolar consonants (tr, dr, str, cr, sr, slr, slhr, sfr, svr, sqhr and zr), this sound has the effect of postalveolarising the entire consonant cluster, as seen in the table below.
|dr||[dʒɹ]||xr||dragou ("to dress")|
The palatal plosive /c/ (represented by the letter "q"), and the palatal fricative /ç/ (represented by the letter <qh>) also assimilate into postalveolar consonants if followed by the rhotic [ɹ].
Finally, you seldom ever find /s/, /z/ and /ts/ in the same word as /ʃ/ and /ʒ/, /tʃ/ and /dʒ/. In a word, they either all alveolar or all postalveolar. In most words this is indicated, for example in words such as ševešešum "you're welcome" (from historical ševesesum), however, in some words it is simply a matter of memory, such as sqhrucela "flower" (pronounced [ʃɹutʃɛlə]), where the "c" is pronounced as "č", because of assimilation with the cluster "sqhr" which represents the same sound as "š".
Final Vowel ReductionEdit
All non-close vowels (i.e. a, aa, e and o) become severely reduced to [ə] at the end of a word. This means that the words mura, murah, mure and muro would all be pronounced as [muɾə] - the only way of distinguishing between them would be via orthography.
Final Vowel LengtheningEdit
All close vowels (i, y and u) experience lengthening when placed at the end of a word. So the pronunciation of mny ("what?") is [mnyː]. When a word root ending in -i, -u and -y has a suffix attached to the end of it, the vowel is shortened (as it is no longer in word-final position), for example ntosi [n.tɒsiː] "four" into ntosisqh [n.tɒsiç] "quarter".
Buthrotan Orthography is easier for the reader than the writer, as many letters and letter sequences represent the same sound, whereas very few letter sequences represent more than one sound.
The Buthrotan Alphabet consists of numerous letters. It contains all the basic letters of the Latin alphabet (although "w" is only seen in foreign words), as well as several digraphs and the letters 'č' and 'š' and 'ž'. All of these are treated as letters of their own, and are collated as such in dictionaries.
|W w||/v/ - Only seen in loanwords|
The digraphs gn, lh, ph, qh and th are treated as letters in their own right, and have their own place in collation order, so the word tugnoumb "house" comes before thabtu "stomach". There are other letter combinations (such as ct and cd that represent separate sounds), but these are often incidental pronunciations and are too uncommon to be treated as separate letters on a par with the five main digraphs, so they are instead treated as sequences of two (or more) letters.
The three letters with a caron ('č', 'š' and ž) are treated undisputedly as letters of their own, as they represent consonantal sounds quite different from their corresponding non-caron letters. They have their own place in collation order, and their own section in dictionaries etc. However, Buthrotan also uses a number of other diacritics to aid in pronunciation and etymology of the language's words. These letters with diacritics are not treated as letters in their own right, rather as modifications of their parent letters.
- The Grave Accent is used on the letters a and e to differentiate between words that would otherwise be spelt the same. For example, between ne (inanimate definite article) and nè (not, no). For example, "nè, ne spestror a nè ne quthourspou" ("no, the plates are not on the countertop").
- The Circumflex is used on all the vowel letters to show abbreviation and contraction of words. Buthrotan is a very heavily contracting and abbreviating language even in formal writing, and a circumflex indicates a lost sound or even a lost word ending. For example, the word samphrimoun ("friend") is often shortened to sampî, the word fegunalor "people" is often shortened to fôr etc. See the section on abbreviation and contraction for much more in-depth information.
- Lastly, the Diaeresis is seen on the letter u to show that a cluster 'ou' is pronounced as a sequence of 'o' followed by a 'u', rather than /u/ as the letter ou represents. For example, koüm "horse".
Buthrotan makes grammatical distinction between animate and inanimate nouns. The distinction between animate and inanimate behaves similarly to the distinction between masculine and feminine nouns in many European languages. Animate and inanimate have different declension endings, different articles etc.
Animate nouns include organic things such people and animals, for example slreto "woman" and unka "pig". In addition, movable machinery is included in the animate section, for example sporano "aeroplane". Plants, although living, are not included in the animate section. Inanimate nouns are everything else, inanimate objects such as platu "table", srothum "chair" and thuqha "carpet".
Buthrotan uses the definite, indefinite and negative article, each with a separate form for the animate and inanimate nouns.
|Definite||no||ne|| no slreto "the woman"|
ne srothum "the carpet"
|Indefinite||šo||ve|| šo slreto "a woman", šo slretor "some women"|
ve srothum "a carpet", ve srothumer "some carpets"
|Negative||mpu||feše||mpu slreto "no women". feše srothum "no carpets"|
The negative articles mpu and feše can be also used together with the verb "to be" to indicate the verb "devoid". For example, če ahtru a-mpu fôr "this place is devoid of people".
There are several cases in Buthrotan, the majority of them being locative cases. These are indicated by means of an enclitic attached to the end of the word. There are different endings depending on whether the noun is animate or inanimate.
|Allative||-šuš, -sus||-šišu, -sisu|
Buthrotan employs two grammatical numbers, singular and plural. The singular form is unmarked, but the plural form is indicated by the addition of a suffix. The plural suffix of animate objects is -or, and the plural suffix of inanimate objects is -er.
Personal pronouns are quite simple, each grammatical person taking separate forms for animate and inanimate, and plural and singular.
|Animate Plural||Inanimate Singular||Inanimate Plural|
Personal pronouns follow the same basic declension as regular nouns, following the same animate/inanimate distinction.
There is no specific 1st or 2nd Person Inanimate pronouns, should they be needed for whatever reason, the animate counterparts are used.
Because of the VSO nature of Buthrotan, often two personal pronouns will be placed adjacent to each other. Often, the two pronouns elide into each other. For example, in the sentence "I told you", rather than "spunud e aum", it is common to reduce it to "spunud jâum"', where the word jâum indicates the exact pronunciation of the word, and the use of the symbol "â" indicates that it is the contraction of two words, resulting in the loss of the vowel 'e'. See the section on abbreviation and contraction for much more information on the contraction of personal pronouns.
Buthrotan makes a distinction between "this/these" and "that/those". The word for "this" is 'če', and the word for "that" is 'či'. For example, "če ntoum" "this house", "či ntoum" "that house".
Buthrotan uses similar interrogative pronouns to English:
|qa||what?||qa qel asu? "what is your name?"|
|sru||why?||sru fulud ad čenum? "why did you do this?"|
|bupt||when?||bupt aromahnoüd čeoumb? "when did this happen?"|
|meto||how (method)?||meto fulud ad čenum? "how did you do this?"|
|hogro||how (emotion)?||hogro ad? "how are you?"|
|quthul||how much/many?||quthul fôr o ičoursous? "how many people are in here?"|
|xiban||who?||xiban aičour? "who's there?"|
Note how in almost every case, the verb "is" is omitted altogether when following an interrogative pronoun, as it is often seen as superfluous.
Verbs are fairly simple in Buthrotan, rather than following a suffix-based system as in the nouns, verbs tend to take a much more prepositional method of conjugation.
There are three tenses: the past, present and future. The past tense is indicated by the suffix ud', as in fulud ûmb' "I did". The present tense is unmarked, as in "ful ûmb" "I do", and the future tense is indicated by the suffix inour, as in "fulinour ûmb" "I will do".
Buthrotan is rich in grammatical aspect, and these are formed by prepositions placed before the verb word itself.
al nungud e drenzerum esu
"I have eaten my food"
seni nung e drenzerum esu
"I am eating my food"
mig nungud e drenzerum esu
"I have finished eating my food"
drum nung e dranzerum esu
"I eat my food (as I always do)"
strum nungud e dranzerum esu
"I used to eat my food"
xour nung e drenzerum esu
"I started eating my food"
slor nung e drenzerum esu
"I am still eating my food"
Buthrotan distinguishes between the active and passive voice. This is done by the preposition è (the grave accent is used to distinguish it from the Animate 1st Person Pronoun e), which is placed both before the verb and before the object. So for example, "I was eaten by the monster" is written è nungud (was eaten) e (I) è no goulum (by the monster) (è nungud e è no goulum).
Buthrotan uses the grammatical supine, which is a verbal noun with the use similar to that of "to sleep" in the sentence "I upstairs to sleep". It indicates an intended action, referring to the action as if it were a noun. In Buthrotan, the supine is notified by the addition of the suffix -sylu. So the sentence "I went upstairs to sleep" is written "Thodud e šupagrunda zyršulsylu". This sentence then also has the possible meanings of "I went upstairs for sleep", "I went upstairs with the intention of sleeping there", "I went upstairs because I intended to sleep there" etc.
Adjectives and AdverbsEdit
Attributive adjectives are those which are headed by the noun they modify, so for example the word 'nice' in the sentence "the nice person" is an attributive adjective. They are contrasted with Predicative Adjectives (see below). These are placed after the noun they are modifying, so "the nice person" is written "no fêg sybel" (literally: "the person nice").
Predicative adjectives require a copula to link it to the noun it is modifying, so for example the word is' is needed to link the predicative adjective "nice" to the noun "person" in the sentence "the person is nice". Predicative adjectives are employed in Buthrotan, with the linking copula being 'ajk' for example "n'o fêg ajk sybel" ("the person is nice").
Adjectives can be put together with suffixes in order to demonstrate their intensity and compare them to others. These suffixes are the same for all adjectves. For example, the following uses the word "sybel" meaning "nice" - sybelgud "least nice", sybeltha "less nice", sybelzout "nicer", sybelmyto "nicest".
The preposition "sint" can be placed before an adjective in the right sentences in order to compare it to something else. The sentence čezu ajk sybelzout "this one is nice" is changed to čezu ajk sybelzout sint čizu "this one is nicer than that one".
Abbreviation and ContractionEdit
Buthrotan uses abbreviation and contraction in several ways, often dramatically shortening a sentence. Contraction is employed to such an extent that sometimes entire sentences can be "squashed" into just a single word. Only certain aspects of abbreviation and contraction are acceptable in formal speech and writing.
Use of the CircumflexEdit
The circumflex is used on all vowel letters, resulting in â, ê, î, ô, û and ŷ. The use of the circumflex is to show that a vowel or consonant sound has been lost as a result of contraction or abbreviation. For example, the sequence e o "I am" is contracted to a simple ô, with the circumflex above the letter 'o' showing that the e-sound has been lost as a result of this contraction.
Contraction of Adjacent WordsEdit
The most common type of contraction is that of two words right next to each other. A common example of this is in the verb 'to be', which is explained in the section below. In addition, because two pronouns often occur adjacently to each other (because of the VSO nature of the Buthrotan language), these two pronouns elide into each other, resulting in a new word which represents both the subject and object of the verb.
Pronouns as the object and subject of VerbsEdit
|ad||ad eum||ad sroüm||'ad adum'||ad amboüm||ad agnuum||ad orum|
|agnu||agnêum||agnu sroüm||agnâdum||andoüm||agnu agnuum||agnôrum|
For example, "I love you" is written velhu êdum, with êdum standing for "I~you".
The Verb 'To Be'Edit
The basic form of the verb 'to be' is o. However, due to elision and contraction of common sequences such as e o "I am", the verb 'to be' can be quite difficult to predict.
Using the basic present tense, many pronouns have contracted together with the verb "to be" into new shortened words, which are almost exclusively used as opposed to their non-shortened counterparts, even in formal speech and text.
|Old Sequence||Contracted Form||Meaning|
|e o||ô||"I am"|
|sro o||srô||"We are"|
|ad o||ad o (no change)||"You (sing.) are"|
|mbo o||mbô||"You (plur.) are"|
|agnu o||agnô||"He/she is"|
|oru o||orô||"They are"|
|bta o||btô||"It is"|
The past tense of 'to be' is oüd ("was"), but in the case of the newer contracted forms, the suffix -d is simply added to the end of it. For example, srôd ("we were"), ôd ("I was").
The Copula 'Ajk'Edit
The copula 'ajk' is required when linking a noun to an adjective - for example in 'no fôr ajk sybel' which means 'the man is nice'. However, when placed with common pronouns it contracts into a new word. For example, "e ajk" becomes "êk" "I am".
|Old Sequence||Contracted Form||Meaning|
|e ajk||êk||"I am"|
|sro ajk||srôk||"We are"|
|ad ajk||ahk||"You (sing.) are"|
|mbo ajk||mbôk||"You (plur.) are"|
|agnu ajk||agnôk||"He/she is"|
|oru ajk||orôk||"They (an.) are"|
|bta ajk||btâjk||"It is"|
|btour ajk||btrâjk||"They (in.) are"|
Therefore, you can write srôk slruha "We're tired".
Removing the Middle of the WordEdit
Occasionally, the whole middle of the word is lost, with just the beginning and end 'squashed' together. For example, "fôr" from "fegunalor" "people".
Removing the end of the WordEdit
Like in English, often an entire ending of a word can be lost in colloquial speech (for example "photograph" > "photo"). Unlike in the contraction of adjacent words, this type of contraction is not really acceptable in formal writing.
|Word||Contracted Form||Meaning||Word||Contracted Form||Meaning|
|English||Buthrotan Cardinal||Buthrotan Ordinal|
|eleven||ntum t os||ntum t osq|
|twelve||ntum t dra||ntum t draq|
|thirteen||ntum t slra||ntum t slraq|
|twenty one||drantum t os||drantum t osq|
|fifty nine||qhintum t ymn||qhintum t ymnuq|
The basic word order is Verb Subject Object, so for example instead of saying "I ate the Oranges", you say "ate I the Oranges". The subject takes the Ergative Case and the object takes the Accusative Case. In questions it also stays the same (whereas in many languages the word order changes in questions), instead the question is marked by upwards intonation. For example, "konč e ne nengerum" I ate the oranges" ~ "konč e ne nengerum?" "did I eat the oranges?".
The only time this word order changes is when coupled with the verb "o" meaning "to be". In phrases containing "to be", the verb order switches to Subject Verb Object. For example, "e o ve nengum" '"I am an orange".
Buthrotan takes the Noun Adjective word order, meaning that, as in French but opposite to in English, the nouns are placed before the adjective that is describing them. For example, "ne tugnoumb sybel" "the nice house" is literally "the house nice".
Like in English and most other languages, Buthrotan uses a system of affixes to derive new words from base words. For example, the English prefix un- alters the word happy to unhappy, which has the opposite meaning, identical to the way that Buthrotan uses the prefix deu-, as in deusethou "unhappy".
|deu-||Indicates the opposite of an adjective||
deusybel "not nice"
deumorounc "not stupid"
|urum-||Indicates that something is [noun]-like||
urumducegno "gold like"
|liph-||Indicates an adjective "made from" a noun||
liphducegno - "golden"
liphsulpha - "made from water"
|vusra-||Indicates augmentation and exaggeration of an adjective or noun.||
vusrasybek "very good"
vusrakoqra "over long"
vusraururugužun "very, exceptionally brownish"
Roumaň o ve qhrosuum ajk è ahtruahdi Uropum Kuqumihephulsous šo lujum Centriok, moldu ne Fenesunci Balkaniok, ne Suladanubsous. Bta è ahtruahdi ne Ahkaum Karpitalorioksous šo nè lujsous. Lhanti bta ne Ntybtum Tatalunum. Tasulh bta ntemum olhium ne Deltum Danubbtah. Lhanti Roumaňa Magjarsagum šo Surbium ne krojdsous, Ukrajinum šo ne Republik Moldovabtahum ne molduhephulsous, šo Bulgarium ne kuqumisous.
Voumbud Roumaňaloumb ja ve varoumsuň Moldaviabtah šo Valahiabtah; on kuraj Alexander John Cuza 1859ou. Nentetozotud ne Untoli Otomaniok ne independenciokum Roumaňabtah 1878ou; ja ve Kišakrou Roumaňabtah on ne Monarkia Hohenzollern. Varoumud Transilvania, Bukovina šo Besarabia ne Kišakrounuq Roumaňabtahnuq 1918ou, hobt bupt finidud Garoumb ne Lehtbtbtahoumb Osqoumb. Hobt bupt finidud Garoumb ne Lehtbtbtahoumb Draq, è sturgovoüd sesunor phrudulorbtah USSR'um tol sočenxud Roumaňa ve Republik Sosiolistiok šo ve thorpu Axan Varsava.