| Name: Létë
Head Direction: Mixture
Number of genders: None
Létë is a language spoken a humanoid alien race, the Valatan, in another galaxy. They are beyond what any human could dream of - tall, slender, beautiful eyes and flowing hair. In fact they love nature and delight in all its beauty, and this is reflected in their language. When they first became civilised, they were experimenting with all sorts of sound they could make, taking delight from being able to speak and sing. As their civilisation evolved, so too did their language, moulding around their specific aesthetic taste. Thus producing Létë ("Flowing". Note that this is a very approximate meaning and will be discussed more in the dictionary). This had evolved from Old Létë, which evolved from Ldetē. This ancient language was among five daughter languages - Deyhâ, Ledrê, Ldetē, Dlêdê, and Upavî - that evolved from the most primitive and ancient language, Detegh.
|Stop||p b||t d||k g|
|Flap or tap|
Most phonemes are written the same as their IPA symbols. Those that are not are in the table below. Double consonants are geminated consonants. Acute accent on a vowel indicates a long vowel. Umlaut on e does not mean a sound change, rather it is there to emphasise that it is to be pronounced on its own. However if this e were to be capitalised (say, for a proper name), and if it is adjacent to another vowel, then the umlaut moves to that vowel.
r is a flap/tap when singular, and a trill when geminated.
n is alveolar everywhere except before c/g, where it is velar.
b and g can never be by themselves, they must be paired with m and n respectively.
d can either be in a consonant cluster, or by itself. However, if by itself, it must be between two vowels which are the same, and must be followed by n, l, or r after the second vowel. It can be preceded by a maximum of one consonant. E.g. adar, nedel.
hl, hr, and hw only appear at the start of words, and hy can only appear at the start of a syllable.
There are intial clusters and medial clusters, but no final clusters. The only consonants that can end a word are l, n, r, s, t.
There are very few permissible initial clusters. They are: ly, nw, ny, ry, ty.
Medial clusters are restricted to the following: ht, lc, ld, ll, lm, lp, lqu, lt, lty, lv, lw, ly, mb, mm, mn, mp, nc, nd, ng, ngw, nn, nqu, nt, nty, nw, ny, ps, qu, rc, rd, rm, rn, rqu, rr, rt, rty, rw, ry, ss, st, ts, tt, ty, x.
Note that geminated consonants count as consonant clusters, and only l, m, n, r, s, and t can be geminated. Ht is pronounced fully; that is, there is a full 'breathy' h before the t.
W, y, and vowelsEdit
W cannot be preceded or followed by o or u. Y cannot be preceded or followed by i.
There can only be a maximum sequence of two vowels in length. Diphthongs count as two vowels, as do long vowels. The vowel sequences ae, ao, ei, ue, ou do not appear in Létë. Thus, apart from long vowels and diphthongs, the only permissible two vowel sequences left are: ia, ië, io, ëa, ëo, ua, uo, oa, oë. Note that these vowels are pronounced separately (i.e. they are two syllables).
Long vowels may not appear before consonant clusters, except for ly, ny, ry, ty. Long vowels may not end word, nor be part of the final syllable.
The diphthongs are: ai, ui, oi, au, iu, eu.
Diphthongs may not appear before consonant clusters. A diphthong may not end a word but can be part of the final syllable if followed by a consonant.
Stress is determined by how many syllables are in a word, and whether those syllables are short or long.
A syllable is short if it is a short vowel. The short vowel can be followed by one consonant as long it is not part of a consonant cluster.
A syllable is long if it is: a long vowel, a diphthong, or a short vowel followed by a consonant cluster.
A disyllabic word is always stressed on the first syllable.
A polysyllabic word is stressed on the penultimate syllable if it is long, or on the antepenultimate syllable if the penultimate syllable is short.
Examples (stressed syllable in bold):
Nenálë "Shimmering Halls (the capital city)" = Ne-ná-lë
airëa "the horizon" = ai-rë-a
valatë "starry" = va-la-të
Nouns do not have gender. Nouns have four numbers and eight cases.
Létë has four numbers numbers: single, plural, world plural and dual. Single is used for a single thing. Plural is used for two or more things, as a general plural. Plural can be translated in a variety of ways. In some contexts it can be translates as some, or a few. It can also refer to a particular group. World plural differs from plural in that it refers to the entirety of something (e.g. all the trees in a forest). Dual is used for a natural pair. When talking about two things, dual is more often used than plural, especially when taking about two specific things, even if they are not a "natural pair".
Nouns in singular form are unchanged.
Nouns in plural form take the ending -ië if they end in a consonant, and -n if they end in a vowel.
Nouns in world plural form take the ending -asta if they end in a consonant, and -sta or -s if they end in a vowel. -sta is more formal than -s. When combined with cases, this can be shortened to -s.
Nouns in dual form take -uli if they end in single vowels or consonants, and -tuli if they end on multiple vowels. If they also have a case, then this can be shortened to -u- if they end in -a/o/u or lengthened to -ulí- depending on the case
When saying specific numbers, use plural followed by the number. For example, "three halls" would be álen vë.
There are nine cases: nominative, genetive, dative, locative, ablative, allative, essive, instrumental, and comitative. In earlier forms of the language there was an accusative case. However, it disappeared (or merged).
This is used to denote the subject and, due to phonological changes, the object too (and thus it is essentially the accusative case too). Because nouns are identical in both nominative and accusative case, word order is important. Subjects precede the verb and objects follow it, following a SVO pattern.
Example: sg. quanta "eye"; pl. quantan "eyes"; w. pl. quantas(ta) "all eyes/every eye"; dual quantauli "a pair of eyes".
This is used to show possession, or what something contains. It is often translated as "of, made of". With possession, the possessor always takes the genitive case, and follows what it possesses. So for "the bear's claws" would be "claws of bear (claw-PL bear-GEN)". Genetive ending is -no.
Example: sg. valano "of a star"; pl. valanon "of the stars"; w. pl. valanos(ta) "of all the stars"; dual. valuno "of a pair of stars".
This is used to show the indirect object, or beneficiary. It is often translated as "to, for", as in "he sent it for me", or "he gave me it (or he gave it to me)". It is also used in the Dative of Possession construction. This is where the noun in dative is followed by the copula so it appears as "to noun is noun". This construction is used as the language lacks the verb "to have", and will be covered in more detail in Verbs. Dative ending is -nna.
Example: sg. hastoronna "to/for a wanderer"; pl. hastoronnan "to/for wanderers"; w. pl. hastoronnas "to/for all/every wanderer"; dual hastorunna "to/for a pair of wanderers".
This is used to show something's location. It has inherent physical implications, meaning it is used to describe something's physical location. It is often translated as "at, in, on". Because it is not a precise physical relation, it can be followed by postpositions which can further refine one objects spatial relation to another. It should be noted that it is not often used with the meaning "on", as allative case covers this. Locative ending is -llo.
Example: sg. airëallo "at the horizon"; pl. airëallon "at horizons"; w. pl. airëallos "at every horizon"; dual airëatulillo "at a pair of horizons".
This is used to show motion away from something. It is often translated as "off (of), (away) from". It can be used with a copula in this construction: "noun-a copula noun-b-ABL". This is short and compact way to say "noun-a is further (away) from noun-b than noun-c", with noun-b and noun-c often "me" and "you" respectively. Noun-c is often obvious by context, but when it needs to be clarified, decline in the dative case. So, for "the tree is further away from me than you" would be "tree is me-ABL (you-DAT)". Ablative ending is -llë.
Example: sg. valallë "off/from a star"; pl. valallen "off/from stars"; w. pl. valalles "off/from all stars"; dual valullë "off/from a pair of stars".
This is used to show motion towards something. It is often translated as "to" (short for towards; not to be mixed up with dative "to"), but it can also imply "on/upon" insofar as an object that rests "upon" something is pressing "towards" it, as in "I lay upon my bed". It can also be used similarly to the above ablative construction, using "nearer" instead of "further". So, for "the tree is nearer to me than to you" would be "tree is me-ALL (you-DAT)". Allative ending is -ssë.
Example: sg. álessë "to/upon a hall"; pl. álessen "to/upon halls"; w. pl. álesses "to/upon all the halls"; dual áleulissë "to/upon a pair of halls".
This is used to refer to a state of being, whether it be temporary or permanent. Essive ending is -ma.
Example: sg. laporoma "as/when (I) was a child"; pl. laporoman "as/when (we) were children"; w. pl. laporomas "as/when (we) were all children"; dual laporuma "as/when (we two) were a pair of children".
This is used to show the tool used, the cause of something, or the means by which something is achieved, among other meanings. As such, it can be translated in many ways: "by, with, because of, due to, through (not as in "I walked through the park" but as in "i did it through the help of my peers") and so on. Even with so many meanings, the meaning intended is usually easily understood. Instrumental ending is -va.
Example: sg. húrova "with a hammer"; pl. húrovan "with leaves"; w. pl. húrovas "with all the hammers"; dual húruva "with a pair of hammers".
This used to show companionship, or association. It is often translated as "(together) with, in the company of". This is not to be confused with the Instrumental "with", which is used in sentences like "I hit it with a hammer". The Comitative case can also denote "next to, beside", when context allows. Comitative is different to the other cases. It prefixes as e(r)- when the noun is in single. It suffixes as -rin on plural, -(a)star on world plural, and -(t)ur on dual.
Example: sg. emálo "(together) with a shepherd"; pl. málorin "(together) with (some) shepherds"; w. pl. málostar "(together) with all the shepherds"; dual málotur "(together) with a pair of shepherds".
Pronouns are usually suffixed onto the end of verbs, rather than used by themselves. There are separate pronouns based on person, clusivity, number, gender, animacy, and formality. Below is a table of personal endings, with pronouns by themselves in brackets.
|1st person||-lyë/-l (lí) "I/me"||
-lwë (ló) "we/us (incl.)"
-lvë (lós) "we/us (excl.)"
-lcë (lú) "we/us two (incl.)"
-lquë (lús) "we/us two (excl.)"
-nyë/-n (ní) (informal) "you"
-nnë (nín) (polite) "you"
|-nwë (nó) "you all"||-ngwë (nú) "you two"|
-ryë/-r (ré) "he/she/it (animate)
-ssa/-s (sá) "it (inanimate)
|-stë/-t (té) "they/them"||-mmë (mú) "them two"|
The shorter endings -l, -n, -r, -s, -t, can be used if there is only a subject personal ending (informal), or as a n object personal ending. When the first time a person is referred to in a sentence, the full ending is usually used, and then the shorter ending is more commonly used subsequently.
i + personal endings is to emphasis the person: ilyë "even I/me"
To make relfexive personal endings, prefix qua-: quanyë "yourself"
Possessive personal endingsEdit
To make the personal endings possessive, change the -ë to o and -wë to -uo. For example: -lyo "my", -luo "our".
These can be added onto the end of nouns. Example: vastanyo "your creation".
Verbs in Létë often have many subtle undertones and/or connotations, and so a deeper understanding is needed for every verb, beyond its formal definition. They are the most complex parts of the language. Often exact translations of the conjugations aren’t possible (or are rather difficult) due to the way the Valatan think, and their perspective on language and the universe, and how they interact.
Létë verbs have tense, aspects, and moods, though they often have a different way of describing them, some of which are slightly different to the human conception of tense/aspect/mood. They have ‘The Five Ways’, described in terms of their Flow, a Descriptive Condition, which acts on three Ways, and numerous Operators (three of which are Flow operators, the rest are Context operators).
Verbs can take personal endings, which are suffixes.
There are four classes of verbs: primitive, ya-verbs, o-verbs, and ta-verbs.
The example verbs will be: lap "to grow"; merya "to illuminate"; oto "to like"; and norta "to ruin".
The Five WaysEdit
Flow is related to the directedness and temporal properties of the Way. Flow is difficult to describe in non-native languages (i.e. not Létë), and so the descriptions below will not be adequate. However, English descriptions that capture the gist of each Flow are also below.
The First WayEdit
This Way has directed high Flow. That is because of its continuous/ongoing nature and that it is not bound to one temporal point (i.e. it is continuously changing its temporal ‘location’).
This is used to indicate an ongoing/continuing action, one of duration, and that the action will continue into the foreseeable future. This does not necessarily imply a changing action, merely one that continues.
It is closest to the Present Progressive.
For primitive verbs, lengthen the stem vowel and suffix -ëa: lápëa "is growing"
For ya-verbs,drop -ya and suffix -ië: merië "is illuminating"
For o-verbs, lengthen stem vowel and suffix -u (replacing -o): ótu "is liking"
For ta-verbs, repeat stem vowel between the cluster and suffix -në: norontë "is ruining"
The Second Way
This Way has a non-directional, uniform, and low Flow. This is because it refers to states and processes as wholes, rather than as continuous actions/states.
This indicates general existence, states, as well as laws, customs, and so on.
It is closest to the Gnomic aspect.
For primitive verbs, suffix stem vowel + -r: lapar "grows"
For ya-verbs, suffix -r: meryar "illuminates"
For o-verbs, suffix -r: otor "likes"
For ta-verbs, suffix -r: nortar "ruins"
The suffix is -ro when adding personal endings.
The Third Way
This Way has an interesting Flow. It has a continuous flow from a fixed temporal point, but which can be terminated during the present.
This indicates a past action that still continues, or that has finished without consequences.
It is closest to past progressive or present perfect, depending on its usage.
For primitive verbs, lengthen stem vowel and suffix -a: lápa "was growing/has grown"
For ya-verbs, drop -ya and suffix -na: merna "was illuminating/has illuminated"
For o-verbs, lengthen stem and suffix -a: ótoa "was liking/has liked"
For ta-verbs, repeat stem vowel between the cluster and suffix -na: noronta "was ruining/has ruined"
The Fourth Way
This Way has a low flow. It is fixed by two temporal points and has no more flexibility to move. However, it can ‘overflow’ and affect other flows.
This indicates a past action has finished but still has consequences.
It is closest to present perfect or past perfect (and a sort of proxy passive).
For primitive verbs, repeat the stem vowel before the verb, lengthen the stem vowel, and suffix -ë: alápë "has/had grown (is grown)
For ya-verbs, suffix -në: meryanë "has/had illuminated (is illuminated)"
For o-verbs, lengthen stem vowel and suffix -unë (replacing -o): ótunë "has/had liked (is liked)"
For ta-verbs, repeat stem vowel before verb and between the cluster, and suffix -në: onorontë "has/had ruined (is ruined)"
The Fifth Way
This way has an unknown, or perhaps chaotic, Flow. This is due to the many potentialities that could be realised.
This indicates both near and distant future.
It is closest to future tense.
For primitve verbs, suffix -ulë: lapulë "will grow"
For ya-verbs, drop -ya and suffix -yulë: meryulë "will illuminate"
For o-verbs, suffix -ulë (replacing -o): otulë "will like"
For ta-verbs, repeat stem vowel between cluster, and suffix -nulë: norontulë "will ruin"
The Descriptive ConditionEdit
This acts on verbs to change them to descriptors. Thus, they can act as adjectives, adverbs, and relative clauses (which act as adjectives/adverbs anyway). They act on the First, Third, and Fifth Ways, and are essentially participles (i.e. Present, Past, and Future participles).
For primitve verbs, lengthen stem and suffix -ala: lápala "growing"
For ya-verbs, suffix -la: meryala "illuminating"
For o-verbs, drop -o and suffix -ala: otala "liking"
For ta-verbs, repeat stem vowel between the cluster and suffix -nala: norontala "ruining"
For primitive verbs, lengthen stem and suffix -ana: lápana "(having) grown"
For ya-verbs, suffix -na: meryana "(having) grown"
For o-verbs, drop -o and suffix -ana: otana "(having) liked"
For ta-verbs, repeat stem vowel between the cluster and suffix -nana: norontana "(having) ruined"
For primitive verbs, suffix -ura: lapura "that will grow"
For ya-verbs, drop -ya and suffix -yura: meryura "that will illuminate"
For o-verbs, drop -o and suffix -ura: otura "that will like"
For ta-verbs, repeat stem vowel between cluster and suffix -nura: norontura "that will ruin"
The Flow OperatorsEdit
There are three Flow operators. They are essentially aspects.
This means a change in general, usually indicating the beginning of an action or new state. There is no explicit information as to whether this change is gradual or sudden. However, operating on the Second Way, it indicates sudden change.
Suffix -(n)tuva after the Flow. n is optional, although it is usually used.
Examples: lápëantuva "starting to grow" (previously wasn't growing); otulentuvaryen "he will come to like you" (currently he doesn't)
This indicates that the action or state has stopped, but not necessarily completed. To indicate completion, this needs to operate on the Fifth Way.
Suffix -(n)tiri after the Flow. n is optional, although it is usually used.
Examples: alápentirilyë "I have stopped/finished growing (and will grow no more)"
This has numerous meanings dependent upon which Way to operates on. With the First Way, an action is done repeatedly/habitually. With the Second Way, an action is done repeatedly/habitually. The difference in meaning between the First and Second Ways is that the Second Way is usually used for laws/customs/social norms, whereas the First is a little more free. With the Third Way, it describes something which happened repeatedly/habitually but which no longer occurs. With the Fourth Way, it describes something which has happened at least once before, but is not currently happening (although it may still be relevant to the present). With the Fifth way, an action is going to be done repeatedly/habitually.
Use the á preposition before the verb
Examples for each Way below.
First Way: á hastëalyë "I wander (every day/repeatedly)"
Second Way: á lapar "(it) grows (ever day/habitually)"
Third Way: á nainaryë "she used to weep (every day/habitually)"
Fourth Way: lá á utúlelyë valassen "I haven't been/gone to the stars before"
Fifth Way: á fasantulenyë "you will ride (every day/habitually)"
The Context OperatorsEdit
There are numerous context operators. They are essentially moods.
All context operators, except for imperative, suffix after the Flow and any Flow operators.
This expresses a hypothetical state of affairs or event that is either contingent on another set of circumstances, or is known not to be true but could have been. It can also indicate logical conclusions.
Suffix -qua in the conditional/hypothetical clause (the 'if' clause). For logical conclusions, use the suffix in both clauses.
Examples: ótuquanyer... "If you like him..."; hárëaquanyë rerulequanyë "If you fight, then you will be/become hurt/injured"
This expresses something’s capability or ability to do something.
Examples: lá túlëamanalyë enyë "I cannot go with you"
This expresses doubt or low probability. This is subjective. Interestingly, doubt has no negative connotations; it is merely one’s subjective evaluation of an action having low probability. Objective low probability must be explicitly stated.
Examples: lutulemenelyer "I doubt he will come"
This expresses an unknown probability. This is subjective. Objective unknown probability must be explicitly stated.
Examples: fasantulemenilyë nahar "I might ride a horse (in the future)"
This expresses high probability or expectancy. This is generally objective. Subjectivity is usually expressed via something like “I think…”
Examples: ondamë lapulemenalcë "We two should grow tall (that is what is expected)"
This expresses a command. When used with the First Way it implies that the command be done now, while with the Fifth Way it implies that the command be done soon.
Examples: ná túlëa "Go! (now)"; ná harulë "Fight! (soon)"
This expresses a desire. This implies that whatever one is desiring will have a direct effect on them. Thus it is inherently more personal, and focuses on the ‘now’.
Examples: ótuvalyenyer "I want you to like him"; túlëavamalyë "I want to go"
This expresses a wish. As opposed to desiderative, this is more of a goodwill expression, it is not as personal (it is more general), and focuses on future events.
Examples: lutulenulyer "I hope that she will come"
This expresses a necessity. It covers necessity, requirements, and obligations. When used in the sense of being compelled or forced however, the causative verb is used with a reflexive pronoun.
Examples: anarémëasirenyë "You must stay silent"; lá lútëaquavastë lá lútëasirestë "They don't have to come if they do not want to"
This expresses allowance or permission.
Examples: lá télëafalaryë "he is not allowed to speak"
This expresses a proposition or suggestion.
Examples: túlëantenelwë "Let's go/perhaps we should go"; utúlentenenunnë valassen elyë "I had hoped that you might come to the stars with me"
This expresses encouragement or urging. It is stronger than Propositive.
Examples: lútëacarastë elwë "They had better come with us"
This expressive avid encouragement or strong urging. It is stronger than Adhortative.
Suffix -ca on imperative particle.
Examples: náca túlëanyë "You should really go"
*Note that these need not be direct. For example, "they should really go", you are urging "they" to go but you are not directly talking to them (rather to someone else).
Verb Classes Edit
As said above there are four major verb classes: primitive verbs, ya-verbs, o-verbs, and ta-verbs. Brief summaries of each class are below.
Primitive verbs Edit
These are the most common type of verbs and they come from Primitive Létë (hence the name). The have the general structure CVC although anything can come before the first C, and the first C is sometimes lost altogether, but the last VC must always be there. Some primitive verbs have stem forms, which only appear when the verb is conjugated. For example, has "to wander" has the stem form hast- so conjugating the First Way would result in hastëa "is wandering" (remembering that long vowels cannot appear before consonant clusters).
These verbs tend to be derived from primitive verbs, by adding -ya to the primitive verb. It connotes "to make, to force, to become". For example, mal "to eat" becomes malya "to make eat/ to force-feed". These ya-verbs can also be in base form are also adjectives with an associated meaning. For example, malya as an adjective means "full".
These are the rarest verbs. They tend to be stative verbs.
These verbs often have a noun or adjective counterpart, or both, that is the same word. For example, vasta "to create" is also an adjective "creative" (although this doesn't usually mean "original" but rather "productive"). It is also a noun "creation".
Special verbs Edit
This is a filler verb or verb place-holder; to save time, if a verb can be understood from context, this verb place-holder, yé can be used instead. It does not conjugate for the Five Ways, but it does for the Flow and context operators (aspects and moods). For example, yémenelyes "I doubt it" can be short for many sentences, such as "I doubt that that is true".
Lor and the copula Edit
Lor means "to exist, to thrive" and regularly conjugates as a primitive verb. It also has irregular conjugations: present - lëa; past - loa; perfect - olëa; and future - luo.
To convey "there is", use lor and its regular conjugations, but put it at the end of the sentence. For example, vala lórëa "there is a star".
The irregular conjugations are for when it is used as a copula. The copula is used to connect two nouns, or a noun and an adjective, or represent some sort of property, relation, or position. Often in short sentences, the copula can be omitted altogether. For example, Vanar lëa airëa "the Sun is golden" can be shortened to Vanar airëa.
To have Edit
There is no verb in Létë corresponding to "to have". Instead, one can use the copula + possessor in dative + possessed. For example, lëa linna nahar "I have a horse".