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The Latin transliteration of Mishtoch uses an alphabet of 18 letters: Aa [ɑ, a], Chch [x], Dd [d], Ee [e, ɛ], Hh[h], Ii [i, ɪ], Kk [k], Mm [m], Nn [n], Oo [ɔ, o], Pp [p], Rr [r], Ss [s], Shsh [ʃ], Tt [t], Uu [u, ʊ], Vv [v], Yy [j]. All letters are generally pronounced the same way regardless of their placement. The letter "i" tends to form diphthongs [aɪ], [eɪ], [oɪ] and [uɪ] when it follows another vowel; other vowels are pronounced separately from each other.
Mishtoch syllables have one of the following structures: CV or CVF. Here C stands for a consonant and V for vowel. F inidcates a final consonant.
Mishtoch consonants are divided into three groups. Ch and Sh can only appear as final letters in a syllable. R and S can occupy both final and initial positions, while K, H, D, P, T, V and Y can only occur as initial consonants.
1. Mishtoch verbs, adjectives and adverbs agree with the main word in the following ways
<agreement consonant> - <grammatical form indicator> - <root>
Here the <agreement consonant> is the first root consonant of the word this grammatical form describes. Verbs agree with subjects, and adjectives and adverbs agree with the words they describe.
The grammatical form indicator is "a" for adjectives, and "i" for adverbs. Present-tense verbs also use "a" as the form indicator. Perfective verbs use "u", and the near-future verbs use "e". Conditional verbs are indicated by using "ia" and subjunctive uses "io".
2. Mishtoch verbs also agree with their objects:
<verb root> - <agreement consonant> - <grammatical form indicator>
The agreement consonant here is, again, the first root consonant of the object. The grammatical form indicator for objects is "a". Transitive verbs for which the object is not indicated, and reflexive verbs can drop the agreement consonant, leaving only the "a" ending.
3. Modal verbs agree with the verbs they control. The concept of modality in Mishtoch goes beyond that in English. Mishtoch also has two modalities, the causative and reverse modality.
The first type of modality indicates the main word causing or influencing the controlled action. In English, it is usually translated using "to", like in phrases: "I want to eat" or "I need to go"', but also covering cases like "I told you to stay" or "I put this book (to be) on the shelf".
On the contrary, the reverse modality indicates the controlled verb influencing or prompting the main action. It is usually translated using the words "from", "because" or "if". For example, phrases "I take the book from (being) on the shelf", "I am tired of running", "I am full (from eating)", "I can't go because I am sick" and so forth, will all be translated into Mishtoch using reversely-modal verbs.
Modal verbs agreement follows the following scheme:
<modal verb root> - <agreement consonant> - <grammatical form indicator>
The agreement consonant if the first root consonant of the controlled verb. The grammatical form indicator is "e" for causative modality and "u" for reverse modality.
4. Finally, the nouns or verbs that have a Genitive form attached to them agree with the attached genitive, using the same pattern:
<root> - <agreement consonant> - <grammatical form indicator>
Here the agreement consonant is the first consonant of the genitive. The grammatical form indicator in this case is "o".
Here are some examples:
Ma mami (also Ma 'mi) - I go (ma - I; mi - go)
Mechmanach madach - A boy plays (mechmanach - boy; dach - play)
Tedodach taku tanach - This toy is new (tedodach - toy; ku - this; nach - new)
Sesapach saku sanas niro - This tree is very old (sesapach - tree; ku - tis; nas - old; ro - strongly, very)
Mes matisesu-ma Mishtoch (also Mes matisesum-Mishtoch) - She learns Mishtoch (mes - she; tisesu - learn)
Mechmanach maku mari-me ma - This boy is hungry (mechmanach - boy; ku - this; ri - want; ma - eat). Note that the Mishtoch word rimema means "hungry", so this phrase could be written as Mechmanach maku marimema.
"Tochtamiro" literally means "fast speech". This is a Mishtoch term for making two contractions:
- dropping a syllable in the beginning of a word if, because of the agreement rules, it repeats the last syllable of the previous word or the next syllable of the same word (in writing the dropped syllable is replaced by an apostrophe); and
- dropping the final -a in transitive verbs, if the object follows them directly, thus leaving only the doubled consinant.
For example, instead of saying Ma mami "I go", one usually says Ma 'mi. Instead of saying Ma mayu-ha ha "I have a house", one says Ma 'yuh-ha, and so forth.
Tochtamiro is always used in speech and nowadays most books are printed with it as well. However, you can still find books using the old, full orthography.
As a general rule, Mishtoch is a head-first, SVO language. However, the agreement scheme allows for a great variability of the word order in a sentence.
The variable order of words in a Mishtoch sentence can be used to emphasize different parts of it. E.g.: Moch-to ta motusm-ma tivur-rarsose! "Your brother hit me with a stick!" can be changed to Motusm-ma tivur-rarsose moch-to ta "I was beaten with a stick by your brother", or Tivur-rarsose moch-to ta motusm-ma "Your brother used a stick to hit me", and so forth.
To turn a sentence into an interrogative one, you only need to change the intonation, e.g. Ma 'yummomavo "I am happy" -- Ta 'yummomavo? "Are you happy?"
Indirect objects can be put in Genitive:
Ma 'toch-vo vachrora vaku -- I am talking (of) this book (ma - I; toch - to talk; vachrora - book; ku - this)
More often however an indirect object is introduced with a preposition, followed be Genitive. Mishtoch prepositions are verb-like and are attached to the main verb using the modality mecahnism.
Mech mani-dev-vachrora vaku de-ro ravavos - He put this book on the shelf (mech - he; ni - put; vachrora - book; de - on; ravavos - shelf). Note that the word ravavos "shelf" is added as genitive to de "to be on". De is an intransitive verb and therefore it can only have an indirect object.
Mech mahu-duv-vachrora vaku de-ro ravavos - He took this book from the shelf (mech - he; hu - take; vachrora - book; de - on; ravavos - shelf). Note that the directon "from" is indicated by using the reverse modality (the book had to be on the shelf for taking).
You can also compare the above examples with
Ma 'sa-da vachrora vade-ro ravavos - I know that the book is on the shelf (sa - to know)