Nebadiʒ is a language spoken by a type of lake dragon known as neba, which live in various lakes on the Tunisan Peninsula.
|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
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Classification and DialectsEdit
Stress and Intonation Edit
Primary stress is placed on the first syllable of word roots, with every other syllable receiving a lesser stress.
Example: beba "lake." The stress follows the pattern: BEba.
Add genitive prefix ne-, and the stress remains determined by beba: neBEba.
Stress is shown in nebadiʒ primarily through volume, but pitch-raising and lengthening still apply as they would in a human language.
Nebadiʒ has a class of consonants called squishes, which are unpronounceable to humans. They are made by drawing water into a special pouch beneath the lake dragons' tongues and rapidly squishing it out while speaking. The most comparable sound for humans are the clicks of the Khoisan languages. The second-most comparable would be aspirated versions of voiceless stops.
|Fricative||/ɸ/||/s/ /z/||/ç/ /ʝ/|
|Squish||(no symbol)||(no symbol)||(no symbol)|
Vowels may not touch.
Consonants may precede or follow a vowel, but they (consonants) can only touch at syllable boundaries.
/j/ may not come between two /i/s or start a word with an /i/ immediately following.
Double consonants are permitted.
Nebadiʒ is not a written language in its own universe, but its romanization is here for convenience.
|Sound||/j/||/ɑ/||/d/||/i/||/e/||/n/||voiced palatal squish||voiced alveolar squish||/b/||/l/||voiced labiodental squish||/ʝ/|
Nouns do not inflect. Their role in the sentence is clarified by prepositions and word order.
Genitive constructions Edit
There are two options to show genitivity in Nebadiʒ: with prefix ne- or with the adjective form of one of the nouns.
This is a new innovation in Nebadiʒ that's not found in its parents or cousins, and it's currently the most popular option for genitive constructions. It sometimes carries a notion of definiteness with it. It attaches to the noun that is possessed or otherwise the genitive object and takes the first position of the phrase.
Ex: Bexi's prince (dti/gka) -> nedtigka bexi.
With an Adjective Edit
This is the traditionally-used construction that is found in Nebadiʒ's cousins. The noun that has possession or the genitive head is transformed into an adjective with the appropriate infix (see the following section) and accordingly follows the other noun.
Ex: Bexi's prince -> dtigka bewixxi.
Although this method of constructing a genitive is losing ground to the ne- prefix, it is still an option anywhere that definiteness is not needed. (This is especially true for older speakers.) It's still the default option when a word that ne- would attach to already starts with ne, and it's actually required when there's a need for indefiniteness.
Ex: The neba of the lake (be/ba) is neba bewixba, not *neneba beba.
Also contrast nedtigka dinisa (the prince of Tunisa - probably the successor to the throne) and dtigka diniwixsa (a prince of Tunisa).
Verbs in Nebadiʒ generally belong to one of three main classes. They are separable and can take one of four tenses.
The three main classes are based on voice. They are active verbs, passive verbs, and beneficiary verbs.
Active Verbs Edit
With an active verb, an agent, theme, or experiencer may take the subject position. As a general rule, active verbs start with bpi. Verbs of this class have a valency of one or two.
Ex: bpi/xilebp "to visit a place"
The theoretical underlying form of I (ja) visit Tunisa (dinisa) is *Ja bpixilebp dinisa. (Verb conjugation and separability are discussed later in this section.)
Passive Verbs Edit
With a passive verb, an object may take the subject position. As a general rule, passive verbs start with we. Verbs of this class have a valency of two.
Ex: wa/wa "to marry"
The theoretical underlying form of You (rig) marry the prince is *Wi rig wawa dtigka.
Beneficial Verbs Edit
With a beneficial verb, a beneficiary or patient may take the subject position. As a general rule, beneficial verbs end with de or da. Verbs of this class have a valency of one to three.
Ex: jera/de "to be pleasing or acceptable for (someone)"
The theoretical underlying form of She (rig) likes the prince is *ʒa rig jerade dtigka.
Nebadiʒ uses four tenses: a past tense, which refers to actions or states from the past, at or before the time of narration; a past-future tense, which refers to actions or states from the past, but from after the time of narration; a present tense, which refers to present actions, present states, and habitual actions; and a future tense, which refers to any action or state in the future. The tenses are formed through infixing.
Present: (base form of verb)
Ex: (*Again, separability will be discussed later.)
Bexi liked the prince.
*ʒa bexi jeralilde dtigka.
Bexi would later start to like the prince.
*ʒa bexi jeralagde dtigka.
Bexi likes the prince.
*ʒa bexi jerade dtigka.
Bexi will like the prince.
*ʒa bexi jeragiʒde dtigka.
Modals and Aspects Edit
Nebadiʒ has three inseperable verbs that serve to indicate mood or aspect: one for subjunctive, one for quotative, and one for perfect aspect.
Nebadiʒ's subjunctive is used for hypotheticals, conditionals, and wishes/desires. When these constructions are contrary-to-fact, the inseparable adverb i is used with the first clause.
The subjunctive verb is de/la. When present, this verb takes the tense for the whole sentence. When talking about this action expressed by this verb itself being in the past, past-future, or future, a generic time expression must be added into the sentence.
Contrast the present desire wi dtigka wawa ja dela (I want to marry a prince) with wi dtigka wawa ja delilla i (I wish I had married a prince).
Also contrast the conditional rig jedi neba dela, beba jedi nerig beba (if someone is a neba, then the lake is their lake) with the hypothetical rig jedi neba dela i, beba jedi nerig beba (if someone were a neba, then the lake would be their lake).
Nebadiʒ's quotative is used for indirect quoting of others. It is also used to mark rumors (like "they say"), and a speaker's own thoughts, opinions, and emotions.
The quotative is ve/xa, but it is usually shortened to vex when there's no infix. As with dela, when this verb is present, it takes the tense for the whole sentence.
Ex: Wi rig walilwa dtigka vex. (They say the prince married somebody.)
Quoting a thought or emotion uses a little less of a complete sentence. For example, how nice. is nele vex.
Perfect Aspect Edit
Nebadiʒ uses a separate verb to indicate a perfect aspect of a sentence. This verb is il/ar, and it leaves the tense with the other verb.
Contrast *dtigka bpililxilebp wi beba (the prince visited the lake) with dtigka bpililxilebp wi beba ilar (the prince had visited the lake).
When there is only one verb in a main clause, the verb separates to fill both V positions in the language's SVO-V Final word order. Only the last part of the main morpheme moves back to the final position.
The prince wants to visit the lake is Dtigka bpixilepb wi beba dela - no separation of the main verb, but the prince visits the lake is Dtigka bpi wi beba xilepb - everything after the slash in the citation form of the verb moves to the end of the sentence.
Nebadiʒ's copula is je/di. It takes tense the same way other verbs would do, but it never moves to the final position. It also blocks both its arguments from taking prepositions to mark their role.
Ex: Bexi jedi neba. (Bexi is a neba.)
There is no difference between an adjective and an adverb in Nebadiʒ.
The comparative form is made by adding prefix ag-. The word for better/preferable, eg, derives from this affix and cannot take any infixes. Otherwise, eg functions as a regular adjective. It also functions as a noun meaning preference.
The superlative form is made by adding prefix xiʒ-. Xiʒ also stands alone as a noun to mean best/favorite. Like eg, it cannot take infixes but otherwise functions as a regular adjective. It also functions as a noun.
Nebadiʒ relies heavily on infixes; so nouns, verbs, and adjectives usually have a set place to insert an infix into. These are marked in the lexicon with a slash. However, there are a few words from these groups that do not take infixes at all.
Ex: ne/le (adjective) - good.
Add in an emphatic infix like -na-, and you separate the ne and the le: nenale.
Adverbs go at the end of the sentence - past the last of the verb phrase.
Noun, then adjective, then quantifier.
Clause markers go at the very front of the sentence.
The phrase jeri jedi (the probability is....) is always abbreviated to jeri.