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The Taddjok Language (known internally as "tjennítaddjok" or simply "tjenní" meaning 'language') is a language isolate. Although it is not particularly easy to place it into an existing language family, it bares some grammatical similarities with Uralic languages such as Finnish and Estonian, as well as Turkic languages like Turkish and Kazakh. It is a Verb-Subject-Object language, meaning that rather than using the English Subject-Verb-Object word order "Sam ate apples", Taddjok uses sentences equating to "ate Sam apples". It has quite a complicated noun declension, declining nouns for case, article, number, demonstrative determiners and possession. This noun declension also in some cases spills over onto adjectives , so adjectives are also found to decline with the same or similar case endings and number endings. In contrast, the language's verbs are comparatively easy, it has three simple tenses: the past, present and future, no grammatical aspect and only a handful of verb modifying markers.
Taddjok has a system of long and short vowels. However, the short form of the vowel is often found to be in a different place of articulation to it's long counterpart. These can often be very different to their corresponding long/short vowel - the most divergent of these being the long form of the short vowel [ɨ], which is often realised as the diphthong [ɨə̯ː] (pronounced like the vowel sound in non-rhotic pronunciations of "leer" or "beer").
|Close||/i/ /iː/||/ɨ/||/u/ /uː/|
|Open-Mid||/ɛ/ /œ/||/ɔ/ /ɔː/|
Taddjok has a handful of diphthongs, most of which are falling (i.e. starting with a back vowel and finishing with a front one). One vowel diphthong /ɨə̯ː/ is not normally regarded by speakers as a diphthong, instead it is regarded as the long counterpart of the close central unrounded vowel /ɨ/ (it is represented by the letter ‹ý›, whereas /ɨ/ is represented by the letter ‹y› to highlight this effect.
|Plosive||/p/ /b/||/t/ /d/||/c/ /ɟ/||/k/ /g/|
|Fricative||/f/ /v/||/s/ /z/||/ʃ/ /ʒ/||/ɕ/ /ʑ/||/ç/ /ʝ/||/h/|
The Taddjok alphabet has forty-two letters, including a combination of basic Latin letters, diacritics and digraphs. Digraphs in Taddjok are treated as separate letters, as are the letters used with diacritics. Some letters, namely c, j, q and x represent in Taddjok sounds that are quite different from the sounds that they represent in English and most other European languages.
Occasionally, a letter may be doubled. This is found for many reasons, although it does not effect pronunciation:
- Grammatical Function - Noun cases, articles and number markers that consist of just a single consonant often have the consonant letter doubled, so it is easy to determine the grammatical function in written language. For example, the definate article suffix is -ll, so that a reader can easily determine that the ending is representing the definite article, and not just the ending of the word root.
- Historical Gemination - Historically, most consonants in Taddjok could be geminated (lengthened). However, during the transition into the Taddjok version seen on this page, the phonemic consonant lengthening was lost.
- Compound Words - If, for example, a word is made from a compound of one word ending with -k placed before a word beginning with k-, both of the letters are kept. For example qiennek "school" + kéressè "clothing" = qiennekkéressè "school uniform".
Nouns and Noun PhraseEdit
Taddjok is quite agglutinative when it comes to noun declensions. They have a system of suffixes which help to modify the noun's case, number, article, determiners, possession and much more.
There are two grammatical numbers in Taddjok, the singular and the plural. The plural marker is -nn (the double 'nn' does not represent a geminated /n/, rather the double letter is used so the plural of nouns are not confused orthographically with a number of other nouns that end in the consonant /n/.
In words that end in a long vowel, the vowel is shortened before the -nn is added. For example, the plural of qhuşú "child" is qhuşunn "children", and the plural of uó "ring" is uonn "rings". If a word ends in a consonant, the vowel nearest the end of the word is duplicated and followed by the -nn suffix. For example şöqh "heart" is pluralised as şöqhönn.
Articles are added also to the end of a word. The definite article ending is -loi and the indefinite article ending is -ll (coupled with the duplification of the vowel nearest the ending of the word, as what happens in the pluralisation of nouns. So the word feşèn "man" becomes feşèneloi "the man" and feşènell "a man".
There is also a zero article, which shows the absense of something. The zero article is nédè, so feşènédè "no men".
There is a simple system of possessive suffixes that are added to Taddjok nouns to indicate ownership. For this reason, the genitive case is seldom ever used in conjunction with personal pronouns. The noun xoma "house" becomes xomassei "my house", xomabbei "our house", xomarrei "your house", xomattjei "your house" (referring to more than one person), xomaddjei "his/her/its house", xomagghei "their house". These suffixes are the same or similar for almost every noun.
Taddjok differentiates between "this" and "that", using suffixes in the same way as it uses suffixes for articles. The suffix for "this" is -(e)çeist, and "that" is -(e)çöst. For example xomaçeist "this house" and xomaçöst "that house".
There is a small number of noun cases used in Taddjok, which limit the number of prepositions used in the language, although there are a handful still present.
The Ergative case marks the object of a transitive verb and the single core argument of an intransitive verb. It is unmarked, and goes hand in hand with the Absolutive case which marks the subject of a transitive verb. Whilst the Ergative Case is unmarked, the Absolutive case is marked by the ending -st. For example in the sentence "Sam ate the apples", 'Sam' takes the absolutive case and 'the apples' takes the unmarked ergative case, coupled with the VSO word order this results in: górost Samast qíopononnoloi.
The Dative case marks an indirect object of a verb. The suffix used is -ádda, so for example in the sentence "Sam read the book to Mary", "Sam" takes the absolutive case, "the book" takes the ergative case, and "Mary" takes the dative case. konjast Samst dossaloi Máríádda.
The Genitive case marks possession. The suffix used is -oqhum. For example in the sentence "Sam read Lucy's book to Mary", Lucy takes the genitive case because it is her that possesses "the book", resulting in dossaloi Lúsíoqhum which means approximately "the book (belonging to) Lucy". The whole sentence "Sam read Lucy's book to Mary" would thus be written konjast Samst dossaloi Lúsíoqhum Máríádda. The genitive case is not normally used with personal pronouns, as the use of possessive suffixes has made it somewhat obsolete and cumbersome. Compare dossassei "my book" (with possessive suffix -ssei "my/mine") with dossaloi ólaoqhum "the book of mine".
The Locative case marks location in, to, around or at a noun. The suffix that represents the locative case is -şoagh, for example "dossaxomaloi" "library" becomes dossaxomaloişoagh "in/at/to the library", for example the sentence "Sam read Lucy's book to Mary in the library" is written konjast Samst dossaloi Lúsíoqhum Máríádda dossaxomaloişoagh.
The Comitative case marks location with or together with a noun. The suffix that represents this is -qqí, for example ölaloi "woman" becomes ölaloiqqí "with the woman".
The Instrumental case marks the use of a noun to do something. For example "I wrote the essay using a pencil" is written konjast sést pyşşallaqqí.
Taddjok does not distinguish between male and female. So the same word is used for English "he", "she" and "it" - djár. The declension of personal pronouns in Taddjok is quite similar to the declension of regular nouns, following the regular case suffixes. The genitive case is not really used very often on personal pronouns, instead a possessive suffix is used corresponding to each pronoun. The genitive is used however in cases when the possessor needs to be stressed or emphasised. For example ur çel şeddjassul "this is my wife" versus ur çel şeddjaloi saqhum "this is MY wife".