Next (Toma Heylm)
@nS@qe (n.i) a people (as in, "the people of Mexico")
(1) fanta anoww@Nwa kanjanoluSyxa, fim@nipul anist@kwa kanjaqaspuSy.
(1) A shaman (once) told the story of the achievement of order.
First, the website is in a romanization system I devised, and this e-mail (for the most part--I'll get to that in a second) is in X-SAMPA. I apologize for that. If it'll help, I've put a version of the text online in the romanization (this might help for looking up cases). Also, though I used X-SAMPA, I fudged a little. In the text below, /f/ is a voiceless, bilabial fricative, and /x/ is a voiceless, uvular (not velar) fricative. Writing it this way makes the text easier on the eyes.
(A) The word order is strictly SOV. Where demonstratives like "this" or "that" occur, they occur in front of the noun phrase they modify. In genitive constructions, the possessor precedes the possessed, e.g., "the king's crown", *not* "the crown of the king". Also, Epiq is a postpositional language, so words like "in" and "during" will follow the noun phrases they modify, and will assign a particular case to the heads of those noun phrases (this will be listed in the word list section). Also, Epiq is a pronoun-less prodrop language, so if the subject of the sentence is not stated overtly, then that means it's inherited from the previous sentence. (Unless some other mechanism tells you what the subject is--see grammar note E.)
(B) The forms of nouns in the dictionary is the nominative form. Each noun will be accompanied by a class. The class will be listed directly after the "n", as in (n.wa). This noun class designation is important, as it will tell you where to look in the case paradigms to see what case the noun in question is in in the sentence in the text. Unfortunately, X-SAMPA doesn't match up with the romanization system I set up on my website, and I apologize for that. I hope it won't be too much trouble. Also, verbs will be listed in their infinitival forms. Each verb will be in one of four classes, and the class of the verb will tell you how cases are assigned to the verbs complements. Verb classes are 1 through 4, and will look like this in the word list: (v.2). An important note: If a verb has an inflectional *suffix* attached to it, it will most often be inserted after the final consonant of the stem. So, if the verb is "mata", and there's a suffix "-ol", it will be "matola", and *not* *mataol.
(C) Verbs agree with their subject, object, and (occasionally) their indirect object. The marker of verbal agreement depends on the class of verb. In most cases, no marking at all indicates a third person subject and third person object. After the person marking will come a series of tense prefixes. To simplify matters, I'll just lump these together as one TMAS prefix and list them in the lexicon. However, info about them can be found on the website.
(D) Now for some text-specific notes. One verb suffix you'll see a lot is /-us/, which is an affirmative suffix. It'll be on just about every verb in this story, and can safely be ignored. It's more of a narrative device, than anything, used to emphasize the fact that what's being said is true, should the listener doubt it. One thing, though: As a phonological rule, /s/ palatalizes to [S] before the vowels [i] and [y]. This causes the /-us/ suffix to appear as /-uS/ in many contexts.
(E) Something that's confusing but completely unavoidable is the use of conjunctive suffixes. A conjunctive suffix is something that's added to the *very* end of the verb (not in between the last consonant and last vowel). What conjunctive suffixes are are a kind of focus particle. What they do is tell you what the subject of the next sentence is going to be. These suffixes are only used in places where you'd see relative clauses in English. So, imagine the sentence "The man whose dog the woman saw walked to the store". In Epiq, this might be reworded as "The woman saw the man's dog--it walked to the store". Where the dash is, that's where a conjunctive suffix would appear. The particular conjunctive suffix would be a direct object conjunctive suffix, because the dog, the subject of the new sentence, serves as the direct object in the old sentence. So if you see a sentence with a conjunctive suffix at the end of it, and it occurs right before a comma, you'll know what's up.
(F) Genitive phrases work like this. Let's say you wanted to say "the man's dog", or "the dog of the man". This is exactly how you'd do it in Epiq: /man-GENITIVE dog-?/. "The dog" is the head of the phrase, so its case is determined by its role in the sentence: If it's the subject, nominative; if it's the object, accusative, etc. In other words, you can think of the genitive case almost as identical to apostrophe ess /'s/ in English.
(G) An idiom is at work in this text, so it's best to explain it. In English, when you have phrases like "said the man", or "the man said", they serve only a quotative function (which is probably why they can disobey English word order). Similarly, an entire phrase serves a quotative function in Epiq. This phrase would be something like (if you translated it into English), "And he said with this word/speech...", and what would follow would be the actual quote. As it so happens, the word "to say" is a class 4 verb, and its direct object takes the instrumental case. Anyway, when you see this phrase, it's not that the speaker is saying two different things at once--it's just a convention.
(H) There is no definite or indefinite marking in Epiq. This makes the role of transitive nouns very important. So, if you say, "Father son saw", in Epiq, the assumed interpretation will be "The father saw his own son", and not "The father saw someone else's son". If the second interpretation is the one aimed for, it will need to be explicitly stated.
(I) This whole story takes place in the past, so you should use the aspectual markers to get a sense of the tense. The "perfect" tense is used to pick out a specific point in time that's finished. The "imperfect" tense is used for something that takes time in the past, even if the ongoing part of the event is focused. The "irrealis" tense can *almost* always be translated as "would". In the past tense, the irrealis is used to refer to any even that takes place out of time, or further in the future than the point in time being discussed.
(J) I've come to a conclusion that solves a lot of the lingering problems I've been having with Epiq. That conclusion is: All class 4 verbs will work the same. So remember what I said about the verb "to say"? The same applies for all other class 4 verbs. Specifically, if the verb takes a complement (e.g., "I believe *that he's a teacher*"), it will come *after* the verb, just like the quote comes after the verb. It won't be marked in any way; it'll just look like a sentence.
(K) Another feature of Epiq is the lack of conjunctions in favor of what I call conjunctive suffixes. You've seen one kind already (the appositive), but there's another kind in here, as well. This is the purposive conjunctive suffix. It works like the words "in order to" or "to" or "so that" in English. So, if you wanted to say "He drank milk (in order) to be strong", in Epiq you'd say "He milk drank-qos he would be strong". Similarly, if you want to express that the second event is dependent on the first, you use the same suffix. So, "I needed to eat so I ate", would be "I needed to eat-qos I ate".
(L) A summary of the cases: The nominative marks the subject of class 1, class 2, and class 4 verbs. The accusative marks the *definite* direct object of a class 2 verb. The genitive marks the *indefinite* direct object of a class 2 verb. The dative marks the subject of a class 3 verb (the object of a class 3 verb is marked with the nominative case). The instru- mental case marks the direct object of a class 4 verb. For other uses, see the other notes or the dictionary entries.
(M) Epiq is an SOV language, but the internal composition of objects is fairly free. Often, the indirect object will precede the direct object (both of which will be sandwiched between the subject and verb).
(N) Remember: The narrator of this story is the shaman.
(O) A note on quotations marks. Here's an example of two different ways I'd do quotations marks. (1) "I said, 'I want you to eat my green beans'." (2) "I said I didn't want you to eat my green beans." I went with the second option in a particular situation so I could keep the past tense throughout the text.
(P) Okay, I had to use the present tense once, in the last sentence. In this case, it works just like English. That is, the present plus the perfective aspect equals "have", as in, "I have eaten" vs. "I ate".
(Q) Epiq verbs are divided into four classes. Here's a summary of them:
Text in conscript
Text in romanisation
Smooth translation of the text received
(1) "It worked", said the shaman. Take a look at the shaman.
© Jan van Steenbergen, David Peterson, 10 Sept. 2004